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Saturday, June 23, 2012

How Do I Keep Wolfie From Going Nuts With The Pool

It is getting warmer now (South Florida, what a stretch!) and we are spending more time in the pool.  If we keep Wolfie inside, he jumps at the glass door.  If we let him out, he barks all around the pool or jumps in on top of us and just drives us nuts!  What can we do?


All Wolfie is doing is copying what you are doing.  You run out the back door, all excited about getting in the pool.  You jump in the pool, splash, scream, and have a great time.  If you leave Wolfie inside, he simply wants to get out to have fun too.  If he is outside, he wants to be a part of the action.  You haven't directed Wolfie to do anything different.

What you must do is to direct his actions in a direction you desire when you are in the pool.  The process is called socialization and it is accomplished through providing him the appropriate direction while you are in the pool in a consistent and repetitive manner.  Here is what I suggest:

  1. You need to build standard activities for Wolfie when you are outside and not in the pool.  The best activities I suggest are the fetch games.  This will get Wolfie excited to run after things that are directed away from you.  He then needs to return them to you and surrender them to you in a calm and respectful manner.
  2. Now, you are ready to get in the pool.  Enter the pool without going crazy.  Have a family member bring Wolfie out on a leash and sit by the pool.  Be sure to have some toys for Wolfie and even some treats so that he has something to do while you are in the pool.  Slowly swim around (without going crazy) and have the family member with Wolfie to redirect his attention back to them and the toys whenever Wolfie gets a little to distracted with your actions in the pool.
  3. As Wolfie stays calm with you in the pool while you are calm, slowly increase your activity while the family member with Wolfie continues to redirect his attention back to them and the toys if Wolfie becomes a little too excited.
  4. Once this is accomplished, allow Wolfie to wander freely with the leash.  If he starts to get too distracted with your pool actions, have the family member who "had the leash" reacquire the leash and redirect him.
  5. Once Wolfie is calm with you in the pool, you can begin to interact with him in a mutually "fun way".  Remember "Step One" where you worked on fetch games?  Now, let's do that with Wolfie.  The one difference is that you are throwing the toys for Wolfie while you are in the pool.  You direct Wolfie to return them to you at the side of the pool where you can throw the toys again.  
You now have a way to play with Wolfie in a consistent manner that he will understand.  You have shown him how to be with you while you are out in the pool and you have also shown him how you will play with him while you are in the pool where he doesn't have to jump in on top of you.

Please note that this training tip does not address keeping Wolfie safe while he is in the pool.  Please look for other articles in this blog to cover that issue.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Is There a "Quick & Dirty" Fix When Wolfie Is Afraid of Thunderstorms?

As a professional dog trainer, I go through an in-depth process with my clients to help them and their pooches regarding the fear of thunderstorms.  I just talked to a client this week who used a product we recommend and achieved remarkable results....
There is a product that was introduced on the market about a year or so ago called a "Thunder Shirt"  (http://www.thundershirt.com)  From the documentation I have read, it works on pressure points to naturally calm Wolfie.  It is called a "Thunder Shirt", but it also can be very useful for anything that might agitate or frighten Wolfie.  These things can be car rides, separation anxiety, etc.

I don't want to imply or state that this is a replacement for the proper training to create the bond, trust, and relationship to allow Wolfie to understand his place in your pack and the fact that, no matter what, you will always keep him safe.  This is an enhancement to the training process that has the possibility of speeding up the proper results.

You can find this product in most of the pet stores in South Florida.  Another great thing about this is that they are currently offering a 45 day 100% money back guarantee if the shirt doesn't work.

Again, I want to state that this does not replace the proper training, but is a product many of my clients have used in conjunction with the training to receive positive results.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wolfie and the Summer Heat

It is South Florida and it is now summer.  I know that Wolfie is more sensitive to the heat than "we humans", so what should I do to keep him okey dokey?


For the current purpose of discussion, I would like to keep this short and sweet.  If Wolfie is outside, but sitting in the shade with a nice breeze blowing or if cloud cover is keeping the temperatures down to something manageable, the times I am about to give can be extended.  I am assuming that it is a regular hot and humid summer day and the sun is big and yellow overhead.

The schedule below shows the length of time that I allow our dogs to be out at any one time during the summer heat.  It is OK to let them out multiple times, but always allow at least one hour between outings:

6AM to 9AM:    30 minutes
9AM to 11AM:  15 minutes
11AM to 6PM:  10 minutes
6PM to 8PM:    15 minutes
8PM to 6AM:    no limit

Be sure to provide Wolfie water while he is outside.  Do not leave the bowl outside all day because it will become very hot and possibly burn Wolfie's mouth when he drinks.  Make sure the water is clean and cold.  Also, add some ice cubes just for a little fun.  Also allow Wolfie water when he comes inside if that is when he would rather drink and re-hydrate.

Remember the old saying...

"Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun".  

If you need to take Wolfie out, make sure he is safe... Not like those mad dogs and Englishmen!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Wolfie and Pottying When It Is Raining

Wolfie had no problem with pottying until a few weeks ago and we got into rainy season here in South Florida.  Now he doesn't want to go outside and is messing up my carpets!  What gives?


The bottom line here is very simple.  It has been pretty dry here all winter long and Wolfie has been taught to go outside on this stuff that is rather dry when he is not getting wet.  Now he is getting wet and the ground is mushy with puddles and mud.  Some dogs just don't like that.  

"No thank you, I won't go here, I will just wait until I get back inside.  By the way, when is it going to be dry again?"

The answer is that it will be too long to keep my carpets from being ruined.  So, what do we do?  The answer, as with most of my blogs, is pretty simple.  First, we have to understand the situation when everything was going great.  Next, we have to identify when it all fell apart.  We then have to review what is different about the two situations.  And, finally, we have to create a plan to address the differences.   Here we go:

  • Let's see...  When the ground is dry and it is not raining, Wolfie goes outside like a champ.
  • When the ground is wet and mushy and it is raining, Wolfie just doesn't want to have anything to do with the "outside potty".
  • So the difference is wet grass and being rained on.
  • We need to find a place that is covered where the ground isn't mushy and is protected from the rain.
Here is what you do:
  • Locate a place in your back yard that is protected from the rain.  This can be a patio, covered area off your cabana bath door, etc.
  • Get one or two pieces of sod from Home Depot and place them in that protected area.  You might also think of putting something like a big, plastic garbage bag under the sod to keep your deck clean.
  • When it is raining, direct Wolfie to the "dry yard" to do his business.
  • Switch out the sod every few weeks to keep the grass relatively fresh and the smell under control.
You have now given Wolfie the bathroom he wants and your carpets are now safe!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.