Therapy team dreams

December 20, 2010

Michele Forto

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to your local community.  There are many ways to volunteer but one in particular that seems to be very popular today is volunteering as a Therapy Team with your dog.

At Dog Works Training Centers, we get countless calls and inquiries monthly regarding individuals interested in certifying their dog as a therapy dog.  Many times, the individual is taken aback once they learn what it takes. You see not every dog can or wants to work.  Not every dog has the temperament or drive to make itself available emotionally and physically to strangers in new unfamiliar environments.

[ Info on Therapy Dog Training at Denver Dog Works ]

That being said Dog Works Training Centers offers many different levels of Therapy Team training.  Including temperament testing and recertification training, we are familiar with the practices and testing requirements of Delta Society (http://www.deltasociety.org), Therapy Dogs International, Children’s Hospital, and S.A.R.A. therapy team certification.

If you are thinking about volunteering with your dog and becoming a therapy team take some time and research your endeavor.  Ask at the local assisted living homes, hospitals, schools, and libraries if they utilize this service and what certification they are looking for.  There are also several private therapists, in home care businesses and enrichment programs that utilize therapy teams.  Your local dog trainer is a great resource and I would recommend starting with a trainer who is certified or experienced in therapy training.

Training recommendations for therapy dogs; basic obedience, Canine Good Citizen, a form of public access training, and proper socialization with people and outside environments.

________________________

Michele Forto is the Denver Dog Training Examiner, the lead trainer at Denver Dog Works and the co-host of the Dog Works Radio Show.

 


Dog Works Radio: Pit Bulls as Service Dogs? Not in Denver

December 13, 2010

Pit Bulls as Service Dogs?

On the latest edition of the Dog Works Radio we spoke to an expert in ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) policy in Denver, Candice Adler about the recent ruling to not allow Pit Bulls as service dogs in Denver.

Pit Bulls as service dogs will be not allowed in the City and County of Denver, CO in a landmark ruling last week. The City Council turned down down an amendment to the decade long breed ban that includes Pit Bulls. A suit was brought forth by a US Solider to be allowed to keep his pit bull as a service dog. The Department of Justice announced this summer that new rules will be in place this coming March. The City of Denver said it doesn’t care and they are not making exceptions. A suit is in the works…

The Dog Works Radio Show is hosted by well respected canine behaviorist, Dr. Robert Forto and is brought to you by Twine Group Media and Dog Works Training Centers. The Dig Doctor Radio Show demonstrates through guests, call-ins, chats and social media how dog owners can have a balanced relationship with their dogs.

Listen to the latest show here:

Dog Works Radio: Pit Bulls as Service Dogs? Not in Denver

We welcome your comments suggestions and concerns. Please comment below or send them to live@dogdoctorradio.com

[ Rewind: Mush You Huskies: Ballad of the Northland ]

[ Rewind: Dog Works Radio: Atticus the Wolfdog of a US Solider ]

_______________

Dr. Robert Forto is a canine behaviorist and the training director for Dog Works Training Centers. Dr. Forto is a musher currently in Alaska training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular programs, Dog Works Radio and Mush! You Huskies.

 


A Christmas Puppy for a Gift? Maybe Not

December 4, 2010

Events of this Christmas will have a profound impact on the dog training industry in April.

All those cute puppy-in-a-stocking photos prompt unsuspecting people to give dogs as gifts, inevitably resulting in a high rate of premium business for me and my colleagues.

A Christmas Puppy? Maybe Not

“Christmas puppies” often are impulse purchases, in a spirit of love and giving and generosity that goes with the season, but without the hard self-assessment that goes into asking oneself if one has the time and the energy and the inclination to give the necessary commitment to raising and socializing and educating that puppy. Better to get that new puppy at a less emotionally charged time of the year, when the decision to add a dog to the family is a less impulsive and more carefully considered one, uninfluenced by seasonal generosity of spirit, which might just fade a bit after the tree comes down and the lights are put away.

Realistically and sadly, Christmas puppies tend to be older puppies at the pound a few months later, or that nearly year old dog getting euthanized because someone bought a dog as a “toy” for a child that has no legitimate responsibility for that animal and loses interest. Also, some people have no idea that dogs grow and get bigger, or at least bigger than they expected.  Nor do they consider that the dog will require training and they bring them to me at arm’s length saying, “Fix my dog!”

Every April I see frenzied clients at my training center at wits end with their now-adult sized dogs that are totally out of control. They have no leash manners, refuse to come when called, hyperactive from a lack of exercise, obese from too many treats, and unwilling to even acknowledge their name.

Most people think that cute little puppy that was under the tree on Christmas morning will stay that way. On the contrary, they grow up and they grow up quick. Think of it this way. Could you go from the crib to high-school? No way! Puppies need exercise, discipline and affection—in that order. The best gift you can ever give that Christmas puppy is obedience training. This will not only build a lifelong bond but give you the control, leadership and routine that your dog so much desires.

