As a dog trainer, I am often called into assist with dogs that are not coping.
Some of dogs these are not coping with noises and/or people around their homes, others are not coping with being left alone, others are not coping with visitors in their home. The easiest way dogs express their distress is barking
Which is obviously distressing for owners and their dogs.
When I delve into the history of the dogs. There are always signals that the dog was not coping when they were a pup. Startling at loud noises, doors banging in the wind, shying away from guests, following owners everywhere,
My point here is that often owners assume their pup is going to grow out of this, rather than taking the approach I need to train my pup to be more optimistic about these situations.
How do you train a pup or dog to me optimistic?
By carefully planned exposure, matching each exposure with something your pup/ dog likes doing.
Is it that simple, matching things you know your dog finds scary mildly or extremely with something they like?
Well that does mean you need to know your pup and have these things on hand all the times. The obvious one is their favourite treats, their favourite toy.
Truthfully It is nearly that simple the key other element is how close you get to the scary person /dog/ situation
An example of this optimism training is …
Every time your pup goes into the Vets, you will notice the reception staff make a lot of fuss. Often petting your pup or offering them treats. Clearly matching the smell of the Vets, their uniforms and the vet environment to things that most pups like attention, handling and food.
We are talking here about pet professional, s who can read dog body language and gauge when to back off from your pup.
Backing off is critical to your dog learning to be positive.
So how close should you get when training optimism?
- Read your pups/ dogs body language as they approach the situation.
Don’t know about reading your dog s body language, what a lip lick or ear flick means … find out NOW
Learn about body language. I am amazed at how many people don’t know the simplest of things about body language and keep insisting their dog stay in a situation when they are clearly uncomfortable. Leaving the pup or dog, no alternative but to pull away or jump up, hump, act out in a hyper fashion, start scratching or grooming themselves and if this is ignored start lunging and barkin
- Accept that every time you say “No” to your dog or they pull on the lead that they don’t know what to do in the situation and you need to train it. They are acting either like a “Bull in a china shop” or “Shrinking violet”, either way they don’t feel calm inside.
- Simply dog need to be trained and not just a puppy class at the start or and 6-week course.
- You need to train for the first couple of years.
- You need to take your dog with you everywhere
Not fitting them into your lifestyle but training them to cope in situations.
We all start out with these intentions, but life often gets in the way …. it’s a New Year …. A new start and you dog deserve you to give them the best of yourselves that means getting yourself to training and getting educated in all things dog.
- Let’s Go Fido has a whole Adolescent Program and fun dog sports for your dog to engage in.
Email Louise@LetsGoFido.com.au for more information or check out the website www.letsgofido.com.au