Orlando Dog Trainer: The Positive Interrupter – A Tool More Powerful Than No

Nobody Likes To Hear No

Many people get frustrated when they can’t seem to communicate with their dogs. Often times they will fall into a cycle of saying, “No” “No” “No” when their dog is doing something they don’t like. Unfortunately, dogs don’t speak English.

Dogs can certainly tell by the tone of your voice that you are displeased. In all likelihood, telling or yelling “No!” over and over will increase stress in your pup. Most likely, Sparky may even tune you out.

This Orlando Dog Trainer Believes In Positivity

Orlando Dog TrainerLet’s do a little Classical Conditioning with your pooch. (Remember Pavlov’s dog?)

For the next few days make a kissing noise and give your dog a really delicious treat-for NO reason.

His behavior is irrelevant. He doesn’t have to look at you. He doesn’t have to sit. He doesn’t have to stop what he is doing.

Just walk up to your dog, make a kissing noise and give him a piece of grilled chicken or chicken hot dog. Make sure it’s something extraordinary, not his normal treat. Do this a dozen times a day for several days.

Happy Results

What you will notice very quickly is that when you make that kissing noise, your dog will swing his head around in anticipation of the really delicious treat. Now you’ve got a “Positive Interrupter” that you can use to get your dog’s attention away from unwanted activities and you can redirect him to something YOU want him to do.

Instead of inducing stress with “No!” You are interrupting him with the positive feelings of your Classically Conditioned kissing noise.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, feel free to call me any time at 321-345-7387 ext 2.

Classical Conditioning: A Foundation Of Dog Training

2014-10-13_1413210572My dog, Chase is a “rescue” dog in the most literal sense of the word, rescue. We learned about Chase when we were just launching Big Paw Pet Care. All we ‘knew’ about him was from a frantic email exchange from a friend; an older German Shepherd Dog with a broken leg, and he had 15-minutes to live.

What we got was a one-year-old possible Australian Cattle Dog mix that had been living on the street with a dislocated toe and a huge fear of diesel trucks.

The Adoption

The exchange went down like a hostage swap in a Hardee’s parking lot halfway between Orlando and Sebring, FL. Chase was 35 pounds of skin and bones and looked like a malnourished coyote even after 10 days of dog-pound food . We found on the ride home, Chase’s fear of all things truck. When we would approach a semi truck driving down the highway, this soon-to-be 53-pound dog would try desperately to crawl under the back of the passenger seat of our Saturn Vue.

After letting Chase acclimate to his new ‘foster’-home, our first plan of attack to work on his fear of trucks was to try and create positive associations. We had to desensitize the poor little street urchin through Classical Conditioning.

What is Classical Conditioning?

Classical ConditioningClassical Conditioning is defined as: In Psychology, a learning process that occurs when two stimuli are repeatedly paired; a response that is at first elicited by the second stimulus is eventually elicited by the first stimulus alone.

Think Pavlov’s dog. Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. A short version of what Pavlov did: Pavlov would ring a bell immediately before giving his dog food. He found after repeatedly pairing these two stimuli that when he would ring the bell, his dog would salivate even without the presentation of food.

Putting Theory To Work

With this in mind, Chase and I loaded up in the car with a stash of chicken hotdog bits and went out hunting down diesel trucks and semis. Every time we neared a truck, I would quickly start flipping little pieces of hotdogs into the back seat. It helped that Chase was extremely food motivated. Chase would squirm and get as far away and a low as possible when we got too close. But, it didn’t matter. As long as we were in the presence of trucks, hotdogs would fall from the sky.

Unexpected Result

A few short weeks later, as I was stopped at a stoplight and distracted with my own thoughts, I noticed Chase standing with his front paws on the center console. As I turned to him, I noticed a semi-truck directly next to us. In my blissfully unaware state, I had failed to see the truck pull up beside us.

But Chase didn’t. Chase knew that the truck meant something. In his mind, he was saying, “Hey, where are my hotdogs? Hotdogs should be falling from the sky!”

We successfully modified the association Chase had with trucks from one of fear to one of pleasure. Trucks no longer meant terror. Trucks meant something delicious.

It’s Tough Being A Dog

Don’t get me wrong, being a dog is AWESOME. Not a day passes that I don’t wish to trade places with my pup.

But we sometimes underestimate what it takes to be a dog. It’s a lifetime commitment of training, eating and sleeping nothing but D.O.G.

The video below shows some of the hardships dogs experience each day, but still pull off being AWESOME.

These hardships include:

Doors

tough being a dog

 

 

 

 

Doors aren’t always your friend. How do they work anyway?

Reaching

tough being a dog

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes selective breeding puts your toys out of reach.

Retrieving

tough being a dog

 

 

 

 

 

What is this? A force field?

Fetching

tough being a dog

 

 

 

 

 

Top heavy puppies should always pump the brakes.

Catching

tough being a dog

 

 

 

 

You can’t be 100% all the time when showing off your sick skills. Witness how tough it is being a dog, handled by dogs who are professional at awesomeness :

source: youtube.com

Pet First Aid Month: Pet Wellness Assessment

In our Pet Tech First Aid Classes we show students how to perform a Snout-To-Tail Wellness Assessment. It’s a systematic method to set a baseline for your pet’s everyday health. The more you know about your pet’s body, normal bumps and lumps, the better prepared you will be if something abnormal appears.

