CLASS PAGEGREETINGS TO FRIENDS OF LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!
October is an important month for those in rescue;Adopt A Shelter Dog Month My mission is to reach as many pet owners as possible, to help improve the human-canine relationship, with a wide variety of ongoing classes. Training significantly improves the chances of a dog remaining with family, and serves to strengthen the bond between two species. In keeping with this special month, I am beginning classes geared towards those who foster dogs, and would like to do something extra for that dog, to improve chances of being adopted. I am beginning a Foster Dog class, for those dogs actively being fostered, prior to adoption, at what I believe is a reasonable rate. To help me reach the many many dogs out there needing to be adopted, please forward, tweet or facebook! I appreciate your efforts to send my newsletter onwards. Class details will be outlined in a separate block. As always, I continue to educate clients about puppy mills; this is an excellent and informative link. Help Stop Puppy Mills Feel free to send this link onwards. As always, you can find me hereand here for lots of dog training tips, discussions and articles. Hope you enjoy this article on my puppy mill rescue lab Doobie, written for Dog Star Daily Reading is knowledge! My intent is to provide many useful sites, links and articles in each newsletter, as well as keep you posted on upcoming classes. Read on!
Good Manners for the Family Pet: Tuesday October 12th, 6:30 PM Foster Dogs Clicker Course: Tuesday October 19th 8 PM Good Manners for Family Pets: Wednesday October 20th 6:30 PM Nose Games and Other Fun Stuff: Wednesday October 20th 8 PM Advanced Obedience/CGC Class: Thursday October 21st, 8 PM CGC Testing Day: Saturday October 30th 11 AM
COOPERATION VS COERCION: WHOSE WALK IS IT ANYWAYS? COOPERATION VS COERCION Written by colleague and friend Casey Matthews-Lomonaco, talented dog trainer, writer and owner of Rewarding Behaviors Dog Training in New York. Be sure to follow her blog for great training information.
21 Sarah Court Earleville, Maryland 21919 443-350-6820 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to forward newsletter to anyone in rescue, or any dog owner who may be interested. There will be a new sign up button directly on my website. Happy reading!
CANINE GOOD CITIZEN GRAD MARLEY and Upcoming CGC Testing Event
Very happy owners, big grins all around! NEXT CGC TESTING EVENT
Working towards the goal of Canine Good Citizen is just another rewarding form of dog-canine interaction. The more we do with our pals, the closer and more rewarding the dog-human relationship. Advanced classes work towards CGC skills. Read on for class updates in the next section. SATURDAY OCTOBER 30TH at 11 AM, RAINWOOD KENNELS, ELKTON MD, will be the next test date. Dogs will be tested in order of arrival. Advance notice is required by calling 443-350-6820 or email email@example.com. Let me know if I can help you towards achieving this exciting goal.
PET HEALTH CARE GAZETTE is one of my favorite sources for the latest in pet health care issues and information, written by facebook and Twitter friend Lorie Huston. One of the most recent articles was on pet CPR, something we all need to know about. Being prepared for an emergency is the best defense!
In keeping with the NEVER SHOCK A PUPPY CAMPAIGN a tip on use of shock collars, which I never recommend. When a dog experiences the pain of being shocked, there is immediate aversive and negative association to whatever is in the environment when the shock takes place. This could be: dogs, people, kids walking past the property, delivery people, visitors coming into the home. Use of shock begets fear, lack of trust, confusion for the dog (unpredictable environment and not feeling safe) as well as aggression. Get involved and join the campaign. Spread the word!
I hope you are getting the chance to get out and enjoy the brilliant fall foliage with your furry friends! Keep in mind that learning is a life long process, and that ongoing mental and cognitive stimulation is beneficial to your pal. Also, knowledge is power! I hope you have found the articles and links useful; my intent is to make this a very informative and educational newsletter for everyone. Hope to see you soon! Never dull moment with the labs. The latest adventure has been to conquer the scary evil dishwasher monster for Talley, sure to be the subject of a blog. Until next time,
Leslie and the labbies
$10 discount for rescued dogs in Good Manners Classes. Special rate for Foster Dog Parents class.
Was I ready for Doobie? Not really. As we say in the business, Doobie, a 5 year old American Lab rescued from a puppy mill, was a failed foster. One look at his beaten down by life demeanor was all it took. I knew that first night his journey was over and that he had come home. The apple fell close to the tree; my life long rescuer mother would have been proud of me. Ready for what, you might ask? A dog existing all his sad life in puppy mill purgatory comes equipped with his own special needs. I really gave it no thought at all before committing to the adoption. I suppose I thought I would deal with the issues as they presented themselves. As a dog trainer working with many fearful dogs, at least I had experience on my side.
