Friday, June 26, 2015

Dog Training Choices-10 Considerations

In dog training, there is no one size fits all.   How you go about training your dog should be based on many factors and judgements.   Here are just a few things to think about:

  1. Your dog's general temperament which will encompass many things.   Think of whether you have learned that your dog is fearful, confident, shy, bold, friendly, leery, reactive, mellow, and so on.   Think of the specific situations (or general situations) you may see these things play out.
  2. Do you or your dog have any food allergies or other allergies that may interfere with some forms of training?
  3. Is your dog pretty easy in most everyday situations or are there some situations that are cause for concern?
  4. How old is your dog or puppy?   Puppy training is almost always much different than training a more mature adult dog.
  5. How healthy is your dog?  Do they have any physical disabilities or problems that may interfere with some methods of training?
  6. How healthy are you, the dog owner?   Do you have any physical disabilities or other problems that may interfere with some methods of training?
  7. What are your goals with your dog?  Think of such things like if you want an obedient companion, a sports dog (obedience, agility, protection sports), an outdoor adventure companion, a companion your whole family can enjoy, stopping your dog from aggression issues, and so on.
  8. Are your goals with your dog realistic as far as matching their temperament or where they are today?  In other words, are there things that need to be done first? 
  9. Think about budget, but also realize that you get what you pay for.   It may be more to your advantage to really invest in your dog training if you have the money or the need to get something under control.  Or maybe, you just really want to understand a lot about training going forward.
  10. What kind of time can you really invest in the training?   It may be easier on you to have a trainer start your dog off first, and then train the dog owner later, depending on the situation.
Analyzing these things before starting to pick out a training program can really help you whittle down your choices and options.   Every dog and owner team is different and has different needs and lifestyles.  While some dog training may be similar somewhat across the board, generally there are tweaks and accommodations for the different needs of the individual team.   There may be one trainer that can customize their training to your needs, or there may be a trainer who trains in a special niche that speaks to you and your needs.

What are the answers to the above items for you and your dog?   In order to get the best training for your team, it takes more work than just selecting the dog trainer closest to you that is the cheapest.   Remember, this is going to be your cherished canine companion for the rest of their lives.   Invest in making that the most enjoyable and fulfilling relationship for the both of you that it can be.

Mannerly Mutts is a dog training company in York Maine.   Call or e-mail us with your dog training needs.


Friday, April 3, 2015

PetPace Smart Collar for Monitoring Pet's Health

Shana, our 2 year old Doberman, fell ill with last Friday on March 30th 2015.   It did not start out looking like anything serious.   By Sunday, we were in the emergency room very worried.   The emergency staff helped us rule out anything life threatening, and we went to our regular veterinarian the next day.

It took a couple more days to figure out that Shana was suffering from lyme disease.   It got so bad that she did not want to get up, and if she was in a lying down position, I would need to pick her up and then keep her in my arms for any trips up or down any amount of stairs.   To date, Shana has been an incredibly healthy and active dog, and it would really take something nasty to keep this girl down.

Once she was on the appropriate course of treatment, our vets wanted to monitor her temperature for a period of time.  Luckily for Shana and thanks to our veterinarian, we did not need to take it the old fashion way through out the day.  Instead, a Pet Pace smart collar was loaned to us for a little more than a day.   Shana wore the collar (it's the purple one on her neck in the picture), and the collar broadcasted results to the modem plugged into our house.   That modem helped send the data directly to our veterinarians office.

It produced a report like this, that the vet could also send to us to show us how she was doing.

The red arrows show where Shana had some spikes in temp, but pretty much remained in the normal range of temperature.   Additionally, this helps monitor pulse rate, respiration, activity rate, and even position!   

Below are the pictures of the collar from the top and bottom:

I forgot to take a picture of the modem.   This really helped us keep Shana more comfortable by not needing to subject her to multiple butt violations during the day.   Already she was on five pills, as this started out with what looked like a simple stomach upset.  So that original problem was being treated alongside the lyme disease, which cropped up as different symptoms later on.

This way I could also let Shana just rest (something she has never in her life done voluntarily besides regular sleep), and not keep waking her up to check her vitals.   While I wish I did not need to find out about this disease this last week, I am so happy to have had this technology to use.

So if you find yourself with a really sick dog but are able to take them home and care for them, ask the vet if they have something like this on hand.   It could make your life a little easier during this very difficult time.   Not to mention that your vet can actually see if something of concern is happening when they check in online perhaps before you notice anything.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Our Small Dog Training Business is Under Attack by Out of State Land Developer

Dear Customers and Friends,

I am sure some of you have been wondering why we have not been blogging of late.   Out of state land developers have been trying to close our business since January 2014 of this year.   Actually this all started in the 2013, when these developers were going to the planning board to permit a subdivision on the property abutting ours.

Now that they own the property(ies) (under several different Incs and LLCs to make it confusing) they have started an aggressive campaign to close down our business.   In May of 2014, with the help of an attorney, we were able to get a ruling that we were correctly zoned for our use, and could go forward with the Code Enforcement Officer for a use permit.   All these proceedings were initiated by the land developers.   In fact the zoning law does not list that our business use needs to file for a use permit.  However, we have gone forward with that just to close the matter.

Now since the land developers did not like that we were asked to "cease and desist" with our business, they have filed with the Maine Superior Court.   It's pretty clear by the tape of the Board of Appeals on 5/14/2014 that their points are bogus.  

Here is the thing though, if you don't answer the charges, you can loose by default.   I was not aware before that with enough money, anyone can go after anyone else even if they do not have grounds.   And more importantly, that even if you are in the right, you need to do the foot work to prove that.   It's not innocent into proven guilty, it's your guilty unless you have enough money and stamina to fight.

We have no choice but to fight at this point.   This is our lively hood.   If you are able to help in any way, even non monetary ways, we are asking for help in saving our business and home.

Thank you in advance for your support.   We accept support in any way including but not limited to positive thoughts for us.   This has been a trying year and winter with this issue looming over our heads!  We can use all the positive energy that we can get!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Why Do Dog Trainers Cost So Much? (Republished Article)

Sometimes luck comes into your life, and you get something for free. There are many good reasons why a dog may be free, but a human shouldn't NEED for the dog to be free for financial reasons. There are many reasons to pay for the dog you need. These reasons include needing a specific dog due to allergies, temperament requirements, lifestyle, shedding, frail owner, active owner, specific job, stable physical construction, and so on.

In any case, the least of your expenses is going to be the adoption fee, even if the dog comes from a breeder.   Proper care of a dog includes feeding, grooming, exercising, veterinary care, your time and patience, and (in a perfect world) training.  Training will actually help reduce your veterinary care by allowing your dog to respond to commands, thus avoiding hazards.

