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dog behavior Houston, Jim Burwell

Bad Dog Behavior – Steps to Take

We’re talking dog behavior that’s driving you nuts.  A lot of dog behavior problems are caused by stress – your dog’s stress.  We give you simple solutions to fix the dog behavior that’s driving you and your dog nuts.  No matter if you’re dealing with dog behaviors such as house soiling, barking, charging the front door and more – let’s talk about it and give you some ways to turn that dog behavior around

Walking Your Dog Aggressive Dog

Walking your dog aggressive dog should not be frightening or even down right disastrous. But for some it is. It doesn’t have to be that way any more.


Before You Walk Your Dog Again

 

Walking Your Dog Aggressive Dog
Before you walk your dog aggressive dog again and really shatter your confidence, here are 3 “Management Principles” to follow for a more controlled and pleasurable walk with your dog.


Principle #1: Manage Your Dog


If you’ve been walking your dog with the wrong equipment, change it. This is especially critical if you have a large dog that is barely manageable on the leash, which is part of your problem.

“What’s wrong with my equipment?”. If you’ve been walking your big, reactive dog on a flat buckle collar or harness (leash attached top-back) you have no control. Even walking a dog on an Easy Walk harness may be difficult for some owners.

The discomfort of choke chains and pinch collars often cause pain or discomfort when correcting a dog for pulling.

Yanking and jerking on the leash to keep from being pulled might very well cause a negative association with the very dog(s) you want your dog to like.

Change your equipment. Walk your dog on a Gentle Leader. Manage your dog by controlling his head. I have seen big dogs easily managed by small owners with the Gentle Leader. I have also experienced a significant reduction of arousal and anxiety in many dogs while wearing the Gentle Leader.

You must read the instructions and watch the DVD that comes with the Gentle Leader so that you can desensitize your dog to wearing it before using it on a walk. This is not a long process. He’ll be good to go in a day.

Managing your dog also means don’t leave home without high value food treats to make a positive association with other dogs. Also do some obedience training on walks as well. Be prepared!

Be smart too. Invest in a bait pouch to hold your treats so that they are readily available. Don’t be stuffing them in your pocket or have to fumble with a zip-lock bag trying to reach a treat when you need it handy now!

The last thing for now on managing your dog is managing your own emotional energy. Staying calm will help your dog to feel calm on walks with you.

Principle #2: Manage Your Distance to Other Dogs


You’ve heard the saying, “Too close for comfort!” Well that holds true for working/walking your dog around other dogs in the beginning.

Every dog, yours included, has a proximity or distance to a distraction that will cause him to pay more attention to the distraction (dogs in your case) than to you when you are closer than you should be. Stay at a safe distance and work on sits and walking while praising and treating your dog for good behavior.

Backing up a few steps and asking for a sit using a high value food treat for attention is a good exercise. Praise and treat for a job well done. Repeat as often as you can whether you see dogs or not. Practicing on walks with no dogs in sight will help you improve your game when dogs are present.

Only get closer when your dog is under control and listening. If he becomes reactive, simply move back and keep on practicing.


Principle #3: Manage Your Leash


Most trainers know that a dog’s natural instinct is to pull or push against applied pressure. I’ve seen and felt it with our lab, Sammy. He’ll push against me with his body and as I use my hands to push back, he resists by pushing back.

You probably have experienced that with your dog as well. The same thing occurs on a leash walk. When you pull on the leash, your dog instinctively pulls in the opposite direction. That direction is usually towards the other dog.

The lesson here is to keep your leash slack to prevent your dog’s urge to pull. No doubt this will take time to master but including the other principles (managing your dog and the distance) makes all this possible in time.

Do your part for your dog with good management on walks. Keep these principles in mind and make them work for you and your dog. You’ll both be glad you did.

Also remember, the more your dog listens to you inside your home because you have taught him proper manners and boundaries, chances are he will listen to you better outside your home.

I’m always curious about your input – it’s important to me. Do you deal with this situation with your dog?

Comment below with your frustration and fear with this.


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

Jim Burwell has been Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and makes it work in your home with your family and dog. He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.

