“Why” your dog may not be able to change her behavior like other dogs… Have you attended a dog training class, maybe a Leash Lunger or Reactive Dog Class? You see other dogs in class improving, but your dog continues to scan the environment instead of looking at you. Where I Start… When a client brings me a dog, I begin with identifying who the dog is prior to setting any expectations. Each dog is an individual, and will show you how they will respond if you know what to look for. I will share a recent consultation with you below. Consultation : REACTIVE DOG (short version) Dog: Stella, 2 year old spayed solid black German Shepherd in good health. Lives with her mom and a 4 year old child who she enjoys being with. History: Stella does well in daycare, and never shows aggression to any people or dogs. They describe her as tolerant of the young adolescent dogs and will play with any dog that engages her. Mom says she allowed Stella to greet other dogs on leash when she was a pup to socialize her, she has never acted aggressively with any dog she has met. Owners Complaint: Stella’s Mom complains that she cannot walk Stella on a leash, as she pulls extremely hard to get to any dog she sees in her environment. Even if she puts treats to her nose, Stella will not reorient to her, she physically has to pull Stella away. Observations… When I observed Stella’s behavior it was immediately apparent that she was extremely visually aware of her environment, as she constantly turned her head to anything that moved. She is fairly high energy and trots, not walks, to whatever interests her. When she saw a bird over her head in the tree, she stood still staring at it for several minutes, not moving a muscle. When her mom called to her, she ignored the calling and remained focused on the birds as a second bird joined the first one. Finally, her mom said “Stella, want a treat?”, Stella twitched her ear and then looked at her mom, then returned to watching the birds for a several seconds before responding to her mom for the treat. Once she ate the treat, she trotted back to the tree and visually watched anything that moved. Who is Stella? Stella showed us that she is extremely visually aware of her environment and she is very persistent in this visual behavior when the stimuli is interesting to her. She also showed us that she is not willing to come to us, unless she knows the reward is worth it to her. She has her own interests and is persistent when something interests her. She also loves playing with all the neighborhood dogs. Realization… Would Stella likely be a leash lunger? Yes! Now you see how the combination of her temperament plays a significant role in her (response) behavior. Implementation… What key change could Stella’s mom incorporate in her leash training? Increase the value of the reward to something that Stella finds very rewarding. We determined she liked dried liver extremely well. Effective behavior modification programs work on many dogs but will not work completely if your dog loves dogs, is visually persistent by nature and is not...read more
As a dog trainer, I often work with dogs who have bitten people, yet I am able to hand feed and often begin body handling them without getting bitten myself. Since dog bite prevention is a critical focus of my reward-based dog training, I will share some simple techniques to reduce your chances of being bit by a dog. Learn to read dog body language: If the dog is facing you, look for signs he is calm and relaxed. These would include a loose body (free of tension), open mouth, relaxed ears, soft blinking eyes, relaxed neutral tail and ears. These are communications signs from the dog that he is feeling okay about you near him. This handsome boy is offering me friendly relaxed body language as he stands at an angle showing he is feeling comfortable about my presence. If the dog is facing you with a closed mouth, or a non blinking eye, with body weight forward, or stiff, or eager to get to you in an aroused state. He may be saying stay where you are. This cute fuzzy face is facing me directly with his head and neck raised up, closed mouth, still body, with round eyes that are not blinking. All signs the dog is unsure, and asking me to stay away. Consider the history: Dogs who have been physically grabbed, alpha rolled, held down, and dominated are 100% more likely to feel stress when approached by a stranger. These dogs often panic, are unable to think clearly and overreact to a strangers approach by lunging, growling or snapping as their safety is paramount. Dogs who have not experienced positive associations with humans will be less trusting and may take a while to trust. The dog must set the pace in the relationship. What do I do to avoid being bitten? I stop moving, turn my face away, raise my chin up and slowly turn sideways to the dog, relax my joints as I take a deep breadth. IMPORTANT! I never reach my hand out (BAD IDEA). I Begin by asking the dog to come into my space. If he looks at me then looks away, he is telling me he is worried and I should not approach. If the dog is displaying low body compression, curved back, I will often get low and turn slightly away, offer a toy or treat to the dog, if he moves towards me, then I engage by tossing a toy or treat. I wait and see if the dog stays in my space or immediately retreats. A dog who immediately moves away or maintains a forward stance is not ready to be petted, this is a low level distance cue and should be respected. How can you make Friends with a territorial Dog? Treat and Retreat is a progressive training program I use to build a trusting relationship with stressed or conflicted dogs. This is simply a game to reduce the dogs stress as I am in the dogs presence, this is not about petting the dog. Reducing a dogs fear will reduce territorial aggression, leash lunging, air snapping, and biting. Click the link to view a video of me playing Treat and Retreat with a shy dog. Video: Treat and Retreat with Contact In Summary: A dog who approaches me and...read more
