Archive for » January, 2012 «

Tips for Avoiding Common Dog Training Mistakes: (Part 2)

Allowing your dog to beg is a common training mistake. A dog that has never received food from you when you are eating at the table will no longer continue to beg. He might try it once or twice early on in your relationship. With consistent “no’s” and “go lay down” commands will quickly discourage him from further attempts. However, if you give in, even just once and give him a piece of you are eating, he’ll know that begging worked. Therefore, with common sense, your dog will gain the idea that what works once, will eventually work again.

Inconsistency may seem like such a small thing, but it may leave you destined to fail. Constantly measured attention is absolutely essential when training your dog. Deviate away from any routine you may have built up will almost always undo all that hard work you have done previous.

Calling your dog for punishment will not get you anywhere. Let us focus on why it’s not good to call your dog to your side in order to get mad at him. Nobody wants to go over to someone when they know they are going to get in trouble. This is even true with adults, children, and especially a dog. People know you’re not likely to forget your anger, but a dog is hopeful, and will try everything to avoid you if he knows you’re angry. In your dogs mind, every time you call him to you in order to do something unpleasant, you are punishing him for returning to you. So, if your dog is in trouble, or you have to do something he won’t like, go and get him, instead of calling him.

Rewarding the wrong behavior will happen to all of us at some point or another. This is one of the most common mistakes made when dog training. You may not even think of it as necessarily rewarding your dog. You may see it as a method of comforting him when he’s frightened, or perhaps letting him in when he barks, or even giving him a stern talking to when ever he misbehaves. Attention of any kind when a dog misbehaves is a signal to the dog. The dog may interpret this attention as this works, it’s not quite what I was looking for, but it’s still some kind of attention.” Even negative attention may seem better than none at all.

Teach your dog to Stand, Rollover, Crawl, Lay Down and Focus:

Teach your dog to Stand:
Starting from the sitting position, hold a treat right in front of the nose of your dog, then say stand. Then move the treat above him so that he will have to stand in order to reach it. As soon as he stands say good boy! Then wait for him to sit back down to give him the treat. While he is standing you can move just a few steps while holding the treat. Praise him a lot if he follows you.

Teach your dog to Rollover:
Starting from the laying position, say roll over and then proceed to roll your dog over gently. Do this by grabbing his legs and then pull him, or simply push him from one side so that he makes a complete roll. After he has completed the roll, make him sit, praise him and give him the treat.

Teach your dog to Crawl:
Starting from the laying position, say crawl while holding a treat in front of your dog’s nose and move it a few inches away from him. If he begins to stand up, just say no crawl, start from the beginning and have him lay back down again. Praise him a lot and give him the treat as soon as he crawls, even if it’s only a few inches.

Teach your dog to Lay Down:
There are various ways to do this. Begin with having your dog sit then say, lay. Then present the treat in front of his mouth, going all the way down to the ground with your hand. The dog will naturally follow your hand and will end up lying down. Give him the treat only when he stretches his forearms in front of him and then praise.

Teach your dog to Focus:
Begin by sitting or kneeling, in front of your dog. Hide your hands so he won’t be distracted looking at them and then say your dog’s name followed by saying focus. As soon as he looks at you in the eyes start praising him. Always keep eye contact and after a few seconds give him a treat. If he looks elsewhere, just call him again and begin to start over. Try to extend the time while he’s focused on you.

Helpful Drills for Dog Agility Training:

Learning to handle your dog properly is a major role in dog agility training. This means communicating what you want your dog to do. Once your dog has the basics down, most errors that occur are due to the handler’s abilities. As a handler, you need to learn how to communicate what you want your dog to do or perform. One way to do that is to practice exercises that teach you how to better handle your dog.

Every dog has his own way of running the course. Some dogs need little guidance while others need the handler by their side at all times. By watching your dog and how much he relies on you to complete the course, you’ll be able to determine how much handling your dog needs.

To properly access the situation, try setting up two basic hurdles side by side and direct your dog to the right hurdle. Study your dog’s reaction as you send him to the hurdle. Does your dog leave your side or does your dog expect you to run or walk with him the entire way?

Then try making the course into an “S” shape where you’ll be starting on the inside line and crossing over in the middle so that you will stay on the inside line. Try first with a fast obstacle such as a hurdle, tunnel or series of hurdles in the center of the course. Send your dog over the hurdles and cross behind your dog so that you switch effortlessly.

Next, put a slow obstacle in the center of the course such as weave poles, a table or contact obstacle. Then continue with your dog until he gets to the downward edge of the contact obstacle. This will most likely be the second to last pole of the weaves. Cross in front of the dog and then continue him over to the next obstacle of the course.

Try handling your dog first using the inside line and then moving onto the outside line to get a proper feel for handling either side of the course. If you have a very fast paced dog, then you will have to slow him down while you take the outer line. Likewise, if you have a slower paced dog, then you may have to slow down on the inside line, then work on speeding your dogs performance.

Train Your Pup To Behave When Left Home Alone:

Coaching a puppy that spends a lot of time home alone could prove to be quite the challenge, but it’s not impossible. The best thing to do is to start training your pup right away. Serious habits and issues in growing dogs usually begin to develop around six months of age or older.

As the care giver of your new pup, it’s crucial for you to offer a place of comfort, safety and belonging. Puppies that are well nurtured will generally transform into a more mentally stable adult. Puppies that are denied the safety of affection and positive reinforcement will grow up fearful and filled with anxiety.

The very first point you need to establish in your new puppy, is that his new home is a place where he is accepted. As soon as your puppy feels he is secure and cherished, he’s ready to begin obedience training.

This form of training should execute as a matter of routine. Training sessions must be performed in a peaceful method, which should always end on a positive note. Your pet will look forward to each session especially if you reward his efforts with a treat. Be careful not to show any frustration and anger as this could reverse any previous training success.

There is a fine distinction between a dog requiring a firm hand because he behaves headstrong and willfully refuses to obey, and a canine requiring endurance because he lacks confidence or doesn’t quite understand. The fact of the matter is very simple. Generally, all dogs want to please their owner and be your best friend.

Training sessions should ultimately last no longer than 15 minutes. A puppy’s attention span is very similar like that of a small child’s. Curiosity will undoubtedly take over. Forcing a younger puppy to endure sessions longer than 15 minutes can be frustrating for the both of you. It may also be non-productive, and sabotage all training efforts.

A puppy that is left home alone for more than 4 hours a day requires proper coaching to be taught during that time without excessive barking or other destructive unruly behavior. Your puppy’s first learning experience begins the second that he enters your home. A useful tip is to have a TV or radio on low just before you leave the house as this may provide a setting where he does not feel completely alone.

7 Reasons Dog Training Goes Wrong For Owners:

Allowing your dog to think it’s the leader of the pack. Your dog is an animal and a far different species to us humans. They do not share the same thought processes and the ability to rationalize like we do. Dogs live in packs with a clear hierarchy. There is an alpha or “pack leader” in every pack. You must make clear that you are in fact the alpha dog. You control every aspect of your dog’s life from exercise, feeding, and making all the decisions. Be the dominant leader, not your dog. if you allow your dog to take control he will develop behavioral problems. This will become an issue that is going to be much more difficult to solve as your dog gets older. Start out right from the beginning.

Try not to have training sessions last too long. Do not have high expectations of your dog to understand the training right away. Some dogs will learn and understand faster than others. Keep training sessions short as dogs generally have a much shorter attention span than we do. Teach your dog in a way that is fun, so both of you can enjoy.

Lack of exercise is often to blame. Exercise is very important to your dog, both physically and mentally. All dogs need their exercise. Different breeds have different requirements in duration and type of exercise. Taking a walk with your dog allows time for the two of you to bond and interact. He can meet other dogs and people. This will also allow him to take in all the different smells and sounds of the outdoors, which promotes healthy mental stimulation. Not give your dog daily exercise can lead to boredom and frustration which can lead to depression.

Don’t try to teach too much, too soon. When your dog begins to learn, he very quickly associates getting reward for following a command. This will help him to better understand the meaning of the command. However, even his favorite treat may not always get his attention. He could have been distracted by a strange noise or see something which caught his eye. Do not be too quick to give him a correction as this will only hinder any progression in the training. He is young and needs time to get used to what all the commands mean. Treat him as you would like to be treated, give clear commands, and always be kind but firm.

Common Mistakes When Teaching Your Dog to “Come”:

It is ironic that owners go to great lengths to train their dog NOT to come when called, and then proceed to complain about it. They expect their dog to just drop everything its doing and instantly come racing over to them without any proper training techniques. The first thing your going to have to do is undo the methods previously planted into the mind of your dog. Then proceed with kindergarten level obedience before achieving the results you desire.

The worst practice you as the owner may engage in is letting their dog off leash and unattended. Whether the dog is running in the park, romping up and down the backyard or playing with other dogs, the dog is learning that these good times do not include the owner. In fact, it is always the owner who ruins the fun by ordering the dog to “Come.” When the dog obediently comes to the owner, his leash is promptly attached and he’s on his way back home. This is not a good outcome from the dog’s perspective. So on each successive outing, the dog delays coming when called because by delaying, he is prolonging his off leash experience.

When the owner repeatedly calls the dog and he does not come, then the dog is learning that he doesn’t have to come or at least he doesn’t need to come until he is called over a thousand times. The dog has now learned that ignoring the owner is much more rewarding than to obey. This is definitely a losing situation. If the dog comes, he feels he is being punished for coming because his off leash fun has ended. If the dog doesn’t come, he is learning that by not responding to your command, he is being self-rewarded for ignoring you.

A very frustrated owner feels the need to punish the dog for not coming when called. Because the owner does not know how to punish the dog while it is running away, the owner punishes the dog when he eventually returns. In result, the next time the dog will take much longer to come back because not only does it end the fun but it also now means outright punishment from the owner if he does cooperate. In the end, just remember that you are in fact dealing with an animal mentality.

Puppy Training Tips for the First Week:

Every interaction with your puppy is a training opportunity. Training a puppy when you first bring them home is critical. It is obvious that you need certain items such as a dog bed, crate, food and water bowls, puppy chow, collar, leash, toys, etc. Equally as important, all family members must decide on routine, responsibility and rules.

Your new puppy has just been taken away from his mother and littermates. You may want to spread paper on the floor and put her food and water bowls in one corner. Scatter some toys around everywhere.

Prior to introducing a new puppy to your home, make sure to puppy proof it. Take an in-depth look at your home from the puppy’s viewpoint. As you move things out of reach, remember it is only for a short period of time. By removing these objects of curiosity from the start, it will allow you to work with your puppy on the basic training he will need to learn. Once your new puppy has learned his place, you can put your things back in their original spots.

As much as you want your new puppy to be a functioning asset in the house hold, remember that your puppy is still an animal. Puppies are product to their environment. The main instinct of dogs is to live in a pack. Your puppy will assume his new family is his pack. If your pup gets the sense that he is his own boss and can do whatever he wants, he is being taught he is the leader of the pack.

When first introduced your puppy to a crate, don’t just put him inside and lock the door. Try placing the crate in a room where the family commonly gathers. With close proximity of the crate with family, the puppy will feel he is still with the pack. Keep the crate in a place where it will stay, and simply keep the door open during the day. Most puppies are very curious, so generally they will walk inside. Others may be a little more shy with the crate, so give your pup some time to warm up to his crate. When he does begin to enter the crate, make sure to praise him. Try giving the crate a name. Repeat the crates name whenever your pup goes inside, and then give him a tasty treat.

Tips to Introducing Your Dog to a New Dog:

Bringing home a new dog is always an exciting time for everyone. It’s like adding a new family member or guest to your household. There is a lot of information out there about bringing your first dog into the home. However, there is very little about bringing a new dog into the home of another dog. These simple tips should help you make some good decisions that will help ease the transition.

Unfortunately, many pet owners will underestimate the kinds of problems that can occur if mistakes are made. This can be a difficult if not dangerous situation if not handled correctly.

Many people think they can just bring a new dog home and let the dogs work things out amongst themselves. For the lucky ones this might work, but almost always people will find themselves in the middle of a dog fight wondering what went wrong.

The average dog owners do not have a clue about how strong the genetic pack instinct is that always lurks inside the mind of their lovable family pet. The addition of a second or third dog into the home often triggers a genetic pack drive or rank drive. Many people are shocked and confused when they see the level of aggression that their friendly family pet is plenty capable of.

Often, there is usually more than one thing going on that result in these problems. A house dog is often territorial of his home. There can be rank or dominance problems between the new and excising dog. There can also be an inter-male or female issue that will result in this aggression.

The most important part of this process is the purchase and use of dog crates. Try to have a dog crate for every dog in our house. Just because your current dogs don’t use crates is not a good enough reason to not use them in this process. First, put the new dog in a crate in your home where your current dog can freely go up and smell the newcomer. If your current house dog begins to growl at the new dog, immediately step right in, take control of the situation and give a strong correction.

Your job as the pack leader is to show your dog that is not expectable for aggression towards the newest pack member and will not be tolerated.

Training Tips for Successfully Walking Your Dog:

When walking your dog, does it ever seem like your getting pulled down the street or practically getting your arm ripped off when your dog sees another dog? This can make walking your dog seem like a chore, but with a little work and a lot of love, your beloved companion can be a joy to walk with regardless of where you go. Here are some helpful training tips to help you master the skill of walking your dog.

Always walking side by side with your dog is very important. Never allow him to lead the way, as this is a sign of dominance to the dog. The leader is always in charge. So as long as you continue to give in, your dog will remain in charge and pull you down the street to assert their authority. Keep a treat in hand to keep all the attention focused on you and where you want your dog to be during the walk.

Never lengthen or shorten the leash. The leash should remain the same length at all times. This will teach him that he is only allowed a certain distance from you. Until fully trained, retractable leashes should never be used during dog walks as they allow free range and authority over the walk. Plus, most large breed dogs can easily break retractable leashes.

Don’t give into pulling the leash for the entire walk. If your dog pulls you in a direction, give a snap back on the leash. Pay attention to the signs your dog is giving you and you will be able to predict any pulling. However, if your dog tries to take off, make sure to hold your ground. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, lean back and don’t move. Lowering your center of gravity will offset your dog and give him a good jolt.

Ignore other people and things that will interest your dog. If you give no attention to those things that may grab your dog’s attention, he will soon start to realize that it is not so important to be interested in it. If a dog is passing across the street, keep walking and ignore it. If he pulls towards that direction, keep walking straight and pull him along. After a while, he will see the other dog but it will no longer be of interest.

Tips for Childproofing Your Dog:

Do you have young children in your home? If so, it is vital to ensure they are always safe around your dog. With this being said, dogs are not the only ones who need training. Children also need to be given rules about how to behave around your dog. The following tips will help prevent incidents and keep both your children and pup safe.

Most children can’t keep themselves from throwing their arms around a dog’s neck or tugging on a dog’s tail. Try and prepare your dog for this kind of attention before his first encounters with a child. Give him lots of praise and maybe even a few treats while you gently pull his tail, hold his paws, hug him, and check out his ears.

Let’s face it, kids behave differently than adults. They run, move and scream erratically. Try to introduce your dog to some of these behaviors yourself. Teach your dog to stay in one spot while you run around your yard or yell in a high-pitched voice.

You can also get your dog used to typical child behavior by taking him to a park or playground. Keep your distance at first, and slowly work your way closer. If at any point your dog seems concerned, take a few steps back and start over. Keep things fun, have some treats in hand and make sure to praise him.

Dogs often will feel more at ease around children if they have an escape route. Crate train your dog so that he is happy and comfortable in a crate. Make it clear to any children in your home that the crate is off limits to anyone but the dog. This way your dog can interact with the children when he wants to, but he also has a safe place to retreat.

Most people believe that holding a dog so a child can pet him is a good way to introduce dogs and kids. This is NOT true. If a dog is afraid of children, holding him while one approaches to pet him can be a unpleasant experience. A dog that is afraid can become aggressive and growl, snap, or even bite in an effort to escape the situation. Instead allow your dog as much time as he needs to get comfortable around kids, and give him the chance to approach when he feels ready.