Written by myself and Miyagis Dog Training and Behaviourist Services
Reasons Why You Should Have Your Dog Trained
Whatever the dogs age, breed, or temperament, every dog can benefit from undertaking training.
Here are some reasons for training your dog whether that be on a 1-1 basis or enrolling on a group class or simply attending workshops.
1. Training benefits both dog and owner.
One of the best ways to build a healthier relationship with your dog is to understand how your dog learns and use the principles of positive training to make learning as rewarding, successful and easy as possible. Positive training, rewards and motivates a dog for desired behaviour, allows you to build a relationship with your dog based on mutual trust and respect.
Working regularly with your dog helps you to understand his/her needs better, making you an even better owner as well. Helping you to become more in tune with your Dog and what motivates them.
It can also be a great source of exercise and open up new possibilities for you—the more polite your dog is, the easier it is to take him/her along wherever you go. Without people making comments or being asked to leave.
2. For their own safety
The better you can control your dog with verbal cues, the better you can advocate for him/her when unrestrained. A dog that bolts when off the leash is much more likely to run into dangerous situations or to slip out the front door before you’re ready to leave.
3. It helps your dog to be more sociable
As your dog learns to respect boundaries and behave calmly in social situations, other dogs (and people) will be more comfortable and at ease around your dog. As a result, more of these interactions will be positive experiences for your dog. Training your dog to have good manners and behave well in different situations requires effort, but consistent commitment ensures success.
We have high expectations for our dogs, encouraging them to be friendly with everyone they meet, even if they are uncomfortable in certain situations. It is therefore vital to socialise your dog by giving them good experiences in the presence of all kinds of people, animals and environments and social situations. If your Dog is not comfortable around other Dogs or people it is important to not put them in situations where they are going to be flooded, overwhelmed or frightened and feel they have no choice but to protect themselves.
Socialising positively at a young age will give confidence and lessen the chance of experiencing anxiety and discomfort in adulthood. Although genetics can also be an influence as to how a Dog feels.
Socialisation does not mean your dog has to always physically touch another dog or a person. Humans ‘socialise’ all the time without physically touching each other. Exposing your dog to different situations where they can observe at a distance is as important. People are naturally drawn to interact with a cute pup and when dogs greet each other some physical touching is likely to take place.
Socialisation is all about keeping your dog comfortable in these social situations while taking care not to force them into a situation they might find uncomfortable. Not all dogs, like people, are social. Understanding how your dog copes will determine how far you can go and even though having a social dog is preferable in our society, it is not a failure to keep your dog out of a situation she finds uncomfortable. Observing how your dog copes will help you respect and understand their limits.
4. Because you can teach old dogs new tricks
There are plenty of myths out there that might be stopping you from moving forward with your dog’s education. But many of them are just plain wrong, and some may even be causing you to encourage bad behaviour. A dog’s age is no indication of their capacity to be trained. Older dogs may be need a few physical accommodations, particularly larger dogs or those with weight problems, but they can learn to adapt and enjoy training just as well as younger dogs.
5. To Avoid Problem Behaviours
Training your dog builds up a language of communication between you that promotes security and comfort. The more time you invest teaching your dog to live successfully in a human world the more you will avoid problem behaviours that come from lack of understanding. Many dogs respond well to cues such as sit and stay in the classroom, but remain unprepared to deal with life’s pressures in the real world. Make sure that every cue or action has a purpose behind it such as sitting at before crossing roads.
6. It Teaches Life Skills
Every dog needs to learn how to live successfully in a home environment. Teaching your dog basic manner skills and providing them with enough mental enrichment and physical exercise will prevent developing anxiety and other stress related behaviours such as destructive chewing, inappropriate barking and aggressive display. An important part of the learning process is to set your dog up for success by managing their environment and making it easy for your dog to do succeed and enjoy training.
Written by myself and NK9 Dog Training & Behaviour Specialist
When we say don’t sit your dog we say it because when we do that our dogs employ avoidance or instinct is to survive threats and forbear aggression.
This applies when we ask a dog to sit in the presence of a trigger and in turn this can reduce the sense of ability to stay safe, ensure you let your dog choose to stand whenever a trigger is present as this helps your dog feel safe.
