Category Archives: Dogs

NEW Video Training Guide Dog!

Hey, made a video today while training one of my dogs to be a guide dog for the blind.

Take a look at the video and tell me what you think in the comments below!

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NEW Video – Doggy Sunshine

Here is the latest new video that my boyfriend and I made with my dog this past week.

Enjoy!

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NEW Video On Walking Off-Leash

Made this video today, starring my new Poodle, on how to walk off-leash.

So many dogs hear the click of the leash as a cue to burst off running and completely disconnect with their human. Here are some ideas of what you can do to prevent this kind of behavior from ever forming. The leash coming off doesn’t mean they can head for the hills!

WE walk our dogs – not the leash. So taking off the leash is just that. Not a command for them to leave your side.

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New Video!

Woops!

I haven’t posted this video yet?! This was filmed earlier this week – mowgli and the rest of the pack!

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No, YOU find the answer!

I’ve been playing around with my new poodle (I am training him to be a guide dog for the blind) and seeing how I can cause him to figure things out on his own.

He has been with me for about three weeks and has learned so much, so fast and so well… that he is coming up close to my dogs that have been with me for a few months. This is thanks to allowing him to figure things out “on his own”. I’m just there to confirm his decisions.

He’s learned so many things, but one that was really amazing was his ability to figure out the concepts of going left and right when I ask him to. This usually takes a little bit of time for a dog to learn and do correctly regularly. In the past, I was able to teach most of my dogs the commands left and right fairly fast, but it might have to be followed through with a tap from the leash as support. So they would learn it soon, but need support for a while until they just did it on there own every time.

With my poodle, it’s been the opposite. Just a little bit of well-timed support in the beginning and he learned it very fast. So we would stand somewhere and I’d ask him to go left (purely vocal, no body language). He would think for a second and then sort of look to the left. I’d say, “Yeah, yeah, yes… Yep!” Like a game of hotter or colder. The more he turned his head and then his body, the more I would agree with that decision. Just him turning his head was correct and then hearing that very affirmative voice from me, he knew he was on the right track and went left.

He picked it up within two days. This applies with all animals under any circumstance. It’s all about rewarding or correcting that thought right as it surfaces or maybe even before it surfaces if we can catch it then…

My poodle guiding my along the street. Photo credit: Humanima

My poodle guiding my along the street.
Photo credit: Humanima

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Filed under Dogs, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Human & Animal Interactions, Teaching Tricks

Dogs at Feeding Time

This is how it looks in my home when I feed my pack. :)
I really put importance on how each feeding goes – tell me what you think!

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The Gardening Dog

Mowgli, my dog, and my boyfriend were gardening today…

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New Dog Videos!

I got out the camera today and made a couple of videos.

In the first one I’m explaining how I view dog walking and give a few tips. I hope this gives you a few new ideas!

This second one was just for fun. I was playing around with the dogs, trying to have them take the treats carefully. I always think it’s hilarious to watch the differences in the dogs  personalities and how their breed causes them to act differently in the same situation.

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Introducing a Wolf!

I’m often getting new dogs for training, so my pack is constantly changing. Actually… I got a new poodle on Thursday!

It is very important to me that the dogs don’t meet inside the “territory” of my pack. That way they are both on new ground, so to speak, that doesn’t belong to either my pack or the new dog. This puts them on a more equal level. It all starts with a walk so they experience following me together. I take my pack on one side of me and the new dog on the other side and off we go!

While we walk I don’t let them greet each other (sniff, play, make physical contact, etc) until we have walked for a while and they are calm. I unleash them, and tell them they can run and play. You’ll notice that, if done right, most of the excitement is gone by the time you unleash them and the greeting is very calm and respectful, because they have had time to calm down and they don’t have the initial crazy excitement.

I’ve actually never had any bad experiences introducing new dogs to my pack because I set the rules immediately. After our walk they come back to the house and just go to sleep next to each other. That’s the beauty of dogs: they live in the moment. It doesn’t matter that this dog is new. They saw that he follows me just like they do, so there’s nothing for them to do or worry about.

All the dogs can relax knowing that I will lead and watch out for them.

One more major thing I always do is feed my pack together. They all get their bowls put in front of them but no one can eat before I give them the command. I even start this on the first day that the dog is at my home. He or she has to experience the whole pack eating together and respecting each other. There is no aggression and no taking food from others.

How we feed and walk our dogs on that first day can make a world of difference – Stay tuned for videos on the subject!

Me and one of the dogs I'm training: a Labrador named Chika. Photo by Humanima

Me and one of the dogs I’m training: a Labrador named Chika.
Photo by Humanima

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Dog Fights & Aggression

It can happen that even the friendliest of dogs growls at or starts a fight with another dog.

Aggression between dogs is natural. It should never be a regular thing, but it’s a result of a dog’s natural ability to resolve any problem in the moment. Humans like to ponder, plot,  and plan fights and arguments… We hold back from a fight and think, “Oh, she probably didn’t mean it” and we don’t talk to the other person up front about what’s bothering us.

Dogs talk about it the moment it comes to mind. There are rules in the dog world when it comes to fighting and this is something they (should) learn when they’re young. Isolated puppies, dogs living in kennels, and dogs generally not socialized, don’t learn rules and manners! That is why they might act aggressive to all dogs or start a fight without a “phase 1″ or warning (growl, glance, tension, high tail, etc).

The more our dog sees us as their leader and someone who is able to stand up for them, the less they are likely to take part in fights (even if the other dog “started it”). I’ve had my dogs get barked and lunged at by other dogs while they were all off leash. Instead of fighting back, they just ran over to me and made eye contact.

That is the correct reaction!

On the other hand, my dog, Mowgli, is allowed to growl at my dogs-in-training, or any other puppy for that matter, when they don’t behave politely around him. He is older than them and doesn’t like to be jostled around in their games, so he lets them know and then leaves it at that. He’s disciplining them and teaching them the rules.

There’s no fighting, no biting, no chaos – it’s a growl or a bark and a stern glare.That’s it.

I allow this, yes, because if I didn’t, it would bottle up and come back as frustrated aggression. It’s like that child of four: All of the other siblings bother him, shove him around, pull his hair, play tricks on him, and when he tells them to stop, his parents tell him to not be so mean. Pretty soon, that child will be very fed up and frustrated!

There are times when we can just allow our dog to tell a dog to leave him alone – and remember, the louder the fight (growls, barks), the less dangerous it usually is. It’s the silent quick fights that usually cause some blood shed and those are the ones you want to stop!

We want our dog to be well socialized and learn manners, as well as have the ability to stand his ground, but we also don’t want them to become aggressive and take charge of every situation, so we also need to prove that we can watch out for them. It’s a necessary balance!

Unknown Photographer I don't own any rights to this picture.

Unknown Photographer
I don’t own any rights to this picture.

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Filed under Behavioral musings, Dogs, Human & Animal Interactions