June 4-11 is heat stroke awareness week! And with temperatures on the rise this week you cant miss this tip of the week!
This weeks focus is not only on how to treat a dog with heat stroke but more importantly how to prevent it and raise awareness to our community!
So how can you help the dogs in Revelstoke???
1. Download and print the 'Its too warm!' poster to display on your car :
2. Visit the DOGSAFE website to find out more about the Dogsafe's Heatstroke Awareness & Responder Network and download the dog in a hot car resposnder checklist:
3. What should you do if you see a dog in a hot car in Revelstoke? Asses the heat stroke risk, do not force open the car window, attempt to locate the owner by door knocking or asking in near by stores, alert animal control on (250) 837 4747 and if the dog appears to be in need of emergency treatment and showing signs of heat stroke call the local non emergency police on :(250) 837-5255
For more detailed information click here: http://www.dogsafe.ca/heatstroke-awareness.html
also watch a you tube video here:
4. Keep your dog safe by preventing heat stroke:
- never leave your dog in a car above 20 degrees even with the windows down a little it can get too hot, anything above 15 is reason to be cautious
- don't leave your dog in the back of a pick up truck, its like a baking tray when in direct sunlight, - don't leave your dog outside without shade and ample fresh water,
- walk in cooler parts of the day if possible, if not then walk close to cool water and encourage your dog to take a dip or at least drink, carry a doggy water bowl and bottle or a spray misting bottle.
- don't over exert your dog on hot days, avoid walks more then an hour at a time, do not cycle with your dog, especially on hot pavement, your doing more harm then good.
5. Keep emergency first aid equipment in your car such as a digital thermometer, a supply of water, cold packs and towels, you might save your own dogs life or some one else's
6. Get educated! Know the law in your local town in relation to dogs in hot cars and what our local authorities can and cant do.
7. Learn how to deal with a dog who has heat stroke, the wrong action such as immersing your dog in very cold water can send them into shock and make the situation worse.
The right way to treat heat stroke:
With the sunshine and warm weather comes new threats and dangers to our best friends. So lets discuss ways to minimize risk and keep our pets safe!
- Bears, cougars, wolves, coyotes, moose and more are soon to be roaming and hungry, keep your dog safe by working on your recall daily, keeping your dog close on trails or using a long line if you are still working on recall and training with your dog
- In temperatures above 15 degrees it is unsafe to leave your dog in the car for even 5 minutes, so leave your dog at home! We will focus more on this topic in an upcoming weeks tip.
- Walk your dog in the cooler parts of the day to avoid dehydration and heat stroke. If you must walk at other times of the day, make sure you have a supply of fresh water by either bringing a doggy bottle and bowl or by walking near running water
Dog fights are not only common in the dog world, they are also very normal. Most of us will rarely ever see a real dog fight, what we usually come across is a ruff and tumble with at worst a few scratches which is no reason to go playing the blame game to the other owners or saying their dog is dangerous, this is a fact of owning a dog and allowing it to walk or play off leash.
Sadly most dog fights are made worse through human intervention and dealing with them in the worst way by adding fuel to the fire. Dogs do NOT need to be ripped apart and held to the ground to make a point about never fighting again, that does nothing you your favour. These are the fights that end up with a vet visit that could have been avoided by taking the right actions.
For tips about how and even when to deal with a dog fight, please click on this link:
This is one of the most common problems dog owners have, why is it so hard to get a dog to stop jumping on us?
The problem starts from puppyhood, even if we are incredibly diligent to not give attention for jumping, it can be extremely difficult to control the other humans in our dogs lives and every time the dog jumps on someone he is practicing this unwanted behaviour and a lot of the time getting rewarded for it wether its intentional or not.
The other main reason is the due to the misconception of what the act of jumping actually means to a dog and why they do it. It is not a sign of domination and they are not behaving badly. Puppies jump up to lick the muzzle of their mothers as a sign of deference and appeasement to show they mean no harm, so when they greet a human the only way to get to our 'muzzles' to lick us is by jumping.
