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Posts Tagged ‘dog training’

Teach Your Dog To Do NOTHING!

This is a great read for all dog owners! I do something similar with my dog Valentino, but I labeled it LEAVE IT. So anytime he is looking/staring at someone/something, and I think he may start to bark etc, I say LEAVE IT, if I see something on the floor I don’t want him to touch, I say LEAVE IT. Its a great command, and the below, is also a great alternative to reward your dog for behaving!

“Reinforcing your dog for doing nothing is a technique I learned from my most amazing mentor, Kyle Rayon. The idea is, when you see your dog doing absolutely NOTHING, that is the moment you want to reinforce him with attention and treats. For example: Your dog is standing calmly at your side on a loose leash, and an excitable dog comes out of the blue from around a corner. As your dog sees the other dog, you pop a treat in your dog’s mouth while he is standing there DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! By doing this you will reinforce your dog for doing nothing in this situation, making it more likely he will do nothing when in a similar situation in the future. Don’t wait the 3 seconds for when your dog starts barking his head off at the other dog. Another example is: You are in the street standing and talking to a friend on a walk, while your dog is next to you doing nothing. Feed your dog a treat for doing nothing while you chat. Don’t wait until your dog starts whining, or pulling or jumping on you to give him attention. “Nothing Behaviors” are highly overlooked by many dog trainers. Many trainers focus on training dogs to “Sit”, “Down”, and “Stand”. But they forget to reinforce all the wonderful “Nothing Behaviors” that the dogs are already doing!

Tip: When reinforcing your dog for doing nothing, you need to get the treat to him before he thinks to look at you. This is because you want to “take a picture” of that calm behavior he is doing at that exact moment in time with the reinforcement, so that exact behavior will be repeated in the future. If your dog turns to look at you as you feed him a treat, you will be “taking a picture” only of a dog that is excited about the food that he is about to eat. Feeding him a treat while he is looking for his treat will not at all reinforce the calm nothing behavior you had hoped for, so wait until your dog is not thinking about the food again, before giving your dog the treat.

You can get the food to your dog while he is not looking at you, by having food already prepared in your hand, so that you don’t make a noise before you move to feed your dog. You can also toss a treat between your dog’s paws so it is less expected, or come from behind your dog with the treat to get it to his mouth. If you have a dog that is so over-aroused by food that he never looks away from the food, teach him to settle around food first.”

From website: http://dogmantics.com/train-your-dog-to-do-absolutely-nothing/


Clicker Training Your Pup

I recently bought a clicker, why not!  Im taking Valentino to Agility class, and they mentioned clicker training, so I wanted to share some tips I found!

Clicker training is a form of positive reinforcement training.  The sound of the clicker marks a positive behavior.

Things to keep in mind:

1) A click equals a treat!  After you click, to mark a positive behavior you always have to give a treat to your dog.

2) Give the treat as soon as possible after you click.  It should only take 1-2 seconds to give him the treat.  If you do not, then he might not see the connection between the clicker and the treat.

3) Timing is important!  It is important that you click the clicker at the exact moment that your dog completes the behavior asked of or task asked to do.

4) Keep your clicker handy to capture behaviors.  Capturing behaviors is a great way to teach your dog new behaviors with very little effort on your part.  Keep your clicker and a handful of treats handy, and whenever you catch your dog doing something you like, simply click and treat.  You will be amazed at how quickly your dog can learn!

5) Go back a step.   If you find your dog confused about certain behaviors, take a step back.  For example, if he cannot hold a stay for 30 seconds, and breaks it, go back to a 10 second stay.  Slowly move forward.  If your dog is making mistakes, it might be because you moved ahead too quickly for him.

6)  Keep your clicker training positive!  If you find yourself getting frustrated end the sessions.  Keep sessions short, 5-10 minutes.  Always end on a positive note!



Stop Your Dog From Jumping!

dogjumpStopping your dog from jumping can be a daunting task.  My puppy is 2 and he still jumps on people, but mostly at the dog park, when he’s really hyper and running around with his ball in his mouth.  Luckily he is only 44 pounds (however some people might say that is big).  In contrast, there is a 125 pound Great Dane at the dog park that jumps, and the outcome is a little bit different needless to say!

