Make your dog love you, more!

Dogs have the amazing ability to love owners through thick or thin! When I think of the crappy training methods I used back in the dark days before I learned how to use reward based methods, I cringe!

Dogs love so many things – food, balls, toys, walks, the beach, the park, doggy friends, rolling in smells, smelling smells, making smells! What does your dog love?  Go make a list right now!  List things or experiences they like at home and when they are out and about.

Now, think of three things you would like your dog to do for you – how about walk nicely on lead, come back to you and stop jumping up.

Now, let’s put it all together!

Your dog just loves to roll on the soft grass in the middle of the oval.
If you dog is walking nicely on the way back from a walk, head to the nice soft grass, unclip the lead & let him roll! If there is something nice & smelly on the grass, even better. Set your dog up for success by teaching loose lead walking, or choose a time when he is calm.

Or maybe your dog loves a swim at the beach.
Do a little recall practice on the beach (on lead if necessary) & when she does a nice job, let her have a lovely swim. If she likes balls, maybe fetch in the sea. Your dog is then rewarded for coming back with another swim, and some ball play!

If your dog is a hunter & loves to sniff & search, head to the bush. Use this as an opportunity to practice your recall (on a long lead to start with).  He comes back, you might give him chicken, but best of all you let him go free to sniff the bush & the rabbit poo. Eventually, you can progress to off lead work. It doesn’t take long!

The dog park!
Do you head to the park with a barking, pulling, excited dog & then let him off the lead? Your dog could be learning that pulling & excitement gets free play. Mmm, perhaps try doing it the other way around. First, put in some work teaching loose lead walking & calm behaviour. When you approach the dog park on a loose lead, guess what?  The dog is free to go play with friends!

Reinforcing behaviours you want with what your dog wants is empowering for your dog and shapes strong behaviours.  Let’s face it, if we do something of our own free will (rather than being forced) and get something we really want in return, chances are we will want to do it again!

Have fun!

http://www.pawbehaviour.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crap! This Dog Really Wants to Hurt Us!

Sunday night 5.15pm. The day’s almost over and I probably should run the dogs around the block for a sniff a pee and a poop.  Nelda’s nearly 10 and a bit slow. She has a spinal injury from an off lead dog that bowled her over.  Little Larry loves to spread his poop on a walk.  No need to take the phone.  Wont be long.  Throw on my dog walk bag packed with poo bags head extra leads for lost dogs and a fold up ball throw stick.

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“Come on Nelda!”  I look over my right shoulder and Nelda’s pinned to the ground by a dog.  Where the hell did that come from? It looks like a large Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute.  It all happens so fast and just doesn’t seem real.   Nelda breaks free, the dog backs off and I just know it is going to come at us again!  This dog is serious.

I am screaming for help.  Somebody please help us!   At the same time I kick out at the dog & try to keep it off poor Nelda. In a brief moment, it backs away and comes back at Larry.  Larry is screaming.  I’m hitting & kicking and grab my ball thrower from my bag and whack it over the nose.  It backs off.

By now neighbours are watching, have opened their gate and are calling me to come over.  I am terrified to move in case it launches at me.  We back away slowly.  The dog walks up the street, wandering into homes. What seemed like an eternity, was probably about five minutes.

This dog was serious.  This dog wanted to hurt my dogs.  This dog gave no warning.  We didn’t see it coming. This was not a fight over space, toys or bones.  This dog is potentially very dangerous.  Kids walk their dogs around here.  Mums with kids in prams, and dogs. All sorts of things run through my head.

Dog attacks happen all the time.  You don’t read about them in the paper unless a person is seriously injured or animal is killed.  Yes, it’s sometimes hard to track down owners and not all dogs are registered.  So, why if we have tougher laws against so called “dangerous” dogs, are we still seeing so many attacks?

Put simply, people are not taking responsibility for what their dogs are doing.  They have no skills in managing dogs.  Laws alone will not resolve this problem.  Action must be taken by our Government Leaders to ensure Councils have the resources, training and manpower to prevent dog attacks.  Councils must follow through on community complaints, enforce leash laws and identify dogs that are potentially dangerous BEFORE they cause injury and suffering.

Did you know that one in three working Guide Dogs are attacked by off lead dogs? That’s one attack every month on a working dog.  Some of these dogs have to be retired.

Most dog attacks on animals and people are NOT reported.  Just ask any vet how many animals they see injured by off lead dogs.

We have TV ads and promotional safety campaigns for booze, smokes & cars, why not dog safety?  A portion of our registration fees should go to education!

Nobody wins when a dog bites!  So, what can you do?

  • Learn about dogs and manage yours.  Take a class, or ask for help.
  • Respect others – put your dog on lead.  If you want to break the law fine, but leash your dog until you pass someone who has their dog on lead.
  • If somebody asks you to put your dog on a lead, please do it!  Don’t argue with them.  Their dog may be old, sick, frightened, been attacked before.  Just do it!
  • Report off lead dogs to your local council.
  • Be proactive about community safety and dogs.
  • Take a look at the Dogs in Need of Space website for support.
  • Walk with others if you do not feel safe – start a walking group.
  • Speak to your Local MP and lobby for a safer community
  • Any dog can be dangerous!  Any dog can cause injury!

So, what happened to the dog that attacked us?  Don’t know.  It’s still out there.

What has DDT got to do with Dog Training?

DDT – Noun – dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane – an insecticide that is also toxic to animals and humans; banned in the United States since 1972. Banned in Australia since 1987.  DDT also stands for:

Dinosaur Dog Trainer

Also toxic to animals and humans!

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 How to identify a DDT? They:

  • Talk a lot about “Dominance”
  • and reckon your dog is “Dominant”
  • Want you to be a “Pack Leader” & more “Dominant”
  • Waffle on about “being Alpha” – the “Dominant Pack Leader”
  • Use all 4 quadrants, or don’t know what they are.
  • “Alpha Roll” dogs on their backs to assert “dominance”
  • Use “All Training Methods” – which means they aren’t actually good at any
  • Tote water spray bottles to stop dogs doing stuff
  • Physically force dogs to sit and drop
  • Might use chain, prong or electric shock collars
  • Throw chains or coins to stop dog barking or being scared
  • Think training with food or clickers is crap.
  • Might use food or a clicker – badly.
  • Use “methods” that could not be used to train other animals, ie dolphins, whales, seals or chickens!
  • Think Premack is a burger before you have a burger.

Symptoms of DDT in dogs:

  • Dog is scared of people
  • Dog is scared of water and water sprays
  • Dog is scared of chains and noise
  • Dog may roll on back & urinate in fear
  • Dog tries to avoid human touch
  • Dog wishes like hell he had a smarter owner!
  • Dog might obey – unhappily!

BEWARE:  Dinosaurs are sneaky, they might throw in words like positive or drop a few Association names like APDT or Delta to make themselves look professional & qualified.

Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer. Do your homework, check “qualifications”, professional memberships & watch a class before you sign up. Your dog will love you for it!20090208-Chihuahua_Burger_Dog_1

If they think Premack is the burger you have before the burger, walk away!

Do Dogs Give “Hand Over”

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Or maybe Paw Over?  Something is going on with Nelda and Larry and I have seen it before with Layla and Merlot and Merlot with Nelda and Larry.  It’s a shift in responsibility; preparation for things to come – maybe. … Continue reading

Puppy School? Why Bother?

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“It costs a lot of money” – Well how much did your puppy cost?  And how much will it cost to replace your nice shoes, the spa cover and your iPhone?

“I’m not paying that for dog training!” – Unless you are an experienced dog trainer, some tuition will go a long way to helping you raise your new puppy.  After all, if you wanted to learn tennis or guitar, you would take lessons from a professional, wouldn’t you?

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Everyone’s an expert when it comes to puppies!  Just like having a baby, everyone has advice and tips.  If you want the best education for your new baby, here’s what you need to know about Puppy School.

What age to start training? – Yesterday!  Ideally your breeder has started the process, exposing your puppy to sounds, sights, surfaces and handling.  From 8 to 12 weeks of age is the most important time educate & socialise your puppy.  Puppies start learning the minute they hit your home – good behaviour and bad!

Research the best trainer for your puppy!  Look for:

  • A Delta Cert IV Accredited trainer, qualified and experienced in the use of modern reward based training methods (food, toys, games & fun)
  • Select a trainer who specialises in pet dog classes for families
  • A maximum of six puppies per class.
  • Screening to ensure all pups are healthy & vaccinated.
  • A class that teaches pups manners and prevention of behavioural problems such as jumping on people, biting, barking, etc before it’s too late
  • Classes that teach you how to calm your puppy – a puppy that learns calm behaviour and self control can focus and learn.  Frantic puppies don’t learn!
  • Minimal well managed play – rough, free-for-all play can lead to shy pups becoming scared of other dogs and bullies learning to be bigger bullies!
  • Time for questions in class, ongoing support and further education.
  • A trainer that uses methods recommended by the Aust. Veterinary Assoc. & continually updates skills at industry seminars.
  • Training methods that focus on rewarding and shaping behaviour, rather than correcting or punishing.  Old fashioned “dominance” dog training techniques such as scruffing, water sprays or shouting “no” are dangerous, particularly where children are involved.
  • Puppies should not be wearing tight head halters or choke chains.
  • Ask if you can watch a class.  If you don’t like what you see, walk away!
  • Read testimonials & reviews on line.

