RUFF TRANSLATING RUFF RANTS
Brought to you by the Ruff Translating team!
Training a pup to be "vacation ready" is a fun way to keep your dog included in the family! There are travels that will necessitate leaving your dog with a professional sitter or boarder, but when it's possible to choose a dog-friendly vacation spot it can be a wonderful bonding experience for you. It's also an opportunity to practice command behaviors in a new location- helping the pattern become reinforced and thus more reliable.
Each year, our family goes to Cape Cod for a few days, and we have been preparing Rio for her first ever vacation with us. Swanson is a beach pro now, but we followed the same process getting him ready the first year he went along. Some of our best memories involve this pup, a gorgeous day, and miles of bay side low tide sands!
First, we choose a very popular vacation destination, so we go on what's considered the "off season". That's a lot about us as people, we don't love large crowds or traffic. We have the benefit that our jobs are also busiest in the summer, so planning a fall vacation coincides near end of our farming season, the busiest dog boarding time, and even our roller derby season is best. The major benefit as a dog family though- is that many of the Cape Cod beaches open up to allow pups again! We stay at a campground that is pet friendly, but your dogs must go with you when you leave your campsite, so being able to take the dogs to the beach is crucial and also one of the most fun things about the trip.
Second, we don't mince words about buying all of the dog gear we need to make the trip easier. Sometimes it's not necessary to spend the money on your dog for a really cute collar etc- they don't care about fashion. But when it comes to a vacation- you need the tools. Here are our essentials for an easier trip with dogs.
1. Collapsible bowls: Easy to store, take on long trips, and fairly sturdy- we can be sure that no matter what we are up to the pups get their meals and water. This keeps them calmer and healthy while we all enjoy the travel.
2. Poop bags: Duh.
3. Wet and dry dog food: Sometimes Dogs are nervous in new locations, and rather than "waiting it out" to get them to eat, a little bribery goes a long way with some wet food mixed in. There are times when you find a training opportunity, but in this case, we all need to just focus on the relaxing and this keeps us sure that we aren't worrying about someone's anxious hunger strike.
4. Dog back packs: Yes, these are essential. We do some day trips when traveling, in towns where dogs are welcome in many shops and patios. Next up will be some tips for training with packs, but we have found them invaluable. They can carry their own small water bottles, collapsible bowls, treats, poop bags (empty or used!), and often my keys or cellphone. It helps to focus them, putting them in "work mode" while we are in busy environments, and is just practical.
5. Kongs/chewies: Sitting around a campfire is the best! It's even better when your now tired dog is able to settle down with their own treat leaving the humans to tell scary stories that don't involve a yappy over excited dog!
6. X-pens: Exercise pens, or x-pens, set up quickly, fold up fairly conveniently, and can be made sturdy by driving stakes into the ground. We use them to create a dog space on the campsite where not quite as much supervision is needed, while upholding the campground rules that the dogs are on/leash or contained. Because our dogs are very well crate trained, they transition to the x-pen easily and the open top allows for the inevitable campground guest snuggles as people pass by. And I don't have to worry about them getting tangled in a line, or taking them with me in/out of the camper 100 times while I'm getting dinner ready or putting things back from the beach. It's also great for hotel rooms, or guest houses, as it can set up in a few different configurations and act as a gate. Travel crates are another great idea, but I've found I don't love the attention that my crated pup gets when snoozing at the campsite. It gets a lot of "poooooorrrr puppppppy" responses, and while I know that's hogwash- this solution works for us and keeps me from launching into a dog-trainer tirade while trying to relax.
7. Chuck-it and Sand proof balls: If you have a high energy fetch dog, you know the value of a chuck it. Whatever your dog's preferred activity is, bring it with and modify it for the environment you are traveling in. Typical tennis balls collect too much water/beach sand/salt- so we switch the rubberized balls for vacation. Anything your dog likes to do probably has a few different varieties, so plan accordingly! Floating toys, rubberized tug toys, and extras you don't mind loosing are all great ideas.
8. Treat training bags: Practice doesn't make perfect with dogs- it makes reliability! While not my favorite accessory, more often than not you will find me with my clip on training treat bag when I take my dogs to a new location. Helping them focus is worth the fashion disaster, and it also lets me control what they eat when someone is desperate to give them a snack. Rio has food allergies, and we really limit people food hand-outs, so aside from being a great training tool- I can hand off a cookie to a stranger without offending someone offering either of them a french fry!
