A Dog’s Life

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If we would really pay attention, a dog’s life is what ours should be.

Healthy puppies and dogs have a pretty balanced life of eating, exercising, playing, cuddling, affirmation, and nap or sleep time.

Eating 2-3 smaller meal portions is better…

A dog that’s fed appropriately typically will only eat when it’s hungry. However, if you starved that dog all day and then put down a bunch of food it would probably hog it all up in one sitting, get sick, and over time if that kept happening the dog may gain weight. People try to do this same thing, and also become overweight. Skipping meals just encourages our dogs and us to eat more than we need.

For my dog’s, which have never been overweight, we’ve kept food down all the time, then they would simply eat when they are hungry. But I know not all dogs can be trusted and have compulsion problems, so limit their intake according to weight and age–divide what they need for the day in about 2 or 3 increments, whichever works for your schedule and your dog will be more satisfied and less likely to beg, overeat, get sick, or get into the garbage.

Exercise…

Dog’s actually need a walk at least once a day, BUT what to do when you live in Michigan or one of these northern states that have gotten pounded with so much ice, snow, and bitter cold temps? Some dogs can withstand the frigid below freezing temps and elements, but smaller breeds cannot. Most of my dogs have been inside all winter. And although I do not like crazy dogs running through my house, we’ve been doing this a few times a day. I run with them, and they love to chase me! It’s actually kind of fun.

Just as it benefits us to get the appropriate amount of exercise, it makes your dog happier and healthier too. A dog who gets the right amount of exercise is more relaxed, calm, and obedient. If you have a jumper, barker, biter–these aren’t always signs of aggression, but can be signs of boredom and the fact that your dog needs a good work out. Just being out in a fenced yard is not near enough. Dogs need to be walked and have times where they can run too. Mix it up, and you’ll find both you and your canine friend enjoying your new life together. Who knows, you might even shed some unwanted pounds?

Playing…

Puppies and dogs love to play. They all may enjoy something different. Two of my dogs like playing tug o war, while my other dog likes to wrestle around playfully and scamper. Sometimes I mix play and training time together, keeping it fun, mixing it up, and yet teaching them patience and manners at the same time. Other times I get right down on the floor with them and play around with their toys. They love any time with me/ their owner. It doesn’t matter what you do to play with the, but that you do.

Playing is just as good for you, as it is for your dog. You both need it for good mental health. All work and no play will make you a dull pet owner. I stressed this important key element in one of my recent blogs if you’ve been following me and shared that 30 minutes of play twice a day is what most dogs require. How much time are you playing? Whatever you’re doing make it something both you and your dog will enjoy.

Cuddling…

Dogs and puppies need to have daily affection to grow i health and confidence. Otherwise they can become fearful and anxious. Make time to just cuddle with your dog. Cuddling is actually good for us humans too, just petting a dog causes the release of positive endorphins which create healing and health in our body.

The power of touch is stronger than anything else you can give your pet and yourself. Hugs are proven to generate a better mood and promote health too. So give and get hugs often for both you and your dog.

Words of Affirmation…

Who doesn’t like to hear a word of praise for a job well done? Affirm or Praise your dog when he/she is good. “Yes! Good boy!” saying this will created a special bond between the two of you and enforce the confidence they need to be mature, happy and healthy.

We need words of affirmation for our well being too. Try to surround yourself with others who are upbeat, positive, and encourage.

Nap / Sleep…

We sometimes refer to the little episodes of dozing off, as “cat naps”, but dogs and humans do this too. Dogs are actually very conscientious of balancing their time out if you watch them They chill in between activities, so they can renew their energy and strength to give their full attention to you when you’re ready to spend time with them.

Why can’t we be this relaxed? We’re always stressed out with everything we have to do. But if we just set all that aside for a moment and chilled, took a little cat nap, we’d be stronger, more on task, and ready to go.

We often deprive ourselves of sleep and wish we had a dog’s life, when really your dog’s been there waiting for you to get the message all this time, that it’s actually possible, if you just loosen up on the leash the world has you on!

Have a happy week and weekend, enjoy your dog, your family, and your life 🙂

Rescued by a rescue 14 years ago, Lisa Freeman now rescues, rehabilitates, and trains dogs for obedience, pet therapy, and service dog work. She is also an award-winning author and speaker. Currently she lives in Owosso, Michigan with her loving husband, two grown sons, and three dogs. Read More

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Dominance: What Is Your Dog Really Saying?

