Month: April 2012

Masai Mara 2007

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In October of 2007 I took a group of people to the Masai Mara in Kenya for a photographic workshop during the wildebeest migration. Even though we literally took tens of thousands of photos by the time we were done (in spite of the fact we missed many great photo ops), it was primarily a fun shop. Our goals were to travel to an exotic locale, have an adventure, enjoy each other’s company, get some memorable photos, and view some spectacular wildlife. We scored on all accounts, and want to share this adventure with everyone.

We will be going on future trips, so if this type of travel interests you let us know soon because we have to plan several years in advance. After 1 1/2 years of planning for this trip it’s hard to believe that we have already gone on the trip and have been back for a few months. Time to start planning our next adventure…..

The location of our trip was the Masai Mara, the northern end of the Serengeti which is located in southwest Kenya. It is here that the wildebeest and and other plain’s animals migrate in numbers that go up to 1.5 million in some years. This is also near the Great Rift Valley, which is the area that our earliest ancestors originated from as they colonized the world. It is fascinating to be in this area, imagining them coming down from the trees millions of years ago and adapting to this environment as they evolved into human beings.

The wildebeest migration was at the heart of our trip

The Masai Mara is in the southwest corner of Kenya, at the black arrow. We were 1 degree south of the equator.

A more detailed view of the Mara with the black arrows at Rekero and Ol Seki camps. Each group stayed at one of these two camps. At the end of their 5 day stay each group flew to a camp called Lewa in the central part of Kenya for 3 days.

The Mara is part of the greater Serengeti ecosystem. As you can see from this map, even though I spent 3 weeks in the Mara and thought it was huge, it is tiny compared to the Serengeti.

It is the wildebeest migration from the Serengeti into the Mara and back each year which is the source of one of the greatest animal migrations on our planet, and what we went to see.

We took lots of photos. Some of them even came out good enough to show you. Be thankful we are only going to make you endure a fraction of the pictures we took. I am happy that everyone had a great time and nothing rained on our parade.

This page is broken down into 6 main sections. Click on the main photo for each section and you will be taken through a succession of pages within that section.The 6 sections are in this order:

  • The 3 groups that went on the trip over a 3 week period of time- if you want a good laugh this is the section for you
  • The Wildlife- predators, plain’s animals, bird, etc. This section has some of our better photos
  • The Masai people in their native villages
  • The very capable and “eagled-eyed” guides that were crucial to our wildlife viewing
  • How we got the shot- we show you the technical details of one of our shots
  • Our camps- Rekero, Ol Seki and Lewa
  • The photographic equipment we used

All the wildlife photos on this page have been decreased in size and resolution for faster downloading on the web, so they do not show their true beauty. They are available in very high resolution and suitable for customizing and printing out at professional quality at 30 ” x 20″. Let me know if any individual photo interests you.

You can email me any time with questions regarding information on this page:  carlp@lbah.com

The 3 groups and their nicknames

The Ibble Dibbles

You have to click on the link to understand what an “Ibble Dibble” is

The Cheetah Chasers

Their nickname originates from the fact they worked hard to find cheetahs. They did see lots of giraffe though.

By the way, do you know the current proper name of a group of giraffe ?

The Shotmeisters

Their nickname derives from the number of photos they took (and unfortunately, I had to edit) for this page

The Wildlife of Kenya

Predators

Plain’s Mammals

Birds

The Masai people and Guides

People

Guides

How we got the shot

This page gives you the technical details of how we used our equipment to shoot a hunting cheetah

Get the Shot

The Camps

Rekero

Ol Seki

Lewa

Photography Equipment

Equipment

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Puppy’s First Vet Visit

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Goal

To prepare your puppy to be handled, restrained, groomed, and vaccinated throughout its life.

Tools you will need

Your pup, some yummy treats, and some time.

Yummy Treats

Overview

Ask any veterinarian or groomer what they dislike most about their profession, and they are likely to say, “Handling uncooperative or aggressive dogs!” In many cases, the aggression that veterinarians and groomers deal with could be avoided if we taught our dogs, from a very early age, to put up with the discomfort that often accompanies visits to the doctor and the groomer. We can accomplish this by “desensitizing” our puppies to many of the typical procedures they will encounter through life.

Between the ages of seven and sixteen weeks of age, your puppy goes through an important developmental stage. This is the time when puppies learn (whether we teach them or not!) which things in life are good and which are not. This developmental stage used to be called a “fear period” by many behaviorists because this is the period when many animals develop lifelong fears. Now commonly referred to as a critical socialization or developmental stage, this is a rare window of opportunity for us to teach puppies to become confident, psychologically healthy dogs.

