Confinement connotates isolation or punishment, but really, it’s the opposite. Confinement Training is teaching your dog that it’s safe and comfortable to be in a clean, cozy space by themselves for a short period of time. For example, Crate Training is Confinement Training. Confinement Training isn’t punishment for naughty behavior, it’s appropriate and healthy down time to prevent over-stimulation and stress. Confinement Training will reduce anxiety in your dog and make your life a whole lot easier. It’s a great tool to use if you’re cooking and need your dog out of the kitchen, you’re having friends over for a party, your dog jumps on house guests, your dog is struggling with potty training, your dog isn’t getting along with other animals in the house, you’re cleaning and your dog is afraid of the vacuum, etc.

The first step to Confinement Training is choosing a clean, safe, and cozy space for your dog. If you use a crate, continue to do so. If you don’t use a crate, choose a room in your house where your dog won’t cause damage to your belongings and where your dog won’t have accidental access to unsafe chemicals such as cleaning supplies. Perhaps the laundry room (with a window) or a bedroom. Next, set up the safe space with a comfy bed, a bowl of water, and a few toys. Then, guide your dog into the space with a peanut butter Kong or a bowl of food. Once the dog is eating the food or licking the Kong, close the door and listen for them to finish. After they finish the treat, wait one minute, then open the door and congratulate your dog with a high reward treat and verbal praise. Gradually, extend the time your dog spends in the safe space and tada! You’ve created a comfortable confinement space for your pet. You can now use this safe space when someone knocks on your front door, or you are anticipating guests. Before you answer the door or welcome people into your home, say, ‘just a minute,’ and guide your dog to their safe place.

Like with all training, set realistic expectations for your dog depending on his/her individual needs, breed, genetics, age, etc. Confinement Training and Management Training go hand in hand to prevent over-arousal that causes naughty behavior. If you want to learn more or have a specific Confinement Training question, check out Aska’s Animals Free Dog Behavior Workshops on the ‘Events’ Page or contact Krissi Goetz at JH Positive Training.

Sign up for the Dog Behavior Workshop HERE!!

Yes! Your dog is trying to talk to you! Dogs are communicating with us, or attempting to, all the time. The trouble is dogs don’t have the ability to talk, so they use body language and behavior to express their feelings. It’s up to humans to pay attention and listen.

It’s important for you to learn to communicate with your dog, your friends’ dogs, your family members’ dogs, your neighbors’ dogs, and unknown dogs because understanding dog communication helps us predict behavior, which keeps humans and dogs safe. When you take the time to interpret a dog’s behavior, you create a relationship built on trust and meeting their needs. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for in relationships?

To start learning your dog’s communication behaviors, begin by observing your dog in a resting state. When your dog is happy and relaxed, what does their mouth look like? What do their eyes do? What shape are their eyebrows? How do they hold their ears? What position or stance does your dog sit/stand in? For example, when happy and relaxed, a golden retriever holds their mouth open in a smile. Their eyebrows bounce around with their eyes that look around the room at people who might give them a treat. Their ears are dangling and soft. They sit on their bum with their tail wagging behind them.

Now, start to observe your dog’s behavior when something exciting is happening such as a package is delivered to your front door. Your dog might stand up and freeze or run towards the door and sit down. Perhaps they close their mouth, clench their jaw, and make a low growling sound. They might stare at the door with pinched eyebrows. You might notice their ears lifted and open to hear better. Perhaps they hold their body and their tail very still. It’s important to know these initial stress signals so you can mitigate the dog’s nerves and move them to a safe, comfortable place.

Then, observe your dog’s behavior when something stressful is about to happen such as a stroller coming down the sidewalk towards them. Dogs have a spectrum of discomfort and stress signs to communicate with you they aren’t feeling great about something that’s about to happen or is already happening. Some stress signs include sniffing the ground, licking their lips, yawning, turning away, showing a lot of white in the eye, shaking off, and freezing. Many of these are ‘normal’ behaviors for a relaxed and happy dog, but when seen out of context, these behaviors indicate anxiety. For example, a dog licking their lips after a tasty treat wouldn’t indicate nervousness, but a dog licking their lips at the sight of a stroller is likely due to concern. Your job, as their advocate, is to ease the dog’s nerves by crossing the street or stepping off the sidewalk until the stroller passes by.

