The Drug That Is You

As a dog trainer who travels the country training dogs and working with 20-30 families a week in their homes it is so important for folks to understand how a dog thinks. And when there is no authority figure present, the kind of chaos and bad behavior that can happen. Remember the bad behavior of your dog is not the problem it is just the outcome of a breakdown of leadership in your home.

My friend, co-host of the Train The Trainers Seminar Series, and LA dog training colleague Sean O’Shea from The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation puts out such a great blog that I feature it here on my blog. Since the message is so powerful and important it needs to be shared by all. Enjoy the read and feel free to also join his Facebook Fan Page.

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The Drug That Is You

By Sean O’Shea

When you lavish your dog with constant attention, praise, and affection, and you not only allow your dog to be constantly near you, but you reward and reinforce it, you’re very likely creating separation anxiety issues.

Our dogs can often become like drug addicts. They get used to an intensity and consistency of emotional interaction and physical closeness, and then when you’re not present they go through withdrawals of physical and emotions pain and discomfort.

Our dogs don’t know what’s being created, they just react to what feels good in the moment. In the same way they will eat ten pounds of food and need a vet visit, they will also take on all of the petting, the holding, the treating, the needing, the following, the longing and loving glances from you – simply because it feels good in the moment – and they will put themselves in harm’s way simply because they don’t know any better.

Because our dogs are unable to understand the gravity of what’s happening, the responsibility for striking that balance and creating a healthy environment and relationship falls on you. Your job is to do what’s right for your dog, even if that sometimes means denying yourself what feels good for you in the moment.

Just as you advocate and ensure that your dog doesn’t run into the street, doesn’t play with dogs that are dangerous or unbalanced, doesn’t eat toxic plants or food, doesn’t become dehydrated from lack of water, and doesn’t sit in a car that is too hot and dangerous on a sunny day, you also need to ensure and advocate for him that he doesn’t become emotionally and physically unhealthy due to too much love, too much affection, and too much of you.

What feels good and rewarding to you just might be hurting your dog.

Sean’s website www.thegooddog.net

Sean’s Facebook Page

Sean’s groundbreaking do-it-yourself training video/PDF training booklet Learn to Train The Good Dog Way: The Foundation is now available for pre-order at a discounted price – click HERE to watch the new TEASER video, and find out how to to order your copy on Sean’s website!

The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation
4867 Bellflower Ave.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 441-1837


Solid K9 Training Training Center- 25 Acorn Street, Providence, RI 02903

(401) 274 1078 Providence Training Center Info

Solid K9 Training Brooklyn NY Location- 210 24th Street Brooklyn NY 11232
www.solidk9training.com/brooklyn-dog-training-location

 

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The Dog Reactivity Handbook!

As a dog trainer who travels the country training dogs and working with 20-30 families a week in their homes it is so important for folks to understand how a dog thinks. And when there is no authority figure present, the kind of chaos and bad behavior that can happen. Remember the bad behavior of your dog is not the problem it is just the outcome of a breakdown of leadership in your home.

My friend, co-host of the Train The Trainers Seminar Series, and LA dog training colleague Sean O’Shea from The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation puts out such a great blog that I feature it here on my blog. Since the message is so powerful and important it needs to be shared by all. Enjoy the read and feel free to also join his Facebook Fan Page.

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The Dog Reactivity Handbook!

By Sean O’Shea

Oftentimes I see dog owners allowing tons of monkey business to ensue on walks – their dogs are pulling continuously on leash, darting here and there, marking this and that at their discretion, and all in all being disconnected, disrespectful, and stressed out – but then when their dog sees another dog and starts to freak out, the owner tries to address/correct their dog by vainly tugging on the leash, talking or yelling at them, and getting frustrated.

This is the “address the dynamite rather than the fuse syndrome” and, as you can imagine, trying to stop the explosion is way harder than trying to put out the fuse. :) This isn’t how you want to go about getting rid of reactivity issues on the walk!

The trick to fixing this stuff is actually simple: it’s all about setting the proper tone and state of mind before you encounter the target or trigger, not once you’re in the heat of battle.

Dogs who are allowed to pull you through thresholds, pull on leash, veer to trees and grass to pee and sniff when they choose and, in general, disregard their owner, are being taught that they are in charge. This creates stressed-out, fearful/anxious and/or entitled/empowered nervous wrecks who feel unsafe and overburdened with the responsibility to figure their world out.

Not a fun place to be for your dog.

And this is where dog reactivity on-leash comes from: Frustration or fear (and sometimes a combo of both!) from a lack of believable guidance.

Dogs with believable leaders, enforced rules, and structure are confident, relaxed, and comfortable dogs. And dogs who are confident, relaxed, and comfortable aren’t stressed and reactive! :)

So let’s have a look at a few very simple steps to change the dynamic of stressed and reactive into one of calm and cool.

Here’s your no monkey-business/reactivity/stress/anxiety prescription:

1) Dog waits patiently at thresholds (with zero pulling) for permission to move through. (Watch my “Thresholds” video HERE.)

2) Keep the leash short but not tight, always leaving a small amount of play. The short leash helps you keep your dog out of trouble AND allows you to know the instant he becomes disconnected. (Watch my “Walk” video HERE.)

3) Oftentimes a firmer conversation/correction for bad behavior/poor choices at the top of the walk will set the tone for a much more respectful and deferential walk. Setting the tone with a firmer consequence for a smaller infraction can be counter-intuitive but highly effective.

4) Never use constant pressure to hold your dog back from pulling. Instead you use corrective leash pops with instant release to give your dog information and allow him to be responsible to hold himself in position. Let your dog tell you the right level of leash pop needed. If you pop at a level two and the behavior persists, you’re likely using too mild of a correction, so try a level four. Again, let your dog tell you what works.

5) If leash pops aren’t breaking through and your dog is continuing to be intense and pulling, brisk 180′s when your dog gets out in front of you (walking the opposite direction while holding the leash firmly to your chest with two hands) can be a very helpful conversation. Always only use as much pressure as needed. Helpful video HERE!

6) Never allow pulling to trees/grass/flowers etc for marking. Instead you release your dog to pee and sniff when you decide. It makes no sense to your dog if you allow him to pull and disregard you 90% of the time, and then expect him to listen during the 10% when it matters to you most.

7) Manage and cultivate a healthy/positive state of mind by using the leash pops to address/correct your dog at the split second he begins to escalate or become excited when he sees or hears a dog. Do not wait for the explosion – correct your dog when they are at a 1, 2, or 3 and you will never see a 7, 8, 9, or 10!

8) Use space as a buffer with oncoming dogs. Don’t put your dog into “the pressure cooker” with another dog. The closer your dog gets to another dog the more the pressure increases. If your dog is nervous – like most reactive dogs are – the closer you get the less safe he feels. If your dog is bratty and excited, the closer you get, the more his frustration/excitement increases. In either case the less the space the harder it is for you and your dog to be successful. (Note: Super naughty, spazzy, bratty, reactive dogs coming towards you need more space than sedate and relaxed dogs do.

9) Focus on creating polite, courteous, and relaxed behavior at all times, and this will become your dog’s default state.

