Lead manners

Lead manners

Loose lead walking sounds easy right? It is one of the most common reasons people get in touch with us though! More and more people are struggling with loose lead walking!

So we wanted to share with you a few tips on how to start teaching your dog how to walk nicely on lead.

1. the more a dog is allowed to pull, the more they will pull. They think that pulling into the lead is how they get to walk! As much as we think they are choking themselves, your dog finds it rewarding! Why? Because it gains them access to the sniffing spots!

2. lead manners start when you are putting on their equipment! If you have to chase your dog to put their lead on then they are already not focusing on you. 

3. be patient and use the collar and lead attaching as part of your walk time. 

4. you need to start in a low distraction environment like your home or back yard. If your dog can’t focus on you in your home they won’t be able to focus on you in the environment.

5. you need to show your dog that standing next to you earns reward. Give them food reward each time they stand on your left hand side.

6. reward your dog one step at a time! The more they get rewarded being on your left hand side, the more they look for that spot. Think about it like your dog sitting. When you have food they often automatically sit. Why? because they have been heavily rewarded for the sit. This is what we want from them when on lead, a strong desire to stand by your side.

7. don’t move onto more steps or higher distraction until your dog loves being by your side while in your home!

8. practice changing directions in your yard or home and reward your dog when they follow you.

9. practice calm walking as you are heading out the door or gate. This is going to be a time of great excitement so get this right!

10. teach them to wait at the door or gate while it gets opened. This saves rushing and also keeps them focused on you. 

11. no more forward movement when your dog pulls. With rewards for being next to you, teach them the value of their collar/harness being relaxed.

12. be patient! When using these steps it takes time to break the old habit! But use your full allocated walk time to practice, even if that means you don’t leave your driveway.

The hardest thing for people to wrap their head around is that their dog didn’t get out for a walk. That is correct, but they are still learning! We are teaching them to use their brain and concentrate on us, instead of everything else. Getting your dog to use their brain is as tiring for them as going for a walk. 

The other thing people are concerned about is finding the time to do this training. But you don’t have to find EXTRA time, you use the time already put aside for walking your dog.

So if you have 30 minutes allocated for a walk and it takes 10 minutes for your dog to be calm enough to get their lead on, then the ‘walk’ time is now 20 minutes. If it then takes 5 minutes to walk without pulling to the door then the ‘walk’ time is now 15 minutes. If it then takes 15 minutes for you to get to the end of the driveway without pulling, time is up and you head back inside! 

In this video we show you how we are starting to teach Rocky about lead manners. 

Teaching calm

Teaching by saying nothing!

Did you know that we can change a dog’s behaviour sometimes by saying nothing? No cues, no food reward, no punishment….

Dog’s do things because it benefits them in some way and how we respond to those behaviours can have an impact and encourage it, even when we are trying to discourage it. You’ve probably heard people say “ignore the bad behaviour and reward the good”. Sounds simple but unless you understand the reward for the dog in each situation you could end up feeling like nothing works!

In this video we show you how our response to Rocky’s behaviour has taught him how to be calm when coming out of the gate. He not only now knows he has to stand still, but he looks up at me and waits for the “let’s go” cue.

Let me explain what we did.

First we need to understand that in this situation, Rocky’s reward is coming out of the gate. So we are teaching him what he needs to do to earn his reward.

When Rocky took a moment of pause we started to open the gate. If he pushed forward, we stopped and waited for him to pause again.

As we began opening the gate, if he tried to push through we would close the gate. By doing this we are showing Rocky that if he pushes forward, the gate gets closed. But if he stands still, the gate gets opened.

Once we could open the gate and Rocky was staying still we gave him the “let’s go” cue to let him know he could come out.

As you can see, it didn’t take long for Rocky to understand. He learned this in less than 2 weeks, with nothing more than us changing our response to his behaviour. Instead of talking to him, pushing him or trying to restrain him, we just stopped and waited.

