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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida Offers Tips When Working from Home with Your Dog

October 7, 2011, Fort Lauderdale Florida,  Home Dog Training of South Florida states: With the rise of telecommuting and self-employment, many dog owners are able to work from home and don’t have to routinely leave their furry friends for the day. Some dogs ease into this scenario and are able to be with their owners throughout the day with without exhibiting behavioral issues. For others, however, there are a number of behavioral problems that may arise—such as dogs demanding attention by barking or whining, often at the worst possible times. Read on to find out how to address these common issues.

Why do dogs act up in the home-office environment?
Because of the large amount of time spent together in close proximity, these dogs often have increased opportunities to train their owners! They might nudge for pets or climb in laps. They often nap under the table or desk where their owners are working, but when they wake up, they will request attention—and usually get it.

While seemingly cute and innocent, whenever a dog gets to direct the behavior of his owner, he sees himself as being put in the leadership role. And as the leader, a dog may feel he has the right to demand his owner’s attention—often at inopportune times, such as when the owner is on the phone or involved in an important assignment.

Picture this common scene: You are on an important conference call. A few minutes in, your dog starts to bark or even jump on you. The call is important and you can’t afford the interruption, so your dog gets picked up or petted—and your attention gets divided. You can’t have your dog barking during the call, so you give in. This, however, teaches him that barking and whining is rewarded with attention and affection, which leads to more and more demands at times when you are occupied.

What can I do?
The first thing to do is to separate workspace from dog space. Go to work in another room, separated from your dog. Even though your dog may choose to go elsewhere and nap during the day, if he has free access to you, he will most likely come and find you when he wakes up. It’s important that your work area is off-limits and that your dog is confined (either gated or crated in another room) so he doesn’t have access to you. If he barks for your attention at first, you may want to have at least a couple of closed doors between you as he gets used to the new situation. Make sure to give him something to occupy his attention, such as a Deer Antler or KONG® toy.

Do NOT to go to your dog’s space if you hear any barking, whining or pacing. Only return when he’s calm and quiet. If you return when he’s acting out of stress, he will learn that making a fuss is rewarded with your attention.

Practice obedience when you do return. Training your dog engages his brain. This will tire him out and help him become calmer. Try asking him to SIT and STAY before you pet him or toss a toy.

Work on your leadership skills. Be proactive in asking for your dog’s attention and focus. Always begin play on your terms; for instance, if he brings you a certain toy for play, take control of the toy and wait until later to bring it out yourself and initiate play.

Time management is important. If you went off to work without your dog, you would only have certain times when you could interact with him. Work on establishing set times for interactions. For example, take a 10–15 minute break mid-morning and again in the afternoon, or a half hour at lunchtime. Do what works for you and also meets your dog’s physical and mental needs. It’s important that you don’t continuously stop what you are doing and engage with your dog. He’ll quickly get used to the cues you give for your set interactions and will settle down quicker during the in-between times.

As he learns that your world doesn't necessarily revolve around him, he’ll relax and not be as anxious for your attention. His bad behaviors are simply learned behaviors, because they have worked in the past; your dog will only make a different choice if those strategies no longer result in your attention and what he interprets as praise. Be patient, calm and consistent. If you never separate from your dog, he will have a hard time feeling comfortable by himself when you do have to leave him. Practicing separation while working from home or with your dog at the office will help you both be more relaxed and happy, together or apart.

For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida Would Like to Provide Some Tips on Minimizing Holiday Stress between You and Your "Best Friend"

Fort Lauderdale, Florida - December 3, 2010-The holidays are a busy time for many households. Friends and family come and go, deliveries are made to the door, delicious smells emanate from the kitchen, and a general happy hubbub means that something special is happening. Among those affected by these changes is the family dog. To help dog owners remedy this, Home Dog Training of South Florida offers helpful tips for dog owners to help manage their dog's holiday-time stress.

"While one dog may enjoy a change of pace, another may be stressed by the changes," says Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist and trainer.  "Your normally easygoing dog may suddenly begin to show strange behaviors, like stealing food, jumping up on people, or growling or snapping at visitors. As pack leader, you need to communicate and demonstrate to your dog that while his world may be different, you will continue to keep him safe and secure."

When an insecure dog-no matter his size or breed-encounters a new situation, he doesn't know what to do. If he feels threatened, he may react defensively with a snap or bite.

