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Dogs and Their People. Happiness to Heartache

The subject of dogs and their people conjures up stories that warm the heart and delight the mind. Katie’s relationship with her 3 year old Golden Retriever, Daisy Mae, started off to be “just such a story” or so Katie thought.

But her love affair with Daisy Mae, the perfect dog was about to go south when Katie met Brent, her soon-to-be fiancé.

Read on and see if this story strikes a familiar chord in your life.

Katie loved Golden Retrievers and her past dog had been the perfect dog. Like most dog owners, Katie set her expectations high for Daisy Mae based on the great dog she had before. Pretty natural; don’t you think?

wedding couple and pet

 

Daisy had some fear issues

 What Katie liked about Daisy was her sweet nature, even though she was a bit skittish around people, especially men. Katie didn’t let that bother her though, thinking Daisy would eventually grow out of it. With Daisy Mae it was “love at first lick!”

What’s next? Maybe some obedience training

Daisy seemed like the perfect dog. At six months of age Katie took Daisy to obedience training and noticed that Daisy was very frightened of people and in fact, snapped at approaching people before slinking away behind Katie. This alarmed Katie so she decided to quit her dog obedience class.

Daisy’s lack of socialization around dogs and people worried Katie but the most troubling concern was Daisy’s fear of people.

A life with no structure

It started because of Katie’s busy schedule and Daisy’s picky eating habits. Katie began to leave Daisy’s food bowl down all day while she was at work thinking she would eat when she got hungry.

Katie walked Daisy twice daily and both usually relaxed on the couch watching television until bedtime. Like clockwork after the news it was a quick potty walk and return to the house for lights out and bedtime. Daisy slept with Katie and was usually the first in bed.   Why else do you get a dog, if not to love on her and have the dog sleep with you?

Daisy turned three, and Katie and Daisy were pretty well bonded with lots of love and affection although very lite in the “structure and rules department.” Life was good or so it seemed.

Then came Brent: For better or worse

Katie fell for Brent like she fell for Daisy. How’s that for a comparison? Brent was a sweet and loving guy. He was even-keeled, sensible and never raised his voice.

Daisy on the other hand didn’t fall for Brent.

In fact she was afraid of Brent and would snap when he came close to her. Date night at Katie’s was miserable. Daisy had to be crated or shut in the bedroom when Brent came over. Since Katie didn’t like doing that she would meet Brent out at his car to avoid any confrontation between the two.

Happiness to Heartache

Katie and Brent were in love and got engaged but avoided the Daisy problem. The unspoken choice was: would Katie have to give up Daisy for a happy life with Brent?

Their lifestyle was stressed and inconvenient. They couldn’t function like a normal couple with a dog. What to do?

Katie and Brent were on an emotional Roller Coaster ride putting Katie on the hot seat of getting closer to having to make a “Brent-or-Daisy Mae” decision until they decided to give me a call.

Then came Jim: Here’s hoping!

Now let’s get one thing clear. I’m not a dog whisperer that comes into your home and fixes your dog problem.

I’m a dog trainer that will come into your home and work with you to resolve your dog behavior problem. It’s unfortunate but very common many dog problems simply don’t get fixed because the dog owner will not make the necessary changes to effect a positive change in their dog.

Some however do.  Katie and Brent did.

In fact, they did every single thing I recommended and it worked. They knew it would take time but the wedding was one year away so they set that as their goal. It did take time. It took 6-7 months.

What did they do?

By this time Brent, Katie and Daisy had moved in together so it provided the perfect set up for them to get Daisy used to Brent. Two things happened:

  • Basically I had Katie ignore Daisy – just played like Daisy was not there. Very hard for Katie to do but she did it because she wanted what was best for Daisy!
  • I had Brent partner up with Daisy which included walking and feeding at first with Katie not present during feeding time. I also had Brent start clicking/treating Daisy off and on throughout the evenings and weekend. He soon became Daisy’s only source of love and affection, food and interaction.
  • Brent eventually put her on an earn-to-learn program (sit for everything) and began teaching her more dog obedience commands. Rules and structure was exactly what she needed.

Sometimes, depending on the dog and circumstances, you can go from heartache back to happiness with willing participants and a serious commitment to change.  Role reversals like this (complete social distance from the original owner) where we depleted the value of Katie while building high value in Brent, works with many dogs.

I also find that some dog owners are not up to the task and find ways to compromise the program. They can’t stand not to interact with their loving pet. It is a personal decision – live with the behavior or fix the behavior– so I’m not judging.

With Katie and Daisy I knew it was definitely not a dog problem. It was a people problem. The proof was in the pudding so to speak because it did fix the relationship with Brent and Daisy.

Katie couldn’t be happier. With the proper skills to desensitize Daisy to people, Katie and Brent set that as a long range goal working with core family and friends first and then gradually increasing Daisy’s circle of people she eventually liked.

Daisy is a lot less stressed now having rules and expectations in her life where all love and affection is earned and balanced. Katie and Brent plan on raising their kids this way to which I replied, “It’s a good thing because I don’t do kids!”

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. 

If your dog’s behavior has got you to the ‘boiling point”  Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your must have, easy step-by-step process to helping you get your well behaved dog back!

Dog Exercise: Exercising Your Dog Indoors

There is no doubt dog exercise is critical to your dog’s mental and physical well being. In fact, lack of exercise is one of the biggest causes of dog behavior problems.

And if you live in a Sunbelt region as I do, summertime brings some very hot and humid temperatures that don’t foster a lot of extended outside exercise with your dog.

Many dog owners are limiting the number of walks and the length of walks because of the heat.

 

The big question

 

DOG EXERCISE

With so many puppies and young dogs needing a constructive outlet for their energy, the question of dog exercise surfaces once again. I’ve been asked numerous times lately to share some of my acceptable alternatives for exercising your dog indoors.

I’d like to share with you my list of alternative exercise plans that you can do that will exercise your dog, strengthen your bond with your dog, create some physical as well as mental fatigue.

Remember, like anything else only consistency and repetition work.

Interactive games with your dog

Tug of war and fetch come to mind. Both of these interactive games can burn a ton of predatory energy but you must play the games correctly and all games must have rules – especially tug of war. We’ll start with that game first.

You should be okay with tug of war and by that I mean – know that your dog will not get aggressive when playing. It’s not for every dog and certainly only adults should play this game with the family dog.

Having said that, here are the rules:

  • Your dog needs to know “Sit!”, “Take it!” and “Drop it!”
  • All interactive toys should be kept up and only played on your terms and timetable.
  • Your dog should sit to start the game and end the game.
  • The “Take it” command initiates the tug part and the “Drop it!” command releases the tug toy back to you to be put away until the next time.
  • Any mouthing of human skin ends the game immediately.

So the sequence is: Sit, Take it, (game on) then Sit, Drop it, toy is put away until the next time. Be consistent with the rules, play as long as you want but make sure your dog’s excitement doesn’t escalate to aggression. Tug of war is not for all dogs. Know your dog.

The game of fetch has been played as long as dogs have been companions but rules are rules. Rules can keep your dog on his game. The command sequence is much the same as with tug and it can be played indoors assuming there is room to run a bit: Sit, Fetch, Drop it/Give and sit again for the next retrieve.

To make the game a little more interesting, you could add a stay to the sit then release your dog to fetch the ball after it stops rolling.

Another variation of fetch with stairs would be to sit/stay your dog at the bottom of the stairs while you toss the ball down the stairs so that your dog fetches and returns the ball to you at the top of the stairs. He’ll be winded after a few times of this! His running direction is always up – not down.

Beyond basic obedience: Trick training

Easy motion tricks to teach are: spin right in a circle then spin left in a circle. Give it a try along with other tricks like roll over, shake or high-5, take a bow, back up and the list goes on. Trick training usually requires the basics so make sure you brush up on the basic obedience commands. Your dog can’t roll over unless he knows how to do a down on command.

Food games

Hunting for food is what your dog’s ancestor’s used to do but maybe your dog has turned into a clock watcher and knows exactly when dinner will be served up. Start giving him half his meal in his bowl and the other half is divided into small Dixie cups hidden around the house for your dog to find. If he’s an over-achiever, let him find his entire evening meal (and maybe those weekend meals too) by searching with his nose.

Speaking of food, go on-line with Google and search for doggie food dispensing toys. These toys provide a great way for your dog to exercise himself and his brain figuring out how to get food out of the different shaped toys. The difficulty of some toys can be increased with simple built in adjustments keeping him working at it longer.

Clicker minded?

Go onto You Tube and search “101 things to do with a cardboard box” (with your dog).
This is really cool. You need to be a little clicker savvy. Your dog will love trying to figure out how you want him to interact with the box in order to get the click which produces the food treat. It’s a thinking dog’s game.

No matter whether you pick and choose some of these ideas or eventually do them all, there is something for everyone and their dog. Keep your training fun and positive!

So, tell me below in the comments. What you think? Did you think the fix would be this easy and fun?

Dog Food: My Dog Eats What?

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Dog Food: My Dog Eats What? by Jim Burwell

It’s amazing how some dog owners buy their dog food. If it looks good on the package, it will taste good to their dog.

Processed dog food that is poor quality and chock full of cheap carbs and sugar can plague unsuspecting dog owners with out of control dogs on a sugar high.

Diet can make a “turn-around” difference in your dog’s health and behavior.

Here’s what one client said:

“Thanks for checking up on Charlie. His new diet has been amazing. He absolutely loves SOJOS and it is completely agreeing with his digestive system. He licks his bowl clean after every feeding and wants more. He is no longer on Prilosec and we have not witnessed any vomiting.

I took him to the vet last week to weigh him and he as lost a bit over 3 pounds so we are headed in the right direction. I am sure the added weight played a role in his orthopedic issues Charlie seems to feel so much better and there is a pep to his stay. We are thrilled with the results and will keep up this diet regimen.”

 

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you. Don’t be a stranger. 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.

His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your must have, easy step-by-step process to helping your dog. Be the dog owner your dog needs to be a great dog. Ground Rules gets you there. Grab them now.

 

It’s Impossible to Train My Dog!

I sometimes think many dog owners take the easy way out and just say, “It’s impossible to train my dog!” Some will say, “It’s just my dog’s personality. It’s just the way he is, even though it’s impossible to train my dog.”

If even after you have tried your best at dog obedience training, maybe it’s time to take a different perspective.

What do I mean by that?


Complex dog behavior problems aside


Complex dog behavior questions are usually not simple to answer in a short, over the counter conversation.

I get questions on complex dog behavior problems all the time in emails and on Facebook.

I would love to answer the questions, but feel I would be doing the owner a disservice with the limited information they gave and no opportunity to properly evaluate their dog.

Aside from complex dog behavior problems that do plague puppy and dog owners every day, there are many other problems that, with the right approach, could be fixed more easily than you might think.

Dog Training: Problems and Solutions


What are these problems?


I’m talking about:

    • house training, 
    • walking on a loose leash and 
    • jumping

Just to name a few.

If you, as a puppy or dog owner, are currently experiencing one or more of these behaviors, thinking clearly with a dose of a little common sense, can provide solutions more easily than you think.


Here are some common sense solutions I’ve used to fix them almost instantly.


House training puppies

If you are having trouble house training your puppy, here are two very common problems with potentially easy solutions:

Problem: Peeing in the house
Problem: Pooping in the house

Solution 1: Have your puppy checked for a bladder infection. That has stumped many a new puppy owner and they are amazed that they never considered that as a possible solution.

Solution 2: If your puppy is pooping all over the house, it could be that you are over feeding. I find this with puppies that are over fed and may also be continuously fed (bowl down all day). Owners wonder why there is so much poop.

One visual sign of over feeding is soft stools.

I recommend you back off the amount you feed your puppy by 10% a day until his stool firms up. With a frequent feed schedule and more close supervision, your house training issue should clear up.

Walking on a loose leash


Problem:
Do you have a pulling problem with your dog?

Do you not look forward to your morning or evening walks? Has this got you thinking, “It’s impossible to train my dog?” You are not in the boat alone, that’s for sure.

Pulling on leash is all too common with dog owners. Many dread the walk simply because it’s just not fun getting pulled down the street.

With as many articles as I’ve written and private lessons I’ve done on loose-leash walking, it still remains a mystery to many as to how loose-leash walking is accomplished. Most of the time, the mystery can be solved with one of the following:

Solution: Easy Walk harness
Solution: Gentle Leader or Head Halti
Solution: Martingale collar (with some dogs)

Once I get them walking their dog with proper equipment, it’s a real game changer.

Owners and their dogs are finally like “one-with-the world” enjoying time together because it’s comfortable, easy and most of all fun!


Jumping on house guests


Problem: I can’t tell you how many homes I’ve gone into a dog owner’s home to work on their jumpy, adolescent dog problem only to be met at the door by that jumpy dog!

And you’re right, I get jumped on by their dog as they say, “I just wanted you to see what it is like.”

Solution: What’s my 95% guaranteed solution? I now go in the house with a Kong toy (stuffed with fresh Lamb loaf), give it to the jumpy dog and proceed into the family room or kitchen table to talk about the complete solution.

Did you think the Kong was the solution? Its part of it but another important part, the other 5%, is to put your dog on a leash. Leashing your dog to prevent jumping and being prepared with a pre-stuffed Kong in the freezer will keep you in control and in charge when it comes time to getting the behavior you prefer at the front door.


Final Thoughts


Here are some final thoughts as you approach your current or next dog problem:

1. Think through your dog problem and look for a quick and simple, common sense solution. It could be staring you in the face!

2. Make sure that your expectations are in line with what you can realistically teach your dog within the context and timeframe you currently have chosen.

3. Approach your dog training with a positive mental attitude and a willingness to do things differently and consistently.

Remember, training is not a time-intense process. If you do it consistently a little each day, good results are possible. Have fun with your dog!

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you. Don’t be a stranger. I’d love to hear what you think – tell me in the comments below.


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.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your must have, easy step-by-step process to helping your dog. Be the dog owner your dog needs to be a great dog. Ground Rules gets you there. Grab them now.

Video Review: Bossy dog no longer runs the home

 

Ted was a pretty bossy dog with absolutely no manners

He really had his owner at his beck and call. With structure and routine Ted has become a very well mannered dog.

bossydog2

 

Ted was a pretty bossy dog.  He decided it was his job to run the house and have his owners do whatever Ted wanted.  Ted just needed some structure and to understand that he needed to ask for what he wanted, not demand it.  The family is much happier and found it to be easy, stress free, not harsh at all to help Ted learn some doggie manners. It really got down to teach Ted manners. This is not much different than teaching your child how to behave. It’s actually easier because in dog training your dog only has about 6 things that he truly values. When you use those 6 things and have you dog basically say “may I please” then your dog becomes well mannered. Dog training is simply understanding how to take what comes naturally to your dog and use that to teach him how to live in a human world. Hope you enjoy the video.

Bad Dog Behavior

Bad Dog Behavior: You Won’t Believe this Simple Remedy

I get called out on a lot of bad dog behavior cases. Now, let me define bad dog behavior. Behavior problems in dogs can literally be puppy biting and jumping, digging-jumping-barking in adolescent dogs (that’s your teenagers) to leash aggression, dog-dog aggression, separation anxiety and much more.

Without exception all of these dogs doing these bad dog behaviors have one thing in common: All of these dogs are simply not getting their physical needs met. Not enough or no exercise at all.

I truly believe that in most all cases where dogs are have problems, the severity of the dog problem can be significantly reduced and in some or many cases, completely fixed with adequate structured exercise WITH you.

There is a definite connection between dog problems and a lack of exercise. But exercise can be a natural remedy for dog behavior problems. Just ask Sophie, our little terrier mix who starts whining if Leila doesn’t take her on their daily 4:00 walk! It’s a predictable and very consistent walking exercise program she has come to expect because it is meeting her needs.

Owners must take a vested interest in partnering with their dogs to provide rhythmic, aerobic exercise for at least one hour, five days a week. Improvements in some dogs can be seen within 2 weeks but it will usually take at least 6 weeks and sometimes longer to see substantial results.

Now I’ve written on the benefits of exercise before but I think these same owners don’t believe it can really work because I’m still getting calls to fix dog problems. I guess I shouldn’t complain, right?

When I mention exercise, here are the complaints I hear: I’m too busy, not enough time, I have a bad back or I can’t walk my dog because he’s out of control. The list goes on.

So, I sat down the other night and listed all the different ways you can exercise your dog and there are really more ways to exercise your dog than there are excuses for not exercising your dog.

Caution 

Before you start up any exercise program with your dog, have your vet give him a clean bill of health to exercise in the way you choose. Warm ups and cool downs should be done before and after exercising your dog for an hour. Exercise can be overdone so make sure you build up your dog’s endurance. There is a balance to how much AND how little you do. Balance his exercise wisely.

This list will help you figure out a way to exercise your dog. Who knows, maybe it will re-energize your relationship with your dog. Let’s take a look:

 

Treadmills: Many folks usually have one in the garage collecting dust like my weight bench in my office. Treadmills are great for bad weather days and/or if you personally don’t like breaking into a sweat.

Bad Dog Behavior

Play fetch with your dog: Like the treadmill, you don’t have to do much here either. It can burn a lot of predatory energy. Make sure you put rules to the game. Require a sit before releasing him to get the ball.

Jogging with your dog: It’s great exercise for you and your dog. The only drawback is that if you are out of shape, you may not be able to jog enough for your dog’s 5 days of exercise to do him any good.

Swimming: Because it is so low impact, it is probably considered the best exercise for your dog. Not everyone has a pool or place to take your dog. Make sure your dog is pool ready and knows how to enter and exit the pool safely.

Dock diving: This is a relatively new sport where the dog runs and jumps off a pier or dock after a ball or dummy that has been thrown. The dog with the longest jump from the pier to his water landing wins.

Pulling: Large breed dogs like the Malamute, Newfoundland, Bernese mountain dog, Rottweiler and Saint Bernard are great for pulling wagons or carts. There are even contests for pulling the most weight. There is also a sport called Skijoring which is pulling people on skis. This sport has been modified in warmer climates to pulling people on their bikes or even roller blades.

Agility: Agility encourages co-operation between you and your dog to track the course together and is great exercise for you both. It also requires practice to do off leash but is a great confidence builder for your dog as he learns to traverse through the obstacle course.

Flyball: This sport is fast and intense. It too is done off leash. It’s like “fetch on steroids” where your dog flies over jumps, retrieves a tennis ball and brings it back in record time.

Dog-on-dog play: Dog parks and doggie day camp, what’s your pleasure? It depends on your budget. Dog parks are free but you pay for your dog’s play with other pre-tested dogs. It’s a good feeling knowing that your dog is staying well exercised and socialized no matter which way you choose to cut the pie.

Was I right?

There are really more ways to exercise your dog than one could come up with excuses not to exercise your dog. Now surely with this list of great ways to exercise your dog, something should “tickle your fancy.”

If your dog has a dog behavior problem, it’s usually stress related. Increase your engagement with your dog “with a daily exercise program” and watch his behavior get better. For some of the more complex dog behavior problems you may have to add structure to his life and do very specific exercises designed to eliminate or change certain behavior, like fear of other dogs.

I know first hand from a client that has a dog with mild separation anxiety. When they leave the house, he is so anxious, he chews up stuff of theirs if it is not put high up. Their solution was to put him in day camp every day while at work.

With long family walks every day, structure in his life and predictable dog training exercises each day, they have restored a confidence in their dog to a point where they can now leave him alone for 3-5 hours without incident.

He’s less stressed and they are happy. Soon they hope to cut back on day camp during the week and re-distribute part of their day camp expense to a much needed vacation – with their dog.

There are so many behaviors like boredom barking, digging, destructive behaviors and many adolescent behaviors that could be cured or almost cured with a great, consistent exercise program.

When you think about it, exercising your dog is free, can be fun and it’s something you should be doing anyway.

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.  I’m here to help.

 

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

Expert dog trainer and behaviorist, Jim Burwell is Houston’s most trusted dog trainer.  His success encompasses 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients.  Jim has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog. 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This can be very frustrating, can’t it?

It all starts with a Primary Resource

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

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

You are now relevant to your dog!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other benefits to a scheduled feeding program

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.

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

 

What People Want From Their Dog

What People Want from Their Dogs

It’s always interesting what people want from their dogs. Let me give you two examples of people and their dogs. On the surface they seem different but they are really not different.

Example one

John and Glenda, have an older dog Ben that had always been independent. Ben is content to lie off to the side where he feels comfortable. He is very obedient and always comes to a family member “when called over.” But he will never come over to visit on his own. Ben has always been a very obedient dog – he just likes his independence.

Then they got Jerry – another male who John wanted as “his dog”. It turns out Jerry is very affectionate. Since Ben is not an affectionate dog, that void is filled by Jerry. Just what the doctor ordered. But, the end result over time is that Jerry has started guarding John to keep Ben away. This usually results in a fight between the two dogs.

To fix the problem, John must come to grips with considering a new approach to life with Jerry and how he handles the affection he showers on Jerry.
He has begun to have doubts about the program. He is really struggling with the idea of throttling way back on the love and affection.

Example two

What People Want From Their Dog

Retired couple, Barry and Carol have a very spoiled small Bichon named Frankie who enjoys lots of lap time with Carol. And of course, after lights-out, Frankie can be found warmly snuggled up against Carol.

At about 24 months of age Frankie began biting the cleaning lady and the occasional visitor who came by when they would get close to Carol. Frankie also lunges and attacks dogs or people who simply walk by their front sidewalk. All of his new bad behavior is simply his way of saying to intruders, “I’m not sharing my Mom with anyone!”

On one particular lesson with these clients, Leila came with one of our dogs to work Frankie. As we were leaving the lesson, Leila said, “Frankie is the center of Carol’s universe and she is not going to give up the only love and affection she gets from within the family.”

 

That got me to thinking

I remember discussing my recommendations of earn-to-learn on the first lesson. It was as if Carol didn’t hear me say anything. She just wanted to love on her dog. She simply couldn’t resist all the lap-time and bedtime with her pooch. They showed no interest in obedience training and also didn’t seem interested in learning the benefits that dog training  had on fixing behavior problems with their dog.

Barry and Carol just wanted me to fix Frankie. They didn’t realize that changing their mindset had to happen before their “Little Frankie” could begin to change.

We are still working on a problem that could have been resolved months ago-but they continue to have issues asking Frankie to do the simplest of commands to earn food, lap-time and affection.

It’s almost as if dogs are now filling a void in our lives that I don’t remember being there years ago.

Just as Barry and Carol are somewhat isolated in their retirement, it seems we are all becoming more isolated in our lives. The conversations we have now are on Facebook and Twitter – more and more electronic connections with people.

In this very busy world of ours – texting and emails – there is more isolation and our dogs are being asked to fill that void that used to be taken care of by family and friends. We now put more requirements on our dogs that they don’t understand how to fulfill and this is creating behavior problems.

My message is NOT, “Don’t love on your dog” but when you do it in a way that does not require your dog to give you something first,(structure) you create behavior problems. When you add consistent structure to your relationship such as – sit for meals and affection to name a few, your dog knows what is expected and therefore becomes less stressed and every one feels better overall.

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

 

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog. His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your answer to starting your new puppy off right and fixing behavior issues in dogs.

Your Dog - A One Word Description

Does Your Dog Think His Name is “No!”?

When your dog exhibits bad dog behavior and your correct him, does your dog think his name is ‘No’?  Silly question?  No not really, it actually is a question I often ask of many owners requesting my help on a dog problem.

 

Owners usually react to their dog’s behavior with a loud resounding “NO!” or “NO DAMMIT!” which becomes the word or words dogs most often hear in the home. They cringe to avoid the inevitable correction that follows. It’s no wonder your dog may begin to think his name is “NO!” or “NO DAMMIT!”  These loud corrections come about as dogs naturally react to the unwanted activity in the home – barking at screaming kids, chasing running kids, chewing on a couch pillow and the list goes on.

 

Owners react to the bad behavior their dogs are exhibiting instead of addressing the cause of the behavior.  For example, if they correct the kids from screaming, this will stop the dog from barking. If they exercise the dog more frequently and provide him with acceptable chew toys, chewing on the pillow will most likely stop as well.

Good Dog Behavior

 

The stress causing the dog to exhibit these behavior problems is because of what the owner has or has not done. For example, the owner usually “has not” provided consistent rules and expectations but “has” provided their dog with an over abundance of free love and affection. Temper the love and affection, set consistent rules and address the problem in a more positive way. For example, instead of yelling, “No!” at your puppy with anger or frustration, decide what you would prefer your puppy do then train him to perform the good behavior.

 Expectations

 The fact that I see so many new owners with dog problems leads me to believe that many owners do set the “bar of expectation” too low for their dogs resulting in harsh and emotional corrections when their dogs don’t give them the behavior they expect.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons of the reasons the bar might have been set too low resulting in harsh corrections:

  •  Owners delay training thinking their dog will grow out of it.
  •  Some think the behavior is “cute” – like a jumpy new puppy. House guests perpetuate the jumping because they too think it is cute and they just want to pick the   puppy up which reinforces the jumping.
  •  Sometimes as puppies, dogs are good little angels.  When they reach adolescence, behavior problems have surfaced.

 You wouldn’t delay training your child, would you?

 Dogs are like family too and in that sense, training for dogs should always start immediately. And, the ground rules for your dogs should be the same as they are for your kids.  Set your expectations high. Let them know that they will be rewarded for good behavior.

 

For example, kids are taught to say “Please” or “May I” for things they want and politely greet your friends when they come over. It should be no different for dogs. Kids that are taught what behaviors their parents expect at home and out in public are less stressed knowing what to do. Setting consistent rules, boundaries and expectations is your first step to eliminating stress which causes behavior problems.

Dogs as well should be taught good dog behaviors you expect from them at home and out in public and should be reinforced daily until they “get it.” This usually takes about 6 weeks of dog training to teach what dog behavior you expect (sit, down or place, etc..)  – and in what setting or context you expect it – just like kids. No double standard.

 Our Promise to Sammy and to Each Other

 When we first got Sammy at 8 weeks of age and started his puppy training we made a promise. We would only associate his name with love, praise, good things and coming to us. We would never use his name to correct him.  For the last 8 years we have succeeded.  Another important part of our correction process with Sammy was to shoot for 100% emotionally-free corrections. I will admit it was hard to do early on where it counted the most but the benefits are seen every day in Sammy’s stellar behavior which we reinforce each and every day as well.  He is an AWESOME dog as you can see by his picture.  Handsome too isn’t he.

