3 Tips for Changing Your Dogs Behavior

Posted on Oct 20, 2015 in Barking, Dog Training, Positive Reinforcement, Posts, Puppy, Rescue Dog, Socialization, Training |

There are many ways to get behavior from an animal, for example you can hold your dog down when he jumps up on you, this may work for you, but the negative is that your dog may start barking more when guest arrive.   Some dogs will become really wiggly and jumpy with strangers as a way of showing appeasement to the guest to ward off that scary punishment of being held down.  This can also make your recall much more difficult as science shows that harsh reprimands can make your dog afraid and avoid you.

Science also shows us that using rewards will get the desired behavior with no negative possible outcome.  While it may take a few extra days of training, it is so worth it!

Tip 1: Reward an alternative Behavior

If you do not want your dog to jump on your guest, then teach him a sit stay at your side.  Simply walk him forward on a leash while holding a Moore_Judy081treat to his nose.  When you stop walking move the treat up over his head until he sits, then reward.  Repeat this exercise until he automatically sits when you stop walking, then reward for sitting, continue to reward with food then release him.  Repeat each morning with his breakfast until he learns to sit/stay next to you while there is no one around.  Once he will sit at your side until you release him, then add some guests at a distance.  Then practice this behavior outside in the yard, park or vets office.  Training a new behavior is best done in a quiet environment, then practiced with low distractions.  Remember your dog is most likely an adolescent, so be patient, you were an adolescent once too!

ask for a sit

Ask for a sit before she jumps up.   In one cup of food, I bet you can call your dog and reward her for sitting 25 times!

Tip 2: Ignore the unwanted behavior

Here is the secret and it is easy!  When your puppy jumps up on you, you look away, immediately walk a few steps away from your dog,  remember eye contact is rewarding.  Call your dog to you and ask for a sit, when he gets it right, reward.  If he does an unwanted behavior like jump on you, then walk away with no attention at all.  Always give your dog a second chance to earn the reward, otherwise he will not know the wanted behavior.

Tip 3: Put the unwanted behavior on Stimulus Control (for the dog enthusiast)

This can be a little tricky if you do not use a marker in your training, but the idea is that your dog only performs the unwanted behavior when you ask for it.  Lets Try it!

If you know your dog is going to jump up on you when you open the door, then you can cue him by B0000914raising both your arms up in the air mark his jump with a “yes” or clicker then reward him.  Repeat this around the house until the dog jumps up when you cue him with both your arms in the air.  Then add a verbal cue like “up” which you say just before you throw your arms up in the air, always click or use a verbal “yes” when he  jumps and reward.   This process will take several days, but be patient.  Now practice leaving, and re-enter your doorway, cue your dog “up” click and reward for your dog jumping.

Over time, cue your dog when you enter the door to “up” then no more cue, as you enter farther in the home, then go out and enter and do not ask for an “up”.   If your dog jumps when you do not ask for it, simply walk away with no attention at all. Your dog will learn to only perform the behavior when you ask for it,  known as stimulus control training. This is great fun and I recommend you do it for the dog that barks often as well.  

Another example: ring your doorbell and say “speak” while looking at your dog, click the second your dog barks and reward.  Repeat several times until your dog will offer a bark when you say “speak” without ringing the door bell.  Now ring the door bell and after your dog barks, you can say “enough” click and reward when your dog looks at you.  I recommend you use a yummy food reward when teaching a new behavior, as the behavior becomes more reliable, you can switch to randomly offering food or affection over time.  I have used this same technique on both of my dogs and it works very well!

Send me a video of your success!

Read More

My Dog Barks and Jumps on Me!

Posted on Aug 28, 2015 in Barking, Dog Training, Pets, Positive Association, Posts, Puppy, Rescue Dog, Training |

Moore_Judy035Dog training is a process of shaping behaviors that are wanted by the human.  With that in mind, why do so many of us reward unwanted behaviors?  I have met many dogs who are still offering bad behaviors even at 2 or 3 years of age.   I believe it is because many humans do not understand what is rewarding to their dog.

IMG_4136

Clear Message to all these dogs!

For example:  Is your dog a problem jumper?   Consider if your dog ever jumps and you say “off” or push his feet off of you, then he sits and you reward with a “good boy” or affection or a treat. Well, then, your dog will always jump and sit.  

Here is another example:  Is your dog a problem barker?

