Why teach your dog to sit (or another strong behaviour)?

Whenever I train a new dog, I always place great emphasis on one behaviour over any other…and that is the Sit.  I work really hard to get the dog to sit in-front, behind, at the side, away from me, with duration, and have the ability to sit anywhere that I ask on the first request and fast.

But why is this so important.  I believe that when you have a dog, you should always have safety at the back of your mind. Safety for both of you, not just yourself.  So here are some of the many reasons why I train dogs to have a really strong sit:

Sit at the doorway

  • To allow you to enter or exit the doorway either first or last (your choice).  If they are sitting at the doorway, it means that if you have your hands full, you can walk through the doorway safely without having a dog trip you over halfway through.
  • If you have multiple dogs that are sitting at the door waiting to go out, it allows you to release them individually when you say their name…this one takes a bit of practice
  • If you have friends coming round, you don’t want a dog to be jumping up on them, so ask the dog to sit at the doorway and allow your friends to enter before you release your dog

Sit before exiting the car:

  • If the leash is not already attached to the dog, asking the dog to sit allows you to attach the leash
  • A training opportunity where the dog doesn’t get out of the car before it has presented you with a really strong sit…there is a really strong and exciting reward outside of the car (unless you are at the vets but that’s another blog)

Sit anywhere:

  • Practice the sitting both on and off leash everywhere that you go.  Do this is small chunks though, do not go from the lounge to the local park and expect your dog to sit the same as it does at home
  • Practice in the kitchen, lounge, balcony, back and front garden, etc. and get them consistent in each of those places
  • Practice the sit in different rooms in the house, then ask for the sit whilst you are not in the room.  Use someone else or a camera to check that they are sitting, but only try this exercise once the dog is working well
Most importantly, if you have a strong sit (or other behaviour) it means that you have the ability to stop your dog in its tracks and prevent it from running across a road and being hit or causing an accident, or chasing animals…don’t let this happen to you….Fenton

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

As one year ends and another one starts, we need to be aware of our animal friends.

Here we come 2012

For those of you that have ‘squirreled’ away some fireworks for when the clock strikes midnight, please take care of your animals (dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, pigs etc.) by providing them a safe place away from the loud noises and cracks that the fireworks will make.

If you don’t have pets, then please let your neighbours who do have pets know that you are letting off fireworks so they can prepare their pets for the evening.

Be pet aware tonight whilst you enjoy the celebrations of bringing in 2014 and don’t forget to make a new years resolutions which include all of your pets needs as well as your own.

Happy New Year Everyone from Learning About Dogs, and we would like to hear what new years resolutions or changes you will be making this year that includes your pet, and look forward to working with you all again in the New Year…

Christmas Time

Look after your pets this Christmas:

This information below is not about excluding your pet during the festive season, but to keep them safe during the season of increased noise, large number of guests visiting, temptations of food left in easy access and stress.  Dogs, and cats, are part of our family and we need to take their welfare into account, particularly during this time.

Traveling or day trips

  • Take plenty of fresh water with you to the beach, not only for yourselves but also for your dogs.  Too much salt water can make your dogs very sick
  • Take shade for all of you and check that your dog sits in the shade
  • If you have a light coloured dog, check with your vet to see if you need to use sun cream on them.  They can also suffer from skin cancer
  • Check the temperature of the sand before you take your dog, or toddler, on it by walking on it yourself in bare feet.  If you cannot walk on it, dont let your dog.  There paws are more sensitive than our feet and can burn easily

Christmas food and drinks

  • Chocolate, although a favourite for us it is not something that our dogs should not eat.  Find the dog friendly chocolate drops if you really want to give them chocolate
  • Other foods that your dog will have access too over the Christmas period that is not good for them are:
    • Grapes: Although there is no understanding of why grapes are bad for dogs, it is known that grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs, so best to store the Christmas fruit out of reach of your pets
    • Ham, ham fat: Ham has been preserved usually with a brine solution inserted into the pork leg.  Too much salt in a dogs diet can cause them to be really sick
    • Avocado: The substance called persin in Avocado can, in large quantities, be toxic to dogs.  Although we humans are not allergic to persin, dogs are far more sensitive.  So watch the puppies, or older dogs that like to chew things, if you have a tree at home as they could well chew on the bark, leaves and seeds of the tree, where persin is also found.
    • Onions and Garlic: Although garlic is fed in moderation to help with the control of worms, and excess of both onions and garlic can cause a disruption in the red blood cells leading to possible anemia
    • Macadamia nuts: As few as six raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog ill. Symptoms of poisoning include muscle tremors, weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters, vomiting, elevated body temperature, and rapid heart rate. Eating chocolate with the nuts will make symptoms worse, possibly leading to death
    • Cakes and other sweet items:  Anything that contains high sugar and fat can cause a large number of issues with your dog.
  • Alcohol is not a good idea to feed your dog.  Although they would love the opportunity to join you as you toast the queen at the end of her speech the affect on the dog is the same as in humans, only faster, with possible disastrous consequences.  It could case a loss of mobility, and increase unwanted behavoural issues
  • Tea and coffee contain the stimulant caffeine, which gives dogs the same side effects as humans, but with disastrous results. Put tea and coffee cups out of reach of dogs and cats to prevent them accessing the remnants in the bottom of your cups
Trees and Decorations

  • Ornaments on the tree can be very attractive to both cats and dogs.  Put the expensive or breakable ornaments away from both their paws…and whipping tails
  • If you have a Pine tree, remember to clean up the fallen pine needles everyday so they don’t get caught in your dog or cats paws
  • If you are given a kitten for Christmas, remember they like to climb trees.  The Christmas tree may be its first great tree adventure…as well as the curtains!
Looking after your dog:
  • Make sure your dogs will be safe when family and friends are visiting you.
  • If you want to separate them when visitors come, put them safely in their crate or kennel and run with a bone or stuffed Squirrel Dude away from guest and then bring them out later when everyone has settled into your home
  • If your dog is anxious or has behavioural issues, place them in a safe secluded area with the radio playing away from the guest, with a bone or stuffed Squirrel Dude

Wrap up your dogs favourite toy in wrapping paper and let them open it on Christmas day whilst everyone else is doing the same with their own pressies.  But most of all more than anything else, have fun with your pets these Christmas holidays, enjoy your time with them.

Merry Christmas, and we look forward to talking to, and meeting, you again in 2013.