Published on July 1, 2012
Veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward stays in a parked car on a summer day to see how dangerous it is to leave a pet inside a car. The car reaches 117 degrees within 30 minutes with all four windows opened 1 to 2 inches.
People often think a misbehaved dog needs 'training'. Training teaches obedience such as 'sit' or 'stay'. While an experienced dog behaviour specialist, like Michael Bylo, deals with the dog's behaviour - creating boundaries and balance in an otherwise obedient (or even disobedient) dog. For example, you can have a dog who listens to all of your commands, but acts aggressively towards other dogs. Such behaviour cannot be corrected with training or positive re-enforcement (eg. treat training or "good boy").
This is where leadership comes into play. A dog behaviourist will look at the dog's routine, amount of exercise, boundaries, discipline etc. More importantly, they will look to see how you, as their leader, handle these situations. They will then teach you what you can do in your situation to correct and prevent the behaviour.
I'd like to share this article by Cesar Millan that touches on this and more:
Leading the pack
"One of the most important things dog lovers need to do is make sure they and their dogs are in tune with each other, with the humans being the pack leaders and the dogs following that lead. Notice I don’t say a dog should be well-trained. It’s very easy to train any dog to “sit” or “shake,” but this does not mean the dog is taking on the proper role in the pack. If a dog is not balanced, then it will go right back to misbehaving once it’s done whatever trick you’ve taught it. If you only focus on training without discipline, then you may wind up with your dog training you, using your reaction to its “cute” behaviour to get what it wants.
Setting the boundaries
I talk a lot about rules, boundaries, and limitations, which we need to create for our dogs to give them a sense of what they’re supposed to do. A pack leader’s job is to provide protection and direction. If you don’t give your dog direction, he or she can become anxious, frustrated, or fearful — and these are three of the biggest causes of common misbehaviours. You can help your dog achieve balance through my fulfillment formula of exercise, discipline, and then affection, in that order. All dogs need all of these things. It’s only the degree to which they need each one that varies with the dog.
Different dogs, different needs.
Dogs come in many different sizes and energy levels, so there is no “one-size-fits-all” rule on how much exercise a dog needs. Your dog needs as much as your dog needs. If you have a high energy Dalmatian, you may find it necessary for both of you to run several miles three times a day, but if you have an older, low energy mutt, then once around the block twice a day may do the trick.
The same goes for the affection part, in terms of feeding. Canine obesity is a serious health issue, so you don’t want to feed that inactive, overweight dog the same amount or type of food as you would a hyperactive greyhound. Consult your veterinarian to determine your dog’s ideal weight, then find the right exercise and nutrition program that will help him maintain that weight. How do you know when you’ve hit the right combination? Your dog will tell you with its balanced, calm-submissive energy— its way of saying “thanks!”for being a strong pack leader." - Cesar Millan
I'm sure you've encountered flexi-leashes before, and perhaps like me, you first noticed a dog barking and lunging and then saw their human way behind them attempting to reel them in, so that they could walk past yours without complications.
Here are three reasons why you should not use a retractable leash for walking your dog:
You have no control of your dog when he is walking ahead of you -attached to you by a plastic handle and a string. In order to regain control and get your dog back to you, you must either: walk/run towards your dog, clicking that plastic handle every step of the way, or mercifully start pulling at that string, snaring your hand in the process.
2. WHO IS WALKING WHO?
Have you ever noticed the number of dogs on flexi-leashes that lunge and bark at you and your dog as you pass by? That's no coincidence. Allowing your dog to walk 3+ feet ahead of you is essentially telling them that they are your leader, and they will 'lead' you in ways they see fit. This presents itself as your dog running ahead to pee on everything (No, they don't actually have to pee, they are 'marking' which means, placing small amounts of urine on things they feel belong to them - and further asserting themselves); and barking and lunging when they see fit.
Going back to reason #1, when you have to heel towards your dog to regain control, you are further communicating to your dog that they are your leader. This also causes them to un-learn recall (e.g. 'Come!').
3. DEFEATS INTENT OF WALK
Dogs are pack animals. Their natural instinct is to migrate (move forward) with their fellow pack members. If you trail behind them, you are communicating to them that you are the weakest member of the pack and they must either protect you or ignore you. A proper walk is a form of discipline for your dog. 'Discipline' in the dog world is not punishment, but rather a form of mental stimulation. It is also a means for you and your dog to build a relationship, and for them to gain trust and confidence in you as their leader, if done correctly.
Walking with your dog should leave you feeling peaceful and satisfied, not stressed-out or embarrassed.
A proper walk cannot be achieved with your dog leading the way, marking and sniffing everything, barking and losing control. This does not provide them with mental stimulation, but with bad habits that can lead to even worse behaviour.
Your dog does not need to pee during the walk (have them pee before you embark on your official walk).
A proper walk will stimulate your dog mentally and physically and teach them to trust you as their leader. Dogs with higher energy, such as a siberian husky or border collie, will require more 'physical' exercise on top of a proper walk.
When your dog trusts and respects you as their leader, they will not pull on the leash, lunge or bark. They will walk calmly beside you, and expect you to provide any direction and protection they may need.
Once you have mastered the 'pack walk', only then would it be OK for you to use a flexi-leash. Of course this is a trick, because at that point you will understand that the flexi-leash is unnecessary, because your dog does not benefit in any way by walking ahead of you.
