What The Howl is BarkBox?
What's Barkbox? Raina knows!
This is her after finishing off Barkbox's Bacon Treats, which came in her monthly BarkBox delivery of toys and treats. Dad John says another fave is the Peanut Butter Treats.
BarkBox says that for dogs, their monthly delivery is equivalent to a million belly scratches.
My Doberman, Dancer (gone now), licks her way thru an ice block to get to her prize: Her precious Kong, filled with yummy peanut butter!
I always made these treats for my girls in summer.
Want to make it for your dog? Simple!
Get a plastic container and put a couple inches of water in it. Freeze it. Then place the Kong (with PB of course!) into the container, on top of the ice, and fill the container with enough water to cover the Kong by a couple of inches.
When ready, just pop the ice block out of the container and make Doggie happy!
"Get Out" and "Go Around?"
Yes... "Go Around!"
Want to have some REAL FUN with your dog?
Fun that will impress everyone watching? Have you ever seen another pet dog who can do this? You and your kid will be unique and admired.
Go some place where your dog has plenty of room to run, and with at least one tree. (Two or three trees are even better.)
Stand with your dog far away from the tree and motion with your hand to signal him to "Get out!" toward the tree. (This is agility training stuff.)
When he gets close, order him to "Go around!"
He'll whip around the tree and come running back to you.
(I used to send my Doberman, Jetta, around trees, cars, people and even tennis courts and houses.)
Another fun thing: Stand with him in the middle of two trees, and direct him "out" toward one tree, then "around." As he heads back to you, turn and send him around the other tree. When he comes back, turn and send him to the first tree again. Keep going around and around each tree... Figure 8!!!
Really fun and impressive!
And a great way to exercise him!
Need some help teaching this to your dog? I can teach it to you in a really short lesson. And remember... in case you don't live near me, I can teach it to you on the phone! I MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE it!
The woman was ANGRY, yelling at me as my Doberman, Jetta, and I flew past her in the park.
Huh?, I thought? What's cruel?
Jetta was doing what she LOVED: pulling me on a dog (sport) scooter. LOVED IT!!!
"Jetta, turn!" I commanded.
Jetta slowed down, then circled back. We approached the woman and I told Jetta, "Whoa!"
"What's cruel?" I asked.
"You! Making your dog pull you like that!"
Here’s how Sparky got shot
Sparky, a 1-year-old Lab mix, was a “skittish” puppy when brought to live with the family next door to Donna, one of my readers in the Midwest.
Fearfulness is torture for an animal, and often leads to aggression.
Donna has some dog training experience and offered to help them help their pup to get over his fearfulness, but they declined. The family never socialized Sparky and his fearfulness got worse.
As he got older, he got more aggressive, eventually becoming very intense and serious. He started growling and baring his teeth as he charged the 4-foot chain-link fence separating him from Donna and her 19-year-old Chihuahua, Missy, 14-year-old Chihuahua, Tigger, and 10-year-old, 60-pound mixed breed, Alie.
Eventually, in his apparent determination to attack her and/or her dogs, he started attempting to climb the 4-foot chain-link fence.
R U Feeding Good or Bad? (Check The List)
I cringe at the grocery store when I see someone checking out with a bag of:
Kibbles 'n Bits
or any of those LOW-QUALITY products.
I refuse to call them "Dog Foods." In fact, there is not a single "dog food" product sold in a typical grocery store (I want to say "ANY" grocery store, but let's be honest, I haven't been in EVERY grocery store) that is of good quality.
I highly recommend feeding a natural diet to dogs. Which means REAL, human-grade food. BUT... it's expensive and a lot of work (I know, I've done it), so I understand if some people can't do it. But if you DO do it... KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. Dogs have certain nutritional requirements that MUST be met. I talked to someone the other day who's been feeding real food to her dog (Yeah!) but has not been including calcium. OMG! Dogs NEED calcium. If you want to know how to properly feed your dog a natural diet, contact me and I will turn you on to some excellent resources.
Barring feeding a natural diet, dogs MUST have top-quality dog food.
Gees... a dog's food is part of his very foundation. It's important! (Any dog food you use should be grain-free. Grains are not a natural diet for dogs and are included just to "fluff up" the food and make it cheaper.)
What do you feed your dog? Think you are feeding a "good" food? You might be surprised.
Reviews.com thoroughly researched 2,223 formulas made by 115 brands (I didn't know there were that many!) and eliminated the unhealthy and questionable ones, ending up with only 134 (about 6 percent) they could confidently label as healthy and safe.
