Positive reinforcement-only trainers (food and clicker trainers) believe that you should ignore the unwanted behavior and praise the good behavior. Their method for correction is avoidance or time out in a crate. However, dogs do not understand time out and they view avoidance as backing down and not showing leadership!
Here is an example of positive reinforcement-only training, also known as reward-based training:
Let’s imagine your dog is chewing up your favorite sofa. Training with food or a clicker only distracts your dog for a moment. A strong working dog will ignore your food and go right back to tearing up your lovely couch. Once the dog stops chewing, THEN you can reward him for NOT tearing up the furniture. Let’s hope your dog is not very determent and he actually does stop at some point.
This is what your dog thinks when this outcome ensues: He gets to chew up the sofa without getting in trouble. So, he is doing something he enjoys doing and, by sitting back and watching it happen, you are automatically praising him for his behavior.
Once he takes a break from the destruction, you offer him a cookie as a reward. This makes your dog think that every time he chews up the couch, he gets a treat!
Now, if you were to correct your dog by correcting him using a verbal command or physical touch (seek a professional’s help), he will stop what he was doing. By doing this, you have just let your dog know that this type of behavior is not allowed.
Humans tend to forget that a dog’s brain is not developed the same way as ours.
Correction is a normal form of communication among dogs. Dogs communicate using their voice and body. They use calm or stiff body language to demonstrate whether they are happy or irritated.
You get faster results when you instruct your dog to stop an unwanted behavior with a correction. Corrections allow you to speak to your dog using the language they understand.
By speaking to your dog in his language, you build a strong relationship with your dog. Always remember to praise the good behavior to avoid confusion and separation. Your dog needs to know when you are upset and when you are happy with certain behaviors.
A balanced dog is raised by a balanced owner who only praises for good behavior and corrects the bad behavior.
No matter what breed of dog you own or how old they are, potty training your dog can be frustrating and straight up exhausting. Potty training is something we have to teach our dogs; they do not automatically know where to do their business. But what exactly is the best way to deal with this problem?
Most people think that their breed of dog is incapable of learning the concept of potty training, or that their dog might be too old to learn at this point. Others may think that their dog is just set in their ways or that their puppy must be a certain age before they can start the potty training process. Well, I’m here to tell you that it is never too late or too early to start teaching your dog new habits and a new lifestyle.
So now that all of those excuses are taken care of, how do we get started with the potty training process?
Before we get started, there are few things you need to understand about your dog. First, you must rule out any medical condition such as bladder and kidney related disease and problems. A quick trip to your vet can confirm if there is any condition that is causing your dog to have accidents around the house.
Next, we have to find out why your dog is urinating in the house once all medical conditions have been ruled out. In this case, there are few things that you need to understand about the nature of dogs as animals. Dogs don’t always urinate just to empty their bladder and eliminate toxins like humans do. They actually use their urine to mark their territory and communicate with other dogs.
Dominant dogs with no structure and leadership use their urine to mark in the corner of walls and objects around their home. This is their way of claiming and object or areas as their own if there is no true leadership established in the family. Think of their urine as a territorial flag being planted all over your home.
Sometimes dogs will pee in the house to compete with other dogs who enter their home. Another reason that a dog might pee in the house is to seek revenge and get attention from family members. This type of behavior can be seen in dogs that are not getting enough play time or love in the home.
And lastly, some dogs urinate in the house simply because they have never been taught to go outside.
Now that you know the key factors of this unwanted behavior, we need to determine which one of these cases apply to your dogs’ situation. To do this, you will need the help of a professional dog trainer in Orange County who is experienced in dog behavior modification.
I, Sogand Schmeisser, certified dog trainer and behavior modification specialist at Heaven sent K-9, can help you overcome any problem that you might be struggling with in regards to your dog’s behavior. Please give me a call today to discuss your problems.Read More
Teaching your dog to pay attention to you is one of the most important parts of dog training. Eye contact is the first thing I teach a dog before moving on to more advanced commands. Without it, you will never experience high levels of reliability from your dog.
A dog can learn every command in the book, but if they are doing the commands without looking up at you, it is only a matter of time before something distracting pops up – like a bunny or a squirrel – and your dog decides to chase after it, completely ignoring your commands.
