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Dog Training Short Sweet To the point

Dog Training: Short Sweet to the Point

You might look at dog training as a “time luxury” you can’t afford.

Simple structure in the home, like earning “twice-a-day” meals by getting a simple sit, seems to be too much for many.

Dog Training Short Sweet To the point

Asking for any additional add-ons to the dog’s learn-to-earn program seems to push an already time-crunched dog owner to the point of shut down.  Sound familiar?

Now, trust me, I’m in no way judging here.  I am simply relating how things are in my world of dog training.  

Why I Get Calls

I get calls at the point of shut down, but not for obedience type dog training.

I get the calls to address the dog behavior problems the dog owner sees as a result of not doing their regular dog obedience training.

But, dog owners seem to view it in reverse perspective.  That is, they see it as, “what can we get by with no, or as little as possible, dog training” at first.

Weird Irony

So it’s not that odd, if you’re that frustrated dog owner, that a very simple statement I’ve made before once again rings true.

“You will spend far less time teaching your dog the behavior you want, than constantly correcting the behavior you don’t like.”

The irony is that dog owners are somehow content with the bad dog behavior, not doing anything about it till they get to the point of shut down. Then I get the call.

Short, Sweet and to the Point

Dog training should be short, sweet and to the point. It definitely should not be complicated or take big chunks of time out of your day.

Let’s Break it Down

Training sessions that are too long can cause a dog to loose focus and sometimes become stressed – or zoned out.  
 
So, do you know what I mean by my question, “Do you zone your dog out?
 
If you’re training your dog and notice that he seems to become very distracted, not paying attention, and not having fun – then you’re zoning your dog out.
 
See, here’s the deal.  It will seem simple but it is one of the MAJOR things I see dog and puppy owners do that defeats their entire dog training exercise.

Keep it Short

Don’t train for more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time – that’s it! Simple,  right?
 
This is especially true with puppies. They simply can not keep their attention on training for more than a few minutes or maybe even 1 minute if they’re really young.
 
So your next question to me is:  So I only train for 2 or 3 minutes in an entire day??? My dog will never get trained that way.
 
Wait, there’s more! 🙂   
 
Train in 2 or 3 minute increments BUT you do those 2 or 3 minute training sessions several times throughout the day.  Space them about 1 hour apart.

Your dog listens, he learns, he absorbs the lesson in between sessions and …you have fun, he has fun.  All is right in the world of dog and puppy training!

This is one of seven training tips that you can have for free.  

Keep it Sweet

Use high value treats to reward your dog for the good behavior you want. Consistency and repetition gets it done!

Keep it To the Point

Make a list of preferred behaviors. Train until you get the behavior you prefer. Working on one thing at a time keeps it to the point and avoids over training.

I can think of 6 more fixable training mistakes you’re probably making. Want to know what they are and, for free?

Remember, grab your free training HERE, and join over 500 people who are glad they did.

I’m always curious about your input – it’s important to me.   Comment below with the training frustrations you have.  Let’s find a solution for you.  I’m listening!

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

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

The Sit Command

The Sit Command: Your Swiss Army Knife

The sit command, if taught to your dog correctly and used frequently, could change your dog’s behavior for the better and forever.

The Sit Command

In fact, the sit command has so many uses it’s like a Swiss Army Knife.  You know, that wonderful tool used by millions of people all over the world to get them out of a number of jams.

If you think about it, it’s one of the first, and easiest things you teach your new puppy when you bring him home. Dogs of any age can learn to sit on command with little to no effort at all. It’s a natural behavior your dog does.

 If my dog would sit, then he wouldn’t (fill in the blank)

 If your dog is already very comfortable with the sit command, you’re halfway done.  Now it’s time to move to the next level.  This level is working the sit command with distractions.

Begin by making a list of dog behavior problems you have with your dog.   

You might be pleasantly surprised how many dog behaviors you can stop with a well disciplined sit.

Behaviors like: jumping, running out the front door, dog aggression and yes, even barking just to name a few.  All of these can be solved with the basic obedience command of sit. So make your list.

When obedience training your dog to sit, there are a couple of things to think about:

  • Weaning your dog off food treats and,
  • Training your dog to sit around distractions that are important to you.

