The Peeing Post

Newsletter for dog lovers who respect the dog's nature

Chief Editor: Mogens Eliasen

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Dear Dog Friend,

I should say hi from our dog and remind you that it is Fall now - working time for dogs and responsible owners... Well, I know you knew that, but just in case you should have forgotten. It is a great time to be oudoors. Not too hot for the dog, and not too cold or wet for you...

We still got one possible camp course left - the last I plan for this year. I have not heard from anybody about winter camps, so I assume the interest is too low for doing it. If you want a spot in the October camp, you should go to and reserve your spot. Remember, this course might run without your signing up, but it will be without you...

A rare sight - one of the students did not take the time off for lunch as planned. Well, it shows how much of a guard dog Bettemuir is. However, it is hard to be on guard when you are deaf as Beethoven - and pooped also...

Over the last few months, her hearing has gone totally down the drain. It very hard to adjust to - I am so used to her listening to my commands and doing everything I ask her to do, and now we have to find whole new ways of communicating! With her eye sight being very poor too, it is quite a challenge! But she is so happy to learn new tricks that the improvements are enjoyable for both of us.

Mental activation

Remember the "Chinese Box" we discussed earlier? And the picture series with Bettemuir working at making it produce treats? (It was the August 15 issue - you can get it again at My Search & Rescue dog has taught herself and me a new trick: when the box runs empty for treats, she barks at it, doing a brilliant indication of a find of a victim of circumstance....

In a way, it is - but it was not meant to be! Since she has gone deaf, I have made a point out of training her to bark when she encounters a problem she cannot solve. It is a safety measure. I am trying to compensate for her lack of ability to respond to my calling. As you know, teaching a dog to bark comes quite easily. I have not spent much time training this. Just 10 times rewarding it when it happened was enough to make her use it in all kinds of situations, sometimes also for pure extortion!

Back to the treatbox: one time, when she was quite worked up over the box, she got frustrated. She could not get any treats out of that dumb thing, and she wanted more! Frustration caused barking (as usual), and "someone" checked on her and discovered that the box was empty. The buttom line was that a few more treats found their way into the box, and the box found its way back to Bettemuir's reign, and the game went on...

When the box ran empty again, she barked at it again...

My point is to warn you with those games. I do not mind having Bettemuir bark at the box when it is empty. In fact, I consider it a very positive training result that makes my life easier for me. But, if you are not careful about your response, you can develop reactions you might not appreciate later. Bettemuir also tried to use her "rescue barking" when the box just was too slow releasing the treats. For that, she got no reward, though - because I was very careful when I picked the box up to check: had I dropped a treat at that time, she would have had that reward - and I would have severely reduced the value of the game by teaching her that she could get me to help her when the problem became too tough for her.... I know that "little shit" would quickly expand such an experience into making me do all the work delivering the treats, if she could...

I think this also demonstrates that you have no excuse for not training your dog. Age is not an issue. Deafness neither. Not even lack of eyesight. And certainly not restricted mobility! As you dog get older and gets a bunch of ailments added to its burden of life, you have a moral obligation to constantly find ways to compensate this by developing new skills in those areas the dog still masters. The excitement you will experience is worth it!

"Nuisance barking"

I got a whole bunch of letters recently from people who all experience annoying barking from their dogs. Pure extortion in some cases. In others, simply overflow of excitement. All of the cases are linked to boredom...

First of all, you need to understand that even the laziest dogs need some 2-3 hours meaningful activity per day. Most average dogs, 4-6 hours. Huskies 8-10, and bordercollies around 12.... (Don't panic - wolves are around 16!)

The problem is to understand what "meaningful activity" is. Anders Hallgren, who did the original research (the author of "The ABC's of Dog Language") that provided the numbers, defines meaningful activity as "any activity that has the dog move and interact with its environment". So: sleeping, lying down, watching TV, sitting in the car, being tied at a chain, spending time in a dog run, "not being a nuisance" are all out. They don't qualify for "meaningful activity"...

I know all the excuses. You are too busy. Maybe too busy to live a life...? Sorry, if it sounds sarcastic, but I am actually just honest. It's the same with kids. You cannot expect your dog to enjoy life with you if you never have any time to spend with it. If you cannot satsfy your dog's most fundamental needs, you should not expect to get much enjoyment out of your relationship with your dog. You do understand that dogs need food and water and shelter. But please don't forget that "meaningful activity", in most dog's minds, have priority way above food! They will happily leave their food behind if you invite for an exciting walk in the park with some great training!

Let's put this straight: if you let your dog suffer from lack of stimulation for meaningful activity, you are doomed to be barked at! The first sign you get of a dog being frustrated because of too little to do, is barking. "Nuisance barking". Barking in exuberant excitement when, finally, something is going to happen that can break the dull inactivity. The last one will quickly develop into something you will not like: if the dog jumps around, barking in excited frustration over this walk taking too long to prepare, then, when you eventually get the leash one and get going, the dog will see this as an incredible reward for its barking!

Here are the boxes:


The dog gets a hint that "something exciting" is going to happen soon...



You prepare yourself
for the activity to come



The dog barks - impatient and frustrated



The exciting entertainment starts!

So, what do you do when you are caught in this trap?

