crateI want to talk to you about crating your dogs.

A lot of people I talk to struggle with this concept and think its cruel and unusual punishment, or they did use a crate when housebreaking their puppy but no longer use the crate.

I get emails almost daily from people whose dogs are chewing stuff, destroying the furniture and peeing and pooping every where..

This is taking place when they are away and when they are home..

Now I am a huge supporter of crate training your dogs.. it is the best way that I know of to keep your dogs contained and safe when you are away or too busy to watch them.

I always crate my dogs when I am away.. because there is just too much stuff that they could get into that has the potential to kill them..

Poisons, clothing, electrical wires, plastic bags, that could potentially suffocate them if the bag gets stuck on their heads..and if these things don’t kill the dog it could get stuck inside the dog and require very expensive surgery to remove it..

I don’t want to have to dog proof my home every time I leave .. so I put them in crates..

Not only are crates a great way to contain your dogs, it’s good for your dogs mental state of mind..

Just think about it..

What is your dog doing if not in a crate?..

Running back and forth barking at every widow?..

Searching from room to room?..

Getting into the trash?..

Building up stress and anxious behavior that is counter productive to having a calm and well-balanced dog..

I feel it is much better to train your dog to go in and out of the crate on command..and stay there. and to be quiet..

This is great structure training and a great way to build your leadership skills.

The one thing the crate should never be used for is punishment..if your dogs behaves badly..correct them.. sending them to the crate is not like sending a child to their room to think about what they did.. in my opinion it don’t work like that..

So my tip for today is practice having your dog go in the crate, lie down and stay there..leave the door open so the dog learns that just because the door is open don’t mean they can come out..only the command from you will release them to come out..do this many times..and your dog will learn that the crate is for calmness and quiet time..

If you have any questions or need help just let me know and I will help you sort things out..have a great weekend…and all the best.

Harley

matI am often called to help people who are struggling with a dog that just won’t calm down,.. inside the house or out..the door bell rings and they steam roll anything in their way to get the door barking and jumping.. and have to be pulled away by the collar. One of the best things anyone can do to ensure peace and harmony is to train the dog to go to a mat or bed, lay down, stay there.. and be quiet..

Once you have mastered the place command inside your home you can move to the yard and work the dog there..

This exercise is a great way to end the dreaded fence fighting, squirrel and cat chasing … and many other unwanted behaviors…

The way to begin this training is to place three separate mats in different areas of the house,..

Put the dog on leash and walk them up to the mat… stop and say, “Place” and walk them onto the mat..

When the dogs four feet are on the mat..stop and say, “Good”..don’t let the dog go to far and step off the mat..

The idea is to have the dog on the mat.. all four feet.. pause for a few seconds and then say, “Let’s Go”..then walk to the next mat and repeat this exercise as many times a day as you can for a week or two..

You can use the dogs daily food for training..

When you can tell your dog to go to place and they will..then you can begin to work on getting them to stay there for extended periods of time..

Just think how much nicer it would be,..

That when your door bell rings the dog goes to the door..barks a couple times..and you say, “go to place” and they do..and they stay there until you release them..

This is totally possible,,

If I can do it so can you..it just takes a little time and effort on your part… I want you to know that the way your dog behaves today does not mean that’s the way it has to be tomorrow.. you can change things..

And as always if you need some help you can always write me and I will gladly help you..have a great week..

Harley

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Today I want to talk about how you can foster peace and tranquility in your home by training your dogs to go to a place and lay down and be quiet..

Now I know many of you struggle with getting your dogs to stop barking when someone comes to the door, or passes by the window..so this is what you can do..

Put the barking on cue..

Instead of yelling “quiet!” over and over ..which in most cases won’t work because the dogs just think you are joining in.. and reinforces there must be a reason to bark..

So this is how you can do it..

Use a whistle..

If you can’t whistle with your mouth loud enough to be heard over many dogs barking..then buy a referee’s whistle.

To begin you want to “load” the whistle so it has meaning for your dogs..

Get some high value food rewards like cooked chicken, sausage, hot dogs.. what ever your dogs can’t resist.. then when things are quiet.. softly toot the whistle a couple time..and call your puppies or dogs..

” Here Puppies” in a cheerful and happy tone of voice..

The dogs come running and you throw down a handful of the tasty treats.. repeat this for a couple of weeks.. once the whistle has been “loaded” your puppies and dogs will learn that when they hear it they come running and good things happen..

Now you can put it to use when they bark at anything..instead of yelling ..which don’t work most times anyway..

