Coping with grief after your dog is gone

We received this note today from a client, “I’m sending this email to let you know that our sweet Ava passed away over the weekend.
She truly loved coming to Acme – thank you for everything.”

A long time Acme Canine client passed on 5/24/15.  She will be missed
A long time Acme Canine client passed on 5/24/15. She will be missed

Most of us grieve greatly when this occurs. For some of us, this is a very private thing. And some of us question if it is the right thing to do. It is.

It doesn’t matter if the pet was a mouse or a mastiff – grief is independent of size. Some animals are lost due to accidents when they are young and in good health while others die after a prolonged illness. Whatever the case, grief and sadness are normal responses to loss.

It is unfortunate that pets live shorter lives than the people who own them. We are faced with pet loss many times in our lives. In modern society, pets have taken on remarkable rolls. Some substitute for spouses while others substitute for children, siblings and parent.

Our pets’ ability to love unconditionally endear them to our hearts as little else can. A pet’s presence can lower your blood pressure, change your heart rate and remove feelings of loneliness. They are truly our “best friends”. A single pet can fulfill multiple rolls for different human family members. When a pet dies, bonds and rolls within the family must be rearranged. Often, the trauma of the loss will be unappreciated by your extended family and friends. That is because everyone else’s pet is an animal – except their own.

Mourning or grief occurs in stages that are experienced similarly by people in all walks of life and from a wide variety of cultures. It is not a strictly predictable process and each of us experiences grief in different ways. Some of us will get stuck in one of the stages for a long period of time or never reach closure. It takes different people differing lengths of time to pass through the stages of grief and they do not necessarily occur in the same order or intensity in different people.

The Five Stages of Grief and Mourning:

1) It is common for our first reaction to learning of the death or terminal illness of a pet to be denial and inability to grasp the fact. We feel stunned, bewildered and dazed. This is a normal reaction, which is often called shock. Shock is temporary but it gets us through the initial weeks.

2) Anger and looking for objects to be angry at, often occurs subsequent to the initial shock of pet loss. We may lash out at friends and family or, more frequently, at ourselves. It is common for us to feel guilty and sometimes, the veterinarian who tended to our pets become the object of this anger. Other times it is self-directed or directed at other members of the family. The best way to get over this anger phase is through talk and conversation.

3) Denial or bargaining is another method we use for coping with pet loss. We may search for miracle cures to incurable diseases or seek out second opinions from a different veterinarian. We think of all the things we would do or not due if only the pet would get better.

4) Depression is the longest portion of grief and mourning. We are sad, hopeless and helpless and we are regretful. We think about our lost pet constantly and we wish we had done things differently.

5) If we are fortunate, we eventually reach the stage of acceptance and healing. We treasure the time we had with our pet and lapse into a period of calm and tranquility– if not happiness. We develop a new lifestyle in which other things substitute for the relationship we had with out pet. This is the time we might look for another furry friend.

Here Are Some Things You Can Do To Hasten Acceptance And Healing:

Give yourself permission to grieve. Accept that you were very close to your pet and recognize how much the pet meant to you. Place a memorial plaque to your pet in a favorite spot. This allows you to pay tribute to the pet that meant so much to you. Try to get plenty of rest, eat well and exercise. Surround yourself with positive friends who understand your loss and let them share your burden. Treat yourself to pleasurable activities. Be patient. Recognize that you will have relapses of grief and sadness. Remember that grief will pass and life will be pleasant again. Don’t be afraid to lean on friends and pet loss support groups.

The degree and depth of your mourning process depends on your own personality as well as outside factors. Your age, how the pet died and the closeness of your relationship all play a part in the feeling you experience. Children are more resilient than adults and usually recover first. Older people have the most difficult time accepting the loss of a pet.

How To Explain The Loss Of A Pet To Your Children:

As parents you may feel uncomfortable talking about death to your kids. You may think that silence will spare your children some of the pain and sadness. But, this is wrong. The whole family needs to talk freely together, even if through tears. Kids develop deep bonds to their pets. Once their best friend is gone they need to be allowed personal grief and closure.

