Redirection Tease Play…

December 26, 2009

hounddogIs a technique I’ve develop to help rehabilitate dogs with many different kinds of issues, submissivness, fear, aggression, phobias, to name a few. It’s effective in giving dogs confidence in situations where there was none. When a dog becomes submissive, nervous or fearful of something, we often humanize their thoughts (most of the time we’re wrong) and comfort them if we “think” they’re feeling hurtful emotions, but we’re doing more harm than good. Why? Dogs don’t hold each other or pat each other like we do, or talk to them telling them everything will be okay. If dogs have fear of thunder, fireworks, people or dogs, a big part of the blame is the comforting or just “bad timing reinforcement” done by their owners.  Yes, initially they may have reacted negatively to those unfamiliar things, but it’s how the owner reacts to their reactions is the where the problem begins. Applying this technique works best if have a strong relationship with your dog and your dog responds to several obedience commands.
Rather than me explaining how the technique is done, let me show you (video below)  First, I need to set up the video clip you’ll be watching.  The first dog you’ll see is Duncan, a 4-month old German Shepherd, he gets terribly car sick. The car doesn’t have to move for him to start drooling excessively. NOTE: These clips are not a “How to” cure your dog of car sickness or any problems you’ll see, it’s an example of how to use re-direction tease play when, a) You see your dog react negatively to strange noises or situations, or  b) Using it as part of the rehabilitation process for lots of behavioural issues.
The second dog you’ll see is Chulo, a 6-month old white German Shepherd.  He’s socialized with other familiar dogs in semi-large groups, but not around strange dogs or at this particular dog park.  I noticed straight away he would snap at dogs if they came up behind him, especially the older more assertive (friendly) dogs.  This technique will help him be more tolerant when dogs suddenly come up to him.
The Third dog is Freda, she has a very sweet face, but has a few aggressive problems, she’s a 4-month old Kelpi mix who goes ballistic, screaming, biting, scratching and urinating if you suddenly try to restrict her movement either by holding her collar or just holding her.  She will need a lot of re-direction tease play in many different scenarios.  Since I’m living in Freda’s house, while her owners are on holiday (a training program I offer), I can focus a lot on using “tease play” to help cure her of – what I call  “restrictive phobia”.
Since I’ve been working on this blog, filming and working on Freda’s restrictive phobia problem, we had a break through,  I’ve added a clip of Freda letting me grind her nails.
Note: You’ll notice I never say anything or pet (praise) the dogs I’m rehabilitating (Think “Dog whispering”).  “Patting” is interpreted more as praise or approval of thoughts and feelings (emotions), vs. if using food which reinforcement more what they just did.


Happy Holiday’s

December 24, 2009

Hello Subscribers,

On June 24th of this year (my birthday), I started this blog site.  So far I’ve published 51 blogs or posts and every month more people are visiting the site, so I must be doing something right.  I’ve also had many people (maybe you?) make comments about the stories I write, over 100 comments so far.  I’m not really sure if that’s good or bad, but to me any comment is great! I’m glad and hope people are learning things from this site, because I need people to read what I write, then translate it to their pets.  Together we can make their lives easier and in turn ours.

I feel like the flight attendant when they say “Thank you for flying with us, I know you have many other choices of airlines”. But really “Thanks” for reading what I spend time writing.  I have many more stories and training tips in me, plus I have some exciting things happening early next year and I hope you’ll stick around. Give your pet a hug for me..

Happy Holidays to you and your loved one’s.



Top Ten Excuses

December 14, 2009

dogbitmailNobody wants to face reality or they’re being too politically correct.  Quite often I hear people making excuses as to “Why” their child (I mean dog) doesn’t behave or listen to them like they should.  I hear things like: They’re too tired, too distracted, not in the mood, I didn’t exercise them enough, etc. When the real reason is,  a) They never took the time to teach them  b) They don’t know exactly how to teach them or how dogs learn  c) They keep doing the wrong things without seeking professional help d) They treat them like a human baby  e) They’re afraid of scaring them emotionally by challenging them and their intelligence.

Excuses I hear from dog owners:

Too tired.

Too distracted.

They only listen when I have a treat.

They’re a rescue dog; they’ve had a tough life.

They didn’t get their exercise today.

I guess they don’t feel like it.

They must smell something

My dog is too young or too old (set in their ways)

He’s mad at me?

He’s trying to be Pack Leader or dominating me?  This is my favorite, from the perspective of an animal behaviorist, this is equivalent to:  Say you’re helping your child study for a test and you ask your child a question and they don’t know the answer; they must be dominating you.

Do I hear more excuses down here in Australia vs. in the States?  Well, I’ve only been here a year and I do hear excuses but in the States is where I’ve heard most of them.  This blog was kind of directed at the people of Australia because almost all dogs in this area are being walked on harnesses and of course pulling the owners everywhere.  I believe the owners don’t realize the true potential or intelligence of dogs and just make yet another excuse that dog’s pull on leash because they’re dogs.  To me, it’s a waste of a dogs mind, talent and well-being.


Smart, Not Perfect

December 3, 2009

I posted a blog on the TOP TEN SMARTEST BREEDS and if you think I’m giving you a green light to own one of the breeds, you’d be wrong.  Just because they were tested by professionals and shown they have higher train-ability IQ’s than other breeds, doesn’t automatically make them a good family pet.  As a mater of fact, some of these so called “smart breeds” can be far from the perfect pet, for the unprepared owner.

The dog in the # 5 spot: Labrador retriever is the breed that goes through my training course the most.  People complain they’re like clown’s in a dog’s suit; stealing food, mouthing body parts, really hyper, jumping and banging into kids, chewing and grabbing at everything, jumping on strangers and other dogs. The breed frustrates them when they don’t listen or behave around people.

The dog in the # 9 spot Rottweiler: Has the strongest jaw pressure of any breed and are very vocal dogs that occasionally growl at their owners. People are intimidated by them so they tend to get what they want.  The Rottweiler is in the working breed group and because of it’s mastiff line, can be a good, maybe too good guard dog, intimidating people & dogs.

The dog in the # 3 spot the German shepherd: Is responsible for more bites to humans than any other breed. The breed is a very protective and can make a good guard dog or a bad one when biting friends and family. It’s a hard working dog in the Herding group, so many complaints are about how their dog likes to chase moving things:  kids, cars, small dogs etc… Many small dogs are bitten my German Shepherds.

The dog in the # 2 spot, the poodle: Owners complain the small poodles are difficult to housebreak and they have excessive barking problems and won’t shut up! (Their words, not mine) The standard size poodle owners complain about pulling and lunging on leash at anybody or for no apparent reason.

The dog in the #10 spot Australian Cattle dog: Is in the herding group, so you guest it, likes to heard, chase jump and nip at family members.. They get bored very easily and require lots of room and a job, if they don’t have one, they take it out on anything that isn’t nailed down.

With that said,  it’s not the breed’s fault owners are having trouble! First, they probably got the dog for the wrong reasons?  i.e. train-ability, looks, a friend has one, they grew up with one, or they have a backyard > DON\’T GET A DOG.  Or they probably don’t know how dogs think or learn, or the importance of early socialization and education. Regardless of what we know about the intelligence of the different breeds, all dogs are still predatory animals that come “Hard wired”  with traits the unsuspecting owner won’t like. And when this happens, the dog get’s the worst of it.

If your dog has a specific breed trait or behavioral issue you’d like to change, please use the comment form below