Pup & Basic 1 Lessons

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Welcome to Puppy and Dog Training Basic Training

 

All dogs can be trained through positive, gentle dog-friendly methods. 

 

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REPRINT POLICY:  The information in this section may not be reproduced without permission on any website, discussion group, bulletin board list or forum.  Links to Holly's Den  pages are permissible.   Individuals & non-profit organizations may reproduce and distribute these handouts  under the following conditions:

  1. Full credit to the author is given on each & every copy, with the notation © Copyright 2002 – Beverly Hebert All rights reserved. Used by permission; all copies distributed must be provided free of charge. 

  2. If reproduced in a publication that meets the above criteria,  notice must be sent to: monty@mail.hollysden.com

 

Prior to the first session you should already have read: Positive Reinforcement Training

 

Training exercises and homework are here on the website and may be accessed by clicking on their titles in the Table of Contents box (below).

 

For Your Homework - Click here: Week 1     Week 2     Week 3    Week 4

 

 

LESSON TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR PUPPY & BASIC 1

 

 

Please Read                                    Lesson 1 Exercises                   
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Homework Instructions 

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Canine Body Language

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Meeting Your Dog's Real Needs- Building the Relationship

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Homework Week 1

 

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Chill Out-Do Nothing Exercise

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Charging the Clicker

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The Name Game  

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Watch Me/Look Attention exercises

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Teaching Sit-Demo Food lures & Rewards

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Teaching Down

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Mouthing & Nipping-Take Treats Gently

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Teaching Come

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Hand-feeding

Please Read                                    Lesson 2 Exercises                          
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Motivating Your Dog

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Food Lures & Food Rewards

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Training Words &  Jackpots

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Homework Week 2

 

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Watch me Treat Distraction Game

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Come/Front-Sit

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Come Games

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Gotcha Collar Grab

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Jumping Jack Solutions and Door Behavior

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Targeting

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Loose Leash Walking & Training Equipment

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Teaching Stay--Part 1: Duration

Please Read                                   Lesson 3 Exercises                            
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Follow the Leader

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Homework Week 3

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Leave  It

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Give/Out

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Take It & Tug

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Go To Your Mat

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Wait at the Door

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Teaching Stay-Part 2:Add Distance

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Come On Long Line - Preparing for Off Leash Training

Please Read                                    Lesson 4  Exercises
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Dog Trainer's Recipe-Review

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Relaxation Handling Techniques

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Homework Week 4

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Relax-Settle & Handling Exercises

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Down/Stay-Training Progression

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Teaching Stay--Part 3: Add Distractions

Additional Handouts

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Play Rules for Pups & Dogs

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Shake Paws & Wave

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Food Bowl Exercises

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Acclimating dogs to head halters

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Tethering

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Spay-Neuter Info

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Should You Breed Your Dog?

 

Introduction

My goals for Puppy & Basic 1 training is to help you deepen the bond you share with dog while training your dog to be a better companion.  When people bond to their dogs and train them, their dogs are not likely to become one of the millions of pets turned into animal shelters every year--which for most dogs is a one-way trip. In the Houston area alone, shelters annually take in approximately 91,000 animals and euthanize about 76,000.  Studies have indicated that about 96% of shelter dogs have had no obedience training.  

Rather than feeling that training is just one more chore in your busy day, I hope that you will think of spending time with your dog as a way to have fun and relax.  Dogs can be a bridge to the natural world and interacting with them can help you get in touch with your own inner spirit.  Think of your training time as your playtime, because dog training is like learning to play a sport or a wonderful game. This is a place, though, where you don’t have to worry about the competition, or how you and your dog will do.  All dogs have the ability to learn enough to be wonderful companions.  The only challenge here is to build a great relationship while having a good time together.  

Some trainers use the slogan “teaching people, training dogs.”  I like this slogan because it conveys the idea that you and your dog are a team.  What you will be learning as we go along is every bit as important as what your dog will be learning!   In our sessions together I will show you how to train your dog--but most of the real training occurs in the interactions between you and your dog in your every day life together. 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Lesson 1 Exercises & Reading

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Homework Instructions 

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Dog Trainer's Recipe

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Canine Body Language

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Meeting Your Dog's Real Needs- Building the Relationship

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Homework Week 1

 

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Check shot records

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Chill Out-Do Nothing Exercise

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Charging the Clicker

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The Name Game  

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Watch Me/Look Attention exercises

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Teaching Sit-Demo Food lures & Rewards

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Teaching Down

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Mouthing & Nipping-Take Treats Gently

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Teaching Come - Come On Leash

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Hand-feeding

 

Homework Instructions and How to Practice

 

How Often:  Aim for 2 to 3 daily training sessions that last 5-10 min. each.  Always try to stop on a high note and leave your dog wanting more!

 

Daily Life Training: Remember, whenever you spend time in the company of your dog, training is going on.  During dinner place your dog on a down-stay to prevent mugging for scraps.  Teach your dog to “say please” by sitting and giving eye contact before you put down his supper bowl, or open the back door. Don’t give free treats—make your dog do something to earn them!  Use the leash to prevent jumping up on visitors until you have trained your dog to Sit politely for petting.  Call your dog to Come for good things—his supper, a game, a treat, or a walk.

 

Practice (Everywhere) Makes Perfect

You will probably soon notice that your dog seems able to perform his new obedience skills much better at home than in more distracting outside environments, or you may be dismayed that your usually well behaved dog becomes unruly in public places.  Not to worry--your dog is completely normal!   Although humans can also be affected by performing in new environments, dogs have particular difficulty in generalizing learned behaviors from one context to another.  That is why if you want your dog to behave or perform well in different situations, it is important to practice in different places and in the face of different distractions.  Always make sure your dog can handle one level of distraction before moving to a higher one and try to practice every new skill as follows:

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In every room of the house

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Outside the house, in the backyard, the driveway, the front yard.

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Around the neighborhood in school yards, ball fields, tennis courts, and area parks.

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At shopping malls and pet stores.

 

Also remember to:

Change your body position and postures relative to your dog.

If clicker training, begin each sessions with 4 or 5 free clicks and treats.

After your dog has learned a new skill/behavior, keep it sharpened by practicing a few repetitions every day.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Canine Body Language: Every day and especially while training, take a minute to observe your dog--if your dog is relaxed, his jaw will hang without tension, his body and legs will not appear stiff, his coat hairs will not stand on end, and his ears will not be plastered down close to his head.  His eyes will appear soft and calm without dilated pupils, which make a dog’s eyes appear abnormally large and dark.  A nervous or unsure dog may tremble or just turn his head away from you or from whatever he is worried about and avoid eye contact.   Worried dogs also “stress pant.”  In canine communications, a hard direct stare is a threat and a lip curl is a warning.  You probably already know that a tucked tail indicates fear or submission, but a tail held high or wagging needs to be interpreted in the context of the dog’s overall posture and expression.   While training your dog, watch for changes in the way he carries his ears, watch his eye movements and facial expression, head movement, how stiff or relaxed his body is, etc.  These are the things that can cue you that you need to intervene in some way, for example by reminding him to stay, or by body blocking his view of another dog, etc.    

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

Meeting Your Dog’s Real Needs-Building the Relationship

 

The Nature of Dogs—To get & keep your relationship with your dog on the right track, it’s necessary to understand and meet your dog’s real needs.  In conjunction with gentle "Follow the Leader" training, meeting a dog’s real needs will prevent or solve most behavior problems.  Real needs include not only food, shelter & vet care, but, also a quiet place to withdraw and rest, adequate exercise, mental stimulation, socialization and companionship.  In addition, some dogs need a place to dig, and most need things to safely chew--puppies especially need to chew between 3 and 6 months of age when they are teething.

Inside or Outside—where should your dog live?  Dogs develop their personalities more fully and bond more deeply with their owners when they are allowed to be part of your family and your every day life.  It is very important to understand that dogs are social pack animals, and although most dogs enjoy some time outdoors, or may stay outside while you work, they become lonely and unhappy if they live a 24/7 life of isolation in the backyard.   If there is one thing that professional dog trainers currently agree about, it is that dogs should live indoors: Living exclusively as an outside dog almost guarantees behavior problems such as excessive barking, digging and chewing that are directly related to loneliness and boredom.  In contrast, dogs that live inside the house stay relatively clean and don't ruin the backyard.   They won't ruin your home either with proper management, training and exercise.  It’s not size, but training and manners that make the difference in whether a dog can live unobtrusively in the house.

Since you got your dog for his companionship, do your best to structure your life together so that he can be the companion he was meant to be!   If you have been keeping your dog as an outside dog, try giving him a bath, and bringing him back in the house.  Begin by bringing him inside on evenings and weekends when you are home to supervise.  Consider crate training and tethering to make it easier for your dog to adjust to living indoors.  The crate is a handy management tool for house-training and time outs, and it can also double as a bed or a den for the dog where he can retreat when he needs some quiet time to himself. (See Crate Training Handout).  Meanwhile, don’t be discouraged and give up if he is initially a bit wild. This excitement is a natural reaction to a new situation. Tethering him and providing him with a stuffed Kong to chew can help him settle down.  There are two caveats regarding using crates and tethers as management tools: 1) Only tether when you are there to supervise--never leave a dog on a tether alone and 2) Do not crate excessively--as a lifetime proposition, dogs should not routinely be crated all day while owners are at work.

Note: For those of you who will not allow your dog to live in the house under any circumstances, at least consider allowing your dog to sleep in the house, in a crate or bed near your bed.  Spending these 8 hours in your bedroom can help alleviate some of your dog's loneliness.  Make a plan to meet your dog’s real needs for exercise, companionship and mental stimulation Enrich the back yard environment with a kiddy pool and a digging pit.  Provide your dog with interactive toys such as Buster cubes and stuffed Kongs.  Schedule regular walks and outings to places like PetsMart to change his routine.  Schedule regular training sessions to give his brain a work out.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Socialization--In addition to companionship with their own family-pack, dogs also need socialization.  Socialization is the process of positive exposure to new experiences, situations, physical environments, people of all ages and other animals; the purpose is to enable your dog to develop the coping skills he needs to have a stable temperament and happy life.  Although research has indicated there is a vital window of time during puppyhood between 4 and 12 weeks of age, when socialization is most critical to the dog's development, to keep your dog mellow, socialization should be a life-long process.

Exercise and enrichment activities--Giving your dog some tongue-hanging out exercise will help him to calm down and relax.  Teaching your dog to retrieve balls and toys is a great way to exercise her!  Most dogs love to jog and swim. 

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Get your dog three big balls - for outside a volley ball and a Boomer Ball (available from pet stores) to give your dog something to play with in the backyard and a Jolly Ball (with a handle) for inside the house.

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Get a child's wading pool and fill it with water and a couple of toys.  Get a second pool and make your dog a sand digging pit.

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Stuff a Kong with kibble doused with peanut butter, cream cheese, yogurt, etc. and mix in some pieces of hot dog, chicken or liver treats.  Frozen Kongs are great summer time treats and are good for teething pups.

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Feed your dog his kibble from a Buster Cube, Kong, Roll-A-Treat ball or other enrichment device.

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Satisfy your dog's need to hunt and forage by letting him play "Find It" games--hide treats around the house or yard or hide small plastic containers with treats for him to find.

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Give your dog a dissection project - hide a treat or a small favorite toy or ball inside of an old bandana and tie it up in knots- let your dog use his teeth and paws to get at the goodie inside.

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Teach your dog to retrieve:  Tossing a hard rubber ball or Frisbee for your dog to retrieve in the back yard can give him great tongue hanging out exercise.  When the weather is bad you can even let him retrieve indoors by using a soft toy such as a Hol-ee Roller ball.  Add some mental stimulation by having him do a Sit, Down, or Spin before you toss his toy for him.  You can also play retrieve on the stairs- (caveat- *only do this with small breed dogs over 12 mo. old and large breed dogs over 18 months old).  Sit at the top of the stairs and toss a treat or toy down.  Then call your dog back up for  another treat and so on.  Use tiny treats or feed him part of his breakfast or supper kibble this way. Two toy retrieve game:  Stand in the middle of your yard and toss a toy to your right--as your dog returns toss the a second toy of the same type to your left.  Rubber  hoses or retrieving dummies are ideal for this.

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Recalls (Call your dog to Come).  Leave your dog on a Stay and call him to come running to you- then reward him with a treat or a game of tug.  Do round robin recalls back and forth between two or more people.

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Jumping- Call your dog to come to you over a dog jump.  You can make your own jump or order one from an online catalog. An adult dog without joint problems will enjoy a jump the height of his elbows or shoulders.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Providing for Physical Needs--Health and Safety Issues Check List

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Heartworm preventative-without this, it is only a matter of time before your dog develops heart worm disease.  HW disease is always fatal if not treated and treatment is both expensive for you and often stressful for the dog--prevention is far better.

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ID tags are essential--Dogs get lost in all kinds of unforeseen ways; those with ID tags are usually quickly found and returned to the owner.  Those without ID present a big problem to potential Good Samaritan finders who may not know where to start to locate the owner.  Dogs that end up in pounds are often put down before the owner even finds out which of the numerous animal pounds in any given area have the dog. Also consider microchips and tattoos as extra ID protection.

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Flea & tick treatment-The best are liquid products applied monthly to the dog's skin, such as Frontline or Revolution- check with your vet for recommendations.

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Doggy scratching and odor--be alert to changes--if your dog is scratching a lot, shaking his head, or smells bad, he probably has a skin or ear infection or both.  Since dogs with thyroid conditions are more apt to develop skin problems, so his thyroid level checked out as well. 

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Regular coat brushing:  Grooming tip: I had two German Shepherds, a double coated breed that sheds heavily.  When I brushed my dogs only once a week it took me close to an hour to groom each dog, but now that I groom them almost daily it usually takes closer to 5-10 minutes per dog and they don't shed as much in the house and car. 

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Shaving-No-Think twice before you shave your dog to make him more comfortable in hot weather.  His coat protects him from the sun and from insect bites.  A good trim is preferable to shaving.

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Bathing--Discuss how often with your vet.  Most dogs should be bathed at least once a month and dogs with allergies may need it weekly.

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Ear Cleaning--use special ear cleaning products for dogs and clean at least once a month.

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Nail trims --Too long nails can cause serious foot problems.  Nail cutting needs to be done at least once a month and twice a month is better.  If you can't manage it yourself, take your dog to a groomer.

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Tooth brushing--Every day is best, but at the least, brush your dog's teeth once a week and be sure to use a toothpaste made for canines because human toothpaste can make dogs sick. Tip: Make it part of your routine--I keep my dogs' toothbrush and paste stored in a little basket by our bathtub.  After I wash my face and brush my teeth before going to bed, the dogs come in and get their teeth brushed. 

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Premium foods are more digestible and produce smaller, firmer stools.   Learn from your vet what foods are toxic for dogs, such as chocolate, grapes and raisins.  Never feed your dog cooked bones.

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No loose dogs in pick up trucks (this should be a no-brainer).

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Maintain a clean yard--use a scooper and covered pail lined with plastic bag or walk your dog and be sure to bring along plastic bags to pick up after him.

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Outdoors—Make sure dog has adequate protection from cold, hot and rainy weather.  Texas summers can be brutally hot so provide your dog with a kiddy pool to cool off in when he has to be outdoors.  Thunderstorms can be dangerous, especially to dogs with storm phobias; many dogs panic during storms and endanger their lives by escaping from their yards.  Make sure your dog has a safe retreat during stormy weather; consider installing a dog door.  

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Do not allow your dog to be off leash except in your fenced yard.  Even if you are there to supervise, off leash dogs can get into danger by chasing cats or squirrels into the street or they may approach or be approached by a passing dog and get into a fight.  If you want your dog's company while you garden or work in the front yard, use a ground stake with a swivel tether so that when necessary you can quickly contain your dog or get your dog back inside the house.

Spaying and neutering your pets is one of the best things you can do for their health.  The benefits include a much lower risk of many types of cancer for both males and females.  Spaying females eliminates the problem of messy heat periods. Neutered males have less tendency to escape and roam, or to get into sexual/hormone related fighting with other males.  Neutering also seems to help alleviate some types of male dominance behavior problems.   

