Monthly Archives: December 2010

December’s Dog Stop Radio Show—Raising & Training Service Dogs, Cold Weather Dangers, & More!

Dog Stop Radio Show The December edition of the Dog Stop Radio Show is now available via the wsRadio.com archives, on iTunes, or just by clicking the segment links below! Our host Karen Conway chats with Susan Tyson, a puppy-raiser for Susquehanna Service Dogs, and Bark Busters Master Trainer Rachel Baum.

Segment 1—Guest Expert: Susan Tyson, puppy-raiser for Susquehanna Service Dogs

Susquehanna Service Dog Grace
SSD Grace

Listen as Susan Tyson, a puppy-raiser for Susquehanna Service Dogs in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, tells us how organizations like hers raise puppies for the specific purpose of working for the mentally or physically challenged—from who can get one and the length of the wait list to what the dogs can do and how the placement process works.

Segment 2—Dog Training: Service Dogs

SSD Gnat & Partner

SSD Gnat

Ever wonder how service dogs are trained to do all the amazing things they do—like dialing emergency numbers, opening doors and calming their companions psychologically in the midst of crowded public places? From how long it takes to the unique training methods used, Susan Tyson, a puppy-raiser for Susquehanna Service Dogs in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has your answers.

Segment 3—Dog Safety: Cold Weather Dangers

Bark Busters master dog behavioral therapist and Dog in Snowtrainer Rachel Baum lives in upstate New York, so she knows a thing or two about cold weather. Listen to find out how to protect your dog from dropping temperatures and snow, why his dietary needs may change in the winter, and what fun games you can play together indoors!

Segment 4—Dog News: Don’t Give a Puppy as a Holiday Gift!

Bark Buster Rachel Baum

Bark Buster Rachel Baum

As adorable and irresistible as a puppy wrapped in a bow under the Christmas tree may seem, master dog behavioral therapist and trainer Rachel Baum of Bark Busters wants you to think twice before giving a pet as a holiday gift. She tells us why dogs should be specially chosen for each family, what challenges puppies can pose, and alternative gift ideas for those on your list who may be ready for a dog.

You can learn more about this show’s guests and their areas of expertise through their fantastic blogs—Susan Tyson at SusquehannaServiceDogs.blogspot.com and Rachel Baum at blog.timesunion.com/bark.

Make sure you don’t miss the next episode by Subscribe to the Dog Stop in iTunessubscribing for FREE to the Dog Stop through iTunes—each show will automatically download into your iTunes Library as soon as it is available each month.

Listen to the Dog Stop LIVE and call in with questions for our guests at wsRadio.com, Studio B, at 3 p.m. Pacific, the third Wednesday of every month!

Dog Safety Tips for the First Day of Winter & Beyond!

By: BeauBeau

It’s hard to believe today is just the first day of winter—sure feels like fall has been over for a while now. I know my four-legged friends all across the country have been dealing with lots of snow and cold already. We may look all warm and cozy with our furry built-in jackets, but we feel the cold, too! Some things to remember as you enjoy the winter with your dog:

Pay attention to the thermometer! With proper shelter, most dogs, like me, should be safe outside down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Puppies, smaller dogs (like my co-blogging Yorkie Lily) and older dogs, however, should NOT be left outdoors when the temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. Frostbite can happen if ears, paws or tails get cold enough that ice crystals form in the tissue, making it appear pale or gray and cold and hard to the touch. Sometimes the area becomes red as it thaws, or even turns black after a few days, in severe cases. OUCH! Hypothermia occurs when a dog’s body temperature goes below normal after being in cold temperatures for a long time, and symptoms usually include shivering, lethargy, a low heart rate, slow breathing and unresponsiveness. If you notice signs of frostbite or hypothermia in your dog, warm him immediately and please CALL YOUR VET! If you think your dog has frostbite, it may help to soak the affected areas with warm water for about 20 minutes.

Adjust your dog’s diet accordingly for the winter. I burn extra calories in the cold, trying to keep my body temperature up, and Liam makes sure I get the same amount of exercise as other times of the year, so I get fed about 10% more food in the winter. Score! Other dogs might have a decrease in activity because they stay inside more often, however, and their owners should keep an eye on their “figure” (as Lily would say) and maybe even decrease their food intake to keep them from putting on weight.

