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The Yellow Hydrant, Issue #010
January 02, 2013

Editor's Note

While I absolutely love Christmas, it can be a nice feeling to put the decorations away in January and get our lives back to some semblance of order.

Here in Ontario, Canada, we get lots of snow and cold from now until about April! I'm not a huge fan of cold weather, so the temptation to stay inside and hibernate is very real. It might not hurt me to exercise less, but it would make my dog, Justice, go stir crazy!

In this issue, I'm going to share with you what makes me stay motivated to get out there and give Justice the exercise she needs and deserves...

Happy reading!

Table of Contents

  • Baby It's Cold Outside
  • New Articles Just Added to our Site!
  • Ask The Editor

Baby It's Cold Outside

It is definitely moving into the cold winter months here in Canada. With the temperature starting to plummet, it's easy to fall into the habit of forgoing your dog's daily exercise. You tell yourself that he doesn't want to be out there in the cold and snow anyways.

So you now ask, then what side DO you take? Both and neither, if you can wrap your mind around that! You see, humans really are funny sometimes. We've brought these wild dogs into our lives, into our cities and into our homes. We see how they can be wonderful pets and friends. We've domesticated them, and now we expect them to be born knowing the difference between right and wrong! How strange...

On the one hand, you want your dog to stop barking and be a "good", quiet family pet. You don't want him to bite, you don't want him to bark, you don't want him to chew things. And for good reason!

But on the other hand, you look down on people who correct their dog for barking, for chewing, for nipping at their hands. Dogs should be allowed to be dogs, right? They should be allowed to "let go a little". Weeell, here's what I think...

Dogs are dogs. Humans are humans. Dogs are NOT humans trapped in fur, or children. Yes, we have domesticated the dog, but they are not born, like humans, with the knowledge of right and wrong. We need to teach them this difference. For example, I want my dog to bark when someone is at the door, but not so much that I can't even open the door for fear he's going to run out and take down the mailman.

What do I do? I teach her that it's OK to bark once, but no more. Once she understands this, I will correct her (humanely!) for barking more than once. With her leash and collar on, I'm ready to correct any situation that arises. Mid-woof or no less than 1.5 seconds after, loosen the leash, give a fast, firm pop vertically, and loosen the leash again.

If every time I tell her to be quiet, I correct her for barking and praise her when she's quiet, she'll quickly learn to go where the advantage lies. Dogs aren't stupid! They just need consistency.

Likewise, I don't let my dog nuisance bark. Dogs need clear lines - no grey areas. You confuse your dog when you are angry when they bark for no apparent reason (to you), but encourage them to bark when they see a squirrel, cat, etc. ("Spike, a squirrel, look!").

Let's go back to our original example of nuisance dog barking. You can't see anything that is causing him to bark - no animals around, he's fed, has water, doesn't have to pee. So you get upset. But wait a minute! There is a reason for this barking!

You are the reason.

What! How can this be? Likely, your dog is bored. Even more likely, he's under-exercised. When a dog isn't given proper exercise, and enough of it for his temperament and breed in a day, he will become restless, agitated and bored. All of which spells trouble for you!

So what's a great remedy to stop dog barking? Exercise, exercise, exercise. The more, the better. Always keep in mind - a tired dog is a happy dog, and happy dogs don't nuisance bark.

You should give your pooch at the very minimum 40 minutes of exercise a day (and no, I don't mean let the dog into the backyard a few times). Some breeds especially (border collies, Shepherds) need a lot of burning off steam, or it will turn into bad habits. Like what? Chewing, digging, barking, whining, mouthing your hands, jumping... and so on.

To wrap it up, I agree that nuisance barking should not be allowed. A dog should be allowed to bark when someone is approaching the house, but not out of control barking. In this respect I also agree that dogs should be dogs, but up to a point. If your definition of being a dog is out of control barking, pulling you down the street for a "walk", and destroying your property - you are heading for a big surprise when Fido becomes "the owner".

New Articles to Check Out!

I've added a few great pages on our website that you'll definitely want to read. And maybe even pass along to someone you know who is struggling with solving these problems with their own dog!

Dog Digging - How to Avoid the Backyard Grand Canyon
Some dogs have a tendency to dig up the backyard. More often than not, the reason for this behavior is that of boredom. Find out what is driving your dog to dig, and how you can deal with it.

Dog Jumping - Why Can't I Make It Stop?
If you are annoyed when your dog jumps on you, how do you think your guests and friends feel about it? Regardless of your dog's size, jumping should always be unacceptable. But did you know that there are a few things that you or someone in your family are probably doing to reinforce or even teach him this behavior?

Finally - The Only Solution for a Jumping Dog
And here you have it - the best method for stopping that annoying behavior for once and for all. This truly is the quickest way to teach your dog that jumping is not allowed. I have had so much success with past clients, as well as my own dog, that I would recommend no other way!

Ask The Editor

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