Abused rescued dogs need special traiing

Abused Rescue Dog Needs Special Care

Abused rescued dogs need special traiingI recently wrote an article entitled Abused Rescue Dogs Need Special Training which was about a dog (Sandra Bullock) who had been tied to a tree and left to die. If you saw the news, she had a rope embedded in her neck which had to be surgically removed. After recovery she was adopted by a wonderful family.

 On My Way to Visit

I am doing puppy lessons with the new family and “Sandy” and on the way out to see them I was excited to see her and how well she was doing. Questions were racing through my mind:

  • “Would she remember me?”
  • “Did she remember the commands I had taught her during my visits at the Animal Hospital?”
  • “How was she adapting to her new home and environment?”
  • “Would she get along with the other female dog in the family?”…. and many more.

 I Finally Arrive

It was a long drive out but well worth the time behind the wheel. I rang the doorbell and waited to hear the familiar sound of dogs barking in the house. Yep, there they go – but not obnoxious – just enough to let you know that there are dogs there. Sandra, now nicknamed Sandy and her new sister Maddie, a very cute Sheltie sporting a summer cut, met me at the door and I was immediately showered with doggie kisses.

 I reciprocated with clicks and treats and that’s when Sandy’s memory kicked in. She remembered the sound of my clicker and the lamb loaf treats I had always used in her training.

 Well, this is cool I thought. What a happy ending. I couldn’t wait to meet the family and begin the first training session.

 Training Time with the Family

The lessons went off without a hitch as we discussed structure in the home for Sandy – and, yes,  Maddie could use a little as well – but not much. Sandy had remembered her sit, down and place command.

 She performed them flawlessly except for one thing. Sandy had lost her eye sight!

She has been to their vet and routine tests have been done to confirm her loss of sight. For a dog that was dealt a bad hand to begin with, the last thing she needed was more adversity to overcome.

Despite the Odds, She’s a Trooper!

I was told about her loss of sight right away and it was very noticeable as she stumbled and bumped her way around the family room.  While this was a total shock to me, I looked at the glass half full. The pluses far outweighed the minuses. Let’s take a look at what she has going for her:

  • She’s in a great home with a family that truly loves her despite her blindness.
  • She already knows how to find and go to her very own special dog bed in a corner of the family room where she feels safe.
  • She is house trained! This was a major concern before but she is good to go.
  • Biggest bonus: Maddie, her sister the herding dog, “rides herd” on her and keeps her on the right track out to potty and back in the house. The perfect dog for the perfect job! It’s like she was put here on this earth just for Sandy – and she’s been waiting for Sandy so she can go to work.  Sandy has her own seeing eye dog!

 Sandy may see a specialist to determine if there is some kind of pressure on a nerve that, if relieved, would allow her to regain her eye sight. Against all odds, Sandy has risen to the top bringing out the goodness in all the people who cared to lend a hand to make sure one more rescue dog is saved.

 Remember, sharing is caring.  Please pass this article on to those you think would find it useful, inspiring, or important.

 Together, we can raise a happy and obedient dog.

Be sure to come like us and fun with us on FACEBOOK.   Come on over there and let’s talk dog.

Jim Burwell Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dog and counting and having helped more than 7,000 clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years.  One of his clients says it best:

 “There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth.  Jim is one of these rate people.  His quiet and understated manner, his effective techniques for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.”

 © Jim Burwell, Inc.

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What Once Was Lost, Is Now Found

What Once Was Lost, Is Now Found

That’s what happened to Two Socks.

Who the heck is Two Socks you ask?  Well, if you’re on Facebook and visit my page it’s been all over my news feed since last week. Dog lovers on Facebook have been unbelievable in the help they have extended to Caryn and Roland.  You could not ask for better friends than fellow dog lovers 🙂

Two Socks is a wolf-hybrid owned by some very dear friends of mine –  Caryn and Roland.  We have been friends for at least 25 years. With her grooming business and my training business, we have seen each other from time to time over the years as I’ve had my dogs groomed and she’s come to me for some training. We talk over the phone and refer business to each other.

I remember when Caryn got Two Socks’ mom and I kinda remember about when Two Socks was born. Being wolf-hybrids you don’t forget these things. Two Socks was Caryn’s  beloved pup which she had raised from about 3 days old.

You see, Two Socks’ mom rejected her and kicked her out. That’s why Caryn took to raising the puppy. Of course the two dogs still lived together on the farm until one day, the Mom attacked Two Socks, breaking one of Two Socks back legs. It took some fancy vet work to repair this severely damaged leg but Caryn relied on good ol’ Doc Eckerman at Westbury Animal Hospital. From that point on Two Socks was kept separate from the mom.