A dog with boundaries and discipline is a happy, well-behaved dog who looks to you to learn more.
Keep moving forward!
As someone who spent a long time working at a local shelter, I have to share this very well-written description of what happens behind those closed doors. Please speak openly about this with your friends and family. Think twice before you get a dog. Are you ready for the responsibilty and committment for the next 10-20 years? Are you ready to teach them how to be responsible canine citizens, with boundaries and limitations? Are you active enough to provide them with exercise every day? (yes, even when it rains). Please don't get a dog without thinking it through. Too many puppies are bought thoughtlessly and returned to shelters as adults to be euthanized behind those closed doors - because you didn't take their life seriously.
The shelter manager's letter:
"I am posting this (and it is long) because I think our society needs a huge wake-up call.
As a shelter manager, I am going to share a little insight with you all - a view from the inside, if you will. Maybe if you saw the life drain from a few sad, lost, confused eyes, you would change your mind about breeding and selling to people you don't even know - that puppy you just sold will most likely end up in my shelter when it's not a cute little puppy anymore.
How would you feel if you knew that there's about a 90% chance that dog will never walk out of the shelter it is going to be dumped at - purebred or not! About 50% of all of the dogs that are "owner surrenders" or "strays" that come into my shelter are purebred dogs.
No shortage of excuses The most common excuses I hear are:
"We are moving and we can't take our dog (or cat)". Really? Where are you moving to that doesn't allow pets? "The dog got bigger than we thought it would". How big did you think a German Shepherd would get? "We don't have time for her". Really? I work a 10-12 hour day and still have time for my 6 dogs! "She's tearing up our yard". How about bringing her inside, making her a part of your family?
They always tell me: "We just don't want to have to stress about finding a place
for her. We know she'll get adopted - she's a good dog". Odds are your pet won't
get adopted, and how stressful do you think being in a shelter is?
Well, let me tell you. Dead pet walking!
Your pet has 72 hours to find a new family from the moment you drop it off, sometimes a little longer if the shelter isn't full and your dog manages to stay completely healthy. If it sniffles, it dies.
Your pet will be confined to a small run / kennel in a room with about 25 other barking or crying animals. It will have to relieve itself where it eats and sleeps. It will be depressed and it will cry constantly for the family that abandoned it.
If your pet is lucky, I will have enough volunteers that day to take him / her for a walk. If I don't, your pet won't get any attention besides having a bowl of food slid under the kennel door and the waste sprayed out of its pen with a high-powered hose. If your dog is big, black or any of the "bully" breeds (pit bull, rottweiler, mastiff, etc) it was pretty much dead when you walked it through the front door. Those dogs just don't get adopted. If your dog doesn't get adopted within its 72 hours and the shelter is full, it will be destroyed.
If the shelter isn't full and your dog is good enough, and of a desirable enough breed, it may get a stay of execution, though not for long. Most pets get very kennel protective after about a week and are destroyed for showing aggression. Even the sweetest dogs will turn in this environment. If your pet makes it over all of those hurdles, chances are it will get kennel cough or an upper respiratory infection and will be destroyed because shelters just don't have the funds to pay for even a $100 treatment.
Here's a little euthanasia 101 for those of you that have never witnessed a perfectly healthy, scared animal being "put-down". First, your pet will be taken from its kennel on a leash. They always look like they think they are going for a walk - happy, wagging their tails. That is, until they get to "The Room".
Every one of them freaks out and puts on the breaks when we get to the door. It must smell like death, or they can feel the sad souls that are left in there. It's strange, but it happens with every one of them. Your dog or cat will be restrained, held down by 1 or 2 vet techs (depending on their size and how freaked out they are). A euthanasia tech or a vet will start the process. They find a vein in the front leg and inject a lethal dose of the "pink stuff". Hopefully your pet doesn't panic from being restrained and jerk it's leg. I've seen the needles tear out of a leg and been covered with the resulting blood, and been deafened by the yelps and screams.
They all don't just "go to sleep" - sometimes they spasm for a while, gasp for air and defecate on themselves.When it all ends, your pet's corpse will be stacked like firewood in a large freezer in the back, with all of the other animals that were killed, waiting to be picked up like garbage.
What happens next? Cremated? Taken to the dump? Rendered into
pet food? You'll never know, and it probably won't even cross your mind. It was
just an animal, and you can always buy another one, right?
Liberty, freedom and justice for all I hope that those of you that have read this are bawling your eyes out and can't get the pictures out of your head. I do everyday on the way home from work. I hate my job, I hate that it exists and I hate that it will always be there unless people make some changes and realize that the lives you are affecting go much farther than the pets you dump at a shelter.
Between 9 and 11 MILLION animals die every year in shelters and only you can stop it. I do my best to save every life I can but rescues are always full, and there are more animals coming in everyday than there are homes. My point to all of this is DON'T BREED OR BUY WHILE SHELTER PETS DIE!
Hate me if you want to - the truth hurts and reality is what it is.
I just hope I maybe changed one person's mind about breeding their dog, taking their loving pet to a shelter, or buying a dog. I hope that someone will walk into my shelter and say "I saw this thing on craigslist and it made me want to adopt".
That would make it all worth it."
Sara Nielsen (Bylo)