Diane Mitchell – Trainer, Animal Instincts Dog Training and Obedience

Hello, I would also love to welcome Diane Mitchell to the team! Diane is an amazing trainer and specializes in dog sports. She will be teaching Agility, Rally Obedience, and General Obedience. Here is what Diane has to say about training, “I love helping dogs and owners understand each other and grow as a team.”
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Diane started teaching in 2009 at Best West and most of her background is in the sport and activity zone. She played Flyball for 13 years with 4 different dogs, her biggest accomplishment was with her Sheltie, Vega. He retired with his Grand Champion title. Diane also competes in Agility, Disk Dog, and Rally-O with her dog Blue, a Border Collie X. Her other dog, Static is retired from the sports scene. Static is a 10 year old Australian Cattle Dog.
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I met Diane last winter when she was assisting Kev Roberts and the Oxford Dog crew in Skijoring/Kicksledding class. Diane loves to go Kicksledding in the winter with her pups. After meeting her there, I knew I just had to take one of her classes. I took her Body Building, beginner Agility/dog sports class at TLC and it was just amazing.
Since taking that class, Diane and I have discussed her coming on board as a trainer and I am so excited that it is finally that time!
Diane will not only be a trainer, but she will be the manager of my retail section at the new dog daycare, Wooftopia Dog Training and Recreation Centre.

 

Dogs: Not Too Cool For School

Scenario 1: You just got a new puppy or adult dog and think, “I won’t do classes with this one because I did with the last one and I still have the notes.”

Scenario 2: You have had your dog for years and you think, “I’ve had my dog for 5 years, I don’t need to take any classes now.”

Scenario 3: You think, “My dog already knows sit, down, and stay, I don’t need a training class.”

Sure, classes are a great learning experience for your dog, but that isn’t the only benefit. Training classes are a great way to create a bond with your pet, entertain them during the cold winter months, getting them involved in great activities, having one on one time with one of your multiple pets, and training impulse control.

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“Who’s Walking Who” leash manners workshop

Puppy Socialization

Socialization is so important and your dog is never too young to start training! Your dog will start to imprint fears in the early stages of his life, therefore it is important to safely introduce him to new situations. Puppy socialization classes are a great learning tool as the puppies learn to be around other dogs and people in a safe environment.

My Puppy Manners class focuses on helping to raise a well-mannered, balanced dog. You will learn fundamental obedience skills through games and interactive exercises, with a focus on techniques to help prevent puppy nipping, chewing, and jumping.

Puppy Manners is about building a stronger bond with your pup, and practicing daily skills with other dogs and people in new environments.

Basic Obedience

When a dog hits about 8-9 months old (exact age can vary depending on the breed) it is officially in his adolescents and can stay in this life stage until close to 2 years. Training your dog during this time is important because they will start getting more interested in outside distractions and may listen a little less, even when given commands they already know.

My Basic Obedience class focuses on basic obedience skills for dogs eight months and up. We  cover the basics, including sit, stay and down, but this class is so much more than that!

Our focus is helping you to connect with your dog by creating a lasting bond. By the end of this class, you’ll have a strong understanding of your dog’s body language as well as know how to exercise your dog both mentally and physically!

Advanced Obedience

Continuing on with your training is a great way to mentally stimulate your dog. Dogs were bred to have jobs so learning new tricks/tasks keeps their life more interesting, makes them want to please you, and keeps them from chewing up your shoes while you aren’t home.

My Advanced Obedience class dives deep into formal obedience. Topics include: sit-stays and down-stays at a distance, sit-stays and down-stays for long time periods, greeting behaviour and impulse control.

A mentally stimulated dog is a happy dog!

A mentally stimulated dog is a happy dog!

REMEMBER: There are a lot of classes out there! I try and switch up my classes all the time so I am offering something new, and focus on what participants want to learn. Don’t want to do another obedience class? Try a for fun agility class, or a few fun workshops! I offer workshops on specific types of socializing for puppies, fun tricks, hand targeting, leash manners, and more!

A dog is NEVER too old to learn new tricks!

If you are interested in taking one of my classes click here for more information and to register.

All classes are $120, 15% discount is given to Manitoba Underdogs Rescue alumni, and $10 off for all dogs adopted from a rescue/shelter. Classes are held at the Riverview Community Center at 90 Ashland Ave, Winnipeg, MB.

