Tips and Techniques for teaching basic dog obedience to your dog

Help Your Dog Beat the Heat

Help Your Dog Beat the Heat

If you don’t help your dog beat the heat, you may have big problems later. That would be a tragedy.

Help Your Dog Beat the HeatWe walked our three dogs today — mid-day — for a very short potty break only because the electricians were working in the already brutally sunny back yard.

The asphalt street and the concrete sidewalks were cooking hot – so much that our dogs were “picking them up and putting them down” fast to get on the grass where it was at least 15 degrees cooler on their paws.

This got me to thinking about the heat from your dog’s perspective, especially those with heavy coats.

There are three areas of concern where you can help your dog beat the heat:

  1.   Running/exercising your dog outside
  2.   Back yard dogs braving the heat
  3.   Doing errands with your dog in the car in the heat

Running/exercising your dog outside

It’s always good to hear that so many people take their dogs on a run with them. Exercise and obedience training is good for your dog and aids in preventing dog behavior problems.

However, use common sense when taking your dog out on extremely hot days.

Here are some tips that can help your dog beat the heat. Remember, he can’t speak to let you know his discomfort so be sensitive and smart for his sake.

Don’t run or exercise your dog outside mid day. Schedule your time early or late when it is cooler.  

Shorter runs are better.  Don’t require your dog to run miles with you in the heat.

I see it all the time at Memorial Park, the dog is struggling to keep up with its owner on those hot trails with all those cars going by.  Pay attention.

Carry water on your run for your dog and take frequent breaks for his sake. He wants to keep up with you and not disappoint you— so notice if he is struggling to keep up.

Remember his pads may burn on hot surfaces. Try standing on your running surface in your bare feet as a test.

Dogs can sunburn. If your dog has a short coat, be concerned about how long he is out in the sun.

Back yard dogs braving the heat

Don’t leave your dogs in the back yard in the heat unless you absolutely have to.

If that is the case make sure they have plenty of shade to get out of the direct sun and plenty of fresh water to keep hydrated.  

Having a wading pool (Wal-Mart kiddie pool) with 3-4 inches of water in it to cool down your dog as needed would also be helpful.  Keep this in the shade.

Older dogs, younger dogs, dogs that are overweight need to be kept out of the heat for sure.

Snub-nosed breeds such as Bulldogs (English and the Frenchie), Pugs, Shih Tzu’s – just to name a few, need to stay inside. You know that if it is in the mid-90’s in Houston, the “feel-like” temperature is triple-digit.

Running errands with your dog in the heat

My four words of advice on this: Don’t even do it.

When you run errands, leave your dog at home. I suppose if you had someone that could ride with you and stay in the car with your dog – engine running with the a/c on – it would be okay.

But never leave your dog in a parked and locked car – even with the windows cracked.  You will cook your dog. Don’t do it – not even just for a second. It only takes seconds to severely injure or kill your dog.

In summary

Know your dog so that you can more easily recognize when something is wrong. Your dog’s normal temperature should be around 101 degrees. Consider anything over 103 an emergency and get your dog to the vet.

And speaking of the vet, would you be able to call and locate an emergency vet clinic in a panic?

Keep your emergency information (vet phone number or an emergency vet number) handy and with you at all times just for such an emergency.

Last but not least: Learn the signs of heat stroke in your dog.

These include:

  •    excessive panting
  •    drooling
  •    rapid pulse
  •    fever

Cool downs and rehydrating are critical. Cool your dog down with cold towels or ice packs wrapped in towels and get your dog to your vet immediately.

Avoiding all the pitfalls of summer heat can keep your dog safe for years to come.

We’re always learning and there’s a bunch of you out there we are grateful to be able to serve and learn from.  I’m really interested in your thoughts and opinions on this. Comment below, I’m here to help.

Remember:  “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

If your dog is a brat, Ground Rules for Great Dogs will help you get him from bratty to behaved.

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 9000 clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.

Obedience Training Has No Practical Value Unless Used Every Day

Obedience Training Has No Practical Value Unless Used Every Day

Getting any dog, even under ideal conditions, does not guarantee a well-adjusted dog. Most new puppy or dog owners take a group obedience training class and figure – done!

But it takes more than just obedience training. Here’s what one such owner had to say about her newly acquired adolescent terrier mix just after finishing a group class.

“My dog is a little too excited all the time He does not follow commands and seems to have a mind of his own when I want him to pay attention to me. Often I just feel like yelling at him or I tell him to do the same thing over and over again. It doesn’t work. Everything seems so complicated and overwhelming.”

Dogs will not be changed into great dogs with a single group obedience training class. Dogs can learn to sit, down and come if taught. But, unless you actively put these commands to use in your home every day in practical situations, it will have little every day value.

You begin to gain real every day value when you actively work your dog daily to sit for greetings, sit to eat, sit for affection, and sit to go out to pee or come in from the back yard.

And of course it helps if everyone is on the same page in your home. In other words, when your dog turns to interact with anyone else in the family he should be required to at least do a sit.

