by Gabriel Riesco | Jun 1, 2023 | Dog Problems. Behavior Modification, Dog Training, Puppy Training
Getting a new puppy is an exciting and fun experience, but it can also come with its own set of challenges. One of the most common issues new puppy owners face is behavior problems, such as aggression. Aggression can be a serious problem if not addressed properly, as it can lead to injury to both humans and other animals. In this blog, I will discuss what you should do if your puppy exhibits behavior problems, specifically aggression:
– 1. Identify the type of aggression. Aggression is a very general term. Here are some different types of aggression: Aggression because of lack of Social skills, Leash aggression, dog to dog aggression, human aggression, Stranger aggression, Fear aggression, Resource guarding (food, toys or humans), Territorial aggression, Trigger aggression (hats, uniforms, gender etc), Conditioned aggression (water sprays bottles, canes, brooms, sticks etc), Dominance aggression, Redirection aggression, Pure aggression (killer instinct) and probably other types that I haven’t mentioned. As you can see there is a wide range of different types of aggression that are treated very differently.
– 2. Identify the cause of the aggression The next step in addressing your puppy’s aggression is to identify the cause. When does the aggression start and why? Is your puppy under stress? Is it fear based? Is your puppy being dominant? Is your puppy in pain? Is your puppy overstimulated or frustrated? Is your puppy getting enough sleep or down time? Understanding the root cause of the aggression will help you develop a plan to solve the issue.
– 3. Knowing the difference between Behavior Training and Obedience Training will save you a lot of time, money and energy. Going to a basic obedience group class will not make much of a difference. Once you have identified the cause of your puppy’s aggression and consulted with a professional, it’s time to implement training and behavior modification techniques. These can include Behavioral Training, coping skills, desensitization, counter-conditioning and management strategies.
– 4. Consult with a professional If your puppy’s aggression is severe or you are unsure of how to address it, it’s important to consult with a professional. A dog behaviorist, dog trainer with aggression experience or a vet behaviorist can assess your puppy’s behavior and provide guidance on how to address and solve the issue.
– 5. Be consistent and patient Addressing your puppy’s aggression will take time and patience. It’s important to be consistent with training and behavior modification techniques and to give your puppy time to learn new behaviors. Consistency is key in ensuring your puppy understands what is expected of them.
– 6. Stay calm and present. It’s important to stay calm and present when addressing your puppy’s aggression. Getting frustrated or angry will only make the situation worse. Instead, stay patient and positive.
Addressing your puppy’s aggression requires knowledge, patience, consistency, and most likely the guidance of a professional. By identifying the cause of the aggression, consulting with a professional and implementing a behavior modification plan, you will be able to overcome your puppy’s aggression issues and become a well-behaved and happy member of your family.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved May 2023
by Gabriel Riesco | Mar 31, 2023 | Dog Problems. Behavior Modification, Dog Training
Dogs eating poop, also known as coprophagia, is a common but unpleasant behavior that many pet owners struggle with. While it may seem disgusting to us, it is a normal behavior for dogs and can stem from a variety of reasons. In this blog, we will discuss why dogs eat poop and what can be done to stop it.
Why do dogs eat poop?
- Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of certain nutrients in a dog’s diet can lead to coprophagia. Dogs may eat feces to supplement their diet and get the nutrients they are missing. If you suspect your dog is eating poop due to a nutritional deficiency, consult with your veterinarian to determine if a change in diet is necessary.
- Instinct: Eating feces is a natural behavior for dogs. In the wild, dogs would eat the feces of their pack to keep their den clean and eliminate any parasites or diseases. Some rescue dogs from puppy mills learnt this behavior because they lived in a kennel 24/7.
- Boredom or anxiety: Dogs that are bored or anxious may turn to eating feces as a form of entertainment or comfort. Providing your dog with mental self control and structured exercise can help prevent boredom and anxiety-related coprophagia.
- Attention-seeking behavior: In some cases dogs may eat poop to get their owner’s attention. This can be a learned behavior, and it may be more likely to occur in dogs that figure out ways to get attention from their owners through doing unwanted behaviors.
- Medical conditions: In some cases, coprophagia may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as an intestinal parasite or a gastrointestinal disorder. If your dog has been eating feces and shows other signs of illness, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for a thorough examination.
