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Dog Training Q & A to some frequently asked questions & queries

Dog Training Q & A to some frequently asked questions & queries

I thought I would do a Q & A page to answer some commonly asked questions and queries I frequently receive. This page will be updated as more Q & A are added.

Q 1.  Do you offer a performance guarantee?

Sorry no, I do not. When it comes to dog training, there are too many variables, I have no control of, to offer any kind of guarantee. Dog training is all about me teaching you how to handle/communicate and train your dog. Your dog may listen to me but your dog isn’t my dog, you have to do the work.  I can only advise, guide & show, I can’t make you listen and take note of my advice or suggestions. Neither can I make you work and spend time with your dog as required, on a daily basis.

Although, I can ask you to let me know, if something I have shown you, isn’t working for you, I can’t rely on you telling me. Dog training is about commitment,  there are no quick fixes when it comes to training your dog.

Trades people such as plumbers, mechanics etc, may guarantee their work and guarantee’s apply on most consumer  goods, eg cars, TV’s, fridge/freezers and the like. As with any written guarantee, you need to read the fine print, re conditions that can make guarantee null & void.

Some dog trainers may offer a guarantee, it maybe just a gimmick, to increase their client base, you need to read the small print.

Q 2. Are you a dog whisperer?

Dog whisperer is a phrase,  which has been used quite frequently since Robert Redford movie the “Horse Whisperer” was released in 1998. it was based on the 1995 novel “The Horse Whisperer” by Nicholas Evans.

In fact, All animals speak to us, if we as humans, choose to watch, listen and learn. So, no, I am not a dog whisperer but like many other people I can read and understand dogs and what they are trying to tell us.

Many dog trainers/behaviourists, over the years have used the phrase “dog whisperer”, as a good marketing tool, to increase their client base and revenue.

Q 3. Do you only hold “group dog training classes” on a Sunday?

Yes I do, I find for most people, the time and day is more convenient.

Q 4. When is your next Canine Parkour Class (urban agility)?

I am sorry but due to the lack of interest, I no longer hold Canine Parkour classes. I do however include an introduction to canine parkour, in my group classes and private training packages. I also offer a one hour private parkour training session, to anyone who is interested.

Q 5. Hi, just wondering when your next Pet Support Group meeting is?

Again, unfortunately due to the lack of interest, I know longer offer this free service.

Q 6. Do you train when its raining?

Yes I do, I train in all weather, unless it is extreme, or there is a possibility of someone getting injured e.g. Its a very windy day and there’s bark or branches breaking off trees and being tossed around, by the wind.  They have the potential to harm. So I will cancel, I usually contact people via phone or text. So, if the weather is a bit crappy, don’t assume I am going to cancel.  If you don’t hear from me, its still on.

 Q 7. Why do your classes cost more than the dog training clubs?

Volunteer club members, run the classes and they only charge a nominal amount to cover their basic costs. That is why their courses run for longer and cost less. Unlike myself and many other trainers, we have to cover our costs and live.

 

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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in About

 

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Another article to add to the arsenal against BSL, time to wake-up New Zealand.

Another article to add to the arsenal against BSL, time to wake-up New Zealand.

This article was posted online back in 2013 by The Telegraph. The article was written by Sarah Knapton, Science Correspondent 3:21PM GMT 03 Dec 2013.

“Bad dog owners to blame for aggressive animals not their breed”

New research suggests dogs which have been deemed ‘dangerous’ and banned by the government may have been wrongly stigmatised because they are prized by bad owners…”

To read the full article click here

Just another article to add to the arsenal against BSL,   yet New Zealand, still insists on going forward with BSL.

Also read:

A big thumbs up NZ for the lack of imagination and foresight and daring to be different.

Dog safety advice for all (not just kids) most dog bites are preventable

 

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in About

 

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Making a Dog Safety difference in 2017! How many people involved with dogs. Vets, dog trainers/behaviourists, pet shops, etc. discuss & hand out dog safety information, to their clients?

Making a Dog Safety difference in 2017! How many people involved with dogs. Vets, dog trainers/behaviourists, pet shops, etc. discuss & hand out dog safety information, to their clients?

Now, this suggestion may or may not be popular and yes it will not reach everyone but its a proactive start.

How about anyone involved with dogs.  All dog trainers, vets, pet shops and behaviourists  hand out information and discuss basic dog safety and the dog control act with their clients? It’s easy enough to make up FAQ sheets.

I have just put together a one stop dog safety resource page. Titled: Dog Safety Advice for all (not just kids) most dog bites are preventable.

