by Gabriel Riesco | Feb 8, 2023 | Dog Training, Dog Training & Conditioning, Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs
As a parent I know that bringing a baby into your home is one of the most exciting times in your life. It is also one of the most amazing experiences, but it comes with a lot of work and responsibilities that are time consuming. So it’s important to make sure your dog is ready for this big change.
A well-prepared dog will be less likely to feel threatened or stressed with the new arrival and will be more likely to welcome the baby with unconditional doggy love. Having said that don’t take it for granted.
If you are a first time parent just know that everything is going to change. No matter your intentions and your good planning you are going to have less time for your dog. There’s no way around it.
What NOT to do.
A big mistake new parents make is to start spending more time with their dogs before the baby arrives. The thinking is to make up time now because they know they will be busy later with the baby. The problem with this is that when the baby comes the change from spending a lot of time to not spending barely any time is going to be more dramatic. This can lead to major behavioral issues.
Here are some tips to help you get your furry friend ready for the arrival of your little one.
- Gradually increase the amount of time your dog spends alone. This will help your dog get used to being alone, which will be important once the baby arrives and you have less time to spend with your pet. Start by leaving your dog alone for a few minutes at a time and gradually increase the length of the separation.
- Introduce your dog to baby sounds and smells. Play recordings of baby cries, laughter, and other sounds so your dog can get used to the new noises they will be hearing. Also, get a blanket or other item that smells like the baby and let your dog smell it so they can get used to the new scent.
- Train your dog self control and games where they learn to be calm around excitement. A well behave dog that trusts you and listens to you is going to learn to be at peace around the baby. Focus on commands like “place” and “ settle”.
- Create boundaries and rules for your dog. Decide where your dog is and is not allowed to be when the baby is around, such as in the nursery or on the furniture. Also, establish rules for how your dog should behave around the baby, such as not jumping or barking.
- Teach your dog to be calm on the leash indoors. Leash communication skills can help tremendously to create calmness and bonding. The leash is a tool that can let your dog and your baby share the same space in a safe and calm manner.
- Set up a safe space for your dog. Designate an area where your dog can retreat to if they become overwhelmed by the new arrival. This can be a crate or a special room where they feel safe and comfortable.
- Show your dog love and attention. Despite the new arrival, it’s important to continue to give your dog love and attention so they don’t feel neglected or pushed aside.
By following these tips, you can help your dog adjust to the new arrival and become a loving and supportive member of your family. Just remember to be patient, consistent, and positive in your training and interactions with your pet, and you’ll be sure to have a well-prepared dog who loves and welcomes your new baby.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved February 2023
by Gabriel Riesco | Feb 3, 2023 | Dog Training, For Dog Trainers, Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs
How dogs think?
Dogs are intelligent and affectionate creatures, and they have their own unique way of thinking and learning. Understanding how dogs think and learn can help us better understand our furry friends and improve our relationships with them.
Dogs think in a different way than humans do. They are primarily driven by their senses and instincts, and their primary mode of communication is through body language, energy and some vocalization. Dogs process information in the present moment, which means they don’t have the ability to reflect on the past or anticipate the future in the same way that humans do.
How dogs Learn?
When it comes to learning, dogs have a remarkable ability to associate things with one another. Dogs also learn through observation and experience. They observe the behaviors and actions of their owners and other dogs, and they learn from the consequences of their own actions. This is why it’s important to provide dogs with consistent and understanding reinforcement, as well as opportunities to interact with other dogs and people.
They have the ability to learn through observation, repetition, and reinforcement. Here is a brief overview of how dogs learn:
- 1. Observation: Dogs have the ability to learn by watching and observing other dogs or their human companions. For example, if a dog sees another dog being rewarded for sitting on command, they may learn to associate the command with the desired behavior and begin to sit on command themselves.
- 2. Repetition: Repetition is a key aspect of dog training. When a dog is taught a new command or behavior, they may not understand it immediately. By repeating the command or behavior multiple times and rewarding the dog for successfully completing it, they will eventually learn the desired behavior.
- 3. Reinforcement: Positive reinforcement is a key component of dog training. When a dog successfully completes a desired behavior, they should be rewarded with treats, praise, or other forms of positive reinforcement. This will help them to associate the desired behavior with a positive outcome, making them more likely to repeat the behavior in the future.
Overall, dogs are intelligent creatures that are capable of learning through observation, repetition, and reinforcement. With patience and consistency, you can train your dog to learn a variety of commands and behaviors. You can train your dog by using methods like Luring, shaping, capturing and mimicking. I’ll be writing more on this different methods and on what are their pro and cons of each one of them.
In conclusion, dogs have a unique way of thinking and learning that is different from humans. Understanding this can help us better understand and communicate with our furry friends. Whether you’re training a new puppy or just trying to build a stronger bond with your dog, taking the time to understand how dogs think and learn can be a valuable investment.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved February 2023
by Gabriel Riesco | Jan 27, 2023 | Dog Problems. Behavior Modification, For Dog Trainers, Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs
There’s been a lot of confusion between this two terms: leash reactivity and leash aggression. I’ve even read very strange and confusing explanations of these two labels.
