"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lessons From Dog School

When you want a dog to know he's done the correct thing, say, "Yes!" That word becomes a signal and helps the dog to understand you better. Praise is different. It tells your dog how happy he makes you when he chooses to do the right thing.

Show your dog what the new behavior you want looks like. Help him put his body where you want it and then reward him for being there. 

Use treats to lure your dog into behaviors you want. Once he's doing them, use treats to reward him. Once he's consistently doing the new behavior, give treats intermittently.

If a dog misbehaves, it may be because you're not paying enough attention to him. Positive attention goes a long way toward preventing behaviors that elicit negative attention.

Turning teaching into games makes the whole process easier for everyone.

Dogs send clear signals with their bodies when they are trying to soothe themselves and reduce stress. They use those same behaviors to soothe those around them. Not knowing what those signals are can lead to misunderstanding and miscommunication between owner and dog.

Dogs automatically pull against someone pulling against them. 

Their innate curiosity and love of attention and love of treats are the most powerful motivators there are.

Power steering. That's what the teacher calls the gentle leader collar. Gentle. Power.

In a room of twelve dogs, Toby was the most handsome and the best behaved. Really. The helpers who work there said so. Maybe they didn't say most and best exactly, but I'm pretty sure that's what they meant. Because he was more perfect than we could ever have hoped for.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

I'm pretty sure that's what they meant, too! : )

Mark Lyons said...

Was that a list of lessons from elementary school? I think we both know you could have inserted the word third grader (or freshman) in for dog and still been right on :)

It sounds like it was a good day of school...and that you were every bit the proud "dog parents" at the school conferences.



Suzy said...

What does it mean when everyone giggles at what your dogs do?

Love you,


Deb Shucka said...

I'm pretty sure that means that your dogs got their sense of humor from their owner and are so cute and funny, people just laugh. It's a gift. :)

contemporary themes said...

Are you sure the teacher isn't talking about high schoolers?

Love TOBY!

Deb Cushman said...

Those are good lessons for all of us to follow! Hmmmmm, wonder if they'll work on stubborn house rabbits?

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