Posts Tagged ‘dog training’

Knowing When to Say When… Again

January 26, 2010

You might have noticed that our blog posts are getting fewer and farther between… two weeks ago our blog post was titled: “Knowing When to Say When” which carried an announcement of my latest adoptee, a German Shepherd named Shayna, being put up for adoption after more than six weeks of training with the professionals here at Perfectly Pawsible. This post falls under the same objective: after roughly eight months of blogging, it has been determined that writing is not ‘my thing’ – obedience training is (and singing, but that is a topic for another venue).

With the New Year, our old processes were evaluated, and Perfectly Pawsible’s Dog Blog will no longer be written.  I encourage you to become a fan of our Facebook page. Here we will keep you posted of upcoming pet events in and around Stark County, Ohio, and provide tips for pet care as the thoughts arise and the seasons change.

By the way: Shayna is still available. She loves to cuddle, be petted and is nearly always right by my side. She LOVES to get out and run and play, but also is perfectly content to go in her “box” (cage/kennel) and nap for hours. If you might be interested in adopting Shayna, please contact me directly through our website contact page.

Thank you all so very much for your loyalty and friendship!

Knowing When to Say When

January 13, 2010

Well here we are, smack in the middle of winter. If I’ve not mentioned it, I HATE winter. Especially right about now. I know this is Ohio – I’ve been here all my life. Doesn’t mean I have to like the winter weather!!

When to say when?
Beyond the fact that I’m ready to say “when” about winter… let’s talk about responsible pet ownership. In previous blogs, I’ve talked about weather and different variables, but this one is different. As you all know, around Thanksgiving, I found a soft spot in my heart for a young gal at the pound named Shayna. While Shayna is a great dog, being single, continuing to run several businesses AND attempting to have a social life, having two dogs is beginning to take its toll on me.

So when do you say when? You see people with 4, 20, however many dogs in their home and part of me understands how that happens. When you love dogs, you love dogs. I darn near brought another pure-bred German Shepherd home this weekend from a potential dog obedience client that was considering “when to say when”. While the jury is still out on that one, I’ve made a decision that I need to find Shayna a different home.

Shayna

Lexi is perfect for my life style. She’s pretty indifferent and does well by herself. Shayna is a lover. She loves to cuddle, be petted and is nearly always right by my side. She LOVES to get out and run and play, but also is perfectly content to go in her “box” (cage/kennel) and nap for hours. If you might be interested in adopting Shayna, please contact me directly through the contact page on our website. We can chat from there. I promise to contact you as quickly as I can. There will be a fee to adopt Shayna.

So, yes, I knew fully well when I got Shayna that having two dogs would be a challenge and who knows, “Tomorrow” I may do the same thing. But I’d rather rescue a dog, give it great obedience training and place her in a loving environment than the alternative!

Until next time…

 

Cold Weather Blues

January 5, 2010

This is the time of year (at least here in NE-Ohio…) that we all love! Okay, maybe not. I’m sure there are some of you that like to ski, snowmobile, shovel snow, and all the other fun winter sports! It’s also a time when many dogs love to go out and play!

My two dogs are loving the snow. For some reason, Lexi HAS to bite the snow as she runs around bounding over snow drifts. She and Shayna love to wrestle in the snow.

I’m often asked about dogs being outside and how long and about sweaters or covers and such. First, your veterinarian is a great source of information on how much exposure your dog might handle, but even then, guidelines are likely all you’ll get.

It’s a balance between your outside temperature, wind factors and your dog’s size, coat and activity level. A four pound hairless dog at 6 degrees sitting on your porch in the wind is going to last about 3 minutes. Okay, I really don’t know how long, but we have to use common sense! There are many dogs that have dual coats; the under coat for warmth, the outer coat for shedding water, etc. Maybe you have a short-haired boxer that only weighs 35 pounds. Say it’s only 30 degrees outside, but the dog is your jogging partner. If it’s not windy and you actually jog, your dog may very likely generate enough heat to not get cold during your run. However, if you cool down/walk the last 3 minutes to your home, your boxer could get chilled as they try to make the transition.

