If I’m guilty of it, so are you. It doesn’t define who we are, but it does our dogs…

Don’t worry, we all do it. We don’t always think that it’s going to hurt anything, but in the end we do find it creates complications.

What am I talking about?

Giving your dog food from the table of course!

Some probably have had a huge sigh of relief thinking this article wasn’t as bad as what they thought, others will say “this does not apply to me” and the last group says “What? Why is that bad? My dog is healthy!”

In the title, I said “I am guilty of it and so are you.” This is true. I am, but I have changed. LOL

With my first dog, I’ve vowed to never give him table food or human food because I saw what my mom did. She literally fed our dog on her own plate at the table in her own chair…

I saw how she begged and thought that all human food was hers and I vowed to not have my dog beg AT ALL. So, I didn’t give him human food. I even trained him with a phrase. If he was begging I would say, “No human food!” He would immediately stop and look away.

Then my second dog came and I stayed true. It all went downhill with the third dog…

We all know what happens with roommates and not necessarily going along with the rules. However, it wasn’t all her because both of my dogs LOVE food and it was so easy to let them just lick the plate after eating. Better than a dishwasher! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t give them a large amount of human food, but they know what it tastes like!

The reason for this article is because we have recently started training two Service Dogs for children with autism. Pawsitism Inc. Service Dogs. Everyone was SHOCKED to hear that I have not given them an ounce of table scraps or human food!

I learned from my mistake and realized that if I didn’t want these dogs begging and getting into everything, I needed to not give them any type of food outside of the treats that they’re getting for training. Also, they had sensitive stomachs anyway so adding random food would’ve been even worse.

I definitely counsel my students in class on how to avoid giving their dogs human food and table scraps. They do however get nervous when I tell them about jackpot rewards such as string cheese, hotdogs, summer sausage, etc. I don’t classify these as human food or table scraps because they are used for a specific purpose.

I had one client who said that he would make pot roast and make a plate for him and then also make a plate for his dog. We all know what this led to. His dog was gaining weight and becoming unhealthy due to all of the extra protein that was not needed. His vets even told him that his dog needed to lose weight.. He told me “He gives me those eyes! It’s really hard to say no!”

I understand. I get it. When a dog looks at you with those puppy dog eyes and “asks” please, it is a very tempting offer.

The professional advice that I give, and what I am trying to stay true to myself, is to avoid giving your dog human food and table scraps. Jackpot rewards are fine and will not transfer into normal begging, but if you start to let your dog lick off of your plate and give them human food while eating, they will start to decide that begging is an amazing thing that gets them the reward that they want. Once they start begging, it is really hard to stop.

Every time we work with the Service Dogs and we stop to get food or even eat in a restaurant where food is being served about their heads, they could care less. They lay down, go to sleep and act wonderfully. This is so different from my experience even this morning where I made an English McMuffin and while eating it and watching TV my dog was LITERALLY sitting in front of me drooling and taking turns staring at me and staring at my food.

Did I give him any? Nope!

If you are struggling with your dog begging, stealing food or getting into the trash, we recommend that you bring your dog to professional training classes with RUFF Academy. http://www.ruffacademywi.com Find a class that works for you, register online, and even pay online! Start your training class today and leave your dogs begging in the past!

Rescues: what they do incorrectly, what they can improve on…”behaviorally speaking”

So before everybody gets their panties in a wad, this post is NOT bashing rescues. I work with them frequently. However, as a professional behaviorist and dog trainer, I have seen a lot of the same issues arise.

Let’s start with what rescues do right:

  1. They have passion.
  2. They want to save lives.
  3. They DO save lives.
  4. They help educate people about how a rescue is just as good as getting a puppy from a breeder.
  5. They take care of everything from the vaccinations, spay/neuter, heart worm and flea and tick.
  6. They place importance on a good forever home.

Now what rescues can improve on:

  1. They need to include a training program into their business model.
  2. They need to include a behaviorist on staff or as a lead volunteer.
  3. Fosters need to be trained on how to train a dog from A to Z and watch for “specific” behaviors.
  4. All dogs need to be REQUIRED to go through a training program before AND AFTER adopted, even including puppies.
  5. All rescue dogs need to have a professional assessment done by a behaviorist before being adopted.

