Posts Tagged ‘Dog Training’

Why You Should Never Shout At Your Dog

Alan | August 21st, 2012
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If you have a new puppy in the house and are unclear about whether or not you should use yelling as a way to get him to stop doing something wrong or barking too much, then this article should clear up your confusion. If anything, you should learn the simple fact that yelling at your dog it does nothing to fix a problem, stop what he’s doing, or induce any type of positive reinforcement.

Yes your dog may stop doing a certain activity temporarily after yelling at him, but he will only return to whatever behavior he was displaying which made you angry in the first place. Why? Because when you shout at your dog it does nothing to fix the issue, yelling only works as a temporary solution.

Most puppies think of their owners as other dogs. And when you start yelling at your pet, it only increases how excited he is about the situation. You also cause your dog to create a negative association between yelling and how he feels around you. He will soon start to connect yelling with the idea that he is disliked or unwanted, and will not have the ability to know that he is actually breaking a rule that you are trying to establish.

Not All Loud Voice Commands Are Bad

Even though yelling at your dog is considered to be of poor communication skills, there are definitely times when you need to firm up the tone of your voice and change the way you come across to him. There are three general forms of communication in terms of the way you speak to your dog that you can apply:

1. The soothing tone of voice. A soothing and delightful tone of voice should be used whenever you want to give praise to your dog. When you communicate this way, you should be able to relax and soothe him as opposed to creating excitability. Speaking to your puppy in a soothing tone of voice makes him feel secure and proud knowing that you are happy with him.

2. The second tone of voice used when communicating with your dog is more of a direct tone. A direct tone would be the same way you give commands to your puppy when you want to get his attention. It should be short, firm, and authoritative.

3. The third general tone of voice you can use with your dog is more of a disciplinary tone. However, you must learn to draw a fine line between a disciplinary tone and a yelling tone. Remember, you do not want to yell your dog but there are certainly times when you need to get across to him to back away from something quickly or to stop doing something immediately, all without actually scaring him off with shouting. Personally, I like to use two syllables such as “DOWN BOY” or “SPARKY NO”.

Is Your Dog Annoying?

Peter | December 11th, 2009
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A well trained dog brings joy to their owner as well as friends and neighbors of the owner. A dog which doesn’t get at least basic training can be a real pain to be around. Even though the owner may think it’s cute, it may at times be a danger to itself as well as to others.

A dog which won’t come to its owner on command can run into the path of an approaching car or motorbike and cause an accident. Not only could your pet be injured or killed but so could the occupants of any vehicle involved in an accident.

It Will Never Happen To My Dog…

Imagine for a moment that you’re leaving the house with your dog. Since you’re getting in the car you don’t bother putting the dog’s leash on. Your untrained dog sees a cat or another dog on the other side of the street. If you dog runs off and starts to cross the cross will the respond to your command to “come here”?

How about another scenario in which you’re across the street chatting with a neighbour. Your dog gets out of the yard and wants to run across to you. There is a car coming towards you. Will you dog “sit” on the other side of the road when you tell them to? Or will they run into the path of the car?

But My Dog Doesn’t Need Training Because Of It’s Breed…

The size of your dog and it’s breed have nothing to do with basic dog training. Small dogs can provide just as much a hazard as larger ones in many situations.

A large Saint Bernard may knock you flying when it’s just trying to greet you, but a Miniature Schnauzer might get under your feet and trip you up when you have an armful of packages. The point here is the size of the dog doesn’t matter. There is situations where a lack of training can be down right dangerous.

Not all situations are dangerous however, some are just plain annoying. Imagine when friends visit and your dog won’t stop barking, jumping up and making a nuisance of themselves. Wouldn’t it be great if your dog would “lie down” on command and calm down.

But I Don’t Really Have The Time To Train My Dog…

Training your dog can actually save you time. Imagine not having to chase after your dog and them actually coming to you when you ask.

Training a dog so that they follow simple commands isn’t time consuming at all. In fact if you train them the smart way you actually don’t have to spend lots of extra time because you modify their behaviour during time you would be spending with them anyway. Get a dog clicker and reward good behavior with a tasty treat and a click. Pretty soon your dog will associate the click of the clicker with a reward and you can simply click to reward good behaviour.

When it comes to your dog there really is no excuse for not giving them at least basic training. You are their role model and it’s up to you to teach them the difference between good and bad behaviour. Training your pet is your responsibility and with the right care and attention your dog will be a pleasure to be around. You may even have some fun while training them!

