Wednesday, September 30, 2009
A few times he was outnumbered by 2 larger puppies, but it didn't seem to matter. This is the point of puppy to puppy socialization - learning how to interact.
Now we are beginning to build a foundation for the next visit to the park where other dogs are everywhere!
Here's the rationale for dog to dog socialization from eukanuba.com:
"Even puppies who consider themselves to be nearly human will have to learn to get along in the canine community. At the very minimum, you'll come across another dog (or his scent) during your daily walks. Thus, he needs to practice doggiespeak."
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Alvin pulls on his leash - all the time.
HE trained me that pulling is OK. He goes outdoors to do his business and always leads me to his spot. That's how it started. Eventually the leash pulling got out of control. I'm lucky he's a small dog. Taking him on a walk is not enjoyable.
My first attempt to break him of this habit was to consult the dog training bible - Kindom of Pets Secrets to Dog Training. The step-by-step solution requires changing directions while the dog is on leash. So that's an ongoing process. We do 15 minutes of this training every day.
I also checked Leash Training in the It's PAWSible! Dog Training and Puppy Training DVD. Click here to see my review of It's PAWSible!
In the intro to the Leash Training section of this DVD, trainer Beth Ostrowski-Parks talks about a product called Gentle Leader. I decided to use it in conjunction with the Kingdom of Pets leash training.
Gentle Leader is a collar and a nose strap in one (see picture above; click to see the online description). The theory is that the dog owner has more control because the leash is attached to the head versus the neck. It comes with a DVD explaining how to fit the Gentle Leader, acclimate your dog to the collar, and leash train with the collar. Note that the dog can bark, eat, drink, etc with this collar - it's NOT a muzzle.
Alvin Meets the Gentle Leader
As explained in the Gentle Leader DVD, some dogs may fight the snout strap. And Alvin scratched and rubbed the strap, but calmed down when I pulled out the treats. My plan is to use the Gentle Leader twice a day until he gets used to it.
The objective is to go on walks without pulling. We'll get there!
Monday, September 28, 2009
A few days ago I took Simon and Alvin (Mr. Waddles) to the vet. Not only is this trip traumatic for the dogs (Simon got a distemper shot and Alvin got his stitches removed), the vet tech (Kristina) experienced a (somewhat) typical occupational hazard.
I asked how often this happened to her. She shrugged and commented, "It's much worse when it's a big dog." Good attitude!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
You can see Alvin (I Am Puppy) and Simon's (I Am Puppy, Too) videos at the top of the right column in this blog. This picture is the first slide in the "We Are Puppies" video, also in the blog's right column.
Why would you want to create a video?
- Your dog's a cutie and you want everyone to know.
- You're curious about a video because you don't think it can be done.
- You want a quick ad for your dog-related web site.
- You always wanted to be a movie producer.
- You believe you can create an outstanding video!
- Share it in an email.
- Share it on facebook.
- Post it to your web site or blog.
See Alvin (I Am Puppy) and Simon's (I Am Puppy, Too videos at the top of the right column in this blog.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
. . . doodle and . . . poo.
And some do have a creative sense of humor. I read this information on a facebook group bashing designer dogs:
What new designer dog (breed) do you get when you cross a Bulldog with a Shih Tzu?
Dare you to leave a comment with your answer.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Simon Sez: Sure, whatever you say,
I'm always obedient!
Thousands of dogs end up in shelters every year. The main reason for this is owner lack of commitment. Puppy owners will try dog obedience classes and not follow through with reinforcement training at home. The puppy grows quickly into an unmanageable dog.
If you have a puppy or recently got a dog, understand that consistent, continuous obedience training is necessary to co-exist peacefully with your dog. Without it, life with your dog may be chaotic.
Consider dog obedience training a course you need to be enrolled in all the time. At first, you’ll be going to classes all the time. The better you get at obedience training your dog, the fewer classes you need to attend. But you can never drop out of the dog obedience training course. And failure means you may need to find your dog a new home. Can you put up with a dog like Marley from the movie “Marley & Me?”
