Posts Tagged ‘Training’

Leash Training 101: Do You Have The Right Mindset?

Gemma | August 16th, 2006
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Leash training your dog is much more than actually following a few steps and guidelines. It’s the actual mindset of the owner that is the single most important element. Success or failure, joy or frustration all depend on how you approach your dog’s walking sessions.

Start your leash training off on the right paw, so to speak. If you have a puppy that is unaccustomed to a leash and collar, let it first adjust to the feel of a buckle collar only. Once it is comfortable wearing the collar, snap on a short, light line and watch while it drags that around. Leave the line on for 10-minute sessions a couple of times a day until your puppy no longer pays attention to it.

For an older puppy or adult dog that you have had fitted for a headcollar or prong collar, again, let it have time to adapt to the feel of this new device before snapping on a leash. Do not leave specialty collars on an unsupervised dog. Because both prong and headcollars tighten with pressure, a dog can suffer serious injury if the collar catches on an object. Pay close attention to your dog during these get-comfortable sessions.

It’s important that you approach training with the right attitude, because teaching leash manners requires absolute consistency on your part. Every walk becomes a training session, whether you plan on it or not. There is no such thing as We train when we walk after work, but all the other walks are just walks.

This is a difficult concept for people, as we are impatient, hurried, and often doing something other than paying attention to our dog as it walks.

While your dog is learning, there should be no rushed walks, no stops to chat with neighbors, no using the time to make a call on your cell phone, etc. You can’t expect your dog to become mindful of you during a walk if you consistently ignore it.

Likewise, recognize that your dog doesn’t pull on the leash to aggravate, annoy, punish or get back at you it’s simply a matter of cause and effect. The dog is thinking: I pull, you follow, and therefore, I get to where I want to go.

You must reshape this thought process. Put emotions aside, view your lessons as an opportunity to forge a new relationship, and decide that from this day forward you and your dog will learn how to enjoy your walking time together!

Free To A Good Home: Training The New Dog Owner – Part 4

Gemma | August 4th, 2006
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A yapping dog, guilty of excessive barking, can be a nuisance to everyone in your neighborhood. If this bad habit is not abated, Buddy could become the target of an irate neighbor-turned-poisoner.

You could likewise become the target of a civil suit. If you truly love Buddy, give him just four days of your time with proper schooling. In cases of excessive barking, rarely does it take the full four days for Buddy to get the message.

Your investment into a cheap toy water gun can actually be instrumental in saving your dog’s life. Fill it with water and keep it handy. There is a distinct difference in a dog’s bark when he warms off an intruder and when he is simply barking for the sheer joy of it it all.

Some will bark simply because they hear a canine relative barking in the distance, and some will bark simply because they’ve learned that it gets them some attention. If you go to your dog to quiet him down lovingly, you simply compound the problem.

Bringing you on the scene with his bark will have then resulted in a pleasant experience and you can be sure that it will be repeated over and over again. If you rush to your dog and beat him to quiet him down, again you compound the problem. Buddy will quickly learn to keep a safe distance between you and him… but he will still have accomplished his purpose, bringing you out to keep him company.

Here Is What You Do

When your dog is guilty of non-stop barking, put a smile on your face, calmly grab your water gun, and go to Buddy and give him a shot of water directly in between his eyes, accompanied by the verbal command OUT! and without another word, repeat the performance again.

Remember… one squirt, one verbal command. The key here is consistency. Adopt the attitude that whenever your dog barks he is asking you, in his own language, to come out and give him a squirt.

Within four days, your dog will interpret your actions in his own dog mind: That dumb clown sure don’t dig dog talk. Everything I bark, he thinks I’m asking to be squirted.

Within four days Buddy will learn to bark in a whisper. He will have come to the conclusion that you’re not hip to dog talk and rather than continue participation in your silly little game, he’d be much better off to keep his mouth shut.

