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Avoid this Mistake and Create Close to 100% Dog Training Success

One of the number one mistakes we see clients create is a lack of awareness of their dog’s wants, needs, desires and communcation.  A great dog trainer is proactive and collaborative.  As a result, the owner is paying attention to his dog’s environment and his dog’s behavior.  The owner’s actions are altruistic and are dependent on what is occurring around his dog and inside of his dog.  As a result, he is able to create effective obedience in dog training.  Salt Lake City is a the home of many dogs owners and the majority of owners are unaware of this concept.

What exactly do we mean by being proactive?

1.) You are training your dog in the easiy environments.  Certainly, there are many training techniques that suggest putting your dog immediately in the stressful situation and then correcting them when they perform the wrong behavior.  This will work but in the long run your dog will feel much more stress.  As a professional dog trainer with Four Legged Scholars, Dog Training, Salt Lake City, we recommend keeping your dog below threshold.   This means that they are relaxed emotionally or almost relaxed while they are learning something new.  Where you perform dog training and the number of distractions present are totally in your control. By keeping distractions low and choosing a low stressful environment, you will create your dog to perform obedience commands faster.

2.) You are listening to what your dog is communicating to you.  If your dog is stressed, it is important for you to be aware of these stress signs.  Again our Salt Lake City dog training company recommends keeping your dog’s stress level low during dog training sessions. In order to do this you need to be aware of your dog’s body posture and body language.  When a dog is relaxed there are curves in his body rather than stiffness.  Also, if your dog is performing many calming signals, then your dog is probably too stressed to learn.  A few calming signals can be good depending on the scenario, however, it is definitely a red flag if your dog is demonstrating multiple calming signals consecutively.

3.) You are asking your dog to perform commands when your dog is relaxed or minorly stressed rather than when he is highly stressed.  We have seen many dog owners be less than proactive in their dog training.  Salt Lake City is where we hold our outdoor leash walking course.  In this course clients learn how to request commands when their dogs are below threshold.  For example, if a dog whines and pulls on the leash around bikers, it is much harder for the dog to perform a stay command when he is 5 feet away from the biker than when he is 20 or even 50 away.  As a result, if a biker is coming toward a dog and an owner on a trail, the owner will be more successful with a stay command if he asks his dog to move 20 feet off of the trail and asks his dog to stay while the biker is still far away.  This takes much awareness and commitment with dog training. Salt Lake City, has plenty of environments where owners can practice this concept.

4.) Above all being proactive means that you are setting up everything in your dog training session to be as successful as possible.  You are highly aware!  Some other quick examples would the following:

  • If your dog is extremely hyper, it might be better to do some off-leash work before doing on-leash work.
  • Your dog maybe in pain if he isn’t moving or performing commands easily. Therefore, it might be best to have him checked by a veterinarian before doing more dog training.
  • If your dog just ate dinner, he might not be as hungry to eat treats.  As a result, he maybe less motivated to perform dog training with food rewards.  Instead, you could use toy rewards. In the future, you could also choose to train your dog before he eats his meal.

Salt Lake City has many professional dog training choices.  We highly recommend you find a positive reinforcement trainer and choose a trainer that is the best match for you. If you are struggling with your dog, it is always best to seek support!

Your Turn!  We want to hear from you!  Please post a comment below!

How have you been slacking in your proactivity with your dog training?  What can you change to create more successful obedience with your dog?

Namaste!

Johanna Teresi,  Professional Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Training, Salt Lake City