Remember, the dog who pulls on leash and is allowed to practice pushy and intense behavior at other times is the same dog who is going to make your life miserable around other dogs.

Sean’s website www.thegooddog.net

Sean’s Facebook Page

Sean’s groundbreaking do-it-yourself training video/PDF training booklet Learn to Train The Good Dog Way: The Foundation is now available for pre-order at a discounted price – click HERE to watch the new TEASER video, and find out how to to order your copy on Sean’s website!

The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation
4867 Bellflower Ave.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 441-1837


Solid K9 Training Training Center- 25 Acorn Street, Providence, RI 02903

(401) 274 1078

Solid K9 Training Brooklyn NY Location- 210 24th Street Brooklyn NY 11232

www.solidk9training.com/brooklyn-dog-training-location

 

Providence Training Center Info

*********FOLLOW ME**********

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When The Tools Don’t Work

As a dog trainer who travels the country training dogs and working with 20-30 families a week in their homes it is so important for folks to understand how a dog thinks. And when there is no authority figure present, the kind of chaos and bad behavior that can happen. Remember the bad behavior of your dog is not the problem it is just the outcome of a breakdown of leadership in your home.

My friend, co-host of the Train The Trainers Seminar Series, and LA dog training colleague Sean O’Shea from The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation puts out such a great blog that I feature it here on my blog. Since the message is so powerful and important it needs to be shared by all. Enjoy the read and feel free to also join his Facebook Fan Page.

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When The Tools Don’t Work

By Sean O’Shea

While I’m a big proponent of using and leveraging the very best tools available for you and your dog to be successful, the reality is that the greatest tools in the world mean nothing if your head, heart, and energy aren’t in the right place.

The greatest tool you have at your disposal is always yourself. Your mind and your intention. If your emotions and outlook regarding your dog (and yourself) are out of balance, you will both likely struggle, regardless of what tools you use.

If you have an out of balance dog and you’re: still babying and spoiling because it feels good/fulfills your need to nurture, feeling guilty for working long hours so you only share freedom and affection when you get home, shunning structure, training and discipline because it feels yucky or un-enjoyable, being too soft with a firm dog because that’s simply who you are, substituting dog relationships and connection for human relationships and connection, or using your dog to fill unattended to emotional voids and needs, you and your dog will likely still struggle.

The way you feel about yourself and the world, and the way you think about your dog and his training and lifestyle is what fuels the tools and your training strategy to either be powerful and transformative, or to be superficial, unconvincing, and powerless.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your human animal is having a constant, 24/7 conversation with your canine animal about who you are and what role you wish to play in his life. You cannot tell your dog 23 hours of the day that he’s your little cuddle bug and that you’re his doting mommy or daddy and then on your walks where he misbehaves and acts likes a monster try to tell him you are the big pack leader. :) That ones not going to work. We have to give our dogs more credit than that.

Every moment is valuable. You build credit towards good behavior by creating believable leadership long before you’re going to need it when the chips are down. If you want to turn behavior issues around and get your dog into an awesome space state of mind wise, you have to cultivate a believable energy, and a believable presence your dog is able to buy into and follow as an ongoing lifestyle – not just in the moments you need it or that are convenient.

These awesome creatures have a special knack for highlighting and exposing our personal gaps, camouflaged shortcomings, and internal struggles. How awesome is that? You live with your very own personal therapist. :) That’s the awesome challenge and opportunity of dogs: you can’t fool them with tools or a momentary decision of commitment or fortitude, no, they’re looking and waiting for the real stuff. Your best stuff. If you want them to change they’re ready for it – just as soon as you are ready to change yourself.

So remember, the tools are important, no doubt, but it’s your presence, your intention, your emotional balance, your energy, your decision to treat and view your dog like a dog, your force of will and desire and determination, and the constant conversation that your human animal is having with your canine animal that fuels and empowers the tools and the training strategy to actually create the possibility for transformation and change.

Sean’s website www.thegooddog.net

Sean’s Facebook Page

Sean’s groundbreaking do-it-yourself training video/PDF training booklet Learn to Train The Good Dog Way: The Foundation is now available for pre-order at a discounted price – click HERE to watch the new TEASER video, and find out how to to order your copy on Sean’s website!

The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation
4867 Bellflower Ave.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 441-1837


Solid K9 Training Training Center- 25 Acorn Street, Providence, RI 02903

(401) 274 1078

Solid K9 Training Brooklyn NY Location- 210 24th Street Brooklyn NY 11232

www.solidk9training.com/brooklyn-dog-training-location

 

Providence Training Center Info

*********FOLLOW ME**********

Subscribe To My YouTube Channel
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Introducing New Dogs To Your Pack (A Recipe For Non-Disaster!)

As a dog trainer who travels the country training dogs and working with 20-30 families a week in their homes it is so important for folks to understand how a dog thinks. And when there is no authority figure present, the kind of chaos and bad behavior that can happen. Remember the bad behavior of your dog is not the problem it is just the outcome of a breakdown of leadership in your home.

My friend, co-host of the Train The Trainers Seminar Series, and LA dog training colleague Sean O’Shea from The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation puts out such a great blog that I feature it here on my blog. Since the message is so powerful and important it needs to be shared by all. Enjoy the read and feel free to also join his Facebook Fan Page.

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Introducing New Dogs To Your Pack (A Recipe For Non-Disaster!)

By Sean O’Shea

Hey guys, I often get asked about introducing new dogs to your house/pack. There are many approaches to create initial introductions (walking together for example), but I wanted to share my best secrets for creating long-term, full comfort when new dogs are freely interacting and living together.

What are those secrets? Ready for it? Time, structure, and leadership. (I know, I know, you we’re probably hoping for something more exotic, but this stuff is simple. :))

Dogs want and need to know a few things so they can be comfortable. They want to know what the other dog is about. Does she mean me harm? Is he someone I can trust? Am I safe? Do you belong here? What’s your story? Are we going to be friends or enemies?

It’s your job as their leader to create the environment and the state of mind, throughout your pack, which will allow positive, tension-free relationships to flourish.

Most of the issues I see that go down with new dogs being introduced to each other in the home are totally avoidable and stem from dogs being let loose far too quickly, in a chaotic, stressed, nervous, and excited state to figure things out on their own. Dogs in these states are ripe for the fighting and bad-choice-making. And here’s the thing, once dogs have had a serious squabble you’ve got a very good chance of a grudge and long-term distrust being created. That means lots of trouble and tons of work to even attempt to resolve it and create harmony again.

So instead of chaos, here’s what I recommend:

-Don’t be in a rush. Take as much time as needed. This could be two days, two weeks, or two months. It all depends on the dogs. But I want to make sure you understand the time parameters I’m suggesting as possibilities.

-Teach all dogs in the pack the basics: Walk politely on leash, be polite at thresholds, wait calmly for food, have a rock solid “place” command, be polite around humans and their space.

-Get ALL dogs (not just the new guy!) used to being consistently in a good, relaxed, obedient state. Crazy, disobedient, “out of their tree” dogs are just asking for fights with the wrong dog.

