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Training Tips

Want a stronger connection with your dog? Ask for more!

Want a stronger connection with your dog? Ask for more!

The first in a series of Video Tips from Canine Solutions Dog Training.

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Training Tips

Paulie Walnuts first outdoor place session

Paulie Walnuts first outdoor place session

The second in a series of Video Tips from Canine Solutions Dog Training.

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Training Tips

Here is what you missed…

Here is what you missed…

Dear Pet Parents,

What an awesome LIVE coaching call we had today:

“What social distancing means for you and your dog – the DO’s and DON’T’s while home with your pet during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

It was fun for me to talk with many dog owners at one time over a virtual platform. Thank you to those who made time to participate. Your feedback from the call will help me curate more content for dog owners just like you!

For those who couldn’t make it today, I wanted to share the key takeaways and resources from our call with you.

HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR DOG BE HAPPY &  BALANCED DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

DO PRACTICE

#1 ROUTINE / STRUCTURE

PLEASE never lose sight of the importance of routine and structure with your dog.
It is so comforting for your dog to have the simple routines that you can maintain right now. This means don’t change meal or walk times or even how long those activities last. Don’t shorten anything right now. Keep as much normalcy as you can.

#2 MENTAL STIMULATION – CHALLENGE YOUR DOG

  • Obviously obedience training is key to providing mental stimulation to your dog and remember, it doesn’t always have to be outdoors
  • Do place work indoors and outdoors, using an underground parkade or empty parking lots
  • Skills to practice – recall, place work, touch, look, leash skills/heeling
  • Engagement games – treat dispensing toys, puzzles, hunting games
  • Take it / Leave it – this is a wonderful game you can build on with your dog. You can even even start making your own obstacle course and hide items outside and practice walking by

#3 HEALTHY SEPARATION – A MUST!

  • Have a “Go to your bed” or place command
  • Crate training
  • Don’t take your dog everywhere because you can
  • Have a solid down-stay command. This will allow you to move around the house without you creating a “shadow” dog who never leaves your side

DON’T PRACTICE

MORE AFFECTION AND LESS OF EVERYTHING ELSE

  • Your dog is not a emotional security blanket
  • The risk of over affection leaves you with a less balanced canine
  • Affection isn’t leadership
  • Place your dog’s needs above our own. It is about trust and respect. We must meet their needs to have them feel our love and respect
  • Affection isn’t bad, it just can’t be the only thing you are sharing with your dog

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU 

Watch Cheri’s video on “Unearned Affection.”

Cheri Lucas is a dog behaviourist in California. Click on the photo to hear Cheri’s message of the danger that unearned affection can play in the relationship with your dog.

ARTICLE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS & YOUR DOG

ARTICLE: DR. KAREN BECKER – COVID-19 AND YOUR PET — WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

HELP! YOUR FEEDBACK IS NEEDED.

As our world changes rapidly in these uncertain times, I am committed to finding new and exciting ways to help you and your dog through the use of a virtual platform.

To do my part to help ‘flatten the curve,’ I will be moving to a virtual coaching platform only for my coaching programs.  As such, I am welcoming all suggestions on what content you feel is most useful to you. The more feedback I get, the better I can prepare and help not just you, but so many other dog owners near and far who are struggling.

So the best way you can help me is to go ahead and hit the reply button now to let me know what I can do for you! 

Stay safe and healthy and take care of yourself and those you love. 

Thank you for your continued support.

Drew Warner
Lead Trainer

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Training Tips

How to get your dog to come when called

How to get your dog to come when called

Hello Pet Parents & Dog Lovers,

Can I share one of my most embarrassing moments with you?

It wasn’t that long ago I let my ego get ahead of my dog training principles. Yes, I got cocky and thought I could handle my dog off leash in the city. Lucky for me and Maple, my mistake didn’t cost her her life! If you want to avoid the stress of risking your dog’s life in the city, and help forge a better bond with your dog, then I encourage you to keep on reading…

DREW’S ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR TEACHING YOUR DOG HOW TO COME WHEN CALLED

Most dog owners struggle with getting their dog to come when called. Follow these tips below to get the results you deserve.

1. DO NOT LET YOUR DOG OFF THE LEASH TOO SOON
Most of the troubles with teaching recall is when pet parents take their dog off leash before the dog is ready to go off leash.Often owners will make mistakes when they think they are alone on a walk with their dog and they let them off leash. Once they unhook the dog and let the dog run around, the next thing they know there is a huge distraction (other dogs, a bike, squirrel, etc.), and they don’t have control of their dog at all. This is a scary and often embarrassing moment for folks.

