Recall Games

teaching your dog to come

Round Robin Recall This game is easy to play as long as you have more than one person.  It is great for teaching your dog to come to everyone in the home.    

When you are playing this game you will need to make sure that everyone playing has lots of small sized treats that your dog is crazy for.  

This is easy to play, just stand in a circle and call your dog to you.  When your dog get to you give him a treat for coming when called.  If your dog gets really good at it try it from farther and farther away. 

Sometimes your dog will get really good at this game and guess who is going to call them, then have someone else call the dog to come. 

Run and Hide- If you have aspirations of having a dog that walks with you on off-leash hikes this is an excellent exercises for your dog to learn to come.  It not only teaches your dog to come, but it also teaches your dog to pay attention to where you are.    For this you need a long-line leash and lots of yummy treats.  Long- line leashes should be long enough you can allow your dog to have freedom, but light enough your dog can’t feel that he is wearing one.   

Next time your out and about with your dog wait for your dog to get a little to far ahead.  Once your dog gets a little far ahead of you sneak away and hide behind the nearest tree.  When your dog finds you get super excited and give lots of treats and praise.  Your dog will start to think “I really have to keep an eye on my person, because she’ll sneak away.                                                                   

Catch me if you can- This one is really easy to.  It uses a little bit of frustration to build a fast recall and a strong desire for your dog to want to come when called. For this you will need a way to escape from your dog and yummy treats. 

Wait until your dog isn’t looking at you and say “come” a second later run into another room as fast as you can and close the door behind you.  Once in the other room try squeaking a squeaky toy.  If your dog catches you before you make it into the other room he gets a treat, but your goal should be to get there before he does. 

When you leave the room.  Ignore the dog and wait for him to get distracted again then repeat. 

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Treat-toss- This exercise is fabulous for teaching straight, centered and correct recalls.  It also builds faster recalls.  For this you will need yummy treats.  Start the game by facing your dog with your feet wide.  Next say “come”. The second your dog looks your way move backward and when your dog get close enough toss the treat between your legs so your dog chases the treat.  This will teach your dog to target the center of your body.  The thrill of chasing the reward will also teach your dog to hustle when he hears come. 

teaching your dog to come

For more ideas on teaching a nice recall read,  Rules For Recall.

 

 

Rules For Recall

teaching dogs to come

When you recall your dog what do you get? A dog that comes the first time you ask? Many dogs struggle with different aspects of obtaining a reliable recall. Dogs often recall slowly to their owners, stopping to sniff along the way or only come half way. More often than not owners are actually training their dogs to have poor recalls. Here are some rules to follow when training the recall so that you don’t create behavior issues in your dog.

Rules for Recall
1. Define what “Come” means to you and your dog: In order for your dog to have a strong recall he needs to have clear expectations. Does come mean walk over and stand in your general area? Does it mean come and sit in front of you? I like to teach a dog to come so that they are right in front of me facing me. Like in the photo. That allows me to easily grab my dog’s collar if it is needed.training
2. Don’t say “Come” unless you can make it happen: Think of the world from your dog’s point of view. There are so many rewarding smells and actives. Dogs are opportunistic which means that they choose the option that holds the most benefits to them. If you call your dog and they have the choice not to come they will be rewarding themselves for making the wrong choice. Therefore they are actually practicing and getting better at not coming when called.
3. Only say it once: If it doesn’t happen change something that will make it happen, such as increasing reward, pulling them towards you or by making it less rewarding not to come. Repeating the cue, makes it more likely that your dog will choose to ignore you in the future.
4. Don’t use “come” to end the party: If your dog is at the dog park, having a great time barking at the back fence or chasing a squirrel and your dog recalls to you. Reward him and allow him to go back and play otherwise your dog will start to avoid recalling for fear that you will make the fun stop if they comply.
5. Move away from your dog: Stop being so darn boring. If you ask your dog to come jog backwards or run away from your dog. This will prevent your dog from practicing a slow recall. It will build a much faster recall.
6. Practice for perfection: Whatever you get during practice you are going to loose some of that precision when distractions are added. If you allow your dog to stop 1-2 feet away from you it will turn into 3-5 feet when you actually need it, so be picky about what you accept.
7. Keep the leash on: After you have gotten a strong recall on-leash don’t go right to off-leash. Instead go to a long line leash of 10-15 feet. Once you don’t need the backup of the long line progress to a longer line before going strait to off-leash. This goes back to rule 2.

