Boy has his spunk back!


There is only one down fall to a dog. One. And that’s the fact that their life span is just simply way too short. My dog Boy is my soul mate. Anyone that has seen us together can immediately see our deep connection. Boy has been with me through-out my entire training career. He was there for all my firsts. First time I was on the radio, first time on TV, first published book, first group class; I had “my man” there to support me. I have enjoyed taking him to demo or other events because with one look, or even a feeling, he responds. I have worked with hundreds of dogs over the past 11 years and have enjoyed all of them greatly, but there is still something about when I get to work with Boy and his leash is in my hand and we are walking together. I am thankful for our little magic I get to experience here on earth with Boy.

Boy will be turning 12 on his next birthday. Even as I write there is a big gulp in my throat. About a year ago this month I found out that my man has the “C” word. That’s right. The nasty word that you would rather pop right in the face and knock it out to another planet. My dog has cancer. He wasn’t doing well. It was hard for him to walk, his hips would give out, and he was lethargic. At that point, I was forced to retire Boy. My side kick was left at home.

But then I started to feed him Dr. Harvey’s Oracle food, fish oils, and their herbal blend for senior dogs (Golden Years). Six months later, Boy got his spunk back. I pulled him out of retirement two months ago to do a few therapy visits a month and a couple events here and there. We take things easy, but he is doing very well. He went to the groomers yesterday and came back still able to get out of the car, up the stairs and still had some energy left over. That hasn’t happened in a good long while. Dr. Harvey’s, thank you for giving Boy his spunk back!!

I think this is just another great example of what good whole foods can do for your pet and I am so grateful for more time with my man!

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING

BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.

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More than Downward Facing Dog

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DOGA.  Well, Doga for sure goes beyond the well known yoga position of “downward facing dog.” Doga is a form of partnership yoga that includes a human and a dog. The practice of Doga uses breathing, massage, stretches, and physical postures. During Doga, the pet guardian focuses his/her mind on the present moment and their dog.

BENEFITS OF DOGA

The benefits of Doga are the same as yoga for the human; relaxation through breathing techniques, postures, and meditation. Let’s not forget it provides stress relief and improved posture and flexibility.

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Dogs benefit from Doga by the extra special time spent with owner, this time and experience creates a stronger BOND and in a training program this is foundational. The dogs’ bodies benefit from the stroking massage, and manipulation. In addition, with the many ways the pet guardian is handling their pet, the dogs learn trust.

Most importantly, dogs feed off of their pet guardians’  emotions, so during the practice of Doga the focus is on a calm relaxed response. When the owners are calm it helps the dogs relax.

Boy and I have enjoyed our Doga journey and all of it’s benefits. I am pretty sure that this is just the beginning. Have you tried Doga? What experiences did you have? Please share in comments below!

Oh! And Dallas peeps! Boy and I teach classes in your area. Click here to find details. 

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING

BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.

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New to Flirt Pole

I have a confession to make.

I have been training dogs for over ten years and I had never tried a flirt pole until this summer. Now that I have, I am hooked.

First, what is a flirt pole?

The first time I heard the word “flirt pole” I said, “What?” too. Essentially, a flirt pole is a pole with a string and a toy attached at the end of the string. Simple enough? I ordered a Squishy Face flirt pole. I don’t know about you, but I think Squishy Face is a perfect name for a dog product. :) 

What does it do?

Exercise: Especially during summers in Texas, we just aren’t able to walk our dogs like we would like because of the heat. A lot of my students are looking for alternatives and this is a great one. Not to mention, you don’t have to wear yourself out trying to exercise your dog. Ten to fifteen minutes of chasing a flirt pole toy will tire most dogs. 

Focus:  Doing any activity for a length of time will help promote focus.

Reinforcement of the cue “off”: When I play with the flirt pole I cue my dog to “off” (remove his mouth from toy) and “take it” (race after the toy to grab it). 

How do I use it?

In the video below, this was my first time to play with Duke and the flirt pole.

Get him engaged in chasing the toy. When you first start the game, make it easy and quick. Allow him to win easily. As you progress with the game, make it more difficult by keeping the toy away longer. 

Teach a release. When the dog gets the toy in his mouth, cue “off” or “release.” If he is new to “off” what you will do is pull the toy tight and hold it against your leg and wait for him to remove his mouth off of toy. As soon as he lets go say “good, okay, take it” and begin the game of chase the toy all over again.

Add Tug

The picture below shows Duke enjoying a game of light tug after he caught the toy.

Take Breaks

Because Duke gets really excited with several repetitions of running after the toy, I started to take breaks like asking him to sit and calmly talking to him for a few seconds before I re-cued him to run after the toy. Taking breaks allows dogs to calm back down, preventing them to get over stimulated. 

I have found a great new game to play both with large and small dogs! (I even have two Yorkie students playing this game.) Have you tried a flirt pole? Tell us about it! Want to try out our favorite flirt pole? CLICK HERE 

Picture Credit: Thank you for the help of Duke and Joe for the pictures and video. 

