Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mastering the 3 basic commands - Stay

So you’ve got your dog to sit, but will she sit there until you tell her to move?  If you are like the thousands of Americans struggling with dog training in their home then your answer is probably, no.
Arlene Patrick of Corona can’t get her dog to sit on the first command, let alone stay there. “Maui will sit very anxiously until she gets her treat.  She practically bites my fingers off for the treat and then stands there waiting for more.  She sits like she has ants in her pants, so as you can imagine, “stay” or “wait” is a concept she does not care to understand.”   
Correcting these bad habits takes time but believe me, the time is always worth it.   Set aside a time to practice learning (or re-learning) commands like “Stay”.  Keep the sessions short (10-15 mins.) and make it a positive experience (happy tones and rewards).  Rewards can consist of treats, toys, praise, or even a game.  Whatever motivates your pup to work and keep working is a good tool.  If you are using treats as a reward, be inconsistent with the rewards and don’t give a treat for every correct action.  Using an irregular reward disbursement schedule will force your dog to pay attention instead of anticipating your next move.  And lastly, remember that all dogs learn at a different pace.  Have patience and don’t give up.  No dog is too old to learn new tricks.

Learning (or re-learning) Stay
1.       Tell your dog to “sit” and or lay “down”.  (Replace “down” with whatever command you choose, but be consistent or you will confuse your dog.)    
2.       Give your dog calm praise with “good sit” or “good down” but wait before rewarding
3.       Reward then release your dog from “sit” or lay “down” position with a word of your choice, such as “release”, “go play”, or “carry on”.  Again, it’s not about the word you use, it’s about using the same word each time.
4.       Repeat steps 1 – 3 a couple of times, making your dog wait longer each time before rewarding
5.       Repeat steps 1 – 2 but now use the command “stay” and take a single step back
6.       Return to your dog and reward her while saying “good stay”
7.       Release her from the “stay”
8.       Repeat steps 5 – 7 several times, gradually taking further steps from your dog each time.  If your dog moves before you release her, you are probably asking too much, too soon.  Start again with a short “stay”.
Mastering the Command:
Once your pup has the “stay” command down, switch things up by:
1.       Going in the back yard and front yard to practice
2.       Running in place, sitting on the floor, or walking around her
3.       Interrupting play and public outings with sit, stay 
As your pup gets better at staying on command you can test her ability to follow directions by giving her distractions; Children playing, other animals, toys, etc.  The more distractions she can resist the better.  Happy Training!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mastering the 3 basic commands – Sit

Does your dog sit the moment you give the command?  If you struggle with this or any other command, and hardly ever get a rapid response, you are not alone.  Thousands of homes deal with this same problem of an inconsistent response to a command.   
Arlene Patrick of Corona knows all too well how challenging it can be to get her terrier mix to do anything on command.  “She is hit or miss with following directions.  Even if I have a treat in my hand, the first thing she does when I say “sit” is jump for the treat.”  Arlene’s frustration continues on walks as well. “She doesn’t listen for squat on walks.  I always have to push her butt down if I want her to sit in public.  If I have a treat on the walk, she might humor me with a sit but never on the first request.” 
Correcting these bad habits takes time but believe me, the time is always worth it.   Set aside a time to practice learning (or re-learning) commands like “Sit”.  Keep the sessions short (10-15 mins.) and make it a positive experience (happy tones and rewards).  Rewards can consist of treats, toys, praise, or even a game.  Whatever motivates your pup to work and keep working is a good tool.  If you are using treats as a reward, be inconsistent with the rewards and don’t give a treat for every correct action.  Using an irregular reward disbursement schedule will force your dog to pay attention instead of anticipating your next move.  And lastly, remember that all dogs learn at a different pace.  Have patience and don’t give up.  No dog is too old to learn new tricks.
Learning (or re-learning) Sit
1.       Hold a reward in your hand and place it near your dog’s nose to let her know you have a treat.
2.       Slowly move your hand (with the reward) over your dog’s head, causing your dog to look up while her back end goes down.  *For dogs that back up instead of sit, try moving your hand more slowly and/or gently put pressure on her back end until her bum touches the floor.  This may take a lot of practice and a lot of patience before your dog performs a successful sit on her own.
3.       Right when your dog’s bum touches the ground, reward her and say “good sit”, simultaneously.   (Replace “sit” with whatever command you choose, but be consistent or you will confuse your dog.) 
4.       Release the dog from the sit position with a word of your choice, such as “release”, “go play”, or “carry on”.  Again, it’s not about the word you use, it’s about using the same word each time.
5.       For stubborn dogs, repeat steps 1 – 4 a few more times until your dog becomes familiar with the idea of sitting on command and you no longer need to apply pressure to her back end.
6.       Clearly say your dog’s name and the “sit” command when you hold out your reward.  (Example: treat in hand just above the dog’s nose, “Maui, Sit”.)
7.       Repeat steps 3 – 4.   
Mastering the Command:
Once your pup has the “sit” command down, switch things up by:
1.       Going in the back yard and front yard to practice
2.       Interrupting walks with unpredictable sits
3.       Interrupting play and public outings with sits
As your pup gets better at sitting on command you can test her ability to follow directions by giving her distractions; Children playing, other animals, toys, etc.  The more distractions she can resist the better.  Happy Training!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Back to the Very Basics (part 5)


Have you ever wondered why your dog won’t come when you call?  Have you ever found yourself screaming at him and dragging him along because you are at your wits end?  We often get frustrated with our dog for not obeying.  This frustration usually leads to anger and, whether we realize it or not, we are sending our dog signals that he has no good reason to obey us. 
“Because Gordo won’t ever listen I usually end up screaming at him but it still doesn’t do anything,” says Somone Hicks of Riverside, “He just looks at me and I have to go get him if I want him to come.”   Somone’s 5-year-old bulldog, Gordo, has been ignoring her commands for years.  She let him get away with unacceptable behavior when he was a puppy and she has been paying the price for it ever since.

Almost every dog owner has gone through the frustrating experience of finding a “gift” left by the dog; be it a mess on the carpet or a dug up flower bed.  It is easy to relate to Somone in this situation but let’s look at the situation from Gordo’s point of view.  When Somone first called him over, it was in an angry tone and she scolded him for getting in the trash.  Now Gordo is thinking, ‘Mom called my name and I got in trouble. I don’t like that.’  Then a week later, Somone calls Gordo over again to scold him for chewing her shoe.  Now Gordo is thinking, ‘When she calls my name I get in trouble.  I’m not going to make that mistake anymore.’  Gordo has associated his name being called to getting in trouble and, naturally, he doesn’t want to get in trouble so he no longer comes when called because it means something bad will happen.  
The sad truth is, unless you catch your dog in the act of misbehaving, scolding does nothing to correct the bad behavior or keep it from happening again.  So while you may want to scream at your dog, if you have to call him over to scold him then it’s probably too late.
Dogs need discipline and boundaries but they also need a reason to obey.  The most reliable and successful training methods use positive reinforcement to give the dog a reason to obey.  This is accomplished by rewarding good behavior and making training sessions a positive experience (i.e. not an impromptu scolding).
To correct this negative association, practice calling your dog at random in a happy tone and give a reward when he comes.  Even if you want to scream at your dog for misbehaving, call him in a happy tone.  You can say whatever you want to the dog if it helps you vent your anger but you must do it in a happy tone.  Practing changing your dogs reason to obey and see what a difference it makes in your training. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Pekingese takes the Prize


Did you catch the 136th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show?  This year was a great mix of rookies and veterans competing not for money but for prestige.
In New York, Malachy, a 4 year-old Pekingese, took home his 115th overall best in show title on Valentine’s Day.  Malachy beat out Protocol’s Veni Vidi Vici, a Doberman Pinscher, who won Best of Working Group; Shadagee Caught Red Handed, an Irish Setter, who won Best of Sporting Group; Cappy, a German Shepherd, who won Best of Herding Group; and Ian, a Dalmatian, who won Best of Non-Sporting Group.  Many other winners were declared that day for various dog groups and breeds; like Ace, a black cocker Spaniel, who won Best in Breed his first time running.  

