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Their Job Today

My grandma is 96, and recently went from assisted living to nursing home care.   This loving, stable, wonderful, crazy, OH so family oriented, woman isn’t long for this world now.    A friend keeps asking me if I have closure yet.   I don’t think there will be closure.    She will go at some point.  Rumor has it we all do.    But, nope.  Not ready.  At least I’m not.

But last few times I’ve visited her, she’s said she wished she could see one of my puppies.  Hold them.  Pet them.

Well, she can barely see.   Her hands are so crippled now she can’t feel.  Or fed herself or anything else we take for granted.    She very often calls me either my oldest  daughter’s  or my sister in laws name.  And I don’t care.  As long as she feels the love, that’s all that matters.

But a couple of puppies and I went to see her today.

She’s telling me she can’t see him.   My sister is telling her he looks just like a baby Airedale.   She loves an Airedale.   They don’t really – but it made her happy.

And the best part – is now she’s asking everyone who comes in the room if they got to see ‘her’ puppies.

Puppies and I made her happy for a few minutes.  Gave her something to think and talk about.   That  is all we wanted.

Thank you Lucas and Liam.     You  boys did good today.

 

www.longroadkennel.com

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Happy HumpDay HouseBreaking Hint!

I just love saying that….

Anyway – so the question this is week is about regression.   Nope, not hypnotizing your dogs back to a past life.   Though, that does sound fascinating, doesn’t it?  Were they all queens and kings and Cleopatra?  Oh, wait, no, pretty sure that’s cats.

And kitty teaches all the puppies who's boss!

And kitty teaches all the puppies who’s boss!

 

 

 

But instead, we are talking about dogs who used to be – they used to be housebroken or they used to be dry in the crate or they used to scratch at the back door – but Now They Don’t.  Now They Aren’t.  And we aren’t happy, are we?  nooooooooooo…….

Okay – anytime a dog regresses, or starts doing or not doing something differently, I always suggest a vet check.   All the training in the world is not going to fix a bladder infection or a sore elbow or something physical going on.  So that is number one.  Especially our little girl dogs.   You’d be surprised at the number of them who get bladder infections.   Easily fixed.  All better!  Yay me!

So after we go to the vet and make sure our sweet thing is healthy, then we go back to training.   The biggest reason dogs regress is because we do.  I know.  All our fault.  As usual.   When we first get our puppy or new dog, or start training a new behavior, we focus on it.   “I want you to go to the back door and ring the bell to go out.”   Such fun!  So we focus on it, and encourage the dog and we praise them and make sure we are there and after dog has done it a few times, we pat ourselves on the back and say ‘we did it!  He knows it!’ and then we slack off.

Training?   Nah, I just do what I want.

Training? Nah, I just do what I want.

 

 

 

And guess what?   Dog doesn’t know it yet.  Not in the ‘do it every day for the rest of your life’ kind of way, anyway.   It takes 21 days to make a habit, and you know you didn’t do it for 21 days, did you?   Don’t lie.   I know.   So since he doesn’t yet really know the behavior, even though he’s done it a few times, then you have to start working on that training again.   Don’t get mad, just re focus your attention and do it a while longer.

Just like remembering long division after summer break, at one point, dog will go OH YEAH and pick it back up again.

Okay  – used to be dry in the crate?  What changed?  Are you feeding at a different time?  Leaving puppy in there too long?  Was there a recent spay or neuter or surgery?     First think of how long puppy is in there.    If having a growth spurt or getting more or less exercise or a hundred different things, the times they can hold it can change.  Did you put him in a different crate?  That can do it too.   Different bedding?  Feeding them too late at night?  Sometimes after a surgery, it takes a while for them to heal and they won’t be able to hold it as long.   There are many reasons for overnight crate messes and dog being pissed off or wanting to get back at you  is usually not one of them.    Really.

I don't get mad.  Really!

I don’t get mad. Really!

 

 

 

Dogs aren’t cats after all.

What’s your issue?  Tell me about your dog’s ‘but he used to!’ problem?

Oh – check out the announcement at www.longroadkennel.com    Want a preview?

DSCF1290

 

Happy HumpDay Housebreaking Hint!

Last week, I was  privileged to work with a man who  had just adopted a shelter dog, who had already  fallen in love with him  – and oh –  who had difficulty moving around much.

>Insert Personal Pet Peeve Here<   Often when I read training books or listen to trainers teach in seminar,  they are geared toward the able bodied with lots of time on their hands.    And somehow I live in the real world where sometimes  people can’t move around easily and/or work for a living.  And yet they want a dog to love – imagine their gall!  Deep breath -

Anyway – he had adopted a five year old five pound adorable mixed something or other and he was having a hard time with the house breaking.   “They” had said “Sammy” was housebroken already, but as I told the daddy, sometimes dogs are housebroken in one place, but not another; and sometimes people lie.   But since we knew Sammy was healthy, via the vet checks, we were ready to housebreak!

I said, “where do you want him to go?”  (which is, as you know, the first decision to be made in housebreaking)   He looked at me sheepishly and said, “the cat’s litter box, if that’s okay.”

Okay?   Your dog, your house, your rules.  It IS okay.   The litter box was handy, kitty had gone to his great reward in the sky, Dad could get to it, could wrangle the cleaning of it, and  Sammy could manage to get there with no issues.  What’s to worry about?  Why would it be wrong?

Sleeping in my boy's bed?  Being a pillow?  Those are good things in my house!

Sleeping in my boy’s bed? Being a pillow? Those are good things in my house!

 

 

We decided together to start with puppy pads in the litter box – they have an ‘attractant’ in them to lure doggy over there to pee on them.  Later, he said, maybe we could use litter?  Yes, we can!  Whatever works out best for him and his already adored doggy who sits on his lap and gives him love all the time.   And for you and your dog.  In case you were wondering.

We set a schedule of feeding times and walk on the leash to the litter box times.   A small jar of treats by the litter box was set out to reward Sammy when he did a good thing there.  Then there was practice time.

Keeping Sammy on a long leash in the same room Dad spent his day was important.  He doesn’t need to run off and pee anywhere else in the house.    We learned some games to work off energy that Dad could do.   Once Sammy gets used to going where he is supposed to, he will get more freedom, but right now its more important he keep his happy home than have house freedom.

And I always wonder why people ask me if what they want their dog to do is ‘okay’?   I’m not the dog police.  I’m there to help your dog fit in with your family and your needs and help you understand the doggy brain just a bit more.  That’s it.  I don’t judge!  Ask my friends….

Check out the puppies and dogs at www.longroadkennel.com

 

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