Tuesday, July 27, 2021

How to Stop your Dog From Being Crazy When You Get Home

#AlphaDogTraining #dogtrainingsaltlakecity How to Stop your Dog From Being Crazy When You Get Home by Alpha Dog Training https://www.alpha-dog-training-slc.com (801) 910-1700 I had a client the other day who’s dog, “Willie,” used to jump and bark when he got home from work. He asked how he could correct the behavior. I told him that it’s natural that after a long day at work, it’s always great to come home to our dog who’s really excited to see us. We immediately respond to our dog’s request for attention. We normally pet him or hug him and then “try” to walk in the house to chill out. The problem is that our dog just doesn’t want to stop asking for “hugs and attention.” It finally gets to the point of just becoming annoying. We then get mad. The last thing we wanted to do was to come home and be mad at our dog… So, the first thing we tell our clients in a situation such as this is that they need to understand that their dog needs to “be treated like a dog”. Their dog perceives the family as his pack. In a pack, there is the leader and the followers. The leader makes all the decisions for the pack. Everything must be his idea. The pack will wait to be directed and commanded by the leader. Thus, when my client comes home and opens that door, Willie is coming up to engage and set his role as the leader. Since my client is a human and doesn’t follow the same social norm, he thinks nothing of his dog’s request for attention and complies. He has just allowed Willie to tell him what he wants my client to do. My client (unknowingly) passively accepts that Willie is the leader and he will do whatever Willie wants. That is why my client’s dog won’t leave him alone. He has more stuff for my client to do. The solution to this issue requires my client to assert passive dominance. When my client comes home and opens the door, he needs to ignore Willie completely. If Willie starts to become annoying, he needs to correct Willie and continue into the house on his terms. He should be slow, calm, and resolute in his actions. Remember, he needs to assert that he is the leader and the one making the rules. Willie is simply “the follower” and must follow the direction of my client (the leader).
My client needs to enter the house and perform any action of his own choosing. It doesn’t matter what that action may be. He may simply put his keys on the table, take off his coat, or get a cold drink from the refrigerator. The important thing is that the action is easily discernable to Willie and freely implemented by my client. This is sending a clear signal to Willie that my client is doing what he wants and is not engaging him in any way. It is reinforcing his leadership role with Willie in a way Willie naturally understands. It is also keeping the entire situation calm and in my client’s control. When my client is finished “doing his action,” he should calmly call Willie to him. He can now pet him and greet Willie. The major difference between this way and Willie’s way is that everything is now on my client’s terms. Willie is now acting on what my client wants him to do and he drops the stress and anxiety he has of trying to be the alpha leader. I told my client to try this out and assured him that he would see a remarkable difference in Willie and he will have a very pleasurable homecoming after a long, hard day at work. Willie is now identifying my client as the leader and Willie is accepting his role as the follower.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Do's and Dont's of Meeting Others

#AlphaDogTraining #dogtrainingsaltlakecity The Do’s and Dont’s of Meeting Others by Alpha Dog Training https://www.alpha-dog-training-slc.com (801) 910-1700 Cities are becoming increasingly more dog friendly, which is awesome for those of us with four-legged friends! Dog-friendly restaurants/bars, outdoor events specifically for pups, and an array of lovely dog parks are just a few perks of living in our dog friendly communities. Of course, with so many dogs around, some challenges may start to crop up. One of the trickier situations we encounter is when dogs meet on leash. A leash is a type of barrier, just like a fence or crate is. In this way, the leash can be a source of frustration or create a feeling of being “trapped” for some dogs. Many dogs are fine meeting on leash. However, some may be reactive and could be triggered by another stepping into their “bubble”. There are some dogs who may be dog-aggressive, with or without a leash on. The trouble is, it can be impossible to tell before the dogs are already nose-to-nose. So, here are some tips to make sure outings are positive experiences, for both doggies and humans alike! 1. Give Space: When encountering another dog on a walk, leaving at least a leash distance (~6ft) of space will keep frustration down for excitable dogs and stress down for anxious dogs. 2. Side-by-side Walking: If you are in a situation where a meeting of your dogs might be inevitable then you can use the technique of side by side walking! Instead of forcing your dogs to meet nose-to-nose, have the other owner walk their dog next to you as you walk yours, leaving plenty of space between them. 3. Polite Greetings: While in the process of parallel walking, drop back with your dog, and allow your dog to sniff the other dog from behind. Allow no more than 3 seconds, then gently guide your dog back towards you and continue walking. 4. Meet humans politely too! Being on a leash when meeting new people can also cause anxiety for some dogs, especially if it is a small child. Space is key here again, at least until you see how your dog may be feeling about this new person. If you sense any nervousness, or you know your dog is not a fan of new people, feel free to ask for even more space and continue on your way. 5. Ask for Permission: Walking right up on someone with a dog you do not know is not only rude, but potentially dangerous. If you would like to meet a new doggie, always ask “Is your dog friendly?” or “May I meet your dog?” first.
While you enjoy the last warm evenings of the year, make sure your fuzzy friend is enjoying them too! Keeping potential encounters while on-leash either nonexistent or as stress-free as possible is a great way to make sure outdoor hang-out sessions are a fun time for all.

