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Category Archives: Things to do with your dog

Using every opportunity

Using every opportunity

It’s easy to get frustrated with your dog. They don’t understand what we’re saying and sometimes it seems like they really couldn’t care less about listening! It’s normal, don’t fret. Every dog owner has gotten irritated and upset with their dog, no matter how patient the person is. Now that we’ve admitted to getting upset with our dogs, let’s figure out what to do in those situations.

Take advantage of it! Punishing your dog isn’t going to teach them anything, so use the opportunity to teach your dog something new. It can be challenging, but once it becomes a habit, you and your dog will begin to understand each other much more. If your dog has a bad habit of eating everything off of the floor, use it as an obstacle course for an intense leave it. Here are a few examples of every day situations I use as practice for my dogs:

  • Every time we walk through a doorway/hallway/car I practice the wait command with my dogs. (Cannot cross the line until called)
  • My dogs must either sit, wait, stay, or lie down before being fed.
  • While walking to my locker at work, there is dog food spilled everywhere so we practice leave it for every item we pass by
  • As I am getting my items out of my locker, we practice stay.
  • Every time we play fetch, my dogs must sit and sometimes even wait or lie down.

My puppy Tucker is famous for grabbing items and running around with them or chewing them up. Instead of waiting for him to get something dangerous or valuable, we practice drop it with items every day; such as the stick in the picture above.

It is great to set aside time to practice commands with your dog, but there are so many things you do with your dogs every day that can easily be used to practice and make commands part of your daily routine.

Do you use any opportunities to teach or practice commands with your dog? If so, comment and let me know! 

 

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Practice makes perfect!

Practice makes perfect!

As I’m sure any person knows, when you learn something new, the only way to get better is to practice. Many dog owners teach their dog how to sit at home and with a treat and when they take the dog out to the park they expect the dog to perform the sit the same way they did at home with the treat. This is called generalizing. Dogs do not generalize, they need to be taught how to generalize. Simply because your dog knows one thing at a certain place does not ensure that they will know it in a brand new place.

I tell each one of my clients that dog training is like math, you start off easy and gradually increase the difficulty. For instance, you gradually increase the difficulty by adding distractions that are more and more challenging. If you don’t practice with your dog in those situations, your dog will never perform perfectly in them. Just like math, if you stop practicing, you begin forgetting.

It is extremely important that you first have faded the lure before trying to add more distractions. If you don’t know how to do this, check out one of my older posts called Fading the Lure.

When beginning in a new environment, always expect to re-teach your dog the behavior, even if they already know it at home. This will start to teach your dog how to generalize. Take your dog several places and practice with treats as if they don’t know the behavior at all. As your dog begins to catch on and is doing the behavior easily, start fading the lure in each place. After you have faded the lure, you can start adding distractions slowly. If for one minute your dog gets confused or too distracted, take a step back and try it from the beginning. If your dog gets frustrated, he will not enjoy training any longer. Keep him motivated and interested by raising your voice, getting more exciting or even giving him treats for small things. Never get frustrated that your dog is confused, this will put a stumbling block in your training and in your relationship with your dog.

Good luck and keep training positive!

 

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The importance of the walk

The importance of the walk
Most people know that if you have a dog, you should walk it. It’s general knowledge that walking your dog is good, but how important is it really? Your dog probably isn’t terribly behaved, so why do you have to walk him?

Imagine yourself in his shoes for a moment. He is either stuck in your house or back yard every single day and the closest exercise he gets is chasing a ball back and forth. I don’t know about you but I would definitely lose my mind if I were that dog.

Lack of exercise is actually the leading cause of all problem behaviors! Does your dog bark constantly? Does he jump up on every single person without fail? Does he destroy things in your house or dig in your yard? All of these behaviors have a root cause, and it’s usually lack of exercise. I ask every single one my clients who is having constant trouble with their dog, “Are you exercising him? How often are you taking him on walks, jogs, or runs?” Their answer is always the same. Either they aren’t taking him out at all or they take him out every once in a while. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take your dog on walks every single day!

Now some people get lucky with a dog who doesn’t have to go on walks because she’s more laid back than the average dog. If you have one of these dogs, it does NOT make you and your dog an exception. Just because your dog is not destructive and doesn’t have any problem behaviors, doesn’t mean she won’t benefit from walking.

Taking your dog on a walk every day is an essential part of being a dog owner.

Taking your dog on a walk has MANY advantages.

Your dog will be calmer and better behaved. 

Your dog will have a longer and healthier life. 

Your dog will respect you more and have a stronger bond with you. 

Your dog will become well socialized with people and other dogs.

There are many other advantages but those are just a few.

I hope that this quick post will have encouraged you to start walking with your dog every day! Make it a routine and a part of your schedule. It will even help those who want to get in shape to stay motivated too! If you set aside time every day to spend walking, jogging, or running with your dog, both you and your pooch will live a much healthier, more enjoyable, and easier life!

As I tell all of my clients, as much as you can afford to walk your dog, do it! If you want to go on several walks a day, even better!

If you are wondering how to have a successful walk without pulling, lunging, ect. Keep reading as it will be coming very soon! Good luck and go take a walk with your dog today.

 

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Rainy Day?

Rainy Day?

Even though the first post on this blog should be an introduction and things of the sort, I thought this post was absolutely necessary. Living in Miami, FL the past week has been an ultimate downpour! This got me thinking big time.

Most people don’t like to go out in the rain and those who are devoted dog owners who walk their dogs every day might even take a break from their daily routines because of the weather. Some people I have seen continue to take their walks anyways and the dogs who love water (mostly labs are what I’ve seen) actually enjoy the quick cool off from the blazing sun. What devoted people! Makes me smile.

Now I also have seen those dogs who refuse to go out in the rain no matter how hard their owners try to coax them. (One of my favorite students named Betsy for instance). My sister’s dog is also one of the cases where it starts raining and he completely shuts down.

If you have one of those dogs who doesn’t like the rain, don’t let this stop you from having a great time with them! You can think of loads of fun activities to do inside rather then going on your walk or going out at all.

A great game for your pooch, especially those who love to sniff, would be hide and seek!

Hide and seek could be with treats or anything that your dog really enjoys such as their favorite toy. Put your dog in one room, let them sniff the object, go hide it and then encourage your dog to find it! This is a great exercise for your dog and amazing for their mental stimulation. It will actually make your dog smarter by requiring them to think and use their nose for good. If your dog has a hard time finding the object, lead them over to it the first couple of times and make sure to really praise them when they actually find it.

Teach them a new trick! I teach several trick classes and some easy tricks to teach your dog would be Peekaboo, Spin, Dance, Target, ect. I will make posts about how to teach certain tricks later on.

If you are still able to go out, I encourage you to take your dog to a place indoors where they can run and play. One of my favorite students named Callie Blue, was a Petsmart with me on tuesday playing fetch and find all throughout the store. The store was relatively empty and so we let her run the whole store with supervision. If you decide to do this, make sure you have permission from someone working there. Callie was with me and so no one minded her running around with the dog trainer at her side.

I was so happy to see Callie’s mom being creative and instead of taking her to the dog park she brought her indoors to still play. Don’t let the rain stop you! It’s giving you a chance to think of something new to do with your best friend.

Keep it up!

-Amber

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Things to do with your dog

 

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