Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Do Dogs Get PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychological disorder generally considered a result of real or perceived threat(s) to life, serious bodily injury, witnessed threat to others, destruction or loss of a home or community. Similarly, dogs can develop PTSD from these same situations. I’ve seen dogs after such events. The jolt, the pain, of experiencing one or more traumas were beyond what the dog was capable of handling. There are some very recognizable behaviors in a dog with PTSD. They can be grouped into two categories: fight or flight. Some examples… (HERE)

Monday, January 21, 2019

Dog Training A Cavachon

I am currently training two Cavachons, which are a cross between a Bichon Frise and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Cavachons are one of the newer "designer dogs". Similar crosses are the "doodles"... Goldendoodles, Schauzerdoodles, Labradoodles, Australian Labradoodles, etc.

One of the main reasons people get these dogs is to get a dog that doesn't shed. I understand the urge! There are a lot of breeds that I really like, such as German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, etc... but... they shed. A lot.

A dog's coat is selected because of a function. The coat has a purpose for the function. However, for pet dogs, who are mainly for companionship, there is less need for specialized coat types to deal with the elements. In a home, the excess hair, the shedding type of coat, isn't necessary or desired for most people, thus the rise of these designer dogs. People want a pet with many of the desired traits of the traditional pure breds, but the public wants dogs that are easier to care for in the home.

The tradeoff, however, is a dog that requires grooming, which is an expense that not everyone can afford. You might ask why they don't just adopt a short haired dog. It is partly because many people like the look of a fluffy "doodle" type dog. The other is because lifestyles don't always work out for a short haired dog, such as climate. Short haired dogs don't have as much "insulation" as longer haired dogs. I remember years ago... my Doberman shivering in the fall when I lived in Seattle. Winter was a hardship for him. I was assured by the breeder they would be fine in the cool Northwest climate. Not so. I learned, the hard way, that a short haired dog needed more protection than a longer haired dog. Living in the Phoenix area now, a short haired dog is much more feasible, such as getting a pit bull or Chihuahua. But, since I like to hike, I prefer a dog that has a coat for those cold mornings in the mountains, and to protect the dog from the burrs and needles that are part of the Southwest. It is desirable to have a longer coat to protect a dog if you are an outdoors person. You'd much rather have to brush burrs from your dog's coat rather than treating scrapes and cuts on a short haired dog.

So, back to the Cavachons. They are sweet small dogs, having the soft natured traits of their parent breeds. Expect the need to be more diligent in the house training. Be educated in how to work with sensitive dogs, because any training that is harsh will cow these dogs. They need a family life, they are gently social with their family, and are good with the kids. Also, set expectations higher for the amount of obedience training required. Many people never train their small dogs, so they pee and poop everywhere, and won't obey commands if they get loose in public. These are trainable dogs, and to get the most out of them, or any small dog: train them! Train them well, put in the time and investment early, so you get years of enjoyment.

I like these pups. They are very sweet and gentle. We are doing 3 lessons a week, and we started the lessons early on, at 10 weeks of age. I'll see them again on Wednesday, and I'm looking forward to it.

Happy Training!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Don't Quit Dog Training

Are you about to give up on your dog? Why?

Dog training works. Get a good trainer, do your homework, dig in and work it out.

That is today's advice

Friday, January 18, 2019

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Dog Rescue Donations

Over the years, I have regularly donated my services, money and dog supplies to dog rescue efforts. Animal rescue typically operates at a loss, or break even, thus relying on donations to do their services...

Right now, I have a student that has some extra dog food she wants given away. I've located a rescue organization that can use the food, so I'll be picking it up this week and delivering it.

There are many ways you can help out, too. Look around, see what you or your business might donate, and find reputable animal rescue organizations that need help. It's as simple as that!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dog Training Rescue Friends

Most of my friends are in some capacity involved in dog rescue. Today, I went to breakfast with a long time friend who got me actively involved in dog rescue almost 2 decades ago. She lives in Seattle, and was in Phoenix for a few days, so we were able to spend some time together this morning...

I first met her at the annual Seattle Kennel Club dog show at the Seattle Center. She bred Mastiffs, and as the dog I had then was becoming a senior, I spoke to her about the breed. Her dogs were well mannered, looked great, did well in crowds and around all that chaos.

Later, at some point, I can't remember how, she hired me to train one of her dogs. From there, we became friends, she saw I was interested in rescue, and she was already heavily involved, and things went from there. We rescued a lot of dogs, and we became good friends.

I have met a lot of quality people along the way. Parallel with the dog training I do, I have also donated countless hours working to rescue dogs. My contribution has been to offer my training and behavioral services to them for free.

