Doggie Sitting Checkers

Well, I said this blog was coming, and I meant it.  The story of the Pointer I was watching for a few days.

My friend adopted a German Short-Haired Pointer a few weeks ago from a very high kill shelter. They had him for 3 days before they asked me to babysit. They wanted me to doggie-sit (while I had the cute little border collie puppy as well) from Sunday to Wednesday night. I thought this was a great opportunity to get experience with another breed, and work with a shelter dog. I knew this was going to be a pretty significant challenge, especially because this boy was in the shelter for whopping 2 weeks!!

If you work with rescue or shelter dogs, you know how much work they can be, even after being in the shelter for a few days! I was completely unprepared! This boy was a full time job!

Checkers1First thing I noticed: very high energy. This makes it very difficult because I have a high energy dog as well, so managing 2 high strung dogs was the most exhausting thing I have done so far! Boy, what did I get myself into? Well, to make matters even more challenging, he had some aggression towards Napoleon. Nothing I couldn’t handle, it wasn’t severe, and it wasn’t like ‘I’m going to kill you’ aggression. It was because he is un-socialized, and I don’t think he had been around many other dogs before.

Now, I can pick out rude behaviors now [some of them, I’m learning], and immediately saw that Checkers was challenging Napoleon for rank, challenging him to a fight. Napoleon, just ignored him, being the submissive dog he was. Well, Checkers didn’t back down, making Napoleon’s hackles rise up. I also noticed his ears went back, head up, and the lip raising started. That’s when I separated them.

Checkers, again, not being socialized, didn’t care that we were done with the introduction. He was jumping like a maniac, and started snarling at Napoleon. So, I fitted him with a basket muzzle I had on hand. I’m glad I had one! I don’t handle aggression in my training, and this dog has absolutely nothing to do with my business or my training. He was a friend’s dog, and I was asked to watch him for a few days. Just want that to be clearly written here.

Anyway, now that the boys had a chance to be nice, and failed, we left Napoleon outside, and I decided it was time for Checkers to come inside. Just from the first few minutes of being inside, I realized again – un-socialized and has never been inside a house. Out of control jumping on furniture, bolting around the house, and jumping all over the walls. So, on a tether the entire time he was with us.

PetConvincer

My fault. This is what happens when I left something in reach of him getting to it. He completely tore it apart. I’m glad he didn’t get the CO2 container!

Even on the tether, we had to watch him 24/7. He dug at the carpets, chewed on the drywall, baseboards, couches, wired crate, and dug inside the plastic crate while chewing through the holes on the sides. I couldn’t go upstairs for 5 minutes without him. Also, not potty trained. So, again- reason to tether and keep him watched all the time.

Oh, crate training. Yeah – NOT crate trained, and suffers from severe separation anxiety to the point of self-mutilation. He chewed his feet, and chewed the bars until his teeth hurt. So, I switched him to a heavy duty plastic crate instead of a wired crate. This curbed the high pitched whining and constant barking. We had use soft music, a blanket over the crate (which he destroyed), and essential oils just to get him to calm down. We fed meals in the crate, and eventually, I would close the door to my office, and let him roam. He would go in the kennel willingly to rest. Total time of active training to get this achievement: 30 hours. The family says he is accepting the crate very well now, which is awesome. I’m glad I was able to work on this with him.

Is he neutered, you ask? Of course not-the shelter doesn’t do that before they adopt them out. Well, high kill shelters, at least! We also believe he was around 2 years old, meaning he was in his ‘prime’ and was mounting everything. Couches, beds, Napoleon, me, the wall, the air, etc.

Corrections: He did not respond well to any corrections using the Halti. Absolutely no regard for personal space, and would knock you over to get where he wanted to go. He would jump over Napoleon or a couch to get to where he wanted to go. Also, another reason to keep him on a lead. He didn’t ever slow down. Took 4 full days of training, but I curbed the jumping on furniture as well as jumping on people. I used the Pet Convincer, as well as verbal corrections, and he caught on fairly quickly. The Pet Convincer was incredibly effective for correcting him, and eventually I didn’t need to use it anymore, and just used verbal corrections. I think the total amount of active training hours spent was around 8.

