Author Archives: renee

NO JUMPING!

“NO JUMPING!”

Jumping up on people is an attention-seeking behavior. So telling your dog, “no jumping” is actually reinforcing the behavior because… you’re giving the dog attention by speaking to him or grabbing  his collar to pull him down.

Jumping on the Family

If your dog jumps up on you and your family, everyone should turn their back and completely ignore him. If he continues to jump, leave the room (duck behind the bathroom door). Be careful not to look at him, talk to him, or touch him! But he may surprise you by walking away from you fairly quickly. Once he does that, life goes back to normal. IF everyone is 100% consistent in ignoring the dog for jumping, this behavior will eventually extinguish. Remember that jumping has become a habit! Be patient.

When coming home from school or work, everyone should:

  • Make initial greetings a non-event. Say hello and continue walking through the house. Take your coat off, change your clothes, and then come back to your dog. He should have calmed down by then.
  • If his attempts to jump up stop, go back to your normal interactions with him.

Jumping on Visitors

This is a hard one! People tell me all the time that visitors LOVE to get their dog all excited and ramped up. Someone may say, “I love when she jumps up!” Or, they get down on the dog’s level and begin roughhousing. YIKES! Here is how to control this:

  • When visitors enter your home, make sure to leash up your dog FIRST. Your dog should be right by your side.
  • Your leash is your best friend. It is a tool that gives you immediate control of your dog.
  • Open your door, and quickly back away with your dog giving your visitor enough room to enter without getting mugged by the dog 😉
  • Ask your visitors if they can help you train your dog not to jump, rather than telling them “don’t do this or that.”
  • You ask your dog to sit. Some people allow others to give their dog obedience commands. But that’s YOUR job. You are in charge, right?
  • When your visitor slowly approaches you and your dog to greet you, If his front paws come up, tell your visitor to quickly back away. Repeat “sit”
  • Have the visitor repeat her approach slowly. If your dog remains in his sit, give him a really tasty treat as a reward. You can also give your visitor a treat to give to reward him. Give lots of calm praise also.
  • WARNING: if you take his leash off at this point and have your visitor walk with you through the house, your dog will jump on her!
  • Keep the leash on your dog and keep him with you for however long it takes for him to settle and calm down.
  • Once he’s calm, take his leash off and let him go sniff your visitor.

Summary

  • Make all greetings by you and your family, and all visitors a non-event.
  • Greeters should not pet the dog.
  • Greeters should not stare at the dog.
  • Greeters should not reach over the dog’s head to pet him.
  • Your dog MUST SIT before being greeted by anyone.
  • The calmer people are during a greeting, the calmer your dog will learn to be when greeting people.

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A MESSAGE ABOUT CHRISTMAS PUPPIES

Christmas Puppies:

For those of you who are planning to purchase puppies this coming holiday season, please give this idea a lot of thought before you make that final decision. Puppies are a lot of work! Ask yourself if you will have the time to devote to this new baby in order to get him housetrained properly. Will you be able to take him for potty breaks every 1/2 hour to 45 minutes throughout everyday? If you are planning to keep puppy in a crate for 8 hours every weekday while you’re at work, your puppy will not be able to hold his water or bowels for long. Puppies have a bladder the size of a pea! Puppy may wind up soiling his crate and get very upset about having to sleep in a mess.  Not only that, puppies should not be kept confined for that length of time without having a few breaks throughout the day to exercise, socialize, play and potty.

Puppies need to be thoroughly socialized. They need to meet a lot of people by the time they are 12 weeks old! They need to visit all sorts of different places and hear a variety of sounds, and walk on many different surfaces. And… they must play with several healthy, friendly and vaccinated puppies and dogs before that 12 week period is over (consider puppy class)! Will you have the time to devote to getting your pup sufficiently socialized throughout this holiday season? If not, you might wind up with a dog that becomes shy or fearful of everyone and everything he was not exposed to during that short window of socialization.