 To wean your dog off food treats, put your dog on a variable treating schedule. That means treating every other sit, then every third or fourth sit without the treat in your hand.
 
As you make progress be sure the dog is obeying the sit command without treats. Once you have him on a voice and hand signal, the real work begins – distraction training.

 The meaning of a well disciplined sit

 A well disciplined sit means your dog has been taught to obey the obedience command of sit, around all the distractions that are important to you and to which he is exposed.

 Some helpful tips

 Always obedience train your dog on a leash or line so you will be able to reinforce commands. As your dog becomes more reliable you can move to off leash.

Remember the 3D formula for distraction training: duration, distractions and distance. You build time first: (5 minute sit/stay) then add distractions before you add distance from the dog.

And remember, as you expand your work on your dog’s sit command, you must always vary:

  • The level of distraction (low level and tolerable distractions at first – then increase intensity of the distraction.)
  • The locations in which you obedience train your dog’s sit command: at home greeting guests, at a Starbucks or anywhere else in public.
  • Your orientation to (front, side or behind your dog) and distance from your dog

 It’s important to know that every family member has a different tone of voice so it will be important to get an immediate response to the sit command instantly, from any family member giving the command.

 The bottom line

 While this all sounds like a lot of work, but, it’s relative to your dog behavior problems and your willingness to live with the problem(s) or fix them.

The latter, of course, will dramatically improve your relationship with your dog.

Just like that Swiss army knife, a simple sit can help you out of many problem situations.

However to really be successful your dog will require 100% focus from you to keep him sharp as a knife!

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

 Jim Burwell, is 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.

My Dog Will Not Listen

My Dog Will Not Listen

Let’s change “my dog will not listen” to “problem solved!”

Stop feeling as if you are competing with the world for your dog’s attention!

 

My Dog Will Not Listen

 

If your dog is a constant challenge on a walk especially around distractions like dogs, cats, people and squirrels, turning an otherwise pleasant walking experience into a catastrophe waiting to happen, then I have a solution for you!

Here’s a solution you may not have thought about

Wouldn’t it be great if when your dog sees a dog, squirrel or cat and “you know” he’s going to run to or chase that animal, you just say his name and he immediately stops and looks at you?

No more bracing for the big leash jerk and pull.  

Does this sound familiar?  Then consider this seldom used solution I’m going to give you. Let’s fix “my dog will not listen”.

What if when you said your dog’s name, he stopped in his tracks and looked at you.

I’m talking about “DOG ATTENTION.”  Yes, that’s right, obedience train your dog to give you his attention when you want it.

Interestingly, this command has been around forever yet few dog owners teach it and put it to practical use on walks in the real world with their dogs. This strategy can even work at home, in fact, that’s where your work will begin.

A sequence to learning

There is always an order or sequence to training and teaching your dog to pay attention is no different. You do want it laid out as simply as possible, right?

Good.  Here’s the training sequence simplified.

1.    Eye contact: Teach your dog to look at you when you say his name.
2.    Get eye contact and hold it
3.    Get eye contact and hold it while he’s moving with you

Eye contact

With a high value treat hidden in your hand, your say your dog’s name, abruptly step back away from your dog just a few steps at first.

Keep the treat out of sight until you are ready to release it to your dog. Bring the treat out and hold between your eyes and his so that you get eye contact.   As he moves with you, praise/treat for a job well done.

If you see your dog randomly making eye contact with you, it’s okay to praise/treat that eye contact even though you didn’t ask for it. A few freebies are good reinforcers to let your dog know what works for him.

Do about 5 repetitions back-to-back before releasing that good eye contact. Once you are getting that good eye contact, it’s time to get it and hold it.

Get eye contact and hold it

Getting extended eye contact is achieved by delaying your praise/treat.  To go from my dog will not listen to he can’t look at anyone else:

Review this sequence to see what I mean.

1.)
Say your dog’s name;

2.) Abruptly move away;
3.) Align the treat between your eyes and your dog’s eyes and count (in your head) to 5
4.) Then praise/treat your dog.

You’ve just gotten 5 seconds of attention!