Give a couple loud toots on the whistle..dogs quit barking and come see what you got for them.. give them a reward and send them to their place to lay down..

Use this method when they are in the yard..

Let’s say they are running up and down the fence barking at the neighbors cat, dog, kids..

Toot the whistle ..

Dogs come running..

In time you can fade out the rewards and replace them with life rewards and your praise..

Occasionally use food to reinforce the whistle so it maintains meaning for your dogs..

A couple more things you can do to make sure your dogs are less likely to bark uncontrollably.. is to make sure you give them daily opportunities to work out their stress and anxiety..

Go for a structured walk every day..

Head out to the back yard and play tug of war to engage their prey drive…and always let your dogs win..

That’s it for today..I hope this helps a little..have a great weekend.

 Harley
10369125_664311706957577_2559777548373876522_nToday I want to lay out a plan of action that will help you get control over your reactive dog..

If you got a dog that pulls you down the street, sniffing and barking at dogs and other people, and you find yourself pulling back on your dog,.. talking to them or yelling,..only to end up very frustrated, then this post will help you turn this around..

I want you to look at your dog like a stick of dynamite.. with the potential to explode at any moment.. now think about how much easier it would be if you work on putting out the burning fuse long before the dynamite explodes..instead of waiting for the explosion and then trying to contain it..

The fix for this is quite simple..

It requires you to set the tone and foster a state of calmness before you encounter something that will set your dog off..not after it has happened..

If you start today and follow my advice then by the end of the week you will be amazed at how much more control you have,.. how your dog pays way more attention to you than they ever did before ..

Will your dog be fully trained by weeks end?..

No..

But you will be able to see the potential for having the kind of dog you dreamed about when you got him or her,. and if you are willing to work hard every day.. there is nothing you and your dog can’t accomplish.. that I can guarantee..

So..enough chit chat and jaw wagging..here we go..

How To Gain Control Over Your Reactive Dog

1- Starting today begin to put massive amounts of structure into your dogs daily life..sits and downs for everything they get..and that includes affection from you and your family..from now on…nothing is free..

2- On leash or off..your dog must wait at doorways..no pulling or moving around..they only move when given permission to do so..

3- Keep the leash short..but not tight..this will give you better control so your dog don’t get into trouble..and you will know the second he or she disconnects from you..

4- Firm leash corrections to communicate with your dog, for small, wrong, choices at the beginning of your walk..like pulling, sniffing, veering around, or peeing without permission..will go a long way in keeping your walks drama free.. firmer corrections for small things may sound counter intuitive ..but is very effective in setting the tone for better control when things get exciting..

5- Avoid using continuous pressure to hold your dog back.. use short firm leash corrections with immediate release of pressure.. ie..pop the leash and release..pop and release.. (no talking) to your dog. Your dog will tell you if the corrections are firm enough..if he don’t respond ..the correction was not firm enough..if he squeals and crouches down.. it was too firm..you will need to experiment to find the sweet spot.

6- Don’t put pressure on your dog by having them meet other dogs and people up close..face to face .. most reactive dogs are nervous and feel unsafe.. so use space to help your dog maintain a level of control..if things get too heated leave the area..but in most cases just doing some 180’s to create space will do the trick.

7- Foster a daily life of peace and harmony in your home..train your dog to go to place, lay down, and be quiet.. this will become your dogs default state of mind and before you know it you will have one of the most polite and well-behaved dogs in the neighborhood..

Remember the dog you have today don’t have to be the dog you have tomorrow..you have the power to change things.. I know you can do it..

If you have questions about anything at all I would love hearing from you

Harley

10698556_709404422448305_6222598759717460874_nWhen people ask me about the importance of being your dogs Alpha I always say the same thing..it don’t matter how many times I eat before feeding my dogs, or come in the house and ignore them.. I will never be able to convince my dogs that I am a dog.

I don’t have anal glands,

I don’t have four legs, or ears that move around to catch the slightest sounds in the environment..

and I can’t smell urine from miles away..

Think about it for a minute..

If our dogs looked at us like we were a dog..then why is it that a dog aggressive dog is not aggressive toward humans?

We as humans can never be Alpha over our dogs..and the reason is as I see it..dogs can only truly pack up with their own kind..

They are able to recognize their Mother and other dogs through sight, smell, touch and sound. Simply put a dog will know another dog when they meet it..and likewise they know that when they meet humans,.. we are a different species.

We have become connected to them by thousands of years of domestication and the building of close ties..that’s it period.

In my opinion dogs see us as just another resource..that’s why an untrained dog will guard their humans with aggression..they will protect their resource at all cost.

