Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sky's Training (Dealing With Fearful Dogs)

Those of you that read this (which I’m guessing is few and far between) will remember sky from an early post, she was a shy, timid, shepherd mix who would shrink to the back of her cage and growl menacingly at anyone who dared pass.

Well Sky baby has come six ways from Sunday! She will still bark at intrusions but she has become a new dog! She wags her tail when I enter her kennel, no more ferocious growling and hackles raise, she goes out into the play yard more than willingly and loves to be around the people she knows and trusts!

It isn’t it to say that Sky is completely cured of her lack of confidence, no she will still need an owner willing to work with her on her doggie etiquette. Someone who knows how to be gentle but firm. Most people want to coddle a dog like Sky, try to make it better like you would a child. But dogs are not children, when a dog is scared, coddling it will only reenforce the behavior, making it an annoying if not dangerous trait. Ignoring scared behavior is the best, correcting aggressiveness caused by fright is more prudent that talking to the dog like a baby.

If you have the time and room in your home and heart to give Sky a chance please come on down to the Huron Humane Society, have a volunteer put Sky out in the yard and see what she’s all about!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Boomers Training

     Due to some health problems and school I have not been able to get to the shelter as often as I like but I can update boomers training a little.

     I cannot stress how important it is for people to realize that these dogs do not go home to a stable environment every night. They stay in small kennels most of the day with around 30 differnet dogs barking, this makes it difficult for them to retaine what they learn. That being said, Boomer is doing excellent in retaining his basic commands. He is learning to greet people on all four feet, and walk nicely on the leash. He still needs some work but moving into a calm, stable, and constant environment will make this dog amazing. He should be a breeze to train anyway you want him. If you are interested in Boomer, please come on down to the Huron Humane Society or give them a shout at their website.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Potty Training

    I figured it was about to time actually post something relevant to training, so here you are!

    Potty training is amongst the most frustrating and time consuming stages in a dogs life. For both the dog and you. But if you remember PCP you can effectively and quickly train your new puppy not to potty on the Persian rug.


    Patience is probably the hardest thing to come by what puppy is weeing on your freshly cleaned livingroom carpet but it’s the biggest thing to keep in mind. Puppy doesn’t know that livingroom carpet means indoors and indoors means no potty. So you must teach him this by keeping what patience you have and calmly correcting the behavior. A simple AH! and a clap of the hands will do with a quick evacuation of the puppy to the outside. Normally puppy will have already finished his business on the carpet so the evacuation will not be very long.

    To avoid accidents all together make sure puppy is going outside a half an hour after eating or drinking. If puppy doesn’t relieve himself then make sure you take him out every twenty minutes or so after. Even with constant vigilance it is impossible to avoid one or two accidents, just keep this in mind when considering a puppy.


    Puppy needs a routine, one that will be adopted and kept consistent. An example is;
7am- Immediately outside for potty
7:15am- Food and Water
7:45am- Potty break
8am- If human so chooses back to bed
9am- Potty break
9:15am- Play
9:45am- Sleep
12pm- Food and Water
12:30- potty break
5pm- Food and Water
5:30pm- Potty break
8pm- Sleepy time.
Midnight- Potty Break
3am- Potty Break

    Make no mistake, this schedule may not work for everyone, but it is the consistency that matter. For example if you work during the day you may want to consider crate training, or better yet an adult dog.

    Also realize that the midnight and three AM potty breaks are inevitable, unless you want to be cleaning up after Puppy every morning.


    Act stupid when your puppy potties outside. The first time puppy potties outside is like the first time manage to beat that level on Pac Man, Mario Bros, or Halo, sheer bliss. So do your part to let puppy know that he’s done the right thing. Talk in that really high pitched voice and jump up and down. Doesn’t matter who’s around. You can also offer treats and pets, puppy will love that. Just let him know he’s a good dog for pottying outside and not on grandma’s rug. If you stay consistent with your praise like “Good boy go potty!” puppy will learn that’s his cue to do the job and see his human act like a fool.

    I hope this helps someone with their potty training problems. If you have any questions or comments be sure to leave them, I will try and get back to everybody.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pooch Connected

It seems like nowadays you can learn to do anything online, even train dogs! But how realistic is it for someone to learn to train dogs online? I can understand getting the basic dog psychology from online classes, and maybe how to teach simple commands, but without the hands on experience is a person really going to be able to go out and train a dog?

