Episode-2209- Understanding the Canine Brain — 9 Comments

  1. A couple things I would add:

    A dog needs something to do, a purpose, and training fulfills much, but not necessarily all of that.  Many chronic bad behaviors stem directly from being bored and never learning how to please you.  A while back, Jack mentioned this as a passing comment about needing to find something for the dog that was in charge of keeping the geese out of where they didn’t belong now that the geese are gone.  With a well trained dog, if you look, you will see the same pride and joy that young kids have when they accomplish a task.  This is more important than he made it seem.

    As Jack said, don’t over estimate the dogs brain but at the same time don’t under estimate it either.  I’ve seen plenty of  “dumb old dogs” that have done a masterful job of training their owners.

    Many times you can train the dog without it even knowing it’s being trained.  If you step on a dogs back foot when it jumps up on you, it will learn on it’s own that jumping up on people is not fun.  It never realizes that the correction came from you.

    Another way to take care of getting dogs (especially puppies) to be gentle with their teeth is to take your finger and push their cheek skin in between their teeth while they are being mouthy.  Not with a big overt action or any command just slip your finger in there while he’s chewing on your hand.  They will quickly learn that anything more than a gentle hold is not fun for them.

    Don’t try to inject human reasoning into a dogs brain.  By this I mean that the reason a dog did the bad thing does not matter.  If the dog craps on the rug because you forgot to let it out in the morning before going to work, yes it’s your fault BUT you still need to correct it just as you would if he had just been out.  Now you do have to read the dog.  If you go over to the pile, kneel over and call him to the pile and he does not act like anything is wrong, it’s too late.  But if he slinks over to you and tries to hide from it, correct him just like you caught him in the act.  Dogs have much better memories than we give them credit for.

    Don’t adjust the degree of correction to the degree of the offense.  Do adjust the degree of correction to the level that the dog needs to get its attention at the time.  A stern voice with a tap from a rolled up piece of tissue paper can make my lab curl up into a shaking ball when things are quiet and he knows he did something wrong.  If we are out at the dove field, birds are falling, shotguns are going off and he is so excited that he’s about to explode it can take in the 70’s with the Dogtra collar just to get his attention.  19 is where I start to feel it and 24 is his number while doing normal training.

    Buy a kennel big enough for the dog when it’s full grown and don’t put it away once he is house trained.  The best kind to have is one of the plastic ones that have limited visibility out of the sides and back.  This will become the dogs safe zone.  If you leave the door open he will regularly go sleep in it on his own.  When ours starts to look to interested while we are eating, the question “are you begging?” is enough for him to go get in his kennel until we are done eating and having the command “get in your box” can be very useful when strangers are around.

    The biggest things are to learn to read the animals mindset at the time, to look at everything from its perspective and to realize that there is no “one size fits all solution.”  Every animal is different as is every situation.

    One last thing that deserves to be stressed more, especially with puppies.  Five two minute sessions that all end on a good note while the dog is still interested is 100 times as effective as a half hour session where the dog looses interest.

    • I agree with almost everything but BE CAREFUL with how much correction you apply with crapping and peeing in the house. If you make it too effective and then YOU SCREW UP and he can’t hold it, he is gonna hide it.

      We did this with Lucy, she so doesn’t want to be in trouble she learned to hurtle the baby gate on the steps, go upstairs, get the damn door open (yea the knob has teeth marks), crap in a guest room and slink back down stairs. If you don’t catch it then it sits there a long time. So use caution when things are your fault. Better to know the accident that have it sit in some far off corner. #truestory

      What makes it worse is when the AC kicks off and on it shuts the door back, so until you have a reason to go in there, well, it just kind of sits there, not good.

  2. Nice episode.  One thing I did not hear addressed: a dog that takes off if it gets a chance.  Our dog is generally submissive, fairly obedient, doesn’t crap & pee in the house, but if he gets a chance when not leashed to run free, he takes off.  We have a fence that is 2 feet high, he jumps it and takes off.  We could build a higher fence, but he’d just dig under it.

    When he is on a leash, he strains hard against it, tries to run, and basically chokes himself.

    Any suggestions?

    • Like anything patience and training. Also two issues.

      On the pulling with a lead, try getting him a dog back pack, load it down with some weight, this has worked every time I have used it or recommended it save with one dog. It gives the dog a sense of purpose, he has something to do, a load to carry. Then walk, walk, walk the dog, do this at first mostly on your own property where nothing is new or strange. Be consistent, this isn’t something you do once a week, rather twice a day. Quick no corrections to every pull, use the sit command, just stand there. Reward the positive behavior. Pick a point a and b, walk the dog to b, sit command, reward with a treat and or a head pat. Walk back to a, repeat.

      Running away is harder to correct, a dog can only be expected to exercise so much control. A shock collar would do well here, the natural barrier of the low fence will also pair well with an invisible fence and a collar for it.

      The key no matter how is to make the dog feel this territory is my territory, it will reduce running away but not eliminate it. There are way to many it depends here to try to really answer this in a blog comment. And there are no short cuts. Now digging under is easy, shock collar, watch from a window, zap when ever digging behavior is observed. Dog will say, screw that, digging under the fence hurts. But you will need that higher fence for that.

  3. I’ll have to try the back pack thing, that sounds interesting.

    What I have found effective is to have an “its time to go to work collar.”   The E-collars or shoestring chokers works well for this, I’m not a fan of the chain chokers.  Anytime you take the dog out to walk or train, put this collar on.  The dog will quickly associate the collar with training and if you have done your job well, he will get excited when you pick it up to put it on.

    While walking, as soon as the dog starts to pull, give the leash a short quick pop and tell the dog to heal up.  It may take several pops to begin with but the thing you don’t want to do is long hard pulls.  Their throats and neck are not built like ours and they don’t feel the pressure on their windpipe like we do, the long pulls don’t have any effect.  After a few sessions you should be able to walk the dog with a limp leash 90% of the time.

    Get one of the books on training by Richard Wolters (should be an item of the day,) he wrote several so pick the one that is most appropriate but the concepts are all the same.

    If you go with an E-Collar DON’T SKIMP and buy a cheap one.  Either spend the money on something like the Dogtra or Tri-Tronics or don’t get one at all.  Many of the cheap ones have crappy relays in them that can stick in the on position.


  4. Side note:

    Dad, may not be the best one to train the dog.   Due to my previous line of work, I was on the road 250+ days out of the year so I taught my wife to train our latest lab.  Make no mistake, he still listens to me better than he listens to her and will sometimes look at me to see if it is ok to follow her command but he listens to her much better than any that I had trained.

  5. Great episode Jack. I learned lots of this from a YouTube channel, Solid K9 Training to train our new pup. It had been a while since watching dad with his rolled up newspapers lol. Good eCollars are not “shock” collars, they are muscle stimulation like at your physical therapists office. Ecollar dot com has excellent products and even better customer service. Lastly, using a (Herm Sprenger) prong collar and teaching your dog to walk beside and a little behind you at YOUR pace will go a long way in teaching walks where there is no pulling.