Abracadabra Dog Training

Abracadabra Dog Training 100% customizable Dog Training packages, specializing in one-on-one obedience training. Located in Ormond Beach, FL at Abracadabra Pet Center.

Please note: Dog Training hours and availability differ from Abracadabra Pet Center's hours of operation.

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Our trainer has carefully written this blog entry regarding Service Dogs.Included in this entry is an explanation on wha...
08/17/2021
Service Dogs

Our trainer has carefully written this blog entry regarding Service Dogs.

Included in this entry is an explanation on what a Service Dog is, FAQs about Service Dogs, things handlers want the public to know, a day in the life of a Service Dog handler, and some more tidbits that include breeds, a basic start to getting your own Service Dog as well as a business's rights when it comes to Service Dogs.

I am hoping that this entry will help shed some light on Service Dogs and answer some important questions in regards to Service.

https://abracadabradogtraining.blog/2021/08/17/service-dogs/

This is in regards to Service Dogs in the United States. Different countries have different laws and regulations when it comes to Service Dogs Rowdy is a Standard Dauchshund (35lbs) Psychiatric Ser…

I have carefully written this blog entry regarding Service Dogs.Included in this entry is an explanation on what a Servi...
08/17/2021
Service Dogs

I have carefully written this blog entry regarding Service Dogs.

Included in this entry is an explanation on what a Service Dog is, FAQs about Service Dogs, things handlers want the public to know, a day in the life of a Service Dog handler, and some more tidbits that include breeds, a basic start to getting your own Service Dog as well as a business's rights when it comes to Service Dogs.

I am hoping that this entry will help shed some light on Service Dogs and answer some important questions in regards to Service.

https://abracadabradogtraining.blog/2021/08/17/service-dogs/

This is in regards to Service Dogs in the United States. Different countries have different laws and regulations when it comes to Service Dogs Rowdy is a Standard Dauchshund (35lbs) Psychiatric Ser…

Good morning everyone!Today I would like to share a blog post that clearly lays out a reliable way to crate train puppie...
08/04/2021
Puppy 101.2

Good morning everyone!

Today I would like to share a blog post that clearly lays out a reliable way to crate train puppies and dogs of any age, some tips on things to avoid, and how to make it easier for everyone involved as well as some important housebreaking tips and things to keep in mind.

I hope that you find this helpful!

https://abracadabradogtraining.blog/2021/08/04/puppy-101-2/

Crate Training A huge stress of bringing home is the house breaking and crate training. We get questions all the time regarding these two subjects and it is important to touch on these subjects. Th…

It's puppy day at daycare today! 3/4 of these puppies have been trained, or have some training, by our trainer ❤ Just a ...
07/30/2021

It's puppy day at daycare today!

3/4 of these puppies have been trained, or have some training, by our trainer ❤

Just a little bit of training can go a long way, and can make these pictures possible!

It's puppy day at daycare today!

3/4 of these puppies have been trained, or have some training, by our trainer ❤

Just a little bit of training can go a long way, and can make these pictures possible!

This beautiful girl finished her final lesson with us had a fantastic time!This sweet girl is 4 months old and has learn...
07/28/2021

This beautiful girl finished her final lesson with us had a fantastic time!

This sweet girl is 4 months old and has learned to be comfortable in a muzzle just incase she ever needs one when she gets older!

Did you know there are MANY reasons a dog may be muzzled, or may need to be muzzled, that don't involve being aggressive?

“Invisible Dog” Step One We have gone over socialization types (interaction vs existence) in a previous article, where w...
07/27/2021

“Invisible Dog” Step One


We have gone over socialization types (interaction vs existence) in a previous article, where we expressed the difference and benefits of existence socialization and what I mean by the term “invisible dog”. Here we will start to break down the beginning stages of this type of socialization and what to look for as you do.

Each step will be broken down into phases to help give clear steps on what to do next!

++Phase One++

The biggest thing to realize is that you need to enforce calm behavior in your puppy. This doesn’t mean that we correct him every time he plays, but we teach him that he doesn’t have to be doing something all the time. Teaching him to relax and chew on a pig ear or play with a toy quietly while he is settled down. We also do not allow him to get excited when he sees people, there is no reason to react to people who have nothing to do with him. At this stage, we are not going to expect him to remain calm when someone is interacting with him outside of his basic manners (no jumping or biting), only when other people are around and not paying him any mind.

