Weekly Round-Up: June 21st

Hello, and welcome back! We’ll start with a big, “Happy Fathers Day” to all the Dads out there, including Dads of fur-kids. Sure there’s a lot of differences, but at the end of the day, dogs are still dependents of us, though I think the likelihood of being bit is about the same… ๐Ÿ˜›

Foster first again, Trixie is doing well, and definitely enjoying her gradual return to full activity. She’s technically got two days left until she can go ‘full wide open’, but for a six week rest period, 1-2 days early shouldn’t matter at all.
She’s gotten really good with going outside off-leash, waiting to be invited in or out, and loves to hang out nearby. She’s laying in her bed to my side as I write this at my desk now!
She’s ready for her furever home, and there’s been several posts circulating Facebook, but if you’re interested, and not on Facebook, you can reach out to the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society and message or email them through the website.

Everyone else is doing well, and other than still struggling with a submissive pee-er, there’s no major issues to discuss. Kirby had a minor issue this week in which he refused to obey a command of ‘go outside’ after he gagged a little; I thought he was about to puke, so I figure we’ll just go outside and let it all out in the grass. He decided he didn’t want to listen, and ran away to my room, and then into his crate. It took a half-dozen verbal commands to get him to go back out of the room, and then he took a seat on the couch before I finally reached to put hands on him. He was clearly nervous, but I got him to relax and come outside with me, though I did have to carry him.

Often time when a dog isn’t listening, the first issue I find is lack of a clear command. Whether the word is mumbled, muffled, or just not clearly understood, this can cause an issue because you expect the dog to obey, but the dog doesn’t know what you want done. The second most common issue is a command that’s not readily understood by the dog, which can be from it being new, or one that hasn’t been practiced in a long time. The third common issue I see, and the one I had with Kirby, is that I was repeating the command, and he knew that, but because I kept saying it, he knew he wasn’t obeying, and thus, in trouble. Rather than try to obey, he tried to get out of the situation; he was scared, and I suspect wasn’t treated so well in the past when given a command multiple times.

My fix for these are,
1) Be sure to speak slowly, clearly, and in a neutral or pleasant tone. The tone of your voice often says much more than the word itself, so even if you’re angry, work on using a pleasant tone to get the message across. Also, be sure you’re not being blocked or muffled by other sounds closer to the dog; if the dog is out in open field and you’re sheltered by trees, it’s possible there’s wind blowing your sound away from the dogs ears.
2) In teaching a command, take time to get it concreted in by doing it many times over and over, but remember to take breaks, and don’t push the dog too hard during the teaching phase. I usually aim for 2-3 commands before breaking from that with a release command, and moving to something else, like pets, play, or just a break.
Be sure to practice all of the commands at least 2-3 times a week so they stay fresh and understood with the dog.
3) This one is the hard one, because often time we want the dog to obey out of need, there’s something happening and you need the dog to cooperate now, but once they get scared, they shut down.
My method is to lower my voice, my body language, my movements, and my actions, get slow and quiet, and gently move to the dog so I can help them relax. Usually it’s just pets and praise, and once the dog is relaxed a bit, we can try it again.

Summer is officially here, so remember to check temperatures of surfaces before letting your dog walk on them, ensure there’s plenty of fresh water available, and don’t take your dog with you in the car if you’re not sure they can go inside with you! Even with the A/C running, there’s still potential for problems, so think it through before you go.

Also, all that barking from your dog? They want to go for a walk, so get out early or late in the day and stretch those legs! ๐Ÿ˜€


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