Friday, April 30, 2010

Let's Play a Game!

Looking for a fun new game to play with your pup?
Try Red Light Green Light!

Remember playing that game as small child in elementary school or (I'm going to date myself here) at the Roller Rink?

The idea is simple, it works your dogs sit/come/stay commands.

To play with just you and your dog:

Have your dog sit on one end of the room and stay while you walk to the other side. For the "Green light" have them come to you, but only a few steps before "Red light" they have to stop, sit and stay again. Continue in this manner until your dog reaches you on your side of the room.

To play with a group:

Designate one person as the 'Caller'. This person will not have a dog in the game. All other participants wait with their dogs in a parallel line on one end of a room, putting them in a 'sit'.

The caller waits on the other side of the room and calls out "Green Light!" At that time all other participants begin walking toward the caller with their dogs. When the caller yells out "Red Light" all dogs must be asked to stop, sit and stay. The last dog to comply is 'out'.

You may have to go across the room a few times depending on size and the competence level of the dogs playing.

Have a fun prize for the winning team.

Now go play...GREEN LIGHT!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Submissive Urination

Submissive urination occurs when your dog feel threatened. It may occur when your dog feels that he is being punished or if he perceives some one as threatening. (It is important to remember that this is based on your dogs PERCEPTION of a threat, it does not indicate that a true threat actually exists.)
What will help your dog most with this is gaining confidence. Confidence can be built in many ways, from simply teaching your dog basic manners to training them in fly ball competition. Also start exposing your submissive dog to new people and places, always keeping the occasions positive. Your dog may be submissively urinating if:
Urination occurs when your dog is being scolded or greeted or when someone approaches him.
Your dog is a some what shy, anxious or timid dog.
They have a history of receiving rough treatment or punishment after the fact.
The urinating is accompanied by submissive postures such as crouching or rolling over to expose the belly.

What to do if this is your dog:
First, take your dog to the vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Keep greetings low key.
Encourage and reward confident postures.
Give your dog an alternative to acting submissively. (Ex: If your dog knows some commands, have him come greet you with a sit/shake at the door.)
Avoid approaching your dog with postures that read as too dominant. (ex: direct eye contact, hovering etc...)
Pet your dog under the chin or on the chest rather than the top of their head.

But most importantly NEVER punish or scold your dog for exhibiting this behavior, as this will only make the problem worse!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Saw The Sign

Many times I take for granted the simple things in life.
After traveling around to schools and youth groups I have found that many students, and surprisingly their teaches too, do not know the basic signs of an un friendly dog.

So, let's cover the fundamentals:

Signs of an un-friendly dog include:

Hair raised on the backs of their necks, backs and/or rear

Ears pulled back tight

Stiff or ridged body posture

Stiff un-wagging tail
Wide staring eyes

Curling or raising of lips to show teeth (and gums)

Low growls or agitated barking

You can diffuse a possible confrontation by sliding away slowly sideways, making sure not to turn your back on the dog or stare them down. Keep them in your peripheral vision. Talk in a calm and soothing voice to the dog. If knocked down, get into a ball and protect your head. Do NOT squeal or yell as this will only egg the dog on. The dog will eventually get bored with you and you can go for help.