Checkers2He was incredibly noise sensitive, and would hide underneath our end table. Not extra loud noises even, like a motorcycle, but things like the TV, washing machine, dish washer, doorbell, garage door, toilet flushing, etc. He got plenty of exposure to this, as I had to stay home with him for a few days because he was so self-destructive while I was gone.

How did he do with my cats? No go. Nada. Neit. Not even close to being ok. Incredibly high prey drive. With his energy level, and the level of aggression he had towards a dog twice his size, I just didn’t even bother with doing introductions for my cats. I was also worried because he chased a bird in the back yard and scaled my fence! Yes, he scaled my 7 foot fence, and went into my neighbor’s yard where he scared and scared the shit out of my neighbor’s small little dogs. Ok, so now he has to be tethered when he is outside in the backyard. Can’t let him off the leash ever. What a handful!

So, of the 4 days we had him, I think it was frustrating but successful. I didn’t plan on doing any training, but it turns out I had to, since he was just completely out of control in my house.

My personal accomplishments with this boy:

-Learned that sometimes, all it takes is switching something in the environment (wire crate to plastic crate)
-Reinforced the age-old comment of ‘Not all dogs are the same’
-Learned more about shelter dogs and un-socialized behavior
-Gained practice in really paying attention to canine behavior while in the presence of another dog
-Learned what ‘Board and Train’ means when I finally decide to do that (years away right now)
-Curbed jumping on furniture and people within 4 days.
-Started crate training
-By the time he left my house, I believe he was fully potty trained. Only one accident, and then he went to the door on his own afterwards…if I gave him the chance. Normally he was tethered.
-Started working on chewing on inappropriate objects with some success
-Successfully introduced Napoleon and Checkers after quite a lot of patience and small introductions. Video below is them playing in an acceptable manner.
-Met a dog who doesn’t respond to the Halti. A prong collar might have been better for this boy. But, I didn’t have one, so I couldn’t try.

Due to my level of experience, and how much time I have available currently to work with a dog like this, I have recommend another trainer take this case. I already have my hands full with another boy, who is making tremendous progress after 6 months of training. Updates on my boy, soon to come!

Here is a video of them finally achieving calm[er] play.

Temp Foster Puppy

GunnerI had a rare opportunity to foster a puppy for a few days until his new foster mom came to pick him up. I had him for only Saturday morning to Sunday night, but all the same, it was a real great opportunity. At the same time, I had volunteered to help out a friend and babysit his new dog for 4 days. Which means, I would have a house full of dogs for a few days. I’m all good with that!

The puppy: a young 2-3 month old (I was told 3 months, but his size seemed like he should be younger than that) male border collie/lab mix. He was such a cute little guy, who was GREAT at all his training! I had spent some time with him before this weekend, so I knew a bit of his background. I worked with him previously, and he responded to training very quickly. By the time the foster mom came to pick him up, he had learned a few more things:

photo (1)

-He had almost stopped nipping completely
-Knew proper social cues when playing with other dogs
-Was introduced to cats, and he did great!
-Had only 1 accident, and that was my fault, anyway. I didn’t get there in time.
-Didn’t whine/bark in the crate anymore
-Wasn’t picking up inappropriate objects in the house anymore
-Was comfortable with being held in any way
-Jumping up was dramatically reduced
-While tethered/left to be by himself for a minute, he was lying down quietly learning to be independent.

I miss that little guy. SO CUTE! If I only had enough time to foster him, I would have! L

However, I was (and still am) also babysitting another furbaby. My friend’s new dog, an English Pointer. Such a cool dog! Now, I’ll tell you all about him on Thursday, as he is with us until Wednesday night. Stay tuned!


I really should just get my boarder’s license! I baby-sit so often, but I LOVE IT!

image

 

Napoleon’s Homework

NapoleonNapoleon, like any dog, has his issues. Overall, he is a very well-rounded dog. However, he missed out on some things before we adopted him into our lives. Not his fault, but I realized recently we have a lot of work to do…

Good things about Napoleon:

Obedience  (when there aren’t any distractions)
Leash work
Respect and understanding where his ‘rank’ is within the pack.
Friendly demeanor
Makes me happy
Beautiful
Loving
Learns quickly
Knows how to tell us what he wants (or maybe we are just in-tune with him)
Knows many commands, and can pick up on words
Wants to love on you when you are sick/unhappy

Things we need to work on:

Pushes boundaries (I think all dogs do, but still)
Adrenalized
Excitable
Food motivated
Distractions
Stress Mounting (when he is stressed more than normal, he mounts other dogs)
Crating
Napoleon2

One of his constant problems is being over-adrenalized. I have known this since he lost his excess weight (He already lost 40 lbs, and could lose another 6lbs if I really tried) and is hyper all the time. He is MUCH better than when we got him, and has improved at obedience, leash work, and has always had a 90% reliable recall (the other %10 is around my neighbors when they are calling him the same time I am calling him, or when there is food).