By delaying the praise/treat you get longer eye contact because he is now conditioned to understand that your praise identifies when he’s done. Your job is to begin extending the length of time (delay the praise/treat) he maintains eye contact.

Practice this exercise everywhere you go with your dog that you would need good eye contact. Remember to work at a distance where you get good attention from him at first and only get closer to the distraction as you get good eye contact from him around that distraction.

Get and hold your dog’s eye contact while he moves with you

Once you have successfully completed the first and second part of “DOG ATTENTION” with your abrupt back-ups and move-away from your dog, it’s now time to turn and walk with him by your side or at heel. Always praise/treat for a job well done and remember to delay the praise/treat longer for extended eye contact.

Just as before, you want to work your dog at a successful distance from the distraction at first and gradually move closer to the distraction, as he learns to focus only on you.

Your ability to get your dog’s attention “any time, any place” will serve you well when working around dogs and other distractions. Here’s a good tip:

Pay close attention to your dog’s body language and, as he looks at the other dog, say his name, abruptly move away from the dog before he starts to pull. Timing is everything. As he walks with you praise/treat.

 Help your dog to generalize the attention command. That is, it means the same thing at home as it does outside. A practical redirect at home would work if you see him getting into something he shouldn’t – like counter surfing or jumping on a house guest.

Simply say his name, once he looks at you, call him to you, praise/treat for job well done then release him to go play nicely. It will work even better if you anticipate the jump and say his name before he jumps.

It’s amazing how it becomes habit for your dog to look at you when you call his name.

Practice will eventually get you automatic eye contact when he spots another dog.

Of course, praise/treat for that behavior. Wean off treats with variable treating every 2-4 times.

Dog training is always comprised of many pieces.  This is a piece of getting your dog better at listening to you.  If you have put appropriate structure and boundaries in place in your home, this exercise will be much easier for you.

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you.   Don’t be a stranger.  Feel free to comment below.  I’d love to hear what you think.  

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

Jim Burwell, is 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.

Dog Jumps While You Try to Relax

Your dog jumps all over you but you want to relax after a hard day at work.  See if any of this sounds familiar:

You just want to kick back. You certainly don’t want to do any dog training!

Even when you have guests come over.  They sit down on the couch and your dog is all over them trying to get their attention.We have all experienced this dog behavior problem of our dog jumping all over us at some time.

You can fix this without andy dog training AND while you are relaxing.

You literally, don’t have to do anything.


Watch as I explain and show you how understanding 3 simple things about your dog, will stop the dog jumps and give you:

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you. Don’t be a stranger. Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear what you think.

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

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 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.

 

my dog licks

My Dog Licks and It’s Driving Me Nuts!

My dog licks constantly is one of many, frequent complaints from clients.  By the time I get the call or email, the owner’s tolerance threshold has been reached.  They are literally going nuts with their dog licking.

my dog licksIs it medical?

If you have an incessant licker the very first thing to do is to have your dog checked out by your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues such as allergies.

Once your dog is cleared of any medical issues, we have to look else where. A dog that constantly licks itself is stressed or anxious about something.

The problem may have started because of some frustration in the environment.  That means you doing your homework.  Do some soul-searching if you will, on what your dog is stressing about.

You don’t want the licking to develop into an obsessive compulsive disorder that will be more difficult to treat.

If you do your homework, you should be able to finish the sentence: My dog licks because he is stressed about (you fill in the blank).  Read on for a better understanding.

Stress in the environment

I’ve listed some of the most common environmental stressors you should consider. Think hard on this.   Can you honestly say, my dog licks because of:

Not enough exercise
Not enough mental stimulation
No structure in your dog’s life
Loud noises like sirens
Other noises like kids screaming and playing loudly
You frequently argue loudly, yell or scream

What’s the best way to get started?

Your corrective program should start from the ground up building a strong foundation of leadership for your dog by requiring him to earn everything. Make a list of all the things your dog can earn – even going outside to potty. Being consistent is the key.

Exercise your dog with walks every day. It’s a good buffer for stress. If he hasn’t gotten enough exercise by spending time outside on walks to explore and be a dog, this can be stressful for him. You owe it to your dog to satisfy his needs.

