Hello my name is….. (Part one of a couple more blogs)

Introducing dogs is not always an easy uncomplicated thing; some dogs are more sensitive than others. Even if your dog is a rock star at the dog park, s/he could feel very different about a new dog coming in to your home. I put together a few tips for you when introducing a new dog to your family.

                                     HOW TO INTRODUCE A NEW DOG TO YOUR FAMILY

TAKE THEM FOR A WALK
Taking a walk is one of my top “go to’s” for introduction. The environment is rich enough to pull their complete attention away from the other dog and it’s less stressful or intense. Think about this for a moment: when you are going on the first date, how comfortable are you? What if your new date just walked in to your house (your sacred space) with the expectation of staying for several hours. How uncomfortable would you be? But if you met at a different location to play miniature golf, for example, or something of that nature, you are going to relax more because your mind is in a different state because s/he is not in your space and you are in more control.

With introduction walks, the dogs are able to see each other without the pressure of interacting with each other. I recommend that the dogs are walked together, but by separate individuals, Be sure to watch your dog’s body language and create space if needed. When you are observing the dog’s body language, watch the over-all body. Look to see if the body seems stiff or watch for displacement behaviors (click here for blog on dog body language). I recommend doing these walks for one week to two weeks every day.

BABY GATES ARE YOUR FRIEND
As a mother of twins, I have at least four baby gates. Trust me. I just had a client stop by last week to borrow one. 🙂 My twins are now six and I don’t use them much anymore with my kids, but the boys were at one point fast toddlers and too smart for their own good. Their nursery was upstairs and once mobile, I was nervous. Being the overly pre-cautious mom that I am, I had a baby gate at the entrance of their room as well as at the top of the stairs. When I changed the boys from their crib to their toddler beds the boys got even smarter. One afternoon I knew that they were up to something. They were suppose to be napping, but I heard noises upstairs so I tip toed and what I witnessed made me laugh, but blew my mind! The boys took the mattress off their toddler bed (team effort) and slid the mattress over the top of the baby gate the entrance of their room and teeter totted their way over the baby gate on the mattress. Lord, have mercy on me!

Anyway, back to dogs! I have found that using baby gates with the new dog in one section of the house and the other dog on the other allows for them to get acquainted without pressure. It provides a nice safety measure for you to not stress as well. It allows you time to observe their body language as they sniff through the baby gate. I recommend that you leave the baby gate up for anywhere from 1 week up to a month depending on the dogs. Observe the body language during this time as this serves as information with how they feel about each other.

Note: Baby gates are not completely trustworthy in keeping things on their designated side, as you can see from my twin story. The purpose in me mentioning this, is that the baby gates can fall, easily get moved, climbed over, etc. so if you are working with an aggressive dog please do not fully depend on this. The above mentioned is my recommendation for friendly dogs (or even more sensitive dogs) that need are being introduced. If your dog is aggressive please contact your dog trainer or behaviorist for specific recommendations.

INTERVALS
Even after your introduction, go slow. Things may be going great, but keep them going steady by not pushing them too far. After all, no one likes pressure. Make sure that you are doing what I call interval time together. Allow them to hang out for a short period and then separate them. I use this method a lot for dogs when company is visiting. I have found that it sets the dog up for success without going over threshold because the environment is too much.

DON’T LEAVE THEM ALONE
An English teacher once taught me that you should never assume because it will make an ass out of you and me. Many things can happen while you are out of the room or gone to work. Do not leave them alone in a room until you’ve had ample time to get to know how they are with each other. You won’t be around to see that quick subtle glance that screamed a million “words” to the other dog. I would rather be safe than sorry. My goal is to set everyone up for success and everyone to be happy with the new-comer. When you are out of the house, I kennel or putting up the  baby gate.

Note: I do not recommend kenneling the dogs side by side as this can cause frustration. Also, be mindful that where you kennel or baby gate you dogs can speak volumes to them. We have high valued locations as humans. The head of the table when dining says that person is in charge. My dad has his specific Lazy Boy chair and we all know not to sit there. It’s not much different in the dog world and those locations can demonstrate status. For example, to your dog your room is a high valued location. You don’t want to send the wrong single to either dog.

HELLO. I AM THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK.

With the dog dog introduction, watch dog’s body language, go slow and keep your whits! Good luck and congrats with the new family member!

Happy Training! – Michelle Huntting

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING
BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.
COME CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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Dog Life Lesson: Relationships

This month I swear has been puppy month for me. Trust me, when I say this; there is proof. Nipping. Razor sharp teeth. I left sessions this week covered with scratches having helped demonstrate how to encourage a soft bite and redirect to the correct chew toys to families.

This past week I remember one little guy in particular. He has such a great personality. I love his spunk and he is a little pushy. I have to admit, I like that side. The owner was really frustrated and sharing this with me. I looked at her and said in seriousness, “He is worth it. You have a great dog here. Just stick with it. Be patient. I am not going to tell you it’s going to be easy, but I know you can do it and he is worth it in the end.”

When I left this in-home session I was thinking to myself, how many times in our own relationships do we get a little frustrated, maybe even experienced a little pain and we just abruptly decided to end it and walk away.

