Calling All Dogs's cover photo
Dog behavior modification and obedience for all breeds. Force free training by an internationally Certified Dog Behavior Conultant. Calling All Dogs does not discriminate towards any breed!
From the smallest Schnauzer, to the biggest Great Dane, and all breeds in between, all dogs are welcome! We offer obedience training, behavior modification, and doggy daycare.
Calling All Dogs's cover photo
Just a bulldog and his pool 😆. This is how Jaxson spent one of his quick breaks during today’s training lesson.
I am honored that the APDT Chronicle of the Dog publishes my article “I’m My Dogs’ Caregiver, Not Their Alpha” in the Summer 2020 issue!
The article goes into detail about what science has taught us about the dominance theory and why it needs to stop being used in dog training.
Motivation - what is yours? Better yet, what is your dog's?
We all work for something: you enjoy the activity, are earning a paycheck, or are trying to avoid being punished. Your motivation may change based on the job.
The same is true for your dog - he does not work to please you.
𝑅𝑒𝑎𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛.
As owners, it is our responsibility to discover what motivates our dogs.
This past week, I met virtually with a mentee to assess her dog training assignments. Her dog, Ellie, did an excellent job learning how to sit to earn a treat, but struggled to get into the down position.
After a few unsuccessful and unenthusiastic attempts, Ellie would give up and walk away.
THEN it happened - her owner brought out a ball. 🥎 Thrilled by the opportunity to play with her favorite toy, Ellie was engaged and ready to learn.
Within minutes, Ellie was quickly going into the down position. Her owner had no idea that the ball was such a big reinforcer. It has now become a regular part of their training games.
Each dog is an individual with different needs and desires and should be viewed as such.
𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗺𝘆 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂.
They say that "variety is the spice of life." Set aside some time and discover three different things that motivate your dog and comment below.
You may be surprised by the results!
Dog Goals! Level 💯
Linus is a teenager, has tons of energy, and loves greeting everyone. Dogs, birds, people, you name it - Linus just has to say "hi!"
His mom NEEDS him to respond to her instead of running ahead or pulling on leash, resulting in frustration and some pulled arm muscles.
During my 5 Day From Lunging to Learning Facebook Challenge back in May, Linus developed many new skills, including an emergency word that he would love to respond to.
While at their vacation house this past week, Linus was off-leash and on the trail of a rabbit. Here is what his mom had to say:
"𝘐 𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘪𝘵, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐 𝘨𝘰𝘵 𝘯𝘰 𝘥𝘰𝘨. 𝘚𝘰 𝘐 𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘥 ('𝘬𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘺') 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘕𝘖𝘛 𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘭𝘰𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘮𝘦!"
Look at him doing an AWESOME job!
What training success have you recently had? Comment 👇
Independence Day. It is a day to celebrate and for owners with nervous or barky dogs, a day to also dread.
This day plays out very differently from when I was a kid. I couldn't wait for nightfall. As an adult, as darkness begins to fall, I say to myself...
"𝐒𝐨 𝐢𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐬."
The Lord of the Rings fans out there will get that reference.
𝐻𝑎𝑣𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑎 𝑠𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑-𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑑𝑜𝑔 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑏𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑓𝑢𝑙, but it sure has gotten easier as we have trained for this night of loud bangs and bright lights.
The day is filled with mental stimulation games and exercise: sniffy walks, nose work, puzzle toys, and play.
One of the biggest disservices that you can do to an anxious dog is not to provide appropriate outlets for his energy, both mentally and physically. By giving him opportunities for both, Cooper not only has the chance to build his confidence and tire his mind but also reduce his stress.
Doing so is especially crucial before the fireworks start.
Kongs are stuffed with goodies like baby food, yogurt, coconut oil, and topped with peanut butter. They are then placed in the freezer so they will last longer. They sit next to fresh marrow bones.
The marrow bones are a special treat that will appear when the worst of the bangs start—gross to a vegetarian but a feast for a fearful dog.
