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Dogs & Kids: Introducing your Dog and Baby, Part 2

This week’s post is by our guest writer and dog trainer, Deborah Rosen of Good CitiZEN Dog Training, which has franchises in WA State, Denver, and Florida.

In the last blog post we discussed the need to take great care when introducing a new baby to your family dog. These may be precautionary measures since many dogs take a shine to children and will not behave badly; however, even the most socialized of dogs may have difficulty with a new baby and it’s always best to put safety first.

There are often things that children do, naturally, that may provoke anxiety and reactivity in dogs. A child may start crying, emit a scream if excited or upset or even throw something from a high chair or crib that could be viewed as hostile to your pup. While it is difficult to know what might irritate a dog, it’s best to get a “jump start” on desensitizing him before trouble presents itself.

dog baby cropBabies are Good Things!
Always start with the dog and baby at a safe distance from one another. The instant the dog observes the baby, be ready with a treat and effusive praise. It’s important to deliver the treat and praise quickly since dogs have a limited attention span. Wait patiently and allow the dog to look at the baby without prompting. Once again, deliver the treat and praise as an “unexpected surprise” to the dog.

What the dog comes to quickly understand is that the baby is a “predictor” good things. This simple exercise results in the dog feeling that the baby is a terrific new addition to the family. In the mind of the dog, we are creating a positive connection to the baby, or what we call a “conditioned emotional response” of the most pleasant kind. Now it’s important to do this at several different times during the day. Start when everyone is in a good mood and do it many times until the dog looks at the baby and then, automatically, back at you for his or her treat. It’s important to keep this going. As the baby starts to emote, as babies often do, keep treating and praising the dog.

Crying Babies – not so bad!
Once you have done this multiple times and moved to a distance much closer than where you first started, you may begin the exercise when the baby is not so happy. A crying or screaming baby can irritate and arouse much deeper and darker instincts in a dog. It is important when working with a crying baby to have two people present – one to work with the dog and another to administer to the baby.

shutterstock_111940151Start the process again, first at a safe distance (8 – 10 feet) and then slowly, moving closer. Allow the dog to look at the baby and then interrupt the look with a high-pitched happy praise and a high-value treat. Once you have repeated this many times at a distance, you may begin to slowly move closer. By doing this slowly and repeatedly, you are helping the dog to understand the baby, although upset and crying, is not a threat or a thing to be viewed negatively. You are helping to turn an otherwise unpleasant occurrence for the dog into a more positive experience.

Even if you have no concerns about your pet dog, doing these exercises will help instill in the dog the right set of emotions and skills needed to withstand the onslaught of the new addition to the family. And, it’s still best to never leave a dog and a baby alone. Although it’s hard to imagine our beloved pet doing anything that might harm a child, it’s always best to be safe!

 

Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.
 

Dogs & Kids: Introducing your Dog and Baby

Guest blog post by Deborah Rosen, Dog Trainer and Owner of Good CitiZEN Dog Training.
 

shutterstock_191635586In the last few blogs, we’ve been discussing the best ways for dogs and kids to interact, especially when first meeting. What has not yet been addressed is a discussion of how to best introduce dogs to new babies. And, once the baby is inserted into the family unit, what are the best practices for daily interaction with the family dog?

You may be surprised to know that as a small child, I was actually bitten by a dog. This is a common occurrence that can be avoided. My unfortunate experience, combined with what I now know as a dog training professional, has heightened my understanding of how to keep children safe from potential bites – and also how to keep the family dog safe from losing its place with his or her beloved family.

 

 

Help! My Dog Doesn’t Like Babies!
Over the years, I have had many panicked calls from clients telling me “we’re expecting our first child and the dog seems to be scared of or reactive to babies.” They describe a variety of different behaviors such as a low growl, raised hackles, baring of teeth or even a snap at the unassuming baby. The dog is actually giving a loud warning, “I do NOT feel comfortable – make this go away!”

I will typically ask the owner to describe the dog’s history of socializing with kids and newborn babies and, invariably, the owner tells me that the dog had no prior experience – there were simply no kids around.

If this case, it is best to take the side of caution and start very slowly, if possible, before the baby is born. By exposing the dog to some of the noises made by a newborn baby like crying, screaming, giggling or even gurgling sounds, you may at least be able to partly habituate the dog to some of what he or she might hear when the real thing arrives. Play a tape of a baby crying. Start low and, over time, raise the volume.

To some dogs, the baby may appear as an annoying intruder and could trigger anxiety. To other dogs, the crying and helpless baby may seem extremely vulnerable. Without the right early exposure, to include positive and corrective feedback, it would be easy for a dog to mistake a newborn for the young of any animal. Never forget that a dog is an animal, and, as well adapted as we think they pet is, when confused or upset he or she will behave in ways that harken back to being in the wild.

beagle baby cropDon’t Leave Babies and Dogs Alone – even for a minute!

That said, never leave a baby alone with a dog, even one that has been with you for a very long time. If you must leave the room, even for a short time, either take the baby with you or secure the dog in a crate for everyone’s safety.

Tune in next week for additional tips on about baby and dog interaction. I will take you through a desensitizing process that can help a dog adjust to a newborn child and some daily practices to keep things moving in the right direction.

 

Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.
 

 

Your New Dog: Settling in at Home & Crate Training

We hope everyone had a fun and safe Happy Howl-o-ween last week!

This week we continue our Dog Training series with guest writer, Deborah Rosen of Good CitiZEN Dog Training.

 

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Home prep is a really critical piece of the puzzle when bringing home a new puppy or older dog.

Most folks know that a great deal of preparation goes into bringing a new puppy into your house. It is important to make the house “puppy safe” by closing off parts of the house with baby gates, or limiting access to cabinets where the puppy can get into food items or other things that might pose dangers. It is helpful to do the same thing when bringing home a puppy or an older rescue dog. By preparing the house and setting things up for a “successful experience,” you are limiting the chances for your dog to get into a world of trouble.

Be Safe, Not Sorry

Anything and everything you value (expensive rugs, electronics, shoes, breakables, favorite children’s toys, etc.) should be removed and put in a safe place and introduced later. When you bring home a young untrained dog or even an older dog with a checked history of training and socializing, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you have children with stuffed animal toys, put them out of sight. A new dog that comes in and immediately start destroying your family’s favorite possessions will quickly fall from grace.

shutterstock_1393388Acquire a Crate – Begin Crate Training

Assuming the dog was receptive to everyone outside the house, we can proceed to engage with the dog inside the house. Instruct children to stay as calm as possible. Coming into a new home can be a frightening experience for a new dog. Dogs do not change very much, and any shift in their living situation can provoke stress and anxiety. While kids of various ages will be difficult to control, setting up “Rules of the House” with the children concerning the new dog will help them to understand how to maintain a calm demeanor until the dog is well situated. Also, by introducing a crate, a dog may go to his or her crate when things get too boisterous with children playing and making a great deal of noise.
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Drool Dog Recipe: Peanut Butter Dip via Golden Woofs

If you think you’ve seen numerous Peanut Butter recipes featured on the Healthy Dog Blog, you are right. Dogs love peanut butter, and we do, too!

 This week’s recipe comes from one of our favorite dog bloggers, Sugar at Golden Woofs

Peanut Butter Dip is an easy, 2-3 ingredient treat that can be paired with fresh fruits and veggies of your choosing like apples, banana, carrots, or celery. Great way to get some healthy, raw ingredients into your dog’s diet!

sugar peanut butter

 

To make Golden Woof’s Peanut Butter Dip, you will need: 

1 cup of Plain Yogurt

1/4 cup of Peanut Butter

(Optional)  1 tsp of Honey

 

For instructions, check out Sugar the Golden Retriever’s Peanut Butter Dip!

