Monthly Archives: August 2015

Does Your Dog Have Manners?

German_Shepherd_Dog_sitting_leashHow many times do you walk into a person’s home and the dog starts jumping all over you? How many times do you walk your dog and see a dog owner that does NOT pick up his dog’s poop?

Just like with people, there are etiquette rules for dogs and their owners so that you have a dog that you not only enjoy, but your guests can enjoy as well. It’s called “petiquette”. Dog etiquette starts with dog owners. Here’s some tips so you and your dog don’t commit a social faux pas.

  1. Train your dog to be obedient or he never will be. Although this sounds simple, it’s important that you dog know basic commands such as “Sit”, “Come”, Stay” or you are looking at a lifetime of headaches! It’s important that your dog learns to be comfortable with other dogs and people.
  2. Do not let your dog get away with excessive barking. Dogs bark for a reason and it’s important to know why your dog is barking. If your dog is a nuisance barker, keep him inside if you are away from your home or his barking may alienate the neighbors. You’ll need to control your dog with your voice and body language so that he learns to bark only when appropriate.
  3. Keep your dog on a leash or under your voice control. Unless you are at an off leash dog park, you should keep your dog on a leash at all times when outside. This way when he approaches another dog or another person, he will not get into a fight or jump all over. Allowing your dog to roam free could result in your dog getting hurt or developing a bad reputation in your neighborhood.
  4. Clean up after your dog. When you take your dog for a walk, always carry poop bags and clean up after your dog. No one else should have to clean up after your dog. Also, if your dog is a drooler, carry a small towel to clean up his slobber. If he has an upset stomach and diarrhea, carry a water bottle so you can rinse away the mess.
  5. Wait for a dog invitation. Although most of us dog owners cannot believe that EVERYONE doesn’t love dogs, just like with children, there is a time and a place for pets. Don’t assume because you are visiting a friend for a day, that he/she wants your dog there too. Never assume your dog is invited – ask in advance. Some people dislike dogs, others are frightened of them, while still others may simply prefer well-mannered dogs! Keep a little pet stain remover in your purse in case of an accident.
  6. Teach your dog boundaries. It is inappropriate for your dog to beg for food at the dinner table, jump on countertops where food is being prepared or jump all over your new couch. Dogs need boundaries and rules and need to be very clear on who is in charge.
  7. Teach your children to be wary of other dogs. If your dog tolerates his tail being pulled by your toddler, don’t expect the neighbor’s dog to be this tolerant. Children are susceptible to dog bites, so it’s important they not approach dogs they don’t know.

If you don’t have control of your dog indoors, it’s going to get worse in public! If you need help overcoming destructive or annoying dog behaviors, Greg Knows Dogs can help. We’ll teach you how to communicate with your dog and have a well behaved dog that even Miss Manners would love.

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Baby and Dog: Preparing For A New Baby’s Arrival

dreamstime_m_36490628_2My wife’s colleague is having a baby and is worried about how her dogs will react to the new pack member.  So, I dusted off my notes from a class I taught several years ago at Babies ‘R Us in Reynoldsburg.  Here are some tips based on my experience, and questions I’ve been asked in the class, and by clients.

If you think your dog may need training, the best time to do it is yesterday.  As an expectant parent, you have many things on your mind and you’ll have more as the due date gets closer.  My best recommendation is that you have very good vocal control of your dog.  At a minimum, he needs to respond to basic commands such as stay, leave it and stop (barking, jumping, swiping food from the baby, etc).  I also recommend your dog have good door manners; you’ll have lots of visitors to see your baby.

Assuming you are a few months away from your baby’s arrival, anticipate any changes that your dog may experience.  Here are some questions to consider:

Will you be feeding him at a different time of day when the baby arrives?
Will you be walking him at a different time of day?
Will you still have time to do special activities that you currently do with your dog?
Does your dog sleep with you?  Will that continue?
Is he allowed on the furniture?  Will that continue?
Will your dog be allowed in the baby’s room?
Will you be using a crate for your dog for the first time?

If your dog is going to have big changes, start making the changes now.  Remember, dogs thrive on routine. For example, you might start prohibiting him from going into the nursery now, rather than waiting until the baby arrives.  If you are going to use a dog walker, hire her now.  Your canine pal will be experiencing new sounds and smells when the baby arrives, so making lifestyle changes now can help lessen the stress of the baby’s arrival.

Speaking of sounds and scents, you might start planning for those changes, also.  You might even play recordings of baby sound effects. Think about baby products you’ll use and let your dog become accustomed to the smell of the baby’s shampoo, lotions and powders you’ll use.

You also will want to think about the less pleasant scents your baby will produce.  Unfortunately, some dogs love the smell of dirty diapers.  Make sure you dispose of them so the dog can’t get to them.

I also recommend to start unwrapping and placing those baby gifts in place now.  Dogs can be unsettled by new furniture like a baby bouncer, crib, or rocking chair.  Set them out and let your dog become familiar with them before the baby arrives.

Finally, you may want to get a doll to simulate your new activities like feeding and rocking.  You can also use this “practice baby” to teach your dog not to jump on you while caring for the baby.  And this also will allow you to practice attending to your canine and newborn simultaneously.

Making changes now will help your dog ease into the big changes coming to the pack. Hopefully, your baby and dog will soon be best friends. In next month’s blog, we will share some tips to introduce your baby and dog.