There is a misconception surrounding shelter dogs that their families did not give them enough love or attention, but this is not always the case. I have seen many dogs that received tremendous amounts of affection from their owner, yet they still ended up on a shelter’s kill list due to aggression and misbehavior. So, where did it all go wrong?
In nature, everything is based on balance. To raise a healthy and happy dog, a dog owner must find balance in themselves before transferring this energy to a dog. When adopting a neglected or abused animal, keep in mind that you will always love the dog, but that doesn’t mean they can get away with whatever they want.
You must approach dog adoption as a way of improving the dog’s quality of life by providing the necessary resources in order for that dog to have a balance, happy life. You should not adopt a shelter dog for selfish or emotional reasons.
Back in the day, dogs were used for labor purposes, in which they had a specific job to do. Today, families wander into an animal shelter for the sole reason of buying a Christmas present for their two-year-old child.
Dogs are naturally pack animals and they seek a pack leader, as known as the “alpha”. The alpha is the strong one of the pack and protects other pack members by maintaining the consistency of everyone’s role in the group. The alpha uses logic and never makes emotional decisions.
When a dog does not have a strong pack leader, then the problems begin. When you use your emotions to discipline your dog, he will view you as an unbalanced “follower”. Dogs do not understand complex human emotions and they will perceive your sensitivity as a weakness.
In order to raise a well-behaved dog, you must learn about the nature of these animals and how they treat each other. Humanized dogs are not happy dogs. By using balanced discipline and affection, you will fulfill your dog’s need for a strong pack leader and, therefore, provide him with a happy life.Read More
If you’ve hired a dog trainer in the past, you’ve probably been told to use the “heel” command. Most dog trainers will advise you to make the dog walk right by your side and now allow your dog to pull, greet, or sniff another dog on walks.
So, why is it so important for your dog to learn the “heel” command? Why can’t he change sides and roam around as he pleases? If the walk is meant for him, why can’t he do whatever he wants?
Walking is not just about exercising your dog. It’s also a great way to challenge him mentally. A walk should not be boring and predictable. It should be fun and adventurous for both you and your dog.
The Heel Position
When your dog is in the heel position, his paw should be right by the heel of your foot. If he is in the correct stance, he should be able to see you from the corner of his eye.
When your dog leaves the heel position, he can no longer see you. If your dog does not have eyes on you, there is no way for him to react to your body movements, change of direction, and sudden stops during a walk.
In the dog world, whoever is in front of the pack is considered the leader. The leader decides where and how fast the walk should be. When you let your dog walk in front of you, the following will happen:
- He will decide which direction to take
- He will be the first to greet any dog or person that approaches the two of you
- He will choose the speed of the walk; either too fast or too slow
- He will decide when to stop and for how long
Although you may be OK with these minor occurrences now, if you continue to allow this behavior, there can be dangerous consequences down the road.
A dog that thinks he is the leader will choose not listen to any command you may give them in the future. This type of dog does not do well with authority and obedience training.
If you don’t enforce leash training, there is a good chance that your dog will pull you into a dangerous situation, like a busy street with oncoming traffic. Letting your dog walk ahead of you can bring about unexpected hazards and you will not have enough time to react.
Pulling on the leash can also damage the trachea if your dog is wearing a neck collar. A common sign of this is if your dog is gaging and choking while you are on walks.
When your dog makes frequent stops and wants to sniff everything, he is showing you that the walk is boring him. You have not made the walk interesting enough, therefore he is creating his own adventure.
A dog who refuses to walk after a short period of time is not a tired dog. Most of the time, he is simply refusing to follow you around or join your “pack”.
Allowing your dog to pull on the leash can put him at risk of approaching potentially aggressive dogs, which could lead to serious injuries. Instead, it is your responsibility to initiate every greeting.
Tips to making your walk more fun for your dog:
- Leave your phone at home and spend this time bonding with your dog
- Constantly talk to them in an excited tone to get their attention
- Do not take the same path every day
- Change your pace: Switch back and forth from a brisk walk to a jog, making your dog adjust to different speeds
- Make sudden direction changes and encourage your dog to follow
- Incorporate some basic obedience training into your daily walks to keep your dogs’ mind sharp
Enjoy the walk…
Some of the most common complaints I hear from my clients relate to their dog’s misbehavior while walking on a leash. The same issues seem to pop up over and over again:
- The dog is pulling hard on the leash and walks ahead of the owner
- The dog is too distracted
- The dog is constantly barking at everything
- The dog chases cars or bikes
- The dog doesn’t want to go on a walk at all
So, why is your dog acting this way on walks? To put it simply, he or she is too focused on everything but you and does not yet respect you as the leader.
The best way to address this behavior is to start communicating with your dog when you’re on a walk. Listening to music is great, but I suggest putting the headphones away until your dog is fully trained.
By following these simple steps, you can take the stress out of dog walking and actually start to enjoy it!
Step 1: Put your dog on a leash and, since he is probably jumping up and down with excitement at the mention of “walk”, wait for him to calm down. Give your dog a sit command and make sure he is always on your left side.
Step 2: Give your dog a heal command as you slowly take steps forward. If the dog runs past you or goes ahead of you, immediately turn and walk the opposite direction, giving the leash a very fast jerk and calling his name. By using this correction, you establish yourself as the leader and he becomes the follower. Keep applying this correction until your dog understands that his place is next to you or behind you while walking.
DO NOT yell, bend down, hit, or get frustrated in anyway. It’s important to stay assertive and firm, but relaxed at the same time. Imagine you are trying to assure someone who is having a panic attack. You would not yell at them, but instead you would lower your tone of voice and ask them gently to calm down. This same concept applies to your dog. Your goal is to calm him down when he is overly excited and the only way to do that is by staying relaxed.
Step 3: Pinpoint which situations trigger your dog’s misbehavior and try to avoid those external factors until your dog is successfully walking by your side. For example, avoid walking past other dogs or people if your dog has a tendency to lunge toward them.
Step 4: Take it easy on the leash. The leash is what connects you and your dog, so if you feel anxious or tense, the leash will transfer those feelings to your dog.
Step 5: After your dog has been walking by your side for an extended period of time, try putting your dog in situations that trigger his bad behavior. Walk by that neighbors house where your dog starts fence fighting with their dog, or have a friend ride by on their bike, all the while paying close attention to your dog’s body language. If your dog begins acting aggressively, direct your his attention to you by clapping your hands and quickly changing directions. Go back and repeat this step until your dog understands that you want him to remain calm and walk at your pace.
Step 6: Make your walk more challenging by incorporating sudden turns and changes of direction. This way, your dog cannot control how or where you walk.
By practicing these 6 steps, you will master dog walking in no time!
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