Keeping in mind that dogs learn by association will go a long way toward helping you bring Buddy into the family fold. Don’t rely on cookies and dog treats as the rewarding experience. You can’t break a dog from excessive barking by stuffing his mouth full of goodies.

If discontinuance of a bad habit is desired, the pursuance of that habit by the dog must be accompanied by an unpleasant result. Beating your dog is not the answer, and will only create more problems.

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

Free To A Good Home: Training The New Dog Owner – Part 3

Gemma | August 2nd, 2006
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The most trouble that people have with new dogs that are kept out in the yard would be the transplant the shrubbery game. The cause here is one primarily of boredom. That’s right… sheer boredom. Dogs need toys of their own, just as small children do.

As a small child, I recall vividly the boring hour that separated my arrival home from school from my dad’s arrival home from work. The apartment was small, and I had no toys. I soon discovered that playing with dad’s coin collection was more interesting than staring at four walls.

It just so happened that the ice cream truck came by during that hour, and it wasn’t many such hours before the driver of the ice cream truck became the owner of my dad’s coin collection!

Buddy’s boredom will get him into trouble too. Buddy needs toys of his own, and these toys should be rotated periodically so that he doesn’t tire of the same toys. You can buy a baby a new fancy rattle, and it’ll keep baby occupied for a while. But he’ll soon tire of it unless you rotate that plaything with other playthings.

If you are content that Buddy has ample and adequate toys, but he continues to get into mischief by digging up your favorite plants, this bad habit can be cured by a similar method used for destructive chewing – the entire plant should be tied to his mouth for about an hour or more for each occurrence, and will become an unpleasant and unpalatable object within the time-frame of four days.

Hole Digging

Hole digging is another matter. The hole should be filled with water and the following procedure carried out with the thought in mind that Buddy wanted to go swimming or would not otherwise have dug the hole.

Buddy should have his head immersed in each instance that he sees fit to dig a hole. This should not be done while you are emotionally upset or appear angry. Rather, your attitude should reflect fun… fun… fun…

After five seconds under water, Buddy is released and allowed to retreat five or ten yards away to shake off. Try to coax Buddy back to the water hole, exhibiting surprise that he doesn’t want to continue the game.

When the next hole is dug, come upon the scene with elation that Buddy again wants to play the game. Fill the hole with water and find Buddy (who will be hiding if he saw you pour water into the hole.)

Repeat the dunking routine each time a fresh hole is dug. On the fourth day (remember that it takes an average dog four days to learn an average thing) call Buddy to your side, get on your hands and knees and YOU dig a hole!

Before you have a chance to fill your hole with water, Buddy will be gone in a flash, totally unimpressed with the game of hole digging you like so well. He will now go out of his way to make sure no further holes appear in the yard, and for good.

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

Free To A Good Home: Training The New Dog Owner – Part 2

Gemma | July 30th, 2006
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What makes a dog learn? Why does he do the things he does? Attempting to break the family dog of bad habits can be frustrating without the knowledge that it takes the average dog four days to learn the average thing.

Being unaware of this fact causes many dog owners to feel they’ve got the dumb mutt, when actually, they haven’t given Buddy a few hours, let alone four days, of proper schooling. Trying to teach Buddy without the knowledge that dogs learn by associating their actions with a pleasant or unpleasant result, can be equally frustrating.

With this knowledge firmly entrenched in our minds, let’s take Buddy, and transform him into a welcome addition to any family.

The most common complaint among most new dog owners is housebreaking. The old idea of rubbing the dog’s nose in it and throwing him out the door just doesn’t seem to meet with the desired success. Naturally not!

Dogs learn by associating their actions with pleasing or displeasing results. If a dog’s action of having an accident on the living room carpet results in the displeasing experiences of having his nose rubbed in it and then flung out the door, Buddy will learn in short order that it’s much more pleasing to have his accidents in locations where he can’t be seen having them – the bedroom, the kitchen, the closet, and any other out-of-the-way place that you don’t happen to be occupying at the time.

