A Three Dog Night in the Great Outdoors

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We have one more month until summer is gone for another year.  Some people have already taken their summer vacation while others are planning on taking a camping trip in August and want to include their dogs.  Many of our National Parks are dog friendly when it comes to tent camping and there are so many places now that accommodate dogs, check out Bring Fido for specific locations. For this blog I’m going to assume you are going tent camping with your canine family member and I want to make sure that your trip is safe and fun for everyone so here are my tips.

First make sure that you never leave your dog in your car when it is warm outside.  Internal car temperatures can quickly approach fatal levels, so have a family member wait in the air conditioned car with them or take them for a short potty break while someone else runs into the store for supplies.  Speaking of supplies the following is my list of recommendations for camping with your dog.

  • A current picture of your dog just in case your pup gets way from you in the campground you want to have a picture to show around.
  • Fresh water and a collapsible bowl. Giardia can be a real issue when dogs drink from natural water sources; you don’t want this it could ruin your trip for everyone.
  • Food and treats and if you are in bear country be sure you place this in your bear proof containers
  • Current Id tags, well-fitting collar and I highly recommend a microchip.  Remember that a collar can get caught on a bush and then unless your dogs are micro chipped no one would be able to contact you.
  • A sturdy leash.  I recommend not using retractable, they can snap.
  • A proper car restraint such as a seat belt or kennel.  Remember if you are in an accident or have to stop suddenly your dog will fly forward if they are not properly restrained seriously injuring or killing them and possibly your passengers.
  • A bed or blanket to lie on.
  • Doggie bags for waste
  • Protective Booties for rocky/rough terrain.
  • A pet first aid kit.
  • A towel to clean your dog off.
  • A snake bite kit if appropriate for your area.
  • A list with the closest vets and emergency clinics near your campsites.
  • Dog sunscreen
  • Doggie backpacks

Once you have your supplies you are ready to go.  Your dog should sleep inside the tent with you.  You may want to do a backyard campout first to make sure your dog is going to respond okay to this.  Remember to give lots of praise and yummy treats, because this is a new experience.  Sleeping outside of the tent exposes your pup to all kinds of dangers such as wildlife encounters.

Also, be sure to avoid Poison Oak, Ivy and Sumac, foxtails and wild mushrooms.  All could be disastrous.

Please also, remember that not all dogs like to be approached by other dogs so keep your dog on leash and under control at all times.  Most campsites require this.

The campfire can be a real danger most dogs don’t understand that they need to keep a safe distance from it.  So please always supervise your dogs around the campfire.

Camping with your dogs can be an amazing experience.  Just remember to plan ahead and be prepared.

Happy Camping.

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Two Legged Swim Lessons & the Four Legged Equivalent

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I have two girls who are furless, they are human.  One of my daughters is 9 and the other is 1.  They both take swim lessons locally.  My 9 year old takes them independently and is working on perfecting her technique.  My 1 year old takes a Parent/Child class with me which means that I listen to the instructor and then I guide her.  The other day in class we were working on having our children WAIT before jumping into the pool.  Our kids climbed out of the pool, and then they turned around and were waiting for our cue to tell them they could jump in.  So all along the pool edge you heard mom’s saying WAIT, WAIT, UH UH, COME.  I felt right at home.  This is no different than dog training.  The next activity we did was the dunk and release.  The instructor explained that we needed to be very calm through this process because our kids pick up if we are stressed out or nervous and will react accordingly.  And sure enough most of the kids did very well but a few did not do so well and if you looked at their parents you could see why.  This is also no different from dog training.  So often in my Basic Classes and Private lessons I work with parents of four leggers who are tense and anxious. Often times they don’t even realize they are tensing up until I bring it to their attention.  Once they realize and learn to relax they are amazed at how quickly their dogs relax and how fast the training that we are trying to accomplish occurs.  So whether you are training your two legger or your four leggers remember to breathe and be calm and patient and you will always get results a lot faster.

Confessions of a Handsome DINOS dog

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My name is Hershey and I have hijacked my mom’s word press blog for the afternoon.  I am a Coonhound and I have a confession, I am a DINOS dog.  What is a DINOS dog you ask?  A DINOS dog is a Dog In Need Of Space.  You see I love going to the dog park and checking the email of my fellow canines and getting someone to chase me in wild abandon around and around the dog park.  I particularly love Boston Terriers, they are the best.  I also love meeting owners because I know everyone loves me, who wouldn’t?  I am an incredibly handsome boy, okay I know, I know back to the blog.  But you see when I’m on leash I don’t like other dogs to approach me off leash.  It is not my thing, and I will issue a warning bark, then a growl, and then a bite.  My mom is a trainer and has worked with me extensively and I have drastically improved but the bottom line is that I am who I am and I am a DINOS dog.  I have also, seen many other DINOS dogs in my 7 years.  My mom has also told me about many tragedies that have occurred because some people just don’t respect our space.  My mom tells me often we can’t go on trail runs together on particular trails, most recently up in the Crafton Hills because of off leash dogs.  You see many people do not understand that just because their dog is friendly a dog on leash may be a DINOS dog.  People often let their off leash dog come running up to meet me, yelling oh my dog is friendly, while your dog may be but I don’t want him or her in my space.  When another dog comes running up to me they are in my space and I will bark, growl and then bite.  Then the humans get mad but don’t realize they are at fault for not having their dog under control and on leash and respecting my space.  I’m not liable, I’m on leash, I’m under control, but your dog is now in my face and I am a DINOS dog.  You see I’ve hijacked my mom’s blog because I miss our trail runs and hikes together; I love to sniff and meet new people.  I want to return to the trail with my mom but until humans understand that there are many of us DINOS dogs out there and keep their dogs on leash, following the leash laws I am limited to walks around the neighborhood.  This makes me sad and I often give my mom and dad very sad hound eyes, and believe me I have this one down.  So please respect us DINOS dogs and keep your dogs under control and on leash so we can all enjoy the trails together.

Signed,

Handsome Hershey Hound

Dog vs Petsitter

Recently I had a petsitter contact me very distraught because one of her clients small dogs had bitten her ankle when she entered their home for an initial consultation.  The owner of the dog responded “it must be you he likes us”.  The petsitter then thought that it must have been something she did to provoke the bite, thus her call to me.  First, I told her I was very sorry that the owner did not take this issue more seriously.  If this dog had been a large dog, and caused damage then the situation would have been handled very differently.  I also, advised her to let the owners know that she will be unable to take  the job until they seek professional training for their dog.  Then I walked  the petsitter step by step through what happened right before the bite.  From her account there is nothing that she could have done to provoke this attack.  I’m pretty sure that either these clients do not have people over very often or the dog has bitten before and they have just brushed it off like they did with her.  The sad thing is that until the owners realize that this behavior is not okay, every person who enters that home is at risk including children.  It is not okay for any dog to bite unless their owner is being attacked.  In the future I advised the petsitter to ask that clients have their dogs in crates, behind baby gates, or outside at initial consultations.  Then once she has been able to check over the dog’s body language the dog can be released for a meet and greet.  Remember it is never okay for your dog to bite someone, and if they do you are liable.