Friday, December 29, 2006

Smash's New Years resolutions

Dog Training Goals for 2007

Now that Smash is just over a year old, I expect more from him.

For 2007 here are some things I will be working with him on:

More Loyalty: I want him to come to me without being called by name.

More Exercise: I plan to let him run in the woods daily one he shows he will respond to my recall commands.

More Fun: I plan to find some fun tricks that he likes to do and work with him on them.

Of course we will be using the material we have from Sit Stay Fetch as the basis for all these goals.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A puppy for Christmas?

Don't forget the instruction manual!

If you are giving a puppy for Christmas or if you got one, don't forget to read the instructions.

Start your puppy off right with the information in Sit Stay Fetch. This course teaches you how to establish a loving relationship with your puppy right from the start.

By starting with the correct information, you won't have to deal with unlearning bad behavior. You can just focus on enjoying your puppy and training him right.

Begin establishing that loving bond between you and your dog right now with the Sit Stay Fetch course. Click here to get your copy.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dog tunnels through snow to save owners

"A seven year old German Shephard - Timberwolf mixed dog named Shana is quite a canine hero in Alden as the story spreads of her efforts to save her owners during the October surprise storm."


Peanut butter dog biscuit recipe

Makes 2 dozen treats

¾ cup water
¼ cup oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cornmeal
¾ cup oats
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Blend water, oil, egg and vanilla together. Add peanut butter.
Whisk dry ingredients together; mix into wet mixture to form a ball of dough. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough to a rectangle 1/8-inch thick.
Cut biscuits with a cookie cutter, and transfer each biscuit to an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving 1/4-inch space between each. Bake 20 minutes or until just turning golden brown. Cool to harden.
Store in airtight container.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Teaching Smash to Shake paws

How to Teach a Dog How To Shake Paws.

Begin bygiving the Sit command and have your dog in the "Sit" position.

Say “Smash, Shake Paws”, and then gently take hold of one of your dog’s paws and lift it off the ground. Put his paw back on the ground, then praise and reward him.

Smash's favoitire reward for such behavior is lots of petthepuppy.

Repeat this a few times, and then try it again several times throughout the day.

After a couple of days, try giving your dog the command without picking up his paw.

If he raises his paw by himself, make a big fuss so he knows he is doign a great job!

However, if he does not lift his paw, don’t be discouraged. Instead, go back a step and practice lifting his paw for him for another couple of days.

Some days Smash does better than others.

We learned this trick from Sit Stay Fetch.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bad dogs tend to happen to bad people, study shows

People who own "high-risk" dogs are much more likely to be high-risk themselves, a new study says, with vastly more criminal convictions and traffic citations found among those who own dogs that don't play well with others.

Read more in the Edmonton Journal

I have observed this myself that children and dogs mirror the emotions of their caretakers.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Walking the dog

Isn't it amazing to watch your dog while he is walking on a leash with you. That is when he is not pulling and tugging you all over the place.

I mean after you have learned how to teach your dog to walk on a leash.

As your dog walks calmly beside you, note how observant he is. Dogs are always very keenly aware of their surroundings. They smell and taste everything they find along the way. Their ears are hearing the slightest sound. Their eyes are constantly scanning the surrounding watching for any thing that moves.

We can learn a lot from our dogs as we walk them. Next time you walk your dog, try to be as aware as he is. You may not want to taste that squashed bug like he does but you can take time to let your mind be free of thoughts.

Just observe what is there. Describe it to yourself as you see it or just talk to your dog. This simple exercise of describing in great detail that which we observe was the foundation of Socrates school of learning in ancient Greece.

Just taking time to be aware of your surroundings will open your creative mind and allow you to think more clearly and find solutions to what is troubling you.

All this just by walking the dog. Isn't life great?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Home Made dog treat recipe

Since Smash had been such a good dog lately, his grandmother made him some treats.
She used 1 cup of whole-wheat flour, 1 cup of corn meal, 1 bullion cube, 1 package of yeast, 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 egg. She stirred the yeast into ¼ cup of warm chicken broth and let set for about 10 minutes. She placed the bullion cube in the remaining chicken broth and let it dissolve. When she was ready to mix, she placed the flour and cornmeal in a bowl and made a well in the middle. She poured in the yeast broth and bullion broth and added the egg. She beat it together and formed a dough ball. She rolled it out between two pieces of wax paper. When the paper became sticky, she sprinkle plain flour beneath the dough and rolled out the dough to ¼” thick. She used some of Smash’s favorite cookie cutters to cut shapes. She baked at 300degrees for 45 minutes. She turned off the oven and let them stay a few minutes longer to make them crisp like Smash likes them. This recipe makes 24 treats for Smash. She places them in an airtight container and Smash is rewarded for about two weeks for good behavior.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Pet costumes

Making Pet costumes

Dressing up for Halloween is a long standing tradition. The scary costumes are what I remember most form my childhood trick or treating days.