A year later, Doobie has made wonderful progress. New challenges arise and they are dealt with. Is Doobie normal? No. Will he ever be entirely well adjusted? Probably not. Was it difficult to find the time when already owned by two other young energetic labs? You betcha. However, to observe Doobie blossom, learn trust confidence and develop his own distinct personality, has been one of the greatest joys of my life. This dog has taught me about resiliency, coping, trusting and adapting. However it has not been easy, no two bones about it. These dogs really do need special care, time and commitment. I want folks going into this to have their eyes wide open. Without a doubt, any such adult puppy mill rescue will:
have generalized fear. (lack of socialization is a given)
not be house trained. (Doobie was not)
be afraid to go in a crate. (they spent their life in a cage)
have no training and no skills.
cope poorly in a new environment (literally learning to live in an alien world)
never have even been in a house.
be afraid of common household noises.
very likely will view children as aliens.
While that list is a pretty fair start, by no means is it complete. Wait, you`re saying. Do you mean we should not adopt these dogs? Not at all. What I want is for people to know what to expect, and be prepared for the remedial house training, gentle and gradual socialization required, and basic understanding of fearful dogs. Sadly, I have had overwhelmed clients. Happily, I have also had clients whose dogs were able to progress, when needed support was obtained. There is the crux of the matter: having a support system in place. You may want to consult with a licensed positive trainer and do some reading before you even bring your rescue home. Make inquiries of your rescue organization of the support system they offer. Here are a few resources, some of the best in my opinion.
Go to www.fearfuldogs.com and read read read. A book I refer clients to frequently is Help For Your Fearful Dog: Nicole Wilde, available at www.dogwise.com Certainly it cannot hurt to review house training and crate training methods, of the gentlest nature possible. A great overall reference is Positive Perspectives 2: Pat Miller, available from the same source. Expect that there will be fear to some degree, and make the environment as stress free as possible. Give these dogs time to adjust and take things very slowly. Under no circumstances should these timid souls be corrected for behaviors in which they are communicating fear. Constant reinforcement is what will turn these dogs around, as well as having basic understanding of their behavior, and being able to adjust to their needs.
I can only hope you experience the joy I have, in watching a dog learn to be a dog, in watching a dog beaten down by life learn to play and romp. Every effort I have made has been returned tenfold by a loving soul. Do some preparation, and please, call for help sooner rather than later, if needed. This will be one of the most rewarding journeys you will embark upon. Feel free to contact me and send some of your own rescue stories; I would love to hear them. Best of luck to you with your puppy mill rescue. Cheers to www.lab-rescue.com for the wonderful work they do.
Random comments can provide focus for a blog; today I find myself writing on the topic of canine play, due to a comment seen on twitter. Certainly I had something in common with this person, who was lamenting over a dog that would not play. When Doobie joined my household in May 2009, this 5 year old lab knew only fear. Play? A totally foreign concept to this frightened creature, whose immediate concerns were how to cope in a new and frightening environment. The latter is really what I wish to communicate, to all those who have rescued dogs. Canines will not play until they feel safe and secure in their environments. Fear suppresses play behaviors. Does your recently rescued dog seem completely disinterested in play? Give them time to adapt to the new environment, and learn trust in new owners.
Another important consideration: play is a learned behavior. Doobie had spent all five years of his life on a puppy mill, and beyond a doubt, had enjoyed no playful interactions with any human. Most dog owners love to play with their dogs as a highly reinforcing behavior for both species, and young puppies soon learn to engage in play. Likewise, the youngsters learn appropriate play interactions by time spent with their own kind, with playmates they feel comfortable with. Doobie had none of that. Can an older rescued dog from an atrocious background learn to play? Yes, absolutely!!
The initial tendency of Doobie was to sit back and observe my play with Talley and Bridget, in a hunkered down posture that broke my heart. He wanted to trust me, but also wanted to be able to flee if necessary.
Consider your own body language when introducing these dogs to play. What do our arms do when throwing? Yup, raise up in the air. To Doobie, that body language was a major visual threat. I learned, when trying to engage him, to be as non-threatening as possible with my arms, to keep arms at sides, doing minute little tosses with toys. It devastated me when i forgot and caused Doobie to slink away. Nudging a rolling toy a few inches with a foot is also far less threatening than an arm raised overhead to fling.
Considering the rolling motion of toys, it can be helpful to initiate interaction with a rolling type treat toy, such as a Tricky Treat Ball. The latter is easily gripped, manipulated and dispenses kibble rather easily. Show your dog how it works by giving it a nudge to dispense kibble for them the first few times. Doobie now manipulates a Buster Cube like a pro, which gives me great joy. Try toys that squeak! While many dogs are initially afraid of movement,the squeaky noise can be quite intriguing, as can be letting it then drop gently to the ground. The squeaky bouncy combination can be quite irresistible. And yes, Doobie now runs about the yard squeaking a Bad Cuz in his mouth.