We can desensitise to the triggers, but we first need to identify what the dogs specific trigger is and distance from the trigger the dog can get before they feel unsafe and out fo their comfort zone.
Once we have established the trigger we can then work on helping our dogs cope and ensure they feel safe and don’t employ avoidance or escape behaviours and display aggression.
There are many methods to ensure the trigger doesn’t promote a response and make our dogs feel safe by applying an appropriate behaviour modification plan. But by sitting the dog down in front of the trigger can cause immense stress and could make the trigger worse.
When working with Dogs we can break it down and begin to identify what is a trigger for a Dog. A bike, a car, another Dog or a human.
When we visually see these triggers we then have a duty of care to help the Dog. There are many skills which can be employed to help.
▪️We can build distance
▪️We can change direction
▪️We can cross the road
▪️Retreat down another path or a field
▪️We can move onto a verge and scatter feed
▪️We can talk to the Dog
▪️We can keep moving
Lots of humans are afraid of lots of things one common one is Spiders. If we forced a human to interact with a Spider or locked them in a room with a Spider this would be inhumane. Why do this to a Dog?
We can also employ these skills before seeing a trigger. Using quiet roads and fields.
✅Dog checks in, give a treat.
✅Dog looks on cue of their name, give a treat
✅Nice quiet area, scatter feed
✅Keep talking to the Dog
✅Take opportunity to do known cued behaviours such as weaving around bollards or going around a tree. A sit or a down when the Dog is relaxed.
✅If you've seen a trigger and built distance if the Dog disengages and chooses to sit then this is great but it isn't forced by us. If they choose to down then great. But we should never force them.
If a Dog feels forced into a scary situation of course they are going to react. By continuing to move the trigger is going to disappear alot faster and the stress of the trigger too.
If it is unavoidable to pass a trigger either cross the road or shout to the person to wait then when the road is free or traffic use the road to build your distance. Engage with the Dog and make them feel safe.
Don't wait and let them feel trapped and afraid by being forced to sit waiting for the trigger to push them over threshold in which they are set up to fail
Credit to Canine Expert for the image 🐾
Written by myself and NK9 Dog Training & Behaviour Specialist
\nPhoto credit from The Sad Ghost Club
\nWorking with a few dogs this week that all share a breed and all share the same issues.
\nThey all need space and they all say within their body language and communication skill set they aren't OK.
\nWhen humans share to Social media that they aren't OK floods of support come in.
\nWhen a Dog does it they are aggressive.
\nThey shouldn't be out in Public.
\nYou shouldn't own that Dog.
\nThat Dogs dangerous.
\nYou can't handle that Dog.
\nSomething which has shocked every single person I've spoken to is when I've said "Let the dog back in the house their bucket is full."
\nHuh? What? But we're having a consult.
\nYep but the dog has clearly shown they are over threshold, uncomfortable and not OK and a few also pulled to the door.
\nFor those of us Trained this is easy to see. For those of us not this is not easy to see.
\nSo within Social Distancing and having to work in Gardens. All the Dogs have been restricted in one form or another. In their gardens to begin with which is normally their sanctuary or on a lead and a restrictive harness.
\nA few Dogs shouted and lunged to begin with and then when they realised I wasn't going to touch them or invade their space or apply any pressure to them they all calmed down. They watched tentatively but they all calmed down and after so long indicated they were done.
\nBy done I mean relaxed body language but I'm still uncomfortable and I'm tired and I want to go back in the house now.
\nThis is when the emotional bucket is explained. For those who don't know we say that the Dog has an emotional bucket. The bucket is never truly empty. The bucket can begin to be filled by...
\nThe harness and lead going on. 💧
\nThe idea of going for a walk. 💧
\nLeaving the house. 💦
\nGetting in the car. 💦
\nSeeing another Dog. 💦
\nSeeing a person. 💦
\nSeeing another Dog and another person. 💦💦💦
\nReaching the destination. 💦💦💦💦
\nAnticipation of what will happen. ☔☔☔☔☔
\nMore Dogs and more people. 🌧️🌧️🌧️🌧️🌧️🌧️🌧️
\nBeing told off for shouting. 🌩️🌩️
\nFeeling pressure in the lead. ⛈️⛈️⛈️
\nGoing home to do it all again tommorow...
