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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Counter Surfing

Wolfie loves to counter surf with everybody for the Holidays.  He normally doesn't do it during the rest of the year and I don't want it to turn into a regular thing!

This is the time of the year that we have a whole lot of things going on.  We also have a lot more food out and about that we might not be watching.  We also have guests over who are just leaving stuff around.  Our house has become a giant buffet for Wolfie.

What we have to do is to first understand Wolfie's concept of food ownership.  If food is left unattended for a long period of time (you our your guests have food on a coffee table, but aren't actively eating) or you abandon the food (physically walk away from it), there is no longer a clear picture of ownership. 

Remember, in the wild, the Alpha Wolf would be the first to eat the killed hunt.  The Alpha Wolf would then walk away from the food, indicating that he was done and that the killed hunt is now available for everyone else.  It it is natural that Wolfie would go after the unattended or abandoned food.  This could be on a coffee table, dinner table, kitchen counter, etc.

Here is what you do:
  • Make sure that food is not left unattended.  If needed, pick up your plate and put it in an area that Wolfie can't reach.
  • Set boundaries.  When you are cooking or have food out in the kitchen, set a rule that Wolfie can't be in the kitchen.  Correct him as he approaches your boundary and praise him when he obeys you.  This can also be done for the sofa or dinner table.
  • Give Wolfie his own goodies (Kong Toys w/peanut butter, cow's holves, etc).  This will help to redirect him from your goodies. 
  • Feed Wolfie when you are eating.  This will help redirect him and when he is done, his stomach is full.
  • Instruct your guests not to feed Wolfie.  This might be fun for them, but it will be a terrible thing to teach him for the rest of the year.
  • Take Wolfie outside and engage in some exuberant play.  Getting him tired will minimize his wanting to engage with you inside. 
Remember, it is ok to "correct your guests".  They aren't the ones who will have to live with the inappropriately learned behavior for the next fifty weeks of the year.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wolfie, the Holidays, Family Coming to Visit...

I can just about handle Wolfie when everything is normal, but the Holidays and all my "wonderful family" is coming to visit.  How can I keep my sanity?

The Holidays are always a crazy time, especially for all of us down in South Florida.  It seems that our guest rooms and every sofa in the house now becomes a Hilton for relatives from up north.  All our routines are messed up and our lives are turned upside down for about ten days to two weeks.  Since Wolfie likes things calm and consistent, this is not a good time for him.  Here are some ideas:
  • When your family first starts to arrive, have Wolfie somewhere else during the initial "meet and greet time".  Bring Wolfie in to meet everyone after they are settled and have stopped arguing who gets to sleep where.  This will be a time where the adrenaline is lower and Wolfie will react calmly when greeting everyone.
  • Tell everyone not to "make Wolfie nuts".  No "run-run, yell-yell, jump on me-jump on me" games in the house.  This is a recipe to straight disaster.
  • ONLY DOGGIE FOOD for Wolfie.  Do not let anyone give Wolfie all the little goodies that are now in the house.  First of all, you aren't sure if the food is good for Wolfie.  Many foods can make Wolfie sick and make a big mess in the house.  This is not a good thing with a house full of people.
  • No feeding at the table.  This should have been obvious from the bullet point above, but it is something that family members love to do.  They all go home and now you have a dog that expects to get stuff from the table.  You now have a bad behavior that will take time to correct.  Just don't give Wolfie stuff from the table.
  • Assign a buddy for Wolfie.  If you have some kids who are twelve years or older, ask them to be Wolfie's buddy.  They are the ones who keep track of him, play with him, help feed him, and manage his time according to the rest of the activities going on in the house.
  • Keep Wolfie on a leash.  If he starts to get out of hand, you can easily step on the leash and regain control.
  • Manage the front door.  Put a sign on the front door that says "WHERE IS WOLFIE?".  This will make everyone aware where he is before you open the door.  If you aren't watching where he is, he can easily dart out the door.  If he is close to the door when you want to open it, you can ask someone to take him to another area while the door is open.
  • Include Wolfie in many of your events.  Make sure he has some presents and that he opens them with you.  Remember that Wolfie is a very social animal.  The Holidays are a social time.  Make sure that you and he enjoy the special moments!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Who can Wolfie Jump On?

I don't mind if Wolfie jumps on me, but it is now the Holiday Season and I don't want Wolfie to jump on Aunt Minnie...

It was always so much fun to have Wolfie to jump up.  He would get so excited and bark and lick!  I didn't care if my clothes got a little dirty with dog hair or I got a little slobber on my pants.  Wolfie wasn't really big as a puppy, so that "blind tackle" didn't really hurt...

Oops!  Wolfie is now big and things hurt!  More importantly, some of my friends and guests don't like Wolfie to jump on them.  Even though Aunt Minnie is a dog lover, she is 90 pounds and 87 years old.  She can break.  What do I do?

First of all, you have to understand that dogs need simple rules to follow.  You must now tell Wolfie that it is wrong to jump on anyone.  Wolfie must understand the rule of "don't jump, period".  No jumping on you, your friends who like Wolfie to jump, and everyone else who would rather Wolfie not jump on them.  Here are some ideas:
  • You first have to enforce the "cold turkey rule".  Never encourage Wolfie to jump on yourself or your friends.  Tell your friends to never encourage Wolfie to jump on them. 
  • If Wolfie comes over to you and appears to be getting ready to jump, walk away.  This takes the "moment away" from Wolfie.  Don't turn your back on Wolfie when you walk away, but move at a diagonal so that you can still keep him in your peripheral. 
  • If Wolfie actually starts to jump on you, do not knee him or swing around to turn your back.  Face him, stand tall, and give him a very stern "NO".  As soon as he decides not to jump, reward him with a "good puppy".
  • Put a leash on Wolfie when you have guests around or plan to have guests around.  As you see him getting ready to jump, put your foot on the leash at a point where he can only get a few inches off the ground before the leash stops his upward movement.  Allow him to attempt the "failed jump" several times and he will quickly look for other things to do (like sitting, well behaved, next to you).
If you are consistant with the steps we mentioned above, you will have happy guests.  
For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wolfie Just Doesn't Listen, What Are Some Clues?

