Helping Dogs With Anxiety

Helping Dogs With Anxiety

People are spoiling their dogs more than ever. Yet anxiety in dogs is becoming more and more common.

How could this be?

We often have the best intentions when giving our dog freedoms around the house such as freedom to go anywhere on the property whenever they like. But dogs like to be able to predict what is going to happen next. If a dog has no structure, no rules and no training, and too much freedom, this creates anxiety.

Many dog owners pity their anxious dogs and therefore don’t want to put any sort of pressure on them at all, so they don’t tell them what to do. But giving your dog a job can actually decrease anxiety and make your dog happier.

When they know what the rules are and how the household works, they feel more at ease because they can more easily predict what’s going to happen next.

Remember, anxiety comes from not knowing what the outcome is going to be. Think about, when was the last time you were anxious? Did it relate to something where you didn’t know what was going to happen and felt that all or part of it was out of your control?

Let’s consider place training. Putting the dog on their place and teaching them that they have to stay there until their told removes the options of anxiety building behaviours like pacing, barking at the windows at anyone who goes by, reacting, bolting and more. Once the dog accepts that they must stay there, they calm down. Then we can reward the calm.

I really can’t express just how valuable this skill is. I had a client a while back and he had a cattle dog that was so highly strung and was practicing some behaviours that could quickly turn into OCD and escalate.

I ran into this client at dinner recently and he was so happy, raving about how useful the place training had become in their life. If his dog starts to get to wound up, she goes to place, lays down and just calms.

If you want to learn more about managing your dog’s anxiety and decreasing it through place training and other handy training, you know what to do – join Frantic To Focused.

You can also register to my FREE Frantic to Focused Video Series: Click here to sign up.

Walking Your Dog: What To Do In An Emergency

What do you do in an emergency with your dog? Like an off leash dog running up to you on your walk?

Oh gee, I know how stressful and scary that can be. I do!

And when it comes to off leash dogs it can take us by surprise and it’s not our fault. But it can really throw you and your dog in the deep end, especially if your dog is reactive towards other dogs.

Here’s some quick tips (general advice only and I am not liable for your safety):

– If it’s a person with a dog, speak up and tell them to “STOP! UNSAFE!” as you move away at the same time. Don’t stop to tell them to stop. Keep moving. Try to move with your dog’s head facing towards you so it’s harder for them to pull towards the other dog

– If it’s a loose dog, try to stay calm and keep your leash loose. Do whatever it takes to get the dog away. This is where carrying a pet convincer or even an extra leash can be life-saving. A pet convincer can scare the other dog away and even stop dog fights. A spare leash can be used in multiple ways – you can either tether your dog then tether the second dog if you have time, or you can helicopter the spare leash towards the loose dog to scare them off. You can even whip it on the ground in the loose dog’s direction.

– If there’s a dog fight: (hopefully this never happens to you). Protect yourself first. Call for help. Don’t stick your hands near the dog’s teeth. If you have a pet convincer, use it. If you have a spare leash try to noose it around the neck of the attacking dog.

Dogs are very hard to get apart if they’re fighting. It can feel like forever and often we act out of panic without thinking. But although it may take a little longer, one technique is to walk towards a fence, tree or post and tie your dog to it, then work to pull off the attacking dog with a second leash or worst case scenario, by the top of the back legs with your hands, tipping them upside down as you walk away from your dog.

Dogs in fights are highly likely to bite. As you can see, carrying a spare leash can make things quicker, safer and easier. The best way to separate fighting dogs is a controversial issue with many opinions.

No matter what you read to do, I believe you’re still likely to jump in without stopping to think. Always put your safety first and then see what is around you that you can use to help.

What NOT to do: don’t just relentlessly pull your dog if another dog has hold of it – the other dog will fight it like a tug toy and pull and tear. Don’t take your dog to high risk areas like dog parks, especially if your dog has any reactivity or aggression.

Yucky situations huh!

Prevention is better than cure, as they say and there’s some training you can do with your dog to prevent this situation. For example, what if your dog would hold a stay position no matter what, while you stood between them and the other dog and could focus on chasing it off without worrying that your dog will run over and get involved?

Handy!

This is why it’s so important to have some sold basics in place when it comes to training your dog and taking them out in public.

Teaching your dog to trust you and listen to you is really so that you can keep them safe.

Join the Frantic to Focused program and get more help from me! Click here to sign up now.

You can also register to my FREE Frantic to Focused Video Series: Click here to sign up.

When Your Dog Is Triggered

When Your Dog Is Triggered

Is there something that triggers your dog?

If your dog has something that, “sets them off,” this is often referred to as a trigger.