The loss of a pet is often your child’s first need to confront the reality of death. We often do not realize how traumatic death is to a child because children do not express their emotions well. It is human nature to attempt to shield our children from grief. But this is rarely necessary because children, from an early age, begin to understand the concept of irretrievable loss and death.

Children should be taught from an early age the impermanence of life. A healthy understanding of death allows a child to experience the pain of loss and to express his or her feelings. A great deal of patience, hugs and kisses are required when explaining death to a small child. We need to give our children permission to express themselves and work through their grief – not burry it. Do not leave your children with the impression that anything they did was responsible for the loss of your pet.

Children younger than five years of age typically have no understanding of death. They think of it as extended sleep from which a pet will awake. Explain to these young children that the natural state of the World is such that pets die and do not return. Reassure them that nothing that was their fault caused the pets death.

Six and seven year old children have a limited understanding of death. They too may consider the pet to be sleeping or living somewhere in an underground home. They may expect the pet to eventually return and for death to be a temporary state of affairs. They may worry about their own mortality and need reassurance from you that they will not also die soon. They may temporarily lose their toilet training, bladder control, eating and sleeping patterns. Talking thing out with them is the best cure for these problems. A child needs to express his or her feelings and concerns. This process may take a month or two. Many short discussions are generally more productive than one or two prolonged sessions.

Your child may wish to have a funeral for the pet. Such a ceremony is a fitting way to say goodbye. Don’t rush out and purchase a new pet to ease the grief. Allow your children a reasonable time to accept the loss.

Children eight and older generally understand the permanence of death. Sometime the loss of a pet triggers a concern about the possible death of their parents. They may become curious about death and its implications and you should be ready to engage them in frank and honest discussions about the subject. These children will experience many of the stages of grief that you experience. They may have transient problems concentrating in school and relapse to more juvenile behaviors. Many enter a period of clinginess that lasts a few weeks.

Teenage children react similarly to adults. Denial is more common in this age group as are stoicness, numbness and lack of emotional display. It is often years after the loss before these adolescents feel good about discussing their attachments to their lost pet.

Euthanasia:

There comes a time for many of us when euthanasia becomes the loving thing to do. This is because veterinary medicine, like human medicine, has succeeded in extending life beyond the point where quality of life is satisfactory.

No matter how long a pet lives with us, the time will never be enough and we will never realize the strength of our attachment to a pet until it is gone. Quality of life issues bring most clients to me for euthanasia. Usually they rely on me to reinforce and affirm their decision to put the pet to sleep. I have found that loving pet owners usually recognize when their pet is suffering seriously. If there is a sin, it is delaying this moment of decision beyond its proper time. Guilt often weighs heavily on the person who must make this decision and it is rare for there to be unanimity within the family. But do your Buddy this favor when you see in its eyes that the time has come.

 Is The Time Now?

In leading my clients to a decision regarding euthanasia I guide them through important questions. First, what is the current quality of their pet’s life? Is the pet still happy and playful? Does it show joy and affection? Is it eating well and is it aware of its surroundings? Is the pet in pain? Have we exhausted nursing and veterinary care? How is the pet’s illness affecting the family? Can you or your family really afford the cost of care that will likely be unrewarding?

Once the decision has been made to put the pet to sleep you must decide if you want to be present while it is done. Veterinarians euthanize pets by administering an overdose of barbiturate anesthetics intravenously. The process is painless. You can cradle your pet while this is done or you can wait in the reception area until the process is complete. About seventy-five percent of my clients decide to be present. Most of my clients elect to have the pet cremated although some of the more traditional owners still bury the pet in their back yards. You can also burry the ashes of your pet in a treasured spot. Alternatives include every option offered in human funerals and interment.

After Your Pet Is Gone:

Our other family pets also feel the loss. Family pets that survive also go through a grieving process. Even pets that seem to dislike one another are profoundly affected by the loss of one of the group. In fact, pets show many of the signs that their human owners exhibit. They may become restless, anxious and depressed. Grieving pets often eat less. They search for their missing playmate and crave affection from their owners.