For other ideas on teaching recalls read this, Recall Games

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Rehoming

Coming from a background in animal shelters I understand all too well that sometimes rehoming is the only option. I’ve seen the shame in the tears that are associated with these decisions.

I understand that there are times where for whatever reason a family runs into a situation where they could no longer keep their family pet. There is always embarrassment and guilt associated with this.

It is not a trainers responsibility to judge, it is simply their responsibility to help.

Sometimes the trainer will agree it is for the best especially in cases with aggression and minors in the home.

If you are faced with the decision to rehome your dog no matter the reason here are some people you should contact before you consider the shelter.

The breeder

Most breeders want to be contacted if living situations change or problems arise with the dog. Many breeders even have it in the contract that they be contacted in case of rehoming. Good breeders consider themselves responsible for the lifetime of every puppy.

The rescue

Like breeders if you adopted through a reputable rescue it’s likely in the contract that you must contact them before rehoming. Good rescues consider them self responsible for the lifetime of the dog.

The trainer

A trainer has a good idea of what a great home for your dog is. They understand your dogs energy needs, Behavior struggles and can likely help you screen potential adopters to make sure they’re good fit. They may even be able to send potential adopters your way. They can also help to work to ensure that the new adopter doesn’t run into problems. Many will post the dog amongst other dog training friends.

Your vet

Your veterinarian is another good resource. He sees dog lovers all day and may have an ideal placement in mind for your dog. While they see new puppies daily they also see people who have lost their pet. They are often keeping an eye open for a client’s next dog.

Your groomer

If you’ve been using the same groomer it’s likely that they’ve been seeing him since puppyhood. Your groomer has a long list of clients who care deeply about their pets needs. Just like the veterinarian their clients are lifelong which means they see people who lose their pet and may be interested in finding another match for their home.

While animal people can rarely agree on much I think that there is one thing that they can agree on…. animal professionals have the best interest of the animal at heart.

If you come to a place where you need to rehome your dog don’t forget to contact the animal professionals that have watched your pet grow up too!

If you must place the task of rehoming in someone else’s hands and a animal care professional you work closely with is unable to help then consider the following factors when deciding how to surrender your dog.

Choosing where to surrender. Not all shelters and rescues are created equal.

Some animal shelters and rescues have more resources for medical treatment than others. Yet there are some that specialize in behavior modification. Keep in mind what your pet’s specific needs are when you’re deciding.

Many animal shelters and rescues have a surrender fee. This can range from a small donation to $200. While it may seem like a no-brainer to pick a place that doesn’t have a surrender fee keep in mind that the surrender fee often correlates with the live release rate, not always but most of the time. Surrender fees pay for the care of your pet will receive while with the shelter, although it rarely pays for all of it.

There are also breed-specific rescues. If you have a breed that is considered difficult or is it unusual breed then you might consider a breed rescue. For example and Malinois rescue May interview people more in-depth to make sure that they understand a high drive dog.

Be one hundred percent honest when you surrender your dog and ask that they be honest with you as well. Sometimes owners won’t want to disclose information such as a dog not being fully house trained. It’s important that you disclose this information so that the shelter or rescue can share it with the adopters. Some families are perfectly willing to work on house training while for others it will be a deal-breaker. Provide that information so they can make their own choice. This will make it less likely that your dog is returned to the shelter or rescue. The more information that the shelter or rescue has the better understanding they will have of what kind of home your dog needs.

