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Puppies 4- 6 weeks.

Week 4 to 8 is when change is occurring rapidly for baby puppies.

This blog will deal with the changes in week 4 – 6. In the last blog (click here) I was talking about the puppies being still very much in the xpen. From 5 weeks of age they start to find out ab0ut the big wild world outside of the pen. This has to be done with caution of course as they are susceptible to many diseases and accidents at this age. They have fairly good immunity from disease still from mum but it is not good for them to be in environments where the disease or vaccination status of other animals is not know. As they are tiny they also must be carefully supervised around even the best tempered adult dog. Baby dogs like human babies have no comprehension that a growl is in fact a signal to back off. They just keep coming and can be far to “in the faces” of adult dogs.

Week 4 to 6 milestones are:

  • Now going out and about. They would have been outside more but the weather was too wet and the ground too muddy. However they went into a specially constructed pen in the training center for a few days a week initially then for 5 days in week 6
  • They got to meet new people
  • They carefully started interaction with selected adult dogs.
  • Recall training is started (off lead using pup, pup, pup whenever I wanted them to come to me).
  • Toilet training is started. They are praised for all wees and poos outside. When getting out of the car they are released from their car carrier and placed on the ground where the natural instinct is that most puppies wee. They are told what clever dogs they are and if possible given a treat
  • Car training starts – in a secure car crate
  • Mum helps with all of this training and starts to wean them off her milk
  • Different food sources are introduced
  • Puppies start to explore their environment.
  • Relationship with humans deepens greatly mostly via the provision of food and fun
  • They play more and more with each other and bite inhibition is learnt.
  • A good day/night regimen is formed.
  • Separation anxiety is guarded against by letting them spend time alone away from humans.
  • The start of grooming and handling training by touching feet, noses, ears, mouth etc.
  • They learn that humans are associated with rewards that are delivered for when a behaviour happens that is acceptable. At this age there is only use of +R  and a very light amount of -P (in that if they are whining they don’t get attention) However the owner should be ensuring that no whining occurs as all needs should be predicted before that point.

 

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Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets using Relationship Animal Training. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

About Me 

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Miniature Poodle puppies 6-8 weeks

These weeks build on the solid foundation of the previous 6 weeks. If all has been done well then by now puppies are confident, eating well, sleeping through the night, not barking, not whining and interested in exploring new environments, people and animals that come their way. They are not showing signs of being unwilling to go somewhere new and are happy. healthy bouncy puppies.

The highlights of this phrase include:

  • Now actually interacting with adult dogs and learning how to use cut off signals to indicate they are no threat and learning that they can not rush headlong into the face of an adult dog.
  • Learning from their litter mates how to use their teeth in play.
  • Increasing variety of food being introduced
  • More and more outings to puppy safe venues
  • Increased independence from mum and the other puppies
  • Grooming training  starts (this is very important for poodle puppies)
  • Reinforcement of a good day/night routine
  • Being separated from humans and other dogs for part of the time so that separation anxiety is not going to become an issue.
  • Recall training, start of lead training, start of loose lead walking training (being asked to follow a human around without a lead)
  • Introduction of enrichment toys such as food dispensing toys.
  • Spending time as single pups away from other dogs so they can handle being an only dog.
  • Exploring the outside world and finding out about wind, rain, horses, cattle, leaves, trees and that fences mean containment.
  • Learning how not to be afraid during a thunderstorm
  • Learning how not to be afraid when they hear loud sounds like radios, gun shots, trains, cars, trucks, babies crying etc.

Just a quick comment on vaccination. I follow the most up to date schedule for vaccination from Dr Jean Dodds, a world expert on vaccination, and do not give the first vaccination (C3) until puppies are 8 weeks of age. I then only give one more after 16 weeks of life and then no further vaccination for the rest of the life of the dog. I also do not microchip until as close to over 8 weeks as possible as I feel it is fairly traumatic for baby puppies. It is required as a condition of sale in my state. The puppies are wormed at 3 and 6 weeks and then again as they are about to go to their new homes.

