Dog Trainers & Pet Sitters
Does your dog have a behavioral problem or just needs to learn some manners? Or, do you need to find a doggy day care or pet sitter? We can point you in the right direction! Here is a list of recommended resources:
The Gratefull Dog, LLC
In Home Private Training, Group Classes, Pet Sitting, Dog Walking
General Tips & Information
Stopping the Chewing
There are a few things that we can guarantee a puppy will do: pee, poop, eat and chew!
Here are some ways to try to curb the chewing:
- Teach, don’t punish. Teach them what they are allowed to chew on and never punish them for chewing.
- Make a toy box. When you purchase a new toy, put it in the toy box and do not give it to them directly.
- Pick up their toys. Put the toys back in the toy box before bed so the toys will be more exciting the next day.
- Offer a trade. Always replace what they are not supposed to chew on with toys they are allowed to choose from.
- Add Appeal. Freeze a peanut butter filled Kong as a fun treat (you can purchase one at pet stores). Buy soup bones at the butcher shop; they are cheap and long lasting.
- Take away incentive. Use a bitter apple spray when necessary. Spray it directly on items they are not supposed to chew.
- Set them up. Place an item next to them and say "LEAVE IT." Reward them with a treat when it is not touched. Pick up the item when you leave the room.
The most important thing to remember is to NEVER leave a dog unsupervised in areas where they can chew on things (electrical wires, etc.).
Was your dog potty trained, and now he's not? Did she listen to you before, and now she won't? This is called 'regression' and it's to be expected.
Why do dogs regress?
Once you think your dog is totally potty trained, you may get lax and stop being so strict. Or, maybe they were receiving a treat for positive behavior, and now they aren’t. Chances are you have stopped rewarding them or your rewards are not worth it any more.
What should you do?
- Start from square one. Go back to basics with your training.
- Increase your positive reinforcement. For example: A dollar for every "A" on a report card is great for an elementary school child, but won't get you very much from a high school student. You have to find a different motivation (like getting a driver’s license or allowing them to play sports).
- Pay more attention to your pet. Remember, they are NOT trained yet.
- Be patient with them and continue the training. Dogs, just like kids, don't train instantly. Be consistent!
Remember: NEVER hit, kick, scream or yell at your pets.
Our biggest fear of adopting a dog to a family is that they will hit or kick the dog when it misbehaves. This is unacceptable. Training a dog takes a lot of patience and consistency. Teach them, don't punish them, and NEVER use your hands or your feet to correct a dog.
Here are some ways to safely correct/prevent unwanted behavior:
- Startle them. Your goal is to interrupt the behavior. You can use a can with pennies in it, because most dogs do not like this sound. When they are doing something you don't like, shake the can or throw it in their direction (never at them). But remember, this technique will not work if you are not catching the dog in the act. Dogs have a short attention span and will not associate the startling sound with a shoe they chewed on an hour ago.
- Show them what they should do and not just what they shouldn't do. For example, if the dog has a shoe, take the shoe from the dog and put it on the ground next to him. Get one of his favorite toys and give it to him and say "Good." If he goes for the shoe, tell him "NO or LEAVE IT" in a firm voice and then give him the toy again and say "Good." Continue this until he gets it. Keep the shoe there and watch him. If you leave the room, pick up the shoe.
- Use a spray bottle. You can spray the dog with water (on their body) if they are misbehaving (barking, snarling at the cat, etc.). Do not spray the dog in the face or eyes.
- Clap your hands, stomp your foot, and say "NO" at the same time. If they stop doing the behavior, praise them and say "good.”
- Leash them. Use a leash to attach them (like an umbilical cord) to you when you are in the house. Supervision is very important and if they are not physically attached to you, you are not watching them closely enough.
- When in doubt, consult a trainer. A trainer can provide great advice and give you options you haven’t thought of.
When choosing a new dog, you should:
- Take your own dog to adoptions and let him help you pick the right dog (if applicable).
- Ask volunteers to point out which dogs need YOU the most. Our volunteers will be thrilled to show you the "underdogs."
- Ask the volunteers to point out dogs that are known to be good with other dogs and cats (if applicable).
- When introducing a new dog to your home, preparation is key:
- Know where your new dog will spend its days and nights before you bring him home.
- Solidify obedience training with your own dogs at home so you can control them when introducing the new dog.
- Have a safe place for your cats to go if they chose to run from the dog.
How to introduce a new dog to other dogs:
- Place all dogs on a leash and go for a walk immediately. Do not let them stop to sniff each other. If all goes well, then they can greet. If not, keep walking...YOU take control.
- Introduce them again in the front yard and the back yard (make sure there are no toys or treats in yard). If you have a fence, and things are going well, drop the leash of one of the dogs, then drop both leashes.
- Bring them inside the home STILL ON THEIR LEASHES. (Make sure the toys and treats are picked up.)
- Let them run around with leashes still on. The leash allows you to handle them if aggression arises.
- Use leashes at meal time and when offering toys and treats, until they are used to each other.
