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Sunday, December 30, 2012

When Wolfie is Sick

Every once in a while, Wolfie gets an upset stomach and throws up his food.  Do I need to always rush to the Vet?

If you are a new dog owner or if Wolfie is a small puppy, I would at least call your Vet, explain the situation, and ask for their advise.  If you believe that they have come in contact with anything poisonous (click here for more details), wash their mouth out and take them to the Vet.  If Wolfie isn't a puppy and you have had dogs before, I would use my common sense and experience to decide what to do. 

The big thing is observation.  After they have thrown up, are they still active?  Do they still have an apatite?  Are they hydrated?  (You can tell this by pinching their fur and see if it bounces back or stays in that "pinch".  If it bounces back, they are hydrated, if it doesn't, they are dehydrated and need to go to the Vet.)

If they are still active, have an apatite, and are hydrated, it might be a good idea to continue watching them.  This "upset stomach" might have been a one-time thing and they will be fine.

The one thing that you should do during this time is to change their diet from their regular, dry food to something more soothing for their stomach.  Just like us, we suggest white rice with a cut up boneless chicken breast.  Make sure they have all the water they want.  After about a day, everything should be fine and they can go back on their regular food.

If, from your observations, they continue to throw up, become listless, or dehydrated; off to the Vet you go!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Getting Wolfie to Stop Chewing and Teething

Wolfie likes to chew and teeth a lot.  I have tried all the normal ideas like Bitter Apple, Bitter Yuch, Tabasco Sauce, and the like.  It seems that these things make Wolfie want to chew the item even more!  Ideas!  Help!

This training blog is going to be rather short, because I believe I have found the Holy Grail of dogs chewing and teething.

I was at a client about two months ago and our discussion turned to their dog's obsession with chewing on wicker and hands.  Besides the normal corrections that we always teach, I wanted to provide them with a "Plan B".  I knew that the mainstream suggestions of the "Don't Chew on Me" items from the pet stores never worked, so I turned to my favorite suggestion of Hot Sauce.

They said they had some Hot Sauce and went to get it from the kitchen.  Being from Southern California, I assumed it would be a Mexican Hot Sauce.  I was wrong.  My clients were originally from China so they brought out some great Mandarin Chinese Hot Sauce!  (I hadn't had any of this stuff since I frequented a little place called The Mandarin Wak in California!)  This stuff was HOT!

I put three drops of this stuff on my hands and rubbed it in.  I then let their dog come back to my hand, (earlier he chewed on it), he took one sniff/lick, and he was done with that.  I put a few drops on the furniture he was chewing.  After one snip, he was done with that activity.

If your dog has a chewing problem, I think that Chinese Mandarin Hot Sauce is the way to go.  (Since I am also a hot sauce lover, I want to way that is is also really tasty!)   For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Five Great Things a Good Dog Owner Should Do for Their Dog

I really want to be a great dog owner for Wolfie and there are so many opinions and suggestions of what I should do!  Are there some general things that I really need to focus on?

There are bookstores and bookstores full of dog books.  We could spend the rest of our lives just reading about what we should do with our dogs.  Since we probably don't have time for that, let me cut to the chase and give you the five "you really shoulds" for your dog:

  1. First, good dog owners walk and exercise their dogs. Most dogs love to run and play. It is both a physical and mental release and helps keep them physically strong and emotionally happy. 
  2. Yearly check-ups. Ensuring that your dog has yearly check-ups to help identify any medical problems before they become problems is a very good habit. During the yearly exam, your veterinarian will also determine if your dog requires any vaccines, flea control or heart worm preventative medications. These measures will help to keep your dog healthy and comfortable. 
  3. Good daily care. Daily monitoring of your dogs appetite, urinations, bowel movements are a part of be a good responsible dog owner. Healthy dogs have a good appetite, normal urinations, healthy bowel movements and maintain an ideal weight. Any abnormalities should be noted and any persistent changes should be reported to your veterinarian. 
  4. Feed a good quality food. Good nutrition is one way a dog owner can proactively make a difference in their dog's health. Over the past two decades, there has been a lot of research and scientific information used to properly formulate dog's foods to optimize health. Many of the foods that we recommend have these enhanced formulas that helps burn fat, develop muscle and promote healthy digestion. They were developed by nutritionists and veterinarians, so these complete, all-in-one diets have the right balance of proteins, fats and fibers to help protect your dog's health. Please do your own research and select a great food for your dog.
  5. Daily grooming. Monitoring your dogs nails and trim them when needed, brush his teeth at least every other day and daily brush his hair are important ways to prevent unnecessary problems such as dental disease, torn nails, matting, and needless shedding around your home.

