growly dog

Shouldn’t my dog come when I call him?

Teach your dog to come back on one call - every time - by changing the way you call her! | FREE GUIDE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Many people believe that dogs arrive with us with a perfect recall - fully operational.

How wrong can we be?!

People think that as their dog SHOULD listen to them and come when called, then he WILL.

So they sit astride their high horse of SHOULDs and OUGHT-TOs and watch their dog disappearing into the distance without even a flick of his ear.

We expect to spend years - many years - teaching our children what we want them to learn.

So why on earth do people think that they don’t need to TEACH their dog to come when called?

What actually happens is that your tiny new puppy arrives with what you THINK is a recall. But in fact it’s just his infant clinginess and need to stay “close to Mum”. He has an instinctive need to stay close to the mother-ship and be protected.

As time goes by, your pup gets BOLDER and more venturesome. As he moves into adolescence, he gets further and further away from you (and further and further into possible trouble) and you find that your previously-dependable recall is no longer there.

lab pup racing away.pngTeach your dog to come back on one call - every time - by changing the way you call her! | FREE GUIDE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Suddenly you have a “bad dog”, a “stubborn dog”, a dog who “never listens”, a dog who winds you up “on purpose”.

And this is the most common age when dogs are surrendered to a shelter for someone else to deal with. How tragic is that?

And if you’ve started with one of those dogs handed in to a shelter - who you’ve fallen in love with and have given a home to - then YOU have the task of undoing an awful lot of early learning from his puppyhood!

But it’s quite possible!

Even famously “deaf” breeds - who get on a scent and become totally immersed in it, or who spot a tiny movement in the undergrowth in the distance and barrel after it at high speed (that would be my Cricket the Whippet!) can learn to pay attention to you and demonstrate a stunning, instant, fast, spin-on-a-sixpence, recall.

Imagine how life with your dog will change when you’re able to say his name quietly and he’s right there beside you?

Imagine how it will be when you see your dog disappearing after a rabbit and you can call, just the once, and have him hurtle back to you?

Teach your dog to come fast when you call - every time - by teaching her what you want! | FREE GUIDE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

You’ll be glad to know you never have to treat your dog any differently than you’d treat your small child! There’s never any need for nasty gadgets, tellings-off, yanking the collar, and so on

And I can show you lots of kind methods that really work.

Mark your calendar for June 10th!

I know it seems miles away, but it will come round in no time. I’ll have something for you that will transform your recalls FOR EVER!

AND it will transform your relationship with your dog, and your enjoyment of him. After all, that’s why you got your dog in the first place, isn’t it?

I look forward to seeing YOU on June 10th, ready to learn the mysteries of making your dog a brilliant family dog.

Meanwhile, check out my book with loads of games and ways to get on the road to getting that recall re-installed and fully functional.

 

Yet more answers for you in this free 8-lesson email course for changing your life with your dog!

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Shouldn’t my dog come when I call him?

 

Hooray for change for your dog! Discard the old labels

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

I just had the amazing experience of working with over a thousand people in my 5 Day online Workshop for Growly Dogs

And as ever, I learnt as much as my students did! Only perhaps in different ways. 

These were people who had got a dog in the hope of having a companion they could take anywhere - on country walks, visits to friends and cafes, perhaps as an agility star - and what they got was something very different.

They found themselves dealing with a dog who was naturally shy and fearful, or who had had bad learning experiences which coloured his reactions to anything new or different. These dogs continually perplexed their devoted owners, who were doing their best in trying circumstances.
So I was happy to be able to give them some practical advice, along with some thoughts on changing their mindset to help them.

What I learnt was that these people were selfless in their dedication to helping the dog that they got. Not perhaps the dog they had anticipated. But they set themselves to the task of helping this new person in their life with admirable tenacity, continually searching for better answers. And these better answers were what I aimed to give them!

 

Want to make a start on this change?

