Monday, July 17, 2017

Tribute to Horand von Grafrath

Horand Von Grafrath - SZ 1

Lets take an opportunity to pay our wholehearted tribute to Horand - Horand von Grafrath (formerly Hektor Linksrhein) is "The" Foundation dog of the GSD breed. An important phase in the evolution of the German Shepherd Dog breed starts from Horand (DOB January 1st, 1895), SZ1.

There’s no better way we can pay our tribute to Horand von Grafrath than by mentioning here what Captain von Stephanitz, the originator of the breed said about this awesome dog.

Here's what he said about Horand:

"Horand embodied for the enthusiasts of that time the fulfillment of their fondest dreams.  He was big for that period, between 24" and 24 1/2", even for the present day a good medium size, with powerful frame, beautiful lines, and a nobly formed head.  Clean and sinewy in build, the entire dog was one live wire.

His character was on a par with his exterior qualities; marvelous in his obedient fidelity to his master, and above all else, the straightforward nature of a gentleman with a boundless zest for living.  Although untrained in puppy hood, nevertheless obedient to the slightest nod when at this master's side; but when left to himself, the maddest rascal, the wildest ruffian and incorrigible provoker of strife.

Never idle, always on the go; well disposed to harmless people, but no cringer, mad about children and always in love.  What could not have been the accomplishments of such a dog if we, at that time, had only had military or police service training?  His faults were the failings of his upbringing, never of his stock.  He suffered from a superfluity of unemployed energy, for he was in Heaven when someone was occupied with him and was then the most tractable of dog."

So by Sir Max's words we can at ease understand what are the desirable qualities that a well bred German Shepherd should actually have. Horand von Grafrath was a name that had been given to the dog by Captain Stephanitz. There is an interesting history behind the Horand’s life story. While attending a dog show in 1899 the captain came across a Thuringian type sheep dog of medium stature, whose name was Hecktor Linkshrein. It was Hecktor's typical shepherding qualities, his nature and anatomical structure that grabed captain's attention, and he fell in love with him at the first sight. He purchased him at the spot and later he changed his name to Horand Von Grafrath registered him with his new name the vereins newly found stud book. Horand was the first shepherd dog to find the first place in the new stud book of the verein. “Verein” here is Verein für deutsche Schäferhunde (shortly known as SV – the “Club For German Shepherd Dogs”).

Later Horand sired many pups, the worth mentioning and most celebrated of which was Hektor von Schwaben - SZ 13, born on January 5, 1898. Hektor von Schwaben was born from the combination of Horand von Grafrath - SZ 1 (born - 1895) X Mores Plieningen HGH - SZ 159 (born - 1894)

Hektor von Schwaben later produced some head reeling offspring such as:

Heinz von Starkenburg - SchH3,  Kkl 1, born from the combination of Hektor von Schwaben X Lucie von Starkenburg - SZ 131 (born - 1896). Heinz achieved some lasting fame through his progeny - the 1906-7 Sieger Roland v Starkenburg - SCHH3, Kkl 1 (born 1903), the first really outstanding dog of the breed.  Humphrey (1926) believed Roland owed little to Heinz and more to Hektor v Schwaben.  



Two specimens that were wisely used to standardzing the German Shepherd breed were Beowulf and Pilot

Beowolf


Pilot


These three studs - Heinz, Beowulf and Pilot had been used in the breeding program later, and thus their progeny contributed immensely to the development of German shepherd Dog breed.  

Captain Stephanitz heavily inbred on his very favorite Horand as well as his brother Luchs with an aim to strengthen the bloodline. Horand's most celebrated son, Hektor von Schwaben, the second German Sieger, was mated with his half-sister as well as through daughters of his own sons, Beowulf, Heinz, and Pilot III. 

Heavy inbreeding was the base of the development of the breed. But eventually is concentrated undesirable recessive originating from the mixing of the original strains. Von Stephanitz hence decided introduce unrelated blood of herding origin through Audifax von Grafrath and Adalo von Grafrath into his program.

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Food For Your GSD


When it comes to keeping your GSD happy and healthy, food obviously tops the list of concerned. Then exercise. Yes… I have always tried  to strike a balance between the food and exercises for my shepherds. I have rarely purchased commercial dog foods for them, but have been able to keep my shepherds as healthy as a few others. In my previous post: Diet Management For German Shepherd Puppies I have talked in depth about what your puppy’s food should contain.