So, this year, don't forget your pet costumes when you get dressed up to go out.

I expect Smash will continue to use his dog costume. It is a pretty effective disguise. Who would suspect that I have an ogre living on my farm.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Potty Training dogs

While Smash is an outdoor dog, many people prefer to keep their dogs indoors with them. In fact, if you have a dog for security purposes, you need him sleeping by your bed.

The guys at Sit Stay Fetch have an excellent book on How to House Train your Dog. But if you just want the basics, see my article at:

Or, if you have human toddler that needs to be potty trained see our blog at

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dog starts car after eating chip

A breakdown patrol man who came to the rescue of a woman motorist has managed to get her car started using her dog.
Juliette Piesley, 39, had changed the battery in her electronic key fob but was then unable to start her car.
When AA patrolman Kevin Gorman arrived at the scene in Addlestone, Surrey, he found its immobiliser chip was missing.
Ms Piesley said her dog George had eaten something, and realising it was the chip, he put the dog in the front seat and started the car with the key.
Mr Gorman said: "I was glad to get the car started for the member.
"They will now have to take George [the dog] with them in the car until things take their natural course.
"It is the first time that I have had to get a dog to help me to start a car."


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Chasing Cars

How to stop Dogs from chasing cars

One of the most dangerous bad habits a dog can have is chasing cars. Chasing them is not so bad but when they catch one or the next one in line catches them. The results are often fatal.

My neighbors dogs have taken to chasing my Jeep as I drive by their house. So I am working with them to help correct the problem. I sure don't want to hit one.

I picked up a cheap but powerful water gun at a discount store. It is the kind that pumps up so it sprays a long way.

Now when they start to chase me, I slow down or stop and give them a good squirt of water. This startles them without hurting them. They will soon get the idea that chasing my Jeep is no fun. Maybe that will translate in to not chasing other cars as well.

This idea came from the Sit Stay Fetch dog training course section on chasing cars. They have more ideas there to complete the process and break them from the deadly habit of chasing cars.

Dog whispering magic?

Is dog whispering a science or magic?

Smash and I are getting better and better at communicating with each other.

But I am beginning to wonder if this dog whispering stuff is a science or magic.

Since it is easy to learn form books like Sit Stay Fetch who explains it in a step by step manner, it seems to be a science.

But when I notice that Smash seems to respond to my thoughts as well as my words, it starts to look like magic.

Lets take today for example. It is a rainy messy day here where I am. We are all very happy for the rain as our creek had completely stopped flowing. But I was not nearly as interested in walking in the woods as Smash was today.

He seemed to sense that right away and spent his time chasing unseen things in the woods rather than walking with me as he normally does. Also, he did not come right back to the house with me either. I think he went to visit his puppy friends down the street. The ones who have been known to get him in trouble.

I tried not to worry about him as I went about my work. later I decided it was time for him to come home and I better go look for him. I imagined looking out and seeing him on the porch.

I looked out and did not see him. But before I got my shoes on, I heard a noise and there was my wet and muddy dog Smash running up to greet me.

I gave him one of his favorite treats and hooked him back to his tether. We were both happy.

So I begin to wonder if he is reading more than my body language and vocal tones as taught in the book. maybe he is reading my thoughts instead. Either way, I am glad I learned dog whispering because it works.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Making trouble for myself and Smash

While Smash was running loose today, I began to remember the day he got hurt. I remember in the days leading up to that incident, we had commented many times that if he kept running off, he was going to get in trouble.

I tried to say to myself that none of my other dogs had had any trouble roaming the area where we live, but I never shook the thought that something would happen to my cute little puppy.

When he came home bleeding, I realized my worsts fears had been manifest.

