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!
Tag Archives: dog trainer
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.
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!
Abby, “Mom, did you hear that?”
Since the weather was terrible, to say the least, Abby volunteered to help me put our laundry away. Oh, she was also on guard duty, as you can see.
To be quite honest, I don’t know how much help Abby really was, but I know that she always tries her best to help me out with chores at home.
I know, I know. I shouldn’t work Abby so hard. Let’s keep in mind that she volunteered to help me out. Enjoy your weekend!
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.