Dog Training Article: General Dog Training Articles
Human Grade foods such as our Urban Wolf
Fresh Supplements added (1/4 of daily ration)
No junk food or unhealthy chewies.
Grooming and Handling, make sure your dog is:
Comfortable being touched on feet, ears, tail and this is practiced daily
Comfortable with brushing/combing
Brushed frequently enough to prevent matting of the coat and the skin heathy (once per day – once per week depending on type of coat)
Comfortable with ear cleaning
Ear cleaning once per week
Comfortable with tooth brushing
Tooth brushing once per week
Comfortable with bathing
Bathing about once per month to two months
Exercise and Play:
Many toys including a Kong
"Addicted" to at least one toy
At least 30 minutes of exercise with a person per day
At least 10 minutes of training per day
For proper Socialization, make sure your dog is:
Comfortable with male and female adults
Comfortable with male and female children
Comfortable with people in special circumstances (wheelchair, crutches, etc.)
(do not force this, consult a trainer if your dog is uncomfortable with any of these people)
To prevent possessiveness, test and practice the following:
Touching his food bowl, toys or bed
Sharing the attention of his best friend
(do not force this, consult a trainer if your dog is uncomfortable with this)
Car rides, make sure your dog is:
Comfortable riding in the car
Properly restrained in car
At least 10 hrs good sleep in an adults bedroom
Visits vet regularly, has recommended vaccinations
Neutered or spayed
Not left outside long hours
Less than 1 housetraining accident per week
No excess vaccinations or parasite treatments
Punishment (corrections) can have the side-effect of causing distrust, fear, possible injury and/or aggression. For example, rubbing a dogs nose in "it" can cause him to avoid going to the bathroom in front of you, electric fences can cause a fear of going outside, and choke collars can cause throat injury and back and neck misalignment if "jerked". "
Punishments (corrections) tend to escalate. If your were to resort to physical punishment, you would find that a light tap would get your dogs attention at first, but then the contact would tend to get more and more force behind it.
Punishment (correction) inhibits creativity. If your dog is corrected for lying down when asked to sit, he will be confused and fearful when asked "down".
Using corrections to teach places you and your dog in an adversarial relationship.
We know better now. In the past we punished children more harshly and have since learned better ways to motivate them. It is the same with our dogs.
Punishment (correction) can "break an animal's spirit". This is not what you want for the friend you have adopted.
Training with punishment takes a lot of skill. Most people don't have this amount of skill. If you have poor timing or use to much force you can really harm your pet physically and psychologically. With reward training, the worst you can do is to be set back a bit or move more slowly until you become more skilled.
Many dogs simply cannot handle being trained using correction-based techniques. Breeds such as Beagles, Terriers and Huskies are labeled difficult to train using traditional correction based techniques. If a dog were to become aggressive after receiving a correction the dog may well be "put to sleep" for having a poor temperament or being "dominant".
Puppies cannot be trained using correction-based techniques until the age of 6 months.
Children are not generally able to participate in correction-based training. It is too difficult for them, as it requires so much skill.
"Positive", Reward-Based Training is In!
Training using rewards relies on teaching the dog to behave as we would like using treats, toys, play, petting and whatever else the dog likes. If your dog is doing something you don't like, instead of punishing, teach him to do something different for a reward. Then prevent, prevent, prevent, reward, reward, reward!
One of the best things you can do for your dog is to help prevent a fearful response to a situation and the many effects this can cause. Nervousness due to a lack of proper socialization can manifest in biting, chewing, housebreaking errors, barking, and separation anxiety. You can socialize your pet by gently exposing her to a variety of situations. The younger you begin, the better, as puppies absorb things faster, but all dogs can be gradually brought into new and even initially fearful circumstances and learn to enjoy (or at least tolerate) them.
Expose your dog to something new or something she is fearful of in the following manner:
Remain calm. Speak to your dog in a confident and matter-of-fact tone. Keep tension off of the leash.
Avoid petting or cooing to your dog if she is reacting in a manner you would not like to reinforce (jumping around, scared, etc.).
Expose the dog gradually to what she is fearful of, never forcing her. Allow her to retreat if she wants too.
When she is being calm, praise, give treats and pet her.
Use treats or toys to lure her through the experience (ex. Put treats on the floor near a new person Then give the new person treats to hand to the dog).
Typical situations to work on:
New people (all types, and especially children)
Being held and touched in a slightly rough or medical/grooming manner.
The vet or groomer's office
Loud noises and strange objects (ex. umbrella opening)
Being left alone for longer than average periods
The boarding kennel
A crowded place like a pet store or baseball game
A great way to let your dog meet people and other dogs is by going to a place like Petco or PetSmart where dogs are allowed inside the store. I would suggest doing this on a weekly basis and then more sporadically as your dog becomes more comfortable around all people and dogs. Puppies under 4 months can safely visit one of these stores inside the cart.
