Archives for Behavioral Modification category

Teaching A Dog Boundaries

Posted on Aug 20, 2014
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification, Boxer, Crate Training, Dog Humor, Dog Training, Doggie Rehab, Dogs and Instinct, Socialization, Uncategorized
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Teaching one dog a boundary (i.e., waiting at an open door) can be challenging and needs to be taught with minimal distraction as you work up to the major temptations.  Teaching it to three dogs….well, the pictures tell the story. “Oscar, Balboa, and Argus, good dogs.”  I even tossed out a toy and a ball and the most difficult challenge of all…having their dads walk past them as if greeting a guest at the gate.  So smart!

Of course, sit and down are easy in comparison.  Don’t tell the senior he isn’t lying down (he gets a free pass for putting up with the new, young adoptee).  Such a great family!

Rescue Sweet Rescue

Posted on Feb 12, 2014
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification, Bully Happiness, Dalmation, Dog Humor, Dog Rescue, Dog Training, Doggie Rehab, Dogs and Instinct, Dogs and Sarcasm, Socialization, Teaching Your Dog to Stay, Timid Dog Behavior
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Meet Chloe and Coco.  Chloe is an adorable, smart, and amazingly mature 8 year old.  Her new best friend and rescued pup is Coco.  Chloe’s family already had two larger dogs who are very well trained and the addition of this little one was new territory, so I was called. I am more than delighted to have the pleasure of working with this family and their commitment to having a stable, well behaved small dog (not always an easy task with a nervous rescue).

As some of you know, my heart is with assisting timid dogs in gaining confidence and feeling secure in their new homes.  Initially, Coco was afraid of – well, as they say, her own shadow. Now?  I will let the images do the talking.  This is Chloe and Coco after we walked to school (with a lot of distractions) and are waiting for class to start.  I am truly amazed and impressed with how bonded these two are and how this little (a-lot-less-nervous-now) pup looks to Chloe for guidance.  A reminder that good things come in small packages – and, I’m not just talking about the dog.

Yorkie Nanny

Posted on Jan 29, 2014
Behavioral Modification, Dog Training, Energy and Dogs, Learn From A Dog, Palm Springs Dog Trainer, Palm Springs Dog Training, Training, Yorkie
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I have often said, “The best dog trainer is another dog.”  A well-adjusted, trained, and dog-friendly dog that is.  I do my job of observing and contributing when needed but mostly I say things like, “Wear them out, Zoe!”

Zoe looks like a giant Yorkie and that makes their interactions that much more enjoyable.

If you need assistance in training and/or behavior modification from either Zoe, myself, or both of us, we are here to help!

Ready For School!

Posted on Oct 17, 2013
Aggression, Behavioral Modification, Dog Humor, Dog Psychology, Dog Training
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The images below are of two of my recent pupils.  Moxie is the male Yorkie-poo and Matilda is the female Coton de Tulear.  I was going to write about the reason I was called to their home – the reactive behavior to some dogs and the not-so-happy gardeners (not that the dogs were happy being reactive).  However, if you are like me and are more of a visual learner, you would benefit more by watching me work with your dogs prior to you taking the leash.  So, I will use the pictures to show you one of the positive affects of a training session.  Before and after. . .I think they speak for themselves.

If you need help with a behavioral issue or just want a tired dog, give me a call!

Some People (Dogs) Are Afraid of Dogs (People)

Posted on Jun 12, 2013
Aggression, Behavioral Modification, Dog Psychology
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I came across this article that does an awesome job of explaining and illustrating how some people perceive dogs and how dogs see some people.  Dog lovers and advocates need to remember that. . .

Some People Are Afraid of Dogs and Some Dogs Are Afraid of People

Oh No! My Dog Is Running Away!

Posted on Sep 13, 2012
Behavioral Modification, Teaching a dog recall
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Tonight, as I was leaving work, I turned the corner to witness a woman running toward the street.  In front of her was a very scared and frantically running Pug.  Fortunately, the bus was able to stop as were the other cars on the road.  I watched as several other people joined in the run as they yelled and waved their arms in the air while calling the dog.  The humans had definitely engaged in “let’s chase the dog.”  Dogs love this game even if they don’t know they are playing it.  It goes something like this. Dog runs.  People chase and yell angrily.  Dog runs.

I will be nice.  Let me just say, if I were that dog, I would have been running away from them too!  I get that we all panic when our dog gets out.  Some dogs just take off with no street smarts whatsoever and run rampant.  I’ll explain what I did.  (Only because it worked.)  It may not have, but it’s a little advice I’d like to share in the event your dog escapes or for any other dog you’re trying to catch.

I drove up to the next block and used my car to block the street.  It was very Starsky and Hutch but with less tire squealing.  I got out of my car and bent down on the ground.  The dog stopped in front of me.  Not so that I could get her, but at least she wasn’t running.  She was exhausted and frightened.  The people that were chasing her came running up the street attempting to see how loud they could say the dog’s name.  I think the dog knew its name.  Just a guess.  As they were getting closer, the dog stood up and looked for a place to run.  I called to those in hot pursuit of the runaway to kneel down so they would be less threatening.  They did, and the dog stopped.

It may not have, but it did.  Frantically screaming and chasing an already scared animal, is not the best way to get them to come to you.  If they run out of your site, you are out of luck, and believe me, I’ve been there.  The point I want to make is that if your dog gets away from you and is not already frantically running, the best thing you can do is call its name and turn around and run the other direction – hopefully, that’s toward home.  It’s scary to try it, but they will usually follow.

The Pug that is the topic of this post, was gathered up by her people, as one woman said, “I hate this dog.”  I’m hoping this was just a moment of frustration.  Maybe the dog knew exactly what it was doing.  Hope not.

