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Julia Kamysz Lane Joins the Conversation
She’s a pro on sports, rescue, multi-critter households and more

It’s open thread time again, when Bark readers chat in real-time about whatever is on their minds with each other and Bark writers and editors. There’s no agenda.

 
This week we’re pleased to have long-time contributing editor Julia Kamysz Lane stopping by off and on during the day. Julia lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Brian, four rescue dogs—Shelby, Darby, Jolie and Ginger Peach—and two rescue cats, Cricket and Bruiser Bear. Her dogs have collectively earned more than 70 performance titles and participate in agility, rally, scent detection, trick training and more. Active in rescue and a professional trainer, Julia co-founded New Orleans German Shepherd Rescue in the early 2000s. She has written about everything from dock diving and agility (even an agility pig!) to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and breed prejudice—subjects she knows firsthand—and plenty in between. So there’s plenty she can chime in about.
 
In time for summer roadtrip season, we week we’ll be selecting one participant at random to receive a Dog Is My Co-Pilot bumpersticker, so be sure to include your email when you register to comment, so we can contact you if you win.
 
Newcomers, the open thread is a little like the dog park: Get out there and run, sniff around and play nice. Obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST. 

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Submitted by Daun P. | May 4 2011 |

Hi Julia. What tricks do you have for keeping busy bodies mentally stimulated in their enviroment? We have weims (even the 10 yr old acts like an onery pup still), gsd/chessie mix, lab, rottie/rhodie mix...We have interactive toys which encourage their independent play, but the weims & our gsd mix seem to need to more than that.

Also, if you have any tips on marking inside the house I would greatly appreciate that too. Have a great day!

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Hi Daun, what a variety pack you have! Would love to see a photo of them. Please post to http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/BarkMagazine so other Bark fans can see them.

Thanks for the great questions! I have several favorite tricks for a multi-dog household. Traditional hide and seek is fun, but you can take it to a whole new level. Pick one of your dogs who has a solid stay, and s/he will be the one who hides. Encourage the rest of your pack to seek. Some of the best hiding places for the human are behind doors, the shower curtain, and inside a closet. I wouldn't recommend behind a shower curtain for the dog as the hidee because s/he could easily slip & hurt themselves in all the excitement once they're found.

My second fave trick is playing "Who has the fastest ...?" I'll round up the pack (sometimes even the cats get in on the game) and ask who has the fastest sit, down, watch me, shake, gopher, speak, etc. The winner receives a quickly thrown treat. If this gets your dogs too wound up or you have a resource guarder in the mix, you can play a statue version. Whoever has the best sit/stay, down/stay or stand/stay receives a treat.

For more trick training ideas, check out "101 Dog Tricks," by Kyra Sundance, and "Dog Tricks: Fun and Games for Your Clever Canine," by Mary Ray and Justine Harding.

Marking in the house is a common problem. First step is to narrow it down: who is the pee culprit? Once you know who, find out when and where. If there is a pattern - early in the morning, after a meal or play time, etc., and it's always in the rarely used basement or dining room - that can help you figure out why.

Be sure to rule out any physical problems such as a urinary tract infection by taking Sir Pees-A-Lot to the vet for a check up.

Boredom can often lead to behavioral problems, such as peeing in the house, so you're on the right track by seeking more mental stimulation ideas for your pack.

Hope this helps and please keep us posted!

Submitted by Daun P. | May 4 2011 |

Thanks for the great reply. I will defintely check those things out you recommended.

Sir Pees-a-lot is a rescue foster, who was not neutered until he was 6 years old & came into rescue last year. He has a long standing history of marking. He does currently have a UTI, so I am sorting out the possibility of him having chronic UTI's. However, he likes to mark the couch, human bed, side of the bath tub, trash can & one particular kitchen cabinet (it holds plastic storage containers - no food).

Thanks again!

Submitted by SJ | May 4 2011 |

Hey Julia,

I have a beagle puppy (10 months) who chews everything in sight. All his toys are in shreds within the hour he receives it. I have tried different types, but any toy that is too hard he quickly looses interest in. Do you have any suggestions what I can give him? Or even a suggestion on how to stop him from stealing and ripping my oven mitts, clothing, towels, pillows, etc?

