Humans ask dogs to go against their instincts daily. Whether this be recall, walks, house rules, expecting boring kibble on walks, we know so much information about the intelligence of dogs. It's 2022 it is time to leave the archaic ways behind!
Pay your dog for every behaviour, damn pay them just for existing
Image is of a Wolfdog in a Pink Y Front Harness running away across a woodland background and a blue sky with Text: if your dog doesn't listen to you because you don't pay them why should they listen?
You would soon be ringing your boss kicking off if you didn't get paid!
Orange speech bubble - Here girl!!!
Second image Wolfdog with pink Y shape Harness running back to owner across a woodland background and a blue sky with Text: and if they still refused to pay you, you would quit and get Acas involved.
We are our Dogs biggest advocates, we ask them daily to behave like a human and ignore their biological instincts. The least we can do is pay them with high value treats?!
Be mindful! Be kind! Always!
Pink speech bubble with love hearts text reads: yay good girl, come and get it! Awesome!
It takes a Village
Be it a message, an email, a Facebook support group, an enquiry whenever people ask for help with their Dogs we have to work as part of a multidisciplinary team for lack of a better word, for your dog.
This isn't to cost you as much money as possible or help our friends and colleagues to have work.
This is because your dog isn't a number and is an individual.
For example, lots of people enquire about classes for behaviours that cannot be worked with, within a class setting.
This is because within a class setting we have a lesson plan, this lesson plan has been created to meet the needs of several dogs and each owner has paid an amount for that class.
So following a lesson plan we can ensure all of the Dogs have their own time to be supported and we can visually see what is happening and support as needed. Everyone is able to participate and have fun.
When classes get broken down into individualised questions these can only be answered in a rushed way, it's a class and there isn't time nor is their the opportunity to do a behavioural referral.
This is why we have to have one to one's for specific behavioural advice and behaviour modification.
And we need to understand the why of the behaviour, the why of the behaviour can be medical, which is why we need a vet to examine your dog first. Because if the behaviour is medical no amount of behaviour modification will change the Dogs behaviour.
We may then find that your dog needs further support from a Canine Chiropractor who may recommend working with a Hydrotherapist too.
You may be given specific protocols which need to be communicated to your Dog walker and dog sitter if you utilise them. You may find your dog walker and dog sitter need to give feedback to the Trainer or Behaviourist or both depending on who your working with.
You may find your Behaviourist wants you to work with a Trainer or your Trainer refers you to a Behaviourist or a Specialist.
This is all because your dog is an individual and as soon as you step into our care, wheels turn in motion so that your dog has the greatest care and success with behaviour modification as possible whilst you the dogs guardian are also supported.
So don't be surprised that when you enquire about your dog, you suddenly find yourself supported by a multidisciplinary team who all care about your individual dog!
(Image description: cream background with the text in the right hand middle of the screen with Black text with white stroke which reads "It takes a Village to holistically support a dog"
To the left is a woman with dark blonde hair, in a pastel red blouse, with grey trousers and her arms folded, with a fluffy white, brown and caramel Jack Russell sat in front of her.
Under her on the bottom left of the corner is a woman with purple hair two tone, in a purple hoodie, blue jeans, black trainers, sat in a Wheelchair holding a Clicker with a black and white Collie sat next to her panting.
Second to the left is a woman with grey hair in pigtails, her hair is grey and blueish, she is wearing a black full body wetsuit with dark blue patches. She has a golden retriever sat in front of her. The Golden Retriever is an orange and gold colour and is very fluffy and is panting.
Second to the right is a man with blonde hair with a lab coat over a pastel green shirt and blue trousers with white shoes. With a Wolfdog panting sat in front of him. He is brown, dark grey and cream.
In the right corner is a man sitting with a Wolfdog. He has black hair with green highlights, he is wearing an orange t-shirt with black baggy trousers and high top trainers that are white and grey with green laces. He is stroking a Wolfdog sat next to him. The Wolfdog is in a sit pretty pose, with tongue hanging out, brown in colour with a white chest and a black dipped tail and darker brown on the face).
Forget whatever you believe you know or what television or social media had told you, or your neighbour or Uncle Jimmy's, mate's, sisters boyfriend who is a wannabe dog trainer because he taught a dog to sit once.
Puppies are not out to get you! Puppies are amazing, they are not humans and they have a completely different set of needs to us.
They are expected to magically know how to communicate that they need the toilet at 8 weeks old, whereas human toddlers can have concessions until 5 years old with toileting.
Toddlers also destroy homes across the world daily and do not feel the wrath that is placed onto poor puppies and dogs.