\nSo if the bucket is already full and we add in all the extra pressure the new next day... 🧨🧨🧨
\nThe poor Dog doesn't stand a chance.
\nSo what we should do is allow the Dog to calm for 72 hours minimum before considering another walk.
\nSounds mad doesn't it however. When a Dog is stressed their Cortisol levels raise. Their serotonin levels drop. Think person now with depression when the Doctors give them anti depressants the anti depressants suppress the Cortisol and raise the Serotonin.
\nFor Dogs in most cases and especially Behaviour modification we have to do this in the most natural ways possible. We swop out walks for Snuffle Mats, Licki Mats, indoor training, play and sleep. Lots of sleep.
\nIn order to set a Dog up for success when they can't cope we have a duty of care to help them. They don't have Social Media to vent or ask for help they rely on us to advocate for them.
\nSome Dogs do and can have medicine to help them however to help them fully we have to take an Holistic approach to care for them and meet their needs.
\nSo remember a stressed Dog doesn't need a walk everyday if they have had a stressful walk let them rest and have mental stimulation until they are ready to try again 🐾
Written by myself and NK9 Dog Training & Behaviour Specialist
Pre Puppy Plans!
It’s really important we consider what we need to do and plan for before our new puppy arrives or even the decision of getting a puppy we have lots of questions:
• What breed/ sex
• Where to get a puppy/ or rescue
• What you will need to buy
• How will the puppy fit into daily routine?
Its a big life decision and also a huge commitment so we need to make sure it’s the right decision to avoid any situations of needing to re home. Even people that have had puppies before I hear them say it wasn’t like this last time, it’s harder than the last puppy! Our lives are constantly changing, as we get older and our life circumstances shift and turn. Getting a puppy should be as carefully planned as everything else in our lives.
It is also important to know the breed you are choosing. Really know the breed. The good and the bad. Be honest with yourself, is this breed right for you? Can you meet the needs of the breed? Do you know the health needs of the puppy? Do you know what medical conditions they are prone to. Are you prepared to pay Vet Bills? Are you prepared to take out Insurance?
Have you interviewed the breeders? Have you observed the parents? Do the parents come from working/ show or pet lines. Does this fit in with your lifestyle?
Is the breeder happy to keep the puppy until a minimum of 8 weeks despite how desperate you are to bring the pup home immediately.
What food is the puppy on? Is this a good food or a poor food? Has the Breeder ensured the puppy is fully vaccinated and microchipped? Has the Breeder done health tests on the parents and puppies? If the breeder has not fully vaccinated the Puppy, wormed and fleas have you spoke to the Vets about the Vaccination and worming protocol? Not all Vets stock the same Vaccinations.
Has the breeder done any Training? Any crate training, any exposure to a Car, anytime alone, does the Breeder know the personalities of all the puppies? Does Mum get a break? Does she have no interaction with the puppies?
This is all vital information to know before taking on a puppy. This isn't to give the Breeder a hard time. This is for your knowledge and safeguarding. The puppy will be in your life potentially for 20 years.
Is your lifestyle suitable for a puppy at all? Is the family on board? Do you have appropriate space for raising a puppy? Have you done much research about the needs of a puppy and into adolescents.
Step 1 – Write down what puppy’s daily routine would be like- getting up time/ going to bed time. What time you would do walks and exercise and is there someone to let out for toilet breaks during the day or would you need a dog walker or day-care
Step 2- Your lifestyle – are you planning on moving do you have children or plan to have children do you have other animals in the house these are all things we need to think about.
Step 3 -Holiday Plans – Holiday plans can chance for example you might need someone to care for the dog if you like to go away abroad or you may need to change your options and go on dog friendly holidays instead.
Step 4 -What you need to but in advance – there is a lot of products on the market we need to know exactly what we need and buy it in advance so we have everything to hand when puppy arrives this include equipment such as harnesses and leads and toys and grooming kit.
Step 5 – Vets and Insurance – We need to pick a vets and insurance plan in advance of puppy arriving just in case we need veterinary care
It can take some settling in when we first get a puppy so we need to work out a plan for the first week and adaptations.
Have you spoken to a local Vets, Dog Walker, Daycare and a Trainer or Behaviourist? Do you know their credentials? Have you spoke to a Groomer and planned a puppy intro appointment.
