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- Tampa’s Dog Trainer: What to Get Your Dog for the Holidays!
- Tampa Dog Trainer Jan Casey: A Pawsful Holiday Season!
- Tampa Dog Trainer has Concerns About In Ground Electric Fencing
- The DogSmith Tampa Pet Care Services – Programs For Every Occasion!
- Client Loves Courteous Canine Group Classes Tampa Florida
Yes, the countdown is on! As you read this, there are 17 days or less in which to find that perfect gift for Phideaux or Phluffy. According to the AP-Petside.com poll, if you plan to buy your pet a gift, you are in the majority – 51% of owners will be shopping for their favorite pets as well. Just as with shopping for our human companions, what to buy for pets varies with breed, age, size, and species.
For many of us, shopping has taken a backseat to work and the opportunity to visit stores to see what items are available to excite the fluffies has been nonexistent. I turned to good friend and fellow Pet Professional Guild member Leslie McGavin Clifton of Dog Kingdom Pet Supply (http://www.
- Toys – do we really consider it Christmas without new toys under the tree? West Paws has a Tux and a Tizzi that are ideal for dogs. They are stuffable, guaranteed against dog damage, and made in the USA. At least one very special dog I know (Buzz) will be thrilled to learn the Tizzi floats, making it great for dock jumping practice! Check out the Squishy Face Flirt Poles – these are excellent toys for people who experience limited mobility or who are stuck inside with a high drive dog in need of exercise on days when the weather is nasty.
- Puzzles – Dogs are thinking creatures. They don’t get much out of television or just sitting around the house all day. This may cause them to find ways to keep themselves amused – ways that you won’t like. Help your dog become mentally exhausted – try some of the Ottoson dog puzzles such as the Dog Buster Maze or the Dog Miracle. You can even turn mealtime into a mind adventure with a Green Slow Feeder Brake-fast Bowl (also great way to help your dog from eating too quickly).
- Cats – Yes, Phluffy gets bored as well. There are really only so many hours one can enjoy sleep or watching birds and lizards that are unobtainable. How about the Aikiou Stimulo Interactive Feeder to help get The Phluff thinking? Working for food is something cats do naturally, so this will help stimulate her brain. While she may not be able to interact with it directly, The Cat would most likely be thrilled if you would invest in the e-download “What is My Cat Saying – Feline Communication 101.” She does tire of trying to explain things to you repeatedly and this may speed up your understanding.
- Treats – Yes, no holiday is complete for your pet without the gift of food! Thunder Treats contain lavender and chamomile and can help soothe a frightened dog (why not add a CD of Through A Dog’s Ear, Calming Spray, and a Thunder Shirt, too?). How about some Bare Bites Beef Liver to say thanks for being a great dog?
- Beds – I know when I got a new mattress several years ago, I got a much better night’s sleep and it made me feel great. How about a new bed for the dog and/or the cat? They would probably appreciate a new Bumper Bed or mat for napping next to your desk as you work on the computer. While you are at it, teach “Relax” on a new blanket, then take the blanket with you to help your pet stay calm when traveling.
Have a pet lover in the family and want to give him or her something special? Check out Soggy Doggy Door Mats, a great way to capture the mud, snow, water that your dog brings in after an outing in bad weather. How about a Freedom Harness to control the pulling so walks become pleasurable? Treat bags, clickers, walking and running belts, all are great additions to a dog lover’s accessory bin.
Please consider helping the animals at your local shelter this year. They have no family to provide for them. Items such as blankets, bath towels, stamps, food (check to see what brand they prefer), bleach, and, of course, monetary donations are often welcomed. If you have some spare time, ask about volunteering or fostering. The best gift, by far, would be to adopt a dog or cat if you have room in your heart and home.
For some, physical gifts may be a luxury they cannot afford this year. Please remember that being with you and playing with you are the most important things in the world to your pet. They do not judge us by comparing what gifts they receive versus what another pet receives from his owner. They simply seek our companionship. In turn, they give us everything they have – their love and devotion. Perhaps those are the greatest gifts we could ever expect to give or receive.
