Saturday, May 21, 2022

Canine Parkour

 Canine Parkour for Active Dogs

In Canine Parkour, you teach your dog to perform “interactions” with objects in the environment such as jumping over, going under, going between, walking across, going around, backing between or onto, or sending around.


Canine parkour builds confidence and fosters teamwork by giving you and your dog an opportunity to explore and meet new challenges together as you perform the interactions with different objects in different locations. It also builds physical strength and flexibility while improving overall physical conditioning. 


Safety First - Before doing Canine Parkour you need to have the right equipment!  A harness with a back clip and a leash or longline allows you to support your dog if they need a bit of help.  A dog should not be wearing any type of choke or prong collar doing Canine Parkour activities as these may cause harm if the dog falls or the leash gets caught.  Even a flat collar can become stuck or get twisted and become dangerous.


What I like most about Canine Parkour is you don’t have to go out and buy any expensive equipment!  You use what you have in your current surroundings.  A chair, table or bench can be great to practice skills at home during the training phase.  Logs, stumps and short rocks can be great obstacles that are easy to work with when you first move outside.  Start on low objects that are easy for your dog to be successful and build your way up to more difficult behaviors and obstacles.


Common Parkour Stunts:

  • Paws Up - 2 paws on any object
  • On Top of the World - 4 paws on any object
  • Go Around - circles an object
  • Bum in the Air - back paws on any object
  • Crawl Under the Bridge - crawls under any object
  • Jump or Flying - dog jumps over any object without touching it
  • Balance - dog walks on top of obstacle without touching the ground
  • Through - dog walks through an obstacle such as a hoop

Pack Parkour

Beginning June 2nd, Yooper Paws of Love will be hosting a Pack Parkour event at Strawberry Lake beginning at 6pm. We will be setting up a wide variety of obstacles to teach your dog the skills to do various parkour activities.

The Pack Parkour even will take place on the first Thursday of every month this summer with different obstacles and skills being worked on each time.

There will be a $10 charge per event per dog to try out the obstacles and practice these skills.

You can learn more about this event in our Facebook Events Page.

The Value of Feeling Safe

Today is the start of my Confident Canine Class!

During the course of the 6 weeks of creating a Confident Canine, we will be looking at the 5 different types of confidence we can build in our dogs to help them become more resilient in the world they live in.

The first of these confidences we are going to explore is the Safety Confidence - the belief or feeling that they will be safe, calm, and comfortable in regular day-to-day activities. 

This one is very important because you can’t begin to train the other confidences unless your dog feels safe in the training area. 

 In order to learn how to develop their feeling of safety you have to be able to read their basic signals. So this class is going to involve elements of basic canine body language as how that can look different in different breeds. We will also be looking at desensitization to scary items using distance and high rate, high value reinforcement.  Then we will look at how you can support your dog by helping them feel safe with you as their teammate working through challenges together.

ON SALE for $50 now through Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

My Dog Needs More Exercise!

 MAYbe my dog needs more exercise before he can be calm? MAYbe NOT!

It's often said amongst dog owners that a tired dog is a happy dog.  This has been repeated over and over again for decades!  While dogs do need exercise, just like people, it is possible to over-exercise your dog.  This tends to start with young puppies!  We know young puppies have a whole bunch of behaviors that drive owners crazy; biting people when playing, jumping, chewing on people things, etc.  We also know that if we take the puppy out for some fresh air and exercise or arrange a puppy playdate, they will likely sleep for a few hours and let us get some much needed work done.  I'm not saying those are bad things to do as puppies do need exercise, fresh air, and puppy playtime.  But puppies also need a whole ton of sleep!

Different breeds and sizes of dogs have different requirements for exercise just like they would food.  A Great Dane surely needs more food then a Pomeranian.  But exercise is not solely determined by size so it's a bit harder to figure out.  Guardian breeds are often very large, but were bred to do a lot of chilling out in the same area, watching the herd where other dogs were bred for active working of a herd such as a border collie.  Great Pyrenees are much larger then Border Collies, but Border Collies often need more exercise.  This means there is not one size fits all when it comes to exercise requirements.

Another common thing that we as owners, often struggle with is thinking that my puppy will go to sleep when they get tired.  We don't expect human toddlers to decide on their own that they want to curl up and take a nap, yet we expect our very young puppies to have learned that lesson early in life.  This is just one of the many things that we as dog owners expect too much too soon from our pets.  Just like children, the adult or pet owner often has to teach a puppy how to relax and rest especially when they live in a very active household.  Many puppies turn into adolescent dogs without learning this life skill.  Then we as pet owners tend to get caught up the struggle to constantly provide more and more exercise for our growing dogs as we try to prevent those pesky behaviors we don't like.  And yes, I've fallen into this trap before too!  When our dogs seem to have an endless supply of energy it's easy for us to think, oh lets make our walk even longer or throw the tennis ball a few more times.  Then before we know it, our dogs need to walk 10 miles a day and play ball for 2-3 hours.  This is what happens when we continue to add just a bit more, then a bit more, then a bit more to our exercise routine.

