Category Archives: Dog Training
So as you can see I’m not rushing anything. As a matter of fact I hadn’t thought of introducing them until I noticed Monday my cat wasn’t hiding any more. That indicated to me the dog wasn’t sending off a dangerous vibe anymore. So each day this week I’ve been feeding them closer & closer, challenging Annyong’s impulse control & focus. I want him to choose to make good decisions, not tell him all the time what he should be doing “come sit down stay” blah blah blah. (video below)
Could I have moved this along faster? Did I have to wait a month, 5 weeks to be exact? Sure I could have brought him to the cat or the cat to him. What would have happened? Dog would have lit up (like he did on day 1) & cat would have ran. Dog would have gotten harsh physical correction to override his strength & intensity on the cat. (This dog was almost impossible to handle when I was just training him under his previous owner). So I would have been forced to be heavy handed with him had I rushed things ahead of their timetable. Cat would have hid longer. Both animals would lose trust in me.
So by going at their pace I’m able to achieve more. Better results with softer handling. They are speaking to us all the time. Are you listening?
Should I crate train my puppy? by Michelle Gillis of Doggie Fun & Fitness
I hear this all the time…
“I feel bad leaving him in there”
“It’s so mean!”
“I wouldn’t want to be in a cage”
“I want him to sleep in bed with me”
There are so many good reasons to crate train your puppy. Before I start listing reasons, try to shift to your dog’s perspective.
Human Perspective: a crate seems like a jail cell meaning punishment
Canine Perspective: a crate is a safe place to sleep
Crates are a safe place for a dog to hang without being bothered. For families with young kids, it’s necessary. Who wants to take a nap with an unpredictable toddler on the loose?
These are the reasons to crate train…
Housebreaking problems usually start as a few accidents. This can turn into a habit that can last through adulthood. If those accidents were not cleaned up properly, we are now blurring the inside/outside the house line. We have to teach a puppy that the smell of urine belongs outside. This is where the crate comes in…
Puppies like to pee/poop away from where they hang. The crate is a small version of your house. Your teaching him “you don’t poop where you hang”. When he gets older, he will see the house as his crate and never have an accident.
I recommend Natures Miracle for clean up
Puppies are curious which can lead to mischief.
- Chewing through live wires
- Chewing and choking on objects
- Eating/swallowing dangerous objects (corn on the cob swallowed whole.. $5000 vet bill)
- Eating/chewing poisonous items (ant traps, odor eaters, anti-freeze)
Crating for small amounts of time at a young age teaches your pup to tolerate being alone. If your pup is constantly with someone, they will panic when left alone.
Anyone who has a dog with separation anxiety will tell you how awful it is.
Your life will revolve around managing it and it takes a lot of work and help from others to fix.
Signs of separation anxiety
- Dog will follow you room to room
- Whining/barking when out of view (excessively)
- Watches you constantly
When left alone…
- Scratched trim in doorways, damage to windows
- Puddles of drool
- Frantic panting, wild wide eyes, pupils dilated
- Persistent barking until hoarse
NOT signs of separation anxiety
- Chewing furniture, shoes, toys
- Sleeping when you come home/ or excited/happy to see you
Grooming, Vacations, Emergency Vet Visits, etc.
At some point in in your dog’s life he will have to be put in a crate. Grooming, boarding, vet stays, can be stressful enough, adding crate stress can make things challenging.
“When can we stop using the crate?”
I think 1-½ years old is a reasonable goal but every dog/situation is different. Some high-energy dogs need it for much longer. I recommend using it for many years if you spend a lot of time with your dog, mostly to prevent separation anxiety.
So…. crates are good!
Lets stop applying our human perspective and start looking at things through the canine perspective. We earn our dogs respect that way
Crates should always be used in a positive way, never used for punishment. Seek a professional trainers advice before forcing a nervous/fearful dog.
