Your dog is behaving inappropriately. It’s embarrassing, it’s frustrating, it makes you look like a bad dog mom or dad. You just want the whirling dervish at the end of your leash to stop and behave. So, you pop and pull and yell, “No!” You are trying punishment to fix the problem.
Read more The Problem With Punishing Dogs
A lot of my time is spent discussing how dogs should behave. Is barking good or bad or both? “How do I stop the bad barking, but still feel safe? After all, that’s why I got a dog in the first place,” is a frequent conundrum for dog owners. As a trainer, I’ve discovered that the gold standard for having a “trained” dog to have a dog that knows “sit,” “down,” and “stay.” These behaviors are considered “basic,” and most owners stop teaching new things once they’re learned.
Read more What Every Dog Should Know
Television has ruined our expectations. Bad guys get caught in the 46 minutes between commercials, houses get torn down and rebuilt, animals get rescued and make a complete recovery, and dogs get amazingly “cured,” all in between selling us insurance, soda and toilet paper. If you’ve ever tried to do any of the above, you know it takes much longer. It’s not just the time to physically do the task, but there’s planning, purchasing, and clean up as well; and that’s if everything goes right! Imagine my surprise when I planned an hour to replace a broken window and wound up with 7 stitches in my thumb. Change is messy and it takes time.
Read more Great Expectations
This week I started with a new client who has a goal to do Therapy Dog work with her young dog. She’d like to train a lot of calm behaviors so the dog can go into hospitals and schools and not knock things over, which is a wonderful goal! Unfortunately, she’s been berated by a few friends for training her dog. Her friends think “dogs should be dogs,” and to train them turns them into “robots” who just live to do the bidding of their owners. It took me a few days to really ponder this line of thinking. This is by no means a full list of my thoughts, but is a starting point for discussion. How much is too much training, and is there such a thing?
Read more Is it unfair to train your dog?
I was reading this news article about a man that was abusing a 3 month old puppy with “allegedly kicking him and swinging him in the air.”
After I got over feeling sick to my stomach, I started thinking about force and training and dogs and “correction” and “punishment” and then I started feeling sick again. There is a great division in dog training over whether dogs need to know what they’ve done wrong in order to learn what they’ve done right, but the news article demonstrates that people don’t always have the best judgement or clear understanding of what constitutes “punishment.”
I was 12 when I went on my first airplane trip alone to visit relatives in Hawaii. It wasn’t the best trip. The captain didn’t let me see the cockpit, which I was told I could do, and when got off the airplane I didn’t see anyone I recognized. Eventually the plane was empty and the waiting room cleared and I was alone. My aunt and uncle had forgotten I was arriving.
While feeding the girls this morning, Pais plopped her behind right in front of the fridge blocking my ability to open it. She’s done this before. I usually open the door a crack, she sees the movement and moves. This morning I grabbed the handle and waited a beat. She moved.
Using rituals during dog training can be very helpful. Rituals include a series of cues that can mean “It’s time to train!” or “We’re done training!” and are useful for letting your dog know what’s coming next. For competition, rituals are great for entering and exiting the ring. They can also allow your dog to communicate with you. When your dog breaks a ritual there is usually a problem.
Most dog trainers know the difference between a positive reinforcement (“Good dog!” or giving a treat,) and a punishment (a collar pop or “No”,) but it’s not up to the trainer to tell the dog what is good and what is bad. The dog decides what it likes and what it doesn’t like.
Read more The positive and the negative