How to Train a Teddy Bear Puppy
(Melanie Fleury, eHow Contributor)
When training a dog the emphasis should be on teaching what the appropriate behavior is, not punishing the inappropriate ones.#dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Tip of the Day: Back Off
If another dog is telling your dog to back off and your dog is not listening, it is your job to get your dog to back off. This is important for the safety of your dog not only in this instance, but for future instances as well.
If your dog gets in the habit of ignoring other dogs when they are asking for space, there is a great chance that eventually your dog will get bitten. "The dogs will work it out themselves" is not the best option. #dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Back to basics
Back to Basics: 10 Great Dog Training Tips
Dr. Becker -
Everyone realizes there’s a big difference between a well-mannered canine citizen and an unpredictable, out-of-control dog. But often dog owners develop bad training habits without realizing it, and are left feeling confused and concerned about their dog’s uncooperative behavior.
10 Great Dog Training Tips
Tip of the Day:
Does your dog react to outside noises?
Some dogs bark at just about any noise that comes from outside. If your dog starts barking, try to get it to focus on you. You can also work on a "no bark" cue. To teach a cue like this, say your word, and then present the treat. In the beginning you may have to stick the treat right in front of the dogs face. It will serve somewhat as a distraction.
Alternatively I recommend praising and rewarding your dog when there is a sound that comes from outside and the dog does not react. This will teach the dog that when it hears a noise outside, if it stays quiet, good things happen. Just like everything else in dog training it will take a few repetitions. What you should start to see is a decline of reactions to these noises resulting in more opportunities to reward the appropriate behavior. #dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking
Six ways to control your dog's barking
Here's a list of six techniques that can help stop your dog from barking. While all of them can be very successful, you shouldn't expect miraculous results overnight. The longer your dog has been practicing the barking behavior, the longer it will take for him to change his ways.
Some of these training techniques require you to have an idea as to why your dog barks.
Always remember to keep these tips in mind while training:
Example: barking at passersby
Ignore your dog's barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don't give him any attention at all while he's barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don't talk to him, don't touch him, and don't even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat.
To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. If he barks for an hour and you finally get so frustrated that you yell at him to be quiet, the next time he'll probably bark for an hour and a half. He learns that if he just barks long enough you'll give him attention.
Example: barking when confined
Gradually get your dog accustomed to whatever is causing him to bark. Start with the stimulus (the thing that makes him bark) at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn't bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things (treats!).
Example: barking at dogs
It may sound nonsensical, but the first step of this technique is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to "speak," wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say "speak."
Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the "quiet" command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to "speak." When he starts barking, say "quiet" and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.
Example: someone at the door
When your dog starts barking, ask him to do something that's incompatible with barking. Teaching your dog to react to barking stimuli with something that inhibits him from barking, such as lying down in his bed.
Example: someone at the door
Make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.
(Puppy Dog Web)
All dogs bark, usually out of excitement to see people or other animals, danger warnings or just out of completeboredom. Your dog can be barking because he or she is having fun, is lonely or is frightened. Anxious dogs will bark in a tone that sounds like distress and calls us to attention. However, sometimes dogs bark from habit and become a nuisance. If you can discern the reason for the barking, it will be easier to deal with and correct, if necessary.
First you need to learn to understand your dog’s reason for barking. Here are a few suggestions:
If your dog has no other stimulus and is simply barking at you, he or she may simply want attention from you. The dog might be hungry or thirsty, or just want to play. Give the dog some attention, such as play time or a nice walk. Offer food and water, if needed, or just pet the dog for a period of time. If your dog has been left for a long period time, he or she is probably just expressing their desire for company.
Leaving your dog for long periods of time can create excess barking that becomes an annoyance to the neighbors. Some dogs will quiet down if there is a radio or TV background noise playing. They tend to associate this type of noise with their owner being around. If your dog is outside for long periods of time, make sure there are a lot of favorite dog toysto play with. IQube Cagey Cube is a great toy that will keep your dog occupied for hours at a time.
Tip of the Day:
Never punish your dog for growling. A growl is a warning sign that most often precedes a bite. If we remove the warning sign there is a good chance that all you will have left is a dog that bites without warning. Instead of punishing, think of a growl as your dogs way of telling you it's uncomfortable. It is then your job do make him comfortable so he doesn't have to bite.#dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Ask the Trainer: Help! My Dog Tries to Bite People
(Kevin Duggan, CPDT-KA in Ask the Trainer - Dogington Post)
Browinie is a Yorkie – and he bites people! What is a good way to train him not to without making him afraid of being around people?
This is kind of a tough one to answer due to lack of information but I am going to generalize to try to give you the best answer that I can. If Brownie is biting people it is either because he is afraid of them, or just doesn’t like them. Regardless of the reason never punish him for it. The reason is because punishing him isn’t going to make him unafraid of people, or help him to like them.
The best answer I can give you is that he needs to get a lot of good things from a lot of different people. Without knowing the severity of this issue and many details, it could be a good idea to contact a local trainer or behaviorist for help with this. What we need to do is reassure him that people are good. Lots of repetition needs to happen of him meeting people and receiving good things from them.
In the beginning have the people toss him things that he likes. It can be food or a toy. Make it extremely high value e.g. string cheese, hot dog or turkey. Make sure that everyone stays at a safe distance. The idea with this is that he stays comfortable and they stay safe. If people invade his space it can make him uncomfortable which is what you want to avoid, and they could potentially be on the receiving end of a bite.
After a lot of repetition when he is finally feeling more comfortable around people, you can start to add in some hand targeting. Put the reward in-between your fingers and present it to him with your palm facing him. Tell him to “touch.” Switch hands so he gets repetition “touching” both. After a few repetitions with having the reward in-between your fingers remove it and just do it with an empty hand. If done properly he will touch your hand with his nose. Incorporate this with the other people and what you can have is a dog that touches people, instead of biting them.
This process will take time, but this is how you can actually modify the behavior and change the way Brownie feels about people. Once again I highly recommend hiring a trainer or behaviorist to help with this depending on the severity of the issue.
Thank you for the question!
Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA
(Puppy Dog Web)
From the time you have a puppy, the best method of preventing destructive chewing is to make sure you have acceptable items on hand for your dog to chew on. When puppies are teething, they need rubber bones, squeaky toys, ropes or balls can give comfort to their growing teeth. Offer your puppy these items to distract him or her from trying to chew on shoes, furniture or other items that are off limit.
Often when puppies are given personal items, such as shoes to chew on, they will then be attracted to those types of items and think of them as play toys. Dogs continue chewing on items to relieve tension or sometimes just out of boredom. Make sure you have plenty of acceptable chew toys available and praise your dog when he or she is chewing on those items. Remember, you have to teach your dog what is acceptable and what is not.
If your dog begins chewing on personal items, furniture, carpets or other unacceptable items, tell him “No!” and offer an acceptable toy to chew on. Make sure your personal items are not lying around within reach of the dog to prevent temptation.
If your dog continues to chew on unacceptable items, you may want to try spraying products such as hot pepper sauce or pet repellents onto the items. Dogs don’t like the smell of perfumes or after-shave lotions either. One of these can be sprayed onto items the dog wants to chew on. Another idea is to use a soda can with pebbles or pennies inside that you can shake when the dogs begins chewing on objects that are off limits. The rattling noise will scare the dog.
Edible products, such as rawhide chew bones can give your dog something to chew on for a long period of time. Be careful about giving puppies these products as sometimes they can upset their stomach. Also, some dogs get defensive with food products, so be aware of this issue as well.
Just like in other areas of training, breaking a chewing habit may take some time. The best defense is to have acceptable chewing items available and watch the dog when you allow him or her to be in the house. Repetitive training, distractions and acceptable chewing toys are the best method of stopping a destructive chewing problem.
How To Stop Your Dog From Killing Toys
Why Do Dogs Kill Toys?
For dogs, who are natural hunters, their toys can be seen as prey. They may want to hunt, catch and kill the toy, especially if it is equipped with a squeaker and shaped like an animal.
Aggression toward toys is a visual marker that a dog has more energy than he needs. This is not an activity you see from a dog who just returned from a three-mile run. Rather, it is one seen in dogs who have been stuck inside all day with no outlet for their energy.
Ask the Trainer: When Two Dogs Compete to be First
(Kevin Duggan, CPDT-KA in Ask the Trainer2 - Dogington Post)
I have a 4 year old male malti-poo and a couple of months ago rescued a 3 year old female shih-tzu. We wanted a companion dog for Jack- one that was comparable in size , playful but not too hyper. She and Jack get along pretty well overall- except when it comes to playtime. Jack has never responded well to high-energy dogs. And while Francie is not a hyper dog, she has a tendency to be a bit bossy- always pushing Jack out of the way to be first etc. And she plays very rough- it’s really the only time where she really gets hyper, but she nearly body-slams Jack whenever she starts running. He snarls at her, but it doesn’t seem to have an effect. On the other hand when he tries to engage her to play more at his level, she doesn’t respond at all. Any suggestions?
Hey there Jess,
One thing I recommend is for the human to referee the play sessions. If you feel things are getting too rough feel free to step in and safely separate them. This way if everything goes as planned they will never rehearse those unwanted behaviors because it will never escalate to it.Another thing that is good to do is practice doing little training sessions with both of them at the same time. This will allow them to have some structured time together where they are interacting with you/each other and it is calm and structured. You can actually substitute some of the play time with this. Having them do some obedience together will actually work their brains which will tire them out.In regards to Francie’s bossiness, if it is becoming a problem I would start to make them both to wait for things. Whether it’s going out of the door first, or if it’s running to get a treat first. This will teach her that there is no advantage to being first.Ironically you could also use this behavior of needing to be first to your advantage for training. What you could do is make the training games a competition. If you do recall (dogs come when called) whichever dog gets there quicker gets the bigger reward!Thank you for the question!
Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA
Tip of the Day: Conditioning
Operant Conditioning is how dogs primarily learn. I define this as: If it's safe and/or benefits the dog, the dog will keep doing it. If it's dangerous and/or does not benefit the dog, the dog will stop doing it.
Can you think of examples of how this applies to a dog's life?
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Training a dog the correct way takes time, patience, consistency, and repetition. But it's worth it. #dogtraining
Tip of the Day: Distractions
Get together with your friends and their dogs and work on some training. It can be simple stuff like socialization on a hike with a group of people. It can also be teaching basic obedience. Switch up the environment with your dog. Different distractions will help proof the training. #dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Teach your dog a new behavior today. Can you dog hold a sit while you walk 10 feet away for 15 seconds?#dogtraining
Tip of the Day:
It is important to switch up the type of exercise your dog gets. By changing exercises you are working different muscles in your dogs body.#dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Tip of the Morning to Ya:
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Physically and mentally stimulate your dog. Either do so together or apart. By doing both you will drain your dog's battery more than if you just did one or the other.
Examples include: doing training sessions including sits, downs, coming when called etc. Basically making the dog actually use its brain. There are also interactive toys that make the dog figure things out. Also you can play hide and seek, and also hide treats and make your dog seek them.
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Retrieving is Sharing
A lot of my clients want to know how to get their dog to be perfect about sharing things and to never guard things. I have an easy solution;retrieving. Teaching your dog to retrieve is one of the best ways to minimize the likelihood that your dog will ever be possessive aggressive about anything.
I start out with two of the same objects or toys, tennis balls work great. Take your pup to a very non distracting area, you can start in a basement. Act like the tennis ball Is THE COOLEST thing in the world. Once your pup is interested in the ball, throw it a few feet out in front of him. When he runs out and picks it up, encourage him to come to you with it. I like to use the word “good.” When he gets to you, show him the other ball. Your pup will be FASCINATED that you have another ball and probably drop the one he has. Praise your pup with a “good give.” Throw the one in your hand and keep rotating the balls and throw a little further each time. Your dog will LOVE this game.
When your pup gets good at it, start to only use one ball. An easy way to transition to one ball is with a food reward for bringing the ball to you. This is a really easy way to make sure your dog shares things with his humans. Go slow and have fun.
If you want fetch for a particular object to be a fun game you can use for training and play, don't leave the object down at all times. Have a special toy for training and put it away when you are done. This will make your dog love it even more. If he has access to it all day it will lose value or become part of a different activity like hide the ball, destroy the ball or ignore the ball because it is boring now.
Tip of the Day:
Teaching your dog to "stay":
What does stay really mean? Stay means the dog is in a desired position until the human invites the dog to get out of that position. I teach a stay by using two words. My first word is either sit or down, followed by an end cue which for me is "okay." Okay means that it is okay to get out of that position.
Does that make sense so far? Basically, I do not use the word "stay." For me it is just an extra word that doesn't need to be there. My sequence looks something like this:
-I ask the dog to sit or down.
-The dog gets into position.
-As long as the dog is in that position he is "staying."
-I verbally reinforce the wanted behavior by telling the dog “good boy/girl.” (For staying.)
-I tell the dog "okay" which means you can get up now.
-I reward the dog with food or toy.
In the beginning I start of with very short "stays." Each time I repeat the process I increase the amount of time that the dog is in the position for. This is how you start to increase the Duration of how long your dog can "stay" in the position.
A couple other "D's" that are very important when teaching a "stay" are Distance and Distraction.
Distance means how far away you are from your dog when it is in the desired position. When teaching this take baby steps. If you try to increase the amount of distance between you and your dog too quickly you are setting your dog up for failure. When teaching Distance, it is a good idea to practice walking back to your dog and rewarding it, as well as releasing your dog to come to you to receive its reward. (Don't forget to use verbal reinforcement as well to tell your dog it is doing the correct thing.)
Lastly we have Distractions. It is important to practice a "stay" with distractions because in a real life scenario you better believe there will be some of them around. I start off with very small distractions. Every dog is different so find something that your dog doesn't really care for in the beginning. While your dog is in the sit or down position, drop the distraction in the most uninviting way you can think of. When the dog remains in the position, tell him "good boy/girl" and reward. From there, start to increase the difficulty of the distractions.
*If you are currently using the word stay, you can continue to. It will not hurt anything. I am just letting you know that technically it is a word that is not needed as long as you have a consistent end cue.
*If at any point during this training your dog messes up, have him go back into the position and start over, it’s not that big of a deal. Failure is often a part of learning.
*Use lots of verbal reinforcement to let the dog know it is doing a good job!#dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
TEACHING EYE CONTACT
(Puppy Dog Web)
Teaching eye contact to your dog can provide a way to have a quick response to your commands and if done properly, it will be easy and beneficial. It is a great way to gain control quickly to protect your dog, order restraint and basically command obedience when it is needed. With some patience and practice, your dog will be giving you eye contact when you call his or her name.
Dogs tend to respond better to movements than when you are standing still and working this exercise. Have a few treats with you in a pocket or in your hand where the dog cannot see them. Call your pets name and move quickly away from the dog. Immediately give praise and a treat when the dog moves with you. When you hand out the treat, place it between your eyes and the dogs eyes. Your dog will be looking at the treat, but will also see your eyes. In time your dog will be giving you eye contact because of the association with the treat. Praise the dog each time an eye contact response is given, and give a treat randomly.
You’ll need to practice this sequence several times. Make sure you do these activities in this order: say the name of the dog, move quickly so that the dog follows your movement, give verbal praise, pull out the treat and show it between your eyes and the dog’s eyes, and then give the treat. This is an activity that will happen quickly. Use treats for a period of time, then consider using a favorite toy to keep the pattern the way you want it to be. Alternate between giving a treat, giving a toy or only giving praise.
Your praise is important to the dog. Make sure it is included each time you try this activity and do this process in different places to establish the pattern of eye contact whenever it is needed. When you are receiving the same response each time, add some activity and noise to the area where you are teaching your dog. The dog needs to learn to give you eye contact even when there are distractions. Practice with small distractions for a period of time, then add greater distractions.
Make sure to reward the dog every time eye contact is made and the correct response is given. When you continue this practice, life with your dog will be much easier.
Tip of the Day: Teaching your dog to look at you when you ask
(All Dogs Go to Kevin LLC)
This is a very important skill to have. I refer to it as "attention work." In order to get your dog to look at you consistently when you ask all you have to do is say your dog's name, and then reward it for looking at you. Sounds simple right? Well, it gets more difficult. It is important to start off in an environment that has limited distractions. If you try to start off in a place that is too distracting you will not have much success. Once your dog is doing awesome at looking at you when you ask with limited distractions, start to increase the difficulty of distraction. As you are starting to increase the difficulty of distractions remember that the further away you are, the easier it is for your dog.
Note: I have a video on the way!
Dogs and Fireworks Phobia Dealing with a Fear of Fireworks in Dogs
(Amy Bender - About.com)
A fear of fireworks is a fairly common phobia for dogs. They often find the loud, unpredictable noise and bright displays of light truly frightening. Even a seemingly confident dog can tremble and drool at the unfamiliar sounds. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help your dog get through the festivities.
Desensitize Your Dog to the Sound of Fireworks
If you have some time before the 4th of July or an anticipated fireworks display in your neighborhood, you can begin getting your dog used to the sounds. This is referred to as desensitization, and it can be done in a few simple steps:
If you don't have time to prepare for the fireworks, or if desensitization hasn't ended your dog's fear of fireworks completely, there are things you can do to help ease his fears. These things may help with dogs who have a mild to moderate fear of fireworks.
In the case of a severe phobia, nothing may work to ease your dog's fear. If there's a chance your dog make exhibit this level of fear, talk to your veterinarian about medication. He may be able to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication or sedative to keep your dog calm during the fireworks.
Medication may be the only answer to get through the fireworks this season. As soon as the fireworks stop, however, you can begin preparing for the next one with a program of desensitization. A trainer or behaviorist may also be helpful. In severe cases, you may not ever be completely successful in eradicating the phobia, but you may be able to ease some of your dog's fear.
