AKC’s Community Canine Test Is Here

1377630793About the AKC Community Canine Title
AKC Community Canine is the advanced level of the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program. Dogs who pass the AKC Community Canine test earn the official AKC Community Canine title that is designated by the letters “CGCA” (Advanced CGC) on the dog’s title record.

Only AKC Approved CGC Evaluators administer the AKC Community Canine test.

Age Requirements for Dogs
There is no age limit for dogs taking the AKC Community Canine test. However, before taking the test, dogs must have a Canine Good Citizen test on record at AKC.

Collar, Leashes and Equipment
All tests must be performed on leash. Dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars (including martingales) or body harnesses. Body harnesses should not restrict the movement of the dog. Special training equipment such as pinch collars and head collars are not permitted. The leash should be made of either leather or fabric. Retractable leashes may not be used in the test.

Fees
There is a $20.00 processing fee that the dog owner will pay to the AKC for the AKC Community Canine title.

Food
Handlers are not permitted to use food as a reward during the AKC Community Canine Test. As with CGC, the purpose of the AKC Community Canine test is to determine if the dog relates to the owner and if it can be controlled without food.

Handler/Dog Interactions During Test
Handlers may talk to their dogs and provide praise throughout the test. The test items should be in as natural, realistic format as possible.

AKC COMMUNITY CANINE TEST
Advanced Canine Good Citizen (the “CGCA” title)

To earn the CGCA title, the dog must 1) be registered or listed with AKC (AKC number, PAL, or AKC Canine Partners number) and, 2) already have a Canine Good Citizen award/title on record. Dogs must pass all 10 items of the test to receive the CGCA title.
1. Dog stands, sits or lies down and waits under control while the owner:

  • sits at the registration table and fills out paperwork, or,
  • if the test is done in the community, dog waits while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with
    another person (e.g., at a park)

2. Walks on a loose leash in a natural situation (not in a ring)–does not pull.

  • left turn
  • right turn
  • stop
  • fast and slow pace

3. Walks on loose leash through a crowd

  • at a show or in class, this item is tested in a real crowd, not in a ring
  • in the community, dog walks on sidewalk, through a crowd at a community fair, park, on a trail, through a busy hallway, etc.

4. Dog walks past distraction dogs present; does not pull.
This item may be tested along with #3 if there are dogs in the crowd, etc.

  • at a show or class, dog walks by dogs waiting in the crowd–dogs 2 ft. apart
  • in the community, dog walks by other dogs on a trail, sidewalk, in a hallway, etc.

5. Sit–stay in small group (3 other people with dogs).
Owners and dogs are in an informal circle/square while owners have a conversation.
Dogs are all on the owner’s left side, on leash; 3 ft. apart. (At least 30 seconds)

6. Dog allows person who is carrying something (backpack, computer bag, etc.) to approach and pet it.
“May I pet your dog?” (Item is placed on floor/ground before the person pets the dog)

7. “Leave it.” Dog walks by food and follows owner instructions, “Leave it.”
This can be food placed by the evaluator on the floor or ground in a food dish with a wire cover as in Rally.

8. Down or sit stay–distance (owner’s choice).
Dog is on 20–ft line, owner walks away with back to dog, picks up an item (e.g., backpack, training bag, clipboard, folder etc.) placed on the floor/chair/ground by the evaluator and returns to the dog.

9. Recall with distractions present (coming when called). Handler goes out 20–ft. (off center) and calls dog.
Dog is on the 20–ft. line from #8 above.

10. Dog will sit or stand stay (owner’s choice) while owner enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway. Owner calls dog through door when ready.

Owner may also choose to 1) send the dog through first and have the dog wait for the owner, or 2) the owner may choose to have the dog go through the doorway at the owner’s side. Whichever method is used, the dog must not pull the owner and must be under good control. Think of the handler having the leash in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

Doorway or gate can be real or simulated with ring gates, two chairs, or a natural passageway (e.g., entrance to trail) in the community.

