St Simons Obedience Class
Dog Trainer Atlanta
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Saint Simon's Island Dog Trainer
Atlanta Dog Obedience

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These tools aren’t JUST for reactive dogs, but they are my go-to choices to help with working through reactivity. Do you use any of these tools in your training? If so, which ones?

1 Notebook

Making simple daily notes about your dog's behavior can make a world of difference! Even something like a smiley or frowning face drawn on a calendar is helpful over time!

2 Harness

Your reactive pup needs a safe, secure tool that won't cause damage or pain to the sensitive neck area if they go over their threshold for reactivity. I prefer the Blue-9 Balance Harness for this purpose.

3 Long leash

Decompression walks are fantastic for reactive pups! You'll need a long leash (at least 15 ft) and a safe, private space to allow your dog to sniff, explore and decompress. Check out this interesting field study for info about the way leash length affects a dog’s behavior and arousal: http://www.dogfieldstudy.com/en/pulse-study/at-the-heart-of-the-walk

4 Snuffle mat

Reactive dogs respond well to enriched environments that encourage sniffing. Bring your snuffle mat with you on your decompression walks to add familiar sniffy objects to new spaces!

5 Treat pouch

It is incredibly helpful to have treats on hand when you're out with your reactive pup. You can scatter them for your dog to encourage exploration and build positive associations with the environment. It also offers a nice place to keep your phone, which should NOT be in your hand while you’re walking your reactive dog!


Do you use any of these tools yet? Let me know in the comments!


In a study published earlier this year, findings provide evidence that there are significant differences in behavior for dogs who attend training before 6 months and dogs who do not.


Dogs who attended puppy training before 6 months of age were less likely to display:


🦴Aggression


🦴Compulsive Behavior


🦴Destructive Behavior


🦴Excessive Barking


If your puppy is older than 6 months but hasn’t started training, no need to worry! It’s never too late to start, and reward-based training at any age is better than no training.


You can read the entire study at this link: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/11/5/1298/htm


Dinwoodie, I. R., Zottola, V., & Dodman, N. H. (2021). An Investigation into the Impact of Pre-Adolescent Training on Canine Behavior. Animals, 11(5), 1298. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani11051298



I'm making my downloadable Enrichment Handbook available for free so that everyone can use it!

ENRICHMENT HANDOUT (1)
.pdf
Download PDF • 31.59MB


For anyone who isn’t sure what “enrichment” means for dogs: it’s a broad term encompassing toys, games, chews, sniffing adventures, puzzles, interactive learning, problem-solving and more. Providing your dog with opportunities to explore new objects and the world around them is what enrichment is all about!


While there are plenty of studies to provide evidence for the beneficial nature of enrichment, I picked out just three to illustrate the point. Here are some of the takeaways that I wanted to share with you.


1️⃣ Research indicates that feeding enrichment for dogs improves ability to learn through rewards.


2️⃣ In another study, providing enrichment and training significantly increased desirable behaviors while reducing unwanted behavior.


3️⃣ Providing auditory and olfactory (smell) enrichment appears to decrease vocalization and stress-related behaviors in dogs.


What do you do to provide your dogs with enrichment opportunities? Let me know in the comments!


1) Milgrim NW, Head E, Zicker SC, Ikeda-Douglas CJ, Murphey H, Muggenburg B, et al. Learning ability in aged beagle dogs is preserved by behavioral enrichment and dietary fortification: a two year longitudi- nal study. Neurobiol Aging 2005;26:77–90.


2) Herron, M. E., Kirby-Madden, T. M., & Lord, L. K. (2014). Effects of environmental enrichment on the behavior of shelter dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 244(6), 687–692. https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.244.6.687


3) Amaya, V., Paterson, M. B. A., & Phillips, C. J. C. (2020). Effects of Olfactory and Auditory Enrichment on the Behaviour of Shelter Dogs. Animals, 10(4), 581. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani10040581