Posts

Puppy Training Video Coaching

Puppy Training Using Live Video Coaching with Google Hangouts

Wes is a former NBC, Channel 2 weatherman.  I did puppy training with him and his wife when they lived here before moving to North Carolina

The got a new puppy and again wanted my to help them with training their puppy.

It was an easy request to fill.  We simply schedule 3 live interactive video calls with them and did all the same puppy training exercises and training that we did when they lived here before.

Geography is no longer an issue when you need puppy training for your new family puppy.

 

 

 

dog training Houston, Jim Burwell

Safe Puppy Socialization: 3 Tips

Who Knows Best About Safely Socializing Your Puppy?

dog training Houston, Jim Burwell

 

Every “dog professional”, whether a trainer, veterinarian, animal behaviorist, agree that puppy socialization is critical.

Let’s face it,  no one wants an aggressive puppy or dog no matter what the cause.

Early puppy socialization is the key in avoiding fearfulness and fear aggression towards people and other dogs.

But, that to has be done before the age of 5 months!

Heck, most new puppy owners don’t even get their puppy until they are 2 months of age.

That means there is just 3 months to cram in tons of people and dogs to build his confidence and social skills fast.

Friendly is what you want.

That’s why we are on a quest with Keeper: 100 people in 100 days!

Lots of dogs too!

Here’s the Puppy Socialization Rub: Vets vs Behaviorists

There are differing opinions about whether you should be socializing your puppy outside before he’s been fully vaccinated.

Springtime is high Parvo virus season so your veterinarian will say, “Wait until he’s been fully vaccinated.”

On the other hand, a dog behaviorist will say, “Start socializing your puppy as soon as possible and do it before 5 months of age.”

That behaviorist will also say the window of socialization closes by 5 months so have your puppy meet 100 people in 100 days.

The Puppy Socialization Challenge

Little puppies need tons of exposure and socialization to people, kids, dogs and all kinds of stuff that is strange to them.

The sound of lawnmowers, weed eaters, big trucks and so much more.

The sooner your puppy can get used to and comfortable with all these things, the friendlier and more confident he’ll be when he grows up.

The Big Question: How do you avoid the risk of deadly diseases and still safely socialize your puppy sooner than later?

There are safe places to socialize your puppy.

3 Tips to Help The Challenge of Early, Safe Socialization of Your Puppy

First Puppy Meet and Greet at Home Depot Where Dogs Are Welcome.

We took our new lab puppy Keeper right out of the car and put him on some towels in a shopping cart.

I held his leash to make sure he didn’t jump out of the cart.

He seemed eager to experience this new place. Little did he know he was about to meet 30 plus new people too!

We took tons of his favorite treats to make this a positive experience.

Even getting in the moving cart could have been a scary thing but he soon settled down with treats and his favorite chewy.

We also went around his lunchtime and each person that petted him gave him some of his kibble for lunch!  They loved his sign!

 

dog training Houston, Jim Burwell

 

Take your puppy to visit a friend’s dog that is vaccinated.

Let him experience supervised play in their back yard.

Make sure that meet on leashes just in case one or the other is too overbearing.

You do not want your puppy to get overwhelmed or traumatized during play.

Let them do an on-leash butt sniff first, then it’s down to the business of play!

Remember, food treats are a great way to associate good things with appropriate puppy play.

You might even try and call your puppy out of play, praise and treat him, then send him back to play.

Don’t be surprised if you get two puppies coming to you!

 

Invite known friendly dogs to play in your back yard with your puppy.

It goes without saying that the same rules apply at your home as away at a puppy friend’s home.

Leashes on for new “meets” then let the leashes drag “if needed” so that you can step on them to prevent issues.

Once all puppies are doing okay, the leashes can come off.

It’s even great to have 1-2 puppies or dogs over for a group puppy play date.

Mature dogs that play nice can be an asset for teaching young puppies the rules of socialization – how to approach and how to enjoy play.

Learning good bite inhibition with other puppies and dogs will help you deal with any puppy biting issues in your home.

Before you know it, your new puppy will be well on his way to having great social skills and developing the confidence he needs to comfortable in his new world.

A Couple of Pointers For This Social Process

  1. Our vet said we could begin our challenge a week after his first round of vaccinations so check with your own vet for your puppy.
  2. Check before you go in just to make sure your Home Depot allows dogs as they may not all have the same policy.
  3. So what are you waiting on? Get socializing!

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 no matter where you live. We’ll do private lesson in your home OR we can do private video lessons where geography is no longer a roadblock.

 

 

Great Puppy Training Tip

One Great Puppy Training Tip

A quick puppy training tip is simply this: start puppy training from the very first day you get a new puppy.  It is one of the most important things to do with your brand new puppy.   I really wanted to emphasize that to those of you thinking about getting a puppy.

Why? Because your new puppy will form lifelong behaviors (good or bad) within the first 2 weeks to 4 months of his life with you.

Great Puppy Training Tip

Yup, that fast. It’s really so much easier to begin training good behavior from the beginning, than having to go back and fix what you broke.

What That Training Should Include

One critical “life skill tip” on which you must focus to achieve a lifetime of great memories with your new puppy, is this: Teaching him house manners.

Let’s break it down into normal puppy behavior and how to turn that into good house manners:

  •  Your puppy has only learned to greet his litter mates by sniffing crotch and butt, then immediately engaging in puppy social play as they hump, jump, bump and carry on.