In the dog training world, there is a lot of free advice out there. This is given by professionals, by non professionals, and maybe even by anyone who has never owned never mind trained a dog:) Or maybe they have had the perfect "no issue", "bomb proof" dog. Perhaps you have a "no issue" "bomb proof" dog as well, and there is not much you are going to do with your dog to make things worse.

Households do exist out there, where free advice can make things worse. Dog training done well, is a skill (some might say an art form). It's a learned skill that has taken hours on hours of practice. For a professional dog trainer, this should mean hours and hours with many dogs that are not the trainer's own dogs!! These should also be random dogs not trained only because the trainer or behaviorists finds them interesting, but trained towards a goal and IMO a standard. When presented with "the problem" or "the issue", trainers who have studied hard know that (unless this is a bomb proof or no issue dog---in which case you are probably not getting the call) communication and a dialogue of skills or commands are needed to begin to address the problem.

A typical jumping problem that does not respond well to ignore it OR stand like a tree, usually could use a stay command. In order to have a stay command, you need to have a sit command. In order for the stay to be useful, training around distance, movement, and distraction are needed. Not something you are likely to learn in a quickly typed comment OR in a single lesson. Owners, being beginners without X many years in handling and training dogs to a measurable standard, need practice on things like leash handling, timing, body posture, and learning to relax and loosen up. As with any skill, these things aren't learned in an hour session, but upon repetition of practicing the skills CORRECTLY. In a lesson for an individual, what is happening is the trainer is coaching the owner on how to train their dog.

Dog training is a business. A business that most of us adore and love no end, but this is not a hobby. This is a profession. If if dog training were free or at a minimal cost, dog trainers would not be able to afford to be dog trainers. However, this is still not why a dog trainer's fee is above minimum wage.

Okay, so why are the fees 60.00 to 100.00 per hour?  There is a reason that you are  paying well above minimum wage to a respected professional dog trainer.

TIME AND EXPENSE OF EDUCATION: A whole other debate in the dog world is how you go about getting your education. Someday, I will tackle that subject in an in depth article about that. The talented and knowledgeable dog trainers out there have put significant time and expense in acquiring their education. A trainer should not have just trained their own dog, and then had a vision one day to put their shingle out. Putting out the shingle should have had work, sweat, money, time, travel, and some pretty hard knocks behind it. This knowledge is a combination of learned by the guidance of many mentors and learned by just the sheer amount of time that training was practiced. If you have a trainer who is further educated in aggression or behavioral problems, and has had a proven success rate, then that is a bit of help that is hard to find. Education is not just a one time thing for a dog trainer. Education for a dog trainer is something that is acquired every year by pushing themselves out there beyond the safety of their prior knowledge.

TIME OF LESSON PLAN CREATION AND FOLLOW UP:  Before the lesson, I prepare and look at my notes as to what was done the last lesson. I create the lesson plan for that day with the individual team in mind. After the lesson, I send my clients the notes on what we did, the very detailed directions, and specific notes on special problems or issues observed during the lesson. I tell my clients to call me if they have a problem during the week. I would rather iron out the problems so that they can practice correctly in between, rather than play catch up on the next lesson. Therefore, my minimum time on one lesson can be three hours and more.

TIME AND EXPENSE OF FACILITY AND CLEANING: Oh yes, dog training businesses have overhead costs!! Some operations even include the cost of the equipment in their fees. There is the cost of maintaining inside and outside practice areas, disinfecting, clean water buckets available at all times, waste bags, pooper scoopers, trash cans in areas, solutions to take care of accidents on the site immediately, electronic cleaning equipment, building costs, depreciation costs, insurance costs, jumps, articles, fences, staff, and it keeps going. If the trainer is traveling, there are all the vehicle costs that go along with it. (tolls, meters, gas, insurance, repairs, parking, maintenance)

TIME AND EXPENSE OF TRAVEL: First of all, it's not just that hour that you are paying for.  If there is a good reason, I will go to to my clients (within reasonable distance) for their lessons. The time and expense of travel is something to consider. Also, so many owners are not there for the appointment, late for the appointment, or not prepared for the appointment when the trainer gets there. It can also that no homework has been done, so when the trainer gets there for the appointment, it needs to be cancelled before any further "new" work can be done.

CREATIVITY AND PROBLEM SOLUTION: The above things lend to the creativity and efficient problem solving of a professional. Due to the time spent in the field with a variety of sizes, temperaments, and breeds; a Professional Dog Trainer can get the job done efficiently and effectively. The investment in the dog trainer will also erase the need to find a professional in the future to solve the same problem. However, maybe that Professional Dog Trainer will inspire you to advance your knowledge as well. A Professional Dog Trainer will have improved the situation so that your relationship with your canine companion is much easier and more enjoyable. This will be true for the both of you.

The dog training profession is a profession just like any other. Yes, most of us love all dogs and want to do what we can to help the dog/canine team exist a happy, healthy, and safe existence for the rest of their lives. However, that does not mean we do not need to charge a reasonable fee for our services to cover our costs.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Before Even Thinking About Biking With Your Dog...

Biking is not an activity that dog owners "need" to do or "have to" learn. I d This is something that I do with my dogs for the enjoyment.   However, if you don't do this safely, it will be a much less enjoyable activity.   This activity needs to be safe for you AND your dog.

So before you even think of biking with your dogs, consider these tips and safety measures:
  1. Concrete, pavement, and cars can kill you or your dog. (not while biking) I missed a step one day to the mudroom and fell onto our concrete floor. My whole chin was one large lump and bruise, I felt quite fortunate to have hit there instead of my head (where a concussion may have rendered me unconscious and then dead). I was also very grateful to have not shattered my jaw. Now consider this power in a scenario where you may be propelled forward. (see number 3)
  2. Dirt roads and trails contain rocks, which can kill you if you strike the right body part on them. (see number 3)
  3. Wear a helmet on your bike with or without a dog. (See number 1)
  4. You have no business even thinking about biking with your dog, unless you know how to train solidly for basic obedience. Or are training with someone who will teach this solidly. The reason for this being a dog left to his own does not know the danger caused by running UNDER the bikes wheels or lunging at a squirrel.
  5. Prepare, prepare, prepare before mounting your bike with your dog in tow. I usually start with heeling my dog next to a shopping cart at Petco for instance to get them used to it in a fun environment. I heel them next to me walking my bike. I do lots of these things before I mount the bike with my dog, including making sure that they know basic obedience very very well. You will also want an emergency sit, auto sits when you stop the bike.
  6. Always consider the safety of the general public around you. This article link is one example of what could happen.
  7. Flexi leads are very likely to get wrapped up in gears (and there should be no need as your dog should be heeling next to you IMO ). This is why I do this on my strong, sturdy leather lead. Note this is not to keep my dog with me when he pulls, as I do not allow my dogs to pull when in a heel. It's to keep the loose leash from being frail and thin enough to wrap around the gears.
  8. (related to number five) Just in general with biking, I tend to not wear sneakers with any laces that could become untied and wind up in the gears. Some lighter baggier kinds of clothes can get caught in them as well.
  9. Do NOT attach leash to bike. Better to hold the leash (and see why 4 is very important) in an accordian style, in case your dog stops to pee (seee number 10) so you can quickly drop the leash, stop, and call your dog to you when he/she is done.
  10. Remember dogs may have to stop and pee, and may not be able to tell you how...other than by stopping suddenly. (see number 9)
  11. Keep in mind that your dog should only go at their comfortable pace.
  12. (related to 11) If you want to multi task and exercise, put the bike on the highest tension level possible, rather than overtaxing your dog with speed.
  13. This is a group/partnership event, you must always be aware and look out for your dog and others.