Sometimes I wish it was not so easy to manifest my thoughts. Read more here....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

recipes for homemade dog foods

Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Catsrecipes for homemade dog foods has some great recipes for homemade dog foods. Here is a sample:

In the morning serve the following as a hot cereal:

1 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon honey

Combine and serve warm.

For Smash, I add some garlic and powdered wheat grass to supplement his immune system.

Dr. Pitcairn has many more recipes for homemade dog foods in his book. Smash loves them.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Family watch dog

Training your family watch dog to bark

One reason people have a dog is for protection. Since we live in a rural setting, I like my dog to bark when people drive up the driveway. He can hear them on the gravel road long before they come into sight.

Dogs will naturally bark at things that surprise them or things that move. They also tend to bark when they hear other dogs in the distance. Remember the doggy telegraph in 101 Dalmatians?

When your dog barks, go to him and look in the direction he is barking. Acknowledge that he has made a warning. Then, depending on the situation, you can command him to be silent.

Always acknowledge his warning before issuing the silence command. You want to make sure that your dog feels he has performed an important function.

Also, if you truly want a dog for protection, you may want to consider letting him live inside your house. While you dog can be effective as an alarm outside, he can be more protective if he is inside with you. Sit Stay Fetch has a tragic story of a woman who ignored the bark of her family watch dog. She now keeps her well trained dog with her in her bedroom.

One more point about family watch dogs: depending on the degree of protection you desire, you may have to get professional training. There is a bonus book with Sit Stay Fetch about training family watch dogs however they also recommend professional assistance for family watch dog training.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

How to teach my dog to walk beside me on his leash

How to teach my dog to walk beside me on his leash?

Smash loves to try to lead me down the trail. Many of our hiking trails here are really too narrow for him to walk be side me. So I have had a bit of complication training him to walk beside me on his leash.

I have begun using the length of the free leash as his cue to walk beside me or in front. When I want him beside me, I pull up the leash short and hold him in the standard heel position for a few steps. He soon gets the idea. I reinforce the leash signal with the verbal "Heel" command accompanied by a visual image in my head of him walking calmly and happily beside me.

When the trail gets narrow, I let out the leash and slow my pace enough to allow him to go in front. He quickly takes to this! If he tries to pull on the leash, I give it a quick tug to remind him not to pull.

For more info on how to train a dog to walk on a leash click here.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Dog Whispering continued....

Dogs respond to intentions

I have noticed this response in children - see Potty Training Site Blog for my posts on that subject - but it has become really obvious with Smash this week that he responds much more to the caller's intentions than to their verbal commands.

The response that I have noticed is the difference between when I call him to me and when Janice calls him. I know, and now Smash knows that when she calls him her intention is to tie him up. So, if she uses the correct tone and words he will come close to her but always stay just out of reach. She gets frustrated and you can watch his ears and other body posture start to shows signs of agitation as well. He will often grab one of his toys and start tearing it up.

She gets mad that he comes to me when I call him seemingly the same way she does. However, when I call him, I am thinking about petting him and maybe giving him a snack or a treat. He will come right up to me and wait to get petted. He will then go to his tether and wait for his treat. Only after he has begun to enjoy his treat will I hook him up. He offers no resistance at all to being hooked up when my first intention is to give him puppy luvin' and a treat.

By the way, if I call him thinking about hooking him up because I am in a hurry, he usually runs the opposite direction. So I have learned to control my thoughts.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Dog grooming instructions

Dog Grooming

My dog grooming instructions for Smash mostly consists of:

A: Take him to the creek
B: Let him swim.
C: Trim his toe nails by letting him run until he dries.

Being an active short haired dog, that it pretty much all it takes.

But for many people dog grooming instructions are more complicated.

The Sit Stay Fetch course includes a bonus book on Dog Grooming with some great suggestions. I wish I had had this book when I had Jack the Border Collie. His long hair was always getting matted up and icky looking. Smash is much lower maintenance.

One of the first dog grooming instructions they offer is training the dog to be touched and handled. This is best started as a puppy.

Also, the dog needs to be able to obey the sit and stay commands as well as other simple dog grooming instructions.

So keep your dog healthy and looking good, get Sit Stay Fetch and make sure you get the bonus Dog Grooming instructions book.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Picking the right dog for your family

Picking a family dog

The importance of choosing the right dog for your family is often over looked.

When picking a family dog, there are many factors to consider.

  • Where will the family dog live?
  • How often will you play the dog?
  • What environment will the family dog be exposed to?
  • Are there other pets in the home?

