A dog should be allowed to bark. After all, that is one reason we have dogs, to alert us. We would just like to control the “on and off switch.” It’s the rare human who hasn’t yelled at their dog, “Quiet" or "Shut Up!” when the dog is barking at the doorbell, a noise, or at you to get your attention. We think that if we raise the volume of our voice, this ...read more
Scientists have discovered that dogs can smell the presence of autism in children.
'Seizure Alert' dogs can alert their owners up to an hour before the onset of an epileptic seizure. There are dogs that can detect cancer before medical tests can. With these incredible capabilities, it is hard to deny the effect that our own energy can have on our dogs. The idea of sharing "good energy" is not just a “woo-woo” concept reserved for earth mothers and flower children; it is how to effectively communicate with a different species.
The extent to which dogs can "sense" and "smell" things is incredible. This is why it is so important to practice having and sharing "good energy" when you are with your dogs. Dogs communicate with us (and we unknowingly communicate with them) every minute we are with them through our body language, tone of voice and how we are feeling inside. You don't have to tell your dog you are happy, sad, angry, nervous, tense, frustrated or that you adore them. They know how you feel through the energy they sense from you; and react accordingly. We humans have been taught to mask our feelings, dogs have not. Dogs are our mirrors; the energy we project is the energy they tend to display.
This is why we influence our dog’s behavior so often without realizing it. Unfortunately, we tend to influence their behavior in a negative way instead of positive. When you are holding the end of the leash walking your dog and another person or dog approaches; if you get nervous that something may happen, you are feeding your dog nervous energy and your dog will more likely act fearful or aggressively towards the approaching object. If it is raining outside and you really don’t want to go outside and get wet while your dog goes potty, he will read your feelings and soon, not want to go outside when it is raining, also. If, when you return home, you are angry that your dog has chewed something up, he may seem as though “he knows he did something wrong” when in fact, when you have come home angry in the past, you have yelled at him or shared negative energy and the dog is reacting to your energy or the pattern of energy you have established by being angry when you come home.
The goal is to keep your emotions and energy calm and confident. This takes a lot of practice and sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. Practice with your dog as much as you need in order to convince yourself that you can handle anything that comes your way. Know that when you are with your dog, walking or just hanging around the house, you are his protector, his leader and you have the skills and knowledge to pull it off. Will your dog know that you are faking it? Probably, but the more you fake it, the closer you will come to really having this calm, confident demeanor.
Women typically have a hard time being a confident leader, but with practice, you can become empowered. One trick is to decide on a topic that you want to think about and solve before you go for your walk. While on your walk, keep the leash loose enough that the clasp makes a "J" but the dog is right beside you, start walking and concentrate on the topic at hand (grocery list, solution to a problem that has been weighing on your mind). Notice I said a problem to solve not worry about! Doing this automatically puts you in a calmer and more confident state - you can't solve problems in an anxious and unsure state. With our busy schedules, multi-tasking is something that we often need to do. Walking your dog in this fashion accomplishes providing exercise and mental stimulation for your dog, aerobic exercise and mental stimulation for you and, solution to a problem and peace of mind for you. Practice this enough and you will become a more calm and confident person and this will begin to show through to everyone who knows you.
Men typically have a hard time with offering calm and confident energy without offering intimidating or dominating behavior. Before your walk, take a few deep breaths, remind yourself that you are dealing with another species that does not respond to domination and intimidation the way another human might. Domination and intimidation will get your dog to respond the way you want him to out of fear -for the moment. You want him to respond to you out of respect - for now and the future. Dogs that repeatedly respond out of fear become unpredictable and at some point will lash out aggressively. When they lash out, it is often not at the intimidator, but at another subject (dog, child, stranger). Practice leading and teaching your dog instead of intimidating or dominating your dog enough and you will start to see him respond to you out of respect instead of fear.
Punishment is a form of “training” that has long been used. I would like for you to try to take the word punishment out of your vocabulary. Think, instead, of consequences or corrections. Your dog needs to know that there is a consequence to every behavior. Sometimes the consequence is benign, such as being ignored and sometimes it is tangible, such as being given affection. Acceptable behavior has consequences such as your happy or contented energy, physical affection, a treat or praise. Unacceptable behavior has consequences such as being ignored, verbal correction (EH-EH), being removed from the room, a loud noise or just the look that says “stop what you are doing” – I call this the Mommy look.
When you are in the right state of mind and your dog behaves in an unacceptable manner, give the appropriate correction - notice I did not say punishment - and move on. If you have questions about what is an appropriate correction or consequence, contact a professional trainer to discuss it.
The bottom line is: BE TEACHERS, NOT DISCIPLINARIANS. Use positive energy and rewards instead of negative energy and punishment and you will gain your dog's (and possibly the people around you) respect, love, loyalty and obedience. “In nature, there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences.”
Behavioral Terminology: What are they talking about?
You hear dog trainers tossing around training terms that don’t make sense to you? Here’s a look into decoding the lingo.
The definitions are generally accepted among behaviorists (which is where this terminology is standardized): Whether a given act is reinforcement or punishment is defined by what the dog does in the future. Doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of it, it's the dog ...read more
The title might sound political but it isn't. Rather, this is written from the dogs point of view for owners who don't seem to "get it" despite their best intentions, and the advice of a qualified professional.
Dear owner, your dog would like you to know:
- Despite you giving us human names, we are in fact dogs that react to you and our environment.
- What is most important to us is not who ...
Scientists have discovered that dogs can smell the presence of autism in children.
