Posts Tagged ‘reason’

adrenilin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have talked about how getting your dog to focus on you is critical to having a well-mannered dog that pays attention to you and obeys your commands. Today I will talk about the #2 reason your dog is being “bad” or “disobedient.”

The reason is too much adrenalin, or “Willy-wag juice”.

We have all heard the stories about the 110 lb Mother who lifted a 2 ton car off their child, and other stories of incredible feats of strength or endurance. This is all possible because of one thing, and that thing is a sudden burst of adrenalin.

All animals have this primal urge to survive, and when faced with danger, all animals including us
humans have that survival response that tells us to fight or run away.

The moment that the decision is made to either fight or run,the brain gives the body a short burst of
adrenalin. It is during this short burst of drug induced, increased strength,stamina and
focus, that these amazing feats we read about take place.

The burst is short-lived and then the body is usually spent of energy and slowly returns to normal.

But that being said just like some of us humans are adrenalin junkies who live for the rush of
impending danger, most dogs I see are adrenalin junkies too.

I hear dog owners say their dog is being “disobedient” when he pulls on the lead, or is “bad” because he barks non-stop, but the reality is, these dogs are simply living life in the willy-wags.

Unfortunately a lot of dogs live a very sedentary life, they just lay around the house with not much if any mental or physical release.

This is a very stressful way for a dog to live.

What happens is, one day the stress gets to be too much and the dog starts to whine, or turn circles,
or bark with intense focus. These behaviors will be easy to recognize because they are different from
your dogs normal behavior.

The will have a distinct pattern to them, like the beat of a drum.

The barking would be like, woof,,,woof,,,woof,,,woof,,,all while staring at nothing, and if you give them a command it will most likely go unrewarded.

They will be that focused on what ever is stressing them out.

The adrenalin kicks in and the dog gets a high off the dopamine, runs off into the willy-wags and
quickly learns to create 90 degrees turns in their lives so they can get their fix and feel better.

Once your dog has gone into the willy-wags, it’s too late for you to give any commands, your dog is
just not going to hear you. The part of their brain that helps them think and make good choices, simply shuts off.

He is now just reacting to the situation he’s in.

You will not be able to engage your dog until you get him back under control, and for most dog owners this can be difficult at best, and down right impossible, not to mention dangerous in some cases of aggression, because the dog has gone, he’s not aware of you right now.

When dogs are this crisis mode, extreme physical correction is needed to try to prevent harm to any
people or dogs that are nearby, and this is when it becomes very dangerous for the dog’s handler.

What you need to do is make sure your dog never goes off into the willy-wags, and keep him there. It’s that simple.

Think about it like this:

If you were driving down the highway and saw a sign that said,

DANGER! 90 DEGREE TURN AHEAD!!

Would you slow down as soon as you saw the sign or would you wait until your car was skidding in
circles before you did anything?

You would most likely slow down as soon as you saw the sign, and maneuver your car safely around the turn and not skid off into the willy-wags.

It’s the same with your dog, let’s say he’s dog aggressive.

You are out walking him and suddenly he sees another dog.

From past experience you know he is going to react,

so what do you do?

Do you let your dog pull you straight toward that other dog at 100 miles and hour and end up in the
willy-wags? Or do you read the signs of aggression, ie the sudden focused staring and whining/barking at the dog that triggered his stress, and interrupt your dog and slow him down?

The answer is obvious, you read the signs of the impending adrenalin rush, and put the brakes on your dog to slow him down, get his focus back on you by moving the dog away from the trigger and working some obedience training, or engage your dogs prey drive in a high spirited game of tug of war.

Then safely maneuver him past the other dog, thus avoiding the #2 reason your dog  won’t obey your commands.

Here is something important to understand, I think I’ll bold this.

You only have about 2-4 seconds from the time your dog focuses on a target until he goes into adrenalin overload. Don’t hesitate take action before your dog reacts.

It’s imperative that you learn how to interrupt the adrenalin rush before it happens, if you don’t, you’re going to have behavior troubles and it’s not going to be good for you or your dog.

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All the best,

Harley

unfocsed

Regardless of what kind of behavior problem you are having with your dog, be it jumping up,barking,
pulling on the leash, or being aggressive toward people or other dogs/animals, it has nothing to do
with them being “bad” or “disobedient.” Today you will learn the number one reason your dog won’t obey your commands.

I used quotation marks around the words bad, and disobedient, because when clients tell me that they
need my help because their dog won’t come when called, I always ask them what they have been doing to
get them to come when called and they usually answer I yell come. It’s like they expect the dog to come
just because they told it to, and when the dog blows them off and chases the ninja squirrel across the
road, they get angry and call me to tell me their dog is “bad” and “disobedient.”

There are three main reasons why your dog might seem like he is being “bad” or “disobedient.”

But for today I am going to concentrate on only one. I’ll get to the other two in later posts.

“When You Compete With The Ninja Squirrel Your Dog-Fu Better Be Strong Grasshopper.”

The first thing I do is to explain to my clients that in fact their dog is not being bad or disobedient
when he won’t come to them. It’s because he hasn’t been taught to keep his focus on them. He might have
been forced to come, or to sit, and he might do it occasionally because he has heard the words so many
times and been forced into a sit position, but the owner did not take the time to teach the dog what
come really means, or what sit really means. A dog can’t learn from us just by talking to them. Telling
them to come,or forcing them to sit, won’t teach them anything..the owners are just talking to their dogs and dogs
don’t understand what they are saying.

If your dog don’t see you as the most interesting person in the world who makes everything fun and
rewarding for them, then when he sees that ninja squirrel, he’s going to leave you in a cloud of dust
wondering what just happened.

Likewise if you have a dog that shows aggression toward the mailman and he is not focused on you and sees the mailman, then your dog could get into trouble and so could you.

Teaching your dog to focus,..or to watch you, starts in the house under no distractions.

Your goal should be to have your dog move when you move and to pay attention to you at all times. Be aware of how far away your dog is and work to keep him looking at you and close by. My bubble is 4 feet, if my dog is more than four feet away from me that’s too far, and I call him inside the 4 foot radius around me.

You begin by saying his name, and when he looks at you, give him a tasty treat, do this for a couple of
days and then start moving around the house and this time,every 10 feet or so, say your dogs
name,”Rover” and when he looks at you say,”Come,” and when he gets to you give him a treat and praise
him “Good Dog.” Do this for a couple of days and then add a hand gesture to the mix, ie, Rover,come, and wave him to come closer with your hand, like you were beckoning a friend to come here.

Within a few days you should be able to get your dog to come 100% of the
time with just the hand gesture, no words at all. Then it’s time to move on to the sit command.

You would follow the same pattern as teaching him to come. Hand gestures are used for every command because you want to be able to command your dog even if there is too much noise for him to hear you well.

Once you have taught your dog to come,sit,down and stay reliably inside then you move outside in the
yard on leash and provide some distraction, like someone throwing a ball around near where you are
working with your dog. Then teach him these same commands under this low-level pressure. Keeping him
focused on you will be a little more difficult so I would suggest you use high value food rewards like
cooked chicken,ham,cheese, or last nights left over steak.

Regular old kibble is not going to make him think of you as more enticing than that ball that’s rolling
around or the butterfly that’s calling his name to give chase, and he will lose focus on you and go for the ball, or the butterfly, probably both.

If he does this and you can’t get him focused, go back inside and work some more distraction free
exercises, or step up your food rewards to something that holds his interest perhaps a favorite toy.

This link will take you to the video I made showing how I work with my dogs.

Training Video

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All the best,

Harley