Dogs can only have fun with the handler. We can do things with a dog that we couldn’t get away with a tiger. This is because we have a relationship with our dogs. Relationship with motivation is important. Good motivation should build a relationship.
Nothing in Life is Free, being fair providing resources and providing fun.
Frustration, if used properly can build a dog’s motivation.
Rolling food, better running with the food. Running with food you are more valuable because you become part of the game.
Tug o war, they can’t play tug by themselves. That makes you more valuable. Lots of opportunity for feedback loops. Rules are import, raw drive is not good, but used as a reward and balance rule making with the dog’s passion for this activity. Don’t do so many rules that you squash the dog’s passion. Each dog will behave differently.
Movement is motivating, be part of
ENGAGMENT; my dog pays attention to me and wants
something from me. We use strictly
reward based system to build engagement.
What does your dog do AFTER he has earned his
reward? Check out and go sniff or go crazy
trying to figure out how to get me to produce the next reward.
Training can only be successful with engagement. Just like if you were trying to teach someone
math who is day dreaming about being in Aruba.
reinforcement pause, the drop off in focus after your dog has earned a
reinforcer. We want to get the dog the
shortest possible pause by being fun and novel.
We also want to be consistently more reinforcing then the environment.
Interactive reward events, I want the dog to want to interact with me. We will build games that become rewards. We practice the game until the dog really likes it then we can start to use it as a reinforcer. The more motivated the dog the easier it is to teach and the easier it is to work through insecurities. Interactive reward games build a relationship with your dog.
How do we get our dog to listen when they are worked up?
We build a reward that becomes a tool to practice
listening while they are excited. “Yes, I
know you really want to get this ball, but you still have to sit.”
While volunteering I got a call from someone who has a 9 month
old German shepherd puppy. She
told me that her she didn’t know if we could neuter her puppy, because of his
level of aggression. The owner is in
She just doesn’t know what to do with her puppy. I asked her to explain what’s going on and she told me that he is jumping on the counters, pulling on the leash, barking at everyone and everything. She said he growls at her and other family members, barks and spins when people come over and that she is worried if she doesn’t do something he’ll get worse. She said she is at her wits end and talked to her vet in depth. She said after speaking to him, she has decided her only option is to get him neutered.
I asked her if she has done any training with him, she said that she hadn’t, but that she had bought a easy walk harness and a prong collar, but neither was working. I asked her to tell me about the exercise this puppy was getting. She told me that she has an average sized dog run and takes him on 2-3 walks a week at about a half mile to a mile. I asked her what she was feeding and how she was feeding. She told me he eats out of a bowl like every other dog.
Here we have a case of a big, strong, adolescent dog that was bred to work all day. He isn’t having his basic needs being met and not being given any structure or guidance in how he should behavior…. and the solution… surgery!
That is asinine!
Doing a surgical procedure without really diving into the research of the effects on behavior is also common practice here in the states. Veterinarians may advise owners like her with dogs that presents with aggressive, unruly or other behaviors problems to do spay and neuter.
What does research and studies actually say about this?
Despite the historic propensity for veterinarians to recommend altering dogs to treat problem behaviors, the effect of spay and neuter has been assessed in only a few studies.
We have heard it time and time again…. Responsible owners spay and neuter. Rescue workers shame the person walking through the petstore buying dog food with their calm relaxed bull mastiff walking at their side, breeders make people sign contracts and legislation has been passed.
Maybe the neighbor said it is the responsible thing to do, but do you really know what the most recent studies are saying?
In 2010 a study was conducted with 10,839 dogs, behavioral characteristics of intact male and female dogs were compared with those of four groups of neutered dogs. The findings of this well put together study showed, that the behavior of neutered dogs was significantly different from that of intact dogs in ways that contradict the prevailing and historic view of spay and neuter being a solution to behavioral issues.
Among the findings in this study, neutered dogs were MORE aggressive, fearful, excitable, and less trainable than intact dogs.
They also tested spatial learning, memory and reversal learning tasks using a maze. The results showed that 81% of intact females successfully completed the whole procedure. Only 56% of spayed females where able to complete the same maze.
Could this vet’s recommendation of altering her 9 month old puppy make the behavior worse instead of better? Is it possible that the investment of spending $20 on a prong collar, $30 on an easy walk harness and $300-$500 on spay and neuter would have been better spent on proactive training classes and now, behavior modification?
