Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog |Teaching Your Dog to Go to His Bed or Station. Teaching your dog to go to a specific place on cue and stay can help in a variety of ways. You can teach your dog to go to his spot when the doorbell rings, when you’re eating dinner, or even when you want to clean up a spill. It’s a great behavior to use when teaching a variety of dog tricks and freestyle dog dancing.

Dog Tricks | How To Teach Your Dog To Go To A Station, Mat or Bed

Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog

Teaching Your Dog to Go to His Bed or Station

Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog |Teaching Your Dog to Go to His Bed or Station. Teaching your dog to go to a specific place on cue and stay can help in a variety of ways. You can teach your dog to go to his spot when the doorbell rings, when you’re eating dinner, or even when you want to clean up a spill. It’s a great behavior to use when teaching a variety of dog tricks and freestyle dog dancing.
Click to learn more about this portable dog bed

Teaching your dog to go to a specific place on cue and stay can help in a variety of ways. You can teach your dog to go to his spot when the doorbell rings, when you’re eating dinner, or even when you want to clean up a spill. It’s a great behavior to use when teaching a variety of dog tricks and freestyle dog dancing.

The wrong way to use station training. Over the years I have seen some dog trainers, particularly those using shock collar training, use station training in an inappropriate way. This note is not to address shock collar training, which I am firmly against, but when not to use a station or stay behavior with a dog.

As a dog parent or dog trainer, it is important to understand our dog’s emotions clearly. If a dog is uncomfortable, we need to help that dog feel more comfortable and secure. The STAY behavior should be used very cautiously and with our dog’s best interests and feelings in mind the entire time of the stay. If you ask your dog to go to his station and stay during a time he’s stressed or uncomfortable, this not only will teach your dog the station or stay cue is stressful, but that situation he’s in may also be stressful.

I never feel that a dog should be put on a stay and allowed to be petted or handled by strangers without the dog owner’s active interaction with the dog and stranger. I personally always feel that my dog deserves the ability to move away during petting; he should not be forced to be greeted. A lot of dogs will STAY because they were taught to and will tolerate the interaction or situation, but are not comfortable. To me, this is not being a dog’s advocate. But I digress.

Steps in teaching your dog to go to a station, bed, mat, or spot.

  1. Choose a quiet environment.
  2. Place a special rug, towel, or pet blanket on the floor. This station should be portable so that you can take it on the go, such as when you vacation with your dog.
  3. Lure your dog with a healthy dog treat to step on the station with all four feet. Say YES! as soon as he steps on it and give him a tasty dog treat. Repeat this 5 times.
  4. Next, lure your dog on the station, this time ask him to DOWN on the station. As soon as he does, YES! and treat. Repeat again 5 times.
Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog |Teaching Your Dog to Go to His Bed or Station. Teaching your dog to go to a specific place on cue and stay can help in a variety of ways. You can teach your dog to go to his spot when the doorbell rings, when you’re eating dinner, or even when you want to clean up a spill. It’s a great behavior to use when teaching a variety of dog tricks and freestyle dog dancing.
Click for information on this orthopedic dog bed

Your dog’s progression will depend on how quickly he responds to your gestures and requests. Once your dog is really understanding and is even starting to anticipate going to his station and lying down, it’s time to provide your dog with his training cue. In other words, what you want to call this behavior. Go to your bed, go to your mat, etc.

  1. Tell your dog “go to your mat” and gesture to his mat. Once he lies down on his mat, say YES and follow up with a reward or even a jackpot! Repeat 5 times.
  2. As your dog gets better and better, increase the distance away from the mat. Instead of standing 5” away from the mat, stand 1′ away. Ask your dog to go to his mat, provide a little gesture and say YES and reward when he does.

Continue working on adding distance away from your dog’s mat and lessening the gesture until eventually your dog responds to his verbal cue from across the room without any gestures. Through your dog training lessons and proofing, you will eventually teach your dog to be able to go to his mat and stay even around distractions.


Can you think of a time in your life where this training behavior can come in handy? Tell me in the comments.

Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog |Teaching Your Dog to Go to His Bed or Station. Teaching your dog to go to a specific place on cue and stay can help in a variety of ways. You can teach your dog to go to his spot when the doorbell rings, when you’re eating dinner, or even when you want to clean up a spill. It’s a great behavior to use when teaching a variety of dog tricks and freestyle dog dancing.
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I thought it would be a good day to talk about how to teach your dog to back up or walk backward. Back when I trained service dogs, this was a behavior we taught all the service dogs. This allowed people in wheelchairs the option of just moving backward in a tight spot and their service dog would back up in position.

Dog Training and Teaching Dog Tricks: Teaching Your Dog To Back Up or Move Backward

Dog Tricks and Tricks to Teach Your Dog

Cool Dog Tricks: Teaching Your Dog To Back Up or Move Backward

I thought it would be a good day to talk about how to teach your dog to back up or walk backward. Back when I trained service dogs, this was a behavior we taught all the service dogs. This allowed people in wheelchairs the option of just moving backward in a tight spot and their service dog would back up in position.
Teaching dog tricks: backing up

Did you know today is National Backwards Day? I know, crazy, isn’t it? I thought it would be a good day to talk about how to teach your dog to back up or walk backward. Back when I trained service dogs, this was a behavior we taught all the service dogs. This allowed people in wheelchairs the option of just moving backward in a tight spot and their service dog would back up in position.

