For some dogs, an opened door is an invitation to rush through before it closes. But for us, it’s frightening to watch our beloved pet bolt across the yard and disappear out of sight, or head towards a road with a car bearing down on them. Cheyenne, my Siberian Husky, looked for any chance to escape through the front door, and I developed a technique to use when someone rang the doorbell. Cracking the door open so I could block it with my body, I stood on one leg and used the other one to keep her away. She just wanted to go for a run, but there are other reasons why dogs fly out an opened door. Fortunately, I found a better technique than the one-legged dance to teach my dog not to rush through the door.
Why dogs try to escape out the front door
Dogs are individuals, and some are more adventurous and independent than others. Working breeds, terriers, scenthounds and sighthounds were bred to do their jobs away from their human, and are likely to bolt out a door to run down an interesting scent or chase an animal they see. Some dogs may be focused on finding a mate. If that’s the case, spaying or neutering your pet may help reduce a desire to wander. A fearful dog may see an opened door as a way to escape what he fears. Homes with multiple dogs might charge the open door as a competition to see who can get outside first, and some dogs enjoy the “game” of their owner frantically chasing them down the street.
My cousin and her family live in New York City with a completely spoiled Lab; they are crazy about their dog and treat her like a third child. The dog gets the best of everything including her own bedroom, visits to the doggie spa and premium quality CANIDAE Grain Free PURE dog food. Having always lived in a more suburban area, I couldn’t imagine how they properly managed life with a large dog in the heart of the Big Apple. However, if you’ve ever spent time in congested urban areas, you know that tight living space does not lessen the desire for canine companionship. So my cousin, and many others, meets the challenges of living with dogs in highly populated areas with grace and smarts. Here are some basic etiquette rules they follow.
Reinforce Basic Commands
At a minimum, city dogs must follow a number of basic commands promptly and precisely in order to get around safely. Of special importance are the come, sit/stay, heel and leave it commands. In a bustling city, there are many distractions that can be hazardous to your dog’s safety if she’s not responsive to commands. Waiting for the stoplight to change is much easier and safer when your pooch is calmly in a sit/stay by your side.
Pets may get nervous when confronted with rambunctious children, loud noises, blaring car horns, etc. The heel and leave it commands are especially helpful in preventing your pet from chasing bicycles, in-line skaters or skateboarders. At any time, you may be thrust into situations that demand swift and thorough control of your dog to prevent problems. A firm grasp of basic commands is necessary for city-dwelling dogs. Read More »
Teaching your dog basic commands helps to keep them safe and gives you better control of your pet. Sometimes, however, training can become boring for you and your dog. Most canines enjoy learning new things, and teaching him tricks he can learn quickly is a great way to mix things up. It also helps to reinforce commands he already knows and makes training more fun for both of you.
Keep training sessions short – 10 minutes max – and reward each success with treats and praise. Encouragement is key in helping your pet learn, and even good attempts to try to do what you ask should be rewarded with honest praise.
Spin Around – Hold a CANIDAE treat in front of your face to get your dog’s attention. Stand still and say “spin.” Move your hand with the treat slowly around so your dog can follow it. When he makes a complete circle, reward immediately with treat and praise. You can also teach him to stand on his back legs and spin around. Hold the treat above his head until he’s standing on his back legs, say “spin,” and move the treat for him to follow.
Dogs are as imperfect as we are, and there will be times when your pet engages in behavior you don’t like. Our canine friends do their best to understand what we want, but sometimes they fall short of our expectations. However, it’s not your dog’s fault if he doesn’t understand what you want and appears confused by your reaction to his behavior. Because we are dealing with a non-human species, it’s easy to make mistakes which can stress out our dogs.
Forgetting that your dog is a dog
It’s not uncommon for a possum, raccoon or cat to get inside my dog pen, especially at night. My dogs scour the perimeter of the pen searching for the critter that left the scent trail. Every now and then the trespassing critter is still in the pen. I usually check it before I let the dogs out, but recently a possum slipped in unnoticed. Thankfully it played dead, confusing the dogs, and I was able to get them back inside. After the possum left, it took forever for the dogs to settle down and do their business. The only thing they wanted to do was search for that critter. That was normal behavior as far as they were concerned.
Dogs chase things, dig, bark, mark and chew. One common way that humans stress out a dog is to punish him for following a natural instinct. Instead, make sure he has proper chew toys; designate a spot in your yard where he can dig; help your dog learn to control excessive barking by teaching him to be quiet on command. Keep your pet on leash to control his prey drive, and if he picks up an interesting scent, be patient while he investigates.
Training a dog with perfect hearing can be challenging for some, but trying to communicate with one that’s deaf is even more difficult. It’s not impossible to teach a dog with a hearing loss, though. Even a deaf dog can learn, as long as you’re willing to think outside the box to develop creative ways to get your pet’s attention. One of my dogs, Mickey, was blind and deaf, and was able to live a quality life despite his disabilities.
Hearing loss can be the result of aging, untreated ear mites, infection of the middle or internal ear, a ruptured ear drum, wax and dirt buildup in the ear canal, canine distemper, or other medical conditions. Some breeds are predisposed to congenital deafness which means a dog has a higher chance of being born deaf.
The first step you should take if you notice your dog isn’t paying attention when you talk to him is to take him to your vet for a checkup. Depending on the cause of his hearing loss, some medical issues can be dealt with and his hearing impairment can be reversed. If it turns out to be permanent, he can still understand and follow commands by learning sign language.
Mickey lost his hearing when he was about 13. After finding out from my vet that it was a permanent loss, the next step was to teach him how to understand hand signals. The easiest way to get your dog’s attention is to go to him since he won’t be able to hear you call. When I wanted to get Mickey’s attention, my cue was to touch him on the top of his head. He knew I wanted him to watch me to see what I wanted. You can use a laser light pointed on the floor or wall, but be careful not to shine it in your dog’s eyes. A flashlight can also work, as long as you teach him what the light means. If you have other dogs, a deaf dog can also learn to take his cues from them.
Training is an essential part of a dog’s education. Teaching basic commands helps you control your pet and keep him safe. Teaching your dog isn’t difficult if you are committed, remain patient and stay consistent. Plus, if you make it into a game, it’s more fun all the way around. Dogs and kids love to play games, and by teaching both of them how to play Red Light, Green Light, you’re showing them how to behave around each other.
One major lesson children can learn from playing the Red Light, Green Light game is how to react to a dog that may be chasing them or jumping up on them during play. It doesn’t take long for a dog to become so excited during play that he ends up nipping at the kids when they’re running around or jumping up on them, all the while barking his love of the game he’s playing. Unfortunately, that’s when it’s time to slow the play down before someone gets hurt. The dog isn’t being bad; he’s just gotten too hyper to continue playing. Another good lesson for kids to learn is what to do when they meet an unfamiliar dog. By playing this game, kids are able to see firsthand how stopping and standing still can make a difference.
Before starting a game of Red light, Green light, your dog should know how to sit on command. But if he still needs to work on that, you can always practice with him during the game. Put a nice supply of CANIDAE dog treats in your pocket and be ready to reward him for sitting during the “freeze frame” part of the game.
The rules of the game are simple and easy for both kids and dogs to learn, but most kids probably already know how to play. Everyone starts out walking or running around the yard. A judge, which should be you to start with, suddenly shouts out “red light.” Everyone stops and freezes in position and the dog should sit down. To help him learn what you want him to do, run or walk with him on leash. As soon as you call out red light, stop and have him sit. Reward him with a treat immediately when he complies. Don’t let him move until you yell “green light.” That’s the signal to release everyone and the game continues.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.