Pet Sitting, Dog Walking Service, Cat Sitting, Overnight Pet Boarding, Professional Pet Care in Lawrenceville, Suwanee, Duluth, John's Creek , Alpharetta ,Roswell and Gwinnett & Dekalb County, Georgia – 678-667-2218
Being an American means everyday is an opportunity to honor our veterans. Americans are not the only beings that want to honor the men and women have protected us and our rights. Our pets love to participate as well. And some of our pets have taken on the responsibility of becoming vets as well. They have their own day. So today is Americans and American Pets want to do activities that show their appreciation not just today but everyday. Here are a few suggestions for enriching the lives of our military veterans and their families any day of the year:
Visit sick, injured and elderly veterans: many veterans in hospitals, nursing or retirement homes struggle with loneliness and depression, and would welcome someone coming by for a visit. While you can ask the staff beforehand if personal care items or home-baked goods are permitted, the greatest gifts are your time, companionship ( from you and your pet ) and willingness to listen.
Hire a veteran: veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan face higher rates of unemployment than veterans and civilians in general, with the greatest percentage of unemployed among 18-25 year-old veterans. Even if you aren’t in a position to hire, you can recommend a veteran for a job at your place of work, help a newly returned service member write a resume, sponsor a veteran at a professional networking event, or help a veteran acquire skills to land a new or better job.
Help Veterans with PTSD: New research finds that “man’s best friend” could be lifesavers for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.Researchers are accumulating evidence that bonding with dogs has biological effects, such as elevated levels of the hormone oxytocin. “Oxytocin improves trust, the ability to interpret facial expressions, the overcoming of paranoia and other pro-social effects—the opposite of PTSD symptoms,” says Meg Daley Olmert of Baltimore, who works for a program called Warrior Canine Connection.About 300 vets have participated in these programs, and some graduates who Yount worried “wouldn’t make it” report impressive strides. Congress has commissioned a study, underway in Florida, to assess the effectiveness of canine-caretaking on PTSD.
Train Dogs to become Service Dogs: The relationship between a service dog and a veteran is akin to a team walking a tightrope. To succeed, they must focus on each other, intently. Distract one, and both can stumble. When they are in sync, the intricate teamwork going on can appear effortless to the outside world.
People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been helped tremendously by service dogs. The dogs are trained to respond to five specific demands from their partner:
Block:the dog will stand in front of their partner forming a barrier and space between other people.
Behind: the dog will position itself behind its partner.
Lights: the dog will enter a room ahead of their partner and turn on the lights so their partner does not have to enter a darkened room.
Sweep:the dog will enter a house or room and sweep it for people or intruders, alerting their partner by barking.
Bring: the dog will retrieve an item such as car keys and bring it to their partner.
Adopt a military family or veteran: the spouses, children and parents of military members serve as well; they sacrifice the comfort and companionship of their loved ones during deployments, change of duty stations and other realities of military life. In addition, 40% of veterans are 65 or older, including many who live alone or far from their loved ones. Offer to help with minor home repairs, local errands or simply ask if they want to talk. Check in from time to time since they may be hesitant to ask for help. Consider inviting a local military family or veteran to your holiday dinners or weekend cookouts, knowing that they may be without a mother, father, spouse or child.
Support veterans causes: the scope, variety and urgency of veterans’ needs is vast and growing, especially as more men and women return from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Find a veterans service organization that inspires you and give as often and generously as you can. If you’re unable to contribute financially, consider volunteering or spreading the word about their good work.
Say “thank you.” As you go about your daily life, thank veterans where ever you may see them. It may be a veteran in uniform, or one wearing a commemorative military cap or jacket. Step forward, extend your hand and say, “Thank you for your service.”
First, I apologize to All potential clients that I did not have a chance to call back or book appointments. We have been BOOKED. Also, in the midst of making many changes . Once everything is settled, I will be back with an Announcement. I DO appreciate all the referrals. I want to at least leave everyone some GREAT tips for the Fourth Of July Weekend 🐾🐶🇺🇸
Safety during July 4th celebrations:
Leave your pets at home when you go to parties, fireworks displays, parades and other gatherings. Loud fireworks, unfamiliar places and crowds can all be very frightening to pets, and there’s great risk of pets becoming spooked and running away.
