Conference Day 2 – Reactivity in Dogs

Posted on Oct 13, 2011 in Aggression, Fun, Separation Anxiety, Training | 0 comments

Impulse control, hyperactivity, reactivity and arousal are all topics discussed in today’s symposium on “Living on the edge.” If you have attended any of my reactive dog classes you would have heard me use these terms and how they effect your dogs emotional state.

Today’s topics included many practical methods of incorporating daily routines and opportunities to help your dog practice desirable behaviors. We know that good training is always started at home! Daily practice at home with feeding, training, and play can improve a dogs impulse control and arousal habits. New behaviors and techniques for keeping your dogs arousal under threshold will be incorporated into our up coming classes.

Today’s conference ended with an informational panel discussion including dog behavior specialists: Suzanne Clothier, Ian Dunbar, Trish King, Dr. Petra Mertens, Dr. Pamela Reid, and Pia Silvani. What a great source of caine knowledge here to discuss arousal and how it effects reactivity.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s sessions on K9.

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4th of July Fireworks

Posted on Jul 3, 2011 in Fun, Safety, Training | 0 comments

While you are planning your fun Independence Day, please remember to think about helping your dog feel safe, here are a few tips to keep your dog from feeling anxious.

Loud noises from fireworks can be frightening to your pets, as they do not know what they are.  So protect your pet and help them get through this day with these tips:
  1. Keep Them Home. Don’t bring pets to fireworks displays. And never leave your pet unattended in a car.
  2. Don’t Leave Them Outside Alone. Your pet could get lost or injured if he panics and tries to escape from your yard.
  3. Create a Safe Zone in Your Home. Keep your pet in a place familiar and comfortable. A quiet inside room might be best. Make sure they have access to water. You can leave a radio playing at a bit above normal volume to keep him company. Also be sure to remove any unsafe items your pet may chew if she gets frightened.
  4. Close all Doggie Doors. Keep pet doors and fence gates locked this weekend.
  5. Be Sure Your Pet Has ID. Make sure your pet has a collar and ID tag with up to date information. An ID tag will help get you reunited even if your pet is microchipped.
  6. Ask Your Vet. and Behaviorist. Together they can put your pet on a plan to avoid anxiety, which is a serious condition for pets.
  7. Don’t Give Them Leftover Bones, Human Cookies or Ice Cream. Cooked bones are easily split and can cause serious injury to pets. Also be aware of leftovers your guests may give your pet.  
Enjoy the day!
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Join us for a fun practice session at Back Cove today 9:30 am

Posted on Apr 23, 2011 in Fun, Training | 0 comments

With so many clients busy with Easter plans, we will not be meeting at Tommy’s Park today for classes.  I returned from my vacation late Thursday evening all refreshed and quite excited about teaching everyone the “Switch Over” today.  However we did agree to not hold Outdoor Adventure or Feisty Fido as many of you do have plans for the holiday weekend.

Digger at Back Cove is being rewarded for an
alternate behavior.  But he really wants
to chase this bike!

For fun, KT and I will be at Back Cove Trail 9:30 am today to practice our dogs emotional control if anyone would like to join us!  We always park towards the right side of the parking lot.  Have your dogs Yellow CBC Bandana on so we can find each other!  Hope you can join us!

For next week’s classes, we will stick to the schedule.
                  Outdoor Adventure meets next week at: 
4/30/11   Falmouth Community Park, Located on Winn Road, just north of the Fire House. 
                  Feisty Fido meets next week at:
 4/30/11 Payson Park, Portland  (class starts at 11:00 am)
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Posted on Apr 20, 2011 in Fun | 0 comments

While still in Florida having a wonderful time with my family, I will be completely honest, I totally miss my 3 pups back in Maine!  I know they are in great hands as my intern KT is giving them lots of love and exercise.

What do I miss the most?  Play!!  I love to play Tug as they love this game as much as I do — maybe even more!  Sophie, my scottie use to grab your hand often, but has learned to have better control where she puts her teeth.  Annie my terrier is determined to hold on, even if I pick her up off the ground, she is a terrier to the core.  While Pablo loves tug also, he mostly loves to be chased, we play tag in the basement often.  It took me a while to catch on but he taught me that when he stares at me and lowers his head, then bolts, it means “you’re it”.

All the dogs will drop any tug toy with a happy “leave it” cue.  While I did reward with food while teaching this cue, now the reward is continued play or affection.  I also recommend play as a way to distract dogs in many different situations.  Like when Sophie used to chase people who turned their back as they walked to the door,  I used fetch as an alternative behavior just as the person moved.  She had been practicing chasing and nipping for 5 years,  so I will need to reinforce her alternative behavior for a long time, but using play is a win win for both of us — even my kids are good with it!

So if you haven’t taken time to play your favorite game with your dogs I hope you find time to play today!

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IAABC Conference – Life Changing

Posted on Apr 4, 2011 in Fun, Positive Association | 0 comments

Many of you know I was in Rhode Island for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Conference, and loved every minute of it!

The IAABC conference was not only enjoyable, it was very educational!  It was fabulous to meet  many dog enthusiasts, but also professional horse, cat and bird trainers. The IAABC representatives were very friendly and wiling to share their knowledge to the conference attendees.

Victoria & Judy
IAABC 2011 conference 
I am excited to share with you the many Positive Behavior Modification methods our profession has not only identified but are scientifically proven to work on many different species.  Demonstrations included working with the fearful/anxious dog, the reactive dog, the best methods to obtain emotional control, why emotional trauma is more harmful than physical trauma, integrating dogs into the “cat” only house and much more!

Special Attendees included: Bob Bailey, Dr. Nick Dodman, Brenda Aloff, Victoria Stillwell, Karen Pryer and many more, were incredibly inspiring and leading edge on how behavior modification can be used on many species — from dogs to humans — as agreed by behaviorists and psychologists alike!

Did you know the first behavior modification methods used on the mentally handicapped were demonstrated by animal trainers using reinforcers and shaping methods?  The Breland’s, Marion and Keller, as well as Bob Bailey and of course BF Skinner all had a hand in this program.

I am so looking forward to sharing new and fun positive techniques with you!
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Update on Sheila my Foster Girl

Posted on Mar 29, 2011 in Fun, Rescue Dog | 0 comments

Sheila is enjoying life in Maine, including the snow!  No need to put a sweater on this girl, her double coat keeps her warm and is super soft to touch.

She loves to be with people, yet can entertain herself with, sticks, bones and toys.  Check out the video below to see one happy girl!

I believe the months spent in the Florida Kill Shelter were stressful and filled with many barriers which created to Sheila’s frustration.  She is now enjoying off leash runs in the woods, soft bedding, rugs to roll on and being rewarded for many behaviors.

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