A huge way that we encourage this calm behavior is enforcing it with our other dogs:

Gambit (my 7 year old Old English Sheepdog) tends to not enjoy the constant interaction with other dogs, much less a rambunctious puppy. He will go find himself somewhere to lay down outside of the reach of the other dogs or just off to the side. Because we teach existence, we encourage his desire by making sure that the other dogs do not bother him at this time, especially the puppy.

Loki, who likes to be as close to his people as possible, is often put on the “place” command to encourage him to settle by himself and relax when he is not right next to us. We also encourage this as a break from rough housing with the puppy or to get him to relax in general. You will see, later on, that I consider the “place” command one of the most valuable day to day commands you can teach and one huge reason why I encourage this command is because the “place” command can become a “calm on command” cue.

Now, the puppy with little to no training cannot be expected to hold an actual command much less around distractions, such as the temptation of his household siblings.
So what do we do?

Especially with tethering, it is very easy to keep him close to you. Encourage him with a good chew or a few good toys, giving him one when he wants to play or struggles against the tether in an attempt to get away and play. This is normal, for him to not want to settle, but once he calmly chews on his toy or chew and lays down we pet him gently and calmly praise. ‘

The environment is something to take great consideration in at this time. When you are beginning you want there to be low to no distractions. Practicing this while you are watching TV or on the computer is an excellent time to work on this skill, especially since it will slowly build into a habit that when the household is calm it is time for puppy to be calm.

How we praise/reward in this moment is extremely important. We want to be calm, and not get excited. Reaching down to slowly stroke his head/back/side or offer a gently ear scratch with a calm “good pup” is perfect! Keeping the calm energy is important, especially when starting.

++Phase Two++

Once your puppy is beginning to get accustomed to this, going outside in the driveway or on the porch is a great place to get started for real distractions. Again, tethering here is important. Sit outside and encourage calm behavior when people are walking by. If he gets excited, give him something to chew and encourage him to settle down.

This is where the inside exercises and calm energy from you is important. If your puppy barks or tries to run toward someone walking passed we want to redirect his attention. Here I would offer a small leash correction, if necessary, and regain his attention so that he is focused back on you and his toy. You may also reward your puppy for just glancing over at the person without reacting.

For example:

You are sitting calmly out in the drive way, where the house meets the driveway, and keep an eye out for people. When you see someone, ideally before you puppy, get your puppy’s attention and when he notices the person at first –it may just be as simple as him seeing the person with no real reaction- say “yes” and treat. Do this as many times as you’d like, as long as he is in a calm state of mind. If he gets up and tries to approach or bark, we do our best to regain his attention and continue.

If you cannot get his attention, you can offer a gentle leash correction with a firm “no” and attempt to get his attention again, and continue to encourage him calmly looking at/watching the person.

If this does not work, go back inside and continue there. He is not ready to go outside yet. Continue your indoor lessons.

If he does do well, continue to encourage this.
Jack calmly watching the neighbor's two landscapers. 10 weeks old.

++Expectations++

Remember, we are working with a puppy so it is important to be realistic and not to get frustrated. We need to learn his thresholds and work with him at his level. Some puppies can be ready to sit outside and watch people within the first week or two, some may need more time. It comes down to both consistency/training and personality/genetics.

Jack, for example, is in his second week of being with us at the time this was written and can relax outside while he watches people. While we encourage this, and continue to work on this, we also need to keep in mind that we need to be consistent with rewarding this behavior as he matures. There are fear periods and teenage times ahead of us where we may need to be more on top of this desired behavior than we need to be now, or even taken a step back to basics for a time. It is completely natural for a puppy to be 100% okay watching people calmly one week and the next barking at everyone that passes the next, but the more practice he gets and the more consistent we can be, and the more aware of our dogs’ thresholds, the easier the unexpected times can be.