Consider putting your pets in a safe, escape-proof room or crate during parties and fireworks.
If you’re hosting guests, ask them to help keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t escape. Placing notes on exit doors and gates can help both you and your guests remain vigilant.
Keep your pets inside if you or your neighbors are setting off fireworks.
Keep sparklers, glow sticks, fireworks, charcoal and kabob skewers away from curious pets.
Don’t Use Fireworks Near Dogs. While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious dogs and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.
Don’t let pets get near your barbecue grill while it is in use or still hot.
Avoid the urge to feed your pets table scraps or other foods intended for people.
Alcoholic Drinks & Weed Poison Pets. If your pet drinks alcohol, they can become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Yes, even beer is toxic; fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to dogs and cats.
Have your pet properly identified. If your pet manages to break loose and become lost, without proper identification it will be that much harder to get them back. Consider fitting your pet with microchip identification, ID tags with their name and your phone number, or both. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you have to put up signs.
Remember that too much sun and heat (and humidity!) can be dangerous to pets. Keep them inside when it’s extremely hot/humid; make sure they have access to shady spots and plenty of water when outdoors; don’t leave them outside for extended periods in hot weather.
Never leave your pet in your car when it’s warm outside. Vehicle interiors heat up much faster than the air around them, and even a short time in a locked car can be dangerous to pets.
After the celebrations:
Check your yard for fireworks debris before allowing pets outside to play or relax. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, debris can make its way into your yard, where curious animals may pick it up to play with or eat.
If you hosted guests, check both your yard and home for food scraps or other debris that might be dangerous to pets, such as food skewers.
🇺🇸We wish you and your family a happy and safe Fourth of July!🇺🇸
I made reservations for a dinner and a brunch for My Dad today. He didn’t want to go, he’s really tired. And He’s tired because he’s been helping me with some changes these past 2 months. He’s the best Dad EVER! So I love showing my appreciation to him. So since dinner was called off, I decided to cook and bake. Ok I’m not a chef. So I decided to bake. His favorite dessert is banana pudding. I found a great recipe with a twist. It’s a Banana Pudding Ice Cream Cake. Well here is what it is SUPPOSED to look like.
And Here is What My Banana Pudding Ice Cream Cake turned out to be….
Well I never claimed to be a Chef 👨🍳
Happy Fathers Day Dad. Love You 😘
Father’s Day festival is considered extremely important as it help acknowledge the contribution of fathers to individual families and to societies as large. Besides observance of Father’s Day provide children an opportunity to express love and respect for their fathers. The sentiment goes a long way in strengthening father-child relationship and consequently in the emotional development of a child.
History of Father’s Day
The idea of celebrating Father’s Day Festival was given by Ms Sonora Dodd, a loving daughter from Spokane. Her father Henry Jackson Smart single-handedly raised Sonora and five of her siblings after the death of her mother during childbirth. When Sonora attended a Mother’s Day Sermon in 1909, she thought that if there is the day to honor mother then there should also be a corresponding day to honor fathers. Sonora worked relentlessly for years to ensure that the idea of Father’s Day becomes a reality. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge first recognized Father’s Day. In view of the massive popularity of the festival, in 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.
Over the years, the concept of celebrating Father’s Day spread beyond geographical boundaries. Today, millions of children across the world express gratitude for their dads as they celebrate Father’s Day festival.
Significance of Father in our Lives
Many people laughed at Sonora Dodd when she gave the concept of having a Father’s Day, as traditionally, only mother is regarded as the sole nurturer of a child. The role of father is often relegated to a secondary status as compared to a mother. But all of us know that father is just as important for a child as the mother is. If mothers are the heroes of child rearing, significance of father in the development and emotional well being of a child is no less. Children depend on their father for their spiritual, emotional, physical, financial and social well being. For daughters, father is the ideal man in the world and also the first man they adore, while for sons, father is an idol and the strongest man they aspire to emulate.
Though traditionally father is seen more as a provider and guide for children, the scenario appears significantly changed in nuclear family culture of today. With most husband and wife working, fathers in present times are as involved in child rearing job as the mothers are. Today, most fathers do not shy away from changing nappy or taking the difficult task for putting the baby to sleep. This cultural change is helping in strengthening father-child relationship and consequently in emotional development of a child and building of stronger family bonds.
Significance of Father’s Day Festival
Father’s Day festival give us the opportunity to express thanks to our Daddy for all their unconditional love and affection. Observance of Father’s Day makes fathers feel that their contributions are acknowledged in the society and also by their children. They feel proud of themselves ! Besides by celebrating Father’s Day, children come closer to their father. For, most often children take love of their parents for granted. Celebration of Father’s Day makes them ponder for a while on the important role their father play in their life. This helps them appreciate the selfless care and protection provided by their father and hence they come emotionally closer to their dad.
Children must therefore take full opportunity of the day and express their gratitude for fathers with all their heart. The best way to do so is to do small things that daddy appreciates and by saying “I love you, Papa” with a gift of beautiful flower.
Anthem for all the women who love taking care of their pups like LADY BOSSES. To download the track go to the playlist below, right click the blue text below to open the file in a new tab and then hit the download arrow!
Wake up in the morning my dog’s on a routine
Walk him in my jammies don’t care if I’m seen
Covered in fur, poop bags in my pocket
I know I look good so don’t get a red rocket.
Casually strollin with a turd in my hand
Wondering where the hell’s the closest trash can
Peeing everywhere Brooklyn Bridge to the Rockies
He’s Markin’ territory – s’what we do on our walkies
Never leave the house without my lint roller
Hell yea I got a geriatric pug in this stroller (Kirnan with Noodle in a stroller)
His instagram is popping I don’t mean maybe
He gets more likes than my sister’s baby
If you’re a dog mom here’s your camera roll
It’s just my dog’s face no matter how far you scroll
Storage is full? I’m like, psh, Siri please.
That’s why I rock him on my wall, shirt and keys
If you’re a dog mom, put your hands up
This song’s for all the ladies who provide for their pup
When you’re a dog mom this is what you do
Cause they say your not my baby and I know it ain’t true
Went to the vet cause her poop was volcanic
We put her on a diet now that shit is organic
Bought him elevated bowls I’m a boss breadwinner
Now he doesn’t strain his neck while he’s eating his dinner
Toys & chews that’s where I’m throwin’ my paper
Don’t forget treats! It’s turkey-duck flavor
We poppin’ bottle service at the dog-friendly joints
if i cant bring my dog then I just don’t see the point
Here’s an invitation and don’t be tardy
I’m goin’ all out for my dog’s birthday party
Show up lookin fly & we’re sippin’ on Titos (Zoe)
She’s the life of the party: “And her paws smell like Fritos!”
If you’re a dog mom, put your hands up
This song’s for all the ladies who provide for their pup
When you’re a dog mom this is what you do
Cause they say your not my baby and I know it ain’t true
Feeling mad pride when he rips out the stuffin’, i even give props when he doesn’t do nuthin
*spoken* You’re amazing
On my nanny cam while I’m in a board meeting,
Wonder what she’s doing “OH GOD WHAT ARE YOU EATING”
Reunited coming home, yo that shit is sacred
When i take off her collar, it looks like she’s naked!
So bomb at belly scratches, i’m like a dog masseuse
And I know he ‘ppreciates cause he brings me his Moose!
Don’t need a man when i come home
Cause my bed is a literal bone zone.
Fall asleep to the sound of you licking your parts
But you wake us both up when you’re scared of your farts
Can’t wait to wake up and do it over again
Say it with me now: DOGS ARE WOMAN’S BEST FRIEND
Ha! Ha! We out!
