I've been mainly reviewing DVDs recently but whilst browsing through some other reviews I stumbled across this section regarding dog training, so, considering I have managed to train a few dogs in my time, (no jokes here please, they may offend members), I thought I'd give my bit of advice, (although it does seem to be more than a bit), in the art of training a canine friend, because let's face it, a dog IS mans (and womans) best friend indeed and if they understand their Alpha males, (because to them that is what you are), then both your lives will be so much easier and a lot more fun.
Training a dog is easier the younger the dog is, remember the saying, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks", although technically you can as even older dogs love to learn new things.
Let us look at this as if you have just acquired a puppy, say 8 weeks of age, and named him Sam, who will be a nervous bundle of joy as he has just been taken from his safe surroundings.
The more you bond with Sam the closer you'll become and the more fun you'll have. So the best way to bond is to add a little fun training into Sams life, giving him a reason to want to be with you.
**Remember, Sam needs a leader and will need you to be the Alpha male, (top dog), who will protect him throughout his life, directing him in his ways whilst being a good friend. In return he will become devoted to you until he takes his last breath.
But anyway, back to the training in hand.
** TOILET TRAINING...
One of the first things you need to do is to teach Sam not to do his business in the house, which may take some time and requires a lot of patience indeed, (together with a lot of detergents and air fresheners).
Sam will show certain signs of wanting to go to the toilet, these signs will differ from dog to dog, so you will have to watch for them, recognising them so you can act before Sam messes on the shagpile and ruining that candlelit dinner for two that you have been preparing for months
Watch for the signs that Sam needs the toilet, which can consist of him feeling restless, (Sam not you), circling around, (although this can also mean Sam is trying to settle for a nap), a lot more sniffing than his usual investigation self and possibly loitering around the door as if wanting to go outside.
If Sam shows any of these signs then simply take him into the garden and watch over him for a while, if he does his business then praise him big style and over time he will enjoy telling you that he wants to go outside for the toilet as he will want the praise.
** Remember... if Sam starts to wee/poo before you get to him then simply interupt him and still put him outside to finish off, but do not chastise him for his little mistake
Normally, Sam will want the toilet after sleeping, eating, playing or feeding, ( a little like a baby I suppose), so keep an eye on him, getting yourself used to his toilet signs, maybe try putting him outside for a while after he wakes, eats or feeds. Stay with him though, he's still a nervous pup remember and you both have to get use to each other.
You could try using a prompt, such as 'wee' or 'poo', but do try to keep it to one defining word as Sam can not really understand words, but he can recognise basic sounds coming from that word, ...(for Sam the words walk, talk, chalk and hawk are all the same as he will only recognise the 'alk')....
If and when Sam does do his business outside whilst you're there then give him all the praise you can, thus giving him the idea that weeing/pooing outside will please his friend and 'master', as that is what you are to him. (this technique of praise can be used to train Sam to do his business in a specific part of the garden, making him recognise that that is his toilet area).
When Sam has to go through the night without access to his outside toilet area then you have to be prepared for some 'messes', but never be cross with him for it as he can't help it.
And to keep track of his overnight 'mistakes' I find it best to keep Sam restricted to one room, just until he is 'house trained'.
**To over come this there are a few methods...
1) Lay newspaper on the floor for Sam to do his business on, gradually moving the paper towards the door, removing it totally as Sam realises that the newspaper is the indoor toilet.
* Problems with this method... it takes a lot of time and Sam may not associate the paper with the toilet, if he does then it takes time to gradually move the paper away, but another problem is that Sam will think that all newspapers are fair game and will make you regret putting your freshly delivered newspaper down while you eat your toast, it's not his fault' he is just doing what you want him to do...
2) Use toilet training pads instead of newspaper... these are used in exactly the same way as newspaper, the advantage being that Sam will not associate newspapers with the toilet.
3) The crate... (a various size lockable wire box which Sam will sleep in)...this sounds a little prison like but Sam will try not to do a mess in his own bed, helping him to take control of his bladder a little quicker.
Sam WILL have to go outside for his business before going to bed and as soon as you gets up in the morning
* Problems with this method... in the early days you may have to get up during the night to let Sam out as relying on him to manage all night without doing anything is not fair. Remember, he's only a pup.
