Dogs don’t have a say in the training methods you use.
Dogs do have feelings and are emotional beings.
Dogs do feel pain and aggression exhibited through growling, lunging and biting can become the go to response depending on the methods used. This can lead to very serious concerns for the dog and the family.
Dogs also can also learn to suppress behaviors like growling if they are punished for doing so.
THIS IS DANGEROUS!
A dog with a suppressed communication like a growl will result in your dog going straight to a bite.
I understand if you have small children in the home and you hear your dog growling and your child is nearby, you’re scared.
You’re really worried about the safety of your child and your go to response is yelling and punishing your dog.
Meeting a dog’s displeasure of the experience in the environment with your “mean voice” or scary body language or even physical force will make the problem worse, it will also impact your relationship with your dog which will degrade over time. It can also lead to more growling or worse like snapping and biting towards your child.
What will you do then?
Teaching children about how they impact and influence their dog’s behavior is utterly important.
Not only is this for the immediate, but learning for both the child and animal is life long.
Empowering children to understand how they can impact the world around them is also confidence building, encourages compassion and empathy.
Teaching children how to safely interact with dogs, encourages your dog to seek out your child for all things.
Together, your dog and child can build a strong bond which is mutually rewarding.
In order to get here, teaching both appropriate ways of having fun and building a relationship is necessary and taking small steps.
Learning is never linear and it for sure requires repetition and everyone in the home caring for the dog and child have to be on the same page.
Not sure where to start?
Get your school aged kids enrolled into the G2G: Kids Virtual Game Series!
Whoops, your dog runs off with your daughter’s favorite toy!
Oh no! Your dog just ran after and starting nipping at your son’s legs when he was swinging on the swing set!
Your dog LOVES chasing after the soccer ball your daughter is kicking around and now he’s growling at her when she puts her foot near it!
Communication can become lost or muddled when dogs are interacting with your kids at home.
This is troubling for you.
You want your kids to know how to interact with your furry family member.
You also want your dog to know what’s his and how to be with the family without all the nipping, chasing, showing teeth, growling or even barking at your kids.
You’re not sure how to encourage your kids what to do, because you feel like you’re unsure yourself.
You know you want to teach your dog what you do want and expect, but its so challenging when you and your dog don’t speak the same language.
You don’t need to figure out all the answers on your own. There is so much out there it for sure gets confusing.
The kids who participated in the G2G: Kids Virtual Game Series in January gained confidence in how to communicate with their dog in a dog friendly manner; they strengthened their cooperation with their siblings; they took a more active role in caring for their dog; they gain a deep understanding of their dog’s feelings, behaviors and even how to motivate their dog to seek THEM out for affection, help, guidance and interaction.
Your kids can gain the same level of confidence and be empowered to form a life long relationship with their dog!
What is the Pet Dog Ambassador Program? The Pet Dog Ambassador (PDA) is a program for dog guardians to test their knowledge, skills and ability to manage their canine companion in real life settings. Its aim is to acknowledge the hard work and commitment that guardians and their dogs undertake to make their shared lives enjoyable and recognizes these efforts from a puppy’s very early training. The program aims to encourage guardians to continue training and developing new skills, abilities and knowledge. Candidates
All dog Guardians who have reached the legal age of accountability in their country (usually 18 or 21 years) are encouraged to become actively involved in the Pet Dog Ambassador Program. The program is suitable for all, including Guardians and/or dogs with a disability or special needs.
Junior candidates Junior candidates are those who have not yet reached the age of legal accountability. Junior candidates may, with written permission from a parent or Guardian, enter the PDA Program with a dog considered suitable by a PDA instructor or assessor. The assessor has the choice of whether or not to assess junior candidates. The assessor can also stipulate from what age they will assess junior candidates.
Canine candidates These are dogs of any breed or mixed breed aged from four months. Dogs with special needs can also be assessed with exercises being adapted if necessary. It is mandatory that dogs have a veterinary health check before taking part in the assessment.
Tangible evidence of success As well as the pride in the hard work that they do, successful dog and guardian teams are awarded certificates and medallions at every level.
