Dog Day’s mission is to educate both owners as well as their dogs. Understanding how your dog learns as well as what they learn is the best way for an owner to consistently reinforce correct behavior. The ultimate goal is a happier dog and better overall relationships between dogs and their owners.
We train all sizes, ages and breeds of dogs. In the picture to the left we have a young Great Dane named Coltrane, and a Smooth Coat Fox Terrier named Regan, who is deaf. Regan is learning hand signals as well as how to work with the distraction of the Great Dane. Both dogs are off-leash, and are socializing very appropriately.
An important part of the socialization process is for smaller dogs to learn how to be confident and act appropriately around big dogs, and for big dogs to learn the same behaviors with small dogs. We are very careful when there are size discrepancies, and the dogs are continually supervised to ensure that all interactions are safe and appropriate.
We at Dog Days believe that there are three main components that owners need to appreciate in order to develop and maintain a healthy and loving relationship with their dog.
1. Who is Your Dog?
The first step towards successful training is developing an awareness of your dog. For example, is your dog motivated by food, by interacting with other dogs, or with people? Do any of these motivations make your dog anxious, and are you able to recognize the signs of anxiety? What kinds of activities or interactions make your dog the most nervous and reactive?
2. The Off Switch
Dogs are not people and they operate according to different stimulation triggers. Consider whether you are able to influence or stop your dog when they are over stimulated or engaged in behavior that can be dangerous. For example, are you able to control your dog without any “outside equipment” such as a leash or the use of treats? Can you honestly intervene and stop your dog if it suddenly bolts out of the door in order to chase a squirrel?
3. Dog Body Posture
Dogs tend to provide a great deal of information through their body language. Your dog’s posture will often tell you everything you need to know about their mental state. However, if you are not adept at “reading” your dog’s body language your timing will be off and you will miss the training moments when your dog is the most receptive to learning.
** A private note from Laurie. Many years ago I had a dog that shaped my training more than any other. Bear was a mixed breed who came to me at seven months old, who illustrated the challenges of living with a big, athletic dog, that was very smart as well as a problem solver. He could also be very difficult and was sometimes extremely dangerous. Bear was always the best dog in obedience classes, learned commands and behaved perfectly. However, outside of class he was terrible. After he bit one person and several dogs, I realized that most classes do not teach people how to train their dogs for the real world, or even show owners who their dogs really are when faced with new or stressful stimuli. This is why I teach the skills I do.