Tampa’s Dog Trainer: Jan Casey, MS – Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Diploma, Canine Behavior and Science Technology – Companion Animal Sciences Institute
Senior Behavior Consultant – Courteous Canine, Inc/The DogSmith of Tampa
Dog and Cat Training, Dog Sports, Aggression and Behavior Modification
Ready or not, we’ve entered the holiday season. For pet owners, that can be a very trying time. Company has notified us of their impending visits, be it for a few hours or a few days. Obviously our routines will change and our schedules will be out of sync. The family pets thrive on pattern and routine and they will be some of the first to show their discomfort with the changes. Now is the time to plan ahead and work to help your pet handle the changes with finesse.
Consider what may cause your pets to become anxious. Will it be the people arriving at the door? How about mealtimes when the smell of cooking turkeys and hams fill the air and the dog is banished from being near the kitchen and the table? Do you and your dog have a regular routine in which she is exercised and now you find there is no time due to extra chores? Are you tense when having company, sending your dog the message that he should be tense, too?
There is no magic pill, no special “Perfect Dog in 7 Days” program, but you have a chance to make some improvements before the first guests arrive. Begin by teaching the dog to relax. It’s the first thing I teach in puppy classes now and people are always astounded at how calm that class is by week three. Grab some candles, spritz the air with lavender calming spray, and put on some soothing music, either classical or a CD from Through a Dog’s Ear (http://throughadogsear.com/).
Begin by reinforcing the dog on a mat, dropping small treats there. Use lower value treats, something that will not overly excite the dog. Ask the dog to lie down and begin some gentle massage or Tellington Touch (http://www.whole-dog-journal.
Work on polite greetings at the door with the help of family and friends. Have the person enter through the door as you drop treats on the ground for the dog. As the dog becomes calmer, ask for a “sit.” Build up to having the person knock or ring the doorbell before entering. Reward your dog for excellent behavior!
Got a drooly dog sitting by the table while you eat? Drag that mat back out and teach your dog to go to it on cue. Give her a frozen stuffed Kong® and let her enjoy that while you eat. You may need to tether her in the beginning (your cooking is probably tastier than whatever you used to stuff the toy). There is nothing wrong with rewarding with people food later, just don’t reinforce begging by feeding at the table.
It happens every year – with all the special holiday activities, exercising the dogs gets put on the bottom of the to-do list. Keeping them well exercised will pay off with better behavior, so don’t ignore their needs. Make sure they receive some type of tiring exercise every day the weather permits or consider hiring a dog walker so you can concentrate on holiday preparations. On the days when the weather keeps you inside, take time to teach the dog a trick. You’ll have the extra benefit of being able to entertain your company with Fido’s performance.
If you just can’t work out enough time for your dog, then at least make mealtime special. You have to feed them and take them outside anyway, so use these times as training times. Ask for a sit or down and a stay while you hold the food bowl. The bowl only goes on the ground if the dog maintains her position. This helps the dog learn impulse control, another valuable behavior. Want to go outside? Sit and wait on both sides of the doorway (unless the dog has been holding all day, in which case, save this for practice later).
Some folks may not want to train their dogs – they have no interest in it, feel unable to do so, or just really don’t have the time. Or the dog may not be around others because they are fearful. Don’t forget that management is acceptable. Pick a quiet room for the dog. Have his crate set up with a comfy bed inside, perhaps inside a closet if the dog is noise sensitive. Freeze some stuffed Kongs® in advance to dispense when company arrives. Keep the television or radio going to act as white noise. You may want to investigate a Comfort Zone diffuser, which replicates the pheromone a mother dog secretes as she nurses (it can be calming to many dogs).
Remember each situation is different. If your normally quiet household is going to become party central, consider boarding your dog. She may appreciate the quiet. Plan now so you and your pet can enjoy safe and peaceful holidays!
Jan Casey, MS – Tampa Dog Trainer Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Diploma, Canine Behavior and Science Technology – Companion Animal Sciences Institute
Senior Behavior Consultant – Courteous Canine, Inc/The DogSmith of Tampa
Dog and Cat Training, Dog Sports, Aggression and Behavior Modification
Tampa Dog Trainer has Concerns About In Ground Electric Fencing
By Jan Casey, Dog Behavior Consultant
It’s frustrating to have your dog run off — but I strongly recommend against in ground fencing for the following reasons that can be summed up as behavioral issues and safety:
1. The in ground fencing is designed to give the dog a shock as he approaches a boundary where a wire is buried. Dogs learn by making associations. This means that if a child or dog happened to be walking and your dog wants to say “hi” or wants to chase after them, he will be shocked. He will then associate the shock with the child or dog or bike or whatever. This may lead to aggression problems toward children, other dogs, bikes, cars, walkers/joggers, etc.