I would say so, while this is a topic that doesn’t have enough study and has plenty of debate I have to say, there is enough research to show that in terms of aggression and excitability altering your pet will not make a difference and may even hurtaggressive behavior.
We know that the number one reason animals are surrendered to shelters and rescues are behavior. We know the number one cause of euthanasia on dogs under 3 in the United States is BEHAVIOR and NOT infectious disease.
When she neuters this dog and his behavior doesn’t change will he end up another shelter statistic?
Maybe the responsible thing to do isn’t debatable surgeries but meeting your dog’s basic needs and providing early socialization and consistent training.
Check out some studies referenced in this article;
all breeds of dogs were developed and bred to have a job. Even breeds like French Bulldogs, English
Bulldogs and Chihuahuas that are often considered lazy or difficult to train
can excel if given the right job. We
have seen French Bulldogs employed for detection work, therapy work, and fly
ball and Chihuahuas racing their legs off at barn hunts and agility courses. Your dog doesn’t have to be an amazing obedience
dog to try their paw at dog sports.
dogs that are labeled as problem dogs, like dogs that end up in shelters have
not been given enough mental and physical challenges. Once these dogs are given a chance to use their
instincts in an appropriate way they can truly relax when they are at home with
be intimidated it really isn’t that hard to get started. Normally, you get started by finding a club
or drop in session to get started with.
Try just by googling it or looking on Facebook.
You don’t have to turn your pet into a show dog, there are variations that you can do with your own dog! You can find DVD’s online, you tube videos, and plenty of how to’s.
fact: Dogs have a sense of smell that’s between 10,000 and 100,000 times more
acute than ours! The sport of Scent Work celebrates the joy of sniffing, and
asks a dog to sniff to their heart’s content; turning your dog’s favorite
activity into a rewarding game. It is a terrific sport for all kinds of dogs,
and is a wonderful way to build confidence in a shy dog. It is a terrific way to teach your dog that
he can communicate things he wants to tell you, by how he acts. This can be very empowering to shy dogs, help
calm anxious dogs and give high energy dogs a job.
-You can do this in your own house really
easily. All you need is either their
favorite toy, 3-4 card board boxes, a q-tip and any sent… that’s right you can
even use hair gel, essential oils, or perfume.
Barn Hunt is a fun sport for all dogs of any breed or mix
that like to hunt with their noses. Dogs search for one or more rats (safely housed in aerated
tubes) on a course made of straw bales. The dog has to ﬁnd the correct number
of hidden rats within a set time limit.
-This one is a little harder to do in
your house, but there are about 6 places in the City of Denver that offer these
for $15 a class several nights a week.
is a sport where you direct your dog through a pre-set obstacle
course within a certain time limit. Courses typically have between 14-20 obstacles, which can
include tunnels, weave poles, tire jumps, seesaws, and pause tables where the
dog must stop for a set amount of time.
This can be great for adolescent dogs with low-self control to learn how
to focus on a handler during excitement and go from speed to calmness. It also teaches handlers to give clear cues
and teaches dogs to focus on subtle cues while running full speed.
-Do it at home by using chairs, laundry
baskets, broomstick handles and large boulders in your yard. Give your kids cardboard boxes that they can
make tunnels out of.
You could also try the next one as an in-home
parkour, sometimes known as urban agility, is an activity based on the same
principles. It is a challenging, but fun, physical activity in which the dogs
learn to interact with their environment. Parkour is a physical discipline in which dogs
move through their environment and conquer obstacles in their path. It includes
climbing, balancing, jumping, running, vaulting, creativity and working past
fear. Teaches dogs to listen to their
handler and trains them body awareness.
-It’s made to do around the home and
also known as dockdivingis a dog sport in which dogs compete in
jumping for distance or height from a dockinto a body of water. This is great for dogs that may have injuries
or dogs that love toys and water!
-Do it around the house by finding a lake,
river or canine swim center. This is excellent
exercise to tire them out.
canine freestyle, also known as musical freestyle, freestyle dance, and canine freestyle, is
a modern dog sport that is a mixture of obedience training, tricks, and dance
that allows for creative interaction between dogs and their owners. The sport has
developed into competition forms in several countries around the world.
