Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Therapeutic oils to the rescue!

Sometimes it can be very frustrating when you are trying to help your dog calm down and you can't even get one click in, that is where Therapeutic oils come in.  I use the DoTerra oils, which are the highest and purest degree of oils, to help your dog calm down to the point where you can start working with them. You never want to push your dog too fast or put him in a situation where he is in over his head.  If, however, you are just in your yard or would like to go on a small walk, and your dog is still struggling, this can be your make or break. This link will take you to my store,where you can shop yourself, or get an idea of what I offer.
(the best place,that I have found, to rub the oils on your dog are the ears or paws)

 Not only can the oils be applied to your dog, but if you are stressed or need a little help staying calm as well (you dog does pick up on your stress so it would do you good to look into some for yourself) feel free to try a bottle of some on you.  All the oils come with a 100% money back guarantee and are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade quality.  I have seen it make remarkable difference in my life, as well as my pets.  I use the "Serenity" blend fo my animals (diluted in coconut oil) and the On Guard, Balance  & Aroma Touch for me and my family.  I am all for modern medicine, it has saved my life many times, but if I can use these oils first and prevent having to take medicine (which I hate having to do) then I like to try it first.  I have not needed any headache medicine since I have started using the DoTerra Peppermint oils, it has taken away all of my headaches that I have had within 15 minutes or less.  I started getting a cold and took the On Guard blend, my runny eye cleared up and my nose was no longer stuffy, plus I had what felt like a shot of energy that I hadn't felt in 3 days, all within about 30-60 minutes.  My kids have all started sleeping the whole night through again (they had all been waking up 2-3 times a night), and I can feel the immediate calm settle over me after taking the Serenity or Aroma Touch.  I could go on for quite a while, believe me, the only thing that has got me more excited than this really is the clicker and the positive reinforcement work that I have been doing with the dogs.  So take a look at what they have, give one a try on yourself, or ask me how to use it on your dog  and watch the magic unfold! Remember it is all 100% guaranteed, so you are safe giving it a try.

Here is a chart on dog reflexology for those who might be interested in it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Potty training with a doorbell

Here we have taught Ruby to push a doorbell, that has been placed on the floor, to let her family know she needs to go potty outside. We started last week with the button on the door and she had a hard time hitting the button, the button was then moved to the floor and a piece of flannel added to help her hit her mark, and wala! Yesterday (6 days after starting) she hit the button and went outside to potty. First we clicked her for touching the button, next we clicked her for making it ring, then she was clicked when the bell rang (after she pushed it) and was treated outside. The next step was to have her ring the bell every time the went to go potty outside, there she was clicked and treated for pushing the button, then again for going potty outside.
(the background noise is just one of the kids playing with something, not a clicker, it didn't sound as much like a clicker, while filming, as it does in in the clip)

Ruby Learning "Leave it"

Ruby is a spunky, smart little Yorkie that I have been training. We are on week 5 today, "Leave it" This is on average what happens when you set out to teach your dog to ignore something. I like to use a high value treat when teaching this on because they want it much more than their other treats, so when you get them to ignore a high value treat, other things are a bit easier. This video picks up about 10- 15 minutes into the training, so you see me make a few mistakes (everyone does ever now and then so don't feel bad when you do) by letting her get a lick off the spoon without me clicking her before (they should not be able to get a taste of whatever you use (I like to use a can of Max wet dog food) until they have demonstrated that they can ignore it for a second, then get clicked for it, then they can have a lick of the yummy treat that is on the spoon. A few reasons why I like using the Nutro Max wet dog food here, 1. I can't remember any dog who has turned their nose up at it, in fact most dogs will easily ignore any other treat I have used if this can of dog food is also available, 2. the dogs can smell it very easily (and love the smell), 3. it is easy to use a tiny bit (like I do for Ruby) or a whole spoonful, and 4. it is nutritionally balanced and good for your dog. You can use little bits of cheese or hot dogs, or a cooked piece of chicken. but I have found that the Max wet dog food to be the best balance overall (and I have had dogs turn their noses up at the use of hot dogs). This is just the first step, after you have taught your dog to ignore some really yummy food in front of it's nose, move on to placing some on the ground and walk you dog close enough to smell it and try to get it, but far enough away that no matter how hard your dog tries, they won't be able to accidently get some (and reinforce the bad behavior). Start to use this command whenever you need or want your dog to ignore something, another dog, a cat across the street, your plate of food on your coffee table (but beware some dogs will still try to get food left on the table if you are out of the room, as that behavior is self rewarding).

