LOOSE LEASH WALKING

 Most people hold their pulling dogs on a short leash because the second they release the leash the dog takes off. But if you do this the dog never learns to stay close to you on a loose leash . The natural reaction to tension on the leash is called the oppositional reflex- your dog will resist presssure  and pull.The classic way to teach loose leash walking is to stop walking when your dog pulls or to turn and go in the other direction , wait for your dog to catch up and then turn back and walk on again. This is ultimately effective but can be slow and tedious .  

The easiest quickest way to teach your dog to walk on a loose leash is to use a long line !

With your dog on a long line reward well and frequently  when your dog is close to you walking with you ,and when it goes away from you you move in the  opposite direction and call  it . In a short time your dog is stuck to you like glue on a loose leash! You are unpredictable so your dog needs to focus on you  ,and being beside you is rewarding . Plus there is no pressure on the leash to resist  .  

Another way to teach this is to teach your dog to focus on your hand or your face (hold a treat for your dog to watch  and lower it to your dog , or start with it  low  and raise it to your eyes, then give it to your dog , or put your hand  to your dog and reward , or count to 3 and drop treats beside  you  on 3. Or simply hand treats to your dog when it's beside you . Any of these keep your dog beside you . 

Just rewarding your dog when it's beside you- even when you are sitting down watching the tv, working on the computer ( or even just  scrolling! ), talking on the phone , eating etc -  builds positive associations with being beside  you .Then when walking, your dog WANTS to be beside you .  

 

DOG TRAINING TIP -JUST TEACHING ONE SKILL WILL SOLVE LOTS OF BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS

 The easiest  quickest way to solve lots of behaviour problems is to teach one easy skill really well, practice  practice practice ( you can do this a few minutes here and there ) and reward it REALLY  well -  touch  your hand , focus on you , come  to you ,heel . When your dog  is reacting at the window to a passerby , taking food off the counter , running away with an item , pulling on the lead , reacting to a dog ,  digging  up the plants, chasing the cat , going nuts at the doorbell, jumping on people, laying on the furniture  - whatever - you  can ask the dog  to do the skill  you have taught . If your dog does what you ask , it stops doing what you dont want !   

HOW LEARNING HAPPENS - WHY YOU SHOULDN'T PUNISH REACTIVITY

HOW DOES LEARNING HAPPEN ? 

Dogs ( and other animals ) learn  through a process of association. ABC - Antecedent (what starts the behaviour ) Behaviour , Consequence .

If your dog is emotional ( over threshold ), your  dog will learn  that the antecedent  predicts the consequence . Eg if your dog sees and reacts to a dog and is punished for it , it will not  learn that it's behaviour  results in punishment , it will learn  the ANTECEDENT - seeing a dog - predicts punishment . This will result in increased reactivity when it next sees a dog  and expects  to be punished again . 

In order for your dog to learn that BEHAVIOUR  predicts a consequence  it must be calm .In order to do the wanted behaviour it must be rewarding. There are various techniques  to teach  this while keeping the dog calm so learning happens. Eg the dog learns the antecedent predicts a REWARD. Therefore  reactivity  lessens because the  dog forms positive  associations  with the antecedent and learns  to focus back to owner for reward,  and with practice stops reacting.

Psychology . The reason why qualified positive reinforcement   training should be your only choice .  

Common Training Mistakes

What Are The  Most Common Mistakes  People Make In Training? Dont Set Your Dog Up To Fail !

1 Not Rewarding What You Want  Enough.- Dogs ( in fact, everything) do what works for them .What is rewarded will be repeated . What is repeated  will become  habit . You can and should reward in some way EVERYTHING you value . Calm and quiet? Reward .Settled or on  their bed ? Reward . Focused on you ? Reward . Coming to you ? Reward .  Seeing or hearing a trigger ? Reward .  Feet on the floor ? Reward.  Making the right choice? Reward.  All of these  things are the foundations of  the complex skills  that undo  the behaviour  you dont  like. Build solid foundations .