Ask the Trainer: Helping a Dog Overcome a Fear During Walks
(Kevin Duggan, CPDT-KA in Ask the Trainer)
What do you do, when your dog is scared to death of skateboards? Coco is a big gal, so when one pops up, she about tears my arm off to get away. Skate boards are everywhere, so it is hard to go anywhere without running into one.
I would like to help you keep your arm in your socket. My first recommendation is to find something that Coco absolutely loves. E.g. string cheese, hot dogs, turkey, chicken, a toy etc. This is going to be used to help her build a positive association when she sees the scary skateboards. My second recommendation is to use a double leash system. The freedom harness is a wonderful tool because it has two different places to hook a leash on. One of which can be connected to your belt. This is important because with that fear, she is obviously a flight risk. Safety first I always say.
With these tools we can move forward with the rehabilitation. The best way to fix this is going to be to introduce very low levels of this stimuli while giving Coco things that she loves. I recommend getting a skateboard and putting it in a room with you and Coco. Just leave it there and do not touch it. We do not want any movement in regards to the skateboard because it may startle her. The next step is going to be tossing whatever she loves all around it. The ultimate goal is for you to place her treats on top of the skateboard and her to get them off confidently. It may take a few different sessions of this before she confidently takes the treat off of it. You can encourage her to get close to the skateboard , but do not force her to. Let her adjust at her own pace. When she is doing that with confidence start to slowly move the skateboard around with your hand while continuing to reward her. With repetition she should start to tolerate skateboards, or even start to enjoy the presence of one.
This next part involves the harness leash system that I mentioned previously. This is because the next thing I recommend is going out into the environment where you usually encounter these skateboards. The most important thing is distance. The closer she is to these people on skateboards the more frightened she will be. Start off extremely far away so that she can see them but it doesn’t make her that uncomfortable. Start giving her the things she loves. If that is going smoothly and she is getting confident start to decrease your distance from the skateboards. Moving closer may not be possible in the first session. Do not rush this as it’s all about Coco staying comfortable. If at any point she starts getting uncomfortable start moving further away. More distance should make her feel better.
Do this at her pace and she should start to feel more comfortable in the presence of skateboards. Remember to stay patient and positive as this can take some time to conquer.
Thank you for the question!
Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Tip of the Day:
Use feeding time as a training opportunity. Most dogs love meal time. This is a perfect opportunity to do some sits, downs, etc. Another good exercise is getting the bowl all the way to the ground before your dog goes after it. Remember to have patience! #dogtraining
TIPS ON HOW TO INVOLVE KIDS IN TRAINING THE FAMILY DOG
Kids are known to repeatedly ask parents for a dog, and after hearing the question a million times, parents often finally give in! Sound familiar? For those who have just added a four-legged friend to the household, bear in mind that this time is not only exciting, but having a pet at home is also extremely beneficial to kids, especially when it comes to teaching them responsibility. A great way to do that is involving kids in training. While training your dog is necessary, it’s additionally a wonderful bonding experience. The American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Director Mary Burch offers the following ways parents can involve their kids in training the family dog.
(Puppy Dog Web)
Puppies and dogs will sometimes jump up on their owners or other people because they are more sociable or bold. Sometimes they do this behavior because they have associated jumping up with being rewarded by petting and praising attention. Dogs love you as their owner and often want to show their love by jumping on you. Sometimes they are just over friendly! We think it’s cute to have a puppy jumping at us, but if this behavior is allowed over a period of time it can become an annoyance. Dogs don’t understand the difference between allowing them to jump up at certain times and not other times, so teaching them not to jump is the best idea.
Jumping up gives the dog attention, so it is important how you respond. Pushing the dog away could be interpreted as a sign of play. A better idea is to teach the dog when to jump, if that is your desire, and when to stay down.
Begin teaching your dog not to jump by crouching down to his or her level to pet them. That keeps the behavior under your control. Use specific words, such as “down!” when the dog is jumping at the wrong times. Reward your dog with hugs and praise only when four feet are all on the ground so that confusion of rewards and jumping doesn’t happen.
If your dog is prone to jumping when a friend comes by, you may want to put a leash on to keep him or her from leaping up. Say “no!” or “down!” if attempts are made and use the leash to hold the dog in place. When the dog obeys, offer praise and petting to reinforce good behavior.
Dogs will not only jump on people, but on furniture if they are not taught to stay down. This is another behavior that is encouraged sometimes by visitors who think the dog is cute and cuddly. The dog reacts by jumping up on the furniture or on a person’s lap. Your command in this case needs to be “down!” or “off!” along with a gentle nudge to get the dog down on the floor. If dogs are allowed on the furniture at other times, they will not understand when suddenly they are shoved off a visitor’s lap or the furniture at other times. It is better to train the dog to stay off the furniture at all times, to avoid this confusion.
If unwanted jumping behavior continues, such as when you come home from work, you will need to try different strategies, such as ignoring the dog for a period of time when you first arrive at home. After the dog is calmer, then you should bend down and give some attention at that time.
The more you reinforce good behavior and correct bad behavior, the more your dog will respond to the good reinforcement. Be patience and practice the training often. For persistent jumpers, consider hiring a trainer to teach the dog the right behavior.
THE CANINE BEHAVIOR SERIES
By Kathy Diamond Davis
Author and Trainer
Leash Training for Puppies
A puppy may refuse to budge while on leash one day, and try to drag you down the street on the same leash the very next day! Dogs who walk well on leash face fewer dangers and have more fun. It's well worth the time to develop this skill with your puppy.
What's this Thing on My Neck?
The first step in leash training is to get the pup used to a collar. Expect the pup to scratch at it. Put the collar on when the pup is eating and playing under your supervision. Distract the puppy from thinking about the collar.
Remove the collar only at a time when the pup is NOT trying to get out of it. If you take the collar off when the pup is obsessing over getting it off, you encourage the pup to fight the collar. To the puppy, it seems that fighting the collar worked, and got that nasty collar removed!
Just like wearing a watch or a ring feels strange to you at first, the strange sensation of a collar can annoy a dog. In the same way that your senses habituate to the jewelry, the dog will get used to the collar when handled properly. Of course the collar needs to fit and should not be of a stiff or uncomfortable design. A lightweight nylon collar with a buckle or snap is a good choice.
Remove the collar whenever your pup goes into the crate. Consult your dog's breeder and veterinarian about safety with the particular breed or mix as far as leaving a collar on when the dog is outside unsupervised. Ideally a puppy wouldn't be left outside unsupervised, but if the puppy is going to be in this situation, the risks must be weighed. Some breeds are especially prone to the collar catching on something and strangling the dog (the reason collars are to be removed whenever a dog is crated). On the other hand, a dog left outside unsupervised is at risk of being lost, and collar identification saves dogs' lives. Both of these risks are also factors for dogs outside in covered kennel runs.
Some puppy breeders give you a head start on leash-training your new puppy by tying a piece of colored yarn or rickrack around the neck of each pup. This practice varies from breeder to breeder and from breed to breed-what's ideal for some is not a good idea for others. Whether the breeder has done this or not, your puppy will likely start ignoring the sensation of wearing a collar within a few days of your conditioning.
Is This Another Tail or a Toy?
The next step is to add a leash. Some pups seem overwhelmed by an entire leash all at once. In these cases you can start with a string, shoelace, or something of the sort. Add length as the puppy gets used to it.
Experienced dog people learn that chewed leashes can be useful later, and this is one of those times. Dogs tend to chew through leashes several inches from the snap. This leaves a "tab" of leash material with a handy snap on it to attach and detach easily from the collar. Tabs occasionally come in handy for other training, too, so if your mouthy young dog "creates" one for you from a leash, be sure to save it!
Attach the leash or the short item to the collar when the puppy is eating or playing, and let the pup get used to it being there. As with the collar, don't remove it when pup is making a fuss about it. Remove it at a time the pup has forgotten it's there.
Do not leave a leash on an unattended dog. It can catch on things and trap the dog in dangerous and traumatic situations. Leashes are only safe during supervised times.
Distract your puppy into play or other interaction with you whenever the puppy seems bothered by the leash or starts to chew it. It's fine to apply Bitter Apple to the leash, but realize this substance does not last long as a chewing deterrent, and will need to be reapplied for every session. Doing this can keep leash-chewing from ever becoming a habit, and save you money, work and the worry of a loose dog.
Before you pick up the other end of the leash with it attached to the puppy, you need to first put in some time conditioning your puppy to come to you and to move with you. Treats are ideal for this training. Don't be afraid the puppy will always need treats to walk on a leash. Leash walking has its own rewards, but a young puppy doesn't know that yet. The treats will help get things moving in the right direction.
Feeding time is a good time to work on this conditioning, when you have the dish in your hand and an eager puppy at your feet. Back away from the puppy. Use your body language and the puppy's name to attract the puppy to follow. Move around a bit with your puppy, making it a fun game, before putting down the dish and thus delivering a great reward.
At other times when your puppy is likely to be interested in games and treats, use a bit of food from the puppy's next meal to condition the puppy to look at you and move with you [see article Attention, Please!). Keep moving away from the puppy, encouraging the puppy to follow you. Young puppies naturally do this anyway, so the training is easy and fun.
At all times, be prepared to reward your puppy with little treats, games and other things the puppy likes, for moving with you, coming to you, and looking at you. Make this a habit, and develop your body language and voice to what works best with THIS puppy.
Each puppy is different. Pups have different things they like best, and different things they respond to in different ways. You can build your puppy's desires to interact with you by how you use your praise, treats, petting, and the games you and your puppy play together. All of this factors into your leash training as well as all other training, both in puppyhood and later.
The Leash Has Two Ends
With your puppy used to the presence of the leash attached to the collar and used to moving with you, you're ready to pick up the free end of the leash. Now it's time to visualize the real goal of leash walking.
When a dog freezes up on leash and won't move, obviously you can't get anywhere. So part of the goal is for the dog to relax when wearing a leash. You're off to the right start there, having conditioned your dog to the presence of the leash with no pressure.
A dog pulling on leash can suffer damage to the throat, which is potentially very serious in some breeds. The person trying to hold the other end of the leash may not be able to control the pulling dog, and can even be injured. Therefore a huge part of our goal in leash training is to teach the dog to walk with the leash LOOSE, no pulling. This is not only for the purpose of having control, but also to be humane to the dog.
Ironically, it's not the dog who causes the pulling-on-leash problem. Humans instinctively hold the leash tight. A dog's completely normal and natural response to a tight leash is to pull. If the dog did not pull against the pressure, the dog would be constantly off-balance.
From the first minute you pick up the leash, keep it loose. Follow the dog at times, and at other times use the skills you have been developing to induce your dog to follow you. Resist the impulse to pull the dog around on leash, or even to guide the dog with the leash. Work hard at remembering to communicate through your voice, body language and various motivators. Keep building those abilities! Keep your attention on your mental communication with the dog, rather than trying to communicate through the leash.
If your puppy makes an attempt to pull you, your job is to stand still. The message to the puppy is simply that pulling on the leash is fruitless. It doesn't work. When things don't work, people and dogs eventually quit doing those things! You can help yourself and your puppy so very much by making sure that right from the start, pulling on the leash never works for your puppy. Then pulling will never become a habit, and your puppy will be spared innumerable problems-as will you!
As soon as the puppy notices that trying to pull you didn't work because you stopped, switch into your attention-getting, puppy-follow-me mode, and get that puppy moving with you! This is the game. And to a puppy, it really does need to be a game. Make it fun for the puppy. It will be fun for you, too, and that's one of the great benefits of living with dogs!
A Great Start
If this training seems like a lot of effort, the truth is that raising a puppy IS a lot of effort. The puppy is constantly learning, no matter what you do or don't do. It's actually less work, and much more fun, to shape the learning in the right direction. Doing a good job of conditioning your puppy to the leash helps with many other important dog behaviors at the same time. Have a great time leash-walking with your puppy!
Dog Pulling on Leash
Don't let your dog pull you around. Essential leash training tips to keep your dog from pulling
(September Morn - Dog Channel)
Why dogs do this
A dog pulls on the leash for several reasons:
• Sees, hears, or smells something exciting.
• Excess energy makes it hard for her to contain herself.
• Through experience, realizes that pulling on leash makes the handler walk faster or go the direction she wants.
• Because she can.
Why this dog behavior is a problem
Pulling on leash can start off innocently, but can become a problem for both the dog and the handler. The added pressure of the collar against the dog’s windpipe (trachea) can cause wheezing or coughing, which may be only temporary, or may cause long-term or even permanent damage to the dog. A dog who pulls strongly can cause the handler to lose balance and slip or fall. Strong leash pulling by a large dog, especially near roads with traffic, can lead to serious accidents.
Dog leash training tools
Changing from a neck collar to either a head halter or front-attachment body harness can bring an immediate solution to leash pulling. These tools provide a mechanical advantage for the handler and do not cause pain for the dog. Using a head halter or front-attachment harness immediately allows the handler to control the direction and speed of the dog, without needing a lot of physical strength to accomplish this, but the dog still needs to learn how to walk politely, without pulling at all.
Teaching your dog to walk on a leash
A good way to teach loose-leash walking to a dog who pulls on the leash is to show her that pulling no longer “works” they way she thinks it will. When your dog starts to pull, simply stop walking. Stand still and wait for your dog to realize she’s not getting anywhere.
If your dog continues to pull after you’ve been stopped for three seconds, start very slowly walking backwards. Your dog will realize she’s losing ground now, not gaining it. When the dog turns around to look at you, wondering what’s gone wrong at your end of the leash, the leash will loosen a little bit. At that point, you can praise her and start walking forward again.
By consistently repeating this process each time she pulls, she will start to realize that pulling activates your “brakes” and not your “accelerator,” and the frequency of pulling will gradually diminish and eventually disappear.
Once your dog understands how to walk without pulling when wearing a head collar or body harness, you’ll be able to re-introduce her to walking politely while wearing an ordinary collar.
What to do if your Dog Pulls the Leash
What is the reward for your dog when he pulls? Honestly, he figures that the fastest way to get from point A to point B is, well, to drag you along. There is no dominance at play—it is just the fact that Fido is here, and he wants to go there. So guess what? You are going along for a ride (or drag!) Put simply, your dog has never been taught to pay more attention to you than to his environment, and at this point, there is a lot of cool stuff in the world Fido wants to see. So, get ready for the ride.
First, ask yourself one very important question, “What reward does Fido get from being on a walk?” The reward your dog gets from going on the walk is actually the walk itself. Now, the next question is “If Fido is inappropriate on a walk, what action do we take?” We already know dogs only do what is rewarding, right? If the walk is the reward, and the unwanted behavior is pulling, what is it that we must do before anything else? That’s right, we must stop walking! If Fido is not walking correctly, then the walk must stop. This is the easiest technique to use to stop a dog from pulling, but we can’t forget the other side of this equation…if we don’t want him pulling and we stop every time he does pull, do we have any idea just what it is we want Fido to do? Without this answer, it’s going to be pretty hard to get any level of reliability when walking without pulling.
My suggestion is simple: you want Fido to pay attention to you on your walks, instead of all the other stuff he has been paying attention to previously. I know this may sound simple, but a dog that is paying attention to his/her owner is not pulling. It is basic physics. We now know how to let Fido know you don’t like his pulling: you stop the walk. And we know what it is we want Fido to do on a walk—to pay attention to us—but just how do you accomplish that?
First off, let’s start with the command Watch Me. This command is simple when you point to your nose. Fido looks you in the eye and is rewarded for that contact. Once you have a good Watch Me, throw Fido a curve ball: turn your back on him and wait. In a matter of moments, Fido will come around and look at you without you having to ask! Jackpot! Give him a nice big reward and turn around again. Before too long this becomes a game and you are on your way to having a dog that is paying attention to you. Oh, and by the way, at this point in the game we should not even have Fido on leash.
As Fido gets better at this, the game will become boring and once again it’s time for the curveball. Now, instead of just turning your back, take 1 giant step away from Fido and wait. Yep, he will still come around front and look at you, but this time looking at you is not good enough. Patience… just keep waiting. If you have taught your dog that all the good stuff in life comes after he/she sits, then before you know it Fido is going to sit in front of you! The important part is not asking for the sit, but waiting till you get it. We are teaching Fido that whenever we stop, he must come around in front of us and sit and wait for further instructions. Now, I am sure you have figured out that the next step is simply more starts and stops until the behavior of front and sit are reliable at least 85% of the time. So, start moving in all directions and with different numbers of steps, until every time you stop, no matter where you are, you are getting a front-facing sit. Once that is accomplished, it is time to back-track to the Watch Me game. Only this time with a leash, and while increasing number of steps and varying directions, while still getting the front facing sit.
Are you ready to take this act on the road? You’ve been in the low distraction environment of your living room up until now. So, what is the secret to a successful loose leash walk with your dog? Guess what? It’s simply paying attention. Too many people check out while walking their dogs. They get bored and then the pulling begins. So, begin immediately where every 50 to 75 feet, you stop and practice the front facing sit! If you want to get really crazy, start practicing all your commands on your walk. 50 feet sit, 75 feet down, 50 feet front facing sit, and so on.
One last thing…I want you rewarding the dog for correct decisions and paying attention, so take treats on the walk. After all, you are expecting Fido to consider you more rewarding than the sights, sounds and smells of the walk. So, give him a reason!
Know Your Puppy’s Mood Before Training
(Ron Miller in Basic Training2)
Training your puppy will go quicker and be more pleasurable for both of you when you understand your puppy’s mood. If he or she is feeling lazy, tired, or just needs a nap as puppies often do, it is not a good time to train. Being able to pick up on these signals will help you gauge your puppy’s mood so you know when the best time to do a bit of training is. Let’s look at how we can know this so training time is not wasted.
Knowing your puppy’s mood is not difficult when you observe the signals he is giving you. Naturally we know barks and a wagging tail are indications of his mood but did you know the way the ears are held, paw position, and his mouth, as well as several other signs are all things to pay attention to when figuring out if he is in the best mood for training.
