Posts filed under ‘Dog Training’

Biting and Growling Jack Russell Terrier

Mayo is an English Jack Russell. He is 6 months old and has already snapped at 2 people. He often growls when someone goes to pick him up and he might growl if you try to take something away from him. The scary part is that he growls at the 2 little girls that he shares his life with. On the other hand he is adorable.

Mayo showing off the Fall Colors

Mayo showing off the Fall Colors

Loves to play games with the family and is very happy. The good part is that Mayo’s family is awesome. In fact I would hate to see if anyone else had him as I am sure he could be a big problem.

When he was very young around 10 weeks old, they hired me to do a puppy consultation. Mayo or should I say the family were shown how to teach him to walk on a loose leash, sit, sit-stay, down and come. The family really got on board and practiced all exercises. They were also very good at putting in place the suggested structures. Unfortunately, four weeks later I received a call that Mayo was starting to growl, so I went back. Upon arriving I was quite impressed that the family were practicing all the obedience exercises. In that regards he was doing great. The problem arose when one of the little girls went to pick him up. He would growl. So I told them about time out and discussed several other options. I also went over the calming or settle command.

The puppy is now 6 months old and is a little better, but will still occasionally growl. On top of it he tried to bite 2 people and is still struggling with housebreaking. So he went off to Bonny’s bootcamp.

When I went to pick him up, I could see he was very nervous about me being in his house. He would run around playing with his toys, but would always keep one eye on me. To be honest allot of his aggressive behavior is based on fear. Once again when a dog is afraid they will either flee or fight. Jack Russells for the most part don’t flee.

Once I got him home he wanted to attack and bite my dogs. Even my 15 year old Labrador Retriever (Eclipse). So I spent a good half hour acclimating him to my 3 dogs. He finally was okay with them, but still cautious. The funny part is that despite the fact that after several meetings and accepting them. When I let him outside at night in the dark. He once again tried to bite my dogs. Don’t think little kids are the only ones who think that there are boogie men in the closet.

I spent the first 2 days improving his obedience skills. I also worked on teaching him to ring the bell to go outside. The next step was socializing him by taking him places. Our first field trip was to Pet Supplies plus in Royal Oak.

Who is faster a Turtle or a Jack Russell?

Who is faster a Turtle or a Jack Russell?

He did great with the obedience exercises in this distractive environment, but we were also there to socialize him. So I started having everyone give him cookies. The good part is that he would run up to people to take the cookies, but as even one of the staff noted. “That he seemed very nervous.” I kept the visit very short as I didn’t want to stress him out. The next day I took him again to the store and now he felt very comfortable and greeted many people. The next trip was downtown Rochester and once again he was nervous. It wasn’t hard to have people give him cookies as he is so cute. After a while he relaxed and stopped trying to bark at everything that he perceived as fearful. The more I take him around people the more relaxed he gets.

Upon one of the visits to the pet stores we were faced with his aggressive reactions to other dogs. A dog came over to say hello and he tried to attack the dog. So off we went to get him socialized around other dogs. He seems very comfortable being around little dogs his own size as he can try to dominate them. Bigger dogs make him nervous. He is making progress. To be honest in the beginning he wouldn’t even play with my dogs.

Mayo with Coco and Bella a foster dog

Mayo with Coco and Bella a foster dog

His first friend was a more submissive Golden Retriever named Coco. He did try to snap at her first and after corrected quickly warmed up to her. Mayo and Coco now play very nicely together.

I have 2 more days with her. I plan to continue to socialize her and to work on some of her other issues. Such as when she has something in her mouth and you go to take it away from her. She will growl. Housebreaking is another. Yesterday she actually ran to the bell. Rang it and as soon as I took her outside she peed for quite some time. Of course the hardest part is when she goes home, but I have full confidence that his family will follow through

October 2, 2011 at 11:07 am 1 comment

Training a Goldendoodle to stop stealing food

Cody has such a sweet expression when you look at him. Well that is if you can get him to stop jumping on you long enough to look. I showed up at Cody’s home on a nice Sunday morning. I was met by a blur of beautiful white fur that kept leaping at me. Than when he finally stopped jumping and I went to pet him, he submissive urinated on the floor. We than sat down and I got to hear Cody’s story. On a walk he either pulls the owner down the street or would lay down and refuses to move.

Someone say, "Lunch!"

Someone say, "LUNCH"

He had stolen the breakfast bagels off the counter that morning and they showed me a picture of him actually lying on the kitchen counter. When we went to put him in the crate it was like trying to catch a slippery fish. He wouldn’t come and when we finally caught him and tried to place him in the crate. Well, no sooner did we put him in the crate and before you could close the door. He twisted himself around and plowed out the door. Man was he quick. So it was decided to send him to bootcamp.