To be honest, I believe the crate method works the best. But each to there own.
**Things to remember...
1) Do not frighten Sam if he makes a little mistake, he will soon become so scared that he will 'hide' his indoor toilet 'doings' for fear of punishment if you see him doing it in the house.
2) If you find a wet spot, or a pile of do-do, then don't tell Sam off, he may not even remember doing it.
3) If you see Sam beginning to go to the toilet in the house then be quick, stop him in his tracks with a sudden noise, the word NO, firmly said, usual works, and once Sam has been interrupted then simply pick him up or lead him outside to carry on his toilet needs, (this may take time as once interrupted Sam may not feel like carrying on straight away and be prepared for the 'travelling wee-wee' as you carry Sam outside whilst he's still urinating.
4) When he does as he should then the more praise the better as all dogs love being pampered and all dogs love to learn.
As Sam grows, his bladder control will improve and he will begin to let you know when he needs the toilet instead of just letting go willy-nilly, but each dog is different so don't expect Sam to learn at the same speed as you friends dog. Be patient.
That is the basics of what I feel is the most important part of training a dog, the quicker Sam goes outside to do his business the better as it is more hygienic and safer for your health. (that's why I have gone on a bit about it)
** OTHER BASIC TRAINING...
Continuing to train your dog should be fun and should never really end as all dogs, especially Sam, love to learn and enjoy nothing more than to please.
Again, as with toilet training, the earlier you start with your dog the easier it may be, but try to keep training session more on the shorter side and fun as your dog may become a little bored if he is not happy.
The basics for a well behaved dog are to get Sam to sit down, lie down, stay, come to you when called, heel and not to jump up at you or others, although not in any particular order.
1) SIT... is the easiest to teach and the simplest for Sam to actual do without even realising he has done it. One way is to look at Sam and use the single word 'SIT', with a firm voice, (try not to sound to much like Freddie Kruger though), whilst tempting him with a treat just in front of his nose, then slowly lift the treat backwards above his head so he has to lift his head to follow it. Sam, as with all dogs, will reactively lower their back end into the sit position. Once he has done this repeat the word 'SIT' in the same firm voice and give him the treat and a lot of 'silly' praise.
If Sam fails to sit either by jumping for the treat or 'back-stepping' then by changing the closeness of the treat and the speed of movement.
You could also encourage Sam by pressing firmly down on his back end whilst firmly saying the word 'SIT', but either way, a treat is nice for Sam and he will want to learn a lot quicker for it.
** Remember... Keep doing this as often as you can, the more often the better, and Sam will soon obey just the word without the need for any treats, (which is useful for distance commands).
2) LIE DOWN... is another important command for Sam to understand, (I tend to try and stick to a single word, so choose either 'LIE' or 'DOWN', although the word 'DOWN' can be used in other parts of training, so as not to confuse poor Sam choose wisely)
To get Sam to Lie down continue with the 'treat and praise' method as this works well. Simply tell Sam to sit, (see above) then, holding a treat in front of his nose, slowly lower the treat to the ground in a straight line, then bring it slowly toward you and away from him, whilst firmly using the command 'DOWN' or 'LIE'. This will encourage Sam to follow the treat with his nose, putting him into the lying down position.
Simply as that really, but as with all training routines, it is a matter of repetitiveness and perseverance until Sam begins to associate the word with the action.
Once he seems to understand the command then try removing the treat and just use your hand for him to follow, eventually he will lye down by word alone, although a nice treat is always a pleasure for him.
3) STAY... This is another important command but can be a little trick depending on the dog itself, (I once knew a nervous dog that was so frightened if she was to far away from its owner that she shook so much she fell over, so she took a little longer to get the hang of the stay command, having to gain a vast amount of trust first).
Anyway, the stay command is applied again using the 'treat and praise' method. Firstly tell Sam to SIT, then, as you stand in front of him give the command 'STAY', holding a flat hand directly in front of him, (like a policeman stopping traffic), repeat the command and the hand action whilst slowly stepping away from him, (don't turn you back on him yet).
