Monday, December 19, 2011

Introducing a new dog into your home

Congratulations on your new canine member of the family!

Getting a new dog can be exciting, but the best way to introduce your new dog to your home, your family, and other dog members of your with little to no excitement at all!

In order to establish a great foundation of how daily  life is going to be in your household, DAY ONE is the most important day to set the lifestyle and boundaries. I suggest taking the new dog straight from the car to out on a nice long, quick paced walked.  If you have another dog, this should be a PACK WALK.

There are different variables to consider that may change my prescription;  age of each dog, immunizations up to date, any previous aggression, etc.  However, a good long walk is still going to be the best introduction to new dogs, your neighborhood, and your home.

Walking a dog properly is always important. Please read our other blogs on LEASH WALKING to ensure the walk is packed with benefits.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rainy Day Dog Survival Tips

Rainy Day Survival Tips
    Rainy days can cause a commotion for dogs and their owners. Muddy paws and extra energy mixed with indoors is not favorable to most people. I get tons of calls on rainy days about dogs that are usually potty trained that are having accidents on the carpet.

    To ensure survival throughout the rainy season, of your carpet AND your sanity, realize that a rainy day does not eliminate your pups play drive and energy source. If we did not trek our self to the Gym, only because of the rain, it would not stop the calories from settling in on our hips.

    Accessorize yourself with a raincoat, and explore the outdoors with your dog. Not only will it drain excess energy, for both of you, but will give your dog an array of new smells that the rain stirs up. By being with your dog, it will reassure you that your dog has eliminated outside. By completing a walk, and witnessing the potty outside, it will allow you, and your dog to have a restful rainy day.

    If your California skin just can't walk in the rain, take some time to work with your dog on basic obedience in the house. A training session usually exhausts the dogs brain and the body, when done properly. Remember not to hype the dog up, but to give directed and focused commands with only rewarding successful behaviors. Make your dog think, and make him work.

   Enjoy the rain, and your dog, because everyday is a Dog Gone Good Life!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Promoting a calm dog

What you see is not always what you get. As humans we are constantly working on improving ourselves. people wear clothes that flatter their figure, do exercises to accentuate their physical characteristics, take speaking classes to improve public speaking, even life coaching classes to make sure we are being the ultimate person we can be. I feel it is the same with dogs.
I can work with any dog and have them become the best of their potential. It does not mean i am going to certify every dog as a service dog, but every dog can learn to behave. Yes, every dog!
Although there are variations of each dogs success, they are still capable of learning our expectations. I say that unless the dog is in hospice, they are still willing to learn! Some personalities may challenge the boundaries more persistently in the beginning, but in time, and with your patience, all will succeed in improving their behavior.
Good behavior and well mannered does not eliminate personality.
The personality you adore in your dog will always exist, and when a dog has respectful manners the personality is much more appreciated.
It's a Dog Gone Good life!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dogs Escaping The Yard

How to keep your dogs from escaping from your yard.First things to look at, or realize, is why are your dogs leaving your yard? Have you expressed the boundaries clearly to your dog? Is your dog in heat, is your dog male and still not neutered? is your dog getting proper exercise and socialization?where does your dog go when he leaves your yard? does a neighbor give treats, is there a cat or rabbit to chase? Does he return on his own, or is he running away from home?After these questions are answered, and these variable needs are fulfilled or extinquished, we are now eliminating all, except, proper boundary training. We are eliminating all the rest, because if you fulfill or fix those elements, you will probably see your dog stays home. If the problem continues, then you still have this one last solution.Boundary training can exist at one door, one room, limiting a position in the car, or an entire piece of property. It is Important to let your dog clearly understand where he may or may not go. If he is jumping over a wall, you will need to walk the dog through the yard on a loose lead, giving a correction of pulling on the leash, paired with a verbal no, when the dog attempts to launch the wall or fence. This correction should be done at the beginning muscle movements of the launch, before the dog is airborne. we are trying to stop the behavior before it happens, and better yet, the thought, before the action.Practice telling your dog to stay at open fences, while you are crossing the boundary. a long lead is a safe way to do this, tethering it behind him, until you are confident in your communication with your dog.To complete your boundary training with your dog, you will need to let your dog know the rules are firm whether you are home or not. complete this by staging a surveillance, letting your dog expect you are not home, then surprise him in his attempt to escape. congratulations! Your dog now understands and thanks you for your clarification of your rules.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dog Yoga Time!

