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Our Blog

 An ongoing series of entries...

Our Twenty Eighth Blog Entry

March 06, 2023

We Are Back Baby!

Hello Again Everyone,


It has been way too long and I have missed all of you!  So many changes have taken place in all of our lives.  We have endured and persevered!

I do hope all of you are well, back to work and are finally living your best lives!

I cannot wait to get back to working with you and spending time with your adorable pets.  

New blog entries to come...

Stay well, be safe and continue to snuggle your dogs!


 Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Twenty Seventh Blog Entry

March 24, 2020

Stay Strong but Be Loving

Hello Everyone,

I know many of us are having a difficult time staying calm and strong through this pandemic.  This is an extremely difficult time for all of us all over the world.  It is a time to think, be vigilant and make good decisions based on facts and knowledge.  It is not a time to overreact or make irrational and selfish decisions based on fear.  I know that some people are giving up their pets based on a rumor that dogs can contract the Carona virus.  Folks, it simply is not true.  Please do not fill up our streets and shelters with dogs who need you to care for them.  Do your homework.  Find reputable websites where you can read facts instead of scrolling Facebook for example where anyone can post garbage.  Think, learn and make clear informed decisions.  Not just for yourself but for your family, friends, pets and all of us all over the world.  We are all in this thing together.  It's about ALL of us.

Stay home, love your family and snuggle your pets.

 Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Twenty Sixth Blog Entry

January 09, 2020

Happy New Year !

Hey!!!

I've been neglecting all of you, regretfully...

I'm hoping you are entering the new year with excitement and enthusiasm.  Maybe some of you have gotten or are thinking about getting a new puppy.  I have written in my first few blogs about what to consider before bringing a dog or puppy home so please go ahead and scroll down to check those entries out.  And please click on the green box above or give me a call with any questions or concerns.  I'll be following up shortly with another entry on basic obedient skills and housebreaking a new pet.

 Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Twenty Fifth Blog Entry

November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello All! 

 I'm sure most of you are awake this morning getting ready to head out or preparing your meal for friends and family in the kitchen while the dog(s) sit patiently at your feet for flying bits to fall.  I just want to take a moment to ask you to heed warning as to what your dog eats from the table today.  Many of the foods we eat can be deadly for dogs or give them terrible digestive problems.  No one wants to be up tonight with a dog who has the runs or worse, at an emergency clinic worried and paying a steep vet bill.  Ask your guests not to feed your dog and make sure food is not left unattended.  I have a Beagle who will eat herself to death...literally.  There is a list of foods poisonous or dangerous for your dogs online.  Please take a moment to check it. 

As for you, eat, drink and be thankful until your heart is content!

HAVE A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!

 Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Twenty Fourth Blog Entry

October 21, 2019

Cherry Eye?

Hi, Everyone!  Long time no hear from me, I know.  I'm still here and working.  I certainly don't mean to neglect you or my website.  My blog page sometimes takes a backseat to my hands on work with animals.   

Recently, on my journey of teaching and learning I discovered a condition that is common in bulldog's called "Cherry Eye".  Sounds lovely but it isn't.  It is a disorder of the nictitating membrane of the eye also called third eye.  It is not only common in bulldogs.  It can happen to any dog or cat and is common in puppies under the age of two.  Cherry eye is a protruding gland that plays an essential role in vision by supplying oxygen and nutrients to the eye via tear production.  This protrusion or defect causes the gland to protrude from the inner corner of the eye as a red fleshy mass.   Treatment, if caught early, can sometimes simply be massaging the closed eye downward toward the snout alone or with steroids and antibiotics but usually surgery is required.  There are a few different procedures your veterinarian will go over with you to remedy the problem and anchor the gland in place.  I suggest not massaging the area unless directed by your pet's physician.  

I apologize for my absence and promise to check back in soon.

 Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Twenty Third Blog Entry

September 16, 2019

What Did "You" Do???

So, last night and right before bedtime, I found myself standing over my Beagle, Ellie asking, "What did you do?".   She was trying to regurgitate what was probably about two pounds of dry dog food which she had gotten into while I was cleaning up the kitchen.  Her abdomen looked as though it was about to explode and was as hard as a rock.  I had put forty pounds of dry food into a weaved, grass basket lined with a recyclable, plastic trash bag which was tightly tied.  The basket sits on the floor out in the mudroom by the back door where she is fed and it does not have a lid.  She had chewed right through the plastic to get to the food.   Well, when I asked the question, "What did you do?", who do you think I was talking to?  I'll give you a hint...it wasn't my Beagle, Ellie. 

 I was talking to myself.  With all of my experience I still made what could have been a very serious and possibly fatal mistake.  Dog food must always be stored in an airtight container that cannot be breached by your dogs and put up where they cannot reach it.  While most of the time if this happens our dogs will just be uncomfortable, try to throw up the food and eliminate a lot as it is being digested.  But other times it might be devastating.  I recommend taking your dog to the vet just in case even if you end up spending money on the veterinarian visit just for your vet to tell you to give it time to pass.  But your dog's doctor might also tell you about a fatal condition called, Gastric Dilatation Volvulus or "Bloat".  Bloat is a somewhat rare condition and has never fully been answered as to what causes it completely.  However it is commonly found in large, deep chested dogs.  It is thought to be caused by eating too quickly.  The stomach fills with gas then twists on itself.   Some other guesses as to what helps contribute to this problem are, elevated feeding bowls, how fast your dog eats, type of dry food...some fillers  in dry dog food are highly fermentable, exercising your dog right after eating and allowing your dog to drink large amounts of water right after eating.  The signs of bloat, species of dogs that commonly contract this problem and ways to avoid this are easily found online.  As always, contact your veterinarian with any and all questions or concerns.  But remember, we are all humans and boy do humans make mistakes!  Even the most experienced ones.  Just make sure to learn from your mistakes so you only make the same mistake once.

 Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Twenty Second Blog Entry

September 2, 2019

Be Careful...and Bring Water With You

I see kind home owners leaving bowls of water out by the sidewalk for dog owners to give to their dogs on hot days as they walk by.  It is sweet of the residents and neighbors to think of others as they do but good intentions are not always what is best in the end.  Too many dogs are using the same bowl of water.  Dogs are constantly sniffing and eating things from the ground and soil that are not good for them.  They transfer these things into the water when drinking it and bacteria, parasites and a mixed mosh of toxins build in the water which can make dogs very sick.  Not everyone takes their dogs for routine visits to the vet or vaccinate them.  If you are one of these people you are probably not reading this blog anyway but I will explain nonetheless.  Dogs contract viruses from one another such as kennel cough, Distemper, Influenza, Parvo, Histoplasmosis, heartworms, intestinal parasites, Leptospirosis or Rabies.  Who knows how long the water has sat there and what other animals may have come by to drink it.  Always pay attention to how much time your dog is sniffing in one place.  Don't let them do it.  Try to pay attention at all times to keep your dog from eating anything from the ground.  And as I have blogged about before, please, please, please pick up after your dog.  Besides the obvious reasons,  dogs eat other dog's feces.  While the poop in and of itself is most likely not harmful to your dog, parasites and viruses in the droppings may be.  It is also very toxic to humans.  How about a nice, big, wet kiss from your dog after it has eaten foreign doo doo?  No thanks.  All of the viruses and others are available online to look up and research.  Your veterinarian is a perfect source of information and if you haven't gotten your pet to the vet yet, get there.

 Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Twenty First Blog Entry

August 27, 2019

Pet Sitters

Choosing a pet sitter can be stressful and expensive.  Worrying about our pets while on vacation is not a vacation at all.  So it's important to choose the right sitter according to our pet's needs and whom we are comfortable with.  Do you want someone to stay in your home, make visits or would you prefer to have your pet stay in a facility?  Your choice should be based only on what is best for your pet.  So many people choose according to their own comforts but what comforts you may not be what is best for your pet at all.  For example, some dogs never spend much time away from their homes and family but are used to guests coming frequently.  In this case choosing an in home sitter would be the best option since removing your dog and placing it in a new, unfamiliar and noisy environment with many other barking dogs can be a traumatic experience and a lot of your dog's time will be spent in a crate or pen alone.  But maybe you have two dogs who spend much of  their time at dog parks and traveling to other places or are crate trained.  In this case a pet facility may be better for your dogs because they will enjoy the activity and socialization with other dogs and also have one another for companionship.   In any case, it is imperative you find a sitter who is kind, calm but firm and assertive as your pet or pets will be apprehensive.  In past blogs I've talked about not coddling a scared dog as it will reinforce the fear and continue the negative behavior.  Your sitter must be well experienced with pets and have the ability to comfort and distract your dog with calm assertive redirection.  Ask other people who they have watch their pets.  Word of mouth is everything.  Tell your potential sitter what your dog's behaviors are and listen closely to their responses.  You will know if they are the best choice or not for you and your pets.  Remember, they are also house sitting.  Trust is a must.  We want our pets to be content while we are away spending time with friends and family.  And we should not have to worry about  them or our home while we are gone.

 Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Twentieth Blog Entry

August 19, 2019

Don't Get Duped

Don't get duped when picking a dog trainer.  That is not to suggest dog trainers may scam you.  Just keep in mind that some trainers may be more qualified than you might require which includes higher fees.  Also, some trainers may not be skilled, trained or have had enough experience to do the job you are in need of.  Don't be fooled by certifications.  Experience is everything.  Anyone can get a certification in dog training.  It is easy to acquire.   Experience is what you need because not all dogs are the same.  And while they do have a general insticual make up they do not learn exactly in the same ways as each other.  A good dog trainer will treat each dog individually while assessing your dog's behaviors.  Don't be afraid to ask your potential trainer questions about their history with dogs and training them.  Ask them to talk about what approach they feel your dog specifically needs.  Not all trainers teach in the same manner.  Maybe you don't want to call your dog with a whistle or maybe you don't want to use a clicker.  Your dog trainer should be teaching you and your family how to train your dog and you need to make sure it is an approach you can stick to.  

 Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Nineteenth Blog Entry

August 5, 2019

Are We Walking Our Dogs Enough?