On the other hand, a well-socialized dog is comfortable meeting and being with others, both dogs and people. He has been introduced to a variety of situations and knows he and his pack have remained safe through them all.

The following are some tips to help calm your dog and keep everyone in the home safe during the active holiday season.

Children visitors

Dogs that live in a household with no children may not be comfortable when kids come to visit. The chaos created by youngsters like grandchildren will inherently raise the energy level in the house, causing the dog to worry or stress. Here are some ways to control such situations if your dog does not cope well with children.

  • Always supervise kids (especially very young children) and dogs when they are alone together. This is when most dog bites to children occur.
  • With a very young child, parents must be vigilant and monitor their tot's interactions with the dog. Parents should teach children of all ages to treat dogs with respect and gentleness.
  • Never invite a child to feed the dog by hand-this teaches the dog it is acceptable to take any food from a child. Because of a child's small size, the dog may view her as an equal and thus may try to take advantage of the situation.
Boundaries and security

Dogs need to have their own "home," a place where they feel secure and calm. If your dog doesn't already have a place of his own, create one for him.

  • A crate or pet carrier provides a natural safe haven for your dog. Keep his crate or dog pillow in a quiet area of the home, and direct your dog to go there when you need to set boundaries. While he may not like being separated from you, he will still feel secure.
  • If your dog begins to bark or nip at visitors, remove him from the area and keep him in his safe place until your guests have gone.
  • Keep the dog out of certain rooms where he can get underfoot. For example, training your dog to stay out of the kitchen-where most household accidents occur-is a good safety measure. It also helps to prevent your dog from begging for food.
  • If you travel during the holidays, taking his crate/carrier will help your dog feel more relaxed, since "home" is wherever he finds you and his familiar bed.
Elderly dogs

Elderly dogs may not enjoy the extra hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Be mindful of keeping your older dog comfortable when his routine is disrupted.

  • If your elderly dog gets cranky around visitors, simply take him to his special quiet place where he won't be bothered and can feel secure.
  • Remind children to be respectful of your older dog. Always provide supervision when dogs and kids are together.
Front door behaviors

A knock on the door can be a stimulating event for a dog, whether he sees it as fun or alarming. It is natural for him to want to know who the visitors are to determine if they are friendly or not. However, a dog that explodes with excitement at the sound of the doorbell is both annoying and unsafe-he may dash out the door and run into harm's way, he may get underfoot and become a trip hazard, he may knock people over, or he may become aggressive to the visitor.

  • To help your dog be calmer, exercise him prior to the arrival of guests. After 30 minutes of walking or playing, your dog will more likely be relaxed or want to nap.
  • As a general rule, don't allow the family dog to greet unfamiliar guests because commotion and unusual circumstances can cause stress for dogs.
  • Consider putting your dog on a leash as guests arrive to maintain better control of him.
  • Teach your dog to sit and stay on command. When the doorbell rings, put him in a sit-stay and do not open the door until he calms down.
  • If your dog gets overly excited with arriving visitors, remove him from the scene ahead of time. Place him in his crate in a quiet room, and then let him join the party later.
"By anticipating how your dog may react to new activities and visitors, you can help ensure that everyone-both two- and four-legged-has a fun and safe holiday season," said Edwards, dog behavioral therapist and master trainer, Home Dog Training of South Florida.

For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida Offers Tips for Dog Owners in Apartments and Condos