Cody has a wonderful family and deep down he is an absolutely sweet and very sensitive dog.  The problem is he knows he is stronger and bigger than most of his owners and uses this to get his way.  He knows he can’t mess with Dad, because Dad is strong enough to make Cody mind. Dad also knows that he is not going to hurt Cody’s feelings by making him listen.  This is not the case with the rest of the family. Even though Cody is still a puppy and is only grown to half of the size he will be. He is big and strong enough to throw his weight around. There is no way that Mom or the kids can physically make him do anything. My goal is to teach Cody that throwing his weight around is useless whether it is choosing not to follow on a leash, pulling on the leash or refusing to go into the crate. This needs to be so ingrained, so that he will listen to even the smallest member of the family. Of course addressing the stealing or counter surfing is a must.

As always the very first day of bootcamp is letting him get to know his surroundings followed by a couple of sessions working on getting him to walk on a loose leash.

Let's Play!

Let's Play!

He did great. As stated earlier, Cody is very smart and soon figured out he had no choice but to walk on a loose leash. He enjoyed getting to meet my dogs and thought Fireball was kinda cute.

On Day two and three we worked on more loose leash walking. Not just working outside, but also up and down stairs. He occasionally forgets himself and needs to be corrected.

Cody & Fire in School

Cody & Fire in School

The biggest thing that he does is just refuse to move. As stated in other blogs that this is just a passive aggressive way of not wanting to listen to us. We also addressed his charging out of the crate and worked all day long on making him stay in the crate with the door open or when he was told “IN”. He would go in the crate. He is now doing this.

Tomorrow I will address the counter surfing or stealing. I’ll keep you posted and let you know the progress.

November 17, 2010 at 9:40 pm 2 comments

Casey Is On Her Way To Become A Seizure Response Dog


Casey is destined to serve a special duty to her owner and that is to inform him of an impeding seizure.  In reality Service dogs are born with a certain temperament and personality. But her owners love her and are willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. Casey is 10 months old and is all puppy.

Can we Play?

Can we Play?

She is quite active, but has more of a nervous hyper temperament and gets startled easily. She is very manipulative and knows how to get what she wants. One of the games that Casey likes to play is to race around the yard and do a full nelson on the owner’s poor Mom. She jumps on guests and sometimes when you try to make her do something she will roll on her belly as she kicks out her feet in all different directions. Oh and I almost forgot about getting car sick. Which can be a problem if she is supposed to travel with her owner all the time.

 

The actual training to be a seizure response dog will be done by a certified Service Dog Trainer provided she passes the initial evaluation. A seizure response dog requires special training and has to have the right personality. There have been many cases where a dog has actually bitten the person having a seizure.

 

The major reasons that Casey went to bootcamp is to address the jumping, nervous hyper behavior and to socialize her so that she isn’t so fearful about her surroundings.  Even when she sits still it seems like her head and eyes are swinging back and forth and her eyes show how nervous she is.

 

The first few training sessions were just for brushing up on her obedience. I worked on walking on a loose leash, sit, sit-stay, down & come. By the afternoon of the second day she was working at a level that would allow me to start taking her places.

See How Good I Can Be.

See How Good I Can Be.

Now working on the jumping is 24/7. Every time she got out of the crate, running around outside and even a little in the house, she was ready to jump and I was ready to correct. The good news is that her jumping is getting less and less frequent. Once again her jumping is a way to control the situation. If she doesn’t like what you are doing she jumps, if she doesn’t want to do an exercise she jumps and if she is overly excited she jumps.

 

After the first two days it was time to start socializing her. Shyness can be expressed several different ways. The most common is that a dog will tuck their tail under their legs with ears down and not make any eye contact. They may try to move away when someone approaches. Another way is a dog that really wants to say HI, but is afraid or not sure of how to act. Their tail may wag, but as soon as someone goes to pet them. The dog will turn into a mop. They will suddenly flop down, wiggle all over the place and perhaps submissive urinate. The head will toss back and forth and try to avoid eye contact. This was Casey’s style. So it was essential that she be socialized in a controlled setting.

 

Our first trips were to different pet stores. The environment at a pet store will have lots of distractions, but will also be quieter and not as many people. The good news is that by the end of the visit to the second store, she was calming down and not so nervous. The next phase was to take her to the city. I took her to  Royal Oak and Birmingham.

Casey in Royal Oak

Casey in Royal Oak

These would be short jaunts in the car which will let her get used to driving in a car. There was only one time that she got sick and that was actually the second time I took her anywhere. I am glad to say that I am seeing an improvement each time we go.  Today my plan is to take her to Rochester. The drive will be the longest she went on and it is my hope that she doesn’t get sick. She is improving each day and I have high hopes that she will be fine.

