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Cruisin' Canines

How to Retrain a Dog That Has Bad Habits

An old dog can indeed learn new tricks.

If your dog seems to be regressing with his or her learned tricks or behavior, or you’ve just gotten a new pet and their demeanor isn’t where you want it to be, you’re not alone—plenty of people find that over time, their dogs seem to “unlearn” things they’ve been taught, and getting a new pet is generally rife with trials and tribulations. The good news, however, is that you don’t have to put up with this—an old dog (or even a not-so-old dog) can indeed learn new tricks. Check out our tips on how to do so. Chewing If your dog has taken a liking to chewing on things they shouldn’t be, the most important thing to do is to scold them as soon as you see them doing it, then redirect their chewing by giving them something they can chew on—a toy, a bone, etc. Once they start engaging with the toy or other distraction, praise them for no longer chewing on what they were before. Barking If your dog sits in front of the window and barks at passersby, barks at the doorbell, or just barks too much in general, the best way to stop this is to, again, divert their behavior. When your dog starts barking, get their attention pointed to something else: a treat, a toy, etc. Then, reward them for an alternative behavior, such as when the doorbell rings, they sit on a certain spot on the floor or rug, and they get a treat for doing so. Staying quiet until the door is answered should be rewarded, also. Going to the Bathroom Indoors This can be a complex issue. Perhaps they are acting out, perhaps there’s an underlying health issue, or they simply may not be able to hold it. In this instance, you should bring your dog for longer walks more frequently (hiring a dog walker can help with this if you can’t be at home more), as well as ask your vet and bring the dog in for a visit just to make sure nothing is wrong. Digging If your pup is tearing up the yard, it can be beneficial to rope off a clearly marked space that they’re allowed to do so in, but if you don’t want them digging at all, it’s important to know they may be doing it out of boredom. Be sure to play with your dog more so that they’re more mentally stimulated, and again, taking them on more frequent walks can help with boredom and restless behavior. Begging If you have a family member that just can’t resist those puppy dog eyes at the dinner table, this one is more about training your family member than the dog. If the dog’s begging works even once every 100 times he does it, that behavior gets reinforced and the dog will keep trying until that hundredth time. Be vigilant with this one, and provide your dog a space to go to when it’s dinnertime for his humans. What are your tips for keeping your dog on his or her best behavior? Let us know in the comments.

Prevent your dog from pulling on its leash

How to prevent your dog from pulling on their leash

Source: Walking dogs in Chicago can be an enjoyable activity, no matter what the weather, but when your pup doesn’t like its leash and constantly yanks on it, your walking experience could turn sour. Here are some ways to teach your dog to cooperate while on a leash—and make everyone happy. 1) Try to tire your dog out before training A lot of the time, dogs pull on leashes because they are so energetic and want to go faster than you’re willing to go. To make sure your dog is not pulling away from you during your first leash training sessions, make sure it has had some other exercise throughout the day, whether it’s just running around the house or playing fetch. 2) Don’t let your dog get too excited before the walk Even if you’ve played with your dog enough to wear it out a little bit before you or your dog walker takes your dog on a walk around Chicago, it may still be very excited to go on the walk, making it jump around as you try to attach the leash. To prevent this from happening every time, don’t even attach the leash until your dog has calmed down a little bit. That will show your pup that you won’t accept overly hyper behavior, and it can set the precedent for future walks. 3) Move swiftly If you’re walking at a slower pace, your dog might want to speed up, which is not what you want during leash training. If you move at a quick—but not too quick—pace, your dog will have less of an opportunity to run faster than you. If you’re having trouble with this, a dog walker in Chicago could show you the ropes to help you the next time when you’re on your own. 4) Provide rewards You will need to provide some kind of treat to your dog during a positive leash training session to let it know just how great of a job it did. Provide some of your dog’s favorite kind of treats as a reward when it behaves while on your walk. Dogs don’t just love rewards—they learn from them. How do you train your dogs to become familiar with leashes on walks? Do you have any other tips? Let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Awesome Obedience Training: the ‘Leave It’ Command

