Doggy Friends :)

You will hardly ever hear me say this but sometimes dogs are like people.  Now what I mean by this is there are some dogs that are very social and love to be around other dogs.  And there are some dogs that just want to be left alone to do their own thing.  Just like people, you have introverts and extroverts.  Running a kennel I have seen both ends of the spectrum, from the daycard dog that will play with anyone, to the boarding dog who wants to fight with everyone.  Now there are people who think that all dogs should be social.  I get calls from potential clients who say that they want their dog to have friends.  Now sometimes this is possible, sometimes it is not.  If you have raised your dog from a puppy and have never socialized it and now it is aggressive towards other dogs then you may have an uphill battle before you.  But if you have just gotten a dog and want to start it out on the right foot by getting it around other dogs then your road may be a bit easier.  Sometimes though no matter how hard you try and do the right things, your dog may just prefer to be alone.

Having 15+ rescue dogs here at Aim High K9 has given me the opportunity to try quite a few introductions with the dogs.  Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t believe they all need to run free and play together.  There are some dogs that I would be extremely wary of trying to introduce to another dog.  Me personally I will usually try and pair up a male and female.  For me that is just easier to see working out.  I have successfully introduced a couple of pairs of dogs.  Yes I enjoy seeing them run in the yard and play chase with each other.  But I also have an ulterior motive.  I run a business, and if I can let a few dogs out together to play it makes things easier for me.

Here is an example of one intro that went well in the beginning.  There was a male that is young and playful and a female that loves running and chasing.  I thought they might be a good match to play together.  First I kennel them next to each other.  This just gives me an idea of how things might go.  If they sniff and get excited and maybe throw a play bow to each other thru the kennel then I will put leashes on both and go forward with the intro.  Ideally having 2 people is best, that way if the dogs don’t get along they you have a better chance of seperating them safely.  If I am by myself I will tie out one dog and then bring the other up to it on leash.  This goes pretty fast, again withing the first 30 seconds or so I will have a good idea of if this will work.  If they are showing good behaviors then I will let them loose in the yard with both just dragging the leashes around.   I went through all of this with these 2 dogs and everything went great.  They had a few sessions in the yard together off leash and the female would run and try and get the male to chase.  The male was pretty neutral but every now and then would give a little chase.  Then on about the 3 day of being out in the yard together the male found a toy.  Well turns out he is extremely posessive of things.  The female came over to see what he was doing and he dropped the toy and started fighting w/ her.  She was obviously like WTF???  She defended herself for about 10 seconds and then decided to hightail it out of there.  Well the male chased her across the whole yard (it’s a big yard) and was still biting at her little behind.  Luckily I got her into a kennel cause she just wanted to get away from him and she was not to bent out of shape.  So the intro was good to start and then turned bad.  The male I will not try and pair up again.  I am not willing to push the issue and make him be social, because I don’t know what he may decide is something to fight over.  I can keep the yard free of toys, but then he may decide a stick is valuable.   I will not take that risk.  The female on the other hand has been paired up with another male and is doing great with him 🙂

So I live and learn, some dogs I think are just not going to get along and be safe with other dogs.  But it is rewarding and nice when you do find a good match up.  And when people call and tell me they want their dog to be social I always take it with a grain of salt and tell them I can try but there are no guarantees of the outcome.

Christmas Puppy

The Holidays are fast approaching.  Every year you start to see people advertising “Christmas Puppies”.  People see a cute little face and think “would’nt so and so just love a puppy?”  There are some things you need  to consider before getting a puppy though either for yourself or as a gift for someone else.      First off do you or the person you’re thinking of getting puppy for really want a puppy?  Are you ready for it?  Have you been thinking or planning on getting one?  Or is this a spur of the moment thing?  Getting a puppy for someone else is a nice thought and always works out on tv or in the movies, but in real life it may not work out so well and the puppy could end up in a shelter.  Make sure you or the person you plan on giving the puppy to are ready and prepared for a dog.

