Thursday, January 31, 2019

Col. Potter Training Tip: The power of yes

by Dawn F.

No, no, NO! Don’t do that!!

Can you imagine hearing that, day after day, year after year? And yet so many dogs have to listen to "NO!" for their entire lives. Or, after a couple of years of it, an owner finally says they’ve had enough of the “bad dog” and surrenders him to an animal shelter.

In a nutshell, that’s what happened to my newest foster, Bonacci. This 4-year-old lovebug ended up in a shelter, frightened and confused. And very poorly trained.

The owner told the shelter that Bonacci was a “bad dog.” He wasn’t housetrained, and he chewed “everything,” they said. He “breaks chains” and he pulled on the leash when they tried to walk him. And when he “misbehaved,” instead of showing him the correct behavior, the family banished him to the outdoors or to his crate.

I will admit that I was hesitant to foster a dog who was so out of control. But I quickly discovered that he wanted desperately to please me. He only needed to hear “yes!”

Yes, Bonacci, you can go outside to play and poop and pee. Yes, you are a good boy for doing your business outside. You are so good, here’s a treat! And yes, you can come back in any time you want. Even if it is just 20 seconds since you went out.

Yes, little man, you can chew. Here’s a chewie just for you. Or do you like this chew toy? Yes, you can have both.

Yes, Bonacci, you can chew on that little raccoon toy as much as you want!

Yes, you can stay by my side. Yes, you can sleep on my lap. Yes, we will keep the crate door open so you can come and go as you please. Yes, we will do all this while you learn that you can trust the humans who love you.

You are afraid of being locked behind a pet gate, even for a moment? Yes, I'll be back in a couple of minutes, and here's a treat to show you that this isn't punishment.

I am happy to report that this "bad boy" hasn’t had an accident in the house, except during his first hour in my home. He is so happy to hear “yes!” when he pees outside. He chewed a hole in one dog bed, but now he knows where the stash of chewies is kept and, yes, he can have one whenever I’m around to monitor him. 

Yes, Bonacci is a good dog! He needed to know what he should do, instead of what he shouldn’t do. It speaks to his character that he can respond so readily to positive reinforcement, after years of inappropriate punishment. I am looking forward to seeing how much we can accomplish with positive training techniques, to prepare him for life with his future forever family.

I hope he never has to hear “NO!” again.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday Sweets!

Sunday is full of SWEETS! Each week we showcase the sweeter side of Cairns. If you have a sweet-filled Cairn and would like us to consider YOUR photo for an upcoming Sunday Sweets, send it to us at (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.).

CP Nellie Mae reminds us of an important truth

Clearly, Foster Santorini is a mama's boy (aka cuddling with Foster St. Lucia)

Foster Bonnaci is oh so happy to be found

CP Doris and westie brother Norton cuddle cutely on their beds

"Make sure to get my ball in the picture," says Foster Fernando

Foster Fitzroy's lovely black and tan must come from his dad's side of the family

Sunny (aka CP Halia) shows off her sunny disposition

"Did you say walk?" says Lucas. "I'm all ears." 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Col. Potter Training Tip: Grieve, then love again

by Dawn F.

This has been a difficult winter for me. Regular blog readers know that my Westie pup, Peaches, had a severe heart defect that put her at risk for sudden death. She met that fate in late November, just a few days after I had her Christmas portrait taken.

Peaches posed beautifully for her holiday portrait.  

Peaches died without pain. It happened exactly as the cardiologist told me it would. The little girl just laid quietly on her side… and then she was gone. The world -- my world -- lost a small but wonderful source of joy.

A few weeks after that numbing loss, a dear friend was diagnosed with advanced cancer. By the time the doctors found it, the urothelial cancer had spread to my friend’s kidney, bones, and brain. I am my friend’s caregiver, and -- as thousands of people discover every day -- cancer’s rampage can be more devastating than I ever imagined.

My sadness seemed to be a permanent fixture.

Then, this week, Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network called and told me of a 4-year-old cairn mix who they rescued from a shelter, where his owner had given him up. CPCRN needed a foster home. It wasn't going to be an easy foster. The former owner never trained the pup, they just banished him outdoors whenever he misbehaved. But as I learned more about him, and as I thought more about it, I could feel the gloom lifting from my life.

