Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dog Leash Problems - Who's In Control?

There are several different problems, or conflicts rather, that people can have between a leash and a dog.

The most common one is when the dog has learned how to use the leash better than his master...so well in fact, that it is indeed his master who goes walking or running down the street behind him! I think we know who's in control of that walk.

And of course there's the all-too-common problem of the dog being tangled up in the leash, so much so that he looks like he might have changed color.

And then there's the problem with a dog who has figured out how to chew through any leash within seconds...even those "impossible to penetrate" ones. Instead of "he shoots, he scores"...it's "he chews, he's loose, and he's off!" And so are you!

Believe it or not, there is yet another leash problem. That is the one I'm going to help you with today. This is the one where the dog firmly plants his rear and refuses to budge, or lies down and becomes a complete limp rag. It looks pathetic.

In most cases when the dog is behaving like that, you grab the leash and pull to the side. This throws her off balance, so she has to move. Normally, after about six tries the dog walks.

If that doesn't work, put a leash on while she's around the house, and under supervision only. If she was out in the yard with this on (even under supervision), it could catch on something.

So stick to this exercise only indoors and when you are watching her. Just let her walk around and drag the leash wherever. Then start picking it up and walking around with her. Walk her out the door, then down the driveway. Increase the distance a little bit each day.

If she shuts down, make her get up and walk for a minute before you turn around again. If you turn around when she shuts down, guess what? YOU just got trained. Not her.

The more you give in to that tantrum, the more determined she will become.

Never let the dog win the argument. Always end the exercise with YOU in control, not her. A pack leader always stays there until he wins. You cannot expect to solve your dog leash problems any other way.

Rena Murray
Dog Whisper Woman

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why Did I Learn To Dog Whisper?

Obviously, I've always been passionate about dogs and learning all I could. But the real reason that I wanted to learn this - how to really communicate with a dog in its own dog body language, to dog whisper - was because some members of my family had some really out-of-control dogs that were simply not respectful of people.

My grandfather's Border Collie and Australian Shepherd were totally balanced, awesome dogs. They were workers. But after both of them had died, my grandparents got a little spoiled wretch of a Cocker Spaniel, Candy.

Candy hated everyone except my grandfather. She owned him! She made it clear by bearing her teeth, especially at my grandmother, and blocking her access to him.

Then the highlight struck. She peed on me!

I took a deep breath, then removed her by the scruff of her neck, and forced her into a sitting position on the floor. I planted that little butt down firmly! (Not hurting her, of course, but I meant business.)

Then I sent her away, not fully recognizing that my body language was perfect to do so. Candy's head and ears went down. She had crossed the boundary, and she knew it.

My grandfather was stunned. He had never seen Candy submit to anything. "You have a way with her," he told me later in private.

"Granddaddy, Candy's not very nice. She's really going to bite someone. And if that someone ends up being Granny. . ."

Granddaddy chuckled, nodding.

A child of nine, I did not know that day that my decision of how to direct my life had been set in stone. I wanted to stop dogs from controlling people in a way that the dogs understood, and that did not harm them. My dream was to become a true pack leader.

I saw so many dogs who had basic dog obedience down, but who were still nasty little wretches. That's when I realized that dog obedience training was not enough. I saw the expressions of disdain in dogs' eyes as owners exclaimed over them. And I saw how other dogs would handle the situation, cleanly and finally.

The years of exposure to the horse whisper, wolf pack ways, and myriad dogs. . . It all came together with the Dog Whisper.

Rena Murray
Dog Whisper Woman

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dog Dominance Behavior -
Dominant Dog in the House

There are some who say that it's wrong to allow one dog to be dominant over another in a household. The ones who say this need to consider something.

Yes, you the Owner need to be Pack Leader over your dogs.

However, one of your dogs will become dominant over the other(s) when you are gone - in order to keep structure in the dog pack.

There's nothing wrong with having a dog who calmly asserts himself and helps you, the Alpha Leader, keep the others in line... Especially handy when you have puppies!

You definitely want to exercise your dogs at least 45 minutes before leaving them alone throughout the day. Otherwise, they may choose to fight it out to see who's the dominant dog while you are gone.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Glimpse into Real Dog Pack Life -
How Much Exercise?

There are quite a few misconceptions going around about how a dog pack functions. The dog pack absolutely DOES NOT exercise 8 hours each day! Rather, it's more like this:

The dog pack goes hunting - of course, led by the Alpha Leader. But if one pack member has a better sense of smell than the others, the Alpha Leader allows that one to lead the hunt - until he is certain that he is on the trail well enough to lead it himself. Also, the dog who is most skilled at herding is highly respected by him.

Each dog pack member is respected for each thing that he can do well, and is called upon to do it in any emergency situation. Say a helicopter came overhead and the frightened dog pack ran, forced into another dog pack's territory. The Pack Leader would hand the reins over to whoever grew up there (most likely a female), as that one would know the cracks and crevices. The Leader of the Pack is definitely not macho!

As danger passed, the dogs would return to hunting. Only about one in ten hunts is successful. However, once they do succeed in bringing down prey, they stay with it until only the bones remain - mostly eating and sleeping.

So contrary to the popular belief that all the wild dogs do all day is run, it's more like: "We hunt a couple of times a week, and the rest of the time we eat and sleep!" - With occasional trips to mark the territory (the human equivalent of a field trip) and fairly regular games of chase.

Yes, a dog needs regular exercise. There's no denying that. I'm a firm believer in twice a day, 45 minutes each time - 30 minutes the second time for some - but there are several dog breeds who could never keep up with that pace.

I mean really ... can you picture this Chihuahua trying to keep up with a German Shepherd?

The amount of activity you do with your dogs has to be based on their individual physical and psychological needs - not on what you've heard about the dog breed.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

"Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan Mean To Kane?

Most people who have seen National Geographic's "The Dog Whisperer" have seen one of the earliest episodes where Cesar was asked to bring a one-year-old Great Dane over a shiny floor... The one thing the dog wouldn't do. He refused to walk on ANY shiny surface.

Some have criticized Cesar for the way that he simply "did it." A lot of times when a dog is terrified of something, making him move forward, with exposure again and again, is the only way to ease the fear.

My dog was scared silly of motorcycles. He now ignores them. I'm not mean because I made him stay there. In fact, getting him over that fear may save his life some day on a walk!

Cesar wasn't hurting the fearful dog. He did exactly what a Pack Leader would do. A Pack Leader in the wild would either make the fearful dog move, or leave it to die while the rest of the pack went on.

The point is ... They come out of it, even if they are traumatized, much faster than humans do.

Let me make myself clear. There are a few actions of Mr. Millan with which I do not agree, but I am not commenting on this to point out my likes and dislikes of Cesar. All I'm saying is that somebody who criticized him for this obviously had no knowledge of dog behavior.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Listen to the Dog

If your dog is generally well behaved then suddenly refuses to come to you, you might want to check and see if he if he is trying to let you know about some unwanted intruder.

I was very unhappy with my Border Collie when he refused to come the other day. I walked over and discovered him staring at a huge alligator who was interested in ME, thank you very much!

Let us just say I hit a speed I never thought possible on the way back to the house....Of course, running with the dog .... I beat the dog!

So again, people, LISTEN TO YOUR DOG.

Consider the dog body language. My dog had his tail a little bit crinked, which is a sign of some concern. It tells his pack leader, "Hey, you might want to see this!"

I saw, and I ran!

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