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What kind of trainer should I get for my pets?
Crate Training: Good or Bad?
Why Should You Choose Pet Parent Paradise?
How To Get Your Dog To Stop Jumping On Guests
"Real Life" Training

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Training, Dog Training

What kind of trainer should I get for my pets?

1.  I would suggest getting a trainer that focuses more on positive reinforcement than negative.  Positive reinforcements TEACHES a dog instead of using fear or consequences.  
Example:  Yanking on a leash in order to get your dog's attention - doesn't really teach your dog anything other than to not have as much of an enjoyable walk because they are too focused on making sure that they are not going to do whatever it was that made their handler yank on the leash.  It tends to take longer for them to learn what it is you are asking for so it isn't necessarily training that the handler is doing.
A trainer that uses positive reinforcement may use treats and praise instead to grab their pet's attention and give them such items when they do what is requested at the exact moment therefore it creates a learning experience.

2.  You should look for a trainer or behaviorist that is also great with people.  This is because they are training YOU as well. You have to learn everything and pass it along to your pet on a regular basis.  If the trainer is condescending, indifferent to your presence or just plain rude then you as the take over trainer are not going to feel comfortable and are not going to soak in as much information.

3.  Be wary of "Too good to be true" tactics.  Training your pet is an ongoing process.  While your trainer may be able to teach you the tools to the trade if they are more focused on getting you to sign up by offering gimmicks or sales pitches then it may not work out.  Some clients have found that individuals who offer gimmicks or sales pitches such as, "If I can't do it, then no one can!" or "Specializing in military canine training" or "Training done in one session or your money back" tends to offer more of a quick fix approach.  Your pet is most likely not military or police and needs to be treated as a member of the family instead of a working canine.  

When your pet is actually learning what you are asking instead of just reacting to certain stimuli and tone it is a beautiful thing to see.

Let me know who you like in the area!  I personally have found Dawgma Animal Services to be top notch and go above and beyond.  They have helped a few of my clients who had nothing but good things to say.

What has your experience been like with local area trainers/behaviorists?

How To Get Your Dog To Stop Jumping On Guests

Does your dog(s) get a lil jump happy when someone new comes over?  Are you afraid that your precious pups might inadvertently knock someone over?  

This is something that can be easily remedied through patience and training.

Why do dogs jump up on people?
Your dog more than likely isn't trying to hurt anyone, they are just super excited at this newcomer and all the smells they brings along with them!  They may get amazing head scratchies from this person and maybe even a belly rub if they act super duper friendly!

This is how many dogs think but there are other things that dogs sometimes think when someone comes over..."Should I be protective right now?  I'm so nervous!"
These types of feelings can also lead to jumping from dogs because they are filled up to the brim with nervous energy and this is how they can get it out.

Pack mentality is a thing.  Have you ever noticed that your super laid back dog will all go all jump happy when someone comes over - if they see their best fur bud in the whole world doing it, then they are most likely to follow suit,

How can we adjust this type of behavior?
-If you have highly active dogs and know someone will be coming over in the next hour you can try exercising  your dogs prior to that person's arrival.  The goal is to wear them out.  You're going to want some calm down time in between exercising and the knock on the door.  Maybe fifteen minutes or so.

-Make sure that when someone does knock on the door not to exacerbate the situation by getting your dogs excited...you'd be surprised how many people do this and then yell at their dogs when they start jumping all over the place and the person who just walked in.  This means no, "Oh Pooky, I wonder who could be at the door??!!"  Nothing like that.

-Treat all dogs the same.  This is easier said than done.  People who have little dogs AND big dogs typically let their littles get away with far more stuff that they tend to frown at if the big dogs try.  Don't do that, it's confusing for the big dogs.  This means that if you don't want 80lb Rufus jumping up all over people without permission, then you shouldn't allow 6lb Tinkerbelle to do it either. 

-Remain calm when you answer the door and tell your guest beforehand to remain calm. Make your dog sit before introducing to your guest and wait until your dogs are calm.  This may be awkward at first, having your guest wait outside the door.  You may want to test this at first with a friend or neighbor that is okay with your dogs.  When your dog sits in a calm fashion reward with tasty treats.

