The Goog Dog Training Tips
When it comes to our dogs, we only get what we ask for from them. If we don’t ask much, we won’t get much.
The truth is, we’re two species with different goals, priorities, and sensibilities. What we care about, they don’t care about – until you help them understand that they need to. If we don’t ask our dogs to give us better stuff, to set better priorities (meaning the behavior and choices we like), they’ll simply give us the behavior and choices they like, that are natural, and that are convenient
Without expectations, rules, guidance and consequences, our dogs will be content to do whatever feels easiest and most pleasing in that moment for them. Our job is to decide/envision what behavior/attitude/state of mind we like, and then ask for it consistently.
It’s up to us to set the ground rules for what we want from our dogs – they don’t come knowing the rules of the game of living with humans. Just like kids, they need the rules taught to them. If we don’t teach we can’t be upset with … Read More »
When working on your dog’s walk issues, remember that the oncoming dog and owner are a big part of the equation.
If the other owner doesn’t have control, your dog sees it.
If the other dog is on a long leash and able to move wherever he wants, your dog sees it.
If the other owner is stressed and tense, your dog sees it.
If the other dog is a bratty, entitled, worked up, aggressive little monster, your dog sees it – even at a distance.
If you’re trying to pass any or all of the above in a tight space (especially with a wall trapping you) your dog sees it.
Remember, your dog is a super smart and aware creature. He’s looking at his environment and taking information and clues from everything and everyone to decide if he’s safe or not. If you see danger or feel uncomfortable, it’s a good bet your dog does too.
All of the above factors increase the pressure and stress your dog feels, and causes him to be more reactive. Be sure to assess the oncoming challenges, and know that … Read More »
If you’re working with a super-high energy, anxious, edgy, crazy dog, be sure to use your own energy to slow the dog’s mind and body down so the dog is better able to concentrate and learn.
Slow and relax your breathing, your verbal commands, your body movements, your rate of commands, and your praise, to pull the dog in a more relaxed direction. You can actually slow and relax an edgy and out of control dog simply by controlling what you share with him. (Of course using the right tools and strategy along with this is the best combination.)
Conversely, if you’re working with a mopey, slow, cadaver-esque, non-excited dog you can pull them into a more motivated and excited direction by your energy and actions. This one seems more obvious and most folks use it intuitively, but the slowing oneself down to pull a dog into a more relaxed space seems to be a more challenging one to be aware of, practice and utilize.
So remember, we can motivate and create more excitement, and we can also slow down and relax dogs … Read More »
The most common issue I see with dogs that show up for help here is that they’ve been allowed to practice negative behaviors (many of them seemingly small and not-earth shattering initially) repeatedly, to the point where the behavior AND the state of mind has generalized.
What do I mean by this? The behavior itself might have started as barking at the mailman, but now it’s generalized to barking at guests and anyone who comes in the house. Or barking at dogs on walks has now become barking and lunging at people. But here’s the big thing: what’s really worrisome is the state of mind that has generalized. The state of mind of the dog has become one that is constantly worried, constantly on edge, constantly stressed, and constantly anxious. And if you follow me here regularly, you know that that is where all the real dog behavior trouble really starts. Issues like aggression, resource guarding, reactivity, dog aggression etc tend to come from dogs who live in a compromised state (read: stressed) continually.
What starts are something small, starts to crack … Read More »
No raised, angry, nervous, voices. Keep all commands neutral and matter of fact. (Obviously you can use more excitement on recalls for motivation, but be very careful about your intensity when saying no/correcting/dog isn’t responding properly.) Intenisty in your voice an demeanor will create corresponding intensity and stress in your dog – which will only cause performance to worsen.
Don’t work your dog or try to problem solve when in a hurry. Don’t allow being in a rush to compromise your personal state, frustration levels, or calmness. Most of us have major shifts in calmness and frustration tolerance as soon as we are rushed. Be aware of it and set it up so you and your dog can succeed. If you interact with your dog when rushed,frustrated, or annoyed, you will have major fallout in behavior. (For both of you!! ;))
Set up problem situations on your time, don’t wait for them to happen in real life. Most of my clients have specific behavior issues they wish to resolve, and usually they wait until life spring it on them. Don’t do that. Do what … Read More »
Blaming a dog for misbehaving that hasn’t been given rules, structure, and leadership, is like blaming a chocolate cake for not tasting like vanilla. It’s not the cake’s fault, it just tastes like whatever ingredients you baked in.
If you’re going to spoil, not share rules, allow jumping, pulling on leash, pet constantly, allow constant access to your personal space, allow darting through thresholds, give treats constantly, allow barking at the windows, talking constantly in a baby voice, treating your dog like an infant or child replacement, allowing constant excitement, and not correcting your dog when he does something inappropriate, you can’t be upset that your dog is a brat or a maniac or dangerous. You baked that cake. You put all those ingredients in. You can’t be upset when your results are the sum of your actions or inactions.
The dog just responds to what you share. What you ask of him and allow from him daily is what he becomes.
You’re baking your K9 cake every day, make sure the ingredients are serving you and your dog.
Remember guys, no matter how hard you work, no matter how determined you are, no matter how great the tools are, changing your dog’s behavior and turning around bad habits is gonna be a journey and it’s gonna take time.
The one thing I see over and over with my clients who are successful, is the same ingredient that creates success in all other aspects of life: persistence, commitment, and continued effort – even when things get bumpy. My clients that are enjoying awesome stuff from their dogs are always the ones that are in it for the long haul. The ones who understand that the behavior issues their dogs have weren’t created in a day and that they won’t be resolved in a day (or even in a few months sometimes). The ones who are basking in doggie glory are the ones who stick to the program and work it day in and day out. It’s all about small, slow, incremental progress that slowly builds new habits and foundations.
The thing to really hold onto is that we’re not just training … Read More »
Bad behavior and unhealthy state of mind issues aren’t created in the big moments, they’re created in all the small, teeny, tiny, seemingly insignificant moments that we allow.
The pulling on leash becomes the barking and lunging at another dog. The blowing off of a command becomes growling at guests. The barking out the window becomes territorial biting. The excited running though thresholds becomes a dog fight between your dogs. The pulling to a tree on walks becomes resource guarding.
Obviously these are extreme examples, and of course not every dog that engages in these activities is going to end up in trouble, but with many dogs, and with enough little moments stacked together, many will.
I specifically chose extreme examples so you could see what I see as a trainer every day. Little moments of bad habits – that owners often see as benign – becoming default behavior, attitude, and state of mind.
If a dog practices ignoring, excitement, brattiness, disrespect, and being disconnected enough, that will eventually become what he does and who he is. Whatever dogs do repeatedly is what they … Read More »
Hey all, here’s a pretty short little clip from a Walk Doctor session we just had a few