Keeping your GSD in perfect health is no strange formula, but a passion to see them moving around healthy. Its not just about feeding them good quality food in huge volume but, feeding them right kind of food in right proportion with the calorie they loose.

It is a myth that German Shepherds must be given meat everyday. Remember that dogs are not lions… they are not carnivorous animals. They are omnivorous creatures just like you and me. The major difference is that our dogs are less capable to digest complex food. Therefore it is recommended providing your German Shepherds with food that they can easily digest.

Myth about Meet-full diet for your dog

You may be wondering, if wolves are ancestors of today's canines, and if wolves in the wild live mostly on meat, then why not giving Rex a diet filled with meat? Do they really need greens added to their diet at all?

Well there are two schools of thoughts. (i) the first group for instance, AKC and experts at Hills believe the fruits and veggies should be included in your dogs food - either as treat or in the main diet. Wolves in the wild attack chiefly herbivorous animals, and they consume the stomach contents and the intestines of those animals that mainly contain vegetable matter.

(ii) There is one second group, like RawFed that considers dog as purely carnivores. According to these people, based on the dogs' dental configuration, physiology and internal and external anatomy they are not omnivores.

However, with all supportive documentations and research works, The National Research Council of the National Academies and some larger dog food companies consider dogs as omnivores.

Therefore, when it comes to food for your German Shepherd, it has to be a right mix of meet, fruits and veggies. However, not all food that are good for humans are good for your shepherds. Here's a read on some of the human foods that should be added to your shepherd's diet.

If you are more into home made food for your GSD that’s quiet appreciable, but the food should be well balanced, nutritious and can provide them with adequate amount of energy. Failing to provide your GSD with meat for a couple of days should not be a matter of concern. Meat is one of the essential components, but not the only essential component of his food. His food must contain some green, ground up fruits, eggs, yogurt and cottage cheese. Lentil, apple gourd or ridge gourd, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, a few pieces of sweet potatoes, turmeric, and a few drops of vegetable oil, chicken/turkey and rice can be mixed together and boiled together for a few minutes until they are properly cooked.

Some veggies you should consider in your GSD's diet

Sweet Potato: Low in fat and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. Sweet potatoes are rich in the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene

Lentil: Although some of the legumes can be harmful to dogs, but thankfully lentil does not fall under this category. Homemade lentil soup is a great addition to your GSD's diet. It helps alkalize your shepherd's body by balancing its pH level, manage blood sugar level, manage cholesterol level, maintains heart health, maintains digestive health by promoting growth of healthy microflora, helps you maintain your dog's weight, provides energy and improves immunity by preventing deficiencies in critical minerals like iron, folate, zinc and manganese.

Ridge gourd (also known as  Sponge Gourd): Lentil is rich in dietary fiber and enriched with all the vital elements that include Vit-C, Zinc, Iron, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Thiamin and traces of another minerals. It is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and calories that aids in weight loss.

Indian Round Gourd / Apple Gourd: Apple gourd is a rich natural source of Vitamin A, Calcium, Vitamin C, Iron, and Potassium

Pumpkin: The potassium and vitamin C content in pumpkin support your dog's heart health. Pumpkin is a rich source beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant. Pumpkin is high in dietary fiber which helps bowel regulations - whether the dog has diarrhea or constipation.

Asparagus: Properly boiled into soft stalks, the asparagus, as is packed with vitamins and minerals, can be a good addition to your dog's diet a few days a week.  It is rich in vitamin K, folate, copper, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin E. It is also a good source of manganese, phosphorus, potassium, choline, zinc, iron, protein, and pantothenic acid. NOTE: Asparagus fern (plant part) is toxic for dogs.

Brussel sprouts: Brussel sprouts are good for your German Shepherds as long as they are fed in moderate amounts. sprouts are rich in vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6 and vitamin C. It is also rich in antioxidants that helps reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation. Please note that too much of sprouts in your dog's diet is not recommended. Sprouts contain a high level of isothiocyanate, a substance that improves the ability of the intestinal muscle's to push food and waste through the gastrointestinal tract. This builds up excess bacterium, which forms gas.

Spinach: spinach is an immune system booster, restoring energy and vitality. Spinach in your dogs diet in moderate amount once or twice a week may be a great idea. It prevents cancer and is good for the his heart. Spinach is a natural source of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin K. It is also a great source of natural calcium, iron, potassium, fiber, manganese and folate. 