-This is so easy to do in the house, hit
youtube for some inspiration and turn on your favorite tunes.
are three test levels – started, intermediate, advanced. This is not
limited to herding breeds as long as the dog has proper instincts I have a good
friend who does this with an Akita. If
you are looking to compete there is a little more you need to know, The initial
test is called Instinct Test
and it is a test for herding breeds, Rottweilers, Samoyeds, Standard and Giant
Schnauzers, Pyrenean Shepherds, Swedish Vallhunds, Norwegian Buhunds and
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs. The dog needs no training before entering this
class and may be handled by the judge, owner or a designated handler. The judge
is looking for the dogs ability to move and control livestock by fetching or
-Live in the middle of the city? No sheep in sight, but your border collie is
going bananas? Check out this next sport
Sometimes called urban herding.If your dog has a nose or a shoulder, he can play Treibball! The game is simple to play and train, and only requires a few fitness balls, some treats and a love of working with your dog. Your dog learns to target the balls, and then goes out into a playing field and pushes balls to you, with direction and control.
Other working dog jobs
dogs are owned by someone with a disability and trained to mitigate that
disability. These dogs may be trained to
retrieve a cell phone, medication, or pull a wheel chair. They may guide the blind or detect an owner’s
drop in blood sugar as well as respond to that situation appropriately. They should be 100 percent focused on their
handler as they are a medical device and if they are unfocused, they may miss a
cue from an owner or may miss a medical issue like on-coming seizure. That is why owners of these dogs strongly
discourage other people from petting their working dogs. These dogs should have
good manners and should not harass strangers or other dogs. These dogs have public access rights. No certification or registration is
required. Those sold online are a scam. You do not need to have any markings on your
dog, but your dog must behave in public.
dogs do not have public access rights, however they have fair housing
act rights. Your dog doesn’t need any
special training, but can have this title revoked if your dog behaves in a
dangerous manner around the neighborhood.
dogs go to schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other places to provide
comfort to humans. These dogs are
specially trained to be safe, polite and comfortable in the settings they
provide comfort and are insured as therapy animals.
dogs are pets that you provide training for around your house to give them a “job”. You can teach them to pick up dropped keys,
bring you a hand towel, put the laundry in the bin and bring you your
slippers. While it may sound silly
giving these dogs these simple and important tasks are sooo important!
No matter whether you are looking for an adult dog or a
puppy it’s so important to consider your lifestyle before you do anything else.
Ask your self the
following four questions:
How active do
you want to be during the work week?
you already go to the gym afterwork and would you be willing to switch that out
for an evening jog around the neighborhood with your new dog. Do most nights after work you come home,
prepare dinner get the kids to finish their homework and then finally sit down for
30 minutes of TV before you head to bed?
It is best to consider your busy nights instead of just weekends. When considering your new dog’s energy always
round down, so if you think you’re a super active five than get a four energy level
dog. This will make sure that your dog
always has his needs met and will save your pillows from being chewed up if you
take on a few extra hours at work. DON’T RELY ON YOUR YARD AND DON’T INCLUDE
THAT IN YOUR ACTIVITY SCORE UNLESS YOU HAVE MORE THAN 2 ACRES.
How often do
you travel? Would you want to take your dog with
you? Some breeds and individual dogs do
better with new people who might come over to dog sit and some dogs would be
easier to fly with simply because of their size.
Will you be
moving in the next five years? Why is this important? Well, if your in your early twenties and
still doing some apartment hoping it’s important to know that most apartments
have breed and weight restrictions which could end up restricting where you
live if you want to keep your dog. In addition
to this some HOAs and even some cities and countries have breed restrictions
which doesn’t allow you to own a specific breed or mix of that breed.
Why do you
want a dog? Dreaming of cuddling on the couch with doggy pal watching
your favorite chick flick, going hiking and to the park or hoping for a pal to
keep your other canine company? These would
all require a different dog. Not all
dogs like to cuddle, not all dogs like to run and some might not like other
dogs. Keep this in mind while you search.
Life changes? Hoping to start a family in the next six
months? Making sure the adult dog likes kids and more importantly babies is a MUST.
Making sure you introduce your puppy
in a positive way to both babies and toddlers will be a must be prepared to
jump in full training mode to make sure your dog is ready for baby. Already pregnant? Choose an adult dog waking up to take puppy
out, giving adequate attention to socialization and manners will have to be a priority
and being a new mom will make this nearly impossible. If you must choose a puppy remember you have
no time to slack get that puppy into as many training classes as possible before
the baby comes.