Other problem that we have recently discovered is that he is not okay in the crate when we are home. When we leave, I have set up a nanny cam and watched him in his kennel before. He just chews on his marrow bone or sleeps. However, if he is in the kennel while we are home, he whines, lip licks, slams himself against the crate and knocks it over, howls, pants, hyperventilates, and does this high-pitched bark/whine that is incredibly annoying.

About 6 months ago, we met a highly successful trainer in my area, and she recommended we kennel him, instead of leave him outside. This is how we have found out about his anxiety. He knows the ‘kennel’ command, and will go in willingly and lie down.

Since I’m an aspiring trainer, and I am learning about all kinds of things, I had a list of things I have tried with other dogs. Every dog is different, so it’s a bit of a trial and error.
We have tried:

Feeding meals in the crate
Leaving him outside (which was actually better, because he just goes to sleep in his dog house)
Calming music
Covering the crate with a blanket
Doing desensitizing exercises
Making sure he is calm before he comes out
Verbal corrections
Using the Pet Corrector/Pet Convincer II
Ignoring him until he calms down
Practicing when we are home (If he knows you are home and aren’t in the room, he starts his barking routine until you come back in the room)
Making sure the crate is a fun place (toys, bones, praise, etc)
Keeping him in a bedroom with a closed door instead of using the crate (he is an ANGEL if we do this.)

I’m starting to think he’s claustrophobic… is that possible? He’s ok outside and/or in a bedroom, but not in a crate. I’ve never heard of a dog being claustrophobic… maybe it’s not possible.

He will go in by himself with the door open if I am working on my computer, and sleep quietly. If I close the door while he is calm, praise, and then continue working, he’s fine. If I leave the room, however, he starts whining.

IMG_3431A trainer friend I have has recommended using a bark collar while he is in the kennel. The goal of the collar is to teach him it is undesirable behavior when he barks, and eventually stop using it altogether. I am also taking him to her obedience school to work on distraction training while working on obedience. I’m hoping the combination of the two actions will also help with the excited behavior, and help him learn to calm down around distractions.

I do understand he is a lab, and they are a high-energy breed, and love to please. This was the first dog my husband and I raised together, and we adopted him almost 2 years ago. We have learned so much in this time with him, and I want to make sure he gets the most out of life with us. We still have work to do, and Napoleon has a lot to learn as well.

Yesterday, we went out to train for about an hour, and started with a walk. We worked on heel, Sit when I stop walking, turning around and backing up while in a ‘Heel’, paying attention while around distractions (kids, cars, and barking dogs), and then we got into some more tricky things. In the house, he listens to ‘Stay’ with no hesitation for a long time (we aren’t quite up to ‘forever’ yet, but he’s getting there). Outside, it’s hard enough just to get him into a sit without standing if I walk away. I realized, since we have only ever practiced this in the house… we have a lot of work to do. Bring it on.

I work so much with others’ dogs, I didn’t realize how much work my own dog needed. Lesson learned. Challenge accepted. Napoleon, you and I have a lot of homework.

Good Day

Had a pretty good day so far. It all starts by how I wake up. I woke up a few minutes before my alarm this morning, and got ready for my doggie social class. I was going to a different class today, as the dog I normally take was neutered on Thursday. He’s not ready to up and around yet. Class went well, BIG CLASS today. I LOVE big classes!

Me and NapoleonThere were 3 Great Danes in class today, and Napoleon made friends with one of them. They played the whole time, and made the ache of getting a dane come back. A lady in my neighborhood is going to be having Dane puppies in May, and I’m interested, but not quite sold yet. I don’t have a lot of information yet. I have a ton of questions to ask, and I want to make sure I get a healthy puppy. I don’t so much care about show lines or whatever, but I just want to make sure mom and dad are healthy.