I feel people don't ask themselves this question enough.  Is it because many dog owners do not know exactly what the question actually means?  Walking a dog is not just for eliminating waste.   Our dogs need exercise and the amount of time our dogs need varies according to breed, age and size.  Dog owners assume a big backyard gives a dog enough room for exercise thinking it will keep their dogs happy and healthy.  Dogs are social creatures as I have spoken about in past blogs.  They need to be walked for several reasons.  Along with exercise, dogs need to socialise with other dogs, explore smells  and play with preferred playmates.  Dogs are opportunists and need new unexplored environments.  They are optimists, therefore, experiencing new places, other dogs and people as potential for play or food.  This is exciting for them.  Without enough exercise, socialization and new outside stimulus, our dogs can develop physical problems such as muscular, cardiovascular and behavioral problems that are manifestations of frustration and increased irritability.  I walk my dog five times a day but I have the time and career to do so.  But dog owners should walk their dogs at least two times a day.  In the morning and in the evening.  If you have a family, create a dog walking schedule and share the task with them.  Or hire a dog walker such as myself.  

Not all dogs should go on extremely long walks .  If you have an elderly dog or if it has health issues, slow twenty minute walks twice a day is plenty.  You may also consider talking to your veterinarian about an exercise plan.  


I see people briskly jogging or running with their dogs.  Genetically, dogs are not long distance runners and cannot edure running for long periods of time.  They are sprinters.  This can be a serious problem.  Most dogs cannot handle that type of extreme physical exercise.  If you are a runner and would like to take your dog with you on your runs, pick a breed which is physically suited genetically and well trained for this type of rigorous exercise.  But still give the dog a few breaks along the way.  Otherwise, leave your dog  at home while running.  You can walk your dog when you get back.  This will be a good way to cool yourself down. 


 I also suggest a body harness rather than putting the leash onto your dog's collar.  Dogs are always sniffing and need their heads to be down.  It is best not to be continuously pulling on their neck and throat while you are walking.  Not all harnessesses are the same.  Find one that is easy to put on and take off.  Also some are full vests rather than straps.  Use this style in the winter.  It will be too hot for your dog in the summer.  

If your dog is well trained, he or she should be at your side while walking and not pulling on the leash ahead of you.  If walking your dog on a leash has been a problem for you, please contact me and I can help you through it.  

Enjoy your walk!

 Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Eighteenth Blog Entry

July 22, 2019

Where Is Your Happy Place?

Many are hung up on instant gratification without understanding that to live healthy, happy and fit lives we have to make a lifestyle changes.  If we want to be better humans who understand this world doesn't revolve around us then we have to figure out what drives us.  While I do work with dogs and a lot of my time is spent just walking with them, my actual life goal is to help people.  I believe and experience that if we look outside of ourselves, help others and have gratitude, it is very difficult to feel any negativity towards oneself.  Think about it.  When I meet a dog and its owner(s) for the first time and the owner is beside him or herself with worry and frustration over their pet's negative behaviors and they're feeling overwhelmed and secretly regretting their decision to get the dog and believing the dog is broken somehow, I feel great satisfaction when I connect with the dog, figure out its needs and relay the solution to its owner.  None of this is simple however, it takes work and a lot of patience on my part and I have to connect with the dog and its owner in such a way to get them to open up to new ideas and making changes.  Every bit of the successes of my work relies on me not thinking about myself at all.   But none of it is to the detriment of myself.  I have an enormous amount of gratitude for having the ability, knowledge and experience to help.   And when I see and feel the relief of others when they have a weight lifted and feeling free of the guilt because they now have been given the skills to work with their dog and the dog is stable, it is then I feel good about me.  Yes, we feel good about ourselves when we are thin, tan, or we have on some makeup and our hair turned out looking fantastic, but these are not the things that will carry us through our entire lives.  These things are superficial.  They don't carry weight.  I can't go home at the end of the day, sit down, put my feet up and say to myself,  "Hey Jess, way to go on that pedicure you got this morning...looking good girl!".   I mean, well I can, and it is important to take care of ourselves in this way but what will I feel like when I am old and my youth has faded?  I'm not even the one who will have painted my old toenails.  Will I be able to say that I still feel good about me?  I do what I do because it drives me.  I don't have all of the answers but I won't quit or stop working on myself in meanungful ways.  And if I can help someone even in the smallest of ways then that makes me feel good about me.  What makes you feel good about you?  If you don't know find it...it is in you.  Set it free.

 Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Seventeenth Blog Entry

July 16, 2019

It's Hot!

Pet owners, it's hot out there!  Please take good care of your furry lovables in the summer heat.  Such as, keep them out of it!  Leave your pets indoors during heat waves.  I was on the beach with my boys and I see a person "hot footing" it down the ramp to the hot sand on the beach with his dog.  He stops to sit down on a towel to put on his sandals while he leaves the tortured dog to endure the pain on it's burning paws.  I'm not one to mind people's business and I hate it when others mind mine.  But in this case I did intervene.  Some of you might say I interfered but I'm okay with that.  I'd do the same for a child.  I ran over with my towel, laid it on the sand and pulled the dog onto it.  I didn't say anything.  I just looked at the man as if I were the dog and what it would say to him if it could.  Like, W.T.F.!  The man picked up the dog and carried it off of the beach.  I do not understand the disconnect.  I don't mean to be harsh folks but we will do whatever we can to protect ourselves from the heat of summer and the sun but why are we not for our pets?  We will love them and kiss them and snuggle them then walk them onto a hot sandy beach or leave them in a hot car?  Please make sure your pets have plenty of fresh water, leave them indoors where it's cool.  Do not take them with you to the store in your cars...leave them home.  Be careful of walking your dog on hot cement and street asphalt or blacktop.  Get them a summer haircut.  