I’ve seen dogs go bonkers over cars, bikes, other dogs, children, adults, horses, cows, leaves, trees, surfboards, kites, kangaroos. The lot! And I hear squirrels are quite the distraction in other countries (sadly we don’t have them here. I was so excited to see my first squirrel in the states!)

Regardless of what triggers your dog, the training steps we use are essentially the same.

The first thing we need to do is set your dog up to be successful so we can start rewarding those wins! And we aren’t going to get anything to reward if the dog is too close to their trigger.

Going too close too fast is the number one mistake people make when they are working on this sort of issue.

I repeat, don’t go too close too soon!

What you want to figure out is the distance you need to be before your dog reacts. This is known as the dog’s distance threshold. It might be a few feet. Or it could be the length of a football field. Every dog’s threshold is different.

What you want to do is start working on the issue at the point where your dog knows the trigger is there but is not reacting in an undesirable way.

Then you’re going to reward your dog for calmness when they are aware of the trigger, for looking at it without tensing up or staring (a calm curious look is ok but eye-balling it is not), and when your dog focuses on you and looks to you for guidance.

You can get full training on this in the Frantic To Focused program which you can join now by clicking here.

Just check out what Lesa had to say about the program:

“This Course has been such a help to me with my reactive dog. I have never learned so much or had more success in such a short period of time! This training method really works! Thank you so much !”

Or see what Jill said:

“I LOVE this course! I have been working with Beckham for 2 1/2 years using food and never have gotten the response from him that I am getting now. It has given me more confidence and I know that is transferring down the leash to him.
He loves to work and we are both having fun.”

(we teach in the program how to train with or without food and how to use food correctly)

Join now and see just what you can do with your dog today. Whether your dog is anxious, distracted, reactive, fearful or just confused, I KNOW this program can help you.

You can also register to my FREE Frantic to Focused Video Series: Click here to sign up.

Your Relationship With Your Dog

Your Relationship With Your Dog

Do you feel like you have a good relationship with your dog? A good bond?

It’s easy to love a dog and have them love you back. But going deeper, is there respect and true understanding? Does your dog respect you whether you’re home or out, whether there are distractions around or not?

It’s amazing how much closer we can bond with our dogs through training. You can really achieve this understanding of each other on a whole new level. When we have ways to communicate with our dogs, almost removing the language barrier, we can feel a sense of relief and so can they.

Often when I meet a client and their dog, the love is clearly there. But the understanding and respect is missing. The dog takes to me because I break things down for them into a language they can understand. They finally see things clearly!

Having this clarity does wonders in so many aspects of life with your dog. If you need your dog to listen more, you’ll have a clear way to show them want you want. Your dog will feel better with this communication system in place and will be more focused and willing.

Training becomes easier, lighter, FUN. You and your dog have more freedom. Training should always be fun and so should dog ownership!

But for many people, it could be… more fun.

If you’d like more fun for you and your dog and to improve your relationship, joining the Frantic To Foused program and becoming a VIP in the Dog Matters Academy is the way to go. Join by clicking here.

Register to my FREE Frantic to Focused Video Series: Click here to sign up.

Can’t wait to see you in there and see what you can achieve with your dog!

Leash Skills To Stop Your Dog Pulling On The Leash

Leash Skills To Stop Your Dog Pulling On The Leash

Simple leash skills every owner should know

Pulling on the leash is a natural behaviour for a dog. But it’s not healthy to let them continue to pull because no matter what your leash is attached to, constant pressure on the dog can cause damage (even with harnesses and head halters).

If your dog is overly distracted as soon as you leave the house, or is reactive, pulling on leash is one of the first things you need to address.

There’s lots of leash techniques out there, such as:

  • Turning the opposite direction when the dog pulls
  • Stopping every time the leash goes tight
  • Mark and reward when the dog is next to you
  • Correct the dog when the dog is ahead of you

Nothing wrong there, but there’s a technique I love that does more than just help stop pulling and that is teaching your dog to respond to gentle leash pressure. It’s simple but I can’t overstate how important it is to teach your dog to be responsive to the leash.

Rather than a battle over who’s pulling harder, leash pressure work should flow like a dance, where you can apply the lightest touch and the dog readily responds.

Beautiful! Would you like that for your dog?

And if your dog can respond like that, it doesn’t fit in with continuing to pull on the leash. It’s teaching them the opposite.

Here’s a video about teaching leash pressure.

Why don’t you give it a go with your dog today?

And just a tip: most people don’t practice this enough because it’s TOO simple. Yes it’s simple, but drill it in – practice, practice, practice! As always, at home first.

Want to learn more leash skills that teach your dog to focus on you more? Frantic to Focused can teach you all that and more. Join by clicking here.

Register to my FREE Frantic to Focused Video Series: Click here to sign up.