Friday, November 30, 2012

All Dogs Are Individuals

I wish I could tattoo this article on my forehead so that I could get this message out more quickly.  I have seen so many dogs who defy their "breed traits".  My first dog was a husky (and thought I don't recommend this breed as a first time breed for everyone) for me he was an excellent dog who was very social, got along great with my cats (who we got when he was 3 years old, not a puppy), and had a really good recall (95% of the time), and who I had trained as a therapy dog.

This article says all I have been trying to tell people for years! I just wish I could get law makers and those who are to full of fear to understand.

All Dogs Are Individuals

All dogs are individuals. You’ve heard us say this again and again. It is the core principle of the work we do here at Animal Farm Foundation to secure equal treatment and opportunity for “pit bull” dogs. But what does it really mean?
All dogs are individuals means: We owe it to all dogs to see them for who they really are, free of prejudice, stereotypes, and assumptions that are based on a known pedigree, a breed label guess, physical appearance, or their past history.
Every dog is an individual with a distinct set of needs and behaviors that are determined by a wide variety of factors: genetics, breeding, socialization, training, management, and environment.
The only way we can accurately determine what a dog needs are is to look at the individual dog in front us for the answers.
In other words, we can’t judge a book by its cover (even if that cover looks like other ones we’ve seen before)!
photo courtesy of melissa lipani
What’s the opposite of all dogs are individuals? It’s assuming that dogs that look alike or have the same breed label, will act alike or have the same needs.
Does “all dogs are individuals” apply to pure bred dogs? Yes. Dogs are not identical twins, even when they are the same breed.  Pure bred dogs do not share identical DNA and like all dogs, their personal experiences (training, socialization, and environment) all influence and contribute to who they are. Breed and genetics are one piece of the puzzle, not the whole thing.
In this video, Dr. Kristopher Irizarry, a geneticist, discusses the genetic basis for why dogs that look alike do not necessarily act alike.
Further, even pure bred dogs that are born of the same litter and raised in the same house can have different personalities.  They are individuals first, genetics second.
Are you saying that breed traits don’t exist? No, it simply means that every dog is an individual FIRST. In order to fairly and accurately evaluate a dog, we must look at the dog in front of us as an individual first. An individual dog may or may not conform to breed traits. Breed related traits are not guaranteed. If a dog does conform to breed traits, that does not mean a dog isn’t an individual! Breed characteristics may contribute to a dog’s individuality, but they are not the whole story.
Does “all dogs are individuals” only apply to dogs labeled “pit bulls”? No. Every dog is an individual, no matter what size, shape, age, breed or breed mix they may be.
Here are some examples:
  • A professional dog trainer assess her pure bred Akita as an individual, rather than relying only on breed standards that suggest he will be dog-dog aggressive. By looking at her dog as an individual first, breed second, she recognizes he is very dog social. She does the same for her Pug and discovers her short nosed, flat faced dog is great at scent tracking.
  • Many Greyhound rescues choose to see their dogs as individuals. It is often assumed that ex-racing Greyhounds cannot live with cats or small animals, due to their breed’s prey drive. Rather than relying on breed standards, rescues evaluate the dogs individually. By looking at them as individuals first, breed and past history second, these rescues acknowledge that dogs that look alike do not necessarily need the same things. This opens the potential adopter pool much wider by removing blanket policies (no cats, no small dogs) and replaces them with individual matchmaking.
  • Small dogs are individuals too. Just as we do not condone stereotyping “pit bull” dogs, we do not condone the stereotyping of small dogs. To be clear: it does nothing for “pit bull” dogs when we speak negatively of small dogs, such as Chihuahuas.  It undermines ALL dogs when we allow stereotypes and prejudicial thinking to be perpetuated.  Chihuahuas are individuals first, breed and size second. For example, Chihuahuas are competing (and winning) in agility trials, despite stereotypes that they are difficult to train. Watch this video of a 15 year old boy and his Chihuahua earning their agility title. And meet this senior citizen (yes, all people are individuals too) who, using a walker, competes with her pack of small dogs.
Why does this matter? In order to understand why “all dogs are individuals” is so important, we must take the near and far view.
In terms of everyday families, recognizing your dog as an individual means that you will get to know the dog in front you, rather than assuming that because they look like another dog or are labeled a certain way, they will act the same or need the same things. By looking at the dog in front of you and seeing them as an individual first (breed, past history, etc. second), you will be able to set them up for a successful family life by tailoring a training, management, and care routine to their specific needs.
In the big picture, recognizing dogs as individuals means putting an end to blanket polices that are based on stereotypes, generalizations, and false information.
For shelters and rescues this might mean that, rather than relying on a blanket policy that prohibits all Greyhounds from being placed in homes with cats or Akitas with other dogs, they will get to know Greyhounds and Akitas as individuals and then match them with appropriate homes. Some may need a feline or canine-free home, others will not. By evaluating them as individuals, it opens up the pool of potential adopters and more lives are saved.
For politicians and law makers, this means putting an end to laws passed on the flawed idea that you can determine how a dog will act based on how they look or their breed label. So, rather than instituting bans on “dangerous dog breeds”, they will instead focus on creating and enforcing responsible pet ownership laws that hold ALL owners equally accountable for their individual dogs, thereby creating truly safe communities. Dogs will be labeled “dangerous” based on their actions or behavior, not based on breed label or physical appearance.  Dogs will no longer be persecuted based on stereotypes.
Treating all dogs as individuals means that we let go of biased thinking, recognizing each dog for who they really are, not who we assume they are based on looks, labels, or past experiences. In doing so, we set all dogs free of the baggage and consequences caused by our assumptions, prejudices, and discrimination.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

