HALLOWEEN Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Halloween Dog Bite Prevention Tips From PAWS-itively Obedient

– Changes in routine and the strange sights and sounds associated with Halloween can cause stress in a normally placid family dog. Keep dogs out of the fray by securing them away from the door and providing a long-lasting chew treat. Teach kids to Be a Tree and stand still if any dogs come near them on Halloween.

Halloween is lots of fun for kids, but many dogs will be confused or upset by kids in strange costumes and by lots of people coming to the door, but never being invited in.

Doggone Safe (www.doggonesafe.com) and PAWS-itively Obedient offer the following tips for dog owners, kids and parents:

Dog owners:

  1. Secure your dog behind a closed door or in a crate in a room away from the front door or the party if children are meeting at your house.
  2. Give him a juicy bone from the butcher, a sterilized bone or Kong stuffed with hotdog, Rollover or other soft dog treats or a pre-stuffed bone from the pet store.
  3. Play music or leave a TV or radio playing in the dog’s room to help mask the sounds of the activity at the front door.
  4. Close drapes so that the dog does not see people coming and going through the window.
  5. If you have a dog that barks at the sound of the doorbell, disconnect it or watch for trick-or-treaters so that they do not have to ring or knock.
  6. Puppies and dogs that like to chase can get overly excited by costumes with dangly bits or streaming material. Supervise very carefully if you have a dog that may try to play with your children’s costumes while they are wearing them. Teach kids to Be a Tree and stand still if the dog does start nipping at their costume since the more they move, the more exited the dog will get.
  7. Keep your dogs (and cats) indoors around Halloween time. Pets have been stolen, injured or poisoned as part of Halloween pranks or other rituals.

Kids and Parents:

  1. Avoid houses if you can hear a dog barking behind the door, you can see a dog behind a screen door or you see a dog tied up in the yard or barking behind a fence.
  2. Never approach any dog, even if you know him. He may not recognize you in your costume.
  3. If an owner opens the door and there is a dog there, just stay still and wait for the dog owner to put the dog away. You can tell them you do not want to come near the dog. Do not move toward the person and dog. Wait for them to come to you to give you your candy. Wait for them to close the door before you turn and leave.
  4. If a dog escapes just stand still and Be a Tree (hands folded in front, watching your feet). He will just sniff you and then move on. Wait for the owner to come and get the dog before you turn away.
  5. If you meet a loose dog, Be a Tree and wait until it goes away.
  6. It is best to ignore other people’s dogs on Halloween if you meet them out walking. The dog may be worried about all the strange creatures that are out and about. Even if you know the dog, he may not recognize you in your costume.

Doggone Safe and PAWS-itively Obedient wish everyone a safe and Happy Halloween!

KONG your best chew toy investment

I recommend to all my clients to purchase numerous KONG’s. These durable chew toys will help with solving numerous issues such as barking ,digging and chewing inappropriate items.They also are a great tool in prevention of under stimulation, boredom and separation anxiety.

Most dogs need to learn to use a Kong.
Follow these steps to ensure your dog knows how to enjoy all the benefits of this popular toy.

1. Size for safety

It’s important to use the right size KONG so that your dog can have the safest, most enjoyable experience.
Not sure where to start on sizing? Check out the KONG User Guide.

2. Engage to ensure success

Get your dog excited about their new KONG. Show it off and talk about it excitedly; maybe even play a little hard-to-get to pique their interest and show them what their new toy can do.

3. Stuff to entice and extend playtime

Many dogs are motivated by food and KONG toys are perfect for stuffing with treats or kibble to keep dogs busy. The key is to stuff loosely so that the food will come out of the toy easily. To entice your dog, try using a little bit of peanut butter or their favorite treat in the KONG. Supervise your dog’s use of KONG toys until you are confident they can be used safely without supervision. Nothing is indestructible so frequently check the toy for cracks or missing pieces .

