Tip: Importance of a Walk

I stress the importance of allowing our dogs the freedom to run, play, romp around in a secure area. The secure area may be a physical fence, an invisible fence or in a doggie daycare. This activity allows our dogs the opportunity to “be a dog.” This will never change. But…. Let’s talk about the importance of leash walking.

It doesn’t matter if your dog has their own backyard or property to run in. All dogs need to be taken on leash walks. A dog should be taken on a leash walk at least once per day. Rain, sun, wind…your dog needs to walk.

I want your dogs on their training leash, not a retractable leash. The distance you walk is not important. The way you walk is what is important.

When you walk, I want you to walk with a purpose. I want you to travel and I don’t want you to stop. I want your dog’s head up, I don’t want them sniffing. The more that your dog stops to sniff, the more overstimulated they will get. When dogs get overstimulated, their behavior is more likely to become uncontrollable. This is why many dogs “zoom” around the house after they return home from a walk.

Leash walking your dog is one of the easiest ways that you can assert yourself as a leader.

Dogs need a purpose. Dogs need a job to work for us. This is why many of our dogs like to carry something as they walk (a stick, toy, etc.) The next time you are at the pet food store, pick up a saddle pack for your dog to wear as you walk. You will be amazed to see how their head will go up. They will prance and be much better behaved on their walk.

Happy Training,

Susie :)

Tip: Training vs. Teaching

There is a difference between teaching and training a dog.  So often I hear, “My dog knows what they are supposed to do, but they just won’t do it”

When this is the case, you have done a great job of teaching your dog, now all you have to do is train them.
Teaching your dogs tells them what to do. Once your dog understands what to do, it is your second job to follow through and make sure they respond. This is training your dog.

Being a great dog trainer involves action. Don’t be a “spectator” and watch your dog misbehave or not listen.  Direct your dog if they are not directing themselves. Help them be successful. You will be rewarded for it!

Happy Training,

Susie :)

Tip: Talk to your Dog

You don’t have to be verbally talking to your dog to “talk” to them.

Recently, I was teaching a dog to walk beside me on a leash and the dog owner asked me a question: “Why aren’t you giving my dog any commands?”

My answer was: “Even though I am not giving your dog any verbal commands, I am still giving her plenty of ‘information’. I am communicating to your dog by giving her a consistent leash length, a leash without tension, and a steady pace to follow.” After she learned to walk beside me, I added the verbal commands.

We all talk too much to our dogs. This is natural because they are our companions and we enjoy speaking to them.

Your dog will learn more from watching your body language and feeling your energy than they will from listening to your voice.

When your dog has picked up an inappropriate object in their mouth and you say “Come”….your dog will evaluate your body language, as they hear the command. If you are standing up straight, face front to your dog, with your hands on your hips, feeling annoyed, your dog will to respond to your body language before they respond to your verbal command.

Again, you can “talk” to your dog without actually talking to them! Remember to be aware of what your body language is communicating to your dog!

Happy Training,

Susie :)

Tip: Plan your Actions

Look for patterns of inappropriate behavior from your dog and then take action! If your dog loves to grab socks from the laundry room, practice in advance! If you wait for your dog to grab a sock as you are making dinner, you will be torn between attending to the dinner or dealing with your dog’s behavior efficiently. Unfortunately, you may let your dog get away with it “just this once,” and your dog will learn to intensify their efforts next time. Practice a “drop it” exercise with a sock when your dog can have your full attention.

When we don’t plan and just react, we don’t always come up with the best solutions!

Learn from your experience, come up with a plan and take action!!

Happy Training,

Susie :)

Tip: Exercise to Keep your Dog Relaxed

There are many ways to exercise our dogs. With most of you, we have discussed the importance of appropriate games to play with your dog.

I stress the importance of games like: fetch, find it, hide and seek, and soccer.

We have discussed the importance of having your dog romp with other dog(s) in a secure space….allowing them the opportunity explore through the woods…and creating the opportunity to practice their breed specific activities like herding, tracking, water retrieving, etc.

These activities give your dog excellent physical exercise, BUT….please don’t forget these activities also create EXCITEMENT.

There is only one activity that will exercise your dog and RELAX your dog at the same time. It is….leash walking. To be more specific….proper leash walking. When walking by your side and walking at a consistent, steady pace…your dog will begin to relax walking in this zone or a rhythm.

This is especially important for young dogs that have a more difficult time controlling their excitement. This is why I continue to encourage you to walk with your dog, as it will help balance and relax your dog’s mind.

Happy Training,

Susie :)

Tip: Staying Calm and Confident

Dogs naturally follow calm and stable energy.

Often, when dealing with our dogs, we may become frustrated, nervous or sometimes even become angry.

When we react to our dog’s behavior with this type of energy, dogs will naturally react defensively and their inappropriate behavior often escalates.

I form a healthy, balanced relationship with your dog, because I move slowly, my movements are deliberant and confident, and my energy is always relaxed.

If you find that your dog has misbehaved, your brain may be angry (!!!), but if you respond with that energy, your relationship with your dog will only deteriorate.

So,….remember to stay calm and confident and you will be rewarded with your dog’s appropriate response.

Happy Training,

Susie :)

Need training tips? Join the Pack