If Sam comes towards you then you should stop and get him to SIT once again, with out the praise or treat, then try again with the 'STAY' command and the flat hand motion.
If and when he STAYS in position as you back away then simply walk back towards him, still using the word 'STAY', and the hand motion if needed, and give him the treats and praise he deserves. Eventually, after a little perseverance, Sam will understand the command and you will be able to walk a good distance whilst he SITS and STAYS in position.
4) COME... (or even HERE or HEAL, the choice is yours but remember to stick to one word). This is the best command Sam can use as once he understands it and reacts correctly to the word, he can be let off the his lead to run wild, yet can still be brought under control if needs be, say for instance if another dog appears which may be trouble.
To get Sam to COME to you can be achieved in several ways, choosing to use the command to entice Sam to come to you in the knowledge that he will be rewarded for doing it. Try firmly saying COME/HERE/HEAL whilst showing Sam a treat, giving him plenty of praise when he comes to you, repeating the process as often as you can, eventually losing the treat, just giving the praise.
But I tend to find that training a dog to come to you from a static position is more helpful for both you and the dog.
Firstly, if Sam has got the hang of the STAY command then you can do this on your own, (although you will need Sam with you of course), but if he is not quite to grips with STAY then get a friend to help you, by asking them to hold Sam until you are ready.
Tell Sam to SIT and STAY, (or get your friend to hold him), then walk away to a good distance, then when you are ready firmly give the command 'COME'/'HERE'/HEAL, (you could also encourage Sam by squatting slightly and gently slapping your legs, whilst continuously calling him). When he comes to you then give him plenty of praise and maybe a treat or two, this will encourage him to repeat the good behaviour, even if distracted by his surrounding.
Keep repeating this procedure and Sam will soon be obeying your every command.
A few points though...
1) Do not shout at Sam for dawdling along his route back to you, this will discourage him from returning to you on command, simply encourage him until he gets to you then praise him for it. His dawdling is just him investigating his surroundings and he will soon speed up.
2) When he does come to you then 'pretend' to put him back on his lead a few times, then letting him run around again. This will make him realise than his mad run around is not over if he returns to you.
3) Start the 'COME' training in a quite area then work up into busier places, this will teach Sam to obey the command regardless of his surroundings.
5) HEEL... This is for your walking comfort as well as the control of Sam and once perfected your daily walks on a lead will be more enjoyable.
Firstly, invest in a good lead/harness and pick a side for your dog to walk on, staying with the chosen side throughout or this will confuse poor Sam. Then, using a treat tucked securely in your hand, or even Sams favourite toy, begin walking along the pavement, distracting him with the treat/toy, clearly and firmly saying the word 'HEAL'
When they lead begins to tighten then stop walking, using the word 'NO' so Sam realises that he has done wrong, (although at first he won't know what he has done wrong, remember, he's a dog not Einstein), recall Sam back to you and when he is back at your side then you can continue walking.
Repeat this simple method, using the word 'HEAL' as you go, and with constant praising when he is at your side he will soon realise that he has to keep stopping if he walks to far ahead, eventually he will walk to heal and you will both have an enjoyable walk.
Also, try changing your walking pace and direction to stop Sam becoming bored and to help him understand that he has to HEAL under different circumstances.
Eventually, although not recommended on roadsides or countryside with cattle or live stock, you can eliminate the need of the lead with Sam walking at your side under full control.
6) NOT TO JUMP UP AT PEOPLE...Dogs love to jump, and Sam is no exception, so it is up to you to stop this behaviour as it can be annoying and a little messy for some people, I mean, imagine if Sam has just trodden in something outside and the local vicar decides to knock on your door, he won't be too happy when Sam jumps up to say hello.
There are a couple of methods to stop this jumping palaver , firstly, when Sam jumps up at you, he is not being aggressive he is simply showing how much he's missed you, but you have to teach him to show his affection in a less physical way. To do this, when he jumps simply turn your back on him without saying a word, ignoring him totally so he realises that you are not happy. DO NOT SHOUT.
You could even try crouching down to Sams level so he doesn't have to jump to greet you, (although I do not recommend this for dog you are unfamiliar with as they may see this as an aggressive move, leading to a possible attack).
You could also try raising your knee when Sam jumps up, (I don't mean knee him in the stomach, followed through with an uppercut to the jaw), just bring up your knee so Sam gently collides with it instead of reaching his full height, this will teach him to stop jumping and is useful in more stubborn dogs.
Again, as with all training, it is a matter of perseverance and patience, but the more you train a dog the better it will behave and the closer you will become, thus the full enjoyment of having a dog can be had.
Training a dog should be an enjoyable experience for you as well as Sam so just be patient and remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. With a little perseverance and a calm mannerism you and Sam will be enjoying those walks in the park and those crazy ball throwing fun days for years to come.
** and here's a word of advice...
1) If you give a dog an old shoe to chew he will soon think that ALL shoes are fair game, thus ruining your designer shoe collection.
The same goes with fluffy toys as Sam can not tell the difference between his toys and yours.
So try giving Sam an empty lemonade/coke bottle to chew as he will be happy for hours and will protect you personal belongings.
(My mad dog has learnt to unscrew the lid, then he spits that out and runs around the garden with the now squashed bottle.
2) Make Sam realise that taking anything off a table is forbidden, using the word NO works so well in many ways, this will stop him jumping up during meal times in order to get his share.
3) Feed Sam last so he realises that you and your family come first, it called the pecking order and all dogs will try and jump the queue throughout their lives. Feeding him last enforces the fact that he is last in the pecking order.
4) Pick up his doggy mess when he does it outside in the park, because I for one am sick of stepping in it when I'm walking my dog.
Thanks for reading and I hope I was of some help with saving you money taking Sam to an over priced training centre.
Dog training is a subject very close to my heart. Whilst I absolutely adore dogs, they're the best animals in the world as far as I'm concerned, there is nothing that annoys me more than seeing an aggressive, untrained and unsociable dog. They are a danger to both humans and other dogs alike and are a real nuisance and pain to be around, they also give the more responsible dog owners a bad name and contribute to the sad trend of dogs being banned from many public places.
So, for this reason, my dogs being trained to a high level is something that is extremely important to me and something I am very passionate about, and has been since they were both young puppies. It is something we have practised day in, day out ever since I brought them both home, only now, when they are aged 4 years and 18 months, am I finally happy with the level they are trained to and would like to share some of my wisdom to hopefully help the more novice dog owners out there!
The method I use for training is called Positive Reinforcement and is an entirely cruelty free method that works solely on praising and rewarding the good behaviour, and simply ignoring the bad. It banishes the use of harsh, outdated techniques, excludes using pain to get your dog to behave and is a highly successful method which I have had excellent results from, both with my two current dogs and the dogs I have owned in the past.
The first thing you need to use this method is a strong bond and a good relationship with your dog, if you don't have this, it won't work at all. As mentioned before, the method works on the basis that you reward good behaviour and just ignore the bad. If you were to be ignored by someone you didn't know or care about, you probably wouldn't be the slightest bit bothered, yet if your best friend ignored you, you'd more than likely be quite upset and want to do your best to make it up to them. This is the exact same for dogs, they don't like to be ignored by people they care about (you, their owner) so you need a good, strong bond for this to work.
Secondly, you will need something to reward the dog with, aside from verbal praise. You can use a clicker, treats, toys or all three. I personally use all three! If my dogs do something right they always get a click of their clicker, sometimes a treat or sometimes a game with a toy, they never know what their reward is going to be. Using all three keeps things interesting and also prevents the dog just doing what they are told for food, if they don't always get a treat, then they won't expect it everytime. Remember, in an emergency, when you need your dog to behave, you might not always have food to bribe him with!
Positive Reinforcement training can be started from the day you bring your little puppy home, no matter how young they may be and then continued for life. It also works for rescue dogs, which are more than likely to be adopted when they are older. For this review however, I will concentrate more on puppy training.
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? So your puppy can learn where they may go to the toilet, and where they may not.
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? Up to you! I personally use ''be quick''. It's to the point, and I don't feel embarrassed using it in public. ''Go wee/poo' can of course be used, but do you fancy saying that in park?!