It's time to independently learn from trusted resources and not follow uninformed information!
A mint green background with red text titled with What your puppy would like you to know! In capital letters.
A puppy Wolfdog laid down, with a pink collar and a tennis ball inbetween her paws.
I need your help, support and guidance to grow and develop
I am a different species and not a human and my needs are very different to yours
I don't understand your house rules and why furniture is not to be chewed.
I need time and patience to settle into your home
I will be afraid of being left alone
I will chew as this is in my nature
It may take me 9 months plus to learn to toilet outside
I need a species appropriate diet
I need plenty of sleep
I will mouth and nip
I am not stubborn
I need your love, patience and guidance
I need you to work with me Force and Fear free
And understand and accept I'm not trying to dominate you, be the boss or do things out of spite!
I am a puppy and I am a different species!
It's soon going to be gardening time again!
One of the most common gripes dog guardians have is that the dogs destroy the gardens.
However, digging and eating plants are one of the most natural and needed behaviours for healthy dogs.
Getting cross and upset is simply counter productive.
Don't worry I get it, all of my dogs are diggers and we don't have a huge garden. So this year I am full on doing an urban garden to grow herbs and veg etc and I have to do this around the Dogs and the rabbit who has a big chunk of the garden in his living space.
So you can see how I utilise a small area to do urban gardening and to keep the dogs safe and stimulated and give the vegetables etc a chance to grow.
Look at how you can make your garden dog friendly, consider raised beds, hanging planters, follow my videos and do the same as me.
Our front garden is for us and the back garden is for the Dogs. Try this too, put all of your effort and flower art into the front garden and leave the back for the Dogs.
If you don't have a front garden or no garden at all try eco systems in jars. They are a super fun way to enjoy a mini garden and pop them on shelves.
Bigger city areas have sensory gardens built for Dogs for you to hire, which is another option or allotments if you cannot enjoy a garden at home.
But if you do have a garden, don't get mad, consider the space and how you can have the Dogs enjoy it and yourself. Remember digging is not naughty, eating plants and shredding plants is not naughty. But humans giving the dogs grieve for natural behaviours is naughty
Image description: two gardens with a high fence and a potting shed. Stacked on top of one another as a compare and contrast. There is a Wolfdog bent down digging in the cabbage patch, covered in dirt and has annhiliated the cabbages and the flower bed to the left hand side. The second garden has hanging plant on the fence and a raised bed with cabbages in against the fence. There is also a sandpit in the shape of a turtle, a digging pit conjoined to a dog herb garden, a paddling pool in front of thr shed with a red boomer ball, a tennis ball and a pink rubber bone. On the shed is a flirt Pole fixed on.
To the left hand side is a clay coloured back drop titled Gardens in black and the following in purple text: It's that time of year... gardening time.
If you don't want the top picture, look at what you can do to make your garden into a sensory area.
Work with your dog not against them.
Conside raised beds, hanging plants, dedicated herb garden for the dogs, a paddling pool, a sand pit or soil pit.
Bury toys in the sand pit, get floating tools for the pool, explore safe plants for your dogs.
Having dogs means being selfless like having children, work with them and not against them.
Always remember we are not the same species!
Next up on our dog friendly garden project is a non exhaustive list of toxic and safe plants and herbs for dogs. This list is available as a downloadable pdf in our group Miyagis Dog Training Community for a printable copy https://www.facebook.com/groups/miyagisdogtrainingcommunity/?ref=share
Please be mindful some herbs can be used dried with our dogs and also topically for example Aloe Vera can be applied to dog wounds topically and Camomile can be found in dog treats and given as a tea. This list is for plants growing in the garden not dried.
If your concerned you dog may have ingested an toxic plant you can speak to Animal Poison Online and book a telephone consultation ranging from £35-£45 depending on the time of day. Which is reassurance and peace of mind if you cannot access your registered vets. https://www.animalpoisonline.co.uk/
Always do your own research before introducing plants to your garden as most garden centres do not label plants as dog safe.
For those who use use speech readers please come to the community group to access the pdf.
Sources from: Dogs Trust UK, PDSA, ASPCA, Gardeners World, CCSPCA, RSA group, Garden design and Whole Pet Clinic.
Image description: The poster is of a meadow with a blue sky and wispy clouds, there are cartoon petals along the border. The top left has a black Spaniel cartoon with a white chest, the top right has a cartoon of a Wolfdog in a Sit pretty, the bottom left has a Wolfdog in a now position and the bottom right has a Wolfdog sitting and tongue lolling.
