Posts Tagged ‘Training’

With puppy mill dogs, it’s the subtle things that make you smile

October 7, 2014 10 comments
This made me smile.

An earlier shot of Maggie with ears back.

I can still remember the very first time I noticed Daisy wag her tail.

It was in the garage after she had just come in from outside. I was standing by the kitchen door, about to let her inside the house, when I noticed her tail up and wagging freely. Who would have thought that something so innocuous to so many other dog owners would be so amazing to me? It was one of the most beautiful moments I can remember and one I will always cherish. It meant Daisy was happy.


Maggie’s ears are not really forward here, but more forward than they usually are in my photos. This was taken last night.

When caring for a puppy mill dog, you start to pay attention to every little step forward. It’s all about watching the subtle changes in behavior – the slight turning of their head to indicate they want to be petted, the tentative movement towards you when they have always run away, the increased confidence in how they carry themselves, the very slight reach out for a treat where there was none before.

Last night I realized that Maggie was spending less time with her ears at the back of her head (a sign she is nervous and stressed) and more time with her ears perked and forward (a sign that she is curious). It might seem like such a small thing, but it is a sign that she is feeling more comfortable, and perhaps even a little more confident, about her environment and living in a home with us. For me, it was one of those moments worth remembering.

Plus, she’s awfully darn cute when she pricks her ears.  🙂
Waiting for a piece of chicken. #maggie

Dogs: What Are They Really Saying? Now You Can Find Out!

September 15, 2009 Leave a comment

DSC00089If you’ve read any of my blog posts, then you know I am passionate about two things when it comes to animals: 1) rescuing those who need our help, and 2) helping people to understand their dogs better. Well, now I have an event that you can attend here in Minnesota to learn more about dogs and dog behavior.

The shelter I volunteer at, Minnesota Valley Humane Society (MVHS) is going to be showing “The Language of Dogs: Understanding Canine Body Language and Other Communication Signals.” on Sunday September 20th. I have watched this video no less than three times and I will likely be there to watch it again because I learn something new every single time I watch it. In my opinion, this video is a must for any dog owner. Behaviorist Sarah Kalnajs will teach you how to read your dog’s body language. I encourage you to check it out!
It will be well worth your time.

Understanding Canine Body Language Seminar (Burnsville)
(A seminar at the Minnesota Valley Humane Society)
Sunday, Sept. 20th from 3:30-6:00pm
Call 952-894-5000 ext. 30 or to register

This seminar is for people only, so unfortunately your doggie will have to stay at home. Besides, it would only be boring to them – they already know what their body language is communicating! 🙂
Donations are welcome!

Fearful Dogs: What can you do?

May 11, 2009 3 comments
Daisy-A fearful dog no more

Daisy-A fearful dog no more

Having adopted a fearful dog myself (my puppy mill rescue dog, Daisy), I can tell you that I have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work. Forcing a fearful dog to face it’s fear is NOT the best method to address this behavior.

With Daisy, I let her set the pace and become comfortable around whatever she was afraid of at the moment. I let her take her time (many times she would watch other dogs and then when she saw that they were able to approach the fearful item, she would too). Forcing the issue is never a good solution – for you or the dog. If you do force them to approach the object or person, the dog usually ends up becoming more fearful and you end up feeling guilty. Not to mention that now you have lost their trust as a result.

When working with young puppies at the shelter, I will often knock on the fire hydrant (hard to believe, but it is one of the most common things that young dogs are most afraid to approach at the shelter). I let the dog keep his distance from the object, but also let him hear the metal sound that comes from my knocking on it, and wait to see if he wants to approach it for a sniff. If not, then we move on. Again, I let the dog set the pace.

Knowing what to do with a fearful dog can be difficult. Understanding dog behavior and non-threatening training methods is a start. A friend of mine, has a great website that contains lots of resources for working with fearful dogs. She also has an e-book that you an purchase for a nominal amount. If you have a fearful dog, I encourage you to check it out. Better that you know HOW to deal with a fearful dog the right way than risk creating a fearful dog that has fear aggression issues down the road.
Good luck!

Dog Behavior – How much do we influence it?

February 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Ever watch the Dog Whisperer or It’s Me Or The Dog and wonder how the Cesar or Victoria Stilwell can get a dog to behave better than the owner could? Or, how the owner was able to change the dog’s behavior just by changing their own behavior?

If you’ve ever seen the Dog Whisperer, you have probably heard Cesar say, “I rehabilitate dogs and I train people.” Most dog trainers will likely tell you something similar…it’s not about training the dog as much as it is about educating and training the human who owns the dog. Well, recently I saw a story on the Discovery Channel that focused on research being done at Eotovos Lorand University in Budapest. The purpose of the study was to better understand the relationship between humans and their dogs and the influence that we, as humans, exert on our dogs.
Read more…

Categories: Dog Behavior Tags: , , ,
%d bloggers like this: