A lot of my time is spent discussing how dogs should behave. Is barking good or bad or both? “How do I stop the bad barking, but still feel safe? After all, that’s why I got a dog in the first place,” is a frequent conundrum for dog owners. As a trainer, I’ve discovered that the gold standard for having a “trained” dog to have a dog that knows “sit,” “down,” and “stay.” These behaviors are considered “basic,” and most owners stop teaching new things once they’re learned.
Read more What Every Dog Should Know
I received an email over the weekend asking if I teach “Basic Obedience” classes. In recent years, “basic” has come to slant more toward learned skills instead of learned behaviors. Traditionally, “Sit,” “Stay,” “Down” and “Heel,” were taught as first behaviors, and so became known as “Basic Obedience,” however, skills like “Settle on a Mat,” and “Watch me,” are much more useful in a variety of environments than the preprogrammed behaviors.
Read more What is “basic obedience”?
This week there have been a lot of conversations about rewards, timing of rewards, what types of rewards are effective, and how a lot of the answers to the above depend on how savvy the dog is. Intertwined in these conversations is always, “When can I stop using treats?” This question always vexes me. For those that use aversive training methods, no one ever asks, “When can I stop correcting and yanking?”
Read more When is a dog “trained”?
A lot of positive trainers train their own dogs using environmental cues. This means that the human goes about their business and the dog reads the context of the environment and behaves properly. Allowing dogs to think and pay attention, without the human needing to bark directions all the time, is a huge relief for the entire household.
Read more Dogs and Environmental Cues
The video is Paisley on July 4th as the fireworks started. She’s relaxed. Getting her to this point took some time, so I thought I’d share what I did. This is something that can be done while sitting on your sofa, a few treats at your side, and any sound that is startling and offensive to your dog.
Read more Relaxing Dogs During Loud Sounds
I was 12 when I went on my first airplane trip alone to visit relatives in Hawaii. It wasn’t the best trip. The captain didn’t let me see the cockpit, which I was told I could do, and when got off the airplane I didn’t see anyone I recognized. Eventually the plane was empty and the waiting room cleared and I was alone. My aunt and uncle had forgotten I was arriving.
If you want to skip to the end, the easiest dog training method is to reward what your dog is doing right; no special equipment needed. If you’d like to learn more, read on.
Dog training has changed over the centuries, as have the jobs dogs are trained to do. Hunting, flushing, and herding were the primary uses for dogs. In the 40’s, during World War II, the military began training dogs to help in war time activities. Books that were available at the time were on hunting and herding, so military trainers had to learn how to train. They knew how to train men, and used that as a model for training dogs. Show, add a word, correct when the dog is wrong.
The topic of the week on blogs and Facebook groups seems to be what to do when you encounter off-leash dogs while out walking your dog. A friend of mine just went through this a week ago. She was walking her very small poodle mix and came upon a young man sitting on the sidewalk with two pit bulls. There were leashes attached to the two dogs, but it turns out the young man wasn’t holding onto them.
While feeding the girls this morning, Pais plopped her behind right in front of the fridge blocking my ability to open it. She’s done this before. I usually open the door a crack, she sees the movement and moves. This morning I grabbed the handle and waited a beat. She moved.