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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dog Training Tips from Weston Florida about Walking Your Dog

I was at a dog training session in Weston the other day and the client and I were walking his dog down the street.  We were walking on a short leash and everything was going great.  This was a larger dog and the client was right handed, so we decided to walk the dog on the client’s right side.  As we were about half way through the dog walking exercise, a neighbor approached us and said he was doing it all wrong.  He told my client that all dogs should be walked on the left side.

dog training dog walking weston florida

We politely acknowledged the neighbor and tried to get away from him as quickly as possible.  When we were out of earshot, my client asked me if there was a correct side to walk the dog.  My answer was “It depends”.

I always tell my clients that it doesn't necessarily depend if they walk their dog on their left or their right unless they are going to be in dog shows.  In a dog show, you walk your dog in a counter-clockwise circle around the judge.  You have to keep the dog on the inside of the circle (on your left) so that the judge can easily view and grade your dog.  If you don’t plan to be in dog shows, who cares…

With that piece of information, let me add some general tips about picking the right side for you and walking your dog.
  • You pick the side you want to have your dog on when you walk.  You can pick the left or right side, it doesn’t matter.  The important thing is consistency in the walking process.  When you finally pick your side, you will always walk your dog on that side.  This allows your dog to establish a perspective of where he should be while walking with you and will make the entire experience far more enjoyable.
  • If you have a big dog, walk him on your dominant side.  If you need to correct him, it is important that you do it from your strong side.  (i.e. Are your right handed or left handed?)
  • Once you have picked a side for your dog during the walk, everyone will walk him on the same side.  If you allow different friends and family members to walk him on different sides, it will add to his confusion and extend the time it will take him to “walk well”.
  • He should always walk by your side.  When he walks ahead of you, it is far harder to have him obey you when you encounter a distraction such as a duck or squirrel.
  • (My pet complaint!)  Use a regular six foot leash when walking.  NO EXTENSION LEASHES!

Follow these simple suggestions and your "walkies" with your dog will be a great experience! For more information about dog training, canine obedience, or dog behavior, please contact us at The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida or call us at (954) 424-0170.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Dog Training Tips from Davie Florida about Potty

Great Dog Training Tips about Pottying and the Rain

I was revisiting a dog training client in Davie yesterday when, all of a sudden, we had a massive rain storm.  Although that was not the dog training issue that my client had called me out for, it did initiate another question.  It appeared that his dog was doing quite well with his puppy potty routine until about ten days ago when we started to get into our “summer rain” routine.  All of a sudden, this great dog who would want to run outside to potty is now making accidents on the carpet. 

Dog Training Davie Florida

Like many things, simply describing the problem starts to explain the answer.  We had helped the client work with his dog to understand about going potty outside.  We had conditioned the dog to go on the dry grass during nice days and nights when it was not showering down on him.  Now the outside is wet and muddy and he is trying to go potty while he is constantly getting wet.  All in all, it is just not a potty experience to which he had been conditioned.  Some dogs are OK with the wet and rain and some dogs just don’t want to potty in the wet and rain…

What my client’s dog was telling him was "No thank you, I won't go here, I will just wait until I get back inside.  By the way, when is it going to be dry again?"

Rainy season lasts until November and there is no way that you want your dog pottying on your carpet until then.  So, what do we do?  The answer, as with most of my blogs, is pretty simple.  What I always teach my clients is to first understand the situation when everything was working.  After that, we need to find the moment when things began to all fall apart.  From there, we simply need to analyze the divergent operating conditions between the situations and make the appropriate adjustments.  Here we go:
  • The first and obvious observation is that when the ground is dry, the puppy goes to the bathroom with no problem.
  • When the ground is wet and mushy and it is raining, the puppy doesn't want to have anything to do with the "outside potty".
  • The obvious conclusion rests on the wet grass and being rained upon.
  • What we need to do is to find a place that is not mushy and is protected when it is raining.

Here is what you do:
  • You must find a place that is out of the rain in your back yard.  This can be a covered area off your cabana bath door, patio, etc.
  • Go to Lowes or Home Depot and get two pieces of sod from the garden department.  Place the sod in the protected area you have chosen.  It would be a good idea to place a plastic tarp or plastic garbage bag under the sod so that it will be easy to remove it, when needed.
  • Direct your dog to the sod whenever it is rainy outside or the ground is mushy.
  • Change out the sod every few weeks so it doesn’t start to smell too bad.

You have now given your puppy the bathroom he wants and your carpets are now safe!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in Davie and South Florida.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dog Training Tips to Help Your Dog from Running Out The Door

Dog obedience and great training tips to keep your dog safe at the door.

We were over at the Bank of America in Weston yesterday when one of our neighbors noticed “Dog Trainer” on our car and approached with a question.  “I see you are dog trainers and my Golden Retriever is normally a great dog.  The only problem I have with him that it is always a challenge to keep him from running out the front door.  It has come to the point that I try to sneak out the garage…”

dog training weston florida

I was just at a Dog Training Session yesterday in Cooper City when the problem of dogs running out the front door came up.  This is a very common problem for many dog owners and the one thing that I have seen over the years is normally handled in the wrong way.  This bad behavior is such an annoying and embarrassing experience because it doesn’t just impact us, it impacts the person at the front door or our job when we are late to work because we had to try and catch our misbehaving dog.  The one thing that I am mostly worried about is the safety risk of our dog running into the street.  So what is going on here?

As a trainer, I like to tell my clients to try and see the world through their dog’s eyes and understand their perspective.  Our dogs are always watching our body language to understand “what we are saying” and what we are allowing them to do.  Communication through body language is greatly impacted by posture and position.  From our dog’s point of view, a great deal of information is disseminated based on if we are facing or have our back towards them.

When we are facing our dog, we are addressing him in an assertive or dominant manner.  From our body language, we are telling him that we are the ones in charge.  Based on this, he needs to take our lead on what to do and to stand back.  When we are facing away from our dog and showing him our rear side, our body language communicates submission and even play.  The combination of these submissive signals can easily imply that we want our dog to take charge and come to the door or even run out of the door because we want to play a natural “doggie game” like follow-the-leader.

Now that we understand our dog’s perspective, let’s see what we (humans) are communicating when we leave.  We gather up all our stuff and give our dog a big pet and say “goodbye”.  At this point, we are facing him and providing a dominant, in charge stance.  So far everything is just fine.  Now we walk to the door with our back to our dog.  We are now in a submissive, playful communicative stance.  This encourages him to run after us to engage and play.  Oops!

The important thing that we must do is to continue our dominant, “I am in charge” stance through our entire leaving process.  As we start to go towards the door, we continue to face our dog so that we show we are in charge.  If he starts to move towards us, we can easily see that and correct him with a stern, low toned “No” while holding out our hand out in a “stop motion” like a policeman.  Once he stops, we can continue to back towards the door.  Do all of this is a calm, resolute manner.  This shows your leadership and does not generate any unnecessary adrenaline with your dog.

Now you are ready to open the door.  Continue to face your dog and open the door slowly.  If he starts to move towards the door, correct him in the manner mentioned above.  Slowly step through the doorway and close the door.  Just before the door is completely closed, let your dog know he did the right thing by praising him with a high pitched, warm “Good Boy” as the door finally closes.

It is amazing how well dogs respond to this type of interaction.  All you have done is to naturally communicate with your dog that you are leaving and you require no action on his part.  Practice this for a few weeks and your dog will understand that you are in charge when leaving and it is not a game.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in Cooper City and South Florida.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Dog Training Tips for Bad Behavior At The Door and Guests

Quick things you can do every time someone comes to the door and your dog displays bad behavior.

I was at a dog training session in Cooper City last week and we were just finishing up the session.  We had covered everything the client had on his wish list for that day and everything was just great.  As I got up to leave, a friend came to the front door and rang the door bell.  His dog went completely nuts.  He ran to the front door before we could even stand up, barking and jumping at the door like a crazy person.  I told the client that we had something else to work on…

Dog Training Cooper City Florida

What we first must understand is that just about all dogs are excited when new people are coming into the house.  This is not always a bad thing because our dog’s action can also act as a defensive/protective mechanism to an unwanted situation. What is important is that we are not embarrassed when anyone enters our house because they are jumped on, licked, and generally harassed the unruly dog. The best way to accomplish this is to nip it at the bud. Here are some tips that I have given my clients over the years:
  • Put your dog on a leash. As your guests’ arrival time approaches, make sure that your dog fully engaged with toys or other distractions.
  • Play with your dog outside for 30 to 45 minutes before your guests arrive.  This will help get the “excitement out of him”.
  • As soon as you hear the doorbell or you get a call from the front gate, grab your dog’s leash by first putting you foot on the handle.  Then, calmly reach down and pick up the handle.  Have your dog sit next to you.
  • Once you hear your guests at the front door, make sure your dog is still in a sit position.  Calmly command him to walk with you and go to the front door.  Have him sit again.
  • Open the door and greet your guests. If your dog starts to become unruly or leaves the sit position, correct him and place him in the sit position.
  • If your dog is still unruly, ask your guests to stay at the door for a moment.  Walk your dog around the room and have him focus on you.  Once he is calm, walk back to your guest and place your dog in a sit position.
  • Have a short conversation with your guests while maintaining a close watch on your dog.
  • Walk with your guests and dog into the house and to the area where you will be spending your time.  If the dog does not show signs of excitement or misplaced focus, calmly drop the leash.
  • If your dog begins to go crazy again, pick up the leash (method described about), walk around for a moment or two until he is calm, and drop the leash.
You are teaching your dog is to be calm when you are meeting guests. The leash serves as a simple, non-physical training aid for you to direct your dog to make the right decision. It also allows you to be consistent in your management of him.  This is how your dog learns and how he associates leadership.

For more information on this subject or any dog training issue, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in Cooper City and South Florida.