When I got my Staffordshire Terrier Angus, he was 10 months old.
He weighed a measly 40 lbs, and had been raised on the No Name dog food that comes in the yellow bag.
His hair was dry and brittle and his spine, hip bones and rib cage protruded through his thin coat.
I started with “hand feeding”, so that he would know that I was the one supplying his food. I did this for 2 weeks, 3 times daily.
I put him on a healthy mostly “raw food diet”. I had deer meat in the freezer from the previous hunting season and he got some of that along with fresh veggies, fruit and a little kibble for the extra vitamins plus ½ tsp coconut butter and a sprinkle of ground egg shells for his coat, skin, bones, nails and teeth, all three times daily.
Over a year he managed to pack on 13 pounds. Now his spine and hip bones are covered by muscle and his coat is shiny and smooth.
Most dogs do not get enough of either mental or physical exercise and are labeled as “misbehaved”, “neurotic”, “unable to train” or ”un manageable”, etc.
With consistent training, Angus learned how to “walk with me”, or heel, bumping my calf the whole way on a 2 plus hour hike within 1 month.
He learned how to sit, stay and come and he no longer strangled himself while on leash as he did when I first picked him up within 3 months.
I could take his feed bowl away at anytime and he would “wait” until I gave him the command to begin. Sometimes if the command isn’t clear and I have walked away from him he will wait indefinitely, his head over the bowl and drooling!
During the first year with Angus there were many times when he would take off full tilt after a deer while we were out on a hike or bike ride. As I live in big country, I often feared that he would get lost or that I wouldn’t be able to find him.
I’ve had Angus for almost a year and a half now and though it took some time, he adheres to my commands and will not chase a deer. We are able to walk past them at very close quarters and he will not make one step toward them! He recently even sniffed and licked a tiny spotted new born fawn no bigger than himself!
As every dog is unique, I had to find a training method that worked for him. In regard to leash walking, I made him a “halti” collar that I saw in one of Cesar Millan’s dog training videos and it worked perfectly as soon as I put it on him. He didn’t “pull” at all, and I could hold the leash with two fingers!
I have also practiced voice commands so that I only have to whisper.
In the midst of learning what training method worked best for Angus, I found out that he was fantastic with “hand signals”. He actually learned the hand signals so easily and quickly that they helped in learning voice commands when I put them together. Hand signals are great if it is noisy around you, or if you’re blabbing on the phone!
He is now able to learn a new command within 3 days.
I am also very careful to research new foods before I give them to him. There seem to be many that are fine for humans to eat but not for dogs.
Read more about: “good foods” and “bad foods” and foods to add to meals for their health benefits, for dogs here:
Health and Wellness for Dogs
You will also find a “dog friendly” icon on new food posts for foods that are “ok” “or not ok” for or dogs to eat.
As I learn more, I will get the information up as posts. If you have some information you would like to share, please send it to me and I will post it!
Cesar Millan links: