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Daily Training: Front Door

Monday, July 27, 2015

Does your dog bolt out the door?  Or do they go absolutely insane when a visitor rings the doorbell?  As the alpha in your pack, you must establish the door as YOURS.  This is YOUR home, you are responsible for the well being of all who reside in it.  When your dog does not understand this, he believes HE is alpha and HE is responsible for who walks in and out of that door.  This thinking not only makes it difficult to handle your dog when the door is being opened, but it also puts a tremendous amount of stress on your dog.  Can you imagine being in charge of a whole family without the proper equipment, training and resources?  You'd be pretty crazy too, making the wrong choices and causing chaos in the family.  But the alpha-talk is another topic.  Let's discuss this door issue.

Train Daily!
For front door training (when someone knocks or rings the doorbell), teach your dog to follow you to a specific point on your way to the door and to wait.  Always use this same spot.  Use treats as positive reinforcement.  Once they've done this enough and they've established this spot as their "wait" spot, next step is to open the door.  Be confident when you do this.  With your back facing your dog, open the door.  If he makes any type of move towards you, use a distraction method that causes him to focus on you.  You can use the "BAH" method, which is a low growl.  It is not aggressive and is more of a "pay attention" type of message.

Have a partner stand on the other side of the door and ring the door bell.  Have your dog do as you've trained him: follow you to that spot, wait, and then you will open the door and tell the "visitor" that the dog is going to greet him/her.  Then once you've closed the door, call your dog to the visitor and have him greet him/her.  Hopefully at this time, you've already taught your dog not to jump on people! ;)  Spend at least 5 minutes a day doing this training.

Another tip outside of front door training:
When people want to greet your dog (while outside the home), never just let them approach your dog and never just let your dog approach them.  Train your dog to wait until you tell him to greet the person.  Tell the person to hold on until you tell your dog it's okay to greet them.

Things to remember
  1. Be consistent; you need to be the one to win.
  2. Control the situation at all times by interrupting the "bad" behavior.  Do this by bringing the dog's focus to YOU.
  3. Anticipate the behavior. 
  4. When your dog makes a mistake, don't stress!  Just take a break and try again.
  5. Train all the time, just because.
  6. Reward Reward Reward!!
  7. Have fun with it!

Paw Prints July 2015

Summer Safety  
If you're out in town and you've got your dog with you, don't go anywhere you can't take him!  Too many dogs die in their cars because their owners think they won't be long.
Leaving the window cracked will not give your dog the relief it needs to withstand the heat inside a hot car.
If you see a dog left in a car, look around for its owners.  If you cannot locate them, it is okay to call 911 or your local animal control!
Spread awareness to friends and family members who own pets, too!

Dr. Ernie Ward was brave enough to show viewers the reality of being trapped inside a hot car by conducting the experiment... on himself.
As the minutes ticked by, you can clearly see his discomfort rise and as the heat continued to take over the inside of the car, you will see that leaving your dog inside the car can result in his fatality.

Shout Out!!
Kunsan Patriots for Animal Welfare and Scholarship (PAWS) is a non-profit American organization dedicated to helping animal shelters in South Korea.  PAWS raises funds and calls for volunteers to extend the much needed helping hand at the many, many shelters around the peninsula.  There is always a need, but PAWS is always putting forth its best effort with the dedication and endurance of its members.  Good on you, PAWS, for doing what you do!
Check out their Facebook page!

Training Tip of the Day
Submissive Urination
Although unpleasant to us humans, submissive urination is actually normal canine behavior.  Not all dogs do it, but those who do usually submissively urinate when they greet people, are super excited during play or when being petted, and when they are being scolded.  It is a common behavior in puppies as well as in dogs who lack confidence.  This behavior can be frustrating and when handled inappropriately (most often done), it will only worsen and the relationship between dog and owner will be a rocky one.

When approaching the issue of submissive urination, you have to first rule out other possibilities.  For instance, a medical complication will cause uncontrollable urination.  When Bruce had a bladder infection, he was constantly urinating in the house and thankfully I took him straight to the vet.  Other things to consider before deciding on treating submissive urination are:  house training, separation anxiety, and urine marking.  Once you've ruled all those out, you're ready to approach submissive urination.

