Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions:

WON’T MY DOG JUST LEARN TO SELF-SOOTHE?

Ah, one of the greatest myths in baby-raising and dog-raising. Self-soothing doesn’t actually exist…at least not the way we think it does. Allowing them to “cry it out” doesn’t change their stress level but it changes their behaviour. They cry for less time each time because they’re learning that crying doesn’t work to bring us back to them, but they still experience the distress and this is still apparent in the measurement of cortisol – the stress hormone.

Food for thought! (Especially since most of the time, our dogs don’t cry for less time each time we leave them – they escalate into a panic.)

IS IT NORMAL THAT MY DOG FOLLOWS ME FROM ROOM TO ROOM OUTSIDE OF MISSIONS? HOW DO I MAKE HIM/HER STAY?

Yep! Even if your dog didn’t have home-alone issues, they will likely follow you here and there when you’re moving about because they’re curious and social creatures who want in on the action.

I don’t bother teaching a “stay” for this – they usually grow out of this after a while (some dogs do, some don’t, some take a year) so it’s not that important. It won’t have an effect on the work you’re doing. 

WHAT IF MY DOG LEARNS THAT BARKING MAKES ME COME BACK?

This is called a “behaviour chain” and if it develops, it tells me that you might be pushing your dog over the threshold during an assessment or mission, to the point that they bark, and then you come back. If it happens once or twice now and again, it’s not the end of the world. If it happens repeatedly and often, we will have a dog who learns that barking makes you come home.Make sure your missions are easy for your dog to succeed. If they’re barking, you’re going too far too fast. Slow it down!