Here are some things you can do to ease the transition for a grieving pet. Try to maintain normalcy and routine. Pets thrive on routine and normalcy so try to maintain this as best you can. With the loss of a pet in a multi-pet household, new peck orders and dominance will have to be established. Try to avoid pet fights by separating the pets and their feeding locations as this process works itself out. Wait a month or two before obtaining new pets.

Cherish the memories of your pet as the present it left especially for you. Remember its destructive clown-like puppy or kittenhood with fondness. Remember the wonderful times you two had together – how your pet made you laugh, comforted you when you were sad and showed you unrestricted love and devotion. These memories will always be there to savor – they are the immortal legacy of a true friend.

 

For more information, please contact:

Acme Canine 1385 Franklin Street Lewis Center OH 43035 (740) 548-1717 acmecanine.com

booklets to improve your relationship with your dog

Over the years Acme Canine has gained quite a bit of knowledge on a variety of dog topics.  As part of our mission to be a canine resource to dog owners, we’ve created several booklets ranging from camping with your dog to exercising together in addition to puppy development and introducing your dog to a baby.

Price ranges from $5.00 to $20 (for a packet of 5 puppy booklets) and all are available through the Woofie Shop.  Stop by and check out the booklets as well as the other products we have.

It is probably a safe assumption that for anyone taking the time from their busy schedule to read this; your puppy matters to you.  It is important to understand that dog training is not simply a “dollars and cents” formula, but rather a combination of money, time, energy and ability. Acme Canine’s puppy booklets are designed to teach owners and their puppy at different levels.  Each booklet contains useful information on a specific topic (each coincides with Acme Canine’s Puppy Preschool group classes).  Housetraining, crate training and freedoms; socialization; nutrition & first aid; puppy commands; confidence building and leadership
It is probably a safe assumption that for anyone taking the time from their busy schedule to read this; your puppy matters to you. It is important to understand that dog training is not simply a “dollars and cents” formula, but rather a combination of money, time, energy and ability.
Acme Canine’s puppy booklets are designed to teach owners and their puppy at different levels. Each booklet contains useful information on a specific topic (each coincides with Acme Canine’s Puppy Preschool group classes). Housetraining, crate training and freedoms; socialization; nutrition & first aid; puppy commands; confidence building and leadership