Sitting begins to set a strong foundation of expectations or rules to follow. This helps your dog to look to you for direction on his behavior instead of making decisions “like a dog”. If you practice setting simple rules for your dog you will be amazed at the “long term” results.

Obedience Training Has No Practical Value Unless Used Every Day

Don’t expect over night success

Even though you want it, your dog will not be transformed over night. He will need constant daily reminders and work.

Don’t allow your dog to be pushy. What do I mean by this? If your dog tries to run out the door ahead of you, that’s pushy. If, when following you around the house, your dog anticipates your destination and darts ahead of you, that’s pushy.

Instead of allowing pushy, promote politeness. Teach sit at the door. Proceed through the door and release your dog to follow you. The same would apply to stairs. Teach your dog to sit or wait at the top or bottom of the stairs until you get up or down. Then release your dog to follow.

While you can see very encouraging results in days or a week of training, do not get over-confident. Remember to work your dog around natural distractions that are relevant to your every day lifestyle. It will take approximately 4-6 weeks of daily work around distractions for your dog to “get it.” Also, to better help you achieve a polite dog that everyone wants around all the time consider using your leash in the house to reinforce the behaviors you want from your dog.

For example, if your dog is always jumping on the couch and into your personal space “without” being invited, teach “settle” by your feet on the floor in front of the couch. After 5 minutes of “settle” ask for a sit and then invite your dog up next to you.

Teaching this “settle” command to your dog is probably best accomplished on leash for optimum results. If done correctly and consistently the results will be nothing short of amazing.

“Settle”

Dogs that jump on me when I enter someone’s home are trying to get my attention.

I teach the owner to leash the dog and allow him to sniff-greet through a 2” crack in the door (door not opened all the way to greet.) This is followed by a sit off to the side and a “settle” while you are talking with your guest in your family room. Give your pup a stuffed Kong toy if necessary to redirect his well-intended attention away from your guest.

The bottom line

When you experience what you perceive as “bad” behavior the reality is, it is usually just normal dog behavior. It just doesn’t match up with how you think your dog should act.

As you begin looking for strategies and solutions that work, straight-forward, simple to understand concepts and principles of obedience training will be easy to implement.

Being consistent with obedience training every day in every way may be more challenging but it begins to provide you with every day practical value. Obedience training is something your dog will carry with him the rest of his life and make you proud.

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you. I truly hope you found answers and hope for helping your dog. Don’t be a stranger. I’d love to hear what you think.

Please come over to my Facebook page to let me know how this article helped you and the way you think about training your dog. Are you looking at it a little differently? Remember:

“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.

His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your dog understands what you expect of him, you empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.

 

walkingyourdog

Walking Your Dog

Walking your dog is just plain fun! It provides the highest level of enjoyment for you and your dog.

But it can’t be fun if you don’t feel like you have total control and your dog is secure and safe on a flexi-lead. Without a doubt, every dog owner should decide which leash is better for them. Will you use a flexi-leash or would you prefer a fixed length leash – 6’ or shorter?

 

 

I must say that, with the exceptions of going to the vet or some place for outside dining where pets are permitted, I enjoy the flexi-lead for walking our dogs.

Not only do they have the most fun but they get almost twice the exercise as I frequently call them back to me throughout the walk. Another benefit to frequent recalls is that they are always “checking in” with me.

Dogs love to walk and explore. The flexi-lead gives them the opportunity to do just that. We leash walk our dogs at the beach, in many state park environments and local parks and I’m convinced that they have had a better time being able to maximize their time on their fiexi-leads – all the while complying with the local leash laws.

Understand that the goal is not to get your dog to heel on your side all the time, but just to walk on the flexi-leash and enjoy the walk with you. As long as your dog isn’t pulling and you both are enjoying the walk, it’s a win-win situation.
For me it’s a highly effective and kind method for teaching your dog to walk politely on a leash. There are no special collars, no beating up on your dog and no gimmicks.

On a 6’ leash, your dog is already pulling at 3, 4 or 6 feet from you depending on where you hold the leash. This can’t be fun for many new dog owners or even veteran dog owners who still haven’t taught their dog to heel.

Of course you should teach your dog to heel next to you as this works better for you in close quarters like at the dog store, vet office or walking your dog in a retail setting.

While heeling you dog is good for certain situations, being able to flex out on a neighborhood walk, at the beach or state park and feel somewhat free has got to be the next best thing to free-flight for your dog. I know it is for ours!

Guidelines for Flexi-Leash Walking

While using a retractable leash may seem simple, it would pay you big dividends if you considered the following guidelines:

1. Make sure your flexi-leash is of the appropriate size/length for your dog.

• Check the package for recommended length and size for your dog’s weight

2. Learn how the flex-leash works and be comfortable using it in all situations.

• Know how to use the stop button which stops the dog from moving out

• Know how to use the lock button which locks the leash at a certain length

3. Go to a neighborhood park to practice out in the opening before getting into more complex situations like narrow neighborhood streets with cars.