It is not recommended to shift from your food to this recipe all at once. But once they are habituated with this kind of foods you can offer them this occasionally.

A good diet for your German Shepherd can be easily made at home. You can keep your dog healthy, fit and active with easy to make homemade recipe. All you need to do is to make a routine of what to give today. Not all veggies should be given everyday. Choose as per your will and as per the guide above. Just make sure what you want to put in Rex's feed bowl. Chop the veggies properly, put in fresh meat (chicken/turkey/beef/lamb), put in rice and lentil, add a pinch of turmeric, boil them properly together until they are well cooked. Bring it to room temperature and feed Rex fresh.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Happy German Shepherd Dog Day - May 30

Wish you all a very Happy German Shepherd Dog Day :)


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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Is GSD The Right Breed For You?


Today's talk about German Shepherd Dog is not aimed at discouraging people about keeping this breed; rather a discussion that is focused on helping you to understand whether they are fit for this breed.

Intelligent, energetic and playful, the GSD breed is one of the most popular dog breed in the world. His origin basically demands it to work outdoor with his master. However, due to his gorgeous look and loyal nature he has found place in bungalows and even in small apartments, making him an great choice for many families. The German Shepherd Dog breed has been blessed with lots of reasons to be one of the most wonderful canines on this planet. However, certain factors have made these animals unsuitable for some people. German Shepherd Dog needs true and consistent commitments. This magnificent dogs demand a lot of time, engagement and space for good grooming. Their comparatively higher degree of intelligence can make it really challenging for novice owners to handle them. German Shepherds have been genetically engineered to be perfect working dogs, and if they are not made to engage in any job they can often times create work for themselves, which can be a real mess and a serious issue of concern for the owners. These dogs are not just for anyone who loves dog. GSD breed demands a constant attention, sound obedience training and right degree of mental and physical stimulation.

Here are a few reasons why GSD may NOT be suitable for you:

1) German Shepherds had been originally bred for working as a herding dog, which is why they have very high energy level with ready to work character trait. It is important that their energy needs to be burnt and to the correct extent. They need to be given proper trotting. Large area to run around is one of the major necessities.

2) German Shepherds shed profusely twice a year and over moderately all through the year. It is a necessity to brushing them almost daily. If you r any member of your family are allergic to fur, it is recommended not keeping a German Shepherd.

3) This breed is susceptible to many genetic disorders such as Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Panosteitis, Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), von Willebrands Disease, Bloat, Degenerative Myelopathy, Subaortic Stenosis, Enlarged Heart, Digestive Tract Disorder etc. Studying the blood line properly is of utmost significance. Although selective breeding has paved the way to eliminate some of these problems, backyard breeding by novice owners is still contributing to these issues in the breed. However, many other canine breeds especially the large ones are also prone to some of these conditions. Read out in-depth discussion on German Shepherd Dog health disorders.

4) German Shepherd is a large breed that requires a good amount of space. Space is one of the reasons that most GSD lovers usually the apartment dwellers have to de-list this breed from the list of the best dog breeds.

5) Grooming Especially bathing a double coated large dog like GSD is a real big challenge. Use a shampoo that is made for dogs; remember that the body pH of a dog is a lot different. It is important to properly rinse out the soap and shampoo and then and drying the coat. German Shepherd Dog usually does not require frequent bathing, provided he is kept on good food, regular brushing and in proper place. Regular (if possible daily) brushing keeps his coat free from tangles and mats.

6) Proper Socialization and obedience training It is mandatory that your German Shepherd should be put to proper obedience training session. Without a proper training keep a GSD can be harmful both for you and your dog. Socialization is another most important for any canine more so for large dogs like GSD. And unsocialized German Shepherds can turn out to be a real menace for you and your family.

German shepherd is a breed that demands additional commitment and care. These dogs require daily interaction, personalized attention, firm handling and correct training and socialization in order to have a well-adjusted, smooth life with you and your family.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

GSD Looses Popularity as Working Dog


The iconic breed German Shepherd gained an unswerving popularity (especially as one of the most perfect working breed) across the globe especially after the World Wars. Max Von Stephanitz (the father of GSD breed) had high hopes and big dreams with his breed, the World Wars had cast a deep impact on the GSD popularity world wide. Germany was a single country, as we all know, before the beginning of the Cold War. Here's the history in a nut shell of what made the popularity of GSD as a working dog aggressively decline.

