What success means in dog training!

I wanted focus on success stories with dogs. When it comes to training and having a well behaved dog there is no day off. Training needs to be a lifestyle! You need to incorporate small positive techniques in your daily routine . Being involved in your dogs life is critical and not only for a happy dog but for a happy owner. There is no quick fix for problems, everything needs to be maintained.

My dog has had more training then the average dog owner ( obviously ) but that does not mean I have not gone through the whole list of undesired behaviors.
It’s started with housebreaking, then barking in public at dogs, barking in the house at someone at the door, then separation anxiety. It feels like it never ends but it does! Puppies are learning everyday and it can take them more then two training sessions to correct undesired behaviors. Remember these undesired behaviors happen at different developmental levels and times for each dog. That’s why training is not a bunch of sessions for your dog, it’s learning how to catch undesired behaviors before they begin and knowing how to stop them before they developed into a problem.

No dog is perfect and even the ones that seem that way weren’t always . But if you can come into the mind frame that dogs have these problems and that they are easy to fix overtime. Then there are no surprises and when your dog hits their maturity level ( 1 year and 2 months for my dog) you have a companion that has grown and developed with you.

The best feeling for me is after all the hard work my dog and I have been through, he is now so loving, observant , respectful and obedient! I would never take back the “hard times” because that is how we got to today. I respect my dog so much and he shows me the same appreciation.

Love your dogs and remember if you make training part of your life it’s not work anymore it’s just living comfortably!

Why buying cat toys can be a waste of money?

The pet market is huge!! But what you don’t realize is that there are several objects in your home that are just as entertaining as a store bought toy and a whole lot cheaper.

I realized early on with my own cat that she is happy playing with so many different things. I have bought her so many toys and scratch pads but these are the alternatives and cost me nothing!

I leave my bike in my house and my cat loves to use the tire as a scratching post. She doesn’t destroy the tire and it has completely eliminated her urge to scratch. Even our scratching board we bought has been forgotten. Not everyone will like there cat scratching at their bike but if you don’t mind this is awesome and entertaining to watch.

We also bought all these floor toys so instead use old sports equipment . Tennis balls are great. My cat plays with my old tennis balls for hours. She also enjoys the rumba ( cleaning robot). I turn it on in my house (and on my cat camera ) I can see her following it around and playing. It is great to entertain her all day at home. Another great object in your home are boxes. Ever time we receive gifts or packages in the mail I give all the wrapping paper and boxes to my cat. She seems to really loves boxes. She sits in them, hides in them , pushes them around the house. It is funny for us as it is for her, and the nice thing is now when we do get these packages she knows and she anticipates the excitement. The whole family is happy !

Other great home-made toys involve using a wire hanger and unravelling it so it is straight. Then attach a sock or wrapping paper to the wire hanger and then dangle in front of your cat. This is a great replacement for the store bought dangle toy.

The one store made toy I love though and would not replace is my circle interactive scratch toy. My cat plays with it everyday and I have even trained my cat to come to the noise it makes. To recall me cat, I say her name but she doesn’t always reply so to encourage her to come I spin the ball in the toy. She runs to control every time !!

No matter if you buy toys or you make them yourselves, know that toys are an important part of an animals mental and physical stimulation. But if you do not want to feed into the billion dollar pet toy business, get creative and make a toy special for your animal that you know they will enjoy.

Remember you do not have to be rich to own an animal you just need to be loving and creative to give them what they need !!


How do you know when to progress with training new tricks?

If your dog is emitting sit on the first approximation (first time) you ask for it, move on to the next behavior. Down can be difficult for some dogs so work slowly. First ask your dog to sit say good (or any positive word) then reinforce that. With your dog still sitting get another treat say the word down and move your treat down to floor. if your dog moves his head downward take that, say good and reinforce. Now do it again but move your hand further down if your dog leans down further reinforce that. Now the next time when you start bringing your hand down to floor, say down and move your hand away from the dog on the floor. If he starts crawling down to get the treat, say good and reinforce that. This is called using small approximations or steps to get desired results. Dont expect your dog to just lay down. lean him down through positive reinforcement. I know some dogs just seem to get “down” but this method is great for dogs who just need more guidance. Remember also to always end on a positive. If your dog has improved at all after a few sessions stop and give them a play. Then after some time start again. Your dog will learn down in a day if you work on it in small positive steps. Anytime you dog doesn’t do what you want, ignore the behavior and ask again. Reinforce only improvements!!



How to get a dog to stop pulling on the leash

Even though all breeds can pull on the leash, those owners with large breed dogs have the most complaints. This is for obvious reasons: dogs are larger , harder to handle, and can physically over power you.
When it comes to pulling on the leash there are actually multiple ways for fixing the problem. So even though it is great to have options, you must realize that might mean trail and error. Be patient. Since this is a lengthy topic, I will concentrate primarily on leashes today and on pulling tomorrow.

First get the proper leash. Many dog owners have choker collars which I do not recommend. Don’t use aversive conditioning!!! Positive reinforcement over punishment always. There are fabulous leashes on the market for all dog types. So find the one that best suits your dog.

Here our 3 choices in leashes that will be great for your dog !

Front clip harness: A leash I recommend often, this leash clips in the front on your dogs chest. The point of this and why it is so effective is when dog suddenly pulls it is pulled right around to face you. This is very annoying for the dog and you will see a change in the behavior quickly.

Sporn Harness: I see many owners with these. The way this leash works is when the dog is pulling on the harness it will tighten slightly in the front around the legs. The dog will feel like their feet are being lifted off the ground. So larger dogs or aggressive ( bully) breeds that can knock you off-balance, this leash could be good for you. This leash puts you in control.

Head collar: This leash is becoming very popular for dog owners. The leash fits around the snout or mouth of your dog. Even though many owners swear by this leash it is not intended for dogs that lunge or pull abruptly or dogs that have eye or neck issues. Injuries to eye and neck are more common.

Now pulling while walking is not just about changing your dogs leash. Be behavioral ! Tomorrows blog will explain more behavioral aspects of this common dog problem.

But remember always set your dog up for success and a great comfortable leash for both you can your dog is a great start.





Puppy Housebreaking 101

Housebreaking!!!! Every carpets nightmare. Housebreaking is one of those behaviors you must have patience. First thing you need to do is start a routine. Dogs love routines and will wait and expect it. Dogs need walking first thing in the morning!!! Most likely if you walk them first thing in the morning they usually relieve themselves immediately. Say a tag line like ” go pee pee” before the need to go. This starts your dog on que words that will aid in housebreaking down the road. Then come inside feed your dog and then 30 minutes – 1 hour after walk them one more time . This is critical!!! People don’t realize how important this step is. Always set your dog up for success and I am telling you, your dog will need to go to the bathroom in the morning and after their morning feeding.

If you are in the house the rest of the day use the umbilical cord method. Keep your dog on a long leash attached to you, this way you’ll have fewer accidents. If you cannot supervise their behavior then crate or pen training necessary. Don’t give your dog your entire house off the bat. If they find a spot in your house to pee in and you don’t see it or catch it . Your digging yourself in a hole!!

Once your dog is consistent (no mistakes) give them more space and less supervision . Eventually your dog will be able to roam around everywhere and won’t have problems.

This involves patience!! Some dogs learn in two weeks with no problems and some dogs need months of training.