Why Do Dogs Bury Bones? You’d Be Surprised

Why Do Dogs Bury Bones? You’d Be Surprised

Dogs never cease to amaze us with their fascinating behaviors. Among these actions, the act of burying bones has captivated dog parents for generations. Have you ever found yourself wondering why your pup diligently digs a hole in the backyard or carefully stashes their prized possessions in the garden? Let’s go over the secrets behind this instinctive dog behavior, tracing its roots back to the wild ancestors of our beloved pups.

1. Why They Do It: Instincts from the Wild

Understanding this behavior takes us into little evolutionary journey. Domestic dogs share a common ancestry with wolves, and the practice of burying bones can be traced back to their wild instincts. In the wild, wolves buried surplus food to shield it from scavengers and create reserves for leaner times. This survival instinct has been passed down through generations, with specific breeds, such as Basset Hounds, Dachshunds, and Terriers, displaying a heightened inclination to bury toys and food due to their historical roles in digging for underground prey.

Moreover, dogs exhibit a hoarding mentality, a reflection of their pack instincts. Burying bones becomes a way for them to secure resources within their family “pack,” even if that pack comprises their human companions. Scent marking, another layer of this behavior, allows dogs to leave their mark on buried treasures, creating a connection through their acute sense of smell. In essence, your dog may be engaging in a complex dance of survival instincts and pack behavior when burying bones.

Additionally, dogs might resort to burying bones as a stress-relief mechanism during times of change, excitement, or anxiety. Just as humans save leftovers for later, dogs may bury bones for a future, more suitable time to enjoy their tasty treats.

2. When You Should Be Concerned

Now that we’ve uncover the mystery behind why dogs bury bones, let’s get into effective strategies to manage this behavior, especially when it seems like your garden is transforming into a doggy excavation site. The concept of resource abundance plays a crucial role here. Mimicking the natural ebb and flow of resources in the wild can help curb excessive burying tendencies.

Instead of giving more toys to keep them busy, limit the number of toys or bones available to your dog at any given time, providing just one or two and rotating them weekly. This not only prevents an overflow of resources but also stimulates your dog’s curiosity, preventing boredom. Timing is also crucial; avoid giving your dog a bone immediately after a meal when their stomach is full, as they are more likely to bury bones when resources are in surplus. Engaging in interactive play fosters a stronger bond and reinforces the idea that resources are shared, discouraging hoarding behavior.

Consider the breed-specific tendencies related to digging. Breeds originally bred for digging may display more confidence in burying behavior. Understanding these breed nuances can further aid in managing your dog’s natural instincts.

3. What to Do About It: Should You Worry?

While burying things is a natural and instinctive behavior, considering potential concerns and taking proactive measures is essential for a harmonious household.

Potential Concerns:

a. Paw and Nail Injuries: Digging in areas with a rigid substrate can lead to abrasions and discomfort for your furry friend.

b. Indoor Damages: Burying behavior may extend indoors, resulting in damage to items like pet beds and couch cushions.

c. Stress for Both: Constant worry about belongings and disapproval can create stress for both pet parents and their dogs.

What to Do:

a. Do NOT Create a Designated Digging Area: Do NOT redirect your dog’s instincts by providing a designated digging spot in your backyard filled with loose soil or sand if you don’t want to encourage that behavior or if your dog starts obsessing about it. 

b. Understanding Breed-Specific Behavior: Recognize that certain breeds are more inclined to bury items and tailor your approach accordingly. 

c. Work the breed out: If your dog’s breed encourages this behavior and you have a family dog, work on behavior training to start working the obsessive side of the breed out of your dog.. Certain breeds are prone to obsessions. Have in mind that breed was created by humans not by nature

d. Implement Behavior Training: Help your dog regulate compulsive behaviors by teaching self control and self management.

e. Supervision and Management: Keep an eye on your dog, intervening when needed and reinforcing boundaries. 

In conclusion the mystery behind why dogs bury bones lies in their deep-rooted instincts inherited from their wild ancestors.