The things we do for our dogs...
Once darkness falls, and the action starts, the foundation behaviors that we have worked on come into play: relaxation on his bed (or next to me) with his kong or bone, and offering a chin rest for an extra treat.
Cooper has developed these skills in place of pacing and crying.
With each bang, Cooper is additionally given liver or cheese from a can. This process is done for EVERY firework. We don't stop training until the fireworks end. Consistency in training is key.
By going through this process each July 4th, Cooper no longer cares when he hears most of the fireworks. Why doesn't he care anymore?
He has been set up to succeed. Fireworks make special food happen. That food releases happy chemicals in his brain, and an association between the two is made.
𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬 = 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝. Happy Independence Day!
Dogs bark for a reason. It is part of their natural communication.
As humans, their barking can help us feel safe when we feel alone and vulnerable. Scaring away an unwanted guest, or a stranger on a walk is one of the many reasons people get dogs.
𝑊ℎ𝑎𝑡 ℎ𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑛𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑜𝑛 𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑠 𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑥𝑖𝑒𝑡𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑦𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑑𝑜𝑔?
If your dog barks because he is excited that someone has arrived, it will not harm your dog in the long run. However, the opposite is true if he is barking because he does not enjoy visitors.
Expecting your anxious dog to calm down immediately is not realistic, just as it is unrealistic for me when I am startled.
Take last night, for example. Jeter and I were on a walk in the woods. We usually go in the morning, but I decided that it would be a nice change to try our new walking path in the evening.
Was I surprised how much more active the path was at 7:30 pm! We liked seeing the deer and woodchucks, but it was the sudden movement in the brush just 5 feet from us by an unknown animal that started to get me on edge.
Trail cameras have occasionally spotted bears in the area over the years, and for all I knew, the creature moving the brush could be eyeballing Jeter as a yummy snack.
𝗢𝗿 𝗶𝘁 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗯𝗲 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝘀𝗰𝗮𝗽𝗲𝗱 𝗿𝗮𝗽𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗝𝘂𝗿𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗰 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗸.
I'm not even joking, that thought seriously popped into my head for a brief moment before I realized how ridiculous it was. I also contemplated that a serial killer could be hiding in the woods just waiting for an unsuspecting person to appear on a path where I have only ever seen one other person.
Can you tell that I too have anxiety?
With every sudden sound in the environment, I became increasingly hypervigilant. To the point that after just 15 minutes, I decided it was time to turn around and go home when a squirrel caused me to jump.
Irrational, right? What happened to me is referred to as trigger stacking. Trigger stacking is defined as "Stress accumulation due to exposure of multiple triggers, either simultaneously or close enough in time that the dog's reactivity has not returned to normal." (Grisha Stewart, BAT 2.0, P. 276).
In my case, the triggers were the unseen and unexpected animals moving around when I felt more vulnerable at a time of night on a newer trail.
Under normal conditions where I had enough time for my stress levels to return to baseline before seeing the harmless squirrel, I would've had no problem continuing our walk.
For dogs with visitors, the triggers are the cars entering the driveway, the sound of people talking, and the sudden knock on the door. The stress from barking will only heighten sensitivity to additional sights or sounds, and therefore, increased reactions.
Circling back to my original question, "What happens when that reason causes increased stress and anxiety to your dog?"
𝗜𝘁 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗵𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗮 𝗯𝗶𝘁𝗲.
As outlined in my story yesterday, I understand how comforting it can be when a dog barks at unknown guests knocking on my door.
However, not training an anxious dog to feel comfortable with hearing the knock instead of seemingly losing his mind sets him up to fail.
Humans don't handle trigger stacking well. We shouldn't expect more from our dogs than we expect from ourselves.
#callingalldogsny #dogbehavior #iaabcpetsbehavingwell #iaabcpets #CaptainJeterSparrow #dogtraining #dogtrainingwny #dogtrainingfingerlakes #dogs #muttsofinstagram
My dogs are not perfect. Some owners do not like their dogs to bark when someone knocks on the door.
