Give Your Dog a Job

Almost all breeds of dogs were developed and bred to have a job.  Even breeds like French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs and Chihuahuas that are often considered lazy or difficult to train can excel if given the right job.  We have seen French Bulldogs employed for detection work, therapy work, and fly ball and Chihuahuas racing their legs off at barn hunts and agility courses.  Your dog doesn’t have to be an amazing obedience dog to try their paw at dog sports.

Oftentimes, dogs that are labeled as problem dogs, like dogs that end up in shelters have not been given enough mental and physical challenges.  Once these dogs are given a chance to use their instincts in an appropriate way they can truly relax when they are at home with you.

Don’t be intimidated it really isn’t that hard to get started.  Normally, you get started by finding a club or drop in session to get started with.   Try just by googling it or looking on Facebook. 

You don’t have to turn your pet into a show dog, there are variations that you can do with your own dog!  You can find DVD’s online, you tube videos, and plenty of how to’s.

Nose work

Fascinating fact: Dogs have a sense of smell that’s between 10,000 and 100,000 times more acute than ours! The sport of Scent Work celebrates the joy of sniffing, and asks a dog to sniff to their heart’s content; turning your dog’s favorite activity into a rewarding game. It is a terrific sport for all kinds of dogs, and is a wonderful way to build confidence in a shy dog.  It is a terrific way to teach your dog that he can communicate things he wants to tell you, by how he acts.  This can be very empowering to shy dogs, help calm anxious dogs and give high energy dogs a job.

-You can do this in your own house really easily.  All you need is either their favorite toy, 3-4 card board boxes, a q-tip and any sent… that’s right you can even use hair gel, essential oils, or perfume.

Barn hunt

Barn Hunt is a fun sport for all dogs of any breed or mix that like to hunt with their noses. Dogs search for one or more rats (safely housed in aerated tubes) on a course made of straw bales. The dog has to find the correct number of hidden rats within a set time limit.

-This one is a little harder to do in your house, but there are about 6 places in the City of Denver that offer these for $15 a class several nights a week.

Agility

Agility is a sport where you direct your dog through a pre-set obstacle course within a certain time limit. Courses typically have between 14-20 obstacles, which can include tunnels, weave poles, tire jumps, seesaws, and pause tables where the dog must stop for a set amount of time.  This can be great for adolescent dogs with low-self control to learn how to focus on a handler during excitement and go from speed to calmness.  It also teaches handlers to give clear cues and teaches dogs to focus on subtle cues while running full speed. 

-Do it at home by using chairs, laundry baskets, broomstick handles and large boulders in your yard.  Give your kids cardboard boxes that they can make tunnels out of.

You could also try the next one as an in-home sport.

Canine Parkour

Dog parkour, sometimes known as urban agility, is an activity based on the same principles. It is a challenging, but fun, physical activity in which the dogs learn to interact with their environment.   Parkour is a physical discipline in which dogs move through their environment and conquer obstacles in their path. It includes climbing, balancing, jumping, running, vaulting, creativity and working past fear.  Teaches dogs to listen to their handler and trains them body awareness.

-It’s made to do around the home and neighborhood.

Dock diving

Dock jumping also known as dock diving is a dog sport in which dogs compete in jumping for distance or height from a dock into a body of water.  This is great for dogs that may have injuries or dogs that love toys and water!

-Do it around the house by finding a lake, river or canine swim center.  This is excellent exercise to  tire them out.

Freestyle dance

Musical canine freestyle, also known as musical freestyle, freestyle dance, and canine freestyle, is a modern dog sport that is a mixture of obedience training, tricks, and dance that allows for creative interaction between dogs and their owners. The sport has developed into competition forms in several countries around the world.

-This is so easy to do in the house, hit youtube for some inspiration and turn on your favorite tunes.

Herding

There are three test levels – started, intermediate, advanced. This is not limited to herding breeds as long as the dog has proper instincts I have a good friend who does this with an Akita.  If you are looking to compete there is a little more you need to know, The initial test is called Instinct Test and it is a test for herding breeds, Rottweilers, Samoyeds, Standard and Giant Schnauzers, Pyrenean Shepherds, Swedish Vallhunds, Norwegian Buhunds and Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs. The dog needs no training before entering this class and may be handled by the judge, owner or a designated handler. The judge is looking for the dogs ability to move and control livestock by fetching or driving.

