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01.04.2014
April 21, 2016 by Lisa Desatnik Leave a Comment Commonly, people who are having trouble teaching their puppy a proper potty area, or who are having problems with their puppy chewing on things not meant for puppy teeth, also happen to be people who do not use a crate – or practice good management. The problem is prevention of practicing unwanted behavior while teaching wanted habits and behavior is absolutely critical when it comes to setting your puppy up for success. Additionally, crate time is a great way to teach your puppy to settle with or without a chew toy and even practice separation from you. While here I didn’t even have one circumstance of her pottying indoors or grabbing something that was not intended for her to have.
One day I could tell she needed to do this but she kept getting distracted so I took her inside with me and kept her right next to me with a watchful eye. After time spent directly interacting with her, when I did not want to ‘actively’ supervise her, I always put her back into her crate and, being tired, she just laid down and rested for sometimes a couple hours while I got things done.
In keeping with this routine, the crate was not a negative to her but a positive as it was time that she could settle herself after being mentally and physically engaged. Additionally, because I spent so much time and energy playing fun and engaging games with her toys, those toys were becoming of great value to her. With this consistency, by the last day, I was able to leave her in my living room and walk out of the room, out of sight for short periods and twice she actually told me when she needed to go outside to go  potty.
A big mistake that people make when it comes to having new pets is a lack of consistency, a lack of management, and a lack of teaching wanted behaviors with lots of positive reinforcement.
Filed Under: Puppy, Solving Dog Behavior Problems Tagged With: Cincinnati puppy training, crate training a puppyHappy National Pet Day! March 23, 2016 by Lisa Desatnik Leave a Comment On National Puppy Day, celebrating the sweet faces I have gotten to know through my training.
August 21, 2014 by Lisa Desatnik Leave a Comment I was visiting this little guy last night at a friend’s house. When you understand that, you realize that you don’t need to control your pet in order to affect behavior change. Have you ever tried to solve a screaming issue with a parrot or an attention seeking issue with a dog simply by ignoring it?
If you too have ‘tried’ this solution unsuccessfully, let me guess as to probably what happened.
During the extinction burst, you may think you have just made your pet’s problem worse; however, if and only if you can continue to withhold reinforcing consequences from that behavior, then you will more than likely see a fairly rapid decline in the behavior. This is why, when I talk about modifying behavior in the most positive way and setting both you and your pet up for success, I talk about a multi-tiered program that includes arrangement of the environment so as to try and not set the behavior into motion to begin with, give no value to the unwanted behavior, teach your pet an incompatible behavior that will have a consequence of the same or greater value (to the animal) than the unwanted behavior. Do you have the knowledge, the tools and the time to supervise young children around the puppy in order to prevent interaction that may cause tension (that may lead to aggression) and instead foster joy and trust; to teach error-free housetraining, impulse control, or basic behaviors such as sitting; or to introduce it to many different people and other puppies? If you think that is expensive, consider that your puppy will grow into adulthood and will more than likely be your responsibility for well over ten years.
Please do not buy a puppy on an impulse or because you saw a breed of dog down the street or in a movie, and you want one just like that. If you have considered all of this and you think the time is right to add a new bouncing puppy to your household, how about giving a gift certificate or a gift basket filled with pet toys and supplies instead?  Then, when the stress and chaos of the season is over, you can have fun picking out your gift together. As his caregiver and teacher, it is up to you to teach your dog appropriate skills to succeed in your household and in life; and to work to prevent inappropriate behaviors.
The good news is that all of those skills are teachable with clear, positive communication….and patience.
Remember, your puppy began learning from the consequences of his behavior on the day he was born. November 11, 2013 by Lisa Desatnik Leave a Comment I was asked this question by Karie, and I thought I’d write a post to answer her so that she and others can learn from it. Remember, puppies were not born knowing the rules of humans and they rely on us as their caregivers to teach them the behaviors that are acceptable to us.
While Great Pyrenees were bred as working dogs to guard sheep and goats and thus we know have instinctual behavior tendencies, operant learning is occurring with our pets every moment of every day that they are alive.
For additional help setting your puppy and yourself up for success including teaching wanted behaviors while working to prevent unwanted behaviors, I recommend seeking the help of a trainer who uses positive reinforcement strategies.