There was exciting anticipation for this year’s dog show as six newly recognized (by the AKC) breeds would be making their debut. Those six breeds include: The Xoloitzcuintli (competing in the Non-Sporting Group), which is known to be the national dog of Mexico; The Norwegian Lundehund (competing in the Non-Sporting Group) which is primarily used for hunting Puffins; The Finnish Lapphund (competing in the Herding Group), which is primarily used for herding reindeer; The Entlebucher Mountain Dog (competing in the Herding Group) which is a native of Switzerland; The Cesky Terrier (competing in the Terrier Group) which is used mostly for hunting; and the American English Coonhound (competing in the Hound Group) which is primarily used for hunting.  Unfortunately, for these hopeful pups, none of these newly recognized breeds took home a silver bowl or a fancy title.
The veteran show dog, Malachy, was up against some stiff competition as the crowd cheered for the nation’s number one pick, a black Cocker Spaniel named Beckham, and another fan favorite,  a Wire Fox Terrier named Eira.  While Terriers usually rule at Westminster (Wire Fox Terriers winning most often), this will make the fourth time a Pekingese has been named Champion at Westminster since 1990.       
How the judges decide who is best of over 2,000 purebred dogs is beyond me, but Judge Cindy Vogels named Malachy this year’s champion.  As champion at Westminster, Malachy wins a coveted silver bowl and a new prestigious title that will last a lifetime.  While there is no prize money for the winners, such a title presents opportunities elsewhere (like breeding potential).
Congratulations to all the winners at Westminster Kennel Club this week and best of luck to all participants in the future.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Treaties for Your Four-legged Sweeties

Who is your Valentine this year?  Is it your dog?  According to WikiAnswers, about 3% of pet owners buy a Valentine’s Day gift for their pet.  Three percent seems a little low but the numbers are increasing as more owners celebrate the unconditional love that their pet gives them all year long.  But what should you get to show your love and appreciation for man’s best friend?  In the human world we give chocolates and roses or cute little cards and candies.  But since dogs can’t enjoy those types of things, what do you give a dog? Why not treat your pup to something sweet.  (Well, not actually sweet).  
While we all know (or should know) that you can’t give a dog human sweets (especially chocolate), we may not know that there are dog bakeries that bake goodies for dogs.  What’s the difference in a human cookie and a dog cookie you may ask?  Well first, dog treats should always be made with whole-wheat flour or rice flour instead of all-purpose flour.  Secondly, there should be no sugar in dog treats.  Cake frostings and cookie dip should be made from other ingredients like organic peanut butter, cream cheese, meringue powder, cottage cheese, yogurt, or Carob (a chocolate substitute).  Lastly, dog treats should be made with all natural ingredients without preservatives or ingredients that you can’t pronounce.  And just because it is called a treat doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy.  The more organic the treat, the better it is for your dog.
Bake a special treat for your pup this Valentine’s Day…..
Ingredients:
1 Egg
¼ Cup applesauce
½ Cup beef or chicken broth
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon molasses
¼ Cup oil
2 ¼ Cups whole-wheat flour
2 Cups carob chips
Directions:
1.       Preheat oven to 300˚F
2.       In a large bowl, combine the egg, applesauce, broth, honey, molasses, and oil. Gradually stir in flour.
3.       Dough should be stiff, add flour or water to adjust.
4.       On a well-floured surface, roll out dough into ¼ inch thickness.
5.       Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make shapes from the dough.
6.       Place on lightly greased cookie sheets and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.
7.       Melt carob chips in microwave or double boiler.
8.       Dip half of the heart into the melted carob.
9.       Place cookies on waxed paper and let stand until carob is set.

Not one for baking? That’s ok too because there are professionals who do it every day so that you don’t have to.  Here are some local dog bakeries across southern California:
Jackboy’s Dog Bakery in Corona, Norco, Studio City, Anaheim, Yorba Linda, Newport Beach,  Newport Coast, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Mission Viejo, Corona Del Mar, Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Temecula, Wildomar, Lemoore, Rancho Cuchamonga, Upland, Alta Loma, Redlands, and Yucaipa.   
Three Dog Bakery in Lake Arrowhead, Newport Beach, San Clemente, Los Angeles, Old Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, and Del Mar. 
Le Woof Dog Bakery & Boutique located at 18306 Imperial Highway in Yorba Linda. 
*Remember, dogs should never eat as many cookies or as much cake as humans do.  Just one or two bites make an exciting treat for your dog without causing a tummy ache later.  Bone App├ętit!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pet Obesity: Fighting the Epidemic