It’s Like My Dog Doesn’t Care What I Say

Dog Training: It’s Like My Dog Doesn’t Care What I Say

Dog training is critical in successfully managing your dog’s behavior. But, does it seem like your dog doesn’t really care what you say? Does your dog ignore your requests when asked to do certain things?

If your dog has reached a point in his dog training with you where he seems to think any command you give is optional and subject to how he feels right that moment, then just maybe it’s time to take a look at where to begin to regroup your thoughts and your approach to your dog training.

I have found that for most dogs like that, everything in life is and has always been, free for them. Their toys are on the floor accessible for play and with a demanding nudge, love and affection is available on demand 24/7.

Unlike their ancestors who had to forage for food, most domesticated dogs just keep one eye on the door and the other on the clock just waiting for your return so they can do the one thing that may be the highlight of their day: EAT. Worse yet they may not even have to work for their food. Some dog owners even free feed.

It’s no wonder that dogs don’t find their human owners “relevant” at all. And when it comes time for them “do what you say,” they just don’t “care what you say” enough– to really do what you say.

This can be very frustrating, can’t it?

It all starts with a Primary Resource

So let’s start with the basics and that’s a scheduled feeding. Food is instinctively thought of by most all dogs as a “Primary Resource.” Even if you think your dog is a finicky eater, it’s still true.

Controlling your dog’s food is an excellent way to become relevant to your dog. And it’s a really great way to teach your dog that listening to you and obeying your commands like sit and down is a good way to earn his food. If you are consistent with your feeding ritual twice a day, it can teach your dog that good behavior matters.

You are now relevant to your dog!

If your dog is a finicky eater, then you’ll have to spice things up a bit. Let me explain because it all depends on how serious you are about becoming that relevant force in your dog’s life.

If every morning for breakfast your mom put a box of cereal on the kitchen table and said, “The milk is in the refrigerator,” that’s not very appealing, right? And you probably would care much about breakfast.

On the other hand, if you knew your mom was in the kitchen cooking a hot breakfast every morning and each morning she surprised you with something different, WOW! Your mom would suddenly have relevance and you would know that she cared.

For the finicky eater (that’s also a trouble-maker by not listening) spice up his meal. Add some canned food to his dry kibble. Put some beef or chicken broth (warmed from the microwave) over his food. Or, add a dollop of yogurt to his food. Keep it interesting. We add chopped spinach, chopped broccoli or sometimes a piece of sweet potato to our dog’s food to make it interesting and they love it. Leila and I do have relevance at our house, do you? Well, you can!

On the other hand, if your dog is highly motivated by food then count your blessings. You have a highly trainable dog.

 It’s Like My Dog Doesn’t Care What I Say

Other benefits to a scheduled feeding program

 It’s easier to monitor whether he feels well. You’ll know the instant your dog goes off his food as a possible indicator that he is not feeling well. It’s impossible to do that with free feeding.

Food guarding opportunities are kept to a minimum. Picking up his bowl after each meal helps to eliminate the possibilities of food guarding. Continuous feeding allows your dog to develop guarding instincts of his food bowl and the surrounding space. Don’t forget to pick up the bowl after 15 minutes.

A scheduled twice a day feeding also keeps your dog from running on empty for half a day and helps to stave off hunger tension which could create other behavior problems.

Everyone wants a dog that listens because they know you have relevance and well, they just care about you and what you say. Try it I know you’ll like it.

So, come tell me on Facebook what you think? I truly hope you found answers and hope for helping your dog. Did you think the fix would be this easy?

 

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

Jim Burwell, Houston 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 your must have easy, step-by-step process to helping your dog. Your dog must and wants to understand what you expect of him. But you have to empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you must empower him to be successful at living in a human home. Ground Rules gets you there. Grab them now.

 

Dogs are Smart and Funny

Some dogs are smart. Some dogs are funny. But our dogs are smart and funny – especially Sammy. I would even stretch it to say, “He’s conniving!”

I wanted to share this with you for a couple of reasons. One is that we get asked constantly, “I’ll bet your dogs are perfect, right?” The other reason is that I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the things our family dogs do.

Now the answer to the question of do we have perfect dogs—is a resounding “NO”. They are good, maybe even great dogs, but they are not perfect. How boring would that be!

