Strap yourselves in! It's 2021! The Year of the Dog* Our best wishes for a very much better year than last year.
* technically 2021 is the Year of the Ox, but, in my heart, every year is the Year of the Dog so I'm thinking of an Ox as kind of like a large dog . . .
Amanda, Rodna, David, Ruth
Top Tip 1 -Give your full attention to your dog when you're out walking
We can learn a lot about our dogs as the individuals they are when we truly observe them. If you find yourself making phone calls or listening to podcasts on your dog walks, consider giving your dog your full attention instead. Marc Bekoff in his book, Canine Confidential, writes: ". . . it's essential to watch dogs in all sorts of situations. Not only is it fun, but this is also how we learn what makes dogs tick, by observing them both in the situations they savor and in the instances when problems arise."
Marc Bekoff is an author + Professor Emeritus of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado
Next time you're out walking with your dog, watch your dog and see what stimulates your dog's interest:
- What does s/he look at intently, give a casual glance, back-up from? Imagine you are looking at it through your dog's eyes.
- Who or what is s/he delighted or concerned to see in the park?
- What takes his/her complete focus in the environment, requiring sniffing, scratching, staring?
Thinking about moving onto group training?
OurHandling Distractions with Confidenceprogram focuses on obedience skills and incorporates socialising for the dogs. If you complete all four sessions (they can be done as stand-alone workshops), you can participate in an assessment for Ideal Dogs of Australia (IDA) certification at no additional cost.
OurPlay+Trainprogram focuses on socialising for the dogs and incorporates some training.
It can be tempting to label a dog as "stubborn" if s/he doesn't do what we ask. But behaviour (not doing something is "behaviour" too :-) always has a reason behind it. Pat Miller, in Whole Dog Journal article The 'Stubborn' Dog recommends we stop and think before applying labels (stubborn, stupid, defiant, . . .) to our dogs.
If your dog isn’t doing what you ask, consider these questions:
Are your instructions clear to your dog?
Does s/he understand that "sit" (for example) at the kerb also means "sit" in the park/in the laundry/near the playground?
Is your reinforcement (the reward) valuable to your dog? (Is it realistic to expect them to respond based on their love for us alone?)
Is your dog able to respond? (Is s/he injured or frightened?)
Is s/he distracted?
Is s/he stressed?
Top Tip 4 -Crafty Dog-Related Holiday Fun for the Kids