The ASPCA offers help for this!  See below:
What to Do About Submissive Urination
Dogs usually grow out of submissive urination by the time they reach one year of age, even if their pet parents do nothing about it. However, many people find it messy and unpleasant, and some dogs never grow out of it. If your dog or puppy submissively urinates, the following suggestions might help you manage, minimize or stop the behavior.
  • If possible, greet your dog outside.
  • Toss a handful of small treats or a few favorite toys in the direction of your dog as he runs up to greet you.
  • Ignore your dog when you first come home and walk through the door. Wait until he has completely calmed down before interacting with him. When you finally greet your dog, do so calmly. Look off to the side instead of straight at him. Sit on the floor or squat down—and avoid looming over your dog as you bend toward him.
  • Teach your dog to perform a behavior, such as sit, when he greets people. First, practice the sit behavior outside of the greeting context, in a calm place, without other people around. To learn more about teaching your dog to sit, please see our article, Teaching Your Dog to Sit.
  • When you pet your dog, touch him under the chin or chest, rather than on top of his head or ears.
  • Keep play sessions with your dog low-key and play games with him that focus on toys rather than bodily contact.
  • If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) for assistance. To find one of these qualified experts in your area, please see our article, Finding Professional Help.
What NOT to Do
  • Do not look at your dog, touch him, bend over him or speak to him if he starts to submissively urinate or if you think he might.
  • Do not hug your dog or pat him on the top of the head when greeting or interacting with him.
  • Do not scowl or frown at your dog, especially in response to submissive urination. You should even avoid making frustrated comments, as doing so might make the behavior worse.
DO NOT VERBALLY SCOLD YOUR DOG OR PUNISH YOUR DOG IN ANY WAY. Scolding and punishment are likely to make the problem worse. The more you yell at your dog, the more he’ll feel motivated to submissively urinate in an attempt to make you less angry.

No Bruce for Me

Saturday, June 6, 2015

I'm out of the country for a whole year due to my job. And I'm missing my dog. Of course I miss my kiddos so much, but this is a dog blog and I'll stick to the topic 

Here are things I miss about my dog:

  • The times when I'm going from room to room cleaning and every time I turn around, he's there hanging out with me. 
  • When it's late at night and I'm on my porch having a drink and he's laying on the floor just relaxing. 
  • When I'm busy cooking dinner, helping kids with homework and doing laundry, and I turn to see him just staring at me as if he's wondering when I'm going to relax. 
  • When I'm at the dining table after the kids have gone to bed and I'm writing notes or journaling and he comes over, puts his head on my lap and just stays there knowing it helps both of us feel better if I just pet him for a few minutes. 
  • When I'm lying in bed sick and he lying on the floor beside me all day long. 
  • When we're hiking and the scents excite him so much that his drool hangs from his mouth so much that when he shakes his head it wraps around his muzzle. Yes I miss that too. 
  • When I'm reading a book and he lays on the floor in front of me, sprawled out on his back and looks at me with a crazy face that says "You know you wanna pet my belly."
  • When we go for car rides and he spends the whole time looking out the window and then randomly leans over and licks my face like he's saying "Thank you, this is so fun!"
  • When I'm crying over a breakup and he comes over and licks my face. 
  • When he goes on a puppy run in the house and tries so hard not to crash into things but the hardwood floor doesn't care and he crashes anyway.
  • When the cat slaps him in the face and he looks hurt, then chases the cat.
  • When he lays in bed next to me and looks over at me like, "Ha! You let me on the bed."
  • When he farts in his sleep and wakes himself up. 
  • When he snores like a grown man and it scares me out of sleep
  • When his hips hurt and I rub them for him and he looks so much more relaxed. 
  • And finally, when I catch him stealing food off the table and he walks away slowly, hoping that slow motion movement camouflages him. 

My Bruce

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bruce is 7 years old. He is young, but has bad hips and elbows. It shows when it's cold and his back leg gives out on short walks. But he gets back up, gives me a sweet smile as I rub his hip, and moves on. 

He never complains. He lays on the kitchen floor as I cook dinner. He waits up for me at night when I'm busy studying and he's ready for bed. 

Sometimes he gets a wild hair up his butt and takes off running through the house. He crashes into everything and everyone. He is 95 pounds and sounds like a horse when he does this. The kids scream at him and I just giggle. 

He shares his food with the cat. As long as she doesn't mind sharing hers with him too. 

Bruce loves everyone. I can't think of a single being he doesn't love. He chases squirrels, so I believe he loves them too. In a different way. 

He gets into the trash. So the trash can is now in the garage. If you leave food on the table, he uses his very sneaky skills to make it disappear. 

He chases our ferrets. But they always start it. 

If he accidentally falls out of the house through an open door, he will express his state of confusion by running everywhere and making friends with neighbors. 

I am in the military. I've gone on short tours of duty, worked late nights and moved across states. I could easily give him up in exchange for convenience. But I love my Bruce. He is a family member and my closest friend. I can't imagine life without him. 


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