-Live in the middle of the city?  No sheep in sight, but your border collie is going bananas?  Check out this next sport called Treibball!

Treibball

Sometimes called urban herding.If your dog has a nose or a shoulder, he can play Treibball! The game is simple to play and train, and only requires a few fitness balls, some treats and a love of working with your dog. Your dog learns to target the balls, and then goes out into a playing field and pushes balls to you, with direction and control.

Other working dog jobs

Service dogs:

These dogs are owned by someone with a disability and trained to mitigate that disability.  These dogs may be trained to retrieve a cell phone, medication, or pull a wheel chair.  They may guide the blind or detect an owner’s drop in blood sugar as well as respond to that situation appropriately.  They should be 100 percent focused on their handler as they are a medical device and if they are unfocused, they may miss a cue from an owner or may miss a medical issue like on-coming seizure.   That is why owners of these dogs strongly discourage other people from petting their working dogs. These dogs should have good manners and should not harass strangers or other dogs.  These dogs have public access rights.  No certification or registration is required.  Those sold online are a scam.  You do not need to have any markings on your dog, but your dog must behave in public.

Emotional Support dogs:

These dogs do not have public access rights, however they have fair housing act rights.  Your dog doesn’t need any special training, but can have this title revoked if your dog behaves in a dangerous manner around the neighborhood.

Therapy dogs:

These dogs go to schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other places to provide comfort to humans.  These dogs are specially trained to be safe, polite and comfortable in the settings they provide comfort and are insured as therapy animals.

Helpful dogs:

These dogs are pets that you provide training for around your house to give them a “job”.  You can teach them to pick up dropped keys, bring you a hand towel, put the laundry in the bin and bring you your slippers.  While it may sound silly giving these dogs these simple and important tasks are sooo important! ff

How to Pick a Shelter or Rescue Dog

No matter whether you are looking for an adult dog or a puppy it’s so important to consider your lifestyle before you do anything else.

Ask your self the following four questions:

  1. How active do you want to be during the work week?  Do you already go to the gym afterwork and would you be willing to switch that out for an evening jog around the neighborhood with your new dog.  Do most nights after work you come home, prepare dinner get the kids to finish their homework and then finally sit down for 30 minutes of TV before you head to bed?  It is best to consider your busy nights instead of just weekends.  When considering your new dog’s energy always round down, so if you think you’re a super active five than get a four energy level dog.  This will make sure that your dog always has his needs met and will save your pillows from being chewed up if you take on a few extra hours at work. DON’T RELY ON YOUR YARD AND DON’T INCLUDE THAT IN YOUR ACTIVITY SCORE UNLESS YOU HAVE MORE THAN 2 ACRES.
  2. How often do you travel?  Would you want to take your dog with you?  Some breeds and individual dogs do better with new people who might come over to dog sit and some dogs would be easier to fly with simply because of their size.
  3. Will you be moving in the next five years?   Why is this important?  Well, if your in your early twenties and still doing some apartment hoping it’s important to know that most apartments have breed and weight restrictions which could end up restricting where you live if you want to keep your dog.  In addition to this some HOAs and even some cities and countries have breed restrictions which doesn’t allow you to own a specific breed or mix of that breed.
  4. Why do you want a dog? Dreaming of cuddling on the couch with doggy pal watching your favorite chick flick, going hiking and to the park or hoping for a pal to keep your other canine company?  These would all require a different dog.  Not all dogs like to cuddle, not all dogs like to run and some might not like other dogs.  Keep this in mind while you search.
  5. Life changes?  Hoping to start a family in the next six months? Making sure the adult dog likes kids and more importantly babies is a MUST.   Making sure you introduce your puppy in a positive way to both babies and toddlers will be a must be prepared to jump in full training mode to make sure your dog is ready for baby. Already pregnant?  Choose an adult dog waking up to take puppy out, giving adequate attention to socialization and manners will have to be a priority and being a new mom will make this nearly impossible.  If you must choose a puppy remember you have no time to slack get that puppy into as many training classes as possible before the baby comes.

