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Friday, November 1, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: HOME DOG TRAINING OF SOUTH FLORIDA WANTS TO ENSURE A SAFE JOURNEY WITH YOUR DOG THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Fort Lauderdale, Florida - November 1, 2013 - Whether traveling by car, truck, plane or train, more and more pet owners are taking their dogs along, too. Home Dog Training of South Florida offers helpful tips for the more than 46 million U.S. dog owners on how to travel safely with pets this holiday season, or any time.

"The holidays are a great time for traveling to share the season with family and friends," said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist, Home Dog Training of South Florida."Bringing your dog can only add to the fun. And by following a few safety precautions, you can be sure your whole family enjoys a safe and pleasant journey."

General Travel Tips

  • No matter what mode of travel you choose, the best practice you can do to keep your dog safe during the journey is to keep him restrained.
  • Affix current identification to your dog. Even better, have him microchipped; this provides a permanent form of I.D. and helps to ensure your dog is returned to you if he gets lost during the trip.
  • Carry a recent photograph of your dog to make it easier for others to help you look for him if he gets lost.
  • If your dog is prone to travel-related anxiety or motion sickness, consult with your veterinarian about what medications they might recommend. Be sure to tell your vet about the particular mode of travel you will take.
  • Feed your dog his usual meal one to two hours before travel. If he tends to experience motion sickness, feed him two to four hours before travel.
  • Do not give your dog 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.
  • No matter how long or short the journey, your dog should be restrained. An unrestrained dog is dangerous-he can become a flying projectile that can injure you, your passengers or the dog himself.
  • Secure your dog in the back seat in a pet travel safety harness or car seat, or in a pet carrier fastened to a seatbelt. "Dogs riding in the front seat can be seriously hurt if the airbags deploy," said Edwards. If you drive an SUV or wagon, install a pet barrier to keep the dog in the back area of the vehicle. Secure him in his harness and attach 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 your pet 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.
  • 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 and refresh himself with a small drink of water.
  • Before setting out on your journey and after arriving at your destination, give your dog plenty of exercise. "Exercise will help him be more relaxed and able to acclimate to his new surroundings," said Edwards.
  • Be wary of temperature extremes. Your car is like an oven under the blazing sun and a freezer in the bitter cold.
  • 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 travel 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 into and unloaded from the cargo hold.

"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 to info@southfloridadogtraining.com.

Monday, October 21, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: HOME DOG TRAINING OF SOUTH FLORIDA WARNS ABOUT THE RISE OF DOG THEFT



Fort Lauderdale, Florida, October 21, 2013 - "In recent years there has been an increased level of dog theft.  Some organizations have indicated that dog theft has increased by as much as 32%", stated Robin Edwards, Home Dog Training of South Florida Behavioral Therapist & Master Trainer.    

People steal pets for a variety of reasons:
  • Some are simply looking for a dog and don't want to pay the price charged by the breeder or pet store.  
  • Others are looking for dogs that they can sell.  Dogs can easily sell for up to $3,000 or $4,000 on the open market. 
  • Others steal the dog and then wait for the reward posters to be placed in the neighborhood.  It is amazing how often Fido just happens to wander into a stranger's back yard with no tags or other form of identification.
  • Dogs are stolen to use in fighting clubs. This is probably the most disturbing and distressing of all the reasons your dog is stolen.
Having a dog stolen is horrendous for both the owner and the dog.  A once well behaved dog, if found, can turn into a fearful/aggressive animal.  They can become aggressive around people or other animals.  They might attack with no warning or sit, shaking with fear, in the corner of the room.  Your once, happy companion, has returned to you with a level of anxiety and fear that might never be reversed.

