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Monday, April 27, 2009

 

If your dog COULD talk!!

 

 

I am a dog. Nothing more or less. I DO NOT know how to communicate in a human world. I only know the language of dogs.
When you talk to me, please understand I have no idea what you are saying. I am not being stubborn or stupid. I will not learn the things you want me to know, until you teach them to me. Teaching is not comprised of yelling, hitting, and pointing. If you do those things I will become scared, frustrated, and confused.
I am talking all of the time. Not with words, but with body language. If you watch my ears, eyes, nose, lips, mouth, tail and posture you will see what I am saying. If you don't understand the message, please find someone who does. I am counting on you.
I am a canine, not a little person in a fur suit. Please respect my heritage. If you treat me like a person, I will treat you like a dog. I need a patient, confident and consistent leader. If you don't provide that for me, I will provide it for myself. My behavior is your responsibility. If I am hyper, exercise me. If I am scared, socialize me.
I will not intentionally do bad things. I will live according to dog law. I will not do things that are contrary to canine behavior, although canine behavior may be contrary to you. All of my quirks can be mended to an acceptable level with time and teaching. Please don't set unrealistic expectations on my ability.
I can be trained to do many things. Some of my doggy cousins can lead the blind, hear for the deaf, comfort the sick, assist the police, sniff out the missing, guard the sheep, round up the cattle, help the disabled and rescue those in danger. I too can perform many great things.
Don’t spend all of your money on my purchase, toys and vet. care. Save money for my training. It will ultimately save my life and your valuables!!
XOXO,
Your devoted dog!

 

 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

 

My dog ate my.....

 

 

You can fill in the blank here. My dog ate my...... has been on the top of the list this month. I have to say in all the years I have been training, I have not had a month like this one. I have had 3 puppies this month, in training, who have ingested and swallowed foreign material and matter warding a trip to the Vet. One of the puppies had to have surgery, one had to stay 2 nights in the emergency room, and the other was unharmed. Just like children, puppies put everything in the mouth. Because they don't have hands, they pick it up and want to feel and smell how the object tastes. When dog trainers and Vets tell owners they need to keep their puppy in a "Puppy Safe" environment on a leash with 100% supervision, we do this because we see the big picture. We have seen it all. We don't say this to be cruel, we don't say it because we are hyper vigilante, we say these things because puppies get into mischief when you don't watch them.

I saw a new client yesterday with a 16 week old puppy who is being left alone in their apartment while they are at work. All the bedroom and bathroom doors are shut and the puppy has access to the kitchen and the living room. This is inappropriate confinement for any puppy. This puppy is being left unsupervised for 8 hrs a day, while they are at work. While I was sitting on the floor advising them as to why this is not a good practice, they told me they had not had any problems with this arrangement and he was really good. Just as I was telling them what dangers were around the house for a young puppy, I noticed a wire on the ground attached to a video game. The wire was frayed and mangled and was obviously not suppose to be that way. So, I asked them if this wire was like that or if it had been victim of puppy antics? I already knew the answer. They were shocked he had done this and were totally unaware. I then let them know they were lucky this wasnt a live wire and the puppy was not electrocuted.

Puppy number two is a dog I have had in training for many weeks now. He too has alot of "House Freedom" and is confined while the owners are away. They do everything correct in terms of puppy safe practices around the home. They called me in the AM and told me he had thrown up his dinner the night prior, threw up multiple times in the night and breakfast the morning they were calling me. They wanted to know if they were over reacting by making a vet appointment. I told them absolutely get him in ASAP, because what they were describing sounded like a blockage somewhere. Well low and behold their was, a nylon woman's dress sock. It has lodged it's way into the intestines of the pup and had to be surgically removed. Apparently although the clothes were in the laundry basket the puppy managed to pull the sock out through one of the holes in the side of the hamper. He was unsupervised for enough time to locate the sock, pull it out and ingest it. 2000 dollars later, he is doing just fine.

Pup number 3 ingested something not designed for digestion. This particular client called and was fed up with the Vet because her puppy had diarrhea for the last week in a half and wanted to know if I could recommend someone else to her to get to the bottom of his problems. She told me what was going on and what the Vet had recommended, however the diarrhea seemed to be getting worse not better. She said he was eating and in great spirits, but the diarrhea was out of control even with a chicken and rice diet and medication. I referred her to my Vet and told her too, SOUNDS LIKE A BLOCKAGE! So, $350.00, a trip to emergency at 1:00 in the morning, 2 nights in Vet care, he too is doing fine. He passed his foreign body and did not need surgery. Whew!