There is a ton of additional gear that we personally use that can be helpful, but there are also many other resources to help you get started or troubleshoot for your own trip. There are some training tenants however, that will help you wherever you go, whether it is a day trip or a longer stay!
If you are using new tools, like a back pack- PRACTICE. Don't assume that your dog will just automatically take to sleeping in a camper, or be cool with wearing shoes on the beach. Whenever we are introducing something new, we like to start with short periods of time, and use positive reinforcement through foods and verbal assurance. It's also important not to give up either. Some dogs will "melt" the first time you put them in a back pack (lay on the floor and not move), or "freeze" (stand with their legs locked looking like they are literally on ice). It's okay that this happens, it's way more about our reaction then the dog itself. If I act as though I'm torturing the dog, the dog will respond that the new tool, is in fact, evil. I also don't chase dogs for anything. Rather, persistence, patience and counter conditioning are all the tricks. For a back pack specifically- start with just laying a back pack on top of a dog and then giving a treat and verbal praise. Then, when this becomes a fun game, put the straps on and ask the dog to move around. More treats/praise! We like to do a couple of shorter walks depending on the reaction of the dog with a back pack, and then slowly start adding some essentials or weights to help them adjust. In no time flat, your pup will see the back pack as a sign that adventure awaits!
Patio eating is a regular part of most vacations, and it is definitely an acquired skill for most dogs. In general, practicing a strong sit/down/stay will serve you well whether you are getting ice cream or having a drink. Along with those commands, try training a "place" command- which is where you pick a spot marked by a hand gesture (I just point to a spot) or a mat/blanket. Giving your dog clear boundaries while out in public helps them feel calm, and gives you an easy way to correct your dog if they start to wander or pull on the leash. Along with controlling your dog in a tight space, you also want to make sure that they don't try and snag treats or upset a table. "Leave it" along with implied table manners are imperative.
You can practice this behavior on an elevated level at home pretty easily. Set up a picnic lunch in your dining area, but on a blanket on the floor. Put a plate of food in the middle, and work with your dog to maintain boundaries OFF of the floor blanket, and away from the food. I recommend beginning this practice with your dog on a leash. It's always nice to have a handle so that you can prevent an error before it happens! The most important thing here is that you dog doesn't get the food and establish a pattern. Start in a standing position, gently relocating your dog if they challenge the picnic site and using the commands I mentioned above. When the dog gets the idea, start changing your body position- go into a kneel, a sit, turn your back, etc, all while expecting the dog to hold their position OFF the blanket. It takes some time to master, but dogs get food boundaries as a natural process, so it usually happens fairly quickly.
"Look at me" is the most important behavior you can teach. Hands down, the thing I rely on most in my relationship with my dogs is that I can get their eye contact to break up their thought patterns and instinctual behaviors. I start with this behavior on a command, but try to phase out the verbal as quickly as possible. Why? I want the dog to develop a pattern of automatic check in. See something new? Dog should turn their head and look to me for what comes next. See something scary? Dog should turn to their head to look at me and realize it's probably not scary, as I'm not scared. Meet a new person or dog? Look to me to see what greeting, if any, is allowed. This takes years to make highly reliable, but in a few weeks time to you can train your dog to check in using food rewards on command. Start by using a treat, directly in front of a dog's nose and bring it up to your face. I bring it right to my nose, as the hand signal for this command will be me pointing to my nose. When the dog looks at your eyes, not the cookie, use a marker word like "Yes" and reward with food. Practice this each day, inside, outside, on walks etc. Get reliable responses first inside, with no distractions. I then like to stretch the duration of eye contact longer, Swanson can hold it for 2 minutes with distractions. If you can get a full 30 seconds in most scenarios- you probably can deal with any high level distraction that comes your way. Biologically, this is also important! Recent research shows that eye contact releases oxytocin in both the dog and the human! This is an important bonding exercise and can calm either an anxious pup, or a nervous owner.
New noises can be one of the most challenging triggers for a dog in a new environment. An easy way to help your dog with this before leaving, is to use the power of the internet! I frequently will play loud sounds off of youtube, things like trucks, horns, ocean sounds, kids screaming on a playground etc while just going about my business. The dogs go from mildly confused, to completely oblivious most of the time. Occasionally a sound will be really upsetting- and then we go back to counter conditioning. Again, we don't use "it's ok" or baby talk. Rather I ask for a sit, and eye contact, and reinforce success with verbal praise and food. And, again, repetition is the best tool for dog training. If a new noise is proving to be a challenge, it just means we have work to do- not that your dog is terminally afraid.