Regards
Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets using Relationship Animal Training. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

About Me 

Miniature Poodle Puppies 4.5 weeks.

Two weeks since my last post and these two weeks has been seen a large amount of development in the puppies. By 4 weeks they are all up and about and social skills are starting to develop. They are still feeding off mum but I have now implemented supplementary feeding. Not that they eat much, mostly they walk through it, play with and generally just explore it. Today while videoing I did see one of them pick up a piece of dry food in it’s mouth and eat it. What mostly happens is that mum goes in there as the food is taken in and she is gradually teaching them to eat rather than drink. However she did take her piece of chicken in there this afternoon and there was a great deal of interest in it with a couple of the puppies having a taste of it. Mum however will be still allowed to let them drink for as long as she decides is appropriate.

They are now starting to look outside their xpen as I have removed some of the covers so they can start to interact with the other adult dogs and with me as I move around the area.  Mum is now spending less and less time with them and mostly only going in for feeding and if they make a strange sound (which has not happened so far at all). However what this means is that all the clean up is now my duty not hers and this is often the point at which families who have bred a litter for some fun find out the fun is pretty much over and the constant cleaning starts.

They have started to interact with each other in play. This is an essential time for puppies to learn bite inhibition. Bite inhibition is taught by the other pups who provide the feedback when a bite is too hard. A puppy will not continue to play with another pup if bites hurt. At this point I keep a careful watch for any puppy that might be showing bullying tendencies. This is fairly unusual for miniature poodles but does happen from time to time in bigger breeds. The way to deal with that is to quietly distract the bully from the game and institute a short time out session. It is normally is just an indication that a pup is a bit too wound up or a pup is slightly more ahead in development than its litter mates.

About two weeks ago, once mum started to spend less time with them, I added some soft cuddle toys to the pen. Initially this was to give them something soft to cuddle up to but as they are now playing these also become play toys. The benefit of this is that often individual pups will be found sleeping alone not cuddled to one of the others and also once it comes time for them to move off into their new homes they will associate a cuddle toy with positive safe feelings from where they first grew up.

I have also started to introduce novel safe items to them. Yesterday it was some peelings from the potatoes and carrots I was cooking. Not for any food value, although some were eaten, but to give them a chance to explore new tastes and textures and weird things appearing in their environment. Today it was the empty cottage cheese container with a few morsels of cottage cheese still in it. This provides the game of how many puppy heads can fit in here at once that you can see part of on the video.

They have settled into an excellent day and night rhythm now. Once it is dark they all settle for bed and not a sound is heard from them until we get up the next morning.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets using Relationship Animal Training. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

About Me 

The Value of Relationships in Training.

I was involved in an interesting discussion today on a Facebook group I belong to which is called  Building Strong Relationships with Animal Companions. We were discussing the impact of training on these relationships. It got me to thinking about the role of training in my relationships with animals. I am an animal trainer and have been professionally and non professionally for over 40 years. I have always been considered as having a gift for training animals but I will let you in on a secret.

I actually don’t do a great deal of training with most of the animals I live with!

Sure I teach them the basics; sit, drop, stay, come but outside of that unless I want a particular behaviour for a video or a demonstration I don’t do any formal training sessions. Yep you heard that right – no formal training sessions. But I can hear most of you saying “Your dogs are so well trained, they listen to your every word”. Yes you are right they know exactly what I am thinking and most of the time I know pretty well what they are thinking.

Years ago I used to attend classes at one of Sydney’s best know dog obedience schools called Manly and District Kennel and Dog Training Club and I trained under the late and very well know NSW top obedience trainer, Garry Sommerville, who held that title for years. We drilled the dogs for an hour, round and round and in straight lines up and back and I went home and religiously drilled the dog/s for 30 minutes each night. Sit, stay, drop, down, come, fetch, pick up dumbell the whole full obedience routine and I, sort of, had reasonably trained dogs but boy was it hard work. All those years ago I was of course using jerking on check chains and physically placing my dogs into position. I confess I did a few alpha rolls as well.  (This was back in the late 80’s). I loved my dogs that goes without saying but mytraining interactions with them were not loving ones.

