Hope’s Story

This is Hope, the doggo formally known as Africa 🙂 This super sweet girl came to me because between caring for her ill husband, two babies, 98 year old grandma, and her father with dementia, her previous owner just could not afford the time and attention Hope needed to be trained and held accountable.

Hope has spent the better part of the last year outdoors since she is such a high energy dog. One of her favorite past times is running into everybody – adult and child alike – with all the excitement and energy that is in her, and knocking them over. This became a real problem when her former owner was 8 months pregnant.

Since coming to me, she has shown quite a bit of nervousness and a reluctance to be pet. While some dogs just don’t like being pet, I really think her concern comes from being in a new environment around new dogs. She has only been around one other dog her entire life – a small rat terrior/dachshund mix. She has shown quite a bit of reluctance towards my larger personal dogs, but seems to warm up more quickly towards the smaller dogs that here for training and boarding.

Currently, Hope is a quiet calm pup. However, this is what I call the honeymoon period. Every dog goes through this for about two weeks. They are new the house, to the people, to other dogs, and they really don’t know what to expect from any of this. So they are on their best behavior…. Until. Until they become more comfortable. Until they have had time to really study each person and each dog and get a feel for what they can get away. This is where we are with Hope. So while she is still trying figure me out, I am putting down rather strict rules and structure.

I believe I will be able to begin looking for Hope’s forever home within the next three weeks, but we will have to see how things develop during her honeymoon period. How will she really be with other dogs? That is my biggest concern. The list of things we will be addressing as pretty standard and pretty basic:

Jumps on people
Mouthing/Nipping
Steals food/objects/trash
pulls on leash
chews furniture/property
darts out doors/gates
excessive attention seeking
threatening/growling at other animals
jumps on furniture
understands but will not obey

Watch Hope’s story, and be a part in helping her find her next home. If you know anybody who is looking for their next family member, mention Hope.

Puppy Fear Stage and Socialization

From the time you bring your puppy home (about 8 weeks of age) until about 16 weeks of age, you can expect it to go through its first fear stage. There is no way to tell at which age it will begin or end or how long it will last for each individual puppy, but it will occur at some point between these ages of life. During this stage, your puppy is being deeply programmed to understand the difference between things are will hurt them and things that are safe. The impressions that are made at this time are very difficult to change later in life.

As an owner, it is important to make sure that there is no confusion in this area. If introduced to people, other dogs, animals, etc., in the wrong way, it can lead to a dog that is aggressive later in life. If not introduced to certain objects, noises, and circumstances at all, it can lead to a fearful adult dog. This is where the term “socialization” comes it – and it is not what you think. (I like the term “exposure” better.) It is important to expose your puppy to the outside world while they are young, but they don’t necessarily need to “meet” anybody in it. Socializing at this age is all about giving the puppy positive exposure to the things they may encounter in the future. When “introducing” your puppy to other people, children, babies, etc. the goal is not to encourage touching at all. It is to encourage coexistence.

When I first began learning this concept, I was the owner of a 10 week old German Shepherd puppy. I thought I would take her to a high school football game to expose her to all the noise and people. I encouraged as many people as wanted to to hold and pet her, not really paying attention to her reaction. I thought I was doing the right thing by socializing her. Fast forward a year, and I had a full grown German Shepherd who barked, growled, and ran away from anybody who came into the house .Thankfully I was able to work with her over the years, and the problem is almost completely gone. Lesson learned. Now when I have puppies, I may take the to high school football games, but when somebody asks if they can pet my puppy, my response is, “It’s up to him/her. If they don’t want to be pet, then you’ll have to wait until later.” The puppy is allowed to walk or move away from the person who wants to meet him/her, and if he/she does, the meeting is over – and nobody is ever allowed to hold the puppy. This has been very successful for me.

