Dog training

Dog training and Schooling

Teaching Your Dog To Greet People Politely

One of the most common problems is that dogs lunge towards people. When that happens, we, embarrassed that our dogs are “out of control”, jerk the dog back and yell at the dog.

Big mistake. Dogs don’t speak English and we can’t explain to them why we are correcting them and if your dog associates the correction with a person approaching instead of the lunging, you can create a human aggressive dog. This happens a lot more than people realize.

“Uh oh!” Here comes a person, I’m going to get jerked and yelled at. I’m going to growl to warn the person to stay away so I don’t get jerked and yelled at.”

And then of course, we are even more upset when the dog growls and jerk harder and the cycles escalates. (Even though we should know to never correct a dog who is growling because we always want to know when the dog is warning us so we don’t get bitten.)

It is very simple to teach your dog to greet people politely. You will need accomplices because it is impossible to teach manners in real life, you need to set the dog up. Your accomplice can be a family member to start, although you will eventually need around 10 accomplices because dogs don’t generalize behaviors well and it takes about 10 people before the dog generalizes the behavior.

1. The accomplice should be about 20’ away from the dog. If you can’t hold the dog, tether the dog. Tie the lead to a tree, slam it in a car door, do whatever is convenient because if the dog pulls you forward, it’s going to take much longer to teach.
2. Cue the dog to sit.
3. The accomplice starts to walk towards the dog. You are a tree, which means no talking or moving, the dog will learn much better if you don’t interfere (scientifically proven).
4. If the dog gets up, the accomplice dead stops and you wait. When the dog is giving you attention, or after about 30 seconds, get the dog’s attention by tapping the dog gently on the butt and cue the dog to sit again. This is the hardest time for humans who are a very verbal species, to be quiet, but it is the most important time for us to be quiet, except to get the dog’s attention if necessary and cueing the dog to sit.
5. The accomplice starts forward again. If the dog gets up, the accomplice dead stops, etc.
6. If the dog gets up 3 times, the accomplice turns and goes back to the “start” about 20’ away.
7. When the accomplice is able to walk all the way to the dog while the dog remains sitting, have a party like there is no tomorrow! The accomplice should pet and praise the dog for at least 20 seconds. If the dog gets up, don’t worry about it at this time, however if the dog jumps, the accomplice must immediately turn away from the dog.
8. Repeat with every family member and friend you can wheedle into helping. When the dog remains sitting, have your accomplice start talking as the accomplice walks towards the dog. This increases the distraction level and even if your dog was rock solid, your dog may get up when the accomplice starts talking.

Talking is an added distraction and very likely to happen in real life, but you start teaching with a quiet accomplice because you teach in steps so the dog can be successful at each step. If you ask too much of the dog, the dog will fail and you never want to set your dog up for failure.

Have the accomplice increase the talking and use a high squeaky voice to get the dog excited, but because you are teaching in steps, don’t add the
high voice until the dog is rock solid sitting with a calm voice.

9. The dog should be kept at home until the behavior is solid. Then the dog can go to the pet store or for walks. When a stranger approaches, politely ask the stranger to help you train your dog and to please stop if the dog gets up. Cue the dog to sit and have the stranger approach. I did this with a Mastiff puppy and everyone was very cooperative. In fact, he loved attention so much that eventually if he thought a person was coming towards him, he would automatically sit. If the person passed him by, he would look so disappointed LOL!
10. Patience, consistency, teaching in steps and letting the dog figure out what the right behavior is are the keys to success!

Copyright 2002 Virginia Wind

Dog Potty training and behaviour issues

Get him (and his poo) checked out by the vet. Strong smelling poo, especially if its runny, can be a sign of disease such as parvo (very serious) or parasites such as coccidia (not as bad, but still needs treatment)

If one or more dogs are vomiting and being incontinent in the household, I would be very concerned you have illness going on. Hopefully it's just something they got into, but better safe than sorry!

Once you get the health thing sorted out, then tackling the housetraining comes next, and perhaps a lot easier. first off, I just want to say dogs are NOT "stubborn" or "refusing house training".... they just don't have motivations like that.... that being a sort of human emotion we are putting on them. What is most likely is that pup is "trained" to go in his crate.

