Tag Archives: obedience training

Soothe That Not-so-Savage Beast

Playwright and Poet, William Congreve, coined the often mis-quoted phrase — “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.” He wasn’t (as far as I know) really talking about animals, but meant it as a metaphor. However, taking the idea literally has merits!

A friend of mine swears she tamed her skittish and hard-to-handle Arabian gelding with classical music. Many animal shelters pipe in instrumental music to help keep the animals calm. Dog experts Nichole Wilde and Patricia McConnel mention playing music as a possible soothing influence on dogs with separation anxiety.

Because of Kita’s problem in that area, I invested in a couple of CDs claiming to calm the savage beast of Separation Anxiety. Most don’t do what they claim!  However, THROUGH A DOG’S EAR, isn’t bad!  It was developed through research on how the canine nervous system responds to sound. The CD records pianist Lisa Spector playing various slowish classical pieces like Bach’s PRELUDE, with tempo and dynamic variations that psychoacoustic expert Joshua Leads determined would amplify the already-calming effect.

I’ve had pretty good results with this recording. However, I have to say that I’ve had just about the same results with recordings of the slower, lower-key pieces of Bach and Mozart. The selection of orchestra or chamber music on those two CDs were designed as background music for humans, so I suppose it’s much the same idea.

Music is no “magic wand” though! To get a dog that’s hyped up — agitated, barking and/or jumping out of his skin with excess energy — a few tinkling tunes won’t do much. For a dog that’s in full stress mode with anxiety – panting, drooling, eyes dialated,and nervously pacing – the music can’t calm her down.  However, to keep an already calm dog’s tension from escalating or persuadin well-exercised dogs that it’s time to settle down — it really helps!

Kita is really helped if music is playing when I leave the house.  Of course, I’ve had to work hard to avoid all the triggers that make her anxiety levels spike, but the music is a good tool to keep things on an even keel. It even works to keep her other fears in check – like her fear of the ice-maker in the refrigerator!  It also helps the daycare and boarding dogs – a lot!

When there’re a lot of dogs running around the yard, they are tiring each other out, but they’re also revving each other up!  (It’s just so exciting for the average, “only” dog to have so many playmates that they don’t WANT to slow down!)  However, if I don’t find a way to persuade them to take a break or two, they may get so wired that they might not continue making good social decisions!

Before we get to that point, my usual practice is to bring everyone inside, ask everyone to SIT, and hand around milk-bones or another crunchy treat .Then,  I put one of the classical CDs on, and ignore the dogs.   In less than 5 minutes, they’re all curled up in their favorite spots in or out of crates in my office.

Now, you might say they dogs are tired and eating the treat is what settles them down long enough to realize a nap sounds good. Well, that is why I feed them the treat! But, the funny thing is if I forget to turn on the music — as happened today — the dogs lie down , but only for a few minutes before they pop up again! If I add the music to the mix, then we get more like a half hour before they’re ready to rumble! It’s not a hard-and-fast rule! Any number of things — the cat peeking in the room, ice falling off the roof, a truck rumbling by — can get them excited again in an instant. Still, it does really seem to extend that nap break.

So next time you need to calm things down, try a little classical music! Not just for the dogs, but to help yourself, too! I find the music I originally put on to make the dogs subside, causes all those worrisome thoughts in my own brain to settle down. Not only do I get the quiet to write by “soothing” the doggie “beasts” with Bach or Mozart, but I get a creative and focusing boost for myself!

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The Power of Quiet

We humans tend to talk first and think later.  Scold and then find out what the problem really was.  Yell because we’re scared/mad/anxious and then find out that maybe wasn’t the most appropriate way to react.  We’re a noisy species – probably because of that hard-wiring for language!   We think loud is the way to be heard. As the proverb proclaims — “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  Not even going to speculate how true that might be if we’re trying to get another human to listen to us, but it’s definitely NOT the way to engage a dog’s attention!

Take one of the most common scenarios – your dog is barking.  Dixie drives you crazy with her yapping every time she hears someone walk by.  You want her to STOP – NOW!  So, you yell at her and scold and if anything Dixie gets louder.  In the dog world, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, when one dog barks, the others in the vicinity start barking, too!  A lot of experts, including Stanley Coren, think that when we yell, the dog might just think we’re joining in like all the other dogs, rather than giving a command.

