Dogs will be Dogs: Addressing digging problems

In this fifth installment of our blog series, Dogs will be Dogs, we will discuss digging problems.

Dogs may dig for many reasons, and like a lot of problem behaviors, it is a natural dog behavior. Some of the reasons why your dog may be digging up your yard or other areas include boredom, lack of attention or other constructive outlets, the desire to escape, trying to get at prey, or just a need to cool off and be more comfortable!

Cain enjoys some digging in an approved spot--on the beach!
Cain enjoys some digging in an approved spot–on the beach!

My dog Jasper LOVES to dig to find cooler ground in which to lie. He has done this from puppyhood, and we have allowed him to do it–in one spot. He has one spot that he chooses in our yard and that is his approved–and only–dig spot.

For a lot of cases, I do recommend giving a dog one dig spot (or some of my clients make a dig box out of materials they buy or out of a kiddie pool or something similar). This “compromise” of having an approved dig area can really be the most effective, and you can encourage him to dig in this one spot to help ensure it’s only one spot. I will praise, give treats or toys, whatever the dog likes, if he is digging in that spot to reinforce that is the place to do it. I will also even hide goodies in the dig spot for them to dig up–so much fun for the dog!

Another strategy for dogs who are seeking cool or comfort of some kind is to provide alternatives to address this: bring him in more often; have access to a water bowl, a wading pool, a softer surface or cooling pad on which to lie; provide a dog house or install items that can provide shade, etc., can all make your dog feel more comfortable and cool while outside.

If your dog is bored, or not getting enough attention or outlets, make sure you have alternate activities and enrichment for him, as this will be critical to success. Make sure your dog gets time to interact with you (walks, playtime, training sessions, having fun with puzzle toys or scent games), as well as provide other forms of enrichment (such as eating meals out of Kongs). Doing this daily can help tire him out in a more constructive way and lessen the likelihood of digging. Make sure to supervise your dog more closely while he is outside to ensure he doesn’t get the opportunity to dig, and engage him in other fun while you’re out there.

If your dog loves to dig to escape the yard, you definitely don’t want to leave him unsupervised until you come up with a long-term solution to fortify your fencing. You can make your fencing go deeper into the ground, or use rocks, chain-link fencing or chicken wire to prevent and discourage digging at the fence. Doing other activities and providing other outlets while he’s in the yard can also help him make a more positive association with staying in the yard. A tether can also be helpful, but we do not recommend EVER leaving a tethered dog alone unsupervised because they can possibly get tangled and hurt. If a dog is motivated and strong enough, he could possibly break it and still escape.

In some cases the dog may also be trying to get at prey–besides reinforcing your fencing and supervising per above, you may want to find ways to relocate the animals that are attracting him in a humane way. Seek help from a relocation professional if necessary. You can also work on a better come when called with your dog so when you are supervising, you can more easily call him to come to you in case a rabbit or other possible prey is tempting him.

If you are facing problems with digging or anything else, we highly recommend the help of a qualified professional who uses positive reinforcement techniques for the best success, and we would love to help. Contact us now!

Happy training!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

Now PACFA certified!

We are proud to announce that we are now a PACFA-licensed dog training provider!

New rules to the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act (PACFA) for trainers require those of us who provide training services without the owner’s presence (such as our Day Training program, and Stay N Trains we do for current clients) be certified. This is to ensure we are following procedures and have paperwork that ensures transparency in our methods, and safety for our clients and their dogs.

PACFA “is a model program for states across the country and is dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of those animals in pet care facilities. PACFA is committed to making sure that pet care facilities meet, or exceed, minimum standards for physical facilities; sanitation; ventilation; lighting; heating; cooling; humidity; spatial and enclosure requirements; nutrition; humane care; medical treatment; methods of operation and record keeping.”

“PACFA gives the Colorado Department of Agriculture the statutory authority to license and inspect all pet animal care facilities. Any person who is operating a pet animal facility that engages in selling, transferring, adopting, breeding, boarding, training, grooming, sheltering or rescuing any pet animal may need to be licensed with the Colorado Department of Agriculture.”

If you are looking for a training provider to transport your dogs or train them without you being present either in your home or their facility, it is important to ensure they are PACFA certified. You can report any provider that you feel isn’t following regulations or is certified at their easy online form here.

We appreciate CDA’s PAFCA program and its staff, and their dedication to the safety and well-being of our clients. Feel free to contact us about this or anything else in regards to our operations and service offerings. We are proud to adhere to regulations and have a commitment to following these new rules for the betterment of the industry as a whole.