Are you looking for an
adult or a puppy? Well, the
answer should depend on primarily time. In a study that looked at dog owners contacting
trainers for reports of aggressive behavior where a bite breaking skin occurred
they found that 78 percent of dogs that had bitten another dog or person where
purchased between the ages of 8 weeks and 12 weeks. What
does that study tell us? Well, no one adopts
a new puppy in hopes it’s going to turn into a problem dog, but it happens way more
often than we think. The problem is WAY
too many people get puppies hoping to raise them how they want them but don’t actually
have the time or experience to do it correctly. If you have lots of time to take your puppy
out in the world to do training sessions than your good either way. That being said if you are already balancing the
kids soccer games, work, helping with school work and volunteering for carpool
maybe an adult dog with already good manners is the way to go. Remember we are talking after a busy day of
work… not just weekends.
Choosing where to look for your new dog
If you live in a small town you may only have the choice of one shelter or one rescue, but if you live in a busy area like Denver you may have an overwhelming amount of options. You might not know, but not all shelters are created equal and not all rescues are either. Rescues range greatly from little old ladies who have 12 dogs and a 501c3 and major ones with 1000’s of volunteers and dozens of staff. How do you pick? Don’t start looking for a dog before you know where to look. While most shelters and rescues push for full disclosure some feel full disclosure may scare people away.
Start by asking these questions:
How do you get your dogs? Some transfer in from other shelters and rescues, some (not many) sit at auction houses and purchase dogs and others take them only as owner surrenders or stays. It doesn’t matter which you choose, but this question can give you insight as to if this is an organization that you want to support.
How do you get to know your dogs? Some shelters provide playgroups, training classes and three times a day walks to their dogs so that is a great way to get to know them. Many rescues are foster based and actually living in the home with the foster parent. Other places may only get to know a dog by throwing a bowl of food and cleaning the kennel. It doesn’t matter which you choose, but this question can give you insight as to if this is an organization that you want to support.
For very young puppies you want to ask if they were born in the shelter or in foster. You also want to know what type of socialization they get while in foster.
of shopping for your new dog.
You walk into the shelter pass an old lab, a barking
border collie then you spot him. It’s
love at first sight! Your head over
heels for him, just the dog you have always dreamed of…… wait a minute, slow down this isn’t speed dating. I’m always shocked at how people seem to be
able to pick their new dog quicker than they do a couch. This dog will be with you for the next 12
years, maybe you should get to know who he
Start by reading the card on the outside of the kennel. Then ask the shelter staff if they can tell
you about his history and how he got there.
Was he a stray? Maybe he can’t be
left alone in the backyard. Did his
owner surrender him, if so why? This can
give you very important information. Also,
ask if they know how he is with kids, dogs, cats and people. Next ask them what type of energy he has (REMEMBER
DON’T BUDGE ON YOUR EXERSIES NEEDS ACTIVE DOGS IN LAZY HOMES DEVELOP LOTS OF
BEHAVIOR ISSUES) Finally, ask the
staff to meet the dog.
Sometimes when you meet a dog at the shelter they
put you in a room and sometime they let you take them for a walk. Ask if you can do both, many dogs act differently
outside then they do inside. You want to
get the full picture of who this dog is by letting them show you. Here are somethings you’ll want to do with
your dog before saying “yes”
Have everyone who lives in the home meet the
dog, if you have a cat ask them to re-cat test even if they have already said
he is good with cats. If you have kids,
a roommate or a dog they should have a say too.
See what the dog does when you run, drop something,
rub his belly, touch his toes or act silly.
If Your kids came have your kids run around. Hug and pickup your kids to see if there are
any issues there. If your dog came with you
pet just your dog, then just your new dog.
Toss the ball for the two of them.
Try giving the dog some treats and seeing if you
can teach him something like down or stay to see how he focuses and how quickly
he learns. See if he will play
fetch. Try to have someone else come in
the room to see how he responds.
Spend at least 30 minutes with the dog and even
if your in love meet at least three dogs to be sure.
Adopting a new dog is a lifetime commitment. Staff that works at animal shelters and rescues do their very best to give you accurate information about the dog. Sometime you may see things they didn’t if they give you information about the dog’s history it is important to take that into consideration even if YOU don’t see it right then and there. Shelters are scary places for dogs and dogs show their fear in different ways like shutting down or over excitement. They may show behaviors at home that they didn’t show in the shelter. Staff can give you this sort of important insight.