Join our free 5 Day Video Mini-Course and change your dog by changing your mindset!

 

How will changing my mindset change my reactive dog?

For many, just changing how they thought of their dog made a huge difference in their dog’s behaviour! 

Crazy, eh? But true. 

If you continually refer to your dog as a rescue dog, a problem dog, a difficult dog, trouble, a nuisance, stubborn, you are giving yourself an excuse to fail.

Once you accept that this dog’s history is just that - history, and that he is now your dog, you have to take responsibility for the situation and make some change happen!

The renowned Veterinary Behaviourist Karen Overall says: 

“What we call something matters
because it shapes how we think of it.”

That is SO true! And it’s what many of the Workshoppers found! Changing how they described their dog changed their own perception - and produced some surprising results. 

I’d add to this my own saw:

What you expect is what you get

If you call your dog difficult, annoying, troublesome, a rescue .. You are expecting her to behave in that way. And guess what? She will. Once these students changed their way of seeing their dog, the dog miraculously improved!

Of course this goes for children, spouses and work colleagues too. We are very quick to attribute thoughts and motives to other people. Slow down and question that! And get rid of those labels!

How many of us grew up thinking we were “no good at maths” - or art, or music - because of the careless remark of a teacher in infant school? Perhaps we’ve spent our whole life believing an opinion made in a moment when we were 5 years old! Once we get a label we find it hard to see past it, whether it's on ourselves or someone or thing that we’ve labelled. 

And this applies to your dog just as much as to you. If you think you’re no good at maths because someone once said this, then saying “We can’t walk past another dog without an outburst” is going to result in … yes! an outburst, every time!

It’s not about the dog

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

So many of the students in the Workshop had positive results, and were proudly posting of their successes, that I realised that this is a big hole in the approach that many people take to dog training. 

They think it’s about making the dog change.

Whereas, in fact, it’s you that has to change!

The added bonus here is that as you remove the labels from your dog, you begin to see her in a new light. You start with a clean slate - just you and your dog. Now you can build that bond so that you know just where you are together - no doubts, no misgivings, no apologies, no blame.

Try it. 

Spend today blitzing your mind for those labels and removing them. Speak and think of your dog as … your dog. Think of the good things that she does, the moments of joy she gives you, and describe her as those instead. 

Expect only the best from her, and you’ll start to get it.

 

 

 

 

Need some more help on this journey?

Join our free 5 Day Video Mini-course

for making change with your shy, fearful, anxious, reactive, aggressive - Growly - dog

Free Live 5 Day Workshop for your *Growly* but Brilliant Family Dog

Reactive dog, dog afraid of tv, aggressive dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | How to enjoy watching animal programs on tv without your dog going ballistic! | FREE LIVE WORKSHOP | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog, #fearfuldog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

I can honestly say I’m blown away by the response to my invitation to a free Live 5 Day Workshop for your Growly but Brilliant Family Dog

Well over a thousand people have registered, and most of them are busy introducing themselves and making friends in the private forum.

I decided to offer this week of free training because I see so many people struggling with difficult dogs. They love their dog and they often have no idea why she’s acting so awkward when out and about.

This isn’t helped when it’s a rescue dog with little back-up from the people who homed the dog with them. If you’re new to owning a dog, a rescue dog with a traumatic past is not necessarily the best introduction to this exciting and privileged new world of interacting with another species! 

There is so much misinformation about - from describing the dog as “dominant”, “stubborn”, “obstinate”, or even “he’s doing it to annoy you”. There are many self-proclaimed experts about who say “he just needs to learn his place”, “you need to be harder on him”, or “you need to use this or that (nasty) gadget to get results,” showing you something that wouldn’t have found house-room in The Inquisition.

So don’t flounder about wondering who to listen to.

Listen to your own instincts.

If it’s suggested you do something nasty to the dog in your care - whom you love! - follow your heart and firmly say “No”. We don’t need to beat or punish our children, and we don’t need to do it to the animals we choose to give a home to either. 