I’ve heard horror stories of people letting their dogs off the leash too soon and the dog simply runs away. Luckily the dog gets back home safe or is turned in by someone. When these events happen, hindsight is always 20/20. If you think about it, this is like playing Russian roulette with your dog’s life.

GUILTY AS CHARGED….
I have to admit, even I have made embarrassing choices with Maple. I will never forget the first (and last) time I made this mistake by letting her off the leash for a walk around my neighborhood. I had done it many times with great success previously. I figured Maple is a needy dog who never wants to be left behind and listens really reliably to all of my commands. That said, I had NEVER had success with her previously off leash around squirrels.

About a year ago I had a close call where Maple bolted to chase a squirrel across the street while walking off leash in my neighborhood with me. It took just that one time when she chased the squirrel and could have been killed by a car on the street that I smartened up. I was so embarrassed! How could I have ignored my own rules? I was playing fast and loose with her life and I felt so awful afterwards. Ever since that moment, we NEVER walk off leash in the city together.

TRAINING TIP: DO THIS INSTEAD ….
USE A LEASH to help you!
Common sense, right?
It takes discipline, but it is so worth it!

From that frightful moment over a year ago, I learned my lesson. Watch this video to see what I do with Maple instead… and IT IS STRESS FREE!

See how that experience was a training moment for us? By using a leash, I can confidently work my dog when her prey drive is activated around distractions.

This example in the video is exactly what I teach my clients to do when learning how to train their dogs to come when called around distractions in the city.

2. ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE TO YOUR DOG WHEN THEY DO COME 
Recall needs to be 100% positive, 100% of the time. Always be in the habit of having something to give your dog when she comes after you call her. This could be a high value food reward, or favorite toy. On the rare case that a dog will strictly work for affection, you can definitely use that. My experience has shown me that most dog owners over use affection and it dilutes the value of it. Think of it this way, if your dog can get affection for doing nothing, then why would they come to you when they want to chase a squirrel? When she does come back, make it a HUGE event with her favourite reward, lots of praise and touch.

3. NEVER CALL YOUR DOG UNLESS YOU ARE SURE YOUR DOG WILL COME
TIRED OF PLAYING CHASE WITH YOUR DOG?
If you are not sure your dog will come when you call them, go get them. The bonus is that it doesn’t hurt the integrity of your command. So when in doubt, go get your dog. The worst thing you can get in the habit of, is calling your dog when you are unsure he will respond. This quickly turns into a game of keep away or chase.

4. NEVER GET MAD IF YOUR DOG BLOWS YOU OFF
If your dog is doing something wrong, go get your dog instead of trying to call them back in frustration. You always want your recall to be set up for success. Instead of repeating your command over and over to have your dog not listen, simply say nothing and go get your dog. Your energy is your number one communication tool, so make sure you stay calm and confident when you go to get your dog.

5. DON’T PUNISH
If you do call your dog to come to you when he is doing something wrong, never punish him when he does get back to you. Your dog will not be able to put two and two together that he was getting punished from something that took place away from you.  In your dog’s mind, you called him, he came to you and he made the right choice and then was punished. He will begin to think coming to you is a negative thing that he gets punished for rather than understanding it was the act before you recalled him you were upset about.

6. DON’T MAKE THIS COMMON MISTAKE….FINISH ON THE RIGHT FOOT!
At the end of your training session, make sure you don’t associate your last recall with confinement. For example, do not call your dog then put him in his crate immediately after. Or if you are training a puppy, do not have the last recall be when you put her back in her pen. Some people make the error of calling their dog at the park, then putting the leash on and leaving. When in doubt, simply just go get your puppy, give them a reward, then end the training with confinement or leaving the ‘fun’ zone.

OFF LEASH RELIABILITY… WILL THIS EVER HAPPEN?

Yes, of course!
My question for you is…. are you ready to work for it?

The reality is, this is a long game. To put things into perspective, even the most experienced trainers will often keep their dogs on leash until they are 2 or 3 years old to ensure their recall is solidified. Recall takes effort, consistency, and lots of practice.To be successful, you must follow through and be willing to make mistakes. Don’t give up. Persistence pays off.

