Play training focuses on the reward of play for engagement, enthusiasm, and motivation of the tasks, obedience, behavioral change, and relationship being formed. It sounds easy, right? The dog does this, and then we go and do that. The knowledge of the impending reward of continuing the game increases the likely hood of the behavior and/or performance that you want. In theory, it is easy. In practice, you can make mistakes that I would rather others avoid if possible.
In 2011 I came across a YouTube video of a trainer, Mike Ellis, who is a well known sports dog trainer. I hadn't heard of him, as he wasn't a fixture in pet dog training or AKC obedience. What he was doing absolutely blew me away, and he was having a seminar in RI the next week. I paid the very reasonable price to attend with a non working or audit spot (means you don't bring a dog to work and be coached), as all the working spots were filled. The seminar was called "Focus and Drive". This was the beginning of my play training journey. I am going to do a series on play training on this blog for the next few weeks (or more).
On Sundays, I am going to try to blog and post (on our Facebook page) Shana's training progress. Normally I am training Shana because:
This fall though, we are taking a trip to Boston, and staying in a very fun dog friendly hotel across from Fenway Park. Shana has only been to a city a few times in her life. City distractions are very different than the distractions she sees in a small town (and some of those still can scare her or put her on defense drive). So now I have a specific goal that I am training for.
How to Deal with Nuisance Barking
Barking is a legitimate way for dogs to communicate with us. There are many situations where it is valuable for your dog to bark and communicate with you. You want them to bark when a stranger arrives, something smells funny, wild life is outside, someone has entered your house or car, and so on. Our previous blog post went over many of these reasons, and how barking is used to communicate to us.
This blog post will go over the many strategies to begin to be able to communicate that barking should stop.
Avoidance behaviors in dogs are simply a step towards the end result of practiced impulse control and behavioral modification. Some dogs will not even seem to take this step, and usually that is become they are confident with an even temperament. An example of avoidance behavior is a dog that looks in the opposite direction from a dog they would like to bark at. Avoidance is simply the step taken to practice impulse control over a trigger that used to make them react, hide from, or leave the area entirely.
Fearful dogs behaviors can range from freezing and avoiding to reactivity and aggression. In any case and no matter what the owner knows of the dog's history, fear and insecurity holds the dog back from having their best life. Dog's need more than a safe home, food, and affection to enjoy their life fully. There are many ways their needs can be met, but fear can intrude on those activities that make their life rich. Activities like:
Deciding that a puppy or dog is going to join your family is an exciting time. A family discussion or personal decision has been made. A prospective dog or puppy owner has many dreams and expectations for their new companion before they even arrive. Some of these expectations can be entirely reasonable, and some of these expectations might be unreasonable. The start to finding your new dog or puppy should come with in depth thoughts on what those are, and what your lifestyle is like now.
READ MORE BY CLICKING THE LINK TO THE RIGHT.
Leashes are a dog's safety net and life line for much of their lives. Many public places are bound by the leash laws of their municipal government. Also, if your property does not have a fence and they are not off leash trained, generally if your dog leaves your property then YOU have probably violated a leash law.
Many owners hold the leash casually, in a way that can harm the human, and in a way that can cause the dog to be free where they should not be and where it is dangerous. The topic of our blog today, is the best ways to hold a leash for the safety of both the dog and the dog owner.
Do you find your dog to be timid or fearful around things that don't scare most other dogs? If you have also wondered about the reasons this can happen, there are a few as follows:
1) Puppies not socialized or handled by breeders. Usually these guys recover very well, but they may present as very fearful at the beginning.
2) Adult dogs that have grown up without proper socialization and exposure to the outside world.
3) Puppies that have experienced a traumatic or very scary experience during the fear stage.
4) Adult dogs that experienced Number 3 during the puppy fear stage, but their owners did not realize it or did not work with their dog in the meantime. Often owners might think something like this will pass, but for many dogs it just gets worse unless they are helped along the way.
5) Traumatic experience as an adult dog. (As an example my first dog got to experience a microburst at night with us one evening. All our screens on the windows blew in, and the power was instantly out. After that, Jazzabelle was very afraid of any thunder and wind storms, which we helped her with later.)
6) Incident that may have happened that you did not see happen.
7) It could be that a medical reason, like loss of hearing, is causing them some distress. In case of sudden behavioral change, you should make an appointment with your vet.
8) So many more possibilities may exist that caused this.
9) You may never know the cause.
Bottom line is that you have to move your dog forward. They may not fully recover, but you can greatly improve their lives and their thoughts on the trigger (thing that scares them).
Author, Robin Rubin
Owner and Head Dog Trainer in Maine, Robin Katherine Rubin, started her Maine dog training business in September 2004. Our dog training facility is located in Southern Maine in York Beach and we help families enjoy their dogs more, making sure they listen reliably and resolving unwanted behaviors.