Dog training advice and information from 2 top Los Angeles dog trainers and behavior specialists. If your dog barks, is fearful or just needs some basic dog obedience we are here to help. We talk about specific issues as well as conceptual things that help you build a better relationship with your dog.
Is Your Dog Friendly?
Such a simple question with a not so simple answer. As Laura & Kim discuss this topic, you’ll hear why just blurting out “yes” may not be the best option. No matter how friendly your dog is under normal circumstances, there may be situations when he isn’t comfortable having a stranger pet or interact with him. Nobody wants to offend someone on the street who says nice things about their dog, like how cute he is, or he reminds them of a dog they had growing up. So, when that same person asks if they can pet your dog you feel compelled to say “yes”. Unfortunately, that may not be what’s best for your dog.
Dog Behavior Myths
Kim & Laura discuss some myths about dog behavior and training. Find out how some of these ideas came about and whether or not they are true. Feel free to contact us with ideas you've heard of and maybe we can tell you if they are fact or indeed a myth. #dogmyths #dogbehaviormyths
The Evolution of Behavior - AKA: Connecting the Dots
Behavior is rarely isolated and more often than not one bad behavior can lead to another, more serious behavior if we don't see the potential connection. This episode discusses how to make those connections to prevent possible future behaviors from cropping up. #connectingthedots, #evolutionofbehaviors
Kim & Laura discuss what happens when our dogs don't like the things we want or expect them to like. Whether it's playing fetch, riding in the car or even other people & kids. It's important for us to understand what our dog is actually capable of instead of having our own goals and thrusting them upon our dogs even if they don't have the capacity to reach those goals. Just because you like it doesn't mean they will. #unrealisticexpectations, #iwantmydogtolike
Toys in Puppy Classes
Toys in Puppy Class
To allow toys or not to allow toys, that is the question. When you watch puppies play together some things to take into consideration are *how* are they playing. Do they play chase or do they wrestle? Unfortunately, there are many group puppy classes which don’t allow people to bring toys to class, nor do they supply toys for the puppies to play with. The problem with this is that the only option that leaves the puppies is to wrestle & chase. As we all know, wrestling is practice fighting. If that is the only interaction, and especially the first interaction, your puppy has with other dogs then they are learning how to fight and getting better at it with each subsequent class.
The reason trainers give for not allowing toys in puppy class is that they don’t want the puppies to start guarding toys. What they fail to realize is that by having toys in their classes they will minimize the possibility of that happening. By providing more toys than there are puppies they learn to share and interact with each other by focusing on the toys, not by wrestling. And if there is a potential resource guarding issue with one of the puppies THIS is the time to deal with it. Not after the puppy has had more time to practice guarding things.
Add to that if the age of puppies in puppy class ranges from 7 – 16 weeks there can be a huge size and developmental difference between those dogs depending on their breeds. If you have a 15-week-old Mastiff and an 8-week-old Maltese there is going to be a massive size difference. Now imagine those same puppies not having toys to play with and only having the option of playing chase and wrestling. If the Maltese was your puppy would you feel comfortable with that? We sincerely doubt it. We’ve seen puppy classes where that exact scenario happened and the small dog was bullied and ended up hiding under a chair. The trainer never stepped in to stop it from happening and the owner wasn’t going to stop it if the trainer thought it was ok. The big puppy was just doing what came naturally, but that behavior could have been redirected if there had been toys available to play with. However, what did the small dog learn from the incident? At a very impressionable time in his development he learned that big dogs chase and harass him and his owner, the person he should be able to depend on most, did nothing to stop it.
So, before you join a puppy class we highly recommend you stop by and watch one first. Locally, we recommend J9sK9s in Canoga Park for group puppy classes. Hers are the only ones we know of that allow toys in puppy class.
Advocating For Your Dog
When we choose to be caretakers of animals we make a contract with them. That contract says you will not put your dog into an uncomfortable/unnecessary situation. What we mean by that is if we are in public with our dogs and somebody wants to pet or interact with your dog, it is your duty to know your dog well enough and read your dog’s body language to determine if he is comfortable with the person and wants to be petted.
I love these ladies and how practical they are in teaching me how to understand and work with my dog. I have been listening and applying their practical suggestions and they work! Thanks, Laura and Kim!