As you can notice, the positive things that rescues have going for them is that they are passionate. They are full of people who want to save lives. They are so passionate in fact, that their main focus is saving a life and not always thinking about the trauma that has happened while in the life that they rescued.

So this is the thing, when I started out as a trainer doing professional classes, I didn’t think rescues were any different than regular dogs. A dog is a dog and any of them can learn anything. I was wrong.

When I started working with rescue organizations, I started seeing that rescue dogs are 100% different than the average Fido. So many of them have fear issues, socialization problems, no foundation, traumatic events causing them to have a hard time coping, and all around they just have a harder time in life initially.

This doesn’t mean that they can’t be taught, they can’t be a great dog and in the end live a wonderful life. What it does mean, is that they go through things a little bit slower, need more time and in the end require more effort on the rescuer side along with the adopter.

Let’s face it, most people who want a dog, want a dog that isn’t broken. However, the thought of “rescuing” a dog is almost like an aphrodisiac to where they can confidently say to their friends and family “I saved a life.” They can then go on and on with their friends and family on the previous history of the dog and how if they would not have stepped in, the dog would have died by euthanasia or had starved to death. It’s a great story, but usually the end of that story doesn’t involve them saying “and because of all this Pup has been through, I DEFINITELY need to start training with RUFF Academy!

It would be wonderful if that was the case, unfortunately it is not. Don’t get me wrong, I now have a very large percentage of rescue dogs that come through classes which I’m really happy to see. The numbers have definitely gone up from when I first started and now it’s about 50% that is Rescue in classes. My puppy play house is usually all puppies that people got from a breeder, but all my basic obedience classes are mixed with rescues along with general dogs.

The people that attend classes recognized that the dog needed a helping hand. They also knew that they had to build a relationship with these dogs in order to be successful down the line. Some of them have had dogs with me in the past and now acquired a rescue and it was just second nature for them to come through classes.

So the dogs in classes are great, they may take a little bit of time but in the end they do amazing. The owners are happy, they recognized the dog has weaknesses and faults, but in the end they except it and love the dog nonetheless.

The issue, and one of the reasons why I am writing this article, is that I hear too many stories of dogs that have been adopted and then brought back to the rescue for many reasons.

The most common reasons are: the dog destroys parts of the home, shows aggression towards one member of the family, is “too scared,” dog urinates/defecated in the house on the first day, and more ridiculous things such as that. The number one reason why Dog’s come back is because of “behavioral issues.”

This is where it gets a little tricky. What rescues do initially is bring dogs up, provide an assessment before adoption, provide a foster if not adopted out right away and then adopt them out.

Repeat.

They train Fosters on basics and train how to be a foster until the dog is adopted. Let’s face it, rescues don’t have a lot of time for dog training because some rescues main focus is is to bring up large amounts of dogs at a time and find them homes so that they can do it again in a couple weeks. The main focus is saving the dogs from where their getting them from rather than taking a group of dogs and going through additional steps and taking that extra time.

We’ve all heard the horrific stories about how so many shelters down south are euthanizing thousands of dogs a month due to overpopulation, no spay/neuter and stray dogs being dropped off on a regular basis. Due to this “craziness” everyone is trying to Save dogs from being euthanized. The problem is that they focus so much on saving dogs that the behavioral training goes out the window.

Obviously, they are not bringing back horribly aggressive dogs full of infections and disease such as mange or heartworm. Those things are always checked. (What I do know is that I would not want to be the one having to decide who to take and who to leave. That alone would make it so I could not sleep at night.)

What they are doing is dogs come back to the rescue and have to be put into a foster home or adopted right away which is probably a complete 360 change from where they were before. They have to adapt, trust (which they’ve never had to do before in their life), and somehow be able to transition into a wonderful dog with no problems to then be adopted by a happy family.

Is this realistic?

As a professional behaviorist, it is not realistic at all. It is setting the dog up to fail. What doesn’t set the dog up to fail is taking time to transition from where it was to where it is now. Being assessed after its had time to transition, going through training to build confidence and leadership and then properly going into a foster home with no traumatic issues. The end result then is a wonderful adoption with a wonderful family. This takes anywhere from 4-6 months PER DOG. Most rescues can’t wait that long. They need to adopt out so they can get more dogs and feed their business. Save more lives.

What I like to see are the rescues that don’t take on tons of dogs. They have a limit and they stick to it and just focus on those dogs. They take the time, help the dog achieve great things and take their time finding the right family that fits the dog. They do training, help the transition and adjustment be positive and get to know the dog. Some stay in foster for months before they even THINK about adoption. They focus on success, not speediness.

Some rescues even send their dogs into programs for Pet Therapy or Service dog which is phenomenal!

The realistic side of it is that when you were working on making sure that your product is a good product, training is a huge thing. I don’t mean to demean Dogs and call them “Products”, but really as a rescue you have to think of it as a business. Your “business” is making sure that you are providing good dogs to good families free of behavior issues.

On the other spectrum, the family is adopting rescue dogs also have a responsibility. The responsibility is making sure that they understand the dog probably has some faults, need time and training, and it is their job to do all of those things. The dogs that go back to the rescue because of ridiculous excuses, those family should not be allowed to have a dog until they understand their TRUE responsibility.

Just recently, I have started a flyball class at another training facility. I drive an hour and a half to get there, but in the end it is worth it. Do I watch the other people in class and think about what they can do differently, sure you bet. However, I am there as a participant and not a trainer and I participate. I don’t tell everybody I am a trainer, I don’t brag about what I know, I don’t tell people what they should be doing, I just participate in the class. I see rescues and hear their stories, I just smile and get to know the people.

Training should be a part of everyone’s life. It should definitely be a part of a rescue organizations world and business model. If it’s not, the rescue will suffer behaviorally.

What they do right is they care and they are passionate. What they can improve on is learning more about dog behavior and helping the dog transition better. If they understand behavior, they can educate the adopter on what to look for and give them proper rules to follow. If the adopter fails to listen, that’s not on the rescue as they did what they could. The rescue will just take the dog back and find a better home.

As a professional trainer, I like to go to other training facilities and learn new things to help me grow. Rescues should strive to continue to grow their knowledge on behavior and definitely seek out trainers and behaviorists to help with this.

If you have a rescue and you are looking to get some inside help or advice, we are the place to go! We not only give you a rescue discount of 20% off classes and private training, but we also understand what a rescue Dogs world is all about. We take time, are compassionate and want to help.

Go to http://www.ruffacademywi.com to sign up for classes and if you are not sure where to start, sign up for a FREE Private in-home consultation with one of our trainers! We can assess your dog and let you know what your steps are moving forward!

See you in class!

In Yo FACE!! BAAAAHHHHH!!

So many dogs don’t do well when another dog comes directly at them. Some even get frustrated when another dogs LOOKS at them. How dare they!!!!

When working with clients, I always try to reassure them that a large amount of dogs honestly hate face to face interaction. When the dogs have a chance to sniff the butt first while circling and get out of it when done, things are ten times better.

The next thing to factor in is if the dog is on leash, can they be ok with confrontation. Most dogs have issues with this. When they are off leash, they can rush in and rush out if needed. Get out quickly if they feel unsure. On leash they can’t. They end up panicking and then this results in a confrontation which can lead to a fight.

Think of an amped up situation between two people. If they can “choose” to cool off, a confrontation can be diffused. However, if the confrontation is in a tight area, response is usually the case. With dogs it is flight or fight. If they feel “stuck” it’s fight. If flight isn’t available, they fight. It’s survival at its finest.

So knowing that a straight on approach or confrontation usually receives a response, this is where behaviorally things have to be retaught so the dog can “trust” that not every confrontation will be the same.

Teaching new skills can be done, however, the dog decides when it “trusts” that every situation doesn’t equal confrontation. This means it has to have a ton of positive energy regularity with greetings to not have anxiety creep it’s ugly head into the scenario and bounce back into bad habits.