Submitted by Daun P. | May 4 2011 |

SJ,
When our dogs grab an inappropriate item, we immediately have them drop it & trade it for something more appropriate. Our toys include kongs, ropes, squeaky tennis balls, elk antlers & moosie paddles. We do buy the tuffy toys from www.mydogtoy.com, we usually get the mega ones. Expensive, but rarely destroyed at our house. Rarely, sometimes they are able to get the stuffing out, but then empty carcass seems to be more fun so it lives on.

We were recently recommended to try Goughnuts (http://www.goughnuts.com/)but a friend who only uses these, but I cannot vouch for their durability as I have not tried them out.

Submitted by SJ | May 4 2011 |

Julia,

I always approach him in a way not to scar him, say the "give" command, and then try to trade the inappropriate item for a treat. But he doesn't always want to give up the item. And if I put my hand close, he tries to bite.

Thanks for the toy suggestions!

Submitted by Daun P. | May 4 2011 |

I never trade for a treat, alway another toy becuase that is what works at our house.

Submitted by SJ | May 4 2011 |

ok, I'll try that. Thank you for the help!

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Hi SJ, this is Julia - a fellow Bark reader named Daun gave you those other excellent suggestions.

Here's the real cause of the problem: your Beagle puppy has been given more freedom than he's earned. If he cannot be actively supervised with toys, and by that I mean, you are actively playing with him and the toy, then he should be in his crate or attached to you by leash so you can witness and reward his good behaviors.

As a professional dog trainer, this is the best advice I can give to my clients: Acknowledge daily the good things that your dogs does instead of waiting for them to fail and only giving them attention for the problem behaviors. Dogs will do what is rewarding to them. If your Beagle boy gets attention from you (yelling "stop it" or "no, bad dog" is negative attention, but still attention!) for shredding things, guess what, not only are you rewarding that behavior but you're ensuring that it will continue. Amazing how good dogs are at training us, eh?

In order to stop the cycle, it's time to be proactive. Think about how to set up your dog for success. He's either on leash tied to you or in his crate with a Kong filled with peanut butter, yogurt or cheese (freeze overnight to make it harder for him to lick out) to give him an outlet for his need to chew.

Now let's say despite your best planning and proactivity, he grabbed something inappropriate. Do not angrily scold him or try to grab it from him. Think of it this way - if you were eating a slice of pizza with the works and I came in the room and swiped it from you, I imagine you would not be real thrilled with me. Next time I came into the room while you were eating, you'd probably move away from me or have a few choice words for me. (Never mind that I was concerned about your cholesterol or healthy eating!)

Imagine this scenario instead: I walked into the room and offered you an entire pizza. I'm guessing not only would you like me, but you would actually look forward to my approach because who knows what yummy treat I would have to offer you. Whether you're offering treats or toys or praise, the key is knowing that what you have to offer is more valuable than whatever your dog has in his mouth. This will rebuild his trust in you, strengthen your bond, and create a dog who wants to do what you want, when you want, because he wants to.

Also, give him more mental and physical exercise. Trick training combines both! Or look into agility, rally obedience, scent work, you name it! Does he have any dog friends? Schedule a doggie play date so he can use up some of that energy. A tired dog is a good dog!

If you have any questions, particularly regarding his freedom and household privileges, please let me know. Hope this helps!

Submitted by SJ | May 5 2011 |

Julia... hehe sorry about that.

Thank you so much for the freedom/household privilege advise! I will definitely be putting that to the test!

I actually do a lot of trick training with him (Dexter). Dex knows the usual sit, down, roll-over, shake, etc... plus he'll get and give me his leash, jump over my leg or through a hoola-hoop, climb a ladder, find on command, turn on or off our bedroom light, and wave bye-bye. He also knows his left and right.

I take Dexter to the dog park at least once a week, and I take a couple of 10min. walks with him every day. So he gets plenty of exercise... he just loves to chew! (smile)

Submitted by SaraG | May 4 2011 |

My dog isn't always predictable with other dogs but I want to do more than run, hike, and play fetch. Are there any sports that are good for us to do on our own?

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Hi Sara, thanks for writing! My Pit Bull mix, Shelby, is selective about the dogs she likes, too, so I'm always on the hunt for new, low-stress activities that will challenge her mentally and physically. I have a couple ideas for you:

Scent detection (www.k9nosework.com) is an increasingly popular sport. You can start on your own by hiding a treat or toy and sending your dog to "seek" and find it. Check your local dog training facilities to see if they offer a scent detection or Nose Work class. At my dog training facility, Spot On K9 Sports, each dog works the room alone, so Shelby and any other dogs who need space or are reactive, may participate without the stress of a traditional group setting.

