Charlie has been with us for a little over 2 weeks and slowly, emphasis on slowly, he is gaining weight, and he is starting to learn manners. Yeah! But, I want to tell you that behavior modification takes time, patience, and lots of persistence. One thing I tell my clients that they need to master is walking their dog. At the beginning, Charlie was impossible to walk with Abby, but as days went by he surprised us by walking beautifully like in the above picture.
And then Charlie saw a deer, and guess what? He went airborne. Yes, you read it right. He is a big dog so I never thought that could be possible, but Charlie proved me wrong. It took a few minutes for him to relax, and when he finally did we continued our walk. Is this unusual? No. All our dogs did the same, until they got used to seeing other animals without having any reaction.
For those pet parents that are scratching their heads not knowing what to do with their dogs, let me tell you that your dog will learn athis/her own pace, and you need to remember that. Find a dog trainer that you and your dog are comfortable working with and enjoy the ride. Also, when you are fed up, please do not work with your dog. Take a deep breath, put your doggie in his crate, and have a glass of wine. Once you are relaxed, continue working with your dog. By relaxed I mean balanced not buzzed. Stay safe!
Sorry for the late post, but we do hope that you enjoyed this past Christmas with your loved ones. We celebrated with our support bubble because we are being careful and doing our best to stay safe during this pandemic.
I hope that next year we start to see a bit of a resemblance of what life used to be before this pandemic showed up. Merry belated Christmas to you, your furry kids, and family. Stay safe.
The pandemic is wreaking havoc in the world, and if you listen to the news the number of infected and deaths because of it is rising. Although it does feel gloomy and scary, I am grateful to have our dogs and family with me. I choose to focus on the positive, and I hope you do too. Stay safe!
Abby, “Mom, I like the new smells I am picking up from here!”
Yes, we’re finally back home. Home is really where your heart is, and a long time ago I realized that that place was Maryland. For the last 5 years, we lived in Stoughton, MA and although it was a nice place, and we met amazing people and dogs, I always hoped that we had the opportunity to come back to Maryland and it finally came true.
Abby, “Mom, I picked up an amazing new smell. It smells like chicken!”
We were really busy moving for the last couple of weeks, but finally things are less hectic, and I have been able to take Abby for nice walks around the neighborhood lately. Thanks to all the pet parents in Massachusetts that trusted us with their canine kids, we’ll miss you all, and looking forward to meeting amazing dogs and their pet parents in Crofton, MD. It feels great to be back home!
I know, chaos may be an exaggeration, but for most people holidays tend to be pretty busy and somewhat stressful. What I like about holidays, of course, happen to be the food “we” cook, I am using we very loosely since Cynthia is the one that cooks, while Abby and I end up being the “critics”. I know, what a hard life we have, but hey, someone’s got to do it. Right?
Along with all the food we are planning to enjoy, comes plenty of relaxation and/or sleeping, which Champagne gladly demonstrates for us all the time.
Abby, “Mom, did you remember to pack my food?”
And then we have those that will be traveling to visit family. That won’t be us this year, but for those that are traveling my suggestion would be: have patience; carry food and water; take your dog with you; and above all, enjoy your family. What plans do you have for these upcoming holidays?
If anybody tells you that dog behavior modification is fast, easy and simple to do, that person would be lying to you. In order to modify the behavior of a dog, you really need, at a minimum, 3 weeks. Whenever I am going to work with a dog, I do a meet and greet to make an assessment of the dog and the expectations of the pet parent. Abby, a 2 1/2 year old Beabull, ate so fast that she would toss her cookies right after she inhaled her food. I tried a lot of different things, including a funny looking dish and at the beginning it worked, but later on she went back to puking on and off. Because of that, I changed the way I did things with her: she started by eating in her kennel; I did not talk to her at all, no commands, nothing; I was the only one feeding her; and all I asked from her was to give me eye contact right before I put her dish down.
So, how is Abby doing right now? She hasn’t tossed her cookies in a long time and I no longer have to use the funny looking dish I got for her unless I want to. What I was doing with Abby was behavior modification, and I can tell you from experience that it takes time, consistency, patience, repetition, and a thorough knowledge of dog body language that most pet parents lack. For that reason, I’d recommend that you find the right person to help you. Ask a lot of questions, and don’t buy the, “I can fix your dog in 1 week for only $1,800”. If you find someone like that, don’t walk, run, and run fast. Behavior modification takes time and depending on what you are trying to change it can be quite complex.
If there’s one thing Abby and I – Ok sometimes some of Abby’s friends as well – do is walk. The above picture was taken in Plymouth, MA. I go through shoes really fast, as you can imagine, but I enjoy walking with dogs.
Walking is a great exercise for you, pet parent, and your canine companion, therefore lace up your shoes and go for a nice long walk. The above picture was taken in Provincetown, MA. Yes, we take Abby everywhere we can with us. Have a great week.
When I lived in Maryland, I would wake up early, around 6am, to walk my dogs every single day. Once I moved to Massachusetts, I was able to walk my dog a bit later, around 8am, but even like that I always have to remember the following:
I need to walk Abby early in the morning. I will probably have to start waking up at 6am again because the weather is hitting 90 degrees as of late.
I have to make sure to take water with me.
I need to pay attention to Abby’s body language. If she starts panting too much, I will stop the walk, find a shaded area, give her water, not cold water for this can shock her instead of helping her, and wet her chest and head.
Once we come back, I always check her paws, brush her, and wipe her off. This way I keep her clean but at the same time I check to make sure that she is ok.
My last 3 dogs, pit bull mixes, were mostly white therefore they were able to handle the heat better than other dogs. In the above picture, the white pit bull will probably handle the heat and humidity better than the dark one. Please keep in mind that dogs of dark color overheat very easy. Abby is a perfect example of that and that is why I need to pay attention to her body language.
Go out and enjoy a nice walk with your dog, but try to make your walks early in the morning and/or late in the afternoon and pay attention to your dog’s body language.
To say that I do my best to take Abby every place I can would be an understatement. Here are some of the things I do with her:
Since I hate with a passion going to the supermarket, while Cynthia goes shopping for groceries, Abby and I go to explore the neighborhood.
Abby accompanies me to walk my clients’ dogs. Hmm! Let me rephrase that, Abby accompanies me to walk our clients’ dogs.
I take her to different areas so she can see, hear, and smell a different environment other than the one around our apartment.
Abby, in the near future, will be going with me on consultations, training and behavior modification sessions.
Abby, “Mom, I can’t find any treats in this area. How come?”
Abby has a long way to go when it comes to behavior modification for let’s remember that she is only a puppy, but I don’t want to wait until she is bigger, stronger, and a total pain in the neck. She makes a lot of mistakes. Way more than my Alex ever did, but as I tell pet parents over and over again, “Every dog is an individual and as such they learn at their own pace.” I do like the improvement I see in her, but that took a lot of work and patience and we have a long road ahead of us, but that’s fine.
Abby, “Got to get my beauty sleep.”
After we get back home, Abby walks around the apartment for a couple of minutes, and since she doesn’t know how to stop – she hasn’t found her off button – I tell her to go to bed and within minutes, not seconds, she is out like a light. What a hard working puppy I have. Enjoy your week.