Fast forward to the year 2009 when after spending years as a balanced trainer moving closer and closer towards modern reward based methods I decided to train as a Delta instructor where the method uused was totally positive reward based force free training. BUT what I also learnt about was how dogs learn, how they think, how to read their body language. What that did, along with the use of reward based training was taught me how to understand and establish a relationship with the animal I was working with, which is over and above just training it. By removing all the forceful elements I had to work out how to get the dog to interact with me willingly and that takes relationship building.

For my own animals at home I interact with them all day and night most days. I talk to them, think about them, listen to them and yes they listen to me, talk to me and in so doing we have all developed a relationship. I don’t just ignore them until it is time t0 put a lead on and have a “training session”.  When I require something I ask them to do it e.g go out to and get in the car, go through a doorway, wait before coming inside, going out to toilet. I talk to them endlessly always stating in a non confrontational manner what it is I require. I talk with my hands a great deal as well, so I expect I also inadvertently give a great number of non verbal body language cues to match my verbal cues.

I am training them, every minute of time that I am interacting with them we are training but more importantly I am building a very strong relationship with them as well. They know and understand what I require and I know and understand what their needs are. The fact that it is a two way communication is what makes it a relationship not just training. Because it is two way is why it is so effective as training. Much more effective than the older methods I used to employ.

So do you need training?  Yes you do

Do you need a good relationship? Yes you do

Can you have a good relationship while using training that is not based on positive force free methods? No you can’t

With both you have a match made in heaven without a good relationship the training will be very hard work but with it the training will be effortless and I love effortless training.

 

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets using Relationship Animal Training. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

About Me 

Puppies at 2 weeks.

The miniature poodle puppies are now 2 weeks old.  There is hardly a noise out of them as they have all settled in a lovely routine of feed and sleep. It has been hot the last couple of days so they are starting to sleep apart from each other rather than in a tight bundle. Cherry is gradually spending less time with them now that they are more settled. Their bellies are full of lovely milk and they sleep contentedly, even the black puppy that I called a boy on the last post but is a actually a girl. They are starting to get up on their feet and very shortly eyes will open.  This is when I start to work with them as their eyes open and they gain an awareness of their external environment.

puppies 1 puppies 2 puppies 3

Here are some photos taken this morning. I am sorry about the watermarking but there are scammers on the internet that lift photos of puppies and try to scam money from people

Here is video also taken this morning.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets using Relationship Animal Training. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

About Me 

Puppies Day 4

Relationship Animal Training starts from the first day a puppy is born and it is now day 4 for Cherry’s miniature poodle litter. Sadly one pup (brown boy) did not make it past day 1 so there are now 4 puppies. In those circumstances I believe it is best to let the mother decide if the pup should or should not survive. Nature knows a lot more than I do about survival of the fittest and Cherry gave clear indications that she did not want to feed this pup as she repeatedly pushed it away.

At day 4 Cherry has already trained the pups to accept some very short periods where she is not with them. Never far away she has a strong sense of what the individual noises mean. There is a certain noise that means “mum come here now we need you” verses “mum we are babies who just need to make a noise to get us off to sleep”

The little black boy is slightly behind his three sisters when it comes to development, however that is normal for boys. He still whimpers slightly when mum is away but is getting faster at settling down against his sleeping sisters as there is safety in numbers. I have also included one of Cherry’s favourite toys in the whelping box so that her smell remains when she is taking toilet breaks. At this stage she is still spending all but a few minutes of her day with them. As soon as I was awake this morning I opened my eyes to find her standing next to my bed, saying hello,, however she quickly returned to the pups.