For our pet dogs, this still is a dog trick or behavior that is more than just a fun trick—it can actually potentially save your dog’s life. How? Imagine you dropped a handful of pills and your dog immediately looked at the spill with enthusiasm. You could just as quickly ask your dog to “BACK” and have him move backward away from the poisonous pills. This split second would then allow you to either follow up with a STAY cue or remove your dog from the situation while you cleaned up the mess.

Or, what about when you are feeding a group of dogs and they are all hovering in the kitchen with anticipation? Using your dogs’ BACK cue again can get all your dogs to back up out of the area. Or when your dog is just too in your face? Same thing? Then, of course, there’s all the cute dog tricks and dog dance moves you can do if your dog knows how to back up.

Today is the day I will teach you how to teach your dog to back on cue. There are a variety of ways to teach your dog to back up. I will go over 2 of the most successful ways.

Teaching a dog to back up in tight spaces.

  1. Grab some healthy and tasty dog treats.
  2. Arrange your kitchen chairs or folding chairs to create an aisle just wide enough for you and your dog to be able to face each other inside, approximately 2′ wide.
  3. You walk slowly backward inside your chair aisle as you encourage your dog to follow you. Before you hit the end of the aisle, take one or two steps forward toward your dog. As soon as he takes one step back, say YES and follow up with a treat. You want to do this very quickly to help your dog walk backward and not sit. If he sits, start over. Timing is everything in this first step.
  4. As you and your dog get the hang of step 3, increase the steps your dog takes backward before saying YES and treating. So, instead of 1 step, he takes 2 steps, then 3, etc. If he ends up sitting, drop your criteria back to where he was successful and not sitting.
  5. When your dog is really getting step 4, start to walk toward your dog as he is walking backward, and allow him to continue to walk backward out of the chair aisle. Now your dog is really starting to get it.
  6. Once your dog is reliably walking backward and not sitting, it’s time to introduce your dog’s cue. Say, “BACK” just before you walk toward your dog. Now, he will start to associate the word with the action.
  7. Finally, remove the chair aisle, ask your dog to BACK, walk toward him, and when he takes a few steps back, YES and reward. Eventually, you will start to fade, then remove, your movement of walking toward your dog and only use your verbal cue, BACK.

Teaching a dog to back up in open spaces.

If you prefer or you do not have 4-6 chairs, you can teach your dog to back up without any props. However, this can be a bit trickier since your dog will have the option of just spinning around, moving in another direction or backing up crooked.

  1. Grab some healthy and tasty dog treats.
  2. Encourage your dog to come toward you, as soon as he does, place a treat right in front of his nose as you walk toward him.
  3. As soon as he takes a step back, say YES and follow up with a treat. Repeat this process until your dog is getting the hang of it.
  4. Once your dog is reliable and comfortable with step 3, wait until your dog takes more than one step backward before saying YES and treating. Then 3, 4, etc. As you progress his steps, watch his body and position. You want his backing up behavior to be pretty straight—if not, you will end up teaching him to circle backward! A trick for another day.
  5. Once your dog is reliably walking backward and not sitting, it’s time to introduce your dog’s cue. Say, “BACK” just before you walk toward your dog. Now, he will start to associate the word with the action.
  6. Finally, remove the food lure, ask your dog to BACK, walk toward him, and when he takes a few steps back, YES and reward. Eventually, you will start to fade, then remove, your movement of walking toward your dog and only use your verbal cue, BACK.

And there you have it. A fun and easy way to teach your dog to back up or walk backward.


Have you taught your dog to back up? Tell me in the comments.

I thought it would be a good day to talk about how to teach your dog to back up or walk backward. Back when I trained service dogs, this was a behavior we taught all the service dogs. This allowed people in wheelchairs the option of just moving backward in a tight spot and their service dog would back up in position.
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This dog training game is a way to allow and encourage a dog to offer his own behaviors and reward the behaviors you like and ignore the behavior you are not going for. This type of dog training, or shaping, is great for encouraging a dog who is somewhat shut down to offer behaviors. In the beginning stages of the 101 Things to Do With a Box game, you want your dog to be almost always right!

Dog Training Games: Clicker Training Games | 101 Things to Do With a Box

Dog Training Games

Dog Clicker Games: 101 Things to Do With a Box

This dog training game is a way to allow and encourage a dog to offer his own behaviors and reward the behaviors you like and ignore the behavior you are not going for. This type of dog training, or shaping, is great for encouraging a dog who is somewhat shut down to offer behaviors. In the beginning stages of the 101 Things to Do With a Box game, you want your dog to be almost always right!
Clicker training dogs is fun!

Positive dog training and dog enrichment and games have come a long way over the years. I remember one of the first “games” or dog training lessons I was taught was Karen Pryor‘s 101 Things to Do With a Box.

This dog training game is a way to allow and encourage a dog to offer his own behaviors and reward the behaviors you like and ignore the behavior you are not going for. This type of dog training, or shaping, is great for encouraging a dog who is somewhat shut down to offer behaviors. In the beginning stages of the 101 Things to Do With a Box game, you want your dog to be almost always right! Anything he does that even remotely relates to the exercise gets clicked and treated (learn about clicker training here). Once the dog is easily offering random behaviors, then you can, if you choose, switch to basic shaping with a goal behavior.