So next time you are getting frustrated by your dog’s behaviour, stop and think about it from their point of view. What are they getting out of the interaction? Our attention? Still coming through the door?  Then stop and think about how YOU can change YOUR response to their behaviour to get a better behaviour.

This kind of training is teaching the dog to think about their behaviour and what they need to do to get what they want.

We are teaching them to problem solve which also helps them engage with you instead of just acting on impulse.

 

Dog Toys

How many toys does your dog have? Two? Three? 20?

It is so easy to accumulate toys for our dogs that can soon become excessive. And eventually our dogs seem to spend more time pulling them out of the box and leaving them scattered around the home than actually playing with them.

So what can you do to first, reduce the amount of time you spend picking up dog toys and second make the toys interesting for your dogs again?

Having access to all toys 24/7 makes them seem pretty boring to dogs. And if they aren’t interesting, your dog will find other ways to entertain themselves, like chewing shoes, socks or other household items.

One of the easiest things you can do is split the toys into 4 or more containers and rotate the toys on a weekly basis. Not only will this save you money from buying toys that you think they might play with, it makes you more fun when the new toys come out! 

But why not take it one step further and use the toys as a way to improve their engagement with you?

* Rotate toys daily from your weekly toy basket. You might like to give them only 2 toys per day to play with on their own, instead of a whole bunch

* Keep one or two of the MOST favourite toys in a seperate place that come out ONLY when you are able to play with your dog. Imagine how much more fun you will become to your dog if you bring out the best toys!

*Make the changing of the toys an opportunity for some training. Ask them for a behaviour (like drop, spin or look) before a new toy is given. 

*Teach your dog the fun trick of picking up their toys and putting them into a basket.

*Teach your dog to “leave it” by putting the toy on the ground near them and asking your dog to wait for a cue to be able to get it.

It’s really simple isn’t it? It won’t take too much time out of your day and training becomes fun because the reward is play time with you!

Here’s our challenge to you! Spend time today sorting through your toy box and making the toys interesting for your dog again!

Step one:

Gather all the toys in one place…. This was our toy box!

Step two:

Find four (or more!) containers/baskets or boxes to hold the toys

Step three:

Sort all the toys into categories. We used:

*Current favourites

*Balls

*Toys with squeakers

*Tug toys

*Rubber toys

*Toys to throw away!

Step four:

Mix up the toys into the baskets/containers. Keep one container of toys out, we used the current favourites and put the other containers away.

The other containers need to be somewhere the dogs can’t access for themselves or see.

Step five:

Set a reminder on your phone to swap a container of toys every week or even better, daily!

This means your dog will feel like they are getting new toys every week. And it will remind you to wash the toys being put away. Keeping your dog’s toys clean by washing regularly is important for everyone’s health.

Step six:

Pick one or two of your dog’s MOST favourite toys and keep them in a safe place, for you to have special play time with your dog. 

Step seven:

Share your toy challenge photos on our Facebook page under our Dog Toy Cleanup Challenge post. 

Let’s see how many toys you have to split and how many you find are ready to go in the bin!

Tell us what your dog’s most favourite toy is today.

Happy sorting!!

Dogs and Trauma

We had a conversation recently with someone who’s dog (let’s call her Lady) has been through a traumatic experience and how they should manage the situation. It was a very important conversation to have and one that we feel should be shared.

 We won’t go into full details, but Lady was attacked by something or someone in her backyard while her owner was at work. Lady ended up with a substantial puncture/hole in her head. At first the owner thought the two dogs had a fight, so she arranged for her boy (lets call him Mr) to stay with friends while Lady recovered. The vet is unsure what caused the wound but assures her it was not a dog bite.

 Lady is home recovering but is now unwilling to go outside on her own. She will follow her owner out to the yard but won’t go out or stay out alone. This is TOTALLY understandable.

 Mr is still with friends and the owner wanted advice on when to bring Mr home, making sure that Lady has time to recover. We discussed making sure Lady has quiet places to go when Mr gets bouncy and playful until Lady is recovered.