THE METHOD: Toilet training is the first thing you will need to do with your puppy. I don't like using the newspaper trick, get your puppy going outside as soon as possible, using newspaper just confuses them I think. After every meal, each time your puppy has a drink, wakes up from a sleep or after a play session, take him out to the garden and say your toileting command, nothing else, and wait until your puppy goes, no matter how long it takes or what the weather is like, stay with your pup! The second your pup finishes, loads of praise (in your best hyper, high pitched happy voice!) and a little treat. A young puppy will need to be let out several times a night at first, so set your alarm and be prepared for disturbed sleep for a little while! If your puppy soils in the house, simply clean it up and ignore it if you don't catch him in the act. If you do, just say a sharp ''no'', pick him up and take him outside, reward him if he continues going outside.
NEVER: Punish your puppy if you do not catch him soiling in the house, rub his nose in the mess or expect him to be clean in the house straight away.
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? So your puppy will sit on command, e.g., waiting at roads etc.
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''*dogs name* sit''
THE METHOD: Have a small treat in your hand and hold it above your pups nose and move it backwards, as your pup follows the treat back, his bum should lower, as soon as it hits the floor, add in the ''sit'' command, then treat and praise.
NEVER: Push your pups bottom down to get him to sit.
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? So your puppy will lay down on command
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''*dogs name* lay'' (don't use ''down'', I'll explain why later)
THE METHOD: When your puppy is sitting, have a treat in your closed hand, hold it in front of your pups nose and lower your hand to the floor. As you do, your pup should lower down into a laying position, when he does, add in your ''lay'' command and praise when he is laying.
NEVER: Pull your pups legs forward to get him to laying down.
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? To let your puppy know when something isn't acceptable
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''No!'' or ''Ah-ah!''
THE METHOD? As soon as an unwanted behaviour starts, gently but sternly give your ''no'' command. Praise if the puppy stops doing it.
NEVER: Say something like ''oh please stop doing that'', your dog doesn't understand English!
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? To use if your puppy jumps up at somebody or your need to get him off the sofa/bed.
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''Down'' or ''Get down''.
THE METHOD: As soon as your puppy jumps up, turn away, cross your arms and ignore him, give your ''down'' command and ignore him until he stops jumping up, praise him when he stops. This is why I don't recommended using ''down'' to get your dog to lay down, it is much better suited to this.
NEVER: Push your dog down or pull him down by the collar.
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? So you may let your dog off lead.
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''Come'', ''here'' or ''return''
THE METHOD: Practice having your dog on a long line first, and use your best hyper high pitched voice to call him, when he comes to you, praise and treat him. When you are confident doing this, you may start to work off lead in a safe, enclosed place until it if perfected. If your dog runs away, try running the opposite direction whilst calling him if it is safe to do so.
NEVER: If your dog only returns to you after a good 15 minutes, don't scold him, still praise him no matter how frustrated you are with him. Chase your dog if he runs off, he will think it is a game.
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? An emergency may arise when you need your dog to stay exactly where he is.
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''Stay''
THE METHOD: Have your dog sitting and then walk backwards away from him, facing him, and saying ''stay'' constantly. Stop, continuing saying ''stay'' and then call him when you want to. Over time, work up the time you make him stay before you call him.
NEVER: Get frustrated if your dog doesn't stay straight away, this one does take time.
-WAIT and GO AHEAD-
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? So your dog only eats when told to. Imagine falling out with your neighbours, they chuck some poisoned food over your garden wall to your dog. If your dog has a good understanding of the ''wait'' command, he won't eat it.
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''Wait'' and then ''go ahead'' or ''take it'' to take the food.
THE METHOD: Place down your dogs food bowl, filled with his dinner, but have something really tasty in your hand, let your dog smell this, call him and make him look at you and concentrate on the food in your hand, saying ''wait'' the entire time. Then, when you want him to eat, give the ''go ahead/take it'' command and chuck the treat you have in your hand until his dinner bowl.
NEVER: Allow your dog to eat anything, even a tiny treat, without making him wait for it first. It really is so important this one.
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? So your dog approaches other people/dogs nicely.
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''Be nice'', ''nicely'', ''gently'' or ''steady''.
THE METHOD: When approaching other dogs, repeatedly say your desired word, let your puppy say hello to the dog (if ok with the other owner) and praise your puppy if they have behaved well.
NEVER: Change the word you use, keep it simple. Allow your dog to approach other people or dogs uninvited.
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? So your dog barks on command, handy if you ever feel unsafe and need your dog to protect you. A bark is often enough to warn most potential burglars/muggers off.
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''Speak'', ''bark'' or ''loud''.
THE METHOD: Have a friend hold your dog on lead, you stand 6ft away with your dogs favourite toy or treat, talk to your dog, be really excited and happy, your dog will bark out of frustration to come and see you. The second he does, add in your command and go to the dog to stop him barking.
NEVER: Abuse this command, you should rarely need to use it.
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? So you can stop your dog barking
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''Shhhhh'', ''be quiet'' or ''whisper''.
THE METHOD: As above. When you do to your dog and he stops barking, add in your be quiet command and praise with a treat.
NEVER: Forget to do this part if teaching the speak command!
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? Imagine you are in danger, to keep your dog safe, he must leave you.
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''Leave'', ''away'' or ''go''
THE METHOD: Throw a ball/toy for your dog, as he chases it, repeatedly say your chosen command. This one takes an awful lot of work but it is possible, with practice, your dog will leave you without a ball/toy to chase.
NEVER: Be horrible to your dog to get him to leave you. Expect all dogs to do this, some will never grasp it, no matter how much practice you put in.
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? So your dog will walk nicely on the lead
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''Heal'' or ''slowly''
THE METHOD: Have your dog on the lead and a handful of treats, talk softly to your dog and let him know you have the treats in your hand, encourage him to look up and you and keep adding in your command. If he begins to pull, stop walking and wait until he stops, when he does, then you may continue. If he pulls, you stop walking!
NEVER: Tug sharply on the lead to get your dog to heal or use a choke chain.
WHY DO I NEED TO TEACH THIS? Incase you ever need to examine your dogs paws for injury.
WHAT COMMAND CAN I USE? ''Paw'', ''give paw'' or ''lift up''
THE METHOD: Have a treat in your hand and your dog in the sit position. Hold your closed hand (with the treat in) just in front of your dog, before long he will lift his paw up to scratch at your hand in frustration for the treat, when he does this, say your command and give the treat.
NEVER: Pull your dogs paw to get him to give it to you.
Above is what I'd consider as the very basic commands that every dog should know, to keep both them and themselves safe. Of course there are plenty more that you can teach just for the fun of it (Grace and Benson know in excess of 25 commands). Remember just to keep at it, training a dog takes time, patience, practice and a lot of trouble but is so worth it in the end. A well trained dog is a happy one, they can have more freedom, be trusted around other dogs and people making your life easier and they are generally nicer animals to be around. Be honest with yourself too, if your dog isn't sociable with other dogs or people, don't kid yourself and pretend he is, there is no shame in muzzling him, likewise, if you can't trust your dog offlead, then keep him on it! You'll make yourself look far more responsible and you'll come across as a much better owner.
If you have any questions about training you'd like to ask, feel free to comment or send me a PM and I'll do my best to help!
I am no expert at all and have only ever owned one dog - my current dog for just over three years. I just wanted to write in this review section for people like me who may have a dog and love it but haven't read all the books on training, have maybe had a few issues with their dogs and maybe need to build their confidence with dogs.
I got a smaller dog thinking it would be easier to manage than a big dog - I learned after about two weeks that it doesn't really make much difference how small or large your dog is!
I took part in a training club and successfully did the Good Citizen Dog Scheme Puppy classes, however got stuck at the Bronze level and as I was fairly happy with my dog when the class changed days (they train on different days in the winter and summer) I am sorry to say I stopped going. If I am totally honest I was a bit embarrassed going every week for my dog to struggle with the same things every week as she was nervous of the other dogs and would not do much with other dogs near to her.
I continued on with my dog at home, making small steps as she was nervous of a lot of things and encouraging her every time we met new people who wanted to say hello when on walks. It was only after having the dog for about 2 years that I realised my slight anxiety around larger dogs did not help her in any way. I needed to overcome my nerves around big dogs and not think that every large dog running towards us in the park is a potential threat. This took a while and took me going to walk a friends large cross breed dog a few times and see that those large dogs running towards us were running to say hello!
