Friday, December 21, 2012

You Are Entering the Grumble Zone

By Jennifer Shryock 

Our Family Paws Parent Education programs refers to crowded close quarters as “Grumble zones.” Grumble zones have an escape route but a child or another dog may be blocking or in the way of using it. This can lead to a conflict and a potential danger or “grumble.” Grumble zones are important for families to consider when having multiple dogs or children in the home.

Crowded spaces = Grumpy faces.  

Entryways can be crowded and conflicting especially if there is something of value or a resource near it. Many people put their dog beds in a corner which creates a Grumble zone. This limits escape routes for dogs. It is a good idea to help your dog associate positive encounters when in their comfy spot.

Walk by and drop a treat without stopping to engage. Soon your dog will look up as you or someone approaches to see what opportunity they might get vs. preparing for someone to invade their space.

The space between a coffee table and couch is a common grumble zone. This creates a potential conflict if a toddler approaches Mom or Dad while the dog is sitting or laying at their feet. Close space and conflicts often can happen in this type of space. It is important to consider your layout when you have multiple dogs and kids living together.

Crowded spaces cause grumpy faces and a little preparation ahead of time can decrease stress and increase safety for all! Sometimes I feel like an interior decorator in a private consultation as we end up rearranging furniture to decrease the grumble zone potential. Remember, this is not a forever change! You will get your nicely arranged living room back. It is important however that during the stages of new mobility your child is free to move about in a way that is safe and comfortable for them and your dog.

Always always supervise children and dogs! Even with grumble zones minimized you still must be SUPERvising your child when your dog is around.

Read more from Family Paws Parent Education

Saturday, December 8, 2012

No Dogs in the Baby's Room!

By Hannah Branigan MS, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP

To keep everyone safe, we are establishing safe spaces for both the dogs and the baby. The dogs won't be allowed in the baby's room, and the baby won't be allowed in the dog room. This will give the baby a safe, dog-free place to play and I won't have to worry about baby toys becoming dog toys.

We will use baby gates to help control access to parts of the house, especially while the baby is young, but it's a good idea to have some training in place as well.

I want waiting outside the room to be easy and stress-free for the dogs, and I really want to avoid using any aversives on the dogs with the baby around, because I don't want any negative associations to form. So I'm using clicker training and positive reinforcement to teach them to stay in the hall and not follow me in. I'm not using a cue, because I want the behavior to be automatic, so I don't have to remember to say wait every time (and because I know for sure that my husband will forget).

More about Hannah and Wonderpups Training and Behavior

Obedience FUNdamentals DVD