    I’m sure this could work for easily trained dogs, Golden Retreivers, Poodles, Flat Coats. But what about dogs with a thicker skull like Rotties, German Shepherds, and Pit Bulls. As well, online classes will only teach you one type of training technique, which may not work with all dogs! I know I say that a lot, but I want to stress it, no two dogs will have the same training needs! 

    So what is your take on this? Would you have an online certified trainer train your dogs? I wouldn’t think online classes would properly prepare someone for the true nature of untrained dogs. Of corse if someone who had already had training experience then took the online course they would have a better handle on things. I suppose it is just a matter of understand and personal hands on experience.

Image © 2010 Baxter Boo.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Pit Bull Terror?

For many years I have heard the vicious, simple minded, accusations, and stereotypes thrown at Pit Bulls and I have always defended them. Cruel people create cruel dogs, no matter what the breed, to prove my point, I take you to the Philippines.

March 1, 2007 “Chief” a four year old American Pit Bull Terrier laid down his own life for the life of an 87 year old grandmother and her granddaughter, when a cobra was found in their home. Startled the cobra did what startled snakes do and fanned its hood. Chief quickly put himself in between the cobra and the two women serving as a shield when the cobra struck.

Click Here for the entire article.

Now how many people would see this Pittie on the street and think immediately that it would tear them to shreds? Too many. I see it even in my own family, “Stupid bastard’s, everyone of them needs to be killed,” one person said to me. People do not see that it is not in the dogs heart to be a killer. It must be taught and by who? Man. It is by no fault of his own that the Pit Bull got its reputation and it is through no fault of his own that cruel men continue to torture and mentally break dogs until their only will is to fight.

The Pit Bull was first introduced into the Americas in the 1800's by Boston-Irish immigrants when bull baiting was outlawed in England. Since then American breeders have bred more muscle and stronger jaws into them, making them a formidable breed, but what breeders couldn’t do was breed out the loyalty and kindness of these dogs.

Don’t blame the breed blame the deed.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What Makes The Difference

In my years I have seen everything from “Marley” dogs to “Lassie” dogs, from owners like Judd Travers in “Shiloh” to owners like Josh Framm in "Air bud". But no matter the dog, the person, or setting a good dog can be acquired through time and patients.

The most important time for training in a dogs life is between 5 weeks and year. That’s not to say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! However a dog’s mind is most like a sponge when they a younger. With brief training sessions through out the day any puppy can become as excellent as any you see on TV.

But Let me stress this, training is not the same with every dog. A dog is just as unique as you and me. What some dogs will pick up immediately others will not, some dogs are too smart for their own good. Case in point; before I was born my father brought home a Golden Retriever mix, what it was mixed with they never knew. But this dog was far too intelligent (not saying being intelligent is bad!). In my parents generation a dog was a dog, and the entire mind frame of pack mentality was lost on them, so my brother became a litter mate to the new dog. The dog found it pleasing in some way to run over to my brother, two or three at the time, and push him over with his front feet.

“You could tell the dog was just so pleased with himself,” recalls my mother. “Wagging his tail and looking at me like ‘hey mom look what I did!’ he was really like having another child.” She goes on to explain that he was the easiest trained dog in the world. He was potty trained, trained to stay out of the kitchen and knew a slew of tricks.

One day, the little Golden learned a new trick, a trick that probably cost him his visa to the family life. He learned that instead of going out in the snow and cold, he could pee down the register in the house, and no one knew so he didn’t get in trouble. Lovely, insta-urine smell every time the heat kicked on. Needless to say it was the boot for Mr. Golden.

Today we would have worked with the dog, changed his behavior and channeled it into something more productive. My mom admits that it was lack of exercise and things to do that cause the dogs behavior. Retrievers in general need mind stimulating work, that’s what they were bred for. Just like you can’t keep a husky in a cage all day, let him out and expect him to act like a 15 year old poodle. This holds true for most dogs.

Exercise, mental stimulation, and consistency, that’s what makes the difference.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Introducing Bear!

Bear is a HUGE love bug, he loves to be turned out into the play yard at the shelter and play ball, talk to the cats, and get loved on by a human. Bear is very rambunctious and doesn’t get along well with other dogs.

Bears training will really be more of a rehabilitation of his mental state when in the presence of other dogs. As with Sky, the environment of the loud shelter will prove a difficult setting for helping Bear, but that is what we specialize in. I don’t expect Bear’s story to be updated untill late February, but if anyone would like to adopt Bear I would be more than willing to work side by side with them in his training for no fee.

Bear is available at the Huron Humane Society.