My Short Interview on MBC News

Check out my very short interview on MBC News Korea.  Even though it’s mostly in Korean (the translation is below) the footage of the dogs in need needs no translation.

These dogs are in desperate situations. Thankfully my wonderful friends at Welcome Home Dog Rescue are there to help.  All of the dogs in this report that were brought from Korea have all been adopted.

WHDR also pulls dogs from local shelters to place with foster parents. Their success rate for placing these dogs in permanent loving homes is 100%.

I am very proud to be part of this organization and lending whatever help I can. They need all the help they can get. If you are interested in adopting or fostering a dog in need please go their site at welcomehomedogresue.org.

Now watch my brief interview at  http://imnews.imbc.com/replay/nwtoday/article/3370247_5782.html  and learn more about Welcome Home Dog Rescue

 

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(Below is the translation what was said word for word except what courtney and I said.  enjoy)

*Have you heard that abandoned dogs from our country are being adopted overseas?
It’s because there’s nobody that’s willing to raise them here.
Not people, but dogs are being adopted overseas; what’s your perspective?
Yoon Kyung Yang reporter has the story.

*It’s starts here at Incheon International Airport departure where the confused 2 year old Sparky is being cleared for boarding.  Due to the fact that he’s a mix-breed and unable to find a family who was willing to give him a chance, Sparky’s adoption was decided to be tried in the U.S.  After a health certification and boarding clearance, the dog is moved to the cargo section.  There are approximately about 10-15 dogs that are being adopted overseas monthly, majority of which are adopted in the U.S.  This time a large family is departing.  5 dogs have been delivered to the cargo receiving area for loading.
 
*Na Mi Roh/Veterinarian
“Small and pretty, sort of toy-breed preference seems to be the norm.  The dogs that are sick, those that have behavior problems or large breeds have a very difficult time being adopted.”
 
*12 hours later, LAX international airport.
The members from the U.S. adoption (rescue) have come to greet the dogs.
The cost of freight alone in excess of $1,000 USD have been pledged by rescue organization members nationwide and in the U.S.
 
*Courtney/ Foster Parent:
*Cindy/ Dog rescue member:

*10 thousand dogs are abandoned annually.
Nationwide or overseas, with exception of the few and lucky that have been adopted, majority are euthanized or sold to the dog farms (meat markets).
 
MBC News Yoon Kyung Yang

5 Reasons Your Dog Doesn’t Listen To You

No offense, but sometimes your dog’s just not that into you.  Heard that line before?  Seems weird coming from your dog, but there’s a lot in every dog’s world that can be more interesting than even the dearest of owners.

As a professional Dog Trainer and Behavior Consultant I’ve just about heard it all over the past 20 years.  But one of the biggest complaints I get from dog owners is that their dogs just don’t listen to them.  There are 5 big reasons I’ve noticed over the years that leads to this canine selective hearing disorder.  As with all behavior issues, your dog’s behavior is in direct response to your behavior.

So here they are – the 5 reasons your dog doesn’t listen to you.

1.)    He’s learned to ignore you.  The more you say it the less it means.  Owners consistently overuse 3 words; come, no and the dog’s name.  If your dog does not respond to you when you call his name, don’t keep saying it.  If he doesn’t respond the first time what makes you think he’ll respond any faster the third or sixth time?

Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting different results each time.  Say it once.  If your dog doesn’t respond, do something else.  Change your tone of voice, clap your hands, stomp your feet or jump up and down.  If nothing else go up and put a treat on his nose or tap him on the hindquarters.  Just do something else.

2.)    You’ve taught him to ignore you.   I notice this scenario happening at dog parks in particular.  The dog is running around playing with his little doggie buddies having a grand time.  Then the owner calls the dog.  He runs to the owner who then promptly puts the leash on him and they exit the park.

What has the dog just learned?  Coming to you is no fun.  Coming to you is the end of play.  Next time – don’t come.

Another way we teach them not to come is through the games we play with them.  A common game owners play with their dogs is the chase game.  In the chase game the owner chases their dog around the yard or room.  The dog runs away and keeps just ahead of the owner as the game continues.  What is the learning?  Run from the owner.