Puppies are like garbage disposals. I have seen them ingest all of the following

Paperclips, rubber bands, large sewing needles, thumbtacks, push pins, ponytail holders, hearing aids, baby diapers, pacifiers, money and change, sheets, socks, underwear, bra wires, shoelaces, nails, spools of thread and yarn, feminine hygiene products, plastic bags, corn cobs, and the list goes on and on.

Keep in mind that these are not BAD puppies....These are PUPPIES!! Regular, active, run of the mill puppies. Most folks feel guilty about confining the puppy in their life, however I think the guilt is more centered around long hours away from their pet and people believe they are being mean by restricting freedom (see post,"When can I leave my puppy loose in the house and the yard"). Puppies require an intense amount of time to turn them into the pet you want in your life ( see post," Do you have the time"). In case you were wondering what constitutes a puppy? Any dog under 2 years of age is considered a puppy. Yes, two years of age.

So the moral of the story is this:

Supervise your puppy while it is loose in your home. Set up a designated area for your puppy where he or she can be a puppy and chew on appropriate toys. While you are away, confine your puppy to keep him safe. Check your home for potential hazards your puppy may encounter. Train your puppy. Don't set your expectations greater than your puppy's ability, and ALWAYS consult your Vet for any health issues you don't believe are normal for your particular puppy. Sometimes waiting to see if it will PASS can be the difference of life and death.

 

 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

 

Why does my dog go crazy when he see's other dogs on a walk?

 

 

What you are experiencing is territorial aggression, dog aggression or leash aggression. Not every dog displays this behavior. This can be caused by many circumstances to include, but not limited to fear, frustration, dominance and protectiveness. Many dogs have had negative experience in early stages of devolopment or lack of socialization that can bring this problem on. It can range from mild to severe, and in some cases can be owner induced. Whichever the cause, the dog in question needs to be evaluated by a professional to diagnose the problem and deal with it accordingly. Aggression should not be excused, it needs to be addressed.

 

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Housebreaking accidents after Doggy Daycare

 

 

At doggy daycare it is a free for all. The dogs go potty whenever they want. If it is an indoor facility it makes matters worse. You have same sex dogs running and marking and mounting and competing and claiming territory and playing. So it isn't uncommon for the young dog to loose his housebreaking after a week of mayhem. All the hard work you put in goes out the window. Good news, easily regained with a little structure. I don't know if you crate trained your dog, but you need to go back to that for a while. How long? Cant say, but usually a week or two to get back on track. It is the price you pay when you do cage free. Putting dogs in caged boarding is not such a bad thing. It keeps their denning instinct in tact and keeps things structured. Especially in a young dog coming into maturity. I always crate after a board stay. Just to remind them of the rules.

Again, I would go to the vet to rule out UTI but if all checks out....

 

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UTI and Bladder stones

 

 

Having potty accidents on an otherwise housebroken dog? Is your dog peeing in the house, when for as long as you can remember, has held for hours? Well, he or she may have a UTI, or even worse, a bladder stone.

I recently, this summer, have had many dogs here at the house. Many of you know I have 4 dogs of my own and from time to time I watch clients dogs in emergency situations. Well starting in June, I have had as many as 9 dogs in and out my door. Males and Females ranging in size of small and Large, puppies and adults. And I would be lying if I said I have not had any accidents. All together, maybe 3 or 4. So, when I caught my Female Pug peeing on top of another spot, I suspected she was marking. She tends to be territorial, marking on walks and barks at the occasional passer by, so I corrected her and took her outside when she was caught.

When I take my dogs to the bathroom, I walk them on grass here in my neighborhood. Being that my pug is a female, she squats; being she is small, she is very low to the ground. It makes it very difficult for me to see the urine coming out of her and I also don't make it a practice to bend over and examine her pee while she is peeing.

Well as the months went on I noticed her "Marking" more. For the last month I have had a handful of accidents from her, only they have been in very random places. Next to the toilet in the bathroom, right in front of me on the balcony, in the crate in the car. So, yesterday I went on patrol to examine her urine. Low and behold, she had urine that was brown. I put a Urine catch under her as she was peeing, and was amazed at the dark color.

Now, keep in mind that I have had my female Aussie in the Vet for Staph infections in the bladder once or twice in 13 years, and I know the traditional signs and symptoms of UTI's. However this one was traditional, but not out of the ordinary for this particular pug. She is the kind of dog that usually marks on a walk multiple times. She also will pee over the top of another dogs urine almost immediately after they have peed, and licks her "Twitter" daily to keep it clean. So although these are all signs, this is 100% normal behavior for her.