Somehow in his early experience he learned this is THE place to go... the only safe place. You are going to need to be very creative in figuring out a strategy to fix this pattern. What you need to do is manage him in such a way that he ends up pooping outside with you there so you can reward him for going in the right place. (use a super tasty treat!) You must never scold him for pooping or peeing in your presence, even in the house, because he won't realize the reprimand is for the location... he will think it is "dangerous" to go potty NEAR a human. Usually it is such reprimands that are the origin of these difficult to sort out house training problems.

So you might try having him tethered to you on a 6 foot leash as you move around the house. Take him outside periodically and praise/treat him if he pees. Keep doing this. Eventually he is going to have to poop. The trick is make sure he cannot poop in his crate, but rather poops outside. Therefore, don't put him in his crate. Keep him tethered to you and keep taking him out every half hour or so. If he starts to poop in the house while with you, just stay calm but interrupt him with an upbeat "Let's go outside!" (or what ever phrase you use for going out) and whisk him outside. Maybe he will finish pooping outside, maybe he will be too worried about pooping near you. But the idea is you need to set up this first success somehow, even if that means having your dog tied to you for 2 days. When he finally does poop outside, after he finishes, have a party! Tell him what a great dog he is and give him a jackpot of treats (keep them with you at all times so he gets that reward right away)

Once you have one success, the second one should come a little easier, then it is a matter of building up the positive experiences. Clearly you cannot use his crate during this time.

Again the principles are:
1) prevent the possibility of him pooping in the wrong place by not allowing him access to his crate and keeping him on a tether to you so he cannot sneak off to a back room to poop
2) REWARD his successes

3) Most important, eliminate any punishments for mistakes. Dogs rarely learn what we want them to learn when we punish them for house training accidents. Instead of learning the "inside/outside" distinction what they learn is "safe/dangerous" distinction. That is it is safe to potty while owner is not present and dangerous to potty if owner is around. Thus the dog becomes afraid to potty with you nearby, so you can not get them to go out on a leash and reward them for going in the right spot.

Help your dog make good choices

There was an anti-drug ad on TV that portrayed a sleazy dealer talking to a group of teenagers while the narrator intoned, “If you don’t talk to your kids about drugs, someone else will.”
I was reminded of this ad after hearing about training advice someone had received to help them with their dog who was prone to barking and biting. Granted the advice was given in regard to other issues, which were-demanding attention and enthusiastic greetings-but the real quality of life challenges were the dog’s insecurity, lack of skills and inappropriate reactions to people and other dogs. What was the advice? Simple and often heard-ignore the dog, do not respond to any attempt by the dog to solicit attention. Attention was to be granted at the behest of the owner, never the dog.
Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, sometimes ignoring a dog makes sense. Effusive greetings for dogs with separation anxiety can be problematic. Shy dogs prefer to be ignored and doing so with submissive pee-ers might save you some paper toweling. After I’ve told my border collie that I will not throw the frisbee again I will ignore any continued attempts to engage me in the game. What troubled me about the advice given in this instance, was that by not acknowledging a dog that is seeking attention or information, in effect, not rewarding that behavior, we should begin to see less of it. Not a problem if you don’t want a soggy tennis ball dropped in your lap repeatedly, but for a dog whose first impulse is often inappropriate, wouldn’t it be better if they did look at us so we could share information and perhaps circumvent bad behavior?
Dogs repeat behaviors they get rewarded for and get better at behaviors they repeat. If anyone is expected to perform a behavior under pressure, whether it’s playing a piano piece on stage, drawing a firearm, rushing into a burning building, or pulling off a triple lutz, their chances of success improve the more they have practiced those behaviors. The same is true for dogs. If we want our dogs to respond to us when they are under pressure they are more likely to be able to if they have opportunities to practice giving us their attention and being rewarded for it.
A dog that wants to engage with their owner is easier to work with than a dog that could care less about the human in control of their life. We can’t teach a dog anything if we can’t get and keep their attention. Sometimes it makes sense to ignore the slimy tennis ball but it may also be a teachable moment that we’d be better off taking advantage of. The behavior we’re trying to fix may not be broken. My dogs should know they can come to me with any questions they have about their triggers, or temptations. I’ll make better choices for them than the pusher in their head.