Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow Dogs

So I live in Minnesota, land of the Vikings, land of the lakes, and for the last few weeks, land of deep snow and more coming!

So, I have very bored dogs. It's either been too cold, or snowing, or the snow is too deep, to go out and get a good run/play time in the back yard. What to do.

Well, here's some ideas for our snowbound pups! Chewing: it's the top of the list for taking care of a bored, full of energy dog. Chewing relaxes a dog, and takes up energy as well. Be sure you find something that is safe, that the dog will enjoy for more than just 3 mintues. We give raw shank bones in this house - hours of fun, and they last for days and days.

Hide a treat: Show the dog the treat, go into a room where they're allowed and tell him to find it! They will search for a long time, especially if you at first make it easy, and then a little harder each time.

Practice your obedience (yes, you knew that was coming from this trainer!). I do lots of obedience training from the comfort of my chair. Some day I'll have to write a book on that!

Get together with your friends who have dogs and set up a play date in someone's yard. Nothing better than a tired dog!

Lastly, don't forget - if it's too cold for you outside it's too cold for your dog. I saw a man walking his dog when it was below zero here last week. He was dressed warmly, boots, hat, gloves, and his dog was boots, no coat. Canine feet can freeze canine ears can freeze - please use common sense walking your dog!

Stay warm all, and I have found that a blazing fire in the woodburner works like asleeping potion for my dogs. They vie for the best spot in front of it and sleep for hours soaking in the heat! Gotta love that!

Take care all!
Deb, Everee, Corky, Eli

Monday, December 6, 2010

What is Obedience?

Ok, heard a new one today - a client told me her husband, who sat in on the first session of their Level 1 class decided to not come to any more classes because he didn't believe in "controlling" the dog. Oh my goodness, he didn't hear a word I said. (she, however is still coming and doing very well!).

Training is a partnership - training is teaching your dog how to be a good citizen, accepted socially because he's has good manners. Training is developing a relationship with your dog. In class I remind folks that this is not dominance training - it's partnership training. You do this for me and I'll do this for you. You follow my lead and I'll keep you safe from harm. You listen to my command you will stay out trouble with cars, other dogs or people.

So remember, training is essential. Heck, we train our kids, don't we?!! How many times did we tell them to sit quitely, to not interrupt, to say please and thank you, to not talk rudely, etc. Same stuff with our dogs, except we have to talk canine to them!

Enjoy your trained friend - no worries, you're not being controlling, instead, you're caring for your dog and making sure the two of you have a long wonderful life together!

Take care friends
Deb Schneider
Everee, Eli, Corky

Myths on Head Collars

Ok, so I've heard some pretty weird stories from trainers who are anti-head collars, but this one was the worst. Let's get some of this cleared up, ok?

Head halters (Gentle Leaders, halti's) are not dog killers. A vet friend of mine called to talk to me about a client and told me the school they had been to previously would not let them use a head halter because "dogs break their necks and die"! She supports GL's and sells them! Ok, so that's a pretty silly thing to say, plus a very uneducated statement.

The problem I have with head halters are people who are not educated or trained on how to use them. They use them like they use their slip or prong collars, and do harsh pops with them. These collars are meant for "pressure on, pressure off" - meaning you pull back applying pressure and release it immediately when the dog is where they should be. Because you're simply turning the head (not cranking on it) there isn't a chance to "break a neck". And so many uneducated folks allow the dogs to be out in front rather than walking nicely with you on heel command. Out in front they constantly get their turned, and pressure is applied non-stop. This is a collar that stops pulling, but only if you use it right. If a dog rushes forward, he won't get hurt because you have the dog so close to you, it's a quick correction - if he's out in front and then rushes forward you'll have a dog flipping back to you. Thus, just like any other training collars (including the prong) - if the dog is allowed enough space to run they will get a leash correction, and a prong or slip will do major damage to a neck as well.

Bottom line folks - use the collar that bests fits your dog's personality and temperment. Some are soft enough to train on a buckle, others will need more "pressure" in their training collars. Don't start with the highest pressure (prong) if you haven't tried the others first - let your dog "earn" what he's working on. And remember, a training collar should be short-term. We want to get him off that as quick as we can and working on a buckle (or flat) collar!

By the way - the vet said in all her years of working she has NEVER seen a dog die or even have any neck issues using a GL. Many many vets sell these collars because they believe in them. If it was true they caused physical issues, why in the world would our vets support them!

Have fun with the snow my friends! Two of my three love it (can you guess who doesn't?)

Deb Schneider
Everee the BC, Eli the Bloodhound, Corky the yorky

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I'm on a new path, developing a new class for the school called "Partnership" and "Partnership Plus". There's been some bad press on dog training and daycare in our region. It made me think hard on some things. Although I am a strong supporter of positive reinforcement, including clicker training, I decided I wanted folks to do more than just train their dog to sit/down/stay. I want them to connect. Dogs that are connected to their humans (and visa versa) love to learn, love to listen and are overall a joy to live with (and we're a joy for them!).