Trick training can combine the practicality of obedience skills (sit, down, come, stay) with the creativity of canine fresstyle and Rally obedience. You can also observe your dog for behaviors s/he already does naturally and shape into a finished trick. See my response to Daun below for the names of my two favorite trick training books to get you started.

If there's a sport that intrigues you, such as agility or lure coursing or dock diving, contact the trainer to find out if s/he offers private lessons. One of my students has a dog-aggressive dog and cannot risk her being in a group class environment. We meet weekly for private agility lessons, which gives her dog a different outlet than the usual activities, plus her owner can relax and enjoy learning something new together without having to be on alert for other dogs nearby.

I could give you more but I think this is a good start. Please let me know which activity you decide to try first and how it goes!

Submitted by Team Bat Pack | May 4 2011 |

I'd also like to suggest Triebball!

I have a very reactive Border Collie, Treibball was great for him because it wasn't so high energy as our flyball class. However, just because your dog might be reactive - don't rule out other sports. Agility and Flyball can be great for reactive dogs because your dog has to learn to focus on you through everything else that is going on.

Treibball helped my dog learn to focus in a less stimulating environment and now he is doing flyball, even passing other dogs without chasing/lunging/nipping because he is focused on ME! I still have to watch him when he is not racing, but he's doing great.

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Team Bat Pack, that's an awesome suggestion! Ginger Peach and I have attended two Treiball (urban herding) workshops and they were a blast. I'd still like to try her on sheep sometime. Have you ever tried sheep or duck herding with your BC? One of my friends with a reactive BC found sheepherding really increased her dog's confidence, which lessened her reactive behavior.

Submitted by Team Bat Pack | May 4 2011 |

Yes! I do sheep and goat herding with both my cattle dog and BC when I have the time and can afford it. Treibball is much cheaper and can be practiced in the back yard though! It's also more obedience driven than instinct driven..so I suppose whatever works for your dog!

Submitted by Alexis | May 4 2011 |

What do you think about the new trend for organic dog products? I've been buying Trader Joe's treats forever but just tried a sample of Organic Oscar dog shampoo and conditioner. Is it just me wanting my dog to "go organic", or does it really make a difference?

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Alexis, how did you know I used to work in advertising? ;) The cynical copywriter in me questions if the word "organic" is being slapped onto anything and everything in a bid for our hard-earned dollars. But, I recently bought a bottle of dog shampoo simply because the label featured a Dalmatian (I have two Dals). Marketers 1, Julia 0.

That said, I do choose all-natural products, treats and toys for my dogs when possible because I figure the fewer chemicals and fillers, the healthier it is for my dogs. If it's branded as organic, and you can verify it as such, afford it, and see a difference in your dog, I say go for it!

Out of curiosity, what is the ingredient list for Trader Joe's dog treats? I wonder if there are any fillers such as corn or wheat. My Dalmatian, Jolie, is allergic to preservatives used in commercial dog treats, so our entire variety pack snacks on Real Meat treats (www.realmeatpet.com). We're also fortunate enough to have the Liver Lady (www.theliverlady.com) in the Chicago area. My dogs go crazy for her fresh, homemade Liver Brownies and Tuna Biscotti.

Also, take a look at your dog's toy box. If you find anything made of vinyl, throw it out! My little hyena dog, Ginger Peach, loves to tug on ropes, but I don't like the dyes used in some, so I found Tug-A-Hemp (Google for retailers). It's non toxic, chemical free and biodegradable.

Please let me know if you see or feel a difference in your dog's coat after using the Organic Oscar products.

Submitted by Lizzi | May 4 2011 |

Hi Julia I live in Chicago and I see you're in the area, I was wondering what are your favorite places to go or activities to do around Chicago with your dogs? I am always looking for more fun things to do with my dogs around here!

I was also wondering what type of scent detection your dogs do (tracking, nosework, or more 'detection dog' type?) And do you know any places to do this type of training around Chicago as I've been trying to get my Shepherd into something like that... Her previous owner did some narcotics and tracking work with her but I haven't been able to find out where we can go to train more in those areas (most places are too far south from me.)

