Doggy Blog

Why does my dog dig?

When I was a kid, we had a mixed poodle dog.  We were taking care of it for my mom’s friend.  This dog, Brandy, had a white curly coat.  The first day we had him was not a great day.  It was rainy outside and whenever we let him out, he would come back dark and covered with mud.  My mom would wash him and dry him several times that day as Brandy’s repetitive adventure of digging and burrowing in the mud was fun for him.

A typical question asked is why do dogs dig?

It could be genetic such as with the Terrier group.  These dogs were brought up to dig holes in search of burrowing rodents.  With other dogs, digging is fun.  It’s a way to burn off energy and to keep themselves busy.  Digging could also be due to a dog having anxiety or stressed when left alone for long periods.  Then there are the escape artists, dogs that manage to dig big enough holes under a fence to get out.

Digging is a difficult behavioural problem to fix.  It is definitely not an overnight fix.  Some of the solutions to prevent a dog from digging is to keep the dog away from the area and not to leave the him or her unsupervised. One should never scold a dog while and/or after it has dug since this will induce fear and lower its confidence.

Catching the dog in the act and following through immediately with an obedience routine is a good way to help correct the dog in this behaviour.  Also, by continuing with a daily positive and motivational dog obedience training routine, it will help keep the dog busy and build on his or her confidence.

Begging at the table

Imagine this, you’re going to a dinner party.  As you approach closer to your destination, you can smell that aroma of a scrumptious dinner.  That aroma invites you in as it would for a dog while you’re opening the oven door to a roast Turkey.

You can imagine that with a dog’s nose known to be more sensitive than a human’s, it’s going to want a piece of that Turkey.  Once a piece of food accidentally falls on the floor and the dog lunges for it, this action can become repetitive if the behavior is not corrected.

The meal is finally on the table. Your dog follows you as you sit down and he/she waits for you to give food from the table.  If lucky, a piece of food does fall on the floor for him or her to pounce on.  Once you have started giving food from the table, the dog will most likely remain there until your meal is finished. This can lead to the dog repeating the same behavior.

It’s amazing to see how dogs act by begging at the table for some food scraps.  There could be whining, shaking, growling, howling, tugging and nudging your leg for attention.  If those don’t work, then the next step would be for the dog to try to jump on your lap or even on the table.  A dog jumping onto a table may lead to another unwanted behavior such as counter surfing.  In other words, if a dog can manage to find a way onto a chair, it can get onto a table to get to the food on the table.

Another reason why you shouldn’t give food from the table is to prevent your dog from getting sick eating unhealthy food (i.e. spicy).  You may be able to monitor what you give your dog at the table, but there’s always the chance of something dropping on the floor or a guest feeling sorry and giving in.

There are different ways to correct the begging behavior.  When at the dinner table, refrain altogether from giving food to your dog from the table.  Having an area gated or your dog in a crate can be a good preventative measure.

Once again, it’s important to note that once the dog has started to beg at the table and is rewarded with food, he or she will likely be there every time you sit down for a meal.

Utilizing a daily consistent positive and motivational training routine can help modify this behaviour.

Are you giving/receiving a dog for Christmas?

It can be an exciting and exhilarating time to receive a puppy or dog during Christmas.  Although it can be a great experience to own a dog as a companion, it also comes with responsibilities and necessities to form a long-lasting bond.

The following is a general spectrum of requirements of owning a dog and enjoying its companionship.

First off, deciding on the sex, size, and the breed of the dog can be a little adventurous and interesting.  Some typical questions such as how much does it shed, how big does it get, and how hard is it to maintain are generally asked among others.

One of the most important factors in giving or receiving a dog is indeed making time to spend with him or her.  Also, one has to be sure it fits his or her lifestyle.  Also, being patient during the adjustment period of a puppy or dog arriving into a new environment is vital.

Such things as making sure that the home and/or property is safe and secure for the puppy/dog is important as well.  For example, providing a crate and/or fenced property would not only make it safer but also easier to watch over the dog/puppy.  Also, especially during Christmas, one must make sure that there are no goodies such as chocolate (very toxic to a dog) that can be easily accessible. 

For identification purposes, a dog can carry a city and name tag in case it does get lost.  Microchipping is also used as a form of identification when a lost dog is found.

Another important responsibility in owning a dog is to have it groomed on regular basis as well as having it checked by your local veterinary.   Also, making sure that a well-balanced meal is given to the dog each time it’s being fed.  A good source of dry kibble with a bit of rice (starting slow with a small ratio) and vegetable juice (no garlic or onion) drizzled on top of the meal could be very appetizing for a dog.  Only COOKED MEAT, and no RAW MEAT, can also be used in the diet within moderation.

The importance of neutering and spaying a dog is also common when it is of an appropriate age to do so.

