Tag Archives: basic training

Little Italy, Boston, MA -Abby & Emmie

north-end-boston-sept-17-20161Yesterday, Saturday, was a gorgeous day so we decided to go to Little Italy, also know as the North End, in Boston, MA.  Cynthia and I agreed that we are going to do our best to see as much of Massachusetts as we possibly can while we live here.  When we lived in Maryland, DC was a 20 minute drive from home and we failed to see a lot of it and so we don’t want to make the same mistake again.

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Abby, “I am posing, therefore I want a treat.”

We took Abby and Emmie for a nice walk around Little Italy, and Cynthia found 2 bakeries, forgot the names, where she got some delicious bread.  I am sure we’ll be heading that way many more times in the future.

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Abby and Emmie, “No more pictures. We are tired.”

Our trip was about 3 hours long, let’s not forget the traffic coming and going, and afterwards everybody was tired, thirsty, hungry and sleepy.  After we all had a nice lunch, we took a well deserved nap.  And that’s what I call a well spent Saturday.

Dog Training & Behavior Tips

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Abby, “I am sitting perfectly. Could I get my food now, please?”

If you want to start your puppy or newly acquired dog on the right path, these are some of the things I recommend pet parents to do:

  • Start working on training and behavior modification as soon as you get your dog
  • Set rules and boundaries so your dog knows what is not acceptable
  • Be consistent and give clear instructions
  • Provide your dog with adequate physical and mental exercise
  • Get the whole family involved in raising this puppy/dog
  • Give structure to his every day life
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Abby, “Wow! So many things to see and smell.”

One thing, I’ve realized after training a variety of dogs, many pet parents forget to do is expose their dogs to different environments, people, sounds, etc.  Abby is sensitive to sound just like many other dogs therefore she goes everywhere I can take her.

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Some pet parents have told me, “I don’t know why she doesn’t behave.  She went through 2 obedience classes.”  Well, the answer is simple, training was provided, but behavior modification was not.  Training and behavior modification is a lifelong commitment and process, but take my word for it, the bond you develop with your dog and the enjoyment you’ll get from living with a balanced canine companion is priceless.

Abby, A Force Of Nature

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Perfect sit/stay and eye contact. You go Abby!

As promised on my last post, I will show you what Abby does prior to giving me that perfect sit/stay and eye contact.  Why?  So you are aware of all her antics and refrain for saying to your furry kid, “You should be like Abby.”

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Marcela, “I am pointing at the spot I want her to sit and stay while giving me eye contact.”

Abby, at the beginning, does comply and follows my hand.

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Abby, “Ha, ha. I am so happy I am going to eat that I can’t contain my excitement.”

Abby then decides that she must first show me how excited she is by jumping all over her bed and ignoring my hand signal.

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Abby, “Mom, your finger smells delicious.”

Abby’s enthusiasm, this time, is less because she’s learned that the sooner she calms down the faster she’ll eat.  At the beginning she used to jump up in the air.

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Abby, “Ok mom, I am due being funny. Could you please feed me now?”

She finally settles down and at such time she is rewarded with a meal.  Believe it or not, that exuberance Abby displays every time I feed her is something I enjoy seeing and hope that she’ll continue to display.  Just like many pet parents out there, there are some things that I don’t want to change in Abby because it makes me happy and she looks adorable doing it.  Happy Holidays!

The Name Game – Is It Important?

Walter, a handsome Australian Shepherd.

Walter, a handsome Australian Shepherd.

Let me start by answering the question above.  Yes, the name game in training a dog is extremely important.  This is always the first command I work on before moving on to any other command.  Why is it important?  For the simple reason that if you don’t have your dog’s attention, whatever command you are giving him will fall on deaf ears and you will end up angry, frustrated and aggravated while your dog will be completely clueless about what is going on.  The above picture of handsome Walter is the perfect example of a dog not paying any attention at all.  He did not want any thing to do with the camera.

namegame2A lot of pet parents would give a command when their dog is exploring his environment.  Is this a good time to do it?  No.  He will just learn to ignore whatever command you are giving him because you don’t have his attention.

namegame3Do you give a command now?  Yes.  I called his name, Walter, and he gave me that beautiful eye contact.  At this point, you could give him a command, but not before you get his attention.  At the beginning, work only on the name game, and reward your dog with a treat, petting him, etc.  Don’t move on to any other command until your dog looks at you every single time you call his name.  I’d suggest you start doing this indoors and later on move on to doing it outdoors.  Make training fun for you and your dog.  Enjoy your weekend.