I am sure that I missed a lot more, but these are things to think about before even considering biking with your dog:) One can always bike without a leash with their well trained dog. I prefer a leash on my dog whenever I am around vehicles that are moving quickly. When I am riding around my house, my dogs don't have leashes on, and are free to decide to follow or not follow. Many times I don't have them in a heel if it's just on my own property. Still, you will want to start out so that your dogs are aware that they shouldn't run into wheels, jump on you, et. I probably could have added a few more for this scenario.

Mannerly Mutts Dog Training
Mannerly Mutts Blog

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Shana's First Snow Day!

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Okay, officially Shana saw snow falling a few days ago at 1 AM in the morning.   She did not want to step in the strange white stuff at first, and then thankfully went about her business.   We were both pretty groggy, and I was not about to go and run for my camera.

Then today's snow came!  This start off with exclamations of surprise at the front window in the family/dog room.  

Then Shana hurriedly went to investigate the rest of the windows.   She found this was going on everywhere!

I figured this was a great time to snap some shots of her outside in her first play session in the snow with her Golden Retriever buddy, Odin.

And a good time was had by all:)   THE END

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thursday Thirteen Best Christmas Gifts For Your Dog

Here are thirteen gifts that your dog will enjoy the most this Christmas:

If your dog needs number 11 on the list, we can set up an appointment to discuss this with you.   Just fill out this form.

1) Lying by the fire with you after a long walk through the woods.
2) A new place to explore.
3) Visiting with dog and human friends.
4) Learning a new trick with you.
5) Playing a game of fetch.
6) Playing a game of find or hide and seek.
7) New classes to learn a new sport, such as agility or freestyle dancing.
8) Remembering to spend time with them when the busy holiday season gets in full swing.
9) A thinking, working, or chewing toy.
10) Playing dog games with other owners and their dogs.
11) Being sure that they have had their obedience training, so that they are able to attend family holiday gatherings if they are welcomed.
12) A car ride and walk to pick out a toy at their favorite dog-friendly store.
13) A mini obstacle course to learn together.

Make sure your companion has a holiday every day!  Keep  these things in mind all year long.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tommy, Mannerly Mutt's Maine Dog of the Week

Tommy by the heater this winter.
Tommy by the gas stove his first winter at our house.

Tommy stuffed behind me on my office chair.
Tommy find a sunshine spot by the window.

Tommy on his favorite chair and under his favorite fluffy blanket!
If you need help with your dog, we are only a click away.   Fill out this form to get your appointment booked.

Tommy is NOT our dog!   However, Tommy is a large part of our family, being that he boarded with us for over two years, and he boards here at least once a month these days.   We got to know and love Tommy very much.

From the pictures, you can probably guess that Tommy loves to be warm.  He is always seeking out sun spots or warm places to cuddle including the back of my chair when I am on it!  

How did we meet Tommy?   A friend of the owner's spotted our truck at the library one day.   This friend called Tommy's owner, who was in Switzerland at the time.   The family had moved their temporarily because they work for one of those large corporations that like to ship their workers off to far and wide places.   Tommy had been flow, as well, to Switzerland.   Turns out, this is not the place to have a dog whose breed falls under the designation of "pit bull breed" even if they are a mix.   So the family wanted to get Tommy out of the country ASAP!   They also wanted him to still be here, if possible, upon their return.

And so Tommy came to be with us for two plus years.   his family came home four or five times a year to visit with him during that time.  The first day that Tommy came here, he was so shell shocked.   First he was flown to Switzerland, then flown back and at a stranger's house!   We needed to do three weeks of board & train with him, so that we could have a dog that would get along with human and dog guests at our place (or at least obey a command quickly). Tommy was smart and quick friends with my dogs, and our various client's dogs.

He has many nicknames here.   "Timmy Tommy Jimmy Jomdy" for one.   We frequently refer to him as "round and brown" LOL.   And if you need Tommy to be protective of you, he will be ready for that job.   Likewise, if you tell him to cut it out, he will cut it out.   Tommy is the dog I most want in the house if my husband is travelling!  

Also despite his "seeking warmth photos" Tommy is a very active guy.   I taught him to do jumps, and he loves performing these in the woods.  He can jump quite high even as he is aging.   He also loves to race in the woods, especially with friends Ollie and Boris.  Tommy is probably seven or eight now.
Tommy is like family here.   We always refer to him as our fourth dog.  That is why Tommy is the dog of the week this week.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Hoobie 11/23/2005-11/28/2013

I received the news yesterday that Hoobie's heart stopped during a routine examination.  Hoobie holds a special place in our hearts and memories here.   Luckily he was only 50 or so pounds, because he was the hardest dog that I ever had to train.   His size made it possible for me to handle and teach him safely.

Unfortunately, Hoobie was born with bad genetics that caused some very uncomfortable medical problems for him very early on.   When I have dealt with very human aggressive dogs, it has been very common that they have medical factors that are making them uncomfortable being handled AND they started very early on in their lives.

Why would his owners choose to spend so much time, money, and effort on Hoobie?   Well, there was a sweet guy in there that liked to have fun.   To Hoobie's owners, it was very important for them decrease not only the physical discomfort, but also the mental discomfort that grew from that as well.   They knew the sweet Hoobie, and wanted more time with that side of him now that they had identified his physical maladies.

The reward that Hoobie worked the best for was outdoors and fun.   Food or treats would get you bitten.   So that is what we used for this guy to bond and build trust during his stay here.   He really taught me a lot about identifying what a dog is going to work for.   It is not always going to be something readily available, and the dog is going to pick it (especially in a case like this) NOT the dog trainer.

