Have you heard of pattern games for dog training?
If you're in the positive reinforcement training community, you likely have!
They are very simple and have been used unknowingly by many trainers, but the one trainer who brought large scale attention to them recently is Leslie McDevitt, creator of the Control Unleashed program.
She built an entire program for sport dogs based around pattern games to calm arousal and more.
As the methods grew in popularity, she learned that the pattern games were hugely effective for reactive dogs as well - not just overexcited sport dogs.
Reactivity is a response to distractions usually characterized by barking, lunging on leash, pulling on leash, jumping, whining, growling, and more, especially in response to other dogs or people.
A very common example of reactivity is a dog who barks at visitors to the door or outside the window.
Reactivity can have many root causes including excitement or anxiety.
If you're anything like me, you STRUGGLE to get enough sleep.
Living with ADHD and autism makes sleep feel almost impossible for me, but I know how important it is to my mood, my health, and my focus.
And you know who else my lack of sleep affects?
Dogs need even more sleep than we do. About 16 hours PER DAY!
That's almost double our daily needs.
Dogs also have a shorter sleep cycle than we do, which means they wake more often - and need more - to experience the same effect as we do.
Because of this, I focus heavily on sleep in all of my training protocols. Sometimes fixing a lack of sleep makes enough difference in training to make things 10 times easier for their owner.
So today, I wanted to share with you my top tips to getting better sleep with your dog.
This one is really hard for me (thanks ADHD), but I manage to do okay when I realize that my dog needs it!
Dogs typically sleep overnight just like us, and they also tend to be...
Grooming dogs and keeping up with their care can be hard, even without ADHD or autism.
Add either of those (or both!) to the mix, and it can feel almost impossible.
One of my biggest personal struggles (autistic and ADHDer here) is keeping up with my dogs grooming and maintenance, and almost all of my autistic clients would say the same.
As I've worked with dogs and their handlers more and more, I've developed several strategies to help overcome the struggle of grooming and maintenance while dealing with sensory overwhelm, distraction, and more.
Like any advice, try one idea out at a time. Keep what works, and don't be afraid to toss out the things that don't.
Here are some of my top tips for grooming and handling dogs for handlers with ADHD, autism, or other neurodivergencies. I hope you find them helpful!
Instead of trimming all your dogs nails, brushing them, bathing them, and brushing their teeth all in one day, turn it into...
Are you struggling with being contaminated and getting sick from gluten exposure?
Do you have to take days off of work and leaving the house due to your symptoms?
Do you feel like you just can't ever get a break?
You might have started looking into gluten detection dogs to help solve this problem.
I have celiac disease myself, and it was a big decision for me to add this task to my dog's repertoire.
I want to share several considerations for you to think about before you make the investment and decision to train a gluten detection dog.
Before making any decisions that may impact your nutrition (even something like a detection dog), it is very wise to meet with a celiac or allergy specific dietitian or doctor.
Many celiacs aren't fully aware of how to read food labels, what the labels mean, and what they really need to focus on for...
What do I do?!
This is a common complaint I hear from almost everyone first beginning their training journey with me.
Loose leash walking is the biggest skill my clients seem to want and struggle to get.
It seems elusive and confusing.
While it may be daunting and overwhelming at first glance, when you break it down, loose leash walking is easy and can be trained through simple, fun games!
Here are the six key things I teach all my clients for a great loose leash walk and some games to play for each!
Most dogs have a conflicting view on their name. We usually use our dogs name for both good things and bad things, like a bath or scolding for chewing the couch.
In order to work well on leash, we want our dogs to know their name as something super positive and exciting. That way, you can get their attention at any time in order to call them to heel to pass a dog or leave the nasty chicken bone alone.
Why they bark at the mailman...
Why they can be fine one moment and the next hyper and wild, zooming around the room at top speed...
Why they are ALWAYS sniffing...
I could never tell you everything you need to know about your dog in one blog post, but what I can do is tell you the top five books I've read as a professional dog trainer that have helped me understand my dogs.
And in turn, have helped me view them with compassion and empathy.
Each book will have a brief synopsis of what I enjoyed and which aspects of your dog you will learn about as well as a link to purchase them online.
*I may receive a small commission if you purchase using these links. Thank you for supporting my content!*
And now, let's get started with number one!
This book is at the top of my list because it is the book that I wish everyone would read before purchasing or adopting a dog. Even if it's not their first!
This book walks through...