'Seizure Alert' dogs can alert their owners up to an hour before the onset of an epileptic seizure. There are dogs that can detect cancer before medical tests can. With these incredible capabilities, it is hard to deny the effect that our own energy can have on our dogs. The idea of sharing "good energy" is not just a “woo-woo” concept reserved ...read more
Rowdy little children and naughty little puppies have so much in common!
Let's learn from the human example, so we can quickly and gently redirect puppies away from naughtiness, toward great and fun behaviors.
I sat trapped on the airplane, hurtling toward Orlando, strapped into my seat, some 30,000 feet above ground. I say “trapped” because my seat, my entire row even, was constantly shaken, bumped and tossed by a pair of blond ...read more
Vacation Angst…or What to do with the Dog?
Leaving home for work or vacation? Are you concerned about leaving your pets behind? A clean, professional kennel offers convenience and a secure location for your dog. But there is an alternative. Your pets can stay home in the care of a professional pet sitter. Here’s what you need to know to help you choose the very best for your dogs, cats, snakes or gerbils ...read more
Rain, rain…go away. All our dogs want to play!
Bad weather shouldn’t stop you from exercising your dog’s body and brain. Here are a few great ways to keep your dog from going stir crazy when you’re house-bound.
Days of rain or bitter cold, even unbearable heat usually mean we coop up the dogs with nothing to do. And that got me to thinking: What do we do with our dogs ...read more
Today I want to talk to you about the often dreaded "Vet trip."
For some lucky dog owners, it's a breeze. Their dog happily bounds into the examination room and only seems mildly put off by the doctors poking and prodding. Most dog owners aren't so lucky. The good news is your dog can learn to enjoy the Vet if you start doing a few specific things. But before I tell you how ...read more
Many, if not all, behavioral problems have a direct link to the dog’s physical, emotional and mental health.
To be successful, any approach taken to address a behavioral problem must take into consideration the dog’s diet, exercise, general health and relationship with its owner.
Sudden changes in behavior should always raise a red flag about the dog’s physical health. The first step to addressing a change in behavior that is radically different ...read more
Most puppies can be housebroken prior to 8 months of age using traditional methods. But for older dogs that are still having accidents in the house, the umbilical cord method should be used. This method has worked on the most difficult housebreaking cases and can be used with dogs of any age.
When the owner makes a commitment to success and is consistent with its application, the success rate using this method is very ...read more
Pack work, or using a group of dogs to influence the behavior of an individual dog, is an amazing tool which can create permanent change in a dog and help create a healthy balanced attitude and behavior.
There are a variety of ways in which trainers use this concept to assist in the training of a client dog from simply using a senior steady, trained dog to calm a nervous nelly, to having a young ...read more
In my ‘Behavioral HELP for Dogs’ seminars and 1 on 1 sessions, I start teaching with a sound foundation.
During the course of our time together, I build line upon line on that foundation until my students or clients have a complete understanding of how to interact with their dogs, so as to draw from them the behavior they want, thus creating harmony in the home and the neighborhood.
One of the main reasons that ...read more
(Addictive behavior in dogs which can sever the bond with their family)
You may already be in trouble if you did not study the history and purpose of your purebred dog before you brought him home. Your failure to diligently manage your dog to prevent his characteristics from growing into dangerous obsessions could seal your dog's fate.
You may think you did everything you could to successfully raise your dog. Following well-meaning veterinary advice ...read more
Do you find yourself avoiding taking your dog out for a walk because you are unable to stop their constant pulling?
Do you hold the leash in a death grip as you brace yourself for the ensuing tug of war through your neighborhood?
Do you worry that your dog may knock you over or break free during your walk?
Learning how to achieve a relaxed, controlled walking experience with your dog will not only alleviate ...read more
We started teaching our dog to ’Spin’ and now it’s time to introduce the ‘Step-up!’
What is Step-up? This trick is the first part of teaching a dog to place its front feet on a low solid item and remain there until released. As training progresses the dog will eventually be able to sit on top of a low object and balance perfectly! Dogs’ love this one so much that when a ‘practice object ...read more
Dog training (reliable dog training) is my passion. It's a long story, going back to 1966.
I've been a professional dog trainer since 1970. I have always worked hard to make my dogs trustworthy off lead, but it takes time and consistency. I am rather old fashioned in my dog training techniques. My dogs have a lot more 'freedom' because we trust each other. They all know that there are consequences for their ...read more
I am not the trainer for everyone; no one trainer is. Some will pooh-pooh my ideas, some will love them, some will get angry about them. I get results and I've never harmed a dog.
To teach come: I use a variety of methods depending on the dog. I do not ever call a dog out of a stay command for at least the first year following training. To that end, I frequently use ...read more
Your dog must be taught to instantly drop whatever he is holding in his mouth.
This is a safety issue since your dog may pick up a dangerous or poisonous object. It is a pack leadership issue since your dog should obey every command without hesitation. It is a behavioral issue when used in conjunction with classical counter-conditioning, as it can help prevent and correct resource guarding.
Use the following methods to teach this command ...read more
Teaching a dog to touch his nose to your hand on command is a simple, highly effective training protocol that has many practical uses:
- It can teach a touch sensitive or hand shy dog to welcome physical contact instead of avoiding it.
- It can help a reactive dog to direct his attention to the handler, thereby interrupting fixation.
- It can establish a bond between an anti-social dog to a human handler because it is a ...
One of the most important things for your dog to learn is to walk on a leash without pulling.
This makes walking the dog much more enjoyable for both you and the dog. If the dog is pulling, walking is unpleasant and he gets walked far less often -- this makes him pull all the more because he needs the exercise even more. It’s a vicious cycle.
Never wrap the leash around your hand: you ...read more