This week we wanted to share the story of one of our training clients Romey, the Havenese, who came to We Talk Dog for training after a culmination of aggressive behaviors that resulted in Romey biting Libby, his young owner.
After the family dog died when Libby was two, she excitedly counted down the days until her 5th birthday, on which she was told she could get a dog. Romey, the Havenese, joined the family when he was 12 weeks old and started attending daycare at We Talk Dog shortly after.
Libby immediately became Romey’s biggest advocate and the two have been inseparable ever since. For awhile the family had noticed some mild “grumpy” behaviors that eventually escalated into Romey biting Libby when she tried to pick him up from a chair. Romey came to We Talk Dog the next morning and stayed for two weeks of training.
While in training Adam worked to modify some of Romey’s behaviors and teach him the rules and boundaries that he would need when he returned home. Romey learned a lot about how to interact with his owners, especially the smallest leader of the pack, Libby. He also learned structure so when it is time for things like homework, Romey can go and lay in his bed and relax. He learned that children play differently then how dogs play.
Libby wrote about Romey’s training for a school project. She learned that Romey acted out of fear from being startled and that she could modify her behavior to make sure that Romey was not woken abruptly. She wanted to share the information she had learned about dog training with her classmates.
The whole family was an active part of Romey’s training and they worked with Adam during training and upon Romey’s return home to make sure that he became a well mannered member of their family. The family learned how to give Romey the security that he needed while continuing to reinforce positive behaviors. Romey learned that his family would take of all of his needs and he did not need to be stressed or concerned with anything.
With Halloween right around the corner we thought it would be good to reshare some information to keep your pups safe and happy this Halloween.
Ok, so it’s time to torture ourselves with our best frien-emy ever…Halloween candy. And our pups usually love it as much as we do! While candy is ok for us in moderation, there are some foods and candies we love that can be lethal for dogs even in the smallest amounts. Be sure to keep your furry family members safe this Halloween with some helpful tips on candies and how to help them make it through trick-or-treating!
Pet Poison Helpline’s Top Halloween Dangers for Dogs
ASPCA’s Top 10 Halloween Safety Tips
Each We Talk Dog client is given a PetExec account so that you can schedule boarding and daycare as well as update your pets information online. You should receive a welcome email after you come in for temperament testing. When you login for the first time your username will be the email address that you provided to WTD and the password will be your dog’s name with the first letter capitalized.
Once logged in, there will be a drop down menu on the left side of the screen with options for Current Status, Owner and Pets, Boarding, Daycare, Purchases, Daycare Packages, and Email We Talk Dog.
This screen will show you if you have any dogs signed in to either daycare or boarding.
Owners and Pets
“Maintain Owner Information”
You can update your contact information, emergency contact information, and change your password by filling in the blanks. All boxes marked with red are mandatory. Click “Update Information” to save your changes.
“Show Pet Information”
Click on your dog’s name to view vaccination information, current veterinarian, people authorized to pick up your pup, and medical information for each of your dogs.
This is where you can schedule boarding by checking the box next to each dog that you would like make a reservation for. Fill out the drop off, pickup, and emergency contact information and then click “Schedule Pets”.
Once you click “Schedule Pets” additional boxes will pop up at the bottom of the screen. You can add in feeding and medication information. .
“Modify/Delete Boarding Schedules”
You can delete a scheduled boarding or click on your dog’s name to modify information.
You can see all boarding reservations in calendar form by either day, week, or month.
Select a date range(or individual day) and then check the corresponding boxes next to the days of the week that you would like to schedule daycare. You can also set drop off and pickup times.
Similarly to the boarding calendar, you can see all of your scheduled day care appointments in day/week/month views.
You can see all payments made to We Talk Dog. Click on the order number to see information about a specific purchase.