He left to go back home in September 2009.   Hoobie and his owners lived a bit away in Canada so I have not seen him since, though I do get updates.   Hoobie gained a female canine companion, and lots time with his owners for these years.   I cried a bit last night when I found out.   His owners did such an incredible job of sticking with Hoobie, and continuing on the work to keep his aggression at bay by working with what Hoobie (and they) had learned here.

Hoobie is now medical issue free for once.   I hope he is running with his old friends Leon and Jackie (my dogs that knew him and went before him) at the rainbow bridge.   Hoobie, you were very loved and will be missed and remembered.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Harley, Mannerly Mutt's Canine of The Week

Harley came here for dog training in our board & train program as a six month old puppy in the winter of 2005.   To the left of this text is a picture of Harley at that time (and to the right a picture of Harley now).   As a puppy he was as big as my full grown Doberman Jackie!

Need puppy or dog training with a dog training professional?   We are happy to talk about it with you, just first fill out our client service form.   If you are not familiar with us, review our webpage and blog or just call us 207-809-6300!

Harley's original owners were ill equipped to have a puppy of any sort.   One owner worked as a nurse and was not often home, and the other owner was just not into spending time with a Great Dane puppy.   Harley's original name was Moose.   The original owners paid for training to house train and obedience train their dog, and at the last lesson the male owner expressed his feelings about the puppy.   I offered to purchase Harley at that time (plus the cost of his veterinarian fees to date and reimburse their training), but the male owner did not want to disappoint his wife.

So a year went by, my phone rang in the afternoon in March 2006, I think.   It was Harley's male owner, and they wanted to know if we still wanted Harley.   Harley had been being passed around to family member to family member, with no one wanting to commit the time and appropriate care to him.  Meantime, Jackie the Doberman, who had been a foster, had become our third dog.   Our budget did not allow for a fourth dog at that time, but I had a client who was looking for a companion for their dog.   Hence, Harley found his new home with owner's who walk him mornings and evenings on the ocean.   Not a bad life for a once unwanted puppy.

The best part?   Like most of our clients, Harley has remained in our lives all these years later.   We know that he is safe and loved.   I get to see him every week, and let him know that we still love him as well.   Harley has known all of my dogs except Neptune, who died before we moved to Maine.

Harley is an awesome dog, who truly deserved his awesome life and awesome owners.  Each week, I plan to blog about one of our client's dogs.   Most of the dogs that come here, we have known for years!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Holiday season tips for your canine companion from Maine's Professional Dog Trainer

Leon and Boris at Petco.
Thanksgiving, Hanukkah,   Christmas, and New Years are all just around the corner!  So what does this mean for your beloved dog?  Here are the things you should be aware of:

  1. Everyone loves a Christmas tree.  Unfortunately the tinsel, lights, ornaments, hooks, packages with wrappings underneath, and potential for the tree to fall over can all pose a threat to your dog.  Glass ornaments can not only be unhealthy to digest but can cut your canines' feet.  Also it's wise not to use edible ornaments on your Christmas tree.
  2. In some homes there will be major food preparation for celebrating the holidays.   This means an increase in foods that are not toxic to humans but possibly foods toxic to dogs.
  3. Not all dogs like the increase of visitors to their home.   If you have not prepared your dog for this in the past, think of strategies that will make them comfortable and so they are not put in situations they will not be prepared for.
  4. There are holiday plants that can be toxic to your dogs.   
  5. Hard candy such as candy canes may not only be choking hazards and unhealthy, but they may actually contain ingredients poisonous to your dogs!
  6. If you are opening the doors a lot, you need to be sure that you have made any dogs liable to bolt safe during these holiday visits.
  7. Bones can also be choking hazards or even carry dangerous bacteria.
  8. Holiday candles are always in danger of being knocked over by a pet.   Or even a pet just burning their nose.
Holidays are a fun and busy time for humans.   Just don't forget to be on the lookout for our other companions during this time!

Visit our Maine Dog Training Facebook Page for more tips and tricks.   

Looking for puppy training or dog training help over the holidays?   Whether you live in Maine or outside Maine, we have a professional dog training program that can help you.   Sign up soon, and your dog may be trained or had behavioral modification help before the holidays!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Our Maine residency dog training program, what is it?

Mannerly Mutts Dog Training is located in Maine.   Many different programs are offered at the Maine dog training facility.   Many people have not heard of a residency dog training program, also known as a board & train program.
What it is:  A Board & Train or Residency Training Package is one where your dog stays with us.  A dog in training receives two hours of training per day in addition to exposure to a home environment while training.  Residency or Board & Train is a great way to get up front work done by professionals for getting a start on puppy training, getting a start on house breaking, and getting professional help with behavioral problems (aggression, fear, or reactivate behaviors).   Dogs in training train here, and go into public distracting areas to train when ready.   This way your dog gets complete exposure to every day life situations that go beyond their home and yard.

Benefits:   All the up front work (including traveling to different locations when your dog is ready) is done by a professional dog trainer.   This saves the owner a lot of time and effort in the beginning of training.   The training can also go faster, because the dog is not being trained by the owner, who has a learning curve to scale, but by a professional trainer who has handled many different dogs of varying breeds and temperaments.   If the owner has been having long term problems with a behavioral challenge, a professional dog trainer is not going to be intimidated by the dog, and will know how to guide the dog through various scenarios safely (for the trainer, the dog, the public at large).    In this way, you will be better prepared to maintain your dog once their behaviors have improved to being socially acceptable.  Taking a dog or puppy into a structured environment used to training and handling dogs, also gives the dog a strong foundation for their future behavior as a well trained family member.

Included in the Board & Train Package:  1)  Two hours a day individualized training attention and work for your dog 2) Training blog that you can follow including video of the work done with your dog 3)  play, exercise and rest time provided for your dog 4) excellent boarding care while your dog is here and 4) follow up lessons to train the owner on how to interact with their dog and maintain their dog's training.   The leashes and collars we use are also for sale at Mannerly Mutts.   If you want to purchase these from us, they are available for an additional fee.

