Dogs: 10 Myths You Should Never Believe

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1. Small dogs won’t hurt you. It’s okay if they growl and bark ferociously.

A lot of people laugh and call these small yippers ankle biters. BUT Small dogs can hurt you, sometimes more seriously than big dogs. Their teeth are sharp too. If they are barking and growling, they are showing aggression and they need to be trained to stop this behavior before they do bite.

2. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Actually dogs never stop learning. My dog, Snickers learned most of the dog tricks for our program at the age of seven. Just as with training up our children, dogs need ongoing training as well. It keeps them obedient, challenges them, and keeps them engaged, healthy and active. Never give a dog a FREE TREAT always make them do something to earn it! By doing this, they will gain more love and respect for you.

3. My dog doesn’t need to be trained it’s just a house pet.

Every dog needs to be trained, just as every child needs to be disciplined and trained. If left untrained your dog will not obey you, is a danger to themselves and others, and might cost you more than you can ever imagine. One lady recently went to court and paid over $2,000 when her untrained dog bit another dog.

4. All dogs are friendly.

The world we live in today leads us to believe that all dogs are friendly. Sadly, that’s just not so. Just as some dogs are friendly, there are some very aggressive and vicious dogs out there as well, who without the proper training and discipline can hurt or even kill someone.

5. Certain dogs don’t bite.

We may tell our children to watch out for “certain dogs” that look mean, are big, etc. We can often mislead them to believe that there are those other dogs that are really nice and will never bite. Dogs are not humans. Any dog can bite under the right circumstances.

6. It’s safe for dogs to be loose in your yard.

Actually it is dangerous for any owner to allow their dogs to run free in the yard, unless you have a fence to protect them. Although I’m an experienced dog trainer and I have let my dogs run free in my yard (one at a time) while training them, I don’t encourage it. With other dogs and owners walking by, it can cause even the most trained dogs to bolt into the path of danger.  Besides, in many places now, under the new leash laws, dogs must be on a leash at all times. So, make sure you know the laws for your city, state, and area before ever taking your dog off leash or you could be facing a huge fine or even time in jail!

7. As long as the owner says the dog won’t bite, it’s okay for your child to pet it.

Do you have a rule with your children about petting dogs they don’t know? You should. Kids get seriously bitten every day because they were not properly educated on dog safety. If you do allow your child to pet a dog that an owner has on a leash, please tell your children to never put their face in the dogs face. Also, encourage them never to pet a stray dog and to always get your permission before interacting with any dog.

8. Dogs that have been friendly before can be totally trusted.

We’d love to believe that those friendly dogs that we’ve come to know and love could never turn on us. However, any dog can turn on anyone at any time in their life span, due to diseases and other circumstances. Dog’s have teeth and a sloppy tongue. One of two things can happen when humans interact with them; they can lick or they can bite. So again, use extra caution and tell your children to keep their face away from the dog’s face.

9.You can pet a service dog because they’ve been trained to be friendly.

Yes, service dogs are trained or are in training, but they are not pet therapy dogs and should never be petted while working unless you are given permission to pet them by the owner. These dogs when wearing a vest are on the job and should not be bothered, unless the owner gives their okay. Not all service dogs are for petting, some of them can be trained for protection, to keep other people away from this person. So be educated and beware.

10. It’s okay to leave my dog in the car.

As pet owners we want to take our dogs everywhere we go. Many times, they even beg us to take them with us. BUT if you take them along with you in the summer, don’t stop at the store and leave them in the car or truck. Even with the windows cracked it becomes like an oven within just 10 minutes and can cook your dog from the inside out. Besides that, there are strict animal cruelty laws which are heavily enforced throughout the US that could land you with a huge fine or even in jail. So to avoid such a disaster, possible heat stroke for your dog, and the expenses and heartache this could encounter, leave your dog home when you shop. Consider bringing them home a special treat or toy and give them a fun play time when you return.

Wondering how to train a puppy, how to train a dog, or how to get your aggressive dog under control?

Lisa Freeman is an AKC Evaluator, Certified Pet Therapist and Dog Trainer, from Owosso, Michigan, with over ten years experience, who specializes in dog obedience, puppy training and behavior modification. Check out her dog training page and contact her today!