Are you looking for an adult or a puppy?  Well, the answer should depend on primarily time.  In a study that looked at dog owners contacting trainers for reports of aggressive behavior where a bite breaking skin occurred they found that 78 percent of dogs that had bitten another dog or person where purchased between the ages of 8 weeks and 12 weeks.    What does that study tell us?  Well, no one adopts a new puppy in hopes it’s going to turn into a problem dog, but it happens way more often than we think.  The problem is WAY too many people get puppies hoping to raise them how they want them but don’t actually have the time or experience to do it correctly.  If you have lots of time to take your puppy out in the world to do training sessions than your good either way.  That being said if you are already balancing the kids soccer games, work, helping with school work and volunteering for carpool maybe an adult dog with already good manners is the way to go.  Remember we are talking after a busy day of work… not just weekends.

Choosing where to look for your new dog

If you live in a small town you may only have the choice of one shelter or one rescue, but if you live in a busy area like Denver you may have an overwhelming amount of options. You might not know, but not all shelters are created equal and not all rescues are either. Rescues range greatly from little old ladies who have 12 dogs and a 501c3 and major ones with 1000’s of volunteers and dozens of staff. How do you pick? Don’t start looking for a dog before you know where to look. While most shelters and rescues push for full disclosure some feel full disclosure may scare people away.

Start by asking these questions:

  1. How do you get your dogs? Some transfer in from other shelters and rescues, some (not many) sit at auction houses and purchase dogs and others take them only as owner surrenders or stays. It doesn’t matter which you choose, but this question can give you insight as to if this is an organization that you want to support.
  2. How do you get to know your dogs? Some shelters provide playgroups, training classes and three times a day walks to their dogs so that is a great way to get to know them. Many rescues are foster based and actually living in the home with the foster parent. Other places may only get to know a dog by throwing a bowl of food and cleaning the kennel. It doesn’t matter which you choose, but this question can give you insight as to if this is an organization that you want to support.
  3. For very young puppies you want to ask if they were born in the shelter or in foster. You also want to know what type of socialization they get while in foster.

The process of shopping for your new dog.

You walk into the shelter pass an old lab, a barking border collie then you spot him.  It’s love at first sight!  Your head over heels for him, just the dog you have always dreamed of…… wait a minute, slow down this isn’t speed dating.  I’m always shocked at how people seem to be able to pick their new dog quicker than they do a couch.  This dog will be with you for the next 12 years,  maybe you should get to know who he is first.

Start by reading the card on the outside of the kennel.  Then ask the shelter staff if they can tell you about his history and how he got there.  Was he a stray?  Maybe he can’t be left alone in the backyard.  Did his owner surrender him, if so why?  This can give you very important information.  Also, ask if they know how he is with kids, dogs, cats and people.  Next ask them what type of energy he has (REMEMBER DON’T BUDGE ON YOUR EXERSIES NEEDS ACTIVE DOGS IN LAZY HOMES DEVELOP LOTS OF BEHAVIOR ISSUES)  Finally, ask the staff to meet the dog.

Meeting the dog

  1. Sometimes when you meet a dog at the shelter they put you in a room and sometime they let you take them for a walk.  Ask if you can do both, many dogs act differently outside then they do inside.  You want to get the full picture of who this dog is by letting them show you.  Here are somethings you’ll want to do with your dog before saying “yes”
  2. Have everyone who lives in the home meet the dog, if you have a cat ask them to re-cat test even if they have already said he is good with cats.  If you have kids, a roommate or a dog they should have a say too.
  3. See what the dog does when you run, drop something, rub his belly, touch his toes or act silly.  If Your kids came have your kids run around.  Hug and pickup your kids to see if there are any issues there.  If your dog came with you pet just your dog, then just your new dog.  Toss the ball for the two of them. 
  4. Try giving the dog some treats and seeing if you can teach him something like down or stay to see how he focuses and how quickly he learns.  See if he will play fetch.  Try to have someone else come in the room to see how he responds.
  5. Spend at least 30 minutes with the dog and even if your in love meet at least three dogs to be sure.

Adopting a new dog is a lifetime commitment.  Staff that works at animal shelters and rescues do their very best to give you accurate information about the dog.  Sometime you may see things they didn’t if they give you information about the dog’s history it is important to take that into consideration even if YOU don’t see it right then and there.  Shelters are scary places for dogs and dogs show their fear in different ways like shutting down or over excitement.  They may show behaviors at home that they didn’t show in the shelter.  Staff can give you this sort of important insight.

Photos of some HSSPV Shelter Dogs

fearful dog

Bringing Home A Fearful Dog

fearful dog

What you need to know about caring for your fearful dog?

