Reminder: dominance in dogs is not about “winning” or “who does what” or “who is the leader.” Dominance refers to who wants a limited, valuable resource the most. It is fluid between groups of dogs and can change with time. It also is only in a group of equals - so puppies to puppies and adults to adults.

If you’re using dominance to justify bullying behaviour, aggressive behaviour, or how humans interact with dogs, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of canine behaviour. Dominance theory is not a thing. It’s not accurate, and it’s widely misinterpreted to boot.

Just a friendly PSA from a few posts that I cringed over.

Reasons why your dog pulls on their leash:

✔ they are excited

✔ they are faster than you

✔ they have far stronger senses than you and the world is super stimulating

They are NOT being:

❌ stubborn

❌ malicious

❌ “dominating”

Things you can do to enforce leash etiquette:

✔ utilise treats and life rewards

✔ tire your dog out prior to their walk by playing tug, fetch, etc.

✔ utilise mini-commands (sit at road, “this way”, etc)

✔ freeze or U-turn when your dog pulls

Rather than:

❌ choke chains/prong collars

❌ yelling/shouting

❌ yanking the leash

❌ “dragging” the dog (collar grabs, pushing down their butt to sit, pinning them between your legs, etc.)

We all want good leash etiquette, but there is no good reason to actively punish your dog for being excited about an exciting environment. Your own impatience and frustration (with a dog who is still learning) is not an excuse.

angietumblz  asked:

Have you seen the music video OK Go by White Knuckles? I didn't pay attention to the music's lyrics at all because it's FULL OF DOGS DOING REALLY COOL TRAINING TRICKS (there's a bit of nervous nose-licking, but overall the dogs seem to be having a lot of fun!) And a dog that barks to the beat of the music. If you haven't seen it I hope you like the cute dogs doing cute things!

Yes! I’m going to embed it here because everyone needs to see it and know the story behind it. The dogs were trained by the company Talented Animals, and as per OK Go normal, the video was shot in a single take. Which Talented Animals was… really not sure could actually be pulled off. 

“[Talented Animals] explained to [Ok Go] that it was going to be the most difficult video with animals ever made, requiring 12 dogs and 12 trainers (and a goat) to be perfectly synchronized to pull through three minutes and thirty-six seconds of intense choreography between the canines and the four band members.We had 12 trainers, two furniture movers, 12 dogs, one goat, 38 buckets, and a bunch of furniture, all of which needed to move around and be in the right place at the right time without anyone stepping in front of camera.” 

But after weeks of practice and 124 takes, the 72nd one was perfect. 

Stress signals in dogs...and why they are important!!

I was watching a video the other day of a service dog in training. He was heeling beautifully beside his handler in a department store, sitting on command, performing a long distance down stay, and just being a really good dog. The handler wrote a short bit about how proud she was for how well her puppy was doing with his public access training. However, my heart truly breaks for this dog.

What the handler failed to realize is how completely uncomfortable her dog was to be there. Despite him behaving near flawlessly, his body language was screaming he’d rather be anywhere but where he was right then. Unfortunately many dog owners fail to notice subtle, yet key, signs of stress for their dog. Without knowing how to read subtle changes in body language, you can easily cause your dog to go from mildly nervous or uncomfortable, to a full on panic or rage in a matter of seconds. This is what happens when people say their dog “just had a meltdown,” or even snapped at someone, for “no reason.”  Ignoring stress signals is incredibly dangerous for everyone involved.

When out training with your service dog (or your pet dog for that matter), it is important to get into the habit of carefully watching your dog’s body language. It helps to write down in a training log exactly how your dog reacts to different stimuli. This way, you will be able to clearly see where your dog is solid, where your dog is not, where you are improving, and where you need more work.

Below are signs of minor stress signals for dogs.

When I say minor, this doesn’t mean you should continue what you are doing in hopes he will just “get over it.”  What I DO mean is that these are the signals which are almost always overlooked… when key stress signals are overlooked by the handler, it can lead to much greater problems.

  • Lip licking when no food is present
  • Yawning when he didn’t just wake up
  • Rapid sniffing of the air or ground
  • Stiff movement or tense muscles
  • Slowed movement or a laggy heel
  • Lowered tail
  • Hyper vigilance (rapidly moving eyes trying to scan the environment)
  • Hardened facial features
  • Dog stops taking treats/food
  • Dog starts taking treats in a more hard/bitey manor
  • Hard eyes (fast/sharp blinking)
  • Weight shift changes
  • Panting when it’s not hot out
  • Slightly roached (curved) back
  • Ears back
  • Not responding to handler’s commands
  • Looking away from handler
  • Whiney and uneasy
  • Nibbling on treats but not actually eating them
  • Leaning on the handler
  • Scratching themselves

Now here are some major stress signals for dogs.