In the beginning stages of the game, you may feel like your dog does not understand what he is doing to get the click, and you are probably right. But after a few sessions of the game, the light bulb will go off and your dog will learn it’s because he did x. Then, the training really begins!

Getting Started You can use any old cardboard box for this, or it doesn’t even have to be a box. You can play 101 Things to Do With Anything, but you should start with a random item. Maybe a pan, book or pillow.

  1. Grab a handful of high-value dog treats and place them in your pocket.
  2. Your dog can be on leash, or off, if he’ll stay and keep working with you.
  3. Place your object on the floor and be ready. You will be clicking anything your dog does related to the object– a look, a step, a sniff, a push—anything and everything.

    This dog training game is a way to allow and encourage a dog to offer his own behaviors and reward the behaviors you like and ignore the behavior you are not going for. This type of dog training, or shaping, is great for encouraging a dog who is somewhat shut down to offer behaviors. In the beginning stages of the 101 Things to Do With a Box game, you want your dog to be almost always right!
    Anything gets a reward.
  4. When you click your dog for a behavior, toss the reward in various places around the object. You can then click again if your dog steps on the object, or goes past the object, etc. You are looking to get as much object action as you can, but at the same time, teach your dog it’s the box that is causing the click. Therefore, on some of your treat tosses, toss the treat away from the box, allowing your dog to make a choice to interact, look, or move toward the box.

    This dog training game is a way to allow and encourage a dog to offer his own behaviors and reward the behaviors you like and ignore the behavior you are not going for. This type of dog training, or shaping, is great for encouraging a dog who is somewhat shut down to offer behaviors. In the beginning stages of the 101 Things to Do With a Box game, you want your dog to be almost always right!
    How to clicker train your dog.
  5. End the game with a nice jackpot of treats and fuss. Pick up the object and put it away until your next game.

There will be a moment when your dog “gets it” and starts to eagerly interact with the object. This is when you can start to choose what you want to reward. For example, you have been clicking and treating everything. Now, only click and treat when your dog puts his foot on the object. This is now your new goal. You are only clicking and rewarding your dog when his foot touches the object—all other offerings are ignored. Once your dog catches on to this new game, and has quite a few rewarding sessions, change your goal again, and only click and treat when both feet are on the object. This is how you can train a specific behavior. How fun is this?!

In the end, your dog is learning to learn and build confidence in learning. 101 Things to Do With a Box is an amazing game for a rescued dog, fearful dog, kids and dogs, puppies or people learning how to train dogs. The skill for the dog trainer is learning timing and how to reward a dog quickly and how to read a dog. It’s a great training game. So, grab a box, your dog clicker, healthy dog treats, and your pooch, and give it a shot.


Have you ever played 101 Things To Do With A Box? Tell me in the comments.

This dog training game is a way to allow and encourage a dog to offer his own behaviors and reward the behaviors you like and ignore the behavior you are not going for. This type of dog training, or shaping, is great for encouraging a dog who is somewhat shut down to offer behaviors. In the beginning stages of the 101 Things to Do With a Box game, you want your dog to be almost always right!
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Puppy Socialization

Puppy Socialization: How To Introducing Your Puppy To Familiar Dogs/Puppies

Puppy Socialization
Puppy Socialization

Introducing Your Puppy To Familiar Dogs/Puppies This is the perfect time to call on your friends with dogs. But it is crucial to look for dog-friendly and puppy-friendly dogs. You do not want your puppy to be a guinea pig in finding out if another dog is puppy-friendly. Puppy-friendly dogs are dogs who can tolerate a puppy jumping on their head, running around in circles, and even barking in their face. These puppy behaviors are very inappropriate dog greeting behaviors, which is why you are going to teach your puppy the proper skills in dog greeting.   However, you want to help make certain that if a puppy mistake happens, the other dog can tolerate it and not hurt or scare your puppy.

  • When you have found a puppy friendly dog the ideal meeting place will be outside. Pick a neutral location which can even be just a few houses down from either one of your homes. Plan on meeting on opposite sides of the street. With your puppy leashed to his front clipping harness, and some high-value dog treats in your pocket start to walk up and down the street about 3-5 houses in length. At the same time, your friend is doing the same with her dog on the opposite side of the street.
  • Once it seems like both dogs are unresponsive to the other dog, have your friend and her dog come over to your side of the street 5 houses away and start to walk in the OPPOSITE direction. As your friend starts to walk, you walk your puppy behind.   After a couple of houses, both of you change directions, so her dog is following your puppy.
  • When each dog is once again not concerned with the other, start to close the distance between the two dogs until eventually your friend’s dog gets the opportunity to smell your puppy’s rear area. While this is happening, slip your hand inside your puppy’s harness and feed him treats. This process will do a few things. First, it will help your puppy keep 4 on the floor and focused on you. Once a little sniffing has occurred, switch smelling positions and allow your puppy to smell the other dog’s rear area.
  • Once they both feel comfortable with each other, allow them to sniff each other for a few seconds, then call your puppy to you and give him a treat. This will allow your puppy to learn how to come off of other dogs, and will help keep the new canine interactions low key and more likely successful. Repeat the process of allowing the dogs to come together for little sniffing, and then calling them off of each other.   Building the length of time they get to spend with each other.
  • You can repeat this process, but more speeded up with each following interaction with the same dog. Each time you meet a new familiar dog, continue with the steps outlined.   You will likely also be able to speed it up as your puppy learns the routine you are teaching him. But always continue to call your puppy off of interactions and give a high-value treat. This will come in handy in the future, so let the training begin now.
    • If your puppy is uncomfortable at any time, remove the two dogs. Do not keep your puppy there if he is not happy.
    • If either dog has any issue with the food or reacts in an unfriendly way, remove the dogs from each other.
    • Going for walks together with other dogs is a great way for your puppy to learn to interact with other dogs.
Puppy Play and Socialization
Puppy Play

