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Oh no! We are NOT chasing cars!

 

“Yeah, Mickey, you might be a border collie and need to chase things, but it WON’T be cars!”, said me inside my head to no one. ūüėȬ†

This 15 week old puppy was afraid of cars and then decided he had the power to chase them away AT THE FENCE-LINE! Yikes..

What if this becomes a habit and he barks along with it?  What if he starts chasing them on leash? What if he ever gets off-leash near a road or starts chasing a car?

So… time for a plan.¬†

I have a few ways to work on this but I’m going to start with the 3 most important steps to stop Mickey from chasing cars and these have gone into effect as of… yesterday!¬†

They are all in this video: Click here to watch it.

Thanks for watching and reading and now I’d love to hear from you.

Please scroll down and leave a comment.

Training your dog is not “All or Nothing!”

Training your dog is not “All or Nothing”!

Please don’t expect perfection.

Right now, a guy is using big metal noisy ladders to climb the side of our house and clean the gutters. The blower is loud. Very loud and very close to the windows. This started with a doorbell and intermittently, my husband has gone out to talk to him. Rae has barked on and off. “The guy is too close!”, she’d say, “Look at him! He’s got that big blower thing! I hate that noise!”

I would reassure her but not by telling her “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.” in some coddling, frantic way. Instead, I would just take a look with her, tell her it’s okay, distract her a bit or take her with me. Sometimes, I had her in a down or asked her to lay on her side, a calming position.

Did it take a little extra time? Yes. More than normal because she has a cast on and can’t exercise so she tends to overreact a little. But I don’t. I just stay calm. I listen to her. I look outside with her. I use what she knows to calm her down.

Sometimes our expectations can be too high. We want a dog to alarm us but only when it’s convenient for us! It doesn’t’ work that way. There is give and take.

If you want your dog to stop and think before reacting, you need to do the same.

Your dog is a living, breathing and thinking being that deserves respect.

Thanks for watching and reading and now I’d love to hear from you.

Please scroll down and leave a comment.

Don’t make this BIG mistake when leash walking with your dog!

The Loose Leash Walking course is OPEN for registration! Click here to learn more

Distractions are not only a BIG mistake but common ones too and it’s not only a problem with children, spouses and your work, it can be a problem with your dog too.

Watch the video to learn more about how to connect with your dog and make leash walking an EXPERIENCE!

I doubt your friend would want to keep walking with you, go to a restaurant or do any activity together if you were always on your phone. It’s rude and frustrating.

Being on your phone when you are walking your dog is the same as being on your phone when you are walking with a friend. 

So when your dog is pulling, barking or lunging on the leash, part of the problem might be your connection. If you are on your phone or simply daydreaming, you are not really walking together and isn’t that the idea? Maybe once your dog is older and has more practice on the leash, you can multitask, but if you have problems and are training, it is critical that you keep your focus on your dog.

Do you need more help teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash?

Join my Loose Leash Walking class which is scheduled to open again in January or February 2021. You can get on the Waiting List and be the first to hear when registration opens! 

Click here to learn more

 

Thanks for watching and reading and now I’d love to hear from you.

Please scroll down and leave a comment.

Might seem crazy… a simple start to leash walking

The Loose Leash Walking course is OPEN for registration! Click here to learn more

If your dog is pulling, barking or lunging on the leash, where exactly do you begin?

On the leash… without walking! Yup, that’s the first “baby step”.

Just go outside on the leash and stay right by the door or by the garage. Let your dog look around, take in the sights, smells and sounds and give yourself an easy retreat back to home base.

Why? Because the best thing you can do with a dog that pulls, barks or lunges on leash is to prevent that behavior. Every time your dog behaves poorly on a leash, that behavior is REINFORCED. Reinforced means the behavior is becoming an automatic response or is already an automatic response (habit) and just becomes more ingrained.

It’s awfully hard to teach new behavior when you are reinforcing the behavior you don’t want. Right!?

Stop reading and think about that for a minute…”Reinforced”. You really do not want to reinforce problems on a leash that can be a serious safety issue.

Ok… you say… but your dog needs exercise!!! I get it…

My dog, Rae, just had elbow surgery and has a big cast on her leg. She¬†is ONLY allowed to walk to eliminate. That’s it! For at least 8 weeks!

Rae is a high drive, energetic, young Australian Shepherd who defines life as movement, but there is no alternative just like is sometimes the case with a behavior issue. So try to think of your issue as a physical issue to make it easier on yourself. There are times that your dog just can’t do what they want so we have to find them alternatives.

This is your best alternative to get started:¬†Take your dog out for 20-30 min but stay right next to your door and let your dog look around, enjoy the sights, sounds and smells. Your dog will get some enrichment and you can relax knowing you have a quick escape – and actually, relaxing is “half the battle”.

