Winter Dog & Puppy Training in Minneapolis, MN

Dog training is fun, but training your dog or puppy in the cold winter months can be a real bummer! Below are a few services we offer at Lucky Paws that make training your dog in the winter much easier AND several tips for training your dog at home too!

Dog Board & Train Program

Did you know Lucky Paws has two different programs where we do most of the training for you? We offer a Board & Train Program where your dog goes through training while staying in our trainers home in East Bethel, MN.

In Home Dog Boot Camp

Rather keep your dog at home? We also offer an In Home Boot Camp Program where a trainer comes to your home in the Minneapolis metro area and suburbs and trains your dog for you, all you need to do is follow through.

Both programs allow for much faster training success because training is done by a professional.

Group Dog & Puppy Classes

Group classes are another great way to train your dog in the winter as classes are held indoors. Winter is a great time to take classes with your dog to expend some physical and mental energy since exercise can be a little harder to come by when the weather is cold.

Train your Dog at Home

If you and your dog don’t mind the winter weather, here are a few tips to stay comfortable while you are training.

  • Have a pair of gloves specifically for dog training that you don’t mind if they get full of treat crumbs and slobber. They should be thin enough to easily grab and deliver treats, but warm enough to keep your fingers from freezing.
  • Try using a Lickety Stik for treats so you don’t need to fumble with treats while you are wearing gloves.
  • Use a waist leash so your hands can spend more time in your pockets.
  • Acclimate your dog to wearing a coat or sweater (and maybe even some booties).
  • Pick up some traction cleats to put over your boots so you are less likely to slip on ice.
  • Keep your dogs paws off salty sidewalks and roads. If that just isn’t possible in your area, be sure to wipe off your dogs feet after you return from the walk.

Polite Greetings

It is not uncommon to have a dog who jumps up on either its owners or on guests. This behavior is generally a behavior that is learned as a very young puppy, and as the dog grows, we no longer think its cute to jump and crawl all over us and lick our faces.cropped-100_6494.jpg

So what do we do?

First things first. We need to help our dogs understand that four paws on the floor or sitting is what earns attention. This means that you need to go out of your way to pay attention to your dog when s/he is behaving properly. Remember, it is easy to ignore a well behaved dog, much harder to ignore one jumping up on you. Don’t ignore your dog when they are polite! Go our of your way to reward them. If your dogs paws come off the floor, immediately turn and walk away from your dog (in some cases you may need to even walk into a different room and close the dog out of the room). We need to communicate effectively that jumping up will earn the exact opposite of what they want (they are looking for attention, we are taking our attention away). Help your dog by asking s/he for a sit before offering affection/attention.

 
Dogs do what works!

The idea is to send a very clear message to our dogs, that jumping up earns a loss of attention, while sitting politely earns tons of attention! Consistency is the key here. If you give your dog attention just once while his paws are off the floor, he will continue to try the behavior. Keep in mind that for dogs that have been jumping for a while, this behavior will generally get worse before it gets better. This is called an extinction burst. The dog previously was rewarded with attention for jumping, now all of a sudden it isn’t working any more, so the dog tries harder and harder, until he realizes it is no longer working.
Once your dog seems to understand that sitting or keeping four paws on the floor is most likely to earn attention, we can move on to working with our dogs around guests who come into our homes or people we meet while out walking.

 
In-Home: IMAG0681

The most effective strategy for curbing jumping on guests is the concept of using short time-outs as a consequence for jumping behavior (note: this concept can be used for other rude greeting behaviors as well, but it is suggested that you tackle one rude behavior at a time). I call these time-outs social isolation. The idea is that any time the dogs paws come off the floor to jump, we immediately say “Ah,Ah” (or some other no reward marker) and quickly bring them to a nearby time-out space such as a crate or bathroom, and leave them there for 15 seconds. The amount of time is just long enough for the dog to realize it’s a bit of a bummer, while not long enough to really stress them out. Placing the dog in the time out area is effectively taking away the reward (the guest) without having to tell your guest to walk away. It is easiest to have the dog on the leash for this exercise. If you are concerned about the dog not liking his crate after this exercise, use a different time out space. You may also provide your dog with time-outs for jumping on you as well, it doesn’t have to be for just guests. This also works quite well for the time when you first come home and the dog is very excited to see you. Remove the dog from the crate, if he s/she jumps, place back in the crate for 15 seconds, repeat.

 
Behind the Gate Technique:

Place your dog behind a baby gate (be sure s/he won’t jump it) and have your guest approach the dog when s/he has four paws on the floor. If the dog jumps, the person moves away, if the dog is polite, it receives attention.

 
PLEASE NOTE: If your dog is fearful of or reactive toward people, it is best to address the fear or reactivity before addressing any jumping behavior. These techniques will not work well for dogs who are fearful or aggressive toward people and may actually make matters worse. If you are dealing with a fearful or reactive dog, we can help. Give us a call at 612-388-9656 or email us at Heather@luckypawsmn.com

Preventing Resource Guarding

No one ever wants to think their sweet puppy may someday growl or snarl when you try to take away his bone or walk past his food bowl, but this is actually a pretty common occurrence.

Does your puppy…

  • Eat REALLY fast!brown-labrador-12
  • Become very still when you approach his food or bone
  • Play keep away with his possessions

Did you know that these can all be subtle signs of resource guarding? Guarding dogs tend to eat quickly to prevent the need to guard. They also appear to freeze when approached, maybe even look at you out of the corner of their eye in this position and sometimes they just quickly run away when you approach. These can all be warning signs that more severe guarding may begin over the next few months with your puppy. It’s important to take action now to prevent this from getting any worse. Here are a few steps you can take to be sure your puppy is happy to have you around his prize possessions.

Practice Trading Your Puppy

Always practice trades for valuable objects. If you are just constantly taking things away, your pup won’t think you are very much fun to play with. Play fetch with two balls, as your puppy drops the first you can throw the second. When your puppy has a bone, you may need to provide a highly tempting treat such as hot dog or cheese to convince him to give up the bone. After bone time is over, consider doing something else with your dog so the fun doesn’t just suddenly come to an end.

Create a Positive Association

Walk by your dog while they are eating or chewing a bone and simply toss them a few treats while they are eating. You may also drop a spoonful of wet food into their bowl. This will make them see your approach as a very positive thing.

Ask for Help

If you see any type of behavioral issue developing in your puppy, don’t wait months or years to address it! Behaviors can be changed much more easily when your dog hasn’t practiced them for a long period of time and gotten good at them. If your dog is already freezing, growling or snarling, it may be time to consult a trainer for help. You should also look for help if your dog is guarding from other dogs as this is a more complex behavior. Contact us and we can help you solve these issues and keep your family safe.