-Be aware of whether you have a resource guarder in your midst. This can be guarding you, guarding food, guarding toys, guarding space etc. If you have one of these guys, you will have to be hyper-conscious about removing points of competition and contention, and may have some heavy-duty management in your future. (I recommend working on the guarder and your relationship to remove as much of this as possible.)

-Have dogs learn to simply exist around each other. Being in “place” is a great way for dogs to very comfortably get used to each other’s presence without the pressure of having to make decisions about each other. (Decisions = stress. Stress = bad choices.) Consider mutual “place” commands as a low-impact meet and greet. You can slowly add more movement with one dog at a time and gauge the reactions to see your progress.

-Be patient! And when you think you’ve been patient, be patient some more. :) You’re going to have these dogs for a long time, there’s no rush to create magic instantly.

-Be aware of if you have a nervous, insecure, or just plain scrapper in your midst. These guys need way more time than the average dog to relax and trust. Add a few more of my “be patient” reminders to your list. (Note: some dogs with serious fighting issues might not be safe around other dogs even after a protracted introductory period. If you’re unsure get a pro involved to help you assess.)

-Keep excitement, affection, and chaos to a minimum during the initial period. All of these things can create stress, competition, tension, and fights.

-Use crates to ensure all dogs are safe when unsupervised. Do not leave dogs alone together who are new to each other. Many things in the home can trigger excitement, stress, competition, and ultimately fights (doorbells, delivery people, squirrels etc) even in your absence.

-Use crates to have dogs simply get comfy around each other. You can crate dogs near each other and help remove novelty, uncertainty and concern. But you have to ensure that that all dogs in the crates are practicing awesome behavior. If one or more of the dogs are stressed, barking, whining, carrying on, trying to escape, panicky, demanding or bratty, then you’ve got a recipe for disaster brewing. (Imagine living next to the worst neighbor in the world and how stressed, angry, and unhappy that makes you feel. Same goes for your dogs.) If you can’t ensure great behavior, crate in different rooms.

-Walk the dogs together. They don’t need to be right next to each other to benefit from the walk together. As they show more comfort in each other’s presence you can slowly close the distance.

-Don’t feed new dogs close to each other. Food, like affection creates competition and stress, and by now we know what that leads to :)

-Be careful with play and toys. As you get more comfortable, remember that dogs who are cool with each other in one context and environment can lose their cool when excitement and competition (toys and play) are introduced. Watch for tension and serious intent and address/diffuse it quickly.

-Here’s the big Kahuna: Dogs are constantly assessing each other and you. If one of the dogs (doesn’t matter if it’s the new dog or your long-time dog) sees the other dog or dogs misbehaving, being bratty, out of control, pulling on leash, barking/being reactive at other dogs on the walk, demanding attention from you, guarding space or objects, barking in the house incessantly, able to push into your personal space, and that you the human do not have control of and over him, you have another recipe for disaster brewing. Just like you see a dog that is out of control and say “good grief, what an annoying, out of control, dangerous, pushy, little so and so” so do the dogs in your life. If you won’t create and demand polite, respectful, comfortable, courteous behavior, then you can be almost guaranteed that one of your dogs will. Take control, create a respectful, calm, and polite environment and all the dogs will feel more comfortable and they will thank you with nice, non-fighting behavior.

Ok, so it sounds like a giant pain in the butt that’s going to take forever, but it’s not really that bad. It’s a little pain, and it does take a little time, but it’s so worth the pay-off of long term comfort and safety with your dogs. Of course there are many dogs that you could throw all this out the window, you could turn them loose instantly and have zero issues…forever! But unfortunately I get all the calls for the dogs where it didn’t work out that way. :)

If you know you’ve got a dog that isn’t perfect and has some issues, follow these recommendations very closely, be super patient and prepared for a longer haul. Watch the dogs to see how the comfort level looks, and then you can assess where to move from there. If you have an easy dog and you’re bringing a new dog in, use these recommendations as well, and watch your dogs. They will tell you (absence of tension, staring, side-eyeing, growling etc) when they feel comfortable and ready for more freedom and interaction.

Just remember, it’s so much easier and takes far less time (and money!!) to create a great relationship with new dogs from the get-go than it does to try to undo nasty tension and animosity down the line. :)

Sean’s website www.thegooddog.net

Sean’s Facebook Page

Sean’s groundbreaking do-it-yourself training video/PDF training booklet Learn to Train The Good Dog Way: The Foundation is now available for pre-order at a discounted price – click HERE to watch the new TEASER video, and find out how to to order your copy on Sean’s website!

The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation
4867 Bellflower Ave.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 441-1837


Solid K9 Training Training Center- 25 Acorn Street, Providence, RI 02903

(401) 274 1078

Solid K9 Training Brooklyn NY Location- 210 24th Street Brooklyn NY 11232

www.solidk9training.com/brooklyn-dog-training-location

 

Providence Training Center Info

*********FOLLOW ME**********

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It’s A Process

As a dog trainer who travels the country training dogs and working with 20-30 families a week in their homes it is so important for folks to understand how a dog thinks. And when there is no authority figure present, the kind of chaos and bad behavior that can happen. Remember the bad behavior of your dog is not the problem it is just the outcome of a breakdown of leadership in your home.

My friend, co-host of the Train The Trainers Seminar Series, and LA dog training colleague Sean O’Shea from The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation puts out such a great blog that I feature it here on my blog. Since the message is so powerful and important it needs to be shared by all. Enjoy the read and feel free to also join his Facebook Fan Page.

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It’s A Process

By Sean O’Shea

When you start working on training or changing behavior issues with your dog, you gotta remember it’s a process…for both of you.

You’ve both got bad habits that are likely deeply ingrained – they need time to be addressed and replaced.

You’re both learning new skills/mechanics – they need time to develop and be mastered.

You both have emotional associations/triggers that cause you to feel a certain way in certain situations – these need time to be addressed and desensitized.

You’re both learning new ways of thinking and feeling about each other – you both need time for this process to crystallize.

You’re both unsure about the changes to your normal lifestyle/world – you both need time to adjust and become comfortable.

Change is hard for all of us. Attempting to reverse negative habits, learn new techniques/commands/behaviors, think differently, address and desensitize fear and anxiety (in both species!), and create new thoughts and feelings about each other takes much practice, care, and time.

It will likely be bumpy. It will likely be hard. You will likely go backwards. You will likely feel hopeless. You will likely feel silly. You will likely feel overwhelmed. You will likely lose your cool. You will have great victories and challenging defeats. But if you keep on trying, keep on pushing, you will get there!

So please remember to give you and your dog the time and space to develop, to learn, to become the new and better versions of yourselves. This especially applies in the beginning, when all of the habits, fear, worry, lack of coordination, and uncertainty are at their strongest.

You’re both learning and growing and becoming better – enjoy the process.

Sean’s website www.thegooddog.net

Sean’s Facebook Page

Sean’s groundbreaking do-it-yourself training video/PDF training booklet Learn to Train The Good Dog Way: The Foundation is now available for pre-order at a discounted price – click HERE to watch the new TEASER video, and find out how to to order your copy on Sean’s website!