The partnership class is going to take a team that has been through a basic Level 1 class with us (have to have a foundation to start with) and bring them together as a team. The class will be off leash - after all, the first piece is to have your dog WANT to hang around you! For dogs who can't handle other dogs in their space, we'll have a Partnership Plus class, where we'll do the same exercises but dogs will be on a soft, long leash. My goal is to have people and dogs LIKE being around each other. Where there is a relationship - after all, isn't that why we all got our feel like they enjoy us as we do them? This class will have no force training, no dominance exercises. But, fun will be had, and respect and love will flourish!

You can bet I'll keep you posted as I develop this new program and it hits the "mats" in the school!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving - and as always, be sure to know exactly where your emergency vet is before you need them, as pets always get sick on Sundays and holidays!

The best of the day to you all!

Deb Schneider
Everee, Corky, Eli

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How to Make a Border Collie Sleep!

Had to add this fun piece. We had a bad storm here in Minnesota on Saturday. I was home alone with my two dogs, Everee the Border Collie and Corky the yorky. My husband was at the Bloodhound Nationals in Georgia with his boy Eli.

It really was an intense storm. So, I decided it was time for our first fire in our beautiful wood burning stove in our living room. It's such a lovely, warm thing for sure. Heats our whole house for hours and hours. Anyway, I get a fire going, and because it's like 34 degrees outside it doesn't take much to heat up the house. Ends up getting to about 76 degrees at it's warmest. It felt great although I usually keep it at 70. I was watching a movie, and suddenly realized Everee was sleeping in front of the woodburner. She slept for like 5 hours, non-stop. This never happens! That warm, wood heat just knocked her out. I actually watched a movie without any interruption of "play ball" or had any toys tossed in my lap. Amazing! I can't wait to try it again soon!

Deb Schneider
Everee, Corky and Eli

Positive Training

Saw a news piece on Fox 9 about a training/daycare center. It was very disturbing. I was sad for the dogs, and also sad that this definitely put a dark mark on my profession - that of dog trainer and daycare facilitator.

Be sure to read my post on finding a good trainer. Although this was horrible, there were still alot of people there training their dogs, where I heard a dog scream in pain, ears being pulled, etc. If people didn't pay this business, they wouldn't stay in business. Remember, YOU sign the check, your dog doesn't have a say.

That said, one thing to remember is that when an obedience school or dog trainer says they use positive reinforcement, be sure to ask them exactly what they mean by that. In this news piece I saw dogs being harshly corrected on a pinch collar, and then food was shoved at them. Ok, so they can say they use food, which means they can say they use "positive" reinforcement. I think this word is sorely misused in the dog training business. So, again, be sure you know exactly how a school runs before you write the check! Training styles vary widely - be sure you check them all out - we are NOT all the same!

Good training!
Deb Schneider
Everee the BC, Corky the Yorky, Eli the bloodhound (who earned his Rally Novice Title at the Bloodhound Nationals last week at the age of ten months....yaaaah Eli!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Name Game

Your dog's name can make a difference in how he listens to you. Let me explain! When deciding on a name for your pup, keep in mind that dogs love the higher up sounds. So, having a name end in ie or a long ee or even aa is music to their ears! Dogs think high tones are fun and good times, low tones are potential warnings (like a growl).

When naming a pup, it's a great idea to have a name that you enjoy. However, try to stay away from the names that end or begin in an "O". Remember, if you're using the word "NO", then a dog named Domino might think he's in trouble.

Names that don't end or begin in O are certainly ok - but be sure your dog likes the sound. It's easy to "test drive" a name on a puppy or dog. We did that with a rescue that we eventually adopted. He came with the name Winston. We tried out some names on him, with no response. Then one day my husband and I were talking and he asked what I thought of the name Flint. I said "Flint?" and immediately the boy turned his head and looked at me. I used it again a couple times and he obviously loved the sound. So Flint he became and he loved his name (and so did we!).

If you're adopting a dog, rename him immediately. Let his past life go as well as the name. No need to remind him of that as he's your's now. His new name will give him a new life. And, you'll be naming him, so he'll mean even more to you! This goes for dogs that you know, as well as dogs that come from foster homes. New name - new life with you. Always change it!

Remember, his name should make him want to stop, look and listen! So nothing negative ever goes with his name. No, " bad dog" or using a low menacing "fluffy...what are you doing?" Only happy tones with his name - if he doesn't look at you, your command to him will most likely not be "heard". So play saying your dog's name and rewarding them with kisses, hugs and an occasional treat. They'll love you even more for it!

Have a howling happy day!
Deb, Everee, Corky and Eli

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finding a Good Trainer

Wow, I did some checking and there are alot of folks out there "training" now. In the days I started you were lucky to find just a few of us.

Here's some thoughts on finding the trainer that is right for you. First, it's always good to get a referal, either from a friend or even better your vet. Veterinarians hear alot of the good and bad of their client's training experiences.

