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Mealtime Barking Got You Miffed?

 

 My Secret to Fixing Mealtime Barking

 

barking at mealtimes, Jim Burwell

I know you get annoyed at your dog for barking during dinner. Dinner is that time of day when you’re trying to unwind and spend some stress free time with your family.

But the barking ruins a perfectly good meal.

It’s always a good idea when you have a dog behavior issue to step back and see what or if you are or have contributed to the bad behavior.

Take this behavior on barking during mealtime and let’s see just how much attention you gave this behavior.

Assuming your dog doesn’t have to go potty outside, he is more than likely barking at you for attention and to see what else he gets from you if he barks.

If you yelled at your dog with a stern verbal correction like, “Shut up!” or “Quiet!” you probably just reinforced his barking.

Remember, just like kids, even getting yelled at is still attention.

There are 3 ways you can give your dog attention. I call it TLC

  • DON’T TOUCH (physical contact of any kind)
  • DON’T LOOK AT (eye contact)
  • DON’T COMMUNICATE (talk to)

You are probably guilty of giving him attention in at least 2 out of the 3 ways above during his barking at the table.

If he was bold enough to put his paws on your leg as he barked, you more than likely pushed him off (touch).

You looked at him as you said: (eye contact)

“Shut up!” (communication)

 Ideas For Your Ill-Mannered Mutt

Try thinking back on what may be missing (that attention) in your relationship with your dog.

Has he received dog training every day? Training gives your dog the attention he needs in a positive and constructive way. It helps you build  strong communication and listening skills  with him.

If you train every day, you begin to gain his respect as who he should look to for guidance,  through obedience training. Working on sits and downs can develop  discipline with  other commands with your dog – like staying on his bed during mealtime.

Are you exercising your dog? Have you ever heard the phrase “A tired dog is a good dog?” A long, brisk walk is another positive and constructive way to give your dog attention.

My Secret Fix for Mealtime Barking

If you’ve read my two ideas above and you’re already doing all of that, it’s time to let you in on my secret fix.

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is.

Here’s my fix: Do absolutely nothing. You heard right. Nothing!
The next time your dog decides to bark at mealtime, don’t do anything.

Remember the three ways we give our dog attention?

Remember TLC?

  • DO NOT touch (push off your dog),
  • DO NOT look at (absolutely no eye contact) or
  • DO NOT talk to your dog.

Do absolutely nothing. Just eat your dinner.

Here’s the thing about extinguishing this kind of unwanted behavior in this way.

Dogs Do What Works for Them 

If the last time your dog barked at you and you gave him TLC in some form or fashion – you just reinforced the barking.

Understand that during your process of “doing nothing” your dog barking to get what he wants, is perfectly natural.

You will then develop the patience you need to wait him out.

Here’s what to expect:

Your dog’s barking will get worse before it gets better

If barking is not working for him, he may try other things to get your attention like jumping up on you.

As you continue to not provide him with any feedback at all, (TLC), the barking for attention will subside and eventually stop altogether.
Be forewarned:  he may try barking again a week or so after he’s been quiet just to see if it will work.

Just do nothing. Absolutely nothing. It will finally flat line and go away.

Make sure your dog is getting his attention fix in other positive and constructive ways.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

You got your dog for a reason. You wanted to share your life with a happy and loving dog. But now, your dog has big problems and life is not happy.
I can help you get that happy, well behaved dog back. We’ll work together at your speed and both you and your dog will have fun every step of the way.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.