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Author Archives: Eileen Tonick

About Eileen Tonick

Angel Dogs, provides dog training, puppy training, dog agility training, dog obedience training and therapy dog training throughout the Phoenix, Arizona Metro Area.

Dogs Invading Your Space

Do you have a dog who is constantly invading your space? They seem to be in your way, under your feet, blocking your path, nudging their nose under your hand while you are reading or typing, pressing up against you on your sofa or too close to you while you are on a walk. These dogs are often sweet attention-loving snugglers and it can be hard to discourage the behaviors because you may consider it cute or loving but at the same time it can become annoying.

Despite what you have heard, space invaders are not motivated by dominance. Your dog is not taking your space in a pre-emptive strike to take over your world. Usually dogs are simply seeking your attention, and have discovered the best ways to get it and that involves being in your space.

Although it can be annoying, at times it can be endearing and the dog gets reinforced for it. I am guilty as the next dog owner; I often pet Ziva when she nudges my hand or when Tank squeezes himself as closely to me on my sofa.

Since the behaviors sometimes get reinforced – behavior geeks call this an “intermittent schedule of reinforcement” – it’s really hard to stop them, because your dog knows that sooner or later the behaviors will, indeed, succeed in gaining your attention. When it’s hard to make a behavior go away, behavior geeks call this “resistant to extinction”. So the dog keeps trying until it finally works.

The great news is that you don’t have to make the behaviors go away. Instead, just teach your dog to respond to “incompatible behaviors” on cue – that is, behaviors she/he can’t do at the same time when she or he is hogging space. Your goal is to teach your dog several incompatible behaviors, and you will get along just fine: I can indulge in giving my dog attention when I feel like it, and ask her/him to do something else when I don’t.

Incompatible Behaviors

I have listed several behaviors you can teach your dog when they are invading your space.

  • Back Up: This cue is useful for space-hog dogs who like to park themselves directly in your path. You can “capture” the behavior with clicker training, the use of a lure or toy to entice the dog into backing up. To lure, hold a treat at your dog’s breastbone. As the dog leans or steps backward to follow it, click and treat. Let the dog back up on their own and add “Back” cue. Gradually, reduce the amount of luring, giving the dog time to figure out what you asked for with your cue, until the dog will back up on cue alone.
  • Touch: Teaching your dog to target their nose to your hand is to position your dog without having to physically move them.
  • Off: If the dog is on the furniture and you want them to get off this is a helpful exercise to get your dog to vacate your space.
  • Go to Your rug or dog bed: By teaching your dog a cue that means to go lie down on your bed you can get your dog to move to a specific location.
  • Wait, Stop or Stay: Are other training exercises to can help you with providing space between you and your dog.

When teaching your dog an exercise remember to set the exercise in a pattern, practice every day and be persistent in accomplishing your goals. Make the training fun and rewarding and in no time you will be well on your way to getting your dog to understand that space is good.

If you have a dog who is a space invader and you need help with training please don’t hesitate and contact me at Angel Dogs.

Dogs and Fireworks

The 4th of July is just around the corner and it is a time where dog owners can even loose their beloved pet. Some dogs react severely to firework noise and some could care less. Below I have listed a few suggestions to help a dog owner keep their reactive dog safe during the 4th of July.

  • Bring your dog indoors and make sure they cannot escape out of the house.
  • Crate your dog in the quietest room and check up on them periodically during the evening.
  • Darken the room and provide peaceful music.
  • If needed medicate your dog with the advise of your veterinarian.
  • During the day exercise your dog so they will be tired during the time when fireworks are used.
  • If you do not own a crate leash your dog and keep them with you.
  • Do not leave a dog unattended in a room by themselves they can get destructive and hurt themselves.
  • If you are going to a 4th of July party make sure someone is watching your dog.
  • Provide plenty of water for your dog he or she may pant a lot when stressed.
  • Do not use loud fireworks at your home use ones that do not make noise.

Even the day after the 4th some people will continue to set off fireworks just be aware and continue to provide safety for your dog. Enjoy the 4th of July and Happy Independence Day.

Dog Safety in the Summer Months

Dog safety during the summer is very important for several reasons but mostly your pet can die if in the heat too long. What can you do to insure that your pet is safe during the hottest summer months:

  • Never leave your dog in your car they can die within minutes.
  • Do not walk your dog during the hottest part of the day.
  • If you need to walk your dog keep the walk under 30 minutes and go during very early morning or late at night.
  • Bring water for your dog during the walk.
  • Test the ground if you cannot keep your hand on the sidewalk over 3 seconds than provide dog protective footwear such as dog booties.
  • Wet your dog down before the walk or provide a cool vest.
  • When outside provide plenty of cool fresh water and shade.
  • Keep an eye out on your dog when they go outside you do not want them outside very long especially during the hottest part of the day.
  • Provide a play pool with clean cool water if your dog needs to stay outside.
  • Provide misters and fans on the patio.
  • Some breeds like Pugs or French Bulldogs cannot tolerate heat so let them outside only to go potty.
  • If your dog does get heat stroke place them in room temperature water and immediately call your vet for instructions.
  • If your dog has high energy and needs to exercise consider a treadmill. If unsure how to train on a treadmill give me a call or contact a local trainer.