Mentally stimulate your dog with puzzles and games and have him earn part of his meals from a doggie food dispensing toys like a Bob-A-Lot from Amazon.com.

You can also create mental fatigue with rapid-fire sits and downs for 2 minutes then stop. Do this 3 times daily or more if you want. He will love you for it!

Family check

Do an honest check on family emotions to see if your energy or other family member’s energy is frequently off the charts. Do your best to acknowledge this as a possible contributing factor to your dog’s stress or anxiety. Licking is his way of internalizing his stress, instead of releasing that stress by being destructive in your home.

Do this – not that

Understand the value of redirecting his licking if he starts in your presence. Have acceptable chew toys readily available to which you can redirect his licking. You can also interrupt his licking with obedience training; that is, rapid fire sits and downs for 30 seconds to a minute.

The most important part of any corrective program is to locate his stressors sooner than later and be committed to putting structure and exercise (both mental and physical) into place consistently every day.

It may take as long as 6 weeks or more before you can say “my dog licks less” or has stopped, but my guess is you will begin to see improvement sooner.

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 with this.

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

Jim Burwell, is 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.

Bad Dog Behavior

Bad Dog Behavior Fix

Does bad dog behavior have you so beat down most days it seems you have totally lost control of your dog?

Bad Dog Behavior

Usually the culprit is an out-of-control bossy type dog or young dog with no boundaries, taking control of your whole house and everything in it.

Where Did It All Go Wrong

Before you find yourself thinking you need to join some kind of 12-step program that always starts off with:   “Hello, my name is John and I’m an owner of a really bad dog”, don’t throw in that towel just yet!

How about a short 3-step program in the privacy of your own home?

You won’t have to join anything or say your name.

It might take some soul searching and self-commitment to a slightly different way of life with your dog, but I think you’ll find it worth it when you take and use these steps to help change your dog.

Step 1: Start with the golden rule

Your dog has been controlling the system far too long and from your perspective, the system is broken. The system needs to be fixed.

The first step in fixing the system is to begin teaching your dog the golden rule, “You must give before you receive.”

That’s done by simply teaching your dog to sit for everything. Once you know he can sit, begin to extend the sit to 5, 10 and 15 seconds.

I know what you are going to say, “He knows how to sit but he won’t hold a sit! He’s always jumping back up looking for the treat!” Hold on, I’m going to tell you how to fix that too.

Step 2: Retraining the sit command

You just need to retrain the sit. Remember your goal. You want a sit and he wants a treat or a happy “good boy”!

The big difference is letting him know when he’s done what you ask.

How do you do that?
 
Simple!  You say, “Good!” right when his butt hits the ground. Then he gets his treat. Right now I don’t care if he gets back up after you say, “Good!”

Now here’s what makes the difference

Once you get a sit, slowly begin to pause two seconds before you say, “Good!” Then 4-5 seconds. Eventually wait 10 – 15 seconds before you say, “Good!”

Always praise and treat after random lengths of time for which he has been required to hold a sit.

By varying how long you wait to say, “Good!” you are conditioning him to understand that the sit isn’t over until he hears, “Good!” Bell rang, school is out!

Now you are teaching patience and tolerance. That’s the beginning of control.

To help you speed up your training, put your dog on a leash and step on the leash, just enough to keep him from jumping up.

You’ll discover that your dog will be more controlled and focused which allows you to more quickly achieve your goal.

Later you worry about other commands. For now we keep it simple – just a sit. Stretching it out to a longer sit is the key.

Step 3: Control everything in your dog’s life

Be stingy. Don’t give things out easily or too much at a time. Tough love you think? Dogs respect tough love. You are building a strong working relationship with your dog.

Bonus for you and your dog- Important

Most of these bossy dogs haven’t been out to new places with you because quite honestly, they are out of control and it’s embarrassing for you. It’s just not fun.

When he begins to listen to you, now you can show him you are in control in a different way. You’re in control of great new places to explore.

Frequent weekend day trips to the beach, parks or hiking trails will keep him challenged.

New settings will open his mind to wanting to learn over and over again with you. Don’t forget, make him sit to get out of the car – and back in of course.

