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