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Integration Dog Training- (Video)

Integration Dog Training

At my Salt Lake City dog training company we work with hundreds of dogs per year.  One thing that is almost a universal constant, though, amongst our dog training clients is that they have little time to get their dog trained.  Life tends to get in the way.  Whether it’s work commitments, family projects and activities, hobbies, or other time users it is uncommon that we have a client that has hours a day to devote to their dog training efforts.

What we’ve done over the years is develop a unique, yet simple, system that we call ‘Integration Dog Training’.  Although it’s simple in concept it’s a game changer when it comes to getting the results you want from your training efforts.

What it entails is simply ‘training as you go’.  It means being ready for training moments as they present themselves and being prepared and proactive enough to recognize those moments and train them.  Let me give you an example with a video below:

Integration Dog Training- Video

Integration Dog Training on Youtube

This is just a quick little video but the concept is very meaningful to you as a dog owner.  Let’s examine just a few things that are going on in the video:

  • On the way into the home our trainer, Joe, is working on off leash heeling.  He had taken them out to the bathroom which means they were already outside.  He merely was integrating the training and taking advantage of the short walk back to the house to work on their off leash heeling.
  • Going into the home he took just a quick moment to have the dogs wait.  Why not?  You’re already going through a doorway with your dog.  Take an extra 5 seconds, integrate your dog training efforts, and have them wait before coming in.  It’s an easy time to train and it helps the dogs come in with a calm state of mind.
  • Coming into the house Joe didn’t let the dogs go nuts and run around.  He kept them on point and on task.
  • Finally, before sitting down to eat dinner Joe had the dogs go to their ‘place’ command.  Dinner time is a great time to train because you’re sitting down, you might as well integrate your training and have the dogs stay put while you eat.

Was there anything super-profound in this video?  Not really.  Yet I’ve rarely met the dog owner who has decided on his or her own to start integrating their training.  When you integrate your training into your daily life:

  • Your dog gets trained to a higher level.  Think about it.  Most people picture training as putting the leash on, grabbing the bag of treats, and going to the living room or backyard or park to work on specific skills.  Dogs are smart, though, and soon know your ‘game’.  They’ll likely comply during training but, who cares?  I don’t need my dog to be obedient when nothing is going on.  I need my dog to be obedient when someone rings the doorbell, when we encounter other dogs on the street, or when I’ve got guests over.  By integrating your training you train for real life and the dogs get trained to higher levels.
  • Your life gets easier.  All those hours of training that need to happen in order for your dog to become fully trained just got easier by making them fit in while you watch TV, eat dinner, walk through doors, take your dog out to the bathroom, etc.

So how can you do Integration Dog Training?

Integration Dog Training- Simple Steps

There are a few simple things you can do to for this type of dog training:

  • Leave a leash on your dog.  In the beginning stages of ANY training program I like to leave a leash on the dog even around the house.  This makes it simple to grab the leash were I need to guide or correct.  Most people make the fatal mistake of attempting to train their dogs verbally.  Dogs don’t learn that way.  Leave a leash on your dog so you can teach rather than tell.
  • Always back up your commands.  Fatal mistake #2 is giving commands that you aren’t able or willing to see through.  Your dog will see through you on this and will not obey.
  • Make it easy.  Don’t try to kill yourself getting tons of training done every day.  Simply let your day flow and allow the training to happen around that.

Dog Training Survey- Interesting Results

Dog Training Survey- Importance Of Training

I was recently asked by www.pet365.co.uk to review some of their info graphics.  When you head to the site you’ll see that they’ve got all sorts of graphics from dog training to dog health to pet products and more.