There will likely be a time in your puppy’s life that he will actually have the opportunity for a playmate for the afternoon. Provide the same introduction as above. When it is time to retire to your home or another friend’s home with both dogs, walk into the house or fenced in yard one dog after the other.

When your puppy is playing with other dogs, it is important to supervise play sessions to ensure they are playing safely and appropriately, so you must watch and intervene when needed.   Appropriate play can quickly get out of hand and turn into aggression, particularly for dogs during adolescence since they are in the learning stages of self-control. This is one of the main reasons for teaching your puppy how to come off of other dogs. During appropriate play between the two dogs, occasionally call your puppy to you and give him a high-value treat. Do this before either dog gets too aroused and rough to keep both dogs’ arousal in check by creating pauses and breaks in play. Over time, your puppy will likely learn how to take play breaks on his own.   Tip: Listen and watch your puppy during play. To help you determine if the play is tipping toward over arousal look for changes in play style, louder, rougher, body slamming or more chaotic are some examples.

  • If there is a spat during play, try not to get too worried. Calmly break them up and remove them from each other. Attach each dog to their coordinating leash and harness for a little time out and rest.
  • If you have enrolled in a good puppy class, or are working with a good private dog trainer, they can help you with understanding dog body language and will be able to help guide you down the right path.   It is always a good idea to have a qualified coach on your team.

Article from Proactive Puppy Care: Preventing Puppy Problems.

Do you have a social dog or puppy?  Tell me in the comments.

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Positive and Natural Dog Training Books
Proactive Puppy Care: Preventing Puppy Problems

 

 

How To Stop Dog Aggression

Dog on Dog Aggression Classes| Fearful Dogs Training Class

When Group Dog Training Classes are Not The Best Option

#1 Over-Reactive Dogs

How To Stop Dog Aggression
How To Stop Dog Aggression

As a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist, I get all kinds of dog training calls. Over my career, I’ve learned some key phrases and what they may actually mean for a dog training case. The one phrase I hear a few times a week goes a little something like this. “I need to sign up for your group dog training class because my dog needs more socialization.

For some, that may sound like a typical dog training inquiry, without any issues. For me, that raises a red flag and means I need to ask a few more questions. “How does your dog act around strange dogs and people he doesn’t know?” That one question usually gets me to the root of their call. Typically the caller has a dog who is overly fearful of strangers or other dogs, or reacts by lunging and barking. In either case, a basic group dog training class is not typically going to be the right arrangement for this dog and dog guardian.

I am so pleased that dog owners want to help their dogs and change their dog’s behavior or fear to something more pleasant and polite. But sometimes I don’t think people that have a dog with “issues” realize that there are other students in class as well. A group dog training class needs to be pleasant for all students involved. And students in class need to be able to act freely and not be worried about upsetting the dog next door. But, even more important than that, I think about the dog who is trying to overcome his issues. If a dog is too stressed or too reactive in class, the class is NOT benefiting him, and he will likely get worse, not better, in that situation.

Training Fearful Dogs
Training Fearful Dogs

But if a dog is not suited for a group dog training class, how is that dog going to learn to be around other dogs and people? The answer is individual and customized private dog training lessons. The problem with a basic group dog training class and a dog who needs extra attention and extra space is that the instructor’s time is split among the entire class. When a dog parent and dog are learning the basics and foundation skills for dog behavior modification, an experienced dog training coach that can focus solely on the team is extremely beneficial for long-term success.

A dog’s behavior and emotions are so fast and change so quickly, it is important to have an experienced coach by the new team’s side to help guide them. In a group dog training class, even a dog reactive class, these beginning steps can be missed, and a dog can be put over the threshold (too much, too quickly) in a blink of an eye. The more a dog is over that threshold, the harder it becomes to change their behavior.

Local dog-reactive classes can be very helpful; I even taught them for many years myself. However, when I did teach dog reactive classes, I required three sessions of individual coaching first, and approval before enrolling. This ensured the dog was ready, the owner was ready, and I knew what the team needed in a class environment in order to be successful.

On the other hand, private individual dog training allows for total customization to ensure the dog training team is successful every step of the way. Dog training lessons can also be fully orchestrated with the help of volunteers. Even outside dog training outings can be controlled pretty easily with the right dog-friendly locations that take public activity and space into consideration.

