Sam Hyer

Who is teaching whom? part III

March 5, 2010 // 0 Comments

by SAM HYER Once you have mastered the “heel” with your best fur friend, next is “heel, sit.” This is another command your dog needs to learn, and it is best taught at the same time as the “heel.” Your pup needs to learn that every time you stop, she is to immediately sit down by your side, and remain sitting until you release the command. This looks very impressive to people who are unfamiliar with dogs but, in fact, it can be taught easily. Every time you stop moving when your dog is heeling, immediately say, “Sit, Benny”—ok, maybe not Benny; please use your pet’s own name. And give him or her a quick, gentle tap on the hindquarters. A stubborn fur friend may need a little push into the sitting position, while a very stubborn child needs a jerk upward on the choke collar plus a push down on the behind. Every time your dog sits, praise him lavishly. And if he should decide to stand up before you are ready to begin again, give him an immediate correction. Soon your dutiful child will sit automatically when you stop. Next, let us try the “stay” command. Begin by placing the dog in a “sitting at heel” position. While holding his leash tightly in your left hand so that he cannot follow, step directly in front of him so that you are facing him. Holding the taut leash behind and over his head, show him the palm of your hand while you give the command “stay.” Then step backward, still holding the leash. If he starts to come toward you, correct him by saying “No, stay.” After about three tries, you should be able to take a few steps backward before he moves. If he remains in position, you are ready for the recall. Say “Benny, here,” and give the hand signal to come to you by holding your arm straight out from your side, then swing it in until your palm is flat against your chest. If you need to, you may give a little tug on the leash, but at this point most dogs are more than happy to come over to you. Once the dog arrives beside you, guide him to […]

Who is teaching whom? part II

December 31, 2009 // 0 Comments

Obedience training for your pets by SAM HYER When your “fur child” is about six months old, it is time to begin a program of more advanced obedience training. You need to put aside some time for training each and every day. Plan on spending half an hour each day to work with your dog—15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening is the normal routine. You will need a collar for your dog for training and obedience work. There are many schools of thought on which collar to use, almost as many as there are trainers. I am going to discuss the choke collar in this article. Ask your trainer—and (or) with the assistance of your veterinarian—which collar is correct for your “paw-ticular” pet. Each breed is as varied as the products the pet store sells. Some cannot tolerate metal “choke”-type training collars, as they can be easily injured internally. Before following this or any potentially harmful task with your pet, contact a professional that knows your pet. Never leave a metal choke collar on your pet. It can snag on something and choke your dog. Always have a nylon or leather collar for regular wear with a “ticket home” attached (a name tag). Many well-meaning people hesitate to use a choke collar for fear it will hurt their pet. But used correctly, a choke collar is a safe and humane training aid. Choke collars are designed to tighten quickly and then release, acting as a correction to the dog. This will not hurt your pet, but it will momentarily throw him off balance and get his attention so you can redirect to appropriate behaviors or teach new ones. The correct method to put on a choke collar is to stand on his right side and slip the collar over his head, making sure that the ring you will attach to the leash is at the top of his neck. When used correctly, the choke collar will release itself the instant you relieve pressure on the leash. Another item you need is a leash. Buy a narrow leash about five feet in length. Finally, you will need lots of patience. Remember, a dog learning the basics of obedience is a lot […]

Who is teaching whom?