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Hi Lizzi, oh, you're a dog lover after my own heart. I can't get enough dogcentric activities to do, either! My husband jokes that I'll try anything if I can bring my dog. That's the only reason why I tried Doga (yoga with your dog), but that's a story for another time.

If you're in the city proper, you must absolutely do two things and then promise to tell me all about it later: visit Montrose Dog Beach (Wilson & Simonds), equally renowned for its friendliness and cleanliness. Imagine how happy and tired your shepherd will be after a few hours of sun, sand and frolicking!

Once she's made some new friends, invite them all on a Canine Cruise (www.mercuryskylinecruiseline.com). What dog wouldn't love the wind whipping through their fur as they surveyed Lake Michigan on a fine Spring day?

Day tripping is one of my favorite things to do with my dogs. When we have a free Saturday or Sunday (which is admittedly rare), we pack a picnic lunch and head to Lure Coursing Fanatics (www.lurecoursingfanatics.com) in Somers, Wisconsin. The drive is about 1 hour, 15 minutes for me coming from the northwest suburbs, so it'd likely be closer for you. Having a sleepy, happy girl passed out in the backseat will make it worth your while!

So your Shepherd is kinda nosey, eh? ;) Sure wish you lived closer as I'd love to have you join our scent detection classes (www.spotonk9s.com), which are based on K9 Nose Work (www.k9nosework.com). The instructor is a professional K9 handler and German Shepherd lover, so your Shepherd would probably love him and vice versa. Three of my dogs are in his classes and it's fascinating to see how they all use different strategies to find a source, be it a treat or toy. I have a new appreciation for the power of the dog nose! And it's much more mentally and physically taxing than I would've expected.

My husband just started a SAR (Search and Rescue) class with our Dalmatian, Darby. They're doing it just for fun because she's nine years old but still has crazy drive that needs an outlet (even though she still competes in agility with me!). If you'd like more info and a chance to try out for a spot on the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, go to Dash 'n' Splash (www.dashnsplash.net) for details. If that's too far away for you as well, please drop me a note and I'll see if I can find someone in the city for you.

Submitted by Lizzi | May 5 2011 |

All great ideas, thanks!
My Shepherd already loves the Montrose dog beach although we don't get there too often (I hate the sand aftermath), here's a pic of her at the beach:
http://www.chicagocanine.com/bianca/biancabeachcl.jpg

I'd love to do the dog cruise this summer too, I went to their first ever cruise with my previous dog but my current dog has not gone yet. I'm not sure if she'd like the lure coursing, we tried it at Camp Dogwood once and she only gave a half--hearted chase (she figured out it wasn't real.)

I was interested in K9 Nosework but the classes are all pretty far for me...I'm on the North side of Chicago, near Lincolnwood.
The Dash n Splash class sounds really neat too (although that is also pretty far from us) is that the one called "Give Your Dog a Job! " on their website?

Submitted by Team Bat Pack | May 4 2011 |

Do you have any suggestions for increasing tug drive in distracting situations? Both my dogs like to tug at home, but when we get into a class or a tournament situation...they prefer other rewards such as food. I would like to transition one of my dogs to a tug for flyball to help his speed and be able to catch him so he doesn't run around trying to herd all the balls like he currently does.

Submitted by Daun P. | May 4 2011 |

We put some broth & peanut butter on our tugs when we did flyball. Anything to make it stinky & more valuable than the beloved tennis ball.

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Great idea, Daun! Reminds me of when Darby and I dabbled in competition obedience and the instructor suggested I simmer her wooden dumbbell in chicken broth. Boy, did she love to retrieve that smelly thing! Just had to be careful not to leave her alone with it because she would've gladly bitten a chunk out of it.

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Hi Team Bat Pack, your question is incredibly timely! I just so happen to be working on this very thing with my little hyena mix, Ginger Peach. She's a tugging maniac in familiar, relaxed environments like home. But in a new place or a busy noisefest like an agility trial, she's too distracted to tug or show much interest in toys.

Here's what I'm doing; I'd love to hear how this works for your pups:

1) Take the show on the road. Visit friends and family, local parks, school fields, retail stores that allow pets, and play with your dogs. At first, don't even ask your dog to tug. If you're familiar with clicker training, click and treat your dog for just looking at the toy on the ground. Toss the treat on the toy; do not give it from your hand as the placement of the reward helps your dog understand what it is you want. Your dog will figure out that s/he must interact in some way with the toy (look at it, nose it, paw it, mouth it) in order to get the food. Gradually build on this focus on and excitement for the toy in new places before attempting to tug on it.