Anyone who owns dogs has seen this stance and many other stances from our beloved pet after he has relieved himself. He’s gets quite protective of his remains as if he’s ready for war with anyone goes near. As a professional pet sitter, it is my least favorite task to do. You know, scooping the poop. But we all have to do what we have to, to keep the finances flowing .
The Question Remains : What is the purpose of these dogs scratching, protecting and burying with their paws after they eliminate?
This has actually been a popular discussion topic lately on Facebook and other groups I’m involved with. We’re determined to understand the psychosis meaning of this dog behavior.
Dogs of both sexes commonly scratch or scrape the ground with their hind paws immediately after defecating. Some dogs also perform this action after urinating. This is a normal behavior — it’s your dog’s way of leaving a scent and visual message to other hounds that might pass by later. Wolves, the ancestors of domestic dogs, perform this behavior for the same reason.
Dogs have scent glands under their paws and in between their toes. When the dog scrapes at the ground near his fresh poop pile, the scent from these glands is transferred to the ground. Before dogs became domesticated, it was useful to mark their territory using the scent from their glands. Wild dogs, and their wolf ancestors, use this method of marking to protect territories that were too large to patrol each day. Message
When wolves and dogs roamed wild, they needed to warn other animals away from their territory. This was the dogs’ way of protecting their food sources, for example, the rabbits living in their territory, and also their breeding females. You might think that the dog’s feces is sufficiently pungent to warn off competing animals, but much of the scent is lost once the feces dries out. The scent from the dog’s feet glands is more enduring. Additionally, the long and deep scrape marks left by the dog’s paws and claws let other dogs know that your dog is strong and powerful. Health Concerns
If your dog usually scrapes the ground after defecating, it can be a warning sign if she stops this behavior. When dogs develop arthritis or other health problems affecting their mobility, they may stop scraping. As arthritis progresses, dogs may have trouble reaching a squatting position for defecation. This can lead to problems with the dog soiling herself. Practical Considerations
A dog’s scraping after defecation can make cleaning up his poop more awkward. It’s best just to let your dog finish his scraping before you bend down to pick up his poop, otherwise you risk getting dirt or worse kicked up into your face. Most dogs will not tread in their own poop as they scrape, as they spread their paws wide enough to avoid the feces. Unlike cats, dogs do not scrape and scratch to cover up their poop. The intention is to leave the feces visible to other dogs, with an extra marking scent surrounding the poop. Don’t try to train your dog out of scraping as it’s a natural and instinctive behavior that takes only a little time and doesn’t cause significant damage to the landscape.
Every year, millions of people — mostly children — are bit by dogs, and experts say most cases were preventable.
In honor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs May 15-21, here are five tips to prevent bites. However, it is important to note that these prevention methods are reserved for non-aggressive dogs; canines that have already bitten or even growled and barked should be seen by a veterinary behaviorist or behavior consultant.
Problem to prevent: Your dog bites a person or dog while off-leash (at home or away). Prevention: Early conditioning (or remedial counter conditioning) People = good news for dogs. Teaching dogs that humans are safe is key and the earlier the better. Proper puppy socialization classes are highly recommended. In addition, teaching simple tasks, like coming when called, and manners, like sit and down, are also good tools to guide our dogs away from people if the dog becomes frightened or overwhelmed.
Problem to prevent: Your dog bites humans who reach for him. Prevention: Teach your dog to gently touch a human hand (hand targeting). This prevents bites by giving your dog a specific task to do when he sees a human hand reaching for him – touch it gently with his nose. Because we use reinforcement-based training, this also teaches your dog (or puppy) that human hands are safe. Touching the hand yields a treat.
Problem to prevent: Your dog bites a person or dog on a walk. Prevention: Teach your dog to follow you on leash and change directions when cued. Not all dogs or people will want to meet your dog, even if he’s friendly. Teaching your dog to calmly follow your directions on walks will prevent frustration and possible aggression as a result. Teaching your friendly dog to properly approach and interact with people on walks will also prevent bites.
