How your fears stop you and you’re dog…

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Fear. It can either help you or consume you when it comes to your dogs reactivity issues and whether they grow or not.

I have personal experience with how hard it is to face your own dogs issues, and take responsibility for them. So I’m not preaching from a place that isn’t full of heart and emotion.

I used to think with one of my pack mates “Well I didn’t make him reactive, he came to me this way.” Just to help what I thought would release the burden for me…That was the easy way out folks. (It’s so much harder when it’s your own dog, I know) Just like it’s the easy way out to feel bad for correcting them, giving them structure and rules more than affection.IMG_3052

Structure, rules, appropriate corrections and boundaries can be what makes or breaks your life with your dog. Shower them in affection and you get a dependent, and very lost and insecure dog. Shower them with the correct tools and boundaries and you get a confident dog that looks to you for more than just food and shelter.

I will be the first to tell you this is a lot easier said than done! It takes an immense amount of looking in the mirror to realize you are truly doing your dog a disservice by letting them co exist in an unhealthy way for any amount of time.

I’m not saying you don’t love you’re dog, of course you do! You can love them even more by trying to give them and yourself a better life. It takes a whole lot of courage and strength to work through your fears when you have a reactive dog. But life can be so much more beautiful for you both if you do! Of course there will be trial and error, and lots of it. This is not forever though. It’s forever if you let it be that way for too long.

We see so many dogs daily and weekly, yearly even and we meet owners that thrive and owners that just can’t do the mental work it takes, so they just live.

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We want you and you’re dog to succeed, in every aspect of life. So lets strive to be the best owners that we can be! So our dogs can be the best dogs they can be!

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Raise your expectations & Watch your dog soar up to them!

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If you want more from your dog, expect more from your dog! It really is just that simple.

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A lot of folks ask why they can’t rely on their pup for certain behaviors or in and around certain situations. It is all about standards.

That’s why repetition is just as important as consistency in our program here. The more you practice something the more it becomes routine, and in routine comes comfort and safety for the dogs. That’s why we are able to manage such a large pack at such a high level with just a few tools in our “tool box.”

The dogs know exactly whats expected of them day in and day out, so we barely have to ask for anything from them after a while. It’s hard work in the beginning, and it may seem like a lot for some folks, but the hard work does pay off in the end. So just keep holding your dog to that higher standard every day! Watch your dog soar in as little as even two weeks!

Be careful what you expose them too…monitor how much freedom and adrenaline levels you are letting them experience for free, and match that with how much structure you are or are not giving them as well.

It’s all about a happy balance, so if you ask a lot from your dog then give a lot. If you ask less from your dog, give less.

Happy Training!

Imagine if…you couldn’t walk your dog out in Public?! And if you’re one that can’t, keep reading…

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I think many of us can sympathize to the fact that walking your dog down the street in a calm fashion may not be a reality for some folks.

It’s not an easy task for so many…Not only does their dog maybe pull them on the leash, sniff everything, stop to mark everything, but even barking, growling, lunging at the end of the leash, and sometimes even dogs that don’t want to walk at all!

Imagine living like that…day in and day out. Dreading taking your dog for a walk. Your dog that you enjoy a nice calm walk with everyday…may feel like a real life nightmare for some. My message to all of you that can walk your dog normally on a leash is not to judge or be afraid of the dogs and owners that struggle, understand that they are going through something that is not easy, and not by choice (a known choice, rather). Believe me I’m sure they want to change it and may not know of the tools to do so…

And of course some of you are probably saying, that’s me! That’s me! Now how do I fix it?! It’s not just an easy fix, it’s not one, two, three, abra cadabra. But IT IS a bunch of small steps, consistency, clear communication, and appropriate consequences with our program that get’s you the amazing walk that you want with your dog…and the good news is, it doesn’t take long at all!

If you really want to change your dogs behavior (and I’m talking even beyond the walk here guys) Then commit to the tools and the needs that actually help your dog be a better dog! If you’re “saving your dog” from tools that you may not agree with or you just “can’t commit” Then your not doing your dog any favors, you’re doing more harm to you’re dog because your dog is always living in an uncomfortable space. So take a step back folks, and look at the bigger picture. Take advantage of the tools and the systems that are out there that can do that! The only thing stopping your dog from getting better may just be you!

  

The “My dog has his own agenda” myth…

Dog Training

I have lost count as to how many times I hear “My dog has a mind of her own.” or “He does what he wants to do, he’s an independent breed.” as a dog trainer.

All of our dogs, like it or not, are conditioned to what you teach them or lack there of following through with what you teach them. If we went around saying that about our kids if they are bullying someone at school or on a playground, we would get looked at like we are nuts right? “Oh he just has a mind of his own, I can’t even get him to look at me when he’s on the playground.”

Most of the stuff in the dog world, is about expectancy, follow through, and exposure.

If you teach your dog a new trick or command, make sure they know exactly what your asking of them before you fall back on it.

Think about where you teach your dog, is it always in your living room? If so, they are probably only going to listen to you in the living room.

Think about your body language and your words, are you communicating effectively? Or are you all over the place and said the command 15 times already before they got it?

Is there a reward for your dog when they do it right? If praise isn’t enough to your dog, you want to reward your dog with something meaningful to them, treats, a toy etc. Would you always work for free? No. You can’t expect your dog to want to work for free all of the time either. Especially when they are learning something new.

If you want your dog to do something every time, it has to be expected every time. Sometimes gives you unreliability, and that is a promise.

So get out there and communicate with your dog in an effective manner! I assure you he wont “have his own agenda” anymore. 😉

Happy Training!!!!

