Training Tips and Tricks
6 days ago
1 week ago
I will keep posting this over and over and over again until people understand that a growl is a far better choice than a bite. Please do not punish a growl - understand why it’s occurring so that you can prevent it in the first place!￼
#ysdlearn ... See MoreSee Less
3 weeks ago
Dogs Disclosed nails it again!
Reactive dogs are often misunderstood. A dog that is reacting to a situation is not trying to be difficult, they are having a difficult time coping with that particular situation and are trying their best to make the scary thing go away.
Reactivity is generally triggered by the emotion of fear. The fear of whatever is scaring them, a fear of a valuable possession being taken away or a fear of a strange person or animal coming into their territory. Anxiety, stress, over excitement, over stimulation, feeling overwhelmed, trigger stacking, or a dog that is tired, in pain or even has chronic itching will often feel irritable and may be reactive in certain situations. If their reactivity is successful in making the scary thing go away, it becomes a rewarding behaviour because it’s something that works for them and it makes them feel better.
It’s not easy to be the owner of a reactive dog. One of my dogs is reactive and I know first-hand how dogs like this can leave you feeling embarrassed, ashamed, angry or frustrated. Why do they have to be so difficult, why can’t they just behave normally? Everyone is looking at me, judging me, thinking that I’m a bad owner, have no training skills, can’t control my dog or have a vicious dog that shouldn’t be taken out in public.
As hard as it may be, we need to take the focus off how we as owners feel about their reactivity and focus on how our dogs are feeling and what is causing their reaction. Whatever it is, it’s not something our dogs can overcome on their own and we need to take steps to help them cope. Reactive dogs need compassion, understanding, management, force free, positive reinforcement interventions and decompression – (a return to a normal, more relaxed state after a period of intense stress, psychological pressure, or urgent activity). These techniques take time and patience but are so important in helping our dogs to feel safe and learn more acceptable ways of coping.
I have learnt through many mistakes, to recognise what triggers my reactive dog and take steps to either avoid those situations, provide enough distance, or provide her with an alternative choice where she feels safe and in control of her environment. There will always be unexpected triggers around the next corner that are not within our control, but doing all we can to manage these triggers has immeasurable benefits. ... See MoreSee Less
I couldn’t wait to walk my childhood dog and was allowed to do so sometime around age 10 in the suburbs without any guidance or supervision. Pray tell you want to guess what happened? My golden retriever pulled me down, dragged me and then got away!
I hope you are more strategic in your planning with your children!
#ysdlearnSounds like the perfect solution... kids itching to walk their new dog + over-stretched parents thrilled that their children are taking responsibility and lightening the workload! What's not to love?
Actually quite a LOT.
I can't tell you how many disappointed faces I see when I try to explain why a child walking a dog ALONE *might NOT be* the best idea for anyone!!?
And I get totally it.
If this is your first family dog, a quick spin around the block may look harmless enough - until you consider ALL of the things that can (and DO) go wrong.
Even (mentally and physically) FULLY-GROWN ADULTS get pulled down to the ground, or dragged over to squirrels, skateboards and the neighborhood cat. They accidentally drop leashes, or watch helplessly as their pup slips their collar. They struggle to control their dog around other dogs, or conversely, they panic or freeze when an off-leash dog comes sprinting full-speed towards them (friendly or not friendly.. who knows? They’ll likely find out when it’s too late!)
And this is ONLY a handful of the things that can happen to GROWN UPS… so for kids the stakes are simply exponentially higher.
As a trainer, I’m pretty calculated about where I go, and when I walk my dogs my radar is always activated. Even still, I’ve personally had to dash after my loose dog, I’ve been bitten by a dog who was attacking mine, I’ve seen a dog run over in a school parking lot, and watched a child be literally dragged for 50ft against her will!
So, I hope by sharing the potential risks with you, you can make informed choices about your family dog walking situation:
Here’s my hotlist of things to consider:
Size - of child and dog
Strength - of child and dog
Maturity - of child and dog
Training - of child and dog
Temperament - of child and dog
Then download, print and share our poster.
THESE are my questions to help families size up the COMBINATION of their dog and child to see whether WALKING ALONE together is a SMART call.
For more info for kids, dogs and making EVERYONE'S life SAFE and HAPPY - go to thefamilydog.com/families ... See MoreSee Less
No one wants to be puppy’s chew toy, however it’s not their fault. So be gentle, be kind, and if you’re struggling, seek help from a professional force-free puppy trainer.
#ysdlearn ... See MoreSee Less
No one wants to be growled at but it is much more preferable than a dog who goes straight for a bite. If a dog is growling at you, the first thing to do is to stop doing what you’re doing, then take stock in what caused the behavior and try to prevent it from happening again.
￼￼I had a call from someone who said her dog growled at her when she took his pig ear away. He didn’t growl in any other situation. I told her two options: don’t feed pig ears or give him one and then leave him alone.
Sometimes it really is that simple!
#ysdlearnUnfortunately for dogs, we live in a world where growling is considered harmful.
A growling dog has way too many labels. Dominant, bad, nasty and aggressive are all unfortunate terms used for a growling dog.
Growling is simply communication.
For example, a child strokes a dog, and the dog growls. The dog is just asking for space from the child, and it's a perfectly reasonable request.
Or someone approaches a dog on the lead and looms over them, desperate for touch. The dog growls and asks for space, and this is another perfectly reasonable request.
A dog has pain, and we touch them in the painful spot, the dog growls, a third perfectly reasonable request.
A dog is scared and doesn't want the scary thing to get any closer, so he growls. Again, reasonable.
Instead of the idea that growling is aggression, we need to reframe the concept of the growl. A growl is a dog's way of asking for what they need, usually space. We need to realise growling dogs are speaking, simply that.
If we listen to the growl, a dog doesn't feel like they need to bite.
It's no different from listening to other people. If we feel heard, we don't have to shout. ... See MoreSee Less
So important! Lilly will often growl as a warning, and then she will nip at whatever is closest, even if that's not what she was growling at. I've learned to listen!