So what can you, the pet owner do to try and minimize your pet being stolen?
  • Make sure your dog is micro chipped and has a collar tag.  You also might think about a GPS locator on their collar.
  • Never leave your dog in a public place.
  • Never leave your dog alone for any length of time in the back yard or front yard.
  • Be aware of any strangers who take too much interest in your dog.  If they are asking too many questions regarding your dog's breed, age, lineage, health, temperament; they might "be shopping".
  • Make sure that you have thoroughly checked the background of your dog walker.  Are they bonded? What are their references? Does your vet know anything about them?
If your dog has been stolen/missing:
  • Make sure that you contact the police or the appropriate local animal control authorities.
  • Make flyers with your dog's picture and canvas the neighborhood.  Place flyers in vet hospitals, doggie grooming stores, pet stores, supermarkets, etc.
  • Contact the local radio and TV stations to see if they have places on their web sites to post your dog's information.
  • Contact and check the local dog shelters to see if your dog has been surrendered.
  • Check Internet Databases such as www.FidoFinder.com to register your dog and to see if anyone has listed him as found.
"Having anything stolen from us, especially our family dog, is a terrible experience.  Getting them back is very difficult and many times, impossible.", stated Edwards.  The best solution is to proactively take the appropriate precautions outlined above.  Keeping your dog safe and secure provides for their well being and is just the smart thing to do.

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

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida Provides Information to Assure Halloween is Safe for Your Dog



Fort Lauderdale, Florida -Oct. 9, 2013- Halloween can be a very scary holiday for dogs, and is in fact the most dangerous holiday of the year for our canine companions. Home Dog Training of South Florida offers practical guidelines for dog owners to help dogs stay safe. These tips are based on the expertise of Bruce and Robin Edwards, having trained over 3,000 dogs in South Florida since 2006.

"Each year, we hear numerous accounts of dogs getting injured or sick, or straying, during Halloween," said Robin Edwards. "While Halloween is intended to scare people, it can be an especially frightening time for dogs, who don't understand that the holiday's antics are all in good fun. By being more sensitive to dogs' fear-driven 'fight or flight' instincts, we can help keep our furry pals from regarding Halloween as a nightmare."

Dog owners can care for their dog's safety and well-being by taking note of the following tips:


  • 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.
  • Check your dog's identification tag. Be sure tags are secure on your dog's collar-just in case.
  • Bring your dog indoors. Even if you have a fenced yard, keep your dog inside where he cannot be harmed or overwhelmed by costumed visitors. If he is usually housed outside, 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," said Edwards "and on Halloween there will be plenty of strangers."
  • Avoid overly assuring your dog. If your dog seems unsettled by Halloween activities, just act as normally as possible. By giving your dog extra attention or overly comforting him, you can inadvertently communicate to him that there must be something to worry about.
  • Let your dog get used to costumes. Your dog may see his family members as strangers once they don their Halloween attire. Allow your dog to scent the costumes before putting them on. Keep masks off while your dog is around.
  • Experiment first to see if your dog likes wearing a costume. While some dogs enjoy being dressed up, many do not. If he shows any resistance, don't do it. Just tie a fun bandana around his neck and he'll be happier and safer.
  • Keep candy away from your dog. Many sweets-especially those containing chocolate or xylitol-are toxic to dogs. Problems can range from a mild upset tummy to vomiting and diarrhea, or even death. For your dog's health and safety, keep candy and candy wrappers away from him.
  • Don't allow your dog near lighted candles and pumpkins. Agitated or excited dogs-and their swinging tails-can easily knock over a lit candle or pumpkin. Keep these items out of your dog's reach, or consider using a battery-powered candle instead.
  • Think carefully before taking your dog along 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," said Edwards. "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 at info@dogtrainingsouthflorida.com.


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Friday, August 2, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: HOME DOG TRAINING OF SOUTH FLORIDA OFFERS BACK TO SCHOOL TIPS FOR FAMILIES WITH DOGS


Fort Lauderdale, Florida -August 1, 2013 - As families prepare for the new school year, Home Dog Training of South Florida offers tips to help them avoid behavior problems with their dogs that can occur at times of change. By providing training and the right combination of food, shelter and entertainment, families can help their dogs adapt to the new household schedule.