When picking a family dog for us, I first watched to see which one ran out to greet us first. I knew this one would be the one most likely to enjoy humans.

Smash's sister actually beat him there but another factor in picking a family dog was knowing that we wanted a boy dog.

I also tested Smash's response to commands by watching hos response to my facial expressions made in dog whisperer style.

All you need to know about picking a family dog is explained in Sit Stay Fetch. They also tell you more about breed selection and many other factors to consider when picking a family dog.

Pet treats

Dog Supplies- Pet treats

I have been searching the dog supplies sections of my local pet stores and discount stores lately for so good treats to use when training Smash.

I have not found much that I really want to give him.

They are all full of nasty chemicals that I don't want him eating. And he does not seem the least bit interested in the treats they tried to give him at the veterinarian office. Much to their surprise he just spat out the dog biscuit they gave him as a reward for taking his shot.

So far the best pet treat I have found for him on these hot days are frozen French fries. He loves these things. He has to let them thaw just a bit before he can eat them but he loves to play with them while they are still frozen.

So instead of looking in the dog supplies for pet treats try you frozen food section.

We have also found that our local meat department has some low priced beef ribs that have lots of bone in them. Smash really loves these and will chew one all day of he gets the chance. They keep his teeth pretty and white. So no more shopping in the dog supplies for pet treats.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Natural Flea and Tick control

I don't like the idea of putting toxic chemicals on Smash to try to prevent fleas and ticks. I know that sooner rather than later he will lick his fur and directly ingest bug poison. And more will seep into his skin.

I did some research and found that there are some natural home remedies for fleas and ticks.

The first step in eliminating fleas is keeping his sleeping area clean. Wild dogs don't get fleas because the don't sleep in the same place very often.

I let Smash sleep on a concrete pad that is easily washed and keep his cedar filled bedding brushed off. He likes to rearrange his own furniture from time to time which helps keep the fleas at bay.

Also, there is some research that indicates that healthy animals don't attract as many parasites. Just another reason to make sure I feed him healthy natural food.

For ticks - and we have lots of them in our woods - I am testing an old farm trick - Geranium oil. I put a few drops of Rose geranium oil on his collar. This makes him smell like roses instead of a dog. When first applied the scent is strong so I am not sure it is better than wet dog or not.

There seems to be some reduction in the number of ticks I find on him now. I will continue to evaluate this method of tick control and let you know what I decide.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Calming an excited dog

Using Dog whispering techniques to Calm an excited dog

This past week we visited my in laws. They have a very energetic indoor dog. Some kind of schnauzer. For some reason, this dog and I have never gotten along. I love most dogs but this one has always just annoyed me with his high spirited antics and barking in the house.

On this latest visit he immediately started his annoying jumping and barking when I walked in. At first i tried to ignore him as I usually do but then I remembered the dog whispering that I had been doing with Smash.

Now Smash and I have a very special relationship based on mutual trust, so I was not sure how these techniques would work on a strange dog.

But, when Preston ran up to me and started yelping, I made eye contact with him and made the expressions that I had learned with Smash. It took just a couple of times to see if I meant business but soon and I mean very soon, Preston was sitting calmly beside me. He has never done that before and every one there remarked at the difference in his behavior.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Beat the heat

Preventing heatstroke and dealing with hot weather.

It has been really hot and humid here in east Tennessee this week. So I have been taking extra care to make sure Smash stays safe in the heat.

I am keeping extra water available for him as he drinks a lot when it is hot like this.

When we play, I always take him to the creek so he can splash and play and stay cool at the same time.

He loves to run through the woods after he gets wet.

For more tips on helping your dog deal with the summer heat, see page 149 of Sit Stay Fetch for more info.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Calming trick

Using Dog Whispering to calm my dog.

Today I got to test the calming trick that is explained in the dog whispering section of Sit Stay Fetch.

Smash was taking a walk with me after supper. well first he had a squirrel cross his path. This was almost more than he could handle but he came back to the heel position with just a couple of tugs.

But hen he heard Janice calling us. When he saw her he was so excited that he would not do anything but pull straight for her. Even after we got to her he was jumping and getting the leash twisted etc.

So I bent down and made eye contact with him and made the expressions explained in Sit Stay fetch. Within seconds, he was calmly panting beside us.