To avoid being bitten, always ask a dog to come into your space before you reach your hand out. This way you will know if the dog is interested in engaging with you. If he looks or turns his head away, or growls, he is telling you no thanks.read more
Territorial dogs need a good pack leader, who will use management and dog training to help their dog be less reactive.read more
The only way to control car aggression 100% is to never take your dog in the car. For many, that is unthinkable as we enjoy having our dogs with us. So if your dog reacts in the car, first, teach your dog to relax in your home and other environments including your car with no distractions. Again, this is hugely helpful for the dog with poor impulse control.read more
Based on their maturity and tolerance, dogs respond to other dogs behaviors in different ways. Let’s be honest, many of you reading this have disagreed with another person, lost your temper, and became angry in response to someones actions. Consider: Una, a beautiful long haired German Shepherd, loves to play with dogs and has shown friendly behaviors to all the dogs she has ever met. Until last week. As she was running on the beach with a Sheltie she just met, and all was well until she saw a tennis ball go flying over head. Already on the run, Una bolted after the ball, but was immediately body slammed by a Retriever mix who was in hot pursuit of his beloved tennis ball. Upon crashing into each other, Una snarled at the Retriever mix as a reprimand for causing her a bit of pain, Una is six years old. He did not respond to her reprimand, yet remained running at her hip, Una beat him to the ball and snatched it up. The Retriever Mix again body slammed Una, aroused from the chase, and feeling another shot of pain in her back, she dropped the ball and reprimanded the Retriever Mix by putting her mouth on his neck and giving him a good hard shake, then let him go. The Retriever snatching up the ball, and returned to his owner as if nothing had happened. Una’s response to this Retriever’s use of body contact when playing was very appropriate in her mind, and she tried to return to playing chase with the Sheltie as she was enjoying this type of play. Response: Unfortunately, her owner saw her as being aggressive, and called Una in a harsh tone. Una went to her owner who is usually trusting and gentle, but not this time, she was stiff and grabbed Una’s collar — nearly lifting her front feet off the ground. Her owner is usually very excited when she comes when called, so Una was quite confused by this aggression. The ride home was scary as her owner verbally scolded Una in a harsh tone. Once home, Una was grabbed firmly by the collar and put into her crate while her owner continued to stomp around the house and gave Una hard-eyed stares. Una has now learned when her owner calls her it makes her feel very unsure and afraid. Humans also respond with different levels of feedback depending on age and life experiences. If the Retriever had lightly rubbed Una’s shoulder as he was heading to the ball or lightly bumped her body when she won the ball, she may have only turned away or growled. Did I mention Una initiates play with a play bow followed by a game of chase. She does not enjoy wrestling. Did Una have time to tell the Retriever Mix how she liked to play? Did he even ask? Is it possibly the Retriever has learned that a hard body slam is therefore more likely to win the ball? Will Una’s feedback prevent him from body slamming another dog? Doubtful, however it depends on his temperament and his sensitivity to a reprimand. My point: If your dog scuffles with another, consider the entire incident. How well do they really know each other? Was their contact made before an invitation was offered? Was one dog trying to steal a...read more
Online positive reinforcement dog training video to be watched anywhere, anytime. You will see real dogs with real problems become relaxed and focused while using all positive training techniques. Perfect for families with a new puppy, rescue dog, reactive dog or those fostering a dog who needs some skills to be adopted.
Judy gives you tools so you can Drop The Leash and still keep your dogs focus on you with many distractions nearby. Normally a 6-week course, Judy condensed the information into one video so you can learn at your own pace, anywhere you want!
If you reward someone’s behavior when it is occurring, they are more likely to do that behavior again in the future. I wanted to give you some tips to get your dog to do the behaviors you want without always reaching for the treat bag.read more
Looking at this dogs body language, the boxer is leaning away from his best friend, his ears are pinned back in fear, the whites of his eyes showread more
To change your dogs unwanted habit, you first need to know what your dog loves! Determine a reward that your dog enjoys and is willing to work for. Keep in mind that the same reward may not work for all your dogs. While verbal praise works well for some dogs, it will not work for most dogs.read more