If you are looking for the greatest gold-mine of easy to use "change your dog's behavior" advice ever crammed into a newsletter series then read on!
Also, make sure that you check out our 100% authentic testimonials from people who have bought Secrets to Dog Training and find out the massive difference it has made to their owner-dog relationship!
"My name is Sabine Saunders and this is my 2 year old, female, German shepherd, Quincy. She was the only female in a litter of six pups and proved to be a domineering girl early on. I knew I had to do some quality training with her in order to keep my leader position in her eyes, or she would try to become the alpha in our family. By the time she was 8 months old, she had the strength of an adult German shepherd. Heeling had to be practiced every day in all kinds of different environments and among people and other animals - especially cats and squirrels.
Through continous practice Quincy now heels wherever I go, keeping a constant eye on me. Teaching her the sit and especially the down was very important to keep her with a submissive attitude. She fought it for a while but I consistantly showed her that there are no options when I give her a command. After completing her basic obedience classes (heel, sit, stay, down, come) she also certified in tracking in 2005. Quincy and I enjoy visiting schools in our area and we show the kids and teachers how much Quincy has learned with English and German commands, and obeying handsignals. We teach the kids safety around dogs and what makes a good dog owner. Having an obedient dog is a joy to have around because the dog has learned how to behave in every day situations. Consistant obedience training is hard work, but if you endure with patience, love and an understanding of how dogs learn, you end up with the dog you deserve." -- Sabine Saunders and Quincy (USA)
Hi Daniel, etc.!
I just purchased and downloaded your book and can't wait to get into it!
I do have a problem with one of our dogs that I feel is urgent so rather than waiting on the book I would like to describe it to you now and look forward to receiving your input and ideas in a few days.
I volunteer at our local animal shelter for our Humane Society every Saturday and whenever else I can. Well, I had a Golden for 11 years, she had to be put down June of 2004....VERY sad day for our family. :( I started volunteering in August that year and in October found this poor, scared, but beautiful flat-coat retriever at the shelter. It was very obvious she had been mistreated, was pregnant when she was turned in and the shelter decided to spay her so she never had the litter (She was 1 1/2 years old at the time).
I brought her home on a Saturday, knowing that I was going to crate train her as she had been mostly an outside dog. I got a nice extra large plastic kennel for her. Everything went well over the weekend then there was Monday... (both of us work full-time).
She went in the kennel without much hesitation, I put the pillow she had been sleeping with and a couple of her toys in it with her. Got home from work to find that she had to have been completely frantic, there was hair, slobber and urine all over inside, she kicked at it and beat at it so hard that she was able to vibrate the screws holding the top and bottom together loose, bend the steel door and get out under the door!!
So the next day I moved the kennel out to a more open spot in the house, got out our old kennel for our little Jack Russel (who hadn't been crated for months) thinking maybe that would help calm her if she was crated too. I put the kennel back together tightly, turned on a radio (because it is often on when we are home). Got home from work to find the same thing again!
I took the kennel back out to the shelter and asked if they could loan me a sturdier steel one. Of course this is larger yet, and open. Got it all set up and fixed how I thought she would be happy. Got home from work to find the exact same situation!!!! Except there were no screws to loosen, she simply BENT the steel!!! All of the people from the H.S. and shelter were amazed! I was just relieved she didn't hurt herself.
I decided this poor dog was obviously claustrophobic or something so the only thing to do was give good old fashioned training a try. I did, at one time bring home some HUGE contraption that was considered "heavy duty" but my husband and I couldn't even figure out how to get it together right. That was fun. :)
She can go for maybe 6-8 days at a time without doing anything bad then all of a sudden I'll come home from work or somewhere else in the evening (we rarely leave anymore for fear of what we'll come home to) to a God-awful mess. Every day on my way home from work I'm tense just worrying what I'll open the door and find.