We then continued our hike in a calm and relaxed manner. I continue to be amazed at how these little tricks work.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

How to talk to your dog

Dog Whispering?

I learned a long time ago that my dogs respond more to the tone of my voice than to what I say. Much the same as toddlers.

I found that high pitched sounds seem to convey happiness to dogs. And low growling sounds convey displeasure.

Today, I was reading in Sit Stay Fetch about "dog whispering" as they call it. They confirmed what I thought about the voice pitch and explained some more areas in great detail.

I could not wait to try them out on Smash. No surprise that he responded just like they said in the book.

I have always used a high pitch sound to greet him when I come home or go out to take him for a walk.

Also, in Sit Stay Fetch they talk abut the importance of eye contact. I knew eye contact was important when talking to women or employees but I never realized that dogs respond to eye contact. So I started paying attention to Smash's eyes today.

Smash's eyes are almost as expressive as his ears. And making eye contact when giving instruction has made an immediate improvement in his responsiveness.

There are lots great tips hidden in Sit Stay Fetch. I am looking forward to trying some more with Smash.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Accidental leash training

Yesterday while moving Smash's tether from the porch to the barn so he could be with me while I was working, he got an accidental but effective lesson on walking on a leash.

Instead of using his leash to walk him to the barn like I normally do, I just left his tether connected and let him drag it along.

The tether is made of steel cable so it is a lot heavier than his regular leash. So it drags on the ground between his legs.

When he made a lunge after something he thought needed sniffing, the cable popped up and slapped his tender dangly bits.

He has not pulled on the leash since.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Feeding my Dog

How feeding schedules effect leash training.

I used to keep a bowl of all natural kibble available to Smash all the time so he could graze at will. This was put there to carry him over between feeding of the stuff he really enjoys - all natural dog food recipes like the ones found in John Miller's Book.

But after reading the How to Be an Alpha Dog book that came with Sit Stay Fetch, I have made a subtle change in Smash's feeding schedule that has made a huge difference in his behavior.

Timing his feeding like the book says has made him look to me as the pack leader and made a huge difference in how he performs on the leash.

I have been absolutely amazed at how quick the change in psychology took place.

And over the weekend, I got to see how quickly it reverses when one of my boys overfilled the kibble bowl leaving plenty left over for several between meal snacks. Smash was pulling on the leash and trying to assert himself again the next morning.

Who would have thought such a small change in feeding schedules would make such a difference in my dog's behavior.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Smash on Dogster

Smash now has his own listing on Dogster the on line dog community.

See his page at

This is a great community forum to share dog training tips, seek solutions to your dog behavior problems, learn about leash training and see cute puppy pictures.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Training a dog to not pull on leash

Dog Behavior Problem

Training a dog to not pull on leash is important for your safety and the safety of your dog.

My little dog Smash is very feisty and very strong. When he pulls on the leash, you know it.

Even a small dog can make a strong pull if he gets running go at it. A dogs pull can be enough to strain your back or worse yet cause you to slip and fall.

I like to walk my dog Smash in the woods behind our house and down tot the creek. Before I trained him to not pull on the leash, I had to be very careful where I walked. It would have been easy for him to pull me into the creek along the muddy bank.

If you have a dog who pulls on the sidewalk, you could easily be pulled into traffic or in others ways get in a position to injure yourself or your dog.

Training a dog to not pull on leash is one of the first steps to dog obedience training and correcting bad dog behavior.

Clear consistent training and leash practice using sound principles are need to safely learn to train your dog to walk on a leash.

SitStayFetch has some great methods for training you and your dog how to walk on a leash. They teach how to establish the correct relationship between you and your dog to make training easy and natural.

So far, it is working great with Smash. He only pulls on the leash now when he has to go potty really bad!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dog behavior questions

Some questions about Dog Behavior

How much freedom should I give my dog?

I am working hard to establish the right pack hierarchy with Smash. I know I have to establish myself as the alpha dog, but I also want to have fun with him. SitSatyfetch has a whole bonus book about being the alpha dog that has been really helpful in helping me understand what he is thinking.

I like to watch him run and play but, for his safety, I have to be able to know he will come back when called.

So for now, I am keeping him confined unless I am with him. The benefit of this confinement is that he is excited when I bring out the leash rather than dreading it like my other dogs have.

He wags his tail and runs up for me to connect his leash when we go out to learn to walk on a leash.