Our dogs are great dogs because we’ve set the ground rules at our house and for the most part all the dogs are very good with that. We’ve been blessed with no particular dog behavior problems. But Sammy did something the other day where he was trying to push my buttons.

Before I start this story I’ve got tell you the “routine” Sammy and I have. Every night when I finish dog training and I’ve pulled in the driveway, I come in the front door and Sammy greets me at the door with a Kong toy hanging off his right canine tooth. It’s never the left side – always the right side.

Anyway, he knows I have left-over lamb loaf treats in my treat bag and he wants me to stuff his Kong. Never mind Sophie and Cooper, Sammy is all about “the stuffed kong business”.

I typically take the Kong toy and set it on the kitchen counter and ask Sammy to “Place” on his doggie bed. We do it so frequently now that once I take his Kong toy he automatically goes to his bed! 

Next I get his rope toy we call his “Trade” and I hide it in one of the bedrooms. I come back and send Sammy off his bed to find his Trade. Sammy finishes our routine by promptly bringing the rope toy to me in the kitchen where I have stuffed his Kong toy and we trade! He gets the Kong and I get the rope toy for the next time.

Well, needless to say, we still have two more disappointed doggies wanting Kong toys as well. So I stuff two more Kong toys for the little ones.

So here’s the funny thing that Sammy did the other day (my day off) as I was sitting in my office talking to Leila. It’s funny, smart – and thoughtful!

I had my cell phone out getting ready to take a picture of Sophie – when all of a sudden here trotted Sammy with his Kong toy hanging off his right canine tooth as usual. But this time he was working the deal between Leila and I – trying to get one of us suckered up to stuff his Kong toy.

I decided, “Turn-about is fair play” so as he headed to Leila, I called him to me and asked him to give me the Kong toy (which he obligingly did) and gave me a sit.

Now here’s the funny part. As I was getting up to go stuff Sammy’s Kong, without any prompting he runs out of the office and returns in 3 seconds with a second Kong.

Well, I was thinking he was an over-achiever until he took off again – without being prompted and returned with a third Kong. I would like to think he was being thoughtful – thinking of his two siblings. Or, did he want them all for himself?

So tell me below, what goofy things do your dogs do?

Take a look below – I got it all on video!

 

“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.

How Many Dogs is Too Many Dogs

How Many Dogs are Too Many Dogs?

How many dogs are too many dogs? And just how do so many owners get over the top in dogs?

If you are thinking about adding to your existing pack, you might want to consider the following before taking the plunge.

Needless to say, we’ve had lots of dogs at our house over the years – to a point where having just three dogs now, feels like a walk in the park.

Yet, some find adding that third dog is like “the straw that broke the camel’s back!”

Here’s what one frustrated dog owner said about adding their third dog: “When my husband and I added a third dog to our household, chaos reigned. Worse yet, fights broke out between our new dog and the two older dogs. We needed order and clear rules about how the dogs were to interact with each other and with us.”

 

How Many Dogs is Too Many Dogs

 

Do you know your limits?

You really need to know your own personal limits. Is three dogs just too many or can you handle more dogs? You should know the quantity of dogs that you can comfortably provide for – not only physically but financially as well.

Another consideration when asking the question, “How many dogs are too many dogs?” is – will you have any help? Or is it just you?

Sometimes spouses or significant others may not hold the same level of passion for dogs as you – on the other hand, you may be one of the lucky ones. That extra pair of hands comes in handy when it comes time to scoop poop, feed the troops, keep the peace or assist with a vet visit! There’s never a shortage of work to be done in a multiple dog household.

Before adding new dogs, how good are your own dogs?

There is one more consideration before taking on an extra dog or two. You might want to also take a look at how you have managed your current dogs. Have you run a tight ship – so to speak? Have you set and maintained rules and expectations?

Maintaining a clear order during all of your pack activities is important. If you are not used to running a tight ship, you might want to take a peek at my short list of activities that’s going to require “order and calm” when managing/handling all of your dogs.

  • During meals (This is perhaps the most important time for calm and quiet)
  • While training each dog individually (others should remain quiet while waiting their turn)
  • Resting and sleeping times (Sometimes jockeying around for the premium doggie bed or location can ignite the competition)
  • Interactive game time with your dogs (careful – no fighting over toys. How’s you’re “Leave it!” command?)
  • Walking dogs in shifts (everyone wants to go first – but can’t- unless there’s enough hands!)
  • Grooming time each dog needs with you (clipping nails, cleaning ears, baths, etc.)