Shayna

There is no one right answer. Both of my dogs are basically built for colder weather. Big, furry, dual coated dogs. But I just don’t leave them out forever either. The other day, they were at a friend’s home. It was about 28 degrees or so. They played outside for almost 90 minutes with another German Shepherd and they never stopped running. They made a bee-line for the water dish when they did come in, but LOVED being outside playing!!

Lexi

Quite frankly, I’ve never quite understood how dogs react to temperature. My old dog, Buddy, was 1/2 Golden Retriever and 1/2 Yellow Lab. In the summer, he would go outside and lay in the direct sunlight in the gravel driveway when it was 80 degrees. Then he’d come inside and sleep by the air conditioning vent. Go figure!

My advice: Read up on your breed’s capabilities. Use common sense. Keep an eye on your dog.

Don’t Forget About Your Dog!

December 22, 2009

Well, here we are. The time of year that mental health professionals suggest is the most stressful time of the year. From Pastors to PhDs, they say people are on edge, little things become magnified; the presents aren’t wrapped yet, we are over budget, the house is a mess, the kids are off school and misbehaving (‘cause they’ve already played PS3 for 6 hours and are bored) and oh yeah, the in-laws are due in about 20 minutes.

I know!! Let’s get a dog for Christmas!!!

YIKES!

Let’s look at two scenarios…
1) You already have a dog.
Chances are if you’ve had the dog for several years, it may be “used” to the energy speed bump that is the holidays. But if you’ve not done the holiday season with this pack, read #2! Your current dog possibly already understands the energy ball that is his pack. He may just hide in the corner til January 3rd (heck, some years I wanted to do that!) and you may not see much change at all. For you, just be sensitive to all that is going on. The loud parties, or being gone for long periods while you attend them, can stress your pooch; so remember that generally they are at your control for water, food, exercise and the ability to get out and go. Instead of buying your dog that 18″ long rawhide bone that vets say is bad for her, spend 30 minutes today playing and let her feel your touch and your voice. It’s the best treat you can give your dog!

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
– Josh Billings

2) You’re bringing a new dog into your home.
My first advice: Don’t.
Read (re-read?) the above. Imagine being an 8 week old puppy. You were just taken from the best place in the world (your mommy’s warm body, all the free warm milk you can drink, love and a quiet den) to BANG! BAM! Lights! Kids! Loud adults! BANG, Billy got a drum set! YIKES. How would YOU react?

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
– Roger Caras

Not much different for a dog from the pound. That dog is already under stress! Then we’re going to introduce it into yet another stressful situation. Trust me, I’d rather have a dog in a warm, loving environment (your home) as opposed to the pound, but remember that it may take 7-21 days before you know that dog! Can you leave it alone? Does it have any health issues? Is it/was it kennel trained? Are you willing to lose MORE sleep as the dog adjusts? Why 7-21 days? For instance, you read in my last post that I adopted Shayna from the Stark Pound. She had some Kennel Cough issues, etc. She is just now feeling well, eating regularly and beginning to play with Lexi. No surprises, but at the 7-10 day mark, your dog starts realizing that they aren’t moving again and start to show their true personality. A dog that was a bit playful at first, may begin to nip or show food aggression as it learns the pack order.

Okay, enough scare tactics, but please remember to give your pooch a safe, quiet place to get away from it all. Remember kennel/cage/den training is NOT mean to your dog. It may be the place they are most comfortable in during this time of high energy. On the other hand, a kennel/cage is NOT a baby-sitter for that 10 hour New Years bash you want to attend.

Remember water, food and exercise. Remember to be thankful that we have dogs to help keep us sane!!

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare, and love we can spare.  
And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made.  – M. Acklam

Until the New Year! Have a safe, prosperous, Dog-gone-good holiday!

Adopting a Holiday Dog

December 7, 2009

I had a great day on Saturday. Much of it was spent at a dog adoption day with the Stark County Pound. The event was two-fold: 1) was to help adopt some of the great dogs they have there that need a home. 2) was to help raise money for Friends of the Pound. This organization supports the adoption efforts of the pound. The money they raise helps sponsor (pay for) the spay and neuter of some of the dogs that come through.

