Why do some dog trainers show really dramatic before and afters, and some don’t?
Have you noticed that most of those who do post dramatic before and afters are using aversive tools or heavy handed corrections.
So why aren’t positive trainers posting before and afters? Wouldn’t it be helpful for potential clients to see what their successes are?
There are some really good reason that most positive trainers don’t post dramatic before and afters.
Have you been told to deprive your dog of things?
I know I have.
A shorter leash, less off leash time, more crate time, less attention.
These are all ways that we used to train dogs (and you may have had someone recently advise this, as dog training is not a regulated industry).
Let's think about hunger for a moment. If a person is starving, and you put that person right in the middle of a huge buffet, are they going to act like anyone else in the room? How likely are they to make themselves sick, or experience refeeding syndrome?
When we minimize a dog’s ability to get their needs met (physical, mental, emotional or social), we create a state of deprivation. And so when that dog gets to go off leash, or greet people, it is so much harder for them to stay calm and in a thinking and learning state of mind.
We’ve all seen that dog running and running and refusing to come back, completely frantic. It’s no fun for anyone.
Do we sometimes have to take some things away from dogs? Yes! We use a lot of management in modern dog training, and some things are unsafe or unhealthy for dogs to do. But we always, always, always, ensure the dog’s needs are being met in a safe way.
And sometimes the solution is more freedom, not less. A longer leash, more time off leash, more access to foraging for food. Always planned in a safe way, but we can take an approach of metaphorically refeeding the dog, so they aren’t experiencing a feeling of deprivation any longer.
If we take something away, we need to have a good reason to do so and must ensure that all the dog’s needs are still being met.
If you’re unsure if your dog’s physical, emotional, mental and social needs are being met, or if your dog is exhibiting frantic or hyperactive type behaviour, contact us for a consultation!
We’ve all had our heartstrings tugged by puppies. They are, by design, adorable.
But what about getting two? Maybe there is only two puppies left in the litter and you can’t bear to split them up, maybe you think they’ll be best friends growing up together, or maybe you’ve been told two puppies is easier than one.
Lets take a look at why buying two puppies at once is usually a very bad idea.
Is it easier to have two puppies than one? Absolutely not. Two puppies are at least twice the work of one. Twice the training, twice the 2am bathroom breaks should they get an upset tummy, twice the price of food and veterinary care.
Ask anyone with twins, they will assure you two is not easier than one.
But they’ll be best friends! Will they? Dog/dog aggression is common in many breeds and lines of dogs, and is rarely apparent in young puppies. Littermates are often more rough with one another and more competitive than other puppies, and dogs raised together without adequate time apart can become hyper bonded and can experience anxiety when separated. This might seem sweet, but what happens if you can’t walk them together as adults, or one gets ill or passes away before the other? Some of these problems can helped with good training, but that can be a time consuming and difficult undertaking.
He needs someone to play with! This is what you are for! And puppy socialization classes/playgroups. Puppies cannot be left alone very long, but neither can two puppies. Instead of getting two puppies, consider hiring a friend, family member or qualified pet professional to visit your puppy while you are at work. It’s important that puppies have many new experiences, and frequently two puppies tire each other out and can act as a buffer for one another, which can inhibit socialization.
What if you worry about the other puppy’s future? If you’re concerned that the other puppies in the litter will be poorly treated, lonely or neglected, you should absolutely not be buying from that source. Good rescues and breeders don’t usually have puppies to spare, and every puppy is going to be given the best possible home, even if there isn’t a waitlist. The hallmark of a good breeder is always taking responsibility for every puppy produced for their entire life. If where the puppies are kept looks dirty or unsafe, that is not someone you should be supporting. There are risks associated with buying puppies from shady sources that we should all be aware of.
If you must pick up multiple puppies from a less than reputable source, reach out to the local rescue community to find a foster home for those you cannot keep.
So what do you do if you have littermates or two young dogs?
Train them apart AND together. Your puppies will need to spend time learning new things separately, and then learn how to do those things together.
Crate train them separately. Your puppies should have time apart and learn to feel comfortable in a crate without their sibling. They should not have full access to each other all the time.
Go to two different puppy classes/playgroups. If you attend group classes with your puppy, see if your instructor teaches two different sessions that you can attend. If doing private training, ask your trainer how best to train each puppy separately.
Play with and feed them separately. To avoid competition and to build value for interacting with you, avoid feeding and playing with the puppies together. Give them each their own play time and feed in different rooms or in their crates/pens.
Reach out for help. If you have two puppies, or adult dogs who are experiencing conflict or over bonding, help is available. The best time to address behaviour problems is right away.
When is it a good idea to get dog number 2?
Because so many major behavioural problems can be linked to puberty and social maturity, I recommend waiting 2-4 years before adding another puppy to the mix. You’ll be more confident that your adult dog doesn’t have issues with resource guarding or same sex aggression, and you’ll be able to devote more time to socializing and training your new puppy!
If you're considering bringing a new dog or puppy into your home, and you want to know how to do that successfully, or if you are struggling with the dogs you already have, contact us today! We provide professional, certified dog training in person in the South Surrey/White Rock community and virtually across Canada!