But he does seem stubborn!

Want to know what your dog really thinks? He’s not stubborn - he’s afraid. Afraid to go forwards, afraid to incur your displeasure, afraid of the world. But it’s fear, not stubbornness. Or dominance, or any of that other nonsense put about by people who are talking through their hats.

This post may help you with all of that.

If you feel tempted to describe your dog in a negative way, try looking at it from another angle. Instead of labelling him as difficult, stubborn, whatever ... try fears, is anxious, worries ...

And you may be surprised to know that it’s not so much months of hands-on training that will change your shy, reactive, anxious, aggressive - growly - dog into the companion you want. A lot of it is in your own head!

Have a look at this recent email from a reader:

“Firstly thank you for your wonderful book, it has really helped me understand the reason why my little girl Bess reacts the way she does.

Just by reading your first growly dog book, I have realised that she is terrified of strangers. We are working on the steps and I am slowly seeing huge improvement.”

Now it was Bess’s owner who changed her view and got success. Bess didn’t have to change at all!

A simple change in your own outlook and behaviour can have marvellous results in the way your dog responds.

And that’s what people are learning in this Workshop!

As Karen said:

"One of the best things I have done, the workshop taught me so much."

How do I get in on this?

Come and join our free 5 Day Video Workshop and learn. There were well over a thousand people from all round the world already happily meeting, encouraging and enthusing each other in the private group. Friendships were made that will last. 

What do they have in common? A desire to make life with their difficult dog better without doing anything nasty. At all. They all understand how alone you can be, and people are already feeling less isolated with their dog.

While the Workshop is specifically geared for those of you with reactive, anxious, fearful, aggressive - Growly! - dogs, in fact anyone will learn a lot about how to build a relationship with their dog. And they’ll also have a lot more empathy for the Growly Dog owner who they may have disdained previously as being inadequate and unable to control their dog.

As you’ll discover, it’s not about control!

 

Head over to the registration page and join us! You can join in with all the lessons and video trainings from the original 5 Day Workshop!

 

 

 

He may be reactive but he’s still a dog

Reactive dog, aggressive dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | A reactive dog is still a dog! Don’t forget to train him just the same way as any other. The relationship will blossom and life will improve | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Got a reactive dog? One who barks and lunges at innocent passers-by; grows fangs and a forked tail at the sight of another dog in the same parish; or maybe just melts with fear at the sound of a bicycle? 

I feel for you!

I’ve been working with reactive dogs for years, and I have my own two Growlies too. So I know just what you’re up against. 

Fortunately more people are becoming aware of the issues, and that means slightly more people are beginning to understand that it’s not your fault! You’re not a terrible owner, and you haven’t got a horrible dog. He’s just not fitting in with the popular perception of what a pet should be.

But, as you’ll know, your difficult dog is the perfect pet at home. You know how friendly, biddable, loving, and fun your dog is - once the fears that dance around her when out are removed. You know how to soothe her, how to play with her, how to stimulate her great brain so that she loves to do things for you.

Your dog’s still a dog

And it can be hard to remember, when you’re out and about and dealing with her demons, that at heart that’s what she is. She’s a dog. Maybe not the dog you expected when you took her on. Not the dog you’d be able to go on group walks with, not the dog to compete in agility with, not the PAT therapy dog you’d planned - visiting the old and the sick and charming them all.  

[Actually there’s a good chance you could do the group walks … in time … and you can seek out agility teachers who understand and make the necessary arrangements for your dog to feel safe. PAT dog? Just maybe … in time.]

Get our free e-course to make instant changes in your growly dog!

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We can get so taken up with all the slightly different things we have to do with our troublesome pooch - like dodging into driveways, muzzle-training, learning sharp emergency turns, never being out without a supply of tasty treats - that we can overlook the basics. Building the bond with your dog is what it’s all about.