Or another instance – Doug is having a good time out on your walk sniffing and looking around. (Squirrel!) He doesn’t respond when you ask him to SIT.  So, you repeat the command over and over, finding your voice getting louder, and louder, and LOUDER!  But Doug doesn’t pay more and more attention to you, does he?

How about watching Daisy dashing off into the sunset after slipping her leash?  What do we do?  Yell!  And loud!  Mostly we’re scared because she of what she could run into, but pretty soon we’re sounding like a drill sergeant and practically foaming at the mouth,  Still, it doesn’t help Daisy’s sensitive ears tune in our “dulcet” tones at all!  Funny that!

A dog’s hearing is very, very good.  We don’t need to yell to make sure the sound waves activate the proper mechanism and transmit info to their brains.  A dog can hear a cellophane wrapper being crinkled two rooms away!  Kita can hear my voice inside a client’s house while she’s parked in the car in the driveway!  Whisper the word “walk” in most households and a sleeping dog will beat you to the door!

Any trainer can tell you that the WAY we speak, speaks far louder to our dogs than do the words themselves!   If you want to get your dog excited about something (perhaps you’re trying to teach her how to fetch) you speak in a high, quick, fairly loud voice and repeat words and phrases.  Staccato!  Forte!  Whereas if you’re trying to get a dog to NOT do something (STAY for instance) we speak in a lower-pitched, softer, slower way, drawing out our words. Legato…Piano…

The change in SOUNDS helps get the message across to the dog. But beyond the acoustics, we need to speak quietly to become calm and still inside.  Dogs pick up on our energy quicker than our words.  By speaking slower and softer we slow our own respiration and probably our heart rate and blood pressure, too!  Dogs can hear and certainly pay attention to those physiological signs of stress and anxiety.  They can see the muscles in our neck and shoulders get tense.  We move differently when we’re tense and dogs are extremely sensitive to HOW we move, just like how we sound!  If their person is anxious, the dog is anxious, too!  So, take a deep breath, consciously RELAX your shoulders, neck,  jaw and arms — and speak very, very quietly (like you’re hunting wabbits!)  It’s amazing!  In short order you’ll feel much calmer and your dog will be listening.

Today has been a real test of this training technique; seven dogs — boarding and daycare doggies plus my own girl! One of the seven is sure to catch any little movement or suspicious sound outside!  When one hears a truck rumble by, or the propped-open back door bang against its prop, or a car door slam across the street, it lets loose a barrage of barks — and the rest of the pack gives voice right along side.  Instead of yelling (as I feel like doing); instead of saying a few bad words (as I’m tempted to do) I’ve taken that big calming breath, shaken my arms and neck, and breathed, “Quiet!  Quiet, puppies!”  It’s absolutely amazing how quickly they trail off and look at me as if puzzled to know what all the ruckus was about — and come over to be petted or lie down.

I don’t know if it’s the “energy” shifting from me to them.  I don’t know if they see me, as the leader, being unconcerned and so they figure there’s nothing to worry about.  I don’t know if they have to stop barking to hear me!  And I don’t really care.  It gets results!  The power of QUIET is very powerful indeed!  Also less stress on the vocal cords!

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Just This Once

We humans are addicted to short-cuts. We’ll skip steps and rush through directions. I don’t like to call us lazy, but especially if we’re feeling rushed, we’ll latch on to just about any excuse to let things slide—temporarily, of course!  Giving things “a lick and a promise” as my granny used to say, we blithely assume we’ll be able to go the full distance later, tomorrow, some OTHER time.

We humans are pretty good at fooling ourselves, too!  Ever notice that tomorrow or that OTHER time, it’s even harder to make the effort and do whatever it was?  I’m not even talking about something BIG, like walking the dog.  No, it’s the little things that tend to get washed away in a flood of just-this-once!

I don’t think anyone really likes being bowled over by the dog (or dog pack) on our way outside.  There’s no reason for dogs to bowl us over because they really pick up the WAIT/OK cue at the door with amazing ease.  On high-traffic days, out of self-preservation – I make all dogs SIT, and WAIT until I get the door open and they are released with OK.  My mom thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world to see 7 or 8 bottoms hit the ground more-or-less simultaneously.  Even the first-time visiting pups get the hang of the business in just a few minutes.

