LUV My dogs: training

LUV My dogs

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Showing posts with label training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label training. Show all posts

Monday, June 13, 2016

Things You Need To Know Before Getting a Dog

Things You Need To Know Before Getting a Dog

  Pets give us unconditional love and loyalty, and provide constant companionship. Adopting a pet, however, is a big decision. Dogs, cats and small animals are living beings that require a considerable amount of time, money and commitment — over 15 years worth in many cases. Pet ownership can be rewarding, but only if you think through your decision before you adopt.

  There are many important things to consider before you start looking to buy/adopt a dog - from finding out if you are ready, to discovering the right breed to suit your lifestyle.

You're going to spend a lot of money.
  Whatever you think you're going to spend on a dog, triple it. Better yet, quadruple it. And depending on your dog, double whatever the sum of your quadrupling.
  Americans spent $55.7 billion on pets in 2013. We spent an estimated $58.5 billion in 2014. In fact, every year, we spend billions more than the previous year on our non-human family members. Why? Because we care.

A dog is for life

  Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment. Animals develop deep bonds with you and your family. Any change in ownership can be extremely traumatic, so you should be prepared for the responsibility involved in dog ownership. Dog owners need to be able to provide shelter, food, water, medical care, and love and attention.

Check out how dog-friendly your neighborhood is. 

  How are the dogs that live near you? Is there a park or hiking trails nearby? Where’s the closest vet and 24-hour emergency? Do you have relationships with your neighbors? How socialized your neighbors’ dogs are is an indication of how your own may be – of course, this is up to you as the pack leader, and if your neighborhood doesn’t provide socialization opportunities, you will need to find other ways to properly socialize your new dog.

Be prepared to groom your dog

  Groom your dog, making sure to ease into a grooming routine. Begin with shorter sessions, and gradually increase to the normal grooming session. Be sure that whoever is grooming the dog pets it frequently, and that your dog is rewarded in the end. Your dog’s nails should not touch the ground, and your dog should be brushed regularly. This will prevent tangles and reduce the risk of skin irritation. Your vet can help you plan an appropriate grooming schedule for your particular dog, depending on breed and hair type.

Any extra mental and physical energy you have? 
  When you come home tired at the end of a long work day, the exuberance with which your dog greets you is absolutely wonderful. And now the dog's stored-up energy needs to be burned off for sanity's sake.
  For the most part, any dog of any size or age needs at least an hour-long walk every day, bare minimum. Dogs with more energy need more walking . If you're lucky, you may have other people around you who can take on some of that walking. But if you're not, that means as soon as you walk in the door at the end of the day, you need to turn around and walk out of it, dog in tow.

   No matter who your dog is, you're likely to have some things that you have to invest mental energy into working on every day, on top of the physical energy that goes into making sure the dog is exercised.

Allow your dog to be social
  Socialize your dog early on. By exposing your dog to various people and environments—not to mention other dogs—it will become a more stable, happy, and confident animal. Be sure to continue socialization beyond the puppy years. Socialization reduces the likelihood that your dog could become fearful or aggressive toward other people and animals.

Don’t make an emotional decision when choosing a dog.
  When you decide the time is right, leave your emotions at the door. Going into a shelter is devastating and sad. But if you let your weaker emotions control your brain and feel sorry for the dog, you may end up adopting a dog that isn’t right for you, your family, or your environment. Save yourself the heartache and struggles later by being methodical and aware now.

Be prepared for house training
  Puppies require house training as they will not automatically know that the yard—not the house—is the appropriate place to… Do their business. It’s the responsibility of the owner to house train the dog. This requires time, lots of patience and a consistent and dedicated regimen.

You’ll be a dentist
  Brush your dog’s teeth in order to prevent dental diseases. Three to five times a week is recommended, and your vet can give you a lesson as well as recommend an appropriate toothbrush and paste.

Say goodbye to spontaneous travel
  Having a dog is a bit like having a kid in that unplanned weekend-getaways or random all-nighters aren't really in the cards. Now that you have a dog, even a late-night dinner date — let alone the basic camping trip — takes more planning. Spontaneity is tough when you have an animal 100 percent dependent on you.
  If you're planning a weekend getaway, it means either finding a pet-sitter you trust, or a hotel that takes dogs. Even for camping, you'll need to check that the campground allows dogs and what the rules are.

It's not going to be what you expect.
  In fact, while we're talking about expectations, let's go ahead and toss all of them out the window. If you're getting a dog because you have certain expectations for what your life will be like with one, just know this: It probably won't be what you thought it'd be. It'll be just as great, but different.

Be sure about your decision
  Above all, make sure that getting a dog is a wise decision for you, your family and your living situation—not just now, but 10, 12, and even 15 years from now.

One thing about owning a dog is universally true: if you do it right, and go into it with your eyes wide open, bringing a dog into your life is going to be one of the best things you ever do.
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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Most Important Commands Your Dog Needs To Learn

Most Important Commands Your Dog Needs To Learn
  When training your dog you're going to be teaching him commands. These are special words that you repeat over and over to condition him to obey. Although there are certain command words that most trainers teach, in theory you could use any word you want to designate a command. 
  We all love to teach our dogs tricks. Some are frivolous like "play dead" and some are important, like going potty only when outdoors. But there are other tricks to teach our furry friends that could save their lives.
  But what is most important is consistency. You must always use the same word for the same command. Mixing command words up will only confuse your dog and make training him more difficult if not outright impossible.
  Some dogs are smart enough to learn 165 words or even more. Just how smart they can be largely depends on the breed and how much time you spend with them.
  No dog, however, is smart enough to realize every single danger he can get himself into. There are poisonous snake bites, open wells, automobiles, medication, antifreeze and getting trapped in places where he cannot get out. 
No- As the word implies, no is used whenever your dog is doing what he should not be doing. For instance if he urinates on the floor instead of going to his crate to pee saying no in a stern tone of voice gives him the message that what he did is not okay.
  The key thing to remember with dogs is that your tone of voice is extremely important. With conditioning commands like “no” it's as if not more important than just the word itself. This is because dogs are very influenced by body language and voice tone.