Why I wrote this

I decided to write this one day while volunteering at the animal shelter.

While dog walking one day I saw a man at the counter that I recognized, but I couldn’t quite place where I knew him from. I continued about my business until I was walking through the kennels and I saw a Cane Corso.

As soon as I saw this dog I knew where I knew the man from.

This dog had been a student of mine. His owner had signed him up for a six week training course almost 8 months earlier. He stopped attending classes after the third week and I never heard from him again.

I walked over and greeted the dog, he was so scared. I went into the kennel with him and ask him to do some of the obedience that I had remembered he had learned. He performed sit, down, focus and even a leave it without hesitation.

When I went and asked the kennel staff why the dog was there they explain that the owner was moving out of state. I couldn’t help but wonder to myself don’t my students know that I’m here to help them? Did he not know that I would have assisted him in finding placement for his dog? Why wouldn’t he reached out to the professionals in his life like his dog’s veterinarian or trainer?

Here are some photos of shelter dogs..

My dog Charlie helping a shelter pitbull

Counter Surfing

I so frequently try and look at the world from a dog’s perspective that when I think about counter surfing I can’t help, but smile and think “Ah, what a rewarding activity”.  This is the perfect example of a self rewarding activity.    

If you were going to train your dog how to steal food off the counter how would you do it?  Maybe, by leaving something yummy within reach?  This accidently happens in all to many households.  The good news is this is a fixable behavior through management and training. 

 How to manage counter surfing 

When training your dog it is also best to try and set your dog up to be successful.  One of the easiest ways to do that is DON’T LEAVE STUFF OUT on the counter your dog can eat.  

Here are some other helpful tips: 

Have no-go rooms:  These are rooms that your dog isn’t allowed in such as the kitchen, bathroom or dinning room.  While the layout of your house may not allow for all of these consider if this is an option for you.   

Catch it before:  If you notice your dog looking to see what’s up on the counters or sniffing the air on the counters discourage that immediately. 

Give your dog more enrichment:  If your dog enjoys seeking out rewards and finding treasures, like a loaf of bread from the counter then give him a appropriate way to do that.  Do a treat scavenger hunt around the house or in the yard.  You can also use a enrichment feeder like a KONG wobbler.   more enrichment ideas

Here are some more counter surfing ideas: 

Your dog is more likely to steal treasures from the counter if your not right there watching him, so when your not supervising your dog try using a kennel or baby gate to protect the goods.   

Try making counter surfing less rewarding.  If you have a more sensitive dog leaving tin foil or bubble wrap on the edge of your counter.  Know your dog though, this may only work dogs that are sensitive with touch.  Also, be sure your dog isn’t the type to eat these things. 

 My favorite way to work on this is to use the “leave it” cue.  If your dog doesn’t yet know leave it try this link:  Teaching Leave It 

Once your dog knows leave it put him on a leash and set up a ton of fake training situations, by leaving “bait” on the edge of a counter or coffee table. 

Start close to your dog and using low value bait –in other words don’t try this with steak on your first session.  Wait for your dog to notice the bait then tell him to “leave it”.   

When you say leave it your dog has a choice.  Choice 1, choose to counter surf… choice 2, choose to leave it.  If your dog chooses to counter surf use your leash to prevent him from reaching the bait.  If he is able to snatch the bait he has rewarded himself for making the right choice.  Wait, you may have to wait a long, long time the first couple of try’s.  Then when your dog gives up trying to steal food off the counter say “Yes” and give your dog a extra yummy food reward.   

Be sure to practice this on coffee tables, counters, and dinning room tables. 

Practice this until you can no longer trick your dog into even trying to steal the bait, then take it a step father.   

