International Dog Bite Prevention Month

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May is international dog bite prevention month. At Appalachian Tails Dog Training we take dog bite prevention very seriously. This entire month we will be focusing on sharing videos, posts, and information to help keep our community safe and informed. So often we see pictures posted on social media or in ads that depict children and dogs playing, hugging, and cuddling. Unfortunately for those of us well versed in dog body language, we see in those pictures not the cute message intended but instead we see scary images of possible dog bites waiting to happen. 

According to the AVMA, each year more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs, children are by far the most common victims of dog bites, and are far more likely to be severely injured. Most dog bites affecting children happen during every day activities with familiar dogs. 

There is a common misconception that only large dogs bite. The truth is that ANY dog can bite under the right circumstances. The thing to remember is that most bites are preventable, and before a dog bites there is almost always some sort of warning signal the dog gives off.

Consider the picture above, this could be seen as a cute photo of a girl and a dog. However, when we look at it from a dog body language standpoint, we see that this dog is giving off at the very least three signs that it is uncomfortable and would like the child to back off. We can only hope that this scenario did not turn into a bite. 

This summer ATDT will be holding a Junior dog handling course where kids and parents will learn dog safety skills, bite prevention, dog cognition, critical thinking skills and more through fun and games with their dogs. This class is the first of its’ kind in the Asheville, NC area and we are proud to be the pioneers for this very important and fun class. 

Basic Schmasic…. I want the fun stuff!!!

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     So often in life it is so easy for us to skip over the essential basic knowledge skill set we need and just watch a youtube video on how to do something, or google how to fix something. Dog training isn’t so simple however. While there are endless amounts of videos and books out there, there really is not a substitute for putting in the time with our dog. I get it, life can get busy and hectic, but when it comes to dog training you really do get out what you put in. At Appalachian Tails Dog Training in Asheville, Nc, we have tried to make being more consistent with your dog even easier by offering many classes and dates for those who enjoy a group setting and need the accountability of going to a class once a week. For those people who prefer a more private or situational form of training, we have you covered there also! Appalachian Tails offers maintenance visits where you don’t even have to be present, we will just come work with your dog on whatever you want and give you a report card at the end of how it went and what to do to keep it up. Our private lessons are flexible with location also, allowing us to meet at a variety of locations to learn how to deal with any situation you may encounter around Asheville with your dog! Here are some tips for staying consistent and to get the most out of what you put in with your dog training.

​1. Consistency is Key! Everyone who has anything to do with the dog must do everything the same way, words included.
2. Join a group dog training class at Appalachian Tails! The accountability of having to go to class once a week helps most students make time during the week to focus on training their dog, and working on skills.
3. Make training a part of life! Use every opportunity as a learning opportunity. A walk is more than  just a potty break, it is a chance to practice sit, stay, wait, look, leave it and more! Feeding time is more than throwing grub your dog’s way, its a chance to practice sit, wait, look and body language. 
4. Learn to play games! There are several games you can play with your dog that can utilize the skills they are learning, and enhance new ones. 
5. Have an Appalachian Tails Dog Training instructor visit for maintenance visits to work on anything you feel you may not have time to get to or need more work on. 

     Having a well trained dog is not hard, it just takes time and using the moments you have as learning opportunities. Appalachian Tails Dog Training is here to help, check out our class schedule or book an appointment for a maintenance visit or private lesson in Asheville today! Call us at 828-338-9962

Seperation Anxiety

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     I have had many students come to me recently with dogs who experience separation anxiety. An issue like separation anxiety is not an easy, overnight fix. With time and consistency, however, you can see improvement. There are many reasons anxiety starts, but there are some things you can do to help ease your dog’s mind when left alone. As always, I recommend you have a vet visit to rule out any physical problems that may be present. 
    If you are not already crate training, I would recommend having a crate or some safe area that your dog can stay in during the day while you are away. Some dogs can become destructive just because they are bored, and occasionally this is mistaken for anxiety. If your dog really is stressed while you are away, try to mix up your routine as much as possible so the dog is less likely to react to the triggers of you leaving. Most commonly the triggers of you leaving are things like picking up keys, moving your purse or bags, putting shoes on etc. Start by randomly doing these things even when you are not leaving, so the dog can see that doing something like putting on your shoes does not always mean you go away. Try not to have a long, drawn out conversation with the dog about leaving “mommy will be back in a little while….” etc. If possible, there should be no dialogue at all about you leaving, just simply put the dog in its safe space and leave. It is also very important to make sure that the dog has enough exercise, especially before you leave. If the dog is tired, it is less likely to be destructive or anxious. 
    Special toys can also help ease anxiety. Stuffed Kong toys, treat balls, deer antlers, or doggy puzzles can be helpful. Try to keep these toys special for only when you go away, when you return pick them up. This way the dog will feel rewarded when you leave. Also, go away for short periods of time frequently. Walk around the block, go to the mailbox etc. If your dog is a barker, there are non static correction bark control collars that have vibrate features, or spray unpleasant citronella or emit an ultrasonic beep. These can be helpful by giving a correction even when you are not home. 
    These are just a few tips to help ease some anxiety. Remember to stay consistent and positive. Your energy will be reflected by your dog, so keep calm and in control. For more in depth assistance please contact us by calling 828-338-9962 or email. In some cases it is necessary to consult a canine behaviorist or veterinarian for more severe cases. As always, Appalachian Tails Dog Training is here to assist you in Asheville, Nc.

Does Your Dog Have C.L.A.S.S.?