Did you know a 20 lb. pug is equivalent to a 161 lb. 5’4” woman or 188 lb. 5’9” man?  That is 11% overweight for a pug.  We already talked about the statistics in Pet Obesity: Noticing the Epidemic and we know that an estimated 54% of U.S. cats and dogs are overweight or obese.  If you were part of the 22% of dog owners in denial about your dog’s weight, hopefully you have come to the realization that a change must be made or your dog will most likely pay the price.  Overeating, eating unhealthy foods, and not exercising is a deadly combination; so let’s make a change.
Problem: Overeating.  Some dogs would eat a whole bag of dog food if you let them.  They inhale their kibble and then look at you like, “is that all?” In cases like this, free feeding (filling the bowl and letting your dog eat when he wants) does not work.  You need to measure out the appropriate amount of food stated on the dog food bag or as instructed by your veterinarian. 
The number two culprit to weight gain is fatty wet food.  Portions of wet food should be monitored closely.  Just a few extra scoops here or there can easily add 10 extra pounds to any dog.  However, while wet food can help pack on the pounds, an excess of treats is the number one problem in most overweight cases.  A treat after breakfast, a treat for lunch, a treat before dinner, and then a treat for dessert.  Believe it or not, your dog can go a lot longer without eating than you can.  Depending on his activity level, he doesn’t need more than two meals a day, let alone snacks in between.
Solution: Limit food intake.  Putting your dog on a diet is hard to do.  They look at you with big sad eyes and whine like they are starving.  While this is hard to resist, put down the treats; your dog doesn’t need them!  If you feel the urge to feed your dog more often than once or twice a day, break up his normal meal into smaller portions that you can give throughout the day.  If you want to give a treat, only give 1 treat per day, not 3 or more.
Problem: Unhealthy eating.  Even if you do cut back on the food and treats, do you actually know what you are feeding your dog?  Most consumers don’t even pay attention to what is in their own food let alone their dog’s food.  If you read the ingredient label you might be surprised to find a lot of big name dog foods (and treats) are packed with fillers, calories, and ‘bad’ fats.  While these dog foods are the cheapest alternative (due to the cheap ingredients) they are not the only option for feeding your dog. 
Solution: Change your dog’s food.  There are holistic dog food brands like Blue Buffalo, Wellness, Canidae, Natural Balance, Stella & Chewy’s, and Nature’s Variety that provide a more balanced and healthy meal for your dog without meat by-product or fillers.  Additionally, there are other alternatives to kibble or wet food such as freeze-dried food, raw meat medallions, or even home cooked meals that you can buy for your dog.  The point is, you have options and while they may be more expensive then basic kibble, they will save you money on trips to the vet and avoid the more expensive Prescription Diet food which your veterinarian may put your dog on if his weight becomes a problem.     
The major pet stores just started carrying holistic dog food so their options are still pretty limited.  Check out a local feed store for more options to compare to find the right food choice for your dog:
B & E Feed located at 1004 6th St. in Norco- (951)371-4000
Pet Supply Warehouse located at 5729 E La Palma Ave. in Anaheim Hills- (714)777-9970
Anaheim Feed & Pet Supply located at 1730 N Lemon St. in Anaheim- (714)992-2012
Problem: Lack of exercise.  Most dogs were born and bred to work but today’s society doesn’t need them to work like they once did.  Despite these societal changes, dog’s still need exercise and it means more in a dog’s life than just avoiding weight gain.  Exercise:
·         Strengthens the immune system
·         Increases blood circulation
·         Reduces the risk of heart disease and other illnesses
·         Reduces or eliminates digestive problems
·         Reduces susceptibility to urinary infections
·         Reduces stress and the likelihood of depression
·         Keeps dog from becoming obese which could result in depression and/or diabetes
·         Reduces the chance of arthritis in senior years
·         Reduces boredom and therefore bad behavior such as chewing, digging, and excessive barking
·         Helps to build confidence
·         Reduces anxiety which may cause a dog to become aggressive or territorial
·         Calms hyperactive dogs
Solution: Daily exercise.  Exercise makes a happy, healthy, and well-balanced dog.   It’s up to you to get in the habit of making sure he gets that regular exercise because he can’t do that for himself. 
If you want to change things in your dog’s eating habits, you do not have to do it alone.  Talk with your veterinarian for advice or look online for a little guidance.  Organizations like the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention provide online tools to help pet owners make a change and gain control of the situation.  Check out the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention website and join the fight against pet obesity.     

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pet Obesity: Noticing the Epidemic


Did you know a 13 lb. miniature Dachshund is equivalent to a 189 lb. 5’4” woman or 220 lb. 5’9” man?  Did you know a 90 lb. female Labrador is equivalent to a 186 lb. 5’4” woman or 217 lb. 5’9” man?  In other words, each dog is 30% overweight.  With an estimated 68% of U.S. adults being overweight or obese, it’s no wonder that an estimated 54% of U.S. cats and dogs are overweight or obese as well.  Overeating, eating unhealthy foods, and not exercising is a deadly combination and our bad habits are being passed along to our pets.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) conducted their yearly survey for pet obesity in 2011, only to find the results were worse than 2010.  The sad truth about the pet obesity epidemic (as it’s being called) is that an increased number of pet owners aren’t even aware that their pet is overweight.  APOP founder, Dr. Ernie Ward says, “22 percent of dog owners and 15 percent of cat owners characterized their pet as normal weight when it was actually overweight or obese. This is what I refer to as the “fat pet gap” or the normalization of obesity by pet parents. In simplest terms, we’ve made fat pets the new normal.”  This report, released on Monday, February 6th, also stated that “those at least 30 percent above normal weight or a body condition score (BCS) of 5, continues to grow despite 93.4 percent of surveyed pet owners identifying pet obesity as a problem.”  In other words, pet obesity continues to rise despite the realization that it poses major health risks.
Some of the common weight-related conditions in dogs and cats include:
·         Osteoarthritis
·         Type 2 diabetes
·         High blood pressure
·         Breathing problems
·         Kidney disease
·         Shortened life expectancy
Orthopedic surgeon, APOP Board member and Director of Clinical Research at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Steve Budsberg, says, “As an orthopedic surgeon I see, on a daily basis, the effects of obesity on dogs and cats with osteoarthritis.  It is very frustrating to see how much pain and discomfort excess weight has on my patients.  Veterinarians and owners have the ability to stop obesity in our pets. No animal goes to the refrigerator or the pantry and helps themselves.”
As Dr. Budsberg points out, we have no one to blame but ourselves.   There are no overweight dogs in the wild.  If we don’t learn to change our habits we continue to hurt the ones who depend on us to take care of them. 
If you are in denial or just curious about your pets weight, check out the APOP website for the Pet Weight Translator and put your pup’s weight into perspective.  Fill in your height, your dog’s actual weight and your dog’s ideal weight.  The translator will first show your maximum weight for your height and then translate your dog’s weight (actual vs. ideal) by comparing it to your maximum weight.  The website also offers tools to help pet owners get their dog back on track with their weight.  Take the challenge and make a difference in your dog’s life.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl Is Going to the Dogs

Are you planning to watch the big game with your dog this Sunday?  What are your plans for this year’s Super Bowl?
“I’m going to watch the game at home, so yes, my dog will be there.” – Dane Chapman of Corona, on watching the Super Bowl with his dog, Stinky.
“I’m going to watch the game at a friend’s house and my dogs are coming with me.  If the game starts to suck we can always entertain ourselves watching the dogs.” – Erin Finch of Corona, on watching the Super Bowl with her dogs, Maui and Kona.
“I’m going to watch the game at home with my dog, but we only watch for the commercials.” – Sarah Beck of Riverside, on watching the Super Bowl with her dog, Diesel.
If you plan on being 1 of over 111 million people watching Super Bowl XLVI this year, (whether it’s solely for commercials or not) then you will be happy to know that there will be plenty of dogs for you to watch.  I’m not talking about players on the other team; I’m talking about the dogs starring in this year’s commercials.  Volkswagen, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Skechers have all created commercials starring dogs.
Volkswagen’s commercial features a dog named Bolt, who goes on a Jedi-like quest to be worthy of chasing the new Volkswagen Beetle.  Brian Thomas, general manager of brand marketing for Volkswagen says, "Dogs are a universal force for good, much like the Volkswagen brand."  
Anheuser-Busch InBev’s commercial will have a dog in two commercials, one for Budweiser and one for Bud Light.  The Budweiser commercial will briefly show their iconic Dalmatian while the Bud Light commercial will feature a bottle-fetching dog named Weego.  The Bud Light commercial is a satire for the beer’s tag line Here We Go.  Paul Chibe, vice president of A-B's U.S. marketing says, “People have always had a special relationship with dogs. The connection of dogs to our spots is more of a coincidence."
Skechers’s commercial will feature a dog named Mr. Quiggly, as he wears a pair of GOrun shoe’s and races a pack of greyhounds.  While this commercial has caused some controversy over greyhound racing from greyhound advocacy groups, Leonard Armato, president of Skechers Fitness Group, says the commercial is meant to inspire, not support greyhound racing.  Leonard says, “We believe he'll be the most lovable dog on the Super Bowl."
Wherever and for whatever reason you are watching the Super Bowl this weekend, have a fun and safe time with your pup!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Back to the Very Basics (part 4)

Have you ever baked a cake that came out lumpy or didn’t rise like it was supposed to, or just came out tasting awful?  Any baker can tell you when baking a cake it is very important to get all of your ingredients portioned correctly.  The miscalculation or absence of just one ingredient can make a perfect cake go terribly wrong.  You don’t have to be a baker or Einstein to realize that too much of anything is never good.  So why do we often forget that with our dogs? 
Riverside resident Carmen Gutierrez shares her experience with her Chihuahua who has become possessive of her in the two years they have had her. “Bella, my baby, was a rescue.  She was so tiny and scared when we brought her home we just wanted her to feel safe and loved.  Now she has to be with me 24/7 and she doesn’t really like anyone else around me.  I know I’ve spoiled her but I can’t help it. She’s so fragile.”  
As Cesar Millan would tell you, the ingredients for a well-balanced dog consists of 1 part exercise, 1 part discipline, and 1 part affection – in that order.  That is a pretty simple formula.  But why is it that when we bring a pup home, the first thing we give is an overabundance of affection?  This tends to give us a lumpy cake (an unbalanced dog).  With the New Year underway and the recent symbolic fresh start exercise (covered in Back to the Very Basics part 3), this is the time to quit that bad habit and start over, with good habits. 
First, Exercise.  Every dog needs it in one form or another.  Depending on your dog’s age, size and energy level, she needs at least 30 – 60 minutes of exercise per day.  Not only does exercise benefit your dog’s health but it also helps release her energy which leads to more successful training sessions.  Get in the habit of walking your dog daily.  If walking every day is too much to ask right away, set goals to work up to walking daily.  Start with twice a week, then three days a week, then every other day, and then daily.  If you need, ask someone to walk with you to help keep you motivated and accountable.  
Second, Discipline.  This is where training comes into play.  Just like children, dogs need boundaries and limitations.  If you let your dog make the rules or break your rules then all training goes out the window.  Starting over means it’s time to practice and master the base commands for all training. Come, Sit, Stay.  Those 3 basic commands set the foundation for all other obedience, and if your foundation is weak then you will never have consistent obedience.  It’s also important to remember that training is an ongoing thing.  It’s something you should work on every day and continue working on, even after your dog has mastered the command.
Third, Affection.  Give your affection out like it is a treat.  It is a reward for good behavior, a way to tell your dog she is doing what you want.  It should be given when she is calm and relaxed or when she has accomplished a task you set out for her.  You can give affection to a dog relaxing next to you, as you would be rewarding good behavior.  But if the dog is jumping on you, climbing you, or standing on you, that is dominant behavior and should be discouraged.  Also avoid giving your dog attention when she is hyper, that will only reinforce her hyper activity.   Overall, start taking notice of how your dog interacts with you.  We often make the mistake of mislabeling dominant and unbalanced behavior as the dog giving us affection or wanting to play, when in her mind she is telling us that she is in charge.    
Remember, it takes 21 consecutive days to form a new habit.  If you really want to see a change in your life and a change in your dog’s behavior, give yourself a true chance by working on these new challenges until you accomplish your goals.  Training can be very frustrating at times but it gets easier as you work on it.  The hardest part is starting.