4. Freeze for greater challenge

Over time, your dog will learn how to get treats out of the KONG quickly. To increase the challenge, put together a mixture of wet and dry ingredients, stuff the KONG and freeze it. A frozen KONG heightens the experience by creating a long-lasting, mentally stimulating task. Wondering what to freeze in your dog’s KONG? Check the KONG webpage for recipe ideas    http://www.kongcompany.com/recipes/

House Breaking Tips

  • Skip the “puppy pads”! Teaching your puppy to use pads is an extra step you don’t need. Instead, supervise your puppy at all times and limit freedom in the house. When you can’t supervise your puppy, keep him safe and prevent messes by confining him to a crate or a pen. Limit access to the house until you have several months of consistent success.
  • When in doubt, take them out! Puppies need to eliminate frequently, so take them out….
    • After a nap
    • After a meal/drink
    • After playtime and training
  • How long can they hold it? As a general guideline, for every month that your puppy ages, they should be able to “hold it” for another hour. For example, if your puppy is two months old, expect him to need to go out every two hours or so. A four month old puppy should be able to wait about four hours.
    • This is not a hard and fast rule! If there are any “strikes” (see above) during that time be sure to take him out!
    • Many puppies can go longer overnight because there is very little external stimulation (ie; lights are off and there is no activity in the house)
  • Use a leash/Stay with your puppy/Potty time is not playtime!
    • Go outside with your puppy. Pick a spot in the yard that you would like him to go and use that spot, every time! Stand still and let the puppy sniff around that immediate area. You can add a “cue “word such as “business” to be associated with going outside to urinate/defecate. When he goes, PRAISE LAVISHLY! When you are sure he is empty, offer a treat or a quick play session as a reward.
  • Two Puddles/Two Piles-Puppies get distracted easily, and may not completely empty themselves when they first go out. If you find that your puppy is coming back inside and having an accident soon after, give him an extra few minutes outside when you go out. He may need to make TWO puddles or TWO piles before he is really finished!
  • No Freedom Until He’s Empty! If you are still having trouble with accidents happening in the house, limit your puppy’s freedom until he does his” business” outside.
    • When you come inside after an unsuccessful “out”, put your puppy right into a crate for 10-15 min.
    • Take him out of the crate and directly outside for another chance-if he goes to the bathroom,         PRAISE LAVISHLY!
    • If he doesn’t do his” business”, back inside to the crate for another 10-15 min.
    • Repeat this process until your puppy is successful.
    • Slowly increase the amount of freedom that your puppy has in the house as long as there are no accidents!
“My puppy is housetrained, but he eats his poop! How can I stop it?
This is one of those unpleasant things that some dogs do that we can’t explain. There are a number of taste deterrents on the retail market that work sometimes, but our solution is simple: CLEAN IT UP!  If your puppy doesn’t have access to poop, he can’t eat it! An added bonus is that your yard will be clean and you will be reducing the risk of disease transmission to other animals and family members too. This is just one of the reasons why keeping your dog on a leash can be helpful during housetraining time!

Don’t Delay, Train Today

The answer is to train your dog (pup) in short but numerous (at least 50) training sessions throughout the day. Each session can be only one to three seconds long at first and then increase as you practice and the dog becomes reliable with the behavior.

You should integrate the sessions throughout your day.  This will become surprisingly easy and enjoyable. Start by placing a post-it with a quick training note, such as sit/stay, near your coffee pot. Then as you reach for that cup of coffee first thing in the morning you will see the note and instruct your dog with a hand signal/verbal cue for sit/stay while you pour a cup of coffee.  If you have several cups in the morning you will have done several 3 to 10 second sit/stays with your dog.

After each one release the dog with the cue such as “FREE” (toss a treat away from you so he gets the association with the cue FREE)

Here’s a quick list of some lifestyle training sessions to help you get the idea:
Sit/Down Stay

  • Reading newspaper or book for each paragraph (or sentence if just starting)
  • Loading or unloading the dishwasher
  • Commercial breaks while watching TV
  • Reading your emails
  • Making the dog’s or your own meal
  • Exiting /Entering doorways (of your house or car)

By implementing this technique you will easily achieve your 50 training sessions with your dog without modifying your normal lifestyle.

Pictures from the top…
Down stay in the kitchen…
Sit stay in your car
Down stay outside…

Parvovirus Information Aug 20, 2014

Parvovirus Information


The local news media has had a lot of coverage the past few days regarding the recent outbreak of Canine Parvovirus.  The statement from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources reports at this time all cases have been in Lowell, MA area.

 Canine Parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2) is a highly contagious often fatal disease in dogs.  Any dog can be affected but it is most often seen in unvaccinated or poorly vaccinated puppies and adult dogs.

 Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract and immune system of affected puppies and dogs.  It can also attack the heart of very young puppies.  The virus is spread through direct contact with infected dogs or infected feces.  The virus is very stable in the environment and can last for long periods of time, making it very easily transmitted via different surfaces.