It used to be small things, the catfood container in the basement opened and the cup chewed up (they are outside cats only.... they all get along great), a reachable drawer opened and something from inside it chewed up, a plastic orange juice jug up from the basement chewed up. Getting into the laundry room and tearing up full trashbags. Chewing up remote controls, a telephone (small items but expensive).
We have corrected lots of things by making them "unavailable" to her.
1. A baby gate on the basement steps.
2. All doors to bedrooms and bathroom closed tightly.
3. Putting the remotes out of her reach.
So now that she can't find much to be mischievous with, (although she still manages to find SOMETHING every now and then) she is defecating and urinating.
She has been on 50mg of Clomipramine per day since maybe January. (this is being paid for by our H.S. since the adoption hasn't been made legal yet, I am kinda-sorta fostering her until I make the final decision, which I will not do until I see that she can be cured of this separation anxiety, trained and learn proper house manners.)
I am now going to find some herbal /natural sleep agent......it's either seratonin or melatonin or something like that??....to add to the Clomipramine. I will ask the pharmacist. I have also found out that our local Pet Smart is offering 6 week training courses (where you AND the dog learn) for free to foster parents. It will be hard to fit in but I'm sure you can see that I'm willing to do and put up with a LOT in order to keep this wonderful loving dog.
The biggest questions I have are:
Is separation anxiety something they are born with or did she acquire it by being mistreated in her first home?
Can it be cured or will I always have to give her medication every day? I do NOT like doing that!!
Is she trainable or am I wasting my time, energy, money and nice new clean carpet?
Thank you very much for listening and for being there to finally ask some of these questions to someone who may give me some good solid answers!!!
Looking very forward to your reply.
Lets deal with these issues one at a time! SEPARATION ANXIETY.
You seem to be fairly certain that the cause of the poor behavior is separation anxiety. Are you sure about this? If the destructive behavior is happening only every once in a while then it may be boredom related. You don't mention how long your dog is left by itself (with the JR?), however if you have left her all day by herself then being a very active breed it is quite likely that she isn't get the physical and mental stimulation that she needs so she takes it out on your possessions! If this is a possibility then getting someone to take her for a walk during the day is a good option.
Separation anxiety is not something that she would have been born with although some dogs are more susceptible to it than others. It is possible to cure separation anxiety, here are some recommendations for dealing with it. The goal that we are aiming for is to reduce your dog's anxiety through conditioning it to associate being left alone and outdoors as a good thing. Here are a few tips and techniques that you may find useful.
No.1 Arrivals and departures
Keep your arrivals and departures very low key. Try leaving your dog alone for at least 15 minutes when you come home. Just ignore it. If your dog calms down then show it some attention.
No.2 Do not respond
It is important that you do not respond to your dog when it starts acting up. This is inadvertently rewarding your dog for poor behavior and will not help. If your dog starts barking or whining then ignore it, no matter how difficult that may be. Do not even make eye contact.
Only give your dog attention when it is lying down or relaxed and not actively seeking attention (by barking for example). Do this by calling your dog over and making it sit before petting, etc.
Your dog is probably having difficulty accepting that sometimes it is going to get all the attention and other times none (like when you are at work). You can help this problem by ignoring your dog for 6 hours a day on the weekends. You can feed your dog but that's it. The idea is that your dog will think "What's the big deal when my owners are gone, even when they are home, they still ignore me".
30 minutes before you leave home walk your dog for 15 minutes at a fast pace. If your dog is tired then it will have less energy to be a nuisance with.
You could get a dog door put on your door to the backyard. Place a crate inside the house so that when your dog goes through the dog door it can only get into the crate. This has worked effectively for some people.
Try giving your dog something of yours with your scent on it. This may allay its fears when you are not with it.
No.8 Sit-stay and down-stay
Practice these exercises in particular as outlined in the Secrets to Dog Training book. These exercises require your dog to respond to you for longer and longer periods of time, so should be good for its discipline. Once you have your dog staying for 10 minutes or so, then try moving out of its sight for a brief period of time.
