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Barbara's Babies Dog Obedience School

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Trainer Thoughts

Beyond Obedience - When training isn't working

 We must always consider the whole dog, take into account the dogs world; exercise, food, daily activities and lets not forget breed or breed combinations. In your journey together, you must consider all aspects of the situation, go beyond just obedience training and include everyone in the process. Most behavior problems stem from something beyond obedience, our goal is to help you address the issues and support better behavior using not just obedience but deeper understanding and handling skills to help you and your dog become better together.

One of the first things to consider is whether or not your dog is being properly exercised. Proper daily exercise will help drain your pup of excess energy and allow the brain to settle down into a more trainable and livable state. For every dog this can mean something different, a small lap dog may only need a quiet, leisurely walk to help him settle down, while an active minded Weimaraner may need a morning run, an afternoon game of fetch and a long evening stroll to get his mind settled and calm. Understanding your breed or your dogs bred purpose will help you unravel this mystery.

Take a good look at the food your feeding, don't be afraid to switch up and see if the changes you need will occur. We have seen dogs being affected by the dye in some foods, acting like children with dye allergies, just unyieldingly hyper-active and seemingly unable to focus, when changed to a color free food, they have settled down into a much more comfortable state of mind and become much easier to work with. Similarly we have seen some dogs with too high of a protein level in their food, go from a shivering, energetic bundle of nerves to a much calmer and more in control of themselves state of being. You may need to switch up a few times before you find what helps for your dog, but it is a piece of the puzzle not to be overlooked.

Over stimulation of dogs is quite common, we all love the attention our dogs thrust upon us when we have been out of sight for a day, or a few hours, but accepting and even encouraging this behavior can lead to several behavior issues. One of the biggest problems we see is over exhuberant greetings at the door; jumping, whining, piddling and even nipping can occur. Unfortunately we as the dogs owners and caretakers often accidentally teach and encourage this behavior from day one. Puppies are cute and we all love when they want to show us their love and affection, but take a good look at that picture; dog stands up on our leg, we pet and baby talk and encourage ... 50lbs later we have a dog who is just repeating what they've alway been rewarded for except now its suddenly making owner very upset. the dog doesn't understand what has suddenly changed or why your upset. Excited piddling can also occur due to over stimulation when getting attention, sometimes its just overwhelming for the dog and they will submissively piddle at your feet, which for dogs is an acceptable way of declaring i want to be friends and you can be in charge. Of course as people, we do not appreciate this communication and may get frustrated, yell or be mad at the dog, which really just compounds the problem. Trying to understand the situation from the dogs point of view can be quite eye opening and provide insight into why things may be occurring and what might help to stop the issue.

Seeking the help of Professional Experienced Trainers when needed can make the entire process much easier and faster for you and your dog.

House-Breaking Your Dog or Puppy

 
New puppies are so much fun! Until they piddle on your carpet or leave a doodle on your shoe! Older dogs can be just as ill-mannered if they've never been trained.
 
When starting with a new dog or puppy there are a few simple rules that can help ease the tensions on both of you.
 
1. Get on a schedule: have a set time of day to feed, water, potty and play. Make sure you stick to the schedule very closely for at least the first few weeks of training. It is generally considered a dog can "hold it" a number of hours equal to their age in months, up to eight(8) hours. So a new 6 or 8 week old puppy should be taken to potty every hour or hour and a half!
 
2. Outside is for potty time, not for play. At least that's what your pup should believe! In the beginning of training, allowing the puppy to play and get distracted while he/she should be going potty can lead to confusion and often ends with the pup returning indoors and relieving themselves on your floor.
 
3. Use a crate or confine the dog to a small area of the house when it cannot be properly supervised. As a general rule dogs are naturally clean animals and will not potty where they sleep or eat. Using a crate helps teach the pup to "hold it" until he/she can get outside to go.
 
4. Observe. Watch your puppy closely while it is out and about. You will start to notice certain behaviors just before the pup relieves itself. This may include circling, sniffing, leaving the general area while sniffing the ground, whining and generally looking uncomfortable. If you see these things it may be a good time to take a walk!
 
Remember that your puppy does not understand our human world, it is your job to help teach him/her what is expected and how to get along. Housebreaking can be fairly quick and simple, but sometimes we come across a dog who just doesn't get it, if this seems to be your case just give us a call and we will see what the breakdown is and help you fix it.
 
Unfortunately, here in Missouri especially, we often see dogs who have been born and/or raised in a breeding facility or puppy mill that were denied the option of remaining clean and this will cause problems with housebreaking. It can still be done in most cases, however it will take patience and more time than with properly housed animals.
 
Important things to remember
 
Crates:
 
Crates are not cruel when used properly
they provide a safe and comfortable shelter that mimics the cave dwelling Canine ancestors would have sought out
Many dogs learn to love their crates and some actually choose to "Hang out" there on their own.
 
Accidents Happen
 
The worst thing you can do for your dogs housebreaking process is to punish or scold them
If you happen to see an accident starting, a simple verbal -Akk- or No, or smacking a paper against your hand or counter will startle the pup and you would then grab them and run them outside to finish and praise them for doing so.
Clean the mess thoroughly and chalk it up to not being as aware as you should have been.
Do not be angry with your pet, they just haven't learned the rules of living in a human world and your anger will set back not only your housetraining but also your bonding.

About Training

Training dogs is a time consuming and continuous undertaking. It should not be expected to be a quick and easy one time fix for any issue.

Yes, we do offer In Kennel Training programs and yes they do create results. However, it is your responsibility to continue your dogs training once you take them home. Failure to practice with your dog will result in your dogs training becoming less and less effective over time.

Rewarding your dog is very important in the training process, however it should not be relied upon. Occasional treats given in correct timing to the action will have your dog excited and happy to perform.
Correcting your dog for incorrect behavior is equally important. A correction for your dog could be a simple "No" or a pop on a training collar.

Corrections and rewards together with regular practice and accurate timing will help your dog learn very quickly.

All dogs learn at different rates and using different combination's of methods for training.

Only train with your dog when you are in a good mood and able to be patient with your pet. If you work in a bad mood, you will not only see a different set of reactions from your pet, but you can significantly set back any progress you have made.

We are available to answer questions and offer advice via text, email or telephone. We welcome the opportunity to help so please do not hesitate to give us a call!

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Tidbits

Training is supposed to be FUN, if your not enjoying it, neither is your dog.

Training requires dedication and commitment, if you find yourself unable to create time for your dog, join a class or training group to help you maintain a schedule of training.
 
Working with your dog in a fun and exciting manner will create the bond you are looking for and help you and your dog communicate more effectively.

Seek the help of a professional to gain ideas and methods to keep it fun, fresh and exciting!

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