Do you know what toys are appropriate for a Puppy, have you planned socialisation and not just with other Dogs. Have you ensured the house is puppy proof and the garden.
Have you planned small car trips and introductions to the car. Have you planned where to take the puppy for exposure to new environments without playing with other Dogs?
There is a lot to consider and we need to ensure they get the best start!
Written by myself and NK9
Let sleeping dogs lie...
We have all heard this saying but are our dogs really getting enough sleep, just like us if there not getting enough sleep this can affect behaviour.
Puppies need around 18-20 hours’ sleep which decreases into adolescence and adults need around 12-14 hours in a 24-hour period.
As owners we need to ensure that our dogs are getting enough sleep and good quality sleep with no disturbances.
We need to consider:
• The temperature is it too cold or is it too hot that can have an impact on the dog sleeping if we were cold we wouldn’t sleep properly
• The type of bed they have – if it isn’t comfortable we want to make sure that the bed fits the dog and they have space to lay how they would like to comfortably
• We want sleeping area to be away from distractions that could be noises from the environment outside or how light the room is during the summer as this can disturb sleep
If dogs need to go out for the toilet in the night, then it needs to be as fuss free as possible with little interactions just to the toilet and back to bed not engaging in play or fuss as this can make it more difficult for them to get back to sleep.
Disturbed or little sleep can impact on behaviour and manifest into behavioural issues just like us they can become agitated and feel exhausted if they can’t get enough rest. Rest is also important for recovery and regeneration of cells just like us humans so it is key to ensure they get enough down time.
Consider how we could make our dogs sleeping area better- it might be something as simple as a putting a blanket over a cage to make an area more cosy and block out some light or a breeze that could disturb sleep.
Consider whether your disturbing them or whether they are able to sleep in peace. Are family members or even other Dogs within the home allowing the puppy or Dog to sleep?
Consider how much they sleep? How often do you try to create a sleep routine for your Dog or puppy? Do you try to ensure a calm setting for sleep?
When behaviour is unwanted or you find that your experiencing difficulty with behaviour. Consider sleep. Sleep is a key factor in Holistic care for your Dog as well as diet, health and general wellbeing and plays a big role in their behaviour needs.
Written by myself and NK9 Dog Training & Behaviour Specialist
Behaviour Training Methods Using Muzzles
Every dog owner has their own opinions on muzzles in most cases the main reason people develop a negative opinion is because they associate a muzzled dog with aggressive behaviour and a dangerous dog.
This however isn’t always the case...
Muzzles have many uses and yes they can be used in case of aggressive behaviours. However they are also the safeguard for you and your Dog.
Whether the Dog is aggressive or nervous, the muzzle protects your Dog from being able to bite another Dog or person when put over threshold. This is the difference between headbutting or scratching another Dog or person to a bite or much worse. Not saying that headbutting or scratching is OK but this is the best outcome of a bad situation.
Yes a Dog who is capable of biting shouldn't be able to do this however this has to be applied in a context. There will always be off lead dogs and there will always be that guy who's not afraid because his dad's uncle down the pub had German Shepherds and isn't afraid of your Dog saying "no"
I actually salute people who use a muzzle. This means they are taking steps to safeguard their Dog other Dogs and people. They are helping their Dog in not building a bite history and definitely not reinforcing biting behaviours. These people will also be the people investing their time, money and emotions into Dog Training or Behaviour Modifications.
Muzzles may also need to be used because the Dog is a forager. As Professionals being inclusive of an Holistic approach we are guilty of encouraging sniffing for mental enrichment and allowing natural behaviours. But what about the Dogs who snaffle everything up, what about the owner who isn't fast enough to wrestle the Dog and have them spit the item out, or when the Dog refused to drop the item. How about the Dog who's off the lead and simply an opportunist and the Owner didn't see the Dog consume something harmful or poisonous. I'm not saying this is OK but Dogs and humans alike are not perfect and a Dog is an opportunist and even the best behaved Dogs can make an err in judgment and be a Dog.
Muzzles aren't bad. Muzzles are not cruel when used correctly and Muzzles aren't designed to have the Dog labelled as a menace to society.