 It is extremely hot!!!!

Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Sixteenth Blog Entry

July 11, 2019

Feel the Love and Not the Guilt

So I've recently learned about 78% of my audience are woman.  I am not saying I am surprised.  Actually, being a woman myself and doing what I do, I was expecting it.  Woman are instinctual caregivers and nurturers.  That is not to say men don't care or know how to care as woman do.  It is just that men tend to get from point A to point B in fewer more business like steps than woman  when taking on a task.  Let me explain before I get myself into trouble... 

While lessening grey areas and simplifying things is usually a great idea...way to go guys...it is not always what is best in every situation.  Sometimes more thought out plans are important to getting the proper end result and that is what women do...way to go ladies.   But sometimes women muddy things up a bit when adding in too many details or overthinking things too much...sorry ladies, and I am guilty of this too.  But it is not always a bad thing girls and guys.  This is why some things are best left to the guys and others to the girls.  Women, especially wives and mothers, worry.  We worry a lot.  When we worry we get organized but we tend to add a lot to our plates.  But when we do this it comes with a giant bag of guilt when we feel like we are not on top of things or in control.  While this can cause emotional stress, remember it is because we care.  We don't feel guilty if we don't care.  So ladies, take it from the men and try to simplify.  Drop some of the baggage and figure out whose feet it should land.  I meet so many people on my walks and I meet woman who seem relieved and are extremely interested in what I do and how it can help them.  But I also hear guilt behind what they say to me when possibly thinking of giving up some responsibilities of their dog and hand over the leash.  I have a client who gets a little jealous when I show up at the door and her dog comes running excitedly to see me.  She even prefers to get home in time to feed him rather than just have me do it.  I find it a little funny but I also find it very endearing.  I see the vulnerability of people and that is what I like about my clients the most.  They love their dogs and they love how their dogs make them feel.  We need to feel needed.   We are real people with real problems.  And it is okay to ask for help.  It took me most of my life to learn this.  So if you are feeling reluctant to give me a call or send me an email or write a post on our group page, please don't.  You are thinking about it because you need help.  It is most likely why you "Liked" my page on Facebook.  This makes you human and it means you care.  Care about yourself as much if not more than your pets and let me help you.  Your dog will be happier and healthier for it and they will never forget who loves him or her the most. 

 I look forward to it...

Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Fifthteenth Blog Entry

July 07, 2019

Pet Food...Keep it Simple

Recently there have been many recalls on dog food.  This can be very frightening for pet owners and cause reluctance to purchase pet food...relax.  This happens with human food too and we just throw the item away and move on.  What we should be paying more attention to is what our pets should and should not be eating daily.  There are way too many companies or brands out there to choose from.  Too many formulas such as, wet, dry, all natural, grain free, no corn, less fillers, you name it and it is on the shelf at the pet store.  When we shop for ourselves at the grocery store there is always some type of product gimmick being pushed to sell an item.  There is fat free, whole grain, all natural, low carb, etcetera.  It is the same for dog and cat foods.  For example, there is no evidence showing that grains are bad for dogs.  Companies threw the words "grain free" on the dog food bags and jacked up the price and people came running.  I'm guilty too of running out and purchasing anything that is new on the market and it is a mistake.  Anyone can sell anything but is it good for us or our pets?  All of those cans and bags on the shelves can be overwhelming and leave us standing in the isle not knowing what to buy.  Well here is some advice that will narrow things down and make it somewhat easier.  First we must take our dogs to the veterinarian and discuss any problems we may be having with our pet's digestion.  What does the stool look like and how often is our pet pooping?  Ask what puppies need in their diets during the first year of growth.  What does an adult or senior dog need?  Do we have a large dog or small dog?  The vet will help us with any concerns and give us the proper advice on what to feed our dogs and how much.  Also, is our dog a mutt...a rescue from the street or is it a thoroughbred...maybe purchased from a breeder?  This is important to know because mutts usually have stronger digestive systems than full bred dogs.  The weak or malfunctioning digestive tract in some full bred dogs comes from overbreeding.  If we have a full bred dog we should feed it only high quality dry food that has very limited ingredients such as, chicken and rice formulas unless a veterinarian tells us otherwise.  Also, we should not feed our dogs human food ever.  People love to cook for their dogs as though they are children and have the idea that it is healthier for them.  Full bred dogs especially smaller breeds tend to get Pancreatitis.  The enzymes in the pancreas cannot break down the fat in the food along with chemicals and toxins and our dogs will get very sick and this is irreversible.  Also, we should not feed our dogs human food from the kitchen table, counter or couch.  We only do this because it makes us feel good but is what we are feeding our dogs good for them?  If your dog has a distended abdomen in might not be because the dog is overweight.  This is one of many signs your dog may have pancreatitis.  High quality dry food contains vitamins and the right kind of fats and proteins and is formulated specifically for dogs nutrition.   The nutritional information is broken down for us right on the outside of the bag.  Our dogs cannot get these nutrients from human food nor in the correct amounts at each feeding.  Feeding our dogs is not one size fits all.  It is not like running and grabbing a happy meal.  We must figure out what is healthy for our dogs specifically and not fall for gimmicks or a great dog food commercial.  I have been caring for dogs for over two decades and I always feed all of my dogs dry dog food that have very limited fillers such as corn, wheat, soy and potatoes, without any problems at all.  That is not to say those ingredients are bad for your dog.  You just want less fillers and more of the things that have more nutritional value for your dog in the food.  The first five ingredients on the nutritional label should read something like: deboned chicken, rice, sweet potatoes, peas, salmon and blueberries.  Beef by products are actually okay and provide protein.  However, it may also contain more fat than your dog can digest. The following ingredients should be the vitamins and minerals and explanation of amino acids and fats.  Protein and fat percentages are explained separately somewhere on the bag.  My favorite brand had been Merrick for their limited ingredients although they have been recently flagged by the FDA for having too much fat in their grain free formulas.  It is one of the higher priced brands and there are others out there much less expensive and are equally as nutritious so use the information on the Merrick bag that is not grain free as a reference and compare to less expensive brands which are also not grain free.  There are a few right in the grocery store that are acceptable.  Anyway, not all brands were good for all of my dogs.  Large dogs require dry food for large dogs only, while small dogs eat foods specifically designed for small dogs.  Sometimes the calories were too high and one of my dogs would gain too much weight, other times a dog could not tolerate chicken and get sick or maybe a dog just did not like the food at all and refused to eat it.  Having several dogs and feeding them several different brands of food can become problematic and expensive so in cases like these I would try to find one food that would be good for all of the dogs under the circumstances if possible.   So if you have a puppy, pick a dry puppy food brand that has a short ingredient list that is easy on your wallet and you plan to stick with the same brand when moving to adult dog food.  If you have an adult dog which you feed adult dry food and a puppy which you feed puppy dry food use the same brand but separate the dogs when feeding so one does not eat the other's food until your puppy is a year old and you are ready to feed both dogs the same formula.  If you need to switch brands go very slowly.  Mix very little of the new food into the old and continue for at least a week or longer adding more of the new food a little more every few days until the dog has adjusted to the change successfully.   If you just switch brands without easing into it the dog will have terrible diarrhea Sometimes I grab a can of pure pumpkin and mix a little in each feeding to help with digestion.  It slows digestion and absorbs water to lessen the chances of loose stools.

