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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.

 

Train Your Puppy Before He Grows Up!

A whole lot more benefits come your way if you train your puppy “before he grows up” than if you wait. If there’s one thing that I know from all my years of training dogs it is that dogs are learning even if you are not teaching which is why the following is important to know:

Your puppy will form life-long behaviors (good or bad – your choice) within the first 2 weeks to 4 months of his life with you.

A big problem is that puppies are so cute they are hard to resist and we ignore behavior we’re not crazy about. When we bring them home we just want to love on them and we let them get away with everything. New puppy owners find it difficult to set boundaries and place restrictions on their new puppy often times thinking, “he’ll out grow it.”

Many, maybe even you, tend to take a “wait and see” attitude thinking training will be easy I’ll start tomorrow. After all, how hard can it be to raise a puppy? It’s just a puppy! Well….that cuteness doesn’t last forever. It has a limited “shelf life” as my wife likes to say! That new puppy will eventually grow up and develop bad habits – habits that will be harder to change as an older puppy or dog. Days quickly turn into weeks and months.

That’s right about when people give up and many times wind up dropping their “new puppy” or teenage dog off at the shelter. Let’s not let this happen to you okay?

 

Train Your Puppy Before He Grows Up

Trial and error or training?

Because all puppies and dogs do what works, they can learn either by trial and error – figuring things out as they go along or they can learn by being trained.

A good example of trial and error is jumping. It’s hard to resist a jumping puppy – so you pet, cuddle or pick him up and it begins to get him the attention he wants. That’s the “trial and error” part working for the puppy.

Every day you and/or the kids reinforce the jumping, it is fast becoming a permanent behavior and much harder to control when your puppy becomes a larger adult dog.

Training on the other hand would work like this. If you take the time to train a sit every time your puppy approached, that too could work for the puppy. And, if you worked it right, you could say you’d be applying “reverse psychology.”

Your puppy may start to think that every time he sits, he gets something from a human. He’s starts thinking, “These humans are easy to train! If I want to go outside, I sit and they open the door. If I want my dinner, I sit and they give me food. Wow! This is cool.

I can get what I want by training my humans!”

Like our family, friends and others we meet

Although it a great start, there’s more to puppy training than teaching a sit. Always being on alert and micro-managing a biting puppy around your family or friends should not be what you have to think about all the time.

Start the day you get your new puppy. There will be many opportunities for your new puppy to willingly accept pets, hugs and belly rubs.

So that your puppy conforms to “your” personal need of close contact, you should immediately begin to socialize him to children and adults alike. There can never be too much socialization.

Remember, the window of socialization closes somewhere between 3 ½ to 5 months of age. Plan to map out a strategy to achieve maximum socialization by 5 months of age. A good rule of thumb is: 90 kids and adults in 90 days. Sounds like a lot but trust me, it’s well worth it.

Now, I probably don’t have to remind you that puppies naturally play with their teeth so you should also teach your age-appropriate children how to play with your puppy.

Instead of playing chase and activating his prey drive (run, chase and bite) teach them to play a game of fetch or hide and seek – all with rules. Teach your children that their puppy should always sit to start the game. If your puppy gets mouthy, simply end the game and crate your puppy. It’s that simple.

Confidence in being alone

Puppies are “pack animals” and that is probably the one trait that closely resembles our family orientation. Puppies don’t naturally like being by themselves.

While he may adapt to the crate when you are gone, he may not like being in the crate when you are home. So an important part of raising your puppy is to teach and condition him that being alone is okay – even when you are home. In fact, humans may not be at their disposal 24/7.

Condition your puppy to being “okay” by himself by randomly crating him for varying lengths of time when you are home – nights and weekends. When we were training our lab, Sammy, we would crate him in a bedroom, shut the door and let him stay there for 30 minutes, an hour or sometimes we stretched it to two hours. We also downplayed our leaving and coming back home. It’s important to build on the amount of time you leave your puppy in the crate. He did great and he has never had a problem being alone.

The most important message is that we always came back and let them out. One other note – never let your new puppy out of the crate when he is whining or barking. Once your new puppy is quiet, then let him out of the crate.

Setting your puppy up to succeed will provide you a lifetime of enjoyment with your pup. Don’t let your puppy learn by trial and error on his own. It will be far better to start setting rules to follow and boundaries to respect when your puppy first comes home. Obedience training in a fun way with treats (as long as you wean him off the treats) is a good way to train and it will be easier for the kids as well (all age-appropriate of course.)

If done correctly dog behavior problems will be avoided. This will assure him the family is the provider of all good things in life he wants. All he has to do is sit! How easy is that!

I’m really interested in your thoughts and opinions on this. How long will you wait to train your puppy? – I’m here to help.

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

Jim Burwell, professional 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 Nose to Tail Puppy Training is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him because you know how to teach him.  You empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.  The result – one awesome puppy and one happy family.

Puppy Training

Puppy Training: From Chaos to Calm

When I do puppy training I don’t expect to find a family in total chaos. But this puppy family was different. The proud but frustrated owners of Maddie, the French Bull Dog puppy were stressed beyond belief in their puppy training efforts.

Their troubles, on our lesson day, started right before I arrived. As I walked down the 4th floor hallway of the condo making my way to their unit, I could hear screaming, “Help me clean up this mess, the trainer is almost here!”

By that time it was too late. I was knocking on the door. As I entered, the all too familiar “puppy poop” stink hit me. I sat down looking at their small condo littered with pee-pads and exclaimed, “At least I don’t have to wonder where we start our lesson!”

Puppy Training

John and Mary, a young couple in their late 20’s had both grown up with family pets in their respective homes. But their recollection was of older, laid back dogs that just sat around the family room and fireplace. The dogs were just there. They were great dogs – in fact – perfect dogs.

As kids, they had not given much thought to how the dogs got that way. Was it puppy training by their parents, or did they just come that way. I assured them, “Most likely not the latter. It probably took as much work for your moms and dads as you two are going to learn here with Maddie but I’m here to help you along the way. “

I find that many new puppy owners think, “It wasn’t a problem for mom and dad when I grew up so, how much trouble can it be?” For some it’s a rude awakening – trouble from day one with their puppy training and there are those that really luck out and get a problem-free puppy right from the get-go. John and Mary were just getting through the rude awakening part.

By the time we got through the first lesson, John and Mary had a plan for everything: puppy potty training, nutrition, how best to prepare her food to maximize nutrition and to help with potty training success, obedience training that was age appropriate, the importance of sticking to schedules and routines and – we replaced all the pee pads with ONE”grass potty pad with a tray.”

Our first lesson was on a Friday and by Monday morning Maddie was hitting the grass 90% of the time. They gated her in the kitchen during the work day – grass potty at one end, bed, bone and Kong at the other and just a little water in her bowl.  

What also helped them to help Maddie succeed were the following potty guidelines:

Develop a reward history for going on her grass potty: Praise and treat on the spot.
Catch mistakes before they happen: Keeping her on a leash when out of her space and with them in the house.
Secure Maddie: Put her in her space when you cannot supervise her.

 

Once potty training was under control, Maddie learned her obedience commands and John and Mary learned how to use the commands to teach her “give before she receives” (sit for food, toys, affection, etc.) so that they always stayed in control of the relationship which we call the Ground Rules for Great Dogs.  I also recommended that John and Mary keep up Maddie’s obedience  training by doing 3 short training sessions daily but only for two minutes. This gave Maddie a sense of working for them instead of John and Mary following Maddie’s lead by giving in to her nudging for affection or anything else she wanted.

I told them, “Puppies have a lot of love to give – and maybe you get a lot of frustration and hard work along the way. It winds up being very rewarding in the end with many years of good times and memories. Good dogs just don’t come that way. You have to earn it to enjoy it. Just ask your mom and dad!

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.

 

His Nose to Tail Puppy Training is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him because you know how to teach him.  You empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.  The result – one awesome puppy and one happy family.

 

in home puppy training by Jim Burwell

Video Review: Puppy Training for Scout

 

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Scout is a 4 month old puppy who needed help with: dog obedience training, learning to settle, not chasing the cat,

walking well on leash and learning to go up and down stairs. After 3 in home dog training lessons in Houston,

Scout is not afraid of the stairs, she settles down well and is very good at her obedience training commands.

House Training: Stress in Older Puppy Causes Potty Training Failure

In their house training efforts dog owners think they are doing everything correctly, but often times other factors not even thought about, can complicate an otherwise good house training plan.

My clients purchased a 7 pound, pure bred female spaniel puppy at 6 months of age and called me 2 months later because they just couldn’t seem to make any headway in their house training efforts.

They reported that their puppy is peeing and pooping all over the house – even after they take it out and— it’s getting worse. You might say, “They’re at their wits end!”

Now at first blush, you would think that by 8 months of age, things would have been running smoothly. Not so with this couple.

Here’s what I discovered on the first visit:

  • Their puppy is being fed a little over a cup of dog food daily.  It only weighs 7 pounds.
  • They have an older small male dog, 10 years old that is getting beat up by the puppy (rough dominant puppy play only) so the owners keep the puppy in an exercise pen away from the older dog – to protect the older dog.
  • This is stressing the puppy out to the max by not allowing access to older dog to play and socialize.
  • They carry the dog around and hold it in their laps a lot.
  • Their puppy doesn’t earn anything.

