Showing posts from November, 2010

Going to Your Relatives with Fluffy

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and some of us have found a way to get a free dinner at the relatives'.  Of course, we will bring Fluffy along too.  It is always fun at Uncle Al's, I am sure that Fluffy thinks so too!  Really?

Remember, Fluffy is a dog.  Things that stimulate and entertain Fluffy are not necessarily the same things that stimulate and entertain us.  Things that give Fluffy a sence of safety and security while we are away from our house can be very different than how we percieve safety and security.  So, what does Fluffy really think of Uncle Al's house (full of strange people and possibly other dogs)?

First, let's think of what we are walking Fluffy into.  Here is a new house "strange territory" filled with all sorts of unfamiliar people, smells, sounds, and other dogs.  We normally think "Oh, let's put all the dogs in the back where they can play".  Several things have just occurred here. 
First, we have abandoned Fluffy in a strange are…

Let's Not Play Tag in the Living Room

"Don't play tag in the living room!"  Well, that makes perfect sense to us, but what about Fluffy?

The answer is, it depends.  (Don't you just hate when I do that?  But let me explain why...)

Playing with Fluffy is always a lot of fun.  The exercising, the bonding, the good times... are all reasons why we decided to become dog owners.  The important thing is to let Fluffy understand where he can play.

As humans, we have the ability to understand that when we are home, by ourselves, it might be OK to rough house inside.  When we have a dinner party with guests wearing nice clothes, we understand that it is not a good idea to go "nuts".  We can understand "We can go nuts except when we have guests over". 

Now we come to Fluffy.  Fluffy can understand "We can play rough inside".  Fluffy can understand "We can not play rough inside".  Fluffy can not make the distinction of "We can play rough inside except...".  No matter how…

Traveling with Fluffy

Over hill and dale, off to Grandmother's house we go (with Fluffy)...

It is getting to be the holiday season and many of us will be traveling to family festivities with our dogs.  How do we make this a good experience for everyone in the car?  Here are some pointers:

First, let's talk about Fluffy's "happy time" in the car.  If Fluffy doesn't like to be in the car, "hill and dale" can be an eternity.  Here are some training tips:
Start walking Fluffy by taking him out to the car in the driveway.  Have him sit for a few minutes, have some toys and other distractions there, and then walk him back in the house. Repeat this for several days.Next, open the car door.  Have fluffy walk to the car and jump in the back seat.  You might need to have some toys or other enticements in the back seat to have this happen.  As soon as he jumps in, praise him.  Wait a minute or two and have him come out and go back in the house.  Repeat this for several days.Repeate th…

How Dogs Learn

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?  Or, is it that you can only teach a new dog old tricks?

The answer is that it doesn't matter the age of the dog or really what you are trying to teach him.  Dogs learn in a very specific way and if you are willing and able to follow the process, you will have a trained dog.

First, dogs learn through consistency.  Whatever you are trying to teach Rover, you must perform it in the exact manner every time.  For example, if you are teaching Rover to walk, always walk him on the same side of you.  Make sure that everyone else in the family who is walking Rover is walking him on the same side.  This simplifies and streamlines the learning process by removing unneeded variables in the training.

Next, dogs learn through repetition.  You must practice with Rover between fifteen and thirty minutes every day to reinforce the action you are trying to teach.  Think of when we were learning our "times tables".  We would practice every day with our fl…