Friday, June 29, 2012

July Dog Safety

The month of July is one of the most dangerous for dogs, especially here in Utah where we have two firework holidays in the month.  The fast loud booms and cracks along with the air smelling like gun powder would set anyone on edge if they weren't expecting it.  A lot of dogs will be startled and then scared because it doesn't stop.  Whole hours of loud booms and shrieks and don't forget all that smoke!  It's no wonder out little furry friends go scurrying under beds or get freaked out.  Please be aware that more pets get lost this month than any other.  If you are going to be gone in the evening hours please either keep your dog crated or in the house where they will feel safer and don't have the chance to run away.  Also keep in mind that if you do loose you pet check the shelters in person.  I have heard many stories from people who have called the shelters and were told they did not have their pet, only to later go in to see for sure and have found them there.  Also make sure your dog has either a microchip and or ID tags, so if they do get lost they you can be located.  I can tell you from experience when you find a lost dog and don't know who they belong to and they don't have any ID on them, the next place I would take them would be the shelter because I would hope that is where their  owners would look for them.  Fortunately for the few dogs that I have found (none of whom had ID tags), I knew their owners or at least had a good idea where they lived.  If your dog is running from the fireworks though they will most likely be a long ways from home by the time they are found.
Now is also a really good time to work on your recalls, if you haven't for a while.  For example, last night I took Roxy for a walk in the park.  While I walk I throw the ball for her to chase and we all have a good time.  Well after I threw the ball one time for her someone shot off some fireworks and the noise gave her quite a start (neither of us were expecting it).  I have been working on her recall for the past 6 months pretty regularly, and the look on her face when she heard the noise was not one I wanted to see.  She was already running towards me when the noise started and it looked like she was going to keep on running right past me.  Luckily for me she stopped long enough for me to grab her leash and I was able to calm her down. We walked straight home after that.  (She got lots of little treats from me after that as well as I clicked her when she came back to me).  Dogs don't calm themselves down very well.  Roxy was already worked up because she was chasing her ball, and when the fireworks went off her adrenalin shot up even higher.  Staying prepared this month will go a long way to every staying safe.
Please keep your pet safe this holiday season.
We want your dogs to enjoy their "dog days of summer"

Saturday, June 23, 2012


This is Kaiza, she is the latest graduate from Sit Spot Click!  She illustrates why I love using the clicker for training.  She is a very sweet dog who loves to play and is very smart. However, she was quite the wild child before we started training.  She love to jump on everyone, wouldn't listen very well or at all when asked to get off or to leave anything alone.  She loved kids but would knock them down in one second flat if she was close enough to them.  It wasn't for the lack of trying to train her either.  She was 9 months old when we started and her owner told me that she has been trying to train her since she got her as a tiny puppy. Fast foreword 6 weeks......

Kaiza did not jump once on any of my kids who were out running around in the yard, and coming up to pet her.  She heeled just as nicely off leash as she did on.  She sat when asked and waited and stayed.  You would not have known she was the same dog!  When talking to a person in the next class I overheard her owner make this astute observation, "I think it helped a lot when she realized what it was that I wanted her to do."  That is exactly what the clicker does.  It clears up the barrier that we have in our communication styles.  Dogs don't speak human, and we don't speak dog (at least not very well).  The clicker removes the need for a common language and creates a common code system that we can both use.  When you dog learns what it is you really want him to do they will be much more comfortable around you and you both will be happier. :o)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Dog Safety Tips

 This is a cute hot dog   This is not.

If you suspect Heat Stroke in your dog (I have witnessed too many dogs that have died from it in the summer) Do the following to help their body cool down (then get them to a vet!)  Read the article to see how to prevent Heat stroke.

Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned environment to prevent further heat absorption.
Measure their rectal temperature with a digital thermometer (not glass) and plenty of lube (Vaseline, KY, or similar). If their temperature is above 104 degrees F, begin cooling them by spraying cool (not cold) water over their body. If you have a fan handy, you can turn it on and have it blow over them. This can help to establish evaporative cooling. It is important though to cool them slowly and not too low. You should track their rectal temperature frequently (every minute or so) and stop actively cooling them when their rectal temperature reaches 103.5 degrees F. Under no circumstances should you put your pet in a tub of ice cold water! This will lead to constriction of the blood vessels under their skin and actually impair their ability to get rid of their excessive body heat.
Once you are done cooling them, dry them off slightly with a towel – this can help to prevent excessive cooling from occurring.
You can offer your pet some water to drink. But you shouldn’t let them drink too much or too fast, and you should never attempt to force water down the throat of a pet that is too mentally obtunded to drink on their own.
Again, even if you have done these ‘first aid’ measures, your pet should be brought for veterinary evaluation as soon as possible. Problems can still exist or develop, and your veterinarian is trained to detect, anticipate, and treat them. Check out this link for more ways to prevent Heat Stroke in your pet.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Here is Kimber! She is the latest to graduated from Sit Spot Click! She is super smart and highly toy driven (we discovered recently), so her pet parents headed out to the pet store after class to get some fun squeaky toys to continue working with her at home.

 Here is Roxy just about an hour after class the same day.  The kids have taken to dressing her up, and she endures it, for a few minutes anyway.  She gets this, "oh alright" look on her face and lets them put things on her, then after 5-10 minutes she shakes it all off and runs around enjoying the kids game of chase.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Doggy Play Day in June

DOGGY PLAY DAY for the month of June will be on Saturday the 23rd from 5pm to 6pm.  Free to all who would like to have their dogs come and play. I will also have treats for us!  Everyone has a good time, bring your friends and neighbors!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Click to Calm book review

Here is another great book to look into, especially if your dog has any issues being around other dogs.  If your dog barks, growls, or bear teeth at other dogs or people this book gives step by step easy to follow instructions that help guide you and your dog on to much more acceptable behavior.

I wish I could just quote the whole first chapter!   She sums up in a nutshell the reasons I love using the clicker to help reshape your dog's behavior.  Like this one here: "One of the major benefits of clicker training to treat aggression (or any behavior problem like jumping on people etc.) is that it incorporates both classical and operant conditioning principles simultaneously to help us desensitize and reprogram our dogs.  By clicking and feeding the dog in an aversive environment, you not only change the dog's emotional association with that environment (classical conditioning) but you can also pinpoint every correct decision the dog makes while he "operates" in the environment (operant conditioning)"
She then, in the next section of that chapter, goes on to give the example of how the clicker acts as an information translator.  She gives the example of a newly hired receptionist who in one scenario is simply brought to the office area she is supposed to work in and left there. The other scenario is the receptionist is brought to her desk, introduced to the people she will be working with, showed where the restroom is and the break room, then told when breaks can be taken.  Given those two scenarios which one would you like to be in?  In the first one the poor girl finds an unoccupied desk and must assume that that is hers (although someone could just be on break and come back and tell her off, note the amount of anxiety that must create).  Second she has no idea where to go if she needs a potty break.  Third, she must now be the one to break the ice with her co-workers (something else that also brings on high levels of anxiety in most people).  Now imagine this is your brand new dog you just brought home.  Neither of you speak the same language so the scenario for your dog is going to be much similar to the on of the first receptionist. Hardly very welcoming is it.  That is where the clicker comes in so very handy.  If you can teach your dog that every time it hears that click it means that something good will follow, then you will quickly get repeat behavior.  Happy you and happy much less anxious dog.  Your dog really does want to make you happy, he has been bred that way, in order to work with us we both need to feel good about it and those who don't bring those results don't continue to pass their genes on (in most cases).
I love how she talks about needing to be patient.  It will help reshape your dog's behavior, and most times much faster than other methods, however if you are trying to undo behavior and reteach a new one it will take time.  Some dogs will catch on faster than others, a lot of it depends on their temperament and the bond between you two (which will also strengthen during this process).
The majority of this book is made up of what she calls "training recipes".  In these "recipes" she walks you step by step through each phase of reshaping your dog to respond better in all kinds of different situations.  If you would like to have a better behaved dog this book is great. (if you need help getting started even with the book, let me know and we can set up a time where I can help you as well!)
All in all I would give this book a 5 star rating for it's easy to understand and in depth coverage of the different angles to work on with a reactive dog.