Friday, September 25, 2015

Tough love? I dont get it.....

I was reading a post about someone using "tough love" on a fearful foster. Seriously? Made him take a bath, do his nails and used a blow dryer. "Boy was he mad!" It read. Maybe he was scared to death. Ya think?  It also reads that more tough love and he'll be just fine. Wow.

First of all folks-you can't reinforce fear. Fear is a feeling not a behavior. How do you think that dog will feel in the future about baths, nail trimming and blow drying? Not good. I can assure you.

Second of all-you can't explain "tough love" to a dog like you can to a person. But if you pair up wonderful things (treats, play, affection) with the scary thing or event, they will have a better feeling, maybe even a happy feeling about it.

I have used this technique many times, especially with my Help for Reactive Dogs Class. Most recently with my Pyrenees Tulip. She was very afraid of baths and nail trims. I used a clicker and hot dogs to help her move up to the bathroom, move into the bathroom, close the door, step into the tub and finally take a bath. When she would hesitate, we went slower.

Today, my daughter rubbed Tulip's tummy while I did nails. No fear. So the point is-you can't reinforce fear. But you can teach new behaviors to overcome fear using positive force free methods. Just do it!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Let 'em Sniff

The noses lead. Dogs love to sniff. They can tell so much about what's going on by smelling the ground, plants, trees, posts, just about everything. It makes them feel more secure if they can check things out on a walk. Kinda like us and our cell phones. What do we grab first thing in the morning, last thing at night, after a meeting or a meal-our phone. We need to know what's going on. So do our dogs. So let them sniff and smell.

But how do we move the walk on? They'd sniff and smell all day! I have a cue for mine. It goes like this: when the sniff time is over (determined by you) I say their name then "1,2,3 Let's go!" On the 3 Let's go! My feet start moving and we move along.

Give your dog some sniff time, they need to check out THEIR social media too!