How to become involved For further details about the Program go to the website http://www.petdogambassador.com/ or ask us how you can become involved in this wonderfully rewarding program for you and your dog. Contact details for trainer/assessor etc
You will gain a better understanding of what your dog is expressing and what you and your kids can do to de escalate a misunderstanding while also finding all the ways which keeps your dog happy and relaxed.
Find simple ways of adding into your daily routine ways of training new skills and maintaining the ones you’re dog already learned.
Be adaptable and creative in continuing the learning with your dog.
Be accountable in teaching your dog what is most desireable.
The relationship starts with you. The learning continues when you show up each day and meet your dog where your dogs needs are, biologically, emotionally, socially all met with force free methods and enrichment.
Take ownership of your own learning and how you can grow in deepening the connection with your dog.
It’s not just about doing the work, but it is all about you showing up every day.
Your dog needs you.
I know it can be hard some days.
Your dog’s energy level is at a 10, but your’s is not even registering on the meter.
Still, show up!
Your schedule may be packed with working long hours, errands and you have little time left for yourself.
Still, show up!
Your dog struggles with leash walking, barking at anything and everything and you’ve had it.
Still, show up!
You are your dog’s best advocate, friend, guardian and caregiver.
Don’t suffer in silence or get lost in feeling and thinking you’re alone. This leads to you feeling overwhelmed and at a loss what to do!
Reach out and schedule a free Discovery Call with me.
Imagine yourself minding your own business and taking a nice walk with your children or going for a run down the street?
Up ahead, you see a family playing with their two large breed dogs, and you smile. The fun and excitement touches your heart.
All of a sudden, you hear barking. The family starts calling out a name which isn’t yours!
You see in the periphery of your vision that same dog who was happily playing with his people is now running full steam ahead at you!
Barking all the way!
The next steps are crucial.
You know this already.
You’re not scared, because you learned how to be safe.
You plant your legs.
You stand tall, holding your arms down by your side with your fingers laced in front of you.
You give a slight head turn away.
You are calm.
The dog jumps up from the momentum of coming forward and then returns with all four paws on the ground.
The dog stops barking and his people catch up to him.
Your actions just prevented the behavior of the dog from escalating.
You kept yourself safe and prevented a bite from occurring.
How do I know?
I just had a little practice with this the other day.
Living in a pet friendly hotel lends itself to some surprising situations. This was for sure one of them.
The action of Standing Like A Tree is the best thing you or your children can do when a dog whether it is a familiar or unfamiliar dog is running towards them.
Yes, its scary.
But, the more empowered you or your children are in being able to respond rather than react with freezing, fleeing or fighting (stress responses), this can become an automatic response and a huge life skill to have and share with others.
Time is running out to enroll in the G2G: Kids Virtual Game Series.
This is the last week to get your school aged children signed up for a fun and interactive 4 week session.
They will not only learn how to stay safe, but have fun with their dog with kid and dog friendly play sessions.
The Growl to Grow Online Dog Training Program is available!
It will only be offered at my introductory rate for this week only. Sign up and get started!
This program is designed for frustrated dog owners who are struggling with your dog’s barking and lunging at all things! I wish I had something like this when I was figuring out Jack’s reactivity.
The frustration you feel now, doesn’t have to stay this way if you don’t want it to.
You can make the choice of taking the next step and teach your dog to do something different with no force, no fear and no pain.
This is a 5 week, self paced program. It’s flexible to fit your schedule and you can work in training on your own time. The program also offers you to schedule Trainer Time with me. You will have 2 one hour in person or virtual appointment which can also be scheduled on your own time. This is designed, so you can ask questions when we meet and I can fine tune the skills you’re practicing.
You will gain an understanding of why your dog is barking and lunging, how to encourage your dog to do something else with the end result of you having a calmer and more relaxed dog.
Let’s face it, when you have a more relaxed dog, you will feel more interested in starting walks back up, going into restaurants with your best friend, traveling and meeting up with friends. When your dog is relaxed, you will also feel more confident in tackling situations like a move back stateside or to a new duty station.
One client signed up because her family is coming to visit and she wants her dog to have better house manners. Barking and lunging at guests when they come into your home can be a scary situation not only for your dog, but your friends and family.
Reset your relationship with your dog with the Growl to Grow Online Reactive Dog Training program.
