Posts Tagged ‘Stark County OH’

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!

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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.

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!

Stories You Hear at Dog Events

September 29, 2009

Ho boy. How long THIS blog can be. I’ll try and keep it under 10,000 words. Okay, a LOT shorter than that! Spent most of Sunday at the “Mutt Strutt” event that supports the Stark County Humane Society.
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But first a really cool dog video I just saw. Think our furry friends don’t think or feel??
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofpYRITtLSg
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I observed a lot on Sunday. Several hundred dog owners and the requisite number of pets makes for very interesting entertainment. Was it Yogi Berra that said, “You can observe a lot by watching.”?

A guy with two Golden Retrievers, both at least 80-85lbs. walks down the middle of where we’re set up with booths. We all know Golden’s are very strong. He can barely hold them back (as in: can BARELY control them). He’s got a death grip on both leads. A lady in a booth holds out ONE treat for the two dogs.  One moment here:
    Really? Do people THINK anymore? Do people observe and try to use common sense? “I know, here comes a guy with two dogs barely under control- I think I’ll tease them, then be surprised when they tow the owner over to my booth and jump up on me.” OBVIOUSLY, “NO” to both questions.
The guy is actually smiling as this all happens. Either he is clueless, or the strain of pulling on the dogs just LOOKS like a smile! “Obedience” doesn’t fit here. Weird.
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A guy with a dog that barks at other dogs every time it sees one (see previous observation on HUNDREDS of dog owners). So the dog pretty much barked at everything. You can tell he’s very frustrated. He’s using a Halti (which in my opinion are pretty much worthless) and the dog is barking. So he pulls the dog back to him, makes him sit, closes his mouth with his hand to get the dog to quit barking, and pets him (giving affection). Then they asked me why he continues to bark. Let’s review:
1) Using a collar that provides pretty much no real control over a dog.
2) When the dog barks, YOU close his mouth instead of training him to quit barking.
3) Giving affection to the activity you’re striving to stop.

Note to owners: you don’t give affection when the dog is misbehaving. Never. Ever. Well, unless of course you wish to NOT correct the behavior. Remember that affection to a dog is better than ANY treat you can give. Give affection to support good behavior.

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A lady whose designer dog barks at everything holds the dog to give it security- so it quits barking: rewind to above. Dog barks, owner picks up dog, pets dog (“Good Girl, Sassy!! Thanks for Barking!!!”) Owner puts dog down only to be surprised when dog barks again. See above three points.
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To the guy with the 110lb. German Shepherd who was as gentle, quiet and well-behaved as they come: THANK YOU! And to the guy with the Pit/Boxer mix of the same description: THANK YOU, TOO!

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When I get home my two dogs, Murphy & Lexi, are running around the yard playing and wrestling. I’m reading a book, occasionally watching them. Suddenly I hear a different bark. There’s a cute little retriever mix running in the yard with my two. It’s not real sure it wants to play, but it wants to play. Thirty seconds later comes the young gal owner from a party down the street, calling for her dog to come to her. Short story is I tell her to squat down and pet Murphy. Sure enough, the dog being a golden mix realizes Murphy is getting more attention and comes over to get his share. I pretty much figured that would happen. So she grabs her dog and thanks me. As she pulls the dog up the driveway with her hand on the collar (yes, I wonder where the lead is too…) she starts to smack the dog and tell him what a bad boy he is.

If you read my blogs you know I preach about NOT punishing your dog. She must not be a reader. I called her back. I asked if I could ask a question, “Sure,” she said. I asked, “If I called you over here and gave you a dope slap, how likely would it be that you’d come back over, even if I use a really nice voice?” “I probably wouldn’t,” she said. “Exactly,” I said, “So when you call your dog and you get a hold of it, and you smack him, what do you think his motivation is to come to you next time?” She didn’t say anything but got the point. I told her that while it may seem very (humanly) backwards, even though the dog ran, when you catch him, praise him for coming and being a good dog.
1) Maybe next time he won’t run as quickly or as far.
2) Maybe next time he’ll remember getting petted and praised and come more quickly?!

Till next time!

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.