Problem to prevent: Your dog bites a human who bumps, startles or steps on him. Prevention: Teach your dog to give humans personal space and not crowd them unless invited to do so. Dogs are very sensitive to personal space and can learn to move out of the way when humans approach them. It’s good manners and it helps teach them to be aware of human movement. Since we train this with praise and treats, there is no fear associated with the movement. Fear fuels aggression, so it’s best not to scare our dogs when training them.
Problem to prevent: Your dog bites people when he becomes frightened or stressed. Prevention: Teach your dog to calm himself by making better behavior choices on his own. For example, teach them how to settle themselves on a mat. It’s a unique process called “shaping,” which basically engages the dog’s brain and helps him figure out how to go to the mat and relax on his own.
Boy, do I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say their dog was “hyperactive” or “ADHD” – I’d be a wealthy woman. In fact, those are clinical terms referring to very specific behavioral disorders (canine and human) that are relatively uncommon in dogs. In reality, most “hyper” dogs are just under-exercised. A couple of days hiking at the Peaceable Paws farm and you’d hardly know them.
Not every dog owner has access to large tracts of acreage upon which to exercise their unruly canines, and in any case, “wild child canine syndrome” (WCCS) is more than just lack of exercise; it’s also lack of appropriate reinforcement for calm behavior – i.e., training. Unfortunately, all too often a dog loses his happy home – maybe even his life, as a result of his high-energy behavior.
We’ve seen several of these WCCS dogs at the training center in recent weeks. One private client decided to return her Shar-Pei-mix to the rescue from whence the pup came. Despite her best intentions and efforts, the client had mobility challenges that made it impossible for her to provide the pup with the exercise and management she needed. As painful as it was for the owner, returning the pup was the right decision.
WCCS dogs often include inappropriate biting in their repertoire of undesirable behaviors. We currently have a temporary foster resident at the training center: a 13-week-old high-energy Jack Russell Terrier who failed his assessment at the shelter for using his mouth in protest when restrained. Little Squid is a perfect example of the kind of dog who needs to learn self-control and the art of being calm.
A successful WCCS behavior modification program contains three elements: physical exercise, management, and training. While any one of these alone can make your high-energy dog easier to live with, apply all three for maximum success. Let’s look at each of these elements in greater detail.
Squid’s day begins with an hour of barn-play while we do chores. He delights in harassing our dogs (and our pig). He gets at least one long hike around the farm per day, preferably two, or even three. He also gets one or more sessions of ball/toy fetch in the training center, and some puppy socialization/play time when there’s a class going on. Finally, he wraps up his day with evening barn chores. Does it tire him out? No. I have yet to see him tired. But it does take the edge off, so that when I work with him to teach calm he is able to focus and participate in the training. The physical exercise sets him up for training success.
Not everyone has an 80-acre farm to play on. If you’re farm-deprived, there are other ways to provide exercise for your WCCS dog. A placid walk or three around the block won’t do it. Nor will leaving him on his own in your fenced backyard. He needs to be actively engaged.
Outings to your local well-run dog park can be a good exercise option. If you don’t have one in your area, invite compatible canines over to play in your dog’s fenced yard. If you don’t have one, invite yourself and your dog over to your dog-friend’s fenced yard for play dates.
Absent any access to a dog-friendly fenced yard, play with your dog on a long line. A 50-foot line gives him a 100-foot stretch to run back and forth and work his jollies off.
Caution: Work up to 50 feet gradually, so he learns where the end of the line is. You don’t want him to blast full-speed to the end of his long line and hurt himself. Also, wear long pants. A high-speed long-line wrapped around bare legs can give you a nasty rope burn.
If none of those work for you, having him wear a pack when you walk him, or even better, pull a cart (which takes significant training), or exercising him (safely) from a bicycle may be options for using up excess energy. If outside exercise is simply out of the question, here are some indoor activities that can help take the edge off:
-Find it. Most dogs love to use their noses. Take advantage of this natural talent by teaching yours the “Find It!” game:
1. Start with a handful of pea-sized tasty treats. Toss one to your left and say “Find it!” Then toss one to your other side and say “Find it!” Do this back and forth a half-dozen times.