If your dog is experiencing any of these, it is not only time to remove him from the situation ASAP, but to also rethink your training plan. Many of these signals will occur just shortly before a complete panic and/or bite.

  • Tightly tucked tail
  • Whale eye (dog’s eyes go wide and you can see the white rim around them)
  • Pulling towards an exit
  • Pulling away from the handler
  • Spinning on the leash
  • Not responding to the handler’s commands
  • Not responding to the handler’s voice
  • Shaking
  • Urinating
  • Low/tucked body position with a roached (curved) back
  • Sweaty paws
  • Whining
  • Heavy breathing when it’s not hot out
  • Teeth chattering
  • Tense lips and incisors (front teeth) showing while licking at the air
  • Laying down on the ground with their chin down and not wanting to move

Your service dog depends on you JUST as much as you depend on him. As your dog’s handler, you are 100% responsible for his mental and physical well-being at all times. No matter what situation you find yourself in, your dog’s needs should always come first.

Pushing a nervous dog into a situation where he is uncomfortable is one of the absolute worst things you can do for your SDiT, and creates the potential for much greater behavioral issues further down the road. Thinking your dog can “just get over it” is an extremely outdated training tactic. Just because your dog appears to stop fighting does NOT mean he is comfortable in that situation… it simply means he has shut down.  He’s still anxious and afraid, but he’s decided there’s no point in fighting anymore. This is one of the most dangerous situations your dog may find himself in. He appears “calm,” but a second later has the potential to lash out and bite.

I get it, we are all excited to start public access training! However, the goal for service dog training should always be to create a mentally sound and stable dog in all situations. Subjecting him to situations which cause him fear or panic is just NOT the way to do that.

Positive interruptors are the best.
If you’re doing clicker trainer or force free training, it’s an essential tool for behavior management.
Here’s how it goes:
You say your word (something snappy, not their name), they stop whatever they’re doing to stare at you and run towards you and get a treat. It’s a good treat. Better than whatever they were doing.
You start by just saying your made up word in a low distraction environment while the dog knows you have treats and if the dog looks at you, great, click and treat, if not, make some interesting noises with your mouth as a lure. He doesn’t even have to make eye contact, just look slightly towards you. Soon he’ll get to eye lock.
Practice like that for a while until you get consistent eye contact, then you can build up distractions. A person looking away, a person looking at her, a person calling to her, a person making kissy noises and squatting, a person offering a treat, a treat sitting unattended on the ground, first far away, then closer, a toy sitting a cross the room, a moving toy, barking on a tv turned way down, then louder, then real barking
Your dog can be distracted from all of these and more with one word that promises a treat.
Use it instead of no, and reward your dog for stopping the bad behavior instead of just yelling.
Use it to distract a panicked, barking dog.
It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever taught a dog, and its essential for both my service dog in training and my reactive dog.


hot damn !

somephunintended  asked:

hi! i’m at my wit’s end with something and was wondering if you had any advice. 4 months ago my family adopted a 1 yr old dog from the shelter and he has come so far in terms of not being scared all the time. the one problem we have is that he will not go on walks with anyone but my dad. he’s about a 70 pound dog and when he doesn’t want to walk with you, he will plop down and not move for 10/15 minutes at a time, even when offered treats. thanks for your time!

My best advice for you is this: listen to your dog at little more. 

Dogs do not refuse to do things with or for us to be stubborn to to spite us. In most cases, when there is not a medical issue influencing behavior, dogs “act out” because either there is something going on we have not noticed, or we are not communicating with a dog in the way they understand. 

You’ve got a young dog that hasn’t been with your family very long, so he’s likely still learning how you communicate and that he can trust you. If he’s only willing to walk with your dad, you need to ask yourself why that behavior is happening rather than assuming it’s just your dog doing something wrong. What is it about walking with other people that your dog might want to avoid? Does your dad have a different relationship with the dog than the rest of the family? If so, what does he do differently? Ask one of these questions, and then spend a day or two observing your dog and how he interacts with the family and around walks and write down everything you notice. Ask your family to do the same. Then compare notes. You should start to see patterns emerge that can give you clues as to what’s going on in your dog’s head, and then you can start figuring out what your family needs to do differently so he feels comfortable walking with you. I can’t solve this for your over the internet - it’s something you all have to work out together. 

(FYI - if a dog  that is normally food-motivated is unwilling to take even favorite treats in a situation, that’s a pretty good indicator that he’s too stressed / over threshold / scared to really be able to function or learn in that moment. That’s a key signal that something is going on that you’re not aware of.)