- Behavior Problems
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July 30th, 2014
By Eric Letendre
Been meeting with a lot of new clients lately
And after the past week, I noticed a common thread.
Many of these dog owners have some experience with training and have spent time and effort learning how to train their dogs.
What I noticed was that they had some serious self confidence issues. Many of them felt they have messed up their dogs and done a bad job.
One client broke down and told me that she allows her dog to sleep on the bed. That she loves to play tug games and gives her dog “people food.”
She was almost in tears telling me this. She said her last trainer ripped her apart for being such a bad mother.
I was speechless. I was without speech.
She looked at my face and braced herself thinking I was about to shred her again.
I felt so bad for this kind, compassionate lady and really wanted to put my arm around her.
She was the one who became speechless when I told her there is NOTHING wrong with a dog sleeping on the bed, playing tug or feeding (GASP) people food.
I asked her some questions.
“Your dog has to sleep right?” “Yes,” she said.
“Your dog likes to play games right?” “Yes,” she said.
“Your dog has to eat correct?” “Yes,” she said.
So what is the problem I asked?
“But I was told that a dog should never sleep on the bed, to never play tug and to never eat people food,” she answered..
And that is the problem. People believe that some dog training Moses once came down from Mount Sinai with two tablets filled with commandments for dog owners.
Thou shalt not allow dogs to sleep on beds.
Thou shalt not play tug games.
Thou shalt not feed people food – ever!
It’s your dog and dammit, if you want your dog to sleep on the bed with you, go ahead.
If you like playing tug games, go for it.
If you want to share your prime rib with your best friend, everyone else can get stuffed.
NOW – let me add….
…..your dog should understand that the bed is a privilege and that you allow your dog on the bed. You giveth and taketh away if necessary.
Tug games are always controlled by you and you win at the end of the game every time to teach your dog that you are stronger – don’t want to give your dog any wrong signals.
And dog food is really a fairly new invention. Dogs used to eat leftovers and believe it or not, much of the dog food we feed is garbage anyway and your dog would be much better off eating some of your chicken and veggies.
Anyway, the purpose of this email is simple. Question everything. Question what every expert states as fact and then come back and check with me. I’ll always give you the truth – hehe!
Seriously, the last thing you want to do is beat yourself up. The next thing is to cut through the confusion and develop a good relationship with your dog.
Having a dog should be fun and not all hard work and guilt.
So go out and have some fun with your dog.
July 18th, 2014
By Eric Letendre
Read an interesting story the other day about human behavior.
The article stated that when it comes to stealing, 10% of the population would die before they stole a loaf of bread to feed their family. They are just hard wired that way.
On the other hand, there is 10% of the population that will steal no matter what. They steal everything they can.
The rest fall into a category that is situational. If the circumstances are right they will steal.
This was interesting to me because of course I immediately think of dogs. Dogs love to steal. They steal food off the counter, socks from the laundry basket and toys from the kids.
But here’s the rub.
Dogs do NOT understand right from wrong.
What they do understand is safe and dangerous. I would even go further and say they understand FUN.
Dogs love to steal socks and have the entire family jump up and chase after them. The dog has successfully learned how to train the family.
So when it comes to training your dog to STOP stealing, you have to set up the situation so your dog quickly learns that it is NOT fun.
One of the easiest ways to stop your dog from stealing the socks is to keep a short leash on him in the house. Once he grabs the socks you can step on the leash and end the game.
Once your dog understands that you are in control, the sock stealing quickly ends.
That is why in my Good K9 Manners Course I share so much information on how to STOP common behavior problems like stealing, begging, barking, chewing and more.
July 7th, 2014
By Eric Letendre
I guess I’m just quite observant and I pay attention to a lot of things. Human behavior really fascinates me. – Ellie Goulding
I like that quote because I could have written it.
People ask me all the time: “Where do you come up with ideas to write this email everyday.”
All I really do is keep my head on a swivel and look for ideas. I then make sure I take some quick notes so I can deliver this educational, informative, highly entertaining daily email.
This past weekend was July 4th, one of my favorite holidays here in the States.
I could give you a long list of reasons why but I know you’re busy this morning and have come here for hard hitting, practical dog training advice so I’ll keep this moving along by talking about….
…..my 17 month old daughter Scarlett.
You see, every Independance Day my parents put on a big family clam boil. They live right on the water so it is a great place to spend the day and bring the kids.
My daughter was playing with her cousin by the water and I was watching them.