Your name means something. For many, the name you have in adulthood was given when you are born.
Names are the start of your identity. Nicknames, stories and memories come from the mouths of friends, family, peers, employers and employees with your name attached to them.
For others, new names are adopted due to changing identities, family structures or even because you did not like the name you were born into.
Names are apart of your being and they help create who you are past, present and future.
What about dogs? The same holds true for them too. Names are given to our best friends out of love. You may even try and capture the essence of your dog through his name or many times, his nicknames clarifies different parts of your dog’s self.
A client this past week, said something so profound which made me pause. She described how her dog responded to her name differently in different circumstances and explained her understanding of the situation.
At the start of each session with clients, I ask what’s going well, what challenges are happening and how can we move forward.
These three questions help people jog their memory, set both the client and dog up for success, acknowledge learning never happens in a straight line (there are good days and not so good ones) and setting a plan for practice for the week ahead with new homework to work on.
Sharee adopted a beautiful German Shepherd, whose name is Ellie. Ellie is a bit timid, but has a whole lotta love to give. Ellie is still learning the ropes of being in her new home, so the family is working out setting up a routine, boundaries and consistent rules for the home which will keep Ellie, Bella and Moon safe.
For Ellie, moving into a new home, having a new-to-her family and having a different way of life can be confusing. It can lead to things like barking, or cat chasing or getting into things that the family doesn’t want her to get into.
Plain and simple, Ellie is smart. Sometimes, this can lead to her family’s frustration.
In our first session, we practiced with helping Ellie learn to love her name. All good things happen when someone says Ellie’s name. This is one of the foundation behaviors you’ll learn when you become a client.
It goes like this, say your dog’s name, your dog will offer a head turn towards you or come over to you, praise and reward. Simple.
You need your dog to love coming when his name is called. All requests for behaviors start with your dog’s name. Your job is making sure your dog loves when you call his name. Happy, high pitched voice is the way to go.
Now going back to my conversation with Sharee. She made the connection that when her family said Ellie’s name with a happy voice, Ellie was eager and willing to come over and say hello. On the flip side, when there is frustration in saying Ellie, Ellie was more reluctant and unsure about coming over.
Makes total sense. Not only does the tone and pitch change when we are happy vs frustrated, but your body language does too.
Now, if Sharee and her family did not make this connection with how they say Ellie’s name, this definitely would lead to a breakdown in their relationship and increase Sharee’s frustration with Ellie’s behavior.
What would start to happen, Sharee would start to see Ellie doing the wrong thing more frequently, say Ellie’s name with frustration which would give Ellie attention when she isn’t doing the right thing. This will reinforce Ellie’s behavior of cat chasing, getting into things she should not and barking. Plus it would lead Ellie to avoid family members and she would most likely make the choice not to come to Sharee when she calls Ellie’s name.
Then the cycle begins. Behavior the family does not want is reinforced. Everyone is frustrated and at wits end.
The choice is simple. Make all interactions with your dogs happy and enjoyable and you will get the behaviors you want, you will reinforce them and your dog will always love coming to you.
Sometimes the wins happen swiftly while other times, it takes lots of practice and set ups for succes.
But man, when that 💡 goes off it shines brilliantly!
Kaymie reached out to Four Paws & You Dog Training when she was in the process of adopting Skipper (the little guy). She was proactive of getting started with making sure it was a smooth transition with her resident dog, young child and their busy lifestyle.
We discussed all things 🐶! From positive reinforcement training to dog body language to establishing a holistic plan for success!
You see, Gretchen was a bit unsure of Skipper in the beginning. She was over-the-top excited 😆 for food where she was a little (ahem) pushy 😅. Gretchen was also a bit tense around Skipper, so we had to find ways of helping Gretchen accept Skipper as a new member of the family!
Together with Kaymie, I developed a workable plan of action that was easy to put into practice 😉
✅ Built the plan into their work and family schedule
✅ Provide insight into what Gretchen was communicating when she was communicating it (prevention of any escalating tension)
✅ Answered questions in between sessions, so Kaymie had the affirmation she was on the right track.
Now, what you see is Gretchen is waiting PATIENTLY for her turn while Skipper is practicing his cues. WHAT??
How cool is that?!