The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation
4867 Bellflower Ave.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 441-1837


Solid K9 Training Training Center- 25 Acorn Street, Providence, RI 02903

(401) 274 1078

Solid K9 Training Brooklyn NY Location- 210 24th Street Brooklyn NY 11232

www.solidk9training.com/brooklyn-dog-training-location

 

Providence Training Center Info

*********FOLLOW ME**********

Subscribe To My YouTube Channel
Facebook
Twitter

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Three Things Your Reactive Dog Wants To Know Before He Stops Reacting

As a dog trainer who travels the country training dogs and working with 20-30 families a week in their homes it is so important for folks to understand how a dog thinks. And when there is no authority figure present, the kind of chaos and bad behavior that can happen. Remember the bad behavior of your dog is not the problem it is just the outcome of a breakdown of leadership in your home.

My friend, co-host of the Train The Trainers Seminar Series, and LA dog training colleague Sean O’Shea from The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation puts out such a great blog that I feature it here on my blog. Since the message is so powerful and important it needs to be shared by all. Enjoy the read and feel free to also join his Facebook Fan Page.

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Three Things Your Reactive Dog Wants To Know Before He Stops Reacting

By Sean O’Shea

The three things you’re reactive dog wants to know before he/she stops reacting…

1) Can you believably control yourself? (In times of stress and pressure are you calm, relaxed, confident, in control? Or are you unsure, nervous, tentative, angry, and stressed?)

2) Can you believably control him or her? (Are you able to keep your dog relaxed, calm, and tuned-in to you even in situations that would cause stress, anxiety, or explosions?)

3) Can you believably control the environment? (Are you able to create a safe zone around you and your dog that no other dog or person can violate?)

When you’re able to effectively master all three of these challenges, your dog will finally be able to relax knowing you’re qualified to keep them safe. Once they truly believe that you’ve “got it” they will finally be able to give up the job of attempting to do it themselves.

Without these three in place, the stress and anxiety that comes from not trusting you, themselves, or the world, will continue the cycle of reactivity.

How are you doing with the Big Three??

Sean’s website www.thegooddog.net

Sean’s Facebook Page

Sean’s groundbreaking do-it-yourself training video/PDF training booklet Learn to Train The Good Dog Way: The Foundation is now available for pre-order at a discounted price – click HERE to watch the new TEASER video, and find out how to to order your copy on Sean’s website!

The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation
4867 Bellflower Ave.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 441-1837


Solid K9 Training Training Center- 25 Acorn Street, Providence, RI 02903

(401) 274 1078

Solid K9 Training Brooklyn NY Location- 210 24th Street Brooklyn NY 11232

www.solidk9training.com/brooklyn-dog-training-location

 

Providence Training Center Info

*********FOLLOW ME**********

Subscribe To My YouTube Channel
Facebook
Twitter

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Why “Heel” Matters!

As a dog trainer who travels the country training dogs and working with 20-30 families a week in their homes it is so important for folks to understand how a dog thinks. And when there is no authority figure present, the kind of chaos and bad behavior that can happen. Remember the bad behavior of your dog is not the problem it is just the outcome of a breakdown of leadership in your home.

My friend, co-host of the Train The Trainers Seminar Series, and LA dog training colleague Sean O’Shea from The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation puts out such a great blog that I feature it here on my blog. Since the message is so powerful and important it needs to be shared by all. Enjoy the read and feel free to also join his Facebook Fan Page.

Why “Heel” Matters!

By Sean O’Shea

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I often get asked by clients and other folks why I recommend the “Heel” command and what is the value of it? It’s a very good question. For me, it goes much, much deeper than just the aesthetic of having a dog walk next to you (although it does look good! :)), and there’s some obvious practical value of having a dog in a well managed physical position, close to your side to keep him or her out of trouble and harm’s way. But in my opinion that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are some really valuable state of mind and relationship benefits as well. Let’s take a look at a few!

-Dogs have to utilize a ton of impulse control and focus to keep themselves next to you on the walk in the face of many distractions and exciting triggers. This ends up being a fantastic training and state of mind exercise for the dog.

-The physical position of the dog indicates the mental position as well – or in other words, if the dog is working to keep himself next to me, I know he’s focused on me instead of the environment, I know he’s managing himself, and I also know that his intensity level is under control. (Most dogs as soon as they get agitated or stimulated start to move around and lose position either farther back or forward, and these are great warning signs.)

-A respectful, polite, courteous, and tuned-in state of mind isn’t the state of mind that reacts to dogs and other things in the environment.

-Having your dog honor your request to walk in a certain position, at a certain pace, and ignoring distractions, is a huge positive relationship builder.

-Dogs who are paying attention, respectful, polite, and courteously walking in a heel feel far less inspired, entitled, and empowered to bark, lunge, and disagree with things they disapprove of in their environment.

-Dogs in a heel, that are practicing self-control are far less stressed and anxious, and therefore far less apt to make poor decisions around dogs, people, cars, bikes etc.

-Dogs in a heel are actually deeply connected to their owners. They therefore feel far less stress and anxiety because they are being guided/led through the world rather than being in charge of assessing and sorting out what is safe and what is dangerous constantly. (Especially important for nervous, anxious, fearful dogs, who make up the majority of reactive cases.)

-Asking more of your dog makes you a leader. A dog with a leader is relaxed and comfortable. A dog who is a leader is stressed and anxious.

-Dogs being respectful on-leash tend to be respectful to the environment. Dogs being brats on-leash tend to be brats to the environment.

-If the dog is using 75% of their mental focus on keeping themselves in a heel position! that only leaves 25% to get into trouble with.

If you haven’t worked on “Heel” with your dog yet, and you’d like to benefit from some of these juicy “Heel/Healing” results, drop me a comment and I’ll connect you with a link to my video that shows how easy it is to create this very cool command. :)

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Here are a few links of Sean’s to help you with healing your heeling!

Sean’s website www.thegooddog.net

Sean’s Facebook Page

Sean’s groundbreaking do-it-yourself training video/PDF training booklet Learn to Train The Good Dog Way: The Foundation is now available for pre-order at a discounted price – click HERE to watch the new TEASER video, and find out how to to order your copy on Sean’s website!

The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation
4867 Bellflower Ave.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 441-1837


Solid K9 Training Training Center- 25 Acorn Street, Providence, RI 02903

(401) 274 1078

Solid K9 Training Brooklyn NY Location- 210 24th Street Brooklyn NY 11232

www.solidk9training.com/brooklyn-dog-training-location

 

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The Ten Secrets To Success, Fulfillment, And Happiness

As a dog trainer who travels the country training dogs and working with 20-30 families a week in their homes it is so important for folks to understand how a dog thinks. And when there is no authority figure present, the kind of chaos and bad behavior that can happen. Remember the bad behavior of your dog is not the problem it is just the outcome of a breakdown of leadership in your home.

My friend, co-host of the Train The Trainers Seminar Series, and LA dog training colleague Sean O’Shea from The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation puts out such a great blog that I feature it here on my blog. Since the message is so powerful and important it needs to be shared by all. Enjoy the read and feel free to also join his Facebook Fan Page.

