Sunday, 3 October 2010

Want a dog and working full time regularly?

Ok let's pause for a while and imagine ourselves what it is like to be a dog that is left alone whilst the owner is out of the house for 8 to 10 hours a day.

As an experiment, try imagining putting yourselves into a room (seperately) for at least 4 hours - alone. No TV, no telephones, no PC, nothing to read, gloves on your hands so that you cannot 'lint pick', a glass of water and a dry biscuit or two plus a few toys scattered around. You cannot go to the toilet for about 4 hours until someone arrives to open the door and then, after you have eliminated and had a play for 20 minutes or so, they shut you back in the room for another 4 hours. Silence. Nothing fun to do. Nobody to talk to, nothing to watch or listen to. No attention whatsoever. Then your owners come home! Great excitement! Yippee! You are so pleased to see them! They make a fuss, let you out and then after a while may walk you. Everything is great for the evening and weekends are wonderful with so much attention and company. But then Monday morning comes along and for another 4 or 5 days, the previous routine applies. Nothing to do, no-one to talk to, having to hold yourself as you cannot go to the toilet until allowed..... Could you cope long term? Humans are (on the whole) social, sentient creatures. So are dogs. No, dogs are not humans, but they have similar needs in a lot of ways.

Think about the above scenario and let it run through your mind. Do you think that a dog should have to endure that on a regular basis? Will you be able to cope when housetraining problems arise, when the neighbours start to complain about howling and barking, when you come home to a ripped up carpet and a chewed door. (Lonely dogs often try to dig, chew or scratch their way through a point of exit like the door)

15 years or so ago, most people in households where both partners worked all day would not have a dog as it 'wasn't fair'. Now, we want it all so people want to have a dog even though they and their partner work full time. 15 years ago, the rescue situation was busy but not at crisis point. Now, it is at the latter with thousands of dogs being given up because of poor housetraining, destructiveness and noisyness. Many give the dog up because it is boisterous (lack of training), aggressive (lack of socialisation) or howls the place down. (lonelyness) If only people would only have dogs when they truly have the time to devote to their socialisation and training then maybe the rescue situation would ease.

At the end of the day, it should be about what the dog needs and not about what you want. ;o)

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Magic Wand Dog Training Center

As seen on a pet forum - not my work!



This is the Magic Wand Dog Training Center, we are unable to come to the phone but please press or enter the number for your request, and leave your name and number; we will return your call as soon as possible.
Press 1 if your dog has been asked to leave the local obedience club because she or he won't sit, wait, down,

or come when called, even when on leashed, so you thought you would try agility.
Press 2 if your Labrador is morbidly obese, and you thought you would try agility.
Press 3 if you want 30-minutes of advice and have no intention whatever of paying for it.
Press 4 if you describe your dog as 'a little bit naughty' when what you really mean is that the b*st*rd bites ... hard.
Press 5 if you want puppy-training classes, but your Boxer is already 12 months old.
Press 6 if you believe that just by turning up to one puppy-training class and doing no work whatsoever at home,

your puppy will grow-up to be a well-adjusted companion.

Press 7 if your nervous, aggressive GSD has bitten and hospitalized Aunt Maude, the vet, and your child,
and you want me to re-home the beast - but ONLY to someone who will keep the dog for their natural-lifetime, AND let the dog sleep in bed with the owner... just like home.

Press 8 if you have three children under school-age, an invalid parent living in your home, a partner who often is out of town on business, are pregnant with twins, and want your 8-MO Dalmatian who is never walked to stop chewing everything in sight.

Press 9 if you want to tell me my advice has not worked - even though you have not tried it yet.

Press 10 if you want to be dog trainer and behaviorist because you like animals better than people.

Press 11 if you are 15 years-old and want work experience with me, but would faint if I asked you to pick-up dog poop.

Press 12 if your dog is aggressive with other dogs, but you want to join one of my groups, because it will be so nice for him to have some friends.

Press 13 if you cannot afford my private rates and want a discount, because you only have one BMW.

Press 14 if you are canceling your lesson, due to start in 30-minutes, and have no intention of paying the cancellation fee.

Press 15 if you do not believe in rewarding a dog, and know that clicker training does not work, because your friend Beryl said so.

Press 16 if you think your dog knows he has done wrong when you tell him off, and that he obeys you
because he respects you and acknowledges you as a superior being.

