In this issue:
Dogs have taught me many things over the years - committment and responsibility being the biggest for me because I have a tendency to procrastinate and take the easy road and the short cuts with my life.
What I have learned from dogs and their owners and am still learning:
Be a dog. Live as much in the present as it's possible to do. Do not regret what you've done in the past or worry about what the future will be. You create your future by your actions of today.
Choose to be in the moment with your dog. Let go of what happened in the past and create a better future by living now. You are always at a point of choice in life. When making your day to day choices you are affecting more than just yourself and most importantly you are affecting your dog.
Maintain your intergrity. Don't compromise yourself because of what others think or say. You must be a person of your word. Personal integrity will carry over to each and every part of your life. You can't have it in one area and not have it in another. Part of this is that you have to know what you want and who you are. Don't let others definte you or how you live your life or interact with your dog.
Take full responsibility for your relationships. Responsibility is not blame, it's the willingness to be the one in control of any situation or relationship and understand that control does not mean actually making others move.
Building a solid relationship with your dog is a must. If you have a good solid relationship with your dog, she will want to be where you are, doing what you do, constantly checking in with you to see what's new and exciting. She will not seek out other people, or other dogs to interact with. Your dog will be all about you, and what you get to do together.
Commit. Keep your commitments, re-examine the commitments that you didn’t really want to make and recommit to what is acceptable. Make sure that what you are doing is what you really want to do. Be happy with your decisions.
Be aware of your emotions. Be aware of your thoughts when interacting with your dog. Frustration is one of the worst emotions to bring to training. If you are feeling frustrated, it's a short hop to hanging your dog by the neck via it's leash and collar or heading to the pet store and buying a shock collar. Your thoughts can uplift you, yet they can also create sadness, fear, anger, etc. Learning to be aware of your thoughts and how they create your reality is a necessary tool when training your dog.
Express how you feel. User a variety of communicative methods to show others and your dog your real thoughts and feelings. Give yourself full permission to feel what you are feeling and be willing to share that. Love your dog through the way you teach him
Move. dance, leap, fly, swim, do something. Don't stagnate, be fluid and creative. Movement is change and without change there is nothing. You have to have change and movement to be creative and to formulate ideas. It is much harder to create solutions from a stiff body .. Dogs rarely stop moving unless they are resting.
Learn how to communicate. Any method of training should be conducted from a dogs point of view, and use the natural forms of communication that most dogs learn as puppies. It really doesn't matter what you want your dog to learn. If YOU learn to communicate to her in a language that she understands and if you learn how to set things up so she can figure things out for herself, teaching becomes very simple.
Be a true leader. Leadership is about trust and respect; it's not about overpowering or dominating a dog physically. It's about letting him be a dog and doing dog things, but shaping the context in which he does them. People and dogs want to be led and they want a leader who will keep them on track. If you ask me it is a sort of survival instinct. People may grumble because you may force them out of their comfort zone but they will follow you. Your personal integrity will show up in every aspect of your life.
Know your stories. It can be beneficial to know the stories that you have in your subconscious mind. Realize that they are the past and commit to being fully within yourself in the present moment. You are you and you are not your stories.
As I write more and more, I realize that I write what I am inspired to write. Some people may not understand what this has to do with owning a business or with training your personal dog. I will keep the answer simple.
The more authentic and present we are with ourselves, the more responsibility we assume in our relationships with ourselves, with other people, or with our dogs. The more committment we create in these relationships the closer we become and the easier our relationships become. As a dog behaviorist, it is important for my clients to understand that training our dogs is a small part of a bigger picture. If we practice the above exercises training is easy. It is no longer stressful or controlling.
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Check out Suzanne Morrison's blog also. Suzanne is a photographer supreme :) and owns three rescued greyhounds who are learning about other breeds of dogs and how to intereact with them.
Ask The Trainer at Tucson Cold Wet Noses Rescue
From a client who has brought four of her five dogs to our classes. Three for behavior work and one for Rally Obedience (and is continuing with this as you'll see when you read this).
I know that training to compete in dog sports doesn’t appeal to everyone. Many people just want a well mannered companion animal, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I have yet to enter into a competition, but I’ve got my eye on obedience, Rally-O, and weight pull.
Training with the intention of competing is quickly becoming more than just a hobby for me – it’s becoming more like a way of life in my home. I’m not very competitive by nature, so I’ve spent some time thinking about just what it is that appeals to me about dog sports. I can only come up with one answer. Dogs thrive on work.
For every moment that I invest in teaching my dogs new behaviors, or polishing old ones, I see incredible positive change in them, both individually, and as a pack. They are more balanced and seem to carrythemselves with a sense of purpose. It’s not just my working breeds either, I even see a little extra pep in the step of my Chihuahua when we’re out working. Training fulfills dogs. And I’ve found training for competition a useful way to direct both my energy and theirs towards a goal.
I don’t have special, handpicked dogs. I didn’t select them for their sound temperament or their working aptitude. I have second-hand rescue dogs, all but one of which were acquired as adults with behavioral issues. I’m also not some incredible dog handler. I’m dog savvy, but I can be a klutz. I’m not always the best at following direction, or being aware of the non verbal cues that I’m giving my dog.
Despite these facts, I know that my dogs and I can succeed. It doesn’t take a stellar dog from proven working dog lineage. It doesn’t take a master trainer. Succeeding takes patience and commitment, and an awesome relationship with your dog. And the cool thing is, the more time you put into your dog, the better that relationship gets.