Positive socialization and good energy wins in the end again. Once good mindset is achieved and anxiety is not the contributing factor, the dog can start to think clearly and in its own to not expect the worst, but be ok with it being what it is.

It’s so hard because we don’t have positive social experiences at our disposal at any time and things need to be controlled to show continued value to the training. This is where a professional, some time and patience is the key. If the time is put in, it can be achieved and greetings can be more successful!

If you struggle with this, make sure to contact a trainer right away and set up your free in-home consult right away! We will take it from there! Www.ruffacademywi.com

Is that an electric collar? Why yes it is! This why I love them for some reasons and I will tell you why!

There are a lot of myths when it comes to training tools and what you should and should not use. I’m not going to get into a long debate about every different training tool and how it should be used properly, I’m just going to talk about one today. The electronic collar.

I used to work at PetSmart for almost 8 years as an Area Trainer and taught other trainers how to be Dog Trainers. I did a pretty good job. The only problem is, that I only trained them a certain way and did not teach them about all different types of train tools. Part of the reason was I didn’t know about all of them.

Now I do. I have pretty much used almost every single training tool that is out there. One of the reasons why I’ve done that is because that way I know how to educate other people about it. How can you confidently train people on how to use their training tools if you don’t know about them?

So, my quick chat today is regarding electronic collars that you would use to help work on boundary training, behavioral modification and specific training scenarios such as the related story today… a gentleman in his 70s with a 100 pound one-year-old black Labrador Retriever named Max.

This training client has a happy and rambunctious large black lab that has no idea of boundary and had to come up with a game plan. He had already pulled his owner down causing him to bruise his ribs. Thank goodness this owner has an awesome fenced in yard so the dog still has opportunity to be able to run around!

If it wasn’t for that, the lab would probably be beside himself and overstimulated all the time.

So, after assessing his strength, the frail nature of his dad and the end result needed, I tried a couple products that worked for me, but wouldn’t for him.

The one item that worked was an electronic collar. Max responded really nicely to it and I hardly had to do a thing and he followed me nicely, heeling well and started to build a nice respect for his owner.

I showed his owner how to use it, gave him the best products and after 4 sessions, I was pleasantly surprised when arriving at our appointment today.

I showed up and the owner was sitting in front of his house like usual and guess who also was there? Max! Max was off leash, hanging out with his owner in the front yard!

I was absolutely overjoyed and super impressed. I was even more impressed when he told me that for the last week he has taken him for two walks a day around the block! ON A FLAT COLLAR AND 6 FT LEASH!

By using the electronic collar in a responsible way, Max’s owner felt confident enough to take it upon himself to go for walks and even practice off leash work in the front yard!

As I finished my session today and I pulled away hearing him say “Come Max,” and seeing Max say “Ok!” and trot toward him happily, it made me so happy and proud to know that Max’s owner now sees Max’s training as achievable, that he can enjoy him more as the fun dog he is. As an added bonus, his home now has no gates blocking everything and his behavior is much better.

For the sake of a frail man in his 70s with control needed quickly, this was the best solution and will make a difference with safety and reliability. 🙂

For more information on how to use an electronic ecollar and how your dog can benefit from training, Contact is at http://www.ruffacademywi.com. We can help!

Aches & Pains with Socialization and Adult Dogs

So, you get a dog, you think nothing but wonderful thoughts and maybe you were even told some really good things to make you not think that anything bad can happen…

and then things start to happen…

You see issues with other dogs, people, aggression, assertiveness, or possibly fear-based behaviors. Plus, it isn’t always the same instance and you can’t see consistently the same thing happen every time.

You sit down in your chair and think “How did this happen?” “Do I need to take him/her back?” “Did I get a bad dog?”

Your next step is to get mad at the person who gave you the dog and think what on earth happened? What did they do to the dog?

You were told the dog was good with other dogs, good with kids, good when out in public.

What you’re actually finding is that none of these things are true. It may even go as far is you were told that the dog was cat tested and it is clearly a lie.