Times like these can test your patience – unless you’ve maintained order amongst your pack and have very clear rules about how your dogs can interact with each other during all of these times.

In other words, your dogs need to know life does not always present each dog with the opportunity to be first every single time.

If you’ve done your job then your dogs would have been trained first individually and then as a group to be “patient and polite,” instead of “pushy and aggressive,” in short, well-mannered.

You will have also become acutely aware of what stress factors to look for before major problems develop in a house full of dogs – to avoid issues.

You know when “play is play” or when play is a “power play” and when to stop the power play from becoming a fight. If you’ve set the pace for your dogs then you know dog obedience training makes all the difference in the world in successfully managing lots of dogs – especially at an intense time like this.

If you are that savvy multiple dog owner, then I don’t have to go into much detail about other concerns when bringing in new dogs like:
Breed characteristics,
Temperament,
Gender or
Each dog’s history of socialization.

Each of the above play their own important role in how well new dogs will get along with each other in a multiple dog household.

Yes, it is possible to live in a household of more than one dog – in fact multiple dogs and still manage the interactions of all dogs and humans – even without resorting to punitive methods of dog training.

With positive reinforcement methods you gain the willing cooperation of all the dogs. The dogs know it’s to their advantage.

Pretty soon behaviors that you prefer – sits and downs – become strong and resilient. These behaviors are frequently offered to you by all of your dogs because it works for them.

Now that’s pretty cool!

Sharing Time”    Let us know your thoughts on today’s issue by commenting below – I’m here to help.

 

“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.

Dog Behavior Problems. Is Your Dog A Brat?

Dog Behavior Problems: Is Your Dog A Brat?

Dog behavior problems -this time of year, the beginning of summer, are mostly calls I get from dog owners who got their puppy around Christmas time. Why? These dogs are now like a teenager with an attitude. Now do you know why my phone rings off the hook!

Devil or Angel?

Dog Behavior Problems.  Is Your Dog A Brat?

At this point owners either have: an adorable angel, a reasonably mannered pup due to the five or six months of sweat-equity invested in training such as setting rules, expectations and boundaries OR they have dog problems and have ended up with – a bratty immature dog!

If you didn’t put in the sweat-equity part of training consistently, the term brat can pretty much describe your dog.

Immature dog behavior problems can include – but are not limited to:

  • Jumping
  • barking,
  • trash can raiding,
  • counter surfing,
  • playing keep-away with your good stuff,
  • chewing on your good stuff and many, many more. You can make your own list— on a separate sheet (or two) if needed.

These dog behaviors can quickly send you over the edge –if you’re not already there.

Dog behavior problems in young dogs simply mean that your bratty dog needs some structure and leadership.

Truth is, he’s been telling you what he needs all along – you just haven’t been listening or you’ve been too busy to notice.

The best part is that nothing you have to do is hard and most dogs thrive with this approach.

Understanding the process to get the most out of your dog is surprisingly easy and the cool part is this: the flip side of the coin is your dog should begin to understand exactly how to get the most out of you as well. This really can be a win-win situation.

You don’t have to wind up feeling like a client who said, “My adorable Golden Retriever puppy had hit a point where she was really hard to handle, and I felt overwhelmed– like a failure as a dog owner!”

Where to begin

What am I to do, you ask? Well, ideally, it’s what you should have done all along – from the beginning. But if you’re reading this you probably need this list.

Here’s the easy short list:

  • Exercise is critical. Constructively manage that energy and provide him with two good walks a day with you or other responsible family member plus toys that dispense kibble (his dry dog food) slowly so that he begins to earn part of each meal by working the toys.
  • Schedule regular dog obedience training exercises on leash in the house. Work on the basic commands to give him a sense of working for you rather than you following his lead. Get him really good at come, sit and down.
  • Put him on an earn-to-learn program to earn his food, toys and love and affection.
  • Make a list of all dog behavior problems you want to fix (like jumping) – and prioritize the list.
  • Make a list of what causes each problem (like a visitor.)
  • Then determine what you would prefer your dog to do (like a sit.)
  • Work on your program daily – on leash and set your goals but don’t push your dog. Enjoy the process!