So, do I make the dogs do that ALL the time?  Of course not!  I know it’s a breakdown of training!  I know making them SIT and WAIT won’t really take appreciably longer than fighting my way close enough to lean over the large jostling bodies to grab the  door handle.  I know it will be less aggravating and stressful!  I KNOW it’s safer and better and yada, yada, yada!  For some reason – call it temporary insanity – I think it’ll be easier to skip the whole WAIT business.  Even when it demonstrably takes as much time or MORE to push past the “puppies” and persuade them to move enough to let the door open.  Even as I strain to hold the door open against the onrushing wave of wolves wanting to win the “outside” race, I still think (at the time) it’ll be easier.

In my going-out-the-door example, at least the actual DANGER to anyone is relatively low.  Sure, I get jostled, but that happens outside during playtime, too.  Yes, dogs that were a bit protective of their place in the pack might get a little ornery, but I’m not tempted to skip steps when there are ornery dogs visiting.  However, I’ve seen a lot of skipping steps just-this-once that have potentially lethal consequences and leave me with sweaty palms and a pounding heartbeat!

For nearly a year, until his mom moved out of state, a lovely Basset Hound/Beagle mix came for daycare a couple of times a week, and often boarded while “mom” was away on business.  Max was a real sweetie, but he was a typical scent hound.  Let his nose point at the ground and he was off — and never looked back or even heard you calling to him.  His mom consistently – because it was easier, just from the car to the training room door – wouldn’t put his leash on.  For a while, she carried him. Well, Max was short, but no light-weight!  So soon, his mom would put him down on the ground for the last few feet, then a few more…

Well, you know what happened!  The first time he trailed a squirrel towards the road (a busy thoroughfare where cars whip by at 50 mph plus) I thought I’d have a heart attack.  We’re lucky that he heard us that time – and that the time he DIDN’T hear, he was headed off back into the shrub woodland and went slowly enough for us to catch up!  After chasing Max for 20 minutes, I determined that I would take the time to rush out with my own leash and put it on him from then on!

Obviously, not taking the MAYBE 10 seconds with a squirmy dog to clip a leash on the collar did NOT save time.  Equally obviously, clipping the leash on could very well be the only thing that would someday save Max from getting hit or lost, but his mom never did put his leash on!  And we all do this sort of thing.  I’ve done it with Kita — just going out to get in the car — even KNOWING she’s not 100% on recall if there’s any furry critters out there!

Yep!  My only explanation is temporary insanity.  It’s not like we don’t REMEMBER what happened the last time.  It’s not like we really expect things to be different the NEXT time! (And if we do, that’s more evidence of incipient lunacy!)  What is it with the human brain that it doesn’t recognize that making a LITTLE effort “just this once!” will save us time and aggravation – and perhaps tragedy – in the long run?

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Terrible “Twos”

puppy chewing

Jerry Seinfeld jokes that “having a 2-yr-old is like having a blender without a lid!” I laughed out loud when I heard that one, but I have to admit I was mostly laughing because I immediately applied the thought to the doggie world. (Yes, almost everything I see or hear goes through that filter.) Just think about it — replace “2-yr-old” with “puppy” and those of us who’ve raised a young canine know that makes the joke even funnier!

Both first-time “puppy parents” and those who’ve just adopted a new puppy after years with an adult dog often marvel at how those little critters get into EVERYTHING!  In class the other day, a client told how she likes to fold laundry on the floor.  She thought she’d be fine since the puppy was napping, but as soon as the piles were starting to get neat, the puppy woke up!  Puppy saw Disneyland spread out before her.  She dashed through, delighting in causing chaos and stealing socks.  I imagine it looked very much as though the clothes had been through a blender after the lid came off!

That’s hilarious — if you’re not the one dealing with the mess!  I laughed, but tried to do so kindly.  However, I wonder why folks don’t think that sort of thing will happen?  It’s a puppy.  They see everything in the world in one of three ways:  Can I sleep on it?  Can I eat/chew it?  Can I play with it?  And sometimes objects and/or people fit in more than one category!  Simultaneously!