The playful mood is easy to pick up on. The pup will be wagging his tail while the body is rear high with the head and front paws down low. He is a position for fast movement to fetch a ball or make a run at you.
If he is feeling in a very friendly mood his mouth will be relaxed, the tail as well as his entire hind quarters will be moving side to side, with ears in a upright perky position and his eyes fully open and alert. He may also give a bark or whine as well.
The stressed out puppy will exhibit rapid breathing though a wide open mouth, his body might be trembling, the tail is tucked between the hind legs, and his ears will be down. These signals are common to a puppy that is fearful. They can include the hair on his back standing up, barking, and his eyes showing the whites as the head moves from side to side.
Aggression is easy to read because the pup will have his teeth bared, his tail will be pointed straight out from the body, he will be growling, and his ears will be laid back.
The moods you want your pup in before training are the friendly and playful moods. The aggressive mood is also okay, but you will need to establish you are in charge and not the pup. You may want to wait until the puppy is in a better mood — it will be less frustrating for both you and your furball.
If you can read your puppy’s mood correctly, then training the pup can be done at the optimum time.
Be Patient With Rescue/Adopted Dogs
(Ron Miller in New Leash on Life - Dogington Post)
I feel adopting an adult dog or puppy from an animal rescue shelter is one of man’s more noble deeds. These are puppies and dogs who through no fault of their own, have ended up in a place where they are fed and housed, but little more is provided in the way of love and the joy of living with a caring, loving family. All dogs have a desire to belong, and these poor shelter dogs have been robbed of this need. I would strongly encourage anyone actively seeking a dog or puppy to search as many local animal rescue shelters as possible before buying from a breeder.
Nothing wrong with buying from a breeder if you’re looking for purebreds, but keep in mind that most shelters have some purebreds, including some that are registered! Some shelters even specialize in purebreds. So before you automatically reject the idea of adopting, call and ask around.
Because shelter dogs may have a background of unfavorable treatment from a previous owner, and they may be beyond “prime training age”, you must always use patience with any animal shelter dog you adopt.
Any animal shelter dog adopted may be there for a variety of reasons. Always speak to the care takers at the shelter to learn as much background of any dog or puppy you are interested in. For puppies it is usually a case of the previous owners had an unspayed female dog that became pregnant, and the family is not able economically to take care of the pups. Thus they end up at the shelter.For adult dogs reasons include being abandoned, have become lost, or were dropped off at the shelter because the previous owner has become too old, ill, or has hit hard times economically to care for the dog. Occasionally it is because the owner has died. Then there are the dogs taken from previous owners by the Humane Society or animal control officials due to being abused.
Whatever the reasons are for the dog ending up in a rescue shelter, you must be aware of the fact all the adult dogs are going to have a previous history. The dog is going to require plenty of patience and love on your part before it is possible to win the dog’s confidence in you.
Some of these dogs are going to take right to a new owner with no problems. It is the dogs with a history of abusive treatment we especially need to use love and patience with. It will take time for the dog to learn you are not going to hurt them.
I have been a dog owner for many years, and it pains me to even think of how some of these dogs have been treated. They deserve good homes and loving owners, so please consider adopting a dog when you really want a dog. Be patient with the animal shelter dog, and he or she will reward you with many years of loyalty and love.
How to communicate properly with your dog:
(All Dogs Go to Kevin)
Communication is everything in dog training. If you are not communicating
properly you are making it much more difficult for not only you, but your dog as
well. Consistency is the name of the game. Pick two words, a yes phrase, and a
no phrase. Typically a yes phrase would be, “good boy” and a no phrase would be,
“no.” By staying consistent and using the same two words, it will be much
easier for your dog to figure out if he is doing something wrong or right.
This brings me to my next point, as a society I think we focus so much on
telling the dog when he is bad, but not praising him when he is good. Let your
dog know when he is doing the right thing. Chances are he is doing it 80% of the
time, but all that sticks out in our brains is the 20% of the time that he is
doing wrong. If you take the time to praise him for the good stuff, he will
start to understand that’s what you want. This means he will start doing what
you want, because it means good things, compared to doing what you don’t want,
which means bad things.
The yes phrase, in the beginning should be paired with praise and treats.
Over a short period of time, once he starts hearing the “good boy” he will start
to think about praise and treats, which will make him want to do it again. The
no phrase needs to be very business like. If your dog is getting up on the
counter, say “no” and go and intervene. No simply means I’m coming to remove
you. This needs to be very consistent. It can’t be, “no!, no!, no!, I mean it
this time, I’m coming over there!” With consistency the dog will hear “no” and
then get down on his own because he knows you’re coming anyway. He will then
start to figure out if he gets up there you will just say “no” and remove him so
he won’t even bother. See a pattern here? Its all about consistency. The no word
is the precursor to punishment. But punishment doesn’t always have to be intense
yelling and hitting. Giving a dog a timeout can be way more effective, and your
blood pressure can stay right where it was prior. Give this a try and let me
know how it works for you.
Tip of the Day: Do not use pain to correct
(All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC)
Do not use pain to correct your dog. By doing so you are opening up a big can of worms. If you are in the habit of smacking your dog when it does something wrong, your dog is going to start to get nervous around hands. A dog that is nervous around hands is a good candidate for a bite. Maybe the dog will never bite its owner, but it could easily bite the unsuspecting victim who is just going in to pet the dog.
Using things like collar corrections can actually do more harm than good too. An Example: You are walking your dog and it gets excited when it sees another dog, and then it is followed up by a collar correction that causes pain to try to stop the dogs excited reaction. What your dog can start to do is associate seeing the other dog with getting hurt. This will start to make your dog uneasy, or unhappy around other dogs. A dog that is uneasy, or unhappy around other dogs is a good candidate for a bite.
See where this is all going? Using pain can cause your dog to be nervous or fearful which can result in a bite. Once your dog makes the decision to bite there is no turning back. Your dog now has that behavior in its repertoire. It can take months to years to get a dog to stop biting.
Training Puppy First Week (Perfect Paws)
Consistency Trains a Puppy
Every interaction with your puppy is a training opportunity.Training a puppy when you first bring them home is critical. It is obvious that you need certain physical items such as a dog bed or crate, food and water bowls, puppy chow, collar, leash, toys, etc. Equally as important, all family members must decide and agree on routine, responsibility and rules.
The first few days are extremely important. Enthusiasm and emotions are up. Everyone wants to feed the puppy, play with the puppy and hold the puppy. Pre-established rules are easily broken. Everyone agreed that puppy will sleep in her crate but as soon as she's home, someone melts and insists that puppy will sleep in bed. Everyone previously agreed not to let puppy jump up on them, but in the excitement, no one even notices that puppy is jumping up. No one sleeps the first night. Puppy wins and gets to sleep in bed. The next morning we find puppy has eliminated all over the bed. So the following night puppy is banned to her crate and screams all night. No one sleeps tonight either.
Grouchiness sets in; enthusiasm is down. No one wants to get up at the pre-agreed upon early morning feeding time. Who will be responsible for house training the puppy? How are we going to sleep with her constant whining and crying?
Your new puppy has just been taken away from her mom and littermates. She is vulnerable and impressionable. What she needs now is security and routine. Set up a small room to be her very own special haven for the next couple of months. Paper the entire floor and put her food/water bowls and bed in one corner. Scatter her toys everywhere.
Play with her quietly and gently. Don't flood her with attention and activity. If she looks like she wants to sleep, leave her alone. Puppies need lots of sleep.
Decide who is responsible for feeding and cleaning up after her. Don't deviate from the schedule. Routine is especially important for your puppy. Don't spend all your time with her. If she is going to be alone during the day or night, she needs to start getting used to it now. If she wakes up from a nap and whines, resist the urge to run in and comfort her.
Since puppies are so impressionable, it is important to begin explaining the rules right away. Don't give her special license to get away with anything just because she is a puppy. If you allow her to have her way about certain things now, she will only be confused later when you decide to change the rules. Puppies learn very quickly with proper instruction.
Never hit your puppy or give harsh reprimands. They don't mean to misbehave - they are just doing whatever comes naturally. Instead, show your puppy what kind of behavior you want. Teach her to play with her toys. Make them fun and exciting. Let her know how happy you are and how good she is when she chews them.
Then, when you see her chewing your furniture, firmly tell her, "Off!" and immediately show her one of her own toys. Encourage her to play with and chew on it. Praise her profusely when she does so. If you don't catch her in the act, anything you do will confuse her. The only way you can instruct your puppy is to be there. If you can't be there, don't allow her to have access to places where she can get into trouble.
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Discuss your puppy's vaccination schedule and when she will be allowed outside. Puppies are susceptible to many canine diseases until they are fully vaccinated; so don't take your puppy outside until your veterinarian says it is OK.
Your puppy's emotional and mental health is just as important as her physical health. When your schedule your puppy's first veterinary visit, also schedule her into a puppy socialization class. She may not be able to attend yet, but reserve your place now so you don't miss out. Puppy socialization classes give your puppy an opportunity to meet a variety of people and dogs in a controlled situation and have a chance to just romp and play with other young puppies.
Learn to speak in your dog’s language (’cause your fur ball is talking to you)
(Ron Miller in Basic Training, Lifestyle w/ Dog)
Have you ever considered the fact that you should learn to speak in your dog’s language? If not, just remember that your little (big?) fur ball is definitely talking to you! Have you ever considered you are a teacher if you own a dog? What are you teaching is the language you speak as you communicate with your dog. Dogs are very smart and learn far more than most people realize from what we say to them. Simple commands like sit, speak, no, and come are just a few of the words we speak to them and they learn what these words mean as we show them what each word means. You also need to speak in your dog’s language as well. Say what? Yes, dogs speak through their body language.
Speak in your dog’s language
Part of interpreting the body language is to remember to keep it in context. For example, when Rover is wagging his tail while wiggling all over, and has a happy look, that means he is happy. However, don’t confuse a tail wagging with the dog being friendly. A dog can wag his tail but be bristling his hair and in an aggressive posture. You see this and it is time to back off because you about to be bitten. He brings you a toy—it is play time. He brings you his leash—time for a walk. Tail tucked between his legs—he knows he has been a bad boy. And your dog has many more methods of communicating his moods and feelings if we humans just take the time to pay attention and learn.
Another of these methods is verbal, such as a growl — it could be a warning, or “toy tug” play time. Again, interpret it in context. As described in an article on Dogster.com:
This means “back off.” You’ll see a dog growl when another dog gets interested in his food. Your dog may growl at a stranger he doesn’t like or he may growl at you when you try to take his toy away. It’s actually a very effective way of communicating and actually signals that you can probably negotiate that toy away.
That same article explains the one body language sign you had better pay attention to:
When a dog is in an aggressive stance and silent, there is the most danger.
The common preconceived idea that dogs do things to get back at us is totally false. Take making a mess on the floor while you are gone. Even though the dog has been house broken is NOT his way of being spiteful because you left him alone all day. He or she simply had to do “their business” and you were not home to let them out. Becoming stern with your dog in this situation is not going to register with the dog because the mess was made long before you came home. He will only understand you are angry but not know why.
Just as people need their space, so does your dog. Let them have all the space they need and try not to force them to do what you want at times like this. Learning to speak your dog’s language is all part of both our and the dog’s learning process.
Let us be honest here—some dogs just do not like humans and usually they have a good reason for this. They have been abused, abandoned, or had to live on their own. Keep your distance when you encounter these dogs and accept it for what it is. But the vast majority of dogs are very friendly not only with their owners but with strangers as well. Some dogs are one person dogs while others want to be everyone’s friend. Learning to speak in your dog’s language is fun as well as informative.
OUCH! Puppy nibbles and bites hurt!
Why puppies bite while playing
(Pet Health Network)
Puppies, like human babies, have sharp little teeth. If you’re unlucky enough to be your puppy’s teething toy, those teeth might remind you of Jaws! When your puppy’s biting becomes focused on the human version of the teething ring, it’s time to “nip” her behavior in the bud by teaching him or her the right way to use her new chompers. Understanding why your puppy is biting is the first step toward correcting a behavior that could not only become persistent but could be a potential hazard to others, as well.
“Play-biting” is when your puppy uses her mouth to initiate and sustain play. She may grab onto clothing, or your body, to try and interest you in a game of chase or tag, and then continue by chasing you and tagging you with a little bite! When it’s clear that your puppy is biting playfully, it’s important to redirect her away from this unfavorable behavior toward an acceptable way to play.
Things to do to redirect her attention include:
Teach Your Dog How to Beg
I don’t like the use of the “subordinate” word Beg, but it is the classic term for this trick. The more P.C. term is Sit Pretty, the reason I don’t personally use this term is because I find the association with the word Beg is picked up much faster. I also believe that the negative association in having your dog “beg” is a human stereotype and as long as it is fun, the dog doesn’t have any concern with what ever word you want. If you want to use the spanish word for Beg (Mendigar) than it’s up to you. Any cue will do fine. Hand signals work too. For this example I am using the cue “beg”.
If you dog knows how to shake hands you already have a leg up on this one.
Step 1: Preparation
Get yourself a pile of dog treats (the yummy kind, not the dry kind) a quiet place with no distractions, and a dog that knows how to shake hands.
Step 2: Begin
Bailey demonstrating the learning process.
Start off by getting your dog to shake hands, this should be pretty easy, as soon as your dog places one hand in yours use your free hand to gently pick up the other paw. Go slowly at first you dog will not understand why “Shake hands” was not what you were looking for. Use the cue of your choice (beg) just before you pick up the second paw. Wait for 2 seconds then drop both paws and reward with the treat.
As your dog is repeating the task it is ok to keep supporting the dog with your hand, arm or knee, once you are sure that your dog is starting to understand you can start to remove assistance and try to get them to do it on their own.
You want your dog to do as much work on this as possible. If you keep assisting your dog too much the dog will think that is part of the trick. As soon as your dog gets that you want both paws in the air stop assisting the second paw, but keep allowing your dog to balance with one hand. What you want to do is build what is called “Muscle Memory” that is where your dog remembers the position you are wanting them to sit in by themselves. The longer they lean on you the longer it takes to develop the muscle memory for the desired position.
Step 3: Reinforcement
Not all dogs pick this up quickly. So it takes many repetitions to get it right. Keep your wits about you. You will know the moment when you dog starts to understand, and when that happens you need to be there to celebrate their win. The point is always to have fun, so each time your dog does a good job, make a big deal about it. The more fun they are having the more receptive to doing it again they will be.
Remember to be calm, and patient with your dog when training. Never get frustrated or lose your temper when you dog doesn’t get it. Dogs respect calm humans, not frustrated humans! If you start to feel frustrated, STOP and try again later. Sometimes your dog may not be in the mood to learn, don’t rush them.
And most of all have fun, like all dog training it is a great bonding experience and it brings you and your pooch closer together.
Ask the Trainer: Teaching a Dog to Be Calm When Someone Visits the Home
( Brandy Arnold in Ask the Trainer)
Most dogs do not know how to act properly when people come in the door. Firstly, I would make a little sign and put it on your door stating that your dog is in training and it will be a minute. By doing so you have the visitor portion of the training partially under control.
The next step is to figure out a safe way to allow visitors to greet her. If you are strong enough to restrain her with a leash, you could do that. Other options may be using a crate, baby gate etc. The idea is that she cannot get to the guest. The next step is going to be to have the guest come in safely and toss her something she likes. This could be a toy or a treat. Make sure everyone stays at a safe distance so no one gets hurt.
With repetition Dakota will start to associate someone coming into the door with good things. This will start to curb her aggressiveness. When she is no longer aggressive when people walk in she will most likely just be excited. Ignore the excitement until she calms down. When she calms down she can then be rewarded with a treat or just get the attention she is looking for.
3 Easy Ways to Help Your Pet Cope While You’re Away
We all hate to leave our pets, but sometimes a trip away is necessary. Whether you decide to place your pet in a kennel or a pet sitter’s care, there are a number of things you can do to make your time away from them as easy as possible.
Keep the Routine
Be sure that whoever will be caring for your pet knows their routine, and will stick with it. Your pet should be fed, walked, and played with at the same times each day as he is accustomed to. Your being away will be enough of a change; keeping the rest of the routine the same will help to ease your pet’s stress. Be sure to always leave your pet with plenty of his regular food; don’t put him through the stress of a diet change while you’re not there.
Leave Familiar Objects
If you’re leaving your pet at a kennel, send him with a few of his favorite toys. You might even include his pet bed from home, if he has one. Be sure to leave him with a shirt or blanket that smells like you – familiar toys and scents act as a reassurance to your pet.
Don’t Make Leaving a Big Deal
When it’s time to leave your pet, don’t make it into a bigger deal than it needs to be. A quick hug and a pat goodbye should suffice – drawing out the goodbyes into a longer, more emotional departure will not only alert your pet to the fact that you are upset, it will also cause him unneeded stress. As much as you may want to give your pet a long goodbye, keep things short and simple for his well-being.
Your pet will certainly miss you, but by following these steps you can make your time away as easy on him as possible. If you suspect your pet might truly be distressed by your leaving, get him accustomed to the idea of being away from you by leaving him in someone else’s care for several shorter periods of time before your longer trip.
40 dog tricks and agility obstacles performed by Archie the rescue dog
Teach Your Dog to Go to Bed
“Go to Bed” is a handy behavior because you don’t need to bring your dog to a spot and cue her to stay on it. Instead, you send her there, and she parks herself. Nice when you have your hands full. Nice, too, when you can move the spot so your dog can self-park in any number of locations, either in your home or at someone else’s when you’re visiting.
“Go to Bed” the Formal Way
When you send Dogalini to bed, the first thing she has to do in order to comply is look around for the bed. So when you start training, you’ll reward her just for noticing the bed. As I’ve explained in my episodes on clicker training, a clicker is the easiest and most exact way to indicate to your dog that she’s on the right track and has earned a food reward. But if you don’t have one, you can choose one short word as your marker instead. I use “Yes.” Here’s how to set up.
Have ready your dog’s bed, your clicker, and a hefty supply of small, tasty treats. Oh, yes, you’ll also need your dog. Drop or place the bed on the floor, and as you do so, watch your dog. She will probably at least glance at the bed, because it’s in motion. Also, even if it’s her usual bed, it’ll be “new” in this context, and that will also attract her attention.
Start Small – A Glance at the Bed!The instant you see your dog glance at the bed, mark her behavior with a click or a “Yes” and immediately deliver a treat. Many or most dogs will look at the bed again – mark and treat. Every time you do this, it becomes more likely that your dog will look at the bed; after, say, half a dozen reps, hold out for a little more action before you mark and treat.
This could be a bigger head turn toward the bed, or a shift of your dog’s body weight in the direction of the bed, or an actual step toward the bed. Clicker training is both solid science and an art; the art is in your careful attention to your dog and your knowledge of her personality. If she has a lot of reward-based training under her belt, she may experiment eagerly and persistently, trying “bigger” behaviors to get you to click. That eager, confident, experienced dog may be heading for the bed during your very first training session.
Be Patient with Cautious Dogs
At the other end of the spectrum is a dog who maybe doesn’t have a lot of practice learning new things, or who’s a little more cautious by nature, or (worse) who has a lot of experience with the kind of training that consists mostly of punishing mistakes. These dogs may be reluctant to try new behaviors and less likely to keep trying if the rewards don’t flow quickly. To help them learn, keep training sessions short and fun. A dozen reps is plenty. And don’t expect too much at first...
...unlike a super-confident dog who heads for the bed during her first lesson, your quiet, cautious dog may get only as far shifting her weight or lifting a paw in the right direction.
Most dogs do seem to get stuck a few times, especially in the early stages of teaching “Go to Bed.” Your dog might seem to forget about the bed – to stop orienting herself toward it, for instance. Or maybe she got as far as taking several steps toward the bed, then all of a sudden she quit doing anything. How you should respond depends on what your dog is doing. For instance, displacement behaviors are normal behaviors that show up out of context, such as sniffing the ground, licking the genitals, or suddenly discovering an itch that has to be scratched. They’re a sign of stress, so if you’re seeing them, give your dog a few minutes or more to chill out before you try again.
Try picking up the bed and putting it down again in a different spot. This often seems to “refresh” it or make it seem new and interesting again.
Your dog might seem to be confused but still in the game, though. Maybe she’s just sitting there looking at you for a cue. Try picking up the bed and putting it down again in a different spot. This often seems to “refresh” it or make it seem new and interesting again. It’s also an important part of the training, because eventually you’ll be sending Dogalini to bed from different locations. Moving the bed around helps her figure out that she should focus on the bed, not a particular spot on the floor or any particular orientation toward you. You can also help keep your dog from getting stuck by moving around so that you and the bed aren’t in the same spots all the time. And when you deliver treats, toss them on the ground and close to the bed. Keep your dog moving as much as you can, especially if she automatically sits when she sees a treat coming.
Move the Training Along
Once your dog is confidently moving toward the bed, hold out for her to step on it, then to stand on it with all four legs, then to sit on it, then to lie down. Many dogs will readily experiment with sitting or lying on on the bed once they’ve got the idea to head for it in the first place, but your dog may learn faster if you give her a cue the first few times.
At this point, you can say your “Go to Bed” cue just before you know she’ll head for the bed anyway; she’ll associate the cue with her behavior.
Also, now you should gradually start holding out for longer times spent on the bed before you click and treat. Since your ultimate goal is for your dog to stay on the bed once she gets there, take several practice sessions for this part of the training. And give your dog a clear signal that she’s free to get up after each rep. Don’t toss a treat to lure her off the bed, because you want her to learn to stay parked on it in spite of distractions. Instead, invite her with body English. If she stays on the bed, that’s fine; the point of a release cue is that your dog is free to do whatever she likes. Have another training session later.
Last, practice with the bed in different locations and at different distances from you and your dog, so that she learns to head for it even if it’s in the next room. Be sure that she’s confident at each stage before you move on to the next.
“Go to Bed” the Lazy WayLike a lot of clicker training, “Go to Bed” is waaay more work to describe than it is to do. When I used to teach puppy classes, we had most of our little students confidently heading for their mats in a session or two. And if you teach your dog with some precision, she’ll learn the lesson more reliably. But if a casual approach will do for you, try this.
Leave the bed down and make sure everything good happens on it. Feed your dog on the bed, pay attention to him when he’s on the bed, leave treats on the bed for him to find at random times. If you’re cooking, put the bed in an out-of-the-way corner of the kitchen or nearby, and make sure that tiny bits of your meat or cheese or pasta find their way to it; if that’s where the goods show up, that’s where your dog will learn to show up as well.
The “lazy way” doesn’t really call for less of your attention and focus than formal training sessions do. You just need to distribute your attention differently, taking advantage of any chance you see to make your dog’s bed super attractive to him, so he chooses to hang out on it often. One method doesn’t rule the other out, either – use both, and teach your dog not only to go to bed on cue, but also that bed is where a dog should lie in wait to get excellent surprises.
Seven Tips for Managing and Reducing Dog Fear
(Puppy Dog Web)
Dog fear can be caused by bad past experiences, lack of socialization or just an irrational phobia. Experiencing constantfear and anxiety can greatly reduce your dog's quality of life, but there are many ways to manage your dog's fear and make him more comfortable.
Tip One: Create a Quiet Place
If your dog is constantly anxious, he should have a quiet place to relax such as a quiet room at the back of your house or a crate. If he won't calm down, put him in his quiet place for an hour or so with a bone and let him relax. Soon, you will find that he puts himself in there when he's trying to calm down.
Tip Two: Desensitize Phobias
Desensitizing means reducing fear by gradually exposing your dog to his triggers and creating a positive association. For example, if your dog has a fear of thunder, get a CD of thunder noises and play it at a decibel where your dog pricks his ears but doesn't show anxiety. Give treats as you're doing this so he has a positive association with the sound. Gradually make the sound louder. Keep these sessions short and positive.
Tip Three: Condition a New Response
Counter-conditioning involves teaching your dog a new reaction to his triggers. For example, if your dog barks at other dogs, desensitize him to the sight of other dogs and teach him a behavior he can do instead of barking. The best command for this is "watch." Then your dog will look at you when he sees another dog instead of barking. Any time he offers you this behavior, be ready with a reward.
Tip Four: Teach Lots of Tricks
The more distractions your dog has when faced with something scary, the better. Get him thinking. Teach him how to sit, down, shake, roll over, play dead, etc. Then, if he is faced with a really scary situation, he can focus on you rather than on the scary thing.
Tip Five: Protect Your Dog
Many dogs turn to aggression when afraid because they have learned that no one will protect them from scary things. If your dog is scared of other dogs, don't let another dog approach him. Allow him to approach only if he wants. If a person is approaching you with the intent of greeting, step in front of your dog and very assertively tell that person no. Don't put your dog in a scary situation until you have mastered the first four tips.
Tip Six: Consider Medication
If your dog is not responding to behavior modification, consult your veterinarian about a calming medication, like clomicalm or Prozac. Medications on their own are usually not as effective but, when paired with behavior modification, can give you a window where your dog is a little calmer and easier to train.
Tip Seven: Try Homeopathy
There are many natural products on the market that can help reduce your pet's anxiety. The DAP diffuser works like a scented plug-in, except only your dog can smell it as it releases calming hormones in the air. There are also drops available, such as Rescue Remedy, that can be added to your dog's food or water.
Since fear is a complex emotion, not all of these tips may apply to your dog. However, if you pick the combination that makes the most sense, you are on your way to a calmer dog.
MOUTHING AND NIPPING
(Puppy Dog Web)
Mouthing and nipping is often a problem with puppies as they are learning what is acceptable behavior. This is a behavior that can be stopped to prevent biting people or other animals. Here are a few tips for early training:
Is Punishment an Effective Way to Change the Behavior of Dogs? Use of punishment during dog training leads to increased aggression.
(Stanley Coren, Ph.D., F.R.S.C. in Canine Corner)
Probably the hottest continuing controversy among dog experts has to do with the use of punishment in dog training. Although positive dog training techniques have become widespread, "discipline"-based training using physical force has become more common because of certain popular television shows that feature it, and a number of dog training books which advocate it. Common punishing or confrontational techniques used to control dogs include: sharp leash corrections meant to cause discomfort; hitting or kicking the dog; applying electric shock; applying physical force to pressure a dog into a submissive down position; or the “alpha roll,” which forces the dog on its back in an apparently submissive position, plus a variety of other techniques involving shouting, threatening stares or growls, use of water sprays or water guns, grabbing the dog by the scruff of the neck or the jowls and shaking it, and similar procedures.
The use of such punishing and confrontational methods seems to have grown from the presumption that canine misbehavior or aggression is rooted in the dog’s attempt to express social dominance over its owner, and this has been triggered by a lack of assertiveness or authority on the part of that owner. Advocates of such theories suggest that dog owners need to establish themselves as the ‘‘alpha’’ or ‘‘pack leader," using physical manipulations, threat, and intimidation in order to do so. Theapplication of force is supposed to compel the dog into adopting a less challenging, more compliant, subordinate attitude. These ideas persist even though research has suggested that such beliefs based upon data collected on the behavior of wolves in packs is likely wrong (click here for an example).
I began to think about this issue once again when a new study appeared in the journal Pediatrics. This study dealt with human children, not dogs, and looked at the effects of spanking. Spanking is the most common form of punishment used to control the behavior of human children. Based on data from nearly 2,500 children, Catherine Taylor and her associates at Tulane University report that children that were spanked more frequently at age 3 were much more likely to be aggressive by age 5. "The odds of a child being more aggressive at age 5 increased by 50 percent if he had been spanked more than twice in the month before the study began," said Taylor. Such negative effects of punishment have been reported so often in the scientific literature that the American Academy of Pediatrics has chosen not to endorse spanking under any circumstance. According to the Academy, it's a form of punishment that becomes less effective with repeated use and also makes discipline more difficult as the child outgrows it.
You might ask what relevance a study on human children has to do with our understanding of dog behavior. There is a lot of evidence which suggests that the mind of a dog is roughly equivalent to the mind of a human 2 to 3-year-old child (click here for an example). That alone would suggest that we might learn more about dogs by studying the psychology of young humans, much the same way that psychologists extrapolate findings from animal research to predict the behavior of people. However, in this case we are also assisted by the fact that there is a relevant piece of research which reaches much the same conclusion about the effects of punishment on dogs.
Meghan Herron and her colleagues from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reported in the journal Applied Animal Behavior Science that using punishing techniques whentraining dogs tends to increase the aggression in the animals, in much the same way that spanking increases aggressive responses in human children. Just how aggressively dogs responded to these negative control methods, depended upon the severity and nature of the technique used to force or punish the dog. Thus 43 percent of the dogs increased their aggression in response to being hit or kicked, while only 3 percent showed an increase in aggression associated in response to a corrective sound such as “Schhtt!” or “Uh-Uh!” A listing of some of their findings is: (chart below)
One thing in this study that I found surprising had to do with leash corrections. These are not usually recommended by positive dog trainers because they might produce fearfulness and aggression in the dog. However in this study, only 6 percent of the dogs responded aggressively to leash corrections, and 63 percent of the owners who used such corrections felt that they had a positive effect. However the study had no way to monitor the severity of leash corrections, so it may well be that using the leash more in the manner of guidance rather than punishment is what we are encountering here.
What does come out of this study is a confirmation that the use of punishing techniques on dogs has much the same effect that the use of physical punishment has on human children — namely an increase in aggressive behavior in general, and specifically increased aggression toward the individual who is applying the punishment. Given these findings, recommendations advocating the use of punishing and confrontational methods as part of dog training and behavior control seem to be ill advised.
Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: Born to Bark, The Modern Dog, Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? The Pawprints of History, How Dogs Think, How To Speak Dog, Why We Love the Dogs We Do, What Do Dogs Know? The Intelligence of Dogs, Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Understanding Dogs for Dummies, Sleep Thieves, The Left-hander Syndrome
Copyright SC Psychological Enterprises Ltd. May not be reprinted or reposted without permission
(Puppy Dog Web)
Your dog may get very possessive when he gets a new toy or bone. He will react by guarding it closely by holding it tight in his front paws, licking and chewing on it or even retreating to a corner to protect it.
Dogs need to be taught early in their life to share so that aggressive behavior doesn’t show up later in life. Aggressive behavior cannot be tolerated, especially if you have other pets or small children in the house. You will need to put a leash and collar on your dog to train him not to be possessive. When you give him the new toy, you have to teach him to drop it on your command. Say “drop it,” and praise him highly when he responds even a little. If he decides to hold onto the toy, give him other commands, such as “sit” or “down” to remind him that you are the leader. Repeat your commands several times and take away his toy when you are finished. Repeat this exercise at a later time.
You can also offer your dog a treat or a different toy for the one he wants to hold onto. As soon as you say “drop it” and he obeys, give him a treat or a different toy. Repeat this exercise several times. You can create trust by handing back the same toy, along with other toys as you play this game with your dog. It shouldn’t take too long before he begins to trust that you will give him the new toy or an older toy back. He should begin to obey your commands if you are consistent.
Bones are harder to take away than toys. Many dogs will not give up a bone for anything else and it may be in your best interest to just let him have it. Be careful about giving out this type of item when you cannot seem to break the possessive behaviors. Remember that a distraction can be one of the best ways to break a dog that wants to guard his toys or other objects.
Common Dog Training Mistakes
(Whole Dog Journal)
The top five errors committed when training your dog with positive techniques and positive dog training methods.
You’ll never hear me say that coercive dog training methods don’t work; they can. Nor will you ever hear me say that positive training turns every dog into a model canine citizen. It doesn’t.
There is a big difference, however, between positive and coercive dog training. When methods that rely on the use of force and application of pain fail, it’s often because of the dog’s inability to tolerate coercion and intimidation. This can result in serious long-term behavioral damage and sometimes physical injury.
Dogs at the assertive end of the canine personality continuum may fight back assertively against coercive techniques, while those who are too soft to tolerate physical punishment may bite defensively or simply shut down. Positive dog training
methods, however, are most likely to fail because of mistakes made in the implementation of the method. If you misuse your clicker (clicker training) and treats you may end up with a fat, happy, out-of-control dog, but you’re far less likely to do any long-term physical or psychological damage.
The ideal, of course, is to have a healthy, happy, well-behaved dog. In order to accomplish this with positive training methods, you’ll want to be sure to avoid the common mistakes described below.
Mistake #1: “Positive = permissive”
You may hear non-positive trainers insist that there has to be a negative consequence for a dog’s inappropriate behavior or he’ll never learn what’s not allowed. It might surprise you to hear that positive trainers don’t disagree. We just differ on the nature of the consequence. A well-implemented positive training program combines good management, to prevent the dog from having the opportunity to be reinforced for undesirable behavior, and negative punishment, in which the dog’s inappropriate behavior makes a good thing go away.
Trainer ruthanna levy properly manages a meeting between a teen at a park and her dog, Ziggy. She limits Ziggy’s reach without tension, instructs the boy in how to act, and clicks and rewards Ziggy’s gentle greeting.
Consider this comparison:
Coercive – Dog is on leash, goes to jump up on an approaching pedestrian. Handler gives a sharp correction (punishment) by jerking hard on the leash. Jumping up is punished; dog learns that bad things happen if he tries to jump up. Note that he may also learn that approaching people makes bad things happen, a possible foundation for future aggressive or fearful behavior with strangers.
Positive – Dog is on leash, goes to jump up on an approaching pedestrian. Handler restrains dog so he can’t reach the stranger, and asks the stranger to stop and wait for the dog to sit before petting. Jumping up is managed; dog learns that jumping up gets nothing, but sitting makes good things happen, a foundation for future good manners/ polite greeting behavior.
Permissive – Dog is on leash, goes to jump up on approaching stranger. Handler allows dog to jump up and stranger pets dog. Jumping up is reinforced; dog learns that jumping up makes good things happen, and will continue to jump up to greet visitors, perhaps even intensify his efforts to jump up.
Management plays a vital role in the “positive doesn’t equal permissive” piece of positive training. By removing the positive reinforcement for unwanted behaviors, you prevent your dog from being rewarded by them. This is true whether you’re restraining with a leash to prevent jumping up, crating to stop adolescent house-destruction, clearing tables to manage counter-surfing, putting tempting objects out of reach to avoid chewing, or any of a long list of other management applications.
Behaviors that aren’t rewarded in some way eventually extinguish, especially if you make it a point to reinforce an alternative and preferably incompatible behavior.
Mistake #2: Dependency on luring
Unless you’re a dedicated pure shaper, if you train with positive methods you probably use luring to some degree.
Luring is using a treat to show your dog what you want him to do. To lure a “down,” for example, hold the treat in front of your dog’s nose while he’s sitting, then lower it a tiny bit toward the floor. As his nose follows the tidbit, “mark” the behavior that you want with the click! of a clicker or a verbal marker, such as the word “Yes!”, and feed him the treat.
Levy used a lure to teach Ziggy to put his head down and is fading its use in favor of a physical cue (her finger pointing down). at this stage, Ziggy more readily responds to the cue if levy is bent over, as if she were about to use the lure.
Continue gradually moving the treat toward the floor, clicking and treating along the way, until he’s lying down. If at any time he stands up, say “Oops!” and have him sit again, then resume luring the down, moving the treat toward the floor in smaller increments this time.
Luring to teach behaviors is just fine. Forgetting to “fade” (gradually remove) the lure is not. If you don’t fade the lure early in the training process, you and your dog can become dependent on the presence of treats to get the behavior to happen. While I almost always have treats in my pockets or close by, I don’t want to have to rely on treats to get my dog to offer behaviors when I ask for them.
Here’s how to fade the lure with the “down” behavior:
1. Use the lure until the “down” happens easily – when you lure to the floor your dog follows into a down position immediately, with one click! and treat at the end. For most dogs this should only take a half-dozen or so repetitions.