To get the most from your dog, let him know what you expect of him with your rules.

Set boundaries about your personal space. If he learns to respect your personal space, he will eventually respect the personal space of other family members and your guests.

For your dog to get the most from you, he will figure out (sooner than later) what the results of living by your rules and boundaries will yield: long walks with you – his favorite person and that great dog behavior will get an occasional trip to the beach or park with you.

His best learned lesson is giving before receiving –knowing that he must give a simple sit before he receives anything.

Being consistent with any program takes time. That’s why you should enjoy the process. Take pride in each small step in the right direction.

“Sharing Time”    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 8t00+ 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 when 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.

Dog Training That Works

Dog Training Works

In order to talk to you about how dog training  works, I first need to talk about what doesn’t work with dogs.

 

Here’s the biggest mistake most every dog owner makes that doesn’t work with dogs.  Not working your dog every day

Most every dog owner does not consider the time it takes to train their dog. Whether your goal is basic dog obedience or fixing a dog behavior problem, it all takes time.

Not working your dog every day just doesn’t work with dogs.  Let me repeat that:  Not working your dog every day just doesn’t work with dogs.”

It sets you and your dog up to fail. To be successful with “dog training that works” you should carefully consider the time commitment needed to reach your goals.

Look, you devote time and do training necessary to accomplish other things in your life. The same commitment needs to happen to help you and your dog succeed.

Depending on the dog, it can take anywhere from four to six weeks of consistent daily training for the novice dog owner to accomplish their goals.  What this means is that when you consider calling in a professional trainer, clear your calendar. Be prepared to work and train your dog instead of watch reruns of Survivor on TV.

Also try to plan your training at a time you won’t be going on weekend trips or vacations. Remember, consistency and repetition works best for dogs – every day.
Heads Up: Here’s the next biggest mistake most dog owners make. This is important so take careful notes.

 

Dog Training That Works

Not providing daily distractions for your dog

If you go to the trouble to teach your dog to sit to greet instead of jump or to go to his dog bed when he hears the doorbell (and not bark), you would want your dog to have these commands as permanent behaviors – not offered selectively when it suits him. You need to count on him to do what you say, when you say it.

If you want your dog to unfailingly sit to greet all visitors, then you need distractions – friends, neighbors, relatives to help you train your dog. Otherwise, you may wind up with a dog that will not jump on you but all bets are off if your parents come over to visit! You might be thinking, “Oops! Sorry Mom. Darn! Thought he was trained!”

I know it can be a real hassle, down right inconvenient or even embarrassing to keep calling friends, neighbors and relatives all the time to help you with your dog training.

But remember this: Without distraction training, you will fall short of your goals.

Just like you, your dog needs to practice, practice, practice and he depends on you to give him that practice.

It doesn’t have to be difficult

I see this “lack of using distractions” time and time again, as a natural stumbling block in the dog training process.

One of my clients came up with a brilliant idea that worked wonders with their dog. And I’m including it in this article as I know it will help you overcome this stumbling block. I use this a lot with clients and it works great – if you do it.

Train your dog every day during the week on your own around as many distractions that you can find.

Then on Friday or Saturday night, have a weekly party to include 5-6 of your friends, neighbors and/or relatives – for the sole purpose of obedience training your dog. It would go for 4-6 weeks – depending on your dog’s progress.

You furnish the beer and pizza and assign a different person to come over early each party night and be the host/hostess for the evening. That frees you up to do nothing but train your dog.

Here’s the cool part

Provide the guests with score cards (they put their name on them) to rate your dog’s progress for that week. Cards get turned into you at the end of each party and the same cards are given back out each week. The score gets tallied at the end of the 4-6 weeks for your dog’s final score.

This accomplishes a number of things:

1. It’s fun and takes the pressure off constantly calling people over because it is all pre-set.
2. It’s set up specifically to train your dog so everyone is set to help out.
3. It provides you further motivation to get your dog training done during the week so that you can see meaningful progress.
4. Your guests will appreciate your hard work to make their visits more enjoyable.
5. There are probably more benefits than this – you come up with your own.
6. There are no short-comings here — unless your dog eats your pizza. 

