Another post that me and Miyagis Dog Training and Behaviourist Services have put together!
A hot topic at the moment that most places we will have to wear face masks so it is important that we get our dogs used to people in a mask, we are seeing more people wearing face coverings when out and about so it is good to start desensitising our dogs.
1. It is always best to start training in a place with low distractions such as in the house to begin with make sure you have some rewards handy. When they look at you, give them a reward, so they know something good is going to happen and the conditioning can begin.
2. Cover your face (but not your eyes) with your hand, without uncovering your face, reward your dog immediately, using your other hand (the one not covering your face). Then uncover your face and let your dog see that it’s just you under there and nothing scary.
3. Cover your face again, but this time, give your dog praise from behind your hand, and reward them, before uncovering your face.
4. Find a scarf or similar that you can wear around your neck and pull up over your face (again, keep your eyes uncovered). Reward your dog and speak to them whilst your face is covered, then pull down the scarf again so they can see it’s still you!
5. With your face covered with the scarf, chat to your dog, move around, and give rewards every few seconds, before removing the scarf
5. Play with the face mask and twiddle so your dog can see the item is none threatening. Hold it to your face and speak to your dog whilst rewarding with the other hand.
6. Hook the face mask over one of your ears, reward your dog and then put the mask over your face. Reward and talk to your dog for a few seconds, before removing it again.
7. Put on the mask and move around, chat to your dog and have a little game, then remove the mask again.
Remember!!! If your dog looks uncomfortable at any point take a break go back a few steps this can take some time for our dogs to get used to so we don’t want to rush the training.
Make sure everyone in the house has a go at being the covered-up face, starting from the beginning, so that your dog understands that anyone wearing a mask can still be their friend. Depending on how confident your dog is with different family members, this step might take more or less time than when you started right at the beginning, covering your own face.
If your dog growls or scrunches in their body language, ears pinned back or runs away. Stop! Also make sure the dog has an escape route too. Leave the session there do not try to go further.
Once your dog understands about face masks, remember to reward calm behaviour when you see people outside the home wearing them.
Natalie and I have Co written this article together NK9 Dog Training & Behaviour Specialist
Something a bit different. It's easy to get into the chaos of Christmas and Dog Training commitments can be easily pushed to one side or we think I do it tommorow or the next day. So how about this...
From the 13th September until 24th December 2019 who wants to join in the 100 days of Dog Training Challenge?
Its simple. Come join Miyagis Dog Training Community upload one photo a day with an explanation of the behaviour you are teaching. One behaviour per day.
For everyone who sticks to the 100 days will get a Certificate of participation.
If you want to join just join the group
Let's get Training 🐶
I saw this picture and thought this is really cool. Especially for the mindset of Dog Training. Don't worry about other people's progress with their Dogs. Don't worry about how fast or slow your Dog progresses. Worry how much of a bond you have with your Dog. Worry how much fun they are having. Worry about how much fun you are having. It will all fall into place and its not a race. Your relationship with your Dog comes first. You'll find the less pressure you put on yourself how much of a Journey you have accomplished through Training and how far you have come. So if your stressing about other Dogs and owners progress think of this. Even download it and store it for the days when your getting down on yourself. And here's letting you in on a little secret Dog Trainers are just the same if not worse 💜
A good article concerning off lead Dogs. Many of you know I am a sponsor of Yellow Dog UK and advocate for Dogs who need space. Yesterday I was working with Clients with a Dog who needed space. One individual did not respect this. Had no control of their Dog who ran over 200 yards to my Client who then preceeded to attack the Dog I was working with. The owner ambled up calling his Dogs name. Meanwhile myself and my Clients are trying to control their Dog. And we're trying to keep the Dog at bay. This Dog was not friendly. This frightened my Clients Dog, who has already achieved so much. I managed to eventually grab hold of the Dog who was bearing its teeth at me and hold onto it still waiting for the owner to retrieve it. Who then proceeded to give my Clients a load of verbal abuse. Luckily we had witnesses who calmed my Clients and said they was so scared for us and could see the Dog coming at us and that there was nothing we could do other than we did and described the off leads Dog behaviour as "circling us like a shark".
This situation is frightening for all involved whether your with a Trainer or not. This is frightening for the Dog and the owner. It's OK to say my Dogs friendly but in this case it wasn't and could of ended badly. Please keep encouraging people to keep their Dogs on lead, if they have no control or management of their Dog. Especially in an area where there are also signs requiring Dogs to be kept on lead.
