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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Loose Leash Walking Summary

Loose Leash Walking encompasses many different skills. We are planning several more posts on the subject. As we post, I hope to bring them all together on this one page.

Loose Leash Walking. Part 3. No Equipment

In our last post, we talked about equipment. But we aren't ready to use it just yet.  Ideally we want the leash to be a safety item, not a steering item.  So we start indoors and reward our dogs for walking next to us or following us around.


Murphy and I were at the dog park a while back. We saw a lady enter with two dogs. Before letting them off the leash, the lady told her dogs to sit. The dogs just stood there waiting patiently to be let off leash. She asked them again in a harsher tone. The dogs just stood there. She started yelling at the dogs and the dogs just stood there. Then she started yanking the dogs and they continued to just stand there. Then she kicked the dogs several times. They still stood there. Then she yanked, yelled, and kicked at the same time, and the dogs finally sat. Then she let them off leash to play.

Loose Leash Walking. Part 2. Equipment

Since we are teaching our dogs how to pay attention to us and walk along with us, we do not need to use any type of equipment that will cause or pain, discomfort, or injury - so no choke chains nor prong collars are necessary.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Loose Leash Walking. Part I. Foundation. Attention and Basics

Loose leash walking is one of the harder dog training skills to master (for human and dog). It's about so much more than simply keeping the leash loose. Our pups need to learn how to tune in to us, and not get too worked up about distractions.

When Your Dog Gets Bushy

Well bushy is what I call it. Most folks probably refer to it as a dog who has her/his hackles up.  A more technical term is "piloerction" (like goose bumps in humans).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nail Trims. Part 15. Don't Be Stingy

Not only do I give treats after each toenail grind,  but I also sometimes give a treat after each pass on a single toenail - i.e. grind/treat, grind/treat. Which means one toe might yield 3 treats. Which means by the time we are done, my dogs have eaten anywhere from 18 to 50 treats.

Nail Trims. Part 14. Nail Trim Position

The girls and I have been experimenting with positioning.  I liked it when they were comfortable on their beds, but lately it seems that having the girls in a higher position than me has been beneficial.  I'm not a fan of  grooming tables. I ask the girls to sit in a chair while I sit on the floor. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Just Because A Leash Is On, Doesn't Mean You Have To Go Far

So your dog needs to get out of the residence and sniff or needs to stretch his or legs but:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jumping Up. Part VI. From The Mail Bag

From The Mail Bag
I have a male Pom, 1 1/2 yrs. old. When I get home from work, it's non-stop barking and jumping for at least 15 minutes. I've tried ignoring him, doesn't work, tried telling him no, tried to distract him with treats, nothing works. I have scratches on my arms and it's difficult to get down on all fours in my good clothes. Even acts the same way when I feed the horses, he can see me through the gate and knows this is a daily routine. He isn't neutered yet, but will be soon. The other 2 dogs I have don't acts this way, one is 4 and one is 3. Is this something he will outgrow or am I doing something wrong?! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nail Trims. Part 13. Pet Grooming Sling

With the help of a professional, the grooming sling might be a safer alternative to a slip lead and grooming table.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Loose Leash Walking - Pulling Begets Pulling

Many of us keep our dogs on leash - because it's the law, because it's safer, as a courtesy to others, etc..
But just because the leash is on, it doesn't mean we should use it like a steering wheel.

Opposition Reflex

Grisha Stewart’s Behavior Adjustment Training
Dogs have a natural reflex to go the opposite direction of pulling.
Jean Donaldson’s Culture Clash
The other reason that has been put forward for pulling in dogs even to the point of gasping for breath in obvious discomfort is what’s called an opposition reflex. As soon as they feel pressure against their necks or chests, they reflexively lean into it… So given what you are up against, it is prudent to begin anti-pull training from day one, rather than waiting till the dog has an entrenched pulling addiction.
Jolanta Benal’s The Dog Trainer’s Complete Guide to a Happy Well Behaved Pet
..dogs have an opposition reflex meaning that their normal response to being pulled in a given direction is to pull in the opposite direction, so their default when the leash is tight is to pull it even tighter
Nicole Wilde’s Help For Your Fearful Dog
Dog’s have an opposition reflex meaning that if they are pulled in one direction, their instinct is to pull in the opposite direction. If pushed they will push against the force. This instinct helps to maintain equilibrium. This reflex is why when an owner attempts to put a leash on a young pup and pull him along, the pup digs in and puts on the brakes. A leash is not meant to pull a dog. In fact, when a dog is walking correctly, the leash should be slack, resembling the letter ‘J’
Karen Pryor’s Reaching the Animal Mind
As they push and pull, they feel the stiffness in the dogs’ muscles, as an automatic opposition reflex causes the dogs to push back against the pressure. They can also see on the dog’s faces, increasing confusion and fear. In fact, the trainers can no longer not see the stress they are causing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dog Parks - How Do We Prepare For Our First Visit?

From the mailbag:
I would like to know how to introduce my 5 month old Collie puppy to a dog park. I have never taken a dog to a dog park before and our town has a new one. Any help would be appreciated.

There are several reasons I would not go into a public dog park. Below are a few initial considerations:

Nail Trims. Part 12. Finding the Quick.

One of the reasons that many dogs find nail trims so scary is because they have been "quicked" before.  The vet staff or groomer might have cut into the fleshy part of the nail.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

When You Don't Feel Like Walking

Note: Be sure to consult a vet before starting any new exercise programs.

A lot of us love taking our dogs walking every day.  But sometimes we just can't.  We might be tired of dealing with loose dogs, the weather might not be cooperative, etc..

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Primary and Secondary Reinforcers

A primary reinforcer is something that dogs, cats, humans, bugs etc.. don't have to learn to like: food, play, attention, etc..

Monday, July 14, 2014

Deprivation in Dog Training

Trainers often remind us that our dogs should be hungry before we start training.  No doubt a hungry dog might be more willing to work for food. But we need to be careful to make sure that hunger isn't our only motivator. Training should be fun and motivating all on it's own.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Human Shaming

This picture makes more sense if you have seen the dog shaming pictures