July 4th and Your Dog

July 4th and Your Dog – Keep Him Safe. Keep Him Home.

July the 4th is fast approaching! While this is an exciting time to celebrate with family and friends, every year I hear so many heart wrenching stories of family dogs who have run away during fireworks. This doesn’t have to happen. No matter how well-behaved, calm, and reliable a dog is, just like humans, they are not perfect. They do get spooked and scared, especially when left alone outside with very loud noises. It doesn’t matter how high your fence is. If frightened enough, your dog will find a way to escape.

Here are some suggestions for keeping your dog safe and calm during the July 4th celebration:

  1. Keep your dog inside. Shut the blinds and curtains to eliminate additional triggers. If for

some reason, your dog isn’t allowed inside, please make an exception. If you have a

garage, you can also let him stay there. Make sure there is plenty of fresh water and

entertaining toys to keep him occupied.

  1. Make sure your dog has a safe place. If your dog loves his crate, by all means let him

rest there. Freeze some plain boiled chicken in a Kong and give to him before you leave

for the evening. This will keep him busy for quite a while.

  1. Play some soft music. There are many music playlists specifically for anxiety in dogs

available on Spotify and YouTube. Try to find something that has

more piano music. Crank up the volume to help drown out the sound of the fireworks but

be sure not to turn it up too loud as dog’s ears are much more sensitive than ours.

  1. Turn the TV on and the volume up loud enough to cover the sound of the

fireworks. See #3 for a note on volume. Although we may turn the volume up loud, dogs

can still feel the vibration of the booms which can be frightening as well.

  1. Contact a positive dog trainer and work on Behavior Modification for next year!  

If you have any questions about Behavior Modification or would like to schedule a consultation, call or contact me today at 762-218-3708. We currently serve the Columbia County, GA area.

 

"It's Okay Max! Go Say Hello!"

“It’s Okay Max! Go Say Hello!”

A few weeks ago, I met a client for a training session at the local park in town. This is a place where people and dogs go to walk and hang out. In Georgia, where we are located, there is a leash law. This means no matter how big or small, no matter how well-trained your dog is, and no matter how friendly your dog is, by law, your dog is supposed to be on a leash.

 

As we were winding down our training session, my client let me know that there was an off-leash dog behind me. I turned around to find a Yorkie and his tall male human. The Yorkie was about 20 feet away from his owner. Without so much as a “Hello” or asking if it was okay, the man told his dog, “It’s ok. Go ahead and say hello!” Mind you, this was a Yorkie, so you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? Was he a devil dog?” He wasn’t but it was a big deal and I’ll tell you why.

 

This dog owner was only looking at the situation from his perspective. His dog is friendly. My client’s dog was on a leash. What’s the harm? Here’s the problem. This man had no information about my client’s dog. My client’s dog was at least three times the size of his. Had we allowed play between the two dogs, his dog was at risk of getting injured. While my client’s dog was not aggressive, he had no idea that she was in training, deaf and that she was working through fear and anxiety problems. He gave his dog permission to approach my client’s dog without asking if it was ok and without knowing anything about my client’s dog. True, he didn’t know what we were doing, but that’s no excuse.

 

You may be wondering what happened next? Well, I intercepted the greeting and told him firmly to please not allow his dog to come over. As he walked away, he rolled his eyes and shook his head. That was a tongue biting experience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure his dog is loved. I’m sure his intentions were good. But often times, with dogs, our vision of how the situation will play out is not the reality. Other people’s dogs should be approached with respect whether you are with your own dog or not.

 

Here are some guidelines for interacting with other dogs in public.

    1.      Put your dog on a leash. Aside from breaking the law, you may be putting your dog at risk if you don’t.
    2.      Show respect by greeting other humans and asking permission before allowing your dog to greet their dog.
    3.      Be an educated dog owner. If you see a dog owner with what appears to be an out of control pup, have compassion and be inquisitive – not judgmental. Most owners of anxious dogs are doing everything in their power to get them better. Don’t make remarks or give them dirty looks. They suffer enough without added input.

 

If you’re the human of a fearful dog, don’t be afraid to speak up if someone approaches your dog without asking. You can nicely tell them that your dog is fearful, anxious, or in training and cannot be petted. You can also purchase personalized leashes or covers or patches from Etsy so that others will know not to approach your dog.