Unfortunately, this is the exact same time period during which puppies receive their first examination and vaccinations from your veterinarian. Many puppies learn to be afraid of the veterinary office and staff during this time, and some puppies actually will learn to growl and/or bite during subsequent visits.

It is very important, then, to take some basic steps to help your puppy avoid such negative, lasting impressions. Your puppy will be happier, and so will your veterinarian and his/her staff!

Our Handling and Grooming page provides specific instructions for teaching your puppy these valuable lessons. This section addresses how to prepare for your puppy’s first veterinary visit, which unfortunately, must take place during one of the puppy’s most sensitive developmental stages.

Step-by-Step Tips

There are three things you can do to help prepare for your pup’s first visit to the veterinarian.

Encourage Participation of Clinic Staff

Call your veterinarian and ask for an appointment at the quietest time of day. Tell the staff that you want your puppy to have a good experience, and ask if there is time on the schedule for a few extra minutes that may be needed so that the puppy isn’t stressed by having people moving too quickly. Be willing to pay for extra time, if necessary. ask the staff if you can come by a couple of times before the appointment and just let staff members pet and give treats to your pup. Make those first experiences positive and upbeat.

Handling Exercises Before You Go

See Preventing Behavior Problems page for specific exercises to practice before going to the veterinarian for an examination or vaccinations.

Desensitization and Counterconditioning

Sometimes, you simply don’t have the opportunity to adequately prepare (as outlined above) for your pup’s first visit. In that case, follow the instructions below.

Desensitization/Counterconditioning for Veterinary Visits

by

Lore I. Haug, DVM

Texas a&M University Veterinary Teaching Hospital

College Station, TX

(used with permission)

Many dogs experience considerable anxiety and fear while at the veterinary clinic. These dogs may show aggression, escape attempts, or severe fear reactions. Dogs with these reactions are more difficult to handle, and, subsequently, are often subjected to heavy restraint techniques to allow the staff to accomplish the required procedures. Over time, these behaviors typically worsen as the dog has repeatedly more unpleasant experiences.

This situation places the animal, the owner, and the staff at risk for harm, particularly if the dog is showing aggression. In addition, the dog may receive suboptimal medical care due to his or her inability to be examined and handled safely. Most of these behaviors can be modified with a well-planned desensitization program.

Depending on the level of the dog’s anxiety, the program can be started at various points. Most dogs begin showing anxiety before actually entering the clinic. This may occur in the parking lot or as early as when the dog is put in the car at home, especially if his or her only car rides culminate in veterinary visits. For such dogs, the desensitization process should begin with the car, not the vet clinic. Once the dog is comfortable riding in the car, the following program can be implemented.

During the program, your behavior toward the dog will be important in aiding the dog’s success. At no time should you try to punish or comfort the dog if he or she shows anxiety, fear, or aggression. If the dog reacts in any of these ways, calmly abort that trial. Resume the program at a previously successful level and remain there until the dog is completely comfortable. Progress to the next phase only when the dog is comfortable (not showing any anxiety or stress) at the current step. During the modification program, the dog ideally should not undergo any routine veterinary attention. Vaccination schedules may need to be altered to allow the dog to complete the entire program before being subjected to “the real thing.” Discuss these options with your veterinarian.

Step 1 – Take the dog to the parking lot of the veterinary clinic. During the first several trials, and depending on the dog’s anxiety level, you may only be able to drive through the lot without stopping. Alternatively, you can park the car but remain inside. Play with or food-reward the dog in the car for a period of time and then drive home.

Step 2 – Drive to the parking lot, and take the dog out of the car. Walk the dog around the lot and play with or food-reward the dog during this time. When the dog seems relaxed (and not concerned about entering the clinic), take the dog home.

Step 3 – Repeat Step 2, but play with or food-reward the dog on the front porch of the clinic near the entrance. Remember to not progress to subsequent steps until the dog is very comfortable with the step at which you are currently working.

Step 4 – Take the dog into the waiting room and repeat the reward steps described above. Over consecutive trials, have the veterinary staff also play with or food-reward the dog while in the waiting room. During each session, these periods of play and/or food reward should be alternated with short periods where the dog is asked to sit or lie quietly. This helps teach the dog to be calm and more closely mimics some of the usual waiting process.

Step 5 – Repeat Step 4 in the examination room. Do not progress to Step 6 until the dog is comfortable waiting in the exam room and having both the technical staff and the professional staff (i.e., veterinarian) repeatedly enter and interact with the dog (playing, petting, etc.). The staff should periodically assume postures and positions near the dog that are routinely observed during physical examination and restraint, although no such procedures should actually be done to the dog at this stage. Small dogs who are normally handled on the table should undergo an additional step where the counterconditioning process occurs on the table.

During the above steps, you should begin handling exercises at home. This involves conditioning the dog to being handled and manipulated. Handle and gently restrain the dog’s body, head, legs, and feet. In addition, you should begin gently rolling the skin on the dog’s neck, back, and sides between your fingers. Progressively apply slightly more pressure (e.g., mild pinching) as you do this. Always reward the dog during these sessions if he or she remains cooperative. Remain calm, and do not lose patience with the dog. This should become a game associated with fun things (e.g., food, play, and attention from you).

Step 6 – This step should be discussed with your veterinarian to solicit his/her personal approach. These are my personal recommendations as a practicing veterinarian and may or may not be the same steps taken by your veterinarian.

Ask the veterinarian to begin a partial physical exam. This should not start with the dog’s head, as many dogs find this phase intimidating. It is typically easiest to begin with chest auscultation. Distract and reward the dog with food or a toy during this process, even if the dog does not stand completely still. The goal at this point is not to actually do the exam, but to accustom the dog to the procedure in small increments to aid the dog in overcoming anxiety. During subsequent sessions, progress through the process in a more thorough manner. The staff should repeat the same handling exercises that you have been doing at home. Make this fun!

When your dog’s vaccinations are due, have only one injection given the first time. If the dog requires more than one vaccine, schedule another appointment (one to two weeks later) for the remainder. You may have to schedule a separate appointment for each injection. During the dog’s first few “real” veterinary visits, it is important to maintain a fun, relaxed atmosphere and avoid overtaxing the dog’s tolerance level. Over time, practice doing slightly more aversive procedures with the dog, using food rewards or toys to distract the dog during the procedure.

Step 7 – Once your dog has become comfortable with the above steps, it will be necessary to take the dog to the clinic for fun visits periodically throughout the year. For example, drop by the clinic and, if there is a scale in the waiting room, simply weigh your dog, feed him/her some treats, and go home. Many dogs will revert to their fearful behavior if they resume going to the vet only once or twice a year for procedures. The more frequently you and your dog are able to visit the clinic and staff, the more comfortable your dog will remain when being handled there.

Recommended Reading

The Perfect Puppy: How to Raise a Well-Behaved Dog by Gwen Bailey

Good Dogs, Great Owners by Brian Kilcommons (Note: only pages 60-61 address veterinary visits; ignore other training sections that promote physical corrections as a training method.)

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Socializing Your Puppy

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Goal of Socialization

To help your puppy get along well with others; to become a well behaved member of the community; and to be a confident and psychologically healthy dog.

Tools you will need

Just you and your dog and some yummy treats and fun toys.

Overview

There is an important developmental stage that occurs in all dogs between the ages of seven and sixteen weeks of age. This is the time when puppies learn (whether we teach them or not!) which things in life are good and which are not. Now commonly referred to as a critical socialization or developmental stage, this is a rare window of opportunity for us to teach puppies to become confident, psychologically healthy dogs. We do this by exposing them to the myriad of things they will encounter in their lives: people (young, old, different colors, male, female, with mustaches and beards, with eyeglasses, with hats, with mailbags), other animals (cats, dogs, horses), sights and sounds (trash trucks, blimps, fireworks, thunder, lawnmowers, weedwackers), etc.

Although weeks 7-16 are the most critical, it is important to continue to expose your pup to sights, sounds, animals, and people through the first year or two of her life. Otherwise, your pup may become fearful and timid, and suffer from unnecessary stress throughout his/her life.

Note: Many veterinarians recommend waiting until after all vaccines are given, often four months of age, to take your dog outside of your home. Talk with your veterinarian and your trainer to come up with a workable socialization plan that won’t put your pup at danger for infectious diseases, but one that will still adequately socialize your pup. For example, use good judgment: don’t go to dog parks (too many unknown dogs and feces); carry your pup to places where there are a lot of people (malls); and don’t let your pup around other dogs’ feces.

Step-by-Step Tips

Try to go on socialization outings two to three times a week or more. Hunt out things your pup hasn’t seen yet. Make a list (for an excellent socialization chart, see the appendix of Gwen Bailey’s “The Perfect Puppy,” listed under Recommended Reading), and take it with you to ensure you aren’t missing something that will become a problem when your pup gets older.

People

  • Adults (men, women, different sizes, shapes, colors, facial hair)
  • Crying babies
  • Toddlers
  • Young children
  • Teenagers
  • Delivery people
  • Postal service employees
  • Gardeners
  • People in uniform
  • People in wheelchairs
  • People walking with canes
  • People with umbrellas
  • People who are loud
  • People who are shy
  • People with big boots (see “Real Life Lesson” below)

Environment

  • Clanging and banging (things dropped, things banged/clanged)
  • Sirens
  • Trash trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Balloons
  • Veterinary offices
  • Groomers
  • Boarding kennels
  • Shopping malls
  • Schools
  • Others’ homes
  • Dog shows

Animals

  • Other puppies
  • Adult dogs
  • Cats
  • Birds
  • Horses
  • Cattle
  • Any other animal you want them comfortable with

Of particular importance is to introduce your puppy to other puppies of different sizes, shapes, hair length, and age. Many dogs become afraid of other dogs simply because they have not had the opportunity to mingle with their own kind. Dog-dog aggression (fear-based) is a very sad behavior problem that can take months to overcome at older ages.

Additionally, many puppies who are never introduced to babies have a hard time later on adjusting to new family members. Many dogs become aggressive with children, not because they have been teased by them (although that does happen a lot), but because they are simply not accustomed to the way they look, act, and sound.

Real-life Lesson: Panda and the Mukluks

This is a story Pam, a friend of mine, told about her Australian shepherd puppy, Panda. Pam is an experienced dog owner and trainer. She knows all about the importance of socializing her pup to a variety of things in the early months of life. Pam introduced Panda to all kinds of people, sights, sounds, animals, and so on, thinking she had done a pretty good job. At seven months of age, she took Panda with her on a trip to colder climates than she is accustomed to in Southern California. During this trip, they met a lot of new people, one of whom Panda took a strong dislike to. She tucked her tail between her legs, folded her ears straight back, raised her hackles, and barked and growled before “escaping” to a safe distance. What was this all about? Panda loves everyone! As Pam watched Panda, looking for clues, she realized Panda was barking and growling at the person’s big boots, the kind with the big tread and heavy fur lining. Aha! This was something Panda had never seen on human feet before. Imagine what it must have looked like from the puppy’s perspective. Dead animals instead of human feet? Yikes!

Although everyone tried to convince Panda that the boots were safe to approach, she was having none of it. Pam’s homework: Go to a thrift store or army surplus store and buy a pair of big, furry boots, and desensitize Panda to them by associating them with fun things, like treats, games, and dinner.

Recommended Reading

The Dog’s Mind: Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior by Bruce Fogle, DVM, MRCVS

The Perfect Puppy: How to Raise a Well-Behaved Dog by Gwen Bailey

Superdog: Raising the Perfect canine Companion by Dr/ Michael W. Fox

Genetics and the Social Behavior of Dogs: The Classic Study by John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller

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Puppy Behavior Training

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Introduction

More dogs are euthanized for behavior problems than for any other reason. In almost all of these dogs, early, correct, and persistent training techniques will reverse this dismal statistic.

This section contains information about a variety of canine training techniques and behavior modification programs that will help you teach your dog basic manners that s/he needs to live in human society.

Learn how to solve common behavior problems like house training, puppy mouthing and biting, adolescent destructiveness, teaching Fido to come when called, and preventing aggression. The information you find here is based on contemporary humane training techniques that are fun for both you and your dog(s).

Puppies from 6-16 weeks

Now that you have that cute puppy in your family how are you going to mold him or her into a productive member of our society? If you don’t have an organized approach, with time set aside to enforce your training, that adorable little thing will soon become a monster that controls your life.

What your pup learns (and fears) during its first 4 months will be carried in its memory for the rest of his/her life. Therefore, it is imperative that you set aside the time and patience to turn these first 4 months into a positive experience for both of you.

In all honesty, few of us know enough about dog behavior to properly train a pup. Never fear, we are here to help you. We have enlisted the aid of Terry Long, a dog trainer par excellence. With her guidance you will soon know exactly how to approach the training of your pup.

We have complete information on what to do when you first get that pup home and until your pup is 4 months old. This is probably the most important time in your pups life, since it is during this time that your puppy will learn the behaviors it will carry into adulthood. We have 7 sections to cover, so grab those valium and lets get started.

