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: positive dog training
Biologists and veteran wolf behaviorists have gone public with proof that the way humans have interpreted wolf/dog dominance theory is inaccurate.
“The main characteristic of an alpha male wolf,” the veteran wolf researcher Rick McIntyre reports, “is a quiet confidence…quiet self-assurance. You know what you need to do; you know what’s best for your pack. You lead by example. You’re very comfortable with that. You have a calming effect.”
The point is, alpha males are not aggressive. They don’t need to be. “Think of an emotionally secure man or a great champion. Whatever he needed to prove is already proven,” McIntyre adds.
Here are tips on how to be a kind, purposeful teacher to your dog.
Good Leadership is...
Good Leadership is Creating Deference, Not Submission.
Being confident without being harsh
If you say it, you must be prepared to calmly, patiently make it happen without bullying the dog.
Being Consistent. The rules can't keep changing.
Being Calm and Neutral. Patience is a training strategy.
Being fair. Set your dog up to succeed. "Catch them doing it right and reward".
Control valuable resources. That means requiring your dog to
do something polite for you before they get what they want.
Being a good detective. Everything the dog does isn’t centered around their owners. Finding out what the dog gains from unwanted behaviors is the first step to replacing them.
So be kind and purposeful. Lead by example with stable emotions. Set boundaries and behave like the best teacher or boss you ever had. Your dog's behavior will be reward enough.
I got married on January 8, 1978. My husband and I have been married 39 years, today. Woooo! Here we are that winter of 1978 with our two dogs, Oreo and Obi!
You may ask, "Why is that fact in a dog training blog?" Good question. Even better answer coming.
The behavior with the strongest rate of reinforcement is the one that will be maintained.
My husband makes the bed...without being asked. That's because he is rewarded (by me) on an intermittent schedule with something he values. He never knows which time I'm going to reward him and I'm not going to tell you what I reward him with (TMI), but, let's just say, it works.
What also works is that we tell each other we love each other, often. Not several times a day, but, many times a week. Why, after 39 years, do we have to declare our love for each other? After all, we said it to each other at the beginning of our marriage. Because that's one of the ways we maintain our relationship. We don't take each other for granted.
Here are some valuable tips on how to maintain your dog’s good behavior.
Prioritize which behaviors are the most important and reward these often. Use food, use games, use really sincere play and praise, but, it has to be something the dog can't live without! For me the prioritized behavior is a fluent response to "Come".
Every time you want to give your dog a treat, a scrap of last night's chicken, figure out a way to make it a training game. Don't just give it to the dog because they are sitting next to the kitchen counter staring at you.
Each month teach your dog a new trick. It doesn't have to be over the top, simple is fine, too. And when you train, reward the dog with food treats. This reinforces that the dog can win valuable rewards for "getting it right". Maintain the new trick by rewarding intermittently. That’s how the casinos do it in Vegas and as far as I know, it works for them!
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.
Group obedience classes are a phenomenon in our culture that started back in the 60's The format rooted itself in our minds as the way to train our rookie dogs. But, is a group class the best context for your dog to learn what you want them to know?
The template for group classes started as a way for breed and obedience clubs to practice together to prepare for obedience trials. Punishment based training was the order of the day. All dogs wore choke chains to administer corrections for emotional outbursts or inability to respond to cues. It was a bleak time for dog training.
Should young or untrained dogs be trained in groups and in unfamiliar environments?
For some dogs, this distracting format is a valuable opportunity to learn impulse control and for the owners to learn techniques to get and keep their dog's attention. A large percentage of dogs have good to acceptable amounts of success in group classes. There are trainers well versed in helping a classroom full of owners integrate what they have learned into their specific home environments.
But, what about dogs who are leash reactive, fearful, timid or aggressive? Dogs with these emotionally based issues do not belong in a group environment. They simply cannot learn when their brains are operating in a fight or flight mode.
Imagine your worst phobia, let's say, fear of spiders. You are put into a room with several dozen large and small spiders crawling about the space and towards you. A teacher enters the room and says, "Open your algebra books to page 17..." Can you honestly say you would be able to concentrate on anything but keeping the spiders away?
Some owners believe that the group class format will include corrections for the dog's "bad" behavior. What the human fails to recognize is that emotions drive behavior. Punishing reactivity, aggression, or fear will suppress, not, eliminate the problem. Tossing the dog into the "deep end of the pool" and then expecting them to swim will produce a few survivors and many drownings.
There are wonderful group class trainers for dogs with mild to no reactivity and fear. And there are equally good and more appropriate options in private training for dogs who need to start their education in a comfortable state of mind. Most owners choose private training because it fits into a busy schedule. Many owners would benefit from recognizing dogs who need a stress free environment to learn new behaviors and skills.
The word "correction" has such a negative implication to me that when I hear it used by an owner, I get a little....well, negative. So, I looked the word up in the dictionary.
correction |kəˈrekSHən| Noun the action or process of correcting something • a change that rectifies an error or inaccuracy • used to introduce an amended version of something one has just said • punishment, esp. that of criminals in prison intended to rectify their behavior.
The last definition is the one that most people have in mind when they use this word to describe correcting their dog's behavior. The doing of physical harm to teach a dog what not to do.
But, looking at the origin of the word I find something that makes more sense:
ORIGIN Middle English: via Old French from Latin correctio(n-), from corrigere ‘make straight, bring into order’
I like the original intent of this word. There is no mention of physical punishment, merely the act of bringing order. This true definition fits so nicely with my training philosophy:
Discover what need the unwanted behavior fills for the dog.
Find a new way to fill that need.
Figure out what you want the dog to do in it's place and teach them to do it on cue.
Reward the new behavior with something the dog values, thus conditioning the new behavior to replace the old one.
Bring order to the dog's behavior.
So, how do I respond to owners who want to know how to correct their dog's behavior? I ask them the million dollar question:
What would you like them to do instead?
Leash Pulling has traditionally been "corrected" with sharp jerks of a leash connected to a choke chain. A leash correction can be very dangerous to your dog. There is a high risk of permanent tracheal collapse and spinal and nerve damage in the neck. They are painful to the dog. So why are we still using them? Why would humans want to hurt the dogs they love?
I offer as an alternative, patience. Breathe and count to ten or until the moment of leash pulling frustration passes. In moments of our arousal and tension, we need clear thinking to be in a problem solving mode. Here are some questions that you might as yourself:
What does the dog want when they pull or lunge and why do they do it?
What do you want the dog to do instead?
Are you letting the dog choose the speed and direction on a walk and then getting angry with them for their choices?
If dogs do what serves them, how do we reinforce the leash walking behaviors we want from the dog?
What in the environment is not helping solve the pulling problem?
What can the human do to change the dog’s state or keep them interested in us during a walk?