About Simba's Mom

I was born in California and am now living in Pennsylvania. I have gone from being a teacher for 20 years to a blogger. I have a great dog named Simba. Simba is a German Shorthaired Pointer. Life with Simba is an adventure every day. I have had dogs my entire life but I have learned most about dogs living with Simba. German Shorthaired Pointers really do become your best friend. They become extremely attached and that is why they say they have the Velcro phenomenon.

Training Dogs Afraid Of Loud Noises

trusting paws

by Naomi Heck, M.Ed., CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Training Dogs Afraid Of Loud Noises

Hi there! I love the blog!
I recently got my 8 month old female GSP “Charley” from her board and train program. She has received e-collar training¬†for every command. The e-collar is not a punishment tool, but a communication tool. She is amazing in the house – no accidents, knows how to place/down/heel/sit/stay/come/off/etc. She has been introduced to agility and will start scent games and snake avoidance in the Spring. She plays fetch well and also has met my nieces and nephews this weekend for fun time in the backyard. She even did great while one nephew played the ukulele in the back yard. She does great off leash on hikes and while doing training at the training center we visit each week for polishing classes. We will be starting doggie day-care once a week this week! She really is so sweet and amazing…
However…. My problem is that she absolutely is fearful of getting on the leash to go for her morning and afternoon walks that last anywhere between 20-45+ minutes. It’s like she knows it’s coming and cowers/pouts. I try to put the leash on and just walk in the backyard/house and she’s totally fine, but going through the front door is a chore. The first couple days we had her she was exposed to some fireworks on a walk that were very very loud and ever since then she is pretty skiddish about loud buses/diesel trucks/construction noise near the house. Inside the house – fine. Backyard – alright, looks around at super loud noises and then proceeds to keep playing. We live in a busy neighborhood with lots of distractions and new houses are going up each day. I am doing my very best to remain calm yet assertive and even give her treats when we pass an object that gives her the shakes. Her whole body trembles. It’s really sad and makes me feel terrible because she NEEDS to go walk to get pushed through some of these issues, but I can’t help but think I may be making everything worse. ūüôĀ Sometimes she tries to run/escape away from me, but eventually settles back in with a “come”. It is taxing as I know she needs her walks along with some off-leash fun in the yard and neighborhood dog park, but the walks are difficult to start. I also know she is only 8 months old and has only been in our home since Dec. 29th. I’m running out of new ideas.
Do you have any suggestions to help her emotional state? Is there something else I should try? I really want the best for our GSP. Again, thank you for the blog. ūüôā
Rachael from Texas
Hi Rachel,
When doing behavior modification for fear, it is crucial that you understand that Charley’s behavior is not voluntary and she is not being stubborn or defiant. ¬†Fear is a survival state and is thus treated differently than regular training. ¬†If food is used, it plays a different role(that of creating a positive association rather than as a reward for a voluntary behavior that is offered by the dog). ¬†Charley has clearly demonstrated a deep fear of going for a walk. ¬†The fear starts with the leash, then going out the front door, and peaks outside. ¬†This is a classic example of a negative association created with a scary experience and the events that led to that experience (which now are predictors of something scary. ¬† If you press to get the leash on her and coax her to do something she is afraid of (even when you try showing her there is nothing to fear), you risk sensitizing her to the situation and making her more afraid. ¬†What is desired is de-sensitization, which must be done gradually to be effective. ¬†A good explanation of the concept can be found here- https://positively.com/contributors/counter-conditioning
It would be best to enlist the help of a force-free trainer that is knowledgeable in science based behavior modification to help you design a program to help Charley overcome his fear. ¬†Make sure the trainer does not employ any kind of flooding technique ¬†(making a dog “work through” scary situations) because of the risk of overwhelming and sensitizing that I mentioned. ¬†You can do a search for a trainer near you through this site –¬†https://apdt.com/trainer-search
My advice to you would be to temporarily suspend your desire to take Charley for a walk and find ways to exercise her with games and enriching mental activities (lots of examples can be found on Youtube).  Start with desensitizing very gradually (without eliciting avoidance) to the act of leash clipping leash (with professional guidance).  If she runs away at the mere sight of the leash,  that would be where you would start, not with attaching the leash to her collar.   If she is not afraid of car rides, try taking her to a different neighborhood or a park for walks, but only if she enjoys it.
Fear is best addressed with a willingness to make her sense of safety be your top priority. ¬† Being assertive is counterproductive because this is not a disobedience issue. ¬†When an animal (or person) is so afraid that she trembles, the mind is not in a state to learn. ¬†Survival mode has kicked in and that primal state will overshadow “logic” or obedience every time. ¬†That is why helping her feel safe while you train in small baby steps is so important. ¬† ¬†http://somuchpetential.com/the-value-of-empowerment-to-our-pets/
Hope this helps steer you and Charley in a positive direction. ¬†ūüėä
Naomi

Older Dog Potty Training Tips

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by Naomi Heck, M.Ed., CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Older Dog Potty Training Tips

We just received the following letter from one of our readers.  This is not the first on the subject on potty training an older dog so I decided to post it.