• A small neighborhood park allows you to practice walking your dog on a flexi-leash because you have a lot of room, it’s all grass instead of just sidewalks and streets

4. If convenient, carry a back up leash just in case.

• Just in case you become uncomfortable with your flexi leash, you have a regular leash to put on your dog5. Take food treats for training on your walks – no matter where you take your dog.

• Great motivator to get your dog to come to you once he’s flexed out on the lead. Frequent recalls are important.

6. Do some dog training and make sure your dog knows the come and sit commands outside and in areas where you frequently walk your dog.

• This is what makes using a flexi-lead work with your dog because the training and the recalls keeps you in control.

7. Practice these commands frequently and once your dog comes, get him to sit – click/praise/treat and then release him to go explore once again.

Caution

If your dog is extremely bossy, hard to control, out of control or exhibiting behavior problems, the flexi-lead may not give you the control you need for best management of your dog in social situations.

Instead, just continue to use his 6’ leash to walk and control your dog better. Once he is under control, then you can consider giving him a little more leeway by using the flexi-lead – if you wish.

“Sharing is Caring” What Do You Think? Let us know your thoughts on today’s issue by commenting below.

“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8500+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.

His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step way to teach your dog how to be a great family member.

teach the sit command

Dog Training: Consistency Not Time Is The Key

In dog training, consistency, not time, is the key to your success. Often times I find that owners get lazy (their dog training lacks consistency), they put their dog training off to the last minute or they just don’t do the work at all.

I think many dog owners don’t do the work because they think that dog or obedience training is very time-consuming and they just don’t have that kind of time.

I’ll agree, time is one commodity we are finding we have less and less of these days.

Rather than worrying about the time it will take you to get your dog to do what you want (the end result), “discover the value and benefits of being in the training process.” You’ll wake up one day and realize you’ve achieved your end result – and you’ve enjoyed the ride!

 

Dog Training and Consistency

Let me explain

It no doubt will take “some” time to train your dog but not as much time as you may think. There are two places in your relationship with your dog where obedience training should be; in formal training sessions and in “discovering the value and benefits of being in the training process with your dog.”

Formal training sessions

One place is in formal training sessions with your dog (this is where you think you see the time issue I believe.)

Here’s how to better view your time issue on training. Limit your dog obedience training to only 6 minutes a day. That’s right, only 6 minutes a day. AND, don’t do the 6 minutes all at once.

Break it down into 3 short 2 minute training sessions each day. Put time in between the sessions for you to do other important stuff for you. Your dog needs time to think about his lessons anyway.

Time is not important. BUT, being consistent is the key. Who doesn’t have 6 minutes a day for their dog?

Practice sits and downs consistently each day without distractions at first. Then gradually add distractions that will be relevant to your situation; i.e. visitors at the front door or stay off the furniture.

Always train your dog on a leash or long line depending on what you are working. Being consistent with leash and line work, especially around visitors, keeps the message the same – you are in control.

Always use high value training treats. Never allow your dog to predict what you are going to use on any given day as a treat. Consistently keep him guessing by switching the treat choices each day. Don’t forget lavish praise for doing a great job. It will be important to wean him off treats properly so that he works “just for the praise.”

Be consistent in presenting yourself as a strong leader. How do you do this? Provide rules, boundaries and expectations he can live up to for you by keeping him on an earn-to-learn program. He must do at least a sit for everything he wants.

So what’s the common thread? Consistency! Not time. You will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Keep your training simple by listing your dog’s behavior problems:  (jumping),

what causes them (visitor)

and then what you would prefer your dog do instead (sit to greet.)

Simply put in your 3 – 2 minute training sessions each day (6 minutes total) and before you know it you will have a perfect pooch!

 

Discover the value & benefits of being in the training process

The other place is “discovering the value and benefits of being in the training process with your dog.”

The value of the training process is:   growing a relationship between you and your dog with your teaching your dog how to succeed in our world.

Not making your dog into something different, but taking his natural instincts and using those to help him understand rules, boundaries and our expectations.

The value is a better relationship with your dog.

The benefits are clearly a well behaved dog for you – in public and private.

 

Here’s how this works

 

As you normally interact with your dog every day, begin to be aware of the many, many opportunities to ask your dog for a sit that could be lost if you don’t think about it in the moment.

Here are some opportunities to get your dog to “ask” you for stuff he wants

Sit to greet you when you get up in the morning.
Sit before you let him outside to go potty and sit before he comes back inside.
Sit for food.
Sit to put his leash on for his morning walk.
Sit in the house before he goes for his morning walk.
Sit frequently on his morning walk – at curbs and more.
Sit before you go back inside the house.
Sit for affection.
Sit for a game of fetch or tug and a sit to end the game as well.
Sit to say goodbye for work.

My guess is you could be requiring more sits of your dog than you are now – if you think about it.

Train your mind to remember to ask – and ask consistently. They all begin to add up. You’ll be glad you did.

