Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tricks worth Teaching

I am not a dog trainer and I can not say that my dogs are perfectly well behaved, but here are a couple of commands that I think all dogs should be taught no matter what.

1) DROP IT. I have taught this to my dogs from day one. Some came to me as a puppy and some were older so this is not just for the young ones...its for all dogs. I can not tell you how many times a dog got something in their mouth that was potentially dangerous and the need for them to release it immediately very necessary. To have a dog 'drop it' on command is vital. You can say it when they pick up your shoe, a dead animal, feces, food items that are dangerous to dogs (ie, onions, mushrooms, chocolate, etc) or you simply want to play fetch not tug.

2) COME. As humans we are terrible at consistent commands. We teach this command but will use 'come' for bad times and then they don't always listen. Remember: if you give the command to 'come' and they are punished for being have taught them that 'come' is not always a positive experience. Problem really lies in the time you need them to 'come' and they don't. You may need them to get back in your control because you see another dog, a hazard, dropped the leash, need to hurry, etc. If they know that 'come' is an order to listen to because punishment doesn't follow, you will be able to use the command when its needed most and possibly ensure a better day at that point.

3) ENOUGH (or whatever word you wish to use). Doesn't matter if Fido is a miniature Poodle or a large German Shepard barking needs to be under your control. Its great that dogs bark when someone enters your property or knocks on the door, but that barking needs to have a clear end. A command like 'enough' allows you to acknowledge the signaling of a breech in security, but once you have checked the situation and all is no more barking. Yappy dogs or barking dogs are a product of your doing...not the dogs. Excessive barking is often a product of ignoring their communication or rewarding them for consider this new command for your own pup.

These commands for the most part are there to make sure you can keep your pup(s) safe and your home a happy one.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Old Man Cody

On Monday, March 15th we said good bye to my sweet kitty, Cody. He was 20 years old. He lived a long life. Although I have no idea how well he lived his first 8 years....his last 12 were pretty good. Adopted in 1997 at age 8, he entered his final home...although we told him it was his forever home. Such a dream is not allowed. I miss my old man. I know he is so much happier now. No longer in pain, suffering from the deterioration that comes with being diabetic and old.

I looked up his name after I got him (Yes, I changed his name) and Cody means 'to comfort' and that explained my sweet Cody to the tee. He was a sweet and gentle soul who was all about a warm place to name and a soft purr to tell you how he felt about it. He was easy going and very forgiving, he had no problems with change and settled in nicely when there was some.

His last year was tough as his gentle side became a more aggravated guy. He was not comfortable and was more vocal about it. We never saw him suffer, just experience the side effects of old age. Arthritis, weight loss and slowing down.

I miss him. I know he is happier, and that brings me peace, but I miss him just the same.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Doggy Dreamin

I have 4 dogs and they all have very active dreams. It breaks my heart to see them making cry-like noises and twitching, my husband and I had been waking them up to comfort them. But I have been doing some research on this very subject. The 'doggy-dreamland experts' out there say that you should let sleeping dogs lie. Dogs that twitch and cry in their sleep are just experiencing a dream. They go on to say that dogs that have active dreams are in a deeper sleep. And that happy, safe, content dogs feel more comfortable sleeping so deeply that they are more likely to experience a dream. Who knew? My dogs dream so vividly and actively because I gave them a great safe home. So, these are not signs of torture...but rather signs of joy! This is great news.

So, let your pups chase after that dreamland bunnies, its all good! They are happy, safe and content and therefore just enjoying their dream. No more interruptions from us...we get it now. Sweet Dreams.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spoiled Dogs

My dogs are spoiled. Seriously, brats. And its all my fault. I break every pack animal rule there is: let them sleep in my bed, bend down to love on them. smooch them, fail to discipline them when they jump on me and pretty much do their bidding when they ask (in their doggy way). I am actually not really bothered by their behavior, but others are.

If you walk in my front door, you will most likely be jumped up on. If you sit on the sofa, they will jump in your lap, climb up behind you and start licking. They will demand you pet them, play with them and give them your immediate and full attention. Its when guests come over that I realize that my dogs are brats. I can honestly say that it will be impossible to change. I love the they snuggle with me in bed and want to lounge on the sofa with them. I do not allow them to jump on me when I enter (and therefore they do not) but my husband loves it. Its the guests who suffer.

So, I am sorry. My dogs are bad. I loved them to that point. They are so spoiled and they know not what they do.