I gave a quick visit and the graphic that stuck out to me was a dog training graphic that showed the results of a survey of dog owners.  The survey was taken from over 1000 dog owners from all over the world.  The survey asked about various dog training questions and some of the results surprised me.  The results of the survey are shown on the graphic below:

Dog Training-The Results Of The Survey

Dog Training Information
Dog Training graphic created by Matt Beswick for Pet365. Click here to view the full post.
What do you think of the data collected?  I’d love to see your comments down below this post.  There were several things that surprised me quite a bit:

Dog Training- My Thoughts On The Results

  • About half of the respondents admitted to have never taken their dog to a dog training class.  My first thought about this was actually a selfishly positive take on this.  I thought, “Wow, look at how many people DON’T invest in training their dogs.  That means there are TONS of people who I can go after to buy various dog training services and dog training products we offer.  I got to thinking, though, that this was also a sad statistic.  I’m not saying that everyone needs to invest in a dog trainer but the reality is that most dogs who go to qualified training end up being happier, better balanced, and have a better quality of life.  It made me sad to think that about half of dogs are missing out on that.
  • Along with this first stat that caught my eye I found it interesting that close to 100% of the respondents claimed to be doing some training with their dogs in their home.  Simple math tells me that half of those are training without the aid of a trainer.  What that means is that they are going it alone.  Again, I’m not saying that everyone NEEDS to have a dog trainer handy.  In this day and age, though, there is no reason to go ANYTHING alone.  If you want to figure out which plants grow best in your area you don’t have to do trial and error, somebody already figured that out.  If you want to craft a table in your garage there are already people who have figured out how to do that.  And when it comes to training your dog there are already thousands of professionals who have figured out some of the best ways to get the job done.  Why would you ‘go it alone’ when there are so many resources out there?  Every day I read and accept the comments onto this website and people talk about the problems with their dogs and they talk about what they are doing to try to fix those problems.  In most cases they are doing things so unbelievably wrong that I wonder how it occurred to them to try those training methods in the first place?  So while I know that the average dog owner is attempting training in their home I’m also dismayed to learn that most of them are doing so without a strong foundation in understanding the dog mind.
  • I found it interesting that 90% of the respondents claimed that their dogs know ‘sit’.  I always facetiously comment to my clients ‘why bother teaching the dog sit?’  In reality I do think that a dog should understand the command ‘sit’ but in the grand scheme of things it is probably the least valuable dog obedience command out there.  What good does it do you if your dog sits?  Now, if your dog lies down and stays for 5-30 minutes that solves some problems.  If your dog comes when called or doesn’t pull on the leash that helps you out.  But a dog that sits really doesn’t do a whole lot to improve your life or your dog’s life.

Overall, I found the data interesting.  I see that the trend is that people understand the need for solid training and they are attempting to do it.  Unfortunately, I still think that many go about this task the wrong way but it’s good to see the ‘dog culture’ changing for the better.

How To Teach A Puppy To Focus On A Walk

How To Teach A Puppy To Focus On A Walk

The following is a question from one of our readers:

Hi Ty! 

I have a 4 mnths Rottie (Rottweiler) female. She is a quick learner and we practice on the generals like, sit, come, down etc.

One problem is to keep the dog’s attention when we are out walking.  It is probably because she is so young and everything is new to her but her attention is on whatever is in sight or in her nose.  To make her go by my side without pulling the leash is sometimes a little difficult.  Do you have any advice on how to get the puppy’s attention and obedience in those situations?

Regards

How To Teach A Puppy To Focus On A Walk- Resources

How To Teach A Puppy To Focus On A Walk On Youtube
If you want to know how to teach a puppy to focus on a walk there are a few resources below that you can use:

This is my crazy man method for loose leash walking.

This DVD program gives big detail into loose leash walking, coming when called, staying when told, etc.

The reality is that if you are going to teach a puppy to focus there are really only two ways to do it:

  1. Through compulsion.  Compulsion means correction.  In this context it would mostly be referring to some sort of leash correction, tug on the leash, etc.
  2. Through motivational techniques.  Whether you are referring to verbal and physical praise, treats, or toys it is possible to train a dog to focus using just motivational techniques.

How To Teach A Puppy To Focus On A Walk- I Don’t

The reality is that I rarely train a dog that young to focus.  The reason is two-fold:

  1. Puppies have their heads in the clouds.  They aren’t mentally ready for a great deal of focus.  Yes, they are smart and they can pick things up quickly.   But they’ve got minds with next to no attention span.  Trying to train a puppy to focus with compulsion means that you have to use an awful lot of compulsion.  I don’t like that.  Once a dog gets to about 6-7 months of age they are usually able to focus better and now in the space of 10-15 minutes I can have a dog paying attention.
  2. Using motivational techniques works quickly.  It just doesn’t work very completely without a TON of work.  What I mean by that is that, yes, you get yourself some hot dogs and you’ve got a puppy looking at you like a champ.  But in order for you to actually go on a walk and NOT use hot dogs you are talking months and months of work.  I’ll take the easy route and just wait for the dog to get a bit older and then I’ll tackle the leash pulling problem with a balanced approach of proper correction and proper praise.