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, February 11, 2011 --- We all know what joy having a canine companion can bring, no matter where we call home. However, for those who live in multi-unit dwellings, a misbehaved dog whose barking and bad manners disturbs others can easily cause ill-will among the most rational of tenants. Home Dog Training of South Florida offers tips for dog-owners who share living space in apartments, condos, townhomes and the like.
  • Before moving into your new residence, thoroughly check the unit and complex surroundings for potential dog hazards to ensure your dog's safety.
  • Socializing your dog is essential in a busy, high-traffic environment. As soon as you move in, introduce yourself and your dog to your immediate neighbors. This lets your dog become familiar with the people-and dogs-he may encounter every day. Get to know other canine-owning neighbors so you can care for each another's dogs in the event of delays in getting home.
  • Be respectful of others. Before getting on an elevator, ask if everyone is comfortable with your dog riding along. If there is already another dog inside, wait for the next one or take the stairs. A small confined area can become a threatening environment for the dogs.
  • Always position yourself between your dog and passersby in hallways and other public areas.
  • Take extra care when walking on staircases. Small dogs may fall between the stairs or through the railings. In addition, you could trip on your dog as you both maneuver the steps. Train your dog to walk slowly by your side when on stairs, and to wait to give other residents the right of way.
  • Consider taking an obedience class or having one-on-one training with your dog-you'll both learn a lot and be better neighbors. In addition, making your dog think expends as much energy as physical activity. Provide 10-15 minutes of training daily on basics such as sit, stay, come, and walking on leash. Doing this twice a day is even better.
  • If the weather is bad, practice obedience with your dog in the building's hallways and lobbies (if safe), as well as at home.
  • Keep your dog busy when indoors by providing high-quality, treat-rewarding toys such as a Kong√§ or Buster Cube√§. Switch out his toys every few days so he has new and fun things to hold his interest.
  • Don't let your dog become a nuisance barker. If he barks when you are at home, learn ways to manage his noisy behavior to help you and your neighbors enjoy a quieter living environment. If he barks when you are away from home, consult with a qualified dog behavioral therapist to learn how to stop the barking and keep the peace.
  • Consider crate-training your dog. Because dogs are descended from den-dwelling animals, a crate or pet carrier makes a natural shelter. Provide soft bedding and keep the crate in an area of your home where he feels most comfortable. Crating your dog when you're not home ensures a safe environment for him, minimizes chances of his barking, and helps prevent him from causing damage. Avoid leaving your dog unattended or locked on an apartment balcony.
  • Get training that will help you understand your dog. Knowing your dog's unique temperament and tendencies will help you to better control how he behaves. A well-behaved dog is less likely to upset people and other pets in public places, will be more welcome at gatherings, and will enjoy a better relationship with everyone he meets. Plus, his good manners will reflect positively on you, his responsible owner.
For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida offers Pool Safety Tips for Families with Dogs


Fort Lauderdale, Fl - August 9, 2010- Keeping your dog cool during the summer months is extremely important.  It can prevent heat stroke, dehydration or even death.  Dogs not only need to drink plenty of water to keep cool, many of them like to swim in it as well.  While it is a great form of exercise and will help to keep Fido from overheating, many dogs drown each year from pool accidents that could have been avoided. This is the exact reason by Home Dog Training of South Florida wants to get the word out to everyone in South Florida. 

If your dog loves the water and loves to jump into the pool, make sure he knows how to get out safely.  If a dog falls into a river or lake, its instinct will tell it to turn around and try to get out from the point at which it fell in.  This may work well in a lake or a river, but in a suburban swimming pool the dog may drown if it adopts this instinctive action.  Therefore it is important to teach your dog where and how to get out of the pool regardless of where he went in.

To teach a dog how to exit a pool, first attach a recall leash to its collar.  Gently place the dog into the pool from the steps.  The dog will instinctively turn around and get out from the point of entry - the steps.  Place the dog in the pool from the steps several times.  Once it realizes that it can scramble out via the steps, move to the other sides of the pool and again gently place the dog into the pool.  Use the recall leash to guide the dog to the step area, giving as little help as possible to the dog.

"Once the dog has oriented himself to the steps in relation to the house and understands how to use the steps to exit the pool, the danger of it drowning in the pool will be reduced," stated Robin Edwards, Dog Behavioral Therapist and Master Trainer.  "Practice as much as possible with your dog, especially with pups, but make certain your dog does not become exhausted.  The most you will be able to achieve at any one time is three or four entries and exits." 

With regards to exhaustion, it is also important for you to keep an eye on your dog while in the pool because swimming can be very tiring for a dog.  Just like many dogs will chase a ball or Frisbee again and again until they nearly collapse, many dogs will continue swimming without any thought as to how tired they are.  And unlike chasing a ball on land, they have no solid ground on which to rest.     

If you don't have access to a pool that allows dogs but still want to take him swimming, nature offers other enjoyable options.  However, be aware of the surrounding area if you take your dog to the beach, lake or pond.  (Make sure that you have researched "what has been found in the water" and that the sides allow for easy entrance and exit.)  Watch for trouble and make sure your dog will come to you as soon as you call.  Recall is one of the most important lessons you can teach your dog.  It can literally save his life.

With a little planning and forethought, you can help your dog swim without incident in most any environment during the hot summer months and cooler winter months.  We love our pets and want them to be with us for as long as possible, and the above tips will go a long way to ensure their safety. 


