Tag Archives: behavior modification

Abby’s Friends

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Alex, Sarris, and Dexter (Left to Right)

My Alex was an amazing dog and even though she was part Pit Bull she was the friendliest dog I’ve ever met, and I want Abby to be like Alex.  Now, please understand that some dogs, just like people, are more friendly than others.  Dogs are individuals.

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Abby to Roxie, “Let me help you. I think you have a little bit of food around this side of your face. Why do you have to be so tall?”

Abby – a Beagle/Bulldog mix – is naturally friendly.  I’d say overly friendly, but even like that I expose her to different dogs, such as cutie pie Roxie.  The more your dog interacts with other dogs the better and more relaxed she will be.  Enjoy your weekend.

Kitchen: Most Popular Room In Our House

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Champagne, “Could I help?”

One thing I’ve realized, and many of you probably would agree with me, is that the kitchen is the most popular and used room in a house.  All of Abby’s friends love to hang out in the kitchen specially when Cynthia is cooking.

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Champagne, “I am so tired.”

After Champagne helped Cynthia prepare a delicious meal, she was very tired so she took a nap.  She is probably dreaming about food.

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Champagne, “What? Time to eat? Yay!”

How interesting, and funny, that once it was time to eat the above beautiful girl woke up right away.  I think that both, dogs and humans, enjoy hanging out in the kitchen.  What room is the most popular/used in your house?

Abby Paying Her Bills In Person

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Abby, “Mom, do I really have to pay my bills on time?”

Abby was pretty surprised when I told her that she needed to go in person and pay her water/sewage/garbage bill.  As you can see, she was so bothered by it that she was giving me the cold shoulder.  What a brat!  I wanted to be mad at her, but she looked so cute wearing that sweater that all I did was smile.

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Abby, “Ok mom, let’s go home. I dropped off the check.”

And so Abby paid her utility bill, posed for this picture, and we headed back home.  Abby goes every where I am able to take her.  That’s the only way your canine companion can get used to different noises, people, cars, etc.  What places are you able to take your dog to?

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.

Teaching Abby To Behave

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Abby, “Moms, it’s snowing!”

Abby, at the beginning, didn’t know or understand that once we were home she was not allowed to run like crazy, nip people, grab things off of the floor as toys, etc.  Well, time went by, 9 weeks, and she is starting to understand that certain things are expected of her if she wants to help Cynthia cook.

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Abby, “Mom, I am not presentable and you are distracting me from helping mom Cynthia finish cooking our meal.”

I like to have Abby in the kitchen when Cynthia is cooking because this is the perfect time to work on behavior.  How?  Well, for one, she is not allowed to jump while Cynthia cooks; for two, she is to keep those beautiful teeth away from nipping or biting; and lastly, she is not to frantically pace back and forth.  This is not basic training but rather behavior modification.

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Marcela, “This is Abby letting me know in no uncertain terms that she is not happy that I am not saying that she is perfect.”

I also like Abby to be in the kitchen because I want her to get used to the different sounds and smells that are typical in a kitchen.  Abby, so far, has been the hardest puppy I’ve ever had to train and work on behavior modification with, but also the most adorable.  Why am I sharing this with you?  Because I want you to understand and know that dogs are individuals and as such they learn at their own pace.

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Abby, “Mom Cynthia, how much longer before we eat?”

Alex, our pit bull mix, was very easy to train.  She got all her obedience cues and behavior, behavior always being the most difficult to achieve, pretty fast and because of that I joined the legions, yes legions, of pet parents that told me that female dogs are smarter than male dogs.  By the way, I no longer thing so.  Why?  Abby proved all those pet parents wrong.  If you got a puppy or dog recently, please work with a trainer and/or behaviorist in order to start your canine companion on the right path.  Many of the dogs I see in shelters are there because of behavioral problems.  Don’t give up on your dog, and find the help of a professional to guide you and teach you how to properly communicate with your dog.

Socializing Your Dog With Other Dogs

social1As a child growing up in Ecuador with a menagerie of animals, dogs were our constant companions.  I grew up in a small village by the sea and for us to see a dog being walked on a leash was something very weird.  Socializing dogs?  We didn’t know what that meant.

Once I got my first dog, a challenging handsome staffie, and started to go to training classes, I realized that dogs getting along with other dogs, socializing, was something a lot of dogs have difficulty doing.  I also figured out that many pet parents didn’t know how to properly socialize their dogs.

social2When a dog stays with us, I send pictures to the pet parent so he can see his furry kid.  A couple of years ago I had a pet parent say to me, “You sent me a picture of my dog sitting right next to another dog.  How did you do that?  She doesn’t like to sit next to other dogs.”  I was surprised by what she said.  A couple of other pet parents also said similar things.

How did I do it?  I made sure that they had plenty of exercise, structure, discipline, and boundaries.  For some dogs, being next to another dog, like the above picture is close to impossible.  If you don’t know how to work with your dog, do what I did years and years ago, find a trainer that can help you understand and learn about dogs.  Living with a dog should be enjoyable, not stressful.