Let’s start with leash reactivity
Why’s is my dog reactive towards other dogs only on leash?
This a a very common problem, especially in big cities. The outcome is usually your dog barking, lunging or attacking other dogs or humans when they are on leash. Sometimes dogs can redirect and bite it’s own handler when this happens.
Most of the times very social dogs want to meet other dogs while they are walking on the leash. They have friendly intentions and they just want to say hi to other dogs. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Maybe the other dog has kennel cough, or doesn’t have the vaccines yet,or is an aggressive dog, or the owner just doesn’t want to stop. Maybe your is dog too crazy and the other dog or person doesn’t want to interact.
When this happens dog parents tend to pull on the leash to keep their pup away from other dog/s out of respect.They restrain their dogs maintaining constant tension on the leash. When you do this consistently every day your dog slowly starts becoming more frustrated. You start noticing more excitement, some friendly barking, kind of wanting to say hi and you don’t think much of it. Eventually this starts escalating and your dog start loosing it more and more. Suddenly one day your dog explodes and starts growling, lunging and showing teeth when he sees another dog. What started being friendly, it turned into frustration and ended up being aggression.
So what’s the difference between Leash Reactivity and leash Aggression?
The difference between leash reactivity and leash aggression it’s just a matter of intensity. Leash reactivity is just your dog pulling on the leash out of excitement trying to say hi to another dog. There could be barking, franticness and a lot of pulling, but your dog’s intentions are friendly. When you continue this behavior on leash your dog starts getting frustrated. Leash aggression is when that frustration starts penting up throughout time and it turns into aggression. At this point if you let your dog go it can turn to be a bite or a fight depending on the other dog’s response.
Why does this happen?
This happens because the leash becomes the source of frustration and the leash pressure becomes the trigger.
The problem here is never the dog. The problem is the human. There’s no leash without a human. So it’s either because of the constant tension on the leash provided by the human, or the human pulling or yanking at the wrong time with the leash.
Leash aggression is always caused by the lack of leash communication skills between you and your pup. Wether you created the problem or you already adopted your pup with this problem, it was created by a human at some point.
Why is my dog biting me when he sees another dog?
This is called redirection. Some dogs with leash aggression when they are hold back and they don’t have an outlet of their aggression they redirect their frustration into whatever is closer to them. Sometimes is you, sometimes is another dog that is next to them and sometimes is another human.
Do I need to use a prong collar or an electric collar to fix it?
No you don’t. You can, but there are different ways to solve this problem without having to use a prong collar, an e-collar or corrections.
How do I know it’s leash aggression and not just aggression?
When your dog is social at doggy day care or can meet other dogs off leash, but is reactive only on leash, then it’s leash aggression. If your dog is always or sometimes aggressive with other dogs off leash, then it’s not leash aggression. Your dog needs to be socialized. Thats a different problem. Having said that, your dog can have both problems Leash aggression and poor socialization skills.
Will my dog grow out of it?
NO, if you don’t do anything about it, it will get worse.
Can you fix leash reactivity or leash aggression?
Yes! Absolutely. With proper training and good leash communication skills this can be fixed. Sometimes pretty fast without using corrections, prong collars or e collars. The first step is to make sure you can walk your dog with no tension on the leash on a regular basis.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved January 2023
by Gabriel Riesco | Jan 25, 2023 | Dog Problems. Behavior Modification, Dog Training, For Dog Trainers, Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs
Are Dog Parks Ok?
Dog parks or runs can be very beneficial for your dog if you know what you are doing. If you want to read more about dog parks click this link to learn more about it: Are Dog Parks A Good Idea?
I’ve heard numerous well known trainers talking badly about parks and not recommending going any near them. This is usually because they are not specialized in Family Dog Training. They are usually specialized in agility, high obedience training, dog sports or working dogs.
How NOT to enter a dog park?
More often than not, well intentioned dog parents and dog trainers enter the park by asking their dog to sit, then wait and 10 seconds later they release their dog. Some more advanced obedience dogs they do this even without the leash. Wether you do this on leash or off leash is not relevant.
So what’s wrong with this? Isn’t this advanced obedience training?
Yes, but this is the wrong place to do this. Why? Because when you do obedience training you’re penting up your dog’s drive with a “command” or “cue” and your dog is waiting for a release. By the time you release, all that pent up energy and anticipation is like a balloon under water. So you are basically sending a torpedo to the park. Which means that your dog is most likely in the wrong state of mind. In other words your dog is on high excitement, high-arousal, high-drive mode, high dopamine etc. This mindset might work very well for performance and obedience. The problem is that at this sate they can miss a lot of social cues from other dogs and people. They also loose awareness of their environment, since they are mainly focused on a task or on you. Your obedience training can actually make it worse.
If you are a very good trainer, your dog might listen to you, but at some point your dog is either going to get into trouble or attract trouble. And this is why Dog Trainers hate parks, because obedience doesn’t work well in parks. What works is a controlled state of mind on your dog where your dog slowly develops great dog social skills.
