PAW PRINTS ON MY HEART
By Gudrun Jones, Co-Founder & President
of the Lakeside Spay & Neuter Center
Everyone who has dogs would like for them to be well trained and well behaved. I too would like that but to be very honest my brood seems to have acquired the German stubbornness by osmosis and fall into the category “I come when it suits me, sit when I want to, but I will be there for dinner.
I know that dog behavior problems can be solved; all it takes is patience and understanding. I do know a few things about dog training, for instance you should never call a dog to come to you to be punished; your dog will think he/she is being punished for coming to you. When called, the perfectly trained dog should stop what he is doing, run to you and sit in front of you.
But it can be done…if you have the time and the patience. Put your dog on a four to six foot leash; take several swift steps backward as you guide the dog to you with a treat held at his nose level. When the dog is in front of you, stop and raise the treat up slightly, causing the dog to sit, then give him/her the treat. After a few practice sessions do this while standing in place rather then backing up. Then eliminate guiding with food and switch to simply giving the command.
Almost all dogs fear thunderstorms. I too dislike storms but for a different reason. It is very unpleasant to have sixteen bundles of fur pile on top of you and pant and slobber all over you. So when a storm approaches I put my husband’s old T-shirts on the big dogs and children size T-shirts on the small ones, knot them at their waist and it will calm them down and give me a chuckle.
Dogs like to jump up on people, but not every visitor will be happy with your dog’s exuberant greeting. This is simple—all you have to do is make your dog understand that all four paws need to be on the ground. When the dog jumps on you ignore him/her. No petting, no scolding, or looking at the dog, but when he gets of you, toss a treat and give praise. In no time at all your dog will know—feet on the floor means treat and praise.
Digging is one of those things dogs think is neat. My dogs constantly show me where they think a rosebush should be planted and dig the hole for me. But that too can be mastered with patience and understanding and time. To begin with, do not leave your dog in the yard unsupervised. If your dog gets ready to dig, engage him/her in something fun to do, fetch, tug etc. make him/her associate the yard with fun activities that have nothing to do with digging. Continue this ritual until the dog can be trusted to be alone for several minutes. Often digging is a sign of boredom so you might want to leave a chew bone for the dog, or toys or…you could always come to the dog ranch and get him/her a companion.
Dog of the month: “Rocket.” For more information on our “Marvelous Mutts”call: Gudrun Jones 766-3813
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com