Toto Gone Wrong, Wicked Witch approved!

OK so I’m walking my two dogs I don’t normally walk while being on leash and being a responsible dog owner. In my neighborhood you always see dogs walking everywhere and it is not uncommon to turn the corner or to look down the block and see somebody walking their dog or two dogs, even a family with a stroller and a dog.

Me and my dogs always walk down by the lake and see what’s going on down there and just take in the beautiful scenery. Today we started entering into a walk like normal and down a couple driveways was a person who had her dog on a tie out. Normally I don’t care and my dogs are pretty good, however this person who had her dog out on a tie out just stood there while her little dog went crazy on the end of the tire out. Now you can only imagine me and my Weimeraners on leash with me walking down the street coming up to the small dog shouting obscenities to them.

This is not uncommon as my neighbor across the street puts her small little Shitz Shu on a tie out it continues to bark at everyone walking by including the mailman. It’s really annoying but at the same point it’s what they do. They don’t care about the fact that their dog is being rude or that that behavior is only going to develop and become worse over time.

When I’m walking and I’m being the responsible one having my dog on leash coming up to somebody who is not being responsible and causing her dog to be rude this really irritates me. It was like she found entertainment watching her dog being rude to mine. I see this all the time.

Little dogs have a small disregard for other dogs. I find some owners with little dogs have the mentality that “Oh my dog is just a cute little thing it won’t hurt anything.” and they find it quite amusing that their dog is being reactive.

Little dogs have what’s called the “Napoleon Complex.” It is derived from Napoleon the leader whom had a complex of being short. Little dogs have a tendency of having a complex of being little. Being the little dogs start out life being tiny most owners don’t think that they need to do training right away or they are very scared to take their dog out at such a small size with the idea that it’s going to get hurt or be scared. Most dogs should go out in public at least about 10 weeks as long as they’ve had their initial shots. Having them be held by strangers, interacting with other dogs and overall have positive experiences with the outside world is really important. What I find time and time again,  is little dogs are coddled, spoiled and are held at a different standard than the average dog.

The result?  They have issues with socialization, show rude behavior to people and other dogs and are in your face.  In this case, this dog was in my dogs space without having any consequence at all. So then what happens is out of fear and what the little dog thinks his confidence they can cause a chain reaction. The big dog not wanting to do anything causes to react to the little dog and then there’s an issue. In my training sessions you walk in the door and the little dog is immediately on top of you nipping and biting and barking and ultimately being incredibly rude.

Back to my story, as I’m walking past this woman’s house while the little dog is practically strangling himself just to try to get to mine and barking rudely, my well behaved older dog is responding to my command leave it and ignoring him. My younger, more impressionable dog who still under control starts to react to this little dog. The owner seeing the struggle I’m having continues to stand there and laugh looking at her dog thinking “oh look at my killer, ha ha,” while doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

As I walk past I said to my younger dog “look at that dog taunting you and that’s not nice.”  From what I said, the owner then proceeded to tell the dog to be quiet and start yelling at the dog while still doing nothing to change the behavior such as taking the dog away.  Seeing as I had both dogs, I couldn’t stop and tell her how rude her dog was being.  I just kept walking and shook my head in disgust.

My message to those with little dogs is to help you know that you need to understand that your dog is your responsibility and if your dog is swearing obscenities and being rude, maybe you should think about training and/or desensitization techniques to help your dog not cause a problem or set off a chain reaction. It isn’t “funny or amusing” when your dog acts tough and it is important to start early in socialization and desensitizing them from the outside world.

For those that have small dogs that are well behaved?  BRAVO!!!  We could use more like you! IMG_2431

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Behind Closed Doors

Private training is one of those things that really does work if you have specific issues that need to be handled outside of the normal training class. I do private training for specific behavioral issues such a: introduction of the new dog, introduction of a new baby, issues at the dog park, issues of socialization, bringing a new rescue into your home, resource guarding, aggression issues whether people are dog related, fear issues and more. the most popular one is dogs going crazy at the front door.

What most owners don’t realize is most behavior modification takes time. It isn’t so much the dog as the owner reintroducing a new behavior. Most owners give up too early and think that the behaviors can’t be changed and find their frustration causing them to make the wrong decision. A dog does great when it knows that the owner is invested in its progress.