Price:  This price is based on two hours a day of training (70.00) plus the boarding expense (30.00) to total 100.00 per day.   However, the minimum board and train package we sell consists of a three weeks.   There is not much we can make a dent in with less than three weeks to work.   Therefore, the board & train or residency program starts at $2,100.00 with each day thereafter being 100.00 per day (or 700.00 for each additional week).  
This program is for a variety of purposes:
  1. The owner does not have the time for the up front work.   We can bring the dog through all the basic obedience training through to distractions, and then provide a maintenance schedule and lessons.
  2. The owner has a dog with behavioral challenges.   Often times an owner will find themselves in a situation where they are afraid of or intimidated by their dog.   This program can take the dog out of the environment, work with him, and then have the owner come back for follow up.   By this time a language has been created (IE commands and behaviors that have been taught) that make the process for the owner and dog much easier.  We can bring both the dog and owner back to a place where both eventually feel comfortable with the other.
  3. An owner wants a really well trained dog:)   So they want the bulk of the up front work done by a professional dog trainer.
  4. An owner lives far away, but wants our services for training their dog.
  5. To begin the training process before a puppy or rescue dog enters their home.
If you find yourself in need of this service, please fill out our client interview form.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Our Chihuahua Ziggy and the Pros and Cons of Small Dogs

Dobermans have been our breed since 1997 or so. They have ranged in weight from 80#s to 110#s.  Ziggy weighs 5#s plus a little something.  He is our first dog of any other breed (besides our cats, Clyde and Mustache, who were well over 15#s).   Luckily, I am a dog trainer, so I am very familiar with the special problems of smaller breed dogs.

Small dogs are awesome and need training just like large dogs to reach their potential.   However, there are special considerations that go into owning and caring for a small dog.

First of all, they can be hurt by any number of things if you are not careful.   They just do not have the bulk or strength to withstand things many other dogs can.   On the other hand, you don't want them lacking in confidence, adventure, or socialization.   Small dogs, like Ziggy, can also easily be carried away by predators (birds of prey, coyotes, other dogs, a cat could even get Ziggy!).  We are sure that playmates are trained, and that they are supervised in order to play with him carefully.  The rule here with large dogs is that the smaller dog is always right, and if they are not, I will intervene and they do not need to.   It is very important that the large dogs here know that it is never okay to go after the small dogs.  (also not okay to go after the large dogs here, but there is an additional level of protection needed for toy breeds)

Non social behaviors that can reduce the patience level of the pack are not allowed from the small dogs either.   A bad behavior exhibited towards another has the potential to erode the relationship until something tragic or unfortunate happens.   Therefore, even though small dogs are usually less than 20#s, it is also important that they are trained and supervised.  While toy breeds can not do much damage to a medium to large dog, their behavior can incite a reaction from them that could have serious if not fatal consequences.  However, when rules exist, this keeps that possibility at a minimum.

Another thing we need to be careful, is that there is water that Ziggy can get to.   Our large dogs drink from pails of water.   Ziggy can get up there, but if the water is not high enough, he can not reach it.   So we are sure to bring him aside several times a day for his own water time, unless we have seen that he has reached the larger pail and gotten his water (and same for any toy breed guests that come here).

Going to a dog park or the beach means looking out for my little guy.   I don't coddle him, but I am on the lookout for potential problems to avoid.   To some dogs that have not been socialized with small dogs, Ziggy is fair game to chase like prey.  Being a dog owner means always being aware of my surroundings anyway (as I don't want my large breed dogs to be attacked either), but it is especially important to be aware of what is going on around Ziggy.

Extreme weather especially the cold is a problem for most toy breeds.   They just do not have the insulation to keep themselves very warm.   Even when you have a coat on them, sometimes it is just too cold for them to spend any real time outdoors in the winter.

Tooth decay happens in toy breeds, and it can happen when they are fairly young!  This is a lot different than larger breed dogs.   It is thought this happens as they do not chew enough on bones.   Be sure to consider a solid dental routine for your small breed dog, and get their teeth checked out at each health check veterinarian appointment.

Toy breeds also have their advantages of course.   Picking them up is very easy when they are injured, to take out of a situation, and to walk around in stores that let you do that.  Travelling with small breed dogs is much easier on just about any level.   Feeding smaller breed dogs is obviously cheaper.   The vaccination and other such health expenses (besides surgery as toy breeds actually need specialists sometimes) are cheaper.   Exercising a smaller breed dog is easier.  They live longer, and are easier to take care of during their old age.   Also if they make an accident in the house, it is only so big .   Toy breeds are much easier to pick up after.

Just be aware of these other items:)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Five Rules to Keep In Mind When Using Corrections

Corrections are ways to improve communication in training and make corrections for training items that are either lacking precision and/or behavioral problems that need to be addressed.   Corrections are not the same as punishment (either in the general public understanding which refers to a reaction after a negative event or the more scientific definition of punishment, meaning reducing behavior only or in other words does not mean physical harm in the scientific definition).

For about the fist six months of a puppies life, training goes along usually with minimal corrections (like no, trading items, or redirection to something more appropriate) and punishment might be a simple crate time out.   Hopefully you have been doing formal training during this point, which does have less expectation and precision than one would have of a more mature dog going through training.

Why do we need corrections of some sort?   When training a dog, you want to give them information in as clear a form as possible, so that they can learn how to understand our verbal communication and domestic living rules.  There are many things canines do that are natural and normal for them to do, but do not belong in a domestic, living with and around humans and other critters environment.   Because many dog owners want a dog that can go anywhere with them and take on adventures, dogs need to understand the rules in order to be safe and enjoyable in public.  Six months is the age many dogs training professionals believe a puppy can receive more responsibility and start to have the responsibility of performing commands at first cue (verbal or signal or what have you).   This is when you begin to build the compliance that you want in an older dog on their way to maturity.   This may also be the age that your dog starts testing you and others to see how far they can go.  This is natural for dogs to do at many different stages, but six months is a good age to begin being very firm about the rules of domestic living.

There are rules that humans need to adhere to for corrections to be an effective and fair part of a training plan.   Here are five rules that most often come to mind for me:

  1. Training and teaching always are the first things you do with your dog before correcting them for non compliance.   They need to know what the right decision, position or behavior was before you can expect them to perform it.   A correction is not the beginning teaching step.   Also remember a correction is not the reaction to an unpleasant event (IE dog bite, growling, going to the bathroom in the house, getting into the garbage ET).  We are not talking about that here, and those reactions are not part of the TRAINING process in specific.
  2. Related to above, a correction must be fair and appropriate to the situation.  Remember even when using training collars, the handler/trainer/owner always has control over how much they are used, how well timed they are used, and how consistent they have been in general to the training plan.
  3. A correction happens when the human is calm and in a good frame of mind.   Again a correction is not something that happens in anger or frustration.
  4. There is usually a second or so between an event (command, behavior, ET) where the dog is giving their learning space.   Then a correction (body bump, re-position, molding, collar/leash correction) is given only after giving the dog the opportunity to act based on what you have already taught them.   Without giving them that space, you are not giving them the space to think, contemplate, and decide what it is that you want.
  5. Corrections are never the only information given in a training plan.   They are a tool just like anything else that you use for training (leash, collar, voice, body language, consistency, timing, and so on).   If you only used correction, you would never be teaching or rewarding.   These are ALL part of the training process.
This is a short article on an involved topic.   Please let me know any questions you may have.   Future blog posts will delve further into this.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Playing With Shana Madela's Future Registered Name

I've done some further research into what I want the components to be in Shana's name.   First I took the list of what I saw as her personality traits, then I found F words that loosely described that.

