Ask-a-Trainer Thursday
Ask-a-Trainer Thursday: Meeko the Goldendoodle
June 16, 2016 at 4:12 am 0

Ask-a-Trainer Thursday

Welcome to our regular blog feature we call "Ask-a-Trainer Thursday". Think of it like the Dear Abby of dog training. We take questions submitted to us by email or on social media from people who have questions about their dogs and we get them answered by professional positive based dog trainers. 

Meeko the goldendoodle

This week's question came to us via a blog post comment from Lyla in Kitchener, ON. Lyla wants to know how to help Meeko her goldendoodle get over her fear of strange men. Lyla writes:

Our one year old mini goldendoodle has always been a more fearful pup than other dogs I've owned. We've been able to help her work through most of her concerns with positive counter conditioning methods but she remains reactive to strange men. She will growl and bark if they move in her presence. She is great with her "daddy" and occasionally meets a man she is okay with but for the most part she is fearful reactive.

meeko goldendoodle playhouse

Meeko the mini goldendoodle

The difficulty is we don't have enough opportunity to use positive exposures to help her overcome this issue. When we occasionally have men visit our home I have them toss treats to her over a gate but otherwise not engage with her. If necessary, I put her in her crate where she feels safe — but it is pretty rare that this opportunity arises.

She has been to classes and quickly learned to trust the men there and would approach them for treats, but anyone new gets a warning from her that they should stay away. Is there anything else I can do, assuming that I am un
able to recruit a line of adult male volunteers to help me socialize her?

Samantha DeJong of Puppy Power

Our expert this week is Samantha DeJong a positive based trainer and owner of Puppy Power. Samantha shares her advice on how to help Meeko:

Working with a fearful dog can be a challenge but it sounds like you're on the right track. Having new men that come into her space toss her treats is one way to teach her to be comfortable with the uncomfortable situation.

I find most people get that part right, but sometimes their timing of reinforcement is a bit off. In some scenarios they can accidentally reward fearful behaviour with attention or by giving a reaction to fearful behaviour.  

Teaching a good "leave it" and quickly removing her quietly and smoothly as soon as she displays any fearful behaviour is a good start. Don't say "ah ah" or add any vocalization because the dog may interpret this as barking or growling. It's also important not to pop or jerk the leash. Be sure to reward her calm behaviour as soon as you can get Meeko to a distance where she can be calm.
meeko's puppy playhouse

One method I like is to teach a game where you work at a distance from new people. You can reward her for glancing at them while staying calm and removing her for any reaction.  As this becomes easier you can step closer and play it again, continuing to get closer as she shows more confidence.

Working with a positive reinforcement trainer who deals with desensitizing to fear will help you get the timing of this right.  With dogs, every second counts. If we throw a treat as she barks, even if we think we're rewarding her for approaching, we've rewarded the bark.  If we go to coax her when she's acting fearful, we are giving attention to fearful behaviour.

A good trainer will also teach you about dog body language and early signs of discomfort. Your dog will display this body language to say they need space before they escalate to any sort of a reaction, and often it is missed.

The trainer should discuss with you how people can use their body language to be less intimidating. You can even use the calming signals that dogs use to communicate they are not a threat.  If you'd like to read up on some of this yourself, I suggest Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas.

meekogoldendoodleThe game I mentioned above can be played at a distance from passersby (at parks, outside grocery stores, pet stores, etc.) to reinforce that good things happen when she sees new people in a variety of situations. If someone stops and asks to say hi, you could ask them to toss treats if she can be calm.

Finding a trainer who offers socialization classes will give you an opportunity to have new people practise the close up interactions more regularly.  The benefit of socialization classes as opposed to a regular puppy class, is the change of people. It's not always the same people week to week so you'll get a better variety of exposure for Meeko.

Lastly I have to mention that if you're trying to deter any behaviour using negative stimuli (leash corrections, shaker cans, shock or spray collars, clapping or any vocalizations that sound like barking, growling or intended to startle the dog), you will add to the problem.  These are commonly used by trainers who use corrections and while they may temporarily stop behaviours, they do not address the underlying problem to create longterm success.

If you take a look at the IPDTA (International Positive Dog Training) website there is a list of positive trainers you can contact from wherever you live. I'd also be more than happy to help you in person if this is something you'd like to work through together. 

Have a dog training question?

If you've got a question you'd like featured on our Ask-a-Trainer blog, you can submit your question and have it answered by a professional positive based trainer too. Contact us via email or leave a comment on our Facebook page and let us know how we can help. 

Double The Business, Double The Bonus
May 24, 2016 at 2:48 pm 0

It takes a community to grow a business

We love what we do and we want to do it more even more. Our goal for June is to double the business we currently have at TuxedoMutt and that's why we're asking for your help. 

A huge way we've grown our business has been through the referrals we've had from happy customers. When people tell their friends about TuxedoMutt, it does so much more for us than any other form of advertising could. 

Two Dogs Water

image from herepup.com

Makes sense right? If you have a friend who knows a lot about electronics, who do you ask and trust when it's time to buy your next TV? Have a mechanic in the family? They're probably the first person you ask when you hear a noise in your car — we want to be the first name you think of when you think of dogs.

How can you help?

Well you could yell at every person you see with a dog "HEY! HAVE YOU HEARD OF TUXEDOMUTT?!" and that would be flattering to us, but they might think you've lost your mind. 

samoyed puppy dog

image from lookanimals.com

Instead, share our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. When you hang out with your friends, mention TuxedoMutt for Dog Walking and Waste Removal and tell them to visit our website for a free and instant estimate. Of course if they'd prefer, we're more than happy to talk to them via phone or email too — there's lots of ways they can get in touch with us

Double bonus!

As our way of thanking you for sending your friends our way, we're going to Double our Refer-a-Friend Bonus for the month of June! So now you can earn even more money just for telling someone you know with a dog about TuxedoMutt — how awesome is that?!

Two Dogs One Stick

image from imgur.com

To Refer-a-Friend you just need tell them about us and that's it. We ask every single person who contacts us where they heard about us. We'll keep track of all the referrals that you send to us and after 90 days of service with us, we'll contact you to find out how you'd like to get paid. 

So tell your friends, tell your parents, tell your cousin, your neighbour, your grandma and your doctor. Tell everyone you can about TuxedoMutt and help us double our business!

Fun Stuff
Wiggle Waggle Walkathon for KW Humane Society
May 8, 2016 at 6:43 am 1

Support the KW Humane Society

Sunday, May 29th 2016 bring your dogs and your friends to Victoria Park in Kitchener for the KW Humane Society's annual Wiggle Waggle Walkathon. 

The family friendly event is a fundraiser for the KW Humane Society. Each year it attracts hundreds of walkers and their dogs and this year you can catch TuxedoMutt there for all the action. I'll be there with my two dogs Dakota & Casey to enjoy what will hopefully be a sunny day in the park. 

KW Humane Society Logo

image from kwhumane.com


If you're interested in fundraising for the event, you can register here. Get a team together and try to raise the most money. Top fundraisers will get some exciting prizes. Dakota Casey Backyard

Join Team TuxedoMutt

If you want to join one of the most fun teams that will be participating, feel free to join Team TuxedoMutt when you register on the website. I want to get a team of 10 people with a total goal of raising $1,000 for the KW Humane Society — that's just $100 per person!

Whether you choose to fundraise or just want to come out for a fun day and get some exercise, come to the Wiggle Waggle Walkathon May 29th at Victoria Park!


Spring Clean Up Sale!
April 2, 2016 at 10:32 am 0

Winter is back... again

Update: this promotion ended April 22, 2016

Like it or not (my dogs love it), mother nature has decided that winter is back one more time. We're hoping it's the last time, but only mother nature knows what she has up her sleeves.

To celebrate a wildly successful spring, we're offering a promotion to the people who still have a yard they need cleaned up after the snow melts again.

Blog Banner Spring Clean Up Reduced

Act fast!

The first 25 people who order a Spring Clean Up, will pay just $50 (+HST) instead of $75!

In order to qualify, you must contact us to state your interest, but the appointment does not need to be set. When the snow melts, we'll contact everyone to see what date/time works best for them and guarantee to get the job done that same week.

To take advantage of this limited offer, please contact us on Facebook, via email or by calling us at 226.600.6003.

Have fun in the snow!

dog in snow

image from marustagram.deviantart.com

Tickets for Dog Lover’s Days at Bingmans
February 14, 2016 at 4:20 pm 1

Free tickets!

I've got a bunch of free tickets to Dog Lover's Days which is happening on Saturday February 20th, 2016 from 9am to 5pm at Bingemans in Kitchener. It's an indoor event and dogs are welcome to come with their owners.

Dogs Playing in Pool at Dog Lover's Day event

image from dogloversdays.com

Tickets are normally $10 each, but I have some I'd like to give away.

To get your hands on some tickets, simply leave a comment below and let me know how many tickets you'd like and why you'd like to go - that's it!

To find out more about Dog Lover's Days, visit their website

See you there!