Archives for Training category

Yorkie Nanny

Posted on Jan 29, 2014
Behavioral Modification, Dog Training, Energy and Dogs, Learn From A Dog, Palm Springs Dog Trainer, Palm Springs Dog Training, Training, Yorkie
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I have often said, “The best dog trainer is another dog.”  A well-adjusted, trained, and dog-friendly dog that is.  I do my job of observing and contributing when needed but mostly I say things like, “Wear them out, Zoe!”

Zoe looks like a giant Yorkie and that makes their interactions that much more enjoyable.

If you need assistance in training and/or behavior modification from either Zoe, myself, or both of us, we are here to help!

Another Puppy Mill Closed!

Posted on Jun 03, 2009
Doggie Rehab, Puppy Mills, Socialization, Training
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Thanks to the Humane Society and other officials in WA State, another puppy mill is closed.  Anyone need 397 dogs?  That’s how many were rescued.  I propose a moratorium on breeding for one year.  I know it’s not fair or reasonable for the reputable breeders who not only find good homes for their puppies and make a living from their dogs.  It would be punishing the responsible, while the irresponsible continue using and discarding dogs. What can we do?

Don’t act like it’s not happening. Support rescue organizations, and if you are looking to purchase a specific breed, please research (travel to) the breeder to verify they are who they say they are.  Don’t buy a puppy from a pet store!  I know it’s a well-worn subject for me. . .watch this video and maybe it will be for you.

Dogs Just Want to Have Fun!

Posted on Mar 19, 2009
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Agility, Behavioral Modification, Dog Training, Doggie Rehab, Housebreaking, Rehoming a Dog, Training
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Along the lines of giving a dog a job to do, agility training uses their focus and energy in a very fun way! It’s not about them being corrected for something they did wrong. It’s about being rewarded and praised constantly for getting it right!

And, “right” in this case is fun (usually for everyone). It’s easy for the handler (owner usually) to get too serious and set the bar (no pun intended) too high. The dogs are dogs and they’re not very good at being robots. If they were, we could leave fun out of the equation.

If you feel like the only time you spend with your dog is in training or in telling them “no,” try adding some fun by setting up jumps or other agility-type equipment in your home. Lay a broom handle across a stack of books and have your dog jump over it. Get a kid’s play tunnel and teach your dog to run through it. You’ll be on the other side! Be creative. For a change of pace, think of ways to use their energy and focus that isn’t quite so structured.

I recently participated in an agility event at a local senior center. It was a lot of fun for the dogs and the seniors!

Does Your Dog Want a New Home?

Posted on Mar 03, 2009
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification, Discussion Tab, Training
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What if your dog gained access to the computer and saw their story and face on Craigslist in the pet section under the caption “looking for a new home.”  What if they saw you were re-homing because you were busy or you thought they needed more room?  I wonder what they would say.

This may seem a tad dramatic because many of us have fostered dogs or got them out of shelters and re-homed them or were in situations where we felt a new home was in the best interest of a dog.  However, it is worth considering if you are re-homing a dog because you think it could do better.  Remember where it came from. . .

If a dog has been in a shelter confined to a 5X5 space, being confined to a cozy home with random access to the outside is living in the lap of luxury.  If you are considering re-homing because you are busy and don’t think you are spending enough time with your dog, consider where they came from.  Chances are, if they are a rescue dog, they had minimal attention and definitely not anything compared to what it’s like in the security of a home.

I used to work 12 hour days, 7 days a week.  I would feel tremendous guilt until I returned home to my amazing dog who was so happy to see me and never scolded me for working long hours.  She had been saved!  The life she knew in a shelter for nearly a year before my finding her was good, but now she was loved and cared for in ways she had never known.

I don’t write this to contribute to guilt, as we all do what we feel is best. I just want to point out that guilt is a human experience.  So, if you are able to provide a loving home for a dog even if it’s not “perfect,” it could be much better than where they were or where they’ll be.  If only you could ask them!

What is Humane Treatment?

Posted on Oct 10, 2008
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification, Discussion Tab, Dog Psychology, Dog Training, Rehoming a Dog, Training
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This is not an easy subject and still a bit raw personally. I feel the need to share. . .

I love that there are no-kill shelters. That is WONDERFUL!