Check your dog's food against Reviews.com's list:
Reviews.com - Dog Food Research
You wouldn't feed Purina Beneful, would you? Look:
Purina Beneful Killing Dogs:
The Dogington Post - Purina Beneful Dog Food Killing Dogs
Teaching Dogs To Wear Foreign Objects - Dog Training Techniques Work on Kids Too!
I don't know about helmets on dogs, but kids wear helmets, right?
I took my bike in to the bike store the other day and a young mother was trying a helmet on her child - a little boy, I'm guessing maybe 2 years old. (I never had kids so I'm not good at knowing their ages. LOL)
The kid was crying and fighting! Boo!
I wanted to help, but I knew it wouldn't go over well if I said, "I don't have children, but I am a dog trainer and kids and dogs are a lot alike and I can help you teach your child to LIKE wearing that helmet."
So I said, "I'm a teacher. Would you like me to give you some tips on how to get your son to LIKE wearing his helmet?"
She said she would. Yeah!
"Well, first of all," I said, "I wouldn't force it on him. I'd get one that looks like it will probably fit, and take it home. Keep it in new condition in case you need to exchange it, or get a cheap, used one to use for 'training,' then buy a new one when he's willing to try them on."
I suggested that at home, she find ways to reward him for bringing it to her when she asks, maybe develop a little game with the helmet where he gets rewarded for carrying it around and interacting with it, maybe wear her OWN helmet around the house, hopefully inspiring him to want to wear his, too. I suggested that if she and her husband sat down to dinner with their helmets on, he might want his on too.
I told her to get creative and to not put it on him until he asks. Do everything in baby steps and keep it positive and fun. Why cause trauma and stress? Be patient and do it with his cooperation. Much better!
I didn't tell her this, but this method will help her child TRUST her more, so this type of thing can go quicker in the future. What she was doing was damaging her child's trust in her.
Teach dogs and kids to LIKE wearing foreign objects.
When training dogs, NEVER force them. It also damages THEIR trust and when you force, you get resistance. There's always a kinder, more positive way to get the dog to WANT to do it. See Jetta wearing her muzzle? She LOVED it! I taught her with positive-reinforcement. If I had forced her, she'd hate it (or at best, tolerate it), and possibly try to remove it when she got a chance. (All she'd have to do was flick the back of it with her paw and it would pop right off.) Jetta NEVER ONCE tried to take it off.
Jetta LOVED wearing her muzzle.
Want to know how to train a dog to wear a muzzle, or for that matter, a helmet? Message me! Happy to send you my instructions.
Half and Half
Remember Sheba, who I wrote about a couple weeks ago?
She's the girl who had a potty bell and Mom Ericka took it away because it wasn't working as well as she'd hoped. (My message: Never rely on your dog to ring a bell to go out. If you missed that post, see it below.)
Anyway - I checked up on them, as I always do after lessons, and Ericka said she was concerned because her husband and 14-year-old son are not helping with, or even supporting, the training.
PLUS, when Ericka and Sheba started their lesson, Ericka told me that Sheba jumped on everyone, which she wanted to stop, but her husband was disappointed because he LIKES it when she's wild and crazy.
She was worried, naturally, that she won't be ABLE to train Sheba if they aren't on-board with it.
Trump's Dog Park
Is Your Dog Fit, Fat or Obese?
From Left: Fit, Fat, Obese
Diagram from The Whole Dog Journal (www.whole-dog-journal.com/)
It's a (forgive the pun) HUGE subject. It's actually a problem of epidemic proportions.
Overweight dogs don't live as long as fit dogs. And they don't get overweight because they were spayed or neutered, per se.
Being altered can change their metabolism, but all that means is that you need to feed them less (and save the money - in fact, the surgery may then pay for itself, eh?)
To get them to lose weight, feed them less, and/or exercise them more. (Dogs should exercise twice a day, generally speaking.)
Remember to reduce portions gradually, so he doesn't get too hungry.
Obviously Obese (This is abuse, no?)
Poor Little Fat Dog - Hard to get around!
Potty Bell No Good!
Please Don't Ring The Bell!
Potty Bell? Cute, but...
Ever think of teaching your dog to ring a bell to go out to potty? Well, you may want to think twice about that.
For one thing, what happens if he can't get to the bell? Like if the room is closed off? Or if he rings the bell, but you don't hear it because you are in another room or in the shower or listening to loud music?
Generally, these kids will just potty near the bell.
Here is one of my students, Sheba. We finished our self-calming lesson yesterday, during which Mom became convinced to remove her potty bell.