My Daughter Is Terrified Of The Beach- How It Can Help You With Your Dog

My second oldest child, Cameron (we call her Poki), is terrified of the beach.  Not just scared, but heart palpitation, pee your pants, 5 year old with a  coronary scared.

Yes, that picture of the blond girl is real.  She wasn’t faking that fear.  The waves were coming in and she freaked out.  In fact, she’ll freak out when she sees the waves a full 100 or 200 feet away.

This poses a problem.  As I’ve recently written, we’ve recently moved to Costa Rica.  We live right near the beach.  I can hear the waves from the front yard and see the tree line where the waves begin from our property.

I realized that she is going to have to get over her fear of the ocean, at least on some level, as we go to the beach often.

It then hit me, I’ve helped hundreds of dogs conquer their fear, why not help my daughter using the same principles?

Now, I’m sure I’m about to receive a healthy dose of criticism and parental judgement.  You’re treating your daughter like a dog?!?!  What makes you think you can apply dog training principles to a child?  How cruel!

To those who are going to judge me…feel free.  As parents we get a little nuts from time to time in trying to help and educate our kids.  There isn’t a parent among us who hasn’t tried some stupid stuff to get our kids to see a different perspective, or to stop screaming, or to give us some peace, or to ‘for once in your life put away your clothes!’

I decided I needed to do something drastic if I was going to help her get over this fear so I did exactly what I’ve done with dogs in the past.  Hopefully you’ll be able to learn how you can help your dog with the lesson I learned by working with Poki.  So far, it seems to have worked and I can only imagine things will continue to improve.

I always preach to my dog training clients that fear comes from a ‘chaotic’ state of mind.  In a literal sense, the brain isn’t processing outside data the way it normally does and has allowed itself to briefly ‘atrophy’ into a state of chaos.

Now, if we can assume that the brain (of the dog or of Poki, take your pick) has gone into chaos we must then consider what is the opposite of chaos?  For if we know that chaos is not conducive to growth, what is the polar opposite that could, in theory, allow growth?

The opposite of chaos, in the natural world, is control.

When I’m working with dogs I run into a lot of fears:

  • Fear of going up or coming down stairs
  • Fear of jumping into a vehicle
  • Fear of slippery floors
  • Fear of swimming
  • Fear of loud noises

In nearly every one of these cases I’ve found that we can get quick and lasting results by placing the dog into a fearful setting but requiring control and structure within that setting.  What happens is that the dog is forced to focus on something productive (control, obedience, rules, etc.) rather than something destructive (their fear).

For example, a dog that won’t go up the stairs I simply put on the leash and oblige the dog to follow by my side.  He’ll flip and rant and rave and complain at the top of his lungs but I continue on.  In me pushing the dog beyond his fear threshold the brain has two choices it’s forced into; to adapt or to completely shut off.  Dog and people brains are pretty darn awesome.  I’ve only seen two dogs completely shut down in my entire career and that was a rare case and a story for another day.  Some brains will adapt quickly and others more slowly but all tend to adapt.

In the case of stairs, for example, I don’t think I’ve ever had to run a dog through this drill more than four or five times before he or she was completely fine going up or down stairs.  The same is true for swimming, slippery floors, etc.  It’s rare to have to run a dog through one of these drills more than a handful of times before they can now deal with their fear.

I’ve got a lot of detractors in this philosophy, though.

Not too long ago I was on a message board with other dog trainers from around the country.  The question was posed by a trainer who was having a hard time getting their client’s dog to navigate stairs.  They asked for help in the group.

