Posts Tagged ‘socialize’

Dog Safety Tips for You and Yours

July 31, 2009

There’s a gaggle of pages on the internet about dog safety for kids (If you know a group that would like a speaker to come and speak on dog safety, check this link). But we digress…

Nearly every day we have one or more of our dogs in public. Whether in a school, the dog supply store, walking the neighborhood and more, it constantly amazes me how many kids will just walk up to our dogs and reach out to pet them without any thought to getting bit! Let me correct that; it constantly amazes me how many PARENTS (or parents that just aren’t paying attention) allow their kids to just walk up to our dogs and reach out to pet them without any thought to getting bit!

When we’re out, we most often have our “branded” Perfectly Pawsible t-shirts on. Maybe parents see that and assume our dogs are “safe”, but you would think it would be worth their peace of mind to be sure! Sometimes we’re training our dogs on specific behaviors and don’t want our dogs bothered. I KNOW my dogs are safe. I KNOW I do everything to ensure that ANY child around us is safe. However, remembering that we’re talking about animals that used to be predator-wolves, should get our attention. So how can you help ensure the safety of your children around strange animals? How can you help ensure their safety around ‘known’ animals. Start with one simple rule;

Always, Ask Before Cuddling

Click here to download our ABC coloring page

Click to download our ABC coloring page

Hardly ever do you see a “Beware of dog” sign when it really matters (like on that cute little Chihuahua at the pet store)! And even though ‘that’ dog over there is safe, they don’t wear ‘safe’ signs either! So teach your kids when they see a dog (and cats can be nasty too!!!), ASK before they approach. Who do they ask? Well, you teach your kids NOT to speak to strangers, so continue that thought. Your kids should come to YOU and ask, “Mommy, can I pet that dog?” This gets you involved on an adult to (hopefully) adult level with whomever is handling the dog in question. Then YOU ask, “is it safe for my children to approach/pet your dog?” Then YOU decide.

This GUARANTEES nothing, but at least a responsible pet owner should say, “Buffy is a little ouchy today. Maybe next time.” Hey, dogs have bad days too! Maybe Buffy just had shots or surgery and is a tad nippy. This brings up our next point; Just like we react differently to different situations, so do dogs! Maybe “Spot” is normally a great, calm dog. But what you don’t know is that if his male owner isn’t around, he gets real possessive and may nip.

Next (actually first, but who’s keeping track besides my editor?) teach your kids to be kind and gentle to pets. My dogs’ tails are not handles, the ears are not there to be pulled on and they really like their fur where it is. Honest. Approach gently. Gentle is good! Gentle approach, gentle petting, gentle retreat.

Fear; This is not intended to teach your kids to fear dogs. In fact, it’s great that they don’t FEAR, but they RESPECT dogs. Introducing weak or fearful energy to a dog that’s already unsure of itself is a recipe for disaster. Remember, dogs are inherently a predator. They LOVE to chase stuff. Especially if it’s a stray that has been chasing to catch it’s only food. Beware. So teach your kids NOT to run from a dog, even though every instinct is telling them to.

This page is not intended to be the end-all authority on dog safety. It is intended to remind parents that it is their responsiblity to teach their children to respect animals. Remember, the younger your child is, the simpler the instructions; be gentle; and Always Ask Before Cuddling!

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Our New Family Member

July 6, 2009
Murphy

Murphy

Several weeks ago, we met Murphy (a registered Golden Retriever) at PetSmart. A nice retired couple owned Murphy and were having trouble with his energy level. They’d had him for three years, (I found out this morning that Murphy is a registered purebred. How cool!) and as things go, were becoming more and more frustrated with their inability to manage Murphy’s energy level. 

There’s an interesting phenomenon I’ve witnessed with dogs and owners. We sometimes get “tired of it/them (the dogs)”. I KNOW dogs sense our attitude at any given time. And when we start to lose patience with them, we get more tense and a downward spiral has begun. They start pulling harder on walks; we pull back. They want to walk faster and pull us down the stairs; we don’t want to walk them as often. They get bored and chew our slippers; we think they are getting out of control. Then they pull really hard; we stop walking them. They get VERY bored….

Lexi

Lexi

We brought Murphy home and took him outside to play with Lexi, our German Shepherd. Lexi is a tad shy around new dogs. She was adopted as a stray from a pound, so we don’t know what her “other dog” experience is. But Lexi & Murphy PLAYED in the yard for over an hour. Poor guy is a tad overweight and, with all that fur, drank more water than we could track. It was great to see Lexi having fun PLAYING. It was great to see Murphy having a blast too.

Murphy and I went on a nice walk last night. By the time we got back, he was loose-leash healing and sitting on stop (on his own)! So when you look for help with your “high energy” dog, look to his activity level and maybe even your attitude!

Oh, by the way, yes we do bring dogs here to board and train, but this story has a cool, happy ending! In this case, the couple realized that maybe with their age advancing and Murphy needing more interaction and challenge, they offered to allow us to adopt Murphy! So now Murphy is running around our big yard with Lexi having a blast! This morning, Paula brought her dog, Sequia, over to play too, so all three dogs had about an hour of fun time. Thanks to the people who knew they were giving Murphy a great home!

PS. If you’re in the Stark County, OH, area this Thursday (July 9th), The Puparazzi Pet Boutique is having their grand-opening/ribbon cutting. Stop by and visit! We’ll be there with our dogs. Come and meet Lexi and Murphy.