How to stop dogs from eating poop
- Management and scheduling: Teach your dog to do poop on leash at certain time windows. As soon as he/she is done say ‘let’s go’ walk away and reward. If you keep it up long in enough (sometimes a year) it tends to disappear. Dogs do what they practice and they stop doing what they don’t practice. Create a new habit right after poop time and imprint that new behavior in your dog.
- Proper hygiene: Keeping your yard and home clean and free of feces will reduce your dog’s exposure to it and decrease the likelihood of them eating it.
- Enhance their diet: Adding digestive enzymes or probiotics to your dog’s diet can help improve their digestion and reduce their interest in eating feces. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best options for your dog.
- Provide plenty of structured activities and exercise: Make sure that your dog is getting enough structured activities, walks and exercise to keep them happy and in a sound state of mind.
In conclusion, coprophagia is a common behavior in dogs that can stem from a variety of reasons. With proper training, management, and attention, it is possible to discourage your dog from eating feces and prevent this unpleasant behavior from happening in the future. If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior, it is always best to consult with a trainer/behaviorist to implement a sound strategy and with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved December 2022
by Gabriel Riesco | Mar 28, 2023 | Dog Problems. Behavior Modification, Fun Doggy Wisdom
One of the challenges that dog parents or guardians face is dealing with a dog who marks inside the house. This behavior can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even damaging to your furniture, carpets, and walls. Fortunately, there are ways to stop this behavior and keep your home smelling fresh and clean.
Why do dogs mark inside the house?
Dogs mark inside the house for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include territorial marking, anxiety, and marking to claim an object as their own. Marking is a way for dogs to communicate with each other and to leave their scent in a specific area. This behavior is especially common in male dogs, but female dogs can also mark.
How to stop your dog from marking inside the house
- 1. Spay or neuter your dog: One of the most effective ways to stop marking is to spay or neuter your dog. This can reduce the urge to mark and help curb this behavior.
- 2. Supervise your dog: If you catch your dog marking, interrupt them by making a a sound to stop it immediately. Using an indoor leash to keep your dog close to you for a couple weeks might be necessary in combination with some kind of confinement such as a crate or a room.
- 3. When you walk your dog outside on a leash keep the walk going and don’t let your dog mark. Once they pee for the first time, the rest is marking and it’s not necessary. If they need to pee again at the end of the walk that’s fine. Marking can become a habit for some dogs. Don’t let them practice it as much as you possibly can.
- 4. Clean up the marks thoroughly: Clean up any marks with an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for pet urine. This will remove any scent that may trigger your dog to mark again.
- 5. Use deterrents: You can use deterrent sprays or motion-activated devices to discourage your dog from marking in certain areas.
- 6. Reduce stress: Try to identify what might be causing your dog stress and eliminate it. This can include changes in their routine, introduction of new pets or people, or a lack of mental and physical structured acitivities.
- 7. Provide plenty of structured activities and exercise: Make sure that your dog is getting enough structured activities, walks and exercise to keep them happy and in a sound state of mind.
- 8. Consult with a veterinarian: If your dog is marking due to an underlying medical issue, a visit to the vet is necessary.
Marking inside the house is a common issue for dog owners. However, with a little patience and the right training, you can help your dog overcome this behavior and keep your home smelling fresh and clean. By understanding why dogs mark, and using the methods outlined above, you can work with your furry friend to stop this behavior and maintain a happy, healthy home.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved March 2023
by Gabriel Riesco | Mar 16, 2023 | Dog Problems. Behavior Modification, Dog Training, Dog Training & Conditioning, For Dog Trainers, Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs, Puppy Training
Should I ever say No to my dog?
There’s an advice very often given to never say No to your dog under the mantra : “Never tell your dog don’t do that, instead teach them what to do”
The problem with this is that your dog never has a clear understanding of what not to do. And that’s not fair.
Another problem is that in order to stop your dog from doing unwanted behaviors, you have to micromanage by constantly reinforcing alternative behaviors in a helicopter parenting style.
Let me give you an example: If I go to a bank and you teach me 5 different things to do in a bank, but you never tell me that I should not rob it. Well, you can probably keep teaching me 10 other alternate behaviors and skills, but I still don’t really know that I shouldn’t rob a bank. Why wouldn’t you tell me that in first place instead of trying to micromanage every move I do with alternative behaviors?