The bottom line is, if you have a dog who is fearful or over-reactive around other dogs or people, do seek professional help from a qualified dog behavior counselor. If you are unsure where your dog fits in, call the dog trainer and speak with them. Explain to the dog trainer how your dog acts and what your goals are. Your dog is counting on you to make the right decision and to follow through with his positive dog training.

Do you have a fearful or over reactive dog? Tell me in the comments.

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Crate Training Tips

Dog Crates and Crate Training

Crate Training Tips

Are you looking for a Great Dane or Midwest colossal crate?  Or the famous life stages dog crate. Giant dog crates to small designer dog enclosures, we can guide you on the right choice for your dog & how to teach  your dog to love his crate. Crate training your dog is generally a wonderful tool that can be used to help with potty training, destructive chewing, disruptive behavior & a safe place for your dog to “get away”.  It is also less stressful on your dog when he is boarded, has overnight vet care or groomed if he has a positive relationship with being confined.

A crate will be a very important management tool for you until your dog realizes the rules of the house.  It will also  be a safe haven for him when he needs to retreat from stressful situations such as thunderstorms or large family gatherings.  Do allow your dog the privacy he is seeking when he is in his crate.

Benefits Of Using A Crate:

  • Aids in house training
  • Keeps your dog safe
  • It’s a quite place to rest
  • Reduces destructiveness
  • Makes traveling safe
  • You will need to introduce the crate gradually.

Go only as fast as your dog’s comfort level, typically a week to several weeks if you work diligently on crate training exercises.  You want to make a HUGE positive association with your dog being in his crate.   

  1. Keeping your dog’s crate in a bedroom at night will help your puppy feel secure.
  2. Your dog’s crate should be big enough for him to stand up fully & turn around and lie down comfortably.  You do not want it too small where he feels cramped or too large where he can potty in a corner.
  3. Start by having some tasty treats and toss them into the crate.  When your dog goes into the crate, tell him what a good dog he is, and toss some more inside.  When he comes out of the crate, and looks at you for some more, just ignore him.  Toss a few more into the crate and repeat.  Pretty soon, he will go in on his own, then toss LOTS of treats (organic treats for dogs preferred) inside the crate & praise him for being so smart.
  4. Next, session, repeat sequence before, this time, when he’s inside the crate, shut the door and feed him treats through the opening while telling him how wonderful he is.  Open the crate door to let him out, and repeat.  Each time increasing the time the door is shut. 

    * Once your dog is eagerly going in and out of his crate, start feeding him his meals inside his crate with the door shut.

    * Keep the crate door open during the day, and anytime you notice your dog going into it, tell him how wonderful he is, and toss him a dog treat.  You can also leave treats in the crate for him to find on his own.

    * One very important thing in crate training is not to let your dog out of his crate if he is crying or barking.  This only reinforces him for barking, and he will soon learn that barking will get him out.  Exactly what you don’t want to teach him!  You must wait for him to settle back down before letting him out.

  1. Start to have your dog inside his crate with a great stuffed Kong™ for about 15 minutes while you are doing other things around the house.  Check back with your dog frequently so he knows you are nearby, but ignore him & go on with your business.  Repeat this process at various times throughout the day(s) varying the time he is in his crate.  15 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 5 minutes etc. don’t always go up in time.
  2. When you are successful at this level for 30 minutes, do the same set-up, this time actually leaving the house.  

    * It is recommended that you remove your dog’s collar for safety purposes.

    * When leaving your dog in his crate for extended periods of time, leave a safe & appropriate chew toy.  A stuffed Kong, ™  is a good choice.  It is extremely important to make sure that the toys & bones you choose will not be destroyed when you are not supervising him.

     

  1. Crates can be weaned off gradually after the dog is fully housetrained and trustworthy (1-3 years).  However, always leave the crate door open, you’ll be surprised to see how much your dog loves his den!

A word of caution: Please be thoughtful when using your dog’s crate.  Dogs left alone too long can suffer from lack of social contact, physical exercise & mental exercise.  Common sense tells us that crating a dog longer than he comfortably can “hold it” is too long.  Dogs left in their crate for more than 6 hours should have a potty break & exercise break in-between.

Types of dog crates: Dog crates come in all shapes & sizes.  From the small Chihuahua sized dog crate or dog kennel, to a giant, XL large Great Dane crate.  Travel dog cratesairplane pet carriers, plastic Vari Dog Kennels, to open wired Petmate or Midwest Crates.  The options are great. 

My personal go-to dog crate is a small wire dog crate like from Petmate or Midwest Pet Products.  I usually follow that up with a dog crate cover & durable dog bed or pet crate pads.  Visit our favorite dog beds here. Through in some calming canine music like Through a Dog’s Ear: Music to Calm Your Canine Companion, Volume 1Comfort Zone with DAP for Dogs Diffuser and Single Refill we are ready to rock & roll. 

  • If you need help potty training your dog, click here for our post.

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Dog Collar Safety

Are Dog Collars Safe?

Gag, choke, cough, tongue hanging out, eyes bulging, no control…..these are a few things that can happen when leashing your dog to a regular buckle dog collar, martingale dog collar, choke chain, prong/pinch collar. You get the idea. Dexter The Dog has been collarless since 2012  and  I have not attached a leash to a collar to him since 2010.