Both World Wars I and II had imparted exceptional impact to the working breeds and German Shepherd Dog played the leading part in the world of working dogs. During the World War II, the 4 countries Great Britain, the USA, the UK and the Soviet Union joined hands to occupy the city of Berlin. Berlin was conquered by these four super powers and was split into 4 parts, but it finally bred fresh disputes across the borders. Cold War was written on the card and Germany was divided into two separate countries West Germany and East Germany (Deutsches Demokratische Republik the DDR). Rules of communism had always been worst of its kind in all parts of the world. Communist government used practice strong dominance over the common mass and people could make free trade and share things freely with with the world outside their community. The GSD breeders of East Germany (Deutsches Demokratische Republik the DDR) that is widely known as DDR Line GSD, was victimized by the insane whims of the communist dominance. The DDRL GSD is still considered to have the best working abilities. The DDR Line German Shepherd breeders were compelled to keep their inspirational breeding program within their boundaries, separated from the foreign influence. Gradually a steep decline in the popularity of the GSD as working breed was experienced, as the bloodline was not allowed to be spread out globally. The West German Blood Line is more of show dogs than hardcore working specimens.

Another most significant factor responsible for the popularity of working GSD has been bad breeding. Bad breeding here refers to unscientific breeding, without properly understanding the breed from its within. Breeders have been noticed to be more inclined towards earning money buy breeding show dogs, which are way different from the specimens that are scientifically bred for working. Many novice, yet ardent lovers of this magnificent breed (including me and many I know of) have always ended up with getting in touch with breeders who breeds dogs with head turner beauty, angulated structure, expressive rich tan markings, BUT i no way these dogs can be compared with an original working specimens. We have forgotten that the German Shepherd Dog was bred for working and not exhibiting. Show enthusiasts are found arguing with that shows are for filtering the bad from the breedable stock, and breedable stock comprises dogs that have perfect body structure, angulations, gait, propulsion, size and colors that are looked for in a working GSD. I have agree! I don't deny this fact, but simultaneously I cannot find close resemblance between a real working GSD and those that comprise the breedable stock.

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Trademark Traits of German Shepherd Dog




German Shepherd is one of the most acclaimed dog breed with a rich working heritage. It is the unparalleled working ability and degree of intelligence that fetched the dog the highest popularity across the globe.

German Shepherds are known for their utility, but the  gorgeous appearance with soundness of nerves and unswerving confidence are the main criterion of a well bred specimen. the character traits of German Shepherds can be segregated under 3 broad groups:

However, as an overview the trademark traits of GSD are as follows:

  • Handsome and well-built structure
  • Royal and smart gait
  • Loyalty and Obedience
  • Strong from within (innate strength) and Powerful
  • Protective and Natural guard
  • Appearance gives an indication of confident
  • Intelligence
  • Eager to go now attitude
  • Hard-working
  • Steady of nerve
  • Fearless and Courageous
  • Easy to train because of high intelligence level
  • Friendly with kids
  • Best as a companion dog
Another significant read in relation to GSD character traits: 5 Basic Instincts of German Shepherd Dog.

However, baseline is: GSD is a courageous, assertive, protective, agile and intelligent working breed that has worked with humans for many years in the war fields, police, medical sectors security and as seeing eye dogs. Although most of strong traits in a breed is genetically ingrained, many are still environmentally engineered. Since German Shepherd, as already said, is one of the most intelligent breeds, the influence of lifestyle and behavior of human pack members on a GSD that lives closely with humans is more pronounced and prominent than it is on other breeds like Rottweilers, Collie, Siberian Husky, English Bulldog, Jack Russel Terrier, Shar-Pei, Akita, Tibetan Mastiff etc. Due to its intelligence GSD learns fast and grabs and follow his human partner more efficiently. These environmental traits can vary from dog to dog due to the variation in family types. 

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Puppy Socialization Checklist For your German Shepherd



Socialization is an inseparable component when it comes to raising your German shepherd puppy and should be started as early as possible preferably at an age of 4 to 12 weeks. Proper socialization can make your dogs life balanced and calm, because through an extensive process of exposing your dog to a wide range of situations, sights and sounds your dog gains experiences and learn to consider such situations as harmless and not frightening. Socialization is not just for puppies. A dog can be socialized to different situations throughout its life. By socializing your GSD puppy you will help him/ her to respond to the entire range of unusual situations in a friendly manner with a calm temperament.


