Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2016
We humans create anxiety in our dogs and secretly enjoy it while saying "we can't bear". 

Truth is we do it to make ourselves seem precious in the mind of our dogs.

Special Care

This year end wasn't the luckiest, with 4 first time guests, 3 had anxiety issues and kept us up for 4 consecutive nights. We were so worried that they might hurt themselves or create trouble for the neighbors and had to check on them almost every hour, as well as making sure the ones that were not involved can rest better.

Because of this, I'll like to officially announce that we now have a separate category for dogs that requires special attention due to behavioral issues, this category is called "Special Care".

Can you? - part 1

J: Can you send any message to my dog?
Psychic: Yes as long as your dog wish to communicate
J: Can you get her to roll over now?
Psychic: No, she said she doesn't want to
J: *got the dog to roll over*
Psychic: That's because you have food with you, your dog loves chicken!
J: Here's a treat, now get my dog to roll over with telepathy
Psychic: Wow you are funny! It doesn't work like that, oh by the way..... she loves duck too.....
You mean you can send messages and tell me that my dog says she loves me and loves specific food and toy, but she can't understand simple commands?

Dog myth 14: I can judge a dog's temperament based on its breed

Dog myth 14: I can judge a dog's temperament based on its breed

How many of you have considered a specific dog breed because "The Book" says that their behavior suits your specific lifestyle and is perfect for you?
While there are evidence that different breeds tend to have varied temperaments due to inherited behavior(s) from their ancestors, dog breeding have come a long way and many of the claimed personality are slowly diminishing over the years. The reason I've decided to bring this point up was due to seeing a question on a post, where a user had asked about general poodle behavior. So here was my reply:
"It will be best not to predict the temperament based on general breed info(they have not been up to date for a very long time lol), and with all the mass breeding and stuff their temperaments are most likely messed up.
Many have purchased a poodle thinking that they are affectionate, intelligent and easy to train, but in my opinion it varies greatly, you…

Scam at its best

Recently my Facebook newsfeed was surrounded by someone whom had lost his dog. I didn't really read into details until one day I start seeing a lot of urgent posting to get people into helping him "trap" his dog, curiously I read the post further to find out more. So it's actually a timid dog that had ran away from home, and due to its behavioral instinct, trapping was needed to keep it from escaping. But the million dollar question was, how did he know where to find his dog?


"The AC said it will appear at XX time"


AC, which is a short term for Animal Communicator in Singapore, simply meant psychic, not Air Con.
Ok so right after reading that sentence, my head started to be filled with gazillions of *face palm*.

Honestly speaking, part of me did not wish for the dog to be found as predicted by the psychic, and yet another part of me hoped the poor dog would be found. Though I do not believe in psychics, chances will logically increase the more time you spend…

Will Facebook ever fix this????

I was notified of a case from an unhappy customer, after listening to the problems I am starting to doubt Facebook's business ideal.
Here's the story: David (not his real name), was very disappointed in an online groomer and had left negative reviews on their page, moments later he received a threat message that demands him to remove his review or he will be charged for "defamation". 
He continued to maintain his position as an unhappy customer, so the groomer had no choice but to remove their review function, which hides away all reviews. 
All sounds normal right, now the worst part - the groomer started to receive a lot of complains from different people! So what the owner did? Just change the name of the business on Facebook page!! And the crappiest part, due to Facebook's weird policy, changing of business name can still retain previous likes and reset review score at the same time. So in another words, a page with 5000 likes can simply pass over to another busin…

Amber's soft side

We were walking Amber in the park and decided to stop at a playground for her to have a little fun (it was an isolated playground).

At the playground we decided to play a bit of catching by hiding and let Amber search for us, she always enjoyed this game at home. As it was dark, Amber couldn't really see us by just using her eyes, especially if we stood still leaning towards the pillar, the eyesight of dogs are not very strong, they are really good at spotting moving objects though! So if anyone is standing in a dark area without movements, most dogs will not be able to spot them by just using their bare eyes. To counter this issue, they will usually rely on their nose to track things that they are looking for, in Amber's case she had forgotten to use her nose!