Always call and chat with the trainer/owner of the business. There are a few certifications you can have as a trainer, but to be honest, they all require you passing a written test, which is fine, but book learning and years of experience are really two different animals. A good trainer has been doing this for longer than just five years. They have dogs that have titles, either with AKC or other venues that prove they are able to train their OWN dogs to do more than just sit and stay. They are involved in other organizations. Hopefully they give their time and expertise to these folks as well for either a lower rate or even better free. A good trainer not only has to have a deep well of knowledge, they have to be able to relate it to other folks. Nothing worse than a trainer that comes up to you, tells you you're doing it wrong, but doesn't have any other ideas to help you! How often I've heard folks who say their dog "flunked" training school. Nope, they didn't flunk, the trainer did.

Be sure you go and watch a class before you sign up and turn over your money to someone. There are many approaches to training, and we certainly don't train all the same. Even folks who "say" they use positive training - it's all how they perceive it, there's nothing written in stone in what that actually means.

So take your time checking out your potential trainer - you will be trusting them with one of your most treasured possessions, your relationship with your dog!

Deb Schneider
Corky the yorky, Everee the border collie, Eli the bloodhound

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So your dog was attacked

Ok, I have to get this said! So many times I get calls about dogs who are "dog aggressive" because when they were young they were attacked by another dog. Let's take closer look at this, ok?

First, if your dog was actually living in a dog pack and this happened, he would have to get over being fearful of his own species in order to survive. That said, of course now you are the pack to your dog. So, here's how to handled your pup if he's been hurt by another dog.

First, of course, take care of him medically. Once he's back to good health, it's time to "get him back in the saddle" per se. Most people spend alot of time "protecting" their dog from other dogs once this has happened. Small dogs will get scooped up when another dog comes along, or larger dogs will be taken to the other side of the street. We influence greatly how our dogs will heal from being attacked. Because we most likely saw the attack, we ourselves get nervous when a loose dog is out, or you're passing an excited dog. Your dog will read this, and assume (and rightly so) that it's the other dog causing this. This re-affirms to your dog that other dogs are scary! So, our first peice of work is to calm ourselves when we walk by other dogs. I would be giving my worried pup pieces of turkey (high value treat) as we see and pass another dog. Once you're past the dog, the turkey goes away. This will help reassociate what a passing dog means, making the dog comes a I get turkey?!! it also gives you something else to focus on rather than your worries.

Second you want to find a dog that is low keyed and trained to walk nice with which you can go on walks with. Hopefully you have a friend or neighbor that would love to join you on a walk. At this stage there is no interaction between the two dogs, just nice walking with each in heel position next to their person.

Third step, you will want to let your dog interact with the friend he's been walking with for a couple weeks. It's important that your dog find a dog friend (outside of his home pack) to play or spend time with. Even if their interaction is simply walking around the yard sniffing, the fact your dog is there with another dog and is not being attacked builds confidence for both of you!

Ideally you want to add to his "friend" list, having play dates with dogs that are not over the top scary in their play at first, and then finding dogs that fit your dog's play style as he starts to come out of his shell and get back to what he was before.

So often when I ask the question "does your dog aggressive pet have dog friends outside of home" the answer is no. Because the people were afraid and kept that fear instilled in their dogs.

So, don't let your pup stew in his worries - help him through it. Otherwise, trust me, they'll carry this fear with them the rest of their lives and it's not fun for you or him! My feeling is every dog should have a dog friend, even if it's just one. And please note this does not mean you should force your dog to meet strange dogs on a could be set back months or years if your dog had a bad interaction with a strange dog, ok?!!!

Hope this helps!
Deb Schneider
Corky, Everee & Eli

Open House - what a success!

Our Open house was a wonderful success. The weather was beautiful, sunny, cool but not cold, and definitely not windy. A blessing of a day for sure. We had 106 families and dogs come through. Lots of fun things to look at/purchase, a wonderful holistic vet who was so busy I don't think she even had a chance to "exercise" herself! And the rescue groups had great booths enticing folks to come and talk to them! We collected what looked to me like over 800 pounds of dog food. The rescue groups were digging in after I announced they could take what they wanted. All that was left was a few bags of Purina products which we brought to the food shelf this week. Overall, it was a most pleasant day. We're already thinking about next year, which will be our 5th annual open house and I'm thinking we need to get media there this time.

Thanks to those that came and supported this cause and hope to see more of you next year!

Deb Schneider
Corky, Everee and Eli

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Watch Deb on Kare 11 News 9/17/10 at 5:50 a.m.

Heads up that I'll be on Kare 11 Sunrise News this Friday at 5:50 a.m. (hey, it IS called Sunrise news!). I'll be chatting with Kim Ingsley about being a respectful and responsible pet owner, and Everee my border collie will be making her T.V. debut! She is the PR dog in training. Corky the yorky usually does my t.v. spots with me, but he's graciously letting her have some training time! Tune in, or go to Kare 11's website around 10:00 and they'll have the clip there to watch!