The Ten Secrets To Success, Fulfillment, And Happiness

By Sean O’Shea

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Hey guys and gals, this is a special collection from our Train The Trainers seminar series that focuses on personal development. I’ve put together what I’ve found to be the most important and transformative principles. There are of course many, many more, but these seem to be the foundation for everything. I’ve dedicated years to the study of life improvement and have attempted to distill all that info down to the most important and easy to follow principles.

A few of the biggest issues with personal development work are typically that there is too much stuff, it’s overwhelming, and “where would I start?” Another issue is trust. As in any field there are bound to be those who operate from integrity and those that don’t. I worked tirelessly to find people (authors and speakers) who after searching through tons of their work still held up as solid people with solid integrity. I pulled this info from what I found to be the best of the best.

These laws in and of themselves won’t change your life, but if you use them as guide on your journey to consistent study, care, and attention to improving your internal skills, they absolutely can. What I would suggest is that you simply use these as a reminder of the fundamentals of living the great life. Commit daily to at least 30 minutes, or even better, an hour of studying transformational information, and like clockwork, the amazing concepts start to become a part of you. And then your life starts to reflect that all back to you with better relationships, opportunities, happiness, finances etc. Remember, your outside world is simply a reflection of your inside world. We become what we expose ourselves to. Expose ourselves to great stuff and we become, well, great stuff! :)

Change what you think and believe, and that will change your actions, and that will change your results, and that will change your reality. It all starts with your mind. :)

The 10 Principles
By Sean O’Shea

1) 100% Responsibility

You have to stop all blaming, all whining, all complaining. You have to honestly accept that the only thing responsible for your state of mind, results, and ultimately what happens in your life, is you. That everything you have at the moment, you’ve created through your thoughts and actions. Negative people? You let them in. Unhealthy relationships? You let them in. Financial trouble, you allowed it to happen through action or non-action. Unfulfilled or not where you wan to be in life? It’s not the world’s fault, it’s yours. But that’s the great news – if you’re responsible for creating the crap (meaning, it wasn’t just dumb luck or circumstance, it was you’re doing), you can also create the great! Once you make this shift, you take back 100% control of your life – you are liberated from circumstances. This single shift changes the entire dynamic/power of your life. When we blame others we are powerless victims, when we take responsibility we are powerful creators. If you look closely you’ll realize that there’s always one person at the scene of the crime in your life – and that’s you! :)

Action Step: Challenge yourself to become aware of your blaming vs responsibility habits in very moment.

2) Influence

Nothing impacts your beliefs, habits, thoughts, actions, goals, dreams, relationships, and finances more than the people, the books, the TV, the radio, and the movies that you expose yourself to. If you truly want to be successful, happy, healthy, and fulfilled, you have to remove the toxic/negative/lack influences of all of the above and replace them with positive, healthy, successful, happy, growing, and improving people and content. Remember, we become what we expose ourselves to repeatedly.

Action Step: Become aware of all of the negative influences you expose yourself to on a daily basis through tv, fb, internet, magazines, friends, family, movies, and actually FEEL what they make you FEEL when exposed to them. Become sensitive the feeling of the negativity, and use it as guide to steer you towards healthier influences.

Bonus Action Step!: Start systematically removing negative influences and replacing them with positive ones. Nothing gives you permission to be stuck and toxic like other stuck and toxic people. Remove them.

3) Habits

What we do repeatedly is what we become. You don’t’ create your future, you create your habits, and they create your future. In many ways, success and failure are very simple: practice world-class habits consistently, and you end up with a world-class life. Practice substandard habits, and you end up with a substandard life. Success and failure aren’t created with earth-shattering breakthroughs or cataclysmic mistakes – success and failure are determined by hundreds of tiny, seemingly inconsequential choices and actions you make and take every day. You either move incrementally towards success, or incrementally towards failure – there is no neutral. Master your habits, and you master your life – let your habits get away from you, and life will master you.

Action Step: Become acutely aware of your little habits and routines and what they’re leading you towards. Remember, habits stack! One bad choice makes the next bad choice easy and the next good choice hard. One good choice makes the next good choice easy and the next bad choice hard.

Bonus Action Step!: Read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

4) Mindset

A positive mindset attracts positive people and opportunities. A truly positive/healthy person (and the opportunities they can offer) will only be attracted to and want to work/associate with someone who is also positive/healthy. A negative/toxic attitude (complaining, whining, gossiping, integrity issues, character issues, narrow-mindedness, and victim mentality) will repel awesome folks and opportunities. Great people and great opportunities will gravitate towards equally great people – your job is to become someone that successful people and opportunities are attracted to. Few things are as powerful for opening doors and “magically” creating opportunities and “luck” like a great attitude and mindset.

Action Step: Become highly sensitive to both your attitude as well as others in every moment. How do you FEEL when you’re around negative people/mindsets? Do you want to spend more time with them or less? This is how others feel about you when you’re attitude is negative or toxic. Work to become someone that others feel lifted and joyful around and awesome people and opportunities will start to magically appear. This is how you become a magnet for success and happiness.

5) Prosperity Consciousness

How you feel about money will determine how much of it finds you. Ask yourself how you feel about this statement: I want as much happiness as I can get in my life. I want as much love as I can get in my life. I want as much money as I can get in my life. How do you feel about people who are rich? How do you feel about money and material things? Do you feel that what you have takes away from someone else? Are you aware of all the negative programming surrounding money and success? Have you been affected by your parents’ and society’s beliefs about money? How you feel about money, wealth, prosperity, and rich people will determine what you ultimately go after, and what you ultimately have. Money is neutral – it is neither good nor bad – it is simply a medium of exchange. Money magnifies what you already are: if you’re nasty, it will make you more nasty; if you’re generous and giving, it will make you more generous and giving. Prosperity is simply a value for value exchange – we get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. Wealth is created by adding value, solving problems and helping people.

Action Step: Start looking at money as the physical representation of value shared with others. See others with more money than you as people who have given/created more value than you have. (This one sticks in everyone’s craw! But it’s a great exercise!) View creating more money as a noble enterprise that simply signifies value you’ve created for others.

Bonus Action Step: Follow Randy Gage’s blog and books.

6) Goal Setting

If you want to be successful, you absolutely have to have goals, and they have to be written down. Clearly-defined goals pull you toward their successful completion – they have power and magnetism. They create emotional excitement and direction which motivates. This single step will massively differentiate you from the crowd, and will massively accelerate your success. Clearly-defined goals give your conscious and your subconscious mind a clear target/direction to aim for. Without this defined direction, your mind will dilute its focus, will be sidetracked often, and you will run the very real risk of ending up in a location not of your choosing and not of your liking. Your mind is simply a goal-seeking and goal achieving device – it is a super computer designed to help you achieve whatever it is you desire – your job is to furnish it with the information about what exactly it is that you want so it can get you there. Goal setting is probably the single greatest differentiator between successful people and those that struggle.