Socialization and the creation of a proper living environment are key factors to avoiding problems. Try to imagine all of the elements of his life with humans that he will need to accept to be comfortable with us such as being bathed, walking on streets, vacuum cleaners, etc. Teach your dog that such things are not scary by slowly introducing him using treats, toys and praise.
Another key prevention is to create a means of communication through training. Once you've taught the dog that calm behavior is frequently rewarded and that you control access to all of his favorite things, you have made a big step towards solving any problems that may come your way in the future.
Keep the dog's environment appropriate for him. Think about the amount of exercise he's getting, whether his intellect is being challenged, or if he has enough opportunities to socialize with other dogs and people. Make sure his diet is good and his health is well maintained.
Let him feel the confidence that comes from working for a living and the security or having a strong leader. Ask him for a behavior before giving his access to good stuff like the couch or his dinner.
Many problems reported by dog owners are with behaviors that are instinctual to the dog such as barking, digging, pulling, jumping up, nipping, chewing etc. Others are things that we have accidentally trained into the dog such as barking for attention. It helps to try to understand what is the dog's motivation for his behavior. For example, why won't your dog come to you when he's playing with other dogs even though he "knows" what "come" means? If your dog chooses not to come to you sometimes it is probably because coming to you is not more rewarding than what he is currently doing. To help change that, when you call him, be sure you have a good treat and often times let him continue playing. Begin your practice with short distances.
Follow the steps below to help you find the solution to any of the problems you are having with your dog:
Assess his environment and health. Is he getting enough exercise (mental and physical), a good diet, etc? Could this behavior be a result of a medical problem?
Prevent the behavior from occurring until you've had time to train an appropriate response. For example, instead of repeatedly yelling "No!" at your dog for picking things up off the floor, keep things out of his reach until you've taught the rules. Use gates, crates, leashes, and food-stuffed toys to help you with prevention.
Make sure you are not rewarding the misbehavior (hint: any response can be interpreted as a reward!) So IGNORE it! If you can't stand it anymore, give him a time out using a neutral tone.
Think of an incompatible behavior that you could reward. For example: teach your dog to sit instead of jump up to receive affection. Do your best to cue and reward the behavior you want BEFORE your dog begins to misbehave. Make sure your reward is of more value to him than the misbehavior.
"Set him up" to misbehave and praise and treat the correct response. Say "ah-ah" and walk away and ignore the improper response. Begin with challenges that are easy for him to overcome and gradually build up the difficulty.
For aggressive or fearful responses: change the association your dog has with the stimulus. Ex. If your dog has a problem with the mailman, teach him that each time the mailman visits he gets a tasty treat. He will soon begin to have a change of heart about the mailman.
Compromise and be patient!
"Any time you are with your dog, one of you is being trained. It is better to be the trainer than the trainee." - Steve White
Treats: Make ‘em small (just enough to taste)! This is the easiest way to communicate to your dog that he did something right, (but we will use other methods too). The dog should believe that you could have a treat at any time and it just might be something REALLY AWESOME! I strongly suggest putting a treat container in the main rooms of the house so as not to miss any good opportunities for reinforcement and always carry treats on walks. Fresh treats such as meat or cheese are useful when working outside.
Don't give it away for free: get some training out of his feeding, his walks and playtime.
ALL GOOD THINGS COME FROM YOU: By asking for good behavior before giving your dog the things he likes you can demonstrate your leadership without using force.
REMEMBER: your attention is a REWARD (sometimes even if you are yelling!).
MYTH: Dogs should behave out of a selfless "desire to please" and respect, and not for treats. This myth has killed a lot of dogs, and trainers who don't use reward-based training are using punishment (choke chains) to motivate the dogs and not "respect". We have to deliberately demonstrate to the dog WHY he should listen to us (we have the food, the toys and the fun).
Think about what you want your dog to do rather than what you don't want him to do. Then prevent him doing what you don't want and reward him doing what you do want. Get it? Teach him some words to help communicate what you want such as "leave it", and "drop it".
USE PUNISHMENTS VERY CAREFULLY (they don't usually work). Never strike your dog.
Train in 5 minute sessions, 3 times (or more, go nuts!) per day. Also be aware that you are always teaching your dog how to behave by your response to his behavior.
Run your dog every day until her tongue is hanging out. Twice if she's still got too many "ants in the pants".
HELP HIM LIVE LONGER. Feed your dog a premium human grade diet such as Innova or Wellness with fresh supplements. Avoid over vaccinating and excess flea and tick repellent chemicals. Clean teeth and ears once a week, bathe and trim nails once per month.
All dogs HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO bite. That's why it's important to teach your dog to be comfortable in all situations and to be gentle with his mouth.
MYTH: "Kids and dogs are great together". Actually kids are the most likely to be bitten (and this happens TOO often) because they accidentally do things that frighten dogs or they act like "prey". Never leave a dog and child unsupervised. Teach children not to approach a dog that is unknown to them, or when an adult is not present.
your dog is always learning (and so you are always teaching/training). You will need to refresh the cues that you teach your dog throughout her lifetime.