Monday, May 27, 2013

Are You Having Fun?

The whole point of getting a dog is to make your life better.  Yes there are things to do with dogs that nobody really loves to do like cleaning up poop or cutting nails but on whole I got a dog to be a happier healthier person.

Training should be included in this.  Are you having fun when you train?  You should be laughing.  If you are not you have to take a look at what's happening and make it fun.  Laugh at your dog when he screws up and then get him to do it again.  Don't get all bent out of shape, the world will not end, the sky will not fall and at the end of the day the dog will still curl up with you for some cuddles.

I am trying to create a habit of before I start training especially if we are going to work on something we are having a hard time with to tell my dog he is wonderful and make a list of my favorite things about him.  Every one of my dogs has had a characteristic that made me smile just by looking at it; my Sibe is his little black bottom lip, my Akita was his extremely expressive eyebrows, my Border Collie is  beautiful brown eyes.  When I start getting frustrated I look at that thing and it makes me smile.  Getting frustrated or upset is not productive and let's face it our goal is to get the dog trained in the shortest time possible and then move on.

Don't forget to smile and laugh when you training.  Sometimes when we are concentrating on what we are training we get very intense, remember to smile.  Your dog is trying.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

To Shave or Not To Shave

I always feel bad for the dogs I see shaved at this time of year.  I know most of these owners are going out and spending money to have their dogs shaved because they think this will keep them cooler.  Dogs are very well designe, their coats protect them from both cold and heat.  When you shave your dog you are actually making him much more susceptible to heat issues such as heat stroke.

Here is an article with some more info on this subject

Thinking About Shaving Your Dog's Hair Coat For The Summer? Think Again.

Stay cool.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How Not To Greet A Dog

I am regularly surprised how people treat dogs.  I am not talking about people who are cruel to animals, that is horrible and they should be shot.  I am speaking about people who love dogs but have never learned how to appropriately interact with dogs.  I would say TV is partly to blame, movies like Beethoven the
wonderful St. Bernard who thinks he is human or commercials that depict dogs in unrealistic ways.  The other part is inexperience.  Maybe a dog at home who has very little personal space or someone who likes dogs but really has never interacted with them.  Our expectations about what our dogs should put up with from complete strangers is unrealistic and very unfair to our dogs.

You should never, ever, ever put your face into a dogs face that you don't know very well in other words live with.  That includes the neighbour's dog that you say hello to a couple of times a week.  Let's put it in human terms, can you imagine meeting someone for the first time and then grabbing your cheeks and planting a big kiss on your lips, worse imagine someone doing that to your child. That would be completely inappropriate and would cause action to prevent it from continuing.  Yet with our dogs not only do we allow it we correct the dog who would dare growl or bark.  A few years ago a Shitzu was in a shopping cart at Home Depot, one of the staff ended up getting bitten in the face.  Well the Shitzu didn't jump up and bite her the person had to have bent down into her.  I agree there is a responsibility to the dog owner to not only protect the people who come into contact with the dog but also her dog.  Dog's bite out of fear why would you allow someone to scare your dog.

You should always let a dog approach you, not rush into a dog to pet it.  You don't know how comfortable that dog is with strangers.  I know it's hard to accept but not all dogs love being pet by strangers most just put up with it.  If a dog wants to be pet he will approach you and encourage you to interact, if he doesn't then why should he have to.  I am not speaking about aggression just accepting that not every dog wants your hands all over him.

It especially concerns me that we teach our children to approach strange dogs
and pet them.  Yes most of them ask as they run in to pet the dog.  I have worked with enough aggressive dogs and I have seen how hard it is for owners to admit there dog may not be comfortable being petted and stop a child.  Do you want to risk your child?  Unfortunately when children get bit a lot of times it is in the face because it's right at the height of the dogs mouth.

I remember going to a friends parents house.  I always greet the dog and say hi but I only pet dogs who ask to be pet.  They questioned that I didn't like their dog to my friend.  Their dog never once asked to be petted and was completely happy with me not touching them.  It is sad how little understanding they had of their own dog.

If I am working with a dog that is worried or scared of people I will work very hard to change that.  I will also work very hard on my dogs accepting people touching them and kissing them.  All this will not change the fact that out of 6 dogs I have owned only one really likes peope touching him.  A lot of this is due to breed Akitas, Siberians, and Chesapeakes are not that people friendly, or at least mine were not.  These are well socialized dogs that nothing bad has ever happened other than one Akita who was a rescue.  These are dogs that regularly did Pet Fairs and were handled by 100's of people without ever a problem.  I always respected what their wants and needs were.  For my business they had to go to pet fairs with me and get petted, I in turn rewarded heavily and gave them regular breaks.