Practical tips when training recall:

  • Always add difficulty slowly, over time. Don’t rush this process.
  • Build on your leash success by adding a long leash and practice from 15-20 feet away
  • To allow your dog to get distracted away from you, try recall with the leash dragging inside a fenced yard or tennis court. If you need the leash, you can step on it and use it as a helper to get your dog’s attention and refocus back on you.
  • Once your dog is achieving success, take them to a nearby park with the long leash on and try your recall command around distractions.
  • If you really want to test your dog, go to an off leash dog park once they have really impressed you on leash. Unclip the leash in the fenced park, and test your dog. Always do this before your dog gets over excited. Then once excited, try again. You will see a huge difference in the response times. The more you practice this, the better it will be.
  • If your dog can’t perform under distractions, stop doing it. Your dog is simply not ready and that is okay. Keep practicing and go back to what they can do and celebrate!

HAVE YOU MADE MISTAKES?

Whaaaat? You’re not perfect??!!!
If you’ve made mistakes with your dog doing recall, don’t worry, it’s normal.
Just start over. RESET. Get back to basics.
By following a few simple rules as outlined above,
your dog will be listening to you in no time!

Remember there is no shortcuts in dog training.
Conditioning new skills takes time.
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!
So get out there and make some progress today.
You and your dog will be so happy you did!

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Training Tips

WHEN LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH

WHEN LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH

If love alone could fix our dog’s issues, wouldn’t we all have the most well behaved dogs in the city? That’s what I tell my clients. Often they come to me with the best intentions for their dog, their heart is in the right place, they shower their dogs with love, attention, affection, the best food, the best snuggles, the best dog bed, the best toys!

But to no avail they have found themselves to have lost control of their dog’s instincts and are frustrated that their dog won’t listen to them reliably. Does this sound like you? Not to worry – youre not alone. This scenario is so common today that I have lost count of how many client consultations I’ve gone to where this is the case.  I walk in and see the floor covered in dog toys, dog beds, and chew bones. Meanwhile, the client’s dog is out of balance and displaying unwanted behaviors – over excitement, jumping on me as I arrive, or worse, non-stop barking and lunging and protecting everything in sight, and sometimes nipping or biting.  In either scenario one thing is common, the owner has lost control of their dog and is lacking in leadership. I always reassure my new client we can fix this and that the shame and embarrassment they are feeling will go away – that is – if they are willing to change and try something different.

I watch my clients cringe when I suggest structure, rules, and boundaries in their life with their dog. It sounds so drastic at first to an owner who has given their dog complete freedom to roam and do as their dog pleases anytime of the day.  Quizzical looks come my way when I suggest structured feeding times, walks, and even a crate for bed time. A crate? Isn’t that like a jail sentence to a dog? All of these responses I am accustomed to. I know with my experience, working with and fixing so many unstructured and undisciplined dogs, that this exact thing the human cringes at (structure and rules) is the exact thing the dog is longing for.

Over hundreds of years, dogs have relied on a set of rules and structure to their day for their survival. They need one strong leadership – a being that can consistently be fair and implement a social structure that makes sense to their lives. For humans, this sounds punitive. Being told what to do is not something we take lightly. We save that for our work relationships as we let our bosses guide us and direct us so that we can collect our pay checks and earn a decent living and go after that promotion.

For our dogs, to have no structure or rhythm to their day is pure torture. It causes anxiety. They can’t figure out what comes next or who is in charge. Most often the dogs I see that are stressed out, fearful or aggressive, have come to take on a role in their home as the leader of the entire household. It’s unfair to ask a dog to manage the household responsibilities for us. But in essence, when we don’t ask our dogs and train our dogs to respect spaces in the house like the doorways, or earn rewards like food or toys, we are essentially telling them they are in charge. This is a powerful position to give a dog. Leadership to a dog involves directing and protecting its pack. And size does not determine pack leader status. I’ve seen 3 pound Chihuahuas be the pack leader of an entire busy family household!

When I say love is not enough, I simply mean affection. Affection is not enough to train your dog into good manners. When I was a kid, a McDonald’s hot fudge sundae was the ultimate reward. However, I only got that reward after a trip to the dentist. It allowed me to appreciate that I had to do something to get that sundae. It wasn’t an everyday ritual for me. It had a privilege to it. I had to earn it. If my parents took me to McDonald’s every day to show me they loved me and wanted me to behave at the dentist, I probably would have continued to kick and scream and misbehave at the dentist as there was no structure or reward given to me for my good manners.