Why Socializing your GSD puppy?

The main purpose of socialization is to teach your dog how to accept and respond to certain situation that he may or may not come across to frequently in his day to day life. The aim is to develop confidence in your dog so that S(he) doesn't react fearfully in specific situations.

How to socialize your puppy?

Applying force to put your puppy in a situation that daunts him/her is a big NO! Force can only worsen up the thing. If your puppy has already reached the adolescent stage or even over, and yet not been properly socialized you need to technically put him/her into a rehabilitating session to help develop confidence. Very importantly, the process of socializing your dog should be consistent and spontaneous, and it is all about helping him gain confidence not forcing him to stay in situation which s(he) doesn't like or is scared of. It is about exposing your puppy to a wider range of situations. There's not limit wider the range of situations, better it will be for your puppy to lead a balanced life. Socialization is a strategic process to help your dog gain confidence.

Here is a checklist for socializing your German Shepherd puppy

Known and Unknown People
  • People (new born, toddlers, children, teens, adults and senior citizens)
  • People (males, females and children with umbrellas, helmets, masks, hats, glasses, strollers, wagons, parcels, sack)
  • People with disabilities (people on wheelchairs and crutches)
  • Men with mustaches and/ or beards
  • Bikers, cyclists, skateboarders
  • People with unusual movement (drunk and people with disabilities)
  • Men, women, teenagers and older children in uniform
  • Children playing and running around
  • People whom your dog have to meet quite frequently (friends, relatives, family doctors, veterinarians, gardeners, plumbers, electricians, tutors etc.)
  • People from different races and ethnic groups
Social and environmental situations
  • Huge crowds and gatherings
  • Automatic gates and Elevators
  • Crowd dancing
  • Jammed traffic
  • Moving vehicles
  • Falling things (broken branches of trees, dried coconut leaves etc.)
  • Other animals (other pets, livestock, fowl)
  • Water mass (pools, ponds and rivers)

Sound
  • Thunder claps and sound of storm and heavy rain
  • Huge crowd making noise
  • Sound high fidelity speakers
  • Honking vehicle horns
  • Noise from vehicle engines
  • Noise from machines
  • Sounds of cracker
  • Noise of other animals (larger dogs, cows and buffaloes)

Others
  • Stairs
  • Terrace
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Hair dryers
  • Movable electronic toys

These are just a few common situations, sights and sounds, which you should consider socializing your puppy for. There is actually no end to the list. You may consider exposing your dog to as wider range of situations as possible to develop confidence. Socialization is essentially important for many reasons and one of them is dog-bite prevention. Many incidences of dog attacks and bites have been critically scrutinized by canine behaviorists. Lack of socialization has been found to be one very common reason behind most of the unpredictable attacks and bites.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Hydrotherapy Treatment for GSD



Since the ancient times hydrotherapy is considered as an effective treatment for human beings. Documentations have proved that several attempts had been made to formalize the practice of hydrotherapy as a treatment during 18th century.

Until recent times canine experts did not spare thoughts over hydrotherapy as an effective treatment for a number of conditions in dogs especially in the medium to large dogs such German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweillers, Mastiffs etc. Certain conditions in canines - especially in GSD may worsen or may show almost no improvement with exercises that was once considered to be useful. As a good alternative to general treatment through medicines and exercises, "hydrotherapy" is now considered as one of the most effective treatment of such conditions like hip and/or elbow displasia, Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD), Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy (CDRM) etc. Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), which is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs especially found in medium to large breeds can be effectively treated by hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy treatment has also proved to be quite effective in small breed of dogs having Luxating Patella or floating kneecaps. Modern veterinary science also recommends hydrotherapy treatment to dogs having ligament injuries, obesity problems and any other mobility issues. Significant development can be noticed with this treatment method by employing a professional canine hydro therapist.

Veterinarians and experts considers that swimming or moving in water has favorable therapeutic effects in pre and post surgical rehabilitation, increasing body awareness, developing mental and physical balance and last but not the least, for maintaining general fitness and developing muscle tone.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Can Reinforcement Backfire With German Shepherds?



"Behavioral Intervention" is the right phrase to be used when it comes to positive reinforcement to correct undesirable behavior in your dog. German Shepherd is a power breed and any kind of behavioral disorder, however mild it be, needs to be corrected at the very early age.

