dog behaviour

Fluffy Puppy turned into a snarking monster? 5 steps to enjoying walking your dog again

This article was first published on 4knines.com and is reprinted here with permission.

Pins Maxx Payne.pngCan you enjoy walks with your reactive dog again? Change some of the things you’re doing and see the change in your dog! | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #anxiousdog, #fearfuldog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

That sweet pup who at a couple of months old was so adorable that you wanted to show her off to everyone, has gained half a year and grown horns!

She barks and lunges at every dog or person she sees – and you wouldn’t want anyone to see your dog now … So you only walk her at The Hour of the Difficult Dog. You’re embarrassed. Confused. What have you done wrong?

What she’s showing is a fear reaction which can appear in adolescence.

It may have resulted from not meeting enough dogs and people in her first few weeks with you; it may be that some time another dog or person gave your pup a fright; it could just be that she’s cautious and fearful by nature.

It’s not wrong or bad – it’s just the way she is. And you still love her to bits!

So how can you improve this and get your fluffpup back again?

For help with your reactive, anxious, aggressive, “growly” dog, get our free email course here.

     

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1. Understand

Your dog is not aggressive or nasty - she’s afraid. The reason she’s barking and lepping about on the lead when she sees another dog or person or bike is that she’s trying to keep them away! Quite often this apparently aggressive display will do the trick, and either the other walker heads off, or you drag your dog away in embarrassment and confusion. Once she’s upset and the hormones are flying around her body, she’ll be quicker to react to the next frightening thing she sees.

2. Make Distance

If your child had a fear of spiders you wouldn’t keep confronting him with the wiggly beasties. So, for the time being, avoid confrontations with other dogs. Walk where you won’t have dogs “in your face”. Turn and go the other direction when a dog is walking towards you along the street. Just knowing that she never has to meet another dog or person will take a lot of the pressure off your dog and allow her to keep calm.

 

3. Get rid of any gadgets or collars that hurt her

It stands to reason that if, every time you saw a red van someone choked you with a prong or chain collar or – worse still – gave you an electric shock, you would soon get very anxious about red vans. You would try to get away from them, and if you saw one coming you’d probably start to scream in fear of the anticipated pain. So ditch all those things that people tell you are the answer, and just have your dog on a comfortable, soft, flat collar and a good length lead so she can move freely.

 

It’s not the dog that has to change! Change your own mindset and change your dog!  | FREE EMAIL COURSE |  #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #anxiousdog, #fearfuldog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

4. Change her Perception of Dogs and People

Before you set out on your walk, load your pockets with tasty treats that you know your dog will sell her soul for. Tiny cubes of cheese or hot dog will do the trick, or high-quality grain-free treats may work. Every time you see something coming, pause - and post treats into your dog’s mouth as she watches them. Treat, treat, treat … very fast. Be sure you keep beyond the distance at which she usually gets worried. Stop feeding once the hazard has gone away. If you are consistent with this, she’ll soon see a strange dog or person, turn to you and say, “Where’s my treat?” Result!

 

5. Still afraid your dog may bite?

You need to find a certified force-free trainer who understands how to help fearful dogs. Be aware that using any sort of force or punishment in this situation will make things worse. If your dog has already bitten or you’re really afraid she will, you can acclimatise your dog gently to a basket muzzle. Use the system at no.4 above so that she is delighted at the sight of her muzzle. The muzzle has the added benefit of keeping people and their dogs at a distance – just what you want for now!

Follow Steps 1 – 4 above and you’ll start to build your dog’s confidence and be able to enjoy your walks again.

 

For help with your reactive, anxious, aggressive, “growly” dog, get our free email course here.

     

  THIS FREE ECOURSE IS A BONUS FOR YOU WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EDUCATIONAL EMAILS AND OCCASIONAL OFFERS FROM ME. YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
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Can Choice Training help my Reactive - Growly - Dog?

