As most of you know, Pilot has his own Instagram account where I post pictures of him and interact with other pet owners and lovers. Some time back, I found an Instagram user, Bears Boutique, who was making and selling handmade, paracord dog collars. I asked her if she could make a no-pull, reflective dog harness, and she reassured me that she could.
After I gave her the wrong size for Pilot 3 or 4 times (you'd think I've never used a measuring tape), she made me a wonderful harness! I've been wanting a no-pull dog harness for Pilot for some time, and this one is just perfect! It is well made, colorful, reflective (safety first!), and it is a perfect fit!
I will let you watch my YouTube video review for yourself and watch Pilot model the harness while you listen to my further comments.
If you would like to consider purchasing something from the lovely person who made Pilot's harness, you can contact her on her Etsy Shop or follow her on Instagram.
“Why does my dog need to learn obedience? He’s just fine.”
“Manners? Dogs don’t have them and don't need them.”
I’ve heard it over and over again. Several dog owners I’ve met in the past have put down the idea of teaching their dog basic obedience and manners, claiming that their dog “doesn’t need it” or that they would “never use it”. However, they fail to see that they are always yelling at their dog for bad behavior, apologizing for their dog when visitors are present, are constantly chasing the dog that bolted out the gate, and can’t take their dog in public for one problem or several.
Most of the time, teaching their dog basic manners would solve most of their problems.
As in most “ill-behaved” dog cases, the problem is the owner, not the dog.
What’s so hard about teaching manners?
Most of the time, I find that pet owners have one of three reasons for scoffing at teaching their dogs obedience and manners:
Dogs conform to what their owners do, want, and expect. Owners who cannot or will not set boundaries and rules for themselves won’t do it for their dog either. Thus they get an unruly dog who barks tirelessly, guards furniture, pees on everything, and bolts out the door or gate the first opportunity they get.
Owners who set rules, but do not consistently reinforce them, will have a dog who does not take them seriously. The dog will be stubborn and will constantly push the envelope, trying to get their own way, because they know that their owner is a push over and will give up.
Why do dogs need manners?
As if it were not already obvious, the primary reason for teaching dogs manners is for the continued good health of owner and dog. For example, anytime a door opens, the dog (or dogs) run lickety-split toward it and zip right past me and out the open portal of freedom. Caution and deception must be used if I want to get out the gate without having to kick my dog back and fight him to get out the gate first.
I’ve even seen dog owners who get seriously hurt because their dog knocks them down or pops their knees in the attempt to be first out the door or gate. This is not good for you, and this is certainly not good for your dog.
If you get angry at your dog for hurting you, your first instinct is to hurt it back. Don’t deny it. We all feel that way at times. Also, there is always that concern of the dog bolting out of the yard, running away, and getting lost or hit by a car.
So, to fix the problem, you teach your dog to wait patiently for you to open the door or gate AND wait until you give them the “OK” to come out.
It’s not impossible. Even the most unruly dogs can be taught. The key is for YOU to set the rules, keep the rules, and reinforce the rules. Dogs don’t break rules. Humans do. Show your dog what the rules are by example, and he will follow them to the letter.
“Well, my dog is kinda a rebel. He breaks rules all the time.”
No. No dog is a rebel. Humans are. Your dog is a living mirror of how you act. If you can’t keep to the rules, the dog won’t either.
What are "dog manners"?
Sit, stay, come, look, and especially NO are the very basic manners that all dogs should and can learn.
"Sit" is really self explanatory, and when combined with "stay", it becomes a very powerful tool for keeping your furbaby under control. It can be used at mealtime, before going out the gate, when strangers come to the door, and many other things.
"Come" is also pretty self explanatory, I'd think, and can be used in the house, yard, or park.
"Look" is very good to teach your dog to pay attention to you.
Of course, a good dose of vitamin "NO" is good for everyone. I have taught Pilot that when I say "no", I mean that I want him to stop what he's doing immediately and come directly to me.
These "manners" are easy to teach to any dog as long as you have patience and consistency. If you need help, there are a vast number of videos on YouTube that go into teaching dogs these basic commands using positive reinforcement. Here are some to get you started:
Bonus: HOW TO SETTLE AN EXCITED DOG
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"When is book 2 going to be done?"
"Are you done with book #2 yet?"
"I'm dying here! I need to know what happens! When is book 2 going to be published?"
I cannot tell you how many times these questions have been thrown at me this summer alone. Often times, they are accompanied by a friendly, threatening undertone.
I love it. It means that my book has fans! I mean, that is SO AWESOME. I never dreamed I or my book would have fans.
On the other hand, it is driving me up the wall. I love the questions, but I hate that I have no definitive answer for them.