Annyong has been with me just over a month now. I’ve been following my own protocols to the letter: Crate & leash only for at least 2 weeks- inside & out of the house. He’s been out of the crate on drop leash, proving he will listen to me if I say his name. I give commands on leash & practice his obedience. I have taken him in fenced in yard & practiced on drop leash name & recall, coming back to me with high value food reward, coupled with a low level e-collar (5 works good for him usually). He has been doing AMAZING. Except…. he still wants to eat the dreaded evil cat! (video below)
On the first day here, the cat walked near his crate, probably not even noticing him. The dog blew up & he hasn’t been in the area since. Now whenever the dog catches a glimpse of the cat, he lights up, but milder & stops almost instantly. Over the last week or so, the cat has been joining us in the living room again, on the opposite side of the crated dog. (When I have him out of the crate, I make sure the cat is behind a closed door. #1 keeps him safe, #2 keeps dog from losing focus). Remember: avoid what you can’t control, train what you can. One of the first times I had dog out of crate, showing him how to relax & chill with me, the cat wandered out & he went to an intense focus I couldn’t break him out of. I had to end the session as he was past the point of coming back to a calm enough state he could be out.
So now that the dog has settled in & is under better control & making better decisions, I see if I can get his attention when the cat is in sight. I wish I’d recorded this from the start, as the cat was only a few feet eating to begin with. Annoying showed interest, but didn’t freak out. Because he didn’t freak out, the cat didn’t run. Because the cat didn’t run, the dog didn’t freak out…you get the picture. So I pulled out the video & recorded keeping his attention while the cat was in the background. This is a first. Them being in the same area together. At one point you may notice his ears go forward & he gets a little intense, I tap his e-collar (level 15 for this, probably could have gone lower). He chills & goes back to eating.
I will continue with this now daily until I can control the dog’s attention & intensity around the cat. As I progress, I will bring him toward cat, call him away (on leash
& ecollar), add some movement on the cat so it doesn’t trigger dog past the point I can control his attention…
I haven’t seen the dog mean harm to any person or dog yet, even though he came to me after breaking out of a fenced in yard & attacking 2 dogs & going ballistic when company came (previous owner). And wanting to eat their cat. I’ve seen him slip out of my car & charge at a dog on day 3 with me & run right past the dog & lay down. Most people would have been upset it happened. I was relieved he didn’t do anything. It proved he didn’t want to harm anyone as if he wanted to, he would have. He’s a good dog. And he’s mine. And I love him. Stay tuned.
Sit on the Dog
by Jill Priest & Laurie Wagner (originated by Margot Woods)
If you only do ONE exercise with your dog, it’s this one.
Not sit. Not stay. Not even come.
This exercise will do more to create a bond and build a relationship of trust & tranquility with your dog than any other.
In order to help your dog learn that you will not be available to entertain him at all times, and to teach him that he is expected to calm down and be well-behaved during those moments, we will introduce the long down, or “sit on the dog” exercise.
“Sit on the dog” is deceptively easy: place your dog on his leash, then sit on it, allowing him just enough length to lie quietly at your feet with a little bit of tension on the leash. (If you have a large or particularly active dog, you may want to wrap the leash around one leg after you’ve sat on it.) And then ignore your dog for 30 minutes. That’s it.
Be sure to “sit on the dog” when you are working on something else: watching television, reading the newspaper, working on the computer. You must do the exercise for a minimum 30 minutes, at least once, and preferably twice a day, after the structured walk. It is helpful to have each family member practice the “sit on the dog” exercise. It may take a little while, but you will find that your dog will settle quietly at your feet, and learn that when he wants your attention, sometimes he will just have to wait.
If your dog does anything for attention, you are to ignore him. If he climbs up on you, chews the leash, mouths your hand, or anything else that is inappropriate, grab the leash next to the collar and put steady, gentle downward pressure on the leash – no talking or touching the dog allowed! Continue to provide this pressure until he settles again, and continue with the “sit on the dog” exercise. The 30 minutes begins AFTER your dog settles down. This means the first few times you do the exercise, it may last as long as 45 minutes or an hour – some dogs have lasted even longer than that. Take heart – your dog will soon learn to settle very quickly.
