Category Archives: About Dogs and Training

My thoughts, and links to videos and other things I think you may find helpful or interesting when training or living with dogs

Hugging

Hugging

I recently visited a house where the puppy had nicked a 4 year old boy’s face with his teeth. The parents were understandably worried that their dog was turning into a biter. I was concerned myself and arranged to meet with them as soon as possible, worried that the dog would need to be re-homed, or muzzled until re-trained and possibly a behaviorist called in. Luckily, Baron turned out to be a friendly pup, and the little boy a little too enthusiastic about hugging.
Dogs don’t view hugging in the same way that humans do. Please be sure that your children are safe around dogs. If they do hug your dog, or your friends’ dogs, ensure that they are gentle, and that the dog is not distressed. The dog should be able to easily pull away, and be allowed to do so if he finds the contact a little too much.

Here is a good article on the subject: http://www.dog-games.co.uk/hugging.htm

Timing of Rewards

The latest research on modifying dogs’ behaviors shows that consistent positive reinforcement within 3 seconds of a behavior we wish to see repeated is the quickest, kindest and most lasting way to train a dog.  My lessons will show you how to use this to teach your dog everything from a basic ‘sit’ to opening and closing doors (if you want him to!).  Remember, food isn’t the only reward you can offer your dog.  Sometimes a ‘good boy’ and a pat on the head will do it.  Other dogs will want to play with a ball.  I will always recommend starting training with food treats, as it is the quickest and most primal way to reward your dog, but training will also include fading the food rewards and/or replacing with non-food rewards.

DOMINANCE THEORY

Did anyone ever tell you that your dog is trying to take over the house and that you had to ‘put him in his place’?  Dominance theory has been discredited by the leaders in animal behavior and has been retracted by the very researcher who came up with the term ‘Alpha Dog’.

Your dog does not have the capacity to plan to take over the household.  He will, however, do things you don’t like unless he is taught differently.  You will not be asked to dominate your dogs in our lessons, but teach him kindly the things you would like him to do.