Six Facts You Need to Know to Raise a Perfect Puppy

BentPup

Fact #1: Forget about alpha and pack.

A nine year old child, or a 85 year old grandparent in a wheelchair, can teach and control any dog by following a few, simple, kind rules. There is an excellent, simple way to teach your puppy, and it has nothing to do with alpha or dominance. As neat as it sounds, your family is not in some sort of mythical pack with your dog. You do not compete with your puppy for food, territory or reproduction rights. You do not have to intimidate your puppy into submission. That little guy wants to be your friend!

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Fact #2: : Mother Nature will potty train your puppy.

97.3% of the millions of dogs who ask to go outside, were never taught to go to the door and ask.  Mother Nature did it! The dogs just naturally ask, without any training from humans. Puppies get house trained as a result of a natural, built -in process known as classical conditioning. It has little to do with consequences, scolding or tasty treats. Yes, your actions can enhance potty training, or your actions can unknowingly teach your puppy to pee and poop inside the house. But, the truth is, nature is responsible.  Follow two simple rules, and let nature take its course. Your puppy will “become” house trained.

Fact #3: You have 12 -16 weeks to create a friendly adult dog.

Events during the first few months of your puppy’s life will determine if your adult dog will be a social butterfly or a frightened, shy, neurotic, anxious dog.

***********Every certified applied animal behaviorist is familiar with the mid, 20th century, classic 20-year study of genetics and the social behavior of dogs at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor Maine.

John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller proved that events and exposures (or lack of events and exposures) during a critical period of socialization affect a dog for life. The critical period of socialization for domestic puppies begins when the ear canals open (about 21 days) and ends at 12 -16 weeks. ********

Here are four simple things you can do right now to introduce your young pup to the good life with a capital “L”.

 

  • Have your puppy meet 10 new people each day
  • Pop open an umbrella – – – just so he won’t be startled when he sees one spring open later
  • Tune into the Cartoon Channel and turn up the cartoons: What an excellent way to get your turbo puppy used to loud, unpredictable noises!
  • Race around your living room on crutches

The idea is to let your young puppy see, hear, feel, and experience everyday events, along with life’s surprises, at a very early age.

There are many easy things you can artfully do to raise an easy-going dog who will experience the ups and downs of life as a natural unfolding of events.

Take advantage of this 16 week

critical window of opportunity.

You will be glad you did!

Fact #4: Your puppy already knows how to come, sit, and lie down

Your puppy already knows how to do every basic obedience command. You just haven’t found the best way to ask your puppy, and you’re not quite sure how to kindly motivate your puppy to want to perform for you. . . (keep reading and you will know). . .  Anyone can learn how to kindly tell their dog WHEN, WHERE, HOW LONG, and WHY to perform basic commands.  It’s easy and it’s not a secret. You will succeed when you start off right with your puppy.  Nurture a relationship based on trust, consistency, clear communication, and rewards for cooperation.

Fact #5: Puppies and dogs do not hang their heads in shame

When your puppy hangs her head and lowers her body, she is not saying, I’m sorry. She is saying, “Please do not attack me, I mean you no harm”. Some of you may be thinking, “but she lowers her head before I even talk to her.” Puppies are observant and smart. They quickly learn to read situations and human body language. Dogs know more about human body language than most humans. But this does not mean they feel guilty or know right from wrong? If you do not believe me, walk up to your puppy when she has done nothing wrong. Use the same body language and tone as you do when there is a mess on the floor. She will lower her head. Does that mean she knows she’s done something wrong?

Fact #6: There are no dog training secrets in this world; you too can be an expert.

Dog training gurus want you to think only they have the secret. Hogwash. There are hundreds of books about dog training. Unfortunately, many of the books are written by people who gained their information from reading other books. Outdated, 20th century information is being sold as new and improved! One reason I studied companion animal behavior and learning, (and canine abnormal behavior modification), was to be able to sort trendy, well marketed information, from realistic everyday solutions with accurate information that applies to all dogs and all owners.

Your search is over. I can help.

The problem you new owners are facing is you don’t have time to sift through volumes of information. It’s tough to find dog-friendly, 21st century information from an expert . . . especially one who has the experience to back up his words.  I work with all kinds of animals: happy, exuberant, fearful, shy, aggressive, and compulsive.

As of December 10, 2009, I have helped 1621 pet owners. 25% of my clients have naughty dogs with aggressive, anxious and fearful behaviors. Veterinarians refer the new puppy and the crazy dog behavior cases to me, because I get good results. I get these results using kind, consistent, easily taught techniques. That number continues to rise, because this is my full time job.