Press 17 if you want me to wave my magic-wand over your contacts / weaves / start-line waits in just one session, and will then tell me it did not work when you go to a show just two days later, with no training in between.

Press 18 if you have eleven Jack Russell bitches in a small flat, and you want me to teach them not to fight with each other.

Press 19 if you already know everything about your breed, because this is the fourth one you have had,
and I cannot tell you anything new.

Press 20 if you want me to pick-up your dear departed dog's ashes from the vets, and keep them at my house because you are much too upset to have them in your home (true!).

Press 21 if you would never use a Gentle Leader, indoor-crate, or harness because they are all cruel.

Press 22 if you will not put a muzzle on your deadly-aggressive dog, because you do not want people to think he is nasty.

Press 23 if you want to leave an increasingly angry third message for this week, demanding an urgent return-call, and yet again forget to leave your name or phone-number.

Press 24 if, having ascertained I am out, you wish to ask my engineer-husband for behavioral advice about your dog.

Press 25 if you wish to fill my answering machine with a complex, incoherently rambling message.

Press 26 if want your intact-male adolescent dog to spend his days lying patiently on the front step of your
unfenced property, because dogs shouldn't want to run away, should they.

Press 27 if you want me to teach your untrained Border Collie to play with sheep because you think this manic dog will like it.

Press 28 if your dog thinks her or his name is "NO".

Press 29 if it is before 8-am or after 10-pm, and you want to ask how to stop your 13-week-old puppy
from biting your 5, 7 and 9 year-old boys when they play-fight with your puppy.

Press 30 if you've taken time to socialize and train your dog, and want to make an appointment to learn more fun stuff.

No need to hold, I'll put you right through!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Does Giving Treats Reward Aggression?

Sadly humans are often too quick to punish a dog for growling at people instead of sitting back and working out how they can get the dog over this fear. Recently I was given a link to a lovely video which explains so simply how to do the latter, quickly and effectively, without the need to 'boss' the dog and chastise it for bad manners. Here's the link so that you can see for yourselves. :o) Does Giving Treats Reward Aggression?

Good dog training and behaviour modification is all about using your brain, not your brawn. ::winks::

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Housetraining your pup or older dog

Whatever you do, never ever tell your pup off for toileting in the house in front of you, no matter how tempting that might be. Doing so just tells him that he mustn't let you see him do it so he won't go if you stand outside with him either but rather wait until he is back indoors and your attention is taken by something else!

*Take pup outside when he wakes up, after he has eaten and also every hour to an hour and a half during the day as well, especially when he is first learning - this amount of time can be lengthened in short increments as he gets better at it.

*Repeat a word or phrase when he is outside (I use 'Get it done!) and praise hugely when he 'performs'.

*Ignore all mistakes and clean them up without a word - it was a humans fault that it happened as they were not watching for the signs.

*If he sneaks off to do it (maybe because of being told off for doing it in front of his owner!) then be aware of that and keep an eye on him.

*Using paper is up to you but I prefer to teach pups to go outside.

*At night time, it does help if the pup is taken out last thing before you go to bed and then bedded down in a restricted area like a crate or puppy pen. Or you can block off a part of the room with an old fireguard or heavy, large objects etc.

*In the morning, take the pup outside as soon as you can, ignoring any mess he may have made overnight. I tend not to let my pups go beyond 7 or 8 hours at night.

Housetraining will take far longer if you work or go out a lot as nobody is there to teach him so be aware of that. Some toy breeds are reputed to take longer to train so a little more work and vigilance may be needed with them, bearing in mind that tiny dogs have tiny bladders and bowels so may need to go that bit more often.

Remember that a dogs housetraining may take a backward step if it has been stressed by something, like a move or someone new has joined the household, or indeed someone may have left. Fireworks or thunder may also cause a lapse in cleanliness - when you are stressed or scared do you not want to go to the loo more often? Illness, particularly urine infections can cause temporary incontinence too so if your previously clean dog suddenly becomes dirty it may be wise to get him/her checked out by a vet.

Finally, be prepared! Have a bucket or tub somewhere handy with kitchen towel, cloths, disinfectant and a carpet cleaning spray in it along with plastic bags to put the soiled kitchen roll or cloths into. Clear up the mess first and then wash the area thoroughly with a fluid designed to get rid of smells at source rather than one that just masks them. I personally use Odor-Kill, both in my yard and in the house if ever an accident occurs.