I haven’t spent much time acclimating Pike to a head collar, but I decided to grab him and Loki for a neighborhood walk together so I could meet my daily steps goal. He did great! Pike is a very different walker from Loki — Pike is on a mission. His mission is to get through the walk as quickly as possible. Ignore the trees and other vertical surfaces, just walk. That way. Very fast.
Loki is typical boy dog — if there’s a vertical surface, he wants to pee on it. All of them. After spending a full minute sniffing first. So it was nice having Pike along to keep Loki moving. We did a figure-eight loop around the house.
Walking isn’t nearly enough physical activity to even make a dent on the daily exercise requirements for the boys, but it entertained them, and I met my goal, so there’s that.
One of the benefits of a dog-friendly workplace is taking your dogs to work with you. Of course, I have big, athletic dogs, so I try to bring them in on days when I know the number of people in the office will be low, like Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. This is Pike happily chilling on Christmas Eve!
Triggers stacking can be one low level stressor that goes on for a long time (stuck in a room with a spider for hours), several low level stressors that come one after the other (spider, followed by husband opening the door unexpectedly), or a situation where one trigger ends up being more intense than expected (spider climbing up my arm). Any of those possibilities can create a panicky response – outside the control of the animal. Remember, humans and dogs are both mammals with similar base emotions, so your responses to fear are likely to apply to your dog as well.
I really love this series from Denise, where she talks about allowing a dog to acclimate to its environment before asking the dog to perform significant amounts of work (in this context, work means “training for obedience competition”). I’ve seen many people struggle with advice to be the most entertaining thing in the dog’s life in order to get the dog to engage with them, and I think that’s a fight that I don’t want to have to fight. I’d rather let my dog decide to engage with me because I’ve controlled the environment (or access to the environment), rather than turning myself into a dancing, cookie-pushing monkey because it’s the only way to get my dog’s attention back on me.
At a show, I need my dog to focus on me in the ring, and be attentive to the rewards I have with me in the ring. Turns out the easiest way to get the dog bored with the environment and tuned into what interacting with me may get him, is to simply show up at the show early enough that the dog gets over the “kid in a candy store” phase.
Your dog has to be in a mental place where he’s ready to work before you can ask him to work and expect to get work worth rewarding.
Jean Dodds takes on the subject of how raw fed dogs can have blood work that is different from the normal reference ranges of kibble fed dogs, and whether or not those differences should be alarming for pet owners.