Well, this past Saturday morning when Leila and I were walking our dogs , this big old pick up truck rolled to a stop and  I heard this familiar voice over the low rumble of a “diesel duelly rig” saying, “Hi Jim! We’re looking for our dog that’s been missing since Wednesday.”  As Roland unraveled the story with the “wolf-hybrid” description of Two Socks, it hit me – Caryn’s dogs! I’ve got to help.

After I was done with my Saturday training schedule,  I was able to devote Saturday night, Sunday and Monday to helping Caryn and Roland find Two Socks. My weekend was just starting so I could devote a good chunk of time to helping Caryn and Roland with the search.

Two Socks had been through more than any dog needed and now here she was, alone and scared. Being accustomed to the quiet of farm life with easy, familiar country sounds, she was now forced into urban settings with fast moving cars, houses close together and seemingly no place to turn – except to her survival instincts.

I met up again with Caryn on Sunday.  She had been searching and at the same time laying tracks with 2-3 of her other dogs in hopes that Two Socks would pick up on the scent of her and her dogs and stay in the area. Caryn had already clocked in 25-50 miles through neighborhoods, gullies, bayous and every neighborhood street.

I decided to try and use our black lab Sammy to track Two Socks as I had taught him to find Leila in the neighborhood  from blocks away.   I picked up a used blanket of Two Socks and began our search. I don’t have to tell you about the heat this past weekend. We began our search using all of Sammy’s dog training and tracking skills – to no avail.  We were exhausted and Sammy was pooped.

Flyers were everywhere. Constables, policemen, postal workers, business owners and scores of homeowners, bikers, joggers,  became aware of Two Sock’s dire straits as Caryn shared her story. We were getting lots of support on Facebook and via email too. The community of dog lovers always rise to the occasion!

What I didn’t know was that Caryn and Roland were being forced to evacuate their farm due to the tri-county fires directly to their north. So on top of trying to find Two Socks, they reluctantly  were forced  to move all of their horses and other animals to a friend’s spread a safe distance away.  Nothing is going as planned.  We just hope and prayed they would not lose the farm

It’s back to our sweet Two Socks. Sunday was a long, hot day – more ground pounding by Caryn with her dogs searching and laying more track for Two Socks. Family shows up with all-terrain vehicles to cover more territory.

Caryn was a trooper, not eating all day Sunday and barely staying hydrated she struggled on through the thick of it. Sunday night ended with no Two Socks.  Next kick in the pants, on their way home, Roland, exhausted from searching, crashed his truck. Don’t need this. Nothing is going as planned ! Fortunately he was okay.

As Monday comes we start the search again checking leads to the west near Hillcroft and West Bellfort. We combed every street in every subdivision looking up every driveway.  I’ve never seen anyone so driven as Karen.

She finally got a couple of hours sleep Monday afternoon promising to call me at 4:00 p.m. to strategize our planned stakeout of the Home Depot/Westbury Square area where she had been sighted. We set out food and water up wind of where she had been seen. The hours go by as we wait. We got a call about a possible sighting on Sanford in Westbury and chased that lead to no avail. It was 10:00 p.m., we were tired and we both had to work on Tuesday.

Caryn started Tuesday back in my subdivision worried sick about loosing grooming revenue because of having to cancel appointments. She didn’t know how many more days she could take it. Torn between her business and finding Two Socks with no credible leads, her phone rings. Another sighting. It was out west at West Airport and Bob White. Two Socks had been seen Saturday morning sitting in the parking lot and the caller had just seen the flyer. Caryn headed the diesel truck west.

The rest says it all in an email Caryn sent me.

“Dear Jim and Leila,

Thank you for sticking this out with me. It is hard to believe that she is with Roland and I once again. She is very tired but you can tell she is at peace now. She is so different from the dog I saw running today. It was a tense chase and one that I knew if I lost sight of her would possibly mean more long, sad days ahead and possibly a bad ending. Jim, your kind patience and help in this matter will not be forgotten. The days ahead are happy now for Two Socks. Keep in touch. If I can help you, please let me know.

Many paw travels ahead,  Caryn and Two Socks”

Remember, sharing is caring.  Please pass this article on to those you think would find it inspiring.    Would love to hear your stories of lost dogs and your love for them. 

Just comment below.

Would also really appreciate if you would “Tweet and Like”. The love we have for our dogs is only matched by the love they have for us.