My recommendations:

  • Reduce their puppy’s daily intake of food.  What goes in must come out!
  • Make sure the puppy gets out frequently. They are doing four potty breaks daily plus walks. Praise/treat for going potty in the right place.
  • Work on obedience training sits and downs 3 times daily for 2 minutes each plus earn everything.
  • Minimize lap time for a while. Give it back later if earned by doing sits and downs.
  • Engage both dogs in the daily training ritual of sits and downs with young pup on a 6’ leash to control her bully tactics with older brother. Praise/treat for neutral or positive behavior around older brother.

One month later:

No more potty accidents in the house.  Puppy is much happier with no stress to be seen as she can now perform sits and downs next to her brother without trying to steal his treats or bully him around. Can be called off when getting too rough with brother.

Now knows how to ring the bell to go outside.

We are now stretching time out of crate and more liberal access to limited parts of the house with owner supervision – and with a great deal of success.

While the puppy was being over fed, much of her stress/anxiety (and probably added to the house training problems) stemmed from not being allowed to play and interact with her brother.   Once I taught the owners how to referee the play activity, the puppy’s stress/anxiety went way down. She was clearly a very different and much happier puppy on my last visit.

This was clearly a win-win for everyone!

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are with the teacher of your children.   And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

Your Dog Training Questions: Should I Use A Clicker To Train My Puppy?

Jim,
What do you think of using a clicker for training a puppy?

My Answer:

I think the clicker is a great way to train your new puppy. Reward-based training or positive reinforcement training is best and, if you can condition your puppy to a clicker — that’s even better. There are a number of benefits to “clicker training” your new puppy:

  • The clicker provides a consistent sound to your puppy no matter who uses it. Remember, consistency and repetition is needed in good puppy training.
  • Unlike your voice, the clicker is a sharp, crisp non emotional sound that provides your puppy with a special and unique way to identify behaviors he performs (like sits and downs) that produces a food treat. For example, when your puppy sits, click then treat.

The most important aspect of puppy training is to be consistent in your training. Train simple come, sit and down three times daily for no longer than 2 minutes and do it the same way every single time. It doesn’t really take much time out of your schedule. Setting aside 2 minutes three times daily 2 minutes is a great start. Puppies have a short attention span and will tire and get bored quickly. That’s why we keep it short.

Puppies are very smart and learn quickly, especially when they are taught from an early age. Most seasoned dog trainers would agree that the earlier you begin training your puppy, the stronger the training foundation is that will provide you with that better mannered dog in their adult years. So the most important thing is to start training and keep training. For those of you that don’t feel comfortable using a clicker, simply use your voice by saying, “Yes!” or “Good!” followed by a food treat when your puppy performs a command correctly.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

(C) Jim Burwell 2010

What’s your dog training question?
Use the comments below to ask me.

Getting A Puppy For Christmas? 7 Puppy Training Commandments To Keep In Mind

I recently answered an e-mail from a mom thinking about getting her two children a puppy for Christmas. A quick review, never get anyone of any age a “surprise” puppy.  So, for those of you who have decided to take the big step of adding a dog to your family, these are the 7 puppy training commandments you should know:

  1. Be consistent in your training. Train simple come, sit and down three times daily for no longer than 2 minutes and do it the same way every single time. It doesn’t really take much time out of your schedule. Setting aside 2 minutes three times daily 2 minutes is a great start. Puppies have a short attention span and will tire and get bored quickly. That’s why we keep it short.
  2. Never, ever punish your puppy in any way, shape or form. If your puppy does not obey a command simply say wrong in a neutral tone of voice and start again. It’s really that simple.
  3. Keep your expectations in line with reality. Do not expect a young, 8 week old puppy to be able to hold a sit or a down for more than a few seconds.
  4. Be consistent with your command each time. Pick one word and stick to it. Speaking in sentences or multiple words will not be as easy for your new puppy to learn. One behavior – one command word.
  5. Begin to train around relevant distractions. For example, if you always have a house full of kids, begin training your puppy around kids once he’s learned to obey his commands only with you.
  6. As your puppy begins to learn and perform his come, sit and down commands each and every time when asked, wean him off food treats by giving him a treat every other time and then even less frequently after that. Always click when your puppy performs a behavior properly. Your clicker will eventually be replaced with praise.
  7. For those of you that do not want to use a clicker, simply use your voice by saying, “Yes!” or “Good!” followed by a food treat when your puppy performs a command.

Be as comfortable with trainer of your dog as you are with the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

Jim’s  Nose to Tail Puppy Training is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him because you know how to teach him.  You empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.  The result – one awesome puppy and one happy family.

(C) Jim Burwell 2010

Labradoodle Puppy Training

Hello, our names are Kyle and Jessica Abarca and we have a new labradoodle who’s name is Occy.

He is approximately 14 weeks old  now and we hired Jim to help us train the dog with potty training, sits and downs and
walking and we have been very pleased with the service we received.