Folks have called me a “half-empty glass” sort of thinker all my life, because I usually look ahead and try to anticipate what could go wrong.  I call it being practical!  But you’d be surprised how many people don’t even think about “puppy-proofing” their house.  If I bring it up in class, I usually get a lot of startled looks, sheepish grins and remarks like, “Sort of…”

Here I go again on one of my favorite sayings, but “Management is easier than Training!”  There’s only so much you can instantly teach a little fur-ball.  Teaching requires TIME.  Even if you had the time for training non-stop in the first 24 hours after adopting a puppy, it’s STILL easier to put the shoes in a closet than try to convince a baby (that NEEDS to chew) to leave them alone.  Of all the tempting items in the house, those that smell and taste like YOU – shoes and underwear — will always be favorite chew items.  It’s a compliment, really, but one we can do without!

Even before bringing puppy home, it’s best to lie face down on the floor and look around.  Any fabric dangling within reach?  Any cords that are just asking to be chewed or get tangled up in? Any paper items temptingly close to the edge of a coffee table?  How about wastebaskets?  Whether it’s paper, crinkly plastic, or actual wonderfully-enticingly-smelly garbage, no puppy can resist!  What about shoes, purses, socks, remote controls, books, tablets, DVD cases…The likelihood of you training a young puppy to leave any of those things alone is approximately nil!

Another thing that many folks don’t consider is that the puppy ISN’T housetrained.  “What?” you say!  “How can folks forget THAT?”  It’s not so much that they forget the fact as forget what it MEANS.  It means that the puppy is likely to lose bladder control at unpredictable intervals!  So, giving puppy full run of the entire house is not the best plan.  But you’d be surprised how many people don’t think of restricting their new addition’s access around the house until after there’s been lot of “accidents!”  If the puppy is sneaking off to a corner of the hallway or a bedroom to do its business, she’s trying to do the right thing – in dog terms.  It’s up to us to teach her the human terms – that the whole house is off-limits – by limiting the possibilities for her to make a mistake until she learns the difference between inside and outside.

Obviously, there’s a lot of things to be considered when adopting any new dog, but especially when that dog is just a baby.  It’s not the puppy’s fault that she does what comes naturally.  If we haven’t “done our homework” – part of which includes getting the house ready to receive the new “bundle of joy” — we can’t expect everything to be joyful all the time!  Don’t just bring the little blender home and hope for the best!  Put a lid on it!

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Puppies Want to Please

sad puppyI have a PUPPY MANNERS class starting tonight — and I’m thrilled!  It’s always exciting and makes me very happy when folks don’t put off formal training with a young puppy. They grow up so fast and you never get back those first impressionable months.

A puppy is “pre-programmed” to eagerly accept new experiences between about 7 and 16 weeks.  That’s the age where, in the wild, the pups would first emerge from the den to meet and bond with their social unit — the pack.  After that age, a more cautious phase sets in to discourage the growing pups from wandering too far afield and bonding with members of other packs, or prey animals.  Domestic dogs have the same built-in learning periods as those in the wild.  So, our best time to teach Toby to accept people, dogs, other animals, and new places and situations is while he is still in that early formative period – less than 4 months old!

Too many times, we bring a puppy home and either because of busy schedules or fear of infection for that pup just starting vaccinations, Toby scarcely leaves home again until months have gone by.  He’s never exposed to new people, dogs or even other places – except the Vet!   And a trip to the Vet is scary!  So, it’s really no wonder that, at 6 or 8 months, Toby starts showing fear and/or aggression towards a lot of people and places his adopters really want him to like and accept.  Poor Toby was never introduced to them when it would make the best impression, so now teaching him will be much more difficult!

This is similar to language acquisition in humans.  A child’s developing brain swiftly makes new connections and assimilates words, grammar and syntax without even trying.  An adult’s brain can’t do that, and we learn language much more slowly and with a lot more effort!  There’s no going back to that more plastic brain just because we’d like to.  We’re dealing with hard-wiring.  Can’t just load up the newest software!  And neither can a “teenaged” puppy.  Toby has learned  that his home and those few people in it are his pack and territory and everyone else and all places outside that are “other” and not to be trusted.

You see, if you’re not FORMALLY training the puppy — Toby’s learning anyway!  We can’t put Toby on hold until we’ve got enough time to teach him.  Babies pick up whatever their environment presents, because their little brains are BIG sponges.  It’s not a matter of teaching Toby or not, just if we want to be in conscious control of what he’s learning or are content to leave it all to chance.

Another reason to get puppies into formal training ASAP is that a young dog is so eager to please!  Baby Toby probably drives his new family crazy following them and constantly getting underfoot –because he’s trying so hard to be noticed and loved.  This attention-seeking drive of a puppy is beyond price!  At that young age they will do ANYTHING to get our attention and approval!  And he’s probably doing a lot of very annoying things trying to get it, too!  So substitute lessons, make him EARN that attention, and the limits of Toby’s learning is the limits of our time to teach and ability to explain what we want!

