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Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Quick Halloween Tip

Let's not make our dogs nuts this Halloween!

If you haven't already checked out our regular Halloween Safety Tips, please visit Bark Busters of South Florida Halloween Safety Tips.  After that, I want to add one more for your review.

Here is what we do on Halloween to minimize the Halloween stress on our three dogs...

We take a table and chairs and set up a "Halloween Booth" at the end of our driveway.  We have all our candy and goodies ready for the kids along with all our regular skulls, pumpkins, ghosts, etc.  Being out by the sidewalk is a great way to see everybody and also to keep an eye on the "trick" side of trick or treat.  When we are out there, our neighbors tend to spend more time chatting than when we had everybody come and ring the doorbell.

This is also a great thing for our dogs.  Instead of having the doorbell ring over and over again, it is nice and quiet in the house.  Instead of having strange ghosts, pirates, monsters, etc. enter our home, it is again nice and quiet in our house.  All of the stress of this holiday is removed from their environment and kept outside. 

We have now kept our dogs safe and that is what they really want.  Have a great Halloween!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do I Walk My Dog on the Left or Right?

I was always told to walk my dog on the left side of me.  Is that right?

(I love this answer...) It depends. 

Unless you have a dog that you are going to enter into dog shows, it doesn't matter.  In a dog show, you always walk your dog counter clock-wise around the judge.  Because of this, it is best to teach your dog to walk on your left side.  This will keep your dog on the side of you where the judge can observe and grade.

If you don't plan to have your dog entered into dog shows, it doesn't matter what side of you your dog walks.  With that said, let me give you some pointers regarding walking:
  • Pick a side that you want to walk your dog.  Left or right, it doesn't make a difference.  The important thing is that he is always walked on that side.  This helps to build his perception of "where he should be" on a walk.
  • If you have a "big dog", pick the side where you and the rest of the "walkers" have the most strength.  If you need to correct him, it is important that you do it from your strong side.  (i.e. Are your left handed or right handed?)
  • Everyone must walk him on the side that all of you have picked.  If you don't do this, it will add to his confusion and extension of the learning process.
  • Make sure that he walks next to you and not in front of you.
  • (My pet complaint!)  Use a regular six foot leash when walking.  NO EXTENSION LEASHES!
Follow these simple suggestions and your "walkies" with your dog will be a great experience!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Who Started What?

Is it really important to think about who started something or who said "Let's do this"?  I don't really care...

I know for a fact that the personal/animal that made the above statement was a human and not my dog, Fluffy.  In a family, anyone can say "Let's go to the movies", "Let's go to the mall", "How about getting a bite to eat".  We (humans) don't care who's idea it was.  If it is a good idea, we do it. 

Remember that Fluffy is a dog and not a human.  Different behaviors, different instincts are going on inside Fluffy's canine brain.  In the dog world, the animal that says "Let's do this", is the Leader of the Pack.  The Alpha Leader is the one in charge and the one who says "Let's go".

So why is all this so important?

What we don't want to do is to constantly be telling Fluffy that he is the leader of the pack.  This means that we are telling him that it is his job to be our protector and that he can do whatever he wants.  "Whatever he wants" can include jumping, running out the door, biting, nipping, incessant barking, and all those other things that drive us nuts.

Is Fluffy wrong in doing this?  Not if we are constantly telling him that it is his job to do those things!  But, how do we stop it?

Here is the bottom line...

Whenever you are interfacing with Fluffy, make sure that everything is your idea and not his.  This will maintain your role in the interaction as the leader and Fluffy's role in the interaction as a happy member of the family.

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

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Calm and Still

When Fluffy is running, jumping, and barking all around me, how can I stay calm and still?

Our initial training visits with our clients normally last three hours or more.  We cover a lot of information and demonstrate a great deal of techniques to get Fluffy to be a great dog.  I have often thought that if I only had a moment to give a dog owner some useful and productive training advise, what would it be. 

I keep coming back to the simple credo of "Calm & Still".

Eighty percent of the communication between Fluffy and myself is body language.  The most important part of body language, in my opinion, is the ability to portray a sense of confidence.  Everything is OK, I am in control, I will take care of you...  This is done by remaining calm and still while engaging the situation at hand.

Humans are emotional animals and we get so mad at Fluffy when he is going nuts.  We raise the level of adrenalin through our screaming and running when we are trying to calm Fluffy down.  It just doesn't work, and why should it?  Craziness breeds craziness.  

By staying calm and still when you are addressing Fluffy, he will naturally feel your confidence and will have a far better sense that you are the leader, provider, and safe keeper.  Staying calm also allows you to more effectively evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action to get Fluffy back to being a "good dog".

If you are a fan of old TV shows...
  • Did Mr. Spock go nuts when the Klingons were attacking the Enterprise?
  • Did Sheriff Andy Taylor ever get scared, yell, and scream when he was capturing escaped criminals?

No.  That's my point!

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