Sadly, June of every year is a month when shelters begin to see 6-month old dogs being surrendered. These were the puppies that were purchased or adopted during the holiday season. People surrender their dogs at this age because (1) they are now showing shy, fearful and aggressive behaviors due to insufficient socialization, (2) they have not been completely housetrained because nobody had the time to get the dog out often enough for potty breaks, and (3) the novelty of having a puppy has now worn off once everyone realizes how much time and work is involved to raise a puppy. Believe me, it is just as much work as raising a baby.

It is best not to purchase a puppy as a gift. I can’t tell you how many people have called me in January of each year for help  with their puppies, and admit they really didn’t want it. If you want to give someone a puppy as a gift, let them pick the puppy out. If they tell you they do not want a puppy, don’t go ahead and get it for them anyway thinking they’ll  fall in love with it! Most people don’t!

If you are seriously wanting to add a puppy to your family, consider getting him/her in the spring or early summer when the weather is 100% better for taking puppy out for potty breaks, and socializing the puppy with its world.

 

 

PREVENT DOGS FROM GETTING LOST – PART 2

Prevent Dogs From Getting Lost – Part 2

If you haven’t read Part 1 of my article, scroll down and read that first. Part 2 is a discussion of how to get your dog to come to you every time you call him. But let me remind you that you can never call your dog and then holler, or tell her she’s bad for having gotten out! I can’t stress that enough!. Your dog needs to develop complete trust in you so he doesn’t ever feel afraid of being punished when returning to you, even if he’s been gone for hours. Also, make sure you practice, practice, practice these games a lot. Practice makes perfect. However, if he’s gotten out, even once, she’s been reinforced for getting out, and will eventually escape again given the opportunity (gates left open, jumping the fence, digging holes underneath the fence, etc.). You need to keep a close eye on your dog whenever she’s outside

The following are some games/exercises that I want you to play with your dogs as often as possible. You should play them minimally once, preferably twice a day when you first start training. As your dog improves with each of these games, you can play a couple times/week. Sometimes play one of the games, and then switch to another game to keep your dog practicing coming each time she’s called:

GAME #1 – GO FIND IT RECALL GAME 

Show your dog a treat, and then say “Go Find It” as you toss that treat on the floor away from the dog. At first, don’t toss it too far because you want the dog to learn what this game is all about. As soon as she eats the treat, call him back by saying “come” or “here” or my favorite word, “Com’ere.” Use your party-voice whenever you call your dog back to you — ALWAYS!  Make sure to praise him up and applaud her when she comes back to you! Then quickly toss another treat somewhere else, keeping your dog fully engaged in this game of returning back to you.

Once your dog understands what you’re doing, begin tossing the treats further and further away so you can call her back from further distances.  You should play this in several different locations inside your house. This is a fun hunting game as well as a fun recall game. Dogs love it!!

GAME #2 – PUPPY IN THE MIDDLE RECALL GAME

Start out standing just a few steps from the person you’ll be playing this game with.  One person calls the dog to him with a happy word (e.g, “com’ere”), by luring him a treat.  When the dog gets right in front of that person, he praises and gives that treat as a reward for coming.  The second person then calls the dog and repeats this same process.  When your dog gets really good at coming to each of you, (1) start increasing the distances between you and your partner a little bit at a time when you’re calling the dog back to you; (2) put that treat lure behind your back now, and bring it out only when your dog returns to each of you. 

GAME #3 – RECALL TRAINING OUTSIDE USING A LONG-LINE

Anytime you train your dog outside, make sure to use high-value food rewards (e.g., cooked bits of chicken, smelly cheese, tiny cooked meatballs, etc.). Put your dog on a 15-20 foot nylon long line (most pet supply stores carry these). Do not use a flexi-leash! Take a walk with your dog out in your backyard (if you don’t have a backyard work on this at a park or other safe area where you have some room to walk around holding that line).  Give your dog plenty of line to allow him to wander away. Don’t pull on it at all. Randomly call your dog over to you, praise with your party-voice and reward him for coming treating her with those high-value treats. Switch directions as you walk around. Sometimes walk in large circles and then smaller ones.  Walk at a slow pace at first, and use your happy recall word.