Sit-  is one of the most basic tricks we can teach our dogs. When a dog is in a "sit" position, he knows he is meant to stay sitting until you say otherwise. If you need your dog to just chill out while you take care of something, you can put him in a sit position, knowing he won't run off and get into trouble while you're distracted. It's a perfect command for situations like standing in a crowded place or if you're loading the car for a trip and need Fido to hang out before getting in. Or on the flip side, telling your dog to "sit" before opening the door of the car to let him out gives you time to open the door, leash him up, and make sure no other cars are coming in the street or parking lot before allowing him to exit the vehicle.Sit is an important command because it puts your dog in a semi-submissive position and helps to calm his brain. A dog that goes from being excited to sitting has had to change gears mentally and refocus. This can be useful when putting on his leash or when someone wants to greet him. Sit can also be a primer for other commands such as stay and lie down. You can also use the sit command after other commands, such as "off" or "quiet", to reinforce the change of focus.


Good Dog- On the flipside saying “good dog” lets your dog know that they're doing what they should be doing. When you say this you should combine it with a physical gesture praising your dog for a job well done. This one should come naturally to most of us but what's important is knowing how to use it in combination with other commands we're going to talk about so you can positively condition your dog so he wants to follow your commands.

Lie down- The "lie down" trick is another way to have your dog stay in one place and out of trouble. Teaching your dog to lie down — especially if you teach him to drop to a down position when you signal from far away — can go a long way in keeping him out of trouble. A down position is one of increased vulnerability, so if your dog is getting too rambunctious around other dogs or is too wound up in a certain situation and simply needs to mellow out, a "lie down" command gives him an opportunity to calm down and remember his human is the one who is in control. Like the "sit" command, this is an active command, meaning your dog isn't just lounging — he should be purposefully staying in one spot, keeping focus on you and waiting for his next command. Both the sit and lie down commands are excellent for bringing a boisterous dog back down to earth before a situation escalates out of control — such as when other dogs are around that might spark a fight, small children might get hurt, or other attention-grabbers pull your dog's focus away from you.
Stay- What dog owner hasn't had a dog that you loved with all your heart but for the life of you could get to stay in one place? That's where this command fits in. 
Sit your dog down and with a stern tone, tell your dog to “stay”. If he doesn't listen, say “no” and start again. The key is repetition and consistency. If you start while he's a puppy it shouldn't take too long.

Come- This trick is rather obvious. After all, knowing that your dog will return to your side without fail in any situation is a big part of ensuring he will be safe. But getting that "rocket recall" can be tough. When a dog is distracted, or knows that you are much more boring than whatever trouble he is getting into, then getting him to come when called is a challenge. There are different ways to approach it, depending on a dog's personality, but the best way to make sure your dog beelines back to you when you call is to give him the most amazing treat he can possibly imagine every time he comes back to your side. Whether it is rotisserie chicken, or liver baby food, or tripe, make sure he only gets that treat when he hears, and obeys, the recall command. Then he knows that when he hears the word "come" he'll get a jackpot of a reward. Here's a great video about getting a rocket recall with an example of exactly why it is so important for your dog to come back to you no matter what else is happening.

Down- This command should be used when requesting your dog to lie down with his belly to the ground. This puts a dog in a submissive position, helps you gain control, and helps his mind relax. It is very useful if he is in an excited or stressful situation such as at the vet's office or if he needs to maintain a "stay" position for a long period of time. Be consistent with how this word is used and do not interchange it with other commands such as "off" or "lie down".

Heel- is the first command that should be taught when training your dog to walk on the lead, and is the first stage towards teaching heelwork and enabling your dog to walk beside you safely even when off the lead. The “heel” command should be used when in close quarters to call your dog to your side, and to indicate to them that they should walk beside you, matching your pace and staying close. “Heel” is an important command to keep your dog safe when walking on the roads, and to safeguard your dog and other people and animals when passing each other in close quarters.
Your name is the most exciting word in the world- To humans, names are really important. It is embedded in us to use someone's name to get their attention. Why bother fighting against that compulsion to say a name when needing your dog's attention? But if it works for us to say the name, we need to make sure it works for the dog to hear his name. Teaching a dog to love his name sets the foundation for everything else in your relationship as it creates a level of trust as well as willingness to learn more tricks. And it can also be a lifesaver when out and about. For instance, if a dog is reactive to other dogs while on leash and his attention begins to zero in on a dog walking toward you on the street, you can say your dog's name to bring his attention back to you. You can give him other commands or treats until the other dog has passed. You avoid conflict, and you etch away at that reactivity since your dog will realize that keeping his attention on you is much more rewarding than getting freaked out by that strange dog ahead. You now have an invaluable tool that can be used in situations from busy streets to chaotic dog parks to finding a dog that has wandered off out of sight.

