The Goog Dog Training Tips

The Good Dog Training Tips

Sean was referred to me through my work at a vet hospital and I never thought I could be so impressed. Sean's initial 2 hour session with me COMPLETELY transformed my dog.- Michelle

Keeping your dog safe on the 4th of July

Posted on July 4th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Keeping your dog safe on the 4th of July

The 4th is an awesome day of hanging out, BBQ goodness, and family and friends time. It’s also a time for serious fireworks and even more seriously freaked out dogs. So many dogs struggle on the 4th with panic attacks, self-injury, and running away/getting lost.

Here are a few tips for today to help ensure your dog makes it through the 4th unscathed and hopefully even a little more comfortable.

If you’re going out and leaving your dog:

Be sure to crate him/her and reinforce the crate with leash clips or zip ties. (That way if he panics he won’t get out of the crate.) A dog left out in the house is far more likely to breakout of the house, damage the house, injure themselves.
Before you leave, wear your dog out with a vigorous walk/run/hike/play session, so they’ll be more likely to sleep and not be as easily upset by the fireworks.
Put their crate in a room that is less exposed to outside noises or outside flashes of explosions etc. Basements or rooms more to the interior of the house with no … Read More »

The aggression recipe

Posted on July 1st, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on The aggression recipe

I was just doing a phone interview with a magazine in New Orleans (Gambit) on dog aggression. They wanted to know when issues would necessitate getting professional help. It was an important topic, and one that doesn’t get talked about much, so I was super excited to talk with them. As we were talking I mentioned that I’d love to talk about the causes – what precipitates and creates most aggression issues, as well as what to do to in case things have already taken a turn.

What is most often the cause of aggression issues? It almost always comes down to what is or isn’t shared with the dog – his or her environmental experience. Of course you can have genetic issues or severe abuse as causes of aggression, but to be honest, those are probably 1% of the reason for the aggression problems we see. So here’s a little list I came up with for the interview. I’m hoping its simplicity and clarity might help some folks better understand how aggression issues are typically created.

What creates aggression?

Permissiveness/allowing unwanted behavior
Too … Read More »

Training by omission

Posted on June 24th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Training by omission

What you don’t say “no” to behavior you’re saying “yes”.

If your dog jumps on you or others and you don’t correct it, you’re training jumping. If your dog pulls on-leash and you don’t correct it, you’re training pulling. If your dog explodes on walks at other dogs and you don’t correct it, you’re training reactivity. If your dog growls at you when you sit too close/walk by too closely and you don’t correct it, you’re training possessiveness. If your dog growls when you get too close when food/toys/chews are around and you don’t correct it, you’re training resource guarding. If your dog barks/explodes at every dog that goes by your fence and you don’t correct it, you’re training fence fighting. If your dog bark or whines from the crate and you don’t correct it, you’re training barking and whining. If your dog barks/explodes at people and dogs who walk by the window and you don’t correct it, you’re training territorial silliness.

The truth is, whatever you allow you’re actually training. That might not be your intent. You may yell “No!” or … Read More »

Go after the fuse, not the explosion; too low too slow; cap don’t chase

Posted on June 22nd, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Go after the fuse, not the explosion; too low too slow; cap don’t chase

If you’ve followed our work at TGD you’ve probably heard one, if not all of these favorite sayings of ours for helping owners wrap their heads around strategies for reactivity issues on walks.

What they all have in common is beating your dog to the emotional punch. Getting your dog out of the sequence of escalation before it gets so hot that you’ve lost him. Getting and mastering these concepts is usually the difference between an owner struggling with their dog’s reactivity or succeeding.

What we see most often is owners waiting to see if their dog is actually going to react. And we get it – you want to be fair, you want to give your dog a chance to succeed. But here’s the thing, if your dog is truly struggling with reactivity issues, that moment where you wait to see if the explosion is going to come this time or not, that teeny window of time where he’s loading, that split second when your dog first perceives the other dog is your only moment. That’s your only chance to catch … Read More »

Babying your teenager

Posted on June 13th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Babying your teenager

Babying a baby is exactly what you should be doing. Babies shouldn’t have rules, accountability, any of that stuff. It’s baby time! But babying a teenager is a very different story. Imagine what you might get if you treated them the same way you treated a baby.

With all that allowing, enabling, and coddling, you’d likely get a bratty, spoiled, entitled teen – when everything is given to you, you quickly begin to expect and demand it. But wait, there’s more! 🙂 That’s the obvious stuff. You’d also get an insecure, unsure, dependent, and nervous teen. Why? Because they’ve never had to learn to do life on their own. They’ve never had to develop the skills and prove to themselves they can handle stuff – the proving that creates confidence and self-certainty/trust. You’d have a teen that would resent you for disabling them, for not prioritizing their real needs, for not giving them the tools they need to survive and thrive. Their insecurity, uncertainty, and nervousness would ripple out all over.

And so it is with our dogs. It’s not the caring … Read More »

The battle of lazy

Posted on June 7th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on The battle of lazy

Lots of folks think I get a lot done. I sometimes get some really nice compliments on what I’ve managed to accomplish in a fairly short amount of time. Whether it’s building my training business, juggling the seminar business, putting out DVDs, creating daily content, working with clients, or just working out, people think I get a good amount done. That’s super flattering. And I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished (along with LOTS of help from all the amazing people around me!).

But here’s the thing: every single day I battle laziness. I battle giving in to distractions. I battle doing what’s easiest rather than what’s best. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes I win, sometimes I sort of win, and sometimes I’m pretty disappointed at what I did or didn’t get accomplished.