“Daycare Package History”
This will show all active and past daycare packages that you have purchased.
by Adam Summerford
Training starts before you even pick your new dog up. Creating boundaries and teaching your dog what is expected of them right from the beginning will ease their transition and set your pup up for success. Most Dogs want nothing but to please you and do right by you, and through positive reinforcement and shaping behaviors a dog will learn what is expected of them in their new home.
When is my puppy old enough to start training?
A puppy is never too young to start learning good behaviors. Puppies learn bite inhibition from their litter mates at the crucial age of 6-8 weeks. The mother teaches her puppies acceptable behaviors such as when it is time to play, sleep, and feed, from the moment that they are born. Puppies thrive on this structure because they know that their mother is going to take care of all of their needs, and she guides their behavior through movement and positioning. Your puppy will view you as their new leader and it is YOUR responsibility to give them the guidance, structure, and leadership that they need throughout their life. A 6-12 week old puppy has a brain comparable to a wet biscuit, which is very moldable and still developing. This is the learning phase for dogs when they are looking to you to replace the constant guidance they were getting from their mother; it is the optimal time to shape what the standards are for your home. Around the time that the puppy reaches 12 weeks old they will start actively looking for leadership. Most dogs do not want to be leaders, but in the absence of leadership they will step up and be leaders: meaning that they will guard the house, use the bathroom inside, and chew things. This is not bad behavior, just dog behavior, which is why it is important for us as owners to teach our dogs what is expected out of them.
As a quick tip to get started… The most humane way of doing this is to keep your puppy on a leash, and guiding and showing them what is expected out of them.
You Can’t Teach Old Dogs New Tricks
Everyone has heard the adage that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks – but this is simply a myth. The same practices apply if you get your dog as an adult rather than a puppy- regardless if they are 2 years old or 8 years old. It might take a little more time because you are having to overcome ingrained habits or routines rather than starting fresh with a puppy, but through consistency your adult dog can learn to be a balanced member of your family and understand that it has everything that it could ever want out of life.
I Adopted a Dog That Was Previously Abused
An abused dog will need plenty of love and encouragement, but they will also need a lot of structure, guidance, and leadership. Dogs thrive with that. They live in the moment, even if they remember past experiences such as being abused, neglected, or mistreated. It is so important to treat your new dog in the same way that you would treat any member of your furry family, by giving it the same leadership that every dog is looking for and not coddling any good or bad behaviors. If you only shower your dog with love and food and do not include the crucial aspect of leadership, by which you gain respect, your dog can actually become more fearful, develop separation anxiety, and become overweight. Owners tend to hold on to the dog’s past experiences; the dog doesn’t. Owners frequently anamorphize their pets and will not correct bad behavior or assume a leadership role. Because dogs do not process emotions and experiences in the same way that people do, it is only through teaching leadership and respect that your dog will be balanced and well- adjusted. They will become confident and happy in your home and blossom into a fun loving pup!
Our responsibility as owners is to understand where dog’s behaviors are coming from, what your dog needs, and your dog wants. Your dog is looking for leadership – which encompasses food, water, shelter, guidance. If a dog is left to its own devices, it will act like a dog and make its own decisions, which will usually not benefit the dog. Your dog will naturally treat your house like they would treat their den in the wild. This includes a lot of unfavorable behaviors such as marking, barking at the door, chewing, and an instinct to protect their den. Similar to small children, dogs thrive on a balance of structure, encouragement, guidance, leadership, and correcting them when they do something that is not an acceptable standard in your home. As you teach your dog that behaviors such as getting into the trash or chewing on electrical cords are unacceptable, you are not only keeping your dog safe but are forming the foundation of leadership that creates the mutual respect that you both need.
It is never too early or too late to start training your pup. If you have any questions or want to speak to a member of We Talk Dog’s training staff (member of the International Association of Canine Professionals) give us a call at (205) 588-4709 or check out our training page.
At We Talk Dog, Jeanette and the team answer questions about the grooming process daily. Below are some of our most frequently asked questions and information to consider when deciding if its time to schedule your pup a grooming appointment.