What’s also exciting for me to see, is Kaymie’s relaxed enjoyment while spending time with Skipper and Gretchen.
Kaymie works hard as healthcare professional in our community. Even more so now, the goal for her downtime is unwinding from the stress of the day and long hours she spends caring for others. #thankyoutoallhealthcareworkers
I’m so happy she is basking in the success of Skipper’s transition into her family and the time spent with Gretchen and Skipper is rewarding for them as a family 💕💕💕💕.
If any of these fit how you’re feeling when your dog is acting out of control: 😤 🤬😞 😢 🥴🤯😩. Know it doesn’t have to stay that way 🤗🤗🤗🤗.
Summer is upon us and we are going to focus on helping our dogs feel more comfortable when thunderstorms happen. Does your dog hide, bark, shake or show body language signs like tail tucked, head down, ears back or pursed mouth when thunderstorms happen? Then your dog is feeling distressed and scared. Since Mother Nature does her own thing when she wants, therefore we must set up the environment for practice before the main event happens! Now is the time to get started.
Step 1: Find storm sounds you can play from your computer, tablet or phone. YouTube has some great options which allow for a variety of experiences. One suggestion is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVKEM4K8J8A. Once you find a few you think are good for you, you’re ready to get started.
Step 2: Get prepared with something super high value. Many dogs love food. Food is necessary for survival and one that our dog’s inherently understand. A long lasting chew is great and there are many varieties. One I know is a cut above the rest are Himalayan chews https://www.himalayan.pet/. These are great since they are long lasting and help with keeping your dog’s teeth cleaned. You can also use a kong stuffed with food works well, freezing it is even better!
Step 3: When ready with your high value reward, play the storm sounds and a low level and pair the sounds with the long lasting chew or Kong. When your dog continues snacking, you know he is comfortable with the sounds. Do this for 5 days. Varying the time you’re playing the sounds, but keeping the volume the same.
**If your dog is extremely sensitive to thunderstorms or suffers from panic attacks, consult a positive reinforcement trainer or behaviorist**
Step 4: Move to this step only if your dog was comfortable and relaxed while you played the storm sounds at the low level. This step moves to increasing the volume little bits at a time and repeating the above steps. You always want your dog to be relaxed when the storm sounds are on. Move between increasing and decreasing the volume of the storm sounds (never just increase the sound alone-this can be too overwhelming). Repeat this for 5 days. If at any point, the volume was increased too quickly or the sound was too startling, stop the session and try again later-repeat step 3 at the lowest volume or move the device into another room.
Step 5: Once you’ve played the storms on a variety of volume levels, move to increasing the length of time of the sounds from lower volume to higher volume. Follow Step 3 and step 4, but you’re focusing on the length of time the sound is going on for during each session. Increase time slowly with each volume change and if you’re dog stops snacking or shows distress, stop the session and progress more slowly the next time.
The key is practicing often and consistently, so our dogs become accustomed to the sounds and feel more relaxed during storms. Follow our dogs lead when progressing. Your dog will tell you when to keep moving along.
I met the cutest Chow/Husky mix named Maple. When I met her, she was this reddish/orangish puff ball excited about life and her humans wanted the best for her. Better than what their respective dogs had growing up. They looked for a different approach in training all things puppies. They chose a positive reinforcement/reward based trainer and they were open minded and ready to implement Maple’s training plan. YES!
In considering all the aspects of raising a puppy, there are more do’s than don’ts. Yes, consideration needs to be paid for ensuring a puppy doesn’t contract any diseases such as PARVO and Distemper since they are not fully vaccinated by the ideal time of going to their furever home at 8 weeks of age. On the other hand, this can be mitigated by keeping a careful and structured socialization plan. The humans taking in a puppy for the first time may need a little guidance and education for effective puppy upbringing.
Here’s our approach.
The Do’s of Puppy Training
Do find a reliable positive reinforcement/reward based trainer-if this is not in your budget look for reputable sites like Dunbar Academy. They offer well developed content which some is free!
Do prioritize getting your puppy around 100 different places, people (of all ages and sizes), environments, experiences (sounds, ground textures) within the first 100 days of bringing your puppy home. *8-14 weeks of age is the ideal time to do this! This will make your puppy grow into a well adjusted adult dog.