Recall?  Ha!  Try getting far enough away to call Toby to you!  Praise that pup every time he wanders your way, called or not.  Never call him over for “bad” things like clipping nails or getting a bath, or punishment, and Toby will zip to your side every time you say his name!  Play recall games consistently before the pup is 4 months old and you’re forming a HABIT of returning to you.  Early habits are very hard to erase, and Toby won’t even try!

Walking on leash?  Puppies are FOLLOWERS!  Introduce Toby slowly and gently with lots of treats and praise to his collar and leash.  Instead of dragging him around when he hesitates, pretend to RUN AWAY calling his name and let Toby chase you!  Then PRAISE him when he catches up!  That’s all good leash-manners are – following the leader!

Don’t wait until your dog becomes a teenager to start training!  Just like in humans, doggie teenagers are learning to become independent and are not so intent upon following or gaining our approval.  If we’ve carefully taught Toby good habits while he was a baby, it won’t take much to keep him “in practice” as he’s growing up, or to build on those early lessons.  If we’ve put off the training, all is not lost.  Old dogs (and “teenaged” dogs) most certainly can learn new tricks!  However, Toby will never so readily, so easily, so joyfully pick up any instruction, nor work so hard to learn — just to please us.

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Ignoring Speaks Louder than Language

I know my clients, friends, and family undoubtedly get tired of hearing me advise: “IGNORE the behavior you DON’T want to see repeated and PAY ATTENTION to ANYTHING you want your dog to keep doing!”  I know I often sound like a broken record to myself!  For everyone’s sake, I’ve got to think of other ways of getting that point across because, to me, it is training in a nutshell. Everything else is just techniques and strategies to help you accomplish those two things.

As humans, we are so terribly tempted to TALK all the time in training, thinking that will help the dog learn faster. But dogs don’t automatically understand what we’re saying.  They don’t have a natural predisposition for verbal language like humans, so they’re not even listening for verbal cues.  I saw a cartoon once with a lady talking to her dog.  The “speaking” balloon coming from her mouth said something like, “You know better than that, Fido, but you just had to do it anyway!”  The “thinking” balloon coming from the dog’s head looked like this – “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah FIDO! blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…”  you get the point.

Dogs watch what we DO far more than listen to what we SAY. It takes many, many, many repetitions for most dogs to correctly connect the sounds coming out of our mouths with specific actions or situations.  They pay a little more attention to tone of voice, but it still doesn’t help them as much as we think it should.  My mentor, Humane Society of West Michigan’s behaviorist Namiko Ota-Noveskey, says that she can tell when she’s being an effective trainer because she’s not saying much!   Then, she knows she’s focusing on the dog’s body language and using her own to teach the dog!

Something happened in my backyard today that really illustrates how effective IGNORING a dog can be!  My GSD mix, Kita, is 9 years old and never was one to play a lot even in her youth.  A new Daycare client is a Black Lab/St. Bernard mix named Sheba.  She’s only 9 months old and already as big as Kita.  Sheba also LOVES to play and spends HOURS trying to persuade Kita to join her.  Sometimes Kita does – actually to my surprise!  However, today wasn’t one of those days.

Sheba tried every ploy in the book!  Huge play-bows right in front of Kita, front legs spread wide and chest on the ground, rear and tail wiggling madly.  Then, Sheba tried lying down head between paws to give Kita the ole sad-puppy dog eyes with some begging-whines!  After that didn’t work, came the bouncing all around from every angle in play-bows — barking all the while.  Through all that Kita continued sniffing the ground and the air without so much as a glance in Sheba’s direction.  So, Sheba started dashing right up to Kita, nose to nose and then would run away in the “butt on fire” gait of a dog that’s expecting to be chased.  Kita looked in the other direction.  Now being a bit of a distance away, Sheba charged, in huge gallumphing strides directly at Kita looking for all the world as if she was going to bowl her over.  Kita calmly lifted her nose a bit and gazed off at the horizon.  As a last-ditch effort, Sheba tried some deliberately provocative actions:  nudging Kita’s nose and face repeatedly, then “T-ing” (putting her head over Kita’s back.)  Kita remained unimpressed.  Sheba at last acknowledged defeat and looked for a stick to chew.