If you are absolutely set upon getting your family a puppy for Christmas, consider this alternative instead: Purchase a leash, a collar, a good book on raising a puppy, a gift certificate for a veterinary checkup, a gift certificate for puppy socialization classes from one of the local obedience instructors, a book or video tape on the topic of how to select the right dog for your family (there are several, including even a computer program that purports to help you do this), or a gift subscription to one of the dog-oriented magazines.

Wrap these up and put them under the tree. As family members unwrap the various pieces of the “puzzle”, their delight and anticipation will grow. They will gradually understand what this present is! Then, after the Christmas tree is taken down and the frenzy of the holiday season is behind, the family can once again enjoy together the anticipation and excitement of discussing and selecting a breed, selecting a breeder, selecting an individual pup, and so on. This will increase the family’s mutual commitment to, and investment in, the well-being of the newest family member. It will be a project the family has done together, which is a wonderful way for any adoption to commence. This will not decrease the enjoyment of your new puppy; I guarantee it. It will increase it by many fold. And it will be a better start both for the puppy, and for the long-term relationship between dog and owner(s). A dog with a good introduction to its adoptive family is much more likely to become a long term companion rather than just another tragic statistic.

____________________

Dr. Robert Forto, PhD is the training director for Dog Works Training Centers and hosts a weekly radio program, The Dog Doctor Radio Show, every Saturday. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at http://www.denverdogworks.com

 


Behind the Breed: Pomeranian

November 26, 2010

In this series we will profile breeds registered with the American Kennel Club to give dog owners some ideas of what to expect of their dog. At Denver Dog Works we work with a network of breeders and with 20 years experience and training thousands of dogs we can help the new dog owner choose a breed that is right for you, your family and lifestyle.

Behind the Breed: Pomeranian

Pomeranian

Trainers Note: The Pomeranian, known as the “little lion” is a favorite breed these days of the rich and famous. You often see these little dogs carried around by Hollywood celebrities and this has made the breed explode in popularity. This spunky breed has tons of energy and must have plenty of exercise.

The Pomeranian is a cocky, animated companion with an extroverted personality. This compact little dog is an active toy breed with an alert character and fox-like expression. Today, the Pomeranian is a popular companion dog and competitive show dog. They can come in all colors, patterns, and variations although orange and red are the most popular.

A Look Back
The breed’s name originally came from the historical region of Pomerania (now present day Germany and Poland). Originally weighing nearly 30 pounds, the dog served as an able herder of sheep in its larger form. They were not well known until 1870, when the Kennel Club (England) recognized the so-called Spitz dog. In 1888, Queen Victoria fell in love with a Pomeranian in Florence, Italy, and brought the specimen back to England, influencing its popularity dramatically.

Right Breed for You?
Pomeranians are very intelligent dogs that love to please. Because of their outgoing temperaments, they can be very good family dogs with the right training. Due to their small size they don’t require much exercise, but are an energetic breed that needs attention from their people frequently. They possess a thick double coat, which needs to be brushed on a regular basis.

  • Toy Group; AKC recognized in 1888.
  • Ranging in size from 3 to 7 pounds, with the ideal weight for the show specimen being 4 to 6 pounds.
  • Bred down from sled and herding dogs, companion.

© The American Kennel Club, Inc. http://www.akc.org

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works

___________________

Dr. Robert Forto the owner of Denver Dog Works and Alaska Dog Works, is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

 


Behind the Breed: Poodle

November 19, 2010

In this series we will profile breeds registered with the American Kennel Club to give dog owners some ideas of what to expect of their dog. At Denver Dog Works we work with a network of breeders and with 20 years experience and training thousands of dogs we can help the new dog owner choose a breed that is right for you, your family and lifestyle.

Trainers Note: Many trainers will tell you that the Poodle is the smartest dog they have ever trained. I agree. I have worked with several over the years and they are an absolute joy to work with. Carrying himself proudly, very active, intelligent, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself. Major fault: shyness or sharpness.

Poodle

Poodle

The Poodle, though often equated to the beauty with no brains, is exceptionally smart, active and excels in obedience training. The breed comes in three size varieties, which may contribute to why Poodle is one of the most popular breeds according to AKC® Registration statistics. Poodles can be a variety of solid colors, including white, black, apricot and gray, but never parti-colored.

A Look Back
The breed originated in Germany as a water retriever. The stylish “Poodle clip” was designed by hunters to help the dogs move through the water more efficiently. The patches of hair left on the body are meant to protect vital organs and joints which are susceptible to cold. The Standard variety is the oldest of the three varieties. The Miniature variety may have been used for truffle hunting. The Toy Poodle was often used in performances and circuses.

