Posts Tagged ‘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”.

Train Your Dog Not To Run Through Open Doors

Kate | August 3rd, 2012
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Teaching your dog or puppy to wait is an invaluable training command that will not only improve his behavior, but can also save his life.

One of the most common problems that many dog owners have is preventing their pets from darting through the door at any given chance they get. As you can probably guess, this behavior can cause your dog to run from the house and face injury or even death from oncoming traffic.

The Wait At The Door Training Procedure

Step 1: Have your dog sit by your side as you face the door (inside of the house). Be sure that the door opens away from you. The idea is to show your dog that an open door does not mean it is okay for him to leave.

Step 2: Now give him the wait command as you reach for the door. If your dog does not move, say Good Boy and give him a treat. However, if he starts to move towards the door, give a cheerful No No, and get him to sit down again. Do not scold him, keep it positive. It’s supposed to be fun and productive.

Step 3: Repeat the process, but the next time do not reach very far for the door, a few inches with your arm will do. If your dog remains sitting then continue with the procedure while each time adding more length as you reach for the door. Your dog should be sitting until you actually touch the handle and jiggle it. Again, reward him with a treat for sitting still.

Step 4: Next, reach for the door and slowly opened it just an inch or two. Reward your dog if he sits still. And again, if he starts to move towards the door then say No No and sit him back down again. Repeat the process while you continue to open the door more and more each time.

Step 5: Your dog should be doing quite well by now. When you are able to open the door all the way while your dog remains sitting, the next step is to walk through it, turn around and face him. Wait about 15 seconds and then walk back to the dog and give him a treat. Every now and again you should walk through the door and call your dog to come to you as you stand on the outside porch. Give him the sit command along with a treat.

The End Result

Eventually, with enough practice and repetition of the above five steps, your dog will automatically sit every time the door opens up. Because of the training procedure he learned, his instincts will tell him to sit patiently and await for permission to walk through.

Leash Training 101: Start With The Correct Collar

Kate | July 29th, 2012
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One of the best leash training methods created today does so that encourages the dog to develop awareness of its owner. To begin, you should use a sturdy, flat or rolled buckle collar made of leather or nylon.

Although popular among obedience trainers, slip collars – which tighten and release in response to tension – are not necessarily a good choice for teaching leash manners. Most dogs are overly excitable on the leash and often pull heedlessly against this type of collar, sometimes resulting in damage to the trachea. Though appropriate in the right hands, this collar is best left to those experienced in its use.

For the determined dog that already has a habit of pulling, the headcollar is the most effective training tool. This relatively recent innovation loops around the top of the dog’s neck and muzzle. The loops are attached by an additional strap on each side of the head and one below the muzzle. The leash attaches to the headhalter, the concept is based on the simple physical rule that where the head goes, the rest of the animal must follow.

The headcollar turns the dog toward the walker whenever tension is applied as it simultaneously tightens around the muzzle and back of the head, encouraging the dog to move in the direction of its owner to release the pressure.

Specifically designed to offer a gentle alternative to other collars, initial hands-on instruction from a trainer who is familiar with its use is still a good idea in order to have the proper fit and more effective method.

For the standard size breed that is around six months or older, a prong, or pinch collar, may work best and also for the adult dog that naturally pulls. Made to constrict in response to applied tension, then instantly expand again when tautness is released, this metal collar has large prongs that turn inward around the dog’s neck, creating what could be described as a blunted, teeth-like effect.

As with the headcollar, correct fit and size are important and are best judged by a trainer well educated in proper prong-collar usage. One that is too tight pinches the dog continually, which is counterproductive to training and cruel to the dog. One that is too loose loses its effectiveness.

A properly fitted prong collar should sit high on the dog’s neck, just below the ears. You should be able to slip your fingers underneath the collar when pressure is not applied, but it should not be so loose that it slips down around the trachea.

Despite its somewhat formidable appearance, the correct use of a prong collar simply gives the dog cause to stop and take notice of its owner. The prongs only pinch if pressure is applied, such as when the dog pulls. The pinch is in direct relationship to the amount of pressure applied.