Wolfie just doesn't want to listen when I talk to him.  Is he stupid or deaf or obnoxious or what?  Should I just give him a kick when he doesn't listen?

No, he is not stupid.  No, he is not deaf.  No, he is not obnoxious.  No, do not kick him!

The problem is that you don't understand how Wolfie talks.  There are several levels that dogs use to communicate with other animals (you included), and we are going to discuss one of them now.

One of the ways that dogs communicate is to use their vocal cords.  We use our vocal cords to form words, phrases, sentences, etc.  Dogs use their vocal cords to create sounds.  We sometimes call them "growls" or "yips", or "crys", etc.  In any case, they are unique sounds created by Wolfie when he wants to use his vocal cords to communicate.

Now comes the difference between Wolfie and us.  As I said earlier, we use words and Wolfie uses unique sounds.  We can create and understand thousands of words and sounds to mean different things, depending on how they are used.  Wolfie uses unique tones to generate specific meanings.

This means that we can not simply talk to Wolfie in the form "Hi Wolfie, how would you like to take a ride with me and then go see Uncle Bill?".  He has no idea what we are saying.  We do have the ability to use unique tones to communicate with Wolfie. 

One of the tones I would like to discuss is the low, guttural tone.  This is a unique tone because it is something Wolfie almost never hears from you.  You would use this tone to let Wolfie is is doing something wrong and that he needs to give you his complete attention.

Another tone is a very high pitched, almost baby-like tone.  Since we normally don't talk "baby-talk" all day long, this is another tone that Wolfie rarely hears from us.  We use this tone only when we want to let Wolfie know that he has done something right and that we are proud of him.

There are other tones and techniques that we also use to communicate with Wolfie so that he can understand what we are discussing.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Your "big take-away" from this discussion is that Wolfie does not understand every word you say.  Wolfie understands very few words you say.  Your tones, and more importantly, the uniqueness of your tones is the verbal communication he is processing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wolfie Goes Nuts When Family Comes for The Holidays - Help!

I hate asking family over for the Holidays because Wolfie terrorizes them the entire time they are here.  I have to lock Wolfie in the back room and have to be back there all the time to try and keep him quiet.  What can I do?

High energy or “people unsure” dogs can be very annoying and embarrassing when we have a house full of guests. We are unsure what Wolfie might do (lung, bark, growl, jump) and our guests are uneasy in the Wolfie’s presence. It is critical that you socialize him to understand that you are keeping him safe and secure when other people and animals are in his space. YOU are the care giver. YOU are the cop on the beat.

The one thing that you never do is to have Wolfie with you at the front door when you are greeting your arriving guests. This is a high adrenaline time where you cannot give the appropriate focus and correction to him, when required. Inappropriate situations can escalate quickly as he tries to demonstrate dominance and your ability to regain control could be almost nonexistent. Here is what you should do:

  • Have Wolfie in another room with a family member when the guests arrive. The door is closed. He should be on a leash and be provided with toys and other mental stimulation so that focus with the family member can be easily maintained. You can also have the television on in the room with him to add to the white noise of the house and to minimize the noise of the arriving guests. If needed, you might also have an Italian Basket Muzzle on Wolfie in order to provide you with the confidence that a nip will not occur. It will also naturally calm him down.
  • When your guests arrive, greet them and guide them into your house. After things have settled down, it is time to work with Wolfie to see where he will be comfortable with them. Remember, he is ALWAYS on the leash and the leash is ALWAYS in somebody’s hand.
  • Open the door between him and the guests in the other room. Observe him while you are still giving him positive praise and redirection towards you or his toys. When he shows a calm, respective temperament, move him closer to the door.
  • Observe Wolfie for any change in his temperament towards fearfulness or assertive. It this occurs, return to your prior position and work with him there for another few minutes before proceeding.
  • Once he his calm, with a respectful temperament, continue to move him towards the door. Now have people pass in the other room where Wolfie can see them. Your guests should move slowly and directly. They should give him passing eye contact and should never turn their backs to him. They should never move directly towards him.
  • Once Wolfie shows the proper temperament, slowly enter the room with the guests, repeating the process we have just discussed. If, at any time, you feel that he is becoming stressed or nervous, back up and slow down.
  • As you proceed, following the above process, you will eventually reach the point where you can be seated with Wolfie and your guests. Do not allow your guests or Wolfie to initially interact with each other. They still have to get comfortable with the proximity of each other. He should still have his toys and treats with him during this time while this part of the socialization process takes place.
  • Have your guests stand up and slowly walk around the room, never moving directly towards Wolfie. Have them leave the room and return. Once this is complete, repeat this process with Wolfie.
  • As you repeat the above process, slowly and carefully move towards your guests. Repeat this until he is next to them and sniffing them. Do not have your guests pet Wolfie as this might be interpreted by him as an aggressive act (depending how your guests move to pet him).
  • Continue to have you and Wolfie mingle with your guests. As you see his temperament maintained at a respectful level and his focus on you, you can allow your guests to pet him. This action must be performed in the manner explained to you by your Bark Buster Trainer.
  • As you continue to see that Wolfie is maintaining a calm and respectful temperament while giving you focus, you can drop the leash. Allow him to meander on his own around the room. Always be nearby to step on the leash, if necessary.
You now have a calm dog with guests in the house. It is critical that you practice this multiple times with friends and neighbors before a big event such as The Holidays, 4th of July, Memorial Day, a family member’s birthday, etc. You need to give the training 100% of your focus to make it effective. If you are in the middle of a “real social event”, you won’t be able to provide that needed focus.

Also, if you see that Wolfie is becoming overly agitated while in the training session, end it. Tomorrow is another day where you can pick up where you left off when everyone is fresh and ready to learn. 
For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Keeping Wolfie Away from The Front Door with Guests

Wolfie always likes to run to the front door whenever anyone comes over.  He is just so annoying and bugs many of my friends!  What can I do?

Many dogs like to run to the front door when they hear a knock or a ring.  They normally bark, jump, sniff, nudge, nip, and sometimes run out the front door.  These are all things that we really don't want to happen when we have people over.  It is just rude and embarrassing.  So, what can we do about this? 