2 Not Preventing What You Don't Want While You Teach What You Do. - If you don't make it easy for your dog to do the right  thing  and hard to do the  wrong thing, you will only get the wrong thing. Your dog will make the most  rewarding choice and until it learns your choice  will be the most rewarding, it will choose  the natural  behaviour - jumping on you or taking the food off the counter  or chasing the cat .  Until your dog has learned  what you want it it simply can't give it to you. Having a leash on  when you open the door  to visitors  enables you  to remove the dog  if it's too excited . Without one you can't . 

3 Allowing Unwanted Behaviour To Be Practised.- Remember what is practised will become habitual. Don't allow your dog to practise behaviour   you don't want . Remove  the dog from an exciting  environment  or prevent the behaviour  eg don't leave temptations within reach and use a leash until it' s not needed . 

4 Rewarding What You Don't Want.  -See the behaviour from your dog's point of view . You will then see  how you are inadvertantly  rewarding what you don't want.  Pushing your dog down or telling it off when it jumps on you is rewarding the jumping  because your dog jumped on you seeking interaction with you . And that's what it got .  Yelling at your dog when  it barks  is rewarding the barking because your dog was barking to get  support  for  a percieved  threat ( eg passer by )   or  because you have inadvertantly  taught it that you will pay attention  to barking . 

5 Skipping Steps  In The Training Process. - If you make it too hard  too fast , your dog will fail.  Would you give your child  one piano lesson  then book a concert hall ? NO!  If you make it too hard before your dog  has solid reliable understanding  of what you want, your dog will never be able to progress.

6 Punishing Your Dog . - Punishment  does not teach your dog what to do .Your dog will NOT  understand what it is being punished for.Punishment simply makes you an unprediactable scary monster . Studies have repeatedly  found  that dogs who are hit will often learn to bite and will get in first . Studies have found dogs who are yelled at will have stess hormones in their blood for 48 hrs . Or they will simply ignore you as much as possible because  being with you is simply not something they value .   

7 Not Telling Your Dog What You DO Want. - " No" is not a behaviour . Do you know how to "No" ?  Would you go into a restaurant and expect the  waiter to guess what you want ?  Or would you tell the waiter what you want -and pay for it ?Don't tell your dog what not to do. .Tell it what TO DO . Instead of shouting "No " , say "come !"or "leave it !"Or "sit !" Tell it what you WANT. 

8 Not Listening To Your Trainer- first of all , NOT ALL TRAINERS ARE CREATED EQUAL. Ensure your trainer is qualifed , accredited , and a positive reinforcement  trainer - not punitive, not "balanced ". Punitive or balanced ( rewards and punishment ) trainers will damage your dog psychologically , physically , and will damage  your dog's  relationship with you .Choose your trainer  carefully- but having  done so , do what they tell you. A qualifed trainer will have scientifically proven reasons for what they tell you to do  and be happy to answer any questions about it . Look into the method  and be sure you understand  how it works and the pos and cons of the chosen method- but having done this , follow their advice . It can't work if you don't do it ! 

Then when they have shown you what to do and  explained the reason and answered your questions and demonstrated the technique - it's up to you  to practice  the technique. Dogs learn by repetition and consistent. predictable  outcomes .     

9 Stopping Too Soon.-Practice practice practice !Dogs learn by repetition and consistent predictable consequences . Often people start , the dog makes some progress, then the person slips back to what they were doing, and because the wanted behaviour isn't YET a habit ,unsurprisingly, so does the dog . If you stop before the  new behavior is reliable , it never will be .Happily there are easy quick ways to train your dog  - I can help you with this . It requires comittment -but it needn't be difficult .  

Breaking Up a Dog Fight

 BREAKING  UP A DOG FIGHT 

In the event of a  serious dog fight  the aim is to break it up as quickly and safely as possible . Therefore some punitive methods not otherwise recommended  may be necessary in the  event of a fight taking place .

The  first  line of defence is to prevent  a fight happening in the first place . If your dog  is fearful aggressive or even friendly but  over enthusiastic  or rough ,address this issue by way of  reactivity techniques that teach  your  dog to  be calm , not reactive .I can teach you these techniques.  Build a solid  recall with distraction and dont  let your dog  off the leash or a long line (which lets your dog be  effectively "free" but  under control )  until you have a reliable recall  no matter what distractions are present . 

