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The Engaged Dog
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To our FUNdamentals Class Students and Your Wonderful Canines…


Due to the current pandemic, we have decided the absolute safest thing for all is to not do our puppy classes in person during this time. We do realize there is nothing quite like hands-on help from good teachers, but I hope this online alternative is a comfort and help to all of you, and also lets you know how much we care about you and are thinking of you. So, below are videos to help you get started, until we can do a “real” class in person.

We are also going to do a webinar for you, free of charge. We will email you the details. Do not worry if you cannot attend, as we will record it for you and you will be able to listen to it at your convenience.

We know how much work, adjustment and YES! sometimes frustration puppies can be. It is indeed a good thing they are cute little beasties!

I find that the most important thing for new puppy owners, whether this is their first puppy or their 5th or 6th is ... support. We all remember how awesome our older or previous dog(s) were, but we have conveniently forgotten how darned much work it was to train them! If you are new at dog training, it can feel like you are trying to contain and train a ping pong ball.

Please study and work the exercises in the videos (below). These is also available as an entire DVD on my website, for purchase, if you wish to do that. But the DVD is presented here, just for you, in its entirety.

Also, there are many free videos and training tips and essays on this website. Take advantage of them!

I have other free stuff, too:

  1. You can also visit my YouTube channel: Brenda Aloff on YouTube

  2. Brenda Aloff Get Connected Facebook page: In the past feeds, there are articles and training tips you might find helpful.

TWO Bonus Videos Added (28 Mar 2020):

1.  Why Restraint Tolerance, Part 1

2. Why Restraint Tolerance, Part 2

Video 1: Introduction

First, let’s begin with what we would cover to help you understand training and how dogs learn.

Video 2: Handling

Handling is sooo important. Dogs do not necessarily think about handling or eye contact as people might. Yet, for them to be good citizens and behave in such a way that is both friendly and safe, Handling is so all important. Please watch this and think about how you wish your dog to interact with you and others (s)he meet.

Video 3: Marking Rewards

Establishing a communication system is crucial if you wish to get off on the right paw with your new puppy or dog! They do not speak English, or German, or Italian ... or Swahili ... and their tongue and larynx are not even set up so that we could teach them to speak as humans do. Dogs are set up to look for and read YOUR body language, just as they are looking at other dogs and reading dog body language. We can teach them words, but they don’t parse language, which means they really do not understand how to string words together. Keep it simple, and think more that dogs are noticing our words more as “sounds” and are quite good at figuring out via our tone of voice, hooked to body language how to interpret what we are trying to convey to them.

Video 4: Eye Contact

A dog that is not paying attention is no more teachable than a classroom of children sitting and watching the soccer game outside their classroom window. You can be the best teacher on God’s green earth, but if the children are not attending, they are not learning what you wish them to learn. Dogs are no different. The way we can determine whether our dogs are paying attention or not is pretty straightforward: They are looking at us. Dogs are pretty quick to shove you to the back burner and hook to the environment. This is not always helpful - or even safe! Teaching you how to teach your dog to be attentive is one job we take super seriously!

Video 5: Sit / Restraint Tolerance

We can use the Sit Restraint Tolerance Behaviour for so many things.

  • To calm down a fractious or willful puppy.
  • To calm down abouncy puppy who you KNOW will jump on the person approaching.
  • To teach a puppy how to properly greet other humans.
  • To teach a puppy how to assist with an exam at the veterinarian’s office.
  • To assist in handling, nail clipping and other husbandry behaviours.
  • Or  ... well, you get the picture. It’s pretty darned useful!

Video 6: Come When Called

Oh boy. This is not so easy for dogs. Puppies are pretty cooperative, but when they hit adolescence you are wondering where your sweet, following, always-come-when-called dog has gone. They are not permanently gone, just in temporary hiding! But you need to really keep consistent and train like a fiend in adolescence if you want behaviours to “stick” into adulthood. This is a life-saving exercise.

Video 7: Stationary Exercises

Stationary exercises, such as Sit and Down and then Staying there until you ask are some of the most useful behaviours you will ever teach. We teach them in baby steps and develop them until they are lovely and useful to us. The work is well worth it!

Video 8: Down Restraint Tolerance

Down Restraint Tolerance is one of those behaviours that we, as well as our clients, feel is an amazing exercise. I call it a “Good Investment” exercise, as if you put the work in on this, the gains you reap are AMAZING! That said, take this slowly. Some dogs are happy to do this, some act as if you are trying to collect the insurance on them. Maybe, you can wait to get help in class from instructors if your dog or puppy is particularly resistant.

We feel this is one of the most important exercises to establish trust and respect, all in one exercise. It is NOT to be used as a punishment! It IS to be used as a way to calm a dog, teach them to submit and cooperate to handling, and to bond. Yup, you heard me. The dog that does not respect you, does not obey when you need them do and that is not helpful in a relationship.

Video 9: Opposition Reflex

In my own humble opinion, teaching loose leash walking is one big chore. And it won’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of consistency and not allowing the dog to start pulling on the flat collar in the first place. This is a beginning, and it is often more difficult for me to teach this to humans than dogs! Because people think that if they let the dog pull here and there, then the dog will suddenly understand to not pull somehow. In this lesson, we discuss the opposition reflex and how to have a reasonable conversation with your dog about it. This understanding is how you begin to develop LLW.

Video 10: Leave It

If there is a cornerstone to my system of training, it is Impulse Control work. No dogs come with much of it, and all dogs seem to lose what little they came with in adolescence. So! Keep up with the impulse control work! It is a very big deal. There is also a good vid on my website of working impulse control with a rescue West Highland White Terrier at a clinic I did for the Westie Rescue in Indiana.

Video 11: Wrapping Up

Happy Training. Please listen to this and take heart! Training will work and it will make your life with your dog the joy you were planning on and dreaming of when you brought your puppy or dog home.

Video 12: Credits

A lot of people were supportive and helped me with this, my first DVD. I thank them here!

April 20, 2020 Q&A Call