Next I went to look at some F names and their meanings.   Found some great names in those as well.

So the further listing I did for components to her registered name are as follows:

  • Pretty-Fancy, Fine, fair, foxy,
  • Head Strong-Fresh,
  • Focused-Focus, Fixate,
  • Fun Loving-Frolic, Flirty, Feisty, Fun,
  • Agile and Athletic-Flexible, Frisky, Fleet (Fleet Footed),
  • Strong-
  • Clever and Smart-Fascinating, Foxy,  (Like a Fox),
  • Problem Solver-
  • Loving-Faithful, Fervent, Fond,
  • Independent Minded-Freewheeling,
  • Protective-Fierce, Fiery, Fury,
  • Climber-
  • Fearless-Fearless, Forward,
  • Friendly-Friendly, Fond, Familiar, Faithful, Favorable,
  • Naughty-Fiendish, Fresh, Fractious, Froward,
  • Adventurous-Free, Fearless, Forward
  • Busy-Forceful,
  • Bossy-Fiendish, Fiery, Forceful, Firm,
  • Bully-Forward, Forceful,
  • Driven-Fated, Finished, Fulfilled,
  • Female-Femme Fatale, Female, Feminine,
Miscellaneous F words:  Favorite, Finagled, Fierce, Ferocity, Ferment, Fetish, Fetter, Fire, Forest, Fumes, Fortune, Fortunate, Flower, Freewill, Frenzy, Fresh, Friction, Fiction, Front, Finish, Fetching, Flame, Flaming, Forage, Foray, Fly, Flight, Flyer, Flounce, Float, Flit, Fit, Fight, Flight, Fear, Flaunt, Flutter, Forge, Firefly, Famous, Fame, Fanatic, Fan, Fanciful, Fable, Facet, Fancied, Feuding, Figment, Find, Fiesta, Fangs, First, Flare, 

Shana's dam's call name is Cinders.   Her registered name (and titles) is Swift Run's Volcan Masaya VPG III IPO III PSA-PDC, CD RN WAC CGC.  And her Sire's call name is Nemo and registered name (and titles) is Dark Nemo vom Koby Haus BH, ZTP V1A, IPO 2.

Fabrizia-means worker
Faina-means joyful
Fausta-Happy, Lucky
Fay-Fairy or Elf
Fiametta-Means flame or little flame
Francesca-A Free Woman
Frodina-Intelligent Friend

Faithful Fiametta (would follow her mother's call name cinder)
Frolicking Fiametta
Frolicking Flame
Frolicking Frodina
Faina Fay
Frolicking Faina Fay (this has a nice cadence to it)
Faren Fiametta
Faizah Fay

Faizah Francesca
Fleet Frodina (I like the meaning intelligent friend)

All this boils down to coming up with an "F" registered name for Shana Madela (pretty girl in Yiddish and her call name).  Some names I am experimenting with:

Masaya's Frolicking Faina Fay (last two words Joyful Fairy-and nice cadence)
Masaya's Frolicking Fiametta (last word meaning flame or little flame)
Masaya's Faithful Frodina (least word meaning intelligent friend)
Masaya's Faren Fiametta (last words meaning wandering flame-due to Shana's adventurous nature)
Masaya's Fionan Francesca (fair free woman-don't like it but I was trying to come up with something close to pretty girl)
Masay's Foxy Francesca (better than the one above)

I also like the word Faizah, as it means victorious.   

Masaya's Faizah Fay (last words meaning victorious fairy--eh)
Masaya's Fleet Faizah

Just some thoughts.   If anyone else has an idea based on these various F words, feel free to forward them:)   Just having fun looking at the possibilities now.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Help me find Shana Madela's registered name!.

Shana with her best friend, Clooney, (silver lab and no that
not a recognized lab color) on the couch.
Thinking of Shana Madela's "registered" name.   As many know, Shana Madela has come from Masaya Dobermans in Kentucky.   She is in an impressive line of dogs that have proven themselves dog sports like Schutzhund and Obedience(and others).   Ways in which breeders and other can track their success, is by registering their dogs and their litters.   You can track Shana Madela's breeding through many generations of dogs including seeing their accomplishments.

When Shana begins competing (hopefully next Spring of 2014 ), Her registered name will show as Masaya's [Something starting with F].   This is to easily identify her as belong to a certain breeding. In this case call names Cinders (aka Swiftrun's Volcan Masaya VPG III, IPO III, CD, RN WAC, CGC) and Nemo (aka Dark Nemo vom Koby Haus BH, ZTP V1A, IPO II) are the dam and sire.   Cinder actually originated from the kennel that our previous permanent foster dog, Stormy (aka Swift Run's Krystal Storm SchH3, WD3), came from.

I do need to find out what the other registered names in the litter are, so as I do not duplicate one.   I do know that they like it to be based on nature and fire I believe.   I thought I would start this process by thinking of things that describe Shana first:
  • She's very pretty, hence her name in Yiddish means pretty girl (Shana Madela).
  • Head strong and determined.
  • Focused (which also happens to be an F word).
  • Fun loving.
  • Agile and athletic.
  • Strong.
  • Clever and very smart.
  • Problem solver LOL.  Also could be described as problem maker if she was not in a training home.
  • Loving.
  • Independent minded.
  • People loving.   
  • Protective (especially of certain canine friends or family)
  • Climbs onto anything she can. (I call her Monkey sometimes)
  • Fearless.
  • Friendly.
  • Bad and naughty.
  • (having to do with above) Adventurous.
  • Busy, she is very busy.
  • Bossy.
  • Bully (wow a B name would be easy LOL).
  • Drive.
It's alright for the registered name to be more than one word or even a short phrase.   My last puppy from a breeder, Leon, had his registered name come with him.   It was Ogelthorpe which was a university in the area that he came from (short name Ogre).   If it was not the exact opposite of Leon's personality, we might have kept it for his name, but the name Leon seemed to work as far as he was concerned.   When I was scolding him I would often say "Leon Ogelthorpe", but Leon never did get in any "real" trouble.   He was the easiest puppy ever, except for his initial mouthiness.   I actually remember that he could get as determined as Shana does about some things.   Hence why I am working with Shana in following my lead, rather than ever giving in to her protestations LOL.

