Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spread the word about your rescue group

This week I sent a message out to my ezine members with an invitation to send links to their animal rescue groups for posting on this sidebar. As you can see, a few have responded. I hope you'll follow their links and see the good work they do - and choose to help them if you can.

If you work in rescue and are not getting my ezines, you can sign up by sending an email to Meanwhile, feel free to add a comment here with a link and information about your rescue.

As well as on this sidebar, your information will be posted on my doggie website with a little information about your group and/or your activities.

And now, back to the dogs themselves...

If you rescue, you've noticed that many of the dogs who come in are "teen-agers" who haven't been taught basic manners. People dump them because they've become unruly - running through the house, jumping up on everyone, knocking things over, getting in the trash, chasing the cats, and generally behaving like wild things.

Of course that isn't the dogs' fault - it's the humans who somehow thought the dogs would learn to behave with no effort on their part. Humans aren't too bright sometimes, but then, if you look around, a whole lot of them think their kids will thrive under the same kind of non-training. But that's a different story, for someone else's blog.

Your challenge in turning those unruly teens into adoptable canine companions is a huge one - especially if you're understaffed and don't get to spend good quality time with the dogs.

You should, of course, begin with teaching them to give you their attention - we covered that in the last post. Then what? For many, it's learning to keep their front feet on the floor rather than smearing mud over visitors - or knocking them down.

Everybody seems to have a different method of training dogs to stay down, and I believe different methods work with different dogs, but there's one thing that should remain constant, and that's the verbal command.

Somehow, each rescue needs to gather all their dog handlers and fosters together to agree on the commands you're teaching these dogs. Otherwise they'll be confused, won't know what you want, and thus won't mind - and then people will think it's their fault.

Commands like come and sit seem to be universal, but what will you say to tell a dog not to jump on people? Some say "Off" while others say "down" or even "get down" and others choose "No" or "damnit, get offa me!"

I recommend a one-word command - a word that's only used for that purpose. But the most important thing is that it be consistent - and that ALL of your handlers use it.

Dog training really is a matter of training the humans...

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