All 4 on the floor!

Here is a clip on how to teach your dog not to jump on you. The reason they do this is because they are trying to greet you in a happy fashion in their own language.  When other dogs greet each other (if they know each other already) one will often times lick the lips of the other.  In their world this is polite. Well your lips are so much farther away than most dogs, so in order to get to them they have to jump! The only problem is that we don't find it as polite as they do. (one thing to notice in this clip is that even though I highly recommend teaching only one dog at a time in this clip I have multiple dogs that are offering polite behavior and I am clicking and treating each of them and they are all well mannered. ) These two, by the way are well known for jumping on me and others (which is why I was working with them)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm Thankful for....

I love this quote! In almost every class I have I make sure I stress the point of it being ok to talk to your dog in a happy voice or a use your silly tone.  You make feel silly to do so in front of others, but really when you stop and think about it, what do you really think when you see someone else talking to their dog?  Do you think to yourself  "What an idiot " Or do you see and either not think twice about it, or think "oh what a good dog owner", or "what a lucky dog." I bet you pick one of the three last ones, because no matter what anyone else tells you, deep down you know believe this.
Don't be afraid to talk to them, they really do understand, maybe not always exactly word for word what you mean, but they understand your meaning.
I am thankful for my dog who has helped teach me patience, and a lot of new tricks! I am also very thankful for my family who has allowed me the time and energy to learn the new tricks ;o)
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE, from us here at Sit Spot Click!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Dominance theory

