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

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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

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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

 

 

In this video post I will show you how to train your dog to stay on command

 

There are many times during the day  when you may want your dog to stay in one place while you take care of something. From cooking dinner to fixing the dripping faucet, teaching your dog to stay in one place on command can come in very handy in preventing your furry faced friend from running off with you 9/16th socket wrench.

Training your dog to wait is as easy as 1-2-3, and when you take your time you can avoid backing up saying stay,stay,stay,,,only to have your dog follow you anyway.

Below the video you will find written instructions on how to train your dog to stay on command.

Once you have watched the video, let me know how you will use this command to improve the relationship with your dog.

If you have questions leave them in the comments section and I will address your concerns.

 

 

Learning how to train your dog to stay on command is easy to do. Follow the steps outlined below and in the video and soon  your dog will be waiting at the door until you give them the release word to go out and play.

Step 1-  Get some food rewards and call your dog to come to you..if he sits that is fine, this exercise is about staying in one place.

Step 2-  Hold your hand in front of your dogs face like you were stopping a car, and say in a serious tone of voice, “Stay” and take one step back..then immediately step back to your dog and give him the reward.

Step 3-  Repeat the stay command and take two steps back, and immediately step back in and give the dog the reward.

Step 4-  Repeat the stay command and take three steps back and come back in and give the dog the reward.

If at anytime your dog breaks the stay command, say, “NO” in a tone of voice that tells your dog you know he can do better and calmly put him back into position and work the exercise again.

Once your dog begins to understand what you are asking him to do, then you can increase the amount of time he has to stay put in order to get you to come to him and give the reward.

If you have any  questions about today’s video post on how to train your dog to stay on command just let me know in the comment section and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Talk soon,

Harley

come when called reuse

Learning how to  train your dog to come when called can be as easy as 1-2 -3

 

 

 

 

Training a dog does not have to be difficult or time consuming.

My dogs are highly trained and reliable, and all I do is incorporate them into my daily life and reward the behaviors I like, and correct the ones I don’t, it’s really as simple as that.

I have found that some dog trainers make dog training unnecessarily complex,.. and this causes the average dog owner to get frustrated and give up trying.

I have always trained my dogs in the way that was most simple and made common sense, and I share this philosophy in this short video where I will show you how to train your dog to come when called.

Leave me a comment and tell me how you will use the information in this video to help you gain more reliability with your dogs recall.

Talk soon,

Harley

Train your dog to down stay

 

 

 

 

 

In this video post you will learn how to train your dog to lie down.

 

This is a very good command for your dog to learn as it will help you tremendously when faced with dogs behind fences, squirrels that are tempting your dog to chase them and a whole host of unexpected encounters that will require you to have control over your dogs behavior. Remember to leave comments, and let me know how you will use this training to enhance the relationship with your dog.

Here are the written instructions on how to train your dog to lay down.
Step 1

Get your treats ready and call your dog to come, then have him sit.

Step 2

Hold the treat on your dogs nose and slowly lower it straight down to the floor. Your dog will follow it down. Be careful not to move your hand too far out in front of your dogs nose or it will cause him to break and stand up to move forward..just go straight down from nose to floor. The second your dogs belly and elbows touch the floor, then give him the reward. Make sure his belly and elbows touch the floor, this is important.

Repeat this exercise until you are sure your dog knows what you want and then add the command down.

Step 3

You will repeat the exercise once you add the down command and reward every time. You will say, “ Rover, Down“ and follow step 2. Once your dog knows what you are asking, then you can begin to phase out the food rewards.

Step 4

The process of phasing out the treats goes like this. You begin to stagger the rewards, one time you will give a reward and the next two times it is just praise, a “ good boy“ will do just fine. Then you will treat every other time, and then no treat for three times but a chest rub somewhere in there.

You get the idea, just make it unpredictable, so your dog will know that if he is to eventually get the treat he must lay down.

After you watch the video leave me a comment and tell me how using the down command can improve your dog training program.

talk soon,

Harley