At Mannerly Mutts, a pretty common behavioral problem is fear in dogs and puppies. This is a problem for the dog or puppy, as it can limit their enjoyment of life and all it has to offer. This can also be a problem for the owner when trying to do the things you need to do to take care of your dog or puppy. Vets visits and so on can end up being a very traumatic experience for both the owner and the dog.
This really depends on what "being a puppy" means to you. If this means playing, enjoying, snuggling and affection as PART of the puppy's experiences, well then yes. If this means, you do not expect perfection or for a puppy to act like an adult dog, that is an absolutely correct mindset. If that means you are aware that your new puppy (or dog) needs to be protected from things in our domestic environment that they don't understand, then that is also a yes. Your puppy is now learning about an domestic environment and how to treat humans (and other animals as well).
The place command is one of the first things I start to teach with many dogs. This command combines a send away, a stay, a stay within a barrier, impulse control and calming exercise all in one. Additionally, this can be the very start on walking on leash with a puppy or dog. Some dog owners and trainers may only utilize the stay portion, but I feel the send away portion is very valuable as time goes on. Let me explain a little bit about this very useful exercise.
As I write this, the new training dogs coming in have been frequent now, and our business is heating back up for the summer. This is a really stressful time for Shana at home as always. Being a dog trainer's dog is not fun for all dogs. At the same time, we have been working regularly on Shana's impulse control and reactivity around other dogs. She has been doing really well, but today she has clearly had enough of this. We are currently in the Middle of Week 6 on a Thursday. I haven't taken many videos, so I am going to go over what we have been doing to date.
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.
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.
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.