 People tend to look for ways to relax. Whether it be yoga, massage, day spas, or golf….I keep hearing people say they need to ‘take time for themselves’;  time out from their stressful lives to enjoy something.  Our lives have gotten so busy, that in order to be happy, we need to take time out of our life, to enjoy living!
It sounds funny, but it is true. A friend of mine, a psychologist, writes a daily blog, for exactly this cause; to be good to ourselves.  She says people do not treat themselves well enough, and need to relax.  Dogs often tell me that she is correct!
Taking time to smell the flowers!
Where is our dog in all our stress?  Right in the middle! If you have trained with me, then you have heard me say, “Your dog is your mirror, or your barometer.”  Your dog’s behavior is telling you what’s going on inside your head.  If you are stressed, your dog is stressed.  If you are running around looking for your keys, is your dog running around with you?  If you are calm….your dog is calm.  Do you notice a pattern?
If you need a time out….so does your dog.
So after your yoga class, or massage, or ten minutes of quiet, try to help your dog enjoy the same treatment.  A ten minute walk with a relaxed human leading the way can create a miracle in a dog’s world, and also in your home.
February 2011 Monthly training tip from Dogtopia Newsletter:

Preparing your dog for challenges on the walk

April 2011 Monthly training tip from Dogtopia Newsletter:

   Learning to be prepared often comes from the experience from being burned, or lessons hard learned.  As we age, we learn to harvest and prepare for times of hardship; to prepare for adversary in the future.  In dog training, the best way to relate this is to be prepared for what may be around the next corner.
   Many clients tell me they ‘evaluate’ the neighborhood, or scan the next street, to decide where they venture on their dog’s walks.  If they see challenges like dogs or bikes or runners, they may choose a different route to avoid confrontation and stress.  As we progress through our trainings, I tell my clients to look forward to a stray dog, a screaming toddler, and to seek out the excitable soccer fields to embrace these events as opportunities to enhance their training with their dogs. When enough time is spent around a toddler, a dog may find out they are really not that scary anymore, and actually become endearing.  (A dog will quickly realize a squeaking toddler may also have macaroni and cheese stuck to his t- shirt!)

Conquer Challenges!

  Training is not easy. It is an adventure, and the opportunity to conquer challenges.  Just like we face our human challenges, dogs need to face their fears, and sometimes that means to go on the front lines, like a soldier in combat. If a dog is fearful of something, we need to address the issue, rather than avoid it, because if coupled with another fear, and another, and etc…. then we have a fearful dog that can show fearful aggression.

I have never labeled a dog as aggressive, but have found many dogs to be fearfully reactive when unprepared for their environment.
  Be brave yourself and be prepared to be proud of your dog.

Just say NO!

March 2011 Monthly training tip from Dogtopia Newsletter:
   “Just say NO!” We hear the slogan all the time for the subject of kids and drugs. But does it really work?
   Telling our kids one time not to do drugs does not prevent or protect them from using drugs. But consistently talking to our kids about the effects of using drugs can make a positive difference.  Consistency is the key.

Is that the kitchen table?  Yep!  Say NO!!!!!!!

   Telling our dogs “no” once, or ten times, may not stop the dogs’ unwanted behavior, and may even cause more confusion or excitement in his actions.  However, when modifying human behavior, or when trying to establish a new habit, or deter an old bad habit, we suggest performing the new habit 100 times before it takes affect.
    I use that same rule for training dogs.  Have your dog perform the new habit 100 times before you get frustrated.  The new habit will usually be successfully learned before you reach the hundredth attempt, but this way you don’t quit after 25 attempts!
   Usually naughty dog behavior is a learned habit, or simply because they are having fun. Dogs don’t plot, scheme, or conspire to do bad things. There are emotional and live in the moment. That’s why we love them, and why they still love us! When they ate your couch, sprinklers, or shoes they were probably just having a great celebration!
   Help your dog make good choices and “Just say No.”  One hundred times!