It's important that we teach our dogs how to relax and be calm during day to day life as an important life skill.  We can do this much easier with puppies, but it can be added into your dog's life no matter what their age is.  I often help people to figure out a Relaxation Routine that helps take their dog from the Go-Go-Go mind frame into the Slow-Slow-Slow mind frame.  The first step is to make sure you are meeting your dog's needs beyond food, water, and shelter and including exercise, mental stimulation, enrichment, and social activities.  Since exercise helps to amp up our dog, I typically suggest people start practicing their Relaxation Routine immediately following some exercise.  You can set the stage before you go out on a walk so when you come back you follow a routine that helps lower your dog's excitement.  This might involve spending a few minutes hanging out in the backyard watching the world go by, going in the house for drink or treat, having a few minutes of cuddle time or gentle massage or maybe a stuffed kong to enjoy while settling on a mat.  The choices are pretty much endless, but the goal is to provide predictability that then tells the dog that it's time to chill and hang out a bit.  

Once you have a basic Relaxation Routine developed, you can then branch out to additional routines for anything that happens on a regular basis; family members coming home, dinner time, bedtime, etc.  If you are struggling to get your dog to calm down after some hyper activity, I'm happy to help you develop a Relaxation Routine that can fit into your daily schedule.

Service Dog Myths


I haven't written as many blogs about myths as I wanted to this month.  Sometimes life with disability gets in the way of my best laid plans.  But I wanted to tackle a few common Service Dog (SD) Myths that I hear quite often.  People tend to think it would be so cool to be able to take your dog with you everywhere you go, but they often don't understand really what that means.  Also people commonly believe that SD's only help blind people or people in wheelchairs, therefore people who look OK are either training that dog for another disabled person or they are faking a need for a SD.  And last but not least, people commonly believe that SD's are forced into working and never get a break.  Those are the myths I want to tackle first, how the general public thinks life with a SD should be.

Myth: Seeing Eye Dogs are the only true Service Dogs.

While this is rapidly changing as more and more people are using SD's for a wide variety of disabilities, I still regularly here these questions when out in public with Azul.  "When will he go to his handler or real disabled person?"  "Won't it be hard to give him up once he completes training?"  "It's so kind of you to train SD's!"  The problem with all these questions, which are simple enough is that rarely do people think that I'm disabled enough to need a SD and so I must be training Azul for someone else.

This is why, typically when I'm able, I don't mind taking the time to explain all the many ways Azul helps me in day to day life.  I have no problem talking about his tasks, but that also opens me up to talking about my medical issues.  Not all handlers want to disclose their medical conditions and it's pretty rude of a total stranger in a business to ask for details about a person's medical history.   But that is exactly what all these questions imply for a SD handler with invisible disabilities.

So what is an invisible disability?  This is a term that is growing in popularity and basically means that it is a medical condition that is not easily determined by simply looking at a person.  It's easy to see a person in a wheelchair, or missing a limb, or blind as disabled.  But the American with Disabilities Act defines disability as an impairment that limits a person from doing daily tasks on a regular basis.

Myth:  An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is a type of Service Animal.

An Emotional Support Animal can be any type of animal that provides comfort  simply by being present without any required training.  A Service Animal (in the USA) can only be a dog or miniature horse that is task trained to mitigate a person's disability.  ESA's only have access to private housing and often require a letter from a Doctor to be approved.  This allows a qualified person to rent a home in a place that would typically not be pet friendly such as on a college campus or apartment and have the ESA in that living environment.  A Service Animal on the other, under ADA, has access to public access environments when they accompany their human, disabled handler in those spaces, even when that environment does not allow pets.  This would include stores and restaurants that sell food, hospitals, and other places where allowing pets would be against the local health codes.  Health codes vary from state to state and county to county, so you would need to check with the local Health Dept to see if a business is able to be pet friendly or not.  If a business is not pet friendly, only a Service Dog that is task trained to assist a disabled person would be allowed in that business.

Myth:  Service Animals must be trained by a specialized organization or program that provides those Service Dogs to disabled people.

This is totally not true!  While there are some programs and businesses that train Service Dogs, there is no requirement (in the USA) for a Service Animal to be trained by a professional.  Many organizations that train Service Dogs have astronomically high fees often costing the disabled handler more then $20,000 to obtain the animal.  This is unaffordable to many disabled people and there the ADA does not require Service Animals to be trained by accredited programs.  Many disabled people choose to train their own Service Animal with the help of 1 or more local dog trainers and by networking with other Service Animal Handlers who have experience.

There are many more Service Dog Myths out there!  Here is an ADA Link for some common misconceptions about Service Dogs.

(This blog was to be part of the Foolish Follies of April, but I never got a chance to finish it!
Please forgive me for the delay!)

The Emotional Experience

Unpacking the Emotional Experience with Andrew Hale

Yooper Paws of Love and Cindy Campbell Dog Training are pleased to be collaborating with Andrew Hale to discuss a topic that is very important to us, considering our dog's emotional experience. This discussion to geared toward dog owners who are training their own assistance/service dog in a way that will help them consider their dog’s emotions and learn to increase their teamwork. But the information applies to all dogs including family pets, hunting dogs, and Therapy Dogs.
Topics: --Understanding the behaviors we do and the behaviors we see others do. --Understanding personal truths and how our truth is unique. --Unpacking the emotional experience in our dogs. --Everyone needs CAKE & TEA! --Experimental & structured learning processes. --Looking at emotional reactions on both sides of the leash.

Everyone needs to enjoy some CAKE!

If you enjoyed this conversation, you can join the Dog Centered Care

Hard Realistic Expectations

 Last year I wrote on blog on how to set you and your dog up for success creating a plan that had realistic expectations.  Jump over here to...