There are implications here for later puppy training. The first is that of prevention of separation anxiety which is a reasonably common and serious behavioural issue in dogs. At this early age the puppies are very dependent on their mother for their emotional security and safety. As they are still blind and deaf they rely on her scent and body warmth to feel secure. They are not yet secure in just the presence of their litter mates for more than a few minutes. Cherry is aware of this but has already started the slow process of teaching them that she is not required 24/7. The very interesting observation however is that she is doing this using finely honed skills of positive reward, negative punishment and wonderful innate canine judgement. She returns to them only when they are quiet and ignores them when they are lightly grumbling and about to drift off to sleep on their own. Of course she manages the situation by going immediately to them when she knows they need her for other reasons.

The second implication is for teaching no barking. Rewarding a dog for barking by constantly talking to it or otherwise paying attention to the barking is counterproductive to achieving a quiet dog. Cherry is teaching the puppies how to appropriately ask for her attention. 

I am resisting the urge to cuddle and interfere.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Talk to me about Positive Reward Based Dog Training  | Dogs, Horses, Cats, Pocket Pets +Animal Businesses (Mid Nth Coast NSW) 

Relationship Animal Training TM: Facebook page | Facebook discussion group

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) runs the Pet Care Magic club where devil dogs, horrible horses and crazy cats are turned into perfect pets. The program provides owners and pet professionals assistance with with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas  She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues for owners and also assists pet care professionals in setting up and growing their businesses by the provision of customer handling advice, sales and marketing strategies and up to date product information that allows for the differentiation of their pet care business from their competitors. The Pet Care Magic Club is part of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia but can be found on internet enabled devices worldwide.

About Me 

Winter comes again!

It feels like is was only yesterday and we were in the middle of winter 2012, yet here we are back again facing winter 2013.

Not much has changed except that we are all one year older and one year more creaky and less able to cope with the cold. Our dogs and cats that is of course !

What are the major issues that older animals have to cope with:

1) Arthritis

As nutrition and veterinary care becomes better our animals are living longer and longer. It is not uncommon to hear of dogs living until nearly 20 and cats for even longer. However their bodies were not designed to live that long. Their major joints such as back, hips and knees are prone to arthritis which is very susceptible to cold weather.  As your dog or cat ages they will not handle winter nearly as well. The first line of defence is to provide better bedding to take away the cold hard feeling of the floor and to elevate them off the floor. Then comes the addition of food additives such as Joint Guard and Sasha’s blend. As they age and these measures no longer give relief then it is time to progress to anti-inflammatory tablets and then finally to injections. Older animals need to go to the vets each winter for a checkup and discussion about their needs.

 

2) Grooming

Dogs that are clipped off during summer (to cope with the heat supposedly  still need regular grooming over winter. In fact they  need more grooming as longer coat means more matting. Please do not leave long coated dogs to become horrible matted messes that you think can only be removed when the weather gets warmer. Well trained and knowledgeable groomers can take of as much or as little coat as you like as they work with blades of varying lengths. The most common request over winter is FFB (meaning face, feet and bottom). I have a number of customers who I see all year around and in winter the coat is left much longer than in summer but still fully groomed out. Matted coat is not healthy and leads to skin issues and pain for the dog or cat.

 

3) Feeding quantities may vary over winter with some dogs being more sedentary and needing less calories to meet nutritional needs. Dogs or cats who are in pain and stressed as a result may however need more. If they are on anti-inflammatory medication make sure that they are taking this with food so as to avoid gastrointestinal side effects. You may have to consider smaller meals more often to compensate.

Here are the links to a few articles I have written in previous winters:

A solution to the smelly damp winter dog : click here 

I only want a bit off this time- a groomer’s winter lament: click here

And for all those groomers who find it hard to get up and think about dealing with water all day and are suffering aching backs, knees and shoulders from a lifetime of grooming!

