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The Expectation Game

In our ongoing adventure of companionship with dogs nothing trips us up quite as much as our own unrealistic expectations. Dogs who don’t do as they are told? We think them willfully disobedient, stubborn, or, worst of all, slow on the uptake. We overestimate their attention span and level of emotional control. We think they should know instinctively how to navigate big groups of dogs playing together. We expect them to quickly grasp concepts we deem important and logical for dogs, such as going to the bathroom outside (except when it’s OK not to, like at daycare). Unless a good dog trainer sets us straight, we may even expect angelic behavior after completing a single 6-week training class. Our high and often naive expectations cause us grief and worry, so why are they so hard to shake? Blame culture, for one thing. Books and movies that portray dogs as highly

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‘Look’

Attention  Purpose– teaching this exercise will train your dog that it is more reinforcing to pay attention to you than the distractions around him. Criteria– your dog should look at you. Visual Que– Point to your eyes.  Verbal Que– ‘Look’ Important to remember Your dog is familiar with his own environment.  There are fewer distractions at home as compared to a park.  Begin all training where there are minimum distractions.  As your dog becomes more reliable with certain behaviors, gradually work your way to a more distracting environment.  DO NOT expect your dog to respond to you as well as they would at home in this new environment. Behavior Pyramid Start in an area with no distractions Take a treat slowly wave it in front of your dogs nose and with your dog watching bring it to your eyes. Say ‘Look’ then ‘ok’ then give your dog the treat. The

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