The Goog Dog Training Tips
I see lots of owners, and beginning trainers, who are super nervous about their dog, or training dog making a mistake.
They preempt choices they think are headed into mistake land, they hover over the dog nervously ensuring that only the smallest margin of error is allowed. But what happens is that oftentimes the dog never gets to make the mistake necessary to learn. For the dog to learn that breaking Place isn’t ok, they eventually need to be allowed to actually step off of it. (That doesn’t mean they need to be allowed to run all the way into the other room, just committed to the mistake and stepping off is enough.) For the dog to learn that he can’t come out of the crate until you give permission, you have to give him enough room to actually try the big … Read More »
Hey gang, I was doing some listening to Seth Godin’s new audio book “Leap First”, and it inspired me to write a little something I thought was important.
Putting all of the tools and methods and recommendations out here in public for everyone to view and make their judgements on can be a little challenging for dog trainers. I know I was very concerned early on that it would alienate many people. Now, after several years, lots of blog posts, hundreds of videos, and thousands of Facebook posts and updates, it’s become second nature. It’s also become very rewarding to challenge myself about how I can better help/serve everyone that views/utilizes our work here.
Being a dog owner or dog trainer can be an extremely challenging proposition when it comes to searching out information regarding what methods/tools/approaches would best serve you and … Read More »
The usual age that we see dogs is typically between 1 and 3. This is the juicy time for issues and attitudes to flare up. This is often referred to as the “teenage years”, the time when the sweet and goofy puppy starts to push boundaries and test limits. It’s also the time we tend to see more serious issues arise. Of course there can be many factors that can cause behavioral changes in your dog, but one that doesn’t get discussed much is early trauma manifesting as behavior issues.
I’ve seen personally, and heard many times from clients, how many dogs that have experienced some kind of traumatic event early on can later have it manifest as problem behaviors. We see it most often with dogs that have been bullied, or attacked by other dogs at dog parks, doggy day … Read More »
Oftentimes I’ve seen dogs who have been taught sit, down, heel, stay, and some version of recall (lol), and owners can be confused into thinking they have trained their dog. But often these dogs are out of control, hyper-aroused, and misbehaving.
The trick isn’t to focus on commands as an end in themselves, the trick is to USE the commands to cultivate character and state of mind.
If we’ll use these basic commands as a means to challenge arousal, create focus, develop impulse control, and perhaps most importantly cultivate an attitude of being polite and deferential, then we really can get some amazing benefit from training.
To achieve this, you need to look beyond the commands and start to look for state of mind. Place command doesn’t do much until your dog will hold it even if a herd of buffalo (or kids) … Read More »
Dogs, like us, need to learn how to cope with a world that isn’t always easy, perfect, or comfortable. If they (or us) aren’t exposed to stress and given opportunities to learn how to deal with it successfully, they will be unprepared to successfully cope when stress inevitably rears its head.
Children who are coddled and always protected from the realities of the world tend to fall apart at the first real experience of trouble, challenge, unpleasantness.
The same goes for dogs.
By judiciously and incrementally exposing our dogs to stressful situations and experiences, and by giving direction and clear instructions about how they are to proceed through it, we give them the opportunity to develop a resiliency and strength that will serve them as they move through what is often a challenging world.
Duration work, which is essentially a fancy name for your dog doing an exercise like Place or Down for an extended period of time, is kinda like magic. It doesn’t seem like much is going on, or that much benefit could be obtained from it, but just like magic, poof, problem behaviors and state of mind issues begin to fade away though this simple but profound process.
We equate it to dog meditation. I strongly believe it helps reset and re-balance the dog’s nervous system, much like human meditation can for us.
By teaching the dog (or maybe more accurately resetting the dog) to understand that what goes down around him/her is none of their business, and not of their concern, we remove the habit and the burden of constant emotional and physical reaction to the environment.
So many dogs get caught up … Read More »
One of the things I see often is the surprise from owners when they see their dog do something they’ve wanted them to do or have wanted them not to do…forever…and it actually happens.
While I was in New Orleans we had a four-session package with a big ole bloodhound named Warren. Warren had become a disaster on walks, reacting to dogs and other objects and pulling his owners (with his 100+ pound body) all over the place in a dangerous fashion. He also had the habit of some seriously selective hearing when he was off-leash around dogs. In this situation, Warren would do whatever Warren wanted to do.
So I got to work with Mr Warren. I introduced him to e-collar heel, and in no time we had a really nice, relaxing walk going on. He would even walk by dogs … Read More »
Remember, if you’re soft, affectionate, and permissive 99% of the time, when finally decide to enforce rules and set boundaries, that decision doesn’t erase months or years of perceptions and associations about your relationship and who you are to your dog.
Just because you have a new tool or learned some training concepts, your dog – being the awesomely in-tune and aware creature he is – is going to require proof before he give it all up. Proof in the form of long-term and consistent commitment to new behaviors from you!
That’s the awesome thing about dogs, they don’t give anyone a pass simply because. They expect us to earn it.
So if you’re working on turning around long-standing behavior issues/relationship issues, and even if you’re using the best tools and strategies, just remember you’re saying, “I’m not the same person I was!”, and … Read More »
Like us, the longer dogs have been practicing a behavior the deeper the habit becomes ingrained. The deeper it’s ingrained the longer it often takes to overcome.
This isn’t about supporting the old saw about “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but is just a reminder of how much easier it is to reroute a behavior while it’s still relatively new. (Hint: Fix it as soon as it appears!!!) Of course we can retrain even old dogs that have been practicing negative behaviors for years (we do it all the time), but if you get to a problem in its infancy, it’ll be easier (for you and your dog!) and typically much more quickly resolved.
So this tip is here to remind you that if you go after an issue early, it’ll be easier and quicker for all involved, and if you … Read More »
Be sure when addressing your dog’s behavior issues that you remember that there are moments that need smaller corrections and moments that need bigger ones. This is dictated by how big of a problem or risk the behabior is, how often it occurs, and what the intention is of the dog.
For example, you’re calling your dog to you on an off-leash romp, and as he’s recalling he looks away, gets distracted, and pauses for a moment. In this case, likely a small reminder will suffice. But if your dog consistently does this sniffing behavior every time you recall him in an effort to avoid having to listen, he needs something a little more inspiring. (He’s being a brat and making a decision to be disobedient.) AND if your dog blows off your command to run towards another dog or squirrel, … Read More »