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Friday, June 28, 2013

Keeping Wolfie Safe on the 4th of July

I know that the 4th of July is coming up and many dogs just go crazy on that day.  What can I do to make sure that Wolfie has a great time and feels happy and safe with us?

The most important thing is to maintain a safe and consistent environment for Wolfie.  There normally aren't loud bangs and vivid flashes in Wolfie's environment every day.  Every day is not a pool party or picnic.  These are things that Wolfie might not understand.  In any case, we would like to give you some suggestions regarding what to do on this fun day:
  • If you go to a holiday event, never leave Wolfie in the car. A partially opened window does not supply sufficient fresh air, and it creates an opportunity for your dog to be stolen.
  • Always keep proper identification securely fastened to your Wolfie's collar in case he gets out. Talk to your veterinarian about implanting a universal microchip in him, and make sure that your veterinary clinic and animal shelter have your correct contact information in their database.
  • Don't leave Wolfie outside. If you cannot bring him inside, cover his dog house with a blanket to protect him from the bursts of bright lights and loud bangs. A dog's sense of hearing is acute-over 10 times more sensitive than humans'.
  • Create a special den-like area in your home where Wolfie feels safe. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a calming refuge for him.
  • Some dogs become destructive when frightened. If you don't use a crate, remove any items in the room which Wolfie could destroy or which could hurt him if he chewed them.
  • Keep Wolfie away from the front and back doors. He may be under significant stress, which could result in unnecessary injury to others or cause him to dart out the door and become lost.
  • Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes.
  • Turn on a TV or radio at normal volume to distract Wolfie from loud noises and help him to relax.
  • If possible, stay with him during the majority of the fireworks. He often reacts more intensely to loud sounds and flashes of lights when you are not with him.
  • Consider hiring a pet sitter to stay with your dog while you are away from home.
All we want to do is to make sure that Wolfie understands that it is OK and you are keeping him safe and happy.  Contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Travel Safety this Summer with Wolfie

Hey, it’s Summer Time and time to hit the road or air for our family vacation.  I think I know what to do to make sure Wolfie is OK, but I want to be sure…

Whether you travel by car, truck, plane or train, help ensure a safe and pleasant journey with your pet by taking these safety precautions:

General Travel Tips:
  • No matter what your mode of travel, the single best safe practice you can employ to keep your dog safe during the journey is to keep him restrained.
  • Affix current identification to your dog. Even better, have him micro chipped, which provides a permanent form of I.D. to help ensure he is returned to you if he becomes lost.
  • Carry a recent photograph of your dog to make it easier for others to help you look for him if he gets lost during the trip.
  • If your dog is prone to anxiety or motion sickness, consult with your veterinarian about using pet tranquilizers for your dog appropriate for the particular type of travel you will take.
  • Feed your pet his usual meal one to two hours before travel. (If your dog is prone to motion sickness, feed him two to four hours before travel.) Do not give him food or water during travel as it may spill, forcing him to lie in a mess during the trip.

Cars and Trucks
  • No matter how long or short the journey, your dog should be restrained. An unrestrained dog is dangerous to himself and others. He can become a flying projectile that can injure you, your passengers or himself.
  • Secure your dog in the back seat (dogs riding in the front seat can be seriously hurt if the airbags deploy) with a pet travel safety harness or car seat, or in a pet carrier fastened to a seatbelt. If you drive an SUV, install a pet barrier to keep the dog in the back area of the vehicle as well as securing him in his harness and attaching it to the hooks in the floor.
  • If you must transport your dog in the bed of a pickup, use a crate or carrier secured to the truck bed to prevent him from being thrown into traffic at a sudden stop.
  • Do not allow your dog to ride with his head out the window. Road debris and other flying objects can injure his eyes.
  • Before you set out on your journey and after arriving at your destination, give your dog plenty of exercise. This will help him be more relaxed and able to acclimate to his new surroundings.
  • When stopping for a break and before you open the car door, attach a leash to your dog’s collar so he can’t escape. Even the most obedient pet can become disoriented when traveling. Always use a leash to walk your dog.
  • On a long car ride, stop every four hours or so to allow your dog to relieve himself (be sure to clean up after him), stretch his legs, refresh himself with a small drink of water, and help him understand that he’s going to another environment.
  • Watch for temperature extremes. Your car is like an oven under the blazing sun and a freezer in the bitter cold.