Using a longer leash try moving father away and having your dog leave it.  You can even try hiding around the corner and just peeking while saying leave it.

 counter surfing

 Happy Training 

 

 

It’s all good in the neighborhood

mastiff

You love your dog, so it can be hard to think about anyone not seeing him for the crazy love bug that he is. However hard it may be to imagine, some people simply do not like dogs, and some of those people may just live in your neighborhood. Here are three common problems dog owners face and how to solve them if you want to be a conscientious neighbor.

Excessive Barking, Baying, or Howling

Barking, baying, or howling every now and again is normal. However, if your dog is making excess noise for extended periods of time, it is considered a form of noise pollution and a valid complaint on your neighbor’s part.

A common cause behind a dog’s excessive noise is separation anxiety. The best way to remedy anxiety is by making sure your dog is getting enough activity and providing him with things to do when you are away. Most people are not walking their dogs enough. If you are walking your pup less than 15 minutes twice a day, it’s time to hit the pavement more often for your dog’s well-being. If you don’t have time to walk your dog because of long hours at the office, hire a dog walker who can stop by throughout the day to provide your dog with fresh air and exercise. This should help reduce the noise as well as other destructive behaviors your dog may exhibit due to anxiety and boredom.

Your Dog Keeps Getting Into Neighbors’ Yards

If your dog keeps escaping into neighbors’ yards, you haven’t done enough to maintain your fence. If it is full of holes or has loose boards, it may be worth it to replace it entirely. The average price to install a wood fence runs from $1,434 to $3,362. If your fence is in good shape but your dog just keeps finding ways to escape, you can fortify it with some of these dog-proofing techniques:

  • Use landscaping as a way to create a buffer area between your dog and the fence.
  • Stick bamboo or reed rolls along the inside of the fence to prevent him from digging underneath.
  • Place a concrete footer around the perimeter.
  • Use coyote rollers along the top of the fence to keep a jumping dog from being able to make it over.

Your Dog’s Leaves Messes Behind

If you are not picking up after your dog when walking in the neighborhood or at the park, it’s not really your dog’s behavioral issue—that is you being a bad neighbor! In just about every city, village, and township, there is some sort of regulation that requires dog owners to pick up after their pooches. Leaving dog feces on the ground leaves other people, pets, and animals susceptible to the harmful viruses, bacteria, and pesticides it can contain. If it rains, all those harmful organisms get washed into your area’s water system. It’s just bad news all around.

Always keep bags on you when you are spending time with your dog, and pick up after him. If you are worried about the amount of plastic these bags contribute, you can find compostable and biodegradable versions in just about any specialty pet store.

As much as you love your dog, not everyone is going to love his behavior. If your pup spends his free time creating noise pollution, chances are he has too much energy to burn. Up the amount of walks you take and consider hiring help when you’re logging many hours at the office. If your dog is an escape artist, you may need a new fence or reinforcements to curb his wily ways. Finally, you need to pick up your dog’s poop. Dog feces is harmful to people, pets, animals, and your local water supply. Always carry biodegradable bags on you when taking your dog in public so you can clean up after him.

 

Jessica Brody created OurBestFriends.pet to offer a place for animal lovers to share their favorite pet photos and stories about their furry pals.

Tricks Event

Englewood Tricks Title EventAt Bennett Canine Training we love encouraging our students to take their training to the next step and strongly believe EVERY dog can and should be able to pass a Canine Good Citizen Test. 

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What is the Canine Good Citizen Test?  It is a ten point test open to ALL breeds and mixes.  The test is looking for basic manners and stability in public.  Our students reach this goal feeling closer to their dogs and feeling very proud of their accomplishments.  It is also a perfect first title for a owner. I encourage students to attempt to pass their Canine Good Citizen before working towards goals like public access for service animals, therapy work or even the BH (Which is the first level title in IPO). 

Learn more about Canine Good Citzen

Once our students complete the AKC Canine Good Citizen we don’t want to see their training stop so we encourage them to consider sports like Rally, Advanced Canine Good Citizens or my favorite AKC Tricks Titles. 