Training your dog with choice is much easier and more effective than you may have thought | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

One of the interesting things I’ve observed recently is how much simple Choice Training changes life for those of us blessed with a Growly Dog - a reactive, anxious, aggressive, dog.

Of course, I always knew that! But it’s great to hear it come back from students and folk on my recent Workshop. That was all about Choice Training - training your dog by offering him a choice instead of telling him what to do.

And the results have been remarkable for many people!

They were surprised - and delighted! - to find that their growly dog was much better able to cope after only a couple of days of trying this new approach. Well, it was new for many of them …

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

How can a few simple games change my reactive dog?

What happens is that - through offering your dog a choice and not continually “commanding” him what to do - you build a completely new relationship with your pet!

No longer are you yelling and dancing, coaxing and cajoling, to try and get what you want. Instead you have a happy companionship where your dog is keen to do what you want because it’s what he wants too!

What I love about this way of training is that the dog doesn’t have to “be trained” at all. So how does the change happen? By you, the OWNER, changing!

Simple as that! Once you change your ways, your dog will just change with you.

And while you’re building up this amazing new bond between you, your anxious dog is getting less anxious, your reactive dog is able to cope much better with his fears, and your aggressive dog finds that - with you on his side - he doesn’t need to be aggressive any more.

I love my dog but …

Training your dog with Choice Training is much easier and more effective than you may have thought | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Many people come to me saying “I love my dog to bits, but …” What’s happening is that they undoubtedly do love their dog, but they don’t actually understand why he’s doing what he does. They know there’s a disconnect there, but are unaware how to fix it.

Once they start using Choice Training, things change fast. They become a team with their dog. They can now love him with understanding and empathy.

When I’m working with Growly Dogs specifically, I use a lot of strategies and techniques to achieve the desired change in the dog’s behaviour. But these are all based in giving him a choice and letting him decide on a good course of action.

When you have very young children, you have to show them and teach them all the time. Once your child is older, you’re no longer saying “do this, do that,” but you are backing them up in the informed choices that they are now able to make. This is what I aspire to for my Growly Dog students. That they can work together with their challenging dog to get the results they want.

One of the best things about Choice Training is that you can start it with your new puppy when he comes through the door at 7-8 weeks old. People used to say (some unenlightened people still say …) that you can’t train a puppy till it’s 6 months old. Why? It’s simply that the type of training they’re thinking of - harsh, punishment-based training involving physical pain - would be too tough on a puppy.

Why use it on any dog??? It’s quite unnecessary, as you’ll see from any of the 130-odd articles on this site, not to mention the many books, the audiobooks, and my free - as well as paid - programs.

And if a training technique won't work for a toddler, then it likely won't work for a dog —Stanley Coren

Take a look at this post which goes into the whole subject in great detail. There are some academic resources listed there for those of you who want to dig deep!

The fact remains, if you can treat your dog with the same courtesy, kindness and respect that you give to any toddler, then you’ll get the results you want!

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

   

 

 

 

The Brilliant Family Dog Workshop’s nearly here!

Free 5 Day online Workshop to show you a new - force-free - way to change your dog or new puppy and enjoy life | FREE 5 DAY ONLINE WORKSHOP | #dogtraining, #puppytraining, #newpuppy, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Great anticipation here, for this summer’s main event!

People are joining in droves, so I’m looking forward to great activity in the new private forum which will be opened in a few days.

And we learn so much from each other - once we’ve chosen the right place to be to learn! As you’ll know, any place I am is a place that focusses on force-free training. On training that reaches the dog’s heart and mind, and does not rely on fear or intimidation to have any effect.

As you’ll have seen from my recent post I am utterly against the use of aversive gear to work with our friend, the dog.

Join our free 5 Day Workshop and find a new dog-friendly way to get fast results with your dog or your brand-new puppy Description Free 5 Day online Workshop to show you a new - force-free - way to change your dog or new puppy and enjoy life | FREE 5 DAY ONLINE WORKSHOP | #dogtraining, #puppytraining, #newpuppy, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

This means that we can achieve exactly what we want without nasty collars, no spikes, no electric shocks, no nasty smells.