It’s winter and I really have a problem getting out of bed: Click here

There is one good thought to hold onto and that is Winter will be shortly over and we will be back to the craziness of summer and all the winter clip offs of horribly matted dogs who went through winter.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    www.petcaremagician.com |  Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Promoting Positive Reward Based Dog Training

Australian Pet Professionals

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) is the owner of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia. She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues including feeding, training and grooming dogs and cats. Her online pet care magic subscription program deals with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas. Pet care professionals are trained to handle customer issues by the provision of up to date programs to differentiate their pet care business from other competitors. About Me 

The canine detective solving problem behaviors.

What do you do when your dog does something you don’t like?

Many people just yell at the dog, push them away or get cranky at their behavior.

However the key to fixing any behavior problem is to sit back and work out why the dog is doing what it is doing, what cue the dog hears or sees that is causing the behavior and what reward the dog is receiving that ensures the behavior keeps happening.

Here is an example:

I’m stuck with my 5 yr old pom/chihuahua mix. When I am not home, she stays in the kitchen area with my other dog, a yorkie. No problems there. The problem is when I arrive home. From the second I park the car to a few minutes after I enter the house, she barks like a little nut. I always ignore her until she stops barking so as not to reward it, but to no avail. It’s not as bad when she’s in her crate, but sometimes I’m gone too long to leave her there.

 (This was posted on Facebook by Michelle a fellow groomer and trainer in the US )

At first glance many positive reward based trainers would say that you do not enter the house until the dogs stops barking  as this will teach the dog not to bark when you arrive home. Many dog owners would enter the house but yell at the dogs to “shut up”. In this case neither solution will stop this dog from barking and the owner has tried with no result to give no attention to the barking as the dog is a very persistent barker.

What needs to happen is that the owner and trainer need to take a few steps back and work out when this dog barks, why it barks and what alternative behavior might stop OR modify the barking. Can this dog be stopped from barking at all? More than likely not as it is excited the owner is home and Poms/ Chihuahua are excitable noisy dogs.

Talking to the owner identified that it is about her and/or her son arriving and the key being inserted in the lock and that she can go outside to put out the trash, chat to neighbours for a while and then go back inside with no barking.  It is not about the car but about the dogs excitement when they arrive home after a period of absence. The dog is also fine when they leave. The dog has been taught a “shush’ command but the excitement of them coming home means she forgets it. Once in awhile she’ll pick up a toy in her excitement and this means that she can’t bark.

As an Animal Behaviourist that has to work out why animals do what they do and find solutions these are all important tips to understanding how to fix or modify this barking. In order to do so it is important to establish what causes the barking to start and what might be some ways the dog has  already exhibited that could be useful as an alternative behavior. Hence the questions that I ask owners so that I can prepare a way to work out a solution to the issue or issues presented. The behaviors that can be solved with quick fixes never end up in my consults sadly, just the ones that owners have not been able to deal with. Then what is needed is a fresh set of eyes and strong questioning techniques to  reframe how the problem is viewed and identify possible solutions.

Michelle is off to try out a few of the suggestions given.

Do you have a problem that you have been unable to solve? Let me know and I would  be happy to help.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    www.petcaremagician.com |  Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Promoting Positive Reward Based Dog Training

Australian Pet Professionals

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) is the owner of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia. She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues including feeding, training and grooming dogs and cats. Her online pet care magic subscription program deals with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas. Pet care professionals are trained to handle customer issues by the provision of up to date programs to differentiate their pet care business from other competitors. About Me 

The straw that broke the camel’s back

No I have not started to write about Camel’s as the title would suggest. Mind you I might when I run out of dog and cat topics.

This well known and very old saying has an equivalent in dog training circles where we talk about Trigger Stacking. Picture this scenario.

You have had a very hectic day with twenty million errands to run, the kids to pick up from school, no food in the fridge for dinner, the car is just about to run out of petrol and then…………..your mobile rings and it is your husband asking about something that is of no importance at all and could easily have waited until he got home that night. You didn’t need that interruption right now and so you loose it and start yelling at him, telling him he is a nuisance, time waster  who you regret ever marrying and hang up on him. The kids get into the car and it is immediately “mum, mum, mum”. You loose it again and start to yell at them as you slam the car into gear narrowly missing the other big SUV’s double parked in the no parking zone at the kid’s school. You are still fuming when you get home and all anyone has to do is look sideways at your and you start yelling again. Everyone keeps a very wide berth for the rest of the night.