“How often does my dog need to be groomed?”
Most dogs need a bath or groom about once a month, but some breeds require more extensive grooming than others.
Dog breeds with long hair and thick fur that easily mats need consistent grooming to keep their coats looking great and your pup feeling their best. This includes breeds such as Yorkies, Poodles, Wheaten Terriers, Collies, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Doodles, Sheepdogs, and Lhasa Apso among many others. These dogs need to be groomed every 4-6 weeks depending on their activity level. All long hair dogs need daily brushing and professional brush outs every week or two.
If your pup has a thick undercoat and is prone to constant shedding, you should get your dog FURminated, which removes the loose undercoat and cuts down on excessive shedding. Breeds that benefit from this: Labs, Golden Retrievers, Lab-mixes, Chows or any dog that sheds. Dogs should be FURminated every 2-4 weeks depending on the time of year – dogs shed about twice a year so they may need it more during these times. At We Talk Dog, we use a comprehensive FURminating system starting with specialty shampoo and conditioner that releases the undercoat. Then, we use a master blaster and FURminator comb that removes all of the loose hair.
“Should I be brushing my dog at home?”
Dogs with long hair or thick undercoats need daily brushing between groomings to remove dead hair, reduce shedding and prevent tangling. Regular brushing or a quick rub down with a grooming mitt will cut down on shedding for shorter haired dogs as well.
“My dog has mats, but I don’t want it shaved. Can you just remove them?”
Dematting is no fun for a dog – it is stressful and painful. Brushing your dog daily will help avoid this process but inevitable life happens and therefore, mats happen.
Matting in dogs can lead to hot spots and severe skin irritation, they are a nesting ground for insects, and mats hold in heat making dogs very uncomfortable. The safest, most humane solution is to shave or comb out mats – never cutting with scissors. Using scissors can be dangerous, because you may not know where the mat ends and skin begins. If your dog is matted, it is best to have the groomer shave the dog and let the coat grow back again.
“Can I cut my dog’s nails at home?”
Dogs nails need to be trimmed about once a month to prevent overgrowth; you want to keep the nails at least 2mm from the quick. Dogs that run around a lot on concrete will naturally wear down their nails more than a couch potato and may need their nails trimmed less often. If you are uncomfortable trimming your dog’s nails, chances are they are feeling your energy and are uncomfortable to. In this case, leave it up to the professionals. It can be a simple, quick process for your dog at WTD.
“When should I start grooming my puppy?”
Puppies need “training to be groomed”. Your puppy should start coming in when they are 12 weeks old, once they have their shots and are allowed We Talk Dog. We strive to make this a positive experience for your puppy and they will get a lot of attention, treats, and rewards – making grooming a positive experience for your pup. Depending on the breed, puppies should start with either a Tidy or a bath as well as getting their nails done once a month. Additionally, owners should brush their puppy once a day and reward them with treats/play/love for good behavior. Often, clients wait too long to bring puppies in for grooming which leads to fear and stress. “The sooner the better” is the rule making the grooming room a normal part of their routine.
If it is time for your dog to be groomed you should give the grooming team at We Talk Dog a call at (205) 588-4709. All grooming services include a bath, a brush out, nail trim, ear cleaning, and anal gland expression. Your dog will come home looking good and smelling great!
We have all heard that chocolate is bad for our four legged pals, but there are a several other human foods that you should avoid feeding your dogs. The Humane Society published this list of household items that can be harmful to your pets.
Candy (particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
Coffee (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans)
Gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
Hops (used in home beer brewing)
Onions and onion powder
Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
Tea (because it contains caffeine)
Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets)
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)
There are several signs that your dog may have ingested something toxic including: vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, lethargy, and lack of appetite. If you suspect your dog consumed something contact your vet immediately.
Want more information? Check out the ASPCA’s information about how these foods effect dogs: