By Joan Hunter Mayer
Here at Inquisitive Canine HQ, as we wrap up 2022, we would like to start by thanking the Edhat community. We’re one degree of separation here in Santa Barbara and we’re excited about being together in the new year!
Reviewing the past year, we’ve endeavored to share tons of useful information in every post. So, we scoured them all to come up with highlights from five posts, featuring tips to help make holiday celebrations positively pawfect for you and your pup. We hope you enjoy this recap.
As we’re about to launch into 2023, are you starting to think about your New Year’s resolutions? If your list includes teaching your dog a new skill, mastering an existing one, or even just peacefully coexisting together, this post about consistency is full of tips just for you, including:
- Dog training should be fun!
- Avoid setting your dog up for a situation where he is sometimes being rewarded and sometimes being punished for a behavior.
- To maintain consistency and momentum in your training, work on noticing when your dog makes a good choice (polite greetings, ignoring food on the counter, coming when called), and celebrate these successes via loving attention, a treat, a toy, or anything he finds positively reinforcing. Behaviors that are rewarded are repeated.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, polite manners are always in fashion! No matter what your plans are this holiday season, you can help your dog be a perfect guest – or host. Whether you’re hosting your own event or attending someone else’s, a well-mannered dog will (almost) always be welcome to participate, and likely get invited back.
- Remember to carry treats on you and have them strategically placed in various areas so you’re prepared to catch your dog in the act of getting a behavior right (even if you didn’t cue it!).
- Training can and should be fun, rewarding and successful for both teacher and pet. Remember to make sessions fun for yourself too, so you can stay motivated. Think short, sweet, and doable.
- Practice, practice, practice! Getting creative about where and when you practice will really help your inquisitive canine generalize fundamental skills so you have them when and where you need them.
Tips for Parents with Dogs and Kids (June 2022)
Families considering acquiring a dog share a common concern – safely raising children and dogs together. How can you do this easily and with as little stress as possible? For parents planning to add an inquisitive canine to your family, there are many considerations, such as:
- A young energetic puppy often takes more time and dedication initially, so adopting an adult dog might be a better option. This doesn’t mean older dogs won’t require the same amount of time, but the demands of a more mature dog might differ from those of a puppy.
- Remember, keeping kids and pets safe around each other requires ongoing management and training, lovingly teaching both appropriate manners for safe interactions.
- All family members should plan to use humane, force-free training methods to ensure a safe, strong, sustainable bond with the family dog that is based on love and trust.
- Children are very good at mimicking what their parents do, so make sure you are modeling the behaviors you want your children to follow.
Mutt Myth Busting (July 2022)
For anyone considering getting a new dog, choosing a trainer or any pet care service can be challenging. It helps to be able to distinguish myths from facts so that you can make objective decisions. For instance, did you know the following dog behavior facts?
- Fact: Jumping up to greet people is an example of normal dog greeting behavior.
- Training Tip: Ask yourself if there is something you are doing that is unintentionally reinforcing a behavior you don’t like. Then explore what you can do to make it better. For instance, you can give your dog opportunities to earn reinforcement by offering alternative — and useful — behaviors. Sit, Stay, Targeting a mat or bed and lying down, are all alternate behaviors, many incompatible with jumping up.
- Fact: Using subjective jargon like ‘dominant’ can be misleading for pet guardians and cloud our perceptions.
- Training Tip: We can and should help our dogs slow things down and take time to think before reacting to situations that involve their well-being and that of other people and pets. So, rather than worrying about who goes through the door first, focus your valuable energy and limited time on strategic management and humanely teaching your dog the behaviors you’d like to see more often.
Halloween Can Be Tricky for Dogs – Here’s How to Make it a Treat! (Reposted October 2022)
Just like polite manners, safety never goes out of style either. When it comes to keeping your pets safe during this – and every – holiday, remember:
- The most essential trick up your sleeve is managing the environment the best you can. Start by keeping any dangerous items – candy, candles, decorations dogs can chew or be injured by- out of Fido’s reach.
- Once you’ve addressed any potential physical dangers, think about threats to your pal’s emotional well-being. When possible, spend time creating positive associations beforehand (perhaps with the help of a force-free dog trainer or behavior consultant).
- Use treats to teach your doggo to sit and stay when you go to the door and when people are coming and going. Practicing these cues gives Fido something to do that is incompatible with jumping on people or darting through an open door!
And with that wrap-up, cheers and woofs to you and your inquisitive canines for a wonderful holiday season! Here’s to barking with the dogs, cheering for the humans, and having fun! We look forward to spending more time together in 2023!
The Inquisitive Canine was founded by Santa Barbara certified canine behavior consultant and certified professional dog trainer Joan Hunter Mayer. Joan and her team are devoted to offering humane, pawsitive, practical solutions that work for the challenges dogs and their humans face in everyday life. As a specialty trained Family Paws Parent Educator (FPPE), Joan offers services both in-person and online for growing families. If you are feeling inquisitive and have dog training questions, we invite you to contact The Inquisitive Canine for A Pawsitive Approach for Positive Results ™.