Responsible dog owners spend an enormous amount of time training their dogs. Many dogs have behavioral problems that owners are either trying to manage or working hard at repairing. Be thoughtful and respectful of others and their canine companions regardless of how innocent the potential encounter may seem. It’s difficult to understand a situation unless you’ve actually lived it.

 

“In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.”

   -Edward Hoagland

If you have any questions about your dog’s behavior or would like to schedule a consultation, call or contact me today at 762-218-3708. We currently serve the Columbia County, GA area.

Neo Team StinkyKiss Bait Dog to Loving Companion

Neo’s Journey – Bait Dog to Loving Companion

Rescues have a tremendous impact on the lives of dogs in need. It is impossible to tally up the countless hours their volunteers spend in helping these helpless animals. Today, we focus on a very special pup currently under the care of Team Stinkykiss Shelter Rescue. I have been working with Neo for the last few weeks and will continue to do so until he is emotionally healed. Here is his story as told by his foster mom, Tamara.

On March 3, 2017, while working a rescue situation in North Augusta, South Carolina, this beaten and battered soul wandered into one of our humane traps. It could have been accidental, it could have been hunger, or it could have just been plain exhaustion. Whatever the reason, his life changed in ways he hasn’t yet begun to understand.

This nameless, trapped dog was terrified and in severe pain. He was immediately taken to the vet, where the extent of his wounds became painfully clear. His right ear was almost entirely severed. He had scars over most of his body from old wounds. His back legs appeared to be permanently deformed. Most of his teeth were missing and the remaining teeth were worn down and flat. He also had prior leg fractures that had been left to heal on their own.

It didn’t take long to figure out that this poor boy had been used as a bait dog, and with that realization, our hearts were shattered. (Learn more about dog fighting here.)

Don’t kid yourself – dog fighting rings DO exist. The dog fighting business is alive and prospering. We regularly encourage people not to leave their beloved pets outside for lengths of time without supervision. Cases like this are one of the many reasons why!

Now named Neo, Greek for New and representative of his new life, he has a long road to recovery, but we are committed to get him there! He is now in a home with a foster mom and dad who adore him. He has every reason to despise humans, and yet he is the most docile dog you could ever meet. He has made some great strides already and is slowly learning to trust.  He is very accepting of the other dogs in the house. We know there is an awesome boy inside there and we are going to hang in there with him until that happy, confident, and trusting boy comes out!

To keep up with the latest on Neo, Like his Facebook page. To follow Team Stinkykiss, check out and like their Facebook page!

Mandy and Neo

Mandy and Neo

Neo eating treats with Emmett

Neo eating treats with Emmett

Why Dogs Make Superb Customer Service Employees

Why Dogs Make Superb Customer Service Employees

During the 25 years of my career in Customer Service, Training, and Management, I learned to communicate effectively with all different types of personalities. I also learned how to resolve problems with the angriest of customers. I have come to realize that each person has their own motives or reasons for their anger, happiness, sadness and frustration. This not only pertains to customers but also to employees.

In the customer service industry, one of the most difficult parts of the job is to not allow yourself to get upset because someone else is having a bad day. It’s difficult to hang up from an abusive phone call and move right on to the next customer as if nothing happened. As a Trainer and Manager, I often saw employees taking their bad day out on other customers. I also saw employees that were just plain miserable people. Because of that they were very difficult to read and to get along with. I often questioned why they were even there.

After dog training for a few years, I realized something. Dogs have so many wonderful attributes. If they could talk, they would make phenomenal, low maintenance Customer Service employees!

Let’s look at the some the skills needed to be a superb Customer Service employee and see how many dogs have:

 

  1. Friendly and happy ✅
  2. Ready and willing to please ✅
  3. Ready and willing to learn something new ✅
  4. Willing to try again and again until it’s done right ✅
  5. Doesn’t let one bad experience dampen their entire day ✅
  6. Is satisfied at their job because they love helping people ✅
  7. Doesn’t complain (most of the time) ✅
  8. Doesn’t ask for a raise (Just a little kibble, water, and some treats for a job well done) ✅
  9. Is grateful ✅
  10. Has the best interest of the company in mind ✅
  11. Speaks articulately (It depends on what language we’re talking about) ✅


Don’t you agree that dogs have all of these qualities? They come natural to them.