Blog Archives

Karen Mara
Karen Mara
21:19 21 Jan 24
I recently met with Johanna for help with my rambunctious teenager, Roger. We worked on coming when called, leash walking, and staying calm around other dogs when on leash. After two sessions, Roger made huge improvements, and he continues to improve as we practice on our own. Johanna really understands dogs and is very good at communicating with people. She knows how to make dog training fun. I've worked with other trainers, and Johanna is by far the best.
Wendy Nighswonger
Wendy Nighswonger
18:47 08 Jul 23
I have known Johanna for 13 years. She has helped me with several dogs, but she recently helped me train my new black lab puppy, Raven. I have moved to another state so all of my training with Raven was done online via Zoom. I believe that the one-on-one training I received through Zoom was more personalized and thorough, especially with the way Johanna placed every ounce of training and recommendation on a board through an app that I can refer back when I need. Johanna is very intuitive and knew when stress was on overload for me, therefore tailoring my training for that day around making Raven feel good while simultaneously taking my stress load down. Johanna has years of experience and while her knowledge is a gold mine, it is her gentle patience and love for her clients that make this training so perfect. I would hire her again and again. She is a true canine whisperer. Thank you Four Legged Scholars and thank you Johanna!Wendy N. ~ Oregon
Christina Richards
Christina Richards
18:13 10 Feb 23
Johanna at Four Legged Scholars is great. She tailored my program to fit my needs and was easy to work with. My puppy responded very well to what she taught us together over Zoom. She's patient and understanding. We're still utilizing the things we learned and he's a well-behaved puppy. Thank you!
Karyl Bennion
Karyl Bennion
19:49 05 Feb 23
I adopted Frida as a companion that I could travel, walk and hike with. She loves to hike and walk but pulled on the leash and jumped at distractions. I learned how to be calm and talk in a non threatening way to her. She responds to this much better than yelling at her. The click and treat method that I learned works so well in getting her attention as well as the "target" training. Frida has improved greatly with these methods. I will continue the knowledge I have learned with her. I did the live on-line training and it was very successful. I am so happy we signed up.
Rachel Giddings
Rachel Giddings
02:57 12 Dec 22
My dog was abused in his previous home and has always been afraid of strangers. I wanted to train him and help him to be more confident, but I didn't know how to do that if he was afraid of his trainer.Doing online training with Joanna was perfect for both of us! Joanna helped me learn how to read my dog and understand his triggers. We then worked together on BAT training, which taught him self-soothing behaviors and showed him how to confidently and safely handle difficult situations. I never thought I would have fun doing homework with my dog, but he and I benefited from it tremendously. Working with Joanna via Zoom was perfect for my dog and me.
Shawn McMillen
Shawn McMillen
02:09 24 Oct 22
My 2 year old doodle was struggling with people walking by the house, barking incessantly, tugging on walks, improving recall when off leash and , for me, how to be a better more engaging human for my buddy. The personalized, online sessions exceeded all my expectations. The review of video homework sessions was awesome. We saw improvement in each of the priority areas and I developed real, tangible, lasting skills/tools to be a better pet person. Thanks Johanna!
Courtney Daniels
Courtney Daniels
19:59 12 Sep 22
12 years ago I got a puppy and quickly realized I was in over my head. I wanted to have a good, well trained dog, but I was overwhelmed by methods and my puppies behavior.I joined the four legged scholars puppy training with my little 4 month old puppy Bowie, and saw immediate understanding with the clicker work. It gave us this incredibly ability to communicate and she excelled.We went on to take several courses that established general obedience, helped me turn a STRONG leash puller into a loose leash master (I took that course twice because it was a huge issue for us and I NEEDED help and reassurance from Johanna that I could do it) as well as skill class, that helped solidify a beautiful relationship between us. Learning clicker shaping allowed me to confidently teach complex and unique commands on my own as well, like waving hello and closing kitchen cabinets.My Bowie has climbed to the top of mountains for me staying right by my side never pulling on her leash. I've targeted her off trails to protect her from startling a mama moose and her baby. She's loved on my kids without jumping on them and knocking them over. She's allowed the neighbor girl who has always had a fear of dogs to walk her without pulling at whatever pace she was comfortable with. She shows off with all her fun little tricks Johanna gave me the tools to train my dog into an amazing companion.I feel so lucky to have found your training program and to have the relationship I do with my Bowie girl. These courses have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of families and their pups, thank you for that gift.
Megan Pond-Maxwell
Megan Pond-Maxwell
16:02 18 May 22
I am so grateful to have found Johanna. She was with us every step of the way as we tackled separation anxiety training and reactivity training with Daisy, my Mini Australian Shepherd. As a first time dog owner, I felt at a loss about how to manage my very vocal, scared, stressed, yet loveable dog. She had all of the typical puppy behavior, such as jumping, nipping/biting, leash pulling, as well as barking. On top of that, she was also not able to be alone without feeling terrified, as well as vocally and behaviorally reactive to other dogs, adults, and kids. I felt completely overwhelmed and Johanna created programs that felt manageable and doable. Each training session, I felt understood and empowered working with Johanna. Over the course of our programs, I felt that we accomplished the steps of the training process, strengthened the dog-human relationship, and increased my own awareness of my dog's emotional cues so that I could better work with her. My dog can now be on her own feeling relaxed and playful, her problematic puppy behaviors have significantly improved, she can walk on her leash loosely, listen to commands, and she can better tolerate other adults, dogs, and children as compared to where we first started. Our online experience was very positive. I look forward to continually implementing the tools and skills we have learned along the way to move forward in a positive direction that strengthens our human-animal bond and reduces distressing behaviors and emotional stress and overwhelm. Thank you Four Legged Scholars! I highly, highly recommend working with Johanna.
Emily Harward
Emily Harward
03:36 24 Apr 22
Our rescue dog is sweet and playful with us, but her behavior around other dogs and people could be unpredictable. She would act aggressively around adults (lunging and barking), and would sometimes be aggressive toward other dogs. We chose to do online training with Johanna. I was skeptical that online training would work, but it ended up being very effective. Johanna taught me the skills I needed to train my dog, and provided resources that I could use throughout the week as I worked on the assigned tasks. I was also able to send her videos of me working with my dog, so she could provide feedback and help me improve. Johanna personalized the program and made changes as needed to ensure that I could meet my goals. Since working with Four Legged Scholars, neighbors have commented on how much better behaved my dog is, and I don't have to worry about her lunging and barking at people or other dogs when we are out for a walk anymore. We still have a lot of work to do with our dog, and I feel like doing the personalized online sessions with Johanna has given me the knowledge, and resources to continue training my dog.
Angel Lanoy
Angel Lanoy
15:22 16 Jun 21
We have a large family, including three big dogs. So when our biggest dog Obi, the Rottweiler, started showing aggression we panicked. The vet suggested we put him down after an experience in the office. He then said we could also try training and gave us Johanna's business card. Just a phone call with her made us feel like there was hope. We signed up to do the online sessions with FourLeggedScholars. The process from the first contact to the last was well oiled and very helpful. Obi gets to stay with our family now and we feel like meting with her has given us the guidance and knowledge we need to keep our family, friends and him safe. I was a tad worried about doing the training online, but it really worked out great and we were able to fit such a big task into our busy schedules. I feel like she set us up for success from the very beginning. Thank you.
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6 Comments