Then get going on teaching your dog to walk nicely on a loose leash.

Do you need help teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash?

Join my Loose Leash Walking class which is scheduled to open again in January or February 2021. You can get on the Waiting List and be the first to hear when registration opens! 

Click here to learn more

Thanks for watching and reading and now I’d love to hear from you.

Please scroll down and leave a comment.

Fireworks and Thunderstorms: An Often Overlooked, Simple Way To Help Your Dog

I hear you about fireworks! Those with dogs that are sensitive to storms have it hard enough without adding fireworks and you just wish people would STOP! They scare your dog, many other animals and even people, particularly those with PTSD. 

Sometimes people laugh at your stories about your dog, but you know…

…it’s no laughing matter to have a dog trembling in fear in the corner, chewing things up, peeing in the house or barking non-stop. 

Your dog is probably having what is equivalent to a panic attack in a person or they are deeply disturbed by the noise. They can’t think, have no self-control, don’t understand and can often react in destructive ways.

Fireworks in the US start well before July 4th and usually persist afterwards too. 

And the storms just keep on coming.

So what can you do? Watch the video above

There are things like anxiety wraps, pheromones, supplements and medications Рsome for short-term use and some for long-term use but…

…often overlooked is the effect your own reaction has on your dog, especially early on and that’s easy to change.

You mean well and may think you are helping, when in fact you may be making your dog’s experience worse. 

Watch this video and no matter what treatment your dog needs, this subtle change in you, can help:

Thanks for watching and reading and now I’d love to hear from you.

Please scroll down and leave a comment.

What your dog needs (and doesn’t need) to be successful

In life with your dogs, there are things they need and things they don’t.

The number one thing dogs need? CLARITY! If your training in struggling or you aren’t getting the behavior you want from them, chances are you aren’t clear enough or you’re creating conflict.

What doesn’t help? Using a stern voice. Good training (and clarity!) will help your dog improve. You can get the same results (if not BETTER) by using a neutral or happy voice with your dog when giving them a command.

Watch this video to find out how clarity and vocal tone can affect your training.

Did this video help clarify something for you? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Take your keys to bed and your dog will thank you for it

Businesses are beginning to open up and while you may not go back to work just yet, you may start to leave your house more often for other reasons.

Have you thought about how your new puppy or dog might react to your disappearance after being home so much?

You aren’t alone. A number of you have written me to ask¬†about this issue.

A couple years ago, (initially unbeknownst to me), Rae, my 4 year old Aussie, realized that when I opened my bathroom shade, it meant we were ready to go downstairs. But as the sun came up earlier and earlier in the Spring, I started raising my shade earlier to use the natural light as I put on my make-up. Raising my shade no longer meant we were ready to head out and start the day.

Rae was incensed! Why weren’t we headed downstairs!? She started staring at me, wiggling, whining and then started barking!

It took me a while to figure out why. The shade was her cue!

This was interesting to me and I wondered how long it would take her to desensitize to the shade – to stop pairing the shade with going downstairs.

So I tested it.

Just like us, your dog makes associations based on past experience and behavior can even becomes automatic. A sudden change in that association can now cause your dog to get anxious, just like it did with Rae and the shade.

And when that association tells your dog that you will be leaving… and probably for a long time… the anxiety can be profound enough to basically cause a “panic attack”.

With a “panic attack”, your dog can become destructive.¬†Very destructive.¬†Not to be spiteful or to “teach you a lesson”, but because your dog gets¬†so upset, worried and panicked¬†that that¬†energy is released in the only way they know how – whining, barking, having accidents¬†or chewing. They can’t control it!

Next thing you know, you are getting the rugs cleaned… again…, replacing furniture or worse… on the phone with contractors getting estimates on repairs to the door frame, cabinets and more.¬†I have many photos from clients with huge holes in their walls, dog with injured paws and more. The damage from¬†a panic attack can be astounding as well as¬†scary and dangerous.

Remember that your dog has a whole different sense of time and little to distract them from thinking about you, so even when they don’t panic, they may be depressed and/or¬†wonder if they’ve been abandoned every time you leave.

Here are 3 ways to get started to help prevent and treat separation anxiety:

  • Separate from your dog for short periods of time, at random times.¬†Slowly¬†increase the length of time but continue to separate at¬†random times and for random amounts of time so your dog won’t know if you are leaving¬†for 1 minute, 1 hour or 1 day.
  • Change any¬†cues that can mean you are leaving.¬†Pick up your purse,¬†put on your coat, grab your keys, put on your shoes or whatever you normally do when you leave your house, at random times, so your dog does not¬†always pair these as cues¬†with your absence.
  • Make departures and arrivals boring.¬†Very boring. It’s hard to do because it feels impolite not to say goodbye when you¬†leave, but it¬†can help lower your dog’s¬†anxiety.