I got a call at 7 in the morning from a new dog owner,
she got a pair of littermates from a labradoodle breeder at 8 ½ weeks old and
she is in tears. They are only 8 months
old, but she is at her wits end. Her
puppies have already begun to show the severe symptoms of littermate syndrome. They have started fighting to the point she
has to take one of them to a 24 hour vet to get stitched up, but if she tries
to keep them separated they panic, scream and are heart breakingly desperate to
get back with one another.
It’s not very often that you find something that
trainers, vets, shelter workers and reputable breeders all agree on, but the canine
industry is becoming progressively more aware of the dangers of taking two puppies. So much so this has even been given it’s own
name… Littermate Syndrome. I think
littermate syndrome can be a somewhat misleading term, because it can lead
people to believe that only puppies from the same litter will suffer from this
are the symptoms of littermate syndrome?
It is difficult for them to form a bond with a human
and the human is often the odd man out in the relationship. What’s wrong with that you ask? Well one of the things that makes dogs so lovable
is that they are socially motivated to hang out with their people. It prevents them from being motivated to
Dogs often suffer from severe separation anxiety from
their littermate. Even if separated
from a short time 2-3 minutes the dogs may scream and even self harm to get to
the other dog. They have such a strong
bond with their littermate that nothing else matters. They often are unable to
recover the other dog passes early in life.
There have been studies that show a hindered social
development with people and dogs in littermate pairs raised together. It is guessed that this is probably due to
their dependency on one another and their inability to bond with things outside
of their littermate. They are unable to truly
be socialized and each dog only becomes ½ way socialized.
Littermates raised together are often unable to learn
basic skills like manners or obedience. Think
of all the nuisance behaviors like barking at other dogs, pulling on leash,
door bolting, basic skills that most puppies master before 7 months old. Now pair that with not being able to teach
sit, down or stay; because your dog is fixated on it’s littermate.
-Littermates often have a love hate relationship, while
they are super bonded they often escalate with one another due to their
hindered social development. While some
littermates never display this, more often than not this is the norm. Oftentimes this results in dangerous and
aggressive behaviors between the littermates in the home.
-Dogs with littermate syndrome have been shown to
focus on training and their handler as poorly as a dog who has been completely
isolated during their first 6 months of life. You would isolate your puppy, so don’t hinder
their development with another puppy.
Can it be prevented?
Theoretically yes, but in practice it’s nearly
impossible. In my 15 years of training
animals I have only seen this effectively avoided in one situation. In this case she knew of littermate syndrome before
purchasing the two puppies from an overfilled rescue and she tried to only
adopt one, but the rescue insisted it would be easier to take two and wouldn’t
do the adoption any other way.
So, how did she prevent it? She signed them up for two totally separate
training classes on different nights of the week, kenneled them in separate rooms,
took them on separate walks, did 20 minutes of training apart for each dog
daily, and only gave them 1 -1 ½ hours of playtime together daily. Can you imagine? Adding triple the work of puppy raising to
your daily schedule with the kids, job and other responsibilities you already
In recent months I have seen two pairs of littermates
adopted… lab mixes and goldendoodles. I
was sad to see this, but the shelter workers spent hours explaining the proper
way to raise them, risks of littermate syndrome, and the work that would be
involved. The adopters where absolutely convinced
they were ready. One couldn’t bear to
break up the puppies the other had two kids and wanted a puppy for each
explaining that they would have their needs met. At 6 months the doodle family already has two
puppies with irreputable behavioral problems and has rehomed one. The Labrador mixes owners also ran into
similar issues around 8 months they are currently deciding if they can handle keeping
both. However, even with rehoming both
dogs will never fully recover, even if they are able to make progress.
TAKING TWO IS A HUGE
GAMBLE and ultimately the puppies may pay the price.
Opps… I had no idea and I already got littermates what
do I do?
Here are five rules to implement
before they are six months to help them lead successful lives.
Training time in
the house separated and on adventures separated. Take them both on separate field trips at
least once a week where you spend time showing them the world just you and
them, without the littermate influence.
Same thing do at least 20 minutes of training daily with the littermates
in separate rooms, so they learn how to communicate with humans.
Bonding time you
and them 1 hour a day should be spent with the dogs one on one without the
sibling present. This should include
playtime with activities like fetch, tug, tag or hide and seek.
