Pull the Trigger? No, Just Identify the Trigger
The current barking dog issue in my home town has triggered me to share some of my thoughts. Let me send a gentle reminder that barking is how dogs communicate. Meowing is for cats, mooing is for cows, neighing is for horses and talking is for people.
If you are fortunate enough to be an animal owner, and your animal is doing a bit too much talking, it is your responsibility to be the first to recognize this, not your neighbor. Your animal is letting you know that something is not right. In my Rocking Canine Companions dog training classes, teams (human and dog) work on building and modifying appreciated behaviors using positive reinforcement. As animals learn a behavior (recreational barking, killing chickens, sitting or fetching) they cannot unlearn that behavior. The good news is you can modify unwanted behaviors and maintain wanted behaviors.
It is your responsibility as the owner to identify the trigger that is setting off your dog to bark. The first question to ask: Is my dog feeling ok on the inside? As it is for people, not all foods on the market are suitable for every dog. Maybe you need to find a food that is gentler on your dog’s system. Other questions you can ask include: Have I physically exercised my dog recently? Have I mentally exercised my dog recently? Is there an unwelcome visitor (deer, skunk, loose dog) near my dogs’ territory? Does my dog have adequate space?
By identifying the triggers that make your dog bark, you will be on the right path to saving yourself a municipal and also saving your dog discomfort from a bark collar. When you see a decrease in speed limit sign (trigger), don’t you usually manage your environment (slow down) to prevent a large fine? As a responsible animal owner, you need to manage your environment for your dog for successful, well-balanced, long-lived partnerships. After all, you chose this animal to live with you in your human life. Imagine if your dog chose you to live in it’s canine life. Wouldn’t you want to be given the opportunity to live a healthy, successful, and fun life?
SPRING CLASS SCHEDULE
Beginning February 9th, we will be offering Agility 101, Puppy & Adolescent Foundation, and a Tricks class.
Please visit the classes page for more information on each class.
We are always offering Private, 1 on 1’s as well. Visit the 1 on 1’s page for more information on these.
Email Prairie at email@example.com or call her at 406-570-8559 to register.
Gift certificates are available.
Holy TRAP! It is the peak of many trapping seasons in Montana. In our rural neck of the woods, it is unlikely for many of you to exercise your dog in town only, every day, for all the exercise it needs. Trapping seasons should not keep you from enjoying the beautiful Rocky Mountain Front’s fresh air.
Two unfortunate events have hit close to home. Eastern Montana friends had to amputate their pup’s leg because it stepped in a coyote foothold trap set close to their home, unbeknownst to them. More locally, friends in Augusta lost their dog to a snare trap while on a routine walk.
The intent of this column is to warn and prepare you for an accident that will hopefully not happen. Some simple tools I have learned may help you in said situations. The first is education. Know the parameters of trapping and compare to the location of your outing. On federal and state lands, traps can be set 150 feet from open roads and hiking trails. Traps can be set 1000 feet from designated campgrounds and fishing access sites. Traps can be set 1000 feet from public trailheads. Visit the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks website for more details.
Traps are baited with deliciously smelling scents (to your dog of course) and when an animal is trapped, it is likely to be thrashing around – 2 triggers to lure your dog in closer to the trap. Where there is 1 trap, there are likely more – called a trap line.
A horse trained to have a rope around a foot is less likely to fight a piece of barbed wire around the same foot. Having a collar and leash-trained dog may discourage it from using its oppositional reflex to fight a snare trap.
Dogs in traps do not act calm, cool or collected as you approach to release. They are scared and hurt and may use a bite defense mechanism toward anyone, including the owner. Train your dog to tolerate a half-hitch loop around her nose to prevent bites.
Play games with your dog to keep her close to you. Sticks can be friends. Have a 100% reliable recall, stay, and leave it. If you walk on private ground, ask landowners of any known traps. Carry wire cutters. Environmental management is the key to success for you and your dog.
Tis the Season
Happy Holiday Season to all. Rocking K9 Companions is between class sessions right now. Until we get the next schedule posted, keep in mind we are always available for private lessons and 1 on 1 consultations.
Here are a few reminders to keep your rocking canines safe and happy in the cooler, darker weather…
- Keep them off sidewalks and streets that have been coated with snow-melt material. Salt can dehydrate the pads on their feet and not to mention the chemicals in other materials used to melt snow.
- Get a light for their collars, or better yet, get a collar that lights up to better see your dogs in the darker days. We like the collar and collar light at NiteIze.
