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What’s On Your Dog’s Bucket List?

Posted on Aug 14, 2015
Dog Psychology, Dog's Bucket List, Dogs Express Emotion, Learn From A Dog, Uncategorized, Yorkie
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Recently, videos of people and their dogs fulfilling the dog’s bucket list are making the rounds on social media.  It made me think of my own dogs and, in particular, my senior Yorkie, Melody.  When I got her, her age was estimated to be between 10-13.  (She’s been 13 for five years!)  Regardless, I am aware she does things now that reflect her age (let’s call them senior moments).

A recent scare brought to mind the idea of a bucket list.  What would her bucket list be?  I thought of all the things that make her act excited and silly. The answer was simple – being with me.  I took her on a camping trip and with the cooler temperatures, beautiful trees, and even with squirrels everywhere, she only wanted to be with me.

I’m absolutely certain our dogs express joy and happiness; just as they also express fear and anxiety.  I know from my dogs that while they love going for walks, playing with toys, chasing lizards (or cats) – I’m at the other end of the leash, I’m the giver of the toys, and while Zoe would prove me wrong for a brief moment of time, they prefer me over chasing anything.

The bucket list?  That’s for us.  That’s us going for one last run or walk, one last toy toss, sharing that burger we never wanted them to have.  It’s all for us.  They don’t have an I’m-not-ready-to-go-yet list of things to accomplish.  They live in the moment.  The moment.  With us.

Teaching A Dog Boundaries

Posted on Aug 20, 2014
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification, Boxer, Crate Training, Dog Humor, Dog Training, Doggie Rehab, Dogs and Instinct, Socialization, Uncategorized
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Teaching one dog a boundary (i.e., waiting at an open door) can be challenging and needs to be taught with minimal distraction as you work up to the major temptations.  Teaching it to three dogs….well, the pictures tell the story. “Oscar, Balboa, and Argus, good dogs.”  I even tossed out a toy and a ball and the most difficult challenge of all…having their dads walk past them as if greeting a guest at the gate.  So smart!

Of course, sit and down are easy in comparison.  Don’t tell the senior he isn’t lying down (he gets a free pass for putting up with the new, young adoptee).  Such a great family!

Dogs And Counter Surfing

Posted on Oct 08, 2012
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I have worked with many dogs on counter surfing.  I must say that the training in someone else’s home is much easier than it is in my own!  Giving advice can be so much simpler than applying it! Teaching a dog that food on the counter is not for them is challenging at its best.

One product/tool I used with great success was the Tattle Tale.  It is a small box that sits on the counter and emits a very high pitched tone when it senses warmth and movement; i.e., a dog’s schnoz!  Some dogs merely find it annoying.  Violet, a large Great Dane, was terrified of it.  In fact, she wouldn’t go in a room if it was anywhere in sight.  Oh, if it were that easy.

Rather than go into other training tips, here’s my advice.  Ready?  Keep things pushed back and off the counters or keep the dog(s) out of the kitchen.  That is probably the only way to achieve 100% success.  Unless, of course, you have a dog like my Zoe that would not even consider doing something as barbaric as scouring the counters for human food.

The dog in this picture pretty much confirms my thoughts and takes counter surfing to a whole new level.

Dog-A-Day for Canine Cancer

Posted on Feb 01, 2012
Canine Cancer, Dog Photography, Uncategorized
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In order to raise awareness about canine cancer, amazing photographer, Julie, of Bailey and Banjo photography, is taking a photo of a dog every day of 2012.   Thanks Julie!  Here’s January. . .

How To Train A Puppy

Posted on Jan 20, 2012
Behavioral Modification, Dog Training, Dogs and Instinct, Labradoodle, Learn From A Dog, Standard Poodle Puppy, Uncategorized
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It is 2012!  With the start of a new year and the puppy adoptions that have happened and will happen in the coming months of spring, it feels like it is time to do a few posts on life with a puppy.  I have a few suggestions, but am starting off with a video that demonstrates one of my favorite suggestions for not only how to train but also how to exhaust a puppy – use an older,  well-behaved dog!

Dogs Follow Human’s Gazes

Posted on Jan 08, 2012
Dog Psychology, Dog Training, Dogs and Cognitive Learning, Dogs and Instinct, Uncategorized
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Dogs may be as receptive to certain human communication signals as infants.  Here’s a great article that brings insight into how we communicate with our dogs.  As with humans, actions speak louder than words!

Dogs Follow Human’s Gaze

Dobermans, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls – OH MY!

Posted on Sep 30, 2011
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Being a responsible human isn’t always easy.  Owning up to our choices and their resultant consequences can be a challenge.  Sometimes, and too many times, it seems easier and harmless to blame someone, something, and worse of all – a being that cannot defend itself.  The image below is worth sharing and has been making its way around Facebook.   I completely agree with Cesar Millan. . .when will the humans be held accountable and responsible for their actions.

Dogs On The Bed? Never!

Posted on Sep 22, 2011
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Unless you decide otherwise!  I don’t have a one-method-fits-all approach to dog training and behavior modification.  There are rules and then, there’s the wonderful “whatever” command.  It, of course, should be used sparingly and preferably not when an overly serious dog trainer is around.

I believe the first few weeks of a dog’s life in their new home is when the standards should be set.  I would go so far as to say they shouldn’t be allowed on the bed or furniture and they should go through at least basic obedience and learn house manners.  If the dog is worthy of sharing the space on their human’s bed, then it can happen after an appropriate amount of structure.

In my home, I have had a “no dog on the bed” rule and I’ve had the “you’re little so you can be on the bed” rule, and now, it’s more of a right of passage.  The larger dog, Zoe, doesn’t sleep on the bed and only gets up after being told it’s okay.  She asks first and it’s usually in the morning when I’m getting ready for work.  All of the dogs know the meaning of the word “off” and I think it is important to enforce it so they will follow instruction if we are visiting a not-so-dog-accomodating home.

It’s funny to me that people have kids and understand the need for structure but their dog knows no boundaries.  If you want boundaries and peace in the kingdom and when out in public, start it early and be consistent.  Later, it will all seem so easy – especially when you get the opportunity to tell them, “whatever!”

Thankful Thursday

Posted on Jul 21, 2011
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My dogs are expected to share their beds.  While Melody has no problem dominating the large dog bed, she does have a small bed which is where I usually find her.  On occasion, when she gets up for a drink of water or something, Moby will quickly take her place.  In fact, I think he pretends to hear something and runs to the door so she’ll follow him and then he races back to claim the prized little dog bed.

Just today, Moby was on the little bed when Melody tested the waters by slowing crawling up next to him and quickly lying down.  Moby quickly exhaled his frustration, but rather than leave, he stayed next to her.  I’m sure in his own way he drew a line between them and told her not to cross it.

Since this is a rare occasion, I decided to call it my Thankful Thursday; because it is, and I am.

Dogs and Exercise

Posted on Jun 05, 2011
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I have posted previously about dogs and their need for exercise.  Humans tend to be highly motivated and inspired to exercise after the first of the new year and into spring and summer.  After that, we call it good until winter passes.  Our dogs don’t quite see it the same way.

Exercise needs vary depending on the breed and some dogs need their brain exercised more than they do their legs; however, it usually goes together.  I like to remind people who walk their dog every day at 4:00 for 30 minutes, that eventually their dog’s stamina increases and 30 minutes will no longer be adequate, not to mention boring.  I suggest varying the routine – duration and what it is you use for exercise.

I was working out this morning with my hand weights and Zoe decided to join me.  I told her she will receive greater benefit if she gets off the couch!