House Training

“Excuse me, but I prefer Pampers”

Socialization

“Hey, anybody got a cigarette”?
  

First Visit to the Veterinarian

“I might be small, but I’m in charge”!

Leadership and Guidance

“You’re going to do what with that thermometer”!
 

Basic Manners

“Do you think there’s a surprise at the bottom”?
 
 

Preventing Behavior Problems

“Honest, I was just along for the ride”! 

Handling

Who, me worry? 
 
 

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Handling Your Puppy

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Goal

To prepare your puppy to be handled, restrained, and groomed throughout its life.


Tools you will need

  • Cotton balls or plain cleansing pads
  • Nail trimmers and short, wooden match sticks
  • Scissors
  • Electric clippers
  • Brushes and combs
  • Strips of an old t-shirt or sheet (or real gauze)
  • Yummy treats

 


Overview

One of the saddest things to see is a dog that is absolutely terrified of something as simple as a nail trim. I have seen dogs lose control of bodily functions, scream in terror, struggle violently, and bite and scratch in their frantic attempts to avoid having their nails trimmed. Some dogs have to be sedated or even anesthetized for this simple procedure. Others go without nail trims, which might results in dangerously long nails that can get caught in carpeting and can also cause the dog to adopt an unnatural gait which can cause joint discomfort. It doesn’t have to be this way. All dogs will eventually have to be groomed, vaccinated, examined, restrained, etc., so it’s best to teach your dog, early in its life to, if not enjoy these procedures, to at least allow them to be carried out.

The following procedures apply equally to young and older dogs. A gradual process of desensitization to the equipment as well as the discomfort associated with many handling procedures will help your pup avoid the psychological trauma described above.

 


Step-by-Step Tips

There are several things you should address in routine handling exercises throughout your dog’s life:

Restraint

It is easiest to teach a young pup to cope with being restrained if you teach it at a very young age, e.g., 6-10 weeks of age. Older puppies will struggle more and have developed more strength and coordination to resist your efforts. Regardless, in no case should this procedure turn into a wrestling match or a test of who is “dominant.” It is a natural reaction for animals to resist being restrained. It is not a show of dominance! It’s scary to be restrained and fight they will since they are hard-wired to do so.

Start by getting some yummy treats handy


Hold your puppy comfortably in your lap. Gently place your hands over his/her shoulders with the heels of your hands on the top and your fingers wrapping around toward the chest. Briefly (no more than a second or two) apply a small amount of pressure, say “Yes!” for the puppy not reacting (if she/he reacts, you are using too much pressure or doing it for too long), and give the pup a treat and pet and praise him/her. Gradually build up until you can exert a little more pressure for longer periods of time without your pup resisting. Reward profusely each time.

When the puppy is accustomed to having his/her shoulders held, use the same gradual process to accustom the pup to:

Having his foot held

 


Having his leg (each one, one at a time) held

 


Having his shoulders held

 


Having his hips held between your hands

 


Having his head held between your hands

 


Having his entire body held (tucked against your side, with the front end held by your hand and the hips tucked in by your elbow)

 


Having his head held in the crook of your arm (do this only if you have successfully performed all of the above, and be sure to keep your face away from your dog’s mouth)

 


If your puppy fights, struggles, growls, or bites during the beginning stages of these exercises, obtain the services of a positive reinforcement trainer to help you. Practice these exercises with your growing puppy and throughout his/her life!

Physical Exams (including tolerance for discomfort/pain)

Accustom your pup to a variety of “mock examinations.”

Mouth

Gently open your pup’s mouth an inch or so. Say “Yes!” for the puppy not reacting (if she/he reacts, you need to back up and just briefly touch the puppy’s lips or open the mouth less), and give the pup a treat and pet and praise him/her. Gradually build up until you can open the mouth wider, move your fingers around the lips, and gently press down on the tongue.

 


Reward profusely each time. One trick that works well after the puppy is accustomed to having you handle his lips and mouth is to open your pup’s mouth and press a treat down on his tongue for him to eat. Surprise!

Ears

Lift or touch the flap of one of the pup’s ears and gently and briefly touch the skin around the ear.

 


Say “Yes!” for the puppy not reacting, and give the pup a treat and pet and praise him/her. Gradually build up until you can touch all areas on the outside of the ear and eventually press a fingertip into the inside of the ear (don’t poke down into the ear canal; just the surface outside it). Reward profusely each time. Next, take a cotton ball or plain cotton pad (sold in stores as face cleansers), and gently wipe the ear flap and the area just outside the ear canal. Again, reward profusely each time!

