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Friday, March 25, 2011

Wolfie in the Pool

Wolfie has never been in the pool.  What do I do to make sure that he will be safe if he jumps (or falls) in the pool?










This is a good question and one that is (thankfully) easy to answer.  Dogs naturally believe that any body of water has a gradual incline that will guide them out of the water.  This is very similar to a lake, stream, or beach.  Unfortunately, our pools have vertical inclines defining the separation of water to land. 

We need to educate Wolfie regarding the "exit points" of our pool.  Here is what we do:
  • First of all, we put a leash on Wolfie. 
  • We will gradually take him into the pool. 
  • Once he is calmed down, we will let him go to swim on his own.
  • We guide Wolfie, via the leash, to an exit point.
  • We repeat this process for all exit points using the leash.
  • We repeat this for several days until we feel that Wolfie is naturally swimming towards the exit points.
  • We remove the leash, bring Wolfie into the pool, and let him go.  If he swims towards an exit point, we are successful.
  • If Wolfie does not swim towards an exit point, we continue the process with the leash for several days and then attempt the off leash process again.
The goal of our entire process is to familiarize Wolfie with the specific exit points of the pool.  A "side effect" of the process is to socialize Wolfie with your group interaction with the pool.  You want Wolfie to understand that he can play with you, but not take charge and bark/jump on you at will.

Summer is coming and the the pool is now a major focus of our lives in South Florida.  Please be sure that Wolfie is ready!

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

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Can I Give My Doggie "People Food"?

This is a very interesting question and one that I am often asked.  My first quandary is "what is people food"?

I can make myself a hamburger made of beef, have some soup with carrots and peas, eat some mashed potatoes, and have some nachos with corn chips.  Is this "people food"?

I can look on the side panel of Wolfie's dog food and see most of the same ingredients right there.  (I won't see corn because that is an ingredient found in low quality dog foods and I believe I have already ranted and wrathed on that in another, earlier blog.)

So, dog food and people food seem to be the same food!  The problem is that we are asking the wrong question.  The appropriate question would be "How should I present Wolfie's food to him"?

The answer is simple.  We can give Wolfie any type of food we want, as long as it is in a bowl we present to him at a location away from the place that we normally eat. 

Wow!  That was simple.

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

Sunday, March 6, 2011

When Your Head Strong Pup Won't Walk Next to You

I was recently at a training with a head-strong Doberman puppy who just would not want to walk next to me (on the leash, of course).  What do I do?


Sometimes, with head-strong, large puppies, you have to rethink your course of education.  If the puppy is constantly pulling you on the leash and the standard methods are not showing results, you are obviously not at the proper educational level to provide the necessary training for improvement.  This is one of the most common issues when the training process is not gaining traction.  Well, what do you do and how do you do it?

Wolfie was obviously a puller, but the question was "Why?".  He also was in a small condo most of the day and appeared to be very excited to get out in the open spaces and fresh air.  In observing him for about ten minutes, I decided to give him more leash to see if he acted the same way with a little more freedom.

Allowing Wolfie to have a few more feet of leash changed his demeanor completely.  He no longer pulled and quieted down completely.  If he got out to the end of the leash, I simply gave it a little tug and he returned to me immediately.  After a short period of time, if I stopped walking, he would too. 

What I simply did was to postulate that giving Wolfie a little more leash, his focus on the distractions would decrease and his ability to focus on me would increase.  It worked.  I now had him at a point where I could successfully educate him.  This is obviously not the final place we want Wolfie to be when on a walk, but it begins to allow us to educate him on the process.  Slowly, over time, I will move him back to my side.

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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Riding in the Car with Wolfie

I have heard so many ideas on properly transporting Wolfie in my car, but what is the right one?



DON'T
  • have your dog in a car seat elevated above the rest of the occupants.  This gives your dog heightened dominance and can cause excessive barking.
  • let your dog loose in the car.  This is an extreme safety risk.
  • let your dog stick their head out the window.  Yes, I know that everyone sees dogs to this, but the wind can cause neck injury.
  • leave your dog in the car for excessive periods of time when you are running an errand.  Heat and anxiety can lead to dangerous results.
  • have your dog on your lap or on the front passenger seat.  If the airbag deploys, it could cause harm or death to your dog.  This is important, DO NOT DO THIS!
DO
  • have your dog restrained either on the rear seat or floor.  You can also use a properly restrained crate.  This makes sure the dog is safe in the event of an accident.  It also keeps him at a proper, non-dominant level in the car.
  • have toys or other "goodies" to keep your dog occupied.  Boredom can lead to inappropriate behavior on long car rides.
  • make frequent stops on longer rides to let your dog stretch and have potty breaks.
  • take your dog with you  on your errands.  This helps stimulate his mind, provide socialization, and demonstrates your ability to keep him safe.
For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.