I let him run free for a couple of hours the other day while he played in the creek. I thought I might have trouble getting him to go back on the leash but he gave no trouble after I tackled him to catch him on one of his passes by me as I called him.

He gets very excited when he plays in the water and loves to run.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Cute Dog Picture

Smash Enjoying some rare time in the house.

He likes to chew on socks.

Smash's big hurt

Why we sometimes call him Lazarus

One afternoon, while I was working in my barn and Smash was playing with his dog friends up the road, he came running up to me in obvious trouble.

In fact , I did not recognize him at first. Who is this red dog? I asked. Then I realized it was Smash covered in blood.

My first thought as I climbed down from where I was working was that he had killed and animal and got covered in its blood. But I soon saw to my horror that he was the one doing the bleeding.

He ran to the house and I followed him. I caught up to him near his water dish and then saw there was a huge gaping hole in the top of his snout just below his eyes. Blood was spraying form two arteries like the black knight in Monty Python's the Holy Grail.

He was too excited to let me hold him. I caught him again in the yard and inspected the wound. He was bleeding so profusely that I had a hard time seeing what was the source. I tried unsuccessfully to put pressure on the arteries to stop the bleeding. When I tried he squirmed away.

I finally got on the phone and got direction to the emergency animal clinic but by this time Smash had run off in the woods. I could not find him.

I began tracking the blood trail but after a couple of hours, I realized I must have been tracking it back to where he got hurt in the first place rather than where he was hiding. I had to give up the tracking when heavy rain started to fall after dark eliminating any signs I could track.

I was very upset that not only had my dog been hurt, but I could not find him. I became very angry as well.

That night I hardly slept at all. I prayed that God would give me some sign that this was what was supposed to be and that every thing was going to be alright. What I really wanted was my dog back, but form all that I had seen and the amount of blood on the ground and on my coveralls, there was no way that little dog could have survived. I assumed he had gone off to die after using his last bit of strength to come home and say goodbye.

Don't worry this story has a happy ending!

The next day I was too depressed to go look for his dead body, but just as I was getting ready to do so, my neighbor called saying he had my dog. I still assumed he meant my dog's dead body, but then he said he is making bad noises.

I quickly ran to the neighbors house and there was Smash running and jumping with the other dogs. He ran right up to me making an awful snorting sound as the air went in and out of the hole in his snout rather than his nostrils.

I thanked God that he was alive. It had to be a miracle! From what I learned in my first aid classes, a human could not have survived that much blood loss - much less a 30 lb dog.

And he was no longer covered in blood. I still don't know where he hid that night. Maybe his dog buddies took care of him. All I know is that I was very thankful to have my puppy back.

After some surgery to close the gap some, Smash still has an extra nostril on top of his snout. We call it his snorkel.

We don't let him run loose just yet as I want to work him through this wanderlust phase. And it is great to see him excited about learning to walk on a leash instead of dreading it.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

How to train your dog to walk on a leash continued

A few says ago I rubbed a blister on the back of my foot while walking in a new pair of shoes (without my dog). So for the past couple of days I have not been much in the mood for extensive leash training.

Yesterday we did spend some time on the ski rope playing fetch but this does not help us learn to walk on a leash.

So this morning I was surprised at how much he had regressed in leash training. He started pulling the instant I hooked up the leash. He knew where he wanted to go and wanted to get there fast!

I am still walking a little gingerly so I was not in the mood to be pulled. So instead of just snapping the leash I added a verbal "No" command each time he pulled. As suggested in SitStayFetch, I expressed this in my best guttural growling alpha dog voice.

The added reinforcement finally got his attention. By the time we finished our short walk to the creek and back, he was getting lots more "good dog" than he was "no."

Smash and I are having a fun time with this learning how to train your dog to walk on a leash stuff. I am seeing all kinds of benefits in our relationship.

Monday, June 26, 2006

dog leashes collars

dog leashes & collars

I have experimented with several different dog leashes and collars with Smash. Because he is so strong, when he decides to pull on the leash, he can pull very hard.

When he is on the long leash for playing fetch and such, I use a ski rope. It is plenty strong and less prone to tangles. It will however make a nasty burn on the back of your leg if he happens to drag it across at high speed.

For normal walking and leash training I am beginning to prefer my simple leather four foot leash. It is long enough to give some flexibility but short enough to keep him under control. He can't get as much of a running start as on a six foot leash.

