Keeping Your Dog Safe and Happy on July 4th

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It’s no secret that loud noises freak most dogs out, and according to the ASPCA, one in five dogs will go missing due to these loud noises. When a rumble of thunder or crack of lightning bellows from the sky, your pet might run and hide, or tuck their tail and run to mom and dad. While your presence comforts them, there may be a few more steps to helping your dog stay calm on Independence Day this year.

Before we approach ways to handle the loud fireworks, we need you to understand why your dog is freaking out. Let’s start with the obvious, they’re super loud and unpredictable. Due to these factors, your dog perceives the fireworks as a threat, which is what triggers their fight-or-flight response. Even when dogs are inside, the constant noise makes them feel trapped and triggers anxiety.

 

Precautionary

Our goal at Queen City Canine is to help keep your dogs safe and happy at all times. Taking these precautionary measures before the fourth will help keep you and your pet feeling calm and happy!

This speaks for itself but take your pets inside. Leaving them outside grants them opportunity to try and escape, so eliminate that possibility and bring them indoors to keep them close to you. If you can, plan to be with them as much as possible that day. While this holiday usually involves us leaving, remember the nervous soul you have waiting at home. If boarding your dogs during this time, make sure to bring familiar items and plenty to chew on!

 

Keeping them calm

When you do leave, play background noise to help drown out the booming sound of fireworks. If you can, hook up a speaker to play calming music. There are a few ways to keep your pet calm in general that are useful on the fourth of July. Items like familiar blankets, thundershirts and toys can also create a safe space for your pet, whether in your room or in their crate. Remember that your dogs take social cues from you so if you’re nervous, they will pick up on that. Give plenty of treats and remind your pet that they are safe!

Queen City Canine hopes you and your pets have a lovely holiday weekend! Stay cool!

Creating a Positive Lifestyle For You and Your Dog

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Obedience builds the foundation for a quality relationship with dogs.

Leash training is the first step to communication with our friends. A leash allows us to gain dogs’ attention so we can establish ourselves as the Alpha. Dogs become relaxed and focused through leadership. There’s a language barrier between us and our dogs. We fix this by using a simple and clear language.

There’s no equality within a Dog Pack.

Most behavior issues are corrected by establishing rank within your pack. When all the members know their position, the pack becomes cohesive. That happens with a few simple and consistent rules at home. Unwanted behaviors occur when there’s competition over food, attention, and objects (toys and games). When we see the world through the eyes of dogs, we’re on our way to a happy dog, and happy owner. Be sure to make dogs work for they need and want. Require your dog to SIT for everything. The results are amazing. Dogs need to work for what they need. We need to allow them to contribute to the pack. Everyone wins!

It’s a team effort.

A healthy life with dogs is similar to a coach and team. The coach makes all the decisions for the team. As we make the decisions for our team, the team performs better because they know what to do. They’re not burdened with the responsibility of leading the pack. That’s the job of the coach. The team can now go and do what’s expected. Being a great leader is the most respectful, and beneficial action, we get to do for our pack. The foundation is built through obedience, now we can create the lifestyle we want.

The companion you want.

Dogs and people have been working together over the centuries. The breeds we know today have specific jobs that they’re ready to do for us. That bond between us is extremely important to remember. Dogs want, and need, to work for us. Give them a job, and they’ll be the companion you want, and our dogs will get the pack they need. Their ability to work promotes a strong, cohesive pack. Dogs that are working are dogs that are happy. These are intelligent animals that want to be stimulated. They’ll be smarter and more relaxed.

Control the environment.

Dogs want, and need, to work for us. Having dogs work for these items will make them happier, and us, as well. Everything dogs want falls into these groups. When we control these three things, dogs know they have a leader they can follow.

Food:  This is the most important. Dogs need to have a meal time. Be sure to pick up their bowl after eating. Food should not be left out for them to nibble. They’re carnivores, and they eat meals. Dogs shouldn’t graze, like cattle.

Praise: We all enjoy petting our dogs, and giving them attention. It’s healthy for all of us. Establish the rule that your friend must sit before getting pet. That will make them focus on you. Your dog will learn to sit for attention, instead of jumping on you. Dogs that sit for their family learn to sit for visitors to the house, as well.