In my case, their barking just may have saved my life.
Four years ago, Cooper alerted me to an unknown car entering my driveway. It is incredible how dogs can distinguish between the sound of their owner’s car and a new car.
I stepped outside to greet the person - 𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑛𝑢𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟 𝑜𝑛𝑒.
He informed me that a rug cleaning storefront had opened in the next town over, and he was there for a free demonstration, a one time offer.
While Cooper and Brody were inside, I never asked them to stop barking. I was uncomfortable with the situation that I was faced with, and the man was clearly not thrilled that there were dogs inside.
Please note - I have never trained my dogs for protection work, and that was never my intention in this scenario.
As I noticed the second man in the car, the first man asked me what I use to clean my rugs. Distracted, I said, “I’m not sure, my husband takes care of that.”
“Is your husband home?”
“No, he is working.” - 𝐵𝐼𝐺 𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑛𝑢𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑤𝑜.
The man tried to peer into the window on my door to “see the carpet.” Cooper continued to bark and jump, obscuring his view of the room.
“Can you put them away so I can come inside?” he asked.
“They don’t want you to come inside, and I will not put them away,” I replied.
I informed the man that I was not interested in his free demonstration and slipped inside.
Potential disaster averted.
Later that day, I learned that my neighbors had a similar experience and called the State Police, who tracked down the van and pulled it over.
𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗿𝘂𝗴 𝗰𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝘃𝗮𝗻.
They were there to rob houses. The second man waiting in the van was waiting for a signal to go around the back of the house while the first one distracted me.
It was my dog’s barking that prevented this from happening. From that day on, I have always allowed them to bark when someone arrives. After all, they are dogs, and they are excited.
But what about dogs that bark out of anxiety instead of excitement? I work with many owners that want their anxious dogs to bark and guard the home. Owners also want their dogs to stop barking when asked, all without heightened anxiety for the rest of the day.
Can you have both?
Check back tomorrow for more about this.
When I got my first puppy as an adult, I couldn't wait for him to grow up. He pulled on the leash and ignored me when I called him.
Little did I know that dogs do not miraculously turn into the perfect dogs at a certain age.
The longer that I waited for this change to suddenly happen, the worse the behaviors became.
The final straw came at eight months of age. We were out for a walk, and Kubbi was doing his usual weaving back and forth in front of me. It was then than I tripped as I tried to avoid stepping on his paw, landing flat on my face.
The leash fell from my hand as I attempted to break my fall, and it was then that Kubbi realized that he was free. He took advantage of his newfound freedom and never looked back.
It is incredible how fast a little dog can run! Thankfully, Kubbi stopped to investigate garbage on the sidewalk containing what I can only guess was a piece of hotdog.
At least that is what his breath smelled like after I caught up to him. 𝑌𝑢𝑚.
I look back now and laugh, realizing that I was waiting for something that would never happen. I needed to take control of the situation. I needed to let Kubbi know what I wanted. But how?
𝑊𝑒 𝑒𝑛𝑟𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑝𝑟𝑖𝑣𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑠.
Kubbi and I learned how to work together so we could both enjoy our walks. The result was a dog that happily trotted along on my left side and hit the breaks and came running to me when I called him.
We enjoyed the learning adventure together so much that I kept going. I not only became an internationally certified to work with dogs on obedience but also for reactivity and aggression.
Learning should never stop. Reach out to me for a 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞 𝟑𝟎-𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐞 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭, and I will help you and your dog learn, too.
I hear it all the time, "𝘐 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘮𝘺 𝘥𝘰𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘭."
When you dreamed about your next dog, you thought of all of the adventures that you would take together. Maybe you thought about camping trips, family gatherings, hikes, or even having your new dog become a service dog.
When your new dog finally came home, things started great...but you soon realized that he wasn't the dog you initially imagined.