"Sheba was great at letting us know when she had to go," Mom Ericka says. "But if there wasn't a bell around, she would go in the house." Ericka says problems arose when they had her in the basement (the bell was upstairs at the back door) and that it was especially frustrating when visiting friends and family.
How The Hell
Do You Spell The Name Of This Breed?
Three DOZEN Misspellings!
I found all of these misspellings in ads on Craigslist:
One poster of a "Daushaund" said her puppy, which she was trying to sell, looks like a mini "Rotwhiler.”
Gees... poor Dachshunds. They need a simpler name. (Rottweilers too?)
Can Toothpaste and Peanut Butter Kill Your Dog?
Hmmm.... sticky situation
Photo by Greg Murray Photography
Can toothpaste kill your dog?
What about peanut butter?
Yes! If you choose the wrong brands.
What are the "wrong" brands?
The ones that contain the sweetener Xylitol, which is (apparently) safe for humans but deadly (even in small amounts!) to dogs.
In fact, it is MORE dangerous than chocolate!
First let’s talk about most dogs’ favorite: Peanut butter.
These popular products are safe! I checked the labels, AND called the manufacturers to double-check:
BUT… what about OTHER peanut butters and nut butter spreads and TOOTHPASTE???
You are brushing your dog’s teeth, right? Make sure you are using toothpaste specifically made for dogs, which won't contain Xylitol or Fluoride, which is also harmful to dogs. And as with all human products Fido might steal and eat, keep your toothpaste out of his reach.
I wrote previously about two dogs who almost died when a guest to their home left her purse unattended on the floor, and they got into it and ate gum sweetened with Xylitol.
Xylitol is also in some cosmetics, mints, mouthwashes and cough drops, among other products.
Bring Back The Snow!
Dogs who guard their food (or other resources such as bones and toys and even people) are a danger to anyone coming near. Although it is NORMAL dog behavior (and often manifested by stiffening, staring, growling or snapping), we must teach our dogs not to do it. If your dog guards her food from you, rest assured she does not see you as her leader.
With some work, you can change your relationship with her and extinguish this dangerous behavior. You should always be able to take anything away from your dog, even if it’s food, and even if it’s already in her mouth.
Prevention is ALWAYS better than correction.
To PREVENT food guarding, there is some simple stuff you can do with your puppy so this dangerous behavior never starts. I’ll explain in a second.
With an older dog who is already guarding her food, it’s tougher but doable and I’ll discuss that too.
Dogs Sniffing People - Part 2 (see below for part 1)
Last week I wrote about dogs' desires over-riding a guest's right to personal body space.
"It's her nature to sniff your crotch.
Please feel free to sniff hers."
Yep! That IS a sign some dog owners proudly display!
(To be honest, maybe I'm weird, but I don't really like dogs sniffing my crotch and... I'll pass on reciprocating, but thanks anyway.)
I wrote about how Jetta had been trained to go to - and stay - on the couch or in her bed when a guest came to visit.
Once the visitor was in and ready, he or she could approach the couch (or bed) to pet Jetta, who was THRILLED but STABLE in staying put unless invited to "Come say Hi."
And I teach this to my students. BUT... there's an alternative I failed to mention. So here it is!
LOVE your FABULOUS tongue!
LOVE your FABULOUS tongue!
Does your kid have one of these rubber tongues? Jetta had one. It was so fun to take her shopping with her tongue "hanging out." The part she holds in her mouth is ball-shaped and easy to hold. Got lots of laughs when we were out and about! And of course, Jetta was so PROUD!
Have you ever seen a sign like this at a dog owner's house?
Umm... not very hospitable, is it? In fact... it's hostile, right?
I actually have seen signs like this at people's houses. Not at any of my students' homes, but at other dog enthusiasts' I've know thru dog training clubs, etc.
Jetta is gone now, of course, but when someone came to my home, she quit barking when I told her to, and she jumped up onto the couch or into her wicker basket, depending on which I pointed to.
(BTW: That was HER couch. I bought that couch FOR HER. She did let me sit on it with her though. LOL)
Then, when my guest came through the door, she stayed on the couch or in her bed. (And this is what I teach to students, too, of course.) When my guest was READY to see her, either he or she would approach the couch to pet her, or I'd call Jetta off the couch to say hi.
This person has a right to not interact with a dog if he or she doesn't want to. And even if they don't like dogs, that doesn't make them a bad person and unwelcome in my home.
BTW... if you've been reading my newsletter for awhile, you know that in 2007 I went on trial for a crime I did not commit. (And yes, I had eye witnesses and was found not guilty in a jury trial.) A woman in Salem named Billy Jean Peirce lied to the police and told them I sic'd Jetta on her. A cop came to my door - POUNDING on my door! - to serve me a summons to go to arraignment.