There are different coloured links to videos, articles & graphics. All information is free to use. All information is copyright so a mention or link to the various authors of the graphics, articles & videos including ZeroBites Dog Training, would be greatly appreciated.

I have been a advocate of dog safety education, including the Dog Control Act for years.

To that end I have been discussing and handing out information on both, to my clients for a very long time.

I’d be interested to hear from any trainer, club, vet who is doing this as well, apart from myself.

We as educators have a opportunity to make a difference and maybe along the way,

prevent someone from getting bitten and save a few dogs, a one way trip to the vet.

We are on the front lines so to speak, we can make a difference! We have the opportunity to be part of the solution, and if we do nothing, are we passively contributing to the problem?

 Rescues, SPCA, Plunket and the like, are on the front lines also, they like us, have a great opportunity to educate their clients about dog safety, keeping both dogs and people safe.

It would be good, if we could all in a small way, help turn the tide in 2017 and try to reduce, by education, the number dog bites/ dog attacks in NZ.

Again, hopefully along the way, prevent someone from getting bitten and save a few dogs, a one way trip to the vet.

Another link you maybe interested in reading:

A big “Thumbs Up NZ” for the lack of imagination & foresight and daring to be different. The new proposed dog control laws, leave a lot to be desired.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2017 in About

 

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Dog Parks, Good or bad idea?

Dog Parks, Good or bad idea?

I am personally not a great fan of dog parks because when many dog owners (not all) see the sign “Dog Park” they think it gives them the right, to let their dogs, run amok with no consequences.

Dog Parks are specifically designed for dogs and their owners but they are no different, to any other Public Park that allows “Off Leash or On Leash Dogs” when it comes to the “Dog Control Act”, Manners & Etiquette, Common Sense and dog owners being aware, of where their dog is and what it is doing. Dog parks are not for all dogs.

Dogs like humans, can become stressed, distressed, fearful, overly excited or aggressive. While others may be bullied or be bullies.

Dogs need their owners to stand up, protect and watch out for them, even at the dog park. Same as you would look out for, and help a human friend, if they were in trouble or needed any kind of help.

All dogs speak to us, if we as humans choose to watch, listen and learn. If your dog is aggressive a dog park isn’t the place for it, same can be said if your dog is a bit nervy or fearful. Also, bitches on heat need to be kept away from any park.

I personally believe, dog parks should have information on dog park manners, etiquette & rules, posted by the gate entry, to the park, of what is expected from dog owners and their dogs, so everyone can have an enjoyable time, at the park.

In some states in the US they have compliance officers randomly visiting parks. They have the power to issue on the spot fines, if dog owners don’t have their dogs under control, in other words, their dogs are causing a nuisance or are problem. Also, in some US states, dog owners who wish to run their dog, off-leash are required to apply for an off leash licence. Food for thought NZ

Some of you may think I am anti off-leash dogs, in fact I am not, I am only anti dog owners, who do not have their dogs under control. Whether it be a dog park, park, beach, reserve or the like. If it is open to the public, everyone has the right to be there and enjoy their day, without being harassed by someone’s dog. Not all people love dogs, not all dogs, love other dogs, and so on.

I do believe, dog parks should have, separate areas for both small and big dogs, so they can  run around and play safely. Some big dogs may see smaller dogs as prey and may kill them, if given the chance. Before anyone throws their hands up in horror, it happens! Same may happen in a boarding kennel/doggy day care environment, if small and big dogs are run together.

That is why it is so important to have someone physically present, watching the dogs behaviour, at all times.

Below are a few links to articles and information on Dog Parks and Off & On-leash Pros & Cons.

Dogs off leash but not under control    Dog Park Etiquette  Canine Parkour (urban agility)

Off Leash Dogs in Public Areas: No Manners, Common Sense or are some just confused!

Socializing your dog, the right way        At the Dog Park The Importance of Participating

Three Dogs Who Shouldn’t Be at the Dog Park or Daycare   10 best dog parks in the US

When is a Dog Park not a Dog Park? When its a Public Park or Reserve!

Robin Bennett – The Keys to a Positive & Safe Dog Park Experience

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2016 in About

 

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A big “Thumbs Up NZ” for the lack of imagination & foresight and daring to be different. The new proposed dog control laws, leave a lot to be desired.

A big “Thumbs Up NZ” for the lack of imagination & foresight and daring to be different. The new proposed dog control laws, leave a lot to be desired.

This will probably be, my first and last article I write on this subject because quite honestly, its enough to make a person pull their hair out, in frustration and disgust.

I am not going to get caught up in the fray and ramble on emotively, there are plenty of people out there, who without a doubt, are more qualified at emotive and unproductive rambling, than I.

The number of dog attacks/ bites have been slowly increasing over a number of years, there are many reasons for that, the theme however always seems to remain the same.

NZ has a spate of reported dog attacks/bites.  Reports in the media usually lead to a feeding frenzy of emotive rants, raves & ideas on how to solve the “dangerous dog problem”. This theme seems to be repeated every time a serious attack story hits the media.

Common sense facts and solutions, are what is needed, not emotive rants and raves. I have been an advocate of dog safety education for all (children & adults) for a very long time and I have to say, “Lets get real, is the dog really to blame?”

When I refer to dog safety,  I mean teaching both children and adults,  how to act, behave and stay safe, when in the company of dogs, it’s about teaching and keeping both dogs and people safe. 77% of dog bites come from the family dog or a friends dog. stopthe77.com

Personally, I have found that most dog bites & attacks are caused by inappropriate interactions with a dog. There’s a real culture of “she’ll be right”, or “oh Fluffy wouldn’t bite – he’s bomb proof”. People are complacent and usually not aware of the warning signs.

Indeed in a recent online survey commissioned by Hon Louise Upston  (associate minister of local government) which ran from 1st August 2016 – until 14th August 2016. The need for more education was indeed one of the things identified, yet it seems one of the last things on the “to do” list.

Yet, Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is often mentioned.  For those of you who don’t know what BSL is, it’s laws or legislation based on the breed your dog is, or in some cases what people think your dog is if you’re not sure. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much a quick fix solution that worldwide, is known not to work! However, it has the potential to cost a lot of dogs their lives. So why look at adopting it? Is it to placate the uneducated & uninformed, while trying to curry favour, with the general public?

 Why not, dare to be different, how hard can it be, to research and maybe try something new.

For example take a look at: How Calgary reduced dog attacks without banning pit bulls  Briefly, they changed from the “standard animal control model” to a “responsible pet owner model” education is a big thing, all schools are visited every year, dog owners are urged to get training for their dog if problems arise and so on. Read the article, it is food for thought.

In a recent article published on Radio NZ web site 23rd September 2016 an article titled:

Dog law change would make dangerous breeds extinct in NZ :

Mr Les Dalton (Institute of Animal Management president) said the new measures were well overdue.

“It’s something that needed to be done. We’ve had far too many children being mauled by pit bull-type dogs and dogs that had the content of the wrong breed in them. Would you put your grandchild or little daughter or little son in the lounge with a pitbull and leave them alone with the child?”  A very emotive statement, to say the least.

Maybe, Mr Dalton needs to be taught some basic dog safety education. You should never leave any dog, irrespective of the breed, alone with a child or even some adults for that matter. (dog safety 101, folks!)

All dogs can bite, even “GOOD WELL TRAINED DOGS” if they are teased, hit, abused or put in situations THEY find uncomfortable. People need to be taught how to act and behave when in the company of dogs. “All animals speak to us, including dogs, if we as humans, choose to watch, listen and learn”. Dogs need us to protect & respect them.

Having a well trained dog isn’t enough, basic dog safety/dog bite prevention, should be taught in all schools, while I know in some areas of NZ, it is being done. I am also aware  “Funding” is an issue. If NZ wants to turn the tide and is serious about reducing the dog bite statistics, make the funding available.

The old saying, “talk is cheap, put your money where your mouth is, or shut the bleep up” springs to mind.

Now, this suggestion may or may not be popular and yes it will not reach everyone but its a proactive start.

How about anyone involved with dogs.  All dog trainers, vets, pet shops and behaviourists  hand out information and discuss basic dog safety and the dog control act with their clients? It’s easy enough to make up FAQ sheets or even print something off the internet and hand them out. I’d also be interested to hear from any trainer, club, vet who is doing this, apart from myself.

 Also, rescues, SPCA, Plunket and the like, are on the front lines so to speak. It’s a great opportunity to educate your clients and help turn the tide.

Even “GOOD HUMANS” will react if they’re pushed, teased or threatened – so why do we put our pets in potentially life threatening situations?

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2016 in About

 

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Dogs, Chicken & Boxes = FUN

Dogs, Chicken & Boxes = FUN

Dogs, chicken & boxes = Fun scent work for you and your dog.  Scent work is a great workout for dogs, it can be both mentally and physically challenging. It can be done indoors or outdoors, so if the weather isn’t that great and your dog is chomping at the bit and maybe driving you crazy, hiding a few treats around the house can give your dog a bit of a work out.

