Dog’s and Car Ride’s

Teaching your dog to ride in a car.

Some dogs are born to ride in cars. They are happy. They are excited. And, you have to worry more about how they behave in the car rather than getting them into the car. With others, they may exhibit signs of fear and anxiety and may even become nauseous during the ride.

This usually occurs due to socialization or the lack of socialization of your pet. You may never know exactly why your dog sees the car the way he does. Maybe, he associates that a car ride equates to an unpleasant trip to the vet’s office for shots. He may even associate it with getting sick during his first car ride. Or, he may have never been in the car and does not know what to expect. Whatever the reason, you need to take steps to help him so that he will associate a car ride as a positive experience … like a ride to the park.

How do you train your dog to ride in the car?

First, you take your dog to the car (on a leash) with the door open and walk around it slowly and praise him as you do. Stop occasionally at the door and praise as well. If he remains calm or positive, we can continue. If he freaks out, back away from the car until you find a spot that is comfortable for him. Encourage him, but do not baby or nurture him. This will only make the unwanted behavior stronger. Slowly work him closer and closer to the car and the open door until he is calm and relaxed.

Note: If the dog has had real dog obedience training this exercise should not be difficult.

When everyone is comfortable we are ready for the next step. Get your dog’s favorite treats (break it into very small pieces). It actually will help if he is hungry when you do this. Go back to the car door and have him sit. Here is where we may have to try different some methods:

Try to coax him into jumping into the car using the treats as sort of a breadcrumb trail … at the door jamb, the car floor and a small bounty on the seat. I always use a command of some sort in a very encouraging, positive manner. This could take a few attempts, but it is considered progress if you can get him to eat the treats at the door jamb and move closer.

If the above doesn’t work, try having someone on the other side of the car calling him through the car. This person needs to be very encouraging and have some treats or even a favorite toy to tempt him.

If neither of these steps work, try backing your dog away from the car and then running up to the door and encouraging his momentum to take him further in.

If any of these are successful, lay on the praise as if it is the best thing that has happened in your life. Once in, make sure that you keep the doors open at all times.   He can leave if the pressure becomes too much for him; but try to encourage him to stay.  Allow him to sniff around and inspect your car if he shows an inclination. Whatever you do, do not acknowledge his anxiety!

The next step to training your dog to ride is to close the doors with you and your dog inside. Make sure the windows are down for good air flow and again, do not start the car. Turn on some light music. Pet your dog and talk to him in a normal tone. Again, if your dog shows signs of nervousness, ignore it as it will only reinforce that behavior. If your dog sits easily, give him a treat and praise him. Keep this first enclosed experience to just a few minutes. Repeat the training process with your dog.

Once your dog is comfortable in the car, start the engine. Don’t go anywhere. Just let the engine idle with both you and your dog inside. If your dog seems amenable, go for a quick drive around the block. Reward your dog for good behavior while in the car. If he shows signs of fear, ignore it and return home. This may take a few days until your dog is relaxed enough with a trip around the block. Note: Never feed him prior to one of these trips or allow him to drink a lot of water.

After you dog is fully adjusted and doesn’t freak out at the short car ride, take him some place fun like the park or a nature trail where he can sniff and explore to his heart’s content. We want him to have a good time and you should be enjoying yourself too. By this time, your dog should start to associate the car (and the dog training) with pleasant feelings.

Before you know it, you and your dog will be going everywhere together!

If for some reason you can’t get your dog to get into a car with the above tips, consult with a dog trainer. It is amazing what you and a professional dog trainer can accomplish together.

My Dog is marking in the house

Why has my dog suddenly marking in the house when he didn’t do it before?

Usually it is because of feelings of insecurity or a perceived threat. This perceived threat, for example, can be an introduction of a new baby, a new pet, a visitor or even a new piece of furniture. The smell of other animals on your footwear or clothing can also trigger a dog to feel the need to mark his territory.

For example, a son or daughter goes to college. This cause the loss of sounds, smells, and people, as well as changes in routine. Your dog may not be getting as much attention as previously. Changes cause him to feel anxious, which may cause him to mark.

Some dogs feel the need to lift their leg and pee on all new things that enter your house, shopping bags, visitor’s belongings, new furniture, children’s toys etc. Many of these dogs are lacking in confidence and training, so by marking new objects it makes them feel more secure having deposited their own scent on these objects.

Some dogs will never mark in their own house but will embarrass you by marking if you visit a friend or relative’s home. Your dog feels less secure there and feels the need to make it more comfortable to him by laying down a few of his own familiar scents.