Shana is very easy, except to convince her that calming down will get her what she wants in the end.   She is very determined to get somewhere or to something.   She can also figure out (or is figuring out) that working with me will get here there a lot sooner.   She learns things at an amazing rate of speed, and can also figure things out on her own (like opening doors) very rapidly.   She is tons of fun to work with.   I am training her mostly from what I learned at Mike Elllis's seminar and by watching his tapes.   As far as working with her while she is really focused on getting to dogs on the beach, however, I have started molding sits ala Koehler or Bedrock (I can not remember which but Margot, Bedrock's Method, was a student of Koehler).   Mike Ellis's engagement protocols are very helpful in this endeavor as well.

We are using food, balls, and tug toys (yes also technically a toy) to do most of the up front training with Shana.   Shana has been started on loose leash, heeling, come, sit, down, short stays under limited distractions, stand, and spin (yes not an obedience thing).   We are coming up to the six month mark next week for Shana's age.   Bonding with Shana, Robert, Boris, and myself has gone great.   I will no doubt be in charge of bringing Shana anywhere for a long time LOL, so we can take advantage of training opportunities that Robert will not yet be prepared to deal with.   Once I train one of our dogs, and especially if I have another dog in training, I seldom get to enjoy my training efforts on family outings with my dogs!   My husband is the usual beneficiary of this.   So Boris has been handled by Robert on family outings lately.   

I have to be ready to work Shana this winter if I want to trial in the Spring.   I am not going to lie to you, it's hard to keep your training schedule up in the winter.   It's even harder to locate acceptable venues for this!   There may be matches this Fall/Winter in the Saco area for me, but also there might not be.  I have learned to train around this, but it is challenging.  Having even a fake ring to practice and perform in does help.   However, if you keep up your training and keep it crisp & fresh in other distracting areas, that helps load too.   Of the two, I would rather practice in real life distractions rather than rings, but there is no doubt that ring practice can help!   It is not technically necessary, but do be sure you need to get to places as often as possible that are somewhat crowded with dogs for the specific purpose of training.

Well that is a bit about Shana Madela and what we are doing before beginning to think about her registered name!   It's an exciting and fun time here.

You should never forget though in order to have a fantastic dog, you need to work and have patience with your puppy!   Now is the time to do it, rather than wait until they are at their biggest and strongest, AND have not learned anything.   It is far easier to manage a puppy that is not at their full weight, and is willing and ready to learn at this young age.   Bad habits are harder and far more work to get rid of later on.

But if you are ready for the challenge, it will be fun and a great bonding/relationship building time for you and your puppy.

Please no comments about purchasing well bred puppies means killing dogs in shelters.   Of my seven Dobermans, two have come from breeders as puppies (Leon and Shana) to work with me as demo dogs and competition dogs.   Three (Neptune, Jackie, and Stormy, who came at 10 years old) have come from Doberman Rescue Unlimited as adults (Jackie CD did become my competition dog but died at 6 from intestinal problems that he came with).   One has come from Doberman Rescue Unlimited as a puppy with three legs (Boris and he is four years old now), and Shana believes him to be a rock star LOL.   One was an adult female that we did get from a breeder who no longer wanted her as her personal pet or to breed (our awesome first Doberman, Jazzabelle, who lived until 16).   I always plan to have at least one Doberman from Doberman Rescue Unlimited here.  I love rescues, but I also understand the value of dogs bred for health, temperament, and structure.   I do not think the solution to the rescue problem is to malign responsible breeders who put tons of work and knowledge into keeping dogs healthy.

I love dogs healthy or not, but I know that in order to home my skills, I occasionally need well bred dog to work with! There are issues that come with my beloved breed, especially if care has not been taken in the breeding, that can take them out way too early.  Not to mention, when you love dogs as much as I do, you want to spend every moment you can with them even the geriatric ones! IMHO it is an honor and a privilege to have a senior dog.  It is also hard to watch a dog that really wants to do things, but physically is held back by heart disease or something like that.   They can enjoy life, but as an owner you have to watch out for their limitations, while allowing them to enjoy their life to the fullest that they can:)

Also statistically, you are going to pay (in the end) much more for a dog that has something genetic lying in wait, than a well bred dog where care has been taken to try and eliminate these things.   Neptune in one year had medical bills well of $10,000 to keep him comfortable (and he was) and alive.   Much of those bills were in the form of the medication that he needed, and the check ups to make sure the medication was working.  I actually left my job in corporate America (because I financially could at the time) to be sure to be around more for Neptune during his last years.   It was this, and Neptune's initial behavioral problems that got me into dog training in the first place LOL.   So my expensive rescue dog who had serious health issues and could not compete, is ironically the dog who got me started in the first place.   Also Neptune was an excellent and loving dog.   If he was reincarnated, I don't know if I could afford it now, but I would take him again!   As I would all for all my past dogs, rescued and bred!

Are you interested in training with Mannerly Mutts?  Your first step is to fill out our client interview form.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bella The Sweetest of Dogs 10/11/2008-8/16/2013

Bella recently came down with cancer.   This cancer took Bella away from her family far to early.   Her family adored her, and in fact she did not come to board with us nearly often enough because of that:)   As you can see she was a giant dog, but with a sweet and gentle disposition.   She loved to do puppy zoomies, which is hilarious because of her size (wish I had a video of that).   She also loved balls and to chase the water from the water hose.   Most of all though, she loved her family.

Interested in training your dog?   Fill out our client interview form, and we will let you know what best suits your situation.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Yard Work Inspired by the Wiggly Bridge

Our woods is always a problem.   Trees seem to fall daily out there.   I do want to eventually get a tree guy to help me cut some down in the near future.   In the meantime though, I know I can do some clean up work myself.   I recently went dog training at what we call the Wiggly Bridge in York Maine.   It connects to another great trail that we call The Fisherman's walk.   I brought Sadie and Clooney out to train earlier this week.

It struck me that what they were doing with the wood seemed 1) easy to do and 2) sort of visually appealing. I have been making it very hard for myself by trying to truck the wood OUT of the woods.   I have also been trying to figure out how to manually saw the wood.  In what wood be a tragic mistake for everyone here, I think, I have also been considering a chain saw purchase.  We be originally city folk, this would not be a good idea!

Not only wood this clear up my woods, give me something neat to look at, but best of all give me things to hide behind or in when playing hide and seek with the dogs!   Eventually I could even wood chip it into the mulch we use for our penned in area!

I've started today, and am making good progress!