Teaching your dog to maintain eye contact will teach them to focus on you and pay attention to your body language. Dogs rarely use vocals as a form of communication; most interactions are through body language. If you watch a pack of wolves while hunting, you will notice that each wolf is watching the pack leader very carefully and following his lead. They carefully watch his eyes and body positioning, patiently waiting for him to give the signal for attack.
Taking control of your dog’s eyes is the way to conquer their brain. Your dog will be reliable once they can maintain eye contact as long as you want them to, even with substantial distraction. A dog that would rather pay attention to other distractions is not considering you and your instruction as important. A dog that breaks eye contact to pay attention to something else is a dog that will most likely make decisions of their own. This means that they have not yet accepted you as their leader.
Making eye contact with your dog is also one of the most significant dominance exercises you can use to assert your power. In the wild, alpha dogs often challenge pack members with eye contact to keep them under control.
Asking your dog to pay attention to you also creates a deeper bond between the two of you. Proper eye contact builds trust by asking your dog to accept your leadership and look up at your for directions.
I hear these questions all the time: Is it true that some breeds are not trainable? What about a husky or a pitbull? Does the size of a dog matter when it comes to dog training?
The answer to each of these questions is NO, absolutely not. Although it is true that some breeds need more work than others to achieve desired results, each and every dog can be %100 trained.
It is sad to see how some so-called dog trainers have contributed to this myth over the years by labeling some breeds as untrainable. If you ask me, I say that is a load of crap! If you ever hire a trainer who tells you anything along these lines, please show them to the door immediately!
A qualified dog trainer in Orange County with proper skills and experience would never say such a thing. If a dog trainer can not control a dog no matter what the behavior problem, temperament, size and breed, then I suggest they resign from the dog training world. That way, we can save thousands of dogs from being euthanized every year!
Unfortunately in the dog training field, just like any other career, there are few dog trainers in Orange County who continuously educate themselves out of the box . They simply stick to the textbook methods they were taught in school and never update their techniques. Along with proper education and practice, it is also extremely important for a dog trainer to have a natural gift in order to become successful in the dog training world.
Throughout the years as a dog trainer in Orange County, there have been many challenges that I have faced. Dogs with very aggressive temperaments, dogs that have been deemed “untrainable” by multiple trainers, overly reactive dogs… I have even trained dogs that were diagnosed as deaf by a certified veterinarian, but the dog was only pretending not to hear to get away with bad behavior.
After facing these challenges, I experimented with different techniques and found new ways to how to communicate with certain dogs. I never take no for an answer and, frankly, I have always been able to help people with their dog’s behavior problems.
When hiring a dog trainer in Orange County, you should keep in mind that:
- No dog is untrainable, It is the trainer who needs more training.
- The age of your dog doesn’t matter.
- The breed of your dog doesn’t matter.
- The history of your dog doesn’t matter. Dogs can change their behavior. Some might take longer than the others but it will happen eventually.
- Never take the advice to use tranquilizers as a substitute or as an aid for training. You hired a dog trainer, not a doctor.
- A dog trainer MUST NOT show up and pin your dog to the ground right away to assert dominance. I always let a dog decide whether we will be friends right away or if there will be a little roughhousing. Nonetheless, I am not scared to apply corrections for bad behavior.
- A dog trainer must never advise people to ignore aggression because things will escalate quickly once a dog gains confidence.
- A dog trainer MUST NOT be a fairy from Disneyland that doesn’t believe in corrections. Corrections must be applied to guide the dog towards the desired behavior. You should never expect punishments that include spray bottles or a can of coins when working with a dog trainer.
There is quite a bit of controversy when it comes to choosing the best collar for dog training. In my opinion, there really is no one-size-fits-all collar. When training a dog, one must use a professional dog trainer’s help to understand their dog’s personality and lifestyle, especially when it comes to behavior problems.
A skilled trainer should be able to train your dog even with a flat collar or a harness. In fact, these are the main two types of equipments I use for dog training in Orange if the physical condition of the dog and handler is a good match for the use of these equipments.