Who knows, you could start a new fad!

There is no magic or silver bullet – no quick fix. It just takes time. If you can’t get people over every night and, like most people, you are limited to weekends for distractions, just extend your timeline on your dog training.

Remember, you have a lifetime with your dog to train your dog and fix the problems. BUT – that doesn’t mean it has to take that long!

These are dog training tips that work. So clear your calendar and commit to training your dog. You’ll be glad you did.

 

“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.

Obnoxious dog barking from behind fence

Obnoxious Dogs Barking From Behind Fences

There is probably not a more annoying sound than obnoxious dogs barking from behind fences.

I hear and see obnoxious dogs barking from behind fences on my personal dog walks in my neighborhood and when I am working with client dogs in other neighborhoods.

Not only is this dog barking annoying to adjacent neighbors and pedestrians, it can provide lots of opportunity for dogs walking by to practice their own bad dog behavior.

The passing dog might start pulling on leash and barking at the dog behind the fence or worse – redirecting his aggression toward his innocent sibling who is walking with him.

Owners who leave their dog outside to run the fence and bark are allowing their dog to “rehearse” territorial aggression.

This behavior can many times transfer inside the house to include door greetings and bad or worse behavior at front windows.

It’s all very self rewarding for the dog. As walkers and postal carriers come by, the barking begins. As they leave he gets a feeling of satisfaction that “I did my job. I frightened the bad guy away.”

 

Jim Burwell Dog Trainer

 

 

Why is your dog barking?

Most all of the bad behavior your dog is exhibiting is because something you “are” or “are not” doing in your relationship with your dog, is causing him to be stressed or anxious.

Dogs that often bark behind fences or from inside the house are frustrated that they cannot “connect” with what or who they see going by. Many of these dogs are not walked nearly enough to relieve this tension and anxiety. This would be a case of something the owners are not” doing. Frustration builds and barking develops.

 What doesn’t work

Yelling “Quiet” at your dog just doesn’t work – for a number of reasons:

To your dog, you’re just another dog barking – reinforcing his actions. It also becomes confusing to your dog when you try and correct him at the same time you are yelling.

Dogs don’t do well with owners in states of excitement and panic that yell and scream (emotional energy). This creates a very unstable environment in which your dog must live. If you have been in the habit of yelling at your dog, stop yelling and develop a solid plan to address the barking.

I often think that some people lose sight of the fact that dogs are dogs and try to train away every natural instinct a dog has with no tolerance for failure or disobedience.

There is a better way. Listen to your dog. He is barking for a reason! He’s stressed about something and he’s trying to communicate that to you.

What does work

Remember what I said, “Most all of the bad behavior your dog is exhibiting is because something you ‘are’ or ‘are not’ doing in your relationship with your dog is causing him to be stressed or anxious.”

The feeling of frustration behind the fence might be because you “are” leaving your dog outside in the back yard too long and are “not” walking your dog enough that can be remedied with two good long, structured walks.

Provide for your dog’s needs and reinforce your leadership with your dog on the walk by structuring the walk.

Next I would check to see if you are providing your dog with enough structure or “Ground Rules” in other areas of your relationship with your dog.

Are you providing your dog with enough consistent and predictable activities? It would be great if at a minimum, if he could count on two walks at the same time every day.

The value your dog gets out of those two long walks will begin to pay big dividends to you almost immediately. “How so?” you ask. Your dog will become more calm and relaxed. Now we’re talking win-win!

You can also get good mileage out of a few short 2 minute dog obedience training sessions on come, sit and down. This would give your dog a feeling of working for you rather than you following his lead all the time.

Rules and expectations will begin to improve behavior at the front door if your dog knows what you expect of him in those situations. Show him what you want and then train him to do it. It’s that easy!

We should all focus on reducing the stress in our dog’s lives as well as recognize and respect our dog’s emotions and needs as a vital part of their well-being.

“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.

Kids and Dogs

Kids and Dogs: A Crazy Combo

Kids and dogs just go together – don’t they? Or, do they? Kids are drawn to dogs just like those little magnets that are so drawn to your refrigerator.  Dogs seem to accumulate a lot of refrigerator magnets of the two-legged variety everywhere they go and the cuter the dog – the more kids.  Some kids I know are so attracted to dogs they like to carry them around like babies, hug their neck a lot, keep them on their lap and sleep with them in their beds.