Pet overpopulation aspects--Each year nation-wide, 2 1/2 million dogs are destroyed in animal control shelters or sold to labs for research.  Add cats and the number of pets destroyed every year doubles to more than 4 million.  (The latest statistic I read is even higher--16,000 per day).  Those numbers don’t include the strays who die on our roads or from starvation and disease.  As mentioned earlier, in the Houston area alone, on an average annual basis, shelters take in approximately 91,000 animals and of those about 76,000 are euthanized.  The numbers can be mind-boggling but they hit home for anyone who has walked through a shelter and looked into the eyes of the animals there. About half of all dogs born in the U.S. are either given away by their first owner or euthanized on or before their second birthday.   With stats like these, most of us who work with and love dogs believe there is an ethical obligation related to decisions to bring more pups into the world.   To find out more about the pros and cons of breeding dogs and the differences between responsible and irresponsible breeders, please click here: Should You Breed Your Dog?

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Chill Out--Do Nothing Exercise--

Teaching your dog to remain calm and relaxed by your side as you talk to another person, etc. is an important life skill for your dog to have. Some trainers call this "Do Nothing" training.  APDT Trainer Becky Schultz calls it the "Lie Down And Don't Bug Me" exercise which is her "gold standard" for pet dog behavior. This is a deceptively simply training routine that can yield big results, helping hyper and overexcited dogs learn to calm themselves, even in new places and in the presence of visitors and other dogs!

Note- if a behavior gets a reaction, it is getting reinforced.  Start training your dog to be calm at your side by not reacting to his restlessness, whining, barking or attention demands.  The goal is for YOU to stop reinforcing the dog for reacting to the environment in undesirable ways.

The cue (to your dog) to do settle down and chill out is simply (you) stepping on the leash.

HOW--

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Begin by standing or sitting on a chair with your dog on leash. Step on the leash with both feet and hold one end, giving your dog just enough slack so that he can sit or lie down-- but not enough to allow him to jump up.

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Stand or Sit quietly and completely ignore the dog as long as he is doing any nudging, pawing, whining, barking or pulling.

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Once he is still, if he enjoys petting, you can also try stroking him with long slow movements.

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If your dog resumes whining or barking or tries to jump up, ignore him until he settles down again—then reinforce the quiet behavior with low key praise.

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Repeat half a dozen times until your dog calms down as soon as you step on the leash; now begin adding your cue word "Chill"  or "Settle" right before you step on the leash to teach your dog the name for this behavior.

This is a training exercise that’s easy to take on the road—you can practice it anywhere you go.  By not allowing your dog to practice undesirable behaviors such as pacing, jumping up, etc. you are preventing these behaviors from becoming stronger and more entrenched, and by enforcing and rewarding a Sit or a Down you are teaching him what he should be doing instead. Eventually, your dog will learn that there are situations and times when he’s supposed to sit or lie quietly at your side.
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raining tip The more excited your dog is, the more quiet and calm you need to be.  Don’t “catch” your dog’s stressed or hyped up mood—instead help him to catch your calm one!  (Also refer to Relax-Settle in Lesson 4 on training calm behavior).

                                                

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Note About Clicker Training: Clicker training is optional - we can train your dog with or without a clicker!

 

Charging the Clicker /Turning on the Clicker-- is the first step to begin clicker training.

 

The object of this exercise is simply to teach your dog to associate the click sound with a treat; your dog doesn't have to do anything special to earn the C&T.  However, try not to click when your dog is jumping up or doing something else that you don’t want to encourage.  Remember, the dog will soon tend to repeat what she’s doing at the moment she hears the click, and also what she is doing when you feed her.

 

HOW

  1. Be sure your dog is  hungry and use treats the dog really loves.

  2. With the clicker in one hand and some treats in the other, start clicking & treating with a fast and regular rhythm.  One click = one treat. 

  3. Repeat 10-20 times; watch your dog’s expression and body language to see when she starts to associate the clicker sound with a treat coming her way.  You can tell that your dog is catching on when she turns around or perks up or pays attention to the sound of the clicker.  She may start to look at you with expectation. 

 

Training Tips: 

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Things will go faster if you work in a quiet environment without too many distractions.

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If your dog is at all sound-sensitive, you can muffle the sound until he gets used to it by putting the clicker behind your back or in your pocket with a scarf around it, or you can soften the sound by applying strips of adhesive tape to the solid side of the clicker.

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From now on until your dog is very accustomed to clicker training, begin each training session with a few (4 or 5) clicks and treats to "recharge" the clicker.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Teaching Sit Exercise--HOW

Lure it—With a treat in hand, touch it to your dog’s nose and slowly lift your hand above and slightly back of your dog’s head.  Don't say anything.  (At this point your dog doesn't know what "Sit" means). When your dog looks up at the treat, he will probably Sit.  Click or say Yes and treat.  If he tends to move around and back up, move the lure more slowly and work in a corner.  Repeat a dozen times.

Practice a couple of times a day for a couple of days.   You can use your dog's meal time for a training session, letting him work for his supper.

Name the behavior—Now that your dog is readily following the lure into a sit position, say “Sit”  right before making the hand gesture and before his rump hits the floor.  Immediately click & treat.  Now you are teaching him to associate the word "Sit" with the action. 

Fade the food lure--Say "Sit" and use the same hand motion to lure your dog into a Sit, but with an empty hand.  Keep the food hidden in your other hand.  If your dog Sits, click and treat him/praise and feed with food that was out of sight in your other hand.   Repeat several times.  Your dog is learning that you may still reward him even if he doesn't see the food in your hand. 

Use the verbal command alone—Tell your dog to "Sit" without using a lure or hand movement!  Now that your dog has learned to associate the action of sitting with the word “Sit,” you can  verbally cue him to “Sit” without prompting him with a lure or hand signal.  Continue to  Click and treat or praise and treat every Sit. 

Move to a random reward schedule- After your dog will reliably Sit on cue 5 out of every 6 times, gradually progress from clicking and treating every single Sit, to clicking and treating every other Sit, then every third Sit, every fourth Sit, and then only randomly click & treat your dog's Sits.  Once you move to a random schedule of reinforcement, choose the best, fastest and straightest sits to click & treat. 

Fade the clicker-instead of clicking, verbally praise your dog for correct responses and give him an occasional treat to keep the behavior strong.

 

Training Tips:

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Try not to form the habit of saying "Fido Sit-Sit-Sit" which only teaches your dog to ignore you.  If your dog doesn't respond the first time, regain his attention with eye contact (make a noise or movement) before you tell him again to Sit.

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If your dog doesn't respond to a cue/command in a low distraction environment, you probably undertrained it and need to backtrack.  Don't rush the steps above. 

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Once your dog will Sit every time you cue him, you can encourage him to hold his Sit (rather than immediately getting up), by waiting a second or two before clicking & treating.  By the second week, as you gradually extend the time before clicking, he will hold his Sit for a longer and longer time, which is good preparation for later teaching "Wait" and  “Stay.” (If you are not using a clicker, you need to use your release word to let your dog know that is OK to get up from his Sit).

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As soon as your dog will Sit on cue, tell him to Sit before going out the door and before putting his supper bowl down. 

 

Trouble Shooting

 

Once past the learning stage, if you are working with your dog at home in a low distraction environment and he ignores your verbal cue “Sit” cue or any other cue (refusal to perform a behavior he understands) try one of the following options:

a) Walk away from him and ignore him until he follows you or until the next time he approaches you.  Now turn to him quickly and tell him to Sit.  If he complies, immediately reinforce/reward with a click or praise “YES” and a treat. Your objective is to teach your dog that every time he ignores you, you will withdraw your attention and he won't get whatever he may have wanted, but when he cooperates and complies, the immediate results are good things like praise and treats.  This is a non aggressive approach that works well to elicit cooperation from dominant and/or stubborn dogs.

b) Life stops for Fido until he complies with your cue--attach his leash and keeping it short and loose, do not allow him to do anything other than stay right by your side until he complies with your cue--do not let him wonder off, lie down, sniff, etc; as soon as he complies with your cue, praise and treat or play.

 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Teach Down -HOW

Lure It-- To lure the Down from a sit position, put the treat under your dog’s nose and slowly move it straight down, or down and slightly forward—click & treat when his elbows touch the floor.   

As your dog goes Down, gently push his side to encourage him to roll on his left side.  

To lure the Down from a Stand position, move the food down and toward the dog's chest, encouraging him to fold back into the Down.

Name the behavior—Say “Down” as he assumes the position.  This will teach him to associate the word with the behavior. 

Training tips:  If he won’t go all the way down: 

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Lure slowly and straight down--If your dog stands up before he goes all the way down, make sure you are moving the lure very slowly straight down to the floor—if you move it forward & away from him, he will get up to follow it. 

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Lure more creatively—1) under your bent leg 2) under a low coffee table or chair leg, or 3) place him at the top of a stairway and sit below him using your lure to draw him into a down.

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Shape It— If he still won’t go all the way Down, click & treat to reward him for going part way Down.  Encourage him to go a tiny bit further each time to earn the click & treat.  When he until he finally goes all the way, immediately click & treat.

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Catch/Capture It--Step on your leash, giving your dog only enough slack to sit or lie down.  Be very patient and when he finally gets bored/tired and goes Down, immediately click & treat.

Training tip:  Don’t confuse your dog by saying “Down” when you really mean “Off” as in don’t jump on me or get off the couch.  Likewise, you will only confuse your dog if you tell him to “Sit-down”—which do you want, a Sit or a Down?  

Step 1: Begin by using visible food and lure the pup/dog into a Down. Mark and reinforce/reward every correct Down response with a click/treat or say “Yes”/treat.  Do not progress to Step 2 until the dog responds correctly at least 4 out of 5 times.

Step 2: Put the food out of sight in your other hand, but continue to make the same hand motion.  Continue to reward/reinforce every correct response.  (If the dog does not follow your empty hand down, try to avoid going back to using the food lure under his nose.  Instead, wait and try again and immediately reward a correct response). Do not progress to Step 3 until the dog responds correctly 4 out of 5 times.

Step 3:  Add the verbal cue/name the behavior – Say Down, wait one full second, then give your hand signal.  Always say Down before giving your hand signal.  Eventually your dog will hear Down and respond to that alone – at that point you will be able to use either a verbal or a hand signal to get the behavior.

Step 4: You can stop using the clicker as it has served its purpose- the puppy/dog understands that responding to your hand signal by going Down is what he does to earn his treat.  However, continue to praise every correct response but only give food treat reinforcement for every other correct response.  Do not progress to Step 4 until the dog responds correctly about 6 out of 8 times.

Step 5:  Verbally praise every correct response but only give food reinforcement every third or fourth time.  If the dog is still responding correctly, proceed to only reinforcing with food treats randomly – the dog should still occasionally get a treat for really fast sits or for responding under distractions, etc.

Training tip:  After your dog goes Down, what does he do next?  If you want to train him not to self-release, teach him to remain Down until you release him (by saying “OK-free dog) or give him another cue/command such as Sit.   Teach him to hold his Down by giving several click/treats while he is still in the Down Position - then gradually extend the time between clicks.  If you have already started teaching him "Wait" you can also tell him to wait as you pause between click/treats. Then before he can get up, tell him to Sit and click/treat.   This paves the way for teaching the Down-Stay.

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Mouthing and NippingThis is normal puppy behavior.  Puppies actually need to nip in order to learn how to inhibit their bites.  Sometimes if pups are deprived of normal interactions with their littermates and other dogs early in life, they grow up without enough bite inhibition.  We can help along this process of learning proper bite inhibition through training. 

Below is a link to a good video about how to train your puppy not to bite - KIKOPUP shows how to train your puppy not to nip at reaching hands and how to reinforce calm appropriate behavior.  This is a demonstration of how to click or say YES as you reach out and touch the pup, then feed a treat.  In this way you teach your puppy how to calmly accept movement without reacting to it as a stimulus for biting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?src_vid=UCwh7_SjUVM&feature=iv&annotation_id=annotation_713041&v=c77--cCHPyU

 

If your pup nips you or your clothes, you can:

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Make eye contact and move toward him - in a calm way, until he takes step back, praise him while maintaining eye contact, then redirect him to a chew toy.

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Be a tree--Cross your arms, avoid eye contact and stand still —in other words make like a statue or a tree.  You can also turn away and then be still.  Don’t laugh,  or encourage this behavior with positive attention in any way. 

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Re-direct—give your dog a chew toy in place of your arm or leg.

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Say Ouch--Another strategy is saying “Ouch!” or your “stop that” warning word or sound (HEY) in a low warning tone. Follow your word with withdrawing your attention for 30 sec. to a minute or two.

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For problem chewing you can use some Bitter Apple on objects, including on yourself.

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Time Out--If your pup escalates his biting when you cry "Ouch" give him a short "time-out" for a minute or two in his crate or on a tether--be consistent so that he will learn that rough play and biting will always earn a time out. 

About Time Outs

Giving a time-out can be a good way to handle your puppy or dog’s misbehavior.  The concept is very simple—you are quickly removing rewards, including your attention, for a very short time by confining your dog in a safe quiet place and then ignoring him while he is there.  The time-out area can be his crate, a small safe confinement room, or on a leash or tether in an out of the way corner.  In a pinch, you can even give a time- out by stepping on the leash until he settles down (meanwhile ignoring him).  Eventually, your dog will learn to connect his misbehavior with the Time-Out consequence. 

HOW

  1. Mark the misbehavior with a verbal cue - Decide on a verbal marker such as "Uhn-uhn" or "Time Out" or "Too Bad"  and use those words consistently the second your dog misbehaves-this tells him what he did wrong to earn his Time Out. 

  2. Immediately follow up with the Time Out action--take him to his crate or tether.  Time-outs can be as be as brief as 30 seconds and should never last more than a few minutes.

  3. It’s OK to let your dog have a chewy bone during his time-out if it is already in the crate or confinement area. 

  4. Ignore all whining or barking during a time-out and be sure to let your dog out only while he is quiet—otherwise you will teach him that raising a ruckus is how to get his way.  When you release him, do it in a calm neutral manner without undue fanfare.

 

There are essentially 3 steps to training bite inhibition:

  1. Train your dog not to give hard painful bites (respond with Ouch and a time out if necessary).

  2. Train your dog not to exert any jaw pressure.

  3. Train your dog not to mouth without permission.

 

Take Treats Gently Exercise--More Soft mouth-Bite inhibition Training 

HOW

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Place a treat in your fist and let your pup or dog sniff and mouth your fist.

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If he mouths, but doesn’t bite, open your fist and say “Get It;" if he nips, say “Ouch” and freeze your hand; if he then removes his mouth, open your fist and say “Get It.”

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Let your dog sniff the treat in your fist, then tell him "Off” or "Leave it" as you momentarily freeze your hand.  When he pauses, open your fist and say “Get It.”  (Doggy Zen).

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Gradually make your pup wait a few more seconds until he will wait 5, then 10 seconds before opening your fist and giving him permission to “Get It.”

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Offer the food between your thumb and index finger.  Remind your dog to be "Easy-Gentle" as he takes the treat.  If he is careful with his teeth, praise him and give the treat.  If he bites down, yelp and momentarily turn your back and withdraw your attention.  Then give  him another chance to get it right.

In addition, several times a day place your fingers in your dog's mouth.  If your dog chomps down, yelp and withdraw your hand and eye contact.  Then remind your dog "easy-gentle" as you give him another chance.  If he is more gentle with his teeth, praise him. 

 

Attention Exercises, The Name Game, "Watch Me/Look" and Voluntary Attention

The purpose of these three exercises is to begin teaching your dog to pay attention to you: 

The Name Game trains your dog to respond and quickly orient toward you when you say his name.

The "Watch Me/Look" exercise trains your dog to look at you and make eye contact on cue.

 Voluntary Attention encourages your dog to offer his attention even when you haven't formally asked for it via a verbal command. 

These kind of responses are important because you need to have your dog’s attention before he will respond to other obedience cues--attention is the foundation of obedience, and attention is all about eye contact!  The point is to train this so well that it becomes an automatic response.  1) Every time you say your dog's name, you want his head to whip around toward you.  2) Every time you tell him to watch you, you want him to look at you and make eye contact, no matter what else he may have been doing. 

 

In addition, this is a good foundation exercise for training your dog to Come when called.  That quick head turn when the dog hears his/her name means the dog is willing to turn away from something interesting to heed you. 

The Name Game 

Playing the Name Game will teach your dog to look at you and pay attention when you say his name. Tip: Use really good treats and start playing the game in a low distraction (quiet) environment.  A good time to play is right before dinner, or let your dog earn his dinner one or two bites at a time by playing this game!

