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I have a 1 Y.O. lab male. The past week or so he has decided to bark. For no reason that I know of, I get home and take him out side and spend about 1-2 hours with him b4 the wife gets home, She gets home then about 1 hour later he starts barking at us. Does not want to go out side, does not want to play, just looks at us and barks, How can we control this? He will bark for 20 minutes then stop 1 hour later repeats the process all over again until bed time

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This is from the latest PF Minnesota Newsletter

The Right Way to Praise Your Dog

Chad and Jodi Hines

PF Newsletter June 2009

Your approach to praise and dominance can make or break your dog’s hunting career.

Among the most difficult lessons teachers and coaches learn as they go through life is that they can’t be buddies with their students and athletes. A buddy-buddy relationship between coach and player is likely to break down and cause problems at a crucial time.

This is true to an even higher degree when it comes to training your dog. Many well-intentioned dog owners do a wonderful job of establishing a bond with their dog, but never assert their dominance. The dog..who cannot be blamed..goes through life with an instinctive belief that the two of you are on equal footing. It becomes a toss-up as to who’s turn it is to decide whether the dog needs to obey or not when asked to sit, come, or is simply asked for its undivided attention.

From the day you bring a puppy (or adult dog) into your home, you can gently assert dominance through the way you pet and handle the animal. When it’s playtime, you can let many of the rules go out the window. But during training sessions (which should, ideally, be frequent and brief), you should reinforce your calm control over the dog and the situation.

UNDERSTANDING DOGS All dogs evolved from wolves, and a dog’s behavior and social structure still resembles that of their wild ancestors. Two wolves (or two dogs) playing together are on the same dominance level. When you play with your dog, you are putting the two of you on the same dominance level. There is a time to play with your dog and a time to be dominant over the dog. I’m not saying you shouldn’t play with your dog, but you should clearly separate playtime from training or hunting time. Pick your times to play, usually at home in the yard or in the house. When you go to the field..or even begin a training session in the yard..leave the playing and the roughhousing out of it.

SUBTLE DOMINANCE Every dog is different and you have to get to know your dog’s personality over time. But from the first day, you should establish that you are the boss, beginning with how you pet the dog.

You have to earn the dog’s trust and get it to realize that your touch is not threatening. You must get to a point where the dog accepts your touch. When you pet your dog, do it with a firmness to your touch. Use this same firmness whenever you put your hands on the dog to show it something, such as how to sit. Show the dog that you are more powerful than he or she is. Demonstrate that you are in control. You are planting in their mind that you are the master. There cannot be two masters. But let me say this, too: do not slap the dog around or threaten physical violence (which you can easily do, with physical gestures) to get the dog to do what you want.

CALM, FIRM, PRAISE As your dog learns its lessons, it can be tempting to break out in loud cheering, or some other enthusiastic response. You see amateur dog trainers jump up and down and holler \Good Boy!!. or some such thing, as their dog gets to a distant retrieve and turns to bring it back.

You know what that does? It introduces the element of play into the training or hunting time. Ites a very natural response from the dog to then drop the bird or dummy and come running to you to join the party. After all, you have just relaxed your grip on dominance.

When your dog does something good..even for the first time..praise should be given calmly, to keep the dog’s emotions under control and his or her head in training mode. If you go crazy with the praise, most dogs tend to get overly excited. Keeping a dog’s emotions in check seems to open their minds to learning. And if they understand that you are in control, the training sessions are consistently productive.

IF YOU LOSE CONTROL Some dogs have strong personalities and can get the wrong impression, that they are in control. In these cases, you may have to take control back. At no time do you hurt the dog. Simply grab the underside of the dog’s collar and flip the dog over on its back and hold it down. Sit right on top of the animal, putting a very small amount of weight on it, and just sit there. The dog will not like it, because they think they’re in control.

Don’t holler at the dog or do anything that would injure it. Just sit there until they give up. Then, sit down, just the two of you, and take a break. Sit on the tailgate or in the grass and pet the dog..firmly, showing you are in control. Let them know everything is OK. You will have to get back to business at some point, and when you do, you will again be recognized as the master.

You have to be careful, because all dogs are individuals. You may have to tailor your approach to teaching, praise and corrections. As you get to know your dog, err to the side of being too gentle. Do not break the spirit of the dog; just let it know who’s the teacher and who’s the student. Remember, you cannot be your dog’s best friend around the clock. Your dog plays on a team..that you coach.

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Welcome to my world. My 11 month old lab started barking at anything about 2 months ago. He will go out and bark at the leaves on the trees, does not matter where we are in the house, he barks if he sees a shadow from the tv in the window, barks at the floor, barks in the car ( that sucks) and will bark at motorcycles. When it was nice out, 3months ago, he and i were going for a drive. had the back window down so he could stick his head out. pulled up to a light, lady next to us rolled down her window but did not see lobo in the back. he barked at her scared the dog out of her to the point where she screamed. I couldnt help but laugh, as i am now writing this. I apologized and under my breath told him good boy. I hope it is a phase, i am using a pinch collar on him to get his attention. hopefully that will calm him down. Jeff

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Tom's got it right. Your dog thinks he can manipulate you to do what it wants by barking at you. Thats about the age when a lot of pups start to give owners the middle finger and try to climb the ranks in the pack.

