Tag Archives: dog behavior

Working Dog in Irvine with Ducks and Geese

Double Handling While Training with Distractions
Double Handling While Training with Distractions

Dog training Video 2 and my Boxer friend at Irvine park. The Irvine area of Orange County has some good dog training locations. We are still training with the ducks and geese as distractions.

This video is the second in a series of three and has some good dog obedience training advice, but I feel it’s a little less interesting than the other two videos. The advice in these videos will be most relevant to those who are involved in one of my training programs. This training session is part of a customized in home training program.

In this video you’ll get to see me do some double handling to get the dog to sit. Towards the end I will also point out when the owner makes a subtle movement that sets the dog up to perform the desired behavior.

Let me know if there is something that will make these videos more useful for you.


Getting a New Dog

Are you getting a new dog this year? If so you may want to know more about new dog syndrome. Understanding New dog syndrome can help us and our dogs deal more effectively with the stress of bringing a new dog into the household.

Getting New Dog? Training can make transitioning into a new home easier on people and the dog. This is true for rescue dogs and dogs from breeders.
Getting New Dog? Training can make transitioning into a new home easier on people and the dog. This is true for rescue dogs and dogs from breeders.

I work with many people who tell me how good their dog was when they first got it. By the time people call me in for dog behavior help the dog is proving to be quite disruptive. I hear how the cute little fur baby was perfect. It was quiet and docile when first entering the home. Then a week or so later it was a little monster. Although a cute little monster.

There are some dog behavior problems associated with new dog syndrome I hear about more than others.

One of these problems is that the dog who was just an angle is now getting into everything. It seems that it went from never chewing to chewing anything it can get its mouth on.

Another common problem is the dog that was supposed to be house trained when is first came into the new home. However, now it only potties where it should not go and when no one is looking. I have seen two scenarios with this problem. The first is the dog that developed house training problems when coming into the new home straight away. The second is the dog that seemed to be doing fine with potty training in the beginning and then for some mysterious reason starts having potty problems.

Dog communicating with vocalization combined with body language that can be seen as positioning and movement
Dog communicating with vocalization combined with body language that can be seen as positioning and movement

Barking is another common problem for dogs that suffered from new dog syndrome. The dog was quiet when it first came into the home and now it barks at everything. This is quite common since many dogs with new dog syndrome are sensitive and sensitive dogs tend to bark more.

A problem that can go along with all the above is extremely active behavior. Overall hyperactive behavior should not be confused with the temporary overactive behavior puppies display in the early evening and sometime in the mornings too. You may also see this temporary overactive behavior in puppies when they’re tired and when under a little stress. The stress can be as simple as frustration when learning a new behavior during food reinforcement training.

With over active behavior we often see the same pattern where the dog was very calm when it first came into the home only to become unruly once it settles in. It seems any stimulation at all makes this kind of dog hyperactive. The extra active behavior leads to all kinds of problems including jumping, chewing, potty problems, digging, and barking among others.

Getting a new dog or puppy? Learn about the transition period and how training can make rehoming an easy and enjoyable experience.
Getting a new dog or puppy? Learn about the transition period and how training can make rehoming an easy and enjoyable experience.

To prevent and overcome these problems requires the proper behavior management.  Early intervention is best, but not always possible. You can help your new dog through the transition period by being consistent and emotionally supportive. Dog training can be very helpful at all stages of the dog’s life. If you can start a training program soon after the dog arrives at its new home you may prevent many of the unwanted effects of new dog syndrome.

Some dogs have a tough time making the connections between the controlling signal and the desired response when under stress. In these situations we just need to be patient and use good behavior management. Sometimes being patient is part of providing an emotionally supportive environment.

Even if your dog has a hard time making the connection between the controlling signal and the behavior you can still use food to counter condition avoidance. When there is a strong avoidance response you will need to be more aware of the environment. I classify awareness as a component of one’s personal rules which make up a strategy for dog training.

If you need help with your dog you can call me at 714-827-4058

Managing dog behavior and people’s too

Encourage good dog behavior with the appropriate discriminative stimuli

Is managing discriminative stimuli part of philosophy, business management, or dog training? This is what Wikipedia has to say about “Stimulus control and discriminative stimuli: Stimulus control is the phenomenon of a stimulus increasing the probability of a behavior (operant response) because of a history of that behavior being differentially reinforced in the presence of the stimulus. In other words, stimulus control is basically learning to pay attention to things that we identify in the environment (discriminative stimuli) that give us information about the effectiveness of our behavior.” Discriminative stimuli help us determine what rules apply to achieve reinforcement.

At a social media group I belong to I was talking with a philosopher about how we have certain rules that help us do the right thing. More importantly we have rules that keep us from doing what society considered immoral. This part of the conversation revolved around how a man of good moral character would not go to an attractive married woman’s room where they are alone and drink alcohol while at a conference.

Why is it that alcohol is a major factor or variable to this scenario? It could be that alcohol reduces the inhibition we associate with moral behavior. By reducing inhibitions our more animal like nature shines through. The nature of animals is probably driven more by lower level needs than the higher level needs we like to associate with being human. At this point my post diverged into two different lines of thought. I will post my more whimsical thoughts about the possibilities of animals experiencing altered states of consciousness on my new dog website.

Getting back to dog training and behavior management. If we can’t expect other humans, not to mention ourselves, to behave properly under certain conditions, how can we expect our dogs to do any better?  For the most part dogs don’t have the ability to manage discriminative stimuli that control behavior.

The inability of dogs to control this aspect of their environment places the responsibility of discriminative stimuli management squarely on the shoulders of us humans.

We need to live by rules that help arrange the environment in ways where dogs have an easy time being good. Dogs can’t decide I’m going to spend more time inside so I won’t be so tempted to go visit my neighbor when she smells sooo good because it would lead to a show dog with less than desirable children. But people can arrange the environment so our dogs are not hated by society.

Some interesting strategies for self control were used by children in an experiment that required waiting 15 minutes to have 2 sweets verses having 1 sweet right away. It was found that children with good self control employed a strategy of not thinking about the sweet. This was often done by thinking about something else. They were managing the internal discriminative stimuli. These children were managing the signals that controlled their behavior. I like calling internal discriminative stimuli the controlling signal(s). It may not be scientific but it makes sense for normal conversations.

Managing discriminative stimuli or the controlling signal(s) is often one of my first objectives when doing an in home dog training program. Discriminative stimuli management is especially critical where the owner is so frustrated with the dog’s behavior they are thinking about getting rid of the dog.  Usually we can at least make the dog’s behavior good enough so the owner can keep the dog. This give us time to do the needed training to change the offending behavior. Now even if the behavior can’t be completely changed, it usually can be managed. Efficient management of the dog’s behavior can make cohabitation with humans possible.

There are established social rules for managing the attractive woman + Alcohol + opportunity syndrome.  There are also individuals who have personal rules for managing these scenarios. With dogs you need to be your dog’s social authority. It’s important to know that you can direct and manage your dog’s behavior without being overbearing. Sometimes this involves teaching a new response. At other times you may need to make some physical changes to the environment. It is up to you, the dog’s owner, to manage the signals that control your dog’s behavior.

I can be reached at 714-827-4058