Dog Training Blog
So many families bring a dog into the home for their kids because it's a wonderful experience - it can be. It can also be a bad experience for both parties.
Good relationships between children and dogs don't just happen. They develop over time. Each participant needs to learn what to do and what not to do.
Come! It's something everyone wants their dog to do and yet it’s something most people don't fully train. They stop training once the dog responds in their home and get angry when the dog doesn’t respond in the park or in a different location.
You may notice your perfect puppy seems to have forgotten all he once knew. Does he seem to have selective hearing? Does he tilt his head in that cute way when you ask him to sit? Does he take off in the opposite direction when you call him? Is he barking at the world?
Everyone wants his or her new puppy to sit when asked or come running when called the first day the pup enters the home.
Think about this for a moment.
What language does your dog speak? English, French, Italian, Hebrew, Cantonese? The answer is, none of the above.
I often come across people who get angry and frustrated with their dogs because, from their point of view, the dog is “being stubborn” or “not listening”. So I thought I would write this blog about how dogs learn.
When looking to change unwanted behaviour, whether jumping on guests or barking at other dogs. taking steps to eliminate the opportunity to continue to practice those behaviours is an important part of the process.
Just because your dog is not displaying outward signs of discomfort such as growling, barking lunging, jumping, to name a few, does not mean he's handling the situation well.
Before we bring a dog into our home most of us have an idea or picture of what life will be with our dog. Some get a small dog so it's easy to take along everywhere, others want to do therapy visits or scenting work or competitive sports or simply be able to do daily walks around the neighbourhood.
We don't always get the dog we expect.
Belly up can be interpreted as I mean you no harm or to pacify you if you appear angry as well as indicating fear. Offering an unprotected belly is similar to showing your empty hands in the air. You are vulnerable. Nothing hidden.
Belly up with trusted family members is different from belly up with an unfamiliar person.
One of the physiological changes that occurs when stressed is the body releases cortisol. This stress hormone shuts down any bodily functions which will interfere with the flight or fight survival response. Adrenaline increases and blood pressure increases to prepare for a fast response. The digestive system slows.
It’s impossible for a dog trainer to go to a function and not get asked questions as soon as people discover what you do for a living.
As expected, this occurred at a function I was at not long ago.
As a dog trainer, I often get asked my opinion on bringing dogs to a dog park. Not all dogs are dog park material. Know your dog, know the dogs who frequent the park you go to. Just as with people, not all dogs get along; some are bullies, some are softer than others, some simply do not want to interact with other dogs.
One of the biggest misconceptions frequently brought up by clients and others, is the belief that food will forever have to be used in order to get a desired behaviour. Food used correctly, is not a problem. Improper use of food in training is the problem.
Sometimes, when a puppy is brought into a home, it’s just not the right time, the right puppy or the right fit for the family. This is very different than dealing with new puppy shenanigans.
Sometimes, after a few visits and listening to what’s being said, it’s in the best interests of the puppy and family, to re-home the pup.
I don't give my dog human food because I don't want him to learn to beg". I hear this quite a bit.
When thinking of the food you give your dog during a training session as a treat, it can seem frivolous.