HOW

  1. With the clicker ready, wait until your dog is looking away or preoccupied with something else, then say his name and if he turns his head and orients back toward you,  click & treat.  (If you are not using a clicker say *YES* and pop a treat to him). 

  2. Do not say his name again if he doesn't respond.  You don’t want to teach him to ignore his name while you repeat it!  Instead make some kind of kissy or smacky sound to get his attention, and if  he looks at you, quickly click & treat. 

  3. If your dog now has his attention glued on you and won't look away, toss a treat a few feet away and tell him to "Get it."  Then say his name and click & treat the second he turns or starts toward you.

Play the Name/Attention Game with a helper--

  1. You and a helper sit a few apart.  Your helper should begin by making a movement or noise to distract your dog.

  2. When your dog is looking away from you, say his name. and when he looks at you, click & treat.  

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Watch Me/Look” Exercise

"Look" or "Watch Me" is the verbal cue you give your dog to look at you and to hold that eye contact until you release him. Because your goal is to instill this as strong habitual behavior in your dog, this is not a behavior that you should teach once or twice and forget about--it only takes a few minutes to play this game, so think in terms of making it part of your daily routine with your dog for the rest of his life! 

Why--Because being able to get and hold your dog's attention enables you to control your dog, while training your dog to use self-control.  This is also an important foundation behavior for working with fearful, reactive or aggressive dogs.  Teaching the dog to maintain eye contact with the handler on cue provides a way for your dog to stay involved with you rather than focusing on whatever would otherwise trigger his/her arousal, be it a stranger or another dog.

How

  1. With a food lure show your dog that you have a yummy treat.  Briefly touch the treat to his nose, then move it up from his nose to yours and as your dog’s eyes focus on your face, say “Watch me” or "Look."

  2. Do not move the treat away from your face before you Click or say OK to release your dog.  This will teach your dog that he should maintain eye contact until he hears the click or your release word. 

  3. Repeat several times.

If your dog looks away before you click or say OK--On your next try, set him up for success by reducing the time you require him hold his Watch before you click or say OK and give the treat. 

Fade the food lure--When your dog will readily focus on you and maintain eye contact for several seconds, fade out the food lure.

How--With an empty hand, point to your face and say "Watch me."  If your dog complies, click and treat, or say OK and treat from your other hand. 

Train the verbal cue - After about 25 repetitions using your hand signal, test to see if your dog has made the word association by saying your cue word/phrase, “Watch Me/Look” without giving a hand signal.  If your dog responds to it by looking at you, immediately reward him with a click and a Jackpot of treats!

Put food treats on random schedule--Gradually move from treating every good response to giving treats on a variable schedule. 

Training Tips—

 

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To increase the length of time he will maintain eye contact, gradually delay the click and build up the seconds he will hold your glance.  Eventually you can teach him to maintain prolonged eye contact. 

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Gradually add distractions.  Practice Watch in a variety of locations—with your dog on leash, in front of the grocery store or movie theater, at Petsmart or Petco, the neighborhood park or Little League game, etc. 

As your goal for the first week, try to work up to ten seconds of eye contact before clicking and treating.  Do not allow your dog to wonder away during the game—but do stop while your dog’s interest is still high and use your release word (OK--free dog or OK--all Done) to end the game. 

Long term goals--Your long term goal is to train your dog to hold respond on cue and maintain sustained eye contact for a minute or more, even in the presence of  major distractions such as other dogs.   However, if you are working with a reactive dog in the presence of one of his triggers such as a stranger or another dog, don't hesitate to use a series of short quick Watches rather than one long Watch/Look--every time your dog turns away from his trigger and returns his attention and focus to you is a chance for you to reinforce/reward that behavior and make it stronger!

 

Reward Voluntary Attention--Any time you notice your dog looking your way or making eye contact, especially in while training, reinforce this behavior with praise or clicks & treats. Again, by delaying the click, you can gradually increase the time he will maintain eye contact. If your dog will hardly look away from you while you play the game, it is still OK to keep clicking & treating.  You can reach that goal only by building toward it one step at a time, i.e. very gradually adding higher levels of distractions.—you are rewarding him for his focus on you.  When you are ready to stop, just say your release word (OK-Free Dog) and turn away from your dog.

Training Tips—

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Once your dog learns to play this game, you will need to continue to always play it occasionally to keep his responses quick and reliable.

 

 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Teaching Come-Discussion- Building the Foundation for the Recall

 

Most people who seek obedience training for their dogs would very much like to have off leash reliability, which means that your dog will Come when called.  However, there is lot more involved in teaching a reliable recall than in teaching a simple trick.   Whether a dog will come when called reflects both the basic state of the relationship between dog and owner and the level of training that has been achieved.   In addition, although some dogs have the type of temperament that makes them more naturally “hang about” types, those that are more independent, more stubborn, more inquisitive or more confident will present bigger training challenges. 

 

Overcoming Distractions--What makes training the recall more difficult than training some other behaviors is that not coming when called and continuing to pursue a distraction can easily be more rewarding to your dog than coming directly to you (the problem of "competing motivations"). 

The solution is to consistently reinforce the response of coming when called until it becomes a strongly ingrained habit – by beginning with great rewards in low distraction situations and gradually building reliability through proofing until your dog will come even in the face of greater temptation.  In addition, you can sometimes make the distraction itself the reward for coming by using it as the reward for coming to you – if the dog comes, you release the dog to “go play” or chase the squirrel again.

Don’t make the mistake of letting your dog off leash and calling her to come in circumstances where it is likely she won’t, and then compound your mistake by punishing her when she returns.   Instead, use good management to avoid giving your dog more freedom than she is ready to handle.  If possible, we don’t ever want our dogs to find out that they can successfully run away from us! 

Avoid calling your dog to Come for anything she considers unpleasant—if she doesn’t like getting her nails clipped, rather than calling her to come, go to her and put her on leash.  Likewise, when her playtime is over, don’t call her to end it—instead lure her to you with a squeaky toy, bouncing ball or treats—or run and encourage your dog to chase you.  

Build Motivation--Always make Coming very rewarding for your dog.  Make sure that EVERY time he Comes when called, something good happens – pop him a treat or reward him with praise and play!   

Use Real Life Rewards--Set your dog up for success--After your dog has learned what the word COME means, begin to call her to come at those times when you know she will—for example, when your dog is hungry, call her to COME to the kitchen for her supper.  Call her to COME to the front door to go for a short walk.  In these instances, giving her supper and taking her outside for a walk are real life rewards for Coming.  Keep treats in your pocket and call her to COME from short distances in the house—when she does, click and treat or reward her by having a favorite special training toy on hand and playing with her.  Using different kind of rewards will make things more interesting for your dog and keep her motivated.

In the teaching phase with a green/novice dog, it is important that you save this exact command (Fido, COME) for those times 1) when your probability of success is high and 2) for when you really need it for your dog’s safety.  Whenever you use the C word be prepared to follow through to help your dog comply if necessary.   The goal is for your dog to believe that if you say this word, he should never ignore it!  When you want your dog to come in other circumstances, use other words and phrases, like “here Fido, or “Wanna go out”, etc. 

Adding distractions

Distractions introduce the problem of “competing motivation.” The distraction may be a bush your dog is busy sniffing, another person walking by with a strange dog, a squirrel, or a child bouncing a ball, etc.  To train your dog to Come even in the presence of enticing distractions, you must begin with very mild and/or distant distractions and gradually work up to tougher ones. 

Recall Training - HOW-Games & Exercises

Exercise 1- Come on Leash

When you begin teaching your dog to Come, it’s essential that when you call him, coming to you is the most exciting, interesting, fun thing he can do!  Therefore begin with a hungry dog and train in a quiet location in your house or yard with as few distractions as possible.

  1. With your dog on leash, say “Fido COME” as you take a few quick backward steps.  Begin praising your dog as soon as he starts toward you and when he reaches you, give him a treat. Repeat several times

  2. Do the same exercise but off leash.

  3. Come and Sit- Stand directly in front of your dog. With your leash in one hand and a treat in the other, held against the front of your body at your dog's nose level, run backwards as you say “Fido Come!” As your dog approaches, tell him to Sit, then give the treat. 

  4.  When your dog is readily coming to you, begin to keep the treat out of sight, but continue to reward him with praise, food, and sometimes with play every time he complies with your Come command.

Training Tips Encourage Voluntary Checking In – Encourage your off leash dog to “check in” with you (voluntarily return to your side without being called) by reinforcing this behavior with praise and treats whenever your dog offers it!  Then give him permission to “go play” again.

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Safety First—The recall is one of the most difficult behaviors to instill to the point of high reliability—no animal is ever 100% reliable.  Therefore, never take a chance with your dog’s safety—only allow your dog off leash when the environment is safe to do so. 

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Don’t ever stop giving positive reinforcement for Coming – if you start to take your dog’s response for granted and cease rewarding him, the behavior will grow weaker.  After his response is solid and reliable, you don’t have to give a treat every time, but you should always praise him and continue to frequently give a treat or a real life reward that your dog values.

Exercise 2 - Cookie Toss Game

  1. Get your dog's attention and toss a small treat away from you, telling him to "Get it "  and as soon as he does, say, “Fido Come!” 

  2. As he starts toward you, click or praise and back up a few steps; when he reaches you, feed another treat. 

  3. Repeat a few times but stop before your dog loses interest.  .

Exercise 3 - Round Robin Recalls-- Begin by standing about six feet apart and take turns calling the dog back and forth between you.  When the dog comes, each person gives a treat.  After your dog catches on, you can move farther apart with people stationed in different areas of the house or yard. 

Exercise 4 – Restrained Recalls- The purpose is to build the dog’s drive to reach the handler.  Your helper should kneel down and restrain the dog by putting his  arms around the dog’s chest. The dog does not need to be on a sit and should not be told to stay.  You should have a really yummy treat,  show it to the dog, run backwards about 10 feet and say, “Fido COME!” – at which point your helper should release the dog to run to you – reward the dog with praise, a treat and play!

Motivated Recalls — If your dog can do a “Stay”, leave him and walk away about 10 – 20 ft.  Call your dog and as soon as he starts toward you, turn and run until he catches you- then pop him a treat, or play with him.  Progress by increasing the distance between you and your dog.

Summary for Level 1 foundation training:

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Always make coming to you happy, positive and highly rewarding for your dog- reinforce your dog with praise, and/or treats and play every time he comes when called.

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Don’t call your dog to Come and then do something he won’t like.

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Never use your dog’s name as a reprimand.

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Never punish your dog for coming to you.

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Use “Come” as a cue/command only when you have set your dog up for success.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Hand-feeding Your Dog Exercise

Why--There are several benefits that come from spending a week or two hand-feeding your dog.  Hand-feeding is a concrete way to show your dog who butters his bread.  Hand-feeding can help build trust, respect, and attention and all it takes is 5 to 10 minutes once or twice a day.

HOW

Sit in a chair with the bowl next to you on a table or kneel  on the floor with the bowl in your lap.  Wait for your dog to offer eye contact before you give him each handful of food.

Training Tips

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Whenever you can, turn your dog's breakfast and supper time into training sessions--your hungry dog will be motivated to work for his food, plus doing this will also cut down on the calories he would otherwise get from all the extra training treats.  Just train as usual but when you click, instead of using a special training treat, reward your dog with a bite of his meal.

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To help increase your dog's attention to you in class or when out and about,  click & treat or say “YES” and treat every time you "catch" your  dog looking at you.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Homework--Week 1

  1. (Optional) Try to Hand feed your dog at least one meal per day for a week.

  2. Play the Name Game randomly several times each day--wait until dog is looking away from you or distracted, say dog's name, C&T when dog turns or looks toward you.

  3. "Watch Me/Look" --Do 5 repetitions each session. Goals for this week are to attain several seconds of sustained eye contact before releasing your dog.

  4. Take treats Gently-twice daily with 5 repetitions each time.

  5. Sit and Down-Goal is to fade out food lure, repeat 25 reps with hand signal, then fade out hand signal and switch to verbal cue alone.  Then practice twice daily, 5 reps per session.

  6. Come on Leash, 5 reps per session, and Round Robin Recalls, 5 reps per session.  Also call your dog to Come off leash at least 3 times per day for his meals, a treat, a game or a walk.

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

              LESSON 2 Reading & Exercises                        

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Motivating Your Dog

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Food Lures & Food Rewards

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Training Words &  Jackpots

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Homework Week 2

 

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Watch me Treat Distraction Game

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Come/Front-Sit

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Come Games

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Gotcha Collar Grab

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Jumping Jack Solutions

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Targeting

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Loose Leash Walking & Training Collar Choices

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Teaching Stay--Part 1: Duration

 

Motivating Your Dog-Lesson 2 Reading

 

Many people believe that dogs “mind” us because of their great love for us.  Actually dogs, like humans, are capable of feeling a great deal of affection for others without any accompanying inclination to perform behaviors they don’t find inherently rewarding.  Others think that dogs mind us out of respect, which does come a little closer to the mark.   A dog is more apt to pay attention and respond to you when he sees you as his leader.  And yet, even the President of the United States may not be able to get his dog to reliably sit on cue if he only depends on having the dog’s "respect." Therefore the real training question becomes, how do you make your dog WANT to do as you ask?  The wrong answer, and something that doesn't work, is repeating a command while your dog ignores it!

Sit-Sit-Sit!  Yet another common mistaken notion is that dogs Sit or do any other behavior just because we tell them to.  Have you ever repeated Sit-Sit-Sit to a dog, with increasing emphasis, while the dog, who knows exactly what the word "Sit" means, ignores you?  Behavioral scientists have discovered that what really determines whether dogs respond or don't respond to our cues/commands depends on past consequences, good or bad.  If you give a dog both praise and a sardine as soon as he Sits on cue, and repeat that a few times, the dog will soon start sitting almost before you can get the word out of your mouth!  

We may have stars in our eyes about our furry companions, but the truth is they are lovable opportunists and their attitude toward training can be summed up with the question,  “What’s in it for me?”  and their favorite slogan “Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun!”

Reward your dog for correct responses--Initially when teaching a new behavior, you should immediately praise and reward your dog every single time that she does something for you on cue. In behavior  jargon, that is called a “continuous schedule of reinforcement."  During the learning stage of a behavior, rewarding your dog for every correct response is crucial--this is how you build a "reward history" to get reliable responses. 

Of course you can't and won't want to always present a sardine along with every request you make, so after your dog has learned a new behavior and will perform it about 5 out 6 times when you cue him, you will begin to cut back on the food rewards until you are giving them randomly, usually for the best and fastest responses. However you should always continue to praise each correct response and sometimes reward your dog with play and other "real life rewards" even when you don't give food rewards.  

Why won’t my dog won’t do what I tell him?  There are several reasons a dog may not respond to your verbal cue:    

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The dog may be confused;   If your dog is confused, Take trainer Karen Pryor’s advice and go back to kindergarten, i.e.. backtrack and teach the behavior again.   

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 The dog may be distracted.  If your dog is distracted, get his attention with eye contact before you repeat your command. Gradually get him accustomed to working around distractions.  

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The dog may be stressed and unable to focus.  If your dog is stressed, help him out.  Stay calm and don’t pressure him.  Move him away from what is stressing him or make the exercise easier for him.

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The dog may not be feeling well—if he is ill, give him a training break.

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The dog may be unmotivated because he has not been consistently rewarded for performing the behavior or because he is keying off your own attitude.  If your dog is unmotivated, train when he’s hungry, make sure that you are not be being too slow and stingy with rewards, and that you are offering rewards that your dog really cares about -maybe he prefers playing Tug to getting a treat.  Also take a look in the mirror—the happier and more upbeat you are about training, the more likely your dog will be to reflect your cheerful attitude. 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Lesson 2 Study Handout--Food Lures & Food Rewards

 

Trainers who claim not to motivate dogs with food (because they say they want the dog to work for them and not for food) in reality rely instead on motivating dogs with aversives--some level of fear and pain. However, training with food does not mean that you have to end up with a dog who only works when you're waving a weenie under his nose--if you learn how to properly use food as a training aid.

 

Food Lures vs. Rewards--There are important differences between initially using food as a lure and later using food as a reward.

Food Lures--The food lure is used as an aide and motivator to teach the dog the body mechanics of a new behavior like Sit or Down by having him target and follow the visible food lure in your hand with his nose.  (At this point the dog is smelling, but usually not being allowed to eat the treat).  Luring should be faded out as soon as possible so that this doesn’t become a permanent crutch for your dog and so that your dog does not come to depend on the visible presence of food to obey you.  You can usually fade out the lure after about 6 repetitions of a behavior.