The text in white reads: a none exhaustive list of toxic & safe plants for dogs.
Always Google and research before allowing your dog near plants.
Always make sure your dogs cannot access toxic plants.
All dogs have a bank account!
This is our version of how my dogs would rate a tennis ball, a Tug-E-Nuff toy, a Frisbee, a Kong, Licki Mat, Snuffle Mat, Kibble, cheese, meat, Peanut butter, squeeze cheese, liver paste, snuggles, training and scentwork for example.
If 0p is the lowest value and £1000 is the highest value.
We need to remember dogs have preferences and are capable of making choices just as we are, dogs are great communicators and the better listeners we are the greater communicators that they become.
Here is my dogs values system, how I interpret it and a blank one for you to fill in for your own dog, how would they rate the value system of these items and will this make you more considerate of your dogs value system in training and on walks?
A green background with a column on the left with a tennis ball, a Tug-E-Nuff toy, a Frisbee, a Kong, Licki Mat, Snuffle Mat, second left column with Kibble, cheese, meat, Peanut butter, squeeze cheese, liver paste.
To the right a black and white Spaniel doing training with a Clicker and the handler is in a Wheelchair, the bottom right is a man knelt down stroking a Wolfdog and to the bottom left is a Wolfdog in a harness in a playbow with scent boxes in front of him to the left.
One of the most common narratives is "Force Free training doesn't work." The person will then go onto explain how they tried it and the behaviour worsened.
Or just generally people will claim despite training or training for a short period of time the behaviour worsened.
It really depends on the type of training methodology that your following.
Within Force Free training we don't recommend ignoring a behaviour. Instead we look to an alternative behaviour for an unwanted behaviour.
If you use a training methodology that involves ignoring unwanted behaviour you're going to struggle even more.
An extinction burst is when you see a behaviour worsen before it gets better. So for example, when your dog was a puppy and they jumped up you bent down and fussed them didn't you. Let's not deny it. We're all guilty of it. Because nobody can resist those cute little noses, floppy ears and pink pads.
But as time has gone on and the puppy looks have diminished, they have got bigger and your friends and family no longer enjoy the puppy novelty, it's now a problem.
The thing is it isn't a problem for your dog because they had the reward and reinforcement of cuddles and fusses. It's a human problem. But the issue is most humans decide one day right I'm ignoring this behaviour so the dog says "hang on this worked before, why am I being ignored. I'll up the ante."
Bang, you or someone else is then knocked over or nipped.
Arguments ensue or you are feeling annoyed.
But what's been done to teach the pup otherwise? Treat Bombs? An alternate behaviour? A change in the greeting process that rewards them?
So when you don't teach your dog to do something else of course they are going to work harder at getting your attention in previously learnt behaviours.
This is completely normal and it is going to get worse before it gets better.
Unfortunately it's that time of year again when we are preparing to endure heat waves and unpredictability in the weather.
There's lots of fantastic information out there to keep dogs safe in the heat and a lot of information can be conflicting.
If you're in doubt, worried about your dogs behaviour for example sickness, diarrhoea, constipation, lethargy, weakness, changes in colour in the gums, extreme and excessive panting or any changes in your dog you know is not their normal behaviour, please call the Vets immediately.
People are still being seen walking their dogs in the heat, please don't. Not only can this cause heat strokes but also burn their pads, ears and noses and dogs with less fur, short white fur for example can be at a higher risk of the effects of the sun especially on their skin.
Please leave your dogs at home with a fan, plenty of fresh cool water and research frozen dog treat recipes. There are lots and lots available across all search engines and even Facebook. Please do not take them out in vehicles unless to the Vets as an emergency and follow the directions of the Vets on the phone before leaving. This is vital to your dogs health to follow instructions to the letter.
Never give ice cubes to a dog suspected of suffering the effects of heat stroke, call the vets immediately for individualised instructions of next steps.
Utilising swimming pools and spray mats can be really beneficial to them if they choose to use them, keep them out of the sun and in the shade only should they choose to go outside, prevent access to conservatories.
Encourage late evening play in the garden instead if they want to, keep activities calm such as enrichment over running around and bouncy play.
Be especially kind to them, dogs can soon become grumpy, grumbly, growly and agitated in the heat just like us. Remember they have a thick coat that is biologically designed to cool them but is still a thick coat.
Keep walks to very early morning 4/5/6am and to the late evening 10/11/ midnight for example.
Utilise floor fans and cool wet towels, do not leave cool mats from commercial stores with chewers unattended!