Here are the reasons why YOU might fail dog obedience training:
Thinking You Can Train Your Dog Without Help
With the exception of professional dog trainers and expert dog owners, most people need help with obedience training. Questions arise all the time – how often do I need to train? How do I get the dog to stop pulling on the leash? How do I get my dog to come when called?
Find a few knowledgeable resources – the vet office staff, a friend with a dog, dog forums, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, a dog training DVD, a dog training book, Internet web sites for dog training tips – and get the answers to your questions.
Not Getting the Dog’s Attention Before Issuing a Command
If your dog’s attention is focused on the squirrel crossing the street as you say “Sit,” don’t expect it to happen. YOU have to get the dog’s attention first. This is an issue with a puppy with an attention span of a microsecond, but think about it – puppies can focus – how long did he focus on the squirrel? You need to make yourself the center of his attention.
Lack of Patience
This is THE biggie, especially when you have a puppy. They whine, wiggle, jump, chew, bite, pull on the leash, and are generally puppylike. But even a young pup can learn to sit fairly easily. And you can move on from there, step by step. Dog and puppy obedience training REQUIRES patience.
Inconsistent Application of Commands
Training happens every day and is connected with everyday activities – it does not always need to be formal. Suppose you have been getting your dog to sit while you put on his leash or before you put down his food dish. Then you forget for a few days. Now the dog’s confused – do I need to sit or not? This happens when different family members attend to the dog’s needs.
No “Connection” with Your Dog
So you come home from work, let the dog outside, feed him, and then forget he exists. Or you go to the super pet store to buy dog food and don’t bring the dog. And you have no idea where the nearest dog park is located.
In other words, your dog’s not a family member, just a part of the home landscape. Maybe that’s the way you treat your other family members?
You can learn to train your dog. And you can both live together in peace. Think about the reverse of each of the reasons for failure described above. You do love your dog, don’t you?
Monday, September 21, 2009
We all know dog training is a process and never ends. With two youg dogs (Alvin is 8 months and Simon is 4 months), ongoing training is a must-do every day. At least once a week, I check the DVD I bought to train Alvin so I can teach commands correctly.
Since this DVD has become invaluable, I decided to write a review to spread the word. Maybe some one else can master do-it-yourself dog training and straighten out their chaotic life with dogs.
Think "Marley & Me!" and then read the review!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I was wrong. He lost Friday nite's BATTLE.
On Saturday, he damaged the connection that holds the collar together. He stuck a major blow before I rescued the collar. I had to tape the ragged edges of the plastic. The noise should have tipped me off, but I was engrossed in creating a squidoo lens about guess who - Alvin and Simon.
If left unattended, he might just destroy it before (next) Friday when the stitches are removed. I already googled "How to make an Elizabethan Collar," an emergency tactic. I might make one in preparation for the ecollar's total destruction.
Friday, September 18, 2009
When I removed the bandage from his leg, the surgical area appeared red and swollen. Also, Alvin was shaky, probably from pain.
I called the vet's office. During the office visit, the vet agreed that the leg was puffy and a little red. He gave Alvin a shot of antibiotics and pills to take at home. He assured me that it would heal properly (with this level of care).
Now here's the last recommendation from the vet - Alvin should be fitted with an Elizabethan collar to prevent him from licking or biting the area on his leg. When a dog licks or nibbles a sutured wound, the likelihood of infection increases. I had avoided using an ecollar by diapering the dog to protect the neuter surgery area. But now the collar is the only alternative to ensure healing of both the leg and the neuter incision.
No one likes to see a dog in distress, but I'm convinced the Elizabethan collar will expedite the healing process.
Let's hope Alvin heals quickly!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Picture on right: Alvin and Simon resuming normal activity.
After experiencing neuter surgery 3 days ago (see Neuter Surgery - The Recovering Patient), Alvin appears to be his old self. He's playing with Simon and eating to catch up on the day without food.
Unfortunately, his activity level has to be curtailed to protect the stitches for the incision and to keep his foot (dew claw removal) bandaged.
Curtailing his activity is near impossible. Alvin wants to play and so does Simon. Sometimes I separate them. That means one or the other whines and cries. And Alvin needs to be "quiet" for 10 days until the stitches are removed!