One of the most important things about preparing a dog for vacation is to think critically about your dog's limits. Swanson has a much longer capacity for situations where engaging with strangers is a skill, where as Rio has a much longer capacity for repeated dog greetings. We plan breaks for both dogs, and use tools like time-outs and crates to give them some space to relax. Our dog Badger is a routine focused guy, and really struggles with his schedule being thrown off, and travel in general. He can travel with us for overnights or short trips, but is much more excited to have his own personal house guest when we go away for long periods of time. We do a lot to help our dogs stretch their natural ability, but part of a good relationship with your pup is understanding their skills and limitations. Much like I am not going to Disney at peak summer vacation- Badger isn't going to handle loud trucks/campers/barking dogs for more than two days. It's not a flaw, it makes him a WONDERFUL couch potato, best sleep-in dog champion of the house, for sure. I want to challenge my dogs in training but also keep their individual personalities and skills in mind. Good dog training doesn't work around a dog, it works with it!
If there is anything more magical then sitting on a beach, at sunset, with a few critters and my wife, I haven't found it. All of the preparation and practice helps build a deeper relationship with my dogs- they don't just live at our house- they are unique contributing individuals to our family fabric. Exploring new places and seeing their excitement and wonder really has made my vacations more fun. So plan, prepare and GO!
Well, I suppose I didn't expect to wade into all of the controversial topics all at once, but here we are!
I've worked as a trainer for several years, and have worked with dogs in professional settings since I was 16. In the 16 years I have worked with hundreds of pet owners, and have noticed a very disturbing pattern. Given our current climate, I want to talk about the notion that dogs can be "racist" at no fault of their owners. Yes, I know I'm fueling the fire, but sometimes you gotta burn it down to rebuild.
Dogs are more often than not, a chaotic neutral about all types of people. Certainly they are drawn to folks, have quirks, personality traits and life experiences that shape their reactions to humans. BUT- the primary place that dogs get their information on how to react to anything- is from their human companions.
Swanson, our border collie, is probably the most adaptable and flexible dog I have ever met, other than a fellow trainer's dog, my good friend Cassie- who has an aussie named Looba. Looba makes Swanson look like an ill-behaved cartoon dog devil. To be fair to my little dude, Looba has many more years of practiced chill. As a puppy- Swanson was nervous, anxious, and a bit reactive to things. He was also loyal, pliable, work-driven and desperate for guidance. The training methodology that I use for all dogs- and all fears- is gentle but consistent leadership. We use counter conditioning (food and praise) when a dog tackles any fear- for example, Swanson used to be terrified of the electric fences on the farm after he brushed one while learning the ropes as a pup. It took months of praise and food rewards to get him to understand that he could be near to the fence without being injured, and in fact could do his herding job without ever touching the electric line. What we don't do is say in a sing-song voice "it's ok" or reward fear based behaviors. The dog's brain can not understand the nuance of your soothing- instead they hear reinforcement of their fear- justified or not. Comforting dogs means that in situations where you want them to become calmer and more reliable, you give them an alternative to a fear based behavior. So, you may ask for eye contact (and reward it) or you may walk over to the scary thing and call them to you, happily. You may confidently walk them past a construction site at a very very quick pace, all the while encouraging them (yay! let's go! walks are fun!), and then slow your pace multiple times until hanging out near all of those sounds isn't so scary. It takes practice and persistence- and given the emotional genius of dogs- you have to be rather confident and assured. Sympathy and over infantilizing can turn a moderate discomfort into full blow anxiety in a dog at warp speed. This doesn't mean we "force" dogs to do something scary, or move them too quickly through a phobia. Nor does it mean that a dog can overcome ALL of their natural distrusts of certain objects or scenarios (notably, Swanson will still lay totally flat in an elevator, and even Looba- the wonder pup I mentioned earlier won't walk over a street grate readily). Instead, we use incremental progress to help the dog re-wire their aversion, and become more comfortable (or, in dog-training slang- counter conditioning and desensitization).