Are relationships worth sticking around for? Are they worth working things out? Some of the best people in our lives may have come in the beginning with conflict. I have worked in customer service for years, even before I was training dogs. I can say hands down that some of my toughest customers became some of my closest friends.

Relationships can be difficult, but many times it’s worth going through the tough part to get the long lasting goodness. We just have to stick around long enough to see it through. As far as the puppy, I look forward to seeing how him and his owner do in the coming years too.  

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING
BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.
COME CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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Dog “Trick or Treat” Tips

Such a fun time of year! Costumes are the name of the game and as much fun as we have, it is more than likely not the same for our dogs. This time, in fact, can be very stressful.

Not all dogs enjoy costumes.
Let’s face it. Some of us don’t enjoy dresses while others don’t enjoy wearing ties. Dogs are the same way. Some love to be all dolled up while other’s don’t. Be mindful of how your dog feels. How can you tell if he’s uncomfortable?

If a dog is uncomfortable in costume he shows displacement behaviors like:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Shaking as if he’s wet
  • Scratching
  • Licking lips
  • Looking to the side

Do something as simple as ID Tags

If you plan for it, it won’t happen and when you don’t plan, well, it all goes wrong. If you don’t have one already, please go to your local pet shop and get an ID tag made for your pet. I know this might seem like common sense, but be sure that your pet is wearing his ID during the festivities.

Trick or Treaters

The door bell with weird costumes coming and going can be very overwhelming to many dogs. Instead of keeping your dog front and center, I recommend setting up a quiet room. Give him something great to chew, like a stuffed Kong or a bully stick. Have background noise playing like THROUGH A DOG’S EAR CD or leave the TV on and the curtains pulled.
 
Stay Away from the Candies

There are many candies that can be extremely harmful to your pet, so be extra careful to keep the goodies up out of his reach as well as the beautiful candle lit jack-o-lanterns.

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING

BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.

COME CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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Space is EVERYTHING

Think about this for a moment. How comfortable are you when someone is in your “bubble?” You know, that invisible space around you that you consider your own. Some people consider their space needs wider than others, depending on their own comfort level.

When I traveled to Europe in college, I quickly realized even when talking to people that the culture plays a part in the “respected space.” Americas, well, we we require more. I typically stand about 3 feet from someone when I talk to a friend or in a professional setting, sometimes a little more space than that. When my kids though, they are welcome in my bubble space with their hugs and kisses.

Why would dogs be much different? We both have a “private space rule.” If you were unaware of this let me inform you now and if you have children, this is a great thing to teach them as well!

Rule Number 1:

Dogs that don’t know you don’t want hugs and kisses. Seriously, you just met… at least buy her lunch 😉

Rule Number 2:

If you are walking close to an unknown dog then do a slight arc. What?! As humans we are lateral. Just take a glance at our sidewalks. In the dog world, walking directly toward another dog is a threat. So as you are walking toward or past another dog, slightly arc around him.

Rule Number 3: 

When I meet a new dog, I don’t pet, talk to, or touch. I usually stand and talk to the owner, ignoring the dog. I allow him to sniff me. So, let him move to you. Let him sniff you. And don’t look him in the eyes (no long romantic gaze needed!), just ignore him until he looks more comfortable and relaxed.

There you have it. The simple space rules with dogs. What has been your experience? Share it with us in comments below!

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING
BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.
CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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Holistic Dog: Dog Stretches

Helping your dog stretch, or even massaging him isn’t a luxury; there are actually many health benefits for him. For older dogs it can help with arthritis, with dogs that are sports driven will prevent injury, and for all dogs it will improve health. You can easily massage or encourage your dog to stretch while watching TV.

Here is an easy stretch:

Place your dog on his back and begin to rub his belly.

Move our hands in slow strides up and down the belly. As your dog begins to relax start move your strokes longer so that your hands go down his hind legs. Usually dogs will begin to lengthen out their legs. Begin to slowly stroke the hind legs encouraging a stretch.

 

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING
BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.
COME CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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Whistle Train Come


There are times when your dog may be too far away from you to hear the cue “come” or maybe it’s just too difficult for you to yell and the whistle would be an easier tool. Here are some simple tips from my book, “Come, Boy!”

The Start of Whistle Training

Say your dog’s name, and as soon as his neck turns, as he is moving toward you, instead of saying “come,” blow the whistle and strongly reinforce (lots of treats) when he arrives. After a few repetitions you will eliminate saying his name and simply whistle.

Allow your dog to get distracted. Say his name and as soon as he moves toward you, whistle. When he gets closer deliver treats.

Let me know how it goes! Do you have any experiences with whistle training come?

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING
BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.
COME CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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Doggy DIY: Muffin Tin Puzzle Game

The muffin tin is an easy, cheap DIY puzzle toy for your dog. Puzzle toys are a great environmental enrichment for your dog as they provide mental exercise for him. To learn more about the importance of environmental enrichment CLICK HERE.

What you will need:

Muffin tin
Tennis balls
Treats

Instructions:

Place the treats in the bottom of the muffin tin, cover with tennis balls and watch your dog enjoy! 

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING
BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.
COME CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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