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Obviously puppies and dogs cannot talk the way we can and express their feelings. Sometimes what we mistake for dominance is them actually trying to tell us something different. Do you know the difference? Hopefully, this blog will help.

Barking at You:

You Think: your dog is barking to take his position as leader of the pack or threaten you.

Dogs can be barking for numerous reasons: they see or hear something/someone, or they are barking excessively due to fear, boredom, or anxiety.

To correct this: Teach your dog to bark (speak) on command, and also teach them to be quiet on command. If you yell at them, or give them a lot of attention when they bark, it reinforces their bad behavior.

Dog Marking/Urinating in House:

You think: She or He’s showing you that they “own” the territory.

Could Mean:

1. That your house training skills have lacked and haven’t been 100%.

2. Dog has an underlying medical condition.

3. Unneutered dogs will mark more often.

To Correct This Issue: 

1. Go back to square one on potty training.

2. You must keep a close eye on dog and let him/her out when they have to go. Praise them for doing their business outside.

3. Take your dog to vet to be certain there is not a medical condition causing this.

Your Dog Is Crazy in the Kitchen–Eating Everything In Sight

You think: it’s a dominant thing, he/she is trying to control the kitchen eat ahead of you and control you

What’s really happening: Dog’s are scavengers, their noses can smell food a mile a way, they will go to all extremes to get it first.

To Correct This: 

Teach your dog to stay out of kitchen during preparation of meals and while you’re eating. Also teach them to stay off counters.

Dog Jumping on You:

You think: He or she is being dominant and trying to be bigger than you–again taking that top dog position

What really is happening: your dog loves you, wants your attention, and usually gets a response from you when he/she jumps.

To Correct This:

Teach your dog to stay off you and others, only to jump “up” when you command. Only give them positive attention and affection when they have all four paws on the floor/ground.

Dog Pulls On The Leash:

You think: He/She is pulling to get ahead and show dominance.

What may be happening: the dog has never been properly leash trained and pulls because he/she is excited about the new smells and everything it sees.

To Correct This:

Teach the dog how to walk on a loose leash, don’t allow them to pull. Also teach them to heel. Reinforce good behavior and when the dog stays by your side.

Dog Pushes Through and Bolts Out the Door Ahead of You

You think: Dog is again trying to show dominance by being top dog and thinking it doesn’t have to obey you.

What really may be happening: just like on a walk a dog gets excited easily by what’s on the other side of the door and doesn’t know the difference of waiting and having manners unless it’s been taught.

To Correct This:

Train the dog to sit a distance away from the door and only to proceed through the door when you say it is okay. Always go out or in a door first to teach your dog patience. You can also get baby gates to block them from running throughout the house.

Dog Ignores You When You Call Them

You think: dog is ignoring you to show who’s boss.

What really may be happening: your dog is distracted, or has not been taught properly how to come.

To Correct This:

Teach your dog to come by always rewarding him/her with something awesome. Never discipline a dog for coming to you, never do something they don’t like when you call them (bath, etc).

Dogs Mount Other Dogs

You think: they are doing this to show dominance to the other dogs.

What really may be happening: dogs often do this as a playful gesture, taking turns, while playing and rough housing. 

To Correct This:

Whether it’s happening to you or other dogs, simply give them an “off” command and you can stop the play for a few seconds, give them a short time out, and let them resume again. Keep doing this as necessary. They’ll catch on pretty quickly–that this sort of play is not acceptable.

Dogs Get On The Furniture 

You think: they are doing it to show that they rule the house.

What may be happening: dogs are just like us, they like comfy, cozy things to sit and lay on.

To Correct This:

Teach them the “off” command and have a comfy dog bed on the floor that they can lay on.

by Lisa Freeman, an award-winning author, speaker, and AKC Dog Trainer and Certified Pet Therapist from Owosso, Michigan who specializes in obedience, pet therapy, service dog training, agility, and behavior modification. Contact Lisa Freeman today

Puppy Love: Can Dog Owners Love Too Much?

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It’s obvious we are a pet loving, pet crazed nation. Over 67 million households in the U.S. own at least one pet. Nearly half of those pet owners own at least one puppy or dog, and some 83.3 million dogs have homes. A survey taken around Christmas time by the AKC noted that dog owners spent more money on the family dog than they did their own children!

Spending a lot of money on those that we love isn’t a huge deal, but the way we treat them can be. Often times we feel that we are showing our dog love by giving in to them and giving them everything they want. Really, we are showing them by doing this that we are not in control. This in turn, causes them to become anxious. and their bad behaviors become worse instead of better.