3.)    Not making it worth his while to pay attention to you.  Let’s face it, most dogs have pretty small attention spans and there’s a lot of things well, more interesting than you.  There I said it.  Yes, I know it’s hard to hear.  But you have to be interesting to hold your dog’s attention.  We just expect them to be fascinated by us and wait for our every word.

The reality is, they see you all the time.  Unless you do something that they find interesting, they will look elsewhere.  If your dog is not listening to you, he doesn’t find you interesting.  Sorry, but as that dating expert says -  he’s just not that into you.

4.)    Paying attention to you just isn’t fun.  So, if he’s just not that into you how do you make yourself more interesting?  Good question, I’m glad you asked.  The answer is simple – do something different.  We (humans) tend to fall into the same ruts and routines and don’t even see what we are doing.  We keep doing the same thing over and over again and then blame the dog when he loses interest in us. (Mmmm, sounds like some of our human relationships too.)

So change it up.  Change your tone of voice.  Change your body language.  The more excited you get the more excited your dog will get.  Of course adding in a squeak toy let alone a nice yummy treat will make you almost irresistible.

5.)    Unrealistic expectations.  This is a big problem.  Most owners tend to go too far too fast and expect too much from their dogs too soon.  You have to graduate high school before you go to college.  Many dog owners expect their dogs to go straight from kindergarten to college.  This just frustrates both dog and owner.

Everyone learns at their own rate.  So go slow and gradual.  Don’t compare your dog to your neighbor’s let alone your last dog.  They are all different.  Gradually increase distance and distractions.  Don’t be competitive when it come to your dog.

Lastly, don’t forget to have fun.  You didn’t get a dog because you needed more work in your life.  So make training and learning fun.  Don’t take it so seriously and remember no one is perfect – not even your dog.

Treat or Trick?

What’s actually in those tasty rewards you are giving your furry friend?  It says “natural” on the label, so it must be good for them.  Right?  Be careful.  The scariest thing out there for your dog is what is lurking in pet food.

Read the labels carefully.  Find out not just where the treats were made, but where the ingredients originated from.  Many treats say “made in USA” but the ingredients come from China. Here are some common ingredients in treats that you should be aware of.

As with dry and canned pet foods try to steer clear of wheat and corn.  Wheat is a common allergen that can cause gas, intestinal and dermatological problems.  As a grain it is also susceptible to mold toxins.

Corn is a cheap way for manufacturers to boost protein content.  But because corn is difficult for the animals to digest it can cause stress on the kidneys.  Corn is also a common allergen and subject to mold.

Bone meal is a vague ingredient. The problem is it doesn’t specify what animal it came from.  By-products have the same problem.  Not just what animal did they come from but what part of the animal.

Besides having no nutritional value, artificial coloring can cause severe health problems.  Yellow #5 has been shown to be deadly in cats and Yellow #6 may cause tumors and problems to the adrenals and kidneys.  Blue #1 has been linked to tumors and Blue #2 has carcinogenic qualities.

BHA/BHT are preservatives.  The World Health Organization has named them as “suspicious” and the state of California has listed BHA as a carcinogen.

Propylene Glycol is used to preserve moisture and texture.  It is tasteless, odorless and derived from petroleum.  It has been proven to cause anemia in cats and has been banned from cat food by the FDA.  Of course it also been shown to be toxic for dogs.

What to do?  Search the ingredients for yourself before buying.  The internet is such a great resource.  If the ingredients aren’t listed on the bag search for them on the web.  Also look that the ingredients are from the U.S. not just baked here.  If it doesn’t specify where they ingredients are from, buy something else.