While this behavior is natural and instinctive, it’s crucial for pet parents to be aware of potential concerns and take proactive measures for a harmonious household. Paw and nail injuries, indoor damages, and stress for both the pet and owner are important factors to take into considerations. Managing this behavior involves a thoughtful approach, considering breed-specific tendencies, resource abundance, interactive play and behavior training if needed.

Effective strategies, such as limiting the number of toys, understanding breed nuances, and engaging in behavior training, can help strike a good balance.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved Dec 2023

Potty Training Mastery: No More Accidents!

Potty Training Mastery: No More Accidents!

Potty training your puppy is not just a task; it’s a commitment that can last several weeks or months depending on your puppy. While the process may seem straightforward, its success relies on your dedication to understand and follow follow these two  things: 1.The Two stages of Puppy training  2.The Three Pillars of Puppy Training . Let’s dive into the two stage process and the nuances of each fundamental pillar, ensuring that you and your pup build a strong foundation for a clean and happy home.

1.The Two Stages of Potty Training Mastery

Stage one: Puppies can’t hold the bladder too long

– Frequent Outdoor Trips

During the initial stage, when puppies are still learning to control their bladders, take them outside frequently, especially after meals, naps, extended confinements, trips, or play sessions. By staying observant, you can predict their elimination needs.

– Creating a Safe Space

Prevent mistakes by confining your pup to a specific area in the house using baby gates or a crate with engaging toys. Puppies are less likely to eliminate in spaces where they spend a significant amount of time. Most puppies don not eliminate where they sleep. Have in mind that puppies need to sleep 15 – 18 hours a day.

– Consistent Schedule

Follow a consistent feeding schedule (usually three times a day) and take your puppy outside regularly. If they don’t eliminate, bring them back to the crate and try again later, maintaining persistence until success.

– Positive Reinforcement

Refrain from reacting if your puppy makes a mistake initially. Instead, use positive reinforcement when they eliminate in the right spot, creating a positive association with the designated area.

– Avoid Punishment

Avoid punishment or yelling, as this may lead to negative associations and hiding behavior. Stay calm, patient, and focus on teaching rather than punishing.

– Establish a Cue

Use a cue like “go pee” or “go potty” consistently, associating it with the desired behavior. Reward with praise or treats to reinforce the cue.

Stage Two: Teaching your puppy to hold the bladder

– Crate Training

To teach your puppy to hold it, utilize a crate or a confined area where they won’t eliminate. Puppies generally avoid going to the bathroom where they sleep, eat, or spend a significant amount of time. You can start teaching your puppy to hold the bladder by extending crate time 

– Positive and Calm Crate Association

Associate the crate with relaxation, comfort, and security by using it as the designated sleeping area during the day. However, avoid crating for more than three hours at a time unless your puppy keeps sleeping. Do not wake him or her up if they are sleeping. 

– Alternative Confinement

If you don’t have a crate, a puppy-proofed kitchen with baby gates can serve as an alternative confined area. Establish a schedule for outdoor bathroom breaks during specific time windows.

In the second stage, focus on gradually extending the time between bathroom breaks, reinforcing the idea of holding it for longer periods.

2. The Three Pillars of Successful Potty Training 

1. Timing: A Crucial Element

The cornerstone of effective housetraining lies in your ability to anticipate when your puppy needs to eliminate. By understanding your pup’s schedule, you can guide them to an appropriate toilet area and reward them for their good behavior. This pivotal understanding forms the backbone of a successful training schedule.

2. Supervision: A Watchful Eye

When it comes to supervision is very simple. Your puppy puppy needs to be in one of these 3 places:

  1. In a crate or confined area, 
  2. Outdoors where they can release.
  3. Under supervision indoors   

In any case observation is key. If you start teaching your puppy that the bathroom is only outside or only in a designated area In just a matter of weeks, your little furry ball will grasp the art of bladder control and settle into a predictable routine. The vigilant eye you keep during this phase sets the stage for success.