Frustrated with my dog!

Many clients are frustrated with the dogs today, and often compare their current dog to their memory of their childhood dog.  Times have changed. We have changed; our activities, our schooling, our diets. Heck, even our measuring system has changed!  Some even claim Betsy Ross did not make the flag and Virgin Mary did not give birth to Jesus. Our dogs had to change with us.

As a dog trainer, I see many dogs everyday, and many people are frustrated and searching to find that perfect dog they 'had'. What we should be grateful for, is the great memories those dogs have given us.

I also have a perfect dog memory from my childhood. But in criticizing my personal 'perfect dog' case more thoroughly, I remember my dog was not so innocent. There is a vague memory of my dog attacking the neighbor dog and causing a severe vet visit, and that dog was always on the forbidden couch!  But our memories seem to hold more of the good stuff! Those good memories act as our level of expectation for the next dog, and we forgive or forget the bad parts. It's in our tool belt of survival skills, and these coping skills fit better into our childhood and precious memory pictures.

I have had many dogs, multiples at a time, and many off leash trained.  Many excellent dogs, and many dogs with traits I worked hard to eliminate. With two paychecks needed to support households now, there is more alone time for dogs to reac havoc from boredom or anxiety. Dog daycare centers prevail, and are my suggestion and solution to many clients that just need their dogs to get some exercise and socialization! Dogtopia of Temecula is my favorite! 
My question as a trainer, is what changed to create more anxiety in dogs now? I know what works for dogs now, but why has having a dog become another area of life to micro-manage. What used to just work, now takes training, effort, and a degree to balance the human/dog relationship.
If you love something, set it free.  If it comes is yours.  If it doesn' never was!
We all know that saying and everyone claims a dog is the most loyal companion.Yet, most people do not trust their dog to return if let off leash. In addition, leashes are now mandatory now, and even toddlers wear them. Safety has been compromised. Society has changed.

Dirty Dog....will make a good memory, later.
 We have so many losses today. So many broken families. A dog is the one thing we can control and make sure we can tether. Sometimes this fear of the dog running...causes the dog to run!

My husband is scared to death of losing our dogs. So much that even I won't let our dogs off leash if he is present. His panic and fear would lead to a disaster. I, in absolutely NO way, am suggesting anyone to let their dog off leash in an un-safe manner. A dog does NOT automatically follow you simply because you registered his license, got him shots, and feed him daily.  A very young puppy, yes.  Most puppies have a "built-in" leash, for a very short period.  The invisible leash for a dog  is earned by building a relationship of trust and respect.

Although our lifestyles have changed, causing the need to work harder, we also have more information available, more knowledge about what makes our dogs tick. Education in dog psychology helps us to be the proper leader to build a relationship with the best dog we have now, and that will serve as perfect memories later!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stay Out of the Living Room!

Boundary Training Your Dog

If you share your house with your dog, it does not have to be "all or nothing".  I remember when I was young, that the living and dining room were the special rooms, reserved for Christmas, company, and off-limits until a special event was declared.

There was no thought that existed in my mind to invite myself to the royal dining room table to enjoy my morning cereal. I respected my parents reservations of the rooms on an invitation only basis.

This same rule can, and should, exist for your dog, if you have an area you would like to label off limits, whether to preserve from dog hair or as a cat sanctuary, you are entitled to do that!  This boundary can be accomplished without a ten foot barricade, shock line, or threats.

Establish a clear boundary. This means....the rule exists 100% of the time during our training period, and the dog can not have access to the area when you are not home.  A change in flooring, or a door way, is ideal because it is as clear as black and white, carpet and tile. But any type of boundary, and even old dogs, can be trained.

When your dog approaches the forbidden room or area, simply and calmly say, "No" and call your dog away from the room.  When your dog has re-directed, say, "Good Dog".

This process needs to be continual, constant, non-stop.  You will notice success and be amazed as your dog acknowledges you and your communication becomes more clear to your dog, as you learn to speak the same language.

