These are the dog training hand-outs for group dog training classes held in Hornell NY. If you are interested in a small group dog training class using positive dog training methods and you are able to bring your dog to Hornell NY in Steuben County NY Sign up for class. Classes are held year round.

Week 1 homework – List & Define your commands, Practice in the mirror,  practice positive association with the gentle leader. Give your dog treats, put on the gentle leader and do fun things with it on. Do not walk your dog on the Gentle leader this week. Find a special treat for come, find a new phrase for come.
The dog food that I recommend is Acana (the best dog food on the market), or Blue Buffalo  if you need help choosing the correct diet stop in or give me a call, Grandma Mae’s, Lotus or Fromm. Not every formual is right for any dog. Be sure to pick a formula that is best for your dog.

How to choose dog food. This is a long article but explains how I choose dog foods and why I only carry the dog foods that I do, and how you should choose a dog food for your dog.



Dog Psychology And Training, The Basics

Obedience commands

Daina Beckman
Dog Behavior Specialist
Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training

It’s what the dog thinks that matters.
I could go into a lot of discussion and facts about the human mind and thinking but that is not the purpose of this article. Suffice it to say that as humans we make a lot of assumptions that are not based on realistic facts. It is our nature. We believe what we are told by unreliable sources all the time. How many times have you believed something you heard or read in an advertisement only to be disappointed?
Unfortunately we make the same mistakes with dog training. We listen to all kinds of unreliable unscientific information about dog training.
Dogs do not think like we do. In order to be successful AND have a really happy dog you need to understand things from the dogs point of view. We are very good at making excuses and justifications for the way and whys of how we do things. Your dog will not understand your justifications. Inconsistency in training will lead to your dog being confused. He will think you are crazy or an immature puppy, or unreliable and untrustworthy.

1. Use positive reinforcement. Punishment does not work. You have heard about praise and reward. But how do you use it to be effective. Consistency. Every single time your dog is being good praise him. People are way to stingy with praise. Half hearted occasional praise will not get the results you want. If you are telling your dog “no” more than you are praising him, you are confusing him.
Lets use driving as an example. Every day when you are going to work, the same police officer pulls you over and gives you a ticket. He does not tell you what the ticket is for, he just punishes you. In every situation you are trying to figure out the common factor. What is making him give you a ticked, what is it that he wants you TO DO? It would take a really long time for you to figure that out because you can not find the consistency.
If every day that same officer stopped you and said Thanks for driving the speed limit here is $10.00 or thanks for coming to a full stop at the stop sign here is $10.00, or thanks for using your turn signal here is $10.00; you would know for sure what you are supposed do. You would repeat those behaviors because you may get $10.00 and a pat on the back.

2. The praise & Treat must be on time. The praise you give for a behavior must be given while the dog is doing the behavior. Three seconds later is too late. Lets use the traffic example again. You have approached a red light and turned your signal on at the appropriate distance before the red light. You came to a full stop. Check traffic then turned right. Now you are driving very slow, 10 miles an hour surfing a string of garage sales. The police officer stops you and gives you $10.00 and says great job, really good driving. You would think he is rewarding you for going slow through a neighborhood with a bunch of garage sales. In fact he was rewarding you for turning you signal on ahead of time.

3. CONSITANCY, CONSISTANCY, CONSITANCY. We hear that all the time but the truth is we are really not very good at it because it is boring. Dogs love it. Rules are black and white with dogs. They either can with 100% freedom or they can’t. For example they can either get on the couch when ever they feel like or they are not allowed on the couch at all. When training puppies, they can either use their teeth on you as they see fit or they can’t use their teeth at all, not even a slight bump. This requires a lot of patients and determination on our part. Remember you can not change the way a canine mind is structured. If you allow a dog to use his teeth during play, even gently mouthing he will assume he can use his teeth on humans how ever he wants to. So in 2 years when he is pushed over the limit he will not view it as a crime or as a bad thing to bite. You taught him it was ok.

4. Control yourself and don’t react. Pack Leaders Lead and Subordinates React. When canines are born they are programmed to react to their mother. The mother does not react to them. When humans are born it is the mother who must react to the baby or the baby will not survive. Canines view pack members who are reacting to them as puppies or subordinates. You must control your excitement both positive and negative. If your dog pees on the floor happily call him to go out side and praise him for doing what you ask. If your dog jumps up on you and you get excited and touch him or yell at him, you have reacted. If your dog paws at you and you look at him or touch him you have reacted. You will never become a reliable, trustworthy pack leader if you continually react to your dog. He should be reacting to you. This will happen as you consistently ignore him, and then praise him for wanted behavior.

There is one exception to reacting to your dog and that is when he is telling you he has to go out to potty. What ever signal the 2 of you have worked out make sure to DO react to that signal every time. It can be painful to hold it. If you ignore his signals then eventually let him out and he is experiencing pain while he is going potty outside he may make the association that it is painful to potty outside but comfortable to potty inside.

