New Day Care Opening In Richmond, TX!

WE ARE OPENING A DAY CARE CENTER FEBRUARY 15TH!
6831 Koeblen Road
Richmond, Texas
call or text cell # for information!!
779-245-0205

Doggy Day Care opening in our training center on 7 acres, just outside of town. Five Minutes from Brazos Town Center and easy access to 59/69.  Just south of Sugar Land!

HUGE indoor building and outdoor yards for play. Daily enrichment activities. Join our CLUB and get 5 days per week of day care, and also allows you to drop in on any of our scheduled training classes and take advantage of all the amenities that we have and will be adding — such as a private dog park for use at anytime during open hours. ALL FOR ONE LOW PRICE. Above, the training room is pictured as it is readied for business!

In fact, our cost for the entire package is cheaper than what some trainers charge for one training class! Give us a call and find out when we’re opening and how you can reserve your spot now before they are all gone!

Operated by a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant, with over 20 years of experience. Dawn Greer is a former anthropology student at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, who helped with the primate enrichment program at Little Rock Zoo, as part of her degree program. She is a former vet tech with experience in small animal care at North Locust Animal Hospital, in Sterling IL under DVM Carlos Dominguez and at Peterson & Smith Equine Clinic in Ocala, FL,  where she was a foal sitter rehabilitating premature foals and horses who needed round the clock care. She is certified in pet nutrition counselor through the Science Diet foundation and certified by ABTA as an obedience instructor. Dawn holds her bachelor’s degree in business management from Liberty Christian. She trained dogs for a big box chain from 2000 to 2001 and left that program to do something more challenging. She went on to train service dogs with Florida Canines Assisting People (FCAP)  and with Endless Pawsabilities of Arkansas from 2001 to 2007.

“My goal is to give dogs the life, care and training that they deserve. I make all efforts to keep programs affordable so that all families can take advantage of training and be able to care for their pets as part of the family.” ~ Dawn

1) One day of doggy day care, which includes enrichment programs and bath before going home – $25 no contract, walk in only

2) 2 days per week day care package includes the above – $40 no contract, walk in only

3) 30 day package which includes the above, plus anytime use of private dog parks soon to be fenced, participation in scheduled group classes as often as desired throughout the month. WITHOUT CONTRACT
1 month = $449mo = 20.88/day

CONTRACT RATES WITH AUTOPAY (billed monthly, automatically)
3 month = $399/mo = 18.55/day
6 month = $349/mo = 16.23/day
12 month = $299/mo = 13.90/day

**all dogs need to be temperament tested and accepted for day care, a copy of current vaccinations must be brought for us to keep on file**

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Frenetic Random Activity Period (FRAP) In Dogs and Biting

My Puppy Is Racing Around As If He Is Possessed

Many people who have puppies know exactly what this looks like. Suddenly, with no apparent reason, your puppy’s eyes get a wild look. He arches his back into a playful posture and then begins racing wildly. Typically this behavior is accompanied by a tucked tail, racing back and forth, skidding across floors and sometimes also includes nipping behaviors that can become quite troubling. We tend to see a lot of this behavior with puppies being confined to the house during that time when they are waiting for all their shots. Unfortunately, they get a little stir crazy and FRAP becomes common. Usually these outbursts only last a few minutes to ten minutes.

It is believed that this behavior is simply pent up energy that puppies need to be able to release. Their brain literally triggers an immediate release of energy. I explain it to my clients in this way: “Think of your puppy as a bottle of soda. Think of him as the bottle and the liquid inside is the energy. When it becomes too full and it gets shaken up a little, it has to release somehow.” This generally creates a good enough visual that people understand. That said, what do you do about it? Is it negative? Is it normal? Should you be concerned and should you intervene? What do you do about the nipping and biting that can happen during this ‘extreme play’?

Let’s Start With Explaining Bite Inhibition With Puppies

Biting is normal for puppies. It is a very normal part of learning how hard is too hard, and how strong they are. When playing with other puppies, which will most generally initially be its litter mates, a puppy learns that he can bite too hard. This happens when his litter mate squeals loudly in pain. At this point, they learn to stop and there is a pause in play. The wounded puppy, who is generally only wounded in pride, will lick himself (licking his wounds) in a pretend way. Later on in life this becomes a calming behavior that alerts other dogs that he needs a time out. In the future, your puppy will learn that when he needs a time out for reasons of stress or injury, he’ll pause and start grooming himself at what seems to be the strangest of times. This is all part of an intricate dance in communication that dogs use.

While this is happening, the offending puppy will wait during this intermission in play. Eventually, one or the other will initiate play again, usually by offering a play bow. Youve seen this if you’ve ever seen two dogs play. The rear end goes high in the air while the front end drops down on elbows. Sometimes it is accompanied by barking, as my beagle seems to think this is necessary.