For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida Observes National Pet Week with Top 10 Tips for Dog Owners

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, April 20, 2010—In celebration of National Pet Week, May 2-8, 2010, Home Dog Training of South Florida has issued a list of the Top 10 Things Every Dog Owner Should Know. National Pet Week was founded in 1981 by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Auxiliary to the AVMA to promote responsible pet ownership, celebrate the human-animal bond, and promote public awareness of veterinary medicine. 

“As part of our commitment to responsible dog ownership, wes have compiled a Top 10 list that will help dog owners better understand their canine pets,” Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist, Home Dog Training of South Florida.  “What better way to celebrate National Pet Week than by promoting a better understanding of man’s best friend?”

1) A dog is a dog. The greatest misconception many dog owners have is to assume their dogs communicate the way people do. Dogs live by the same pack rules and exhibit many of the same behavioral patterns as their wild ancestors. To effectively train your dog, you must first understand his instinctual pack behavior.

2) All dogs think in terms of the pack. Dogs instinctively know that living with others, under the leadership of a dominant pack member, enhances their chances for survival. As a dog owner, one of your responsibilities is to model a leader’s strong and consistent characteristics so you will be accepted as the pack leader and your dog will learn to respect and obey you. Your leadership will make your dog feel safe and eliminate many behavior problems.

3) Dogs don’t understand English. In addition to barking, growling and other guttural sounds, dogs rely heavily on body language. And yet, your body language can easily be misinterpreted. By understanding how dogs communicate, you will avoid the mistake of telling your dog one thing while your body language and voice pitch tell him something completely different. (Learn more about body language and voice tones at BarkBusters.com.)

4) Dogs are neither spiteful nor deliberately naughty. There are three reasons why a dog misbehaves or disobeys: 1) he does not understand what you want, 2) he does not consider you its leader, or 3) he is suffering from some kind of stress or fear. Understanding this will help you address your dog’s problems and behaviors.

5) Aggression is instinctual in every breed. Whether Chihuahua or German shepherd, a dog’s breed has nothing to do with aggression. Instead, aggression is instinctual and caused most often by fear of the unknown—that is, whatever the dog cannot understand or does not recognize as normal. When a dog becomes frightened, it will do one of two things: fight or take flight. By reinforcing leadership over your dog, you can avoid unacceptable or uncontrollable aggression.

6) You can teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs are continuous learners and have good memories. The three things that primarily influence a dog’s behavior are association, instinct, and experience. By conditioning your dog and effectively showing him what you consider good and bad behavior, you can help him change his behavior.

7) Bad behaviors may be natural, but they do not have to be acceptable. Most people consider digging, chewing and jumping as unacceptable dog behavior—but to dogs, these actions are natural. A dog owner needs to associate a dog’s bad behavior with a negative experience (such as a harsh voice tone) and good behavior with a positive experience (such as high-pitched praise).

8) It’s illogical to get angry with your dog. Dogs do only what comes naturally or what they’ve learned through association, so getting angry—or using physical force—is both inappropriate and counterproductive. Moreover, never use your hands for disciplining because dogs find this provocative and threatening. Use your hands as little as possible when training—and when you do, make sure your dog always associates your hands with gentleness and pleasure.

9) Correct your dog on the spot. Because dogs learn from association, they will comprehend your message only if it is delivered in a timely manner. A correction must be issued at the precise moment the dog is either contemplating or actually doing something wrong. Because it can be difficult to catch your dog in the act, find ways to create situations that will cause your dog to misbehave so you can then correct him immediately.

10) Dogs experience the world differently from people. With 25 times more olfactory receptors than humans, dogs can sense odors at concentrations millions of times lower. In addition, dogs’ sight has been described to be like that of a person who is color-blind. Dogs use other cues (such as smell, texture, brightness, and position) rather than relying on color. With acutely developed hearing, dogs can hear sounds four times farther away than humans—but dogs also hear selectively. They can sleep beside a blaring television but wake up as soon as they hear something unrelated to that.

For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida Offers Tips to Introduce a New Dog to the Pack

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, January 10, 2010—Bringing a new dog into the family is an exciting time for the human “pack” members but can create stress for the non-human pack. Home Dog Training of South Florida offers tips to help pet owners understand how to manage pet introductions and help ensure a lifetime of harmony for everyone­— from the family dog or cat to a bird, or other small pet.


“Introducing a new dog to your current household of animals can be a challenging task if proper measures aren’t taken,” said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist. “By following a few tips, the introduction can be seamless for everyone.”