Fading the food lure—Fading the food lure means gradually eliminating the lure as a crutch to get/elicit the behavior. 

How--After your dog will readily perform a behavior when you lure him (usually after about half a dozen repetitions)  make the same luring movement/signal, but with an empty hand.  Tell your dog to Sit and/or give your hand signal (without the food lure), and if he does, immediately click and reward him from your other hand.  Keep the treats out of sight in your other hand, pocket or fanny pack --and eventually, sometimes off your person entirely in a near-by location such as a table or counter top.

 

Food Rewards--In contrast to food lures, which are used to  elicit a new behavior,  food used as a reward is given to the dog to eat after the behavior is performed. 

After the visible food lure is no longer needed to elicit the behavior and is faded out, food used as a reward should usually be kept out of sight until after the dog has performed the cued behavior.  Food rewards help maintain your dog’s enthusiasm and motivation so they should never be completely phased out, although they should gradually change from being offered every time the dog gives a correct response to being given on a random schedule.

 

Why the confusion?  Initially, when the dog is learning a new behavior (sometimes called “the teaching phase” of training) the same piece of food used as a lure to get the dog to perform the physical movements of a behavior such as Sit, a few seconds later becomes the actual treat given as a reward for that behavior.  However, at a later stage in training, after the dog knows how to perform a  behavior on cue, you should no longer need to lure him and should then be using food only as a reward.

Using food as bribe is a no-no.  You are using food as a bribe when you dangle it in front of the dog before getting him to perform a behavior that he has already learned well.  To prevent the food from becoming a bribe, keep the food out of sight until the dog has given a correct response and offer the treat immediately afterwards as a paycheck for a job well done. 

 

Food Rewards—Schedules of Reinforcement--While the dog is in the learning stage of a new behavior, you should reward him on a continuous basis—in other words, he gets a treat every time he performs the requested behavior. 

Moving to a random reward schedule- Once the dog performs reliably, you no longer have to give him a treat for every correct action—you can gradually put the rewards on a random schedule. 

How--When your dog is responding promptly and correctly about at least 85% of the time (5 times out of 6) begin to reward him every 2nd time, then every 3rd time, every 4th time, then randomly.  Let your dog’s behavior guide you in how fast to proceed in cutting down on the frequency of rewards, and if his correct responses slow, drop back to a more frequent reward schedule.  

Raise your criteria—Since you are now only rewarding some of the time, try to reward/reinforce the fastest downs, the straightest sits, etc.  Give Jackpots for really good responses! 

 

Other Real Live Rewards--Once your dog is very solid with a behavior, you can begin to sometimes offer a reward other than food.  When your dog responds to your cues, praise and play with him with or without a toy.  Call him to Come and reward him with a walk or a game of Tug.  Tell him to Wait and reward him by allowing him to follow you out the door.  Remember that rewarded behavior remains strong, unrewarded behavior will eventually fade and extinguish. Think of food, play, and other rewards as your dog’s paychecks!   

 

Trouble Shooting--"My Dog Only Works for Food!" 

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Then go back to the beginning and make sure that you first fade out the food lure, then move through your reinforcement schedule more carefully.  Be sure that you introduce real life rewards including praise, play, toys, walks, etc.

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Also place your dog on the NO FREE LUNCH regimen!  Cue your dog to Sit before you put his supper bowl down, before you play with him, before you open the door to let him go in or out. 

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Use gentle enforcement:  If you ask your dog for a behavior and he does not comply because you aren't wiggling a hot dog under his nose, slip his leash on, keep it short but loose, so that he can't go off to pursue a distraction, and ignore him for a minute or two-- to quote Dr. Ian Dunbar, "Life Stops" temporarily until your dog is ready to comply with your direction. Give him another chance and if he responds well, praise him warmly and play with him.

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Sometimes when owners have this problem, they are not reinforcing/rewarding their dogs often enough!  What happens is that they rarely give a reward, the behavior response weakens and becomes less and less reliable, then the owner whips out some food and the dog snaps to attention--so the owner concludes that the dog only works when he can see the weenie.  The solution is to reward your dog frequently enough to keep the behavior strong, reward the best responses and mix up food treat rewards with other real life rewards.  Also sometimes reward with treats when the treats are not on your person--dog performs behavior--praise dog, then run with dog to get the treat.  The dog gets immediate praise a behavior marker, the run provides immediate reinforcement, and the treat becomes the frosting on the cake!

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Training Words to Communicate with Your Dog

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Your Dog’s Name—Never use your puppy or dog’s name as a reprimand!  You want your dog to associate his name with good things.

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“Uh-Uh” -- It’s handy to have a specific word that means, “stop what you are doing right now.”  Make your tone sharp enough to get your dog’s attention, but don’t use an overly angry tone.  As soon as you have your dog’s attention, it is important to re-direct him into a behavior you can praise and reward.

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No Reward Marker--NRM is a way to warn or let your dog know he is making a mistake--much like the child's game of hot and cold--you are telling the dog he is cold.  The usual verbal cues for this are "wrong" or "oops, " and should be said in a neutral tone, not a scolding tone.

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Praise words—Good dog, excellent, perfect, cool, fantastic, super!  

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Click word--"YES" or "COOKIE" make good substitute clicker words (choose just one word and use it consistently) and remember, when you use a special "click word" in lieu of a click,  the same rules still apply--first you have to train the dog to associate your click word with a treat, so that he understands that the word predicts a treat, just as the click does.  Then only use that particular word to mark correct/desired behavior the moment it occurs, (do no use it as a general praise word) and always follow the special click word with a treat.

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Jackpot—When your dog makes a training breakthrough or does something extra good, mark and reinforce it by giving her a jackpot--a special reward on the spot!  Giving a jackpot seems to help along the training process.  As soon as your dog does something that rates a special reward, click and say “Jackpot” in an excited tone as you simultaneously shower your dog with some special treats.  According to Karen Pryor, to be effective, a jackpot should have an element of surprise and be given the instant that the animal performs the behavior.   If your dog has done something hard to earn the Jackpot, don’t immediately ask for a repeat performance. Give your dog a short break and time to process the experience.

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Release Word/Cue—This is the word you will use to let your dog know that an exercise is over.  For example, when you have put the dog on a Stay or a Down, you need to be able to tell him when it is OK for him to break or move.  The most common release word is “OK.”  Other possibilities are “Free Dog,” “All Done," That'll Do" or "At Ease.”  What’s important is that you choose one word or phrase and use it consistently.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Watch Me Treat Distraction Game (Proofing Exercise)

After the dog understands what “Watch Me” means and will do it in response to your verbal cue alone (without your raising a treat to your face), you can now use treats as  distractions for “proofing” your dog’s attention behavior.  This can be a lot of fun for your dog and is an easy way for you to interact with him/her and him with some mental stimulation while you sit in your chair during TV commercials!

HOW--

  1. With a treat in both hands, raise both arms out to your side, like a scarecrow.  Give your verbal cue "Watch" and just wait until he looks away from the treat in your hand and looks into your eyes instead, then immediately click or say “YES” and give the treat.  Repeat several times and each time you click, alternate the hand that you feed him the treat with.  Now he is learning that watching the treat doesn’t earn the treat—only watching you and making eye contact earns the treat

  2. With arms down at your sides, hold treats in both hands.  Your dog will look at one hand or the other—Say "Watch" then wait until he glances back at your face.  Click and feed him from the opposite hand from the one he was just looking at.  

  3. Continue to vary your arm/hand positions—for example one arm pointing at 12 o'clock and the other at 3 o'clock--he may glance at your hands as you move, but always require eye contact before you click & treat. 

You will know that he understands that he should watch you, rather than the treat in your hand, when he will make  eye contact no matter where you position your arms and hands.  Then you can once again begin to add duration, a few seconds at a time, before you click and treat.  

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Come/Front-Sit--Stand directly in front of your sitting dog. With  your leash in one hand and a treat in the other, call your dog to Come/Front as you take one step backward. Hold the treat against the front of your body at your dog's nose level.  As your dog approaches, remind him to Sit as you allow him to eat his treat.  Goal for next week:  When your dog is readily coming in close, move the cookie up to your mouth but keep it visible to teach him to come in and focus on your face.  Gradually add more distance as you walk or run backwards and call your dog to Front.

Come Games

Two Person Come Game

Each person should have treats and a clicker if clicker training.  Begin by sitting or standing about six feet apart and take turns calling the dog back and forth between you.  When the dog comes, each person should click or say “YES” and give a treat.  After your dog catches on, progress by moving farther and farther apart and even out of sight as you call him to come back and forth between you.  Stop on a high note before the dog loses interest—always leave your dog wanting more!

Round Robin recalls—Essentially the same game as above but with more people playing.  This is a way to involve the entire family in teaching Come--it also is a way to give your dog some exercise!  Begin with family or friends in a circle in the same room taking turns calling the dog to Come.  When the dog responds, each person in turn should praise and reward her.  Everyone can then start spreading out in far corners of the room and/or yard or to different rooms in the house, and encourage the dog to race to each person when she hears the  “Come” cue—always reward the dog with a treat! 

Cookie Toss--Toss a treat and tell your dog to "Get It" and as soon as he does, call him to Come, then click and treat.  This is a great game for encouraging retrieve instincts and for helping your dog to come back and focus on you after running in the opposite direction.

Motivated Recalls:  Since dogs like to eat when they’re hungry, and most dogs also like to chase moving objects, including their owners, you can use this to make coming to you a fun thing.  In this exercise, a helper restrains the dog, in order to help build his drive to reach his handler.  The dog does not need to be on a Sit and should not be told to Stay.  The owner/handler should have a really yummy treat and show it to his dog, run backwards about 10 feet or 12 feet,  and say, “Fido COME!”  As soon as the owner says “Come” the helper should release his hold on the dog.  If the dog comes running, reward with a  treat and play.  Repeat, but increase the distance to about 20 feet. and do NOT show the dog your food until he reaches you and you reward him.  Variation:  While your helper restrains your dog, call him to COME, then run away.  When he “catches”  you, reward him with a treat or play a rousing game of Tug (but keep the tug toy out of sight until he reaches you).

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Gotcha Collar GrabThis is to teach your pup or dog to accept having you grab his collar. Your dog may resist having his collar grabbed if it worries or frightens him.  Many dog bites occur when someone decides to grab a dog’s collar, although at times this can be a life saving maneuver.  To get your dog comfortable with a collar grab, you need to make it a positive happy experience. 

HOW--Calmly reach out and take hold of your dog’s collar, say “Gotcha” and quickly hand him a yummy treat.  Do this exercise at least a dozen times a day until your pup is completely comfortable having his collar touched and grabbed.  Then, if your dog is stable and friendly and shows no signs of aggression, invite family members and friends to do the same.  Do this exercise occasionally throughout your dog’s life.  

Along the same lines, we will later be doing handling and massage exercises to get your puppy/dog comfortable with human touch and handling.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Jumping Jack Solutions--Teach Your Dog Not To Jump Up and to Sit Politely for Petting

Jumping Jack Solutions--Sit Politely for Petting

Jumping up is inherently rewarding for dogs because it brings them in close contact with your face and usually generates some form of response and attention. In order to train your dog not to jump up, you will need to use a combination of both management and teaching solutions.  Please remember while you are training your dog not to jump up without permission, it is even more important to teach your dog what you want him to do instead --Sit politely for petting-- and to reinforce/reward that!   Your dog can't Sit and Jump Up at the same time!

Manage your dog-Do not allow your dog to jump on others! Jumping up is a self-rewarding behavior and any time your dog repeats a behavior that is rewarded, it will get stronger. 

When you don’t have time to actively train your dog, confine him in a crate or behind a baby gate or closed door before you answer your door bell.  At the front door and on the street, keep your untrained dog on a short leash. Don’t use the leash to choke or jerk him, simply hold it so that he has to remain close to you and has no room to jump. 

Train your dog not to jump on you - HOW: 

bulletDon't reward jumping up--When you walk in the door and your dog starts to jump on you, immediately turn your back away - this is attention seeking behavior, so if you don't want to reinforce it, don't respond by giving attention.  Timing is important – turn away as soon as your dog starts to raise his front feet, before his paws are on the front of your body. 
bulletDo reward the Sit - If your dog then Sits, immediately praise and pop him a treat.  If he doesn’t offer a Sit, you may remind him to Sit, praise him, and give him a treat.
bulletDrive the lesson home - After your dog stops jumping, encourage him to jump up by opening your arms, patting your shoulders or legs, etc. If he goes for it, give him the same cold shoulder response, followed by telling him to Sit – and again rewarding the Sit behavior.  Help your dog generalize the Sit response by practicing this in different places and situations where he is apt to jump up on you.
bulletApproach your dog—Tether your dog, or if you have a helper available, have the helper hold your dog’s leash as you approach.  If your dog starts to jump, either stop just out of reach or back away a few feet (his jumping up makes a good thing—you—go away).  The first time that you get all the way to him and he remains Sitting, praise and give pop him a treat.  Repeat in different places including by the front door. Up the ante by holding a treat against your chest as you approach- if he breaks, walk away, but if he holds his Sit, give him the treat.

Train Your Dog Not to Jump on Others

bulletRecruit family and friends to serve as helpers.  Have them ring the bell, come in, and turn their backs if the dog starts to jump.  If the dog sits, praise him and let the visitor give the dog a treat.  If necessary, you may remind your dog to Sit as the visitor approaches, and if he complies, praise and treat.
bulletHave Helper Approach your dog-Hold your dog on a short but loose leash, remind him to Sit, and watch him closely as your visitor/helper makes an approach.  If your dog moves when the helper/visitor is still a few feet away, your helper should quickly turn and walk away - use the leash to prevent your dog from moving forward toward your helper.  Repeat this exercise as the helper comes closer and closer until your dog will remain Sitting until your helper is standing next to you.  Now the helper can give the treat the dog has earned. 
bulletTeach dog to remain Sitting as the helper pets him.  Progress by having the helper lightly touch, then pet your dog as he maintains his Sit while you praie and treat. Proofing your dog to hold his Sit while he is being petted is an important part of the training process.
bulletContinue to manage your dog around young children and in any social context with others who are not helping you to train your dog.  Instilling new behavior habits takes time and practice.  Until your dog is reliably trained, use your leash as a management tool whenever necessary – do not allow your dog to practice the behavior you are trying to change.

 

Training tips— 

When out and about--Keep treats handy in your pocket and when an approaching person is still several feet away,  put a treat under your pup/dog's nose remind your dog to Sit, then click or say "YES" and treat.  If he doesn't respond to your Sit cue, say "Too bad" and walk away in the opposite direction rather than allowing him to meet and greet--but then give him another chance to get it right  and be sure to praise and reward him when he does.

If you have more than one dog, you will need to first train them individually, then as a group, in how to greet visitors and behave at the door.  When the bell rings, confine all dogs but the one you are working with.  After all the dogs have learned to respond well, practice greeting behaviors at the door with one family member each handling one dog.  One family member should not answer the door with more than one dog, unless , both/all dogs are able to behave & greet visitors appropriately.  

 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Targeting

Targeting is teaching your dog to follow and touch something with her nose.  This is actually a very useful behavior and can help train many other obedience behaviors such as walking at your side, and tricks, like pushing balls or closing doors. It can also be used to redirect your dog's attention from a distraction back to working with you.  If you have a shy or reactive dog, you can train your dog to approach others by gently touching/nosing them and rewarding this behavior.

HOW-Teach your dog to touch/target your hand

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With a treat in your closed fist, hold your fist up to your dog's nose;  as your dog sniffs your hand, slowly move your hand from side to side, then up and down before opening your hand and saying "Get it" as you allow your dog to eat the treat. 

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Stand by your dog with your clicker and treats ready in one hand.  To encourage your dog to touch your empty palm with her nose, put your hands behind your back, then suddenly move one hand  several inches in front of her face with your palm facing her--she will probably nose your palm to investigate.  Alternatively, you can initially rub your palm with a tiny bit of something tasty. that will encourage her to sniff your palm--when she noses your palm, click and treat, then repeat.

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Name the behavior—when she is readily touching your finger/palm, say “Touch” the instant before she noses you.  When she does, click & treat. 

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Now start moving the target—begin to move your hand around and have her touch/target at different heights and positions from your body. 

When your dog will readily target your hand, you can proceed to teach her to target other things such as a target stick, a pencil or a ball, etc. by using the same steps.  Always use the same verbal cue, “Touch.” 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Loose Leash Walking 

This lesson handout has some jargon, so here is a translation:

Distraction - whatever tempts your dog to ignore you and not follow your directions.

Cue - a verbal direction or command (example: Sit, Down, Heel)

Release - a verbal cue and sometimes a physical gesture that tells your dog the exercise is over (sort of like the military "at ease."(example: OK, free dog)

Play - something fun that lowers stress - (example, Tug, running a short distance with you)

Reinforcement - in this context, positive reinforcement that results in making a behavior stronger (example, rewarding with praise and a food treat).

Variable reward schedule - rewarding your dog (for correct behavior) in a random way.

No Reward Marker (NRM) - a verbal marker given in a neutral tone that tells the dog he has made a mistake and forfeited earning a reward (examples: "uhn-uhn" or "wrong").

 

Controlled or Loose Leash Walking (LLW) simply means having your dog walk along with you without pulling. (This is quite different from formal competition- obedience heeling because it does not require constant attention or a “head up” position). 

Why Train-Training a dog to walk without pulling makes walking your dog more pleasant and safe.  When you train your dog not to pull on leash, you are also teaching your dog self-control - which will have a positive effect on other obedience behaviors.   Factors that will influence how quickly your dog will change his leash pulling behavior include his inherent temperament (some dogs have a genetic propensity to pull), your own consistency and timing, and how often you practice. 

 

Step 1 -The Foundation: Build value for being at your side

Show your dog that being by your side is a good place to be.  Begin by standing still in a low distraction place in the house with your dog on leash at your side and rapidly feed your dog a series.   Release, play, and repeat.

Progress to walking around and feeding a treat when your dog moves into position by your side.  You can practice this with your dog both on and off leash.  If you are clicker training you can use clicks & treats for correct position and for your dog offering eye contact.

Here are some Kikopup videos that show how to use this technique when going for a walk – but again, be sure to begin in a low distraction place.

 

Train LLW:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFgtqgiAKoQ&index=2&list=PL7287C737FB745168

LLW: Problem Solving: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHwu0T7PoSw&index=3&list=PL7287C737FB745168

LLW Tips:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueE1S1k74Ao&index=5&list=PL7287C737FB745168

 

But don’t stop here!   Some problems with relying on this (Step 1) method alone:

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The treats have to be given very frequently to get and maintain the behavior.

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If you rely on treats alone to reinforce the behavior, you will always need to have treats handy. 

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The dog can get filled up with treats long before the walk or outing is over.

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Criteria tends to be loose (sometimes the dog is expected to walk at your side, other times he is allowed to get a couple of feet ahead or behind , sometimes but not always he can stop and sniff) so dogs are not crystal clear on expectations and end up "crossing the line." on what is acceptable.

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Even high value treats can’t always trump the distraction the dog wants to pursue or sniff – at these times the dog will ignore the treat to continue to pull toward the distraction.

 

 

Step 2 - Put Loose Leash Walking on reinforcement/reward schedule

 

This technique seems to help dogs grasp what loose walking is all about and what they are being rewarded for when they get it right.  It is also helpful in training dogs to maintain a loose leash in highly distracting areas where they will be more inclined to rush ahead and pull, such as walking from your car into a PetCo or Petsmart store, etc.

 

HOW:

Establish criteria consisting of a certain number of steps taken at your side and reward every time your dog meets that criteria.

When to raise criteria:  When your dog can succeed 5 our of 6 or 8 out of 10 times, raise criteria - add another step or two. 

Tip:  I have found that my dog responds well to my counting the steps out loud.

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Take one step on a loose leash, halt, (your dog should stop with you and either stand in a "wait" or sit) click/treat or say your marker word "YES" and treat.  Repeat at least 5 times.

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Take two steps, halt, and if your dog keeps a loose leash, click/treat or say your marker word and treat.  Repeat 5-9 times.

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Take three or four steps, halt, and if your dog keeps the leash loose, click/treat or say yes/treat.  Repeat 5-9 times.

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 Continue to increase your criteria in this way - each time your dog can do a certain number of steps on a loose leash 5 out of 6 or 8 out of 10 times, increase the number of steps. 

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Exception to the rule above - sometimes reduce the number of steps to avoid always making the exercise harder and harder.  Instead sometimes bounce back and forth between taking more or fewer steps.

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If instead the dog puts tension on the leash, give a No Reward Marker (NRM) and start over again at that level.  If he fails twice in a row drop back to the previous level.

 

When to switch back to variable reinforcement - Build up to where your dog can walk by your side without stopping for as long as you wish – and then switch back to a variable (random) reward schedule - just occasionally praise and encourage your dog's especially good behavior with the random treat.

 

Step 3 - With Me and Go Sniff – Use permission to sniff as the reward for LLW

Most dogs will pull when they want to sniff the ground or some other distraction.  This is a method that addresses that problem by using permission to "Go Sniff" as the reward in lieu of treats.  By using the distraction (sniffing interesting scents) as the reward for walking by your side without pulling, you will be making use of what behaviorists call the “Premack Principle”: (When one behavior is made contingent upon another, the more probably behavior will serve to reinforce the less probably behavior).

The goal is to put the sniffing behavior on cue and to build your dog's impulse control while loose leash walking.

Prerequisites:  Your dog should already have a reward history of getting treats for walking by your side and should understand a verbal cue for this behavior, such as “With me” or “Let’s go.”

HOW:

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Begin walking briskly and praising your dog warmly for walking by your side. 

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After taking several steps together, stop and give the verbal cue, “Go sniff.”

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Allow your dog to sniff for several seconds until she seems a bit less intense about it, and then cue her to resume walking by telling her “With me" or "Let's Go" or whatever phrase you use to indicate walking by your side.

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If your dog tries to sniff before you give permission just say Uh-uh/Wrong and keep moving.  Praise her for moving with you and if you can get her to walk by your side for several more steps without pulling, quickly return to the area where she wanted to sniff and give her permission to do this.

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Repeat ping-ponging back and forth in this way to build your dog's understanding of loose leash walking and increase his/her impulse control. 

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You can also generalize this behavior to train your dog to not pull toward other distractions such as a person or another dog.

 

Training Tips

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The traditional way to walk or heel a dog is with the dog on your left, but feel free to walk your dog on your right if you prefer.

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You can hold the leash in either hand or both hands, but be sure to leave enough slack in the leash for it to hang and form a U shaped loop.  You can also tie the leash to your belt buckle if your dog is not strong enough to pull you off balance.

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Be consistent – don’t let your dog practice the behaviors you are trying to change.  Until your dog is reliable with loose leash walking, at those times when you don’t have time to train, have your dog wear a no pull harness or head halter.

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 Keep the leash short but not tight -  Don't continually tighten/choke up on the leash yourself in an attempt to control your dog--if you habitually keep the leash tight your dog won't learn that a loose leash is comfortable, nor will she learn to take responsibility for keeping the leash loose. 

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Climb the distraction ladder one step at a time.  Set your dog up for success by not putting her in situations that are more than she is ready to handle. Begin training indoors in a low distraction environment, then progress to practicing around your own yard and sidewalk.  Gradually build up to longer walks in more distracting places.

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Take frequent short training walks - This will give your dog the practice he needs to master this new behavior, plus regular outings will be an antidote to the kind of undue excitement and loss of self-control that occurs when dogs rarely leave the house. While your dog is learning these new behaviors, your goal when walking should not be to get from point A to point Z in the quickest most direct way, but rather to practice these new skills. 

 

Special Training Equipment: Please do not resort to using a choke collar which is 1) not effective and 2) can cause tracheal damage.  If your dog is able to slip out of a buckle collar, try using a Martingale collar.

*If you are considering the use of an electronic/shock collar please read: http://www.hollysden.com/say-no-to-shock-collars.htm

The harnesses or head halters (below) make it easier to control your dog and to train him to walk on a loose leash. 

*Walk Your Dog With Dog With Love Harness

*Head halters - My favorite is the Walk n Train by Coastal which is available online. I like the way it fits and the presence of the safety strap.

 

No Pull Harnesses vs. Head Halters - To determine which is the best choice for you and your dog, consider the pros and cons of each and apply them to your own needs and situation.

 

No Pull Harness Pros & Cons

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P-Dogs tend to accept them without fighting them

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P-They don't tend to draw undue attention in public

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C-They reduce but don't eliminate pulling and may not allow people with less physical strength (children, the elderly, those with arthritis or other health conditions) to easily walk/manage a strong dog.

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C-They provide little control for dogs that bark and lunge at unfamiliar people or other dogs.

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C-Some can cause chafing and the tight fit exerting pressure on the dog's shoulders and torso can be uncomfortable

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C-There is some question about whether the way they restrict and alter a dog's gait may promote the development of orthopedic/structural health problems.

 

Head Halter pros & cons

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P-They allow almost anyone to easily walk even large dogs and strong pullers

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P-They make it possible to exert control over dogs that would otherwise bark and lunge

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P-They can be helpful in training a dog to ignore distractions while following the handler's direction

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C-Dogs find them aversive unless properly acclimated to them using positive reinforcement methods.

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C-In public places they still are sometimes mistaken for muzzles, although this reaction is less common now.

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C-They can be injurious if used to jerk the dog's head - however they are safe if properly used.

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Special care must be taken with the brand and fit - some brands tend to ride too high right under the dog's eyes and some place too much pressure around the sensitive part of the dog's muzzle. 

About head halters

These will effectively reduce pulling and are safe if used according to directions.

In addition to helping with pulling on leash, head halters can be a great tool for training your dog to ignore distractions and to behave more calmly in arousing situations and around people and other animals.  However, NEVER use leash pops or jerk your dog's head when your dog is wearing a head halter.  Instead, if you should need to turn your dog away from a distraction, run your hand down the leash and grasp it close to the dog's head while exerting a gentle pulling motion.  Always aim to move away and increase the distance between your dog and the distraction until you reach the point where he is able to remain calm and follow your direction.

About acclimation:  Most dogs will resist wearing a head halter unless they are properly introduced and acclimated to them.  Acclimate your dog to a head halter by holding up a treat in such a way that he has to poke his nose through the nose loop to get the treat.  Repeat until your dog is comfortable with his nose in the halter.  Then you can proceed to the next step - briefly fasten the neck strap, fed another treat, and remove it.  Repeat until your dog is no longer stressed by the halter.  As  your dog gains maturity and increased self-control you can begin to wean him off the head halter.

 

About Flexi Leashes:  If you use a flexi leash to give your dog more freedom on walks, be careful to do so in a responsible manner - do not use a flexi leash with a head halter or with a no pull harness, or allow your dog to pull out on the flexi and get in another person or dog’s face/space.  And a warning - a suddenly excited/aroused dog can take off running and pull a flexi right out of your hand or hit the end of the leash so hard that the force can injure your arm.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Teaching Stay--The Three Ds--Duration, Distance, Distractions

There are 3 criteria that comprise a solid Stay—your dog must be able to hold his Stay for a reasonable Duration and  Distance and in the presence of Distractions.  Only work on one of these things at a time during a training session--never try to improve or increase all three at once—remember the training rules that you should 1) only raise one criterion at a time, and 2) when you add a new element, drop back to an easier level on the other elements of the behavior. 

Part 1:  Duration

Stay vs. Wait-Some trainers use Wait to mean stay in place until I give the next command whereas they use Stay to mean remain in place until I return and release you. 

You release your dog from a Stay by saying your release word (OK, Free Dog, At Ease).   

Laying the groundwork--After you clicker train your dog to Sit, keep your dog from immediately getting up by delaying the click & treat, first for only a second or two,  and then for a few seconds, to help your dog learn to “hold” his Sit.  

HOW--We won’t use the clicker for this.  In order for your dog to really understand what Stay means, we also need to teach him a release word/cue that says  "you are finished, NOW you can move.  To do this you need to choose and use a consistent release word/phrase such as “OK—Free Dog.”   

  1. With your dog on leash, stand next to your dog and tell him to Sit, then move your palm toward his face with your fingers pointed down to the floor and tell him to "Stay."  Quietly praise him for a second or two, then release him by saying your release word "OK" as you move back and encourage him to follow you by clapping the side of your leg.  Both your verbal cue and your body language should signal your dog that it is OK to move now.

  2.  Repeat, then feed him a treat while he maintains his Stay--remind him again to Stay as he finishes his treat so that he doesn't think finishing the treat is a release.  Quietly praise him and release him. *Note that by giving treats during the Stay rather than after it ends, we are reinforcing the Stay itself, not the release.

  3. Gradually build up the seconds that he can maintain his Stay--and if he breaks after 5 seconds,  help him to be successful by releasing him after 3 seconds the next time. 

About treats- Many dogs do not need treats to learn how to Stay but treats can be very helpful in teaching dogs who tend to pop right up to learn what Stay means.  Here are two techniques for using treats in teaching Stay:

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Tell the dog to Sit and slowly feed a series of treats as you tell him to Stay.  Praise the dog and release.

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Tell the dog to Sit and then show him a treat but freeze your hand above his head as you say "Stay."  Feed the treat and repeat Stay, then quietly praise and release.

Training tips—  

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Be careful about your technique in how you offer the treat while your dog is on the Stay—if you wave it in front of him or move it too slowly toward him when you give it, you will draw an inexperienced dog off his Stay to go after the treat. 

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You will confuse your green dog if you tell him to Stay and move away--initially remain next to your dog and don't move.

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Likewise don't call your dog off a Stay - instead return to him and release him.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Homework Week 2--Add

  1. Do “Gotcha” collar touch/grab--twice daily, 5 reps per session.

  2. Touch/Targeting--twice daily, 5 reps per session, varying the position/height of your hand.

  3. Practice Sit-Stay and Down-Stay adding duration-goal is a 10-30 second Stay.

  4. Practice Sit politely for petting and door manners--

    1. At the door--use your leash to check jumping up on visitors.

    2. With set ups - have a helper hold your dog on leash or tether your dog.  Practice approaching and if your dog starts to jump, stop just out of reach or back away a few feet; as soon as he stops jumping and sits or keeps 4 on the floor, click, walk closer and treat.  Change places with your helper and repeat.

  5. Come---two sessions per day of Come on Leash, at least 5 times in each session; Add Sit--Begin to tell your dog to “Sit” as he draws close to you.

  6. Come--practice Cookie Toss Game and/or motivated recalls once daily, 5 reps per session.

  7. Practice Loose leash walking in a quiet places around the house 3 times per day for 3 - 5 min. each time; Acclimate dog to wearing head halter (if indicated).

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, or Lesson 4

 

LESSON 3 Reading & Exercises 

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Follow the Leader

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Homework Week 3

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Leave  It

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Give/Out

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Take It & Tug

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Go To Your Mat

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Wait at the Door

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Teaching Stay-Part 2:Add Distance

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Come On Long Line

 

Follow the Leader -Relationship Building-Part 1

So far we’ve been talking about the training that happens by providing consequences and by controlling the environment.   It is absolutely vital  to understand that all training is rooted in the relationship between you and your dog.  In the next few weeks we’ll be helping you develop a relationship based on trust and respect.  Your dog wasn’t born with an inborn desire to please you; the desire to please grows out of the overall relationship.

 

Teach Your Dog to Follow The Leader - Part 1: Sit for Everything

Follow the Leader is a training regimen that can change the dynamics of the owner-dog relationship by teaching the owner how to act as the dog’s leader and by training the dog to defer to the owner!. These are the goals:

  1. To build  your dog’s trust in you as his leader; when your dog feels that he can trust you to protect him, he will be more secure and calm.

  2. To condition the dog to pay attention to you, defer to you, and look to you for direction about how he should behave in any situation; the dog should ask permission before engaging in certain behaviors or activities. Decision making power should be in the owner’s hands rather than in the dog’s paws! 

  3. To put your relationship on the proper footing so that you maintain control over interactions with your dog and so that your dog reacts to your behavior rather than you reacting to his.

  4. To teach you how to control access to things your dog cares about, so that you can use these things to reinforce/reward good behavior.

  5. To teach your dog self-control and encourage emotional maturity.  

Follow the Leader Deference Training: 

If your dog knows he can count on you as a leader, he will feel safer and more secure and be more willing to take direction from you about how to behave.  The most effective way to establish yourself as the leader in your dog’s eyes is not through physical bullying but by teaching him to understand that he depends upon you for access to all the things that he needs and cares about.  You play Follow the Leader with your dog by taking control of daily interactions and making him earn his privileges.  In a nutshell, Follow the Leader is comprised of two related regimens:

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Sit for Everything

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No Free Lunch Program (see Part 2).