"Back-to-school time can create stress on the entire family, including the dog," said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist and master trainer, Home Dog Training of South Florida. "Dogs are creatures of habit, and so any abrupt change in routine can seriously affect them. However, with a little understanding and preparation ahead of time, families can avoid many of the back-to-school behavior problems their dogs might exhibit."

Boredom
While dogs naturally sleep a lot during the day, when they wake up, they want something to do. "Seek out toys and activities that can keep your dog entertained, even when you're not at home," Edwards said.

  • Scatter food Dogs are natural foragers who enjoy sniffing out food on the ground. Before you leave the house, scatter a variety of foods -such as bits of raw vegetables, dog kibble, and other foods that won't attract wasps-around the yard or house. Hide a few ultra-tasty treats, too, so your dog spends extra time looking for them. Be sure to provide fresh, clean water to keep your dog well hydrated.
  • Toys Dogs love toys, but they can get bored with or destroy them. Buy high-quality, virtually indestructible puzzle toys that your dog will always enjoy, especially those that hold treats like the KONG™ and Buster Cube™. Every week or so, rotate what toys are available to your dog to give him something new and fun to hold his interest.
  • Start early A few weeks before your children return to school, get your dog used to being alone. Begin by separating him from the kids and the rest of the family. For example, if you frequently take your dog with you to run errands, leave him at home instead.
  • Pay less attention to your dog While your dog may be the center of attention when the kids are home all day, you need to change this scenario before they return to school so that he can adjust more quickly to the quiet time. About a week before school starts, pay increasingly less attention to your dog each day.
  • Practice leaving the house "Go through the motions of leaving the house," said Edwards. "Pick up your keys and go out the door, but then come right back in again. The dog will cease associating the routine of your leaving the house with your departure." This will help him to be more relaxed when you actually leave.
  • When you leave When the last person leaves the house for the day, don't confuse your dog by saying soothingly, "Don't worry, Buster-we'll be home soon. Be a good boy." If he is feeling concerned that you're leaving, your sweet-toned voice can make him think it's okay to feel anxious. Dogs are animals that instinctively rely on a defined social structure, and so they expect their leaders to be strong when they leave the group. Therefore, ignore your dog for about 10 minutes before you leave.
  • Crate Most dogs love the safety of a crate. Because dogs are descended from den-dwellers, a crate is a natural shelter because it has the same characteristics of a den. If your dog hasn't been crate trained, don't start training him the day the kids leave for school-that's too late and can actually add to his stress. When your dog has become accustomed to his new crate, do not keep him crated for long periods of time. If you plan to be away longer than 10 hours for a dog and 6 hours for a puppy, ask a friend or hire a pet sitter to come by to let your dog out to toilet during that time.
  • Laundry room If your dog will be inside all day and you are concerned about him toileting in the house, use a baby gate to enclose him in a small room (which inhibits the tendency to toilet) and has an easy-clean floor (in case he has an accident). Place a soft bed and toys in the room for him too.
  • Doghouse If your dog will be housed outside while you are away, be sure he has shelter in which to get out of the weather. "Dogs are more relaxed when they are covered and in familiar surroundings," said Edwards. Place the doghouse next to your house so your dog feels his house is an extension of the larger "den." Provide bedding and plenty of fresh water.
  • Train the kids Parents need to train their children to avoid going right to the dog's area as soon as they get home. Kids should ignore the pet for several minutes to allow him to settle down. With young children, it is always safest to have a parent present to reduce the chance of a problem. Once your dog learns the routine, he will relax.
  • Train your dog It is amazing how quickly dogs learn what is acceptable and what is not. Dogs have a language of their own, and once we understand it, we can easily control them by "speaking their language." Home Dog Training of South Florida specializes in using dogs' natural, instinctive communication methods to train them. It's simple, and it works.

Separation Anxiety
With everyone away from the house all day, dogs left alone can become stressed. This stress can result in destructive behaviors and endless barking. Follow these tips to help reduce the potential anxiety of separation.