You took on the responsibility of a new dog thinking it was going to be like all the others, but now you found that it is not like the others and can you handle it?

Let’s throw another side wrench to this equation and say you have had a dog for years and suddenly your seeing the dog in a different light due to a life change, dog change or transition. Your life is turned upside down within a short period of time. Now what do you do?

This is the thing, most dogs are going to require work. However, one thing that suffers the most with rescue dogs or dogs that are rehomed through a rescue or from the Internet is SOCIALIZATION has been limited or done incorrectly. Behavior isn’t noticed right away and can become worse over time.

So what do you do?

Here’s some facts.

The best time to properly socialize and desensitize a dog is under six months. So from 10 weeks to six months, the amount of change in a dog make up sexually and maturely is huge. Plus, everything that happens to them is happening for the first time so the dog is building it’s knowledge based on memories and scenarios. Which means, if it has negative scenarios it learns to avoid those items and if it has positive experiences it learns to be confident.

If a dog is around a lot of dogs in a positive way for a long period of time, they’re going to see Dog’s as a positive thing. If they’re around kids from early on and have a lot of positive experiences with kids, they’re going to think kids are great.

On the flipside, if the dog is rarely around other dogs or is rarely around kids, the specific experiences that it has had is based on it’s knowledge on the subject. Example: It has three experiences with dogs and only one was positive, it may not feel as confident about dogs. It has three experiences with children and two of those experiences involved negative circumstances, the dog may start to shy away from children thinking they all are the same.

Regarding ownership and training, the dog only knows what is has been taught and how things are run at home. Things don’t change if there isn’t concern seen. Over time, symptoms become worse due to habit.

Does genetics matter?

Yes, genetics play a valuable role. If genetically, the dog was nervous and scared when it was a puppy and then it has two negative experiences with dogs, it’s going to show even more fear-based behaviors. If genetically, it is happy go lucky and does not have confidence issues and it has two negative experiences with dogs he can still have a positive outcome. Why? I will tell you.

The more balanced a dog is, the better they can handle situations. If a dog is unsure, insecure, or fearful when it’s a puppy it’s confidence in negative situations would be little to none. If a dog is happy go lucky and has a couple negative experiences, it can have a positive outlook primarily because it is not as emotionally affected as it does not have fear-based perceptions.

Now, let’s race forward through time and now a dog is three years old. The puppy who was insecure, unsure and had fear-based behaviors would be just the same if not more and probably not as social. The happy go lucky puppy who is a lot more confident will be even more confident.

Most owners do not think that they need to do anything behaviorally with a dog that is shy or nervous, most think they will just grow out of it and they will be just fine. Reality of the subject is that that dog needs to be guided and shown positive experiences in order to have more faith and trust in the environment. This will then help confidence grow to where the dog will be a lot happier and do better in life.

This is the problem. Most owners do not see issues until the dog is in an adult phase. Once the dog has come into an adult phase and is no longer a puppy who wants to play all the time or a puppy who is scared all the time, they start to see behaviors that are more assertive or reactive. They then become more concerned because obviously the damage when done would be much more harsh than if the dog was a puppy. This also means that socializing a dog to its full potential is a lot more difficult and can be extremely time-consuming. Even behaviors like pack order or “bullying” can increase over time because they were “allowed” to do it without the owner realizing it was happening.

Important factors in tools in resocialize and balance a dog include:

  1. A balanced pack of dogs that are not reactive
  2. A behaviorist to understand how to show proper socialization techniques to the new dog in the pack
  3. Time, lots of time
  4. Positive associations and memories with each training session
  5. The correct training tools in order to achieve this.

The most important one on that list is #3. Making up for lost time or building a foundation to a dog that has not had it from the beginning takes lots of time. Depending on the time frame it may not be ideal or work out in that same atmosphere.

As I always tell my clients, it takes one day to learn a bad habit and 27 days to undo that bad habit. Now, think about how many YEARS this dog has been habitually being fearful, scared or insecure. Or how long that dog has been bullying other dogs. The dog is now trying to use that fear as its primary motivator and reason for doing everything.

