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Ask Bubby

This page is in response to the many and most popular questions I've been asked over the years. Instead of calling it a FAQ page, I decided to use a column I used to write for a local newspaper a few years ago that I called "Ask Bubby". People would send in their questions and I would answer them from a dog's point of view. It was very popular and well received. I think you'll like it. If you have a question, send me an e-mail and I'll ask Bubby she is my Dog Daughter who is 10 years old. Her real name is Thunder Girl. Her great great great grandfather was a dog owned by a great Ojibwa Indian Chief called Thunder Cloud. But she allows me to humbly call her Bubby. She is currently enjoying her retirement and helping me with this page. If it is something I think everybody would like to know, I will insert it on this page. You might want to mark this page in your "Favorite Places" as I hope to keep adding more questions and answers as time permits. At this point I would like to thank you for visiting my site. I hope you find it most informative and helpful.

Question:  My dog is a submissive peer, it can be very frustrating and we have even considered getting rid of her because of it. Is there anything we can do to help the situation?

Answer:  65% of submissive peers are born with this disorder or have genes to become one if they are brought up in the wrong environment. 35% are environmentally created. On a personal note I think it is absolutely appalling and heartless for dog owners to be that ignorant and abusive to their dogs to make them so frightened all the time that it creates a fear disorder.

Two important factors to help you deal with this disorder are understanding and communication. Let’s talk about understanding first. It’s not what you do or don’t that matters, it’s how your dog perceives what you are doing. Anytime a dog has a disorder that rules it’s life, they become very intimated with all aspects of their immediate environment. But, don’t mistake that for any kind of concentration level because in that department they are clueless. The reason for that is they are so afraid that they are unable to think about anything else. You can look at the fact that they are so in tune with their surroundings as a way of self-preservation.

Knowing that they are so sensitive with all aspects of their environment brings us to the communication factor. It’s not what you say to your dog, but how you say it.  Speak with a very happy elevated pitch in your voice. Please do not mistake this for “baby talk”. If you do this then more than likely your dog will interpret your talking with litter chatter. Which means that your talking will actually intimidate your dog and your dog will tune you out. So not only will you not be developing a rapport with your dog, but making it more afraid.

Litter chatter means that when your puppy was in the litter all the crying and whining that its littermates were doing, they learned to tune out. So puppies that were born submissive, this can be an intimidating memory.

Body language is also very important, not only as your speaking with your dog, but also as you approach your dog. You need to have a very happy bounce to your walk.  Even if you are not approaching your dog and just walking by, you must have a very happy and positive demeanor about you.

The key to living in harmony with your dog and more importantly your dog living in harmony with you is to make your dog feel good about you, not only when your communicating with him or her, but every time he or she is around you.

 

Question: What are the factors that determine whether or not to neuter dogs?

Answer: There’s only one reason not to neuter. That reason is to breed. Before you decide to allow your bitch the joys of motherhood or your male the joy of becoming a stud, I want you to understand one, very important, fact. One should only breed to better the breed! That means your dog must be a fine representation of his or her breed. Your dogs temperament should be sound. Is your bitch shy or unsociable to the point where he becomes aggressive due to fear or does she display very submissive body language when under the slightest stress? You also have to make an unbiased opinion about your dog’s appearance. Everybody thinks his or her dog is beautiful. But does he show up to the standards for his breed? Are his hips certified? Is he too large or too small? Does he have an under-bite? Is he supposed to? If your dog’s ears are a bit too weak, do you know to breed with a dog that has strong ears? There are many questions to ask. One in four dogs that live to old age die of cancerous tumors. Neutering diminishes those chances that your dog will get cancer. Neutering aids in longevity. If you really love your dog, you will have him neutered. I feel better than ever and I’m approaching 10 years of age. And though I’m a very handsome dog with the brains to match (how many dogs do you know with their own column in a local newspaper?), my owner’s thought it was in my best interest to have me neutered. Besides, you know the saying; you can’t miss what you never had.

Question: I would like to teach my dog some tricks. He already knows give paw, but every dog in the world knows that. How do you teach a dog to speak on command?

Answer: First of all, you must have a dog with a pleasing personality. A dog with a dominant personality does not want to do tricks. It’s hard enough to make a dominant dog down and stay on command let alone do a trick. Down is a submissive position. Dominant dogs do not like to be put in submissive positions. A dog should enjoy doing tricks. A dog with a bit of a submissive or happy-go-lucky personality is usually willing to please. Another determining factor when deciding whether or not to teach your dog tricks is whether he sees you as a capable leader. In other words, if your dog has you trained you will have a hard time training him. Doesn’t that make sense? So, if your dog has no accountability and does what he wants whenever he wants without any regard for you or what you want him to do, look out! You’ll have a hard enough time just getting him to pay attention to you let alone teach him a trick; unless of course, you use food. I’m not a big proponent of using food to train a dog. If you have a good bond with your dog, you don’t need food. Remember! A dog should be willing to pay attention to what you’re trying to convey to him. Once he understands what you expect, he will do it. It’s all in the presentation. He’ll never be dependable unless you know the proper way to use food as a teaching aid.     

It’s easier than you may think to teach a dog to speak on command. Allow me to tell you how my owner and best friend taught me. He stole my favorite thing in the world; an old worn out slipper of his. By the way, don’t think if you give him an old slipper that he will start eating your good ones. He definitely can distinguish his stuff from yours. But… that’s another subject. Then he held it in front of me and told me, “Speak.” What does he want now, I thought. I just want my slipper. Again he said, “Speak.” I then grabbed at the slipper and he pulled it away before I could get it. Again, “Speak. Speak.” I remember thinking at that time, what’s this speak stuff? I lowered my front legs, lifted my derrière in the air, wagged my tail and started to growl the kind of growl that let him know I was becoming frustrated. Again he waved that slipper in my face and said, “Speak.” This time I let out a bark that made even me jump. No sooner than my ears started to ring, from that bark, I saw that slipper go flying through the air over my head while at the same time hearing, “Good boy!” I ran after it and brought it back, as usual. What a mistake! Again, that dreaded word, “Speak.” I barked almost immediately just hearing that cursed word. Well, what a surprise! I immediately got the slipper. The connection was made. Another communication gap was bridged and I learned another word to add to my endless list. He taunted me and withheld that slipper until I barked. There couldn't have been an easier way to communicate to me what he expected.

To be continued...

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