Objects, scenarios- are one thing- but what about people? One of the shockingly more common things I hear in behavior assessments when I ask about a dog's aversions or fears is "I don't know why, but my dog hates black people". I have heard this exclusively by white clients. I think that this issue, not to get overly political in my dog training site- is vastly more about owners, then it is about the dog. I'm not just talking about rescue dogs whose history is unknown or *maybe* troubled. I'm talking about folks who have had their pet since the pup was small, and are flummoxed as to how their dog has ended up with this peculiar or even reactive behavior.
One very likely answer is that some of these owners are walking around with their own, deeply buried, socially conditioned responses to people and communities of color. While many, if not most, of these folks likely have friends, co-workers and community members who are members of a race other than their own- but unconsciously- what does their body and mind do when they are racially uncomfortable?
Dogs are constantly reading us. They know when we are angry, they know when we are depressed, they know when we are sad. They smell hormone changes, understand voice pitch changes, and read facial expressions. I have often helped a client fix their entire dog walking experience just by getting them to take large, deep breaths, loosen up on the death grip on their leash, and adjusting their posture. Seriously. That's the miraculous thing about dogs. They know us, in many ways, better than ourselves. They have evolved with us for thousands of years, and show us just as much about our own evolution as their own.
Consider this scenario- Fluffy is walking along in her neighborhood, accompanied by her white owner. They take a turn down a block that is primarily occupied by families of color. The owner, considers themselves to be not racist. But they stiffen, start scanning the neighborhood (an unconscious decision) and maybe there is some kind of hormonal change, a mild release of one of our stress or fear hormones. We have been taught to fear communities of color (this is not up for debate, there is a plethora of research and data that shows the long history of racism and defamation around communities of color). Fluffy doesn't know that her owner may be working really hard to override that social conditioning, or family background, or personal beliefs. Or, her owner isn't even thinking about that, because that's not part of their daily considerations, or they don't think they need to do that work. But what Fluffy does know is that the owner has changed position, and gone into a mild or moderate *alert mode*. And as they are traveling together, Fluffy must do the same, and, if their communication is unbalanced or incomplete- take it upon herself to control the situation and ease the owner's security fears by "pushing" the perceived threat away. After a few of these instances, it becomes a pattern for the dog- and the owner becomes then anxious ANY time Fluffy meets a person of color- thus reinforcing the behavior.
Not just that- but what if Fluffy and her owner pass a person of color who is afraid of dogs? There is a good deal of recent research that shows that law enforcement have disproportionately used police dogs in communities of color, and for some folks, that may translate into a very charged fear of dogs. I've worked in neighborhoods on multiple occasions as a dog walker where children would scream and cross the street with terror after an incident with law enforcement and working dogs. I have a great deal of love for dogs who have jobs, and will be talking more about this as time goes on, and am certainly not implying that there shouldn't be police dogs. But, how and when we use those dogs is important, and subject to review just as we constantly review the uses of all law enforcement tools- from speed checking devices, to tasers, to pepper spray, to guns. Or, it just may be run of the mill, "not a dog person" vibes coming off. So now Fluffy knows 2 things- 1. Her owner's vibe has changed, maybe consciously, maybe unconsciously. 2. She isn't being received in the expected way of someone welcoming a dog.
Either of these two pieces of information can be enough for Fluffy to become reactive, when otherwise she is a perfectly leash trained, happy to greet dog. Fluffy is not inherently a racist. Fluffy most likely did not develop these behaviors based on being attacked by a person of color. More likely- is that there is work to do on Fluffy's ability to "check in" with you before making decisions about how to react, and is going on her gut. The impact of our current culture and the incomplete nature of how we, as white people, address our internalized racism, have created a seemingly racist Fluffy.
One of the hardest parts about learning to work with your dog, is understanding how you accidentally, or consciously feed their actions based on your emotional response to things. When working to train your dog, keep this frame work in mind:
1. Your dog reads your emotional state probably better than even you do.
2. When your dog encounters something new, different, or unexpected, train them to give direct and sustained eye contact based on a light verbal cue such as their name, or just by looking at them. Praise the eye contact, and then maybe give an alternative command (ie: stay, sit etc) to control before a reaction.
3. Work very hard to realize that because your dog is ALWAYS looking for your cues, we have to address our underlying assumptions about new scenarios or even communities other than our own.
There are scenarios where a dog has a past that would predispose them to be vastly distrustful of a category of people. But that shouldn't be our starting place assumption. Instead, we need to be thoughtful and thorough about how our own beliefs impact a dog's reaction, and strive to be the leaders our dog's need so that they can flourish and behave around communities different than those we belong to, be it based on race, age, gender, style etc. I've included photos from our two dogs work in a nursing home- because much like I hear "my dog hates black people", I often hear "my dog hates wheelchairs"! The first cue on how to behave is coming from us. And, in our efforts to be better dog leaders- we will likely overcome more of our ingrained oppression behaviors to become better allies.
