Posts Tagged ‘stress’

dog sniffing butt

How To Introduce a New Puppy or Dog To The Dog(s) You Already Have

Bringing home a new dog is a highly charged and exciting time.

It doesn’t matter if you get a pup or decide to rescue a shelter dog, if you already have a dog, it’s important to manage the introductions to make sure it goes well for you and your dog(s).

If done right, this getting to know you experience can be relatively stress free for everyone.

I have rescued many dog over the years and I can tell you that it takes about 1-2 months for dogs to settle the new pecking order, and a year before you could say the dogs are now part of the same pack.

They are going to test one another, they might even have a “dust up” or two, that’s why I believe supervision and good management are key to making sure things don’t get too far out of hand.

Watch this short I made on how to introduce a new puppy or dog to the dogs you already have.

Want to learn how to properly crate train your dog?

As Spock would say, it’s only logical captain. 🙂

To find out more about using a crate to manage your dogs behavior go here NEXT!

Ultimate Guide To Properly Crate Training Your Puppy Or Dog

brown dog tugs

In this post I demonstrate how to use the tug toy as a means to connect with your dog and to help release stored up stress.  It is designed to keep the flow of energy moving so it don’t get stuck, and to bring fear to the surface so the dog can process it better.

Although I use the example of Lola being attracted to the power truck out on the road, this exercise is designed to answer the question that all dogs ask..what do I do with my energy,..regardless of it is a person, dog, or squirrel that your dog becomes attracted to,.. this is how you can get them to give their energy to you.

For more information about playing tug with your dog click here,.. Play Tug

tug of war reuse

I am sure you have probably heard from one trainer or the other that you should not play tug of war with your dog.

Some trainers say you can play tug with your dog but you must never let them win.

 

What I teach people about playing tug of war with their dogs is in direct contradiction to the thinking of conventional dog training. I play the game based on the premise that all the things your dog does has a direct connection to their prey drive and their desire to hunt, and the more value an object has, the more attracted and emotional your dog becomes when they see that object, and if your dog catches, bites and eats that object then there is a certain amount of stress relief that the dog will experience.

Let’s examine this for a moment..

For the sake of argument let’s place a dollar value to some of the prey items your dog finds valuable..with regard to how emotional energized and attracted your dog will be to each object.

When a dog sees a mouse scurry through the grass, he might become attracted and give chase..and while it is fun to stalk and pounce on a mouse and eat it..the dollar value to your dog is about 1 Canadian dollar.. or as we call it..a loonie.

That’s cool, your dog experiences a small reduction in stress levels, and your dog will most likely do it again if he sees a mouse.

Later that afternoon your dog sees a rabbit, or a squirrel, now things are heating up..he gives chase and if he catches the squirrel or rabbit and eats it.. he experiences a bigger rush of “good feelings” and stress reduction, and that is like depositing 10 loonies or so in the dogs emotional doggie bank.

The next day your dog sees a moose, suddenly every nerve in his body lights up with an emotional charge like nothing he has experienced up to this point.. in terms of money..he has just seen 10 million loonies worth of energy and emotion head off into the brush..and if he could only catch the moose and eat him..his stress would totally disappear and he would be the happiest dog on the planet.

You can see how it would benefit you as a dog owner to learn how to be the moose in the eyes of your dog,.. you don’t want to be the mouse, or the rabbit or squirrel, those prey items are fun but don’t attract your dogs emotions and, feelings like a moose, buffalo, or caribou would.

One of the ways you can begin to be the moose is to play tug of war with your dog, the only thing is you must ALWAYS let your dog win..no exceptions.

Here is a step by step guide to playing tug of war with your dog

1. Don’t stand face to face with your dog or smile a lot,.. humans are the top predators and this posture and showing your teeth will make your dog defensive and we want him to be in prey drive, so stand sideways, don’t smile, and don’t look him in the eye.

2. Get two tug toys…I like to use two foot lengths of rope tied in many knots. Put one in your back pocket or tuck it under your arm so you will have one to play with and get your dogs attention when your he or she don’t want to bring the one they have back..when your dog drops the one he has and turns his attention to you..tug and pull with him and when he runs off with that one, pick up the one he dropped and begin the game again.

3. With your dog on a 30 foot long line begin the game slowly, stay relaxed, make sure there are no other distractions, like other dogs playing or kids running around, and be sure to be on your game and paying attention..this game requires your dog to bite hard and if they miss the toy..you might get bit..but if you are careful, this doesn’t have to happen… tease your dog with the tug and entice him to bite it..this might take some time especially with nervous, timid dogs who have built up anxiety and stress..but keep at it..act like the mouse or the rabbit…run away waving the tug, lay down and roll around like a prey animal, and keep teasing your dog with the tug..he will bite it at some point.

4. Amp up your emotions and use your voice to get your dog into prey drive..say things like..” Get it boy”, Sic a hold on it,” or” bite that thang.”