Think about “superstitions” or “habits” a baseball player has before they go to a game. The player will only wear the same underwear, they will only use a certain bat, they will not say a certain phrase or word the day of the game. Why are these things done? Over time while playing baseball, they learn that certain things work and certain things don’t. They get into habits based on what happens from those activities. They learn that if they sway from this routine and ritual that bad things will happen. So they get into habits.

This is the same with dogs. They learned that if they stay in their comfort zone and don’t go outside of their comfort zone that they can control their life and results. The problem is that if they choose negative scenarios to help them feel better they only grow in a negative way.

Sample, if they learn to bark at someone when they come in through the door as a puppy and it keeps that person at arms length away and no one corrects them, they start to do it more as they grow out of habit. Eventually, they bark enough to where the person can’t even come into the room. They have now manifested that survival skill to help them when really it only made them more nervous and now they are even more scared than when they were little. The scary item when they were a puppy has now grown into a full-size ogre wanting to come after them. (When in theory it is nothing.)

Hopefully now you understand with socialization and behaviors that these things need to be handled right away. A dog that is fearful or insecure or scared, the change isn’t gonna happen overnight it may not even happen over a couple years. Depending on the severity, it could take a lifetime.

For dogs that have acquired a habit based on years of activities, it is going to take more than just a bag of treats to change their mind. You have to retrain the mind which is very difficult. Plus, is the dog going to be open to this change since it could require a complete life change for both of you?

I have come across so many clients lately hitting the 3 year mark with their pups and suddenly things are changing. Behaviors are developing they didn’t see before and now there are questions on behavior and if it can be resolved.

The answer? I can’t tell you. It is different based on every dog. What I CAN tell you is that if you can understand WHY the dog is doing what it is doing and ACCEPT that, you are a lot closer to a happier dog and a happier you. It will also take patience, time and commitment to truly learn how to move forward which is why you MUST consult a behaviorist. Someone who can explain to you what is happening.

The rest is up to you!

And your dog of course! For more information on training, follow this blog and check out or website http://www.ruffacademwi.com. If you need a private consultation, schedule one online and a trainer will come to your home and have a discussion with you after meeting your dog.

Woof! Woof!

Some just like the pull

Back when I had my first dog, I liked the pull. I got Sam from a humane society, was given a flex lead along with adoption and thought, “Well that’s cool, he can go far!” I even had a routine down where he would be out in front and when an intersection came up (I lived in town at the time,) I would say “Sit! Sit! Sit!” By the third Sit! he would be in a sit waiting for me to come to the corner.

I thought it was cool, others watching it thought it was cool and we lived happily ever after…

Until I started watching dogs beautifully walk NEXT to their owners on a walk with little to no effort and wanted that. I tried, however, Sam wanted to be way up in front. That’s what I had taught him. That’s what he knew. So getting him back into the heel position next to me was not easy.

We actually compromised with him being a bit ahead of me, but not pulling. It was fine, as he got older and slowed down, he cane into the heel spot easier, however, he still preferred the spot out in front the best.

Now, almost 20 years later, as a professional trainer I prefer the heel next to me position rather than way out in front. I have tried doing the out in front of me position, but they just sway back and forth, pull whenever they want and having two 74 pound dogs it is way different. If I had two Pugs I would be good!

I watch other owners let their dogs “pull” them down the street, “pull” them around food trucks, use harnesses that give no support for good walking and try to help. We have good training tools and follow through now in place and people enjoy our classes. “Loose leash walking” is not really something we teach anymore as it is more about finding the right tool to have a nice respectful relationship with no pulling.

We recommend starting with a long line and practice turning and focus work(similar to Loose Leash walking,) and then bring the dog in closer. Using treats to reinforce and teach them to pay attention to you helps. Using items like Gentle Leaders and Easy Walk Harnesses can help using proper leash pressure and of course the quickest way is the extra small prong. It has immediate results using slight pressure and reinforcement with treats.

There is definitely good ways and bad ways to walk your dog and I see them everyday. Honestly, I truly think that some owners “like the pull.” They like their dog being out front and center and feel they are giving them more “freedom” that way. Structure isn’t part of walking their dog, they like to see them run and frolic out front while they smile and take in the scenery.