Well, first you need to recognize that nipping behavior for a puppy is absolutely completely normal from his perspective. Once you separate that playful pup from his litter, it is up to you to continue that teaching process.
German Shepherd puppies are an example of a breed that is especially notorious for nipping.
Punishment based methods such as squeezing the dog’s muzzle tightly or flicking him with a hand to show ‘who is the ALPHA dog’ has many negative ramifications. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of socialization for puppies with a wide range of positive experiences with people and dogs in a variety of settings. While your puppy is teething, always ALWAYS supervise young children’s interaction with him.
Instead of feeding all of your puppy’s food in his bowl, reserve much of his daily diet for teaching the value of chew toys (like Kongs filled with food), ‘wanted behaviors’ (behaviors you want to reinforce so that you will see more of) including teaching how to take food and other items gently from your hand (with a relaxed mouth).  By the way, hand feeding is an awesome way to strengthen your relationship with your puppy while teaching him that hands represent good things coming.
First things first: Work with your puppy on bite inhibition only when he is in a calm state and you are too.
Once your puppy learns how to mouth without exerting pressure, then you can teach him to reduce the frequency of his mouthing, and teach him a reliable ‘off’ (or whatever cue you choose).  ‘Off’ means you move away from the object (food or toy or hand), and ‘if’ you do, then your consequence will be that you will get that object. Instead of writing about it when there are other great articles out there by trainers I respect, I wanted to share this link. December 25, 2012 by Lisa Desatnik Leave a Comment Did your family add a new family pet to your home this season?  You have just created a wonderful opportunity for teaching responsibility to your children.  So, how will you encourage your kids to keep their word about doing their part to care for their new friend? December 19, 2012 by Lisa Desatnik Leave a Comment It is a beautiful heart that can see into the eyes of children their potential for caring and love, and into the souls of animals who have no voice to speak of their needs.
But, what if young, impressionable minds were taught responsibility for those without human language? Actually, it is what Emilie has chosen to pursue with her ‘free time’ now that she is officially ‘retired’ that connects us. Her publishing company, The Gryphon Press, is named for the mythical bird that represents fair play and justice. Take for example, Buddy Unchained, the story of a happily rehomed mixed-breed dog who shares his sad memories of life before being rescued.


Or Always Blue for Chicu, the daunting story of a smuggled parrot’s neglect and suffering who is ultimately rescued and reunited with his soul mate.
Or Are You Ready For Me?, a book (written by Emilie’s daughter, Claire) that helps parents answer the common question ~ “Please, can we get a dog?”.
Schools and other educational institutions are using The Gryphon Press books and creating lesson plans around them. Filed Under: dog, pet, Puppy Tagged With: Always Blue for Chicu book, Are You Ready For Me? Lisa Desatnik, CPDT-KA, CPBC, is a certified Cincinnati dog and parrot trainer, and behavior consultant, who has been learning about applied behavior analysis and how it applies to setting people and pets up for training success for more than 13 years; and is continually looking for educational opportunities from the best in the field so that she can pass that information along to help others.
My primary service areas in Greater Cincinnati are Deer Park, Sycamore Township, Blue Ash, Montgomery, Oakley, Hyde Park, Mt.
You will find that house training your puppy will be successful through repetition and consistency with praise, rewards and treats. Basics dog training tips - house training puppies videos, House training puppies from john mailers basics of dog training commands.
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On her last day, she even let me know twice when she needed to go outside to relieve herself.
And, since animals make decisions based upon where the value is, she was choosing to seek out her toys more and not pay attention to my things.
If you are finding that your puppy is making poor decisions, instead of blaming your puppy, think about what you can do differently to help him to succeed.
In fact, controlling your pet has the potential of causing more negative ramifications than positive. He only knew he was having fun and he wanted to be near me because he also learned to predict being near me meant great things would happen. Let’s just say, I have and it was the lesson that got me started 13 plus years ago down this path of wanting to learn a better way to manage pet behavior. In the case of your bird, your ignoring him caused him to scream louder and louder, persistently for longer periods of time until you finally couldn’t stand it any longer and you yelled at him, covered him, or did something else.