In our rehabilitation programs with rescue dogs we spend anywhere between 2 to 3 months rehabilitating behavior and modifying it so that the dog does well in public and in a home.

In the human world it takes one day to learn a bad habit and 27 days to undo that bad habit. You just adopted a rescue dog and lets say the dog is over year of age, that’s one year that you have to redo behaviors that have become habitual.  New owner, new environment and new behaviors being taught.  It isn’t as easy as one thinks which is why you hire a professional trainer.

Professional trainers are people that can help dog owners understand how to train their dogs.  Behaviorists are people that recognize behaviors that are happening and help the owner understand how to encourage a better behavior. Most private training involves behavioral issues so it’s not as simple as just teaching your dog to sit.

What we do in rehabilitation programs is introduce dogs to pack walking, situations that are real life that they’re going to be in on a regular basis and teach them how to be polite around people and dogs.

What we do in private training is he recognize a behavioral issue that’s happening and we find a solution that fits the needs of the client to be able to rehabilitate, manage, or tweak the behavior so that it works for their environment.  We meet with the owner and their dog to do a free consultation to determine what behavior needs to be worked or managed. Then from that point we meet with them once a week to work on specific behaviors. The owners are responsible to do their homework and keep moving forward!  After about 4- 1 hour sessions, the owners find themselves a lot more knowledgeable and have a very good understanding about how to manage their dogs behavior.

We spend a lot of time helping dogs stay in their homes rather than being surrendered to shelters and/or re-051816 027.JPGhomed when they don’t need to be! I see a lot of behaviors that are in need of changing from the owners rather than the dogs.  In reality, it is never the dog…

For more information about our private training, go to our website. http://www.ruffacademywi.com!

Balls or no balls, that is the question!

The importance of neutering your dog is really really high and these are the reasons why:

When you first get a puppy and you are deciding whether or not you should stay or neuter your dog there a couple factors that go into this decision.

-If you use the phrase “she is such a good girl and we think it would be a great experience to have one litter of puppies before we spay her” you are doing it for the WRONG reasons.

-If you use the phrase “my dog has pedigree papers and has good lines” you were also in it for the WRONG reasons.  Just because your dog has papers and comes from a good line doesn’t mean that breeding your dog is an AUTOMATIC. It just means it came from a good line so be happy your dog is healthy and has a bright future.

According to most veterinarians, the MAIN reason why neutering is important is to reduce the possibility of CANCER.  To encourage better health and a longer life.  Just remember, prostate cancer is evident in human males so you can see this in intact male dogs as well.

My male is intact and the main reason why he still is intact was because my original plans was to title him in hunting and then find a breeder that breeds for what he was SPECIFICALLY trained to do.  The whole point of the exercise was NOT to say “I have a dog with balls now I need to find a female in heat so I can make money or because I just want to have a litter because he has such a great personality.” It was to work at a specific task, accomplish a great goal and breed for specific purposes.

The second most important reason why neutering a dog is very important is because of what the extra testosterone does to a male MINDSET. Recent dogs that we have been rehabilitating with THE RUFF DOG PROJECT have shown a higher amount of testosterone in their body to where they can’t even focus when in training. The desire, want and need to be by, near and on top of a female is so strong that they don’t really care about training at all. This causes problems with their social skills, it causes problems with focused training on recalls, and most of all it can cause aggression issues due to protectiveness due to competition over a specific resources such as a female.

What should you do if aren’t sure if you want to, but want a good dog?

If you can get a puppy anywhere between 6 to 10 weeks and watch the puppy, keep the puppy focused in training, and help redirect the mindset to where it is not an intense desire to find a female you can be successful and having an intact male in public. This also means reducing behaviors that you see that can lead to frustration such as:  humping pillows, mounting people, and mounting other dogs in a social area such as a dog park or training class.

When an intact male finds the scent he really likes whether in the field or from sniffing were a female has urinated, most of the time they are likely to start to chatter their teeth and the muscles on the top of their head will vibrate. In the field this is what you want to see when they find a specific scent of game. With mine, when he’s in the field that’s allowed, but if he finds a scent of a female I discourage it and squash it quickly.

If you have a male that has a pretty submissive personality you have a better chance of more relaxed behavior when handling extra testosterone. If you have a very active male you may struggle more with a higher urge to search and explore.

Does neutering calm your dog down?

Once a male has been neutered and a good decision has been made it takes about a month for the extra testosterone being produced to slowly reduce. It is at that time that you will start to see the male relax a little bit and not be as focused towards females. This does not change their personality however, if they have a high energy personality they will stay high energy. If they have a high drive for hunting or for any kind of activity level, there drive will stay high but will be more focused on that specific task. Changes in personality or calming the dog down is a myth.  A puppy will be a puppy and you are not off the hook to supervise and train!

Being that I am a professional dog trainer with an intact, high energy and active dog, I am very proud of my own personal accomplishment of making sure he is not a nuisance in public or in society because of having his balls.  Plus, due to the fact that our hunting training for competitions have not reached the achievement of what I thought it would be, his neutering will be happening soon.

He is six going on seven years of age and he recently had a prostate exam which she didn’t care for due to the fact that he was experiencing blood in his urine. After his routine physical exam and urine analysis, they found that he was having issues with inflammation due to the fact from his enlarged prostate. I don’t want to lose a dog to cancer because I want to “stud” him out and I CERTAINLY don’t try to find females in heat because I have an intact male.

So if you have an intact male looking to breed make sure that you’re looking into everything. You need to consider the following facts:

-Personality and physical traits of your dog

-Personality and physical traits of the dog you’re breeding to

-And the health and lines of your dog is worth the exercise

Look at it in the terms of humans. Just because we can have sex and produce children doesn’t mean everybody should. We have all been at that specific place and time where we have seen two people that in our opinion shouldn’t have had kids and say to ourselves why didn’t they use birth control?

So the moral of the story is be smart. There are plenty of professional breeders out there breeding for a specific reason of producing a good quality puppy for a good quality family. You may have to pay more for it than a $50 puppy on craigslist or free to a good home because it was an accident but it is a good quality puppy.

And in terms of my business, you can go to your next-door neighbor and ask for free dog training advice because your neighbor may know a thing or two OR you can go to a professional and ask specific questions and get good results from somebody who DOES know a thing or two professionally.

And in the last fun analogy, if you were suffering from a broken arm, you could go to WebMD and trying to solve it yourself with duck tape and some carboard with a 50-50 chance of results or you can go to an actual doctor and find a better way to fix it with lasting results and a straight arm rather than a crooked one.

For more information, go to my website and follow my blog!  www.ruffacademywi.com and make it a positively good day!

The Door: Growth

 

Growth in Business:

Every day is a new opportunity to grow as a person and in business.  Each person I meet, interact with and network with is an opportunity to learn even more about myself.  I have come so far and will continue to do so.

This year is the the third year out at Happy Tails Boarding and Grooming and I am happy about resuming classes out there again.  I have done obedience and agility and this year added Puppy Playhouse and hopefully Parkour! With the help of talented people, trainers and use of a facility I will have a wonderful center to hold training classes and have a gathering center for dogs and their owners!

Today we worked on the agility center to get it ready for classes in June! I was so excited to see it being expanded to an even bigger area and will be excited to spread out all my equipment out to hold some pretty kick butt classes! The stakes went up, the fencing was put in place and then the front entrance was completed!  A very talented carpenter and I worked on it all day and it turned out GREAT! There was an old door from a milk house taken down to be used for my agility center entrance! I was so thrilled!  After looking at it at the end, I was so impressed.  I realized that the door actually represented more than just a door.  It represented the entrance into new beginnings.  The continuation of progress and the entrance to a new transitional phase.  Even though in his eyes he built a door,  in my eyes, he created something magical.

In all honesty, it doesn’t take much for me to get excited when creating fun homemade projects, but it was cool.  I can see a logo on it, dogs going in and out of it and it being used year after year.  Eventually an actual fence will be built and it was be an additional exercise yard!   With equipment being repainted, and new things added to curriculum, I am excited to see the finished product!

God does some amazing things!

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Busy Life

So, looking back at the blog posts, it has literally been 2 months since my last blog post!  Crazy!! Ok, so let’s be honest, I have been crazy busy building my dog training business.  It has been a couple years of blood, sweat and tears to get it to this point!  With having some pretty awesome clients and wonderful referrals, I am starting to see the results!  Have I had some doozies, yes I have!  Let’s look back at the top 5 experiences these last 2 years that have kept it interesting!  Some funny, others serious. Starting with Number 5:

Number 5: The dog that tried to do a sneak attack.

