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Natural Remedies to Help Prevent Ticks On Your Dog | Off Leash K9 Training

 

In many parts of the US and the world, ticks are a big problem for dogs. They burrow their heads into the skin of the dog and feed on the blood of the dog. Many ticks carry diseases that can seriously harm your pet and some breeds of ticks can even be lethal to animals. Because they are small and hard to find, often taking refuge in dense hair or within your pet’s ears, they are hard to see and often owners don’t know that their dog has picked up a tick until the scary symptoms require a rushed trip to the vet. There are a lot of chemical products that are supposed to keep the ticks away, but there are several natural solutions that might help as well.

 

Check your dog regularly.

Using a fine toothed comb, brush down your dog regularly, checking the skin carefully. Don’t forget to check inside the ears and between the toes as well. Removing ticks can be difficult if you have not done it before, so ask your vet for a demonstration first to make sure you can remove the tick completely and without causing any damage.

 

Sprays
Apply tick repellent sprays directly to the coat. You can use a lemon, cut into quarters and put into a jar of boiling water overnight. The next day, spray it over your dog. Watch your dog carefully the first couple of times to ensure there is no allergic reaction. If there is any negative reaction at all, discontinue use. Do not use on cats as they will lick it off their fur and it will make them sick.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar Mix On Dog’s Coat.
This type of vinegar works much the same as garlic does, by making your dog less appetizing to the tick. Add some apple cider vinegar to water and apply to your dog’s coat.

 

Rose geranium oil.
A couple of drops applied to your dog’s collar is said to get rid of ticks. Do not use this remedy with cats, as they will lick it off and poison themselves.

 

Peppermint Oil.
Applying peppermint oil on a tick, will often times make them “back out” of where they are burrowed on you or your dog!

 

Herbal tick collars.
There are several brands of herbal tick collars now available. Check out your local pet store or talk to your vet for more information.

It can be scary or just disgusting to find a tick on your dog. With the recent movements towards natural remedies, these alternatives to toxic and dangerous chemicals have proven effective in radically reducing the chances of infestation. Because they’re safe and natural, you can use these remedies at the same time to ensure that your dog remains tick free and you never have to dig them out of your dog’s skin ever again.

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Why Just Using Positive Reinforcement Does Not Work | Off Leash K9 Training

Dog Training in Northern Virginia

 

Positive reinforcement is something we get asked about in Northern Virginia, a lot! People are always told about the magic of positive reinforcement. While it is an effective tool, unfortunately there are many  occasions where it is not as effective as you would like. For instance, a lot of the self-rewarding habits that your dog has can be very difficult to break simply through the use of positive reinforcement. No matter how much you try to offer treats or praise, you find that these are habits that you just cannot break your dog of. But there is hope for you.

Self-rewarding habits are problems because the habit itself is more rewarding to the dog than any praise or treats that you could offer him. If positive reinforcement is going to work, it needs to be better than the reward they get from doing the act you are trying to stop. If there is nothing better to offer your dog, then you really need to consider some of those negative reinforcement training methods that you have been told are so bad for your dog. I have never seen an amazingly obedient dog with distractions that was trained solely through the use of positive reinforcement.

The concept of negative reinforcement is to offer your dog an undesirable stimulus that inspires the dog to stop by complying with your wishes. To put this into an example that you can understand, maybe you are trying to teach your dog the command “come”. If positive reinforcement was not working, you can consider putting your dog on a leash and lightly pulling on it when he does not come when called. Eventually, the dog will get annoyed enough that he will listen. From here, you offer a treat as positive reinforcement. After a while of this technique, your dog will listen to your “come” command. Combining negative and positive reinforcement will make a huge difference in training your dog.

Some people who are opposed to negative reinforcement view this as beating your dog until it becomes submissive. The reality is you are just annoying your dog into complying, not causing any actual pain to him. While there are some methods of training that do cause very small amounts of pain, for the most part the discomfort is kept as low as possible to ensure that learning is going to be accomplished.