You have just taught your bird to scream loud and strong, and your dog to go straight for the bumping and pawing because obviously you just are not hearing the quieter scream or whine, and your vision isn’t what it normally is because you completely missed seeing your dog sit (a behavior that may get attention in other settings).
And, if you ‘give in’ and offer any kind of reinforcing consequence to the increased behavior, THAT increased behavior level is what your pet has just learned gets a valued outcome. Christmas is coming up and what a Hallmark moment it is to see a child or significant other tear off the wrapping to find a wiggling little puppy underneath. They are living, breathing, chewing, playing, barking, eating, urinating, beings who will come into your life with a lot of needs.
In its first year alone, you will have veterinary bills including vaccines, spay or neuter, or possible illness.
Ask yourself this, “Realistically, how much time can I give my dog to exercise it not just now but for a long time to come?”  In general, sporting, hounds, herding and terrier breeds will require more daily exercise than guardian or companion breeds.
While it is important to choose a dog’s breed (or breeds if it is mixed) with the general characteristics that will fit your lifestyle, remember even among puppies in the same litter there are a wide range of temperaments.
Beginning his life journey with you by teaching him with positive reinforcement will create a dog who loves to learn, loves being around you, and listens to you. Firstly, I want to say, if your puppy is mouthing you without putting force into it, he is showing great bite inhibition skills. Their success is a measurement of our ability to teach them with clear, honest, two-way communication. Either the behavior moves an animal toward something positive or the behavior gives distance to something negative. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get into our pet’s minds and really know what they are thinking? Since we know that all behavior occurs to produce a consequence, we know that, if your puppy is continuing to mouth you, then that behavior is being reinforced by you. As soon as those sharp baby teeth come in, while he is still together with litter mates, he began to learn about consequences to behavior. Your puppy is now relying on you to teach those skills necessary to live successfully in the human world.
It refers to an animal learning to moderate the strength of its bite, an important factor – that could one day mean the difference between life and death – in the socialization of pets.
Because of their strong prey and herding instincts, they tend to be very attentive to movement, love to chase and grab things with their mouth. For a puppy with strong herding and prey instincts, that action may actually have the opposite effect and increase his arousal. Additionally, by using punishing strategies you are teaching your puppy to associate negative consequences with being near you AND teaching your puppy that hands can do bad things.
Teach your children to play calmly around your puppy (nor running from your puppy or chasing him), not wear lose fitting clothing that he can grab onto, not take anything from your puppy, and how to ‘be a tree’ for those just in case moments to settle your dog down. Boredom is one reason for nipping – and it sure can be fun for a little guy to see humans scream or run. When you can not supervise your puppy while he is teething, keep him in a puppy safe environment such as a play pen or a room with a baby gate or a crate where he can not practice behavior you do not want him to learn. Ian Dunbar recommends that your puppy first be taught to inhibit the force of his bites BEFORE he is taught not to bite altogether.
Work in an area where you are able to put distance between you and him when the game rules are broken (he exerts too much pressure in his bite).
Then be sure to let your kids know what a great job they did when they complete their activities. Love, safety, nourishment, and play ~ life’s precious gifts that can so often be taken for granted are not always available to everyone.


It has sold over 400,000 books to date ~ each one compellingly written and movingly illustrated to engage kids in learning about the responsibilities of dog ownership, pet adoption and overpopulation, getting rid of puppy mills, therapy and service dogs, the intelligence of dogs, dog parks, issues of abuse, and more. The book sends a powerful message that caring humans can and do help, and includes resource information for adult readers. The book makes the clear point that a bird is a wild animal and formidable pet that can live a very long life and will require significant attention. In this story, a dog and puppy at and adoption center ask two children how they will be treated. Lookout, Indian Hill, Madeira, Mariemont, Wyoming, Finneytown, Glendale, Newtown, Anderson and surrounding areas. He has mental and physical needs and will find ways to get those needs met in either acceptable or unacceptable ways (according to your perspective anyway). When she was not in her crate, she had a leash attached to her (although not attached to me indoors) and I was actively supervising her. Finally, before taking her another time, we played fetch in my living room and she immediately went as soon as we got to the grass. If those consequences are of value to the animal, then the behaviors are going to be repeated.
