What to do when your dog misbehaves

When your dog or puppy misbehaves, it can be frustrating. There are many nuances to changing behaviors, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

If your dog is chewing the wrong things, jumping on guests, climbing on furniture, or engaging in other behaviors you’d prefer he not, here are a few changes you can make today to improve your communication with your dog when you notice behaviors you don’t like.  [Read more…]

8 Ways to reset when you get frustrated with your dog

Sometimes, training your dog isn’t really about training your dog. Sometimes, it’s about compassion, patience, and forgiving yourself and your dog for the times either of you fall short.

Whether you lost your cool and yelled at your pup, set him up for failure instead of success, or just ran low on the patience to give him the support he needs, here are a few ways to reset when things aren’t going well.

1. Play with your dog. Many dogs love a good game of tug of war, and it can help you both burn off bad vibes and bond again. If tug’s not your dog’s speed, try a quick round of fetch. Or, try a search-based game, and watch your dog enjoy doing something he naturally loves.

2. Breathe in; breathe out. When your dog does something frustrating, let it be a cue for your behavior. Breathe in slowly to a count of 5, and blow it back out just as slowly. Smile at your dog at the end of the breaths, and try to move on or redirect him in a more helpful way.

3. Change your tone. If you’ve started yelling, or if you notice yourself getting unnecessarily stern, try changing your [Read more…]

Commands vs. Cues: What are they, and why does it matter?

When you talk about training a dog, the conversation usually leads people to talking about various commands their dog knows. But, in class, I’m careful to always use the word “cue” instead of the word “command”. I’m not sure if my students notice my intentional phrasing, but there’s a critical difference between these two words when teaching our dogs.

To give a dog a command suggests you are authority and the dog has no choice in the matter. At best, this is misleading to people working with dogs, [Read more…]