How To Train A Puppy

Posted on Jan 20, 2012
Behavioral Modification, Dog Training, Dogs and Instinct, Labradoodle, Learn From A Dog, Standard Poodle Puppy, Uncategorized
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It is 2012!  With the start of a new year and the puppy adoptions that have happened and will happen in the coming months of spring, it feels like it is time to do a few posts on life with a puppy.  I have a few suggestions, but am starting off with a video that demonstrates one of my favorite suggestions for not only how to train but also how to exhaust a puppy – use an older,  well-behaved dog!

Are Dogs Just Being Who They Are?

Posted on Jun 07, 2011
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification
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Who else can they be?  I admit, along with most of my animal-friendly friends, it is easy to humanize our dogs.  The more science reveals about our canine companions, it’s obvious why that is so easy to do.  While I believe dogs do understand and communicate with us; unfortunately, for the dog, it isn’t fair to assume they think like we do.

I have walked by people with a dog they are less than happy with and can tell they have reached maximum frustration.  Really, the dog in that moment is good at being a dog.  It is up to us humans to learn what is triggering the undesired behavior.  That is not the time to expect them to understand and self-correct their behavior because of our obvious embarrassment.  They will do much better if we learn ways to work with them in a way they understand.  That’s why I’m here!

It reminds me of times I spent with my niece when she was around the age of three to four years old.  When I would start to feel impatient with her behavior, I would say, “you are acting like a four year old.”  She would look at my quizzically and respond, “I am four.”  I would just say, “I know, and you are good at it.”  It was my way of reminding myself that she was indeed four and to expect her to act like an 8 year old wasn’t going to happen.

It’s all about acceptance and it applies to how we work with our dogs.  Shelter dogs come to their new home with an unknown history.  Even if we start out with basic obedience, in every situation that is new to them, they will be showing us who they are and it is up to us to take that information and find positive tools to redirect and support them as though they are what they are – dogs.  That is in no way a less-than-us approach.  It’s only fair to them.

Next time you are walking your dog and it does it’s who-knows-why random bark at a person or dog, it might help you to relax when you remember they are being a good dog.  If you would like my assistance in better understanding your dog’s behavior, send me an email.  I am happy to help!

How Much Time Do You Have To Train Your Dog?

Posted on Mar 18, 2011
Adopt a Shelter Dog, Behavioral Modification, Dog Psychology, Dog Rescue, Dog Training, Yorkie
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Have you ever heard it said we show people how to treat us?  It’s not much different with our dogs.  From moment one, when you bring a dog into your home, they are learning from you.  If you have other dogs, they are learning from them (and vice versa).  If you provide no structure or “rules,” they aren’t likely to either.  They will be looking to you for guidance on where they fit in and what’s considered good behavior.

I receive calls often from those who just brought a dog home and feel like it just isn’t going to work.  The dog isn’t what they thought it would be.  That’s normal.  Ever heard of buyer’s remorse?  It can happen during that first 24 hour perid when we wonder what in the heck we were thinking when we got another dog.  So, how long should it take to train this new being of your affection?  I wish there were a simple answer.

If you read my blog you know I feature Melody, my Yorkie.  She is a perfect example of a dog from a shelter that was sure to be someone’s little cuddle dog – not even close.  I knew her from the shelter so her history of biting those that reached for her would not get her into a home that was looking for that immediate cuddle gratification.  How long would it take if she ever warmed up to a human’s touch?  

My question to dog people is how long do you have to train your dog?  You don’t train a dog to be affectionate and trusting by dicipline, you train by example and a lot of patience.  After  three years, she is still learning trust.  She had some great teachers with the other dogs she’s been around.  They showed her I was trustworthy.

Here’s an image that I love because it took Melody a couple of years to allow herself to be this vulnerable.  Don’t expect to see “this Melody” if you come to our house, but someday you might, and when you do, you will see she was well worth the wait!   How much time do you have to train your dog?

Stopping a Jumping Dog

Posted on Nov 28, 2010
Behavioral Modification, Dog Commands, Dog Psychology, Dog Training, Jumping Dog
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Some dogs or maybe that’s most dogs, will attempt to greet a human by jumping.  If only our arms were connected to our knees, they wouldn’t have to jump to get a pet.  It goes without saying we also contribute to this sometimes negative behavior by unintentionally rewarding the dog’s jumping by touching them in some way.  Even if it’s just to push them off.  Any affection in this case equals, “good dog!”

Some dogs will approach and attempt to jump until their hips no longer allow it!  For (exuberant) dogs like this, don’t wait for their paws to be on you.  As they approach, tell them, “no jumping.”  When my hands are free, I move my forearm in a back and forth motion in front of me as I say, “no jumping.”  When all four paws are on the floor (and only then) do I give affection or treat.  I have had great success with ignoring the dog upon entering the home.  COMPLETELY!  No words, eye contact, or stopping as you enter.  Walk in as if there isn’t a dog and move to an area away from the door without acknowledging the dog until they have calmed down.

I use the word, “off” in the event I’m not quick enough to step back or turn prior to the dog’s paws touching me.  Off is also used for counter surfing, or being on anything they shouldn’t be even if it’s just for a time; as in, “off” the furniture.

The beauty of having a trainer work with you is they can also do a leash correction and work with the dog as it approaches you and others.   They learn how to greet in a way that will get them the attention and affection they desire without leaving their imprint on someone’s blouse!

I also want to add that if the only exercise or energy focus your dog gets is when you walk in the door, jumping should be expected.  Even having a favorite toy for them to run and fetch when you walk in can help use their excitement more appropriately.

I hope these tips help.  Please contact me if you have any questions regarding your jumping dog.