We made use of this chance to watch her reaction when left alone in an unknown environment, she started off with her tail wagging and running around the place to look for us, after about 30 seconds being unable to find …

Encountering yet another ignorant owner

While waiting for transport, I thought I had seen a well trained a little chi hua hua being walked off leash, then it started rushing past dozens of passerby, out of nowhere I heard a man shouting "STOP", I looked back and noticed that the owner was at least 5 meters away from his dog, screaming while walking slowly like it wasn't the first time his dog did that. Apparently the chi hua hua ignored his shouting and continue moving forward. I was really pissed off but knowing that it wasn't my dog and that this kind of conversation will usually end up in quarrels, I simply watch quietly, or and did I mention that it was a narrow path right beside a busy road?! Luckily the dog saw a bush and started doing its marking while the owner caught up, he then stood behind his dog and kept repeating "STOP", which obviously the dog didn't care and just continue what it was doing.
I'm not sure how many times he had allowed this to happen but his luck will soon r…

Raw Chow

After the last experience with Amber being diagnosed with UTI and diarrhea from trying K9 Natural's raw dehydrated food, we learned that her body isn't suitable for raw even if it's supposedly nutritious.

A few months had passed and we decided to give raw another try, this time instead of K9 Natural, we gave Amber Raw Chow from Sunday Pets. Sunday Pets is a New Zealand brand and is only available at Pet Lovers Centre in Singapore, apparently they are the sole supplier and do not wish to share this products with other retailers so the only way to get this product locally is to purchase from their outlets.

Mini Paws Town event 2016

It's been awhile since we last attended a dog event. On 30 July 2016, we went to Mini Paws Town's first official event!

Photos copyright: Mini Paws Town
The event took place at Bishan park, we've only been to this park twice prior to this event, with the first time meeting baby Amber and her breeder. Bishan park is a very beautiful place, it is really huge and even has a dog park, saw a couple of children playgrounds too. The bad part of the park - huge but not categorized properly, very hard to locate specific parts of the place. We took a cab there and the driver placed us at the wrong spot! Nicole was unwell and we had to walk more than 1km to our destination, it was a torture.

Nevertheless we managed to reach the right destination in one piece. Luckily we were in time, I was actually invited to give a 30 minute talk on dog behavior and had selected 3 participants for the program, needed some time to talk to the participants and make sure their dog was misbehaving the wa…

Just another day

Rufus's 4 weeks Board + Train program had finally ended! We brought him over to his owner's place to start lesson so that they could follow up what was taught during his stay with us. It was a memorable journey as we spent a lot of time bonding and teaching him necessary skills, will never forget how he looked forward to the play sessions, his nudging on hands for a pat and the happy prance he does during walks. Some of the owners opting for the program do go overseas from time to time, so we get to see them regularly, others have family and friends to help take care of their dogs, which we understand but still misses them at times.

During the car ride, Rufus rested on my lap and licked my arms a couple of times, it suddenly became an emotional journey. We had our last off leash walk near the estate before bringing him up, upon reaching and guiding on his commands, he kept staring at me as if waiting for me to command him even though the treats were not in my hands. During wal…

The misconception of ATP's training

In this article I will be sharing on my ideas, training concept and most importantly the misconception people have about our training ideas and goals.

If you've been following the blog, I've shared a couple of times about my experience throughout the years, for those that have not and prefer a short version of it - I've been practicing different dog training techniques for more than 10 years and have made sure all of them would work on similar problems before moving on, I do not believe the one method fits all theory and will always customize program based on 2 things, the personality of the dog and owner.