I will give you the benefit of all my experience and education. When it comes to enjoyable, healthy relationships with our animal friends, there should be no secrets.

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Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley’s Gateway to Free Articles and Serives

Memphis TN


Amateur Shock Collar Use Starts Dog Fight

German Shepherd DogIf you want to control your pet dog’s involuntary aggressive responses via force and intimidation, you are entering a spiral of blackness and doom.

One day, your chosen method or equipment will fail; injuries and sadness will emerge. I’ve seen it many times.

Point being, punishing the growl with a quick burst of energy via an e-collar, leash jerk, Caesar Milan hiss, alpha roll, spank on the butt, or verbal reprimand, does nothing to change underlying, emotional reasons for the growl. In many cases, the aggression increases, because the naughty dog associates other dogs or strangers with the discomfort.

You may very well stop your dog from growling with one of many punishment techniques, that I do not deny. (Success via corrections really depends on the underlying causes, but that is a topic for another day.)

But, you just signed a life long commitment to supervise every interaction your dog has with strangers or other dogs. You will constantly have to prove to your dog that you are a superior warrior.  And you have made your task of supervision much more difficult.

If you zap your dog every time he or she growls or gives another animal the “eye”, you will negate your observation skills, because your dog will skip the body posturing and growling (the obvious, observable behaviors that indicate a problem), and go straight to the bite.

If you are using a training collar, e collar, shock collar, or any other special equipment, your dog must always be fitted with the equipment, and you must always be ready to use the equipment.

All you’ve done is remove the warning, the very warning that lets you know something is wrong, the very warning that tells you to take action to avoid an incident.

It’s like placing a black tape mask over a check engine warning lamp on your car’s dashboard. Great, now you don’t see the warning, therefore the problem is resolved?!

I’m not one of those “never ever use a shock collar or leash jerk” kind of people. I realize there are times when corrections are helpful. Shock collars, leash jerks, or verbal reprimands may be useful tools within a behavior modification program designed by a canine behavior counselor.

If your behavior modification plan includes rewards, obedience training, classical conditioning, and changing the dog’s perception, you can change the underlying reason your dog is aggressive.

If your only solution to stop your dog from attacking other dogs or strangers is the use of corrections, truth is, you would benefit from a bit of help. You should contact a canine reactive behavior specialist.

None of this comes to anyone in a dream. I was ignorant until I began my studies about animal learning, behavior, and canine behavior modification. I made all the same “logical” assumptions about controlling dogs via corrections and intimidation. If you are not familiar with basic concepts of instrumental conditioning, you should never use a shock collar to stop your dog from behaving aggressively. Your ignorance will bite you.

Real Life Example:

In my neighborhood there is a large breed dog who has been naughty towards other dogs. (I’ll omit the breed, because it has no relevance to this story). The owner uses a shock collar to punish Naughty Dog’s aggressive behaviors. The owner’s mom was walking Naughty Dog, without the shock collar, and has been doing so for months, with no incidents of aggression. A few days ago, the honeymoon ended. The lady who was walking Naughty Dog was passing another leashed dog on the street. Naughty Dog did not growl or send any signals that he was about to attack. The lady was caught off guard when Naughty Dog suddenly attacked the passing adult male dog. The lady was bitten in the face when she tried to break up the dog fight.

If the owner had not used a shock collar to punish the aggression, the Naughty Dog would have postured or growled, and the lady could have seen what was about to happen. She could have avoided the situation. But Naughty Dog “attacked without warning”, which ironically, perplexed the owner. The owner has no idea that he was directly responsible for Naughty Dog’s lack of warning signals.

P.S. The German Shepherd Dog in the picture, Samantha, is not Naughty Dog! 

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner How’s Bentley Memhis TN

Reactive Dog Specialist

Canis lupus familiaris, Food Related Aggression

BulldogMany people are aware that some pet dogs will guard food.

Food guarding is not uncommon when it occurs between dogs. If that is the only problem, it can usually be controlled by managing the environment. Feed the dogs in different areas; remove the empty bowls, avoid feeding rawhides, crate the dogs during dinner, during pizza parties, et cetera.  Some people accept food guarding between dogs as normal, and are not too upset about it.

When dogs snarl, growl, snap, or bite humans, it becomes a true problem. I usually discuss food and foraging habits with my clients, especially those with aggressive dogs.

Clients tell me, “I can safely reach my hand in the dog’s food bowl, while she’s eating”.

