Tag-Archive for » positive reinforcement «

Practical Tips for Stopping Food Aggression:

Determine when the best time is to feed your dog. You want to feed your dog at a time when there is relative quietness in the house and when the dog can relax afterward. This brings the stress levels down and allows the dog to relax more and be a less protective. Try to always feed your dog at the same time. In the ideal case that should be after you have eaten, as the alpha dogs eat first and the lower ranking pack members last.

Establish a place and a routine to feed your dog. Always feed your dog at the same place and follow a certain routine. You will imitate the alpha dog that comes back from a hunt and shares the food with the lower ranking members of the pack. Try faking that you are eating a bit first and then giving the bowl to the dog to emphasize this. Make sure that everyone in the household takes his/ her turn to establish the idea in the dog that all humans are higher ranking pack members that share food with the lowest ranking pack member. Soon your dog will understand when it is feeding time for him.

If you have several dogs in the household that are food aggressive amongst themselves, you must know who is the higher ranking member in the “dog only” part of the pack and feed them in this order. If your dogs go through a phase of re-establishing their ranks, feed them apart and out of sight of each other.

Don’t feed your dog at the dinner table while you are eating. The alpha dogs will share the leftovers after they had their fill, not before. Remember that a lot of human food is not suitable for dogs, salt can damage their kidneys. So your best method to follow is not to never feed your dog at the table.

Here are a few more simple training solutions that may help with this common situation. Make sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise. A tired dog is less likely to get aggressive then one that has way too much built up energy. Make known to your dog the proper distinction between food time/ place and other things like time for play. Give the dog the opportunity to alternate between playing and being fed.

Good luck to you, your dog and which ever training methods you take!

General Guidelines for Effective Dog Training:

No matter what type of dog training you prefer, it is important to know the general rules and policies for dog training. Knowing these rules does not just entail effective training but also make the process a whole lot easier. Below are some useful examples that every dog trainer should learn to follow for effective dog training.

-Make sure that every dog training session is short and fun. Animal behavior experts say that short periods of training is always better than long periods of time.

-Reward your dog. Give him treats or chew bones every time they follow your orders and commands.

-Try not to punish dogs by shouting or yelling at them if they don’t follow what you want them to do. Doing so will only make them aggressive.

-Be consistent. Remember that your dog will never learn the things that you teach them right away. Consistency is the key here. Do the same thing again and again until they’ve learned your orders and commands by heart.

-Teach him tricks and commands one at a time and make sure to start from the simplest one before moving on to more complicated ones. Teach them a new trick or command only if they’ve mastered the previous one.

-Learn what motivates your dogs to behave and be obedient. It can be in the form of dog food, treats, or toys.

-Never hit dogs every time they do something wrong or unwanted. Ignoring them is the best way to let them know they will never get anything if they keep on doing whatever it is that they’re doing.

-Test their obedience in various situations. This is the best way to ensure they still follow your commands and orders even when they are outside and around people.

Whatever dog training method that you may go with, it is critical that you make them feel you are the leader in your dog-owner pack. It is also important that you make them understand what are good and acceptable behaviors and what are not. Training your dog to become a good and well-behaved citizen may not be easy, but all your time, efforts and patience will certainly pay off. Remember that there’s nothing better than a dog that knows not just how to protect their owners but also follows orders and commands and knows how to behave in different surroundings and situations.

Fictitious Dog Training Myths:

Dogs can not comprehend earning food as a reward for training and good behavior. This myth is false. Researchers have proven that dogs understand that their behavior influences their environment. If their behavior causes a change in their environment that pleases them, they won’t forget the behavior. If your dog grabs something and you chase after him, this is misconstrued as fun for him. Even though it may not be fun for you, your dog will remember how to get this attention. In the same way, if your dog’s behavior earns him a treat, or some of his dinner, he will learn to repeat these acceptable behaviors.

Using treats to train your dog increases your dog’s chances of becoming ill, or makes your dog unreliable around food. This myth is false. Your dog will only be reliable when you have food. All dogs should be taught a command, such as “off” or “leave it”. Dogs should not be left unsupervised in any area where they can be offered food by strangers. When food is properly used as a reward, not as a bribe, dogs will begin to learn to work for long periods of times before wanting a treat. How many of us get paid every hour, or expect to be paid every time we complete a task? Dogs learn to wait for their pay and continue your command while waiting. Properly trained dogs will learn to ignore food over time, whether it is on the kitchen table, the floor or from someone’s hand.