2. Then have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash. Walk 10 to 15 feet away and let him see you place a treat on the floor. Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat. Repeat a half-dozen times.
3. Next, have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash and let him see you “hide” the treat in an easy hiding place: behind a chair leg, under the coffee table, next to the plant stand. Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat. Repeat a half-dozen times.
4. Again, have your dog sit and wait. This time hide several treats in easy places while he’s watching. Return to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” Be sure not to help him out if he doesn’t find them right away.
You can repeat the “find it” cue, and indicate the general area, but don’t show him where it is; you want him to have to work to find it.
5. Hide the treats in harder and harder places so he really has to look for them: surfaces off the ground; underneath things; and in containers he can easily open.
6. Finally, put him in another room while you hide treats. Bring him back into the room and tell him to “Find it!” and enjoy watching him work his powerful nose to find the goodies. Once you’ve taught him this step of the game you can use it to exercise him by hiding treats in safe places all over the house, and then telling him to “Find it!” Nose work is surprisingly tiring.
If you prefer something less challenging, just go back to Step 1 and feed your dog his entire meal by tossing pieces or kibble from one side to the other, farther and farther, with a “Find it!” each time. He’ll get a bunch of exercise just chasing after his dinner!
-Hide And Seek. This is a fun variation of the “Find it” game. Have your dog sit and wait (or have someone hold him) while you go hide yourself in another room of the house. When you’re hidden, call your dog’s name and say “Find me!” Make it easy at first so he can find you quickly and succeed. Reinforce him with whatever he loves best – treats, a game of “tug,” petting and praise, a tossed ball – or a combination of these. Then hide again. As he learns the game, make your hiding places harder and harder, so he has to really search. A trainer friend tells me she has hidden in bathtubs and closets, under beds, and even inside a cedar chest.
-Manners Minder. If you are into higher-tech exercise, use a treat dispenser called the Manners Minder that spits out treats when you push a button on the remote control. A Maryland trainer friend, Elizabeth Adamec of Sweet Wag Dog Training, shared her exercise secret with me for her high-energy adolescent Golden Retriever, Truman. This one is especially useful if you don’t feel like exercising along with your canine pal or can’t, due to physical restrictions of your own:
Teach your dog to use the Manners Minder, by showing him several times that when he hears the beep, a treats fall out of the machine. You can use his own dog food, if he really likes his food.
1. Set the machine a few feet away and have your dog sit next to you. Push the button, and let him go eat the treats. Repeat several times, encouraging him, if necessary, to go get the treats when he hears the beep.
2. Put the machine across the room, and have your dog sit next to you. Push the button, and watch him run over and eat the treats. If he’s not doing this with great enthusiasm, repeat Steps 1 and 2 several more times with higher value treats, until he really gets excited about the treats when he hears the beep.
3. Set the machine in the next room, and repeat the exercise several times. Call him back to you each time, so he runs to the Manners Minder when he hears the beep, eats the treat, and runs back to you to wait for the next beep. Gradually move the treat dispenser into rooms farther and farther away from you, until your dog has to run all the way across the house, or even upstairs, when he hears the beep. Now you can sit back with the TV remote in one hand, your dog’s remote in the other, and enjoy your favorite show while canine pal gets exercise and dinner, all at the same time.
There are tons of other ways to provide your dog with indoor exercise. Play tug. Teach him to bowl. Teach him to catch, then repeatedly toss him his ball 10 feet away and have him bring it back to you. Some trainers use treadmills and canine exercise wheels to exercise their dogs. (These must be carefully trained and supervised.) Get creative. Get busy. Have fun. Let the indoor games begin.
Successful positive training, especially for high-energy dogs, relies on the appropriate use of management tools to prevent the dog from practicing – and being reinforced for – undesirable behaviors. In between his many daily exercise and training sessions, Squid is either parked in an exercise pen in the barn tack room (with plenty of bathroom breaks outside), or in an outdoor kennel off the side of the training center.
