I read an article in the New York Times a while ago, called Who Invited the Dog? about certain people feeling slighted if they are not allowed to take their dogs to social events or family gatherings.
Chicago Paws Dog Training Blog
Providing clear instructions is critical in dog training. Have you ever thought about the cues we give our dogs from their perspective? Over the years I am sometimes completely amazed that a given dog is able to understand the trainer at all. All trainers present many different signals to their dog without knowing it. Have you ever said, "Sit" at the same time you are moving your hand in the "Sit" hand signal that you have taught your dog? That is called "blocking", which is presenting a dog two signals at the same time. The dog might learn one signal, both, or neither. In that case, is the cue for "Sit" the verbal cue, the hand signal, or the combination?
This morning I took my three dogs, Ranger, Trooper and Linus to the park. This is a necessity since I have two Collies and a Sheltie and live in Chicago. Until someone moves in with a flock of sheep to keep them busy, it is my responsibility to provide them with a heavy dose of physical and mental stimulation. So, I took them to a park near my house and played Frisbee with them and threw the Kong on a rope. As usual I also worked on training to keep them sharp. I asked them to stop, come, go left, go right, finish, stay, etc. They had a lot of fun and were their normal goofy, wonderful selves.
In my daily dog training life I am constantly asked a simple question: How much exercise does my dog need? The answer depends on your dog. When my Collie, Ranger was a puppy, he needed three hours of exercise per day. How did I know he needed that much? When I did not provide him that much he was agitated, barked in the crate, was destructive and was just not as enjoyable to be around.
I got a sad call from a new client recently. She said her dog was showing signs of dog-dog aggression and, from the advice of someone in the dog park, she hired a trainer that uses choke chains. She said initially the training wasn't too physical, but she ended up firing him because of his increasingly abusive techniques when dogs were around her dog.
Everyone is busy. My wife and I have a wonderful new baby boy and it is challenging to find time to work with my dogs, satisfy all of my client's expectations and have time to breathe.
I am sure you are busy as well and can never find enough time to train your dog. Here are some tips to help you find the time.
I realized that I never taught my dogs what "Come on guys let's go for a walk" meant. That was many years ago, and since then I have taught them that, but it reminded me of the importance of consistent teaching and that . . . dogs don't understand synonyms!
I work with dog-dog aggression a lot. I get lots of practice in the congested city of Chicago, and I use techniques that work. As with any training topic, there are many competing strategies out there, but I urge you to think about the psychology of anxiety and aggression.
On Friday I met a client for the first session and met his wonderful 1.5 year old Labrador Retriever named Riley. Our session ended after some fantastic leash work, placement cues and some work on Stay. As I was leaving, my client opened the door for me just as a delivery man was opening the door on the ground level. My client immediately saw the worst. The door was open, the gate was open and Riley ran through both.
While working with a private client recently, we ran into another local Chicago trainer. It was interesting, because we were both teaching our clients the exact same lesson, using different philosophies. The goal was to have our dogs meet each other calmly. My client and I were walking a 2 year old wheaten terrier, and the other trainer and his client each had a dog that they were working with.
Stubborn dog? This little word "stubborn" gets so many dogs in trouble. I hear this word used very frequently to describe a dogâ€™s behavior. It often is used to describe a dog that will not come when called or perform another behavior such as â€˜sitâ€™.