When I go into homes and see a virtual dog Disneyland of toys, treats, and bones lying around, the first thing I do is take everything up off the floor and make the dog do something for the toy. A simple sit and watch me command can earn the toy back. It doesn’t have to be complicated. But I need that dog to see that all good things come from me and only get dished out when the dog has complied with my request. This order makes sense to a dog. This helps the dog build self-esteem and provides opportunities to strengthen the relationship and bond people can have with their dogs. The same applies to the feeding ritual. For owners who leave their dogs food down all day, it tells the dog there is nothing really important worth working for here. And it takes away the opportunity to have the dog associate you with the highest reward in its day, a meal! The one who controls all resources in the home is deemed as the leader.

I can no longer count how many clients are shocked that structure makes their dog happier! I get emails from clients proclaiming how amazing it is that their dog adores its crate! That they don’t whine when they sleep in it, that they are happier they have their own space and they enjoy working for their rewards.

Go ahead, try it. Start by asking your dog to sit and wait for its dinner, toy or treat. Start right away. Watch and see how much more your dog will respect you, and enjoy the process of earning everything it gets. You will feel happier knowing your dog is fulfilled, and you will start to get control back in your household and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Want to learn more about how to implement structure in your routine with your dog? Need more hands on help with training techniques and implementing new rituals to get rid of those pesky nuisance behaviors for good? Try a private training program to maximize your results in a short amount of time. If you want freedom from stress, worry and eliminate unwanted behaviors permanently, contact Drew at Canine solutions for a complimentary phone consultation. You will be amazed at how after just one session the relationship with your dog will change.

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Training Tips

Tips for how to keep your dog safe during Halloween

Tips for how to keep your dog safe during Halloween

Dog Obedience Training Vancouver BC

Halloween is here! Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself and your dog for the big night.

Think twice about dog costumes – Although your dog may look cute or festive in a costume remember to not put more undue stress onto your animal. If your dog is hesitant do not force a costume on him/her. As cute as these may be, they can cause harm to your pooch, especially those that constrict your dogs movement or sight as this is a hazard for them.

Candy is a hazard for dogs – Keep it away from your pet, especially chocolate which can be extremely toxic for dogs. Also be mindful of candy wrappers as intestinal blockages can occur if consumed by your dog.

Do not over compensate with affection if your dog is nervous or scared – This will only reinforce their fear. Remember to reward your dog with affection when s/he is in a calm submissive state.

Act as normally as possible – even when fireworks or loud noises are happening around you or outside – The less you react or become stressed, the more your dog will follow your calm energy. Talking or trying to reassure your dog with affection during can communicate that there is something to worry about and could further stress your dog.

Avoid taking your dog trick or treating- Bring your dog indoors. Minimize the harm and overwhelm that potentially may happen to your dog by other strangers.

If you and your pet do venture out on Halloween night, be mindful of hazardous decorations near ground level – Watch for pumpkins with candles that may get knocked over by an excited tail. Some people also light candles and place them on their door stoop. Keep your pet away from potentially harming themselves or others.

Ensure you have a proper ID tag and that it is securely fastened to your dogs collar – Remember, better safe than sorry. If your dog somehow does stray or gets loose, this preventative measure will increase your chances of someone bringing your pet back to you.

Buy reflective gear, be visible! Many companies now sell glow in the dark collars for dogs as well as reflective materials on dog jackets. With so many people out on the street at the same time, this will help small children see you and your dog as well as cars that are approaching as you cross intersections.

Help your dog get familiar with your costume – Your dog may view you as a stranger once you are in costume and may become fearful. You can have your dog sniff these outfits, wigs, etc before the big night so that when you do put them on s/he will already be accustomed to them.

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Training Tips

TOP 7 TIPS TO HELP WINTERIZE YOUR WALK

TOP 7 TIPS TO HELP WINTERIZE YOUR WALK

Like all dog owners this time of year, I start to really appreciate those dry days of fall. With November in full swing, it’s darker earlier, which means your daily after work walk with your pooch can be wet and dreary. I wanted to share a few helpful tips for dog owners to assist in getting ready for the winter season in Vancouver.