Everyone wants to enjoy taking their Dog for a walk be they reactive or friendly in a safe way. Nobody wants to see anyone get hurt. If you do have a Dog with no recall or reactive issues and don't want to seek out a Trainer please seek out an enclosed Dog field. There are so many up and down the Country now and it will help you to allow your Dog off lead in a safe way with no incidents. When not using a Dog field please just use a lead .
As your Trainer and Behaviourist I will always give you and your Dog especially 150% even when I make myself look daft, climbing through tunnels, lifting Dogs, talking in the baby voice, crouching and all the other crazy stuff I do as Trainer to gain your Dogs trust and respect. I will always put their needs and trust first and I hope you all know this and I will always do my best to go above and beyond for you all too. Being a Trainer is hard it isn't all cuddles and play, it can be hard and exhausting and sometimes painful, physically and emotionally. But I will always be the best I can be for you and I hope you all know and see this :)
I have copied this piece from a fellow Trainer which really resonated with me which I thought you all might like to read too titled BE KIND TO YOUR TRAINER: from Kommetjie Canine College
I hope this post is not too self-indulgent, but I know so many colleagues who are struggling at the moment that I believe awareness needs to be raised. Compassion fatigue and burnout is common in this industry, so I hope this may help others to understand what trainers and behaviourists experience and will go a little way towards fostering kindness and compassion.
Most people get involved in dog training or become dog behaviourists because they want to work with dogs. Many outsiders envision the job as playing with puppies and changing dogs lives for the better. What most people don’t consider, is that dogs and puppies come attached to humans and it is actually the human part of the equation that we as trainers spend the most time interacting with. Classes and consultations are focused on teaching owners how to train and interact with their dogs – while we may occasionally step in to demonstrate an exercise with a dog and are constantly observing all the dogs in class and looking out for their wellbeing, 90% of our energy goes towards instructing and interacting with the humans.
For many of us, this does not come naturally. Often people who are drawn to working with animals are introverts – we feel comfortable and relaxed in interactions with non-human animals, but find interactions with people slightly anxiety-inducing. Teaching and interacting with clients in groups or one-on-one can be intimidating for someone who is naturally socially reserved and while many of us become pretty good at it, being good at it requires an enormous amount of emotional energy.
Behaviourists and trainers are also usually empathetic people – being able to observe body language and constantly evaluate an animal’s emotional state accurately requires one to be sensitive to how others are feeling. This part of our job’s is so important, that much of our training is aimed at enhancing these skills, so that we are sensitive to the subtlest changes and shifts in mood. Because humans come attached to dogs, we also end up becoming sensitive to human body language and emotional states and pick up quickly when people are unhappy, annoyed or tense. During every class we have to balance the emotions and moods of a variety of people and their dogs – and we have to find a way to be sensitive to these moods, without allowing it to throw us off our game, affect us personally or damage our professionalism in a class situation.
We deal with a huge range of dog owner personalities which can also be quite challenging: We have people who are there under duress, because their wife, husband, mom or dad insisted that they train the dog, when they don’t really think it is necessary. We have people who have trained with old-school methods in the past and resent “treat training”, but attend anyway, because we are the closest training school. We have people with physical limitations or emotional challenges who need careful and gentle handling. We have people who want to have the opportunity to train their dogs, but don’t want instruction from us, because they have their own ideas and want to do their own thing. We have people who are in complete denial over their dogs’ issues or totally inconsiderate of other people’s or other dogs’ needs in the class. We have those who got a dog “to teach my child some responsibility” or view us as an extra mural children’s activity and try to drop off kids and dog for us to deal with alone. And, of course, we have those who want our services, but do absolutely everything to avoid actually having to pay for them.
Then we have those golden clients who train their dogs because they recognise the value in doing so, those who love their dogs and want to ensure that all their needs are met, those that respect us and what we do and trust our guidance. Those who stay for years, just because it is so much fun and because of the bond they have with their dogs. These are the clients who keep us going and the ones we must remember when our energy is running low.
Being a trainer or behaviourist also requires constant problem solving. We may plan to teach a set of exercises in a particular lesson, but find that for whatever reason that day a few clients or dogs are struggling and are not up to what we had planned. We always have to have plan B (and C & D). We have to adjust our plans according to the dogs and owners that show up that day and we may have to adjust a specific exercise for a particular dog or person who something is just not working for. This requires constant “thinking” on your feet and endless contingency plans. At the same time, we are constantly aware of the expectation of “quick fixes” that many clients have from watching unrealistic “reality” TV shows and the worry that these unrealistic expectations will lead the client to find an aversive trainer, if we don’t “get the job done quickly”, to the ultimate detriment of dog and owner.