Please feel free to print off a copy if you like.

Together, we can raise a happy and obedient dog.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are with the teacher of your children.   And be sure to come like us and have fun with us on FACEBOOK. Please feel free to ask questions there also.

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainerJim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years.  One of his clients says it best:

There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.

The Love of a Dog

I know all of you have heard of and read about the funeral of the Navy Seal who was killed in that huge helicopter crash in Afghanistan

He was a young man who showed immense bravery in the face of much danger.  He was loved my many.

Especially his dog Hawkeye

This one picture of this young man’s funeral which has been shared around the world is the picture of his dog lying on the floor in front of the casket, unwilling to leave his master.

The Love of A Dog

After tearing up, wiping my eyes and putting the paper down, I looked across the room at our dogs.  All were asleep on their respective dog beds except our Sammy who was stretched out on the couch softly snoring.

I t made me think of the unwavering love and loyalty our dogs give to us daily as I’m sure your dogs do also

To be the recipient of such a profound gift of this unbounded love places a great responsibility on us, their owners.

Yet, they ask so little from us in return.  It is our job, our responsibility to give them guidance and instruction on how to be great members of our family.

It is our responsibility to never forget that their actions are a mirror of their relationship they have with us.

As you come home from work, tired, fed-up, worried your dog has been patiently waiting for you all day. Anxious and eager for your return.  All he wants to show you is how much you have been missed.

Take the time to play with your dog, take the time to walk your dog.  All of these things which seem so inconvenient to us, are the simplest of things your dog requires.

A wonderful quote by Samuel Butler describes this:  “The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.”

Give your dog a big hug as you come home because as Roger Caras said “for me a house or an apartment becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail and that indescribable measure of love that we call a dog.

How do you give your dog what he truly needs?  Tell me below in comments.  Pls. share and tweet if you like this article.  Let’s help more people be responsible with their dogs.

Have a blessed day with your dog.  Take care


Abused rescued dog training videos 1 and 2






We have now added video # 2.  In this video I am teaching Sandy how to do the obedience command “go to place”  It’s a great command to use to give your dog an alternative behavior to do instead of begging at the table and other nuisance behaviors. Enjoy

Here’s Sandy’s first video.  I spent about 15 minutes working with her on some basic obedience commands.   She learned how to sit, how to lay down and how to stand.  She is absolutely adorable, sweet temperament, and smart as a whip.  Stay tuned for video updates on this page.





Also if you think this little girl deserves a great home, please hit the LIKE button at the top or bottom of this post.  Let’s get the word out about this absolutely spectacular dog!  Enjoy the video


Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients. Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years. One of his clients says it best:
There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant

Presidents Day Trivia For Dog Lovers

Happy Presidents Day!

Dog lovers have something extra to commemorate today because U.S. Presidents dating back to George Washington have been dog lovers themselves.

The current canine living in the White House is Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog. He is popularly known as the “First Dog” of the United States.

Many presidents’ dogs have achieved fame in their own right. Nixon’s dog Checkers played a big part in his career. Thomas Jefferson owned two Briards. And there was Clinton’s Buddy, a Lab who famously fought with Socks, the First Family’s cat. A good dog trainer could have helped that situation!

Scottish Terriers have a distinguished history in the White House. George W. Bush and his wife Laura owned two. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Scottie Fala was even the subject of a political scandal when FDR was accused of spending taxpayer money to retrieve his forgotten dog. Scotties have been called the most popular breed with Presidents.

Presidents have had other animals as pets too. There was Pol, Andrew Jackson’s parrot, who was taught to swear. Herbert Hoover owned two crocodiles and Siamese cats lived in the White House with Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

Enjoy this Presidents Day and remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

(C) Jim Burwell 2011


House Breaking Older Dog Teaches Young Couple Valuable Canine Life Lessons

I’ve been working on housebreaking issues with a couple who own a 5 year old female English Bull Dog. After evaluating their dog and their relationship with their dog on the first lesson, I found very little structure or walks with their dog. With no structure, it is not uncommon for dogs that are insecure in their sense of place to house soil or mark territory in an effort to feel more secure. Additionally, their dog was spending way too much time in the crate due to their long work hours. This also created a lot of stress and anxiety in their dog.

