Sunday, August 21, 2016

Less No, More Yes!

Be the Coolest Mama: point out the great finds on walks! Don't say no; say, "Yes! What's that? Let's go see!" Palm fronds are fascinating sources of pee-mail!

So many dogs are told no all the time, so when you can find something great to say yes to, you will be as popular as I was this morning.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

It Takes a Village

Well, I hope a whole village isn't really needed to raise your dog, but we sure find that when dogs have a whole team on their side, behavior can improve more quickly.

If all the family members aren't on board or are even just inconsistent with what they ask of Scamp, poor Scamp will take longer to speak Human. If you're working on Loose Leash Walking but your dog walker lets Cleo do whatever she likes, poor Cleo is then reinforced for the wrong behavior (pulling). If the housekeeper doesn't crate Nelson when she vacuums (his safe place), he returns to chasing and biting not only the vacuum but his new friend the housekeeper.

And sometimes an additional professional dog trainer can help a dog turn a corner. Coco has learned lots of new behaviors from his in-home trainer, but he can't truly make the leap to solid training until he tries those behaviors around other dogs and distractions in a class environment. Some humans need an additional trainer to hear things in a new way--or to reveal new information that just didn't come to light with the first trainer. A second trainer's opinion can even verify sending a dog to a new home away from a dog he truly wants to eat. We wish every problem could be fixed, but sometimes other solutions are required.

Sometimes good friends need to help socialize a nippy dog and can be convinced to take time to toss around treats. And often other dogs can be enlisted to give a shy dog some confidence: walking with an outgoing buddy can bring Ellie out of her shell. Having neighbors who cross the street rather than cause Sam to go into a barking frenzy helps his training stay on track.

A doggie magic wand would be so great, but until that is invented, I'll take the help of our village people anytime!