I was able to talk to the head trainer about some concerns I have been having with Napoleon and the crating. He is crate-trained, because he knows the command, goes in no problem, and lays down immediately.

It was a nice day today, so my husband and I took our motorcycle out and have lunch. It was a great day, and I love having a mini-date when we can. We came home, and then worked on my website.When we are gone, I have nanny-cammed him before, and he is perfect. Just goes to sleep, or chews on his bone. But if we are home, he whines, and has a high-pitched migraine-inducing bark. …nonstop! I have waited for hours before.  All the techniques I have used with other dogs-not working for my boy! So, my trainer recommended I try out a bark collar. I haven’t used one before, but this will be good. I’ll get to learn how to use one on my own boy, and learn the proper way to use it. The goal is to eventually not use it all. I will be giving this a try.

It’s finished! Yay! Pawsitive Dog Training. I’m pretty happy with the outcome, and I can happily say I am very proud of my work. Finally finished, and I’m happy with the logo my friend made for me. I’ve been through countless logos, including another one my coworker made for me for free. None of them were… simple enough, or didn’t fit my business model. I found one I can use for anything, and that’s exactly what I have been looking for.

So, now, I’m off to play some video games, and drink more coffee. Yum! Have a great weekend, all!

House Training for puppies and Adult Dogs

potty-training-dogsThe most common questions I get from new puppy owners are about potty training. So, I thought I would make an article about it.

Tips to Remember:

Hagen-Dogit-Puppy-Potty-Training-Kit

Puppy Pads – Big No-No!

DON’T use puppy pads or any other paper training. This is teaching the dog it is still ok to go in the house.  Crate training is a better alternative.
DON’T expect too much too soon. Puppies take a few months to be reliable in the house. Puppies have very little control over their bladder until they are over 6 months old.
-If you bring the dog outside, and it doesn’t’ eliminate, even though it is showing signs of needing to go, take him/her back inside, and crate for 10-15 minutes. Then, take him out to the same place again.
DON’T assume that because your dog didn’t go outside, that he won’t go inside. Make sure to supervise your dog AT ALL TIMES at least for the first year they are in the house.

DO keep your dog on a leash EVERY TIME they are outside. Walk outside with your dog, wait patiently in the area you want them to eliminate, and then praise calmly when they are done. THEN, let the dog of the leash (if in a fenced area) to play for a few minutes. You want to teach the ‘fun outside playtime’ is a reward for relieving itself rather than ending the fun when the puppy does his business outside.
-As soon as your dog starts to eliminate in the house, quickly move the dog outside, and then praise if she/he continues to go when they are outside.
DON’T let your dog see you clean up a mess in the house. This gives them the idea you will always be there to clean it up.
REMEMBER: House training incidents are the human’s mistake, not the dog’s. NEVER get angry or upset with your dog for having accidents in the house.

******************************************************************************

Containment

papillon_in_crate_s

Your dog will not eliminate in places where he/she is not allowed to go. Using a crate is an excellent way to quickly housetrain.  Does will generally not go to the bathroom where they sleep.   MAKE SURE your dog is safely confined when you cannot watch them 100% of the time. This is CRUCIAL to their success while they are in training.

You can also use the Umbilical Cord Method’.

Connect a 6 foot leash to yourself (belt, pants, etc) and have it connected it to you wherever you go. Your dog should be hooked up on the leash, and be following you everywhere.

Instead of waiting for potty signals from the dog, take the dog outside every hour. Use the verbal cue “Want to go outside?” in a happy tone when you get to the door. ALWAYS USE THE SAME DOOR IN THE BEGINNING.

When the dog eliminates, praise calmly, but enthusiastically.

Whenever the dog is not in the crate, he should be attached to you. If be begins to eliminate in your presence, correct him with a loud ‘eh-eh!’ to distract him. As soon as you have his attention, lead him outside. Then praise when he does go outside.

1st Milestone:
10 days with no accidents – disconnect leash, and limit freedom. Dog needs to stay in the same room (within visual distance). 100% SUPERVISION IS STILL CRUCIAL. Continue this step for 30 days.

2nd Milestone:
30 days no accidents – you can allow more freedom. Confine to the dog to 1 room + an additional room. DO NOT give freedom to the entire house. He can be alone in these 2 rooms for a short period of time. Be sure to crate if you leave the house, even for a few minutes. Continue to take out every hour, and continue to praise when he goes outside. Continue this for 30 days.

