‘Let me get to the d… what, wait is that food?’

Who wouldn’t want to appear casual, composed and in control when other dogs pass them on a leisurely walk through a housing estate?  The very essence of peaceful serenity and calm is what is needed, right?

molly happy

Tilly on her way back from her favourite walk in the park.

 

 

None of those words can describe my walks with Tilly as we saunter through our neighbourhood.  And it is not for want of trying on my behalf.  I may tense up like a coiled spring, but Tilly seems to have got a reputation for being a barker in the area.  The growl, the tail wag and the pulling all seem to follow it.

 

I wanted the neighbourhood to see Tilly as the friendly dog I know and love, so something had to be done.  With my partner in crime, we realised that Tilly’s love for food was probably the only thing that could ever vie for her attention against other dogs and win.  It could also possibly steady her nerves.

 

So armed with gloves, bags and treats, we went to one of Tilly’s favourite walks: the local park.  Every time her body tensed up and her attention was snatched by a passing dog, we would waft a doggy chocolate in front of her snout and the attention would return to the food.

 

It produced a calmer and more responsive dog.  It also managed to stop Tilly from barking at every dog she met.  Instead, she seemed happier herself and didn’t even flinch when a Staffordshire bull terrier sniffed Tilly’s backside to say hello.

 

Thanks to Me (not me exactly but another dog blogger) who suggested that I try the engage and disengage with Tilly.  It definitely seems to be working.  Thanks, Me.  You can see their suggestion and a youtube clip here: https://evewebster.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/dealing-with-an-anxious-dog/#comments

Advertisements

The Best Place for Puppy and Dog advice…

visit here.  Australian Blogger and dog trainer, Susan Day, guest posts today with the story  behind her helpful and amazing blog, My Puppy Club.

 

Sue and Rocky

Our guest blogger and dog trainer, Susan Day, with her dog Rocky.

We all dream of retiring to the country, right?

The fresh air, the solitude and the bounties that come from living closer to nature.

In 2014, Susan and her family did just that. She left behind a big dog training facility in the city and moved three hour’s drive away.

Well, it didn’t take long for word to get around that Susan could train dogs. While there are a few large schools about an hour’s drive away, the locals in her town encouraged her to start a class for them.

Susan and Rocky explained that they were retired from dog training and while they were flattered, especially Rocky, because he’s a terrible show-off, they couldn’t possibly start all over again.

But the good people of Dunolly, Australia insisted and classes began late last year.

Do you know what else happened? Susan thought about all the knowledge and experience she had amassed training dogs. She had literally trained thousands of dogs in agility, obedience and just how to be nice, well-mannered pooches.

She rediscovered her passion for the welfare of dogs and took her new classes a step forward and began a blog.

The blog is called My Puppy Club http://www.mypuppyclub.net and it is designed to be a one stop place for tips and advice for dog owners.

While the main focus is on gentle, positive based

Rocky

Rocky’s training

training, you’ll find tips on bathing, diet and behavioural advice too. You can grab a copy of Susan and Rocky’s book that encapsulates everything you need to know regarding trick and obedience training.

You’ll also enjoy the stories of dogs that have enriched Susan’s career. There is a whole section on Susan’s blind dog, Stella, too.

Susan also writes children’s books about… you guessed it, dogs. The Astro’s Adventures series are great books for young readers starting to read chapter books. Each character in the series is based on the life of real dog. Both Rocky and Stella star in the book along with a quirky, zany bunch that will warm your heart and give you a good ol’ belly laugh.

If you are a new puppy owner or a seasoned dog lover, you are bound to find something of interest on My Puppy Club.

Connect with Susan and Rocky online:

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/mypuppyclub

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/susandayauthor

Blog: http://www.mypuppyclub.net

Email: infomypuppyclub@gmail.com

Guest Blog on mypuppyclub.net

I’ve had the amazing pleasure of guest posting on mypuppyclub.net.  Please check out my post about the positives of getting puppies spayed and perhaps leave me a comment over there.  I’ve used my own experience with Tilly and how by not getting her spayed when she was a puppy, resulted in her getting diabetes.

 

You can check out my post on  the link  here .

Dealing with an Anxious Dog

020

Tilly (left) with Bess

Tilly is a barker.  She gets anxious whenever she is the vicinity of another dog.  I’m nervous as well, and I know she probably picks up on my nerves.  It seems like we are in a catch-22 situation where I’m nervous that Tilly barks.  And Tilly barks because I’m nervous.

I think the nervousness at seeing other dogs stems from her having Bess by her side for a large proportion of her life.  She used to walk squashed next to her flank touching flank, which must make walking on her own slightly difficult.  The nervousness on my part stems from an incident where a loose dog in our neighbourhood attacked Bess.  I tried to break it up, not thinking of getting attacked myself.  This is why I think I tense up when Tilly approaches other dogs, as I’m not sure how the dog we walk past is going to behave.