They say dogs speak, but only to those who know how to listen, and that’s true! Once you start to recognize canine stress signs, you’ll start to ‘hear’ dogs everywhere telling you if they’re uncomfortable. When you see a dog exhibit stress signs, they’re telling you they’re nervous and first and foremost, you should help the dog out of the stressful situation. Once you understand the dog’s behaviors, you can then make a plan to address the dog’s fear whether that’s through training or management. With your own pet, your best bet is to enlist the help of a well-qualified dog behavior specialist who uses force-free positive-reinforcement methods based on science. We recommend you attend Aska’s Animals free Dog Behavior Workshop or reach out to Krissi Goetz at JH Positive Training.

Gratitude. To our donors, volunteers and supporters we are grateful beyond belief.

Together with you, this year we’ve rescued and housed and cared for more than 60 dogs and cats, provided care and housing for seven pigs, built a network of partnerships around the region, and charted a solid course for the future.

Aska’s Animals exists to provide a progressive environment for animals through rehabilitation, adoption, education and community outreach. Our role is to fill a critical gap between shelters and permanent rescue—one that few organizations in the region can serve. It’s a piece of a big puzzle that is dynamic and ever-changing. Thanks to you, we are fulfilling our mission and your support has made our first year an exciting one.

2021 has exceeded our expectations. After receiving our long-awaited non-profit status in March of 2021, we got to work. In the past 10 months Aska’s Animals:

  • Held free monthly animal behavior workshops for the community led by our professional dog trainer extraordinaire Krissi Goetz from JH Positive Training. One of the primary reasons people are forced to give up an animal is due to behavioral problems that are not addressed appropriately. By giving training support we can help keep more dogs in their forever homes and help all dogs and their people in our community have better manners as we share trails, parks and open spaces. We are expanding this program to provide one-on-one support for local families that need help with their dogs. All of our training helps us increase awareness about the benefits of positive training methods and our methods are science-backed.

  • Laid the foundation to hire a part time animal coordinator thanks to the support of many of you who donated through the Tin Cup Challenge. This person, our first paid position, will allow us to help increase our volunteer animal care and move it from basic support to enrichment and training throughout the day. When animals leave our care they will be ready to enter the world as well socialized and well behaved pets eager to find their family.

  • Built and put to immediate use The Puppy Palace, the first animal housing of its kind in the region, and bridge to successful adoptions. In conversations with our amazing partners at the Animal Adoption Center in Jackson, we jointly identified a need for temporary housing for puppies, and often their mothers. These unwanted litters, due to dogs not being spayed or neutered, come to us not old enough to be adopted but requiring a home and the around the clock care that puppies demand. While the puppies are with us they receive early puppyhood education to ensure that they are ready for their new homes upon adoption. Without this intervention these animals would have an uncertain life and would most likely go on to have several unwanted litters of their own.

While it’s been a big year, we’re looking ahead to the future. Our region needs more safe space for dogs and cats who are in transition between shelter and adoption. We have an engaged and motivated volunteer base who are eager to do more. Currently we can only say yes to one dog at a time who needs our help. And orphaned kittens are being nursed in a guest bathroom. As we look to additional space it is to continue to serve this need and enrich the lives of more homeless dogs and cats and assist our partner organizations with behavior support and other unique needs for the animals in their programs.

In addition to more space for our dogs and cats, we are also exploring an incubator for neonatal kittens. This year we’ve had more sick kittens than at any other time in our work (before our non-profit days when this was run as a labor of love) and more losses in one year than the previous 10 combined. An incubator can help these sweet animals in their early fight for life by keeping them warm and healthy while they are bottle fed around the clock.

As a dedicated partner in our work, you will be the first to know what 2022 looks like as we finalize our capacity plans and next steps around providing more support for animals in the coming years.

This end of year season we want you to know we couldn’t do all of this without your support. Our only ask today is that you help spread the word about animals in need and follow the daily comings and goings of our animal residents and human friends on Instagram at askasanimals. As always, you’re welcome to visit the farm to see our work in action.

We can’t thank you enough for your support—the year ahead looks bright.