Lastly, buy from a trusted company.  I feed Life’s Abundance food and treats not just because they are veterinarian developed and I trust the ingredients but also because of their unique distribution.  There are no retailers, it comes straight from the company to my pets.  Because they keep track of each order, if there ever was a problem they would notify me directly by phone or email.  No guessing or checking the FDA website everyday, just peace of mind.  For more information or to order go to fivestarpetfood.com

A little bit of research can save you a lot of heartache and your pet a lot of suffering.  Since 2007 there have been over 110 pet food recalls.  That’s crazy scary.  So do your homework and be safe out there.

 

Have You Bought Your Ticket Yet?

Change Starts With Action

 ”There is a wonderful, old, Italian joke
about a poor man who goes to church every
day and prays before the statue of a great
saint, begging, ‘Dear saint, please, please,
please let me win the lottery.’”

“Finally, the exasperated statue comes to life
and looks down at the begging man and says,
“My son, please, please, please buy a ticket.”

What’s this got to do with dog training? Well, I think EVERYTHING has to do with dogs and behavior, but this amusing little antidote speaks volumes to me.

We all want change. We all want our dogs (kids, spouses, employees, bodies, bank accounts fill in the blank really) to behave better.  But what are we DOING to bring about the change. It is so much easier to wish for something (or complain about it) than it is to actually do something to bring about that change.

Coming to class once a week is NOT going to train your dog. It is the day to day interactions you have with your dog that will train him. But coming to class IS a great start. Hopefully class with give you the tools and the confidence to carry on that training at home. I also hope class with motivate and inspire you to keep working with your dog and really see his potential.

There is no magic wand or pill to give your dog to potty train him or to keep him from jumping on people.  Sorry.  The truth is the key to changing your dog’s behavior is changing your behavior. If you want change you must take action. Sitting and yelling at your dog from across the room will not make want to come to you.

“But he SHOULD just come to me,” is the response I get all the time. Why? Why should he come to you?  To get your dog to come when you call you have to buy a ticket.

Give me a call or email me and let’s get you and your dog a ticket.

(714)393-0432
cindy@thedogsetc.com


enlightened training™

Is Your Puppy A STAR?

The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy is an exciting new program designed to get dog owners and their puppies off to a good start. The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program is an incentive program for loving dog owners who have taken the time to take their puppies through a basic training class.

The Benefits of Training

Training classes teach you how to best communicate with your puppy. Organized training classes also provide an opportunity for your dog to socialize with other dogs. In classes aimed at earning the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy distinction, you’ll be able to get information on all of your puppy-raising questions including housetraining, chewing, and the most effective way to teach practical skills such as coming when called. AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy training is a natural lead in to the AKC® Canine Good Citizen® Program.

S.T.A.R. Puppy How It Works

When you complete a basic training class (taught by an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator like me) with your puppy (up to 1 year old) your puppy is eligible to be enrolled in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program.

You’ll attend any puppy or basic training class at least 6 weeks. After completion of the course your puppy is eligible to take the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy test. Upon passing the test, you’ll get an application to send to AKC® for enrollment in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program. All dogs are welcome to participate in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program including purebreds and mixed breeds.

Your puppy will receive the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Medal (for display or memento purposes; not suitable as a collar tag). You and your puppy will be listed in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy records. In addition, so that you can continue learning, you’ll receive our AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy package that includes:

  • A beautiful, frameable certificate designating your puppy is in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy records at AKC
  • AKC Puppy Handbook, a valuable resource
  • Discount to enroll in AKC Reunite, a 24-hour recovery service
  • Ongoing Monthly Email Newsletter: Your AKC. This includes training tips and up-to-date information every dog owner needs to know. We want you and your puppy to continue learning beyond puppy classes.

As an AKC evaluator, all puppies that graduate from my class are eligible to take the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy test. For more information or to set up a test please contact me at (714)393-0432 or cindy@thedogsetc.com.

My Solution To Pet Food Recalls

Recent recalls of expensive, previously well respected commercial pet food brands has me rethinking the whole pet food industry. It's not just about the ingredients, it is how the food is prepared and distributed. Did you know most commercial brands sit in warehouses and on retail shelves for a year by the time your pet eats it? How fresh can that be?

