Monday, November 23, 2009

The "Stay" command

Hungry dogs wait patiently while watching the pack leader's face for permission to begin dinner.


Once again, I will emphasize the importance of the "Stay" command. Many, many dog owners and trainers believe the "Come" command is the most important of lessons for your dog. I believe "Stay" has more overall value for your dog.

If your dog assimilates the self-restraint involved with learning to stay, he/she is better able to handle the stress of the dog world. Stress such as: being left alone at home, not being allowed to eat all those delicious items off the street, not being allowed to bark insults at other dogs on the street, not being allowed to chew on furniture, and much, much more. 

After all, humans learn restraint and use it everyday to handle situations we don't like. Humans have to "stay" in line at the store. Humans wait for food to be prepared even when ravenously hungry. Humans don't attack or shove people who get in their way. We learned this when we were young. When we were very young and wanted something, we just tried to grab it.

When your dog learns to stay or wait, she/he also learns how to be patient. This patience helps the dog from becoming overly frustrated and stressed when not being able to eat or do something he/she wants. Your dog does not want you to leave whenever you go out. But if they have developed patience, they are better able to hunker down and wait for your return (as opposed to freaking out for hours while you are gone).

"Come" is a lovely command which I also taught my dogs. However, would you prefer a neurotic dog who comes when called or a happy dog who sometimes ignores you. (You can actually have a happy dog who always comes, but I am attempting to emphasize a point).

One of the best opportunities to practice "stay" is at feeding time.

Another wonderful benefit to "stay"...I can go inside to get my morning coffee   (No dogs allowed!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Training Tips: "Whispering"

Video by Ben Howdeshell

We hear the term "dog whisperer" often; there is a TV show using this phrase. "Horse Whisperer" is also used describing great horse trainers. Why is this? How can "whispering" help you with your dog?

Using fewer or softer words (whispering) forces one to rely more on body language, which is the dog's natural way of communicating. It is much more effective to communicate on a dog's terms rather than expecting your dog to communicate on your terms. I like to think that we are the more intelligent species (although sometimes I wonder).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No Dogs Allowed. Chapter 1: The Bus

Waiting at the bus stop.

Unfortunately, no matter how well-behaved one's dog is, there have been some poorly behaved dogs beforehand, running amok and getting a bunch of rules instituted.
We know these rules well.
No dogs allowed! No dogs in restaurants. No dogs in stores with food. No dogs in the subway or buses. Etc... The list goes on.

For this particular night, we wanted to travel via bus and lacked the proper crate. The only thing I could find was an L.L. Bean tote and it was too small! Dailo's head was sticking way too far out and we had to get to Dog Island City to teach a class!
This was going to take a bit of trickery.

After zipping by the driver in such a manner as to not reveal the stowaway (have the head pointed backward), I head to the rear of the bus as quickly as possible and hide in the back! Shhhh! We're on our way...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Good dogs sit and wait patiently during pick-ups or drop-offs

Learning to be still is both challenging and rewarding for dogs. Self-control helps dogs to maintain calm, especially when left alone or not allowed to do something they would like (e.g. chewing your shoes).

"Stay" is a command I value more than "come".
When a dog has self-control, they are much calmer and able to withstand stress; like being left alone at home.

I teach any dog I come into contact with (through walking, training, or sitting) the sit/stay command.

I have always found it interesting how quickly the new dog learns to sit/stay simply from watching all the surrounding dogs. 

Alternative to Friday Night Drinking

It was about 11pm. 

It did occur to me that it might be fun (and normal?) to be out at a bar or restaurant or lounge sipping something strong and sedative. 

Isn't that what Friday nights are for?
Out and about with friends to unwind from a long, hard work week?

Well...isn't the dog man's best friend? And playing fetch was very satisfying-very stress relieving. Especially seeing the grin on Dailo's face; later it was Momo, another Aussie and Dailo's partner in crime.

Fetch is a great way to exercise your dog! Easy for the for the fetcher!

One has to be careful about disturbing the neighbors...especially if they aren't dog lovers. (We will speak more about those people later).
But in this case it was Friday night, so they were all out on the town.
The hallway was ours!