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

Unusual Behavior
When dogs are continually stressed, they can begin to exhibit abnormal behaviors, such as jumping up or even biting. A child coming home from school may be greeted by the dog in an unnecessarily rough manner, even knocking her to the floor. After being left alone all day, the dog has pent-up energy-and when he sees the kids, his excitement might cause him to overreact.

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

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: HOME DOG TRAINING OF SOUTH FLORIDA OFFERS JULY 4TH SAFETY TIPS FOR DOG OWNERS

Fort Lauderdale, Fl - June 18, 2012 - With the excitement and commotion that comes with Independence Day, Home Dog Training of South Florida offers helpful tips for the estimated 43 million U.S. dog owners on how to keep their dogs safe and calm during July 4th festivities.

"Independence Day celebrations are great fun for people, but the loud noises and bright lights can be traumatic for dogs," said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist and master trainer. "The explosions, excited voices and visual stimulation can create confusion and fear."

"Animal shelters report that the July 4th holiday brings record numbers of runaway dogs to their doors," Edwards continued. "These dogs have been frightened and made frantic by fireworks. But by being aware and thinking ahead, we can keep our dogs as safe and comfortable as possible during the revelry."

Edwards offers the following tips for dog owners to prepare for Independence Day:

  • If you are going to a fireworks display, leave your dog at home where he will be the most safe and comfortable.
  • If you go to a holiday event, never leave your dog in the car. A partially opened window does not supply sufficient fresh air, and it creates an opportunity for your pet to be stolen.
  • Always keep proper identification securely fastened to your dog's collar in case he gets out. Talk to your veterinarian about implanting a universal microchip in your pet, and make sure that your veterinary clinic and animal shelter have your correct contact information in their database.
  • Don't leave your dog outside. If you cannot bring him inside, cover his dog house with a blanket to protect him from the bursts of bright lights and loud bangs. A dog's sense of hearing is acute-over 10 times more sensitive than humans'.
  • Create a special den-like area in your home where your dog feels safe. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a calming refuge for him.
  • Some dogs become destructive when frightened. If you don't use a crate, remove any items in the room which your dog could destroy or which could hurt him if he chewed them.
  • Keep your dog away from the front and back doors. Your dog may be under significant stress, which could result in unnecessary injury to others or cause him to dart out the door and become lost.
  • Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes.
  • Turn on a TV or radio at normal volume to distract your dog from loud noises and help him to relax.
  • If possible, stay with your pet during the majority of the fireworks. A dog often reacts more intensely to loud sounds and flashes of lights when you are not with him.
  • Consider hiring a pet sitter to stay with your dog while you are away from home.
"July 4 is a time for fun and celebration," Edwards said. "By taking these precautions, you and your pets can have a safe and happy holiday experience."

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



Monday, May 20, 2013

For Immediate Release: Home Dog Training of South Florida offers Tips to Manage Your Dog's Fear of Thunderstorms




Fort Lauderdale, Florida - May 20, 2013 - As thunderstorm season approaches, Home Dog Training of South Florida wants to help dog owners know how to manage their dog's fear of thunder and lightning. Dogs can be trained to cope with their reactions to violent storms and feel calmer through all the noise and bright flashes.

"Thunderstorms are a common fear in dogs, causing many to panic and run away, become destructive, or even hurt themselves," said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist and trainer, Home Dog Training of South Florida. "Dogs can sense that a storm is on the way, and they often begin to show signs of anxiety even before the storm can be heard."

Edwards offers these tips to help your dog learn to be relaxed during storms, fireworks or other loud disturbances that may be frightening to him.

