Building Connection to reduce “scanning”

Good morning all,

Here is a short clip of my previous session with Teken the rescued dog.

Teken can get over-stimulated when she sees other dogs in the same area.

She will lunge, bark and sometimes run around in a frantic manner when she sees them.

Obviously, when she does not see them, she still looks for them the majority of the time.

We have been working for a couple of weeks now and there are really cool improvements including her ability to disconnect from other dogs and join us.

This is a simple exercise we did to improve Teken’s connection with her parents and reduce her “scanning” behaviour.

This can be done indoor or outdoor with any dog depending on their level.

The reinforcement rate can be gradually reduced over time for those who might think “but I cannot feed my dog all the time”
You are right, but this is how we need to start.

Drop a Like if you watch this video as it is important for me to know who’s following my work.
At the end of the day, you are the reason why I keep posting content.

If you have any thoughts or questions please drop them below.

Thank you,

Dog Behaviourist Ricardo Ministro

OVER-EXCITED DOGS

OVER-EXCITED DOGS

Dogs showing over-excited behaviours towards dogs or humans can be problematic.

Jumping, barking, lunging and nipping behaviours based on excitement can be just too much for some people and dogs to deal with and one of the most common actions we choose to engage is not letting the “problematic” dog be in situations with other people and dogs.

This can easily give you the sensation of relief because we do not need to deal with the problem and so all is well.

But doing this can actually make the problem worse.

Not letting over-excited dogs experience other dogs and humans will in many cases increase the excitement towards them and as a result, increase the intensity of the problematic behaviours.

Obviously, we cannot let the problematic behaviours get reinforced but avoiding the situations at all is also not the way to go.

This is where Habituation plays an important role.

Watch the video to know more about this, and let me know your thoughts and/or experiences.

Thank you,

Dog Behaviourist Ricardo Ministro

Bruno the Rescued Staffie, Destructive Behaviour – Conclusion

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BRUNO THE RESCUED STAFFIE, DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOUR – CONCLUSION

A few months ago I was requested to visit Bruno to help out in some issues in the house.

“Bruno has been destroying the house for several months… Doors, floors, carpets… He also knows how to open doors and destroyed several christmas gifts, books, torn apart toilet paper packs and more… We thought this would get better over time, but after so many months it did not and we might not be able to handle him anymore.”

Many of you will read this and think “Separation Anxiety”.

But not. It was not separation anxiety.

Bruno lives with a lovely family who do everything for him. Walk, Play, Interact. All those things that a dog must have.
But all those things for Bruno were too much. So much that when he was left alone in the house, he would always destroy stuff.

The issue was highly connected with arousal levels. Bruno is very “sensitive”. His arousal levels go high very fast and that is just energy which needs to be spent somewhere.

I soon concluded that Bruno’s routine with his family was not helping him and was, in fact, the root of the problem. I was right.

We changed Bruno routine completely, from feeding times, to play time, to walk time, to social interactions’ time.

Soon Bruno stopped to destroy the house and although he still would open the main’s room door, he would go there simply to sleep.

This was achieved within a couple of weeks after my visit and things became better and better over the last few months. We continued to stick to the routine, implemented simple exercises, and managed as well the human side of the process. Keep things calm, and build from there.

I saw Bruno last weekend, and that was after a 3weeks period of time in between our previous session.
No damage, no destruction, no more problems.

Obviously, this story could be very different if we would not understand the real function of Bruno’s behaviour. It could be different if his family would be so exhausted with the problem that they would not be able to implement the necessary changes, it would be different if they thought that “this” was just Bruno. A house destroyer.

But not, fortunately, everything went in the best way possible.

And now, things are much better for everybody.

Thank you,

Dog Behaviourist Ricardo Ministro

Torvi the GSD, Behaviour Cycles

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Today I want to share with you some thoughts on my work with Torvi the GSD.

Torvi came to see me because she is showing reactive behaviour towards other dogs. She will bark and lunge at them even at long distances.

Besides that, she barks. She barks very, very often, even when there is not much going on.

After a couple of sessions, we realized that her regular barking is part of a behaviour cycle which has been reinforced and well reinforced.
This happened mainly because Torvi was reinforced for “silence” right after barking. Over, and over again, in different circumstances.
As a result, she engages in bark-stop-bark a lot in her daily life.

Reinforcing unwanted cycles in a trial to implement positive reinforcement training with dogs is quite easy if we are not aware of the possibility for this to happen.

The devil is in the details. And so is the angel.

It is easy to understand the overall concept of almost every skill or technique, but what makes a person a professional in a specific area, is the knowledge of every detail within that skill or technique.

I know it well by experience, after building furniture, renovating a house, growing vegetables, painting bikes, fixing cars, replacing parts in a motorbike. Yes, I did all that, but the majority of times I found obstacles, details that I did not expect and did not know how to deal with them. Because in the end, I am just an amateur in all those areas. I understood the overall concept, but I did not have the necessary knowledge to do the job perfectly.

Although once you master the skills, it is in the details that you turn a reactive dog into a social dog, it is in the details that you turn an over-aroused dog into a calm and stable dog. The angel is in the details.

Sometimes it is not as simple as it seems, and usually, it is never as simple as it seems. But there are ways to correct things, there are solutions for problems and certainly, there are techniques to improve any dog’s behaviour.

For now, we implemented a strategy to break the unwanted behaviour cycle that Torvi is showing, while at the same time we start to build new reinforcement histories for a new set of behaviours which will improve her behaviour in daily life and also help later on when working on her behaviour around dogs.

Thank you for reading,

Dog Behaviourist Ricardo Ministro

Teaching Alfie to go to his crate

Good morning,

Here is a short clip of my session with Alfie a few days ago.

Alfie’s mom was having issues to have Alfie going inside of his crate and so we started to clicker train Alfie to do it.

This was a really cool session because just a few weeks ago when I met Alfie for the first time he was still very young and not so active overall.

In a few weeks, he grew a lot and is very keen to work with us!

Alfie’s mom did a great job during our session even though we started to use a clicker not long time ago.

Clicker Training can be learned by anybody who wants to learn in.

And by the way, No need to shout at a dog to do whatever we want him to do. We can teach them to do it in a kind and simple manner as you can watch in this video

If you have a puppy or an adult dog who is not following your daily life requests, get in touch, I can help.

Thank you,

Dog Behaviourist Ricardo Ministro