1. SPOILED DOGS
I wonder how many of you, like me, like to treat your dog(s) like best buddies, and have a tendency to spoil them a bit with petting and horseplay? There are 'rules' I break all the time which, according to other trainers, are big no no's. I let my indoor dogs sleep on the couch or easy chair, I pet them too much at times, and if they lay down on their backs when I'm petting them, I scratch their chests. Yet, my dogs do what I say, when I say it, and I believe that they would die protecting me if need be. I am strict when training and certain other things: they DO NOT relieve themselves in the house; they do not beg for food, they stay out of the trash and DO NOT chew on things; they do not bite people unless there is a tangible reason; they do not roam; etc. There are little control features which I implement, which really makes big differences, and here is one of them. On occasions when they have become a bit lax or spoiled, I give them a command to do before I pet them, in order to cause them to earn a reward. That breaks the edge of insubordination right quick, and it's easy to do. Dogs are much like kids. Babies get all kinds of attention because they're so cute. As they grow they have to learn things and don't get the same kind of attention as they did as babies. But just as kids can become spoiled and start to pay less attention to authority, so do dogs. If a kid wants something, a parent may make them earn it, a new bike, some expensive clothing, whatever it may be. And dogs need to earn some of their rewards. I do not ever reward a dog with food, except in tracking training. Dogs need food, so they get fed daily. I firmly believe that if you instill affection in a dog, as well as discipline and training, they will do anything for you. Withholding affection from a dog for a short time is something they hate, whereas lack of a treat is no big deal. I give my dogs treats here and there, but simply out of the blue, not as a reward. The method I described above will go a long way in reinforcing respect for authority and adhering to discipline. The best way to have a dog in the house is to first determine whether or not he is allowed on any chair of sofa. If so, designate whichever one you want him allowed on, and disallow all other furniture. Even if you let the dog on all of the chairs, sofas, etc., forbid at least one, which is a viable control feature. Only my Dobe and Mountain Feist are allowed on an easy chair, and that is because they are both short haired dogs, and I like for them to be able to keep a bit warmer than the floor affords, in the winter time. But, when I say 'OUT', they get off of the chair, couch or bed. Control is the most important thing.
2. DESTRUCTIVE DOGS
I get a lot of input from people about their dog chewing up everything in sight. The remedy is really pretty easy. I base my training on 4 key focal points: PROPER METHOD; CONSISTENCY; REPETITION; TIME. Most people, when training their dog, lack one or more of these. Not only that, but many people are too soft with their dogs, or too hard on them. Those 2 extremes are either letting the dog do just as it pleases, or beating the dog when it misbehaves. NO DOG KNOWS HOW TO DO, OR REFRAIN FROM DOING, ANYTHING ON COMMAND UNTIL TAUGHT, OR CONDITIONED. I've seen potential show winning mutts, and I've seen dogs from champion lines that were worthless, because the owner doesn't train.
Before I explain how to remedy the destructive problem, let me liken it to this, because society has been conditioned to be too passive, for fear of what someone may think, maybe some just don't care. You see someone about to get hit by a car. Are you going to be polite and passive, maybe just warning them [then watch them get run over], or are you going to grab them and yank them from harm's way, being impolite and politically incorrect in the process? I hope more people start being the last one. The man who got pushed onto the subway tracks a while back, then run over as people watched, was a shame. And it's a shame there are so many bad dogs, because people are afraid to correct. So here we go.
You see Fido chewing on a forbidden object: (1) Command NO! in a loud, firm, angry and authoritative tone. If he doesn't instantly obey, here are the options: Grab him by the scruff and shake him up; poke around his scruff, as the bitch does to correct [not the throat]; Make a loud noise with a piece of tin and a hammer, a can of rocks, a starter pistol, an air horn, etc, something to startle him; Squirt him with water from a squirt bottle, a squirt gun, or dump a pitcher of water on him; Hit him from behind with a throw chain [a small choke collar connected at the rings, with a few old keys or dog tags atattched [take care not to hit the dog in the face, as the main idea is to startle him, getting obesience]; Immediately put the dog into a prone position and hold him there, spreading your body on top of him, until he is not resisting [some won't, some will], not enough weight to hurt him at all, but rather to subdue, showing him that you are the master and are to be obeyed instantly and every time. Once you have him refraining on command, praise him, as you do when he does something you tell him to do.
A dog has a sense of duty, a yearning to perform a task, or series of tasks, and to please you. They are an animal that needs a "job". They are like a 454 Chevy engine. The ones that are never under a load don't seem to last as long as the ones that are worked. A worked 454 is a happy and healthy 454, and a worked and disciplined canine is a happy, content, healthy and fulfilled canine. If you don't use your dog for it's original purpose, find a substitute. Teach your Coonhound you don't hunt with to track an object and find it, even bring it back to you. Teach your Newfoundland you don't use for rescue work to go fetch things from the water or tow your small boat. Teach your Dobe you don't use for guard duty to play hide and seek with you.
The old adage of a parent is true, when disciplining a kid, "this is going to hurt me worse than it hurts you'. As Barbara Woodhouse has stated, "harden your heart and pay no attention to your dog's protests". Discipline your dog, and save a lot of hassle in the future. You can do it without being mean or abusive. You have to really be trying to hurt a dog in order to hurt one.
Originally posted 5/27/2013
3. CHASING CARS
There seems to be a lot of dogs that live in the country who like to chase cars, and their owners either just let 'em do so or don't know what to do to stop it. That practice needs to be stopped, obviously, so the dog doesn't end up injured or dead.
Firstly, people need to quit coddling their dogs during training sessions and when discipline is necessary. Bitches are much harder on their own pups than most humans ever are, with no ill side effects. Lack of discipline has many ill side effects. Dog training in America has gone the way of child rearing in America, that is, all positive reinforcement. There are two results: a dog which is spoiled and won't listen, caring only about self, and/or; a dog that is aggressive to people and dogs. Unless you are hitting/kicking your dog or otherwise purposely trying to hurt it, you likely won't.
There are several ways to curb car chasing: have somebody drive past in a truck, and when the dog goes to chase, a person in the bed throws a bucket of water on the dog. The owner should yell "FIDO, NO!", just before the dog goes to chase, while standing near the road. Keep moving farther away from the road each time, so that you can yell from the house and the dog obey you.
Another way is to have the person in the bed jump out with a tire, and while hollering at the dog, hit the dog up side of his head or body a few times, if possible. An inner tube should work as well, and is easier to swing than a tire. You won't be able to swing the tire hard enough to injure the dog, and an inner tube won't hurt him. The main idea is to startle the dog and show him that he can't win against an auto.
Another way is to tie a long rope to the dog's collar. As soon as the dog goes to chase, state the dog's name and give the refrain command (NO), and then brace yourself. Let the dog hit the end of the rope, and yank it at the same time he reaches it's end. Do that a few times if need be. if done right, after 2 or 3 times the dog should respond by refraining when you tell him to. If he even acts like he's going to chase it, yank him again. Shouldn't take long. Better you have a dog with a sore neck for a day or two than having a dead or injured dog.
My most preferred way is to train the dog the STOP command. He stops dead in his tracks when you command it. I train that in advanced training classes.
Originally posted 5/18/2013
Todd A. Slee
POB 462 / 210 N. Church Dr.
Roann, IN 46974
SLEE DOG TRAINING
1. SPOILED DOGS
2. DESTRUCTIVE DOGS
3. CHASING CARS
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