That is why I always teach people how to control their dogs resources in order to have better control over their dogs behavior..and not just be a resource for the dog.

I feel that there is no long-term benefit to acting like an Alpha, and if you ignore your dog for long periods of time you can actually foster anxiety and confusion..

In a wild pack.. the dogs will all eat together at the same time..there is no line forming in accordance to any pack ranking structure.. if a dog or wolf gets to pushy ..they will be temporarily shunned.. and I use this in some of my training.. a short time out away from the rest of the pack has a great effect on the dog..and his pushiness is soon a thing of the past..

So for those of you that think that biting a dogs ears or rolling them onto their back and holding them until they shut down makes you the Alpha..

I am afraid you have been sold some snake oil..

You will never be able to fool your dog into thinking you are the Alpha.. it is much better to learn how to control the resources, provide structured training, and work with your dog as his partner ..this is how your dog will be convinced that you have what it takes to lead them..

I hope this has given you something to think about.. if you have any questions I would love to hear from you.

Have a great day..

Harley

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Many people think the best way to communicate with their dogs is to bark out commands..

Come!,

Sit!..ect..

They have a harsh Alpha mentality that is based in myth..

My understanding of dogs is rooted in the fact that they are predators.. and as such are in conflict with us at times..

Because we too are predators.. so quite often they resist our efforts to communicate with them..

I have found that when we stop talking and use body language to communicate with our dogs,.. we can take advantage of this predator/ prey dynamic,..

For example, if you want your dog to come to you it is better to crouch down and move away from your dog as you call them to come.. and in doing so you become more like prey to your dog and therefore they will be more attracted to you and come without reservation..

In contrast, if you stand tall and move forward as you call them to come in a demanding tone of voice,.. in their eyes you are now more predator and chances are they will resist you and move away..

When I work with my dogs there are times that I want to be the predator, for example when I want my dog to move away from the trash can.. I am the predator.. and times when I want to be the prey..like when I want them to follow me onto a slippery surface..

Try this with your dog and let me know how it goes.. and if you have questions let me know.

Harley

11248156_826294950759251_7636655337472935208_n
Some one asked me yesterday, what is the best way to train your dog to come when called..so I thought I would share that with you today.

The easiest way I know of is to play hide and seek with your new puppy or dog.

There are many benefits to this method..

It engages your dogs prey drive and enhances your dogs attraction to you and other family members..which is important if you want your dog to come when called no matter what is going on to distract them..

It will help make you the most attractive thing in your dogs world..

Dogs love this game because they get to do what dogs love to do most..hunt, and in this game they will be hunting you.

This is the way I play this game with my dogs..

Now you can play inside or out.. I prefer outside if possible because dogs come alive outside.. and it helps to keep the inside of your home as a place for rest and relaxation..outside is where the action and high energy activities are done.

Find a spot on a trail where there are bushes to hide in..

have your dog on a long line ..approx 50 feet would suffice..

Have one of your kids or a friend take a tasty treat like a hot dog and while you hold the dog your kid or friend lets the dogs smell the treat and then run off down the trail..skipping running and calling with kissy sounds..

Then they jump off the trail at some point and hide.. don’t make it too hard at first..

Then they call the dog to come.. say the dog’s name loudly and call.. “Rover..Come!”.. then be quiet and still..

You then release the dog and he will take off down the trail..he will find the person..so don’t worry about that..when he does..give him the treat maybe two..and..praise him.. maybe tug a bit on a tug toy..but let him win..that is important when playing tug of war with your dog..

Repeat this game as much as possible over the next few weeks..and in no time your dog will come reliably when he hears his name ..

You will want to fade out the food rewards and replace them with your praise, or a good game of tug. Don’t forget to do this ..you don’t want your dog to become reliant on food.

If by chance your dog gets lost finding you..call his name again loudly he will soon sniff you out..

The person holding the leash should not get involved.. just follow the dog and keep the long line in reach so you can grab it if necessary..

End the game when your dog still wants to play..this will build enthusiasm for the next time he plays.. playing this game really gets to the core of your dogs nature..his prey drive.. now go have some fun with your dog.

If you have questions or just want to chat be sure to get in touch with me.. I would love hearing from you..

Harley

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I was talking with a friend of mine this morning and she asked me what one thing is most important in order to have well-trained dogs..

I thought about this for a moment and realized that the one thing I do that makes all the difference in how any dog responds to me is that I always work with them when my mind is clear and calm..