 The early symptoms of Parvovirus are often confused with other less serious gastrointestinal illnesses, which can cause a delay in treatment.  The symptoms dog owners need to be aware of are; lethargy, severe vomiting, severe diarrhea (bloody), anorexia and fever.  Though a large percentage of treated dogs do survive if they are diagnosed early and given aggressive supportive care, the cost of such treatment can be costly.  Dogs and puppies that are left untreated or are not diagnosed early enough have a mortality rate above 90%.

 Proper vaccination of Parvovirus is the best means of prevention.  The vaccination for Canine Parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2) is included in what we refer to as the Distemper Vaccine.  In general, puppies should receive a minimum of 3 doses of vaccine from the age of 6 to 16 weeks with an additional vaccine one year after the last.  Booster vaccinations will then be given at 1 to 3 year intervals.

Summer’s Story

For anyone considering training for their puppy and wondering why they should participate, this is for you…

Summer, the black lab I work in the veterinary field and have for all my life, and have always had dogs. I thought I knew all there was to training a dog, after all I had trained two dogs prior to getting my new puppy and have always had a house full of dogs. I was, what is that word I am looking for, mmmmmmm? You guessed it, wrong (ouch that hurt)! I had heard of clicker or positive reinforcement training and couldn’t imagine that it would be a successful way to train, I mean, I KNEW the ONLY way to train was with a choke collar and forceful corrections for unwanted behavior. You are supposed to correct the unwanted behavior right? Again, (ouch) WRONG!!! Here is my experience and it is for anyone that ever thought the way I did about training or anyone that has considered training and not followed through for what ever the reason.

I had three older dogs in my household and was going to introduce a new puppy to the pack. I was a bit concerned as I do have a dog that is very reactive to other dogs (one of the dogs I trained prior to this experience) and so I sought out the suggestions of a trainer. I talked with Karen Lambrecht of Positively Obedient and made the decision to try this positive reinforcement training (still with my doubts that I could learn to make it successful). The introduction went amazingly smoothly so my next move was puppy kindergarten.

Summer, my new puppy, and I signed up for the 5 week course and had a great time. I learned alot of new techniques to train and Summer seemed to be blossoming as well as catching on to some of the training, she was after all only 8 weeks old. I was still a bit unsure of how successful we would be and decided to keep going. I loved the way Karen handled and trained with the class. I loved the interaction with the puppies and their owners and most of all I loved seeing my puppy growing confident, obedient and praised for all the good she was doing, this was so different than causing pain to correct an unwanted behavior. How could this work??? Yes, Summer and I had to practice what we were being taught and it was so worth it!!! Now, as I said Summer was 8 weeks old when we started making her 13 weeks old when we completed the first course. We had a break before starting our second course of training and during that time she had started to grow and reach her teenage stage. I was doing my best to continue with the training and struggling a bit. OK, it is true, I was getting frustrated with my puppy and began thinking I could never be successful with this positive training, she was just not trainable. She was grabbing inappropriate items and then playing catch me if you can (All puppy owners know this game), she had started jumping on people AGAIN (I thought we had this all taken care of, you know, learn it and it is forever) etc… We began our second training course and I realized I had to refocus, not Summer, I had lost my focus and needed to practice and positively enforce what we had learned and were learning.

And so it happened…I awoke one day and began my routine of getting myself and my household ready for another day, something seemed to wrong with Summer. She seemed to be sick, she was not jumping , she was sitting, waiting for me and not pulling me out the door, lying down and being quiet for our ride to work. OH, my goodness what is wrong??? What could she have possibly gotten into this time as I always keep a close eye on her. I will have to have the veterinarian check her out when we get to work (Summer goes to work on a daily basis with me). We arrive at work, Summer walks into the clinic (not pulling) and greets everyone, only today she is not jumping on them, then goes to her room and gets into her kennel. Then it dawned on me, she is not sick, she GOT IT!!!! It was like a light bulb went on in her head and all the training came together for her and she GOT IT!!!! I, honestly thought her to be ill and it was all the training coming together. YEAH, we were going to be successful after all. I have and still am learning a gentler way to train and Summer is growing into a wonderful, beautiful, confident, well socialized and obedient companion. We still have a way to go and I am confident that with the guidance of Pawsitively Obedience, Karen Lambrecht we will be successful. I would strongly urge and recommend anyone that is raising a puppy and/or in need of guidance in changing or stopping unwanted behavior in an older dog to participate in positive training with Karen, it is one of the greatest ways to not only train with but create a greater bond with your dog.

– Joanne and Summer