May 31, 2011 Issue #5 Published by Sue Skiff
A Note From Sue
I am continuing to deal with annoying computer issues. Everything takes much more time to accomplish than normal, as a result. This week’s dog training tip is on showing your dog that you are in charge. It is written in response to the following dog behavior question sent to me by an old friend (we’ve known each other since first grade!):
“I will be pet sitting my daughter's 5 or 6 month old black lab for the first time. I know that I should take care of her like ____ does ( the same routine and discipline) but my question is do you think the dog will not listen to me because Ive never pet sit her before?”
So, the short answer to the above question is “yes.” It is possible to get a dog that you haven’t had previous experience to listen to you. And, since my friend is the mother of 4, and a child care provider, I will add that a huge key to your success is the same as that for child raising; you need to be firm and consistent.
In answer to another question that I was asked: yes, I have always intended to include pictures in this e-zine. However, I am waiting until I understand how this newsletter program, that I am using, better.
Have a question that you'd like answered?
FOUR WAYS TO SHOW YOUR DOG THAT YOU ARE IN CHARGE
Since dogs live in our world, they need to be able to follow our rules. Otherwise, all they have to go on is instinct. Therefore, it is important that humans establish themselves as the ones in charge where dogs are concerned. Contrary to what many dog experts say, this can be accomplished without acting dominant, or being the “alpha.” Here are four things that you can do to teach your dog to accept that you are in charge.
1. HAVE THE ATTITUDE OF A LEADER
Think about someone who is a natural leader; someone that people are naturally drawn to follow. Think about the way that person holds her or his body, the confidence with which s/he speaks; the whole attitude s/he projects. This is the attitude of a leader. This is what you want to project to your dog. So, whether you believe deep down that you are a leader, or not, assume the attitude of one whenever you are with your dog.
2. BE IN CHARGE OF ALL RESOURCES
Next, you want to be in control of all of the resources. What do I mean by “resources?” A resource is anything that your dog places a value on. Resources are: food, toys, your dog’s crate, your bed, your dog’s bed, the couch, treats, bones, attention, play, walks; everything that’s important to your dog. You must be the owner of all of these.
The most important of the above resources is food. Make sure that your dog understands that food comes from you, and that food can be taken away from you. Here is a technique for teaching your dog that food comes from you: Make your dog sit and stay while you prepare its food, and put the food down. If your dog gets up before you give it permission to, make sure that the food is not where your dog can get to it, and make your dog sit back down in the same place that it was in before.
3. GO THROUGH DOORS FIRST
Observations of groups of dogs have shown that the dominant dog in the pack always goes through the door first. Teach your dog to sit and stay while you are opening a door. Then don’t let it go through the door until you invite it to.
4. INSIST THAT YOUR DOG WALK ON A LOOSE LEASH
Dogs that pull are showing that they are in charge of the walk. Also, if you stop whenever your dog wants to stop to sniff, you are allowing your dog to be in charge of when you stop. So, don’t let your dog pull you, and be the one that makes the decisions about when to stop, change directions, and change the speed of your walk.
This does not mean that you should hold the leash really tight so that your dog can’t pull. It means that whenever your dog gets ahead of you, you need to turn around or back up. When your dog is walking next to you, praise it, and give it attention and treats. And, if your dog stops, just keep walking. Hold the leash loosely, with your arms relaxed. Use your body to control your dog, and be balanced over your feet.
Be persistent and consistent with all of the above, and your dog will get the message.
Last week, I told you a story about a sheep in a swimming pool. This story involves the same swimming pool. My dogs and I were staying at the house where this swimming pool is located. And, of course, I was caring for the animals at the house while the family that lived there vacationed.
It was early morning. There were a lot of animals at that house, and I had other jobs to do that day. So, I was getting an early start. My two dogs, the resident two dogs, and I all exited the house through the back door. The dogs all went off into the weeds to do their business, and I headed for the chickens. Then, I saw it; a bat. It was clinging to the side of the pool, and looked to be soaking wet. Not quite what I had been expected. My mind immediately jumped to my previous swimming pool encounter, and I began to wonder how many animals I was destined to find in this swimming pool.
I wondered how a bat would get into a swimming pool. Was it sick? Did it swoop too low when getting a drink? Well, it can’t have rabies, I thought. After all, the other name for rabies is hydrophobia (fear of water). Still, you don’t want to touch a bat with your bare hands. I knew that for sure. I checked to on the dogs. I did not want them to notice the bat. They were busy at their own affairs. Still, I took them inside just to make sure. The cats had spent the night outside. I did not see them. I hoped that they, too, had not noticed the bat. Then, I looked for two things; something to put a bat in, and something to protect my hands.
I found an incredibly small cage in the garage; perfect for the bat. I could not locate any gloves, so I had to settle for a thick towel to protect my hands. I easily separated the bat from the side of the pool, using the towel, and put it into the cage. I covered the cage, put it out of dog reach, and finished up my animal rounds.
When I was ready to leave, I took the bat with me. Off we went to the hospital at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum (LWM), where I told my story, and left the bat. At that time, I was spending many hours a week working at LWM. A couple of days after I dropped off the bat, a hospital staff member found me, and I was informed that the bat was not doing well, and not eating. Then, a day or so later, I got the call. The bat had died.
Bats are the biggest carrier of rabies in this area. So, of course, a bat that has died of an unknown illness has to be tested for rabies by the county. And, the test came back positive. All of a sudden, I was being pestered by County personnel. Had I touched the bat? Had any of the animals that I was caring for come into contact with the bat? Were the dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies? The calls went on for what seemed like days on end; and it was always the same questions. I had to tell them that I didn’t know about the cats. I couldn’t lie. I did get the information that the cats were vaccinated, and eventually the calls stopped.
I do have more stories about that swimming pool. However, I am happy to say that that bat was the last unusual animal that I found it it. Of course, you never know…..
Last Week for Summer Specials
There's only one more week left in May. That means you only have one more week to take advantage of my summer special. Here’s the deal: Make reservations with us for pet sitting that starts anytime between June 1 and Sept 30 (Sept is one of our busiest months for pet sitting, so I want to include it), sign a contract, and pay a deposit, by May 31, and I will give you a 20% discount. This discount replaces any other discount that you may be entitled to, so make sure you ask what your best deal will be.
So, go ahead and give me a call at (925) 366-6042, or
and get those summer reservations in. I look forward to talking to you!
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