They are full. All of the local shelters are full. What’s next for the dogs whose last stop was the local shelter and hopefully a no-kill one that is full? They are being abandoned along with their abandoned homes. It’s a difficult choice to make for their humans. An almost impossible one. So, leaving the dog behind or dropping them off in a neighborhood leaves more options for the dog, right?

Consider those options. . .starving or dehydration. Becoming ill and not having medical care. Being hit by a car. Feeling abandoned and lost without a clue of how to find food and water. Looking for a familiar face.

Those are a few of their options. Maybe someone will pick them up and bring them home. That someone may already be over their dog limit and financially strapped but feeling guilty to let this one go.

What are your options — keep your dog until you find a home or shelter that can take it. Don’t just put an ad in the local paper – ask rescues, ask friends, ask anyone. It’s better to experience a little sadness about re-homing your dog than the sickness of leaving them somewhere unsure of their future.

Ok – here’s the tough part. There are worse alternatives than humanely helping your dog go to sleep for a very long time. Most people have difficulty with death as is evidenced with our treatment of humans. It is far more humane to know the fate of your dog, than to leave it to chance or someone else.

I say this because I get a lot of calls from people who want to know if I can take their dog or help them find someone who can because they don’t want to take them to a shelter. There is a much better chance of adoption through a shelter where people are actively looking, than anywhere else. If, the choice has to be made by the already-over-filled shelter to “put your dog down” after a specific period of time, on behalf of your dog, I’d like to say there are worse things.

I hate writing this. I hate that dogs are euthanized by the thousands daily. What choice is there as long as people don’t spay or neuter their pets? That’s only part of the problem. The dogs that are being abandoned now may have been spayed and once came from a shelter. They deserve nothing less than humane treatment.

I welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions.

Help! Stop My Dog From Digging

Posted on Sep 13, 2008
Behavioral Modification, Discussion Tab, Dog Psychology, Dog Training, Rehoming a Dog, Training, Uncategorized
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You’ve heard me say that dogs bark. I have some bad news. . .they also dig. Some enjoy the smell and feel of dirt as it is flying in the air and their bodies get dirtier as they become more engrossed in their task. Some breeds enjoy burying treasures in the yard so only they can return to them later.

Here are some reasons that a dog digs:

  • To make a cool place in the soil where they can relax
  • They are bored and it seems like a good thing to do
  • Instinct says, “What are you waiting for man, there’s earth to uncover! You might find something to eat”
  • They are young and goofy and everything is fun
  • To bury a bone or toy for later
  • They are certain they can get the rodent that just entered it’s home

Here are a few things to stop or at least detour your dog from digging:

  • Put their poop in the hole they just dug
  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper in the hole
  • Give them a place to dig that is theirs. Frame in an area or use a kiddie pool and fill it with sand. Bury some of their bones to encourage them to dig there.
  • Train them to stay away from the area where they dig by teaching them boundaries

If they are being left outside all day while you are at work and you come home to holes in the yard, this is a good indication of boredom. Another dog to play with might help (that could go either way – help with more holes or help with the boredom!) If you don’t give them something to do, they will find something.

The Strangest Things a Dog Ate

Posted on Sep 09, 2008
Behavioral Modification, Discussion Tab, Dog Food, Dog Psychology, Training
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I am a fan of healthy dog treats; i.e., some of the chicken jerkies, lamb and rice, and there are others. I also recommend Nylabone chew toys and Kong products. Treats for your dogs are just that – treats. They shouldn’t be large enough to replace a meal. We can save that luxury for the humans!

I’ve told you some of my favorite treats. Listed below are some of a dog’s favorite treats.

  • plastic water bottles (the noisier the better)
  • nice underwear (don’t ask me how they know)
  • “things” that should remain in the garbage
  • “things” a woman really wishes had stayed in the trash
  • lizards
  • baby quail, doves, and/or bunnies
  • the sock that has no mate (hmmmm?)
  • flip-flop sandals
  • sponges
  • children’s toys
  • cat poop (a special treat)
  • wash cloths
  • shoes (stiletto, flats, dress, cheap, expensive, etc)

Fear not when one of the above “chews” gets swallowed. Usually, with no assistance, within about three days the object of their consumption will pass. That’s if it hasn’t already come up. I recently heard of a Labrador that took 9 days to pass a very fluffy sock.