So thank you, Dogs, for teaching us once again, how to be better versions of ourselves- we owe you an endless debt of gratitude for your lessons on compassion and change. Thankfully, you take debt payments in the form of dried liver and a nice long walk.
I've decided to start this blog off with a bang, and wade with caution into the sacred phrase "adopt don't shop". First, I should mention that I have owned 2 rescues in my adult life, LOVE mixed breed pups, and would get a rescue again. My first rescue, Harper, was a severe abuse case and taught me more about life and dogs then could be adequately described. In addition, my Aussie, Rio is a "rehome"- her owner couldn't provide a breed-appropriate life for her (girl needs more hobbies then a high school senior applying for the ivy league). There is absolutely wonderful value in finding good homes for pups in shelters or other programs.
All of that being said- adult rescue dogs are not for everyone. At the very minimum, adult rescue dogs have had their routine pretty abruptly disrupted and are confused as to the new environment(s) and its rules. Many new owners are confused as to how to navigate a dog who is sincerely just lost as to how they got in their current scenario.
In my experience, it takes roughly 3 weeks for a dog's behaviors to fully develop in any given environment with a predictable regularity. So that means, that the wonderful "puppy moon" phase after adoption often accidentally sets up new homes with too lax of rules, and unreasonable expectations of the recently added dog. More often than not, when I get into a behavior assessment with a client, I hear the tell-tale phrases of "she was so quiet at the adoption clinic" or "the foster family had her for a week and never mentioned that she eats shoes". etc. I could never fault a foster family for not catching EVERY potential behavior pattern- there are too many variables! And I also see the value in having adoption clinics- but when we look to these places (which are the right thing to do for many potential dog owners) we have to take into consideration that we are in no way getting a full behavior picture or even fully developed understanding of the personality of the dog. More often though, adoption from rescues is based on aesthetic preferences- and that snowballs into just picking a dog that doesn't necessarily match your home life.
The most prevalent example I have seen recently is a plethora of hound-dog mix pups being shipped up to our upstate NY community from rescues in the south. Hounds are wonderful pups, little scent geniuses, and often very affectionate. But they often tend present challenges in training- specifically around recall, avoiding some snack thievery, and working on not becoming overly vocal. All of these challenges are often addressed readily with a good trainer. BUT often times the new families with these dogs did not anticipate the challenges associated with the type of pup they adopted- and instead focused on impossibly soft and floppy ears. Hound-mixes can also be a bit stubborn, and can require a lot of consistency in practice to build reliable results with commands. They are eager to make you happy- but also pretty independent. None of things are automatically a flaw in any of these dogs, just an observation that both the type and temperament of an individual dog is often not a great match for a busy family with kids. Their new friend is probably friendly as the day is long- but is going to require a substantial investment in time and energy to help them reach their training expectations. And some families are just not prepared for that amount of investment. It would be easy to yell "Don't get a dog if you don't want to do the work!" and I have, privately, in my car, many, many times. There are absolutely circumstances where this is the appropriate assessment. BUT- I think more often than that, it's much more nuanced. For example, a well meaning family could just be following the dominant narrative around rescue culture which is "this dog was abused, I will save it" and that, is unfortunately, not really the whole picture of a dog's backstory- or of the ability of any owner to meet a dog's individual needs. Many times a dog has had a relatively normal life, and then found itself within a shelter or rescue- and its fearful behaviors are actually just being completely confused. If we jump to adopt based on this narrative instead of looking at the individual, or if we treat that dog as if it has severe abuse history- we can accidentally even create behavior problems.
We hear all the time that we should "save a life" in rescues, and this is definitely a worthy cause. But if everyone in the household is going to have their needs met, and we are going to start off on the right foot- we need to be a lot more careful about placing dogs. We also need to help new families prepare for a long adjustment period by starting them off right with clear rules and boundaries, as well as making sure the match is likely to be a good fit based on energy level, any known breed information, and the type of household looking for a new family member. Loving a dog isn't just about cuddling, it's about helping them learn to trust us, and to follow our guidance over their natural instincts in a variety of ways. It's an amazing experience to cross the species line in relationship building, but it's not easily or quickly done!