Likewise Doobie now runs holding the handle of a Jolly Ball. Many dogs seem to enjoy carrying something, so give them an opportunity with that kind of toy as well. And no, to date I have not been able to get a picture of him running with the Jolly Ball; the scoundrel runs to a spot with it, wanting to engage Talley in a wrestling match over the prize. Which leads us to socially facilitated learning. Dogs can learn play from other dogs. If you have no other dogs, here is a great article by Pat Miller on how to introduce dogs.
Download Introductions When Doobie became comfortable with his new friends, he began to follow them after them as they fetched, barking along the way. It was then only a matter of time before he decided to investigate and pick something up in his mouth. A that point, I began to purposely toss/bounce toys towards him from a very short distance, and it was not long before he began to leap at them very much like a cat. He has progressed to the point where he will catch a Bad Cuz in his mouth. Watching these evolving play behaviors has given me the greatest joy, observing the enrichment that has come to his life. The progression time frame will be different for each dog, but by August (3 months) Doobie had run to a toy and picked it up. The rest has continued to evolve.
Take time, be patient and explore all the options. Your dog can learn how to play. Remember that where fear exists, play will not happen. You may want to attain the services of a licensed positive dog trainer to help you with your rescued dog, with a plan to help them feel safe in their environment. Once this happens, the play begins. Good luck, and enjoy every little progression. I know I certainly have!
When your own dog is racing constantly up and down the fence-line, nose to nose with the dog next door, hair standing up, barking and growling, do you see a problem, or do you love the fact that Rover is getting some exercise? If the latter resonated with you, I worry about your dog becoming reactive, and quite possibly even aggressive. Unfortunately, I see far too many dogs that traveled the path to reactivity with fence running behavior as a component. As you read, I hope you will understand how fence running contributes to canine reactivity.
Certainly there are different levels of fence running; I am concerned for the dog ceaselessly pursuing this activity, to the exclusion of other doggy behaviors. Dogs that casually trot to the fence to greet their canine neighbor, then off to explore their own yards, do not fall within the scope of my concern. Confused? Consider that stress is accumulative in canines as well. Just as we can have a horrible week at work and be stressed out by Friday, Rover, having spent the entire day in the frustrating pursuit of his neighbor, will be negatively impacted.
With canines, we talk about stress thresholds, and becoming non-cognitive when over stress threshold. In other words, when Rover is in the midst of the intense fence running, do you have a shot at gaining his attention when you call him? I doubt it. In fact, I have worked with dogs that, so aroused, have re-directed aggressively at owners reaching in to physically pull them away from the fence. This is the behavior of a dog completely over stress threshold, no longer cognitive, and purely reacting. The Rover`s of this world even end up not liking their neighbors so much, as they can never access them to play, and become constantly frustrated. As time goes on, unless interrupted, Rover can be at risk for developing aggressive behaviors as well.An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
How does this happen? Many well meaning folks leave Rover outside unattended for the day, believing that the fresh air and exercise will be just great. However, as described above, you can end up with a reactive dog triggered by movement, any movement, along their fence-line. For many dogs, triggering stimuli can be:joggers, Mothers pushing strollers, bicycles, cars, other dogs on leash and children walking by. Once the behavior is learned, it continues to evolve. Quite chilling to myself are the dogs so overly aroused that they run right through the ineffective barrier of an electric fence, despite the shock, to attack something on the other side. Yes, this does occur, and has more than enough scope for another entire blog. I surely pray that this will not become your own canine friend.
The best types of fences, not to mention more humane, are the solid panels, thus eliminating the visual trigger component. My own American Lab Doobie, from a puppy mill rescue background and noise reactive, now plays behind a fence of 6 X 6 vinyl panels, and is much better off not being able to target stimuli visually. Bottom line though, is the factor of unattended dog left in the back yard. I cannot even begin (well, yes I can) to imagine how Doobie would have deteriorated, if left to react to all stimuli aversive to him. If anything at all has raised a red flag, consider hiring a certified positive dog trainer to help you and Rover. And please please please do not leave your dogs outside unattended, to develop these potentially dangerous behaviors.
Stay tuned for further blogs on how we unwittingly create reactive dogs, and training tips on how to manage environments to enhance recovery. Is Rover barking? Go on out, call him, and reinforce for paying attention. Begin interrupting that behavior. Best of all though, manage so Rover cannot constantly rehearse a behavior that can and does lead to reactivity.
Leslie Fisher PMCT CPDT-KA
Affiliate of Peaceable Paws, AKC CGC Evaluator, ABC Student Mentor