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You can train for Trick titles at home on your own or in our Drop in Trick classes that we offer in Englewood Colorado.  What I love about the Trick Titles is it is really geared towards HELPING your dog be successful.  Plus, once again ALL breeds can title!  

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We held our second ever AKC Tricks Title Event a few weeks ago.  We offered the AKC Canine Good Citizen and right after we offered the AKC Tricks Titles Testing.  It worked our perfectly and boy-o-boy did we have a turnout.

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Please enjoy these photos and if you would like to learn about our next Tricks class or event find us on FACEBOOK! 

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dog playing in a muzzle

Muzzle Training

TRAINING MUZZLE

Use a treat to lure your dog’s nose into the muzzle and feed the treat while your dog is wearing the muzzle

Dogs can be trained to love their muzzles.   The key is to teach your dog that muzzles predict something positive like yummy treats or fun play sessions.

Here are some easy steps to follow to get your dog comfortable in a muzzle.

Be sure you are practicing these with a well fit basket muzzle, nylon muzzles are not meant for training.

Step 1: Muzzles taste good.

Your dog has no problem sticking his nose in a jar of peanut butter to lick out the yummy stuff.  The same can be true for your muzzle.  Place peanut butter or cream cheese on the front of your basket muzzle and hold it towards your dog.  Let your dog place his own muzzle in to lick it out.  Don’t try to snap it on or hold it on your dog.  Practice several sessions like this until your dog is no longer suspicious of the muzzle.

 

Step 2:  Hold a treat and feed through the muzzle.

Hold a treat with one hand and the muzzle in the other.  Encourage your dog to place his nose in the muzzle by showing him the treat on the other side.  Once his nose is in the muzzle say “yes” or “good” and feed your dog the treat through the muzzle.  Repeat this until your dog sticks his head in the muzzle just to get the treat.

 

Step 3: Put it on cue.

Now, that your dog is comfortable putting his face in the muzzle we want to name that behavior.  Practice the same behavior as last time, but say “MUZZLE” once before you lure your dogs face into the muzzle.

feeding muzzle art

Hold your muzzle and treat away from each other and treat when your dog looks towards the muzzle or puts his nose in.

 

Step 4: Phase out the lure.

For this step have the muzzle in one hand and your treat in the other, but don’t lure your dog’s nose into the muzzle.  Say “Muzzle” and hold the muzzle open if your dog moves his face closer to the muzzle say “Yes” or “Good” and give your dog a treat through the muzzle.  Repeat this until your dog can consistently put his nose in the muzzle without being lured.  Remember your still going to reward your dog your just not going to bait him into the muzzle.

 

Step 5: Snapping the muzzle.

Now repeat the last step and snap the muzzle closed and give your dog three treats then unsnap it.  Repeat this until your dog no longer has a reaction to the muzzle being snapped shut.

dog training art

Snap the muzzle on and give lots of treats

 

Step 6: Wearing the muzzle.

Repeat this last step, but instead of unsnapping it right away have your dog chase you with a fourth treat.  Then feed your dog the treat and unsnap it. Repeat this until your dog doesn’t show any discomfort or hesitation moving towards you with the muzzle on.

 

Step 7: Muzzle party.

Just like care keys predict a car ride, a leash predict a walk we want a muzzle to predict a fun play session.  Start with step 6 and then finish with playing with your dog for 3-5 minutes.  You can chase a soccer ball together, run around the house together, let him chase a flirt pole ect.  Gradually make these muzzled play sessions longer and longer and you will start to see your dog can’t wait to put his muzzle on.

dog playing in a muzzle

playtime in a muzzle

Learn more about muzzles Muzzle Myths

We would love to add photos of your muzzled dog.  Please send photos to ahmia.bennett@gmail.com

Muzzle Myths

muzzle myths

lab comfortable in a well fit muzzle

“Muzzles have done more to protect owners and their dogs than legislation”, quote by Dr Mugford.