The answers I saw shocked and repulsed me in regards to how little ‘professional dog trainers’ actually understand about dog behavior and learning.  The answers I saw included:

  • First you must take the dog to the vet to make sure he’s allowed to go up and down stairs.  Really!?!?  We need a vet trip to go up and down stairs?  What’s next, permission from the surgeon general to give your dog a treat?
  • Convoluted solutions involving harness apparatuses to lift the dog up and down the stairs.  This one really got me.  Instead of training the dog and helping the dog, we’ll simply give the owner a back-ache.
  • Complex training ideas involving treats, moving inches at a time, and an admitted 2-3 months of training.  I couldn’t believe this one.  How do trainers stay in business if their solutions for tiny problems require months of work?

When I presented my solution of ‘put the dog on a leash, walk up the stairs, when the dog doesn’t want to walk, keep going,’ I was summarily lambasted by the entire group for such a cruel idea.  It didn’t matter that I could outline why this works in the dog’s brain, how it had worked dozens of times, and how a more cruel fate for the dog was subjecting him to months of stress when this problem could have been solved in the amount of time it took to write down the question.

It was no use, though, the group was insistent that the only way to get a dog over a fear was stockpiles of treats and months of work.  I feel so bad for so many dogs out there.

Back to Poki.  I’ve helped so many dogs quickly get over their fear of swimming and floors and stairs, etc. that I figured this would have to work with my daughter as well.

I picked her up and we started walking.  She screamed a scream so blood curdling that, had the beach been nearly deserted, I’m sure the police would have arrived in due course to check on the murder.

I pushed on, though.  (Cue the disapproving look of judgmental parents)

This is the view from our yard. The far tree line is where the beach is.

We got out in the ocean and she started babbling about sharks, whales, octopuses and other sea creatures that were going to eat her.  She screamed about the waves dragging her out and turning her into a mermaid.  In my mind I knew that getting her into the situation was only half the battle.  I had to get her mind centered on something that can focus her.

In the case of dogs I always use obedience.  I condition the dog to focus on heeling, staying, coming when called, etc.  I’ve found that dogs don’t multitask so if they are focused on the task I’m giving them it doesn’t give them room to focus on their fear.

With Poki I threw her off balance by saying, “Poki, poki, poki, listen real quick.  What is 2+2?”  At first she slowed down a second from the odd question and said she wasn’t in the mood for math.  I persevered, though, and told her how important it was that she teach me what she’d learned about math.

As I started peppering her with math questions and other questions on topics she’s been studying I could feel her heart beat calm down, her breathing slow to normal, and her fear melt away.  It didn’t entirely melt away but I made sure that we left the water on a calm note (also an important dog training principle) and she was much calmer when we left.

The result.  Not 10 minutes later she asked to go into the water.  This time she cheerfully went in without being carried and voluntarily stood in thigh deep water while waves came in.  There was still hesitation and after a bit she decided she’d had enough but just two days after that she was asking if we could go down to the beach.

She’s not completely over her fear and we’re not signing her up for surf lessons yet.  But by obliging her mind to deal with a fear and then re-focusing the mind she made quick and vast improvements.

You can do the same thing with your dog.  Don’t take my advice on child-rearing, though, you’re on your own with that one.

Happy training.

A Dog That Won’t Come When Called

A Dog That Won’t Come When Called

A dog that won’t come when called is one of the biggest obedience challenges that people have.

The following question comes in from one of our readers:

HI Ty,
I REALLY LIKE YOUR TRAINING.  My puppy, Jewel, is 11 months old and she is part Shepherd. I rescued her from Southern Jewel Rescue.  She is a very sweet puppy and smart.  When we are in the house she will come when I call her, but outside, when I say” here” she thinks I am playing.  She is very fast so I put her on her leash and let her run in the big yard, she runs in a circle like a horse and when I call her she grabs the leash and starts pulling it and me all over.  Then I tell her to leave it!   She takes a while, finally she lets go.  I know she is still a puppy and all she wants to do is play.
I did buy your dogbehavioronline.com about 4 years ago, but my computer broke down now and  I can’t get it back.  So if you could please send a video on teaching her to come when called I would really appreciate it.  I miss having the program.
Thank You,
Shiley
The following is my response:

