Monday, April 29, 2013

Simple Solutions to Dog Problems?

I know my accountant will cringe, but there are many times when I just can’t justify going to someone’s house and taking their money without offering some solutions over the phone. Here are a few of my favorites.

(Murphy in a sit, stay on a raft. He'd rather be swimming)

Dog training question from Savannah, Georgia :
I have a dog that won’t use the dog door. It’s there, he just won’t use it.

A: Ma’am, I can come to your house and charge you, but honestly, you don’t need me.

If I came out I would ask you not to feed your dog that day, so he’s a little hungry. I would hold open the dog door, so he is not worried about the flap, and toss a piece of chicken through the door. A nice big piece, so he can see it, and smell it; and I would hold the door open until he passed through the door to get it.

Still holding the door, I would show him a piece of chicken and lure him inside, back through the door. I would do this maybe 20 or 30 times, closing the dog door a teenie, tiny bit each time. The pieces of chicken would shrink to about the size of a pea during this process. I would even put use of the dog door on command, saying DOOR just before I tossed chicken, until the dog learned that going through the door was a really good thing, and when I say DOOR it means something nice is going to happen on the other side of the door.

Now, I am happy to come to your house, and throw chicken through your dog door; but if you want to give it a go yourself and call me if it does not work, I’ll understand.

Question about Puppy training from Bluffton, South Carolina : My puppy sneaks upstairs and pees and poops in the bedrooms.

A: Puppies don’t belong upstairs alone. Close or gate all rooms your dog does not need to be in unless closely supervised (living room, guest room, dining room, etc) and gate the bottom of your stairs.

If you need help in setting up your house for puppy success and house training, basic commands, and socialization, I’ll be glad to be your dog trainer, but if eliminating upstairs is your only issue, buy a gate and use it until your dog is 100% reliable in the rest of the house, then supervise him upstairs until you are sure he is reliable there.

Question from a Dog & Cat problems in Hilton Head, South Carolina :
Client: I have a 10 month Old English Sheepdog and a 13 year old cat. Since we got the dog, my cat has stopped using the cat box and is pooping in my bedroom closet.

(This is my dog, Murphy, and my cat, Twiz.)

Me: How are things set up? Where is the dog, where is the cat, and where is the catbox?

Client: The Dog is on the first floor, the cat spends his time on the second floor. The cat box is in the laundry room, it is also on the first floor.

Me: How far from the second floor stairs to the laundry room is it? And what does the dog do when he sees your 13 year old cat?

Client: The cat needs to go through the living room and dining room into the kitchen and then jump the gate into the laundry room. Our dog loves the cat, he wants to play, so he chases him because he likes him so much.

Me: My sympathy is all with the kitty here. From his perspective your elderly 9 pound cat is expected to risk his life running from an animal 8 times his size who could kill him with one clumsy, overexcited bounce so he can leap a gate and use the litter box. Then he has to risk his life again, or spend the rest of the day with a dirty litter box in a laundry room while your dog stares at him through a gate. There is absolutely no payoff for your cat, he is being terrorized. We should teach the dog to respect the cat, but to make things better right now, how about you move the litter box upstairs?

Client: I don’t think it’s very nice to have a litter box upstairs.

Me: Is it nicer to have a cat poop on your shoes?

Client: Point taken, I’ll move the litter box. When can you come out to help me with my cat chasing dog?

More as they occur

Claudia Black-Kalinsky, CPDT-Ka
Phone: 912-677-2861
Savannah, Georgia Dog Trainer
Bluffton and Hilton Head, South Carolina Dog Trainer