In short to simplify...

feed your dog high quality dry food only, unless directed by your veterinarian. 

Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Fourteenth Blog Entry

July 04, 2019

Happy 4th or Is It?

Fireworks are spectacular aren't they?  It never gets old.  But I'm not sure some of our pups will agree.  I see a lot of posts on Facebook promoting being kind to dogs by not setting off fireworks.  Hmmm, I'm not sure putting an end to a tradition that dates back as far as American independence itself possibly is the answer.  That would also apply to war veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or maybe some people and children with Autism who also fear loud noises.  I have a son with Autism who loves fireworks from the safety of his iPad.  But sitting under a rain cloud of colorful explosions and fantastic booms is not exactly his forte.  He freaks out.  Well, he used to.  It took a lot of exposure to fireworks and loud noises of any kind to help my son realize over time and with consistency that there was nothing to fear.  You see, if I had pulled him away or coddled him too much while he was afraid it would have only reinforced his fear.  Removing him does not teach him he is safe.  It sends a message that he is right to be afraid so we must go.  The same applies to our dogs.   It's normal to jump at a sudden bang but when we realize it is only noise we calm down, right?  Dogs do not rationalize like humans do.  They only react to the fear and stay afraid until whatever is causing the fear ends.  As I had talked about in my sixth blog, coddling our dogs or trying to comfort them with petting and sweet talk when they are afraid will only reinforce the unwanted behavior.  We don't want to pet our dogs when they are scared because it tells them they are doing a great job being afraid.   We want to teach them that there is nothing to fear.    I'm not sure you will not have much success tonight if it is your first time not coddling your dogs during the noisy festivities as it takes time to condition the dog to not fear fireworks.  Tonight you can just crate your dog or put him/her in a place in the house you are sure they feel the safest.  But daily you can begin to play loud videos of fireworks on your  television while playing fetch or your dog's favorite game until your dogs forgets about the noise and calms down to play with you and then you can raise the noise some more and so on.  Using treats when you see your dog is calm will help.  Reinforce the good or wanted behaviors with rewards.  You must also stay very calm and be extremely patient.  Your dog is reading your energy and is looking to you for guidance.  Quiet, calm but assertive behavior from you will result in a stable and content dog.

Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Thirteenth Blog Entry

July 02, 2019

Vicious Dog? Never...