There are some things to remember about this technique. It should never be used on puppies under the age of 4-5 month. You really need to know if your dog is ready for it. If you notice it is very bothersome to your dog, you need to stop. Remember to follow up with positive reinforcement to keep your dog happy. When your dog is trained properly, you both are going to have an amazing life together.

If you want a dog that is reliable in any and all situations, contact Off Leash K9 Training!

http://www.offleashk9training.com

info@offleashk9training.com
888-413-0896

 

Getting A New Puppy For Christmas | Dog Training In Northern Virginia | Off Leash K9

Picking the Perfect Christmas Puppy
If there’s one surprise that is sure to bring your family untold levels of joy during the holidays, it’s a puppy (unless of course you didn’t discuss it with your spouse, but that’s on you). Many dog professionals claim that it is a bad idea to bring in a new family member that needs a lot of attention during the already hectic holidays, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. If you’re determined you can bring a puppy into the fold during Christmas and make everyone, including your new pet, happy.
That said, you’ll need to decide what kind of dog you want to get! There are a lot of things to consider for such a decision, including where you are going to find a dog, what kind you want it to be, and so on. These are just a few of the things you should discuss with your family (or just consider yourself if you’re in charge of the process) before coming to a decision.

What size dog do you want? Do you actually want more than one dog, and what gender do you want? Should you get a puppy that will require a ton of attention or an older dog that won’t need as much? And of course what kind of breed do you want? A dog specifically raised by a breeder, or maybe a rescue dog instead? And do you want a purebred or a mutt? The answers to all of these questions are personal preference, and will likely determine the kind of dog you want to get.

After answering all of those questions, you should make a short list of the dog types that interest you the most, and then try to find some you can visit physically, whether at an animal shelter, a local breeder, or something similar. After all, you may think you want a certain dog (a St. Bernard maybe?), but if you haven’t physically interacted with that dog you can’t know for sure. And considering that you’re bringing a new member into your family, you want to be absolutely certain that the dog you choose is right for you. Of course, it’s important to remember that you can find a great dog in any breed.

And you don’t have to pick the very first puppy you see either. Sure, most of us don’t want to say no to a puppy of any sort, but remember that you’ll be spending several years with the dog you choose, so picking one that matches your preference the best is important. As for finding out which dog is likely to come into your life with as much acceptance and happiness is possible, it’s pretty easy to test during your visit. A dog that will come to you is moderately comfortable with people. A dog that follows you around is fond of you, and one that will snuggle with your physical compliments is unlikely to bite. Just be on the lookout for stress signs, such as physical withdrawal or unusual panting, as these are signs that the dog doesn’t really want to interact with you.

If you need training for your new puppy, contact Off Leash K9 Training!

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Should My Dog Sleep In My Bed? Dog Behavior Training in Northern Virginia

While sleeping with your dog is generally enjoyable for both owner and dog, sometimes it doesn’t work out as planned. This is because the dog doesn’t understand their role in the household.

Years ago, dogs played a much different role in a family. Most dogs were working animals on a farm. They had to herd stock or protect the farm. Rarely would a dog sleep inside the home; they usually slept in a barn or under the porch. Dogs had to earn their keep.

Today, most dogs are kept as family pets. They are treated as children and loved upon. While this is fine, dogs are unable to find their place in the family. They are stuck between being a dog, a pet, and an almost-human. When this occurs, a dog will no longer view you as their alpha.

Many people allow their dogs to sleep in their bed. For some dogs, this will never result in an issue. Unfortunately, some dogs begin to show aggression towards their family members. They are asserting themselves as equal or higher above their human. We have seen this lead to territorial aggression a lot. When this occurs, there are a few things the owner needs to do.

-Remove their bed privileges. The first thing that you must do is to remove the dog from your bed. Place a dog bed, or crate, on the floor and don’t allow them to join you. The simple view of you sleeping above them will prove your message.

