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basic obedience

Dogs Invading Your Space

Do you have a dog who is constantly invading your space? They seem to be in your way, under your feet, blocking your path, nudging their nose under your hand while you are reading or typing, pressing up against you on your sofa or too close to you while you are on a walk. These dogs are often sweet attention-loving snugglers and it can be hard to discourage the behaviors because you may consider it cute or loving but at the same time it can become annoying.

Despite what you have heard, space invaders are not motivated by dominance. Your dog is not taking your space in a pre-emptive strike to take over your world. Usually dogs are simply seeking your attention, and have discovered the best ways to get it and that involves being in your space.

Although it can be annoying, at times it can be endearing and the dog gets reinforced for it. I am guilty as the next dog owner; I often pet Ziva when she nudges my hand or when Tank squeezes himself as closely to me on my sofa.

Since the behaviors sometimes get reinforced – behavior geeks call this an “intermittent schedule of reinforcement” – it’s really hard to stop them, because your dog knows that sooner or later the behaviors will, indeed, succeed in gaining your attention. When it’s hard to make a behavior go away, behavior geeks call this “resistant to extinction”. So the dog keeps trying until it finally works.

The great news is that you don’t have to make the behaviors go away. Instead, just teach your dog to respond to “incompatible behaviors” on cue – that is, behaviors she/he can’t do at the same time when she or he is hogging space. Your goal is to teach your dog several incompatible behaviors, and you will get along just fine: I can indulge in giving my dog attention when I feel like it, and ask her/him to do something else when I don’t.

Incompatible Behaviors

I have listed several behaviors you can teach your dog when they are invading your space.

  • Back Up: This cue is useful for space-hog dogs who like to park themselves directly in your path. You can “capture” the behavior with clicker training, the use of a lure or toy to entice the dog into backing up. To lure, hold a treat at your dog’s breastbone. As the dog leans or steps backward to follow it, click and treat. Let the dog back up on their own and add “Back” cue. Gradually, reduce the amount of luring, giving the dog time to figure out what you asked for with your cue, until the dog will back up on cue alone.
  • Touch: Teaching your dog to target their nose to your hand is to position your dog without having to physically move them.
  • Off: If the dog is on the furniture and you want them to get off this is a helpful exercise to get your dog to vacate your space.
  • Go to Your rug or dog bed: By teaching your dog a cue that means to go lie down on your bed you can get your dog to move to a specific location.
  • Wait, Stop or Stay: Are other training exercises to can help you with providing space between you and your dog.

When teaching your dog an exercise remember to set the exercise in a pattern, practice every day and be persistent in accomplishing your goals. Make the training fun and rewarding and in no time you will be well on your way to getting your dog to understand that space is good.

If you have a dog who is a space invader and you need help with training please don’t hesitate and contact me at Angel Dogs.

Dog Safety in the Summer Months

Dog safety during the summer is very important for several reasons but mostly your pet can die if in the heat too long. What can you do to insure that your pet is safe during the hottest summer months:

  • Never leave your dog in your car they can die within minutes.
  • Do not walk your dog during the hottest part of the day.
  • If you need to walk your dog keep the walk under 30 minutes and go during very early morning or late at night.
  • Bring water for your dog during the walk.
  • Test the ground if you cannot keep your hand on the sidewalk over 3 seconds than provide dog protective footwear such as dog booties.
  • Wet your dog down before the walk or provide a cool vest.
  • When outside provide plenty of cool fresh water and shade.
  • Keep an eye out on your dog when they go outside you do not want them outside very long especially during the hottest part of the day.
  • Provide a play pool with clean cool water if your dog needs to stay outside.
  • Provide misters and fans on the patio.
  • Some breeds like Pugs or French Bulldogs cannot tolerate heat so let them outside only to go potty.
  • If your dog does get heat stroke place them in room temperature water and immediately call your vet for instructions.
  • If your dog has high energy and needs to exercise consider a treadmill. If unsure how to train on a treadmill give me a call or contact a local trainer.

Hard of Hearing Dogs

I have a dog that went deaf around 8 years of age and now is totally deaf. I found out that Tank was going deaf by his response to noise. For instance, clapping behind him he seemed confused by where the noise was coming from and eventually didn’t respond at all. I took Tank to a specialist and my thoughts were confirmed Tank was at that time 80% deaf. Fortunately, I trained Tank with hand signals and that has been a tremendous help but the biggest issue is having Tank come to me if he was not facing me. That can be scary because if Tank should take off he could not hear things that could hurt him or even end his life. My world changed on how I handle and protect Tank and, now I want to share this information with other owners who are is facing the same issues as I.

In a class I teach students:

  1. How to teach your dog to focus or look at you with a touch and hand signal. Treats are a must in all of these exercises and a training collar. One exercise I like is the look at me game. Practice in a quiet area, have a treat bag attached to you, leash your dog and put the leash on the ground stepping on it so your dog cannot move away, and have the training collar on a low setting. Put the treat under the dog’s nose so they can smell it than quickly move the treat to your nose as the dog looks at you smile and tap your nose. When using the training collar as you put the treat under the dogs nose tap the control button to get the dogs attention, quickly move the treat to your nose so the dog make eye contact. The goal is to teach your dog to look at you whenever you touch their nose.
  2. The benefits of basic obedience and how to teach your dog the meaning of each hand signal. Since, your dog cannot hear they may be slower than the average dog because of visual and smell distractions so rule of thumb is be patient and give your dog extra time to learn the exercises. When teaching your dog a hand signal for instance, sit. Have your dog on leash and in an area that is not visually stimulating. Tab your dog’s nose as your dog looks at you give a clear precise hand signal, give your dog at least 3 seconds to respond to the command. If your dog does not respond there is 2 ways to have them sit either using a treat method of putting the treat very close to the dogs nose and slowly go back between the eyes and ears the dog will follow the treat and sit. The second method is touch put your hand on your dog’s shoulders than slowly go towards their tail area give a little pressure and your dog will sit. Have your dog look at you afterwards and give them a signal for being a good dog.
  3. Learn how to operate a dog training collar that has pulsating nick stimulation. Training collars are very important for how are you going to get your dog’s attention if they are running away and not looking at you. When using a training collar pick out the best for you need one that will operate properly and last for years. Some collars have tracking devices so if you lose your dog you will be able to find them quickly. Teaching a dog to respond with a training device; have plenty of treats, have your dog on leash, tap the control panel and give your dog a treat, repeat several times till your dog looks at you when you tap the control. This may take one day or more be patient. When your dog starts to understand that when they receive a signal from the collar they are to look at you. This is the time when you start to change your body position for instance, stand behind your dog signal them they should turn and look at you immediately give your dog a treat. As the weeks pass put more distance use a long led if you are working outside. By the second month you should be able to go into a different rooms in your home signal your dog and he or she should try to find you. The goal is whenever you signal your dog to come he or she should seek you out.

Dogs and Heat Stroke

On summer days if you are feeling hot your dog may be feeling hotter. Dogs don’t sweat like we do, so they have to rely on panting, which is not as effective at cooling them down. Heat stroke can happen fast and its effects can be devastating for your pet. That’s why prevention is very important.

 Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs:

 Rapid panting, sweaty feet, drooling

  • Excessive grooming
  • Rapid pulse and breathing
  • Redness of the tongue and mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Stumbling, staggering gait
  • Pacing

If your pet is just starting to show sign of distress from the heat, or if you think your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, take a few step to start the cooling process. Most important, don’t let efforts to help your pet delay you more than a few moments from getting to the vet, as time is critical for animals suffering heat stroke.

What to do if Your Pet Is Suffering From Heat Stroke:

 Move your pet/dog to a cool area

  • Offer lots of water to drink
  • Wet down the skin with cool water
  • Avoid freezing water or ice-these can cause blood vessels to constrict, slowing the cooling process and ice can damage the skin
  • Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately

 

 

A Dog’s Personality! Prey, Pack or Defense?

When teaching your dog good house manners, basic obedience or a competition sport are you aware how that particular dog is learning? Have you figured out your dog’s personality, temperament or how he perceives the world?

What drives your dog? Does he prey? If he likes to hunt, kill and eat what he kills then yes…he preys. That behavior is activated by motion, sound and smell.

If his/her drive is to pack than he/she wants a ranking order and social hierarchy.

Defense drives and instinct for survival and self-preservation. Fight or flight behaviors. To fight is to be assertive. Flight is unsure and scared.

Knowing what drives your dog determines the best way to train your dog.

Call Angel Dogs today and learn about your dog’s personality and the best and easiest way to understand and train her/him.

Take the mystery out of what motivates your best friend and turn her/him into a well behaved, sweet companion to hang out with.

Understanding How to Have Harmony with Our Dogs

When working with people and dogs throughout the years I have had heard many times a statement that would always make me wonder why my clients were not achieving the end result that I was able to do with their dog. The statement is, “My dog behaves so much better when you are working him/her.” It started me thinking on how I could communicate to my clients what was the key ingredient that could give them the same results I was achieving. As a dog trainer my goals are many but one of the most important beside a well trained happy dog was an owner who was impressed with my services and time I spent with them. When working with a dog I like to help them mentally, physically and spiritually everyday. Mentally is challenging a dog to learn. I always start with basic obedience: heel, sit, stay, come, and down. I also add in some fun games that helps a dog understand what is needed from them. Challenging a dog mentally makes a smarter and happier animal. If you don’t challenge a dog mentally they can get bored and become destructive for instance, chewing up sprinkler head, digging big holes, tearing up carpet or ruining furniture just to name a few ways a dog can act out. They can become assertive and challenge you or family members by jumping on people, barking, growling, snapping, or even biting someone. When you work your dog in basic obedience and follow through with the commands correctly you will establish a hierarchy with your dog which is one of the key ingredients when living in a dog’s world. Remember we have to enter into their world which means understanding pack mentality. You need to establish a hierarchy in your family and the dogs are under all the humans in the family. Than you have to understand the hierarchy between your dogs if you have more than one. This is one of the key elements in bringing in harmony between humans and dog families.
When working with your dog physically that means challenging their bodies with physical exercise. When choosing an exercise program make sure your dog is physically fit. In today’s world a dog can have joint problems such as hip dysphasia, elbow dysphasia, or heart murmurs, seizures to name a few. Make sure your vet has given your dog a physical before starting any strenuous exercise program. Some exercises you can do with your dog are jogging, walking, swimming, hiking, agility, or fly ball. Also when exercising a puppy make sure it is not an exercise that stresses their joints at such an early age. If you have a high energy dog challenge them physically before you work them mentally. By harnessing their energy level it will help them be calmer when working them mentally.
When working with a dog’s spirit to me that includes loving your dog, feeding them the best of foods, providing clean water, grooming, providing a good home (shelter), and making sure they are in the best of health. It also includes the mental and physical aspect of their lives.
When owning a dog I believe the best way to achieve harmony with your dog is to daily exercise them, mentally challenge them, make sure their health is good and love them for their unique character.
Dogs bring so much enjoyment into our lives make sure their daily life is complete and you will have a companion for life.