As a professional dog behavior consultant, it was pretty easy to teach Dexter The Dog how to walk politely on a leash. But that didn’t change the fact that in the learning stages and even around some distractions, he may pull at the leash for a moment. And each of those moments I felt sure were causing damage and pain to his body such as his neck, eyes and spine. Obviously, electric shock collars are not an option. I began to exclusively leash Dexter to a dog harness at a very early age.

Over the past few years, I have urged my dog training students to switch off of dog collars and transition to dog harnesses. I have started to do some research and have found a variety of sources that confirm my suspicions of the harm a dog collar can do to a dog and the dog’s anatomy.

According to Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM, some of these issues can include Hypothyroidism, ear issues, eye issues, excessive paw licking, foreleg lameness and neck injuries including whiplash. A study by Amy M. Pauli, DVM, Ellison Bentley, DVM, Diplomate ACVO, Kathryn A. Diehl, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVO and Paul E. Miller, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVO confirm that “Intraocular pressure increased significantly from baseline when pressure was applied via a collar but not via a harness.” Animal chiropractors like Dr. Sherry Fries are against using collars and a leash combos. “I implore people to use harnesses as opposed to any collar,” she says.

So what kind of options do I prefer? Harnesses and headcollars are my personal preference. More specifically I like front clipping harness to help teach a dog not to pull on his leash. The Easy Walk Harness and Freedom No Pull Dog Harness are two that I have personally used and recommended. The Walk In Sync Harness looks interesting too, but I have not tried this one yet. For headcollars, my go to is The Gentle Leader a runner-up  Halti Headcollar.

That said, they need to be used as directed to keep your dog safe. A headcollar that is tight and if you allow your dog to keep pulling and it keeps his head at an unusual angle is not safe. A front clipping harness that is tight and again pulled to the side is not the correct way to use the tool. So, please work with a qualified professional dog behavior consultant to learn how to correctly and safely use these dog training tools.

So, I hope you reconsider using your dog’s collar as a way to control him. There are much easier and safer ways to teach your dog how to walk nicely on a leash without pulling.

Check Dexter out for a demo!

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During this time, your puppy’s immature brain is changing and developing, and it can be a difficult and challenging period in both your puppy’s life and yours. The best comparison between a puppy adolescent is a human teenager, and needless to say, this can be one of the toughest times in your relationship.

Adolescent Dogs-The Teenage Years

Positive Dog Training for Your New Puppy

Creative Puppy Training Tips

During this time, your puppy’s immature brain is changing and developing, and it can be a difficult and challenging period in both your puppy’s life and yours. The best comparison between a puppy adolescent is a human teenager, and needless to say, this can be one of the toughest times in your relationship.
Basic Dog Training and Puppy Training

Puppies are so cute. They have the best puppy breath, sweet eyes, fluffy fur. But, what happens when they hit that time in their lives when you just feel like you are going to lose your mind? You know what I’m talking about, a teenager with fur!

Your puppy will become an adolescent dog around the time his canine teeth start to come in, and this developmental stage lasts until he is about 18 months of age, depending on the breed. During this time, your puppy’s immature brain is changing and developing, and it can be a difficult and challenging period in both your puppy’s life and yours. The best comparison between a puppy adolescent is a human teenager, and needless to say, this can be one of the toughest times in your relationship.

An adolescent dog is more often than not rowdier, mouthier, jumpier, and generally more obnoxious than at any other time in his life. They tend to have short fuses, test you, and downright ignore you when given the opportunity. Our shelters consist of a lot of adolescent dogs; dog parents just feel like they don’t know what to do, and can’t control their behavior. I use “parent” lightly because a good parent would not give up. So why even bother? Because it is a temporary time in their lives, and they are so worth the effort.

HuggleHounds Racoon Dog Toy Review
Dog Training Tip: Have patience.

What you can do: Have patience. Have a little more patience. Continue with all your puppy training lessons, play exercises, and prevention life lessons. Focus on all the positive aspects your puppy has already learned and keep up his progress. Have fun when interacting with your puppy. Keep in mind the best way to keep your puppy engaged with you is to be fun and enjoyable, especially during this time. If you have been putting in the work, adolescence will not be as troublesome. If during your puppy’s first 18 months of life, you continue to play a very proactive role in his development and learning, you will be able to have an enjoyable “rest of his life,” for hopefully 10+ years.

Your puppy’s future depends solely on you. When you decided to bring home your new puppy, you took on the great responsibility for his livelihood and his future. Your puppy is a bright being, full of life, who is counting on you to train him and help him develop into a great family dog. You are responsible for his life and well-being. If you choose to work with him only half-heartedly and do not teach him the life skills he needs to live in your human world, he is more likely to become one of the 4 million pets surrendered to animal shelters each year.

Pet Bloggers That Review
He’s counting on YOU!

So keep working with your puppy on a daily basis. If you are practicing the exercises in Proactive Puppy Care daily, you are on your way to a well behaved and valued family member. Keep taking your puppy on regular, preferably daily puppy socialization adventures. Get the help of a positive and experienced dog training coach and enroll in group puppy training or private dog training classes. As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

And last, but certainly not least, enjoy your puppy and have fun!