An even worse way to enter a dog park is restraining your dog on a leash, while your dog is pulling like a maniac and then unclipping the leash. If obedience (cue and release) is sending a torpedo, doing this is sending a nuclear missile. It’s most likely not going to end up well.
So how do you enter a Dog Park?
The best way to enter a dog park is by calming your dog down. Your dog should be with no tension on the leash and in a calm state of mind. This doesn’t mean your dog cannot run or play with other dogs. What this means is that your dog is in a state of mind where he or she can pick up on dog social cues and adjust to every dog.
The more they practice self control and awareness, they better coping skills they get. This has to do with behavioral dog training not with obedience or advanced obedience training. Family dog training is 90% of the time behavioral training (state of mind), while obedience or advanced training is Classical or Operant Conditioning Training which is based on consequence (reward or punishment)
Best well behaved dogs I’ve met are not from dog trainers, They are from dog owners that tap into this intuitively. They are not highly trained dogs that attract attention on instagram. They are well behaved happy dogs that no one notices or cares because they are just doing their thing. You will find most of this dogs in dog parks not on instagram accounts.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved January 2023
by Gabriel Riesco | Jan 20, 2023 | Dog Training, Dog Training & Conditioning, For Dog Trainers, Mindfulness & Psychology with Dogs
Are Dog Parks a good idea?
In my opinion the answer is YES, but like with most things it comes with some trade offs and responsibilities. I disagree with trainers that discourage people from using dog parks instead of training people on how to use them.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of the park you need to consider 3 things:
- To raise and to have a well behave dog
- To have a solid recall
- To look out for aggressive dogs or owners that are not paying attention to avoid trouble.
What are the benefits?
Dog Parks or dog Runs are a great opportunity to let your dog off leash, socialize with other dogs and run for a bit if that’s what they need. Dogs usually love going to open outdoor spaces for a change and be around their own peers.
If you live in a city, It’s also a great opportunity to be outdoors and get some fresh air. A lot of dog parks are also beautiful. If you love nature it’s a great way to re-connect or disconnect from our daily routines.
I truly believe that the benefits of Dog Parks and Dog Runs outweighs the drawbacks by far. In many cities and towns it’s a privilege to have spaces for dogs where they can socialize and run safely off leash. We should keep advocating for dogs with this kind of wins.
I also think that is been a huge win from the dog community efforts. We should embrace it not criticize it.
Why do dog parks have a bad rep?
I’ve heard a lot of trainers and read many blogs not recommending Dog Parks because it’s going to ruin your dog’s training. I personally don’t make decisions out of fear. I think you’re much better off giving exposure and teaching coping skills to your dog than avoiding and making their world smaller out of fear.
The other argument against dog runs is that things can happen in parks. Although this is true, crime also happen in cities or towns. That doesn’t mean we need to run to the hills and live in the mountains out of fear.
Why some dog trainers hate Parks?
This is usually because they are not specialized in Behavior or Family Dog Training. They try to impose their obedience training routines to their dog in the park. They get frustrated because other dogs jeopardize their training. This is fundamentally the wrong place to do this.
Most trainers do obedience training by putting their dogs on high arousal, high dopamine or high motivation mode. This dogs are usually focused on a task and/or on the trainer not on the other dogs. This tasks are usually commands like: “wait” (pent up energy) and release : “get it”(release of the pent up energy). Basically you’re putting your dog in the wrong state of mind and with a tunnel vision focused on you not on the environment around them. This can cause several potential problems:
1 Your dog will miss social cues from other dogs.
2.Your dog will get frustrated with other dogs for getting in the way of his obedience.
3. If your dog is highly trained to the level of ignoring distractions, then other dogs will get frustrated with your dog for ignoring them.
So, what kind of training should I do in dog parks?
A park is where you should focus your training first on behavior and social skills not on obedience. Social skills, self control and boundaries is what’s going to give true freedom to your dog. When your dog has good social skills you’ll be able to let your dog off leash out of trust not out of your ability to micromanage every step out of the way.
What’s the real issue?
The big gap between a well behaved dog and a dog with advanced obedience skills is greatly misunderstood. Behavior skills are based on self control. Obedience skllls are based on impulse control and high arousal training (high dopamine). A lot of dog trainers are confusing people with this, because they don’t know what they don’t know.
If you keep putting your dog on high drive obedience training in a dog park at some point your dog is going to get into trouble or attract trouble. This can feel very good and empowering for the human, but it’s not giving the dog the opportunity to cope and learn how to behave in the environment they’re in. This is basically the difference between behavioral training and obedience training. Behavior Training is focused on the state of mind of your dog not on high performance. I’m not saying you should not do any obedience training in the park, but the main focus should be on behavioral training not on obedience training.
I’ve been going for over 15 years to dog parks in different countries and it’s been a great source of joy and happiness for me and for my dogs. My dog’s training have not been ruined by other dogs. As a matter of fact its’ a great place to practice advanced ‘Recall’, dog socialization and build self confidence if you put some effort into it.
I have hundreds of case studies where Dog parks and dog runs had helped dogs in many different ways.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved December 2022