3. Scheduling.

Set up a simple schedule following the above 3 places where you puppy should be: 1 crate, outdoors, free supervised time. Organizing your puppies time will reduce your stress and will also reduce accidents to ZERO! If you want to get a free sample schedule from a professional breeder click here: Sample Professional Potty Training Schedule 

By understanding and implementing these strategies, you’re not just potty training your puppy; you’re building a lifelong foundation of good behavior and a structured schedule. Stay patient, consistent, and positive, and you’ll find yourself celebrating your puppy’s successful transition to a well-trained family member.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved January 2024

New Baby, Old Paws: Tips for a Successful Introduction”

New Baby, Old Paws: Tips for a Successful Introduction”

Question:

How can we assist Ralph, our beloved Beagle, in becoming more at ease with other people entering our apartment, particularly our dog walker? Despite being generally wonderful with our baby—leaving her in peace and occasionally giving her a gentle face lick upon our return—he tends to go into a frenzy, barking, jumping, and even snapping when someone else enters our home.

Answer:

This is a question that frequently comes my way, and it’s essential to approach it from a perspective aimed at achieving positive results. Instead of focusing solely on techniques, let’s explore this situation in more detail and uncover comprehensive strategies to ensure a harmonious household for both Ralph and your baby.

Understanding Ralph’s Behavior

To address Ralph’s  behavior, we need to start by understanding why he reacts the way he does. His response might be rooted in fear, insecurity, excessive excitement, anxiety, a sense of responsibility for the household, the role of a parent, or being the decision maker. In Ralph”s case, I have firsthand knowledge, and he’s exhibiting protective behavior towards the household, its occupants, and, most importantly, the baby.

The key question to ask is: Who holds the responsibility for the household’s well-being? Who assumes the role of a parent, deciding who’s welcome and who’s not? Is it you, or has Ralph taken on this role as the decision maker? If your answer leans towards Ralph, that’s the root of the problem. He’s merely fulfilling what he perceives as his duty, which can be problematic. The solution is to assert your role as the one responsible for making these decisions. Once you establish this, Ralph will naturally ease his protective stance.

Building a Strong Foundation

This question explores the dynamics of your relationship with Ralph. You need to position yourself as the one responsible for the household’s well-being, the parent in the household. Gaining Ralph”s trust and respect is the first step to guide his behavior effectively.

Effective Techniques for Behavioral Training

While understanding the foundation is vital, implementing practical techniques for behavioral training is equally crucial. The first step is teaching your dog to maintain distance from the door and remain calm when a guest arrives. You can do this through methods such as redirection and desensitization. These techniques will help your dog to learn appropriate behavior and reduce his anxiety.

Ongoing Support and Guidance

You may be wondering, “How do I establish this foundation and implement these techniques effectively?” 

By addressing the root causes of Ralph”s behavior and employing effective behavioral training techniques, you can ensure a safe and harmonious household for both your baby and your furry friend. Establishing yourself as the responsible party for the household’s well-being will lead to a happier and more comfortable environment for everyone involved.”

Stay tuned, as I’ll explore this topic further in future posts, providing ongoing support and guidance on building a strong, harmonious bond with your beloved Ralph.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved Nov 2023

 

How to Foster Confidence and Self-Esteem in Your Dog.

How to Foster Confidence and Self-Esteem in Your Dog.

How to Foster Confidence and Self-Esteem in Your Dog.

According to Learning Theories, Positive Reinforcement is widely recognized as the best and, in fact, the only effective way to impart skills and build self-confidence. However, there are two subtle nuances and flaws within this statement that deserve your attention:

1. Learning skills are distinct from behavioral skills.

2. Self-esteem and resilience also develop when faced with failure and adversity, not solely in times of success.

It is crucial to emphasize that Positive Reinforcement remains an essential tool for nurturing confidence and self-esteem in your dog. Positive Reinforcement stands as the primary method for teaching dogs new tasks or skills, as it hinges on motivation and rewards. Yet, it is not the sole element at play and for many dogs it is not enough.

