As I was preparing for this week’s blog, I found several articles that I thought were interesting and insightful. This first one is about the emotional states of older dogs and how they may not show it, but they need the comfort and support of their caregivers as much as young dogs, and perhaps even more. Their signals may be subtle, (lip-licking, panting, avoiding eye contact), but strange situations or people may give them pause and they depend on their people to help them in stressful situations.
The next article contained a terrific chart of “30 Positive Reinforcement Training Tips for Your Pet.” Like the above article, Reisner Veterinary Behavior Services posted the link to this chart on its Facebook page. This chart has a straight forward explanation of how positive reinforcement works, and how you can easily incorporate it into your training. For example, something often advocate is summed up nicely in tips #4, 5, and 6:
4. Keep any commands short and uncomplicated.
5. Don’t say the command word more than once. They will learn the sooner they obey, the sooner they’ll get the treat.
6. Always use the same word for the same action.
Reisner made this comment with which I also agree: “Two thoughts I would add: For #25 – no need to completely phase out food; it continues to be the best (intermittent) reinforcer for many dogs. And #30 – don’t massage paws unless you’re quite sure your dog enjoys it.”
The third thing I wanted to share was a puppy socialization chart that I found at doggiedrawings.net. This poster is a great summary of what you should (and shouldn’t) do when exposing your pup to new things. As I mentioned in previous posts, properly socializing your puppy is your best insurance policy for a well adjusted adult dog. I especially love the paragraph at the bottom of the poster, and it bears repeating (a lot…):
Remember: EXPOSURE alone isn’t socialization!
If your dog isn’t having a great time you could do more harm than good. Dogs don’t just “get over” issues by themselves, so if your dog is shy, worried, or overly excited, leave the situation and work with a professional who can help both of you. If your dog is having a blast and is happy and comfortable, you’re doing a great job of socializing him!
Blog Posts by Category
- Training or “Why, Why, WHY?”
- Behavior or “What the heck?”
- Informational or Doggie Demographics
- Care and management or living together in harmony
- Philosophy of training or “Why be positive?”
- Toy Box or stuff that doesn’t fit neatly elsewhere