Stubborn is used frequently to describe dogs that don’t perform a task that is asked of them. Maybe the dog is pulling on his leash, maybe he doesn’t lie down when cued, or maybe he lies down when you he was asked to “Sit”. I think it is much easier to call a dog stubborn than to get at the root of the problem.
I frequently hear very similar questions from multiple clients. I also have random dog training thoughts that come to mind that might not lend themselves to a complete blog post. So, I thought I could blend the two and start this as an occasional series.
With Spring weather almost here in Chicago, it is time to start thinking about more frequent trips to the dog park. You might feel uneasy when your dog plays with other dogs. Hopefully this alleviates some of your concerns by teaching you what to look for and how to react if there is a problem. If you decide to take your dog to the dog park it is important to know about dog body language and how to react to bad situations.
I just finished watching the documentary about Ingrid Newkirk, the co-founder of PETA. I really did not know much about her or her organization before this except for the various news stories that crop up here and there in the media. I have seen a few documentaries about animal rights and about 4 years ago Peaceable Kingdom: A Tribe of Heart Documentary was the final push I needed to become a vegetarian.
I received two calls this week that that reminded me about the importance of making sure a dog is physically healthy before I recommend training strategies. One call was in regards to a 3-year old dog that recently started whining uncontrollably whenever his person was out of the room or out of the home. He also had a few housetraining regressions and his guardian found a few accidents when he got home.
Did you know that there are different styles of training within the positive reinforcement "camp"? There are trainers that only use one style and others (like myself) use many different strategies depending on what works in a given situation. However, I NEVER use pain or fear when training. I also feel strongly that a trainer should not be able to call him or herself a "positive reinforcement" trainer if they use or recommend choke chains, prong collars or shock collars.
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.