Another complication - Alvin wants to lick the stitches and remove the bandage from his leg. The soft Elizabethan collar failed (too small) - the poor dog spent all his time trying to pull it off. So he's in a diaper which has to be removed each time he needs to eliminate.
And yet another complication - the leg bandage has to be wrapped in plastic whenever it's wet outside.
Now imagine taking Alvin outside as follows:
1. Isolate Simon so he doesn't interfere (attacking Alvin, removing the plastic wrap, playing with the diaper).
2. Remove the diaper.
3. Wrap his leg in plastic.
4. Reverse the steps when he comes in.
Yup - the patient may be recovering, but the caretaker may not last 10 days. And in December, when Simon gets his neuter surgery - the situation will be reversed. The good news is Simon has no dew claws. A grateful thanks to Simon's breeder!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Designer Puppy Breeders - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Monday, September 14, 2009
Early this morning the car carrying Alvin to the verterinary hospital disappeared around the corner. I stared into space thinking about the behavior and medical benefits associated with neutering. At the same time, I knew the animal would be in pain tonight. And his dog maleness (for lack of a better term) would be irreversibly cut out.
Then Simon tugged on his leash so he could chase an imaginary flying insect, and I turned to walk into the house.
Late in the afternoon, the patient returned home, greeting Simon and I with his usual enthusiasm. But there was the bandage from the dew claw removal (also done today) and shrill yips if you picked him up the wrong way.
Simon seems to understand that something is different and didn't protest (too much) when we kept him away from Alvin. Unfortunately, based on our instructions, they can't play for 10 days because rough housing might disturb the stitches. Simon will NOT understand the 10 day play restriction.
Alvin parked himself in the den and tried to sleep, but the pain was bothering him. Tonight he ate a few kibbles and drank a little water, endured the photographing, and finally fell asleep. I took pictures of the incision in case excessive swelling develops. If there is infection, you have a benchmark picture for comparison purposes. These pictures are not pretty, but I guess it's a good idea.
Tonite he'll sleep with a soft e-collar so he can't lick the incision if he wakes. Excessive licking can cause an infection.
Hope he experiences less pain tomorrow.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Today we got the results of a fifth blood test from an independent lab. Fortunately, this blood test is OK and he's cleared for neuter surgery on Monday.
Alvin does NOT have the liver shunt condition. After all these blood tests (Alvin shakes uncontrollably when he gets within 100 feet of the vet's office), the blame is squarely on the original lab for creating extreme agita for the dog and his owners (and probably his vet).
I hope that no other animal or its owners have to go through this BS, but I haven't figured out if it's worth the effort to make the lab people understand the chaos created by their incompetence. I probably should leave it alone, but then I guess I'm doing something with this post.
Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions about how to deal (or not to deal) with this issue.
Friday, September 11, 2009
For example, the questioner wrote: "But we went to puppy training class so he remembers SOME commands." My response: Why doesn't he respond to ALL the commands taught in the puppy training class?
Puppy Learning (your dog) and Puppy Training (you)
Clearly, the commands learned in the class were not reinforced in the case of the yahoo answers questioner.
Let's take a look at this issue from the standpoint of the way a dog learns. Do you show a puppy how to sit 10 times and then expected him to know the verbal command and the hand signal? And then you stop training him?
Puppy learning (your dog) and puppy training (you) are ongoing processes. For example, I was gone for a week when we brought Simon home from PA. When I came back, Alvin (6 months at the time) wasn't responding to simple obedience commands. No one had bothered to reinforce "Sit," "Down," "Stay," and "Come" while I was gone. He hadn't forgotten them; he just wasn't used to doing them.
The Puppy Training Secret
Of course you need to reinforce basic obedience training with short fun sessions on a daily basis, especially when you're teaching a new command. But the real secret to teaching dog obedience is to make it part of everyday activities.
But how to you make basic obedience part of your daily routine? Think about the times you interact with your dog(s) during the day and see what commands you can incorporate into your interactions.
- You're bringing your dog in from outdoors. Ask him to Sit and Stay, and once you've walked through the door into your home, ask him to Come. Same activity going out the door, unless the dog really has to go!
- Before you put his full food disk on the floor, ask for a Sit or a Down.
