Thursday, September 15, 2011

Are Car Rides good for you dog?

I see alot of folks taking their dogs along when they go on errands, and then leaving the dogs in the car while they shop. It's an interesting thought process we have that dogs actually enjoy going in the car for just a ride. Here's just another way to look at it - through your dog's eyes.

You get ready to go somewhere and you tell your dog he gets to go. He's very excited and happy. Jumps in the car, settles into his favorite spot (PLEASE don't let that spot be hanging his head out of the car while you drive!). He's with you - things are going past him, he's happy. park the car, leave the dog alone with the window cranked down a bit for air. He sees you walking away, he's stuck in the car. So now you've left him. Some dogs lay down and sleep - nothing else to do is there. Others, however, then get nervous. They are the ones that you've seen that bark at everything moving in the parking lot. You just put your dog in charge of "guarding" your car, in his eyes. He's not very good at guarding - as a matter of fact, at home when he barks at everything moving on the street or in his yard you seem mad about it. Here, however, in the car, there is no one to stop him. He gets to rehearse his "guarding" behavior over and over. Then he goes home and continues it. And you get on him for it. How confusing to a dog is that!

Think hard about whether or not you should bring your dog on ride with you. Being alone in a car can be stressful, or just plain boring! Yes, they love being with you, but actually watching you walk away can be a tough thing in their head.

Spend a little time playing ball or cuddling before you leave on your errands - they'll be waiting happily for you to return!

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The long term effects of training your dog!

Training your dog is more than just a duty - it's a lifestyle! Often folks will call with naughty dogs, and when I ask how many obedience classes they have done with their dogs they either say none, or one. And usually it's been years since the dog was in a class.

If you want your training to stick, per se, you MUST keep it up. A nicely trained dog for the house has done a minimum of two classes, and their owners practice and keep up the work once classes are done. The mistake folks make is they'll take one 8 week Beginner class and stop. It's silly because for dogs, learning obedience and good behavior is like us learning a new language. I took two years of Russian in high school. Once I graduated I never spoke it again, and it didn't take many years for it to all be gone. Today I can remember about 5 words.

Your dog is in the same situation. Folks will tell me "in class he was so good, but now he's doing this or that". Well, if the owners didn't do "continued ed" with their dog, the 8 weeks of training is not going to stick!

I find that dogs who owners have kept up their obedience past the classes, are much calmer dogs. They generally don't have any phobia's, fear or aggression because they know they can count on their owners to tell them what to do, and they know how to do it! I always tell folks that a nice down stay is like an emergency brake. If your dog is heading in the wrong direction, or acting up, simply telling them what to do instead, in a simple manner, can turn that dog completely around.

So keep up your training - do more than one class and keep practicing speaking "training" to your pup! Maybe even take a fun class now and then with your pup just for the enjoyment of doing something with him. You'll find years down the road that your dog is still one, very nice pup to live with!

Deb S
Everee, Eli and Corky

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Been A While!

Wow, been a while since I blogged here ! sorry for being gone so long!

Have been very busy getting a new lease done on our existing building. We've been there ten years and it was time to renew. We negotiated a nice ten year lease with a ten year option on the end, plus we are getting AIR CONDITIONING in both of our buildings! Very exciting as this has been one long, hot summer, and I know you all already know that. This should be going in soon, like the next week or so. It means we won't have to close down next year when it gets so hot. Can't believe I went ten years without it! We are also getting a new heat system with it, so no more loud blowers going in the building - nice forced air! I'll take that in a paw print!

Hope everyone is hanging in there. It's been as hard on our dogs as on us this summer. I saw some people walking their dogs when it was so hot and humid (the day it got up to 116 with the humidity!) and I just wanted to shake them. I always tell folks, take your shoes off and walk around on the hot pavement in the sun - does it hurt? Well then it's too hot for your dog too!

So, when it's too hot to play outside, get the games going inside! Find it, doggy puzzles, obedience practice - use those brains. Also more chews to gnaw on to help work out stress and energy!

Today it's 74 degrees and I'm actually able to get out into the garden and weed for the first time in over six weeks. My border collie Everee loves to help (she actually pulls on weeds for me, no kidding!). Enjoy your day everyone and .... I'm baaaaack!

