I had an idea….

A while back I had an idea about a piece of dog training equipment.  Turns out it must have been a good idea because a company is now manfacturing it.  LOL  guess the jokes on me for not thinking I could actually come up with something good enough to produce.

While I am taking care of the dogs during the day I think of a lot of things.  Sometimes I daydream about winning the lottery and starting a rescue or building a brand new facility.  And apparently sometimes I come up with some good ideas.  Mostly about dogs and dog training.  It’s amazing what you can think up while picking up dog poo 🙂

Moral of the story is if you have an idea and a dream, go chase it!!!

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Invisible fence among other types

Occasionally I have clients ask me about invisible fencing for their dogs.  Usually this comes up when we are talking about training and the off leash recall.  You may need an off leash recall even though you have a fenced in yard, whether you have an invisible fence or a physical fence of some sort.  You can train a dog to do a recall in your yard if they like playing the “catch me if you can” game when it’s time to come inside.  The issue comes up with invisible fences because people think if they have one then the collar for the recall will interfere with the fence.  I have never had this happen.  More than likely if they are trained and they get to close to the fence, they may just come running back to you.

Even having clients with invisible fencing I am still not a big fan of them.  I feel that it gives people a false sense of security with their dogs.  I have told quite a few people that an invisible fence is just not the same as a physical one.  The truth of the matter is that your dog could leave your yard.  They can chase a squirrel, or go after another dog that they see outside the yard.  And then once they leave the yard, they cannot come back in without getting shocked again.  So then that makes them stay out of the yard!

The other factor that people don’t think about with an invisible fence is that another dog can come into your yard and get into a fight with your dog if you are not outside with them.  I never recommend leaving a dog outside unattended, no matter what type of fence you have.  You just never know what could happen when you are not looking or paying attention.

I once had a client with a Rottweiler that was starting to become aggressive towards young men.  The client did not know why this behavior was happening suddenly.  She actually set up a camera in her yard to see what was happening during the day while she was gone.  She had an invisible fence and the dog had always done great with it and never left the yard.  When she watched the footage from the camera this is what she saw.  The boys that lived next door were coming up to the fence line and teasing the dog.  Throwing rocks and sticks at it and sometimes crossing the line and running back getting the dog to chase them.  The client ended up putting up a privacy fence between the yards.  Having the invisible fence made her feel like her dog was safe while she was gone.  Even now with the privacy fence she no longer leaves her Rottweiler outside when she leaves.

With an invisible fence your dog is limited to your yard or just one certain area.  With an off leash recall you can take your dog off your property and still have a reliable come command if needed.  🙂

Group Class

At Aim High K9 we now offer group classes for our clients.  Teaching group classes is a very different dynamic.  We have small classes of 4-5 dogs per class. Within the group you have an assortment of dogs with varying degrees of training.  In our Basic obedience class we have one dog that has been through a class before and knows commands but only performs them when she wants to.  We also have a young dog ( under 1 year ) who has gotten a good foundation started by her owner.  She is a very large dog and her owner wants to have very good control over her as she gets older.  In addition we  have an older dog who is good with his male owner but does not listen as well to his female owner.  So the female is going through the class so she can handle him too.  And then there is the over exuberant dog who just wants to run up and play with everyone.  She happens to be an American Bulldog and unfortunately is very strong and quite a handfull.  Other people don’t always interpret her joy as being playful.

In a group class you can get a lot accomplished in a short hour session.  Some dogs will excel and do everything right then and there.  And some are not so comfortable in the class and can only do a little bit .  Our over exuberant dog was too worked up during class. The owners had trouble with her, she wouldn’t take any food, and she just wanted to investigate the other dogs.   We ended up having them watch the other dogs work and then after class we did some one on one work with her.  When they get home though we have given the owners the methods to use in training so they can work with them at home during the week.

In our first class this week we went over how to teach the commands sit, down and place.  By the end of the 4 weeks the goal is to have the dogs performing all of the commands around distractions.  We will also teach heeling, off and come during the course of the class.  We try and have fun in the class and get a lot of information across to the clients.  Having a good dynamic is important.  I actually told one person that if you don’t feel ridiculous then you are not doing it right.

For some people attending a class is a fun way to spend some time with their dogs and their friends.  Our second class of the day is a group of friends and their dogs.  They all know each other and we have a lot of fun during the class joking around and still teaching the dogs new things.  The dogs in the second class are a little more advanced and know commands already.  This allows us to move through the commands faster, and start adding distractions.  The goals for everyone are still the same no matter what class they are in.  To be able to communicate with their dogs and have fun with them.

As our classes progress I will give updates on how it is going.  Any problems that pop up or issues that the dogs have within the class will be discussed openly.

Traveling with your dog: Rest area Etiquette

I have posted this article that I wrote before on my facebook page.  Thought it would be a good blog post too.  Enjoy!!

I travel quite a bit and usually have one or more dogs with me.  On long trips we stop every couple of hours at rest areas for breaks.  This is not an article about finding dog friendly hotels or resorts, this is about how to act at a rest area with your dog.  Making the stop overall easy for you and your dog.

First make sure when you are traveling stick to your dogs normal feeding schedule as closely as possible.  This way you will not upset their routine and potty breaks can be predicted fairly easily.

When you get to the rest area park near the appointed doggy break area.  If there is not one that is labeled then at least park at the end of the rest area, away from other cars.  When you are going to get out of the car, most likely your dog is excited and wants to get out fast.  It’s a good idea to put the leash on your dog while still in the car.  Also make sure your collar is tight enough that they cannot slip out of it.  I have seen people at the back door of their car trying to keep their dog from bolting out and running while they frantically try and put the leash on.  Put the leash on in the car and if you have someone traveling with you have them hold it while you get out of the car and go to the back door to get the dog out.  When you do get your dog out of the car keep them on leash.  Flexi leashes are great for rest areas.  Your dog can get up to 30 feet away from you but you still have them under control.  Even if your dog has great obedience and will always come when called when you are in a public place you should keep the leash on for safety.  If you see a dog running loose at the rest area it is best not to get your dog out of the car untill the other dog is safely back with its owner.  If you can help catch the dog, just make sure the owner knows you are helping.

When walking your dog in the rest area keep them away from other dogs.  Your dog may be friendly but others may not be. Some people think all dogs are social with other dogs.  Don’t be afraid to say to someone to please stay away from your dog.  This is for the safety of you and the other person and dog.  Having another dog run up to you and your dog can be scary and stressful to your dog.  Even if you have a friendly social dog some people are afraid of dogs and will get scared even when a small dog runs up to them.

Carry clean up bags with you and make sure you use them.   Some rest areas will provide them for you. Try to walk your dog away from picnic areas where people may be eating.  Keep an eye out for sharp objects or broken glass when you are walking your dog.  Never tie your dog out at a rest area while you go to use the restroom.  They can get loose and run into traffic or even possibly bite some other traveler.  Or someone could decide they have been abandoned and take them thinking they are rescuing them.

Unless your dog is a service dog do not bring them into the buildings at the rest area.  Again this is for safety and health reasons.

When you plan on traveling with your dog make sure they are current on all their shots and have tags on them.  Rest areas can be full of germs that your dog can pick up just walking around sniffing.  Do not let your dog eat anything that they find at the rest area.

Try to make the rest area an easy stop for you when you get back to the car carry some treats to give your dog. This way getting back in the car is fun for your dog.