September 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

Obedience training for your pets by SAM HYER “In many ways, dogs are like children,” says Bob Yamall Jr. of Kimbertal Kennels, Kimberton, PA., a nationally respected judge, breeder and trainer. They are curious and lively—dogs will spend much time trying different activities and exploring new behaviors. But only by consistent, firm obedience training will they learn the subtle nuances of civilized behavior in a human household—namely your household. Yamall specializes in breeding and training Dobermans and Rottweilers. He says that once your dog realizes that you are his sole source of food, walks and amusement, he’ll try a variety of ways to attract your attention so he gets what he wants. Let’s say that constant barking, whining or jumping on others gets the desired result; your dog will continue to do it until you teach him otherwise. This is where obedience training comes into play. The time to begin training your puppy comes when you first bring him home. The most important command is “come when called.” It is the first thing you need to teach your puppy—his name and to answer to it. This is easy to do. Just call the pup by name each and every time you address him, and praise him lavishly when he comes to you. Talk to him, using his name and the same words over and over, and soon he will know what you mean and desire. For example when you put him in his crate say, “Crate, Benny.” When it is dinnertime say, “Dinner, Benny,” and time to potty, “Potty, Benny.” Short and simple will assist your pet in knowing what you desire, and his desire is to please you. So make it easy for him to do so, and reward him for doing it, so it is his desire to repeat the loving moments between the two of you. By keeping the phrases simple and repetitious, it will not take long for a young pup to figure out that “dinner” means food, “car ride” is a trip, “out” and pup will head for the door, or “crate” and pup will go to his room. You also need to teach your pet to behave when the doorbell rings and when you and other family members arrive home. […]

What is kennel cough?

July 16, 2009 // 0 Comments

by SAM HYER Kennel cough is also called canine cough, bordetellosis and infectious tracheobronchitisis. Kennel cough in dogs will stimulate a coarse, dry, hacking cough about three to seven days after the dog is initially infected. It sounds as if the dog needs to “clear its throat” and the cough will be triggered by any extra activity or exercise. Many dogs that acquire kennel cough will cough every few minutes, all day long. Their general state of health and alertness will be unaffected-they usually have no rise in temperature, and do not lose their appetite. The signs of canine cough usually will last from 7 to 21 days and can be very annoying for the dog and the dog’s owners. Life-threatening cases of kennel cough are extremely rare and a vast majority of dogs that acquire the infection will recover on their own with no medication. Cough suppressants and occasionally antibiotics are the usual treatment selections. Actually, clinical cases of kennel cough are usually caused by several infectious agents working together to damage and irritate the lining of the dog’s trachea and upper bronchii. The damage to the tracheal lining is fairly superficial, but exposes nerve endings that become irritated simply by the passage of air over the damaged tracheal lining. Once the organisms are eliminated, the tracheal lining will rapidly heal. The most common organisms associated with canine cough are the bacteria called bordetella bronchiseptica, two viruses called parainfluenza virus and adenovirus, and even an organism called mycoplasma. The causative organisms can be present in the expired air of an infected dog, much the same way that human “colds” are transmitted. The airborne organisms will be carried in the air in microscopically tiny water vapor or dust particles. The airborne organisms, if inhaled by a susceptible dog, can attach to the lining of the trachea and upper airway passages, find a warm, moist surface on which to reside and replicate, and eventually damage the cells they infect. The reason this disease seems so common, and is even named “kennel” cough, is that wherever there are numbers of dogs socializing together in an enclosed environment such as a kennel, animal shelter, dog park, day care, or indoor dog show, the disease is much more likely […]

Tip to remove ticks

July 9, 2009 // 0 Comments

by SAM HYER Because as a groomer I am seeing more and more ticks on companion dogs, I thought I would provide this neat removal technique. Please cut this out and post it on the inside of the door of your medicine cabinet. You never know when you will need it for anyone with children playing in tall grass or hunters, dogs or anyone who even steps outside in summer. This is great, because it works in those places where it’s sometimes difficult to get to with tweezers: between toes, in the middle of a head full of dark hair, etc. And it assures you that you have the entire tick. Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for 15 to 20 seconds. The tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away. This technique has worked every time I’ve used it (and that was frequently), and it’s much less traumatic for the patient and easier for me. Unless someone is allergic to soap, I can’t see that this would be damaging in any way. Have a safe summer. Sam Hyer is the owner of Hyer Luv Kennel and Groomers, founder of Mid Michigan Cocker Rescue, life member of ISCC, a Rockford Chamber of Commerce member, American Boarding Kennel Association (Pet Care Services Association) member, guest speaker and lecturer on companion animal topics throughout the country, proud breeder of Oprah’s first cocker Solomon, behavior consultant, parent, grandparent and mom. She can be reached at 874-DOGS or at

1 2