The pet service industry is incredibly busy. According to a recent survey by the ASPCA, 23 million households in the U.S. acquired a pet during the COVID-19 crisis. That means one in five households have acquired a cat or dog. The trend to purchase or adopt a pet does not seem to be abating. The latest trend is the closing of animal emergency hospitals that were once open 24 hours. Groomers are firing clients and dog trainers are not returning phone calls. What can a responsible pet parent do to ensure services for their pet?
Superman Doesn’t Pee with his Cape on
At a recent K9 Nose Work trial, I witnessed competitors allowing their dog to urinate on a building within 12 feet of the warm-up boxes as well as allowing their dog to urinate at a staging area.
I wondered if those handlers thought about the consequences of that simple action. Did their dog urinating influence the dog teams that followed?
For most dog trainers, we have a flexible schedule that allows us to bring our dogs with us to our work place. My schedule varies from week to week but my time spent traveling to different training facilities never changes. My dogs get a lot of practice hanging out in their crates in my vehicle while I am at work. Since COVID-19 has hit the U.S., working from home is becoming the norm for many people.
What’s your Currency?
I said those words to a client the other day and it sparked a discussion about things a dog wants as a payment from their human. The client was telling me about a person that bragged she did not use treats to “bribe” her dog.
Paying the Alert or Paying the Find?
While playing the K9 Nose Work® game, your dog crosses the invisible line of odor and does an immediate head snap toward the hidden odor. She then moves her head (and nose!) back and forth until her nose comes in contact with the hidden source of odor. You have placed the hide, so you know exactly where it is located. Do you jump in quickly while her nose is still at source or do you wait until she "tells" you where the hide is? I like to pay both behaviors and I encourage my students to do the same.
The cold weather that has rolled through the New England area this week along with a “Blizzard Bomb Cyclone” from a month ago, has been quite extreme. When you own dogs that are used to going for daily walks and the high temperature for the day is 7 degrees, the owner (or dog walker) needs to dress appropriately. Tested during extremely cold weather and used at all day nose work trials, here are some favorite items that I use during extreme cold weather. I would love to hear from you what your favorite items are.
The Journey of Nose Work
From the Merriam-Webster dictionary, journey is defined as:
1. an act or instance of traveling from one place to another: trip. 2. chiefly dialect: a day’s travel. 3. Something suggesting travel or passage from one place to another.
Now that I have given you the definition of journey, let’s explore why so many of us, students and instructors alike, refer to K9 nose work as a journey. We started playing the game of nose work for different reasons.
The Little Dog – AKA - Tiny Terror
I know you’ve seen it, the out of control little dog. You make that tsk, tsk noise to yourself and declare silently that you will never own a little “Napoleon” dog. Why do some little dogs behave like little monsters, dictators, or are just yappers (notice all those descriptions)?
Grace -- The Art of Losing Well
It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose it's how you play the game. I don’t know who came up with that one but they were right. As a teen, I competed in several music competitions. After one such event, I came home empty handed and upset. I was told my instrument keys were noisy, my notes were flat and my embouchure was weak. My friends had all been successful and went home with their blue and red medals. It was a long bus ride back home.