Deb, Corky, Everee and Eli

Dog deemed dangerous

Ok, so here's an interesting story. Talked to a person yesterday who took a dog from a guy (and I'm thinking it might have been off Craig's List) who needed to get rid of the dog because the dog kept running away, and he was being fined every time they brought the dog back. Evidently they also deemed the dog dangerous because he was CHASING people on bikes, etc. around. This dog, by the way, was a large, working breed dog (no need to say what - you get the idea and no, it's NOT a pitbull or an am staff!).

So she takes this dog home. Wants to do therapy work with him because he is so sweet - puts his head on her lap all the time (she's had him a very short time). First, please don't ever take dogs that are deemed dangerous by the city or county they live in. The unfortunate piece is that as long as she doesn't live in the same town or county, he won't be deemed dangerous where she lives. We wish we could make it a state wide net, but that's not how it works. So now the dog can start all over again and possibly hurt someone again.

Our conversation took a turn south when she realized in order to do therapy work she would have to TRAIN the dog! And that meant spending about $300 for 3 classes (including the therapy dog class) and that was too much money for her. Moral of the story - if you take on a dog that has issues, that's perfectly ok, but dedicate yourself to helping this dog not repeat what got him in trouble in the first place! But please please please, don't take on a dog deemed dangerous unless you knew the dog, knew that the situation wasn't his fault and trusted that it won't happen to you!

Oh, by the way, she also WANTED him to look out of control and scary on walks because she felt safer that way with him. Oh, it got better and better, and yes, I have holes in my tongue holding back what I really wanted to say!

Ok - I'm better, thanks for reading and come see us this Sunday Sept. 19 for our Open House between 10 am and 2:00 p.m. Directions to our school in Woodbury is on my website!

Deb Schneider and Corky the york, Everee the border collie and Eli the bloodhound!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

AllBreed's Open House - you're invited!

We're planning our 4th Annual Open House and would love for you to come! Below is our invite - hope to see you there!

When: Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010
Where: AllBreed Obedience, 2441 Ventura Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The last three year's event was so successful we're doing it again! This year we will have more rescue group booths, things to purchase for that pup of yours, services for your dog, demo’s and lots of fun! Just a FEW of the highlights are:

AllBreed ‘s info booth manned by Michael and Debra – learn about all our services, or ask Debra behavioral questions!
Dog Readings by Renee (cost is $20 for 15 minutes). Sign up for a time when you come!
Active Dogs will be setting up a small agility yard for you to play in under a trainer's eye!
Demo Ring: Obedience, therapy, CGC testing, herding demo’s and more!
FREE Canine Good Citizen testing done between Noon and 1:00 p.m. (come early to sign up!)
Melissa Shelton, DVM will be there to talk about “alternate” approaches to veterinary care!
Food will again be offered by the Bulldog club! (they did an awesome job the last three years)
Author Jenny Pavlovic will be there with her second new book “Not Without My Dog”.. .
Rescue Groups: A great place to chat with folks about what they do and how they do it!
Barb O’Brien from the Animal Connection will be there to see if your dog can be a STAR!
LS Originals will be there to photograph your dog for a button to wear (cost $5)!!
Mary Moore and her border collie “Partner” will be herding ducks and talking herding!!!

A goody bag will be given out (1 per family), to the first 60 families that arrive!

Again this year we ask that you bring a bag of dog or cat food to give upon entry. The rescue groups will be able to take home a share of it, and any left overs will be given to the Woodbury food shelf. Let’s help those who have landed on hard times!

We hope to see you, your family and of course your dog at this fun, and educational day at AllBreed!

Stop in, eat, play, support our rescue groups and spend some money if you care to! It all goes to a good cause! Entry, of course, is free to you all! Rain or Shine - we'll be there! For Directions go to our website and click on "directions"!

Best of the day to you!

Debra and Michael Schneider, and the entire AllBreed Team!
2441 Ventura Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125 651-704-9785
For directions:

Friday, August 13, 2010

A look in the mirror

Always remember, dogs often "mirror" the energy they feel from us, be it happy, sad, worried or excited. So, the next time your dog seems a little goofy, or stressed, check in with your own emotions and see where you're at! Often they reflect the energy in the house as well, which is why when the kids come home and things get revved up, so do they. Dogs are connected to us more than you can ever believe!

Have a good one and stay cool - it's been a hot and humid summer here in Minnesota!

Deb Schneider
Everee the Border collie, Corky the yorky and Eli the bloodhound

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's All About You

In my line of work I see many kinds of people. And what I've found is that dog's relate best to the people that are cool, calm and collected when they are working with their dog. In class so often I have to tell students to "put their energy in their feet". When the energy in the room drops, the dogs noteably relax, and behave and listen better. Often I'll take a dog who is having trouble, and within seconds the dog is more relaxed. Yes, I like to think I'm a superior trainer...but the truth being is that when I work a dog, I'm sure of what I'm doing, and my energy shows that, as well as being calm.

