Friday, April 13, 2012

Fun Activities by Wendy Nan Rees

This article from Wendy Nan Rees fit so well with what we are teaching here at Family Disaster Dogs that we wanted to share her sound advise here for all our followers and trainees.

This article also appears on Wendy's blogs, A Dog's Voyage Around the World here and Wendy's Animal Talk here . Be sure and subscribe to Wendy Nan Rees, Expert Pet Lifestyle Adviser for more pet tips.

Prepare Dogs for Earthquakes and TornadoesWith the increase in tornados and earthquakes around the world this year we thought it would be a good idea to post some fun activities to do with your dog from Wendy Nan Rees that can lead to your dog being your helper during an earthquake or tornado and in the event that a loved one is missing.

By Wendy Nan Rees

It is often stated that the more you play with your dog the more likely you both will stay together.
Just like a marriage or a dating relationship it’s up to us to make it a Friendship. Everything in our life is worth having and you have to be willing to put work into it to get what you want out of it!

I am asked every single day now that I have a new Puppy in training to become by personal service dog did you buy him this way or are you doing the work yourself?

My answer is, I am doing the work!

Why do I want another person to train my dog, if I am able to train him myself and I’m able to gain the bonding experiences?

Play also offers the bonding of the training and the mental triple threat to help tucker out Fido and to insure your both happiness. Exercise is as important for dogs as it is for people. It helps them stay healthy and helps prevent them from gaining weight. Well-exercised dogs are better behaved and less likely to test their limits indoors by chewing on furniture or releasing pent up energy.

Usually, those “bad” behaviors are a sign that your dog is antsy and needs a good play session or a long walk. Fortunately, exercise can be easily incorporated into your dog’s routine. Here are some ideas

As often as you can, take your dog for a walk instead of just letting him out into the yard to do his business. It’s great exercise for both of you!

• If you jog or run and your dog can keep up, take her along.
• Do you enjoy Frisbee? Let your dog play with you.

Try dancing with your dog, staircase sprints, tether ball, or monkey in the middle!

Today, they have an activity which now has a real name and many groups of people are enjoying this sport.

I personally have not tried this. I see groups of 3-4 people exercising with their dogs all the time. This fun activity it is called “Bikejoring “ and this is where you ride a bike and then Fido also pulls you along.

Now this I would love and gives me ride ideas.

Another growing sport is called “canicross” this is where you and your dog are doing a cross country course on a bike and attached by the waist using a harness that has the ability to also absorb shock.

And, a sport that is now growing again called “ Carting” this is where your dog pulls you and a very light weight cart. In some cases you race others as a group of carters out for a day of pleasure carting. This is something you can join classes to learn from beginning all the way up.

The wonderful sport of the “flying disk” and Fido catching it has kept on growing from the 70’s and today they have contests all over the world where you can learn and join in on many different levels.

Another interesting thing I learned is that there is even a sport type drink for your dog that is made to look just like our Gator Aide®. It is called Rehydrate Sports Drink for your Dog®..

Hunting and doing the field trials you do not have to kill to be involved in this sport as today they can and do use the dummy which has the scent of a bird and then you teach your dog to go fetch or point. Many of the different breeds offer different styles of how they retrieve.

Teaching Fido how to track a scent is one in particular that grabbed my interest and led to meeting Amber Higgins, founder of Family Disaster Dogs, who has since joined our team as my producer with her retired Bloodhound, Daisy.

Wrinkledpups Daisy Mayham
Expert Bloodhound

I did a little research and here is a sneak peak of what I found and suggestions for creating your own “Sent Hunt” at home.

If you are interested in learning more about scent training, I found that that there is not a standardized common name for “Scent Hunt Classes”, but rather they fall under some of the names listed below.
1. Nose Work Class
2. DOG TRAINING Utility Class – Scent Discrimination
3. Scent Tracking Classes- Dog
4. Practical Dog scent training
5. Bring the Scent Hound Out in Every Dog Classes
6. Getting Started Tracking Classes
7. Scenting with a purpose (my personal favorite)
8. K9 Nose Work Classes
9. The Dog Nose
10. Cold Nose College
11. Family Disaster Dogs

The wonderful thing about Scent work is that your dog is able to do what he loves and is naturally born to do. This is not only great exercise but also a bonding experience and gives your dog a mental as well as physical work out.

Here are a few common terms and resources you should familiarize yourself with if you’d like to start your own “scent hunt.”

SCENTING – this is actually the term for the sport and you may even choose to go onto competing against other dogs if your dog shows the interest and talent.

