What is Positive Reinforcement?
Positive reinforcement is rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, or life rewards (games, walks, car rides)
Anyone can do it.
When using positive reinforcement training techniques, anyone in your family can train the dog. With positive reinforcements, there is no need to use physical strength for leash corrections, or a strong tone of voice.
Clearer communication for the dog.
Consequences aren’t always clear to a dog. For example, punishing indoor accidents teaches your dog not to eliminate around you. On the other hand, rewarding outside potties will communicate clearly that good things happen when he eliminates outdoors.
Used for different behaviors
Positive reinforcement can be used to teach your dog new commands or to reinforce good behavior. For example, you can prevent bolting, jumping on people, or good meal-time manners, all with positive reinforcement training.
It's a mental workout.
Boredom can give rise to a lot of unwanted behavior, like digging, excessive barking, and chewing. A few short positive training sessions throughout the day will help your dog burn oﬀ a lot of that excess energy.
Once your dog realizes that training leads to the things he likes, your dog will begin to view training sessions as playtime. He will begin behaving in a desirable way in the hopes of getting his rewards, while you get to enjoy his antics.
Strengthens the bond with your dog.
Do you like being recognized for work you do well? So does your dog! While other training methods will teach your dog how to behave, positive reinforcement will also build trust, strengthening your relationship.
Going To The Dog Park is a sample from two new classes Furry Tail Dog Training is offering called A Dog's Life Class and A Puppy's Life Class. These classes are to help you better understand your dogs needs to reduce stress and anxiety in everyday life situations, such as vet visits, introduction to new people and dogs, and more. For more information on these classes, please visit furrytaildogtraining.com.
Going To The Dog Park
Protect Your Pet's Paws From Hot Pavement.
Just like we depend on our feet, our pets (dogs and cats) rely on their paws to get to where they need to go. So, it is important that we take care of our pet's paws.
The pad's on a dog's paw is designed to provide protection. They give extra cushion, traction, shock absorption to protect joints, and insulation for extreme weather.
The pads of a dog's paw is the toughest skin on their body. The pads are made of a tough outer layer of skin and fat. This tough skin helps prevent injuries and abrasions. To help keep the pads cool, the pads consist of Exocrine sweat glands.
Damage to the paws and pads can occur within 60 seconds at 125°F. On a sunny day, the pavement can reach up to 143°F. It only take 131°F to fry an egg.
I was at the park the other day waiting for my students for one of my classes when a 2 month old Australian-German Shepherd mix came to greet me. The owner started to ask me some questions about potty training. I asked him if he was crate training his dog. I was shocked when the owner told me the breeder told him not to crate train the dog, because those dogs should not be crate trained. I was a bit thrown back because I have never met a professional in the pet industry that didn't recommend crate training. Along with potty training, there are many other benefits to crate training. Crate training helps reduce separation anxiety. It also helps manage behavior problems such as barking and lack of self control. It also helps maintain social order in the family. Plus, dogs that are properly crate trained handle stressful situations, such as a visit to the vets office, groomers, kennels, and travel better than dogs who have not been crate trained. So let's talk a bit about crate training.
It is my guess that this particular breeder had a stigma on dog crates. Some people view putting a dog in a crate the same as a hamster in a cage. I have talked to many clients that felt the same about putting their dog in a create, until I explained the proper way of using a crate. First we want to view the crate as a training tool, not a living area. Yes, dogs are den animals and we want them to feel their crate is a safe place to be (same as a baby in a crib or a toddler in a playpen), but the idea is not to have the dog spend their days locked in their crate.
It is important to remember that a crate is meant to be a training tool only and is not meant to be used for punishment. Before you determine the length of time you want your dog to be in the crate, beware of your dogs temperament, age, training, physical and emotional state. Adult dogs can be in a crate for as long as eight hours on occasions. When puppies are involved, they should not be crated longer than the number of months old they are plus one. Meaning if your puppy is 3 months old, they should not be crated for more then 4 hours.
The hardest part about crate training is getting the dog accustomed to the crate. Of course, the younger the dog the easier it will be. When introducing your dog to his new crate, take a couple of days placing toys and treats in the crate and allow your dog to enter the crate on his own to get them. It is also a good idea to feed your dog in the crate. Place the food bowl in the back of the crate and leave the door open. This will give your dog a positive association with the crate. Once your puppy is comfortable in the crate be aware if the dog barks or cries. If the dog needs to eliminate, take him to his appropriate area to eliminate. If the dog is fussing to get out of the crate, ignore the dog. It is better to ignore the dog then to approach and say "no". This can be rewarding the encourage future barking. A puppy should not be put to bed in the crate if the house hold is still up.
When a dog has been properly crate trained, the crate can be used as a training tool for different behavior problems as mentioned in the beginning of this blog.