I am currently using a strong choke chain collar with the leash because he still tends to try to pull. A quick snap and release of the choke collar gets his attention. I have to really watch for the times when he gradually increases the tension on the leash without either of us really noticing that he is really starting to pull. Sometimes I hear a change in his breathing and I have to make him stop and release the tension in the leash.

There sure seems to be a lot to training your dog to walk on a leash.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The recall command

Most important dog obedience tip training.

However you choose to train your dog, if you want to be a responsible dog owner or you just want to keep you dog safe, then your dog must always come to you when called.

He must learn to come to you under any condition or distraction. He should always come without hesitation.

I started dog obedience training with Smash when I first brought him home as a cute little puppy. I wanted him to always associate coming to me with a pleasant experience. If I had to scold him, I always made sure he knew what act he was scolded for and I never scolded him after he came to me on a recall command.

Now that he has reached adolescence, he is trying to assert his alpha dog nature. I am having to formalize the obedience training on the recall command to make sure he understands that there is no question about whether he can choose to obey or not.

He must learn to come when called both on leash and off.

One dog obedience training tip I can offer in recall training is to drop to a kneeling posture when calling the dog. I am not sure what this body language means to the dog but it sure improves his response to the command.

Always give lots of praise to your dog for coming to a recall command no matter why you called him to you. And never ever punish a dog for coming to you when called.

Dog obedience training is always based on your dog trusting you. Make sure coming to you when called is always rewarded.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Leash training on the trail

How to train your dog to walk on a leash

SitStayfetch insists one of the most important tasks in dog training and establishing your authority is training the dog to walk on a leash. They include lots of information on how to train your dog to walk on a leash.

The first thing the dog has to learn is not to pull on the leash. This is taught by giving a quick snap on the leash whenever he starts to pull. And never let him keep pulling. Stop walking until he stops pulling.

I have never knew how to leash train a dog before. My last dog Jack who came to us after another family could not keep him in their neighborhood absolutely refused a leash. If you put one on him he would immediately try to run away and would sit down and refuse to move if you tried to walk him on it. Before that, Buster would only tolerate a leash when going public places. But he always heeled really well with out a leash.

Yesterday's three mile hike to the waterfall gave me and Smash plenty of practice. He did great until the thunderstorm came. Then he decided maybe he needed to be alpha dog and drag us to shelter. He calmed down soon enough and did really well on the trip back to the parking area.

Look at the smile on this dog!

How to train your dog to walk on a leash

For more about our trip to the waterfall see the story on JeepGirl Travels.

For more on how to train your dog to walk on a leash see SitStayFetch.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Healthy dog food.

Making your own dog food.

When my last dog Jack died from lymphoma, I got really angry. I found out that I had been feeding him poison by giving him cheap commercial dog food. I was even further disturbed to learn that the "protein" content in cheap commercial dog food is often made up of road kill and pound puppies!

I determined from the day I brought Smash home that no matter what, as long as he lived with me, I would do my best to feed him only healthy food.

I learned about what wild dogs eat and what balanced nutrition means to a dog. I have studied nutrition in humans for a long time and my mom writes meals with a message so I had plenty of background to draw from in establishing a healthy diet for my dog.

I can now make day to day decisions about what to feed him based on what I have available. I also found some good recipes in the old book I had on the shelf "How to train a dog in six weeks." This book is now out of print so I won't bother giving you an amazon link to it.

As I was considering writing my own doggy cook book, I came across one that has everything that I would have written plus a whole lot more. John Miller's secret dog food recipes can be purchased at this link.

With the information in his book, you will know how to feed your dog to keep him healthy and happy without having to have a degree in nutrition or doing all the research I did.

When I took my dog Smash to get his puppy vaccinations, my veterinarian remarked "What are you feeding this dog? I have not seen one so healthy!"

So, if you love your dog, don't feed him another bite of cheap commercial dog food. Throw that poison out! Start him on some raw beef until you have time to collect the ingredients for making your own healthy dog food and download John Millers book right now.

You know how happy your dog makes you feel, so return the favor.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dog Behavior problems and solutions

Solution to dog behavior problems

After a lot of searching in bookstores and on the Internet, I came across a book that is really helping me work with Smash. This book is the first one I have found that addresses the issue of a cute puppy growing into adolescence.