It was fun to see all the dogs and how they each react to their environment. One thing I always relate to my dog obedience clients is that if you are “shopping” for a warm and furry companion to bring home: Do Your Homework.

It is so easy to “fall in love” with a dog that somehow pulls your heart strings (more on this in a minute). The dog adoption facilities I am familiar with in this area all have nice areas outside where you can spend some time with the dogs and play/interact a bit. Utilize that space and time to your benefit! I think the first best rule in finding a “forever dog” for your home shouldn’t be like running to the store to get milk, yet I see it happen all the time. People say, “Yeah, we’re gonna run out Saturday morning and find a dog”. YIKES. “Run” says it all. They’re in a hurry. Maybe the parents promised Billy or Susie a dog for whatever reason. The worst thing you can do is rush. When we looked for Lexi, our German Shepherd, it took us over three weeks. We went to MANY pounds and visited many people that were offering for private adoption.

The entire “owning a dog” experience is expensive, in dollars, but in time as well. Tell the kids, “we’ll go looking on Saturday, but we will NOT bring a dog home.” MOST facilities allow you to put a hold on a dog for a few days. It gives you a chance to visit a couple other places and see what else is out there.

Utilize the trip to the pound as a family experience. Use the car ride to talk about responsibilities. Who will care for the dog? How will it be done? Where will you buy food? How much will you have to spend on toys, food, beds, kennels and more. Do you have $500 to spend on a pet in the next six months (you probably will)? There is very little in this world with as big a pay-off as the undying, uncomplicated love a dog has for us, but remember your responsibilities! I LOVE dogs and will likely always have at least one, but understanding my ownership responsibilities, I TOTALLY know what I’m getting in to (usually).

If one of the primary owners (assuming a spousal-type relationship in the home) doesn’t want the dog, ASSUME NOW that person will likely drag their feet to engage and help with care/feeding/training/etc. They may not care as much to be “on” the training as much as you, possibly even to the point of undermining your efforts. Might be a great time to evaluate THAT relationship before you start another one? And just so you know, yes I AM a professional dog obedience trainer, but even though I’m often asked, NO, I DON’T DO SPOUSAL training!! THAT would be interesting, eh? Maybe not!

On the point of starting another relationship… I hear all the time, “Well, our dog has {this issue: Fill in the blank!}, so we’re gonna get another dog to help fix it.” It is NOT the responsibility of one dog to “fix” another one. YOU ARE THE PACK LEADER, it is YOUR responsibility. Yes, a calm-submissive balanced dog can HELP another dog achieve that same energy, but the pack leader and the pack leader alone controls that. NEVER bring a new dog into an unstable pack. And parents, that pack can be just the humans involved and have nothing to do with other dogs. Dogs understand energy and KNOW when they are in an unbalanced home.

Well, I feel like I’m rambling. Dog adoption is something I am very passionate about in many ways as I see the bad side often in our training business. So I’ll finish the story I promised above. During a slow period of “Dog Adoption Day”, I went back to see what larger breed dogs were available. One of our services is to help choose and train a dog for a client then introduce them to their new home with their new skill-set in place. I’ve got a current request for a dog to fill, so I am looking for the “right” dog for this client. Well, THAT dog wasn’t there, but in the first cage was this German Shepherd (probably a mix) with the most beautiful tan/brown eyes that just sucked me in. As a trainer, I can tell a lot about a dog through their eyes, how they watch, what they focus on. Any slight collar tug with this dog (out in that “learn about your dog” area above) and she would look right at me as if to say, “yup, I’m paying attention, what do ya want me to do/learn?” And her personality is JUST like Lexi’s.

You know the ending already, I’m guessing. I now own two German Shepherds. In less than a day, she already has three new commands and is responding to the name I gave her this morning. Wicked smart.

As you think about a dog for a holiday gift, keep in mind the upheaval that is the holidays. Not a great time to bring a dog home. Choose carefully, consciously, and download this PDF, it might help! Till next week.

Time for Thanks

November 19, 2009

Well, as everyone else in the world seems to be doing, let’s offer some thanks.

Many of you know that I’m going through life changes recently. Some are easy, some are very, very hard. I am very thankful for friends that help hold me up and support without judgment.