Trainers: Julia Fish and Ashley Hastings

Introducing Boomer!

Boomer is a loveable Staffordshire mix who wants nothing more than to please. Boomer has been at the shelter for over TWO years! In this time Boomer has of course picked up some bad habits, Boomer likes to jump on people when he is first let out into the yard. Boomer is quickly learning not to jump on people.
He also is learning his basic commands, he quickly picked up Sit in one day.
Boomer already knows “Wait at the Gate” and to wait for his food patiently. He is house trained, and friendly with most people (he is a little unsure of men), loves to play in the yard with other dogs, but would do best in a home without cats.

Trainer: Julia Fish

Boomer is avaliable at the Huron Humane Society.

Introducing Baby!

Baby is a wonderful lady who has been at the Huron Humane Society since I started volunteering there! Baby is a great all around dog who needs a loving home with someone who will play with her and love her! Shes a really love bug and wants out of the shelter!

Baby is learning her basic commands and is a real puller on the leash, her training will concentrate on her pulling and fine tuning her basic training so she will never stray from her new humans side. Baby gets along well with other dogs, and all people. She loves going out into the pen with her best bud Boomer who will be featured in the next Post. Please check back for updates on Baby!

Baby is available at the Huron Humane Society.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Introducing Sky!

Sky is a very sweet dog but is very timid and shy in her kennel. She cowers at the back of her kennel and can become protective. The noisy, high traffic, shelter environment dose not help this situation in any way.

I try and spend a few minutes sitting at the front of Sky’s cage every day I’m at the shelter. This way she learns that I’m not going to hurt her. Sky will need a calm environment with a handler who is patient and understanding of her shy and timid nature.

With time, positive association, and patients Sky will be on her way to a living a happy life. However I believe a big part of her rehabilitation will be living in a home environment with a loving owner!

Trainer: Julia Fish

Sky is currently adoptable at the Huron Humane Society!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Introducing Quinn!

Quinn is a beautiful young boy who I have limited background information on. However I have spent a lot of time with Quinn as he has been in the shelter since before September 2009! Quinn loves people, he loves to play and needs a home that will give him lots of time to play and have fun. Quinn enjoys walks through the woods at the shelter but can get a little over excited and will pull on the leash. Quinn is a solid strong dog and knows what he can get away with, this is what we will be working on for the end of January, so be sure to check back to see his story and others!

Trainer: Ashley Hastings

Quinn is currently adoptable at the Huron Humane Society!

Introducing Chico!

Chico is a sweet older gentlemen who was brought into the Huron Humane Society by animal control. I started working with Chico in September 2009, when I met Chico he had a short attention span, but a love of walks, people, and treats. Chico gets along well with other dogs, doesn’t pull on the leash and seems to be potty trained. So why am I featuring him on a training blog?

Because Chico has one nasty habit. Chico likes to run. He has husky in him and he will run given the chance. Training Chico to stay by his companions side is more difficult than it may sound. With patience, time, and little hard work Chico will be sticking to his handlers side like glue in no time. So be sure to check back at the end of January to see how Chico’s training is coming along!

Trainer: Ashley Hastings

Chico is currently adoptable at the Huron Humane Society

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blue Ribbons Training: The Trainer

Blue Ribbons Training is a small training collaboration of people who love animals. Between us we have more than 12 years training experience. From abused and neglected dogs to puppies who are just starting their training we have experienced it all. I, Julia Fish, strive to educate the public on responsible and reasonable care and training of all dogs. Working for five months with a well known German Shepherd rescue in California, and with animal shelters for years before that, I have over ten years of training experience with shelter dogs, dogs that have been abused, problem dogs, and puppies. I have trained an expanse of breeds from Pit Bulls and Rottweiler’s to Toy Poodles and Chihuahua’s.
My training techniques vary from dog to dog, what may work with one dog may not work with another. That is why I spend time with each dog I train and get to know their personality. For example, a dog that is rough and pulls hard on a leash may not respond to just the simple vocal correction and a gentle pull on the lead while other milder dogs will. For the dog that would not respond to the first correction, a stronger correction is needed, such as a choke chain or a head collar.
This is true also with puppies, not all puppies will potty train the same. Some will pick it up immediately while others will not. No matter the dog or the situation the technique will vary, but I have yet to find a dog I could not train with Time and Patience.
Now, I have started volunteering my time, when not at college, to the Huron Humane Society where I train some of the long term residents there. This blog will mostly be about those dogs and their advancements in training, they will also be recognized when they are adopted along with their new owners.