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      Does your dog have C.L.A.S.S? The Canine Life and Social Skills is an educational program that promotes positive reinforcement training methods (what we do here at ATDT!) and aims to strengthen the bond between canines and their people. C.L.A.S.S. is a three-level evaluation for dog owners to demonstrate the real-life skills of their dogs, as well as a knowledge assessment of the owners’ understanding of basic dog handling and care. 
       There are three university degree levels for this program, the B.A., M.A., and Ph. D levels. The skills in each level change in their levels of difficulty and distractions. There are even bonus rounds in each level where if the team decides, they can show off some additional tricks or skills. The C.L.A.S.S. program seeks to promote positive ongoing training emphasizing real life skills which strengthen the human animal bond. Alicia is a certified C.L.A.S.S. evaluator, and instructor, contact us with any questions about testing or for more information! 828-338-9962 You can also visit the APDT C.L.A.S.S. website here. 

Mastering your walk!

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       I see it all the time, someone being dragged down the street by their dog, with a complete lack of control and the look of utter confusion, fear, and pain on their face. But this doesn’t have to be you! There are tools to help make the walk easier, and many other ways to make your walk easier through energy and body language. Have you looked at harnesses that redirect your dog’s forward motion? How about trying a head harness? Is a pinch collar right for you and your dog? Are you using the right kind of leash? These are just a few of the questions to ask yourself, but how do you know the answers? 
       At Appalachian Tails Dog Training in Asheville, Nc. we focus on mastering your daily walk with your dog. We talk in detail about the importance of your energy on your walk from beginning to end. We discuss body posture, and how to read your dog’s body language so you can try to redirect any issues before they start. You will also gain an understanding of what tools are available to you to make your walks easier and a list of commands that are helpful to teach your dog to help with situations on your walk. We don’t want that person being pulled down the street to be you! Contact us for more information on classes and private lessons! Email or call 828-338-9962! 

Happy Howl-O-Ween!

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Halloween can be a fun time for kids and families, but some dogs just don’t enjoy this holiday much. Even though some dogs will strut their favorite costume and go door to door trick or treating, others find this ritual to be less than spooktacular. Here are a few tips to keep Fido safe on Halloween!
  • If your pooch doesn’t enjoy wearing a shirt or costume, don’t force the issue. Maybe they will be happy to wear a themed bandana instead. Forcing the dog to wear a costume may raise their anxiety level and make them more likely to have unpredictable behavior. 
  • Keep candy up and out of reach of your best bud. Sure, he would love that candy bar, but chocolate and candy will make your pup sick and can be very dangerous. If you see that the dog has gotten into the candy stash, call your vet immediately. 
  • The constant doorbell ringing and people coming to your door in not so normal attire may freak Frank out, so if you anticipate a lot of trick or treat traffic, put him in another room where he will be safe. Make sure to have some of his favorite toys and a comfy place to rest with him to lower some anxiety. 
  • If your dog has higher anxiety on Halloween, try a soothing shirt like a Thundershirt, or a pheromone spray or plug in to calm their nerves a bit. 
  • Take the dog for a nice long structured walk before the festivities begin, it will help to drain some excess energy and she may be more likely to rest during the trick or treat parade. 
  • If you plan on wearing a costume, or having spooky decorations, introduce them to the dog first before putting them on or up. Try your costume on so it gets your smell on it, then take it off and let the dog smell it. Then put parts of it on and allow the dog to see that its still you under there. Masks tend to be particularly scary to dogs, so introduce that one slowly. Some extra treats during this process help too. 
  • Make sure that you have a plan to keep the dog from scurrying out the door when it is opened repeatedly. There are a lot of dogs that run away on holidays unfortunately, many times because they aren’t used to the new sounds, sights, and people around. And lets face it, your front door doesn’t usually have this much activity on a normal day! 

Follow these tips, and have a plan of action for this Halloween and everyone, dog included, should make it through with less tricks and more treats! Contact Appalachian Tails Dog Training if you need a brush up of your dogs skills before the Holiday season. Group and Private lessons are enrolling now! Email or call 828-338-9962 for more info!

Back to school!

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       This time of year there are lots of changes happening. Especially in beautiful Asheville, Nc! We are so lucky to live somewhere where you can enjoy all of the seasonal changes and the outdoors. One other thing this season brings… is back to school! While this time of year may be wonderful for parents, for dogs it can be confusing and sometimes difficult. Your family dog just spent the entire summer with people around and getting to go places and experience the excitement summer can bring. But now that school is back in session, your pup may find himself home alone more often, and the cooler weather may also mean less activity too! BUMMER! These things may also be compounded if you got a new dog over the summer and this is the first school year they have been with you. This change in schedules and behavior of the humans in your pack may cause your dog to develop some anxiety or other issues. Appalachian Tails Dog Training is here to help! Here are a few tips to help with these schedule change issues. 
  1. Make sure everyone in your pack is being consistent with the rules and guidelines set up for your dog. This is a very important time to keep up with your structure and discipline. Just like kids, your dog will benefit from exercise and structure. 
  2. Take your dog for a vigorous walk before you leave for the day. Yes, it may mean you have to get up earlier, but it will pay off! If you can give your pup a structured, and focused way to drain some energy, he will be happier to stay home and rest during the day.
  3. Don’t make a big deal of when you leave! Believe it or not, your pooch doesn’t mind if you don’t say goodbye, that’s really more to make us feel better. So, if you have to say goodbye, do it well before you leave, and that way you have already done it before you walk out the door!
  4. Make sure your dog has a safe place to go during the day, with a special toy just for when they’re home alone.

Follow these tips, and remain consistent and you should be able to help your pup with the back to school transition. Contact Appalachian Tails Dog Training if you need some extra help with these things, and more! Back to school time isn’t just for the kids, your dog may benefit from a group class also to help reinforce your structure and exercise. We are currently enrolling new students! 
Call us at 828-338-9962