Atlanta Humane Society Blog

August 12, 2010

Tips, Tricks and Tools by Mailey!

The AHS blog is kicking off a new series called Tips, Tricks and Tools by Mailey! This new series is dedicated to answering reader questions.  We want you guys to write in with all your inquiries on animal behavior and training. Here’s how it will work: e-mail your questions to pr@atlantahumane.org, Mailey McLaughlin, our Animal Behavior and Training expert, will answer them and then they will be posted in one week.

We have 3 3 year old Malteses, 2 girls and 1 boy. The 2 bigger ones are from the same litter and have bonded more and the little one from a different litter is subservient to them. The 2 bigger ones bark when anyone comes to our house, and if we don’t put them on a leash, they will attempt to nip at their pant leg or skirt. If they get used to the visitor but the visitor gets and leaves the room and then comes back into the room, the barking and attempt to nip will begin again. We have tried to get them to stay but they will not when the guest gets up. Any ideas?

Another problem is that there is a dog next door and now when we go to let them out in the fenced in back yard, the 2 big ones immediately run to the fence and start barking even if there is no one on the other side. What can we do?

It can indeed be challenging to have multiple dogs, especially littermates or dogs that were raised together from puppyhood. They are harder to train and housebreak, and they tend to bond so closely with each other that they don’t respect the humans as leaders. It sounds like you have a case of “littermate syndrome” going on.

Fixing the problem means setting it up so that you can get their attention and train some simple commands that they can obey even when excited or distracted. They will need to be separated on a regular basis so you can establish some leadership. I recommend against getting multiple puppies at once, but if it’s already done, the best thing to do is keep them separated a lot as they grow up so they are easier to train and don’t develop hierarchy issues (this generally flies in the face of what people think is best; they get multiples so they can have companionship, but constant togetherness in growing puppies is actually detrimental to their growth). Since these guys are already grown, it’s going to be a little trickier, as they are not going to take to being separated much, I’d imagine. But with patience and work, it can be done.

I’d start crating them separately, in separate rooms, only allowing them to have time together a few hours a day. If they’ve never been crate-trained, this will probably be trying as they will likely cry more than the average dog in crate training. Be resolute and ignore the noise. One of the adults in the home should take over the training of one of the dogs, and the other adult the other dog, if possible. Teach them some basic commands like “sit,” “lie down,” and “come to me.” (Consult a good book like Kilcommons’ and Wilson’s My Smart Puppy, or hire a trainer to help you).

Keep them on leash (or keep them crated when you can’t be actively training them) when guests visit so that you can control them. Teach them to lie quietly beside you instead of allowing them to nip at pants legs. Leadership comes when dogs learn that you will allow certain things and not others, the right things will be rewarded, and you control all the good stuff. It is not harsh, but firm, and since dogs crave structure and a leader, most respond right away.

When they have a solid “come,” the hijinks in the yard will cease because you will be able to get their attention and call them away from the fence and give them alternative behaviors. Right now, they think barking at the fence is their “job.” They don’t know any other way to behave, so guide them to a better, quieter behavior, and reward.

The importance of consistent basics cannot be overemphasized, and even small breeds need training. They are still young, so they will learn. Good luck!

These answers were provided by Mailey E. McLaughlin, M.Ed., our Training & Behavior Manager and Certified Dog Trainer. For more information, email her directly at training@atlantahumane.org.

August 11, 2010

Join Us for “Pets in the Park”

This fall, three of Atlanta’s most recognized names: SweetWater Brewery, Park Tavern, and Atlanta Humane Society are joining forces to match homeless pets with new, loving families. Every Saturday from August 14 – September 11, Atlanta Humane Society will set up their mobile adoption bus at Park Tavern, on the corner of Piedmont Park. The bus will house plenty of dogs and cats, puppies and kittens for visitors to meet, play with, and adopt! Every person that visits the mobile bus and spends time with an animal of their choice will receive two free tour passes to SweetWater Brewery. The passes may be used on any Saturday tour. Those who do adopt will receive a special gift, in addition to their new family member! Park Tavern will open early to accommodate guests. While you’re visiting the mobile adoption bus, be sure to also check out Piedmont Park’s newly renovated Dog Park as well as the Park’s Green Market!