1. INVEST IN A WATERPROOF JACKET – Who wants to walk in the pouring rain and get soaked? No one. If this is your first winter with your new dog, you will want to invest in a waterproof jacket. Ask any dog owner in Vancouver and they will agree, it’s worth every penny. Make sure its waterproof, and not water resistant! Speaking from my own experience, a water resistant jacket will not hold up in the pouring rain for more than 10 minutes.

2.  A MUST – WATERPROOF SHOES OR BOOTS – You will be thankful you invested in this essential dog walking gear, the waterproof shoe! There are more and more options on the market that offer Gore-Tex lining on shoes and boots. I invested in a mid cut walking trail boot and it works like a charm in the rain and snow. My feet stay dry and warm and they are light and comfortable. The right shoe makes your dog walk much more enjoyable. For those who love rubber boots, go for it! They will keep your feet dry, but be warned, you will need a nice thermal sock to go inside as those buggers can get cold quick.

3. SHINE A LIGHT ON THINGS – How many times have you tried to find your dog’s poop in the dark? It’s almost impossible. It seems to be that very last bathroom break of the night where I’m making a fool of myself in my most ridiculous outfit (some random pj’s or misfit mismatch duo) staring at blades of grass or piles of leaves trying to find those few little terds my dog dropped. And the silly thing is, I know I’m not alone! Most dog owners have flailed late at night trying to figure out where Mr. Poopers dropped it. I’ve reverted to two options to solve this issue; a mini flashlight stored in my pocket, or my flashlight app that I downloaded onto my smartphone. Both work like a charm! And best of all, not only will you will save yourself time and energy, you will reduce the shame factor by minimizing the time outside in that crazy dog walking outfit.

4. WEAR REFLECTIVE GEAR, SAVE A LIFE – Let’s face it, with the clocks going back, it gets darker earlier. When you consider this and the fact that in Vancouver we have a wet and very low visibility environment, you and your dog are at risk of not being seen by traffic. I realize that not every dog owner can walk their dog in a ‘heal’ position, and for this reason, you must have reflective gear on your jacket and on your dog. I had a client tell me that after she completed the Leader of the Pack training sessions with me that I had inadvertently helped save her dogs life. See, they weren’t wearing reflective gear and as they went to cross the road on a dark November night in the rain, a car turning the corner didn’t see them and just missed them by an inch! She had learned how to master the walk and have her dog beside her. Had the dog been out in front, he would have been hit head on and it could have been fatal. Avoid unnecessary vet bills, get anything reflective NOW and put it on your dog. There are also glow in the dark collars and leashes on the market as well. Be preventative as this safety measure could save you or your dog’s life.

5. BUY A DOG JACKET – Dogs can get chilled easily in our climate. Help keep them warm with a protective layer. There are rain jackets now that have a fleece lining that can snap on and off. As well, for colder climates, you can simply purchase a fleece lined jacket for your dog. You want to keep their bodies as warm as possible. For those long haired dogs (retrievers, setters, shih tzu terriers), a jacket will help keep their fur from soaking up the rain and from matting.

6. FIND PLACES TO WALK WITH LOTS OF TREES – Like any good Vancouverite, I know a relentless rainy day when I see one. You know the one I’m talking about… where the sheets of rain just keep flooding the streets and you have trouble seeing more than a few feet in front of you. When I know it is extremely miserable weather, I will find places to walk that are covered by trees. Trees can provide some shelter from the rain. If you have a really active dog that needs a lot of exercise, you may want to go to the trails in Pacific Spirit Park or Lynn Canyon for example. These trails are heavily lined with trees and help protect from the rain.

7. DON’T WANT TO WALK YOUR POOCH IN THE RAIN? Or perhaps your pooch hates getting wet? Try this solution – train and play indoors! A lot of dog owners I come across underestimate the power of draining energy thru psychological challenges for their dogs. Play hide and seek, practice the place command, get a treadmill, fetch, or puzzle games. All of these activities will help drain your dog’s energy. My clients are always amazed how doing one training session with me completely knocks their dog out for the day. Your dog needs mental stimulation. Not only will you have a tired dog after your done training, you will have a stronger bond. And who doesn’t want their dog to love them more than they already do?

Remember, rain or shine,  your dog needs to walk. Keep the above tips in mind next time you head out. Stay safe and keep moving.

Posted by:  Andrea Warner, Dog Trainer.

For more tips and advice, feel free to email Andrea Warner Dog Trainer at info@caninesolutionstraining.com or visit their YouTube page for training videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCed0uCUV_ITPC146bm-wnyA