No.9 The vet
You may want to consult your vet about drug therapy. I would recommend that you ask about Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) treatment. I have heard that this is extremely effective. This pheromone calms dogs nerves. DAP comes as a vaporizer that you plug into a wall socket, the vaporizer then releases small amounts of DAP into the room. You can buy DAP from a well-stocked pet store or several on-line pet stores.
No.10 Alpha dog
Review the "Secrets to becoming the alpha dog" bonus book, this is vital for you. It will help immensely with getting your dog to respond to you in a variety of situations, such as when you are walking it.
The hard part is at the beginning, but the job gets easier as you go along. Nevertheless, you must go slowly at first. How long it takes to condition your dog to being outside and alone depends on the severity of the problem.
Chewing is something that your dog has to learn is totally unacceptable.
Some important points in curbing chewing!
1. You will have to spend quite a lot of time doing corrective training with your dog.
2. You will need to reprimand your dog effectively when you can catch it chewing (or performing any other destructive behavior)
3. You will also have to restrict your dogs access to chewable things when you are not around to control it.
The reason for this is because chewing (and being destructive) is an entertaining pastime, and if your dog has been 'let loose' around the house to be allowed to chew on things, then inadvertently, it is being rewarded for the poor behavior.
A lot of people say to me, "I want my dog to stop chewing my furniture, however, I am not always around to watch my dog so how can I train the dog to not chew things?"
When you actually take a good look at this question, you will see the root of many dog owners problems... that they assume that their dog thinks the same as a naughty child! If a dog is given the chance to do something it enjoys, it will do it.
You can train your dog to recognize that chewing anything but its toys is unacceptable, however the minute you are not around, the dog is instantly the alpha dog and can do whatever it wants!
Spend some time every day, quietly following your dog, so that your dog believes it is alone and free to do as it pleases. The aim being that you want to catch it in the act!
Startle and reprimand your dog as soon as it starts to chew on something. The best way to do this is by shaking a can (like a soda can) of pebbles, and barge in growling menacingly. The dog will (if the startle has been performed correctly) slink away, tail between its legs, or roll onto its back submissively. Make sure the growl is a harsh guttural growl like "AAHH!" rather then "NO!" as this makes a sharper noise.
Give your dog time out in another room or an area where there is nothing for it to chew.
Aversive Substance Technique
Use an aversive substance to make the taste of the object unpleasant for your dog. The best way is to restrict your dogs access to the object (if that is possible) and only let it have access after you have used one of the following substances sprayed or applied to the object to deter your dog from playing with it.
-Bitter Apple or a similar spray available from your vet or pet store,
-Aloe vera gel,
-A hot Tabasco sauce or similar.
Other Points to Consider
When there are times in the day that your dog must entertain itself, tie your dog up outside or have it somewhere where it can not reach anything but its toys to chew on. Maybe give your dog a little chew treat.
Practice obedience training your dog everyday. This will help stimulate your dog mentally and physically, and thereby reduce its boredom.
I hope the suggestions for the separation anxiety and chewing are useful to you. Please let me know how you get on.
Daniel Stevens and the Secrets to Dog Training Team
I've been a professional dog trainer for well over 20 years, and in that time I've helped thousands of dog owners just like you to get the friendly, well behaved, slipper fetching, best pal they always wanted.
But it didn't start out that way. I've always loved dogs, some things never change. But when I first started my professional dog training career I relied on the so-called 'best practices' when it came to dog behavior training. It was only when I heard people tell me over and over again that they just weren't seeing results that I started to question the old accepted wisdom. So I started a journey, a quest to search out the best, most effective, techniques, tips, and tricks that really work.
And that's how I came up with Secrets to Dog Training. Year after year I found new techniques that achieved the results I wanted. Eventually I had a whole book worth of great resources: Secrets to Dog training...
So, if you want to:
Then Secrets to Dog Training is just what you've been looking for!