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Secrets to Dog Training Testimonials

"Hi There, just to let you know how grateful I am for finding your website and ordering the book. After spending hundreds of dollars, having my gut in perpetual knots for years, and feeling as if my best intentions were no good, I am so relieved to report to everyone that I have a programme that works, and know my beloved Jack Russell has a future he can safely live. I am still struggling with him, and have to take him away next month on a trip because I can't trust him with my new neighbours, but I think by Christmas time my anxiety will be in the past. And thanks to what? Your clear, down to earth, logical explanation about the Alpha Dog concepts in who is boss. Not to mention my change from being rough to gentle whispering."

-- Lori Morina, (Baker Lake, NU, USA)

Secrets to Dog Training: Consultation

Hi Daniel,

Basil is a two and a half year Golden Retriever, our first dog (my daughter's really). We are a Norwegian family living in United Kingdom, so Basil is actually bi-lingual! Basil has always been reluctant to get into the car. He also hated his crate, and after we got him we had one crate inside the house and one in the car. This might be part of his fright to get into the car (tail between his legs). We removed the crate inside, and never had any problems without it. We also removed the one from the car, and also the barrier in the car, in case he was frightened of this one too. Still no result. He would/will not move an inch if he comes outside and see the boot of the car being open (we have an estate).

Sometimes he just "plays dead", and the most delicious treat in front of his nose is not even making him open his eyes! I am told he has got a strong character, and we can not "fool" him with treats; if he doesn't want more goodies, he just can't be bothered to fetch the ball either!

We have never been angry with him for not getting in the car (normally we laugh so much because how stupid we must look!). We have played with him around the car on days that he doesn't have to get in there. When we lift him in (which we have to on days we have to go to the vet or the kennel, or want to go for a walk somewhere), we always encourage him and give him a lot of praise and "cuddle". He will not take treats then either - just ignore them or spit them out! I always have to wear my "dog clothes" if I have to take him in the car, as lifting a 35 kilo dog which is not interested in being lifted/carried, doesn't go with skirt and high heels! We have tried with a dog ramp, which I put from the terrace to/through the kitchen door (less than a step high!), put treats on there, and even then he refused to walk on it or take the treats. I have borrowed friend's dog's towels etc, to get an "exciting" smell in the car, but still no luck.

Everyone's good suggestions have not worked, and I have to pick him up from the kennel today (which he loves, by the way), and when I am by my own (kids school, husband work), I do not exactly look forward to this. We have never taken him anywhere "horrible" in the car, so he should know that when he gets in the car, something fun will happen after (I have to say that he loves going to the vet too! We have to pull him OUT from there!). Of course, not getting him into the car makes us - and him - bored with the same walking routes, and he gets very excited when we are somewhere else and meets dogs without leads.

Can you help, please?


Secrets to Dog Training Reply:

Hi there Martha,

Thank you for your email regarding your dog Basil and his current anxiety problems related to the car, the caravan and traveling. There are many reasons as to why Basil may be having problems traveling at the moment and it could well have been due to a scary first car ride or the fact that he was in a crate. The key with Basil will be to take things VERY slowly. Deep rooted anxiety problems suchas the one Basil currently has, can be very difficult to correct in dogs. They require plenty of time and patience to correct, so beware of this before you get started in a treatment regime for him.

Firstly, ONLY ever take Basil traveling if the end result is a happy and pleasant one. If possible, try and avoid taking him on the long, arduous trips for the next couple of months. You really need to be taking him for short trips (5 – 10 minutes) in the car to destinations that are 'rewards' to him. This means take him to the beach, the river, the local park. Only take him in the car when you are taking him to desirable place. This could make things difficult for you I guess if you have to take him to the Vet any time soon! Try and avoid a visit here for the next month or two if possible!!

When you do take him to the car and lead him inside, be sure NOT to pander to him if he is acting submissively. If he is acting submissively you MUST ignore this behavior rather than react to it. You need him to see that it is NOT a good thing to act submissively at all. Many owners tend to tell their dogs it is OK and try to soothe and pat them, but this only encourages a dog to act his way. Ignoring does the opposite. Once your dog is in the car and if he doesn't appear submissive or TOO concerned, give him HEAPS of praise and food treats for being a good boy. I realize that you are trying this but just keep consistently ignoring his behavior and rewarding the good behavior for the next couple of months and as OFTEN as possible.

During the trip itself, it may be the fact that Basil can see out of the car that makes him feel uncomfortable. For this reason, he may feel happier traveling with you in the car, if he is confined to a crate in the back seat or in the back of the vehicle. This will be up to you to decipher obviously, but for many dogs this is true. For other dogs, they become anxious when they CAN'T see where they're going. In these situations, you need to allow Basil to be able to see out the window. There are plenty of car accessories available for dogs to help them feel more comfortable and secure, ranging from seat belts and harnesses to crates. It may also be a good idea to spray DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone – available from most pet stores) in all of your vehicles to try and help calm Basil's nerves when traveling, or give him a few drops of Rescue Remedy before your trip.

Keep the rides short for the next couple of months and continue to make the destinations happy and rewarding. It will definitely take slow progressions to help Basil get used to traveling, Try not to put Basil into a kennel if you have already planned to go away. With time, you can extend the length of the car trips, but always try and make the journey as fun and relaxed as possible and always be sure not to reward or pander to submissive or anxious behaviors.

I also think it would be a good idea to ensure that you are the Alpha to your dog at all stages. This is really important as he needs to realize that he has to follow your commands at all times instead of just ignoring them. He will also feel more secure knowing that he has a strong and confident leader whom he can look up to.

I recommend that you and your family read the bonus book "Secrets to becoming the Alpha Dog". This book will give you a good understanding of the hierarchical nature and behavior of your dog. Follow the tips in this book as much as possible and you should get good results within a couple of weeks.

If you are consistent with this training he will realize that he is the bottom of the pack and it should make training him a lot easier. Always remember, reward the behaviors that you do want and reprimand or ignore behaviors that you don't want.

Best of luck with Basil. I am sure that if you take things slowly and if you are consistent, that you will have every success with him. Please let us know how you progress.


Daniel Stevens and the Secrets to Dog Training Team

"Secrets to Dog Training - STOP Dog Behavior Problems!"

Hi, my name’s Daniel Stevens, I’m the creator of Secrets to Dog Training.

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:

  • TRAIN your dog effectively
  • CARE for your dog the way they deserve
  • UNDERSTAND just why your dog behaves the way they do
  • NURTURE a life-long relationship with your dog that you'll cherish

Then Secrets to Dog Training is just what you've been looking for!

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