- Unless it's a dangerous situation, let them work things out on their own. It's okay if they have a few spats.
- Do not leave them together alone until you are convinced they will be okay with each other.
How to introduce a new dog to cats:
- Keep a leash on the dog and hold on firmly.
- Introduce them between a baby gate or a kennel.
- Be prepared with a water bottle and squirt the dog if he is overly interested, aggressive, or barks at the cat.
- If the dog is being aggressive, remove him from the room (with the leash) and then bring him back into the room. Repeat this "approach" until the behavior improves.
- If it's not a dangerous situation, the cat will probably handle the dog without needing help from you. Allow that to happen.
- Never leave them alone together until you are 100% sure that things will be okay.
The goal is to teach your dog that he should never walk in front of you. You will need a leash or rope that is 10’ or longer.
- Hold the leash in your hand and place your hand on your bellybutton. NEVER move it during your training. This prevents you from tugging on the leash.
- Start walking. The second the dog walks in front of you, make a 180 turn and start walking in the opposite direction. Do not say a word. Just keep walking and do not stop. The dog may get jerked once he realizes that you are going in the other direction.
- Keeping walking and changing directions. The second the dog gets in front of you, make a 180 turn.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. Do this over and over. Whenever your dog walks behind you/at your side, make sure you praise him.
- Use a shorter leash. Start out using a 10’ leash, and then change to a 6’ or shorter leash.
It really is that easy. Consistency is the key!
Remember: A behavior that is rewarded will be repeated.
- Initially, do not talk to or touch a dog when training. For example, do not push the dog’s rear end down into a “sit” position because this is YOUR decision. You want the dog to sit on its own to make it THEIR decision.
- When teaching a dog a new behavior, hide a treat in your fist, let the dog smell it and watch what he does. He may jump, bite at your hand, back up, bark, or sit. He is offering you behaviors; some are good, and some are bad. When you see the behavior you are looking for (like sitting), open your hand and give him the treat within 2 seconds of that behavior.
- Repeat this over and over. Then add the behavior’s 'name' to it. For example, when he sits, say "Sit.”
- Reward only good behaviors and make sure you ignore bad behaviors (if possible).
Giving your dog a monthly heartworm preventative, along with regular vaccinations, is one of the most important things you can do to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Heartworms are transmitted via mosquitos. The mosquitoes first bite an infected dog and ingest heartworm larvae from the infected dog’s blood. Once inside the mosquito, the larvae will develop and reach an infectious state within 2-3 weeks. At this point, the heartworm can be transmitted to a healthy dog when he is bitten by the mosquito
If the dog is not on heartworm preventive, the heartworm will then migrate through the body until it reaches the heart. Each worm can then grow up to 12 inches within the heart. An infected dog will show some signs such as heavy or difficult breathing, fatigue, weight loss, chronic coughing, and swelling of the abdomen. If left untreated, this can become fatal.
However, there is a treatment available for infected dogs. A powerful dose of medication is given with a follow-up treatment administered about a month later. The first month of treatment requires that the infected dog be confined indoors and its activity be limited to reduce stress on its heart. During this time, it is normal for the dog to appear sick and lethargic.
Of course, it is best to avoid an infection altogether, and you can do this by giving your dog a heartworm preventative pill every month.
A Note from Paige O’Neill (Mostly Mutts Founder): When I was a Vet Tech in the early 1980’s, the treatment for heartworm was Arsenic injected into the veins. It was AWFUL and often dogs died from the treatment. Now the treatment is Immidicide injected into the muscles on the back. The dogs are in pain for several days and MUST be kept calm for 4-6 weeks. Plus, it is VERY expensive. Please keep your dogs (and cats too) on heartworm preventative. (If they have not been on it for a few months, please have them tested first.) Heartworm preventative is a tasty little pill you give once a month that will keep your pet from being subjected to this terrible disease.
If you adopted from Mostly Mutts, you are under contract to keep your pet current on Heartworm preventative. Your dog with thank you for it!
Over time, it is possible for your dog to develop anxiety about certain things such as water, storms, fireplaces, other dogs, etc. Many dogs, some who have been neglected by a previous owner, can develop an intense fear of being left alone; this is known as separation anxiety.
There are many possible causes to these various behavioral problems, but one of the more common causes is when the dog's daily routine is frequently upset. This can happen when you have visitors often or changes in the family such as bringing home a baby, or having children move out. Changes like these can cause your dog to feel insecure. You can help alleviate this anxiety by providing a calm, quiet location in which your pet can retreat and feel secure.
The best thing to do is to consult your veterinarian or trainer, especially if the dog's anxiety becomes dangerous and/or destructive. You should also research your dog's specific fear(s).
Sometimes, a dog's fear of something such as a lawn mower, vacuum cleaner, or some other object is normal. At other times, a behavior problem can be triggered by something he experienced before you adopted him. You can help reduce your pet's stress by walking your pet regularly and spending an adequate amount of time with him.
Behavior problems due to anxiety can certainly be corrected with love, attention, persistence, and assistance from a professional.