A Dog That Won’t Come When Called On Youtube

A dog that won’t come when called- Key Points

  • First you need to train the dog to stop grabbing the leash.  It’s tough with a dog that won’t come when called if you can’t even use the leash to train.  I recommend getting a 20 foot long line and a pinch collar.  When she goes to grab the leash give quick leash corrections to get her to stop.  If needed, you could try vinegar or hot sauce on the leash to get her to stop grabbing it.
  • During the training stages with a dog that won’t come when called it’s important to always be ready to back up your commands.  If you can’t back it up, don’t say the command.
  • Now that the dog isn’t grabbing the leash and pulling you around it’s important for you to start training the ‘here’ command.  Give her the command and if she doesn’t immediately come then give a quick pop on the leash as a reminder.  When she does start to come praise her heavily.

A dog that won’t come when called- Resources

We’ve got many resources on this site for helping you with training a dog to come, obedience, aggression, puppy training and more.

If you’re looking for our new programs that include working with a dog that won’t come when called, extreme behavior problems, advanced obedience then check out the link for more information.

There Is A Difference Between An Obedient Dog And A ‘Not Disobedient’ Dog

Obedient Dog vs. Not Disobedient

Okay, I know when you first read the title of this post it may seem a bit confusing.  ‘Obedient’ and ‘Not Disobedient’ basically sound like the same thing, right?  I maintain that, no, they are entirely different.

The difference that I’ve seen in these two descriptors can mean the difference between aggression problems and no aggression issues at all.  A destructive dog and a dog who is safe to leave home alone.  A dog that runs into traffic and a dog that stays by your side.

What Is An Obedient Dog?

Let me get a bit deeper into my meaning.

Throughout my career I’ve met hundreds of dogs who are, overall, good dogs.  They don’t typically chew things, they don’t typically get in fights or act aggressively.  People meet these kinds of dogs and generally comment on how nice, friendly, and well mannered they are.

Out of these dogs, though, I’ve met many that, with little change in their life, have developed aggression issues, destruction issues, and overall manners issues.

You see, there are many dogs that just aren’t prone to doing that much wrong.  They are calm dogs, perhaps house trained easily, and are generally more laid back.  As a result, their owners didn’t take much time or put in too much effort into formally and properly training these dogs.

What that means is that a lot of these dogs don’t really have much of a foundation in learning, discipline, cause and effect, etc.  Many dogs can go their whole lives and, because they don’t create too many problems, can essentially hover beneath the radar when it comes to their need for training.

The Hidden Danger In A ‘Not Disobedient’ Dog

I refer to these dogs that don’t have much training, but don’t do too many things wrong, as ‘not disobedient’ dogs.  If you asked this dog to sit and stay for 5 minutes he probably wouldn’t.  If you asked this dog to come when there were heavy distractions she most likely wouldn’t return.  If you wanted this dog to heel off leash it likely isn’t going to happen.

Based on those standards you can’t really call them ‘obedient dogs’ but because they are overall good dogs you can call them generally ‘not disobedient’ dogs.

Like I say, many of these dogs can go a lifetime and not cause heartburn for their owners.

Where I’ve met MANY of these dogs, though, is when there is a change in the dog’s life.  I’ve met many of these dogs when a new dog is introduced to the home.  The primary dog has generally got on well with dogs during his life but suddenly doesn’t like the change of a new dog and turns to aggression.

I’ve met many of these dogs when a life event occurs like a divorce, child being born, or the family moving to a new home.  In the face of change the dog turns to destruction, house training problems, or other anxiety related behaviors.

You see, these dogs didn’t have much of a foundation in structure to begin with.  When there is a change, big or small, the dog has nothing to fall back on.  The dog and owner likely have a good relationship but it also likely isn’t rooted in solid leader/follower protocols.

In the absence of this even small changes can send a dog into a tail spin.  That’s why we always recommend solid obedience training to all dog owners, whether their dog is a holy terror or simply a ‘not disobedient’ dog.

What The Amish Can Teach Us About Dog Training

Dog Training & The Amish

I was recently watching a show on television.  The show was about a group of Amish and Mennonite youth who left their homes in rural, small town America and went to live in the Big Apple.  The show was chronicling what their lives were like once they got so much freedom.  Freedom from rules, freedom from supervision, etc.  The whole point of the show was to marvel at cultural differences and to study the characters of those who are raised in one setting and then dropped in another.

The show reminded me of another show that I once saw about Amish Rumspringa.  Rumspringa is a time when many Amish youth leave their homes and some of them become very rebellious and wild and depart from the values they learned growing up.

You may be wondering what, on earth, this has to do with dog training.

First off, let me start out by saying that I have no opinion on the Amish faith.  My comments here are not directed towards their doctrine, their beliefs, or their ideals.  What I want to comment on, however, is what I call ‘Canine Rumspringa’.

You see, many people understand the value of supervision when it comes to their young puppies.  They get this 8 week old bundle of trouble and they set out on a program of supervision, care, and training.

Dog Training- ‘Canine Rumspringa’

Unfortunately, though, many of these same dog owners find that it is difficult.  In my company we get many new clients when the dogs are six months old to a year.  At this time these dogs are on their ‘Canine Rumspringa’.  The dog owners, once diligent with training and supervision, have essentially stopped and now they find their dogs rebellious, insolent, disobedient, and worse….just like many of the Amish teenagers who leave a sheltered life for the first time.

Now, I don’t pretend to know how to raise an Amish teenager.  Is it a good idea to raise a child with structure and rules only to abandon those rules in one fell swoop?  I doubt it, but it’s not my culture so I’m not going to judge.

I will tell you this, though, with 100% certainty.  Dog owners who give their dogs too much freedom too quickly will almost always regret it.

Dog Training- Too Much Freedom

When I talk about too much freedom too quickly what I refer to are actions like:

- Allowing a puppy free reign of the house when the puppy isn’t fully house trained or doesn’t have complete understanding of what is okay to chew and what isn’t.

- Taking a dog off leash in the front yard, park, dog park, or trail without having first off-leash trained the dog.

- Leaving a young dog in the back yard all day while the owners are gone at work.

- Allowing a young dog the freedom to play with children or other dogs without supervision.

These types of activities, amongst others, tend to lead to dogs with aggression issues, house training problems, destruction, obedience deficiencies, and more.

Raising and training a dog is all about going one step at a time.  A dog masters one thing and you move on to the next.  Too much freedom too quickly and you end up with a rebellious, disobedient dog.  Proper dog training requires a plan that you stick with long term.

10 Year Old Kids Don’t Own Dogs

Dogs and KidsDogs and Kids- The Real Truth

In my years of training dogs I have run across few absolutes.  It seems like there are dozens or even hundreds of ‘rules’ that dictate dog behavior and dog training.  Having said that, it seems like I will find exceptions to most rules.

The topic I wanted to touch on today is one of those.  Is this topic a hard and fast rule?  No.  But if I had to put a percentage on it I’d say that what I’m about to present is correct 99% of the time.

I’m talking about dog ownership and children.

I love dogs.  I’ve got two of them in my home.  I love kids.  I’ve got four kids in my home.  But what I realize is that, for all the best intentions in the world, children just aren’t capable of owning dogs.

Dogs and Kids- The Promises And The Pleading

In my career I’ve been in the home of hundreds, if not thousands, of dog owners.  In many of these client situations I’ve found that the dog was purchased ‘for the kids’.  The dog was invited into the home ‘to teach the children responsibility’.  Or that the puppy came to live with the family because the ‘kids could take care of it’.

I can only think of one or two occasions that I’ve come across where this is actually the case.  Instead, in most scenarios that I’ve come across, I’ve encountered strife and fighting amongst parents and children.  Expectations that existed upon purchase of the puppy seem to go out the window within weeks and the family is left trying to figure out how to take care of this creature.

Dogs and Kids- The Reality

The reality is that most kids I meet under the age of 13, 14, or 15 can hardly remember to bathe themselves if they don’t have a parent telling them to do so.  Most of them can’t make much more than a sandwich if they were hungry.  They can’t drive themselves anywhere, they lose track of time when playing video games or playing with friends, and homework doesn’t get done unless the dutiful parent is on their case.

Now, I know there are plenty of exceptions as well as plenty of even worse cases.  My point here is not to insult children.  They are what they are.  They are grown ups in training.