Remember: Early detection means early intervention.

It is also a good bonding experience for you and your pet. You should be able to touch all parts of your pet without them becoming nervous or agitated. Doing regular Snout-To-Tail Wellness Assessments makes your pet comfortable with being touched and helps your pet be more comfortable being examined by the veterinarian.

The Assessment

IMG_2301Starting with your pet’s snout, check for any abnormal discharges or cracking in the nose, tenderness in the muzzle. Move on to the eyes- do they appear? Are they tracking together?

Next, its time to inspect the mouth, teeth and gums. Look for swelling, smells or odors. Followed by the head, skull, neck, spine and skin. Do you know what the signs of mites or infection may be? Chest and ribs should be free should be free of lumps, easily feel the ribs under the coat and breathing should be smooth, rhythmic and easy.

Move each of your pet’s legs independently to see if there’s any wincing or pain, they should move fluidly with no interruptions. Move on to the stomach and genitals. Giving slight pressure to the abdomen, check for signs of bloat. Do you know the seriousness of bloat and how it should be handled?

Finally, we’re at the tail. It should have a full range of motion, but don’t push your pet’s tail beyond it’s normal range.

Celebrate Pet First Aid Month: Take A Class

There you have it! A wellness assessment for your pet that’s easy, thorough and repeatable. The assessment is intended to find irregularities in the coat, skin, lumps or bumps that may have changed since your last assessment.

If you’d like to learn first hand how to complete this Snout-To-Tail assessment, sign up for our one of Pet Tech Pet First Aid and CPR or PetSaver classes today. It’s fun, interactive, informative and most importantly – hands on.

Dog Catch Fails

Poor Fritz. He’s a golden retriever who can’t catch his treats.

For a golden retriever who can’t retrieve, it’s almost like a cat that can’t land on his feet or a hamster who can’t run in a wheel.

Time and time again his owner tosses him treats that get bigger and more crazy. From pizza to tacos – nothing seems to get in the right spot.

That is until…

 

 

Meeting Your Pet Sitter

Pet owners are naturally wary about leaving their pets in the care of people they don’t know particularly well. That’s why we at Big Paw Pet Care do everything we can to alleviate some of that worry and set your mind (and heart) at ease when entrusting us with the four-legged members of your family. One of those is setting up a pet sitter Meet & Greet with you at your home.

During these approximately half hour consultations, you will get to learn everything you need to know about our service and the sitter assigned to care for your furry loved ones while you are away from home. Almost any question or concern can be addressed here until you feel fully comfortable with your pet in our care. Conversely, our pet sitters will learn all they need to know about you and your pets.

What Does a Pet Sitter Meet and Greet Cover? 

There are potentially an infinite amount of topics to cover when you meet our sitters, but there are a few necessary ones you’ll want to make sure you highlight during our visit. Since our sitters will normally visit the pets while you will be gone from the home, knowing where all the essential materials are located will be important. Leashes, food, litters or trash receptacles to dispose of waste, medications if necessary are all things you’ll want to make sure is pointed out during the visit.

If you have an alarm, the code and location of the keypad(s) should be discussed. It also doesn’t hurt to actually test the key you give to the sitter in the door lock just to make sure it works. (Sometimes those copies the hardware store makes for you aren’t quite right!)

Like humans, pets are persnickety creatures and often like certain things a certain way. Tell us what they like, what their favorite route is to take on their walks, how they like their belly rubbed. All of our pet sitters are qualified and trustworthy, but it sometimes it just comes down to feeling. Your pets won’t know if we arrived within the designated time block or whether we properly locked the front door, but they’ll know if they like us and can get along with us.

Win 3 Months Of BarkBox

Don’t you wish you could spoil your dog like it’s his/her birthday every month? Well, now you can with BarkBox, a monthly BarkBoxservice that delivers dog treats, toys and other goodies to your door.

Big Paw Pet Care is proud to offer our readers a chance to win 3-months of BarkBox home delivery for FREE! That’s right, by clicking the registration button below, fill in the form and you’ll be entered to win! We’ll announce the winner in the March Monthly Scoop newsletter!

BarkBox is Like a Birthday Every Month

Subscriptions to BarkBox can run one, three or 6 months and come to packed with at least 4 items selected for your dogs size.

Don’t wait and register today and we hope you win 3-months of BarkBox courtesy of Big Paw Pet Care. (Registration ends at 11:59pm on February 28, 2015)

 Register To Win

House For Cats

Cat lovers, check this out: A house for cats, completely designed with their needs in mind

With 5 Roomba vacuums, 22 letterboxes, negative-air pressure in litter box rooms to reduce smells and $50000 in wood work just for kitties, I find it safe to say these guys are more cat people than dog people.

How much have you invested in making your house a home for cats?

Magical Golden Retriever

What could be better than one Golden Retriever? The answer, of course, it’s TWO Golden Retrievers.

[Read more…]

Windermere Dog Walkers Warn Pee Pads Cause Problems

Every morning I, like everyone else, scroll through Facebook to check up on family, friends and (sadly) catch a bit of news. With each view comes the obligatory ad or two for products you may or may not have heard about already. This morning an ad for PeePooPads.com scrolled through my feed. Pee Poo Pads promise to “save you money, protect your floors and make house training a breeze”.

The ad also stated that Pee Poo Pads are cheaper than dog walkers. But are they? [Read more…]