What has happened?

All your triggers have stacked up into a huge pile that resulted in the final one pushing you over the edge. Each on its own you could have coped with but when they all came at you on the same day they pushed you over the edge into a screaming wreak that wanted to run and hide from the world. Does this sound familiar to the mums out there ? If this can happen to a well adjusted, well resourced intelligent human then it stands to reason exactly the same thing can happen to a dog. However in dogs it is called Trigger stacking and is seen often in scared dogs.  The issue  however is that we don’t always recognize what the triggers are and out of the blue we have a dog that is going ballistic barking (canine equivalent of screaming)  or worse has bitten someone, for no apparent reason. They have reached the point of no return and have tipped over into reactive mode, for some that means aggressive action. Once they are there the only way out is to totally remove them from the environment, keep all other environmental stimuli away and let them calm down. For some dogs this might means days as cortisol levels in stressed dogs can often take some time to return to normal. The amount of time the stress levels stay elevated for is very individual and many dogs hide all signs that tell you they are stressed. The only real way of knowing is to know your dog extremely well and that includes being able to read very subtle signs that they are not happy.

The level at which they tip over into reaction, often with aggression or a bite is called their threshold. This threshold level is very individual for dogs and can vary from day to day. The only way to prevent these type of reactions is to manage your dog and the stresses it is exposed to each day as well as learning how to read canine body language that will enable you to detect the subtle signs of stress. The other excellent way to protect your dog is to ensure they were well socialized during the critical 8-16 week age period. It is during that time that exposing the puppy to as many strange things as possible builds up a positive bank of weird experiences that they can tap into in later life.

Want to read more about trigger stacking. Check out his excellent post by Casey Lomonaco on Dogster

 

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    www.petcaremagician.com |  Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Promoting Positive Reward Based Dog Training

Groomers who chose to use positive methods to groom dogs and cats

Australian Pet Professionals

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) is the owner of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia. She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues including feeding, training and grooming dogs and cats. Her online pet care magic subscription program deals with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas. Pet care professionals are trained to handle customer issues by the provision of up to date programs to differentiate their pet care business from other competitors. About Me 

Puppy Grooming tips guest article on about.com

I have had the pleasure of being invited to write and article for About.com Puppies site this week. The article is titled Puppy Grooming Tips -How to Prepare Puppies for Grooming and can be viewed here. It out lines a protocol that teaches pet owners the steps they can take to ensure they will have a puppy that will accept grooming techniques or handling at vet visits. This protocol is however also useful for all puppies, especially those living with children. Puppies and dogs do not always accept hugs from humans and this can be the reason why children and adults get bitten. If a puppy is trained using this protocol they can become accepting of the way humans approach them and need to hug and hold them.

My thanks to Amy Shojai who hosts the site for the opportunity and to Karen Deeds from Canine Direction for the inspiration for the article.

Regards

Louise Kerr
The Pet Care Magician

www.elitepetcare.com.au   |    www.petcaremagician.com |  Like us on Facebook

Facebook groups: Promoting Positive Reward Based Dog Training

Groomers who chose to use positive methods to groom dogs and cats

Australian Pet Professionals

Louise Kerr (aka The Pet Care Magician) is the owner of Elite Pet Care & Education based in the Nambucca Valley NSW Australia. She consults and writes widely on a range of pet care issues including feeding, training and grooming dogs and cats. Her online pet care magic subscription program deals with common pet behavior  training, feeding and grooming issues such as barking, escaping, scratching, aggression and fleas. Pet care professionals are trained to handle customer issues by the provision of up to date programs to differentiate their pet care business from other competitors. About Me 

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