Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Backpacks for Dogs

A while ago we had gotten two backpacks to put on our dogs while we walk them. Our initial reason for using them was to provide a more intense workout for the dogs in a shorter amount of time. It works very well, but I have recently discovered a second, but more important benefit to putting backpacks on our dogs while we walk them.

I have discovered that putting a backpack on a dog is an excellent way to establish myself as the leader. I approach the dog in its own kennel and take ownership of that kennel. Calmly I put the choke chain and leash on the dog and then also the backpack. By doing this calmly I present myself as a calm-assertive leader and the dog is very willing to follow me. The fact that I have put the backpack on the dog does not mean that all pulling will be gone for the walk but is usually minimized.

I have walked five of our current dogs with backpacks and of these five dogs all of them adopt a follower's attitude which makes the walk easier and more enjoyable for both of us.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pit Bull Progress

Our three pit bulls are working hard. Unfortunately we really do not have the resources to rehabilitate the two with the greatest problems. There is a slight possibility that our pit bulls will be able to go to a specialized pit bull rescue where they will have more time and be able to maximize resources better than we can at Brown County Humane Society. In the mean time we still do what we can to work with these dogs and take baby steps in the right direction.

Chelsey is by far the one with the least difficulties. The problem with Chelsey is that when she feels like there is no one else to take control of a situation she must, and she takes control by baring teeth and biting. Once there is a clear authority however she will refrain from snapping and allow the person in charge to take control of the situation.

Boomer is a very dominant aggressive dog. Whenever he sees something moving he feels a great need to control it. If it is a person, a car, a dog, or another animal he feels this great need to control, or sometimes even to kill. We have started using a dog backpack on him when we walk him so that he needs to focus more of his mental energy on the job he has been given. This does a lot for burning off energy. I can only speak for myself here but Boomer is doing much better on walks than he used to. Now he willingly takes on a follower's role walking next to or even behind me. The downside is that he still tries to go after people, cars, and animals.

Much of Hershey's aggression is fear driven, but some results from excessive excitement. She needs to learn how to control her emotions in a way that will benefit her.

Yesterday Izzy, the black lab mix puppy was adopted and today Penny, the beagle was adopted.