You can just pretend that you are on a special assignment with CSI as you follow your dog around praying for the site of something that resembles what went in their mouth. If, of course, within reasonable time it hasn’t found it’s way out or your dog stops eating and/or eliminating, see a veterinarian immediately. There may be a blockage and it can require surgery if it is stuck or twisted in the intestine.

While I recommend the natural treats in the first paragraph, be aware that your dog may have other ideas!

Here are some other dog “treats!”

Dog Chew Toys – Top Picks

Posted on Aug 13, 2008
Behavioral Modification, Discussion Tab, Dog Training, Training
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There are a lot of options for dog toys and chews. Depending on your dog, the stuffed toys can leave a nice layer of white fluff all over the floor and for only a few seconds of enjoyment!

I recommend:

  • A Natural Beef Bone. These can be purchased at pet stores such as PetSmart. They come in a variety of sizes. They also come filled, but I wouldn’t suggest those unless you’re comfortable with the ingredients. The bone is porous but hard. Most dogs enjoy chewing on them and for added taste, you can soak it in bouillon or spread a dab of peanut butter along the edge.
  • Nylabone makes a variety of products that last a while and do not typically break off in tiny pieces which can be a choking hazard.
  • If you have a teething puppy – try soaking a washcloth in water, ringing it out, and freezing it. This feels good on the dog’s gums and they may feel satisfied that they are “allowed” to chew on a cloth. (Don’t remind them that you gave it to them)
  • Rope toys are good as long as you throw them out when the rope becomes shredded.

Those are some of my top picks. I don’t recommend rawhide as it does not digest. A small piece can get lodged in their throat or if swallowed it sits in their stomach.

Also, rotate their toys. If everything is out all of the time, they get desensitized and may find the chair leg or even their own bed to be a suitable substitute!

How to Tell Which Dog is Dominant

Posted on Jul 05, 2008
Behavioral Modification, Dog Psychology, Dog Training, Rehoming a Dog, Training
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Dogs are definitely obvious about being dominant or their attempts at dominance by posturing and stance. Once you know what to look for, their exchange is a learning experience. As long as everyone is cooperating and show signs of being accepting to one another, I don’t intervene.

So, in the morning I put the dog bowls down — now five. And, I observe. I leave the room briefly and return to see that Moby, the 10 lb. yorkie mix is eating out of the extra large bowl intended for Violet, the Great Dane. I stood quietly and then realized that Violet was eating out of the ashtray-size food dish that is intended for Moby!

I couldn’t help but laugh but also be aware that since Violet is the newest member of this pack, she was following orders nicely. . .or was she? What may have looked like Moby took over could very well have been perfectly fine with Violet because there could be something in his food bowl that isn’t in hers.

I had a good laugh and then respectfully directed them back to their own bowls. They didn’t care, and I’m sure were quite satisfied at knowing that kibble was the entree for both of them (and the others).

Later that evening, I walk into the living room and guess what? Moby is lying in the middle of the largest dog bed while Violet looks at him in earnest silently looking for a sign or blessing from Moby that he’d either share the bed or perhaps consider an exchange for the bed that fits Moby.

Once again, I respectfully, intervene and make them move to their appropriate places. They listen and respond to me, but it sure is entertaining to watch the dynamic as they vie for the position of dominant dog. (Don’t tell them that will ALWAYS be me!)


Posted on Jun 23, 2008
Behavioral Modification, Dog Psychology, Dog Training, Doggie Rehab, Rehoming a Dog, Training
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I so appreciate Cesar Milan’s approach and instruction on being a calm, assertive leader. What I see a lot of are loud, anxious, demonstrative, wanna-be-leaders. And, I’m not talking about the dog. =)

In observing the introduction of dogs to one another, there is a posturing but not a lot of noise. Usually, the noisy one is attempting to demonstrate their authority. I’m not sure that the alpha/leader in the group isn’t amused by the interaction while appearing tolerant.

Remember that when you are demonstrating authority to one or more dogs, that you do it with intention and presence of mind rather than as a reaction and in fear. Think of something that you really KNOW and then bring that same level of knowing to BEING the authority with the dog. They WILL get it as soon as you do.