Interested in training with us?   First step is to fill out our client interview form.   We will contact you with your options well before 48 hours.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Various dogs in action or asleep at Mannerly Mutts Dog Training in York Maine

Robert, Boris, and Ziggy check out the horse and carriage, while I snap a picture
with Shana Madela by my side.

Magoo, Jet (Black Shepherd) and Trooper (barely seen behind Jet).

Lucey, she is no lady.   She can get filthy in five seconds flat, and not just because
she is white.

Teddy, we call him Teddy Bear.

Our little Munchkin, Ziggy, not enjoying the flash so much.

Boris contemplates how to best get the ball away from Jet.

Boris trying to divest Shana Madela of her toy, as any pesky big brother would do.

Clooney, Shaman, and Boris are all very sleepy!

Shana Madela curled up to Boone's bum and looking ribby (she is growing fast).  We
feed her a ton, and I just put her food up more.   Building lots of puppy muscle and organs.

Tommy loves his sunny spots!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How to try to protect yourself before, during, and after a dog attack

The events on July 30th at Ellis Park (off of Short Sands) in York Beach Maine set into motion by the actions or lack of action by Piscataqua Obedience Club have made me consider the other side of the coin.  How do you keep yourself and your dog as safe as is possible from a dog attack?   I am by no means an expert, but I have some ideas about this due to my profession as the owner and trainer for Mannerly Mutts Dog Training.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings when out and about with dogs. Things can happen unexpectedly and quickly.  If you are at a dog event, do not assume you are safe from the dogs in the ring.   You may want to inquire about what their safety protocols are, and expect an answer that does not sound like a brush off.  (i.e. first aid kits, volunteers and helpers on the look out, how information would be collected).
  2. If you see a dog eyeballing you or your dog or you feel at all uncomfortable, remove yourself, your family, and your dogs out of the area. (Also see point 4 if any leash laws are being broken)
  3. Do not assume that dogs on leash are not a threat.   The human at the other end of the leash may have no control or negates their responsibility for control.  If you see a large uncontrolled dog on a flexi leash, leave the area.  In some areas, flexi leashes may be against the animal control ordinance.
  4. Do use your animal control department.   If you see someone ignoring the leash law, the best thing you can do for everyone is to report it (including their dog BTW).   Law enforcement does not tend to get serious about this until they have a few reports, so do not wait to report an offence.
  5. Before a dog is coming up at you:
    1. Do not make eye contact.   Look to the side.  Do not to be at all a threat.
    2. Position your body so you are not straight on.
    3. Do not run.   This will elicit a chase.
    4. Do not approach the dog, if you feel the dog is a danger to you.   Even a dog that is simply frightened will most likely bite you if cornered.
    5. Try and locate a place you may be safe, and attempt to go there slowly.
  6. If a dog is coming at you:
    1. You can offer up a piece of clothing instead of your arm.
    2. If they are already in chase mode, feel free to get quickly to an area of safety if possible.
    3. I step in front of my dog, and put my dog in a command if I think I can stop the dog.
    4. Use any furniture, gates, cars, et to get away from the dog and put something in between you and the dog.
    5. If you have a small dog, be aware that a larger dog may come up after the small dog if you pick them up and hold them.  
    6. In some instances, you may want to drop the leash on your dog so they can get away or defend themselves.
    7. There are tools that you can bring with you on walks.   These include canes, blow horns, sprays, an extra leash, and extra clothing.
    8. Try and remain standing, and protect vital body areas.
    9. If you find yourself on the ground, ball up in the fetal position and cover your face head and neck areas as best as possible.
  7. If a dog fight or attack has occurred:
    1. Do not put your hands in the middle of it especially near their heads.   One or both of them are in panic and defence mode.
    2. If you can get the back legs of a dog (and someone else another) grab these.   However, pulling them might do more damage to the other dog if they are gripped in a mouth.   As long as they are not damaging the airways, wait until they release.
    3. Tail grabs are also another option in these circumstances, if the dog has a tail and you can’t get their back legs.
    4. Using a piece of furniture or another implement to disengage the fighting party(ies).
  8. How you handle it after the attack has occurred:
    1. If you are at a public event, immediately stop the event by whatever means necessary.   Be sure that everyone there knows that you and/or your dog are hurt.   (This is how I will be handling this sort of thing in the future if I or someone else is hurt).
    2. See if anyone at a public event has film of any part of what happened.
    3. If you have a camera, make a video record of everyone there.    If you were lucky enough to get the actual attack on film, be sure you don’t erase that.
    4. If you are severely hurt, dial 911 if possible or have someone there do it, first and foremost.
    5. Get the owner’s info, the dog’s info, and any info on any witnesses around you.  Be sure you get access to rabies certificates and if possible any insurance the owner of the attacking dog has.  If you have been severely injured, see if someone else on scene can stop the person from leaving and get their info.
    6. Do contact the police and report the incident.   The owner of the attacking dog is most likely required to report any incident involving their dog as well, depending on the animal control laws where they live.
    7. Go to your doctor or vet to have any and all injuries checked out.
    8. Be sure that you hold the owner of the attacking dog liable for damages.

It is ALWAYS the responsibility of the dog owner to keep the public safe from their dog.   The following are not excuses that the victim of a dog attack should accept:

  1. You were jogging.
  2. Your or your child was being loud and screaming.
  3. Your dog was barking.
  4. You went to pet the dog (Each dog owner should be managing the space for their dog.   Unless you attacked the dog after being told not to approach, this is not acceptable)
  5. You were riding your bike.
  6. You were playing with your dog.
  7. You were walking your dog by their house (while still being on the road).
  8. You were eating something.
  9. You were drinking something.
  10. Your dog was eating or drinking something.
  11. You wear perfume or cologne.
  12. Their dog is a “working dog” and these things happen.
  13. You are wearing a baseball cap, wearing a uniform, have a beard, are bald, and on and on.

Unless you intentionally and maliciously provoked and/or attacked the dog (and that includes not listening to the owner to leave their dog alone), then YOU are not at fault if another dog has attacked YOU or YOUR DOG.   Not ever.

The good news is these are actually pretty rare when you look at the population of dogs and dog owners.   It is the few irresponsible dog owners that make most of these situations happen.  Occasionally it was an undiagnosed medical or mental issue with the dog, that the owner did not see coming.  Often it involves a lack of socialization, training, and proper management of someone’s dog and their environment (meaning they manage who can and can not see their dog and what situations they put their dog in).

Also most people and organizations are more than happy to take responsibility for unfortunate events that may occur on their watch.   It is regretful that I know now of at least one obedience club that does not take their responsibilities for public safety seriously.