Sunday, October 31, 2021

Why Does My Dog Jump on People?

#AlphaDogTraining #dogtrainingsaltlakecity Why Does My Dog Jump on People? Published by Alpha Dog Training of Utah (801) 910-1700
For most dogs, jumping begins early in life. Tiny puppies jump up to lick and sniff at adult dogs’ faces. Jumping up on other dogs is a normal greeting ritual for puppies, and as the puppies mature, they no longer need to jump to sniff noses and breath, and thus naturally stop doing this. Puppies who are well-socialized tend to grow out of this behavior quickly, and no longer jump up on other dogs except in play by the time they’re 4-6 months old. Of course, puppies don’t just jump on other dogs. They also jump on people. Unfortunately, most people then proceed to pet, talk to, or play with the puppy, thus reinforcing the jumping. It’s always a good rule not to encourage your puppy to do anything you don’t wish him to do as an adult. If your dog jumps on people in a friendly way to greet them, there are three simple things that you can do to address this. The first is to make sure that it doesn’t get rewarded. If you greet your dog happily when he jumps on you while you’re wearing jeans but get upset when he does the same thing while you’re wearing your dry-clean-only work clothes, that’s not fair. Behaviors that are rewarded tend to get repeated, so if you don’t want your dog to jump up sometimes make sure that you don’t ever encourage him to do so. Sometimes we also unintentionally reward jumping. For many dogs, negative attention is still preferable to no attention at all, and these dogs will frequently learn that jumping up is a great way to earn the attention they seek. In this case, the more you yell at your dog and push him down, the more likely he is to jump up on you, because it’s earning him the attention he desires. Once you’ve made sure that jumping isn’t being rewarded, it’s important to prevent your dog from jumping up. Remember that practice makes perfect, so the more chances your dog gets to jump on people, the better he’s going to get at it. Preventing your dog from jumping up can take several forms. A leash can be one easy way to prevent your dog from jumping on visitors. Hang a spare leash right next to the door so that you can easily leash your dog up before opening the door for visitors. Then simply stand on the leash, allowing your dog enough slack to comfortably sit, stand, or lie down, but not to jump. You could also consider using a baby gate to keep your dog away from visitors until he calms down. If your dog jumps on you, it’s helpful to prevent this as well. One easy way to do this is to use some of your dog’s daily food or some small training treats to give him something better to do than jumping. When you are about to greet your dog after an absence or when he’s very excited and likely to jump, arm yourself with the food or treats before you see your dog. This may mean that you need to keep some food or training treats outside your door or in your pocket. As soon as you enter the area where your dog is kept, toss the food or treats on the ground. Timing is important here – you want to have the first thing your dog notices be the fact that you’re tossing goodies on the ground, so that you catch him before he even begins jumping. As your dog vacuums up the treats, you can pet him and greet him, thereby reinforcing his four-on-the-floor behavior. Once your dog is no longer getting rewarded for jumping or getting the chance to practice jumping, you can teach him what you’d like him to do instead. This is an important step, because dogs do best if we can tell them what to do rather than just what not to do. Many people teach their dogs to sit before greeting others, and this can be one great option. Active dogs may also do well if they’re taught to go fetch a toy or to perform some other behavior that allows them to release some of their excited energy.

