How To Properly Introduce Two Excited Dogs
In this video, Kaelin demonstrates how to properly introduce two excited dogs with the help of Instagram friends Rusty and Kona!
In this video, Kaelin demonstrates how to properly introduce two excited dogs with the help of Instagram friends Rusty and Kona!
*Fluffy looks at you but decides that running off in the opposite direction sounds like more fun*
Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
Then you are in the same boat as many, many other dog owners.
One of the hardest aspects of training for owners seems to be teaching their dog recall.
From their home, to the dog park and everywhere in between—owners have a difficult time getting their dog to consistently come to them!
In a perfect scenario, the owner commands the dog: “come!”, and the dog drops whatever he is doing at any given moment to come to his owner.
What if I told you that you can have this perfect scenario ALL the time?
Yes, your dog does have the ability to come to you when called, I promise you! It just takes a few simple steps.
First off, what does your dog associate the word “come” with?
Does “come” mean that it is time to leave the dog park?
Or does it mean that it is bath time?
Or does it mean that it is time to go in his crate for the night?
If your dog associates “come” with these types of actions, why would he want to come to you?
This is the key to successful recall training: Making your dog want and choose to come to you!
Making Your Dog WANT To Come To You
The first step of recall training and the ultimate key is to make the command "come" mean nothing but positivity and rewards.
The second your dog comes to you after you call him, you need to REWARD him.
Remember that rewards can be attention, affection, toys, treats, etc...
but for this command, specifically, you want to use a highly motivating reward—sometimes I even recommend using “special” treats that you only use during recall training.
The reason that you have to use highly motivating treats at first is because to get your dog to want to do something, you need to motivate him.
When your dog is off leash exploring outside, his freedom and free roam is very motivating in itself.
Therefore, to be able to get your dog’s attention and to make him want to come to you, you may need to motivate him using an object of his desire when first beginning recall training.
However, if the only time you ever tell your dog to “come” is when you are going to end the play time by putting on his leash and restricting his freedom, the word “come” is going to be the opposite of motivating for your dog!
With that being said, telling your dog to “come” throughout your stay at the dog park and rewarding him for coming will teach your dog to associate coming to you when called with a reward; as opposed to the negative consequence of leaving such a fun place!
Another common objection I get is “Well, if I only motivate my dog with treats, then they’re not going to listen to me, they only want the treats, and won’t listen to me when I don’t have food to give them”.
This is why transitioning out of treats becomes key, and showing your dog that listening to you and pleasing YOU as their pack leader is the biggest reward there is.
After gaining your dog’s motivation and attention with praise and treats, slowly begin to wean off the treats in your training until you get to the point where your fur friend will come when called on a whim—not because you’re holding a treat in your hand… but because they respect you!
Another very important part of recall training that is often overlooked is starting small and working your way up.
When a client tells me that their dog will not come when at the dog park, I ask how is their recall at home?
Some respond that the dog always comes, and some say that he comes when he wants.
This is a crucial situation to analyze in your own experience.
If your dog does not come every single time you command him to “come” at home, how can you expect your dog to come to you while at the dog park?! You can’t!
Home is where the dog is most familiar with his surroundings, and there are the fewest distractions.
The dog park is on the other end of the spectrum, where there are a million and one distractions, and your dog probably has a harder time keeping self control.
If your dog does not have a good basis of recall at home, he will not consistently respond to your recall anywhere else.
You have to start by practicing recall where there are the fewest distractions and slowly increase the distractions to make it more challenging.
For more tips on recall, and an explanation of why it’s so important, check out “The Golden Rule Of Recall Training”.
If after reading both of these blogs, you’re still having trouble with improving your dog’s recall, feel free to sign up for a free phone consultation with me!
When you’re in the early stages of training your dog, there may be times when the thought of a well-behaved dog can seem like an unachievable goal…
Whether it’s your chewed up shoes, your stained carpets, or your scratched arms and legs, the growing pains that can come along with training your furry best friend can be mentally draining and emotionally taxing.
Are you at this point of mental defeat with your dog?
Then it’s time to draw a line in the sand.
There is likely a VERY important reason why you haven’t yet reached your training goals...
Something that you’ve been afraid to do up until this point.
What is it?
While I don’t know the specifics of your particular situation, my best prediction is that you’re afraid.
“Afraid? I’m not afraid of anything”, you might think. Maybe not in the typical context of fear, BUT I do know something about you.
I know that you’re a HARDCORE dog lover.
How do I know that? Well, since you’ve read this far, you’re obviously the kind of owner that would do anything to give their dog the best life possible.
And that is awesome! Props to you for putting in 100% to give your dog the best life possible. I wish there were more dog owners out there that cared as much as you do.