Do have puppy parties at your home. Invite others to come by (leaving shoes at the door) and allow for everyone to touch on and all over your puppy. Most dog bites happen because dogs weren’t socialized to have their collars grabbed, their paws played with, their tailed touched. Most dogs hate hugs, but a puppy who learns this is ok at an early age will have a better chance of accepting this from people, in particular from children.
Do get your puppy vaccinated at the earliest intervals recommended by your veterinarian.
Do include basic obedience training early-especially integrating real life rewards quickly after your puppy learned what words like “sit, stay, down, leave it, take it, focus” means. Food is a tool like a collar and leash are and integrating other things like doors opening and pets from you will become the things your puppy desires from you.
Do set up a success station(s), especially if you have children. The success station will be an area where you puppy can have down time in a confined space near you that is not a kennel or closed off room or backyard. Think of it like a Pack ‘N Play for a dog.
Do kennel train your dog. If nothing else, kennels may be needed in an emergency situation. Remember the reports of the fires in Australia? There were countless pictures of dogs both muzzled and kenneled while they were evacuated with their families. Emergencies like wildfires are unpredictable and raises the stress level of any person or animal for that matter. Also, for those who are part of a military family, having a kennel trained dog will serve you and your puppy well during frequent moves, temporary lodging and travel.
The Don’ts of Puppy Training
Don’t be afraid of getting your puppy out there even if getting out there means bringing people into your home. Vaccinations are necessary, but not having them doesn’t mean your puppy has to forgo necessary and early socialization.
Don’t miss out on early socialization. Waiting too long will only make possible problems like reactivity, biting, fearfulness to be the mainstay of your dog’s behavior repertoire. Let me tell you, an ounce in prevention in early socialization will save you a pound of behavior modification later in life. The latter is more challenging, time consuming and sometimes frustrating. Why put yourself and your puppy through this when early puppy socialization is fun and enjoyable!
Don’t use harsh training methods on a puppy or ever! There are other means of helping a dog learn which is least invasive and minimally aversive. Rubbing your dog’s nose in its urine or poop only teaches your dog to be afraid of you. Why would you want a dog who is afraid of you when your goal was having a companion animal brought into your family?
Don’t forget to take pictures and videos! Puppies grow very quickly, having those pictures and videos may be good reminders of how cute and cuddly your puppy is when they chew on something they should not have when they were accidentally left unsupervised.
If you’re looking for guidance with any of this, reach out for Four Paws and You Dog Training-we can set up a virtual training appointment.
Is March over yet? This seems like an ever ending month with so many changes happening effecting our entire world. We, as a global community are pushed to altering our social lifestyles, our work environments and how we conduct our daily routine. Our children’s school classrooms became virtual meeting spaces with one on one check-ins with their teachers. Even my husband is teleworking and let me tell you, both of us working at home at the same time is both exciting since its a new adventure, but another routine to establish on the fly. One thing is for sure, being a military spouse making these adjustments have become second nature. I’ve become accustomed to the rapid changes of PCS moves, TDY timelines shifts and most of all employment and job changes.
The pull of this season of adjustment continues through my commitment in guiding and coaching clients in working with their dogs. As a dog trainer, I’ve built my business with direct one on one relationships with those who are seeking understanding and answers for things like nuisance barking, lunging on walks with passerby’s, resource guarding or any other number of questions and concerns. Before March happened, I met with clients in person and spent hours walking with them on their journey of deepening their relationship with their dogs. I listened intently to their concerns while encouraging an open heart in understanding their dog’s behavior. At the same time, I gathered pertinent environmental and behavioral conditions as contributing factors and responses. These two pieces are paramount in providing a holistic approach in preparing an action plan for clients.
Where to go from here where social distancing prevails and restrictions in movements are necessary for the greater good? Just because face to face meetings are a no go, I quickly learned the same quality of service delivery is possible. A quick rethink of how to conduct business while finding resources in websites like the Modern Dog Trainer, guided my repositioning. Now, I’m exploring a new venue-a virtual meeting space-where I can maintain the personal touch of working with a client one-on-one while integrating new modes of service delivery through tailored training videos. This is uncharted territory for me, but one where I’m exploring other creative outlets and expanding my reach in meeting my clients’ training needs. I found I’m rising up in these uncertain times.
