Dog owners can agree that their companions are truly a part of their family. There is a tremendous about of information and resources to help dog owners improve the quality of their best friend’s life and the opportunity to learn from a specialist in the field is valuable. But what about those basic questions that people wonder about, but never ask?
Charlotte Reed is a popular pet expert and author of Miss Fido Manners and she was kind enough to share her thoughts on a few, basic dog ownership questions that may have crossed your mind.
Doggy Day Care is a popular service for dog owners nervous about leaving Fido home alone. Working a full time job, especially during the winter months, doesn’t leave humans and their companions much outdoor and socializing time during the week, which is why doggy day cares are popping up all over the city. But is taking your dog to day care a good idea?
There are many ways to socialize your dogs these days. Dog owners with their charges can visit the dog park; participate in Meetup.com canine groups, as well as utilize doggy day care facilities. In the last ten years, dog daycares have become the norm on the dog scene because working pet parents have use these facilities like “day camps” while they are at work. I do like the idea of doggy daycare, and suggest this concept to clients, especially those whom have larger, active breeds (Viszlas, Weimaraner, etc. ). However, I only recommend this option two days a week. I am a firm believer that most dogs do need to fit into owners’ lifestyles. Moreover, it is unrealistic for dogs to be at doggy day care five days a week for the rest of their lives. And, of course it is expensive. I suggest to working parents that with this option, they also consider hiring dog walkers the other days of the week. I believe that dogs have to get use to being home alone, too. Dogs that spend too much time at doggy daycare have a hard time settling down and bark more. It is understandable– at doggy day care, dogs are playing all day and barking with their friends to communicate.
Additionally, some pet owners use doggy daycare as a quick fix, instead of dealing with behavioral problems. For dogs that are destructive or suffer from separation anxiety, doggie daycare has served as a easy fix for these problems– get the dog out of the house. Instead, I recommend dog owners spend the time and the money to deal with these problems with a good dog trainer and/or veterinary behaviorist so that they will solve the problem sooner than later as well as have a better relationship with their dog.
In terms of choosing a doggie daycare facility, discuss this type of care option with your vet and ask him to recommend a facility. Before leaving your dog, check it out. Ask yourself– is it clean? Are the staff good with people and great with dogs? How are the dogs cared for, sorted, and monitored? How do they handle emergencies like fights, vet care, fires? Most importantly, do they temper test dogs before they admit them to the various play groups? Make sure that they have all your contact information and ask for proof of vaccination and rabies. Also, beware! Even if the facility is clean, your dog could come home with Kennel Cough or suffer from other health issues.
The Doggy Lean – dog owners quickly become familiar with The Doggy Lean, which is when their pooch siddles over to their legs and leans in for some affection. Dog owners may have also been told that it’s not a great idea to reward such behavior with affection. This can cause confusion, because humans are taught that affection is good?
I don’t have a problem with my dog coming over to me for affection. It is my choice to give her the affection she desires. In most cases, I would encourage her to perform or work for her reward my love. For example, I could ask her to sit. Once she does, I would then, pet her. My dogs sleep in my bed and lie on my furniture. The difference is that if I tell them to get off the bed or the furniture, they do. Training goes on all day long, in my house. My dogs sit for rewards like pets, treats, kisses. They must “work” to go out for a walk with a Sit-Stay. Training keeps dogs healthy, active and stimulated. Additionally, it keeps the your canine-human bond of love and trust strong.
One is a social butterfly and the other is a wall flower. Can two dogs from the same litter truly have distinct dog-alities?
When adopting or purchasing a dog, potential dog owners should take breed tendencies into consideration (i.e.- Terriers have a tendency to bark, chase, dig, etc.) Additionally, just like people, dog siblings can have very distinct personalities. I have four English Toy Spaniels – two brothers (not littermates), their first cousin (on their father’s side) and their third cousin and no two of them are exactly alike, personality wise. I suggest to you appreciate your dogs’ differences and understand their personalities so that you can help them grow into confident dogs. Take Sydney to training class so that she can feel confident around other dogs and people. Fun and games training and/or agility is great for dog that are shy.
The Alpha Roll Over
An alpha roll is a dog training technique to discipline a misbehaving dog. It involves flipping the dog onto its back and holding it in that position. Specifically, this theory teaches the trainer/owner is the pack leader or alpha <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_ (biology)> animal to the dog. I do not use this technique in my training program. I believe in positive reinforcement training. Although I train with food, I use it as a motivator not an enabler.
And besides, not all dogs are motivated by food. Yes, hard to believe!
My train style is very tailored to the individual and his dog. In my training program, I take time finding out about my client and his dog. (the who, what, where, when and why) Once I teach the basics (Come, Sit, Stay and etc.), I help the client integrate basic training into his lifestyle. My last classes is always dedicated to “petiquette,” teachingdog owners they are doggy ambassadors where ever they go and they must act accordingly by being considerate and follow the laws of their municipality.
Charlotte Reed is the woman behind Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette. “It’s not always the dog that needs a lesson in good manners.” Good point, Charlotte. Charolotte’s book is available through her site and on Amazon.
What basic dog parenting questions do you have?