Sit Pretty Dog Training Blog
Tips for Boston area dog owners
Proud to announce that I am now a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, a certification granted through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Excited to continue to offer dog training and behavior consultations to you all using science-based, kind, and effective methods.
Some information about the IAABC from their website (www.iaabc.org):
The goals of the IAABC are to standardize and support the practice of animal behavior consulting, to provide quality, evidence-based education and peer and supervising mentoring, and to provide resources for pet owners needing advice. IAABC certifications are the most rigorous in the field, and assess people working in multiple species, with private clients and in shelters, and we offer certification in both Spanish and English.
IAABC members believe in the study and science of behavior consulting. We understand that animal behavior consultants can assist owners in managing and modifying problem behaviors, and in the process help strengthen the relationships between an owner and pet.
IAABC members work to minimize the use of aversive stimuli and maximize the effective use of reinforcers to modify animal behavior. Members agree to adhere to the LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive) and the IAABC Code of Ethics principle upon joining. Within that framework, the IAABC welcomes diversity and openness. Positive regard, and respect for differences are among our core value, always striving toward solid, effective, positive reinforcement-based work.
Is your dog making this face about all the fireworks and storms they’ve been hearing? Let’s chat through a few tips for how to help with noise aversion prior to the big holiday weekend!
– Don’t be afraid to comfort a scared dog. Make sure they have comfortable spots to hide in if that is what they prefer during storms and other loud noise events. Comforting a scared dog won’t increase your dog’s fear.
– Reach out to your vet about pharmaceutical help prior to louder noise events. Medications can be very useful when it comes to calming your dog during firework shows and storms, and some medications can also be useful during the desensitization process as well.
– Give homeopathy a try. Products such as Adaptil collars and diffusers help many dogs, but calming supplements have different effects for every dog. Here are some links for popular products to try out.
– Pressure therapy can work for some dogs. If you aren’t sure if your dog feels comforted by pressure, here is a good DIY thunder wrap to try for your dog prior to purchasing a more expensive option.
– For your dogs that will accept food during storms and other noise events, provide them with ample puzzle toys and chews to enjoy. This will help to condition them to understand noise events produce good things for them! Scroll down in my feed for fun and easy enrichment activities to try out.
– Muffle the noise as much as possible with normal everyday noise that your pup is used to. If the TV or radio does not cause additional distress, leave these noises on for your pup.
– Train during the off-season! If you’ve discovered this year that your pup has noise aversions contact me to discuss how to start a desensitization and counterconditioning plan.
Stay safe out there everyone! Happy July!
We’ve had a series of scorchers! How do we enrich our dogs and keep them cool at the same time? Ice cube treats! Small ice cube treats are excellent to fill puzzle toys indoors. Bigger frozen ice treats can be a long-lasting enrichment activity for outdoors! I’ve also seen people freeze “popsicle handles” into their ice cubes with bully sticks or other stick type treats.
Get creative and post your recipes or photos below!
Safety reminder to not give your dogs any products containing xylitol, chocolate, coffee, raisins, or grapes.
My other favorite enrichment item to purchase – nylon chew toys! One company even stepped it up and made an option that you can fill with food. Make sure you choose a nylon chew that is appropriate for your dog’s bite force; if they can take large chunks off it is not hard enough for your dog.
Splish splash, we’re bobbing for treats. This is a great activity for warm days where you can play around with water outside. Be sure to let your dogs take turns if you have multiples and watch the amount of water they’re ingesting.
Also try this activity with toys in a small tub of water! You’ll want to join in too!
Why are all the humans covering half of their faces?
If your dog is worried about you or other humans wearing masks, this video gives some ideas for how to work through it.
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Wearing a mask is good. Put your mask on, feed your dog a few high value rewards, then take your mask off and stop feeding.
Step 2: Wearing a mask doesn’t change your communication. Put your mask on, go through a few easy and fun cues your dog knows, reward them for participating.
Step 3: Seeing other people wear masks is also good. Stand a safe distance from people, reward your dog when they notice a person wearing a mask.
In the video, you’ll get to see the first two steps in action. I go into detail for what to do if your dog is too worried to start with step one. I also cover a few ways you can accomplish step three.
Let’s continue to work those noses! This time get your dog engaged in some snuffling for food. Dogs rooting for food with their noses is an excellent diffusing and calming behavior, it is also mentally tiring.
I give an outdoor option, though you may want to wait until a slightly nicer day to try that one out!
What is your favorite dog toy to fill with food? I love the classic kong, and here I show you how I fill my kongs!
This game is all about presenting soft foods in an interesting way. Does your dog like peanut butter, cream cheese, canned food? These foods are excellent for spreading on lick mats and bowls to give your dog a calming slow activity to enjoy.
Use this as a reward for good behavior while you’re home during the day. Is your dog pleasantly waiting through a virtual meeting? Reward them with a nice activity! Is your dog not pleasantly waiting through a virtual meeting? Let me know and we can set up a training session!
Raining, again! Don’t put out that recycling quite yet, today we’re using paper bags to enrich our dogs. Here I describe the first two levels of difficulty with this game, but the sky is the limit. You can stuff a bag with a longer lasting enrichment toy to make a double layered puzzle as well.
Why work with us?
Our certified trainers will come to you and work in the comfort of your home to make sure your dog has the right foundations to take into more distracting and stimulating environments. Then we can move those foundations and behaviors out into the real world where you need them most.
What we can help with
- Basic obedience for any stage of life;
- Acclimation work with newly rescued dogs;
- Going back to the basics with dogs that may not have the right answer out in the real world.
Our Happy Clients
People who meet Evie today are shocked to hear that we struggled with her as a pup. She is the kindest and most loving dog and we always say “Oh that is because of Aubrey!” We really don’t know what would have happened if we didn’t have Aubrey every step of the way. She has been so instrumental that we continue to use Aubrey’s services because we are all a work in progress.
Our rescue recommended Aubrey after we were having some issues with our adult adopted bonded pair and specifically our pit mix and his exploring mouth and our lab mix and her anxiety. We have purchased two packages of 6 and will continue with training plans making our pups the best in the neighborhood! We’ve seen such a positive difference in both of our dogs and consider ourselves lucky to have Aubrey on our team!