by Gabriel Riesco | Dec 29, 2022 | Dog Problems. Behavior Modification, Dog Training, Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs
Breed is an important trade that comes with your dog.
Why is breed so important?
Breeds were created and developed by humans for dogs to perform a specific activity or a job.
One of the traits humans favored in most breeds is High-Drive and High-intensity performance.
Working type dogs or hunting breeds are more prone to have more intense and challenging behaviors, which will require more skills on your part to tame them.
You don’t want your border collie herding cars, bikes, kids or squirrels in your city or town. You don’t want your Pitbull or any bully breeds putting up fights with other dogs. You don’t want your husky pulling you as if you were a sled. You don’t want your bulldog biting and not letting go. Or your terrier going on “tracking mode” looking for rats or who knows what. The list goes on
Having said that, It’s perfectly possible to succesfully have any breed as a family dog. No matter what breed you have to ask yourself a much more important question:
Do you want a family dog or a working dog?
If your answer is I want a family dog keep reading.
90% of the problems people have with family dogs have to do with skills related to calming your dog down not teaching your dogs on high-performance obedience and commands.
Most family dogs need to learn calm activities like going for a walk, greeting without jumping, playing off leash without getting in trouble, not destroying your backyard or furniture, no to bark excessively, not to pull on leash, laying down calmly in your house, social skills and things like that.
The first thing you want to do with a family dog is to “tame” the breed. Unless you want to win tournaments on agility or dog sports, you don’t want to encourage high-drive skills on your dog. Especially working type breeds.
#1 Mistake when training any breed as family dogs
A family dog, no matter what breed, should be trained to be a family dog not a working dog. This means more self control skills and more socialization with both humans and dogs.
A very common mistake is to encourage dog’s breeds with the thinking that they need to“fulfill” their breed needs. Breed was created by humans not by nature. It was meant to fulfill humans needs not Dog’s needs. so they have nothing to fulfill.
Another common mistake is to train a family dog on high intensity mode (“boot camp”) for a month or two thinking that once they are trained they are going to relax in your house.
This is like training a Navy seal on intense skills and once you’re done with the training asking to watch seven hours a day of TV. If you do that expect the Navy SEAL to go insane and destroy your house.
The more you fulfill their breed needs the more problems you’ll have and the more you’ll have to micromanage.
The one skill that no one teaches
Family dogs need to acquire the skill to do nothing. Yes you heard right, doing nothing is a skill and a very important one that comes with nature not with the breed. Did you know that Lions sleep 18 hours a day! Yes you heard right and that’s a high-Drive type animal. Don’t get me started with cows.
I come from the mountains where dogs are outside off-leash all the time. Their backyard is the mountains and guess what they do most of the time? They’re laying down doing nothing. They are not depressed ant they do not need to be entertained all the time with Netflix. Calm energy is still energy and a very powerful one. Contemplation is not boredom and relaxation is the cure to anxiety.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do activities and have fun with your dog. You should. What I’m saying is that your dog should have the skill to do nothing and you should too. Doing nothing is a skill that comes with nature. Most humans not only lost this skill, but even worse they project the lack of it it on their dogs.
No matter what breed you have, you need to have clarity on what kind of training and what kind of skills you want your dog to have. Training a family dog is a very specific way of training that is often overlooked or misunderstood.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved December 2022
by Gabriel Riesco | Dec 23, 2022 | Dog Training, Dog Training & Conditioning, Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs
Training a dog is an excellent way to strengthen the bond between humans and their best companions. Training a family dog might not mean what you think it means. While traditional dog training methods focus on teaching obedience commands, such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come,” brain training for dogs involves engaging the animal’s cognitive abilities to improve overall behavior, self control and problem-solving skills. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of brain training for dogs, some dog activities to try at home, and how these activities can help improve your dog’s overall well-being.
Benefits of Brain Training for Dogs
- Improved cognitive function: Just like humans, dogs experience age-related cognitive decline as they get older. Engaging in brain activities can help keep their minds sharp and prevent cognitive decline.
- Enhanced problem-solving skills: Brain training activities can help dogs learn how to think through problems, calm down and find solutions. This can be especially useful for dogs who tend to get anxious or destructive when left alone.
- Increased mental self control: Too much over-stimulation can lead to behavior problems in dogs, such as destructive chewing or excessive barking. Engaging in self control brain training activities can provide much-needed skills to help prevent these types of behaviors.
- Improved overall behavior: By teaching your dog to think and problem-solve, you’ll be helping them become more confident and well-behaved overall.
Dog Brain Activities to Try at Home
There are many brain training activities you can try at home to boost your dog’s cognitive skills and self control . Here are a few ideas to get you started from the most effective ones to the least.
- Self control games: Teaching your dog to perform activities slowly and calmly not only activates your dog’s brain power, but also teaches your dog to embrace and master calm energy. Calm energy is still energy and a very powerful one that most trainers don’t pay much attention to. An idea for this is to teach your dog to slowly walk up and down the stairs. Another good game is to teach your dog to walk through doors after you or enter a new space slowly and calmly and stay calm.
- Impulse control games: Games where your dog has to slow down and wait for a release are great for brain training because they require your dog to use their problem-solving skills to figure out how to get the treats or rewards from you. Is actually the waiting and self control that makes them tired and calmer not so much the physical activity.
- Obedience training: Obedience training is a great way to boost your dog’s brain power. By teaching your dog commands and getting them to follow them, you’ll be helping them to think and process information.