The plan is to transport the pup to my home on Saturday. He will be bewildered and may shut down as he experiences more upheaval, so I will give him his own room apart from my collie crew (who will want to welcome our new guest, but will have to wait!). I’ll give him time to adjust and let him show me when he is ready to start his new life. Then, together, this pup and I will re-discover life’s little joys, with lots of praise and treats for every step forward. And lots of unconditional love when a step back is necessary.

So, what is my training tip for today? It is for you, dear reader. When you experience loss, take time to grieve. As much time as you need. When you are ready, accept a new challenge, a new chance to make a difference. Fostering or adopting a rescued pup can fill that hole in your heart.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sunday Sweets!

Sunday is full of SWEETS! Each week we showcase the sweeter side of Cairns. If you have a sweet-filled Cairn and would like us to consider YOUR photo for an upcoming Sunday Sweets, send it to us at (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.).

Foster Allie Efa joins the Col. Potter family

Foster Jessop is one California cool dude

Maggie and Sadie join the ranks of cairns on couches

Foster Mary Chilton doesn't let her missing leg cause her to miss out

Snowball ponders life's deep mysteries

Tess considers leaving her couch...but nah

Toni basks in the sun

Foster Zeb bounds in the snow

Friday, January 18, 2019

Friday Funnies

Off the Leash

click to enlarge
by Rupert Fawcett 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Col. Potter Training Tip: Rescue Kit

Rescue Kit

by Janeen Sharpe

How many of you carry your own rescue kit in your cars? I do. My sister started me on it many years ago. I’ve not really had to use it, but I nearly did earlier this month. I was driving on a busy road when I saw a stray dog cross the street. Luckily, drivers in many other cars saw her too. As a matter of fact, four cars pulled off the road and the drivers tried to capture the stray. It was a wonderful sight.

I always carry a first aid kit in my car, along with blankets, collapsible water bowl, and a leash. That day I did not need to use any of it, because one of the other drivers rescued the stray and was able to give her to her owner. But the situation made me think. This stray had a collar, was easy to grab, and was friendly; but other strays aren’t always captured that easily. Was I prepared to help?

I found some suggestions to be better prepared. Now I keep these items in my car:

        a phone to look up emergency vet clinics if needed
        a cardboard box to serve as a cat carrier
        a strong leash for dogs, preferably a slip leash that can also serve as a collar
        blankets, gloves, water bowls, and of course water
        some “smelly” pet food, like canned tuna or dried liver treats
        an easily accessible animal first-aid kit

When you see an animal running loose, keep in mind the safety of the dog, your own safety and the safety of others. Then proceed with caution. A frightened or injured animal is unpredictable. If you succeed in getting close enough to capture a stray, there is a chance of being scratched or bitten, so those blankets or heavy gloves may help you protect yourself.

Or, perhaps all you can do is sit safely in your car and call animal control to help.

If you decide it’s safe to move towards an animal, speak calmly and try enticing them to come to you with food. In one case, I opened my car’s back door and called to an escaped dog. He came running and jumped into my car! He was then inside and I was safely outside. The rescue group -- who he had just escaped from -- was very grateful for his quick capture.

Another time, a very loving small pup who had escaped his home was in a dangerous situation near a busy intersection. A neighbor easily captured him and brought him to me. I had my ex-pen set up and he spent the night here. In the morning, I called the city to see if we could identify the owner from his dog tags. We could. And it turns out that this wasn’t his first time escaping from his backyard.

My most unforgettable memory is of a day on a Detroit expressway. The traffic was very heavy, and a pitbull was strolling along the inside median. Much to my regret, it was too dangerous to stop because I would have caused an accident. I have never forgotten him.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday Sweets!

Sunday is full of SWEETS! Each week we showcase the sweeter side of Cairns. If you have a sweet-filled Cairn and would like us to consider YOUR photo for an upcoming Sunday Sweets, send it to us at (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.).