Building an unbreakable bond

I’ve noticed recently that a number of students in my plain vanilla dog training course (not geared for reactive dogs, in other words) are reporting - with surprise - that their dog is much less reactive when out, faster to settle, less likely to kick off at the dogs on tv.

Reactive dog, aggressive dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | A reactive dog is still a dog! Don’t forget to train him just the same way as any other. The relationship will blossom and life will improve | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Working through the course lessons has turned them and their dog into a TEAM. The old acronym Together Everyone Achieves More, is never more clear than when you’re working with your dog - especially a challenging one!

And it’s wonderful to see how things improve - not with lots of work outdoors in the thick of it - but by just playing some simple but cunningly devised games with your dog on a daily basis. You can see the change within the first few minutes of them being introduced to the game. “Suddenly,” thinks your dog, “this person understands me!” And you are left open-mouthed, wondering at the speed with which your dog has learned the new games, and how eager he is to play them anywhere, any place, any time.

As Sophie said: “We are doing the training every day, a few times a day. It’s doing wonders for us at home and we are using it on walks too!”

Just for Reactive, Aggressive, Fearful - Growly Dogs

This is why, when I’m working individually with a reactive dog, I teach them these relationship-building games right at the start. Regardless of what happens outside, I want the dog and owner to get these under their belt straight away. And it’s a delight to see an owner change from trying to command their dog all the time, to allowing the dog to express his own opinion and make his own (good) decisions.

See my last two posts for more on this:

Little things DO matter - for your dog everything matters
Once you remove the friction everyone is happier

Of course, the reactive dog owner does need strategies and techniques to improve their outside life, possibly opening up more possibilities in terms of where they can walk, and whether they can enjoy a cafe stop with their dog, like everybody else seems to be able to do. These learnings are vital to the success of the training. And I’ll be going into these in huge detail in my upcoming Growly Dog Course. It’s been tested out by the first group of students, and their suggestions and requests have changed the shape of the course so that it’s now everything they wanted.

That vital bond!

But none of this will work if the relationship is not there in the first place! It may be that you’ve been focussing so much on the trickier areas of your dog’s life that you’ve let slip this vital bond. I do understand how this can happen. You can try so hard to work on what’s going on outside - when a step back into harmony inside can have far-reaching results.

As one Growly Course student put it: “Your generosity in sharing techniques and ideas about dog training in general, which is also part of our growly dog puzzle, is helpful, and much appreciated.”

She got that it’s about all the other stuff in your dog’s life with you - not just the apparently difficult parts.

You can go and check out the training I’m talking about here:

 

And if you want to know more about how specifically to help your growly, reactive, fearful, or aggressive dog, check out the new, updated Growly Course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I have to keep my dog on a short lead, or else … [insert disaster here]

Reactive dog, aggressive dog, fearful dog, dog behavior | How you handle the leash can make a huge difference to your dog’s reactions | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #aggressivedog, #reactivedog, #dogtraining, #growlydog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

Your dog has lunged or leapt up at someone, has pulled towards another dog as if with evil intent, tugs you towards whatever he wants to sniff.

So you shorten the lead and keep a tight hold on it. 

I understand. I can see why this habit has developed.

But did you know that if you do the very opposite as soon as your dog sees something you think he’ll pull towards, he’ll actually relax and stop pulling?

Really!

Tightening the lead when your dog sees something that worries him triggers the “fight or flight” reflex. He’s trapped so he can’t flee. So his only option (he thinks, in his moment of fear) is to launch an attack. This is usually confined to noise and bluster and no damage is intended.

But it can result in a “redirected bite” where your dog’s frustration at being restrained causes him to grab the nearest thing - his lead, your hand, your leg …

(If your dog has actually bitten and caused damage, see note further down.)

The right tool for the job

Struggling to control your dog with a lead 3 foot or shorter is making life impossible for both of you.

Your dog only has to move an inch or two away from you to make the lead tight.