GAME #4 – TEACH YOUR DOG TO COME RACING TO YOU IN YOUR HOUSE

Some dogs will recall right to the backdoor and then get a treat. But once some of those dogs have gotten the treat, off they go again 😉 This exercise will teach him that coming directly into the house is where the good stuff is. But you will need someone else to help you who can do a little bit of running. Also, everyone in your family needs to practice this so your dog knows to come to all of you when called.

Put the dog on your 15-20 foot long line. Make sure you have plenty of your high-value food rewards in your pocket. Give your dog one of those treats right before you begin working with him.

You should be standing close to your backdoor, but not at the door YET. Your assistant should begin by taking the dog to various places in your yard not too far from where you are standing. Call your dog to you using your designated recall word and your party-voice. If your dog doesn’t begin to come, have your assistant start running toward you holding the loop of that long-line and encouraging the dog to run with her. When your dog does reach you, give lots of praise and offer a treat.

Then your assistant takes the dog to a different spot in the yard. Have your assistant take her to places where she likes to dig or to look for squirrels. Once your dog understands that you’re giving him scrumptious food rewards, she’ll begin to look in your direction and will start running on her own to get to you.

Once your dog is running happily over to you, and your assistant no longer needs to hold onto the long-line, you can now place yourself right inside your backdoor holding the door open. Practice again calling your dog from various areas in the yard. Always offer a treat now right at the backdoor.

The last part of this exercise consists of your recalling the dog right inside the backdoor. Start playing the GO FIND IT game, and toss one treat at a time all over the floor inside for at least 15 seconds. Quickly close the backdoor as soon as she’s in that room. Once she’s found all the treats, let him right back outside again to continue practicing recalling her back inside.

Make sure to practice this game a lot. Your dog will eventually learn to trust you not to make all her fun end every time she is called into the house!

 

 

 

Prevent Dogs From Getting Lost – Part 1

I get stressed out each time I see an announcement for LOST DOG on Pawboost Alert. I would love to know how and why so many of these dogs are running away and getting lost. I thought it might be a good idea to discuss how to PREVENT this from happening. Keep in mind though if you have recently adopted a shelter or rescue dog, many will try to escape in the early days of coming home. So closely supervise your newly rescued dog for several weeks! Do not allow that dog to be out in your yard unsupervised!

One reason dogs will run away is: it’s more exciting and fun to be outside hunting or scavenging, or playing with a neighbor’s dog rather than being stuck in the house with nothing to do! Dogs need exercise, both physical and mental. You must provide enrichment activities that will keep their brains working and give them something enjoyable to do, especially when they’re alone in the house. There is a blog on my website that has tons of ideas for providing enrichment activities . Click on this link to read it:  “Physical Exercise and Mental Stimulation for Dogs.”

NEVER call a dog to you to do something unpleasant (e.g., to say “bad dog!” or to put him in his crate, or to take him to the vet’s or groomer). No matter when you call your dog, it should be with a happy, cheerful voice, even if you’re mad as hell. Dogs will not come to you if they think they’re going to be punished! Even if your dog comes home hours after you’ve been going crazy trying to find him, BE JOYFUL and praise him for coming home. Remember that punishment will teach him something bad will happen if he approaches you!

NEVER chase your dog! Doing that will teach him/her running away from you is more fun than coming to you.

Below is my handout of games for teaching dogs to COME WHEN CALLED first from inside the house to teach him that coming to you is a good thing. My next article will teach you how to get your dog to come in from outside the house:

BACK UP AND TREAT GAME

Get your treats and begin the game with the dog sitting directly in front of you. Show him the first treat in your hand, and lure him to follow that treat as you take a step backward and he comes forward to you. Say, “COM’ERE” and give him that treat immediately when he reaches you! Keep taking one step back, and each time he comes to you, give him a treat right away using the word, “Com’ere.”

Only use a food lure for 3 repetitions! Once you get past this first part of the game, you should hide your treats behind your back and offer it only when he’s right in front of you. Encourage everyone in your family to play these games. 