What is "Behavioral Intervention"?
Behavioral Intervention is a systematic plan engineered for a particular dog to teach the dog to change his or her specific behavior(s). Behavioral Intervention strategies are masterfully designed to target the modifications of specific habits, and simultaneously positively reinforcing the alternative desirable skills in your dog.

Positive Reinforcement, as we also call it Positive Motivation Training is a highly effective and scientific method to shape and/or re-shape your dog's behavior. It involves including a motivational item - "Reward", as we call it, into the training process to motivate the dog to act as desired on command. Canine behaviorists have noticed that food acts as a better motivator than any other motivation factor in a rewards based training process.

In Positive Reinforcement training methods , as a rule of thumb, the reward is presented  to the dog after the dog shows the desired behavior, thereby ensuring the particular behavior more likely to be exhibited by the dog in future for same situation(s).

The Behavioral  Intervention + Positive Reinforcement have to be very strategic and hugely demands a professional's attention. The reinforcement training methods can immensely backfire if implemented wrongly and unplanned.  There's a popular belief that too much of dependence on reinforcement by rewards gets quick results, but not long lasting. This is, however, a myth. Reward based reinforcement training has an everlasting effect if correctly done. 


However,  Reinforcement Can Backfire

Yes, with novice hands reinforcement training can immensely backfire, leaving your dog with reinforced undesirable habits. Novice trainers and newbies usually fail to identify the most significant points required for an effective Behavioral Intervention Plan. This will certainly backfire and adversely affects your dog’s learning process.

Most importantly, as a trainer you must identify the specific "behavior(s)" that actually need "intervention". In this process many new trainers mistakenly confuse with which specific behavior(s) should be intervene, and how should the Reinforcement Plan be formulated. Thus, many trainers have been noticed to have ended up with reinforcing wrongly, leaving the dog being reinforced on bad behaviors only.

Important points here...

Point - 1: Praise Only Those Accomplishment That Have Been Consciously Accomplished - Not Accidentally Accomplished.

Point - 2: Praising at The Right Point of Time is Important. Dogs Live on Time. Rewarding Your Dog a Few Minutes After The Desired Accomplishment May Have a Different Implication. Therefore, Trainer's Attention is a Mandate. 

Point - 3:  Motivator (Reward/Praise) Should be a Real Motivator. If The Dog Doesn't Get Motivated With The Reward Used, The the Reinforcement Training Process is Bound to Backfire. 

Point - 4: Priorities and Preferences Are Important. Not Every Behavior Needs To Be Treated As Undesirable at a Give Time.

Point - 5: Consistency is the Key To Success. If The Trainer is Inconsistent and Non-Repetitive in Rewarding, Then Reinforcement Won't be Effective, And May Even Backfire, as the Inconsistent Behavior of his Pack Leader (Trainer) Will Confuse Him.
  
Point - 6: Its Important to Consider Exercises and Socialization as Integral Part of Reinforcement Training. Socialization is Not a Separate Process.


Antecedents and Behavior

The two most significant areas of understanding for a trainer in the process of developing a "Behavioral Intervention Plan" for his subject are:

i. Antecedent(s): Antecedents are the stimuli/stimulus that triggers a specific behavior or a specific set of behaviors in your dog. These stimulus can be certain situations, any specific event(s), any particular person or any indecent. An antecedent can stimulate the dog to exhibit bad as well as good behavior. Therefore, it is important to identify the Antecedent(s) prior to creating a Behavior Intervention Plan. Wrongly identifying the antecedents may lead to incorrect reinforcement in the training process, thus resulting to backfire. 

ii. Behavior(s): Behavior is what the dog does being stimulated by an antecedent. An assessment of specific behavior is of utmost importance, because the reinforcement training starts off with identifying the particular behavior that needs to be intervene. A trainer should target one specific behavior at a time rather than targeting a set of undesirable behaviors. This makes Reinforcement Training by Behavioral Intervention more effective and easier. In this process of modifying one single behavior of the dog, a trainer may have to address a set of undesirable behaviors that are collectively responsible for the particular single undesirable behavior, and modify each of them.

Therefore, followed by identifying the Antecedent(s), it is important to identify the other behavior(s) that may be responsible for a particular behavioral issue. Failing to identifying all these correctly the entire Reinforcement Training session may adversely backfire.

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Why is Dog Ownership Important After Retirement?