- Exercise your dogs. Even though we are in the season of cold and short days, our friends still need exercise to stay happy and healthy. If you find yourself giving your rocking canine less physical exercise, increase their mental exercises.
- To maintain physical exercise, booties and sweaters are not a bad idea.
- Take extra precaution for your dog if you are traveling, or even getting visitors for the holidays. Note ahead of time if you will be among new kids, new puppies or dogs, new noises (fireworks, loud music, etc). Be fair to your dogs and prepare them for new distractions.
- If you must board your dog at a facility or with a friend, be sure to pack a few of their favorite things in your doggy diaper bag. Take a blanket, crate if they have one, toys, dog food, food and water dishes, and treats. You want to make it as comfortable for your rocking canine as possible for the period of time they are separated from you. PLEASE do not hesitate to let the person caring for your dog what daily feeding, exercise, and potty schedules are. Advise this person not to give your dog any other food or treats you bring for them.
- While at home, watch for food that’s not suitable for dogs, being left at their reach. Chicken bones, chocolate, onions, and nuts can cause digestive issues and illnesses in many dogs.
If you have any questions on any of the tips (traveling/guest tips, mental exercises, etc.) or any other dog-related questions, please contact me. Have a great Merry Christmas and we’ll see you in class soon.
Fall Schedule is Up!
Now that the kids are back in school and summer travel is coming to an end, let’s get your rocking canines back on a training routine too. We have some new and exciting classes to offer including Rover Real Life and Single Topic Evenings. We have also updated our Open Gym nights. Please check out the classes page for more information on each class. Contact Prairie to register or if you have questions. We look forward to seeing you and your dogs again! We are always offering our private consultations and 1-on-1’s if that is the option for you.
Independence Day – Please Play It Safe
We at Rocking K9 Companions want to wish you and your rocking canine’s a very happy and SAFE 4th of July. This is a holiday that many dogs go missing. Why? Fireworks and Lack of Attention from Human. If you have a new or old dog, please take utmost care of them while those loud bangs and squealing fireworks are going off. Please please please have your dogs on leash at ALL TIMES this weekend and next week while out and about with them. Please monitor them 110% in the fenced back yard if you put them out there and most importantly, please let them stay inside the house, inside their kennel or special place when you are not home. Following these guidelines will help you get through the holiday without a missing dog.
Some of you are traveling to new and unfamiliar territory. Or you may have company visiting you, and some company may bring their rocking canine travelling partners. Please make it safe and successful and comfortable for your dogs during these visits. If you have any questions, please contact Prairie for more tips.
Enjoy your week. We sure will.
Rocking K9 Companions is offering private 1 on 1s this summer to help you travel safely and successfully with your dog as well as welcome friends and family with or with out traveling canines into your and your dogs home with ease. We are all spending more time outside so make sure your dog is too but in safe, comfortable environments. Get your leashes polished up and have a great time. Contact Prairie to book your private, 1 on 1 to make it a fun, successful summer for all.
My Turn For School
Why: To Attend a Dog Training Seminar by Ian Dunbar
That’s right, I am in Seattle, sitting on my friend’s couch, looking out over Pikes Place Market, drinking a nice cup of joe and still on Montana time. I could be sleeping still but I am taking the advantage of the internet being available in the same house as I am. This is pretty cool.
I am here to attend an Ian Dunbar dog training seminar, for people. I had to leave the Board of Directors in the hands of other people while I embark on this journey. 4 days of information to take away and add to my business structure…I can’t wait. Topics to be covered are: Marketing, Behavior Counseling, Adult Dog Classes, and Puppy Classes.
For those interested in who Ian Dunbar is, here is a link to Ian’s TED talk. I look forward to sharing with you what I learn.
New Session of Classes is Posted
Please check out the classes page to see what Rocking K9 Companions has to offer you and your dogs.
Puppy and Intermediate Foundation – 6 week class, begins April 12
Tricks Class – 4 week class, begins April 12
Agility 101 – 6 week class, begins April 12
C.G.C. – 5 week class, begins April 13
NEW: Open Gym. This is a non-instructional evening where dogs and people that have taken or are taking a Rocking K9 class can come to the facility to work on their own goals, among others who will be doing the same. It is also a time for you to walk a few laps in the arena if the weather outside is too frightful. Prairie will be there training her own dogs at these stated times anyway so she thought it would be good for her training to have the controlled distraction of other dogs. Please plan to work on leash at all times. See the classes page for scheduled open gym times.
What Did Your Dog Do Today?
I love catching dogs in action. Today, Bo and Arrow got the goats in to the pen. Here they are in action.
Goat Round Up