This relationship training with sits creates “clear expectations” of life rules for your dog that you and he will appreciate for years to come. A simple sit opens the doors to many things for your dog.

Work together with your dog to create a nurturing environment in which he thrives.

A thriving dog is a well-behaved dog. Remove your dog’s stress, practice with patience, and give your dog what he needs – a roadmap to success

A positive dog training program with food treats is not only extremely good for you and your dog, if done correctly and consistently it can create an incredible “relationship-building” quality and doesn’t require nearly the amount of time you might expect.  Trust me.

“Sharing is Caring”  What Do You Think?  Let us know your thoughts on today’s issue by commenting below.

“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8500+ clients,  has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.  His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step way to teach your dog how to be a great family member.

Flying_Shih_Tzu_2068708

Dog Obedience: Not coming when called

My dog won’t come when called!”  I hear this a lot from people who call looking for the secret to a great recall or come command.  Another thing that I notice is that when they call, it’s always immediately following a crisis like: the kids left the front door or back gate open and the dog got out.

I’ve also had a neighbor ask me, “Have you ever tried to call a 130 lb. Great Pyrenees (using every form of bribery known to man) that sits his butt down in the front yard of a house two doors down and won’t budge? “

While there’s “no time like the present” to start training, one can’t help but wonder what kind of training has been going on up to that point with each and every dog owned by all these people.

So I asked.  

The overwhelming response was:

“We took a basic dog obedience class when our dog was a puppy and we thought our training was done.”

Group class does provide a good beginning for teaching your dog the basics – but there’s much more than that. Once you get the tools and your dog learns to come on a long line for food treats, you’ve only just begun.

There is much more time and work that needs to go into training your dog

You need to make a list of all the distractions “that are important to you” where you would need your dog to come when called.

For example:   if you have children who play in the front or back yard and your dog is out there off leash, and you would need to call your dog back in the house.

Someone once asked me, “How will I know my dog knows the come command?”  My answer was, “If you can take your dog to five different locations (with different distractions in each location) and do the come command five times in each location on a long line, then there’s a good chance your dog has learned to come when called “on a long line.”

A good friend and past client, with whom I had specifically worked on the come command, called a while back and said that there are two rowdy dogs on the other side of her back yard fence that are always barking. When she lets her dog out they begin fence fighting and carrying on something awful and she cannot get her dog to come off the fence to her.

Well, even though she had trained her dog to come when called and had worked her dog in five different locations as I had explained, there were a few other things that contributed to his selective hearing:

He was not on a leash or line.
Many people think that once you train your dog on leash, he’ll listen to you off leash. This is not always true. And, the more head-strong your dog, the more likely this is true.

He was in “his” territory.
It’s funny how dogs begin to guard their territory. If he thinks it’s his back yard, this tends to increase the distraction even more. With him being off leash, this allowed him to practice territorial aggression while playing keep-away from his mom.

This was a distraction around which she had not practiced
Once your dog learns the basics of the “come command” you need to practice around distractions that are important to you.  She needed to get out her long line and begin working with her dog in the back yard with the other dogs present. As you see new distractions come up, get your long line out and begin to work your dog so that he eventually learns to always come to you no matter what.

Her relationship with her dog was not as balanced as it should be.
She had become very content in her relationship with her dog. She was not making him earn everything such as his food, access to space (sofa time with her) toys and love and affection.  As a result, her dog began to “not do” things she asked of him – like no jumping on her or her house guests barking out the front window, etc.

I recommended that she use pack activities like eating together, playing together, resting together, walking together and training together as opportunities to strengthen and balance her relationship with her dog.

I asked her to:

1.   Require her dog to sit and/or down to participate in one of the above activities. That was reasonable.
2.     Schedule these activities at the same time daily makes it predictable.
3.     Do these activities every day with your dog to keep it consistent.

If everything she does with her dog is reasonable, predictable and consistent, she will find that her dog’s stress and anxiety is greatly reduced.

In last Thursday’s article on barking I discussed using a whistle to interrupt the barking then call your dogs to you.  I mentioned that the whistle would help you get a good come command. Here are the steps you need to take to begin your training on the come command.  This training would be before you take your dog out to the five different locations:

1.  Teach your dog the come command at home in a distraction-free environment.
2.    Give your dog a tug on the long line as you say, “Rover here!”
3.    If after you tug, you back up quickly 2 to 4 steps, you will activate his prey drive causing him to run fast toward you.
4.    Praise/treat when he comes to you.
5.    Once he “gets it,” practice around distractions that are relevant to you.

By doing these activities every day at predictable times, she will also find that her dog will begin to look at her in a different way – a way of being important to him. Her dog will want to “belong” so he will start seeking her approval to be a part of her pack. This behavior means her dog will work for the things she wants from him – sitting for greetings instead of jumping and the other things dog owners complain about – including not coming when called.

Make long line training on the come command an everyday event when you walk your dog.  Keep a mental list of the distractions “that are important to you” and work him around them every day.  You will have a more obedient dog because he wants to listen to you.

Please comment below and tell us if you have problems getting your dog to come when called.