We have to make a very simple rule that we can enforce when people are at the front door.  If you think about it, if Wolfie would just stay away from the front door, all those annoying things that I mentioned earlier could not happen.  Great, let's just make sure that Wolfie isn't near the front door when someone comes by.  There are many ways that you can accomplish this, but let me discuss one.  The most important thing with any educational process is that it allows you to maintain focus with Wolfie and that you are calm and collected in your demeanor.

Let's set up an exercise for you to practice. 
  • First, let's put Wolfie on a leash and ask another family member to hold the leash with Wolfie about twenty feet from the door.
  • You will be standing at the door, facing Wolfie.
  • You need another person to be outside and to knock and/or ring the bell.
  • If Wolfie starts to move towards the door, you face him and verbally correct him in a stern manner.  Have the person with the leash do the same while giving a slight  tug on the leash so that Wolfie looks back at the person holding the leash.
  • Repeat this process until Wolfie is calmly sitting and not approaching the door.
  • Open the door and let the person in, always being aware if Wolfie is going to try to run to the door again.  If so, repeat the process above.
  • Close the door behind your guest.  If Wolfie is still calm, invite him over to meet your guest. 
  • Repeat this exercise several times a day.  In a few weeks, Wolfie will no longer be running to the door.
Again, I want to emphasise that this is one of several methods that can be used to keep Wolfie back from the front door.  Some methods work better for specific dogs.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sometimes Wolfie Seems a Little Nervous...

Sometimes Wolfie appears a little nervous or uneasy.  What can I do to help out?

Dogs are very tactile creatures.  You always see them grooming themselves or other dogs.  This helps to build a bond between them as well as to show a trust that they are all part of one pack.  We have a very simple way that you can emulate that same activity.  Don't worry, I am not going to ask you to "groom Wolfie".

What I am going to do is to ask you to simulate that you are grooming Wolfie.  Think of when you are petting your dog.  Many times this entails patting them on the head or on the back.  We are going to take this activity and modify it so that it emulates your grooming of Wolfie.  Instead of patting him, lightly run your hand over his fur from the back of the neck to the middle of the back.  Do this slowly and repeatedly.  This emulates the grooming process. 

You should see an almost immediate result in Wolfie's demeanor.  He will loose that stiffness in his body and will start to give you more focus.  This is exactly what you want in order to calm him down and to loose that nervous demeanor.

I have recently tried this technique on one of my more nervous dogs and it worked miracles.  Give it a try!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What To Do When A Dog Charges You

I was walking down the street this weekend and a dog came out of nowhere and ran at me with his teeth showing, baking like a crazy animal.  I got away just in time and darted into a neighbor's back yard.  Is there any thing I can do to avoid this?
We have all experienced the barking and running dog at one time or another.  The important thing to remember is to how to present an uninteresting target to the dog.  The barking and running dog does not come around the corner and go after the tree or the stop sign.  They are uninteresting.  You, on the other hand, present a very interesting "target".  Let's look at some ideas to make you more uninteresting.
  • Dogs need to recognize who you are in order to make a decision about how they are going to act.  Many times dogs have a hard time recognizing men wearing dark glasses and hats.  If you see a dog approaching and they seem the slightest bit pensive, take off your sun glasses and your hat.  This will help the dog to recognize that you are just another animal he knows and not some new, weird beast.
  • Do not scream and run away if a dog charges. You are only showing your weak side (rear end) and are encouraging him to chase you.  You probably can not outrun him and he will eventually jump, knock you down, and maybe even bite (nip) you.  Stand upright, face the dog (do not stare), and make no sudden movements.
  • Allow the dog to approach you and sniff you.  If the dog starts to go around to your rear, slowly turn so that you are always facing him.
  • Cover up your private parts.  (You can never be too safe!)
  • You are presenting an "uninteresting target" to the dog.  Keep it up and he will move off to more interesting targets to explore. 
  • Slowly back up, still facing the dog.  Once you are a safe distance from the dog (a block or so), continue your walk.  
For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

How to Help Wolfie When He is Scared and Growling

Wolfie seems a little scared all the time. He growls at people and when I try and tell him to stop, it just gets worse! What gives?

This sounds like Wolfie is timid and is manifesting that with aggressive behavior. He has figured out that if he snarls and growls at people, they will stay away.

One thing that you must understand is that your normal response of using a strong correction (yelling “NO”, etc.) to address the snarling and growling does not work. All this is doing is showing Wolfie that he has lost his only ally in the house. What you must do is to build a new foundation based on a relationship of trust and respect between you and Wolfie. This, and only this, will earn you the right to have a relationship where Wolfie respects and obeys you.

Start to correct Wolfie in a very matter fact way. To do this, have a leash on Wolfie when people are over. As soon as Wolfie starts his growling and other bad behaviors, pick up the leash and briskly walk in the opposite direction of the person Wolfie is engaging. Then, have him do simple obedience exercises where he has to give you complete attention. Simple exercises like sit, come, walkies, and stay would be perfect for this.

When Wolfie is calm and has obeyed you in performing the obedience exercises, praise him and return to your guests. You have taken control of the situation and have shown Wolfie that he can be calm and safe while other people are in the house. If you are keeping him safe, you are the leader.

Also remember the rule of classical conditioning. You MUST do this every time Wolfie starts to go nuts with people in the house. Consistency and repetition of your correction are necessary for Wolfie to finally get it.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wolfie Has Too Much Energy

I put in long hours at work and when I get home, Wolfie is always all over me.  I am tired and I can't get him outside to play a lot.  What can I do?

I see this a lot with our clients.  They work all day and just don't have the time to have a good, hard "play" with their dog when they get home from their ten hour day.  Dogs need to have that time to drain their adrenaline and you and Wolfie need the time to build the Bond, Trust, and Respect that your relationship requires.

We still suggest that you get outside as much as possible, throw the Frisbee, toss the ball, hide goodies and them help him find it, or perform some agility games.  What we now want to suggest is one more thing that will help take up the slack of the time you can't spend with him.

