Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Dog Behaviorist

I have a lot of dogs. I won't deny it. Even though they're small, five dogs is still five dogs, and five dogs come with five distinct personalities and five unique sets of problems. Sometimes these problems can get a bit.....overwhelming.

Because we love our dogs so much, we knew that we needed an extra hand to help get some of our dogs behaviors under control. We were most worried about Ziggy's anxiety and continued marking, Loki's barking and door/stranger aggression, and Monet's fear of everyone. We wanted our dogs, and us to be happier and bring some harmony and balance to the household.

After researching some local dog publications, I found Carolyn Ross, a behaviorist, whose website indicated that she had the skills and experience we were looking for. After a lot of emailing, and saving up the needed funds, we asked Carolyn for a home visit to observe our dogs and see what she could suggest.

When we met Carolyn, both my husband and I immediately felt comfortable with her. She was warm, friendly, and at ease with the dogs, even while Loki, Monet and Vixen barked their heads off at her. She told us that she had personally owned five dogs at one time before, and knew how challenging it could be at times.
Carolyn stayed with us for an hour and a half, and the time just flew by! She showed us some basic Tellington Touch (T-Touch) techniques to help relax the more anxious dogs, and how to associate with a word command that would help to bring on a relaxed state. She showed us when to ignore unwanted behaviors and when to reward a calm state. Many of the things we went over we were already familiar with, and it was a good reinforcement of our own training techniques and beliefs.

To many dogs dogs are abandoned due to behavior problems that could be fixed with a little time and patience. If you are struggling with behavioral issues with your dog, I would strongly urge a consult with a good dog behaviorist. You, and your dogs, deserve it :)

The consult was well worth the price. We've been using the methods she showed us, and have been seeing imporvement with our pack. Progress is slow, but we know it doesn't happen overnight. Progress only happens with patience and cionsistancy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wow- It's Been A While

Once again, the days have slipped away, and it's already a new year.

Our doggie family has grown, and it's now at maximum capacity. Last time I checked in, Ziggy was the new addition. Now, there's Monet:

He's a Chihuahua/ Jack Russell mix, full of energy, and love. For me. And my husband. And that's it. He doesn't like anyone else, including the kids. We're working on it. He loves other dogs though, and the dogs are a big cuddly, playful bunch.
We never intended to keep him. It just happened. And now there are five. The house is full of love. And fur. And too much pee most days (thank god for the carpet shamoo'er)
Each dog has their own set of quirks, behavioral problems, and sweet affectations. While sometimes they make me want to scream ( Ziggy, why do you keep marking the trash can!? And the table!? And the...) at the end of the day, when we're a fuzzy cuddle in the bed, I know they love me. And it's all worth it.