These play sessions are extremely important to the early socialization of puppies. They learn manners, how to communicate effectively and most importantly of all, they learn how to control the pressure of their bite. Note that they are never taught by litter mates not to bite, only that they shouldn’t do it hard. Mouthing things is how a puppy explores his environment. To a large extent it is normal to touch things with their mouths. As they get older, they tend to do it less. With consistent and gentle redirection, most all dogs can learn that it is an activity that their human beings don’t especially love.

The Good And The Bad

We don’t really want to discourage puppies from playing and learning with each other for obvious reasons. That said, many puppies are removed from their mother as soon as they are eating solid food and people declare, “they’re eating so they are ready to go to new homes!”

NO! A puppy may be eating solid food but he is not fully developed mentally or socially. These final weeks of socialization with litter mates and mother are crucial to proper development. They become retarded in their ability to communicate with other dogs for the rest of their lives if they are deprived of these early lessons during the time that their brains are actually still growing and developing.

All too often, I work with dogs who were removed from the litter before the age of 7 weeks and they develop severe behavioral issues as they get older. These issues often stem from an inability to properly react to their environment. It could so easily be avoided.

Just as important as it is for that outgoing and rough puppy to learn to inhibit his bite, it is also just as important for that shy little puppy to learn as well. They will be picked on and bullied by siblings into playing along and learning to bite back. This is equally important that they learn to bite! Why? After all it seems like having a dog that really never has an interest in biting is better doesn’t it?

Think of it like this, wouldn’t you rather have that shy dog learn to control his bite by experimenting on his litter mates and learning those lessons at 5-7 weeks of age, than deciding to see how strong his jaws are when your child is playing roughly with him? A dog who is left longer with the litter, will be the dog who gently mouths but doesn’t bite hard. He will learn not to cross lines. The dog who bites down and nips hard all the time is the dog who never learned these lessons early on.

What Does This Have To Do With FRAPing?

Biting and nipping often happen with over stimulation. I have had a puppy that I’ve worked with from age 8 weeks. Klaus (pictured above) is a red nosed pit bull puppy who was very easily over stimulated and fell into bouts of FRAP all too frequently. Picking him up, could cause FRAP and he’d growl, struggle and bite. He drew blood on his owner many times before he was even 12 weeks old. As many of you know, those puppy teeth are like razors. He nipped at noses, faces, hands, feet, pants. He could only be handled with a pair of mechanic’s gloves on, with the rubber for finger protection from those puppy teeth!

One of the hardest things for me to get owners to understand is that you must remove yourself from the situation. You don’t remove the dog, you ignore the dog and walk away from him. Why? Think! Come on, you remember. Think about what I’ve stated above.

You have to create the time out by ‘licking your wounds’ which triggers the pause! So when you yelp in pain or say “Ouch!” because he nipped you, then you must get up and move away from your puppy and ignore him. When a few moments have passed, you can attempt to initiate play or contact again. If the nips happen again, you rinse and repeat. Eventually, he learns that his behavior is causing you to pause play. This is how they learn. If you can bridge the gap by speaking his language, he’ll learn much faster.

During FRAP, it is very important to understand that interacting with pup, placing hands on him, trying to pet him, even speaking to him or laughing and giggling at him, can encourage the behavior and make it last longer.

So What Do I Do?

Get up, walk away and completely ignore the pup. Let him do his racing and let him settle on his own. Don’t interact with him during FRAP. Don’t try to stop FRAP. Don’t yell at him during FRAP. Don’t encourage FRAP either. Just ignore it. It will diminish as he’s able to get outside and get more outside stimulation. He’s getting stir crazy. Just roll with it, ignore it as best you can. If he bites at you, yelp (say OUCH! or shriek in a way that is obvious that it hurt) and then remove yourself from the situation. Removing HIM will NOT fix the behavior. Placing hands on him at this time will be a mistake and laughing will encourage it.

Understand that if this puppy was removed from mom under the age of 7 weeks, it could take much longer for him to learn to stop this behavior. Please, be patient and consistent. Klaus’ mom thought she’d never be able to love on him and snuggle with him for fear of being bitten. He’s now almost 5 months old and is going out for regular trips to run errands with her and get walks. FRAP has all but stopped. Biting and nipping have almost completely stopped. The last time I was there, he laid his face in my lap and invited head scratches and rubs, even kisses on his head. When he was 10 weeks old, I wouldn’t dare get my face that close to his teeth. He’s becoming a different dog.

Never give up. Patience. Persistence. Consistency. Those things will get you everywhere. Good luck!