Karl Heyne and Heynfeld Varrgo (CL I ‘A’ ‘Z’ H-neg) (better known as Arko)

Post retirement dog ownership is something that can be considered as a kind of health advice – both physical and psychological health. Apart from some of the common facts that a well-bred dog can keep you active, and helps you fight loneliness after your retirement, a dog brings in a healthy structure and routine to your daily life and improves your quality of life.

Very recently the American Heart Association reviewed studies exploring the correlation between health and dog ownership. The findings concluded that owning a companion dog helps having a controlled blood pressure and healthy cholesterol level. Chances of obesity and developing arthritis decrease due to the need for regular walk.

Dog Ownership and Stress Management 

Studies have shown that healthy interactions with therapy dogs effectively mitigate stress in dog owners. As effect of such interactions with companion dogs the humans tend to generate stress-bursting hormone oxytocin and controls the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. This hormonal change helps a stressed out, retired person feel relaxed. Interact with the dogs through physical contacts like hugging and petting them produced better results.

A team of Italian researchers, noticed that introduction of a dog to Alzheimer’s patients showed gradual improvement in the patients' condition.

Live a Purposeful Life After Retirement

As already mentioned above, owning a dog brings in a healthy structure and routine to your daily life.Your dog lives on a natural structure in her everyday life, which is bound to bring in a structured discipline into your life too.Your pet’s dependence on you for everything – starting from the play and walk to food reveals immense opportunity for you to establish a consistent routine as a responsible pet owner in your daily walks of life.Your dog will lick you awake to go for a morning walk, followed up a free play session, and then asking for her meal. This keeps you active throughout the day and helps you feel engaged, responsible and productive after you retire from your working world.
How better can you kick start your day than by waking up with licks and hugs? Retirement should help you find a new way to wake up from your bed each morning. It is very pleasant way to start the day when some million dollar licks awake you up and you like to hug your dog, and find an immediate purpose to get out of bed.

Post Retirement Fitness 

A majority of responsible dog owners are dog walkers, who get at least 30 minutes of exercise on an average each morning and evening. Regular walks in the morning and evening are great ways to stay healthy – both physically and mentally. Regular walks will ward off possible health issues like obesity, diabetes type II, hypertension, arthritis and loss of volume and strength of skeletal muscle mass (sarcopenia).

Post Retirement - Mental Fitness and Social Life 

Depression is quite common when you are retired from your working life. It pulls you back from meeting friends and going out with acquaintances. Benefits of dog ownership treads its way here. Psychologists say owning a pet – especially during your retired life adds a little more responsibility which, in turn, can introduce a positive note to your life. Sense of responsibilities towards a pet that entirely banks upon you helps you feel your worth and significance. Moreover, he/she will like to develop new contacts and meet other dog owners in the locality. This means he/she becomes more and more social.

All these tend to keep the person in proper shape mentally. This is how dog ownership, in the retired life, is often implicated in relieving symptoms of depression– especially among elderly people after their retirement from working life.

 Karl Heyne and Heynfeld Varrgo (CL I ‘A’ ‘Z’ H-neg) (better known as Arko)

Direct Health Benefit

Research in the 1980s popularized the view owing a companion dog could have great health benefits in humans... including benefits ranging from lower mortality rates from heart attacks to lowering risks of asthma (in children) and reducing chances of developing cardiovascular conditions.
However, modern researchers have found no direct link between owning a pet and health benefits. Therefore, previous conclusions could not be scientifically supported by modern studies.

BUT

There’s still another proposal placed by modern researchers. According to them, pets help to enhance social interactions with more pet owners, thus have indirect effect on well-being. “Being Social” and “interaction with like-minded people” has long been recognized to have a tremendous beneficial effect on health by the way of alleviating symptoms of depression by reducing loneliness and social isolation.

Pets – especially dogs therefore act as a catalyst for social interactions, leading to developing broader social sphere, thus contributing to better physical and psychological well-being in older people and those who have just retired from their works.

Photos courtesy Noreen Symes
 

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All you need to know about German Shepherd Dogs. Read out what I have to share with you regarding the amazing German Shepherd Dog breed. Are Alsatian dogs and German Shepherd Dogs same? Who was Max Von Stephanitz and What is SV? Also learn a bit more in depth on German Shepherd Dog training tips, German Shepherd puppy care tips, German Shepherd Dog behavior, German Shepherd instinct, German Shepherd Dog standard and history of German Shepherds.

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