The “sit on the dog” exercise often feels like you are “not doing anything” with your dog, and people are sometimes tempted to not do it. To skip this exercise is to deny your dog the gift of self-confidence, self-control, and “doggy zen.” It teaches your dog how to calm himself down by choice, it teaches him to defer to you when you are not able to pay attention to him, and it teaches him that yes, he is fully capable of relaxing quietly, something puppies can have a hard time learning. “Sit on the dog” is an excellent exercise for achieving the overall leadership role you should have with your dog.
I did this today with my new dog, Annyong:
Watch this time lapse video to see before your eyes how by not talking or touching him he settles. At one point the cat comes out (his current nemesis) but we start over & he settles back down. This is a POWERFUL tool.
Here is Margot’s cute pictoral.
Let me know if you have any questions. email@example.com
So this dog had been OBSESSED with his previous owner. Now he does not need me to love him up so he replaces one addiction with another. To feed him a normal amount of attention would be disastrous for him. So I give him an occasional kiss or two here & there. I haven’t said more than a few words to him. I changed his name so I say his name a few times a day. And I’m teaching him “go potty” in a certain spot in the yard. That’s about it. So he’s more apt to listen to me when I do speak. We all know plenty of people that never shut up and we tune them out, right? So because I’m not filling his head with constant chatter I have his full attention when I do speak.
This dog does not need love right now. He needs peace, stability & lots of structure. Tough love so he learns independence & that he can stand on his own 4 paws. When he is in a better place, I will gradually give him love, making sure it doesn’t excite him too much. Preventing him from transferring his obsession from one owner to the next. I have to be a bit distant. I can do this though. Every time he starts to panic & obsess over me I shut down all emotions & eye contact. He’s doing well, better than expected by a long shot. Our few kisses so far have been delightful! I can’t wait for more! But this isn’t about me & my needs right now. This is about him & his.
I had a 9 month old poodle pup recently in. Had been with owners only a few months. Left the breeder at like 5 months. Why so late? Was he returned? Planned on breeding, but they had problems & decided to sell him? I don’t remember the answer, but those questions went through my mind. But the crux of the matter is he was acting out at home- in his new home without any dogs. He was impossible to walk & would react when he saw a dog, pulling & clamoring, making a scene when he didn’t get his way. What did this dog need? Did he need to learn commands & walk nicely on a loose leash? Yes. But I believe if you give the dog what he NEEDS, he gives you back tenfold what you WANT- attention, respect, obedience, manners. So instead of working him on leash a lot day 1, I worked him a bit so he wasn’t so resistant & was a bit connected to me. Then I brought him into the day care to give him what he needed- to be back with dogs! He’d lived with a pack of dogs for his first 5 months & then isolated from dogs the next 4. That’s a huge component why he was behaving so poorly. By giving him some play time, he was then able to shake off some pent up energy & frustration & then I was able to get him to pay attention to me on the next walk a hundred times better.
Over the summer an owner came to me with her dog that was impossible to walk. He pulled like crazy, especially when he saw another dog. And because the dog was so impossible to walk, she didn’t walk him. She just found it easier to leave him in the fenced in yard. So that bandaid didn’t last long. As the dog became more & more frustrated in the yard, he one day climbed the fence & attacked another dog. And another, and another. The fact that he was being confined to a huge fenced in yard was the root of all of this. Dogs aren’t meant to live behind 4 walls any more than we are as humans. It’s called house arrest & is a prison sentence. But too many dogs live like this day in & day out. And they bark & bark & bark… out of boredom & frustration. So this dog came to me & did I demand he focus on me 100% & learn a perfect heel & not to pull on the leash? Heck no. This poor dog hadn’t been out of his 4 walls in almost a year! So I took him for a long walk along the grassy area across the street from us. I let him sniff & sniff & sniff until his heart’s content. Eventually as he started to pull to sniff I squeezed the leash a bit & he stopped pulling. Repeated the process until he finally showed some interest in me & then built on that. The next walk I introduced food to him. So he would pull on the leash, I’d squeeze the leash tight & he’d come back. I’d immediately release the tension on the leash & give him some kibble. It took a day to get him to where I wanted him to be, but I felt I got more by starting off by giving. I gave him some freedom to explore & satisfy his need to sniff & take in nature. And he thanked me for it with some amazing attention & I now have a great new friend out of it. 🙂
So these dogs haven’t officially met yet. They drove home in the car together but tied back so they couldn’t reach each other. Gotta keep things safe!