How to stop your dog marking urine in the house

Neuter: For pet dogs, early neutering will stop marking behavior in the majority of dogs. Neutering at an early age can prevent the habit forming.

For older dogs, neutering may still have the desired effect but marking in the house may have become a habit that you will have to break.  It can’t be guaranteed that neutering a dog is going to magically cure this problem but if you don’t neuter a male dog, your chances of breaking the habit are greatly reduced. 

Supervise and Break the Habit: Catch him in the act! DOGS LEARN QUICKLY FROM THIS!

Close supervision is necessary. You must be dedicated to stop the marking behavior of your dog and you must be consistent. A couple of weeks or often much less time of intense supervision and correction can save you a lifetime of tearing your hair out trying to find a quick fix for the problem. Some people have reported that it has only taken a day or two using the intense supervision method.

Confine your dog to one area of the house where you can watch him. Shut doors to other areas of the house or barricade them off with baby gates or improvise with whatever is at hand.

If barricading is not possible another option is to put your dog on a retractable lead while he is in the house with you and for you to have total control at all times.

“The Seven Breeds of Dog Owners”

The different Breeds of Dog Owners.

I am truly blessed and love being a dog trainer. However, most people are surprised, and then chuckle when they figure out that they are my primary student, not their dog. Dogs read our body language and look to us for guidance and leadership. I like how Inger Martens, in her book “Paws for a Minute”, describes “The Seven Breeds of Dog Owners”.

 Breed #1: The Coaxer

Do you feel if you repeat the command often enough, beg, plead, etc., that sooner or later your dog will catch on?

 Breed #2: The Control Freak

Do you find yourself saying or yelling “Hey” every time your dog misbehaves? Do you say “No, get down, off, hey, stop it” in the same breathe?

 Breed #3: The Smacker

Do you use a rolled up newspaper or fly swatter and smack your dog on the nose or rear? Never, ever hit your dog.

 Breed #4: The Ol’ Evil Eye

Do you have the special look or trying to train through osmosis or ESP?

 Breed#5: The Whiner

Do you think your dog is brilliant because he constantly cocks his head? The whiner says “No” and “Good Boy” all in the same tone.

 Breed#6: The “It’s O.K.” owner.

For this type of dog owner absolutely anything and everything goes.

 Breed# 7: The Talker

Do you give your dog a dissertation on your daily events?

 You may have found a little of you in a couple of the different breeds. My purpose of sharing these different types of dog owners is to bring awareness to the fact that your dog looks to you for guidance and leadership. Your dog is reading your body language and responds from the energy or signals you are giving. So, if find your dog not responding to you favorably you may want to reevaluate the breed of dog owner you are.

 The consistency of your own behavior is an important factor in training your dog, and achieving good communications. Your dog training is only as good as the way you apply it, are you the pack leader? Obedience is the result of positive reinforcement, not discipline. You must learn to communicate with your dog at his/her level not yours.

I welcome any feedback.

Pet Fence Testimony

Here is a great review from a wonderful family that recently added a third dog to their pet fence.

“Our two Collies could jump, climb or go through our old wooden fence. The Contain-A-Pet fence is a godsend. It has completely removed our former concerns that a dog would escape and get lost or hit by a car.

The Contain-A-Pet fence requires a few days of training the dogs. That training is essential but not difficult in any way. After that short period of training, the dogs were comfortable with the fence. They relaxed, they appeared to be happy with the boundary and they did not challenge the fence.

Recently, we obtained a third dog, a Sheltie that had been in a puppy mill. Steve Kasten set up the training routine for the new dog with the existing fence. It was totally successful. We enthusiastically recommend Mr. Kasten and Contain-A-Pet fence.”

Charlie R.

Mishawaka, In

A Dog’s Purpose

Here is a great story that has been passed around the internet for some time and we humans can learn a lot from our four legged friends. So I wanted to share it with you.

 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.


Housebreaking Tea Cup or Small Breeds

As professional dog trainer and behaviorist, I am always searching for innovative was to train. And I currently have the opportunity to train a Morkie. Morkie’s are purebred Yorkshire terrier mixed with a purebred Maltese. This little girl is only 5 pounds but thinks she’s 35 pounds. Even though she is a lap dog, most of the time, she is still a dog and dogs need leadership and basic manners. You need to be the Pack Leader.

One behavior problem has been housebreaking. She is an inside dog and has been learning to go “Potty” on pee pads on the floor. I am now transferring this to a little box. She has been inconsistent with urinating or defecating on the pads. So, I am using confinement, exercise, frequent trips to the potty zone and regular feeding schedule to get her housebroken. I found by cutting the pads into halves and placing one half in the litter box, saves on pad usage and it fits nicely in the litter box.