We wouldn’t dream of treating our children this way!

And yet people have no qualms about abusing their dogs, even the cleverest of whom is only on a par with a three-year-old child. The mind boggles at the double standards their minds have to hold.

But how do we actually get results without using these so-called “training aids”?

To start with, come and join the hundreds already impatiently waiting for kick-off! Our free 5 Day Workshop to a Brilliant Family Dog starts next Monday. Just click that link and you’ll be there!

Once you’ve registered, take a leisurely stroll round this site and have a look at more of the articles. You can use the SEARCH button to find just what you want. With almost 130 posts, it’s a great resource, and it’s f-r-e-e!

Why do I give so much away? Well, I want to reach as many dogs as possible and change their experience during their short life with us.

And you know what? It changes their owners too, so that means the good stuff will keep spreading.

Results!

I’m really looking forward to showing you just how to achieve the results you want with your dog, without listening to anyone who says you can only succeed through nastiness.

Choice Training is the fastest way to change your dog - from being a source of conflict and irritation - to becoming your companion and the Brilliant Family Dog you deserve.

Once you’ve worked your way through this 5 Day Workshop, you’ll have a puppy who plays nicely with the children, never nipping hands or grabbing clothes! Isn’t this just what you imagined when you got your puppy?

And you’ll be making a great start on walking comfortably together without your arm being pulled out of its socket! Just imagine that …

Join our free 5 Day Workshop here!

Go and find out all the goodies you’ll be getting …

 

It’s ok to punish a dog to get what we want

Do we have to punish dogs to get what we want? Absolutely not! The reverse is true. Reward what you like and your dog will learn much faster | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior, #reactivedog, #ecollar, #shockcollar, #prongcollar | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

It’s not all that long ago that children were sent up chimneys to clean them, and young children are still being used as slave labour.

These children are seen as possessions. Things to use and abuse as their “owners” see fit.

But in civilised countries we just don’t think that any more! Hooray!

Another thing that’s changed is our approach to animals. More and more countries are building animal protection into their law books. For wild animals, farm animals, and for our pets.

Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

 

  THIS FREE ECOURSE IS A BONUS FOR YOU WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EDUCATIONAL EMAILS AND OCCASIONAL OFFERS FROM ME. YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
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But there’s one place where people have a blind spot

And that’s aversive equipment.

Equipment designed to inflict pain.

You can save as many whales as you like, but if you still think it’s ok to put an electric shock collar on a dog (or force a 5-year-old child to work in a factory), you’re barking up the wrong tree!

I understand why you may think that shock collars, prong collars, choke chains and the like are ok to use on your dog. There are a lot of people - some of them calling themselves “dog trainers” - who are heavily invested in using these instruments of torture.

Why? The answer is simple but shocking.

Because they don’t know any better.

The only way they know to get results is by punishing the animal in their care. Whether the dog understands why it’s being punished doesn’t seem to cross their mind.

The fallout of using pain and intimidation to get quick results is a closed book to them. They don’t even bother to look at what happens later.

Using inhumane equipment to reach their ends is making them inhuman.

You wouldn’t want to be a part of that, would you?

The science of getting the results you want in animal training, without lifting a finger to harm the dog, or even ever saying NO, has been proven for almost a hundred years.

We are so behind!  

Do we have to punish dogs to get what we want? Absolutely not! The reverse is true. Reward what you like and your dog will learn much faster | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior, #reactivedog, #ecollar, #shockcollar, #prongcollar | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

What’s good?

The good news is that more and more countries are changing their laws and BANNING these awful devices. I’m fortunate to live in one of those countries that has seen the light. **

Tell me, would you punish a child for doing something you don’t like?

Or would you rather TEACH him how to do what you DO like?