Training your dog must be based on trust and respect for the handler, not for an object. A dog must know why they are getting corrected each time and learn the correct behavior when they are put in the same situation later on. This way, you can apply corrections to reinforce the desired behavior. Start using your training collars on and off to condition your dog to respond without them for the future. After all your collars are only a training tool and your ultimate goal is to have a trained dog at some point that responds without the training collars.
The use of prong collars and E-Collar are not suitable for dogs with fear and anxiety problems. This method of training can actually worsen the situation and intensify the behavior problem.Some dogs are very sensitive and need very little corrections – anything more than that can cause more damage than good. Prong collar can be beneficial to some dogs and help both the dog and handler in some cases so please consults with a trainer and determine if the use of prong collars are suitable for your dog.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, bark collars are a very lazy way of training your dog. For people who don’t know, bark collars are E-collars that activate when the dog barks. They sense the vocal cord vibration and send stimulationto the dog every time he or she makes a noise. Teaching a dog the quiet command is a good way to stop barking.
Barking is a natural way of dog communication. They should not fear using their natural ability, but they must know when, where, and how much they can bark. For example, if you have a child that sneaks into the cookie jar, the solution is not to handcuff them, but instead to teach them limitations and boundaries.
This training collar is not as humane as advertised by the manufacturer. In my opinion, snapping a lead as hard as you can is much more humane when compared to this training tool. Gentle leaders are mainly created to stop dogs from pulling and are not a good training tool for obedience training. Although people seem to be satisfied with this head halter, they fail to understand how this device actually works.
Imagine a 75-pound lab pulling on a gentle leader. Every time that dog hits the end of the line, that 75 pounds of pure power makes his head spin all the way back towards the handler. The gentle leader puts all of your dog’s body weight on your dogs neck and nose – a power that you can’t produce even if you snap your dog’s leash as hard as you can. Don’t let that gentle halter fool you into thinking that this training tool is safe for your dog. There is no way of avoiding damage to your dog’s neck when you are putting that much pressure on it. Now you know why they work on occasion – they hurt your dog like crazy!
The fact that E-collars can be used by dog owners with no background in dog training is terrifying to me. E-collars send stimulations to the dog for not behaving as desired. Training dogs with E-collars can be suitable for some dogs specially when the handler is not capable of correcting their dog any other way due to lack of physical power or in case of disability also some dogs can benefit from use of E-collars due to trauma to the neck or spine, suffering from tracheal problems or after having a hip surgery or similar situations where a dog’s body cannot be manipulated in different positions too much. E-collars also can be useful in off-leash training.
Where people mostly make a mistake Is when they buy this collar to only apply corrections without redirection meaning that they do not follow through with teaching their dogs what is the desirable behavior instead. These collars like anything else can be harmful if you do not have the knowledge of using them properly so please consult with a trainer to find out if this is a good option for you and your dog.
Dogs already have a special way of communicating. Let’s take the time and learn more about their unique language to improve communication with our four-legged babies!
Heaven Sent K-9 Dog Training uses dog body language and dog psychology when training dogs in Orange County. We respect the nature of each dog and constantly try to learn more from these amazing animals.Read More
Whether you have just rescued an aggressive dog from the shelter, or your family dog has just started showing aggression toward other people, it’s important to understand why dogs act this way, even when there is no need for such a behavior.
Although dogs have been domesticated by humans for hundreds of years, this does not mean that they can be treated like a human being. Dogs still have the genetics of the dog species. Dogs think and behave as a dog would, even if they have never been exposed to other dogs. In fact, because of these unique abilities, humans in the past would use dogs to carry out tasks that were out of the power and capability of a human being.
Today, we adopt dogs for a variety of reasons other than guarding and hunting. We use them in the police force and the military, for cancer detection, and as service and therapy dogs to help people with disabilities. Depending on the task that a dog was trained to perform, service dogs have the ability to detect changes in physical and mental health of their humans and alert them within 15-20 minutes before it happens. Knowing that dogs can detect our body chemical changes and analyze our mental pattern can help us understand why dogs behave the way they do.
Now you might be asking yourself, “What does a dog’s ability to sense things have to do with my dog’s aggression?” Trust me, I’m getting there…
Although in some cases it is true that dogs show aggression to a specific gender because they have been abused by a specific gender, it is not always the case. I have trained many dogs who displayed aggression towards men with absolutely no reason at all – they were never in an abusive household, never entered an animal shelter, and were raised by a loving family since puppyhood.