Why Rhianna (My Australian Kelpie) and I, do dog park “SCANS”…

dog parks, Dog Training

It all started when Rhianna was the first dog in my present pack. I wanted her social, I wanted her to be able to educate other dogs with my word, and I wanted her to be the example for every dog that followed in my pack. So how did I do that in an appropriate manner you ask? Keep reading…

I found as a dog trainer, the majority of dog parks had pretty unbalanced dogs in them a good portion of the time. (OR the owners weren’t stepping in when necessary) So how would I keep Rhianna safe, and educate the owners that needed it on how to properly monitor there dogs while at the park? Yes I know, most people would say its a useless battle, but If I can help a few local and not so local parks learn to have a better system — I’m all for it.

Rhianna and I would head out a few times a week for a car ride and go to a local park, sit and watch for a bit. If the park wasn’t so close, we would park the car and walk over, then sit and watch from a distance. (While Rhianna was in a Down Command) If anyone with their dog came by us, Rhianna would stay, and I would only release her if the dog had good body language. (If the dog did not I would tell the owners to please pass us.) This had two benefits. 1.) Rhianna learned she was always safe in command with me. 2.) She could watch me gauge the dogs, and this is how I think she started to gauge them herself.

Eventually, after learning what dogs went to these parks, I would give Rhianna her “Free” Command when we went to them. This means she can do what she pleases, until I say otherwise. (within reason of course) I would let her play and be a dog, teach her what dogs she can and can’t rough house with, and when to step away and come to me. Any dog that needed to calm down, or for the owner to step in I would gently approach the owner and let them know what was going on with their dog. (Yea it wasn’t always pleasant when some owners are in denial, but hey par for the course.)

Rhianna absolutely blossomed from here. We still to this day do this. “SCAN” parks we haven’t been too. She always checks in with me when a dog wants to rough house, she always comes and tells me if a dog is getting to be too much of a bratty pup, and she’s even taught a few unsure puppies how to swim a few times! Rhianna is my absolute rock star, she is the one dog I’m sure many of you have met if your dog was “not so friendly” and I’ve worked with you on it.

So yes, dog parks I do NOT advocate the average dog owner to go into willy nilly. They are a big deal, and yes sometimes you get lucky but other times…not so much. I DO though however, advocate responsible dog owners that are educated in canine body language and have a dog that’s really in tune with them, to try them out the way I did. It works.

Use your voice…Educate!

Awareness, Dog Training, German Shepherd, Pit Bulls

American Pit Bull Terriers & The German Shepherd Dog. Did you know every single day, they are questioned by society… “oooh that’s a big dog…is that a german shepherd?” “Wow, what a well behaved Pit bull.” “Don’t get in the German shepherds face, Spot.” “Maybe we should go…” Yes, they are big dogs. Yes it’s a Pit Bull. Yes DOGS should never greet each other face to face. Yes they just walked into the park. What does their breed really have to do with it? Believe me I see uneducated dogs with lack of structure, lack of exercise with behavior concerns all the time. But they aren’t JUST the breeds listed above. It’s every dog from the Yorkshire Terrier, to the Irish Setter. Most likely that German Shepherd or Pit Bull wouldn’t be at the park or off leash if it was not friendly. (Not saying it doesn’t happen, it sure does) But  while your focused on the German Shepherd playing with the other dog or fetch with its owner and worrying about that scenario…The Springer Spaniel behind you just attacked your dog for going near it because it was being territorial over a stick. When your out with your dog you should be watching EVERY dog, and ALWAYS watch your own dog. Not just the Pit bull and the German shepherd. When you see someone go to put their dog on the leash because the pit bull walked into the park, ask them why? These dogs have just as much of a right to walk down the street or be at the park as any dog. One day my hope is that they can walk into a park and not be judged and questioned. And the more people we can raise awareness too the better. EDUCATE!!!! Read up on dog behavior, canine body language, training tools. Spread the word — These dogs are perfectly capable of being good dogs, just like any other breed. There should be no stereotype. No stigma. That is all 🙂 FullSizeRender(1)IMG_7220

Hello world! So Who are you to your dog anyway?

Dog Training, Pack leader

I’ve finally gotten around to getting a blog up for all of you. Sorry for the delay! 🙂

One of the things I get asked quite often is “How do you get that many dogs to behave like that, I can’t even get my dog to sit for a picture?!” It seems like it would be a great deal of hard work doesn’t it? I’m here to tell you it’s not…

It really is all about who you are to your dog. It’s all about the little things you do daily, the routine you set, and the expectations you hold your dog too. Think of it like this…Your boss gave you a project to get done and you weren’t really a fan of it, so you slacked off a bit and didn’t give it your best. You presented the finished project, and your boss gave you a raving review. Maybe even bought you lunch that day. You may be a little perplexed because you know it wasn’t your best work, but your like hey, if he accepts that then I’m just going to keep putting in only that much effort for every project.

The same thing goes for our dogs. You tell them to sit, with no motivator, no tool to back you up, you try saying it a few times and yell a bit even. The dog finally sits…for three or four seconds, and once he gets his treat or praise from you, hes off and running!!!! That is the standard you have held him too, so that’s exactly what you’re going to get. Every single time.

So the response I have to that question is this. It’s all about standards. Every dog that comes through K9 Kompanion, learns the same routine, and no one gets a break. No one gets to go ‘off and running’ that easy! They are all happy too, not miserable, anxious, and unhappy dogs. They are happy ones, confident in my abilities to keep them safe, and has a clear understanding of whats expected of them every day! No nonsense 🙂

Hope that helps you all out a bit! Happy Training!