A muzzle is not a bad thing… yes, that’s right lets say it again.  A muzzle is not a bad thing.  Many people feel a tinge of shame, fear or embarrassment when they are told their dog should be muzzle trained.  I would love to see the muzzle stigmas removed.  Here is my attempt to help dog owners understand muzzles just a little bit better.

 

Let’s start by busting some myths:

My dog can’t eat or drink with a muzzle on. 

There are different types of muzzles.  Some are ideal for vet clinics and others are perfect for training, because they allow your dog to drink, pant and eat through the muzzle.  The best muzzles for training reactive dogs are basket muzzles.

 

A muzzle will not fit my dog. 

Yes, it will.  Deerhounds, rotties, pugs, and great danes there is a muzzle that will comfortably fit every dog breed.  There is a muzzle on the market for every dog in every shape and size… heck there are even goat muzzles available.  There are even muzzles that can be purchased, heated up in the microwave and custom fit to your dogs face.  Make sure that you pick a muzzle that fits your dog and if your not sure how to do this click here fitting muzzles.

 

Muzzles will make my dog look scary looking. 

Maybe, this is true, but muzzles are frequently used by responsible owners in all sorts of situations – such as controlling excitable animal during vet visit, when meeting new dogs, or during busy events and gatherings – and new products have been designed to be welfare friendly. They are another great tool in the training box for responsible owners – alongside good discipline and positive reinforcement – and ultimately provide peace of mind if you are worried about a dog’s reaction.

 

My dog can’t protect himself in a muzzle.

Yes, that right they can’t.  That being said it is our responsibility to protect our dog.  If you are putting your dog in situations where he feels like he needs to protect himself or really actually needs to protect himself then that maybe a even bigger problem.  If your dog has a opportunity to bite a human or another animal that could be a really big problem.  Thousands of dogs a year are euthanized for behaving badly.  This allows you to protect your dog from his own behavior.

 

“I can handle my dog without a muzzle.”  and “I really don’t think he needs one” 

A dog biting a human or animal is a really big deal.  With tougher laws surrounding antisocial dog behavior coming into force, dog owners might find themselves worried what the changes could mean for them. The legal changes mean a possible 14-year prison sentence for owners of dogs that kill, as well as tougher terms for people whose animals attack a person in a home or private property, or attack assistance animals such as guide dogs.  Here’s the deal you don’t only wear a seat belt when you ride in a car because you anticipate getting into a car wreck, it is just incase.  If you wear it and don’t get into a wreck it’s no big deal, but if you get into a wreck and your not wearing one you may wish you had been.  The same is true for a muzzle, if there is any potential for your dog biting a human or animal it is your responsibility to fit your dog with a muzzle.  Don’t let ego cloud your judgment.

To learn how to teach your dog to love wearing a muzzle read this: Muzzle Training

 

Why Didn’t Obedience Classes Work?

The Right Tool for the Job

Pat Blocker, CPDT-KA, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with over 19 years experience. She offers private in-home training specializing in solving canine behavior issues. 

Trick dog training kids

kids can train too!

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” – Abraham Maslow

“What do you want to get from this class?” It happens in almost every obedience class orientation. Someone responds to that question with the likes of, “I want my dog to stop barking and lunging at other dogs.” “I want my dog to stop growling at children.” “I want my dog to stop barking all day while I’m at work.”

Owners are surprised to learn that the aforementioned are behavior issues, which cannot be effectively addressed with obedience training. In reality, there is obedience training and there is behavior modification. They are not the same. To use Maslow’s analogy, attempting to solve behavior issues with obedience training is treating the problem like a nail, because the only tool we think to be available is a hammer.