-Remind him that you are the alpha. Your dog must be reminded that he is dependent upon you. Your dog should sit before being let outside and sit before being fed. Don’t let your dog eat before you have eaten.

While you need to assert yourself as leader, do so in safe ways.

If your dog’s aggression issues continue, it’s time to consult a Off Leash K9 Training professional dog trainer. We have many tips and tricks to address the aggression. Never hesitate to call.

There is no rule about whether or not to allow your dog in your bed. It is quite often a dog-by-dog basis. Watch for signs of aggression, and act quickly if any are noticed. Reversing the situation can be easy if caught quickly.

-Nick White
Owner/Founder
Off Leash K9 Training

http://offleashk9training.com

info@offleashk9training.com

Classical Conditioning vs Operant Conditioning: Dog Training

Classical Conditioning

The operant conditioning technique
This technique involves reinforcement, or punishment, for your dog upon completion of a behavior, a lot like you might train your children.
It’s voluntary, your dog is an active participant in this process whether the behavior is positive or negative. Rather than rewarding your dog every single time it displays the correct behavior, evidence actually suggests it is far more effective to do so at random to ensure that he will always behave that way. We don’t generally think about our dogs in terms of science and psychology, but actually that is exactly what dog training is – scientific and psychological studies have been carried out and highly support operant conditioning training (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/thoughtful-animal/what-is-operant-conditioning-and-how-does-it-explain-driving-dogs/). A lot of the dog trainers you see on television use the operant conditioning technique, and so do zoo keepers and animal handlers. While B.F. Skinner gets the credit for it, he merely expanded on it and popularized it- it was first mentioned by Edward L. Thorndike in the early 1900’s.

The classical conditioning technique
This is probably most associated with Ivan Pavlov’s dog experiment. It’s involuntary behavior, an automatic response. This limits the scope of the classical conditioning technique because it is simply an instinctive response, it’s the basics, but don’t let that put you off. There is value in these techniques just as much as there is in the operant technique (http://www.blongs.scientificamerican.com/thoughtful-animal/what-is-classical-conditioning-and-why-does-it-matter/). http://www.scientificamerican/com/extinction-countdown/lions-vs-cattle-taste-aversion/). Because the idea behind classical conditioning is simply creating an association between two stimuli to garner the desired response it can be adopted and adapted in creative ways. For instance, there is a wildlife conservation that was employing the technique in an effort to prevent the lions from preying on all of the cattle (http://www.scientificamerican/com/extinction-countdown/lions-vs-cattle-taste-aversion/). When you open a packet of dog treats and give one to your dog it will know from then on that that sound means a treat, but the sound can also be created by any packet of food. So, there’s a pretty good chance that when you open a bag of chips, or cookies, your dog’s ears will be quick to perk up at the sound. Your dog takes regular trips to the vet, and he gets there by car in his dog carrier or crate so whenever you get that crate out there’s a good chance your dog might respond poorly as that carrier, regardless of what you have it out for, might mean a trip to the vet. Your dog loves to go for walks and you keep its leash in the hall cupboard, so every time you go to the hall cupboard for your jacket, or to put the vacuum away your dog bounces from wherever he was hiding, excited at the prospect of going for walks. These are natural responses from your dog based on the everyday classical conditioning he is exposed to.

-Nick White
Founder/Owner
Off Leash K9 Training
www.offleashk9training.com
info@offleashk9training.com

Operant Conditioning: What Is It? How Does It Work For Dog Training?

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Operant conditioning is, “a type of learning in which the strength of a behavior is modified by its consequences, such as reward or punishment, and the behavior is controlled by antecedents called discriminative stimuli which come to signal those consequences.”

To break down operant conditioning, there is what’s called the operant conditioning quadrant. This quadrant is made up of: Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, Positive Punishment, and Negative Punishment.