He will soon want to be a good pack member to earn the right to go with you again.

Remember, you want a new dog and a new life.

So go and show off your new well behaved dog.  You both deserve that happy ending. It’s easier than you think!

When you’re ready to go further my Ground Rules for Great Dogs will take you step by step to a truly well – mannered dog.

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you.   Don’t be a stranger.  Feel free to comment below.  I’d love to hear what you think.   

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

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 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.

Yelling and Screaming at Your Dog: Guilty?

Yelling and Screaming at Your Dog: Guilty?

If I were to point my finger at one bad habit, it would be yelling and screaming at your dog. Do you have this bad habit? Not sure? Take a look in the mirror and see if your face is turning red.
Yelling and Screaming at Your Dog: Guilty?I’m not pointing any fingers, but I see the bad habits of dog owners every day. Most of them don’t realize what they are doing and how it affects their dog.

It’s not too late to change. Your dog will approve and support you all the way! He’s just that kind of guy.

Many owners get so frustrated with their dog’s bad or nuisance behavior that they yell and scream when correcting their dog. Their emotional energy is off the chart.

A Dog’s Uncanny Ability

Dogs have an uncanny ability to read the energy of the weather. Dogs know when a storm is brewing before the bottom falls out of the sky in your neighborhood. Yes, your dog. Many of you have dogs that, in anticipation of the storm, start heading for the closet.

So if they can read the energy of the weather, how difficult do you think it is for them to also read your emotional energy?

No matter what words you are saying your energy speaks to your dog. He is watching, listening and interpreting every subtle change in your energy.  

Yelling and screaming creates an unstable environment in which your dog has to exist. This creates stress and anxiety in your dog. Tension builds in your dog, he gets frustrated and dog behavior problems surface.

Losing your cool causes you to lose your dog’s respect.

The solution is to work on projecting calm energy to your dog. Be the strong and respected pack leader your dog needs. Still feeling lost? Read on my friend.

Observe, Train and Change Your Dog

The marines have a strategy when they are faced with situations that are not going as planned, “Improvise, overcome and adapt.”

No, it’s not time to call in the marines! I have a similar strategy I’ve used successfully for years when situations with dogs are not going as planned.

Here’s My Success Strategy

Observe your dog’s unwanted behavior (make a list), train the behavior you prefer in that situation and that changes your dog.

Here’s a good example:  

  • If your dog is counter surfing in the kitchen, put it on your list of bad dog behaviors.
  • Next to the bad behavior, write down a preferred behavior. That could be laying on his place mat/dog bed while you cook in the kitchen or just staying completely out of the kitchen.
  • Teach your dog to do the preferred behavior.
  • Now you have to practice every day by pretending you’re cooking. Break out the sharp cheddar cheese and crackers to do a set up. Yum! Tempting already!

If it’s “stay out of the kitchen” you want, I sometimes put low-tack painter’s tape on the floor for a visual boundary and spray the tape with Listerine. Now your dog can not only see the boundary but smell it as well. Consistency and daily repetition is the key in training “Out!” of the kitchen. Train your dog until you get the compliance you need.

Now, scratch that one off and go to the next behavior!

It’s so much easier harnessing that good energy and using it to teach your dog the behaviors you prefer. You will spend less energy and be happier. That’s nice, isn’t it?

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you.   Don’t be a stranger.  Feel free to comment below.  I’d love to hear what you think.   

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

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 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.

Dog Owners Have No Time

Dog Owners Have No Time

You dog owners have no time on your hands and are probably looking sheepishly at your dog knowing you should train.  No, you need to train your dog not to jump, bark or not do whatever unacceptable thing he’s been doing since you got him.

Plus you made the choice to get your dog, you made a commitment to “do the right thing” and teach him acceptable dog behavior. You just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  Sound familiar?

Well, the time has come

Even though at the end of the day you think, like many dog owners, you really don’t have time to obedience train your dog, you actually do have the time.

The funny thing is, the time has been there all along. It’s that snake! You just need to get organized to maximize what little time you have to easily train your dog.

Dog Owners Have No Time

It’s mind-blowing easy and I’ll prove it

“Easy is” simply writing down all the opportunities you have to sit your dog. I’ll get you started on your list.

