“Mind Your Manners!”

“Mind your manners!”

How many of us grew up hearing those words? I’m sure we all had a magic word that made what we wanted happen. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way to good relationships. Simple things pave the way for peace and harmony in community.

These simple things so often get ignored in society and not just by the 2legged members either. Manners are a vital part of having a 4legged friend that’s a good member of society too.

Manners have always been high on my priority list with my dogs. Unfortunately it’s easy to get distracted by the flashier and fancier tricks in dog training. That’s happened with me and Magnus.

My boy turned one last month and we’ve learned a lot in his first year but I’m noticing he really needs some “back to basics” work. I’ve neglected some of what I consider to be foundation behaviors for a good pet. He has a good start on almost everything I think he needs to know, but it all needs a bit of polishing.

There are several areas I think we need to focus on, some of which would be taken care of if we got his CGC, which was one of my original goals. All of which we’d accomplish just by working Training Levels.

Greetings and Door Manners
Greetings are one place we need some major improvement. Especially when my mom, Charley and Chloe come over he gets way too excited. When a knock on the door is the cue to jump, bark and run around like a maniac you need some manners work. This is a bit of a logistical problem for me since as a self confirmed hermit I rarely have people over. Yet another 4legged lesson: Dogs make you get out of your shell.

I like the video below on how to keep dogs calm when people come over. It sets the dogs up for success even if the humans don’t cooperate with the plan. I often find I have an easier time communicating with my 4legged friends what needs done for success than with my 2legged ones and by putting the dog behind an x-pen it creates a physical cue to the humans that training is going on.

I also need to make my greetings much calmer. The challenge for me is that when the dogs run out so excited to see me and want to smother me in Cavalier hugs and kisses it’s hard to resist! Looks like I’m going to have to practice some greeting zen for myself too!

Door manners are also on my list. I’ve always taught the dogs to wait to go through the door until released. I still like that method, but I’m adding another element our trainer showed me. So instead of the dogs sitting, waiting and then when released bursting through the door and go on their merry way the criteria is now for them to sit until released then reorient to me. This applies to gates and cars too.

A combined element to door manners and greetings is that I want a solid park it on their mats when I open the door. All of this is covered in Training Levels, so if I get busy on those these things will come. Relaxation Protocol helps with this too.

Crate Manners
Both my dogs crate fine, but Magnus has trained a bad habit into me with crating. Maizey gallops into her crate just fine. Magnus on the other hand has decided he only has to get in bed if I have the treat already in my hand for him. SIGH! How did I let that happen? It was one of those subtle things that developed over time and I didn’t even notice until this week.

The solution? First I need to leave more time when leaving to put him to bed. If I’m in a hurry instead of actually training I tend to resort to “Okay I’ve got your treat now hurry up.” I’m going to work through Crate Games with him to get that eagerness to load up back.

Relaxation Protocol
I’ve come to the conclusion every dog can benefit from RP. Magnus and I have worked through three days. I have video, but I figured you were all getting sick of RP video so I haven’t posted it. I may put it on youtube eventually. If you’re dying to see it let me know and I’l upload it for sure.

Maizey spoiled me as far as grooming and handling’s concerned since she’s at “Level 33″ with handling. Magnus is the exact opposite of her when it comes to handling. He’s never loved being groomed, but this last month with is limp he’s really got the best of me.

He submits, but he doesn’t love it. I know he’s probably not ever going to love being groomed, but I need him to at least cooperate. Today I actually took him to a groomer to have him cleaned up. Neither if my dogs has ever been a groomer, and I found one I felt confident leaving him with. I’d still rather groom him myself so I’m adding handling to the “mind your manners” list. This is another thing that will be taken care of by working the levels.

All this manners work means we aren’t going to be doing classes for a while. I’m taking it back to basics with him and hopefully that will set us up for more success when we get back to classes!


Cavalier or Any Other Breed Query: How To Groom the Teenage Boy Dog

I haven’t been able to post lately cause every spare waking moment I have has to be spent grooming Magnus.