However, you must wield that compassion wisely.
With that much emotion, it is extremely likely that in the back of your mind, there is the fear that if you’re “too hard” on your dog, or “too strict”, then they won’t like you.
And this where I tell you in the nicest way possible to get over yourself! Seriously!
The truth is that your dog will NEVER become well-behaved and well-trained if you don’t set boundaries and limitations for what is and isn’t appropriate; and consistently enforce those boundaries when they are crossed!
Let me restate that again… this is crucial!
The key to correcting any unwanted behavior is to give the dog you are training limitations, which will help to prevent the behavior from occurring in the first place.
It is actually very easy to restrict a dog and give him limitations, but the problem is typically when owners “feel bad” for restricting their dog.
However, if owners utilized restrictions and limitations, their lives would be much easier and the dog would actually be happier than if they gave them everything they wanted!
For instance, I have many people ask me this question:
“How can I stop my dog from destroying my belongings while I am at work?”
I then ask where the dog is kept when the owner is at work. Chances are pretty high that if the dog is destroying items, he is not being restricted by being confined to a small area such as a crate.
The owner typically responds to me with something along the lines of:
“Well he has a crate, but while I am at work, I just keep him out in my bedroom because I feel bad crating him all day.”
While you may feel for putting your dog in the crate while you’re at work, or not letting him have his way, like we discussed earlier there needs to be a point when you decide that enough is enough!
A dog, much like a child, will not learn to restrict himself on his own. A dog needs to be given limits and restrictions in order to learn boundaries.
Knowing this truth, my answer to people is simple…
If your dog is still getting into things when being left out, he has not learned his boundaries yet and needs to be restricted on his space when you are not there to monitor him and are unable to correct his unwanted behaviors.
Once a dog learns his boundaries and limits, he will learn what is right and wrong.
Once he learns these things, he can slowly be given more and more freedom. However, if he takes advantage of freedom at any given time, you must take it a step backwards and reduce the freedom by reinforcing the limitations.
Many dog owners actually undergo this process the opposite way (and have the opposite result of a well-behaved dog I might add).
They “feel bad” for limiting space and enforcing restrictions on their dog. So, they decide to start out by giving their dog ultimate freedom with no boundaries.
Soon they realize that it is really taking their dog a long time to get over certain unwanted behaviors and that no matter how many times they tell their dog, “NO,” he continues to perform these unwanted behaviors.
This is because although the owner is telling the dog what is wrong, the owner really isn’t enforcing anything when the dog is still being given freedom.
It would be like a telling a dog who is chewing on a slipper “NO” and then leaving the slipper there.
Do you think the dog will really stop chewing on the slipper?
Maybe he will stop while you are there watching if he really understands that he is not supposed to chew on it, but once you leave, of course he will start chewing on it again.
It's the same idea behind continuing to give a dog freedom when he is taking advantage of it. When your puppy is having accidents because he has free roam of the house, you can tell him “NO” and redirect him to where he is supposed to go potty.
But then, you must limit his free roam and set limitations to prevent the accidents from happening.
If you continue to give him free roam, of course he will take advantage of it and go potty whenever he wants and wherever he pleases.
Setting limitations, restrictions, and boundaries for your pup will only make both of your lives easier and happier! Both of you will understand what is expected.
The more you set these limits on your dog, the faster he will be able to gain more freedom WITHOUT misbehaving.
If you would like some advice on setting boundaries on your pup for a specific behavior that he has been performing in your home, sign up for a free phone consultation!
Whenever I am out with my dogs, there is always at least one person who comments “Wow your dogs listen to you so well,” or “How do you get your dogs to be so focused on you?”
Obviously, a compliment about my dogs is always nice.
However, what actually goes through my mind every time someone asks me a question like this is it shouldn’t be out of the ordinary for dogs to be attentive and obedient to their owner!
So many people say: “My dog is just way too hyper and distracted to listen to me like that.” Statements like this are SO incredibly false and simply an excuse for an owner who’s given up working with their dog.
Every single dog has the potential to be attentive and obedient to his or her owner—no matter the dog’s breed, age, OR background.
So the question remains, why are there so many dogs that are NOT attentive and obedient to their owners?
The answer is simple: most dog owners have not spent enough time working with their dogs on training them to be attentive and obedient.
It’s sad that this is the case, but this is one of the main reasons that I became a dog trainer!
One of my main goals as a dog trainer and behaviorist has been to educate owners across the world about how SIMPLE training a dog really is. Dog owners tend to overestimate the difficulty of training a dog; when in reality, training a dog is actually quite simple.
There is no magic trick to turning your dog into an attentive and obedient one.
In fact, getting your dog’s attention on you is one of the simplest steps to raising a well-behaved dog.