This is what I have fed my own furry crew for 7 years now. I love the company and they love the food. I initially started feeding this brand because of the top quality ingredients and guarantees of quality and freshness. But I am continually impressed by their customer service and now by their dedication to safety. Quality, freshness and peace of mind in every bag. :)

 To order or for more information go to fivestarpetfood.com

save shipping charges phone in your order and pick it up at the Fullerton warehouse.

877-387-4564

A Tired Dog = A Happy Owner™

IMG_0204   Dogs need to play.  Especially young dogs must have appropriate outlets for all of their endless energy.  Left to their own accord, dogs may make up their own game out of rearranging your landscaping or redesigning your shoes.  They also are good at getting their owners to play along.  Many a dog has taught his owner to play the “chase me game”.  This is the one where the dog steals a child’s toy or something else of value and gets their owner to run after them to get it back.  Dogs seem to really enjoy this one.
Or there is the “fun” game of “bark at everything that moves” or my personal favorite “jump on everyone ‘til they give me a toy or attention”.  As “fun” as these games are for the dogs, they are less than amusing for their owners.  So the owners need to take some time to teach their dog games that everyone enjoys.  This is great for the human-dog bond as well.  Playing with your dog not only redirects their energy into a positive outlet but it can also be used for other behavior modification and just good fun.
Knowing you dog is a good start to developing some games for him to play.  If you live with a working dog (one that was bred for a specific job) you must incorporate a play routine into your life to help your dog positively expel his energy.  Remember dogs are a result of generations of selective breeding to give your dog his temperament, physical appearance as well as energy level.  If you have a terrier you need to know from the start these dog were bred to have an endless supply of energy to run after vermin.  Terriers are typically very tenacious and bright so they can easily catch on to any game or trick for that matter.  Know your dog.
Retrievers usually are naturals at the fetch game but other breeds can easily learn it as well.   Pairing treats and lot of praise with a ball encourages your dog’s interest.  Then lots and lots of excited praise and cheer him on as your dog chases the ball and begins to bring it back.  To teach your dog to drop the ball, swap him a food treat for it or even another ball.  Never try to pry the ball from your dog’s mouth as this just encourages the game of “keep away”.
Use your hound’s strong sense of smell to find treats or toys you have hidden.  Give him the command “find the ball (or bone or squeaky pig whatever the name of the prize you are using)” and show him the prize to start with.  Then as he gets better at the game use better hiding places and let him sniff it out for himself.
Since terriers love the chase, tie a chew toy to the end of a long leash or rope and let him chase it to his heart’s content as you move it along the ground.   Earth dogs naturally like to dig, so set up a digging pit where they can dig.  Purchase a plastic kiddy pool from any discount store and fill it with sand or dirt, your preference.  Then bury little treats or toys your dog enjoys and watch him go crazy burning lots of energy.
The plastic kiddy pool is great for water dogs as well.  Only fill it with water instead of sand and you have a doggie wading pool.  Toss cheerios (they float) in and watch your lab, golden retriever or standard poodle go crazy burning, you guessed it, lots of energy.  This is as much fun to watch as it is for the dog.  Of course use common sense with puppies and small dogs; never leave the water out where it may pose a drowning threat.  As always, safety first!
There are also many toys on the market these days that are designed for your dog to play with you or alone.  The best toy around is by far the Kong ball.  Use it to play a game of fetch or fill it with treats and let your dog play by himself. Trying to get all the yummies out of the Kong is great exercise both mentally and physically.  It truly is Nintendo for your dog.  If your dog is going to be left alone for any amount of time, leave him with lots of these types of toys to play with.
Dogs need physical and mental stimulation.  They are incredibly intelligent and clever creatures that will get bored easily.  It is when they are bored that they get into trouble.  So we must teach them the correct toys and games with which to play.
There are many organized dog sports.  No dog sport has increased in popularity more dramatically than Dog Agility.  Dog Agility is a course consisting of obstacles such as hurdles, tunnels, boardwalks, teeter-totters and pause tables just to name a few.  Every size and shape dog can compete and it is the most fun you can have with your dog.
Backyard agility courses are easy to set up using everyday objects.  A couple of bricks and a broomstick make a good hurdle.  Cut the bottom off a plastic trash can and you have a barrel tunnel.  A few boxes braced together form a long tunnel.   Be sure to make everything sturdy enough for your dog to use.
After your course is set up, use some treats, a ball or toy to lure your dog into, through or around the obstacles.  Never push or force your dog to do any of the obstacles.  The dog should have fun with it, never be afraid of it.  A few repetitions and your dog will soon get the hang of it.  Agility is a great way for your dog to burn off some extra energy, not to mention a few extra calories.
Remember your dog cannot be chewing your shoes, digging up your garden or stealing your children’s toys if he is asleep in the corner.  Wear him out by playing some games, running an agility course and just have some fun.  It’s a great stress reliever for us as well.  After all, who can be in a bad mood watching their dog bobbing for Cheerios?  Repeat after me, “a tired dog is a happy owner.”   Now go play.
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© dogs etc.