What is the hardest for me is when folks blame their dog for being hyper, out of control, not listening, etc. It's not the dog, it's us. Granted, I'm a type A person. I want to get things done, and very often I have to give myself that very piece of advice to breathe and slow down. When I show in the obedience competition ring, my own nerves and energy can, if not checked, really affect how my dog works that day.

Remember, dogs, on a regular basis, "mirror" the energy they feel in the room, or the person they're attached to. If you're feeling anxious, so will your dog. If you're bored, your dog will reflect that as well (how often I hear students tell me their dogs are "bored" in class - guess who's really bored!). Think about how a dog acts when the kids come home from school. The energy in the house is boosted up, the dog feels it and went from a sleeping fur kid to a whirlwind of excitement, jumping up, getting into things, etc.

So energy my friends - it plays a HUGE role in how you and your dog relate to each other. The next time you see your dog acting up a bit, do a personal check in and see how things are around the house, or even with you. You might be surprised!

Take care all!
Deb Schneider
Corky the yorky, Everee the BC, Eli the Bloodhound

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Ok, so I'm going to describe a very real situation that happened to me today. As I do, I want you to count off how many "that's not right" things as you read on. First, let me say that I'm certainly not judging this person, but rather reporting what I saw, ok?

Here goes. I stop at a light, there is a small sedan type car next to me (please note that my van has my business name AllBreed Obedience all over it!). There is an older woman driving, probably in her late 60's or so. Next to her on the front seat is a young, probably one year old husky. He (or she) is sitting there, looking like person. This dog is not seat belted in. This dog has no collar on it at all. This dog has the window next to it open as wide as it will go as well as the back seat window behind it. This dog is looking longingly out the window.

My first thought when I looked was that this dog was certainly not what I thought a person her age would have. Let's face it, huskys have energy to burn at midnight! But, I saw her chatting away with the dog and then slapped my own hand a bit. After all, this dog was obviously keeping her company. But, when I saw it was loose, no collar, and a husky to boot (and we all know this breed is great at escaping and loves to go on walk abouts), I just got a little rattled. I did, however, hold my tongue, turned up my radio and drove on when the light changed! No foul, no harm!

I hope they made it home together. I'm seeing way to many dogs these days with wide open windows, hanging out. Saw a man and his dog at the bank - wide open window, dog had on a leash (was in the back seat) but had a prong collar on (and was attached to the leash) and was literally hanging out the window. Great, the dog jumps out, and the prong digs in when he's on the outside of the car. That'll leave a mark!

Ok, so that's my soap box. Please please take care with your fur kids. Just like I've blogged before, think SAFETY for them, ok?!!!

Thanks for listening!
Deb Schneider
Corky the yorky, Everee and Eli

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Safety in the Car

A dog trainer and friend of mine asked that I write a quick blurb reminding everyone about dogs in a car. You've all seen the dog that LOVES to ride with his head hanging out of the completely rolled down window. Most folks might say "oh, look at how he loves doing that". However, folks like myself and other dog savvy folks look at it and say "what is that owner thinking?"!!

Yes, dogs love to feel the wind in their face, but that doesn't mean it's safe for them. You wouldn't let your child hang their head out of the car window going down a street at 50 miles an hour, I'm sure. Sitting on your lap to boot while you drive. Yet, folks let their dogs do it all the time.

The worst isn't the head out the window, it's the fact that this dog isn't buckled in or safe at all. A quick stop and that head is in trouble.

Dogs should be either crated when you drive, or seat belted in. If they're crated (which is my favorite) please remember that the crate needs to be locked in, either with a seat belt, or a bungie cord. A crate that isn't safely tied down becomes a missile in an accident, flying forward or worse yet, out of the car.

Seat belts for dogs are GREAT. It's a harness, and the existing seat belt clips right onto it. The dog can stand, sit or lay down, but is safely belted in if a quick stop or worse, a roll over happens. Yes, you can have the window open and the dog can enjoy the wind coming into the car on his face!

My yorky is at his happiest when I'm in my little VW with the top down. He has a car seat, which is locked in by the seat belt. The car seat has clasps that hook onto his harness (seat belt harness). He's safe, he can see and he loves the wind in his hair. Being small, he is usually in his crate in the back seat with the seat belt through the handle. But, on a warm sunny day when the top can go down, Cork gets to ride in his favorite place.

Folks often say, well he's on the floor in the front, or the back, or he's in my lap, he's safe. Car''s roll, windows blow out, and don't forget the airbags! So keep them there dogs safe, just like we buckle up our kids and ourselves, so should you for your dogs.

It's a hot one today - stay cool and chill inside with your fur friend! Time for bones!

Take care
Deb Schneider
Corky the yorky, Everee the border collie and Eli the bloodhound

Thursday, June 10, 2010

When to Refer to your breeder!

There are many good reasons to buy from a reputable breeder, and here are a few.

