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During a dog's second year they go thru fear phases as well as cement their personalities. Building on the foundation of socialization and good manners of the first year should be a priority in helping your dog be the best family member they can be.
We started waits yesterday in class. The main things to remember with waits are
1) do not keep eye contact
2) to build duration before adding distraction or distance
If you maintain eye contact the dog accepts that eye contact as part of the "cue" and will try to keep that eye contact later and want to follow when you are adding distance and going out of sight.
By teaching duration first the dog learns to keep his or her butt in one place so that adding distance then becomes much easier. We want to build that time first so that the concept of the wait is firmly in place before moving on to distractions and distance.
Patience. We are asking the dog to do the hardest thing they know how to do. Nothing. They want to engage and interact with us. Doing nothing goes against all of that. Waiting really IS hard to do.
We start with 5 seconds (and sometimes 3, depending upon the dog) with a simple stop sign hand signal. When we have that consistent 5 seconds for at least 9 out of 10 attempts then we add 5 more seconds. Not until we have solid 20 to 30 seconds of "Wait" do we then add in distractions and distance.
seHow does basic obedience work?
Well, first, it takes a commitment to your dog and family to do what it takes to make it work. It's not magic, it is work.
Second, you need to understand who you've hired, what their philosophy is, what protocols will be put in place and be comfortable following thru. If you aren't comfortable following thru and, with some research into it still feel that way, then it might be best to look for a trainer who's philosophy more aligns with yours. Everyone needs to be on the same page for it to work. This is not to say one trainer is right and another is wrong but a matter of which one is right for you.
Third, you have to understand that it starts with baby steps, in the very beginning, at the simplest point in order to capture and keep the dog's attention, establish communication and trust. Each following behavior is added in a specific order so that it reinforces the previous behavior while adding the new behavior. Each step has to be climbed in order to get to the landing. You can't skip a step without losing progress. And sometimes, if we move too fast, we go backwards a little bit to make sure we don't leave anyone behind.
As the behaviors come together, working with each other, and the dog learns when to provide these different behaviors we have success. We have a well mannered dog that knows how to listen, what to provide and can continue to learn new, even more exciting, behaviors.
Above you see Henley. Henley has learned his basics thru AKC STAR Puppy and CGC classes. He can provide these basics in different environments with different distractions. But it all started with the first step. Each behavior leads to the next behavior. Your commitment to the training to follow thru. It's not magic, it's work. And a sense of accomplishment when you get the end.
Wild and out of control dogs. This is one of the biggest reasons I get called in. The dog is jumping, barking, pawing, running around like crazy. The more it provides this behavior the more frustrated the human gets, often yelling and pushing the dog away.
How does the dog see this behavior?
Yelling = barking. "Yay, we are both barking out of excitement! I have accomplished my purpose!"
Pushing away = game playing. "Woo hoo! I jump or puppy nip at you, you push me away, I have your attention so I jump again! What a great game we are playing!"
The dog is desperately trying to get your attention and in his mind, ANY attention is good attention. He has gotten you to interact with him. What we do with training is adjust our communication so that we are asking for the behaviors we want and the dog learns what behaviors nets him this positive attention. Then we end up with a calm, well mannered dog who you want to spend time with.
Responsible dog owners do their best to prepare their fur babies for the new human baby coming. Getting them used to the new gadgets, noises, smells and even carrying things in your arms. Reinforcing those old standby behaviors of sits, downs, stays... Sometimes bringing in a trainer to help or going the self-help route, trying to cover everything we can think of.
Recently, tho, I read an article in Whole Dog Journal by Tiffany Lovell, CPDT-KA, called When A Baby Changes Everything. It addressed Postpartum Depression and the consequences for the family dog.
This got me to thinking about how often I see the "Must Rehome My Dog" ads that mention new babies and no time for the dog. With the stigma we see about PPD and how a new baby is supposed to be a blessing, a happy time, a wonderful experience, I am now wondering how many of these "must rehome" ads are really a reflection of PPD.
One symptom of PPD can be a hair trigger temper. Everything can set you off, including any noise. Dogs are noisy. Not just their barking but the crunching, squeaking, slurping, thumping noises that we may not even notice under normal circumstances. Add PPD and a finally sleeping baby and these noises might just set you over the edge. Then there is that moment you finally get to yourself only to have the dog right there, in your face and in your space.
Maybe the only thing they can think of doing is rehoming the dog. This might not be 'just because they don't have time' but because they are trying to reduce their triggers. Trying to find that quiet, not just environmentally but emotionally, to focus on themselves and the baby and getting thru a very tough journey. And they don't want to tell the entire world, especially strangers, what is really going on.
There is help out there. Address the Postpartum Depressing by talking to the doctor. Think about doggy daycare or asking a friend to foster for a few weeks. Talk to a trainer to help address environmental and behavior issues.
Frustration does not make for good training. If you are working on a new behavior or trying to advance a known behavior and it is not going well then stop. Take a breath. Look at the dog's body language. Are the ears going back, eyes showing whites, is their lip licking? Is he tensing up? If so then its time to take a break. He is frustrated at not understanding what you want and he knows you are frustrated with what he is giving you. Ask for a well known command, usually a sit or focus, and end the session. Start fresh tomorrow when you are both in a better place.
Join us to celebrate the AKC's Responsible Dog Owner Day!
12:00 to 3:00 Sunday, Sept 11 at 69087 29 Palms Hwy.
FURRY TALES GROOMING WILL BE JOINING US
MEET THE TRAINERS (CLASSES START 9/18)
PHOTOS & FREEBIES (AS THEY LAST)
PROBLEM SOLVING CLINIC
NO. We all do it. The dog is jumping, chasing, chewing, stealing... we say NO and the immediacy of our tone stops the dog's behavior in its track. You have the dog's attention now. He's no longer doing the behavior you didn't like. You then turn your attention back to what you were doing.
I have recently received a lot of questions about the requirements and training for "companion animals". In the conversation what is really being referred to are Emotional Support Animals, or ESAs. ESAs require no special task training but do require a mental health care professional, (ie, a licensed therapist or psychologist) to certify the need for an ESA.