One major myth that is false is that dogs will generally misbehave because they are trying to be dominant and seeking higher rank. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s (AVSAB) recently released statement. The use of this dominance theory in behavior modification of animals, this theory has limited use in animal training and rank is rarely the motivation behind your dog’s bad behavior or actions.

In vice versa, there are a lot of myths about a need for dominating your dog. TV shows promote this false idea. When owners use forceful tactics to dominate and punish their dogs, the dog will generally shut down. What the dog has learned is to suppress their way of signaling they are uncomfortable in certain situations. This may cause a dog to escalate its behavior to lunging, biting, showing it’s teeth or growling.

You, your dog, and the endless possibilities:

Before you can truly have worry-free fun with your dog outside, you must enroll him in an obedience course, or have trained him yourself. Your dog needs to be trustworthy not only at home but wherever you go.

Here are some great ideas:

What better way is there for you and your canine companion to spend time together and get healthy at the same time, than to go for a walk? Dogs have a natural migration instinct and need to go on daily walks to mentally compensate for this.

Many of the hunting breeds and terriers love to play with a ball. Some dogs are more enthusiastic about this toy than others. While one dog may fetch the ball after you throw it, another may look at you like “you threw it, you get it.” Some dogs would rather have a ball that rattles, but I find that the majority like to indulge in the squeaky ones. Your best bet is to let your dog decide the right toy for him.

Take your dog to a nearby lake, or if your lucky, the beach. Many breeds, such as Labs, love to play in the water. You can incorporate fetching with the water. Throw one of your dog’s favorite toys a short distance in the water so he can rush in to retrieve it. Make sure your toy of choice can easily float.

Learn to groom your dog yourself. Not only will this save you time and money, it is a good bonding experience for the both of you. You will have also gained the satisfaction of knowing that it was you that made it happen. It’s really not that hard to pull off, as long as you have the right tools of course. Invest in a quality dog grooming set. A pair of clippers that cost less than $100 usually won’t cut well and won’t last very long.

One of the best things to do with your dog is to simply do nothing at all! They are at your side at almost every moment of the day, when your home. If you’re watching TV our using the computer, your k9 pal is most likely lying at your feet. If you’re in bed, your dog is usually on the floor beside you. Just each others presence can be enough for the both of you.


Bulldogs of all breeds are known for their adorable features, but what’s underneath all those wrinkles?  The characteristics of a bulldog can be a big factor in considering if the breed is right for you and your family, and can make all the difference in your relationship with your dog.


Despite the slightly intimidating look that some bulldogs have (such as the English bulldog),they are actually very well tempered dogs.  Bulldogs rank very highly in dog socialization skills,  and are known to continually act like puppies, even in their elderly years.  Bulldogs are easily well-behaved family dogs, and do very well around children.  Most of the dogs in this breed are lovable attention-seeking dogs that need constant interaction with people, and they are especially good for families of four or more.  However, bulldogs often become attached to one owner just as many other dogs do.


Bulldogs are infamous for being stubborn, but this is only because they are often improperly taught.  Bulldogs respond best to positive enforcement rather than punishment.  Constant rewards for good acts, and light punishment for wrongdoings will straighten out a bulldog much faster than negative treatment will.  Bulldog training is not a fast process.  Bulldogs take constant reinforcement to good treatment to form a habit, and generally take longer to train than other dogs.  Thusly, it is best to begin dog obedience classes when it becomes a family member.

Health Issues

Bulldogs, no matter how adorable, have a large variety of possible health problems.  Dog care is something that you have to be very willing to see as a regularity if you get a bulldog, because they can be very needy. Some of these problems include allergies, dermatitis, eye lid anomalies, hip dysplasia and heart problems.  The most common issue with bulldogs however is their low tolerance to heat.  Bulldogs can not be left outside in hot weather ever, and are almost permanently inside dogs.  For many people, all this means is that a doggie door is necessary, but for others it means that they will be responsible for taking their dogs in and out of the house.  This is very important to consider if you are thinking of adopting a bulldog.

For more information on bulldogs and dog adoption, contact our Florida Dog Training center or ask your local dog trainers.