What do you enjoy most about your new puppy?  Tell me in the comments.
 

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Come When Called

Come When Called/ Recall Training

Teaching A Dog To Come When Called, Dog Recall Training

Learn how to teach your dog a reliable come when called behavior.

Imagine your dog sneaking out of the house and running toward the busy road. You burst out “FIDO, COME!” Fido immediately stops in his tracks, does a fast U-turn and runs right into your arms. You whoop it up with him, give him lots of treats, and have a good time jumping around with him. Whew! You just potentially saved your dog’s life.

 

In order to get this response, your dog must not think twice about what you are asking him to do. He must be able to stop on a dime, and immediately run back to you, ignoring everything else in his environment. This means that when you teach a reliable recall or come when called, it must always be fun, exciting and novel. Remember, you will eventually be competing with some pretty challenging things in his environment (squirrels, dogs, cats, etc.).

I often hear dog parents complain that their “dog doesn’t come when called.” When I ask them what they have done to train and practice a recall, almost 100% of the time, they tell me “I call him in from outside and give him a treat.” That’s not training a behavior. That’s hoping he will do it, and if he does, giving him a pretty low reward, usually not valuable enough to get him to come off of something more exciting than a random dog treat. AND, to top it off, in the dog’s eyes, they are actually being punished for coming when called. How? Well, if the dog wanted to play in his yard and was enjoying sniffing around, and he came when you asked, and you took him inside the house….you ENDED his fun. Very likely in the future, he will think twice about coming, and will probably blow you off because sniffing in the yard is more valuable than that treat.

So, where do you start when you want to teach your dog a really reliable recall? I always start with The Name Game and build that behavior up through distractions. The Name Game teaches your dog to turn to look toward you when you say his name. You must work through varying degrees of difficulty in order to get a reliable Name Game. That said, in reality, my Name Game IS my COME WHEN CALLED! Dexter’s name is so valuable, he comes when I say it.

OK. Let’s start the come-when-called training. Here are the basic steps I take to teach the behavior. First, I try really hard for it to not feel like a dog training lesson. In other words, when you are grabbing your dog’s favorite toys and treats, don’t let him see you do it. You will want the behavior to feel real, not set up.

Recall/Come When Called Training Level 1

  • Work in a non-distracting, large, or open environment. Great rooms, hallways, and garages make nice areas to work in.
  • Have your dog’s favorite dog treats and motivational dog toys on you as his reward. You are not going to show him his prize first as a lure; he will come first, then receive his prize.
  • Say your dog’s name in an upbeat, fun tone. If your Name Game is primed and functioning, this will make him come! Right after his name, when he turns his head, make novel sounds, smooches, and happy talk. High-pitched, repetitive sounds make dogs want to come and move. This novel sound will eventually be replaced with your recall word (Come, Here, Now, etc.), so it’s important to make the noise.
  • As your dog is running your way, encourage him to come with your body language (tapping your legs, squatting down, etc.), and YOU move away from him. Moving away from him as he is coming, will encourage him to come faster. Speed is what you are going for. The faster he comes, the less likely he will be to get distracted along the way on a real come-when-called session.
  • When he arrives, to you, have an AMAZING PARTY! Food, play, jumping around, whatever it takes to have him SUPER excited he came to you. You should be thinking Disney Land. Even though this should be easy for your dog (remember, no distractions), your payoff needs to represent coming off those big distractions in the future. You are setting the foundation. If he doesn’t think it’s exciting, he won’t be coming when called away from any distractions.

Practice Level 1 for at least a solid week (5-10 different times a day) before even considering moving to Level 2. What your dog must be able to do reliably and consistently is come as fast as he can without any hesitation, and without seeing his reward first. As he continues his success, change the room locations you are asking him to come. Asking at this point is still Name Game, Novel Noise, Body Language and Running Away. All taking place inside the house, without any distractions.

Recall/Come When Called Training Level 2

  • Repeat the same set up as Level 1. This time, you will fade the running away part. So, it will be his Name, Novel Noise, and Body Language.
  • Repeat his AMAZING PARTY!

Once again, practice Level 2 for at least a solid week, maybe 2 (5-10 different times a day). Varying rooms, and still looking for speed and reliability.

Recall/Come When Called Training Level 3

  • It’s time to add some mild distractions. This time, when you are walking your dog on his leash, randomly allow him to sniff at the end of the leash. After about 5 seconds of sniffing, say his name, and novel sound. HOPEFULLY, it’s not too distracting, and you can reward with his AMAZING PARTY! After your party, run with him to the sniffy spot, and encourage him to sniff and investigate.
  • Wow! A win-win for him. He came off the sniffs, had a party, then got to go sniff (with you) again. Lucky boy. ***If he does not come off of sniffing, it is too hard. Shorten his leash, slowly walk away from the sniffy spot, and try again. When he does then come, it’s still his AMAZING PARTY! But, you should practice Level 2 more.
  • Practice Level 3 for at least 2-3 weeks (5-10 different times a day). Varying controlled distractions. Controlled distractions mean that if your dog chooses to blow you off, he cannot get the thing he was distracted by. So, he can be on a leash, you can have a friend help by holding a distraction, etc. Continue to look for speed and reliability. If you move too quickly through the levels, and your dog is barely able to do it, you will stumble in your training. You want him solid at each level.