The widely held belief that obedience classes are an easy fix to all problems can ultimately result in owners believing that training doesn’t work. Take the problem of barking, for instance. The dog that is barking all day while home alone is not disobedient or unruly. Her barking might be due to separation anxiety, boredom, and/or lack of basic needs being met. It’s not a disobedient dog that is growling at children or barking and lunging at other dogs. The behavior could stem from, among other things, fear, which cannot be addressed with obedience training.

Behavior modification and obedience training have different objectives. Obedience training is for the disobedient and unruly dog. It sets boundaries and establishes rules. Behavior modification is intended to change the dog’s emotional state. It requires effective management and training that addresses the root cause of the problem. Manners can help with the management and control of many issues, but don’t change them on the emotional level. If we change the way a dog feels about something, we will change the way she behaves in its presence.

Behavior modification and obedience training are, however, intertwined. Obedience exercises can be taught to complement behavior modification. For instance, basic obedience training can help build the fearful dog’s confidence and leash-walking skills, like paying attention, can help the reactive dog. Basic obedience builds communication and both types of training help to establish a healthy relationship between owner and dog. (Communication and understanding canine body language are important elements in preventing problems and instrumental in the treatment of behavioral issues.)

Behavior modification addresses issues, which are often complex. It requires evaluation and treatment by a skilled trainer or behaviorist with knowledge of learning theory, animal behavior, and ethology. Some owners, believing that obedience training will solve behavioral issues may employ ineffective, even abusive punishment resulting in frustration (on both ends of the leash) without solving the problem.

Taking a dog in need of behavior modification to obedience class could make matters worse. For example, immersing the fearful dog into a roomful of other dogs, risks creating extreme fear and even damaging the owner-dog relationship.

Obedience training in lieu of behavior modification may not only exacerbate the problem, but can be unkind as well. In my opinion, it is cruel to ask the frightened dog to sit and look at me or to punish her in the presence of the thing that terrifies her. For example, training methods based on the theory of dominance, often use obedience as the solution. In theory, if the dog is afraid, make her obedient and submissive. Here, it appears that dominance has worked because the dog is not reacting. However, if anything, the dog is more afraid–afraid of the frightening situation and now of you. Pushed to her limits, she will revert to the old behavior. Punishment and dominance can serve to suppress the behavior, but like a beach ball held underwater, sooner or later, it will resurface.

Behavior modification takes you from reactive to proactive. Sure, I can correct a dog for lunging and barking at another dog. I can (maybe) get the dog to sit and look at me instead, but this won’t change future behavior.

Choosing the right training tool can be confusing because the same problem might require a different tool. For instance, your dog lunges and pulls on the leash whenever another dog passes. The problem could be solved either by obedience training or by behavior modification, depending on the emotion that lies beneath the behavior. Is the dog lunging at the passing dog because she is excited and wants to greet him, or is she doing it because she’s afraid and attempting to warn him off?

The friendly dog with no leash-walking skills wanting to greet the passing dog has, perhaps learned that lunging and pulling gets her what she wants. If she’s been allowed to pull her owner up to other dogs, she gets a payoff–greeting the dog. Here, we could use obedience training to teach polite meet and greets.

The fearful dog is lunging and barking at passing dogs in order to get space from them. She’s using a good offense as her best defense. A behavior modification plan to help her feel more comfortable in the presence of other dogs will address the root cause of the behavior. When the emotions behind the actions are dealt with, the lunging and barking will diminish naturally. Then, if we want to tweak leash-walking skills we’ll do some obedience training.

Knowing the difference between obedience training and behavior modification will help you choose the right tool for the job. Ensure that your training choice meets the criteria to resolve the issue by properly defining it, and then implement the plan. Now, you’ve nailed it.

 

Pat Blocker, CPDT-KA, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with over 19 years experience. She offers private in-home training specializing in solving canine behavior issues. Contact Pat at Peaceful Paws • 303-364-4681 • http://www.peacefulpaws.netpat@peacefulpaws.net. Pat the author of Taking the Lead with Jerking the Leash available on Amazon. www.peacefulpaws.net