Good trainer

Dog trainer: Tips on how to find a good dog trainer

As a dog owner we want the best trainer for our dogs, but finding the right trainer can be hard. Here are some tips on how to find the good dog trainer.

Good trainer

Today is Sunday and time for a little relaxing, so me and the pups are on the couch and I thought I would watch a little TV while they had their siesta. I turn on the TV and I find this dog show about this so-called dog coach, teaching people how to handle their problem dogs.

YEAH! What better way to relax than to watch dogs?!?

However, a couple of minutes in I am not relaxed at all! Rather, I feel my heart pumping very fast and my blood pressure rising! What I am watching is not only very disturbing but also a VERY wrong understanding of how dogs learn and how you should train a dog.

I see pulling on a dog’s cheek to make him/her obey. I see rough hand handling to make the dog move, not to mention the very tight leash around the dog’s neck! But what is worse is that this so-called “dog-coach” is telling the owners that this is how dog’s communicate and that this is the only way they will learn!

Not once is a dog given a reward to do right, cause we are after all the leaders so the dogs should just obey us of course!!! ( feel the heavy sarcasm!)

What signs to look out for in your search for a good trainer?

Now, it has been scientifically proven that dogs do not aim to be our leaders, they do not try to control us or any form of situation (Read Debunking the alpha dog myth and Pack leader or companion). This understanding of so called “dog communication” is an old fashioned way of thinking before science told us better.

Therefor, my first prayer is that if you get a trainer and they start talking about being the leader or tell you that your dog is trying to take over. RUN, run as fast as you can and do it fast!

Furthermore, if you do not see any use of treats, praise or reward in their training but instead they use force to get what they want, like the above mentioned example, run even faster!!!

Now I see the appeal in wanting to get a quick fix for your dog, which these type of trainers offer, but this is not fixing the underlying problem (yes, there always is one!).

This type of “training” is scaring your dog into obeying you, cause after all who would want to be pulled on their cheek! However, this will destroy the trusting bond that should be between you and your dog and will lead to a very stressed, fearful and distrusting dog (Read more about the human-dog bond here).

Also, your dog will never understand what he/she did wrong in the first place, and worse yet what they are doing right. All they know is that if I lie down in a corner and are very still, I will not get hit, pushed or pulled.

Hello, what is your credentials as a trainer?

Dog trainer: Tips on how to find a good dog trainer 1

What I find even harder to believe is that this show is shown on national TV right in prime time, but where are all the shows where the lead person actually has an education and has studied dogs and their behavior, and most importantly is backed up by science?

This is why you should always make sure that your trainer is qualified. Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer or expert, but if they do not have a proper education or credentials to back up their title then stay away from them.

It is our job as dog owners to educate ourselves in dogs. The knowledge is out there. Several ethologists, such as myself (Book a consultation) are standing on their tippy toes from the eager of sharing their knowledge with you. Not to mention all the dog instructors out there who makes an honor in keeping themselves up to date with the newest knowledge on how to train dogs, and YES it is in a positive, force free and effective way.

My second prayer for you today is therefor please please look into the trainers background. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do they use positive methods (treats, praise)?
  • Are they force free?
  • What is their background/knowledge?

The most important thing you can do is listen to your gut feeling. If you are not comfortable using these methods with your dog, then there probably is a reason.

Kong toy

Kong toy – 3 super fun ways to use one!

This weeks blog will give you 3 super fun ways to use a Kong toy. A Kong toy can be used to enrich your dog’s daily life and can be made more difficult as your dog learn to figure it out. This will keep your dog engaged in their Kong Toy and give you a well balanced happy dog.

Kong toy

Here are 3 ideas for how to use your Kong Toy:
  1. Put your dog’s kibble meal inside and let your dog roll the Kong around to get the kibble out. This is a great way to get your dog started with their Kong Toy. If you have trouble getting your dog interested with just using their kibble then start out with putting some treats in the Kong Toy and then as your dog has grown an interest mix in some of his/her kibble.
  2. Put your dog’s kibble either soaked in water or with some wet food in the Kong and let your dog lick it out (to make it harder and last longer, freeze the Kong for a couple of hours before giving it to your dog).
  3. Smear peanut butter or wet food on the outer side of the Kong and let your dog spend his /her time licking it off (this will also last longer when frozen first).