Your “house manner rules” should be very clear:  sit quietly to greet.

Your house manner rules should require your puppy to learn to play nicely with children and don’t bite when they run and he catches them. Not a bad idea either to teach children how best to play with your puppy. That way it sets him up to succeed.

  • Your puppy sees everything as a chew toy! He won’t discriminate between your good shoes and a chew bone and if it smells more like you- that’s even better!

Your house manner rules should teach your puppy to appreciate and leave your valuable stuff alone. Constant supervision and redirects to appropriate toys works best. Crate him when you can’t supervise his activity.

  • Your puppy will tend to go potty when he feels the need to go no matter where he is, unless you teach him differently.

 Your house manner rules should be very specific about not using your home as his toilet area.

Even though you’ve set your house manner rules, you will discover that your puppy has an unquenchable thirst for exploring and getting into everything.

Your Puppy is an Opportunity Seeker

If you leave your dinner plate on the coffee table as you make your way to the kitchen to refill your water glass, you may return to find that last piece of pizza you so badly wanted – gone!  Opportunity taken!

If you leave the front door open, he will inquisitively go through it to explore.  Opportunity taken!  And, the list goes on.

The good news is that your puppy can learn your crazy house manner rules and more – if you teach them and are very consistent every day.

Start your house manners training the day you get your new puppy. You’ll be glad you did. Take advantage of his opportunistic nature by trading things he wants for things you want.

Be extra careful and pay attention to your new puppy so that he doesn’t develop any bad habits like chewing on the couch or coffee table. Have plenty of chew toys like a stuffed Kong toy or Nylabone ready for a quick redirect.

How you handle the correction (never harsh) will have a lifetime affect on your relationship with your new puppy.

Getting a new puppy is a full time job, but well worth the effort to end up with a well-trained dog.

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

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.

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.

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.

Calming Your Dog

Calming Your Dog

Calming your dog can refer to numerous situations: thunderstorms, fireworks, or just any time he shows extreme anxiety about something.

But today I want to talk about calming your excitable and out of control dog with better human-dog interaction because how You behave can have a profound effect on how Your dog behaves.Calming Your Dog

You interact with your dogs in 3 ways:

You look at your dog,
Talk to your dog and
Touch your dog.

How you use your body language, eye contact and tone of voice can make the   difference in a dog that is out of control – or a pleasure to live with.

Before I talk about specific human-dog interaction I wanted to make sure you knew that your dog is an “expert” at interpreting every subtle nuance and change in your body language and facial expressions – including eye contact as well as your tone of voice.

They have to be not only good at it, but expert at it, because their very survival depends on it – or at least their survival used to depend on it. Nonetheless your dog still has the instincts that drive how he responds to your interactions with him.

Body language speaks volumes to dogs. In fact, it often speaks louder than your spoken word. Your dog will get confused if your body language contradicts what you are saying.

When this happens, your dog will most likely default to interpreting what your body language says. Remember, your emotions drive your tone of voice and your actions. Your dog interprets your emotions and responds to your actions.

Now let’s talk about how you can use body language, eye contact and tone of voice to teach quiet while also calming your dog.

Create quiet calm if you want a calm dog

Dogs simply don’t do well with yelling, screaming, anger or excitement. It tends to create an unstable environment in which they try to exist. Cultivate a calm voice – both in volume and pitch.

Develop calm departures and calm arrivals – in fact, ignoring your dog for 5 minutes when you leave and return will help to level out your dog’s emotional highs at those times. That means do not look at, talk to or touch your dog for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, calmly call your dog to you, ask for a sit and briefly pet your dog.

In the words of William Campbell, “In the non-verbal world of dogs, silence means quiet, inaction begets stillness and movement stimulates action.” We should all learn from this.

How you move is critical

Dogs will mimic human behavior. Moving slowly — arm movement & walking — around your excitable dog will give you an opportunity to teach slower dog movement.

By moving more slowly you will give your dog an opportunity to obey a sit or down command rather than letting his instincts take over. Ah, progress!

Use common sense

 These few dos and don’ts bear repeating because of their importance and it just makes good common sense – especially if you have kids.
 
Don’t encourage predatory behavior. That simply means do not chase your dog and don’t run away or play keep-away from your dog. Instead, play fetch and tug-of-war – with rules.

Now you are burning predatory energy constructively as you stay in control of the article. Appropriate adult supervision is required with kids.

Don’t back your dog into a corner to take something back he has taken. This could trigger his defense drive causing him to possibly bite you or another family member.

If you have taught him to retrieve, call him to you, gently remove the object and praise your dog.

Don’t fight or wrestle with your dog. Excitable dogs need to s-l-o-w down instead of being amped up to a point where their instincts take over.

Train your dog

Train your dog to give you good dog behavior. Dogs can easily be taught to give you attention (eye contact) for engagement rather than the jumping you don’t like.

Also train your dog a dismissal cue which means “Go chill!” or “Relax.” Or, just leave you alone.

Train your dog not to get into your personal space or jump on you until he gives you a sit and is invited into your personal space.

It’s a wrap

Remember how dogs learn. Dogs learn by instinct, trial and error and training. They are very sensitive to your body language, eye contact and tone of voice. Use all three wisely as you are calming your dog!

If you need help with step by step how to achieve a calm dog, be sure to check out my Ground Rules for Great Dogs.  That’s your roadmap.

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 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.