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Heroic Dogs - Chubs

Sunday, August 16, 2015

When we humans think of heroes, we think superheroes like Captain America, Iron Man, The Hulk, and many more fantastic people who have supernatural powers that make them capable of saving the lives of normal people like us.  On a deeper level, we think of the more realistic heroes like firemen, police officers, military members, and doctors.  Everyday people who use their human type of powers that can put them in harms way to save the lives of their fellow human kind.  But what about heroic dogs?  They come in many forms too!

Dogs are well known companions of the working man.  Service dogs, K-9s, rescue dogs, herding dogs.  You name it, the dog is going to master it.  Because dogs have such a desire to work for and please their humans, they can be counted on to perform at their very best.

Meet Chubs.  He is the mascot of our American Forces Network team.  Mascots are morale-bringers not only to the unit but to everyone who interacts with that unit.  And when the unit is present, people are looking for the mascot.  In this case, our hero is an English Bulldog named Chubs.  I have the honor of visiting the AFN team often and each time, I look forward to seeing this guy.  He brings smiles just by being there.  And when you watch his video, you'll see why!

Chubs has been with his unit for several years and is so lovable that if you simply give him an ear rub, he's all yours.  Or better yet, why not a piece of bacon?  Every dog needs some bacon.

Chubs is considered a heroic dog because he lifts the morale of people who are stationed away from their families for an extended period of time while they serve their country.  When they see Chubs, they're able to lose sight of the stress they're under for at least a little while.  Morale is extremely important to our military -- without it, they can't perform at the best level they would normally be capable of when they are united with their families.  So they need morale as much as they need water!  Thank you, Chubs, for your service to our country!

Watch him on Youtube!

Lady - Finally Home

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"I am proud to say that we have a new addition to our family!"  
-- Christine
The best thing about writing this blog is getting to know so many other humans who love dogs.  Their dogs, their friends' dogs, and strangers' dogs.  And I get to read about the dogs they rescue!  This is Lady.  She is a beautiful pitbull terrier who was adopted by one of our Facebook friends.  Christine D. already had two other dogs.  But like most dog lovers, she couldn't turn down a pup in need.   Her friend was severely allergic to her 9 month old pitbull mix but didn't know who to rehome her precious pup to.  So Christine gave it a shot and decided to meet the dog.  Would Lady be too much for her?  What if she didn't get along with her other dogs?  So many questions rattle our brains when we contemplate taking in another pup.  When there is a dog in need of a home, we want to much for the decision to be the right one.  If dog lovers could have it their way, all dogs would get along FOREVER.
"We went up to see Lady... she took to us instantly and Sugar and Tippy like her too."

Christine is the typical dog lover.  Concerned, compassionate, and quick to try.  It is no doubt that Lady is in the right hands, and the right home.  She now has a forever type of family.  She is safe from the heartbreak of being rehomed again.

This awesome story reminds me of a poem... hope you like it!

Daily Training: Front Door

Monday, July 27, 2015

Does your dog bolt out the door?  Or do they go absolutely insane when a visitor rings the doorbell?  As the alpha in your pack, you must establish the door as YOURS.  This is YOUR home, you are responsible for the well being of all who reside in it.  When your dog does not understand this, he believes HE is alpha and HE is responsible for who walks in and out of that door.  This thinking not only makes it difficult to handle your dog when the door is being opened, but it also puts a tremendous amount of stress on your dog.  Can you imagine being in charge of a whole family without the proper equipment, training and resources?  You'd be pretty crazy too, making the wrong choices and causing chaos in the family.  But the alpha-talk is another topic.  Let's discuss this door issue.

Train Daily!
For front door training (when someone knocks or rings the doorbell), teach your dog to follow you to a specific point on your way to the door and to wait.  Always use this same spot.  Use treats as positive reinforcement.  Once they've done this enough and they've established this spot as their "wait" spot, next step is to open the door.  Be confident when you do this.  With your back facing your dog, open the door.  If he makes any type of move towards you, use a distraction method that causes him to focus on you.  You can use the "BAH" method, which is a low growl.  It is not aggressive and is more of a "pay attention" type of message.

Have a partner stand on the other side of the door and ring the door bell.  Have your dog do as you've trained him: follow you to that spot, wait, and then you will open the door and tell the "visitor" that the dog is going to greet him/her.  Then once you've closed the door, call your dog to the visitor and have him greet him/her.  Hopefully at this time, you've already taught your dog not to jump on people! ;)  Spend at least 5 minutes a day doing this training.

Another tip outside of front door training:
When people want to greet your dog (while outside the home), never just let them approach your dog and never just let your dog approach them.  Train your dog to wait until you tell him to greet the person.  Tell the person to hold on until you tell your dog it's okay to greet them.

Things to remember
  1. Be consistent; you need to be the one to win.
  2. Control the situation at all times by interrupting the "bad" behavior.  Do this by bringing the dog's focus to YOU.
  3. Anticipate the behavior. 
  4. When your dog makes a mistake, don't stress!  Just take a break and try again.
  5. Train all the time, just because.
  6. Reward Reward Reward!!
  7. Have fun with it!

Paw Prints July 2015

Summer Safety  
If you're out in town and you've got your dog with you, don't go anywhere you can't take him!  Too many dogs die in their cars because their owners think they won't be long.
Leaving the window cracked will not give your dog the relief it needs to withstand the heat inside a hot car.
If you see a dog left in a car, look around for its owners.  If you cannot locate them, it is okay to call 911 or your local animal control!
Spread awareness to friends and family members who own pets, too!

Dr. Ernie Ward was brave enough to show viewers the reality of being trapped inside a hot car by conducting the experiment... on himself.
As the minutes ticked by, you can clearly see his discomfort rise and as the heat continued to take over the inside of the car, you will see that leaving your dog inside the car can result in his fatality.

Shout Out!!
Kunsan Patriots for Animal Welfare and Scholarship (PAWS) is a non-profit American organization dedicated to helping animal shelters in South Korea.  PAWS raises funds and calls for volunteers to extend the much needed helping hand at the many, many shelters around the peninsula.  There is always a need, but PAWS is always putting forth its best effort with the dedication and endurance of its members.  Good on you, PAWS, for doing what you do!
Check out their Facebook page!

Training Tip of the Day
Submissive Urination
Although unpleasant to us humans, submissive urination is actually normal canine behavior.  Not all dogs do it, but those who do usually submissively urinate when they greet people, are super excited during play or when being petted, and when they are being scolded.  It is a common behavior in puppies as well as in dogs who lack confidence.  This behavior can be frustrating and when handled inappropriately (most often done), it will only worsen and the relationship between dog and owner will be a rocky one.

When approaching the issue of submissive urination, you have to first rule out other possibilities.  For instance, a medical complication will cause uncontrollable urination.  When Bruce had a bladder infection, he was constantly urinating in the house and thankfully I took him straight to the vet.  Other things to consider before deciding on treating submissive urination are:  house training, separation anxiety, and urine marking.  Once you've ruled all those out, you're ready to approach submissive urination.

The ASPCA offers help for this!  See below:
What to Do About Submissive Urination
Dogs usually grow out of submissive urination by the time they reach one year of age, even if their pet parents do nothing about it. However, many people find it messy and unpleasant, and some dogs never grow out of it. If your dog or puppy submissively urinates, the following suggestions might help you manage, minimize or stop the behavior.
  • If possible, greet your dog outside.
  • Toss a handful of small treats or a few favorite toys in the direction of your dog as he runs up to greet you.
  • Ignore your dog when you first come home and walk through the door. Wait until he has completely calmed down before interacting with him. When you finally greet your dog, do so calmly. Look off to the side instead of straight at him. Sit on the floor or squat down—and avoid looming over your dog as you bend toward him.
  • Teach your dog to perform a behavior, such as sit, when he greets people. First, practice the sit behavior outside of the greeting context, in a calm place, without other people around. To learn more about teaching your dog to sit, please see our article, Teaching Your Dog to Sit.
  • When you pet your dog, touch him under the chin or chest, rather than on top of his head or ears.
  • Keep play sessions with your dog low-key and play games with him that focus on toys rather than bodily contact.
  • If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) for assistance. To find one of these qualified experts in your area, please see our article, Finding Professional Help.
What NOT to Do
  • Do not look at your dog, touch him, bend over him or speak to him if he starts to submissively urinate or if you think he might.
  • Do not hug your dog or pat him on the top of the head when greeting or interacting with him.
  • Do not scowl or frown at your dog, especially in response to submissive urination. You should even avoid making frustrated comments, as doing so might make the behavior worse.
DO NOT VERBALLY SCOLD YOUR DOG OR PUNISH YOUR DOG IN ANY WAY. Scolding and punishment are likely to make the problem worse. The more you yell at your dog, the more he’ll feel motivated to submissively urinate in an attempt to make you less angry.

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