I've just been to a client with a rescue Chihuahua who is 1 year old. My client has had Jasper for a month. To her knowledge he has had no house training and little no social exposure and since she has had him he has never been to the toilet anywhere other than in the house. Not even on a walk! This little dog has been continually nurtured while in a fearful insecure state. My client like most thought that by permanently cuddling him she was being kind but this only reassures his insecurity. After my interception and showing my client how to treat him like a dog. I got him to have his first Poo in the garden within the first hour of my being there and one hour after I left my client gleefully text me to say Jasper had his first Wee in the garden. Lesson today dont nurture a weak state people, it can cause the dog to shut down in many areas that should be natural like in this case using his nose and defecating outside.
Giving your dog too much affection, especially to an excited mind makes them needy and unstable. Rewarding a calm state of mind will encourage calm making interactions with you and other entities much more productive. Anxiety is not just a negative emotion, excitement, especially prolonged will make a dog unbalanced and often reactive. So next time you engage with your dog ask yourself what state of mind you are encouraging. A calm dog is much happier in the long run.
"The trouble with my dog is hes too friendly" is not an excuse for allowing your dog to intrude in personal space. What your uneducated eye sees as friendly, I see as dominant excited, then calling them repeatedly while chasing them round and getting flustered makes YOU look stupid. What you should be admitting to is "sorry I've been lazy in educating my dog in teaching them what being social is (respectful of space and calm) and teaching them a good recall" your dog may be friendly but that doesn't mean what its doing is polite to another dog or human. So many uneducated defensive dog owners around. When you try to give them a little advice they jump down your throat even when they see how well behaved your dogs are.
- Lack of or insufficient correct exposure to other balanced dogs or a bad experience with another dog
- Dog is disengaged from owner
- Dog learns to focus on other dogs
- Dog displays calming signals which are ignored by owner
- Frustration and fear builds
- Reactivity is displayed
- Owner over compensates and panics
- Pattern is created and repeated by both dog and handler!
- = My dog is reactive to other dogs.
People mostly associated the word socialisation with puppies and of course to get off on the right foot with your new dog it’s an imperative part of their development. I call it EXPOSURE and I believe that it doesn’t matter how old your dog is, exposure should and does happen daily. When we expose a dog to many different experiences and show them what is expected at that time and train in that environment we ensure stability and calm with the experience in the future.
With each experience or ritual, you take your dog through you should already have an expectation of what you want from the dog at that time and then train to achieve it. Don’t just expect it to happen smoothly because you will often be disappointed. If you dog is offering you a good calm attitude reward it using markers and food so that the dog is more likely to continue to offer the same attitude, the dog will also learn that the experience is positive and giving you engagement is positive and to be repeated. I am a great believer in little and often so don’t overwhelm your dog or allow boredom to set in.
Attending a puppy class is not a necessity and can cause more problems in their future because it’s a false set up. Training puppies with other puppies is not something that happens daily for them and they are likely to meet full grown dogs of all ages more regularly and should therefore be taught from the start that play is not the most important action when around other dogs. A puppy should be taught to focus on his owner and ignore other dogs. Does this mean they can’t play with other dogs? Of course not. But it should not be the priority when introductions are made. You must be the most important motivator in any circumstance. This does not mean that all trainers who take “puppy classes” are bad but if they prioritise play please beware. Most clients I have that have poor recall and excitability in general around other dogs often tell me the same story.