After all, every dog knows that he can’t be punished unless he’s caught in the act. The key here is that not only must the dog be chastised and shamed for eliminating indoors, but he must be rewarded with enthusiastic and genuine praise when he accomplishes the act outdoors. This means that you’ll have to accompany him outdoors as often as you can during the necessary four days that it will take to get the point across.

The second most common complaint is destructive chewing. Most dog owners fail to realize that Buddy must be considered a puppy until he reaches maturity at 18 months. This fact may be hard to accept if Buddy happens to be a Saint Bernard. It’s hard to label a 200 pound dog a puppy … but if he’s under 18 months, he is just that – a puppy!

Puppies need to chew. They require it just as a baby needs a teething ring. Unless the dog owner provides the chew toys, Buddy will provide his own. The first step in preventing destructive chewing is to provide adequate chews for the dog. Rawhide is fine, and if Buddy has trouble getting it started, run some hot water over it and soften it just a bit. Solid rubber play toys also work wonders.

An Easy Lesson That Works

If adequate chews have been provided, but Buddy still insists upon chewing your son’s favorite baseball glove, go ahead and give Buddy the glove the whole glove! All at once!

That’s right, stuff it as securely into his mouth as you can, then tie it there so Buddy can’t eject it. Carrying around a mouth full of glove that he can neither swallow nor eject, can turn such destructive chewing into a mighty unpleasing result.

Thirty to forty minutes of having to wear the object in the mouth does more to accomplish your task than any amount of beating. Among other things, such action as beating would cause Buddy to sneak, and do all of his destructive chewing in places where you’re not apt to catch him. The glove in the mouth method will actually give your dog an utter contempt for trying to chew other items.

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

Free To A Good Home: Training The New Dog Owner – Part 1

Gemma | July 26th, 2006
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The average American family consists of daddy, mommy, and 2.1 children. The .1 must, of course, represent Buddy, the family dog.

Buddy may have appeared, complete with a red ribbon, as a furry little bundle of Christmas cheer, nestled underneath a brightly decorated tree. But by the time the ornaments and branches have been ingested by Buddy, daddy begins to have second thoughts about Santa’s sense of humor.

Humble Beginnings

During his first two weeks in the new household, Buddy usually accomplishes one thing: changing the family’s routine! The accidents on the carpet, teething on the sofa cushions, and of course Buddy’s insomnia at 2:00 A.M., are all contributing factors to his ultimate banishment to the back yard.

To stave off the sheer loneliness of his exile, Buddy will invent toys and games out of whatever is available. One such game that is as popular with dogs as hide-and-seek with children, is called transplant the shrubbery.

In this game, Buddy merely selects the plant which he considers to be most out of place. Then, with meticulous care, the plant is exhumed.

Before the plant is relocated to a different part of the yard, there is a certain ritual that Buddy must put the plant through. What the ritual actually accomplishes, only Buddy knows, but it consists (among other things) of throwing the plant into the air, gaining more altitude each time.

When the ritual is concluded, it’s time for the transplant job. Studies show, however, that Buddy is usually so winded and worn out from the tossing job, that the plant lies dormant on the surface of the yard, and the transplanting is actually done by daddy, not Buddy!

The game starts over the next day, and the next, until all the plants have been exhumed, and the dog declares himself the winner. Staring about the yard, Buddy will see nothing else of interest at this point. However… in the next yard… as Buddy jumps the fence into your neighbor’s plants…

After the quarrel with daddy and the neighbors subsides, Buddy’s realm is usually reduced to the circumference provided by a long rope tied to a tree. This is a temporary measure, of course, and Buddy will do all in his power to ensure this. This means barking at everything and everyone.

While daddy mumbles something at Buddy, and returns to the house, the dog returns to his vocal attempts to chase the moon away. Out comes daddy. A few more words are aimed at Buddy, and viola! Buddy has discovered a new game. By barking, he cannot only chase things away, but can summon someone to momentarily keep him company!