I got them started on providing structure in their dog’s life, getting their dog out for walks and working on obedience training 3 times daily for just two minutes. While this is not a lot of obedience training (just 6 minutes daily), it began to give their dog a sense of working for leadership rather than feeling responsible for it himself. If these obedience exercises are repeated consistently, it can provide a serious “jump start” on their leadership and structure. We also did frequent sits on walks and added a come command followed by a sit – then released to a walk again. Food treats were necessary to keep him focused at first but he was weaned off food treats after a few days of frequent sits on walks.

Meanwhile, back inside. I made a recommendation to “upgrade” their dog’s accommodations during the day to “first class” and consider hiring a dog walker mid-day. We got a pressure gate – complete with a door for their extra large kitchen. Here’s how their email updates to me went:

Day one after the first lesson: “Everything went well today. No accidents. Once we got home and took him outside, we went out to the grocery store after work and he was fine while we were gone.”

Day 2: “No accidents again today.”

Day 3: “Hey Jim, no accidents again today!”

Day 4: “He was alone all day today again and still no accidents!”

Day 5: “Unbelievable! No accidents again today! We even went out for a bite to eat and a musical and no accidents then either! Wow! This is the longest ever.”

On our first lesson and evaluation I also discovered that they were over-feeding their dog with an inexpensive dry dog food with lots of cheap carbohydrate fillers on a once-a-day feeding schedule. We changed the food out over a four day period to a high quality dog food, cut back on their dog’s intake amount and began to feed twice daily with walks before and after feeding. They had to get up a little earlier to accommodate the new schedule but it was well worth it for them. Dogs that eat only one meal a day run the risk of developing hunger tension from having no food in their system for half of the day. This could exacerbate things and possibly cause other behavioral issues as a result of the hunger tension.

Given the age of the dog (5 years – old enough to hold his business) it was time to begin giving their dog more space but for shorter, controlled periods of time after work and on weekends while keeping up the leadership, exercise and training program permanently in place as his “new structure” or routine with them. This meant short trips like “pick up the dry cleaning” and “gas up the car” kind of trips then gradually increasing them to longer periods of time out like grocery shopping, dinner out or even dinner and a movie while there dog has free run of the kitchen and den. Later as things really progress, they can open up their house again just as before but free of any house soiling issues.

They have since reported including their dog in more of their activities like visiting Starbucks Sunday mornings and enjoying a latte and they are now looking into renting a “dog friendly” beach house for the weekend with early, cool morning walks.

(C) Jim Burwell 2010

Man’s Best Friend Speech – National Dog Week

Dog - man's best friend

The phrase “man’s best friend” is a well worn but accurate description of the depth of our relationship with dogs. It is that relationship which is celebrated during National Dog Week. This year, the 74th National Dog Week runs Sept. 22 through Sept. 28.

“Man’s Best Friend” is this year’s theme. The idea that the dog is “man’s best friend” is believed to have originated during a closing argument given by Sen. George Graham Vest, of Missouri. Vest, a lawyer, was representing a man whose dog was deliberately shot and killed by a neighbor. The grief stricken dog owner was suing the neighbor for damages.

In his closing argument, Vest gave what has become the famous “Tribute to the American Dog.” The speech to the jury was so powerful that it not only won the case, it has been inscribed in a monument in Warrensburg, Missouri. William Safire included it in his compendium of the world’s great speeches.

The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful.

Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most.

A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness.

He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in an encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.

When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.  If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies.

And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.

All I can say is AMEN!

Michael Vick dogs teach dog owners a lesson

For anyone needing a glimmer of hope or words of inspiration that would give some kind of sign that says, “Yes, you can
fix your dog problem!”  look no further than the Parade Magazine in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle.

I’m talking about the story of the Rescue and Redemption of Michael Vick’s dogs, written by Jim Gorant. It brought a smile  to my face and, okay, I might have gotten a little misty eyed (as well) depending on who you talk to at my house).

This way of teaching and communicating to our dogs is nothing new to my clients  They have heard me lay out my program to rehabilitate their dogs that have an array of problems – everything from aggression, fear, house soiling, separation anxiety and much more.

Here’s a just part of the article about a Pitt bull dog named Jonny who was accepted into a regular guy’s home (I think he was a manager of a car dealership) meaning he had no special
dog training or behavioral expertise himself; although, he has fostered a number of Pitt bulls in the past.

Jonny, the dog,  is now a Therapy dog that helps kids improve their reading when the kids read to him. Here’s an excerpt

“Jonny was one of the unsocialized-but-happy crowd of  Vick dogs, which is how he ended up with Cohen, who had a pit bull of his own and had previously fostered six others as a volunteer for the rescue group BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls).

