Dog Wisdom Connection Blog

Who Will You Trust To Train Your Dog?

Looking for help to train your dog?

Let's face it. What's the first thing you do when you need answers? 

Google it!

Am I right?



So if you want an answer to training your dog to...let's say, stop barking too much or jumping on guests, ...why not just get a bunch of ideas off the internet? 

After all, there's so much out there about every subject under the sun!

And that's exactly the problem! You'll find so much chatter and clutter that, unless you're already an expert, you have no way to differentiate what's good from what's just plain crap. 

The thing you should know is that experts can tell the difference. They spend years and years researching and learning. Serious trainers will consistently dissect and test ideas and then measure them against proven data. They can instantly filter out the internet clutter and recognize what's authentic.

So the next time you need some expert info about how to train your dog...

Remember these things...

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Homemade Gift That's Dog Happiness Overload

My Vault of Doggie Goodies

I'm going to change things up a little for the month of December.  It's such a crazy month!  Agree? I thought so!!  Why not have a little fun?!

I have a few surprises planned for you all, so let's go! 

It's the season for giving, and so each Wednesday this month, I'll send you a special gift!  I've gone into my vault of doggie goodies and chosen a few of my favorites and I think you are going to love each one as much as I do!

Homemade Gifts Send a Special Message

Remember the hand made gifts you've received?  Crafts that kids bring home from school? Did someone create a gift from scratch with you in mind? Did you feel the special message meant just for you in that small kind gesture?

Today, it's about Homemade Gifts for your dog. Yes, I'm talking about treats made from scratch.  Even if baking isn't your jam, this recipe for homemade dog treats is so easy and so yummy- it's definitely the way to your...

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Do Dogs Feel Gratitude?

Thankful For Dogs

I think most of us who live with dogs would agree that they give us lots of reasons to be grateful every day for their presence and companionship.

However, does gratitude go both ways?  

Some dog owners are convinced that their dogs owe them appreciation in return for the comfortable life they provide for their pets.  So these folks apparently believe that dogs do feel gratitude.  Right?

Can we know for certain what a dog is thinking?  Probably not. But there's one thing we do know for sure - dogs think like dogs.  Dogs don't think like people. 

Gratitude is that feeling you get about a personal experience that makes you want to do something kind in return.  Thank someone for a favor. Write a thank-you note for a gift. Reciprocate an act of kindness.

But gratitude can also be more inclusive.  You are thankful for your health, your family, your friends.  Sometimes you...

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Understanding Your Dog's Overwhelm

Understanding overwhelm is a tough call.  

When your dog is overwhelmed, you can restore calm as long as you take a thoughtful and informed approach.  

Think for a moment about what overwhelm feels like. When it happens to you, how are you most likely react? Get angry? Lose your patience? Become hyperactive or shut down and withdraw?  

One strategy that often helps people survive their bouts of overwhelm is to just take time out and put it into context.  Having a long to-do list, balancing extra demands on your time and energy, or confronting events you can't control can all add up to a momentary meltdown.

Most of us have learned how to cope. We take a breath and "tough it out" because we believe the goal is worth the effort.  We remind ourselves "not to sweat the small stuff" and see "the big picture".  We have the power to be optimistic about the future even if the present moment is a hot mess. "This too...

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Filling Your Dog's Emotional Bucket

Each of us has our own personal emotional bucket.  And so do our dogs.

When your bucket is full, you feel positive, confident, and productive. But when your bucket is empty, you feel drained and negative. 

So it is also with your dog.



In How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Don Clifton, the authors explain that we all have the choice either to fill or to empty our own emotional buckets.  We also can fill or empty those of others.  

You can fill up your dog's emotional bucket and make him stronger, healthier, and happier. When you do that, you fill your own bucket, too.

But you can also dip into his bucket with negativity and drain it drop by drop. Yet, draining his bucket doesn't fill yours.

The book further describes bucket filling strategies.  Here are three of those strategies that work equally well for dogs and people.

"Shine a Light on What Is Right"

Show your dog that he can control the results...

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How Safe is Your Dog During a Car Ride?

Most dogs love a car ride.

Maybe it's because car rides mean that they get to be with you instead of staying home alone!

Yes, it's true that some dogs have trouble with a car ride - even a short one. However, the solution to that problem is a topic or a different day.  

Today, it's all about planning a safe road trip with your dog - whether you're driving hundreds of miles or just making a quick trip to pick up the kids from school.

Although seat belts are the law for people, and you wouldn't ever dream of holding a child in your lap while driving or letting a toddler ride unrestrained in the front passenger seat while leaning out the open window, there is a disconnect when it comes to dogs in cars.


How many ways could this end badly?

 

3 Reasons to Have a Good Plan

A good plan will account for the worst-case scenario and include preventive measures. It's a fact, not an opinion: All dogs must be safely...

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Follow Your Gut When Choosing a Trainer

 

When you put your trust in a dog trainer to advise you about educating a pet you care deeply for, you have a right to expect the same high standards as you would from any professional providing a service to a family member.

But dog trainers aren't licensed and they don't have to pass a standardized test or agree to a code of ethics. They may have letters after their names that indicate where and how they received their professional training.  That's valuable information, but in itself, it doesn't guarantee that the individual will be right for you or for your pet. 

If you ask five dog trainers the same question, you'll probably get five different answers.  Nevertheless, most trainers fall into one of two distinct camps. 



The first is the positive reinforcement trainer who uses only modern science-based behavior modification. Positive trainers have expertise in behavior modification and learning theory.  They get...

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Why Your Dog Ignores You

When it seems like your dog is ignoring you, have you ever wondered if it's "selective hearing"?  Of course, that would suggest that your dog is ignoring you intentionally.  But why would a dog do that?

Let's ask the question another way. 

Is it fair to expect your dog to immediately interrupt what he's doing whenever you tell him to?

Why does that kind of human control over a dog seem so necessary? Why is it that people often view their dogs as subordinate and expect them to comply, or else? Why make it such a big deal?

When I talk to dog owners about their pets they share some revealing insights about why they expect compliance from their dogs. Here's why a dog "ignoring a command" is such a big deal to some.

  • If I let the dog get away with disobeying me he will become dominant.
  • People are superior to animals so animals should submit.
  • The dog knows what he's supposed to do and he's just being stubborn to spite me.
  • When my dog misbehaves...
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What If You Don't Say "Leave-it"?

Last week's training tip explained why teaching "Leave-it" is a really bad idea.  Here's a review of the 3 reasons not to teach it:

  1. It is contrary to a dog's instinctive awareness of his environment.
  2. It crushes a dog's self-confidence and creates anxiety.
  3. It undermines trust in your relationship because it may not be clear to the dog why you are punishing him.

Can I assume that you don't want to crush your dog's confidence, make him anxious, or undermine trust?

On the other hand, I know you do want to keep your dog safe from things that are dangerous or unpleasant.  Our beloved dogs are curious scavengers and predators by nature.  What is disgusting to us is often a delicacy to them! That might be why saying leave-it has become so common!

So if it's a bad idea to say "Leave-it" and yank on the leash, what should you do instead?

Fortunately, the answer is not a simple, quick fix.  That's right, I said ...

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3 BIG Reasons You Should Not Teach Your Dog "LEAVE IT!"

Dogs Are Naturally Curious 

(Don't miss your free gift at the end of this post!)

I know! I know! You've always believed that a "leave-it command" was necessary.  Honestly, so did I.  I even had a system for teaching it to my students in the past.

But because I'm so obsessed with how dogs' minds really work, I can't help but wonder how a negative reaction like "leave-it" from a trusted human affects them emotionally over time.  I'm talking long term results of repeated punishment for doing something that is totally normal and hardwired into what makes a dog a dog. 

Dogs are naturally curious.  They wouldn't have survived if they had been blind to the world around them.  Their environment triggers in dogs a need to investigate.  Dogs use their senses to navigate their surroundings and to verify the status of something new or unexpected.  Is it safe? Do I need to alert my humans by barking? Is it friendly? Can I eat it? Can I play with...

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