Every other month our pet expert and Canine Coaches dog trainer Jill Bailey will answer your pet questions. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info on Canine Coaches visit caninecoaches.com. Q: I’ve heard of “nosework” classes for dogs and it sounds interesting, can you tell me more about it? A: As with any relationship, the most fulfilling ones are based on the importance of communication, which is what you can achieve with your four-legged friend through nosework. There are so many positive benefits to nosework classes; it’s an amazing way to build your dog’s confidence, strengthen the bond between dog and human and even though your dog is working, these classes are so much fun because your dog is doing what comes natural to them — using their nose! During these classes, they learn to search and seek out certain scents. What I love about nosework is the almost instant success your dog has from the very first class. Because they are doing what comes natural to them, it is such a rewarding experience for both of you. You become so much more in tune with your dog as you learn to read the cues your dog is giving as you see them working. I personally found that I was focusing too much on myself and not watching for the cues from my dog, so one of the things that helped me immensely was having the sessions filmed. When you watch them later, it helps you so much to see the cues your dog is giving. In my case, I could literally see my dog go from “playing” to “working.” You may also want to consider bringing another person along to guide your dog through the hunt while you observe. Observing other dogs in class is also very important. This is a great way to see how the dogs shift to work mode. Just as in any human relationship, the most fulfilling ones are based on the importance of communication, which is what you can achieve with your four legged friend through nosework. Be sure to look for a CNWI™ or ANWI™ to find a certified or associate nosework instructor in your area. I work with Certified Nosework Instructor, Beth Bishop at Canine Coaches. Q: My dog gets anxious during thunderstorms, is there anything I can do to help him? A: This is a tough one because it can be very difficult to desensitize a dog to something you have no control over, such as thunderstorms. That being said, there are a few different things I’ve learned about that you can try. There are DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) Diffusers, which imitates the pheromones in a mother dog’s milk, helping to ease stress and anxiety. There is also music therapy; a series of CD’s called “Through a Dog’s Ear™” are available to help calm dogs through piano music used to help slow the heart rate. Another option is a Thundershirt, which provides a calming effect that is similar to swaddling a baby. One of the tricks with the Thundershirt is to be sure to get your dog used to it before you actually need it. You want to be sure your dog isn’t associating the thing you want to help him, with the thing he is scared of, so be sure to put the Thundershirt on the dog as many times as possible before you will actually need it and leave it on the dog for 20 minutes or so at a time. As always, I would recommend consulting your veterinarian to help with these situations.
Jill Bailey is the Media Specialist at M3 Group by day, by night she is helping train dogs for Canine Coaches! Having a life-long love of dogs, Jill decided to get her training certification in 2012. Visit caninecoaches.com for more information.