Sit for food
Sit to go outside in the back yard to potty
Sit to come back in the house
Sit for love and affection
Sit for toys
Sit to get up on the couch
Sit to get his leash on for a walk

Now you can take my free list (the easy way) or you can make up your own.

“Easy is:” remembering to ask your dog to sit in each of these situations. Okay, I may be stretching it a bit but I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. I mean, we’re just getting started here!

“Easy is:” training while you sit in your recliner during a television commercial. Ask your dog to “Sit!” then “Take it!” as you play tug with your dog during commercial. Next, tell him to “Sit!” then “Drop it!” and hold on to the toy until the next commercial. Break a sweat yet?

Now don’t get up out of that chair because that would be hard. I want to prove to you that dog training is so easy it’s mind-blowing.

There’s one other aspect to your dog’s training that is “arm chair” easy as well. That’s what I call feed training. Simply take part of your dog’s evening meal ration, put it in a Zip-Lock bag and ask for sits and downs from your arm chair.

Additionally, as you see your dog doing something you like, reward him with a few kibble from the bag. The rest of it he’ll get in his bowl for his regular meal. You’ll actually have to get up to feed him his meal. Sorry about that.

Now, how easy was all of that? I told you it would be so easy it would blow your mind. You just have to write (the list) and remember (to sit your dog.) Be consistent as well. That is, do this every day and watch those bad dog behaviors disappear.  

Remember, you are the most important part of your dog’s training. Well, what are you waiting for, sit down and train!

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

Comment below with your frustration with this.

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

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 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.

Dogs Chasing Squirrels

Dogs Chasing Squirrels: A Walking Nightmare for Some

It seems the problem of dogs chasing squirrels is aggravating to more dog owners than you would expect.

Here are owner’s concerns:

  • squirrel chasing ruining a perfectly good walk
  • arms out of sockets 
  • banged up knees from falls

 

Then the Obvious Question, “How Do I Stop It?”

Dogs Chasing Squirrels

Stopping it takes training and practice. You should start sooner than later because it can be a serious problem especially if your dog has a particularly high prey drive.

It’s not uncommon to see this squirrel issue progress to other fast-moving things like animals (cats in particular) cars, bikes, kids on skateboards and joggers – just to name a few.

It can also become quite addictive as your dog’s body releases chemicals while in the chase mode, including adrenaline.

 

Prevention Gets Down to Training

 

I know what you’re thinking! Loose leash walking and dogs chasing squirrels just don’t go together. Or, could they?

What will it take to create pleasant walks on a loose leash once again, even around squirrels?

It all gets down to training your dog. But what exactly does this include? For one thing your dog must understand to listen to you when on walks.

It should include a “Leave it!” command which should mean “stop what you are doing and make eye contact with me.”

At this point I would say that “timing is everything.”

You must say “Leave it!” right when your dog first notices the squirrel and before he gives chase. This takes practice and keen observation of your dog’s body language.

Next should be a redirect to another command like “Sit!” as you praise and a treat. Immediately back up a few steps using a treat to lure your dog to you (on your leash) as you say, “Come!” Follow that with another sit. Repeat this exercise. Praise and treat each time for a job well done. Continue on with your walk.

It’s important to understand that the “Leave it!” command should be worked on with your dog in the house first to teach him what it means.

This should be followed by proofing your dog in the back yard around light distractions before you actually go on your walk. Finally work your dog at a distance around squirrels where you get compliance to “Leave it!” with your dog. Gradually close the distance.

Basic Foundation Work Is Critical

 

It goes without saying that you must have a relationship with your dog where your dog looks to you for guidance on what to do INSTEAD of what he’s doing.   If it’s not, then you must start with foundation work before you can successfully start your squirrel diversion training.

Let’s take a look at needed foundation work.

Your dog should already be doing sits and downs for everything in the home; food, access to furniture, toys and affection. This teaches him to listen to his pack leader, as you are in charge. This develops better listening skills in the real world on walks.

You should be doing ongoing scheduled obedience training 3 times daily for just 2 minutes. This would include rapid fire sits and downs.