I opened the door to see him with his hand on his gun, asking if my "dogs" were contained.
Jetta was loose, but assigned to stay on the couch and be quiet. LUCKY! Lucky she was trained and stable. Cops often kill dogs who rush them! And a DOBERMAN??? Bye-bye doggie.
But I digress...
When a guest comes to my home, I want my dog to control herself.
People have a right to their own personal body space.
75% of Raffle Entrants Complained About Barking and...
A Barker WON!
Let's do it again! Enter now for February 15 Drawing!
A barker won. What a surprise! Here's what Joanne said when I asked how I can help:
I have 2 Doxies: male is 3 yrs; female is 7 year. Both are rescues & both bark although not always at the same time, The male howls too.. They can see the street from the front door and if a person or person with dog walks by they go crazy & can't seem to stop themselves even after no one is visible anymore. Same with mailman; UPS trucks.
I have moved their beds so they can't see out & it is quieter, but does not stop.
So... we will work on it! She is setting up her lesson soon. Let's make the house quieter and the dogs happier.
Congratulations Joanne! Looking forward to working with you and your kids!
Snickers, who I trained by phone years ago... 11 years old now. Good girl Snickers!
Guess What is the #1 Complaint
of Raffle Entrants?
About 75% of the people who entered my raffle
for a free lesson want me to help them with...
All kinds of barking.
Here's the question I asked raffle entrants:
If you win the lesson, what would you like me to help you with?
Some of the answers:
"Barking at passing dogs."
"He sees another dog and barks uncontrollably, all while huffing and puffing."
"How to get our dog to stop barking and growling at everybody walking by our house!"
"My barker who barks at everything, including leaves and who taught my other dog to bark."
"Our dog barks at everything, including cars just driving by our house."
"Barking!! I do not mind if warning me of danger but one barks at everything, including falling leaves, and so our other one joins in."
"My corgi is very jealous of my border collie and barks at her. She barks at moving things like bikes, the quad, car, etc."
"I have a barker who rushes through the house barking at anything that goes by.... driving me crazy... would love your help with this!!"
And... "MAKE HER STOP BARKING."
And it gets worse... And people do this... Gets people hurt and dogs killed...
Pic from The Denver Post: Having Pella with them on the stand can help children feel safe and that they are not alone when testifying, often against their abusers.
My Doberman, Dancer, and I used to do trick shows at nursing homes.
Afterwards, I'd take her up and down the aisles letting everyone pet her.
On one visit, a man was petting her and talking, talking, talking to her... didn't say a single word to me, or respond when I addressed him, but he talked NONSTOP to Dancer!
When Dancer and I moved on, one of the staff came up behind me and whispered that he had not spoken in 6 months.
Wow! The power of a DOG!
In Colorado, there is a Labrador, Pella, who helps children (victims and witnesses) testify in court. Pella lends her doggie talents in about 100 cases per year, comforting kids so they feel safe in a scary environment, often facing their abusers.
From the Denver Post:
The teenage girl walked into Sungate Kids child advocacy center in Greenwood Village and refused to speak to anyone, including her own mother.
Another family member had been accused of sexually abusing her — the kind of case employees had seen countless times before — and the girl was deploying the best nonverbal defense she had.
“She was curled up in a ball in her chair, and she had her head down and her face covered by hair,” said Amber Urban, criminal investigator for the 18th Judicial District in Arapahoe County. “I walked out and introduced myself and said, ‘Do you like dogs?’ And she looked immediately up, wiped the hair from her face and said, ‘You have a dog?’ ”
Pella, a brown-eyed, Lab-Golden Retriever mix, trotted into the room and calmly sat in front of the girl. From then on, she spoke regularly with Urban, giving her crucial evidence that was used to secure a conviction.
Chris Gallo remembers a similar scene — except with a 5-year-old girl who needed to testify in court against an older, trusted family member.
So... want to hear how a barking dog killed an elderly woman?
Here's what happened:
Someone I knew a few years ago had... not HAS... that's one of the tragic consequences of this story...
She HAD a beautiful dog - gorgeous show dog actually - who didn't care much for other dogs. And when a dog walked down the street, past her house, he'd get up in the window and bark his fool head off 'til the other dog passed.
And he WAS ALLOWED to do this, right? She never trained him not to do it... just tolerated it and would sometimes tell him to stop (that's not training) - and this went on for YEARS!
Well, this unaddressed behavior led to an old woman's death.
Want my Doggie Tips delivered to your Inbox?
(Spam stinks. I will never share your address or send you junk. PROMISE!)