2. Fencing which shocks only the dog wearing the collar does not keep other animals and bad guys out. Aggressive dogs, coyotes, alligators, strangers with ill intent can still come in and harm your dog. This includes alligators and coyotes both of which routinely grab and consume dogs and cats.
3. If your dog wants what is on the other side of the fence badly enough, he will break through to get it. Since the fence projects the signal in all directions, he will not cross it again to come back in. Dogs unable to get home may be picked up by Animal Services and if they are not microchipped or identified quickly they may never be reunited with their owner.
4. Shock collars are extremely unreliable both mechanically and functionally. As a professional i have heard endless stories in which the switch that triggers shock stayed turned on, continuously shocking the dog. This or any accidental shocking can cause mental and physical injury to your dog. In addition, the batteries can give out and the dog will cross the property line, making the fence useless.
5. Fence installers consistently allow concerned owners to feel the shock the dog will experience, but when the setting is checked on the collar it is set at the highest setting. This bait and switch causes owners to think their dog will just experience a mild shock when in reality the installer cranks the collar up to the highest setting.
6. Many dog owners may not read the signs of stress and discomfort that an in ground fence causes dogs. As a result house training problems or other behavior problems begin to occur.
It is my suggestion to put in a real fence if possible or deer fencing which is inexpensive and removable. Deed restricted communities often times allow a small run to be placed behind shrubs. Even if you are limited to just on leash exercising this is still a better alternative than exposing your dog to the mental, physical and safety issues listed here.
For more information, please read The Shocking Truth: http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/resources/Documents/The%20Shocking%20Truth.pdf
If you are considering underground electric fencing, please reconsider, the benefits are not worth the risk.
Jan Casey is a Dog Behavior Consultant that offers dog behavior consults in Tampa, Florida at Courteous Canine, Inc. contact her at www.CourteousCanine.com
I just wanted to pop you guys a quick note to say a big THANK YOU, and especially Pam for doing such a fantastic job with your basic dog manners class. My 8-month old puppy Molly and I just finished our six week course, and we had such a great time, and learned SO MUCH. Molly is a better behaved and sweeter dog than she was before the class, and I know that I personally have been provided with a great foundation to model my own behavior better to bring out the best in her!
Pam was informative, relaxed and lots of fun to work with, and I can’t tell you how pleased we have been with our interaction with her.
We’re going to take some time off to enjoy what’s left of Molly’s puppyhood, but we are planning on enrolling in therapy dog training after the 1st of the year. We have a few things that we need to work on, but I know she’ll be ready based on the great foundation we have had with Courteous Canine so far.
Again, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU and please do not hesitate to contact me if you ever need any references!
JD. Tampa, FL
Come join us at Courteous Canine, Inc. for your dog’s next group class. We offer classes at three locations in the Tampa, FL area. For more information contact us www.CourteousCanine.com
Coyote Alert: Avoid Walking Pets Under 10 Pounds at Dusk and Dawn
Coyotes are moving from hunting and killing feral cats to small dogs. The Trapper Guy of Tampa Bay states that he is receiving a call a month to come to the New Tampa area to trap coyotes that have grabbed, killed and eaten small dogs. Common facts to the incidents are walking the dog at dusk or dawn and more importantly using a retractable leash. Apparently using a retractable leash is the same as using your dog for fishing bait, except the coyote is the fish. If your dog is attacked survival is highly unlikely. Courteous Canine, Inc. advocates against the use of retractable leashes (they cause rope burns and make controlling your dog difficult) but now there is another reason not to use them they could be a factor in causing the death of your pet. Courteous Canine, Inc. also recommends that small dogs not be left outside unsupervised and that dusk and dawn potty times be on leash only.
Happy SAFE walking, The Staff of Courteous Canine, Inc.
Courteous Canine, Inc. offers in home pet care, dog training and boarding in the Tampa, FL area. Contact us at www.CourteousCanine.com