BOOKS-SCENT - K-9‘s Reason for being “, by Detective Steven White. It is an excellent resource that I recommend highly. A website that sells food and animal scents as well as hunting supplies.

In terms of introducing your dog to “scents”, the type of scent you use is very important and you need to consult with an expert to learn how to introduce the scents to your dog.

The best way to begin teaching a dog to scent for fun and exercise is usually with a food scents and the most commonly used ones are Anise and Birch as well as clove. They are all in the form of essential oils. Some apply the scents on cotton some others use leather straps and some use linen stripes. They are then concealed in a of box or card board.

note: If your dog is doing serious scent work like search dog work, refrain from using food scents in training. Learn More

And now, you’re ready for your mock hunt. The Idea of the game is for your canine friends to find the hidden scent. As your dog improves their skills, they can move outside and step up to hunting a scented ball or a dummy and then, once he’s mastered the skill and honed in on his nose, you can even add an obstacle course.

When your neighbors and their dogs are ready, it’s time to compete and this is where the fun begins. Give your judges a badge, a pad of paper and a timer, and let the games begin. The team that finds the mock fox or bird first wins!!!!

Now you move into advance obedience and the start of basic agility work to get really to start compete, remember this is open to any type of breed from my Chihuahua and my Yorkie. I have personally chosen to keep Senny home, my trained Bird lab.

The Cost run from $ 50.00 dollars to $ 100.00 per class / Serious for training

When it comes to completion each one has its own entry fee that you will have to see with each show. For more info please go to the National Association of Canine Scent Work

The web Site is at

Search-and-Rescue Dog Jobs

SAR dogs are trained to specialize in certain search and rescue techniques, much like people choose a major course of study in college.

Air Scent Dogs: track by smelling shed human skin cells that float in the air

Trailing (Tracking) Dogs: search by smelling the ground for a missing person’s scent.

Water Search Dogs: work along shorelines and on boats with search teams.

Human Remains Detection (Cadaver) Dogs: find dead bodies by detecting scents rising from the soil, similar to how dogs find buried bones.

A game of fetch may bore a human after a few rounds of, “Go get it!” and, “Drop it!” Golden retrievers are tireless fetchers, as are Border Collies and German Shepherds.

For some dogs, there’s nothing better than racing after a flying ball or Frisbee, capturing it, and bouncing back to the owner, who really plays the role of a human catapult.

Your dog isn’t shy about requesting a game of fetch. Usually, the “please” comes in the form of him producing his favorite ball and dropping it by your foot or in your lap.

In our Family Cappy & Senny just go wild for any kind of Ball! So we do the ball in water to help them swim and “retrieve” at the sometime it is just by chance that Capp’s Love for the ball have over ridden his normal what should I say?

Non swimming nature to make him a great Yorkie swimmer with our labs, Go Figure- it is a sight you really have to see one that draws its own crowd at the beach especially when I add a Chula into this mix.

Why do dogs go crazy for a game of fetch?

The fetch instinct is part of dogs’ DNA. In a pack, the top dog would go out hunting with other senior dogs to collect food for the entire group. He would chase after prey, fetch and retrieve food, then return home with the bounty to share. Fetch sparks dogs’ evolutionary prey instinct to find the most basic need: food. Today, dogs get all they can eat at home and fetch is playful and a way of pleasing their owners.

Now, about those dogs who love to fetch, but have no interest in dropping the ball or Frisbee? “Drop it” is a command you must teach to your dog. Again, dating back to dog instincts of the olden days, the top dog as the “hunter” got first refusal on the meat he retrieved for the pack. The one who fetched got first pick. Since your dog is fetching one item, you as the “pack member” get what’s left.

Train your dog to fetch by teaching “Go get it!” or “Go fetch!” and “Drop it,” so the game doesn’t turn into tug-of-war.

Here is a great first timer web site to go to if you are interested in learning more about this sport go to the web site Fun Nose Work

Cheers, Wendy Nan Rees

A note from Amber and Family Disaster Dogs,

First off we want to thank you for reading these great pet tips from Wendy!

I would like to add that any dog and owner who learn to do any of these fun activities can use these play sessions to prepare for an emergency event like an earthquake, tornado, flood and the worst, a missing loved one.

To learn how to incorporate these tips into a disaster plan for your home and to learn how to teach your dog to find your family members or friends if they are lost you can read the lessons online at Family Disaster Dogs.