Every single time I train a dog, no matter if I am training a puppy on basic obedience, or working through aggression with a 5 year old dog, teaching the dog to be attentive and obedient to me is the very first thing I start with.
How can you expect a dog to be well-behaved and well-trained if he or she has no desire to be attentive and obedient to you? You can’t!
So how do I get a dog's attention in 5 minutes or less?
The unbelievably simple key to gaining your dog’s attention is to REWARD your dog for focusing on or being attentive to you.
This makes your dog want to be attentive to you, not forced! Positive reinforcement is all about rewarding your dog for exhibiting behaviors you want him or her to repeat.
When your dog is focusing on you, give him or her a reward. Treats are typically the best reward for dogs.
Don’t be afraid to use treats, treats, and more treats when working on positive reinforcement training with your pup! When your dog is looking at you and focusing on you, he gets a reward.
This is how I gain the attention and focus of any dog within 5 minutes of meeting them.
I start by saying the dog’s name, and when he looks at me, I give him a treat. ANY time the dog is focused on me, I give him a treat.
Whenever I say the dog’s name and he looks at me, I give him a treat. Within 5 minutes (usually it only takes about 2) the dog is typically sitting in front of me, eyes locked on me.
A few days ago, I had my first training session with two 7-month-old Husky puppies.
Prior to meeting these dogs, I gathered a lot of information about them from their owner. Their owner told me he was on the verge of giving these puppies away because they don’t listen, get into everything, and are the most difficult dogs he has ever met.
I went into this training session knowing that I would be able to help this owner, but thought that I would probably be getting two very naughty little trouble-makers that would even give me a challenge.
When I arrived, the pups were jumping up on me right away.
However, it only took about ONE MINUTE for one of the pups to begin sitting in front me with his full attention on me; and about 2 minutes for the other one to do the same.
I had the complete focus of both of these “difficult dogs who don’t listen” for the rest of the training session.
The owner was astounded and kept saying, “I have never seen them act so well-behaved. You must really have a way with getting dogs to listen to you.”
I told him that it is not magic, and I am giving him the tools to have this “way” with dogs TOO!
He asked me, “So what exactly are the tools you use to get a dog to listen to you?”
What did I tell him?
The same exact thing I’m telling you right now!
First of all, find a reward that your dog LOVES. If your dog doesn’t seem thrilled about the treats you are using, find different treats or a different reward that he GOES CRAZY FOR.
I usually bring about six different kinds of treats to every training session I go to, just in case the dog is picky. If your dog is obsessed with his ball, then use the ball as a reward. If it a certain toy, then use that.
Whatever the object of your dog’s desire may be, it is very important to find a reward that your dog loves loves loves, especially if your dog is easily distracted.
What should you do when trying to get the attention of a distracted dog?
The key to getting your dog’s focus when he is distracted is having a reward that is BETTER than the object of his distraction.
Although your dog is distracted by that other dog across the street, you need to teach him that what you have is better than that dog, and anything for that matter!
Since you have that reward he loves, your dog will associate focusing on you with that reward, and thus, will want to always focus on you when you say your dog’s name.
Once your dog is very attentive and obedient to you with that reward, you can gradually wean off the treats.
And then, you’ll have a dog that not only is attentive to your commands, but also want to come to you for your love and affection.
And that, my friend, is what dog ownership is all about.
There is one HUGE mistake that most dog owners make when training their dog… are you at fault of this?
As a dog trainer, I see this one particular mistake made on a daily basis! If you are a dog owner, I guarantee you have done this many times while commanding your pup to do something without even realizing it.
What is this mistake?
⇨Repeating a command more than ONCE
So, let’s say you want your puppy to come to you. What do you do? You command your pup to come to you by saying “Come.”
Your dog definitely hears you, but decides he would rather not come to you.
So, you command him “Come here!”, out of frustration. You probably don't even notice, but you end up telling him “come” 5 times before he eventually comes to you.
If you're like most dog owners, you probably aren't even aware of the number of times you tell your dog a command because it is only natural to keep telling your dog (or anyone, for that matter) what to do until they do it.
Whether you command your dog 10 times, or just 2 times, this is still a mistake. You should only EVER tell your pup a command ONE TIME (this is one of my golden rules of dog training!)
Why does it matter how many times I tell my puppy a command, as long as he does it?
One of the largest hurdles you must overcome in training your puppy is making him understand that YOU are the pack leader, NOT him, and he NEEDS to listen to you!
Therefore, you want your puppy to learn to listen to you after you say something only once. If you say “come” three times before your puppy finally comes, he will think that he doesn’t have to do what you ask until you tell him three times.
