2008-06-13 / Columnists

Canine Corner

Commentary by Lisa Long Certified Trainer, The Green Dog

Lisa Long is a certified trainer and the owner of The Green Dog. She is certified in pet first aid and CPR through the Red Cross. Lisa is also an evaluator for the American Kennel Club. Lisa will be volunteering at the dog park to help provide owners with knowledge and training tips to have better behaved dogs. The Bark Around Town Upcoming Events

"It's My Bark Day" at the Dog Park on 81 Street and Beach Channel Drive: Saturday, June 21, 12 noon to 3 p.m. - rain or shine.

Free Training Clinics

Free training clinics will be held every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Dog Park, starting June 26 for seven weeks (weather permitting). Each week we will go over specific steps to practice and prepare your dog for the upcoming "Canine Good Citizen Test."

This AKC test on basic manners for your dog is being offered by The Green Dog this coming August. For more info on the test or any of the upcoming events, go to www.ARFARFrockaway beach.org.

Tips From The Green Dog

Thinking about getting a dog….do your research before bringing any new pet into your life. Without taking this step, you stand a very good chance of having difficulties with managing your dog.

Every breed of dog was created with a specific working or helping purpose in mind. Historically, only a few breeds were actually intended strictly as companions to their human owners.

People in today's society seldom obtain a specific breed because they need the dog to perform the function for which it was bred. In fact, many people become exceedingly frustrated when their dog uses these natural instincts.

Herding dogs, such as Corgis and Border Collies were bred to herd sheep, cattle and other livestock. But when they perform their job by rounding up the kids playing in the yard by nipping at their heels, Mom usually gets perturbed.

Terriers, such as the Cairn Terrier and the Scottish Terrier, were bred to ferret out vermin. But when they start digging in the garden for grubs, Grandma gets upset.

Scent hounds, such as beagles, were bred to follow a scent despite any and all distractions. But when they don't come when called because they smell a squirrel, you might think the dog doesn't love you enough to come.

Some dogs were specifically bred to alert by barking, for example, the Tibetan Spaniel. But when they bark because the mail carrier has dared to appear on the street, the neighbors get frustrated.

Labrador Retrievers were used to run through the coldest waters and through the harshest brambles for long periods of time on a hunt. The originators of this breed reduced the dog's ability to feel pain. When Mon and Dad excitedly bring home this "good family dog," they think he's great for letting the 2 year old fall on top of him when running though the living room. But when he rips up the carpet or develops obsessive behavior because he isn't getting the amount of exercise necessary for a dog with his energy level, Mom and Dad decide Rover doesn't fit into the family so well after all.

The key to being happy with the behavior of you purebred dog is to find appropriate outlets for your dog's natural, ingrained instincts. Creating ways to harness this breed-specific behavior in a training scenario will make working with and living with your dog much easier. You may not be able to give your Border Collie a flock of sheep to herd outside your condo, but you can teach him to play Frisbee. The bottom line is that it's better to find ways to allow you dog to appropriately exhibit its genetic breed characteristics than to try to stop the behavior altogether. After all, many of these dogs have been using these behaviors for hundreds and even thousands of years.

Encourage your dog's breed behavior. Find activities that will allow her to fulfill her purpose in life. Teach your retriever to fetch in the swimming pool. Teach your hunting dog to find his dinner scattered in hiding places all around the house. Teach your Terrier to dig in a sandbox provided for that purpose. Teach your herding dog to round up the kids (without nipping at their heels) and bringing them up to bed at night. Just think about what the investment in training your dog will save you in the long term….you will definitely gain a canine companion that will truly be a responsible member of your family!

Ask The Trainer:

Dear Green Dog,

I have a Golden Retriever who's still a puppy. She jumps on people constantly. I don't know how to get her to stop. I tell her to get down, but she just doesn't listen. What can I do? -B. Miller

Dear B. Miller,

When your dog jumps, especially if she's a puppy, she's actually trying to play with you. Let her know that when she jumps, the fun stops. Here is one way to do that - have a few friends approach your dog over the course of a day. Tell them to turn their back and walk away whenever she attempts to jump on them. (Be sure your pup is on the leash while doing this!) Have them keep doing this until they can walk up to her and she no longer tries to jump . Once they can approach her and she sits or stands calmly, allow them to praise her and give her a reward. Your dog will quickly learn that being calm and not jumping is rewarding and gets her attention. Any behavior that your dog finds rewarding, she is going to repeat! - The Green Dog

The Rockaway Ruff - Hot Topics

Never been to the dog park? Here are some things you should know!

Double-Entry Gates: The double gates are intended to allow you and your dog to enter and exit the park without allowing other dogs to enter or exit the park. Dogs should be unleashed upon entry and re-leashed upon exit in this area.

Do not keep your dog on a leash inside the park. The dog park is an "off leash" area. If you need to keep your dog on leash, you should, for your dog's own safety and comfort, not bring him or her into the park. Being kept on leash with other dogs that are not onleash triggers aggression and creates tension and stress between the dogs. It will also put your dog at a tremendous disadvantage if something goes "wrong."

Female dogs in heat or pre-heat, are NOT allowed in the park! Females in heat can inadvertently cause dogfights.

This park is a designated "Dog Park." It is not intended as a children's playground. Dogs in the park can and will often assume "natural canine behavior" (run wildly while at play, etc.), which may not be a safe environment for small children. ARFARF recommends that you don't bring small children into the park. Unaccompanied children are not allowed in the park - you bring children at your own risk.

Allied Rockaway Foundation for Animal Recreation and Fitness (ARF-ARF) is a community-based dog owners' association whose primary focus is to develop and maintain the Rockaway Freeway Dog Park. It is also our interest to build relationships with our neighbors and friends; share pet ownership information; socialize with our pets, as well as with humans; and overall - to have fun with our dogs!

For more information or to join our organization visit our website at www.ARFARFrockawaybeach.org or write to us at P.O. Box 930272 Rockaway Beach, NY 11693

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