DOGGIE IN THE MIDDLE GAME

Start out with the dog standing between 2 family members who are at a small distance from one another. One person calls the dog saying, “Com’ere” and rewards with a treat as soon as he arrives. Then the second person calls the dog and repeats this same process. As the dog gets better at coming to each person, begin slightly increasing the distances that you’re calling the dog back to you. Start calling your dog from different rooms to find both people who are playing the game when he’s doing well.

GO FIND IT GAME 

Toss a treat to the left of the dog and say “Go Find It.” Let him eat his treat. Then call him back to you saying “Com’ere.” When he is directly in front of you, give him a treat immediately. Then toss a treat way out to the right. Tell him “go find it!” Let him get his treat. Then call him back to you saying “Com’ere” and give him a treat immediately when he’s directly in front of you. Toss a treat out front of him and say “go find it.” Repeat this process over and over. Little by little, increase the distance you’re tossing those treats so he has to return back to you from further away to get his rewards! 

 

Help You Can Give To Your Separation Anxious Dog

If you haven’t read my first article about Separation Anxiety, please read it before reading this one (scroll down this page to see it). Judging from the amount of comments, likes and shares in that article, I can see that many of you, or your friends, are dealing with this issue. I will provide as many suggestions as possible so you can, at least, get started on your own to improve your dog’s anxiety. However, I would still urge you to hire a Behavior Consultant who is very experienced working with SA, or visit with a Veterinary Behaviorist at some point to help you get as much success as possible.

It is important NOT to leave your dog alone until you are seeing some success with your teaching your dog to accept being alone. More often than not, I will recommend to clients to take their dog to a doggy daycare 2 to 3 times per week, as long as the dog gets along with other dogs. Daycare has a 2 day effect because they’re still tired the next day. Some doggy daycares can leave a dog crated (if she’s crateable!) if she doesn’t get along with other dogs, but will play with the dog or walk her periodically through the day. Of course, hiring a pet sitter to come a few times a day can also be helpful. If you have a friend or relative who would be willing to take your dog, that also would be very helpful (as long as your dog’s anxiety doesn’t involve one specific individual who leaves. If any of these suggestions would not work for you, there are still things you can do.

Purchase an Adaptil, Dog Appeasing Pheromone diffuser to help your dog feel more relaxed (aka DAP). This product is available at Amazon. Many veterinarians also recommend this product. The DAP Diffuser needs to be plugged into an open outlet that is not blocked by anything. If your dog can remain in a crate, plug the diffuser into an outlet nearby. The liquid in that diffuser will last around 30 days. Don’t neglect to have a refill on hand. The liquid will emit through your house wherever you plug it in. I love this product! However, if you have a pet rabbit or bird, you cannot use this.

I have discovered FREE music choreographed specifically for dogs with SA to help them relax or sleep. The music can play for as long as 10-15 hours (please avoid leaving your dog alone for that long — EVER!). You can download this music to your TV, computer or phone. Sometimes, I’ll play this music just because I like it too. However, you need to play this music randomly throughout the day when you are home. You don’t want your dog to think the music means  You’re Leaving!

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcasa&p=calming+music+for+dogs+with+separation+anxiety#id=1&vid=862f1927fa965c00febf50ca145649a4&action=click 

Teach your dog to wear a Thundershirt. I call this “Hug Therapy.” Thundershirts are available at several retail stores (Bed, Bath & Beyond, Petsmart, Petco, or www.thundershirt.com). The thundershirt is guaranteed and you can return it within 30 days for a full refund!

There are some good calming treats available. Give the recommended amount to your dogs at least an hour prior to your leaving your house. If you have a pet sitter come during the day, ask to give your dog another one before leaving. When going to these companies, type in the names of these items into their search boxes:

  • Zesty Paws, Calming Bites – Available at http://www.amazon.com
  • VetriSCIENCE, Composure Pro – Available at http://www.amazon.com
  • Bach Flower Essences, Pet Rescue Remedy – Available at: http://www.entirelypets.com

Make sure to give your dog some mentally stimulating activities to keep him occupied so she’s not thinking about being alone all day long. Here are a few ideas:

  • Keep at least 3 frozen-filled Kongs in your freezer all the time. Freezing Kongs makes it more of a challenge for the dog to lick all the goodies out of it. I suggest soft mixtures like peanut butter, yogurt, cream cheese, or banana. Mix whatever soft food you’re putting in with chunked up bits of healthy biscuits (never Milkbone!! – not healthy), fruits or veggies, or left-over kibble.
  • Provide your dog with a Kong Wobbler. This is a wonderful food-release toy that your dog must push around in order to get treats or kibble to come out of a hole that’s on the side of it. Teach your dog what to do with it and get all excited when encouraging him/her to interact with it.
  • Hide treats around the house in little containers. Put them just slightly underneath your furniture, in the kitchen just underneath your oven or sink. Hide treats in corners and areas that she has to work in order to get them. I like hiding a couple treats in cardboard boxes (remove all staples) and scattering those boxes around in rooms where dogs are allowed to be.
  • Take one or two pieces of your laundry and fold some treats in them. It will comfort the dog to have something of your scent while hunting for treats.
  • Have you heard of a Snuffle Mat? Check that out at www.amazon.com. It’s  kind of a new thing. It’s a mat with tons of folds in it to hide kibble and treats to keep your dog busy hunting for a long time. If you purchase this, make sure to see how he uses it before leaving him alone with it.
  • If your dog loves to shred newspapers, then let him have newspapers you’ve already read, to shred when she’s alone. All you’d have to do when you come home is throw the papers out.

Here’s what I definitely do not want you to do:

  • Never punish your dog! I realize how difficult it is to come home and see destruction, or pee and poop on your floors. But… your dog is already suffering from anxiety. Punishment creates more anxiety! When you leave, he finds things to do (like destruction) to occupy herself until you come home.  Peeing and pooping in the house is not spitework. It happens because she is stressed to the max!
  • If you just rescued a dog, or if you just brought home a new puppy, do not make a big deal when you leave your house or when you return home. It may sound cruel, but when my dog sees me coming home, it actually takes him a minute or two to come greet me! It’s a calm greeting! I just tell him, “you be a good boy” when I leave, and “hi buddy” when I come home. That’s it! Believe it or not, some of my clients are so used to acting woeful when leaving and excited when returning, it is harder for the humans to change that habit than the dog getting used to its human’s new greeting routine!
  • Again, if you just rescued a dog, do not allow him to sleep in your bed for at least a year! Separation anxiety is very common with shelter dogs. They’ve already lost a home or two. Sleeping in your bed will only make him feel more dependent on being close to you. Don’t add fuel to a possible fire!

I have some referrals for you if your dog is suffering from this emotional disorder:

  • If your dog’s SA is severe (a lot of damage to the structure of your house, poop all over walls and ceilings, dog is escaping the crate and injuring himself, broken glass where dog has attempted to escape), you must see either your own veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist. A dog that’s showing severe SA will likely need to be put on medication. However, don’t think meds are going to be a cure! Medication will help your dog to be able to learn better when doing behavior modification training. If you live anywhere near Mount Laurel, contact Dr. Shana Gilbert-Gregory at Mount Laurel Animal Hospital. The address is 220 Mount Laurel Road, Mount Laurel, NJ. Call (856) 234-7626 for an appointment. She also makes house calls.
  • If your dog is struggling with SA, but some of his behaviors are causing him to become injured, I can also recommend a certified SA trainer, and can work with you either by phone or remotely using Skype. Her name is Leslie Wiesler. You can contact her on Facebook by typing in her name and messaging her.
  • I also work with dogs that suffer from SA. When speaking with me on the phone I can often determine whether or not you first need to speak to your vet or to Dr. Gilbert-Gregory before doing behavior modification: (609) 280-9338.

I hope these suggestions are helpful in making your dogs feel less anxious! But there is more work to be done…