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Archive for May, 2010

Barking At Other Dogs

This post is for people who have social dogs, who bark simply because they see another dog. If your dog has aggression or is out of control, there are other resources for that. We specifically recommend you find a dog trainer near you or check out a book on feisty fidos.

When you are out on your walks you have to pay attention. If you see another dog coming, then its time to watch your dog. Here is the key, reward your dog for looking at the other dog, but not barking. If they start barking, you should have caught it earlier. If they do start barking, no biggie, put a treat in their face, lure them in front of you and just keep feeding them until the other dog passes by.

If they haven’t started barking, tell them how fabulous they are and reward them with the food. Keep doing this until the other dog is gone. I like to pick up my pace and use a very happy voice. In a typical walk we will pass by 4 dogs and by the 4th one, I only have to use one treat because my dog already knows the routine. If there is a barking dog behind a fence, I see this is a great training opportunity, I can stand there and practice for as long as I need to. Over time the food isn’t necessary any more, but initially you’ll want to stay armed with it. try to use a good dog treat that is only for this special occasion, not a usual milkbone.

Puppy Teething

I walked in the door and found my older lab with blood spots all over him, was I freaked out! I searched through and couldn’t find any problems, and it dawned on me, the puppy must be loosing his teeth. I opened up his mouth and sure enough, he’s lost about 7 teeth in the last two days. We’ve only seen proof of a few laying around, normally I never see any teeth at all. I dont know what it is, but puppies get absolutely wild when they are going through that nasty puppy teething stage.

So, the question is, what can you do to help these poor little guys? Well they aren’t like kids, you can’t give them tylenol. You can however give them things that will help soothe their desires. Look at what they are chewing on, wood, socks, soft or hard? Give them what they need. If they are going for soft things, get a soft plush toy. If its harder things, try some ice cubes, that can help sooth and cool their gums. I typically avoid things like raw hides, and prefer antlers.

If the puppy is just being crazy, just put them in their crate and plan on going for an extra long walk to see if that helps tire them out. I’m sure they have issues with sleeping when they are teething. The good thing is, the puppy teething phase is short lived and lasts only a week or two at its worst. The biggest and most important thing with puppy teething is to always watch your puppy. Not only can you lose your kitchen cabinet but you can also have an injured puppy.

Dog Harness Review

Little baby Blaze is growing up, literally. That means he’s getting bigger, taller and you guessed it, STRONGER! When he wants to pull me, he can put his little feet firm on the ground and pull as hard as he can. We have tried several things to stop pulling on a leash, so we are going to give you our dog harness review thoughts.

Gentle Leader Easy Walk Harness
Love it, love it, love it! We give the easy walk harness 5 stars. It comes in so many sizes, even in between sizes. The idea is this harness hooks on the front of the dog, instead of the back. When the dog pulls it turns them back towards you. If you are training your dog NOT to pull on leash, this is the best dog harness.

Traditional Nylon Harness
These are nice, but actually encourage the dog to pull. If you have a dog under 20 pounds, these are great and for those we give it 3 stars. You can adjust them well, they are easy to put on. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Sensible Harness / Sensation Harness
The sensible harness is nice, we give it 4 stars. It works under the same premise as the easy walk harness, except it doesn’t have a nice martingale front, so it can gap a bit when the dog walks if it doesn’t fit right. I also dont know if they sell in between sizes. Its a bit harder to find and can cost a bit more than the other harnesses, around $25.

To recap our dog harness review, we use and recommend the easy walk harness. They cost around $20 and you can buy them online or in stores. To save money, ebay is a good place to shop.

Puppy Barking at Other Dogs

Our puppy who is almost 5 months old is now barking at other dogs.  He acts like a total maniac!  I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help fix this puppy barking problem.  The biggest thing is that I want him to look at the other dog but not bark.  Many trainers will retrain the dog to look at them, but honestly, dogs will be in our lives and I want Blaze to look just not act like a fool.

Rule #1:  Always have yummy treats

If you dont have treats, you can’t fix the problem, trust me.  You wont need them forever, but initially you do.

Rule #2: Dont correct

The puppy is young, he doesn’t know, he just wants to play :)

Rule #3: Reward that first look without a bark.

Its rare that dogs will look at freak out immediately. They usually do some posturing first.  Your goal is to reward before that posturing even.  Use your clicker or marker word “yes” and get that treat in as fast as you can.  The trick to this is being very aware of your surroundings.  Make sure you are on the look out for other dogs and dogs behind fences so that you can practice the behavior.

As your dog gets more advanced and begins checking in with you rather than barking when they see that other dog, then you can ask if your dog can say hello or just feed a treat and be on your way.  Over time you can fade out the treats just don’t do it too soon or your puppy barking problem might return!

Heeling Week 2 Day 1

So Week 1 Heeling focus was to really work on driving to heel position and making it fun.  Week 2 is about teaching some rear movement.  By the end of the week we’d like to have the handler facing the box walking around it, and the dog swinging their rear following in heel position.  Getting this nice movement sideways is invaluable to turning and pivots.

I am using a box for teaching this behavior as it is a good foundation for the dog.  Initially I stand in front of the dog with a treat and walk around the box trying to get the dog to move their hind legs to the left.  If they move at all I click and treat.  Even if I have to get really close to their rear and they are in gumby mode trying to get the treat in my hands, I just wait and dont give the treat until they move.

If your dog doesn’t like having their feet on the box you may want to start there.  Just lure the dog up and reward when they have two feet on, two feet off.

The goal is to get the dogs rear legs moving with you facing the dog. Dont push the dog or use the leash (in fact train without a leash).  Just work on your timing of watching those rear feet moving.  Any left movement can be rewarded.