  • Fearful dogs are a huge escape risk and if they escape they can be really hard to catch. Make sure you have current tags and microchip information on your dog at all times.
  • You will also want to make sure your fence is free of holes and possibly add a baby gate to the front door if you don’t have a backup fence.
  • Your fearful dog will need to have a calm environment to decompress from shelter life. For some dogs this could be a few days for others; especially dogs coming from puppy mills or hoarding situations, this could be months.
  • You should set up safe places around the house where your dog can escape from kids in the home or guests. These should be treated as no entry areas for children. Examples of these could be mudrooms, bathrooms, a dog bed in the corner or under a table.
  • Make notes as you discover things that trigger your dog’s fear. Keep a written list.

If you know your dog struggles with fear it is important to understand that you should have a physical and behavioral evaluation done on your dog. You may want to ask your vet about prescription anti-anxiety meds to help your dog cope with daily life.

Rules for living with an extremely fearful dog:

  • Your dog should have a routine; small changes can cause your new dog stress.
  • Long walks same time every day, guided away from stress producing stimuli. Avoid places like playgrounds, groups of people and busy streets. You may choose odd hours to walk if you live in a busy city. If your dog is too scared to go on walks relaxation time in a fenced yard is another option.
  • Continue to make notes about your dog’s progress and setbacks.
  • Plan on doing a behavior assessment with a trainer about every 6 months to make sure you are on the right track.
  • One handler, sorry I would love to say this isn’t true and encourage everyone to be on board, but that isn’t what is best for your dog. Fearful dogs NEED to bond with a person, and being the center of attention may set this back. Bonding helps combat the stress hormones.
  • Time is key, it is better to take too much time than not enough. The biggest mistake you can make is to push to fast or force your dog.
  • Provide your dog with escape routes such as dog doors to a secure yard or garage for times of stress. Since successful fear aggression will become a self-reinforcing behavior. Dogs with escape routes typically try escaping first.
  • Always remember that no dog can learn while his brain is flooded with stress hormones. Stress hormones cause “brain freeze”.

Helping your fearful dog heal

Fear can be managed and healed, but not trained away. There are skills that you can use to help your dog when scared, but fear will continue to lurk deep inside your dog’s amygdala. Your job is to help your dog recover from fearful events quicker and experience fearful events less frequently.

Work to build your dog’s self-confidence through positive training and gentle encouragement. When it is time to start trying to teach obedience start with come, touch and eye contact these can all be useful skills for a fearful dog to learn.

Be your fearful dog’s advocate. If you feel your trainer, vet, friend or spouse is being to forceful have the courage to care and be your dog’s advocate.

Another dog

Fearful dogs often bond quicker to another dog and adding another dog to the home may help your dog with the process. Be picky if you choose to go this route. You want to make sure that the dog you choose is gentle, non-reactive, confident and friendly. It should also be a balance of good with your dog and respectful of your dogs space. Set up several meet and greets before firmly deciding on a dog.

Training and Animal Welfare

reward training shelter dogsAnimal welfare is finally getting to a place where animal shelters are recognizing the need to provide enrichment and training.  Educating owners and providing dogs with life skills is becoming an essential part of best practices for shelters and rescues.

Why do we choose reward based training for shelter dogs? 

Shelter dogs are under huge stress.   It goes against animal welfare to knowingly add additional stressors to their life.

There are two ways to change a behavior:

  1. Make the unwanted behavior less rewarding- adds stress
  2. Make an alternative behavior more rewarding- decreases stress

It really is that simple, but why do we choose reward based training?  Reward based training is more forgiving of handler mistakes. If an owner, volunteer or foster’s timing is off or if you miss use a tool with reward based training the dog simply gets an extra treats.

Since reward based training is more forgiving it makes it easier for volunteers who aren’t professional dog trainers to be effective.  Reward trained behaviors also transition easier to the new home.   An older person or younger child can withhold a reward, but they may not be capable of implementing effective body blocking techniques.   It works even if you are a smaller person handling a larger stronger dog.

It also builds confidence in the dog.  A large number of shelter dogs lack confidence. Confidence is needed for a adopter to have a smooth first trip to the vet and a confident dog will transition more easily to new environments.

Why is it important for shelters to offer training to their residents?

