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"Be Consitent" - by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer/Daycare Supervisor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 16:31

Now that's a New Year's Resolution we can all keep!  "Be Consistent" means sitting down as a family.  Make a list of all the things you love about your puppy or dog(s); and all the things you don’t like (what you'd like to change in their behaviour).

All too often your dog/puppy is getting in trouble because each person in the household has a different set of rules. Dogs need to know what's expected of them, and if you're not consistent with rules, it creates an unstable learning environment, which could potentially lead to an unstable animal.

Post the rules pertaining to your dog's behaviour & habits that you'd like to achieve on your refrigerator; make sure every family member knows what the rules are, and acts on them accordingly.  If they're not consistently delivered, chances are you'll each have a hand in creating an anxiety-ridden dog.

Here are a few simple examples, to get you thinking:

Does your dog/puppy know what to do at dinner time?  Is he/she to go to their crate, lie down on their mat or lie down under the table?  Make sure both dogs - and humans - know they're required to do.

Are they allowed to lie on the couch or a bed?  Do some family members say yes/others no?!  Again, such mixed messages can only add to their confusion.  Make sure everyone understands, and you'll be well on your way to raising a stable dog, for all to enjoy.  Happy New Year! cool Jean

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 January 2012 21:43
 
Growth Stages/part 2 - by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer/Daycare Supervisor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 22:40

The adolescent stage, depending on the breed, takes place anywhere from 4 months until 2 years; this is the time that most dog trainers see their most new clients.

The soft, cute, roundish little puppy begins to grow; they lose their baby teeth, go through growth spurts & look more often than not, gangly. They also start to display puzzling behaviours as they mature.

Even though the puppy may've been outgoing & confident before, they may now be reluctant to approach someone or something new & unfamiliar; or, they may suddenly be afraid of something familiar.

Fear of the new or unfamiliar has its' roots in evolution.  In a wolf pack, once the pup is 4 months old, they're allowed to hunt with the pack.  The lesson learned: if you see or smell something unfamiliar, run the other way as fast as you can.

Apprehension or fear of the familiar is also caused by growth spurts.  At this point in a puppy’s life, hormones start to surge; which can affect the calcium intake in the body.  Coupled with growth, this can be a difficult time for them.

Its' hormones can surge up to four times their normal level - and this can have significant effects on their behaviour (moreso in males).  Hormones drive behaviour, which means: their intensity is in direct proportion to the amount of hormones coursing through their system.

It’s at this stage that your puppy may challenge you; it may be outright or subtle - but challenge you they will!  Your young adult dog is looking for leadership - and unless provided, they will 'take over' as Pack Leader.

This is usually a good time to discuss the best time to spay or neuter.  As it's a personal preference, if you are unsure, please consult your veterinarian, the dog’s breeder and/or the dog’s trainer.  Weigh all your options, and trust that you're doing what's best for your pet.

No matter how much you WISH them to remain as they were (a cute little puppy) they are going to grow up from they're a year old, up to 4.  By providing leadership via Training & Obedience Courses, your dog will reward you with many years of loyal devotion!  May your Dog(s) worship you with LOVE! heart Jean

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 23:03
 
Growth Stages/part 1 - by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer/Daycare Supervisor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Saturday, 05 November 2011 07:11

Your dog goes through physical & mental development periods from birth until maturity. Behaviour & outlook on life is shaped during those periods.  The age a puppy is separated from its mother & litter mates will influence adult behaviour.  This will also affect the way the dog deals with people & other dogs.

At 8 weeks of life, when the puppy’s brain is neurologically complete, it's ideal for them to go to their new homes. If the puppies are removed from the mother too soon, it deprives them of some important lessons.  Between 3 – 8 weeks: the mother teaches her pups basic doggie manners; she communicates what is acceptable & what is not.  She does whatever it takes - from growls to snarls & even snaps to train her brood.  After a few repetitions, they get the message and respond to a mere look or curl of the lip from Mom.  The puppies learn 'dog language' in the same way during playtime, within the litter.

Socializing is critical for it to become a friendly adult dog.  Between the ages of 8 to 12 weeks, a puppy needs to interact with you & your family, as well as other humans & dogs; expose themto as many different people as possible, including children & elderly people.  Let your pup meet new dogs too. These early experiences will pay off big time as it grows.

Puppies learn from other dogs, but can only do so if they have a chance to spend time with them. Make a point of introducing your pup to other canine friends of all ages & sizes, on a regular basis.

The 'fear imprint period' can last from about 8 to 12 weeks.  If you observe a fear reaction, do not respond by dragging your puppy up to the object that it fears.  Also, do not pet or reassure the pup as this may create the impression that you approve of this behaviour.  Rather, distract the puppy moving onto something that they find more pleasant. After a short time, the fearful behaviour will disappear as the pup gains a natural confidence.

