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I was sent this story from a friend in response to the passing of my 17 year old Bordercollie mix. Bear was a constant in my life, always there for me, making sure the farm was in order. He wasn’t my agility dog, he never won any ribbons, but he had my heart. It was comforting to know that wherever I went on the farm, I was never out of his gaze. For 17 years I could count on him to be there for me no matter what my mood or the weather. The farm was his kingdom and he took his job seriously. It was the small things he appreciated most, a swim in the river, a nap in the barn, a pet from a visitor, greenies, a chew bone, eating the crumbs from the horses meal, riding on the golf cart, and just being with me whether we were watching tv or taking a walk. He never complained and was always grateful. Even though I still have my two wonderful aussie girls, there is an emptiness without him here watching over us…Today when I left the barn walking the path to the house, I thought I felt him there, I turned,saw nothing, then I smiled…for in his last days he could not walk, but today I felt him walking beside me once again, whole and healthy, watching over me.
This i dedicated to Bear, March 5, 2010, You are missed…

A Dog’s Purpose? (from a 6-year-old).

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live..

He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued, ”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do..

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY!

Thank you Mr. Bear

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The first thing to realize when dealing with car sickness is that in 95 percent of cases it is stress related and not motion related. The most powerful memory imprint of any dog’s brain is probably the car ride when it was taken away from all it ever new to be safe and secure, its litter mates and its mother. The most traumatic memory a young dog has is in relation to a ride in a car. So it’s not surprising that subsequent rides in a car should evoke very strong mental and subsequent physical trauma.

How do I help?

First, sit in your car in the driveway and invite your dog in with a treat, pet, and praise,then let him get out. You want to associate only positive things with the car ride. Next, just take a ride around the block. When you get home give your dog a treat, play, end it with fun!
If the dog has been sick in a car then estimate how long it was in the car before it was sick, say 20 minutes? Find a park about 5-10 minutes from home, preferably one just around the corner, even one within walking distance that the dog has been to before…. but this time drive there. It wouldn’t hurt to have someone else in the car too, to soothe the dog and distract him from the ride. Keep him happy all the way to the park. When at the park do all the enjoyable things that the dog loves, fetch the ball, chase the Frisbee, etc. The stay at the park doesn’t need to be that long…. just as enjoyable as possible. Then drive the dog home soothing him all the way again and when home make just as much fuss of the dog as you did at the park. Finish the session with his meal or a treat if time and conditions permit. You want to associate only positive things with the car ride.

This exercise is repeated several times a day or daily if time is limited. Once the dog is enthusiastic to go in the car then the length of the trip is lengthened slightly to 10-15 minutes etc. Once you can drive with the dog for 30 minutes with no signs of stress or anxiety then you have the problem pretty much licked. Some dogs may take a little longer than others. The idea is for as many happy repetitions as possible to overwrite the initial mental imprint the dog has from whatever caused the initial trauma. If you have rescued a dog it is likely it had several bad experiences with a car, possibly dropped off by those it trusted, then picked up by a stranger or animal control. Very traumatic events for the dog. It may take longer to build that trust again. Patience and love is the answer.
Rescue Remedy(www.rescueremedy.com) is an anti-anxiety spray or liquid that helps dogs get past events that cause them anxiety, car ride, thunderstorms, etc. I have used it successfully on my horses and dogs. In severe cases you may want to try this. It is organic and not harmful to your dogs, you can even take it to ease your anxiety! What we don’t realize is that it is our anxiety that transfers to the dog and makes his worse.(you’re thinking:”oh, no, i’ve got to take princess to class, i hope she doesn’t throw up in the car etc”) Your dog senses that and creates more anxiety (“oh, no, mom is worried about the car ride too!)

Try it, it works on most dogs. There are dogs who get sick due to other problems, and this didn’t work. A trip to the vet after the method failed brought the problem to the surface.
Let me know what you would like to hear about in future blogs!
Happy Car Riding!
Vicki at Purple Paws

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Signs of separation anxiety: excessive barking, soiling the crate or house, tearing up things, chewing things excessively, only when you’re gone.

