Monday, April 26, 2010

Puppy Food Bowl Guarding

Recently, our puppy Jet, started becoming guardy around her food bowl. Jenn and Jet were working on a food bowl exercise in Junior Puppy Class, when Jet started eating faster and freezing as Barbara, the instructor, approached the bowl. These are signs of guarding behavior, as is growling. Guarding objects is a normal behavior for puppies. I did the same thing when I was Jet's age. Puppies must be taught from an early age that guarding things from people is not appropriate and that people approaching us when we have something is actually a good thing.
So Jenn has been working with Jet when she feeds her to ensure that Jet learns that guarding isn't necessary.
First, Jenn started hand feeding Jet her meals. No dumping the whole meal into the bowl at once. Jet works for her food by doing commands in exchange for handfuls of food for few minutes. Some of the meal is then placed on a plate and Jet has to sit and wait calmly for the plate to be put on the floor before she can start eating.Once Jet has begun to eat, Jenn approaches the plate, putting something better into it each time each time.Jenn works on approaching from different directions, at different speeds, always adding goodies to Jet's plate in the process. Jenn then works on gently touching Jet as she places the higher value food onto the plate. Jenn only does this when Jet has made progress and is relaxed around her food dish.With practice, a person approaching predicts something really good. So Jet will look forward to people coming up to her food bowl, or anything else in her possession. Jet will need to practice with Eric and other people too.

Food bowl guarding is a highly modifiable behavior in dogs. It is important to address the issue as early in the puppy's life as possible. For older dogs, consulting with a professional trainer is sometimes needed. For more information on guarding behavior, click here for a great Dog Star Daily article.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mud Monster!

How does a perfectly clean and freshly bathed puppy turn into a Mud Monster?
Well, first you take a clean Jet puppy and give her a bucket with water in it...
After a good sloshing, she finds some pine straw and dirt to tumble in...

And voila! Mud Monster!!This brings back fond memories of my own transformation into the Bucket Beast! The Bucket Beast is way scarier than the Mud Monster if you ask me. We'll have to work on Jet's technique to get her on par with the Bucket Beast.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jet is 4 months old and 28 pounds!

Our puppy Jet is getting big. She weighs 28 pounds and everything is growing. Her legs grew this week and her muzzle. She's starting to look like a doggy instead of a puppy. But she's really still a baby and we have to give her lots of guidance and support as she learns the house rules.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tellington TTouch Training

There's been lots of excitement with the arrival of Linda Tellington-Jones! She's staying with us during a Tellington TTouch Training session at Paws4Ever in Mebane. There are people here from all over the country to learn from Linda. The Tellington TTouch Method is a gentle, respectful training method that helps people communicate with and comfort their animals. Here's Linda with Big Sandy. Big Sandy gets TTouch bodywork every day from Jenn. TTouch can really helps older dogs that have arthritis and aches and pains live a more comfortable life. TTouch is also great for puppies. It's an easy way to help puppies learn to accept gentle touches and handling exercises. It can help puppies that are chewing, teething, and need help settling themselves. Here's Linda and Jet...
Actually, we all benefit from TTouch...
And Linda is a wonderful teacher.
I helped during the training out too. Here I am doing some work in the labyrynth with Deirdre, a TTouch practitioner from Florida.
We go through the labyrynth together, and Deirdre gives me gentle signals to stop and balance after each turn.
Here we are helping a cute little dog that sometimes reacts to other dogs. I'm walking and pausing as the other dog goes by. The little dog stayed very calm...we pause and turn together...And then we walk out...Deirdre and I were pretty awesome! And I'm so glad that I got to participate in the training. I'm even happier that Jenn knows the benefits of the TTouch Method and I know it will help me have a better life with her. If you want to learn more about TTouch, check out the TTouch website.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Puppy Socialization Trips to Weaver St. and Phydeaux

Jenn has been taking our puppy Jet on field trips around town. This is for Jet's continuing socialization to people, places and things. It is very important to get puppies out into the world, meeting as many friendly people as possible and learning to be polite as well. One day, they went to Weaver Street Market. Jet waited for people to stop and give her treats for sitting.Another day, Jet when to Phydeaux, the grooviest dog store in the world. Jet really loved the staff and she got to wiggle her butt and get attention.Then Jet got to pose for a photo.You can learn more about how to socialize your puppy by reading this article by Dr. Ian Dunbar called "Socialization with People".

Friday, April 2, 2010

Upside Down Puppy

Well, it finally happened. Our puppy Jet is sleeping upside down just like me.Upside down is by far the most comfortable position for sleep. Check out my gallery of upside down sleeping 10 weeks...5 months...
9 months...2 years old...