The author of Sitstayfetch uses many of the same ideas about training that I had already found to work with Smash. He talks a great deal about dog psychology and how that as the dog grows from puppy hood to an adult dog he seeks out his place in the hierarchy of the family pack.

I enjoy my dog a lot and it was easy for me to let him get confused by allowing him to assume more authority than he had.

These mistakes allowed Smash to get in a very serious accident that severely injured him. I will tell you more about that gruesome event later, but for now, I am just very happy that by yet another miracle he his still alive.

I am currently reading sitstayfetch very carefully as I work with Smash to make I know how to create an environment where he knows his role and boundaries so he can stay as safe as possible yet still enjoy life as a dog.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

How to train your dog

I started training Smash form the moment I picked him out of the litter. I made sure he was willing to accept commands from me and that we formed a bond.

Most of my training was based on How to train your dog in six weekshow to train your dog This book has lots of great information but seemed to be missing the part about how to train a small puppy.

I decided to use what I knew about training toddlers from and what I knew about training industrial employees from

I used lots of love and visualization with him. I found he responds very well to a well formed intention in my mind accompanied by simple verbal clues. For example when I say "come" I imagine him running to me.

This type training worked well when he was small but as he grew into adolescence, he has started to exert his independence more just like you would expect from a teenage child.

My mechanic helper dog

Smash has always loved to be every where I am.
When I work on my Jeeps he loves to be right there with me.

We discovered his particular talent for mechanic work when my dad and I were installing my new Titan stroker motor in my Race Jeep. See my Jeep Blog for more info on the engine swap.

For whatever reason, we could not get the transmission to align with the flywheel. Apparently Smash knew what was wrong but he did not know how to communicate. Each time we would start to force the transmission in, he would start pulling at my pants leg or nipping at my arms. He knew something was not right. There was just no getting him to stop bothering us.

Finally we took a break and gave some puppy love to this funny puppy. Dad and I also decided to swap places since it was impossible for me to work with Smash crawling on top of me under the Jeep.

As soon as dad lay on the floor and I climbed up on top of the engine, Smash calmed down and trotted outside. Just then, the transmission slid into place just like it should have. I still don't know what we did different in the different positions but I am sure glad Smash made us swap places.

This was our first clue that this cute puppy was a very special dog.

cute puppy picture

Monday, June 19, 2006

Choosing a name for a puppy

Smash may sound like a strange name for a puppy. Like I said in an earlier post, I got it from the book Ogre, ogre.

The ogres in zanth sound like dogs to me and I have always liked giving my dogs ogre names. My previous ogre dog was Buster. Now Buster sounds like a name for a puppy but his full name was Buster Ogre.

The name for a puppy has a big effect on his personality as he grows up. So choosing an appropriate name for a puppy is important. Dogs seem to understand the images we create in our minds when we communicate with them more than the words we speak. So it is important that the image you associate with your dog's name is one you want to associate with your dog.

I like my dogs to have strong names because I like my dogs to be protective and strong.

Our last dog came to us with the name of Prancer. This was a sad name for a boy dog. He just could not get over it. He was a very pretty dog, a fast runner and a good hunter but he never could seem to shake that prance image that was imprinted on him by giving him that name for a puppy. We changed his name to Jack because he really did not have an ogre personality.

Jack became loyal and a good friend but he never was much of a protector. he always seemed to be the one who needed protecting.

So when choosing a name for a puppy, choose wisely because you will be influencing his entire life.

cute puppy pictures

Here are some cute pictures from Smash's first days at home with us.

cute puppy pictures

cute puppy pictures

cute puppy pictures

Smash was such a cute puppy!

See more at

Puppy dog behavior problems

When we first brought Smash home, he had all the typical puppy dog behavior problems. He wanted to bite and chew and wet on every thing.

He has always been a spirited dog. In fact that is why we chose him from the litter. He was the one that came running out to us first. Most of the other puppies were skittish but this little dog just ran right up to us. We tried several times to put him back and look at the other puppies but he kept being the first one back to play. Maybe he chose us.

I determined that I would deal with Smash's puppy dog behavior problems with love and acceptance. He was acting just the way a little dog should act and expecting anything different without training would be unrealistic.

I have tried to create an environment where he feels loved and well cared for. I want him to feel part of our family pack.

Meet Smash

My dog Smash

I call him Smash after the Ogre in Piers Anthony's book Ogre Ogre.
dog behavior problem

Welcome Smash to the family!

dog behavior problem