Hello,
Hello German Shorthaired Pointer Greatdog GSP, hope you can help us with a potty training issue we have encountered with our newly rescued German Wirehaired Pointer. ¬†We rescued an 18 month neutered male German wirehaired pointer 10 days ago and we have been following your website with interest, as it has been very helpful in settling our new dog down. I have attached a doc which explains the help we are looking for in helping our new adolescent dog potty outside. We would be very grateful if you could perhaps give us some pointers as to how we could best approach potty training an older dog as what we have been doing doesn’t seem to be working.

Dog history

The dog we adopted, Breac, is an AKC registered neutered male German Wirehaired Pointer, age 18 months old. ¬†He was born, Aug 2015 and at age 4months, our new dog was purchased from the breeder and brought home to live indoors with a family with three kids (age 9, 12, 18) and their two dogs. The dog has always been ‚Äúa handful‚ÄĚ and needs daily exercise. Family fed him 5 cups quality dogfood daily. Dog let himself out of the house into the family‚Äôs 18 acre property on a regular basis as the door handles pulled down when he stood on them. He is VERY prey driven. Continue reading

German Shorthair Pointer Gifts

German Shorthair Pointer Gifts

Gifts and novelty products for the special German Shorthair Pointer lover in your life.


 

Gypsy The Pointer’s Blog III

Gypsy The Pointer’s Blog III

Pointer And The Toilet Paper

My mum is the best. Today she left us these great toys to play with. They were white soft balls. The balls were shaped funny, they weren’t completely round but fun nonetheless. She bought 12 of them so that Simba and I didn’t fight over them. She was in such a rush put the door this morning that she left them on the counter and forgot to give them to us. It’s a good thing that I’ve grown and can reach everything on the counters. We had so much fun. The balls released like snow stuff when I pounced on them and threw them around.

Pointers new toy

Oops! I was wrong, again! ¬†Mum’s squeaky voice and fiery eyes told me so!

DIY Dog Toys

DIY Dog Toys

Christmas is right around the corner. ¬†If your pup is anything like mine, especially Simba, they love to open presents on Christmas along with the rest of the family. Toys don’t seem to last very long with these two. ¬†Buying toys can get expensive so I want to share with you a couple of DIY dog toys you can make by recycling some¬†items that you have at home. ¬†They’re all very easy to make. First of all, go through your sock drawer. ¬†This is a great way to put those old socks to good use. ¬†SOCK BALL: ¬†If I have a bunch of ankle socks, I stuff a bunch into one sock leaving 3 or 4 for the end. ¬†After you’ve stuffed them and created a tight oblong ball, put the ball into one of the ankle socks you saved for the end. Insert it with the open side first, then insert it into the next sock again with open side going in first and continue until out of socks. ¬†You can insert one of those squeakers Continue reading

Gypsy The Pointer’s Blog

Gypsy The Pointer’s Blog

Remodeling The Recliner

Mum’s recliner was so boring. It was all green. No extra color whatsoever. I decided to help mum and add some splash to the recliner.

Pointer remodels recliner

She didn’t like it much when she first saw it. Actually, she behaved a bit like a child and pouted silently for hours. The next day she covered the whole recliner with the same color. ¬†Well let me tell you, my mum is very stubborn and sometimes it takes a little effort to make her see the light. ¬†I knew that she would like it if only she got used to it. Today when she got home from work I thought I Bored puppysaw excitement in her eyes when she saw my masterpiece. Nope, it wasn’t excitement! ¬†When I saw Simba leave the room and take cover, I knew it was time to put myself in my crate. ūüėĒ

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Gypsy The Pointer’s Blog

Gypsy The German Shorthair Pointer

Mom bought Me and Simba new beds since I destroyed the other four we had. It’s not like I did Dog bedsit on purpose! ¬†I like playing this game when Simba lays down. I wait until she gets all comfy. Sometimes it takes a long time because she goes around and around in circles then lays down only to get up and do it all over again. She makes me dizzy just watching. When she finally stays down, it’s game time. Pop Simba Off! ¬†I tug and thrust the bed around until she pops off. Mom was not happy today when she got home from work and found this.¬†Simba's dog bed


Dog Training – Brushing Teeth

trusting paws

by Naomi Heck, M.Ed., CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Dog Training – Brushing Teeth

German Pointer & Hose

German Pointer & Hose

 

Watching TV With My Pups

Watching TV With My Pups

Gypsy has finally decided to play fetch. ¬†Simba has retrieved the ball or frisbee since the first day I brought her home. ¬†She was 8 weeks old. ¬†Gypsy was too worried about losing the ball to Simba. ¬†Once Gypsy gets the ball she won’t give it up and just wants to play “Simba chase me”. ¬†Now I throw two balls. ¬†One for Gypsy and one for Simba. ¬†Simba brings back the ball for more. ¬†Gypsy holds on to her and runs with¬†Simba back and forth as Simba chases and retrieves her ball. Either way, they’re both getting the exercise they need. ¬†The other night I’m watching TV with Simba on my lap as usual and Gypsy brings her ball and releases it. ¬†From there she wanted to play fetch. ¬†Simba prefers to sit on my lap instead of playing ball. ¬†It works out perfect for Gypsy.

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