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November 12, 2014

Photos With Santa Scheduled! And How We Drive Our Dogs Crazy!

Our Seventh Annual Dog Photos with Santa!
Santa is visiting us twice this year, to have his picture taken with your dog! Once at Crate Escape too, on December 12th from 6:30 to 9:00 and again at Charlestown Crate Escape on December 113h from 2 – 5pm. We have antlers and bell collars for your pooch. The cost is $10 per photo and all proceeds go to the MSPCA. Last year we donated $2,200. Join us! It’s a blast!

Have you ever wondered what is on your dog’s mind?

You might be surprised to learn that how you interact with your dog is confusing him—maybe even driving him crazy. Here are five bad habits which are common in today’s pooch friendly population.

You treat your dog like a child.
We have all visited houses with the framed pictures of ‘the dog’ all over the walls, pillows with her name embroidered all over the living room, bed and bath rooms. The dog’s owner never stops fawning over her as though she is a one year old. Many of the smaller dogs are carried around for a large part of their lives. This behavior is very confusing to a dog. Dogs want to behave like dogs, that’s what is in their DNA. Most dogs want to run, chase things and use their noses to track. A dog is a ‘pack’ animal and needs structure and discipline in her life to feel fulfilled and not become frustrated. There is nothing wrong with showing a dog love, but it is least confusing when you put in order; exercise first, discipline second, and affection third. The discipline can simply be taking a walk where you are pack leader, and affection can be food.

Your dog doesn’t have a job and he’s bored.
Often when a dog picks up an aggravating habit like chewing the carpet, racing in circles around the house, or showing surprising aggression his behavior is communication. The cause is frequently the same: Your dog is getting bored—he wants something to do. Dogs aren’t born expecting to be waited on hand and foot, with meals produced whenever they are hungry. No creature in the animal world has that thought. In the wild, from the time they are babies, dogs have to work for their food. They have to hunt it down or go hungry. In Mexico, for example, dogs are thin but they don’t have psychological problems. Dogs have been bred over the centuries for different jobs; from rounding up cattle to hunting or hauling. When their natural instinct is denied, they become frustrated, and that is when they start to show signs of aggressive behavior. You can make your job happy by giving him a job. Put a pack on his back when you go for walks or create obstacle courses so he can put his scent-tracking abilities to good use. You’ll see right away how happy it makes him.

You’re acting like your dog’s playmate, not pack leader.
As mentioned before, it is vital for you to claim the role of pack leader from the time your puppy first joins the family. It can get confusing for your dog when you interact with him by teasing him and playing like you are another dog. For him, all the rules have changed. How is your dog supposed to understand what has happened? You gave up on being pack leader to race into playing with her instead of making it clear that play begins only when she is calm and responsive. So now she is all turned around about who’s the boss. It will help our dogs be clear when we accept that being a pack leader is not a part-time occupation. Your dog is always looking for consistency and structure, and without it she is going to become confused about when she is supposed to follow your directions and when you two are just buddies.

You’re trying to communicate with your dogs through words
You adopt a dog from a shelter, and you know it is not the first time he has been adopted, but you are confident you will be successful. One of your worries is that the previous owner had given the dog a name you don’t like, so you have renamed him Riley. But will that confuse him? Guess what? Dogs don’t care much whether you speak to them in Spanish, or English, or Chinese, because they don’t hear words. It’s like the way that people spell out “w-a-l-k” and “l-e-a-s-h”. They may be fooling themselves but they certainly aren’t fooling the dog. Dogs sense something much deeper than the words you use; they listen to tone and read your body language. You can’t lie to a dog. When you speak to a dog you must speak from the inside, from your mind, your heart, and your body. Otherwise he will be scratching his head with his paw, trying to figure why he can see your lips moving with strange noises coming out.

You are tense and nervous around your dog
Based on the comments about your dog reading your body language and tone of voice, it makes sense he will become nervous and tense when you are nervous and tense. Even a usually well-behaved dog quite possibly pick up tension in your home. He will know that his pack leader is upset, so he may become tense and nervous too. Our dogs are incredibly finely tuned to us, people and canines been living together almost from the beginning of time! Dogs need calm, assertive energy to relax. Remember: Dogs are predators in the wild, so if they become nervous, their fight-or-flight response is often more likely to be fight. Nervousness in dogs will soon come out as aggression. It is how they deal with a problem. This is not an absolute. It is a good thing to be aware of, especially with nervous, anxious dogs.

Listen to your dogs. Listen to them carefully, for they are trying to tell you what they want. Their needs are really very simple, and if you satisfy those, you will have a happy and harmonious relationship.

a note from Ernestine
So, I have always wondered what this holiday stuff is all about. Everyone gets excited, people visit (sometimes bring me those toxic rubber toys to EAT!- ok not swallow, but RIP APART!) the house smells good, more crumbs are dropped than usual. I have always heard the word ‘turkey’ and not known what it meant. It is usually spoken in a good way, so I think it’s something good. Today, I was out in the yard with my Mom and two brothers including Sonny, a 4 lb. chihuahua, when these ugly, tall, gaggly things with long legs started chasing my Mom! She was saying, Turkeys, turkeys! I am horrified. My Mom usually has wonderful taste, how could she talk about those creatures year after year? Thought I heard something about eating them – I can’t even go there. You guys are really out there some times.

Later, Ernestine

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