Thursday, August 30, 2012

What to do about puppies with piranha tendencies

Puppy's bite.  They are not being bad, or dominant, or trying to raise their pack status, they are just being puppies.  This being said the sooner you can eliminate this behaviour the nicer that sweet little thing with those pointy teeth is to live with.

Our goal at all times it to build value for the behaviours we want, not just correct the behaviours we don't want.

Here are some suggestions to get you interacting with your puppy and not getting bitten.

Lead with a toy.  Instead of playing with your hands always have a toy for your dog to grab onto.  Tug is a great game and keeps the dogs teeth on the toy where they should be.

Reward the correct behaviour.  Start small, can you touch your dog with one finger without the mouth starting to search out a body part?  Great reward that.  Work up to a whole hand, then stroking, then handling.  Not only with this give you a dog that will allow petting without biting it is a great start for all handling including brushing and nail trims.

Give the dog a break.  Sometimes dogs just need to rest by themselves, leave them be.  

Lot's of time to work on this on those cold nights.

Have fun.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Humpy Bunny

All dogs at some point in there life hump something or someone or some dog.  It's normal and a sign of arousal, but lets face it as behaviours go it is embarrassing and therefore a behaviour you would like your dog to never do again.

Like any behaviour you have to figure out what you have and what you want.  Keeping in mind you can't teach a dog what not to do but what to do.

Sit usually is a  nice opposite behaviour to humping people.  Build value for sitting in front of people, for sitting when you approach people and for sitting when people approach you.

Humping while playing with other dogs is a little harder to work with but still completely fixable.  You need some skills first.

  1. Can you collar grab your dog. When you approach your dog does he move towards you or away.  Once you have the collar is he totally happy to sit there or does he snap and struggle.
  2. Can you collar grab your dog if he is playing in a field on his own.
  3. Can you collar grab your dog if he is playing in a field with one other dog.
  4. Can you collar grab your dog if he is playing in a field with multiple dogs.
How does your dog play with the other dog, does he constantly try to hump or do they just run around and wrestle.  If he constantly tries to hump you other need a different dog that he doesn't do this with or try you walking and not just standing still, dogs are a lot less likely to hump while moving.  Once you have achieved your dog playing with other dogs and not humping your dog is creating value for the appropriate way to play.  

Now whenever your dog goes to hump your job is to quickly go in and interrupt.  Take his collar walk him a few feet away, let him settle down a few seconds and then release to go play.  If he immediately goes back to humping take him out of the situation completely and reassess.

How much practice has your dog had for playing without humping.  You can try less dogs, different dogs, walking.  Some dogs get much too high playing with other dogs and need regular interruptions to get them back to an operant state.  Let the dog play for a few minutes and do a collar grab remove him from the play and ask for some skills e.g. sit, down, spin and then release to go play.

Any skill is all about practice.  The more he humps the more he will learn that is how you interact with other dogs, the more he plays and doesn't hump the more he learns that is how he plays with other dogs.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Making every day life rewards work for you

You reward your dog numerous times per day.  There are a million things that your dog finds rewarding that you control in your every day life.  Being cognizant of what those rewards are and how you use them will make a huge difference in how well behaved your dog is.  

Take for example opening the back door for your dog to go out.  Your dog jumps and barks at the back door because he sees a squirrel outside.  Without thinking about it you open the door because it makes the barking stop, which is rewarding to us.  Now lets look at what you are training.  Your dog is learning anytime he see a squirrel if he loses his mind, you will let him go chase the squirrel, from the dog's point of view there is very little that is a much higher reward than chasing a squirrel to most dogs.  The dog doesn't understand the difference of being on leash and squirrels aren't available but in the back yard they are, or you can chase the squirrel as long as you don't cross the road. 

Spend the next few days paying attention to all the behaviours your dog does that you really wish he would stop.  Start trying to figure out how they are being rewarded.  Keep in mind there are behaviours that are self reinforcing such as barking and are much harder to change because of that.

Remember for a behaviour to be repeated it must be being rewarded.  A behaviour without rewards will eventually fade.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's Training Time!

Believe it or not, all dogs want to learn. Whether it’s the most rambunctious pit bull, or the sweetest cocker spaniel, dogs want to have fun with their owners and be obedient. Shake-a-Paw Dog Training offers extensive training for not only the canine, but for the dog owner to continue working with the pup after dog training is complete.

Dog trainer, Paola Hoger is the owner and head instructor of Shake-a-Paw Dog Training, which serves the South Mountain, Kemptville and Winchester, ON areas. Paola will teach you how to train your dog in either group or one-on-one obedience classes so that you both can learn in the best environment for you.

Every dog has its own personality, but Shake-a-Paw treats all of our best friends with the respect and kindness they deserve during our dog training and obedience classes. We’ll always be patient with the dogs and their owners, because learning can take time and we are 100% understanding about that.

Trust dog trainer Paola Hoger and her team to properly train your dog so your dog can go home a polite and well-mannered canine. We promise, you’ll both be happier!