And if you have the lead wound six times round your hand and held in a vice-like grip, he is feeling pressure the whole time. When you walk hand in hand with a friend, you don’t grip their hand tightly and clamp it to your side. You don’t frogmarch them along the road without allowing them to pause and look at anything!

For this week only, enrolment is open for From Growly Dog to Confident Dog! Go and check out all the elements of the course that could transform life with your difficult dog

So give your dog some freedom, and relieve your shoulders of the ache.

Get a 6-8 foot long lead. Choose one made of Softex or other such material which is soft on the hands, with no sharp edges to cut or burn. 

Some of the best ones are called “training leads” and have a trigger clip at each end, with several rings down the length of the lead you can connect them to. This gives you three different lead lengths, and the ability to fix it round your hips or bandolero-style across your body, and have hands-free walking.

You can get them in lovely colours too! 

You can certainly have a leather lead if you prefer, but you may have to work it to soften it enough to be easy to gather and slide through your hands. A lead is only as strong as its weakest part, so check that metal parts are welded, stitching is sturdy, and there are no rough edges.

Now you can give your dog a bit of freedom! 

 

  • He can pause to sniff (wait a moment then suggest he comes with you)

  • He can assess people passing or dogs approaching without feeling trapped (keep your hold on the lead soft)

  • You will relax!

  • Your dog will relax!

 

If you need to keep your dog leashed when you’re in a larger area, away from the road, a 15 foot line is ideal. You don’t leave it trailing on the ground to get all muddy and wet and yucky, you gather it in your hands so that you can gently let it out and gather it in as necessary. There’s a safe way to do this, so that your fingers don’t get broken when your dog lurches forward, and you’ll find detailed instructions in the online course: From Growly Dog to Confident Dog

Of course you must ensure the safety of others. So if your dog has bitten and caused damage you need to a) start teaching him to enjoy wearing a muzzle, and b) look for a force-free professional to help you.

 

Puppies

For a young puppy I like to use a “house line” - an 8-foot light line with no handle. This one can be left trailing in house or garden, and provides an easy way to capture your racing puppy! It's also great for roadwalks, to give your puppy the freedom she needs to explore her environment without being hauled about by the neck. 

So when your little pup plonks her bottom firmly on the pavement and says “Not moving,” you can wait at the end of the (slack) lead until she’s assessed the danger of the crocodile pit she thought she saw in front of her and decided to move again.

I had an email for help from a new owner, complaining about her 10-week-old puppy’s stubbornness when walking on the road. I suggested she re-read her email, replacing the words “stubborn” and “obstinate” with “fearful” and “worried”. She got the point straight away and started treating her little pup with the same kindness and patience as she already extended to her children. 

 

There’s no need to become the “master” of a dog

They are family, not staff.

I feel like crying whenever I see a puppy being dragged along the pavement - sometimes upside down. Yes, really. This happens.

Would you drag a frightened toddler along the pavement upside down?

Just give her a second or two …

 

Lead Skills are important for all dog-owners to learn. And if you have a shy, fearful, reactive, or aggressive, dog, it’s even more important that you can make the connection with your dog that a lead affords, and send only good messages down it! Think how soft-handed equestrian stars are. 

 

For this week only, enrollment is open for

From Growly Dog to Confident Dog!

Go and check out all the elements of the course that could transform life with your difficult dog.

 

 

 

How Can You Be So Kind to People and So Unkind to Your Dog?

Dog training, new puppy, puppy training, dog behavior | Your dog is sensitive! Treat your dog as kindly as you would any other member of your family | FREE EMAIL COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #puppytraining, #dogbehavior | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

It saddens me. So much. 

We see people who are perfectly polite to their fellow humans, who hold doors open and help people with their coats; people who say please and thank you, who don’t interrupt others; who laugh politely at lame jokes and encourage small children. 

All these people are pillars of society, shining examples of the better side of humanity, admired and respected …

Or are they? 