2) Create a motivating toy. It's possible that the tug toy you're using now has a negative association for your dog. That's okay - you can create a new one! International agility competitor and trainer Susan Garrett wrote an insightful article on how to create a tug monster. Check it out at Say Yes! Dog Training (www.clickerdogs.com/createamotivatingtoy.htm). I also found the Tug-It toy (www.tug-it.com) to be helpful when teaching my Dalmatian, Jolie, how to tug and retrieve. You place food inside the mesh bag, which your dog can smell and taste. This tempts them to put their mouth on the toy. One of my dogs' favorite tug toys is a fleece leash that has real rabbit fur woven into it and a tennis ball on the end. If your dog is crazy for the balls, why not attach one to the tug rope? Check these out: http://www.kellenkennels.com/PDT.html

3) Material girl. Dogs are tactile creatures. After a little experimentation, I figured out that Ginger Peach would tug on her competition Frisbee (a blend of plastic and rubber) but not a fleece rope or other soft material in a distraction-filled setting. One of my students uses a regular old bath towel for his Eskie to tug on in agility class and at shows. She didn't need a fancy tug toy!

4) Tug or bust. While you're working on tug outside flyball, what can you do when you are practicing or at a tournament and need a lightning fast recall? You're going to use classical conditioning. Every time you say your dog's name and come, you're going to give him/her a spectacular treat that he never gets for anything else. I'm talking bites of steak, greasy French fry, stinky cheese, whatever it takes. Don't worry whether it's healthy or not as this is for the short term, just to get your dog's attention as you transform his flyball recall behavior. At first, practice come at home, then visit all the places I mentioned in #1 before taking it to flyball practice. You don't want to push your dog too hard too fast and set him/her up to fail. Set him/her up for success and build on it till you reach your ultimate goal.

Hope these ideas help! Please let me know how it goes.

Submitted by Team Bat Pack | May 4 2011 |

Thanks! good tips! Yes, actually I do have a "tug-it." My cattle dog goes BERZERK for it at home...we get to practice, and she's like...meh. Problem is with her is that she has been a competing flyball dog for 5 years already... whenever I try to switch her to anything that is not food..she slows way down. as long as its just a tiny piece of hot dog or cheese, she'll run pretty fast (4.5s).

My Border Collie has only been competing for a few trials.. but has been in training for almost 2 years. He has a very, very intense chase drive, and it has taken him that long to be able to run against other dogs. Now, he's slower, but thinking and safe. I was hoping a tug might be useful to help give him something to really drive towards instead of a ball or a treat.

Submitted by anonymous | May 4 2011 |

This morning I lost my cool with my dog. I had work due and was stressed out and he kept leaping at the front door barking at anything that moved. WE've been working on it, but obviously aren't there yet and when I'm under the gun, I'm no good at training. Well, I got so mad I yelled at him and forced him into a downstay. I feel terrible about it. He looked at me like what the heck? I could tell he could feel my anger. I took a few deep breaths, stretches, and then we headed out for a walk together. I just realized in that moment how much our dogs need us to stay cool. They can be so vulnerable.

Submitted by Kathleen St. J. | May 4 2011 |

It's true. One time my husband very angrily yelled a guy in our hallway when he was coming back from a walk with our dog, Daisy. Poor Daisy was so frightened by his anger, even though it wasn't directed at her. She crept back to our apartment with her tail between her legs and John had to comfort her. He felt terrible.

(Incidentally, he was yelling at this guy who was once again just letting his dog run around in the hall like it was a dog park.)

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Kathleen, thanks for sharing that story. Here your husband was trying to do a good thing (no hallway dog parks!), yet the downside was it being within earshot of Daisy. I'll bet she forgave him more quickly than he forgave himself. Dogs are just amazing that way.