This preparation for families looking to adopt shouldn't just be on the shoulders of already over-taxed rescues, either. It's up to all of us in the dog professionals world to facilitate a new dialog around rescue and adoption, and provide more thorough tools for those going this route.
So with that in mind- here are a couple of things I have found helpful in counseling those looking for a dog, and in those first few critical weeks.
1. GO SLOW. You've made the decision to get a dog, great! Now, slow down. You don't need to rush down to an adoption clinic today and pick the first dog who kisses your face. Yes, I know there are many dog/human love stories that start this way- but there are also enough horror stories that caution is the better advice. Research types of dogs you think may be a good fit for you. Breed info will be inconsistent or incomplete with your new rescue possibly- but it's good to have an idea of what traits you are looking for, because in the event you do have some more info- it can help make an informed decision. It also can help you sort out what traits you are looking for so that when you meet a dog, you can place those traits even if they aren't breed related! Read A LOT of profiles on petfinder, make lists, and really think about how much time you have to give to a dog's energy needs. Some folks will change for their dog, they will take more walks, etc- but others can't/won't. Be honest with yourself, first!
2. Meet the dog more than once. If you go to an adoption clinic and find a dog you think is a good match, I suggest 2 subsequent visits a few days apart. Ideally, meet with the dog at the shelter or foster home, and then have the dog brought to your home. Seeing how a dog behaves in different environments will give you a lot of information about whether or not this is a good new member of your household. Especially if this is your first dog, emphasize the slowing down!
3. Figure out your house rules ahead of time! I have a lot of house rules I recommend and will gladly share in a later post, but regardless of what you decide- decide it before pup comes home and then stick to it! Is pup allowed on the furniture? Where will pup eat their meals? What will their routine be? What commands are the most important to teach first? Is pup allowed in the whole house? Yard? Map out what the rules are AND STICK TO THEM. Have I mentioned sticking to them? STICK TO THE RULES.
Dogs have a really hard time with "sometimes"- if you are consistent, so are they--with practice!
4. Consider a "foster to adopt" or trial placement. Some rescues I have worked with recently do a three week trial period before the dog is eligible to be adopted. I LOVE THIS. It gives so much more time for a dog to adjust and the household residents to really get a sense of whether the dog's needs match their household, or whether adaptations can be made on either end.
5. Hire a good trainer. There are a myriad of issues that can be avoided with the help and support of a good trainer. The families and individuals I have helped from adoption day through 6 weeks of training are much more likely to be fulfilled with their new family member at a much more rapid pace. Also, having a new dog is wonderful, but it can also be pretty stressful. A good trainer will serve as support in the adjustment period, help you assess what is pretty normal dog behavior, vs something we need to address quickly. And it's also another set of hands to be kind and patient when Fido is still nervous peeing every time a guest arrives. Even if you have had a lifetime of dogs, you can always learn something new, or benefit from a professional perspective. I'm not lobbying this for my own job security- I just have seen SO MANY families go through the pain of re-training when if I had gotten there 2 months earlier, we could have avoided the undesired pattern.
6. Crate Train. Again, I recommend you get a good trainer if you aren't familiar with the process, and will be giving tips for crate training down the line. But the single most important start you can give your new pup is give them a safe, calm place to adjust to their new surroundings. Even an even keeled, well mannered dog will benefit from having a spot to call "theirs". The benefits of crate training include avoiding separation anxiety, or helping to resolve it, helping a dog to have a "settle" command, giving the dog a safe space to observe other pets, children, family members etc, giving the dog an alternative to destructive behaviors... the list goes on and on. Dogs should go willingly when requested, and shouldn't be manhandled into too-small crates. Appropriate sizing and proper positive crate training are essential to using this tool properly- and like all tools- can be used completely wrong. Check out "Crate Games" by Susan Garrett for some excellent ways to help get your dog properly crate trained!
Adopting a dog can be a wonderful way to add a valuable member to your family, but it isn't as easy as picking out a cute pup on the internet. We need to be thoughtful and thorough about matching dogs with potential owners, so that the dog's needs are thoroughly met, and the new home can get to the joyful business of loving our most loyal companions.
Welcome to a new feature at Ruff Translating- Ruff Rants! Here is where I will post tips, tricks, pet peeves (literally), progress of training clients, questions etc! It will be updated as often as I can, so check back or follow! There will be pup pictures and videos, too!