PREVENTION -IN THE STREET/PARK 

Don't allow your dog to meet every dog  it sees- and don't believe the owner of that out -of -control, not- coming- when- called off leash dog rushing up to your's  when they shout "He's friendly! " That's code  for "I have no control !"   I avoid dog parks  because in  my experience many people take their  dogs there because it's  the only place they can release them and have them  not able to run off .Avoid by teaching your dog to turn back to you( before you need this  skill ) and walk briskly away , and toss a handful of treats towards the other dog  as you go.  Most  dogs  wont follow you far ,and if they do the owner will be motivated  to run after  you  to catch it . Yell "He's infectious !" Putting a muzzle on your dog  if warranted will motivate  other people to keep their  dogs away .Cross or stand in the middle of a rd if nearby - this will stop traffic,  motivate  the owner to grab their dog , and hopefully get you some help and witnesses if attacked . If your dog is off lead ,call your dog and run or walk  quickly  away  so your dog will follow you. You can get behind the nearest gate , ring a  doorbell of the nearest house that seems to have someone home  to help , or carry a shake can ( empty  soft drink can with some stones in it taped shut) or a riding crop - a cheap, light- to -carry horse riding whip that can hang from your wrist  that makes a scary swish , stings like crazy ,  and  lets you use it at a  distance .  If you  can't increase distance , teaching  your dog "middle " ( stand facing forward between your legs ) will help keep your dog calm and  keep you and your dog safer than if you tried to pick it up . See my face book page  video section for  video on teaching middleor give me  a call  .

IS  THE DOG SUITABLE TO MEET  ?

What if you want your dogs  to meet ? Avoid tension on the leash . Dogs should  meet in neutral territory . Dont take other dogs into your dog's home turf, or vice versa. Make sure any dog your dog is to meet has a  good history  of  playing off leash with a variety of dogs when  between 8-16 weeks old. Have the dogs continued to play well with unfamilar  dogs ? Have they ever bitten and punctured dog or human skin ?What does one  dog do if the other dog  wants to grab a toy , food, or get close to  you ?Does the meeting place enable you  to seperate  the dogs if needed behind a  gate  or strong dog crate /pen ? Dog should not meet face to face but be presented  to each other nose to groin . Its better  to start with the dogs at a distance and slowly  get  closer. There  are a number of techniques  you can use to introduce them - I can help you with  this .

WHAT IF YOUR DOGS FIGHT AT HOME ? 

Fights  between dogs that  live  together are usually about resources  or redirected  aggression or in the  case of intact dogs, hormonal. The mistake that most people make is not identifying and addressing  the triggers , and  seperating the dogs after a fight then trying to bring them back together after they calm down .  Dogs  need to calm down in each other 's presence ( safely ).You need help with reactivity , disengagement , and  counter conditioning techniques - this WON'T get better on its own.  

IF A FIGHT HAPPENS 

Don't panic ! Most fights sound worse than they are , and panicking or screaming  will only make it worse . So what can you do ?

If you suspect  your  dogs may fight , have head collars or  front leash attachment harnesses  or basket muzzles if needed  and leads on them when together under supervision  so you can just grab the end of the  lead  and remove  the  aggressor . This is a temporary measure  while  you address the cause of the fights with training ,but is your safest option . 

If you don't have a lead on the dogs , if possible, ringing the doorbell will often stop a fight . Alternatively throwing a blanket or coat over each dog seperately  will often srtop the fight   (be ready  to grab them ). Spray the dogs  with water - preferably  a hose .Use a shake can or bang pots, or an oven tray , or  bang chair legs on the floor ,  or drop something - any loud noise . If the  situation happens enough to warrrant  it get an air horn  from a marine  supply store . You can push a chair leg or a tray or oven tray /rack , sheet of galvanised iron , or similar  between the dogs. If you expect  you may need  it have a spray bottle ready  with a  strong mix of  vinegar or lemon juice and water  in  it .

