I was so wrapped up in the Westminster Show last week, I now have lots of dog-related news to catch you up on. So, here’s a wrap-up of what popped into my e-mail over the past week or so.
In one of my posts this week, I referenced Victoria Stillwell from the Animal Planet show It’s Me or the Dog, which got me to thinking about how we accomplish the huge task of dog training.
Have you seen the TV show called “It’s Me or the Dog“? I think it’s on Animal Planet, and I think my son has been spending way too much time watching it.
Have you seen this dog yet? He’s been called the Worlds’ Smartest Dog and has been featured on Oprah, Letterman, Leno, and other shows – he is truly amazing. And to think, I can’t even get my dogs to stop counter-surfing!
We were watching “It’s Me or the Dog” on Animal Planet this morning, and Victoria was demonstrating the use of a clicker to train a dog. If you’re not familiar with it, the idea is to use a clicker to signal the dog that he is doing something right. Here is a short video showing how the clicker works – beware they are trying to sell you something!
Have you read Michael Schaffer’s book yet? Titled “One Nation Under Dog: Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, dog-Park Politics and Organic Pet Food,” Schaffer’s book highlights some of the extremes people go to for their pets and about some of the products available for pets today.
Innovative prison program teaches dogs and men
At Wakulla Correctional Institute in Florida, an inmate reaches into his pocket and finds a dog biscuit for Pooh, a Husky-Labrador Retriever-Chow mix. Pooh gobbles the treat too enthusiastically and the inmate pushes him gently and firmly to the floor to calm him. Settled down, Pooh licks his hand.
Not too long ago, things looked bleak for Pooh. He was big and unruly and no one wanted to adopt him. Then Pooh got lucky and became part of a new program, Paws in Prison. Working with “dog whisperer” Jay King, inmates are taught how to train a dog, giving them useful skills and providing pound pooches a second chance.
The dogs move in with the inmates for two months, sleeping in kennels pushed right up against the bunks. King teaches them that it isn’t rocket science to train a dog–to teach them stability you have to be stable. He teaches them to train with kindness and treats, never harshness or punishment.
The end goal is to give the prisoners valuable skills that they can use outside prison (some dream of one day opening their own dog training schools), and to rehabilitate otherwise un-adoptable dogs to help them find forever homes.