Thank you!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

November 2017 clients

We had a very blessed November, and worked with a lot of great people and dogs. Words can’t describe how awesome a job I have! I have fun, I learn and I am so grateful for all those with whom I come into contact. My job is to teach others to teach their dogs, but I am also lucky to have such great diversity in clients. I learn from each of you, and appreciate your trust in Courtney and myself to be invited in your homes and share with you.

I am also grateful for my community of mentors, who have been so generous with lending kind listening ears, giving me gentle pushes, and inspiring me to do better. So much for which to be grateful; thank all of you!

If you click on the below photo icons, you will be taken to the November client photo album on flicker to see the full photos. You can also click on the slideshow button (top right computer/play icon) to view them in a fun slideshow format.

Waffle and Poppy Chief Cocoa and Samson Misty Neko Bailey Oscar Lily and Harris Pieter Lola Rocky Berrin Josie Rosie Daisy Mae Chauncey and Roan Bucky Abbie Lucy Harper Rainey and Riley Tripp Walter Chunk Moxie Sebastian Millie Jasper Cain

Have a joyful holiday season!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

P.S. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram!

November client spotlight: Poppy and Waffle

Congratulations to our November client spotlight, Poppy the border collie mix and Waffle the Brussels Griffon / cattle dog mix!

Poppy and Waffle: serious supermodels!
Poppy and Waffle: serious supermodels!

Poppy was a Finishing School student of ours when she was newly adopted in 2014, and we did some more private training with her in 2016. Since then, her parents adopted another delightful character, Waffle, and we had the pleasure of working with both dogs through our exclusive clients-only service, Stay N Train.

Each day Poppy and Waffle enjoyed meals through enrichment toys like the Buster Cube, Atomic Treat Ball, Smart IQ Ball, Kong Wobbler and more. They also worked on their impulse control, having more relaxed walks, and convincing us for more tug fun and belly rubs! We also worked on dog leash reactivity with Waffle in controlled setups, and began working on conditioning Poppy to a harness. Waffle became a master at the Look At That game, and with time and meatballs, Poppy should become more comfortable wearing equipment.

In addition, getting to hang out with their cat brother and sister, Severs and Isa, was also a lot of fun. While we may work more with dogs overall, we always enjoy some cat energy in our lives! We also got to work on some exercises to help Waffle learn that it is a lot more rewarding to NOT chase the kitty folk. 🙂

We really appreciate the loyalty their parents have shown us through the years, and their dedication to the best for all their pets. It is a real pleasure to work with such caring people with amazing pets.

Thank you, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

Dogs will be Dogs: Addressing chewing

In this fourth installment of our blog series, Dogs will be Dogs, we will discuss chewing issues.

From puppyhood to adulthood, dogs LOVE chewing. It is a need, it is a way to help themselves relax, and it is a very enjoyable activity. As with many problems, chewing is a normal dog behavior, and understanding the motivation of the chewing is very important if you’re looking to address any destructive chewing your pup may engage in.

Puppies Teething

Josie enjoys a good chew break during a training session
Josie enjoys a good chew break during a training session

Puppies are very similar to human babies–EVERYTHING goes into their mouths! It’s how they explore the world, and they have an actual physical need to chew in order to help alleviate the pains of teething. By the time hit six to seven months of age, they should have all their adult teeth so things will get easier at that point. In the meantime, it’s important to be patient and have LOTS of desirable alternatives.

  • All-natural animal parts of all kinds are absolutely great for puppies. Bully sticks, pig snouts, tracheas, chicken feet, cow cheeks and hooves, and much more disgusting (wink) delights are some of the best options you can invest in. We’re not a huge fan of rawhides, but we do love the Earth Animal No-Hide bones, and raw bones you can get from your butcher. Be careful with elk antlers–they can be a little hard for those tiny puppy teeth–so you want to make sure they do not chew too heavily for too long on those so be mindful of this.
  • Nylabones can be great and if their flavor wears away, you can soak them in a hot broth to “refresh” them to make them more appealing.
  • Dental chews of all kinds are available on the market, from CET chews to Greenies and more.
  • Kongs and other enrichment toys that you can stuff with a variety of food, including their regular ration, are some of our favorites. Kongs can easily be frozen as well, which can soothe puppy teeth. We’re also big fans of the West Paw Design line of toys for enrichment as well as their tug and retrieve toy options.
  • Even taking old clothing strips and wetting them, twisting them together to leave them in the freezer and then take out as needed for your puppy’s relief can be a good alternative.

In ALL these cases you will want to supervise your puppy to ensure he won’t get hurt. The Nylabones should be taken away if they’re destroying them into little bits, and rope toys as well as the clothing strip option we mentioned can be very dangerous when left alone. Kongs and other similar products, as well as all-natural chews can be generally safer for unsupervised time but be very careful and supervise whenever you give something new to ensure they don’t hurt themselves.

Remember your puppy will require patience and understanding. I call them puppy piranhas for a reason!

Boredom

Chewing can be a very fun activity. If a dog doesn’t have enough outlets, they may engage in fun you’d rather they not! All dogs should get mental and physical activity daily to be happy and have a great quality of life. Taking sniff walks, enjoying tricks training, doing nose work and scent games, practicing manners and going for outings in the park–there are so many wonderful activities you can do with your dog to engage them. If you’re running short on time, you can hire us for Day Training, consider hiring a dog walker or jogger, or finding a quality daycare option to help fill in gaps. We are happy to help provide referrals for professionals so just ask!

Anxiety or Stress

Some destructive chewing results as a symptom of underlying anxiety or stress. The dog may have separation anxiety or isolation distress, or they may be afraid of something that is happening that causes them to stress, and therefore chew as a way to try and alleviate the stress they’re experiencing. In these cases it is VERY important to never punish the dog. We do not use unpleasant consequences to punish a dog as a way to train. This can actually increase fear and anxiety, and make fixing the problem more difficult.

Setting up video cameras or other monitoring devices can help you see what is happening if it is while you are away, so you can better determine what is happening to cause the anxiety, or also rule out boredom. It can be hard to know for sure without doing such homework. If your dog is experiencing stress while you are away, or if you know it is caused by stressful events or triggers, we urge hiring a professional to help you. If you are struggling with destructive chewing, nothing can replace the value of hiring an experienced professional.

Need help right away? Contact us now!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

October 2017 clients

October has been a really great month, filled with amazing clients and a lot of wonderful progress with all of them. We are really blessed to work with so many great people and their dogs, and appreciate your support.

We also hope you have a very Happy Halloween! Be safe and have fun, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, here is our Five-point checklist for a safe Halloween for your dog.

You can click on the below photo icons to visit our Flickr album of October’s clients, and you can click on the slideshow button (top right computer/play icon) to view all the photos in a fun slideshow format. Don’t forget to join us on our Facebook page and Instagram account for more awesome photos and other content.

ChopperCocoa Samson Lux and Oats Josie Chunk Bucky Lionel Fido Ginger and Misty Cody and Neko Harper Bailey Gunner Berrin Lucy Rocky Riley and Rainey Roan and Chauncey Chief Gizmo Oscar Maggie Rosie Daisy Lily and Pieter

Happy Howl-o-ween! 😉
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

Cain the husky needs a new home

UPDATE: Cain has found a new home and is settling in well. Thanks to all of you who shared his story so we could have success!

Are you looking for a young, rambunctious guy who will keep you active and fit?

Do you go hiking and love the outdoors?

Are you looking for a whip-smart dog partner who loves training fun?Cain

Cain has a lot of love to give, and he needs a lot in return. If you’re looking for a loyal mate, he just may be the dog-man for you!

We are helping rehome one of our favorite clients, Cain the husky. He is just over two years old, and he is a very fun-loving and intelligent guy. He needs a guardian who has lots of time and energy to put into him to make him the awesome dog he can be! He gets along well with other well-socialized dogs, and would love to live in a house that has a nice yard to run in. Cain needs lots of running! He also really loves digging and needs a lot of mental outlets because if he doesn’t get enough enrichment, he can be a little creative in ways that aren’t always appreciated by humans. 😉

If I could take Cain into my home, I would. He and my dog Jasper really love each other, but I have two other dogs that wouldn’t mix well, and three is my limit! Delightful Doggies and his current owner are giving three one-hour training sessions to his new home to ensure success. He will need a commitment from whoever takes him to continue with positive reinforcement-based training–he LOVES it!

If you are interested in Cain, please email me at laura@delightfuldoggies.com to get an application. Once it is received, we can review it, conduct phone interviews, and set up meet & greets.

Thank you! And please feel free to share this post and others on our social networks!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies