Jobs for dogs are a great thing. A job can be as simple as walking calmly by your side during a walk or as complicated as doing search & rescue work with you. Not all my dogs have jobs as some are retired now from work. Shana is my high drive in training Doberman, and having work for her to do makes her a happier dog. It is also fun, and makes everyday living with her a lot easier. She needs a lot of mental and physical stimulation. The winter months are especially hard on us, as outside is not always comfortable or accessible.
The approaches to training dogs, including behavioral modification, are almost endless. Which ones are wrong? Well nothing is wrong per say, as they all have different strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps the only bad thing you could do is to use only one approach, when more than one is necessary to your dog. On the other hand, everyone has to begin somewhere.
The more you understand what these approaches are, the more understanding you will have when working with a dog trainer or by yourself with your dog. There is a lot to learn in dog training, which is why there is no complete definitive book on the whole scope of dog training. There can't be as it is always training and evolving as people learn more about dogs and how they learn or change perception.
Adding a new family member in the form of a puppy is an exciting time and filled with joy. Many people will be acquiring their new family member this winter. There are some things new puppy owners need to get up to speed on quickly.
Taking your eyes off puppies can be quite a mistake, that may threaten the life of your new family member. Please be sure to supervise your young and learning puppy, to keep them out of trouble and accidental harm to themselves.
Here are some puppy info links, notes and advice:
Question from a pet dog owner and training client:
Since you asked for questions, here is one that may not be common. Sally is obsessed with animals she sees on tv. She will charge the screen and bark. I'm afraid she will knock it over! She wears the ecollar and I stim her and say, "No" or "Get Away".
She sits in place and stares at the screen. I stim her again and she either scooches backward toward me or comes and sits on my feet. I want her to learn to ignore the tv and to do something like "place" on the couch. We used to enjoy Animal Planet, Westerns, hunting shows, lol! Now it is the Dreaded Toyota Dog Days commercial! She has memorized the music and comes running after two notes!
A controversial sector of Training equipment are the electronic training tools. These tools combined with all other tools of dog training (consistency, reward, correction, praise, motivation, ET AL) are what complete the entire training plan. There must be a training plan in order to train your dog to the level of acceptable obedience that I want from my human and canine client teams! Electronics are one option of a tool, but not a requirement by any means. TOOLS also do not equate training. You will work to train your dogs, these are not magic wands. You must know when and how to use them, and you must train your dog first before overlaying this on them for best success.
I love all dogs. I love behaviorally challenged dogs, "bomb proof" dogs, sick dogs, healthy dogs, old dogs, puppies, smart dogs, not so smart dogs, hunting dogs, guarding dogs, small dogs, big dogs, long haired dogs, and short haired dogs. A strength and a weakness that I have is a fondness for all things dog. Many other humans share this trait with me. Many organizations share this trait with me.
Whether it is a owner, rescue, trainer, family member, veterinarian, boarding kennel, or neighbor there is something in addition to the responsibility to our dogs that is our primary responsibility. That responsibility is to ensure the safety of other living things around us as well as our canine companions. If we can not do that, there are some tough choices that need to be made. They are not fun, they are not cool, and most of all they are not easy. Sometimes they are the right thing to do. Sometimes they need to be done because the canine owner has not met the dogs needs responsibility, and is not going to in the future.
Puppies (and some adult or adolescent dogs) are in need of much learning and guidance. One of the most important things to do is to socialize your puppy well in the critical early weeks and months.
The first thing that you want to check is that your vaccinations are up to date, and that it is safe to take puppy out to areas with other dogs and puppies. Take a moment to have a discussion with your vet about the best plan.
When I am out and about a common question that comes up is "how do I stop my dog from barking?". As with just about any training question, this is not something that can be answered for their particular dog and situation in the line of a grocery store. I realize that even though many dog owners have been living with this problem (sometimes for years), they think I know a 10 second secret that I can share. There are no "magic wands" in any dog training (highlighted this because management and avoidance are different and separate issues) issue. This does not mean the solution is hard, but it is a situation in which training and communication are required. Therefore, you need to teach your dog when and how to stop barking, and what the cue is that communications the need to stop.
Question: " I have an 18 mo old dog that I simply cannot break of jumping. He is large and powerful and even when I turn my back to him he continues to jump, sometimes even biting my ponytail. Is this aggression or play? I feel like he is playing but it REALLY hurts."
Answer: Regarding is this aggression or play, it sounds like play. An 18 month old dog is usually still a puppy although an older and larger adolescent. As puppies grow up, they don't know the rules for appropriate human play without some training or guidance. Your dog is most likely excited, has a lot of pent up energy, and is visiting this unwanted play on you.
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.