Why did your dog do that? I don't know.

The other day a client asked me why her 1.5-year-old dog urinates on her living room rug about once a month.

My answer? I don’t know.

Just because I am a professional dog trainer doesn’t mean that I know why dogs always perform certain behaviors.

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Is your dog demanding or destructive? Shape the absence of the behavior.

Destructive behaviors such as chewing on furniture or digging in the backyard are one form of inappropriate behavior. Demand behaviors are also inappropriate and are another way of describing a dog that is asking for something in a way that is deemed inappropriate. Examples include jumping for attention, play nipping for attention, barking for you to throw the tennis ball, or barking to get let out of the crate.

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Create a dog training cue - a summertime example

I was walking my dogs this morning and realized that I use a cue all the time that you might want to use with your dogs. What is the cue? “Flowers”.

What could “Flowers” possibly be used for? I use it to tell my dogs not to urinate on a specific location. I see the remnants of so many irresponsible dog guardians that don't pick up after their pets that I am hyper-sensitive to making sure that people know that most people are responsible and don't leave a mess. Many people spend a lot of time and money making their gardens attractive and I don't blame them for being upset when people allow their dogs to mark them.

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Dog trainers make it look so easy!

If you have ever worked with a talented professional dog trainer, there is a good chance he or she probably demonstrated a technique to you and made it look easy. The trainer then explained the intricacies of what you should do to duplicate the techniques, handed the leash over to you, and your dog didn’t do anything that you wanted!

Sound familiar?

What does a skilled professional dog trainer do to make this “magic” occur? Is it magic? Is there something that the dog trainer has that you just will never have? Should you give up right now?

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Novice dog trainer? Get better!

Since I am a professional dog trainer, it is my job to help my clients refine their training strategies to help their dog become well trained as fast as possible. 

Along the way I see a lot of ways that can speed up training and also derail the best efforts. My show today is meant to help you speed up your training efforts and become a better trainer.
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Not using hand signals in dog training? – you are missing out.

Hand signals are one of the ways to communicate with a dog. If you are not using them, you are limiting your ability to communicate, limiting the behaviors that you can teach as well as missing out on one of the most enjoyable aspects of working with a dog. 

I equate using only verbal communication with dogs to only speaking to people and never learning how to read or write.

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Question Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer's observations stated as facts

On his website, Cesar Millan stated the following:

“I don’t know what dogs dream, but they are definitely doing something really fun. Most of the time, their legs are moving, and they’re barking. In all my years working with dogs – at one point, I had 65 dogs sleeping with me – I’ve never seen a dog panicking in the middle of his sleep. They just don’t have nightmares like we do. You have to envy that!”

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You just punished your dog for behaving

This post is primarily about increasing the quality of the communication through good timing and instruction. I will talk more about motivation strategies in another post.

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Professional dog training terms - feed for position

One of my jobs as a professional dog trainer is to quickly troubleshoot a situation to solve a problem and save my clients training time. I feel incredibly lucky to train dogs for a living because I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with thousands of dogs over the years.

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Stop training before your dog wants to

Did you know it is better to practice short training sessions and stop when your dog still wants more? This strategy will keep training interesting and you will avoid over training. I have always known this, but this was reinforced even more when I did sheep herding with my dogs three summers ago. I am always trying to add more skills to my training repetoire, and thought my two Collies and Shetland Sheepdog would enjoy the experience. My wife Cassy and I got up at 5am to avoid the traffic and drove 90 minutes to our weekly training sessions at the sheep herding farm.

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