7 Myths About Dog Training (and how they can ruin your dog)

We’ve all heard them. It’s true that if you hear something enough you believe it, no matter how outlandish. When it comes to dogs, just like kids, it seems everyone is an expert and they have no problem parroting any “tip” they saw on t.v. or read “somewhere”. Your neighbor, your kid’s soccer coach and your hair dresser all will tell you what you how you should be feeding, training or caring for your dog.

After 2 decades as an Animal Behavior Consultant I think I have heard them all. But seven myths keep coming up over and over again. I want to finally put these to rest. It all comes down to education, if you have the right information you can make the right choices for you and your dog.

So, here are the 7 myths about dog training in no particular order.

1.) Food should only come from a bag.
The truth is the less processed and closer to nature your dog’s food (and your food for that matter) the healthier it is. With a few exceptions most food from a bag is over processed and full of filler that is just not good for your dog. Of course everything in moderation. A few “junk food” treats here and there are not going to seriously impact your dog’s health unless of course he has food allergies.

Home cooked and raw food diets are probably the most nutritious for your dog. Good home recipes are available on-line and from your vet. There are several brands of raw food you can buy frozen and ready to feed. If you choose the convenience of dry food, I recommend a smaller brand and really read those ingredients.

The first 3 ingredients listed on the label are the most important. On of the first ingredients should be a protein. It should specify chicken or turkey not just poultry. Meal is o.k., it just means all the fat and water have been taken out of the food. You also want to make sure the food does not contain wheat, corn or soy. Those are the big 3 foods most dogs are allergic to. If you notice your dog scratching or licking himself a lot be on the look out for one of those 3 in his diet. Barley, oats and brown rice are o.k. as are other carbohydrates such as are sweet potatoes and other veggies.

As a bonus a good diet should have enzymes, omega 3 and omega 6 as well as probiotic. Of course artificial food coloring and preservatives are deal breakers. Immediately put the food back if it contains those. For more info on how to read a dog food label please go to www.fivestarpetfood.com.

I suggest using a really good treat for training. Food is like money to your dog, so a piece of their dry food is worth maybe $2 to them where as a piece of chicken may be worth $1,000 to them. The higher the value the higher the motivation and the faster the learning.

“But we never feed people food to our dogs,” is something I hear all the time. My response is if you eat it why not give it to your dog. Giving him a piece of chicken will not teach him to like it, he doesn’t have to learn that. It will not teach him to beg either, unless of course you feed him at the table or while you are eating. It’s all about the context.

2.) Start training your dog when they are 6 months of age.
The old myth was that you had to wait until your dog was 6 months old to do any training. This just isn’t true. In fact the best time to train your dog is before the are 4 months old. Developmentally little puppies are just sponges soaking up all information. That is the best time to teach them their formal obedience commands as well as socialization and housetraining.