First things first.  All puppies are cute, adorable beyond belief in fact.  But they all grow into dogs eventually.  So you want to consider what breed you are getting.  Will it be a small, medium, or large dog when fully grown?  If getting a large breed puppy do you have the house and yard space for it?  What about activity level?  Certain breeds were made to lead very active lives.  You would not want to get a Jack Russel for someone who lives a quiet life!  There is also grooming to think about.  Will the dog need regular grooming or haircuts?  Or health issues, some breeds are notorious for bad health problems.  Are you going to get a puppy from the pound or rescue group?  Or would you find a breeder to get your puppy?

When getting a puppy around the holidays it is important to consider how much time you will have to spend with the pup.  There is traveling and parties and  all that can hinder any bonding with your new puppy and set you back on housetraining.  The weather is freezing cold and standing outside while the puppy goes “potty” is not that fun!   Especially if the puppy is to be the responsibility of a child.  They may take care of the puppy for a while, but then its back to school and the puppy is left to someone else to take care of.

Puppies are not cheap either.  You may get a “free” puppy but you will still need to think of all the expenses involved in raising the puppy.  You will need a crate, food, leash, collar, license, shots, toys, training, and eventually a spay or neuter.  If you get a female will you spay before she comes into heat?  You don’t want to risk a litter of puppies yourself do you? Getting a female fixed is more expensive than a male.  With males getting them neutered is important to help curb marking behavior.

Taking all of this into consideration please think twice before falling for that cute face in the window.  Get a puppy after careful planning when you and your family are ready.

Going to the park

Today I am going to the park!!  I am going to take 2 dogs that are at Aim High K9 to the park and practice their off leash recalls with some distractions.  For me this is one of the best parts of dog training.  Going from a dog coming in for training and having to chase them around the yard just to get them back in their kennel, to taking them to the park and having them off leash.  These dogs happen to be Huskies, and generally that is a very stubborn breed.  They like to run.  Really, really like to run.

They started out very well with their training.  The owners thought the male would be the harder one to train.  As we progressed in the training it turned out the female was more stubborn and quite bossy 🙂  We worked in the yard and did lots of motivational recalls for food.  When I train dog on a recall I do use an e-collar so I can deal with any competing motivations that may come up.

On our first trip to the park I took just the male and we walked all along the trails and by the end of the walk he was off leash having a great time.  Next was the female, and she did great too.  She has a tendency to stay closer by me whereas the male will go sniffing around a lot.  Now we were ready for the big test, taking them out together.  When I work with dogs from the same family I usually train them individually at first and then bring them together to proof the training.  Taking more than one dog to the park is always a little nerve racking.  If one decides to take off will the other follow??  Is there more of a “pack” mentality?   Well let me tell you they both did awesome!!  We even flushed out a duck by a pond while walking.  The male wanted to chase but with one command he was right back by my side.  Very nice.  I get a thrill out of being able to have dogs with me under great control.

Why am I telling you this??  Well for me dog training is very intrinsic, I get more out of seeing the finished product than anything else.  I love being able to tell a client that they can take their dog to the park, on vacation, the beach, mountains or wherever and that they can let them run and play off leash.  It is super rewarding in and of itself.  Sure there are bumps and hurdles along the way, but in the end I love seeing a dog running and having fun, that’s what it is all about.

I was gonna write a book…

Well I don’t think I have enough to write for an entire book so maybe a blog is the way to go.

Most of my blogs will be about working with dogs, cause that’s what I do.  I have worked with dogs for the last 15+ years, so I have accumulated a few stories and some useful information.  On a recent trip with my boyfriend he made the comment that we are never without at least one dog, this is true, I always have one or more with me.  The trip we were on there was a 12 hour time frame when we did not have dogs with us.  It was weird.

I board dogs at my kennel, I also train them.  I can’t or won’t say which is better or what I like more.  They both have pros and cons.

I will say this, I talk about poop a lot.  Just so you know.

My personal dogs are:  Poseidon- lab/pitt mix about 4 years old

Kasey- GSD about 4 years old

Funez- Malinois/GSD about 5 years old

Eddie-mutt older than dirt

Scruffy- JRT  about 3 years old

I will probably mention these guys and girls a lot.