As I write this, I’m inspired by U2 (my favorite band btw), their song Rise Up. Its a call to love in the midst of uncertainty. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC_J1CDlQuI This is very much as appropriate song for today as it was intended back in the 80’s when it was produced. I encourage you to continue finding ways to rise up and keep moving forward. We are #inittogether
Choosing a quality doggie daycare takes some time, your advocacy on behalf of your dog and understanding of what to look for to meet your dog’s needs.
Not all doggie daycares are created the same which can contribute to behavior concerns your dog develops as a result.
If you’re not sure of your dog’s play style, observe your dog interacting and know what your dog likes and doesn’t like! This will help you determine environment and what dogs can be a good match for yours.
By taking the time to do this, you will for sure minimize the opportunity for miscommunications to happen during play.
A good option is to ask the doggie daycare itself if they have separate play areas for dogs. This will give you a good indication that the manager/owner of the establishment understands dog body language and what to look out for too.
If you’re in El Paso, I’ve personally used Howl A Day Inn and Boarding. Melina is top notch canine professional!! https://www.howladay.com/
Make sure and ask if the dogs have the opportunity for breaks! Dogs need some down time during the day. In particular, puppies need upwards of 20 hours of sleep a day, so if a daycare is being utilized while you’re at work, find out if they will follow a schedule and routine you follow at home.
Following a routine can help your dog adjust to a new environment since your dog will know what to expect which helps them to feel safe.
Introduce the doggie daycare establishment slowly to your dog. This may feel like an inconvenience at first since you’ll be going for short periods of time and observing your dog in the environment, but it will pay off in the long run in setting your dog up for success.
You can observe how your dog interacts with other dogs and see how your dog adapts to the new environment.
Also, by going for short periods of time, you are leaving on a high note which leaves your dog wanting more.
Establish a relationship with your dog’s caretakers. They will be the ones who are gifted with the responsibility of taking care of your dog in your absence. Building trust and maintaining open lines of communication can be helpful in times of an emergency or foster a long lasting friendship too!
Find out how you can set your dog up for success even when you’re not around.
Teaching your dog not only to tolerate husbandry and grooming procedures, but also to be a consenting individual into the process.
This is a practice that begins at home with you which is a low stress environment.
Gaining cooperation from your dog can help you and your dog check out:
✅ Tick or other foreign object removal from fur
✅ Mouth handling, so you can check teeth for chips or breaks
✅ Paw handling
First is building in your dog feeling relaxed and the relaxation protocol is a great foundational skill.
Encouraging your dog to target a mat or towel and giving the space so when your dog needs a break they can exit. When they return, then this is an indication you can begin again. After a second exit, then end the session and practice again later.
Since dogs can’t speak, they can exercise their choice by removing themselves from the situation. This will help them regain their feelings of safety before they make the choice to begin again.
When your dog targets the mat with you next to it and with whatever posture your dog takes (sitting, laying down, standing), then you can approach your dog with your hand moving slowly toward your dog. If your dog looks at your hand simply withdraw your hand and go a bit slower. When your dog looks away, reward. Slowly and gradually move your hand closer and reward when your dog remains relaxed.
After a few seconds of practice, you can toss some treats away from the mat to encourage your dog to take a break. Observe and if they make the decision to come back, then this is the indication your dog is ok to move forward.
Also, by keeping the practice short (seconds at a time) your dog will be able to build on feeling relaxed when time is gradually increasing without feeling overwhelmed which would lead your dog to having a harder time coming back to the practice.
Once your dog is comfortable with the hands coming towards him or her, then you can introduce a new body part to be gradually touched.
In addition, when your dog is comfortable with touching on different parts of the body and even squeezing the skin between the shoulder blades or on the back leg to help your dog get used to injections then you can introduce an instrument such as a ball point pen to simulate a syringe and needle.
There are many ways of performing cooperative care. The goal is ensuring your dog is comfortable and giving consent to take the next steps.
When you break down the experience into bits and introduce them separately, then your dog will feel more control over the environment and it will help them accept all of the pieces together.
Get your Discovery Call scheduled so you can also learn how you can achieve the same cooperation.