Feeding Your Dog to Lower His Stress ©
Daina Beckman
Dog Behavior Specialist
Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training

There has been a lot of studies on the canine diet as it relates to all areas of growth, dog breed and dog behavior. It is important that you check with your veterinarian before you change your dogs diet.
Once you have the okay from your veterinarian here is what I recommend based on my education, research studies and experience I have had with canine diet and changing behavior.

Things to avoid
Red Food Dye, BHA, BHT, Propylene Glycol, corn, avoid wheat and soy in your dog food. Protein treats such as cheese, peanut butter, meat. Avoid anything on the poison food list. ALL Table scraps.
Things to include:
Low protein, for adult dogs 16%-23% If your dog is active and or working he will need more protein. Not sure how much, talk to me.
For puppies the kibble should include DHA as this will help with brain development and learning.
Fruits and Vegetables for training treats. Things such as carrots, peas, green beans, apple, strawberry.

Your dog should learn to lay down and relax while he eats, no running for an hour after he eats.

I recommend Blue Buffalo Adult or puppy. if you need help choosing a formula I am glad to help. Acana & Lotus are the best dog foods on the market. Fromm and Grandma Mae’s are also very good. If you need a low cost food I suggest ProPac. These are very good diets, If you want to feed your dog a raw diet, talk to me there are safe ways to do that.

Where to feed your dog:
Your dog should be able to eat his meal in peace. He should be fed in a low traffic area where he can relax and take his time. If your dog is very quickly gobbling his food, or carrying it away from his dish to another place he is not comfortable where you are feeding him. If you have more than one dog, separate them for feeding so that they don’t feel like the other dog may take their food if they don’t eat fast enough.

When to feed your dog:
You should feed your dog right after your eat, or 1 or more hours before you eat. Pack leaders always eat first. It will add to stress and confusion for your dog if you feed him at the same time you eat or shortly before you eat. Some dogs are really laid back and when you feed them won’t effect pack structure.

Puppy’s up to 6 months old need to be fed three times a day.
Adult dogs should be fed twice a day.

How much to feed your puppy. As a rule of thumb, you should feed your puppy as much as he can eat in about 5 minutes. Feed your adult dog the recommended feeding on the bag. Watch for weight gain or loss and adjust the amount your feed if needed. If your dog is overweight, talk to your veterinarian about a diet and exercise plan to reduce weight. (I have a hand our on how to properly exercise your dog) I recommend Orijen weight control or Blue Buffalo weight control diets. If your dog is under weight, talk to your veterinarian about a weight gain diet plan. I carry diets such as Blue Buffalo Wilderness to help dogs gain weight. Stress can cause both under weight and over weight in dogs just as in can in humans. I can provide you with in home behavior modification to lower your dogs stress and anxiety.
Pet food companies what to sell more food, and also are liable for the amount of food they recommend you feed your dog. Many dog food manufacturers take into consideration that you may be feeding a sled dog. This is how couch potato dogs get over weight being fed the recommended amount on dog food bags.

How to change your dogs diet; You need to go slowly, it should take about 10 days to change the diet. You are going to start on day one with 90% of the old food and 10% of the new food. Day two you will feed 80% of the old food and 20% of the new food. Continue decreasing the old food by 10% and increasing the new food by 10% daily until you are feeding 100% of the new food. This will prevent gastric problems that can be caused by a sudden change in diet.

Your dog is experiencing a lot of stress if he has symptoms such as circling, excessive barking, aggression, self licking or mutilation, forced bowel movements that look like wet sand, what many people think is marking in the house, separation anxiety, fly snapping, thunderstorm phobia, fear of people or objects, hiding, reactivity, barks at things with his hair standing up and his tail straight up with a very narrow wag, urinates when greeting people, seems depressed, or under active, can’t seem to quiet down and relax, can’t seem to get going. These are just a few of the signs of stress in your dog.
If you are not sure, get in touch with me and I will help you figure out if your dog is stressed.
Most dog owners miss stress or anxiety or just pass it off to “that is how he is or that is how this breed is”. Living with stress, anxiety and fear is a horrible way to live and will cause belly and bowel problems and other medical problems. It will shorten the life of your dog. It is not normal. Please don’t let your dog continue to live suffering with anxiety when there is something that can be done to correct it.
If your dog is having any anxiety related problems, we can try a diet to increase serotonin and dopamine in his brain. It takes about 6 weeks to begin to see a change with this diet. I need to work with you privately with this diet. There are minor variations depending on the dogs weight, medical history, allergies, and behavior symptoms. I did want all of you to know that this is available. Changing diet alone however will not eliminate stress and anxiety. You will also have to use behavior modification at home. I can create a behavior modification plan to get your dog feeling better.