2. Stand in front of your dog with your hands at your sides, a treat in the hand you’ve been using to lure with. If your dog mugs that hand for the treat, hide it behind your back.
3. With your dog sitting in front of you, ask for the “down.”
4. Wait a second or two, and if he doesn’t lie down (he probably won’t), lure him to the ground.
5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 several times, sometimes waiting a little bit longer to lure, sometimes a little shorter.
6. If he’s not lying down when you ask after a half-dozen repetitions, start fading the lure in gradual steps. Ask for the “down,” pause, and when you lure, instead of moving the treat all the way to the floor, move it three-quarters of the way, and then whisk it behind your back, parallel to the floor (if you lift it up you’ll lure him back into a sit). Since he’s three-quarters of the way down, he’s likely to continue all the way to the floor, even though the treat is gone. If not, repeat again and go seven-eighths of the way to the floor.
7. Repeat Step 6, gradually decreasing the distance you lure toward the floor, until you’ve faded the lure completely.
You can apply this same process to any behavior you teach initially by luring. As soon as the dog can perform the behavior easily for the lure, begin fading. You are, in essence, translating for your dog, showing him that the word you’re using is the equivalent of the lure. When you say the verbal cue “down,” pause, and then lure, it’s as if you’re saying, “Dog, the word down means exactly the same thing as putting the treat in front of your nose and moving it toward the floor.”
Mistake #3: Dependence on treats
Even if you do a good job of fading the lure, you can still find yourself dependent on treats – feeling like you have to click! and treat your dog every time he performs, or the behavior might go away.
This is known as a continuous schedule of reinforcement (CSR). Dogs can achieve superb, reliable behaviors on a CSR, but the behaviors are probably not very durable. If for some reason you stop giving a click! and treat for each repetition of the behavior, the dog will probably stop doing as you ask in fairly short order, since he no longer gets his primary reinforcer (the food).
Trainer Sarah richardson uses clicks and treats to teach quaid to stay in the down position until he is released to eat from his bowl. Sometimes, though, dinner is the reward jackpot!
Enter the very important concept of intermittent reinforcement. When your dog performs reliably on a CSR, that is, offers the desired behavior in response to your cue at least eight out of ten times, it’s time to start reinforcing intermittently. In plain English, that means every once in a while you skip a click! and treat, and praise your dog instead. At first just skip an occasional click!, and as you practice this, over time you can skip more and more, until your dog works primarily for praise (or other life rewards).
If you include praise regularly as part of your clicker training – click!, treat, “Good dog!” your dog will have a very positive association with praise, and it will still have value even when the click! and treat are absent.
Note: In my training, a click! always means a food treat is coming. When I start using intermittent reinforcement, I don’t click! if I’m going to use praise alone. This helps to maintain the value and power of the clicker.
You can use other rewards as well, when you want to reinforce without a click! and treat. Anything your dog loves can be used as a reinforcer if you can figure out how to control your dog’s access to it and use it to reward desirable behaviors: a ball, a favorite toy, a car ride, a walk on-leash, or a scratch behind the ear.
Sometimes I reinforce my dogs for waiting politely at the door by opening the door and telling them they can run through. They get to dash outside and poop, pee, and play. These are all valuable “life rewards” – things that are naturally reinforcing to dogs.
Of course, sometimes they don’t get to run out the door. Intermittent reinforcement makes a behavior very durable. Like a gambler at a slot machines, your dog will keep playing the game because he’s learned it will eventually pay off.
Mistake #4: Poor timing
Some trainers will tell you the consequence must happen within “x” amount of time in order for it to be effective; that is, in order for the dog to understand the connection between the behavior and the reward (or punishment). I’ve heard as much as five seconds (which I would suggest is far too long) and as little as one second (which is much more likely to be accurate).
Suffice it to say that the results are optimal when the consequence happens as close to the instant the behavior happens as possible. This is true whether the consequence is positive reinforcement (treat, praise, toy, play, petting), negative punishment (where the dog’s behavior makes a good thing go away), or “positive punishment” (where the dog’s behavior makes a bad thing happen). Of course, positive trainers studiously try to avoid using positive punishment.
With good timing, you can mark the precise moment when your dog moves in a specific way (and then reward it), and eventually teach him to duplicate this move on cue.
The greatest value of a reward marker – such as the click! of a clicker or the word “yes!” – is that it enables you to have perfect timing. With a marker, you can always have perfect, or at least near-perfect timing, because the marker bridges the time gap between the behavior and the delivery of the treat. Of course the marker still has to be given the instant the behavior happens – or very close thereto – but it gives you a few seconds of breathing room in which to deliver the treat.
If you have poor timing, you may inadvertently but consistently reinforce a behavior other than the one you want your dog to perform. At best, this is confusing for the dog, slows learning, and is frustrating for both of you. At worst, you might reinforce the exact opposite of the behavior you’re trying to teach, and end up training your dog to do an entirely different behavior, perhaps even a highly undesirable one!
Let’s say you’re trying to teach your dog the polite greeting behavior of “sit” when he approaches visitors in your home. When your guests arrive, you have him on leash so you can manage his jumping up behavior. As your first guest enters the door, your dog executes a brilliant “sit” on the doormat! You fumble for your clicker, and just as you press the metal tongue he decides he’s not getting reinforced for the sit and jumps on Aunt Martha. Click! – and major oops! Of course you haven’t done terminal damage – unless Aunt Martha is 90 years old and breaks her hip when your dog knocked her down. But every time you’re too slow with your marker and it arrives when your dog is jumping up instead of sitting, you’re telling him that jumping is a good thing to do; it earns a marker and reward!
Herein lies one of the values of having a verbal marker, such as the word “Yes,” or a clicking sound you make with your tongue. If you’re caught off guard and you don’t have your clicker handy – just let loose your verbal marker and follow with one of the treats you always have in your pocket.
If you realize your timing is sloppy even with your clicker ready in hand, then do some clicker-timing practice. With your dog out of earshot, turn your television onto the sports channel and find a tennis match. Watch closely. Every time a player hits the ball, click! your clicker. When your click! regularly coincides with the “Thwack!” of the ball hitting the racket, you’re ready to go back to work with your dog. (Note: this sort of practice isn’t nearly as effective with golf or baseball.)
Mistake #5: Lacking sufficient courage of your convictions
When you’re training your dog and things don’t seem to be working as they should, it can be tempting to let yourself be led astray. You can always find a ready supply of friends, family members, and other animal care professionals who are happy to tell you that you need to correct, alpha roll, intimidate, and/or shock your recalcitrant dog into submission.
Perhaps you’re a crossover trainer and even your own past success using forceful methods prompts that little voice in your brain to say, “I could just jerk his collar one time . . .”
One of the things we value so much about positive training is the trust it builds between dog and human. Your dog trusts that he can try behaviors without getting hurt – you’ll let him know when he’s right, but you won’t frighten or hurt him when he’s wrong. When you violate that trust, you risk negative behavioral consequences that are sometimes significant, ranging from aggression at one end of the spectrum, to shutting down, or learned helplessness, at the other.
When a dog becomes aggressive, his future becomes questionable. When a dog shuts down, losing his willingness to offer behaviors for fear he’ll be punished, it makes his training even more frustrating.
Aggression aside, using coercion along with positive training has serious consequences. If you punish your dog for failing to perform a cue that you “know” he knows, you “poison” that cue; in other words, you give him a negative association with it. The cue becomes ambiguous; the dog doesn’t know if it predicts “good stuff” (click! and treat) or “bad stuff” (punishment). This ambiguity creates stress, and can turn a happy working dog into one whose tail starts to lower and enthusiasm starts to wane.
A poisoned cue is very difficult, if not impossible, to rehabilitate. If you poison a cue you’re better off introducing a new one than trying to regain the consistently positive association with the old one.
You always have a choice as to how to behave with your dog. One of the many things I love about positive training is that if one way isn’t working, there are many more possibilities to try to get the behavior you want to reinforce, without resorting to coercion or intimidation. Use of force in an otherwise positive training program is detrimental to future training, as well as evidence of lack of creativity and lack of commitment to a pain/intimidation-free relationship with your dog.
At a recent seminar, the owner of a lovely Bernese Mountain Dog admitted to me that he “had” to use a forced retrieve (ear pinch) on his otherwise positively trained dog. I gently suggested that he didn’t “have” to, but rather he “chose” to use this pain-inducing method. I wasn’t surprised when we got to the shaping exercise in the seminar and the Berner sat next to his owner, staring unwaveringly into his eyes, not offering a single bit of behavior, while the rest of the dogs in the group happily engaged in the shaping game and learned to move toward, and eventually onto, their mats. His choice definitely affected his dog and their relationship.
Positive works. If you’re committed to positive training, you can find a way to teach a retrieve without pinching your dog’s ear, or overcome your own training challenge. There are plenty of great books, videos, positive trainers, and supportive e-mail lists that can help you through your training program. Or you can decide that teaching the retrieve isn’t important enough to lose your soul over, and find something else to do with your dog that doesn’t “require” the infliction of pain. It’s your choice. Choose wisely.
Group vs. Private Training Lessons
Ok, so my dog training business offers both group and private instruction and some of my clients are confused on which is best for them and their dog. Well, I am not only going to tell you about the differences but also things to consider when choosing a training option for you and your dog.
Let’s start off with group classes, most are taught on an ongoing basis, usually once a week for a period of time, commonly 6-8 weeks in duration (mine last upwards of 20 weeks but you got to call me to get details). They tend to focus on basics and are geared toward basic obedience. This is due to the fact that multiple dogs attend the class and that there is usually not time to get too specific on personal issues or requests. They also tend to be cheaper due to the fact that with multiple students in the class the trainer can charge less.
Private training is usually (but not always) held in your home so that the trainer can see issues where they happen. This gives the trainer and the client the opportunity to work on skills and problem behaviors where they occur naturally. These sessions also allow for more one on one time with the trainer and along with time to ask questions and see and practice techniques with the trainer individually. Keep in mind since the trainer is coming to you and the training is one on one the cost of these session are usually quite a bit more expensive.
All of this being said, for me, the main difference or the way to choose the right option for you comes down to what you are trying to accomplish. If you have specific problem behaviors or issues you want to address or correct with your dog, then private sessions are probably your best choice. While if you are wanting to learn basic obedience or train preventatively (before problem behaviors crop up), then a group class is most likely the best choice. Now let’s look at one of the common mistakes folks make when choosing a training option for their dog:
nervous or shy dog
Tip of the Day: Do You Have a Nervous or Shy Dog?
(Dogs to Kevin)
One thing that is very important if you have a nervous or shy dog is getting them out and socializing them like crazy. Do this often. Get them around lots of people while they receive awesome things. The things can come from the other people, or even you. One reason this is important is if your dog randomly gets lost. If your dog is lost, and scared of people, it will take a whole lot longer to get him back. If he loves people he will probably just wander up to anyone, which will allow the person to check the tags and hopefully get him back to where he belongs.
When doing this socialization, start off in areas that do not have too many people. We don't want to flood the dog. Flooding is putting the dog in a situation where it is surrounded by things it doesn't like. Basically you wouldn't want to start this process off at a county fair. If you have a nervous/shy/fearful dog and live in NE Ohio, contact me for help. We can work on this socialization and some confidence building.
Training Your Dog: Pack Leader vs. Partnership
( Kevin Duggan, CPDT-KA in Basic Training18)
Training should be fun and rewarding for both you and your dog! It does not need to include fear or pain for your dog.
There are two styles of dog training most popular today. One of the styles focusing on clear communication and teaching the dog the correct thing to do. The other focuses on waiting for the dog to make a mistake so it can be punished.
Being a “pack leader” is a term coined by a nationally televised show about rehabilitating dogs and training people. The “pack leader” is equivalent to the boss, or “alpha.” The rules to this are rather simple, if your dog knows you are the boss, it won’t want to be in charge. But if you are not a strong leader, the dog will sense that and will feel the need to become the “alpha” of the family pack. Basically as long as you show that you are the boss you have nothing to worry about.
Seems like an easy enough concept. Just like any kind of training, consistency is key. This means that every human needs to treat the dog the same way with this style. But what if one of the humans is not capable of winning the confrontations or being physical enough to get their point across? The way this style of training works is if the dog does something inaccurate or inadequate, it receives something aversive, a punishment, e.g. giving a collar “pop” that chokes the dog and jerks its neck. What I dislike most is how confrontational and physical it is. Being confrontational and physical in training can be a recipe for disaster and there is a very good chance that someone will get bitten. The goal with this style of training is that the dog will do the correct thing the next time to avoid the punishment. Really this isn’t a fun way to learn or to teach. Ultimately what you can end up with is a fearful dog that goes through its life walking on eggshells trying to avoid punishment, and a human that is walking right beside the dog acting like a drill sergeant.
Creating partnerships between humans and canines is the style I’ve chosen which I feel is a more effective style of training than being a “pack leader” and using punishment as the primary means of communication. The reason why I like this partnership mentality is because it’s a relationship built off of communication that does not consist of pain or fear. It’s about teaching the dog what it is supposed to be doing.
The philosophy behind partnership training is more along the lines of if the dog is doing something it is not supposed to be doing; it is because it does not know it shouldn’t be doing it. Positive reinforcement is the primary quadrant used with this style. The theory behind this is if you reinforce a dog’s behavior, the behavior is likely to continue and also get stronger. I got into this style of training through trial and error basically. I am what is considered to be a cross over trainer. What this means is I started off training dogs with the “pack leader” mentality and then switched to the “partnership” approach. I have first hand experience of what is more effective, fun, and humane.
One of the main reasons I switched to the positive, partnership style of training was because of how fun it is. I mean, having a dog is supposed to be fun, right?
Another reason I switched to a “partnership” style is because of all the research I did via books, studies online, and working with other professional trainers/behaviorists. All the recent studies are pointing to how much more effective it is to teach things in a positive way. And I can confirm this with my experience doing it both ways.
One of the best parts about training in a positive style is how you get to go about working with severe behavioral issues. There is a myth out there that says severe behavioral issues need to be dealt with a strong hand. I have found this to be very untrue. In fact, typically the more physical you are with a dog, the worse the issue will get. With positive training you focus on modifying the underlying reason for why a dog is acting that way. The majority of the time, to truly fix a behavioral issue, it wouldn’t make for a good 30-minute television show. In fact, when I go into a person’s home to help fix an issue, the last thing I want to do is provoke that unwanted behavior. If my goal is to extinguish the behavior, I’m going to try to use the last time the dog rehearsed the behavior as the starting point for the rehabilitation process.
If you are currently doing things in more of a “pack leader” fashion I encourage you to get curious about positive training. Do some research and see what it’s all about. You may see that you can accomplish things much quicker while having a lot more fun like just like I found.
Kevin Duggan is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT.org) and is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. He currently resides in Ohio with his dog, V, a six-year-old Shepherd/Lab mix, where he operates All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC, specializing in helping build positive relationships between humans and their canine companions using clear communication, not pain and fear.
Negative Reinforcement Vs. Positive Reinforcement in Dog Training
(Steve Thompson, Yahoo Contributor Network)
Many dog trainers speak out against negative reinforcement, though it is unrealistic to think that you can train a dog without it. Positive reinforcement can take a primary role, but there are a few reasons why both are necessary. It is one thing to take a stance in favor of positive reinforcement, but if you rule out negative reinforcement entirely, you're short-changing yourself on your dog training progress. Dogs must be taught that some behaviors are good while others are bad in order to produce a well-mannered pet.Positive reinforcement refers to the practice of rewarding your dog when he or she does something right. Positive reinforcement can range from a soft pat on the head to giving your dog a treat, though food is certainly not necessary all of the time. The purpose is simply to show your dog that he or she has behaved correctly, and dogs respond to love and affection almost as enthusiastically as they do to treats of the edible variety. Positive reinforcement should only be used when you are pleased with your dog's behavior, and should never be used to reinforce negative actions.
Negative reinforcement is the exact opposite of positive reinforcement. You can use negative reinforcement to show your dog that he or she has behaved incorrectly. This can range from a sharp verbal reprimand to a swat on the buttocks or nose, but should never include beating or injuring your dog. There is a fine line between negative reinforcement and outright abuse, and if you are angry or frustrated, it is probably best that you not respond at all. Excessive negative reinforcement will ultimately do far more harm than good.
It is virtually impossible to begin a dog training regimen without using negative reinforcement. As much as it might pain you to reprimand your dog, he or she will never learn that some behaviors are wrong unless you effectively demonstrate as much. For example, if your dog soils the carpet, there isn't much you can do except to negatively reinforce the behavior. There is no opportunity for positive reinforcement here.
The trick to combining positive reinforcement with negative reinforcement is consistency. You can't reward one behavior today and then reprimand it the next. You must decide before you start your dog training program how you will positively and negatively discipline your dog. This is especially important for negative reinforcement because you don't want to confuse your dog over negative behaviors.
Furthermore, you should remember that positive reinforcement is a method for bonding between owner and pet. When your dog knows that his or her positive behavior is appreciated, the dog will be far more likely to consistently behave correctly. If your dog thinks that he or she will receive negative attention no matter the behavior, you'll have a difficult and potentially dangerous animal on your hands.
Combining positive and negative reinforcement will help you to build a healthy, happy home for your dog. Just remember that you can't use one without the other, so work on developing an effective combination that your dog will grow to understand and respect.
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Tip of the Day:
Punishment is meant to decrease the frequency of a behavior. If you keep finding yourself punishing your dog over and over for the same thing there is a good chance that you either need to adjust what you are doing, or change it up all together. This is why I try to focus on teaching the dog what the correct thing is. An example would be when I first got into dog training and started to train V to walk on leash. As I mentioned before I tried to go the collar correction route because at the time I knew no other way. We made some progress with it, but no matter what I was still correcting him on the walk. This is an example of the punishment not fully decreasing the behavior. It is also an example of positive punishment. (Adding pain via collar correction.) Once I switched to negative punishment (going the opposite way when he tried to pull) I finally got the walk I was looking for.
