Friday, December 26, 2008

Did You Get a New Puppy For Christmas?

How fun! A new puppy for the holidays! If you already have other dogs at home, you probably also already know how to raise the new pup.

However, if this is your first puppy, you may want to learn some "tricks of the trade" so you can raise a well-behaved and happy dog. You don't have very long to do this, considering that a puppy becomes an adult dog within a year or two. Mistakes made now will follow you into the dog's adult life and possibly create problems you weren't expecting.

Sadly, that's the stage when many people give up their dogs to shelters, or worse, simply tie them out back and pay very little attention to them anymore.

If you want to avoid that kind of sad outcome, now is the time to get some useful and appropriate information to help you raise the happy companion you are planning on.

You can get my free report, How I Taught An Old Dog New Tricks, by filling out the form on the right. Then, please take a look at the materials being offered by my friend, who is an expert dog trainer with 40 years experience. Don't worry, I've set it up so you can see automatically what she has on her web site. If you do not want it, that's fine. Just take my report and enjoy it.

Good luck with your new puppy! And drop me a line to let me know how it's working out!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Best Way to Train Your Dog

If you're having problems training your dog, here's a little secret:
Have someone watch you. It could be a friend, family member, or even a professional trainer. If you're in a class, ask the instructor to give you some personal time to see if you are doing things correctly.

What to watch for:

Be consistent. If you say things differently or move your hands or body in different ways, you could be confusing your dog. And these are things you may not notice about yourself. Have your friend watch to see if you are being consistent.

Be positive. If you become angry when you are frustrated, this helps no one, especially the dog. When training commands aren't consistent (see above), the confused dog won't be able to follow them. Don't get mad... get happy. If you can stay positive, this helps your dog stay interested in the activity. He wants to please you, so if you are happy, he will be happy and anxious to please you.

Watch your body language. If you crouch over your dog when giving commands, he might learn that as one of the cues he associates with that command. You may not realize you are doing this, but your observer will tell you.

Give commands only once. If you find yourself repeating something many times, your dog isn't understanding the process. That's your fault... not the dog's. Ask your friend to notice what you are doing that might contribute to this lack of comprehension. Ultimately, most of these things relate right back to consistency.

Bottom line... if you're not enjoying this, neither is your dog, and it will be difficult to reach a level of comfort and good manners.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dogs and Kids... How Much Are They Alike?

We who love our dogs are often accused of treating them like they were our kids. Well, why not? Is there something wrong with that?

Oh sure, it could be argued that "some people" go overboard about it, giving their little fur-kids too much attention, or attributing too much intelligence to them so as to interpret their behaviors in ways that do not benefit them, or us, or our families.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with "spoiling" our dogs. After all, it's not like they are going to grow up and leave home. They will always depend on us, and it's our responsibility to be always mindful of that.

The kids will, of course, grow up and leave, and we must learn to let go of them in some ways so they can mature and move on in life. So that's a big difference between dogs and kids. But the similarity remains that they will always be our kids (or our fur-kids), and we can, and should, always love them.

Another major difference, though, is that kids have the intelligence to understand why we must discipline them from time to time. They have life lessons to learn. Dogs can learn behaviors and how to please us, but it's questionable whether they have the intelligence to understand the reasoning behind discipline. This is why it's so important for us to be gentle and kind when we must discipline them. It's not useful to punish, as the dog only understands that you are angry, and may not understand why.

For the dog's well being, then, it's essential to be consistent and firm, but not angry or punishing, with set rules for behavior to help guide them. This they understand... not that you know they tracked mud into the house an hour ago and are going to make them sorry they did that... it doesn't work that way.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dogs that hate cats

Since I run a shelter, sometimes people ask me which dog breeds are the worst to have around a cat. The most "accurate" answer, of course, is that any dog can be dangerous to cats, depending on how the dog was raised and how it's treated now.

However, that said, it appears to be true that certain breeds do have an apparent propensity for what appears to be an inborn dislike for cats and one would therefore, be ill advised to keep one in the same home with a cat.

Those breeds are the pit bull terrier, the Jack Russell Terrier, and the greyhound.

Pit bulls, while gentle, sensitive and loyal to the family, for the most part, cannot be trusted to be alone with a smaller animal, or one that is subordinate. In other words, many "pits" seem drawn to attacking another animal that is lower in status or is much smaller. Possibly an instinct? I don't know.

Jack Russells, or "JRT's," also seem especially drawn to attack cats. That could be genetic as well. It just means that you should never leave your dog and cat alone together without supervision.