That’s ok. As long as they are happy, all is well. I just hope that when their dog sees a squirrel and decides to dart across the road or their dog sees another dog and decides to wrap themself around the owner causing rope burn that the owner just laughs and says “Oh Milo, silly dog” as they are laying on the ground thinking how did this happen? Now they can think of me!

Training, consistency and routine.

For information regarding how to improve your walking skills, training tools to help walks get better, feedback and advice, go to our website http://www.ruffacademywi.com or check out the videos on our RUFF Academy YouTube Channel!

Animal Communicator

Recently, I was at an event. The event had fun activities and was set at a fun place. Baby goats jumping on people, beer & Cheese being enjoyed and a nice sunny day. There was also an animal Communicator by the name of Lois Reetz.

I was excited she was there because I wanted to ask her about the service Pups. As some know, we are training service dogs for children with autism and this year we started with our very first two. Isa is a Golden Doodle and we got her at 9 weeks old and Finne is an English Cream Golden Retriever and we got him at 8 weeks old. Both are from reputable breeders and have amazing temperaments.

As a trainer, I always wonder if the dogs are happy. I was wonder if they enjoy what they’re doing. I enjoy what I’m doing, but being a service dog is a big responsibility and a big commitment.

So, I asked the animal communicator about both of them and this is what she said:

Isa was destined to be a service dog even before she was born. This explains to me why when I ask her to do something, I can see her literally rolling her eyes. She already knows this, she already knows what she needs to do but she is humoring me.

Finne says that he is having fun and likes it, but he isn’t sure why. He also asked why he couldn’t “keep” Sarah his puppy raiser. She said that in his future, she sees pink bows in his hair which to me means that the child he’s going to end up with is going to be dressing him up for a tea party. This is adorable.

I asked her about behavioral things which made sense and also chatted with her about my own dog who had passed years and years ago. I found her to be quite truthful and a lot of fun to talk to. I saw others at the event also enjoy talking to her and finding information about their dogs as well.

If you haven’t spoke with one, I encourage it! She will be at our next event this next month on September 22nd at 3 Sheeps from 11-3pm!!

Unrealistic Week

I call this week unrealistic week. It is a week where everyone seems to not understand what is most important, training and hard work.

I had a couple potential clients talk with me about their predicaments and some did not have a clue and some were open to what had to be done.

The ones that had no clue called their dog a “lemon,” and said their only choice was to take the dog to the humane society. No, that’s not your only choice. Another had owned the dog for over 3 years and had not done a thing regarding obedience and now wanted it changed as if it’s a clock in need of a repair.

The realistic ones listened, understood that it takes understanding of dog behavior and mechanics of the home environment to then start management for the long run. Those guys have a better opportunity of things changing.

This is what is the most frustrating. Dogs are not robots, they are animals that are a product of their own environment. Just like us, they get into a routine of doing the same thing everyday. We are part of that routine, molding them without realizing it. We allow more than we realize and after it gets to a certain point WE SAY “it has to stop.” Really? Why not before?

Dogs ALWAYS do things for a reason. Even though we may not see it, there is always a reason. Neutering or giving the dog shots, will not “change” the dogs behavior and sending it to a trainer for a couple weeks will not get you out of your commitment to the end goal…taking responsibility and being a solid pack leader.

We train a lot of dogs, rehabilitate a lot of dogs and in the end it is more about training the people and rehabilitating the people. The owners need to “see” what is actually going on and need to take leadership steps to change it. That’s where we come in.

We guide, focus on trying to help them understand and hopefully create success in the long run. I call this week “unrealistic week” because listening to some of these cases I found myself just shaking my head and saying to myself…”these guys just don’t get it. It’s not the dogs fault..”

Hopefully next week will be better!

Stay tuned for more blog posts and don’t forget to come out to 3 Sheeps this weekend on Sunday at 11-3pm for our Goga & Brew Event! Goat Yoga and Beer & Cheese Pairing!! How can you go wrong!!

We Are Back!