The use of a dog muzzle should always start with positive training.
There are steps that should be implemented for the use of a muzzle it’s not a simple as just putting it on, this can cause distress and anxiety and often make behaviour worse instead of better.
• Muzzles can also be used to help with desensitisation processes such as the vets, groomers as some dogs snap when having nails clipped, being brushed, or being vaccinated. Not all Vets work within a No Fear approach and not all Vets are comfortable around Dogs not want to risk being bitten. Dogs can also bite when in pain which is why Canine First Aiders have a make shift muzzle within their First Aid Kit.
• Muzzling an aggressive dog can be a good management solution in a particular situation, but a muzzle should not be used as a substitute for behaviour modification you should always seek help to change the behaviour.
It is NOT appropriate to use a muzzle to prevent a dog from barking, or to reduce destructive behaviour (e.g. chewing). These along with other stress-related behaviours need the underlying motivations to be addressed.
It is NOT appropriate in Training or Modification to Muzzle a Dog around other known or unknown Dogs off lead be it the Dog within the Muzzle or the other Dogs. This is not Training or Behaviour modification. This can be terrifying for the Dog muzzled and also leave them very vulnerable and cause detrimental damage. Training a Dog muzzled should always be where the Dog has space, distance and their handler with them. Never to be allowed to be cornered or attacked by unmuzzled Dogs.
There are many positives to muzzle training and something that should be trained from a young age where possible as you never know when you might need to use one. In some cases, it can just be for peace of mind when working on certain problems.
In some Countries it is mandatory that all Dogs are muzzled regardless of how well behaved they are.
Muzzles aren't the enemy and the stigma should be ended with them. Muzzles have so many benefits when used properly and kindly.
There are some brilliant Muzzle friendly groups on Facebook such as Muzzle Up Pup and Muzzles also don't need to be a generic I'll fitting muzzle causing an uncomfortable feeling to your Dog.
Tasha has partnered with Bumas to help you not only have a custom made Muzzle which is unique to the measurements of your Dog but you can also choose your own colours too. This is to ensure that you have access to a well fitting perfect Muzzle fit for the full comfort of your Dog.
Let's end the stigma around Muzzles. Remember if someone is walking a Dog with a Muzzle you don't know the Dogs story and maybe smile at the handler too. Show some support for their great investment in their beloved friend!
Why you shouldn't ask Dr. Google or Dr. Facebook
Anyone who's been to School, college or University will remember this well. "Don't you dare use Wikipedia for your homework!"
Because Wikipedia is written by anyone and everyone with an opinion. An opinion is not fact and can also be dangerous.
Wikipedia is not fact checked or regulated just like the Dog Training industry.
Anyone can claim to have years of experience without ever even having owned a Dog of their own or training their mates Dogs.
Its hard to prove how long someone really has been in Business unless you pain stakingly spend time going through all their photos on their page and checking the date stamps.
Many people set up as either Dog Trainers or Behaviourists with no experience or qualifications or incomplete or incorrect qualifications.
This leaves many people frustrated and upset when they have spent hard earned money and got no results or their Dogs behaviour has worsened.
People may well be well meaning and people on Facebook or Google may also be well meaning however you pay for what you get.
Does your Dog deserve that or do they deserve better?
Lots of people get cross GPs refer to a book to check on prescriptions before prescribing however a GP cannot possibly retain every single drug and their side effects and combinations in one brain. Hence fact checking.
This is very similar for Qualified Dog Trainers and Behaviourists which is why it is vital they not only continue CPD but are also happy to show this to Clients as well as their original qualifications they claim to have.
The Industry is changing and many Dog Trainers and Behaviourists seek affiliation and accreditation from organisations to be held accountable and genuine through a panel of their peers and more qualified persons.
The main one being now the Dog Training and Behaviour charter. If your Dog Trainer or Behaviourist is with the Charter you know that they have been rigourosly checked and interviewed to be able to be on the charter.
This is vital for your knowledge and comfort for your Dog to guarantee force free up to date knowledge and an individual who accepts that they too are always learning.
Facebook and Google can't give a diagnosis, nor can well meaning people. But qualified and accredited individuals can.
It maybe costly but there is the guarantee of the service your recieveing and a safety in the knowledge of who your working with.