You may use the wheel barrow technique if necessary -but you are risking getting bitten . Co-ordinate  your actions with a second person. Each person at the same time grags a dog by  the hind legs at the point where the  knee meets the stifle  and swings the dog to their  right so their mouths move away from each other. This makes it harder (but not impossible )for the dog  to  bite the human . Once seperated  get  one  dog out the closest exit.

.A "break stick "is a  very effective tool dog fighters use to  pry one dog's jaws off another . This is dangerous for you and the dog  so be aware of the risk .  A  tent stake or  wood splitting tool  or similar  will provide you with  a  last ditch method  to pry a dog off  if nothing else  works .Preferably tether one  dog  and pull the other away so both are stretched out  then wedge the stick in  the gripping dog's mouth  and twist  until it  lets go . This is obviously  difficult  to do and you may  have to wedge the stick as best you can  without tethering the dog. 

Obviously  some of these methods carry more risk than others  and not the preferred  method  but if necessary  do what you must . Preventing  a fight is a far better option-  and that's where training comes in . 

 

What Is The Best Equipment For Walking Your Dog ?

If you teach  your dog  to walk on a loose leash or close to you, you  dont need  any special  equipment.  However if you havent  done  so before your pup grew into a strong  pulling dog  or a dog with some problems eg   aggression or excitement  when  meeting dogs or people  or wanting to chase  traffic, you may need some help while  you teach  your dog to keep a loose leash. What you don't  want to do is put pressure  on your  dog's throat or neck . Pressure  here can collapse the trachea , cause increased intercranial  pressure , or even snap your  dog  's C2 verterbrae, aka  death by hanging. So choke chains, martingales ( half chokers ), leads on  normal (flat )collars,  or slip leads  are NOT  recommended .

The best option  will be a harness that fits well and clears the dog's shoulders  so pressure on joints is avoided . It is important that  the leash is attached to the chest  if your  dog pulls .This gives  you leverage  and the  correct angle to gently turn  your  dog back to you . Leads  attached to the back enable your dog to pull  and you can't  turn  your  dog  away from a trigger  and  back to  you . In many cases this will be all you need . 

If your  dog is very strong or aggressive  or you have trouble holding it  eg you are  elderly or frail , or pushing  a pram. you may need  more  help . In that case  a head collar will be helpful . 

The majority of positive trainers do not regard head collars  as  punitive , but because dogs generally dislike  them when first put on no matter how loose they are, some  positive  trainers  dont  like them . However if introduced gradually with lots of positive  reinforcement, dogs are not bothered by them .My position  is that  while  a  front attachment harness  is the best option , some  dogs while being trained  are simply  not able to be held  safely  or turned away in the  presence of a trigger. In that case a head collar  may be needed while training for safety .

I do not  like all brands of headcollars  as not all will be loose when the  dog is not putting pressure on the leash , but if  you choose a brand that remains loose when no pressure is put on it  eg Company  of Animals Halti head collar and  it is  introduced  gradually this is not a problem. Please contact me if you are not sure how to do this . You may google Company  of Animals  videos on how to fit and introduce head collars  to your  dog. I do it  with  more treats ! The owner must never  use a head  collar harshly eg jerk or tug  but merely hold the lead . Only the dog puts pressure on the  lead. If you put your  finger on the bony part of your nose and push this is what  the head collar feels like  when pressure  is put on  the leash  by the  dog. The  dog should be gently taught how to keep the leash  loose BEFORE being walked in it  . Using a double clip leash that attaches to the collar and the head collar enables you to hold the dog without the head collar being in effect , and only brings the head collar into effect if  needed by holding the leash closer to the  head collar . Once your dog is reliable when  walking in the presence of triggers you can  dispense with the head collar.        

What Is The Difference Between An Animal Behaviourist And A Dog Trainer ? What Are the 4 Quadrants ?

What is  an Animal Behaviourist ? What is  the  difference between  a behaviourist and a dog  trainer?