Mindy has been urinating regularly for a few days. But she hasn’t figured out when and how to defecate in the litter box. So, first thing in the AM, after she has eaten or any time I get her out of the kennel, I walk her around. In just a few seconds to minutes she has to go (movement creates “movement”). I rush her back to the litter box where she defecates. Then Mindy receives lots of praise (favorite toy, food, physical and verbal).

One other note when training small breeds or toy breeds, walk the dog on a table top (ping pong table, dinning, etc.) and teach them to sit/stay. This really saves on your back and can be less intimidating to the dog. You may want to place a table cloth or blanket over the surface for protection and better footing for the dog. Also keep a short leash and be very aware of the edges.

Let me know your thoughts!

Pet Fence-What to look for in pet fence

Pet Fences-What to look for in purchasing a dog fence.

There are three main categories when purchasing an underground pet fence. First is training your beloved pet. You must be sure they understand and are not being shocked unnecessarily. This is why I became a dog trainer who installs and services underground pet fences. This knowledge and understanding of dogs complement the installation and training required to keep pets safely contained in their yards.

The second is proper installation. You must set the field (area receiver is activated) based on the dog’s personality and temperament (there is a difference). Remember this is an investment for you and your pet. So the correct layout is essential. Having the wire too close to the house can cause the receiver to activate inside your home. But having the wire too far from the house can allow your pet freedom where you do not desire.

Finally, the quality of the product and its safety features. Safety features such as: low battery indicator for the receiver, or tone only, adjustable settings, or automatic shut off. Safety features for the transmitter: visual and audible alarms. Both should have a guarantee, the question is how good is the guarantee?

This is a lifetime investment for you and your pet. What are other factors to consider? Obviously cost, but you often get what you pay for. You are looking for the best value based on the above criteria. So, here are a few additional questions to ponder:

How much are batteries? How long do they last? Will you guarantee I get that much life out of my battery?                                                                                                          

What kind of Guarantee do you have?

Do I receive 100% of my money back if my pet cannot be contained? For how long?

How large of an area can the system cover?

What kind of wire do you use?

As a caring and loving pet owner these are serious questions to a serious matter – The Safety of your Pet!

How to Choose a Puppy

How do I choose the right Puppy?

There are few joys in life like owning a puppy.  But, with owning a puppy comes many responsibilities to your dog, yourself, your family, and your neighbors. Many new puppy owners acted on impulse and later realized the commitment they had made. So, how do I know which puppy is right for me? You must first ask yourself am I up for the challenge? Can I handle the demands?  Am I ready for the work of having a new puppy? Second, as a family you must determine what the family’s DNA is made of.

The family DNA consists of your life style. What are the activities and hobbies you enjoy doing? Where are you financially?  But most importantly everyone living in the household should agree before any puppy is brought home. If a puppy is truly becoming a member of the household, everyone must commit to the training and well-being of the puppy.

Once all family members have agreed to be involved in the training it is time to choose a puppy. The only way to select a good puppy is research. You must research the breed that best fits your life style. It may be a mixed breed (Hines 57) or one with papers. But take the time to research the breed.

The next step is to select a breeder. A good breeder will be choosy in placing their puppies. As well you should be equally choosy when selecting where to purchase your puppy. Consider the following when selecting a breeder.

The Puppy

  • Socialized to humans: How many people daily and what ages, gender etc.
  • Socialized to sounds: Music, Television, household appliances, etc.
  • Living quarters
  • Play area and toys
  • House breaking
  • Food/Treats
  • General health and vaccines

The Parents

  • Are they on site –  ask to meet them
  • Living conditions
  • People friendly
  • Good behavior
  • Observe general health
  • Well trained

The final step is selecting the right puppy for you. Again everyone in the household should agree on the selection process. See which puppies make eye contact with you. Which ones enjoy being handled, including feet, tail, ears etc. Which puppies stay close to you or follow you when walking away. See which stay or flee when loud noises occur. These are basic puppy temperament tests. It is important to realize there is no pass or fail resulting from the test, but it serves as an indicator to match the puppy’s temperament to your life style. For additional information regarding puppy temperament testing please contact us.

As a dog trainer and behaviorist I can assure you these tips are the most important first steps you can make when purchasing a new puppy.  Remember the puppy will be in the family for years to come. So, take time to research and select a puppy that fits your life style. Let me know your thoughts or questions.