Some people fear dogs.  This might have been caused by an event in their lives such as a dog bite or maybe from not being exposed to pets at all.  The apprehension simply comes from not knowing or lack of exposure to dogs.   We all fear what we don't know, especially if it has teeth.   People usually fear large dogs over small dogs regardless of the statistical fact that small dogs tend to be biters over large dogs.  But I can tell you that no dog of any breed or size is born already having an aggressive or vicious nature.   If you come across a dog that is behaving aggressively or viciously it is always due to some event in the dog's environment now or in the past that has caused this frightening behavior.  There are numerous reasons why a dog will attack.  But generally it is behavior that comes from their own apprehension or fears.  Dogs do not hunt people.  They protect themselves and their environment or their pack but they will not attack for the sake of hurting anyone.  They are just not wired that way.  This is a learned behavior.  Whether it is a dog that was trained to attack people or other dogs or if it fears humans because it had been abused, or if it is afraid because it senses your fear of it or if it just was not properly socialized,  there are so many reasons why a dog will attack and never is this unwelcomed behavior born into it.  Understanding how a dog thinks, senses and reacts to outside stimulus  and learning how to behave when meeting a dog for the first time is important for your safety and the dog's.  To me it's like learning to swim, we all should learn to do it if we don't want to drown.   To be continued...

Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Twelfth Blog Entry

July 01, 2019

Off Leash

We all would love to walk with our dogs at our sides off leash through town or throw the frisbee at the park and have our dogs catch it midair and run back to us  with it every time without fail or have a leisurely stroll on the beach without our dogs taking off on us and then nowhere to be found.  Having an obedient dog is achievable with the right training and consistency on the owner's part to condition the dog to do so.  However, not all breeds are programmed this way so to speak.  This goes back to my first two blogs when I had stated choosing the right dog for your lifestyle is key to success.  Some dogs have a high "prey drive".  This means they are instinctual hunters.  I have the most submissive and passive Beagle Terrier mix.  While genetically she is a hunter,  she does come to me every time I call her and no matter if at home or in public.  I can teach her just about anything because she is so willing to please and also quite intelligent.  However,  when we are out on our walks and she spots a squirrel or bunny she takes off like a shot from a cannon when the rodent runs away.  If it is standing still she starts to creep,  hunting it hoping to sneak up on her prey.  She has never had a successful kill as I won't allow it and I never let her off leash strictly for her safety.  I have no reason to put her in danger other than to show off my awesome training skills...ha,ha,ha!   Make sure to know your leash laws in your area as well.  

If you are going to try to train your dog to come to you on command, it is best to be done in a small, closed in area then you can move to a larger closed in area upon your success in retrieving your dog in the first area without trouble and until you feel the dog is well trained and will come on command.  You can then try adding in distractions like other dogs and people to see if your dog will still come to you on command no matter the interference.  If you need help with  this feel free to contact me to set up an appointment to discuss a plan. 

Good Luck,

Jess

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Our Eleventh Blog Entry

June 29, 2019

Curb Your Dog Please?

With fear of upsetting anyone,  I would like to talk about common courtesy and  curb laws.  As a dog walker, owner and a resident of a community,  I am speaking for all who live here or anywhere.   I am hoping everyone reading this appreciates my willingness to speak up as I only mean to help my fellow residents and neighbors in a non-confrontational manner. My blog is a platform to help people be more aware of their behaviors towards dogs and how their behaviors directly affect the dog's behaviors and to help remedy any problems.  Therefore, I feel this topic also applies.  There are curb laws for dogs and their owners which includes picking up after our dogs on the road.  But beyond what is law there is common courtesy and proper etiquette which we as good neighbors and citizens should live by.   We should never, ever allow our dogs to pee or poop on someone's property or to enter it in any way at all unless invited.  We should consider this trespassing and damaging one's property.  I see this on a regular basis including on my own lawn.  My neighbor down the street just put in brand new sod and on one of my walks I witnessed a person walking their dog who allowed their enormous hound to poop on the perfect lawn.  Then, to make matters worse, the dog started to kick it's hind legs as some dogs do after defecating.  The dog proceeded to rip up the grass in the process and grass and soil were flying everywhere leaving large holes behind.  The owner just lead the dog off of the lawn and walked away.  I also see dogs peeing on expensive landscaping or trampling through it investigating while their owners stand there holding the leash waiting.  We should be training our dogs to be using the grass at the curbside only and at all times.  Also,  I die a little inside when my dog chooses to pee or poop right next to the residential walkway to the street on the curbside grass area.  A dog's fecal matter is highly toxic.   I would hate to be the cause of someone getting sick because they have walked across deadly bacteria that gets tracked into their homes from the bottoms of their shoes.  Even if we pick up the droppings there is always bacteria left behind.  My boys are big now but I do remember when they would crawl on the floor and put everything in their mouths.   Our residents and neighbors spend a lot of time and money on their lawns and landscaping because they love their homes.  We should be courteous and respectful by curbing our dogs, cleaning up after them and reporting any accidental damage we and our dogs may have caused.  The curb laws are put in place for these reasons.

 Thanks for your support and for being a respectful dog owner.

Graciously,

Jess

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Our Tenth Blog Entry

June 26, 2019

What Makes Us Master?