Daily walks at
least 1 mile OR 30 minutes separate.
This allows them to learn walking rules, and learn how to cope with the
world on their own. Also good for
Never allow them
to share a kennel together, keep them separate at night and while you are
away. This prevents the separation
anxiety and the dog-dog aggression.
discouraged, if you need to hire a walker to give them individual walks or send
them to daycare on different days to give yourself a break.
Two puppies is 100 % triple the work, but we know that your already in love with your littermates and that you CAN rise to the occasion of raising them.
It’s important that if you have your dog of-leash in a public area such as a park or an apartment complex you are able to recall your dog consistently from people, other dogs and wildlife.
An owner of another dog or puppy should never have to justify why they don’t want your off-leash dog approaching them.
A puppy could be under vaccinated, sick or going through specialized training.
An adult dog may have reactivity issues and your dog approaching could set the dog back even if they are not being outwardly reactive.
Not to mention, this is a safety issue for your own dog as well. While some dogs may not be reactive they may be aggressive. The off-leash dog is always at fault in cities with leash laws, because had your dog not approached there would be no Incident.
If you are the handler of an off-leash dog don’t get to make the decision for the other dog owner if your dog meets their pets, child or them.
Some people simply don’t want to meet your dog. Some people simply don’t want your dog to meet their dog.
One of the biggest responsibilities of pet owners is to keep all dogs safe. We do this through reliable recalls -the first call everytime and leashes.
One of the main reasons for your dog’s bad habits or unwanted behavior is his/her lack of early socialization or lack of properly done socialization techniques. Once your dog has reached the age of 15 weeks, early socialization methods are less effective because the dog is becoming more fearful. At this point, the best way to introduce your dog to new things and to modify his reactions is thru desensitization and counter conditioning.
Don’t start the first day you have your new dog. Follow the “Learn to Earn” handout for the first two weeks. This allows you to build a relationship and bond with your dog before exposing your dog to new and scary things.
Learning the lingo and the methods,
Desensitizing: This is a training technique used to introduce your dog to new or frightening things while still maintaining his level of comfort. If your dog is calm ( also known as “under threshold” ) then it is much easier for him to learn new ways of dealing with his environment. If you can slowly and gradually introduce the dog to things he finds frightening then the lines of learning remain open and his reactions are more likely to be successfully modified. This approach is safer and provides more reliable results than FLOODING. (see below )
Counter conditioning: Counter conditioning replaces the fear response entirely. It is not just about changing the way that the dog behaves. It is about changing the way that the dog feels.
Successful counter conditioning will enable the dog to be happy and relaxed in the presence of the previously fearful stimulus
Counter conditioning, also referred to as stimulus substitution, simply means the training of a pet to respond to a certain stimulus in a different way than it currently does. A stimulus can refer to any number of things such as people, events, substances (like water), animals, machinery, noises (car alarms, thunder), and much more. Should your pet display responses of fear, aggression, and anxiety to certain stimuli, counter conditioning is an effective method of adjusting his or her behavior.
Flooding: Flooding is a full immersion training technique applied in both human and animal psychology. It consists of forcefully exposing the dog to the stimuli that triggers its fear and provoked the original trauma. This method of behavior therapy may bring fast results, but most often will be traumatic and comes with certain risks. While flooding may help in some mild cases, when it does not, the dog may turn into an emotional wreck and be prone to sensitization, which causes an increase in fear. There are, therefore, far better approaches granting higher rates of success
Threshhold: In order to determine threshold, you need to be able to “read” your dog well. In other words, you need to be able to constantly scan those subtle signs of relaxation, alertness and stress so you can intervene accordingly. Different trainers have different “interpretations” of over or under threshold. For some, a dog is under threshold when it is calm, almost sleepy, for others a dog is under threshold when the dog is stressed, but not stressed enough to react by barking, lunging etc. In my opinion, you definitely do not want a dog so on edge that is too stressed to learn and cognitively function, but you may want a dog that acknowledges the stimulus but without growing overly concerned about it.
Starting the training;
You have been following the Learn to Earn method for the last two weeks, so your dog is prepped for great learning.
Desensitizing: take your dog to a place where he can observe his triggers, like other dogs or people, but won’t have to interact with them. Practice getting your dog to focus on you during this time. Don’t allow triggers to approach your dog, so if your dog is afraid of dogs then don’t allow dogs to approach. This will set your dog’s progress back if you do it too soon. They should be able to totally ignore the trigger before working closer. Gradually work closer each day until your dog can stay focused on you.
