Don't let your dog jump out of the car without being released. Teach and practice getting out of the car safely using Sit, Stay and Come. Watch how this works in the video below.
Filtering by Tag: dog obedience skills
Have you noticed that there are times when your dog can't respond to a cue that is normally easy? Have you considered that it may be you?
I've seen this phenomenon multiple times in my training classes. If the sound of the owner's voice is strident, as though the dog has already failed, the dog tries to appease the owner and that appeasement behavior isn't the sit, down, stay, etc... I recognize the dog’s body language, ears against the head, shoulders hunched, licking of the lips, squinting of the eyes, sidling up to the owner. But, sometimes, it doesn't look like this at all. Some dogs jump on you when they’re confused.
Some dogs will use a common “calming signal”, turning the head away and avoiding eye contact. It’s as if the dog is saying, "Hey, you’re making me nervous. You get a hold of yourself and I'll make eye contact when you're calm."
My Golden Retriever is, let's just say, not your typical Golden. When she feels that I am stressed or frustrated she doesn't respond to simple cues, like "sit" or "stay". Instead she slinks over to me, tucks her body close to mine or looks away. If I don’t recognize how I’m affecting her, we get stuck in that appeasement cycle with me slowly eroding her confidence. Then I take a deep breath, smile, relax and change the tone of my voice from "impatient" to "friendly" and she can cooperate normally.
We know that dogs are experts at reading body language, but, they are also masters at noticing when we are emotionally unstable. I love that she helps me recognize when I need to chill out. She reminds me that anxiety and disobedience or two completely different things.
Of all the commands we give our dogs, "no" is probably the most frequent and least productive. In human terms, imagine going to work in an office where your supervisor introduces you to your job in this manner: "Here's the office. I'm not going to tell you what your job is, but, every time you do something that's not part of your job description, I'll yell out, "NO!". How long would you be willing to work under those conditions?
"No" is simply not enough information, because it keeps the dog guessing about what is a legal behavior.
I like to call no a "place holder". A "place holder" cue should be something we can use to interrupt a behavior...until we gather our wits and give the dog a cue that replaces the behavior with something better or at least something incompatible. Before your head starts spinning, let me give you an example:
You dog may jump for joy when you get home. An incompatible behavior cue would be "sit" because if he's sitting he can't be jumping. Now you can calmly and quietly scratch your dog under the chin (if they are capable of sitting still) or you can grab a toy and toss it away from your body and say, "go get it". Again, he can't be jumping on you if he's chasing a ball. If you do this everyday for a month, the dog might start sitting instead of jumping or arriving expectantly with his ball, backing up slowly as he positions himself for a flying catch! But, you have to establish the habit.
Let's say your dog is barking at a squirrel in the yard. If you go out and say "no bark" (I still can't understand how that term became so popular), the dog doesn't understand that you mean for the next hour...or forever. So, they stop momentarily and you think you've got it all under control. Then the dog starts to bark again. He's done everything you've asked him to do, but now you're mad. The incompatible behavior cue I use for barking is "come" (which you need to work on daily with any dog). When the dog gets to me I reward them and then...and here's the big reveal, I take them inside the house and offer them something more productive to do, like a bully stick or a dog puzzle.
You have to remember that "no" isn't enough information. The dog has to do something, so ask yourself, what is a reasonable behavior for each undesirable situation . You can't say "no" and expect the dog to know what it is you actually want him to do.
I often speak with owners who want to train their dogs to respond in extraordinary ways.
They want Border Collies that don't herd the kids
Shelties that never bark at people jogging past the yard.
German Shepherds who have rarely stepped off their property and have had almost no productive socialization to welcome strangers in their home or yard.
Siberian Huskies that will turn around on a dime and come back when they are running off in true bliss.
A Toy Poodle who has never trusted children to refrain from snapping at the grandchildren, no matter what the grandchildren do to them.
Dog owners now believe that no matter what breed of dog they have, there should be an easy, quick training plan that will eliminate natural breed or dog behaviors with no change to the human's behavior, no management and virtually no training at all.
I am well past the age of 60. I have been a good shape, but, never a professional athlete. I wish I could become a professional ballerina. But no matter what trainer/teacher/coach or magician I call, no one can turn me into a principle dancer in the New York City Ballet or any other company for that matter. Not gonna happen in this lifetime. What I can do is pay better attention to my diet, get more exercise, do yoga, and be the best I can be. No one could threaten or punish me into being a professional dancer.Dog owners would do well to understand this fact.
Here are some general problem solving tips to help people start thinking on the right track about hard-wired breed specific behavior:
• Is there a way you can redirect the dog’s behavior more productively? Example: Teach your Retriever how to carry objects to you since they are so “mouth-oriented”.
• What needs to change to set them up to succeed? Example: If your Giant Schnauzer runs out the doggie door to bark at everything they deem “dangerous”, block the doggie door and control the dog’s access to the yard. Or, create a visual barrier with the fencing using plants or landscaping fabric.
• Can you use your dog’s “super power” as a reward for interrupting their activity and focusing on you? Example: If your Shepherd is rewarded with a good tug and release game when they come when called, they will be happy to stop barking at people passing by and come when you call them.
• What kind of good management should you use to realistically minimize the behavior? Example: If your Sheltie chases the grandchildren when they are running in the backyard, keep the dog in the house and give her a bully stick or other safe chew item.
Have you ever tried to call your dog off of a squirrel?
It's hard to train a dog to come when called when they are in an aroused play/prey state of mind. You are literally asking the dog to shift gears from high acceleration to reverse. In these situations, I use “sit” instead of “come”.
I’ve learned to assess the situation before I choose a command to give to the dog. I don’t like to dilute the impact of “come” by saying it when the dog is unlikely to be able to interrupt their excited behavior.
I start by getting as close to the dog as I can. I say their name in a tone of voice that meets or exceeds their state of excitement. Very high pitched tones works for some dogs, while loud, firm tones work for others.
Once I can get the dog to notice me, I ask for a “sit” instead of “come” so I can walk right up to the dog, take them by their collar and walk them away. But, you can only do that if your dog has a really fluent “sit”. Remember to do it before you start repeating the Come command. And once you’ve said it, you must see it through to the end.
Lastly, work on “sit” in many different scenarios and with the dog on a leash so you can manage the outcome. Reward the sit whenever possible. Do the same with “come”.