An Animal Behaviourist  has a university degree  in animal behaviour .  A dog trainer  may have  done  some  formal study ( but not a university degree) or none  at all  as dog training is  an unregulated field . Anyone may call themselves a dog trainer  and some   call themselves  behaviourists  when they are not actually entitled  to , so it's  important to  check a trainer's  qualifications  before hiring them .  Not all  dog training qualifications are equal either . Only one  course is currently  recognised by the federal govt  in Australia . Courses which are run through   any other  source eg a training franchise's  own course  or a military or police  dog training background , may  or not be  correct,  may or may not  be  based on science  and current  study , and may or may  not  be harmful to your  dog  if using out dated  methods  relying heavily, even if not exclusively , on punishment .  Vets are not animal  behaviourists unless they have  done  further  study  in that field, therefore  will often prescribe medication to dampen/suppress (but not  change ) behaviour   .    

A  qualified behaviourist  will be  expensive and  often will  refer  client to a vet  for  behavioural medication .In my experience  medication  masks (supresses) behaviour  but  doesnt  change it .Dogs behave  in accordance with what they  have learned  to expect .  If  aggression or  anxiety  is caused  by  a bad  experience  eg  punishment  or a fright  or fear  of an unknown  eg poorly  socialised ,  then this will not change  without  changing the  dog 's expectation when it is in that situation . How do we do that ? Psychology . 

An unqualifed  dog trainer  usually will resort to punishment  when a  dog  does an  unwanted behaviour because  they  do not know what else to do . They do not understand  how learning happens  so they do not understand that punishment  will  only  reinforce the  bad associations ,  and they mistake  rewards as bribes . Scientific  studies over the  decades  have shown  that punishment  creates aggression   and anxiety or causes  the dog to shutdown  (learned helplessness), so this is not going to help the behaviour  and is likely to  add further problems .  

A dog trainer  who has been taught  the principles  of psychology  may or may not be  able to apply these  principles  to modifiy  behaviour . A qualifed dog trainer  may  or may not  work  mostly  with  behavioural problems  . Some of these trainers call themselves  behaviourists  on this basis BUT  they are not actually legally entitled  to do so .

I   am qualified  and  nationally accredited  and  I work mostly  with dogs  with behaviour  problems using principles  of  psychology  and have  done  further  study in these areas  with well regarded  international positive reinforcement  trainers and veterinary  behaviourists.  Therefore I call myself  a  behavioural  trainer -but not a behaviourist . 

Does behaviour modification by way of psychological  principles  work ? Are medications necessary ? Speaking from my experience  of 5 yrs  at the  time of writing , I have never found that  aggression  or anxiety  was not able to be  found to have an identifiable  cause . So while I don't  rule out  medication absolutely I have never to the present not been able to  change the behaviour without  it .  I am recommended by a number of vets  because they have  found that they dont  need to prescribe  medication  for clients ' aggressive  dogs  if they  have a  consult with me . 

I suggest that people  seeking help with their dogs'  behaviour  look at my  blog entitled  Questions to ask A Trainer  and ask  prospective  trainers  these  questions . Punitive  trainers will not call themselves  such as it tends to put many ( but not all )  people off ,   so it is important  that owners  seek very  specific  answers and question anything they  are told  .A reward based  trainer will not object to explaining the pros and cons  and alternatives  to any method they  propose .  A punitive or "balanced "  trainer may call themselves "force free " but then state they  use "rewards AND OTHER METHODS" and "all 4  quadrants of  the  motivation matrix ". This is a contradication  because  if  a trainer uses all 4 quadrants they DO use force. "Other methods " can only be punishment or force . 

So what are the  4 quadrants ?Why do they matter ? 

Here is where it gets technical- but come   with me.... 

The 4 quadrants of the motivational  matrix (how learning happens ) are  positive reinforcement , negative reinforcement , positive punishment , and  negative  punishment .

Positive doesn't mean  good. It  means  ADDED.

Negative means REMOVED.

Reinforcement  reinforces,   that is encourages or INCREASES  a behaviour .

Punishment  punishes, that is discourages or DECREASES a behaviour . 