The answer is simple and it has worked wonders for many of our clients who have found themselves in this predicament. Take Wolfie to Doggie Daycare once or twice a week while you are at work.  He will be well cared for and be around dogs of his own temperament being supervised by professionals.  This will not only build his social skills, but it will drain that extra adrenaline so that he will be more prepared to obey you when you are home.  You are also placing him in an environment where he feels safe.  Since you have provided him with this environment, it will build your leadership role in Wolfie's eyes.

Most Doggie Daycares charge between $25 and $50 for a day session.  Many places offer discounts if you buy a "pack of sessions" or if you are on a monthly or quarterly program.   Interview two or three establishments in your area and ask neighbors if they take their dogs to a Daycare.  Start out going just once a week and then add days, if you feel it is needed.

Again, this has already done the job for many of our clients.  Give it a shot!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Monday, October 10, 2011

When Your Dog Doesn't Seem to "Get it"

I am working with Wolfie every day, but he just doesn't seem to get it.  What is the problem here?

Like people, dogs need to learn at a particular speed and at a particular level.  Unlike us, they can't "jump ahead" or skip steps in the learning process.  It must be slow, methodical, repetitive, and consistent.

When Wolfie "isn't getting it", it normally means that we are trying to teach him a command at a level or complexity above his current ability to process.  When this happens, we must back up to find a place where Wolfie can succeed in the exercise and then slowly proceed from that point.  For Wolfie, there is no shame in going back a few grades to find a place where he can obey and please us.

Let me give you an example of this process:

Say, for example, I am working with Wolfie on the "Come" exercise.  I had him in the house and was using a six foot leash to have him come to me every time I said "come".  Once in a while, I had to give a little flick of the leash to get his attention and to guide him to me, but it was working pretty well.  This seemed great so I took Wolfie into the back yard without the leash and walked to the other side of the yard from Wolfie.  I called "come" and Wolfie didn't come.  I tried this over and over again, day after day with the same results.

It isn't that Wolfie is stupid or ignoring me, it is that I jumped too far ahead in the training process of "come" for Wolfie to methodically advance.

I would now go back into the house and reinforce the level of knowledge that I knew Wolfie understood. ("Come" from six feet using the leash.)  Next, I would get a longer leash and practice from ten feet, then fifteen feet, and then twenty feet.  If that goes well, I would go out in the back yard, with the leash, and repeat the process.

Keep it slow and you will get results.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wolfie Always Runs Thru The Door Ahead of Me!

Wolfie always runs through the door ahead of me!  Even if I am just walking from the family room to the living room, he always has to be the first one in...  It just bugs me!

Guess what!  In the dog's world, the alpha leader must always be out front to check out that everything is safe for the rest of the pack to follow.  As you go from room to room, that is a new place and a new opportunity for Wolfie to do his job and make sure everything is safe for you.  Wolfie thinks he is the leader.  I am not going to delve into readjusting the pack to allow Wolfie to understand that you are the leader today.  What I am going to do is to provide you with the training instructions to allow you to go through first.

Here is what you do:
  • Put Wolfie on a leash and slowly approach the door.
  • Stop when you are about two feet from the door and command Wolfie to Sit and Wait.
  • Slowly open the door, always making sure that Wolfie is not getting ready to move.  If you see Wolfie getting ready to move or if Wolfie has already moved out of his Sit/Wait position, correct him and have him return to the Sit/Wait position.
  • Continue to open the door until you have the ability to step through to the other side.
  • Step through to the other side and have both feet on the other side of the door.
  • Make sure that Wolfie has not moved for three to five seconds.  Now invite him through the door to be with you.
  • Put Wolfie in a sit position next to you for three to five seconds.  Give him some praise for doing a great job.
  • You are now done.  You can release Wolfie if you don't require anything else, walk with him, etc.
You will be amazed on how this will turn a normally crazy time into a quiet and respectful moment!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Some Things to Remember When Walking Wolfie

Whenever I walk Wolfie, sometimes he runs to the bushes to sniff, sometimes he just wants to look around, other times he wants to pull me down the street...  What should I do?

The big thing to remember is "who is walking who".  Many times, when we go for a walk with our dog, he is walking us.  This is not good.  We need to be in control when we are in public with our dog.  The first thing to remember is that walking is a lot more than just walking.  Let me walk (ha-ha) through a scenario of the pieces of a walk and you will see what I mean:
  • The Front Door:  You don't want to just open the front door and dart out into the walk.  It is very important that you establish that you are in the driver's seat from the very start.  Have Wolfie sit and stay for you at the front door.  Now you open the front door while Wolfie isn't moving.  Invite Wolfie out and ask him to sit again.  Once everything is calm and Wolfie is giving you focus, begin your walk.  Do this in reverse when you return home.
  • The Sidewalk:  When you and Wolfie are walking, he must always understand that you are the leader.  This is done by keeping him by your side so that you both can maintain peripheral vision.  If he starts to get a little ahead of you, use your leash and give a gentile flick to guide him back to your side.  Change the speed of your walk to make sure that you are walking at your speed and not Wolfies'.
  • The Breaks (Potty/Sniffies):  Remember that you are in charge.  You decide when the walkies stops for a minute for a break.  When you deem it necessary, stop and have Wolfie sit.  Next use a unique command word like "Free" to allow Wolfie to do his business or just do other "dogie things".  When you are ready to continue, use the "Come" command to have Wolfie return to your side.  Now you can start your walkies again.
Remember that walking is more than just walking.  It is about distinct activities that allow you and Wolfie to bond while you are maintaining leadership.  Try this and you will see how Wolfie calms down.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Often Should I Work With Wolfie?

OK, I know all about the exercises and I do them with Wolfie every once in a while, but Wolfie just doesn't seem to get it!  What's the buzz?

Remember Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy?  Most of you probably don't, but if you are as old as I am, you will remember the cartoons where Doggie Daddy was always trying to teach his son, Augie Doggie a lesson.  Crazy as it seems, they were spot on regarding how dogs want to learn and how they will retain the lesson.