Action Step: Read Laura Morgan’s awesome post on goal setting: http://eatyourcakeandcountyourchickens.com/2013/12/31/operation-goal-set-2014/

7) Constant Learning and Growth

Make the decision and the commitment to dedicate your life to constant learning and constant growth. This principle will furnish you with the wisdom, insight, skills, awareness, and consciousness to create true success. Because all success is created in the mind, this work of expanding your consciousness is the most important work you can do for yourself and your future.

Action Step: Start a library of transformational resources (books, CDs, downloads, dvds) and set aside time daily to read, listen, and watch. Personal recommendation: Read for an hour first thing in the morning to set your day and mind off right, and listen to awesome audios whenever driving.

8) Take Action

All the greatest ideas in the world mean nothing if not acted upon. Action takes lots of work, and opens us up to risk – which is why most people avoid it. Action is the moment when thoughts and dreams move from the mental world to the world of reality. The moment you take action you have begun to change your life, and change the world. And remember, you don’t need a perfect plan to get started, you simply need the first plan. Just start wherever you are, today, right now, because that is the perfect plan.

Action Step: Take some form of action immediately! Oder a book or DVD, delete some nasty/toxic fb “friends”, read something rather than watch tv or surf the net, call someone you’ve been avoiding or putting off, share your brilliant idea with a trusted friend, take a walk instead of the couch.

9) Be Willing and Excited to Fail

Nothing gives better information and feedback than failure. The quickest way to succeed, and to break through, is to simply take more chances, dream bigger, and fail more often. Failure is not the enemy – as long as you learn form an experience, it simply moves you closer to success. The fear of failure is the single greatest block to living the life of your dreams. The quickest way to succeed is to simply fail more. Work on letting go of the societal pressure and stigma that goes along with failing. Small people stay safe, don’t risk, and never fail – except at living a big, exciting, fulfilling life. Anyone who has done anything great, life changing or valuable to others has failed…lots! Let failure be your accomplice that tells you you’re living an epic life!

Action Step: Take a chance, get of the fence, and make decision/take action about something important that you’ve been stuck on.

10) Never, Ever Give Up

The one thread you will find that runs through every successful person’s story is that no matter how many times they failed, no matter how many times they stumbled, they never gave up. They simply picked themselves up, dusted off, and got back to it. The only moment you really fail is the moment you give up.

Action Step: If there is a dream you have, or even something highly important and valuable to you that you’ve let go of, dust it off and get back to it. If it’s really important and valuable it shouldn’t be easy to achieve! Anything worth having SHOULD be hard!!

Sean’s website www.thegooddog.net

Sean’s Facebook Page

Sean’s groundbreaking do-it-yourself training video/PDF training booklet Learn to Train The Good Dog Way: The Foundation is now available for pre-order at a discounted price – click HERE to watch the new TEASER video, and find out how to to order your copy on Sean’s website!

The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation
4867 Bellflower Ave.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 441-1837


Solid K9 Training Training Center- 25 Acorn Street, Providence, RI 02903

(401) 274 1078

Solid K9 Training Brooklyn NY Location- 210 24th Street Brooklyn NY 11232

www.solidk9training.com/brooklyn-dog-training-location

 

Providence Training Center Info

*********FOLLOW ME**********

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Fast making them furious!

As a dog trainer who travels the country training dogs, hosting seminars, working with 20-30 families a week, training at my Training Center, and Board & Train, I know it’s so important for folks to understand how a dog thinks. When there is no authority figure present, I know the kind of chaos and bad behavior that can happen. Remember the bad behavior of your dog is not the problem it is just the outcome of a breakdown of leadership in your home. The way your dog is today, doe not have to be the way your dog is tomorrow.

My friend and Halifax Dog Training colleague Ted Efthymiadis is located in Nova Scotia, Canada. His passion for rehabilitating dogs resonates in his blogs. This message is so powerful and important, it needs to be shared by all. Enjoy the read and feel free to also follow his blog here.

Fast making them furious!
By Ted Efthymiadis

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About ten years ago I adopted my first dog from the local SPCA. He came with several serious behavioural issues. He is thought to be an Australian Kelpie Mix. Who really knows right? He could be 92.34% Dingo for all I know. Upon adopting him, it was mandatory for me to sign up to a dog training program before adopting him. As I was brand new to owning a dog, I didn’t know that the training I just paid money for would be very in-effective in the real world. They gave me a list of trainers, all of whom were pure positive which sounded awesome. Being a dog lover, positive sounded great! I went to all 8 lessons. Did all of the homework religiously and my dog was often used as a demonstration dog for the rest of the class.

I was taught clicker / marker training with food. In a church basement. We excelled! In the church basement with hotdogs as rewards. On the 7th lesson we covered leash walking. I was taught to lure my dogs nose with treats so that he would walk beside me. After finishing the program, I attempted many times with many different tools in conjunction to the food luring to walk my dog nicely on the leash outside. Unfortunately he was still terrible on the leash. So I progressed from the head halti to the harness, the pulling got even worse. Next I tried the stopping method. Basically it’s the most ridiculous dog training advice ever given. Stop when the dog pulls, the dog should figure out that his pulling stops the dog from moving, and that is somehow going to solve the pulling issue. I was open enough at the time to try using a feather duster if a trainer asked me to. I gave it a shot, nothing was working. Even with a head halter and food he was pulling against the tool and trying to get it off. At the time I felt like I had tried everything.

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I can still remember the night. It was 7:15pm on a Thursday about three months after I adopted him. I was so frustrated with him. I sat on the sidewalk during our walk, looked into his eyes and told my dog words I never thought I would ever say. “Phoenix, you’re are making my life a miserable, I don’t know what to do anymore dude. Please stop pulling because I am literally about to take you back to the shelter you just stayed in for 4 months.” He obviously didn’t understand what I said, he is a dog. We walked home, he pulled me the majority of the way home. I felt like a complete failure. I sat down at my computer when I got home and started researching dog training methods. I found a video that showcased the use of a pinch collar. Upon looking at the video, I was blown away to see the before and after video of its use.

After seeing the tool, I was extremely conflicted because it looked like a medieval torture device. I wanted so badly to use one, knowing that it could really help me enjoy my dog, and to keep him in his current home. Again I was torn because the shelter I got him from told me that under no circumstances was I to use any “negative tools” like pinch collars or ecollars. The next week I bought a pinch collar at a local pet store. I called around to all of the local stores, only one store of about 20 stores sold them. They also told me to ask for them when I got to the store because they hide them under the cash. I felt like a rebel, a villain, an abuser when I was buying a legal dog product. I put it into a bag as soon as I could so that no one would see me buying it. Like a 13 year old boy walking into the bathroom before knocking only to see his aunt coming out of the shower. It was extremely awkward.

I watched a few videos and started some training. My mind was blown. blown. blown. blown. My life changed that day. Months of my back pain had given way to easy walking. I laughed at the top of my lungs walking down the street, so happy I had done the unthinkable. Within 15 minutes he was walking like a dream, no harsh corrections, slight pressure a few times and my life was changed. I started walking him 3-5 times a day, instead of the dreaded daily pulling event that was a “walk” previously.