Here are examples of when to use various management tools for your wild child dog:
Crates and Pens. Use crates and exercise pens when you can’t directly supervise his energy to consistently reinforce appropriate behaviors and prevent reinforcement for inappropriate ones. The best times for the appropriate use of crates and exercise pens include:
–When you can provide adequate exercise and social time in addition to his time in the crate or pen.
–When your dog has been properly introduced to the crate or pen and accepts it as a good place to be. Note: Dogs who suffer from isolation or separation distress or anxiety often do not crate or pen well.
–When you know you’ll be home in a reasonable period of time so you don’t force your dog to soil his den – no longer than one hour more than your pup’s age in months, no more than an outside maximum of eight to nine hours for adult dogs.
Leashes and Tethers. Leashes and tethers are useful for the “umbilical cord” technique of preventing your wild child from being reinforced for unwanted behaviors. With your dog near or attached to you, you can provide constant supervision. Also, with your dog tethered to your side, you should have many opportunities to reinforce him for appropriate behavior.
The leash can be hooked to waist belts that are designed for that purpose, or clipped to your belt or belt-loop with a carabineer. Your WCCS dog can’t zoom around the house if he’s glued to your side.
If inappropriate mouthing behavior is included in his high-energy repertoire, however, this may not be the best choice. Tethers are better for keeping this dog in view, with easy access for reinforcement of calm behavior, while keeping his teeth from your clothing or skin. Appropriate situations for the use of leashes and tethers include:
–For dogs who get into trouble when they are unsupervised.
-Leashed when your activities don’t preclude having a dog connected to you – okay for working on the computer; not okay for working out.
-Tethered when you want to keep your dog near but not directly connected to you, to teach good manners and/or prevent inappropriate behaviors.
Baby Gates and Doors. Baby gates and doors prevent your dog’s access to vulnerable areas when he’s in wild child mode. A baby gate across the nursery door keeps him safely on the other side while you’re changing diapers, but still lets him be part of the “baby experience.” Not to worry if the older kids left their stuffed toys strewn across the bedroom floor; just close the bedroom door when your dog is in a “grab toy and run” mood. The most appropriate uses of baby gates and doors include:
–To prevent your dog’s temporary access to areas during activities you don’t want him to participate in.
–To prevent your dog’s access to areas when you can’t supervise closely enough, to prevent inappropriate behaviors such as counter surfing or getting on forbidden furniture.
The final element of your WCCS behavior modification program is training. The more training you do the easier it is to communicate with your dog. The better he understands you, the more easily he can follow your instructions and requests. With a high-energy dog, in addition to basic good manners training, invest a lot of training time in impulse-control behaviors.
-Click for Calm. Start by simply clicking your dog for calm behavior, beginning with clicks and treats for any pause in the action. One challenge with a high-energy dog is that the instant you try to praise or reward, he’s bouncing off the walls again. With the clicker, an instant of calm elicits a “click” during the calm behavior. Even if the delivery of the treat causes excitement, your dog still understands it was calm that caused the click-and-treat to happen. An added advantage of the clicker: when they hear the click, most dogs pause in anticipation of the coming morsel, drawing out the brief period of relatively calm behavior even longer.
The goal of clicker training is to get your dog to understand that he can make the click happen by offering certain behaviors – in this case, calm. At first you won’t get long, leisurely stretches of calm behavior to click. Begin by giving your dog a click and treat just because all four feet are on the floor at the same instant. Be quick! You want him to understand the behavior he got rewarded for was pausing with all four feet on the floor, so the click needs to happen the instant all four feet are down. If you click late, you may reinforce him for bouncing around – the exact opposite of what you want!
If your timing is good and you click for four-on-the-floor several times in a row he’ll start to stand still deliberately to make the clicker go off. This is one of the most exciting moments in dog training –when your dog realizes he can control the clicker. Your clicker is now a powerful tool; you can reinforce any behavior you want, any time it happens, and your dog will quickly start repeating that behavior for you.