Dog Aggression Toward Men:
A dog can show aggression towards men for many reasons:
- Men have testosterone hormones than a dog can smell. They have a stronger physique, more muscle mass, and stronger tone of voice than a women and, therefore, are more dominant in nature. They do not think and act with their emotions as females do and tend to be more aggressive.
- A dominant-aggressive dog will sense all of this about a man and considers him to be a challenge. As we know, two dominant males can not be in one space because of this.
- A fear-aggressive dog will become anxious about this level of authority, feeling intimidated and threatened.
- They might have been abused by a man or multiple men. The past abuse and the trauma of the incident has made them fearful.
- There might be a lack of leadership in the family where the dog lives. A dog with no pack leader will see the need to challenge everyone they come in contact with to assert their dominance.
The opposite can also happen: An aggressive dog might feel safer with a man than a woman. They see men as shelter and view them as strong protectors.
Dog Aggression Toward Women:
There are many reasons why a dog will only show aggression towards women:
- Some dogs hate the high-pitched voice than some women have. It can remind them of an injured animal whimpering which is a sign of weakness. The dog senses this and sees an opportunity to attack.
- They sense the lower energy and dominance level and think that women are an easy target.
- They might have been abused by a female in the past.
- There is a lack of leadership in the family they live with.
Dog aggression is a very serious problem. Always consult a certified dog behaviorist to find out how you can stop dog aggression. An inexperienced dog trainer with no knowledge of the dog’s behavior can do more damage than good.Read More
Every day, I get calls and e-mails from dog owners in Orange County who are struggling with their dog’s aggression. Their number one concern is whether or not they can overcome this problem.
Although the internet has provided a wealth of information over the years, there are also hundreds of misleading articles online written by unqualified dog trainers that report false training techniques. Because of this, dog aggression is now more misunderstood than ever.
Dog aggression is a behavior problem that he or she learns over time, not something the dog is born with. It is curable no matter how late you start the rehabilitation process, although it is the best to start as early as possible.
The common misunderstanding between dog trainers and dog owners are that aggressive dogs are dominant dogs. Although some aggressive dogs can also be dominant, dominance and aggression are two separate things, and should be handled as such.
In this article, I will break down the common causes of dog-on-dog aggression and explain each factor in complete detail. Please keep in mind that this article does not provide tips on how to fix these problems, but instead explains how things went wrong. One can not solve a problem without finding its root.
Dominant dogs are natural born leaders, they are genetically designed to lead and organize a pack. The desire to lead is very strong in dominant dogs compared to others – It is what they were born to do. But, contrary to popular belief, very few dogs actually possess the dominant trait.
The majority of dogs with aggression issues have been raised with no structure or discipline.
If by chance you own a dominant dog, you must take the leadership role or your dog will naturally take over. You must form a pack structure and enforce rules and boundaries.
Dominant dogs do the best with owners that have strong personalities. Many assume that dominant dogs can not be controlled, but this is just a myth. Many dominant dogs make great working dogs and can be very obedient if they are matched with the right handler.
However, not everyone can handle a dominant dog. They need strong handlers who believe in discipline and structure. A dominant dog is too smart to be fooled or bribed with treats. You must let the dog know that you are faster, smarter, and stronger and that you will not tolerate disobedience.
There must always be consequences when your dog breaks a rule, or else the situation can get out of hand. When dealing with a dominant dog, you can not afford to be emotional (meaning angry), frustrated, or over-catering to your dog. Dogs that are raised in the manner will misunderstand your emotions as a sign of weakness and will soon establish him or herself as your superior.
A lack of consistency in enforcing rules is also a sign of weakness. The dog will quickly learn that you are not smart enough catch their bad behavior every time, so they will continue to push the boundaries. The pack leader (you) must always enforce strict, consistent rules.
The Leader Dog
When a dog owner is too lenient and forgets about the pack structure, the dog automatically assumes that he or she is the leader of the pack. Dogs are social animals by nature and instinctually enjoy being a part of a social group. Most dog owners fail to understand that one of the natural desires of their family pet is to be part of a pack. The vast majority of dogs are happy to be followers and prefer not to lead. But, when there is no defined pack leader in their household, their instinct is to take over.