Alex’s ACL Injury – 15 Months Later

alex3upIn November 2013, Alex injured her ACL and I was beyond scared.  So scared that I was ready to put her through surgery, but my better half, Cynthia, talked me out of it, and even today I am glad we made the right decision for Alex.  Please, bear in mind that neither Cynthia nor I are vets nor pretend to be one, but we made the best choice for our furry kid Alex, taking into consideration her age, recovery period, chances of getting full recovery, and expenses.

At the beginning, Alex wore the brace featured in the above picture all the time, except for bed time, of course.  She had tons of bed rest and this was easy to do because at the time of her injury she was already 11 years old so she loved to sleep.  This is not an easy task to accomplish if you have a young dog.

alex1upNowadays, Alex does not use her brace when she is at home anymore.  She wears it only when we go out and when we visit family.  Because of her ACL injury I changed a few things in order to help her heal and keep her free of pain.  Here are a few of the changes I made for her:

  • Walks – I try to get her out 2 to 3 times a day, when the weather is not too cold, for about 15-25
  • Diet – Alex eats 75% human food, 25% kibble
  • Bed – I got her an orthopedic bed
  • Sun bathing – Sunbathing, in moderation, is excellent for her injury
  • Heating pad – I put a heating pad on her during the evening.  This accomplishes two things: it keeps her warm; and it helps improve her mobility
  • Supplements – Omega 3 and Osteo-Pet total joint care

I cannot complain.  Alex is doing great and she is about to turn 13 years old in May 5th.  I still cannot believe it.  My girl is a tough little cookie.

Staying In Maryland

staymd1The above cutie pie is staying with us this weekend.  She is very laid-back and although she is an only furry child, she does great with my dogs.  I’ve realized that just because some dogs have no other “siblings” it does not mean that they will be anti-social with other dogs.

staymd2After weighing all our options, we decided that it was best to stay in Maryland.  It took us a while to figure it out, but thanks to Alex and Bella we realized what was best for all of us.  Have a great weekend.

CEFNI by Sara Jane

I usually don’t collaborate with other bloggers when it comes to writing a post because what I write is based on my experiences, education, and point of view, but this time I made an exception because this has to do with rescuing dogs, so here it goes:

My names is Sara Jane, I volunteer for a wonderful German Shepherd rescue charity called Cefni and Alex has been kind enough to let me tell her followers a little bit about our charity. We aim to prevent dogs from being taken to pounds where they face being put to sleep within seven days of entry. We work with a range of animal shelters to allow us to help dogs throughout the whole of the UK and Northern Ireland, but we need you.

To enable us to help as many dogs as possible we need dog lovers everywhere to spread the word. This is why I have started to write a blog for Cefni.  The page is in its early stages but will include top tips about keeping your dog happy and healthy, interesting snippets of information for fact junkies and most importantly regular updates on dogs that are currently look for homes. All we need you to do is follow the blog and share it with as many people as you can; post it on facebook, email it to all your friends or like Alex, ping me a comment and give me a chance to reach your blog readers with posts like this.

If you are really passionate about joining our ranks there are many ways you can get involved from fostering a dog while we look for its forever home, to designing products and merchandise we can sell to raise charity funds.

For more information please visit my blog:

 http://cefnigermanshepherdrescue.wordpress.com/how-can-you-get-involved/

To finish I’d like to tell you a few of our success stories. Duke’s pet parent, contacted Cefni because she was having major issues with him and was looking for Duke to be rehomed. German Shepherds are amazing creatures but without the correct guidance they are very often misunderstood. Duke’s owner agreed to join Cefni training classes with Duke while we looked for a new home for him, after some months training she decided to keep Duke at her home forever. This story illustrates one of the many ways Cefni can help German Shepherds stay in happy family homes.

Max came to us at just three years old, he was very adorable and hug, a big baby, everyone who came into contact with him instantly fell in love. However months later he was still in our care, this can happen when a dog is very large. Sometimes, like Max, dogs stay with us for many months out of no fault of their own. For this reason we try to put dogs in foster homes while we look for their permanent home, even the best kennels can be very stressful, if prolonged this can physiologically damage even the calmest dog. In the end Max charmed his way into the heart of his forever owner who now believes bigger is always better even when you’re talking about a large breed like German Shepherds.