 We recommended that Mr be brought home so that things can go back to normal in the home for Lady. The owner was worried that Lady would need lots of time to recover from her experience, before Mr should come home.  The owner also mentioned not taking Lady to her Agility nights anymore, for fear of her bumping her head on something.

 We asked if the vet had recommended that and was told no. The vet has given Lady the all clear to go about her normal life once her wound has healed. In this particular situation the owner is concerned for the well being of Lady but stopping the kinds of activities Lady loves is not the answer.

 Let me explain. Dogs live in the moment. They don’t live in the past. When a dog has suffered from a traumatic experience, the best way to help them is to get their life back to normal as soon as possible. Yes we have to be aware that in some circumstances their behaviour may be different, in this case Lady not wanting to be outside alone, but completely changing her whole life (by stopping agility) is not going to help Lady.

 I can guarantee you that Lady is not going to think about her backyard incident when she is at the agility field, or eating her dinner, or sitting on her favourite couch or going for a walk. Humans are the one’s who struggle to live in the moment and that’s when we can create a nervous wreck of a dog.

 Getting back to normal, acting like nothing has changed and ensuring Lady is healthy and fulfilled is the best way to help her get over her ‘trauma’. Don’t molly coddle them, try to act the same way you did BEFORE the incident. Dogs need leadership, they need to see from you that things are back to normal so they can be comfortable in their environment.

So weather you have a ‘rescue’ dog who you ‘think’ has been mistreated, a retired greyhound or your own dog that has been attacked, the same advice applies….. Acknowledge your dog’s past but live in the present with them.

Separation Anxiety

We had a follower question from Steph who wanted to know more about separation anxiety. 

Now Steph mentioned taking some tips from Ceasar Milan so I went on over to Dr Google and had a look at his advice, and it was good. His tips are similar to what I would advise. So let’s take a look.

What does separation anxiety in dogs look like? Your dog could excessively salivate, pace, bark or whine, destroy items in the home, scratch at walls, doors and floors, and attempt to escape from the crate, room or yard.

Before we can treat separation anxiety, we need to understand the cause of the anxiety, the severity of the anxiety and if it is true separation anxiety or boredom!

A lot of people seek help and advice from their vet or a vet behaviourist. These professionals may prescribe drugs, which tend to calm a dog’s senses a little, but they are not a cure. Drugs only provide a support mechanism to assist in rehabilitating the dog, it is only a temporary fix for the underlying problem. You have to treat the root cause. And if the person who prescribed medication doesn’t also put in place a training plan, then only half the job is being done. This is where teaming up with a dog trainer who has qualifications in dog behaviour and behaviour modification can be the professional who helps change the behaviour, with the aim of reducing or stopping the medication dependency. Think of it like having a team of professionals looking after the health of your dog.

So let’s look at a few things that can contribute to a dog’s separation anxiety.

Dogs have become part of our family and the term “fur baby” is used often to describe that relationship.  Sadly, it is that kind of connection of child and parent that can lead to our dogs feeling stressed when we leave the house or just leave the room.

We want to show our dogs how much we love them so we “make a fuss” when we leave.  We say goodbye multiple times, we tell them we love them, we tell them we’ll be back soon etc.  Then when we get home they are excited and we love the feeling that gives us so we rush to them, we encourage the excitement and jumping and make it a big deal that we came home.  We become their only source of confidence, their security, and their pack.

All this comes from a place of love for our dog but we need to realise that this behaviour from us is causing stress to our dog and living a life of stress is not fun.  So we need to make the choice to do everything we can to reduce the stress on our dog and a few small changes to our routine can help. 

Every day training

Teach independence and relaxation. Some dogs don’t relax naturally and need to be taught how to just chill out.

Teach them place and make it a cue to relaxation (see previous training tip)

Give them time away from you and the family when you are home. Pop them outside while the house gets cleaned or when you are having dinner. Feed them outside.

Take time to make their area when alone fun! If it is outside and the only time they go out there is when you leave they will start feeling stressed the minute you ask them to go out. Take time to play with them outside or sit outside with a drink and have the dog just hanging out on their bed while you finish your drink. Make it a place that sometimes the whole family just hangs out.