"See how pretty I was at nine months?"

I remember Maizey’s hair getting to this stage when she was his age, but she had much less hair and has always been much more tolerant to grooming than he is. Perhaps you remember her cocklebur debacle, which if it had happened to Magnus would surely have resulted in his getting shaved to the skin!

He seems to be giving me a run for my money when it comes to just getting brushed. Even though he is submitting to the nightly grooming ritual, he certainly doesn’t love it. I’m settling for tolerance out of him, but I would prefer a bit less misery for the rest of his grooming life.

That will come with Handling in my new Training Levels books, but we don’t get to that until the end of Level Two. Until then I’m trying to make it as pleasant as possible with liberal application of treats and not pushing him too far past his tolerance.

In the treat department we’ve found using the squeezy cheese bottle as a bribe for them to be still works wonders. Just lay it next to the current grooming torture victim and the very hope of some of that elixir of the dog gods squeezing out seems to lull them into complacency.

(Since I posted a similar picture for WW, there seems to be some concern that I’m overdosing my dogs on squeezy cheese. Let me insert the disclaimer that very little cheese is actually dispensed and you must admit it makes an hilarious picture!)

"Squeezy cheese-the solution to all grooming ails!"

Magnus further complicates the grooming issue by insisting on tramping through every weed and sticker patch he can find. His hair is just long enough the stickers go straight to the skin. The ones that don’t make it to the skin make an instant mat.

So Cavalier Query: What kind of grooming tools do you find most helpful? What kind of shampoo, conditioner and detangler? Do you use a slicker brush? He hates his, and settles most easily with a natural bristle soft brush.

The most important query of all: How do you reach those hard to reach places? I know most people are sane and groom on a grooming table. I don’t have one, and Maizey has always been like grooming a rag doll So I mostly just flop her upside down and brush her belly, under her legs and chest. Magnus doesn’t love that near as much.

Please help me out with your vast experience! If you want me to be able to post about Maizey’s Tricks Class, Magnus next class, or any of my new found knowledge from my new Training Levels books please help me not have to spend so much time brushing tangles, snarls, and twigs out of this teenage boy!

"Why do you think we'll be hard to clean up? We're not that dirty!"


Grooming With Some "Cowboy Magic"

Around here we have been on a grooming mission to learn how to deal with Maizey’s ever increasing amounts of “long flowing locks” as my non-dog friend puts it.

She is fairly tolerant to grooming, loves the bath more than anything, is great for toenail clipping, and would probably be good for teeth brushing if her crazymomlady wasn’t a lazy loser about doing it. 
However those thick ears that seem to just keep growing are a daunting challenge to keep up with. I would really like to be one of those wonderful dog-ladies who brush every day, but honestly we do good to get in 15 minutes about 4 days a week. The other thing that makes it a challenge is those ears are constantly getting wet. From water bowl to puddles, to the river wet ears make for snarls and mats.
So after hours online I finally found a wonderful group of folks who are part of a yahoo group called OzCavalier. These wonderful and kind folks patiently put up with my inexperienced questions and suggested a wealth of great suggestions and products. Thanks to all of you who responded!
My favorite thing I have tried so far is a product called Cowboy Magic Detangler and Shine. It is a non-greasy gel that you put a very small amount on the mat and with your fingers gently pull the loose hairs out of the mat. For once the name “magic” is not an exaggeration!
The other suggestion they encouraged me to do was to use a slicker brush on her. Due to Meeka’s extremely sensitive skin I am “slicker phobic” but I followed their advice using Maizey’s little slicker that has plastic tines instead of the traditional metal ones. It really works great and combined with the Cowboy Magic detangler her hair is not damaged at all.
Thus grooming has become a much more pleasant experience around here. Of course if would be nice if maizey were more like Meeka who when she sees you get out her brushes flops over upside down and writhes in pleasure at any brushing she can get!