Kita never once lost her cool.  She stood her ground, but never made eye contact.  She never wrinkled a lip or made a vocalization, even when the “puppy” was in her face and being a bit of a brat!  Now, T-ing is a form of jockeying for dominance, and Kita does not take kindly to being so challenged.  Sheba clearly was trying that to get ANY reaction out of Kita – even a negative one!  I think Kita knew just what the puppy was doing and wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction – the ATTENTION!

Sheba didn’t give up easily!  Her behavior got worse before it got better!  Kita didn’t have human language skills to help her, but she didn’t even use a dog’s limited repertoire of vocalizations to “say” anything.  She didn’t even need to take any direct action to get HER point across to Sheba!  I’m not too proud to learn a lesson from my dog!  She’s not the most patient animal I’ve ever met, and probably wouldn’t have taken all that from an adult dog.  But Kita today gave me a textbook example of how to teach a puppy some manners!

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Saying, “Boo!” to a Dog

I remember as a child, once walking by a tied-out dog. My mother was with me; we were at a campground, as I recall.   I knew enough not to approach a tied dog, even calm and lying down as this one was, without its owner present. However, I didn’t want to just ignore him!  It seemed rude as he was watching us in a hopeful way, so I said something like, “Hey there, Boo!” and the dog thumped his tail on the ground and grinned at me, dipping his ears and looking rather goofily happy. I remember asking my mother why dogs always seemed to like being called “Boo!”  Poor woman. I probably asked crazy things like this all the time. She did her best and came up with, ” Because it sounds friendly!”

Looking back, I think she was right.  But I don’t think it was the name, “Boo” alone that sounded friendly to the dog.  I’m sure (because I still call dogs, “Boo” today along with “Sweetness” and “Babycakes”) that I used a form of exaggerated speech that is closely related to baby-talk.  Nowadays I believe it’s called Motherese or Child-directed Speech.

It has been noted by many psychologists that humans (especially women) speak to animals (especially pet dogs) in almost exactly the same way as they would speak to a small child.  It seems to be an instinctive response.  I have never had children of my own, never baby-sat very small kids, and have few friends or relatives within easy-visiting distance who had infants for me to “practice” on.  Yet, I invariably use this special form of speech to all dogs, cats, and to a lesser extent the other domestic animals, and wild creatures I encounter around my home and on walks.

This isn’t necessarily the stereotypical baby-talk where words are distorted almost beyond recognition — “Did oo hurt ooself, widdle beebee, Did oo?”  But there are some shared characteristics:  higher pitch, drawn out sounds, musical cadence, rhythmical delivery and repetition.  Think about the last time you asked your dog if she wanted to go for a walk.  I bet it sounded something like this — “Puppy wanna go for a walk?  Wanna go?  Wanna walk?”  Probably the “walk” and “go” as final words were drawn-out and had an upward swooping pitch.  And I bet your dog got very excited and happy!

Well, you, say.  That’s because Fifi understands those words.  Yep!  I believe it!  And she understands the words precisely because the delivery was designed to help others acquire language!  Of course it was evolutionarily designed to teach our own children, but when we adopted dogs into the family, they benefited from the same speech patterns that were already well-honed by thousands, if not millions of years of mothers talking to their babies.

I’m not trying to be sexist here!  A lot of guys use this sort of language instinctively, too – especially if they’ve been the caretaker of small children.  However, men seem to have a harder time with applying it to a dog.  A lot of my clients just can’t wrap their minds around the need to talk baby-talk to their puppy (or adult dog!)  Even if you’re not trying to teach the dog word recognition, they just RESPOND better to that form of talking!  If you want to get a dog excited, encourage it to come to you, or make him work harder – speak in baby-talk.  Most dogs go all soft and goofy when they hear it and will do anything for you!

Some guys seem embarrassed by it all.  I point to K9 cops and Military Working Dog handlers.  Those big tough cops and soldiers invariably praise their dogs in this very same, high-pitched, sing-song, silly way.  And the big tough police and military dogs eat it up with a spoon!  They get the very same happy grin on their faces that the tied-out dog so long ago did for me.  It is plain that this silly-talk is the reward they work so very hard for and risk their lives to receive.  Saying “Boo!” to a dog is exactly what they want from us!

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