Hard of Hearing Dogs

I have a dog that went deaf around 8 years of age and now is totally deaf. I found out that Tank was going deaf by his response to noise. For instance, clapping behind him he seemed confused by where the noise was coming from and eventually didn’t respond at all. I took Tank to a specialist and my thoughts were confirmed Tank was at that time 80% deaf. Fortunately, I trained Tank with hand signals and that has been a tremendous help but the biggest issue is having Tank come to me if he was not facing me. That can be scary because if Tank should take off he could not hear things that could hurt him or even end his life. My world changed on how I handle and protect Tank and, now I want to share this information with other owners who are is facing the same issues as I.

In a class I teach students:

  1. How to teach your dog to focus or look at you with a touch and hand signal. Treats are a must in all of these exercises and a training collar. One exercise I like is the look at me game. Practice in a quiet area, have a treat bag attached to you, leash your dog and put the leash on the ground stepping on it so your dog cannot move away, and have the training collar on a low setting. Put the treat under the dog’s nose so they can smell it than quickly move the treat to your nose as the dog looks at you smile and tap your nose. When using the training collar as you put the treat under the dogs nose tap the control button to get the dogs attention, quickly move the treat to your nose so the dog make eye contact. The goal is to teach your dog to look at you whenever you touch their nose.
  2. The benefits of basic obedience and how to teach your dog the meaning of each hand signal. Since, your dog cannot hear they may be slower than the average dog because of visual and smell distractions so rule of thumb is be patient and give your dog extra time to learn the exercises. When teaching your dog a hand signal for instance, sit. Have your dog on leash and in an area that is not visually stimulating. Tab your dog’s nose as your dog looks at you give a clear precise hand signal, give your dog at least 3 seconds to respond to the command. If your dog does not respond there is 2 ways to have them sit either using a treat method of putting the treat very close to the dogs nose and slowly go back between the eyes and ears the dog will follow the treat and sit. The second method is touch put your hand on your dog’s shoulders than slowly go towards their tail area give a little pressure and your dog will sit. Have your dog look at you afterwards and give them a signal for being a good dog.
  3. Learn how to operate a dog training collar that has pulsating nick stimulation. Training collars are very important for how are you going to get your dog’s attention if they are running away and not looking at you. When using a training collar pick out the best for you need one that will operate properly and last for years. Some collars have tracking devices so if you lose your dog you will be able to find them quickly. Teaching a dog to respond with a training device; have plenty of treats, have your dog on leash, tap the control panel and give your dog a treat, repeat several times till your dog looks at you when you tap the control. This may take one day or more be patient. When your dog starts to understand that when they receive a signal from the collar they are to look at you. This is the time when you start to change your body position for instance, stand behind your dog signal them they should turn and look at you immediately give your dog a treat. As the weeks pass put more distance use a long led if you are working outside. By the second month you should be able to go into a different rooms in your home signal your dog and he or she should try to find you. The goal is whenever you signal your dog to come he or she should seek you out.

Dogs and Heat Stroke

On summer days if you are feeling hot your dog may be feeling hotter. Dogs don’t sweat like we do, so they have to rely on panting, which is not as effective at cooling them down. Heat stroke can happen fast and its effects can be devastating for your pet. That’s why prevention is very important.

 Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs:

 Rapid panting, sweaty feet, drooling

  • Excessive grooming
  • Rapid pulse and breathing
  • Redness of the tongue and mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Stumbling, staggering gait
  • Pacing

If your pet is just starting to show sign of distress from the heat, or if you think your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, take a few step to start the cooling process. Most important, don’t let efforts to help your pet delay you more than a few moments from getting to the vet, as time is critical for animals suffering heat stroke.

What to do if Your Pet Is Suffering From Heat Stroke:

 Move your pet/dog to a cool area

  • Offer lots of water to drink
  • Wet down the skin with cool water
  • Avoid freezing water or ice-these can cause blood vessels to constrict, slowing the cooling process and ice can damage the skin
  • Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately

 

 

Why Teach Dogs Hand Signals

When teaching a dog basic obedience commands I always incorporate hand signals. Why would I do this type of training?:

  1. Dogs are very visual they learn quickly by watching body language.
  2. Words do not mean that much to them they learn by the tone of your voice and certain body motions.
  3. In my class, I have a session called silent training most owners are surprised how quickly a dog response to just hand signals.
  4. Hand signals keeps a dogs attention more on you than surroundings.
  5. If your dog is semi-deaf or deaf hand signals are a wonderful way to train.
  6. If the owner can’t talk it is the best option to train their dog.
  7. Training with hand signals is fun and a great way to impress your family and friends.