It provides mental stimulation known as enrichment, increases how quickly animals get adopted, prevents bad habits from developing and helps keep the dog in their new home.

When you think about why dogs come to the shelter in the first place the demographics of a surrendered dog are worth mentioning.  Most dogs surrendered to an animal shelter are adolescent dogs in their teenage years.  Why?  Well my guess is it’s because they have puppy brains and adult bodies.  They are coming into their teenage years and owners often mistake their lack of self control and focus as “Rebellion”.  Common puppy problems go from cute to annoying pretty quickly.

Training in the shelter starts with clear communication. If one volunteer is teach off means no jumping and another is using down and one is saying here while the other says “come” that can be confusing.

What about fosters?

Foster parents play a HUGE role in adoptability of their foster dogs.  They can also play a even bigger role in if an adoption sticks or not.

Foster parents of puppies are responsible for insuring that puppies grow up to become confident, stable dogs that developed bite inhibition during puppy hood.  Puppy fosters should be guided in finding safe ways to socialize their puppies and should be provided with resources to help guide them in puppy development.  Two of my favorite resources for puppy fosters are:

1.DR. DUNBAR raising puppies

2.Puppy Culture- from birth to adoption

Adult dogs also need their foster parents to help prepare them for their new life.  While shelter dogs aren’t broken many could benefit from learning skills like coming when called, not jumping up, and learning core skills like leave it.  Here is my favorite resource for adult dog fosters.

Free Dog Training- ONLINE

Hope this helps inspire you to bring training to your local shelter or rescue.”The shelter environment can be stressful for dogs, but shelter staff and volunteers can help ease that stress by providing enrichment opportunities and activities. Many of these enrichment activities also help dogs become more adoptable. Every dog needs our assistance to become more adoptable or to stay adoptable until he/she finds a wonderful home. You can make a big difference in shelter dogs’ quality of life by adding enrichment with your time, attention and love.”

 

shelter training and playgroup

Sparky and Charlie playing while at the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley

Free Dog Training

We are so excited to make our core content accessible to everyone.
That means shelter staff, foster parents, people with new puppies and new adopters can get six weeks of class content. One Curious Dog Videos will show you how teach your dog to stay focused and engage with you and teach you to teach your dog or puppy core skills like down, stay, focus and leave it.
Lesson 1:
Lesson 2:
Lesson 3:
Please share the first three classes and subscribe so you can keep up as we add new classes!

 

Rehoming

Coming from a background in animal shelters I understand all too well that sometimes rehoming is the only option. I’ve seen the shame in the tears that are associated with these decisions.

I understand that there are times where for whatever reason a family runs into a situation where they could no longer keep their family pet. There is always embarrassment and guilt associated with this.

It is not a trainers responsibility to judge, it is simply their responsibility to help.

Sometimes the trainer will agree it is for the best especially in cases with aggression and minors in the home.

If you are faced with the decision to rehome your dog no matter the reason here are some people you should contact before you consider the shelter.

The breeder

Most breeders want to be contacted if living situations change or problems arise with the dog. Many breeders even have it in the contract that they be contacted in case of rehoming. Good breeders consider themselves responsible for the lifetime of every puppy.

The rescue

Like breeders if you adopted through a reputable rescue it’s likely in the contract that you must contact them before rehoming. Good rescues consider them self responsible for the lifetime of the dog.

The trainer

A trainer has a good idea of what a great home for your dog is. They understand your dogs energy needs, Behavior struggles and can likely help you screen potential adopters to make sure they’re good fit. They may even be able to send potential adopters your way. They can also help to work to ensure that the new adopter doesn’t run into problems. Many will post the dog amongst other dog training friends.

Your vet

Your veterinarian is another good resource. He sees dog lovers all day and may have an ideal placement in mind for your dog. While they see new puppies daily they also see people who have lost their pet. They are often keeping an eye open for a client’s next dog.

Your groomer

If you’ve been using the same groomer it’s likely that they’ve been seeing him since puppyhood. Your groomer has a long list of clients who care deeply about their pets needs. Just like the veterinarian their clients are lifelong which means they see people who lose their pet and may be interested in finding another match for their home.

While animal people can rarely agree on much I think that there is one thing that they can agree on…. animal professionals have the best interest of the animal at heart.

If you come to a place where you need to rehome your dog don’t forget to contact the animal professionals that have watched your pet grow up too!

