I hate when people let their dogs chase squirrels. They usually think it’s harmless, but they are encouraging their dog to participate in an activity that the dog can never succeed at. Would you want to chase something that is always just out of your reach? Occasionally dogs do catch squirrels and will the owners be happy about it? Of course not. They will instead punish their dog by yelling at him to drop it and shouting “No”. But they were the ones that encourage their dog to do so in the first place. If you bike with your dog, do you want him running after a squirrel then? What happens if your dog takes after a squirrel and the leash slips out of your hand and the squirrel runs across the street? Your dog thinks it’s doing what it’s supposed to do: chase the squirrel until it jumps into a tree.

If your dog is consistently chasing squirrels,  maybe he’d like another job. For instance, fetching the newspaper or a ball, carrying a backpack, running alongside you, etc. Give your dog a job to be proud of. You can un-train your dog to chase squirrels by being the leader and taking charge. Give your dog a firm leash correction and keep walking. Don’t allow your dog to show excitement or stare the squirrel down. If you need to, stop walking and wait until your dog is calmly facing away from the squirrel, then keep walking. In a short time, he will get the message that you no longer want them to exhibit that behavior and they will stop.

Okay. Rant over (there’s a dog in my park that gets run over nearly daily from chasing squirrels–oy). Lead your dog!


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Lead your dog!

Tomorrow is July 4th, the day when the most dogs run away from home out of fear. To help make July 4th an enjoyable day for your dog instead of a terrorizing one, follow these tips:

1) Be aware of your emotions on the days leading up to the holiday. Are you nervous, anxious or fearful because your dog will feel it and think that something bad is coming. Instead, stay cool, stay calm and think thoughts of leadership to help communicate to your dog that nothing out of the ordinary is going to happen.

2) Take your dog on a REALLY long walk on the morning of July 4th (like 2 hours ending at the dog park). Add a backpack loaded with water bottles if you have one. Take your dog for a long swim at the beach. Get him as tired as you know how so that when the excitement begins (family, BBQ, laughter, fireworks, etc), he will be too tired to respond.

3) If your dog is fearful, put him on a leash and attach the leash to your belt loop. Don’t talk to him, pet him, or feel sorry for him, just keep chill and pretend like he’s not there. This will show your dog that there’s nothing to worry about because the pack leader isn’t worried about it.

4) If you don’t have the mental ability to ignore your dog through calm, assertive leadership and you suspect that your dog will have a really hard time with the fireworks, consider boarding your dog at a vet’s clinic so that your dog can stay safe and contained  instead of bolting.

Have a safe and happy 4th! Happy Birthday, America!

Lead your dog!

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“Question: If you give a leash correction to a large dog, you can feel confident that you aren’t doing the dog any harm. But what about with small dogs? How do you know how hard is too hard?” Let me see if I can help you…

How to Give a Proper Leash Correction To a Small Dog or Puppy

1) Lower your hand so that it is parallel to the dog’s neck. This may mean that your hand is almost touching the ground, but when you give a leash correction you want to snap sideways, parallel with your dog’s neck.

2) Only use your thumb and pointer finger on the leash. You don’t need a lot of force with a small dog, but you do need big energy. Don’t be worrying about if your snap is too hard. Just use your judgement, feel confident and in control and then snap the leash quickly to the side and then immediately relax the tension again. The tension on the leash should only last a second or two.  The purpose of a leash correction is to snap the dog out of its current behavior. You are disagreeing with his decision in a calm, quiet way.

3) You will know if your leash correction was successful if your dog stopped what it was doing, put his ears back, lowered his head, and/or made eye contact with you. If you see no changes in your dog’s behavior after the correction then you didn’t snap hard enough, your energy was too soft, or your dog has been de-sensitized to leash corrections on his neck and you need to use another means of discipline such as “The Touch“.

4) The final piece of any leash correction is what you do afterward: no tension on the leash. Leash corrections are only effective if the leash isn’t taught all the time! Work towards having a loose leash at all times so that your dog knows that tension equals discipline.

Lead your dog!

A quick word about your dog’s water/food bowl. It may look clean when you re-fill it with water, but it is not. Make sure you dump out the food and water, wipe out with a paper towel (you will see how disgusting it is at this point) and then run it through your dishwasher to blast any last dirt off. Saliva, dirt from their whiskers, and food particles float in your dog’s water without your realization leading to truly disgusting water after a few weeks. Give your dog clean water and he may even drink more of it! Lead your dog!

My little Emma Penelope is now 6 months old–Wow, how time flies! It has been an amazing journey so far, and I am looking forward to even more that God is going to teach me through this little one.

We ended up giving Princeton to our friend’s  in Kentucky because I wasn’t able to give him as much exercise as he needed. Nothing bad happened to cause us to want to re-home him, but when I realized that it would be better for everyone involved including him, it just made sense. Sounds like he’s getting plenty loved on. Click here to see Princeton with his new family: http://karicorsi.blogspot.com/2012/02/we-are.html

Meanwhile, Mr. Bennett has adjusted great to being Emma’s…brother/pack member/kindly Uncle. He is a faithful companion to her when she’s in her highchair (wonder why) and lays next to her in the sunshine. He gently but firmly keeps other dogs away from her at the dog park (it’s quite sweet actually, but I am careful not to let him get too bossy). Highlight of their interactions so far was that they were laying next to each other by the window and I walked away for a moment. I heard him yelping and ran back in only to find that Emma had him by the beard and he was just calling for me to help him out. He could have disciplined her like a puppy by gently using his teeth to correct her, but instead he just called for help. What a sweetie pie.

Life is pretty awesome right now I must say. Lead your dog!

A girl from church told me that she wanted to get a dog, but she had no idea what to expect because she has never owned a dog before. My suggestion was to lend her my schnauzer, Mr. Bennett, for a few days. That way she can actually see what it’s like to own a four-legged friend instead of just hearing about it. However, I knew that I couldn’t be dog-less, so I gave her Ben while I was boarding a daschund named Casey. We have been having a blast! This old man (he’s 11, but you’d never know) makes me laugh every single day. My favorite things about Casey is how he BURROWS! The dude sleeps under two fleece blankets (which he arranges and gets under by himself) and often nothing is sticking out except a nose. It’s hilarious. I love the way he scratches his long back on the floor by wiggling his butt, belly-side up. I love that often you can’t tell if he’s sitting or standing because he doesn’t get any shorter when he sits. Another precious thing about Casey? I took him over to my parent’s house and he really bonded with my sister Lizzy (she has special needs, but Casey sure didn’t know!).  Enough words. Meet the guy in photos:

He arranged these blankets himself:

Ah well. All in all, I like Daschund’s… Lead your dog!