Two things:

  1. You get started on providing some relevant mental stimulation to your dog, so you reduce the need for the unwanted activity and the reason for the frustration that created the reaction in the first place.

  2. You don't reward the behavior you want to eliminate...

Let's discuss the last issue first. It is simple. But tough. You go through all the preparations for that walk - with ear plugs, so you aren't too bothered by the dog's barking. You carry through right to the time where you open the door, but you do not go out, and you do not let the dog go out. You tie the leash in a way that prevents the dog from moving. You take a chair and a book, and you sit down and start reading, ignoring the dog. This might, for start, increase the barking quite a lot - but you have your ear plugs, so you keep reading.

You keep reading and ignoring the dog until it totally gives up all hope that you will take it for a walk! Your goal is to have it lie down at your feet and completely relax, for at least 2 full minutes.

In the moment you achieve this, you close your book, grab the leash, and take the dog for the promised walk!

Now, the dog gets the satisfaction of its fundamental need for activity, but it gets it as reward for a behavior you desire.

You must be aware that this will not give you results overnight. If you have "trained" your dog to bark incessantly every time you prepare for a walk, it will take some time before this method will show results. And it will take forever, if you do not look after the need for activity that created the problem in the first place...

Finding treats in the yard

Here is a simple way to get the dog hunting - an extremely meaningful activity for your carnivore pal. You take the dog on a leash into the backyard, bringing along also some 10-15 delicious treats. Small ones, but yummie good ones.

You decide on a command you want the dog to understand as a permission to go and find itself a treat. I will use "FIND-IT" for illustration here, but you can use anything, except a commonly used word or combination of words you might use in conversations with people. The words "treat" is absolutely unacceptable. You will use that word in many other situations where you don't have a treat out there for the dog to find... But you will figure out a good one!

With the dog on leash and the treats in yout "treat wallet", you now tie the dog to a tree or a post. You go about 4-5 meters (12-15 feet) away from the dog and let it see that you drop a treat on the ground.

You then go back and have a good greeting time with the dog. Play a little. Take it for a short walk away from the spot (but not to the treat!) and back again. The purpose is to have it forget exactly where the spot for the treat is, but it will not forget the fact of the treat being there!

Back again at the spot where you tied it before, you now prepare your training. You chose your command. You want the dog's reaction to be a search, and you want the reward to be the treat. You just need an incitement....

The simplest incitement that will work in 99% of the cases is a pointing hand movement towards the treat, maybe supported by your running out there too, letting the pointing hand "pull" you along.

Your boxes:





You point with
your hand/arm/body
to the treat



The dog moves out in the direction you lead it



The dog finds the treat

Simple, eh?

When you repeat this exact sequence of events 4-5 times, the dog will get the hint and start moving ahead of your hand. You can play the game of racing to the treat, and letting the dog win...

A few things to watch out for:

If you are really lazy, you can, of course, just let the dog "do its own thing", searching without any help from you and without getting any directions from you. If the dog is hungry enough, it might work - but it is a bad idea. The time you invest in making the dog understand that you are to be given credit for this great game is very well spent! When the dog learns that all exciting fun starts with paying attention to you, then you can figure what kind of impact this will have on your relationship....

When the dog is getting good at following your handsignal for direction, you can take off the leash.

Next step is to increase the time between the dog seeing the treat being dropped and the the time it gets permission to start searching. When this time reaches 2-3 minutes, you can start putting out multiple treats. You then let the dog search for one at a time, making sure that your hand signal for direction is always trustworthy. You simply lead the dog from treat to treat.

Next time, We will discuss how you can combine this with your recall command and use it also to get the dog to not pull on the leash! But go ahead and get this training done first. You need at least a week, maybe two, to get a good result we can build on.


Cheers and woof,

Mogens Eliasen


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PS. Have you ever experienced having problems with your computer?

Although this has nothing to do with dog training, I know that you do use your computer, at least to read The Peeing Post, so maybe this could have general interest for you also:

Maybe you too have tried to call one company's service organization, only to learn that they are fast blaming all the problems on someone else? If you have a problem with your printer, then it always become a software problem your computer company should resolve, not the company you bought the printer from? The computer company, of course, does not want to take any responsibility for the operation of your printer...

And all the extra neat programs that create resource conflicts so your computer crashes for no apparent reason? They are not to be solved by any of the sofware sellers, and not by your computer company either... they all blaim the others for the problem, which really is caused by your own lack of professional knowledge about those programs....

I found a solution I dare to recommend: For a small monthly fee, you can get all the technical assistance you need to keep your software and hardware running smoothly. You can access a technician 24 hours a day, toll-free, and get the help you need to fix your problems. It is like getting an unlimited extended warranty on all your software and its ability to make all the components work together. Internet conection software and local network sofware included!

Check out this unique service at JUVIO. (You can even make some money on it if you know more than three other people who would be interested, but if you don't feel like "doing marketing", then just subscribe for the service on its own; the URL is

PPS. My new e-book "Canine Choice - by Nature" is still available at a discount price of less than 10 bucks - but only for Peeing Post subscribers. Check to see what you lose out on by not getting your copy downloaded before I advertise it to the general public and raise the price... The e-book contains everything your dog needs you to know about feeding a natural diet. Yes, you - the wolf chef!