When I get the call about a dog that is in danger of being put down or given away, particularly because it has bitten someone, I always ask "who is your breeder or rescue group, and have you contacted them?" Unless you've gotten your puppy from a pet store or puppy mill (they're both the same in my book as the puppies come from the same place!), or a private party that bred their dogs "just because", then you have no resources.

But, if you've purchased your pup from a breeder who backs up what they do, which includes a contract, that's a good thing. Even if you purchased your dog from a rescue, you often can contact them as well. These folks want to help you. Breeders will often offer to take the dog back from you in lieu of putting the dog down. I've heard of two breeders in the past month that offered to take the dogs into their homes for a month and see if they can work on the problem for the owners. That's a great breeder!

So, before you think you're going to have to either 1) put your dog down or 2) give him up to a rescue, go back to where you purchased him from and see if there is help for him.

This is why it's important to have a contract from whomever you purchase from. Contracts protect the breeder/rescue group, the new owners and most importantly, the dog!

I have to say 99% of the time I'm in the dog's corner, and that often if we could just give them a fresh start they would be able to turn things around.

Have a good one!
Deb S.
Corky the yorky, Everee the BC, Eli the bloodhound

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My dog is Friendly!

Ok, so here's a quick reminder. Often I work with reactive dogs. These are the dogs that are not accepting of other dogs, or sometimes even humans. At least once during my work with a client they tell me that they were out on a walk, doing a good job keeping their own dog on task and under control. Along comes another owner and his/her dog, on a flexie (retractable leash), dog is in front of the human by at least 10 feet or more and pulling his way towards you. I tell them to call out that you are training, and could you pull your dog in. Then they get the reply back - no worries, my dog is Friendly! Well, nice, but your dog isn't comfortable wiht it. What do you do? First, tell them in a very clear fashion that your dog is NOT comfortable with other dogs and walk in the other direction. Too often folks think that because their dog is friendly, they should be allowed to go up to any and all dogs, and then, when their dog gets bit by your reactive dog, YOU will be to blame. Who's really to blame here? The dog who started it by approaching when told not to. But trust me, that person will be blaming your dog and not taking any of the responsbility at all.

So, please, good for you if you have a friendly dog, but rule of thumb is to not let your dog interact with strange dogs. You don't know if this dog has a history or not of biting - owners can be very reluctant to say "oh, by the way, my dog took a chunk out of another dog's ear last week". Some folks will let your dog come up to their dog to "see" what happens.

So, wave, say hi and go on your way, keeping your dog right next to you. Socializing is great - with dogs you know and trust. Get together with your friends and have dog play dates. It's important you know who your dog is interacting with so you can relax and enjoy the play! Nothing better than watching your dog have fun playing with a friend, in a nice lawnchair with a cool drink and friend to chat with!

Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When to call a trainer!

This will be a short and sweet entry today. At least twice a month I receive calls from folks who have dogs that are 5 years or older who have aggression or scary behavioral issues. That's ok, but what is always the same old same old is that when I ask how long this has been going on the usual answer is since they were young (like even six months!). When I ask why they waited so long to call me about it it's usually because the behavior is getting worse, or, the dog bit someone and they are in trouble. NOW they want to someone to "fix it" for them.

I guess I'm always surprised at the blinders folks can put on when it comes to the behavior of their dogs. Please please please, if your dog starts growling at you over a bone, food, space, or shows fear of children or people...CALL a trainer or behavioralist immediately. Don't "wait" to see if he will hurt someone (or you!). Dog's toss out tons of flags before they ever get to the behaviors I get called on about. Read those flags - if your dog is suddenly getting possessive, don't make excuses for him (i.e., well, I did after all push him off the couch, he just got mad!). Nope, no reason ever for your dog to bite or snarl at you unless he's in pain or afraid. It's so much easier for me to help folks out when this was just the first episode for the dog vs. the dog has had many many "rehearsals" doing the behavior and now I have to retrain or re-address it.

Bottom line - "nip" it in the bud! I always say it's easier to correct a small problem than to wait until it's big!

Have a super dooper holiday weekend. Hope you have fun things planned for both yourself and that some of those plans include those pups of yours! My Everee just got back from sheep camp, so I'm actually getting to see her completely pooped out for the first time ever! It's great to see a dog tired out from doing what they love to do - for her it's sheep!

Take care

Deb, Everee (the border collie) Corky (the yorky) Eli (the bloodhound!)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Travelling dogs

Just went to the Vet today with Corky for his annual's and his rabies. With the lovely weather I'm sure many of you are planning little trips around the state or even country (lucky you's!). If you are planning on taking your dog, just a reminder that you should always pack his/her rabies certificate in the dog bag. Even if you're just going up to the lake for weekend, take it along. Tags are fine, but can get lost. Actually, I suggest that folks make a copy of their rabies certificate and keep it in their glove box in the car(s). That way you always have one on hand!