I am not saying that our Bark Buster methods are based on a 1960's cartoon show, it just so happens that the show mimics the proven methods we use to gain our great results.  So what happened between Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy?  It is real simple...
  1. YOU MUST BE CONSISTENT.  Dogs learn by doing the same thing the exact same way.  In order for us "humans" to accomplish this, we can't spend a whole lot of time every day working with Wolfie.  If we do, we will get sloppy and we won't be consistent.  That is why we urge our clients to not spend more that fifteen to thirty minutes a day working with their dog.  If they spend more time, they are trying to build a Guinness World's Record of sits.  This doesn't work.  Remember, no more than thirty minutes a day!
  2. YOU MUST BE REPETITIVE. Remember how we learned our 'times tables'?  Eight times eight is sixty-four.  Over and over again.  That is the same way that Wolfie learns his lessons.  ...Over and over again.  This means that you need to practice your exercises every day.  You can't just do it once or twice a week and think that it is going to stick.  It won't.
So remember, consistency and repetition with your exercises.  That is what is going to make it work!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Getting Wolfie Ready for a Plane Flight

So Wolfie and I are taking our first trip up to see Grandma up in Ohio this Thanksgiving.... Why do I have to worry about this now?

Getting Wolfie ready to take a long plane trip is something you can't just do with the snap of your fingers. There are many things that you need to prepare and teach Wolfie. Remember that being under the seat of the plane can be a very scary thing, if Wolfie is not properly prepared.

(Please note: I will not talk about putting your dog in the baggage department of a plane. We did this with our dogs once and I will never do that again. I suggest you please follow this same policy.)

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog... So what do I do to prepare for the trip? Here are some quick, initial steps:
  • You are going to need a proper carrier to transport Wolfie on the plane. Contact the airlines you will be using and ask them for the proper specifications for the dog carrier.
  • Have the airlines confirm that Wolfie is the proper size to be in the passenger section, with you.
  • Most airlines only allow so many dogs on a particular flight. Make sure that Wolfie has his spot.
  • Start to socialize Wolfie with the dog carrier by placing him in it for short times during the day. Begin to extend these times and start to carry Wolfie around the house in his carrier. This will simulate your carrying Wolfie through the airport.
  • Place Wolfie, in his carrier, at your feet when you are sitting. Read a book for an hour or two to simulate the flight.
  • Make sure that Wolfie has toys and other distractions in his carrier to keep him busy and to stimulate his mind.
  • Make sure that Wolfie has gone to the bathroom before you have boarded the plane to avoid any unfortunate and smelly accidents.
  • If Wolfie still shows intrepedation or fear, you can try giving him Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy or a relaxant perscribed by your Veterinarian before you board the plane. (This is the equivalent of all the nervour human passengers hanging out at the bar next to the boarding gate.)

The most important thing to remember and the one thing that will make your plane flight enjoyable is to start practicing these suggestions now. When Thanksgiving rolls around, a plane flight will be a piece of cake for Wolfie because you have properly socialized him to all the unique actions he will experience.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Going Nuts With Your Dog

Sometimes I just get so mad at my dog, I start screaming and chasing him...   ...But it doesn't do any good!  He doesn't respond to me.  Is my dog just nuts or stupid or what?

Well, there is "someone" stupid and nuts in the group, but it is not the dog.  We have to understand that the way we communicate is not necessarily the same way that our dogs communicate.  We get mad, we yell, we scream, we chase.  What we aren't doing is communicating to Wolfie that he is doing something wrong and that is why we are mad.

Even though the way that humans and dogs communicate is quite similar, it is different enough to breed miscommunication.  Eighty percent of how dogs communicate is with their body language.  When they are looking at us for communication, they are watching our body language very carefully to understand, from their point of view, what we are trying to say.

One of the most important parts of good body language in portraying that you are the leader and should be respected and obeyed is your ability to stay calm and still.  Running, screaming, jumping, chasing; do not send the message you are trying to deliver to Wolfie.  When Wolfie is doing something wrong, the first thing that you must remember is to stay calm and still.  You can absolutely correct him in a firm and resolute manner, but you must do it while remaining calm and still.

It is amazing how many dog owners do not employ this simple, and almost obvious piece of advise.  Not only will you be sending the right message to Wolfie, you will feel better too.  Give it a shot!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

How to Get Wolfie to Eat His Kibble

I just have the hardest time to get my dog to eat his dry food.  Wet food is expensive and hard to break up with the dry food.  He just seems to pick out the wet food and still leaves the dry.  What gives?
We always had a hard time to get Wolfie to eat his dry food.  Our Vet has always told us to stay away from the wet foods because they will cause tooth decay if we didn't regularly brush Wolfie's teeth.  The one thing I didn't want to do is to spend my evenings being a dental hygienist for Wolfie.  After some thought, we came up with two, really simple answers to get Wolfie to "love" his dry food.
  • Low Sodium Chicken Broth.  You can normally get low sodium chicken broth in a box from the market.  After you put Wolfie's dry food in his bowl, pour some chicken broth on as a "light gravy".  The dry food will soak up the broth, making it moist and adding additional flavor.  Wolfie loves it!
  • Cottage Cheese.  Get some plain old cottage cheese and add a few table spoons into Wolfie's bowl with the dry food.  The cottage cheese curds and dry food easily mix together to form a constant blend of curds and kibble.  I am adding moisture and cheese and, again, Wolfie loves it.
So these are two simple and inexpensive ways to put some zip into Wolfie's meal.  Try it.  Wolfie will love you for it!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's Raining in Wolfie's Bathroom!

Wolfie is potty trained, but he won't go outside when it is raining!  He is 75 lbs. and I am not going to try and use potty pads.  What gives?

If is was raining in your bathroom, would that be the most conducive place for you to go?  I think not.  I have had this problem with many clients and have provided them with an idea that just about always works.  Let's think about the issue facing us:
  • Wolfie has been trained to go to the bathroom outside.
  • Wolfie does not like to go to the bathroom in the rain.
The answer is simple.  When Wolfie goes outside to go to the bathroom, it never rains.  But we are in South Florida and this time of year it is always raining.  What do I do?  Here is the answer:
  • Go to Home Depot and get a few flats of grass.
  • Pick a place on your covered porch where you want Wolfie to go.
  • Put down a drop cloth that is just a little bigger than the flats of grass.
  • Put the flats of grass on the drop cloth.
  • Direct Wolfie to the flats of grass for his potty area when it is raining.
I have now removed the rain from Wolfie's bathroom.   For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wolfie in the Pantry

When I go out, Wolfie always likes to steal food from the pantry.  I close the door and tell him "No!", but he still does it.  What can I do?