Our late Catahoula, Desoto, was very sensitive to raised voices. I do think he encouraged my husband and I to keep our disagreements as civil and quiet as possible. :)

Submitted by bklyncorgihoula | May 5 2011 |

Speaking of Catahoulas (as in your DeSoto), the dog Bayou on the April/May Bark cover is a Catahoula or a predominantly Catahoula mix -- even if Mom was a Redbone Coonhound. I have 2 rescued houlas and a corgi/collie mix and I know one when I see one. I hope Bark can run an article on Houlas sometime! Everyone pls have a look at www.catahoularescue.com

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Anonymous, it's okay. I'm glad you shared how you felt here. If you haven't lost your temper at least once in your life, you're not human. And the fact that you feel remorse proves that you're not a robot. :)

One of the great things about our dogs is how forgiving they are. He's likely forgotten all about it. So follow your dog's lead! Let go of your negative feelings over what happened, take a deep breath, and plan now what you can do to ensure your dog understands what you want.

In anticipation of a busy day, I do my best to tire out my dogs with some activities before I sit down at my desk. We practice basic obedience, hide and seek, tricks, fetch, agility, you name it. Takes less than two minutes tops, per dog. Really! If you need some ideas, let me know.

If I think my dogs might need some extra activity to keep them occupied once I'm working, I'll give each of them a Kong filled with peanut butter, yogurt or cheese. Be sure to freeze it overnight so they have to work harder to lick it out. A raw meaty bone from the local butcher can do the trick, too, plus it cleans their teeth. I recommend putting your dog in his/her crate to enjoy the bone to keep clean up easy and sanitary.

Teaching your dog to go to a place, such as a couch or dog bed, is another way to ensure s/he stays out of trouble. Simply praise and treat your dog a ton for being in that location. Attach his/her leash to you or a heavy piece of furniture if they need some assistance chilling out in one spot. This also prevents your dog from rushing to the front door or a window to alert bark.

Crating while you work is another helpful tool. Of course, you never want to use the crate as punishment, so take the time to teach your dog that it's a good place to hang out. You can start by feeding all of his/her meals in there. Leave the door open to start. Gradually, close the door and increase the amount of time that your dog is in there. Never let your dog out of the crate if he looks like a hamster on a wheel desperately trying to escape. He'll quickly learn that a tantrum gets what he wants. Be patient and allow him to come out when he is calm, relaxed and mindful.

That goes for you, too. As much as we love our companion animals, sometimes we need a relaxing break on our own. Occasionally, I go for a walk or run an errand without one of my dogs. I feel kind of naked without a canine beside me, but sometimes, we need to do things for ourselves to be refreshed and present for our pets.

I'm sending you a virtual hug to help you have a good rest of your day. Take care and please let me know how you're doing.

Submitted by Jo Ann | May 4 2011 |

My heart is heavy this morning as I just read a breaking news story of someone dumping at least 15 dogs onto the 90 freeway in Los Angeles. Some of them were hit and killed as motorists desperately tried to avoid them. Some good samaritins pulled over and attempted to rescue some of the dogs, one person got bit in the process but that did not deter her. She managed to capture the dog and take it to an emergency clinic where it could be treated for its injuries. I do not understand the mentality of people who do such a thing. If they would only ask for help I am sure someone would have found a way to get the dogs into a safe shelter. There were witnesses to this inhumane cruelty so I can only hope justice will be served for those dogs whose lives were wasted unnecessarily.

Submitted by anonymous | May 4 2011 |

Incredible. What could they have been thinking? Let's hope there are no copycats.

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Jo Ann, that's awful! I, too, am curious as to why someone would do such a thing. Had they attempted to do the humane thing and attempted to give up the dogs to a shelter or rescue but were told there was no room? Was it a puppy miller who had no more use for breeding pairs and figured this was the quickest way to be rid of them? What really floors me is the cruelty inflicted not only on the poor dogs, but on the innocent motorists as well who were put in this frightful situation.

A couple years ago, my husband was driving to work when he saw someone dump their dog on the side of the road and take off. The poor dog started crossing the street, scared out of his mind. What kind of heartless creep does such a thing and especially during rush hour when the dog is more likely to be hit by a car? Were they thinking more people would see the dog and pull over to rescue him?

Here's another link to the Los Angeles story: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/05/03/reward-offered-for-information...

Submitted by Kim | May 4 2011 |

What is the best way to introduce a new puppy or dog to a multi-dog household?

Submitted by Daun P. | May 4 2011 |

We always take all of our dogs outside of their terrority to introduce them to a new dog (like a nearby park), than I always let the new guy wander the house & the yard while the others are in their kennels. Then we let them out into the yard one by one (on leashes of course) so they can be reintroduced. This is what works for us.

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Hi Kim, excellent question! I do like Daun's response below. In case any of your current pack have some quirks, such as leash reactivity or selectivity when it comes to dog friends, I'll share with you what worked for us.