The same is true for introducing a puppy at this age to other dogs and puppies. If I do not know the other animal, there is no meeting. I want all meetings with other animals to be 100% positive. I do not want to create a belief in my new puppy that all dogs and other animals are dangerous.

The rule of thumb for all puppies up to 16 weeks of age is positive experience after positive experience. If you can provide this with hundred of different situations, you will be well on your way to a confident, balanced, well-adjusted dog.

You can find hundreds of training tips, videos, and how-to’s on my YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMwZQ9Caz-jo9GyIkojEuug… or on my website www.okayladyk9training.com

Benson: Final Post

With all that has been going on, and the business of it all, I failed to post when Benson found his home. My daughter has always been fond of Benson, and towards the end of October everything worked out so that she was able to give him a forever home. It looks like a perfect match. Congratulations Erin, Drew, and Benson!

Annie: Day 334

It’s official. Annie is ready to begin looking for her forever home! This girl has come such a long way, and I am super proud of her.

When she came to me almost a year ago, Annie had a potential for aggressiveness along with severe separation anxiety. In situations that caused anxiety, she would show her teeth and growl, but there are zero bites on her record. During this time, I have worked with Annie and to help her get past these issues and gain confidence. For this reason, Annie is looking for a home where there are no children. Additionally, her new owner MUST agree to an owner training session before taking her home that will be 1 1/2 – 2 hours long. During this session, the new owner will learn the structure that Annie needs to maintain a balanced emotional and psychological state and how to use both the prong collar and e-collar that she has been trained on. We will also take a walk at the park and transfer leadership to the new owner which will make transitioning into her new home easier on both Annie and her new owner. Annie does exceptionally well with other dogs and cats, so a multi-animal home would be fine. There will be a “rehoming fee” that actually covers the cost of her e-collar. This is non-negotiable as it has been part of the solution that has brought balance. I will happily agree to a one month trail period.

Quite a while ago, I made an update on my Facebook page, but failed to post it here on the blog. I will include it below. To see more videos of Annie’s progress, please go to my YouTube channel ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMwZQ9Caz-jo9GyIkojEuug ) and type “Annie” into the search bar. You can also find videos of Annie dispersed throughout my Facebook page.

October 8:
Miss Annie has been a very challenging dog to work with. She has been with us for about 8 months now, and if I have learned anything, I have learned just how stubborn she is. As long is everything is going the way she thinks it should be, Annie is a perfect sweetheart. But if you try telling her to do something she doesn’t want to do, she lets you know her disapproval by showing teeth and growling.

The truly most difficult task she has had to work past is settling in the crate. For the first two weeks, she would literally hurt herself trying to escape. At night, I had to have a baby monitor on Annie that would alert me to when she was trying to escape. From there, it took another several months to get her past barking and whining in the crate after she knew I had left the house. Now the ONLY crate issue we are having (and it really isn’t even the crate) is the noise making when we get off of what she believes is her schedule (a late feeding, not going outside at the exact time every day, etc). This stuff has less to do with crate and more to do with being bossy and pushy.

I took a time out from Annie’s obedience training to really work on the crate since it was so vital to her mental and emotional health (getting her past the separation anxiety). Now we are picking it all back up. I am almost beginning as if she hasn’t had any training at all – almost. No e-collar yet, just the prong collar.

Today she reviewed sit and I immediately put some distance, duration, and distraction into it. Since sit is something we have had her do before going through any threshold on a multiple times a day basis, she also received correction if she didn’t feel like complying. She still showed me her disapproval by redirecting on (biting) the leash. Through the obedience work, there this final piece of the puzzle will finally be addressed. I am hoping she will he ready for a new home in 3-5 weeks.

October 20:
Annie is working much more willingly. There is a bit more pep in her step and her overall attitude is more perky. I have put more distance between us as we work on the beginning phase of recall.

In the very recent past, after having extended time out of her crate, Annie would throw a vocal fit when it was time to return. That too seems to have disappeared. I hope this is a trend that continues.