• Proper Correction Techniques

    Hi all, George here. Today I’d like to discuss proper correction techniques. The most important thing to understand about communicating with your dog is that they are non-verbal. One of the most common mistakes I see is to always tell your dog “no,” and expecting that eventually one day they will master the English language. Your dog gleans everything they need to know about your personality, your intentions, and your status in the pack from your tone, your posture, and your emotional state.

    Before you can properly correct your dog, it is important to first understand how you should respond to any bad behavior. In previous blog posts, I have covered how to assert yourself as the leader of your pack. You can read that here. These same principles should be applied to how you respond to bad behaviors. I see too many people respond to bad behavior with a passive stance and tone, and by simply speaking to the dog. You can tell the dog it’s not ok to chew on people until you are blue in the face, and they still won’t get it. Instead, maintain a dominant posture, and use the proper correction techniques.

    In the wild, a mother dog with a litter of puppies would use one very simple correction technique. If a puppy got out of line, she would give them a quick bite on the back of the neck. The bite would be harder for more serious or repeated offenses. You can use this same effective correction technique. When your dog does something they shouldn’t, use your thumb and forefinger to mimic a bite on the back of the neck. If your dog continues to misbehave, give another, stronger nip to the neck. If the behavior still does not stop, give another nip to the neck, but this time, hold them down in a submissive position, and do not let up until they show that they have submitted to your authority. Your dog will show they have submitted by letting out a whimper, or simply ceasing to resist.

    Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you have many happy and healthy years with your pet. Always remember that you can control your dog’s behavior by controlling your own.

    Be sure to check back often for more tips and tricks on giving your pet the happiest and healthiest life possible. George Domsic is the owner at Benchmark Pet Services, and has more than 40 years experience in the field of dog training and psychology.

  • Proper Leash Usage

    Hi all, George here. Today I’d like to discuss proper leash usage. Now I have already covered this subject a little bit in my blog post about the private consultation I did with a rescue rottweiler. You can check that out here. But today I’d like to go into greater detail on the subject.

    First and foremost, it is important to understand that the leash is more than just a restraint. It is a communication tool. With this in mind, the first thing to master is how to hold the leash. The most common mistake I see is to keep the leash tight at all times, giving the dog very little room to move. A tight leash makes the dog resist and act up. Instead, your dog needs to be given the opportunity to earn a loose leash. Ideally, the leash should be loose 99% of the time.

    The leash should be held in your left hand, and your hand should be kept down by your hip. This will keep your dog by your side. When your dog strays, give the leash a quick snap and release. Do not maintain constant tension on the leash. Always be sure to maintain your dominant posture, and to not break your stride. Walk tall and with purpose, and your dog will follow. As far as your dog should know, you are the one going for a walk, and they are privileged to come along.

    I wish you all the best of luck in training your dog, and hope they can give you as much joy as I get from teaching. Remember, you can control your dog’s behavior by controlling your own.

    Be sure to check back often for more tips and tricks on giving your pet the happiest and healthiest life possible. George Domsic is the owner at Benchmark Pet Services, and has more than 40 years experience in the field of dog training and psychology.

  • Food Guarding

    Hi all, George here. Today I would like to discuss food guarding. A dog that growls or becomes aggressive around its food is not a respectful dog. It has developed a sense of entitlement that must be broken if you are to maintain your status as leader of the pack.

    In the wild, when a pack of dogs returns from a hunt with some food, the alpha dog always eats first. The alpha will only allow the others to eat once he/she is done. When your dog growls at you over their food, they are showing that they believe they are entitled to that food before anyone else, and that it is theirs to control.

    The biggest mistake I see people make that leads to this behavior is to leave food out 24/7. This gives the dog the idea that it is theirs to use as they please. Instead, you should have scheduled feeding times. Every time you are preparing to give the food to your dog, make them sit before you place it in front of them, and do not allow them to eat until you give them the command to. If your dog will not comply, or is being aggressive with you, take the food away. I assure you, your dog will not starve. When the next scheduled meal time rolls around, your dog will have a very different attitude, and will behave like the perfect lady or gentleman.

    Remember, he who owns and controls the food is in charge. Be sure to check out my previous blog entry about jumping and biting for more tips on how to assert yourself as the leader of your pack here. Always remember, you can control your dog’s behavior by controlling your own.

    Be sure to check back often for more tips and tricks on giving your pet the happiest and healthiest life possible. George Domsic is the owner at Benchmark Pet Services, and has more than 40 years experience in the field of dog training and psychology.

  • Private Behavior Consultation

    Hi all, George here. Recently I had the privilege of meeting Mario and Teresa. They took in a rescue rottweiler named Riley, and were having some behavioral problems. Riley was showing aggression towards other dogs, and being overly protective. They came to me to get an assessment of the situation, and to learn how to correct the behavior.

    The first thing I noticed when they came in was how tightly Mario was holding the leash. He had only a few feet of slack on the leash, and kept it pulled tight at all times. This was making Riley anxious. He would still follow some commands, but was not showing any sign of respect while doing so.

    When I took control of Riley, the first thing I did was to take a more relaxed approach with the leash. (In a previous video I covered proper leash usage, which you can find here: https://youtu.be/bht0-osjbz4 ) It is important to think of the leash as a communication tool, rather than a restraint. When I started walking with Riley, I walked tall, and with purpose. I communicated to Riley that I knew where I was going, and that he should follow.

    After walking Riley around a while, I came to a stop. When Riley relaxed and sat down, I relaxed. I did some deep breathing, and took a more relaxed posture. This communicates to Riley that I am pleased with him, and non-threatening. This behavior helps put him at ease. Eventually, Riley was relaxed and trusting enough to lay down at my feet.

    I am happy to report that Mario and Theresa decided to bring Riley in for a series of 3 private lessons and is now behaving very well for them. With some small changes to how they interact with him, Riley has become a great addition to their family. If you want to learn even more about dog behavior and training, be sure to follow our blog, and to subscribe to us on YouTube.

    Be sure to check back often for more tips and tricks on giving your pet the happiest and healthiest life possible. George Domsic is the owner at Benchmark Pet Services, and has more than 40 years experience in the field of dog training and psychology.