 

Dog Safety When In a Car

Car Safety for Your Dog
When traveling with your beloved pet there is several things you should take into consideration to make it safe for your dog.
1st: Make sure your dog is secure pet seat belts are a great safety device.
2nd: Do not let your dog sit in your lap or ride in the front seat just too dangerous. Air bags can break your dogs neck.
3rd: If your dog is small provide a safety seat so your dog is secure and can see out the window.
4th: If you crate your dog make sure the crate is secure and that your dog can get plenty of fresh air.
5th: In your glove box or where you keep vehicle information provide a sheet of paper with your dogs name, veteraninarian contact information, a family member or friend contact number. In case you are in an accident or unconscious the police know what to do with your dog.
6th: Have pleanty of water in case your car breaks down.
7th: Do not let your dog ride in a bed of a truck. Your dog can fall out of the truck if your are in an accident.
8th: Do not leave your dog in a car during extreme weather conditions.
These are just a few suggestions just think of your dogs safety and have a safe journey wherever you go.

Come Command Game for Dogs

Trying to have your puppy or dog come to you can become frustrating at times and often dog owners become lost in how to accomplish this skill. The answer is making come a fun and exciting game full of praise and reward so that your dog will love to play the game “come”.

Tools you will need: a long lead, treats, toy, 2 chairs and a great attitude.

Place the chairs about 10 to 15 feet apart. (play this game at first in the home)

  1. Both participants have treats in a bag or can so when you shake it the noise will attract the dog. If you clicker trained your dog you can use a clicker.
  2. The first person calls the dog to come, “Fido Come” while shaking the can or using the clicker
  3. The minute the dog acknowledges you start saying, “Good Dog” in a happy and exciting voice.
  4. When the dog comes to you reward the dog with a treat or a toy if that is what the dog prefers.
  5. Than the second person calls the dog while the first person become quiet and still so the dog will leave them and go to the second person.
  6. Repeat several times than end the game do not make the game so long that the dog becomes bored and ends the game themselves.
  7. The next time you play the game move the chairs further apart the goal is to create a lot of distance between the chairs. You might need a long lead at this time.
  8. When the dog becomes really good at this game introduce distractions such as other people or other dogs.
  9. To add more challenges go to different rooms in the home for instance one person in the kitchen the other in a bedroom.
  10. The backyard offers even more distractions and challenges if needed put the dog on leash so she or he can’t wander off.
  11. Always make this game fun and rewarding never enter negative energy always positive and you will have the best results.

Semi-Deaf or Deaf Dogs

Semi-Deaf or Deaf Dogs

Training Methods

I have a dog that went deaf around 8 years of age and now is totally deaf. I found out that Tank was going deaf by his response to noise. For instance, clapping behind him he seemed confused by where the noise was coming from and eventually didn’t respond at all. I took Tank to a specialist and my thoughts were confirmed Tank was at that time 80% deaf. Fortunately, I trained Tank with hand signals and that has been a tremendous help but the biggest issue is having Tank come to me if he was not facing me. That can be scary because if Tank should take off he could not hear things that could hurt him or even end his life such as a car. My world changed on how I handle and protect Tank and, now I want to share this information with other owners who are is facing the same issues as I.

What you need to work on:

  1. You need to teach your dog to focus or look at you with a touch hand signal.
  2. You need to teach your dog basic obedience hand signals.
  3. Learn how to operate a dog training collar that has pulsating nick stimulation.
  4. Teach your dog to walk nicely on a leash.
  5. Learn to walk your dog on a gentle leader.
  6. Body language is important so learn how your dog responds.
  7. Patience and calmness will excel your dogs learning.

Come join me in a dog group class that will be geared for semi-deaf or deaf dogs. Together we will learn how to teach your dog and help them have a more positive responsive.

Teaching Your Dog to Come Off Leash

Come Game: In home practice with a treat can filled with the best dogs treats and make sure when you shake the can it will make a noise easily heard.

 

  • Shake the can and say your dogs name followed with come example “Tank, Come”
  • The minute your dog starts to acknowledge you and the command start saying, “Good Dog”
  • When your dog comes to you give your dog the treat
  • When your dog becomes proficient with this game have someone place your dog in another room and call them to you make sure you shake the can
  • As the dog becomes familiar with the game start shaking the can with less intensity and on occasions reward him with a treat
  • Goal is to eventually just call your dog to you without the shake can and treats

 

In the back yard: You will need the shake can and a long lead training leash do not use extension leashes.

  • Attach the long lead and let your dog roam around the yard
  • Plan when you are going to call him and follow the instructions mentioned above
  • Practice with leash for 2 weeks than remove the lead and practice the game
  • Keep the game fun and exciting

 

As your dog becomes proficient with the come game in all circumstances than go to a park and practice make sure to use the long training lead.