So, when visiting a clients home the house was set up where you could access the kitchen from the front and the side coming from the living room.  When coming in to do an consultation and assessment, I was visiting 2 dogs (“Ankle biters”) and one was eyeing me up pretty good.  The owner would correct him and he would disappear only to show up from the other direction!  She would correct him and he would disappear and then show up on the opposite side!  He did get me once in the back of the leg! Nothing serious, but boy!

Number 4: The only dog on this planet that doesn’t like me.

So, being a dog trainer, one would think that it just is automatic that dogs like me…nope!  Not in the case of this one dog!  When first meeting him in an obedience class, he started out barking at me and then as the class went on it seemed to get worse.  Then, the owner asked me to watch him while she had a couple long days at work.  I said sure, thinking oh boy…  let’s just say to cut the story short that he decided to get out the back door and hide under the porch to where I had to corner him just to take him for a walk.  This did not get better over time.  The ONE dog that will never like me…

Number 3: The dog that bit off a part of another dog’s ear, and his name is Tyson.

This was an interesting situation, everything was great and we all didn’t see it coming.  There had been some issues between the dogs from day one in their home, however, with private training it had become better.  One night at a social event all of a sudden Tyson lunged at his brother.  I grabbed Tyson from the back end and held on.  He had grabbed at the other dogs neck and got his ear.  Eventually Tyson let go, but there was a piece that was missing…what we didn’t think about was that his name was Tyson and he truly did live up to his name after that…(the other dog is ok and Tyson really is a sweetheart.  He is a rescue though that needs time.)

Number 2: Seeing a dog bite a worker and be put down for what was the workers fault.

This one was not a funny situation and upset me because it was not the dogs fault.  The dog was at a local shelter and his choice, cost him his life.  My Assistant Trainer and I were out in the yard, working with a dog.  The dogs were barking like usual and then all of a sudden it changed.  The barking turned into a prison yard fight uproar.  We looked over to see a worker struggling with a shelter dog.  She was pushing it, pulling it, yanking on the leash and trying to force it into the kennel while yelling at it.  I looked at my fellow trainer and said to her, “She is going to get bit.”  As I was walking toward the fence, I knew I couldn’t get there in time.  All of a sudden I heard her scream.  She grabbed her arm, let go of the dog…it was done.  If she would have just dropped the leash and stopped, that dog would still be alive.  The worst part was watching the dog realize what he did. It was devastating.  I just wanted to take him out of there and give him a second chance. In my time there, not ONCE did me or any helper with me ever get injured on my watch.I still remember his face…

NUMBER 1:  Having to call 911 on a client.

Working with clients is always entertaining, but is usually never an issue.  However, when depression is involved and the only sanity they have is the dog or they depend on the dog to “fix” problems at home or in their marriage, it can get rocky.  The dog has so much pressure that it effects and is effected by everything.  I am a professional dog trainer through and through, NOT a marriage counselor.  In this case, the dog was showing signs of protecting his owner from her husband.Seeing this, I attempted to create balance in the household and see both members equally. I received a phone call saying that I was not going to have to deal with her anymore as she had decided to end her life with sleeping pills.  It led to me calling 911.  This was an OBVIOUS cry for help.  Thank goodness she called me and I could call the police immediately!  She was taken to the hospital and place under a watch to help and aid in her recovery.

Keep in mind, my job is fantastic.  I get to work with dogs everyday and I LOVE IT!!! It never gets boring and dogs are always happy to see me!! I am responsible for a lot and overall I am the sanity for many dog owners and people rely on me to “fix” their dog.  It isn’t about “fixing” their dog.  It is about management.  Management of oneself and whats around you.  Dogs are great judges of character and can read what is going on around them. I truly believe I was put here to be their empath and to help guide dog owners in the right direction.  I am a counselor in a way, but I like to think of myself as that bridge between dog and human.  The middle man that is a positive entity and helps connect the dots.  Do all dog owners listen to me?  Nope.  Do dogs “magically” get better overnight?  Nope! It takes time, patience, practice and a vision.

As you may have noticed, I changed my blog name.  Yup! The old one was too long and frankly, didn’t fit me.  This one does.  It is short, to the point and really describes what I do.  He can do it, they all can.

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