Jim is very professional and our dog Occy is actually, he’s very well trained now.  There you have it.  It’s also about training owners.

Listen to their testimonial here:   Abarca Testimonial

Your Puppy Training Questions: We Want A Puppy For Christmas!

Your Question:

Jim,
My kids are in the middle of a campaign called We Want A Puppy For Christmas! I have to admit I am secretly rooting for them, but I’m not sure they are ready. They are 7 and 9. What do you think about giving a puppy to children as a gift?
– Ellen

My Answer:

Ellen,
A puppy can be a wonderful addition to the family. Even so, don’t take the decision lightly. My first piece of advice is to resist the temptation to make the gift a surprise. Instead, sit down as a family and talk about what a puppy needs: regular feeding, walks, training, grooming, veterinarian costs, etc. Talk about how the family will divide the responsibilities so everyone has reasonable expectations. A surprise puppy might make for a dramatic and sweet holiday moment, but that puppy will be a part of your family for the rest of its life.

Once you have decided everyone is ready and willing to take on the responsibility, it’s time to find the puppy. The best idea of course is to adopt from one of the many animal shelters and rescue groups nearby. If you decide on a pure breed puppy, be sure to throughly check out the breeder. A responsible breeder will welcome your questions, offer references and want to know as much about you and your family as possible. Keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure you buy from a reputable breeder who will, in writing, guarantee eyes, hips and heart health and will have already begun desensitizing all the puppies to noise, human handling and all things that go “bump in the night”.
  • Don’t accept puppies too young.  Ideally, puppies should stay with their litter mates until the 8th week of age or their 49th day.  This gives them time enough to learn their social graces like bite inhibition and how to play. Do not be afraid to ask questions about these behaviors.
  • When getting your new puppy from a shelter, you may not have the luxury of knowing the puppy’s past.  Remember that the window of socialization closes between the ages of 3 1/2 to 5 months of age.  This means that, to the extent you can, desensitize and socialize your pup to as many new distractions (his world as he will come to know it) as you can, to assure that he will be okay with people, noises, children, things. etc

My last and most important piece of advice is to make sure you get your puppy off to a good start by starting training early. The time you invest in training your puppy will pay off when you have a well-behaved dog. My new CD Puppy Training Sins Every New Puppy Owner Needs To Avoid is like having me in your home and is available to order on Amazon. Your gift of a Christmas puppy wouldn’t be complete without it!

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as the teacher of your children and remember, “Opportunity Barks!”
(C) Jim Burwell 2010

House Training vs. House Breaking: The Difference For Puppy Training Basics

When teaching puppy potty training to new puppy owners, some professionals use the term house training and some refer to it as house breaking. So which is it? While this can seem to be confusing, it’s really not because both terms refer to the same thing: Teaching your new puppy when and where to go to the bathroom. I prefer using the term house training because it puts a kinder, softer description to the process – and more importantly, nothing gets broken – there is no breakage.

As you start the house training process it’s important to understand what exactly your new puppy needs and doesn’t need. If your puppy could speak, here is his “need list” for you:

• Consistency and repetition
• Patience and understanding
• Food treats and your love and affection
• Your undivided attention during the entire process

And, as aptly as your new puppy communicated his needs, the following would be his list of things he does not want:

• A whack on the butt with a rolled up newspaper or anything else for that matter
• A face full of his pee or poop
• Yelling and screaming

Current trends in puppy training and puppy house training teach positive methods in house training your new puppy leaving the old training methods of verbal and physical punishment behind in the dust where they belong. Be consistent with taking your puppy out for much needed potty breaks throughout the day as needed. Provide him with lots of praise and treats for going in the designated potty area. Your undivided attention to where your puppy is and what he’s doing, while in the house will allow you to catch mistakes before they happen. This, if done consistently, will begin to set him up to succeed!

Another tool to use in house training a puppy is a crate. However, some new puppy owners think this is cruel and that their puppy will think it’s being punished. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Crate training puppies has long been known to be a great way to accelerate the house training process because puppies don’t like to soil in their den. In addition to greatly assisting in the house training process, crating your puppy also helps to protect your stuff from becoming chew toys and it helps to build puppy confidence in being alone.

Puppies often take up a favorite spot under a desk or table where they can feel safe away from the hustle and bustle of a busy household. They will take up refuge there with their back to the wall so they can keep an eye out on all things going on. Dogs have been doing this for years – creating a safe den-like place away from predators. While our little fluffy domesticated puppies don’t have to worry about predators, the instincts are still there. “Denning” is an instinct which lends to make crate training easier if you start when your new puppy first gets home.

Jim’s  Nose to Tail Puppy Training is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him because you know how to teach him.  You empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.  The result – one awesome puppy and one happy family. 

(C) Jim Burwell 2010
What’s your dog training question?
Use the comments below to ask me.