Sharing IS Caring:  please share with others by “Tweeting” and “Liking it  Below on Facebook”

“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Don’t forget to come chat with us on Facebook.  We talk dog big time over there and are happy to answer your questions!

Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years.  One of his clients says it best: There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.  Jane Wagner

(c)Jim Burwell Inc.

 

 

Tips for Obedience Training Your Dog

Dog Obedience Training- Easy Tips

Obedience training means training your dog to be well behaved – and that means something different to every dog owner and their dog. 

Some with big dogs need loose leash walking and no jumping. Others with small dogs may not have a pulling problem but want to solve other issues with their dog like begging at the table.

I like to use positive reinforcement training (food treats).  And if you are comfortable, get the hang of using a clicker in your dog training. A clicker is used to click when your dog does what you want.  The reasons a clicker works so well is that no matter who clicks, to say “good dog” it sounds the same.

Timing is critical in dog training. For example, if you are teaching a sit, you click the exact second your dog sits – then quickly treat your dog.  If you are not comfortable with using a clicker, simply say, “Good!” when your dog gives you the behavior.  Again, your voice will do just fine.

 

Tips for Obedience Training Your Dog

 

 Tips On Obedience Training Your Dog To Make it Easier:

 Scheduling you dog’s training

Make sure you are consistent in training your dog every day – ideally at the same time each day.  This will provide your dog with an expected dog training routine. You will find that your dog is more motivated if you schedule your training when he’s been crated for a while and just before mealtimes. Schedule 3 obedience training sessions each day and keep them short – 2-3 minutes max will do the job.

Where you train is important

Practice in your house at first where there are few distractions. Then, once you dog is doing will with little distraction, begin to add distractions that will be important to you; lots of kids around the house, in your back yard or in other environments like Starbucks.

Always train your dog on leash                                                                                               

Always train your dog on leash – yes, even in the house. Always using the leash will keep your message the same: you are always in control. It will also keep him from drifting out of the classroom until the bell rings!

Treats for training                                                                                                              

Always use high value treats to teach your dog new commands. Change up your treats often to keep your dog guessing as to what he will be getting that day – he’ll stay motivated!

Setting up daily routines is good for your dog                                                                  

Establish a pattern of routines that he can predict will happen every day. By this I mean, things as simple as sitting for his meals, sitting for affection from you, sit or down for access to your furniture, sit before walks.  This will keep his stress and anxiety down minimizing any dog behavior problems because he understands that “he gives you something you want and then he gets what he wants”.  It’s always the same, and the sameness is important to him.

Dog obedience training is important. Not only does it give your dog a sense of working for you but it helps you to establish commands to which you can redirect unwanted dog behavior , i.e. sit instead of jumping up, lay down instead of begging at the table or walk nicely instead of pulling on leash.

Remember – be patient and have fun with your dog.

Sharing is Caring:  Please comment below and tell us what obedience commands are important for you and your dog.

Also please share with others by “Tweeting” and “Liking it on Facebook”

 

“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

 

Don’t forget to come chat with us on Facebook.  We talk dog big time over there!

Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years.  One of his clients says it best: There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.  Jane Wagner

(c)Jim Burwell Inc.

 

Dog Halloween Safety Tips

Dog Halloween Safety Tips: Costumes, Candy and More

Halloween can be lots of fun for kids and even adults. But it’s a holiday that dogs may find genuinely frightening. Dogs will encounter many rowdy costumed children, tempting treats and they may even be forced to wear their own dog Halloween costume.

Dog Halloween Safety Tips

If you have done work on dog obedience training with your dog, this is a great time to use those commands.  Skills like sit, down or place can be particularly helpful.

Nothing is more frustrating or irritating than having your dog charge the door when the doorbell rings. During Halloween, this can also be especially dangerous.

So, what do you do?  Well, if you have an extra pair of hands (such as a family member) to help you, you can  take this time to work your dog on what you’ve already taught him with obedience training.  So each time the trick-or-treaters ring the doorbell,  you have your dog do the  preferred behavior of:  sit, down or go to place while someone else answers the door.   

I cannot think of a more opportune time to work your obedience training – using all those free, built in distractions.  Leila and I do this every Halloween just to reinforce what we want the dogs to do instead of bark at the front door. 

So turn on your porch light and get ready early. Work your dog on leash for best results and to keep your dog “in the classroom” so to speak.

As Halloween approaches, also be thinking “safety” with your dog. Here are some things you might not have thought about as you prepare your safety “check list.”