Not from Winnipeg? Make sure to find a positive reinforcement trainer near you!

MUR Adoptable – Abby – Separation Anxiety

Hi Friends!

Today I am going to introduce another dog, Abby, that I worked with from Manitoba Underdogs Rescue. Abby suffers from separation anxiety, which is fairly common and can often result in some destruction or escaping from the home. We want the bond between us and our pets to be strong, but sometimes the dog can become too dependant on their human, which causes them stress when they are left alone.

Abby has been adopted and is fitting in great in her new home with a family willing to work through her issues!

Abby has been adopted and is fitting in great in her new home with a family willing to work through her issues!

Some common causes of separation anxiety are:

  1. Straight after a change in routine, you may be working different hours, a family member may of moved out, or you might be on vacation or off work spending more time with your dog and then return to them being home for longer periods of time.
  2. When you bring your new dog home, being in a new environment will create some anxiety until they get used to your routine and realize that it is a permanent home. It can take up to a year for your new dog to fully settle in.
  3. If your dog experiences a traumatic event while on their own, a break in, something large falling, a thunderstorm, etc.
  4. If you move to a new house or neighborhood.

Abby’s fosters/adopters had tried putting her in a kennel, but she would not settle down, so they tried containing her in a room. While in this room she broke through the screened in window and when confined again, chewed and scratched through the door. After all of this, they decided to just leave her out in the house and see what happens. She was doing much better but still scratching at the doors and windows.

After meeting with the family and observing Abby, we made an action plan. Unfortunately, depending on the severity of the anxiety, this isn’t an easy fix, it takes a lot of time and patience. We decided to kennel train her, even if not for her to stay in all day but just a safe option for her to retreat to if ever feeling uncomfortable. Sometimes confinement can make separation anxiety worse so I definitely recommend consulting a professional before making any decisions on your course of action.

Training Steps:

REMEMBER: Separation anxiety can be quite serious depending on what level your dog is at. If you are worried about the safety of your dog, or your house, please contact a Force-Free trainer in your area! During this training time, you shouldn’t leave your dog at home for long periods of time. Most people have full time jobs and can’t stay home during the day, so consider taking your dog to daycare until their anxiety starts to get better. These length of time that you dedicate to each step will vary depending on the dog. If ever your dog starts to get anxious, back up a step or two.

  • If your dog becomes nervous while you are getting ready to go out, start putting on your jacket and just staying in the house, or picking up your keys and carry them around with you inside. Go through the actions that make your dog nervous and don’t leave the house.
  • Once your dog is more comfortable with you getting ready to leave, start leaving the room (close yourself off in another) for a few seconds at a time, showing your dog that you will be coming back. REPEAT this step as much as necessary.
  • Once your dog is comfortable with the few seconds, start adding more time closed off in the room. Make sure to switch up the times as well. 2 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 seconds, 8 seconds, 30 seconds, 15 seconds, etc…. Continue to increase the time until you can make it a few minutes.
  • Once that step is complete, start doing the same exercise but out the front and back door. Try to work your way up to 15 or 30 minutes.
  • Now it is time to actually leave! Go run a quick errand, and return. Start small with 15-30 minutes and work your way up to a couple hours. Eventually start with half a day at work and stop in at lunch to let your dog out and have a short play.

Once you are starting to leave your dog home alone for periods of time, distract them with treat games and lots of toys to occupy their time. Separation anxiety happens for the first hour or two that you are gone, so if your dog has something to distract them during that time, they should settle down and go about normal behavior until you return. I would recommend “hiding” food around for them to go and find, if they are too nervous to take regular kibble, try putting some low sodium chicken broth on top or mixing in some mashed sweet potato. Then scatter a whole bunch of bones and toys for them to chew, make sure to leave a mix of stuffed toys, food bones (not too many of these because you want them gaining any weight), plastic bones (nylabones work great), rope toys, anything your dog enjoys.

Through this whole process, make sure your dog is getting a lot of exercise, mental and physical, before you leave the house. Take your dog for a long walk before you leave and when you get home, also do some obedience training for 15 minutes before leaving, teach him some tricks! You can do the basics, sit, down, sit and stay, down and stay, and then move into others like shake a paw, rollover, crawl, bow, whatever you want! The less energy your dog has when you leave, the less likely they are to experience any level of anxiety.

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety? What techniques worked for you? Let me know in the comments below!