Drop It-  is one of the most important commands you can teach your dog. You are requesting from your dog that he release something from his mouth, that at least for the moment, he highly values. It can be something as simple as a shoe, as dangerous as a medicine bottle, or as delicate as a bird. It is best to teach this command long before you need to use it. Practice with lures that are just slightly more valuable than the item he currently has and he will naturally want to trade.

Stand- This command requires a dog to stand with all feet on the grand and to distribute his weight evenly. This is especially helpful at the vet's office when a nervous dog would rather sit or lie down. It is also useful when trying to trim your dog's nails or give him a bath. This command will be bring your dog to attention and can be a precursor for the command "come".

Leave It- This is an especially good command for dogs who will not hesitate to grab a snake, a kitten or a dropped pill with their teeth. Some dogs will not discriminate in what they swallow.
Have your dog on a leash and drop a toy onto the ground. Walk your dog past the toy just short of where he could get it. As soon as you notice him pulling toward the toy, sharply say, “Leave it” and pull him away. When he walks away without your having to pull him, reward him with a snack and tell him what a good dog he is. Repeat this with a longer leash and later without a leash, until he listens to you and ignores the toy. Never forget to reward and praise.

Wait- The command “Wait” will help you tremendously when you have to take your dog for a checkup. In the time you open the car door and the crate door, your dog can be out and running into the street before you get the chance to put the leash on him.
  Teaching him to wait lets him know that he has to stand still for a short time until you are finished with some task. Teach him to wait until you give him permission to go through a door, for instance.
  Open your door and give him enough leash that he could walk through the door. When he is at the front of the door, pull the leash tight and say, “Wait.” Have him sit if he already knows that command. If he doesn’t listen, pull the leash and release a little in quick succession. Praise him and give him a snack when he finally gets it. Practice until he waits until you are through the door and then allow him to follow.
  Remember that training is an ongoing endeavour, and not something that takes a few weeks to teach when your dog is a puppy and that then takes care of itself!



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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rescue Dog Training

Rescue Dog Training
  Over years of training rescue dogs, I came to recognize different training tips for different rescue situations. Dogs from "broken homes" were very different to train than rescue dogs from puppy mills or shelters. Dogs that were neglected were different from ones who were abused. 
   Rescue dog training is mostly the same as regular dog training with a few special considerations.Some of the considerations depend on where your dog has been obtained from and its age, but we will look at rescue dog training and what to keep in mind.Here are special considerations for rescue dog training:

 Dogs who have been turned into shelters and rescues sometimes have training issues. Often times, the first kind of work you will do with these newly adopted dogs is to untrain the bad habits like jumping on people, chasing other animals, destructive chewing, and counter surfing. All bad habits are easily correctable!

Older dogs can be trained, but they are not always as eager to learn. They have learned habits and are more set in their ways, so rescue dog training with an older dog will require a little more patience on the handler's part. 

Rescue dog training sometimes consists of providing a dog with things they failed to receive at an early age. For example, if a dog was not well socialized early in its life, you may spend a little extra time working through issues related to it. This should not be a deterrent to adoption but rather just something to keep in mind. 

Often, rescue dog training involves working through the basic issues first like housetraining. You may adopt a four year old dog who has never been housebroken. You will need to treat this older dog just like a puppy. 

One of the first things you must do with a newly adopted dog is bond. Once the dog knows he can trust you and is bonded to you, then more advanced training can progress. 

With an adopted dog, especially if adopted from an animal control, it means you don't usually know too much about them. You won't know its likes and dislikes or what it excels at. Rescue dog training often keeps trainers on their toes trying to figure out what makes this particular dog tick. 

Separation anxiety: It is not uncommon for a shelter dog to experience some separation anxiety, especially if it has had multiple homes. Rescue dog training usually involves making the new dog feel more secure in its new home, and most anxieties usually resolve themselves. Adopting a new dog from a shelter or rescue is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Many say that the rescued dog repays you tenfold for the adoption. Don't be deterred from adopting a dog of any age because any dog can be trained. Just know that there are a few considerations for rescue dog training to keep in mind.

Depending on the dog you adopt, you may have some behavioral issues that have to be worked through as part of the rescue dog training. If your dog is shy or timid, it will need to progress at a slower pace. Aggression will have to be deciphered and addressed. 
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Successful Dog Training Techniques

Successful Dog Training Techniques
   Many people can’t imagine life without dogs. We admire and adore them for their loyalty, unconditional affection, playful exuberance and zest for life. Nevertheless, dogs and people are very different animals. Although officially “man’s best friend,” dogs have some innocent but irksome tendencies-like jumping up to greet, barking, digging and chewing-that can make it downright difficult to live with them! To make the most of your relationship with your dog, you need to teach her some important skills that will help her live harmoniously in a human household.
    When you bring a dog into your home, you must be dedicated to helping him be the best dog he can be.  That is one of the most important jobs you have as the parent of a canine.      Providing him with the essentials for living is one aspect of this job, but teaching him right from wrong should be considered just as important.  As you raise your children, you teach them these lessons to make them happy and successful people.  Your dog deserves this same assistance and consideration.  

Old Dog, New Tricks?
  Many people are under the mistaken impression that if you adopt an adult or older dog, that he is past the age to be trained. Nothing can be further from the truth.  Dogs are extremely intelligent creatures, and their intelligence does not decrease over the years.  If anything, they get smarter as they get older.  Yes, they may be a little more set in their ways and a little less eager to jump on the training bandwagon, but with the love, support, and consistency of a good parent, any dog can learn better behavior.