When your dog is a puppy, it is cute when he jumps, but when he turns into an adult, it is more a nuisance and could be dangerous (and can wreak havoc on your wardrobe!)

Teaching your dog not to jump takes time, patience, and some training and management.


First you have to teach your dog that if he jumps he gets NO attention.  Turning your back to him is a great way of doing this.  Never use your hands to push him off you because this is considered attention.

Then teach your dog if he sits, you will then pet him and give him attention.

One of the most important things in training is CONSISTENCY, so make sure your whole family is on the same page!


When teaching your dog not to jump, you must manage every situation so he doesn’t have an opportunity to jump.  Things you can use to help you manage:

(1) Keep your dog on a leash around people you know he will jump on, so you can control him.  For example, a lot of dogs jump on new visitors to your home, so put a leash on your dog before answering the door.

(2) Confine your dog to another room when you are at your home, and have visitors over.

(3) You can also put your dog in his crate (but not as punishment) when you are at your home and have visitors over.

All of these things will prevent your dog from jumping, and possibly reinforcing bad behavior while he is in the learning phase.

Here are some other useful tips:

(1) If your dog jumps on you when you come home, then keep your greeting low key.  If he does jump, turn your back and ignore him.  Tell him to sit, and when he does then praise him and say hello to him.

(2) If your dog jumps on you when you are sitting then stand up and ignore him.  Don’t push him or use your hands, just ignore him.

(3) If your dog jumps up on other people and if you have your dog on a leash, you can control him and tell him to sit.  Then when he listens, you can tell the other person to acknowledged him, and you can even give that person a treat to give him.  If you don’t have your dog on a leash and someone is approaching you, you can put your dog in a sit and stay, and then praise and reward him if he stays there when they person has approached.  Of course if he does jump, you can ask the person to turn his back on the dog, and not pet him.  If you are at an off-leash park or somewhere where your dog is not on leash, and a person says ITS OK when your dog jumps on them, you can always in a friendly way tell them you are training your dog not to jump, so they know its not OK with you.

Good luck and remember stay consistent!  It can be a lot of work, but you are stimulating your dog every time you work with him, so this is actually great mental exercise for your dog!



What You Should Know When Deciding Between a Dog Walker & Day Care Facility…..

  • In regards to training, most reputable trainers will say that a day care facility is not an ideal option when you are practicing obedience training with your dog.  Since most facilities have a poor staff-to-dog ratio, correcting bad behavior is not on the top of the list.  These facilities can reinforce undesirable behaviors in your dog. In addition, at a facility your dog can pick up bad habits from other dogs such as barking, soiling indoors, and overbearing issues.
  • The chances of your dog becoming injured are far less with a dog walker.  During a dog walk, the dog is on a leash, and closely monitored.  In a day care facility, the dogs are off-leash and things can get out of hand real fast because again of the poor staff–to-dog ratio.  Accidents can happen easier in this type of situation even with the most well-meaning people, and sometimes these accidents can have lasting negative affects on your pup.
  • Day care facilities are not ideal when housebreaking your dog.  In fact your dog will often continue to eliminate indoors while at a facility.  Dogs are best housebroken in their own homes with consistent, realistically spaced out walks that are appropriate for life stage.
  • The likelihood of your dog getting sick increases drastically at a day care facility.  In addition, most facilities do not insure the dogs while they are in their care; so if your dog gets sick or hurt at the facility, you are paying the bill.  With most dog walking companies, the dogs are insured, and the company will cover your expenses.  But of course, make sure you ask about their insurance!
  • Dog walking is also more appropriate for addressing separation anxiety.  It is best to deal with these issues by teaching and then supporting your dog to be at east at home by himself.  If needed, a trainer or behaviorist can help.  There are many methods for supporting your dog through separation anxiety; however, sending your dog away to day care will not address this use, just mask it.
  • If you are looking to further socialize your dog, dogs love to walk in packs, which can be accomplished with a reputable dog walking company.  For safety purposes, the company should not walk more than 2-3 dogs at once, and this way your dog gets personalized attention and training.
  • Regarding your dog, there are 2 types of exercise: physical and mental.  Some dogs at day care facilities do not get enough of either, or both!  With a dog walker, you know your dog is walking (or running!) while he is out.  As for mental exercise, on a leashed walk, your dog is getting the mental stimulation that he needs – i.e. leash training whereas the walker is making sure your dog is walking behind or beside him for the duration of the walk.  In addition, your walker can reinforce other commands your dog is learning, such as leave it, wait, stay, heal etc.  At day care facilities, this one-on-one walking and attention doesn’t exist.
  • Some facilities provide limited access to their clients.  This is two-fold.  Some facilities prohibit dog owners from visiting their pet at any time, with or without advance notice.  And some prohibit you to tour the entire facility and observe play before signing up your dog.  The other side of this is that some facilities “close” during part of the day, and at night, so you are not allowed access to pick up your dog at these times.  Also, some facilities, are closed for holidays, meaning if you come home on that day and want to pick up your dog, you cannot, and have to wait for the next day, and pay for your dog to stay there that night.