Children & Dog Training – Make Training Fun, Not A Chore

Gemma | November 2nd, 2008
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To help your children become involved in training the family puppy, make it fun rather than a chore. One way to do this is to turn it into a game.

Gentle, interactive games build the bond, trust and respect that is desirable between child and puppy, says Thomas Morningstar, professional dog trainer and owner of Sunshine Dog Training School in Toronto, Canada.

Thomas provides some Dos and Don’ts for how kids should play with a puppy:

Do:

- Come
- Fetch
- Give

Don’t:

- Jump
- Chase
- Tug-of-War

Most professional dog trainers, like Thomas, will concur that you, as the adult, should teach your puppy the rules of the game first, before involving your kids.

One of the first games every family puppy should learn is give, he says. Your puppy should learn to give objects [a ball, chew toy or your daughter's Barbie] willingly with a simple verbal release cue, such as ‘give’ or ‘drop it.’

The give command, in Mr. Morningstar’s opinion, is best taught through trade-me games, where you offer a toy or treat more desirable to the puppy than the one it is holding. The point is to get the puppy to relinquish its prize happily, he explains.

After your puppy masters this skill, tug-of-war can be considered for older children [12 and older], but the game should still be overseen by an adult or responsible teen who can intervene if either the kids or the pup gets too rough, Thomas advises.

As you well know, puppies are motivated by food, so use this to your advantage! Don’t think of it as bribing, but rather as positive reinforcement (along with lots of verbal praise and cuddles).

Encourage your children to practice the puppy’s sit, come, stay and leave it lessons with treats. Treats should be soft, small and easy to eat, such as bits of cheese or hot dogs. Crunchy biscuits are usually too large and filled with too many calories for the repetitiveness of training.

When teaching sit, hold the food morsel just above the puppy’s nose, then slowly move it backward until the puppy gets into the desired position as you say the cue word (sit). Likewise, to teach the down, draw the treat slowly toward the ground from the sit position; for heel, hold it at your thigh as you walk.

Give your puppy the reward as you praise it (Good boy, Sparky!). Once your puppy starts getting the hang of it, decrease the frequency of treats to, say, every third time it performs the desired action. Food isn’t the only motivator, however. You can also use a favorite toy along with lots and lots of praise. Eventually, with patience and practice on your part, your pup will learn to sit on command.

Hiring The Wrong Person To Train Your Dog

Gemma | May 18th, 2006
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It was a breezy summer evening when approximately 12 dogs from various breeds were all assembled in a small group at a local city park in San Diego, California. At each dog’s side, its owner stood by, attentively listening to the dog training instructor whom was in the middle of the group

Today’s lesson will teach you how to give your dog the Down command. He went on to say: Now with your dog sitting by your side, and with a little bit of slack on the leash, loudly say the word ‘Down’ and then step on the leash hard so that your dog is forced to the ground and knows exactly what the down command means. This will show your dog that you are in charge and capable of making him go down whether he likes it or not.

Like mindless listeners, the entire class obeyed the lesson and literally crammed the heads of their dogs down into the ground by stepping on the leash. By the time the entire training session had ended, it seemed like every down command ended in shrieks and moans from every dog. There was mass hysteria while the toy dog breeds fought off the leash and collar and the larger dogs just got confused, not understanding the forcefulness of the lesson.

Any dogs that rebelled against their owners and the leash in the attempt to force them down were asked why the instructor to stay behind for some special handling. This special handling only turned out to be a much more aggressive counter-lesson with a rolled up fist and an aggressive action towards the dog.

Is This Worth Saving A Few Dollars?

The above scenario happens all too often throughout the country. It seems that with a few months of reading and researching dog training manuals, almost anyone can become a dog training expert regardless if the training principles they are teaching or wrong or not. Such negative dog training only destroys the responsiveness, initiative, willingness, and motivation of any dog involved towards learning.

It just goes to show you that wherever there is money to be made in any type of field, especially dog training, you’ll always have your egomaniacs and fake experts rushing to fill the gap and make a quick buck.