Here is What to pack in your pet's Go-Bag, Evacuation Gear

We wish you all Happy Trails,
Barking Bar Productions

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lesson 29: Retrieve-Go Get

Retrieve and Go Get

Teaching the family dog to retrieve or go get objects for you can be one of the most helpful commands your dog learns. For instance, during an emergency, your dog can be asked to go get the first aid kit to enable you to be able to stay with the injured person.

Another area of survival that this skill can come into play during is in the event that you are trapped; your dog can bring you water or supplies plus bring rescuers to you.

Not to mention if you teach your dog the name for your keys, they can learn to find your keys when you can’t or sunglasses or whatever you lose often.

Teaching your dog the name of each item will be covered in the next lesson and added to your dog’s training while you teach your dog to retrieve or fetch.

Each disaster dog task your dog learns can be added onto other skills taught here for a well rounded education and all purpose Family Disaster Dog.

After your dog learns to retrieve or to go-get their toy or ball then you can ask your dog to find to find an object by name and bring it to you.

As with all lessons, start out slowly and build upon your dog’s success when learning to fetch a toy or ball with encouragement and praise.

This lesson is a great way to exercise your dog indoors and out. Many dogs have a favorite toy you can use to begin this lesson while other dogs could care less about a toy. It’s up to you to make this fun.

Teaching retrieve, go-get and fetch to your family dog is accomplished by teaching one stage or step at a time.

1. First get your dog’s interest in the toy

2. Chase or find the toy

3. Pick up the toy

4. Recall or come back with the toy

5. Drop or release the toy to you

To do so, use a soft toy, such as one of the furry animal like toys or a tennis ball. If your dog has a favorite toy then use it. 

Sit on the floor with your dog and play with the toy by shaking it, rolling it between your hands, bouncing it and drag the toy along the floor. You may have to snuggle the toy in your dog’s face to pretend like the toy is playing with your dog like dogs do. 

You may have to repeat this lesson a few times before your older dog shows any interest or if your dog acts like a Bloodhound whose wrinkles get in the way of seeing the toy. Bloodhounds are not big on retrieving because they can’t see most of the time with the head down, wrinkled fall in the way. Then the nose kicks in. 

It takes a few weeks of play to get an older Bloodhound attempting to bring a toy back too, or to play. They often think the right thing to do is to bring us to the toy and not the other way around. Don’t give up if your family dog acts like a Bloodhound. 

If your dog shows no interest after many attempts then stop and try again later and a couple of times a day using different toys and don’t give up. It may take your older dog time to realize they do not have to behave all the time like they were taught as pups to do. 

As a last resort, after many failed attempts to play you can use a food treat placed in the toy as incentive, and after you read about training with food treats in the training tip section and the toy method lesson. 

Once your dog has mastered playing with the toy you both have also mastered step 3 of the stages in teaching them to retrieve an object for you. Now we go back to step 2. Chase or find the toy in order for them to be able to bring it back to you.

If your dog is a Family Disaster Dog learning to do search work then you can hide the toy instead of teaching your dog to chase the toy or you can throw the toy during play and tell your dog to “get-it” or “fetch” .

Most dogs will be so into the game they will chase the toy but at first, they often stop and look back at us wondering why we didn’t chase the toy too? Or why did we stop playing instead of going with them.

This is when you encourage them to “get-it” or “fetch” again. At first you may have to run with your dog to the toy, get them to pick it up by playing with the toy and when they have the toy in their mouth both of you run back to where you started or threw the toy from.

After a few times, gradually reduce the distance you chase the toy with your dog to give your dog a chance to get to the toy first and at that moment, you will call your dog back to you toy. They may drop the toy in their excitement to return and if they do, encourage them to go back and get the toy before you praise them for coming back.

Only praise if they have the toy, otherwise send them back for the toy or go back with them to show them again.

The distance can be increased as your dog learns to return to you. Use encouraging words and commands like “fetch”, “over there”,” come”, “wait” whenever you can to direct your dog.

As your dog learns these words they learn how to follow your directions. Give your dog time to think about and understand what you’re asking and to carry the action out.

Step 4 has been completed when your dog is returning to you with the toy.

Give praise; ask your dog to sit and release the toy to you, or to “drop it”.

Say a command each time and your dog will learn the word for drop it or release, which can be a very import word for your dog to learn if they ever get a hold of something they are not suppose to have.

Your dog is now playing fetch and retrieving for you.

If your dog is slow to learn this lesson, don’t get discouraged. Remember each dog is an individual and learns at their own pace, and as a young puppy they were taught not to pick up most items found in our lives.

The next lesson teaches your dog the names of objects you might need during a disaster.

Missing Persons

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