Archives for Dogs and Instinct 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
No Comment

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
No Comment

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.

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
No Comment

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!

Dogs Follow Human’s Gazes

Posted on Jan 08, 2012
Dog Psychology, Dog Training, Dogs and Cognitive Learning, Dogs and Instinct, Uncategorized
No Comment

Dogs may be as receptive to certain human communication signals as infants.  Here’s a great article that brings insight into how we communicate with our dogs.  As with humans, actions speak louder than words!

Dogs Follow Human’s Gaze

Thankful Thursday – For Our Imperfect Dogs (Kids or Mate)

Posted on Aug 04, 2011
Dog Training, Dogs and Instinct, Dogs Express Emotion, Thankful Thursday
No Comment

One thing I know for sure is that in order for me to be thankful for things I consider to be less worthy of gratitude, I have to start with those things I am truly thankful for – my home, my bed – you get the idea. Real gratitude somehow overflows and wraps itself around those things for which we are not quite thankful. For some, our dogs are on the top of the list. For others, perhaps with a puppy or with a dog that is difficult, gratitude is not an automatic. (Feel free to insert your kids, work, and/or mate!)

I have decreased my writing about training techniques because the market is flooded with information on how to have a well behaved dog. It’s always described as quick and easy! Yet, our dogs still pull on the leash, still bolt when they see a squirrel or cat running away from them, still bark at the mailman and still attempt to jump on people when greeting. I don’t know about your dog(s), but mine haven’t read one word from the books and are quite content being dogs and letting me figure out how to work with them.

So. . .what about (seemingly) misbehaving dogs brings me gratitude – they aren’t perfect and we don’t have to be either. They are forever two years old and need to be asked and reminded of those quick and easy dog training steps we just knew would fix them. I’m grateful that in the midst of our frustration with some of their behavior, they don’t just turn around and bite us for asking them to sit when their prey drive or zest for affection is declaring, “get rabbit – NOW” or “that human wants to pet me I just know it, I know it, I do, I do!

Do Dogs Really Love Us?

Posted on Jan 15, 2011
Dog Humor, Dog Psychology, Dogs and Instinct, Dogs Express Emotion
No Comment

Isn’t it just the best feeling to arrive home after a long day at work, a few minutes taking the trash out, or a few seconds to get the mail, and our dogs are all over us with enthusiasm and greetings of, “welcome home, we’ve missed you!”

Does it mean they love us or is there an ulterior motive? It’s probably better to just appreciate and adore them because we may not want to know the truth. The other day when I came in the door, I distinctly heard them excitedly saying, “our food source is home, our food source is home!”

I love them regardless of what they feel or don’t feel. I think there are certain truths we understand about dogs and the rest we make up as we go along. Considering the joy they bring to our lives, does it really matter – I didn’t think so.

Little Dogs Can Be “Top Dog”!

Posted on Dec 09, 2010
Dog Psychology, Dogs and Instinct, Dominant Dog, Labradoodle, Learn From A Dog
No Comment

If you have a small dog and a much larger one, and particularly if they are the same sex, you have most likely witnessed some form of competition and posturing for the position of “Top Dog”.  Sometimes, that positioning is demonstrated physically.  In this image Moby shows Mac, “he who is higher wins”.  I don’t think Mac knew he was playing that game, so we won’t tell Moby.  

Is Halloween Scary For Dogs?

Posted on Oct 28, 2010
Dog Psychology, Dogs and Instinct
No Comment

Think of Halloween from your dog’s perspective.  Here’s what they hear and see:  A knock on the door or a ringing of the doorbell.  You open the door anxiously as high-energy children (most you don’t know) are camouflaged as something potentially scary or threatening, as they yell, “trick or treat.”  You hand them goodies. . .door closes until the next time.

This may be fun and games for your dog; however, if you have a dog new to your home or a dog that is easily frightened or skittish, here’s a great article giving some sound advice on why it’s ok to leave the lights off this year.

Is Halloween Scary For Dogs?

If you aren’t willing to do that, I would put them in a room (crated perhaps) with enough white noise or music to block the sounds of the at-the-door festivities!

Guard Dog On Duty

Posted on Jun 15, 2010
Dogs and Instinct, Guard Dog
No Comment

One of my dogs is definitely a guard dog and is always on duty to defend against…uh, lizards, snakes, birds, and one not so itsy bitsy spider.

One evening, I heard Zoe making her I-am-really-on-to-something high pitched yelp/bark.  I went   into the garage and it was dark so I could not see what the fuss was about.  Knowing her like I do, she only makes that sound when she is very excited about her find.  I turned on the light.  I think the sound that came from me was a vocalization one would not expect to hear from a calm, assertive leader like myself.  Here’s what I saw.

I need to add that tarantula’s can and do jump. Actually, it’s more of a leap.  When they do, it is straight out. I had flashes of someone finding the video camera days later and the last image on the video is the belly of a tarantula!  I did capture it and set it free outside.

So, when late at night, your dog is barking in a you-gotta-see-this manner, you might want to check it out.  I was much happier knowing about it while it was in the garage rather than a surprise in the bedroom!

Do Dogs Really Want To Please Us?

Posted on Jun 02, 2010
Dog Psychology, Dog Training, Dogs and Instinct, Learn From A Dog
No Comment

It is often said by dog lovers and advocates that our dogs just want to please us. All they want is for us to be happy and happy with them. There is a lot more to it than this.

I consider myself to be a practical trainer/behaviorist. I do what I do because of my love for animals with my focus being on the understanding and ever-growing knowledge of canine behavior. Personally, my dogs live a grand life. They have nice beds, they respond to commands, they are all now to a stage of wanting to please me. Why?  Because they know me, and I know them.   It can take years to create this type of relationship. It is worth it.

Pleasing humans is not inherent in a dog’s psyche. Being a member of a pack is. They don’t walk down the street and see a human and think, “oh, there’s a human being, I want them to be pleased with me.” In fact, the opposite may be true!  They may have learned that humans are good and will give them food and affection, or they may have a negative association.

Much as it is with humans, respect of a dog is earned. I like to think the feelings are mutual – they respect me, and I respect them. Gaining a dog’s respect only happens when they know you and what to expect from you (this goes both ways).

Now, back to the question…do dogs really want to please us? Yes. Why? They want food, AND they do enjoy our attention and affection and all of the other experiences we share with them.

You may have a dog that has no interest in pleasing you.  Some dogs act as though they just don’t care what we think and there is not an ounce of the need-to-please in their body. You can’t train that into them. You can accept their nature and look for ways to connect with them using their natural drive and instinct.

So, whether your dog appears to only want to please you or it never does; it is important to understand what makes them who they are and to be patient with the process.