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Loose Leash Talking, a blog about walking and talking with your dog.

5 Tips for Walking your 'Complicated' Dog

5 Tips for Walking your 'Complicated' Dog

There are times when walking your dog is not as pleasant as we imagine.

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Help! The world is EXPLODING!

Help! The world is EXPLODING!

Any shelter worker will tell you fourth of July and New Years Eve are the busiest days of the year for lost pets. The phone rings non stop with people desperately asking if their pet has been turned in. A constant stream of people bringing in terrified pets they found,some with injuries.I speak from personal experience, and trust me, it is horrific.

I know as pet parents we will do everything we can to keep our pets safe and free of fear.

Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with an id tag

Make sure the the information on the microchip is up to date

Keep your pet indoors, in a quiet room with the windows closed and AC on. (the smell, as well as the noise is overwhelming for them)

Stay with your dog, cuddle up, share some snacks, watch a movie together, be your dogs safe person.

Thunder shirts are great, but if you don't have one you can use an old tee shirt, (preferably with your scent on it) Put the dogs front legs through the arm holes, make a knot on the dogs back with the extra loose material so it doesn't hang down.

Stay calm and cuddle on!

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Episode 10 How a Golden Retriever Learned to Fly

Episode 10 How a Golden Retriever Learned to Fly

When I was asked to help get her ready to fly a few months ago I really did not know what to expect. I mean, I knew I had to get her really comfortable in her crate and used to strange, loud sounds and all kinds of people with stuff that rolls, everything from carry on suitcases to big rolling carts.  But I wasn't really sure of the process at the airline.

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Episode 10, Stuff happens...

Episode 10, Stuff happens...

Pono ran to me, "What are you doing down there Mom? Is this a new game? We don't usually play here..?" Pono pawed at my head.

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Episode 9,  I sniff, therefore I am!

Episode 9, I sniff, therefore I am!

 Hey humans! Pono here. Today Mom and I went on a most wonderful walk. Ok, so maybe I am a little biased because I think any walk with my mom is wonderful... But on this one...She started thinking about walks.. read her thoughts? Of course I can! ;) Besides her thoughts and mine are almost the same. ;)

I guess there are some folks out there that feel that a 'good' walk with their dog means the dog walks right beside them, looking up at them the whole time. To me this seems like a real pain in the neck, I mean as a human would you walk around with your nose turned toward the clouds all day? Sometimes we see dogs being walked like that and I feel so sorry for them. No chance to do any sniffing.

A word about sniffing, it is probably the most important thing to a dogs mental well being. Not being allowed to sniff is like going to a shopping mall full of enticing stores and not being allowed to go in any of them, or if someone was holding your cell phone just out of reach... you see that there are messages but you are not allow to read them or respond. What could be more maddening than that?  Oh wait, I know! They hand your phone to you and just as your start to read the messages and form a response they yank on your arm and pull you away from the phone! Makes you wanna bite somebody, doesn't it? 

I am so glad my mom lets me sniff as long as I want. She very rarely pulls me away from a sniff. And so I get to read all the messages left by other dogs and leave a message of my own. 

The next thing she thought about was choices. Who gets to make the choices on a walk? In the car, Mom makes all the choices no matter what I say, but when we go walking its a whole different story. She lets me choose most of the route, especially if I ask nicely by doing a cute sit. Mostly anyway, I can't resist going the way she asks when she calls me in that sing song way she has.

And then there is the equipment. It took years for us to figure out our favorite harness and leash. For the harness, it is the Blue9 Balance Harness with the neck buckle. It gives me so much freedom of movement its like I am not wearing anything! Now that I have worn the Blue I don't think I will ever go back.

And then there is the leash, oh we have been through so many, but what mom learned from a lady in the computer named Grisha Stewart changed our walking life for ever. (if I ever get to meet her I am gonna give her a big slobbery kiss!) Grisha taught my mom how to use something called a 'long line'. I love because it lets me easily take those few extra steps to get to all those sniffs I talked about. And mom doesn't have to leave the path, (mostly). Mom thinks I get a little more exercise because I can trot more on a long line. (my mom doesn't run a whole lot). When I stop to sniff Mom walks up ahead to almost the end of the line and waits for me to finish my sniff. She doesn't pull the leash of even put tension on it. She just turns a little toward me and waits. When I have left my message on the spot I can trot to her and up ahead to the next spot.