Charlie and Nellie Mae frolic in the snow

A warm welcome to Foster Christie Ann 

CP Garmond likes to curl up with a good book

CP Folly and CP Gareth cuddle on a couch of their own

Foster Cupid enjoys a nap

More Cairns on couches! (Dougie and MacPerry)

Elsa prefers to lounge on leather

Sunny (fna CP Halia) enjoys her Kong

Foster Kimmie models her favorite undies

Radley gets a sleek new cut

Foster Skipper Lee serenely explores the great outdoors

Foster St. Lucia is ready for someone to take care of her

Stannis is off on an adventure

Foster Zeb settles nicely in to his new home

Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday Funnies

click to enlarge

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The name game: Three ways to teach your dog its name

By Elizabeth B.

It seems like everyone I know has adopted a new dog this winter, whether that’s a puppy or a rescue. For many, this means going through the joys of puppy-proofing, housebreaking, leash training—and even teaching the dog its new name.

Fortunately, there are several name games you can play with your dog to help a new name sink in super quick. (And they’re more effective than merely sing-songing the name until the dog happens to catch on). You can play the first one by yourself to lay the foundation. Then you’ll need help from family and friends for the other two.

By yourself

The idea here is to give your dog a choice. You say the name only once, and then they choose to look at you or not. If they make the right choice, they get a treat. How it works:
  • Say your dog’s name—once—in a bright, friendly voice. 
  • If they look over at you, praise them and give them a high-value treat.
  • If they don’t, ignore them for a while, then try again.
  • Wait until they’re no longer looking at you, then call them again. Praise and treat. 
  • Repeat several times a day over several days until they’ve got it down pat. 
  • Also, make sure to try this out in all sorts of settings, indoors and out. And even challenge your dog by calling their name when there are distractions, like a passing car or a squirrel. 

With a partner 

This was the game I used to help my cairn terrier, True, learn his name in about 10 minutes. For this one, you’ll need the help of another person. How it works:
  • Have two people stand a few feet apart, either inside or out. 
  •  Have the first person call the dog in a bright-friendly voice. 
  • If they trot over to you, give them praise and a high-value treat. If they do nothing, don’t repeat the name. Just wait 10 seconds and try again. 
  • Have the second person call the dog. Praise and treat. 
  • After you’ve gone through a few cycles of this, step back to increase the distance. 

In a group 

After your dog is starting to get a grasp on their name, it’s time to widen the circle so they get comfortable with other people saying their name, too. This is a great game to trot out at parties, as friends and family tend to enjoy it. It makes for a great icebreaker and a chance for other people to bond with your new dog. How it works:
  • Have friends or family stand or sit in a loose circle. Give everyone a few of your dog’s treats to hold. 
  • Go first and call your dog’s name. 
  • When they come to you, praise them and give them a treat. 
  • Have someone else in the circle call the dog, ideally when the dog isn’t looking at them. Again, praise and treat. 
  • If the dog doesn’t immediately go to person who calls, don’t repeat the name. Just wait and try again in 5-10 seconds. Eventually, they’ll start to catch on that they don’t get the treat until they go to the person who calls, the first time. 
  • Repeat until everyone’s had a chance to call the dog. 
You can also mix things up by asking friends and family to hold on to a treat or two and call the dog randomly at any point during your gathering. This helps keep the dog on their toes.

Now if only there were some quick tricks like this to housetrain a dog!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday Sweets!

Sunday is full of SWEETS! Each week we showcase the sweeter side of Cairns. If you have a sweet-filled Cairn and would like us to consider YOUR photo for an upcoming Sunday Sweets, send it to us at (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.).

Foster Mike is on the scene

Foster Snowball can apparently sleep anywhere

Foster Fitzroy is matchy-matchy with his blankie

Best buds Jack and Charley

Foster Kelly Nelly goes for some sugar

Foster Little Lulu is all dolled up with nowhere to go

CP Raquel nestles on the new quilt she got for Christmas

"Come snuggle in bed," says Foster Roomba.

Foster Santorini has eyes to melt your heart

Foster Sister Bertrille is staying warm this winter

Foster Snowball, now wide awake and up for anything

It was love at first sight for Foster Solovey!

Foster St. Lucia takes a well-deserved break from her pups

Foster Sunflower is a sweet little ray of sunshine

Foster Zeb shows off his best "puppy pose"