I once had a client who’s sweet doodle was a problem barker, especially when dad picked up the phone.  I asked him what he had tried to stop her from barking, here is what he said:  “I have tried yelling at her, walking in the other room, ignoring her and now I get some relief when I toss her a large dog biscuit as it takes her a while to eat it, but sometimes she starts right back up again.”  So this smart dog learned that when she barked at her owner he spoke to her, which was rewarding as she was able to get his attention.  Even negative attention is better than no attention for a bored dog. Then some day she just happened to bark while dad was on the phone and because he needed her quiet he tossed her a large biscuit.  Smart girl has now learned that when dad puts that box to his ear and she barks, she gets a Big Reward.  This behavior will surely be repeated, by this smart dog!

This pup has a strong leave it, so no chasing happens.

This pup enjoys tug with his owner so he bring her toys to play with.

Another example: Does your dog grab tissues or clothing and run around the house?  If you said “yes” then I am going to guess that you or your  children have taught your dog that this is a great game enjoyed by all!  Pups learn quickly how to get attention, they know exactly how to get their humans to chase them. Play is very rewarding to a young pup! Instead, when your dog picks up his toys, give him excited attention and get him to bring you the toy for a fun game of tug!  He will learn that bringing you his toys is highly rewarding.  When he picks up a tissue, or sock you can turn away from him, grab an appropriate dog toy and begin to play with it, he will surely want to join you!

In summary, think about what behavior your dog just did and if that behavior is something you want him to repeat.  If so, then reward with food, affection or play.  If not, then do not offer your dog any reward in the form of attention, food or play.  

Read More

Are you sending the wrong message?

Posted on Jul 26, 2015 in Canine Good Citizen, Dog Training, Pets, Positive Association, Positive Reinforcement, Posts, Puppy, Rescue Dog, Socialization, Training |

 

what are they saying?

what are they saying?

We have 3 different conversations going on in this photo.  Note the open or closed mouths.  Where are their eyes looking? How are the tails held? Are there any paw lifts? Do you note soft or stiff joints? How about forward or back or lowered ears?

Dogs communicate to other dogs using vocalizations and body language.  

Many humans accidentally ask their dogs a behavior without even realizing it.  If your dog is repeatedly offering the wrong behavior, could it be what YOU are asking?  

I once had a client whose sweet 5 yr old female Scottish Terrier was a problem barker, predictably when dad was on the phone.  I asked him what he had tried to stop her from barking, and here is what he said:  “I have tried yelling at her, walking in the other room, ignoring her and now I get some relief when I toss her a large dog biscuit as it takes her a while to eat it, but sometimes she starts right back up again.”  

Did you know? If a dog does a behavior (like sit or bark) and if what follows is rewarding to the dog (attention or freedom) then the behavior will be repeated.  This is also true of humans!

IMG_2720This Scottie learned that when she barked at her owner he spoke to her which was rewarding as she was able to get his attention.  Even negative attention is better than no attention for a bored dog. Then one day she just happened to bark while dad was on the phone and because he needed her quiet he tossed her a large biscuit.  The smart girl has now learned that when dad puts that box to his ear and she barks, she gets a Big Biscut.  This behavior will surely be repeated, by this smart dog!

IMG_3126.JPG

So, if your dog is repeating the same unwanted behavior, think about what message you are sending to your dog, as it is most likely some kind of a reward for your pup.  Changing your behavior will certainly change your dogs, like giving her a biscuit when she is calmly lying on her bed.  I am pretty sure this is a behavior we all want repeated! Remember: if your dog is seeking attention, be sure to reward wanted behavior, while ignoring unwanted behavior. 

Read More

You are NOT invited

Posted on May 17, 2015 in Aggression, Dog Training, Leash Training, Posts, Puppy, Reaction, Safety, Training |

Many dogs get a reputation for being dog aggressive, when they are IMG_1590simply responding to adolescent dogs with rude behavior.  My foster beagle was one of those very rude adolescent greeters who invades other dogs space without an invitation.  I knew he would eventually receive some feedback, I just wanted it to be an air snap or nip and not a level 3 grab and shake.

Well, it finally happened, as I approached a neighbor with a calm female labrador,  my foster boy wanted to walk right up to the labradors face who was standing tall, motionless, mouth closed tight, tail a bit high and not looking at my pup at all.  

I could easily see my boy was not being invited into the labs space, but hey, he has to learn to read his own species body language as a part of growing up, right?  So, while I slowed his approach, and his body was wiggling, the labrador showed her teeth and snapped at my dogs face, again, my foster pup wagged harder and tried to approach a bit lower and more submissive, he was once again met with lots of teeth along with an air snap.  Understood!  The beagle finally understood the labradors signals that he was not invited into her personal space!

My pup calmly walked farther away, sat down and never again IMG_1591looked at the labrador as we continued to speak to one another.  My neighbor apologized profusely and would not stop going on and on about how rude his dog was!

I let him know that it was my foster dog who was NOT invited into his dogs space! In fact, his dog was very clear when we were 20 feet away that she was not interested in visiting.  Many puppy’s and adolescent dogs need a few reminders to respect the space of others.  

IMG_0028

The Boston Terrier is getting necessary feedback from Pablo on the left. I am NOT your friend and I do not want to be social with you.

 

If your dog invades another dogs space who is looking away, standing stiff, immediately sniffs the grass or scratches himself, then he is not inviting your dog near him. This dog may send more obvious distance cues in the form of a growl or snap.  This is not aggression, it is simply normal distance cues from one dog to another, a request for one dog to move away.

 

In my experience, humans have unrealistic expectations of how our dogs should behave. How can we label dogs when most of us have very little knowledge of how dogs communicate.  If you are a dog owner, please take time to learn more about dog behavior and body language cues before saying your dog is aggressive.  It is very possible your dog is simply reacting to the other dogs rude behavior!

Read More

Does Your Dog Come When You Call?

Posted on Apr 11, 2015 in Canine Good Citizen, Dog Training, Dominance, Fun, Leash Training, Pets, Positive Association, Positive Reinforcement, Posts, Puppy, Rescue Dog, Safety, Socialization, Training, Unleashed Control | 0 comments

 

IMG_0395

Bonding with my new foster dog

 Many people contact me to help them with recall or getting their dog to come when they call them.

A good recall begins with a strong relationship between the human and the dog. The dog who happily comes when called shares a bond with them and trust them completely. They go to them repeatedly because they associate their owner with good things.

If you call your dog and they look at you as if to say why? “Why should I?”   It would be nice if relationships were that easy, but we know any relationship has a balance of trust and respect.  Anyone parenting children can see similarities as we are able to say “because I said so!” Many of us have learned to give a specific reason, expressing our intentions clearly we will have better success and maintain a healthy relationship with our children in the process.

When we put up a barrier or close the conversation with an intense emotion, we create a sense of frustration, anger or distrust which leads to avoidance.  Avoidance is safer than engaging for a child or dog so they go in the back door or simply put their head down and ignore you.

My foster dogs may think their name is come when they first arrive as they often earn their breakfast when they respond to “come” and then I release them to more freedom.  Hence, conditioning them that Come is a good thing.

My point is if you want your dog to come repeatedly, then reward generously as he is choosing you over that amazing smell in the leaves or snow, that he really would love to investigate.  If he does not come, then I suggest you begin to walk towards him, the second he looks at you, you smile, get down low or bend forward and open your arms with clear intentions and a happy “yes” or click with your clicker and your dog will run to you with excitement much more consistently.

If your dog begins to run to you, but stops 10 or 20 feet away, you can still reward this by tossing him a treat and walking away.  Many dogs have been grabbed when they came close so may avoid being grabbed again as it was scary to them.  Repeat, by calling your dog and tossing the treat again, then walk away, call your dog and get low offer the treat out to the side, quietly drop one on the ground and turn or move away.  You are building a relationship build on trust.  If you or anyone else has tricked this dog, he is smarter now and will not be fooled, never trick a dog or you lose trust and your recall will certainly suffer as a result.

All my foster dogs are usually off leash within 1 week as I condition them that coming to me is 100% positive and feels safe. Enjoy your dog and remember coming when called is much more likely if you are not dominating, but building a trusting relationship.

Read More

Effective Potty Training A Puppy

Posted on Mar 20, 2015 in Crate Training, Dog Training, Pets, Positive Association, Posts, Puppy, Rescue Dog, Training | 0 comments

I am house training an adult 3 yr old dog that has been allowed to use pee pads all his life.  This handsome  mix is a very shy boy and did take a day for me to be able to body handle him without him screaming.  He is vetted and in good health, just has no idea where the toilet is.

Does Age Matter?

House training a new puppy or an adult rescue dog, uses the same technique, as you are assuming the dog has no idea where to eliminate.  While you are conditioning a puppy a new behavior and your are counter conditioning an adult dog a different behavior needs to be considered in your time line for sure.  Counter conditioning behaviors will most often take longer. 

photo 2Management:

Whenever you are unable to supervise your puppy with 100% attention, you need to place her in either a short-term or long-term confinement area, this is known as management.  Management is simply a method you use to keep your dog from practicing an unwanted behavior or habit.  

