About Me

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I am the Dog Trainer Girl. A wife to a wonderful husband, momma to 2 boys, one that is a mini-me and makes me call my dad and appologize on a regular basis. I am owned by a Corgi named Yadi. I'm a Baseball girl, who likes bats, ball and bases on my diamonds. Go Cardinals!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Training Responsibilities - The Human's Role

I wish there was one special quick to read book that told all the secrets that it takes dog trainers years to learn, and no I've not learned them all yet.  A store place of knowledge that tells us, humans, all the things we need to do in order to make our dogs happy, lazy (and by lazy I mean tired on a regular basis), and well-behaved pups.  Sadly there is not, maybe I'll write some of it one day, but for today I just want to talk about a few of the things that we SHOULD be doing on a regular basis for our pups. 

Our dogs need a stable environment with boundaries and rules that they need to follow.  It makes their lives much easier.  If we as humans didn't have any rules or Laws that we needed to live our lives by, think of how much chaos we would be in.  Those boundaries should only be things to help improve their behavior. 

Such as: If you are out walking your dog, and you know your dog is going to bark at a stranger that you pass along the way, BE ready for it.  Have a high-value reward, your focus on the walk should be looking for other people and making sure you get your dog's attention before they can react badly.  Being PROACTIVE is key.  If our dog is already behaving badly we have missed the chance to reward them at that point.  Once our dog is behaving badly, when it's a trigger that we knew could come up... but we didn't think to be repaired for it, well who is really at fault? 
I'll give you a hint, it's us.  This is one of OUR responsibilities, and it's a major one, that we are ready to train our dogs at any given second. 

One of the major issues I have with my Standard Poodle Kona is that she will from time to time counter
surf.  No matter how often we work on her not jumping on the counter, and don't get me wrong she does great in the training sessions.  If I forget and leave something where she can reach it, it's like it is a challenge to her to see if she can grab it.  

When she does grab something, it's not always her fault.  It is partly my fault as well because I left it out where she could get hold of it.  There are two ends of the metaphorical leash that bonds us with our dogs as well.  Whether we want to admit it or not everything our dogs do we are in some part responsible for.  Either we have rewarded them at some point for doing it, or we have allowed them to do it so much they have made it a habit.  
It is our part as the human to look at our environment and manage it in a way that best supports our puppies for the success they need to build confidence and an inquisitive personality That will help them build an outgoing and social personality, instead of being shy, fearful or reactive when something in their environment changes.  

Monday, June 1, 2020

When Your Dog Trains Your Kids

This morning for the umpteenth time I called Yadi over to me to give him a treat in trade for whatever thing he had grabbed off the floor that belonged to one of my sons, it occurred to me that other people probably have the same thing going on in their house as well. 

Yadi learned early on that if he grabbed something he wasn't supposed to have, one of the boys would get really excited about it (start yelling) and play chase with him (try to get the item back)  sometimes it was even me trying to get the item back.  Often it resulted in him bringing things to me to show me what treasure he had found in exchange for a treat if he would give it up without a chase. 

So for him, this became one of the best games ever, and he loved to play it so much he trained my boys how to play it with him.  He would find something that they were repeatedly told not to leave on where he could get it and make sure they saw him with it.  Much like the pose in the picture. 

When Connor first moved in with us we left him home alone with Yadi while we went to pick up Ian from daycare and when we got home Connor was yelling at Yadi and scared him.  That afternoon Yadi started to view Connor as a threat and even bit him on the rear end for messing with Ian that night.  He has since displayed heavy herding behavior with Connor. 

I tried to get Connor to train with Yadi to get him to listen to Connor and start to follow his instructions.  I thought it might help with hearing behavior.  Connor however did not follow my instructions and allowed Yadi to take advantage of the situation and actually trained Connor to just treat him for nipping at his heels.   So now Yadi has Connor trained that if he takes a step and Yadi barks he will give Yadi a treat so that Yadi doesn't nip his ankle.  This is where I don't know if I should laugh, or shake my head, and most days I do both at the same time. 

Yadi is ever watchful of my boys and I'm very grateful for that, but he is also a very smart dog.  I heard a saying a long time ago that has stuck with me throughout all my years as a trainer, and Yadi is definitely an embodiment of this saying.   I wish I could remember who said it but...

Every second that you are with your dog, someone is being trained... whether it's you, your dog. 

The Kona Diaries - Separation Anxiety

I think the biggest thing I have noticed since being at home during this COVID Shutdown is how wonderful my dogs are, but also how far we st...