When you travel, most states require health certificates to cross over state lines with animals. That said, I know most folks don't ever get them, but you never know when you'll be asked for it. That doesn't mean that every time you travel from Minnesota to Wisc. to visit Grandma you have to have a health certificate, but if you are planning a driving vacation with your dog, where you'll be crossing state lines, it's a good idea. And, if you're planning on going into Canada it's a MUST to have a health certificate.

Health certificates are obtained by going to your vet. They do a check over, and have the paperwork to fill out for you. Shouldn't cost much and the certificate is good for 30 days.

So, make sure you're planning accordingly when you travel with your dog. I always say it's better to be over prepared than under!

Enjoy the weather, which here in Minnesota looks like it's finally going "warm"!!

Deb Schneider
Corky the Yorky, Everee and Eli

Monday, May 3, 2010

Reminder on Walking your dog!

Hey, just a reminder, it's spring, which means many of us homeowners are putting chemicals on our lawns to kill the weeds, fertilize, etc. This goes on all summer, so when you're walking that pooch of yours, remember, don't let them walk on folk's lawns or on lawns that are commercially owned. If chemicals have been put on, many times there are no warning signs out. It's not required that your neighbor has to do that, thus you won't know.

And, remember that no one wants to see a dog peeing in their front yard, when it's not their dog! Yes, you can wave the baggy at them if he deficates, but your dog just left a couple things. One, the grass won't be happy and two, it's a post it note for the next dog to come and leave his name on the "board" as well. Pee attracts pee - right?!!

So be a good neighbor and walk your dog on the sidewalk or street. Your dog will stay healthier and your neighbors will smile at you when you pass!

Enjoy getting out there sharing the great weather with your favorite fur friend!

Everee, Corky and Eli

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stress or Crate Issues?

Just chatted with a client and thought I would remind you all to be sure that if your dog is having trouble being crate trained, be sure what is actually causing the barking and crying in the crate. If indeed it's the crate, you will find that even if the crate is right by your chair while you sit and read a book or watch t.v., he'll be making tons of noises in it. If, when you put him in there he simply whines a bit, but doesn't go over the top like you get when you leave, guess what....he's not unhappy in his crate - he's just unhappy when YOU are not there.

Folks don't often take the time to separate this out, and assume it's the crate the dog is having trouble with. So they get the idea "let's just leave him out" when they leave the house and when they come home they find a stressed dog who chewed up or destroyed something or defecated in the house, etc. A dog who has separation anxiety will not feel better being lose in your house when you are not there because it's all about you and being without you.

This is the same dog that doesn't let you out of his/her sight if possible. That, if you're outside in the yard, or go to get the mail, barks, whines and cries until you get back into the house. Remember, there is a difference in wanting to be out with you, versus needing to be out with you because of anxiety. My dogs will often complain if I leave them inside, but will very quickly say, "ok, she needs her alone time" and go laydown in the house and wait. A needy dog won't settle down until you do get back in.

So, as you work on your crate issues, be sure to talk to your vet or trainer about being sure what you're addressing, and that indeed the right issue is being addressed!

We can talk about how to work with these issues later, but just wanted to to "get that out there"!

Take care all!
Deb, Corky the yorky, Everee the border collie and Eli the bloodhound

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ask Questions!

It's spring and lots of folks are calling about getting their dog into my classes. It's always interesting to see who are actually doing homework on the their potential training school, and who is just "shopping".

Remember, price doesn't dictate what you'll get. Every so often I get a caller asking for price only, and then when I tell them they thank me and hang up. Dog training is not like buying a car. We're not all the same, and you do get what you pay for.

With that said, be sure to ask more than just "how much". Yes, I agree, we're all on a budget here, so asking beyond what the cost is will help you decide if you're getting more for your money with one school vs. another. Here are some good questions to ask when looking for a dog training school to fit your style!

1. What training method do you use at your school? My response to that is "I train with my brain, not my brawn". Folks will tell you they use positive training techniques because they give a cookie here or there during training. Be sure you're comfortable with what they're doing.

2. What training collars do you allow in your school? Hopefully they say any and all, and that the dog dictates what will work, not us. There are many useful tools out there now beyond the prong and slip collars. Find a school that wants to work with your dog's needs, not against it!

3. How many dogs are you a class? Depending on the size of the ring (not the school) will depict how many dogs can be in a class. I take up to 12 in our large ring. And to be honest, even if I had more room, I wouldn't take more. I have an assistant for each class to help the trainer, but too many dogs in a class means you don't get the attention you and your pup need, plus it's just so much more distraction!

4. Is the school handicapped accessible? Ok, so this is an odd question, but think on it. The schools that are concerned about the comfort of their students will have access to those who need it. My school has a ramp up to the door and the bathroom is handicapped accessible with a large door and hand grips.

5. Do you give handouts or workbooks with class? Getting it in writing is important and helpful.

6. Can my partner and I both train the dog? Believe it or not, there are still schools out there that say the dog must have just one trainer throughout the class. This seems silly to me since the dog is living with both partners, and now just one is being educated. I always say it saves on relationships when the "trainer" tells the partner they're doing it wrong vs. the partner saying it!