The more pressure that is applied, the harder the pinch will be. Prong collars work well for leash training because the dog controls how much pressure it puts on its collar, and therefore, controls the amount of pinch it receives. This allows the animal to avoid the pinch by maintaining slack in the lead.

How To Combine Playtime With Obedience Training

Alan | December 15th, 2008
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Puppies are like children in many ways. They need constant care, supervision, and a lot of affection. Having both together, your kids and your dog, especially during playtime, require extra supervision and patience. The key is to teach your child how to play with the puppy and for the puppy to understand that he needs to listen to the child the same way he listens to you and the other adults in the family.

Always Use The Same Commands

It is important for your child to use the same commands that you and the rest of the family use. Doing so teaches your child to use the commands with respect toward the dog. At the same time, your puppy will realize that he needs to obey the childs commands, thus teaches both to respect one another.

It sounds like it can be quite a handful, but it is also a lot of fun. Combining training and playtime helps to create a closer bond between your child and puppy. Let them run together and then see how fast your child can command the puppy to stop and sit. The puppy needs to learn to sit and wait while your child to throw a toy for your puppy to retrieve. Your child can also train the dog how to roll over by rolling in the grass while having the puppy mimic him.

There are many other ways you can incorporate training and fun between your child and puppy.

Some helpful rules to keep in mind

1. Your dog should understand who the leader is. If he has an instinct to herd, dont let him herd your child. Doing so will make the dog think that he is in charge and will not obey your childs commands.

2. No roughhousing whatsoever. Discourage aggressive play at all times. Do not let your child drag, pull, wrestle, hit, or poke the puppy, even in a playful way. Your puppy may react differently and may jump and bite. At the same time, do not let your puppy jump on your child. A four year old German Shepherd can easily knock down a 6 year old child.

3. Teach your child to respect the puppy, and vice versa. Your child should learn how to properly treat the dog, which will then earn him the respect and leadership from your puppy.

4. Establish consistency. Puppies learn through repetition. Your child needs to understand that commands that we teach him are firm and absolute. If the puppy doesnt obey the command, the child should repeat the command until the puppy does what he is told to do.

5. No squeezing. Hugging the puppy too tight can result in injury.

6. Always be there to supervise playtime, especially if you have a young child and/or you have a new puppy. This way, you can easily intervene if things get out of hand.

Why Your Dog Absolutely MUST Have A Crate – Part 5

Gemma | December 24th, 2006
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Are you ready for a quick and easy 5-step crate training plan for your pup? Repeat each of the following steps for one day or one week, depending on how well your puppy takes to crate training. Move onto the next step once your pooch is confident with the previous step.

Day 1/Week 1: Introduce your puppy to his new crate by opening the door so it won’t close on the dog accidentally. Be prepared to spend some uninterrupted time with your puppy and sit down next to the crate for a few minutes.

Put some toys and a blanket inside the crate. Your puppy will toddle over it. When it does, pick up a toy from the inside, show it to your puppy and gently toss the toy inside the crate so that it hits the back wall and makes a noise.

Chances are, your puppy will be curious about the toy and where the noise came from, and may walk over the threshold to check it out. If your puppy goes inside on its own, reward it by tossing in a little treat so it hits the back wall of the crate, too. Repeat the process a few times.

If your puppy doesn’t go into the crate, toss some treats near the crate’s door and encourage your puppy to eat the treats. As your puppy gets closer and no longer seems afraid of the crate, throw a few treats inside and tell it to go get the cookie. Make a big fuss by saying, Yeah, Yeah Good Puppy!

Day 2/Week 2: Take your puppy to the crate and toss some treats inside. When your puppy goes in the crate, verbally praise it again. Repeat this process several times. This is also a good time to put your puppy’s food bowl inside and feed it a meal inside the crate, but leave the door open. Your puppy will begin to associate the crate with yummy experiences, which is a good thing. After a few meals, your puppy will run inside and wait for you to put the food bowl down.

