Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stay Out of the Living Room!

Boundary Training Your Dog

If you share your house with your dog, it does not have to be "all or nothing".  I remember when I was young, that the living and dining room were the special rooms, reserved for Christmas, company, and off-limits until a special event was declared.

There was no thought that existed in my mind to invite myself to the royal dining room table to enjoy my morning cereal. I respected my parents reservations of the rooms on an invitation only basis.

This same rule can, and should, exist for your dog, if you have an area you would like to label off limits, whether to preserve from dog hair or as a cat sanctuary, you are entitled to do that!  This boundary can be accomplished without a ten foot barricade, shock line, or threats.

Establish a clear boundary. This means....the rule exists 100% of the time during our training period, and the dog can not have access to the area when you are not home.  A change in flooring, or a door way, is ideal because it is as clear as black and white, carpet and tile. But any type of boundary, and even old dogs, can be trained.

When your dog approaches the forbidden room or area, simply and calmly say, "No" and call your dog away from the room.  When your dog has re-directed, say, "Good Dog".

This process needs to be continual, constant, non-stop.  You will notice success and be amazed as your dog acknowledges you and your communication becomes more clear to your dog, as you learn to speak the same language.

In the beginning, it's ok to use gates and barriers at times when you are too busy to supervise your preserved area, to avoid your dog trespassing.  As time progresses, gates can become  a semi-blocked doorway, or even a small curtain rod, and your dog will recognize this standard road block,  and will detour himself to another welcomed area.  Eventually, you will not need anything to deter your dog from entering this area. The amount of time this takes depends only on your training skills.

We have a saying when speaking to dogs we are training, "Just because you are able, does not mean you may!"

Good luck, and enjoy the freedom that boundaries can offer!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Most difficult dog to cure?

Rehab for the worst dog problem
Each owner I meet seems to have an issue with their dog they seem to label as "incurable". However, I find all dogs to be capable of turning their bad habits around. After evaluating a home for the issues that the owner describes of their dog, I can easily assess the root of the problem and design a remedy for cure. Depending on the problem, many times the troubled behavior extends from a lack of exercise, lack of a potty schedule, or lack of leadership for your dog. However, the hardest problem to cure is the dog's behavior that is due to the owner completely spoiling the dog (solely out of love and good intentions). But this spoiling can create a nasty, unsatisfied, sad, troubled, or misbehaving dog.
Many times a dog is replacing an empty nest syndrome, a lost love, or a lack of companionship for its owner. A dog is a wonderful addition to our lives, and provides owners with love and is a perfect solution to help transcend through these changes. However, when owners smother their dogs with adornment, affection, treats, and pampering, without offering leadership and boundaries, it tends to rock the balance of companionship and becomes a co-dependency instability. This instability can affect your dog, more than the owner. Dogs prefer balance and will seek to cure the imbalance on their own if necessary.
The reason this is the hardest dog problem to cure is because it is up to the owner to start creating the balance; to stop the excessive spoiling, and to offer leadership and rules. Many times the spoiling is fulfilling or compensating for a void in the owners personal life, and unless the owner is ready to find their own balance, the easiest one to point at... is the dog.
Although the hardest problem to cure, when faced and tackled by owner, trainer, and dog together, this is the most rewarding experience for everyone!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Crate Training Pros and Cons

   Crate training seems to be a touchy subject for many dog owners. It tends to be a love 'em or leave 'em subject. The people who love crates, vow their dogs are cozy and happy while in their crate. People who detest them, just don't have them.
A Dog House is Accepted By Everyone, While a Crate is Controversial.
   The fact is; it is natural for a dog to enjoy being in his den. Any small covered place provides a secure feeling to your dog. Chances are if you don't have a crate or kennel for your dog to cozy up in then he will find one for himself. Perhaps you've seen him cuddled under your desk, under a table, or even a bed. His den may not have a gate and lock, but once he likes his home-made den, he would not care if it did lock.
So, while many people refer to a crate as boxed up, caged, or confined, the real point is that your dog is thriving in his natural state and enjoying being in his own special den. When a crate is used properly, your dog does not care if the door is opened or closed. He feels secure.
There is a Right and Wrong Way to Introduce a Crate.
   Do not go buy a crate, put your dog in there and go out for the evening. A crate should be introduced to your dog in a positive manner; the same way a dog will find his own den. If you contantly lock your dog up in the laundry room and leave, your dog will hate the laundry room.
   Proper introduction includes a nice bed to lay on, short bits of time in the crate while you are home, and increasing time limits in the crate only after successful and peaceful times in his new home. Giving a special treat while in the crate is a bonus too.
Babies are Never Left Unattended. Your Puppy is Your Baby.
  Consider the safety issues alone, for reasons to begin with crate training. A puppy can tally up a huge medical expense, illness, and possible death from ingesting household products, plants, and furniture while you are out.
To Crate or Not To Crate?
  That is a question that many dog owners battle with. I think the best way to solve this dilemma is to get a crate and chances are very certain that your dog will decide for you.
  Perhaps we should change the name from kennel or crate, to den or bedroom, and it would change the feelings some people associate to the crate that ruins the dogs' chances of getting his own haven.
  I have trained many people (although I am a dog trainer) to understand their dog's true feelings about the crate. Once you watch your dog go into the crate on his own, simply to hang out, then you will realize what a treat crate training is to your dog.