A Lesson For Kids About Dogs

What a terrific group of dog Super Heroes! It was so much fun teaching them about being a positive teacher and friend to their dog…with Zurie and Hannah’s help. Thank you so much to Cincinnati Sports Club for having us…and being proactive in wanting to teach kids and parents these important lessons. AND thank you to the parents, for taking time away from your Saturday to be there!

My unique My Dog’s Super Hero is a beginner dog training class for Cincinnati area kids to learn about how they can be an awesome dog friend, teacher and playmate. With demonstration dogs, I teach them (and their parents) how to interact appropriately with their dog, how dogs communicate, and how to be a positive and responsible teacher to their friend.

If you would like to learn more about having me teach my class for your organization or group, please get in touch!

Cincinnati certified dog trainer, Lisa Desatnik, taught her kids class called My Dog's Super Hero at the Cincinnati Sports Club

 

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A Game To Teach Self Control

The Red Light, Green Light game uses play and exercise to build skills of self-control in your dog. It is a ton of fun for both you and your four legged friend.

 A pre-requisite for this game is to first work on teaching your dog controlled behaviors such as sit or down. This is a great way for building more value for those behaviors.

Playing this game with your dog is a fun way to train self control and other behaviorsBegin by moving around until your dog begins to move also. Before your dog becomes overly aroused, stop your movement. If you have been practicing that controlled behavior on cue, then you can give your dog the cue as soon as you stop. You become very still and be a tree. As soon as he does the controlled behavior, then give him his release cue (such as ‘release’ or ‘let’s play’), and encourage him to move as you move.

 

As you are having success, you can increase the difficulty by doing more active behavior to get your dog in a more active state and then ask for the controlled behavior by giving your cue.

 

You can also work on duration of your controlled behavior before giving your release cue. (Remember that when you are working on building duration, you are adding very short amounts of time – seconds – before giving your release cue.)

 

Additionally, you can also work in exercises to teach your dog to go into a calmer state. When you stop movement, either sit or stand and ask for your dog to lay down (or you can simply wait for your dog to lay down). Then go through a shaping process of calmly reaching down and giving your dog a treat as you notice his body muscles begin to relax.

 

You can include several people with this game too, just make sure that when you stop and give your dog the cue for his behavior, that EVERYONE stops moving at once and BEGINS moving at once.

Make sure you give your dog clarity when it is time to end the game. I tell Sam ‘all done’ when we are finished training or playing. After this game, you may want to sit for a few minutes immediately afterward to make it even more clear for your dog. Once you have given your dog the end game cue, then it is absolutely important that you ignore any and all attempts by your dog to keep the game going. If you give in, then you will be teaching your dog that bumping or jumping on you, or other attention soliciting behavior works to get play to resume.

 

This is a fun game to involve children too; however, always play this with adults present. To help kids have more success, adults should first play this with their dog to teach their dog the game rules – and children should not be encouraged to be wild and crazy around their dog, as their dog’s arousal may escalate quickly. Teaching children how to be still, like a tree, when their dog is a great safety measure for both kids and dog.

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Supervising Kids With Dogs Is Not Enough

There is so much written out there about the benefits to kids of having a dog. And, for the majority of families who are reading this, you know this first hand. I know I do. Growing up, I had a very special relationship with our poodle.

As a trainer, however, I also now see situations where family dogs back away from kids or do not come when kids call. I have gotten a number of calls from concerned parents whose dog has even growled at children – or worse.

Parents: Why being near your child and dog is not enough to ensure your child and pet's safety. And some parenting tips on helping your child and dog's relationship succeed.Here is the thing that we need to keep in mind, although children may adore their family pet, they do not always know ‘how’ to be a good dog friend. Kids may move quickly, yell and scream, lean over dogs, grab for dogs or any number of other things.

As a parent, caregiver and/or other adult role model you have a very important job to do – to help that relationship between your child or children and your dog (and other dogs) succeed.

I talk a lot about steps adults can take and one of them is supervision. However, supervision is defined in many ways. Advice is given often to parents that dogs and young kids should never be left in a room alone together, but passive supervision (meaning the adult is in the same room, yet focused on other things) can also have the potential of being unsafe. It can take a split second for an incident to escalate.

Active supervision is when you are watching your kids and your dog, and are able to intervene if necessary. Taking that one step further, in order to know when intervention is needed, it is important to be able to recognize trouble.

Here are a few observations that can help you to be a better, more effective active supervisor.

Know how a dog shows he is content. Generally, your dog’s muscles will be loose and relaxed. His mouth may be open, he may be panting with a regular tempo, his tail and ears will be held in their natural positions, and his tail may wag from side to side or in a circular motion. He may be engaged with and or nudging up to your child.

Know how a dog shows he is uncomfortable with your child. Some of the signs to watch for include that your dog may step back, turn away, shake, lick his lips, yawn, have a closed and tense mouth, have ears pinned back, hold his tail down, roll over on his back in a sign of submission, or show a half moon of white in his eyes.

Know how a dog escalates his body language. If you do not recognize and intervene, your dog may have a raised and rigid tail, he may bark and move backward (or position himself over his forelegs, ready to lunge), stare at your child, show his teeth or growl. This escalation can occur within seconds, especially if there is a history of your dog having his early warning signs listened to.

Know when your dog is beginning to become aroused. A few signs to watch for include a low and deliberate tail wag (or tail held high), tense body muscles, standing with his weight on his front legs. Also, your dog may begin jumping and chasing your child.

If your dog is exhibiting any of the signs that I have listed, it is time to intervene. Please do not punish your dog for communicating in his language how he feels. Instead, redirect your child or your dog or both and allow your dog the temporary distance that he wants.

Additionally, you should intervene if your child pulls your dogs ears, tail or other body part; pokes your dog; or jumps, chases, lays on, holds your dog in a headlock.

Raising dog Super Heroes is no easy task but the rewards are so great.

If you have a young child, please consider registering for my next My Dog’s Super Hero class. I teach children (with a parent) how dogs communicate, how to be a good dog teacher, and how to be a fun and safe friend. Please visit my CLASSES page for upcoming information.

 

Considerations Before Adopting A Puppy

Going to a pet adoption event like My Furry Valentine, it is so easy to fall in love at first sight. Those dogs and puppies (and kittens and other animals for that matter) have a way of getting into your heart, and before you know it, you are walking off with a new friend…with whom, if all goes well, you will be sharing a home for many years to come.

Many times the reason dogs and puppies are in rescue situations to begin with are because those animals, for any number of reasons, were a mismatch for their adoptee. Or, if those animals are not surrendered, they may not be living out their fullest potential; and may be a source of much stress for their human companions…definitely probably not the initial intention of bringing home a new pet.

questions to ask yourself before adopting a dog or puppyTo help ensure you don’t become one of those statistics, BEFORE leaving for the adoption event, give these things some thought:

Ask yourself.

Can you afford a new puppy or dog? A puppy’s first year will include vaccines, spay or neuter surgery, and other possible medical expenses. Medical expenses and grooming expenses (depending on the breed) will need to be budgeted for. You will also need a dog crate, exercise pen or baby gate (for puppies especially), an ongoing supply of treats, high quality dog food, a comfy bed, a leash and collar (halter, Martingale or gentle leader), and training. You may also need to fence in your yard. And, if you plan on vacationing, you will need to add the expense of care for you pet.

Should I adopt a puppy or an adult dog? Bringing a puppy into your home is like bringing home a baby. They are living, breathing, chewing, playing, barking, eating and urinating beings. Those first six months are so super important to your puppy achieving its fullest potential. Management and training are critical, and can seem all consuming for a period of time. Are you prepared for the impact this will have on your life? Are you prepared for the possible damage to your home when mistakes happen? Before adopting a puppy, ask questions to find out as much as you can about how it was raised and socialized; its health history; and its temperament.

With adults, there are many who are well trained with no history of problem areas who are just in need of a second home. There are others who do have problem behaviors that will need to be worked through with training using positive reinforcement. And there are still others who have very significant behavior issues that will require someone who has the knowledge to be able to help them, and the willingness to make necessary changes to their home and lifestyle to manage the dog.  Good intentions alone are not enough to help a dog who has significant issues. Be honest about asking yourself if you have the time, the environment and the knowledge to really help a dog like that before bringing him/her into your home.

What traits am I looking for in a dog? Does size matter? Remember that a larger dog will need more space, larger crates and toys, more food, etc. Do you want a dog who will lounge on the couch all day or who will need a great deal of exercise and mental stimulation? Remember, boredom and lack of needed enrichment can be the culprit for many unwanted behaviors. Is it important to you that your dog plays well with other dogs? Does it matter if your dog sheds a lot?  Is slobbering tolerable or intolerable? Do you want a dog who will need to be groomed on a regular basis? Certain breeds have greater risks for some health issues. These are just some of the considerations to think about. Be realistic with yourself in terms of your lifestyle – now and in the future.

When choosing a puppy or dog, a few things you may want to watch for are: how the puppy/dog plays, how the puppy/dog reacts to being petted, is the puppy/dog reactive, does the puppy/dog approach strangers or back up from them.

Have I considered what general dog breeds I should consider? Animal Planet has a good one that asks you some questions (like ones I mentioned above) and then makes suggestions on compatible breeds. It is really important to know before taking the test that, while the suggestions are based upon predictably, every animal is an individual. Even within the same litter you will find dogs who differ in temperaments, exercise needs and more. And adopting a dog (such as a golden retriever) who is *supposed* to be great with children does not mean that your specific dog will be that way. Genetics and how it is raised both factor into that.