You will only get one shot at training your baby puppy. Do your homework and avoid the potential grief and disappointment of a relationship gone wrong! 

Train with Fun, not fear!

 Our puppy class looks a bit like this

Dog Training “Results Guaranteed”!

You’re desperate, your dog’s behaviour is well and truly out of control.  Maybe you have no time to train your dog, work long hours, have no spare cash.  BUT, somehow you raise $500 because the ad says “Results Guaranteed”!

You might have baby on the way, be heading off on holidays and Mum & Dad are minding the dog, or the kids are too frightened to play in the yard.  “Results Guaranteed” is music to your ears!  Who cares how much it will cost!

What are you trying to “fix”?  What exactly is being guaranteed?  Is the guarantee in writing?  How long is the guarantee period valid for?   Will you get your money back if it doesn’t work?  If you were buying a flash new car or TV you would ask these questions.

Your dog is not a fridge or TV.  Like you, your dog is a thinking, feeling, emotional individual whose behaviour will vary and adapt to changing circumstances, experiences, hormones, age, aches, pains, relationships, fears, phobias and fun!

Sure, I like going to the movies, but might not want to if I have a sore back.  And,  I wouldn’t snap if someone I knew gave me a hug from behind.  Might be different if it was a stranger though.

If the guarantee is that during that one lesson, your dog will “learn” to stop barking, stop jumping or stop anything because they are frightened of the stranger yelling at them, squirting them with water or throwing things at them, be afraid.  This lesson might actually cost you more than you think.

Dogs that are frightened do not learn.  They stop doing what they are doing, temporarily, because they are frightened.  Dogs that are frightened may bite.  This is what a dog bite looks like.  This dog bit because he was frightened by a stranger in his home who choked him when he barked at the door and charged his owner $500 for the “training”.

Dog Bite 18/1 on 21 Jan

International dog whisperers and

Communicating secret listeners who

Speak of guarantees and offer other quick fixes

Dominance and lack of tolerance may lead to incontinence

Toting water spray bottles, throw chains & devices

Fear and frustration, all for high prices!

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Professional behavioural dog trainers understand learning theory and positive reinforcement methods.  The Australian Veterinary Association recommends positive reinforcement dog training techniques.

We GUARANTEE that with expert advice, time and patience, you will get results!

TRAIN WITH FUN, NOT FEAR!

Police Cat or Animal Welfare Gone Wrong!?

Breaking news!  Melbourne Police tried to force a fugitive from the bungalow he was holed up in.  Tactics included continual use of a siren to keep the fugitive awake and force his surrender!

Well, I have just the thing for the Police – a cat – a very distressed cat.  This particular cat belongs to a neighbour and has been howling non stop for a week!  Hard to believe an animal could keep it up that long, but sadly, it’s true.

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Apparently the neighbours have gone away and left the cat in a cage (some call it an enclosure) and it has not been allowed out.  According to the Laws of our Land, it is being fed & appears healthy and, as long as it can stand up and move around in the cage, that is OK!

Well, it’s not OK!  Not for the cat and not for the neighbours.  Any animal that cries constantly for one week is in severe distress and that is definitely not OK.  Sleep deprivation for neighbours is definitely not OK.  The fact that nothing can be done to help the cat or the neighbours is not OK!

Perhaps our laws are too black and white.  Was there no option for our local council or RSPCA to have a chat with the cat minder and suggest it be placed in the home or a cattery, thus saving stress to everybody?  Isn’t animal welfare something the RSPCA cares about?  Don’t we pay rates and animal registration fees to assist in animal management within our community?

Maybe this is why there are people who don’t complain or report the noise nuisance through appropriate channels.  You know the ones I mean – they choose to write nasty letters, throw things over the fence at dogs and cats in cages, or even worse bait animals with poison.

I am not sure if it was the right thing to do, but I have written a gentle letter to my neighbours, the owners of the cat, giving them my phone number so we can have a chat.  As yet I have not heard from them.

I hope that one day, the emotional welfare of our animals is considered as important as food or shelter.  In the meantime, I am trying to catch up on sleep.