If you must place the task of rehoming in someone else’s hands and a animal care professional you work closely with is unable to help then consider the following factors when deciding how to surrender your dog.

Choosing where to surrender. Not all shelters and rescues are created equal.

Some animal shelters and rescues have more resources for medical treatment than others. Yet there are some that specialize in behavior modification. Keep in mind what your pet’s specific needs are when you’re deciding.

Many animal shelters and rescues have a surrender fee. This can range from a small donation to $200. While it may seem like a no-brainer to pick a place that doesn’t have a surrender fee keep in mind that the surrender fee often correlates with the live release rate, not always but most of the time. Surrender fees pay for the care of your pet will receive while with the shelter, although it rarely pays for all of it.

There are also breed-specific rescues. If you have a breed that is considered difficult or is it unusual breed then you might consider a breed rescue. For example and Malinois rescue May interview people more in-depth to make sure that they understand a high drive dog.

Be one hundred percent honest when you surrender your dog and ask that they be honest with you as well. Sometimes owners won’t want to disclose information such as a dog not being fully house trained. It’s important that you disclose this information so that the shelter or rescue can share it with the adopters. Some families are perfectly willing to work on house training while for others it will be a deal-breaker. Provide that information so they can make their own choice. This will make it less likely that your dog is returned to the shelter or rescue. The more information that the shelter or rescue has the better understanding they will have of what kind of home your dog needs.

Why I wrote this

I decided to write this one day while volunteering at the animal shelter.

While dog walking one day I saw a man at the counter that I recognized, but I couldn’t quite place where I knew him from. I continued about my business until I was walking through the kennels and I saw a Cane Corso.

As soon as I saw this dog I knew where I knew the man from.

This dog had been a student of mine. His owner had signed him up for a six week training course almost 8 months earlier. He stopped attending classes after the third week and I never heard from him again.

I walked over and greeted the dog, he was so scared. I went into the kennel with him and ask him to do some of the obedience that I had remembered he had learned. He performed sit, down, focus and even a leave it without hesitation.

When I went and asked the kennel staff why the dog was there they explain that the owner was moving out of state. I couldn’t help but wonder to myself don’t my students know that I’m here to help them? Did he not know that I would have assisted him in finding placement for his dog? Why wouldn’t he reached out to the professionals in his life like his dog’s veterinarian or trainer?

Here are some photos of shelter dogs..

My dog Charlie helping a shelter pitbull

It’s all good in the neighborhood

mastiff

You love your dog, so it can be hard to think about anyone not seeing him for the crazy love bug that he is. However hard it may be to imagine, some people simply do not like dogs, and some of those people may just live in your neighborhood. Here are three common problems dog owners face and how to solve them if you want to be a conscientious neighbor.

Excessive Barking, Baying, or Howling

Barking, baying, or howling every now and again is normal. However, if your dog is making excess noise for extended periods of time, it is considered a form of noise pollution and a valid complaint on your neighbor’s part.

A common cause behind a dog’s excessive noise is separation anxiety. The best way to remedy anxiety is by making sure your dog is getting enough activity and providing him with things to do when you are away. Most people are not walking their dogs enough. If you are walking your pup less than 15 minutes twice a day, it’s time to hit the pavement more often for your dog’s well-being. If you don’t have time to walk your dog because of long hours at the office, hire a dog walker who can stop by throughout the day to provide your dog with fresh air and exercise. This should help reduce the noise as well as other destructive behaviors your dog may exhibit due to anxiety and boredom.

Your Dog Keeps Getting Into Neighbors’ Yards

If your dog keeps escaping into neighbors’ yards, you haven’t done enough to maintain your fence. If it is full of holes or has loose boards, it may be worth it to replace it entirely. The average price to install a wood fence runs from $1,434 to $3,362. If your fence is in good shape but your dog just keeps finding ways to escape, you can fortify it with some of these dog-proofing techniques:

  • Use landscaping as a way to create a buffer area between your dog and the fence.
  • Stick bamboo or reed rolls along the inside of the fence to prevent him from digging underneath.
  • Place a concrete footer around the perimeter.
  • Use coyote rollers along the top of the fence to keep a jumping dog from being able to make it over.