Now, as you can see, this quadrant is broken into two categories which is: reinforcement and punishment.

Reinforcement is used to INCREASE the behavior in a dog. Punishment is used to DECREASE a behavior in a dog.

Now, look at negative and positive like math! Negative, you are removing something or taking something away. Positive, you are adding something.

Let’s break down each one…

Positive Reinforcement:
This is doing things such as marker training with your dog, he gives you a desired behavior (sit, down, heel, place, etc), you immediately give him a desirable reward such as a treat, a ball, a tug or praise. Again, positive, so you are ADDING a reward.

Negative Reinforcement:
This is training such as prong collar or ecollar training. Negative reinforcement means something already present is removed (taken away) as a result of completing a behavior and the behavior that led to this removal will increase in the future because it created a favorable outcome. A good example would be the seat belt in your car, your car “dings” annoyingly until you put it on. So, you generally put it on quickly in order to avoid the nagging. Again, negative, so you are TAKING AWAY the nagging.

Positive Punishment:
This involves presenting an undesirable outcome or event following an unwanted behavior. An example of positive punishment is if your dog jumps up on you, then you correct him with an ecollar or knee him off of you. You have given the dog an unwanted outcome following an unwanted action. An easy example of this, would be something as simple as a hot stove. If you touch a stove, immediately after, you get burned. So, this decreases the likelihood you will do it again. Again, positive, so you are ADDING something (adding an unwanted outcome).

Negative Punishment:
This is when you REMOVE a highly desirable stimulus for your dog displaying an unwanted behavior. For example, if you are trying to get your dog to sit or down; however, he is not paying attention, so you take away his ball/tug. An easy example of this would be two siblings get into a fight over who gets the new toy, so the parents simply take the toy away from them. Again, “negative,” so you are REMOVING something (the toy).

A lot of balanced trainers use the entire quadrant in some form or another when training dogs.

If you are interested in having a highly confident, well rounded and amazingly obedient dog, contact Off Leash K9 Training!

http://www.offleashk9training.com/

info@offleashk9training.com
888-413-0896

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10 Tips to Help You Stay Sane With Your New Puppy; Training in Virginia

Puppy Dog Trainers in Northern Virginia

Have a new and untrained puppy? It may be a troubling time or a stepping stone to see if you could handle a child, but either way, there are some tips you should take into account and help you stay sane with your new puppy. The first few weeks are the hardest and we’re here to help you virtually. Continue reading if you want to become a puppy pro in the next 5 minutes.

General training

You can’t go weeks with your puppy without training them even a little bit ad it’s important to think of them as a toddler when teaching them. Repetition is extremely important and the first thing to know when training.

Never have an aggressive energy when training; always use an assertive and calming tone when trying to train your puppy.

Like toddlers, puppies need training gates to understand that they shouldn’t go in a certain area. After a period of time, remove the gate and see if they know not to go in there on their own.

Surprisingly, you shouldn’t show or act extremely upset when your new puppy does something wrong. Like a child, they don’t know your words or commands yet and literally have no idea that they’re doing something wrong. Showing aggression toward them can act backwards on their behavior for when they grow into an adult. Assertive and calming natures with a mix of repetition can show them that they’re doing something wrong without altering their personality over time.

Home obedience classes aren’t bad and nothing something that should be shameful. They’re extremely invaluable and should be done to help your puppy get a head start on proper behaviors.

It’s never too early to start training. The earlier the training is done, the more they know not to do and what to do perfectly when they’re still in their toddler phase. This goes along with our previous tip. When you utilize puppy training at a young age, you’ll have a perfectly poise and well-behaved puppy rather quickly.

Listen to your puppies wants and needs – why are they doing a certain action? Pay attention to their motive when performing a certain action whether it’s because of food, having to go to the bathroom, or simply trying to get snuggles!

By knowing these basic guidelines before and during your puppy’s learning phase, you’ll have a breezy time with your puppy and you’ll be able to enjoy time with them sooner!