The reason for this post is to shed light on something I often hear from other trainers. ” fast is not good, it’s force, the dog has to pay the price because you want to take shortcuts. “

Fast forward to today. I have taught over 700 dogs to walk on a leash in real world scenarios. Is it taking a short cut? YES. What in God’s good name is wrong with fast effective dog training? Am I advocating the use of pinch collars on every dog, for every situation? No. But I am a realist. People call me with problems. Often the problems are really bad because people have let things go for a long time. Sometimes I see dogs come to me having trained with 4-5 other trainers who can’t even walk nicely on a leash, not to mention off leash. I OWE it to my clients to do what’s needed to help them find the right tools for them and the dog, and to give them personal training for the safe use of such tools and techniques.

I am in no way an advocate for the general use of bark collars. Excessive barking is a symptom of a greater issue. A need for more mental or physical stimulation. But let me ask you a question…. How would you answer a phone call I get often. “Hey Ted, so here’s the deal. I live in an apartment and my dog barks all day when I am at work. My land lord just informed me that I need to stop the dog from barking, or I will be kicked out of my apartment in two weeks. How can we stop my dogs barking so that I don’t have to give him up?” I literally get these calls often. I wish I didn’t , but I do. Would you tell him to try a process with no correction? In two weeks? I consider it more loving to correct a dog who is about to get a dog owner put out on the street. I personally know of several people who have not wanted to use a bark collar, got evicted, and had to move. Others who have surrendered their dog to a shelter. Fast can work, is it a shortcut? Yes. Is that always a bad thing. No. Sometimes it’s a life saving thing. I am not above using a manners minder and lots of mental and physical stimulation to fix the problem if the clients have a 2-6 months and are patient, however as dog trainers we are often given terrible time restrictions.
Two months ago I had a lady come in with a problem. She was about to be kicked out of her condo because her 10 month old puppy would bark for hours when she was at work. She had worked with several positive only trainers with little success. When the last trainer could not fix the problem, she did something I absolutely can respect. She told her client to try a citronella bark collar. “It would be more gentle than a bark collar, negative reinforcement, but a more gentle approach.” She tried the collar for several weeks with minimal results. Against the advice of her doggy daycare staff, dog trainers, she called me. She had about a three week deadline remaining. We started by upping her walks, giving her mental games, and the use of a dogtra bark collar. Problem solved. The client was able to stay in her condo, the dog still had a home and all is well.

Was that a terrible thing my client did? I don’t think so, I think it was a choice she should have made a lot earlier, which she has agreed with.

I have been called a Nazi for using a pinch collar. Lovely. If that is what I need to endure to save dogs from a needle, or to keep dogs from being brought back to the shelter, I shall continue to endure the bullying from other trainers, shelters, bloggers. I care more about people and dogs than to bend to the pressure they put on me for my completely legal dog training practices.
If you find yourself reading this post needing help, and you are going to use aversives in training, please consult a professional trainer to help you during the process. If you don’t have a great trainer in your area capable of helping you we recently launched an online video portal that can be of great value. We have hours of amazing information, and step by step video to help you with your dog. You can get more information here.

If you would like help finding a qualified trainer in your area, email me and I will help you find one.

Ted Efthymiadis
Unleashed Potential – Halifax, NS, Canada
E-mail: tede@upk9.ca
Phone: 902-489-4269
Business website: www.upk9.ca
Personal Blog: www.sendinthegreek.com


Solid K9 Training Providence, RI (401) 527-6354

Solid K9 Training 210 24th Street Brooklyn NY 11232 (401) 527-6354
Brooklyn dog training location www.solidk9training.com/brooklyn-dog-training-location

Providence Training Center Info

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The Ten Commandments Of Dog Training And Ownership

As a dog trainer who travels the country training dogs and working with 20-30 families a week in their homes it is so important for folks to understand how a dog thinks. And when there is no authority figure present, the kind of chaos and bad behavior that can happen. Remember the bad behavior of your dog is not the problem it is just the outcome of a breakdown of leadership in your home.

My friend, co-host of the Train The Trainers Seminar Series, and LA dog training colleague Sean O’Shea from The Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation puts out such a great blog that I feature it here on my blog. Since the message is so powerful and important it needs to be shared by all. Enjoy the read and feel free to also join his Facebook Fan Page.

The Ten Commandments Of Dog Training And Ownership

By Sean O’Shea

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1) Thou shalt not pet, soothe, or share soft energy with a nervous, fearful, anxious, or aggressive dog.
I unfortunately still see this one all the time, even with really smart owners (and I totally understand why). While this behavior can be useful when applied to humans who are distressed, when it comes to our dogs, they read these interactions as reinforcement and agreement of their distressed state of mind – which means you’re very likely see more of the behavior, both frequency-wise and intensity-wise. It’s also a reminder of the lack of confident, strong, dependable leadership energy you represent, which causes more stress and anxiety and creates more emotional fallout – nothing is more terrifying for a nervous, insecure, fearful dog than to feel that he/she is the strongest, most powerful presence in his/her world.

2) Thou shalt not let your on-leash dog meet/interact with other dogs on-leash.
Dogs on leash are almost always compromised behaviorally. They are either overly excited to meet the other dog, but are restrained by the leash and so then become highly frustrated and stressed, OR they’re nervous, anxious, and unsure about the other dog, but are restrained by the leash and feel trapped, frightened, and stressed. Either response puts the dog into a stressed/anxious state where the dog is likely not to give his best behavior, and even two very social dogs could have a potentially very negative interaction/fight. Also, many owners think their dogs are safe and well behaved, but are either unaware of the dynamic of the Second Commandment, are unaware of their dog’s true behavior, or are in denial about a Fluffy being sweet as pie, when Fluffy is really a nasty little so and so. :)

3) Thou shalt not let your dog pull you through thresholds, or pull you on leash (This includes pulling towards trees/bushes, potty spots, other dogs, or just the garden variety pulling straight ahead!)
When we allow our dogs to pull us in any of the aforementioned capacities, we’re creating several things that work against us. We teach our dogs to ignore us as a leader; we teach our dogs that pushy behavior does in fact get them what they want; we create a stressed/agitated/adrenalyzed state of mind that is not able to make good choices (think of how you feel when your late for an appointment and driving in a rushed, edgy fashion through traffic – your attitude/state of mind is absolutely not your best, highest functioning you, and you’re likely to make choices and engage in behavior that you’re not entirely proud of once you calm down and relax once at your destination); and, in the end, we create little (or big!) snotty, bratty tyrants that are reactive and often not so pleasant for us to walk, or our neighbors to endure.

4) Thou shalt not let two dogs that are new to each other “work out” their relationship issues on their own.
This one seems to come from the dark ages of dog training/ownership. The best way to ensure that two dogs get off on the wrong foot while being introduced to each other in a new home environment, is to let them engage without the benefit of human guidance – to let the dogs sort it out themselves. This is especially true if there has been, or is currently, tension between the dogs. Oftentimes dogs that are new to each other will be uncomfortable, on edge, overly-excited, stressed and anxious about each other’s presence, and these states of mind are a perfect set up for one dog or both to make less than fantastic choices around each other, and possibly even fight. And the unfortunate reality is that, like humans, once a grudge or bad blood is created it is very hard, and sometimes impossible to remove. By taking our time, removing excitement, stress and anxiety from the interaction, and giving some human guidance, we give our dogs the opportunity to assess the situation free of negative mental states that set them up for failure.