Be Consistent
  Give clear and consistent commands for the desired behavior. For example, a "down" command should not be used interchangeably with an "off" command. Technically, these are two different behaviors. Always use commands and avoid vague words such as "no" or simply calling their name. For best results, replace "no" with the exact behavior you want him or her to do.


Too Young To Learn

   Alternatively, another myth with dog training is that if you begin training too early, your dog

will not be able to learn because she is too young.  This is not true, either.  No matter how

young your puppy is when you bring her home, start your training immediately. They are
essentially babes in the woods and do not know how to interact with the world around them.
      You are responsible for showing them what to do and what not to do.  Without this guidance, she will run amuck and get into things and damage your belongings, as well as injuring themselves or others.  

Be a Good Leader
   Some people believe that the only way to transform a disobedient dog into a well-behaved one is to dominate her and show her who’s boss. However, the “alpha dog” concept in dog training is based more on myth than on animal science. More importantly, it leads misguided pet parents to use training techniques that aren’t safe, like the “alpha roll.” Dogs who are forcibly rolled onto their backs and held down can become frightened and confused, and they’re sometimes driven to bite in self defense.

Positive and/or Negative Reinforcement
   Whether you are raising a human child or a canine one, you will hear a lot about positive and negative reinforcement.  Positive reinforcement is when you see that your child is doing the right thing so you pat him and speak to him in an approving voice and tell him what a good job he did. 
This is a very key part to almost any type of successful training activity.  When a puppy or dog is told that she is doing good things and getting positive attention based on her actions, she will want to continue doing these things.  She wants your love and approval, so she will do what she can to get it.  Your dog is extremely smart and will make the connection between her actions and your reactions.  Many owners choose to use a higher pitched voice when conveying approval. Dogs do respond well to this. 
   Negative reinforcement is basically the same process, but it is something you do when she has done something she should not.  Based on the rules of negative reinforcement, when your dog does something bad or dangerous, your reaction should be negative.  You should speak to her in a low and unhappy tone, telling her that his action was bad.  This does work, but should be used sparingly.  If your pooch is always getting negative reactions to her behaviors, she will go through life an unhappy, maladjusted dog.  She will become nervous and worried about pleasing you and could even develop anxiety problems.
When teaching new skills, keep training sessions short and sweet
 Like kids, dogs don’t have long attention spans. There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but an ideal average training session should last 15 minutes or less. Within that session, you can work on one skill or switch between a few different skills. To keep things interesting, try doing 5 to 15 repetitions of one behavior and then doing 5 to 15 repetitions of another behavior. You can also practice new skills and keep old ones polished by doing single repetitions at convenient times throughout the day. For example, before giving your dog a tasty new chew bone, ask her to sit or lie down to earn it.

Positive Reinforcement Only
  This tact has been used very successfully for many people, including various types of law enforcement personnel when training their dogs.  Using only positive reinforcement to help your dog understand what she is doing right and completely ignoring any bad action is a mainly passive type of training.  This can often take longer, but has been proven to work long term much better than other training methods.  Using this method, the only time you give your dog any attention for doing something negative is if what she is doing will endanger he in any way. 
   No matter what type of training you use with your dog, make sure that you reassure her of your love and acceptance.  You are doing what is best for her, which makes you the best parent you could ever be.

Help him Focus
  Some training sessions may be impromptu, and those are great if you can keep your dog's attention. If your dog is having difficulty focusing, he may need to drain some energy before hand with a walk, a game of fetch, time on the treadmill, or a play date. Focusing is as much of a skill as the command you are trying to teach. If your dog is having difficulty loose leash walking outside, practice inside where there are fewer distractions. Gradually increase diversions as he masters the skill.

  A training session can last as little as a minute or long as you have your dog's attention. Training and learning can be a way of life for your dog when he is guided to live within your rules and boundaries. Having your dog sit before you feed him, or wait at the door before you exit, or slowly walk down the stairs with you, these are all examples of daily training in action. Think of training as simply communicating with your dog and not something that requires special treats, experts, or lots of time. By communicating clearly, consistently, and with affection, your dog can always be learning.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

How to Calm Your Hyper Dog

How to Calm Your Hyper Dog
  Got a crazy, hyper dog? These dogs can be quite a challenge – they never calm down, they never listen. They pull on leash, they destroy things. They have a hard time focusing on what you tell them, because everything else is so much more exciting! If you’re living with a crazy hyper psycho dog like this and you haven’t lost your mind yet, you’ve got my respect and admiration.
  Unfortunately, many hyper crazy psycho dogs end up in the shelter when their owners lose patience with them. I’m sure you don’t want to give your dog up, so check out the training videos and articles on this page. You’ll learn why your dog is out of control, and you’ll learn some effective ways to calm your crazy dog down.
  True hyperactivity, or hyperkinesis, is a rare condition in dogs. In order for a clinical diagnosis to be made, most or all of the following symptoms should be present:
  • Increased resting heart and respiratory rates;
  • Failure to adjust to common stimuli like everyday household noises and activities;
  • Agitation;
  • Reactivity;
  • Sustained emotional arousal and an inability to settle down;
  • Paradoxical calming response to amphetamines.
Ignore the hyper dog behavior.
  Dogs seek attention from you. By paying attention to the hyper dog during outbursts, you’re reinforcing the very dog problem behavior that you're trying to eliminate. The next time your dog is jumping or nipping at you in an overexcited way, give it a try - no touch, no talk, no eye contact - and see how you fare. You might be surprised how quickly the dog settles down.

Give your dog a job.

  Having a task to focus on can help tremendously. Hyperactivity in dogs can come from psychological needs as easily as it can from physical needs. By giving your dog a job to do, you are removing his hyperactive dog behavior and are redirecting his energy elsewhere. For instance, having your dog wear a backpack with extra weight will keep your dog focused on carrying instead of getting distracted by squirrels and other things.

Exercise
  If you want a well behaved dog, you need to exercise him. A long walk in the morning, 30-60 minutes, and then a shorter walk in the evening after work is ideal. You don’t need to regiment it quite as strictly like Millan does; you can let Fido stop and smell the roses. In addition to stretching his legs, all the fascinating smells will stretch his brain, too. Helps keep him from going stir crazy at home.
  During the day, play a vigorous game of fetch or frisbee to really wear Fido out. If no one is home during the day to play with him, consider hiring a dog walker or even a doggy daycare so that Fido doesn’t lose his marbles while you’re gone.

Build a routine
  Hyperactivity is often a result of insecurity on the dog’s part. This is especially true of adopted dogs who may have moved around a lot in their past and have had little if any structure in their lives. Dogs thrive on routine. Developing a daily routine gives your dog an idea of what to expect life to be like and can calm his nerves. A routine might go something like this:
  Early morning: walk, breakfast, a game of fetch, then inside for a few hours while everyone is at work or school.
  Afternoon: Someone, either owner or dog walker, comes to let Fido out and play a quick game with him.
  Evening: Family eats dinner, dog eats dinner, then a walk.

Smart toys
  Put your dog’s brain power to good use. Get a few toys that require your dog to think. Toys like Kongs and Buster Cubes allow you to load them up with your dog’s kibble or favorite treats, keeping him occupied for a while while he manipulates the toy to make it dispense his food. You can feed your dog his entire meal this way.

Obedience or trick training
  Obedience training builds a common language between you and your dog. It’s another way to calm his nerves, as it teaches him how the world expects him to behave. Learning new skills is also a great way to exercise Fido’s brain.

Learn a new sport or game
  Getting involved in a dog sport like agility, flyball, freestyle or disc dog is a great way to build the bond between you and Fido. It provides physical and mental exercise all at once. However, formal training for some sports can be expensive and time-consuming.
  If you want the benefits without getting seriously involved in a sport, you can set up home built agility obstacle courses in the backyard, play Frisbee just for fun, or teach your dog to play games like hide and go seek (especially fun to play with kids).

Try out aromatherapy.
  Don’t forget that dogs experience the world primarily by scent! Just as the smell of lavender is said to relax human beings, a soothing smell can also have a very calming effect on your pet. Talk to your veterinarian or consult a holistic professional to find out what smells may work for your dog and which dispersal methods are the safest for him.

Be Careful Not to Reinforce Unwanted Behavior
  Many parents of highly active dogs unintentionally reward their pets for excessive behavior.
  Some dogs - especially hyper what-about-me types – regard any attention, positive or negative, as better than no attention at all.
  Attention-seeking behaviors can run the gamut from non-stop barking every time you take a phone call, to games of “keep away” involving your cell phone or watch. There have even been reported cases of dogs feigning lameness or illness in a bid for attention.
  The way to put a stop to unwanted behavior in your dog is to ignore it. Depending on the behavior this can be a challenge, but if you remain consistent and determined, your dog will ultimately lose interest because his bid for attention is having the opposite effect.
  The first few times you ignore him when he’s performing an attention-seeking activity, understand that your dog will most likely escalate the behavior temporarily.
  But if you continue to ignore him, and only pay attention to him when he’s not engaged in unwanted behavior, eventually his attention-seeking antics will grind to a halt. His goal is to get your attention, which is the opposite of being ignored, so he’ll soon learn which behaviors are getting him the opposite of what he wants.
  Meantime, be sure to lavish attention on him with petting, praise, food treats and shared activities when he’s behaving as you want him to. Remember - attention to good behavior begets good behavior, and ignoring unwanted behavior extinguishes it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
  If you’re at the end of your rope with your energetic pooch and your efforts to properly socialize, train and exercise him don’t seem to be helping, it’s time to visit your veterinarian for a consultation and workup.
  Certain drugs, especially bronchodilator medicines and thyroid hormone supplements, can contribute to symptoms of hyperactivity. Aging can also be a factor, as can diseases of the central nervous system.
  And of course it’s possible your dog really is clinically hyperactive, in which case all your best efforts to modify his behavior may not have much effect without simultaneous drug therapy or treatment with natural remedies.
  If your vet determines there’s no physiologic basis for your pup’s hyperactivity, the next step is to consult a dog trainer or other animal behaviorist.
  What you don’t want to do is become overwhelmed or completely exhausted trying to modify your dog’s behavior on your own.
  Commit to finding answers for your dog’s behavior, and seek the help you need from knowledgeable sources. This will strengthen the bond and long-term relationship between you and your best furry friend.