- Your new puppy is shadowing you all over the house. As he's following you, stop, say Come, and lavish a lot of praise.
- Alvin gets an occasional ice cube to supplement his drinking water. I get him to lie down, put the ice cube a foot in front of him, and say "Leave It." Once he looks at me, I say "Okay," and he gets the ice cube.
- Simon (14 weeks) is leased in the house sometimes because he's not fully housetrained. So we practice the Stay and Come commands a lot.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
In the last month, Alvin has visited the vet 3 times for blood work, and is about to go again this week.
Why are we putting the pup through numerous blood tests?
The vet's lab has returned 2/4 results so far that indicate he has a possible liver shunt condition. Since this condition can be fatal, we want to make sure the lab results are correct. Allegedly this lab had problems calibrating its centrifuge - and that's why more than one animal's blood tests returned with high liver enzymes.
Today I asked the vet to do one more test and send it to another lab for analysis. He agreed that before Alvin has neuter surgery on Monday, one more test would be wise.
Playing with an Animal's Health
As I'm writing this blog entry, I'm wondering if these labs are regulated or can they just not maintain their equipment and get away with it? Causing unnecessary pain for an animal and emotional pain (and additional costs) for owners is not the best way to stay in business.
I expect to learn the good news about this blood test on Saturday.
On another more positive note, I posted a Squidoo lens titled: The Best of the Designer Dogs - Cockapoos! Check out the Ten Reasons Why Cockapoos Are The Best Designer Dogs.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
So we bought a nail clipper and an electric trimmer. Then came the hard part - using them!
Prince Alvin, the Groomer's Dream
At 7 months, Alvin is (sometimes) calm AND he's been groomed by a professional. He does not seem to mind the clippers. As long as I hold his head, he's lulled into a trance by the sound of it.
These dog grooming clippers induce a hypnotic state for Alvin.
Sir Simon, the Groomer's Nightmare
This puppy may look innocent, but he's a little monster. Grooming Simon is not easy. Besides the fact that he has the attention span of a flea, the only way we can use the trimmer is if someone is feeding him treats at the same time.
The bad news is that during today's grooming session he ate a few too many treats mixed in with a few hair balls and barfed them up an hour later. He also has a few barer patches when he moved unexpectedly. He's good for about 2 minutes; then, he loses focus on the treats and starts moving.
The good news - over the last 3 times we've groomed him (once a week), we found out there was a puppy underneath all that hair. And he should associate grooming and the treats. Eventually, his grooming will get easier.
DIY Dog Grooming Tips
I can understand why you would not want to groom your dog on your own. But here's a plan that might work:
- Get a cheap pair of clippers, scissors, brush, and a nail trimmer. Some dog grooming packages come with a DVD showing you how to groom. Note that the dogs in these DVDs are always perfectly calm!
- Get your dog groomed professionally at least once. Take pictures so you know what he's supposed to look like.
- Once you're ready to clip your dog (wait until he's at least 6 months old), get someone to help you . They can hold the dog's head so you can clip.
- Feed the dog treats while you clip if he's not cooperating.
- Clip in short increments of time - no more than a few minutes.
Best of luck with your DIY grooming!
Friday, September 4, 2009
A young man asked us if his 3-year old daughter could pet the puppies. The man started talking about tennis. Then Alvin starting barking. He didn't move, but he was unhappy about something. I automatically shortened his leash in case he was barking at the little girl, but I was wrong.
There was a leashed (thank you god) Rottweiler walking toward us. Either his owner or the rot decided it would be fun to join the petting party.
The rot looked at Alvin and you could see the rot's aggression level rising. The hairs on his back were standing up. Apparently the owner saw the same thing, because he pulled the dog back - out of the group.
Now - this known aggressive dog is walking toward 2 small dogs and a young child. Would you let him try and join the group?
To owners of known aggressive dogs: Keep your big, ugly, nasty dog away from other dogs and children. You are crazy to even think about approaching a small child!
If Alvin was attacked by this rot, it would have been a nightmare - the little girl was between the rot and Alvin. The rot was big; Alvin is 15 pounds. Could have been quite a headline - Little Girl Injured in Fight Between David and Goliath!
Did Alvin provoke the attack - no - he was doing his job by warning us.
