Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Five Things

Ok, I'm about to let you all in on a little secret here...there are only five things one needs to be a good dog, are you ready?
They are:
A Sense of humor
and Consistency!

(See you need the sense of humor part already!)

Let's go through them one at a time and talk a little bit about why they are so important.

Number one, Patience: You're never going to get very far with a short fuse. It is amazing how after 20 minutes of zero results, all of a sudden BAM lightening strikes and the dog gets it! Most behavior problems stem from either laziness or hastiness. Patience also gives you a sense of calm. I seldom worry about 'if' the dog is going to learn something, I just wonder 'when'.

Number two, Consistency: They say it's not a black and white world, but for dogs, there isn't really a grey area. (With a dog jumping up for example, you can ignore them 9 times, but if on the 10th they receive attention, it's like starting over from square one.) So, for our canine friends it either IS or it ISN'T. They either CAN or they CANNOT. They either DO or they DON'T. Simple.

And last but certainly not least, a Sense of Humor: Dogs are animals, and therefore quite unpredictable. If you look at situations as humorous instead of frustrating it will greatly help you and your dog. Some things may hurt, other might be quite disgusting but if looked at the right way, most are quite funny!

Well, there you have it, happy training!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Why We Do It

Every now and again we are reminded quite out of the blue why we do the work that we do.
Today was like that for me. I arrived at work this morning to find a note and picture waiting for me on my desk. I could tell right away that it was written by a child, and the picture attached was of a large mixed breed dog and a birthday cake.
The letter reads:
"Our dog, Daisy was adopted on May 31st 2009 at SPCA.
Thank you for treating our dog with respect while she was in her cage.
In this picture you will see Daisy has just blown out her birthday candle
and is heading for the cake!"

The back of the picture read: "Daisy on her first birthday."

Alright I'll admit it, this got to me...I formed a few happy tears and thought out loud "good for you Daisy!"
Not only was this a happy ending for one of our shelter dogs but this young little girl, whom I've since found out is only 5 years old, really seems to 'get it'. She didn't thank us for feeding her dog, or even just 'taking care of her', but for treating her with RESPECT. Bingo. Nail on head.

This is why we do it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Say How Do You Do and Shake Hands

Introducing two dogs can be a simple and easy task. However, it can also be the cause of stress and emotional scarring.
There are many possible out comes that occur when introducing two dogs for the first time, and many theories and ways of doing it.

The first thing that all dog owners should keep in mind is that it's OK if their dog doesn't like the other dog. We tend to get too caught up wanting our dogs to like everyone and everything, but this is highly unrealistic, as we ourselves do not get along with everyone we meet.

In my opinion the best way to introduce two new dogs is in an unfamiliar place, to them both. This way, neither of them should get territorial. The biggest mistake I see people make is walking the two dogs straight at one another on leashes. This is extremely confrontational. It's not wonder the dogs end up fighting! It is best to just start walking together, side by side. This way the dogs can sniff one another, get to know each other and get some good exercise doing it. Walk and walk until the two dogs are all tuckered out. (Too tired to care or get grumpy.)
Now you can head home. The dogs should just want to lay down for a bit to rest, and by the time they become rejuvenated, they are old news to each other.
Now sure, things don't always go as planned, but just remember not to get mad or upset. You must  have patience and you can try again, but also, know when to quit.