- Training games: Games like hide-and-seek can be great brain training activities for dogs. These types of games require your dog to use their nose to problem-solving skills to find you or a hidden object. Be careful not to overplay these games ( 5 mins is good) since some dog breeds will go onto “tracking mode” and will get them overstimulated and a little crazy. Calm sniffing for something is different than “tracking down” with overexcitement. You probably don’t want a police dog, you want a calm family dog. These are VERY different ways of training.
Improving Your Dog’s Overall Well-Being
In addition to the cognitive benefits, brain training for dogs can also improve their overall well-being. By providing mental “work out” and “self control skills”, crazy or out of control energy is transformed into calm and sound energy. Remember that science tells us that energy is not either created or destroyed, it can only be transformed.
Providing these brain training skills to your dog can help prevent boredom and reduce stress. In turn, this leads to significant improved behavior and a more harmonious relationship between you and your dog.
In conclusion, brain training for dogs is a great way to keep their minds sharp and improve their overall behavior. By providing mental self control skills and an outlet for their energy, you’ll be helping your dog live a happier and healthier life.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved December 2022
by Gabriel Riesco | Dec 21, 2022 | Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs, Puppy Training
How much exercise should I do with my puppy?
It’s a common mistake to think that puppies need a lot of exercise or constant attention and entertainment.
As a matter of fact puppies not only don’t need a lot of exercise, but they need a lot of sleep: 15 – 20 hours a day on average.
When you exercise or play too long with a puppy, they tend to get more cranky, aggressive and frustrated. Why? Because they are puppies. Their attention spin is very low and they get overtired very fast.
Keep your play time and training sessions short and sweet. Start teaching patience and self control by adding structure and little rules to every game. Puppies get more tired when you make them wait for things than when you rile them up and play endlessly.
If you want to play crazy with your puppy because it’s fun, that’s fine, just make sure that when you are done with the play you know how to take the time to slow your puppy down and to finish the craze/game with calmness. Warning: most people have no idea how to do this. They just stop playing “Cold turkey” and they expect their puppy to do the same. This is usually the case when I get the 911 calls. There are two very important reasons to do this:
- For you to develop a way to communicate to your puppy to calm down
- For your puppy to start learning self control and self soothing.
Generally speaking is better to do more short paly/training sessions throughout the day than fewer and longer.
Does my puppy need constant attention and supervision?
You should teach your puppy to be left alone and also to be around you without seeking for constant attention.
Every puppy should have a specific area where they spend time alone, This could be a crate, an ex-pen or a confined area that is puppy proofed. If your puppy is not in a confined area you should be supervising all the time unless he/she is sleeping.
You should also teach your puppy to be with you without having your constant attention. Being present does not mean to cater to their needs or cravings all the time.
3 Mistakes you must NOT do with your puppy that will get you into a lot of trouble:
1. Don’t give eye contact or engage when your puppy is in the crate or ex-pen.
2. Don’t let your puppy invade your space without invitation. You’ll regret it later.
3. Don’t do long periods of exercise, play or long walks.
by Gabriel Riesco | Dec 16, 2022 | Dog Problems. Behavior Modification, Dog Training, Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs, Puppy Training
The “Zoomies” is when a puppy hits a time during the day or night and starts running around back and forth like a possessed maniac.
This is a common puppy behavior. It usually starts as an expression of play and joy. Most often than not, it turns out to be an outlet of pent-up energy that ends up in a completely out of control behavior.
So why do they have the “out of control” “Zoomies”? Should you exercise more your puppy?
Restless and “out of control” behavior is caused because of the lack of sleep and structure, not because of the lack of exercise.
It’s a very common mistake to think that unruly behavior, restlessness or the “Zoomies” is because your puppy needs more exercise. As a matter of fact puppies do not need a lot of exercise, but they do need a lot of sleep and structure, just like babies.
Have in mind that puppies, like babies, are growing and developing. This takes a lot of energy out of them and that’s why they need a lot of sleep and rest.
Should I let him have the Zoomies? – “He really turns into a little devil.”
Leaving your puppy have the zoomies unchecked can lead into injuries for both humans and puppies. It can also start unwanted behaviors that will carry on as an adult dogs. Examples of these are overexcitement, unruly behavior, excessive barking, anxiety, not listening and sometimes even aggression.
There are two key elements to manage the “zoomies”
- Having a consistent schedule and making sure your puppy gets all the sleep he needs. Having a “safe area” such as a crate, an ex-pen, or some kind of confined area where they can sleep with no interruptions, is key in order for them to get the rest they need.
- Providing structure to a puppy with clarity.
But what does structure mean?
Structure means to provide guidance, boundaries and limits during their play time or activities. Just like their mothers do.
Whats important to understand is that It’s not the endless play or exercise that’s going to tire your puppy out. Quite the opposite, this will make your puppy restless, feisty and cranky. Puppies when they play the reach a point where they start getting feisty and frustrated. They stop listening and they become relentless. This is a red flag. The more you continue this activity, play or exercise the more restless and unruly your puppy will become.
On the other hand, providing structure by asking your puppy to play-stop- play; teaching your puppy to calm down in the middle of the play; and setting up clear boundaries in a calm and gentle manner will put your puppy at ease. This is precisely the meaning of structure. It’s usually the lack of clarity and consistency that creates anxiety and restlessness in your puppy.
Try and put a bunch of kids that weren’t tought any boundaries and have no self-control in a basketball court with no rules. Then see what happens. It will not end up well.
If there’s no rules, there’s no game. If there’s no game, there’s no fun.
Providing plenty of sleep/down time and providing structure to your puppy, not only will diminish the amount of “Zoomies”, but it will also keep the “Zoomies” at an intensity level where it’s just a healthy outlet of play and joy, instead of an unhealthy outlet for craziness and chaos.
© Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved November 2022