So, we used to do a Two Paws Up Tuesday Blog had fun with it! We grew as a business, got super busy and when we say “we,” we mean I. Lol My name is Rebekah Hintzman and I am a behaviorist/trainer/dog enthusiast and service dog trainer for Autism Assistance Service Dogs!

I have been running with the business for 6 years now on my own and have acquired some trainers, staff and volunteers! We run obedience classes, go out to do private training and have started a non-profit training Service Dogs for families that have children with autism!

Needless to say, we are busy!! We have learned a lot along the way, are continually growing and overall have a great reputation in the community!

Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!

The Social Pet Project!

 

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“Two Paws Up Tuesday”

According to veterinary behaviorists, for the first three years, your dog is more likely to die from a behavior problem than from disease. Fortunately, it’s avoidable by socializing your puppy as soon as possible.

What Is Socialization? Socialization is introducing a dog to new people, dogs and other animals, situations, and things.

Most important is that he accept people without fear. Introduce puppies to tall people, short people, ones with beards, others with hats, those with high voices and low voices, as well as people who move fast and those who go slow, like some in wheelchairs. The list of things to socialize a pup or dog to is even longer. Consider umbrellas, bikes, cars, vacuums, and sudden sounds, like recordings of thunder and fireworks.

What Is The Best Age To Do It? From 8-12 weeks of age puppies go through a fear-imprinting stage. During this time, it is crucial to introduce puppies to different stimuli every day and ensure those experiences are positive.

For example, the first time a puppy sees a car, it could be a nice experience or a scary one. A nice experience may be feeding your puppy treats next to a stationary car, and later on, taking him for a slow ride while he’s settled and secure on the seat. A scary event would be standing on a sidewalk with your puppy as a loud car goes by at highway speed. You can control this situation and help your puppy learn not to fear cars with proper planning. But be careful, you don’t want to create a situation where your pup wants to chase cars either. This will cause other behaviors that will need immediate correction.

His reaction in these early situations determines how he reacts in the future. If he’s taught to be fearful of the first new things he sees, he may adopt that mindset rather than being comfortable when encountering new things.

For older dogs with fear responses, it’s possible to change their reactions to positive responses, but it will take more time for them to learn to avoid unproductive and inappropriate responses. That’s why in the case of socialization, earlier is better!

Why Are Puppy Classes So Beneficial For Socialization? During class, puppies get to have playtime with other puppies in a controlled situation. They learn how to interact rather than being a shut-in pup whose body language gets him into trouble with other dogs.

It’s also a great time for them to get to know other puppy owners. Every pup should meet as many people as possible, we recommend at least 100 different people, before he reaches 16 weeks of age. We want them to enjoy the interaction and look forward to meeting new people.

My Little Puppy Is Scared Of Big Dogs, Should I Go To A Little-Dog Class? No!!!! We see many little dogs who are aggressive to or scared of big dogs because they haven’t been socialized correctly. If we allow a pup’s fears to stay rooted, he isn’t going to learn to overcome them. Get your dog into a training class and don’t hold back on introducing him to dogs of all sizes. That said, be sensible. Do it with a trainer who can recognize if there is an issue and can separate them if needed. Always supervise your dog’s play sessions, no matter how big or small the other dogs are.

Does Socialization Finish Once Puppyhood Is Over? Of course not. During puppyhood, you lay the foundation. Don’t let it crumble because you fail to reinforce it. Owners diligently go to a class for eight weeks and then stop. By the time the dog is three years old, you can see that his training has lapsed because he has some fear responses. It may be only to men with beards, but something small like that is how it starts. Keep the program going throughout a dog’s life!

Information courtesy of the: American Kennel Club

http://www.ruffacademywi.com Use this link to find all your dog training needs. Barking, jumping on guests, car chasing, nipping, biting, shy, fearful, or reactive?? These are just a few of the behaviors we can help with. Not only immediate help, but also continued support from professional trainers with extensive experience.

Training Tip: Get the entire family involved in the socialization process by making a list of 10 new people or things your dog will meet that day and repeat the process making each day a new adventure for both you and your pup!!!