In this issue: How Puppy Training has Changed and Why -- Family Activity Ideas, Doggie Travel Essentials and Meet Our Newest Trainer.
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"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog."
- Edward Hoagland
The Changing World of Dog Training
Dog training has gone through incredible changes in the past 20 years.  If you haven't been in a dog training class lately, you might be surprised.  Modern dog trainers now use the latest canine science to create effective and fun classes.  At first it might be tough to let go of old ideas but once you see how quickly your dog learns and how much fun you can both have in class, you'll both be hooked on learning.  In this issue we give you some history of how puppy training has changed, ideas for family activities you might be able to use in the upcoming holidays, and essential items if you'll be traveling with your dog during the holidays.  Enjoy!
The last Get Control! class of the year is scheduled for Thursday, November 19th.  There are still spots left.  Sign up!

A World of Dogs

How Puppy Training Has Changed and Why

 
Formal dog training as we know it originated during World War II. Before that, dogs had been working household members and their behavior was largely shaped through organic learning from older dogs. Only when soldiers needed to train large numbers of dogs to assist in warfare did compulsion training arise and, when the war ended, was developed into a recognized field by discharged military personnel. Back then, society as a whole accepted punishment as a valid teaching method. Typical training approaches involved physical corrections, leash jerks, and loudly yelling at the dog. This was difficult for puppies to endure, so the prevailing wisdom was to hold off on proper training until the puppy was seven months old (house-training was the exception).

In some places, these outdated methods are still used. But from the 60s and 70s and on—through the work of pioneers like Bob Bailey, Karen Pryor, and Dr. Ian Dunbar—positive reinforcement training has gained ground. Informed by behavioral science, this approach promotes force-free motivational techniques to teach dogs what we do and don’t want. The motivators can be anything the dog wants: Treats, praise, toys, a leash walk, or a ball thrown. Behaviors we don’t like result in no reward, the removal of a reward, or no attention, but never in punishment or coercion. Reward-based training principles soon won through in puppy training too, notably with Dr. Ian Dunbar’s puppy kindergarten classes.

We now know puppies learn every day of their lives, whether we teach them deliberately or by accident. We also know that positive methods encourage fast learning. Studies in both people and animals show that knowledge acquisition centers in the brain slow down or shut off completely when pain or fear is present. Positive training also strengthens the bond between you and your puppy. To a puppy trained with rewards, training is a game and you’re the quizmaster. The last frontier is expectations. Like human children who need years to learn to play the violin, puppies don’t retain all they need to know in life from a six-week puppy class. The lesson? Start early—and keep going! 

Sign up for our Puppy Preschool class if a new puppy is coming into your life soon.

Living with Dogs

Family Activity Ideas

The kid-and-dog combo can be a winner, but often presents a number of challenges—for example keeping everyone happily occupied at the same time. One way to pull that off is to arrange games and activities that kids and dogs can enjoy together. Here are some ideas to get the fun started:

Make a play date. Get together with other parents and their kids, two- and four-legged. Depending on the age and temperament of both kids and dogs, this could mean interspecies play or an opportunity for kids to play while dogs romp with each other. Team up with fellow parents to share supervisory duties.

Go on an outdoor adventure. Both dogs and kids are natural explorers, so why not arrange an expedition? A hike on a nature trail or through a city park can be equally fun if you pretend to be intrepid explorers. Find and study plants, insects, or pond life, feed birds (where it’s allowed, of course), create nature art, or arrange a picnic in the open.

Build a homemade mini agility course in the backyard using hula-hoops, kids’ play tunnels, mini pools, poles, and whatever else you can think of. Get the kids involved and stage little competitions. Your dog and your kids will love it, and you get to enjoy how nice and tired everyone gets from all that fun.

Smaller kids? Opt for parallel activities. With younger children, you have to supervise at all times (for your dog’s safety as much as for your kid’s), but you can still have fun together. Make your dog a yummy Kong and challenge your kid to draw your dog or practice reading skills by reading a book to the pooch while she eats. Or have your child blow dog-friendly bubbles; your dog will love trying to catch them, especially if they’re bacon flavored. 

Is your dog is too rambunctious to enjoy these activities? Sign up for our All The Basics obedience class.  You and your dog will learn all the basic skills needed for a well-mannered family dog.

Did You Know?

These Doggie Travel Essentials?
 
Pet first aid kit. Don’t leave for a road trip without a doggie first aid kit. Tweezers, saline solution, blood clotting powder, bandages, and cold packs can ease your dog’s pain until you get to a vet.

Car safety equipment. Don’t hit the road without a stress- tested travel harness or a thoroughly secured dog carrier or booster seat. You’ll keep your dog safer—and yourself distraction free.

Life preservers. Are water adventures on the agenda? Remember to bring a life jacket for your dog. Look for high buoyancy, sturdy material, easy-lift handles, and a comfortable fit.

Portable dog crates. Easy and light to transport, these folding-frame crates with removable fleece pads provide a snug bed away from home. Great for camping and overnight stays at pet-friendly hotels or friends’ houses. 
Our Services

Meet Robyn and Deuce

LoMa dog logoRobyn Slusky and her dog, Deuce, joined the LoMa Behavior and Training team over the summer.  Robyn received her undergrad degree at Trinity University, attended Bergin University of Canine Studies Service Dog Training program, and is currently finishing her MS in Canine Life Sciences. She attends many continuing education seminars to ensure she is up to date on the latest canine science so she can bring that to her work with clients. 

"Deuce" is Robyn's 5 year old Boxer mix and trained Service Dog.  He helps under-socialized or reactive dogs learn better manners and social skills.  You will often see him at LoMa seminars, some private training sessions, and as a helper for the Reactive Rover class.  He seems to enjoy modeling his wonderful obedience skills.

See Deuce practicing his patience and rock solid "wait" on our Facebook page.
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