“The first step was to let him unwind his kennel stress,” Cohen says, referring to the jitters that follow dogs out of long-term confinement.

He countered Jonny’s anxiety with quiet time and “the rut,” as he calls it. “Dogs love a schedule,” he explains. “They love knowing that the same things are going to happen at the same times every day. Once they have that consistency, they can relax.”

Cohen put Jonny on a firm program of walks, feedings, playtime, and relaxation, which helped relieve his insecurity and fear, emotions that can drive canine misbehavior

“A big part of it is building trust,” Zawistowski says, “teaching them that the world is not out to get them.” Within 10 days, Jonny embraced his routine and began to relax.

Cohen then started working on basic training. Dogs raised like Vick’s react excessively to external stimuli. If they see a bird they want to chase, they chase it.

Learning even the simplest command forces them to tune into their internal monitor, especially when the command is paired with rewards such as food or affection.

Suddenly the dog has to make a choice. “Do I do what I want or wait and do what has been asked? Good things happen to me when I wait rather than simply following my impulses.”

Teaching a dog like Jonny to sit is essentially retraining the way he thinks, according to Dr. Randy Lockwood, the ASPCA’s senior vice president for anticruelty initiatives.”

My Point:?—– For those of you concerned about your own dog who has a far better life in your home now than any one of the Vick dogs, let this be your inspiration, your glimmer of hope that great things can be accomplished for and by those with time, patience and a good plan of action.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are with the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!” (just ask Jonny!)

P.S. You can read the whole story here: http:/www.Parade.to/dogs

Choosing Your Family Dog

Thinking about getting a new dog or puppy? Generally it’s better to plan an adoption from a shelter or the purchase of a pure bred dog. But, you never know when you will happen upon a stray that tugs on your heart strings. I was surprised once. I said I would never have a new puppy again — not at my age. And then it happened.

Discarded and left under a car at a nearby auto dealership, a little eight-week-old Black Labrador puppy entered our lives last August. Who could turn away this little cutie? Certainly not my wife! We named him “Sammy.” Now it was time, once again, to practice what I had preached all these years. You know, the midnight and two o’clock a.m. potty walks, those razor-sharp puppy teeth, and the list goes on. All of this is, of course, very manageable with proper instructions on training and raising a puppy.

A dog is hard work, there’s no getting around it — pure breed or otherwise. Make sure you don’t get a dog for the kids, your wife or the family, without remembering the old saying, “Dogs are not just for Christmas, Dogs are for a lifetime.” A dog is a living, breathing being that needs as much love, care, attention and training as a child. You can’t just put a new puppy out in the back yard while you are at work all day. Getting a new puppy or dog requires much thought and should include the whole family, not only in picking out that new dog or puppy, but also in the responsibilities of raising this new family pet.

And deciding to get a dog congers up all kinds of questions. Should I get a puppy or an older dog? What breed will fit into my or my family’s lifestyle? Should I get a male or female? And where should I get my dog?

Let’s explore these questions.

Puppy or older dog?

Puppies are cute, highly demanding of your time with house training, not biting, chewing on proper chew items and more. It’s probably not wise to choose a puppy with children under the age of five. Adult dogs on the other hand are often housetrained and out of that “intense” chewing stage that puppies go through. Sometimes, however, they come with unknown or questionable behavioral history. But don’t rule them out. You can teach an older dog new tricks, and they will fit in with their new family as well and sometimes better than a puppy.

Which breed is best?

Breeds have been created by man for the express purpose of accomplishing certain tasks, whether it’s a sporting breed to retrieve game or a working class for specific tasks, such as herding. It’s generally better to get a dog that has been bred to work closely with man and not a breed that has been bred for their fighting and aggressive proficiency. I personally have had golden retrievers, while my wife has enjoyed the company of retired racing greyhounds. But Boston Terriers, King Charles Spaniels, Beagles, Dachshunds and Poodles, just to mention a few, are great dogs as well. Other things to consider are care and maintenance. The Greyhound has minimum coat care, while the Poodle (standard or otherwise) requires maximum coat care. Poodles, however, don’t shed, are extremely intelligent and great for people with allergies. As a matter of fact, Poodles are now regularly being bred with Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers to produce “Goldendoodles” and “Labradoodles” that are also great for those with allergies.

Should I chose a male or female?

I have owned and loved both. Whatever the gender of your dog, have him neutered, or have her spayed. They stay healthier and live longer. And whether male or female, all dogs are individuals with their own temperaments, which can range from very docile or submissive to extremely dominant.