  1. Walk your dog in plenty of time before trick-or-treaters start their visits.  This manages their energy before all the chaos begins.
  2. Explain to everyone in your home – especially kids – how dangerous candies are to pets. Keep dogs out of the candy bowl.
  3. Ingesting tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.
  4. Make sure the dogs can’t get into the trash. Be aware of dog poisoning from:  Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause nerve damage and even death in dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more concentrated it is. Raisins are also extremely hazardous for dogs.
  5. Candies containing the artificial sweetner Xylitol (like sugar free gum) are poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of this can cause symptoms of dog poisoning such as  a sudden drop in blood sugar which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures.
  6. Pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively non-toxic, yet they can produce gastrointestinal upset if ingested by your dog. If they swallow a large piece, it could also cause intestinal blockage.
  7. Dress-up can be a big stress maker for dogs. Please don’t put your dog in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it. If you do put a costume on your dog make sure the dog can breathe, see and hear and that the costume is flame retardant. Remove any small or dangling accessories that could be chewed or swallowed. No rubber bands – they cut off circulation.  Allow your dog to feel safe in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treat hours. Too many visitors can stress a dog.
  8. If you do allow your dog to go to the door with you be sure to have a baby gate across the opening to prevent someone accidentally letting your dog out.
  9. At the front door, make sure your dog is on leash.
  10. Make sure your dog’s ID on his collar is current and ON the collar.
  11. Keep your dog inside on Halloween do not leave him or her in the backyard. You do not want your dog to be subject to taunting by children or worse.
  12. Here is one most people do not think of: allow your dog to get used to people in costumes PRIOR to Halloween night.

Your dog may regard his family members as strangers once they put on their Halloween costumes. Before the kids put them on, allow your dog to scent the costumes. Keep masks off while your dog is around. Do NOT allow your kids to scare or taunt the dog while in costume (they should not ever do that anyway)

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays but it is stressful for lots of dogs.  Keep your pet’s safety in the forefront of your mind and do not eat too many chocolates.  They ARE for the trick or treaters you know :-)

Remember, Together We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog!

I hope you found this article to be useful.  Comment below on what you’re doing this Halloween that might include your dog.  Let other’s know about this great info by sharing on Twitter and YOUR Facebook page.

Don’t forget you can find us everyday on Facebook.  Come on over and ask your doggie questions there—-we have a good time answering questions!

Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years.  One of his clients says it best: There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.  Jane Wagner

(c)Jim Burwell Inc.


 

Dog Walking Leah Pulling

Dog Walking – Leash Pulling

Dog walking can be fun – and without leash pulling. Yes, both you and your dog can enjoy a fun and relaxing walk without all the hassles of pulling. Someone had asked – actually chatted with me on FaceBook, complaining about their dog pulling on leash. So, I thought I’d expand a little more about walking your dog and how to actually enjoy it at the same time. Can you imagine wanting to stay out to continue walking with your dog instead of thinking, “I can’t wait to get home because my arm is getting yanked out of its socket?”

Let’s face it – Houston is a great place to be with dogs. Subdivisions are being planned with greenbelts which include walking and running pathways. There are places to go even if you live in a high rise or apartment: Memorial Park, Herman Park, The Arboretum and I recently found a paperback book at Barnes and Noble Book Shop that lists all the hiking and biking trails and marks the ones best suited for you and your dog. There’s no better way to get out and enjoy the companionship of your best friend – with the emphasis on enjoy.
Dog Walking Leah Pulling

There are a lot of schools of thought out there about the “proper way” to walk your dog. Some would have you always walk you dog at heel by your side with no flex time for dog fun. I think even with that there can be some room for compromise so that your best friend gets to enjoy at least part of the walk.  After all, dogs love to sniff and explore with their noses and can’t do that if they are require to always walk by your side.  

Then there’s all the concern about – if your dog is out in front, you’re not the leader. Some even think that if your dog is out in front all the time, you have no relevance and your dog won’t listen to you.  How do you walk your dog? What should the rules be for your dog? Well, let’s take a look at it bit by bit:  Why dogs pull, humane equipment that makes walking your dog easier and styles of walking.

 Why dogs pull

Dogs naturally walk faster than we do and attaching them to a short leash (even 6 feet can be short for some dogs) can cause leash pulling problems almost immediately. Dogs naturally pull against any pressure they feel on the leash. This natural instinct is called “opposite reflex action” (there’s a fancier word for it but I forget) which simply means that if a dog feels leash pressure (pulling back on leash) he will pull in the opposite direction. Most have experienced this with their dogs. The same sensation may be experienced when you try to push a dog down into a sit and he locks his legs and doesn’t want to go down.

Leash pressure causes pulling. How can you relax the pressure on the leash and prevent pulling? You can train your dog to walk on a slack leash. This can take a while – to get your dog to pay attention to you and walk slower than he naturally walks to accommodate you. Let’s look at options that will help you to better control your dog on leash.

 Humane equipment that makes walking your dog easier

There are a few options out on the market that work great to prevent most pulling. Some of these are the Gentle Leader, Head Halti, Easy Walk Harness and Sensation Harness. The good thing about the harnesses is that the leash connection is on the breast plate of the dog – right in front – which really gives you much better control. The use of food treats “initially” to shape the behavior you want on a walk is also recommended. Most doggie owners don’t think about taking treats on walks but it really helps in maintaining attention at critical times.

