Dog Training and Dog Behavior

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The Family Dog

This You Tube video shows everyone in the family having fun . . . except the dog. The dog is trying to just eat its rawhide in peace and the family won’t let it happen. The child is being encouraged to handle the dog inappropriately. The dog, on the other hand, is being amazingly tolerant about it. When the dog tries to leave, it isn’t even allowed to do that.

Dogs correct each other in the same ways this dog is trying to tell the child, “I’ve had enough.” Ignoring the annoyance, leaving, looking away. When these things don’t work, they may growl, lift a lip, snap at the air beside the annoyance. If none of these work, it will bite.

This family’s inability to understand how the dog communicates is putting the child in a precarious position. If the dog escalates its communication to a growl or a snap, the family’s comment would most likely be, “With no warning, the dog snapped at him!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPTEDvxZ_hc&NR=1

Our family dogs are wonderfully accepting of all sorts of bad behavior from the human members of their family, but they are not toys. They deserve consideration by the rest of the family, too. At a minimum, if the dog leaves . . . just let it.
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How pets can be good for landlords and renters

There are many reasons a family might be moving into a rental home. Just a couple might be needing a new location or moving from a single home to a rental. However, this often means the family dog needs to find another home. With forethought and responsibility from landlord and renter, there’s no reason the family dog can’t be a welcome tenant. Below are links to several resources for keeping dogs in their homes.

Canine Good Citizen
The American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen® program is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. The Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club. Mixed breed and purebred dogs are eligible.
http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/index.cfm

S.T.A.R. Puppy
The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy(sm) is an exciting new program designed to get dog owners and their puppies off to a good start. The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program is an incentive program for loving dog owners who have taken the time to take their puppies through a basic training class. Mixed breed and purebred puppies are eligible.
http://www.akc.org/starpuppy/about_the_program.cfm

How pets can be a landlord’s best friend
“In what may be the only published research on the subject, a 2003 survey (.PDF file) by FIREPAW found that apartments that accepted pets not only didn’t lose money, they actually gained more, to the tune of nearly $3,000 per apartment, per year.”
http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=19186150

10 Tips Every Tenant Needs to Know
Whether you own a pet or not.
http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/19980701_10tips.htm

Does Your Pet Need A Resume?
What to put in it, how to write it.
http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20010216_pets.htm

Condos Go Dog Wild
“Doggy interviews are mandatory prior to moving in at Porto Bellagio and Aventi complexes.”
http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20041213_dogwild.htm

How To Create Pet Policies For Rental Properties
“Just look at all of the issues that need to be policed and enforced for pet policies to work. On the other hand, there’s a growing demand for apartments and condominiums that cater to pets.”
http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20010516_pets.htm

With honesty and responsibility, the family, the pet, and the landlord can all benefit.

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Is your dog “broken?”

I just read yet another article about housebreaking. I used to housebreak dogs, cats, skunks, whatever came into the house. When a “present” was discovered, I was taught to yell at the animal, hit it with a newspaper, smash it’s face into the “present,” take, or drag, it outside and continue to reprimand it. I have not housebroken an animal in years.

I do, however, housetrain them. Without quoting my dictionary, “break” is grossly defined as making something inoperable, usually with force. “Train” is grossly defined as preparing for a course of action with specialized instruction. I no longer use force (or yelling, or hitting, or humiliation, or reprimanding) to bring about consistent elimination outside the house. I do have dogs that don’t eliminate in the house unless they’re ill. I consider them housetrained.

Please consider using the term “housetraining” where it’s appropriate with your methods.

Digger is up for adoption :-(

Digger is our foster dog. He’s a beautiful, auburn, guy with yellow eyes. He’s called a chocolate lab. He’s officially up for adoption, as he’s been put on the website. Digger came to us July of 2008. He was terrified of everything, and I mean everything.

As closely as we can put together his story, he was probably a breeder at an Alabama puppy mill for his first two years of his life. He must have been punished for just about everything except living. He had been in another foster home for 6 months before he came to us. By the time Lab Rescue decided to move him, he was living under a trailer and no one could get close to him. The foster called Animal Services who pulled him out with a catchpole.

When we brought him home in July 08, he ran to his crate and tried to shrink through the bars into the wall. We covered it with a sheet so he would have a den where he felt safe. For weeks, his time was spent between his crate, the corner of the family room, and under one of two tables.

For the first three weeks we had him, we didn’t look at him, talk to him, or touch him. The only interaction with him was to clip on a leash and take him out to do his business. Even then, we didn’t make eye contact and were careful to have the sides of our bodies to him.

We took him to a vet familiar with behavior issues for an evaluation. She wanted to start him on fluoxetine. In order to build his blood levels slowly, give it time to work, then wean him off, we would need to commit to Digger for about nine months, April 09. We did that. Now it’s been more than nine months. It was a long road. He’s almost a normal dog inside our house with our dogs and us. He’s off the meds and up for adoption.

If we can find him an appropriate home, I could let him go. We would all miss him. If we can’t find him a home, we’ll adopt him. The primary negative to adopting him is that three would be our limit; no more fosters.

So far, no one has called about him. We’ll see.

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