Remote dog Training is Good

Is remote here to “Stay”

We adapted during the pandemic, and some of those adaptations turned out to be a good thing, like remote dog training.

“How is that good?” you might ask.

There are certain situations where my being in-person for an initial session would interfere with the process…

For example a dog who is afraid of strangers or aggressive with new people would not be well served by my walking into their home. In these cases, my presence only causes your dog more stress (and probably you, too).

If your dog spends the majority of an in-person session barking at me, it limits what we can do. However if we meet remotely first, I can craft management strategies and training techniques for you to begin working on so that when I do arrive in-person for the follow-up session, you and your dog will be less stressed, ready to work and I will be able to see how the process is progressing.

For all behavioral issues, the use of videos on zoom allows us to watch together as I identify and show you your dog’s body language. This is indescribably enlightening and usually very difficult to see in real life.

I can also watch how you work with your dog without my presence getting in the way.

It doesn’t matter if your dog wants to eat me or play with me, my presence changes their behavior dramatically.

Many of my clients started with a remote session and happily continued that way. Some have done a blended series of sessions, starting with remote and following up with in-person and remote as needed.

During the pandemic, separation anxiety issues floated to the top of the list of behavioral issues for a lot of households.

I have worked fully remotely with some separation anxiety clients, and some have done the blended approach which allows us to check in frequently for very short sessions that are not practical in-person.

Some of the most fun I’ve ever had with clients is remotely walking them through a skill they thought they couldn’t teach their dog. By the end, we are all cheering and laughing because it’s like playing remote twister. And the dog not knowing what just happened is still thrilled by the treats and laughter.

Some more logistical reasons remote is good:
  • As a working mother of a child with special needs, remote sessions allow me to meet with more clients, offering easier scheduling than in-person.
  • Because I don’t have to travel for remote sessions, the cost of a remote session is less than in-person.
  • No matter where you live, we can set up remote sessions. I’ve been able to work with clients from Paris, to Chicagoland, Connecticut, Texas, California, and even Australia.
  • And because there are so many pandemic dogs and families who need help, remote sessions help us all manage the larger demand.

And if you are looking for a Subject Matter Expert on kids and dogs and/or special needs kids and dogs, you may need to reach beyond local trainers. I can now offer that speciality to anyone anywhere.

Safe dog and baby snuggling and walking together

Brody and Baby-L – The bond builds and the reports come in

Jessica’s first reports come in:

JDP                          October 22, 2018, 9:03 am

Things are going well. 

This weekend was sweet – I was on the couch giving Logan a bottle when Brody asked to snuggle.  He burrowed right in with us, but I had a pillow in between the two just for an extra buffer.  Logan was also sleepy and not grabby at that particular moment.  Since they were both calm, it was a nice 10 minutes!  Then Brody got hot under the blanket and crawled out for some air 🙂

Brody burrowed in right next to Baby-L

When our dog is calmly snuggled next to us with our body (and even an extra pillow) between dog and baby, we can insure all stays calm and safe as we continue to build their bond.

Trouble passing other dogs…

Because Brody also had some trouble passing other dogs when out walking, we worked on a desensitization and counterconditioning protocol. Taking baby and dog out for a family stroll is a great way to build a positive association – almost like a date night.

Brody walking nicely with his little boy…

JDP                         October 24, 2018, 8:01 am

One more thing that happened last night that made me explode with pride!

I was walking with Baby-L in the stroller and Brody beside us.  A woman with two big, lunging dogs was approaching us.  I crossed to the other side of the street to give everyone more space.  As I crossed the street, another big dog was in his front yard – he is on an invisible fence and he started barking and running up and down the front yard.  We were in the middle of these two.

I did “LOOK AT THAT!!! LOOK AT THAT!!!  Those are silly dogs!  Hooray!!!” and marched us all right in between all those crazy dogs, and Brody just trotted alongside the stroller – no reaction at all.  I heard the lady with the dogs on leash say “Look, you guys – THAT is a good dog.”

Wait a minute.  Someone used MY dog as an example of a GOOD DOG!?  Once we got past the madness, I had a little party for Brody right in the street.  I was so proud of him!  

Happy Wednesday! 

J
See more about Brody and Baby-L – How this beautiful relationship got started.

See excerpts from Please Don’t Bite the Baby and Please Don’t Chase the Dogs for more safe dog and baby tips.

Building a safe Dog/Baby Relationship

Brody and Baby-L – How this beautiful relationship got started

In August of 2018, Jessica reached out to me regarding her dog Brody and her son (aka Baby-L).

She kept me updated over the years and has given me permission to share her story of love, safety, and success.

“When we brought Baby-L home I felt like I was drowning in fear and anxiety because of our dog, and I honestly thought I would never come out of it.  Obviously, I still manage and watch them carefully, but I do feel confident and I am much more emotionally relaxed while I help them build their relationship.”

