The Goog Dog Training Tips
Snowballs start as tiny little things. Keep rolling them around and packing more snow on them, and pretty soon you’ve got a monstrous, hard, tough snowball. Something that instead of bouncing off a window, if thrown, would go right though it.
That’s how your dog’s little behaviors transform from little moments of insecurity, uncertainty, reactivity, anxiety, or stress, and turn into deeply patterned, window breaking sized issues.
A couple of unaddressed barks on the walk slowly turn into massive reactivity. A nervous growl at a guest left untended to turns into fear aggression. Whining or barking from the crate, allowed to go on, turns into separation anxiety.
Whatever it is, chances are it started out small and less frequent and less powerful. Like all habits and emotional patterns, the slowness of their development is what allows them to creep up on us.
The trick is to address, block, stop, correct, prevent the pattern (or snowball) from growing. If we’ll go after the very first emanation of the problem, and head it off at the pass as soon as we see it, we’ll keep it … Read More »
We’ve all heard about our need to be calm, assertive, confident, and unflappable in order to be successful with our dogs. And having those qualities on tap are definitely essential components when it comes to creating progress with our dogs.
But let me dispel a few myths.
All the calm, chilled out, confident energy in the world won’t make your pulling dog not pull. It won’t make your reactive dog not reactive. It won’t make your counter surfing dog stop counter surfing. It won’t make your dog-aggressive dog not dog-aggressive. It won’t make your fearful aggressive dog not fear aggressive. It won’t make your non-recalling dog recall.
It may help some of these to be less intense, or give you a platform to better operate from, or at least not make them worse, but on its own it its just one piece of the equation.
I need you all to hear this. So many have been caught up in believing that if you’ll just transform yourself all your dog’s issues will magically dissipate and disappear.
They won’t. Not on their own.
What you need to stop … Read More »
One of the things that I think trips a lot of owners up is the fact that fearful dogs can also have, or develop, other, seemingly incompatible behavior tendencies. The fact that they can be fearful AND nasty little tyrants seems to make no sense. But we see it all the time.
Due to their stories and/or behavior, many owners treat fearful/insecure/nervous dogs differently than they might a dog without a bad history, or one without initial fearful, insecure behavior.
These dogs get far more spoiling, freedom, allowances/excuses made for poor behavior, coddling, soft nurturing energy, zero accountability, excessive affection, and just about anything else they want. All in an effort to heal these dogs.
But if we step back, we all know that spoiling and the absence of accountability is the exact recipe for unstable tyrant building, regardless of what the dog’s story or behavior is.
But wait, don’t these guys need this love and affection and special exceptions made for them so they can heal? Ummm, no. That’s exactly how you create the dogs that get to come stay with us for … Read More »
We just had a shadow student here for 5 days of intensive training with me and the TGD team. We handled a bunch of dogs, all at different points of development in training (from totally green to beginning e-collar), and all with different attitudes, issues, and challenges.
The thing I found us sharing with the shadow student more than anything else was the constant need for creativity. Not that she wasn’t creative, she was, but even with a creative mind it’s still easy to get locked into protocols, blueprints, and methodology.
Here at TGD we have a definite training blueprint we use as guideline with all dogs that come through here. We typically start all dogs a certain way, move through certain phases of training in a certain fashion and so on. But we’re also super open minded to shaking things up. Perhaps the most important part of being a great trainer is being open, creative, and solution focused. The ability to deviate, to experiment, to totally jettison a usually successful technique or approach in favor of something better – for the … Read More »
Something that I think can stymie many owners and trainers, and can create dangerous situations for dogs and people, is familiarity.
Familiarity can create the illusion of transformation.
A dog-aggressive dog can often be slowly acclimated to a new dog or dogs and be totally cool. A human-aggressive dog can slowly be acclimated to new people and be totally safe. But that doesn’t mean that either of these dogs is now not dog-aggressive, or now not human-aggressive. It just means the dog has become comfortable with the new situation.
The same dog that could be trusted with familiar dogs could be turned loose in a yard with a very sweet dog and attack it. And the same dog that was living nicely with familiar people could have a new human walk into the house and attack him or her.
It’s so important that people understand this dynamic in order to prevent dangerous situations from occurring. You have to understand that just because a dog becomes familiar and safe in one context, doesn’t mean that that generalizes everywhere. Yes, with good training, rules, and structure, … Read More »
So today is the day after finally releasing our e-collar DVD. (If you didn’t see the post about it, it took an entire year to finish, top to bottom! That tells you a bit about the scope of it!) And as I was responding to Facebook and Instagram comments congratulating us on the release, I was struck by how this would have never gotten done without me leveraging the greatness of others.
And I think it’s such an important reminder for all of us.
All of us have special gifts and skills, but it’s so easy to get caught up in our own limitations – to only see our gaps, and forget our gifts. The things we are great at are almost always offset by a whole bunch of things we’re kinda terrible at. So we have a goal or a dream, and we decide we want to realize it, but then we remember that we’re horrible with organization, or small details, or planning, or marketing, or tech, or…
But being great at everything isn’t your job. More than that, it isn’t even … Read More »
I have this concept I use to keep myself aware of time – both in the micro sense (time for completing a project or objective) – and time in the macro sense (life and death!).