P1180560

For years, your big puppy was your only baby and he received your undivided love and attention. Soon he'll have to share it with another. You're expecting a baby and, naturally, you're concerned about how your dog and child will get along. How will your dog react to this new arrival in his home? Will he be jealous of the baby or, worse, aggressive towards it? Or will he hopefully sense the importance that the infant has in your "pack" and act as a gentle and loyal protector? Here are a few tips to help you help your dog through the difficult transition from "only child" to "older sibling."
For years, your big puppy was your only baby and he received your undivided love and attention. Soon he’ll have to share it with another. You’re expecting a baby and, naturally, you’re concerned about how your dog and child will get along. How will your dog react to this new arrival in his home? Will he be jealous of the baby or, worse, aggressive towards it? Or will he hopefully sense the importance that the infant has in your “pack” and act as a gentle and loyal protector? Here are a few tips to help you help your dog through the difficult transition from “only child” to “older sibling.”
Tug of war or dogs chasing children isn't the way for children and dogs to play together. Children age 6 to 12 can benefit from learning how to recognize the advantages of incorporating new and innovative play strategies with their dog and how the wrong game may contribute to increasing bad behaviors.  The contents of this booklet is geared toward the discussion of age appropriate play with dogs, showcasing how various games can develop and encourage better interaction and bond between child and pet, addressing prevalent problems affecting certain types of play, and many other pertinent topics.
Tug of war or dogs chasing children isn’t the way for children and dogs to play together. Children age 6 to 12 can benefit from learning how to recognize the advantages of incorporating new and innovative play strategies with their dog and how the wrong game may contribute to increasing bad behaviors. The contents of this booklet is geared toward the discussion of age appropriate play with dogs, showcasing how various games can develop and encourage better interaction and bond between child and pet, addressing prevalent problems affecting certain types of play, and many other pertinent topics.
How much serious thought have you given to dog fitness? If you're like many dog enthusiasts, you may believe that your dog is doing just fine managing things for himself, but the fact is that many dogs could benefit from a little active fitness management on the part of their caretakers. Just like their human counterparts, dogs need a fitness regimen to keep them on the path to good health. The key in any dog fitness regimen is you. As the owner, it is up to you to set the routine, find the motivation and get out there and exercise with your dog. Have fun exercising with your dog.   Studies shows that dogs provide the companionship, the social support, and the motivation to stick with an exercise program.  Fitness with Fido offers the tools you and your dog will need to achieve a lifetime of good health
How much serious thought have you given to dog fitness? If you’re like many dog enthusiasts, you may believe that your dog is doing just fine managing things for himself, but the fact is that many dogs could benefit from a little active fitness management on the part of their caretakers.
Just like their human counterparts, dogs need a fitness regimen to keep them on the path to good health. The key in any dog fitness regimen is you. As the owner, it is up to you to set the routine, find the motivation and get out there and exercise with your dog. Have fun exercising with your dog. Studies shows that dogs provide the companionship, the social support, and the motivation to stick with an exercise program. Fitness with Fido offers the tools you and your dog will need to achieve a lifetime of good health
Avid outdoors dog owners swear that a dog can appreciate a spectacular panoramic view as much as a human can. Dogs discover interesting features you might otherwise overlook, and a dog is thrilled at the new smells and sites of a camp site. Some avid outdoors people believe that a dog can appreciate a spectacular panoramic view as much as a human can. But when bringing your dog along on a camping or backpacking trip, you need to make extra plans specifically for your canine companion. By the end of reading this booklet you will see new characteristics in your dog when you are camping with him. His walk may be a little faster, his eyes opened a little wider, and his head held a little higher when you're out in the wilds.
Avid outdoors dog owners swear that a dog can appreciate a spectacular panoramic view as much as a human can. Dogs discover interesting features you might otherwise overlook, and a dog is thrilled at the new smells and sites of a camp site. Some avid outdoors people believe that a dog can appreciate a spectacular panoramic view as much as a human can. But when bringing your dog along on a camping or backpacking trip, you need to make extra plans specifically for your canine companion.
By the end of reading this booklet you will see new characteristics in your dog when you are camping with him. His walk may be a little faster, his eyes opened a little wider, and his head held a little higher when you’re out in the wilds.

For more information, contact your favorite Columbus dog boarding facility at 740-548-1717 or dogs@acmecanine.com.

Acme Canine 2008

The year 2008, a Beagle was awarded the Westminister Best In Show Trophy.

The 2008 Iditarod featured 95 mushers and dog teams.   This 1,161 mile (1,868 km) dogsled race was won by Lance Mackey’s team, who reached the final checkpoint at 2:46 AM on March 12 (twelve days from when it started)

And families flocked to the movies to see Marley & Me, a American comedy-drama film about the titular dog, Marley.

Big changes were happening at Acme in 2008.  Their 2,500 square foot addition was completed.  Clients could now board their dogs in the comfort of roomy Mason kennels.  Dogs visiting Acme had a conditioned  space to play indoors as well as several fenced in areas outdoors.

As part of Acme Canine’s 10th anniversary celebration we are sharing special moments over the years.  Each issue of the Bark will feature a different Acme Canine year.  On Sunday, May 3rd from 1pm to 3pm the Acme Canine facility will be a buzz with dog games, raffle prizes and more as we celebrate our 10 years of serving Central Ohio.