5. If your dog starts to growl a lot then that is not a good thing, this means your dog is afraid he is going to lose the war..so you should quickly let him win.

Winning means he gets to run away with the toy.

A little growling is o,k. just don’t let things get out of hand.

6. When your dog bites on the tug, pull smoothly, don’t jerk hard,,and keep the play session short so your dog don’t get bored..once you have reached a place where your dog is pulling and biting hard try to time it so you release the toy when your dog tugs hard on it..so that to your dog is seems like he earned it and you are not just giving in to him..they can tell the difference.

7. When you are ready to end the game, have a piece of chicken some tasty treat in your pocket, take it out and offer it to your dog, they will take the treat and you can gather up the tug toys..and put them away until the next time you want to work with your dog.

* It is important that the game ends with you having possession of the toys, once you get home put the toys away out of sight of your dog until the next time you bring them out to play.

There you have it, if you have any questions about how to play tug of war to engage your dogs prey drive, tell me about it in the comment section below, thanks for visiting my blog and make sure to come back often.

All the best,

Harley

 

 

 

barking dog reuse

 

 

 

 

 

Part of what I do as a dog trainer is to answer daily messages from people who are having problems with their dogs that they just can’t get a handle on.

I thought I would share some of these emails with you, I hope you find them entertaining as well as informative.

This message came in a few days ago, it was from an lady who lived alone on a nice quiet street, where she had spent most of her adult life.

She wrote me asking for help with her 7 year old German Shepherd Roxie, who she said for the most part was well behaved and easy to handle..and up till this point had never really been a cause for concern.

She went on to tell me that about a month ago construction had started across the street from her, a new house was going up, and there were crews of men working with various tools and making a lot of noise.

They were cutting trees, and moving dirt, and she began to notice that every time she went out to go for a walk she had trouble with Roxie pulling and barking trying to get across the street., and she described her actions as vicious in nature..to use her words,

“She acts like she wants to take a chunk out of their hide.”

She then went on to tell me that the behavior had progressively gotten worse..now she can’t let Roxie out for a moment without supervision, as she will no longer just stay in the yard and bark at the boys across the street., she now goes after them..and has on more than one occasion put them in their trucks or up a ladder..

To use her words again,

“I am scared to death she is going to bite someone, and I will lose her, and I can’t lose her,.. she is all I got, can you please help me.”

The first question I asked her was how she felt about what was going on across the street.

She told me that she was annoyed that they were cutting down the beautiful trees that stood there and that she would miss taking Roxie over there to run around and play fetch with  her..

That little patch of land was one of the last vestiges of nature left in her fast growing community.

In short it pissed her off to no end.

I knew immediately what was going on, so I explained to her how our dogs feel what we feel, and Roxie was picking up on her anger and frustration about the work going on across the street, and a dog will try to help us identify our deepest emotions even if we are not even aware we have them.

I suggested to her that she try to find some way to make peace with what was going on,.. to own her feelings about it and understand that her dog will reflect even slight variations in our emotional make up.

Sometimes it is in our best interest to simply have the courage to accept the things we can’t change.

I explained that in order to help Roxie ground the fear she has been dealing with,.. it would help is she taught Roxie to bark at her instead of the crew across the street, so the next time she starts to react to the commotion of construction..just tell her it’s OK, that the construction is just part of the flow of energy now..and if she is fearful and needs to bark, then bark at her so she can be the ground that absorbs the energy Roxie needs to keep moving.

I went on to explain to her that a dogs bark comes from the deepest part of their emotional being, and that in times of great stress they will bark to express fear,.. instead of going to that primal place that would cause them to bite…barking gives them a way to express their fear instead of acting on it.

Barking moves energy that would otherwise become blocked. 

How To Teach Your Dog To Bark On Command

Some dogs will hold onto the fear because it is deep down in their emotional battery, and it may take a fair bit of time to bring that fear to the surface in order for them to feel safe enough to bark on command. 

Other dogs who have less stored fear stress will bark on command very quickly.

This is how I teach my dogs to bark on command.

Get a treat that your dog is really into..hold it close to your chest and your dog will sniff and root around, maybe scratch to get the treat..in a playful tone of voice say..speak, speak.. and the second he or she barks give the treat and give them love and praise to let them know that this is the way to keep the energy flowing… and to be safe.

If your dog is less inclined to bark..

Put some pressure on your dog to cause a little stress..wave it around in their face and in a sweet voice say..speak, speak., in time, the dog will need to express themselves,.. to relieve the stress,.. and he or she will bark…give them the treat and continue to praise them in a sweet puppy wuppy voice..” good girl,”  “that’s such a good dog.”

Repeat this exercise daily for a while until your dog will speak on command without the food reward.

All the best

Harley

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crazy dog reuse

 

 

 

 

 

 

My dogs are not inclined to run hog-wild around the house.