 Therefore   positive reinforcement   means adding something  to encourage  behaviour to be repeated  ,   eg a treat .  Negative reinforcement   means removing something  which then  encourages(increases ) a  behaviour  eg  removing  leash  or rein pressure   when a dog  or horse  yields  to  it  so the  animal will yield to  the pressure  to make it go away or avoid  it happening  in future . Positive punishment  means adding   something that punishes  so the animal doesn' t like  the  consequence of a behaviour   and therefore  doesn't  do it again(decreases  the behaviour )  eg  hitting  the animal or  jerking a leash . Negative  punishment  means taking away something  which punishes the  animal and discourages the behaviour  eg withholding a treat . 

Therefore  you CANNOT be  a "force  free "trainer  and STILL  use " ALL 4 quadrants" or "rewards and other methods " . By DEFINITION a force free trainer does NOT  use positive  punishment (force ) . A force free trainer  does NOT  use  all 4 quadrants.   

If you are looking for a  trainer/ behaviourist , question them about their qualifications and methods . 

 

   

  

Does Your Dog Love to Hunt ?Is Your Dog Destructive ? Try Predation Substitute Training !

 Does your  dog love to hunt ? Usually  the advice is to teach leave it and impulse control ( dont touch unless told you can ) , reactivity techniques  and  disengagement  games , and  building recall with distractions. And these work quite well - if you work on it . But  hunting is  instinctive  behaviour  and not allowing  your  dog to have an outlet  for this  behaviour   leaves it frustrated  and  prone to exercising this behaviour  in other ways . For example, if you  take the edge off your  dogs' s energy   by throwing a ball thinking you will tire it out, then  stop play  , your  dog has been brought to the  high point of the predation cycle  which builds  excitement , but  left without  "cooling down " and reducing excitement .  So your dog is likely to wind down by carrying out  the  rest of the predation cycle by ripping up your couch !

Instead of stopping your  dog from being a dog , frustrating  your dog  or reprimanding your  dog , give  your dog a fun outlet . Predation Substitution Training  is not a  suitable outlet  for all triggers -  your  dog may drift over into real hunting behaviour  at first  so not  suitable  for reactivity to pets  dogs and  people - but  for birds roos rabbbits  and  stock  that your  dog cannot get , etc ,  it is a great alternative, especially   for hunting breeds (retrievers/ pointers/ setters/ spaniels / terrriers /hounds ) and herding breeds  . 

Predation Subsitution Training  is a technique  in which your dog  is allowed to   and praised  for carrying  out the  first part of the  predation cycle put on cue ( name it )  - scan, stalk ,creep - under control  eg on a long line and at sufficient distance  that your dog can be calm,  and  when it disengages  from  the  trigger  of its own accord ,  directed to  a substitute  prey item( eg a prey dummy or large hard chewy  crunchy  dog treat ) to finish the hunt - chase ,catch , grab, bite , pocess ,rip, consume .  I have been practising this  with my own  dogs who love to  hunt  possums in our fruit trees  for  a week  at the time  of writing this  and saw improvement the first  day ,and by the 7 th day  my dogs  are   immediately  focusing on me  instead of the possums  the second they pass the trees,  and waiting for the  hunt item to be  tossed in the other direction .They catch it  and we all go inside ...  There are  a number of predation subsititute  games  that you can play   as well which give your dog an outlet for this natural behaviour .

If you  would  like details on how  to do this technique  contact  me !

MYTHS ABOUT POSiTIVE DOG TRAINING

1 “Reward based training is a bribe “. NO . Trainers who tell you this  are demonstrating their lack of understanding of how learning happens . In the early stages rewards may be used to counter condition , that is to build positive associations and expectations  when a trigger is encountered to change the behavior  , or to lure the dog into position or to focus on you ,  but once the dog  understands,  which happens relatively quickly,  it is replaced with a reward for behavior  you already have .

2 “Rewards must be given forever “. NO . There is an argument that rewarding your  dog forever is a good  thing ,  and  certainly zoo animals are rewarded every  time they perform a taught skill for their keepers. Complex skills and some behaviors  such as recall should be rewarded every time forever because the more it  is reinforced the more reliable it will be  , but on a practical level rewards can be  phased out according to a specific schedule  relatively quickly (depending on how often you practice)  . The  wanted behavior will be  reliable because it is now a habit  ,  and rewards are now intermittent  and  therefore  always possible and always motivating.