If you are interested in getting your puppy trained or your puppy questions answered, contact Off Leash K9 Training!

www.offleashk9training.com
info@offleashk9training.com
888-413-0896

Help With New Puppy: Puppy Advice and Tips in Northern Virginia

Puppy Training Virginia

Being a new puppy owner is exciting, but most don’t realize the work that may go into actually taking care of a puppy or even learning to train them. We have the best tips to help you get started when it comes to training your new furbaby and you shouldn’t take these like a grain of salt as you’ll feel more lost than you expect without preparation during the first few weeks. These weeks are essential in molding the current and future behavior of your puppy.

When it comes to unwanted behavior…

It’s bound to happen but there are plenty of tips to keep in your pocket for when your puppy displays negative behavior.

Buy a spray bottle that has a bitter apple flavor and put it on the normal things your puppy goes for with his chompers. This will make his face go foul and his jaw drop what he’s trying to get away with!

Make sure to look for a plethora of textures when trying to get them to stop chewing on anything other than their toys. This will make them know what textures are what and give them all they need to be satisfied with, rather them wanting to see what texture your shoes or blankets are.

When you want your puppy to make friends…

Getting your puppy to socialize properly may be one of the hardest things you can do, but in order for your puppy to be affectionate rather than aggressive, you want your puppy to be well-socialized yet independent so they aren’t clingy to everything.

Introduce your puppy to ask many other puppies and people as much as possible. A well-socialized puppy is an independent yet affectionate puppy.

Do some research on the breed of your dog. Learn what triggers them more than other things and learn which breeds and environments they work best in. Use this to help amplify their social status and behavior.

Let them become familiar with different types of body and dress styles like beards and glasses so they can differentiate people and learn to accept everyone, and know when to become aggressive if necessary. (if they are a watch dog).

When it’s time to potty train…

Potty training is the most important training aspect with a new puppy and during the first month, all small puppies should be carried to the area they are allowed to go in. Not only does this prevent accidents, but it shows them through repetition where they need to go.

With positive reinforcement, use treats to show them that they did well by doing their business in the right area. This is called a mini puppy-party. Also, we highly recommend crate training, read our blog on that here.

Never scold and become aggressive when it comes to them making mistakes with the bathroom. If they aren’t going in the right area, you’re probably not showing them enough. Use the same phrase like “potty time” to show that this phrase (through repetition) means to go to the bathroom.

Within weeks, your puppy can be fully trained and make minimal mistakes, allowing you to enjoy your time together much quicker than expected. Don’t be afraid to utilize obedience courses, but try your hand at first so the puppy can become comfortable with you, your actions, and your tone of voice.

We also recommend doing many confidence building exercises with your pup, things such as: noise desensitization, object desensitization, touching all their body parts, etc.

If you have a puppy, and you want him to be an amazing/productive member of the K9 community, contact Off Leash K9 Training!

info@offleashk9training.com
www.offleashk9training.com
888-413-0896

Help With My Dog Chasing Things: Dog Prey Drive Training in Virginia

When people think of adopting a dog, most of the time, they don’t think of predatory aggression and expect everything to be swell automatically. Predatory aggression is very real in dogs of all kinds and a lot of people may wonder if it’s natural. They are animals, however, so a level of prey drive is going to be natural no matter what.

What’s prey drive?

Prey drive is the desire to chase, catch, attack, or completely kill a small creature, furry or not. It’s the circle of life and something that is natural in the wild, especially for thousands of years prior. With predation, it’s a natural instinct dogs have for survival and can be trained away. Until then, it’s a natural instinct to attack and obtain for some breeds of dogs. This is why many chase, bite, attempt to eat, and even kill other living things.

Through various breeding practices, predatory aggression has been decreased and eliminated completely. Depending on the type of breed, the level of prey drive is quite different from type to type. According to the renowned American Kennel club, there are seven breed groups of puppies and around four of those have an advanced and enhanced prey drive level. These four groups are:

Sporting
Herding
Hound
Terrier

Dogs that are specifically bred in the sporting and herding groups have a higher prey drive because of sporting reasons.

