Promoting Pet Adoptions and Animal Welfare throughout the Tri-State Area
Tip of the Week!!!
After a Hard Day at Work
June 8, "Tip of the Week-" Making Rover Respect You-
If you want Rover's respect, he must understand you will always be fair. Never correct for things he has not been trained to do. Rover does not rationalize, he doesn't "do things out of spite," (I cringe when I hear this!) nor does he "know better." Only correct when he knows the command and is refusing to do it. Rover must know you are ALWAYS consistent in when and how you correct. Example: you can't ignore aggressive behaviour while he is on leash for a walk, and then correct him for aggressive behaviour at the dog park. If you study pack behaviour, you will understand that ANY act of dominance by any dog other than the pack leader is always dealt with swiftly and aggressively.
To be effective, the correction MUST be given seconds BEFORE the misbehaviour (IDEAL) or seconds AFTER the misbehaviour. Example: you know you have a dominant dog, you are watching him constantly at the dog park, and you see him BEGIN to "T Off" (putting his head over the top shoulder of another dog) RIGHT THERE, NO HESITATION, correct Rover- this is an extremely dangerous act on Rover's part and will always result in a dog fight.
So, from now on, when Rover does something wrong, always let him know he made that mistake. Consistency at all times will establish you as the pack leader.
June 22, "Tip of the Week-" Teaching Rover to Sit- Holding your leash in your right hand, position Rover at your left. Run your fingers of your left hand down his spine to his hip joints, and when you reach the 2 indentations at the bottom of his spine, say "SIT," push down with your left hand and pull up with the leash with your right. Continue working on this position until Rover responds perfectly every time, and eventually a voice command will suffice. Remember, never repeat commands more than once, short bursts of lessons several times per day are more productive, and reinforcing the behaviour outside the training area is the key to success.
June 29, "Tip of the Week-" Surviving Thunderstorms- It is important to realize that you should never comfort Rover with a sympathetic voice nor pet him during a thunderstorm. This only nurtures the fear, and you are teaching him "acting afraid is good." I totally ignore Little Dude during a thunderstorm or firecracker episode, and do not touch nor talk to him at all. You can also purchase an audio CD of thunder, available at your local pet store, and play it as background noise at a low volume while you go about your daily activities. If Rover acts afraid, say "no" once, and redirect his attention to a more appropriate behaviour, such as obedience commands or playing ball. You can gradually increase the volume on the CD until you are able to work with him during a thunderstorm.
July 27, "Tip of the Week-" Achieving Proper Canine Socialization- Some dogs don't know how to behave in groups, and tail dogs who want their own "space" and harass dogs by "getting in their face." If you see your dog becoming combative to another dog for no reason, or continually "bullying" another dog to play, before things get out of hand call Rover, say "Enough!" in a firm tone and put him in an immediate sit position or a down stay. Be firm with this command and do not pet your dog when he engages in this behaviour- I see this all the time at the park when an owner's dog acts bullying or aggressive to another dog- DO NOT PET YOUR DOG WHEN HE ACTS NEGATIVELY- you are reinforcing bad behaviour. After your dog calms down while being in the down or sit stay, Rover can be released and play again as his reward. Done consistently, Rover will associate the command "enough!" as an end to his bad behaviour.
August 10, "Tip of the Week-" Mentally Exercising Rover- Dogs need cognitive challenges besides physical challenges. Mental challenge helps Rover's intelligence while keeping him from being bored and destructive.
Some examples are:
Kong toys- Rover needs to strategize as to how to get biscuits out of the toy. An excellent mental activity, and one that can also be done in his crate to keep him occupied while you are away.
Fetch- Rover needs to focus his attention on retrieving the ball, and focus is a mental task
Hide and Seek- my favourite, a great tracking exercise- Rover needs to use his mental skills to find you!
*Tip of the Week will resume soon!*
Having behaviour issues at the Park and at home? Is your pup not listening to you, and do you feel "he/she is the boss?"
I highly recommend the NLIF method, "Nothing in Life is Free." This method has been around for a very long time, and is one of the "old time" methods that establishes the owner as pack leader very quickly- I feel NLIF, incorporated with other modes of training, should be on a dog owner's daily "to do" list.
Simply put, NLIF means pup has to work for EVERYTHING. Does Rover want to you to pet him? Good, make him sit first and WORK for it. Rover can be pet after he sits and you release and INVITE him to be pet.(AND THIS IS IMPORTANT- never, EVER repeat a command twice-if Rover doesn't sit after one command, put him in position without saying anything- do NOT repeat commands!) Rover wants to go outside? Great, command him to a sit and make him wait until he is released. Then Rover goes out.
