February 16, 2012
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Asking your dog to generalize communication learned and practiced at home to all conceivable situations is like asking a toddler to cross the street by himself.
Many people, including me, have adopted rescue dogs. Sometimes, a dog will arrive with baggage from his former life. Occasionally, we get lucky, and the dog we adopt fits easily into the family, has no bad habits and turns into a true companion with little extra help from us. That is the exception, not the rule.
My last article, “Eyes Wide Open,” offered tips about gathering information before choosing to get a dog. This article arrived in my mailbox with so much great information I wanted to share.
We have just completed our puppy classes and our family dog classes for the fall semester at Colorado Northwest Community College. It makes me very happy to know that these special people with their family dogs have deepened their understanding of each other.
Several times through the past month, I have heard people refer to their dogs as “spoiled,” and that prompted me to send this article out again. My thanks to those of you who mentioned that your dogs are spoiled because they have toys to keep them busy and you have invested time in their training.
This article is addressed to you, the readers. Those of you who regularly read this column are already at the top of my star list. You are interested in knowing more about dogs and doing right by the dog you have. You are the special people who know it takes time and commitment to raise a behaviorally healthy and happy dog.
Training a dog is not like tuning up your skis before the season starts; it’s a continual process to keep their skills sharp and compliance dependable.
The above title is true, but only to a point. We have to take into consideration why, through generations of specialized breeding, dogs no longer all look alike.
More and more, I’m hearing complaints by clients that they can’t even take a walk in their own neighborhood without being accosted by off-leash dogs. For puppies, this can signal the onset of defensive behavior.
One of the most difficult issues associated with adopting a new puppy or rescue dog into your home is making the necessary changes and creating new habits.
Hot cars or trucks can create a coffin for someone left inside. We hear about these devastating cases throughout the year. For some of us, leaving our dog at home is either not an option, or we are taking a road trip for adventures with our canine buddy.
Often, when I’m called in for consultations and training for the family dog, there are multiple topics to be addressed. In goal-setting for a positive outcome, we have to prioritize these behavioral issues and training challenges in order to create a plan for success.
Why do dogs dig? There are several really good reasons.
I’ve written and published more than once on this topic, and hopefully, this awareness is beginning to grow. The snow is melting in our parks and on our trails, creating a horrible, unsightly feces soup. All that snow drains into our beautiful Yampa River or soaks into the soil along walking paths and in our parks.
The title above implies something we often mistakenly do when meeting dogs. We invade their space.
Just as you don’t feel comfortable with strangers getting in your face, teach your dog to show the same courtesy toward others.
Let’s take a look at habits from the dog’s eye view. Any behavior that is reinforced consistently becomes stronger.
There will soon be more information about how genetics is playing out in some of the breed-specific illnesses, such as cancer and blindness.
In my last article, titled “Working on Your ABCs,” I touched on the importance of starting training early in your relationship with your family dog and maintaining and adding to that training throughout your dogs’ life.
Teaching, training and learning are lifelong endeavors for us all. Our canine companions need continuing education.
A Christmas message from columnist and dog lover Laura Tyler.
A living, breathing being is not a gift. It’s a responsibility and a commitment. Adding a furry family member to your household requires much planning. It’s a life-changing experience and should be cherished and nurtured.
When teaching our companion dog new behaviors, we often start mid-sentence by saying what we want them to do before we ask for their attention. In our classes and consultations, one of the first things we teach the dog is what his name actually means.
An understanding of the ancient history of where dogs came from is important, but it’s really more about how humans genetically influenced the different breeds to perform specific tasks.
One of the easiest ways to change your dog’s behavior is to take a look at how you manage his environment. All too often, we can’t see past the bad behavior to glimpse how management might help.
Often, new novice trainers are drawn into the notion that their dog will only do what they ask if they have food in their hand. But it’s not the food; it’s the timing and presentation of the reinforcement.
Last month, I teamed up with Sue Sternberg to host one of the co-founders of the National Association of Canine Scent Work LLC® in a series of daylong workshops. Ron Gaunt, co-founder of the NACSW traveled to Craig to bring CNCC students and other nose work teams to a new level of understanding about just how scent moves in a particular environment.
Your dog needs you. The most important ingredient in any relationship is being present and doing right by the dog living in your household.
Depending on the genetics and social skills, along with a dose of breed disposition, we need to screen dogs in the workplace as carefully as we would any employee.
Hot cars or trucks can create a coffin for dogs left inside. We hear about these devastating cases throughout the year, but for some of us, leaving our dog at home is either not an option or we are taking a road trip for adventures with our canine buddy.
In training our canine companions, it's important to speak the language.
Our canines are one of the few animals who excel in understanding humans. That’s why we have them in our lives.
Letting dogs run off-leash around wildlife can, and does, lead to grave consequences.
In multiple dog families — like multiple child families — each member should find their own place.
Dog training never ends.
Short waits can add up to extreme heat for dogs confined in cars.
The advent of spring prompts neighborhood dogs to come outside and say, "hello."
Leaving dog poop on the ground is not recycling. It’s a pollutant, and it’s damaging our environment.
This time of year with snow on the ground and sidewalks and trails narrowing to single file, the encounters between dogs and humans take on a new and frightening aspect.
We love this little guy. He is a permanent part of our lives, and we are cruising along with minimal difficulties. I’ll share what I mean by minimal.
If I can only say one thing, it is “Train that puppy and keep that training in place for the foreseeable future.”
A series of New Year's resolutions from the dog's point of view.
The dog gear industry is booming, even in these difficult economic times. I’ve made a list of a few gift ideas for the family dog, or the family who has a dog.
Winter is beginning in our valley. For some us who aren’t conditioned for winter sports, it leaves us wishing for more activities to fill our time and keep from experiencing the winter doldrums. After a life enriched with outside activities and basking in the sun all summer long, our dogs can start feeling bored, too.
You’ve tried turning away only to have him jump up and scratch your back or pounce on you while biting at your clothes or your hands, but have you been proactive by not giving attention to the jumping? Remember, attention still is attention, even if it’s negative.
Excessive barking is right at the top of the list of dog owner or dog neighbor complaints. It can cause great upheaval between neighbors or family members, and even law enforcement might become involved. Usually, when this happens, everyone has reached the limit of tolerance.
In the initial teaching of the dog’s name (name recognition), owners should begin by offering a treat and praise each time the puppy turns to look in the direction of the person who said the sound of his name.
Responsible pet owners, you are on my hero list. Let’s continue to set an example for dogs in public places and spread the word that dog waste has no place on the trail, in the parks or on the school grounds where our children play.
With summer here and days heating up, remember to keep your dogs safe while traveling in your car. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it 100 times already. But important information is worth repeating.
How do we define the teenage years in canine terms? It varies from dog to dog and breed to breed and, along with that, the size of the dog.
Because dog training is an ability to be developed with time and practice, the fundamentals of training serve to become our guidelines. One of the most important skills is timing.
Not all herding dogs love to herd, nor do all sporting dogs love to hunt. Their characteristics can vary from animal to animal.
I wonder if, as a community, we might adopt a habit of having our reactive or fearful dogs wear a red bandana tied around their necks to signal to others that our dogs should not be approached.