night dog walking

Night Walkers

  If you are stuck walking your dog only at night or early in the morning because he/she goes crazy barking and lunging at dogs or people, don’t lose hope. When dogs are explosive with reactivity owners tend to hide and feel embarrassed. Unfortunately the best thing for these dogs is actually repetitive exposure to whatever they react to, so by avoiding these things they become worse over time. Of course the answer isn’t to just dive right in and expose him to the triggers right away.
  The first thing you should do is teach your dog to walk in a structured heel with minimal distractions using at least prong collar and e collar if possible. Train him on the basic foundation stuff like place, sit, down, threshold, and waiting for food. Doing this will help rebuild a healthier relationship with him inside the house before ever attempting to venture into the outside world of massive distractions.
The next step will be to walk him in a safe quiet area and keep him in a very structured heel correcting him for even the slightest deviation from heel position. When you’re ready you can work at a significant distance from his triggers and correct the very first sign of interest in the dog/person/cat/squirrel whatever he reacts to. Generally the first sign will be perking up of ears or wrinkling of his forehead. Correct that stuff firmly and maintain a calm energy yourself. Advocate for him by creating space and not putting too much pressure on him. This may mean crossing the street to give a wide birth to the dog behind the fence, or walking down another street to keep distance from an approaching person. Over time you can close the gap and will be able to walk right past what used to trigger him.
That’s where the repeated exposure comes in. Once you can pass by old triggers they will fade away if he continues to experience them routinely. Never be embarrassed by your dog’s behavior, just get to work on stopping the bad stuff. You will be able to quit the night walking and come into the light!
help your dog get organized

Help Your Dog Get Organized!

I like to think of obedience foundation work as organization. Think about how much better our minds work when we get organized. Chaos is tough to navigate. Help your dog get his mind right by teaching the basic stuff like sit, place,down, heel, waiting at thresholds, how to be calm in the crate,and waiting for food.
When dogs live in a constant state of freedom, lacking rules and limits, sometimes they struggle. I’m sure you’ve seen a dog that runs from window to window barking at anything passing, or jumping from couch to couch and charging guests, getting up on the table and taking food, or dogs that eat absolutely anything (shoes,toys,underwear,socks,etc),or one that constantly escapes from a fenced yard after digging or jumping fences. Living like this is actually incredibly stressful for a dog. Many dogs can’t handle a life without rules. So the fall out is often very frustrated and tired owners that are struggling to keep up. The majority of the time all that’s needed is a little organization! by teaching your dog basic foundation training you can help to clear his chaotic mind. The jumpy impulsive reactions tend to fall away and he will look to you for direction and start to make better choices. You will have far less stress and so will he. Life with your dog will look more organized and become more peaceful.


Help Your Dog Relax and Be Calm

Small things you can do to teach your dog to be calm.
Correct at the first sign of excitement. If you notice your dog gets extremely pumped up and overly excited when he sees other dogs, people,cats,basketballs,whatever,correct the very first sign of interest in those things. In no time you’ll be walking past that stuff like it wasn’t even there. Don’t worry it doesn’t mean he won’t be able get pumped up and play and be silly, it just means that he’ll be calm until he has permission to go bananas.

Reward calm. If you see your dog being incredibly chill in a situation that normally would have sent him over the edge to crazy excitement- give a small amount of affection, or light verbal praise. Be very calm and don’t overdo it, if you do too much praise your dog may bounce up with energy defeating the whole rewarding for calm process.
Don’t reward the craziness. I often see unknowing owners with an extremely energetic,pulling,whining,barking,panting,overly excited dog petting and praising when he’s doing the exact behavior they’d like him not to do. Sometimes as humans we think soft stroking and trying to talk to our dogs might calm them down when in reality it has the exact opposite effect. Your best bet in these situations is to correct early and if you’ve missed the opportunity and he’s already started going bananas leave the area or remove whatever is getting him amped up.

Teach your dog a long down/stay and or place command. If you teach a great place command (down/stay on a bed or cot) and work on long durations up to a few hours over time; your dog will go into a calm state whenever you put him on place, because he knows what’s expected of him.
Make sure your dog has daily physical exercise. I recommend two structured walks and some play time. Being out and about walking every day will expose him to lots of sites and sounds too. If you’re incredibly busy you may want to think about hiring a dog walker.

Teach your dog to wait for food and wait for permission before going through doorways. Waiting teaches dogs tons of impulse control and helps with creating a more calm home environment overall.Continue reading

Recall Tips For Dog Owners

If you’re struggling with recalling your dog, here are a few tips.
It may be too soon- if you’re not getting consistent recall while your dog is on a long line, he might not be ready to be off leash even in the fenced in back yard . Every time you say “Fido come” and he ignores you he’s learning that recall means nothing. If you call him and he doesn’t come you must be 100% committed to walking out to get him. If he thinks this is a game and wants to play chase he’s most certainly not ready to be off leash. Just keep him on a long line until he’s absolutely reliable.
Never call your dog with an angry or frustrated tone. Every recall should be a good thing in his mind.
Don’t always end the fun after recall- if he’s having lots of fun, recall him, pet him or give him some food and then release him back to playing. This teaches him recall is part of the fun rather than the end of it.
Start with minimum distractions and work up to more challenge. Inside the house at first then fenced in areas.
Practice hundreds and hundreds of repetitions.
Teach him place command and recall from one place cot to another inside your home. Dogs can’t wait to be released from place so they’re highly motivated to recall.
Consider e-collar training. If you want a reliable off leash trained dog, there is no better way. With low level e-collar training (with a high quality e-collar) even under the highest distractions at significant distances you can communicate with your dog. Nothing is 100% but it’s darn close. It’s a great safety measure, like wearing a seatbelt.
Remember there is no shame in using a long line. Use it as long as he needs it. It’s much better to be safe dragging around a 20-50′ leash than losing your dog.