Counter conditioning: After the dog is comfortable ignoring the triggers (scary things) than then start counter conditioning. When your dog even looks at a scary thing, say “yes” or use a clicker then give a treat. You want to put the treat into your dog’s mouth within 3-5 seconds of seeing the scary thing.
If your dog doesn’t accept the treats, make it easier by moving farther away from the trigger. (REMEMBER YOUR THRESHOLDS) Continue this training until your dog is happy to see the trigger, then move a little closer.
Repeat this step until your dog seems happy about the trigger, if your dog is regressing instead of improving you need to go back a step and /or contact a professional trainer.
Dogs that are in a home with boundaries, under a training plan and following this program are set up for success. Owners experience less challenging behaviors, like counter surfing a door bolting and dogs settle in faster because they know and understand what is expected of them.
Learn to Earn
Begin by teaching your dog “Sit!”
Once your dog knows sit, ask them to sit before they get anything that rewards them.
Use everything your dog wants as rewards for training purposes. Have them sit before any of the following things are given to them.
Food, treats, play time, door being opened, leash being put on, meeting new friends, toys and love from you!
Your dog will learn to earn everything they want by politely and automatically saying “Please!” by sitting. This teaches good manners.
In the first days your dog is home she should be supervised at all
times. If you are not able to supervise, use a crate, training pen, or dog
safe room to confine your dog until you can. When she is not within
sight of you, she needs to be in the type of situation where she cannot
practice unwanted behaviors. Barking, pacing, and other behaviors
that reinforce poor impulse control can be self rewarding to your new
dog. Instead, you want to reinforce good behaviors as they occur
when your dog is near to set your new dog up for success. Otherwise,
you tend to forget and miss training opportunities, which makes
training take weeks or months longer.
When You Bring Your New Dog Home:
1. Family Meeting- On the way home, or on your first night together, agree to what rules
you will have for your new dog. Rules such as sitting
before doorways, not jumping up, and what cues you
will use in training. For example, will “Down” mean lay
down, get off the furniture, or no jumping? It can only
mean one thing to your new dog. The more consistent
your family is, the easier life will be for you new pup.
2. Kennel- Kennel training gives your dog a safe place
to hide and helps house training come much more
quickly. It also prevents your dog from being able to
chew when you are not home.
3. Enrichment Feeders- Instead of standard food bowls, allow your dog to chase and play
for their daily kibble. Have lots of FROZEN stuffed rubber Kongs (feel free to mix up
what they are stuffed with to keep it exciting) ready and in the freezer for bored dogs.
4. Leash- When you get home, use a leash inside the house to keep your dog close, so he
can’t sneak off to practice bad behaviors like chewing or peeing indoors.
5. Routine– A routine is very reassuring and calming to your new dog. Try to pick a routine
and stick with it from day one. This should include potty breaks, playtime, walks, rest,
and feeding times.
6. Training– Group classes provide a level of distraction that DIY training normally doesn’t.
Group classes provide an excellent source of socialization that can not be achieved by
the unpredictability of a dog park setting.
7. Decompression- Use your best judgment, and based on the temperament of your new
dog, allow your new family member to relax after their big transition into home life during
your first few weeks together. Try to avoid having large gatherings or taking your dog to
heavily trafficked events until they’ve had time to adjust to their new life.
Learn to Earn
In this Learn to Earn program, the idea is to use everything your
dog wants as rewards for training. Your dog will learn to earn everything they want by politely and automatically saying
“Please” by sitting. If you want want your leash on, you sit. If
you want a door to open, you sit. If you want to be pet, you sit.
Sitting to say “please” teaches good manners.
For the fastest training, dogs should earn their meal throughout
the day when you are home. That means no food in the food
bowl. Instead, you’ll carry food around with you in your pockets,
in a bait bag, or have it available in easily accessible containers
throughout the house. This way, when you are home, you can
reward appropriate behaviors throughout the day.
The idea is to use everything your dogs wants to your advantage for training purposes. The dog
will learn to earn everything they enjoy through polite, appropriate behaviors. At the same time,
the dog will learn that performing undesirable behaviors such as jumping on you causes those
rewards to go away.
If you have a behavior problem, contact us right away! We can help you address these and teach your dog to be the dog you’ve always dreamed of.