The nice weather is here - and if you're anything like me, you love spending some time on these nice days with your dog. You think of the fun things you can do together - the sights you'll see, the places you'll go. But if Lady isn't used to high-intensity public locales or handling herself in social situations, getting out and about to new places that offer new sights, new sounds, and a lot of people and other dogs can be stressful and overwhelming for her (and as a result, less fun for you).
If you want to be able to take Lady into these kinds of situations with you - strolling through the center of town on a sunny afternoon, enjoying a bite at the local café, or meeting friends on the rail trail - it's important to set Lady up for success by breaking these situations down into small slices and building her up to be confident in them. Starting with places like the Walkway or rail trail, a dog park, or other bustling sites may actually do more harm for Lady than good if she's staying in a highly-aroused emotional state the whole time. Ensuring Lady can take some time to process situations without pressure will allow you to help Lady stay in a calm emotional state, building her confidence so you can get closer to your goal. Picking the right kinds of outings for Lady that are going to help her rather than hinder her are critically important to your success. But do you know where to go or what to look for in terms of good socialization?
I've made a list of some of my favorite places in the Hudson Valley for positive socialization. I like them all because they each allow the space needed for Lady to process at a distance where she feels comfortable, you can be as close or as far away from the action as needed, and they all have fun things to offer too! Want to know where?
Written by Trista Polo and Bella, According to Bella
Poet Anatole France once said, "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." All of my fellow animal-lovers out there will agree that sharing your life and love with animals is one of the most rewarding experiences one could ever dream of. Our pets love us, want to spend time with us, make us laugh, are there for us when we cry, and make us all better people for loving them. So on National Pet Day, let's take a moment to recognize our furry (or not-so-furry) friends who bring so much joy to our lives. And remember, it's not just about appreciating them on National Pet Day, but on every day of the year! How are you celebrating?
MY THREE FURRY LOVES: The apple of my eye, my Corgi-man Scout. He and I like to go hiking whenever we can, to enjoy nature and breathtaking views right here in the Hudson Valley. Anytime we can go out hiking or walking together is a fun time really - we just enjoy being outside together. When we're inside, we get to enjoy the company of Scout's fur-sisters, Chloe and Abby. As true kitty sisters go, they definitely like to hide and taunt their little brother - Chloe usually by making herself comfortable in all sorts of unexpected places where Scout can then "find" her, and Abby likes to sit on the staircase and peer down to her brother below (knowing that she's protected by the staircase rungs makes her brave). Every single day of the year, I am SO grateful to have these little loves in my life! I would have many more if I could, but my husband keeps me grounded ;-)
"If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."
~ James Herriot
I'm a lover of small businesses that work hard to get to where they're at, and even more of a fan of dog-related small business stores. I'm happy to send this shout-out to some friends of mine, Dana and Eric Peterson, who had their grand opening this weekend of Dexter's Dog Boutique - on Montgomery Street in the lovely town of Rhinebeck!
Dexter's Dog Boutique proudly offers a plethora of natural items made with love, many from around the Hudson Valley but ALL from the USA. You can find tasty treats made from wholesome natural ingredients like organic beef or turkey, cranberries and butternut squash; quality leashes and collars, and comfy dog beds to fit any size canine (I almost curled up in one myself!). They carry some of the best holistic and nutritious food brands out there, like Fromm's and Wellness CORE (grain-free). And let's not forget the all-important toys and chews to satisfy our best four-legged friend's energy. Dexter's carries Planet Dog's Orbee-Tuff line (one of my favorites, as you can see from my article The Best Items for Your Best Friend in my Training Library), durable tug toys made of recycled firehose and plastic bottles, and natural chews such as antlers, bully sticks and beef trachea to help keep your dog's teeth healthy. Their prices are very reasonable, and the service is great - Dana and Eric are committed to helping their shoppers pick the best items for their best four-legged friends!
So if you find yourself visiting the Rhinebeck area, or even if you're looking for a fun drive to take on an upcoming spring day, make Dexter's Dog Boutique at 6423 Montgomery Street in Rhinebeck your doggie-shopping destination. You won't be disappointed, and neither will your pup!
1. Confident Leadership/Structure/Communication. Dogs are loyal and social creatures. Most want to do what makes us happy, which includes following the rules to ensure they don’t ever get on our bad side. But dogs and humans are two different species. We speak two different languages and have different ways of doing things (scent preferences anyone?) – and so the rules aren’t always clear. Contrary to all the amazing things dogs can do, they don’t have the ability to read our minds. So that means we have to be crystal clear about what it is that we want and expect in terms of the rules and acceptable behavior, and communicate that in as succinctly a way as possible for our dogs to learn and understand. Conveying these rules confidently and positively, consistently, and in small slices that can help your dog learn and succeed will create a relationship based on respectable leadership and clear communication. Dogs crave structure in order to be well-behaved – so give it to them and you will have a four-legged friend who loves to please you! (For more on creating this respectable leadership, see the article on my website, “R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – Find Out What It Means to Your Dog”).
1. Hide and Seek. Use this opportunity of being stuck indoors to build your pup’s recall. If your pup has a good understanding of the “stay” command and will hold the position while you leave the room, you can do this. As you ask your dog to “stay” in one room, go to another room and hide somewhere. Start out easy on your dog at first by hiding just around the corner, crouching down beside a coffee table in the middle of your living room, or sitting at the dining room table. One you are in your hiding spot, enthusiastically call your pup to “come!” He will be on the prowl to find you – let him look around and sniff you out. When he finds you, make a big deal with lots of praise, pets and maybe a tasty treat or two. Once your pup gets the hang of this activity, you can increase the difficulty of your hiding spots – like inside a closet, underneath the bed, or in the bathtub. Be creative! You’ll have fun being a kid again and your dog will enjoy demonstrating his natural desire to track you down! ...
Maria Huntoon, CBCC-KA