The big problem is that you don't understand Wolfie's sense of "food ownership" and what the pantry represents.  In Wolfie's eyes, there is no direct ownership of food, even for the "pack leader".  If you are eating the food, it is yours.  As soon as you walk away and leave the food, it is anybody's, including Wolfie.  You go to the market, buy food, and store it in the pantry.  You then walk away, leaving the food in the pantry.  In Wolfie's eyes, you have abandoned the food and it is anybody's for the taking.

Also, you have left Wolfie with the ability to get the food.  It is unattended food in his territory.  Wolfie sees no problem to go into the pantry and pick out that nice bag of corn chips, take it to his bed, and have a party.  This is a natural instinct and is very difficult, if not impossible, to correct without a great deal of time and training.

Don't worry!  I have the answer.  As the "pack leader" of the territory, you have the ability and right to modify the territory into any form needed to maintain your pack rules.  All you have to do is to go down to the hardware store, buy a two dollar latch, and put that on your pantry's door.  Simply latch the door when you aren't actively using the pantry and Wolfie won't be able to enter that part of the territory.  Your problem is solved.  Over time, Wolfie will just stop attempting to go into the pantry.  This is because you have changed his behavior through a consistent and repetitive negative result of his attempts.

Remember, as the pack leader you can use corrections, redirections, and modifications to your territory to gain the results you require and maintain your pack rules.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

How to Talk to Your Dog

I am trying to get Wolfie to sit.  I say "Sit!  Sit, Wolfie, sit!  Come on you crazy dog, put your bottom down on the ground!  OK Wolfie, now I am getting mad, SIT SIT SIT!"  He's not doing it....

Ya think so!  You have run head long into a big difference in the way we communicate and the way Wolfie communicates.  We have words, languages, punctuation, synonyms, antonyms, abbreviations, and a whole lot of other ways we verbally communicate.  We can describe the same item or action in multiple ways that we all understand and can agree upon.

Wolfie does not have "all those verbals" that we have.  Wolfie does not have the dictionary where the same word might have multiple meanings and a list of ten other words that mean the same thing.  All Wolfie has are the sounds and tones that come out of his mouth.  We might call it barking, yipping, or growling.  That is all Wolfie has when he wants to communicate verbally with other dogs, other animals, and us.

In order to verbally communicate with Wolfie, we first have to understand that words are simply sounds and for a sound to be understood, that sound can only have one, unique meaning.  For us, this could be equivalent an emergency vehicle's siren.  We hear that siren and we know that there is an emergency vehicle in our close proximity.  We look for the vehicle and make sure it can pass.  The unique sound of the siren invokes a unique response from us.

That is how Wolfie verbally communicates.  So if we want to have Wolfie sit, we must have a unique sound that will always elicit Wolfie putting his bottom on the ground.  Most people use "Sit".  This means that you will only say "Sit" once when you want him to sit.  Do not say "Sit, sit, sit, sit" because that is now a different sound. 

So remember, you must use unique sounds with Wolfie to have him understand you.   For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wolfie and Your New Baby

Wow!  I thought I had made this clear to all my clients in the past, but I stand corrected!

A client recently told me that they have a newborn baby that they put down next to their two dogs and the baby pulls their ears and pokes them in their eyes.  "Nothing bad seems to happen", so that must be OK. 

No, it is not OK.  A newborn baby is small, low to the ground, makes quick, forward motions with their hands, and squeals in a high pitch.  These are all actions that aggravate the normal dog into a point of "don't bother me".  When this occurs, the dog will first give off a low growl indicating that they are done with the interaction.

Guess what?  The newborn baby doesn't "speak dog"!  They will continue to poke and squeal and approach.  Now comes the "bad part".  When your dog sees that their verbal communication has not been successfully received, they will ramp it up to a snap.  In your dog's mind, a snap is still a passive action designed to passively, yet forcefully explain their position of "leave me alone".

What I have seen too many times is that the snap comes into contact with the baby.  This results in a bruise at the minimum and several stitches at the maximum.  The point of this discussion is that this does not have to happen.

PARENTS!  Manage your baby and your dog!
  • Do not leave your baby and dog alone.  Ever!
  • When you are together, have your dog on a leash and always be between both of them.
  • If you feel it is time to let them meet, two adults must be present.  One adult has the dog on the leash, ready to remove him from the area.  The other holds the baby.  Allow the dog to approach and manage the baby so that they don't employ quick, forward movements.
    If any form of aggression takes place, separate the two instantly.
The takeaway from this discussion is to keep a safe environment in your home.  You have all the time in the world to have your baby and dogie meet.  Let's do it when everyone is happy and the environment is safe.

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

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Summer Heat and Wolfie

I know that we have talked about playing in the pool to beat the summer heat, but what if I don't have a pool?  Wolfie wants to get outside, but what guidelines should I use?

I have already talked about pools, proper hydration, and several other topics as Wolfie and I deal with the summer heat.  The problem is that Wolfie really needs some good exercise, but in the heat, what is safe?

Wolfie needs exercise and this summer seems to be one of the hottest in recent memory.  These are two inescapable facts.  The solution is to deal with these facts in a safe way.  What I have suggested to many of my clients is to manage the times you get your dog outside.

Down here in South Florida, it is already over 80 degrees by 10AM and can get way over 90 degrees by the afternoon.  Many times, it doesn't get down to the 80's again until 6PM and doesn't drop into the 70's until 10 in the evening.  I provide the following "Play Outside" schedule for my clients:
  • In the Morning until 10AM:  Play outside for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
  • From 10AM until 5PM: Play outside for no more than 10 minutes at a time.
  • From 5PM until 9PM: Play outside for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
  • After 9PM: Play outside for up to 30 minutes at a time.
I also suggest that the activities in the middle of the day are not as "active" as the other times.  You can throw the Frisbee, but not for the entire time.  Activities like rolling a ball for Wolfie to fetch or a brisk walk (on leash if necessary), or simply wandering around the back yard together would be appropriate in the middle of the day.  And, I can not state this enough, always plenty of water when play time is over.

One last thing...  If your pooch is on medication which might cause rapid dehydration or is getting on in years, I might cut these times down by as much as 50%.  If you see your dog begin to become lethargic in any way, bring him inside at once.  If he continues to be lethargic for one to two hours after you have brought him inside, call your vet.

We can play outside in the heat, but we must be safe about it.

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

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Wee-Wee Pad (Ramp it Up)

I am trying to train my puppy to go on the wee-wee pad, but he just doesn't pay attention to it!  What gives?

The wee-wee pad was originally designed around the notion that "if it smells like a toilet, it must be a toilet".  The wee-wee pad manufacturer would put a chemical on the paper so that the pad had a slight scent of urine.  We, of course, couldn't smell it, but Wolfie could.  Sometimes, when your pup is not paying attention to the pad it is because the scent given off by the pad is not strong enough to gain his attention.

This doesn't mean that you just put down more pads.  What you need to do is to enhance the smell or "super-size the odor".  Here are three suggestions:
  • Many pet stores sell "urine odor enhancer sprays".  Get a bottle and spray it generously in the exact middle of Wolfie's wee-wee pad.
  • There is an old wife's tale that the smell of beer enhances Wolfie's potty drive.  Pour a little bit of beer (careful, don't waste the whole bottle!) in the middle of Wolfie's wee-wee pad.
  • (Now, this may be a little gross, but hear me out on this one!)  If Wolfie has gone Number One on a hard surface (tile, wood, etc.), put on some dish washing gloves, get a sponge (that you are about to throw away), and soak up the urine into the sponge.  Take the sponge and squeeze it over the middle of Wolfie's wee-wee pad.  (Be sure to throw the sponge away!)
These are three simple ways to enhance the productivity of the wee-wee pad.  Please understand that this is only a single piece in the potty training process.  There are many other matters that you must understand and consider.  Check out other articles in this training blog for additional information.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Keeping the Start of Your Walk Nice and Quiet

Every time Wolfie and I go out for a walk, he pulls me through the front door and down the street.  This needs to stop!  What can I do?

Many times we answer our own questions without even knowing it.  Our dogs get all excited about the walkies because we have built up the moment with distracted anticipation.  Of course they are going to go nuts when we open the door and, of course, they are going to run out the door and pull us down the streets! 

What we must do is to manage the situation before it takes place.  We must do two things to regain control of the walkies:

Break the association of "leash means walkies".
Dogs learn by "A = B".  Whenever Wolfie sees the leash, it means "walkies".  Oh boy! Oh boy!  He gets all excited and runs all around the house in celebration.  We, of course, chase him, yelling and screaming, until we catch him and get the leash on.  Can you say "adrenaline rush for Wolfie"?

We must break the "A = B".  Start putting the leash on Wolfie at different times during day (while you are home and can keep an eye on him) and simply walk away.  Have it on him at different times so that he can not make an association of a related action with clicking on or off the leash.  This will take the "leash means walkies" association away.  It will transpose Wolfie's reaction to the leash from excitement to lack of attention.

You now have the ability to prepare for the walk with minimum adrenaline and maximum focus on you.

Make sure you go through the front door first.
Starting a walk is not the begin of a race.  Wolfie should allow you to calmly step through the front door while he politely waits for your permission to come with you.  Here is what you do:
  • Approach the front door and put Wolfie in a "Sit". 
  • Open the door and tell Wolfie to "Wait".
  • Calmly step through the front door to the outside while Wolfie remains inside.
  • Give Wolfie the "Release" command to allow him to calmly walk outside.
  • Have Wolfie "Sit" outside the front door.  When you are ready, calmly start your walk.
Of course, there are many other aspects to walking Wolfie and this blog contains many other training tips on the subject.  The problem is if you don't start your walk off on the right paw, it will be overly difficult to maintain control over Wolfie.

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wolfie and the Elevator

What can you do with a dog that is slightly fearful of other dogs and you live in a building and have to use the elevator?

Let me tell you one thing for sure.  You don't want to force Wolfie into a situation where he is placed in a fight or flight situation in a confined environment (like an elevator).  You don't want to let the other dog in the elevator and do something like move to the corner of the elevator and hold him on a very tight leash or pick him up and firmly hold him.  When you are doing these things, you are placing Wolfie in an unsafe situation. 

As the "Alpha Leader", you never want to put your pack or any members of your pack in an unsafe situation.  You are now "telling" Wolfie that you are a bad leader and don't have the ability to keep him safe.  This means that Wolfie will step up to be the leader and will take a more aggressive stance in the elevator (bad!).

We must understand that as the Alpha Leader, it is our biggest responsibility to keep Wolfie safe.  Sometimes, the best way to maintain safety is to avoid unsafe situations.  This is not "running away", it is simply good pack management.  With this in mind, here are my suggestions for the elevator situation.
  • If you are in the elevator and someone with a dog starts to enter, politely mention that your dog is a little fearful of other dogs when in the elevator.  Since you don't want an incident in such a closed space, could they please wait for the next elevator.  If they agree, thank them.  If they still step into the elevator, excuse yourself and get out of the elevator.  If there are other people in the elevator, they will see that you are a responsible dog owner, no matter which outcome occurred.  You will also show Wolfie that you are keeping him safe.
  • If you are about to enter the elevator and you see that there is another dog in the elevator, do not enter.  Mention that Wolfie is a little fearful of dogs in the elevator and you want to wait for the next one.  This, again will show that you are a responsible dog owner to your neighbors and that you are the strong alpha leader to Wolfie.
Yes, I know that it might take you a few more minutes to go up and down the elevator, but the extra few minutes will do wonders in building your relationship with Wolfie and your neighbors.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wolfie and Me in the Pool

I would love to have Wolfie in the pool with me, but I don't want it to be a crazy time...

So, how do we get Wolfie to play with us in the pool while not driving us nuts, jumping on us, and all those bad things?  Well, in fact, we actually have two dogs that play with us in the pool.  Wolfie, who I have always talked about, and Fang, our Poodle.  Here is my secret:

We had to first pick an activity that we would associate with "pool time".  When we are in the pool, this is what Wolfie and Fang will always do.  We found that both dogs have a very strong "fetch" drive.  This is great because it is a "high energy" activity and it drives them away from being on top of us.  We started playing fetch with them while we were all outside the pool.  This allowed us to practice the exercise and to focus on how they would deliver the fetch toy back to us.  It is very important that you make them drop the toy at your feet and to then step back, waiting for you to throw the toy again.  The purpose of this exercise is to create a great "play activity" and to have them calm as they return to you.

Now that we have mastered the fetch game and they are calm when they bring the toys to us, we are ready for the pool!

Start by standing on the steps in the shallow end and play fetch with them.  Have them bring you the fetch toys and drop them by the side of the pool.  Slowly move down the steps into the water, continuing to play fetch.  Get all the way in the pool and throw the toys for them.  If the toys float, throw the toys in the other end of the pool every once in a while.  This just breaks up the game and allows them to cool off.  (Be sure that they understand where the steps are located so that they can easily exit the pool and bring the toy back to you.)

Wolfie and Fang are now playing with you in the pool and they are not always on top of you.  Because of the nature of the game, you have control of where they will be playing (or not playing).  This assures that if you have friends or guests who don't want to interact with them, they will have a good time too.

Give it a shot!  It has worked for us and has given us countless hours of fun pool time with family, friends, and Wolfie

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

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wolfie Going Nuts When We Are In The Pool

Whenever anyone gets in the pool, Wolfie goes nuts and wants to jump right in the middle of it.  We found this fun when he was small and it was just the family, but we don't want him to "belly flop" on my pool guests!  Any hope?

Oops!  You did the classic "it is so cute when he was small and it isn't any fun now that he is big" mistake.  This problem is just exacerbated because a lot of people splashing, jumping, and yelling in the pool is a really big distraction.  Since most dogs are very social animals, they want to get into the fun too.  This issue really has to be nipped in the bud when Wolfie is still young and the bad habit has not been mistakenly taught to him by you.

Here are some thoughts:
  • Everything here must be started when Wolfie is still young.
  • Have Wolfie (under supervision on leash) outside, near the pool with you.  You swim around the pool, but don't make a lot of "crazy pool sounds".  As soon as Wolfie starts to react to you, have the person supervising Wolfie redirect him in the opposite direction.  Direct him to a toy and have him focus on that.  Repeat the process until Wolfie understands that there are other things to do in the back yard besides focusing on you when you are in the pool.

    As Wolfie gets better at a farther distance, move him closer to the pool and add people in the pool.  As this improves, have people enter and leave the pool.  Finally, have people leave the pool, interact with Wolfie, and then get back into the pool.

    This process teaches Wolfie that he doesn't have to be in the pool to have fun with you while you are all outside in the pool area.
  • Have Wolfie in the house (under supervision with leash) while you are swimming in the pool.  If Wolfie starts to bark and run towards the door, have his handler redirect him towards a toy and social interaction. 

    Continue to ramp up the process with more activity in the pool and with more activity in the pool.  As Wolfie is improving, remove the handler, first to the other side of the room, next to an adjacent room, and finally outside.
The focus of our entire exercise is to socialize Wolfie with the notion that he is fine where ever he is while there is activity in the pool.

NOTE: If you want Wolfie to be a social dog in the pool with you, you will have to invite him in the pool, and on your terms.  This will be a topic of a future blog.

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

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Two REAL Tips on Potty Training

OK, OK!  I know that I spend a lot of time on potty training!  80% of all my clients' puppy issues deal with potty training, so that is always my focus!

Today, I am going to give away one of my secrets.  It really is not a secret, because I teach it in my Potty Training lesson, but most people forget...

Pay attention, because this is going to be quick.  There are normally two reasons why potty training your new little puppy isn't going well.  Are you ready?  Here they come:

  • Water:  You leave the water down too long.  Always pick the water up after the meal is complete (with the food).  If you leave the water down all day long, you have no idea how much Wolfie has consumed and when he drank it.  This destroys you ability to build a schedule based on planned events.
  • Visibility:  ALWAYS keep Wolfie in sight during your potty training process.  If you don't keep him in sight, you will never see when and possibly where he made an accident.  It is critical that you have this information because it will allow you to analyze what you did wrong to allow it to happen.  You can then create a plan to address this issue in the future.
I spend between one to two hours discussing potty training with my clients, but when the "rubber hits the road", here is where they fail.  I hope that you can use this information to help you with your potty training issues. 

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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What To Do When An "Off Leash" Dog Runs At You

I live in a area where a lot of people let their dogs roam free (off leash).  What do I do when I am out on a walk and one of them runs at Wolfie and me?  (I don't want either of us to be bitten!)

We definitely don't want the picture above to happen to us! 

It just so happens that this happened the other day while Wolfie and I were out for a walk.  An off leash Pit Bull charged us while we were walking down the street.  Needless to say that I can still type with all ten fingers, so we made it out just fine.  Let me recant what happened...

Wolfie and I were walking down the street (Wolfie was on a leash) when I noticed a Pit Bull on the front porch of a house about half a block in front of us.  I crossed over to the other side of the street and continued to observe the dog.  I noticed no body tension or posturing from the dog.  He didn't seem to have a great deal of interest in us.  I also noticed that Wolfie was also not reacting to the dog in any manner.  Since the body language of the two dogs exhibited no aggressive or fearful tendencies, I decided to proceed.

Wolfie and I continued to slowly walk down the street past the dog.  As we were directly across the street from the dog, he bolted for us.  At this point, Wolfie and I could not run.  All we could do was prepare for the "meeting". 

I observed that the Pit Bull was running at us, but in a relaxed manner.  As he came closer to us, he slowed down and stopped about ten feet away.  Wolfie and I stood tall and faced him.  We did not make any quick moves that the Pit Bull could interpret as aggressive or "attacking".  We allowed the Pit to make the next step.

After a few seconds, he slowly approached and gave the "doggie greeting" to Wolfie.  Wolfie stood still.  At this point, I knew that we were going to be just fine.  The Pit then wandered off for a second to mark some flowers in a neighbor's yard and then ran back to us.  Wolfie then gave the "doggie greeting" to the Pit Bull. 

The situation had been successfully defused through the use of observing canine behavior and acting in a calm and assertive manner.

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