I'm not likely to take 2 small dogs to this park again. By the way, Simon slept through this incident - under the park bench.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
So here they are - from my recent and somewhat painful experience - the 5 major reasons for housetraining failure:
Mistake #1 – Not using a crate or using a crate incorrectly.
A crate is a must-have item, especially if you plan on getting some sleep at night. I’m not recommending crating a dog at night AND during the day, that’s crate overload. But crating at night is mandatory.
Beware the possible whining, crying, or moaning associated with night crating a puppy. If you take your puppy outside just before you crate him, leave him in the crate until he falls asleep regardless of how much he whines and cries. Very important: if he usually pees and poops the last time he goes outside, don’t bring him in until he’s done both duties.
An example of using a crate incorrectly is to use it for punishment. Suppose your puppy messes in a corner repeatedly. You get fed up and throw him in the crate, knowing that he’s not supposed to eliminate in his sleeping area. He won’t know why he’s suddenly thrown into prison. So exactly what have you accomplished by using the crate in this instance?
Mistake #2 – Not communicating with other household members.
Do NOT assume that someone else in your household has taken the puppy out at the designated time and communicated the results OR knows where the little monster is hiding at the moment (13-week old Simon is the current little monster). Always keep each other informed.
Mistake #3 – Not sticking to the housetraining schedule of activities. The typical schedule for housetraining your puppy dictates that you bring him outside after he eats or drinks, wakes up from a nap, or plays for more than a few minutes. Other times to take him outside are first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, and when he’s suddenly agitated, hyperactive, or is walking in circles. Refer to this book: The Perfectly Housetrained Puppy.
Yup, it’s a lot of things to remember, but if you don’t pay attention to the activities and whereabouts of a young puppy, you’re asking for trouble. After stepping in a pile of poop and tracking it all over the house, I pay attention to Simon’s activities very closely.
Mistake #4 – Not listening to dog training experts about housetraining. I bought one of the best-selling dog training packages written by dog training experts which includes a separate pdf on housetraining (Kindom of Pets Secrets to Dog Training). Unfortunately, I disregarded one or two key suggestions. I paid for those mistakes too.
One of the biggest myths about housetraining is to rub a puppy’s nose in his pee. The experts say it doesn’t work because he’ll have no idea why you’re forcing him to smell his own urine. Too much time has elapsed after the event, even though you may do it a few seconds after it happened. Catching him in the act is a different story.
In fact, the current trend in dog training is that punishment of any kind does not work; only rewards and corrections (interrupting a bad behavior and substituting a good behavior) are effective.
Mistake #5 - Failing to understand that every dog is different.Yes, you need to listen to the experts. But something that works in general may not work for your dog. Then what do you do? Easy – try a new approach. Give the new way a try for a week or so. If it’s not working, try something else. Patience is absolutely necessary while housetraining your puppy.
I mentioned that I am training 2 puppies. Their habits, temperament, and intelligence levels are different, even though they are both Cockapoos.
Alvin, 7 months, is supposedly housetrained. It took about 4 months before he would let us know he needed to go outside. Simon is not mature enough to hold his urine for any length of time during the day (experts say they are mature at about 16 weeks). I am still putting Simon through the night crate and daily schedule routine because I’m sure he will be ready very soon. In fact, he will go to the door to be let out and then promptly do his duty. My bet is that Simon’s training period is going to be shorter than Alvin’s.
Hope this discussion about housetraining your puppy was helpful. Comments with your experiences are welcome.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Okay, his belly and back legs were a pretty pink that stood out nicely against the white fur. They were pink (and not washing off, either) because I'm real stupid, that's why!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Simon the Sad or Sir Simon, my new pup!
Have you thought about everything you need in your home for the pup's arrival?
My new ebook Bringing Your New Puppy Home - Are You Ready? lists everything you need to equip your home for your puppy, It also presents several questions you need to ask yourself BEFORE you bring the puppy home.
This ebook was written to save new puppy owners the hassle of looking up what they might need on the Internet. Being unprepared for bring a puppy home won't happen to you if you read this ebook. And not to worry - it's free, no strings attached.
Enjoy the adventure of owning a dog!