One of those friends is covered in fur. I truly feel that we are blessed by our dog-friends. I know it’s one of the strongest reasons many of us are so close to dogs. They seem to know when we need more attention. As I’ve moved my life and business to a new location, she’s been more clingy.

Since I’ve had Lexi, my German Shepherd, she’s been pretty indifferent. Murphy, my Golden Retriever, was always under my feet. Lexi, in the middle of the room. Murphy loves it when you’re right in his face and being cuddly, Lexi couldn’t care less. But since the move, she’s more at my feet. Moves to where I am a lot. This is all relative, by the way. She’s still not like Murphy, but still way more attentive than before.

At first, I thought it was all new surroundings and missing Murphy, as he stayed behind. And while I still believe that, I also believe that she senses my need for a good, non-judgmental friend. And if not, that’s the role she’s filling.

I hear stories all the time about dogs knowing when to cuddle up, or pay extra attention to owners, so I know I’m not totally off my rocker! (I hope)

If you’re so inclined, comment a story about your pooch and its attentiveness or a way it has helped you through tough times.

The blog is going to take next week off due to the number of things going on around us next week. Give thanks for our furry friends!

It Takes All Kinds

November 10, 2009

I had a really good time on Sunday supporting the Akron (Ohio) Humane Society. Back last summer you may remember that I wrote about performing at the Bow-Wow Boogie. It was a USO style variety show that supported the AHSociety. It was a fun show (By the way, if you should ever need classy entertainment, Rat-Pack style, check out my “Entertainer side“).

After that, the man that produced the event, Ron (Bus) Hill, asked me to sing for the AHS Telethon. So I went and recorded a couple songs, then Sunday went down to Akron Aeros Stadium in Akron for the telethon. As I waited in the “Green Room” (aka: a hallway!), I was right outside the “Dog Green Room”. They had a selection of the adoptable dogs there to go “on camera”. Many people came in with adoptable dogs, dogs they’d adopted from the AHS. I also took Lexi, my German Shepherd, as she was adopted from a pound too, so she got a few seconds of camera time too!

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you
more than he loves himself.”
– Josh Billings

But as we waited to go on, it was fun seeing the stream of people and pets that came and went. I think we all have a breed that really gets in our heart. When I was a boy, the man across the street bred/raised German Shepherd’s. I’m not sure if that’s my connection or not, but “when I grew up”, I always wanted one. Since I’ve adopted Lexi, I’ve come to learn how incredibly smart this gal is. Sometimes she scares me. The fun part is watching her watch. You can really see her trying to figure out most everything.

Well anyhow, Sunday I met a little pit that had lost one back leg. Never got the story why, and didn’t ask, as the dog acted like he didn’t care: Full of life, running around. I think he was over a year old, but still had plenty of puppy in him. Sort of reminded me of the dog from “Little Rascals“. He would’ve been a great “little boy” dog.

I met several little puppies. One was in constant motion. Wanted to be involved in anything/everything. Another one was very content to just be held. There was a blind dog that had a companion he stayed very near to. There was a shepherd mix a lady had rescued- honestly ‘just a mutt’, but a sweet dog that just wanted to meet everyone.

And for every dog, you could see an owner totally in love with that specific animal. That was the common thread. There had to be over 100 people involved somehow volunteering their time and/or resources to help animals that need that “forever home”. Support your local pound or Humane Society. Adopt responsibly if and when you can! YOUR kind is out there!

Remember, They have to Adjust too!

November 5, 2009

For those of you that follow this blog, you know I’ve been moving for the last several weeks. While Amanda, my office assistant, helps here and there, much of the work falls on my shoulders. So everything goes slow. Very slow in some cases. Then there’s running the business, doing various Chamber events (we support both the Canton Regional and Jackson/Belden Chambers of Commerce), singing at Primavera’s Italian Restaurant on Friday nights, teaching for Portage Lakes Career Center – oh yeah and sneaking in some sleep here and there! So my apologies yet again for not being as “on top” of this blog as I’d like to be.

That preamble sets up something we tend to forget: The dog. Lexi, my German Shepherd, is an amazing dog. Incredibly smart, more obedient than I even understand, and a great companion. This week, I finally brought her to the new pad/office; our new home. We tend to think because we understand something, so will the dog. How ignorant we are sometimes! More than that, I think it’s how much we take our pals for granted. Even though I had brought her here to visit several times, for the first three days she pretty much had the runs. It’s called stress.

Remember that anything outside of your dog’s normal routine will cause stress. Sometimes its no big deal, sometimes it is. It depends on the cause of the stress, the intensity, duration and then just how your particular dog will react to those variables. She also ate less food for a couple days. Both reactions are perfectly normal.

Another way we take Fido for granted is that while we have meetings and work and all kinds of ways to help us or entertain us, all your dog has is you. We’ve had Lexi since May. In that time, I can’t think of a single “human” thing she’s gotten into. She just doesn’t touch stuff unless it’s specifically placed in her mouth. This week has been particularly stressful working with utilities and many, many meetings. Yesterday I was in and out way too much; every time allowing her out to do her duty. But when I got back yesterday, she had found a roll of masking tape and a carpenter’s pencil. Both items had my scent on them. Both were chewed to throw-away status. Many people think their dog is “punishing them” for a lack of attention. I don’t think that dogs think that way. I DO think, however, that my dog so craved SOMETHING from me, that she found some stuff with my scent on it in an effort to help her comfort level.

What did I do? No punishment whatsoever (Why punish the dog because I was an idiot?). I threw them away and spent about 30 minutes on the floor with her, petting, playing and giving her attention. The rest of the night she was under my feet, which is very unusual for her. Lonely? I think so.

Remember that you brought the pet into your home. They really didn’t choose you. We have to make sure we honor that responsibility. If you’ve never read it, we have a Pet 10 Commandments on our website. I didn’t write it. Many pet sites have borrowed it. Read it and remember; they need to adjust too!

The Difference Between Dogs

October 21, 2009

Seems I hear a hundred dog stories every week. From the cute ones to aggression issues to pains in someone’s life to just about everything in between.

While I am in transition and will end up with one dog, right now regular readers know I have a Golden Retriever (Murphy) and a German Shepherd (Lexi). They are so totally different, yet in many ways the same.

Murphy is a four year old boy. Think of most any toe-headed, rambunctious 4 year old boy and you have Murphy. Lexi is just over a year old. She is the consummate princess. Everything about her is “little girl” from the way she eats to the way she walks.

I’ve written before about how watching them play is like watching a Ferrari and a Pickup truck. They are a hoot to watch.

The very interesting thing however is how differently they approach situations. My oldest son loves to play with my dogs, especially when it involves teasing. So last night he gets out a small radio control car and is running it around the floor. Murphy has got to chase it no matter how many circles and twists the car makes. Lexi couldn’t care less; isn’t scared of it, pretty much just indifferent, and walks away.

When playing Lexi lays down immediately to conserve energy. Murphy stands there and pants. While I was working at my new office the other day, I took the dogs over and same thing: Lexi lays down across the room and watches; Murphy stands three feet away… and pants.

I’ve actually missed them this week as I spend lots of time remodeling. Sorry this is a short post, but I am jammed trying to get the remodeling finished. Hopefully, I’ll be finishing up this weekend and can get back in the swing of things next week.

Thanks for your patience!

Perfectly Pawsible is on the Move!

October 13, 2009

The offices of Perfectly Pawsible are moving to a new location:

                        543 N. Main St.
                        North Canton, OH 44720

Only the address is changing – our main contact information stays the same: telephone 330-478-1065, email Grant.Holmes@perfectlypawsible.com, and we can be reached through our website at http://www.perfectlypawsible.com/.  

 We are taking a brief break from blogging this week in order to make the necessary preparations to better serve our clients, as well as acclimate Lexi and Murphy to their new den.  Who knew painting bone-shaped clouds on the ceilings, laying indoor/outdoor carpeting, and hauling in trees would be so much work?  And does anyone know where we can get an out-of-service fire hydrant?

 Please keep in touch with us by becoming a fan of our Facebook Page and inviting your friends to join our happy pack too!