General tips:

  • Set reasonable goals when you bring a new dog into your pack. Knowing the dogs’ backgrounds as to how well they were socialized will help you manage what might happen. Remember and respect that your resident dog and/or cat may perceive the new dog to be encroaching on their established territory, which can be very stressful.
  • Proceed slowly and calmly. Slow-paced introductions may help prevent any fear-based or aggressive reactions from developing. If bad behaviors are not reined in from the start, they can become habit and be very hard to change in the future.
  • Never leave new pets unattended, even if a pet is caged. When two pets meet, it is imperative you watch them at all times. The situation can change suddenly.
  • If you have more than one resident dog, introduce each dog one at a time to the new dog to prevent them from overwhelming the newcomer.
  • Stay in control of the introduction. If you are not sure how your pet will react, take the necessary precautions to keep him (and you) safe.
  • Be patient and adaptable. You will need to teach your new dog to trust you while communicating to your resident pets that you will continue to keep them safe. Building good relationships takes time.

Dog to Dog

Before you bring the new dog (or puppy) home, bring home his scent so your resident pets can be introduced to his smell first. Rub the new dog with a cloth or use a blanket he has slept on and bring it into your home and place it where he will be sleeping.

In addition, be sure both your resident dog and the new dog are up to date on their vaccinations to avoid any risk of infection.

Introduce in a Neutral Location
Introduce the dogs in a neutral location that is unfamiliar to both dogs, such as a park. This prevents your resident dog from feeling his territory is being threatened.

Each dog should be on a loosely held six-foot leash and handled by a separate person. Try to stay relaxed so the dogs don’t pick up on any tension you might be feeling.

Don’t force an interaction between the dogs. Just walk near each other for a few minutes. One or both of the dogs may ignore each other, which is fine. Just stay upbeat and give the dogs time to get comfortable with the situation.

For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida Offers Tips for Dog Owners to Exercise with Their Dogs

Fort Lauderdale, Florida —January 1, 2010—With the start of the New Year, Home Dog Training of South Florida offers helpful tips to help you and your pooch get healthy. Frequent activity positively impacts your dog’s health, benefiting his muscles, bones, digestion, sleep, circulation, and general attitude. The bond between canine and human also encourages humans to exercise more frequently and lose more weight than most nationally known diet plans.

“Just like people, dogs need regular exercise and stimulation to keep them in tip-top shape, both physically and mentally,” said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist. “Since dogs crave human companionship and our emotional connection to our dogs helps to motivate us, then who better to choose as your exercise partner than your pooch?”

Frequent activity positively impacts your dog’s health in many ways, benefiting his muscles, bones, digestion, sleep, circulation, and general attitude. The bond between canine and human also encourages humans to exercise more frequently and lose more weight than most nationally known diet plans. A key reason for the better results is that the dog walkers stayed with the program because of their emotional connection to their dogs.

Tips to get started

Exercise needs vary from dog to dog, depending on the dog’s breed, age, weight, and other factors. Therefore, consult with your vet before starting an exercise program with your dog—and be sure to consult with your own physician about the right program for you.

  • Take things slowly at first. Begin with short sessions at a slow speed, then gradually increase the time, speed and distance.
  • Your dog’s paw pads will need time to toughen, so begin walking or running with him on soft surfaces such as dirt, sand or grass.
  • Avoid exercising your dog immediately before or after he’s eaten. A full stomach may cause digestive upsets. Provide only small amounts of water before and directly after exercise.

Keep things interesting

Just letting your dog out in the backyard is not enough—most dogs do not exercise themselves. Likewise, a brief daily walk may not be enough either. However, you can keep your dog both physically and mentally active on your daily walk by varying how you walk.

  • Change the pace. Intermittently walk fast, slow, stop, etc.  Your dog will come to see this as a game and will find the activity fun and stimulating.
  • Change directions frequently. Go left, then right, turn in front of the dog, reverse direction, etc. Each time you make a change in direction, give a gentle flick of the leash to alert your dog you are about to change direction.
  • Give obedience commands as you go. Stop and ask your dog to sit, lie down, etc.

Be sensible

No matter how fit your dog, his enthusiasm may overcome his common sense to know when to rest.

  • Stop the games if your dog seems to be getting overly tired.
  • Be sure he has access to fresh drinking water, but prevent stomach upset by limiting his intake if he is heavily panting.
  • Take poop bags to clean up after your dog.

