Charlie is doing better every day, so much so that I was able to take him out to the deck-no leash or collar-and let him hang out with Abby while I had some work done outside the house.
By the way, at the beginning he didn’t know how to stay in bed while I was in the kitchen doing dishes, or in the living room watching TV, but lately he has been able to fall asleep and has allowed me to do my chores while he snores. Yes, you read it right, allowed me.
Seriously speaking, sometimes we think that we train our dogs, but I am starting to think that they train us. Oh well! You know what? It’s never a dull moment when you share your life with a dog, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Take care.
When I was a kid, my mom used to say over and over again, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat,” and I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about. In my defense, I was 6 years old at that time. Anyway, now I understand what she meant and this is something that also applies to our canine companions. By the way, do you see that pair of socks on the floor? I left them there on purpose. Why? So Abby can go and play with them and I can correct her. She won’t learn unless she makes mistakes.
Abby, “Mom, you have my undivided attention.”
Notice the distance between Abby and me, but remember that she has been with us for almost 2 months so this was not an overnight thing. I started with very little distance and now I’ve increased it. The hand signal is for her to stay and this is why Basic Training is important. Look at Abby’s eye contact. Perfect!
Abby, “Oh boy, when will I eat?”
Now is a good time to feed her. I started by feeding her in her kennel and then outside the kennel. Next time I’ll post what she does prior to sitting pretty like that. Why? Because she goes bananas and she has learned that she will not eat until she is calm. As you can see, Abby does work for her food, or should I say sweat? And just so we are clear, this is a combination of behavior and training. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but little by little we are getting there. Do you make your dog work for his food? If so, how? Enjoy your weekend.
Every time I go for a walk with Alex, I see pet parents walking their dogs, while others have their dogs walk them. The former is the goal and is what you should strive for in order to enjoy walking your dog.
The above picture shows how a kid is walking his dog properly. The leash is loose and both, kid and dog, are relaxed.
The picture below shows how not to walk a dog. The dog is pulling his pet parent and frustration will soon ensue.
The dog’s attention is directed toward other people and dogs rather than the pet parent which causes the dog to pull on the leash.
Has this happened to me? Heck yes. More times than I care to remember, but walking Alex and the dogs that stay with us taught me the following:
Before putting that leash on your dog, check your mood. Yes, check your mood. If you are angry, nervous, anxious, etc., your dog will pick up on it and your walk will be a nightmare.
Ask your dog to sit so you can put on her collar and leash. Open the door with you exiting first, followed by your dog.
Make sure the leash is loose and your dog is on your left side. If you prefer to use the right side, that is fine, but at the beginning you need to use the same side for consistency.
Start walking with your dog next to you. If she starts getting ahead of you, at this point she is probably pulling you, walk the opposite way.
Every time she pulls you go the opposite way. She’ll get the point after a couple of times. I did this with my first dog, Casey, and I got dizzy because a few times were more like a lot of times. Patience was my only weapon.
If you get frustrated, and you will, please go back home and end the walk. The ability for a dog to learn diminishes when she is under stress.
This is Cynthia and Alex walking on a loose leash in Annapolis, MD. Alex, unlike Casey, learned very fast how to walk this way. If you have a dog like Alex, teaching your dog to walk properly will be a breeze, but if you happen to have a dog like Casey be prepared to turn around over and over again.
Also, whenever you are teaching your dog something new make sure that you do it in an area that your dog is familiar with and where there are no distractions. The point is to set your dog up for success, right? Later on you can add distractions.
I would not take a dog that does not know how to walk on a loose leash to Annapolis, although this is a very beautiful place, because there are way too many distractions. Be fair and patient with your dog, and remember that dogs are individuals and as such they learn at their own pace, not yours.
Roxy comes very often to stay with us and for some reason she used to shake uncontrollably when it was time to go to bed. She loves treats so I decided to use that and see how she responded.
We started by doing the following:
Lured her to bed by showing her a treat
Once in bed, she got a treat
While Cynthia put a leash and collar I continued to give her treats. We had to do that otherwise she’d walk our bedroom the entire night and this only adds to more anxiety
I then said to her, “good night,” and gave her one last treat
We did this every time she stayed with us and you know what? It worked. About 2 days ago, I went to brush my teeth and as I was exiting the bathroom I saw something small and dark curled up in her bed, the bedroom is right next to the bathroom, and to my surprise it was Roxy. Wow! She went to bed all by herself.
If your dog has “issues” like cute Roxy, remember the following:
First, figure out what she loves/likes best and use that to train her
Do not train her when you are angry or anxious, and make the experience pleasant and short.
She was tethered to a 6 ft leash allowing her to move comfortably. Do not leave a dog unattended. We do this because she is in the same room with us just a few feet away from our bed
My next goal is to teach her to use a crate. Just like with the bed, if Roxy is put in a crate she shakes like crazy. I wanted to teach her to use a bed before using a crate. Train your dog little by little. There is no point nor need to stress your dog out. Every dog is different, therefore please remember that when training or teaching your dog a new trick or behavior. Go slowly, and take my word for it, it’ll pay off. Have fun training your canine companion.
I took this picture while Dieter and Alex were asleep, but the flash woke up Dieter. Alex is so used to it that she can sleep right through it. This 4th of July was uneventful and enjoyable. Uneventful because nothing out of the ordinary happened, and enjoyable because even though we were able to hear the fireworks from Ft. Meade, Alex and Dieter only barked once and after that they went to their beds to sleep.
Bella and Milo, from left to right, were not as cooperative for this photo shoot as Dieter and Alex were, therefore I had to put a collar and leash on Milo. Because the temperature will be pretty high this weekend, we’ll take Bella and Milo for some mini-walks rather than 2 long walks. Make sure that you adjust your walks based on your dog’s age, activity level, weight, and of course, weather. Happy 4th of July weekend to all pet parents and their canine companions.
I took this picture last November while walking with Alex on a trail on a beautiful Fall day. Even though my neighborhood has a lot of areas where we can walk, I like to take Alex to different places outside of our neighborhood so she can experience new smells, people, dogs, etc.
Lately, we’ve been pretty busy with Alex’s furry friends staying over with us, therefore our outings have been limited to our neighborhood area, but since for the next two weeks Alex will be my only canine companion I’ll do my best to go out with her and explore other areas.
Of course, always remembering not to over do it since my girl, Alex, just turned 11 this year. I always take with me water, treats, brush, wipes, and an extra leash. Let’s not forget a cell phone and camera to capture precious moments with Alex.
As a pet sitter, I am always introducing a new dog to my pack, and I was recently asked by a pet parent how do I go about doing such introduction, so I decided to share this information and experience with other pet parents and perhaps get some feedback as well.
This evening, after dinner, Cynthia and I took Alex, our dog, Walter and Dexter, furry boarders, for a nice walk. Walter stays with us very often so he is used to Alex, but Dexter, a Boxer mix, is the new kid on the block, therefore we needed to do a proper introduction.
I started by taking Dexter for a long walk as soon as his mom dropped him off. I walked him for about 10 minutes, and I then asked Cynthia to bring out Walter to join our walk. After about 25 minutes, during this time they were not allowed to interact with each other for all I wanted was to walk as one pack, we went to a grassy area so they can sniff each other and observe their body language while they are both on a leash. They were both relaxed and curious about each other which is what you want to see. I asked Cynthia to now bring Alex out while I walked Walter and Dexter. Once Alex and Cynthia joined us, we walked for another 20 minutes. Before heading home, we let them go to a grassy area to do their “business” and sniff each other again, and then proceeded to go straight home.
Alex, Dexter and Walter (from left to right)
The walk we do as a pack is extremely important when I am introducing a new dog to my pack and this is what I do every time a new dog joins us. I also like to observe their body language during our walk and while they are interacting with each other for any signs of aggression.
They were all tired after our walk and decided to take a well-deserved nap. What a hard live my canine companions have, don’t you think?
This weekend, I’ll be in good company with Josie, Alex, Sarris and Dozer. Relaxing in the morning.
Josie was the first one to arrive early in the morning. I was glad when her mom said that she took my advice and took Josie to the vet. The growth I pointed out on Josie’s last visit, according to the vet, needs to be monitored but so far there is nothing to be concerned about. I was so glad to hear that.
The second ones to arrive were Dozer and Sarris. It took them a couple of minutes to get settle, and this is what they looked like after they sniffed Alex and Josie. The novelty wore off for all of them in a matter of 5 to 10 minutes. When I introduce dogs to one another, I always take them for a walk, let them sniff each other during our walk and after about 40-60 minutes we come home.
Although that is my routine for introducing dogs to one another, I was not able to do it this time because it was raining very hard today. So, what did I do? I put all of them on a leash and allowed them to sniff each other while watching their body language: relaxed, curious, but calm. After a couple of minutes I removed their leashes and collars, as you can see in the picture, and they were off to sniff our kitchen while I was watching them. I do prefer to walk them as a way of introducing them to a new dog, but when the weather does not cooperate I have to improvise. Always, and this is very important, look at the body language of the dog. If he is tense, fixated on one dog, does not move, etc., chances are that he is ready to strike. My best recommendation is: if you are bringing a new dog home, go for a long walk with all of them, 40-60 minutes, and then go home. Living with dogs should not be stressful, but rather enjoyable and rewarding, but it’s up to you to make this happen. Enjoy your weekend with your pack.
It’s been a month since Alex, as per her vet’s instructions, has been on bedrest. I thought that she was going to drive me nuts because she is a very active dog even now that she is almost 11 years old. To my surprise, and delight, she has taken this time off from walking quite well. I take her for a walk, twice a day, for about 15 minutes each time, but no longer than that.
She can walk around the house, but she is not allowed to run up and down the stairs which she loves to do. I taught her to go up and down the stairs slowly. How? I started by walking with her on a leash while telling her “slowly,” and extending my left arm so she understands that she cannot go beyond my arm. Within a couple of days I was able to do this without using a leash.
She has another month to go and I know she enjoys her long walks, but I want her to recuperate therefore we’ll stick with short walks. I still can’t believe that my beautiful girl will turn 11 in May 5th. I hope to share many, many more walks with her.
I did not think I was going to write about this again, but I was proven wrong today. So, here it goes. I went out walking with Luca and we must have walked barely 5 minutes when another dog came at us full speed, yes you guessed right, without a leash. Luca barked at the dog twice and pulled me a little bit, but listened to me for the most part, and boy was I grateful about it. Luca is a big dog, maybe a mix of German Shepard and Rottie, not sure.
Anyway, this dog kept barking at Luca and me, and his mom seemed not concerned at all while she was rummaging through her purse. I guess she was too busy to come and get her dog so I decided to utter these magic words, “If your dog bites my dog or me, you are legally liable”. Wow! She got her dog in a matter of seconds.
Yes, our society is a very litigious one, in my opinion, but I had to get her attention one way or another. Pet parents, please, put a leash on your dog. He can either hurt others or hurt himself. Cherish the time you have with your dog, and don’t put him in harm’s way.