Wednesday, September 24, 2014

From the Mail Bag: My Dog Is Afraid Of Dogs and Cars

From the mail bag: Hello I need help with my 5 1/2 month female GSD. She is very fearful of cars and some dogs. We attended puppy parties at the vet office and basic obedience classes. She has good ball drive but is slow to follow commands; she takes her sweet time to perform them (maybe out of boredom). I'd like to show her that the cars are not going to hurt her specially because we live close to a busy avenue and to get to our car to go for our walks she can see the cars from a distance. Lately she has been barking at approaching dogs.

From the Mail Bag: Is My Dog Lonely

Question: My dog is going to be 7 or 8 years old. The only dog she got along with died and she does not even like the two neighbors' dogs. What if none of this works and it is lonely all its life.

Will dogs who don't get along with other dogs get along with puppies easier than adult dogs?

My Dog Will Only Work When He/She Knows I Have Treats

If our dogs seem to only want to work or perform behaviors when we have food, some possible issues to address are bribing, salient cues, and/or luring.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Some Dogs Don't Know How To Leave

A couple of years ago, my Murphy and I were at an enclosed dog park alone. About 50 feet away, outside the park, an off leash, lone beagle trots by. The Beagle and my Murphy lock eyes and the Beagle freezes. Murphy continues staring and the Beagle starts looking more and more worried. The Beagle looks afraid but he just stays in that one spot. He is not in any danger from my dog. Murphy is 50 feet away and behind a chain link fence.
When I see the tension building, I call Murphy's name. Murphy glances back at me. As soon as the stare is broken, the Beagle takes off at top speed.
The Beagle was scared, had the option to leave, but didn't.
On occasion, when I'm walking my dogs in the neighborhood, I might come into contact with a dog charging out of a yard or screen door. I usually stand my ground in front of the house and yell at the dog, point my cane at him/her etc..
Usually after the incident is over, I wonder to myself if I had just crossed the street and moved further out of the dog's territory, would that have ended the altercation.
I vow to do it the next time. But when it happens again, I find myself frozen in that spot. Thinking that leaving might be worse than staying (and invoking a chase response)
Perhaps that Beagle was also afraid of invoking a chase response. I don't know. Some animals stay in one spot instinctively - baby deer, opossums, etc.. When one of my shy dogs first came to me, she was so afraid of humans that her legs wouldn't work. She'd just lay there in a clump. She'd pee and poop herself if anyone touched her, but she didn't leave.
So when our dogs go up strangers looking like they are interested but then get scared and react, or when babies try to sit on our dogs, why don't the dogs just leave?
- They might not know they have that option?
- They might have been encouraged by their pet parents to approach and/or stay (think sit-for- greetings, using treats to lure forward, asking strangers to feed our pets, etc..)
- They might be scared to leave for fear of the scary monster chasing them. They might want to keep an eye on the threat
- Or they just don't know how to leave.
I don't really know why they don't leave; I just know that sometimes scared or uncomfortable dogs don't leave even though it's an option.

So it's up to us to make the decisin for our dogs. Keep them safe from intrusive people, pushy dogs, etc..

Also see:  
Practice Keeping Our Dog's Safe:

Does Your Dog Really Want To Be Petted:

Dogs Are Not Public Property:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Aprons - Handy Tools for Reward Based Training

Advantages of wearing a bib apron with at least 4 pockets:

1. One pocket can be for low value treats and one pocket can be for high value treats.
When you catch your dog being good, reward him/her from one of your pockets.
Calmly give a low value treat when you catch your dog relaxing.
Give your dog a high value treat when the mail carrier comes or the garbage truck or when the neighbors make a bunch of noise (or whatever normally bothers your dog)

2. Put a toy(s) in the 3rd pocket. Be ready to present or toss before the dog jumps on you or grabs the remote or humps another dog, etc..or whatever behaviors you'd like to interrupt without using pain, fear, startle or intimidation.

3. Leave the 4th pocket empty. It's for keeping your dog out of trouble. As you walk through the residence, note things that are off limits to your dog but have been left in reach by your children or roommate or signifiant other.  Pick up those things, stuff them in your pocket. Put them away later.

4. And since you are wearing a bib apron, if your dog does happen to jump on you, your clothes are protected. So hopefully, you won't feel a need to shout at nor push your dog.

5. Many are cheaper than treat bags.

At the end of the day, stuff the apron into the fridge or freezer to keep any food crumbs from getting too gross. And after a couple of days, toss it into the washer.

How do you make it easier to reward your dogs? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Loose Leash Walking. Part 6. Avoiding Distractions

Distractions (cars, cats, other dogs, squirrels, humans, etc..) can derail loose leash walking training.