The more I learn, read, watch, and hear from others, the more I believe that the "Dominance Theory" (is your dog trying to dominate you, or is there something else going on) holds some truth, but not enough to simply say "your dog is trying to be the dominant one in your pack, therefor teach him a lesson, make him see that you are the leader and he is the subordinate". In my gut I just don't feel that is right.  Granted I have seen plenty of dogs (and heard stories of plenty more) where it sounds like the dog thinks (and does) run the house.  But is that because you have failed to teach your dog proper responses and the rules of the house? Much like a young child, dogs need, and want rules. If you are not the one who makes up the rules to the game of life, then your dog will, simple as that.  Dogs are locked in a phase of development where they never reach the maturity level of a full grown adult wolf would.  Sort of a "Peter Pan" syndrome of the wolves.  Therefore their behavior and their mental abilities to think like the wolf (form dominance thoughts regarding you and your house) does not work in the same way that an adult wolf's thoughts would.

Yes I do believe that there are plenty of dogs who think they can do whatever they want, and some of them have been like that since they were puppies.  Just as in wolf cubs, I am sure that there are some cubs who tend to be more aggressive in nature, and others more passive.  That does not mean that ever dog you will own will be out to dominate your unless you dominate it first.  That means that, just like us, some dogs (even in the same litter) will be more playful, some more aggressive,and others very shy.  It is part of every dog's personality.  When choosing your dog I sincerely hope you take that into consideration.  Just like every child, in their own way, is going to push their boundaries,  so will every dog, whether you got him as a pup or 4-5 year old dog.  Pushing boundaries though is much different than trying to become the leader of the pack.  It is simply natures way of helping someone who doesn't know where they fit in, and what limits they do or don't have. I can not think of a single mammal who does not have it's children go through that phase, however long or short it may be.  So with that being said, I too, do not have a large degree behind me when I say all of this, all I have is my own observations on the world, but here is someone else who seems to feel the same way I do and has also written about it:

Deconstructing the Concept of Dominance

Should We Revive the Concept of Dominance in Dogs?
This post was edited on 2/20/12. (See: A Mea Culpa to Mech, an Apology to Bekoff.)
Dr. Roger Abrantes is a well-known figure in the dog training world. He holds PhDs in Evolutionary Biology and Ethology. He is the author to 17 books, written in English, German, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Italian, and Czech, and is one of the most versatile ethologists in the world.
In a December post, "Dominance: Making Sense of Nonsense," on his personal blog, Dr. Abrantes proposed that we stop denying that dominance exists in dogs and wolves, and set out to remedy the "nonsense" by a) demonstrating that dominance does exist, b) establishing that if dominance exists in wolves it also exists in dogs, c) presenting a "precise, pragmatic and verifiable definition of the term," and d) show that "even though a good relationship does not rely on continuous displays of dominance ... [this] does not imply that dominance does not exist."

