Author: ecraig

Out N About With Your Dog

Why bother training for public spaces?
So you can confidently and safely take your dog with you anywhere, and make the experience an enjoyable one for you both.

How to prepare.
Step 1. Think about the types of challenges you are likely to encounter:

• In a pet store: Bins full of goodies, other dogs, people who want to pet your dog.
• An outdoor café: Other dogs and people walking by, food within easy reach, kids running around, people who want to pet your dog.
• In a park: Other dogs, people, running children, trash on the ground, Frisbees and balls, people who want to pet your dog.

Step 2. Decide how you will handle potential challenges. Will you…

• Move away to create distance?
• Use treats as a food lure to recapture or keep your dog’s attention on you?
• Use commands your dog is well practiced at (sit, down, stay, watch, leave it, heel) to help guide your dog’s behavior? Which will you use in each situation?

Step 3. Go on your outing. Actively scan the environment so you can respond proactively to challenges rather than reacting when the distraction is already too close.

After you get home.
Assess how the outing went.

• What did your dog do well?
• What needs extra practice?
• Is there anything you want to do differently next time?

 

Is it important to socialize my puppy?

Socialization

What is it?
Socialization is the developmental process whereby puppies and adolescent dogs familiarize themselves with their constantly changing surroundings. It is how they work out what is safe and good as opposed to what is dangerous and not-so-good.

Anything you want your puppy to cheerfully accept as an adult—people of all kinds, animals, things, and situations—you must introduce her to often and in a positive manner in the first 6 months of her life. Then you have to make sure she stays comfortable with all these new things.

But puppies love everything already!
Sure they do. Until the early stage of their development draws to a close. At that point, they become wary of other dogs if they have met too few. And down the road, puppies can become shy or growly around children or strangers, too, unless they have met and enjoyed meeting a bunch of them.

Under-socialized dogs are at much greater risk of developing all sorts of behavioral problems stemming from fear—aggression, agoraphobia, and reactivity towards certain people and animals, for example.

Teach your puppy that the world is safe and prevent behavior problems in the future.

How to socialize your puppy.

• Think about the things your puppy will see every week as an adult: Visit those places, see those people, or experience those things now.

• Help your puppy form positive associations: Cheer and praise her when she encounters something new. Offer a treat whenever possible.

Step 1. If your puppy seems even a bit nervous, move a little distance away, give her treats, and then walk away—anything she is unsure about should be encountered in short bursts.

Step 2. As soon as your puppy seems more relaxed, try again. As she sees or hears the thing that scared her before, start your cheerful praise and break out the treats.

Step 3. If your puppy did not seem nervous with the new thing or acts curious about it after she has been treated, go back and let her investigate a little more. Again, praise and treat.

Here at Turd Herders k9 performance center we offer classes on raising puppies and puppy socialization.  We even occasionally have puppy play groups.  Contact us to find out more.  If you don’t live in our coverage area then contact your local dog training center.

 

 

How do I get my dog to stop barking?

Why does my dog bark?  How do I get my dog to stop barking?  How do I get my dog to stop barking when I want him to?  These are just a few of the many questions we get about dogs here at Turd Herders k9 Performance Center. When trying to get a dog to stop barking, it helps to know why they bark

Barking generally falls into five categories:

  1. Boredom barking happens when a dog is left alone often and doesn’t get enough exercise or mental stimulation. Dogs are like kids. If you don’t give them something fun to do, they entertain themselves—often in ways we don’t appreciate. So, step up the doggie workouts and get out the puzzles.
  2. Separation anxiety barking is characterized by constant home-alone barking usually coupled with other behaviors such as house soiling, visible anxiety upon departure and arrival, and destruction around doors and windows. In this case, barking is a symptom of the underlying anxiety, which is what needs to be addressed. Call us right away if you think your dog suffers from separation anxiety.
  3. Barrier frustration barking often comes with posturing such as snarling or baring of teeth. The three most common occurrences are: Dogs left in a backyard too long, dogs in cars, or dogs on leash that would be perfectly comfortable with whatever they are barking at (most often other dogs) if they were off leash.  With very social dogs, more time spent playing with other dogs and less time spent behind a barrier will greatly improve the problem. Not-so-social dogs first need to learn to enjoy other dogs. In the meantime, avoid unsupervised time in the yard or car.  In either case, always give your dog a treat when he sees another dog but can’t say hi.
  4. Demand barking occurs in dogs that have learned that barking gets them what they want—balls thrown, doors opened, dinner, or attention. To curb demand barking, immediately stop rewarding the barking: Ignore your dog or walk away when he barks. Pick times when he is quiet, tell him “Nice quiet,” and pet or treat him. If your dog barks when you work at the computer or talk on the phone, preempt his behavior. Settle him in his crate or on his bed with a toy or stuffed Kong before you sit down to work.
  5. Watchdog barking is triggered by sights and sounds such as passersby, slamming car doors, or a cat on the lawn. Watchdog barkers were sentries in a previous life. Teach your dog to respond to noises by getting a toy or barking once, then coming to find you. Keep blinds closed and don’t put your dog’s bed or his confinement area anywhere near a window or bay door. Crating your dog can be a great way to signal to him that he can take time off from his patrol duties.

To cut down on any kind of barking, give your dog plenty of exercise and arrange for mental stimulation when he is left alone. Feed him using puzzle toys or stuffed Kongs.  If these tricks don’t work, contact your trainer for other ways to keep dog barking to a minimum.

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