Let’s talk about  those two very important aspects that you should consider to build self esteem in your dog:

1. Learning Skills vs. Behavioral Skills

Boundaries, rules, and discipline fall under the realm of social behavior and coping mechanisms rather than learning theory methodologies. These are two distinct fields. To illustrate, let me share an example:

Years ago, during my tenure as a jazz musician, I began teaching music to troubled kids in the South Bronx Projects. My teaching approach was rooted in positive reinforcement, yielding fantastic results. Why? Because there were two other staff members responsible for discipline; they adeptly set boundaries and rules, maintaining clarity with the children. My role revolved around the enjoyable task of music instruction, while theirs involved handling conflict and behavioral issues. It’s evident that these roles differ significantly.

I want to stress that, in behavioral training, there is no requirement for physical corrections or the use of tools like prong collars, e-collars, or choke chains. While these tools might have their place when used by knowledgeable trainers, they do not align with my training philosophy and are not, in my opinion and experience, necessary.

2. Self-Esteem and Resilience in the Face of Challenges

Teaching your dog to navigate through distressing situations contributes not only to enhanced self-esteem and resilience but also to self-control, a vital skill in behavioral training. Confronting unfamiliar or uncomfortable circumstances and mastering them cultivates resilience and confidence. This capability enables your dog to respond appropriately and independently when confronted with conflicts. The goal is to teach your dog the ability to cope and react autonomously when conflict arises. Which is what Behavior Training exercises are about.

Relying solely on Positive Reinforcement may lead to a constant need for redirection and the offering of alternative behaviors.

In contrast, behavioral training exposes your dog to stressful situations while maintaining a manageable level of discomfort (under threshold), allowing your dog to learn coping skills, independent thinking, and the power of true choice. This fosters self-control and the development of social skills not impulse control and obedience performance skills like “sit”, “down”,  “wait”,  “place”, etc 

Consider the following example:

If another dog barks and lunges at my dog, my objective in Behavioral Training is not to command my dog to “sit” and “wait”. Instead, my aim is to equip my dog with the skill to control his reactions. It becomes his choice to either ignore the dog, attempt to facilitate socialization, or move away. These choices come from my dog’s self-control, as opposed to my direct commands like “sit,” “wait,” or “leave it.” The ability to control his responses and remain in the “green zone” characterizes Behavioral Training. Conversely, instructing my dog to “sit,” “stay,” or “leave it” constitutes Obedience Training, focusing on conditioned learning from external cues.

Let’s take another example: jumping at guests. 

Dogs jumping results from overexcitement and human reinforcement. In Behavioral Training, the goal is to teach your dog to manage his excitement during guest interactions, preventing jumping from occurring. This avoids the need for correction or redirection. Dogs naturally greet by sniffing and investigating, not by jumping. In Behavior Training we’ll teach the dog to greet guests without jumping. 

In Obedience Training, the objective is to condition your dog to “sit” and “wait” for guests. The issue with Obedience Training arises when dogs lack self-regulation, potentially breaking the “stay” command or barking while in the “place” position. The fundamental problem with this approach is that your dog is “waiting”. At some point you have to release him/her. When you do, then they usually jump on your guests. The other problem is that a lot of high energy dogs, who are usually the jumpers, will bark excessively while waiting in their “Place position”. Teaching your dog to “wait” on Place is not the same as teaching your dog to greet your guests without jumping. 

Behavioral Training exercises and methods are designed to teach your dog self regulation and independent thinking. This eventually translates into social skills and coping skills which will enhance self esteem and self confidence. Obedience Training is designed to condition your dog to obey your cues on command with positive reinforcement. Very different outcomes and methodolgies.

Trends and misleading mantras:

Now, let’s address a recent trend promoting the idea that confidence and self-esteem can only be nurtured through positive reinforcement, banning the use of the word “No,” and cautioning against establishing boundaries.