It may be a simple matter of economics, as one pet store owner was saying. Many dog owners come into the store and want to know how to properly train their pets. Although I sell dozens of instructional booklets, they want one-on-one teaching instructions. However, it’s quite expensive to hire a real professional so all they do is search around on the Internet or their local newspaper ads to find a cheap dog training class, which is usually run by someone that does not know what they are doing and for the most part uses aggressive tactics

The point here is to let all of you dog owners know that it is much safer to work on your own training abilities by using qualified information instead of hiring the wrong person to do the job. And there are some organizations, such as Petco, is nationally recognized animal pet store, that hires professionals to teach obedience and training classes for your dogs each week.

Basic Equipment Needed To Train Your Family Dog

Gemma | May 15th, 2006
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You will need three specific pieces of equipment to properly train your dog: a training collar, a leather training leash, and a 15-foot length clothesline rope.

If youre already thinking that your dogs present leather collar will work, and that his 4-foot chain leash will suffice, you may as well stop reading this article and save yourself and your dog weeks of discomfort and hardship. There simply is no substitute for the right training equipment. A training collar is a slip-chain type made of metal. Dont substitute one thats made of nylon.

One of the many things your dog is going to learn is to have confidence in you. But he will never develop that feeling of confidence if you substitute improper training equipment that will not be effective. Where theres no confidence there can be no respect, and no respect means no desire to please. No desire to please means no willingness to learn. Add them all up and you have an uncontrollable dog that will never achieve his rightful place in human world.

The Proper Leash

Your leash should be of the regular five to six foot leather type with a hand loop at one end. Training collars and leather training leashes are available at pet shops and via online catalogs. Training collars are sometimes called choke-chains, which is incorrect. While its true that a training collar can choke, if its worn on the dog correctly and used properly, theres no way it can be a choke-chain and cause harm to your pet.

The Right Collar

The collar should be large enough to slide over the dogs head comfortably, but not so large as to fall over the ears if the dog should lower his head. A good rule of thumb to follow is to place the collar on the dog and cinch it up tight for a moment and observe whether you have three inches of chain left over. If so, you have a fairly good fit. It is better to have a training collar thats slightly too large than one slightly too small.

Final Dog Training Necessities That You Cannot Find In A Store

The remaining equipment that youll need cannot be purchased at any store, but without them, you cannot successfully train your dog.

You must love and care for your dog! You must have patience and exercise patience while your dog is learning. A shallow patience mixed with a short temper will ensure complete and utter failure.

To lose your cool and blow up means the end of training, so heres a little tip that might help you keep your cool:

It takes 4 to 5 days for an average dog to learn the average thing. Do not expect your dog to perform like a professional the first few days of teaching him something new. It just doesnt happen that way. If you lose control of yourself, you have lost control of the situation. When this happens, your dog loses confidence in you.

Use The Right Body Language So Your Dog Understands

Gemma | May 12th, 2006
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Dogs are highly intelligent creatures and many pet owners do not give them enough credit when it comes to the way they can read and understand our body language. Some people have no idea that the body language that we display has a major impact on how well a dog will listen to us and obey our commands. Using the correct form of body language can also quickly stop your dog from displaying an improper behavior.

Let’s use a very common example, such as the overexcited dog who likes to jump on every guest that comes to your door. We all go through this with our puppy or adult dog at some point in time. As soon as the guests arrive your dog is overwhelmed with happiness and excitement about who is at the door and whether or not they are going to play with him.

Do they have dog treats? What do they smell like? Do they want to play? How about I just jump all over them and see? This is exactly what your dog is thinking if we were to decipher his emotional behavior.

And meanwhile, you are giving every command possible to get your dog to stop being so excited and jumping on everyone. You try shouting but it only makes him more excited. You try giving harsh and loud “Off” commands but it’s not working. Eventually, you are so stressed with yelling and trying to pull your dog off that it turns into one big chaotic party.

And yes, the term “party” is a great way to explain it because to your dog you are just joining in on the fun and excitement that he is feeling. Can you see now how your body language and the way you are communicating with her voice comes across to your dog? You are only adding to the situation as opposed to changing our dog’s behavior.

Communicate better with your dog by using the following body language tips

In the above example of the overexcited dog who can’t seem to stop jumping all over the house guests, you understand now that your body language and excitability only made your dog feel more enthused about what it is he was doing. Therefore, you must take a different approach to the situation, regardless of what action you are trying to communicate with your dog. Below are a few basic body language tips that you can use:

1. When you’re angry at your puppy or adult dog, do not chase him around the house. You may be upset with them, but to your puppy, he thinks you’re playing a game and he will run around forever.