You are probably asking yourself: “Well, what am I supposed to do if my dog doesn’t come after the first time?”
Here Are 7 Straightforward Steps To Train Your Dog To Come When Called EVERY Time:
1️. Find a treat that your dog absolutely LOVES.
This is extremely important. When first beginning to get your dog to learn to 'come' to you, this technique works wonders.
While you're obviously not always going to have treats on you (nor do you want your dog to be dependent on food motivation when following your commands), it's nonetheless a dependable tool to use to get your dog to come to you in any situation.
Whether you're training your new puppy or your stubborn, seasoned dog, this is a proven tool that can help get your dog to CHOOSE to listen to you.
2. Keep it simple.
Begin working with your dog in a place with little to no distractions (at home is a great place to start).
When he starts to wander off, say your dog's name followed by the command "COME".
3. Follow my Golden Rule of command training.
One of my foundational Golden Rules of dog training is to NEVER repeat a command. You want your dog to learn to come after commanding him only once.
Therefore, only say the command, "COME" once. You can repeat your dog's name, make a 'kissy noise', whistle, and/or show your pup the treats that you have, but never say the command more than once.
4. Be patient.
This step piggybacks directly off the last point in reiterating that you must be willing to step outside your comfort zone and be patient with your dog's learning process.
Never use physical force to place your dog in a certain position to satisfy a command, or use negative reinforcement when they don't respond as quickly as you'd hoped.
You want your dog to want to listen to you, not to be heavily persuaded or forced into doing so. Patience is one of the first lessons in learning this art.
Your dog WILL eventually come to you. Even if he doesn't come at first, trust this process, and don't give in!
5. Show positive praise!
When your dog does come to you, throw a huge party with treats and/or praise!
Even if he doesn't come right away, it is extremely important to always reward your dog when he does come.
This is a huge step in getting your dog to learn that when he comes he will be rewarded with good things.
This is crucial because your pup will learn to associate the act of coming to you with treats, praise, and positivity. What more could a dog want than that?! Your dog will CHOOSE to go to you every time!
6. Increase the difficulty of the training.
Once your dog has mastered his recall at home, slowly introduce distractions and/or new environments.
This could mean teaching your dog to come in crowded places such as a rowdy dog park or a crowded dog beach.
These environments will help you develop a stronger training bond with your dog as you work through challenges such as recall around other dogs.
7. Consistently Practice!
As with every training command, consistency is key! The more consistent you are with working on your pup's recall, the faster he will master it! And not just any practice, deliberate focused, practice.
For a complete training guide that outlines everything you need to know about command training through step-by-step training videos and tutorials, check out step three in "The Puppy Training Handbook" Program.
For more information on what to avoid when training your new puppy, check out our blog post, "3 Things You Should NEVER Do When Training Your New Puppy", here.
One of the biggest mistakes that new dog owners make during training is to overlook their dog's body language and emotional signals.
It is so important for you to be able to understand your dog's body language, ESPECIALLY in stressful situations.
When your dog is under stress, it is imperative that you remove him from the situation before it turns into a negative experience that could create poor habits.
Recognizing Stress Signals
How do I know if my dog is stressed out? And how can I tell if my dog needs to be removed from a situation?
The answer to both of these questions is: YOUR DOG WILL TELL YOU!
In fact, he has probably told you that he's been stressed in situations before, but you had NO IDEA because you didn't know what to look for to determine if your dog is stressed or not.
Your dog will display one or more stress signals when he is stressed. Stress signals vary between each dog and some are more apparent than others.
Stress signals may include:
Having this knowledge on stress signals will benefit you by giving you a better understanding of when your dog is not comfortable so you can remove him from situations accordingly.
Removing Your Dog From Stressful Situations
Why do I need to remove my dog from the situation? Shouldn’t I just help him work through it?
Great question! It's important to remove your dog from the environment while under stress because dogs may lash out or exhibit unwanted behaviors such as aggression out of fear, so you want to prevent these situations from escalating before they get to the point of no return.
What Should I Do When My Dog Is Stressed Out?
Stress signals are your dog's way of warning you and whatever is stressing him out that he is not comfortable in the situation, which is why it’s so important to NEVER scold your dog for exhibiting any type of stress signal, even growling.
If you punish your dog for growling, next time he’s stressed out he may skip the warning signal that he is stressed and go straight to exhibiting a behavior out of fear, such as attacking the object—which you most certainly do not want!
Being able to distinguish your dog’s own stress signals will help you to better understand your dog and make both of your lives less stressful.
If you notice your dog displaying one of the stress signals listed above, be sure to remove him from the situation until you are able to work through the stimuli with an experienced trainer/behaviorist!
What kind of stress signals does your dog display when he is stressed?