Showing posts from October, 2013

Teaching My Dog to Come When Called

I am really frustrated with my dog.  Just as soon as I think I have trained him go come to me when I ask, he ignores me completely or I have to say it over and over again.  I must be missing something.  What am I doing wrong?

This is a common complaint that we hear many times when we visit our clients for the first time.  They think that their dog understands “come” if he comes to them a few times.  Now, when the dog is at the dog park or in the back yard, he completely ignores them.  The client normally gets mad and yells at the dog.
It is obvious that this method does not work.  In order to understand what will work, we have to understand how our dogs learn.  Dogs learn through repetition and consistency.  We could compare this to the same way we learned our times tables.  Every time we “flipped the card”, the same answer would be on the other side.  Eventually, we didn’t have to flip the card because we knew what was on the other side. 
To relate this to our dog’s training, we have to…

Managing Your Puppy’s Play with Other Puppies

We have had our very first puppy for about a month now and I am starting to let him play with neighbor puppies and other dogs.  Sometimes it looks like they are really trying to hurt each other.  How do I know they are just playing or if something bad is happening?

Socialization is a very important part of your puppy’s life experience.  Your puppy’s play with other dogs and puppies allows him to reinforce and establish his communication skills, canine interaction, and physical well being. 
The one thing that you have to understand is that your puppy lives in a “canine world” of absolutes and clear social roles.  There is the leader and there are the followers.  There are things you can do and things you can’t do.  Everything is absolute and unambiguous.  These are the types of games that puppies play in order to build experience and understand their social experience.
Puppies play games such as: “Follow the Leader” where the leader is chased by the rest of the puppies (the pack).Eventual…

What You Need to Know Before Starting to Train Your Dog

I am trying to teach my dog commands and to be a good dog, but nothing seems to be working.  He isn’t staying when I tell him to stay and it will be a cold day in “you know where” when he would ever come to me when I ask.  I am just totally at a standstill!  What is going wrong?

As dog trainers, we have heard this complaint from dog owners time and time again.  It is normally an issue with first time dog owners.  Before you can even get to the point of training your dog, you need to understand a few, basic concepts. Dogs need consistency.  They do not understand complicated or logical situations.  Every time they hear a specific sound (like SIT), they will put their rear on the ground.  They know they can never jump on people.  When things begin to get complicated, like you allow them to jump on you but not your guests, they have no idea how to respond.  So make sure that when you give them commands or expect specific behavior, the result will always be the same. You must understand wha…

Walking a Very Strong, Big Dog

I have a very big, head strong German Sheppard who pulls and lunges like crazy when I walk him.  I have tried all the tricks of walking on a short leash, using a Holt and Gentle Leader, walking at different times; he still pulls and lunges.  What can I try next?

I had this exact situation with a client and his Sheppard on a training visit earlier this week.  He said that walking was next to impossible with the dog.  With that said, I asked him to take the dog out on a short leash and walk down the street.  (By the way, the street was nice and quiet… no cars, people, kids, squirrels, etc.)  The walking was a disaster.  It was a constant tug of war between the client and the dog.  It was a stalemate where nobody was winning and nothing was being taught.
This is where I introduced a slightly different method that is not for everybody.  I asked for the leash and simply held the leash by the handle.  There was six feet of loose leash between me and this 90 lb., 2 year old, rambunctious Shepp…