When we talk about Board + Train program, many may associate it with what they had seen on dog whisperer show, now this is one of the major misconception that I want to talk about here. Honestly I am not a big fan of the current series but I can understand how it works based on feedback of owners whom had participated in the program as well as some information gotten fro…

How to reduce demanding barks

Barking is one of the very few ways that a dog can communicate verbally, the tone of the barks may have different meanings but they are definitely not as complicated as human language.

Imagine waking up every morning at 6am to find your dog barking nonstop for attention, this is what many families have been experiencing with their dog throughout their lives, thinking that it is normal and not possible to rectify.

How do you know if it's demanding barks?
Attention seeking barks should not be linked to anxiety, guarding nor aggression, if you suspect your dog having more than just attention seeking issues then this article will not help, it will be better to engage a trainer instead. Here are a few examples to help you understand if the barks are solely attention seeking behaviors:

• Your dog barks at a certain time every morning
• Your dog start barking every time it finishes pee/poo
• Your dog stops barking after meals
• Your dog stops barking after you provide attention

The above …

5 reasons why we don't provide daily updates through messages

I'm sure most of you have heard about the update service that is becoming popular with boarding hotels nowadays, where owners are being sent messages daily to update about their dogs? Well this is a very sort after and easy way to gain awareness, however at ATP we still don't believe in providing such service at this point of time. There's a reason for that, in fact we have 5 if you are interested to learn why :)

From an innocent owner's point of view, messages updates may have lots of advantages and zero risks. It serves to provide owner as ease of mind knowing what their furkids are up to, as well as showing that the person cares about the wellbeing of the dogs they are taking care of. Daily updates can also let owners know if their dogs are eating well and even to the point of whether their behavior is good. The truth? Nothing is perfect, there are always pros and cons to everything.

Now here's the disadvantage, if the information (updates) you receive is wrong/…

What is Pride worth?

I was having a chat with one of our student, Amber was there and she wasn't exercised enough for a few days due to the rain and pest appearing more frequently.

For a start, she was behaving rather well off leash, coming back by herself after roaming too far off and doing her marking near the drains as we've taught. Then suddenly, one of our boarding guest started to bark non stop, Amber followed and soft barked a couple of times, our student seemed like she was expecting a correction from me, but I didn't do anything and continued our conversation. Moments later, Amber started to whine as she couldn't get any attention from the humans, I kept quiet and ignored. Everything started to collapse when she was asked to go into the carrier, well she did it perfectly, only problem was she didn't want to come out when called, instead of punishing her or pulling her out, I walked over to Nicole, brought out some treats and rewarded her when she came out.

If you've been …

Fetch game

Amber impressed us yesterday as we played fetch with her. After waiting with Creamie (while the humans were talking), we decided to let her destress by playing fetch games.

As you can see from the video, she managed to catch the ball using her mouth! We've been trying to train her for some time and did not have such continuos success (maybe my throwing skills is too bad, hahaha), well considering that her jaws are weak she managed to to did it 3 times, we exclaimed and praised her continuously.

Having a dog is so much fun together!


Is it alright for children to touch and play with other dogs?

Some have asked if it is okay for their children to interact with dogs that their parents/guardians isn't sure of, the answer is a straight no from me. When interacting with a dog that you don't understand well enough, many risks are present and adults will always need to make wise decisions to ensure that their child is safe. 

Below is a list of concerns that you will need to consider:
Temperament of the dog Every dog is different in terms of personality and behavior, usually it isn't related to the breed so don't go thinking that all golden retrievers are friendly and all mastiffs are aggressive, it doesn't work that way. The reaction of a dog towards strangers depends on 3 things - the environment, how well trained the dog is and lastly, how the stranger approaches the dog. 
For example, if a dog is well trained but the environment is uncomfortable, maybe a scenario where there's thunderstorm, a friendly dog can suddenly become aggressive without much warnin…

Forgiveness

Many professional trainers and rescuers continue to use abusive methods on their dogs, these people often refer to dog whisperer as an excuse for overpowering dogs unnecessarily.

As mentioned in our post here, "A number of owner who practices negative reinforcement have turned abusive, violence thoughts and anger management problems may start causing more unwanted behaviors than positive ones. Many professional trainers, as long as money and fame is involved have admitted causing abuse to animals due to their inability to control their mood and emotions."

People will always need to have someone to proof what they are doing behind closed doors before concluding that the methods are wrong and abusive, but have you wondered before they were exposed, how many other dogs were traumatized?

Are you really sure the dog whisperer show is really aimed to help dogs? Celebrities are always backed by legal teams and they are free to cut away any parts of videos that does not seem good fo…

Tug of war manners

This video provides a lot of details to dog obedience if you watch closely, I thought that it would be good to explain a couple of important points for those that wish to have their dogs behave better.
- I started to invite Amber to play by flickering my hands near the toy, instead of the usual "dog demands playtime" routine.
- The game was made even more intense as I wiggle the toy and playing tug of war. 
- You can see Amber almost lifting off the ground, which means that she was really determined to win. It wouldn't be healthy for her jaw if she was really lifted off the ground so I lowered the toy.
- Stroking her face is to get her used to being touched even during intense situation, this should be practiced when a dog has not developed any form of aggression. Do not do this if your dog tends to snap.
- An "Off" command before ending the tug of war game is a good way to reset her mind, and then returning the toy to her is a reward for letting go.
Visit thi…

Where are you?

This is what we have been covering on our recently lessons.


This bar represent the things you have done for training, the more things you have done right for the day then the better position you'll be in, you'll want to aim for the Green Zone at all times.

Everyday your dog will fall towards the Red (Danger) zone by 1-3 points depending on individual energy level, and to push your dog back to towards the Green Zone you'll have to exercise and train them.

If let's say you did a whole lot of training yesterday, add 5 points and your dog should be back to the Green Zone (plus minus).

But remember, the next day it'll automatically decrease 1-3 points again, so if you are going to skip 1 day of training, just remember to make up for the loss tomorrow.

Many dogs fall in the Red Zone for days, weeks and even years, that's when they develop frustration and it will eventually lead to depression 😊

Truth about the dog industry - Part 2 (RANT)

I've always thought that the pet industry is focused on pets, that owners will prefer those that can show to have more love and affection for pets as well as having the knowledge, experience and skills in handling them, apparently after almost 5 years in the industry, I found that it wasn't so simple.
Since young I've always dreamt of growing up to either work with animals or being an artist, but due to my family's view and friends around me I've moved towards art as a profession, I believed that even if art is chosen as a job, I could still spend time with animals at the end of the day. Animals had been a part of my life since I was born, we've had all sorts of pets that Singapore allows. When i was still in primary school, i've once told my friends that I wanted to become an animal trainer at the zoo and they all laughed at me, saying that the job is all about picking animal poop, I'm not afraid to say that at that point of time I was somehow affecte…

Amber goes to Waterway Point!

It's been awhile since we shared Amber's updates, recently we brought her to the newly opened Waterway Point at Punggol and she had a blast!

Waterway point is a neighborhood shopping mall located just beside Punggol mrt, it's walking distance from our place and we had been there a couple of times personally to understand which area we could bring Amber to. The mall had an open area for relaxing, it's build beside a canal with trees, plants and parks along the path. The park felt similar to Punggol Settlement except that this place had a huge mall right beside it.

To reach the mall without getting caught (oops), we first walked Amber on leash till Punggol Mrt, there were many people around and they seemed happy seeing Amber, then we entered the underground link by carrying her, which was fine as no one noticed her mini head. After exiting the underground link, we reached the entrance of the mall, instead of entering the main entrance we walked her around the outside of th…

Dog training methods - Right or Wrong?

History
Wolves are thought to be domesticated as early as 15,000 - 30,000 years ago, through human interaction and breeding they slowly became what we categorize as Dogs. Dogs are known to be more docile and enjoy the company of humans, it is said that the first attempt to interact with wolves was when they came searching for scraps in the territory of humans, those that were aggressive were killed and those that were more friendly would be kept as pets, these "friendly" wolves were then bred for many years before becoming what's known as dogs today. From there on, dog training have come a very long way, many have tried and studied the most effective ways to train dogs in that time, now it is our turn to carry on and improvise methods even further.

Don't worry as we are not here to focus on history, but to better understand how dogs behave in the past, science have been able to let us know what was going on before we were even born, however what science can't do …

Would you?

There's been a lot of debate about a new business in Singapore, where you pay money to take photos with a Panda.. No, Chow..., well they call these dogs Panda chow chow. Now below are our personal opinion on this matter, if you've been a reader of this blog for awhile you should know that we do not hide information and opinion, everything stated here is truthful from our heart, so please do not feel offended if it is too straightforward.



Well, the truth is these "Pandas Chow" (or whatever they call them) have totally zero association to the real animal, they are in fact a dog breed called Chow chow, the reason for inserting the word "Panda" is only because the dogs are dyed in black patches that resemble Pandas.

Visit to Gold Coast 2015 - Part 2

Having to choose between Australia zoo and Currumbin sanctuary due to our schedule, we selected Australia zoo in the end due to the overwhelming popularity. If we are not wrong, Steve Irwin and his family started Australia zoo to save wild animals and provide education to people all around the world. We got the tickets from Ozexperience and it came as a package called Australia zoo tour, however as the driver brought us to our destination we then found out that the tour was nothing more than a speech regarding the roads (not the zoo), which was about 2 hours. I called the management and asked why there were no tour, they simply replied that there isn't, just a package of transport and zoo ticket.



Night walk encounter

During our night walk with Amber yesterday, we met a toy poodle who regularly goes down for walk with its owner, this dog was always running around off leash and almost got bitten by one of our guest that had aggression. After telling the owner off she tried to keep her dog on leash whenever she sees us.

However this time round the one walking the dog was a male, whom we supposed was the boyfriend/husband, the dog as usual was off leash, and the guy who was supposed to watch the dog was staring at his mobile screen the whole time! We could see everything going on as we were sitting at the playground, which was a distance away. Both of us were talking about the chance of the dog getting lost or someone kidnapping being high, and after a few minutes the dog actually disappeared, we saw the owner looking for his dog, and yet went back to staring his phone and strolling slowly, this time the dog had ran up a small hill (we could see better from far), owner started to look around and call …

Amber's K9 Natural Trial - Part 2

You might've read our previous post on Amber's K9 trial [here], here's Part 2 of our review on this food. After trying all of K9's available flavors - Beef, Venison and Lamb, here goes our final thoughts!

Amber's poo was still inconsistent after trying the last meat - Lamb, the salesperson advised us to change the preparation method by using room temperature water instead of warm water, it didn't help much, her pee continued to smell weird, she urinated more frequently and poo was always soft, sometimes even watery (diarrhea). We were advised to continue as they mentioned diarrhea was a common problem when on K9, though they couldn't understand what the smell was about, we decided to stop everything. I suspected something is wrong and hoped it wasn't UTI (Urinary tract infection), we then made up our mind  that it's time for Amber to visit the vet.

Dogs after sterilization - A look at behaviors

I'm sure many of you have researched about dog sterilization - the benefits and risks of doing so, however I do notice that few actually provide proper information on the behavior changes that can happen to dogs after they are sterilized.

In this article I am going to share my personal experience on dog sterilization and the things i notice before and after the surgery, all of these studies are towards behavior (we leave surgical and health to related experts), having almost 15 years of my life handling dogs and animals, I've experienced first hand how hundreds of dogs and mammals change after going for sterilization, all of these dogs had been handled personally by me before and after the surgery. This article may be different from websites that you have read, which has high chance of including myths and fake claims because most writers including veterinarians and bloggers either cherry pick information from the internet and unverified books, or has different motives which ai…