I ask the client if it’s dry food or canned, wet food. The usual answer is “dry kibble”.

I reply, “don’t feed your dog for 4 days, toss some sushi on the kitchen floor, and then try to take the fish away from your starving dog. If she does not snarl, growl, snap, or bite, then I’ll be impressed”.

Don’t sell your beloved companion, Canis lupus familiaris, short. If the dog is hungry and / or the food is high value, she may protest when you approach, or when you try to take the food away.

Just how hungry does your dog need to be, before she will guard food? What food items will trigger the behavior? How will she protest? That depends on the individual.

I’ve met some really naughty girls who will “rip you up” if you approach the territory where their bowls “used to be”. Yikes, these ladies need my help! Food related aggression is not limited to bitches. Dogs are just as likely to guard food. Heck, young puppies, male and female, jockey for food while nursing. The puppies that are better at pushing their way to the teat bar, get fatter, quicker!

Treating dogs who exhibit food related aggression can be simple or complex. Again, it depends on the individual case and the individual dog. If your dog is naughty around food, contact a trainer with experience in canine behavior modification. In the meantime, I can offer these tips.

Do not take your dog’s food in an attempt to “teach him or her who is alpha”. That’s just ignorant. Your dog is already worried that you may steal the food. Don’t confirm his or her misconception!

Instead, place your dog’s empty bowl on the floor. Walk up to the bowl and drop a very high value, small treat. Lunch meat ham or turkey will do. Repeat many times. Once you have done this on several occasions, do the same thing when your dog is eating. Approach the bowl as your dog is eating, drop a piece of yummy food into the bowl and walk away. Repeat.

The idea is to teach your dog that you are NOT going to steal food, you are going to ADD food.

This will change the dog’s perception, a much more suitable outcome than convincing your dog that you are strong and can steal his food!

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN


Bentley Barks – Forget About Alpha!

Alpha_aForget About Alpha and Forget About Dog – Human Packs!

For years, some dog trainers have suggested that you establish yourself as the alpha, as pack leader, and your dog will listen to you, respect you, and all will be well! These trainers believe that dog behavior is all about alpha, but what does that mean? How does a human occupy any position in another species’ hierarchy, much less first place? Do dogs really form packs with humans?

I say forget about human-dog packs and alpha! Humans and dogs don’t form interspecies packs. Domesticated dogs evolved because of man and don’t need to form packs in order to promote reproduction. Dogs and humans are different species. Dogs know this! Recognizing one’s own species is the single most important skill necessary for reproduction.

If you like to view your human-dog group as a pack, that’s ok by me, but I will point out that true pack dynamics are unnecessary and absent from the human-dog family. We don’t compete with dogs for food, territory or reproduction rights, so we really don’t compete with dogs for an imaginary alpha position in an imaginary dog-human pack!

Rank reduction programs, suggestions to mimic dog-dog behaviors, and leadership programs like “Nothing in Life is Free” (NILIF) or “No Free Lunch” are often explained with terms such as alpha, dominance, submission, deference and leadership. Among other suggestions, variations of programs instruct people to eat first, go through doorways first, ask the dog to sit before feeding, before throwing the ball, before petting, et cetera.

Some go as far as to instruct people to physically roll the dogs on their backs or sides, a procedure commonly referred to as the alpha roll. I believe the latter is poor advice for the general public, dangerous for aggressive cases and has multiple flaws, but nonetheless is a solution that some trainers sincerely recommend.

In many cases, some of these programs are very effective but the good results have nothing to do with establishing yourself as alpha, being dominant, mimicking dog behavior or acting as a dog leader.

Success has everything to do with the intelligent management of rewards and punishers, which are the immediate consequences of behaviors. If you want to learn how to teach or control behaviors you must identify and manage the immediate consequences of behaviors. All voluntary behaviors can be summed up in one scientific truth that has been known for over 100 years. Edward Lee Thorndike, a pioneer in the field of behaviorism in the late 1890s, studied cats and puzzle boxes at Columbia University and stated this Law of Effect.

In so many words, Thorndike’s Law of Effect states: Behaviors that have immediate appealing consequences will increase in frequency and behaviors that have immediate unappealing consequences will diminish in frequency.

Thorndike did not, nor has any other behavioral scientist in the past 100+ years, foot-note his Law of Effect with the words “except for dogs – and then you must become the alpha.” So I say, forget about alpha, forget about dominance and pack behavior. Focus on the basic, underlying, scientific principles of behavior and you will succeed!

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Pet Dude Memphis TN

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