If I have young children, do I have time to help their relationship succeed with the pet? Young children should always be proactively supervised when interacting with your pet, as EVERY dog will have a limit of what it will and will not tolerate. Your dog should have its own personal space when it wants to be alone. Do you know how to read dog body language and know when to intercede? There is training that will need to be done for both your dog and your children to teach them appropriate behavior around each other. A positive dog trainer can work with you to teach you and your children how to interact appropriately with your dog, and help to set you and your family up for success. I have a class just for kids. Please click here to be contacted for future dates.

If I have other pets, am I able to devote what is needed to help that relationship succeed?  Not all dogs are naturally great with other pets. A careful management and desensitization plan may be needed, and will go a long way toward helping the animals succeed.

When you do come home with your new friend,

Just know that as your puppy’s caregiver and teacher, it is up to you to teach him appropriate skills to succeed in your household and in life; and to work to prevent inappropriate behaviors.

The good news is that all of those skills are teachable with clear, positive communication….and patience. What are some of those skills? Teaching bite inhibition, crate training, house training, calm behaviors and other basic behaviors (come, sit, down, stay, wait, etc.), socialization to a variety of people, dogs, things and places, teaching the value in enrichment toys, prevention of resource guarding and chewing on inappropriate things, just to name a few.

Remember, your puppy is constantly learning. Beginning his life journey with you by teaching him with positive reinforcement will create a dog who loves to learn, loves being around you, and listens to you.

Your new adult dog too is constantly learning, and will benefit from clear, positive communication.

I’d enjoy helping you on that path.

Cincinnati Has Dog Super Heroes

I was so proud of my newest group of Dog Super Heroes. They were so attentive and focused on learning.

My unique My Dog’s Super Hero is a class for Cincinnati area kids to learn about how they can be an awesome dog friend, teacher and playmate. With demonstration dogs, I teach them (and their parents) how to interact appropriately with their dog, how dogs communicate, and how to be a positive and responsible teacher to their friend.

Cincinnati dog training class for kids by Cincinnati dog trainer Lisa Desatnik

If you would like to be informed when I set up my next class, please add your information below.

Teach Your Child – No Dog Headlocks

Parents, a reminder that dogs – like all animals – learn positive or negative associations based on past experience.

Please teach your kids that instead of giving head locks and big bear hugs that can make dogs uncomfortable, to be a dog Super Hero, they can sit next to their dog, give him a rub on his neck and give him a treat from their open palm.

I teach these lessons and more in my My Dog’s Super Hero Class, a unique one hour class for children ages 6 to 10 and a parent. It could be the most important hour you spend together to help your child have a long lasting positive friendship with your dog.

My next class is January 23 at United Pet Fund. Please click here for info & to register.

A parenting tip: teach your child that head locks and bear hugs can make your dog uncomfortable. Learn more about a Cincinnati dog training class for kids.

A Tip For Parents Of Kids And A Dog

On teaching loose leashing walking with your dog and your child….

On growing Dog Super Heroes: First teach your dog the value of walking by YOUR side by marking and reinforcing your dog for being next to you; and then teach your child how to be a calm, positive teacher to your dog the same way. Dog Super Heroes know they should never pull on their dog’s collar or jerk his leash because dogs do not like that and could even be injured. If you live in Cincinnati, and have a child between the age of 6 and 10, please consider joining me for my My Dog’s Super Hero class Jan 23 at United Pet Fund. Special thanks to my friends at Hulafrog Cincinnati Eastside, OHCincinnati Family Magazine and Hamilton County Public Health for helping to spread the word.

A word of caution about your child walking a big dog: if your dog sees something and suddenly lunges or lurches toward it, your child could get hurt and your dog may be loose to run toward that stimulus. Always be very careful to actively supervise and be watching the surroundings as well as your dog’s body language. Even better, you can hold onto a second leash.

Link to info and registration for My Dog’s Super Hero, a Cincinnati dog training (and bite prevention) class for kids, please click here.

dog training tip: teaching kids about training their dog on loose leash walking

Gift Idea For You Young Dog Lover

Are you looking for gifts for your child who loves dogs?

Here are some considerations.

Christmas gift book ideas for kids who love dogsBooks

There are a number of wonderful books published that teach children how to be good dog teachers and friends. Here are a few of my favorites.May I Pet Your Dog, kid's book about dogs

May I Pet Your Dog by Stephanie Calmenson

Whether your child is afraid of dogs of loves them, May I Pet Your Dog is beautifully written
book leads readers step-by-step on how to properly greet a dog. Using Harry the dachshund as a gentle guide, children see a variety of situations and learn how to meet dogs in a positive, welcoming way.

