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Friday, February 18, 2011

What About Dog Parks?

Normally, I don't like dog parks because of the uncertainty of the dogs and dog owners that might be there with you and Wolfie.  But if you must, let me give you some tips on keeping everyone safe and happy!

My big problem with dog parks isn't the dog park, but the dog owners who bring their dogs to the dog parks.  Some dog owners who have aggressive dogs take their dogs to the dog park to socialize them with other dogs.  Without the proper training and leadership, an aggressive dog is still an aggressive dog and my Wolfie is now in a confined area with that dog.  I don't think that is a very good idea.

If you want to take your dog to the local dog park, please let us provide you with some suggestions to keep everyone safe:
  • Go online and research the dog parks in your area.  See if there are any comments about the quality of the park (bugs, cleanliness, fences, etc.) and the people (bites, fights, inappropriate dogs in areas, etc.)
  • Take Wolfie to the park during a quiet time and sit outside on a bench with Wolfie on a leach.  See if Wolfie shows you any signs of anxiety or tension.  If he does, try coming a few more times with toys or treats.  If the anxiety or tension continues, the park is not for you.  You can try another dog par on your list.
  • If Wolfie is fine with the park, return at that quiet time and take him inside the park.  Let him off the leash to explore, sniff, and do all those doggie things.  If you see anxiety or tension, back off to sitting outside for a few times before you try again.
  • Now, let's go at a time when you would normally take Wolfie.  Sit outside on a leash and check for anxiety or tension.  Also check for any crazy dogs or crazy dog owners.  If you and Wolfie are OK, take the next step.  If either or you are not, check out the next dog park on your list.
  • Now comes the BIG STEP.  Take Wolfie in the dog park and let him go.  See how he interacts with the other dogs.  Check for anxiety or tension and also check the body language of the other dogs.  If anything doesn't seem right to you, back off and try another park.  If Wolfie is a happy dog and the other dogs and dog owners are fine, congratulations!  You now have a great dog park for Wolfie!

This is a very important subject that goes well beyond a short blog.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Working with your Dog

How long should I train my dog?  Believe it or not, we are asked this question quite often and the answer is very important...

The answer is quite simple.  You should work on obedience and staged behavioral exercises every day for fifteen to thirty minutes.  If there are multiple members of our household, everyone should try and be there during the exercises.  As you complete each exercise, the family members who were not directly involved in working with your dog should critique your training.  This critique does not have the intention of "picking on anyone".  It is designed to help everyone to perform the exercises in a consistent manner.

Dogs learn through consistency and repetition.  We limit the training time and provide critiques to assure consistency in the process.  We want to do the exercises every day to insure repetition.  This is the fastest way to teach our doggies what we want them to do!

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

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pottying and Walking

I take my dog for a nice, long walk, but he still potties in the house!  What is going on here?

I was with a client last week who had the exact same problem.  He would take his doggie out for nice, long walks several times a day.  His dog would not go potty on the walks, but would wait until they got back to the apartment.  We tried a few things and here is what we discovered:

Some dogs have their favorite "potty place".  They also love to walk, so they also would rather walk and "go potty later".  We took both of these principals, put them into action, and discovered that my client's dog loves the dog park in the complex and will always (100% of the time) potty in the dog park.  He also has a high level of distraction on walks.  We came up with the following, simple solution:

Always go to the dog park first (his favorite potty place) to let him play and potty.  After about ten minutes of no pottying, we then go for a walk.  The problem was solved and there is now no more potty accidents in my client's apartment.

So remember, always get your dog to his favorite potty place as early as possible when you get out for a walk.  This breaks the walk into two phases.  First, it is potty time.  Next, it is walkies time.  Give it a shot.

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