All Trainers are not created equal...

Dog Training is an unregulated industry, which means anyone can advertise they are a "dog trainer", even though they have no formal education, many have never taken a class, or been to a seminar. Sadly, many trainers still use methods based on "alpha", "pack leader", and/or "dominance" because of 74 year old study on captive wolves (see the paragraph below). We have learned much since then.  All trainers use "tools", whether it's a prong collar, shock collar, choke chain, or treats. Each work, but knowing how they work is as important as the tool. All can be used incorrectly, but treats are the one tool that, even if used incorrectly, does no harm. 

Starting with an educated reward based, force free, fear free trainer is the best choice for an excellent outcome. 

(AND treats are much cheaper than those collars!) 

Choose your trainers wisely.

"Alpha" is not a thing...

 (dominance isn't either)

For years and years and years people have believed dogs lived by pack standards based on a study on captive wolves by Rudolph Shenkel written in 1947.  http://davemech.org/wolf-news-and-information/schenkels-classic-wolf-behavior-study-available-in-english/

Let's set aside the fact dogs are genetically  very far removed from wolves and look at the facts about "Alpha" and "Dominance". In 1986 David Mech begin to study wolves in the wild.https://www.wolf.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/267alphastatus_english.pdf

Truth is, wolves live in family units, very similar to humans. Mech has spent many, many years trying to disabuse the world of the notion that wolves lived by "Alpha/Dominance". Sadly, there are popular television personalities (and "trainers" who emulate them) who didn't get the message and still train based on a flawed notion of wolves. Wolves don't teach their young by dominating them. You don't need to be a "pack leader". Fear and pain are not necessary to train your dog.

If you see a "trainer" using words like "balanced", "dominate", "pack leader" "alpha" their skills are as limited as their education. When we know better, we do better. Please choose your trainers carefully.

Puppy Housetraining Tips

So you got a puppy! Yay! Congratulations! Now lets talk about pee & poop! Age matters! 8 to 14 weeks your puppy has limited bowel/bladder control, just like a human baby, so accidents are bound to happen. To limit those your puppy should not run free in your home until he/she has pottied outside. That means someone must witness said behavior! While the puppy is inside it should be in a puppy pen or limited to an area with supervision.

1. It's not OK to leave a puppy outside (even in a fenced yard) without supervision. Puppies need the security and protection of their human, so stay with them. (This will change as they get older).

2. Put your puppy on a schedule. During the day the puppy should go out every 45 minutes to 1 hour to pee. Your puppy can stay in a crate for up to 4 hours if absolutely necessary, but that's the maximum during the day. (at night your puppy may be crated 6 to 8 hours depending on it's sleep habits).

3. Take your puppy out as soon as it wakes, carry your puppy outside, do not let him/her walk, that's an accident waiting to happen. 

4. As soon as your puppy potties, celebrate! Puppies love praise as much as people, don't be stingy, make it a big deal!

5. After puppies eat they will need to poop, ALWAYS. Start at 5 minute intervals. Take the puppy outside 5 minutes after it's meal, if nothing happens, bring them back inside and put them back in their crate or keep them on leash at your side. Repeat until your puppy poops! Then party like it's 1999!

Troubleshooting: 

If your puppy has an accident inside, it's human error, ALWAYS!!! Do NOT punish the puppy, clean it up and start over. Punishing a puppy for your mistake, and it is 100% your mistake, will teach your puppy you cannot be trusted and next it will hide to potty, which means you've got a much bigger problem on your hands.

You've taken your puppy out, but he/she just won't potty, and as soon as you come in, your puppy pee's in the floor, that's GOT to be the puppy's fault, right? Wrong! Puppies get distracted just like human toddlers and may see a leaf, or a bird and those things are new and exciting, your puppy just forgot it needed to potty. Clean it up, start again, but next time watch for those new things and always take your puppy outside for play time so those things are not as new and distracting.

BUT! My puppy can go 8 hours at night without needing to potty! Yes! So can you. Our bodies shut down at night when we sleep. Your puppy isn't "holding" it, bladder/bowel are sleeping too.

As your puppy grows, so will his/her bladder/bowel control and if you're consistent, your puppy will learn early that outside is the best place to pee/poop and soon, he/she will beat you to the door! 

Give your puppy time, patience, play, praise and love, clean up accidents without resentment because you brought this puppy into your home, it's your job to teach it, keep it safe and love it.

 

Dog Training Tip of the Day

It's all about "Rewards"

Imagine you take a walk every day and one day you turn left instead of right. On this new path you find $100! You are so excited! The next day you take the path that paid you $100 and you find another $100! Wow! This path is the best path ever! The next day you don't hesitate, you go left, because that path has paid you $200 in two days and you find another $100! This is the path you will choose for the next 6 months, or longer, because it's rewarded you. 

That's counter surfing for your dog. Every time your dog gets food off the counter, it's that "$100 path". How much money has your dog made from counter surfing? Having a dog is similar to having a toddler for the next 15 years. You must dog-proof your home. Management is the key to good behavior. Stop leaving "$100 bills" for your dog to find. 

HELP! My dog is digging! How do I make them stop?

You don't. Instead, you give them a place to dig. A plastic pool from your local all-in-one store and a couple of bags of play sand from your local garden shop. Fill the pool, toss some toys in and dig with your dog. Giving your dog a safe place to dig, saves your yard and enriches your dog.