Exercise his mind

Exercise your dog’s brain, too. Just 15 minutes once or twice a day of teaching basic obedience can tire your dog in a different way that is just as essential to his overall health and happiness. Review or teach the basics such as sit, stay, come, and walking on leash to energize the lethargic dog and tire out the hyper dog.

With some practice, you can establish the leadership required for a satisfying stroll with your dog so you can both reap the benefits of good health, fitness and a happy emotional bond. Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog!

For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: HOME DOG TRAINING OF SOUTH FLORIDA OFFERS TIPS TO HELP DOG OWNERS TRAVEL SAFELY WITH THEIR PETS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, December 13, 2009 When traveling to visit family and friends for the holidays, more and more pet owners are taking their pets along too. Whether traveling by car, truck, plane or train, Home Dog Training of South Florida offers helpful tips for the estimated 44.8 million U.S. dog owners on how to travel safely with pets.

“The holidays are a wonderful time to travel, visiting and sharing the season with family.” said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist. “There is no reason to leave your dog out of the fun. By following these safety precautions, you can make sure to have a safe and pleasant journey.”
General Travel Tips

  • No matter what your mode of travel, the single best safe practice you can employ to keep your dog safe during the journey is to keep him restrained.
  • Affix current identification to your dog. Even better, have him microchipped, which provides a permanent form of I.D. to help ensure he is returned to you if he becomes lost.
  • Carry a recent photograph of your dog to make it easier for others to help you look for him if he gets lost during the trip.
  • If your dog is prone to anxiety or motion sickness, consult with your veterinarian about using pet tranquilizers for your dog appropriate for the particular type of travel you will take.
  • Feed your pet his usual meal one to two hours before travel. (If your dog is prone to motion sickness, feed him two to four hours before travel.) Do not give him food or water during travel as it may spill, forcing him to lie in a mess during the trip. Dogs can go 8 to 12 hours without food or water.
Cars and Trucks

  • No matter how long or short the journey, your dog should be restrained. An unrestrained dog is dangerous to himself and others. He can become a flying projectile that can injure you, your passengers or himself.
  • Secure your dog in the back seat (dogs riding in the front seat can be seriously hurt if the airbags deploy) with a pet travel safety harness or car seat, or in a pet carrier fastened to a seatbelt. If you drive an SUV, install a pet barrier to keep the dog in the back area of the vehicle as well as securing him in his harness and attaching it to the hooks in the floor.
  • If you must transport your dog in the bed of a pickup, use a crate or carrier secured to the truck bed to prevent him from being thrown into traffic at a sudden stop.
  • Do not allow your dog to ride with his head out the window. Road debris and other flying objects can injure his eyes.
  • Before you set out on your journey and after arriving at your destination, give your dog plenty of exercise. This will help him be more relaxed and able to acclimate to his new surroundings.
  • When stopping for a break and before you open the car door, attach a leash to your dog’s collar so he can’t escape. Even the most obedient pet can become disoriented when traveling. Always use a leash to walk your dog.
  • On a long car ride, stop every four hours or so to allow your dog to relieve himself (be sure to clean up after him), stretch his legs, refresh himself with a small drink of water, and help him understand that he’s going to another environment.
  • Watch for temperature extremes. Your car is like an oven under the blazing sun and a freezer in the bitter cold.
Airline or Train Travel

  • Whether he will go in the cabin with you or in the cargo hold, your dog will need to travel in an airline (or train) -approved carrier. Check the airline (or train line) website for requirements.
  • If your pet will travel as cargo, check for restrictions on any health/immunization and other requirements.
  • Use direct flights to avoid mix-ups during transfers or the possibility of delays in getting your pet off the plane. Ask the airline if you can watch your pet being loaded and unloaded into the cargo hold.
  • Upon arrival at your destination, open the carrier as soon as you are in a safe place, and then clip a leash on your dog so you can safely examine him. If anything seems wrong, get him to a veterinarian right away.
“A happy, well-socialized dog that knows you will always be there to keep him safe and secure will enjoy traveling to new places with you,” added Edwards.

For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida offers Suggestions on Giving a Puppy as a Gift

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, November 18, 2009Cute and cuddly and oh-so-sweet, puppies are eternally appealing. And while a darling puppy might seem like the perfect gift choice for your child, remember that many such presents end up at animal shelters. A 2007 study at an animal shelter reported that 54% of the dogs surrendered to the shelter were six months to three years old and 15% were less than six months old.