Day 3/Week 3: When your puppy is comfortable with dining a la crate, try closing the door while it’s eating. When it’s done, open the door after a few minutes. Repeat at the next meal, but increase the amount of time the door is closed each time.

Day 4/Week 4: While feeding your puppy inside the carrier with the door closed, go to another room for a few minutes so you’re out of sight of your puppy. When you return, let your puppy out. Repeat and gradually increase the time you’re away.

Day 5/Week 5: In addition to feeding your puppy all of its meals inside the crate, try putting it inside after playtime and right before naps. Use a verbal command, such as go get a cookie, and toss some treats inside, making sure they hit the back wall noisily. When it goes inside after them, close the door for a few minutes. If your puppy settles down for a nap, walk away to another room. Repeat.

During the day, your puppy will be fine inside for up to about three hours. If you have to leave a young pup alone for an entire day and an outdoor area isn’t available, try taking the door off the crate and putting pup and crate inside an exercise pen or a gated safe room. This way it can go in and out of the crate and still have the freedom to move around.

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Why Your Dog Absolutely MUST Have A Crate – Part 4

Gemma | December 22nd, 2006
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Once you have a crate, begin training your puppy to use it right away. Some puppies are just naturals and pick up the den idea the moment they see it. Set it down on the floor, open the door and watch the pup toggle right in to check it out. If there’s a comfy blanket with some interesting toys inside the crate, a pup may stay a while all on its own.

Other puppies need more coaching. Here is where your patience comes in handy. The best crate training is a slow, positive experience and doesn’t happen overnight. It may take a few days, weeks, or even months before your puppy feels completely comfortable in its new digs.

This depends mostly on how determined and confident you feel about having your puppy sleep in a crate. If you’re unsure, your puppy will also be skeptical. If you don’t give up on the training, your puppy will learn to accept the crate faster.

There Are Two Important Rules Of Crate Training:

1) Don’t place your puppy’s crate in the garage or in a room where it can’t see you. The puppy will feel abandoned, and will bark or howl until you show up again, making it an extremely long night, as well as delaying the crate training process.

During the daytime, put the crate in the room where you spend the most amount of time. Come nighttime, move it into your bedroom. That way your puppy will feel secure that you’re nearby. If it whimpers during the night, it probably means potty time. Take your puppy outside without playing with it, and it will go to the bathroom and go right back to sleep in its crate.

2) Don’t let your puppy out of the crate when it’s barking or whining. This just rewards the pup for behavior you don’t want. Under no circumstances should you rescue the puppy, because this just teaches it that if it shrieks long enough it will get its way. Wait until your puppy is quiet before letting it out. Once he starts to calm down and stops making noise, then let it out of the crate.

Tip: How To Handle Crate-Haters

There should be no barking in dog crates. If your dog continues to bark in its crate, go back to the basics and repeat the crate training steps. Your puppy may also need a bit more mental stimulation. If so, try increasing your pup’s exercise so it’s pleasantly fatigued before crate time.

For barking puppies 4 months and older, sometimes you just have to ignore the noise. Pups have more opinions as they get older, and if you know that your puppy is nearly crate trained, isn’t hungry, or doesn’t have to go to the bathroom, it’s best to ignore him. The goal is to teach your puppy that a crate is a pleasant place to be.

Now if your puppy has a hard time whenever you leave the house; runs from room to room looking for you; or cries, whines or barks until you return, it will probably do the same thing if you put it inside a crate.

To make your puppy feel more at ease during your absence, try leaving for a short time, around 5 to 10 minutes. This way, your puppy quickly learns that you’re coming back. Other puppies may just bark for a few minutes when you leave, but they’ll eventually quiet down.

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Why Your Dog Absolutely MUST Have A Crate – Part 3

Gemma | December 21st, 2006
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Going Crate Shopping

Once available in only two styles and one color wire or molded plastic in basic beige pet carrier crates nowadays come in a variety of materials and colors, and in several basic types. There are advantages and disadvantages to each model, depending upon how you want to use your crate.