I posted this video on my blog called “Through a Dogs Ear” because I am a firm believer in music to calm your dog. I use it all the time on my dogs and my horses. “Through a Dogs Ear” is a collection of 4 dvds and 1 book for you and your dog. There is even one dvd that is for driving, designed to relax the dog but keep the driver awake.
Boarding facilities that play this music find the dogs more relaxed and calm.
If your dog has separation anxiety there are some things you can do to ease that. 99% of the clients who come to me because their dog has separation anxiety allow their dogs to sleep in the bed with them. Dogs are pack animals and sleeping with you solidifies the pack behavior, everyone sleeps in the den together. Therefore, when the dog is “left behind” from the pack, it goes against all pack instincts and causes anxiety. Insecure dogs develop this more often than do other dogs.
So what can you do? Give you dog a bed of his own to sleep on in your room. If you crate your dog while you’re gone, put the crate in your room and let your dog sleep there. When you go to bed at night play calming music,(and I highly reccomend “Through a Dogs Ear” dvd’s), the dog will then begin to associate the crate and the music with relaxing. Put calming music on at least 20 min before you leave. You should also play the music at various other times when you are home so that the dog does not associate the music with you leaving. As you know, dogs learn through repetition and consistency, so if the only time you play the music is when you leave they will learn that. So mix it up!
During the day when you are home, put your dog in its crate, play music, and if he is good let him out in 10 minutes or so. I perceive separation anxiety as a trust issue. Your dog must trust that you will return to them. Dogs that have been abandoned or crated for cruel amounts of time often have this issue as well.
You must build on their trust. Put them in their crate and go through the routine of leaving, go out the door, if their is no howling or erratic behavior, come back in, praise, and let them out.
Give the dog a special toy or safe treat when you leave, one that they only get when they go in the crate. My favorite is the Kong Toy. I stuff it with peanut butter and place it in the freezer. When I leave they get it in their crate. Puppies and dogs both like the cold on their gums, it’s soothing for teething, and the frozen peanut butter makes them have to work at it longer. Chewing releases energy and anxiety in a dog. Have you ever come home to find your baseboards or chair leg chewed? Your dog was doing what it knew to do to release anxiety or energy!
Putting your dog in a crate essentially tells your dog that it is off duty. He doesn’t have to worry about the house, just chill! Your dogs crate should be his safe, secure place, a place where your dog will go on his own when he wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of the household.
Last, but most important, go through obedience training with your dog. Training builds a trust and a language with your dog, as well as building self-confidence. A bond is created with your dog that will improve your dogs behavior in many ways. So look for a trainer in your area that uses positive-reward based training.
Next blog: Does Dog get Car Sick?

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Positive Dog Training Techniques Puppy Power Training Blog.

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How to Dog-Proof Your House – Paw Nation.

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This article comes from Laurie Williams on of the competitors on America’s Greatest Dog. She brings up some very good points I thought I would share.
TV Dog Training – Helping or Hurting?

Laurie Williams
Comments (3)
Never before has there been more information and resources available to help pet parents live harmoniously with their canine companions. If you surf the net you will discover thousands of training Web sites; the dog training section in bookstores and libraries is inundated with new titles every month; and dog training is a regular weekly feature on some television channels. However, you know what they say about a little knowledge. It’s dangerous, and incomplete and inaccurate information is even worse.

Where has all this abundance of conflicting and misleading information taken us? On one hand it has prompted many people to make more out of things that are really just normal dog behavior in certain circumstances. I receive many calls from concerned puppy parents about their aggressive 12-week-old puppy, only to determine the puppy is just exhibiting normal puppy behavior on its way to learning bite inhibition. And then there are the pet parents who feel their dog is showing dominance by jumping up on them to greet them, and they want to show him they’re the pack leaders like Cesar says. Uggggh. If I had a nickel for every time that term is over or incorrectly used I’d be rich! Well, okay, at least these pet parents are trying to be proactive and prevent issues before they become serious problems, and that’s certainly a good thing.

Unfortunately I also get calls from people whose dogs are struggling with very serious behavior issues like severe aggression but have unrealistic expectations of fixing those problems. Why? Well, they saw a dog with the exact same issue on TV and that dog was fixed in one episode! Make no mistake about it, behavior modification takes time, patience and consistency. There is no quick fix or magic to it, only the magic of television. Having been on the boob tube myself, let me state unequivocally right here and now that you can’t always believe what you see on television, and reality television is anything but real, it’s meant to be entertainment. Even if the genre is supposed to be public education, make no mistake about it, the show still needs to be entertaining. After all, if no one is watching, the show won’t get any sponsors to pay for it! Additionally, everything you see may not have happened in exactly the way it’s been presented, or in the same sequence, or even on the same day!

And what about follow up? Did the owners continue with the behavior modification? Has the dog continued to improve or has he reverted back to old habits? Rarely, if ever, are any of those questions answered on any of the television training shows. We’re presented with quick glimpses that end with the trainer closing up his or her computer or getting in his or her car and driving away. Happy ending? Maybe. Hopefully. But those profound and quick changes we’re presented can be extinguished just as quickly if there is no consistency in the training and behavior modification to follow.

And then there’s the subject of dog training methods. Even if the show instructs the viewers “not to try this at home,” overzealous owners will do so anyway, which can have disastrous and downright dangerous results. I know more than a few people who’ve been bitten when attempting to physically overpower or dominate their dog, like they saw the trainer do on TV. I am always hopeful that most will listen to the part of the disclaimer that tells the viewer to “contact a professional” first.

That’s where I come in.

While I may not agree with or use the same methods a television dog trainer uses, if his or her show helps make people aware of their dog’s behavior and gets them interested in training, that’s a good thing. If it prompts someone to pick up the phone and call me, all the better! Once I get them in the door, I’ll get my chance to show them how real dog training and behavior modification works.

What do you think about TV dog training shows?

What’s your favorite or least favorite show?

Who’s your favorite or least favorite TV dog trainer and why?

What kind of TV dog training show would you like to see?

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