Make sure you have clear boundaries and rules in your home. A dog that has full run of the house 100% of the time is often stressed out. They need structure and they need to be able to predict what is going to happen. If each and every day is different with the rules, where one day they are allowed on the couch but the next they aren’t, the dog will have no way of being able to modify their behaviour to suit the environment. Think of it as an office that has no boss. Everyone just does what ever they like, when ever they feel like, then one day someone comes to tell you you aren’t getting paid today because you did something wrong. You feel confused and don’t understand why it happened. Then tomorrow comes and the boss arrives and tells you you’ve been doing great and keep doing what ever you want. You’d be confused right? No rules and no structure at work (no leadership) makes for an unpredictable work life that creates stress. This is how a dog can feel without boundaries and routine.

Teach your dog some tricks and practice their obedience skills. Give them a job to do and earn their food and your attention. Not the pacing, barking, clingy behaviour, but the strong, controlled behaviours.

 

 

Before you leave the home

Take them for a walk before going out to tire them a little. Most dogs will relax after some exercise so adding this to your leaving routine can reduce their anxiety.

Leave them with things to occupy their mind. Puzzle toys with their breakfast are a great way keep them entertained

You can leave a radio on for some background noise. If you are able to have a speaker system set up you can play music from “Through a dogs ear” on Spotify. This music is developed specifically for reducing stress in dogs and many kennel facilities use it daily to reduce barking.

Dogs pick up on your routine more than you realise so change it. If you make coffee, get your keys, put the dog outside then leave, change it.  Put the dog outside with his/her breakfast or a Kong stuffed with food or a nice raw meaty bone to eat, without fuss! No big pats, cooing, telling them you love them, given them their food and walk back inside like nothing is happening.  Then make your coffee and leave.  Don’t talk to them after you put them outside.

When you get home

Make coming home neutral. No big party when you get home, don’t interact with your dog until they are calm.  This is a really hard one for people to do because we are happy to see our dog too. When we get home they are excited and we love the feeling that gives us so we rush to them, we encourage the excitement and jumping and make it a big deal that we came home.  This to the dog can show them that there was a reason for them to be worried while you were gone.

Separation anxiety can be fixed but it is a process and takes time.  If you need help drop us a line and let us help you and your dog live a stress free life together.

 

Leash aggression/reactivity

We had a follower question from Ellie who wanted my take on leash aggression/reactivity.

Thanks for the question Ellie! This is such a common problem now and can be very frustrating and embarrassing for people. The reason I got into dog training is because I had a reactive dog. She used to bark, spin and generally go nuts at the end of the lead when she saw other dogs. I sought the help of a trainer and it changed our lives. It took time and patience and work but we got to a point we could walk past other dogs without issue.

 There are so many reasons your dog might be reactive and it is important to identify that reason behind the reactivity first. Let’s look at some common reasons I see for reactivity in dogs:

1.    Frustration/excitement. If your dog LOVES people and other dogs and wants to ‘say hello’ to every one they see then the lead will be holding them back. They get frustrated at not being able to get close so can bark and pull at their lead

2.    Fear. If a dog is nervous around other dogs or has been attacked in the past them moving towards other dogs will increase their fear.  If the subtle signs of your dog being fearful or nervous are missed, they can then escalate to barking and snapping. What they are trying to do is tell the other dog to get away.

3.    Aggression. True aggression, where a dog actually wants to hurt the other dog isn’t as common but is still something to consider. Obviously, this is the most serious and can be directed at both dogs and people and is a subject all on its own. 

What I see the most is that dogs have not been taught impulse control. That is, you don’t always get to say hello to other dogs and people you see. This usually starts from puppyhood and escalates. We want our puppy to ‘socialise’ with people and dogs so we let them greet everyone, all the time. This then becomes what they know and so one day when you decide you want to just keep walking, your dog pulls and barks to ‘say hello’, and it just gets worse from there! And other people don’t help when they think it is ok to let the puppy jump on them. The interactions of strangers wanting to say hello can install bad behaviours in our dogs.

 The bottom line for this kind of reactivity though, is that your dog is being fulfilled by outside sources, not you. You want your dog to get all their joy from you and your immediate family, not from other people and dogs. You need to be the most exciting thing in their world and build a stronger relationship.

These dogs need to be taught impulse control. They need to learn that they can’t meet every person or dog they meet. This is where group obedience classes are beneficial. You not only learn to train your dog, but your dog learns to ignore or just keep walking past other dogs.

Fear based reactivity requires a gentler approach and dogs with this kind of reactivity are usually lacking in confidence. They may have been attacked by other dogs, have met only boisterous dogs who lack social skills, have not had a lot of exposure to other dogs or genetically are nervous. No matter what the reason, the biggest change we need to make is their exposure to other dogs/people. We want to make sure they are given the space they need to feel comfortable while working on their confidence.

 We also need to teach fear reactive dogs a new behaviour, teach them what we want from them. We need to show them that they don’t have to act out when they see another dog and that we have their back. Show them that we will not put them in danger.

 

 

All leash reactivity takes time to change. If they have been exhibiting the behaviour for 2 years, it isn’t going to be fixed in 2 weeks! It is going to take time, consistency, patience and effort on your part to teach them a new way of life. And the thing that most people don’t realise is that there are usually other things going on in their world that need changing. It could be setting more boundaries and clear rules in the home. It isn’t often just leash reactivity and that’s why when we work with you to fix the problem, we do lots of other things that don’t involve walking your dog! We build the foundation of reliable obedience and clear communication first, then we go out into the world.

Need help with your leash reactive dog? Not sure where to start? Book in for a free 15 minute phone consultation and let us help you.

How many lessons will I need??

This is one of the first questions that 99.9% of people ask when they enquire about dog training, that and ‘How much does it cost?’

My answer is essentially, ‘How long is a piece of string?’  Let me explain….

Do you have a dog that pulls you down the street on a walk? Why do they pull on the lead?  Is it excitement, or that they have never been taught to walk nicely? Each of these two possibilities have different potential solutions that depend on you and your dog learning the new skills.

Do you have a dog that barks and lunges at other dogs? Why do they bark and lunge? Is it frustration, fear or aggression? We can’t know what the root cause of this behaviour is until we see it in person.

Do you have a dog that jumps all over the family and runs the household? Why do they jump? Is there something the family is doing or is the dog stressed out or overly aroused? We don’t know the answer until we come to your home and see the behaviour in action, in the home environment.

There are so many reasons why dogs do the things they do and we can’t tell you over the phone, without ever meeting you or your dog, how many lessons you will need. For us to know what we can do to help you, we need to see the behaviour, talk to you and ask a million questions to get to the bottom of the issue. This can’t be done in a phone call.

Think of a dog trainer like a counsellor. If you went to a counsellor to work through some issues, would you expect them to be able to tell you in a first phone call that all your problems will be fixed in X number of sessions? They need to meet you, ask you questions and understand the problem you are having in order to provide you with guidance and help on ways to manage and fix the problem.

We don’t just teach the dogs new behaviours, we teach people how to have a better relationship with their dog. Many times, we are dealing with people who are at their wits end, who are feeling frustrated, embarrassed, sad or even just fed up with their dog’s behaviour. A dog trainer is the person to help you and your dog rebuild your relationship. And to be that counsellor, we need to meet everyone involved and see what kind of relationship you have now in order to give you help and guidance to manage and fix the problems.

We don’t just train dogs, we help people train their dogs and work through all the emotions that go along with it. We need to know how to communicate with people when they are having a good day or a bad day. We have to be empathetic and some days we need to be tough. But through it all our goal is to better the lives of dogs and people alike.

So next time you call a trainer and then get frustrated because they can’t tell you over the phone how many lessons you will need, remember that they are doing the right thing by you in wanting to meet you and your dog first. They will become your counsellor, your mentor, your sounding board and the person you turn to when you’ve had a good day or a bad day in your training.