And of course, always go and watch a class before you sign up. Look to be sure that the space is comfortable, that the folks training are having fun, that there isn't too much "mayhem" going on! Be sure before you sign!

So, bottom line, do your homework before you choose a school. This is an important step for you and your dog and you want it to fit the both of you!

Enjoy the lovely spring we're having!

Deb, Corky, Everee and Eli

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Even Trainers are Human!

Ok, so thought I would remind you all that 9 out of 10 times dogs make mistakes because of their humans! Last Friday my husband and I went to our usual Friday "date", which is an early movie. We left the house about 11:30 a.m. When we got home 2 1/2 hours later, Corky's crate (my yorky), which was left in the front of the house because his owner was too lazy to move it into the garage, was sitting in front our door, with a dog in it! The dog was Corky!!

Come to find out we had accidently left Corky outside in our back yard (which is fenced). My neighbor says she heard a dog barking for about an hour, but assumed it was the neighbor's dog on the other side of her because often that dog barks. Well, it was Corky, yelling to be let in! When that didn't work he decided to go under the gate (of which we usually have a log to block so he can't get out when I'm in the front yard working!) to try the front door. When that didn't work he went on a small walk about the neighborhood, so three of my neighbors say. Only like 1/2 block away, but nevertheless - out! Luckily for me the neighbors got together - all six of them - in my front yard, discussing whether or not this WAS Corky! In the end, one very wise neighbor said, "well, even if it isn't him, let's put him in that box thing, and Deb will know what to do with him if he's not!". Thank goodness I'm in good standing with my neighbors!

Moral of the story - always take a headcount before you leave, even if you have just one dog! Corky usually goes up to my bedroom when we leave, so I very seldom see him anyway, but this reminded me, you can't assume! Especially when there is more than one person letting dogs out in the household. And, because he's such a house dog I don't have any tags on him, just a collar (he is microchipped however).

So did he run away? Good news is no, but he could have easily been picked up and driven away by someone who thought they had found a cute small dog for the taking. Lucky me, my guy stayed close and my neighors thought they knew who he was!

Human error - it will "bite" us every time! Just glad he's where he should be - snoring up in my bed as I type!

Deb and Corky the yorky

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is he Bored?

Ok, so it's been forever since I wrote in here. Glad to be back, can't believe the months went by so fast!

Let's talk boredom and dogs. I hear it all the time in class. My dog is bored. We can only do something once or twice and then he shuts down because he's bored. He's yawning, so he's bored.

Let's remember one thing folks. Boredom is a human emotion. For dogs, if something isn't rewarding, they'll want to go onto something else. I certainly agree with that. So why wouldn't being with their human reward? I would certainly hope your dog isn't "bored" with you!

What happens in training, and in class, is that the "owner" gets bored. Their energy level drops, perhaps they are tired from the day and now have to stand and listen to me for an hour, etc. When that happens your dog, who is very in tune with you says "well you're not working, why should I?" I have yet to take a 'bored" dog in class out as demo dog and have him yawn, look at me and say "what?". When I take that supposed bored dog from the owner, they spark up, and they are in the moment with me for sure. It's all about energy my friends. Yes, I agree, as much as I love training, it can be a bit tedius for us humans. My bassets would play down/stay/fetch as long as I had fun, and of course, was rewarding them with summer sausage! My border collie will play obedience with me as long as I ask with the work being the reward. Different breeds with different work ethics, but each one would have fun with me. When I got tired, their interest would wane.

Dogs are really really good at knowing whether we're being honest or not! So, it's no good trying to fake it if you really don't want to be training. You might get a few minutes or so out of your dog, but very quickly he/she will catch on and start to wander on you. Training when you're up for it physically and mentally is truly the best way to go. We must be connected with our dogs in order to teach them. That takes energy my friends!

And remember, don't think because a dog yawns he's tired. Yawning is a stress release behavior. You'll see it most often in class when we're asking them to down stay or come when called. So when you see it out of context (that being they're coming out of that crate, stretching everything!), a yawn is signal that your dog is feeling a bit stressed. Sress is NOT fear, it's simply a way for them to say, this bothers me a bit but I'm going to handle it.

So start having fun with your training. I play train my dogs alot. We will practice a sit or down or come in the house for no reason but to enjoy it. I like to catch them off guard, toss out a command and then act all silly with them that they did it! If it's fun for you, it's fun for them!

And here's little tip - if you're finding that you just can't loosen up with your dog, put on your favorite music and train. I've discovered that when I see a class is having a hard time keeping their energy up, I'll start them out heeling in the ring, and put on some rocking music - something you just gotta tap your toe to. I tell them to walk with the music, dance if they want to, but keep that dog with them. Suddenly you see smiling handlers and dogs prancing along! It's great!

Have a fun time dancing and training and keep that smile going folk! Take care - I'll be back soon I promise!

Deb s.
Corky the yorky, Everee the border collie and soon to be here Truman the bloodhound puppy!