Would you give your child an electric shock if he didn’t answer you immediately?

The very thought sends shivers down my spine.

And I get those same shivers when I see that people are brainwashed into thinking it’s actually ok to administer pain to an animal.

The fact (and that’s proven scientifically) is that “training” done via methods of punishment does not last. And has many side-effects that make everything worse.

The child who’s punished for stealing a biscuit is not going to know why it’s wrong to steal. He’s just going to make sure he doesn’t get caught in the future!

The dog who’s punished for being afraid of something is now going to be afraid of his owner as well. His first fear is now superseded by the more immediate fear of the person holding the lead, or the electric transmitter. (They actually call it a “controller”. I rest my case.)

Rhyme and reason go out the window.

In both cases, you’re just teaching avoidant behaviour, not resolving the issue.

The future is bright!

Do you want to learn a way to actually communicate with your dog, and - miracle! - get HER to make good decisions without you even having to tell her?

Join me in our next 5 Day Live Workshop

The way forward is open for you to choose to do things with your dog and stop doing things to your dog.

 

It's ok to hurt a dog to get what we want

** Countries that have banned electric shock collars now include:

  • England

  • Scotland

  • Wales

  • Denmark

  • Norway

  • Sweden

  • Austria

  • Switzerland

  • Slovenia

  • Germany

  • Canada

  • Australia

Get Plenty of ideas in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

 

  THIS FREE ECOURSE IS A BONUS FOR YOU WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EDUCATIONAL EMAILS AND OCCASIONAL OFFERS FROM ME. YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
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Is it possible for a dog to be reactive to the unexpected?

Do dogs like surprises? Their job is to spot surprises and alert us | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbodylanguage, #dogbehavior, #reactivedog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

I had a great question recently:

“Is it possible for a dog to be reactive to quiet and ‘the unexpected’?”

The person who posed this question was puzzled that their dog seemed able to cope with busy or noisy situations, but would react violently to any sight or sound when the environment was otherwise empty or quiet. The owner was worried that his dog may be unusual or wrong in some way.

As I answered, it became clear that quite a few owners of reactive dogs are puzzled by this. So I’m giving you my answer as it may answer a question that you have too!

 

This is a good question! It baffles and misleads a lot of people.  

Picture this: you are visiting your local shops. It’s afternoon, the shops are busy, there are mothers with pushchairs, delivery vans, people with shopping bags, boys on bikes … How do you feel?

Absolutely fine and comfortable, I’d bet.

Now imagine you go there at 1 in the morning. The place is deserted. You hear footsteps getting louder, and peering into the gloom you can just make out a figure heading towards you. How do you feel?

Most of us would be on high alert at the very least, possibly really alarmed.

The same man ambling through the crowds in the afternoon probably wouldn’t have bothered you at all.

There is a technical name for this - it’s SEC or Sudden Environmental Change.

Dogs are designed to spot things which are different, things which shouldn’t be there. They can single out something amiss and focus intently on it. This is one reason why they have earned their place in our homes down the ages. They are alarm sensors!

So your dog is behaving absolutely normally.

 

Want to learn more? Check out this free email course that will give you lots of Aha moments about your reactive, aggressive, anxious - Growly - dog!

     

  THIS FREE ECOURSE IS A BONUS FOR YOU WHEN YOU SIGN UP TO RECEIVE EDUCATIONAL EMAILS AND OCCASIONAL OFFERS FROM ME. YOU CAN UNSUBSCRIBE AT ANY TIME.
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Sudden Environmental Change? Wha’?

There is a reason so many of our working dogs are so useful in their work. Take German Shepherds for instance, who can spot an intruder or an escaping criminal in a split-second, and take action.

Border Collies, those wonderful sheep-herders, can instantly spot a ewe whose ear is twitching in the wrong direction, indicating that she’s about to break and take the flock with her. The Collie can get round in an instant to block the ewe and make sure she keeps going in the right direction.