Dogs are social animals and instinctually form packs or groups of dogs.  There is a well defined pack hierarchy.  This instinct comes from their distant wolf cousins whose pack is made up of one alpha male and then an alpha female. Further down is the beta and then the omega which is even further down the pack line.   This social order is formed to create stability.  The leader creates parameters so the wolf pack is not confused, or in constant conflict with one another.  In the dog community and even within our homes with our dogs there is also a social order no matter if there are multiple dogs or if you have a pack of one.  You being the leader and assuming the dog has chosen you as its master.  Maybe it hasn't?  If you brought a dog home wanting it to be "your dog" but it is apparent to you the dog is much more fond of someone else in your family, this can be a bit disturbing especially if you are the primary caregiver doing all of the work and feeling there is no reward.  Dogs always choose the person who gives them the most consistant, positive, calm but assertive attention and the most time.  Also, the dog has to form trust.  Sometimes a caregiver no matter their best intentions, simply lack confidence when around the dog and the dog can sense the apprehension therefore the caregiver causes the dog to feel insecure and usually without the caregiver 's knowledge.  The dog then associates the caregiver with insecurity. It also does not view the owner as a leader of the pack but rather lower on the heiarchy chain who might just be trying to steal his or her place in the order.   This is the reason why some dogs are aggressive towards their owners while eating.  The dog senses the insecurity from you while you feed them so the dog may associate the food with fear but also, you possibly being viewed as lower in the chain of command, might just be trying to steal the dog's food.  If so, the dog might attack when you reach for its  bowl.   A dog will not attack its master.  If you have tense energy the dog can sense it therefore it cannot trust you. 

 (This is very involved and can be discussed if you would like.

 Please set up an appointment with me).   

We must show calm yet assertive energy or our dogs cannot form a bond with us and therefore we cannot be Master.  

Good Luck!

Jess

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Our Ninth Blog Entry

June 25, 2019

You Are Master...

That Makes You Boss

Someone had recently asked me how to get their puppy to stop incessantly biting his shoes while walking his puppy on a leash.  He told me he has tried everything but the puppy perpetually uses his shoes as a toy the entire time they are walking.  He explained to me how he tells the puppy, No!"  but the puppy does not listen.  So, I asked the man to send me a video of himself walking his dog.  When  I watched it what I saw was an adorable, very young boston terrier that found the moving shoes as the man tried to walk, extremely entertaining.  The pup was thrilled!  Fun, fun, fun!  We all love watching our pups have a great time.  It is the reason we want puppies at all.  But as I have said to you before, we as dog owners have a job to do and the job is to raise a stable dog.  So as much as it may pain us to redirect the dog to teach it discipline, it is a must.  I truly cannot stress this enough.  Anyway, back to the video... so that was the good news from what I could see.  The puppy was content...great!  But what I also saw was, every single time the dog would bite the shoe, the man would stop walking and say, "No!".  Now if you have been reading my blogs, you will have noticed a pattern by now in what I have been teaching you.  If so, can you figure out what the mistake is here and what should the man be doing instead?  Or how is the puppy being conditioned?

The puppy bites, the man stops and says, "No!" and the puppy bites some more.  He tries to walk, and the pattern is completed again, over and over.

NO = BITE

In this case, the dog is being taught the command word "No!" means to bite the shoe because every time the dog bites the shoe the man says "no" but expects the dog to already know what the word "no" means.  Although it's not what the man had intended, in this case it means to bite because he has not yet taught the dog that the command word "No!" means don't bite.  Remember?... Dogs do not speak our languages.  Or in this case...English.

Why does the man keep stopping when the dog is biting?  Why doesn't he just keep walking?  Because he doesn't want to hurt the dog by giving it an accidental kick to the face while in a walking stride.  But frankly, if that happened a few times the dog would stop the biting.  No, that is not what I'm suggesting you do.  Ha, ha,ha!  I was just stating a fact.  What I am suggesting is that we are our dogs masters which makes us boss.  The man is much stronger than the dog so all he needs to do is, say nothing, have a good handle on the leash and the puppy attached, keep the dog away from the shoes at all times, and walk.  Just keep walking.   Eventually, with consistent, calm yet assertive leadership, the puppy will learn what is expected...

Good Luck!

Jess

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Our Eighth Blog Entry

June 24, 2019

Sniff or Handshake?

Dogs are pack animals.  They are direct descendants of wolves but only genetically.   Wolves form packs...a nuclear family consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring.  When the offspring reach maturity, they leave the pack to avoid inbreeding, mate and form packs of their own.  Our dogs do not do that.  They buddy up with other dogs and form bonds with humans but sometimes only as a food source.  For example:  the stray dog population in Mexico is  epidemic.  So many dogs and not enough food.  Dogs there will buddy up assuming the other dog(s) knows where a food source might be and follow the other dog(s) for a time until the food source runs dry then move on.   There are times the dog will find another dog or dogs and form a bond.  The vast number of reasons why the dogs do this is unnecessary to explain because they all can be summed up by simply saying that it is because they find comfort in the other dog for whatever the cause that precipitated the bond.  Now we know dogs like to be with other dogs.  So you're saying, "Yeah?  And?"  Well,  I'm sure you have noticed the interaction between dogs on your walks, at the park or when your neighbor's dog runs into your yard.  Our first instinct is to separate the two right away so no one gets hurt.  Why do you think we all have the same reaction to these chance meetings?  Why do we become apprehensive when this happens?  We do this because every time there is always one dog in the group that is more dominant or aggressive than the others and there is always a dog that is submissive or afraid. Right?  In our human world if two humans behaved this way we would be appalled.  So when we see this our human instinct is to separate and protect as we would do this if we saw two people fighting on the street.  Well, in the dog world this is completely and totally normal therefore it is acceptable behavior.  It's the same when we see dogs sniff each other's butts and we pull our dogs away in disgust.  Dogs are natural butt sniffers like it or not.  It is how they greet one another.  It's like a handshake or a high five.  This is why I talk a lot about not responding to dogs emotionally or treating them like they are human.  To be continued.........