Not your problem? Your dog has always been fine when you left in the past? That is no indication of what might happen when you return to work.

So, get started now¬†especially if you have¬†a puppy or even more so, if you have a rescue.¬†It’s really important to prepare¬†your dog for a change in schedule.

Remember I said I tested how long it would take Rae to stop reacting when I raised the shade? As it turned out, it took about 11 weeks.

Yes, 11 weeks.

Get started now and get your dog ready for the changes ahead.

Start today by picking up your keys before you go to bed, putting on your jacket for breakfast and pretending to set the alarm before you settle in with a good book on the couch. In the long run, these little things will benefit both you and your dog.

Thanks for reading and now I’d love to hear from you. Please scroll down and leave a comment.

Why dogs listen in the sport of agility

 

Sometimes your dog can be so frustrating! You’ve trained them to come when called or to walk next to you nicely on leash, but now… they won’t do it!

Is your dog “blowing you off”? Is it just that they won’t LISTEN!?

No. Dog’s don’t blow you off and they are always listening – really.

It could just be a simple step in your training that is missing. Sometimes you need to break a step down even more than you would ever think to get the results you want. 

This morning, I came to this realization with a skill that I need when I run my dog on the agility course. A simple – seemingly simple – skill but very very powerful. And I NEED it!

So watch this video and learn how forgetting to break down a skill to the smallest pieces might be holding you back and get some better results with your dog.

Then¬†comment below and let me know if it’s a revelation for you too!

Mind your own business!

 

You have more power than you realize. In the case of your dog, you need to mind your own business before you can hope to have a dog that listens…

…because what is your dog listening to anyway?

The state of your mind affects how you feel and your dog picks up on that feeling.¬†‚ÄčYour body language and chemistry are totally different when you are stressed or sad or excited or joyful. The changes can be subtle.

But your dog doesn’t necessarily know WHY you are feeling that way. They guess based on past experience and their own feeling and reactions.

That lack of clarity can cause your dog to become excited, happy, confused, concerned, fearful, anxious or a host of other emotions. How your dog reads a situation can affect whether or not they can listen to what you are saying or listen appropriately. They may become completely distracted by their own emotions in reaction to yours.

Think about how you can tell as soon as you walk into a room, whether or not you are welcome. Likewise. your dog can tell how you feel.

Visit this thought in your mind for a minute… close your eyes and imagine you are late walking into a conference room and everyone is looking at you! Those in the conference room may be annoyed because you are late or thrilled to see you because they were worried about you. Can you tell? Do you feel welcome?¬†You¬†can usually sense the energy in the room instantly. Can how you feel¬†affect what gets accomplished at the meeting?

Now, imagine you are a substitute teacher walking into a math class with a group of rowdy teenage kids on a beautiful Spring day. What’s the mood of that room? What if they look at you like fresh meat?! LOL Or what if they don’t look at you… at all? How do you feel? What is the energy in that room and can you follow through on your plans for the day?

You don’t necessarily pick up on every eye squint, posture change or smirk but overall, you have a sense of the energy and it can affect¬†you.

Your dog senses your energy and mood in the same way. Maybe even more so. The longer you live with your dog, the more in sync you can get and your dog learns when to be more cautious or sometimes when to “ignore” your mood. Just make no mistake… your dog feeds off of your energy and bad energy makes it harder to focus, listen and learn.

Watch the video above and then try this exercise: 

  1. Think about something that annoys you or upsets you, like the upcoming election or some one you are struggling with at work and then train your dog a simple skill. Watch their body language and be aware of yourself too.
  2. Then later, try it again, only this time, first think about things you love or are looking forward to like a vacation or your favorite meal or even put on an upbeat song that you just love and makes you want to smile… and then train your dog the same skill in the same place in the same way.

Do you see a difference in yourself? In your dog?

Watch the video and let me know how the exercise goes for youin the comments below.

Make waiting the hardest part

Four years ago in November, I was sitting with a huge phone book size catalog on my lap in a folding chair. It was a hot, dusty day at the large State Fair arena in Tennessee watching the Australian Shepherd National Specialty Show.

With dirt on the pages, my pencil scratched as I took notes on breed lines, breeders and rescues, carefully watching the dogs in the ring. In between, I talked to owners.

I knew I wanted a puppy that minute and couldn’t wait to hold one in my arms, snuggle and begin our life together, but I also knew I needed to do my homework… especially since I wanted another Aussie.¬†Loving this breed is my “poison”… haha! I used to say to myself, “WHY!? WHY do you have to love this difficult breed!?”

Still… it was SO hard to wait! Can you relate?

But it is so important that you get the right dog for you and that you are the right person for the dog. You’ll hopefully have many years together so get started out right.

Watch this video before you choose your puppy or dog

Get the checklist here

Leave me a comment below and let me know what breed or rescue you are considering.