My point is, though, that how is it possible to take that level of understanding and awareness and make sure that it is waking up on time in order to take the puppy out to the bathroom?  To supervise that young dog with enough precision that it can’t sneak away and chew on shoes?  To be on enough of a schedule to remember when it’s potty time, meal time, etc.?  To have the coordination, dexterity, and ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ to follow a training program?

The reality is that kids just can’t do this.  This leads to a never ending source of frustration for me as I try to help dog owners understand that their puppy or dog isn’t going to reach it’s potential with a child at the helm.  A few examples:

- We had a client where both mom and dad worked long hours and the 9 year old child was home alone with a German Shepherd.  The complaint was that the German Shepherd would drag the child around the neighborhood when going on walks.

I was horrified to learn that they had even sent the young child out alone in the neighborhood with a dog that was about the same size as the child.  It doesn’t matter how well trained the dog is, what if the dog has one bad day and drags the kid into traffic pulling after a cat?  It doesn’t matter how well trained the dog is, what happens if a loose dog comes up and starts a fight with the dog and now the child is in the middle of 150 lbs. of dog fight?  The potential for disaster is endless.

- We had a client where dad worked a lot and mom was home but wasn’t too interested in the dog.  They wanted the 13 year old son to take care of the dog.

Think about the average day of a 13 year old.  He leaves in the 7 o’clock hour for school and gets home during the 3 o’clock hour.  He’s got homework, he’s got sports and activities, and hopefully time to play with friends.  Where is it possible in that scenario that this 13 year old boy is going to have much time at all to dedicate to the training and care of a dog?

- We’ve had several clients with multiple children and a young puppy in the home.  In these cases the children are often tasked with ‘supervising’ the puppy.

Folks, how many of you have kids that can go long periods without some degree of supervision?  Let alone asking those same children to supervise and train an 8 week old dog?  It just isn’t going to happen.

Dogs and Kids- The Ideal

After writing all this I don’t want to come across that dogs and kids should have nothing to do with each other.  In fact, I think kids should be taught to feed and clean after the dog, train the dog, and care for the dog.

What I’m getting at is that it should never be the primary responsibility of children to care and maintain a dog.  Any work the child does in that respect should be under the supervision of a parent to make sure it is being done correctly and with the proper techniques.

Dog Training- Success Vs. Failure

Dog Training

Dog Training

Dog Training- What A Week!

I was struggling to find the right way to begin this blog post.  I didn’t want to come across as braggadocios but I did want to give some background into why I’m writing this post.

You see, this was a good week for my ‘dog training‘ ego.  I happened to run into someone who had purchased my dog training videos several years back.  He told me what a difference those videos had made and then he showed me his dog.  His dog was impeccably trained!  I was so impressed!  His dog was highly obedient, both on and off leash, even with distraction of other people and dogs around.

I also received several emails this week from people thanking me for the results they had been getting from the training DVDs they had purchased.  One was telling me about how well his puppy was going and another was telling me how their dog’s aggression had been improving.

We frequently get emails and calls from our clients and are thrilled when we get them but this was the first time that I had actually run across someone who I had never met but had received some great training from my videos.

Needless to say, the combo of meeting this dog owner and receiving some of these thank you emails:

  1. Boosted my ego.  I won’t lie.  I loved hearing and seeing these things.
  2. Made me think and wonder.  What is the difference between someone who is thanking me for my dog training DVDs and the person who is returning them to get a refund.

Dog Training- What Makes The Difference?

Perhaps I shouldn’t admit it.  Many business owners will never admit to having customers that aren’t happy with their company.  I won’t lie, though.  While we do our best to provide the best dog training information possible we may not be the right company for every dog owner out there.

Our training DVDs carry with them a complete money back guarantee.  If people aren’t happy they can get a return on their money if they return us the DVD programs within 45 days.  We believe in our training so much that I think we’re the only dog training company to do that.

So far we’ve been rewarded.  I think the most return requests we’ve ever had in a month has been two.

In any case, on some of these occasions people want to return the DVDs because they got rid of their dog, didn’t have time to train the dog, etc.  On other occasions, though, we’ll get an email request to return the DVDs and people will complain ‘the training didn’t work for me’, ‘it didn’t work on my dog’, ‘your techniques don’t work’ or some other sort of complaint along those lines.