 

Dawn

“The Canine Coach”

 

The Resource Guarder

Resource Guarding

I thought I’d take a couple of minutes to share with students and potential students my thoughts on resource guarding and aggression.

First of all, when we say ‘resource guarding’ we are talking about dogs who guard their food dishes with the lip curl and the snarl. Dogs will sometimes become guarders of their person, their toys, the car, their bed, and anything else in their environment that they see as their own and something worth guarding.

The reasons behind this could be that the dog sees itself as the leader and having the right to do this. It can also be an anxiety/fear based issue….maybe this was a rescue who truly was starved to a point of extreme fear that this would happen again? What goes on in their minds is often a puzzle.

One thing, as a trainer, that I DO know is that if you don’t address this issue appropriately, you can actually make it worse and people can be harmed. Children in your household are very much at risk of bites. The ‘resource guarder’ will step a little further and a little further until they seem completely out of control. These dogs are often responsible for biting people. Unfortunately, children tend to get the worst of it because they simply don’t know any better. It is very difficult to teach a toddler to leave the dog alone when it has a toy or is eating. This generally means keeping them separated or never letting the dog have a toy. The household management and logistics can turn into a nightmare for the parents.

Any dog training that is done with these dogs CANNOT be done by making yourself the alpha and just taking things away because you can. Please, don’t fall into this behavior because you saw it on some television show! I don’t even like the word “alpha” because it applies to wolves. Dogs are not wolves and anyone who has done their research on science know that ALL animal behaviorists with clinical degrees agree on this point.

If you push one of these dogs beyond their threshold – that imaginary line that they see as a boundary – they will react.We cannot work with a mind that is in full blown reaction mode. It’s the same concept as trying to work through an issue with your spouse when they are angry. During the heat of the moment is really not the time to explain the reasoning behind behavior or to really have their fully engaged brain. We get better results during those calm moments, when we can get through to that part of them that is reasonable. Right? Your dog is the same way.

Taking them beyond their threshold is dangerous because you push them into a very reactive state in which the mind will disengage and they will completely react on their current frame of mind – which tells them there is an immediate danger that they should respond to as a threat. This has become instinctive, or in other words, habituated. It is now their habit. You don’t think about your habits. You just do them, which is why we call them a habit. You can have bad habits and you can have good habits. Neither makes you a good or a bad person. The same is true for dogs. Time and time again, we make the mistake of pushing the dog that is not ready, beyond this imaginary threshold and I see both trainers and owners punishing for this.

Listen to me, and I STRESSpushing your dog into this reactive state of mind by surpassing their comfort zone and crossing the threshold WILL cause this issue to get worse. Do not listen to anyone who tells you that bullying the dog away from the food dish is the answer. Answering a threat with a threat will result in escalation a large amount of the time. The only place to go from growling, if you push the dog, is biting. If you teach bullying, what you get is a bully. He/she may not come at you now…out of fear, but they have learned from you to go after the next person even harder. That will often be a child or another dog. This is also why I don’t train with pain; no choke chains and no pinch collars.

I often stress to my students the importance of ‘setting your dog up for success’ and this means training for the simple things, but also in how to turn the tables on them in a way that they begin to learn things without even realizing they are being taught. We have to change the way they view the world sometimes and it is possible to control the learning environment. Getting through resource guarding is a long process. It takes commitment from the owners and working with a trainer who can calmly reassure both you and your dog and help guide you through the process with compassion and patience.

If you have a resource guarding dog, take it seriously and work with a trainer who is well versed in many different methods to help desensitize your dog and help you reprogram the brain in how to react. I do not just teach the dog new habits, but it starts with teaching the owner of the dog new habits as well. You’ll find that reconditioning of two brains are taking place, yours and your dog’s.

~ Dawn, The Canine Coach of Houston

NEVER Use Pain to Train – Per Science!

Why do I absolutely REFUSE to use prong collars(also known as pinch collars) or choker style collars? Simple…they are designed as punishment after the fact and are not consistent with positive reinforcement training methods and are not considered humane. Ever.

Research done in 2004 by Dr. Matthijs Schilder and again in 2010 by Dr. Esther’s Schalke show that shock collars, prong collars and chokers cause pain and stress in dogs. The collars can actually reinforce a fear of the owner, the trainer and even the area in which they are being trained. Using shock collars is actually illegal in some parts of the world because the side effects are considered too high of a risk in the hands of too many untrained and irresponsible people. Don’t. Do. Them.

Veterinary behaviorists all agree that positive, non-physical methods of training are what truly works. Ask yourself this question: “Would I want that collar or method used on a child?” If your answer is no (and it should be an emphatic “Hell no!”), then do NOT use it on the dog! Mental stress results and you will teach the animal that you are an inflicter of pain, rather than a kind, compassionate leader. You do not need to dominate to lead! They are not the same!