First walk with a new dog. Dog on right (red slip leash) is Ziva. I’ve had her 7 years & she was also an owner surrender. She was one of the toughest dogs I’ve ever met. I learned so much from her though! It’s making my new dog Annyong (left, blue leash) seem like a cake walk. He was also an owner surrender. Both dogs were very challenging, beyond the owners’ skill sets. It’s very important to chose a dog that matches your skill set.
Now a half hour later they are a little more settled. I’m allowing them to walk more closely but still no sniffing. I want them to both be calm & settled before they formally meet. Probably another day or 2.
I waited as long as it took for him to show an interest in me before I gave him any attention. It took a day but I would have waited a week… He didn’t have any interest in me yesterday, so I didn’t force myself on him. Trying too hard can get you bit. So today he looked up at me, in my eyes for the first time. Bingo! Look who is my new friend!
Also, I changed his name. He is looking at me now when I say his name more than most people’s dogs look at them. Why? Because I haven’t spoken to him yet, so when I did, my words had more value. Most people I meet talk their dogs ears off & wonder why they don’t listen to them. We all know someone who talks incessantly & what do we do? Tune them out right? Our dogs will do the same to us if we talk too much. The only words I’ve said to him so far are his new name & “go potty”. So when I speak he looks at me. This is an awesome start. Stay tuned for more! Feel free to post any questions!
Day 1, evening
Wrapping up Day 1. Brought him home on leash in my car. In case he ran around like crazy, I could grab leash. He will ALWAYS be on a training collar until I fully trust him 100% (think several months, not days or weeks). Why? He may slip out of a regular collar. Especially a nervous dog. See it all the time.
He got home. Walked him around potty area in my FENCED in yard on leash. Yes even though my yard is fenced he is still on leash. Why? Because I can’t control him yet. He could run around my yard like a maniac & I would end up chasing him looking like a fool. He is also learning where I want him to potty so my yard won’t be one giant toilet. My dog Ziva goes out front door “go out back” & she goes around the house to potty out back.
Next, the crate. He goes from door to crate. Yes I practice what I preach. He went straight to the crate where he will be only allowed for at least a few days. When he is a little more settled he’ll be out of crate next to me on leash only. Gradual freedom is the best way to a well-behaved dog. Once you give your dog freedom without it being earned, it is hard to take that back.
I hope you all are learning, enjoying these posts. This is not just a “look how easy/fast I can turn a dog around”. Or “look how great I am for taking in a dog in need”. On the contrary I’m hoping to show you how much work goes into making a good dog. My dog Ziva started off worse than all your dogs combined! But by doing my due diligence she turned into an amazing dog. It takes effort but isn’t miraculous by any stretch. Ok good night & more tomorrow.
Day 1, 30 minutes after surrender
Meet my new dog Annyong. Owner surrendered him to me because he was beyond her skill level (he’s a tough dog).
I haven’t even touched him yet & won’t until he wants me to. He has no interest in me. Only searching & going back to his family. Very sad. What I do is paramount to his peace of mind, which will eventually transition him from difficult dog to safe dog.
- I will wait until he shows an interest in me before pushing myself on him.
- I’m across the street in the train parking lot avoiding any activity that could cause a reaction from him. Why? I want to set him up for success rather than set him up for a correction. He isn’t ready for distractions yet. When he is, I will do it slowly.