Posts Tagged ‘Understanding’

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Fact: most dogs will develop behavior problems that can
cause their owners to become stressed.

It is important to understand that what you may interpret as a
problem with your dog is in fact just your dog doing what
comes naturally to them and for the most part provides a
happy feeling for your pooch.

Barking, digging, peeing and pooping are some of the
characteristics that define a dog as a species.

It is this psychological need that motivates your dog to be a dog.

Jumping, running, chasing, sniffing and growling are just as
normal for a dog as tail wagging and burying objects of value.

So it is vital for dog owners to understand that it is not what
your dog is doing that is causing the problems, the issue is with
how your dog is expressing their natural instincts.

For example if you could understand what your dog is saying
you would discover that they think it is perfectly Ok to jump
into your arms to say hello, and nothing is more fun than to run
through mud puddles, or stare at a shadow on the wall for a
long time.

Some dogs would tell you that it is a natural-born right to howl
at the moon in the middle of the night or pee on the carpet so
they don’t get their feet wet.

So you see what you see as bad behaviour they see it as just being
a dog.

With this in mind you can now see that it is highly unrealistic
for you as a dog owner to think your dog will behave like some
of the highly trained dogs you might see on your favourite T.V.

If you have rules but do not consistently teach your dog how to
behave, then don’t be surprised when they break the rules and
develop dog problems, after all they can’t know the secret to
how to behave if you don’t share it with them and will without
a doubt get punished for doing what comes natural to them.

Set the rules about how you want your dog to behave and then
teach them to express their dog-ness in the right way. Make
sure you are fair and take the time to teach your dog how to
behave when you are walking in the city, or in the country side,
or visiting friends.

Failure to do this will almost certainly result in your dog making
the decisions for themselves and will fill their day with activities
that you will not enjoy.

So remember to take the time to teach your dog’s where to
pee, and how long to bark, where to dig holes, and what to
chew on, and how to walk on a leash, to prevent dog problems.

Take extra special time to socialize your dog to all kinds of
people, and how to play other dogs.

When you do this your life and your dog’s life will be better for it.

all the best,


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I have been called worse, but I guess you could call me a self educated naturalist.

I find it very interesting and quite frankly grounding, to observe nature in action without outside influence.

The fall reminds me of the times as a young boy when the leaves changed colors
and could no longer cling to the trees, and there was that nip of winter in the
air, my  Uncle Eldon would say,

`Well it`s time to get the traps out and lay the line for winter.“

We would spend hours walking through the woods looking for signs of our quarry
and discussing the best spots to set the traps.

We would look at an old log that had fallen over a
natural animal trail, and ponder if it was high enough off the ground to
ensure a bobcat would have to go under it and not jump over..

Because the nature of the bobcat is to be stealthy, so that means low to the ground
and when faced with the option of jumping over something and possibly giving away
their position, or belly crawl under something they will inevitably go under the
log, thus our reasoning for placing he trap under the log to increase the likelihood
of success.

Now I don`t trap and kill anything for any reason, that was the way my Uncle lived
out of necessity and he provided well for our family.

What I learned about the animals that lived in the woods around where I live, gave
me the knowledge to be able to communicate with our family dogs in the way nature
intended, by observing how they interact with one another and how their instincts
dictated how they behaved.

I learned how to think like a dog..


I learned from and early age that it is not possible to teach a dog to think like
a human, they are not that complex, but when you take the human factor out, and think
about your dog as an animal, with instincts and needs that are very different than that
of humans, then it becomes much easier to know what they instinctively and naturally need
to feel safe, protected and have a sense of well-being.

Dogs crave physical and mental exercise as well as strong leadership that sets clear and consistent
rules, boundaries, and a structured way of life.

When a dog’s natural needs are being met, they will feel that the pack is safe and not have
to deal with any stress.

Dogs have evolved to have a close bond with people, but I believe most people, (not all, but most)
have forgotten or don`t think about the dogs natural instincts, and relate to their dogs in a
very human way, and in my experience this is where people create the stress that causes their dogs
to develop behavior problems that for most dog owners is unmanageable.

But when I am called to come and help someone with their dog troubles, and I tell them that the
reason their dog is acting out is because of the way they interact with the dog on a daily basis,
and that the dogs natural instinctual needs are not being met, and that their dog`s temperament
is a direct result of the relationship they have formed with their dog,and that they simply don`t
understand their dogs needs, they look at me like I have three heads.

Here are a couple of tips for having well-behaved happy and balanced dogs..


Teach your dog to respect your personal space, at the door, on the stairs
and when you are watching t.v. or eating supper..

Don`t worry so much about if your dog sits before going out, but be more concerned about how your
dog behaves at the door., is he polite and gives you room to open the door, or is he jumping,and
pushing at you, nose right up against the door waiting to bolt out the door?

Teach your dog to have respect, for example if you get up to move through the house does your
dog get up in anticipation of your movements or do they lie in your way and force you to walk
around them or step over?

If you answered walk around or step over, you can be sure that something about your relationship
with your dog has gone wrong, and you will need to re-evaluate how you interact with your dog.

If you liked today’s post, then let me know by liking my Face Book Page
River Valley Dog Training

all the best,


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I was watching a Wrestling match on the tube the other night
and one of the competitors was the guy we all know as…
“The Rock” aka. Dwayne Johnson.








I enjoy watching him wrestle, and yes I am well aware

that it is all scripted and fake as hell.

But..I still find it entertaining none the less.

Now I know you’re thinking what has this got to do with dog training.

Bear with me and it will all become clear in a minute or so..

What I like about the Rock is how he is able to use facial expressions
and body language to let his fans know what is coming next.