  • Give your dog a safe place to stay during storms. Inside your home, create a quiet, den-like area where your dog can feel secure. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a calming refuge for him. When a storm is brewing, lead your dog to his special place to help him feel safe and protected.
  • Dogs can pick up fear or discomfort with storms from their family members, so it is important that you maintain a calm, matter-of-fact attitude when a storm is approaching. "Let your dog stay close and try to distract him with activities like play or brushing," said Edwards. "Do not try to comfort him in a sympathetic voice. This sounds like praise and may increase his nervousness and confusion."
  • During a storm, keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes. Turn on a TV or radio playing soft music at normal volume to distract your dog and help him to relax.
  • Some dogs become destructive when frightened. A crate is the best way to keep your dog safe and your belongings intact. If you don't use a crate, remove any items in the room that your dog could destroy or cause him harm if he chewed them.
  • Always keep proper identification securely fastened to your dog's collar in case he gets out. A microchip (a permanent form of ID) gives an added layer of protection and increases the chances that your dog will be returned to you if he is lost or runs away.
  • Keep your dog away from doors that lead outside. "Your dog may be under significant stress, which could result in unintended injury to others entering your home or cause him to dart outside and get lost or injured," said Edwards.
  • Your dog may become incontinent due to his extreme fear and the rush of adrenaline he experiences during a storm. Be prepared for this, and don't react if it occurs.
  • If your dog lives outside, cover his doghouse or dog run with a blanket to shield him from the bursts of lightning. Outside dogs can get lost or injured if they escape their fenced yards in fear during storms.
Dogs that continue to panic when a storm approaches may have to be reconditioned by creating an artificial storm with environmental recordings. While reconditioning can be a time-consuming procedure, it can have a high success rate. A qualified dog behavioral therapist, such as a Bark Busters trainer, can help your dog be calmer during thunderstorms. Other options to try include the Thundershirt®, which uses gentle, constant pressure to calm your dog and reduce his anxiety and fearfulness. In extreme cases, medication may be the best solution to help your dog cope with his fear of storms. Consult with your veterinarian about possible treatments, in conjunction with training.

"Your dog's phobia of thunderstorms won't get better on its own," said Edwards. "Help him learn that it's just noise and is nothing for him to worry about. When he learns to relax and remain calm, you too can relax and not worry about your dog during future storms."

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

Thursday, April 18, 2013

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

Fort Lauderdale, Florida April 16, 2013- In celebration of National Pet Week (May 5-11), Home Dog Training of South Florida has issued a list of the "Top 10 Things Every Dog Owner Should Know."

"As part of our commitment to encourage a balanced, positive relationship between owners and dogs, we have compiled a top 10 list to help dog owners better understand their canine pets," said Robin Edwards, dog behavioral therapist. "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," Edwards said. Dogs intuitively follow the same rules and exhibit many of the same behavioral patterns as their wild ancestors. To effectively train your dog, you must first understand his instinctual behavior.

2. All dogs think in terms of survival. Dogs naturally know that living with others, especially with an assertive leader, increases their chances for survival. As a dog owner, one of your responsibilities is to model a leader's strong and consistent characteristics so that your dog will learn to respect and trust you. Your leadership will help 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 tone tell him something completely different," said Edwards.

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 his 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 instinctive in every breed. Whether Chihuahua or German shepherd, a dog's breed has nothing to do with aggression. Instead, aggression is natural 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, he will do one of two things: fight or take flight. By reinforcing leadership with your dog, you can avoid uncontrollable aggression.

6. You can teach an old dog new tricks. "Dogs are continuous learners and have good memories," said Edwards. The three things that primarily influence a dog's behavior are association, experience and instinct. 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. As our dog's primary educator and leader, it is our job to teach him that what he considers natural behaviors are not necessarily acceptable in our households.

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. "Make sure your dog always associates your hands with gentleness and pleasure," said Edwards.

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 simulate situations in which your dog would normally misbehave so you can then correct him immediately and guide him to the appropriate behavior, while praising his correct decisions.

10. Dogs experience the world differently from humans. With 25 times more olfactory receptors than humans, dogs can sense odors at concentrations millions of times lower than we can. In addition, a dog's eyesight can be likened to 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," said Edwards. "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.