When a dog takes the leader position, they set their own rules. If you or anyone else disobeys these rules, the dog will become aggressive. You might see a dog’s aggression in different forms, including food aggression, bed aggression, dog aggression, people aggression, toy aggression, etc
Dog Was Attacked In The Past
I often hear from my clients that their dog has never shown aggressive behavior in the past. But, on a normal day at the park, their dog was suddenly attacked by another dog in the park, and, since then, he or she has started demonstrating aggressive behavior.
It is very important to understand that your dog is not the problem here. The problem is you and your lack of leadership. Your dog expects you to be their guardian and protect them from harm. When you fail to do so, they quickly realize that they are all alone and the fear of getting hurt again will backlash in the form of aggression next time that they see a dog. Dogs who trust their handlers do not become aggressive with another dog because they feel like they can rely on their owner. They have confidence in their human leader and know that they are protected.
I personally have experienced this kind of aggression. My German Shepherd (Gunner), who you may have seen in my video clips, was attacked by a husky at the dog park when he was just 8 months old. After the fight, he became severely aggressive towards other dogs. After almost killing another dog, I was so desperate to find out why he was behaving in such a cruel manner. He started off so sweet and submissive before the attack but, after the fight, he was a different dog. His aggression was so severe that simple eye contact from another dog would stir him up. He would thrash and spin, sometimes even bite my hand to release the leash so he could run after the other dog.
I called a number of dog trainers in Orange County and they all told me to put him down or lock him up. These so-called dog trainers told me that my precious dog Gunner would never be able to interact with other dogs again. I knew that putting my dog down was not an option. I realized that I was the one who created the problem, so it was my job to fix it.
I spent months training Gunner and practiced to becoming the leader. I soon realized that the reasoning behind his aggressive behavior was because of the little knowledge I had on dog body language. That day at the park, I failed to read the other dog’s body language and missed all the warning signs. I promised myself that the next time a dog is showing aggressive body language, I will be the one who tells the him to back off, not my dog.
I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes while reading this part, but, if you have stumbled upon this article, maybe you are struggling with the same problem. Maybe your emotions are causing your dog’s aggression. From now on, you need to do what is the best for your dog and not what makes you most comfortable.
Today, Gunner is my work partner and a very confident dog, he loves to play with dogs of all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. If ever there is a problem where another dog shows aggression, he comes to me right away and asks me to protect him.
Most people take pride in their big, powerful dogs and would rather have the dogs resolve their behavioral issues on their own. But, if you take this approach, you will soon find out that dog aggression is a real headache to fix.
Always remember to consult a professional dog behavior specialist about your dog’s aggression, your own interpretation of what might have caused the aggression can be different from a professional opinion.Read More
When it comes to dog socialization, people often think that by simply taking their dog to a park and letting them run around with unfamiliar dogs will do the trick. Even though you allow your dog to play and interact with other dogs at a young age, this doesn’t mean that your dog will become completely socialized. Although socializing your dog can decrease the chances of behavior issues in future, a dog with weak leaders has the potential to become aggressive at any age, with or without interacting with other dogs.
It is important to understand that aggression does not always come from a lack of interaction with other dogs. Typically, aggression spawns from a lack of leadership and trust.
Every dog pack has a leader called the alpha. In a dog pack, the alpha is in charge of the pack’s safety. The alpha is strong and will protect the pack from harm. Therefore, if you own a dog in Orange County, you must keep this pack mentality in mind by providing and catering to its instinctual needs for survival as a species.
There is more to socialization than letting your dog run free in a park with other dogs – all interactions must be supervised. Human interruption must be immediately enforced as needed. Letting dogs resolve their own problems is not the right approach to socialization. There must be rules and boundaries for safe and respectful interactions. These rules must must come from YOU, not your dog. Do not let your dog bully or be bullied by another dog. If this happens you must step in and reinforce boundaries as a pack leader.
When your dog is interacting with other dogs, watch for red flags from both sides. Determine what kind of body language your dog is exhibiting while interacting with another dog. Do they seem aggressive, shy, or scared?