Good Luck!

Jess

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Our Seventh Blog Entry

June 23, 2019

But?

If you have been reading my blog entries and hopefully in succession, I'd like to thank you for your support. I hope I have been of some help to you so far.  Even if just a little.  If you have read my last entry, some of you might be asking yourselves, "But, when is it okay for me to pet my dog?"  Please keep in mind, these are a series of ongoing entries and is a journey of ongoing learning.  Sometimes my entries will be more in depth than others and may seem a little confusing or overwhelming at first.  If this is the case please feel free to click the green box above and post anything at all on our Facebook page and I will try to respond in the best way I can to help you.  Helping you is my mission.  

Now go pet your dog!  Ha, ha!

Good Luck!

Jess

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Our Sixth Blog Entry

June 23, 2019

Fears 

Sometimes there's no way to determine exactly why a dog may fear something or someone or how it originated.  Some fears are learned behaviors.  Some fears could be attention seeking behaviors and others could be associated with a bad experience. Whatever the cause of fear may be, the repeated reaction to the outside stimulus that triggers fear in a dog almost always has been caused by conditioning because dogs do not think like humas.  They cannot philosophically recognize why they are afraid.  They do not ponder over what they are afraid of.  Dogs live in the moment and respond to stimulous from their sirrounding.  They are energy driven and reactionary.   This means, whether the dog had been a pet of someone else before you, or if it was a stray and living on the street, no matter the circumstances the dog was under, every time an outside stimulus triggered fear in the dog such as thunder, crowds, a car horn or any number of things, following, there was always some type of "reward" the dog would receive which reinforced the fear or behavior the fear had caused.  So every time the dog would be afraid it would respond in the same manner.  Let me explain, we as pet owners think of a reward as something we give such as treats, or biscuits, talking sweetly or petting and hugging.  We talk to our dogs as though they are little children in our high pitched voices. We love it and our dogs do too. We soak up the excitement we see and feel from the reaction of our dogs when we praise them, right?  Well, to a dog EVERY AND ANY TIME we do this with our dogs, THE DOGS VIEW THIS AS A REWARD.  They do not interpret this as love like a human does, rather it is simply a reward for doing whatever it is they are doing in that moment...good or bad.  But petting our dogs and talking to them sweetly is not the only type of conditioned response that a dog would view as a reward to outside, fear causing stimulus.  For example, if a stray dog is suddenly frightened by thunder it will run and hide. The comfort of the the hiding place and feeling secure is the reward. Therefore the dog will always run and hide when afraid.  But maybe the same dog is not a stray and lives in a wonderful home with its owner and it is suddenly frightened by thunder, the exact same thing that frightened the stray dog.  Only instead of running and hiding, this time the owner tries to comfort the dog by petting, coddling, and talking to it sweetly, "Don't be afraid, it is okay."  What do you think will happen the next time the dog hears the thunder rumbling overhead ?  Yes, the dog will become afraid, run to its owner for its sweet talk reward and remain afraid because it had been conditioned to be afraid by being given a reward when it hears the roar of the thunder and fears it.  You see, the dog has associated the fear with the reward no matter if the reward is a safe hiding place or kisses from its owner.   "It thinks" it is right to be afraid because it has been rewarded when afraid...in the very moment it is feeling afraid it is being rewarded.  If we reward our dogs when they are scared or during any negative circumstances, we will only reinforce the bad or unwanted behaviors rather than remedying them.  Our dogs do not speak our languages. We cannot reason with a dog.  All we can do is teach our dogs not to be afraid.  We must conditon the dog to first calm down during the sound of the thunder then give reward when the dog is calm.  

Don't worry, you will get it. I have more to tell you about conditioning and it is a bit easier than it may seem now.......

Good Luck!

Jess

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Our Fifth Blog Entry

June 22, 2019

Pavlov's Dogs

​Do you remember learning about Ivan Pavlov and his dogs? Well, he had a theory which is known as the Pavlovian theory. Go figure. Anyway, Pavlov conducted experiments with his dogs where he found that objects or events could trigger a conditioned response. He used a bell as a neutral stimulus but the food or the unconditioned stimulus he had laid out for the dogs was the motivation that would trigger the salivary glands...the dogs would begin to salivate over the smell and sight of the food. But wait, only in the beginning of the experiment would the food in and of itself be the motivation. The sight and smell of the food would cause the dogs to salivate. But each time the food was presented Pavlov would ring the bell as well. Pavlov would conduct this experiment or implement the process, the sound of the bell, exactly the same way each and every time and each and every time the dog would come, salivate and so on. Until, one day Pavlov did not present the food at all but still rang the bell. What do you think happened?  Well, the dog came running and sat there salivating just from hearing the sound of the bell. This is classical conditioning in its most basic and finest form. The dog had been conditioned to come to eat at the sound of the bell.