This mantra goes as follows: “Never tell your dog ‘don’t do that’; instead, teach them what to do.

As with any decision in life, there are trade-offs to consider. To adhere to this mantra, you must navigate a complex labyrinth of environmental control until your dog reaches a state of readiness. This complexity arises due to a lack of clarity regarding boundaries.

In my experience, this mantra has led many dog parents to frustration, failure, and considerable distress for extended periods of time. It does not apply universally to all dogs. I am well aware of this because I find myself busier than ever, inheriting dogs that have gone through programs and protocols failing to establish clear and direct boundaries.

There are methods to impart clear boundaries and rules without resorting to force, corrections, or dominance-based Alpha theories. This reflects my vision and what I have successfully accomplished over the past 13 years designing exercises and routines to teach dogs self control through Behavioral Training.

  © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved September 2023

     

     

    How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Dog?

    How Long Does It Take to Potty Train a Dog?

    Potty training is one of the first priorities when you first get a dog. Just like any other training, it requires patience, consistency, and understanding. While every dog is different and here’s no one-size-fits-all answer there are several aspects that can affect the time.

    Here are some of them:

    • Breed and Age: The breed and age of the dog play a significant role. Puppies have smaller bladders and shorter attention spans, so they may need more frequent potty breaks. Larger breeds might take a little longer to fully grasp the concept.

    • Consistency: Consistency in training methods and schedule is key. Dogs thrive on routine, so sticking to a consistent feeding and potty schedule can speed up the training process.

    • Previous Training: If the dog has had any prior training or exposure to potty training, it might adapt more quickly. Rescue dogs or those transitioning from a different environment may take some extra time.

    • Individual Temperament: Just like humans, dogs have unique personalities. Some dogs are quick learners, while others might take a bit more time to catch on. Being patient and adapting your training approach to your dog’s personality can make a big difference.

    • Owner’s Commitment: How committed you are to the training process matters. Especially at the beginning while you are setting up routines. If you’re dedicated and consistent, your dog is likely to learn faster. On the other hand, inconsistent training can confuse your dog and prolong the process.

    • Positive Reinforcement: Using positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, can encourage your dog to associate proper potty behavior with rewards. This can speed up the learning process significantly.

    Timeline Expectations:

    Potty training can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Some dogs can get it in a few days. Here’s a general outline of what you might expect:

    • First Few Weeks: During the initial weeks, focus on establishing a routine. Take your dog out frequently, especially after crate time, meals, naps, and playtime.  Be patient and use positive reinforcement when your dog eliminates outside.

    • First Month: By the end of the first month, many dogs will have a good grasp of the concept, but accidents can still happen. Continue with consistent training and gradually extend the time between potty breaks.

    • Months 2-4: As your dog becomes more familiar with the routine, accidents should become less frequent. However, some dogs might still have occasional slip-ups, especially in new environments.

    • Months 4 and Beyond: By this point, most dogs should be reliably potty trained. Keep in mind that younger puppies might take a bit longer to fully control their bladder.

    Tips for Successful Potty Training:

    • Establish a Routine: Set a regular schedule for feeding, playtime, and potty breaks. 

    • Supervision: Keep a close eye on your dog, especially during the initial stages of training, to prevent accidents indoors. Don’t let your puppy wonder freely around the house without constant supervision, this is when they make mistakes.

    • Use Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog for successful outdoor potty breaks to reinforce good behavior.

    • Be Patient: Stay calm and patient throughout the process. Punishing accidents can hinder progress.

    • Clean Accidents Properly: Use enzymatic cleaners to thoroughly clean any indoor accidents, as regular cleaners might not remove the odor completely.

    Potty training is all about having a good schedule. The timeline can be very different depending on your dog. Remember that each dog is unique. Effective housetraining depends entirely on your ability to predict when your puppy needs to eliminate so you can direct him/her to an appropriate toilet area. 

       © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved August 2023

       

       

      Is Crate Training Necessary?

      Is Crate Training Necessary?