I believe that it’s because I work hard to make myself the moose that attracts their emotions, and therefore I’m able to help them bring the fear they have accumulated just by virtue of day-to-day living, to the surface, so that it can now become useful energy.

I accomplish this through games that engage their prey drive and urge to hunt, like tug of war, and hide and go find.

Once the fear energy is under control they can use it to connect with me in a meaningful way.

For example, when we take walks through the woods, play tug of war, hide and seek, and other useful avenues of co-operation, like herding and hunting.

Some people mistakenly think this seemingly out of the blue behavior is humorous, and reinforce their dogs fear by chasing them around in a game of sorts,.. thus bringing that initially invisible threat that set them off in the first place,.. into reality.

For most people this is something they will regret doing later on.

Even though my dogs don’ t behave in this hectic, bouncing off the walls way..I have rescued a few dogs that did.

I always thought it was about the stress and confusion of the new environment, memories of past life experiences, and having to deal with my dogs exuberant social behavior.

I was aware of the “fear factor”, because I observed the way they hauled their buts in low to the ground when they ran in random zig- zagging geometric patterns, as if to protect it from getting bitten by what ever was chasing them in their mind.

I gave it very little thought because after a few days of bonding, ie,  walks in the woods, and playing games designed to engage prey drive.

The crazy hog-wild running around just disappeared.

There is only one down side to my dogs not running hog-wild around the house..I don’t have a video to show you..but thankfully there is YouTube.

I found this short video that shows the behavior I am talking about..and you will see the person with the camera is under the false impression that this is funny, and inadvertently reinforces the dogs fear by chasing him around trying to film the action.

This person doesn’t understand that the dog is trying to connect with him, but don’t know how.

If you have questions about this post or anything that is on your mind , I would love to hear from you, leaving a comment here is a good place to start.

All the best,

Harley

Resource: Natural Dog Training.com

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dog yoga reuse

There’s just one thing that all dogs want to know, and they need you to answer it.

Between raising the kids and making meals, working a shift, going to soccer games, swimming lessons, making time for your better half, going to the gym walking the dog..well.. the list could go on and on, but there is no doubt about one thing..at the end of the day your energy is spent, taking off your shoes seems to be a chore that might require some assistance.

With all the things we do daily that drain our energy, the very act of doing them causes stress to our bodies and our minds, and stress as we all know can have very negative effect on us if we don’t deal with it.

So..we have learned that in order to alleviate some of this stress so that we don’t explode..(emotionally speaking,) there are certain activities that help to keep us in balance so we can get up the next day and do it all again.

You might enjoy listening to music, yoga class, reading a good book, massage, sitting on the porch watching the sun go down, smoking a pipe., the possibilities are endless, and individual to you..what works for you might not work for others.

Now let’s consider the daily life of most dogs..not all dogs but most.

A dogs day starts the same time your’s does, if not before..and they have even more energy that you have to start their day..but, instead of getting ready to go to work …they will be lucky to get out for 5 minutes to use the bathroom, come inside and have 10 minutes to eat…a quick pat on the head from you, and a be a good boy till I get back..and then they are sequestered in their assigned areas until you come back.

For most dogs their day is spent either tied in the yard, behind a fence, in a crate, locked in the house.

One thing  is for sure their range of movement is restricted to some degree.

Still he is constantly bombarded by energy coming from life going on around him.

Someone repeatedly knocks on the door because no one there to answer it, a squirrel runs across the yard, the dog next door is in heat, the boom of a passing thunderstorm, needs to relieve himself but it will be two hours before anyone comes to let him outside.

Over the span of the 6-8 hours most people are away from the house the dog has absorbed vast quantities of stress, but has burned very little energy..so when you finally get home, your dog is a quivering emotional stressed out mess..as soon as you open the door or let him out of the crate he jumps up on you, runs around the house maybe knocking over plants and what not.

He paws at you for attention, barks non stop at you or someone passing on the street, surfs the counters, chases the cats, and if you do take him for a walk he pulls you down the street with your feet practically off the ground, and stops only when another dog approaches him and he starts to growl and lunge dragging you toward the strange dog.

The reason a dog does all these different and sometimes annoying behaviors is due to the fact that he is stressed out and is searching for something, anything to satisfy his emotional state of mind, which brings me to the main point of my article..there’s just one thing all dogs want to know..

What do I do with all my energy?

All the best,

Harley

Resource: Natural Dog Training.com

 

SmoothCollieTri2_wb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ultimate pleasure for any dog is to bite, it is what they are designed to do, and in doing so massive amounts of stress is released from their bodies.

In this video I demonstrate a great exercise called bite and carry.

This exercise makes Ragnar feel good, keeps his energy flowing,.. and in the process he follows me wherever I go..

I have always trained my dogs during the course of my daily life, I do not have scheduled training sessions.

When I see an opportunity to work with my dogs, I take advantage of it.

If you have any  questions, leave them in the section below and I will get back to you soon.

all the best,

Harley