When you present yourself as leader of the pack, your dog understands that the alpha role has been filled and he will not see the need to establish his dominance by picking fights with other dogs or people.
In addition, when you assume the position of pack leader, your dog will trust you in any situation involving people and other dogs. He will know that you are the one who makes the first move and, if need be, you will take the aggressor position. By become the alpha, you will raise a confident dog.Read More
You have probably heard this over and over but, dogs can sense your energy. They can tell when you are excited, nervous, or scared, so it’s important to control your thoughts and emotions when you are raising a puppy or adult dog.
Dogs and people share some similar behavior traits when it comes to non-verbal communication skills, like reading body language.
The difference is that dogs exceed our visual powers as a primary factor in understanding their surroundings. They also use additional powerful tools such as the sense of smell and hearing to understand and analyze their environment to the fullest extent.
Dogs are extremely watchful of what we do on a daily basis; they quickly pick up on our life patterns and learn about every individual around the household. They can tell who is anxious, confident, and who can they push limits around and how much. This may be why your dog is behaving differently around each family member.
As a dog trainer in Orange County, most of my aggression cases come from overly-humanized dogs. These dogs come from families who have over-catered to their dog and have replaced their dog needs with humans needs. These families often think that this is the most humane way of treating a dog, but they fail to understand that a dog is not a human.
A dog can quickly become unbalanced when they grow up with a family who does not understand, or refuses to identify, that a dog is in fact a different species, complete with their own unique needs and lifestyle.
Dogs require discipline, affection, and stable human contact to grow into confident adults. Dogs play rough, discipline each other in their pack, and have very predictable social behaviors; they do not understand complicated human emotions.
The Emotional Human:
If you are the type that tenses up when coming into contact with another dog, you can not blame your dog for behaving aggressively. This kind of human fear can grow into a big problem. Often, this person has experiencing a vicious dog and is still carrying the burden of fear from the incident. This anxiety causes your dog to misread the presence of dogs or people and registers these things as the reason for your fear. This leads to their desire to protect you.
Dogs hear vast frequencies, even those that are inaudible to us, and have a sense of smell 10000000 times stronger humans. Dogs can smell fear: it’s a fact. When experience fear, your heart rate and breathing increases, you begin to sweat (even if you don’t notice), and your body releases both adrenaline and cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. All of this happens to prepare your body to run away from the source of fear or to stay and fight it, also known as “fight or flight”.
As humans, we have more control over how we react to the given situation and we can even disguise it from others. However, a dog only has the capability to respond in the fight or flight manner. Therefore, you might see your dog act aggressively in response to your source of the fear.
A fearful human will raise a skittish or aggressive dog, depending on the personality of their dog. An emotionally stable person will raise a confident, well-trained dog, regardless of the dog’s personality.
The Over Catering Human:
Like I said before, a dog cannot understand complex human emotions. Trust me, your dog will be O.K. if he accidentally bumps his head on the wall. There is no need to freak out and run to nurture him – they are strong creatures. Dogs will go crazy when they are put in an overly-sensitive environment and, eventually, they will become mentally unstable. It is essential for a human leader to practice calm energy around their dog and become aware of their emotions in order to change their dog’s temperament.
People with overly anxious and excessive catering personalities are not logical dog owners; this is why the dog bite rate is increasing every year. A dog with weak leaders will see the need to overreact because they do not think that their human leader is capable of protecting them. This is due to the fact that they have only experienced love from their owner and no discipline.
Positive reinforcement dog trainers in Orange County have fooled people into false happiness theories.
A positive reinforcement-only dog trainer will tell you that any form of correction is wrong, which can cause long term damage to a dog. They deny dominance as a factor in the social pecking order and label any aggression as either fear or mental instability. Most of the time, these dog trainers have never rehabilitated an aggressive dog.
I never thought the day would come when people consider discipline crueler than taking a dog’s life at a vet’s office or forcing a social animal to live in isolation. But, unfortunately, this is the life we live in because humans have developed unreasonable expectations of a happy dog. You can see how people and their emotions can become selfish and hypocritical.
One day, I hope that all humans will recognize dogs as a highly intelligent species that require care from responsible, disciplinary owners.Read More