What is Your Puppy’s IQ?

Learning your puppy’s IQ can help you with training, telling you what to focus on.  It is best to test and compare within a species, such as dog to dog, as inter-species testing has too many variables. Testing for a dog’s I.Q. is different from testing a human’s but there are some ways to determine his smarts.

Before thinking about testing your puppy’s IQ, your puppy must be at least 12 weeks old and must have been in the home with its new owners for at least 4 weeks.

What you will need:

  • Flat collar on your dog
  • Training lead
  • Treats
  • Small can or bowl (like an empty coffee can or some other Container)
  • Towel, sheet or some fabric that can completely cover your puppy

    Test 1 – Observation Learning

    Choose an activity that your puppy has seen you do before many times and that it enjoys e.g. going out for a short walk in the yard or ride in the car, getting dinner ready, etc. Engage in the behavior in five stages, scoring 5 points for your puppy’s immediate understanding of your intentions (you take one step toward the door and see if he approaches you and looks enthusiastic or runs to an appropriate place, signaling understanding). Score 0 for paying no attention at all while you complete the entire maneuver. Intermediate scores 1-4 are awarded for intermediate responses.

    Test 2 – Problem Solving

    Take an empty can and your puppy’s favorite food treat. Show your puppy the treat and then put the treat under the inverted can. Score the puppy’s attempts to obtain the food on a similar 0 to 5 scale. A score of 5 is awarded if the puppy obtains the food treat by knocking the can over and getting the treat within 15 seconds; score the pup 4 for obtaining the food treat within 15-30 seconds; score 3 for completing the task in 30-45 seconds, score 2 for a time of 45-60 seconds, score 1 for eventually getting the treat; score 0 for the pup giving up, losing interest, and walking off defeated.

    Test 3 – Problem Solving

    Throw a tea towel or the corner of a sheet over the pup so it is completely covered and observe its attempts to think its way out of the situation. Use the same scoring method as in Test 2 above.

    Test 4 – Social Learning

    Wait until your puppy is near you but is not engaged in any particular activity. Look directly into its eyes and smile. Hold this pose. If the pup comes towards you, this is an excellent result indicating good social learning: score 5. If the pup ignores you, score 0. Intermediate scores are assessed, as before, on a timed basis.

    Test 5 – Short Term Memory

    Show the pup a delicious food treat and allow him to watch you hide it under a tea towel. Then lift him up in your arms and walk around the room in a large circle before depositing him at least 6 feet from where the food is hidden. If he immediately goes to the food treat and finds it, score 5. If he shows no interest in the treat and doesn’t look for it, score him 0. Intermediate scores are awarded for his finding the treat within 30 seconds, 1 minute, 1-1/2 minutes, and 2 minutes.

  • There are many other tests you can find or make-up to get an idea of your pup’s I.Q.

    For the 5 tests above, the best possible score is a 25; however, it is impossible to test for raw intelligence in dogs.  There are always influencing factors!

    Have fun with this, and rememebr that with all the variables, really every puppy is a winner no matter what his test score says.


    As winter is approaching, its great to have on hand some creative games for your dog, for when he gets “cabin fever.”  Dogs are happiest when they are mentally and physically stimulated, so keep these tips in mind to provide your dog with boredom relief for the upcoming months.

    GO SOMEWHERE NEW:  When a client asks us to walk their dog on the same path everyday, we usually ask the client if we can switch it up instead, and here is the reason why:  going new places, or just going on a different route offers the excitement and mental stimulation of new sights and smells, in addition to exercise.