How does “pausing briefly on all four feet” translate into calm? Very gradually. You will “shape” the pause into longer periods of stillness, by extending the time, in milliseconds at first, that he stands still before you click and treat. As he gets better at being calm for longer periods, be sure to reinforce randomly – sometimes for shorter pauses, sometimes longer. Do the same thing with “sit” and “down.” Down is my favorite calm position: the very act of lying down evokes relaxation.
Do several short training sessions every day. You’ll have the most success if you practice “clicking for calm” right after one of your dog’s exercise sessions when he’s tired anyway. When he understands that “calm” is a very rewardable behavior, it will work even when he has more energy.
When your dog will remain still for several seconds at a time, add the verbal cue of your choice, like “Chill out,” that will eventually cue him into calmness. Over time you can phase out the click and treat for calm behavior and use other rewards such as calm praise, a gentle massage, or an invitation to lie quietly next to you on the sofa.
-“Sit” As Default Behavior. “Sit” is one of the first behaviors we teach. Even after the dog knows it well we reinforce “sit” so heavily that it becomes his “default behavior” – what he does when he doesn’t know what else to do. Teach your dog to sit by holding a treat at the end of his nose and moving it slowly back a few inches, clicking and treating when his bottom touches ground.
Alternatively, shape it by clicking and treating for slightly lowered hind end until touchdown, and/or click for offered sits. Then shape longer sits. If he already knows sit, start reinforcing it every time he does it until he sits for anything and nothing. When you have installed “sit” as his default, things like the “Wait” exercises (below) and “Go wild and freeze” (See “More Steps to a Calm Dog,” page 19) happen very easily.
-Wait. “Wait” is especially useful for dogs who are short on impulse control. I teach it using food bowls and doorways. “Wait” then easily generalizes to other situations.
-Wait for Food: With your dog sitting at your side, tell him to “Wait.” Hold his bowl (with food in it, topped with tasty treats) chest-high, then move it toward the floor 4 to 6 inches. If your dog stays sitting, click and feed him a treat from the bowl as you raise it back up to your chest. If your dog gets up, say “Oops!” and ask him to sit again. If he gets up several times in a row, you’re asking for too much too soon; lower the bowl in smaller increments.
If he remains sitting, lower the bowl 4 to 6 inches again, and click and treat for his continued sitting. Repeat several times until he consistently remains sitting as you lower the bowl. Gradually move the bowl closer to the floor with succeeding repetitions until you can place it on the floor without your dog getting up. Finally, place the bowl on the floor and tell him to eat. After he’s had a few bites, lift the bowl up and try again. Repeat these steps until you can easily place the bowl on the floor and he doesn’t move until you give him permission.
Caution: If your dog guards resources such as his food bowl, consult with a qualified positive behavior professional before trying this exercise.
-Wait at the Door: With your dog sitting at your side, tell him to “wait.” Reach for the doorknob. If he doesn’t move, click and treat. Repeat this step several times. Then jiggle the doorknob. Click and reward him for not moving. Repeat this step several times. Slowly open the door a crack. Again, click and treat if he doesn’t move, and repeat. Gradually open the door farther, an inch or two at a time. Do several repetitions at each step, with clicks and treats each time.
Eventually you’ll walk all the way through the door, stop, and face your dog, without having him move. Wait a few seconds, click, then return and give him a tasty treat. Of course, occasionally you’ll actually give him permission to go out the door!
Squid does a variation of “Wait at the door” in his pen and kennel. With the dog on the inside and human on the outside, I reach for the latch. If he jumps up, I pull my hand away. If he sits, I continue with the gate-opening process. Each time he jumps up, the process stops. If he exercises self-control the gate opens and he earns his freedom.
A Happy Future
Using a combination of exercise, training, and management, I am wildly optimistic that I can help Squid chill out, pass his shelter assessment, and find his forever home. If, after reading all this you still think your dog suffers from clinical hyperactivity or ADHD, then it’s time to visit a qualified behavior professional for help. More likely though, using the same combination of exercise, training, and management, you can ensure your own dog’s calm and happy future in your family.