Games: Dogs need to have toys, and objects they can chew to keep them entertained. If your dog has a favorite toy, keep it where you can get it for your time with them. Your friend will look forward to you getting that toy, and be more willing to work.

Exercise

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Walking: There are few activities that are better for us and our dogs than a nice, relaxing walk together. Be sure to focus on your dog so the leash stays loose. A tight leash is stressful. When dogs pull us on walks, we become stressed. Ours companions respond to our stress by becoming stressed, themselves.

Retrieving: Play fetch with dogs! Because canines are prey animals, MOST have a natural desire to retrieve. In addition to our dogs having fun retrieving, it also establishes a working relationship where they’re working for the Alpha. It’s also a great way to get the extra exercise so many dogs need.

Try to incorporate retrieving games into the time you spend with your dog. They enjoy working for you. Try retrieving with a ball or disc, or anything for that matter. Use a long lead to teach them to bring it back to you. Start using commands like “drop” or “release” avoid keep away.

Socialization:

Dogs are social pack animals that enjoy each other. Routine socialization with dogs they know, and don’t know, will keep social skills sharp. Try and find a place where they can meet and play with leashes. Oftentimes, meeting dogs on a leash causes stress, especially as puppies grow into adulthood. Most canines require more exercise than leash walking alone.   Retrieving games will help your dog relax and behave calmly inside the house. A special retrieving toy is a great way to motivate your canine superstar.  Keep the toy hidden and use it for a high energy fetch game.  If your dog runs away with the toy, use a long lead to teach the dog to bring it back.  Reward the dog with another quick toss as soon as the object is released to you.

Train around distractions. Once your canine understands what you want, train for control in all situations. Practice obedience in populated areas (parks, parking lots, neighborhoods).

Off leash training should become another part of training sessions. Delivering commands clearly, and with the proper tone will help your success. Daily training will allow your canine to achieve their full potential.

Training Tips

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Use three different tones of voice: praise, command, and correction. These tones should be distinct and consistent. Our canine companions have super ears. Shouting commands and corrections is not good training. Speak in a normal tone that is clear.

Always end every series of commands with praise. It is very important that we recognize good behavior in our canines. Dogs follow patterns and habits that are rewarded. This praise will encourage your dog to complete commands every time without hesitation.

When a leash correction is given, a verbal correction is needed as well. Soon your canine will associate the two, and no leash correction will be necessary. This comes after a training routine is set with the dog on a daily basis.

Everyone should use the same commands and hand signals. Demonstrate to every person who is around your dog the correct way to give hand signals. Don’t give your pet mixed signals; stay consistent with all commands. This speeds up learning.

Do not use the dogs name as a correction. Reserve the name for praise. This will help your dog during the “come” command.

A correction should be sharp and quick. This is how dogs communicate with each other. There is no need for lectures or tongue-lashings.

Always end training sessions on a positive note. It is important to stay in control and relaxed when working with your pet.

Dogs read body language. That means that a relaxed handler will have a relaxed companion.

Manners

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Commands build the foundation for us to communicate with our dogs. They’re the building blocks that we use, and we should use these commands as much as possible. When we tell our dogs what to do, we decrease the opportunity for them to make their own decisions, and develop unwanted habits. There’s also a large portion of our daily lives where our dogs aren’t in a command, and we want them to have good behavior. This is where we want to teach them ‘manners’. It covers a large portion of time with our companions. Take, for example, returning home. We go in and out of our homes all day long. When we add up those greetings over months and years, it’s thousands of times. Dogs typically learn to jump on us for attention when they’re young and small. It’s cute. However, after a few months, when they’re bigger, it’s not so cute. Our canine friends repeat patterns. When we develop the patterns we want, our dogs will repeat that pattern, unless we give them opportunities to change it. Start to make your dog sit when you come through the door. In the beginning, they’ll probably continue to jump because that’s what they’ve been doing. If they jump, move forward towards them instead of backwards which will move them off of you. Then, give the ‘sit’ command again. If they won’t sit, simply don’t pet them. Repeating the command again and again makes everyone excited and it doesn’t work well. If you know and expect your dog to jump on you, then you’ll have better timing and results. Plan on it, and you’ll be ready. That will make this exercise successful. When they do sit, be quick to pet them under the chin to show approval. Being quick to acknowledge them helps to make sure they’re still sitting when they’re rewarded.

