Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013

Betsy

Betsy

photo photo(1)

Betsy, Bonnie and Jess! Oz came too but managed to not get in a photo!

I wish you all a very Happy, healthy and prosperous new year and may all your dreams come true!

I have enjoyed my time off playing more with my horse who always manages to remind me about my dog training! It is so good for me to have him as my hobby and in some ways he is more of a pet than my dogs! I often hear myself thinking or saying Red wants to go out, Red wants more hay, Red wants to pull his carriage today etc. In fact I sound remarkably like my clients, who fortunately often know exactly what their dogs want too! All of which is fine as long as we get what we want as well!

I am lucky that with my horse I am aware that if Red kicks the stable door to get my attention or to speed me up in getting his food, that if I respond to his demands his behaviour would get worse, and even in time he could break out of his stable door. I remember Betty doing something similar as a puppy when she very cleverly started carrying her food bowl round near feed time, I was very impressed and fed her, before long her bowl was whizzing past my head across the kitchen, it was then I realised that I must not be so impressed!! It took a some self-control to not respond to her demands, I so wanted to laugh as the bowl landed on the worktop beside me!

Remember this year it is great to know what they want, but be sure you only respond to the behaviour you want to encourage!ย Happy new year!

Zippitydoodah!

Zippitydoodah!

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Betty is mostly Border Collie, which means the herding instinct is strong for her! The first signs of this with Betty, and a lot of puppies, is she is interested in small wheels, things like the wheelie bins, wheelbarrows, vacuum cleaner and the hose reel winding and unwinding!

This innocent behaviour can rapidly turn into larger machines like lawn mowers, bicycles, motor bikes and cars! A very dangerous hobby for any dog!And herding is only found in Collies, many breeds can display this behaviour.

Luckily I know my Collies and I take action as soon as the early signs show themselves. For those that read the blog regularly you already know that where ever possible I want Betty to learn from her environment, as opposed to me constantly nagging her and saying “no”! The action I take when Betty starts chasing the wheel barrow wheel is to keep walking, not go round her, she is small so I don’t want to squash her too much, I walk slowly and deliberately, keeping to my chosen path, it is her job to get out-of-the-way! Rather she gets bumped by the barrow wheel than by a car! I do the same with the wheelie bins and the vacuum cleaner, with the vacuum I do push it at her a bit more deliberately, as it is lighter and hurts less if she isn’t quick enough! I also push the vacuum at her if she goes for the cable, I want her to learn very quickly not to go for electric cable!

I must add I don’t move these tools in a playful way, not too fast, as that may be enticing, but a boring ploddy sort of way! plus when I sweeping or mopping I put her in crate, these tools are just too tempting and she would learn more chase from these, the odd bump would not deter her:)

I was delighted this morning when I vacuumed that Betty did not attempt to chase the vacuum nor attack the cable!! ๐Ÿ™‚ A step closer to keeping her safe in life!

Betty

Betty watching and not chasing!

has more than enough outlets for her natural instincts when herding me on a walk :), playing retrieve and other toy based games!

Betty catching up on a walk!

I am really chuckling as I think and write this one ๐Ÿ™‚ I am constantly amazed by dogs, how quickly they learn whether it is the right of the wrong thing! The brighter and cleverer they are the more likely they are to learn the wrong things too! Really it is amazing that people don’t have worse problems than I see!

Not long after Betty arrived I remember chuckling to Anne (Betty’s breeder) that Betty was throwing her metal feed bowl round the kitchen because she wanted feeding, she does love her food! I do think there were a few occasions when on seeing her I thought “oh I am late feeding her” and did feed her. I was particularly impressed as metal is the hardest material to teach a dog to retrieve, I am not quite sure why anyone would want a dog to retrieve metal, but anyhow it is tricky! I think it was this that delighted me so much and made me respond to Betty’s antics ๐Ÿ™‚ at least that is my excuse! Well anything a dog does that firstly we show pleases us, like smiling and laughing and secondly even gets food in return will soon grow! Betty obviously thought I can do better and by last week this behaviour had grown into throwing the bowl around with great gusto, in between throwing her whole body at the kitchen work cupboard doors, and I mean throwing herself too, it was very enthusiastic! I just stopped myself laughing, just, though I laughed inside! Wow I thought this has gone far enough now, this behaviour could become completely ridiculous and very embarrassing for a dog trainer, in fact it is already!! I turned my back and looked out of the window then made myself busy doing jobs, after about 20 minutes, yes 20 whole minutes, Betty gave up that game and laid down, I fed her! The next few meal times I saw similar attempts, though her efforts started to dwindle until today I noticed her sitting in the kitchen near feed time, just watching me:) she was waiting for her food and she had twigged that sitting or lying got the right result!ย  Now I just have to stick to my side of the bargain:) and only feed her when she is giving me this sort of behaviour!