Think about these things when you are going about your day. Think about how a dog would handle the pressures of daily life. Remember, everything that’s good or bad is all in your PERCEPTION. If you perceive that something is bad, then it is – in your mind. Try to find the good in every bad thing. For instance, what can you learn from this bad thing? Be grateful for your good experiences. Think about how you handled a situation that made it a good experience and use that technique more in the future.

It’s okay to look to your dog for advice. After all, they are great teachers. Remember – Although they can’t speak, dogs teach us a great deal by their actions.

The dog lives for the day, the hour, even the moment. – Robert F. Scott

If you have any questions about training for your dog or would like to schedule a consultation, call or contact me today at 762-218-3708. We currently serve the Columbia County, GA area.

4 Positive Ways to Teach Your Dog to Heel

3 Steps to the Perfect Heel

Teaching your dog to heel can be one of the most difficult skills to teach your dog. It causes frustration and often causes you to question why your dog just won’t get it. Going on a nice walk on a beautiful day becomes a storm of pulling, distractions, and barking. You probably wonder if it’s really worth it?

Please understand that each dog learns in his own unique way. Just like children and even adults – one doesn’t learn the same way as the other. Some take longer than others. You will probably find that you will spend more time on one of the steps than the others. It just depends on your dog and his personality, traits, and drive.

Proper heeling is when you can walk your dog with a loose lead and his head does not move past your heel. This is primarily for safety so that if you turn left or right, you will not trip over him. He should move when you move, back up when you back up, and turn when you turn.

1. Practice “Heel” first with NO distractions.

Use a quiet place in your house. Attach a sturdy 6 foot lead to his harness. I recommend a harness instead of a collar for more control and to avoid choking your dog. Lure your dog with a treat to your left side. His head should not extend past your left heel. Take one step. If he stays in heel position, immediately say “Yes” and give a treat. Repeat this adding one step at a time. If at any point, he falls out of “Heel” position, simply go back to the last point he was successful and begin from that point. Ignore fails. Reward successes.

TIP: Place loop of leash around your right wrist and hold the leash further down with your left hand. This will give you more leverage and control.

Once your dog has mastered the heel skill in the room without distractions, move to a different room.  Then take him with you around the house on the lead. Let him follow you and correct immediately if he falls out of heel position by stopping and luring him back into position. Don’t forget to reward for correctly heeling. Say “Yes” immediately and reward to capture the correct response. If you wait too long, you may accidentally reward a behavior that you don’t want.

Move in the yard with a few distractions. Go through the steps the same way as you did inside. Continue working outside with few distractions until he has mastered.

Move to the front yard with more distractions. Finally move to a neighborhood street – then to a local park or local store that is animal friendly.

2. Stop and Start.

Your dog loves to walk. He’s on a mission and he speeds ahead. When you stop, he thinks, “Hey! Why did you stop? What’s wrong?”. He should turn around to look at you. At this point, tell him what you want (come back to your side/heel). You can do this by calling him or luring with a treat. Once he is back in place, resume walking. Each and every time, he speeds ahead, Stop and Repeat. Yes. This can turn a 30 minute walk into an hour but it is so worth it! Be sure to keep lots of treats with you so you can reward for a great heel!

3. Redirect your Dog.

If he is pulling, gently change directions and guide him. I have actually been known to do figure eights and donuts. By doing this, your dog has to look at you for guidance because he has no idea what you’re doing. He may think you’re a little crazy but that’s okay! He should fall back into heel position and you can resume your walk. Just like Step 2, you may have to do this many times at first so don’t plan on going for a quick walk! Prepare to double your normal time. Don’t forget to praise and reward when your dog is heeling correctly!

The heel skill is no quick skill to learn. You will need lots of patience, understanding and determination. There will be times you will feel like giving up. Don’t. Give. Up! Don’t let your dog see your frustration. This will make the process take just that much longer.

 

If you have any questions about Getting Your Dog to Heel or would like to schedule a consultation, call or contact me today at 762-218-3708. We currently serve the Columbia County, GA area.

 

*NOTE:  If your dog is unresponsive to these techniques or you don’t feel comfortable implementing them, contact a trainer who is familiar with behavior modification in dogs. Do NOT attempt to do anything that will jeopardize your safety.