My dog should know better or my dog knows better

 

Let’s talk about the first one, when owners think their dog should know better. There is no such a thing, that our pups should know. They just simply do not work or think that way. Dogs do what works for them.

They don’t know certain thing about how to live with us, unless we teach them about it.

Oh, you are thinking about behaviors what you taught your dog to do in the house? I see, well, still. You have to teach behaviors under different circumstances. Just like when you are teaching a kid to ride a bike on the pavement road but you take the kid out on the dirt road and she has issues there again. You don’t have to re-teach her how to ride a bike but you might have to take couple of steps back and tell her what she has to focus on. Same with dogs.

Our house is not very distracting for our pups, but the back yard might be. The wind is blowing interesting smells towards us, the neighbor’s dog is barking, the birds are chirping. She knows those behaviors in the back yard, too? Awesome? She lost her mind on the street? Very common! If we would have a nose like our dogs, we wouldn’t be so surprised. And those cars are going by, all of them have a different sound, people walking around with other dogs, I didn’t even mention the bikers.

Then here comes the: my dog knows better. When a dog would go up to the owner, and the dog’s body language showing some submission. Hmmm…, I’m kind of iffy about that statement. And the reason is: when the dog is showing submission,  it can be fear. So the dog knows better, because if she doesn’t obey, there are going to be consequences. Not good ones, that's why the dog is showing submission, saying, please don't hurt me. You never hit your dog? You don't have to, to make them feel bad. Dogs can feel threatened from our voice, the way we stand, the way we look at them.

Be kind, teach them in the way you would like to be taught!

 

May 20, 2016 

 

June 1, 2016

Live with your dog less stressed

Dogs don’t do things just because we ask them nicely, unless there is motivation involved. We can motivate our dogs by showing them what we would like them to do and provide great consequences. That being said, we can provide good or bad consequences. That means that we can ask dogs to work for us, giving them rewards (good consequences) or we can make them work for us so they can escape pain or discomfort (bad consequences).

We have to remember dogs don’t speak our language, so we have to teach them cues, verbal cues and/or hand signals and provide things what our dogs enjoy as payment. This will help our dogs understand what we are asking them to do and keep theirs and ours stress level low.

Sometimes we forget that we are sharing our homes with dogs and while we often say they are our kids and family members, we have to make sure we don’t anthropomorphize them and learn about the way they try to communicate with us and the way they often feel in certain situations. And while we as humans love to talk in full sentences and keep our conversation interesting, our dogs might not understand that “go to bed” and “lay down, Fido” means the same thing.

Here are some other ideas how you can live with less stress with your pouch:

 

Physical and mental exercise:

Many dogs are in the home over 20 hours a day. We all have needs, our dogs, too. Daily walks, playing fetch and training sessions throughout the day makes a big difference in our dogs’ life. Back in the days dogs were looking for food all day long, so the lives they live now must be pretty boring. Of course breed and age is a big factor in this. Walks, play time and 10 minutes of training can help to meet your dogs’ needs.

Teaching appropriate behaviors:

We, as humans say no for many things, we often tell our children “No, don’t touch that” or “No, don’t do this, because you are going to get hurt”. But telling our dogs “no” to many things, they can’t distinguish between “No, don’t chew on that” or “No, don’t jump”. Probably that’s one of the reasons why they don’t stop what they are doing. Instead of trying to tell our dogs what not to do, let’s teach them the things we want them to do. So if they like to steal tissues often, let’s teach them “leave it” or “drop it” and give them a toy. Do you like to enjoy your dinner in peace, no pups begging at the table? Teach your dog to settle down, but don’t forget about the good consequences, a stuffed Kong or bully sticks will do.

Being in an excited place:

Think about when you take your child to the splash park. Wow, so many things to see and many things to touch and play with. When we take our dogs in a new place, all the different smells and new sights are super exciting. They have a hard time to control themselves, and we sure have a hard time to be patient. But the more often we can check out new places, the less exciting they will be. The less novel these places become, the easier it will be for you to get your dogs’ attention and for your dogs to do the things you are asking them to do.

Being patient:

Dogs do dog things, like barking, chasing squirrels, eating poop, stealing food off the counter, digging. These are all normal behaviors. How can we deal with these behaviors? Asking for professional help, like enrolling in dog training classes with a certified, positive reinforcement trainer or having private classes benefits you and your dogs’ life so much. Understanding the whys and dos of a family pet will give you a better way to communicate with them. Stay away from trainers, who talk about being a pack leader (dogs are not pack animals), telling you to dominate your dogs (dominance theory got debunked) or using aversive training tools, such as choke chains, prong collar, even shock collars as these tools have many side effects on the dogs’ physical and physiological well being.

 

Have fun with your dog!

July 2, 2016