-Ignore the bad behavior and praise the good.  This can be difficult at first but any attention when your dog is begging for attention is good to your dog.  Let me explain, if your dog is jumping up on you and you are pushing him away - you are giving him what he wants: attention.  If your dog is jumping up on you and you throw a treat or toy to distract him - you are giving him attention.  If your dog is jumping up on you and you are giving him any contact whether verbal, eye contact or physical contact then guess what?  You are giving him attention and that is exactly what he wants.

-When your dog is jumping up on you (or tell whoever he is jumping on) then you cross your arms and turn away.  Don't look at him.  Don't say anything. Remain calm.  He will keep jumping for a little bit and you just keep on doing what you are doing which is ignoring him,  Eventually he will sit down.  When he sits all the way down and is calm then you can praise him but do so calmly.  You will be surprised how quickly this works.  Eventually your dog will come to realize that sitting and being calm will get him more attention than being obnoxious to you and your guest.  A relaxed dog is a happy dog.


The bottom line is that you want to not reward bad behavior and you want to be patient enough to recognize good behavior when it happens and reward it accordingly.

  

"Real Life" Training

One of the mistakes we often make with our dogs is thinking that dogs see training classes in the same way that we often see being in school—in other words, that learning is reserved for the classroom! In truth, dogs (and people) are constantly learning every second of every day. To have a truly well-mannered dog, you need to reinforce the behaviors that you want during the course of your daily life. “Use It or Lose It!” is a good maxim to follow when teaching your dog new behaviors. Here are some ideas on how you can involve “real life” in your training practice:

Take your dog with you when you go shopping.There are many stores that allow dogs. Always call first to make sure of their dog-friendly policies. Examples of stores that allow dogs in are garden/nursery stores, camping/outdoor gear stores, home improvement stores, pet supply stores, some restaurants and coffee shops with outdoor eating areas, and “specialty” pet food stores such as dog treat bakeries. Once you are in the store, you can practice walking nicely on leash, sitting politely for petting and no jumping, and even stays in the aisles or under your chair or table if you are sitting and having a cup of coffee. You can also practice having the dog stay before getting into your car and before jumping out, and while you are loading any goodies you’ve purchased from the shopping cart into your car.

Take your dog on car rides. Even if you have a quick errand to run, such as to the bank or to a drive thru restaurant for food, take your dog along! You can practice stays with the dog getting in and out of your car, and going out is always a good socialization opportunity for the dog. Some drive thru establishments even keep jars of dog treats on hand to say “hello!” to new canine visitors.

Practice sitting politely when guests come over every time a friend or relative visits. Practice sit stays when the mailman drops off your daily mail, when the garbage collection truck comes by, and when the newspaper deliveryman drops off your paper.

Practice sit and down stays while you are watching TV, on the phone, cooking, eating dinner, working at home on your computer, or while your children are doing their homework. The dog learns to be quiet and relaxed during times that you are busy and need to work, and it doesn’t require much extra effort on your part to train the dog while you are doing other things.

Practice stays when you go to pick your children up from school or from extracurricular activities. Arrive a few minutes early and take your dog out on leash and have them stay while watching the busy parking lot full of children. This is a highly distracting atmosphere for the dog and it’s great practice for stays, as well as walking nicely on leash.

Use the recall command in your house in the course of your daily activities, such as when you want the dog to come to eat his or her dinner, or when your dog runs to the front door or a window to bark at a squirrel or the mailman.

Use all of your dog’s behaviors to earn him “what he wants.” Make getting anything that your dog desires a learning opportunity! If your dog wants to go out, he has to sit for his leash to be put on, or lay down at the door, or do a trick instead. Do the same when your dog wants his dinner, or to play or be petted or get attention. It doesn’t really matter what behavior you ask for, as long as you ask the dog to do “something” in exchange for a valuable “life” reward.

This blog was written by Brennan Autry, local dog trainer and behaviorist for South Mississippi.  His contact info is:  
Dawgma Animal Services
WEBSITE:  www.dawgma-animalservices.com
CALL:  (515)329-4625
EMAIL:  brennan@dawgma-animalservices.com
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