2. When you give your dog a command, display a very bold and upright body position. Stand up, chest forward, and head back. Your dog will have more respect and a slight bit of intimidation, which can help with training him.

3. If your dog is extremely excited then do not add to the problem by getting feisty. Instead, move slowly and talk in a soothing tone of voice. Display the same behavior you wish him to use. Doing so will calm him down and it will be much easier to change his behavior.

How To Make Dog Training A Family Affair – Part 4

Gemma | May 4th, 2006
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Play these family-oriented games to help your dog master good manners and basic commands. And please be sure to supervise all play that involves children.

Thank You, Take It

This game will teach your dog to willingly release objects from its mouth when asked. Any object you start teaching this with should be large enough for your dog to hold one end while you hold the other. A length of heavy, soft knotted rope or a large, sturdy stuffed plush toy works well.

Start by wiggling the toy to make it interesting. In a playful voice, say take it and let your pup grab on. Praise and allow the dog to chew and play with the toy while you hold the other end. After a few moments, say thank you and offer your dog a treat from your other hand, holding it about six inches away from the side of his mouth. The dog will see and smell the treat and will let go of the toy to get the treat.

Don’t pull the toy away, just continue holding it. As soon as your dog eats the treat, offer the toy back, saying take it. Praise him for taking hold and let it play for a few moments before again saying, thank you, and trading it for another treat.

Repeat this sequence until your dog quickly releases the toy when you say thank you. Your dog will learn that it doesn’t lose the object by giving it to you. Then tray saying thank you without showing the dog a treat-swap.

Most dogs will release right away, expecting a treat. When it does, praise and immediately hand back the toy with a playful flourish, saying take it. The toy itself and the fun of grabbing and playing with it becomes a reward.

Ping-Pong Recall

This game teaches the dog to come when family members call it. Start by teaching your dog to come for a treat reward. When it’s doing this well, start adding family members to the game one at a time. Give each player several dog treats to use as rewards. Deliver one treat reward to the dog each time it comes when called.

Start with two people, standing about ten feet apart. First, one person calls the dog and rewards it with a treat, then the other takes a turn and does the same. More players can be added as soon as the dog seems to understand the game.

When the dog is eagerly racing each person who calls it, start increasing the distance between players. As your dog gains skill and enthusiasm for this game, try playing in more stimulating environments, like the beach or the dog park.

Tug of Peace

Offer your dog a toy and pull lightly to start the tug game. Be gentle rough tugging can hurt a young pup’s jaws and neck. An adult dog can handle stronger tugging. After a moment of tug play, say thank you, cueing the pup to release. Praise and hand back the toy with an exciting take it.

Play as many rounds of tug as you like, but remember you, not the pup – should always initiate and end this game. Tug should never be a competition between you and your dog. It’s much better to make it a cooperative game that doesn’t have a winner or loser, hence the reason it is called tug of peace.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3 | Read Part 4

How To Make Dog Training A Family Affair – Part 3

Gemma | April 29th, 2006
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Dog’s do not come into the world knowing polite manners, so don’t expect your own family pet to abide by rules that it doesn’t know yet. Training is a process that takes time and repetition. Both management and training will be necessary to keep your dog out of trouble while it’s learning how to behave properly.

While teaching your dog good manners, you’ll also need to find ways to prevent it from engaging in undesirable behaviors that might turn into bad habits.

If you let your untrained dog have free run of the house it will potty in all the wrong places, chew your belongings, steal unwatched food from tables and counters, pull curtains down, dig holes in the flower garden, and maybe run into the road. Dogs don’t know any better than to do these things until they’re taught more appropriate actions.

Begin by limiting your dog’s access to places where it might secretly misbehave. Don’t allow him to have the full run of your home until it’s completely housetrained and has learned what’s appropriate to chew and what isn’t. Keep the dog in the same room you’re in, so you can watch it carefully and prevent messy, dangerous, costly mistakes.

One Labrador owner that I know came from a successful day of fishing, dropped a dozen mackerel she’d caught on the counter, then fed her young Lab and left the room to change her clothes. She returned five minutes later to discover that not only had her dog finished its kibble, it had also gobbled down all 12 fish!

A proactive approach will give your dog the opportunity to get used to your general household routine and to practice the good behaviors you are teaching it. If the dog tries to slip away when you get distracted, either block the room’s doorways with baby gates or leash your dog to your belt to keep it with you. During times when no one is available to keep an eye on the dog, confine it in an enclosed puppy-proofed area either indoors or outdoors.

