Posted by: callingalldogsutah | September 22, 2010

Woof! Grr! Arf!

Barking. Most of us seem to be annoyed by this simple gesture of communication from our canine friends.

I was recently confronted by someone who was defending his use of confrontation, pain and fear in dealing with his dog’s barking..

“Well, how would YOU stop the barking?!” He gruffed.

Why is your dog barking?” I said. He hadn’t actually thought about why his dog is barking, just that it annoys him to no end!

Although we usually find this behavior obnoxious, annoying or even embarrassing. There isn’t just one reason dogs bark (see more about this here).

In order to modify this behavior, we have to first identify the underlying reason for the barking response & work to modify the feeling/reason the dog barks. Or in more simple cases, teach them that not barking is more rewarding than barking.

If your dog lunges or barks ferociously on walks, at the door, in the yard or car – I highly recommend you seek the help of a local professional.

Quiet Please!

If you usually yell or become otherwise animated when Fluffy starts barking, you might actually be engaging her & reinforcing the fact that if she barks, she’ll have your full attention. Try this next time Fluffy starts barking instead:

– Ignore her while she’s barking (utilize the help of earplugs if needed + a good dose of patience)!

– As soon as she stops (even for a split second) say ‘Quiet’ and pop a treat in her mouth.

– Practice this several more times; ignore while barking, ‘quiet’ & treat while she’s silent.

– Pretty soon she’ll be paying close attention you and staying more & more quiet. Good Girl!

– Practice randomly rewarding her when she is being quiet.

Our goal? To teach her that being quiet is more reinforcing than barking.

Good Luck & Happy Training!

Posted by: callingalldogsutah | September 9, 2010

But… he loved kids!

Recently, a rather distraught couple came to see me. They had asked around for a trainer who would work with a dog that had some serious aggression towards people, kids especially, and ended up in my store.

The bite was to a neighbor child. The dog is a Rhodesian Ridgeback. He had known the children since he was a puppy, and used to love to play with them. But, recently he had cleared the 6ft fence and gone after the children while they played in their pool. Chasing down & biting one of them.

Wow. What could make a dog act such a way? Especially a dog that knew the children and used to play with them?

After a short chat with the owners.. my heart sank…

“He just gets so excited! He’s constantly barking at the children when they play outside & jumping up so he can see them over the top of the fence!”

“We wanted the barking to stop, so we called a professional. He came out & fitted the dog for an ecollar and made sure to only shock him when he was barking at the children!”

How sad.

There’s a wonderful author by the name of Temple Grandin. She’s an animal scientist that has done pioneering research in this field and written many wonderful books. But one thing that I love to share with people is the simple way that Temple explains the thoughts of animals. Animals think in pictures. That simply means that if an animal is scared, excited, happy or otherwise, they often associate whatever they are seeing at that moment with the feeling. So, back to our RR. He’s excited, he jumps & barks trying to get to the kids & shock! What do you think he was looking at every time he received a shock? Those kids are the focus of his attention, everytime he’s shocked, over and over.

It seems like such an easy fix sometimes..

“Shock him for barking/growling/lunging/or insert any other undesirable behavior here, and after a couple shocks, he’ll stop”.

But, the chance for fallout is so significant and the poor neighbor children found out the hard way.

Posted by: callingalldogsutah | September 1, 2010

It’s here!

The Never Shock a Puppy campaign is Here!

What is Never Shock a Puppy? We are a coalition of bloggers who are dedicated to using positive-reinforcement methods. We’re here to spread the message about positive reinforcement and why training with science based methods is better.

The Manifesto

So, what does that mean exactly? This is what we believe:

We believe dog training should be fun for both dogs and people, not a power struggle.

We believe dog training is far more about building relationships and trust than it is about instituting “control.”

We believe dogs learn our rules through efforts to bridges the communication gap between species.

We believe that we cannot (and should not) punish our dogs into behaving better — no matter their size, age, breed, or sex.

We believe in positive reinforcement dog training, where dogs primarily get rewarded for the behaviors we seek, not punished for the ones we don’t.

And, finally, we believe that any time someone hurts a dog, scares a dog, or intimidates a dog in the name of dog training, it damages the relationship and makes the dog afraid to do something “wrong,” rather than excited to do something “right.” Dogs who learn to love learning are far more likely to do as we ask.

The bigger picture

We are working together with the Humane Society of Boulder Valley to raise money for their No Choke Challenge. We are working on raising at least $2500 fr this event, where people can trade in their prong, choke & shock collars for a more human alternative!

Visit our fundraising page!

Learn more about the Never Shock a Puppy Campaign & how to get involved HERE

Posted by: callingalldogsutah | August 27, 2010

Never Shock a Puppy Campaign is almost here!

We are SO excited to be part of the ‘Never Shock a Puppy’ Campaign! Visit: www.NeverShockaPuppy.com for more information!

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