Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Saturday we picked up our new GSP foster dog named Jake. He is the sweetest dog who loves anyone no matter what. It is so much fun watching him develop and thrive in our home. His training is a great real world example of what this blog is about.
When he first arrived, we let him get to know the yard, and took him for a short walk around the block. I had someone else walk one of our labs in front of Jake, so that Jake could get used to him from afar. After he was nonreactive to the sight of our lab, I brought Jake closer until he was able to sniff and greet our lab for a few seconds. Once they were bored with each other, we brought them into our yard once again and let them run and sniff together. We repeated this with our second lab.
Once the introductions were over, we let Jake into our house on leash, watching him very closely. He had recently been neutered so he had the urge to pee on everything, even our couch. After a few hours we were able to trust him to wander around parts of the house without following him.
He sleeps in a kennel so that he doesn't pee in the house during the night, and is not allowed to go outside unsupervised.
Jake has a problem with sitting when told. To help this, I take a hand full high value treats (cooked chicken) and let him know I have them. I tell him to sit in a happy voice and when he does I praise him very enthusiastically and give him his chicken. Soon I will not show him that I have the chicken, it is important not to bribe your dog in order to get him to do what he's told.
Jake was also afraid of the bathroom and hardwood floors. This was easily fixed by feeding him his meals in places he is unsure of.
Soon I will take him out on a long leash and practice recall and more commands. Until then happy training!
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Is it better to have two dogs of the same gender, or different gender? This is a question I have been asked a few times recently, and a topic that I hear many talk about. I feel like people offer advice to other people that its way better to get two different gendered dogs, or write off certain behaviors because its only to be expected when you have two dogs of the same gender. When really they are basing their "facts" on past experiences or on something they once heard.
So what do I think on this topic? I think that unless you have two un-neutered males that are at competition with one another for whatever reason, it really truly does not matter whether you have two male dogs, two female dogs or a male and a female. It all depends on that dogs personality. I've had five male dogs live in the same household together for weeks, and all of them got along just fine. I've had female and male dogs that get along, male and female dogs that don't get along. Female and female that don't get along...you get the point. If your dog has some prejudice against a certain gender dog, not only do you have a sexist dog on your hands, but you also have a dog that is, like every other dog, truly unique with a one of a kind personality and quirks. Your two female dogs that don't get along doesn't make every other female pair not get along.
I came across this little section of a canine behavior series by Kathy Diamond Davis that I wanted to bring up to prove that some people really think this way;
"When you lose one of the dogs of the same sex, and are looking to get another dog to live with the remaining dog, I strongly recommend you get a dog of the opposite sex. Dogs of opposite sex get along so much more smoothly and safely than same-sex dogs. However--still don't give them food, treats, or edible toys when they are together. That is never safe, no matter what the combination of dogs. It may go along for awhile and seem to be okay, but it's a time bomb."
Now if you share this opinion or one similar, that's perfectly okay. I don't believe there is ever a right or wrong for these kinds of things. I just think that it depends on the dogs. Lots of people generalize their experiences or opinions to every single dog out there, or 'most' dogs like the above paragraph. It can be very misleading when soemeone says 'same sex dogs don't get along' when really they mean 'my aunts two males don't get along, and my two females don't get along, so I've come to the conclusion that same sex dogs usually don't get along.'
If everyone can keep an open mind that all of these things truly depends on the dogs themselves and not their gender, then they will realize that these situations cannot be applied to dogs as a whole.
My point: every dog is an individual and gender, or even breed, does not matter in the big picture.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
To me, this is a very important subject to talk about because one of my dogs recently got hit and killed because he managed to escape from our yard. But I feel that no matter how much someone writes on this topic, they cannot cover all of the ways a dog can possibly escape without suggesting to have them locked in a concrete cellar. Usually though, only a few precautions will prevent your dog from escaping.
First, find out why your dog is trying to escape. Separation anxiety, sexually motivated roaming, boredom and fear are a few reasons. If you can find a reason for your dogs escaping habits, try to find a solution, such as caging, neutering or providing toys for entertaining. Sometimes there is no clear reason as to why your dog is escaping, or he may escape once if the opportunity arises or he becomes scared, as in my dogs case. It is so so important to prevent this before it happens.
Next step is to make your yard as escape proof as possible. Make fences at least six feet tall, and if your dog is a jumper or climber, make the fences curve inward at an angle.
Make sure the fences touches the ground so that there is no room for your dog to squeeze under. Don't be fooled with chicken wire fences, ours was touching the ground with heavy rocks holding it there, and somehow our German Short-haired Pointer pushed the rocks aside and squeezed under a space only a few inches high.
Make sure all gates can be locked from the outside so your dog cant nudge the latch and open it. This also makes it easier to check if your gait is securely latched.
Usually if your dog isn't actively trying to escape, this should be enough to prevent him from doing so. I'm sure I haven't written about half of the ways you could and should prevent your dog from escaping, as everyone's situation and yard is different, but these are a few pointers that should get you thinking; hmm... will he be able to fit through there?
This was all said and done for our yard, it was virtually dog proof and we left for the day thinking our dogs didn't have a chance at escaping. But that day the roofer was coming, it was the only thing different about that day, the only thing that could have scared our dog enough to escape. Our dog did just that and was killed hours later.
If you know that something is going to be different about that day, like fireworks, a thunderstorm, a loud party, a stranger coming over to your house, make sure your dog is caged or put in a place where he absolutely cannot escape. Even if your dog is totally fine with strangers otherwise, he may find someone climbing on his roof is worth jumping the fence for.
It's better to be safe than sorry, trust me.