Jenn, I have a very food motivated dog that is uber sweet and willing to learn but hard to refocus once she’s wound-up. Food is the only way to get her to sit and pay attention. She crawls into my lap and begs for attention by pawing at me when I’m on the computer. I worry that her level of demand will lead to other issues down the road. I know I need to make exercise more of a priority in the morning on a daily basis and once again when I’m getting home from work to help make the pm hours better overall. Lizzy is a spayed, 19 mo. old 14lb Jack Russell mix.
JENN: Hi, Kerri, I applaud you for seeing the issues that need your attention and being willing to own the fact that some of them have been put into play due to your habits. The good news is that with patience and consistency, healthier patterns can be made. Let’s get right to! Personal space/less treats for doing good work- Use a simple praise “good” and less treats, if any, to praise. I’m not saying never treat, but use them at random. Don’t treat with food if the dog is expecting it. If the food makes her crazy excited, don’t use it. The simple act of obedience and receiving praise from you should be reward enough and you may need to get back to the basics of establishing your relationship by not using treats when training her. Wait for Lizzy to be in a calm submissive state for several minutes before setting a treat down for her to enjoy. This is come after a long work out where she’s physically tired BUT, do it when she’s not looking or place it in a location where she has to find it herself and where the treat isn’t associated with praise or a gift from you. If hand feeding her causes her to get excited again, you know hand feeding her treats won’t work into your new pattern. You’re spot on that if a dog is constantly demanding lap space and crawls up to see who’s going to give it and demand when they get it, the behavior needs to be stopped! I too, suggest against encouraging such behavior as this may lead to other issues, plus, it’s rude if you can’t control it. Dogs deserve their space and so us humans. It is our responsibility as the leader of the household to set clear boundaries. You may physically – firm and gentle without any emotion or eye contact- have to guide her away from your face (while she is pawing at you and licking over and over begging for more attention) several times before she is content with settling down at peace and being satisfied with a kind rubbing and soft praise. Watch that you don’t over praise as to get her going again. Take note the tone of your voice- are you adding to Lizzy’s excitement or helping keep her neutral with your calm, steady presence? Dogs do NOT need to be on your lap and in your space 75% of the time, let alone 100% of the time. Get her a soft, outdoor pad and teach the command to get “on your spot”. This will be her happy place beside you where you both can rest and have your own area. Teaching and training our dogs to be calm and submissive is a critical step in having a well-behaved dog. You are both well on your way to having just that!
Jenn, My three Pugs are always dealing with crusty build up in their folds and chaffing irritation behind their elbows. They love to lick off anything I apply topically. Is there an organic product that you might suggest that would help treat these skin troublesome & stinky disorders? I hate to use chemicals when not needed and I want to help my crew get better and stay better.
Thanks for the help,
Melinda, and Cappy, Copper and Cassie
JENN: My go-to shop for such ailments is Texas based! All natural, vegan, organic and made with love, www.naturaldogcompany.com has just what you need to get your Pugs more comfortable. Check out their all new, soothing and scent free Wrinkle Balm ($5.55 for .25 oz tin). This magical formula is ideal for treating skin fold dermatitis, yeasts, bacteria, redness, sores, hair loss and crusty build up. Thanks for inquiring on a natural remedy to help your dogs feel and smell the best they can! I love this balm for my cuticles and dry elbows, too!
READER TIP- I have a young black lab named “Charlie” who is a chowhound and my beloved “Grandpup”! She eats so fast I worry that she might bloat. Her owners, Brittany and Pat, have a super solution that I wanted to share for others who may be in the same boat with their dog. Use a cupcake tin- a mini muffin size is really great!- to simply put kibble into tiny portions and make the dog work for the meal. It’s fun to watch her work at it and it’s a safe way to slow her down and eat.
Thoughtfully Submitted by JoAnne