Your puppy can be placed in a short-term confinement area such as a crate if she will be there for less than her holding limit.  The purpose of the crate is to keep her out of trouble while you are unable to supervise her, and to help you house train her.  The crate should be just big enough for her to be able to lie down on her side with outstretched limbs, stand up, and turn around easily.  It should not be so big that she thinks there is enough space for a bedroom and for a toilet area. When you let her out of her crate you can bring her straight outdoors for a brisk walk and reward her for doing her business in the right place. 

For longer confinement periods a bigger area, with non-absorbent flooring, such as a bathroom, kitchen, or utility room, is needed.  The long-term confinement area should have a bed or open crate at one end, a puppy pad or a strip of sod at the opposite end.  Your puppy will naturally want to eliminate as far as possible from her bed.  If the space you use for long-term confinement happens to have a door that leads to the outdoors, then place the toilet area near that door.  This way, your puppy’s toilet area is as close as possible to where she should ultimately be heading to do her business.  Fresh water and stuffed chew toys should also be plentiful, and should be placed near her bed.

Timing:

IMG_0732

Potty After Nap Time!

Your Puppy will naturally have the urge to eliminate after a nap, a meal, a drink, exercise, excitement, or time spent in confinement.  Give your puppy the opportunity to do her business outdoors at these times.  When your puppy does her business in the right place offer her a treat, plenty of praise, a game of tug in the house or a walk.  After going outside, the pup should be allowed some supervised free time in the house.  After an hour of free time, either confine your puppy or using a drag cord with the puppy tied to your hip is a great way to set him up for success and prevent her from having an accident. 

If you would like your dog to poop promptly when you take her out, then teach your puppy that a prompt poop is her ticket to a walk around the block.  This will encourage her to poop as soon as you let her out – and will allow you to leave the stinky poop bag at the house, rather than having to carry it around for much of the walk.  If you do the opposite, take her for a walk, and ending her walk as soon as she does do her business, she will learn to delay pooping!  

Training:

Teach your puppy or new dog that each room of the house is “his” living space as well.  This can be done by feeding, playing and spending time with your dog in each room.  Many dogs will assume if they are not allowed in the Living room, that must be the toilet room.   When you take your puppy out, always go to the same spot and stand fairly still, this is not playtime, or hunting time, it is time to be quiet and stand still.  Once the dog has made a choice to go, yea, then a game can follow!  

4 pups enjoying kong time

Dogs prefer not to potty in their living space, so help then understand each room is part of their living space too!

Be Consistent! 

If you train your puppy to poop while on a leash M-F, then you cannot expect her to poop on Sat. in the back yard off the leash.  Our puppies do not always generalize information that well, so if she is having accidents, you must consider her schedule and what you have actually taught her.  Have your dog potty at the same times each day, go to the same spot, each day and use the same walking tool such as a 6 or 8 foot leash.  Many dogs will not potty with their jacket on, or with their snow boots on, or with their gentle leader on at first.  They may need to be taught that it is okay to do so.  Remember, dogs prefer to avoid conflict, so they will avoid getting in to trouble even if that means avoiding going potty near a human.

Advantages of Using a Crate 

  • Keeps puppy safe when you can not watch your puppy.
  • Teaches puppy to keep his area clean.
  • Should never be used as punishment 
  • Should be used as a safe haven for your pet.  
  • Begin when you first bring your puppy home.  Start with just a short time and increase the time as your puppy feels comfortable. 
  • Do lure your puppy in and out with treats so he enters on his own.  Avoid shoving your puppy in and shut the door right away.
  • Keep the crate in a place where your puppy can hear you talk to him.

Is Punishment Effective?

If you wait more than a few seconds after your puppy has eliminated before expressing your disapproval, your puppy will not know why she is being punished.  If you catch your puppy about to pee or poop in the wrong place you can clap your hands and say “Ah-ah”, and swiftly take her up to the outdoors to continue.  Punishing her after the fact just makes her anxious for you to return the next time as she will assume you will be aggressive every time you come home.  

You have a Choice:

Honestly,  I have met many dogs who refuse to potty when their owner is on the other end of the leash.  Why?  We know dogs learn through associations, so if even one time, the owner yells and swats the puppy on the nose or body for going potty in front of him, the dog learns “never potty when this human is near.”  So, be patient and reward your dog when he does go in the correct place, use management to set him up for success and always train your dog in a positive way so he learn to trust you and become a companion rather than a flight risk.  Enjoy the journey, bumps and all!

Read More