Keep Training Consistent

Training can be fun and fulfilling for the entire family or it can be fraught with frustration. Which way it goes depends upon how consistently you and your family keep the dog on track. The best way to be consistent is to decide on a set of rules everyone in the family can follow and get the family positively involved in your dog’s training.

Raising a great canine family companion isn’t a job for just one person. It takes a village or at least a cooperative family to raise and train a well-behaved dog.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3 | Read Part 4

How To Make Dog Training A Family Affair – Part 2

Gemma | April 25th, 2006
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Making dog training a family affair is a fun and rewarding experience for everyone. To start, you must commit to declaring the rules that will govern your dog’s behavior, and let everyone know that these rules must be followed by everyone – because family-wide consistency is essential to achieve good results from training.

Establishing The Rules

Make sure everyone knows and follows the same rules with your dog, or your best-laid training plans will unravel. If one person allows the dog to jump on them or play rough games, for example, your dog will try these behaviors with other people. And when your family isn’t consistent about keeping the rules, don’t expect your dog to either!

The best time to establish rules is before you bring your puppy or adult dog home. That way, everyone can be consistent right from the start. Chances are pretty good, however, that if you’re reading this article now, you probably already have your dog at home with you. So the best thing to do is to start right away establish your good dog rules today, make sure the whole family knows what they are, and have everyone agree to follow them, starting immediately.

Family Meeting Time

Call the whole family together to create a list of the important rules regarding the dog. Encourage each person, including the children, to offer ideas and describe how they’d like the dog to behave so everyone will feel included.

Discuss reasons for each rule you decide to implement so its importance is understood. Big rules such as not feeding from the table or the types of play that will be allowed must be the same for everyone.

Write down your list of agreed-upon rules and let the children illustrate the page by drawing pictures of your dog being good. The more personal involvement each family member has with the list of dog rules, the more likely everyone will be to abide by them. When your list is finished and illustrated, post it in a central location, such as the refrigerator, so no one forgets the rules (or pretends to).

I cannot stress enough just how important it is for your children (and everyone else in the house) to all have the same mindset and understanding of how you want your dog handled during training. In the next article we will discuss how to teach the rules, how to initiate training games, and how to keep training consistent all of which will fail if you do not set the entire family on the same path.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3 | Read Part 4

How To Make Dog Training A Family Affair – Part 1

Gemma | April 22nd, 2006
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Teaching good manners to your dog is not just something to be left up to the adults of the house. Although mom and dad will usually bear the most responsibility for the family dog’s training, including children in the process is important, too.

Your needs to know that it must respond and behave politely for all members of the family. Plus, giving the kids the opportunity to really help with their dog’s education can be a wonderful learning experience for them. Being involved in training a dog can teach children patience and compassion – and succeeding at the task will promote positive self-esteem.

Dog’s don’t generally view children as authority figures so any training techniques that rely on physical corrections tend to backfire when kids try to pursue them. Children are usually more successful using reward-based training techniques such as lure-and-reward or clicker training methods. This works better for everyone, because most dogs tend to work hard to earn treats, toys, and other enjoyable rewards.

Any family member can take part in training, feeding, and grooming your dog just make sure they’re up to the job. Most children younger than ten (and some older kids, as well) need ongoing supervision and parental support to keep them on track.

Don’t expect more involvement than your child is mature enough to give, and remember to check daily that their jobs have been done your pet’s safety and comfort are at stake. Yes, children need to learn responsibility but this should never come at the expense of an animals welfare.

It’s usually best for an adult to start the dog on any new lesson before adding young co-trainers. That way the dog has a general idea of what to do and the children won’t be starting from scratch. Training will go more smoothly this way and the kids will experience less frustration and greater success.

To get kids involved in your dog’s training, first let them watch you working with the dog, then show them how to do it themselves. Stand by, at least in the beginning, to coach and support and to get the lesson back on track, if necessary.

Some children actually turn out to be better trainers than many adults. If your child is one of these marvels, celebrate this success by allowing him or her to take on more of the training and teach the dog new tricks and tasks. Many positive dog trainers now encourage children to fully participate in their obedience classes so check around – there may be one that you, your dog, and your kids can attend together.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3 | Read Part 4