Do these things and your dog will thank you with better health and months, if not years added to their lives.

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

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Getting Wolfie to Stay

No matter what I do, I can't get Wolfie to stay.  I think he just wants to drive me nuts.  I think he is going to stay, but as soon as I walk away, he is up and following me...

What you have done is to try and teach Wolfie too many things too quickly...  Remember that we all learned that 1 + 1 = 2 before we started to work with calculus.  That is the problem we are having with Wolfie.

Let's break to the chase and let me explain exactly what you need to do to start getting your dog to stay:

  • Make sure that you have your dog on a leash and that you are in a quiet place with no audible or visual distractions.
  • Put your dog in a sit.  If he does not do this the first time and does not stay in a sit position with focus on you, stop the "stay exercise" and simply work on the sit.
  • Once your dog is sitting and focused on you, stand in front of him, hold your hand up like a traffic cop, and tell him to "stay".
  • He needs to remain in his sitting position while focused on you and, more importantly, your hand.
  • After 10 seconds of your dog not moving, slowly step back a few feet (be careful not to tug or pull the leash).  Keep your hand up and always stand tall and face your dog. If he starts to move, correct him.  If he gets up, start the process again.
  • Once you reach the length of the leash, make sure that your dog is focused on you and your hand and that you are focused on him.  Wait for 15 seconds.
  • Now, while facing him and with your hand up, slowly walk around to your dog's left side.  Next, walk around to his right side.  Finally, return to standing in front of him. Always make sure that he is focused on you.  Again, if at any time he stands up and starts to move, start the exercise from the beginning.
  • Return to your dog's side and praise him for a job well done.
It will be quite possible that you will not be able to successfully accomplish all these steps the first time you try.  The first time, you might only be able to stand right in front of him.  After several days, you might get him to stay when you take a few steps back.  It might take a week or so before you can walk to his right and left without his moving.  

It doesn't matter how long it takes to teach him these steps as long as you are ending on a winning experience and you have been consistent in your teaching.  The big thing to remember is to always face your dog while you are teaching and to hold your hand up to give him something easy to focus on.  

We are always telling our clients to understand the world from their dog's perspective.  In this matter, we are telling our dog to sit still and watch our hand.  It is something that they can easily learn and we have gained the result we require.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

How Do I Get My Dog From Running Out The Door?

Every time I try to leave through the door to the garage, Wolfie is always at my feet trying to get out ahead of me.  Many times I have to get to work and sometimes I am late because I have to try and catch him and put him in another room so I can leave.  There must be a better way!

Dogs running out an open door is a very common and really annoying problem that many dog owners face every day.  It is a big problem because is gets us mad (and we don't need that in today's world), hampers our relationship with "our best friend", and poses a safety risk for Wolfie.  So, what is going on here?

As a trainer, I always tell my clients to check out the world through Wolfie's eyes.  Wolfie watches our body language to constantly try and get clues as to what we are saying and what we are allowing him to do.  A large part of body language is posture and one of the key factors of that is whether we are facing Wolfie or if we have our back to Wolfie.

When we face Wolfie, we are in a dominant stance.  We are telling him that we are in charge of the room.  He needs to watch us and wait for our commands telling him what to do.  When we show our back to Wolfie, we are telling him that we are submissive and even playful.  Wolfie can take this as a "follow the leader" game, chase after us and pass us (out the door).

With this in mind, let's get an idea of what Wolfie is seeing when we go to the door to the garage.  Normally, we say "goodbye" to Wolfie.  We are facing him at this point.  We pick up our keys, coins, etc., and then walk to the door.  Guess what?  We now show Wolfie our back.  We are now in a submissive, play mode.  We are telling Wolfie that we are no longer in charge so he doesn't have to obey and respect us.  We are also asking Wolfie to play.  No wonder he isn't listening to us and running out the door.  So, what do we do?

We need to let Wolfie know that we are in charge as we are leaving.  We do this by facing him and backing up to the door.  As soon as he starts to move towards the door, tell him "no" in a very low voice and hold our hand out like a policeman telling a car to stop.  Slowly back up to the door so that your movement does not generate any adrenaline in Wolfie.

Open the door slowly, continuing to face him.  Correct him again if he begins to move towards you.  Now, step through the door and close it slightly.  In a high voice, tell him "good boy" as you finish closing the door.

What you have done is to use the body language Wolfie is expecting from a good leader to clearly communicate to him what is right and wrong.  Your actions were simple and consistent.  Practice this for about two or three weeks and Wolfie will understand that your leaving through the door to the garage is not a game.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.