Styles of walking

Here’s where many trainers take exception to how people walk their dogs. Aside from doing some kind of “leash pulling dog training,” here’s how I walk my dogs. My wife and I walk our dogs on Flexi-Leads – that’s the retractable leash. Now this is a personal decision that everyone gets to make. Why do we walk our dogs on Flexi-Leads? We do it because they are good dogs that obey our commands.  We don’t have behavior problems with our dogs. So they get to “have fun” on walks. To balance our walks we do frequent recalls (come command) get a sit and then release them to run  sniff and play.

I have a lady client that was having an extremely difficult time walking her 9 month old Labradoodle  that was not making her walks fun. She struggled with constant pulling on leash because she thought she had to keep her dog by her side. I introduced her and her puppy to the Flexi-Lead and the difference was night and day. Once her dog got out beyond the 6’ leash distance she didn’t continue to pull. We worked on doing frequent comes and sit to be released again.

For the longest I would walk my dogs on 20-25’ long lines and do frequent recalls. The long lines were not retractable but the dogs did well, always came when called – distracted at first but then would finally ignore distractions and always come. They thoroughly enjoyed their free walks with the come command sprinkled in here and there – always a surprise. They learned to turn on a dime and come immediately.

This style of walking may not suit everyone but I recommend you give it a try. Balance free time away from you (on the end of the Flexi-Lead or long line) with frequent recalls back to you, get a sit then release your dog again for more fun.

Sharing is caring.  Please comment below, we love to hear what you think about our blog posts.

And remember you can ask us questions on Facebook too!

Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years.  One of his clients says it best:

There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what
they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.  Jane Wagner

(c)Jim Burwell Inc.

Will Your Dog Only Listen for Food?

Will Your Dog Only Listen for Food?

Will Your Dog Only Listen With Food

Do you find yourself thinking, “My dog only listens if I have a treat”? I’ll bet your dog won’t come to you without a treat right?

Do you wonder just how you can get him to listen better?

You’ve done a good job at training so far, but at some point you know you need to learn how to train your dog without treats.

Here’s a great example of a dog listening without food treats:

I was at the park watching this dog owner working dog obedience with his dog; he put the dog, Buck,  in a sit stay and walked what seemed to be 50
yards away – the dog watching every move his owner made. The dog did NOT move!

Finally, the owner turned around and gave Buck a “Down!” command hand signal. He dropped immediately. Then the owner called Buck
to come to him.

It was amazing to see this dog bolt out of a down/stay on a fast run to its owner. Halfway there the owner gave another “Down!” command hand
signal and Buck dropped in its tracks – perfectly obedient.

I was really impressed.!  In fact, the other folks watching were impressed as well.

The owner did a final call to Buck to finish the exercise. His dog immediately ran to him and sat right in front, tail wagging and a huge smile on his face. For doing that, Buck got to fetch a tennis ball. No Treats! How cool is that!

That, my friend, is the kind of stuff great dogs and great dog relationships and dog obedience training  are made of.

This dog owner got his dog to come to him without treats but instead used lots of patience and lots of good, fun obedience training.

But your question at this point should be:  How do I stop using treats to train my dog?

You’re stuck at:  Why will my dog only listen when I have a food treat?

There may be times you can’t use food treats or simply don’t have any treats with you. So what do you use as a substitute for food treats?

The answer may be easier than you think. Its time to “get crackin'” with a new, fresh approach to dog training.

Food Treats to Life Rewards in Dog Training

The first of the 3 non-food rewards are what we call life rewards. “What’s this?” you ask.

A life reward is any thing your dog enjoys doing in his daily life with you.

This can include:

  • a game of fetch with your pet
  • a dog walk or a jog with you in the park.

That’s his reward!

This is when we can make use of a training principle involving low and high value behaviors.

Now don’t get all upset and roll your eyes! I know it sounds complicated but it’s really not.

In fact, my guess is your parents used it on you as a child when they said to you, “You can’t watch TV (high value behavior.) until you do
your homework (low value behavior).” Am I right?

It could also be disguised as some other chore like, “You can’t go to the movies until you clean your room.” If it worked on you, it will work on your dog- trust me.

Require your dog to perform a series of sits and downs then play a good game of fetch.
You see, by this time you have already worked your dog on the obedience commands multiple times BUT you have using food treats and now you’ve just changed the reward from food to something he really likes – and possibly even more. AND, now the reward is interactive and that is a big PLUS in your dog’s eyes!

Another benefit of using life rewards in training your dog, is that this very same principle in which your dog figures out, “If I sit and down, then I get to play fetch…” shapes the very foundation on which your entire relationship with your dog is based.

You will see your dog begin to change in front of your eyes as he anticipates with excitement what the next reward will be. Dogs that have
been stressed or anxious in a relationship become calm because of this new structure.

Play as a Reward in Dog Training

Do you like to play with your dog and have you used play as a reward in training your dog? If not, you are missing the boat!

Using playtime as a reward – and I’m talking tug toys and other games you can play with your dog – can not only keep your dog’s interest
high when it comes to obedience training exercises, it is a fabulous way to build a strong positive relationship with your dog.