I have found a way to shut out thoughts about yesterday and tomorrow..

and to just be present..in that moment of time…

It’s in these moments of mindful awareness that we can both share peace…

Dogs are masters of living in the moment.. but because of the stress of living in our world they often have difficulty calming their mind.. this is when we start seeing behavior problems..

People have difficulty with this concept.. but can experience life in the moment.. for example..

If a soldier is going into combat ..there are no thoughts of tomorrow or yesterday..they are focused on the task at hand..

so to is the person who jumps out of an airplane..

But how can someone get into the present moment from the safety of the living room couch?..

I would like for you to try this 30 second experiment.. sit quietly in your living room or any room for that matter.. and focus on a spot on the floor.. don’t move your eyes from that spot or move your body.. this is important because if your body is moving..your mind is not settled….

Now become aware of the weight of gravity pulling on your body holding you to the chair or floor..

Now focus on a sound in the room..

the hum of the refrigerator ..

the ticking of a clock..

If there is no sound..then the white noise you hear in your head…

Now just hold that focus and mindful awareness of sight,feeling,and sound.. if a thought creeps into your mind that’s o.k..just go back to focusing …

As you hold this mindful awareness for the 30 seconds try to think about what you will do tomorrow.. you will find it is very hard to do.. practice this daily and work it up so you can hold this focus and awareness for 5 minutes at a time..

Then let your dog into the room..don’t look at your dog or speak to them.. just go into this mindful awareness.. you will be surprised how your dog reacts to it.. in most cases your dog will lay down and go to sleep.. and when they do you will know that you have connected with your dog in that present moment.. and you both will feel the peace..

Your training will grow exponentially.. I guarantee it..

I would love to answer any questions you might have, or discuss with you how living in the moment can vastly improve the relationship you have with your dogs.. contact me anytime.. and have a great day!

Harley

two dogs meeting for the first time
I have been asked to talk a bit about the best way to introduce two dogs without having conflict..

Having rescued many dogs over the years this is how I manage those first meetings and begin to foster relaxation in times of great emotional intensity.. it would be the same if someone were to come visit with a dog that has no history with mine..

I always take the dogs on at least a 30 minute walk..

with both dogs on leash and someone walking the new dog..

but I don’t walk them side by side..

I walk them in single file..that way there is less stress about being close to a strange dog..

By being in single file the trailing dog gets to sniff the behind of the front dog.. to check him out..which is what dogs do right?

Then at some point I switch and let the front dog trail behind and sniff the others butt.. I would do this several times during the walk..

What is most important here is to keep moving.. if you stop and stand still too much.. tension and stress can trigger aggression…

If one dog pees or poops let the other dog check it out..

Dogs who get the opportunity to do this are more likely to want to sync up and continue walking forward.. which is what they would do in a hunting situation.. once each dog has had opportunities to check the other out.. then I would move both dogs to a side by side position.. not next to one another..not yet..

I would place myself between the dogs.. but side by side moving in the same direction..sometimes one dog will play bow and you might be tempted to let them go play..

I think it is too soon …and you will be running the risk of something going wrong..

Also I don’t try to correct barking or other behaviors.. because the dog is just communicating his feelings about being highly charged in the presence of this new dog..they are just letting off steam so to speak..

Remember to keep moving..two dogs that are standing still and face to face will have a hard time dealing with the intensity of the situation..my job is to help the dogs stay calm and moving..

Playing is not so important as being able to exist in each others company without conflict.. when you get home ..they should be relaxed and able to handle being inside together.. remember to keep the dogs relaxed and calm when inside.

Thanks for reading my post..and like always if you have any questions just let me know.. Happy New Year !

Harley

Raising a dog is hard work, you take them to obedience class and things seem to be going great..you even got a blue ribbon hanging on your wall.. and yet..

When you are at home your dog seems to have forgotten everything they learned.. they run out the door ahead of you..they anticipate your movements and rush past you..sometimes nearly knocking your down.

It upsets you that your dog is obedience trained yet seems so pushy and rude.

What you think of as bad behavior is really just your dog doing what dogs do.. unless..

You begin to put that obedience training to work for you in your every day life.

The solution is not going to be quick so don’t expect miracles over night..but if you begin to put expectations for behavior on your dog ,..things like sit before going out the door..or sit and stay while you go up and down stairs ., and then follow you when they are invited.. you will begin to see that now your obedience trained dog is making you proud.. and this pride will follow you the rest of your life.

Have a look at this short video as I explain a little more about what I’m talking about..

If you have questions leave them in the comments section below..

all the best,

Harley