I took her to the Vet and she has a very bad Bladder infection, and has developed a bladder stone. The stone thickens and irritates the lining of the bladder causing it to bleed and is very uncomfortable for her. However, she shows no signs of being in pain. The "Marking" I was seeing was straining, other than that, she had no other symptoms.

So, if I have said it once I have said it a million times..."Before you try and solve Housebreaking problems, you must rule out infections first. Your dog will thank you for it.

 

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Friday, February 27, 2009

 

When can I leave my puppy loose in the house and yard?

 

 

If there are two words that don't go together in dog training, it is "Loose" and "Puppy". I believe this is where owners get into a lot of trouble. Puppies need to be confined in safe areas till they are mature enough to venture out into the rest of the house and yard. Have the puppy restricted into a puppy safe area to ensure the safety of your home, landscaping and patio furniture. If you give a young puppy too much freedom at an early age, chances are he will get into tons of mischief. Puppies get in trouble just when you least expect it. I usually hear my clients say, " I just ran upstairs for a minute!". A minute is all a puppy needs to find himself in trouble. If you are going to take your eyes off the puppy for anything, he MUST be confined.

Owning a puppy is a big responsibility and I am sorry, but that is just the way it is. If you had a 1 yr old child, you wouldn't take your eyes off him unless he was in the crib or a playpen. The same holds true for a puppy. Now, some pups are a little more low key that others, but if you want to ensure success, keep him safe. You will have 10+ yrs with your dog, this is a small price to pay in the beginning to mold your puppy into a model citizen. Puppies do not have hands and in their quest to conquer, they put everything in their mouths. They smell it and taste it. Supervised trips, on a leash, to the rest of the house is needed to familiarize the puppy with his surroundings. However, you cannot and should not give your young puppy any credit.

Your house in the eyes of a young dog is the equivalent of Disneyland to a small child. Puppies have to earn freedom, that way it tastes better. You run the risk of your puppy jumping on counters and tables, chewing on furniture, sorting the laundry, eating your shoes, chewing children's toys, getting in the garbage, chewing wires and cords, and sending you into bouts of frustration. Some of these items can be VERY dangerous to a pup and his digestive tract, not to mention the cost of the ruined items. So, my advice is as follows: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Don't feel guilty confining your dog! You will feel worse if he gets hurt, slips and drowns in the pool or digs under the gate and runs away.

 

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Correction Collars

 

 

I decided to write this post after hearing a story from a fellow trainer and friend. I have told similar stories in the past, to clients, but this one is a little closer to home.

In the process of training a dog there are many different TOOLS a trainer holds in the "Bag of tricks". Correction Collars ( choke chains) happen to be one of those tools. I have used them for years on certain dogs, and I use them now as part of my training process. Not everyone uses them and not every owner agrees with them, however they can be invaluable in the grand scheme and big picture of TRAINING certain animals. With that being said, I want to preface they are a TOOL. They are not a collar!!! They do not and should not take the place of a flat buckle collar. I have seen people use them as such. They do not and should not have tags attached to them, and they are used ONLY when the dog is in TRAINING MODE, or under the supervision of the owner. When TRAINING has finished, they are to be removed, and put in a safe place till the next TRAINING session. Below is a story that happened to a client of a training partner of mine.

I received a phone call last week from a friend who asked me who to call to remove a dead dog of someones property. I asked her what had happened and she relayed to me that the owners of three dogs had been in an accident that resulted in the death of one of the three dogs at the home. Apparently, the owner had left town for the weekend and left her three Labrador Retrievers in the care of a family member. While the caregiver had left for the day, the dogs were outside, as they had always been, until the caregiver was to come back. In the small time she was gone the dogs had managed to get tangled in the chokers that had been left on them. The puppy (7months) was playing with the sister ( 6yrs old) and got his mouth caught in her chain. The puppy then panicked and twisted and fought to free himself and in the process strangled the 6 yr old dog to suffocation. The puppy received cuts and bruises to his JAW, TEETH, MOUTH, GUMS, NOSE, EYES, NECK, AND FACE. He was in critical condition due to the swelling around his neck that made it difficult for him to breath. He has recovered, however, the 6 yr old was lost in the process.

I hate when I hear stories of preventable accidents, but this is why as a trainer, I always tell you to remove your choker. I have clients who battle me on this with excuses as to why they don't remove them. I don't care what excuse you give me, I will NEVER tell you it is okay to leave on TRAINING equipment if you are not around.

 

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