Loki, as another example, is genetically very “stranger danger” and will alert/bark at people going by. In order to continue our training with existence socialization we encourage him to be on his “place” outside and we have to be very aware of passing people. Over time, at one and a half years old, he has gotten significantly better and does fairly well. We, as his owners, still need to advocate for him and for the passing people by encouraging him to be calm and just silently watch. He has been taught this from a young age, but as he has reached his teenage part of life, we have had to buckle back down and reinforce this desired behavior.

Again, this is completely normal to see “regression” when a puppy begins to mature typically between 12-24 months. Not every dog will regress, and not every dog will need the extra reinforcement, but it is something to be aware about as a personality. It is also something that we need to understand is a potentiality, as well as something that we need to still remain calm about regardless of how frustrating it can be for our “perfect puppy” to start suddenly “acting out”, especially in behaviors that we believed to be very solid.

Are you ready for the next step?

Stay tuned for our next addition to the Invisible dog! We will regularly add steps for to continue your training with Existence Socialization! This is only the beginning on your journey to an Invisible Dog!

Until next time!
All you need is “A New Leash On Life”

[Picture 1: Loki, Jack (10 wks) and Gambit relaxing while I fold laundry and clean. All are enjoying some structured calm time.]
[Picture 2: Jack, 10 wks old, watching landscapers outside.

**The Invisible Dog: Socialization**If you have ever talked to me in person about socialization, I will tell you two thi...
07/20/2021

**The Invisible Dog: Socialization**

If you have ever talked to me in person about socialization, I will tell you two things:

"Teach existence, not interaction"
"I want an “invisible dog” in public"

**Social Distancing**

I see many people panic about properly socializing their new puppies during a time of social distancing. This has become a major concern across the globe, and a rising concern with well-meaning puppy owners who just want to make sure their puppy has the best possible start in life. We all want to have our puppies be well rounded and happy, confident companions which the world has drilled into our heads that the foundation to that is socialization.

Ask yourself what socialization is when it comes to puppies.
I am betting your answer is something along the lines of “introduce puppy to as many different friendly people, friendly dogs, pet-friendly places, etc as possible.”

This is a universally conveyed message to all dog owners and has been a “rule of thumb” since before I began learning dog training and dog behavior.

What if I told you that this type of socialization can actually breed behavioral issues and that Social Distancing is actually ideal for puppy socialization and development?

Existence not Interaction

I like to break socializing into two categories: interaction and existence.

**Interaction Socialization**

Interaction is, as described above, the most accepted form of socialization in the pet world. Introduce puppy to people and other dogs so that they will get love and treats and play, overall have a wonderful experience, and learn that people and other dogs are amazing!

Now, we have all heard of and seen the benefits of this type of socialization. I am not saying that this method doesn’t work, nor am I saying that it doesn’t have its benefits. Like with any method, there is a place and a time for everything and sometimes it comes down to the individual dog on whether this is a good method for them.

However, this type of socialization also can breed poor behaviors later on.

With interaction socialization, you are building up that excitement to meet people and other dogs-even if that is not your intention. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but this can quickly develop into excitement on lead when your puppy sees another dog or person. This excitement can build to frustration, especially when your cute little puppy gets bigger, and you have to tell him “no” in regards to greeting someone.

This frustration rapidly can escalate to lunging, barking, growl-whining and while your dog may only want to say “hi” it makes him look aggressive to the outside viewer. It also leads the way for increased behavioral issues to build from there, not to mention the potential for injury for both your puppy and you.

Yanking, pulling and lunging on leash can become dangerous to your dog- it can attract unwanted attention from neighbors, it can send the wrong message to other dogs causing them to get defensive (potentially starting a fight), can cause bodily harm to your dog regardless of what training tool you use-or lack thereof-and overall can get more and more difficult to correct the longer this behavior continues.

Then there is the danger to you, especially if your dog is on the larger side. You can get tangled up, unexpectedly, in the leash because your dog changes directions quickly in the excitement, put strain on your muscles, yank at your joints, could cause you to fall, and depending on your dogs size even be dragged, not to mention the emotional drain that may cause you to stop walking your dog or taking him out into public. This last reason can also cause the behavioral issue to continue to increase, not just on leash but in your house.

**Existence Socialization**

Existence is where your dog learns that dogs, people, environments, sounds, events are just another part of life. None of them are inherently good or inherently bad, they just are. You are teaching your dog to focus on you, or their command, or to just be calm and relaxed around other people and dogs.

