Puppy Thinks Sibling Cat is a Squeaky Toy

Dear Poncho,

My name is Greta. I’m a 7-month-old German Shepherd who is absolutely fascinated by my kitty siblings. I can’t seem to leave them alone.

Puppy and kitty playingI’ve been told they are beloved family members, but part of me thinks they would make really interesting windup squeaky toys. I keep attempting to figure out how to get them to squeak, which totally freaks out my humans. Since I’d like to remain part of the family, do you have any suggestions on how I can control this behavior?

Greta

Dear Miss. Greta,

Congratulations! Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward gaining control. I commend you for being able to get this far, especially when the behavior you speak of is one that is deeply ingrained and very difficult for most animals to control. Allow me to provide my pooch’s perspective.

Here are the four tenets of my Mutt Model: Continue Reading “Puppy Thinks Sibling Cat is a Squeaky Toy”

Train Your Dog to Utilize the Skills They Were Born With

What does your inquisitive canine enjoy doing? Eat? Sleep? Play? All of the above? I know my sidekick Poncho enjoys doing all of those things, as well as any work-related task I ask him to do. I bring this up because of a great video I came across, that I’d like to share with you.

This video segment stars Jesse, a Jack Russell Terrier and his brilliant and talented handler Heather. Heather was able to really see Jesse for what he is, what he can do, and what he was able to learn. For pet parents, it’s the ideal way to capitalize on behaviors that you like and put them to good use – for both you and your dog. Or, it can be the perfect opportunity to replace unwanted behaviors with ones you want. Continue Reading “Train Your Dog to Utilize the Skills They Were Born With”

How to Get Your Dog to Answer Your Call

Dear Inquisitive Canine,

I like to take my dog to the park to let him play off-leash. However, I’m finding it more difficult because when it’s time to go back home, it takes me too long to get him to come back to me. I never know how long the whole ordeal will take.

In addition, he sometimes runs off so far that I can’t see him. Or, he ends up shimmying under a fence and is off exploring somewhere. I’m afraid he will run onto the street and get hit by a car. Can you help?

Owner of a wandering woofer

Dear Wandering,

Sounds like your dog is a proficient explorer of the great outdoors. Although we’re sure that you appreciate that trait, we can understand that his “selective hearing” can be frustrating, especially when you need to leave. Fortunately, we can help! Just by following a few “coming when called” guidelines, performing some pre-event practice sessions, and  supplying a side-order of environmental management, you’re sure to make everyone happy while staying on schedule.

Set a Course for Action and Adventure

When it comes to calling your dog to you, especially in a stimulating outdoor environment, keep in mind that you’re asking him to stop what he’s doing and leave the amusement park. For him, this means that the fun is ending. Talk about punishment! To entice him away, you’ll need to promise a much more attractive alternative to what he’s doing at the moment so he’ll want to come to you no matter what. The following guidelines provide dog training tips sure to encourage your dog to “take your call”: Continue Reading “How to Get Your Dog to Answer Your Call”

House Training Tips for Dog Who is One Potty Girl

Dear Poncho,

Could you tell me why my 13-year-old lab, who has never had an accident in my house, will sometimes discreetly pee in my parents’ house when she’s there? Help!

Cheers!
Deena

Dear Miss Deena,

Been there myself. And I must say, when you aren’t given a heads-up on the rules, then you just go with the flow. Unfortunately, in this case the flow is on your parents’ living room floor. Bummer. Allow me to give you the help you’re asking for.

Here are the four tenets of my Mutt Model:

Know Your Animal!

Unless we’ve been taught otherwise, we dogs eliminate when we feel the need, no matter where or when. And, similar to you humans, we have preferences as to where we prefer to do the deed. Two main triggers that get us going are surface texture and scent. The feel of dirt or grass can be appealing to one dog but not another. This goes for tile and/or cement. And wet grass? Hah! Fahgettaboudit! Do you like a wet toilet seat?

As for scent, again each dog has his or her own favorites. You may have your “31 flavors”, but for us the entire world is one giant perfume counter. Observing one of our buddy’s go potty, wanting to update our status by “marking” territory, and previous learning are a few other reasons we’d get the urge. So be mindful of any smells and surfaces that might be sending a mixed message. Continue Reading “House Training Tips for Dog Who is One Potty Girl”

Dog Training Basics to Prevent Fido From Being Left Out of the Group

Dear Poncho,

Help! We’ve had family staying with us all weekend, and our dog, Wiley, has had a hard time behaving. At the family’s request, when we go outside, we have to put him inside, in his crate. That’s because if we let him out when we go out to play, he jumps on and nips at us, the extended family, neighbors, the gardener and anyone else stopping by for a visit. When we are inside, Wiley must be sent outside in the yard.

Wiley is part of our family, and I want him to blend in and be able to play with us. When we try to ignore him by turning away, he jumps on our backs and also continues to nip. We just can’t have him doing that, especially to my 85-year-old dad or our 2-year-old granddaughter. We’ve tried lots of praise when he sits and we pet him, but then he jumps and nips. I hope you have some suggestions for us — we’re so frustrated, we’re happy to try anything you suggest!

Ellen (Wiley’s mom)

Dear Miss Ellen,

Sounds like Wiley is living up to his name — skilled and clever at getting what he wants. I’d be happy to offer some tips on how you can help your own inquisitive canine become part of the group, not left out in the cold.

