Group meetup set for Sept. 13

It’s been a long time coming, our first-ever group meetup!11403196_884579748281141_6458530711471922271_n

We’ll be meeting at Rosedale Park in south Denver at 12:30p on Sunday, September 13 to practice loose leash walking skills, and how to deal with distractions and getting your dog’s attention.

Limited space and preregistration is required–don’t miss out on the fun!–for more details, check out our group meetups page and email me at laura@delightfuldoggies.com to sign up.

Thanks, and Happy Training!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

August 2015 clients

It’s hard to believe that the summer is coming to an end soon, and autumn is just around the corner. It’s been a wonderful, busy summer season and we can’t wait to work with more clients in the fall!

You can click on the below photo icons to see all the great moments we shared in August, and view it in a slideshow format after clicking on the slideshow button on that webpage (top right computer/play icon). You can see even more photos and slideshows on our Flickr site, as well as a lot more photos and other great content on our Facebook page.

Dixie Betty Quinn and Finn Barbie Ivory Darari Yogi Miles Knox Huckleberry Gracie and Beemer Dieter Charlie, Olive and Mick Allie Jackson Matilda Avery Kai Patti Grace Sasha Patrick

Not pictured but still very appreciated: Nina the boxer mix.

Thank you, and Happy Training!
Laura

August client spotlight: Dixie the terrier mix

Congratulations to our August client spotlight, Dixie Mae the terrier mix!

Dixie is a charming Delightful Doggy Finishing School graduate!

Dixie is a charming Delightful Doggy Finishing School graduate!

Dixie is a charming girl who just completed our Delightful Doggy Finishing School, a six-week comprehensive course in understanding dogs and how to teach them effectively all the basic manners and cues they need to be successful in our human world. She was adopted from the Humane Society of the South Platte Valley, and is a lucky girl to get to go on all kinds of road trips, and hang out with mom at work!

Like all terriers, Dixie is tenacious and playful, and can be excitable as well as cuddly. She enjoys tricks and playing with the flirt pole, and is getting better with learning impulse control. She’s also charmed the pants off her entire family when she went on a recent road trip to Arkansas! Dixie makes friends wherever she goes, and leaves a smile on everyone’s face.

Dixie and her mother are fortunate to have found one another, and definitely brighten each others’ lives. We are so happy to have been able to work with them to ensure they have the tools they need to have a long, happy life together. Thank you for choosing Delightful Doggies!

Happy Training!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

Training is essential!

“Animals deserve the best care we can possibly provide. Training should not be considered a luxury that is only provided if there is time; it is an essential part of good animal care. Just as one would never consider developing an animal care program without a veterinary component, a nutritional component, a social component, and an environmental component; nobody should consider caring for an animal without a behavioral management component integrated into the program.” – Ken Ramirez, from the introduction to Animal Training: Successful Animal Management through Positive Reinforcement

Photo courtesy Cognitive Canine, www.facebook.com/cognitivecanine

Photo courtesy Cognitive Canine, www.facebook.com/cognitivecanine

I first heard Ken Ramirez actually speak this quote to an audience earlier this year at an amazing weekend of learning from his vast experience as an animal trainer with 35+ years of using positive training methods on all kinds under his belt. The instant he started talking about this, I got really excited, thinking, “He’s SO RIGHT! What a world we’d live in if everyone who got a pet understood the absolute necessity of proactive training, if it was viewed as a necessity and not just a luxury!”

Ever since then I’ve been thinking about this on a daily basis. Each day I’m working with people and their dogs, I’m thinking not only about how to motivate and teach the dog but also the people in his or her life, to enjoy and be invested in training. I am blessed with many kinds, from those who just got a puppy or dog and want to ensure success together to those who have been living with behavioral issues and are now at the end of their rope and want the problems to stop now.

When we bring an animal into our home, it is our responsibility to teach them how to live in our world. It’s no good to have expectations and not teach the dog what they are, or how to fulfill them. By teaching our dogs skills like sit, down, stay, wait, leave it, drop it, come and loose leash walking, we are helping them–and us–have a happy life together. By understanding and addressing their emotional needs, we can help them become confident and make the right choices.

And it goes beyond that. Even before an animal comes into its forever home, breeders, shelters, rescues and the like should also consider the behavioral needs of the animals as much as any other needs. Imagine if breeders were proactive with teaching stress-free handling and socialization with puppies before finding them homes? I’ve been amazed at how many breeders are also letting littermates go to homes together, given the knowledge we have about littermate syndrome. And if rescues and shelters knew more about how to make their environments calmer, and taught dogs basic manners, how much more appealing and prepared they would be to enter a home–and stay in it–successfully!

I dare all my readers to imagine a world like this, where we can be on the front end of helping us and our animals live happily together, instead of trying to catch up on the back end once problems start. I also want to challenge you to promote the idea that training is essential! If more of us present that viewpoint to each other, hopefully we can start a trend that can make a big difference in our lives and the lives of our furry friends.

Happy Training!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

July 2015 clients

July was very busy and fun! I had such a great time getting to know current clients even more, and taking on more new clients. Your support of my business and passion really mean so much to me, as do your referrals. Thank you so much for another amazing month!

Click on the below photo icons to go to the Delightful Doggies slideshow of July clients, after clicking on the slideshow button on that webpage. You can see even more photos and slideshows on our Flickr site, as well as a lot more photos and other great content on our Facebook page. We’re also welcome to any feedback you have about our social sites, and are so sorry that we’ve not been able to post as many blogs as we’d like–you’re keeping us all so very busy! :)

Quinn and Finn Nash and Jasper Barbie Yogi Koo Tucker Beau Moose Ruby Mae Charlie Mick Olive Dixie Knox Bitte and Dieter Matilda Ziggy Darari Kai Ivory Miles and Wally Betty Gracie and Beemer

Not pictured but still very appreciated: Eleanor the Bernedoodle.

A reminder: I will be out of town August 24 – 31, and will return all inquiries after my return. I appreciate your patience!

Thank you, and Happy Training!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

Client spotlight: Quinn and Finn the pugs

A big congratulations to our July client spotlight, Quinn and Finn the pug siblings!

Quinn and Finn will work for food!

Quinn and Finn will work for food!

Quinn and Finn have been in both our customized training and day training / walk & train programs since the end of May, and they’ve been learning so much! Since they’re brand new in this world, everything is exciting, and sometimes, a little strange and occasionally frightening. Besides working diligently on basic obedience cues, they’ve been learning that they can be calm and not bark at other dogs, people and other stimuli in their environment.

They’ve also been doing great at learning how to be separate from each other, though this can be very hard! Crate training was a little hard at first but they’re starting to understand how awesome it can be to go in to their respective spaces and relax. This is paramount for them so they can be confident in adulthood, and independent of one another.

Their mothers have done a spectacular job of understanding their needs, and besides getting our one-on-one support in training, they’ve also been a cut above the rest at maintaining the training and working on the items we’ve been going over in coaching. Just yesterday we had a huge leap forward in their “leave it” training–they left a huge piece of cheese on the floor! Impulse control is definitely going well with these pugs, even though they’re very hungry! ;)

The final frontier for them right now is walking together on a loose leash–and we know they’re going to get there, no doubt, because of all the hard work and love their mothers are providing. Thank you for choosing us to help you and we love working with all of you!

Happy Training!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

June 2015 clients

June came and went quickly, particularly since we had more Day Training/Walk & Train clients this month than any other previous month! It was fun working one-on-one with more client dogs. It’s also a great way for me to practice my actual dog training skills, as coaching programs tend to be more coaching people than the dogs, at times. Thank you so much for all the fun, and for your continued support to entrust me to help you with ALL your training needs!

Click on the below photo icons to go to our June slideshow of client photos, by then clicking on the slideshow button on that webpage. You can see even more photos and slideshows on our Flickr site, as well as a lot more photos and other great content on our Facebook page. It’s great to be able to share how cute and smart all our clients are, as well as share other great items, on Facebook and other social sites.

Charlie and Olive Mickey Quinn and Finn Mattie Tillie Jasper and Nash Finn Matilda Bella and Ruger Moose Bogey Finley Knox Ziggy Ellie Lola and Betty Beau and Gus Ruby Mae Harper Bandit Darari Kai Nox

A reminder: I will be out of town July 1 – 6, and will return all inquiries after my return. I appreciate your patience!

Thank you, and have a safe and happy Fourth!
Laura

Client spotlight: Charlie, Olive and Mickey

Congratulations and a big thank you to our June client spotlight, Charlie the Staffordshire terrier, Olive the cattle dog and Mickey the beagle!

Charlie, Olive and Mickey: Happy Pups! :)

Charlie, Olive and Mickey: Happy Pups! :)

This trio and their parents are pretty awesome. The dedication their parents have to working with each of their unique personalities is a testament to what makes a family a family: lots of love! Each one of these pups is a rescue with a unique background and way of viewing the world. Charlie has had to overcome a few different situations in life, and had a few medical issues that needed clearing up, so he’s getting adjusted to being in a new home here in Denver. Olive was a foster puppy from a rescue group that just had to stay with the family! And Mick was a stray, but has been with the family the longest at 7 years, compared to Olive’s five months and Charlie’s three months.

Juggling a house with two dogs, let alone three, is challenging for anyone, even a trainer at times! The different needs and personalities are all varied and there is a great deal of adjusting when it comes to figuring out how to properly care for all of them. We are still getting to know Olive and Charlie, especially Charlie, as he is older and has been through more experiences than the other two. Charlie finds the world at times overwhelming, and can get very excited and therefore loses focus on his handler at times. He’s been getting a combination of relaxation techniques, appropriate outlets and training in impulse control, and gradual desensitization and counterconditioning to stimuli in his world. In addition to our coaching together, he is also doing some work through our Day Training/Walk & Train program.

Olive is a sassy cattle dog puppy who catches on to just about everything quickly. She is exuberant, to say the least, and loves to nibble on your ears gently! The most important thing Olive has been learning is just to be a little more calm, and understanding how to have good manners in all the basic obedience cues. She brings a lot of fun to each session, and never lets us forget to laugh and enjoy ourselves!

Mickey, the old man of the group, doesn’t need a ton of training but it has been an adjustment to share his home. He’s doing a great job! And who can resist a sweet, happy beagle face? Mick is excelling at socializing with his two new mates.

These three dogs are so much fun to work with, and their parents are likewise a pleasure. Their willingness to do as much as they can to ensure heir wonderful trio is happy and healthy really makes a job like this so much more fulfilling. Thank you for entrusting Delightful Doggies to assist you with your training needs!

Happy Training!
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

How to teach your dog to walk politely on leash, part three: working outside and with more distractions

In our third and final installment of teaching a dog how to walk politely on leash, we are going to discuss working with more distractions. We have gone over the basics in part one with talking about how to begin, and working without distractions in your home, and how to get out the door calmly in part two, but now we’re going to discuss what happens once we get out that door!

Our walk & train client, Bogey, is rocking loose leash walking!

Our walk & train client, Bogey, is rocking loose leash walking!

The same basics apply outdoors as they do indoors: you will want to click and treat for eye contact, following beside you, taking turns with you, and being in the standard heel position. If your dog is highly distracted, I will spend time just working on eye contact/attention, and interacting with the dog, before I start moving. I use a TON of praise and feedback. I am always talking to the dog as she is following me, telling her how good she is.

Once I feel we do have a connection, I can begin moving. My goal, in the beginning, is not to make it all the way to the park crowded with volleyball players, geese, squirrels, bicyclists, picnic parties and more…that will come in time. At first, I just want to work on my block, or immediate neighborhood. Depending on the dog and how she is feeling and doing that day, I may make it shorter or longer. The key is to know how successful your dog can be, and not push her too far so that you are frustrated or don’t have her attention. It’s better to opt for a five- to ten-minute walk that is training-oriented rather than a 20-minute walk where you have absolutely no connection with your dog!

Walking up and down the block, I can vary my pace and also vary the turns I take, and when I take them. By doing this, I can teach the dog that walking on a loose lead with me is what is expected. Oftentimes I will use higher-quality reinforcement than what I was using inside; real foods can be more potent as well as affordable. Tiny bits of all-natural meats with no additives work very well.

If you have successfully worked on luring techniques with your dog, you can use these as well. Remember, it’s about following your hand, not a treat! If your dog can’t seem to follow your hand, go back to basics by first baiting your hand with a treat, concealing it, and getting your dog’s nose attached to your hand. Move your hand just a few inches to start, keeping your dog’s nose following it, and then click and give the treat. Do this maybe twice more with a baited hand, then do it without a treat baited in your hand. You will want to wean off the food lure as quickly as you can, and reinforce that it is about following your hand, NOT a treat.

Many dogs find other people, dogs, other types of wildlife, cars, bicycles and any other number of real-life things distracting. Some even find them a little frightening. Pay attention to what your dog finds distracting, and why. If your dog is interested or excited about meeting or chasing such things, use that to your advantage. If I know my dog wants to sniff a spot, I will get a behavior I want and then release him to go sniff as his reward. Likewise, he loves to chase squirrels so I have used this as a way to reinforce coming to me, or even just giving me some eye contact first. By pairing what the dog really wants to do with something you want, you are potently reinforcing what you want, and will have success, rather than seeing it as a burdensome distraction.

If your dog is scared of such objects or other animals/people, you can just feed—no clicking required. All we are doing in this case is creating a positive association with what your dog finds scary. When she sees this scary thing, give a high-value treat. Over repetition, she will understand that this object means something good, and her emotions will begin to change from fear to calm, even happiness. Then you can click and treat for actual behaviors you want.

If your dog pulls, stop walking. If you continue walking, your dog will learn that pulling is way to get where she wants. You can stop moving and wait for her to give you slack, or even call her back, and click once you get that slack, and treat once she’s back at your side. You can change directions once you feel that tension is about to happen, and click and treat for the turn. Another option is to pivot away at a 50-degree angle. By doing these and keeping your hand with the leash close to your belly button, you will be able to teach her how to give in to the leash pressure. Remember, you are always clicking for an actionin this case, the slack of the leash, but the reinforcement (treat) is ALWAYS coming from your heel position (on your left, or right if you prefer, side).

If at any point your dog simply cannot walk politely with you, then you have gone too far and/or long with your training. I see leash walking as a gradual expand of territory; I may walk a dog for the first day or two in the house and their yard without distraction to make it very strong before I even try to go out the door, and after I’ve taught her impulse control at the door. Keeping a high rate of reinforcement each time you get farther is important, as well as not grouping too much criteria together. If your dog is new and you take her to a popular park or hiking trail right away, it can be a setup for failure rather than success. Take the time and build your dog’s ability gradually. Above all, be patient and connected with your dog.

We love teaching leash skills and addressing problems like leash reactivity and over-excitement on leash, so contact us for more help!

(And don’t forget to check out parts one and two of this blog series on loose leash walking!)

Thank you and happy training,
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

May 2015 clients

We’ve had an awesome May, despite the continued rain. Thank you to all of those who have worked so hard with us on improving your relationships and training goals with your dogs!

Check out May’s client photo slideshow by clicking on the below photo icons and clicking on the slideshow button. You can see even more photos and slideshows on our Flickr site, and don’t forget that we also have a lot more photos and other great content on our Facebook page. We hope to interact with you more there!

Mattie Bella Ruger Gretel Louie Tofu Roxy Nash and Jasper Jelly Charlie Mick Olive Harper and Bandit Eleanor Tillie Finn Betty and Lola Quinn and Finn Tucker Porter and KC Ollie

Thank you,
Laura
Owner, Delightful Doggies

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