The mornings are certainly chilly!
It's worth reviewing the location of your dog's bed, even if you're pretty confident it's in a cosy spot. Relocating furniture, changing window treatments, etc, can mean draughts can appear. The type of bedding makes a difference too. A trampoline bed is great in summer as air can circulate freely, but in winter a plush bed with sides will keep draughts out. A blanket in the bed will allow your dog to make a nest to be extra cosy (aim for a blanket that is durable and easy to wash). If you have a new dog, manage access to any heaters, burns can easily occur. (Australian Dog Lover has an article specifically onWinter risks to pets.)
Wishing you plenty of cosy spots in this colder weather,
Amanda, Rodna, David & Ruth Gentle Modern School of Dog Training
It's often frustrating when our dogs don't respond to instructions . . .
I watched an interview with UK dog trainerNick Bengerrecently (Nick is host of theDog Talk with Nick BengerPodcast) and he recommended asking yourself two questions when you feel yourself getting frustrated at non-compliance:
Are they (your dog) motivated to do it? - Why would your dog want to do what you've asked for? Most of what we ask our dogs to do they wouldn't naturally do, so why would they want to "stay" by the open front door when the outside has so many interesting possibilities? Do they understand what it is you're asking for? - Your dog might fluke the right response, but if s/he doesn't really understand the action there's no way you can get a reliable response. Revisit your teaching process for the action you want.
The issues of choice and consent are hot topics in the Dog Training World right now.
Our dogs don't get to exercise much choice. We manage nearly every aspect of their lives. So where can give our dogs options? Irith Bloom, a US-based trainer, promotesa choice-rich life for our petsand suggests experimenting with the following:
Mealtime- Does your dog prefer his meal in Kong Classic or slow feeder? Offer the option and see what they choose.
Training- What training exercise to start off the training session with: wait expectantly for your dog to offer a behaviour (e.g. a sit or a drop or coming to you) and start there.
Toys- Hold out two types of toys - plaited rope toy for tug-war, ball for retrieve - and see what activity they choose.
Treats- Set out little piles of 2-3 different food types on the floor and then let your dog into the room - what do they go for first? That can be the treat you take out on the walk that day.
Direction- Let your dog choose to turn left or right for their walk when they exit the driveway. (Extra Credit for letting your dog choose when to end the walk on occasion.)
Speaking of walks . . .
I've been inspired by Lisa Kerley's suggestions for adding "wow" to your dog walks:
Take a meal with you and, in a quiet spot away from other dogs, scatter your dog's food and let him have a picnic once in a while
When it's feasible, adjust your pace to match your dog's mood - they're all business > walk briskly, they want to mooch along > walk slow with plenty of stops
Stuck in a walking rut - same route/same destination? Change it up sometimes and go different places, different routes.
Allow lots of time for sniffing
Speaking of being on-lead . . . What is Lead/Leash Reactivity?
Reactivity is a term that you've probably heard people talk about. It refers to a strong reaction by a dog to something in the environment that makes the dog anxious, fearful or frustrated. Typically the behaviour involves barking, lunging, pulling, growling or all of the above. Being on-lead limits the options a dog has in a situation - they can't can't move away, change direction or change pace in response - so the reaction of a dog on-lead can be more intense. Melissa Spooner-Raymond provides an overview of the subject in her article 'Leash Reactivity in Dogs'.
Concerned about your dog's reactions? - Let us know; we're here to help.
Having a family member with four-legs ishardwork. In low moments, remember You are a loving and caring pet guardian. You are doing the best you can.