    TEACH SOMETHING NEW:  Did you know that mental exercise tires a dog more quickly and thoroughly than physical exercise?  So teach your dog a new trick this week!  Can your dog balance a treat on his nose?  Shake a paw?  Roll over?  Crawl along the floor?  Jump through a hoop?  Play dead?  Retrieve?  Pick a new trick, and start training!  Don’t forget that consistency is very important when training.

    GIVE YOUR DOG A BONE OR A FOOD DISPENSING TOY:  Chewing is healthy for dogs, and helps them relieve stress as well.  Food dispensing toys are invaluable boredom busters. While rubber Kongs are classic toys and can be stuffed with a great variety of treats and tasties, there are many other options on the market now, like: Aikiou toy, Nina Ottosson’s toys, Kong wobbler, Kibble Nibble, Busy Buddy toys, Orbee Treat Spot toys, Tug-a-Jugs, and Buster Cubes.

    KIBBLE HUNT:  If you place your dog’s kibble in a food bowl, chances are the bowl is empty within 15 seconds and the dog gazes up at you upon finishing as if to say, “is that it?”  You can put that food to work for you by making your dog hunt for it with his nose. Instead of dumping the food in his bowl, consider crating him while you hide small piles of food in the house then release him to “kibble hunt.” Initially, make the piles very easy to find. As your dog gets better at this game, practice hiding the food in more difficult spots.

    HIDE AND SEEK:  Hide and seek is a great way to exercise your dog’s mind and body and recall skills. Each family member should stock up on great treats. Family members will take turns hiding throughout the house, calling the dog to them, and rewarding her generously when she arrives. When her treats are finished, say “all done!” which is the cue for the next family member to call him.

    DO SOMETHING OLD WITH A NEW TWIST:  Turn your dog’s favorite game into a training game!  For every throw of the toy, ask your dog for some obedience behavior or trick as you hold the toy.  As soon as your dog performs, give him some praise, then send your dog after his toy.  Dogs adore this game, once they understand how it works.  For working breeds, it also gives them a fun, satisfying outlet for their built-in drive to work with you.
    ARRANGE A PLAY DATE:  Dogs benefit from social interaction outside their family unit.  If your dog gets along well with other dogs, find some time to get together with a friend or relative and their dog.  If you do not know someone with a dog you can arrange a date with, you can always call Whiskers and Leo Pet Care!

    Have fun with this and feel free to share comments about your favorite game to play with your dog!

    How to Prevent Dog Bites

    Your dog is part of your family, but do not forget that your dog is still an animal, and needs to be treated a certain way.  If you are a dog owner with children please follow these rules:

    (1) Supervise your kids when the dog is around.  If a toddler is interacting with your dog, you should have your hands on the dog too.  Even if your dog has NEVER bitten before, you do not want to take a chance.

    (2)  Make sure you train your dog.  You can get an in-home trainer, like Bark Busters, or you can bring your dog to obedience classes.  Never act aggressive towards the dog when he is misbehaving, because then you are just teaching your dog to be aggressive.  Make sure you involve your whole family in the training of the dog.

    (3) Spay or neuter your dog.  Neutered pets are calmer, healthier and less likely to be aggressive.

    (4) Condition your dog for the world.  Give your puppy/dog lots of new positive experiences.

    Even though you see a cute dog, this doesn’t mean you should run right up to it and pet it.  Safety first!

    If you are a parent, please go over these rules with your children regarding dogs.

    (1)  Teach your kids to not hug and kiss your dog on the face.  This has been some causes of bites to the face.  Have your children scratch the dog on the chest or side of the neck.

    (2)  If you want to let your children pet strange dogs, first ask the owner, then let the dog smell you.  If the dog shows no sign of affection, then you can pet the dog on his chest or side of the neck.  Never pet a strange dog on the top of the head, because this can be a threatening jesture toward the dog.

    (3)  Never tease a dog, especially when he is eating, sleeping or protecting something, like his toys.

    (4)  If a dog is running towards you or threatening you, stand completely still, do not run!  If you stand still, the dog will no longer be interested in you, but if you run, the dog will look at you as prey.  This works for strange dogs or your family dog that is getting too aggressive or frisky.

    If you have any questions, or need a recommendation for a trainer, don’t hesitate to call us at 347-223-5116.