In the beginning, it's ok to use gates and barriers at times when you are too busy to supervise your preserved area, to avoid your dog trespassing.  As time progresses, gates can become  a semi-blocked doorway, or even a small curtain rod, and your dog will recognize this standard road block,  and will detour himself to another welcomed area.  Eventually, you will not need anything to deter your dog from entering this area. The amount of time this takes depends only on your training skills.

We have a saying when speaking to dogs we are training, "Just because you are able, does not mean you may!"

Good luck, and enjoy the freedom that boundaries can offer!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Most difficult dog to cure?

Rehab for the worst dog problem
Each owner I meet seems to have an issue with their dog they seem to label as "incurable". However, I find all dogs to be capable of turning their bad habits around. After evaluating a home for the issues that the owner describes of their dog, I can easily assess the root of the problem and design a remedy for cure. Depending on the problem, many times the troubled behavior extends from a lack of exercise, lack of a potty schedule, or lack of leadership for your dog. However, the hardest problem to cure is the dog's behavior that is due to the owner completely spoiling the dog (solely out of love and good intentions). But this spoiling can create a nasty, unsatisfied, sad, troubled, or misbehaving dog.
Many times a dog is replacing an empty nest syndrome, a lost love, or a lack of companionship for its owner. A dog is a wonderful addition to our lives, and provides owners with love and is a perfect solution to help transcend through these changes. However, when owners smother their dogs with adornment, affection, treats, and pampering, without offering leadership and boundaries, it tends to rock the balance of companionship and becomes a co-dependency instability. This instability can affect your dog, more than the owner. Dogs prefer balance and will seek to cure the imbalance on their own if necessary.
The reason this is the hardest dog problem to cure is because it is up to the owner to start creating the balance; to stop the excessive spoiling, and to offer leadership and rules. Many times the spoiling is fulfilling or compensating for a void in the owners personal life, and unless the owner is ready to find their own balance, the easiest one to point at... is the dog.
Although the hardest problem to cure, when faced and tackled by owner, trainer, and dog together, this is the most rewarding experience for everyone!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Crate Training Pros and Cons

   Crate training seems to be a touchy subject for many dog owners. It tends to be a love 'em or leave 'em subject. The people who love crates, vow their dogs are cozy and happy while in their crate. People who detest them, just don't have them.
A Dog House is Accepted By Everyone, While a Crate is Controversial.
   The fact is; it is natural for a dog to enjoy being in his den. Any small covered place provides a secure feeling to your dog. Chances are if you don't have a crate or kennel for your dog to cozy up in then he will find one for himself. Perhaps you've seen him cuddled under your desk, under a table, or even a bed. His den may not have a gate and lock, but once he likes his home-made den, he would not care if it did lock.
So, while many people refer to a crate as boxed up, caged, or confined, the real point is that your dog is thriving in his natural state and enjoying being in his own special den. When a crate is used properly, your dog does not care if the door is opened or closed. He feels secure.
There is a Right and Wrong Way to Introduce a Crate.
   Do not go buy a crate, put your dog in there and go out for the evening. A crate should be introduced to your dog in a positive manner; the same way a dog will find his own den. If you contantly lock your dog up in the laundry room and leave, your dog will hate the laundry room.
   Proper introduction includes a nice bed to lay on, short bits of time in the crate while you are home, and increasing time limits in the crate only after successful and peaceful times in his new home. Giving a special treat while in the crate is a bonus too.
Babies are Never Left Unattended. Your Puppy is Your Baby.
  Consider the safety issues alone, for reasons to begin with crate training. A puppy can tally up a huge medical expense, illness, and possible death from ingesting household products, plants, and furniture while you are out.
To Crate or Not To Crate?
  That is a question that many dog owners battle with. I think the best way to solve this dilemma is to get a crate and chances are very certain that your dog will decide for you.
  Perhaps we should change the name from kennel or crate, to den or bedroom, and it would change the feelings some people associate to the crate that ruins the dogs' chances of getting his own haven.
  I have trained many people (although I am a dog trainer) to understand their dog's true feelings about the crate. Once you watch your dog go into the crate on his own, simply to hang out, then you will realize what a treat crate training is to your dog.