Our Pit Bull mix, Shelby, is particular about who she likes and how she should be introduced to them. My Dalmatian, Darby, is reactive for on-leash greetings. (Everyone here know what "reactive" means?)

When I was at my most active as a rescue volunteer, my husband and I fostered close to 25 dogs, which included every breed imaginable from a Border Collie to German Shepherds to a giant Newfoundland mix with such extreme separation anxiety that he alone would merit his own blog post!

First thing to consider is whether your dog will respond best to a male or female, and what age - puppy, adolescent, adult or senior? Reflect on which dogs your dogs have been most drawn to and you might see a pattern. Most adult dogs will tolerate obnoxious puppy behavior and do a great job of scolding them when necessary. But some dogs like my Darby do not like all puppies and can lose their temper to the point where their corrections are unfair.

Once you have pinpointed the optimal age and sex of the new dog, plan the actual introduction. I would move our dogs into the backyard so they could not see the new dog enter the house through the front door. I placed the new dog in a crate, and would allow one dog at a time to come "discover" this new dog, like a treasure! After very brief sniffs, I would usher one dog back into the yard, and bring a new one into the house to discover our new guest. No lingering allowed!

This process would go fairly quickly, within 15 minutes, unless I saw a behavior on the part of the new dog or one of my own that gave me reason to slow things down. One of the things I liked about the crate is that the dogs could not physically touch each other. Also, the cats were free to check out the new dog without risk to them. I could watch how the new dog viewed the cats and figure out if they needed to be schooled in kitty etiquette.

Once all of my dogs had a turn to discover the treasure in the house, I allowed the new dog to go in the backyard with everybody. If the new dog seemed particularly shy or fearful, I would move all of my dogs to a different part of the house allow the new dog to go into the backyard, and do individual introductions again.

If you're bringing home a foster or adoptive dog from a shelter, I recommend you keep the new dog isolated from the rest of the pack for at least five days to ensure they will not spread anything contagious, such as kennel cough or mange. This has the added benefit of giving everyone a chance to smell each other under closed doors and on your hands and clothing without the pressure of meeting physically. This is my preferred introduction, but I recognize that not everyone has the time or space to do it.

Hope this helps! When you get your new dog, please post a photo to the Bark Facebook page so we can all ooh and aah over him/her! The link is: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/BarkMagazine

Submitted by Jumpnjill | May 4 2011 |

We just got a new puppy and our 2 year old lab mix rescue that seemed to be the best dog in the world now has become short tempered and has very short fuze with the puppy and seems to go overboard in reprimanding the puppy once we had to take the puppy to vet for a injury, now with some time She is better with him and they can play with supervision but she plays so hard with him like he is a full grown dog so I am constantly stoping the play and
Pulling out the puppy, how should I handle this and our older dogs rough play ?

Submitted by Anonymous | May 4 2011 |

I have the opposite problem! My older dog wont correct my younger dog. Even when she is not in the mood to play she will sit there and let the younger one jump, mouth, and sit on her. We go back and forth on if we should be telling the younger one to stop or let him continue to do it in the hopes that she will eventually correct him.

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Hi Anonymous, if your older dog has not yet corrected the younger one, she likely never will. I would redirect the younger one to participate in a more appropriate activity, such as playing with you and focusing on you. Better yet, prevent your younger dog's bullying behavior from happening in the first place by giving him something to do before he can turn his attention to your older female dog. Does he like to play fetch? Chase you around the yard? Learn tricks? There's no limit to the activities you can do together!

As I mentioned to Jumpnjill above, be sure to give both dogs daily play time with you alone. I'd also suggest you try my other ideas, such as earning their meals, doggie play dates with appropriately matched friends, and interactive dog puzzles.

Positive training classes can also give your dogs the mental and physical stimulation they need to be good canine citizens.

Hope this helps and please let me know if this helps change the dynamic in your household to a positive one!

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Hi Jumpnjill, this is a more common issue than you might think! Without actually meeting your dogs and observing their behavior together, I'm guessing it's good, old-fashioned sibling rivalry coupled with the need for individual quality time. Adding a new dog to the pack changes the household dynamic. Finding a balance might take some experimenting.

Do your best to schedule separate daily play time with each dog. You'd be surprised at how two minutes a day can help take the edge off for your older adult dog in particular.