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING

BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.

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The Big Bad Storm

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Boy, my “man” has a few anxieties and a storm is one of them. We could chalk it up to his amazing sense of hearing that is overly-sensitive to the sounds of the storm (don’t be a hater on a sensitive man either) or from a time when he was in the care of a neighbor that left him outside during a storm (we are no longer talking). Either way, Boy hates storms.

What happens when a storm comes through?

Boy follows me around the house. Less than a month ago I was enjoying a shower which I truly treasure as my alone time and he rudely hopped in. I am sure if another adult had been in the house they would have been laughing hysterically at my one-sided conversation with Boy. “What are you doing, Boy?” He plops down into a sit position, getting more and more drenched. “Seriously, Boy?! You just got groomed! Jeez, what a waste of money!” He looks up at me and then back down. “Really, Boy?” He continues looking straight forward, in the opposite direction of me. “Boy, you need to get out.” I open up the curtain and motion with my hand. He goes into a down position. He’s not skinny either. He’s so big and takes up the entire tub requiring me to reposition myself to the side of the tub, barely getting any hot water. “Oh well! I guess after 11 years there’s not a lot you haven’t seen.”

I realized after we got out of the shower and a few sailorish words later (yes, I screened those out in the above storytelling), that there was a storm moving in. Woopse.

He digs. He has to do it. Even if I pat him on the shoulder he will continue like, please just let me push pretend dirt a few more times, mom, before I can stop.

He hides. His safe place is a weird one, the garden sized bath tub. I think that the large tub helps muffle some of the sound.

 

Every dog with storm enduced anxiety will react differently to storms, but these are some of the examples.

What are some things you can do to make your dog more comfortable?

A place for him to go. I have found that a place that helps drown out the sound helps my own dog, like the tub. For those of you that have a basement this may be the best place. You can add things, to a kennel for example, to make it comfortable like a pallet of blankets.

Thundershirt. This is a great product that acts like a security blanket and promotes a calm reaction. Thundershirts are fabulous! Both my clients and I have had great success with them.


Through a Dog’s Ear. This special clinically proven CD promotes relaxation and can be used as background music to promote a calm response.


Observe your dog to see what makes him more comfortable. Just like humans, dogs differ in their comforts.

For the next big bad storm, use my suggestions and observe. Work toward making him as comfortable as possible. Seriously though, Boy wanted me to reiterate the fact that, although sensitive he is still manly.

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING

BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.

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Gettin’ Tricky with Boy: Balancing and Catching a Treat

 

Boy and I thought we had to try out the new POWER POPS! by Dr. Harvey’s with a new trick. What better party trick than balancing and catching a treat?!

The first step is to place a treat on your dog’s nose.

Hold the treat on your dog’s snout and say “waiiiiiiiiit.”

Now, let go of his snout and tell him a “get it” cue. 

Do not expect a long duration of holding the treat when you first start this trick. You want to start with quickly releasing him and work toward a longer hold each repetition.

Remember, practice makes perfect! Some dogs might throw a treat further than others before s/he masters snatching the airborne treat!

Have fun! Let me and Boy know how it goes…

Here is a fun blooper from our training session. Boy accidentally snapped my thumb instead of the treat! I think he felt bad because for the rest of that session he didn’t try as hard😉

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BLOG WRITTEN BY MICHELLE HUNTTING

BUILDING THE BRIDGE OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN DOG AND PET GUARDIAN.

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Fireworks Are Loud

 

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday! I grew up in Iowa and that day was filled with fun. In the morning we’d enjoy the parade. In the afternoon we would head to a little tiny town called Minburn where we’d eat our hearts out, chit chat with people we hadn’t seen in a long while, and then enjoy my favorite thing- the races. We would do the egg toss, relay races, and my mom would even get in on the nailing contest (how many nails she could hammer in in a certain amount of time). If I won a race I was awarded a quarter. After a day of fun, we’d end with a bang; watching fire words. Fireworks are so beautiful, but very loud.

Did you know that the 4th of July is the number one day of the year when pets run away? It’s true. Pets get scared and think they need to “run away” from the sound. As you are enjoying festivities with your family this coming weekend, please keep a few things in mind.

  • MAKE SURE YOUR DOG’S ID TAGS ARE ON
    Your house may or may not be filled with guest going in and out the doors. Please just do something very simple by putting on the ID tags. If your dog happens to get loose, someone can easily return him/her.
  • KEEP YOUR DOG INDOORS
    The fireworks are extremely loud to the sensitive canine ears. Please do not take your dog out for the show. This is not the time, nor the place.
  • CREATE A SPACE THAT IS COMFORTABLE AND QUIET; A QUIET ROOM 
    Have background sounds, like a fan running or air filter can help with some of the
    outside noises.  I like playing music “Through A Dog’s Ear” as my background music. You can provide a kennel may provide additional comfort with bedding and blankets.

The fourth of July is such a fun holiday! Please keep your canine comfortable and safe so you can both enjoy! 

Happy Independence Day! 

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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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