Unintended Observations

June 22, 2009

It’s really interesting to me to watch what animals do when not ‘attended’. Saturday, I spent most of the day working on my motorcycle and mini-van. The mini-van is Lexi’s (our German Shepherd Dog (GSD)) home away from home. She LOVES to jump in the back and go places. As a Dog Trainer, Lexi goes on 98% of our calls to clients or initial prospect calls. And generally it seems she just loves to ride and look out the windows.

So as I set up Saturday to work on the rolling stock, I opened up the back mini-van hatch and started working on the bike. I tend to scatter around when I work, so let’s just say I have a messy brain? Anyhow… I went into the house to get a tool or something and Lexi wanted to come outside with me. It was really humid here in NE Ohio, but I figured, “why not?”

Lexi saw the back of the van open and ran over and jumped in! Not that her jumping in the back of the van is unusual. But as I continued to work on the van and the cycle, she just stayed in the van. In some ways, I think she was afraid that if she got out, she’d miss a trip, but otherwise, I really think she was just happy and content there and didn’t see any reason to move.

This is where we wish we knew more about her. If you remember we rescued her from a local pound. Other than knowing that she’s a GSD and female, anything else is a guess. However, in some ways I think this is good. It keeps us in the here and now. It allows us to help her socialize more and become a puppy, learn how to play and more.

So, watch your pooch. See what they like. Might be fun to chat about!

Fun at Garage Sales

June 15, 2009

Okay, I’ll be honest right off the bat. I am sure there are home owners who would prefer that you don’t bring your dog to their garage sale. But as we work with our ‘new’ addition, Lexi, we find it a great way to socialize her and reinforce training.

This last Saturday there were two allotment-wide garage sales in our area. For me, that’s like saying, “Hey, there’s a dog obedience exercise in our neighborhood this weekend!”- Okay, I’ll be there!

As you’ve read before, Lexi has been progressing from learning to Heal, to loose-leash, to off-leash. As a professional dog trainer, it is soooo cool to walk up a long drive with your German Shepherd off-leash (healing at your side), hearing people comment on how well behaved, etc., then hear, “oh my gosh, Fred, that dog isn’t on a leash!” I love that!

This also gives us a great opening to talk about training, obedience and dogs in general. On a totally different subject, I also love to ride motorcycles. Coincidentally, two things people love to talk about are dogs and cycles! It’s so easy with a well trained, obedient dog to start conversations with people!

I think I could’ve sold Lexi about 10 times on Saturday. NO chance! She is such a sweet dog and GREAT with kids. I always ask parents if it’s okay for their kids to pet her. If positive, it gives us a great chance to make sure the kids know and understand their ABCs. No, not those ABCs; whenever we can, we teach kids AABC: Always Ask Before Cuddling (any animal); first ask your parents, then have your parents ask the pet owner before proceeding!

In any case, look for opportunities to train your dog and work them a bit. Most dogs love to learn new things and practice old things. And make sure your pooch can handle the responsibility you give it!

Luci, you got some ‘splainin to do…

May 29, 2009

A couple of weeks ago we started working with Luci, a Shepherd/Collie mix. Among Luci’s issues were charging the door, jumping on people, pulling when on lead and occasionally herding a car or two.

As you may know, our German Shepherd, Lexi goes on all our appointments with us. She’s a great example of a calm, submissive dog. (BTW, we’ll soon have our website ready to go and will have a quiz there you can take!)

But I digress. The reason I mention Lexi going on training visits with us, is that when we visit Luci, it doesn’t take long before we start calling Lexi/Luci and Luci/Lexi and well, if WE’re confused, imagine the poor dogs!

Anyhow after our orientation with Luci’s owner and laying some basic groundwork, we saw Luci starting to understand commands she learned while in that first session. It was obvious that Luci was really smart, really wanted to please, and that she’d learn very quickly. After just a few trips up and down the street with trainer Aaron, Luci was loose-leash heeling!

Next post I’ll get to our most recent visit and relate Luci’s progress, as well as our new client, Scout; a Terrier mix.

Oh, by the way, Lexi is still a reluctant barker. I’m actually glad! Last night around midnight after the Cavs won (Go CAVS!!), I took Lexi out. She went past the edge of the back of our house. The house across the street (probably 120′ away) has a white-ish fountain/planter/thing in the front yard. Last night Lexi saw this for the first time and proceeded to ensure my safety by barking it down. Funny. Good opportunity to encourage her to “Speak”, which is another way to use a behavior your dog has and encouraging it with a command.

Catching up with Lexi

May 20, 2009

We’d really love to know the story behind Lexi. She is such a quiet spirit. She is very content to be in her kennel even though she has the run of  the house. She appears to be fully house-trained. Since last Wed, Lexi has now learned the basic commands to Sit, Come and Loose-leash Heel. We’re currently working on other commands like Down, JUMPing, Fetch, Bring, Drop…. and on and on. She seems to get some things nearly immediately and at times you wonder if you just imagined training her!

But I think you get some of that with a 10 month old pup with a sketchy past.

We have been spending loads of time with her.  She goes to the dog park often, we take her on all of our dog training appointments and are trying to socialize her as much as possible.

More tomorrow (I hope)!