Are both dogs earning their meals? Twice a day is an excellent opportunity to wear them out mentally without the focus being on each other. There are a variety of toys on the market, such as the Kong or Tug-A-Jug, that can be stuffed with your dog's food. (Mix with peanut butter, yogurt or cheese and freeze so they have to work harder to get it out.)

Does your Lab mix have any other friends who have a similar play style? Schedule some doggie play dates so she has an outlet for all that energy that can be directed in an appropriate way. I'd also recommend Nina Ottosson's interactive dog puzzles (www.interactivedoggames.com).

Did you know that puppies should have 100 new interactions during their first 100 days with you? Bring your puppy to a local puppy social at a dog training facility or doggie daycare (I recommend you go observe without your puppy first to ensure there is adequate supervision and positive training methods are used). Find a friend with a puppy or an adult dog who loves puppies and schedule a play date. Take your puppy to an outdoor patio at a restaurant or coffee shop so he can meet a lot of other people. How about the local fire station or police station so he doesn't think twice about seeing someone in uniform?

Playing games like hide and seek or trick training can involve both dogs but the focus will be on you and the new skills they're learning, not each other.

Try some of these ideas and please let me know how they respond!

Submitted by jumpnjill | May 4 2011 |

Thank You so much for taking the time to answer my question I am going to give it a try and let you know how iIt goes !

Submitted by Daun P. | May 4 2011 |

Julia,
What are your favorite dog products (leashes, collars, etc)?

Do you have a preference between plastic & metal crates?

We are looking for a harness that can stand up to extended wet conditions (pool time is coming up soon!). Do you have any recommendations? We have trashed so many regular harnesses, it's crazy!

Submitted by laurelin | May 4 2011 |

I'm not sure about Julia's take, but we are a fan of the Freedom No-Pull harness for general use. However, we love a number of the items offered by Ruffwear for outdoor dogs, and they have a great looking web harness which, though we haven't used it, looks pretty great, and all are designed to be weather-resistant. The only complaint I have heard of the company's products is that they can sometimes be limited in sizing, and are sometimes too short for the dog - as someone with a 'long and low', we pay attention to that! Best of luck!

Submitted by Daun P. | May 4 2011 |

Thanks Laurelin,
We use several products from Ruffwear now, but I've never tried their harnesses. We use regular harnesses from PetMate for all of our walking needs. We use dual grip collars from www.blockydogs.com for our personal dogs (they are like martingales but thicker & wider more like a handle). Our fosters wear regular flat buckle collars from Blocky Dogs. Our senior has a buckle free collar www.mydogcollar.com (it's one of those all a nylon/fabric collar that slips over the head & then adjusts to their neck size). I've been using rapple rope leashes lately, and I'm totally digging those from www.ellaslead.com.

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Thanks, Daun, can't wait to check out all those links! I have a feeling this will be dangerous for my wallet. LOL

Submitted by Daun P. | May 4 2011 |

Ah yes. Dog gear is fun & expensive lol! Blocky Dogs definitely set us back, but we needed a way to grab the dogs before an incident happens without touching their neck, and these collars were highly recommended to us by a trainer in KY at Gimme Grace Dog Training. They were so great for us. If we see one of the dogs getting agitated we just gently grab the handle & they calm down very quickly. We were also going through nylon collars like crazy. These are 4 ply nylon, so not for a dainty dog at all.

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Hi Laurelin, thanks for the suggestions. It's definitely that time of year to be looking at gear that can handle the great outdoors!

Submitted by Julia Kamysz Lane | May 4 2011 |

Hi Daun, you know what's funny is that I only recently started using harnesses on my dogs. I had taken Darby to the chiropractor for adjustments after agility shows and she was having problems with neck stiffness. It helped so much that I am slowly transitioning everyone else to harnesses from just a plain buckle collar.

Right now, I have Shelby on an Easy Walk, Darby and Jolie on a Tuff harness, and I plan to splurge on a Julius K-9 harness (http://k9gear.us) for Ginger Peach that will say "Hyena" on the side. I also have my eye on the comfy fleece harness available at Clean Run (www.cleanrun.com).

I prefer wire crates, particularly for training so I can reward my dog for a sit toward the back of the crate and teach him/her not to bolt as I open the crate door.

Submitted by Daun P. | May 4 2011 |

Thanks I will check out those other kinds of harnesses. :)

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