On a side note:
Using positive punishment (Adding something to decrease the frequency of a behavior) is very tough and unnecessary. In order for it to be effective in most cases you need to go OVER THE TOP with your punishment. If it is done correctly you only have to do it once. But in order for it to be done correctly you need to use a tremendous amount of pain and or intimidation which is extremely harmful to your relationship and there are a tremendous amount of side effects that will cause a lot of harm in the long run. #dogtraining
Positive Training, Not Fear
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Here comes a rant...
Dog training has evolved over recent years. What really frustrates me is trainers that are spreading old school methods that science has now proven to be incorrect. The reason why they do this is because initial studies told us that Dominance Theory was the correct way. But since then they went back over it and realized that dogs are not necessarily pack animals like they were once thought to be. The problem with these trainers is that they feel their way is the only way and most of them feel that there is nothing to learn from other trainers of different styles. Basically a lot of them feel they know it all. Which in their defense they do, because their style is so basic. Make the dog fear you and it will comply. What else do you need right? It just frustrates the heck out of me. THANK YOU all for joining my page with an open mind. I am constantly trying to learn new things as well as my colleagues that preach the same style as me.
Things to avoid when contacting a trainer:
-If the trainer preaches you need to be a leader. (There are better ways)
-If everything is dominance.
-If the answer is "Because the dog does not respect you."
-Any type of training collar that causes pain. (There are better ways.)
Once again thank you for joining and keep an open mind. My goal with this post is not to insult anyone, just to let everyone know my and just about every other positive trainers frustrations. End rant.
PUNISHMENT - TIME OUT
That’s it! You are in Time-out!
(Dogington Post - Kevin Duggan, CPDT-KA )
To some this may sound silly. A time-out? Really? What if I told you that this is a punishment method that you can have a lot of success with? What if I told you that you could take all human emotions out of punishment and still have success?
Punishment by definition is something that decreases the frequency of a behavior. There are two ways to punish a dog. You can add something that the dog doesn’t like, or you can take away something that the dog does like. Here is an example of how to take away something the dog does like: A guest arrives at your house and your dog is jumping all over them. Instead of adding something aversive, we can take the dog away from what it wants, which in this case is the person. Enter a time-out.
My time-out consists of this: Dog does a behavior, e.g. jumping on person, I say my verbal marker that the behavior is incorrect which for me is “no.” I then give the dog one more chance to make a decision. If the dog makes the incorrect decision I say “too bad” followed by the dog being brought away from the human. I set the timer (imaginary) for a minute or two and then allow the dog to try again. Once the time is up I let him try to meet the person. There is a very good chance he will make the incorrect decision because this takes more than one repetition in most cases. If he makes the incorrect decision I repeat the process, if he makes the correct decision, which is not jumping, I ask the guest to praise and reward the dog. (Ultimately focusing on teaching the dog what the correct thing to do is better than focusing on punishment. This is just an example of how to use a time-out for your dog.)
A few keys to having success with using a time-out system include timing, consistency, and letting the dog know what the correct thing to do is. Your job is basically to be a coach. Timing and consistency is key because in order for this to be effective the dog has to realize that every time it jumps on someone, it gets removed from what it likes, which in this case is the human. If half the time the dog is allowed to jump, and the other half of the time he is punished for jumping, the dog will never figure it out, because you are doing a poor job of coaching.
Once again, in most cases, reinforcing the behavior you do want is far more effective than punishing. The point of this article is to show how you can use negative punishment to your advantage for those tricky situations.
Kevin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT.org) and is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. He currently resides in Ohio with his dog, V, a six-year-old Shepherd/Lab mix, where he operates All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC, specializing in helping build positive relationships between humans and their canine companions using clear communication, not pain and fear. For more training tips and tricks, and to meet his amazing dog, V, follow him on Facebook by clicking here.
Tip of the Day: Recall
Introduce a cue to your dog to get it to stop in its tracks. The word "Stop" can work just fine. Teach it so that the louder you yell it, the more rewards it gets. This is a good to stop your dog from running into the road etc.
*For the record having an extremely strong recall (dog coming when called) can work just fine too. #dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
How to Stop the Dog from Running Away
(Dogington Post - Kevin Duggan)
Overall this is a rather common issue. I would work hard on a cue that means she is supposed to look at you. I refer to this as attention work. Start off practicing this with minimal distractions. When she is doing good with that start to increase the difficulty of the distraction. Your ultimate goal will be to get her attention when she is on a scent. And when you can pull her attention off of a scent you will then be able to recall her.
Recall (coming when called) is something that takes a lot of practice. I would recommend using a long leash (30-50ft). When training this stay very happy and use a lot of rewards. Practice this with her in a sit or a down position as well as when she goes to put her nose down to sniff. Use a consistent word and try not to repeat it. If she doesn’t come when called you have a couple options. You can get low to the ground and make some happy fun sounding noises. Another option you have is to start running the opposite way. (Be aware of how much room you have until you run out of leash). And one other option you have is to start reeling her in gently while praising her. Build that repetition of her coming every time she is called. When she is coming every time you can then start to do some off leash stuff.
Door bolting- What sounds like the most important thing is her running out of the door when grandkids are over. I would teach her that she is not allowed to go out of the door until she is “released” through it. Use a release word like “okay” every time she goes through the door(s). If she tries to walk out without the release just tell her “no” and put her back in the house and repeat. The idea behind this is with the repetition she will not go out of the door if it’s opened unless someone tells her the release word. I would practice this multiple times a day.
Tip of the Day:
If you haven't already, start to incorporate a release word for your cues. For example, when I ask V to sit, he puts his bum down, and then waits until I say "okay" so he can get up. By using a release word it lets the dog know that there will be a time when he is told he can get up. Without a solid release word you will never have a consistent "stay." By practicing with the cue and a release word you can actually eliminate the word "stay" all together. #dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Tip of the Day: Restraining your dog:
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Is your dog comfortable with being restrained? For some dogs this can be very stressful. This is something that is very important to work on though because sometimes you need to restrain your dog for random reasons. A good way to introduce this is to start off with very little "pressure" paired with something that your dog loves. Each time you do this start to increase the amount of pressure (and rewards) with the ultimate goal being something in the realm of a "bear hug." This is important to work on because the majority of the times when you will need to restrain, it will be during high stress situations. If your dog is stressed, and then you add in restraint without working on it prior, it could just make things worse.
For the record when I say, "restrain" I am referring to holding your dog against your body. I am NOT talking about pinning your dog against the ground. Pinning your dog against the ground is not a safe way to restrain your dog and will most likely make things worse.
*For nervous dogs: You may need to start off with simple touching and rewarding first. If you go right in and try to restrain the dog you will probably freak it out even more which is what we are trying to avoid. It's all about baby steps. #dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Help your puppy become a social butterfly
What you need to know about socializing puppies
(Dog Behavior, puppy behavior, socializing, dog parks, house training)
Social skills are just as important for your canine pal as they are for each of us. A well-mannered, well-adjusted dog who can adapt to a variety of situations with new people and other pets will be a happier dog and a better companion for you.
What is a well-socialized dog?
Dogs that are comfortable meeting and being around a variety of people of all ages, other dogs, and even other types of pets – especially cats – are considered well socialized. Being relaxed and receptive to new people and pets isn’t something that comes naturally to every dog, any more than it does to every person. Some dogs are extroverts and others are timid. Some dogs are naturally comfortable with people, but take a bit more time getting used to another dog or cat.
Why is socializing a dog important?
If you socialize your dog in a variety of situations, especially those situations in which you often find yourself (households with lots of children or pets, dog parks with your other dogs, a busy city street, etc.), you’ll know how he or she is going to react and feel confident that your dog is going to be comfortable and well behaved in any situation.
If you’re not focusing on social skills from an early age, you’re basically always putting your dog into new and surprising situations. This can lead to fear, insecurity, and the negative behaviors that come with those emotions.
The Social Puppy Top 4
1. Start early. As your veterinarian gives you the go-ahead, make routine “social engagements” part of his life. These can be as simple as meeting neighbors or other neighborhood pets as you take walks. You can also find local playgroups or doggie daycare facilities (in the case of a puppy, be sure they have classes specializing in younger dogs– you don’t want a little tyke to be thrown in with the big dogs right away). Dog parks can also be a good possibility, but these require a bit more thought and research and aren’t a place for very young dogs; see our article on dog parks for more information. Also, always make sure that your dog is up to date on vaccines and preventatives that protect against parasites such as fleas and intestinal worms.
2. Mix it up. Make sure that you introduce your dog to a variety of situations. A dog who only meets puppies might not be at all comfortable the first time they bump into an adult. Even spending time only with dogs of a particular gender, breed, or size can limit your dog’s comfort with future introductions to different dogs. If you think about it, the same applies to people. A dog that’s totally comfortable with adults can be completely freaked out by the well-intentioned toddler who comes running his way. Children have a very different kind of energy than adults and many dogs are very sensitive to that. It’s worth some extra attention with your dog.
3. Be part of the social experience and pay attention to your dog’s reactions. Don’t just introduce your dog to his new human or animals friends and let him figure things out on his own, especially when he’s young or new to your household. Stay with your pet, observe his comfort level, and assess whether he’s happy, nervous, anxious, fearful, or crabby. If he’s having a positive reaction, provide lots of praise and encouragement. If he’s not as comfortable, make introductions to these situations brief, still provide encouragement when he engages positively and remove him from the situation if he exhibits a negative or fearful behavior using a verbal correction if necessary (no, don’t jump, down, etc.).
4. Accept your dog’s preferences and limitations. Some dogs are never going to love kids; however, every dog should be well mannered around kids. In this case, you want to understand that your dog is never going to be the dog who is in the back yard playing with your nieces and nephews, but he or she can be the dog who’ll be calm and trustworthy around kids, even if it requires some extra effort and training. Likewise, not every dog will want to play with other dogs. But you want to know that you can comfortably walk your dog on the street and he’ll be calm when passing another dog during your strolls. Sometimes, you might need help from a professional trainer to get your dog comfortable in these situations. Talk to your veterinarian and they can give you tons of tips and tricks.
The important thing to remember is that you want your dog’s world to be a happy and comfortable place. That doesn’t mean his or her life is free from anxiety any more than ours is. It does mean you can help your dog be prepared for a variety of situations, be confident regardless of what comes his or her way, and simply know when your dog is going to be the social butterfly and when your dog will be the wallflower!
SOCIALIZING AGGRESSIVE DOG
Teaching an Aggressive Dog How to Be Social Around Other Dogs
Aggressive dogs are most effectively trained without aversive techniques.
(Beverly Hebert- Whole Dog Journal)
Going for a walk with your dog may be one of your favorite ways to exercise and relax, but your pleasant outing can quickly turn into a stressful one if you happen to encounter another dog running loose. If the other dog is threatening or your own dog reacts aggressively, the situation can become downright dangerous.
Like most owners of dog-aggressive dogs, Thea McCue of Austin, Texas, is well aware of how quickly an outdoor activity with her dog can stop being fun. Wurley, her 14-month-old Lab mix, is a happy, energetic dog who loves to swim and go running on the hike-bike trails around their home. But when he’s on leash and spots another dog, he sometimes barks, growls, and lunges. Since he is 22 inches tall and weighs 60 pounds, he can be hard to handle, says McCue. “When he pounced on one little 10-pound puppy, it was embarrassing for me and scary for the puppy’s owner!”
However, Wurley’s reaction to other dogs is far from rare. Tense encounters between dogs are not unusual, as dogs that don’t get along with other dogs now seem close to outnumbering those who do. In fact, dog-to-dog aggression is one of the most common behavior problems that owners, breeders, trainers, shelter staff, and rescue volunteers must deal with.
When Goldie sees another dog, she goes nuts,
growling and barking. If another dog approach-
es, she attacks. Rather than "correct" her with
collar yanks and yelling, Sandi Thompson
uses classical conditioning to change Goldie’s
response to strange dogs.
The major reason, says Dr. Ian Dunbar, founder of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), is that during their puppyhood, dogs are often deprived of adequate socialization with other good-natured dogs. As a result, many pups grow up with poor social skills, unable to “read” other dogs and exchange subtle communication signals with them.
Regular contact with playmates is necessary to develop social confidence. The current popularity of puppy classes is largely due to Dunbar’s pioneering efforts to provide puppies with a way to experience this vital contact with one another. If puppies miss out on these positive socialization experiences, they are more at risk of developing fear-based provocative behaviors. Because dogs that show aggressive tendencies tend to be kept more isolated than their socially savvy counterparts, their anti-social behavior usually tends to intensify as they get older.
Conditioned to improve behavior
Fortunately, there is a way out of this dilemma. If you happen to own a dog that doesn’t work and play well with others, the good news is that new training techniques are being developed that can help you resocialize your dog. Like McCue, who opted to take Wurley to “Growl” classes, you may find these training remedies can improve your dog’s manners so that you can feel comfortable handling him in public again.
Although the techniques themselves may be new, Jean Donaldson, author of Culture Clash and training director at the San Francisco SPCA, says that they are solidly grounded in behavioral science theory and the “laws of learning.” Though different trainers design their own classes differently, in general, “Growl” classes are geared to teach dogs to associate other dogs with positive things, and to teach dogs that good behavior in the presence of other dogs will be rewarded.
The first method commonly used in these classes involves simple classical conditioning – the dog learns that the presence of another dog predicts a food treat, much as Pavlov’s dogs learned to associate the sound of a bell with dinner coming.
Operant conditioning is also used to teach the dog that his own actions can earn positive reinforcement in the form of treats, praise, and play. Both types of conditioning attempt to change the underlying emotional state of the dog that leads to aggression, rather than just suppressing the outward symptoms.
This approach is a departure from the past; only a few years ago, most trainers recommended correcting lunging and barking with a swift, hard leash “pop” (yank). Although this forceful method could interrupt an aggressive outburst, it seldom produces any lasting improvement – it does nothing to change the way the dog will “feel” or react the next time he sees another dog.
With Goldie tied to a sturdy post, Thompson
has a friend walk his dog past Goldie’s field of
vision, at a distance of about 150 feet. When
the dog appears, the trainer feeds Goldie a
steady stream of delicious treats. Fixated on
the other dog, Goldie seems to barely notice
the treats – but she does eat them.
In fact, this sort of punishment sometimes exacerbates the problem by sending the wrong message to the dog; he learns that proximity to other dogs brings about punishment from the owner!
Punishment results in additional negative side effects. A dog who has been punished, just like a person who has been physically or verbally rebuked, usually experiences physiological stress reactions that make it harder for him to calm down. Also, when punished for growling or showing signs of unease with other dogs, a dog may simply learn to suppress his growling and visual signals of discomfort; the result can be a dog that suddenly strikes out with no warning.
These are some of the reasons that behaviorists like Dunbar and Donaldson now believe that it is absolutely necessary to eliminate all punishment and reprimands from aggression rehabilitation programs.
Components of effective training programs
In the most effective aggression-retraining programs, unpleasant or punishing training methods (“aversives”) are avoided as much as possible. Control over the dog’s behavior is obtained by putting the dog on what is known as the “No Free Lunch” regimen. The basic premise is that the dog must respond to an obedience cue in order to earn every right, freedom, and privilege. These include meals, treats, toys, play, games, walks, and even attention and petting. The goal is to teach the dog to appreciate his owner as the provider of all good things in his life.
Meanwhile, the first step in specifically dealing with the dog’s aggression might merely be rewarding the dog for any behavior that does not involve fighting or aggressive behavior. His behavior is then modified through a planned program of shaping (reinforcing each small action the dog makes toward the desired goal); desensitization (presenting other dogs at sufficient distance so that an aggressive reaction is not elicited, then gradually decreasing the distance); counter-conditioning (pairing the presence of other dogs with pleasant things); and training the dog to offer behaviors incompatible with aggression on cue.
An example of the latter would be short-circuiting a dog from lunging by having him instead do a “sit-stay” while watching the handler. Eventually, the dog can even be trained to offer this behavior automatically upon sighting another dog. (“If I turn and look at my handler when I see a dog, I’ll get a sardine – yum!”)
Another cornerstone technique, originally developed by behavior counselor William Campbell, is commonly known as the “Jolly Routine.” An owner is taught to use her own mood to influence her dog’s mood – when your dog is tense, instead of scolding, laugh and giggle him out of it! This same technique can work on fearful dogs. Make a list of items, words, and expressions that hold happy meanings for your dog and use them to help elicit mood changes. “The best ‘double punch’ is to jolly, and then deliver food treats,” says Donaldson. “The bonus to this technique is that it also stops the owner from delivering that tense, warning tone: ‘Be ni-ice!’ ”
Applying positive methods
The “Open Bar” is one exercise that might be considered an offshoot of the jolly routine, and it, too, makes use of classical conditioning. Here’s how it works:
For a set period of time (weeks or months, as needed), whenever another dog appears, like clockwork you offer your own dog sweet baby talk or cheery “jolly talk” and a special favorite food never given at any other time. The “bar opening” is contingent only on the presence of other dogs; therefore the bar opens no matter how good or badly your own dog behaves. Likewise, the “bar” closes the moment the other dogs leave – you stop the happy talk and stop feeding the treats.
Success! Goldie can hear Thompson’s cue
for "sit" and "look at me," and has enough
self-possession to comply. This is a great
place to stop the first session.
Skeptics may ask whether giving treats to a dog whose behavior is still far from angelic does not actually reward bad behavior. But behaviorists explain that the classical conditioning effect – creating a strong positive association with other dogs – is so powerful that it overrides any possible reinforcement of undesirable behavior that may initially occur. The unwanted behavior soon fades in intensity.
Another advantage of the Open Bar technique is that it can be incorporated into training regimens that are easy to set up, such as “street passes.” Street passes are also a means of using distance and repetition to desensitize your dog to other dogs. The final goal is for your dog to be able to walk by a new dog and do well on the first pass.