 

 

 

November 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment

Jade makes a homerun in downtown Royal Oak

Jade is a beautiful 5 month old yellow Labrador Retriever who is owned by Carlos Guillen of the Detroit Tigers. Jade is your typical Labrador puppy full of energy, gets distracted easily and just wants to play. She is very mouthy, will jump and counter surf, but on the good side she is very sensitive. Another problem is that she is a little cautious of new things. Jade is a prime example of why it is so important to socialize your young puppies.

Just Hanging Out

Just Hanging Out

She has been in boot camp for four days now and besides training. I am working on socializing and desensitizing her to people, places, things and noises. She is also very cautious of new dogs and it will be very important to expose her to many nice dogs.

The training has been going well. She does an excellent sit-stay,

Jade in Royal Oak

Jade in Royal Oak

walks well on a leash with mild distractions, and does down, but struggles with down-stay. Don’t worry, by the time she goes home she will have a much better handle on the down-stay. Today was her first big trip to the city. We went to downtown Royal Oak to work around the people. She did great.  I thought she might be nervous, because the first time I took her to the pet store “Pet Food & More.” She was a little nervous, but after about 10 minutes she acted like she owned the store. This is normal for cautious dogs, so I figured that she would do the same thing in Royal Oak. Not at all, as soon as she jumped out of the vehicle her tail was wagging and she showed no signs of apprehension. In fact initially she was very distracted and wanted to investigate everything and say hello to everybody she saw. Within a few minutes I was able to get her focusing and start working on her obedience. She walked perfectly past people.

Can We Walk to Tiger Stadium

Can We Walk to Tiger Stadium

Okay her tail was wagging so hard that her body was twisting back and forth, but she stayed by my side. If I placed her in a sit-stay she would hold that position even if people walked past. I am also glad to say that she had the opportunity to be a therapy dog. There was a lady in a wheelchair and she greeted the lady making her smile. Tomorrow we will go to downtown Birmingham and work her amongst these busy city streets. I’ll keep you posted.

September 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

Training a Havanese, named Mojo

Mojo is a very exuberant little black and white Havanese, but also very sweet. Her owner lives half the year in Florida and the other half in Michigan. In Florida Mojo is the highlight of everyone’s day.

Spunky Mojo playing with Aggie

Anyone for a game of chase!

She is such a happy little dog, always wagging her tail and wants to say hello to everyone. Mojo only has a few flaws like: jumping on everyone she meets, pulling her owner around, running in front and tripping the owner, barks at everything she sees, hides under the bed and won’t come out. She also has a bad habit of chewing things. I had worked with the Daughter’s Wheaton Terrier several years ago and so they hired me to work with Mojo.

I showed up at the house and was soon greeted by a high pitched bark that I was told would continue for 15 minutes. I simply pressed the button on an Ultra Sonic devise and Mojo was instantly quite. Mojo was than lavishly praised for being quite. Because of the situation and circumstance (The owners 94 Mother was in the Hospital.) It was decided the best thing to do is send Mojo off to Bonny’s Boot Camp. The funny part is while I was explaining to them how boot camp worked. Mojo snuck in the bedroom grabbed a box of Kleenex, ran underneath the bed and chewed it up. It was almost like she signed her own enrollment forms. The sad part is that she was previously trained by one of the franchised training companies

Boot Camp was probably the best bet for Mojo. Havanese are very sensitive dogs and need a very positive approach to training. They need to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. They need to be shown what you want, and feel comfortable doing it. The trickiest part is that they also like to act as if they are clueless of what you want.

DAY ONE: To be honest when I got her home I wondered if she even knew her name. I would say Mojo and there wasn’t even a glimmer of recognition. So we started with the name game and getting her to watch me. We had several sessions of this before I attempted to teach her anything else. Once I had her focusing on me it was time to teach her to walk on a loose leash. This was accomplished very quickly in the comfort of my back yard and with no distraction.

DAY TWO & THREE: It was very important to teach Mojo to walk perfectly on leash and so I spent a lot of time working on this. By the end of 2 days she was doing very well. She even accompanied me to one of my group classes and was worked around all the other dogs. I had worked a little bit on the control exercises like sit and stay, but my main goal was walking.

DAY FOUR & FIVE:  It was time to teach her down, work at her mastering the sit-stay

I can Stay!

I can Stay!

, work on come and of course all through out this we would do chew discrimination test. (You can see how to set one of these test up on my DVD, “Instant Solutions”)

DAY SIX THRU EIGHT: Continued working on all previous exercises except my main emphasis was on getting her to come. By day eight she would now come when called in the backyard or house with minor distractions, so it was time to start teaching her to walk off leash. Mojo is one dog that under the circumstances as stated earlier really needs to have good leash manners.