Keep cool, stay safe and if in doubt call the vets!
Image description: Wolfdog with tongue hanging to one side with speech bubbles with key titles of the above on an orange and white gradient background titled Dogs and hot weather.
Unfortunately it's a different kind of blog today. Today I am speaking on behalf of my friends and for my friends, myself and even people I don't know.
Trolls definition: to antagonise others by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or disruptive content. Trolls engage in the most outrageous and offensive behaviours possible.
Being a dog professional unfortunately means we are targets for trolls on blogs, lives, reviews, groups, everywhere…
Social media is rife with trolls and there are some things across social media we can do, such as Facebook we can block or they can be reported to Admins within groups etc and the same for Instagram and TikTok etc. But it doesn't lessen the impact it can have and it is still unnecessarily time consuming.
Social media is becoming a really unpleasant place for many of us to be even though social media can do so much good at the same time. Some social media channels are better than others.
Did you know that Google is the only social platform that does not protect people from trolls? They have no means of contact other than reporting trolls. There is no human on the other side so of course the troll never ever suffers for the consequences of their behaviour. This makes them feel that they have won and continue to collect more victims.
Because that's what it is, a victimisation of an unknown person or individual.
Facebook, TikTok and Instagram you can block people, but only after they have hurt you. Which does protect you from future attacks and removes their vitriol but doesn't take the pain away.
Some people feel really brave behind a keyboard and say the most awful things about people that they have never met in most cases and do not know.
They take great pleasure in hurting another person and in most cases will gladly take on anyone who dares to defend them.
It's so bad within the dog training community lately, one professional went to the papers about this. Because we are not protected. It must have taken this person a lot of guts to go to the papers about this as it's not easy to share.
The amount of professionals being targeted across all industries is horrendous and there is absolutely no need for it.
Those of us who are accredited and professionally assessed within the dog training industry spend our extra time and money on furthering our education to help your dogs.
Victimising a self employed or small business is the worst and the lowest of the low. These people are not billionaires or large companies.
Trolls are everywhere and find lots of ways to target others, whether it is via their Facebook pages or groups, a live or a seminar and of course reviews.
Trolling can begin with a nasty comment on a video or a post, a nasty message just because they're bored or they go the next step with a fake review.
Many reviews come simply because the self employed person did not reply to their message in the time they deem appropriate. This isn't talking about weeks of waiting but a 24-48 or even 72 hour waiting time is standard for any self employed or small business to respond. Many, many businesses I communicate with all state this.
Self employed people are also entitled to days off which maybe and are interchangeable, entitled to sick days and hours when they are unavailable. But some people feel the need to see every single business as a fast food service, not an individual or a small team behind a business name and when they decide they aren't happy because they had to wait for a response, they damage a business by leaving an unkind and biased review.
Dog Trainers and Behaviourists are not the only industry victimised, every industry is attacked. This is for all self employed people regardless of trade or service. This has worsened since covid and a movement and belief system of "be kind" is only held by an ever growing smaller number of people.
Dr. Sophia Yin killed herself in 2014 due to the pressure that this particular job brings with it. She never should of died and not one more person should commit suicide because of the pressure or this ever evolving unkind world of social media.
This industry is hard, it can be so draining and most of us are in it because we love animals and we want to help every single dog and their family. We don't need trolls and bullies on top of our commitments to what we already do and I want to take this opportunity to shout out to my amazing colleagues in the Force Free industry, you are all amazing and you are seen.
Our industry particularly is sad to think that we work with the loveliest animals who have no agenda and give constant and unwavering love, they aren't judgemental, unkind or actively seek ways to hurt others.
But some humans who own them or work with them are hurtful, unkind and generally not nice people. The complete opposite of a dog's behaviour and nature.
When amazing Professionals also give up their time to do lives and seminars for people and get attacked, this isn't OK. Comments can be seen popping up as people speak and it can already be super nerve wracking and scary and to have unsolicited and unkind comments pop up can really add to the angst.
Sharing educational videos for free to help others are attacked, quite recently sadly disabled people have been the target. The most awful things have been said and again not just the Dog Training Industry.
Especially within our industry we should be supporting one another and praising our colleagues for their hard work and dedication, not tearing them down.
The world needs to do better. If you see someone being trolled, step up and help them. It takes five minutes to show support to a fellow human being. You never know you might just save a life!
Image id: Troll sat at a computer ready to write horrible things. The troll is green with a purple hat, pointy ears, orange boots and sharp teeth. The image is titled trolls with speech bubbles surrounding the troll highlighting the key areas in this blog.