Feet and Toes

Gently hold your pup’s paw in your hand and reward him/her for letting you hold it for longer and longer periods of time.

 


Gradually apply a little bit of pressure to the paw &endash; think of what it looks like when you hold the paw while doing a nail trim. Make this process fun by feeding one of your pup’s favorite treats. Gradually build up to the point where you are touching each toe and exerting mild pressure on each toe to the point where the nail is lifted. Many dogs dislike their feet being touched, so go slowly; this is the foundation of a nail trim and for checking between toes for those nasty foxtails (plant seeds that cause pain and abscesses).

Nail Trims

Here is a great exercise developed by a very creative British trainer named John Rogerson. In separate handling exercises, accustom your pup to the sight and sound of the nail clippers by placing them on the floor for the puppy to sniff.

 


Reward for any curiosity or interaction with the clippers. Next, pick up the clippers and flex them in your hands so the pup gets used to them in your hands, both the sight and the sounds.

 


Take a wooden matchstick, and clip the matchstick into several pieces, tossing the pup a treat each time you clip. Clipping the matchstick sounds very similar to the sound made by trimming a dog’s nails!

 


Only when your puppy thoroughly enjoys having his feet and toes handled and is accustomed to the sound of the clippers clipping the matchstick do you go to the next stage: fake clipping of the nails. Pick up the puppy’s foot and place a matchstick under the foot and clip the matchstick while it is in the same hand as the pup’s foot

 


Reward, repeat, reward. When your puppy is used to this, trim the very tip only of one of the pup’s nails

 

Reward profusely. Stop. Do


additional nails in several other, separate sessions and only gradually build up until you can trim several nails in one session.

This may sound like a lengthy process; however, with daily sessions many dogs can be trained to tolerate nail trims in a very short period of time, i.e., a week or so. It’s worth the effort!

Bandaging

Practice this exercise only after you have completed Step 1, Restraint, above. Use gauze or cut an old t-shirt or sheet into strips about an inch or so wide and several inches long (this will vary depending upon whether you have a Papillon or a St. Bernard). Gently wrap a few inches of the cloth around your pup’s front leg or foot

 


Reward frequently for not pulling the foot away or for grabbing the cloth. Make this a pleasant activity. (It is recommended that your do this exercise when your pup is relaxed or sleepy and not at his/her highest energy time of the day!) You may want to have a helper hold the pup while you do the wrapping. another variety of this exercise is to “dress” your pup in old t-shirts so that she/he gets used to having items placed on and around his/her body.

Note: Inappropriate use of bandaging can cause more harm than good. This exercise is to get your pup used to having bandaging material placed on its body only after supervision of your veterinarian.

Grooming

Accustom your pup to all of the different tools used in grooming. This includes brushes, combs, scissors, and electric clippers. Place each item on the floor for the puppy to sniff

Reward for any curiosity or interaction with each item. Gradually build up to placing the brush in your hand and gently brushing.

It is especially important to get your pup used to the sound of electric clippers even if your dog will not be routinely groomed with them. Many veterinary procedures involve the use of them, and dogs are often afraid of the sound if they have never heard them before. Let the pup sniff them on the floor with the power off and give him/her treats for sniffing them. Next, hold them and reward the pup for sniffing them. Then, turn the power on (be sure to hold it a few feet away from the pup initially) and toss treats!

 


Gradually build up so you can have the clippers next to your pup’s body so she/he can feel the vibration. Congratulations! You’ve just acclimated your pup to something that has the potential for being pretty scary!

Discomfort and Pain Tolerance

If you can get your pup to tolerate all of the exercises above, you can then try and teach him/her that brief discomfort and pain are also a part of life. Using the gradual desensitization procedures as you’ve used in the prior exercises, we will now teach your pup to tolerate discomfort. Again, with yummy treats handy, take a small fold of your pup’s skin between your fingers (on his/her back or between the shoulders).

Exert a small amount of pressure. Say “Yes!” and reward for not mouthing or struggling. If your pup does react, you have to take a step back and apply less pressure. Eventually, you want to be able to build the pup’s tolerance to a mild pinch. Think of how much easier it will be on the pup when she/he is vaccinated and always gets treats and praise for these brief moments of pain or discomfort!


Recommended Reading

The Perfect Puppy: How to Raise a Well-Behaved Dog by Gwen Bailey

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