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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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Training with a Crazy Family

Wolfie needs training, but it really isn't working.  I know our family is kinda nuts.  Is that causing any problems?

To paraphrase Charlie Sheen... "Duh, Yes!"

When educating dogs, you need to provide a consistent, calm, educational environment.  This is the only way that you can portray an assertive position to Wolfie that will naturally allow him to learn.  Yelling, screaming, inconsistent interaction with Wolfie, and just generally being nuts will drive Wolfie away from the class room.  Your entire family must provide Wolfie a calm, consistent, and assertive relationship in order for Wolfie to see you as his teachers.  I know that this sometimes can be really difficult, but here are some suggestions:
  • Before you start the training process, have the entire family sit down and discuss what they think is wrong with Wolfie and what they would like to see.  Make a list.
  • Review each item on the list and discuss how you plan to resolve the issue.
  • Get every member of the family to agree with the issues and the plans to resolve those issues.
  • Have every member of the family work with Wolfie every day on one or more of the issues your family has identified.  Have family members work in teams so that you can assure consistency in your actions.
With this said, be sure that you don't:
  • Scream at Wolfie.
  • Hit, kick, push, or do anything hurtful or frightening with Wolfie.
  • Play rough with Wolfie.
  • Get Wolfie to do what you want by giving him treats.
Remember, the biggest thing thing to remember is to be calm and constant.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Teaching Wolfie to Fetch

I thought that all dogs just knew how to fetch, but Wolfie has no idea!  What's up with that?

First of all, dogs don't intuitively understand "fetch".  Based on different distractions, reward systems, and individual tendencies, some dogs might pick up the "idea" faster than others.  The bottom line is that you still have to show them what you want them to do over and over again for them to learn the process.

Here is what you do:

  • Start out by just rolling a tennis ball towards Wolfie so that it will be a distraction that will keep his focus and interest.  You might even soak the tennis ball in beef broth (letting it dry before you use it) to further enhance the distraction.  Repeat this over and over again until Wolfie always goes for the ball you are rolling towards him.
  • Slowly change the direction of the rolling ball.  Repeat this slowly until you are now rolling the ball away from Wolfie and he is going after the ball.
  • Now, we want to have Wolfie to bring the ball back.  Attach a long lead (10' - 20') to Wolfie.  Once you have rolled the ball and Wolfie had captured it, give Wolfie a "come command".  If he doesn't return to you, give the lead a slight tug to encourage him to come back to you.  Repeat this  until Wolfie will catch the ball and then return to you.
  • Now, begin bouncing and then throwing the ball.  This adds more movement to the activity, but Wolfie should be ready for it.  Repeat this until Wolfie is catching the ball and bringing it back every time.
  • Remove the lead and continue the process.  If Wolfie doesn't being the ball back, attach the lead and continue with that until he repeatedly brings the ball back.
You have now taught Wolfie how to fetch.  Understand that all dogs might not like to play fetch.  To be completely successful, Wolfie will want to play fetch and see it as a fun time of bonding with you.  If Wolfie doesn't like the activity, he will do it, but it will seem like work and it won't be a fun time for the two of you.

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