 

 

Interested in more Peanut Butter Goodness?

Check out our other Drool Dog Recipes using peanut butter like

As always, Bone Appetit!

Halloween Night and your Dog: Tips to Keep Fido Calm this Holiday

Halloween and Dogs – not the best combination!

While Halloween is something that many families look forward to and enjoy, this is a holiday fraught with potential problems for dogs.
   “What costumes to wear?”
   “Who will take the children around the neighborhood?”
   “What candy should we get this year?”
For most families, these are the usual questions posed around this fun holiday. Another question is “What the heck is going to happen to the poor dog?”

shutterstock_153544523Halloween Hell

Just think about it. On a good day, most dogs are “set off” by an occasional doorbell ringing, someone coming to the door, or a person randomly walking past the house. On a bad day, a postal carrier or UPS delivery person will come to the door and the family dog intercepts this “intruder” with hackles up, incessant barking and possibly some lunging when the door opens.

On Halloween, we have kids of all ages and sizes arriving in scary costumes and masks, carrying strange objects to hold candy, and screaming “Trick or Treat” in a cacophony of sounds enough to make any average dog a little crazy! To a more reactive or young dog, this may feel like an onslaught and trigger underlying reactions you have never seen before or prefer never to see again.

On top of everything I just described, the whole purpose of the holiday, for those appearing at the door, is to receive food. It may be before the dinner hour or after, but most dogs are hungry all the time and believe me on this one, can smell the goodies through the wrappers. That said, the appearance of so much food may also trigger some “resource guarding” behaviors. Wrapped together, like a beautiful piece of candy, this is a set-up for the dog and one that might put an otherwise well-behaved dog into a world of trouble.

cinnamon eating bully stickSet for Success

If you feel the dog can handle the activity, in advance of Halloween, take out some masks and start your desensitizing process. Start by ringing the doorbell, and if the dog barks, discourage her with an “uh, uh, quiet” said in a deep, firm voice. Ring again, and, the second after the ring, be ready with a treat. Deliver the treat and a praise like “Good Job” said in a very happy voice. Have everyone walk around the house for a while with his or her masks on. Do this every few hours every day before the holiday.

On the day of the holiday, make sure the dog gets a great deal of exercise. In fact, if you take the dog to daycare, make an appointment for Halloween and leave the dog most of the day so when he returns he is thoroughly exhausted! A tired dog is a less reactive one.

If you have a very reactive dog, it’s best to put her in another room, with music or a TV on with something to do. Give the dog a marrow bone or a bully stick to chew on. It’s best for someone to stay with the dog, but at the very least, check on her often and make sure she is not freaking out.

Keep Halloween a happy holiday for everyone, including your best furry friends!

 

Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.

Weekly Drool Recipe: Halloween Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Corgi halloween treats 

 

Let your dog join the festivities with these Halloween Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats! Pumpkin is a low-calorie, all-natural source of antioxidants, beta-carotene, key vitamins, and fiber, and  peanut butter provides essential proteins, antioxidants, and healthy fats!

 

What a great surprise for a Spooktacular Halloween treat!

 

A BIG thank you to Erin of Eating my Feelings for sharing this delicious recipe!

 

Ingredients:

– One 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree

– 2 eggs

– 1/2 cup oats (optional if your dog is on a grain free diet)

– 3 cups whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, or gluten free flour

– 3 Tbsp of all-natural peanut butter

– 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pumpkin stuff

 

Directions:

For exact instructions on making these crazy-delish treats, please visit Eating my Feelings.

To see other nutritious and lip-smacking treats,  hop over to our Weekly Drool Recipes!

Bone Appetit! Bone Appétit!

Dogs and Kids: Introducing a New Dog into your Home

This is the 2nd post in a series by Deborah Rosen of Good Citizen Dog Training.