Next month I will address the next growth stages of your dog.  Until then, may you have a well-balanced dog. smiley Jean

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 05 November 2011 07:26
 
Go to your Mat...& Relax - by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Monday, 03 October 2011 19:08

Here's one I use alot, that's easy to teach your dog, or multiple dogs!  It requires very little equipment - just a few treats; takes a bit of work, but has multiple uses.  If you already have trained the 'wait' and/or 'stay' command, things should move along very quickly.  If you haven't, then scroll through our earlier tips to read up on them, before tackling this new one.

There are so many names you can call this exercise, but choose the best one that suits you and your dog. Here are a few suggestions, or you can make up your own. The exercise is made up of two commands. The first command is to find (the dogs) place, mat, rug or spot.  The second command is to tell the dog what to do: chill, relax or settle.

You need a small, portable mat; a towel, or even a small piece of cloth.  That item is the marker that your dog must find. The reward is its favourite treat.  The best time to start this exercise is when your dog is already tired and you have plenty of time.  First set up your marker (mat, towel, etc.) and place a treat on your marker and tell your dog to find the treat using “go to your place, mat, rug, or spot”.  Praise your dog for finding the treat.

Try it 5 times, then on the 6th go with the dog.  Once they've eaten the treat, ask them dog to lay down or help place the dog in a down.  Use your word chill, relax or settle, reward with a treat.  Have a timer ready and set it for 5 minutes.  Sit on the floor close to your dog in a relaxed manner, don’t talk, pat, or make eye contact.  If at any time the dog moves, gently replace the dog in the down position on the marker, this should not become a struggle as we are teaching the dog to relax.  After 5 minutes, say “OK” and reward with a treat.  You'll want to do this exercise as many times as you can for 3 days.  Then increase the time to 10 minutes for 3 days, slowly increasing the time until your dog(s) can hold the position for at least 30 minutes.

Now, you'll start to move away from your dog (6-10 feet) being prepared to go back and replace your dog in the same position should s/he leave the spot. Over the course of a week you should be able to move freely about your house while the dog relaxes on their place.  If at any point the dog moves, slowly get the dog and replace him/her in the down position and say nothing. Only when you say “OK", should the dog move and be rewarded.

There are so many uses for this training tip, here are just a few: If I have people over for dinner, I use the command just before we sit down to eat.  That way the dogs can lie in the kitchen and still be part of the family, instead of going underneath the table.  I also use this command is when my dogs are wet or dirty.  They go to their towel and stay there until they are dry, or snow balls have melted from their feet. It makes clean up a little easier if it's all in one spot.

I also use this technique is at my friends cottage.  They allow the dogs to come and swim in the lake, but don’t really want wet dogs up close and personal with them.  I'll put my dog’s towels down in a quiet area and let the dogs relax in one spot while people eat, socialize etc.  Clean-up is a breeze and wet/dirty prints aren’t all over everything.  Then we can all go out for a swim again.  I’m sure if you think about it, you can find many uses for this training tip.  May all your dogs...Go to their mats & relax! smiley Jean

Last Updated on Monday, 03 October 2011 19:54
 
Mastering the "WALK" - by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer/Daycare Supervisor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Monday, 05 September 2011 08:05

Fall is perfect weather for walking your dog!  As the hot, hazy temperatures of summer fade, we can all enjoy getting back to a normal routine (even if we don’t have children going back to school).  And there's no better way to see all those leaves changing colour, than with your dog(s)! 

So what are we waiting for?  Most people enjoy walking their dogs, but some do not. Those who don't enjoy this pasttime, usually have issues with their dogs.  Some issues are not having the right collar (pinch, head halters, flat, and choker).  Behaviour issues such as aggression, pulling (allowing a very strong dog take YOU for a walk), or being fearful of dogs can also affect their anxiety level.

My best advice?  Get to a training class and learn how to walk your dog!

Here at Pet Country Estate, we invite you to come & watch a class at no charge.  Watch our instructors and see if you like our training methods.  We'd be happy to answer any questions you might have, and will do everything we can to ensure your daily walks are a pleasurable experience! 

Walking is also great exercise for both of you, especially if your dog has a lot of energy.  You'll want to make sure your dog is walking beside you, and not out in front.  Also, the make sure that your dog is paying attention to you and not sniffing the ground or marking each tree or piece of grass as they pass it.  You are supposed to be the leader and the dog should be following. If your walks are not enjoyable please seek professional help.  Your dog will thank you. May you both learn how walking can bring joy! smiley Jean

 
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