In their eyes they are doing their natural behaviour, so when we show displeasure they get confused and wonder why they are failing to communicate with us, "next time I must jump more and maybe my human will understand"
The solution is simple, prevention of the act of jumping is key! There are various ways you can teach your dog not to jump, but you cant rely on other people to follow your instructions, you must ensure your dog NEVER gets to practice jumping by doing the following:
1. When you enter the house after an absence from your dog, don't greet him as soon as you enter, put your keys down, walk past your dog and do something else for 5mins before interacting with your dog. Do not interact unless he is calm, if he is still excited after 5 minutes, wait longer. If you interact while he is over excited you are rewarding this behaviour.
2. If your dog jumps on you at any time, do not shove him off, do not knee him or get mad or even yell NO. These are all ineffective ways to teach your dog not to jump. Keep your arms close to your body or folded, turn your head to the side (this is a calming signal to dogs) and stand very still and silent. Either wait for your dog to sit or ask him to sit and then calmly praise. If this does not work you can also simply leave the room every time he jumps and stop interacting with him until he is calm, or calmly put your dog in a minute time out and repeat if necessary.
3. Work daily and diligently on your dogs sit-stay so he understands it well, not just when you need him to perform under pressure
4. This is the most important step. Until your dogs behaviour changes, Never let your dog greet another person unless the next two conditions are met: a) he is on a leash
b) he is sitting
This is the key to his behaviour change in preventing the unwanted behaviour, this means putting your dog on leash before visitors arrive and telling them to stand in the doorway and only approach if your dog remains seated, if he gets up the person backs up and waits for your dog to sit. Repeat as many times as necessary. If the distance the person is standing is still too close for the dog to be able to sit, perhaps the person needs to stand further back outside the door or the dog must stand further inside the house.
This rule applies on walks too, no one may pet your dog unless they are sitting, if they cant perform the task yet, then explain to the person sorry my dog is in training and isn't ready to greet people yet, you must be firm with people.
If your dog is off leash then you must call him back every time you spot a person and put his leash on no exceptions, if your recall isn't strong enough then this too must be worked on diligently and daily.
Now that you understand the reasons and how to prevent jumping you can change your dogs behaviour, it is your job to teach your dog the acceptable alternative, it will take time and patience but you can do it!
With the very scary weekend approaching, a halloween themed tip of the week is in order!
Halloween can be a very fun time of year but it can be very stressful for our pets unless we keep them safe.
1. First the obvious one: Keep all candy/chocolate treats out of reach of your dog and cat at all times, it is just as addictive to us as it can be to them, once they have one they will want more! Too much chocolate can kill and if you have a small dog it doesnt take much at all.
2.Yes costumes are very cute but please limit the time your dog must wear them to photo taking time and being supervised, we know dogs dont love being dressed up, some will completely shut down, and this means they are very stressed. Leaving a dog unsupervised in their costume is dangerous as they could get caught on something.
3.Give your dogs the night off! Let your dog have a stress free night by not insisting they come 'trick or treating' with you, or come to the party your going to, dogs get stressed enough with change in their routine or being in busy places, can you imagine how scary a room full of people in costumes would be to them? These kinds of events can send a dog over the edge and lead to biting someone out of fear, even if they have never bitten before.
4. Lets not forget fireworks and other loud noises can scare dogs into taking off and hiding, so if you think there will be fireworks, secure your dog in a safe room with something for them to hide under and feel safe
Owners often swear their dog knows how to stay but on many occasions wont stay, why is this so?
Just yesterday I wondered why on earth the seven dogs I was walking could sit but not stay....I thought gee, I must be a bad dog trainer, then I remembered they are not my dogs and stopped worrying hehehe (to all my clients dogs featured: don't worry your dogs are awesome, this environment was simply too distracting for them)
On a serious note! Don't worry, your dog isn't being disobedient, most often the reason is that the dogs sit-stay training is incomplete.
There are 3 parts to sit-stays and owners tend to get 1 part or 2 of those parts right and miss the 3rd.
1. Duration: the first step of a sit-stay should involve you and your dog remaining still and start at only 1 second and slowly build up.
2. Distance: once your dog understands the concept of remaining still for 10 seconds, then you might think about taking a tiny step away from them, BUT you don't straight away expect they can hold still for 10 seconds, you would only step away for 1 second, then step back and reward them for this accomplishment. Now you slowly build the duration once again while only taking 1 step away. Then you can slowly increase the steps.
3. Distractions: once your dog understands that he must sit and stay in a quiet low distraction boring environment you can then add very small distractions or change the environment but you must once again lower the standards for distance and duration.
