Thursday, June 26, 2014

Never Assume!

So I was at a garage sale today.  It was a rather large one with a good number of folks walking around. One of the owners let's out a very pretty female boxer.  No leash, she just lets her out.  The dog stops and looks at all the people.  Her little boxer stub tail is FLAT against her body.  She sniffs around, carefully would go up to a person when they weren't looking to smell a shoe then back peddle out.  Her human is not paying any attention to this.  The only time she looked for her dog was when the dog went across the ally to pee in the neighbor's yard.  She calls her back and says, "oh, you had to go pee", of which of course I had to pipe up loudly and say, "ya, in someone elses yard!".  No response from Human.  In the meantime this very uncomfortable dog was then surrounded by a family with kids.  Her body language is "help"!  She is trying to be friendly, but she's low to the ground, turning quickly around, and if (and I say IF) her human had any sense she would have gotten her out of there.  Moral of the story.  Never think that just because you have a friendly dog that 1) they will be friendly in a situation with a mass of strangers and 2) that your dog won't bite someone in fear, or because they were surprised.  What would have been the right way to handle this was Human would have had her on leash and then let folks pet her.  On her own, this little boxer was worried.  I felt bad for her knowing she was doing the best she could.  Someone said "wow, I've never seen such a calm boxer before"...of which of course I said, "she's not calm, she's reserved."   Ah, yes, forever trying to be politically correct!! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Obedience helps behavior!

As I spoke with a couple folks today I was reminded how important it is to have a baseline of obedience instilled in your pup.  I often get the question of how to stop barking, or pulling, or jumping up on people.  My first question is always, have you taken an obedience class, and if yes, the response it what can you dog do reliably for you. If the answer is no, we talk getting into a class asap!  Dogs that don't get into the "habit" of working with you won't stop barking just because you say so.  Teaching a dog to do small things for you on a regular basis, like sitting, doing a quick down, a short stay, a consistent recall.  These are ways to get into your dog's brain.  To set his computer on "respond" when you ask something instead of "why?".  Obedience helps in so many little ways that often folks don't even realize.  Having that bond of knowing your dog will listen to you means that when you have a problem arise, i.e., a barking issue, when you go to start mending it, he'll understand what's being asked of him.  So keep your dog on his toes, asking small tasks of him during the course of a day.  Let him know how brilliant he is when he responds and enjoy that wagging tail!