But unless you can teach your kids better kid/dog manners, and playtime activities with the family dog, what started out as a “fun thing to do” for the kids, can quickly turn into a parent’s and dog’s worse nightmare – a dog bite.

 

Kids and Dogs

 

Typical Kid-Dog Interactions that may create problems

If your kids lie on the floor and make high-pitched sounds with their voices, they are likely to kick their dog into prey drive and what do dogs do in prey drive? They run, chase and bite – the kids.

When your kids have friends over for a fun afternoon after school, it just might make more sense to crate your pup or bring him into the house while the kids are running and playing in the back yard.  Otherwise your pup may want to join in on the fun of running and chasing.

When your pup is stimulated with kid activity – and it usually includes lots of yelling and screaming, his natural instinct would be to get into the game with the kids and run, chase and bite what he catches – even if only intending to play like it would with its litter mates.  Dogs use their mouths to grab like we use our hands with our opposing thumbs to do the same thing. The trouble here is these kids have very sensitive skin compared to a dog – and no fur coat to soften the bite.

A well-intended hug by your child can also cause your dog to get defensive and growl, snap or bite if he feels trapped by that hug. Now most dogs do learn to tolerate being constantly hugged by kids or other family members but it should be well noted that there may always be that first time that your dog growls, snaps or bites when you least expect it. Maybe you left your child in the same room with your dog for just a moment – or maybe your child has a friend that winds up on the receiving end of your family dog’s mouth.

 

Let’s take a look at what kids do to dogs and how it can affect the family dog’s behavior

Some dogs can take a while before a dog behavior problem surfaces or it could happen immediately.

Here’s a short list of how a dog – or your dog – might respond to things kids do to them when parents are not directly supervising their children.

Kid activity: Pulling ears, tail hair, sticking fingers in ears, eyes or hitting with hands or objects and scolding, punishing
Dog Response: Growling, snapping, biting or submissive wetting in some puppies

Kid activity: Teasing with toys, food; staring, wrestling to the point of anger or rage
Dog Response: Biting, viciousness

Kid activity: Screaming/running
Dog Response: Run, chase, jump and bite

Kid activity: Being unruly
Dog Response: Being unruly

Kid activity: Too much petting
Dog Response: Mounting, aggressiveness, males urinating in house, biting other children

Kid activity: Inter-child fighting
Dog Response: Aggressiveness, biting, over excitability

When parents become excessively emotional and/or physical in front of their children and dogs, both children and dogs tend to mimic their parents/owners.

Let me explain this to you.

If a dog owner gets angry and punishes a child often enough in front of the dog, the dog may start getting edgy when the child comes close to him – growling to keep the child away.

If an owner punishes the dog often enough in front of the child, the child may take on the role of the punisher and get into trouble when the dog defends himself – by growling to keep the child away.

 

Where to Begin

A dog is hard work, there’s no getting around it – pure breed or otherwise.  With kids in the mix, it can drastically change the dynamics of a newly created hybrid pack of two-legged and four legged critters. Not to mention pushing a mom’s patience to the limit. At first it seems so right to want to over love and spoil your new puppy or dog -especially with kids.

Your dog is naturally hard-wired to run, chase, bite, chew, bark, jump, pee and poop. But now that your dog is living with you and your family, these behaviors don’t fit in. It’s important to communicate effectively with your dog so that your family’s life with your dog is more enjoyable. On what should you focus?

As you begin to think about the best way to integrate your new puppy or dog into your home (or begin to restructure your relationship with your existing dog), here are some starter points:

Give your dog rules and expectations – set boundaries

Get the kids involved in helping to give your dog more structure in the house so that dogs know what to expect and from whom – all supervised of course.

Teach your kids  how to put your dog on an “earn-to-learn program”. That is, everything your dog gets in life from the family – food, treats, praise or life rewards such as a game of fetch, a walk, even an opportunity to come up on the couch (only if this is allowed by your family rules) and of course a chance to go outside to eliminate has to be earned by performing some obedience commands such as sit or down or both. This is the foundation of mutual respect between kids and dogs.  I call this my Ground Rules for Great Dogs – where everything begins!