Be A Participant in Your Dog’s Training!

What is one of the most frustrating thing for dog trainers? When owners don’t participate. When owners disrupt class by constantly moving around and doing other things, which distract from what you are trying to do, rather than sit down, listen and then take part. The person who expects you to come and “fix” their dog, while they do nothing in your absence, is very frustrating. I’m a very busy trainer and I can pick and choose the folks I am willing to work with.

If you show me you have no interest in participating, I will drop you from my schedule, rather than continue being frustrated when I know I can be working with someone else who is willing to do the work and WANTS to participate. Owners need to understand that if training is going to work, they have to actively be involved.

A dog trainer friend of mine had a recent issue with board and train dogs who came home NOT trained, thin, and with behavioral issues. Not to mention, they are young and were not even potty trained while gone. They now are going EVERYWHERE. Essentially, they were kenneled and ignored from what she could tell. This happens too often! NOW the same owner wants her to come to her home and “fix” the dogs, while she disrupts class and sits in a chair calling the dogs over to her when they are being taught.

Recently, I had an owner who couldn’t let me talk without interrupting and if I asked a simple question, she’d race off and go into a five minute conversation that led down so many roads that I’d have to literally bring her back and ask her to sit back down. I finally just ignored her and trained the dog to sit, down and touch, all while she carried on a conversation with herself.

PLEASE, while we are there trying to help you, PAY ATTENTION and allow the focus to be on the dog, not you. Answer the questions as succinctly as you can and understand we only have a short amount of time to work with you that day. You are not our only client and trust me, I get text messages and calls ALL HOURS of the day and night. I got up at 4 am this morning to two messages, one with a dog having an allergic reaction and another cancelling her morning session. Please understand, we are trying to help you but we are only able to work with owners who are willing to meet us half way and do the work while we are gone. You have to pay attention or you’re just wasting your money. . . and our time.

Lastly, once more I will say, BOARDING AND TRAINING YOUR DOG IS MORE OFTEN THAN NOT A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. Yes, there are good ones out there, but there are a hell of a lot of bad ones who give the good ones a very bad name. Get reviews, references and strongly consider taking your dog to weekly classes yourself. I cannot tell you how many dogs in the last 20 years that I’ve seen who were completely ruined from boarding and training facilities. Think long and hard.

Dog v. Dog Aggression

 Let’s talk about dog vs. dog aggression!

First of all, let’s talk about facts and statistics. MOST issues with dog vs dog aggression happen between females. It is possible, of course, to have issues with a male and female or even two males, but the percentage drastically increases with females. This is one of the reasons why I, as a trainer, tend to choose having one male and one female in the home when I have two dogs. Females butt heads more.

You must be far more structured with two females from day ONE. The success rate in rehabbing two fighting females is roughly 57%. That means that you can greatly REDUCE the problems but never get rid of the issues entirely, once they start. I realize that sounds glum, however it shouldn’t make you give up by any means! You can GREATLY reduce problems by more than half and reduce them hurting each other with a little work!!

If you are thinking about adding a dog to your household, it is important that you know to do some things right from the beginning. I’ve met with a family who got two new female pups the same time. They are not siblings, however. They are both GSD (German Shepherd Dogs) and they are about a month apart in age. They are roughly 5 mos and 4 mos old. Right from the start, when you bring a new dog into the home, or two at the same time, you establish one of them as the leader of the other; a sort of natural pecking order, if you will.

In the cases of aggression where one dog has been in the home and another dog is brought in, 74% of the time it is the younger dog or newer dog that starts this issue. Most of the time the dogs get along great and then something happens that surprises the owners and the younger dog (or newer dog) goes after the older one. In 39% of those cases, the owner had no idea at all what the trigger was and were completely surprised. That is even more unsettling for owners – when we never saw it coming, it is baffling and scary. WHAT HAPPENED??

What happened is that the younger/newer dog was not taught right from the beginning that we were going to defer to the other dog ALL the time and that if it was patient, it would always get its food, treat, reward, toy, love, attention, as the next one in line. No need to fight, it is coming when it is your turn. We inadvertently reward, pet, acknowledge a different dog first randomly and we create pack confusion and set up a situation where this competition issue manifests.

In these extreme cases, where they fight very aggressively, you should get a trainer involved to help you!

TEN PERCENT of cases report the owner needed medical attention for trying to break the dogs up, during these skirmishes!

FIFTY PERCENT of the time, the other dog needed medical attention!! That is very high and can be greatly reduced in cases where the fighting has already begun. In cases where it hasn’t, you can DRASTICALLY reduce the odds that it ever will by setting these CLEAR boundaries and rules.