Housebreaking: As mentioned earlier, dogs are den animals and do not like to mess in their areas. This gives the dog motivation to "hold it" while in the crate.
Separation Anxiety: The crate can be used as the dog's "safe area" when left alone. The length of time for the dog to be left alone should be below the dogs threshold for anxious behaviors.
Management: A crate can be a dogs "playpen". A dog can be kept in a crate for short periods when the dog can not be watched by the owner. This ensures that the dog will not have housebreaking accidents or other unwanted behaviors in the house.
Re-Ranking: The crate can help establish the social order in the house. The owner will communicate leadership to the dog by assigning the crate as a sleeping place at specific times during the day.
Barking: Teaching a dog that silence is rewarding. By placing your dog in his crate, he will earn his freedom when the barking stops. The dog will learn the connection between falling silent and getting out.
Self-Control: The crate can be used to teach the dog that when he stops barking, whining, fussing, etc. and gets control of himself, freedom is earned.
So as you can see, learning to use the crate properly has so many benefits for both your dog and his training process. By starting crate training early on, your dog will become so comfortable in a crate you will have no reason to feel guilty for having your dog in there. The crate will always be a positive experience for the dog.
Don't Hate the Crate
I have recently been asked why I became a dog trainer. Of course I love dogs, have a passion for animal behavior, and I want to help people have the best dog possible. But my #1 reason for wanting to become a dog trainer has to do with numbers. 6.5 million is the number of companion animals surrendered every year. 3.3 million is the number of dogs that are surrendered each year. 670,000 is the number of dogs that are euthanized every year. And 96% of dogs that are surrendered to shelters have not received any obedience training. These alarming numbers show how important training is for a dog. When we bring them into our home, it is our responsibility to teach them how to become members of the family and society. Below is a story I found online by an anonymous writer that I found touching.
THIS IS ONE REASON OUR SHELTER IS SO FULL!
My family brought me home, all cradled in their arms. They cuddled me and smiled at me and said I was full of charm. They played with me and laughed with me and showered me with toys. I sure did love my family, especially the little girls and boys.”
“The children loved to feed me; they gave me special treats. They even let me sleep with them – all snuggled in the sheets. I used to go for walks, often several times a day. They even fought to hold the leash, I’m very proud to say.”
“These are the things I’ll not forget – a cherished memory. Now that I’m in the shelter – without my family. They used to laugh and praise me when I played with that old shoe. But I didn’t know the difference between the old one and the new.”
“The kids and I would grab a rag, for hours we would tug. So I thought I did the right thing when I chewed the bedroom rug. They said that I was out of control, and would have to live outside. This I didn’t understand, although I tried and tried.”
“The walks stopped, one by one, they said they hadn’t time. I wish that I could change things; I wish I knew my crime. My life became so lonely in the backyard, on a chain. I barked and barked all day long to keep from going insane.”
“So they brought me to the shelter but were embarrassed to say why. They said I caused an allergy, and then they each kissed me goodbye. If I’d only had some training when I was a little pup, I wouldn’t have been so hard to handle when I was all grown up.”
“‘You only have one day left, I heard the worker say. Does that mean I have a second chance? Do I go home today?”
Ornaments and Decorations
When decorating your tree, it is best to keep all hazardous decorations high enough so pets can not get to them. Some old fashion decorations, such as bubble lights, can contain toxic material that can do damage to your dogs gastrointestinal tract. In addition, it can cause depression, irritation to eyes and skin, and aspiration pneumonia. Any kind of bites to glass can cause cuts in the mouth, esophagus, and gastrointestinal tract. When hanging lights, keep the cords snug. Dogs and cats can get electrical burns in their mouths from chewing wire. Tinsel should be tossed if you own a cat. The shiny string of tinsel has a strong resemblance to a shiny cat toy with strings. If ingested, it can result in a linear foreign body. A linear foreign body is when your pet swallows a string-like object like tinsel. The tinsel wraps around the tongue or anchors in the stomach, making it impossible to pass through the intestines. This will cause severe damage to the intestinal tract possibly causing rupture which would require abdominal surgery.
The most commonly known holiday plant that is toxic to pets is poinsettias. However, there are other holiday plants that can cause bigger problems to dogs and cats, such as lilies, holly, and mistletoe. A lily can cause kidney failure if your cat takes one or two bits.
We love to eat delicious rich food around the holidays. It is best to keep our pets on a normal healthy pet diet. Dangerous holiday foods such as grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Chocolate and cocoa are toxic for both cats and dogs causing vomiting and diarrhea. Large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmia. Leftover fatty meat can create abdominal pain with severe inflammation of the pancreas, and cause vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Sugarless gums and candy contain xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener that can cause a life threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure.
If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or the pet poison helpline at 855-764-7661.
So be sure to keep these precautions in mind when planning your festivities so both you and your pets can have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happiest New Year!
Halloween is a fun celebration with all the decorations, costumes, and candy. With all the excitement of Halloween, it's natural to want to include our pets in all the festivities. However, it is important for us to be aware of the potential hazards and dangers to our pets, that our pets are not aware of.
Overall, it is best that we don't give candy to our dogs period. But, here are a few specific candies to be aware of.
Chocolate is very dangerous for a dog. A certain amount of chocolate can cause seizures, muscle tremors and possibly a heart attack.
Hard candies are a choking hazard. Mixing a smooth hard candy with dogs saliva makes a small slippery object easy for a dog to inhale, causing the dog to choke.
Sugar Free Gum and Candy has an ingredient called Xylitol. Xylitol which can drop a dogs blood sugar rapidly causing the dog to have seizures, become lethargic and unable to walk.
dWe all love to dress our dogs in costumes. The safest costumes are Halloween themed collars, harnesses, leashes, and a loosely tied bandanna around the neck. When dressing your dog in a costume, be aware of any loose strings that the dog can get tangled up in and any loose fabrics the dog can choke on.
Be aware that Halloween can bring out a mean spirit in people and pranksters who like to mess around with animals (especially black cats). It is best to keep your pets inside or in a kennel on Halloween night. If your pet needs to go out, go out with them.
I will be participating in this years Trunk or Treat at Marna O'Brien Park in Wildomar on Saturday October 28th. I will have treats for kids and dogs, bring the whole family.
It is a hot hot summer! My husband and I love to get frozen yogurt to escape the heat. We were excited when we discovered Yogurt Valley, not too far from where we live. Last week, my husband and I went for some frozen yogurt when I noticed a new sign in their window advertising yogurt for dogs. As a pet parent, animal lover, and a dog trainer, this discovery made me happy.
This frozen treat is an all natural yogurt with real banana and peanut butter. According to the box, this treat has 2 billion probiotics per cup to help support your dogs digestion system, immune system, and overall health.
Next time when considering yogurt, you can bring your best friend with you to enjoy a cup (or take a cup to go). Of course for sanitary purposes dogs are not allowed inside the Yogurt Valley store. However, there is a nice outdoor eating area for you and your dog to enjoy.
Pets are considered members of the family. As pet parents, we do our best to make our furry companions as comfortable as possible. According to the American Pet Product Association (APPA) $56 billion was spent on food, supplies, vet care, live animal purchases and pet services last year. When a new puppy becomes a member of the family it can be very exciting as well as stressful when it comes to supplying what the puppy needs. One need a puppy cannot be without are chew toys. Puppies need chew toys for teething and massaging their gums. A visit to your local pet store can be a bit overwhelming with the wide selection of chew toys. Selecting a chew toy may not seem like a big deal, however there is such a thing as picking a wrong toy. As a puppy grows the puppy can develop unwanted behavior due to the toys that were selected for him. I went to a couple of pet stores and purchased some of these toys for examples.
When I saw Care Bears for dogs, I thought it was a cute toy. When I was a kid, I had Care Bears. And if I had little ones in the house I'm sure they would have Care Bears too. That right there would be a problem. If I teach my dog to chew on a toy that looks like a toy that belongs to my kid, then how can I expect my dog not to chew on my child's toy? I happened to find my old Care Bear at my parents house and noticed some choking hazards if my dog was to get to it.
Every year around Easter I see these Peeps toys at a popular pet store. Visually this toy looks too much like the real product. To teach your dog to fixate on a toy that looks like candy could lead your dog to the real thing. Sugar and marshmallow won't cause long term effects but can cause vomiting, diarrhea and/or a trip to the vet.
The final toy I have for this post is probably one of the most common mistakes that is made. Fuzzy slippers. When I worked in a local pet store, so many customers would tell me that their dog has chewed up multiple pairs of shoes. To try to fix the problem, they felt they would give the dog shoes of their own to chew on. Most of the time it would be an old pair of shoes that the owner doesn't care for anymore. This is a big mistake because not only does the shoe look like any other shoe, the old pair has the smell of the owner, a smell the dog enjoys. If the dog is praised for chewing on a "toy" that looks and/or smells like all your other shoes, then that give the dog a motive to continue chewing on good shoes as well. These fuzzy slippers may not have the owners smell, but visually it's the same. And the fact that it's also a plush toy can also lead to other items in the house such as pillows.
All these toys are very cute and attractive. However, in reality they are designed for our attraction so we will buy them for our dogs. A dog will find a stick just as fun and interesting if the owner uses it to interact with him. When selecting a toy for your pup, try to keep away from toys that resembles any item you have in the house to prevent any damage to your property or your dog. Kong's, Nylabones, rope toys, and other toys that are uniquely shaped for dogs are good choices. Remember to choose toys that cannot fit in your dogs mouth and supervise your dog during play time.