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Everything about your Rottweiler

Everything about your Rottweiler
   Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle presents the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We're here to help you meet the breed that's right for you. If you're looking for a gentle four-legged giant to add to your pack, find out everything you need to know about the Rottweiler.
  Rottweilers are one of the breeds that tends to be misunderstood and misrepresented way too much. They are NOT mean dogs, nor are they wantonly aggressive or 'born fighters'.
Photo by Vladyslav Dukhin from Pexels

  The REAL Rottweiler is a highly intelligent, brave, loyal and loving dog who will be your companion for life. Bred and raised properly, a Rottweiler puppy is the perfect 'mans-best-friend'.
  If you want a Rottweiler, learn how to raise it first! If you don't get these dogs off to the right start, you may never be able to control them, and they will be a constant danger to you, your family, and others. With a bite strength roughly 25% greater than a German Shepherd, they must be trained - it isn't optional. If you do learn to do it right, you will own one of the best and safest pets it is possible to own.

History
  The breed's history likely dates to the Roman Empire. It is likely that the Rottweiler is a descendant of ancient Roman drover dogs, a mastiff-type dog that was a dependable, rugged dog with great intelligence and guarding instincts. During their quest to conquer Europe, the Roman legion traveled in large numbers across the continent. The non-existence of refrigeration meant the soldiers had to bring herds of cattle with them on their excursions for food. These drover dogs were not only used to keep the herds of cattle together, but to guard the supply stock at night. Around 74 A.D. the Roman army travelled across the alps and into the southern part of modern day Germany. For the next two centuries the Roman drover dogs were continually utilized in herding and driving cattle for trade even after the Romans were driven out of the area by the Swabians.
  A town in this region was eventually given the name Rottweil. It became an important trade center and the descendants of the Roman cattle dogs proved their worth by driving the cattle to market and protecting the cattle from robbers and wild animals. The dogs are said to have been used by traveling butchers at markets during the Middle Ages to guard money pouches tied around their necks. The dogs eventually came to be called Rottweiler Metzgerhunds, or butcher dogs. As railroads became the primary method for moving stock to market, the need for the breed declined, as did the number of Rottweilers. The number of Rottweilers diminished so severely that by 1882 in a dog show in Heilbronn, there was only one very poor representative of the breed.
  The buildup to World War I saw a great demand for police dogs, and that led to a revival of interest in the Rottweiler. During the First and Second World Wars, Rottweilers were put into service in various roles, including as messenger, ambulance, draught, and guard dogs.
  The Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub (DRK, German Rottweiler Club), the first Rottweiler club in Germany, was founded on 13 January 1914, and followed by the creation of the Süddeutscher Rottweiler-Klub (SDRK, South German Rottweiler Club) on 27 April 1915 and eventually became the IRK (International Rottweiler Club). The DRK counted around 500 Rottweilers, and the SDRK 3000 Rottweilers. The goals of the two clubs were different. The DRK aimed to produce working dogs and did not emphasise the morphology of the Rottweiler.
  The various German Rottweiler Clubs amalgamated to form the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler Klub (ADRK, General German Rottweiler Club) in 1921. This was officially recorded in the register of clubs and associations at the district court of Stuttgart on 27 January 1924. The ADRK is recognised worldwide as the home club of the Rottweiler.
  In 1931 the Rottweiler was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club. In 1936, Rottweilers were exhibited in Britain at Crufts. In 1966, a separate register was opened for the breed. In fact, in the mid-1990s, the popularity of the Rottweiler reached an all-time high with it being the most registered dog by the American Kennel Club.

Overview
  This breed continues to excel at serving its original breeding purpose: to protect and serve. The fierce and friendly Rottweiler is known for its territorial instincts and warrior traits. It's so well known as a fighter that some cities have chosen to ban this tough breed from households. Without a doubt, the no-nonsense Rottweiler has massive power — we're talking 328 pounds of pressure from a single bite. As tough as this pup can be, it's also known to show kindness and loyalty to its human masters.

Should you get a puppy or an adult dog? 

  I've had both, and there are several factors that play into this decision. A puppy will give you the advantage of starting all training from scratch, on a clean slate if you will. This is helpful because training a Rottie can be tricky, so the earlier the better! An adult dog may come with some excess baggage, such as a history of abuse (like my female, "Roxy") or neglect, lack of training, etc. However, these are not impossible to overcome for an experienced dog owner. In fact, not enough can be said for how wonderful it can be to rescue an adult Rottie from a shelter! Giving one a second chance may be the best for you both, it’s just important to be patient and allow extra time for the dog to adjust. So many animals are killed every year in shelters because there aren’t enough homes for them all, so adoption could be a great option! Also keep in mind that a puppy will need potty training, while many adult shelter dogs already have that experience. If you do decide on a puppy, never purchase one from a pet store; those usually come from puppy mills, which are kept in deplorable condition and usually result in pets with many health problems! 

Breed at a glace:
  • Active lifestyle;
  • Environmentally adaptable;
  • Easy grooming;
  • Guard dog capabilities;
  • Territorial.
  Grooming for Rottweilers is minimal, including bi-monthly baths, as well as regular nail trims and ear cleaning. Keep in mind, however, that they do shed quite a bit. Their fairly thick undercoat is short, but will still cause little black tumbleweeds of fur all around your house. Be prepared for weekly if not daily sweeping or vacuuming. Since they have black nails and you will be unable to see the “quick”  it is best to consult a professional groomer if you are not experienced with nail trimming.
  Considerable cost can be involved in caring for a Rottie. First you will definitely want to consider spaying or neutering your pet, not only to control pet overpopulation, but also to have a cleaner, healthier, more well-mannered dog. This can cost anywhere from $100 for a puppy to $400 or more for an adult. Shelter dogs should already be “fixed” before you adopt them. This procedure is routine and relatively safe, and reduces or even eliminates the risk of certain cancers and other health issues. Annual vaccinations can range in cost from $50-150, and monthly flea, tick, and heartworm preventative may cost around $30 per month.

  A Rottweiler’s lifespan can be 10-15 years with proper care. They can suffer from a number of health issues, for which you will need to be prepared financially, physically, and emotionally. Because of their size, they are prone to arthritis, which can make walking, standing and lying down very difficult, especially if they are overweight. If your dog needs help getting up from the floor, getting into the car for a vet visit, or using the stairs, are you physically capable of helping him? Also, there are a number of quality joint supplements on the market, which can be used as preventative care and for pain relief as well. These products will not come cheap for such a large breed, as the dosing is based on weight. Rotties are predisposed to different forms of bone cancer, and it is not uncommon for that to be the cause of death. There are conventional and holistic treatments available which can prolong and even improve the quality of your dog’s life, but currently there is no cure.  You may also encounter other less severe health problems, such as allergies, ear infections, or scrapes and cuts (they are a little clumsy!).


  Breed standards
  • AKC group: Working
  • UKC group: Guardian Dog
  • Average lifespan: 8 - 10 years
  • Average size:  75 - 110 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Short, sleek, coarse
  • Coloration: Black and tan markings
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Large and muscular build; defined tan markings; small pendant ears
  • Possible alterations: Can be seen with either a natural-length tail or short-cropped tail
  • Comparable Breeds: Doberman Pinscher, Mastiff
  Is this breed right for you?
Rottweilers require immense amounts of constant training and discipline. This breed is not recommended for novice owners or those without the proper dedication to training this fierce dog. All potential owners should check their city guidelines, as some cities have created a ban against this tough breed. Due to its protective and territorial background, this breed requires early training and socialization to become a safe and loving family pet. Rottweilers can easily adapt to any living environment as long as daily exercise is part of their routine.

Steps
Do Your Research First
  Find out as much as you can about Rottweilers, read books, search online, go to local dog shows, talk to breeders and so on. As with any breed, Rotties have their own distinct personality traits and breed-specific characteristics. The better you understand them, the easier it will be to raise your pup properly.

Choose A Breeder Carefully
  There are lots of excellent Rottweiler breeders but also lots of not-so-good ones, take your time and don't go with the first one you see. Choose a breeder who does all the appropriate health-screenings (eg. OFA, cardiac, eyes) on their breeding stock. Also check for both conformation (show lines) and working ability (Schutzhund or tracking for example) as this shows that the dogs look and act like Rottweilers! Ask any potential breeder questions, and expect them to ask you questions too.

Take Time To Pick The Right Puppy
  Rottweiler puppies are irresistible, but you don't necessarily want to take home the first pair of puppy-dog eyes you see. Each pup is an individual with his/her own personality and combination of genes. A good breeder will be able to help you find the perfect pup for your home/lifestyle/plans.

Be Prepared For Puppy Parenthood
  • A new puppy will take a lot of time, patience, love and money and you need to be ready for that. The first few days can be a bit hectic but things will soon settle into a routine. Here are a few things you'll need to know/do.....
  • Make sure your pup stays up to date with vaccinations and de-worming treatments. Rottweilers are especially vulnerable to a viral disease called Parvo and you need to be extra-vigilant during these early weeks.
  • Start housebreaking right away and use a crate to help prevent 'accidents' in the house. One of the biggest parts of housebreaking a pup is not allowing bad habits to form. Always take your pup to the same spot outdoors to 'do his business' and only allow him free-reign indoors when you're supervising closely.
  • Begin training immediately too. Rottweilers are very intelligent and eager to please. Start with basic name recognition and housebreaking as soon as you get home, and add simple commands like 'sit' and 'stay' as soon as your pup feels at home. Rottweilers don't need (or respond well to) harsh corrections or training methods. They're sensitive and smart, and will learn quickly if you use positive, reward-based training methods. Once your pup is fully vaccinated enroll him in a formal Puppy Obedience Class.
  • Socialize him early, and throughout his life. Rotties are a guardian breed and are naturally reserved, tending to be a bit aloof or 'stand-offish' with strangers.
Love Him!
  Rottweilers may be big dogs, but they love to sit in your lap and are big 'softies'. Give your Rottweiler puppy lots of love and attention so that he grows up happy and confident.

Tips
  • Kids  Rotties are great family dogs. They love children. These are not "one man" dogs. They belong to whichever family member they are with at the time. No one will feel left out. Be prepared though - if given their way, they will spend most of their time with the kids; They really love kids. For those with small children, remember: NEVER leave a young child alone with any dog for any amount of time!

  • House Pets  Rotties love to lounge around the house and soak up love and laziness with their masters. They enjoy being "house dogs" as long as they have a yard in which to play and plenty of attention from their master. Rotties tend to follow their masters around the house from room to room, settling in wherever you do. They are part teddy bear, part ornery best friend, part draft horse and part guard dog, all in one truly beautiful package. They love to be handled and you should get them used to having their mouths and paws handled to make your vet's job easier down the road. This is really important - they should allow you to handle any part of their body without stiffening up or getting stressed. Keep gently doing it until they get used to it.

  • More Than One?  Having two Rotties is great fun and they provide each other extra exercise. If you want two, I strongly recommend getting a male and a female instead of two males. Males are far more aggressive and ornery than females and if they get in a fight, they are going to be badly hurt, possibly killed. I also recommend getting your dogs neutered after they reach 6 months of age. This does not reduce their effectiveness as watch dogs and males will still learn to pee with their legs raised.

  • Intelligence  Rotties are incredibly intelligent. Ours learned to turn light switches on and off, open fence gate latches and open sliding cabinet doors. These are things they learned on their own! We have taught them tricks in addition to the standard obedience commands. They are really fun dogs. They actually plan complex diversions to distract the other Rottie's attention while they steal the desired toy.  Think ahead if you want to be their boss because Rottweilers are problem-solving smart.

  • Crates  Get a crate and use it! This is the place your dog will go when he doesn't want to be disturbed. Respect that - always. Never try to pull him out of his crate for anything, including punishments and treats. His crate is his one place that you must respect. It is also the place you will put your dog when you don't want him to disturb you. He won't mind. After all, it's "his place."  I do not recommend having the dog's food and water dishes in his crate unless absolutely necessary. Because Rotties have such warm coats, I strongly recommend wire frame crates instead of the plastic ones. The extra ventilation is very important. Wire crates have the added advantage of folding for transport.
  • Grooming and Maintenance  Rotties only need to be brushed once a week. A slicker brush is good. Of course, you can brush them as often as you like, but only bathe them about twice a year. Over-bathing will dry out their skins and their coats. They are clean smelling dogs and their coat should not develop any odor unless something is wrong. Because they have folded-over ears, you should clean their ears once a week. You can buy a solution at a pet store or from your vet for this. I prefer a one-step solution. You put your dog in a down-stay, straddle him, and squirt solution into an ear until it is about to overfill. Then stick a regular cotton ball in the ear to keep the fluid in, and fold the ear down. Hold his ear against his head to keep the cotton ball and solution in. Repeat for other ear and then hold their ears shut for 10 full minutes; then release and remove the cotton balls. Some dogs don't mind it and some hate it but it really needs to be done once a week. Trimming toe nails is really not hard with good sharp clippers, some practice and a regular routine. I do it every 2 weeks. If you start all these routines when your Rottweiler is a little puppy (8 to 10 weeks), they are much easier to do when he is grown. That way he just accepts them as the routine order of life.
  • The Vet  Get a good one, and keep him! Work out a written schedule of shots and HeartGuard for heart worm protection, and stick to it like glue. We use an animal hospital that treats farm and zoo animals, including tigers and such. This helps us know that the vets there are experienced and stay on top of medical advances, but are also practical minded. Rottweilers' immune systems tend to over-react to shots (vaccinations) and drugs. Expect your Rottie to feel under the weather for a day or two after getting a shot or series of pills. Usually, this is not a problem, just something of which to be aware
  • Food  Feed your Rott a high quality food if possible. One reader suggests making sure your dog's food contains the amino acid taurine to avoid heart problems. Read the ingredients on the dogfood bag and talk to your vet and local breeders about this. If your dog needs weight control, I suggest controlling portion size instead of going to a lower protein-lower fat dog food.
  • Guard Dog Or Pet?  You do not need to train a Rottweiler to protect you and your family. It is a strong instinct in them and is absolutely trustworthy. 
  • Read The Book!  Go to your local library and get the oldest available copy of the Monks of New Skete's book - "The Art Of Raising A Puppy," follow their basic techniques, and your Rottie will never let you down - and you will never let him down either. If your dog is already an adult, they still have a book for you - "How To Be Your Dog's Best Friend." The Monks' latest books have gone politically correct and gotten away from their earlier strength, which was observing natural dog behavior and using it to teach humans how to be part of their own "pack." Think about it: Non-domestic canines (dogs and wolves) use the dominance down constantly to maintain pack order while at the same time avoiding real fights. If it's awful, why do dogs do it and why does it work for them? I strongly recommend trying to find an older version of this book at a local library. The older books are more factual and straightforward.
A dream day in the life of a Rottweiler
  Work must be a part of this breed's daily lifestyle. Whether it's daily training, herding on a farm, hunting or protecting, it must be kept occupied with a job to fulfill its natural instincts. With proper training this breed makes a loyal and loving family pet that's happy spending his days looking after the household and protecting his family.

Media portrayal
  The portrayal of Rottweilers as evil dogs in several fictional films and TV series, most notably in The Omen, along with sensationalist press coverage, has created a negative image of the breed. However, some films and television shows, such as Lethal Weapon 3, the 1998 Film Half Baked, and the hit HBO show Entourage, have portrayed Rottweilers in a positive light. They are also featured in the children's book series Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day.
  In an event widely reported by the media, a two-year-old UK Rottweiler named Jake owned by Liz Maxted-Bluck was recognised for his bravery by the RSPCA. The dog was out walking with his owner when they heard screams. Jake chased off a man as he molested a woman on Hearsall Common, Coventry, in July 2009. He located the attacker and his victim in thick scrub, chased off the attacker, led his owner to the scene, then stood guard over the victim until police arrived. The attacker was convicted of serious sexual assault and jailed for four years. Jake was nominated by police for the bravery award and medallion after the incident. Det Con Clive Leftwich, from Coventry police station, said: "From our point of view Jake the Rottweiler stopped a serious sexual assault from becoming even worse."

Enjoy that Rottweiler!

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