One or two of you have mentioned the mistakes you have made with your puppies, well I have to tell you I haven’t been so aware with my other puppies as I am with Betty, the process of learning is ongoing, Betty is teaching me so much! Each dog I have lived with has taught me more, pushing me to a new level each time.

How clever is she, how clever are all our dogs? They all do the same sort of thing, just start noticing your dogs attempts to train you:), becoming aware of how they train you or how you inadvertently train them!

I am waiting to hear! ๐Ÿ™‚

Betty waits for her turn with the yoghurt pot!

I do like yoghurt ๐Ÿ™‚ not that I have one every day, over the years I have always given my older dog the pot when I am done, to lick out. First it was Truly and Teddy would wait for second pickings, when Truly died Teddy got the pot first and when Pie came along he got it second. Now it is Pie’s turn!

Betty has her turn with the pot!

Now that Pie has taught Betty not to jump on him, it seemed a good time to try out the yoghurt pot with Betty, I don’t give my young dogs food when I am eating generally, but I think this is a great way of emphasing the pecking order to Betty, and I love to see if she has accepted the order of life. As you can see in the photo, Betty pretends not to be interested in what Pie is doing, yet lies close enough to know, and the second he walks away from the pot she has it!

For first time dog owners the world can seem a dangerous place for their precious puppies! But I have to tell you puppies have remarkable constitutions, this is a born scavenger and nature equipped them with a stomach that can withstand most natural materials and decomposed matter!

If you allow your human squeamishness to interrupt your puppy eating rubbish every time, and this will be frequent while the puppy is young, you will be giving out this message: I want what you have, it is something I am interested in and I am competing with you to have “it” first! Young dogs learn from older dogs in the pack what is valuable in this world, if the other dogs are interested then it must be good! You or the humans in the puppy’s life play this part in a human home.

If you don’t want your puppy to keep showing interest in stuff then you must not either! If you are too disgusted use some tasty food to distract your puppy from the thing, do not let your puppy see you remove “it” or you will be back to encouraging again. By using something tasty to distract you will be actively demonstrating that there is something better to eat as well as demonstrating your lack of interest which over time will teach your puppy not to go for inappropriate things to eat.

Stones are one of the commonest problem that I come across especially in new dog owners, though some more experienced owners do make the same mistake. The reality is that puppies will pass small stones easily, and they are bound to consume a few in discovering that stones are not food, by distracting the puppy over and over with a tasty tit bit you will soon persuade them to leave stones alone! If not this problem can soon escalate to eating larger and larger stones that could block the bowel and endanger your pets life or incur large vet bills.

The other downside of not addressing this issue is that the puppy can become possessive over something as simple as tissue if you constantly remove them from her.

here is a list of stuff that puppies can and should be allowed to explore that are harmless and will if ignored soon be forgotten:

  • Tissue, including kitchen roll, toilet paper
  • Paper in any form
  • Cardboard
  • Wood pieces (do not throw or play with sticks)
  • Tea towels (leave old ones lying around until they get bored or old bits of cloth)
  • Ash, bits of coal
  • animal excrement!

Dogs will take food that is left out, if I leave my kitchen with food on the side I don’t expect it to be there when I return! It is the nature of the dog to scavenge, and fighting this natural behaviour will just give you a headache and spoil your relationship with your dog.

If your dog is already possessive about any or all of these items please contact me, this is curable!

What to look for if you think your puppy has eaten something dangerous

  • Lethargy
  • Sickness
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

call your Vet immediately!

Let the training begin! Here is the first step of preventing or curing food possession in any dog, any age!

Follow the steps on the clip and repeat every day forย  2 weeks, if your dog is already food possessive you may need to continue for a month, it will work, if you have any questions or comments please post them?

Dry food is ideal for this process, wet food can be used, but if you have a food possessive dog please consider changing to a good quality dry food. Contact me if you want more guidance.

Please show tell all the dog owners you know about this simple method of preventing food possession, it will save lives and injury to people!

More information coming on upcoming posts, watch this space!

Watch this if you would like to improve your relationship with your dog! Learn to speak dog!