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