3 “My dog is not food motivated”. Rewards can be anything your dog finds rewarding ( I  once rewarded a blood hound with a sniff of a  sweaty sock because that’s what he wanted !). Food is easiest ,  but rewards can be  fun (toys and  training games ), lavish praise , ear rubs  or  a chase. If you change the way you feed  your  dog,  your  dog has more fun  and becomes much more interested in food rewards  .I  hear this a lot – but  I have never not been able to motivate a dog  with food! It depends how you do it. 

4 ” You  shouldn’t have to reward your dog “. Dogs do not  want to please you. They want to please themselves .   Pay  your  dog ! If a trainer tells you not to reward  your  dog  for a job well done, praise the trainer  but  don’t pay them !5 “Positive reinforcement  means  you can  never say no to your dog “. NO . Of course there are boundaries and consequences  for unwanted behavior , but   not scary or painful ones !

6 “You need to take the dog to the place where the problem happens  to train it “. NO. Doomed to fail unless you resort to  punishment  severe enough to shut the dog down, and punishment  will by association with the trigger  create more intense reactions  and  in some  dogs aggression to  or fear of the handler. You must teach the behavior you want before you can  ask  for it . 

7 “ Your  dog must respect you and  you must dominate your dog and be the alpha “. NO. ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. This  thinking has been scientifically debunked for decades and is scientifically proven to  create aggression or anxiety . Any trainer who tells you this has just admitted to  no understanding of how learning happens . Every  dog I have trained who bit  or was fearful has been hit, dragged by the collar , or yelled at .It may crawl to you and lick you but that is appeasement (“don’t hurt  me “ ), not love . Don’t teach your dog that people  may hurt  it if you  don’t want to get bitten .

8 “You cant teach  this all in a day , it will take weeks. Dogs must  go to   classes. “  A trainer’s job is to teach you how to teach  your  dog . Your  job is to practice . Creative learning , where your dog is encouraged and rewarded   for thinking and offering behavior ,  is proven to get results hundreds of times faster than traditional rote learning . I can show you everything you need to know to solve any problem in one afternoon, the  dog understands and is doing it in minutes ,and  if you practice, permanent change happens over  a few  weeks  up to a few  months  .Over 130 5 star reviews cant be wrong ! If your  dog is distracted or reactive , a class is not the most effective place to train your  dog . A familiar environment  with low distraction (at first)  is . (your  home).

QUESTIONS YOU MUST ASK A TRAINER BEFORE YOU HIRE THEM

1 What are your qualifications and  experience?

2 What methods  do you use ? Why ? What alternatives are there ?

3 What happens when my dog gets it right ?

4 What  SPECIFICALLY  happens when my dog gets it wrong ?

5 What resources do you offer me ? What support  do I get ?

6 Do you guarantee results ?

7 How long does it take to see results ?

My answers : 1 National Dog Trainers  Federation of Australia  certificate 3 ,(nationally accredited by the federal government  and  is the course  hearing  dog trainers do in Australia )and online study with international  veterinary behaviorists .  30  yrs of experience training dogs and horse with positive reinforcement  methods  and  began professionally training dogs  in  early 2018 .I am  constantly updating my skills  and learning from other qualified positive reinforcement  international trainers  .

2 I use scientifically proven principles of psychology  to change behavior  with positive  reinforcement / reward based training .Punitive training methods have been consistently  shown to  create aggression and anxiety in dogs subjected to them and to otherwise damage your relationship with your  dog .

3 Dogs will be rewarded  with  various things of value to the dog eg treats ,toys , games , praise,  physical affection etc .