By the end of our walk I am so happy I got to spend time with my mom one on one, just us,and very satisfied that I got to read and send all the messages I wanted to. And I am ready for a snack and a nap!

Sometimes people tell us that old tired joke about who is walking who, Mom just smiles because she knows, We are walking each other.

Pono,The Siberian Sea Dog loving life

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Episode 8, Help! Big scary BOOM BOOMS!

Episode 8, Help! Big scary BOOM BOOMS!

Hey Humans! Pono here! Mom says its going to be a brand New Year soon and humans like to go a little nuts and 'celebrate'...I am not sure what that means but there seems a lot of strange, scary noises involved. I, myself, being the very brave boy that I am, don't really notice but mom says some dogs get scared, very very scared. They even try to run away thinking they can outrun the big booms. and they can get hurt or worse! Mom has some ideas of how to help your dog get through a night full of big scary booms, She says:


Take your dog on a nice long sniffari walk earlier in the day to release energy and stress. (sniffing helps dogs release stress).

Give your dog a nice big meal before the booms start, who isn't sleepy after a nice big meal?

Be sure your dog has time to go out to do their business before the booms start.

Create a safe space. Give your dog a quiet, cool room to stay in, Close the curtains, turn on the TV, turn on the AC.

Relax  and cuddle up in the room with your dog, watch a movie. Watch the ball drop on TV.

If your dog is on the floor put a box fan on the floor near your dog, It interrupts the sound waves. (Thank you Kim Brophey).


A thundershirt is a wonderful drug free way to calm your dog but if you don't have one and your dog is medium to large you can do something similar with an old tee shirt, of course you can use a new tee shirt but if you use one you have worn your scent may help to calm your dog. Put the dog two front legs in the arm holes and of course the head through the head hole. Gather up the shirt on the dogs back (not too tight) and make a knot so the shirt is not hanging under the belly. I did this with Moku years ago and he would sleep through most the fireworks

Some people recommend CBD oil. It can be helpful for some dogs but you need to be very careful that it is safe for dogs, and that it works on YOUR dog. It makes Pono into a hot mess.

Personally, I try to avoid drugs (for my dog and for myself ;)) if possible because some of the drugs that vets give simply paralyze the dog. So your dog is still terrified but is ultra traumatized because they are unable to move. I cannot imagine how awful that must feel. And of course that makes your dog terrified to the tenth power. And after reading the side effect of some of these drugs I will avoid them if at all possible.

There is some different opinions floating around about if you should comfort your dog when they are frightened or not, some say if you do you are re-enforcing the fear. Others say you should comfort them as you would a frightened child. I feel that since fear is an emotional response and you are not going to 're-enforce' it by comforting your dog. But if you are acting or reacting with alarm your dog will react to you...'Mom is scared, it must be BAD!'

But if you calmly cuddle up on the couch or bed its like "Well this is nice, me and mom together!"

And of course make sure your dog is microchiped with current information and is wearing a collar with current id info as well.

I can't imagine a better way to ring in the New Year than cuddled up with my Poni Pons! Er.. I my my brave boy Pono, The Siberian Sea Dog!

Wishing each one of you a very relaxing celebration and Happy and healthy New Year!

Woof!

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Episode Seven, To Crate or Not to Crate?

Episode Seven, To Crate or Not to Crate?

There has been some discussion in the dog training world lately about the use, or over use of crates. To me, and I think Pono agrees, dogs should learn to be comfortable in a crate because there are times when they have to be crated. For most cases that would be the groomers or the vet. But there could also be emergencies where actual life or death is on the line and time is crucial.

Several years ago there was a tsunami warning where we live and we were ordered to evacuate. Unfortunately, I was stuck at home with no vehicle. My husband had our truck at work and he worked at a place where he was not allowed to have his phone with him. 

At first there was a notice on my phone about there had been an earth quake in the Pacific Ocean that triggered the tsunami. Then another with an approximate time line and then a more pinpoint of where the waves were going to hit. The TV news started talking about evacuations. Voluntary evacuations. I could see and hear my neighbors leaving and sadly many left their dogs behind. Their plaintive cries in the form of barking broke my heart. I knew I would not be able to do anything for those dogs but I looked at Moku, (Yes the famous Mighty Moku Thunderpaws) and promised him I would not leave him not matter what.