As I look back on the beginning of all of this, rescue volunteering started with me looking for a new dog. You never know what the future will bring you. You just do life and opportunities to make a difference come along. You also will meet a lot of good people in the journey, and some will be on your same path.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Dog Training Scammers

I've been around dog training for a long time. I've seen a lot of things, met a lot of dogs, trained a lot of people. There is one type of person that I have come to understand very well... the dog training scammer...

These are they types that call me to an appointment, then say that they are not yet ready to start training but have a few more questions. OK...

How would you do this? How would you train my dog to do that? And so on.

They aren't interviewing me, they are looking to get free training. They are scammers. They never end up hiring me.

I think there are people out there that are brought up to be thieves. Somehow in their upbringing, they are taught that it is OK to steal, to scam people. It is actually a very strange phenomenon if you are someone who never steals.

Anyway, no harm no foul. I had one of these a few days ago, spotted it right away, and got out of there after a minimal amount of minutes. In the old days, I would try to get the appointment, thinking they were real students. But, it didn't take long to figure out the game. And it is a game. You can see it in their questions, their faces, everything. It is a scam.

If anything, I feel sorry for the dog that won't get trained. And I am not happy that my time was wasted on them instead of someone who really cared more about their dog than saving a few bucks.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Dog Training And Feelings

I train a lot of dogs. I see a lot of dogs. Every once in a while, however, I come across a dog that I know would be “mine” if I was looking for a new dog…

I think dogs and owners select each other. You somehow connect with a dog, and the dog with you, and it just works. I can’t explain it all that well, but you know what I’m talking about if it has ever happened.

In your gut, you know that would be the perfect dog for you. Of course, when I’m training dogs for my students, I’m not actually looking to take their dog from them. It is just that I get a connection every once in a while with a dog, and I know that dog would be a great dog for me if I was looking to adopt a dog.

I think when you are looking to get a dog, you’ll also get that gut feeling when it is right. When all the traits line up, but also that special feeling inside is there, that is the dog. Get that one. That is the Pearl of Great Price.

Dog Training Enthusiasm

I love seeing motivated students. They get the most out of their dog training lessons: lessons are scheduled; appointments are kept; homework is diligently applied; supplies are obtained; attitude is excellent. Sometimes I see students who try to get ahead of the homework. That is usually a mistake. Proper technique has to go hand-in-hand with enthusiasm to get the best results…

I saw this yesterday. We are early into the lessons. They were trying to do more than we have worked on so far, and it wasn’t working. Fortunately, I don’t teach harsh methods, so the things they tried produced no harm. That could be, however, a disaster if working with a trainer who uses harsh methods. I see this sometimes with people who work with dog trainers who specialize in using electric collars. These homemade approaches make things worse, and we have to fix what they have damaged.

In my lesson yesterday, I showed them the proper techniques, worked on them together, and now the dogs are doing more than they were the previous day… correctly. The owner was surprised how easy it was for me, and when they started doing it correctly, it started working for them, as well.

Enthusiasm is great energy. It just has to be channeled properly.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Dog Training A Chow Chow


I’m currently training a 3 year old rescued male Chow Chow. When I first met him, he first came and checked me out in the yard, no aggression, just sniffed me, and then went away. I then went inside the home and went over his training goal and the dog’s history. We then went to work.

First issue was that the dog was quite dirty. But he didn’t want to be brushed or bathed. Chow Chows will bite people they don’t know and trust. I needed to get the dog to trust and bond to his new owner. Next issue was getting a leash and collar on the dog. He didn’t want that, either.

We are now several lessons into this dog, and things are turning out well. The dog will now allow the owner to brush and handle him. We can get a leash and collar on him. He is a happy dog, smiling all the time, comes up to give you kisses on your hands, and a happy tail when you interact with him. We are also working on Basic Obedience. He has been introduced to Heel, Sit, Down, and Come.

In order to get the best results from a Chow Chow, you have to gain their trust and affection. Everything else flows from there. We are well on our way. I like this dog, and I like the owner. They are a good match. I have a game plan for them, and it is all going quite well. Today we had a great lesson, and I see them again this weekend. I’m looking forward to it!

Happy Training!


Dog Training Husbands and Wives

A few years ago, I was hired to help with a male Vizsla that was fearful of strangers. When I first evaluated the dog, yes, he would react when he saw someone he didn’t know. His defensive zone was approximately 30 yards. Within that zone, he would start barking. The dog was also afraid of the husband, and would bark at him in the home. What was the cause? Let me explain…


Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Dog Training On Dangerous Turf

I train dogs throughout Maricopa County. I have been in most neighborhoods and train all types of dogs. Yesterday, I had and evaluation and lesson set up for an aggressive pit bull near Sky Harbor airport. Not a safe dog. Not a safe neighborhood. Lots of people wish they had my job, but they are not aware of some of the situations I encounter. In this case, the owner’s mom said she was afraid of her son’s dog, and proceeded to set up an evaluation and lessons...