Menoka's Dog Manners Training

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Teenage Wasteland

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 1:23 PM Comments comments (103)

Awe the adolescent phase. Every dog goes through it. It can vary in severity from barely noticeable to feeling like the dog from Marley AND Me just possessed your dog. Adolescence usually starts between 6 months and 1 year and lasts for a few months. Luckily it comes and goes. Your dog may be ornery for a week then return to your loving companion for a week then the orneriness returns and then disappears again. In the interest of full disclosure, ornery may be sugar coating it a bit. What you’re likely to experience is major attitude no different than a rebellious teenager. For example, you have trained your dog to know how to sit. You ask your dog to sit before getting a treat. Instead of sitting your dog looks at you with a defiant look that says “no, I don’t think I feel like listening to you right now”. He completely ignores you and walks away. You stand there dumbfounded and think “oh no he didn’t”. Well I’m sorry to tell you but oh yes he did! And this is only the beginning. No doubt about it, it takes patience on your part and continually reminding yourself that there is light at the end of the tunnel. And yes, there is without a doubt light at the end of the adolescent stage. Your dog will return to your sweet obedient love nugget and it will be practically overnight. Yeah! But here’s how you can help your dog get through this stage: 1) Get your dog into a “positive reinforcement” training program. 2) Be consistent with your dog. 3) Stay calm and don’t show your frustration. Being overly emotional is a sign of weakness to your dog. Overly emotional responses include angry responses such as yelling or screaming, throwing items, and slamming doors. 4)  DON”T HIT YOUR DOG! Being physical with your dog can cause irreparable damage to your relationship with your dog. 5)  Do not free feed your dog. Feed your dog 1-3 times a day and pick the food up after 15 minutes no matter if there is still food in it or not. 6)  Ask your dog to sit for anything he wants whether it’s treats, toys, a walk, a car ride, or his meal. 7)  Reward the good your dog does at every opportunity to help reinforce the behavior you want your dog to repeat. *But most importantly just know this is a phase. Your dog hasn’t changed permanently. He will return to the wonderful dog you first fell in love with so be patient and kind. You will both get through it.

Congrats on your new dog! But there's something you should know....

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 3:07 PM Comments comments (123)

The Honeymoon Period: the honeymoon period is the timeframe from when you brought your dog home until he has adjusted to his new surroundings. It usually last from 2 weeks to 3 months. During this time your dog is basically being a wallflower. He is standing back and sizing up the joint. Adjusting to a new home can be a happy but often stressful time for a dog. It’s a lot to take in, new people, new home, and new rules. The dog isn’t quite sure what is expected from him so he stays on his best behavior. Once the dog has acclimated, the confidence to be himself emerges. He may even start pushing the boundaries to see what he can get away with. This is when people get worried because they think the dog has suddenly changed from calm and submissive to an unruly dog they don’t know how to manage. So what can you do to minimize the aftermath of the honeymoon period and make the transition easier for your new dog? 1) Set up a routine. A routine will give the dog a sense of security. He needs to know what and when to expect things like his mealtimes, potty breaks, play sessions, and bedtime. His body will adjust to the schedule and his mind will follow. Consistency equals a feeling of safety for a dog. 2) Start training your dog. Get your dog into an obedience class, hire a personal trainer, or train him yourself. Just make sure you train through positive reinforcement. This means focusing on what he does right rather than scolding him for what he does wrong. Praising him for the behaviors you do want will make those behaviors more prominent resulting in the unwanted behaviors to fade. This doesn’t mean you can’t give a verbal interruption when you “catch” him doing something wrong. It is appropriate to let your dog know a behavior is incorrect but yelling, hitting, etc. are unacceptable especially with a new dog or a shelter dog whose past you don’t fully know. Training also puts you in the leadership role with your new dog. It is important for your dog to understand who the top dog in the house is….you! Your dog should learn to offer a behavior such as “sit” or “high five” to get the things in life he wants such as a toy or a treat. This will establish a good relationship with your dog and a pattern of clear communication. 3) Exercise your dog. Remember a tired dog is a good dog! Understanding the honeymoon period will help you expect a change in your new dog and not be taken off guard. Follow these simple suggestions and the transition from the honeymoon period should be  seamless for both you and your dog.