      Crate training is a controversial topic among dog parents, with some believing it to be essential for their pet’s safety and well-being, while others see it as cruel and unnecessary. So, is crate training necessary? Let’s discuss it. 

      What is crate training?

      Crate training involves using a crate or confined area as a safe and secure place for a dog to rest, sleep, and eat. The crate should be large enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. The aim is to teach the dog to view the crate as their den.

       Dogs are den animals so it is natural to them to relax and rest in a reduced space. I can see how from a human perspective crate training can be viewed as un- natural, but it’s really not. What’s un natural to them is to be left alone, since they are pack-social oriented animals. So we need to teach them gradually and slowly. Crate training sometimes can help in this process. Another way of looking at it is to think of bears. Bears hibernate for months at a time in a very small area. Other animals might do similar things that we humans might view as unbearable or cruel, but that’s their nature. 

      Is crate training necessary?

      Whether or not crate training is necessary depends your situation and on your dog. For example, a dog that spends a lot of time alone in the house may benefit from having a safe and secure place to rest, while a dog that is never left alone may not need a crate. Note that dogs that are never left alone can develop separation anxiety. Which is not a good problem to have. Some dogs might have develop a fearful/anxious association with the crate. In this case the crate might not be the best option. 

      However crate training can make the process of potty training much faster and easier, since it’s easier to avoid accidents without having to constantly supervise your puppy. 

      In some cases, crate training may be essential for a dog’s safety and well-being. For example, if a dog is destructive when left alone, they may be at risk of harming themselves or damaging the home. A crate can provide a safe and secure environment while preventing destructive behavior.

      Additionally, some dogs may benefit from a crate during travel or when staying in a boarding facility. Being comfortable in a crate can reduce stress and anxiety in unfamiliar situations.

      Why do people crate train their dogs?

      There are several reasons to crate train your dog. These include:

      1. Potty training.The crate can be very helpful to teach your dog two things: a. to avoid 90% of accidents without constant supervision and b. to hold the bladder.  Dogs instinctively avoid soiling their sleeping area, so using a crate can help setting up a schedule where accidents can be easily avoided. 
      2. Safety: A crate can keep a dog safe from potential hazards, such as electrical cords, toxic substances, or other pets in the home.
      3. Housetraining: A crate can keep your house safe from destructive behaviors. Puppies do not know the difference between a expensive furniture or objects and chew toys. 
      4. Travel: A crate can be a convenient and safe way to transport a dog. Sometimes it’s actually mandatory. if your dog is not crate trained your dog will have a hard time traveling in a crate or carrier. 
      5. Separation anxiety: For some dogs, a crate can provide a sense of security and comfort when left alone.
      6. Vet visits or grooming. If your dog gets sick and needs to stay over night, most likely the vet is going to use a crate. Groomers very often use crates while the dogs wait for their owners to pick them up.

      Havng said this, crate training should never be used as a punishment or as a way to confine a dog for extended periods. Dogs are social animals and need interaction and exercise to stay healthy and happy.

      How to crate train a dog?

      If you decide to crate train your dog, it’s essential to do so in a positive and gentle way. Here are some tips:

      1. Introduce the crate gradually: Start by leaving the crate door open and placing treats or toys inside to encourage your dog to explore.
      2. Make the crate comfortable: Add a soft bed or blanket to make the crate inviting.
      3. Use positive reinforcement: Reward your dog with treats and praise when they enter the crate voluntarily.
      4. Start with short periods: Initially, leave your dog in the crate for short periods while you’re at home, gradually increasing the time as they become comfortable.
      5. Never force your dog into the crate: If your dog seems reluctant to enter the crate, don’t force them. Instead, try using treats or toys to encourage them.

      In summary, crate training can be beneficial for some dogs in certain situations. However, it’s not necessary for every dog, and it’s crucial to use a mindful approach when introducing a crate. Remember, a crate should be a safe and secure place for your dog, not a form of punishment or confinement.

         © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved July 2023