Monday, December 28, 2009

House-Training Dogs Who are Visiting Your Home

My inquisitive canine Poncho the dog was working overtime yesterday (while hubby and I were stuck in traffic) to help our friend Karen Lee Stevens of All For Animals. She had written to us about providing a few dog training tips she could use while taking care of a foster dog Tinker during the holidays.

Poncho did an excellent job of providing dog training tips on his Poncho's Prose blog, including making sure she was creating pleasant associations so Tinker would enjoy anything new &/or different - people she met, places she went or situations she encountered. Poncho also included tips that focused on house-training for dogs and how best to introduce cats and dogs, especially since Karen is the proud parent of Bella, a doggy loving kitty cat.

Karen, who is a columnist, editor and writer herself, had a follow-up question regarding the issue of house-training. Well, I thought I'd give my hard working inquisitive canine some time to relax (it is his favorite day - Garbage Truck Monday) and I've addressed it myself. The following is Karen's question to me, with my answer - hopefully Poncho will approve.

If you too have any questions, please feel free to submit them to our Dear Inquisitive Canine dog behavior advice column that can be found on both Noozhawk and Powerwomen Magazine, both online news websites.

Thank you for such a thoughtful blog, just for Tinker and I!!! She spent the first night at my house last night and I quickly discovered that she's not housetrained!! Three accidents, including one on the bed. I take her outside every two hours and she won't go, but the minute I bring her back inside, she lets loose. Do you think scented potty pads will help?!
Other than that, she and my cat are doing great together -- Miss Bella is especially interested in the new variety of food being served in the kitchen. :)
Best, Karen
Hey there Karen! As a certified professional dog trainer (and in my personal opinion), taking the extra time to teach Tinker to eliminate outside (or the #1 place you want her to go) is ideal - as opposed to allowing her to potty in multiple places. Unless you live in a high rise building or your living situation (weather/your age/your physical limits/dogs age/dogs physical limitations) doesn't allow you to take your dog outside, then I personally like to avoid pee pads. Dogs don't discriminate too easily between pee pads and a nice soft mattress :-)

So, these are a few things I'd suggest you do:
  • First thing in the morning or 30 minutes after you feed her, grab your laptop, newspaper (for reading), DS, iPod, favorite book, a snack for yourself, and a yummy treat for Tinker, put her on leash, get her outside where you want her to go, and wait...wait...wait...walk her around to sniff...wait...wait...wait...walk her around...And as soon as she goes - reward her heavily with petting, praise, and that yummy treat you've been holding in your pocket! You're basically throwing a huge potty-party! If it's safe you can take her off leash too for fun and games...(freedom is another reward).
  • The "enrichment" for yourself is so you're entertained while ignoring her. Try to refrain from saying things like "go potty honey" - because until she knows what that cue means, you'll be wasting your breath - and probably getting more frustrated.
  • If you've waited for at least 15 minutes, and she still hasn't gone to the bathroom, then bring her back in, but keep her tethered to you, or in your lap - Don't allow her to wander off on her own...Then, take her out every 20-30 minutes until she's gone! She will go, trust me! You just have to be patient.
  • Oh, and finally, once you've started the reward process, continue doing it over and over and over....we can never be thanked enough times for performing behaviors others want from us :-)
Speaking of, THANK YOU for writing to me and trusting me to help you reach your goals!

For additional house-training tips for you and Tinker, please see Poncho's blog posts on house-training dogs from a canines point of view, and my own dog training house-training tips right here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

APDT Announces January 2010 as Official Dog Training Month!

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers has recently announced that January is "National train your dog month!" Perfect timing! What better way to begin the new year? This is one new years resolution that should be at the top of your list. For those adopting a new puppy or adult dog you might want to sign up for a dog training class or even private dog training sessions.

For those seasoned dog guardians wanting to do something different with your dog you could certainly take a fun dog training class or play the Out of the Box Dog Training Game. Either way, working with your dog in a fun and productive way will help build the behaviors you want while reaching your goals!

The holiday season is a popular adoption month for puppies and adult dogs. This could be one reason the APDT decided on January. This is certainly why I have my own dog training classes beginning on January 9th. There is the 3-session puppy class through Ventura College Community Education, and my Good Manners dog training class (the old fashioned name for this would be "dog obedience class", but I prefer "manners") at the Inquisitive Canine dog training studio here in Ventura.

For those whose schedules don't allow for dog training classes, my Out of the Box Dog Training Game is a perfect and "pawsitive" solution for working training into your busy life - whether it's in the official "National train your dog month", or anytime you and your dog want to have fun and rewarding times together.

Poncho and I wish you all the best for a rewarding 2010, and may January kick your dog training skills off on the right paw!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Help During the Grieving Process With the Loss of a Beloved Pet

My friend Colleen Mihelich is an animal lover and pet loss expert who founded Peternity - a company dedicated to helping others celebrate the life and love of their furry friends. She also has the wonderful and informative Peternity blog, where she offers heartfelt stories, along with enlightening guidance on how to cope when you do lose a beloved pet. I know I dread the day, but I am comforted knowing she will be there for me if and when that day comes.

One of her latest posts was on Pet Loss Tips for Getting Through the Holidays. A few pet loss grieving tips she talked about were:
  • How to spend your time.
  • How to help others while helping yourself grieve.
  • How to honor your pet.
  • How to deal with your emotions.
After reading through the content, I'd say one can use this information any time of the year - although, I know the holidays can be quite tough - especially since our non-human family members mean so much to us.

To read more about pet grieving tips from Colleen, please click here to see the Peternity blog post - You can also check out her Peternity website to share, heal, and help - both yourself and others.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Animal Rescue Groups Great Options for Gifts and Recognition

Whether it be a holiday celebration that unites the entire planet, or one in which we celebrate an individual person gifts are something we think about year long. What's another option for giving when you've run out of ideas, or you just want to do something different? How about donating to a special non-profit group?

For my complimentary webinars I ask attendees if they want to give back in some way that a donation to one of the above charities,or one of their own choice, is always welcomed and appreciated. Similar to paying it forward.

Some of mine and Poncho's personal favorites for dogs and other non-human animals are:
  1. The Canine Adoption and Rescue League (C.A.R.L.) This is Ventura's local non-profit dog rescue group.
  2. Dog Adoption and Welfare Group (D.A.W.G.) A non-profit dog rescue in Santa Barbara (I see them at some of my running events - they have great teams!)
  3. Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. What an awesome group!
  4. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
  5. The Humane of the United States
For human charities both my husband and I support the American Cancer Society. We both lost parents to cancer and like to support those who have supported us.

Thanks to all who spend the time thinking of others, and giving back in some way or another.