Try using some of the subtle dominance behaviors for a while and throw in some yard training to help pup see that YOU are the boss.

My chessie Sadie used to bark at my wife and I when we would touch, hug, or kiss because she was jealous. No amount of yelling NO worked. It came down to re-claiming the house from the dog, then most things fell into place.

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“Simply grab the underside of the dog’s collar and flip the dog over on its back and hold it down. Sit right on top of the animal, putting a very small amount of weight on it, and just sit there. The dog will not like it, because they think they’re in control.”

This is a very bad idea, if you have a dominate dog you will get bite; “alpha rolling” a dog is an old way of thinking. But I guess if you like to get bite in the face go ahead, have fun getting stitches! There are better ways to handle these situations. I would be very careful giving that advice out to people publically unless you are or have a good lawyer.

First rule out any health problems, after that is ruled out, stop and think why it is happening. If it is because he is being obnoxious and trying to manipulate you, stop and look into a pack structure program for you and your dog. You will need to use a dog crate. Almost everyone forgets about pack structure and think their dog “just knows” things when it does not, we just have not taught them “pack rules”. 99% of problems people have with their companion can be fixed by going through pack structure. Your pup needs to learn to control himself, if you don’t fix it now it will become a bigger problem in the future.

If you do your job establishing proper pack structure you don’t have to exert your dominance over your dog, they know exactly where they fit in the picture. This is accomplished by subtle things you do, for a couple examples, not letting the dog go through doors or down stairs before you, by not leaving toys laying all over the house\yard, all toys are your toys not the dogs toys, you let him play with your toys, using a leash and a long line during the initial phases, not letting the dog on furniture or your bed, you get the most comfortable places to sit\sleep. You eat first then the dog, the pack leader gets the best food and then lets others eat, etc…obviously there is a lot more to it but I am sure you get the picture. Your dog is always learning from you by watching you and how you act.

And “use a pinch collar to get his attention” this is bad advice, I do use pinch or prong collars (I am a fan of using whatever tool works), the fact is most people do not know how to use them and end up correcting their dog for something it does not know or understand why it is being corrected which accomplishes nothing. It sounds like to me this gentleman’s dog is obnoxious and needs to learn some manners, he failed to teach the dog what is acceptable and what is not, now it has gone on too long and will be very hard to fix, which he wont, because it doesn’t bother him, just everyone else who comes in contact with him and his dog. A dog that acts very aggressive toward regular things in life is actually a weak dog, most people think the opposite, which is not true. A strong self-confident dog doesn’t let the little things in life bother him. I apologize to this guy in advance; I like dogs more than most people…

And as far as not being excited when your dog does something right when training, why not? Yes, some, but not all dogs can be over stimulated while training but praise and showing your emotions speaks volumes to your dog. If you say, yes, good boy, that was fine in a very unexcited monotone voice your dog won’t be excited to train with you. Keep things happy and upbeat, if things aren’t going well that day, stop, then try again the next day, your dog will know when you are frustrated and training will come to a stand still.

Don’t take the fun out of training, training is play (unless you are protection training your dog then it’s a little different), training is fun, if not why do it, your dog will think the same. It’s our job to determine the level of excitement to use and what motivates our dog the most.

Lemon juice and squirt guns???? doesn’t even deserve a response besides that is one of the dumbest things I have heard. I put those people in the same category as people who yell at their dog, all that does is teach the dog only to listen when the handler is really [PoorWordUsage]. These people are mean and their dog probably thinks the same. I am sure these people also compulsion train their dogs. These trainers\dogs will never reach consistency. I highly doubt their dogs are not trained very well.

Good Luck with your pup and remember to have fun!

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We let our children grow and develop. Isn't it a joy to watch the go on with their first sounds. We encourage them, give them confidence, would never tell them to shut up.

Dogs aren't kids, give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

Socially based on dominance, in need of a leader, period, or else they'll lead. Leave the obedience and retriever training to build confidence and obedience and simply tell the dog NO or Shut up when it barks.

Your dog isn't Lassie and hes not telling you Timmy fell down a well.

He is talking to you saying, your a push over, he has a tooth ache, or a burger is crawling threw the window.

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.... or a burger is crawling threw the window.

My dog would not bark at all, he would eat it before it hit the floor grinlaugh.

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No, that is a picture from last fall. She is only 2 1/2. The attitude would resemble that of a 15-year-old at times laugh

Probably time for a new pic anyway.

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