Responsible Pet Owner Month

Responsible Pet Owner Month

I know it’s the last week of February, but dental month always takes most of the posts!  But…February is also responsible pet owner month.  So for the rest of the week, I would like to highlight that some with a five part series on what does it mean to be a responsible pet owner.  To your cranky neighbor, responsible pet ownership might mean keeping your pet out of the their yard or not letting your pet poop in their yard.  To others it might mean “fixing” your pet or “vaccinating” your pet.

I believe it is those mentioned above and more.  So let’s talk today about the last two things, we believe are vital to being a responsible pet owner and why you should microchip your pet and get them training for socialization and obedience.  These two can be crucial over the life of your pet and are a phenomenal sign you are being a responsible pet owner.

Part 4 Microchip:

Microchip Statistics

  • 1 in 3 pets will go missing in their lifetime.
  • 90% will never return home.
  • A chipped cat is 20 times more likely to get back to its owner.
  • Most pets brought to shelters are never reunited with their family without a microchip.

Hamilton County Humane Society will chip your dog if they are lost and brought there.

A dog with a microchip is twice as likely to find its owner.

Microchips are a sure way to prove ownership of a pet.  Occasionally, you may have to prove ownership of your pet.

Microchip Scanners are universal, meaning any scanner used at a veterinarian’s office or Human Society will read other brands of microchips.

A microchip can be placed at any regular appointment or walk in at VIP Animal Care.  Even better is the company we use does not charge you any maintenance fees for the online registration which is vital if your pet becomes lost.

Part 5 Training/Socialization:

Taken from the Dog Whisperer 2nd edition 2007

Positive training says, “do this and something good will happen.”

Aversive training says, “do this OR something bad will happen.”

*fosters fear.

Positive do training allows you to create a partnership with your dog using gentle persuasion based on kindness, respect and compassion.  With this philosophy you use gentleness with a flexible, yet strict, uncompromising attitude.

If a dog is deprived of social stimulation, both physical and emotional health are compromised.

A lack of socialization can lead to health problems, as well as obsessive behaviors such as tail chasing, self-mutilation, scratching, biting, destruction of the environment (including walls, floors, and furniture), interminable spells of barking, chewing and various manifestations of aggression.  Because of the lack of physical, emotional and mental stimulation, many domesticated animals don’t get along well with others.

The lack of a proper balance of mental, physical and emotional stimulation is one of the main reasons that people have problems with their dogs.  Bottom line, they’re bored!  Employment is important because it not only provides stimulation, but also promotes and develops a sense of purpose and pride.

 

When we got a Border Collie puppy 7 years ago, the first thing our children wanted to do was take him in the 4-H dog obedience program.  Many of you have seen the framed photos in the office of Dr. Flanders showing his German Shepherd, Sara when he was in 4-H.  My kids were naturally excited to also participate in the same 4-H project as Uncle Jerry.  I was happy because Wrangler would learn the basics and continue to add skills every year that the kids continue in the project.  This is a great way for your kids and dog to learn to work together while learning to sit, stay, heal, etc.

Personal story on training.

Wrangler has not participated in the 4-H program for 3 years now, yet anytime we get his choke chain out, he gets excited because if you didn’t know, Border Collies are happiest when they are working and he knows the choke chain means work.  He still does the sit, stay, down, heal and walks right beside whoever is holding the leash.  When we take the choke chain off and say “Free Dog”, off he goes to run out more energy.

The 4-H dog obedience program is a very low cost way to train your pet.  There is a small participation fee which covers books and ribbon costs.  Your dog will have to have up to date vaccinations, a basic health physical, proof of worm medicine given and a heart worm test.   

Let’s cover some basic ways to train your dogs to be calm and polite to your guests.  Try these training tips if you are struggling with a pet who barks when the doorbell rings, jumps on guest or worse growls at guests.

  1. The Doorbell

Have your dog on a leash, and have a trusted friend who likes dogs to help with the training process.  Have them right the doorbell while you are holding your dog with the leash.  If your dog barks and tries to run to the door, give a quick firm tug on the leash and use a firm voice to say “No Bark” or “Stay” if they are trying to go to the door.  This will take several tries and many days to imprint on your dog the new habit.  Once you have it mastered on the leash, then start without the leash.

  1. Staying Calm/No Jumping

To start this new habit, practice first when you come home.  Depending on the size of your dog, there are a couple of ways to approach this.  With our 50# Border Collie, Dr. Flanders told us that when Wrangler started to jump on us, stick your knee out so it prevents him from getting on you while saying “No Jump” in a firm voice.  After a few times of the knee in their face, the new pattern will be learned.  You may think this is cruel, but the point is not to hurt your dog, just to stop the jumping, so you don’t want to put the knee into him, but just put it up to prevent a barrier.  Next make sure you praise him the next time he greets you without jumping on you.  

For small dogs, the knee trick will not work.  For these little dogs, you want to ignore them when they are jumping at your ankles.  Once your dog has calmed down, reach down and pet, saying “Good Dog”.  Continue with the same routine for several days.  You can give a treat as well for reinforcement.  My little Aussie runs to our lazy boy chair and sits till I take my coat off and put my purse down, then I go over first thing to give her love.  Now that’s not to say she isn’t wiggling your butt double time when I am coming over.

Have the same friend who helped with the doorbell training, work with you again.  Have them repeat these same tips for large or small dogs.

Repetition is the key for training your dog to greet visitors with respect, no barking and following your lead.  Sometimes your dog can regress.  If that happens just start the training again, being careful tot follow the same steps as before.  Dogs respond best to one syllable command words.

For example:  Use NO BARK     Not:  NO BARKING

Use NO JUMP    Not:  NO JUMPING

And don’t change the command.  For example, the first time you taught, you used the words “NO BARK” and then when you had to re-train, you changed it to:  NO SOUND or BE QUIET.  This is confusing to your pet and can hinder successful training.

We hope you have enjoyed these tips this week.  See you next week.

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