If you are interested in more enrichment ideas check out our Youtube channel where we give you over 20 ideas for enrichment for your dog.

Enrichment is a great way to keep your dog from developing problem behaviors and should be given to all dogs on a daily basis. If you are having some problems with your dog don’t hesitate to contact me for a consultation – the faster you get the problem solved the happier both your dog and you will be. Contact me here.

Happy enrichment to you all!

Sensitive stomach dog

The sensitive stomach dog! (3 steps to helping your dog)

Do you have a dog with a sensitive stomach?

My little C does too. He has had a sensitive stomach right from puppy hood. The many sleepless nights I have had walking circles around our blog or searching for grass patches to eat. The tons of different foods we have gone through before finding something that works. The cuddles when he needs a belly rub when his tummy hurts. Having to tell people not to feed him with this and that during the holidays, not to mention the many vet visits we have had to try and figure out what was wrong.

Sounds familiar?

Having a dog with a sensitive stomach is definitely not easy. We are now on a tight feeding schedule 4 times a day and finally seem to have found a brand that agrees with his stomach. So today I thought I would share some tips on how to best deal with a dog that has a sensitive stomach.

  1. Visit the veterinarian

Sensitive stomach dog

Having an illness or any kind of physical ailment can affect you mentally, the same goes for dogs. This is why it is so important that you always visit a vet when you have a behavioral problem to always rule out any physical illness first. When that is done you can start working with the problematic behavior along with an Ethologist (Contact me here).

I definitely see changes in Chester’s behavior if he has a day with stomach issues, and it is important to be aware of that with your dog in order to always be able to set him/her up for success. If your dog has an off day, ex. having a stomach ache, then take a shorter walk, cuddle them a little more and let them be without having too high expectations training wise that day.

2. The right food for a sensitive stomach

Sensitive stomach dog

If you do have a dog with stomach issues you already know how important it is to provide the right food for them (Read 10 foods that are toxic for dogs).

However, I think it is important to mention here, that if you are still in the search for the right food then make a slow transfer between the different types of food. Mix the old and the new food slowly increasing the quantity of the new food over several days. A sudden shift to a new food can cause stomach issues on its own.

The vet often has different foods, depending on their sponsors. Sometimes these work and sometimes they don’t. Chester was given a specific sensitive stomach food from the vet. It worked fine but not as good as the food he is given now.

For me I think it is also important to think about how the food is produced. Just like us, having too many E-numbers of different kinds in our bodies is not the best and most likely it would be the same for dogs, so try to go ecological or as natural as possible.

That being said, if you are thinking of switching to RAW food then talk to your vet first and do proper research as RAW food can also cause stomach troubles due to containing different not so friendly bacteria. Specially to an already sensitive stomach.

Treats is a whole other thing that can also cause a lot of havoc, especially when your entire family wants to give your dog a piece of their x-mas roast. Your dog will definitely not say no to that, so you have to be his/her voice and tell people that yes they can give the dogs treats, but they have to be your treats and not a piece of their roast.

3. Listen to your dog’s body language

Sensitive stomach

Finally I want to talk about listening to your dog, and learning how to read their body language (Learn the basics in dog body language here).

Chester has remarkably always been very good to tell me when he needs to go out, running from door to door panting and winning and then I know we have to hurry outside.

What does your dog do to tell you he/she needs to go out?

Each dog shows discomfort and pain differently, so learn how to read when your dog is not feeling well. Is he/she pacing restlessly back and forth? Winning? Sleeping more than usual or being lazier than usual? Does he/she turn to their side with their snout, or licking their paws? All that can be a sign that they are in pain or have discomfort.

Always be aware of rewarding these behaviors so your dog can feel safe telling you he/she is not well and you skip “the scrubbing stains of the floor” part. This will also ensure that your dog will start showing you when he/she needs to go out or are not feeling well, which in general is a very smart trick.

Hope this will help you and let you know that we are many who has a dog with a sensitive stomach so you are definitely not alone.