Friday, October 29, 2021

The Three Popular Dog Training Methods

#AlphaDogTraining #dogtrainingsaltlakecity The Three Popular Dog Training Methods Published by Alpha Dog Training (801) 910-1700 So, you decided to add a dog to your family. Congratulations! And, you’ve finally gotten settled with young Fido, but now that you’ve been able to spend some quality time with him, you realize that there may be more to pet-ownership than you considered. Training a dog can be one of the most arduous tasks of pet-ownership, but it’s necessary in order to keep your family and your dog happy — and you, sane! There are a few different approaches families can take to train a pet. Every dog trainer and pet manual seems to advocate a different style for teaching your pup. Though it seems confusing at first, they all boil down to three main techniques: the traditional dominance method, the scientific method, and the positive reinforcement method. The first two are the most widely used methods, and science-based training is becoming more popular, as veterinarians continue to research and understand dogs and what makes them tick — and wag. Traditional Dominance Training The traditional method of training became popular around World War II, when the military used force to train dogs and ensure that they followed commands. Traditional trainers will use corrections such as yanking a leash when attempting to get a dog to heel or using a shock collar to assure a dog stays within limits. Similarly, popular dog trainer Cesar Millan would probably fit best in the traditional training category, as he uses dominance theory in his training methods. Dominance theory draws much of its principles from information gathered from studies done on wolf packs, and has become somewhat controversial since Millan’s show, “The Dog Whisperer." Scientific Training “There are more effective, quicker, more humane techniques, based on the appropriate control of resources, use of good communication interaction patterns and positive techniques, which are more effective and have better durability.” In the science-based method, rewards are given when the dog performs adequately and taken away for unwanted behaviors. This method involves trainers working “with the dog” instead of simply commanding the dog. With this approach, animals are taught the desired behaviors first using rewards, but also taught that the unwanted behaviors don’t work it’s clear the dog will not get it.” So the dog learns that the unwanted jumping behavior does not work, only the polite sitting behavior works. And force and coercion are not needed. The polite sitting behavior is rewarded which leads to “positive reinforcement.” Positive Reinforcement Training The final method of training is one where the dog is supposedly never reprimanded and only ever rewarded for his actions. Unwanted behaviors are simply ignored. Trainers who use clickers and only positive reinforcement without applying any negative reinforcement This method doesn’t work effectively because it can’t teach the dog that he is doing something wrong. This method fails to help dogs understand which behaviors they should avoid and worse, by ignoring unwanted behavior, it allows the dogs to actually get rewarded for these behaviors. In general, a healthy medium between positive reinforcement and clear rules is best, found in the science-based method and what is recommended by veterinarians today. There are a few concepts that do pervade all schools of thought, however. The trainer needs to have the skill and knowledge necessary to provide “guidance” for the dog. Positive feedback and strong communication between all parties involved” is the best route.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

A Bit on Dog Trainers

#AlphaDogTraining #dogtrainingsaltlakecity A Bit About Dog Trainers Published by Alpha Dog Training (801) 910-1700 Your dog trainer is more than just a teacher of “sit,” “down” and “come.” Sure, dog trainers know a ton about how to motivate our canine clients, but our commitment to our students, both canine and human, is deeper than you might realize. You might think that once you walk out of the training facility or your private trainer leaves your house that we forget about you until the next time we’re scheduled to meet. Think again. Our clients’ challenges become our own, which means that you’re frequently in our thoughts during our off hours. We’ll strategize the best ways to assist you to get the job done, or stress out when setbacks happen. We want nothing more than to help you and your dog succeed, and we’ll do everything in our power to help you get there.
Many dog trainers use their own dogs as examples of their training prowess, while others (yours truly included) would rather not. Whether it’s because some trainers take on challenging cases that make the dogs unsuited for life as a demo dog, or just because they don’t feel like training yet another dog when they get home at the end of the day, not all dog trainers have impressive specimens. Sure, our dogs know the basics, but some dog trainer’s dogs still leap on guests (guilty), beg for food during meals, and sass other dogs during walks. As the saying goes, the cobbler’s children have no shoes. A big part of our job is making life better for our canine students, and sometimes that involves telling truths that pet parents don’t want to hear. If you’re crating your dog too much, we’re going to let you know. If your new rescue dog is a danger to your beloved cat, we’re going to have that difficult conversation with you. You hire us to provide solutions, and sometimes working through them can lead to uncomfortable realizations. But trust us, we have your dog’s best interests at heart.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

How Old Should My Puppy Be When I Bring Him Home?