All you need to set up a training session using street passes is the help of a buddy and his dog. Position yourself about 50 yards from a place where you can hold your dog on leash, or tie him securely to a lamp post or tree. Ideally, this should be on a street, about 50 yards from a corner, so your friend can pass through an area of your dog’s vision and then disappear.
Your friend and his dog should wait out of sight until you are in position and ready with your treats. At that point he should appear with his dog, strolling across an area within your dog’s sight. As soon as he and his dog appear, open the bar and start sweet-talking your dog as you give him treats. The moment that your buddy and his dog disappear from sight, the bar closes and you stop the treats and attention.
Don’t get discouraged if on the first few passes your dog seems too frenzied to care about you and your treats. Patience will pay off. “It may take 10, 15, or 25 passes, but how many times in a row can he get totally hacked off?” asks Dunbar. “At some point he will calm down.” When he does, he will begin to make the connection with the food appearing and disappearing with the comings and goings of the “cookie dog.”
Similar sessions can be set up in quiet parks or out-of-the-way places. The handler, with the aggressive dog on leash, should stand several feet off a path, as a friend walks by with his dog, also on leash. Both dogs should have an appetite (don’t work on this right after the dog has been fed!) and both handlers should have really yummy treats in hand to help keep their dogs’ attention on them and to reward the dogs for good behavior.
The dog walker should make several passes, until the stationary dog is able to maintain a sit without lunging. As training progresses, the owner should be able to gradually reduce the distance necessary for his dog to react calmly with what Donaldson calls a “Oh, you again” response when the familiar dog passes by. The same process is repeated as new dogs are introduced into the equation.
Naturally, the more dogs that your dog can interact with, the better chance he will have to improve his behavior. If he has some bite inhibition (when he does bite another dog, the bites are not hard enough to break the skin of his victim), Donaldson believes the ideal solution is a play group of “bulletproof dogs” that are friendly, confident, and experienced enough to interact well with him. Unfortunately, this kind of play group is not easy for most owners to replicate on an as-needed basis.
Donaldson says the second best thing is a well-run “growly dog class” just for aggressive dogs, another concept developed by Ian Dunbar. One way these classes differ from regular obedience classes is that everyone in them is in the same boat, and therefore willing to work together to overcome their dogs’ problems.
One of the most comprehensive programs is offered by the Marin Humane Society in Novato, California. Training director Trish King says MHS’s “Difficult Dog” class size is limited to eight dogs and progress proceeds in baby steps.
“The first class is very controlled,” she describes. “We’ve prepared a small fenced area (using show ring gating) for each dog and the first couple of weeks we throw towels over the fences to prevent the dogs from making eye contact. By week three, the coverings have been removed. By the fourth week we have a few dogs in muzzles wandering around each other. The goal is to have the dogs remain under control when another dog runs up to them!”
King says that proper equipment is part of the formula for success. Dogs are acclimated to wearing Gentle Leaders (head halters) for on-leash work and muzzles for off-leash work. Since muzzles can interfere with the dogs’ ability to pant, care must be taken not to let dogs become overheated while using them. No pinch collars or choke chains are allowed.
“We’ve found that most people have already tried to use corrective collars, and they haven’t worked,” says King, “probably because of the lack of timing on the owners’ part, as well as the fact that these collars can set the dog up for identifying other dogs as a threat; they see an oncoming dog, while they feel the pain of the collar jerk, and they hear their owner yelling at them.”
Changing this common scenario begins with teaching owners to keep the leash short but loose. Instead of punishing corrections, MHS instructors use a variety of exercises to train dogs to avoid conflicts.
“We teach dogs to follow their owners, not to pull on leash, to watch the owner, sit, down, stay, and so on,” says King. “We also teach the owners how to massage their dogs, and how to stay calm and in control at all times. More than anything else, the class is to help owners control and manage their dogs.”
Changing the handler’s behavior
Across the continent in Toronto, Canada, Cheryl Smith, who developed some of the concepts used at MHS, also believes that working with owners and dogs as a team is one of the most important components of her Growl Classes. One of the first things that Smith teaches owners is how to take a deep breath and relax about everything. Owners who remain calm are better able to pay attention to their dog’s body language and to observe what triggers aggression.
Without special coaching, owners are likely to do exactly the opposite, thus making the problems worse.
For example, if you anticipate or respond to your dog’s aggressive behavior by tightening up on his leash, you will reinforce his perception that he should be leery of other dogs. If you get upset when he lunges and barks, your emotions will fuel his tension and aggression. If you continue to punish and reprimand your dog after he has started to settle down, you will only confuse him and make him more stressed, because punishment that comes more than a couple of seconds after a behavior is too late – your dog will think he is being punished for being quiet!
In contrast, the right approach utilizes prevention and early intervention. The dog must be prevented from repeating the problem behavior because every time that he does so successfully it will become more entrenched! Interventions may include moving to break up eye contact, using a body block to prevent physical contact or to redirect forward movement, giving a cue such as “Gentle” (open the mouth and relax the jaw) or “Off” (back away), and offering treats to defuse or interrupt tension interactions. Smith says that corrections should be limited to verbal reprimands, time-outs, or the withholding of a reward; further, she doesn’t recommend that any of these corrections enter the picture until the dog is able to respond correctly at least 80 percent of the time.
Be patient – and realistic
Of course, there will be some dogs that don’t respond adequately to any training program. These may require a referral to a certified veterinary behaviorist who can prescribe drugs such as Prozac as part of the treatment arsenal. If you have an aggressive dog, you have a responsibility to ensure his safety and that of others by taking appropriate measures, including the use of a muzzle when indicated.
But no matter how serious your dog’s problem may be, Jean Donaldson advises keeping it in perspective:
“In any discussion of aggression, it bears remembering that the bar we hold up for dogs is one we would consider ridiculous for any other animal, including ourselves. We want no species-normal aggressive behavior directed at any other human or canine at any time, of even the most ritualized sort, over the entire life of the animal? It’s like me saying to you, ‘Hey, get yourself a therapist who will fix you so that for the rest of your life, you never once lose your temper, say something you later regret to a loved one, swear at another driver in traffic, or yell at anyone, including your dog.’ It’s a tall order!”
In other words, keep your expectations realistic. Then, if you stick with the program, the odds are you will end up pleased with the results, like Thea McCue. After completing their Growl Class course with trainer Susan Smith, owner of Raising Canine in Austin, she and Wurley are once more able to hit the hike and bike trails together again. Describing Wurley’s progress thus far, McCue says, “he warms up to other dogs much faster and rarely reacts to dogs while we’re running.” Although there remains room for improvement, Wurley’s days of pouncing on puppies are over!
-by Beverly Hebert
Beverly Hebert is a freelance writer and a dog trainer from Houston, Texas. This is her first article for WDJ. Thanks to trainer Sandi Thompson of Sirius Puppy Training in Berkeley, California. For contact information for Hebert or Thompson, see "Resources."
SOCIALIZING CATS AND DOGS
Socializing Cats and Dogs. Lessons for Getting Pets to Mix and Mingle
(VPI Pet Insurance)
Does your cat spend so much time under the bed you forgot what she looks like? Or do you have a skittish dog whose tail is constantly stuck between his legs?
As people become more aware of how their pets are feeling they want to make them as happy as possible. We’re more accepting of therapy in general as a population. Through socialization classes our furry companions can get the tools they need to help decrease anxiety and keep their cool around people and other pets.
First, we asked an animal behavior expert what owners can do at home to create a more relaxed environment for their pets.
What’s So Scary?
Animals react differently when they are frightened. Some bite or growl. Others hide or shake and shiver. But why, even with all the love we give them, do they act this way?
“It’s important to realize that a lot of social behavior is caused by genetics,” says Dr. Sarah Correll of Happy Pet Therapy in Boise, Idaho. “Cats can inherit their shyness or outgoing nature from their fathers while dogs’ personalities usually depend on their breed,” she says.
Happy Kitten = Happy CatThe early stages of kitten hood are critical for coaxing cats into being social creatures, says Correll. Around 3 to 12 weeks old, they should be handled for about 40 minutes a day to help them relax.
Kittens are much more fearless at this stage so use this opportunity to frequently introduce them to different things, people, pets and experiences. Each of these interactions with different people and in different places should feel happy and safe.
“Kids, without knowing it, can be scary,” says Correll. “They may talk loudly or move suddenly or play too aggressive and rough.”
A good tip: Use cat toys when playing (avoiding hands and feet) and watch the cat’s posture for signs of anxiety.
Can You Teach An Old Cat New Tricks?
As rambunctious kittens grow into cats, they become increasingly difficult to socialize. Provide cats with a hiding place (a perch such as a cat condo or other vertical space) where they can safely observe while there is a new child or dog in the space. (If they refuse to even leave the safe confines from under the bed, try coaxing them out with tuna or small bites of chicken).
Cat Tips from Dr. Sarah Correll:
Don’t reinforce fearful behaviors by saying “It’s OK.”
Dogs were selected as companions by people for their tendency to be kind and friendly. They’ve been domesticated for a longer period of time than cats so their social abilities are much more developed, says Correll.
Still, puppies can benefit from interacting with other pets, people and things while they are young. Socialization classes can teach puppies manners, such as how to share toys, food bow and play with other dogs. Some classes may focus on the etiquette of walking correctly on a leash and not jumping on you or visitors.
If you have a particularly shy or nervous pet, you can encourage social behaviors by slowly exposing them to new people or animals by having them sit for treats through desensitization:
Dogs in a chronic state of fearfulness might need more structure in the household, says Correll. For every movement (mealtime, going outside) have the dog sit first. This will help add structure. Adding organization to a dog’s routine can decrease anxiety and help keep him calm.
A good tip: Some dogs like to have an open crate available where they can escape from commotion (a crate — a “den” for a dog — is meant to be a safe place, not a place for punishment).
You can locate a socialization class through your veterinarian or some of these animal behavioral sites:
teach, don't yell
Tip of the Day:
If your dog is doing something wrong, don't just yell at him, teach him what the appropriate thing to do is. #dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
stay in yard
Ask the Trainer: Teaching the Dog to Stay in the Yard
(Kevin Duggan, CPDT-KA in Ask the Trainer)
Odin is a Golden Retriever. He will not stay in the yard without being tied up. I have tried an invisible fence but I hate it when he gets shocked. Is there any other way to make him stay in his own yard? Thank you.
I’m a big fan of training dogs on a long leash. I use a 30-50 foot non-retractable leash. Using a long leash like this gives a dog a lot of room to roam around and sniff, pee, etc. This gives you the opportunity to do some recall training (dog comes when called) and also the boundary training you are looking for. To make it easiest for the dog you can use a flag system to mark the boundaries. I would recommend using positive reinforcement to teach Odin where his boundaries are. Hiring a qualified trainer in your area could help out a lot to give you a good visual on how to go about training this way.
Using the long leash and the flags allow your dog to roam around. When he gets near the boundary flags praise and reward him for not crossing it. You can train this one of two ways. You can increase the rewards the closer he gets to the boundary, but as soon as he crosses he gets none, or you can pick a spot and then decrease the rewards the closer he gets to the boundary. The second one is basically rewarding the dog even more for staying closer to the house. If he does cross the line try to call him back to you. If he will not come when called use the leash to assist him back into the yard. When he is a little bit closer to you try to call him again. He should come the rest of the way on his own.
This is going to take a lot of repetition.
Thanks for your question!
Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA
8 Common Dog Training Errors: Cautionary Tales
(Eileen and Dogs)
As the great trainer Bob Bailey said, training is simple but not easy. The principles are very simple and straightforward, but actually applying them in practice can be very difficult.
I’ve mentioned many times that I am not a professional trainer. But I hang out with some phenomenal ones. Plus, I am a student of life and tend to do lots of observation of myself and others. (What, you had noticed?) And I don’t mind sharing my own errors if it can help somebody along.
Here are eight of the top booboos in dog training. All of which I have done myself, and many of them on camera! (And guess what, I have 15-20 more! You can expect more posts on this if people enjoy this on.)
And by the way, these are errors made by trainers who are using the most humane methods they know and can learn. The list would be much different if it addressed mistakes made by trainers who make heavy use of aversives. I don’t want to write that list right now!
What Can Go Wrong?
(1) Allowing the dog to rehearse the behavior you’re trying to eliminate.
One of my trainer friends says this is the #1 problem she runs into with her clients. A client will say, ”I bought my dog a bed for his crate and he chewed it. I bought him another one and he chewed it. I bought him another one and he chewed that one, too. I’ve bought him five beds and he’s chewed them all.” That dog is getting really skilled at chewing beds, and has found a way to occupy himself in his crate.
If a dog has a problem behavior, it’s because that behavior has been reinforced. (Chewing is fun for dogs!) Usually not deliberately by us, but reinforced nonetheless. So we don’t tend to “count” it in our minds. But it’s just as if we had given the dog a cookie every time he chewed the bed, or jumped on the couch or whatever. But if we want to teach them to do something different, we also need to prevent those fun rehearsals of the “wrong” behavior and stop that reinforcement.
Desirable door behavior
For example, you want to train your dog not to crowd up to the back door and rush out when you open it. That behavior is reinforced every time she does it if you immediately let her outside. When you start to teach polite door manners, you doubtless start the training with an “easier” door. You practice with aninterior door, and work on the behavior you want. You reinforce with food.
Undesirable door behavior–see the linked video–>
But in the meantime, every time you take your dog into the back yard to potty, she continues to crowd up to the back door and rush out when you open it. Getting outside is obviously a potent reinforcer and nothing has happened to stop that.To get the new behavior in place at the back door, you will have to prevent your dog from practicing the old one. That can be a challenge without using aversives, but can be done. With three dogs, our back door behavior is a work in progress, but those bad habits do on occasion get reinforced. And reinforcement “on occasion” is enough to keep them alive and well.
The classic example of rehearsed behaviors and conflicting reinforcers is walking on a loose leash. If you let your dog pull you, using the same gear you use when trying to teach loose leash, that behavior gets reinforced every time that pulling gets the dog where he wants to go, just as purely as if you had given him a cookie for it. That’s why trainers always tell you to cease walking the dog or at least use completely different gear if you must walk the dog, if you are simultaneously trying to teach leash manners. You are shooting yourself in the foot otherwise.
Lumping means failing to break the behavior you are trying to teach into small enough steps. For instance, you are teaching your dog to get on a mat and lie down. Your dog is beginning to understand your cue. You stand right next to the mat and give the cue. Dog lies down. You stand two feet away from the mat and give the cue. The dog goes to the mat and lies down. You put the mat in the corner of the room, go back to the center of the room with your dog, and give the cue. Your dog says, “Huh?” Lots of misunderstandings between humans and dogs could be ameliorated if we just took enough baby steps when teaching a behavior. Here is a post about lumping, with a video starring my dog Zani, who lets her disapproval of my behavior be known.
Zani says, “Quit that lumping!”
Sitting on a crate was Zani’s idea
(3) Neglecting to generalize cued behaviors.
Dogs are great discriminators. They notice every little thing in the environment. It’s all pertinent to them. They are not as good as we are at generalizing. And it is very very hard for us to get that through our human heads.
If a dog knows “sit” when in the kitchen facing east, she may not know it while standing on the piano bench in your front room facing north. And she almost definitely won’t know it if you lie down on the floor next to her or stand on your head before giving the cue. All along you thought she was responding to your verbal cue, but she actually was responding to the fact that she was standing in the kitchen facing east, and you have a clicker and treats, and you said a word (which turns out that it probably could have been any word). All of that was actually her cue. I have several movies showing dogs who respond incorrectly to a cue because of the human failure (um, mine) to help them generalize.
And here’s my moment to plug Sue Ailsby’s Training Levels. The Training Levels are the best training program I have ever seen to build generalization into every step.
(4) And that leads to…not knowing what the dog’s cue actually is.
It may not be what we think it is. They are generally paying attention to our body language and props way more than we think. Almost all of us (border collie owners excepted, grin), think that our dogs understand verbal cues better than they actually do. I have lots of experience with this, having been blessed with two dogs who are probably less proficient than average at verbal cues. I have yet to teach them, despite many repetitions, some simple word discriminations that some breeds and individual dogs seem to pick up very fast. To really know whether your dog understands a verbal cue or not, you need not only to practice generalization, but get yourself out of the picture for the final exam. I have a fairlyembarrassing post and video where I was trying to test my dog’s knowledge of the difference between her “crate” and “mat” cue. I didn’t realize until I saw the film that I was still cuing her with my body.
(5) Trying to train when dog is too stressed.
Just about anybody who has gone to a dog training club has either done this or seen this. The dog is trying to take in this noisy, chaotic environment full of other people and dogs. Even if the dog is not scared of strange people or dgs, the noise and chaos make everything difficult. This is where it pays to know and observe your dog, and do some homework on dog body language.
It’s not hard to tell if Clara is too stressed to train
Here are some posts, photos, and videos of mine showing a stressed dog, a fearful dog, and a shut down dog. While some dogs can respond while stressed or fearful, a good teacher will help you work with your dog to get her comfortable in the environment before ever starting to teach “behaviors.” Most would agree that learning to be comfortable in a difficult environment is a more important lesson than learning to sit on cue. And it will really pay off in the long run.
(6) Not being aware of the dog’s responses.
This is a more general version of #5. Once one starts learning about dog body language, it can be a revelation to watch videos of one’s own training sessions. You may learn that you are making your dog nervous when you ruffle his fur. Or that he ducks strongly away when you reach down to pat his head. You may learn that you are leaning far to much into your dog’s face. You may learn that you are unwittingly doing something to jazz up your dog when you are trying to teach a relaxed, duration behavior. Or like me, you may learn that your dogs are way more sound sensitive than you thought. (I had the camera on behind my back when I recorded this video.)
(7) Using a verbal cue too soon.
I mean, we want to do it at the very beginning, and that’s exactly what not to do! It seems to be almost innate for us to assume that dogs do or “should” understand our own native human language. If you grew up in the “say ‘sit’ and push the dog’s butt down” generation, it is hard to imagine anything else. But remember, the word “sit” is a cue. It is a green light that says, “if you sit now, reinforcement is available.” But attaching that cue to the behavior is a latter step, not the first step. Chanting “Sit, sit, sit,” does not instruct your dog what to do. And doing the butt push move means that the first thing that Sit means is “Mom is about to push my butt down.”
As Sue Ailsby describes it, we say to the dog, “That thing you are doing–we’re going to call it ‘Sit,’ OK?”
The first step is to get the dog sitting repeatedly. You can lure, capture, or shape. But it’s a good idea to keep your lip zipped and don’t let that cue come out. Some people say you shouldn’t use the cue until you are willing to be $100 that the dog will sit.
Here is a little video I made of Clara as a puppy. This is the very first time I had used a verbal cue for “down.” I had already gotten predictable and repeated downs by arranging the environment that way.
(But watching the video today makes me realize I know her better now. According to #6–watching the dog’s responses–I might have ended earlier. Her tail is wagging with a rather low carriage and she is working very hard for a wee one. She was more stressed than I would like.)
(8) Rate of reinforcement too low.
”Rate of reinforcement” means the number of reinforcers per unit of time, for instance, per minute. When teaching a new behavior, and particularly to a dog who is new to training, it is desirable for the RoR to be very high. Dogs who know you have treats and are playing a training game but can’t figure out the rules of the game tend to get frustrated, lose interest, or even wander off. It is our job as trainers to arrange the teaching so that the pupil can have a high success rate and therefore a high rate of reinforcement.
Here’s a video of some behavior drills I did with three of my dogs. The highest rate of of reinforcement was in Zani’s first session: 12 treats in 43 seconds. That’s a treat about every 3.5 seconds, or 17 treats per minute. All of the other sessions shown came to a treat about every 5 seconds, which would be 12 treats per minute. Many of the behaviors had a little duration on purpose, so that’s not bad. I checked the video of puppy Clara I linked to in #7 above, and I delivered a treat about every 5 seconds in that one as well.
By the way, I made this list of booboos before I realized that I had examples of so many of them! How about you? Have any suggestions for my next post on this? Bonus points if you’ll step forward and show an example!
Go to http://eileenanddogs.com/2013/09/17/8-dog-training-errors/ for the videos
training - obedience
Basic Dog Obedience Training
Trying to control a dog who hasn’t learned obedience commands is exhausting and often nearly impossible. But teaching him five simple commands will make a world of difference and provide a great opportunity for bonding.
Keep in mind that puppies have short attention spans, and it is unreasonable to expect to have your puppy’s full attention for a long period of time. Keep your sessions short at first to minimize distractions and maintain your dog’s attention, gradually increasing the amount of time spent on training each day.
The sit is one of the easiest skills to teach. A puppy who sits on command is easier to manage until he learns more self-control. For example, when you teach your dog to sit when the doorbell rings, he is less likely to jump up on visitors when the door opens.
How to Teach Sit
Don’t hold the treat so high that your dog tries to jump up for it. Instead, hold it in your closed hand just high enough that he stretches his neck. Every time his rump hits the floor, tell him “Good sit!” This is a great game for children in the house to play with your dog.
Repetitions are important, but your dog will tire of multiple reps. Rather, play the sit game with your dog in short bursts multiple times every day. Reinforce the sit in other situations, like mealtimes. Have him sit before you put his food bowl on the floor or before you open the door to take him on a walk. If he breaks the sit, remind him of his job with a quiet “Oops, try again” before you open the door. If this command is reinforced every time you ask your dog to sit away from the door, he will be less likely to bolt and run when the door opens. In this respect, the sit command can be a lifesaver.
The come command is another useful tool for managing annoying puppy behaviors. This command helps keep a dog out of trouble or gives him a job to do. If he escapes the fenced yard or bolts out an open door, the come command can also save his life. This foundation skill is one that the two of you will use and refine for the rest of his life.
How to Teach Come
Don’t get in the bad habit of yelling “Come come come come” multiple times if your dog does not respond. Remember the one-word, one-command rule: Once your dog understands the command, if he does not come the first time you ask, go to him and gently guide him to where you want him to be. If you stand in the yard or at the door and holler repeatedly, he either doesn’t understand the command yet or you are expecting too much too soon.
Never call a dog to come for discipline. If so, you will teach him to associate the command with a negative consequence. If your dog is behaving badly, always go to him rather than calling him to you.
The stay command is one of the hardest for puppies and young dogs to master. Asking a dog, who only wants to sit on his owner’s feet or lean against her while she is in the kitchen, to stay put in another area is almost asking too much! Like the other basic commands, however, the stay is a lifesaver. A dog who is taught to stay won’t chase a duck in a pen or charge a cow in a field. The dog who understands stay can also go on to more advanced obedience or rally competitions.
The goal with stay is to teach your dog that his job is to remain right where he is until given further instructions.
How to Teach Stay
The down command is a good management tool that helps keep dogs out of trouble and out from underfoot. This behavior is often difficult for many dogs to learn because it’s a submissive posture. A shy or fearful dog might have more trouble learning or performing a down, so go slowly while teaching this skill. Use a happy voice, lots of praise, and good treats while training.
How to Teach Down
If your dog lunges toward your hand, say “Nope” and take your hand away before he can get to the treat. If he tries to sit up, break away and start again. Never push him into a down.
Clever dog that he is, your dog will try everything to get to the treat. He’s showing effort and should not be punished for thinking. Encourage every little bit of progress until he understands the command. After a successful attempt, always release your dog from the down and run off to play with him.
Walk Nicely on Leash
A dog who doesn’t lunge or pull at the end of his lead shows your neighbors and friends that you have trained him to be a good member of the community. Additionally, a dog who walks attentively next to his owner is less likely to become fearful in new situations.
Your dog has already begun to learn the come command on leash and to understand that the leash connects the two of you. It’s time to begin to train him to walk politely and calmly by your side.
How to Teach Walk Nicely On Leash
Loose-leash walking takes a dedicated owner who allows her dog to make mistakes and has the patience to teach him the proper behavior.
Once your dog can walk on a loose leash, begin to pair the behavior with the heel command. This means “stay close to my left leg whether we are stopped or walking.” Take a few steps with your dog in the heel position, treat, and praise. Practice, practice, and more practice are required to teach your dog this command.
Excerpt adapted from Breed Lover's Bernese Mountain Dog by Linda Rehkopf, © 2012 by TFH Publications, Inc.
Hopefully you began training your dog when he was a puppy. Teaching him basic commands when he is young makes more advanced training much easier once he is old enough to learn these more complicated commands. Many intermediate commands require your dog to perform one or more basic commands as a starting point.
The commands below not only build on the basics your dog already knows but can also help the two of you deal more confidently and effectively with real-life circumstances.
The usefulness of the stand command may not seem obvious at first. After all, dogs generally spend a lot of time on all fours, so why would they need to be asked to do so?
The stand cue comes in handy if you want your dog to pose for a picture or if you plan to show him in conformation, to begin teaching him to stack (the special standing pose that every show dog must strike).
How to Teach Stand
To teach your dog to stand on cue, do the following:
The place command requires your dog to take himself to a designated area when asked to and to remain there until released. This cue is incredibly useful in a variety of situations—particularly those involving guests in your home. That said, any time you don’t want your dog to be underfoot, either for the sake of your convenience or his safety, knowing that he will go to his place when asked will make life easier for both of you.Interestingly, many dogs learn this cue (or a variation) without their owners making a conscious effort to teach it to them.
But if your dog hasn’t learned a similar cue on his own, it’s never too late to teach him. (Note: He should know the down and the stay before you begin teaching this cue.)
How to Teach Place
Here’s what to do:
The touch cue involves asking your dog to touch his nose to your hand or an object. Like so many other commands, this one has multiple applications, starting with being able to direct your dog wherever you want him to go without having to apply any force to do so. For example, if you want to move your dog to one side of your body or the other and he knows the touch cue, all you need to do is hold out your hand or object at the place where you want your dog to be, say the command, and bingo! He’s there.
This command is particularly useful if you and your dog plan to compete in dog sports, especially agility. The reason is that often a dog must touch a precise spot on a course or piece of equipment to earn the maximum number of points or even qualify. For example, a dog who’s venturing down a teeter-totter in an agility trial must go all the way down to the end; jumping off the downward ramp to the ground is not permitted. By using thetouch command, you can teach your dog to walk or run all the way to the end of the downward ramp.
How to Teach Touch
No matter what reason you might have for wanting to apply this cue, here’s how to teach it:
Asking to Go Out
Most housetrained dogs really try to tell their people when they need a potty break. Some sit directly in front of their people and stare at them, hoping those people will figure out why they’re being stared at. Others take themselves to a door that leads outside and stare outside; they, too, are hoping that their people will figure out what’s going on. Still others lie down in front of those doors, perhaps trying to get themselves as close to their outdoor potties as they can. In any case, unless they can get outside on their own via a dog door, access to their potties depends on being able to communicate to their people that they require such access.
Here’s what you can do:
DogLife Golden Retriever by Susan McCullough, © 2010 by TFH Publications, Inc.
DogLife Miniature Schnauzer by Tammy Gagne, © 2012 by TFH Publications, Inc.
Doggy Buddy Tricks
Fun and Easy Tricks
Love Your Dogs Tricks
Make Training Fun
training - visitors
Jasmine is a 6 year old Maltese and she does not like any visitors. Why? I think she is trying to protect me, and I and my Mom have done everything to stop this behavior, but nothing has worked. My Cousin who is autistic is coming over for the night and I want to work on Jasmine with him. What do you think is the best way to teach her not to bark? Should I keep her close by me (on the leash) or should I put her in the same room, but not by me? I am trying something new here!!!
I have done a lot of training. Hopefully my hints can help. Don't put the baby out. But def correct the issue. As soon as ya see the pup ready to bark pick the pup up and in a confirm voice give a higher pitch I say EBAY. They don't respond to no barking . Use what ever word that works with you. Once quiet put the baby down.
You might need to do this a few times after about 2 or 3 weeks you should just be able to say the word.
Def include the pup. Sending out the pup in another room is not correcting the issue. I worked with autistic young adults.
Tip of the Day 2: Visitors
One of the hardest things to deal with is a dog that gets super excited when guests arrive. The reason why I say this is one of the hardest things is because most people that I work with do not have visitors over all that much. Most people that I work with have a couple visitors a month. This makes when guests arrive very exciting for most dogs. In order to train a dog how to react when visitors arrive, we need a lot of repetition. If you only have 1 visitor a month, that is only 12 repetitions a year. 12 repetitions a year is not going to cut it. Realistically we need at least a visit every other day, preferably everyday.(worst case scenario, once a week.) An easy way to teach an excited dog is to use a leash. Allow the dog to approach the guest. If the dog lifts a paw off the ground tell it "no" and and walk about 10 feet away with the dog. After a few seconds allow him to approach the guest again. If he makes the correct decision which is not jumping, have the guest give him the attention he is looking for. If he starts to jump remove him and repeat the cycle. With the repetition you will have a dog that does not jump when a guest arrives. You can also incorporate a cue that tells him to approach the guest and get into the sitting position. I will leave that for another post though. #dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
Remember that when you walk your dog it is supposed be fun for the dog. There is nothing wrong with letting your dog sniff and pee on things as long as that leash remains nice and loose. Do you need help with this? I service the Northeast Ohio area. #dogtraining
All Dogs Go To Kevin LLC
4 Dog Walking Problems You Can Fix
Everyone want's their dog to walk like an angel floating at the end of the leash. Find out how to avoid the common issues faced when walking your dog.
(Sally Deneen - Dog Channel)
1. Leash Pulling
Problem: Like many young dogs, they walked all over their owners — not the other way around. "She just pulled me. We went where she wanted to go,” says Barbara Nunnemacher, whose ruptured a tendon in her shoulder when her 80 pound dog pulled to hard on his leash.
Solution: Randomly change directions every time the dog pulls you. Your dog learns that his jobs are to keep track of you and maintain slack in the leash. "It’s about leadership,” says trainer, Ken Baechtold of GentleDogTraining.com, in Kansas. "If your dog is dragging you down the street, you’re definitely not in charge.”
Practice in the backyard, a park, or indoors. Place your dog on a 15-foot leash, Baechtold says. Begin walking. Every time the dog bolts in his favored direction, change course. Unpredictably turn right or left. Eventually, the dog learns: "Hey, when I try to go somewhere, it doesn’t work!” Sherry Woodard, dog training consultant at Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, also suggests trying this with a lead as short as 4 feet.
Another technique: Stop in your tracks each time your dog pulls. The moment the leash slackens, praise your pal, quickly offer a tiny treat, and take a big step. He may take off like a rabbit, so stand your ground until he calms down. Repeat the process, taking one step, then eventually two steps and more steps as he learns to walk calmly.
Your pet will learn new rules, says Dee Ganley, a certified pet dog trainer who runs the Upper Valley Humane Society Training Center in New Hampshire. If he keeps the leash slack, the walk will continue. If he moves ahead and pulls, the walk stops.
Before any walk, it helps to burn off excess energy by playing. That way, your less-excited pooch can focus on the walk.
When to ask for help: Turn to a trainer if you see little change. For quick results, some trainers will suggest using a training collar or lead, such as a head halter, which has one strap that wraps around the dog’s muzzle and another that goes behind the ears. When the dog pulls, your gentle tug on the leash turns his head toward you.
More on Leash Pulling>>
2. Lunging at Passersby
Problem: Few things mortify a dog owner more than when a beloved pet rears up on his hind legs and lunges menacingly at passing dogs or people.
Solution: Take note of what sets off your pet. Maybe he lunges only at dogs that pass within 6 feet, but tolerates those 7 feet away.
Next, practice. See a dog heading your way on the sidewalk? Don’t tense up. Stay upbeat. Think: "Oh boy! A dog!” Otherwise, your dog may sense your tension and become nervous or excited himself. Using a toy or a bit of some irresistible treat, lure — don’t drag — your excited friend to the side of the path, then stop at a comfortable distance (in this example, 7 feet away).
Continually praise and feed treats as the strange dog passes by. Pet your pal. Conduct several sessions like this, each a few minutes long, over several days.
Your dog will come to associate other dogs with good things, thanks to the treats. Some pets immediately turn to their walkers to seek a treat instead of lunging at a dog, notices Suzanne Tyler, a certified pet dog trainer at Greywolf Veterinary Hospital in Washington, who recommends head halters to instantly give owners good control.
Once your pet anticipates a treat upon seeing a strange dog, you should be able to allow the unknown dog to pass closer.
When to ask for help: If this process isn’t working or your dog’s outbursts are more than you can handle, seek advice from a trainer or animal behavior consultant.
3. Bounding out the Door
Problem: Your dog goes ballistic and leaps out the door, dragging you helplessly behind from the get-go.
Solution: Tell him to sit before going through any door or gate. At first he’ll excitedly jump, run in circles and whine, but eventually he’ll notice the walk isn’t proceeding. He’ll finally sit.
Another technique: Leash your pet, walk out the door, turn around, enter the house, and unsnap the leash, advises animal behaviorist Ian Dunbar, author of Doctor Dunbar’s Good Little Dog Book (James & Kenneth Publishers, 2003). Repeat this several times. Your dog will grow progressively cooler-headed, if not bored.
When to ask for help: Turn to a dog trainer if this doesn’t work, especially if you risk injury from a fall caused by an strong and overzealous pooch.
4. Chasing Squirrels
Problem: So many temptations can distract a dog during a walk. A chicken bone lies by a dumpster. A squirrel darts within view. How can a dog resist pursuit?
Solution: Teach him the Leave It command in a room without distractions or other dogs. Place a treat on the floor beyond the reach of your leashed pet and say, "Leave it.” Your dog will strain to get it, but don’t let him touch it. Cover the treat with your foot, if needed. When he eventually gazes at you, say "Yes,” praise him, and give him a different, tastier treat.
Practice over time. When your dog has clearly learned the lesson, vary the routine. Perhaps throw a treat or desired toy at a distance, and tell your dog to "Leave it.” Later, when you encounter a squirrel on a walk, tell him, "Leave it.”
When to ask for help: Your safety is paramount. Turn to a trainer if the above steps don’t calm your pet around squirrels and cats. A trainer may recommend a new collar and provide other techniques for teaching Leave It.
Making Outside Walks a Walk in the Park
(Karen H - ASPCA)
With the warmer weather, you and your dog are probably eager to get outside. Depending on where you walk, you may encounter other people and animals, along with wildlife.
For your dog’s safety, our friends at the ASPCA®offer the following tips to help you better enjoy your time in the great outdoors:
• Don’t let your dog leave home without being up-to-date on vaccinations. You never know what critters you might meet on the trail.
• Retractable leashes are great on some walks, but keep an eye out for potential hazards. The leashes can get tangled on trees and bushes, and they’re hard for someone moving quickly—like a jogger or bicyclist—to see.
• Carry water and drinking containers for both you and your dog. Dogs love streams and creeks, but so do microscopic beasties that can cause illness. Water from home is best for your pooch.
• Teach your dog to leave passersby alone. To avoid potential conflicts, train your dog to come to you for treats when other walkers or nature lovers approach.
• Clean up after yourself and your dog. As the old saying goes, “Take only pictures. Leave only footprints.” And paw prints, of course!
No matter where you walk, you’ll want to protect your best friend by making sure your current contact information can be located, either on an ID or through information on a microchip. Should your dog slip through the leash, you’ll increase your chances of being reunited with your best friend.
Also, before you hit the road, make sure your dog knows, at minimum, four commands: sit/stay, heel, leave it and come. These commands can help you avoid an encounter with wildlife or substances that could make your dog sick.
With vigilance and good training, a romp in the woods can be walk in the park for you and your dog!