Clearly Dr. Abrantes is a lot smarter than I am. He holds multiple degrees, speaks seven languages, and is a world-renowned lecturer on animal behavior. I'm just a simple dog trainer, with no academic background, and only a smidgen of high-school Spanish under my belt. ("Donde esta la bibliotec?") So when Dr. Abrantes makes a proclamation of this kind, it's important to pay attention.
To prove that dominance does exist, Dr. Abrantes says, "It is absurd to argue that dominance does not exist when we have so many words to describe whatever it relates to."
I'm not sure that's a reasonable argument. After all, there are thousands or words to describe the idea of God or some form of deity. Does that stand as a rational, scientific argument that such deities exist?
Mind you, I would agree that there is a recognizable form of social behavior, seen primarily in humans and primates, that may properly be described as dominance. It relates to the use of force, power, status or some other form of influence to control the behaviors of group members that rank lower on the social scale. Schools, governments, and the military are top-down systems. However, there are many other systemsin humans on downthat don't operate through dominance. And while we certainly see similar types of behaviors in canines and primates, the motivations for these behaviors may be quite different.
On the next point, Dr. Abrantes says that "Recent trends claim that ‘dominant behavior' does not exist in dogs... There are two ways to argue in favor of such thinking. One is to dismiss ‘dominant behavior' downright ... [the other] is to claim that wolves and dogs are completely different and that therefore, even though we can apply the term to explain wolf behavior, we cannot use it to describe dog behavior."
I would agree that if dominance can rightly be applied to wolves, it couldtheoretically be applied to dogs as well. And yet if dominance and submission are a product of pack living, and if pack formation is a function of prey size -- where, for example, coyotes sometimes form packs, but only when they need to hunt large prey -- it's possible that when we see such behaviors in dogs, who even in feral groups don't normally hunt large prey, then these behaviors may be similar to those seen in wolves yet they might not be motivated by the same adaptive pressures that affect wolf packs.
Abrantes's third point was to give a clear definition of dominance, which, in part, is that it's all about gaining or controlling access to resources, or "what an organism perceives as life necessities."
This seems eminently reasonable on first glance. Yet I have to wonder how a dog perceives anything as a "life necessity." Wouldn't such knowledge first require an understanding of what "life" is? If so, isn't Abrantes imposing humanlike thinking onto dogs?
I think a more reasonable way of seeing this would be through the properties of attraction and resistance. A thirsty dog is attracted to water, a hungry wolf is attracted to prey. A dog or wolf doesn't think of H20 or a deer as a "resource." He simply feels a pull toward those objects of attraction. Gaining access to these things would reduce his internal feelings of tension and stress. And if he encounters resistance and can't gain access, then his stress levels would probably go up.
In fact, I would suggest that the dominant and submissive behaviors seen in wolves are a product of stress. One very clear way of seeing that stressors are the ultimate cause of dominant behaviors is that the most dominant members of a baboon troop have higher levels of cortisolthe stress hormonethan their subordinates. Also, in dogs diagnosed with dominance-aggression, their symptoms often respond to anti-anxietal medications, which suggests that these aren't natural behaviors at all but may be stress-related. Finally, when I work with dogs who exhibit what some would call dominant behaviors, I find that if I play tug-of-war with these dogs, and I always let the dog win and praise him enthusiastically for winning, the dog's "dominant tendencies" usually disappear. (Full Disclosure: Simon Gadbois, from the Canid Behaviour Laboratory at Dalhousie University in Halifax has done research which he says disproves the idea that these behaviors are stress-related.)
Finally, Abrantes says that when wolves engage in dominant and submissive displays, rather than in outright aggression, they're showing a sound evolutionary strategy by not depleting energy needed for survival.
He's quite right that it uses much less energy to flash one's fangs or roll over on one's back than it does to get into a knock-down, drag-out fight with one's packmate. However, a simpler and, I think, far more parsimonious explanation would be that these displays are simply polarized reactions to feelings of pressure across the pack as a whole. Those feelings have to be released (as in hunting large prey or, for dogs, playing tug-of-war). If there's no safety valve the pressure would build until it's released in some other way. In this schema, no one is thinking about dominating anyone else, making a cost-benefit analysis, or strategizing over who has access to this or that class of resource. They're all just offloading their individual feelings of pressure.
I think dominance and submission in dogs and wolves should more simply be called direct and indirect approaches to objects of attraction. These objects of attraction would be synonymous with what Abrantes calls "life's necessities," but would also include large prey animals, where the pack works in harmony rather than sniping at one another.
The wolf style of hunting has been called the chase-and-ambush approach, where some members of the pack go directly after the prey animal while others circle around, etc. If all members of the pack had a direct approach, the hunt would probably fail. If they all had an indirect approach, same deal. These two behavioral qualities would align quite nicely with the idea that dogs experience the world through feelings of attraction and resistance rather than thinking about resources, etc.
There's another, more practical aspect to doing away with the dominance label. It's much easier for owners and trainers to think of ways to help a dog with stress-related behaviors than it is to figure out how to cure him of his "dominant" tendencies. That label sticks like a permanent scar, implying nothing can be done except to act more dominant (which rarely works, and even then, only for a limited time). But by simply calling these behaviors what they really aresymptoms of stressa whole new world of opportunities for change opens up for us.
"Natural Dog Training in New York City"