Friday, July 23, 2021

When To Start Training Your New Pupppy

#AlphaDogTraining #dogtrainingsaltlakecity At What Age Should I Start Training My Puppy? by Alpha Dog Training https://www.alpha-dog-training-slc.com (801) 910-1700 At what age should I start training my puppy? is a question I get almost every day here at Alpha Dog Training! The simple answer is the moment you bring the pup into your home! Puppies, just like people, are learning from the moment they’re born. Also, I find the biggest issue I run into is owners expecting too much out of very young puppies. So, expecting a high level of obedience from your new pup is not reasonable. Here’s a few tips: First, get the pup potty trained as soon as you can so you don’t have to clean up pee and poop for any longer than you need to. Next:
1. Exposure: The more your pup sees in those first few months the better. 2. Socialization: The more people your pup meets the better. I know a lot of people get stuck on dog socialization being physical interaction with other dogs but until your pup has all their shots limited interaction with other pups is recommended. 3. This does not mean you don’t want your pup to see another dog during this time, they just don’t need to be physically interacting. 4. Foundation of Commands: Treat training your pup to understand the general commands. 5. All of these and more are gone over in our one-on-one, at-home training. It’s offered after your pups 2nd set of shots (usually around 10 weeks). Then our general obedience, to make your dog amazing for life! It starts at 5 months old (20 weeks). At this age, dogs are old enough to understand and retain real obedience.

Monday, July 5, 2021

A Few Tips on Puppy Beds

#AlphaDogTraining #dogtrainingsaltlakecity A Few Tips on Puppy Beds by Alpha Dog Training https://www.alpha-dog-training-slc.com/ (801) 910-1700 When puppies aren’t playing or eating, they are sleeping. Sleep is an important part of a puppy’s life because most growing occurs during this time. Also, a well-rested puppy is a healthy puppy. You want to make sure that your puppy is comfortable and has a bed to call his own. Puppy beds are important because they provide a safe place for your pup in which to fall asleep. This way, he can avoid many dangers while napping and can experience uninterrupted sleep. When puppies are woken up prematurely, or during deeper stages of sleep like REM sleep, they can develop health problems and poor growth. Puppy beds also help to keep pups off of your furniture. It may be cute when your puppy sleeps on your couch at just 15 or 20 pounds, but it is much more difficult to break the habit when he is weighing over 100 pounds! Also, having his own bed may help to keep the peace between him and other dogs in your home. If he has his own bed, he may be less likely to “steal” someone else’s bed. There are many different pet beds from which to choose. Most beds involve a soft cushion for a base and then may be open or enclosed with a long, thin stretch of pillow called a bolster. The cushion could also be firm for more support, especially with large and giant breed puppies. If the dog bed is low-lying and flat, it may be ideal to place inside of a crate. For puppies that get too hot inside of a dog bed, there are a few options. Some traditional beds now have a gel-cooling layer inside of them so that your pup can stay comfortable. If this doesn’t help, there are hammock-style beds with a mesh fabric that is lifted off the ground by a thin plastic or metal frame. It allows for cool air to rush under the bed while your dog sleeps. Puppy beds should be comfortable, ensuring that yours will actually use it! If your puppy insists on trying to sleep in your bed (but you don’t want him to), try keeping the dog bed right next to yours so that he feels close to you. Beds that make them feel safe and secure are also important. Since puppies have accidents from time to time, the bed should be easy to clean. And since most young puppies are constantly teething, the puppy bed should be made from durable materials that are difficult to destroy!

Sunday, July 4, 2021

The Difference Between Punishment and Correction

#AlphaDogTraining #dogtrainingsaltlakecity The Difference Between Punishment and Correction By Alpha Dog Training https://www.allpha-dog-training-slc.com/ (801) 910-1700 There is a difference between punishment and correction. Correction is a redirection in the moment to help the dog understand. It might be a light noise or it might be a physical redirection. The most important differentiator is that it happens to change behavior, not to punish it. To punish is to try to make one sorry for a thing. Since dogs don't have a human style conscience or moral code, they don't need to feel sorry to change their behavior, they need information to go on to change their behavior. If a dog makes a mess - say they ransack the garbage while you are away and you come home to a pile of debris. Sending them to their crate for a time out may be a negative for them depending on how they feel about their crate, but it will never stop them from rummaging in the garbage again at the next opportunity. The nature of the dog is different. They are opportunistic by design as creatures that scavenge and forage. Exploring the garbage is an innately rewarding behavior - it appeals to the dog's nature. Truly, they don't even need to find anything wonderful to be reinforced. The scavenging itself holds innate value for a dog. Finding a snack after the forage is just the cherry on top! If we are to ask our dogs to ignore their natural instinct to scavenge, we need to create a system of communication that will make sense to them. That includes decreasing the rewards that drive undesirable behavior. A time out will never change the dog's behavior. Especially a time out that comes long after the giant reward of scavenging and perhaps finding a few cherries too. If we hope to override nature, we have to be fair, clear and thorough in our approach and it needs to make sense to the learner! They are dogs. The ideal situation has you spending your time in the management and training phases so there is little to no need for correction. A good tip is that if you find yourself correcting your dog for the same thing twice, you need to go back to management and training. You might even have to adjust your tactics to clarify the expectation to your dog.
Long-term consequences, like kibble with no carrots for dinner is not a suitable means of teaching a dog. Their nature does not allow them to be nurtured in this way. Part of being a good and fair leader is considering nature as one of the drivers of our 4-legger's actions. It allows us to develop the right amount of empathy for our dogs. Perhaps their noses are making them struggle, not making them stubborn. Maybe the environment needs to change so we can help our dogs learn. Knowing that their nature drives them and differs from ours will help you nurture them in the right ways. Here’s a secret: “Startlement is the secret to behavior modification.” In other words, startle the dog to refocus its attention then immediately praise. Since dogs are only trained with praise and happiness, if you immediately praise the dog when it stops (if only for a second) doing the bad behavior, you have thus REINFORCED the good behavior.