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Friday
Dec102010

Gun Dog Supply

Our favorite website for buying your pup gorgeous leather collars, leashes, and other awesome accessories. You don't have to have a gun dog to enjoy shopping on this site! I highly recommend the Filson leather collars, that come with a free brass nameplate attached to them. Never lose your dog's tags again.

http://www.gundogsupply.com/

Sunday
Nov072010

Controlling those impulses!

Odie, soaking up the sun in the city!

So this morning I was taking our big boy Odie, a 98 lb. breeds-to-be-determined mutt, to the dog park at 25th and Spruce. While I am just walking along, enjoying the lovely day and drinking my morning coffee, Odie is on high alert. Not for dogs, people, cars, bikes... but squirrels. The "prey drive."

Now, don't get me wrong. I understand the natural hunting instincts that my dog has. But in an urban environment it really isn't the best thing to encourage this behavior. In fact, it can be a very dangerous thing to allow your dog to respond to all of his impulses.

This is a very common problem that we run into when out walking, especially when working with a dog that was in a shelter for some period of time, as mine was when he was a pup! Luckily, there are a lot of SIMPLE ways to train your dog to manage his impulses and control this behavior.

My favorite method of training impulse control is through play. This not only helps you bond with your pup, but also allows us to install a metaphorical "on/off" switch in his head, that communicates with him when to be calm and when it is okay to get riled up. 

First, your dog must have a very good reign over the "sit" and "down" commands. Then, start engaging him through short spurts of playtime (whether with his favorite toy, fetching, ball throwing, etc.) throughout the day. After a few minutes, command him to lay down in a relaxed way. Reward him verbally, or with a treat! Start with short time spans between play and then begin to increase the amount of time he can chill out. If he can start to truly relax after repeating this cycle, you've started to train impulse control.

When out walking, this can come in very handy! If your dog sees another dog and wants to run towards them, a really great tree they want to sniff (usually on the other side of the street!), or even a person that they MUST greet with a big, bounding hello, calmly command them to "sit" and wait while the person, dog, or in our case, SQUIRREL, passes by. This helps us and them regain control and makes for a much happier mutt!