Jessica’s note from September 2020
All Three Dogs Training’s clients fill out a behavioral questionnaire. Some of the items from Jessica’s questionnaire were:
  • “Brody’s overexcitement/anxiety makes him very jumpy, barky, and all worked up when something out of the ordinary happens (guests, car rides, etc.).
  • I do not believe that my dog would hurt my baby but…
Brody had a history with a toddler in the family.
  • “We cannot close Brody off in his own room without him crying and barking and digging at the door (he dug a hole in the upstairs carpet …)
  • I want to help him learn it’s okay to be away from us and have him learn to relax away from the action. We joke that he has FOMO (fear of missing out).”
Brody’s FOMO was going to get in the way of the positive association exercises he needed.

Jessica worked on teaching Brody skills to be comfortable around Baby-L while separated by a gate or play yard, or very focused oversight.

When a dog is on the other side of a baby gate or play yard he can watch baby’s development and learn to be okay with a crawling, toddling child. It also allows us to be able to give our dog commands and rewards for being quiet and calm around the baby.

More details on this can be found in Please Don’t Bite the Baby and Please Don’t Chase the Dogs, Gates and Crates! pg 52

Skills Jessica worked on:
Watch Brody go from feeling left out to being relaxed around his toddler
  • Settle
    • With and Without the Treat n Train
      • At first with Jessica was in the room with Brody
    • Then Brody was on the other side of a
    • She worked short departures like going upstairs or visa versa while leaving Brody with GREAT toys (stuffed with food)
    • She encouraged any calm behavior around the Baby-L
More to come…

Dog Gates and Crates

Teaching our dogs how to be happy on the other side of a gate or in their crate is pretty easy but will take a bit of attention and training.

In a crate or behind a baby gate is a lovely and secure place for dogs to spend time when you’re not at home or you can’t be watching them because you’re in the shower, taking care of a baby, or busy making dinner, just to name a few.

The techniques in the excerpt below will apply to crate and gate training equally. Whether you are crating for puppy potty and house manners, or gating so you dog can see your baby having floor time, the process will be the same.

Behind the gate or in the crate should be a safe place where your dog is not disturbed and where they can have fun with wonderful safe things like – toys, food, treats, a kong, a bone, and more. Remember if crating for puppy potty training, the size of the crate should be large enough for your pup to turn around, lie down, and stand up without crouching. More on puppy potty and manners in the Puppy 101 series.

An excerpt from:
Pg 52 – 54
Teaching our dogs how to be happy on the other side of a gate or in their crate is pretty easy but will take a bit of attention and training.
  • We begin by tossing a treat for our dog as we close the door of the baby gate (or crate) so the dog is on the other side.
  • Then treat him for being on the other side of the gate or crate. Take a step away, then return and treat him.
  • Take enough steps away so you cannot reach him and toss the treat.
  • Return to the gate and treat him. Then move farther away and toss the treat. Repeat this rotation of reaching out to hand them a treat and tossing him a treat from farther away. You don’t want him thinking you always have to be near the gate or crate for him to get something. He needs to never know when he might get rewarded except that it is when he is on the other side of the gate or in the crate. Once he has figured this out, you can move to the next step.
  • NOTE—if your dog starts to jump or bark, you should turn away, walk away, and IGNORE him—DO NOT TALK to him, DO NOT LOOK at him. As soon as he is quiet—toss the treat. Your dog will figure out quickly that quiet gets him what he wants.
  • If your dog will work for his kibble—great. However, if not, you will need a treat that is higher value. Please be sure to read the ingredients of the treats and look for treats that have meat as the first ingredient.
  • Once your dog is happily standing quietly on the other side of the gate or in the crate, then start asking the dog to settle there. Follow the settle directions from above adjusting for your being on the other side of a gate or crate.
  • Eventually you walk away from the gate or the crate and go do something. If you will be doing something that won’t allow you to intermittently return to the dog to treat him, or you won’t be able to toss him a treat, for example if you are taking a nap or a shower, leave him with a Kong, stuffed bone, or puzzle toy so he is happily occupied while you are otherwise engaged.
  • Eventually, when your dog is on the other side of a gate or in the crate, you will no longer need to interact with him because he will be content with this place and not need further assistance.
  • If your dog is really opposed to being alone, however, there will be some setbacks. You can always feed him his meals on the other side of the gate or in his crate while you are in another room in addition to working the above steps.

Pinball getting sleepy in his crate.

NOTE:

If your dog hurts himself in the crate you will want to try to build happy crate time following the steps above but at a much slower pace and only for occasional use. While you may not envision putting your dog in a crate regularly, there are situations in addition to management that will call for your dog to have crate time, such as: the dog is lost and taken in by Animal Control, or the dog is injured or must undergo surgery that requires them to be crate-rested for a period of time. If your dog finds himself in either of these situations and is unhappy in the crate, he will be extremely stressed and may hurt himself while crated and his crate fears will only increase. If your dog simply cannot adjust to a crate, do not force the issue.

For more tips on keeping dogs and kids safe together see:

Please Don’t Bite the Baby and Please Don’t Chase the Dogs.