Book #2 of the Tales of the Wovlen series is currently in the editing phase. I'm done writing it. It's 500 pages long, give or take a little. So, I haven't wasted the better part of a year writing a teeny-weeny thing! The editing phase has been a killer, though. You can't just finish writing a book, slap a shiny bow on it, and throw it at your ravenous readers. If you want it to succeed, it must be scrubbed, polished, shined, and meticulously groomed. Because of this, I'm sorry to say that I have no idea when it will be ready to publish. All I know is that it will be soon (not soon enough though!).
Editing is an exciting stage for an author, because we are watching our baby book go through a growth spurt.
At the same time, editing is a nightmare for an author. We just want our story to be DONE and everyone to love it. We don't want to read through it 50 times, and then 20 more times after that. We don't want to chop scenes out, shorten things up, keep Madam Point Of View in line, or endure the tedious trials of dialogue, grammar, and word-overuse!
WHY CAN'T YOU READERS JUST BE HAPPY WITH AN IMPERFECT WORK OF ART???
The only reason we authors do any editing at all is to please our readers. Y'all should be thanking us instead of threatening us with suicide notes if the next book doesn't come out by Christmas.
*squints at all the bookworms*
However, I do have some good news for you: my beta readers (those who help with the pre-editing phase of the book) have made some very encouraging remarks which suggest readers will LOVE book #2.
Exciting new characters, fantastic battles, goosebump generating scenes, and, of course, awesome dragons are only a few of the good things my beta readers have mentioned about the book thus far. All of it makes me super excited, and I can't wait to share the book with the world!
Seriously, I am way more excited about this book than you are. Like, you have no idea.
What Can You Do While You Wait?
The waiting process is killing me and I know it's not doing you, the reader, any favors either. So, here are three things you can do to make the waiting time shorter!
There are Affiliate links in this post. If you purchase anything through them, I receive a small commission which helps me provide free content for you to read PLUS buy treats for my dog.
Please read my full Disclosure Policy.
Some people who know me also know that I am hard of hearing. After an accident in the Spring of 2010, I began to lose my hearing, and by December of the same year I'd lost 80% of it.
Most people have NO CLUE. I have coped very well with the loss, my sister and mom work with me to help keep my speech normal, and I do a great job at pretending to be normal when I am in public. Yes, I should quit pretending, but people get weird when they realize I have a "disability". Some people like to use it to their advantage, or challenge it, or make fun of it.... and that is how individuals get hurt when around me.
I have been considering the possibility of training Pilot to be my hearing ear dog. Two years before Pilot and I found each other, I had a German Shepherd that I intended to train to be my hearing dog. After a most unfortunate set of circumstances, that fell through, and since then I have not had the confidence or the desire to try again. Recently, however, I've been working up the nerve to try again. As a result, my mom bought me a book from Amazon titled "My Ears Have A Wet Nose" by Anne Wicklund.
I sat down and was able to read it in an hour and walk away with some new things to think about. It was not at all boring, like I thought it would be, and it did a fine job of answering some of my questions, bringing forward ideas and issues I'd not thought of before, and it was full of outside resources and "help lines".
It covered topics such as:
What tasks does a hearing ear dog preform?
Choosing a dog - agencies, shelters, breeders
Training your own
And so much more...
You may find as you lose more of your hearing that when the dog is with you, it gives you confidence to be outside of your home. You will not feel so tentative because you cannot hear the sounds that normal people hear.... this is true whether you are taking a walk or going to the grocery store. This was an unexpected twist for my husband. The more hearing he lost, he found that if we were in a store together and I turned down an aisle out of his sight, he would start to panic. Until you have a dog that works for you, you will probably not even be aware of this added bonus. Up until now, you thought the dog would just let you know about the telephone and doorbell - but there is so much more.
I was actually in a state of shock after reading this part. My first thought was tearfully thinking "Somebody understands how I feel..." (Which is stupid. I mean, DUH, of course someone understands!), and my second thought was that, after spending so much of my own time researching and learning about hearing ear dogs and how to train them, the thought had honestly never occurred to me that having a trained dog with me, in public and at home, would make me feel safer and more confident. Because, that panic the author mentioned above is real and it is something that I do face every day, not just when I'm out in public. The thought that I could live without having to face that feeling daily, simply by having a dog who plays the roll of my ears, makes me eager. I wasn't eager to work towards getting a hearing dog before, but now I am.
On the training, the author goes into the importance of a strong bond between the dog and human, and the stable temperament that the dog must have. It had several good tips for training your own service dog and traveling with it, really simplifying everything and giving you extra resources to study in the case you'd like more information. There are also featured testimonials from other people with different dogs and in a variety of situations, one of which Pilot and I could greatly relate to and which gave me hope for his training (it is currently slow, because he does not generally react to sound).
My mom purchased the spiral bound edition of the book, but you can also purchase it in Kindle. I was impressed by how well made the spiral bound is, and I think it will last me a long time (which is good, because I will likely use it a lot).
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who was looking at the possibility of needing or training a hearing ear service dog. It is not overwhelming for the newbie to read and it gives them a great start along with excellent advice. At the same time, it also offers something for those people who are well acquainted with the hearing dog world.
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Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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