Dog obedience training is also very important in that it helps build a growing bond between the owner and the dog.  Having one’s dog obedience trained has many benefits.  For one, it builds a strong bond between the dog and owner.  Dog training not only increases the confidence and sets the boundaries of the dog, but it also gives it a job to do.  In other words, a dog that does nothing and sits there equals to boredom which leads to barking, chewing, jumping, digging, and may I say more? 

There are many dog trainers that use different methods.

The methods we use are proven to work only if one is consistent and patient with the dog obedience training.  We don’t use treats and neither do we use any form of aggression.  We use a “play and praise” method .  In other words, we use lots of motivation and positive reinforcement to help guide the dog as it learns and builds its confidence.

We wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Why does my dog bark?

There are many reasons that a dog may bark.  Some of the main causes of barking could be out of fear, boredom, separation anxiety, attention seeking, and feeling unwell or having health problems.

Also, since dogs have very sensitive ears and noses, they could react to distant noises or smells by barking as a way of alerting.  Footstep sounds approaching from outside a house or a knock at the door could also make a dog bark.  Sudden sounds such as loud backfire from a car or fireworks could also be startling to a dog which would lead it to bark.

Some dogs may bark or growl due to fear or fear/aggression.  It can be considered a guarding technique by a dog that is insecure or not confident when approached by a person and/or dog.

Boredom also plays a factor when it comes to needless barking.  A dog needs a job to do.  For example, a Border Collie is genetically bred to herd sheep. If someone does not have sheep or a job for the Border Collie, then it will try to find something to do such as herd people, children and/or dogs while using its form of communication, barking.

Separation anxiety is also a contributing factor to when a dog could be barking.  When a dog is left alone from the family pack, it will bark to get some attention.  On the other hand, a dog could react by barking when it sees its owner after a period of time apart.

Different remedies could help modify unwanted barking behaviour and one of them is to obedience train the dog daily. In involving one’s dog with consistent positive and motivational obedience training, you are in essence giving it work to do.   By doing this, you are not only decreasing its boredom and unwanted barking behaviour, but you could also be building its confidence to a higher level.

Degenerative Myelopathy: Wicked and Deadly Disease

Degenerative Myelopathy, such a weird and scary term for a name of a disease.  In layman terms, it is a sickening and wicked disabling disease.  A disease that eventually crushes down the health of a dog.  It is said that it is compared to the Lou Gehrig or ALS disease in humans.

In short, Degenerative Myelopathy is a disease that there is no cure.  It starts as a deterioration of the middle core of the spinal column.  As this happens, the dog will start to lose sensation and motor skill of the hind legs.  It happens to specific breeds and the German Shepherd is one of them.  This disease can occur when the dog is approximately 9 years old and up.  More specific information is available on the internet.

At first, I did not know much about Degenerative Myelopathy until symptoms, as described earlier, were observed on our dog, Duke.  The first problem Duke experienced was slight wobbling of his hind legs and then after a period of time, dragging of his hind legs.  His walk was slower and one could hear the slight dragging of his nails as they rubbed against the ground.

As the disease progressed further, there was a loss of further sensation and he could no longer wag his tail. Duke needed more time in getting up and in the latter stage he could not get up on his own.  Assistance was given by using a harness to bring him out regularly so that he could relieve himself even though some mistakes were made in the house.

Gentle care was given and a decision was made to take care of Duke at home.  A dog wheelchair was purchased for him so that he could keep mobile by utilizing his two front legs.  At first it was difficult for him to get used to the balance and mobility of the wheelchair. With motivation and praise, just as in dog training, he became more successful. It gave him a chance to roam around giving him some freedom as his hind legs no longer had the strength to support his back legs.

As time progressed, Duke refused to eat or drink as this is what happens in the later stages of this disease. At this point, we noticed that the strength in his legs weakened further to the point he was not able to stand up.  With further research, it stated that the disease is painless and that the dog does not suffer.

We provided hospice care at home and by hand we fed Duke apple slices since this was only thing he wanted to nibble.  We also made sure his mouth was kept moist by using a water dropper.  Changing Duke’s diaper was a regular routine.  Also, we flipped him on different sides as he rested so as to minimize any bedsores.

It is true that dogs do keep a schedule, whether it’s meal time, training, play time, bed time or other routines.   Duke waited for my return from work to take his final breath.

The latest on a cure for the Degenerative Myelopathy is that breeders are trying to breed out the gene that affects this disease.  However, this will take some time and we only hope that a medicine will be available to help these poor dogs afflicted by this deadly disease.

This story is in honor of our Duke, and in no way is advocating what decision to take when a dog is in the grave stages of illness.  Our decision in care was carried through by knowing through Duke’s eyes that he wanted to remain with us as long as it took until the end.