For example..he has a move called “The Peoples Elbow” a devastating blow
delivered by smashing his elbow into his opponent’s chest and in most cases is
the move that finishes them off..

You know what is coming not because he says anything but by the way he
stops, and looks out at the crowd,slides his elbow pad off,
then stares down at his opponent, and after a couple of springs off the
ropes delivers his signature blow.

He is what you could call a Master in using facial expressions and body
language to communicate his intentions..

Over the years I have learned and perfected how to use my body language
and tone of voice to have a powerful effect on how my dogs behave.

Let me break it down for ya…

You see your dog has three main drives,a defence drive,pack drive,and
a prey drive.

1- Guard Drive

This is a dogs instinctual reaction to a stressful situation, and of the three
drives this is the most diverse because it is determined by the dogs temperament
they will either fight or run away depending on their temperament.

If you have a confident dog that is not easily spooked by noise, other dogs or people,
they will most likely fight if cornered or pushed.

If you have a dog that is easily frightened by noise, other dogs or people
then this dog will likely run away in the face of adversity.Sometimes they will
just freeze and not move a muscle.

2- Pack Drive

Pack drive is the drive that your dogs are in when they work with you or interact with
a group of dogs. This is the drive you want your dog in when you work obedience exercises
or go for walks.

3- Prey Drive

This is the drive that causes your dog to want to chase sticks or squirrels.

This is the drive that you want your dog in when you call them to come.

Now how does your tone of voice and body language kick in these drives?

I’m glad you asked.

Have you ever layed down on the grass and notice that your dog almost immediately
runs to you and jumps and rolls on you having a great time. That’s because when you
lower your body to the ground it kicks in your dogs prey drive..they instinctually
are driven to play, because you pose no threat to them when you are on the ground.

You want your dog to be in prey drive when you call them to make sure you
squat down and use a high-pitched happy tone of voice when you call them to come.

If you stand tall and lean in toward your dog and use harsh tones then you will
shift your dog into guard drive and they will most likely not come to you or
be very hesitant and almost crawl to you on their bellys, because they are unsure
of what is going to happen to them.

When you stand straight, and use calming even tones you will kick in your dogs pack
drive and this is the drive you want them in when you go for walks or teaching

So to sum this all up..

It’s important to understand how your tone of voice and body language switches your
dog’s drive..because when you are working obedience commands you will want to change
your dogs drive to have success with different commands.

If you want to work with your dog or go for walks, then stand straight, use normal
even tones in your voice to kick in their pack drive, and your dog will follow you
and be very willing to work with you.

If you want your dog to come, squat down, or lean back, use high-pitched happy tones of
voice, this will kick your dog into prey drive and in most cases your dog will come
running to you.

If you want to kick in your dogs guard drive..stand tall, lean in toward the dog and
use a stern tone of voice.

This is a good drive to use when your dog is a little too excited and out of hand, not
responding to your commands.

Stand up tall and lean toward your dog and in a harsh low commanding tone of voice say,

“Hey, that’s enough!”

and in most cases the dog will hunker down, and start paying attention to you.

So remember if you want your dog to come then guard drive is not the drive you want..
a dog will find it very hard to come to you if you have kicked in their guard drive.

If you liked this post let me know by liking my Face Book Page

Click Here====>   River Valley Dog Training

all the best,


tail chase





It’s 3 am, you have to work in the morning and you are about to climb right out of your skin. You love your dog but no matter what you do, he just won’t stop sniffing, pacing, circling and scratching the floor. This behavior can sometimes last for hours, until the dog simply runs out of steam and has to fall into a very light sleep. The slightest sound will have him jumping to his feet only to start the whole routine over. Understanding obsession and anxiety in your dog may seem to be impossible for you to comprehend so let me break it down for you.

The symptoms that I described are just a few of the most common behaviors dogs can exhibit when they are suffering from anxiety and obsession. You will first want to take your dog to the vet to rule out any medical issues. If the vet gives your dog a clean bill of health then you must look to other solutions. Other symptoms of (obsession/anxiety) include, but are not limited to…

1. Tail chasing.

2. Licking themselves or other objects,( obsessive licking of body parts will cause injury to the dog), will need to take steps to prevent this, ie, funnel collar, to keep dog from licking the affected area.

3. Excessive drinking, even when you know they are not thirsty.

4. Tongue hanging out, drooling, panting.

5. Old age, a dog can have decreased cognitive function, ie,… forget where his food bowl is, don’t respond to commands that you know he understands, no longer socializes with people or other dogs.

6. Turning circles, or spinning, sometimes couple with tail-chasing.

7. Scratching the floor coupled with the turning circles, could be a natural instinctual behavior that became obsessive.

8. Non-stop barking for no apparent reason.

9. Fixating ( staring at), or jumping on a toy or object, for example, a spot on the floor or wall.

10. Snapping of teeth like they were catching a fly.

Any attempts to train a dog to not be anxious or obsessive would be futile. When a dog is in this heightened state of mind, the brain is flooded with chemicals that make listening to you impossible. The dog’s brain, for lack of a better term simply “shuts down”.

It has been my experience that the only way to treat obsession and anxiety in your dog, (outside of the use of drugs, which I never recommend,) is to slowly desensitize your dog slowly over time. Observe the behavior and provide alternative ways for your dog to drain excess energy.

When your dog is not behaving in and obsessive or anxious way, stimulate his mind with a series of obedience training, learn some tricks, teach him to count to three.

Go for long walks and incorporate a game or two of go fetch the stick, or ball.

When your dog is getting enough energy draining mental and physical exercise, he will be much less likely to practice obsessive or anxious behaviors.

A tired dog is a good dog.

That’s all for today,

Good luck, and good training.