Training Tip Tuesday ~ To Train or Not to Train?

Sometimes as a trainer we get called to a client’s home for some of the darnest things. When it comes to problem solving or fixing a dogs bad habit I always ask myself “is this something that would be easier to train or to prevent?” Seems like a silly question to ask when you’re a trainer, but sometimes the answer might be different than we expected. So the question is…“to train or not to train?” Let me try to explain…

For example, one of the hardest things to “train” is a dog NOT to jump on the counter. Countersurfing is one of those things that can easily and accidentally be rewarded by one tiny mistake of leaving even a single crumb on the counter. Humans aren’t perfect and well sometimes we forget to clean up after ourselves or we make a sandwich and the doorbell rings and the next thing you know the dog has just gotten reinforced for jumping on the counter eaten your delicious lunch. It only takes one time for a dog to jump up, get something yummy and then continue to check the counter for the rest of his natural life. With odds like that, training a dog not to jump on the counter is more difficult and time consuming. It takes more discipline for us humans to remember everything we aren’t supposed to do than for us just to prevent future issues.

So we ask: “To train or not to train?” In this situation, I would explain that one of the easiest ways to help solve the problem could be to baby gate the kitchen and prevent the dog from having access to the counter. I usually picture a light bulb over my clients head as they smile at me and say… “I never thought about that!” 🙂

Long story short, when you have a dog who has a problem, think about what would be the most practical option… “to train or not to train?”

Christmas Trees & Puppy Dog Tails

Why hello everyone!!

I know it’s been a while since I posted last, and I apologize, but these past few weeks have been a bit busy. Of course everyone knows it’s the holiday season, and that means lots of shopping, decorating, and being merry. But how many of you DREAD LOVE the holiday season for the simple reason that your dogs/cats tend to want to destroy enjoy everything you put together!

Brewer and Bailey getting in the Christmas Spirit!

We’ve been lucky at the Clicker Savvy Canine (CSC) household to have 2 dogs that tend to ignore most of the holiday decorations (yippee). However, I’m pretty sure that many of you aren’t as lucky. take for examples, the Christmas tree. In the CSC household we have opted to go with the “fake” Christmas tree decor. One main reason is because it’s easier (we don’t have to water the tree or vacuum needles off the floor daily) but also because we have a lesser chance of our dogs reacting or interacting with the decor. SURE the smell of a pine or spruce tree is FANTASTIC to the human nose, but guess what?!?! It is also EXTRA fantastic to the dog’s nose as well. Some… in fact a lot of dogs can’t resist it! They tend to pee on, chew on, and want to scratch their backs on the real trees more than what they would a fake tree. Can we blame them? NO! It is a natural thing for dogs to do!! What we CAN do is… prevent it!

Of course the easiest things to do with a real tree is to prevent a dog from having access to the tree all together! I mean, honestly do you want to spend however much $$ just to train your dog to stay away from the Christmas tree for 4-5 weeks out of the year? NO! Of course not that is ridiculous! So why not set your dog up to succeed from the get-go and prevent it!

You know those baby/puppy gates that you had when the puppy was young? Those are the perfect way to prevent your dog from getting to the tree! OR you could prop your tree (if you choose a smaller variety) up on a table to prevent your dog from access to it. Even better you can put your tree in a room that your dog doesn’t have access to at all!

If your lucky, and your dog isn’t a “tree eater” or “tree pee’r” then you’ve got a few more options. If he doesn’t seem to care about the tree, but tends to bump into it with excitement and knock ornaments off with his tail, then you can hang your most expensive & breakable ornaments about 2-3 feet above the reach of a dog’s tail (the same thing many parents do to keep their 2 yr old out of trouble). How easy is that? Not sure if you see it in the picture below,  but that is pretty much what we have done with our tree at casa del CSC. We have moved all of our ornaments above the range of our dog Brewers tail wag (Bailey our boxer only has a nub so that’s not an issue) Piece of cake, right??

Don’t get me wrong, there ARE ways of training a dog not to mess with/interact with your Christmas tree or other decorations, but honestly who wants to spend money or time on something that only happens once a year for a few weeks at the max. When it comes to situations like this. Even a trainer will tell you prevention or management is key!

Happy Holidays! Love,