“Be absolutely certain the gift recipient wants a puppy or a dog,” said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist.  “A pup is not some battery-operated toy you can play with, then store away in the closet.”

If someone on your gift list wants a dog, consider giving a gift certificate for one instead. Wrap a can of dog food or a fancy collar and include a note saying a puppy (or dog) of the recipient’s choice comes with the gift.

Adding a puppy to your life is, on average, a 15-year responsibility. Raising a happy, well-balanced puppy requires an enormous time commitment and so a young pup is not a suitable choice for every dog-lover. Dogs of other ages also make perfect companions. For example, most senior dogs tend to be calmer, have more predictable behaviors, and are already housebroken.

If the intended recipient seems ready for a puppy, be sure s/he is also ready to participate in training and managing all aspects of the responsibilities of dog ownership. “If it’s your child who wants a puppy, you as parents must be realistic and acknowledge that the bulk of dog care will invariably fall on you, not the kids,” said Edwards.  Most children are simply not ready to apply themselves to taking care of a dog until they are of high school age.

Whoever ends up taking care of the puppy, give your pup the best chance for a long and happy life with his family by following these tips.

  • Do your homework. Learning about what to expect during a puppy’s stages of development over the first 12 months will help you understand and manage his—what may seem as—strange behaviors.
  • Understand that a puppy needs leadership, boundaries and consistency—all to come from his human family members.
  • Hold a family meeting to discuss house rules about caring for the dog. Decide together how your family will integrate him into your home.
  • Plan a budget. Food, veterinary care, training and other necessities can add up quickly.
  • Use a crate. A crate is an invaluable tool for housebreaking a puppy and keeping him safe from household hazards. It also provides your young dog with a sense of security when you are busy or away. Your dog will welcome his crate as a safe haven throughout his life. Note: A puppy should not be crated for more than 5 hours at a time; his small bladder may have trouble holding on for that long.
  • “Puppy-proof” your home. To keep your curious canine from hurting himself during his explorations, move out of his reach household items such as electrical wires and outlets, plants, and anything cherished or breakable. Also, lock away toxic items such as antifreeze, fertilizers, detergents and tobacco products.
  • Use baby gates. Baby gates are a smart training tool to block off restricted areas of the house to help your puppy learn what areas are off limits. Gates also prevent his access to dangerous places like pools, balconies and open doors.
  • Give dog-appropriate toys. Toys like the puppy-sized Kong™ are best for your little chewing pal. Never give old clothing or shoes as toys, because a puppy cannot differentiate between old and new items.
  • Start training early. Dogs are pack animals and seek authority and reassurance from the pack leader. Providing this leadership is key to managing a dog’s behavior. Plan to participate in puppy school and other training from a qualified trainer such as Bruce and Robin Edwards from Home Dog Training of South Florida.
“You owe it to your new puppy to give him every opportunity to develop a long-lasting, loving relationship with his family,” said Edwards.  “Be prepared, patient and consistent. Puppies learn through experience and association. The more consistent you are, the faster your puppy will learn and the happier he—and you—will be.”

For Immediate Release: Tame Halloween Fright with Home Dog Training of South Florida’s Safety Tips for Families with Dogs

Fort Lauderdale, FloridaOct. 1, 2009—Home Dog Training of South Florida offers tips to keep dogs safe on Halloween. Based on the expertise of Bruce and Robin Edwards having trained over 3,000 dogs, these guidelines for dog owners help ensure the safety of pets during fright night.

Halloween is intended to scare and startle us—making it a spooky holiday for dogs, too. By being more sensitive to dogs’ fear-driven ‘fight or flight’ instincts, we can help keep our furry friends safe this Halloween.

Halloween brings a fun time for most of us, but for some of our much-loved four-legged family members, Halloween can be a nightmare.  Dog owners may not be able to control external surroundings, but they can care for their dog’s safety and well being by observing the following tips:

Bring your dog indoors. Even if you have a fenced yard, bring your dog inside where he cannot be harmed or overwhelmed by little ghouls and goblins. If he is an outside-dog, bring him in a few times before the big night to get him comfortable with being indoors. Remember, it is a natural instinct for dogs to protect the family from strangers, and on Halloween there will be plenty of strangers. 

Keep your dog restrained. If your dog is timid or scared, or if he tends to love people a little too much, put him in a separate room away from the front door. This will limit his excitement, aggression or chance of running outside and getting lost or injured.