In the image at the top of the page, young Coco Poodle just has to check out this strange sign in an otherwise green and empty landscape.

Do dogs like surprises? Their job is to spot surprises and alert us | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbodylanguage, #dogbehavior, #reactivedog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Sighthounds can spot the tiniest movement in a still place at a huge distance. Something moving in the landscape could well be dinner!

Dogs searching for evidence may not have a specific scent or object in mind - they’re just looking for something that shouldn’t be there.

And this is why your dog may react dramatically to the doorbell, or a car door slamming outside your home.

WHO IS THIS?

WHAT ARE THEY DOING HERE?

ARE WE UNDER THREAT?

For this ability alone, dogs have earnt their place by our fireplaces for so many thousands of years - it’s about 30,000 years, in fact.

Dogs’ gifts

The fact is that the hearing and sight capabilities of the dog so far outweigh our own. When it comes to their noses, they are unparalleled, and are the reason dogs are an important tool for the police, and in airports and ports worldwide. They’re far quicker at discovering evidence and identifying contraband than much of the sophisticated machinery also in use!

Is it possible for a dog to be reactive to quiet?

Reactive dog? Anxious dog? Aggressive dog? Calling all Growly Dog owners!

Great excitement here at Brilliant Family Dog HQ! We’re getting ready to host the first Growly Workshop of 2019. Click here for details and to sign up, free.

Brilliant Family Dog is becoming known for the free 5 Day Workshops we run. They are hugely rewarding - both for the students who work along for the week and for me watching their fast and genuine progress.

People who had almost given up hope of finding a way forward with their difficult dog find a home with us. A nurturing, friendly, supportive home. They are amazed - not only to find they are no longer alone - but to feel the warmth of hundreds of others who are in the same boat with their dog!

Transformation stories abound:

“Love your workshop! Looking forward to tonight’s live training.You should be so proud of yourself taking the time to help and guide us -  thank you from me and Barney xx” SS

“Beverley you are a marvelous teacher and trainer and writer!!! Way to go! You make it easy to understand so I can follow your directions.  Thank you so much.” SH

“Just want to thank you for giving your time freely for the five day course, I found it very interesting and informative. I did not realise just how anxious my dog actually is. It is also lovely to interact with others who experience similar problems.” JC

“Hello! I just wanted to say thank you so much for the course that I did. I thought you might like an update! My working lab is now eleven months old and from pulling like a steam engine he is now walking beautifully” SO

“Thank you Beverley for your generosity and time over the workshop. I look forward to continuing along this path with you!” AG

“Lulu is taking things slowly but already I have seen a difference. Went for a walk on Sunday with friends and their dogs and she behaved better than any of the others!” PM

 

How about you and your dog?

Join our FREE 5 Day Live Workshop and make huge changes with your reactive or anxious dog - all force-free and dog-friendly! | CLICK TO SIGN UP | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #dogbehavior, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

 Will you be with us?

As you can see, in just five days you can get a huge boost forward in your journey with your dog. I’d love to reach as many dogs as possible, to change their lives and the lives of their bewildered but devoted owners. That means I need you to spread the word!

Go and sign up straight away and see what you get (there’s a new surprise gift for everyone who joins! Don’t you love surprises?).

But don’t just bring yourself - bring a friend too. Another dogwalker who struggles with their dog. Or someone who tells you they can no longer walk their dog at all because they’re too ashamed and embarrassed.

So if you want to enjoy walks with your dog - to beaches, forests, fields, parks, cafes; to have visitors in your home again for the first time in years; and to simply accept your dog for who she is and KNOW how best to help her enjoy life too, come and join us now.

 

I’ll close with a moving note from a previous workshopper:  

“There are no words for how grateful I am for the start Beverley has given me.” VB

 

Here you go - this is where you can join us all, free: www.brilliantfamilydog.com/5-day-growly-workshop-march-2019