Keep your approval brief. Show approval and move on. As we take the excitement away from some of these daily occurrences, we get a more relaxed dog. After getting through the door and into the home, then give them more attention. Remember, dogs repeat patterns. Whatever they get from you is what they’ll expect from guests, as well. This will allow the dog to be an important part of your pack without being the center of attention.

Puppy Rules

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Don’t give “free treats”. Ask him to do something first.

  • If you do not want your puppy to jump as an adult, do not allow him to jump a puppy.

  • Keep your puppy busy

    1. Treat Ball

    2. Throw hand full of food in yard, which makes him use his nose and mind.

    3. Play Hide and Seek

    4. Encourage retrieve games (ball, Frisbee, rope toy, etc.). It’s a great way to have fun and burn off their energy.

    5. Give them things to chew.

  • Take a walk everyday. A fenced yard is great, but doesn’t take the place of a walk. That will keep them mentally engaged.

  • Repetition is the key with puppies, the more you practice the better they understand. But don’t ask your puppy to do anything that you’re not ready to see through to success. Don’t teach him at an early stage that “sometimes you mean it….sometimes you don’t”.

  • Keep the obedience training sessions short, 10-15 minutes is plenty for a puppy.

  • Be PATIENT! It takes time to train a dog.

  • Food can be used to motivate your new pup. Over time, it’ll be important to train them without food.

  • Encourage and mark actions you want by being ready to pet and praise.

  • Say commands once. Take your time and be clear to give them the best chance to succeed.

  • Expose them to new places so they’re comfortable in a variety of situations.

Puppy Commands

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Sit

Make your puppy sit for everything. Habits start early. If they’re used to sitting for attention and food, then they’ll be less likely to jump for those things as an adult dog. It’s important to command them to sit before they have a chance to jump so be prepared, and give the command as they’re coming towards you. This will develop good manners. Be quick to show approval when they sit Release them from the command instead of letting them break on their own.

Come

The most important thing to remember about teaching a puppy to come is to make it enjoyable for them. Give them plenty of praise as they’re heading towards you. Focus on the action of ‘come’. Do whatever it takes to get them moving in your direction by kneeling down, using lots of praise, and motivating them with a treat or praise. Your puppy should start heading in your direction within a few seconds of you calling him.  Have them ‘sit’ when they get to you. Keep it simple and easy. You can make it more challenging as they get older. Take turns with everyone calling your puppy, so he gets used to responding to everyone in the family.

Place

The Place Command means go to a designated spot, like their bed, a blanket, a chair, etc… It can be any object. The goal is for them to enjoy going to ‘place’, and to stay there until they’re released. As a puppy, just get them used to going there for short periods of time. Having them stay there for a longer time and in more difficult situations will get better with time.  It’s not a “time out”.  It is meant to be used to include them and show them where to go within their pack. It gives them direction. Over time, you can do ‘place’ anywhere. You can use food or a special chew toy when they go to place.

How to House Train

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The keys to house training a puppy are to give them lots of chances to go out, and to avoid opportunities for them to soil inside the home.

  1. Follow a food and water schedule. Don’t leave it down where they have free access them. A puppy needs 2-3 trips outside shortly after drinking water. It takes time for their muscles to strengthen to where they can ‘hold it’ for longer periods of time.

  1. Use the crate if you can’t watch them, even for short periods of time.

  1. Use an inside leash to in the home so they can’t sneak out of sight and have an accident. You can connect the leash to furniture to prevent them from getting out of sight.

  1. If catch them in the act, say “No” and quickly get them outside.

  1. Wait until they’ve done all their business outside before playing games inside. This will help to avoid accidents.

  1. DO NOT correct your puppy “after the fact”.

  1. Follow these rules and housetraining should go smoothly. Dogs are naturally inclined to potty outside of their den. And when they do, you’ll be there to catch it!