And if you are surprised by the price, consider this, you are paying a professional who has spent years and thousands of dollars on their education. Ask them about their qualifications and continued learning. Would you expect to pay any other professional $25 an hour? We, like any other small business are trying to make ends meet and earn some money at the same time, just like you.

A good trainer is worth their weight in gold and they need to be seen as a professional in their field, not just a dog lover.

Food for thought!

 

 

Get in touch

If you and your dog need some counselling, call or email us now so we can help rebuild your relationship.

So you’ve adopted a rescue dog!

As a foster carer of greyhounds and someone who has adopted two retired greyhounds, we are very experienced in settling new dogs into our home. We’ve had dogs who walked straight in like they just knew what was expected, to those that were so timid and shy they wouldn’t come within 5 metres of us. We’ve had high strung dogs, scared dogs and bouncy dogs. But with each one we have learned something new but how we help them relax in has remained consistent. This article will give you tips on how to transition a new dog into your home.

Adopting a dog from a shelter gives us the good feels. We are giving a dog a second, sometimes third or fourth chance at a happy life with a family. But getting them established into your family takes a little work, just like adopting a puppy!

A lot of people assume that because they are adopting an adult dog they will be perfect! No behaviour problems, fully toilet trained and know exactly what they need to do to ‘be a good dog.’ Some dogs do slot in beautifully, but there are a large number of dogs that don’t. They toilet inside, they jump all over you and don’t listen to you. This can be very frustrating for many and for some dogs this means a trip back to the shelter because it was ‘too hard’

Set them up for success

There are things you can do to set your new dog up for success, with the first one being to lower your expectations of the dog’s behaviour. Don’t expect them to be perfect, expect them to make a mistake or two with you there to guide them through and show them the right thing to do.

Ask lots of questions of the adoption group

Some adoption groups have lots of information about a dog’s history, but most don’t. However, they can tell you what they have observed of the dog while in the shelter or in a foster home. Knowing things like their routine, cues they know like sit, drop, bed, stay, knowing what food they are eating and times of meals and if they’ve been in foster care, where they slept can go a long way to transitioning them to your home life.

When we send a foster hound off to a new family they get a document from me that tells them all they need to know about their hound. Below is an example of what I provide. If you didn’t get answers to these questions, get back in touch with the group and ask them. Adoption groups want their dogs to be successful in their new home and are more than happy to answer questions, even after adoption.

Example handover notes for adpoters

This is an example of the information I provide to new adopters and can be used as a guide of what you should know about your new dog

Agreed family rules

One of the things that can make your newly adopted dog fail is inconsistency in house rules! Imagine you go to a new workplace and 3 people in your new team tell you 3 different things about office etiquette. Would you be totally confused about what is expected of you? This is how a dog can feel if the family is NOT on the same page with house rules.

‘Mum lets me on the couch but dad is yelling at me to get off?’ ‘But the kids let me up on their bed and now I’m being sent outside? What is going on?!’

As a family sit down and write down the list of rules. Here is a guide on some of the things you should decide:
1. Is the dog allowed on the furniture when ever they feel like it? Or is it by invitation only?
2. Where is the dog going to sleep? Inside or outside?
3. If they are inside, will it be in someone’s bedroom or in a crate or in the laundry?
4. Where will the dog be when you are out or at work? Inside or outside?
5. Will the dog have to sit before getting any food?
6. Will the dog be allowed to jump up on you when you first get home? Think about this one very carefully because this can become a habit to get attention all the time and guests may not like a jumping dog!
7. Will the dog be allowed to hang around at the table during meals? Do you want a begging dog staring at you?
8. Will the dog get table scraps? If yes, will it be straight from your plate during dinner or as a reward later for being polite and staying away?
9. Will the dog be allowed to follow you into the kitchen and lie at your feet while you are cooking?
10. Will your dog have access to the whole house, or just certain areas?