Last week’s post, Dogs and Kids: What you Need to Know, addressed items to consider when thinking about getting a dog for your family.

Get off on the right paw!

As promised in the last blog entry, I will now address some of the proper steps to take when introducing a new rescue dog or puppy to his or her new family. By taking these few easy steps, you will give your new fur baby a much better chance of succeeding with each new member of your household, especially with the children.

On the very first day the dog is due to arrive at your home, arrange for each person in your household to be present, even if they have all met the dog before. Ask each one to step outside the house where the dog will feel less confined and be more apt to feel less threatened.

Tuesday awaiting treatTake Things Slowly

Have each family member stand at least 5 feet from the dog. One at a time, have each adult and child call the dog’s name without looking directly at the dog. If the name has not yet been selected, a noise or a whistle will work just as well to simply get the dog’s attention. The second the dog looks at the individual, pop a very tasty treat in his or her mouth and say “good job” or “good dog.” Do this with each person, one by one. By doing this, we are telling the dog (in a way he can really understand) that the person he just encountered is a “very good thing”. And, by doing this with each person, you are helping the dog understand he has nothing to fear.

Assuming the dog had no difficulty with step one, move to the next step by having each person come up to the dog, one at a time. As they do, tell them to approach the dog sideways without giving the dog eye contact. It’s important, especially with small children to be very clear and concise. “Don’t look at the doggy yet.” Have them present the dog with an open palm and let the dog sniff. Quickly drop a treat in the child’s hand and let the dog take the treat. Do this over and over several times, and if the dog is comfortable, proceed to the next person.

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Do this process over and over until the entire household is introduced without giving eye contact. If this process goes well without incident, start again with everyone now facing the dog squarely and looking directly at him. Once this process is complete, it’s time to go inside the house.

 

Check back next week for next steps to when introducing a new dog to your home.

 

 

Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.

Gluten-free Rosemary Ham and Cheddar Dog Treat Recipe

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The weather has gotten a little cooler, and with that change in temperature, we feel like cooking up something hot and tasty in the kitchen! We turned to the Doggy Dessert Chef’s Rosemary Ham and Cheddar dog treats as a cooler weather treat fit for any pooch.

If you enjoy baking for your dog, we highly suggest having brown rice and/or coconut flour on hand to make gluten-free treats for your pup!

rosemary-ham-and-cheddar01-393x295

Ingredients 
 
1/2 cup chopped Ham
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon dried Rosemary, crushed
1 Egg
1/4 cup Milk
1 cup Brown Rice Flour

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Halloween Dog Costume Contest 2014

Blog

As Halloween approaches, we want to celebrate the fun, creative costumes that can be see on this holiday. From Raggedy Ann to a sushi roll, there are ready-made and homemade dog costumes to fit all shapes and personalities!

So…. what better way to showcase all of your decked out cuties than in a Halloween dog costume contest?

We are giving away tasty 6 Inch Gullet Wrapped Bully Sticks to 3 winners with the top votes.
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Dogs and Kids: What you Need to Know

This week we have the pleasure of introducing a guest blogger:

Deborah Rosen, Founder and Owner of Good CitiZEN Dog Training!

 

dog kid Just like in the movies.

 
Like Travis and Old Yeller, Timmy and Lassie, Rusty and Rin Tin Tin, dogs and kids have been put together for as long as we can remember. Because of how this is portrayed in the media, we often jump to making assumptions that kids and dogs are made for each other like apple pie and ice cream. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

When you see disclaimers in pet classifieds saying a particular dog is not “kid friendly” you will know these dogs were either not well socialized as puppies or became fearful of children for a variety of reasons. Certainly, these are dogs to stay away from as you look for a new furry family member. What you may not realize is that many rescues come without historical information. It is for this reason that I advocate for adopting either a well documented socialized older dog or a puppy to incorporate into a family with younger children. There are many puppies available through rescue organizations as well.
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