Final Milestone:
NO accidents for 60 days: He can now be given free reign of the house. But still should be crated when you leave the house.

If there are accidents during the training, go back a step and start there. If there is another accident after you already took a step back, take another step back and try again.

Scheduling

Dog BowlHaving a consistent schedule for food, water, walks, and elimination will help your dog learn the patterns, and decrease the time it takes for them to learn to not go in the house. Here are some tips on building a schedule:

DO NOT leave food and water all day. Have mealtimes. I recommend (and this varies depending on situation, what food they are on, etc.) feeding twice a day. Once a day is fine as well, if they are eating dry kibble. But either way – have a mealtime. Give them 15 minutes to eat, and then take the rest away.  You can better predict when your dog needs to go to the bathroom based on when they ate/drank last.

WATER: This is tricky for some, because you don’t think about it. When potty training, personally, I also limit the water intake. I offer it with food, always. I offer it at times throughout the day, at least until potty training is a bit more reliable. Eventually, you will want to offer water all day.

-Puppies tend to eliminate a few minutes before or after drinking water or eating. Their elimination schedule looks something like this:
-When they first wake up in the morning.
-After playing, or something during playtime.
-After a nap.
-Right after drinking, and/or eating.
-Sometimes before eating.
-After chewing on a bone or toy.
-If he hasn’t been out for an hour or two.
-Puppies are still developing bladder control, so be patient with them!! It’s not their fault, they are still learning!
-This process works for adult dogs, too!

Praise

Always praise calmly, but enthusiastically when your dog eliminates outside in the correct place. This will ‘mark’ or teach the behavior, and they will want to earn the reward (praise) next time.

-Make sure to praise right when your dog is going. NOT when they come inside. Otherwise, they think they are being praised for coming inside with you. This is a good thing too, but not relevant for house training.

In case of an accident

Now, when you dog does go on your favorite rug, or on the couch, understand they did it for one reason. To pee!  Dogs aren’t capable of feeling “mad” or “vengeful”, they aren’t doing it “in spite of” you. With the exceptions of territorial urine marking, illness, or (rarely) separation distress syndrome, dogs go to the bathroom in the house for one reason: they have never been properly housetrained by the owner.

Training

NEVER use treats as a reward for potty training, as this can cause some confusion when you wean them
off the treats. They won’t understand why they aren’t getting them anymore.
NEVER yell or hit your dog for eliminating in the incorrect place.
NEVER rub your dog’s nose in it either. Punishment doesn’t help training. All it does it teach the dog your presence is a dangerous thing.

So, how do you correct them if they start going in the house?
If they start to go in the house, make an ‘eh-eh!’ sound or clap your hands to distract them. As soon as you have their attention, scoop them up, put on a leash, and then run outside. When your dog finishes, praise calmly, but enthusiastically.

If you want to teach your dog to go in a certain area of the yard, use a verbal cue, like ‘Go Potty!’, ‘Get Busy’, etc. Say this as soon as he starts eliminating so he can associate those words with going to the bathroom.

CSR372OriginalSO_FamilyShot_REVCarpet Cleaners

You want to make sure you get a cleaner that actually removes the odor enzymes as well as the stain. If it smells like the last time they eliminated, they will want to go in the same place over and over again.
DON’T use any cleaning supplies that have ammonia in them, as ammonia acts like an attractor, and your dog will want to mark it again.

I recommend:
-Simple Solution
-Nature’s Miracle
-Woolite Pet & Oxygen

010279110775C***NOTE: Many people also ask about using a bell on the door. This is also easily trainable, but requires additional consistency, and you have to make sure you use the dog’s paws or nose on the bell EVERY TIME you ask ‘Do you want to go outside?’ to teach the dog this means the same thing as the verbal cue.

What About Crate Training?

Dog Kennel

Wired Dog Kennel

You’ve heard it, and some might be hesitant about it.

Crate-training. Why is it such a controversial topic?

Well, for starters, many people like to view human emotions on animals. This is called ‘Anthropomorphism’. I have mentioned this before, but I still hear a lot of this, and wanted to talk about it again.

Definition:
an·thro·po·mor·phism [an-thruh-puh-mawr-fiz-uhm]
noun

The attribution of human form or behaviour to a deity, animal, etc.

This is a mistake many dog owners make. Dogs are not people!

Canines are different in a few ways. A few that come up immediately when I think about are:
1) Canines are pack animals
2) Canines are den animals
3) Canines are NEED a strong leader for the pack
4) Canines cannot use English or human body language to communicate

Now that we have established dogs are not people and they can happily be a member of the family WITHOUT being treated like a human, let’s move on to crating.

Plastic Crate

Plastic Crate

A kennel, crate, cage, etc – this has are 10 perks to teaching crate-training:
1) Potty training
2) Being in a safe place, creating a ‘den’.
3) Preventing destructive habits.
4) prevention of separation anxiety
5) Teaching independence
6) Getting used to being in a crate
7) Teaching a natural ‘calm’ state
8) Using as a ‘calm down/time out’ area
9) Using as a containment/quarantine or separation tool
10) Travel tool

Crating is used inappropriately when:
1) Dog is in the crate for too long (like 14 hours or something)
2) Used as a punishment
3) Crate is too big/too small
4) Putting multiple animals in the crate
5) Letting other animals or family members (especially children) be in/around the crate when the animal is in the crate.
6) Tricking the dog to go in the crate

Custom Dog House

Custom Dog House

And many others, but this is an introduction to why crates are a good idea. Many dogs end up loving their crate, and know when it’s bedtime (if they sleep in the crate at night), they know when they want quiet time, and they know they will be safe there.

Dogs do not feel ‘trapped’ (unless they have a medical condition or severe separation anxiety) in a crate, they feel safe. It’s a place for them to go when they need to calm down, or learn how to be by themselves. This is a pretty big deal if you have a puppy. You want to prevent the separation anxiety from forming by teaching them to be alone. They will need to find ways to entertain themselves (sleeping, is what we want them to do).

I will be posting how to crate train your dog in the future, but this was just to open up conversation on any experiences you want to share about it!

The Guilty Look?

The ‘Guilty’ look…

I hear a lot of talk about the ‘guilty’ look in dogs. They were left unsupervised in the house while the family was gone, and they chewed up something or eliminated in the house. What if I said canines are not mentally capable of feeling that emotion? Don’t be a victim to anthropomorphism (putting human emotions on animal). The look we see as ‘guilt’ is actually a combination of submissive gestures and pacifying, or calming signals meant to appease your anger or frustration. If you are already worried your dog did something, or if you walk in and see a mess, you are already emitting emotional feelings towards the dog, and they pick up on that. They don’t associate the action of what they did, to your feelings. They just try to submit, so the reprimand will cease. In you continue scolding the dog, he may try to send more calming signals such as lip licking, rolling over, or the ultimate submissive gesture – urination.

A study was done at Barnard College in New York. Dr. Alexandra Horowitz PhD tested 14 dogs and their owners for the owners interpretation of the dogs so-called “guilty look”. The dogs were not to touch the forbidden treats but the owners were asked to leave the room while some dogs were given the forbidden treat. When the owners returned they were told whether or not their dogs had eaten the forbidden treat, some owners were given misinformation and told that their dog had eaten the treat even when it had not. What Dr. Horowitz found was that the “guilty look” had little to do with whether the dog ate the treat. The “guilty look” was most prominent when owners were upset at their dogs for eating the treat, whether or not they had actually done it.

Now, as for the eliminating in the house while you are gone bit. Dogs do NOT eliminate in the house because of anger, spite, jealousy, boredom or mischief. With the exceptions of territorial urine marking, illness, or (rarely) separation distress syndrome. Dogs go to the bathroom in the house for one reason: they have never been properly housetrained by the owner. For senior dogs with medical problems, they need to be let out every few hours to alleviate the pressure on their bladder. They just can’t hold it nearly as long. Food and water should also be monitored.  Now,  many people ask about crating during the day. This is a great training tool, and really helps with behavioral problems. if the dog doesn’t have the opportunity to self-reward, it will eventually stop wanting to do that behavior. It’s not fun if they don’t get anything out of it.  Roaming the house needs to be earned, and if the dog is having accidents in the house, that respect has not been achieved. Older dogs cannot achieve this level of respect, so crating is a safe option or putting the dog in a bathroom or laundry room where if there is an accident, it is at least contained.