We also live with risk: People and dogs are not robots and we cannot control or predict everything they will do in any given situation. While we may be as responsible as possible, people can do silly things – they can ignore our instructions, they can be in denial or they can deliberately misrepresent the nature of their dog’s behaviour problems, putting us and others in class at risk. Dogs are not perfect and any dog, if put in the wrong situation at the wrong time could potentially use aggression to get out of that situation. We can never switch off and take people or dogs’ safety for granted. In some cases we have to make the hard decision that a dog may not be safe to have in a group class and tell people things that they don’t want to hear.
While we may be there to resolve dog behaviour problems, many times in consultations we end up being leaned on as support for the human family. While we are not human psychologists, we often find ourselves exposed to the tough personal problems people are experiencing and absorb a lot of their emotions in trying to help them with their dogs. Often the dog’s problem is a symptom of something greater in the family and we have to carefully and sensitively work within extremely tricky situations to try and help. The difference is that unlike human counsellors, we do not have the support systems in place to “debrief” or receive professional counselling which is mandatory in human equivalent fields. Most of us also do not earn enough to afford the luxury of private counselling on an ongoing basis for this purpose.
Trainers and behaviourists have another burden which many people don’t consider – the burden of perfection in our own lives with our own dogs. While logically we know that no dog is ever going to be perfect, just as we are only human and will never be perfect, many of us feel that we are judged professionally on the behaviour of our own dogs. Many trainers find even minor issues with their own dogs utterly devastating, because they feel their knowledge and experience should have prevented them from ever making any mistake in this area of their lives. When they “fail” in their personal lives with their dogs in any small way, the guilt and embarrassment can be over-whelming.
Finally, the love that we feel for the dogs that we deal with comes at a cost. We go into this profession, because we love and care for dogs – this means that when we see dogs that are not being treated well or who are destined to live miserable lives, because despite our best efforts, people do not take our advice, it haunts us. We feel genuine sadness and it can be hard to walk away and let go.
So, be kind to your trainer. If you are lucky enough to find a science-based, force free trainer who genuinely loves dogs enough to put money, energy and time into getting a proper formal education in the field and to pursue the profession full time, please consider that this is not an easy profession. It is all-consuming, financially unrewarding and emotionally draining, despite the fact that it is our passion. To those golden clients who keep us going and make it all worthwhile, thank you!
And this is what it's all about. Even if I'm not a Competition Trainer and competing at Crufts or in IPO trails. Even if im not writing books like some of you keep encouraging me and sat on the sidelines. I'm making a difference to people in the real world. I'm helping families with their Dogs and making their lives happier. I couldn't want anymore from my job 🐶💚🐶
Just a note to say thankyou to those of you who are the "Golden Ones" who totally respect me, my Class, the structure, the need for safety, taking gentle criticism or guidance and for making me laugh when I'm utterly exhausted. So thankyou for spurring me on and making my job so much more enjoyable 🐶
It doesn't matter how long it takes so long as you do it. Practice! Don't get embarrassed about what others think. Your having the Dog and the lifestyle that you want. Screw what anyone else thinks. Many people I work with make signs like this. It's a brilliant idea 🐶It doesn't matter how long it takes so long as you do it. Practice! Don't get embarrassed about what others think. Your having the Dog and the lifestyle that you want. Screw what anyone else thinks. Many people I work with make signs like this. It's a brilliant idea 🐶It doesn't matter how long it takes so long as you do it. Practice! Don't get embarrassed about what others think. Your having the Dog and the lifestyle that you want. Screw what anyone else thinks. Many people I work with make signs like this. It's a brilliant idea 🐶It doesn't matter how long it takes so long as you do it. Practice! Don't get embarrassed about what others think. Your having the Dog and the lifestyle that you want. Screw what anyone else thinks. Many people I work with make signs like this. It's a brilliant idea 🐶It doesn't matter how long it takes so long as you do it. Practice! Don't get embarrassed about what others think. Your having the Dog and the lifestyle that you want. Screw what anyone else thinks. Many people I work with make signs like this. It's a brilliant idea 🐶It doesn't matter how long it takes so long as you do it. Practice! Don't get embarrassed about what others think. Your having the Dog and the lifestyle that you want. Screw what anyone else thinks. Many people I work with make signs like this. It's a brilliant idea 🐶
Your Training journey with your Dog is your own. Training a Dog is not easy. Training yourself is not easy. Professional Dog Trainers can make it look effortless and easy. We have trained our entire lives with 1000s of Dogs. Your just starting on your journey to Train your own Dog. You have emotions attached to your Training because you love and care about your Dog. Don't bother what other people think or your progress. The fact that you are doing it is so much more than many. Don't measure your progress by other people's. Measure your progress by the happiness of your Dog 🐶