Posts

Train Your Dog to Leave It

The Leave It Command

 

Today, I’m going to teach you how to teach the Leave It Commmand and why It’s important

Hey folks, I’m Jim Burwell. As you saw in this video, little Annie is walking through a virtual landmine field of acorns.  She’s like a kid in a candy store thinking, “Where do I start?”

Teaching the ‘ Leave It” command  can be a very useful tool.

Some dog owners use the words, “drop” or “no off”.  They all can be used.  It’s always best to pick ONE word or phrase that to your dog always means: Leave It

Now, of course the Leave It Command is not only for acorns.

You could also use it for:

  • Leaving the kid toys alone
  • Not grabbing your linen towels on your oven handle in the kitchen.
  • An important one is gutter trash.   Stuff you don’t want your dog to get into when a on a walk with you.

To fix this with dog training, as usual, always takes lots of practice.

Here Are The Steps To Teach “Leave It”

First on a leash in your home with few to no distractions to make sure you’re both successful.

As you can see in the video, little Annie is beginning her first week at training in her home.

We put the acorns on a towel and we’re doing all our training inside first on leash.

At the beginning of her second week of training she is now responding to the leave it command

She turns to her mom,  gets praised and treated, after that she gets redirected to a “legal” chew toy

Make  A List of the “Not To Touch” Objects

This should be a list of all the things your dog likes but you know are off limits and illegal and Use Leave It

Begin your work on leash, in your home, before moving forward to training outside.  This gives you even more practical use  of the leave it command.

Your one-by-one steps to the “Leave it!” command.

  1. Put the forbidden item on the floor and approach with your dog on leash but keep a distance away
  2. As soon as your dog turns away out of frustration, say “Good!” and have your dog come to you for the treat.
  3. Rinse and repeat.
  4. When you can anticipate your dog is going to turn away, add the “Leave it!” command just before your dog turns away.   He will begin to pair the command word with the action of turning away from the forbidden item.
  5. Once your dog is listening to “Leave it!”, immediately praise and treat and then redirect to a legal and motivational toy.

Alway look for the WHY behind your dog’s behavior

Now, leaving things alone he is not supposed to have,  is not the only dog behavior problem that’s plaguing dog owners.

There’s jumping, there’s chewing on stuff, there’s attention barking, just to name a few.

No matter what the dog behavior problem is that you’re facing, the key is to find out the root cause of the problem.  That’s pretty easy to do if you follow some practical steps.

In other words, what’s bugging or stressing your dog out?

 

 

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.

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.

Walking Your Dog

Walking Your Dog: Like Candy to a Kid

Walking your dog can be mutually beneficial for you and your dog and immensely improve his quality of life.

Everyone knows the benefits of exercise especially walking, is great. But do you really know why walking your dog at least twice daily is important? Walking Your Dog

Quality of life

I once read that a dog’s quality of life should encompass more than just providing his basic needs and absence of suffering. It should include the quality of his relationship with his environment and how he lives his life.

Your dog doesn’t have a choice in what he gets to do. He relies on you to take him for walks and provide him with opportunities to enjoy his life doing things he loves to do. His self-expression through his natural instincts.

Examples of this would include a hound dog’s natural instinct to track scent or a retriever honing his abilities to fetch and retrieve a ball, Frisbee or bird.

Dogs are working, thinking animals that need a job – a purpose other than sitting or sleeping all day long.

If you don’t have a hound or retriever, that’s not a problem. Obedience training works as a great way to say “good job” for your dog. Rapid fire sits and downs for two minutes is not only great exercise, it creates mental fatigue.

Remember, it’s not a substitute for outside walking. You still need to provide outside opportunities for your dog.

His world

So take him for a walk in his world. Provide your dog with boundless opportunities to do these things and more. Take that first step.

That first step means understanding more about his breed characteristics and instincts. In other words, know where he’s coming from and meet him there – in his world.

Your world

Also take your dog for a walk in your world – where he also lives. Include opportunities to have fun with you doing the things you do whenever possible. These would include (where appropriate) interacting socially around other people, children and dogs in all kinds of settings.

If you desensitize your dog to noise, traffic and public places like dog friendly restaurants, this will not only improve his quality of life, but also his chances of going more places with you.

Change is much more enjoyable

Walking your dog is better when you change the route and change the location. Reversing your regular route or even changing your route gives your dog a whole new perspective.

Remember, he’s not viewing the route as much with his eyes as he is with his nose.

Change locations by walking your dog at the beach or in a State Park near you. This is something that you might do on weekends as time permits. Not enough time to go to the beach or State Park? Most cities have hiking trails around the city. Weather permitting he would appreciate getting out with you in your world.

We know regular walking can lengthen and improve the quality of life for your dog. Having a walking buddy gives you a great reason to get out yourself and stay fit.

Who knows, if more dog owners took the time to walk their dog, they might not only loose weight but have Jay Leno changing his monologue about lazy, overweight Americans!

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 you have problems with your dog misbehaving and being a bit of a brat, check out my Ground Rules for Great Dogs.  

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.

Dogs Could Talk

If Dogs Could Talk, What Would Your Dog Say

“If dogs could talk, what would yours say?”  I ask dog owners this as I love to see how the answers differ.

Most owners say:  Dogs need love and affection. And most do say love and affection first. Others may follow up with some things they would think I want to hear like obedience training or food and water and to know they are in a safe place.Dogs Could Talk

Well, truth be told, if dogs could talk, they would say they need all of those things.  Many of these things he needs in moderation and others –  he needs a lot.  You may be surprised at the order of which comes first.

Let’s explore what your dog would need – if dogs could talk

If your dog could talk, these are some great dog skills he would want you to have so that you could best interact with him in the early stages of his life with you.

He would tell you that he needs to have the highest level of comfort and trust in you, but at the same time respect you as a leader.

Now he may not say he wants you to obedience train him – after all that’s work! He’ll indirectly say that by jumping and acting out in other ways you may not like.  He’s looking for ways to get things he wants – like your attention. He might also be asking, “How do I get anything to eat around here?” Your answer of course is obedience training. And the “Sit!” is born.
 
When you begin fulfilling his needs, he will be able to build on this relationship of mutual respect and continue this into the years ahead as an adult dog.

Here are three very important areas of your dog relationship on which you should work:

  • Bonding with your dog to build trust
  • Rules, expectations and respect of your personal space
  • Manners in your home – teach the behavior you want

Let’s take a look at each one of these “relationship areas” and see exactly what it takes to build on your successes with your new dog.

Bonding with your dog to build trust

Love your new dog.  This is an important part of his new dog care. Spend his first critical days with you giving your dog lots of love and affection. This is especially good to do after exercising him with a brisk walk.
 
He learns on a physical level so how you use your body language, eye contact and tone of voice is going to be critically important.

Show him your affection with your touch (body language.) he loves physical contact so you can begin with a favorite of new dogs – belly rubs! Using your hands to gently pet and give soothing belly rubs is a good way to express how you feel towards him. Cuddle and hug him and avoid any interactions that could cause him to be aggressive or bite. Always balance this with a sit and down command and give it in moderation.

Speaking in a calm soothing voice lets him know you appreciate what he has done because of the warm sincere praise (tone of voice.) This voice inflection will create calm in him. Your calm tone of voice helps you bond with your dog.  Anger, yelling and screaming causes him to become stressed and anxious, creating an unstable environment.

Make sure you give – and get attention (eye contact) as you communicate physically and verbally to your dog.  Attention (eye contact) should be his way of getting interaction with you – not jumping or biting. All of this will begin to create “calm expectations” with your dog as you build a lasting trust in the relationship with your dog.

If there is more than one family member, spread the dog love around. Everyone should work on bonding with him by building a strong working relationship with obedience commands.

While love and affection is very important, your new dog will need more than that. He’s going to need a “roadmap” to help him navigate the treacherous roads of chewing, jumping and biting as he learns to live in a human world. This roadmap will help him to avoid the pitfalls and the potholes of life.  You want his – and your experience to be a great one.

Rules, expectations and respect of your personal space

What he needs the second he walks into your home is the roadmap I spoke of before and it should take the shape of rules, boundaries and expectations. Your dog training should include:

  • Rules for him to follow: He should sit for everything. Being consistent with this every day in every way is essential.
  • Respect of your personal space: Don’t invade it or jump on you unless invited and, he should always sit first.
  • Having expectations of what to do and when to do it: This will allow him to live a stress-free life because of the structure you provide.

Manners in your home – teach the behavior you want

He will explore with his ears, nose and especially his mouth.  The rule is if he can get it into his mouth, he will eat it. It’s that simple. Usually the younger the dog, the more the rule applies. You may get lucky or get an older dog.

Taking advantage of crates, gates and exercise pens is a logical and sensible way to protect your stuff and safely control your dog when you can’t supervise him. When he is out of the crate, simply put him on a leash to control where you want him to be.

CAUTION: Do not tether your dog near by with the leash while you are busy working. He could chew through the leash and pee/poop when you are not looking.  Worse yet, get his leash caught on something and choke.

Having your dog on a leash helps him to make the right decisions and also allows you to:

  • Minimize jumping
  • Limit where he goes, what he gets into and,
  • Keep him from chasing and biting the kids.  

The bottom line is that routine and consistent control of your dog can keep him safe and it will also lower his and your stress. Now that’s a win-win situation.

Some closing thoughts for you

It’s a lot more efficient spending your time and energy training preferred behaviors rather than wasting time correcting what you don’t like.

And finally, in addition to working for things he wants, engage him in short 2 minute obedience training sessions of rapid fire sits and downs every day to give him a sense of working for you and creating mental fatigue.

If dogs could talk I’m sure your dog would say, “Give me what I need to succeed!”

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”

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.