4 Reward will be withheld or the dog may get a MILDLY unrewarding consequence  eg be removed , or owner may walk away ,  or  a verbal cue the dog  got it wrong .In the case of strong aggressive  dogs we are unable to hold ,  I may use a specific brand of a  kind head collar to enable us to gently  hold or remove the dog   while training takes place . We do not use chokers , martingales (half  chokers )   prong collars  or electric collars . A specific design of harness  which  enables us to turn the dog from the front  by a leash attached to the chest ,  which doesn’t interfere with walking ,impact the joints ,or put pressure on the  throat,  is the preferred option,  but sometimes  a head collar will be necessary  to safely  and kindly  hold some strong or aggressive  dogs . The dog will always receive a positive , rewarding , gradual introduction to the head collar  prior to any  training taking place .(A recent veterinary study has found that head collars cause  less physical damage than many harnesses  including y shaped harnesses. )

5 Clients receive  extensive notes on all common problems and skills training  so  will never need a trainer again -because  now  you will know more than many of them ! Clients are encouraged to film the techniques in the consult , which can be done on  a phone ,  receive a plan to follow,  and follow up support by way of phone or email check in every 2 weeks( or more often if  wanted ) as long as required ,  and  receive  uncharged support as needed by phone  or email   for the life of the dog. 

6  and 7. I guarantee you will see improvement during  the  consult .In multi dog conflict(dogs who live together and fight )  results cant  be guaranteed but I will be upfront about this and the chances of success prior to booking . As dogs learn by repetition  the ultimate result  depends on the client  using the method consistently  until the new habit is formed  ,but as per reviews ,very good results are obtained within a  relatively short period with practice .

IS REWARD BASED DOG TRAINING A “BRIBE”? NO!

Reward based training is a REWARD  for desired   behaviour  you ALREADY HAVE   . In the early stages rewards may be used to COUNTER  CONDITION , that  is to build positive associations and expectations of good things  happening when a trigger is encountered  which will change  or prevent reactivity , or to LURE a  dog into a position or focus on you , but once the dog understands, which happens quickly ,  it is replaced  with  a reward for behaviour you already have.

Trainers who tell you rewards are bribes  or shouldn’t be used ,  have no  training   and  no understanding  of how learning happens .In order to change behaviour  you must either  punish what you don’t want, which doesn’t  teach your dog what to do instead  and will  damage your dog’s relationship with you   , or reward  in some  way  what you do  want . (Pay your dog !) What is fun  and  rewarding will be  repeated .

If you don’t reward your dog for doing what you want  ,  the environment  will reward your dog  for doing what it wants.   Rewards  can be anything your dog   wants  .Rewards can be phased out  according to a formula  once the desired behaviour  has become  habitual. Using positive  reinforcement  methods  makes  learning  easy  and fun for  dog and owner . This  does  NOT  mean there are no consequences for unwanted behaviour- just not pain or fear 

ARE PUPPY TRAINING CLASSES OR PUPPY TRAINING CONSULTS BETTER ?

Puppy classes are  great -but  puppy consults  give  you the knowledge  and  training theory   that classes and other trainers don’t teach you .One to one consults  give you  individual  unlimited attention  and  enable you  to start  work on  all your issues  immediately  .  Socialization is NOT  about puppies playing together , but  about learning to be calm  and focused on  owner  in the presence of  triggers .  Puppy classes   often miss the opportunity  to provide   positive associations  with other dogs for  fearful pups  ,  and in the case of  pups  who are outgoing and  dive into play , you may be building an expectation that whenever  your dog sees another dog it will play with it – and if it isn’t able to it becomes frustrated .

Reactive  fearful and aggressive  dogs  don’t  do well in classes   as there are too many triggers for them . Bringing  a fearful reactive  dog to a class is like tipping a bucket of spiders over the head  of  a person  afraid of spider s! “Flooding” your dog by  putting it in  a situation where it is exposed to triggers and  cant get away  will increase reactivity. Dogs  must be calm to learn  new behaviors .  You must teach the behavior  you want  by way of reactivity techniques   before you can ask for it  in the presence of distractions . Teaching your  dog the behavior you want in a consult enables it to do the behavior in   a class  situation .

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Teaching both ends of the leash

Contact Us

  •  0452 466 031
  •  hello@denalidogtraining.com.au
  •  Ridgehaven, South Australia
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