So over the last few months I’ve been trying to get Tilly used to other dogs again.  My dad’s puppy, Bella, has been round our house a few times and Tilly has been fine with her.  Of course that is her turf and she doesn’t feel threatened.  It is on the walks that she is anxious.

I decided to show Tilly that these dogs aren’t something to be worried about.  It started off with an elderly golden retriever that we were about to walk past on our leisurely stroll through the park.  The dog halted and refused to go any further until Tilly walked past.

282

Tilly in the park where she met her new friend, the Golden Retriever

Leaving my partner to deal with Tilly, I stroked the golden retriever to try to show my dog that he was nothing to be scared of.  He loved the attention, and as Tilly continued walking towards him, she came over and sniffed his mouth before turning to his backside and greeting him.  Then what proceeded was a lovely sight that I wish I had captured on camera.  Both dogs were nose to bum saying hello, and Tilly’s tail was wagging.  She was happy, and there was no sense of nervousness at all.

I have done this twice since, and yesterday Tilly became friends with a three-year-old Border terrier named Chrissie.  Her owner gave Tilly all the attention she seemed to crave and the two dogs were nose to tail with Tilly’s posterior wagging with glee.

My aim is to do this with every dog that I walk past.  I know that sounds like a difficult task, and I know sometimes other walkers are in a world of their own, but just by spending a bit of time introducing Tilly to these other dogs is allowing her to gain more confidence.

What have you done to get your dog used to others?  Let me know below.

You Can Teach A Dog New Tricks

They say you can’t teach a dog new tricks.  They don’t know my dog.

 

Feeding time used to be a battle for control where she would attempt to swipe in and eat parts of her dinner before it was fully put in her bowl.  You’d turn your back for a second to get the tinned meat out of the fridge, and she would see that window of opportunity as a chance to gobble as much food as possible.  She’d guzzle down the two thirds of the ingredients of her dinner worried that it would be taken away from her.  After all dogs are scavengers by nature, and there doesn’t come a scavenger greedier than her.

 

Therefore, we decided to teach her to be patient and eat all of her tea together. Over the course of the next few weeks, we spent time reiterating to her that she needed to sit near the cupboard (where we store her food and treats) and wait for the three parts of her dinner to be placed in the bowl.  Each time she inched over or tried to eat from the bowl, we would ask her politely but firmly to sit back near her cupboard.  If she didn’t listen, we’d put down the knife and walk away from it.  Sometimes this even resulted in going out of the room on occasion.

 

Once the food was in the bowl, and she was waiting near the cupboard, only then would we tell her, “Good girl,” and allow her to eat her dinner.  To her, food is the most important thing so making her wait patiently definitely seemed to make a difference.  This consistency with feeding gave her the message that now, months after we have taught her this, she goes and sits by the cupboard on her own.  She does whinge and she does do a lovely dancing shuffle as she tries to inch as close to the cupboard as caninely possible.    She still gets impatient and moans when she doesn’t get her own way, but we’ve proved those naysayers wrong.

 

It just goes to show what a dog will do for food.

 

What has your dog been known to do for food?

Tilly, a strange dog but one I couldn’t live without.

285Tilly is a talker.  Yep, that’s right.  She lets me know when she wants anything – not by barking but by a high-pitched whinge.  I want feeding.  Whinge.  I want to go outside.  Whinge.  I want a snack.  Whinge.  Some people call it crying, but it is definitely a whinge as it is used all the time for anything that she wants.

Also, she fails to understand how to fetch a ball and bring it back.  When we used to have Bess, Tilly would run after her, try to stop her from getting the toy and drag Bess’ back and bum down.  This greatly annoyed Bess, but to Tilly it was part of her game.  Fetch to Tilly is not where she catches the ball but where you are competing with her to get it.  When I try to play it with her, she gets so excited that she starts barking and stares at you. Those questioning brown eyes bore into yours wondering what you are going to do next and hoping that she won’t be expected to run backwards and forwards after a ball. Why would she need to fetch the ball when the silly human is doing it?

One of her hobbies is protecting the post from everybody.  As soon as it comes through the letterbox, it’s her property and she won’t let anybody near it.  She guards it by facing the door and sitting on the item of post. This is the only time where she gives us the cold shoulder. Instead you are given a lovely view of the right side of her body. As soon as you go anywhere near it, she tries to grab it first as though it is a little competition that she has to win.

Another hobby is eating her own poop.  Yes, I know it sounds disgusting,  but it is true.   We went to the vets about it when we first got her, and they said that some puppies grow out of  it and others don’t.  She has never grown out of it – especially now nearly 12 years later.  So we try to avoid letting her kiss us.

She also has an in-built clock that lets her know when it is time for breakfast and dinner.  It is scarily accurate, as it goes off at least half an hour before her designated feeding times.  She always takes pleasure in informing us with one of her whinges.

And finally,  it is her life’s ambition to find any meagre of sun (whether it is out in the garden or slithering through the slits in the blinds) and bask in its heat.  She loves the feel of it on her fur.

Do you have a dog with strange habits?  I’d love to discuss them below.