Archive for October 2009
I don’t often write about training experiences with clients, particularly if they don’t voluntarily and without any prompting send in a photo with their story, but some stories are so touching that they must be told so they can influence others.
Fido the 9 month old German Shepherd and the 6 year old child were on a collision course.
The family was having difficulty controlling Fido and the child had no impulse control. He just wanted to pet and play with his dog but the dog would jump on him, knock him down, mouth him and scare the child with doggie antics. An untrained German Shepherd can be a difficult animal to live with indeed.
When the child was present, Fido was either tied to a tree on his pinch collar or crated. The child quickly became a huge source of frustration to Fido.
To compound the level of frustration within the family and especially for Fido, the only way the child was able to “enjoy” Fido was to run back and fourth in front of Fido while he was tied to a tree. Fido would lunge and bark and howl and the child would laugh and wave his hands around. Fido’s prey drive and his frustration became increasingly strong as did his physical strength as time went on. This was very dangerous and could have led to a tragedy.
The family knew they needed help.
Huge improvement came in only 3 short weeks. Some of what we did:
1. Threw away the pinch collars
2. No more yelling at either Fido or the child
3. Didn’t allow the child in Fido’s crate OR near Fido while he was tethered
4. Created a positive association for Fido to the child
5. Created a calm association for Fido to the child.
6. Taught some impulse control to both Fido and the child
7. NO RUNNING in the house for either Fido or the child
8. Feed Fido chicken, while in his down/stay and while the child pets Fido
9. The child feeds Fido chicken while he pets, calmly. WOW!
The family learned about the importance of mental stimulation for Fido as well as physical exercise and we developed some games that the child could participate in too. Mental stimulation for Fido and the child while building a bond and improving the relationship.
On the third lesson so much improvement was had that it truly warmed my heart. This family, including Fido, worked very hard to bring peace to their home. As I was leaving the home after the third visit, the client said “watch this new trick”. The child picked up a blanket and RAN toward Fido who was on the couch. I thought “oh crap” – BUT the child covered up Fido with the blanket, gave him a kiss on his muzzle and then walked gently away while Fido took a nap. Fido never moved, looked relaxed and happy.
The client also commented “WOW! That’s ALL it took?” Meaning relationship building and teamwork. It’s not just about the dog’s behaviors, it’s as much about the humans behaviors as well.
With Halloween upon us, remember to have fun with your dog! Dress him up but insure he is safe and comfortable! Always supervise your dog while he is dressed up in costume.
And remember – Halloween Candy is for the humans!
Halloween Costumes 2009
Massachusetts Outdoor Expo was Sunday 9/27 all day and in the pouring rain this year!
Pack of Paws Dog Training along with Dr. Kristine Sklenak and Tasha of Southbridge Veterinary, Pam, George and Bev of Woof & Whiskers Inn hosted another Family Dog Exhibit for children of all ages to educate them in animal care from medical care to training as well as the work and joy of owning a pet dog.
Our sincere thank you’s go out to all of those who braved the weather and came out to the exhibit with their dogs to help educate children. The children had really big smiles and asked about each breed and petted the dogs. I am truly humbled and extremely grateful to all of our clients who volunteered thier time, in the rain, for the benefit and education of our community.
Maggie, Harry, Bev, Cleo, Bert, Amos, Lucy, Rose, Harper, Cooper and Tucker!
Special humans who came to the exhibit: Ann and Sara, Tasha, Tara, Janet, Andi, Sara & Jay, Tammy, Paula & Dave, Kathy, Jake & Stephanie and Martha. Hopefully I didn’t miss anyone, if I did please send me an NRM so that I can fix!
So who are these special people? They are clients of Pack of Paws Dog Training with all types of dogs. They are not show dogs, they are not obedience competitors, they are family dogs.
You can see Maggie’s Story on my website under Happy Dogs. Tucker is a pit bull rescue from Second Chance Animal Shelter who achieved his CGC just the weekend prior! He has such wonderful social skills and signals that he has been a huge help to some of the reactive dogs on our weekly walks. Harry WAS a reactive who has nearly achieved his CGC. Harper is a St. Bernard puppy and the kids were overjoyed to pet her!! “HOW BIG will she get?” they answered to many! All of the dogs were wonderful! It was awesome to see the children ask questions and pet the dogs whose breeds get a bad rap. Amos the German Shepherd was a true gentleman all day, Cooper the Rottie/German Shep mix put smiles on all the kids faces, Bert the Norwegian Elkhound endured “is that a husky?” all day with a smile! Rose is a shy mix who is in the beginnings of Therapy Dog training so this was a GREAT opportunity for her!
Some of the demonstration dogs were rescues and some were adopted from breeders as puppies and ALL of them (humans too) had a great time with the children.
Despite the rain, hundreds of children came through our exhibit asking all types of questions. It was a very rewarding day!
What is Massachusetts Outdoor Expo you ask? MOE held at the Hamilton Rod and Gun Club and is a celebration of outdoor activities geared toward education for children of all ages. The exhibits are interactive, safe and educational. It’s totally volunteer and there are tons of exhibitors from camping, fishing and hunting to climbing, fishing and pet dogs. It’s really wonderful.
No pictures this year, you guessed it, due to the RAIN ……………