How do I know if my dog has predatory aggression?

You may think it’s easy to catch, but there are plenty of other symptoms that you can notice and make note of in terms of predatory aggression and a prey level. One of the prime factors and symptoms of this aggression is when a dog’s behavior as such is triggered by a movement of some sort. This could be anyone from the mailman to a skateboarder down the road, a car pulling up or driving away, and even a bicyclist. These types of movements activate the instincts that are usually dormant and leave the rampant. It does not matter the age or gender of the dog, as this type of behavior can be found in any.

How do you treat predatory aggression?

Because dogs are born with this prey drive and it’s something that is in their brain that is triggered, there is no cure or treatment to fix this; this is why it’s usually done through breeding, because you can’t quite teach a dog to lower their level or prey drive. It can be toned down, but it will never go away as it is programmed in their animal brain, and rightfully so. However, as you see in our 1200+ videos on YouTube, we use obedience to outweigh their prey drive. So, their obedience essentially becomes stronger than their prey drive.

If you need help getting your dog’s prey drive under control, contact Off Leash K9 Training!

888-413-0896
www.offleashk9training.com
info@offleashk9training.com

Things To Consider When Moving With Your Dog | Northern Virginia

Moving dog Virginia

As life moves forward and changes transpire, sometimes we are put in a position that requires us or inspires us to make a move. Sometimes, that can be a hard task to endeavor when you are considering others besides yourself. The task is no easier when that special being your are considering is your most loyal companion. Here is a list to consider when making that big move with your canine pal.

Walking Space: An important question to ask and examine is where you will walk your dog. You’ll want to consider having a green area nearby, whether it be a park or grassy square, that allows and encourages your canine pal to “take care of business.”

Climbing Stairs: If your dog is older or has difficulty climbing stairs, moving to an apartment or loft that is not on the ground floor may become tricky and difficult for your pup. Whether you like it or not, another thought to consider is how accessible an emergency exit would be for little Lassie or Spot. It is important that your pet has a feasible way to exit to ground level regardless of whether they are stretching their legs, or taking a bathroom break.

Flooring: For those with accident-prone puppies, you may be familiar with the difficulties of keeping a carpet clean. When deciding on a new home, it is important to take into account the type of flooring and how this can affect your pup and the cleanliness of your humble abode. A carpet is more difficult to keep clean as it traps odors and fur. However, if you have an older dog, a wood floor or tile floor is more difficult on joints and can lead to accidents and slips for the older canine.

Window Location: Paying special attention to window location is another important factor when deciding on a new home. Low-lying windows will lead to greater incidents of reactionary barking from your pup. However, if you don’t mind the noise, or have neighbors, the same windows can provide an engaging activity for your dog as they keep their eye on what’s happening outside.

Neighbors: If you are considering a new home or apartment, you should also be considering the neighbors. This is also important to examine on your pet’s behalf. If other dogs live nearby, this could lead to problems in the future if your dog gets a bit over-excited in the presence of new dogs. Lots of barking and noise problems can be avoided if you take this factor into consideration beforehand.

Location of Utilities: If contemplating a move into an older apartment or house, you may have to factor in the location of heaters or other gas-related utilities. Poorly concealed objects such as these can pose a threat to your pet if they are running around or throwing chew toys every which way.

Security: The last factor to note is how secure the exits are in your new home or apartment. A poorly secured window or loose-locking door can lead to a pet that has the means to quickly dart out on his or her next adventure. Make sure your new home is just that for your pup – a home, a safe, restful sanctuary that provides comfort and happiness.

Are you moved to your new location and need help with your dog?

Contact Off Leash K9 Training!

info@offleashk9training.com

http://www.offleashk9training.com/

888-413-0896