When you’ve agreed on the rules, pin them up in a place where everyone will see them as a reminder to help your new dog be ‘a good dog’.

Toilet training

Most people assume that because they have adopted an adult dog that they will be fully toilet trained and never toilet in the home. Some dogs are great, but others not so much so the best thing to do is go back to basics, like training a puppy.

Make sure you take them out on lead:
1. When you first get home. Dogs usually toilet after travel and you are starting to show them where you want them to go.
2. After your dog has woken from sleep
3. After they have had a big play
4. After they have had their meals
5. Before bed time at night
6. First thing in the morning when they wake up
7. Every hour or two in the first day or two
When you are toilet training any dog follow these simple steps:
1. Always have them on lead
2. Don’t talk to them or play with them. You need to be boring like a tree!
3. Continue walking around the yard until they go. Movement helps get things going
4. As they are starting to toilet, put a word on it like “toilet” or “wee time” etc. This is the start of teaching them a toilet cue
5. When they are just finishing, praise them with “good boy” or “good girl”. You don’t want to do this too early in the process because it could distract them from what they are doing!
6. Once they are finished they are free to roam about

The more a dog toilets in the same place, the more they will be drawn to that same area. Adult dogs, unless they have a medical condition will pick up the toilet training very quickly but it is still worth spending a couple days back in basics to make sure they know for sure where they need to go. And continuing taking them out if they spend a lot of their day inside.

Unwanted behaviour

We’ve had calls for dog training from families who have had their new dog for 2 or 3 days. They called because their dog wasn’t listening to them, was jumping on them and pulling their arm out on a walk.

My advice to each of these families is the same, give them 2 weeks. Start using food rewards and ask them for some basic behaviours like sit or drop and reward a lot! Use verbal corrections like “no” or “ahh ahh” when they are doing something you don’t like. If in 2 weeks your dog is still not listening to you, then we’ll start training. Do date, when I touch base with those families 2 weeks later, they tell me that the dog is listening and behaving much better.

If your new dog is exhibiting unwanted behaviours after the first couple weeks at home then call a trainer for help or enrol in group classes. Just give them time in the beginning to figure it out.

Get in touch if you need help settling in your new rescue dog.

 

 

My dog isn’t food motivated

Do you have a dog that isn’t motivated by food during a training session?  A dog that would prefer sniffing the ground than taking food treats from you? What would you say if I told you I can help your dog become food motivated with two simple changes?

Read on to find out how you can get your dog interested in food for training purposes.

All food comes to them from training

Ditch the food bowl and make your dog earn their keep!  You pay the mortgage/rent on their “kennel” (read your house!), you provide all the dog needs to live so why not ask them to work for it? This concept is usually harder for us as humans to adjust to, but it can have a massive impact on your relationship with your dog. They become more attentive to you and they try really hard to figure out what they need to do for you to get the food.

If you can’t jump in and ditch the bowl all together, start by training your dog before meals with their breakfast and or dinner.  If a dog is hungry he will work for his food. Teach them a new trick like spin, shake hands even just a sit and stay. Have some fun with it.

Make the “treats” SUPER tasty!

How would you feel being given the exact same food everyday for your whole life? Imagine how your dog feels!  We get into a habit of buying the same food in the same flavour because they like it.  Buy smaller batches and different flavours.  Add some raw into the diet like raw meaty bones.  Freeze raw chicken drumsticks or wings and replace a meal with one or two (depending on the size of your dog) Ask your dog for a behaviour (sit, wait, spin, shake hands…) before giving them the bone.

If your dog isn’t super excited by kibble you need to up the value of the food. Mix in left over meat from your meals, buy some raw dog rolls and cut it up into small pieces and mix it with the kibble. This also adds to the anticipation for the dog. One reward will be kibble (ho hum) but the next one might be left over steak (OMG!!). Your dog isn’t going to know which “treat” is coming next and this can increase their motivation to work.  And mixing it all up means the kibble ends up smelling like and tasting like the other yummy stuff.

Give it a try and let me know how the food motivation in your dog changes.