Plastic Carriers, The Most Popular

The plastic models have ventilation on each end and is the only one of the crate types that airlines accept for transporting a dog. It gives the dog the most protection from anything dangerous that may be falling inside, and keeps the dog warm during cold weather.

When you purchase a crate, it usually comes disassembled in three big pieces: a top and bottom section, and a metal door with a locking device. You’ll also receive a small plastic bag containing all the screws needed to put the carrier together. Don’t worry it’s easy to do. You don’t need any special tools and the sides snap together within minutes.

Plastic crates range in price, depending upon the precise design. Although the doors on most of these models open on one side, some styles have doors you can open on either the right or the left sides, and some have different types of locks. Other crates may have wheels on the bottom for easy transport, or may have sloped sides designed to fit into a car a little easier.

Important Tip: When choosing a plastic crate, look for a model that is labeled Airline Approved by the manufacturer because it indicates the strongest, sturdiest design.

Wire Carriers

Resembling cages, wire crates have a metal or plastic pan on the bottom that you can remove for easy cleaning. Although wire carriers are okay for dogs, they may not be the best choice for puppies. The spaces between the wire bars look small, but a puppy of most breeds might get a toe or foot caught between the bars or in the space between the bottom pan and the bar.

Wire carriers are great to use during the summer because the greater ventilation allows air to flow through to keep your dog cooler. If it’s hot and you’re using it outdoors while camping or picnicking, be sure to place a shade cloth or sheet across the top to keep your dog nice and cool. You can also purchase an electric clip-on fan to help cool your dog.

Some wire models collapse and fold flat for easy transporting. If you’re using a wire crate in your car, find a model that fits your car the best, with doors either on the sides or on the front, or with a square or a slanted top. The top of a wire crate isn’t solid, so some dogs may feel a little vulnerable, especially those that are a little insecure. You may want to consider covering it with a sheet or large towel.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3 | Read Part 4 | Read Part 5

Why Your Dog Absolutely MUST Have A Crate – Part 2

Gemma | December 18th, 2006
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Aside from giving your pup the opportunity to avoid temptation of trouble and destruction around the house when you are not looking, its crate is also a practical piece of dog furniture to have around the house. It doubles as a dog bed, and makes a good hiding spot for puppies to stash their favorite toys.

Or, if you’re having cleaning or repair work done in your home, putting your puppy in a crate ensures you avoid worrying that your pup may get underfoot, become injured, or escape if a worker leaves the door or gate open.

First used by airlines to contain pets while traveling, pet carrier crates are indispensable if you want to take your puppy along while traveling or on vacation. Scott and Diane Joris, from Miami, Florida, don’t even think about leaving home without their canine companion, Buddy, and of course Buddy’s crate.

The minute we put him inside his crate, he just goes to sleep and doesn’t wake up until we walk off the plane. Scott says. Her small crate fits right on the floor underneath the seat, and it’s so easy to take her with me.

Stanley Anderson, a Labrador Retriever breeder from Miami, Florida as well, suggests using a crate for your dog while riding in the car, too. In the event of an accident, a loose dog in the car becomes a projectile and can be easily injured. It can also escape and either be killed by oncoming traffic or disappear in strange surroundings, never to be found again, Stanley says.

There are other good reasons to use a crate. At some time during its life, your dog may have to go to the veterinarian and may need to remain in a crate for several hours, or even overnight, while receiving medical treatment.

For some dogs, going to the veterinarian is stressful enough without having to experience sudden confinement. If your puppy is already crate-savvy, it has a better chance of feeling more at home, even during an emergency.

Here is another reason to crate train your puppy: During a natural disaster, such as a fire, earthquake, hurricane, tornado or flood, a crate may be a necessity and the only safe refuge your dog may have.

There have been hundreds of reports of house dogs’ behavior during one of these disasters. The ones that were properly crate trained were quick to seek safety in their crates, while the others would aimlessly run around with stress, often getting injured or even killed by falling debris.