If your dog uses an outdoor shelter, make sure it is just right—dry, warm, draft-free and the perfect size. If his doghouse is too large, it will not maintain a comfortable temperature, but if it is too small, he won’t be able to move around to keep his circulation flowing and his body warm.

Happy holidays to all—and stay warm out there this winter!

Training Dogs the Aussie Way, Part 2: Natural Training Builds Human-Canine Bond

Liam Crowe with DogBy: Liam Crowe

G’day! Thanks for coming back for the second installment of this multi-part series explaining the Bark Busters dog training method. Last time we talked about the quickness of our system (Nov. 16, Why Speak Dog?), based on the fact that we use a language that your dog instinctively knows (voice tones and body language). Now I’d like to talk about another aspect of our method that distinguishes it from others out there: Our natural, dog-friendly training techniques actually help to build the relationship you have with your dog, helping you achieve a lasting emotional bond based on trust and respect.

Our system does not rely on treats or harsh physical punishment—instead, we teach owners to be strong leaders that their dogs will look to for safety and guidance on what is acceptable behavior. Dogs have naturally evolved in hierarchical social structures (packs), which now include human members. Within their social structure, dogs require a leader who can handle the pack’s complex decision-making requirements, such as securing food, entertainment and shelter. Many problem behaviors are rooted in anxieties dogs have because their owners are not being strong leaders or providing consistent sets of guidelines.

Whether they call it establishing the owner as the head of the household “pack” or “Alpha” or simply a strong, benevolent leader, most dog trainers agree that dogs are happier knowing that their owner is in charge, taking care of all their basic needs and keeping them safe. By establishing yourself as your dog’s leader, you not only can teach him boundaries and guidelines that will make your life easier and more enjoyable, but you can also reduce his stress and anxiety, as most dogs aren’t comfortable trying to take on the pack leadership role.

So the question now is—how do you get your dog to trust and respect you as his pack leader? Our answer is just as dogs instinctively do within their own social structures: The leader sets consistent, reasonable rules for daily activities such as eating, toileting, sleeping, and playtime; the leader praises the pack when they follow the rules; and the leader corrects pack members, using body language or voice tones (not physical aggression), to let them know when they’ve overstepped a boundary.

While dogs can learn to follow commands by being rewarded with treats, or be frightened out of behaviors by shock collars or other physical punishment, this isn’t the way dogs naturally lead one another. Handing out treat rewards is fine and fun for tricks or simply to show affection to your dog, but treat training alone won’t teach him to trust you and look to you for his safety and well-being, especially if he has stress-related problems such as aggression, separation anxiety, nuisance barking, etc. Likewise, physical punishment may deter your dog from exhibiting some behaviors, but it won’t address the underlying insecurities that may be behind his undesirable behaviors, and using fear as a motivator will ultimately break down, not build up, your relationship with your dog.

For a real, lasting, emotional bond to develop between you and your dog, your relationship must achieve a balance of trust and respect. The ultimate goal of the Bark Busters training system is nothing but praise for good behavior—because your dog respects you, looks to you for safety, and trusts your decisions.

Now that we’ve covered some of the basic philosophy behind the Bark Busters training method, in my next post, you can look for more specific techniques you can use to show your dog that you are a capable leader—simultaneously reducing his stress and undesirable behaviors and strengthening the bond you share.

Help Your Favorite Pet-Related Charity Win $500!

LilyBy: Lily

It’s the season for giving, and the people over PetSimplyat PetSimply.com are launching their new group buying power business (think Groupon for pets) by doing just that! Every week, for the next four weeks, they’re giving 5 different pet-related charities the chance to win $500. Visit PetSimply.com to vote once a day for your favorite—you can earn more votes by sharing the contest with your friends. You can also nominate an animal charity close to your heart for this and other give-back events they hope to hold in the future. I wonder if my “Foundation for the Advancement of Lily’s Good Looks” counts…

PetSimply Learn-Vote-Share

Plus, registering to vote for the contest will also mean you’ll be one of the first to have the opportunity to opt-in when they start sending out deals (50-90% discounts) for pet-related products and services nationwide. I’m hoping this will mean double the new toys (and treats and collars and outfits and food bowls and grooming brushes) for me next year!