Deb S.
Everee, Corky, Eli and our newest additions Harry and Truman (baby parakeets!)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dew Claws

Wow, went to a wonderful seminar this past weekend (Chris Zink DVM) on coaching the canine athlete. Learned that dew claws are a very important part of your dog's balance and that they should be left on! How often do vets tell us to remove them because they could get pulled off and injury would occur? Well, all you have to do is watch the videos from Chris' seminar of agility dogs running, turning, jogging over the dog walk, going up the A-frame and you'll see how much these claws are used. They flex, they move and they grip! Saw a dog using his to keep himself from falling off a dog walk. Amazing stuff.

Without their dews, injuries like torn ligament, tendons, etc. are at a higher risk to happen because they don't have as good of balance on turns, etc. I think I'll take the chance my dog might rip a dew claw vs. a surgery on a torn cruciate!

Food for thought, eh?!!! Always learning something new here!

Deb Schneider
Everee, Eli & Corky

Monday, February 14, 2011

Play with your dog!

Yesterday I had my first session of our new "activity class" - the "scent class". This 3 week fun course is all about playing games where your dog can use his/her nose. To say the least, it was way more fun than I had even anticipated!

But, the moral of this story is this. Dogs love to play with us. Yes, we need to be the leader, we need to set and enforce the rules. We need to set boundaries and do all the right training, etc. However, don't forget to play with your dog. Playing doesn't mean wrestle mania - which alot of our male counterparts like to do! I mean setting up a game where they can use their body, their eyes, their nose. Watching my students "play" was fun. They were so happy, that even the dog that was a bit worried loosened up. We all clapped for each other dogs - we smiled...Alot! The dogs left with their tails wagging and their heads high. They had fun, plain and simple.

Games are whatever you come up with. With my basset Gus, his favorite game was the "pick-em-up Game. It included food, which for a basset is really what's life about. His job was to go find toys and bring them to me. For each toy brought, he would get a cookie. I could get a lot of toys on my lap by the end of our "play"! He had to go "find" them (they were usually just on the floor or in the toy box), but he enjoyed his "search" as he was particular about what he brought. He would RUN to get his toy and RUN to get back to me. I laughed, he laughed, and he ate. A good world for both of us!

So, loosen up a bit, get silly and laugh with your dog. Your games should be something personal and fun. No rules on how to be creative - the only one is have fun!

Enjoy smiling with those pups!

Deb Schneider
Everee, Corky, Eli

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

When is it "time" to say goodbye

I get this question alot - it comes in many ways. But the answer is nearly always the same. You can't wait for your dog to "tell you" that it's time. That said, some dogs can and will tell you. Most folks won't even know why they know, they just do. Trust me, it's your dog telling you.

For other dogs, they will hang on as long as they can because they know YOU aren't ready to let go. Those are the hardest cases for me. Often, when I read a dog he's clearly telling me, "I can't leave yet, she's not ready for me to go". Many dogs stay here, in pain and old age, to take care of us.

I told this story just today to a client, and want to share it again with you all. My border collie Jezzie was the love of my life. She was 14, had lots of hip issues, and was becoming slightly senile. However, I loved her, and truly I never saw the pain she had. She did her absolute best to keep it from me. On the day I decided it was time, I called on Monday and set the date for Friday. It gave me time to say goodbye, to have some "last time for this" things that we did together. By Friday I was surprised to see that my eyes had cleared, and I saw her for the first time as the older, dog in pain that she was. Two things happened, 1) she could let down her front with me and be how she was and 2) I was finally seeing her through eyes that had accepted that it was time. When I let her go on her new journey on Friday, she was happy - came into the vet clinic walking on air. She smiled at me to her final earth moment.

So, when you have a dog that is ill, or getting older, take into consideration more than what the vets ask about quality of life. To our veterinarians quality of life is, does she still eat, go outside, play a little ball? Well, yes. But, are they really happy, or is the pain starting to wear on them. We would all like our dogs to simply pass in their sleep, or come down with something so bad that there is no decision. Sorry, this doesn't happen often. I always say, let your dog pass in dignity, if possible. Your last gift to them can be letting them go.

Sorry for the sad blog today - but, I had the need to write it. Take care all!

Everee, Corky, Eli