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Friday, July 23, 2010

When Your Dog is Really Bugging You -- Here's an Idea

The other day a client asked me a question about their dog constantly "bugging them" to play with a toy. There are a lot of "official Bark Buster" replies, but I decided to give them an idea that worked with me. Shush! Don't tell our Home Office, but let me share this with you...

When I was out in the back yard, my dog, Millie, would bring Frisbees to me all the time and bug the heck out of me to throw it for him. I would practice the passive dominance with him (ignore the behavior) and he would push and push and push. The "human side of me" became annoyed and angry at him and he picked up on this. He would simply continue and step up his campaign on "throw the Frisbee".

I then came up with an idea of taking charge and eliminating the initial request ("I am the Alpha") from Millie. The next time he brought the Frisbee to me and began to bug me to throw it, I ignored him, picked up the Frisbee, and put it in the barbecue (off, of course). Millie couldn't get it and I went back to what I was doing.

If Millie brought me another toy or goodie, I would repeat the process. He quickly understood that this was a "loose-loose" situation for him because of the passive dominance process and redirection methods used.

This method has worked wonders for me and I am waiting to hear back from my client regarding his success. I hope that this helps you.

For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Keeping Summer Safe - Rules of the Road

It drives me crazy when I see dog owners transporting their dogs in an unsafe manner. This could cause a bad situation, even death. It doesn't have to be that way!

An unrestrained dog in a vehicle is dangerous to everyone in the car, including the dog himself. Secure your dog in the back seat with a safety harness or in a per carrier fastened to a seat belt. Another option is to install a pet barrier to keep the dog in the back area of your vehicle. Dogs riding in the front can be seriously hurt if the airbags deploy.

Here are some other important hints:
  • If you must transport your dog in the bed of a pickup, be sure he is restrained, preferably in a crate or carrier secured to the truck.
  • Avoid allowing your dog to hang his head out the car window - he could suffer eye injury from flying debris.
  • When stopping the car along the way, attach a leash to the dog's collar before opening the door so he can't escape. Use a leash to walk your dog.
  • It is hot! Never leave your dog unattended in the car in this heat. Within a very short time, your dog can suffer from heat exhaustion and could possibly die.
Let's keep it safe out there this summer. Follow these rules of the road and you are on your way!

For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Keep it Slow and Easy

Isn't it always good advise to keep it slow and easy? In that way, things will probably work out better?

Just to let you know, the answer is "yes". We humans hate that answer because we love to get things done fast. I will text you, drive through the teller window at the bank, take the express way, fast forward, etc., etc, etc. (see, I didn't even write out the entire word "etcetera")....

Let me give you a hint. That doesn't work for dogs. One of the biggest training problems that we run into is when our clients try to push too fast with the training process. They try and teach their dog something too quickly, not paying attention that the dog has no idea what they are asking. The dog doesn't respond, the owner becomes frustrated, and the entire situation becomes a non-learning event, inconsistent event.

Here is what you do:
  • Stop thinking like a human! There, I said it. Now let's continue.
  • Dogs learn in a consistent and repetitive manner. We must teach using the same process.
  • Whatever you want to teach your dog, determine what they currently can accomplish and what they can't accomplish.
  • Begin asking them to demonstrate what they can accomplish.
  • Slowly add complexities and distractions to the point where they begin to fail.
  • STOP! This is the learning horizon where the most productive instruction will take place.
  • Work at this point, slowly, until your dog can make small, but observable improvements.
  • Continue the process. If at any time, you observe that your dog is consistently failing your requests, back it off. You have gone too far too fast. Back it up until your dog is succeeding again. Now proceed.
When we think like a dog, it works. When we think like a human, it fails...

For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What to do on the 4th of July

My dog goes crazy on the 4th and I have no idea what to do! Don't worry, here is the scoop...

Here are some ideas to keep your dog safe and happy on the 4th of July:
  • If you are going to a fireworks display, leave your dog at home where he will be the most safe and comfortable.
  • If you go to a holiday event, never leave your dog in the car. A partially opened window does not supply sufficient fresh air, and it creates an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.
  • Always keep the proper identification securely fastened to your dog's collar in case he gets out. Talk to your veterinarian about implanting a universal microchip in your pet, and make sure that your veterinary clinic and animal shelter have your correct contact information in their databases.
  • Don't leave your dog outside. If you cannot bring him inside, cover his dog house with a blanket to protect him from the bursts of bright lights and loud bangs. A dog's sense of hearing is acute --- about four times more sensitive than humans'.
  • Create a special den-like area in your home where your dog feels safe. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a calming refuge for him.
  • Some dogs become destructive when frightened. If you don't use a create, remove any items in the room which your dog could destroy or which could hurt him if he chewed them.
  • Keep your dog away from the front and back doors. Your dog may be under significant stress, which could result in unnecessary injury to others or cause him to dart out the door.
  • Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes.
  • Turn on a TV or radio at normal volume to distract your dog from loud noises and help him to relax.
  • If possible, stay with your pet during the majority of the fireworks. A dog often reacts more intensely top loud sounds and flashes of lights when you are not with him.
  • Consider hiring a pet sitter to stay with your dog while you are away from home.
Follow these simple steps and you and your pooch will have a great 4th of July!

For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.