Soon I could hear helicopters over head with loud speakers telling us the evacuation was mandatory. I looked at Moku, 85 pounds of the best dog in the world, and wondered if I could somehow get him him on the roof.

I had never crate trained him, I didn't even own a crate. It was mean to crate a dog, right? But what was I going do if the national guard or who ever came to my house to save us but my protective boy wouldn't let them near us? Then what? Try to get him to climb that ladder to the roof? (a another thing I had not trained him for)

And they were closing the only road between my husbands work and our house. I was have a very hard time keeping the panic inside me from exploding.

But then my husband made it home before they closed the road! YAY! But we still couldn't take our un crated dog to an evacuation center. So now what?

We loaded up our truck with emergency supplies and Moku and headed for the nearest hill we could get to. That road was lined with other folks in there vehicles, Many with their dogs, I am guessing they also did not have a crates for their dogs.

We were so very lucky, the tsunami waves were very small and after a few hours we were allowed to return home.  We were lucky, that time, but what about next time? What if it's a fast moving fire? 

All through to ordeal Moku was wonderful but I am sure he could feel the stress. But I am so grateful I did not have to put him under any additional angst of being put in a crate that he was not accustomed to. Also since he was a rescue (a stray) he may have had some bad experiences in crates.

So my mind was changed about crating. It is a skill than can actually save your dogs life and make things much easier in an emergency. And make crating while at the vet or groomer not big deal.

BUT if you want your dog to be comfortable in a crate, it cannot be used as a punishment. Ever. You want it to be a happy place or at least a MEH place. If you need help to get your dog to feel this way about their crate check out Susan Garrett's Crate games program.

How long should a dog be kept in a crate? That depends, is the dog recovering from an injury or surgery? Then perhaps most of the day, are you going to work and going to be gone for 8 to 10 hours? Then NO! and ex pen is a better choice or carefully selected room is a better choice.

So to me it all boils down to this make sure your dog is crate trained, not crate kept.

 

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Episode 6 Please don't try to trick your dog!

Episode 6 Please don't try to trick your dog!

I really don't like the term "hacks" or worse "tips and tricks" to describe things we do to encourage our dogs to make the choices we want them to make. Here is something I do to encourage Pono to get in the car quickly when I ask. 

Why do I want him to do this? Several reasons, the most common one is that time is limited and I need to get to what ever else I need to that day. But also there are times when you need to get your dog in the car quickly for safety reasons. On our walks we have come across more than a few people I don't want to interact with. (buy from our website and maybe we can move to a better neighborhood, lol.) Or people with dogs I don't want to deal with. The car is a safe place. Or at least it can take you to a safe place. But your dog needs to load up quick!

 I also thought it may be helpful to folks who have dogs that just don't want to go home yet. Now I must preface this by saying that my car is completely 'doggyized' and covered in canine confetti so if he slobbers a bit I really don't care.

I figure most dogs are gonna be thirsty after a walk, hike or play session.

Before we leave the car I put some cold water in his bowl I leave it in the car. (I also carry a collapsible bowl with me if we are going to be out for long.) The car I have now has a perfect spot where the bowl fit right into the console nearest the back seat. But if it didn't I would leave it where my dog can quickly access it.

It didn't take him long to figure out that to get that cool water he must hop it up into the car.

 And wola! I have a dog who hops right in the car when ever or where ever I ask.

See this in action on our brand new Youtube channel:

For the Love of Dog!

Pono the Siberian Sea Dog riding in car


 

 

 

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Episode 4 Another word about our founder

Episode 4 Another word about our founder

And so we brought him home. And as you may have guessed, he was the best dog in the world. In our world anyway. He seemed to understand that he had found his forever home and through his whole life he seemed grateful.

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Episode 3 And now word about our founder...

Episode 3 And now word about our founder...

I looked into his soft brown eyes. In those eyes, those eyes that must have endured so much pain and grief, in those eyes I saw a soul filled with gratitude and love. Gratitude for a simple bowl of water and a bit of kindness.

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