You can have a great dog too.

What Do You Think?  Let us know your thoughts on today’s issue by commenting below and remember “Sharing is Caring.

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

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  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 Behavior That Embarrasses You

Tired of Apologizing for Your Dog’s Bad Behavior?

That’s what my last client of the day had to say, “I’m tired of apologizing for my dog’s bad behavior.” She also added that her dog’s behavior was, in her conservative view, embarrassing as well.


Dog Behavior That Embarrasses You

She had tried puppy class but had taken Sophie out of training because Sophie, as a puppy, was too afraid of the other dogs. It would soon be apparent to me that there had been very little formal dog obedience training in Sophie’s life.

Sophie, is a 12 month old lab/Catahoula mix and full of energy. My client – we’ll call her Ann – says she barks at people on walks – especially men and she becomes highly reactive to dogs on walk.

The barking part was confirmed as I knocked on the door to begin our first lesson. I could see the frustration in Ann’s eyes as she apologized by saying, “Sorry, but you see what I mean?”  Lots – and I mean lots of barking.

Successful Entry

Upon entering, I used my “silver bullet” approach by promptly stuffing her mouth with a loaded Kong toy (lamb loaf.) My quick action immediately accomplished 3 things: It shut her up, prevented jumping and most importantly, I became her BFF. Ha! LOL!

 Ann’s frustration melted into smiles as she gave me an ecstatic, “Wow! She’s never stopped barking and warmed up so quickly! This is amazing!”   Now typically most dogs go off to another room – Kong in mouth – never to be seen again – or at least for 15 minutes. Nope. Not Sophie.

This is when I learned of her athletic abilities as she broad-jumped the coffee table and landed on the sofa right next to me – almost before I could seat myself.  Ann quickly noted out loud, “Oh yes, could you fix that too?”

As it turned out Sophie is not aggressive towards people – she’s just a little (or a lot depending on the person) scared and misguided – like a teenager needing a lot of direction and structure.  

Now, if you feel as if you are on the outside of a window looking through and watching your own life with your dog, read on.

I got Sophie under control by putting a leash on her and settling her down next to my foot on the floor – with the Kong. It was time to get the lowdown on the rest of the behavior problems.   Sophie’s fear of people and dogs was the main reason I was called but it was clear that there was a good laundry list of adolescent behavior that needed to be curbed quickly.

Easy Solutions

 The honest truth is most of the adolescent behaviors are easy fixes. The main solution for most of Sophie’s dog behavior problems involved pairing high value food treats and stuffed Kongs with people thereby changing the way Sophie thought about strangers.  Now, strangers meant “manna from heaven?  Her fear of dogs will take a little longer to work on.

I could see Ann liked my Kong solution. It did seem easy. And just to make sure she could replicate my “silver Bullet” approach with others, her mom had agreed to come over halfway through our first lesson.  In the past her mom was hesitant to visit very frequently because of Sophie’s jumping and improper behaviors.   But if a stuffed Kong was placed outside on Ann’s door mat her mom would have a silver bullet too! We stuffed our Kong and put it in a small zip lock bag on the front porch. We settled in, continued our lesson where we were working on Ann’s personal space and Sophie.  

The doorbell rang and Ann greeted her mom. The order was: Silver bullet to Sophie, hug the mom, settle the dog and then settle mom.  Done.   I also told Ann that she could use this technique when she had gentlemen callers.  A girl’s got to have a life, right?

Things to Remember

  1. Always greet visitors with your dog on leash while in training.
  2. Always be prepared with food treats and a stuffed Kong.
  3. Always settle your dog by your side.
  4. Always praise your dog for good behavior.

We all want calm dogs for which we don’t have to apologize. In fact, we’d really like to get compliments like, “What a nice dog!” It’s not impossible and it’s probably easier than you think. 

What Do You Think?  Let us know your thoughts on today’s issue by commenting below and remember “Sharing is Caring.

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

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  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.