Here is what interested me:
While they were playing, my wife Rachael brought a bucket over for them to play with.
Through my expert eyes I knew trouble was brewing. One bucket was not going to cut it with two kids.
I was correct. They both wanted the bucket.
This is where my dog training skillz kicked in and helped me being a parent. Other parents would say place nice, tell them to share, maybe scold them, separate them or even (gasp) punish them.
Not me because I understand resources.
Increase resources, decrease conflict.
So in this situation a few more toys added to the mix would resolve the problem, which is exactly what I did.
My wife was amazed, my relatives cheered, the clouds parted, the sun became brighter and all was right with the world.
Not really. Rach just smiled and asked me to go get a towel. So much for my brilliance.
Anyway, here’s my point.
Dogs will become aggressive around toys, food, people, etc because that is how they resolve conflict.
Punishment will only increase the aggression. Instead of using punishment, see if you can increase the resources.
A dog will guard one bone or one food dish but will have a difficult time when there are ten bones or four food dishes.
Before leaving let me add this:
Aggression is tricky to deal with. One place that a dog will become aggressive is on leash. This is easy to understand. Every creature has fight or flight installed into their behavior for survival reasons.
When you put a dog on leash the option to flee is null and void which means the dog will default to fight.
On the brand new Leash Walking Secrets course, I show what to if your dog has this problem.
It’s really easy and very effective.
Check it out by going here NEXT:
May 27th, 2014
By Eric Letendre
On Sunday I attended a pet festival in New Bedford, MA.
Had a great time and just before leaving this dude approached me with his Rottweiler.
He found out I was a trainer and wanted to debate training styles. I don’t think he understood that he was talking to The Amazing Dog Training Man. That I am a highly trained, highly skilled dog training specialist.
All kidding aside, he wanted to tell me how wrong it is to use treats to train. That the dog should not have to be “bribed” to do a command.
I pointed to his dog’s prong collar and asked him why he had it on his dog. Before he could answer I explained that dog training is all about consequences. That you either apply a positive or negative consequence.
I explained that he had a prong collar on his dog so that he could apply a negative consequence when his dog did not comply. I added that training using negative or positive consequences are two sides of the same coin.
You see, you can use a treat and reward your dog for performing a command or you can use a prong collar and apply a “correction” to get your dog to do the command.
I pointed out that if his dog was so well trained, he would not have to use the prong collar. He was not happy with my expert explanation of dog training.
I really don’t like getting into these discussions because it rarely changes anyone’s mind. We all tend to develop ideas about how something should be done and have a difficult time changing our beliefs.
Paradigm shifts rarely occur.
Anyway, I shook the guy’s hand and wished him all the best with his dog and training.
That’s how I roll nowadays.
Speaking of how I roll…
…the Dog Training Inner Circle is the website I developed to show dog owners how to train using the most up to date, positive training methods that get the best results.
You can join the fun by going here NEXT:
May 8th, 2014
By Eric Letendre
Little Scarlett has been a little cranky lately.
And I think I know why.
Within the last few days her little teeth have been coming in and I think that is the reason.
We went to my sister’s house last night for dinner and all she was interested in eating were frozen grapes.
Thankfully she hasn’t chewed up my shoes or TV remote which is what happens when puppies start teething.
Speaking of teething, let me share some tips with you because there is a lot of misinformation out there, especially when it comes to taste deterrents.
Taste deterrents are the products you see in pet stores and online, products like bitter apple and sour grapes. The ads tell you to spray this magic potion on any of your belongings and your dog will stop chewing your stuff.
Unfortunately this rarely happens. In fact, most dog owners tell me that their dogs start to chew more when they use the spray.
So let me share a little test you can perform to make sure your taste deterrents work. You have to find out if your dog hates the taste and smell BEFORE you use it.
If you are going to use bitter apple, you need to spray some on a slice of cheese first. If you spray the bitter apple on the cheese, offer it to your dog and your dog gobbles it down, guess what?
It is NOT going to stop your dog from chewing your shoes.
On the other hand, if you spray the cheese and your dog turns his head and refuses to eat it, then you know that it will probably work to deter your dog from chewing.
Of course it does. That’s why you tune in here everyday to get help training your dog.
BTW – there is more that goes into chewing and other behavior problems. You have to find out the root cause for the behavior, you have to manage the behavior, teach new behaviors and so on.
I cover it all in my Good K9 Manners course which is included with your membership to The Dog Training Inner Circle.
Get all the details by going here NEXT: