Saturday, September 17, 2016

How to stop door dashing quickly and easily!

Do you have trouble getting your dog to come back in after you let him out in the backyard?  

German shorthaired pointer: Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Find Something good to roll in.
If you have a dog who dashes out the door and runs whenever someone is coming or going and then blows you off when you try to get him to come back, here is a quick and painless cure for door-dashing that will leave him happily racing back into the house, or (better yet!) not even darting out to begin with.   
Never scold your pup for not coming back in fast enough or running out and playing "catch me if you can!" Instead, prevent any such activities by beginning teaching new skills using a longish leash attached to a regular buckle collar.  The dog can drag the leash while you practice this set of skills, and if for some reason he bolts the first time or two, you can always quickly step on the leash and gently guide him back.  Practice these steps until your pup hurries back into the house every time with no leash at all.  Believe me, it won't take long!
  1. Before you let your dog out show him an extra special treat (like a whole hot dog, if he's a large dog!) let him watch you place it near the doorway (inside).  
  2. Then let him out and call him back as soon as he is out the door.  When he comes back, make a big deal about it and give him  the whole hot dog.  
  3. Repeat  and notice how much faster he gets each time!
  4. That's it. Except just one little thing.  The reward has to be extra super special.  Don't try to pass of hard biscuits as special enough.  They aren't and it won't work with biscuits.  Be sure to us  something moist and soft and smelly (turkey, bison or beef pepperoni, and natural hot dogs or a big chunk of Polish sausage are perfect) that he never gets at any other time.

It may be a few weeks before you can stop using the big food reward, and just have it once in a while.  Remember, if the dog thinks training is a fun game that he invented, he will obey willingly and happily every time, so make it fun!

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Creating a Behaviorally Healthy Lifestyle For Our Dogs

Creating a Behaviorally Healthy Lifestyle For Our Dogs: With few exceptions, most of us in the pet industry deal with problems and solutions. Consider these examples:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The quick and easy way to train your new dog or puppy

Food has been used for thousands of years as a very effective training reward for dogs. It
Hand feeding helps dogs learn what good dog behaviour is!
wasn't until fairly recently that we started simply putting the dog's food on the floor in a dish while we searched, sometimes blindly for the most effective ways to train our dogs. Whether you have a new puppy, or a new adult dog, there are just so many massive advantages to hand feeding one meal per day as part of his training regimen.  It's amazing to see the lasting results of hand feeding just the morning meal.

Hand feeding is the process of feeding the meal a few kibbles at a time from a bowl placed out of the dog's reach, on a counter or a table.  If you feed a natural diet (raw or home cooked) you can use a teaspoon or a gloved hand to dispense the food instead of your bare hand. It doesn't take as long as you think, to feed a dog this way, and a whole bowl of kibble can be fed in about 10 minutes, during which your dog is learning:

  1. Attention training:  His name means something good is about to happen if he pays attention to you.  
  2. Gentleness: To be gentle when accepting food or anything else from you.
  3. Obedience:  That it's fun to do what you want him to do.
  4. Appropriate Behaviour: That civilized behaviour like sitting calmly is the most rewarding.
  5. Food Source Management: That food comes from you for good behaviour, not a bowl on the floor
  6. Solves Resource Guarding:  He doesn't need to be possessive of his bowl to get food.
  7. Solves Bowl Issues:  A person putting his/her hand in his food bowl is always a good thing, so he will stop resource guarding.
How to begin hand feeding your dog:

Step One:

Leash your dog using a six foot leash and a flat collar.
Begin by measuring out the dog's normal food ration into a bowl on a table or a counter top.
Now take one or two kibbles in your right hand. If you use one, have a clicker in your left hand.
Say the dogs name.
As soon as he looks at you, click (or use happy praise) and feed a few kibbles while he is looking at you, (not the bowl).
Repeat ten times or so.
Once you (not the food bowl) have his attention all the time, you can begin Step Two:

Step Two

Now use the food to lure and then reward a sit, down, stay, or come or whatever else you want the dog to do.  

Here is a video by performing trick dog trainer, Dima Yeremenko, that really demonstrates the technique well.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Why your dog is being stubborn

Different Training Styles

"He is just so stubborn!" The owner of the dog looked annoyed and exasperated as she jerked the martingale that tightened on her white Border Collie type dog's throat.  We were doing the "Stand" exercise.  The dog kept lying down or trying to wander away. Jerk. Jerk. Jerk. The medium sized, well cared for dog's ears were laid back. His tail tucked neatly downward and under his butt.  "Stand" The white dog yawned and looked at Earl.  The dark, middle aged woman who held the leather leash barked "Leave it" before she yanked the collar up again.  The young dog turned to her, and slightly wagging his tail, gently gnawed on his mistress's hand.

On the other side of the room, a beautiful and large doberman pup wearing a pinch collar lunges up and playfully grabs his owner by the arm.  The young female owner flailed and pulled his collar up until he subsided in his attempts to interact with her. Subdued, the dog sat, and was met by another upward pull on the collar.

Earl and I were attending a competition obedience class to polish our performance skills, but mostly just for fun.  The class is well attended and well taught by a knowledgeable and friendly instructor.  It is interesting to see the disciplines of each dog/handler team, which vary widely, from me with my clicker, to others who rely on old school corrections and rewards as they teach their dogs.

On my way home, I pass a local trainer has a Newfoundland Dog pinned to the ground with one hand as she yanks upward on a pinch collar around the dog's neck.  The young dog is looking confused and frightened and tries to escape as the young woman gives a solid yank up on the collar, glaring at the dog that is clearly wants to get away and is stubbornly not submitting to her

Is your dog really being stubborn?

When you are training a dog (any dog) the dog has no idea what you want from him.  The dog is not out to dominate you.  The dog could care less about who the Alpha is.  He just wants to check out a smell, find something to eat, run down the street, roll in dead salmon, have a drink, etc.  When we are training a dog, we are always communicating with a member of a foreign species, that will either happily try to figure out what we want, or will become so frustrated by failure and ensuing yanks and displeasure he won't want to play with us anymore.  If he doesn't want to play with us anymore during a training session, we have to ask ourselves what the reason for this is. Effective communication is necessary to have a dog that  learns quickly and well.

Some of the reasons your dog is blowing you off

    English Pointer and German Shorthaired Pointer sitting
  1. Physical causes: The dog has a physical need that is overriding his desire to work with you.  He is thirsty, he needs to pee (in some dogs this is triggered by the presence of another dog). Physical ailments or parasites are very distracting to dogs. 
  2. You didn't take your dog for a run before training.
  3. You are expecting too much, too soon from your dog.  Your dog is an ESL student that doesn't have a verbal language.  Remember this.
  4. You are not giving your dog adequate clues to what you want the end behaviour to be.
  5. The context of the cue has changed for the dog.  This means you are perhaps standing in a different position, using a different hand for a visual signal, you are sitting instead of standing, etc.  Slight changes such as these need to be introduced gradually with many dogs.  
  6. The dog is afraid of you or something else in the environment.  Just taking him out of the environment for a few moments to give him a break will often be enough that he will be able to focus.
  7. Your training session has gone into overkill and he is mentally exhausted from trying to figure out what exactly you want from him.  Keep training sessions short and frequent.  Several 2 to 5 minute sessions staged throughout the day instead of one long one will help to keep him motivated and eagerly wanting to work with you.  
  8. You are not as entertaining as the environment. Start training a new behaviour in a familiar environment and add distractions slowly.  
  9. Your reward timing is confusing the dog.  Rewards have to happen immediately within a second of the behaviour you want occurring.  Rewards should be very frequent at first. Pair the food reward with praise, and your dog will learn that praise means awesomeness.
  10. Equipment:  Is it distracting to a dog to have discomfort during a training session?  You bet it is!  A tight collar, pinch/prong collar, electronic collar, or even a head halter or poorly fitted body harness can be uncomfortable and very distracting for your dog.  Jerking and tugging on said equipment is even more distracting and can make your dog want to leave the session entirely or sometimes fight to get away from you.  If you are using a pinch collar, try changing your equipment to something more comfortable for the dog.  Discomfort is distracting and not conducive to quick learning. If you choose a head halter, use the recommended  training process to get your dog used to wearing it before attempting to train using it. Use tiny bits of roasted meat in your  training pouch. 
If our dogs are being stubborn, it is time to take a break from training and ask ourselves if there is anything that we can do to make the training process more conducive to learning for the dog.   Until we do this assessment, we can't depend on the dog to learn.  

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Lynne's Tips for Dog Training Success

4 tips to bring joy and success to your training
4 Tips to bring joy and success to your dog training