What’s helped me overcome and fight the battle of lazy most successfully, is habits. There’s magic in building habits and practices into your day. Habits become decisions you don’t have to muster tons of strength for. If you do them long enough they just sort of become daily stuff you do … Read More »

Permission based training and why it works

Posted on April 22nd, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Permission based training and why it works

One of our primary goals when training and rehabbing dogs is to get them out of auto-pilot behavior and into a listening, processing, responding mode. What is auto-pilot behavior? It’s where the dog sees, hears, smells something and instantly reacts to it. Or where the dog wants to do something, or to access something, and simply does it. It’s an impulse control issue. Feel – do!

And this is where permission based training comes in. Permission based training isn’t anything fancy, but it is highly effective. Basically, we start teaching the dog that he needs to look to us before making decisions. Not every decision mind you, but most. This new way of living/behaving creates many positive changes. It creates handler respect, it teaches tons of impulse control, and gets the dog to think before acting. All major pieces of the training/rehab puzzle.

Once a dog begins to look to you for permission you’ll see much of the manic, hyped-up, tuned-out, crazy, disrespectful, and disobedient behavior disappear.

Here’s a few examples of where we work on this and where permission is needed:

Crate (going … Read More »

Just move!

Posted on April 19th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Just move!

One of the best hacks I’ve found for any time I’m down, depressed, or feeling dark, is to just get moving. Like everyone, I can experience dark moods and get stuck there, analyzing and cycling, but if I put some action and movement into my situation it always changes, and actually helps to reset me.

You can get out of whatever negative state you’re in mentally by changing your physical state. This could be a run, a hike, a swim, a workout, a drive, a walk (bring the dog unless the dog is causing the problem!), just move! It’s fascinating to see how quickly a physical change can help create a mental change. And it’s also fascinating to see how easy it is to stay locked in a mental cycle that totally doesn’t serve you if you just sit in it. The mind loves a good downward spiral, and will be happy to oblige you if you allow it! Instead, break that cycle.

Next time things are tough (and we ALL experience these moments), remember this, and get yourself moving. Get out … Read More »

Where there’s smoke there’s fire

Posted on April 14th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Where there’s smoke there’s fire

One of the questions we get asked by owners the most often is whether to correct whining, barking, growling. And here’s the thing, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Meaning, all these sounds are the smoldering signs of unease, anxiety, brattiness, fear etc.

They’re all negative states. And as I’m always talking about, the more a dog practices a negative state/behavior the worse it gets. But if we block it/correct it, we stop the cycle and create the opportunity for a new, more healthy state/behavior.

Many folks will tell you that correcting this stuff leads to fallout or the “ticking time bomb”, but after hundreds and hundreds of major problem dogs, who’ve been corrected for all these issues, we’ve yet to see these dog training legends manifest. What we have seen are dogs stopping negative behavior patterns and beginning better, healthier patterns.

Remember, the sound is often the precursor, the beginning step of an escalation sequence, or just the most obvious sign of a negative state, and if you’ll stop the first step of the sequence, you’ll likely never see the rest of it.

Obedience vs state of mind work

Posted on April 7th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Obedience vs state of mind work

So many folks focus simply on training obedience commands: sit, down, place, recall, thresholds, heel etc., and miss one of the most important pieces to successfully solving the training puzzle – addressing state of mind, attitude, and demeanor.

Not that obedience and state of mind work are mutually exclusive, they’re not, but understanding how to use these obedience commands to help transform a dog into a polite, considerate, and respectful member of the family is often a confounding and elusive concept.

Training your eye and your intuition to see and feel attitude and intent, not just responses to commands, is truly where transformation and great behavior lives.

Of course this concept is easier said that understood, but the more you look for it, the more you focus on it, the more you’re dialed into it, the more you’ll start to see and feel it. And once you “get” that aspect of training, you’ll be able to conquer many issues that obedience commands alone can’t.

What does proper state of mind look like? Polite, permission based relationship dynamics, moving slowly rather than like rocket, calm, … Read More »

Small infraction, big correction

Posted on April 6th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Small infraction, big correction

One of the most powerful, and yet challenging concepts in training dogs, especially those with behavior issues, is creating large consequences for small infractions. Now while this might sound unfair, it’s actually one of the biggest gateways to creating a respectful, non-aroused, learning environment and healthy relationship.

For dogs who are highly reactive on walks, highly reactive in the house to guests, super bratty, pushy, or constantly challenging the owner, a well timed large correction, when the dog’s mind is in its more mild form of arousal, can be the game changer.

Trying to share bigger corrections once the dog is aroused, highly reactive, and already at level 100, is an absolutely losing proposition. Once the dog is exploding, your moment to impact them positively is gone. You have a small, brief moment to impact the dog and create the gateway to better behavior.

Although this might sound unfair, sharing an especially firm conversation at the very beginning of the escalation sequence (which can be staring, furrowed brow, ears up, pulling out the threshold, pulling on the leash etc.), can be the missing … Read More »

Dog training, the gym, diets, and saving money

Posted on March 24th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Dog training, the gym, diets, and saving money

What do they all have in common? They all take consistent work and focus. None of them magically improve on their own, and all of them can improve and then fall apart if not attended to with care and effort.

It’s human nature to go all in on something when we’re excited, motivated, and the novelty is kicking! And it’s also human nature to start to lose focus, momentum, and abandon effort as the initial excitement wanes. That’s why the people that excel at any of the above do so by creating a lifestyle – they incorporate these activities into daily habits and practices. Stuff they do, no matter what.

The trick to long term success with dog training, fitness, health, or finances is to find ways to make these priorities something you can fold into your daily routine. Like brushing your teeth, or taking a shower, they need to become things you do no matter what. You have to find ways to make them daily practices, not events that are tied to something currently exciting or motivating.

Excitement and motivation always fade.

Get … Read More »