Good Dog! Kids Teach Kids About Dog Behavior & Training by Evelyn PangGood dog kids book
What I love about this book is that it is written by kids for kids covering the essentials of responsible and effective dog care and t
raining.

My Dog kids bookMy Dog! A Kids Guide To Keeping A Happy And Healthy Pet by Michael J. Rosen
A primer, an owner’s manual, a field guide, and more, My Dog! is the complete book for every child who has a dog―whether it’s a brand-new puppy or adopted mutt, or a beloved pooch who’s been in the family for years.

Puppy Training for Kids: Teaching Children the Responsibilities and Joys of Puppy Care, Training, and Companionship by Colleen PelarThis book uses a combination of photos and easy to read and understand Puppy trainning kids booklanguage to share with children modern, proven, humane methods to teach their puppy or dog.

Max Talks To Me by Claire Buckwald
Alex and his dog Max are true friends—the kind that share each other’s excitement, comfort each other when they are sad, wait together when parents are away, and have fun wherever they are. Alex is learning that every good Max Talks To Me kids bookrelationship is a two-way street. By observing and listening to his dog, by sharing good times and bad, he and Max are earning each other’s love and devotion. Parents will appreciate the information about animal communication and the dog-child bond that they will find at the end of Max Talks to Me. Children will want to share Max and Alex’s adventures and friendship over and over as they read the gentle, engaging story and look at the beautiful illustrations.

Buddy Unchained by Daisy BixBuddy Unchained kids book
Buddy Unchained is the 2007 winner of the Humane Society of the US KIND Award, Best Children’s Picture Book of the Year and the ASPCA HENRY BERGH AWARD, best Children’s Picture Book in the Companion Animal category. It is a very moving story of a once abandoned dog and how his being adopted into a loving home has changed his life. It reminds children of the importance of being kind to animals.

Gift certificate to My Dog’s Super Hero

Christmas gift idea for Cincinnati kids who love dogsStrengthening the bond between children and their dog, and preventing dog bites, are my goals for this unique kids Class. Children ages 6 to 10 (and their parents) will learn how to play and interact appropriately with their furry friend, how to be a safe and fun dog playmate, and how their dog tells them when it is happy or wants to be left alone. I have seen time and again dogs back away from, look away from or other body language around children. This class can teach you and your child how to prevent that. It is perhaps one of the most important hours you can spend to help your kids and dog succeed.

The My Dog’s Super Hero Class will be held Saturday, January 23, at 9:30 am at the nonprofit United Pet Fund Blue Ash location  (11336 Tamarco Dr; 45242). Please click here for cost, more information and registration.

Other Ideas

A dog stuffed animal

A donation to an animal rescue organization with a visit to the organization and maybe even volunteer outing thereSanta Paws 2: The Santa Pups

A framed photo of your child’s favorite pet

Santa Paws 2: The Santa pups, the movie in DVD

NOTE: For some behind-the-scenes information on Santa Paws, please click here.

 

 

 

Join Me At The Paw Joggers Run

I am so looking forward to the Paw Joggers Rescue Run on October 18, and hope you will join me.

Billie Mendoza of Paw Joggers Rescue RunThe event is the brainchild of Billie Mendoza, founder and owner of Paw Joggers, a pet fitness and in-home care service, who I have known for years. Since beginning her business, it has grown to serve much of our region including Northern Kentucky. And, as a way of giving back, Billie wanted to raise money for local rescues.

The Paw Joggers Animal Community Fund (Paw Joggers ACF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the local animal welfare community through events, awareness, and monetary donations.  The Paw Joggers ACF and its events are powered solely by Paw Joggers Runvolunteers.

The October 18 event will benefit 43 area animal rescue and advocacy groups. It will include a 5K and 2K raise for people participating with or without dogs. Last year more than 750 raced and $10,659 was given to 32 organizations. Billie and her volunteers are expecting Lisa Desatnik of So Much PETential will host a children's contest at the 2015 Paw Joggers Rescue Runmany more this year.

I’m excited that this is my second year being a presenter for the event. I will be leading a contest for children and their dogs, judging with audience participation in categories such as the cutest trick behavior, the best listener (for a dog who listens to and does behaviors asked), and more. If you have a child who will be participating in the race this year, please be sure to enter!

The event will be Sunday, October 18 from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. The race will begin at 10:00 am. It will be at Sharon Woods Park, 11450 Lebanon Rd; Sharonville, OH 45241.

To register, please visit this link. http://pawjoggersrescuerun.com/

A Tip For Petting Dogs

dog training tip for kids and dogs

 

I wanted to share this reminder to you about little dogs especially. Leaning over them can make them uncomfortable, as can giving them massive head rubs. One clue is if the dog leans or moves away. This is a much better way to give a dog reinforcement.

Please teach this to your children also.

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