Recall/Come When Called Training Level 4

  • At this point, I like to add the come when called word (come, here, now, etc.).
  • This time, it will be his Name, Novel Sound, then his new RECALL word. Over time, you will start to fade the Novel Sound, and just use his Name, followed by his recall word.
    There you have it. The basic foundation of come when called. As your dog progresses, you will start to add controlled distractions. Good luck!

Quick Tips:

  • Do not EVER call your dog and punish him. If you have in the past, you need to change your recall word. He has already associated that word to mean bad things are going to happen if he does come.
  • Coming to you is ALWAYS fun and enjoyable.
  • Do not chase your dog. This goes for the kids too.
  • Do not use your recall word unless you are SURE your dog will come. At first, this should be on leash or when your dog is already coming to you. What you do not want is to call your dog, and he does not listen to you, this just reinforces him to not pay attention to you or your recall word.
  • AMAZING PARTY-BIG IMPRESSION-EXPENSIVE BEHAVIOR-This is the behavior that could save your dog’s life! Remember that every time you work on this lesson.

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Perrysburg Dog Training

Teaching A Dog Not To Jump-Your Guests

Learn How To Teach A Dog Not To Jump
Polite Dog To Person Greeting Behavior

Jumping, body slamming, mouthing….oh boy! Having a dog can be challenging at times and a lot of work when you don’t have the proper tools or training to teach them a more appropriate response. First, it’s always important to remember that dogs are dogs. They are not humans, and they do not know what we consider right or wrong, unless we teach them. Yes, we actually have to spend time and teach them what we prefer, and these lessons take time and patience.
If you haven’t read my previous posts Teaching A Dog Not To Jump-You First and Polite Dog and Human Greeting Pt. 1, I highly suggest reading those first, then coming back to this post. Now that you are caught up, let’s continue our talk about teaching your dog to keep four on the floor while greeting your houseguests.


YOUR GUESTS: 
Some challenges with teaching your dog to greet your guests politely are that your guests don’t listen (or care), their timing is off, or you feel insecure about following through with a plan. How you manage and work through this situation will determine your dog’s success. If you truly want a polite greeter at the end, you must remember that your dog is learning all the time, so make sure he his learning what YOU want him to learn. You’re the one who lives with him, not your guests or in-laws.

MANAGEMENT: Management, management, management is always the best way to start a successful

Teaching a dog not to jump
Keeping Your Dog Busy

dog training program. Have you ever wondered why dog trainers can teach a dog a reliable behavior effortlessly? It’s because we start all our training programs with a high management protocol. If you are able to prevent your dog from running and jumping on your guest, you will then be able to teach him a better greeting behavior. If, on the other hand, he performs this act over and over again he will get quite good at jumping, and this will become his ritual. Planning ahead when you know guests are going to arrive and having a plan of action for when they surprise you are the best tools. A prepared frozen dog treat toy is always a good backup for surprises.

 

Teach a dog not to jump
Stuffed Dog Food Toy

TETHER, HARNESS, AND STUFFED TREAT TOYS: When you are expecting guests, put your dog’s harness on and prepare a filled hollow treat toy. Decide which room you and your guests are going to reside in and place a tether (leash) around a heavy piece of furniture such as a sofa leg. When the doorbell rings, collect your dog and attach him to the tether by his harness and provide him with his filled hollow toy.

Go to the door and greet your guests. Take off their coats, say hello and ask them to ignore your dog. When you walk into the main room where your dog is chewing on his very delicious stuffed treat toy, sit next to your dog. Occasionally add a bonus dog treat while he continues with his chew toy. Once he is finished with his chew toy, attach his leash to his harness, then unclip him from the sofa, but do not leave. Work on some of his obedience behaviors (sithand target, down, etc.). Reward him for paying attention to you. When your dog can easily focus on you, proceed to the next step. This may NOT happen in one session.

 

When your dog is ready for the next step, ask one of your seated guests to reach down toward her shin and wiggle her fingers. As she does, walk your dog up to the guest and tell him to say hello. As soon as your dog sniffs your friend’s fingers say “YES!” and quickly move your dog a foot away and give him a treat. Be careful not to jerk your dog, remember he’s still on his leash and harness. This process is teaching your dog to politely sniff your guest’s fingers (not jumping up), and then by quickly removing your dog, he does not have time to get too excited, and start jumping up. Remember, you are teaching your dog what to do, so you don’t want to give him the opportunity to be wrong. Repeat this process for 5 repetitions. As your dog gets the hang of this, you can allow a little longer sniffing before calling him off. By calling your dog away from your guests to collect his reward, he is also learning that you are more exciting.

When you are done practicing, keep your dog leashed to you. Only when you start to have a reliable behavior, with no jumping, should your dog be allowed to run freely with guests. Remember, prevention is the key. It will not do you any good to practice these lessons, then to unleash your dog for him to start jumping around on your guests. If you do not wish to have him leashed with you, you can use another management tool such as tethering him in sight, baby gated, or put him in his crate. When you start to consider allowing him more roaming freedom, he should respond well to The Name Game.

REMEMBER #1: Management #2: Practice and certainly #3: Patience

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