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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tips on Not Getting Bitten by Wolfie

So just what do you need to do in order to not get bitten by a dog?

You can never be 100% sure that a dog won't bite you, but there are ways to really minimize the chance.  Here are a few tips that have kept me all in one piece over the years:
  • Don’t turn and run—dogs naturally love to chase and catch things.
  • Stand still, with your hands at your sides. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.
  • Don’t put your hand out—just allow the dog to approach you to sniff you.
  • Don’t scream. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly.
  • Face the dog at all times, but don’t stare. Avoid eye contact.
  • When possible, back away slowly, watching the dog from the corner of your eye, until the dog is out of sight.

 I know that some of these suggestions might be counter intuitive to "us humans", but remember that we are dealing with a dog who may or may not bite us. 

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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Puppy Wakes Me Up At Night

It is always "hit or miss" if our little puppy, Fluffy, is going to wake us up in the middle of the night.  The important question is "What can we do?"

I recently had an experience helping a client with a twelve week old Sheppard who would wake up after three or four hours of night-time sleep.  Sometimes he simply wanted out of his crate to walk around the bedroom.  Sometimes he wanted to go outside "just to check it out".

We determined that the Sheppard just wasn't "tired enough" to hit that "deep sleep" to last through the night.  We came up with a two phased approach to make sure that our little puppy was ready for "sleepy time".

  • Get the Energy Out of The Dog
    We decided to take the dog out in the evening and engage in multiple, high energy activities.  These included Frisbee, fetch the ball, run for treats, jogging, etc.  Our goal was to drain the adrenaline and just make the dog tired.  These actions simply increased the "I want to take a nap" with the dog and increased the likelyhood of a long and peaceful sleep.
  • Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy
    This is a holistic, herbal relaxant.  It is made up of flower pedals that have been shown to relax both dogs and humans.  I suggested to put several drops of this liquid on the dog's toung an hour before bedtime.  This is the equivalent of having a nice, warm, glass of Ovaltine before bed.  It simply relaxes our little puppy and helps him sleep throuth the night.
By employing these two, simple processes, we were able to get our little puppy to sleep through the night.  Many times the simple processes are the best.

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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Getting Wolfie to Stop Barking All The Time

Barking is something dogs often do to sound the alarm of a potential threat (in his mind). Unfortunately for you and your neighbours, these ‘threats’ can include squirrels, birds, people or dogs walking by, noises, the garbage man, etc.

A dog that barks at everyday occurrences is not a good watchdog. A dog like this is similar to a car alarm that keeps going off for no reason. People will eventually take no notice, even when he barks for a legitimate reason. He will only annoy the entire neighbourhood.

A good watchdog is one that barks only when something out of the ordinary happens; when someone attempts to enter your property or when there is imminent danger like a house fire. Dogs naturally protect their territory but you need to teach him what is not a threat to you, your family or the territory.

Dogs that bark a lot can be of various personality types. The very confident dog will feel it is his duty to ward off everything and everybody from his turf.

He is insistent in his warnings and is vigilant in keeping things away. The timid or fearful dog may be very worried about these scary threats, as he feels vulnerable. He will do everything in his power to keep them from approaching his domain so he or his pack isn’t hurt. This can even escalates into growling and biting.

A dog may also be barking to call the pack back to him (separation anxiety) as he is worried for his safety and that of the pack.

These are all natural survival instincts for dogs. Since they are dogs living in a human society, we need to teach them in their own language what warrants concern, what is acceptable barking, and what is not.

Things that you can put in place to help the situation include:

1) Don’t react to your dog every time he barks by calling him, going to him, or yelling at him. You are only reinforcing his ‘calling of the pack’ responsibility.

2) Provide a safe place for him to sleep and relax when he is left alone. Patrolling an entire house is a huge job that will require lots of barking.

3) Provide your dog with a sense of strong leadership from you. He will feel less vulnerable if he knows you are capable of taking care of him and the pack. This includes setting rules, getting him to work for you by following and focusing, and not acceding to requests from him for attention, games, coming in or going out, etc.

Understanding the temperament of your dog, the constant messages he’s sending to you and others, and the scope of his concern is paramount to educating him and controlling the barking. Some solutions that are available to stop barking can possibly make the matter worse. For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Playing in the Heat

I normally don't talk about this subject this early in the year, but it seems that we have gone from Winter to Summer.  So, what do you need to know about playing outside with Wolfie in this "South Florida heat"?

Most of what I am going to tell you is common sense, but it is sometime worth repeating to get it stuck in our brains.
  • First, try to be outside only in the early morning or early evening with Wolfie.  This is when the sun is lowest in the sky and the temperature is lower.  If you have to be outside in the middle of the day, limit it to 20 minutes.
  • Always be sure to hydrate yourself and Wolfie.  You can bring a water bottle for your self and Wolfie.  There are some "really cool" water bottle/dispensers that you can get at the pet stores.
  • Whenever possible, try to play in the shade.
  • If you are on concrete or a "hard surface", put your hand on the surface to determine if it is too hot for Wolfie's paws.  If you wouldn't want to walk barefoot on the surface, why do you think he would want to walk "barepaw" on it?
  • If possible, play in the pool where you and Wolfie can keep cooler.  Jump out of the pool for a little bit, then jump back in.
  • If Wolfie begins to slow down, let's get him back inside.
  • Be sure to provide water once Wolfie is back inside to allow him to naturally rehydrate.
  • If Wolfie appears unusually lethargic and listless, monitor him for several hours.  If this continues, Wolfie might have "overdone it".  Call your veterinarian for advice.
The bottom line is that we can definitely have fun with Wolfie in our "early" Summer heat.  We just need to take some precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy.

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