No matter the reason, we refund them their money but I often wonder what the difference is between the guy who is showing me stellar off leash obedience and the guy who says my methods are lousy?

Dog Training- Action vs. Inaction

With that in mind I went about interviewing and questioning these wonderful folks who took the time to get in touch with us this past week.  I compared their answers with the answers of those who ask for refunds.  I looked for similarities but above all I looked for differences.  I wanted to determine why some have dog training success and others, with the exact same methods, have failure.  And I think I found out the difference.

There was no ‘big reveal’.  I didn’t have an ‘a-ha moment’.  There was no voice from the heavens or light bulb going off.  What they told me was so simple it almost seems ridiculous to mention it….

The difference is that these folks….took action.

That’s it.  They found dog training information they believed in and they got to work.

You see, in many cases when someone writes me to tell me ‘hey man, your methods such and they don’t work with my dog’ I want to help them achieve their goals.  I’ll often tell them, ‘I’m sorry you haven’t found success.  What trouble were you having with my methods and perhaps I can help.’

When I ask this I nearly always get one of two responses:

  1. No response at all.  I’m not surprised.  Some folks just aren’t happy with anything.
  2. A response that signifies that they aren’t familiar with my methods at all.  Perhaps they never even cracked the plastic on the DVDs or even attempted to apply the dog training techniques with their dog.  Perhaps they were too lazy to get to work with their dog.  Regardless, in almost none of these cases can they converse back and forth intelligently about the methods that I purport will work with their dog and WHY my methods aren’t working for them.

Dog Training- My Methods

I believe in my methods.  I know they work and I’ve seen them work time and time again over the course of years and years.

Having said that, I’ve found that even if you aren’t using my methods (don’t worry, my feelings won’t get hurt) but you ARE actually training your dog actively you WILL get results.

I’ve found that someone with sub-par dog training methods and a great work ethic will get a heck of a lot more out of their training experience than someone with the best methods in the world that can’t bother to learn and/or apply those methods.

The bottom line is that I encourage everyone to use my dog training style.  I believe in it and know it helps people and dogs.  Even if you aren’t going to follow my style, though, at least get to work.  Don’t buy that dog training book, DVD, course, group class, private trainer, or other delivery method and then get frustrated when you don’t see results due to your own inactivity.

That Darn Leash

“Okay, the first thing you need to do is keep your dog on a leash…”

“With your dog on a leash you can keep the dog supervised…”

“With your dog leashed at all times you can better teach obedience and other wanted behaviors…”

“Keep your dog on a leash and you can use the leash to correct behavior problems when they occur…”

These types of statements are things that I find myself saying on almost a daily basis when I’m working with my clients.

My clients come to me with house training problems, aggression issues, behavior problems, destruction, manners, and more and the first thing that I teach them is to keep the dog on a leash.

I found myself saying it so much that I wanted to examine why.

The simple reason is that most people give their dogs too much freedom too quickly.

The dog isn’t house trained yet they allow the dog to roam the house not supervised.  The dog doesn’t know what not to chew on yet the dog is allowed to go chew on whatever he wants.  The dog doesn’t know the proper way to greet guests at the door yet is allowed the freedom to go jumping on new guests.

Everyone WANTS a dog that listens when off the leash, does what he or she is told, and can be trusted to follow voice commands.  The problem is that most people attempt to start there.  They start with a dog that is off leash yet has never even learned to be good on the leash.  Life doesn’t work that way.

You don’t set the goal to be a doctor and tomorrow start dispensing medicine.  You work your way to that point.  You don’t desire to be a mechanic and tear apart your neighbor’s engine this weekend having never done anything mechanical.  You don’t expect to hit a home run out of the park the first time you swing a bat.

And you don’t expect a dog to be obedient with great manners if you haven’t started in the right spot.

That spot for most folks is to keep a dog on the leash, yes, even in the house, for the first month, two, three or more depending on how fast you reach your goals.  As your dog improves with obedience and manners you slowly move away from leash work and you end up at your target goal.

Don’t skip the hard stuff, though.  You need it to get to the payoff.

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