When: Saturdays
August 14
August 21
August 28
September 4
September 11

What time: 10am – 1pm

Where: Park Tavern, 500 10th Street NE, on the corner of 10th and Monroe

August 10, 2010

Meet Our Longest Residents!

Filed under: About Animals, Adoptions — Tags: , , , , , — ahspr @ 10:17 am

Meet Pique! This guy (his name is pronounced PEEK) is an energetic, friendly and loving Labrador Retriever mix. Pique is 8-months-old and came to us as puppy in February. He has spent most of his life in our shelter, growing up in front of staff and volunteers while waiting for his new home. Pique loves walks and to is happiest outside in our play yard. While walking through our shelter, some people may be overwhelmed by dogs like Pique, who jump up and down with so much energy. In fact, most of these dogs, when taken outside, aren’t nearly as energetic as they seem in their pens. Pique has never learned how to behave in a house, so he will need an owner who has the patience to teach him manners and obedience. This guy is a smart dog, though, and he’ll catch on quick. Pique loves people and enjoys cuddling and leaning on anyone around. There is no doubt that Pique will be an amazing dog for someone. Pique is a sponsored pet, his adoption fee was covered by a local ordained minister, Clark Ashton, so that his new family can spend a little more on treats, toys and food. If you think Pique sounds like the dog for you, find out more about him here: http://www.atlantahumane.org/adoption/adopt-pet-dog.asp

This is Jamie! This girl is our longest cat resident, clocking in currently at a 7 month stay. Jamie is a beauitful cat with a great personality to match, so her extended stay with us has left many staff and volutneers puzzled. Jamie stands out a little from other cats because of her distinctive “bangs” or “hat” of grey fur on her head. She also has striking green-yellow eyes. Jamie’s a young girl, only 3.5-years-old and will still play if given the chance. She is very friendly and loves to be petted. At times she can want to do her own thing and has an independent streak. Jamie would make a great pet for just about anyone. Since she has been at our shelter for longer than 60 days, her adoption fee has been reduced by half to $42.50. To find out more about Jamie, click here: http://www.atlantahumane.org/adoption/atlanta-cat-adoption.asp

August 5, 2010

Adventures in Fostering

Hi, all! I’m a new foster mom and I want you guys to know all about what it’s like. This new series will give you a look into what it’s like to care for newborn puppies up until their adoption time.

Last week I learned that my pups wouldn’t be ready for adoption for at least two more weeks. I was not expecting this news and while I was thrilled to be able to spend more times with the pups I began to realize that my “system” of keeping them just wasn’t working out anymore. I do not have a fenced yard and while the pups were little this was not a problem, but lately they have had such an explosion of energy and they love being outside. They always wanted more time outside than I could give them. I think this need for exercise led them to be a little yappy at times, which used up all of my family’s patience with them.

When another foster parent, who knew of my struggles with the pups, offered to foster them for their remaining time I knew it was the right thing for them, but I knew it would be difficult to give up the four little pups that have grown up in front of me. I accepted her offer and we made the switch, even though I was sad to hand the pups over. She has been updating me on the pups progress in the last couple of days and they are doing great! She recently told me that the pups have been playing outside so much and are really enjoying her yard. Tomorrow she is planning on bringing in the two bigger pups, both boys, to see if they are ready to be adopted. AHS really has a wonderful group of foster parents and I am so thankful that an expert foster parent stepped in to help me. As for this series, I plan on keeping you guys updated through the pups’ new foster mom. So stay tuned to see when these little guys will be ready for adoption!

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