Where do I go to get a dog?

Reputable Breeder: If you want a pure-bred dog, go to a reputable breeder. The breeder I got my Golden Retriever from required that I return the dog if it doesn’t work out (whatever the reason). Their best interest is for the dog. And to the extent that they can at that young age, good breeders will guarantee eyes, heart and hips (if a large breed). Of course, their guarantee is that if the pup does develop an eye, heart or hip problem, they will exchange it for another one. I personally have never been able to just “trade in” a dog to which I have bonded for another. But at least the willingness to do so is indicative of a good breeder. Our Black Lab developed hip dysplasia in both hips. The day we decided to take him home with us he was ours and our responsibility — in sickness and in health. So we had him fixed up and we go on down the road.

Pure-Breed Rescue Groups: These are dedicated individuals that have banded together to help foster and care for dogs of their particular breed of choice. They often times have an established web site and have set up a not-for-profit organization to raise funds for medical expenses, so that you will adopt a healthy, disease-free dog.

Animal shelters: Great dogs can be found in your local shelter. Here in Houston we have the BARC, SPCA, CAPS and the Humane Society. A example of a great shelter dog is “Radar” the weather dog on KPRC-TV. Radar was adopted from the Humane Society. The folks at the shelters are more than willing to lend a hand in helping you to determine which dog is right for you. They care for them every day and know each dog.

Word of Mouth: Sometimes people have changes in their lifestyle and professional status and can no longer care for their pet. Knowing that their pet will go to a loving home that will give them as much love and care as they did can be comforting for all concerned. Often folks will notify their veterinarian, groomer, trainer or boarding facility of their need to re-home their beloved pet. So it pays to network as much as possible.

Journey To A House Trained Dog (Part 2)

By: Michelle Mantor

May 2007

In the April issue, I bared my shame to the world that Sake, my 3 lb. Yorkie mix, is not completely house trained by the age of two (a lot of readers admit they share the same fate). If you happened to miss the first article in this series, you can find a copy on Jim Burwell’s Petiquette web site, www.petiquettedog.com.

In part 1 of this series, I detailed how my dog is soiling in the house and due to my short attention span, I am really a large part of the problem. I know her “potty” routine fairly well but I seem to have an inability to capitalize on this information by letting her outside at the opportune time. At the end of the first article, I called Jim Burwell and scheduled our first training session. Here is how Sake and I have progressed:

First Training Session:
Much of the first session was spent arming me with information needed to understand why I have this “issue” in my household and how to correct it. It was like dog psychology 101! There are basic premises you must understand to be successful in shaping your dog’s behavior to meet your expectations. It all makes perfect sense but having the discipline to execute the plan is a different “animal” altogether!

If you can grasp these basic principles, you are well on your way to successful house training as well as other behavior modifications.

  • Strong leadership is key with a regimen of earned praise and petting
  • Discontinue any scolding or punishment
  • There are three house-soiling categories of dogs – the naïve un-housetrained dog, the diet-change victim and the insecure dog (be sure to have a veterinarian rule out health issues before beginning a program that is based on the assumption of a healthy dog).

Sake is most likely a combination of un-housetrained and insecure. According to Jim’s rules of training and enforcing a strong leadership position, I have been making a lot of mistakes. From a leadership perspective, I have not given my dog a strong sense of place, which in turn creates insecurity. A strong sense of place in the pack for the household dog should be below the human members of the pack.

Since dogs live in a black and white world, we must be very clear with our expectations and use leadership tactics that enforce our position as “alpha”. Among my many mistakes are allowing Sake to jump on the furniture, climb in my lap and roll over for a long tummy scratch. I inadvertently elevate her to my position by allowing her on the furniture where I, the alpha sit, without earning the right. I also pet or “groom” her on her terms. I don’t require her to earn the attention.

As the leader, we must control food, praise, grooming and playing. Many pet owners mistakenly believe they are being “mean” to their pet when they require them to sit before petting, sit before eating, sleep in a crate or out of the bedroom, always win in games of tug-o-war, etc. However, it is not unjust, it is simply the way dog packs work and our pets adjust best when we follow their pack rules and give them a clear, black and white world to live in.

So, before we can get to the actual house training techniques, I will start working on my role as a strong alpha, thus making my dog more secure and sure of her place in the pack. This will be harder for me than Sake…I may have to tie my hands behind my back to train myself not to absent mindedly pet her tummy! I think this is what Dr. Phil might call tough love!

Stay tuned for the third article in this series in the June/July double issue.