As your dog gets older it becomes more difficult to learn new things. A 2 month old pup can pick up something new in a matter of minutes whereas a 6 month old may take hours. A 6-year-old dog may take weeks or even moths to learn the same behavior. As long as they are healthy you can teach an old dog new tricks – it just takes longer.

The 6 month age was the training standard when choke chains were used. Put a choke chain on a small puppy and you can do some serious physical (not to mention mental) damage.

3.) Choke chains are necessary training equipment.
It used to be the first item you bought for your dog was a choke chain. I remember back in the 1980’s Barbara Woodhouse and the Woodhouse Method was all the rage. She was older British lady who showed the world how to pop a leash correction on a dog’s neck while saying “walkies” in a sweet voice. It was about this time veterinarians started using the term “Woodhouse neck” to describe their canine patients with nerve and muscle damage to their necks, legs and other regions.

Punishment training for dogs started back with the world wars and their use in the military. Dogs were expendable. It the dog couldn’t take the training or turned aggressive it was collateral damage. The long-term effects on those dogs that did respond to the heavy-handed training and saw active duty didn’t matter much. Thankfully our ideas and techniques have improved since them, but the old choke chain myth still pervades.

The reality is that dogs are very shrewd animals. They know when they have on the choke chain they have to behave a certain way. The collar comes off and the behavior changes. When this happens the dog is said to be “collar wise”. Many shock collar manufacturers also make dummy collars with no shock mechanism to fool the dog into thinking they are wearing the real collar.

Punishment doesn’t work. It just teaches the organism to avoid the punishment. It does not teach the correct behavior. If your training efforts focus on teaching the correct behavior the bad behavior naturally dies out, no matter what collar they are wearing.

4.) Rub your dog’s nose in potty accidents.
I’m not really sure where this one came from. Probably someone, somewhere got frustrated and did it to make themselves feel better. But let me tell you it does not work. First of all, dogs live in the now. If your dog is sleeping in the corner and you drag him over to a pile of poop in the next room, you just punished your dog for sleeping in the corner. You have also just taught him you hate poop. He still has to poop, so now he won’t do it in front of you. Punishment does not teach the correct behavior, it teaches the organism to be sneaky.

If your dog has a potty accident and you did not catch him in the act, there is nothing you can do about it. Except learn from that mistake to prevent it from happening again. The most effective way to potty train your dog is through positive reinforcement. Teach them where you want them to go. The better the reward (i.e. treats) the faster they will catch on to what you want.

5.) Your dog will outgrow behavior problems.
“Oh, it’s only a phase. He’ll grow out of it.” I’m frequently told by owners that their dog is chewing just because he is a puppy and once he’s a year he’ll stop. I also hear a lot from owners of dogs who have reached a year and are still chewing or peeing on the carpet and they are about ready to get rid of their dog because of it.

Behavior is always changing, it never stays the same. Either the behavior is getting better or it is getting worse. Why put up with bad behavior for a month or a year? Most unwanted behaviors are fairly easy to correct. You don’t have to put up with it and hope for the best. Do something about it.

6.) Temperament is not hereditary.
I studied genetics in school and I’ve studied dog breeds throughout my career. But it was having kids of my own that really taught me just how much is inherited. My older son not only looks just like his dad but also has the same mannerisms. He holds his head and walks the same way. Sure some of it can be attributed to learned and modeled behavior. But that doesn’t explain why my youngest son acts just like his grandfather who died 6 weeks after he was born. No possibility of modeling there.

When it comes to dogs it’s important to remember that they are not a naturally occurring species. We, humans, created them. We selectively bred them to look and act a certain way. The dog is species with the most variety. The fact that the Chihuahua and the St. Bernard are the same species is incredible. Look what we’ve done. If you have a herding dog you can not fault it for having a lot of energy. You cannot blame a Labrador for running through your sprinklers. You can know that about your dog and redirect that natural love of running or water into a positive action.

Fearful or aggressive dogs tend to have fearful or aggressive offspring. This is why it’s important to see your dog’s parents and relatives if possible. It gives you a better idea how your puppy will behave as an adult. This is one thing that separates a great breeder from bad one. A nice looking dog is fine but it’s the one with a great temperament that’s what you want.