With so many dog owners or doggy parents today, I believe this scripture applies:

“Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

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Paws for Bullies

Lisa Freeman Anti-Bullying Speaker 9Last night we did our anti-bullying presentation at the Eaton County Fair in Charlotte, Michigan. We were asked to come and speak, after another speaker had cancelled. The 4-H Leader had called me saying she liked our program because we used therapy dogs and it would tie in with working with animals as well as anti-bullying–a theme they have working with since the first of the year.

We brought two of our dogs, Snickers and Baby Ruth, and shared both of their stories. Snickers was a runaway abused dog that healed everyone in our family and has went on to take that healing to others. Baby Ruth was our “bully dog” and was really hard to train. At a year and a half old because she wouldn’t come when called and she bolted out of our house, she ran into the path of an oncoming car and was hit. I freaked. Thankfully she was okay. I wanted to get rid of her, since I couldn’t train her, but I kept her, and worked with her even harder. Today, she’s trained, she comes when I call her, and she doesn’t bolt out the door, bark crazily, or chew on things. She’s not a bully anymore–Bullies can change. They can be better with the right help.

Last night in our anti-bullying rally, I also shared my son, Jeremiah’s story. He was bullied severely. He was threatened in high school and nearly ended his life. At the end of the presentation a young man came up to me and confessed that he was my son’s bully from school–that he was the one who threatened his life–and that he was very sorry and didn’t believe he had hurt him or us so much. Nothing meant more to me, than hearing those words. I gave him a huge hug and let him know that he was loved and forgiven.

Our workshops our geared to bring CHANGE and healing to victims, bystanders, and bullies, not to entertain a crowd or to bring in money. After doing careful research I learned that bullying and bullycide have actually increased since our laws have passed instead of decreasing. There were 1 out of 10 students that were bullied in 2010. Now there are 1 in 4. There were 1 in 10 who bullied, now there are 1 in 5.

Bullying and bullycide need to stop. Help us bring the change to your school, your community, your work place, your church, and your next event.

Paws to Be Happy!

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How One Single Mom Turned a Crappy Day Into a Happy Day

Tonya was already to go. Everything loaded in her Ford Escape. This time she wouldn’t be late for service dog training.

Then it happened.

It wasn’t the normal, forgetting the keys or the hundred other things she usually forgot. It was David, her precious son. She knew that face—he was filling his britches!

Not now! She sighed. And it wasn’t just that he messed his pants. He had messed clear through everything. Great! Now I’m going to be even later, Tonya thought, as she hurriedly gave David a bath.

David isn’t your average 16 year old. He’s special—very special—and very sick. Born with one of the rarest diseases (10P Missing Syndrome) a mother and child should ever have to go through, yet he cannot speak, he has a vivacious smile that’s out of this world.

Tonya smiles too, even laughs. What can she do? She doesn’t want to be late, but she loves David with all her heart; he always comes first. Her trainer is not upset when she arrives, but is more in wonder of this amazing woman who bears so much, yet wears this beautiful, contagious smile. She’s real. She’s single. And she does hard well!

Things got harder and even crappier from there. They arrived for training. This session would include a walk around the neighborhood. Into the fifth block, Nitro, David’s service dog, was beginning not to pull so hard on the leash, learning to avoid distractions of other dogs barking, and was heeling by the boy’s side. He was even sitting at each street corner on command.

Then it happened.

All at once, Nitro scrunched up his back quarters and laid this huge horse pie in the middle of the street! Thankfully a nearby neighbor outside with her dog, ran to get a bag. Tonya, bag in hand, gave Nitro’s leash to the trainer and scooped up the nasty smelling poo. She never complained, just smiled, and then started on her way again as if nothing had happened.

On the very last street Nitro squatted. NO! Not Again! I’m sure Tonya was thinking. But YES, right there in the middle of the road, another humungous pile. This time it was mushy and even more nasty smelling. Nonetheless, Tonya opened the bag and once again scooped up the poo. Even though her hands were messy and she had to carry that stinky bag the rest of the way up the hill to my house, her attitude said it all. She was smiling, cracking jokes, and laughing hysterically. Now I can see where David gets his smile—Tonya is a mother that’s unlike another—she’s out of this world. She’s our Monday Miracle Mom.

When I ask her how she gets through those crappy moments in life, she says, “It’s laughter.”

Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”

Have you ever had a crappy day? Maybe it didn’t turn out so happy. Still, we’d love to hear from you. Please take time to share your story or comment on this story.