Some other scenarios:
---Getting out of the car at the dog park- he must sit and be released before he gets out of the car
---FOOD- sits and released before he gets his bowl of food
---TOYS- Rover wants you to throw the ball? Great, make him work for it, put him in a sit and he waits until you release him to go fetch
---YOUR BED AND COUCH- Rover is not allowed on your bed, chairs or couch- he should have his own bed or crate to sleep in
If you are consistent (consistent is the key word!) you will see results within 2-3 days, but keep on it! Don't stop NLIF, and don't take any days off. As many of you know, I have that little Jack Russell "Little Dude, " and Little Dude NEVER gets a day off- he has to "work" for food, toys, couches, and he even has to "ask" before he enters certain rooms in the house- he has to work for everything- and come to think of it, don't WE???
May 31, "Tip of the Week-"'Teaching Rover to Heel- equipment needed: Choke chain collar, nylon choke collar, or "flat" or martingale collar for small pups, 6 ft. LEATHER LEAD (ideal) or nylon lead- NO 'ZIP' LEADS unless you want a dominant pup! With Rover at your left side, let him run to the end of the leash, as he reaches the end of the leash make a quick right turn, as you are turning continuously pop the lead to get Rover's attention. Consistently practice this going in the opposite direction at all times until Rover gets the idea. It doesn't take long, usually 5 minutes. When Rover starts heeling properly, SLACK UP ON THE LEAD AND LEAVE IT LOOSE- the lead should be loose 95% of the time when training Rover to heel- any tension on the lead will transfer to Rover, and you need a LOOSE lead to train a dog to heel properly. If you would like a demonstration of this method, feel free to visit me at the park and together we can make Rover a Canine Good Citizen!
June 15, "Tip of the Week-" Establishing Control at the Dog Park- it is important to realize the dog park is not a place for Rover to work off his excess energy. It is a vehicle to help him increase his social skills, and to give him some fun running and playing with other pups. Bringing Rover into the dog park in an excitable and high energy state can turn a calm and peaceful dog park into a hotbed of aggression/dog dominance. Prior to entering the park, Rover should have a 45 minute walk on a controlled heel so that he experiences a physical and psychological release and you can establish dominant status. Also, arriving at the dog park and going up to the entry gate Rover should be in a close heel by your side, not dragging you to the gate. Dragging you to the gate is disrepect to you and communicates to him he is in charge. Drain as much excess energy as you can before going to the dog park, assert yourself as the "boss," and make sure you are cognizant of your dog's behaviour at the park at all times.
July 6, "Tip of the Week-" Meeting Dogs on Leash- Many people have written me regarding problems with their pups on leash when they encounter another dog. Most people tend to tighten up on their leash out of fear as they feel the oncoming dog is not friendly- big mistake! Dogs respond instinctively to a constriction around their neck and shoulders by forging ahead (which is why pulling a dog into heel position by tugging on the leash doesn't work.) Both people begin pulling more, causing each dog to strain even more on leash! As a result, the people get nervous, transferring that energy to their dog. Now the dogs get nervous, and can slip into protective mode that can include aggression. When 2 dogs strain at their leashes, they are looking directly at each other (threat signal!) which can lead to a potential aggressive encounter between 2 normally friendly pups.
The solution when meeting another dog on leash? Put your dog in a sit-stay- sitting is a calming signal to another dog, and in dog body language, communicates no threat. Sitting also diffuses any potential issues of differences of "status" between dogs. So next time you are on your walk and encounter another dog, stay calm and use the sit stay- for a great walk had by all!
August 3, "Tip of the Week-" Teaching the recall- Tools needed- 15 foot "drag line" (I like the old time window "sash" cord which can be purchased at any hardware store) or 20- 30 foot webbed training leash- secure the end of the drag line or training lead to Rover's collar, and put Rover in a sit stay. Face him approximately 2-3 feet away, leave him in the sit stay for at least 30 seconds, and holding the lead in your left hand, say "Come" and with your right hand, begin to reel him in, with a swift hand over hand motion. When Rover is in front of you, give the command to sit and if he fails to do so, give a light upward correction. I immediately give food as a reward for this command. I practice this command at least 10 times daily with Little Dude, increasing the time and distance away from him as he progresses (necessitating the need for the long drag line) In less than a week of consistent training, your dog will be responding to the recall in no time!
August 24, "Tip of the Week-" Dogs look to you to be the pack leader- rules and boundaries need to be set, and consistency of rule enforcement is key. Rover will take over and make up his own rules if you don't take the lead, and dogs are not designed to run a household. They need structure, and their security and confidence depend on it. Dogs who think they are in charge and allowed to do what they want are not only "problem" dogs, but "stressed" and "unbalanced." By telling Rover exactly what you expect and offering praise when he obeys, he will be a happy, balanced, and well-mannered companion.
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