Right Breed for You?
The Poodle can accommodate nearly any size living quarters. His hypoallergenic coat may reduce allergic reactions, but requires regular professional grooming. The Poodle is an active breed and requires daily exercise.

If you are considering purchasing a Poodle puppy, learn more here.

  • Non-Sporting (Standard and Miniature) and Toy (Toy) Groups; AKC recognized in 1887.
  • Standard: over 15 inches tall at the shoulder; Miniature: over 10 but under 15 inches; Toy: 10 inches or under.
  • Water retriever, companion.

© The American Kennel Club, Inc. http://www.akc.org

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works

___________________

Dr. Robert Forto the owner of Denver Dog Works and Alaska Dog Works, is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows


Behind the Breed: German Shepherd Dog

November 17, 2010

In this series we will profile breeds registered with the American Kennel Club to give dog owners some ideas of what to expect of their dog. At Denver Dog Works we work with a network of breeders and with 20 years experience and training thousands of dogs we can help the new dog owner choose a breed that is right for you, your family and lifestyle.

Trainers Note: The German Shepherd has become our choice for our service dog training program for many reasons. Mainly for the stability of the temperament, intelligence and stamina of the breed. Please note that there are many differences from the American standard and the European standard and it often leads to much confusion. Please do your homework.

German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd Dog is hailed as the world’s leading police, guard and military dog, however, this dependable breed is more than its 9-to-5 job. Consistently one of the United States’ most popular breeds according to AKC® Registration Statistics, the German Shepherd Dog is also a loving family companion, herder and show competitor. The breed is approachable, direct and fearless, with a strong, muscular body. The GSD may be most colors, but most commonly is black and tan.

A Look Back
The German Shepherd Dog originated in 1899 at Karlsruhe, Germany due to the efforts of Captain Max von Stephanitz and others. Derived from the old breeds of herding and farm dogs, the first German Shepherd Dog exhibited in America was in 1907. The fame associated with Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart, two members of the breed whose movies played on variations of the boy and his dog theme, shot the popularity of the breed sky-high.

Right Breed for Your Lifestyle
Energetic and fun-loving, the breed is very fond of children once a relationship is established. He is a loyal family pet and a good guard dog, the ideal choice for many families. He requires regular exercise and grooming.

Learn more about purchasing a German Shepherd Dog puppy.

  • Herding Group; AKC recognized in 1908.
  • Ranging in size from 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Herding, police work.

© The American Kennel Club, Inc. http://www.akc.org

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works

___________________

Dr. Robert Forto the owner of Denver Dog Works and Alaska Dog Works, is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

 

 


I just got a new dog! Now what? Steps 3-5

November 17, 2010

Michele Forto is the lead trainer at Denver Dog Works

Step Three: I’m standing just inside my front door with my new dog on leash what’s next?  Do not unleash him.  Instead take him into each and every room and place him on a sit, walk him around that room letting him smell his surroundings, if he becomes overly interested in any one object – gently tell him “leave it” when he looks up at you or goes to the next thing praise him for leaving alone what you asked him to leave alone.  Manners and boundaries are key to teaching your new dog how you expect him to behave and treat his new home.  Boundaries are set by you showing him where he can be and what he can touch and what he cannot touch.  Manners involves him learning to sit politely and patiently for attention/affection without jumping up.  It also involves him learning to follow you through doorways and stairways instead of racing and pushing past you to get through first.

[ Rewind: I Just Got a New Dog! Now What? Steps 1-2 ]

Step Four: You’ve successfully introduced your new dog to your home, it’s time for some exercise and love.  Take your dog outside to your backyard and let him do his business.  I personally choose to teach my dogs to potty on command on leash first so I can ensure that they use the bathroom in the same place every time.  This is up to you.  Once he’s done his business – begin playing a game with your new dog.  This incorporates affection and exercise at the same time and is highly stimulating for your dog.  Be sure to win all games (W.A.G.) and end the session if your dog becomes overly excited and/or agitated by simply asking him to sit, take away the toys and tell him “all done”.  If he refuses to end the game, replace his leash and go back to step two and step three.

Step Five: Training = Control for you and routine for your dog.  You’ve had your dog for 24 hours, you’ve already began his training routine and didn’t even know it!  There’s no time like the present to begin a specific training routine.  Training can get pretty boring and can become very repetitive – even though I am a trainer, I recommend seeking out a trainer to help keep you on task, deal with difficult situations and to help you gain ground avoiding plateau’s.

There are many trainers to choose from out there – do your research, remember your list of goals, and discuss with each trainer your plans and how they can best help you obtain those goals.

_______________________

Michele Forto is the lead trainer at Denver Dog Works and the co-host of the popular Dog Works Radio Show.