(By the way, I just heard that JRT's have been given a new name: Parson Russell Terriers.)

Now, the greyhound is included because, well, let's face it... they're bred specifically to chase a "rabbit" around a race track. How are they supposed to know your cat isn't "one of those?" They are large dogs with big teeth.

Just a note of caution here: Unless you're 100% certain your dog and cat are best friends, it's just not a good idea to leave them unsupervised when they have access to each other. Just use common sense. If you aren't comfortable leaving a dog alone with your infant, don't leave him alone with your cat, either.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Get in on some dog training seminars online

I just have to tell you about this wonderful series of dog training lessons that you can access for free, once a week, for the next several weeks, into August.

Just go here to see what the expert lineup is, and then sign up for it. You will receive some special bonuses, but the biggest bonus is listening to these experts and learning some extremely valuable information about your dogs.

Be sure to visit all the links on their page so you don't miss anything that could help you with your own dog training issues.

Training Your Dog to Get Along With Cats

Here is an article from a reader who wants to share his own experience with his dog. I think this is valuable information and helps us to understand our dogs (and cats) a lot better, and helps us to promote harmony in the home when you have cats and dogs together.

This is from David Brow:

The dog I own is a Bull Terrier cross breed. With this breed of dog their temperament is all about how you treat them, especially when they are puppies. The sad fact is that there are some people who just use these dogs as fighting animals and think that they're right in doing so. The truth is that the Bull Terrier can be a very emotional dog and sometimes can be temperamental and persistent in getting their way, but you can assert control with(out) having to resort to aggression towards them.

Like cats, hitting a Bull Terrier does nothing. I believe these dogs were originally bred for pig hunting, yet they are not the vicious killers as people claim they are and I have known a few people who have bull terriers and cats together. I think that the Bull Terrier can sometimes get over-affectionate with a cat and they have been known to show signs of grief when the cat is gone. Another thing is that they are protective of the family that owns them, even a cat from other cats, but that from the observation from my own dog with my friend's cat who was living with me for 5 years.

As with the Jack Russell Terrier, it is true they aren't all tolerant of cats, but that seems to be a common trait with all the Terrier breeds, but I think that is because they are more of a 'one owner animal' and once you have adopted one as a pet, which you would have to get as a puppy, as an older Terrier tends to grieve for its original owner, and you would have to accept that this type of dog is for life. You can assimilate both cat and Terrier but you can't force them and both pets will eventually get used to each other.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Yes, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks

There is a common saying that reflects a very common belief, and that is, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."

Well, I'm here to tell you that isn't true. I used to believe it myself, but I learned differently by personal experience.

Many years ago, I had a roommate who had an old dog -- a small poodle named Benji. Benji was almost blind, due to cataracts, and very nearly deaf as well. He was 13. And he had absolutely no manners. He'd never been taught to do anything.

Oh, he was a loving pooch whose mission in life seemed to be to please everyone, but he was prone to emotional outbursts and excitement because he had never learned how to behave as an obedient dog. He was "outta control!"

I found it rather annoying and set out to teach this little brat some manners. My roommate said it was useless and that I would give up right away, once I saw how pointless it was going to be.

Well, within 2 weeks, I had that dog responding to five basic commands, all with hand signals because he couldn't hear well.

He learned to sit, stay, roll over, lie down and shake "hands," though not in that order.

My roommate was absolutely astonished, and to be honest, so was I!

If you want to know how I taught him to do these things so quickly, you need to get my free report, How I Taught An Old Dog New Tricks.

I have to admit something, too, that surprises everyone, including me: I have no training in how to train a dog.

This is why I say, train your own dog at home... it's not too hard... Well... usually not. Some dogs do require different methods, and a lot depends on the traits of the dog and its breed, and you still may need to consult a pro and/or read some books. And to help you out, I'll be looking for and recommending books as I find them.

What I did was based on two things: common sense, with an understanding of the dog's specific personal needs, and persistence (and probably suspension of the belief that it couldn't be done).

Benji died in his sleep one night, but he was a happy dog. He had found order and purpose in his life... something many of us hope for, too.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Train Your Own Dog With These Tips

Did you just get a new dog? Why not learn to train him yourself? It's not rocket science, and if you are willing to take the responsibility, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. It also can help create a strong bond between you and your new pet.

If you're just starting out with a puppy, it will be all the more fun. Puppies are playful and exuberant and ready to learn! For today, this is just an introduction to the subject. Keep an eye out for upcoming tips, lessons, product reviews and more!