He is nervous about novel situations, barks at your guests, hates car rides, and lunges at other dogs while hiking.
He needs to be a "normal" dog.
𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐬𝐭?
You may not know this about me, but I am an introvert. Group gatherings and traveling can be tough. While I enjoy these activities, especially when my friends and family are involved, I leave drained and in need of time to re-energize before embarking on the next outing.
Introverts and extroverts are considered "normal" when we apply these classifications to people.
What can't these also be normal when applied to our dogs?
When I adopted Cooper, I imagined all the fun activities that we would do together. Agility, traveling out of the state to visit my family and doggy play dates. In my mind, this is what "normal" dogs do.
I soon realized that Cooper did not fit into my perfect dream picture of a normal dog, and that is okay.
I do not want to be continually pushed to be an extrovert, and I know that my dog does not want to be either.
𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘸𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦.
Cooper taught me to re-examine my definition of a normal dog. Not every dog will fit into our dream picture. Trying to change him to be something that he is not, like a competition agility dog that thrives for the next run, will have a tremendous emotional toll on both of us.
It also is not realistic.
What can I do now? I can support him as we work together to grow his confidence. I can introduce him to new activities and let him choose which ones he wants to continue. I can help him develop the skills he needs to thrive in a world that he initially found to be terrifying.
He expanded my view of what a "normal" dog can be. Albeit hard to accept at first, I am forever grateful for the life lessons that he continues to teach me.
“𝐽𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑏𝑒 𝑎 𝑑𝑜𝑔. 𝑇ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑜.” These were the words that I spoke to Cooper as he stepped into his harness, and I attached the leash.
I opened the door to check that the coast was clear. This is something that owners with anxious or barky dogs know well.
𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙄 𝙡𝙚𝙩 𝙝𝙞𝙢 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙙.
Why would I choose to follow him, even when growing up, I learned that I must be the dog’s leader? He must do what I ask and always see me as an authority figure to which he must defer.
If you think about it, we tell our dogs what, when, and where he eats, when he can go outside, how long he stays outside, where he sleeps, where he walks, who he is allowed to interact with, and so much more. I would never want my life controlled in such a way.
When it comes to the relationship between myself and my dogs, we are a team working together through whatever life throws at us—both of us having ample turns to take the lead.
As an anxious dog, it is essential for Cooper to take control of various aspects of his life and make choices that will help him gain confidence.
I followed Cooper as he tracked scents through various deer paths, crossing the threshold of freshly moved grass and into the woods. A stream is a place that he frequently visits, and he stopped there to munch on some long grass.
As we continued together, not only did his body became more and more relaxed, his hypervigilance disappeared, and his anxiety melted away, but so did mine.
It turns out that no amount of structured training can compare to what progress Cooper makes when he is given appropriate outlets just to be a dog.
Our Story - Part 2
I was mortified by Cooper’s lunging and outraged at the “behaviorist.” for further proving what science had already determined over 20 years ago: the outdated dominance-based methods are dangerous.
Ever since that day, we have worked diligently together on helping him feel safe when he meets strangers. To go for walks and understand that hearing voices of people while they are in their yards is not something to fear or lunge towards.
So that we could finally walk together without dreading new obstacles we might encounter at each house we passed.
The damage done in a five-minute activity cannot be fixed in just a few days or months. It is a journey with triumphs and setbacks, tears of joy, and tears of frustration.
The other day Cooper saw a person that he was nervous about. Like a pro, he turned and went the opposite direction, just like I spent so many years teaching him how to do on his own.
What almost brought me to tears is that he actually barked once in the process. Slowly but surely, he is learning to trust that I will never punish his bark again.
He showed me that he was gaining back confidence in our relationship.
When dog professionals refuse to continue their education…
When they turn a blind eye to science as it evolves and teaches us the best and most humane practices to implement when working with our dogs…
It hurts the dogs emotionally and physically. 𝘐𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮.
8 Wade Ave
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