• Zimba, One Of Our Beloved Family Members

    Posted on October 22nd, 2012
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    Here at Earth Care Products our staff consists of many valuable employees.  Today we would like to tell you about Isis and Zimba.

    Isis is a rescued standard poodle, she of course has all the brains of operation.  Zimba is a 110# Rhodesian Ridgeback, and he is our office clown.  Recently we attended Pest World and sent them to be boarded by Dane Lightfoot.  Dane takes his charges out for various activities several times a week.  In the picture you can see Zimba is going horseback riding among many other various outtings.  Dane takes pride in what he does and when we picked up Isis and Zimba, he kindly sent this wonderful write up Z and some suggestions on where he can improve.

    Zimba

    Zimba is a very intelligent and teachable dog. He responds quickly to voice commands and he has a strong desire to please. He does not have very much self-control and is underdevelopled emotionally. He needs extra help to mature properly and he needs to be discouraged from acting like a clown. When a dog does not feel the weight of family responsibility they create their own set of responsibilities and many dogs like Zimba choose the role of class clown because it is entertaining and at first everyone is laughs at first.

    Continuing to Grow

    Zimba must be offered challenges and they must be varied and have an element of uncertainty in the outcome. You must also train your reactions to reward him emotionally for good thoughts and behavior. He must also be exposed to the world around him on a larger scale so that he has a new place to try new reactions because it is much easier to get a dog to start acting differently when they are in an unusual environment. He must also be given a chance to make mistakes; they are where real growth happens.

    • Emotional Challenges – Zimba’s primary means of dealing with a problem is silliness and clowning around. He is very large so when he bounces around he can break things or hurt people and the more he reacts this way the more difficult it becomes to build the self-control to stop and think. At the same time he must be offered constructive opportunities to have the type of fun that he enjoys like wrestling with Isis.
    • Social Stimulation– He must have time with other dogs and people so that he can develop the social skills he needs to meet new friends. He is not an overly active or overly driven dog but he feels the lack of social time very intensely and it is a source of pent up emotion.
    • Enforcing Rules– Dogs do not feel the same way people do about rules. For people rules can be a constriction, a limitation to our actions. For dogs rules are the structure by which they mold their behavior and adept communication of the rules is the primary guideline for their understanding their responsibilities. Everyone in the house must provide a single, clear message about what is expected of him

    Untrustworthy Behavior When Unsupervised

    Just like children, immature dogs follow the rules because they believe that you will punish them if they do not. In order to make the transition to behaving even when you are not around they must build character and maturity. Maturity comes from being challenged and character comes from failing at those challenges and having a healthy attitude about it. Zimba must be given tasks that push the limits of his abilities and he must be allowed to fail sometimes. Intelligence toys are one good way to provide this type of growth as well as training him for obedience. Many people have very busy schedules and find difficulty setting aside time for obedience lessons but they can be worked into every-day life. If you are sitting at the desk doing work, have him lay beside you. It is not difficult but he should not be allowed to get up until you do. Alternately when you are doing chores around the house make him walk at a heel, the simple exercise of you controlling his thoughts and actions will build his self-control, his maturity and his respect for you, it is also enjoyable for him and very rewarding.

    Walks

    When Zimba is out on a walk he faces different challenges than other dogs, most dogs will not want to meet and greet a dog his size. He is intimidating in both his size and posture, the only way that he will be able to overcome this is to be encouraged to ignore other dogs walking entirely. In order to accomplish this you must be in control of the walk by doing the following things.

    • Do not let him walk out in front of you, this puts him in a command position and forces him to make decisions for you.
    • Do not let him stop every time he wants to sniff something. If you want him to potty, then tell him so and let him sniff around, but you must make the decision about where and when to stop.
    • When you do encounter another dog, keep him beside you and encourage him to ignore the other dog completely. In the beginning you are going to have to tell people that he is in training and is not allowed to meet any new friends right now and as he progresses and can ignore the other dogs properly then he may begin to meet others. You must always greet the other dog before he does though. He must see how you react to the dog so that he has a guideline.
    • Do not ever leave his leash taut, this is what creates the idea of being restrained in the dogs mind. Keep the leash slack and only use short, sharp tugs to stop him from doing something you don’t want. Remember that every leash message should be accompanied by a verbal message to reinforce that you are trying to tell him something not just pulling on the leash because you like it. He must also be told that he is good when he is walking politely. The greater the disparity in your attitude between his good behavior and his bad behavior, the more quickly he will learn and understand what you are asking for.

    Final Thoughts

    Zimba is a good dog that has a very high desire to please but he has too little self-control. He will be a happier dog when he understands how to really make people happy and how to build healthy relationships with new friends both dog and human. He will also enjoy the greater level of freedom that he would be allowed if he were more reliable. Encourage him to behave the way that everyone would like at all times and he will quickly understand what you want from him.

    Dane is really unique in his care and entertaining of the dogs.  He can be reached at 760 500 5284 or greatdanesgreatdogs@gmail.com.