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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.