#AlphaDogTraining #dogtrainingsaltlakecity How Old Should My Puppy Be When I Bring Him Home? Published by Alpha Dog Training (801) 910-1700 It’s critically important to realize that puppies need to stay with their mother and littermates through 7 weeks old, at minimum. Staying with mom and littermates during the 5-7 week period is vital. This is when puppies learn social lessons on how to control the intensity of their bite (through play with littermates), how to accept discipline and respond to it properly (through discipline from the mother), and how to correctly interpret canine body language. Pups placed in homes before going through this stage tend to play-bite harder and have exaggerated reactions to frustration. They have poor dog-to-dog communication skills. Their lack of understanding canine body language can lead to a host of problems – inability to play properly, fear, over-excitement, or even aggression toward other dogs. Another consideration is that 7 weeks is the age when most experienced breeders and animal professionals believe that puppy aptitude and temperament testing is the most reliable. If your breeder or rescue organization is doing one of these tests to help determine which puppy will be best for you, placement would be at or after 7 weeks old. That said, oftentimes pups will do better going home somewhat later than 7 weeks old, provided the breeder is equipped to train and socialize the litter. Some of the smaller breeds can take longer to mature physically, and may adjust more easily – and housetrain more readily – when they are placed at 10 or even 12 weeks of age. But I feel it’s important to say that a prospective puppy adopter needs to take extra precautions if bringing home a puppy at a later-than-usual age. While it’s always important to make sure your pup received thorough socialization, it’s absolutely critical in puppies placed past about 9 weeks old. If the pups are left to themselves, just hanging out in a pen with their littermates for those extra weeks, think twice (or more) before taking home that pup. Puppies left too long like this have a harder time forming a bond with their new families. They tend to get very competitive and play much rougher (and those habits can remain lifelong). Additionally, the shock of having to deal with the wide world can come as traumatic. Some pups never fully adjust to life in their new home. If your breeder or rescue group intends to keep their pups past 8 or 9 weeks old, do yourself a huge favor and make absolutely sure they will be actively socializing the pups individually. They must be committed to taking the time to regularly and thoughtfully introduce each pup individually to new sights, sounds, surfaces, people, animals, and places. The puppies shouldn’t be kept together night and day, but separated out with designated play periods together. Housetraining and crate training should have started. As you can imagine, this is a HUGE job, and very time-consuming. Only the most conscientious breeders and rescue groups will go to the trouble.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Puppy Basics

#AlphaDogTraining #dogtrainingsaltlakecity Puppy Training Basics Published by Alpha Dog Training (801) 801-910-1700 Your Puppy’s Motivation Just like humans, dogs are social animals naturally accustomed to living in “packs.” Your puppy will be a member of your family, but it’s up to everyone to teach him the rules he has to abide by. He’ll come to respect the rules you lay out for him. All it takes is for you and your family to lead the way. It’ll take some time for your puppy to learn the ropes. What’s important is that along the way you show him positive reinforcement. Many people will reprimand their puppy during training when they do something “wrong.” But this isn’t the way to go about teaching him. Instead, motivate him by showing him praise or petting him when he follows the rules. If praise isn’t enough to motivate him, that’s ok. Try using treats in moderation or playing fetch as a reward for doing a good job. Getting Started The best time to start training your pup is the moment he enters your home. Show him right from wrong the first day and continue to teach him the rules as he grows up. If you miss something along the way, don’t believe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any problems during training. Be Consistent There’s a strong connection between you and your puppy, so clear and consistent communication is key when you’re training him. Teach him positive actions by rewarding him, and “No” by guiding him to do the right thing. The important thing is you’re explicit in teaching him right from wrong; otherwise, he’ll get confused. If you’re not consistent, he won’t be either. Treat Rewards Giving your puppy a treat or kibble can be a good way to reward him for learning. But don’t give him any free rides. He’s got to earn that treat. This shouldn’t, however, be his only reward. It’s ok to start off with treats, but over time gradually replace treat rewards with praise. Pretty soon praise will be all he needs, and treats can be used just as a treat. Correction Misbehavior from your puppy is expected. But it isn’t out of spite, it’s because he probably thinks that it’s okay to act that way. It’s up to you to teach him otherwise. Remember to catch him in the act and not to punish him for something he did in the past. He won’t know what you’re punishing him for unless you connect it to an action that occurred very recently. IMPORTANT NOTE: Never hit him or scold him. Instead, say “No” in a sharp tone when you see your pup doing something wrong and give him praise when he stops.