Christopher Aust, Master Trainer
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This weekend, I started to talk to my five-year-old daughter about what she wanted to be for Halloween. Last year, she was the Incredible Hulk and she told me she wanted to be the same thing this year. I told her the costume wouldn't fit anymore but she insisted on trying it on anyway.
Well, the only thing that fit was the mask and she was determined to wear it around the house. As she came downstairs, she saw Mei (my puppy from China) and went to play with her.
As Mei saw the mask heading her way, I thought she was going to have a stroke. Mei barked twice, ran under the end table and pissed herself. Obviously, in the few weeks Mei has been here, I haven't made enough of an effort to socialize her to the Marvel Comics characters.
This got me to thinking about the holiday and our dogs. For me, this particular holiday isn't a big thing for me to worry about. I live in the sticks and don't think I have seen more than two trick or treaters in the last three years and those were friends just bringing their kid over to show off their costumes.
If you live in a highly populated area, you could have hundreds of kids in a very short period of time coming to your door to fill their goodie bags. Now if your dog isn't used to high traffic at the house, kids, or bolts out the door occasionally, then make sure they are secured somewhere they are safe. I don't recommend the back yard either as you never know what those dressed up little rug rats are going to do. Just use a little common sense and keep your dog safe.
Gentle Ben is a 165-pound Newfoundland who works “behind bars” as part of a program to provide animal-assisted activities and therapy to young people hardened by life's hard knocks. At a juvenile detention center, Gentle Ben works with Pat Dowell to help youngsters learn confidence, trust, responsibility and patience.
Many of the youngsters Ben meets are withdrawn, depressed and sometimes violent. Because Gentle Ben is so friendly and engaging, many of these youngsters have been transformed – becoming more verbal and exhibiting a more positive, gentle and calm behavior.
As a result of Ben's visits, many of these youngsters have gained hope for a brighter future. Throughout the year, this gentle giant also gives cart rides to children with special needs at a variety of events.
He safeguards America's agricultural resources by intercepting prohibited fruits, vegetables, and meats that could carry foreign pests or disease. Trouble recorded no less than 115 “notable interceptions,” including sniffing out fruits that contained potentially disastrous infestations of Mediterranean fruit fly and Caribbean fruit fly.
If not for Trouble, these pests could damage agricultural crops that could have cost American taxpayers billions of dollars.
There are more dogs that were recognized by Pedigree and their stories make for interesting reading. Go to:
Kudos to Pedigree for recognizing these hard working animals who bring such joy to our lives.
To Patty, and anyone who has recently lost a beloved pet, I send you my condolences, love and support. Keep your head high and eyes on the horizon. While your furkid may not be lying at your feet anymore, they will always be in your heart and a part of your soul.
Okay, that's it for now. I'm outta here!
Dog Chewing the Sofa? Puppy Eating Your Shoes? Or WORSE?
I was wondering what you thought about AKC's Canine Good Citizen certification. I have a friend who has completed it recently and I am considering doing it myself but don't want to waste my time if it's not worth the effort. Sure would appreciate your thoughts.
She is really well behaved there. I have taught her the appropriate manners regarding other animals, people and that it is inconsiderate, not to mention possibly dangerous, to steal a flying Frisbee from one of the golfers after their throw.
More often than not though, we seem to be the exception rather than the rule. We have all seen it. People whose dogs are barking at other dogs and people who allow their dog to charge up to you and your dog with out a proper introduction. These are often the same people who allow their dog to take a big old dump in the grass and don't pick it up. It's all a matter of common courtesy.
Personally, I think manners are the single most important training we can give our dogs. Sure they need to learn sit, down, stay, come and heel but if the dog is a maniac in situations where it affects other people and their dogs, then the basics really don't amount to spit. I knew a dog that competed competitively in obedience and agility trials. This dog was awesome in the ring but one of the biggest pains in the butt when in a real world situation.
So what exactly is lack of “doggie manners?” They are any behavior that could be less than appreciated or dangerous to the dog, another animal or people. Plain and simple? Yeah, right.
This can be a little subjective in some situations. For instance, I don't mind a little lick on the face from my dog. Others think this is totally disgusting. For this reason, I have to teach my dogs a command for kiss. I use, “Give me a kiss.” (Real original, huh?) This is the only time they are allowed to lick my face.
I have never taken the dog through their certification process but have reviewed it rather extensively. It appears to be well thought out and something the novice trainer/owner could accomplish with minimal assistance. Here are the basics of the program.
The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program was started in 1989 and was designed to acknowledge dogs that exhibit appropriate manners. It places strong emphasis on responsible ownership as well as focusing on the dog completing certain tasks.
For a dog to receive a CGC certificate they have to complete ten specific tasks. Here is the description provided by AKC:
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog.
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot.
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog's position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler's movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice.
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's commands.
The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog.
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark.
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness.
We have to acknowledge that, while we love all the “cute” little things our dogs do, some people don't. As their owners, caretakers, whatever you want to call it, it is our responsibility to ensure they behave appropriately. This program, or one similar, could be just the ticket. It also gives a solid base to take your dog to the next level of training if you so desire.
While this program doesn't address every issue a dog may have, it does give a good base to start. It doesn't address licking or leg humping (quite honestly I wouldn't want to have to devise a test for the latter) but it does give a good foundation.
Whether your reason for going through this or another similar program is personal, financial, or the desire to move up to training your dog as a therapy dog, I wholeheartedly support them. If you are interested in this program, please go to:
~ Alfred North Whitehead ~
When I heard this next story, I am beginning to think I may be right!
He is happy at the home but staff, baffled by chaos in the kitchen and free-ranging inmates, discovered that he had not lost his old scavenging ways.
It happened probably about a dozen times. They would come in to lots of dogs loose from the kennels running the building. The dogs had lots of food, lots of fun and games and caused loads of mess. Staff wasn't too sure what was going on.
Eventually, staff set up video cameras to discover who the ring leader was. Video footage revealed that Red had learned how to use his snout and teeth to open his kennel. Then he would draw back the bolts on the kennels of his mates, starting with his best friend Lucky. One night he liberated no fewer than nine inmates for a midnight feast.
Red's kennel has now been made escape proof. They hope!
If you go online you can find video and snapshot footage of the great escape. Believe me, you will be amazed at how brilliant this dog is.
Before learning about your newsletter, I must have read nearly every book written about dog training and behavior. They were written by everyone from vets, trainers, behaviorists and everything in between. I bought the recommended gear, tried the different techniques (most of which were complicated and confusing) and saw little and or no progress with my dog.
Since I subscribed to your newsletter, I have learned so much about my dog it is incredible. I have seen amazing changes in my dog I never thought possible and didn't have to buy anything special to make it happen. Just good old common sense. You are without a doubt, the Dr. Phil of dogs. Keep up the great work!
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After the game, he asked her how she enjoyed the experience. “Oh, I really liked it,” she replied, “especially the tight pants and big muscles. What I couldn't figure out is why they were killing each other over twenty-five cents.”
Confused and dumbfounded, he asked his date, “What are you talking about.”
“Well,” she responded, “I saw them flip the coin at the beginning of the game and one team got it. Then, for the rest of the game, all they kept screaming is “Get the quarterback, Get the quarterback!” Hel-llllo! It's just twenty-five cents!”
Thank You For Reading! Have a Terrific Week!
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Thank You For Reading! Have a Terrific Week!
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