Sit For Everything is implemented by requiring the dog to respond calmly and politely to a Sit command before you provide him with any rewards.  These include: petting, coming in and out, getting his supper bowl or treats, playing games, being groomed, or going for car rides and walks. Sit is a neutral position that helps an excited dog to calm down, even in distracting and stressful situations.

Having your dog Sit and make eye contact before giving him what he wants may seem like a simplistic or superficial ritual, but over time, as Sit turns into a “default” behavior, it has powerful ramifications.  In effect, you are making your dog “say please,” which should be a lifelong habit. This reinforces polite behavior, while providing him with a way to obtain real life rewards for responding to your direction. Be sure to wait as long as necessary for a calm relaxed response before you reward your dog, says Dr. Lore Haug, DVM,  a behavior specialist at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, or else you will be reinforcing arousal instead of calmness.

Note: If your dog has hip dysplasia, spinal arthritis or any other condition which makes sitting difficult to do, substitute another behavior--for example, you may cue your standing dog to "Watch/Look" (make eye contact until released) instead.

Remember that all training is rooted in the relationship between you and your dog.  Your dog wasn’t born with an inborn desire to please you; the desire to please grows out of the overall relationship and a history of rewarding your dog for desired behaviors.

 

Teach Your Dog to Follow The Leader - Part 2: No Free Lunch for Dogs

 The No Free Lunch Program - By taking charge of daily interactions you provide clear structure for your dog, reduce his anxiety, and provide positive reinforcement for desirable behavior.  Here are the rules: 

  1. Begin by feeding Fido his meals by hand whenever possible for one-two weeks.  Fido should Sit and make eye contact for each handful of kibble.

  2. Make Fido “Sit” and make eye contact before putting his food bowl down.

  3. Make Fido do something for you such as Sit, Down, or Shake Paws to earn rewards such as treats, toys, and play.

  4. Make Fido Sit and Wait before rushing out the door or jumping out of the car.

  5. Do not allow Fido on the furniture or bed without your permission; teach him a “place” command such as “Go to Your Mat.”

  6. Until Fido has reliable house manners, supervise him at all times - and confine him in a safe space when he can’t be under your watchful eye.  If he likes to snatch objects and run away from you, keep a leash/drag line attached when you are home.

  7. Initiate and control interactions - do not respond to Fido’s attempts to initiate play; instead, if you want to play with him, cue a Sit or Down, then initiate play yourself; end it by telling him “Enough” /that’s all” and ignoring him. Nudging, pawing, barking, and other forms of demanding attention never unlock the goodie box (attention, treats, toys, play) for Fido.  Meanwhile be proactive about meeting your dog’s legitimate needs for attention.

  8. Control the space by using “Body Blocks.”  Use your torso, not your hands, to assert yourself in gestures your “pushy” dog will understand. Times to use body language include when your dog leans/presses against you (lean right back toward him but look away), when your dog is blocking your path (continue to move forward in small steps), when your dog jumps up on you, (keep your hands still but push back with your back & shoulders) or when he tries to run past you out the door (block his path and “herd” him back).  Using your body correctly shows your dog that you are in charge, even when you don’t have a leash in your hand.  (Safety note - do not use try this if your dog displays aggressive behavior toward you).

  9. Take the lead on walks - you are not in a leadership position if your dog is dragging you down the street! If your dog is a strong puller, train him to walk on a loose leash; if necessary, use a head halter or the “no pull” Premier Easy Walk harness.  If you have your dog pay respectful attention to you at the beginning and end of the walk, it’s OK to give him permission to explore interesting sights and smells in between.

  10. Control the house toys - Pick up the toys in between training sessions and keep them in a drawer or closet (exceptions are for chewy bones & chew toys such as kongs).

The practices prescribed above do not have to be religiously followed every day, no matter how your dog happens to behave.  As Dr. Patricia Mc Connell notes, good trainers act like thermostats, turning up the heat when the dog misbehaves, and easing up when all is well.  The No Free Lunch program should remain in force for your dog until his general manners and/or reactivity are no longer a problem.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Leave It—When you give this verbal cue, your dog should immediately cease sniffing, touching or pursuing contact with the distraction or object of his attention, and return his attention to you. This is a very important behavior for teaching your dog impulse control as well as a useful way to trai him to avoid contact with certain things on cue - and to keep his attention focused on you when necessary.  This is an exercise that Search & Rescue dogs practice throughout their entire careers!

You can tell your dog “Leave it” when he is about to approach a dead bird or rodent in your backyard, a rotting fish on the beach, a snake on a hike, snacks on the coffee table, or a person or dog that may not welcome his overtures.   Reliable “Leave It” training can help a reactive dog keep his focus on you instead of on another person or dog and sometimes prevent a dogfight! 

"Leave it” can mean 1) “Don’t approach it,” or 2) “Move away from it NOW.”  But remember, when your dog hears you say “Leave It” that is also his cue to return his attention to you! Begin teaching this behavior by teaching your dog to leave treats alone.  As your dog comes to understand the exercise, begin to generalize the lesson by teaching him to leave other kinds of objects as well.  Eventually you will teach him to even leave people or other animals when he hears this cue and turn to you for his reward.   

 

Teach Leave It--HOW

Step 1--Discourage grabbing from your hand:

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Alert your dog to a treat in your closed fist (initially by holding your fist up to his nose).  As your dog starts to sniff or mouth your hand, keep your fist closed.  If he continues to mouth, ignore him and keep your fist still.

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The second that he hesitates, looks away, or backs up, click and say "Get it" (or say YES,-Get it" ) as you open your hand and allow him to take the treat.

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Repeat until your dog waits or backs away from your closed fist as soon as you hold it up. 

Step 2--Teach Wait for Permission to Take It:  

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Repeat (with your hand several inches away from your dog's face/nose) but this time when your dog waits or backs away, instead of immediately clicking and giving the treat, open your fist but do not click or say Yes.  If she your moves to get the treat, quickly close your fist.  Repeat until your dog remains waiting for a second or two in front of your open fist, then click/say Yes -"Get it."  and offer the treat by bringing it close to your dog's nose.

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Begin to extend the time your dog waits by one second at a time before you click. Your goal now is for your dog to wait several seconds in front of your open fist before you click and say "Get it."

Step 3--Discourage grabbing from the floor/ground:

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Place the treat on the floor  and if your dog tries to go after it, quickly cover it with your hand or foot.  As soon as your dog stops trying to get the treat, glances back at you, or backs away, click or say YES and give a treat FROM YOUR OTHER HAND

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Now with your dog on leash, toss a piece of kibble or other boring treat on the floor just out of reach - if he tries to go after it, prevent him from doing so with the leash by standing still or backing up.  As soon as he stops trying to get it and glances back at you, click or say YES and treat.

Step 4 –Add/Teach the verbal cue “Leave it”:

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When you reach the point where your dog will wait until you give her permission to get the food from your open hand or on the floor:  Begin saying "Leave it" immediately BEFORE you open your or place the food on the floor - wait a few seconds, then give your dog permission to "Get it" and offer the treat from your hand.
 

Step 5—Teach Your Dog to Leave Objects & Other Distractions Alone

Real life practiceKick it up a notch—Teach your dog to generalize the meaning of "Leave it" by practicing with different objects and distractions as well as treats.

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Tell your dog to "Leave It" each time you place a practice object on the floor.  If she moves to get it, quickly cover it with your hand or foot.  If your dog complies and waits,  give her a click & treat (from your other hand)

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Place various objects and treats about 6 feet apart and walk your dog past the them but several feet away.  If your dog looks at the object say "Leave it" and if your dog looks back at you, click & treat.  Gradually reduce the distance until you can walk your dog right by the objects.

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Take it on the Road (with your dog on leash of course) and practice in different locations—your yard, around the neighborhood, the park, mall parking lots, local pet stores, , etcKeep in mind that real life distractions—odors in the bushes and grass, animal droppings, etc. are much stiff competition so bring along extra great treats.

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When this behavior is very reliable, you can fade out the treats and only reward with them occasionally, but always reward your dog with praise and play—after all, even when you don’t have treats in your pocket, you always have yourself to offer and you can make your praise, coupled with play, very rewarding for your dog

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Give/Out—Choose the word you prefer--This exercise teaches your dog to release an object when you tell him to do so.   

Why—Releasing objects on cue helps your dog learn another important aspect of self-control.  If your dog will release objects on cue, you can play games like Tug with him.  Releasing objects is also a skill needed for good retrieving.

How—Exchange the object in your dog’s mouth for a treat!  You can initiate this exercise with a game of Tug, or catch the behavior by approaching your dog when he already has a ball or other object in his mouth.

  1. Have some high value (esp. yummy) treats ready on hand and put the treat under your dog’s nose—he will probably release the object in his mouth to take the treat.

  2. Praise him warmly as you give him the treat.

  3. Name the behavior—after your dog has readily dropped the object in his mouth a few times, begin to add your chosen word “Give” or “Out” as you hand him the treat, so he will learn to associate the word with the action. 

  4. Now wean your dog off getting a treat exchange to release: If you are tugging with your dog, keep hold of the object but suddenly release pulling pressure as you step toward dog, point your finger at his face, and say "Out."

 

Take It & Tug--Select a toy that is good for pulling and use it to tease your dog a bit and encourage him to grab it with his teeth—as he does, say “Take It.”  Praise him as you pull and tug, then stop pulling and say “Give” as you offer your treat.  Gradually stop offering the treat, as your dog gets better at releasing the toy on cue.  When your dog releases the object, resume playing tug—getting to play again is his reward!

Benefits of playing Tug—Playing tug can be a good addition to a daily exercise program.  In addition to providing exercise, playing Tug can help teach self-control and provide a bonding activity for owner and dog.  If your dog is not unduly aggressive, Tug can be a terrific game IF you and your dog play by the rules!   

Rules for Tug: 

  1. You, the owner/handler should initiate the Tug game.  If your dog tries to start the game, have him do some sits & downs for you first, then if go ahead and play with him if you want to.

  2. Dog can only grab Tug toy when you give permission by holding out the toy and saying giving your chosen cue word “Take It, Tug or Pull.”  If your dog grabs the toy, his behavior should reap some negative punishment—the good thing, in this case the toy, goes away and disappears from sight—put it behind your back or in your pocket.   Tell your dog to Sit and if he complies, bring the toy back out and resume the game.

  3. You should win the game almost all the time (9 times out of 10) unless your dog lacks confidence—then you can let him win more often.

  4. If at any time your dog’s teeth touch your skin, say OUCH or Oops and end the game!  Put the toy away for several minutes.  Then you can give your dog another chance.

  5. End the game before your dog gets bored by telling him to “Give or Out”  and putting the toy up or saying “Enough” or That’s all,” and withdrawing your attention.

*Anyone who can’t abide by these rules should not play tug with the dog—that is why Tug is not a good game for young children to play with the dog 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Go to Your Mat/Bed/Crate/Kennel & Park It--Teaching your dog Place Commands, to go to her bed or her crate, and to remain there (Park It) until released, is another control measure and management tool.  It is also a good technique to use with dogs that tend to be dominant or aggressive about maintaining their position on your bed or sofa.

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Say nothing but toss a treat or toy onto his bed or into his crate. When he goes after it, click & treat again.  Repeat several times.

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Now say "Place" or "Go to your mat"  BEFORE you toss the treat, and  when he complies, click & treat again. 

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Park it-Teach him to remain there until you release him How- slowly feed him treats to keep him on the rug until you release him by saying OK or calling him to Come. (Don't say "Stay" because stay means "don't move" whereas it's OK for the dog to change/shift positions as long as he remains in his place). If necessary, you may use a leash for additional control as you feed the treats.  Be strict about not allowing your dog to move away from his Place until released.

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Gradually stand farther and farther back as you give the cue to train him to go to his place from a distance--then you may need to remind him to Sit or Down.  Continue to randomly reward his correct behavior with praise and a treat.

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As your dog masters this, repeat sequence, but begin to add distractions - softly clap your hands, count out loud to ten, knock softly on a near-by wall or door, etc.  Praise and reward, then release your dog by saying OK.   Practice making your dog remain "parked" on his mat while a helper/friend rings your door bell.

Note: You can use a similar technique to teach the dog to go to her crate.  You can also teach your dog to love going to her crate by using the "Crate Games" method developed by trainer Susan Garrett:

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Wait at the Door Wait means pause and don’t move forward until I release you.  Teaching your dog to wait for permission to pass through doors (both house and car doors) is an important safety practice. Use Wait rather than Stay when you expect to release your dog within a few seconds.

Dogs can get into all sorts of trouble by dashing out the door.  Your dog may spot a cat or a squirrel and chase it into the street.  If he should take out after another dog, a fight may ensue.  If he chases a child on a bike, the child could be injured.  Dogs who impulsively rush through open doors quite often wander off and become lost dogs.

Your goal is to teach your dog that on or off leash, he should wait for you to go first or give your permission before he can go through an open door.  This kind of training reinforces your dog’s self-control, good manners and respectful attitude toward you.

Begin with inside doors and then progress to outside doors.  

How--

  1. With dog on leash, approach doorway, stop about 2 feet away, tell Fido to Sit and after he is sitting, say “Wait.”  Open the door a few inches. If dog tries to move forward, say No/Oops/Wrong as you body block him if necessary and quickly close the door.  Now walk him a short distance away from the door. 

  2.  Repeat sequence until dog stops trying to rush through door.  Praise or click & treat for not moving.

  3. Repeat sequence, but begin opening the door a bit wider. (Any time dog breaks and tries to rush through, say No-Wrong, close the door and walk away).  Remember to praise or click and treat for waiting.  

  4. Open the door all the way.  As you remind your dog to sit and wait, slowly step through the doorway.  If he moves to follow you, say "No--Wait" and body block—if he waits, praise or click and treat.  When he will sit/wait for 5-10 seconds, give him permission to pass through by saying “OK--Let's go” and pat your leg to encourage him to come along.

Body block Wait--With the leash in your left hand start walking and when you reach the doorway, give a Wait hand signal with your right hand, as you say "Wait" and swing around (in front of your dog so that you are now facing him) to use a body block to keep your dog from moving forward.  Still facing your dog, take a step backward and if your dog starts to move forward to follow, step toward him again and force him back as you repeat "Wait."  When your dog catches on and waits after you step back away from him, praise him and give him permission to follow you by saying your release word (OK).

Wait When Doorbell Rings—

Why--When the doorbell rings, teaching your dog to Wait and hang back a few feet away from the door, rather than rushing right up to the door, can serve several purposes:

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It prevents your dog from bolting through open doors.

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Waiting in a back- up position gives your dog a chance to practice self-control and to calm down a bit before you admit any visitors.

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Your dog’s presence “watching your back” in sight of delivery drivers and solicitors or strangers may provide an extra measure of personal security.

 How—

  1. Stand by the door and ring the bell or have a helper ring the bell. 

  2. When your dog comes running, walk toward your dog and herd him away and back from the door.  If he tries to dart around you, quickly throw a body block. 

  3. When you have backed your dog up at least five feet from the door, tell him to “Wait.”  He may do his Wait in a Sit or Stand position, as long as he doesn’t move forward toward the door.

  4. Return to the door and open it a crack, keeping one eye on your dog.  If he rushes the door, shut it fast and do another body block.  Then herd him back again.  If he doesn’t rush the door but creeps forward a few feet, use your body to block his path and shuffle him back( to the invisible line you don’t want him to cross) again. 

  5. Now, give him another chance to get it right.  Open the door and stand a little to the side so the dog can make a choice.  If he chooses to Wait, click & treat or praise & treat, then shut the door and release him or give him permission to pass. 

  6. Repeat a few times every day until he is reliable—then continue to use and randomly reward this behavior whenever visitors ring your doorbell.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Teaching Stay-Part 2: Steady the Stay & Add Distance-HOW

Once your dog understands and will hold his Stay for at least 10 seconds, help him further steady his Stay by doing these exercises:  

  1. With your dog on a sit, say “Stay” as you give your stay signal, and pivot to his front.  Remind him to “Stay” as you pivot back.  Quietly praise, reward and release.

  2. Tell your dog to Stay and give a hand signal.  Take one step away from him, praise, return and treat.

  3. Repeat above. Tell your dog to Stay, give a hand signal and take 2 steps away, praise, return and treat.  Repeat, with 3 steps, then 4 steps,  etc. until you can walk to the end of the leash while your dog Stays. Praise, return and treat.

  4. If you dog successfully Stays through this exercise, repeat it. Walk to the end of his leash and face him.  Remind him to Stay, return, praise, treat and release. 

  5. When your dog can successfully complete the above exercise, go to the end of his leash and face him, remind him to Stay and make a complete circle around him, returning to your place at his side.  Praise, treat and release. 

  6. Tell your dog to Stay.  Hold his leash close to the collar and remain next to him. Remind him to stay as you gently pull forward on the leash, while pushing back on his chest with your other hand.  Praise and release.

  7. Tell your dog to Stay.  Move out to the end of his leash.  Remind him to stay as you gently pull forward on the leash.  Return, praise and release.

Note: At the stage of training Stay your green dog, always return to your dog before releasing him; do not, for example, leave him on a Stay and then call him to Come.  Your dog should develop a solid Stay before you begin to call him to Come from a Stay.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3

 

Come On Long Line  (Recall With Distractions) 

 

Inside Short distance recalls - with distractions in the house

Dog on leash - helper stands near- acting enticing with food and a toy, distracting by clapping hands, moving around, etc.

If dog goes to helper, helper should ignore dog.

Call dog - as soon as dog starts toward you, praise and reinforce with treats and play.

Progress to dropping the leash and increasing distance of recall.

 

Outside short distance recalls

Repeat above.  Begin again with dog on leash and with the distance again reduced to a few feet.

Progress to using a long line and greater distances.

 

*You progress to the exercises below after building up a reinforcement/reward history for coming when called.

 

Premack Training - The Premack Principle states that an animal will do a less enjoyable behavior (A) in order to get to do a more enjoyable one. (B).

You can build value for Behavior A by making it a bridge to Behavior B.

Applying this to training the Recall (COME), the distraction is actually used as the reward.

 

Examples

Call dog to Come while he is playing with other dogs - reward dog for coming by giving permission to “Go Play again.” 

Call dog to Come from chasing a squirrel - reward dog for coming by giving permission to go chase the squirrel again.

Dog will come when called, even when called away from a distraction, in order to get permission to pursue that distraction.

 

Using Distraction as the Reward - HOW

 

1. Helper serves as initial distraction.

Helper stands about 20 feet away with great treats and lets dog smell them and lick hands but does not feed dog.

Call your dog to Come (away from the helper) using an upbeat cheerful tone.

If dog complies,  say YES or click as soon as dog starts toward you.

Feed the dog treats and while he is eating them, helper should approach and also give a treat.

 

2. Canned baby, cat or dog food serves as distraction for hungry dog.

With helper positioned beside it, show dog a spoonful of food on a plastic or paper plate.

Lead dog about 20 feet away and tell dog to Stay.

Walk 20 feet away in different direction so that you, dog and helper form points of triangle.

Call dog to Come. If he complies, run with him to the food and let him have it.

If he goes for the food instead, have helper quickly cover it with a bowl.

Repeat until dog comes to you, then reward him by running him to the food.

Dog will learn the only way to get the food is by coming to you first.

 

3. Outside environment serves as the distraction. (Teach him that coming to you does not automatically mean the end of freedom and fun.)

 

With your dog on a long line, let him wander off about 20 feet, then call him to Come.  If he hesitates, you can give the line a gentle tug as you run backward and make silly kissy noises.  Praise him (or click) as soon as he starts toward you and when he reaches you feed the treat - then release him to "Go Play."

 

Repeat and if your dog comes when called, give him a Jackpot of the special treats by doling them out slowly, one at a time, for several seconds -then release him again and let him have a minute to investigate, sniff and explore the environment.

If instead he ignores you, don’t reel him in like a fish  - just give an immediate behavior marker by saying "Uh Oh” so that he will know the exact moment that he made his mistake.  Walk down the line to him and when you reach him, say, “Dog, Come” in a neutral tone of voice as you run backwards a few steps.  Now ignore him for several seconds.

 

Repeat again to give him another chance to get it right and earn reinforcement.   In addition to treats, you can also reinforce him with play and games like Tug.  The idea is to teach your dog that ignoring your COME command will  earn him nothing, whereas complying earns good stuff and the chance to go play again. Be sure to end each session on a high note after a good response.

 

In subsequent sessions, progress by repeating the exercise with the dog off leash, but in an enclosed safe space such as in friends' fenced backyards, fenced playing fields, tennis courts, etc.

 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3

 

Homework Week 3-- Add

  1. Leave It--Your goal by next week is to have your dog leave any object or treat that you place on the floor when you say "Leave It."

  2. Out/Give—Twice daily, 5 reps with object exchanges for treats.

  3. Wait--Make your dog Wait at the door before releasing him to go outside; make him Wait to be released before allowing him to jump out of the car.

  4. Go to Your Mat—Gradually increase the distance from which  you can send your dog to his mat--daily, 5 reps.

  5. Relaxation-Settle –massage and dog stays on mat until released.

  6. Sit-Stay and Down-Stay – Add distance. Your goal is to have your dog Stay for 20 seconds as you walk in a 4 ft. circle around  him.

  7. Come--Hide in the house and yard call your dog to Come—reward with treats and play.

  8. Practice LLW in the yard--down the front walk and back and down your driveway and back.

  9. Optional--Food Bowl exercises if indicated for pups or resource guarders.

 

LESSON 4 Reading & Exercises

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Dog Trainer's Recipe-Review

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Relaxation Handling Techniques

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Homework Week 4

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Relax-Settle & Handling Exercises

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Down/Stay-Training Progression

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Teaching Stay--Part 3: Add Distractions

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3

 

Here’s the Dog Trainer's Recipe: How to Teach New Behaviors Review

 

Stage 1 – Get the Behavior and Reinforce/Reward It

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Get the dog to do the behavior (usually by having the dog follow a food lure with his nose).

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Click or say "YES" to mark the behavior.

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Praise & deliver a treat to reward the behavior.  

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Repeat half a dozen times.

Stage 2 - Teach Word Association and Fade Out the Food Lure

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Give a verbal cue (say sit, down, etc. ) a second BEFORE you lure the dog into position.

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Give verbal cue, and lure the dog using the same signal but with an empty hand.  Keep the food out of sight until the dog responds correctly, then reward the dog from your OTHER hand; repeat 25 times.

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Now request the behavior using only your verbal cue.

Stage 3 - Move to a Random Reward Schedule for Treats Using the 5 out 6 rule

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When your dog responds correctly to your verbal cues 5 out 6 times, cut back from rewarding with a treat every time to rewarding every OTHER time.

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If your dog continues to respond correctly 5 out of 6 times, cut back to rewarding every third time, then every fourth time, and then begin to reward the best responses randomly.

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Occasionally use toys, play and “real life” rewards (such a belly rub or walk) in lieu of treats

 

Relaxation Handling Techniques & Tips--There will many times in your dog's life when he will be distracted, excited, or agitated and will find it harder to pay attention to you.  Dog class may be one of those times. Here is what you can do to help him out: 

1) The more excited your dog is, the more quiet and calm you need to be.  Don’t “catch” your dog’s stressed or hyped up mood—instead help him to catch your calm one!  Practice by taking at least 3 deep breaths.

2) Don't choke up on the leash-you can keep the leash short, but be sure to keep it loose enough not to put tension on the collar/tab!

3) Engage his brain--give him something to do and something to think about--play the Name Game and Watch Me or  practice the hand targeting exercise.

4) Give him an outlet for his energy/stress--do some doggy aerobics (Sit, Down, etc.) or play Tug, but require him to Out/Give and to Sit on cue, then play some more.

5) If your dog is very distracted or stressed and pays no attention when you tell him to Sit, make a noise or a movement or touch him gently in a way that will help him notice you, and keep doing it until he does (if your dog isn't aggressive, try giving repeat short gentle tugs on the collar, or little taps on his head). As soon as he glances at you, repeat Sit--if he does, praise and reward. 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Teach Relax-Settle

Settle means to assume a Down position and relax until released.  Think of “Settle” as going a step beyond the calm behavior you get from just stepping on the leash with the Chill Exercise above—now  your emphasis is on inducing a deeper state of relaxation.  When your dog assumes a very relaxed body posture, the matching emotional state tends to follow; your goal is to be able to trigger this state when your dog would otherwise become agitated or aroused.

How is Settle different from Down-Stay? 

Primary purpose of Down-Stay is to maintain stationary position—the dog may or may not remain alert; primary purpose of Settle is to induce relaxation.

During the Down-Stay the handler does not generally touch the dog; during Settle the handler may stroke the dog or give a massage.

During Down-Stay the training progression is to add distance and proof for distractions; during Settle, the handler sticks close to the dog and tries to avoid arousing/disturbing the dog. 

 

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After luring your dog into a Down with a food treat, delay giving the treat, and gently praise, pet and massage your dog; open your hand and give the treat when she is patiently waiting for the treat, not while she is nibbling or pawing for it; when she stops trying to get the food, open your hand and offer it, then release her. Repeat this step. This is to teach her that she will be rewarded for calm relaxed behavior and to encourage her to this position until you say your release word.

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Encourage your dog to hold her Down position by slowing feeding a series of treats, with a pause of several seconds between treats, then release.  Training progress is to increase the time that the dog will maintain this relaxed position from an initial 2-3 seconds to eventually at least 20-30 seconds or longer before being verbally released by the handler. 

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Repeat, and if your dog is calm and quiet, add the verbal cue "Settle” as she goes Down.    Use one word consistently.  (Remember if you begin by saying "Settle” while your dog is still bouncing off the walls, you will teach her to associate the verbal cue word "Settle" with bouncing around, not with being still and quiet).

 

Relaxation Massage--While your dog is in the Settle position, give a Relaxation Massage. 

HOWPlace your dog in a down position as described above, then encourage the her to lie on her side and gently massage her until she is fully relaxed.  Begin by using a circular hand motion to gently massage your dog’s head, temples, ears, shoulders, chest and front legs.   If she struggles or squirms, resume massage where she enjoys being touched, then gradually radiate outward from that area.  When she is comfortable with the first step, progress to massaging her belly, side, hind legs, feet, and tail;  gently pull and stretch her tail.  Make sure to only give rewards for relaxation, and release her while she is being still and accepting your touch.  

Play Possum TrickTeach your dog to “Play Possum” to get him to quickly assume a relaxed posture!

Teach this trick by using a food lure in your hand that your dog will follow with his nose, because using even the slightest physical force will produce muscular tension which will interfere with relaxation..

  1. Encourage your dog to follow the food lure into a down position, rolled on one hip.  His head should now be facing toward the same side as his legs. Praise and feed the treat.

  2. Use the lure to have him turn his head, as if to look over his shoulder, in the opposite direction from his legs.  As he raises his head this will cause him to roll back on his shoulder. 

  3. With your dog now on his side, move the lure to turn his nose back to the front and down.  As his head touches the floor, feed him a treat while he is maintaining this lying on side/head down position. Encourage him to remain still until you (verbally) release him.

  4. When your dog is readily following the lure, name the behavior--as his head touches the floor say, “Play Possum” or if you prefer, point your finger and say “Bang!"

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Handling Exercises--Accept Touch, Handling and Restraint--Being touched and handled can bother dogs who aren’t accustomed to mild restraint and handling socialized enough. It’s important to get your puppy or dog accustomed to being touched, reached for and handled so that he won’t act inappropriately aggressive and bite someone that he shouldn’t, such as a child or your vet. There are lots of things we can do to get puppies comfortable with being handled. It’s as simple as making sure that they are handled on a regular basis and that the handling is pleasant for them.  One easy way to do this is to pair handling & massage with a treat.  Make a point of having other family members and friends also handle your dog in gentle ways and pair this handling with treats.  Make sure that it is always a pleasant experience--don't push your dog beyond his comfort level. 

Pass the Puppy is a game where everyone (family, friends, puppy school classmates, etc.) sits in a circle as the puppies or dogs are passed along from one person to the next until each puppy/dog is back with his/her owner again.  Meanwhile, every person the puppy/dog goes to should look at the pup’s ears, feed a treat, touch the collar, give a treat, hold a paw, give a treat, etc.

Mild restraint & examination--Get your dog accustomed to accepting mild restraint and to having you look, touch and examine his mouth, ears, paws, nails, tail, etc. by doing this on a regular basis.  Reward his good behavior with praise and a treat.  Massage your dog once a day (you can do this while watching TV).  

Teaching Restraint--Since every dog must be groomed and examined, train your pup/dog to accept restraint by doing the following: 

  1. Hold your pup/dog in your lap and place the heel of your hands over his doggy shoulders with your fingers wrapped  around his chest.  Apply very slight pressure, release, praise and give a treat.

  2. Repeat, gradually building up the time you exert the slight pressure a few seconds at a time.  Praise and treat.

  3. Hold and gently press your dog’s foot. Praise and treat.

  4. Hold and stroke each leg. Praise and treat.

  5. Hold and gently press his shoulders. Praise and treat.

  6. Hold his hips between your hands and press gently.  Praise and treat.

  7. Cradle his entire body against your side.  Praise and treat.

  8. If your dog is comfortable with the above exercises, hold his head in the crook of your arm, keeping your face away from his mouth; if he accepts this, praise & treat.

  9. Examine his mouth—run your finger along his lips, pull back,  & check his teeth.  Praise and treat.

  10. Examine his ears—touch his ears, gently wipe with cotton ball moistened with hydrogen peroxide or ear cleanser. 

  11. Feet & toes—touch paws, touch between toes, touch and press nails.

 

Part 2--When Some Behavior Modification Is Needed

If your puppy/dog is already a bit touchy about being touched, you can still use a combination process of counter-conditioning and desensitization to train him to tolerate and eventually even enjoy being touched and handled.

Behavior modification programs work by using a combination of:

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Desensitization--exposing the dog to the same stimulus that usually bothers him, be it a stranger, another dog, a noise, etc. but at  such a low level or distance that it will not elicit a negative response.

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Counter-conditioning—conditioning the dog to associate the stimulus with something pleasant, usually a food treat.

In other words, keep the experience pleasant for the dog, take it slow and easy—don’t push too far too fast.  So, if you have a dog who is doesn’t like to have his feet touched, don’t start off by grabbing his feet!  The process of changing his reaction can be as simple as beginning wherever he is most comfortable being touched, say his back.  Touch his back while giving him a treat.  If he’s OK with that, touch his back lower down, give a treat.  Touch his upper leg, give a treat, etc.  If at any time he seems the least bit sensitive or worried, back pedal and repeat working where he is still comfortable with your touch.

Note: If you have a dog who is very fearful, resistant or aggressive about being approached or touched, you may need to work on the problem in a more systematic way with the help of a trainer or behaviorist.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Practice Down/Stay-Training progression

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Down-Stay--To have encourage your dog to hold his Down, rather than immediately jumping up, begin to wait a second or two before clicking & treating.  Gradually delay the click and treat to encourage your dog to hold his Down as you straighten up.   You can also use the leash to encourage your dog to Down-Stay.

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Fade the food lure—If your dog is following the food lure into a Down, begin to alternate making the same gesture with an empty hand, until you can make the gesture with an empty hand every time.  Continue to click & treat every time your dog goes Down.

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Stand up straight while your dog holds his “Down.”  Begin by standing up from a bent position after you lure the Down. 

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Stand in heel position (with your dog at your left side) as you cue him to Down.  

Fast Drop--To lure the down from a Stand (Sphinx position down) move the lure back toward his chest under his chin to encourage him to fold back like an accordion.  Use the word “Drop” to distinguish this type of fast down position.  *We will work more on fast drops in Basic 2. 

                   

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Teaching Stay-Part 3: Adding Distractions 

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Play the airplane game up close with a treat.  If your dog moves off his Stay, the treat flies away.

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Place a food treat on the floor as you remind your dog to Stay.  If he does, release him to get his treat.

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Remind your dog to Stay as you sit down on the floor a few feet from your dog;  Variations:  Lie down on the floor;  Stand up and do jumping jacks;  Clap your hands.

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Remind your dog to Stay as you bounce a ball or squeak a toy next to him or throw the toy in front of him. If he starts to move, immediately give say your NRM (Wrong-Uh-Uh), then remind him again to Stay.

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Proof your dog to Stay while being touched/petted by yourself and others. Ask family members and friends to come up and pet your dog as you stand next to him and remind him to Sit-Stay--if he does, quietly praise him, then release him).

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Practice Stay in a variety of locations and situations.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Homework-Week 4 – Training Progression

  1. Sit-Stay and Down Stay- Add Distractions--Your goal for this week should be to accomplish a 30 second stay at the end of the leash as a helper provides a mild distraction (walking by with a toy or treat, bouncing a ball, etc.)   Stay progress--Raising one criteria at a time, continue to increase Duration, Distance and Distractions until you are satisfied with your dog’s ability to Stay.

  2. Come--Practice in safe places outside using a long line and in safe enclosed places off leash.

  3. Leave it--Practice on walks and outings and continue to reward this behavior with praise and treats.

  4. Targeting-- progress to teaching your dog to target other objects as well.

  5. Go to Mat--Increase the distance from which you can send your dog to his mat have him park himself there.

  6. Loose leash walking and Heeling-- around the neighborhood and shopping centers.

  7. Socialization--Keep your dog socialized by continuing Handling exercises and getting your dog out and about every week.

  8. Say Please--Make your dog ‘say please” by sitting and making eye contact before giving him/her anything she likes or wants.

  9. Schedule time with your dog--Incorporate time to interact with your dog into your daily schedule.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Training For Life

Congratulations on the progress you have made in training your dog to be a better companion!  Of course training can’t be completed in four short weeks, and I hope that you will want to continue training your dog at least through Basic 2.   After that you may want explore other special activities you can share with your dog—for example, animal assisted therapy, tracking, herding, agility or competition obedience.  For those of us who love dogs, training is one of the best ways of communicating and interacting with them.  The more you work with your dog, the more he will be able to develop his/her potential. 

In this course you learned that animals repeat behaviors that are rewarding and avoid behaviors that aren’t.  To keep the behaviors you have trained strong and reliable, you will need to keep rewarding your dog with praise, and randomly rewarding him with treats and play.  You also need to incorporate training into your every day life together!   

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Play the Name Game and Watch Me during TV commercials.

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Tell your dog to Sit—before you put his supper bowl down, at the door, before you throw his ball or play Tug.

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Have your dog do her Down-Stay—while you eat dinner and while you load the dishwasher. 

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Remind  your dog to Wait—at doors and before getting out of your car.

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Ask your dog for eye-contact/attention and reward him for giving it—when you are on a walk and spot another person and dog approaching, when you are in a crowd, whenever you are training and working together. 

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Practice loose leash walking when you walk through Petsmart, go to the mailbox, stroll through the park, approach fire hydrants or other interesting scent distractions , and when your doorbell rings. When you don't have time to train, use your Gentle Leader.

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When the front door bell rings, practice loose leash walking to the door and Sitting politely for petting.  

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Call your dog to Come-- for her supper, for treats, for walks, car rides, and play.  

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Practice training in short periods of time—you can accomplish a lot during TV commercials!

Remember to be kind and patient with your dog—keeping in mind that much of our dogs’ difficulty with learning the behaviors we humans find desirable is due to our own limitations as their teachers.  Good luck and best wishes for a long and happy relationship with your best friend, based on mutual love and respect. 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

References

The following books were consulted in writing the text and handouts for Pup/Basic 1:

  1. Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals by Karen l. Overall, M.A., V.M.D, Ph.D.

  2. Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

  3. Dog Friendly Dog Training by Andrea Arden

  4. The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller

  5. Mine by Jean Donaldson

  6. Teaching Clicker Classes : An Instructor’s Guide by Deborah A. Jones, Ph.D.

 

ADDITIONAL HANDOUTS

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Play Rules for Pups & Dogs

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Shake Paws & Wave

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Food Bowl Exercises

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Acclimating dogs to head halters

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Crate Training

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Tethering

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Spay-Neuter Info

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Should You Breed Your Dog?

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Skip to Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 or Lesson 4

 

Play Rules for Pups--Socializing Puppies Through Play With Other Dogs

  1. Don’t allow your pup to play with other dogs while you are holding him on leash (unless you want an adult dog that always tries to drag you toward other dogs)

  2. Don’t let your dog approach or get in the face of other dogs until you are sure they are friendly (unless you want a dog fight).

  3. Make your pup or dog earn his playtime.  Have him give you his attention and do something for you, (Sit or Down) then reward him by dropping or removing his leash (when you are in an enclosed area where it is safe to do so) and giving him your permission to “Go Play.”  If he tries to pull toward other dogs before you take off his leash, stop your forward motion and back up the other way. Wait until the pulling stops and he looks at you before releasing his leash.

  4. When time is called, go to your pup and show him a treat as you say “Gotcha” and take his collar.  Reward him with the treat and take him to where you can play with him.  Play tug, settle your pup down, and then let him “Go Play” again.  

  5. Practice calling him from play (every 5-15 seconds) and if he comes, give him a Jackpot, (slowly feed him a series of several treats) then release him to “Go Play” again. This helps him learn that coming to you does not always mean the end of freedom.

Pass the Puppy-Socializing Puppies With Other People

This is fun for people and puppies!  We all sit in a big circle and pass the puppies to the person on the left.  When you have a puppy, talk and pet it gently and feed it a treat.  If the puppy is comfortable, touch his/her ears, paws and tail.  We will keep passing the pups until you have your own puppy again.

Playing Pass the Puppy is way to give your puppy a positive socialization experience so that he will be confident around people and not frightened by normal touch and handling.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Additional Handouts

Shake Paws & Wave

Hold the treat in your hand and move it on the floor (near dog's paw), so that it's super-easy for dog to make contact with your hand.  Once dog can do it easily when your hand is on the floor, fade out the use of the treat in your hand   Practice a bit more, same hand positioning/movement (just without holding a treat) and continue to click/treat dog for touching your hand with her paw.  Then gradually raise your hand off the ground--from Trainer Virginia Broitman. Or alternatively:

  1. With your dog sitting, lightly touch his paw under the wrist and if he lifts it, even a little, click & treat. 

  2. You may need to help your dog by lifting his paw—click & treat the instant his foot lifts from the floor.

  3. Keep repeating and holding your hand out toward his paw, but gradually fade your physical touch/prompting.

  4. Once your dog is lifting his paw without your help, wait a second or two to click & treat—this will encourage him to lift his paw higher and hold it out longer.

  5.  Add the cue verbal cue, “Shake paws.” 

Wave

  1.  Practice Shake Paws (above); now hold your hand out to your dog as if to shake paws again.

  2. As he lifts his paw, pull your hand back.  When he hesitates with his paw in the air, click & treat.

  3. Repeat until your dog is reliably waving his paw.

  4. Add the verbal cue, “Wave good-bye” or “Wave your paw.”

  5. Fade out your reaching for his paw, as you gradually change your hand motion into waving at your dog.

  6. Begin to slowly increase the distance that your dog will wave to you until he will wave standing a few feet away.

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Additional Handouts

 

Food Bowl Exercises

 

Part 1--Guarding Prevention Training--Many dogs seem to have a genetic propensity to guard food that is probably related to survival instincts.  Some dogs are only aggressive in the context of guarding food or bones and the degree of aggressiveness can vary greatly.  If you have a puppy, there are some simple exercises that you can and should do to encourage him to relax about eating when people are around and about.

To train a puppy or dog to relax about his food/bowl--

1)      Begin by holding the bowl in your lap, adding a handful of the food at a time.  Soon the puppy will be glad to see your hand with food approaching his bowl. 

2)    Occasionally stir the food with your hand as you present the bowl. 

3)    Place his bowl on the floor and feed him by adding one handful of food at a time.  Walk away a few feet, return, and add another handful of food.  Now the pup is glad to see you approaching with more food! 

4)    Put all of his food in his bowl, but while he eating, occasionally come and squat by his side, reach in quickly, and drop a special treat in his bowl.  He will think, I know there was no chicken in this bowl one second ago—but She sticks her hand in and Viola!  Chicken happens!

5)    Practice having all members of the family (children under supervision) and even family friends repeat the steps above.

Now your job is to maintain your puppy’s relaxed and happy attitude.  Don’t constantly bug him while he eats, but don’t always leave him alone either.  Train him to take your presence and that of other family members for granted by making a point of occasionally touching or petting him when he is eating, and dropping a treat (oh boy—dessert!) in his bowl.

If you have a multi-dog household-- do not let the dogs bother each other while eating.  Feed them in separate areas, supervise them while they eat, and if necessary, use barriers (tethers or baby gates) to keep them apart. 

For a dog with mild food guarding behavior--Please notify me if your puppy or older dog already shows some food guarding tendencies,  Don’t ignore the problem, because this is a habit that will only grow stronger if you routinely allow your dog to be in situations that trigger his aggressive response.  If your dog has mild guarding tendencies I will show you what you can do to safely manage or to modify this behavior.

For a dog with serious food guarding behavior (dog makes aggressive displays when people approach him while eating--lip curls, hunching over bowl, growls, barks, snaps, etc.)  Don’t try working with this type of dog alone—you need the help and guidance of a trainer or behaviorist experienced in working with aggression problems.   

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Additional Handouts  

 

Handout--Acclimating Dogs to Head Halters & Muzzles

 

What:    The two most common brands are the Halti and the Gentle Leader; the GL can be purchased with a video that further shows/explains how to use and fit it. 

Why: Head halters make it easier to safely handle and control dogs in a variety of situations.  By gently pulling the head halter forward and raising the dog’s head, the handler can gently interrupt a dog’s barking and redirect the dog’s attention and orientation away from provocations and back to the handler. Head halters also make it easier to control dogs that pull on lead by working on a similar principle to a horse’s harness --where the head goes, the body follows.  Head halters are designed with one strap that goes around the dog’s neck and a nose loop that goes around the muzzle so unlike choke collars, they don’t place pressure on the dog’s throat and  won’t damage the dog’s trachea.

Part of the solution for behavior problems is providing the dog with clear structure and leadership; not allowing him to pull the handler to and fro reinforces the right message about who is in charge. 

*A head halter is not a muzzle—dogs can still eat, drink and bite while wearing one.

 Muzzles

What:  Basket muzzles and Mickey muzzles on the other hand are designed to keep the dog’s mouth contained to prevent biting. 

Why:  Muzzles make it possible for owners, vets and trainers to safely work with dogs who otherwise might bite them. They also make it possible to place reactive dogs in special classes together where we can work on behavior modification for this problem.  Note: Some muzzles prevent dogs from being able to pant effectively and should not be used in the hot conditions or for more than 20 minutes at a time.

 How to Acclimate:  Use classical conditioning to teach the dog to associate the head halter or muzzle with treats, walks and outings. This can usually be done in a few sessions.

Be sure to keep your attitude calm, patient, cheerful and upbeat.  Repeat the steps below as many times as necessary for the dog to be comfortable before proceeding  to the next step.

  1. Show the dog the GL or muzzle at the same time that you present a treat.

  2. Fit the neck strap (following directions that came with the device) —feed a treat.

  3. Hold a treat up through the nose loop so that the dog has to touch it to get the treat;  use the treat to lure the dog to push his nose a bit further into the nose loop.

  4. Fasten the neck strap, slip the nose loop on, feed a treat.

  5. Adjust the nose loop, & use the treat to lure him to take a few steps—feed the treat;  increase the time he wears the device until he can take a short walk with it on. 

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Additional Handouts

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Additional Handouts                       

 

Tethering 

 

What--A dog training tether is a device similar to a short leash (approximately 4 feet long)—in fact, a short leash may function as tether by placing the loop of the leash under the leg of a piece of heavy furniture.  However, the advantage of using a tether especially designed for the purpose is that the device is made with a steel cable, which unlike nylon or leather tends to discourage chewing, and it will have clip at both ends so that one may be attached to the dog’s collar and the other to hooks that you may install in the baseboard of any room where it is convenient for you to tether your dog.

Why--Tethering can be an effective management tool and training aide and may provide an alternative to other confinement devices such as crating or a “safe” room.  Tethering is used 1) to keep the dog safe and out of trouble for short periods when you are not able to interact with him, 2) to teach the dog to “settle down” quietly for short periods, and 3) to provide the dog with a “Time-Out” when he has misbehaved.

Safety warning--It is very important to understand that tethering should never be used when you are not able to see and hear the dog.  For safety’s sake, tethered dogs must be closely supervised, because if left alone, they can become tangled in the cable or damage their mouths trying to chew it.  They may also chew anything they can reach while on the tether.

How--Avoiding confinement anxiety—Teach your dog to accept being tethered by acclimating him to the tether in a positive way.  Before tethering him, place his mat down with a stuffed Kong or chewy bone.  Remain with him and praise him for a minute if he settles.  Walk a short distance away, pause a bit, and come back and release him before him before he gets upset.  Repeat, gradually extending the time that you leave him tethered.  Don’t remove him from his tether while he is fussing.  Tell him to Down or Settle and release him only while he is being quiet.

When—Tether your dog when you need to give him a short time out when he is overly excited or out of control (refer to "Time Outs" in Lessons); when you want to prevent him from jumping on visitors at the door; when you want to work on certain training exercises that involve self-control such as “sit politely for petting” (refer to Jumping Jack solutions in Lessons); when you want to reinforce calm quiet behavior; as a way to separate dogs in multi dog households, for example, during their meal times.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Additional Handouts

 

Spay-Neuter Information

Spaying and neutering your pets is one of the best things you can do for their health.  The benefits include a much lower risk of many types of cancer for both males and females.  Spaying females eliminates the problem of messy heat periods. Neutered males have less tendency to escape and roam, or to get into sexual/hormone related fighting with other males.  Neutering also seems to help alleviate some types of male dominance behavior problems.   

Pet overpopulation --Each year nation-wide, 2 1/2 million dogs are destroyed in animal control shelters or sold to labs for research.  Add cats and the number of pets destroyed every year doubles to more than 5 million.  In the Houston area alone, shelters took in 91,000 animals and euthanized 76,000.  Those numbers don’t include the strays that die after being hit by vehicles on the road or from starvation and disease.  About half of all dogs born in the U.S. are either given away by their first owner or euthanized on or before their second birthday.  Other estimates are that out of every 10 puppies that are born, only 1 ends up with a permanent home.  People give up their pets because of new jobs, birth of children, moves, divorce, unanticipated expense and trouble—most give up their dogs because of behavior problems. The numbers can be mind-boggling, but they hit home for anyone who has walked through a shelter and looked into the eyes of the animals there.  (Anyone contemplating having a litter so their children can "experience the miracle of birth" should have to take that walk through a shelter first, to see what too often follows that miracle).  Because of this tragic problem, most of us who work with and love dogs believe there is an ethical obligation related to decisions to bring more pups into the world.  This is, after all, a problem for which we know the solution.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Additional Handouts

 

Should You Breed Your Dog?  

 

Breeding is costly and time/labor intensive--If you don’t cut corners, when you compare the cost and trouble of breeding dogs to income generated, the profit margins get fairly slim.  For starters, breeders must pay for extra health care, food, facilities, stud fees, and advertising.  If emergency or special care is needed for mother or pups, breeding can quickly become a financial liability.  In addition, good breeders spend at least two hours per day caring for the mother and raising the pups.

Hallmarks of responsible breeders—Questions you should be able to answer before you breed your dog:  Are you knowledgeable enough about genetics to breed healthy dogs of good temperament?  Is your dog certified (OFA hips/elbows, CERF) free of identifiable genetic problems? Does your dog meet the established breed standard for correct conformation?  Does your dog's pedigree have at least 4 titled dogs in Conformation, Obedience, Tracking, Field/Hunting, Agility or Herding within the last 3 generations? Do you know enough about canine development and behavior to trouble shoot problems and to provide for appropriate socialization?  Do you have a plan for selling your puppies with spay-neuter contracts, educating your puppy buyers about proper care and training, and maintaining contact with them in order to track any genetic related problems that may develop?

Breeders have humane responsibilities-Last but not least, are you prepared to carefully screen your buyers, and are you ready to provide a permanent home yourself or find a new responsible owner for any dogs of your breeding that may need to be re-homed at some point in their lives? Unless you plan to be a responsible, professional breeder, do yourself a favor, your own dog or cat a good turn, and the animal world a kindness—spay and neuter your pets.

 

Pup/Basic 1 Lesson Table of Contents or Additional Handouts

 

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Holly's Den
Dog and Puppy Training
San Antonio, TX
contact via email

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Association of Pet Dog Trainers.
Association of Professional Dog Trainers
APDT member #6125
© Copyright 2002 – Beverly A. Hebert. All rights reserved