This type of socialization allows the dog to experience situations, environments and other people and dogs without the need nor the excitement that interaction brings. You are still giving your dog a positive experience around people and dogs, but you are teaching them that not everyone is an exciting thing that they just must say “hi” to.

Now, I am not saying to never let your puppy interact with someone but as a general rule of thumb there is no reason for every single dog and every single person to greet and play with your puppy. I am also not saying to keep your puppy away from everyone- isolation is not healthy for a puppy.

What you are doing is keeping control of the situation. You are teaching your puppy to be calm and that these other beings are not something to be scared of. You are also teaching your puppy that you have control of the situation and that they need to look to you for what to do next, which takes a lot of pressure off them and you. On top of this you are stacking the odds in your favor that every socialization session will be positive without the risk of potentially negative impact of different situations such as: dogs who are not entirely friendly, dogs who do not appreciate puppy energy, dogs who are too rambunctious for your puppy, dogs who move too fast and startle your puppy, as well as people who don’t listen to your cues, people who encourage bad behaviors, children who don’t have dog skills or accidentally grab, pully, poke, move to fast or make sudden loud noises etc.

**Not every human, and not every dog.**

Not every human, and not every dog, wants to meet your puppy and even less want to meet your adult dog. Our goal is to teach our puppy that they don’t need to meet anyone and that we will decide if it is okay for them to interact with someone outside of their family but that we will decide if it is okay for them to interact with someone outside of their family however there is no need for him to interact with anyone outside of the family.

This “existence socialization” also helps when bringing new dogs into your home, or introducing new dogs to each other. “You don’t have to get along and be best friends, but you can exist around each other without the pressure of interacting.” In doing this you are also teaching your new puppy/dog boundaries and how to respect each other’s space when in the same home. This type of training also makes a lot of otherwise chaotic/exciting situations where you may want to bring your dog, much less stressful for him (and you!)-like dog events or pet stores or even training classes.

**The Invisible Dog**

Overall, my goal with training and with socialization is to create an invisible dog. I want to be able to go to dog friendly cafes and put my dog in a down, or under the table, and even with other people walking around or other dogs in sight for my dog to go unnoticed. I want to walk along a busy area that has other dogs and people, and for people not to automatically see my dog because he is pulling on the leash or making a scene, if he is noticed I want it to be because he was not noticed right away.

**What to do now:**

Continue training and teach your dog to EXIST around other people and other dogs.

Your dog does not need to, and should not, greet every single person and every single dog they can -especially as puppies. Social Distancing is an ideal set up for training and socializing your dogs. Teaching your dog to focus on you, or the command at hand, with other people or dogs in proximity without interacting helps build a positive association without interaction. It also teaches your pup to focus on you and not everyone/everything else.

A quite common socializing mistake is that they need to meet/interact with as many friendly people and friendly dogs as possible. The issue with this is we focus so much on the interacting that we forget there are many instances interacting is not safe, or shouldn't be done, or times in the future when you need your dog to focus on you and not greet someone. Unfortunately, greeting everyone as a routine and then being told "no" later when your dog is not accustomed to it can lead to leash reactivity, over arousal on leash and even can start fights making your dog appear aggressive when in realist he's just so excited he doesn't know how to control himself.

Working on commands with people and dogs in sight, but without interacting/greeting, is a great way to continue to build a positive association with new people and dogs, as well as teach your dog to control himself, focus on you and remain calm around people and dogs.

So, if you are worried about socialization, a great way to continue to build the positive associations is to continue positive training one-on-one with dogs/people in sight but not interacting with them.

This makes for a calmer, more rounded dog as your puppy matures.

Remember: I am not saying never allow your dog to interact with other dogs/people, just do so safely and sparingly -as a treat but not the norm- and that right now you can continue socializing while respecting social distancing.

Until Next Time!

All you need is a "New Leash On Life"

[Pictured is a 10 week old Dogo Argentino puppy, Jack, calmly watching the landscapers and their equipment as part of his "Existence Socialization"]

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1106 W Granada Blvd
Ormond Beach, FL
32174-5913

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