I now know that my dogs are capable of incredible things, and that they are only limited by the time in which I have to teach them. As a result of this new perspective, I cringe when I see dogs left out in yards, not being stimulated and challenged. Dogs are intelligent creatures and depriving them of learning is cruel.
Seize The Leash - Newsletter Vol. 3 Issue 3
Behavior Training Group Classes
Our new schedule of classes has been a resounding success, so we will be continuing with 6 week classes. We will have a 9am and 6pm class daily except Monday. We are also continuing with the successful decision to conduct all classes at our new facility. The dogs are responding better, learning faster and calming quicker around the other dogs. Apparently the wide open space of the park was detracting from the process.
Fill out our Training Services form and get started today!!
Out of Control! Surviving Adolescence & Implementing Leadership
Please feel free to contact us at any time for more information, class schedules or just questions about your dog. We can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 727-686-4246 or 520-751-7772 (message only).
Our Open House / Memorial Day Bash was a huge success and fun for everyone.
Dogs are curious creatures. They like new places, new things to check out, new odors and new challenges. It was easy to see which dogs needed work and which were balanced. Those who happily checked out the environment first, totally ignoring the noses in their rears, did the best. Those who got aroused at the site of another dog first, took longer to integrate into our impromptu pack. But they all were curious about everything.
At one time during the day there were 15 dogs, 14 adults and 6 children (armed with squirt guns) happily running around the yard having a ball. Total for the day were 32 dogs (6 of which came for evaluations like Rincon the Landseer), 28 adults and 7 children.
All the pictures in this issue of our newsletter are from the open house :)
Pit n Proud
Does your bully breed have what it takes to be certified as a Canine Good Citizen? We think so, and want to help you accomplish it!
The AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate is awarded to dogs after the successful completion of a 10-part test demonstrating that your dog has basic manners and social skills, and that you are a good handler!
During this course, you will prepare for the test...while you and your dog learn to work together as team! This course will include 6 weeks of training to prepare for the test, with the test during week 7. The training includes all sorts of real-life skills such as walking through a crowd of people and passing another dog, as well as being still and friendly for grooming and exams! We'll also cover loose leash walking, sit/stay, down/stay, and other useful skills!
This class is being held at Reid Park near the dog training field. For the first 6 weeks, we will meet once a week at 7 p.m. for about an hour. During week 7, you and your dog will get the chance to take the CGC test with licensed evaluators! Upon successful completion, you will receive a certificate and bandanna. You also have the option of mailing away for an official AKC CGC certificate and/or collar tag! Talk about bragging rights! And what a great way to make your dog an ambassador for the breed!
Learn more about the AKC CGC at: http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/program.cfm
Note: This class is available to all dogs age 6 months and older with current rabies vaccinations/license. For this course, your dog must not react aggressively towards other dogs or people while on the leash. If you have questions about whether your dog is ready for this course, contact us!
The cost for the class is $75.00.
This course begins:
Sunday, June 12th, 7 p.m, at Reid Park!
This course is being taught by experienced and professional trainers :
Jamie Robinson & Deena Singer of Seize the Leash
To sign up or for more info,
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Rachel at 520-255-1696.
Pit n' Proud is bringing you a new Educate-a-Bull course!
I learned “dominance” theory as it pertains to our relationship with companion dogs and used it almost exclusively when handling reactive dogs and even dogs with minimal problems. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it created more problems. Most times the dog ignored the owners attempts to be the "pack leader'.
Within the last 3 years I have almost completely stopped dealing with the dog - human relationship from a "dominance" viewpoint. I stopped using choke chains, pinch (prong) collars, alpha rollovers and all use of force or physical punishment because I quickly realized that these are not necessary, nor do they work as effectively or as fast as play training. The bond between a dog and its owner is easily built and just as easily destroyed. It can, in some circumstances, be destroyed with one traumatic experience. And believe me, force, pain and "dominance" is traumatic for a dog. I feel the dog's trust in its owner must be protected at all costs.
These techniques teach avoidance but do nothing to teach a dog what he should be doing in that situation. Neither do they address the root cause of the behavior. It’s much like doctors who treat pain with pain killers as opposed to curing the disease. Unfortunately, this approach has cost many dogs their lives.
“Dominance exercises” commonly include: always eating first (even to pretending or actually eating the dog's food), going through doors and down hallways first, not allowing dogs on furniture, making sure the dog walks behind you even off leash and making the dog "calm" before doing any activity or after there has been a rehersal of a behavior the human doesn't like.
In my experience, rarely do these actions assist in fixing most behavior issues unless the issue revolves around the action, such as not allowing the dog on the furniture because it is resource guarding the furniture. And this action is more a management tool. A solution would be to teach the dog that soft places to rest are not in short supply and don't need to be guarded.
This is what I believe now: one of the few commonalities between dogs and humans is that some are more assertive than others. Dogs that are more assertive will try harder to secure and hold onto valued resources, be it attention, food, comfortable sleeping places, freedom to run and explore etc. Because a dog’s human companion controls all the resources, the human becomes the most valuable resource of all. Dogs that are less assertive are quicker to relinquish the resource to a more assertive dog or human. Since it's about the resource, it stands to reason that if you can control what the dog values, you can control the dog. An assertive dog is more of a challenge to train, but it has nothing to do with dominance. If you use the intelligence of this assertive dog to your advantage, you can shape an amazing companion.