Oh Baby! – Welcoming a New Human to the Pack

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Oh Baby! I can speak from personal experience that life as an only child is pretty fantastic. Undivided attention from your parents, the occasional dessert for dinner, perhaps a few less rules, and no one ruining your favorite concert shirt…what’s not to love?! Then the unthinkable happens when, without your consent, a new pack member is added and everything changes.

There are a few steps you can take to ease your dog’s transition from only child to big sister. Think about what is going to change for her, besides a tiny 8 lb human alarm clock going off at 2 am. Will she still sleep in bed with you, stay in your room, or will her sleeping area change completely? How much attention is going to shift away from her? Will she still get her daily walk in the woods or dog park time?

To assist your dog in preparing for the big arrival, use her keen sense of smell to your advantage. Decide upon some products you will be using for the baby, such as soap or shampoo, and begin using them before the baby’s arrival. This lets your dog become familiar with the scent, helping her recognize the baby as part of her pack.

Chances are the newest addition will be sleeping in your room. If you are planning to move your dog out of your bed or out of the room entirely, start that transition well before the baby arrives. Make sure the new area is comfortable as possible. Include a blanket or piece of clothing you have slept with, so she still has your scent as she drifts off to dreamland.

When in the hospital after delivery, wear a t-shirt or hoodie while holding the baby, then bring it home so your dog can start getting to know the baby’s scent before his actual appearance.

Remember love is like sunshine, sharing it doesn’t mean you get less. Although you may be inclined to shower your dog with as much attention and play time as possible, “making up” for what she will be missing after the baby’s arrival, you actually want to do the opposite. Slowly decrease the amount of playtime beginning about a month before the baby’s anticipated arrival. This way she doesn’t have to go “cold turkey” when her little brother shows up.

With a few minor preparations, your dog will easily adjust to her new role as big sister. In fact she may enjoy it even more than being an only child, just like I did…well I mostly did.

—Kim P.
Canine behavior coach, behavior advisor, training counselor.

Game On – Building A Strong Relationship with Your Dog

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Game on – You can’t play Jenga with your dog. But you can teach him to fetch the pieces when they fall. Building a relationship with your dog can be more challenging, but also far more rewarding (and less precarious) than a game of Jenga.

Regardless of the species involved, trust is the base of any good relationship. For your dog, nothing builds trust like consistency. It can be very confusing for him if sometimes he’s allowed to jump on you — such as when you are doing yard work — and sometimes he’s not — such as when you are dressed for a wedding. Although smart creatures, dogs have no discernable fashion sense so they don’t realize you are wearing your “good clothes”.

Positive reinforcement training helps strengthen the bond between the two of you because you are stimulating his mind while spending time with him. Training helps him trust you because he learns what behaviors are consistently expected. Well-trained dogs are also allowed more freedom and time with their pack. If you know he won’t jump on Aunt Martha, knock over your 3 year old like she’s a bowling pin, or steal the turkey off the Thanksgiving table, you are more likely to allow him to be out when company visits.

Exercising both his body and his brain aid in deepening your relationship. A tired dog is a happy dog! Time spent walking together, not only allows him to experience new smells, and see new things, but also burns off some energy. Playing hide and seek, fetch, or doing puppy push-ups (sit, down, sit, repeat), incorporate physical and mental exercise by reinforcing commands (sit, stay, etc) during fun activities. This kind of training tends to be more productive because we think it’s more fun and transmit that positive energy to them.

Research shows physical touch increase the bond not just between people, but between animals too. Giving your dog a scratch behind the ears or a good belly rub throughout the day reinforces he’s an important part of the pack. Snuggling in together and binge watching an entire season of “The Dog Whisperer” isn’t being lazy, it’s relationship building!

Through stacking the blocks of training, exercise, and attention, you and your dog can build an awesome relationship, but he still won’t be a good Jenga player.

Kim P.
Canine behavior coach, behavior advisor, training counselor.

When I was eight, I threw treats so my Alaskan Malamute would pull my sled like the Iditarod dogs I saw on TV. Unknowingly, I also was throwing myself into an awesome lifetime adventure of helping people and animals improve their relationships. I’ve worked with businesses, individuals, and local rescue organizations, teaching private lessons, group classes and seminars, as well as private behavior consultations.

Currently I am lucky enough to share my life with Fia, aka The Chalupa, a fabulous rescued mixed breed.

Is your dog a bad dog intentionally?

Article written by: Elly Price, Right on Track K9 Training

Dogs are not bad, well at least not from their prospective. Dogs are opportunists and they will do whatever works for them at the time and that is self-rewarding. This then becomes a learned behavior. So every time they steal food from the counter-top, they reward themselves and they’ll just keep doing it! When a dog barks and you shout out “STOP IT”, your K9 thinks that you are merely chiming along with them… so in turn they will just keep going or get worst because they think STOP IT! Means keep going.

The great thing about our dogs is they can be taught very quickly. Corrections are very easily achieved. Presented with the right techniques along with positive reinforcement, they will actually love to learn. It becomes a game for them. Training your dog for a half hour a day, in 5-minute increments, can have a huge impact on you and your dog’s relationship—it will create a closer bond between you and your dog, as well as, a harmonious family life. The key is to stay consistent. (Never scold or physically punish your dog for getting it wrong).

Elly Price is the Owner/Operator of Right on Track K9 Training, LLC. Elly began her career as a K9 handler by training, then certifying in Human Remains Recovery, Trailing, and K9 Obedience.

Learn more about Elly and Right on Track K9 Training at: http://www.rightontrackk9training.com/

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The “Back Yard Dog”

“Back Yard Dog” – Article written by: Elly Price, Right on Track K9 Training

Most people don’t realize that leaving a dog alone or unattended in a yard for long periods of time or sometimes even short periods can lead to unwanted behavioral problems.

Over the last several years, during training, a common question people will ask me is, “why doesn’t my dog pay attention to me when I give him a command?” Usually through our conversation I will learn that their dog’s daily routine includes being left alone in their yard for long periods of time.

Dogs are naturally pack animals that would normally have a place within their pack, which will determine certain behaviors and give them a kind of fulfillment. A dog that is left on his own without certain needs being met by other pack members will learn to fulfill these needs on his own. So, if you find yourself wondering why your dog is constantly barking, digging, howling, charging the fence, or displaying other unwanted behaviors, it is most likely something trainers call, “self rewarding” behavior. Basically, they are trying to find ways to deal with pent up energy or stress anxiety.

RightOnTrackK9TrainingAgain, dogs are pack animals that have a need to feel they belong to a group, which in the absence of other dogs becomes their human owner. Dogs need to have their human owner’s companionship and humans need to provide their dog with structure. Without this relationship a dog will learn to become independent. They can also become anxious and stressed, which in turn can lead to their becoming aggressive and less responsive to your commands.

A “back yard dog” is sometimes difficult to train because the bond that is created when a human interacts with their dog is missing. Outside of spending down time with your dog you need to interact with your dog through playtime, like a game of “fetch”, or taking daily walks together. This interaction will make your dog feel he has a place within your pack and will cause him to be more responsive to your commands.

Of course there are other factors that play a part in good leadership, but that is a topic for another day.

To learn more about dog obedience training please visit the experts at: http://www.rightontrackk9training.com/