  1. Susan Steinwand

    Don’t forget, be proactive about reinforcing your dog when they are NOT doing an undesirable behavior. Sure, there are training techniques you can do to interrupt your dog from barking, but every time your dog doesn’t bark at something that would normally be a trigger is a great chance to reinforce being quiet. My neighbor’s dogs love to bark at the cat in our back yard, but when they actually just sit there quietly and watch the cat is when I go over and pet them. Of course, it would take more proactive work on the neighbor’s part to really prevent the barking, but that’s a good example of not ignoring the good behavior your dog does.

    • fourleggedscholars

      Susan! I couldn’t agree more! Yes definitely rewarding our dogs for doing what they want is so important. Traditional training as you know waits for the dogs to fail and then the owner corrects them. This is one way to train and it works. However, it is not the way we train. We look at what we want more of and then reward that!! I love how you are supporting your neighbors in creating more quiet dogs. You could even take it a step further if you wanted by having a conversation with your neighbor. Bring them some goodies and introduce yourself as their new neighbor. Then ask them if they are willing to partake in training. If no, you could ask them if they are willing to allow you to do training for them. When your cat is outside you can have a clicker and treats on you and reward when their dogs are quiet! I am looking forward to seeing you comment on future posts. You have so much to offer the dog community! Enjoy your trip and namaste!

    • megan

      This is something I am working on with our puppy. I know that sometimes she’s barking or jumping because she wants my attention so if I pay attention to her when she’s not doing these behaviors, it will feed her need without doing the undesirable behaviors!

      • fourleggedscholars

        Megan, This is awesome! There are many ways your dog can get attention for not jumping. Here are a few options: petting, eye contact, clicking & treating, giving your dog a play toy, throwing his meal or tons of treats all of the ground, and giving your dog a food oriented toy to chew on. The last 3 items will reward your dog not only for NOT jumping on but also will occupy him for a certain length of time 🙂 These items could include: a frozen kong with peanut butter, bully stick , or raw femur bone (you can get one at Snider’s meat market). Also keep in mind that you can always use management. Also if need to focus on a task or you just need some “space” yourself you can always do one of the following: put Spottie in his crate, put Spottie in a doggie proofed room with the door closed or gated (a baby gate works well for most dogs, enclose Spottie in an ex-pen, or tether Spottie to his bed for a short time period with a food oriented toy on an arm length tether with you closeby to supervise him. I hope those ideas stretch you farther to create dog training success faster. Great job at doing your homework in commenting on this post! Hopefully you have received a high amount of value for doing your blog homework. Namaste!

  2. Suzi

    Thanks Johanna for all of your leadership and advise. These are some of the things I have been proactive in creating better training with Lila. I set a specific time to train her in the day, when I am not too tired, and thus less stressed. I can then spend the time and use my energy more positively to have a more successful session. If the training does not go well because she just wants to play I cut it short and know that I can try again later in the day or tomorrow. I remind myself that training is a process and I can not expect immediate results.

    • fourleggedscholars

      Hi Suzi! I love this learning that you have shared!! To take a step further if you are willing, you can wonder about how you can decrease your stress even more while training Lila. Setting up a specific time when you are more awake rocks it!! What about adding in a few other tools there as well? You could set an intention or commitment statement before you begin training. Here some examples. “I commit to be fully present during my training Lila.” “I commit to have fun while training Lila.” “I intend on loving communication and awesome training with results with Lila today.” You could also visualize the successful training session before you begin to help your mind focus on awesome timing, awesome communication skills and an awesome mindset. Also I love the idea of keeping the training session short when Lila is not responding well. If you are willing it is best to end training sessions on a positive note. Also you can think about is there something that you could change in the training session to keep the progress moving ahead. An example could be incorporating play during the training session. You could you use smelling, running, tug, ball play, etc all as a reward for responding to some commands with you. Lastly, remember if a session didn’t go well one day re-evaluate so that you can do what you need to do differently the next day to ensure forward progress! Hope this is helpful. Please ask questions if needed. Namaste!