Teaching boundaries is the art of teaching your dog not to do things or doing things in a controlled manner out of independent thinking not out of micromanagement.
Can I teach boundaries without punishing or harsh corrections?
You can teach boundaries and say no to your dog in a kind way without hurting your dog or without getting mad at your dog, but the focus should be on providing clarity on the boundary not on the alternative behaviors.
Teaching boundaries does not mean punishing your dog for doing the wrong things. I don’t use or advocate for those methods. There are ways through cognitive learning and by using basic body language techniques through which you can communícate boundaries to your dog effectively and in a kind manner.
We need to have a clear understanding that boundaries are not part of learning methodologies based on Reinforcement. Boundaries are part of social behavior skills based on self control and a clear understanding of what is and what is not acceptable.
What are learnt boundaries?
A learnt boundary is you going to a bank and not robbing it; or you going to a store and not stealing; or you waiting in a line and not pushing everyone around to get in first.
You don’t get rewarded for not doing those things and you should not need to be offered an alternative behavior. You should have a clear understanding to not to do those things. You should also have the self control skills for not doing them.
Here’s an example with my dog: A boundary is when I put my food on my coffee table and I teach my dog not to eat it even if he is laying down right next to me.
My dog has a clear understanding of what not to do and he’s perfectly fine with it. He is not stressed because there is no confusion. Not only I’m very clear with boundaries, but I also taught my dog the self control skills needed to let things go.
A boundary is not telling my dog to go to his place and stay there because I reinforced that behavior one million times. That’s obedience training. These are two very different concepts. Obedience training is about teaching new behaviors not about teaching behavioral skills.
Why are boundaries so important?
The lack of behavioral training is a huge problem because there is no clarity, there is no self control skills and involves helicopter parenting. Helicopter parenting kills independent thinking and autonomy on your dog. It’s also exhausting and very time consuming on the humans.
Self control is very different than impulse control.
When you impose obedience training and helicopter parenting over behavior training with the mantra: “Never tell your dog don’t do that, instead teach them what to do” think what you are really doing.
You are basically going through a byzantine labyrinth of alternate behaviors in order to stop your dog from doing unwanted behaviors. This is based on impulse control not on self control. Impulse control is micromanaged . Self control is autonomous thinking.
Let’s be clear that when you condition your dog to do an alternative behavior with 1 million repetitions, you’re not giving him/her a “choice”, which is the magic word used to convince people of these methods. There is no choice here. Is either you do what i want or I’m gonna repeat this 1 million times and manipulate the environment until you do so. Then I’m going to convince my self that it was your choice.
It’s perfectly fine to use this method if your purpose is to teach your dog new skills, tricks or behaviors. I use it all the time and positive reinforcement is the best way to go. The focus here is on learning and reinforcing new behaviors.
But this method and this mantra is a very inefficient way to teach boundaries. This is because your dog never learns what he or she is not supposed to do. Boundaries and rules are very necessary and needed information in order to adapt to any environment. They are also the best way to have independent thinking and autonomy without having to be micromanaged.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved March 2023
by Gabriel Riesco | Mar 14, 2023 | Dog Problems. Behavior Modification, For Dog Trainers, Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs
Dominance and aggression are two concepts that are often associated with each other, but their relationship is more complex than many people realize. While dominance can sometimes lead to aggressive behavior, it is not always the case, and there are many factors that can influence how these two concepts are related.
First, it’s important to understand what we mean by dominance. In animal behavior, dominance refers to a hierarchical relationship in which one individual (the dominant) has priority access to resources such as food, water, or mates. Dominance is often established through displays of aggression or other assertive behaviors, such as standing tall, baring teeth, or making loud vocalizations.
Aggression, on the other hand, is a behavior that is aimed at causing harm or intimidation to another individual. A lot of aggressive behaviors are the outcome of fear where the dog goes into fight/flight mode. It can range from simple displays of warning or threat, such as growling or snarling, to more serious forms of physical violence such as biting or attacking.
What’s the relationship between dominance and aggression?
While dominance and aggression are often associated with each other, it’s important to recognize that the relationship between the two is not always straightforward. In some cases, dominant individuals may use aggression as a means of establishing and maintaining their dominance. For example, a dominant individual may use physical force to prevent others from accessing resources, or to punish subordinates who disobey them.