Back in my serious candy eating days I would be so excited when I’d grab my daily bag of “sharing size” peanut M&Ms. Every time I’d stop in at a shop to get the bag it would always be a toss up as to what was the best part – the chocolately goodness I was about to engage in, or the overwhelming joy of a brand new bag – a bag that seemed endless.
I’d open the bag, pop a few a few in my mouth, and feel so good knowing there was a seemingly endless supply on its way. I’d merrily eat on, feeling ecstatic about the taste and the actual amount of M&Ms I had to yet enjoy. And then, inevitably, I’d hit that mark in the bag. The place where you can’t kid yourself anymore. The place where you have to come to grips … Read More »
One of the very best things about our ultra-connected world is the ability to leverage and share information at speeds never before possible. Like a giant village, we can all generously share what we’ve learned and save others valuable experimenting/succeeding/failing time.
I’d so appreciate it if all of you could share below what’s been your biggest dog training hacks/insights. What tools, strategies, approaches, have given you the best results? What hard-won knowledge could you share that might save someone else a week, a month, a year, or years of struggle?? You just might change another owner’s life!!
Let’s hear from you guys. Thanks!!! 🙂
While typically we associate the abuse of dogs with denying them food, shelter, or physically harming them, the abuse I see in my work is far more common, insidious, and acceptable.
Why insidious? Because it’s abuse that is shared under the guise of love, caring, and a lack of knowledge.
So many owner mistakenly associate leadership (creating a framework of rules and expectations), structure (daily habits, routines, patterns), and accountability (consequences for breaking known rules, or making poor choices in general) as being mean, nasty, harsh. (They just want to love their dogs – which is code for selfish/lazy behavior.)
But here’s the thing, the only mean, nasty, harsh thing is denying our dogs the framework and foundation they need to thrive and lead healthy, happy lives.
Owners who decide to forgo leadership, structure, and accountability are basically sentencing their dogs to a life of stress, anxiety, worry, over-arousal, uncertainty, pressure, and way too much responsibility.
And the dogs we see that live like this are every bit as abused and unhealthy as the more obvious and accepted forms.
What would you call constant stress when … Read More »
I was just re-reading a Brene Brown book (The Gifts of Imperfection), and was struck (as I often am) by the parallels in creating reliable, positive human behavior, and how it’s the exact same with our dogs.
Here’s a paragraph: “Additionally, if we don’t follow through with appropriate consequences, people learn to dismiss our requests – even if they sound like threats or ultimatums. If we ask our kids to keep their clothes off the floor and they know the only consequence of not doing so is a few minutes of yelling, it’s fair for them to believe that it’s really not that important to us.”
What I love is that she makes it clear that the withholding of valuable consequences is unfair to the child (the child will interpret and behave according to the consequence structure), and that just because you feel it’s a consequence (yelling and carrying on) it doesn’t mean it’s one that will actually change behavior.
And that’s really the trick here. When consequences are consistent and believable, you rarely have to share them. When they’re inconsistent and underwhelming, … Read More »
There’s no shortage of great jobs, great friends, great romantic relationships, great opportunities, great careers, and even great wealth, there’s just a shortage of a great you.
Our tendency is to always look outside ourselves when things are missing. We blame everything and everyone else. We believe there’s a shortage of great friends, men/women, jobs, money etc. We’ve actually convinced ourselves this is true. But if there’s anything guaranteed to hold you back from getting what you want in life, it’s this belief. As long as you believe it’s an outside problem you’re screwed. Because you can’t change what’s outside.
But the good news is, it’s an inside game. 100%. All the great stuff you want/desire/hope for comes from within. Which means it’s all in your control. (Ain’t that good news?? It is if you’re willing to take responsibility and do the work.)
The only reason you would be missing any of the above is if you’re missing any of the corresponding value/skill/development that would cause them to be attracted to you.
It’s a value for value exchange. The more value you have, the … Read More »
That’s a great question, and the best way to find out what you most need to learn is to just look where it hurts the most.
Is it your finances? Is it your romantic relationships? Is it your health? Is it your mindset/attitude? Is it setting healthy boundaries? Is it toxic associations (friends, lovers, co-workers, family)? Is it self-esteem? Is it maintaining distance from people even though you desire closeness?
Whatever it might be (and “it” might be many of these!), pain will always lead you to what needs attention and work. What hurts is what needs work.
Instead of avoiding, sidestepping, or being afraid of it, let the pain and discomfort be your guide. If “it” was working it wouldn’t hurt. If “it” was on target it would feel good. If “it” was solid and healthy you’d feel great with it. And if “it’s” not, don’t ignore it. Honor it. Let it guide you.
Life has the habit of continuously sharing pain with us when something needs our attention. When something needs to be assessed/changed/improved. And it continues to do so until we … Read More »