We’ve all been there. You’re out dog walking Chicago streets and that perfect storm happens. It’s the dead bird, or the neighbor’s aggressive terrier, or a squirrel and suddenly your shoulder is aching from having to yank back on the leash as you try to gain control of your dog. What if it was possible to gain your pups attention without the need for tugging or physical force? That’s why the ‘leave it’ command is such a necessary part of every dog’s obedience training!And with patience and positive reinforcement, it’s easy to add this to your dog’s repertoire. When Should you Start Teaching This? Whither young or old, it’s a valuable part of obedience training for any Chicagodog. Walking, at home or anywhere, you can make use of this useful command and can start teaching it to your dog at the same time you teach him the usual obedience staples like sit! Building the Behavior of the ‘Leave It’ Command The first steps are always the most important! To get your dog’s response triggered to your voice, you need to build the behavior first! You’ll be making use of this valued command in no time! Take a seat before your dog in a no distraction environment. Try a quiet room in your house with now windows and without other people or pets. Keep a regular treat like kibble in one hand. This will be the ‘Leave It’ treat. In your other hand, use something savory (like cheese, part of a hot dog etc.) that your dog loves. This will be the ‘jackpot’ treat. With your ‘leave it’ treat resting on an open palm, hold it out to your dog and don’t make any sound. Your dog will probably dive to get it so quickly close your hand and don’t allow him to. Hold out for your dog to lose interest in what’s in your hand and when he does, quickly say “Yes!’ and reward him with the ‘jackpot’ treat. If your dog is especially tenacious and won’t give up on the ‘leave it’ treat, keep your fist closed and hold it from his reach. Ignore him until he loses interest before saying ‘yes’ and giving him the jackpot treat. Wait about 10 seconds and then go ahead and repeat steps 2 and 3. If your dog goes for the ‘leave it’ treat again, shut your fist again. If he looks a bit confused, that’s a sign that he’s starting to think about the problem! Once he loses interest say ‘yes!’ and give him the jackpot treat. If your dog ignores the ‘leave it’ treat, give an enthusiastic ‘Yes!’ the jackpot treat and reward with a loving scratch to his favorite ear. Repeat 3 and 4 multiple times.Be patient with your dog as well! Even the most experienced of Chicago dog walkers can’t teach this in a day and trying to cram it into your dog’s head in a few sessions won’t work! Remember to be consistent each time to get the most effect from your training. This will teach your dog that the ‘leave it’ treat isn’t as enticing as the ‘jackpot’ treat, and ignoring it will get him a better reward! Attaching a Verbal Command for the ‘Leave It’ Behavior Once he’s got the behavior down, it’s time to get words attached for your Chicago dog. Walkers everywhere will be envious of your dog’s obedience once you complete this! Start saying ‘Leave It’ as you hold out the normal treat as you practice. Doing so will attach the verbal command to the action of ignoring the plain treat. Once your dog has theconduct and words down pat, start steadily introducing him to these different scenarios. Remember to be patient and don’t move too quickly for your dog. Hold the ‘leave it’ treat hand in different spots as you practice. Wait to say ‘yes’ and reward your dog until after he makesvisual contact with you. You want your dog to look to you for guidance and a reward once you say ‘leave it.’ Put the ‘leave it’ treat on the ground in front of your feet as you stand. If your dog goes after it, place your foot over it so he can’t get it. Move to different rooms and places to practice until your dog can complete this outside. Steadily place yourself farther and farther from your dog and saying ‘Leave It’ to teach him to mind even when you’re not next to him. Practice with distractions in the room such as other people, dogs, etc. Put treats out on the ground as you are dog walking. Chicago dogs should learn to ignore these treats as you walk past them. By using positive reinforcement and patient training it’ll be easy to have your dog listen to you no matter how enticing the quarry.And when you spend a lot of time in Chicago dog walking, what could be better than having a mindful dog who listens when called?

Puppy 101 –‘Loose’ Leash Training Your New Chicago Puppy

There are few better cities for dog owners than Chicago. Dog walking abounds with the dog friendly parks and scenic streets. And who doesn’t want to have a loyal and loving canine pal in their apartment or home to, well, come home to? But to have a comfortable life with your pooch you need to have hassle free walks as a Chicago dog walker. There is no better time to start properly leash training your dog than when they are puppies. So to help bring you into the fold of the proper Chicago dog walkers, here are some tips to leash train your new puppy. Step 1 – Puppies First Collar Your dog will be spending a lot of time wearing a collar, whither for identification reasons or to have a place to attach the leash to. As soon as your new puppy is home you want him to start getting used to this Chicago dog walker tool. There’s no reason to get fancy with the collar, but something light weight and leather will be perfect for durability. Slip the collar on while your pup is eating or playing so that he doesn’t become fixated on it or try and treat the collar like a toy. Chances are he’s probably going to try and get out of it (you were no different when you were a baby) so keep the collar comfortably snug and supervise to make sure your puppy doesn’t dislodge it and begin chewing it up. As long as your dog is aware of the collar it’s important that you don’t take it off of him. Wait until he forgets about it before taking the collar off so you don’t instill bad habits. Step 2 – Puppies First Leash Leashes are soon to be an object that inspires happiness when your puppy is properly introduced to it. You want to gently introduce your puppy to the leash so that they do not associate it with fearful things and instead are happy to be on the leash. Nothing is more tiresome for Chicago dog walkers than a dog who does not want to be on a leash! Buy a lightweight and thin leash for this. You won’t want anything fancy until your pup is used to the leash (and you don’t want an expensive leather leash to become a chew toy do you?) so simple leashes are the way to go. While home, clip the leash to his collar and let him get used to it under supervision. This will let your puppy become comfortable with having a leash on as well as the weight. Step 3 – Puppies First Walk With being properly introduced to your Chicago dog walking tools, it’s time to complete the experience! Your first few leash lessons will want to be quick and fun to give your puppy the right idea about Chicago dog walking and to not teach him that walks are grueling experiences. Take a walk around your house to get your pup used to moving along with you. Hold the leash nice and easy with a little bit of slack. As your puppy follows at your side, be sure to positively reinforce the behavior. Praise, petting and even a few treats can go a long way in getting that picture of the ideal Chicago dog walker and his canine companion you want! What is crucial to this training is that you must never continue walking when your puppy is yanking on the leash. Stop walking as soon as this begins and call him back to you, you must never yank your puppy along with you. Be sure to reward your pup when he comes back with praise. This will teach your pup that leash pulling won’t get him anywhere. While it may not feel or seem like a big deal now, consistent reinforcement of this will prevent your arm feeling like its being yanked from its socket by your 70 lb retriever later. For the sudden ‘sitters,’ stop walking and call him to you until he arrives. Praise him for his effort and continue your walk with your puppy at your side. Loose leash training is ideal for the very new puppy. The effort put in now will make all of the many dog walks later a much more pleasant experience! With consistent training and patience you will have an easy to walk canine that will be the envy of other Chicago dog walkers! Puppy training is a lot of hard work and even as adults you can’t always be there when your dog needs you. That’s why Cruisin’ Canines makes it easy to get your dog outside with professional dog walkers and puppy visits to make sure your newest companion is comfortable, happy and healthy!

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