However, it’s also important to recognize that aggression in many occasions is not a product of dominance. Some individuals may be naturally more aggressive than others, regardless of their position in the social hierarchy. Additionally, there are many situations in which aggression may be provoked by factors other than dominance, such as fear, frustration, anxiety or specific triggers.
To sum up, dominance and aggression have a complex relationship. Dominance can sometimes lead to aggressive behavior, but aggression can also be provoked by a variety of factors unrelated to dominance. Understanding the relationship between these two concepts requires a nuanced understanding of the social and ecological
by Gabriel Riesco | Mar 9, 2023 | Dog Body Language, Dog Problems. Behavior Modification, Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs
Dogs are our loyal companions, and getting their trust is essential for developing a strong and healthy bond with them. Building trust with your dog is a process that requires kindness, clarity, confidence and competence.
Love is all you need?
There is a misconception that you’ll get trust from your dog by just being kind, loving and compassionate. This is not true. Animals, including humans, do not think like that.
Being kind, loving and compassionate is where you should come from. At least that’s my philosophy. Any animal lover comes from kindness and from compassion. But that’s not entirely what you trust, that’s just the starting point. Although it’s a must, it doesn’t stop there and it’s not enough.
When you trust someone is because he or she knows what they are doing, not just because they are kind or compassionate. Dogs and animals in general are the same way.
Let me give you an example. If you are in an airplane would you trust a kind and compassionate pilot that doesn’t know how to drive? Of course not. Would you trust a pilot that is insecure, incompetent or not qualified to drive? You wouldn’t, even if he or she was a very nice person.
When you really think about it what you trust is competence and confidence on top of kindness. The reason why I emphasize this is because most dog problems that I deal with don’t come from the lack of compassion or kindness. The problem is usually the lack of clarity, confidence and knowledge. Without clarity, confidence and knowledge, competence becomes an impossible task.
What’s the missing piece?
If you are a kind and a compassionate person the main way to gain trust with your pup is with guidance and leadership. By leadership I don’t mean being the Alpha or using dominance. I mean taking the responsability to guide and being accountable for it. Like parents do. YOU are responsible of your dog’s behavior and education. The difference between leadership and dominance is that the first one comes from acceptance and the latter one comes from imposition, force or fear.
Your dog won’t trust you if you don’t give guidance and lead with kindness, clarity, confidence and competence. The same way you wouldn’t trust someone that doesn’t have those virtues.
Here are some game changers to build trust with your dog:
1. Communicate Effectively:
Dogs communicate through body language, so it’s essential to learn to read your dog’s body language and respond appropriately with your own body language. This will help you to understand your dog’s needs and feelings better, and it will help your dog understand you better. This will make your dog feel understood and valued and will take your trust to higher level.
2. Be Patient:
Building trust with your dog sometimes can take time. Be patient with your dog and allow them to adjust to their new environment at their own pace.
3. Develop good timing skills.
Good timing means to read the rhythm of your dog’s learning and adjusting process. Allowing your dog/s to learn and grow at their own pace doesn’t neccessarily mean slow. Finding the rhythm and the learning pace of your dog it’s an art form and can safe you a lot if time and frustrations. Is like syncing with your dog.
4. Respect their uniqueness:
Every dog is different and it’s essential to respect this. If your dog seems uncomfortable or scared in certain situations, don’t force them to do something they don’t want to do. Instead, work with your dog and help them overcome their fears at their own pace. Helping a dog overcoming fears takes trust to a whole different level.
5. Be Consistent:
Consistency is crucial when building trust with your dog. Guiding in a consistent way will make your dog feel safe, secure, and comfortable in their environment, and it will help them to trust you more.
6. Set up clear boundaries:
Dogs feel safe when they have a clear understanding of what’s permitted and what’s not. When you don’t know the rules you can’t play the game. You don’t need a lot of rules, but the rules need to be clear. When rules are not clear, dogs become anxious, restless and aggressive. Providing structure and clarity will make your dog really trust you.
In conclusion, building trust with your dog is a process that requires kindness, clarity, confidence and competence. Building a strong and healthy bond with your furry friend will last a lifetime.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved March 2023