And lastly, as you all have heard already, a crate also doubles as a housetraining skill builder. Housetraining a puppy is much easier if you use a crate. Puppies usually won’t soil where they sleep, so once you let them out of the crate you’ll know it’s time to take them outside to eliminate.

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Why Your Dog Absolutely MUST Have A Crate – Part 1

Gemma | December 16th, 2006
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Michelle King, of Reseda, California, thought Crystal, her 6-month-old Golden Retriever, looked so cute snuggled into the pillows on her son’s bed. She was asleep, so I left her alone and took a shower, Michelle remembers. When I came back to the bedroom, there was stuffing scattered everywhere. Crystal had chewed up the bedding and even had a piece of fabric hanging from ear to ear.

A friend suggested that Michelle try putting her puppy into a crate when she couldn’t keep an eye on her. I resisted because I didn’t want to confine Crystal, and I didn’t think that she would cause any more damage. But I was wrong, she says. When my pup chomped off chunks of mattress one evening soon after, I bought a crate that same day. I wasn’t thrilled about using it, but Crystal’s crime sprees were becoming too expensive.

At first glance, putting your puppy into the small, confined space of a crate may seem cruel, but it’s actually one of the kindest things you can do for your dog. Marcus Thompson, a German Shepherd trainer and breeder from Vermont, makes the following connection between dogs and their wolf ancestors:

Wolves and dogs are den animals that feel protected and comfortable when they’re sleeping in a covered area. The den provides security and a calming effect, Marcus says. Besides the bed or the couch, many dogs naturally choose places to sleep in the house that closely resemble a den or crate, such as beneath a desk or dining table, behind the drapes, or in an alcove.

Who’s The Boss?

Also known as a hard-sided pet carrier, a crate is a great training aid that helps you establish who’s in charge. You decide when to put your puppy in the crate and when to take it out, so your puppy learns that you’re the leader. This makes learning other skills easier because your puppy knows it can trust you.

As a destruction-proof zone, a crate gives your puppy a safe place to call its own and to stay out of mischief. Young dogs have a boundless supply of energy and are naturally curious. Left unsupervised, it only takes a few minutes for them to discover the joys (and dangers) of chewing, digging or trashcan raiding.

If you’re unable to keep an eye on your puppy, it’s better to put it into a crate for an hour or so, than to be angry if your little darling gnaws on an antique chair leg or destroys your best pair of shoes.

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Big Dog Breed Puppies Need Training As Early As Possible

Gemma | December 6th, 2006
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When is the best time to start training your puppy? Dog experts and trainers alike all agree that puppy training and socialization should start as early as possible. If you or any other new puppy owner is under the notion that training should not begin until the dog is about five to six months old, you should discard that theory completely from your mind.

Through decades of research it has been concluded that training should begin the moment your dog steps foot in the house. Most puppies are purchased or adopted when they are six to seven weeks old, however, they can start early training and become socialized as young as two to three weeks. Their minds are like sponges, just waiting to absorb stimuli and information.

Especially For Big Dogs…

Early training should be initiated for a variety of reasons, but most importantly, puppies that will grow to be bigger sized dogs need this early training to prevent them from becoming a burden to the family, and not only for bad behavior, but also due to the problems it can cause from the dog’s size.

There is nothing worse than having an untrained, obnoxious 75 pound dog jumping up on you and other people without the ability to stop. By the time these dogs are seven to nine months of age, they will be too strong for most family members to handle.

Learning Is Effortless At Such An Early Age…

What is even better, is that puppies who experience training at a very early age can learn with very little effort. Any dog that was initiated with behavior and socialization skills rarely grow up to have biting problems or other issues that need major corrections.

I can personally attest to this information. Being the proud owner of six dogs, four of which were born right here at home, the experiences I have had with dog training will last a lifetime.

The four dogs that have been in my home since the day they were born demonstrated absolutely no behavior problems growing up. However, my other two dogs were adopted at the same time and were each approximately 7 months old.

Needless to say, it was quite a rough learning experience for both the dogs and myself. It took twice the effort and time to get them at the same learning skill level and behavior respect that my other four dogs were showing, and at the same age on average.