DAY NINE THRU TWELVE: Was all about working off leash taking her with me to client’s homes and proofing her on all her newly learned skills.

THE REMAINING DAYS:  had one new exercise to teach her and that was the place command. “Place” is where they learn to go to their dog bed lay down and stay. By the time we were done Mojo would stay in place for an hour and even held that position when someone came to the front door.

The real trick is working with Mojo’s owner to teach her what to do. What I really liked is how enthusiastic the owner was to learn. She keeps practicing the techniques and keeps bragging how she has a new dog. Originally the owner was worried that I would take the spark and spunk out of Mojo. The best part is that Mojo is listening to her and is still her spunky self.

September 3, 2010 at 8:50 pm Leave a comment

Calming a Hyper Very Active Dog.

I.W. Look Alike

Meet Lola she is the cutest little Terrier mix. I know one of the reasons I think that she is so cute is that when I look at her face she looks like a miniature Irish Wolfhound. She has a wire coat, and when she is trying to be cute her ears will even go back like a Wolfie. I just think that Lola is adorable. Another asset of Lola is that she is so sweet. The bad thing about Lola is that she is wild and completely out of control. I wonder if she is part Jack Russell, because of how energetic she is.

The amazing part despite that she is hyper she is very smart and learns quickly. Within one session she learned how to walk on a loose leash, sit, down, come and would even do a sit-stay at the end of the 6 foot leash.

I Can Sit

I was originally planning to take training slow, but because she picks things up very quickly and really wants to work. I decided to work on all the basic commands during the first lesson. As with any rescue dog I work with. You never know what they have been taught and what they have forgot. So initially I used a treat to lure her into a down. This is one exercise that she did not know, because even with a cookie she didn’t go down. With some gentle persuading she now will go down. Staying was really hard for her to do as with any energetic dog. As stated before there are action exercises like walking and coming when called. There are control exercises, like sit and down stay. A dog might pickup very quickly that it has to walk on a loose leash, but won’t stay. A more lethargic dog will struggle with walking and have the bad habit of lagging or sniffing. My last Irish Wolfhound was like that.

Having Fun, Yet!

I could put him on a stay, go grocery shopping, come back and he would still be staying. On the other hand he would try to lag even on short walks. The hardest exercise for Lola to do was the down stay.  The good news is that by the time we were done. She would at least do a down stay for 5 minutes, but I had to be right next to her.

Over all I think she did fantastic for her first lesson. I have great hope for her and know that she will be a great dog. She is getting spayed next week and so I’ll continue working with her in a couple of weeks.

July 20, 2010 at 9:31 am Leave a comment

Adopting the Right Dog

Adopting the Right Dog? Copyright@2010

Remember that your decision to adopt should be based on your lifestyle and the lifestyle of your family and not based on how cute or cuddly a particular rescue dog may look.  Dog ownership is a huge commitment and a big responsibility so you should take your time and avoid a rushed decision.

Working with Nina a rescue dog

Working with Nina a rescue dog

Be aware that many rescue dogs have a somewhat turbulent past which may require extra attention to training and behavior modification.  You must be prepared to spend the necessary time that may be needed to ensure stability in your new dog. It is also very important to make an informed decision on adopting a particular dog. Ask questions about background, prior owners, etc.  It is very easy to make a decision based on emotion when the sad eyes and scared faces are tugging at your heartstrings.  However, this can be a recipe for disaster.  It is your job to make a sound decision based on breed research, stability and appropriateness of temperament for your family. If you are full of emotion, you cannot make a sound decision and your family and your new companion will suffer as a result.  So be sure to resist any decision that is based purely on emotion.

I cannot stress enough the importance of analyzing your lifestyle and choosing a dog that matches your energy level. For example, a less active family should not choose a high energy dog that requires lots of exercise. A more active family should choose a dog that is able to join your family functions and is capable of being very social. If a low energy family chooses a dog that has high energy, both family and dog will suffer greatly and behavioral issues are sure to arise. Many dogs are returned to the rescue group or humanely euthanized due to the owner’s inability to control behaviors that are a result of a bad match between the dog’s activity level and temperament and the family’s social structure and activity level.  Don’t let this happen to you!   You want to make sure your new dog would have a forever home.

I have personally adopted three dogs and they all have brought great joy into my life. In fact my first dog was a stray found on Ryan Rd. We called him “Ryan”.

Rivie

Rivie

I also adopted a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Rivie. She became a certified Therapy Dog. Currently I have Windy my big yellow Labrador. What a great dog.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO CHOOSE A RESCUE DOG OR ON HOW TO TRAIN ONE YOU ALREADY HAVE PLEASE CALL (734) 462-2810 OR VISIT US ON THE WEB AT WWW.ALTERNATIVECANINETRAINING.COM

June 24, 2010 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment

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