But my dog looks sad…

Dogs have split from their wolf ancestors and evolved over the last hundred thousand years. During those thousands of years dogs had to use high-level problem solving skills to survive. It is unknown whether or not humans domesticated wolves or if wolves sought out humans, but as we grew together humans began breeding for specific traits. As human needs have changed over the centuries we have bred dogs to be more proficient at certain task, thus creating diverse specie of no less than 150 different breeds. Over the last 15,000 years or so humans have found constructive uses for their dog’s abilities such as hunting, clearing rodents, herding, providing early warning, or helping haul heavy items. However, in the modern era dogs have come to be viewed as companions to humans rather than trusted worker. Compare dogs previous work habits to today’s dogs that wear clothes for fashion and stay indoors most of the day.  The difference is stark, however, dogs basic needs have not changed; dogs need shelter, food, water, and to work. Dogs are beings that have worked throughout generations because it is in their genetics to do so.

Dog trainers all too often hear this phrase, “but my dog looks sad.”  This is a misinterpretation of the dog’s body language which leads to misplaced empathy. The reason people think their dog is unhappy is because humans and dogs are different species and thus interpret actions in different ways. Humans can easily reason with other humans but the same is not true with dogs. Humans can visually see what dogs see but the perception between the two species, most often, is not the same. People misinterpret a well balanced personality by thinking a hyper dog is a happy dog. Usually a hyper dog has a lack of structure and leadership in the home, which owners (knowingly or unknowingly) encourage. However, a high energy dog can be taught how to control its impulses and follow commands depending on how dedicated its owner is in managing that dog’s behavior.

Dogs left to their own devices will start developing behavioral issues. When they are bored they will find inappropriate activities to keep them occupied. Dogs can destroy entire rooms due to boredom, lack of structure, or neuroticism so we need to fill a dog’s innate need for purpose with structure and work. When your dog is only physically exerted you are increasing its stamina to do even more damage when left to its own devices.

We need to give dogs tasks to accomplish throughout the day and every day. Obedience training is one way to provide dogs with that sense of accomplishment they need. Not only does obedience training increase the dogs self esteem and confidence, but also creates a well-behaved dog that is receptive to their owner commands. Obedience training also provides dogs’ owners with the knowledge to keep dogs well balance by providing work. Long walks offer outdoor distraction while demanding your dog’s attention with a variety of different commands used in an unpredictable pattern.

Working commands around distractions are great exercises in self restraint and it provides great mental stimulation. Distraction training increases your dog’s reliability and its ability to hold commands in real life situations. Finding exercises that are tailored to your dog’s breed will fulfill your dog’s sense of purpose. Agility training for retrievers, shepherds and terriers is a great workout physically and mentally. Swimming is a great physical and mental workout for many dogs including retrievers. Laying out a scent track is fun for you and keeps your hound on its toes.

Food puzzles are fun for any dog. Often times, dogs food is either left out the entire day or just given to them without your dog working for its sustenance. Owners can make the activity of your dog eating more interesting for them by hiding the food or using toys to distribute the food. Boomer Balls or Busta Cubes or Kongs are great toys that offer difficult ways for your dog to work for its food. Boomer Balls are balls with holes in them that distribute food, Busta Cubes have drawers which the dog has to learn to open to attain its food, and Kong offers a variety of toys that have holes or compartments for food that your dogs has to work for to be able to eat.

Getting your dog out and about is a nice way to keep them occupied. Take your dog to classes like Therapy Dog, Reading Dog, scent training, soft mouth retrieval, agility or trick training. Classes can offer your dog distractions during training, mental stimulation from learning something new and socialization with other properly socialized dogs. Take your dog with you while you run errands. Have your dog get the mail and have them bring it back to you. Weekly field trips to the pet stores can also provide distraction during training, social interaction and mental stimulation.

Dogs are problem solvers and opportunists. If dogs are left to their own devices misbehaviors will develop and escalate unless humans step in to be their leaders. Just having a dog around is not in the dog’s best interest. You must be willing to be a part of your dog’s life by providing social interactions, obedience training, and mental stimulation along with the basic needs of life.

References:

The History and Evolution of Dogs. 3/5/2013 http://www.dog-names.org.uk/history-evolution-dogs.htm

Mental Stimulation for Dogs. Lisa Giroux, Ontario. 3/7/2013 http://www.k9station.com/mentalstim.htm

Opinion: We Didn’t Domesticate Dogs. They Domesticated Us. Dr Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods. 3/3/2013 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/03/130302-dog-domestic-evolution-science-wolf-wolves-human/

Evolution of the Dog. 3/5/2013 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/5/1_015_02.html

Mental Stimulation for Your Dog. Dr. Nicholas Dodman. 3/7/2013 http://www.petplace.com/dogs/mental-stimulation-for-your-dog/page1.aspx

Evolution of Dogs. 3/5/2013 http://pug.com/dog-history/evolution-of-dogs.html

 

Why get a dog?

Even before selecting a breed or visiting a shelter or contacting a rescue facility, the question, “why get a dog?” should be answered honestly.  Dogs require a great deal of time, money, effort and resources.  Are you and everyone involved committed to 12 or more years of providing the necessities a dog needs?  Well-behaved dogs are not born; they are the product of proper care, loving attention and training.

If you are steadfast to integrating a dog into your family environment there are a variety of sources to aid you in determining the right match for you.  Books, websites, breeders, trainers and your veterinarian can give insight into what dog is right for you.  Websites such as Purina.com and dogbreedinfo.com provide questionnaires to get you thinking of logistics, lifestyle, likes and dislikes.  AKC.org has an alphabetical listing of breeds and characteristics.  Visiting a dog show can help you see the breeds you’re interested in and talking with responsible breeders can answer those questions you can’t find answers for.  Your veterinarian can provide information on specific health care and possible genetic problems of a breed.  Certified professional dog trainers can lend a hand not only with training your dog but also by providing a temperament test to give you a fairly reliable predicator of a puppy’s personality, sociability and potential trainability at maturity.

Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  With more than 400 breeds developed for specific purposes and with a wide variety of personalities you’ll find the perfect match when making an informed well thought out decision.

Acme Canine 2007

A voluntary pet food recall of more than 100 brands of dog food and cat food occurred on March 16th, 2007, following the deaths of thousands of cats and dogs after having eaten “Cuts and Gravy”-style wet pet foods made by Menu Foods. This lead to a branch of the USDA which reports food recalls: http://www.recalls.gov/food.html

On July 17, 2007, Atlanta Falcons star quarterback Michael Vick was indicted by the federal government in connection with a dogfighting operation that was allegedly headquartered on property he owned in Surry County, Virginia.

Also in 2007, Elaine Ostrander at the National Human Genome Research Institute surveyed genetic variants in a small region of chromosome 15 in Portuguese water dogs. They found that smaller water dogs tended to carry one particular variant of the gene for Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), an important growth regulator.

Now in its third year of operation, Acme Canine was establishing itself as a canine training center. Throughout 2007 the staff developed articles and handouts to assist client with building a better relationship with their dogs.

To follow its mission, Acme Canine created several dog-related events to encourage obedience as a way of life. They held a Doggie Egg Hunt, a Pool Party for dogs that liked water (and to assist those that were afraid), a birthday party for demo dog, Woofie and a Halloween party for dogs which included dog games and raffle prizes for their owners.

The number of clients during 2007 doubled from 2006. Due to the growth Laura Pakis made the decision to add on to the house at 1385 Franklin Street and create a 1,200 square foot training center.

Every Day Use of Commands

  • Sit
    • What it means: Your dog sits and holds the sit until released. No sniffing, scratching, barking, whining, lying down, standing up, etc.
    • When to use it:
      • Entering and exiting doors (house, car, kennel, store, vet’s office, etc)
      • Wiping feet after being outside
      • For examinations (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc)
      • Nail trimming and brushing
      • Greeting new people
      • Answering the door
      • Before feeding or giving treats
      • During play (before playing fetch)
      • Putting on collars
      • When talking to friends or neighbors
      • At curbs and intersections
    • Why it is helpful: Keeps your dog from pulling on leash, jumping on people, helps build self-restraint

 

