Dog Training

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Dogs Training

Dog training is the process of teaching a dog to exhibit certain desired behaviors in specific circumstances. Some examples are:

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* Teaching a dog basic obedience commands (part of obedience training)
* Teaching a dog to perform tricks casually or for circus acts
* Teaching a guide dog to lead the blind
* Teaching a rescue dog to find victims of a disaster
* Helping a hunting dog learn to perform its instinctive behaviors at appropriate times

The specific behaviors taught in each case are different, but the underlying principles are similar.

In the wild as pack animals, canines have natural instincts that favor training. These instincts are manifested when the dog lives with humans as a desire to please a handler, as a dog would please senior members in a pack in the wild. The handler is simply whoever is working with a dog at the time.

Basic training

Most dogs, no matter their eventual advanced training or intended purpose, live with people and therefore must behave in a way that makes them pleasant to have around and for their own safety and that of other people and pets. Dogs do not figure out basic obedience on their own; it must be trained.

Basic training classes

Professional “dog trainers” usually do not train the dogs, but actually train the owners how to train their own dogs. Although it is also possible to send a dog away to a training school, the owner still must at some point learn what the dog has learned and how to use it and reinforce it. Owners and dogs who attend class together have an opportunity to learn more about each other and how to work together under a trainer’s guidance. Training is most effective if everyone who handles the dog takes part in the training to ensure consistent commands, methods, and enforcement.

Formal training in classes is not always available until the puppy has completed all its vaccinations at around 4 months; however, some trainers offer puppy socialization classes in which puppies can enroll immediately after being placed in their permanent homes as long as disease risk is minimal and puppies have receieved initial vaccinations. In most cases, basic training classes accept only puppies who are at least 3 to 6 months old.

Next article: Dog Training Part II – Age for early training

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Dog Training: Teaching Puppy Not to Jump or Bite

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Dogs Training

You finally have your adorable, cuddly new puppy. You are happy to have him and he is happy to have a family. But wait – it’s just the beginning. There are 2 behaviors you need to deal with almost immediately – jumping on people and biting.

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Jumping on people

This is a problem that you or others might inadvertently encourage. He is so little and cute, that little tail is wagging and, after all, isn’t socialization and getting used to people important? Of course socialization and getting used to people is crucial but allowing him to jump on people isn’t the way to do it.Imagine your cute, little puppy as a full grown 80 – 100 pound dog. Will it be so cute when he jumps on people then? No and it will be dangerous if he jumps on children or small adults because he could easily knock them down.

The best time to take care of this is, of course, when he is a puppy. When the puppy jumps up on you or someone else, gently place the puppy’s feet back on the floor. When he remains standing there, be sure to praise him extensively. Give him an alternative to jumping up. Puppies jump up on people to express their enthusiasm, so it is important to redirect this energy in a more socially acceptable direction. Try teaching the puppy to present his paw instead of jumping up. When teaching the puppy to not jump up on people, it is important to be consistent. Consistency is important in any training program, and all members of the family as well as friends must understand that the puppy is not permitted to jump on them – ever.

Biting

Biting is one of those things that every puppy seems to do, and every puppy must be taught not to do. Like many behaviors, such as jumping up on people, biting and nipping can seem cute when the puppy is small, but much less so as he gets older, larger and stronger.

Left to their own devices, most puppies learn to control their biting reflex from their mothers and from their littermates. When the puppy becomes overenthusiastic, whether when nursing or playing, the mother dog, or the other puppies, will quickly issue a correction.

Unfortunately, this type of natural correction often does not occur, since many puppies are removed from their mothers when they are still quite young. It is therefore up to you to take over this important process.

Socializing the puppy with other dogs and puppies is one of the best and most effective ways to teach the puppy the appropriate, and non appropriate way to bite, and to curb the biting response.

Many communities and pet stores sponsor puppy playtime and puppy kindergarten classes, and these classes can be great places for puppies to socialize with each other, and with other humans and animals as well. As the puppies play with each other, they will naturally bite and nip each other. When one puppy becomes too rough or bites too hard, the other puppies will quickly respond by correcting him.

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The best time for this socialization of the puppy to occur is when it is still young. It is vital that every dog be properly socialized, since a poorly socialized dog, or worse, one that is not socialized at all, can become dangerous and even neurotic. Most experts recommend that puppies be socialized before they have reached the age of 12 weeks, or three months.

Another reason for socializing the puppy early is that mothers of young children may be understandably reluctant to allow their young children to play with older or larger dogs. Since socializing the dog with other people is just as important as socializing it with other dogs, it is best to do it when the puppy is still young enough to be non threatening to everyone.

It is important for the puppy to be exposed to a wide variety of different stimuli during the socialization process. The socialization process should include exposing the puppy to a wide variety of other animals, including other puppies, adult dogs, cats and other domestic animals. In addition, the puppy should be introduced to as wide a cross section of people as possible, including young children, older people, men, women and people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

While socialization is very important to providing the puppy with life lessons and preventing him from biting, it is not the only method of preventing unwanted biting and mouthing. Giving the puppy appropriate things to play with and bite is another good way to control inappropriate biting. Providing a variety of chew toys, ropes and other things the puppy can chew is important to preventing boredom, keeping his teeth polished and keeping him from chewing things he should not.

As with any training, it is important to be consistent when teaching the puppy not to bite. Every member of the family, as well as close friends who may visit, should all be told that the puppy is to be discouraged from biting. If one person allows the puppy to chew on them while everyone else does not, the puppy will quickly become confused, and that can make the training process much more difficult than it has to be.

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Dog Training and Your Relationship With Your Dog

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Dogs Training

My best friend is incredible! She’s one of those rare types who hangs on every word you say. She’s content to be quiet when I need stillness, even though she’s one of those high-drive types. All I have to do is call and she’s there in an instant, no matter what she was doing before. She puts me ahead of all her other friends, never fails to make me feel special, and is a redhead just like me. But she’s not a person, even though she’s sure she is. She is a butterfly dog; a Papillon.

When I brought this eight-week-old bundle of joy home, I didn’t know what to call her. I’m not very good at naming anything, so I usually just observe for a couple of weeks and let the animal name itself by its personality. This puppy’s name became evident in nothing flat: Tazzie. She whirled around the house, jumping up on furniture five times her size, zooming and zipping and totally charming me. She was, indeed, a Tasmanian devil pup. I quickly realized the athleticism of this dog and knew I’d have to find her a “job” when she got a little older. High-drive dogs, that don’t have “jobs,” will certainly find other outlets for their energy and those outlets aren’t usually things you would enjoy!

You already have a burning love for your puppy, but what is your relationship like? Does it come when you call it? Does it sit or lay or stay? From your first class, at your dog training school, your relationship with your dog begins to change. I will warn you, however, that anything you want to teach your dog won’t come just with a once-a-week class, even if you have the best dog training school in the world. You have to practice with them, just a little bit, every day.

Tazzie was a very food-motivated dog, so the fact that she got food every time she did something right made training a blast for her, all by itself. And this happened every day! Bonus! She made fast friends at her new dog training school, so going to class was fun as well. She got to where she would whine, as soon as we pulled in the parking lot, until I finally got her out of that car.

So now you’re taking your dog to classes in a place they love, and you’re working with them every day. During that time, you’re paying complete attention to them, teaching them to pay complete attention to you, and they get their favorite food as icing on the cake. This does incredible things for the bond between you and your dog. They learn to focus on you, no matter what, and good things will come. They get praised and fed, or praised and allowed to tug on a toy, whichever motivates the dog more, so your relationship can’t help but blossom.

Ever since Tazzie and I started training together, she has claimed me as her own. When my other two dogs want to sit on my lap, she’ll push them out of the way to get the best spot because, I am her property, as far as she’s concerned. I do give the other dogs personal time as well, but I have to put her in a sit/stay or a down/stay so she’ll let them come get love.

She is, by far, the one I can trust the most, not only because of her training, but from the bond we gained through the training. She never takes her eyes off of me, since we began at our dog training school, and it serves us well in the agility ring!

If you want to forever alter and solidify the bond you share with your dog, find yourself a good dog training school, for whatever discipline you prefer, and go for it. With a little time, money, and patience, your relationship will become a forever relationship. If you do, your dog will turn out to be your best friend too!

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Dog Training Using the Reward Training Method

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Dogs Training


While reward training is commonly viewed as the most current style of dog training, it is actually a lot older than most other methods of dog training. It is likely that the reward training method has been in use since dogs were domesticated thousands of years ago. Early humans likely used some unofficial type of reward training when refining the wolf pups that ultimately became domesticated dogs.

A lot of the ideas about current methods of reward training go back several decades. But what we know as reward training today has only enjoyed its recognition for the past 10 or so years.

Most reward training proponents are not so eager about other methods of dog training, like the leash and collar style. It is likely, though, that the best approach to training your dog will be a mixture of leash and collar training with reward training.

Additionally, a certain training style might work great for one particular dog, but not for another. Some dogs who are not motivated by reward training but do well with the leash/collar method, and other dogs respond well to reward training while leash/collar training does not work at all. Fortunately, the majority of dogs fall somewhere in between.

One of the more popular methods of reward training currently is clicker training. While clicker training does not work for every dog, it can still be a highly useful method of training dogs. The way clicker training works is by teaching to associate a clicking sound with a positive reinforcement, such as a treat. When the dog does something well, the trainer reacts by clicking the clicker, then immediately offering the dog a treat. In time, the dog learns to react to the clicker only.

In reward training the most common type of treat is a food reward. Almost always, complex tricks or behaviors can only be taught using this type of reinforcement. In fact, trainers who train dogs for movies and television use food-based reward training almost totally.

Reward training is used for all types of dog training, including for police and military work. The majority of training in scent detection and tracking utilize a kind of reward training. You can also use reward training in teaching the basic dog training commands.

In reward training a lure is frequently employed to entice the dog into a desired position or stance. The lure helps to convince the dog to perform the sought after behavior of his own volition.

Getting the dog to carry out a behavior without being handled is important. The point of the training, in fact, is to get the dog to execute a behavior without any handling by the trainer.

Once the dog has carried out the commanded behavior, he is rewarded with a positive reinforcement, such as a food treat. Treats are often used in order to reinforce good behaviors, but other positive reinforcements, such as verbal praise, can also be used for reinforcement.

It is important that a reward-trained dog also be a reliable dog. If a dog is trained to do a job, such as police work or drug detection, outside distractions are to be expected. Therefore it is important to train the dog to work and be focused around diversions, as well as to socialize him with other animals and people.

Sometimes dog trainers only train the dog inside the house or back yard, only when the owner is there, free of distractions. It is important to take the dog outside of his comfort zone and introduced to new people and situations.

It is also important that the dog be trained to pay attention to the handler always. When the owner has the complete attention of the dog, he has complete control of the dog. When executed correctly, reward training is a very effective training method that helps to earn the respect and the attention of the dog.

Dog Training With A Head Collar

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Dogs Training


The head collar has become an increasingly popular dog training tool in the past couple of years. Two of the most well known brands of head collar on the market are the Gentle Leader and the Halti, but there are many other brands that incorporate the basic head collar concept.

Many people find the Gentle Leader easier to fit that the Halti, and in addition the Gentle Leader is designed to fasten around the dog’s neck. The advantage of this design is that even if the dog is somehow able to wriggle out of the muzzle, it is still wearing a collar. This safety feature is very important, especially during training outside or in novel situations. On the other hand, the Halti offers better control of the dog, and for this reason it is often favored when working with very aggressive dogs.

Training a dog with a head collar has a number of advantages over training with a traditional or training collar. For one thing, head collars are often easier to use for beginning dog trainers than are training collars. Head collars are also quite effective at preventing dogs from pulling, or controlling and retraining dogs that tend to pull.

Head collars can also be quite effective at controlling dogs in difficult situations, such as controlling a dog that wants to be with other dogs. Most owners know of some situations in which their dogs are difficult to control, and head collars can be quite effective at controlling these volatile situations.

Head collars can be excellent for controlling dogs that are very strong, or for working with a dog in an area that contains a great many distractions. For instance, head collars are great for when your dog is on an outing, or in an area where there will be other dogs and other distractions.

Even though a head collar can be a great tool, it should not be used as a replacement for effective dog training. A head collar is most effective when it is used in combination with strong and sensible dog training methods, such as reward training and other forms of positive reinforcement.

Disadvantages of head collars

Even though head collars have many advantages, they have some distinct disadvantages as well. For one thing, head collars tend to make many dogs dependent on the equipment, and they quickly learn the difference between their regular collar and the head collar, and adjust their behavior accordingly.

In addition, some dogs, particularly those not accustomed to wearing a head collar, dislike wearing it and paw at it, try to rub it off or pull excessively. If your dog exhibits this behavior, the best strategy is to keep it moving until it learns to accept the collar. A good alternative is to have the dog sit by pulling up on the dog’s head.

Another disadvantage of the head collar is the reaction that many people have to it. Many people think that a head collar is a muzzle, and react to the dog as if it may bite. While this is not necessarily a defect of the head collar, many people do find it troublesome.

In conclusion, training with a head collar is much like training with a training collar or any other equipment. While the head collar can be an important and useful tool, it is important to use it appropriately, follow all package instructions, and to combine its use with solid training methods. The eventual goal of dog training with a head collar should be to have the dog behave as well with a regular collar as it does with the specialized head collar.