Last week I had the pleasure of having Ian King on our live YouTube show, Ask Jun the Groomer (AJG), to help answer behavioral/training questions. It was so much fun!!
Ian King is a dog trainer in the state of Washington, and you can find him on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/kingian62/, where he shares videos and other helpful content for dog owners. Ian and I got to know each other pretty well over the past couple of years, and he really encouraged me when I was at one of my lowest points. What I admire about him the most is his genuine desire to help people. He loves to help dogs, but the true motivation is to help the person behind the dog.
Ian believes that helping someone with their issues with their dogs helps them in their personal life as well. During one of our recent conversations he told me, “Giving them (dog owners) the confidence and the tools to overcome obstacles with their dogs spills over into other areas of their life, and they become happier, more confident human beings.”
You can also find and contact Ian at http://digsdeeperdogtraining.webs.com.
The following are just a few points that were made during the discussion that I would like to highlight:
- Dog bites: When it comes to biting during the grooming process, we must establish that the “tantrum” will not stop the activity. By remaining calm, and continuing to work gently, it makes it clear to the dog that his behavior is not going to get him out of the groom.
- Work Incrementally: With an unruly dog, it is best to work in sections and break up the groom into smaller sessions. Sometimes less is more, and it is better to work on it a little everyday rather than try to tackle it all in one day and forget about it for another month.
- Give the dog a way to WIN. Make it very clear what response you are wanting from the dog, and praise them for it when they give it to you. If the dog is acting fearful for nervous, always give them an obvious way out. For example, when holding the paw to clip nails let them pull it out of your hand if they want to. Then calmly pick it back up. By doing so we give them the way out, but we’re also letting them know that it’s not over until we finish clipping the nails.
- Crate training is very useful when managing a dog that marks all over the house. Potty training is a crucial part of having a dog live inside the house, but when the dog knows to go outside but continues to mark in the house a crate may be the best option. Also, if it isn’t normal for your dog to urinate inside the house than it may be a good idea to take them in to see the vet.
- Never use a crate as punishment (time out).
- Take the top off if your dog is hesitant to go inside.
- Use treats or toys to motivate the dog to go inside if they are unwilling. You can also use a lease to guide them in. Pull them towards the crate and release the pressure on the lease as soon as they move forward.
- Build up duration. Don’t just leave them unattended for hours at a time at first. Build up to it by leaving the room for a few minutes at a time, and gradually build up to longer periods of time inside the crate.
- Every dog is different – so every approach will be different with each dog. Some dogs need lots of rewards, but for others it’s better to just get them in and skip the treats. Puppies, for example, don’t need as much pressure as an older dog learning to get in the crate for the first time.
- Take your time. Step back and try to see it from the dog’s point of view.
- E-Collars: They are great tools, but only in the hands of a trained professional. There is a process that must be followed, and timing is crucial. There is a trainer named Larry Krohn (www.pakmasters.com) who does a lot of E-Collar work.
- To be a good dog trainer or dog groomer, we must be open to new information and be willing to learn from the “old school” while we evolve with the “new school”.
- The best thing to do when working with dogs is to throw your EGO in the trash. There is no need to be right when working with dogs. There’s only the need to connect with the dogs and learn better ways to interact with them.
- Always be open to the possibility that I may be wrong.
- If you want to spot a new trainer, just look for them to tell you how great they are.
- Self-control is the key to becoming a great dog trainer or dog groomer. The ability to control our own emotions.
- When dealing with dogs barking at people walking by, it is important to make it as clear as possible to the dog that their bark has no power.
- Sometimes this is accomplished with a quick correction – either with a tug of the leash or a quick blast from the Pet Convincer.
- Try setting up scenarios where you can control the stimulus. For example, have a friend stand in front of the house and stop when your dog barks. Correct the dog, and when they stop barking have your friend walk away. Barking = People Stay. Quiet = People Go.
- It’s not always realistic to set up these kinds of scenarios because not a lot of people actually have the time. Sometimes we have to be willing to accept some losses. The key is to stay in control of our emotions and remain calm. The method and strategy is not as important as the principles and intentions. Try to see it from your dog’s perspective.
- It is best to redirect your dog’s attention before they get to the point where the behavior escalates.
- “It’s best to appy the brakes before you crash.” Allan Powell (https://www.facebook.com/DOGGAMUT/)
- Ian King’s philosophy on working with dogs: “Take the time & detach yourself from your EGO.”