  • Heel
    • What it means: Your dog walks at your side and matches your pace and direction; when you stop the dog sits. No pulling, sniffing, elimination, veering off, barking, whining, etc.
    • When to use it:
      • On walks
      • Around the house
      • In crowds or busy streets
      • In pet stores or vet’s office
      • When dog is excited or anxious
      • When passing runners or bikers
    • Why it is helpful: Keeps your dog focused on you, dog cannot get ahead and pull, teaches self-restraint

 

  • Down
    • What it means: Your dog lies down and holds the down until released. No sniffing, scratching, barking, whining, standing up, rolling over, creeping/crawling forward etc.
    • When to use it:
      • Trimming nails and brushing
      • For examinations at the Vet’s office
      • Entering and exiting doors
      • Answering the door
      • When talking to friends or neighbors
      • While eating dinner, watching TV, or reading
      • While you cook dinner or are cleaning/busy
    • Why it is helpful: Keeps your dog from pulling on leash, jumping on people, helps build self-restraint

 

  • Place
    • What it means: Your dog goes to a place mat and stays there until released. All four feet must be on the mat, but the dog can sit, stand, lie down, play, eat, or sleep. No barking, whining, leaving the mat.
    • When to use it:
      • While you are cooking or eating dinner
      • When you are cleaning or busy
      • While you are watching TV, movies, or reading
      • When answering the door
      • When you have company
      • As an alternative to the kennel/crate
    • Why it is helpful: Helps develop a great deal of self-restraint, allows dog to be near you without getting in the way while you are busy

 

  • Leave It
    • What it means: Used to keep your dog from approaching, eating, sniffing, licking, or grabbing any person, place, or thing (people, cats, dogs, food, decorations, rooms, etc)
    • When to use it:
      • With your children’s toys
      • With dog toys
      • With food or treats (used with “take” command)
      • With other dogs or cats
      • With leaves, shoes, feces, socks, or any other object
      • Preventing the dog from entering rooms or places
    • Why it is helpful: Can keep your dog safe, helps develop self-restraint, can help prevent a kitchen floor scavenger

 

  • Say Hi
    • What it means: Your dog politely greets another person or animal (can also be used to socialize with inanimate objects). No pulling on leash, jumping, mouthing, excessive licking, or bowling people over.
    • When to use it:
      • When meeting new people or animals
      • When greeting guests
      • When socializing to objects that the dog may be frightened of
    • Why it is helpful: Teaches our dog to greet people or animals while minding his manners, teaches self-restraint

 

  • Come
    • What it means: Your dog comes directly to you and sits in front of you (within 2 feet). No veering off, running away, or sniffing along the way.
    • When to use it:
      • To keep your dog from running into the road
      • When across the room
      • When in the backyard and it is time to come in
    • Why it is helpful: Keeps your dog safe when needed, shows the dog respects and trusts you

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of off leash

With the new puppy around and all the work my owners are putting into her, I started thinking if it was all worth it.  I mean, what’s the big deal of being well behaved and is it so important to be off-leash trained.

This made me realize that off-lead isn’t a single thing: it’s you and your dog’s assessing situations. It creates a greater understanding of who the dog is and where it fits in in the world. I believe that dogs seek purpose much like we do. Being a valued member within the culture of a sane, well-adjusted human/dog pack makes sense to a dog.

The emotional benefits of being off leash help dogs to think. From what I see, it appears dogs who spend significant amounts of STRUCTURED time off leash (as opposed to dogs whose owners just let them run loose) are completely and utterly different from dogs who spend their entire lives penned, kenneled, on lead. They’re more centered, more grounded, more responsible. They understand that they are part of a pack and that there are responsibilities to behave correctly within that pack’s culture.|

There are more than just visible controls because your dog comes back. There is a partnership. On long walks or when rambling around you rarely need to say anything to your dog. When they come to a fork in the trail they either wait for you to choose which you’ll take or explore just a short distance down one fork, then detour if you decide to go a different way. They don’t go out of sight. If they see a critter, they look at you to ask permission to. If you stop to rest, they gather around. You become together in spirit not just sharing space but because you are able to command them off leash.

So if you ask me, I’m pretty happy that my owners took the time to train me.