Under The Apple Tree

It is with great sadness that our dear companion, Duke, has passed away peacefully today.

 

Under The Apple Tree

By: Tony Giotto

 

Under the apple tree sits a dog called Captain Radar Duke or just “Duke”,

That was his name and it was no fluke.

 

Duke liked working, playing, watching, eating apples and napping on a comfy mat,

He was a true friend and kept on guard when he stood or even as he sat.

 

As Duke slowed down on his swiftness and run,

He never gave up as he reached for the sun.

 

Leaving us now as Duke runs freely onto his next journey,

Duke will always be remembered as a true dear companion for you and me.

Why is raw meat feeding not good for dogs?

Here’s a great article by Stephanie L. Prewitt, Canine Behaviorist, Master Dog Trainer and Dog Psychology Expert, on why raw meat feeding is not good for dogs.

 

 

 

With this handy tip, it is also important to add a positive and motivational daily obedience training routine.

Call A-Z Canine Training today for a phone consultation at (604) 341 6509

 

How do I “potty train” my puppy?

In our last blog, we had described several good points on crate training for your puppy.  One of the points was using a crate to prevent one’s puppy from soiling within the home.

Generally, a puppy and/or dog do not favor soiling within their sleeping quarters which would be the crate.  In the initial phase of puppy crate training, one is to expect mistakes within the crate.  However, one will notice that the soiling is done at the furthest point of the crate compared to where the puppy sleeps.  If the puppy does soil within the crate and gets dirty, it is vitally important to never scold him or her.

Training your puppy to soil elsewhere such as outside does take time, patience and consistency.  A good indicator of when a puppy has to soil is generally after a meal or when excited after play.  Depending on the age of the puppy, it can take time for bladder and bowel to develop so that it can hold it for a longer period.

One way to help guide your puppy is to fill the crate or an empty room with newspaper.  Each time your puppy soils on a newspaper page, that sheet would be removed while leaving the rest behind.  Eventually, one newspaper sheet will remain.  Afterwards, one would place a newspaper page on the ground trailing to the door and eventually to the designated area. Training the puppy with a command such as “Go Pee” or “Go Poo” would also be utilized.

If the puppy does make mistakes outside the newspaper area, it is important to not scold him or her.  Instead, just simply start again and make sure you praise the puppy each time it soils in the designated area.

With this handy tip, it is also important to add a positive and motivational daily puppy obedience training to the routine.

We would be happy to help you with more information at:   604 341-6509.

Sitting by the Fireplace by: Tony Giotto

Sitting by the Fireplace
By: Tony Giotto

Sitting by the fireplace while patting my dog, Duke,
Christmas is almost here and it’s no fluke.
As I watch the clock and hear its chime,
I look at Duke and wonder how fast this year has gone this time.
Further back as I look at Duke at a young age,
I see him now turning around as one would flip a book page.
Playing and working, that’s it,
Duke has always been loving and fit.
As Duke gets up slowly and looks up at me,
I smile, pick up my cup and sip slowly the hot tea.
It seems like Duke smiles as he lies back down and curls into a ball,
I look at the fireplace and think back how it was waiting for Santa to come down the chimney wall.

 

A-Z Canine Training would like to extend best wishes to everyone for a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year!

I got a cute puppy but he keeps biting me and chewing my furniture. What can I do to stop it?

It can be a thrilling and exciting experience to own a puppy. One of the problems that can occur with a puppy is biting and chewing. At this stage, all is new to a puppy including their sensory and surroundings. If left unsupervised, they can run into a bit of mischief. However, with proper puppy training as early as at eight weeks, one can start to build a good foundation for the dog’s later years.

Biting is a normal problem that puppies tend to do since they are teething. Anything as soft as a hand going into a puppy’s mouth, is joy to a puppy but pain to the owner. Also, chewing such things as furniture, walls, carpet and any other inappropriate items could not only be damaging to the household but harmful for the puppy’s health.

It is always good idea to have the puppy supervised and socialized as being part of the family. One choice is to have an enclosed area where the puppy can be contained and controlled with direct supervision. The puppy should have safe toys in this area but again always being watched for any problems.

Another method to use to avoid the puppy chewing or biting is to replace it with a chew toy. For example, if the puppy chews on a leash while taking it out for a walk, with proper training, one could replace that habit by giving it a chew toy instead. This will take time, patience and consistency for the puppy to realize that the toy is fine to chew on rather than the leash. This can be applied to any other inappropriate chewing or biting that the puppy is doing. Also, having a chew toy ready is always a good idea especially when the puppy is about to bite your hand.

Providing a positive and motivational reinforcement approach to a daily puppy training obedience routine will help modify this behavior problem.