Let’s talk about dogs and a few of the general behavior traits we possess: jumping to greet, having enormous amounts of energy (especially when we’re young or haven’t burned off the excess energy), using our mouths to explore the world, wanting attention (positive or negative), preferring to be around people than alone and always game for a good time.

Hmm, yep, sounds like Wiley is a full-blown canine extraordinaire! My first tip is to understand these characteristics and appreciate Wiley for who he is — a dog who loves people of all ages and wants to spend time with his family.

Continue Reading “Dog Training Basics to Prevent Fido From Being Left Out of the Group”

Resolve to Help Keep Dogs in Homes and out of Shelters

Dear Inquisitive Dog Parents,

The new year is officially here. For many, this means creating lists of resolutions with intentions of modifying one’s behavior. In honor of this tradition, my sidekick, Poncho, and I have decided to join in, talking about resolutions to help dogs stay in their homes and out of animal shelters. We encourage you to team up with us and add the dogs of your community — whether your own or someone else’s — to your list of personal achievements.

Solutions Start with Preparation

According to a study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy on Reasons for Relinquishment of Companion Animals in U.S. Animal Shelters, the top reasons dogs are sent to shelters have to do with living situations, cost, time, owners having personal problems and behavioral concerns of the dogs themselves.

As a certified professional dog trainer, I can attest to this, as I commonly hear similar complaints. As for Poncho, he used to live in a shelter, so he knows firsthand the reasons he and his buddies landed there. Together, he and I have compiled the following tips to help dog lovers everywhere do what they can to reduce the shelter dog population: Continue Reading “Resolve to Help Keep Dogs in Homes and out of Shelters”

Old Dog, New Year, New Resolutions

Attention Dog Parents!

5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – Wow! Welcome to 2012! As an inquisitive canine who knows a lot about human behavior, I’ve learned that many of you bi-pedals start the new year with a list of self-improvement goals for the next twelve months. I thought it would be the perfect time to jump on this little bandwagon, explore a few of the more common commitments found on these resolution lists, and apply them to life with a dog.

Here are my special tenet’s to honor the new year:

  • Get Fit: Looking for ways to stay in shape or lose a little holiday weight? What about your dog’s weight? Is he or she more on the curvy side? How about their endurance? If either or both are an issue, or if you just want to maintain your current condition, the new year is an ideal time to start fresh, don some new athletic shoes and begin an exercise program. You will find no better or more enthusiastic training partner than your dog. Walking, jogging, running, hiking, playing hide ‘n’ seek, attending a dog training class or joining a canine sport group, such as agility or Flyball, are all known to boost physical and mental health – for humans and canines alike!
  • Learn Something New: Think your dog is only able to absorb information when they’re a puppy? Newsflash, folks! You can teach an old dog new tricks! Yep – whether we’re old, young, big, small, male, or female, we are all eager to learn–and, we enjoy it! We’ll never argue about going to school, either! Dogs enjoy sharpening their skills, as well as learning new ones. Nowadays there are more options than ever for dog training classes and workshops. Once you’re done reading through your daily Edhat, head over to your Google search field and check to see what’s in your neighborhood or online in the virtual classroom. Continue Reading “Old Dog, New Year, New Resolutions”

Make Howl-een a Good Time for Your Dog

 

The BIG day – and night – is finally here! I can already smell the chicken… We began our howleen celebration early with pawtying it up Saturday night. Mom, dad and I dressed up and went to hang out with friends, visiting and eating lots of treats. My kind of night for sure!

Tonight’s affairs will be a little different though since we’re staying in to meet all the little ghosts and goblins that come to our door. This is one of our favorite pawlidays because we get to practice my door greeting skills.

Whether you’re heading out going door to door, or staying in to meet and greet, we wanted to make sure you and your inquisitive canine have a safe and happy evening too. For some quick tips and reminders, check out this post on making Halloween safe for your dog, and this one for how to use this eventful evening to your advantage!

 

How to Make Halloween a Real Treat for Your Dog

Dear Inquisitive Dog Guardians,

Fall is officially here! The air is a little crisper, white shoes are placed in the back of the Poncho in His Shell closet, gourds are now decorations and football is topping the sports highlights. Being October, this also means Halloween! Well, here at Inquisitive Canine headquarters, Poncho and I thought it’d be a great idea to share our training tips for creating an evening of fun for you and your dog that’s anything but spooky. For this month’s installment, we’re covering both door greeting and dressing up, and hope you find the information a real treat!

Continue Reading “How to Make Halloween a Real Treat for Your Dog”

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets, Making Fright Night Fun and Safe

Poncho as Mr. Stinky
Halloween Dress Rehearsal

Well folks it’s that time of year again when my dog trainer mom encourages yours truly to play dress-up. Yep, it’s Halloween! This means costumes – but it also means TREATS! And when it comes to being dressed as something like a skunk, it means  CHICKEN!

As much of a hippie as I am – cuz I’d rather be naked, when it comes to chicken I’ll do just about anything. I’m not sure what she ordered this year, or how many outfits I’ll have – I’ve been told I have more than Cher. Hmm, I wonder if she gets chicken too?

Anyway, as an inquisitive canine who enjoys this “fright night” as much as all the little ghosts and goblins, I thought it’d be a good idea to throw in my two cents on helping to keep your pets safe. Continue Reading “Halloween Safety Tips for Pets, Making Fright Night Fun and Safe”