You could also incorporate the come command between two family members so the sequence is “Come! Sit! Down! This could be done back and forth for 2 minutes.

This kind of training will begin to foster discipline for your squirrel diversion training on walks.

Remember, once your foundation work is done inside, move to the back yard for distraction work. Follow that with real world training on walks.

 

Managing Your Dog’s Energy

 

One way to manage your dog’s energy is to engage your dog in a game of fetch. This burns energy in a constructive activity that can be controlled. Make sure your dog sits before you throw the ball.

As your dog gets better, require a sit-stay, throw the ball then release your dog to fetch the ball. Teaching your dog to sit-stay and watch the ball in action, can give you better control on your walks when squirrels appear.

Practicing the come command between family members is another way to manage your dog’s energy. You just have to be consistent in doing it every day.

If before you walk your dog, you play fetch or burn energy with the come command, he’ll have less energy for the squirrels and you may find he listens better.

Bottom line is that it does take time to train your dog and manage his energy. And while you’re managing his energy, don’t let your dog run loose and practice bad habits you are trying to stop.

By using positive dog training methods you develop an impressive display of training and management skills that will help you in all aspects of your life with your dog.

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you. Don’t be a stranger. Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear about your squirrel chasing dog.

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

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 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.

A Well Mannered Dog: One Sure Fire Solution

A Well Mannered Dog: One Sure Fire Solution

Everyone wants a well mannered dog, but how many of you really want to put in the time to get the dog you want?

A Well Mannered Dog: One Sure Fire SolutionHere is one sure-fire solution

A little knowledge goes a long way. That includes what your dog knows. So it just stands to reason that if you know why your dog does what he does –it’s much easier to use his dog logic to your advantage. You can create that well-mannered dog you’ve always wanted. So listen up.

Control your personal space

Your dog uses your personal space as just one way to control who’s in charge. And it happens before you know it – almost over night!

Dogs instinctively take, not give up, things of value. In your dog’s world, personal space is a valuable resource that defines his space and yours.

In your dog’s mind, if you cannot control your personal space, then he leads – you follow. That mindset begins to dictate his thinking about listening which affects manners. See how the pattern develops?

An amazing difference

Teach your dog not to invade your personal space – unless invited. Then require a sit before inviting him into your personal space. Do this every day and you will see an amazing difference in your dog.

Here’s how to do it

Obviously if you trained your dog to sit instead of jump, you’ve solved your jumping problem. This does require a fair amount of time training – and around distractions like house guests. Where are you going to get visitors, every day for training?

What do you do during the jumpy, out of control period before your dog learns to sit? This is the frustrating part of the training I’m talking about.  It is the nuts and bolts of training and control. Quite honestly this is where most owners quit or are not consistent. This is how I want to help you.  This is where you need it the most.

Most jumpy, out-of-control dogs have never had boundaries set – you know, jumping on you when you get home or jumping on you when you sit on the sofa.

What are you waiting for? Begin now to set your boundaries. Do the following steps every day until you achieve success:

  1. Put a leash on your dog and as you sit down, put your foot on the leash with no slack and say, “Settle!”
  2. Then don’t look at, talk to or touch your dog. No eye contact.
  3. The more you do this exercise, the more frequently he will resolve to lay down by your feet on his own.
  4. Once he has learned to settle (lay by your feet) for 5-10 minutes, have him sit and invite him up onto the sofa.
  5. Now you are controlling your personal space and setting boundaries. This he understands.
  6. In the beginning balance time on the floor with time on the sofa with you.

The leash is the game changer

The leash is the game changer for beginning to have control to prevent jumping and getting into your personal space. Use it liberally. It will bring peace and calm to your household.

If your dog is on leash when you are home, simply step on the leash to prevent jumping (don’t look at, talk to or touch your dog) and when your dog settles into a sit, briefly pet and release him from his sit.

Repeat this exercise until you get longer and longer sits and eventually no jumping on approach.

Practice several times daily until you get the behavior you want.

If your dog is pretty much running the house then my Ground Rules for Great Dogs will help you get control back, easily and quickly.

I’m always curious about your input – it’s important to me.  Do you deal with this situation in your house?  Comment below with your frustration about this.

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

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.