Instead focus on controlling the consequences so as to give lots of value to the behavior you want to see and no value for the behavior you do not want to see. In the case of your dog, your ignoring him caused him to go from making a small sound to increasing the volume, then bumping or pawing you until finally you give in and tell him to stop or even pet him. In operant learning (learning from the consequences of behavior), extinction means withholding the reinforcing consequences of a behavior. However, as an animal lover and positive reinforcement dog trainer, I want to give you some considerations before you make your purchase to give a Christmas puppy.
The first six months of your puppy’s life will be critical when it comes to socialization, teaching it all of the many life skills to set it (and you) up for success.
Teaching bite inhibition, crate training, house training, calm behaviors and other basic behaviors (come, sit, down, stay, wait, etc.), socialization to a variety of people, dogs, things and places, teaching the value in enrichment toys, prevention of resource guarding and chewing on inappropriate things, just to name a few. Bite inhibition refers to an animal learning to moderate the strength of its bite, a very important factor in the socialization of pets, and particularly with working breeds like your Great Pyrenees. If a behavior is continuing and even strengthening, then it is being reinforced by something in its environment. Susan Friedman, taught me that some of the reasons why include: labels are really just concepts that cannot be tested, they may give us an unclear understanding of the problem, they tend to foster self-fulfilling prophecies (you get what you expect), and they tend to end our search for an actual cause – which is what we CAN do something about.
To solve problem behaviors in the most positive, least intrusive way, I like to use a three-pronged approach that I describe here. But we don’t love marks on our skin or holes in our clothes when those very sharp baby teeth grab hold.
Teaching a puppy how to control the pressure he exerts into a bite will prevent or minimize the chances of his inflicting real damage when he is in a situation of needing to defend himself. Toys, legs, arms, or small animals may in an instant become targets of what he sees as fun, enriching activity.
When you go to pet him, give him a chew toy to engage and encourage him to chew on appropriate items. She founded The Gryphon Press to create high-quality children’s picture books whose ultimate purpose is to educate kids about important animal issues and the human-animal connection. Her individualized dog (and parrot) training consultations focus on using the most positive strategies for solving pet behavior issues. Without the management component, your puppy may choose to do behaviors you do not like but the reinforcement he gets from his environment for doing them is going to create long lasting habits.
After opening her crate door, she and I engaged in fun play (with a teaching component in there) or training. If I had not been as careful as I was on this day, there is no doubt she would have just had a bowel movement on my carpeting and by doing that, she was beginning a reinforcement history for a habit I did not want her to learn. While the overall effect of extinction in dogs, parrots and other pets is to reduce the frequency of the behavior, the immediate effect is often an abrupt increase in the behavior known as extinction burst.
As its parents, family, and teachers, you will have a huge role in developing your dog’s lifelong behavior. Once you bring your little guy home, it is your responsibility to teach it so that it can grow to its fullest potential and adapt successfully to your lifestyle, your family, and your home. This type of learning is referred to as operant learning, as the consequences of the behavior determine the future rate of the behavior. If he bit his mother too hard while nursing, he probably forgoed nourishment for the time being.
Going outside to potty always occurred after a few minutes of activity and she always went. Then I stopped and waited for him to sit again, and guess what, play resumed!All it took was a few repetitions to build in his mind that association between the behavior of sitting and its consequence, which was awesome play.  That is what puppy training with positive reinforcement is all about. One person says playing and affection and another says he is trying to show he is dominant. The key to modifying behavior in the most positive and least intrusive way is to first understand what consequence to the behavior is serving to reinforce it and what is happening in the environment immediately before the behavior that is serving to set the behavior in motion (this setting event is called an antecedent).
Emilie is the publisher emeritus and co-founder of Milkweed Editions, the editor or co-editor of 200 books that have won more than 200 awards and distinctions, with a million books in print when she retired in 2003.
I could tell when she also needed to make a bowel movement and waited for her to continue sniffing to finish all she needed to do before taking her in.
Then come back when he has settled down and give him another opportunity to practice more calm play. She has received the McKnight Artist of the Year Award, the Kay Sexton Award for service to Minnesota’s literary community, and, in 2008, the National Book Critic’s Circle Lifetime Achievement Award.



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