7.) All training is the same and can be guaranteed.
I can’t even guarantee my behavior. How I will act in a certain situation is unknowable. I can be fairly certain about it, but I can’t guarantee it. There are so many variables when it comes to behavior. I can’t guarantee the owner’s behavior let alone the dog’s.

With the use of positive reinforcement we can increase the likelihood of a behavior occurring and reoccurring. The more the behavior is rewarded the more it will become a habit. But there is just no way of guaranteeing anyone will behave a certain way consistently.

Is Your Dog’s Shampoo Endangering His Health?

I grew up in the 1970′s. It was a time of Wonder Bread, Twinkies and Skippy peanut butter. There were a few “fringe” groups raising the alarm about preservatives, refined sugar and processed “food”. But for the most part the convenience foods were embraced along with bell bottoms and Led Zeppelin. We were taught chemicals make our lives easier and better.

So now when I start talking about the dangers of chemicals most people my age understandably still just roll their eyes. But really it’s not just a matter of what chemicals we put in our mouths, it’s also important what we put on our skin. What touches our skin is absorbed directly into our system.

So what do all these chemicals do? What is in the shampoo you are putting on your dog?

  • parabens
  • sulfates
  • DEA

Parabens are a class of chemicals widely used as a low cost preservative by cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies.  They are found widely in shampoos, make-up, skin creams, deodorant and toothpaste.

So what’s the big deal? They have been found in breast cancer tumors and have the ability to mimic estrogen which is linked to early puberty.

While the studies are still continuing and the FDA calls them “inconclusive”, my personal philosophy is “when in doubt – get it out”.  Why take the chance?  I look at health as just trying to stack the cards in my favor as much as possible.

Sulfates are the foaming agent–or surfactant–in shampoos and other beauty products, such as body wash. Sulfates are used in shampoo because they are inexpensive and they foam a lot, giving you the impression–no matter how untrue–that your hair is getting cleaner because it’s “soapier.” Unfortunately, these sulfates are also linked to unnatural hair loss, due to follicle damage. When looking for a shampoo without sulfates, read the label and don’t purchase anything with Sodium Laureth (or Lauryl) Sulfate or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. These are also known as SLS and ALS. Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) is a milder sulfate that is often used.

Common Pitfalls

According to the haircare website Killer Strands, people expect a lot of foaming and lather from their shampoo. Unfortunately, for the amount of money spent, the amount of lather and the smell have very little to do with how clean your hair will get. “Ideally,” writes KC Ellis, Killer Strands founder, a Vidal Sassoon-trained hairstylist and color correction specialist, “the head should have just enough lather to lubricate the scalp and hair. This will help your fingers massage the shampoo more effectively into the hair. Fragrances and foaming qualities are not good ways to evaluate shampoos.”

 DEA is diethanolamine, a chemical that is used as a wetting agent in shampoos, lotions, creams and other cosmetics. DEA is used widely because it provides a rich lather in shampoos and keeps a favorable consistency in lotions and creams. DEA by itself is not harmful but while sitting on the stores shelves or in your cabinet at home, DEA can react with other ingredients in the cosmetic formula to form an extremely potent carcinogen called nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA). NDEA is readily absorbed through the skin and has been linked with stomach, esophagus, liver and bladder cancers.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), “There is sufficient evidence of a carcinogenic effect of N-nitrosodiethanolamine — .” (1) IARC recommends that NDEA should be treated as if it were a carcinogen in humans. The National Toxicology Program similarly concluded: “There is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of N-nitrosodiethanolamine in experimental animals.”(2) Of over 44 different species in which N-nitroso compounds have been tested, all have been susceptible.(3) Humans are most unlikely to be the only exception to this trend.

Out of concern for my own pets’ health I formulated Dogs Etc. Natural Hair Care with only natural ingredients. No chemicals, no artificial dyes or fragrances.   For more info check it out at shopdogsetc.com

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