5) Thou shalt utilize the dog park at your (and your dog’s) own risk.
Dog parks are an awesome concept, in theory. I love the idea of them! Dogs roaming freely, un-encumbered by the oppression of leashes and restraint, just being dogs! Beautiful. Except when it’s not. The dog park in reality is often a place where overly-adrenalyzed/highly stressed, negative, anti-social, and out-and-out dangerous behavior is allowed to unfold on a regular basis, unaddressed and unattended to. I’ve had many, many clients show up after their social and friendly dog has has been bullied or attacked at the dog park and has now become anti-social, untrusting of other dogs, highly dog-reactive on walks, or possibly even out-and-out dog aggressive. You wouldn’t allow your kids to play with just any other kids – especially unsupervised – so be very careful about the situations your dog is subjected to as well.

6) Thou shalt not use verbal or emotional intensity to control or correct your dog’s unwanted behavior.
This is a very easy one to fall into. When we don’t have effective tools or strategies to train, communicate, and cultivate positive interactions with our dogs, we tend to become frustrated, annoyed, and angry. As humans, when we find that we’re not getting where we want with our dogs behavior wise, it tends to lead us to raised voices, posturing, and emotional intensity – all of which tend to undermine our communication, our relationship, and our status as leaders worth following in our dog’s eyes. It also adds stress, anxiety, and fear to the equation, which only makes everything worse. It’s much better to simply put a training collar and leash on your dog and quietly, and calmly create the desired behavior/effect.

7) Thou shalt not pick a dog who’s physical energy is higher and who’s state of mind is stronger than yours.
When we pick a dog with either significantly higher energy levels than us, or a state of mind/demeanor/attitude that is much firmer/stronger (or both!), we begin a relationship that can be very challenging (and sad and frustrating) for both owner and dog, or in it’s extreme instances, doomed to failure. High energy dogs living with lower energy humans can create dynamics of constant tension for both species. The dog will often be unsatisfied and subsequently on edge, and the human will also often be on edge and annoyed/frustrated. This can create a sad loop of both species being unfulfilled and not enjoying the relationship. With strong-minded dogs and softer humans, we often see a dynamic of the dog taking advantage, pushing boundaries, disrespecting, and, in extreme cases, setting rules and limits for the human (i.e. growling and biting). This can lead to dire outcomes such as surrendering, rehoming, and even euthanasia. Of course, there are some great things to be done training and lifestyle-wise for both of these situations, so if you’re in one or both of them, don’t lose hope!

8) Thou shalt not let your off-leash dog run up on a dog walking on-leash.
This one gets played out in cities and neighborhoods across the country (and world) daily, and is likely the cause for much of the human race’s frustration, and inability to peacefully co-exist with each other! I get it, you have (what you think) is a nice, friendly, social dog, and you love having your dog off-leash, and what could be wrong with him running up to say hi to another dog? Unfortunately there’s plenty that could be wrong with this one. Like we mentioned in the Second Commandment, dogs on-leash rarely act as they would off-leash, so the dog that is being run up on by your friendly dog is likely going to be frightened, stressed, worried, and feeling trapped, or excited and frustrated and feeling stressed – either one is very likely to create a negative reaction for that owner and his/her dog. (Remove both leashes and you would likely have a totally different reaction.) And here’s a few other things to consider when the person with the dog on-leash starts to freak out: One, their dog may actually be very dog-aggressive and highly unsafe, and may actually try to attack/kill your dog – seriously. Or two, your dog (and others like yours who have run up on this dog in the past) are causing this dog and his owner to become dog-reactive – meaning dog and owner start to become conditioned to feel unsafe and untrusting around other dogs, and it may actually create serious dog reactivity behavior problems for this dog and owner. Or thirdly, the owner and dog may be in training and attempting to work through dog-reactivity and dog-trust issues, and these kinds of interactions are usually the best way to undo whatever progress they’ve made. To be honest, and sorry if this sounds a bit harsh, letting this dynamic occur (allowing your dog to run up on another on-leash dog) is highly selfish, and highly irresponsible. Sorry, it has to be said. :)

9) Thou shalt not (overly) baby, spoil, or humanize your dog.
Did I really make this big kahuna of dog issues only number nine?!?! This one is usually the most common cause of behavior problems in dogs, and relationship problems between dogs and their humans. When we overly (meaning excessively and without corresponding balance) baby, spoil, and humanize our dogs, it feels emotionally awesome for us, but unfortunately is a first-class ticket to bratty, snotty, stressed, anxious, overly-dependent, separation-anxiety-filled, unhappy dogs. Love is great. Affection is great. Enjoying and even celebrating our dogs is great! But sharing all of these in the absence of the balance of strong leadership, guidance, rules, structure, and consequences for unwanted behavior is, well, I have to be straight with you here, the great undoing of the dogs we love. True love, healthy love, is imbued with the awareness of, and commitment to doing, what’s right for those who are left in our charge – those who are in many ways completely helpless and at our mercy, those who look to us for the information and tools to move through our world comfortably and in an emotionally healthy and balanced fashion. It may not be as easy, as fun, and as self-fulfilling to actually have to balance love with discipline and rules – and sometimes being the heavy – but it’s what great dog ownership, and happy, healthy dogs (and kids!) are all about.

10) Thou shalt not mistake anxiety/excitement for happiness, and calm/relaxation for sadness.
This one gets by lots of owners (and trainers!). Oftentimes we see dogs in an overly-excited state (which is often actually stress/anxiety/adrenaline) and think they are experiencing joy and happiness. The problem with misreading this is that we can miss the signs that our dogs are practicing and building negative emotional and behavior habits, and that while in this state (at say, a dog park?) they may engage in negative or even dangerous behavior (because stress/anxiety/over-excitement can cognitively impair dogs and often causes them to make poor choices), and are likely not truly happy dogs at all. On the flip side of this is the dog who is being asked to be in a command (place or down) or is simply chilling out in his own, and is looking, well, chilled and relaxed. For many owners (and, once again, some trainers), the lack of bouncing off the ceiling energy is a sign of a sad, unhappy, and unfulfilled dog, when in reality this calm and relaxed dog is the one who is likely more comfortable emotionally and physically in his own skin, and is likely making great choices because of his state of mind. Dogs who live in a constantly agitated and overly-excited state are the dogs that usually come to stay with us for two weeks of expensive training and rehab work because they’re usually engaging in negative, neurotic behavior! And, strangely enough, our job then is to teach them how to be calm, relaxed, and chilled out – which interestingly causes all of their behavioral issues disappear! Just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with dogs having a great time, having fun, and being a little crazy now and then, but when owners see this as the preferred state, and when dogs live there consistently, it makes for unhappy, unbalanced dogs.

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North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 441-1837


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