Such are the antics of the family dog, whose future usually lies in a classified advertisement declaring… Free To A Good Home.

Don’t Make That Choice

For an investment of a few dollars, coupled with a little imagination, there need be no one-way ride to the pound for Buddy, or no pawning off the lemon to some other unsuspecting family.

A few bucks will buy you a water gun, a quick and easy dog training magazine to train you to deal with your dog’s antics, and an open mind to an understanding of a dog’s point of view.

In just a few days, you can turn frustration and the prospect of sending Buddy to the pound into a well-trained, respectable family pet.

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

Find The Object, A Cool And Helpful Trick To Teach Your Dog

Gemma | June 22nd, 2006
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Training your dog to learn new tricks stimulates his mind, increases its ability to analyze information, all the while giving you more knowledge of how your dog’s brain works. In addition, teaching him how to do tricks is a fun way to spend quality time with your dog, which then creates a closer bond between you and your pet.

Did you know that your dog is capable of learning hundreds of words as long as you apply patience and consistent training? For example, in the following trick called find the object, your dog will be learning how to identify a toy or a particular item by its name from a group of items. It’s a very entertaining game that will widen his vocabulary and activate his thinking process.

Teaching Your Dog To Find The Object

To start, line up several objects on the floor or a low table and ask your dog to find a specific one. Start with an item that he’s already familiar with, such as his food dish or his favorite toy, whatever that may be. Place the object in an obvious area right next to two other unfamiliar, non-fascinating objects, such as a book or a small piece of wood.

Then, point to all the items on the floor or the table and command your dog to find the dish. As soon as he picks up the right object, praise him by petting his head and perhaps giving him a treat. If he knows how to fetch, use the command and have him bring the dish and lay it down next to you.

Do not put the treat on the dish that he brought you because that will encourage him to only pick the dish from the group of objects that you laid out.

Next, place another item on the pile, one whose name is also familiar to your dog (such as a ball). Tell him to find that item and then go back and forth between the second object (the ball) and the dish.

Don’t scold him if he picks the wrong item, and don’t acknowledge it, either. Just keep saying the command find the object. Once he has master the game, do a more advanced variation of the game, where objects are placed in different locations and then telling him to find it.

The Right Type Of Communication Needed For Dog Training

Gemma | June 18th, 2006
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The most crucial factor that can spell the difference between success and failure in training your dog is attitude both yours and your dogs. While your family dog may have some pretty serious difficulties, your dogs right attitude toward training will help overcome even his most intolerable behavior. However, control of your dogs attitude rests entirely with you!

You need to mold your dog into the family member you want him to be where obedience and instant response will allow a relationship for you and your pet that is free from stress and frustration.

This article will deal only with training dogs between six months of age and older. There is a difference in training techniques when teaching a dog below the age of six months, and that age group will require methods specifically intended for puppies.

Teaching a six-month-old dog with kindergarten methods would be an insult to his intelligence, much like a college student would be offended if his instructor talked to him using child-like teaching techniques. Similarly, a six-year-old child would achieve nothing sitting in a classroom listening to a professor explaining the theory of relativity.

Setting Positive Attitudes While Training Your Dog

If your dogs training periods each day consist of nothing but commands, I can assure you that a negative attitude will develop from your pet. His daily routine is now being changed to include training sessions. It is up to you, his owner, to make these training periods something that your dog will enthusiastically look forward to.

You can achieve this simply by communicating verbally with the dog during training periods. Here lies another key that will spell the difference between mediocre and excellent performance from your dog. By communicating verbally doesnt mean the usual Heel and Sit commands. Literally talk to your dog. Say something like Good Boy.. Youre doing a great job Come on boy, you can do itetc.

Although your dog has no idea what you are saying, two things are actually taking place while youre talking to him. First, your enthusiastic and warm tone of voice reflects your positive attitude and motivates your dog into doing a great job in order to please you.

Second, this motivation then triggers a positive attitude in your dog. Commands, on the other hand, should be given in a completely different tone of voice. They should, in fact, sound like commands, and not requests. They are then followed by enthusiastic and loving praise as soon as the dog follows the command or when shown what his correct response should have been.

Keep in mind that the most important key to the success of your dogs training is communication. Talk to him, reflect your positive attitude in the tone of your voice and your dog will reflect his positive attitude in the excited way he welcomes each days training session.

How Dog Training Has Evolved Over The Last Few Decades

Gemma | June 16th, 2006
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When you look down at your brand new, small and tender puppy peacefully sleeping in its little bed, it’s hard to think that in just two to three months it may grow to be 40, 50, or even up to 100 pounds depending on the type of breed. And although its behaviors may cute at the moment, like jumping up and putting his front paws on your body, these actions will be far less enjoyable when your dog is all grown up and literally knocking you over.

Your best bet is to start training your puppy from day one so that he can learn proper manners as he grows into adulthood. Puppies that are not trained in this manner end up learning all of the wrong stuff and their owners wonder why they cannot seem to get their dogs to behave as they age.

Many years ago, when dog training methods used more punishment oriented (using harsh methods to train puppies), dog trainers typically required all puppy trainees to be at least six months old. The reason was partly due to the fact that such physical correction protocols used could not be done with dogs that were too small or too young.

What is ironic about dog training in the old days is that by the time most puppies are six months old they are big enough and mentally stubborn enough to ignore commands and are altogether tough to train.

New Times Bring Better Training Methods

Over the last 20 years or so, the dog training profession has embraced more friendly and loving training tactics for their puppy clients. Most trainers now except puppies that are as young as 8 to 10 weeks old. They are typically enrolled in socialization classes and puppy kindergarten.

Positive training is now used instead of the old-school methods of negative reinforcement. Puppies are taught to walk politely on the leash. They learn the basic commands of sit, stay, lie down, and come. In addition to these simple instructions, other useful techniques are learned by puppies such as how to relax, give and take their paw, and polite greeting.

Dog Owners Are More Involved With Training Nowadays

Another interesting aspect of raising dogs that has been noted over the last couple of decades is that more and more dog owners have taken it upon themselves to train their puppies.

This is partly due to the fact that so many dog training publications and manuals have been written. Modern dog training programs are based more and more on scientific principles and psychological studies of animal behavior and temperament.

Simple puppy training programs have taught dog owners to utilize techniques such as clicker training and luring.

Clicker training involves the use of a small mechanism that makes a clicking sound when pressed. When a dog hears the sound it will associate the click with whatever reward you give him. This tells the animal that something good is coming and he should repeat whatever behavior or action you have been teaching him.

Luring training is simply using food such as a dog treat, or even a toy, to induce the dog to display a specific behavior in order to follow the lure in hopes of getting the reward.

Dog Training: Getting Your Dogs Attention – Part 3

Gemma | June 14th, 2006
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Day 4

On the fourth day, as you repeat the procedures of the first three days, youll discover that theres no more opposition and no games. This is simple enough, unless your dog happens to become momentarily distracted and forgetful.

And that is just exactly what you want to happen, so that he will learn to overcome momentary temptation and distraction and keep his attention focused on you. After all, obedience is needed particularly in time of emergency, and since you are going to build obedience as well as character into your dog, it is not too much to ask, that, at a time when other dogs would yield to distraction and temptation, your dog has his attention totally focused on you.

Your job from day four until your pet learns to ignore temptation is to use distraction and temptation during your fifteen-minute training sessions. The procedures will be nearly the same as the first three days, except that you will walk in the direction of the distraction or temptation and hope that your dog will rush recklessly toward it.

You will of course have chosen that precise moment to wish him goodbye on his journey, turn, and walk fast in the opposite direction. And, as you may expect, his journey will be short (fifteen to twenty feet) before he turns around and walks toward you. Your dog will not hate you for having to turn around because he wont associate his abrupt change of direction with you at all.

What Your Dog Will Know For Sure

The last four days have shown him that you will move whenever you choose, and in whatever direction you choose without first checking to see if its alright with him. Your dog knew this. What happened was his fault because he took his attention and eyes off you for a moment and gave in to temptation. It was just coincidental that you decided to move, at that same moment, and in the direction opposite to that in which he was heading.

You know that the move wasnt really a coincidence, but your dog doesnt know this, and will never know. What he will come to realize is that when a distraction or temptation appears, that is the exact moment that you will choose to reverse your direction of travel.

If you do your work well for the next few days, your dog will come to consider every temptation or distraction as a reminder and a cue to keep his eyes and attention on you. Distractions and temptations include people and things such as a skateboarder, a strange cat, another dog, a rolling ball, or a plate of food.

The list can go on and on, depending on your dogs personality. However, to have someone call your dog by name in an attempt to distract him must be considered unfair. You must stick to other situations and things.

In Conclusion

To conclude this part of training, remember to always walk briskly in a straight line, with confidence in your movement. If you hesitate or walk slow, your dog will not develop the necessary confidence. Never give your dog verbal commands when working with him on the long-line. Youre not teaching him to heel yet.

For now, youre teaching him four things. First, when tied to a person, he must move with that person. Second, your determination, will, and status are such that you will walk anywhere and at any time without first checking to see if its alright with him. Third, in order for him to be aware of your movement, and in which direction youll be walking, he needs to pay attention to you because you wont let him know in advance. Fourth, when distraction or temptation appears, they are not excuses to be inattentive. On the contrary, that is when he must be the more attentive and focused on you.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3

Dog Training: Getting Your Dogs Attention – Part 2

Gemma | June 12th, 2006
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Welcome to the second part of training your dog to pay attention. Continue with the same protocol and after fifteen minutes, get down on one knee to your dogs level and untie the long-line from his collar, but dont remove the collar yet.

Just take a few moments to tell your dog what a great job hes doing. Give him a good pet on the head and talk to him in enthusiastic tone of voice. A good praise and a pat on the dog’s head are all you need at this time to help shape his attitude for the next lessons that will follow.

Time For A Break

When you have finished your few minutes of praise, casually remove the training collar and give your dog a little privacy to take a break and think things over. Do not leave the training collar on your dog when hes unattended because the ring can snag objects and cause strangulation.

Your first fifteen minutes of training may have seemed unremarkable to you. However, if you followed the instructions accurately, your dog began to realize that when hes tied to you, he must move with you. If he failed to learn that on your first day, you can be sure that hell learn it, and more, by the fourth day, since it takes the average dog four days to learn an average thing.

At the same time, your dog is going to learn something else that is equally important. He is going to learn that you have the ability to use sound judgment as well as demonstrating a will thats much stronger than his. Confidence and respect in your actions will begin to grow.

Day 2

Your second day of training should be same as the first day, except for the direction of your pattern. From your starting point the pattern could be the reverse of the day before, so that your dog will not know ahead of time which direction you intend to take.

Depending on your particular dog, you may or may not have struggles on your second day. If you do, handle it as you did the first day. Ignore all distractions and just walk!

Day 3

On the third day of training, even the most stubborn and uncooperative dog will begin to realize that nothing he does is going to deter your from going in the direction you want to go, and when you want to go. He will also realize that the line of least resistance is to follow you.

You will also notice, as you repeat the procedures of the first two days, that your dog will be watching you just a bit more closely. He is learning that he must move with his owner when on a leash. He has learned that you wont direct him of your intentions. And since he must move with you, theres only one way hell be able to be aware of your movements, and that is to pay attention to you.

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3