Give them a dog’s leash to hold and you may see another side of them.

They half-throttle their puppy, they’re holding the leash so tight. They yank and jab the leash when the pup is sitting perfectly still. They decide to move so they haul her along behind them. They bark rapid-fire commands at the dog: “Sit. Sit! I said SIT! Off! Down! Siddown!” and when the confused dog sits they say nothing. 

Where have all the pleases and thankyous gone?

I think a lot of this boorish behavior comes from a lack of confidence. 

Somewhere along the line, they’ve seen or heard something about having to show your dog who’s boss. If the dog moves a quarter-inch to the left or the right it must be pushed and pulled (punished, in simple English) to make sure it knows its place.

Their puppy is some kind of alien who must be continually stamped on to prevent it taking over the universe. 

Or perhaps just to stop their dog getting a toehold in their heart?

There’s huge social pressure for your dog to “behave nicely”. And there is an equally huge social pressure in appearing to be in control when the pup misbehaves. To be seen to be doing something masterful. To be the “leader”.

And nowhere is this pressure stronger than in the case of the Growly Dog. You need only remember that your Growly Dog is not kicking up a fuss because he’s stubborn, or obstinate, or nasty, or aggressive. He’s trying to keep away from something he fears. And there are some very simple quick fixes you can put in place to start to change things straight away, and - suddenly appear to be the socially acceptable owner with the socially acceptable dog!

 

Click here to register for your Free Live Training right now and begin the change!

 

 

Science vs. Folklore

There’s a lot of mediaeval claptrap talked about how to treat dogs. 

And sadly people who really should know better, listen to it.

It has been proven scientifically over the last eighty-odd years, without any shadow of doubt or question, that the way to get the fastest and most durable results from any animal, humans included, is to work through positive reinforcement. 

Simply put - reward what you like. 

Killer whales will happily put their chin on the edge of the pool and hold their mouth open to have their teeth brushed; rhinos will place their hip against the bars of their cage so that a vet can draw blood safely from outside; chickens will perform elaborate “agility-style” routines or act as wartime spotters in aircraft. All for an appropriate reward - a fish or a smidgin of grain.

And we’ve all seen dogs doing amazing things - finding earthquake victims, guiding blind people, doing dance displays, being “ears” for a deaf person, detecting drugs, warning their owner of an impending medical crisis - even flying planes. (Yes, really. Flying planes.) 

These dogs are not different, specially-abled dogs - they’re just dogs - often rejected, rescue, dogs. They’re the same as your dog. Your dog can do so much more than you may imagine!

Where’s the Integrity in this?

So these people who are kind to their family and harsh on their dogs are acting out of character. 

There is a dichotomy between their approach to people and their approach to dogs. (Sometimes they are only polite and friendly to people they know, and strangers fall into the sad camp of animals and aliens.) 

This chasm between the two extremes must cause conflict within.

But there’s an easy way to resolve it.

Give your dog the same respect and understanding you extend to your family and friends. 

Your dog has a brain too! And she has feelings! Work with her instead of seeing her as something to be opposed and contained. 

That doesn’t mean you put up with poor behaviour. You need to teach your pup what you want, and reward her when she makes the right choices. If you involve your dog in what you want her to do, she’ll happily oblige - removing the need for the master-slave approach and moving towards a friend-friend relationship. 

The lesson here? Follow your own instincts. There’s no need to listen to tv personalities who tell you otherwise. Don’t have anything to do with so-called trainers who want to hurt or intimidate your dog.

Are we meant to be kind while we’re here? 

If we’re meant to put out kindness, perhaps we are meant to put it out universally, and not just to a select few.

 

 

 

 

Register now for your Free Live Training,

with Question and Answer session thrown in, to learn

the Three Biggest Mistakes Growly Dog Owners make

- and how to fix them fast!

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s where you’ll find a free four-part email course to help you with your Growly Dog.

Are you as polite to your dog as to people?

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