If we don’t maintain our top dog position in our homes and stay in control, then who will? You guessed it, the dogs. And if they take control, and assume the top dog position, they may become even more destructive, offensive, territorial, and aggressive.

As a dog trainer, dog owners often tell me that their dogs will not obey them and have become impossible to live with. A lady that I worked with last week had this same issue. She allowed her two Yorkies to sleep in her bed. One dominated over the other, became aggressive, and there was so much friction in the household no one could get any sleep. A few days before I began training with them, she decided to put both dogs in the crate at night. “That’s the first good night’s sleep we’ve ever had,” she said.

I’ve only had one training session with this family, but was able to show them where they needed to be more firm, and how to break the aggressive behavior with a little correction and obedience. I was able to get the dog to come, sit, and walk on a leash without pulling–the dog had never been trained in obedience prior to this session. Most dog’s are very intelligent and yearn to be taught and challenged. Their main goal is to please their owner and the best reward is to spend time with them.

When we love too much and give our dogs everything we think they want, they become like spoiled bratty kids. Dogs need structure, training, discipline and yes, rewards. Mostly they need you.

So, yes, do love your puppies and dogs. Love them enough to discipline and train them and then they will be a blessing to not only you, but everyone else too! 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, your pup, and family. How are you/ your family spending Valentine’s Day? We’d love to know!

Lisa Freeman was set free by a runaway rescue dog that she saved fourteen years ago. Since then she has rescued, trained, and rehabilitated many bully dogs. Currently she is an award-winning, author, speaker, AKC Dog Evaulator, Dog Trainer, and Certified Pet Therapist who lives in Owosso, Michigan with her loving husband, two grown sons, and three dogs. Today she specializes in obedience, pet therapy and behavioral modification. For more information click here.

When Puppy Play Turns Crazy

Puppy Play Crazy

Above Kota & Charlie/Play Training Session

Our new rescue pup, Kota, is a 9 month old Carolina Dog mix. He’s a little crazy and becomes wild aggressive when he plays. At first, when he came to live with us and I tried to initiate play with my four-pound Teacup Yorkie, Lover, Kota would get into attack mode by scrunching down, wiggling his hind end, as if hunting prey, then sprint at lightning speed across the room and lunge on top of Lover. He reminds me more of a Cheetah than a dog, with his speed, body movements and crazy behavior.

As a dog trainer his behavior sent red flags all over the place. From the moment we brought him home I had to supervise him with any other dogs and often intervene during play. I’m not sure about Kota’s history, but he loves toys and can become aggressive and territorial with them. He thinks all toys are his. We’ve had to break his aggressive behavior and teach him to “leave it” and even learn to share.

We’ve only had him a couple months and I haven’t worked with him a lot, since he’s really my son’s dog, but he is doing a lot better, as you can see by this youtube video. This video was taken today on my iphone by my son. Not the best video, but it should give dog owners some pointers.

Do you have a crazy pup/dog that is aggressive with toys, that growls, bites, jumps? We’d like to hear your story–maybe we’ll even share it in our next blog!

In the meantime here are some TIPS THAT SHOULD HELP:

  1. Always play with your puppy with a toy, never your personal belongings or your hands/ this will prevent two things: them from biting you, and from chewing your things up.
  2. Always supervise a your puppy and other pups and dogs while playing, as well as your children.
  3. Discipline when play gets out of hand with “Aaht-aaht” or “Oops” give them a short time out before initiating play again/ this will teach them when they are biting, lunging, jumping and out of control they cannot play.
  4. Teach them to “drop it” by holding tension on toy, no more tugging and simply commanding “Drop It” if they do not release their jaws, say “drop it” again and gently bring your flat hand, palm side up, under their chin and give them a little undercut, not hard, just enough to get them to obey you. When they release it, say “Yes–good drop it”.
  5. Teach them to “leave it” so that they won’t bite you when you are going to grab their toy.
  6. Teach them “get it” when you want them to get it.
  7. If a dog is wagging his tail, you can most assuredly know that he is in a state of play, not aggression.

Lisa Freeman’s life really began fourteen years ago when she rescued a runaway, abused dog. She could not leave her home due to PTSD. That dog healed her, her family, and many others. Today Lisa Freeman is an Award-Winning Author, Motivational Speaker, AKC Evaulator, Dog Trainer, and Certified Pet Therapist. Contact Lisa