Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jumping on People

 Jumping up to great people when a dog is excited or greeting you is natural. But it is also a behavior that most people don't approve of. This is one of those behaviors that takes cooperation from everyone, because if your dog is rewarded for jumping on just one person in the family, it will be near impossible to teach him not to jump on everyone else. Although it may take time to correct, this is a simple behavior to rid of.

If your dog jumps when you come home, then act as if coming home is the most boring time of day. Don't pet your dog, look at him or talk to him. In other words, totally ignore your dog, because if he gets very excited when you come home, it is probably because you are also very excited. Once your dog settles down you can pet him all you want, this his rewarding him for being calm. If at any point he jumps on you, simply turn your back to him and wait until he gets down, don't scold him or touch him. This teaches him that jumping on you does not give him any attention, positive or negative.

Another method that you can use separately, or combined with the previous, is to make your dog sit when you get home. You can also make him shake or do a trick to keep his mind engaged on listening to you, then pet him once he is calmly sitting. (Keep in mind that some dogs get even more worked up if you have them do a trick for you, do what works for you and your dog.)

When guest come over, tell them to specifically ignore your dogs, no petting, talking to or looking at Fido untill he is calm. Also tell them to turn their backs to your dog if he does jump.

Training becomes much more complicated when you add a bunch of strangers to the mix, like dog parks or gatherings. If your dog jumps on complete strangers where ever you are, I would suggest keeping him on a tight leash and preventing him from jumping. It is also important to reward him for not jumping. Take him to stores or parks and have him sit while people pet him, giving him plenty of treats to keep his attention on you.

This behavior can take awhile to train out of your dog, but its worth it in the end. Consistency is extremely important, don't let your dog jump on uncle Joe, but not on you. No jumping means no jumping on anyone, ever. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bath Time!

Don't you just love bath time? Well I bet your dog doesn't. There are the special few who get excited over taking a bath and getting clean, but most owners consider themselves lucky to get a dog who just tolerates it. 
Then there are the dogs that will do absolutely everything in their power to prevent getting in the bathtub. Some run away, some magically get twenty pounds heavier as you try to lift them into the tub, some wait to ambush you when they are wet and soapy. For a lot of owners and dogs, bath time is a dreaded event. But it doesn't have to be so. Just by taking a few simple steps, you could be looking forward to having a clean dog once again.
First, eliminate anything that could be making your dog uncomfortable in the bath. For example, make sure the water is the right temperature, a little warmer than room temperature, you can check the temp by running the water over the inside of your wrist, it should be comfortable to touch.
One easy solution to the difficult problem of getting your dog in the bath is to put a rug or towel on the floor of the bath. Think of the bath from your dogs point of view, they can only see the white edge, the white sides, and no apparent bottom. They would be jumping into a seemingly bottomless, slippery object that gets them wet and makes them smell like strong human shampoos. A rug makes the bottom obvious and less scary, and also prevents them from slipping.
If your dog still doesn't want to get into the tub, start to feed him his breakfast and dinner in the bathroom, getting closer and closer to the tub with each meal. Place some treats on the edge of the tub, and after your dog is comfortable around the tub, invite him in with a treat and his dinner. It took a month of feeding our previous dog in the tub before he was fully comfortable with jumping in and staying there. When your dog is at this point, take the rug out, or at least part of the way out, until your dog doesn't need it anymore. Then turn on the water, just a little, and aim it away from your dog. It is natural for your dog to react negatively to this, if he does, turn the water off and wait untill he calms down, then hold out a yummy treat, maybe smear a little peanut butter on the side of the tub, and turn the water on very slowly.
Continue this until you are able to spray your dogs paws without him freaking, then start to spray a bit of his back, then his whole body, and finally give him a bath while he sits there calmly waiting for his dinner.
If at any time your dog seems distressed, back step and take it a bit slower, all the while providing yummy treats and praising your dog.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Introducing a new dog

When thinking about bringing a new dog into your home, whether it be for good or for fostering, you have to keep in mind how the new dog will react, and how any dogs living in your home already will react. It helps if you know a little bit about the dog you are bringing home, like if he is destructive, or friendly with dogs, pets and people. But precautions should still be made whenever you are introducing a strange dog into your house.

If you have other dogs... 

When introducing a new dog to your dog/s, it is advised to do so in a neutral setting. This means that you should go somewhere your dogs don't see as 'theirs', like a park, to have the meet and great. However, it really depends on your dogs personality and how they do with other dogs. I have introduced at least a dozen dogs to our dogs in our backyard. Tension can be a little high with some dominant dogs we have fostered, but I know that my dogs will do all they can to prevent a fight, and usually within minutes they are all playing. Know your dog. If your dog is aggressive or dominant towards other dogs, and particularly if your dog is very protective of you or its territory, it would be wise to have them meet somewhere other than your house.
In the past I have immediately gone for a walk with my dogs and the foster dog without them meeting. after a few blocks the dogs totally forget about each other and act as if they've known one another for months Another time I have had one person walk the foster dog in front of me and one of my dogs, this foster dog was particularly fearful of other dogs, and walking ahead of me and my dog seemed to help her gain her confidence. Try what you think will work, because you know whats best for your dog.

With a new puppy... 

Puppy-proofing your house is a vital step you should take before bringing a new puppy into your house-hold. Make sure anything you don't want chewed up or peed on is picked up and put away. Make sure anything dangerous, like cords or small objects that can be chocked on are out of puppy reach. Buy the necessities, like a kennel, food, toys, beds and the like. Be prepared for messes and read up on training.
Whew, now that that is all out of the way you can finally bring your puppy home. Make sure you have a safe, warm and quiet place for your puppy to relax if he gets too overwhelmed. The first day can be very stressful, and it may take up to two weeks for your puppy to adjust to it's new home.
Sometimes it helps to keep your puppy on a leash and next to you at home so that you can keep an eye on him at all times, and take him potty at least once every hour. Puppies usually wont cause fights with other dogs, depending on how old he/she is, so introduction is fairly straight forward, just make sure your dogs don't harass or scare the puppy.
Above all, don't lose patience or get frustrated, even if you are kept up all night for a few days, in the end it is worth it.