Friday, November 9, 2012

Weather Outside is Frightful

So you may hove gotten lucky and rescued a pup sometime this year, or maybe someone got one for a birthday, you have had all summer working on potty training, teaching him how to sit and heel on the leash.  Now that the weather has turned wet and cold a lot of us like to spend more of our time inside rather than outside, so what does that mean for our four legged furry friend?  Almost overnight their best friend has gone from running around and throwing balls for them outside to being curled up on the couch watching the rain or snowflakes falling down.  So your pup is now left to come up with something to do more on his own then he was before.  What does that mean to you? Trouble, with a capital T.  With the daily walks reduced and playtime outside next to nil  your pup is bored.  We've all seen the cartoons where someone is stuck on an island with one other person, and that person turns into a leg of lamb to the other.... well your couch, your phone, your socks, shoes, etc. will start to look like fun unexplored toys to your bored pooch.  They are not out to punish you, they are simply starved for attention or something to keep their minds busy. (picture a 2 year old left in your work office all day, what would it look like when you got back)

 You should also note that if you do have a young dog (under 1 year) your dog can still be teething, even if you can see all the baby teeth have been replaced, just like your kids, your dog will get his back molars in.

I suggest keeping an arsenal of rawhides, nylabones, and food puzzles on hand and rotate them so he doesn't have access to them all the time, they will get bored of them if they are left out all the time.
If have not started ditching the everyday doggy dish that you feed your dog in, I suggest you do so now.  Making your dog work for his food is a great way to give him something to do and keep him from getting bored. This link has many more example of puzzles and things to do to keep fluffy busy and not looking at your new phone as her new toy.
As I have stated before, exercise is your best friend when it comes to having a well behaved dog.  Yes that means even if the weather outside is looking a bit frightful (or at least colder than you like) you still should take Fido out for a walk, not only will it help keep you and your pup in shape, but it also helps keep the happiness in the bond with you and your new addition.
One other way of keeping Fido behaving these in the cooler months ahead is this:
Yup, that's right, remember that clicker that you used to teach Fido how to sit, or help in potty training?  Guess what, teaching your dog something new uses as much energy as taking him on a small walk!  So for those days when the weather really is too frightful to be out in, pull out your trusty clicker and teach your dog to ring a bell, jump over a broom set between a pair of chairs.  You can find trick books at the petstores or at places like Amazon.  Take some time each day and polish up "Heel" or "Leave it" Shoot for 10 minutes a day and you might just be surprised at how much better behaved your dog will be come spring! Everyone will be amazed at your wonderful dog!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dog Days at Thanksgiving Point

This year Thanksgiving Point held their annual Dog Days in their Gardens!
 Here we are heading down to the festivities!

 I have such a well loved dog! :o)
 but she did get tired of having her picture taken, she wanted to get to the other dogs

 Here was a neat fly ball demonstration!
 Really fun and a great way for your dog to stay happy and burn some energy off, and you can easily teach your dog to do this in your own backyard!
 Frodo, what a great shot!
 In Fly Ball they use tug ropes to get their dogs excited and ready to run!

 See all the fun dogs that were watching!

 Look at this cute little beggar!

 After the fly ball demonstration was done they allowed you and your dog to give it a go and see how they would do... Roxy did excellent! They said she would be welcome on the team anytime!

 Frodo got to give it a go as well... he was a bit shy at first, but he did really well too!

 Roxy checking out the Koi in the pond...
 Love the fall colors!!!
 Run Frodo, Run!
 Everyone love this part!

 This was just priceless!!! Strider checking out the waterfall with the kids

 more pretty fall colors!!!
Thanks Thanksgiving Point!!! We had a blast!!!