Kids are taught to say “Please!” for things they want so teach your kids how to obedience train your dog to “Sit!” on command as his way of saying “Please!” As a start, have the kids take turns making your dog sit for his food at meal times.

Supervise dog and kid activity and have fun training. Teach kids and dogs to respect each other’s boundaries so that it is a win-win situation!

Successful Dog Training

Successful Dog Training Tips

Successful dog training, as I have always said, is not about the dog – it always about the dog’s owner(s).  There are certain things that every dog owner should know if they expect their puppy or dog to grow up to be a well behaved, well-adjusted dog with no dog problems.

These dog training tips are some basic principles I use and teach every day. Learn these basics and practice them every day with your dog so that your dog training can go smoothly – without a hitch. Remember, your training should always be fun for you and your dog.

 

Here are my strategies for successful dog training

Successful Dog Training


Learn how dogs think
. They are not human. Puppies and dogs live in a black and white world. If you understand how puppies and dogs think which is not complicated, you can help your puppy be a better dog.

Here’s an example:  Allowing your dog to jump on you when you get home from work and you hug to greet him as he jumps sends one message – jumping is okay. If you correct him for jumping on your house guest, it gets very confusing for your dog – jump or don’t jump. A very simple solution would be to teach your dog to sit to greet, and then say, “Huggies!” Now if a house guest doesn’t say “Huggies!” they won’t get jumped on. Your dog can understand this perfectly because it’s very black and white and crystal clear.

 

Be patient. The volume and tone of your voice along with your body language should never convey impatience, frustration or anger. Also, it’s very important to keep your dog obedience training and expectations age appropriate. Remember that little puppies learn very fast but reliability only comes with maturity and experience.

 

Be Consistent. Consistency is the key. Consistently use the same commands when training your dog. For example, don’t say, “Sit down!” to your dog. Say sit or down. Confusing your dog will sabotage your dog training. Consistently train your puppy on sits, downs and come 2-3 times a day for about 2-3 minutes each time.

 

Set Boundaries. Every bad dog behavior you allow your dog to get away with may gradually undo what you are trying to teach him. Don’t set your dog up to fail. When he does something wrong, immediately say no, or “no off” and re-direct to the proper action. Remember, always praise for when they do what you say.
Say your command one time. Repeating your commands conveys to your dog that you didn’t mean what you said the first time and he learns he doesn’t have to respond until you have said the command two or three times.

 

Reward your dog for good behavior. This can be anything from treats to an enthusiastic “Good Boy!” Ignore the bad behavior. This contrast in getting nothing versus getting good stuff helps your dog differentiate between doing something you like (your happy tone of voice) to something you don’t like.

 

Stay in control of your dog. This means sniffing, jumping, pulling on his leash is not ok when you are walking him. If you are walking your dog on a 6’ leash, structure your walk where 2/3’s of the walk requires your dog to be beside you and 1/3 of the walk he gets to sniff, pee and explore (still on leash) but it’s his 1/3 of the walk to flex about.

 

Socialize your dog early. Puppies need to experience new places, noises and people early. Just keep in mind where your puppy is on his vaccination schedule and do not take him to public areas like dog parks or big box dog stores. Engage in activities that get him used to other animals and his environment. Socializing your dog  is part of training and you don’t want a dog that is frightened of everything and doesn’t play well with other dogs.

 

Do not be hard on your puppy. Correct in the appropriate way. Do not hit, alpha roll, yell, kick, or yank and jerk the leash. This only teaches your dog YOU are not safe.
Have fun! Remain calm, enthusiastic and keep training on a positive note.  Also keep your training sessions short. No more than 2-3 minutes per session.
Here is another important tip that will help your puppy to grow up to be a dog that is happy, obedient and well adjusted: teach your puppy, in a positive way, that you control the things he wants and he must “ask” for everything he wants. Be consistent with your training and praise for a job well done.

 

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

 

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

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  He 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. Jim’s Ground Rules for Great Dogs  is 25+ years of his expertise delivered in easy, simple “how to steps” to insure you have a great dog.  Over 8,500 clients can’t be wrong.