Reassure your dog. If your dog seems to feel unsettled by Halloween activities, just act as normally as possible. By over-reassuring your dog or giving him extra attention, you inadvertently can communicate to him that there must be something to worry about.

Have your dog get used to costumes. Your dog may regard his family members as strangers once they don their Halloween costumes. Before the kids put them on, allow your dog to scent the costumes. Keep masks off while your dog is around.

Check your dog’s ID Tag. Be sure identification tags are secure on your dog’s collar—just in case.

Keep candy away from your dog. Many candies—especially those containing chocolate or xylitol, an artificial sweetener—are toxic to dogs. Problems can range from a mild upset tummy to vomiting and diarrhea, or even death. For your dog’s safety, be sure to keep all sweets and their wrappers well away from him.

Protect your dog from candles and pumpkins. Agitated or excited dogs (and their swinging tails) can easily knock over a lit candle or pumpkin. Keep such items out of your dog’s reach, or consider using a battery-powered candle that does not burn.

Think twice about dressing your dog in a costume. While some dogs do enjoy being dressed up, many don’t. Experiment first to see if your dog likes being in a costume. If he shows any resistance, don’t do it. Tie a fun bandana around his neck and he’ll be happier and safer.

Consider carefully and be prepared. Think carefully about taking your dog with you on trick-or-treating rounds. You may unintentionally instill a new fear of strangers in him, creating a wariness that could last long past the holiday. If you do take your dog, keep a firm grip on his leash. Dogs do not understand that the person jumping out at you will not hurt you; they often think they can only help you by acting aggressively. Neither children nor adults in costumes should approach a dog without the owner’s consent.

For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.

For Immediate Release Home Dog Training of South Florida offers Tips to help prepare your dog for the arrival of a new baby

Fort Lauderdale, Fl. September 11, 2009In support of Baby Safety Month in September, Home Dog Training of South Florida offers tips to help families ensure a smooth transition for their dog when bringing home a new baby. If you are expecting a baby and you have a dog, take time now to prepare your dog for the day you bring home your new child.
“Dogs can feel rejected and become confused or stressed when parents suddenly shift their attention from dog to baby,” said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist.
“A dog doesn’t understand why a baby is being elevated above the dog in the pack. In trying to regain his pack position, the dog may seek attention through behaviors such as barking at the baby’s cries, jumping up, or chewing on baby’s things.”
Edwards offers the following tips to help reduce bad behavior, ease everyone’s stress, and help keep baby safe:

  • Set new rules before baby arrives. For instance, if you decide to keep your dog out of the baby’s room, start this new rule several weeks or months before the baby arrives. Thus, your dog will not associate baby’s arrival with exclusion from the room. Also, begin to introduce an erratic schedule so the dog does not know when he will get walked, fed or played with.   
  • Prepare your dog for baby’s arrival. Accustom your dog to the new sights and smells he will soon encounter. An easy way to do this is to buy an inexpensive doll that makes baby sounds. Wrap it in a blanket and hold it in your arms as you walk around the house. Apply to the doll the same baby products (powder, shampoo, lotion) that you will use on the baby. After the baby is born, bring home the newborn’s blanket prior to your baby’s arrival home to allow your dog to become accustomed to the scent of the newest member of the family.
  • Make introductions on the first day the baby arrives home. Your dog will need to “touch scent” the baby to find out what it is. While another adult controls the dog on a loosely held leash, hold your newborn up high and let your dog sniff the baby’s bottom or feet. If the dog misbehaves or is too exuberant, correct his behavior.
  • Allow frequent, supervised visits by your dog. The more the dog and baby are together, the better behaved and less stressed your dog will be. However, neither newborn nor toddler should ever be left unattended in the same room with any dog.
  • Teach your dog the difference between his toys and your child’s things.
    • If and only if you catch your dog chewing on something unsuitable, interrupt the behavior, then give the dog an acceptable chew toy and praise him lavishly when he takes it in his mouth.
    • Dogs can be possessive about their food, toys and space. Although this is normal, it is NOT acceptable for him to growl or snap at you or your child. At the same time, children need to learn to respect their dog as a living creature that is not to be teased or purposefully hurt, and that needs time to himself. If your dog is growling or snapping at your child for any reason, the situation needs IMMEDIATE attention.
For more information, call us at 954-424-0170 or email us at info@southfloridadogtraining.com.