Airline or Train Travel
  • Whether he will go in the cabin with you or in the cargo hold, your dog will need to travel in an airline (or train) -approved carrier.  Check the airline (or train line) website for requirements.
  • If your pet will travel as cargo, check for restrictions on any health/immunization and other requirements.
  • Use direct flights to avoid mix-ups during transfers or the possibility of delays in getting your pet off the plane.  Ask the airline if you can watch your pet being loaded and unloaded into the cargo hold.
  • Upon arrival at your destination, open the carrier as soon as you are in a safe place, and then clip a leash on your dog so you can safely examine him. If anything seems wrong, get him to a veterinarian right away.

Follow these precautions and Wolfie will love your family vacation too.  For more information, please contact us at The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why It Is Important That I Train My Dog

I have so many friends that send their dogs off to a canine boot camp to have the trainers there train their dog. I have been thinking about this, but is it really a good idea?  I am not sure that I want someone else to be the leader of Wolfie!

I know that there are the dog owners that don't have the time to train their dog or just don't want to train their dog.  As we can all attest, there is so little time in this world and finding the time to train our dog just might not be there.

Let me answer this question by coming at it from another angle.  First, the reason that I got Wolfie was to have the relationship of unending love and complete trust.  I want Wolfie to know what is right and wrong and I want him to respect me as his ultimate provider.

To accomplish this, Wolfie and I need a great deal of face time.  As he does something wrong, I need to clearly let him know that his action was inappropriate.  I also need to bond with him by engaging in safe and stimulating play activities.  I must never "trick him" into doing something that might scare or hurt himself.

I must provide stimulating activities that will teach him actions I need him to perform.  I need him to "come" when he needs to be by my side.  I need him to "sit" when I need him calm and respectful.  I need him to "stay" so that he will be safe when I need to answer the door or to allow an activity to occur without his involvement.

I need Wolfie to understand that whatever I ask him to do or wherever I take him, he will be safe.  If a situation arises where he might feel his safety in question, he will look towards me to resolve the situation.

If I can accomplish these things, I will have a great dog.  I will have built the bond, trust, and respect that is needed for our relationship.  The only way that this will occur is if I am Wolfie's teacher.  I must be the one in charge.  I must be the one that is always guiding and showing Wolfie the proper direction.

Sending Wolfie off to a Canine Boot Camp with someone else doing the training just doesn't accomplish what needs to be done.  The relationship between Wolfie and me is my responsibility.  Wolfie and I will have a great relationship because of the time that Wolfie and I have invested. For more information, please contact us at The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Your Dog and Your Family --- The Dynamics

My Uncle and I both got puppies from the same breeder at the same time.  When we got them, they both appeared to be just alike.  Now, my Uncle's 1 year old Terrier is as calm as calm can be.  Wolfie, his brother, is just a complete crazy nut.  What happened?

The answer is pretty simple, but sometimes the simple things are the hardest to recognize.  From our experience in training over 2,000 doggies in South Florida, family dynamics has a great deal to do with how they are going to act.

If the family is made up of older adults who are normally calm and lead structured lives, their doggie will normally be calm and sedate.  If the family lives an active lifestyle, has children who love to play and chase them, and are always having friends and neighbors over, they will probably have a more active, social, engaging, and (sometimes) annoying doggie.

Remember the old saying, "You are what you eat"?  Our doggies will often adjust to our environment so they "Are who we are".  Since most people are just fine with their calm, well behaved, and sedate doggies, let me focus on some times for the crazy, annoying doggies:

  • Don't go nuts with Wolfie in the house.  He will get used to chasing you, barking, jumping, and stealing things from you in the house all the time.  He doesn't understand that he can't do it all the time and will find the most inopportune time to display these annoying traits (that you actually taught him).
  • Be sure to find at least 30 minutes every day to play and go nuts with Wolfie in the back yard or any large, enclosed area.  Throw the Frisbee, toss tennis balls, scatter feed, or do anything else that gets him engaged and drains the adrenaline.  Do not play games that might encourage general bad behavior such as tug-of-war, chase-me chase-me, or jump-on-me with him.
  • Have your children pet Wolfie calmly by stroking him from the back of his head to the middle of his neck.  This is a very calming and soothing experience for Wolfie.  It also teaches your kids and Wolfie how they can engage each other without going nuts.
  • Ask your guests to ignore Wolfie for the first few minutes when they come over.  Wolfie sees your guests entering the house as "new playmates" and will almost instantly engage them by barking and jumping.  Have them ignore Wolfie so he will understand that his behavior is inappropriate.  After a few minutes after Wolfie has calmed down, they can then engage in calm interaction in the house or they can go outside and play fetch, etc.
The main focus here is to manage Wolfie's adrenaline through your example.  If you are calm with Wolfie, you will not encourage a spike in his adrenaline that leads to the annoying crazy stuff.

If you have more questions, we would be more than happy to provide additional information.  You can contact us through our web site at South Florida Dog Trainers.