Sit-stays are not that hard to teach but you must follow the rules, stick to your dogs pace and make each step easily achievable.
Lastly if you want your dog to sit and stay in many locations you must practice in many locations, you can not simply expect them to go from a 10 second sit-stay in your back yard to a 10 second sit stay off leash on your walks.
Good luck and happy training!
Do you find your self chasing after your dog at the end of walks, or when its time to go inside or to say good bye to friends?
He probably finds this really fun, how about we teach him to chase us instead?
Treat this as you would a training exercise but a fun one!
1. Put your dog on leash, arm your self with his favourite treats or toy
2. Take a few quick steps away from him, as he catches up, reward him rapidly and make a big deal about it, repeat a few times at clsoe range
3. Put your dog on a long line, repeat.
4. Vary the exercise by turning suddenly and running away from your dog
5. Once your dog knows the drill, start to add a cue such as lets go or this way!
Keep these sessions short, fun and very rewarding. When your dog knows the game, try it out with distractions on a long line before being off leash.
Food puzzle toys are a must for every dog, if you don't own any you should seriously consider getting one today!
Some people don't see what all the hype is about, read on and you shall find out.
Seeing the joy on my dogs face as she eats her dinners or even a lucky afternoon treat time is worth it alone, but there are many more reasons!
1. Most importantly they provide mental stimulation from any age of 8 weeks old to seniors. Mental stimulation is like exercise for the brain, if your dog is only getting physical exercise and you wonder why he never runs out of steam....you should definitely get him a food puzzle toy!
2. A lot of dogs gobble up there food so fast you think they for sure have a stomach ache, perhaps they don't but wouldn't it be nice to make meal time last a half hour, so he isn't looking up at you immediately asking whats next mom? You can keep your dog busy while you need him to be and then he will likely take a nap after from all that mental exercise, how cool!
3. Puppies are difficult to keep occupied, if you own a puppy, this is a big key to keeping him busy and tiring him out, puppies aren't meant to go on lonnnng walks, its not good for their growing bones, this is a safe way to exhaust them!
4. Training! Food toys assist in all kinds of training, if your dog has a food toy he will likely not need to destroy other items lying around.
Food toys can help with crate training as a way of making crates for fun time. If your dog is busy earning his dinner, he cant be bugging you, or barking at the neighbours cat or annoying guests.
5. Your dogs will love you for it!
So don't delay, go buy one! But don't just fill it with food and leave it on the floor, here are some tips for making your dog love food toys!
- A lot of people claim their dogs don't like rubber Kongs, perhaps he prefers a treat ball, or a kong wobbler, there are so many choices, think about the actions your dog is good at, chewing or rolling or holding and pawing?
- Also its important to make it really easy for your dog to get the kibble/treats at first then make it harder, try peanut butter, wet dog food or yogurt to entice them.
- Play with your dog at first, show them how it works, maybe you have to help them every time for five meals in order for them to gain interest, don't just leave them alone, they will never enjoy it that way, you must build up to it, your efforts will pay of greatly in the long run!!!
After putting in the time and effort to train a new behaviour, frustrated owners ask, "He knows how to sit, why wont he sit? He must be being disobedient!"
Sadly some dogs are punished in this scenario, when really it is often the owner that hasn't taken the time to complete the training for that behaviour and should be punishing them selves as bad owners!
When we teach a new behaviour we start in the most boring room of the house perhaps with no windows viewing the outside world and no fun toys lying around, when the dog knows the behaviour and is responding 9/10 times with enthusiasm, we must then teach the behaviour in the next environment which may be a slightly more distracting room or adding in small distraction to the current room.
Dogs learn under certain contexts, they don't necessarily understand that sit means sit everywhere, but rather sit means sit in the room that I learnt it.
In short in each new environment that we progress a skill we must go back to the teaching stage of it to ensure success, once the dog is obeying the command several times we can then make it slightly harder eg:
- When teaching the sit for the first time we might use a lure to show the dog what the sit position is, you will then progress to just a hand movement, when you take the behaviour outside for the first time, go back and use the lure for the first few repetitions or as many needed to ensure the dog understands that yes he must too 'sit' outside not just inside where he first learnt the command.
Marika Koncek - Certified Master Trainer