Dog Bonding Time

Dogs are a common household pet today, and being so common, they are often neglected.  In some peoples lives, free time is a rarity, but spending some quality time with your pet can make all the difference in both of your lives. For many of you, your dogs get a kick out of going on a walk every day, or even just playing around the house, and if this works for you and your pet, great! If it doesn’t than you’re probably looking for some new things to try.  Quality time with your dog is positive reinforcement for them to act well, and it lets them know they’re loved, so for some of you who want new ways to spend time with your dog, here are a few good ideas.

Doggy Dates

Doggy dates are simply when you bring your dog over to a friends house to have a play date! Doggy dates are an especially good idea for people with only one dog. This is because without a friend in the house, they could easily be ignorant in the subject of dog socialization and not know how to act around other dogs.  Letting your dogs play with your friends dogs will let them have friends away from home, creating an outside life for them!

New Terrain

There are many places that your dog has probably never been to, so why not explore a little? Bringing your dog to farms, beaches, the woods, the desert, or anywhere they haven’t had the chance to go on an adventure will give them a chance to experience new things and new places.  You can take your dog hiking, swimming, boating, walking, and easily enhance your relationship by including them in your adventures.  Additionally, always consider bringing your dog on vacation with you, when you’re traveling.  Not only do they make great companions, but they’ll be thrilled at the chance to go somewhere :)

Going Out

I have a friend who takes her dog everywhere with her, if she’s going to drop her daughter off, her dog goes on a car ride with her, if she’s going on a walk, you know she brought her dog, and this is a great relationship.  Taking your dog wherever you go with you will give you some great bonding time without you having to make much time at all for them.  They’ll enjoy your company, and they’ll enjoy yours!

In all, just make time for your dog, weather it be a dog training class, or an off road excursion, they’ll love spending time with you! For more information on Dog obedience classes, take a look at our Florida Dog Training website.

Love your dog!

Crate Training

Crates and Kennels have become a popular way to begin dog training for furry friends of all ages.  Crates are known as a great way for puppies get through stages of separation anxiety, as well as a good way to put positive reinforcement on dogs ‘alone time’.  However, many dogs of older ages have issues adjusting to crates, so here are a few dog owner tips on how to handle Kennel training.

Introducing Your Dog

When you first get your dog a crate, it may be a foreign concept to your pet. The new addition to your home will most likely take some time to ease your pet into, so here are a few ways to make the comfortable switch into using one.  Make sure to introduce your dog to the idea of the crate.  Leaving the crate in an area that is frequented by family members (such as the living room) will reassure your dog that it is safe, and soon will become a normal thing in your home.  Many dogs have an automatic curiosity as to what the crate is, and end up looking around it.  Many dogs even grow automatically accustomed to spending time in the crate and need no training, but if that is not your case, keep reading!

Familiarity and Food

One of the easiest ways to get your dog into the crate, is to start feeding them inside it on a regular basis.  If you consistently present your pets meals inside the crate, they will grow to see it as a common place and become more comfortable spending time in it.  Another way to help familiarize your dog with the crate is to put some of their favorite objects inside.  Weather it be a loved toy or a comfy bed, placing these objects inside will make the kennel or crate more homey for your pet. Once they become less anxious inside of the crate, try leaving them inside for small amounts of time while you are home, and gradually increase the time until they are comfortable with going inside of it on a regular basis.  Additionally, try leaving them inside while you are gone until the action becomes routine.

Potential problems with crates and Kennels include dog separation anxiety and whining.  Try to always let your dog outside to go to the bathroom before you put them into the crate to assure that it is not because they need to pee.  If problems persist, consider Florida dog training for your pet.

Dog Toys

Almost every dog loves toys! It’s a staple in dogs that they love to play, bound, and leap around with their toys, but with so many out there, which ones are good and bad for dogs? Through the years of dog play, a few toys have stuck around that are famous for being so loved by our furry friends everywhere, so here are a few winners and losers out there!

The Kong

The Kong ball has to be the best known dog toy out there.  It’s a red bumpy ball that you can stuff with yummy treats for your dog, or toss around the yard for fun! Dogs also love to chew on Kong toys, and being practically indestructible, they last a lifetime.  Kong toys are also dishwasher safe as an added bonus!

Squeaky Toys

Squeaky toys are generally a dog favorite.  This is because with normal toys they are just playing with a stuffed animal, but with a squeaker inside they get a reaction out of their toy, which some dogs are very fond of.  However, the drawback to a squeaky toy is that they get very annoying for us; as a result, many people tend not to buy them.  Some dogs feel the same way as most humans and hate the squeakiness, alternatively some dogs love the noise and relentlessly play with them.  One thing that you have to be careful concerning squeaky toys is that your dog does not tear apart the toy.  We’ve all seen cartoons where a dog swallows the squeaker and ends up squeaking, but little do people know that this actually happens.  When a dog is chewing a squeaky toy, the squeaking nozzle often comes off and can get lodged in their throat causing a need for emergency surgery (no matter how funny it sounds). So if you are going to buy squeaky toys, just make sure you are there for supervision while the dog plays with the toy.

Floating toys

Floating rings make wonderful toys for retrievers to go fetch.  These toys (like tennis balls) create a way for you to interact and play with your pet while giving them a good time! Fetch toys will also help you with dog exercise habits!

Toys to be Cautious With

Large breed dogs often love to play fetch with tennis balls, but if they are large enough (Such as Great Danes or Saint Bernards) they can literally swallow it.  When playing with tennis balls, just make sure you keep an eye on your dog to make sure they don’t hold it too far back in their throat.  A study in Germany has also shown that the glue used in tennis balls also damages tooth enamel for dogs, so be cautious.  Another toy to be careful of are Tug toys.  Tug-of-war as seen by a dog can be a fight for dominance, while for you it is just a game.  Just make sure with tug toys that your dog is keeping it friendly.  As a last warning, keep big toys for big dogs.  Bigger dogs tend to choke on small toys, so make sure your toys are size appropriate.

Overall make sure your toys use positive reinforcement on your dogs attitude, and are safe for your pet.  Questions about toy safety? Contact a Florida dog obedience trainer today!

How to Stop Howling

Howling is a communication tool used by some dogs.  It is sometimes used as a warning sign to alert others about a dangerous presence in the area.  But there are other dogs that use howling as a means of desperation.  It can be a sign of separation anxiety or a means to inform of pain from an injury.  But what do you do with a dog that howls too much?  How do you get your dog to stop?  A Florida dog obedience instructor would be able to guide you through on the positive reinforcement techniques discussed in today’s blog.  In the meantime, use this as a guide to get you started in the right direction.

Stop Howling with Positive Reinforcement

If your dog howls as a means to seek attention, then use positive reinforcement to reward desired behavior and ignore the negative.  For instance, whenever your dog howls, ignore your pet.  This is tough for your dog could continue to howl.  However, as soon as your dog stops howling and is silent, reward your dog with pet treats and praise.  Keep repeating this technique until your dog starts to remain silent.  Your dog will catch on that remaining silent equals positive rewards.  It won’t take long for your dog to figure this out.

The key in stopping howling is to remain consistent in implementing positive reinforcement.  To find out more about how to stop your dog from howling, enroll in a k9 obedience class today.

Why Negative Reinforcement Fails!

Many of my friends own dogs, and turn to me for advice on how to correct negative behavior.  There is a constant inquisitiveness about how to attain positive behavior in dogs.  Thus, we discuss at great lengths about how positive reinforcement in dog training works.  One such discussion focused on what do if your dog tears up the house while you are gone.  This conversation taught my friends something new, and I’d like to share it with you too.  It should help you understand why negative reinforcement never works, and why positive reinforcement is the training method of choice amongst owners and dog trainers alike.

How a Dog Translates Negative Reinforcement

My friend started the dialogue by describing how every time she leaves the house the dog tears up everything in sight.  She comes home from a dinner out with friends and it looks like she returned to a ransacked house with furniture flipped over, pillow stuffing laying all over the place, and her dog the culprit of it all.  And to fix the problem she thought coming home and scolding the dog would be adequate.  Then she would leave and the same thing would occur again.

Well, scolding or using any negative tactics on your dog does not work.  The biggest mistake is you are not correcting the problem immediately after it occurs.  A dog will not correlate you coming home and the negative behavior you instill as punishment for tearing up the house.  Too much time has passed so the connection is not made.  Thus, it does not work.  A dog needs to show the correct way to act, provide praise immediately afterwards and the connection between the positive praise and not tearing up the place is made in the canine’s mind.   Positive reinforcement always triumphs over negative reactions.

To find out more about why never to use negative reinforcement, talk to a Florida dog obedience or a k9 obedience professional today