Today we decided to hide chicken in the boxes, they didn’t need a lot of motivation to go and hunt it out. We placed the chicken under and in the boxes, on trees and around a car. below is a few photos I took today of the dogs having a great time, in fact we all had a good time.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2016 in About

 

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Lets get real, Is the dog really to blame?

Lets get real, Is the dog really to blame?

Well, I feel like I am a broken record saying the same thing over and over again, when it comes to Dog Safety and how to stay safe around dogs.

The reported dog attacks over the last few weeks here in NZ, are certainly a cause for concern but are the dogs really to blame? Easier to blame the dog than the owner or the person who was supposed to be supervising because they can’t stand up for themselves and tell their side of the story.  Dogs don’t just bite, most bites are the caused by inappropriate behaviour by adults and children   as well as people not seeing and reading the dogs warning signs. All too often the dog pays the price, with its life.

77% of dog bites come from the family dog or a friends dog and a good percentage of the victims are children. Many, not all, of these bites stem from inappropriate greetings and play as well as, dogs being generally put in, bad situations

While it may be good the media report and highlight these instances they fuel the fire but we “the public” very rarely get to hear the full story.

In my opinion, there are 3 things which have greatly contributed to the rise in dog bites/attacks over the last few years in both children and adults. 77% of dog bites come from the family dog or a friends dog and a good percentage of the victims are children. Many, not all, of these bites result from inappropriate greetings and play.

1. Human Complacency.

People feel too comfortable & secure and don’t see or are unaware/oblivious to the potential dangers living with a dog can bring. Dogs have been put on a pedestal, too much is expected of them. They have to act and behave and be good dogs, in any given situation. As if humans would do the same, if the roles were reversed. Dogs are not human they don’t think the same as we do, they need to be treated with respect and understanding. After all we are living with an animal that can move faster than us in everyway, who has teeth that can do a lot of damage and in many cases is stronger than us.  If I were not talking about a dog but another animal, say a Tiger, Horse or even a Cat, would people be so complacent?

2.  A she’ll-be-right attitude, which is quite self explanatory

3. People looking but not seeing.

Lack of supervision, supervision for many  these days means taking a quick glance around at what the dog, kids or other adults are doing while chatting on the phone. working on the computer, having coffee with friends maybe even in another room, going for a walk with your dog and not paying attention to what is going on around you. The list is endless. If you can’t be watching 100% of the time, its quite easy to remove the dog or person/people from the situation, and if you are out walking, leash your dog.

By looking and not seeing, you are not seeing if your dog is, being teased, harassed, bullied or is or is frightened, stressed or distressed. All animals talk to us including dogs, (via body language) if we choose to watch and listen. As humans, we won’t tolerate being teased, harassed or bullied, so why should dogs?  As humans, we may feel frightened, stressed or distressed at times and what do we do?   We seek help, comfort, support, so why not help, comfort and support, dogs. After all they are supposed to be mans best friend, so dog owners need to become educators  so they can teach others including non dog owners, how to act, behave and communicate, when in the company of their dog or anyone else’s.

So what do dogs need from us? they need love, boundaries, rules, guidance, protection, consistency and a safe place to call their own, a place they can go, to have a break, from kids, you, your friends, other dogs and to just chill. They need time spent with them on a daily basis. They need you to understand them and stand up for them, when they are unhappy, stressed, frightened or are being teased, harassed or bullied. They need you to look and see and not to be complacent, and not to be afraid to say NO to that child or adult or even another dog & owner, if their behaviour is unacceptable. Remember, dog owners its ok to say “NO”

Always remember, its your dog, your house, your rules and when you are out its your dog your rules.

These days there is a lot of information about dog safety out there and there is no real reason why people should not be, well informed. I often hear “my dog is good with kids” (maybe be good with your kids but not someone else’s) “my dog won’t bite”(any dog will bite given the right set of circumstances) “my dog is a good dog” even good dogs bite if they are teased, hit, abused or put in a bad situation.

I personally hand out dog safety information along with the training FAQ sheets to all my clients. If they are new expectant parents I cover that also. I find myself now teaching people how to protect themselves when they are out walking, with or without their dog, from unwanted attention from off leash dogs, which in reality, I shouldn’t have to  be doing.

If we want to turn the tide and reduce the number of dog bites/attacks maybe its time that all dog trainers/behaviourists, training clubs, vets who run puppy schools, private trainers, SPCA, Rescues, Schools and Plunket get on board and provide basic dog safety information to their clients, children and parents. All people, (children & adults)) whether they are dog owners or not, need to know how to act and behave when in the company of dogs. All dogs speak to us, if we choose to watch and listen.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2016 in About

 

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