Your Dog’s Leaves Messes Behind

If you are not picking up after your dog when walking in the neighborhood or at the park, it’s not really your dog’s behavioral issue—that is you being a bad neighbor! In just about every city, village, and township, there is some sort of regulation that requires dog owners to pick up after their pooches. Leaving dog feces on the ground leaves other people, pets, and animals susceptible to the harmful viruses, bacteria, and pesticides it can contain. If it rains, all those harmful organisms get washed into your area’s water system. It’s just bad news all around.

Always keep bags on you when you are spending time with your dog, and pick up after him. If you are worried about the amount of plastic these bags contribute, you can find compostable and biodegradable versions in just about any specialty pet store.

As much as you love your dog, not everyone is going to love his behavior. If your pup spends his free time creating noise pollution, chances are he has too much energy to burn. Up the amount of walks you take and consider hiring help when you’re logging many hours at the office. If your dog is an escape artist, you may need a new fence or reinforcements to curb his wily ways. Finally, you need to pick up your dog’s poop. Dog feces is harmful to people, pets, animals, and your local water supply. Always carry biodegradable bags on you when taking your dog in public so you can clean up after him.

 

Jessica Brody created OurBestFriends.pet to offer a place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals.

Tricks Event

Englewood Tricks Title EventAt Bennett Canine Training we love encouraging our students to take their training to the next step and strongly believe EVERY dog can and should be able to pass a Canine Good Citizen Test. 

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What is the Canine Good Citizen Test?  It is a ten point test open to ALL breeds and mixes.  The test is looking for basic manners and stability in public.  Our students reach this goal feeling closer to their dogs and feeling very proud of their accomplishments.  It is also a perfect first title for a owner. I encourage students to attempt to pass their Canine Good Citizen before working towards goals like public access for service animals, therapy work or even the BH (Which is the first level title in IPO). 

Learn more about Canine Good Citzen

Once our students complete the AKC Canine Good Citizen we don’t want to see their training stop so we encourage them to consider sports like Rally, Advanced Canine Good Citizens or my favorite AKC Tricks Titles. 

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You can train for Trick titles at home on your own or in our Drop in Trick classes that we offer in Englewood Colorado.  What I love about the Trick Titles is it is really geared towards HELPING your dog be successful.  Plus, once again ALL breeds can title!  

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We held our second ever AKC Tricks Title Event a few weeks ago.  We offered the AKC Canine Good Citizen and right after we offered the AKC Tricks Titles Testing.  It worked our perfectly and boy-o-boy did we have a turnout.

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Please enjoy these photos and if you would like to learn about our next Tricks class or event find us on FACEBOOK! 

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dog playing in a muzzle

Muzzle Training

TRAINING MUZZLE

Use a treat to lure your dog’s nose into the muzzle and feed the treat while your dog is wearing the muzzle

Dogs can be trained to love their muzzles.   The key is to teach your dog that muzzles predict something positive like yummy treats or fun play sessions.

Here are some easy steps to follow to get your dog comfortable in a muzzle.

Be sure you are practicing these with a well fit basket muzzle, nylon muzzles are not meant for training.

Step 1: Muzzles taste good.

Your dog has no problem sticking his nose in a jar of peanut butter to lick out the yummy stuff.  The same can be true for your muzzle.  Place peanut butter or cream cheese on the front of your basket muzzle and hold it towards your dog.  Let your dog place his own muzzle in to lick it out.  Don’t try to snap it on or hold it on your dog.  Practice several sessions like this until your dog is no longer suspicious of the muzzle.

 

Step 2:  Hold a treat and feed through the muzzle.

Hold a treat with one hand and the muzzle in the other.  Encourage your dog to place his nose in the muzzle by showing him the treat on the other side.  Once his nose is in the muzzle say “yes” or “good” and feed your dog the treat through the muzzle.  Repeat this until your dog sticks his head in the muzzle just to get the treat.

 

Step 3: Put it on cue.

Now, that your dog is comfortable putting his face in the muzzle we want to name that behavior.  Practice the same behavior as last time, but say “MUZZLE” once before you lure your dogs face into the muzzle.

feeding muzzle art

Hold your muzzle and treat away from each other and treat when your dog looks towards the muzzle or puts his nose in.

 

Step 4: Phase out the lure.

For this step have the muzzle in one hand and your treat in the other, but don’t lure your dog’s nose into the muzzle.  Say “Muzzle” and hold the muzzle open if your dog moves his face closer to the muzzle say “Yes” or “Good” and give your dog a treat through the muzzle.  Repeat this until your dog can consistently put his nose in the muzzle without being lured.  Remember your still going to reward your dog your just not going to bait him into the muzzle.

 

Step 5: Snapping the muzzle.

Now repeat the last step and snap the muzzle closed and give your dog three treats then unsnap it.  Repeat this until your dog no longer has a reaction to the muzzle being snapped shut.

dog training art

Snap the muzzle on and give lots of treats

 

Step 6: Wearing the muzzle.

Repeat this last step, but instead of unsnapping it right away have your dog chase you with a fourth treat.  Then feed your dog the treat and unsnap it. Repeat this until your dog doesn’t show any discomfort or hesitation moving towards you with the muzzle on.

 

Step 7: Muzzle party.

Just like care keys predict a car ride, a leash predict a walk we want a muzzle to predict a fun play session.  Start with step 6 and then finish with playing with your dog for 3-5 minutes.  You can chase a soccer ball together, run around the house together, let him chase a flirt pole ect.  Gradually make these muzzled play sessions longer and longer and you will start to see your dog can’t wait to put his muzzle on.

dog playing in a muzzle

playtime in a muzzle

Learn more about muzzles Muzzle Myths

We would love to add photos of your muzzled dog.  Please send photos to ahmia.bennett@gmail.com

Muzzle Myths

muzzle myths

lab comfortable in a well fit muzzle

“Muzzles have done more to protect owners and their dogs than legislation”, quote by Dr Mugford.

A muzzle is not a bad thing… yes, that’s right lets say it again.  A muzzle is not a bad thing.  Many people feel a tinge of shame, fear or embarrassment when they are told their dog should be muzzle trained.  I would love to see the muzzle stigmas removed.  Here is my attempt to help dog owners understand muzzles just a little bit better.

 

Let’s start by busting some myths:

My dog can’t eat or drink with a muzzle on. 

There are different types of muzzles.  Some are ideal for vet clinics and others are perfect for training, because they allow your dog to drink, pant and eat through the muzzle.  The best muzzles for training reactive dogs are basket muzzles.

 

A muzzle will not fit my dog. 

Yes, it will.  Deerhounds, rotties, pugs, and great danes there is a muzzle that will comfortably fit every dog breed.  There is a muzzle on the market for every dog in every shape and size… heck there are even goat muzzles available.  There are even muzzles that can be purchased, heated up in the microwave and custom fit to your dogs face.  Make sure that you pick a muzzle that fits your dog and if your not sure how to do this click here fitting muzzles.

 

Muzzles will make my dog look scary looking. 

Maybe, this is true, but muzzles are frequently used by responsible owners in all sorts of situations – such as controlling excitable animal during vet visit, when meeting new dogs, or during busy events and gatherings – and new products have been designed to be welfare friendly. They are another great tool in the training box for responsible owners – alongside good discipline and positive reinforcement – and ultimately provide peace of mind if you are worried about a dog’s reaction.

 

My dog can’t protect himself in a muzzle.

Yes, that right they can’t.  That being said it is our responsibility to protect our dog.  If you are putting your dog in situations where he feels like he needs to protect himself or really actually needs to protect himself then that maybe a even bigger problem.  If your dog has a opportunity to bite a human or another animal that could be a really big problem.  Thousands of dogs a year are euthanized for behaving badly.  This allows you to protect your dog from his own behavior.

 

“I can handle my dog without a muzzle.”  and “I really don’t think he needs one” 

A dog biting a human or animal is a really big deal.  With tougher laws surrounding antisocial dog behavior coming into force, dog owners might find themselves worried what the changes could mean for them. The legal changes mean a possible 14-year prison sentence for owners of dogs that kill, as well as tougher terms for people whose animals attack a person in a home or private property, or attack assistance animals such as guide dogs.  Here’s the deal you don’t only wear a seat belt when you ride in a car because you anticipate getting into a car wreck, it is just incase.  If you wear it and don’t get into a wreck it’s no big deal, but if you get into a wreck and your not wearing one you may wish you had been.  The same is true for a muzzle, if there is any potential for your dog biting a human or animal it is your responsibility to fit your dog with a muzzle.  Don’t let ego cloud your judgment.

To learn how to teach your dog to love wearing a muzzle read this: Muzzle Training