Previously we discussed life rewards in dog training, I first began to explore with you the idea of  using non-food treats because that begins to not only wean your dog off of food treats but help you develop a closer relationship – one of respect – with your dog.

Here we begin to expand your options to keep your four-legged companion’s interest in you high with excitement – always wondering “What’s
next?” and minimizing behavior problems.

In game playing, you are only limited to your imagination. Think about “hide and seek” or “find it” games which can be played around the
house – or even outside in the back yard.

Here’s an example of just one of the games I play with our black lab Sammy.

Each evening when I return from a day of training, Sammy greets me at the front door with a red Kong toy in his mouth, waiting to play his “find it” game. It’s a ritual he has begun to expect and enjoy immensely.

Here’s how it goes:

  • I take the Kong toy from Sammy, take it to the kitchen and place it on the counter.
  • I then send Sammy to his place (dog bed) as I locate his rope tug toy.I shut the door to the family room so Sammy can’t see me and I begin to go room-to-room to hide his rope toy which we affectionately call his “trade.”
  • I return and send Sammy from his bed to find his trade (the rope toy) which gives me time to stuff the Kong in the kitchen. By that time Sammy is back in the kitchen with his “Trade.”
  • I trade him the stuffed Kong for his “Trade” (rope toy.) Of course once he arrives in the kitchen, he has to sit and down to earn his Kongas well.

He dearly loves this game. He getting so good at the game, I’m going to have to sharpen my skills at hiding his “Trade.”

Offering a “Soft Touch and Soft Speak” as a Reward in Dog Training

Take the time to discover how receptive your dog is to soft words and touch or massage instead of offering a food treat.

While food treats are great to teach new behaviors, discovering another appropriate non-food reward as I just mentioned can prove to be a
great substitute for food treats.

You may already know if your dog is the “cuddly type” or stand offish.  It’s definitely not for every dog, but if your dog is a praise seeker he could be very receptive to a soft touch massage while at the same time you speak to him softly as you create a calm emotional state.

When you begin to consider transitioning over to massage and warm words, remember that this is following on the coat tails of weaning your
dog off of food treats as you put your dog through  their obedience training paces.

Just think, if after every training session, your dog comes to expect warm words with a massage, what a powerful way to not only build a stronger command response but a stronger relationship with your dog!

Another important thing to remember is that you should reserve using this dog training reward for when you can take the time to connect with
your dog on this level. In other words don’t try to use this kind of reward just before going out on a walk when he is least receptive to the calm and quiet of the
moment. Before walks just give a quick belly rub or a scratch on the chest after a few sits and downs just before you walk out the door.
You’ll know if it is right for your dog. If it is, practice this daily. You will be amazed with the results.

In fact, randomly use all the non- food rewards as you interact with your dog each day.


So, I’ve given you 3 alternatives to how to train your dog besides using food treats.
I firmly believe if you put one or all 3 of these choices into training your dog, you won’t be saying “My Dog Won’t Listen to me” anymore.

If you liked this article, show you care by sharing this great dog info – hit the LIKE button

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are with the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”  Come on over and let’s have fun on Facebook!

Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years.  One of his clients says it best:

There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant

Dog Training for Your Family Pet: Like Parenting Children

Good dog training for your family pet is very much like good parenting for children. They both  need to get the best tools they can, to navigate the potentially rough waters that life will throw into their paths.

Both need to be able to make the right decisions when presented with options. The only resource they have is you.  And dogs face the handicap of not being able to ask questions.

Kids need to know, or actually develop, keen instincts that allow them to choose good friends to hang with and make other good life choices.

Dogs need good tools to be able to make the right choices as well: don’t jump, don’t bark excessively or don’t chew up things that are not yours to chew – and this list goes on.

Okay. Maybe I’m not telling you something you don’t already know about dog training I guess my question then would really be, “are you doing something about it?”

My wife passed a story on to me she had recently read about a family vacationing in Hawaii. The Mom had taken her son for surfing instructions. The surfing coach kept repeating and teaching her son to “keep his butt down and knees bent or he could end up with his face in the coral reef.” The coach additionally said, “I had to make him hate me first to insure that he was safe above all other things.”

That may be slightly “over the top” in my way of thinking about my clients. I don’t want them to hate me and probably the firmest statement I’ve made is, “Don’t complain, train.”

The sooner you give your dog the right tools to navigate life’s rough waters, the better, happier, safer pet you will have.  And, for each owner who doesn’t properly train their dog to prepare it for life with us humans and our rules, there are many parents out there that don’t raise their kids anymore. They just give birth and let them run without any tools for living.

Affording your dog the opportunity of an education will create a lot less stress in your life and your dog’s as well. Everyone appreciates a well mannered, well trained dog – just as they do well mannered kids.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are with the teacher of your children. And remember,  “Opportunity Barks!”    [gplus count=”true” size=”Medium” ]

Sharing is caring.  If you liked this article please click the Facebook LIKE button below or at top of article.  Thanks!