Most dog to dog altercations occur on leash. Why is this?
Owners generally have the leash taught, which changes the body language that the dog is giving off. This causes the initial greeting to be tense, or worse. A kind, natural greeting is in a wide, curve pattern that ends with their nose at the other dog’s butt. This very rarely happens with someone holding the leash.
Owners often let their dogs try to “play on leash”, which usually ends up with one dog being clobbered and both dogs getting tied up, all the while with poor body language due to the leash. This eventually ends up going badly.
Owners don’t always ask permission to allow their dog to greet another dog on leash. They often just allow their dog to approach, even if they don’t know if a dog is friendly or if the owner is ok with it.
MORAL: DO NOT ALLOW YOUR DOG TO GREET OTHER DOGS ON LEASH.
“My dog is crazy on leash, but we have been going to obedience classes for years!” Have you ever heard this?
If you allow your dog to approach people or dogs while pulling at the leash, they are going to learn that pulling gets them what they want. Plain and simple. If you demand that they sit and be calm (and praise them for that), AND if you do not allow them to be greeted or to greet on leash, they will learn that is how they are supposed to behave. They will learn that you are the most important person in the room and that the other people and dogs don’t matter that much. This is especially important to instill when your dog is a puppy.
MORAL: DO NOT ALLOW YOUR DOG TO GREET OTHER DOGS OR PEOPLE ON LEASH (if you want a calm dog that is focused on you).
How do I socialize my puppy then?
Socialization does not necessarily mean physically interacting. Puppies under 5 months need to be exposed to different types of people, dogs, places, environments, sounds, smells, etc. If you teach them that the way they need to experience all of these things is by pulling on the leash, that is exactly what they will learn. If you teach them that we experience all of these things calmly, then that is what they will learn. They do not need to approach people or dogs to learn to be okay with them.
Socialization to dogs, in the sense of continuing to learn play-styles and body language, can be done in a structured play setting–like inviting other well-behaved dogs over to play, or taking them to a puppy class where play is involved, or having them attend a conscientious daycare (like Dogwoods) or doing buddy times (one on one play) at Dogwoods. Trained professionals won’t let your puppy get overwhelmed/traumatized by dogs, which often happens when owners try to allow their puppies to play with the wrong dogs.
MORAL: SOCIALIZING DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN PLAYING
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Just like humans, our canine companions experience anxiety for numerous reasons. With us being the owners of these animals it is our job to ensure that they live happy, stress-free lives. Causes such as trauma from past experiences, separation from their owners, improper socialization, or even having anxious owners are all factors that can contribute to a dog’s anxiety. Traumas such as abusive behavior from previous owners or abandonment can lead to future stress that the dog’s new owners will have to look out for.
The following are signs of a dog being anxious:
The following are signs of a dog exhibiting fear:
There are several solutions to aid in a dog’s anxiety, but not every solution will work for each individual dog. Some veterinarians may suggest a anxiety medication, Thundershirts, behavior modification techniques or even some calming treats. Separation anxiety has alternative solutions such as hiring a dog sitter, sending the dog to Daycamp for the day, or crate training while you are away.
If you need help overcoming these anxieties please contact our canine behavior specialist or our doggie guru at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Dog owner turns to Dogwoods Lodge Board ’n’ Train program to reform dog
Amy Ondler drove three hours one way to Dogwoods Lodge with Toby, her 8 month old, 70 pound goldendoodle in the car, being his normal obnoxious self.
At 2960 Southeast Grimes Boulevard, she opened the car door, and Toby yanked her into a reception area of pine paneling, an antler chandelier and a double-decker dog bed that rivaled the comfort of the sofa next to it. She pulled him to the counter, as he impishly bit at his leash and barked for attention.
Alice, a red and white speckled cattledog, and Libby, a calf-high tan mutt, trotted out with wagging tails to greet the pair. Behind her followed Jessica Lohry, owner and trainer, with a smile on her face and her hand extended — to take Toby’s leash. With it, she took his fate…
Toby had been gifted to Seasons Center Behavioral Health for students with special needs as a young pup. However, he was not allowed to step paw into the facility, because of his constant frazzled naughtiness. Caretaker Ondler brought Toby to Dogwoods Lodge hoping he would be fit to come back with her after he finished the four-week-long Board ’n’ Train program.
“The story of Toby and the Board ’n’ Train is kind of a unique one. He was a goldendoodle gifted to a mental health agency that needed to transform into a well-mannered, not so hyper therapeutic dog. Before going to Board ’n’ Train Toby was nipping, jumping, barking and dominant over all things,” Ondler says.
Toby was nowhere near ready to spread his joy to the children at Seasons Center.
“Continuous unruliness is the best way to sum it up,” Lohry says. “He would bark, jump on everyone and the counters, bite at everyone’s hands and clothes, bite at his leash, talk back — the list goes on and on. If he were a human, I would call him an ADHD bully.”
Though Toby’s “rap sheet” included a long list of common problem areas (and a few not-so-common), Lohry was confident her program could rid him of the bad behaviors. Lohry has had plenty of experience with all types of problem behaviors and training challenges. Eight years ago, Lohry earned professional training certification, behavioral specialist certification and e-collar training certification, and she has practiced all disciplines since.
The Board ’n’ Train program was developed by Lohry from those years of experience and her training philosophy.
“Of all of the programs we offer, Board ’n’ Train is by far the best one for so many types of dogs. Fearful. Stubborn. Challenging. Bull-headed. The dog learns at an incredibly fast rate in the program compared to in the home. And the four-week time span away from their current way of life gives them enough time to get out of the bad habits and into the new good habits, which is key,” Lohry says.
After the first week, Jessica had trained Toby how to come, sit, stay, walk on the leash and other basic obedience. The second week, she continued his obedience training with distractions, like other dogs, squirrels, outdoor noises and other people. In the last two weeks, she solidified his training by walking around public venues and past a yard full of dogs. So Toby could play fetch with the children back at the school, which doesn’t have a fence, Lohry also remote-collar trained him with the “come” command.
Ondler returned four weeks after her first visit to pick up the dog. Toby tested his owner momentarily by jumping on her and refusing to listen to her commands. Lohry spent time with Ondler, training her on how to get Toby to mind. And within minutes, Toby was responding to Ondler as he would Lohry.
“After coming home from Board ’n’ Train, he is remote collar trained, is able to go to the office setting, relaxes with kids while they pet him and is an all-around great dog. Not only did he behaviorally benefit from the Board ’n’ Train program, he also learned how to interact, play with and enjoy other dogs, which has been a great benefit for him as now he loves doggy play time,” Ondler says.
Since the program, Toby visits the facility nearly every weekday. He lies in his bed calmly without needing constant attention. He greets the children without mauling them. He plays fetch off his leash without trying to run away. He puts smiles on the students’ faces.
“Four weeks sounds long to be away from your dog,” Lohry says. “But I like to remind owners that it’s a very short amount of time in the whole scheme of things, and it is so worth it in the end. People almost always ask, ‘Why didn’t I do it sooner?’.”
About Dogwoods Lodge
Jessica Lohry opened Dogwoods Lodge in 2013 with the belief that dogs and dog owners of Des Moines deserve better. The full-service dog facility offers lodging, daycamp, grooming and training, as well as additional amenities to make dogs’ stays safer, engaging and more enjoyable — so their owners can have peace-of-mind while they’re away. For more information, visit DogwoodsLodge.com.
The Remote Collar Debate, or e-collar debate, has made national news recently. The trainers at Dogwoods Lodge would like to put in our two cents on the subject to help educate the public on their legitimate uses.
Remote collars or e-collars have been used for decades, primarily by hunting dog trainers. As of late, many other types of trainers have learned how to properly train dogs with these devices and have experienced their many advantages. The difference between how they were used in the past and how they are used now is significant. Hunting dog trainers used to use the collars at high punishment levels when the dog did something incorrectly. Now, modern trainers use them at very low levels — that humans can often barely feel — primarily as a communication tool. When taught properly, the dog is prompted by the low-level stimulation to do something or to stop doing something.
The advantages of remote collars when taught by educated, experienced trainers or owners are many:
Those are just a few of the pros. See how they can be put into practice with this video!
The only cons to the remote collars are:
So, the next time someone starts into a debate about remote collars, please try to enlighten them to the many pros of modern-day e-collars.
Ever notice that when you start packing your lunch for the day, your dog starts panting as if he just ran a marathon? Or maybe it’s when you exchange the sweatpants for jeans. Or maybe the moment you sling your purse or bag over your shoulder. Your dog knows you’re leaving — and unless you grab his leash and invite him along, chances are he’s not happy about it, because he knows that means he’ll be home alone.
You’re going somewhere exciting — and he’s going to miss out.
So maybe you’re not going anywhere exciting, but anywhere with you is exciting for your dog. He’s a member of your family. And he likes to stay with you, because when you leave he doesn’t know when or if you’ll be back, and he thinks he’s missing out on a super fun day with you.
It’s boring to be home alone.
So maybe he’s going to go chew on the corner of the couch to pass his time. Dogs need stimulation and exercise. But when left home alone all day, they often end up entertaining themselves in ways we owners aren’t too happy about. Or, they simply sleep all day and expect play, play, play! when you get home from a tiring day.
He’s got to go.
The bathroom. Bad. But there’s a pane of glass between him and his designated toilet and no one around with opposable thumbs. It’s bad for his bladder to hold it; it’s bad for your carpet for him not to.
But guess what? You don’t have to leave your dog home alone when you’re gone for the day! Bring them to Dogwoods Lodge, and we’ll provide frequent bathroom breaks, socialization, and optional amenities like Daycamp, buddy time, private walks or runs, and more. When you pick your dog up, you’ll have a well-exercised, happy pup ready to snuggle up next to you for the night.
Treat your dog to a fun-filled day while you’re away — ask about our Play Day Package!
Did you know…
…we do all sorts of things to keep your dog as stress-free as possible?
For stressed dogs, we try any combination of other things: covering their door, putting them in a Thundershirt, giving them a peanut butter Kong or bone to occupy their minds, or adding activities to their schedule.
If you have any ideas you would like to share with us about ways to keep dogs relaxed, feel free to email us at email@example.com!
Dogs love Daycamp. The playing, the socialization, the toys and pack experience. And our well-trained staff go the extra mile to ensure your dog has a safe and enjoyable time.
While one of the key benefits of Daycamp to any dog owner is a well-exercised dog, we’ve learned that too much exercise is a bad thing. That’s why we now incorporate more rest periods during Daycamp. Our dogs have responded well: there’s less afternoon crankiness, less stress on joints, and more quality play periods.
At Dogwoods Lodge, we’re always trying to improve — so we can provide your dogs with the safest, most enjoyable Daycamp experience the Midwest has to offer.
This time of year it’s easy to get caught up with the turkey and discounted shopping. But we really should take time to reflect on the things we’re truly thankful for. And for these Dogwoods Lodge employees, they’re most thankful for their dogs!
Caitlin is thankful for Argo!
Ashley is thankful for Daisy!
Andrew is thankful for Striker!
Erin is thankful for Gabbie, Toby and Sadie!
Ben is thankful for Zelda!
Janell is thankful for Emma and Foxie!
Page is thankful for Master and Messanger!
And the thing we’re most thankful for at Dogwoods Lodge? Getting to spend the days with awesome dogs like yours. We hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!