This was a big step for me and I started relaxing around big dogs and patting them and using a high excited tone when they were approaching and I still continue to do this (yes I know I look and sound a bit mad most of the time!) but this has really made a difference for Daisy. Before she would run behind me and run away from most dogs but now she either ignores them or tries to play chase with them - with the front part of her down and her bum wiggling in the air I know she is happy and wants to play!
I decided at the start of this year to re-do some training with Daisy and contacted my old club, at first I did more intensive classes with Daisy and only 5 or so other dogs and the trainers remembered how nervous she used to be and were impressed with her now. After doing a few courses of 5 or 6 weeks with them I went back to the main group (typical that the day changed and once again have had to stop going - but am trying to move things around and get back into it again!)
Daisy also does agility with the children and is really getting into that and I think the confidence she now has helps with her day to day walks and interactions with other dogs.
I never really paid much attention to the tone I used or how excited I tried to sound with my dog as I honestly did not think it would make that much of a difference. I had tried treats and foods during walks to give her when dogs approached or after they passed but she was still nervous. I tried walking the other way and avoiding large dogs which I feel now only added to her anxiety around them.
I think in all my waffling and inexperience what I am trying to show is that how you feel and react will play a massive part on how your dog reacts. Tone of voice is also something I swear by as I can see such an improvement in my dog just because I sound all excited and high pitched!
Clicker training is a god send, I am learning to be a dog trainer and a clicker should be in every household, it makes training so much easier, quicker and it is fun. first of all, get yourself a clicker. there are alot to choose from, some come with sticks, treat bags, books etc, i got an adjustable volume clicker as often they are extremely loud and can startle your dog rather then let him know he is doing well.
to get started you have to teach your dog what the clicker noise means so you have to click, then treat, treat instantly to begin with so the dog learns that the click means they get a treat, do this several times until your dog has definitly learned what this noise means, to check they do know wait until you dog is distracted and looking away or walking off then click and if they understand what the noise means, they should look at you expecting a treat.
ONLY ever use the clicker when the dog exibits the correct behaviour and never to try and elicit the correct behaviour, it has to be an indicator that they are doing it right and that a treat will follow, always follow with a threat, you can eventually begin to treat later and later but initialy, treat instantly.
now your dog knows what the clicker noise means, you can begin training with it!
Nearly everyone loves a puppy. They're cute, cuddly bundles of fun. However, they are also extremely hard work. Despite Bolly (my eight year golden retriever bitch) being one of the most gorgeous puppies in the world (not that I'm biased at all...), I would not swap the grown up well-behaved dog that she is now for the puppy she was eight years ago. Getting her toilet trained was one of the toughest and hard won campaigns I have ever fought. It took us nearly a year to get her totally "accident free", so I thought I would detail just how much work and effort is entailed in puppy toilet training.
~ ROUTINE ROUTINE AND ROUTINE ~
Upon the arrival of your new pupster, it is absolutely VITAL that you establish a routine from the off. Puppies only have tiny bowels and bladders and they need to go every few hours. Make sure you have plenty (and I mean plenty) of newspapers to hand. Newspapers are cheap, readily available and extremely absorbent. Place the newspapers on the kitchen (or whichever room the puppy will spend most of its first few weeks in) floor near to the door, and encourage the puppy to use it - ideally for emergencies or night time use only.
~ LET'S TAKE IT OUTSIDE ~
That's all very well, but you don't really want your dog using newspaper or the kitchen floor as a toilet for the rest of it's life, so you need to encourage it to "go" in the garden from the off. Take your puppy to a designated and specific spot in your garden or yard and encourage them to go. Dog urine is extremely acidic and burns grass leaving brown patches, so unless you want your garden to look like a dessert oasis, it's best to try and contain the dog to a specific area in the garden to minimise the damage. Quite simply, containing your pup to one designated area makes your job easier when you clear up after them as well. Believe you me, you do not want to trawl around your whole garden looking for packages - it's much easier to "poo pick" in a small area.
~ LEARNING THE LANGUAGE ~
It's a good idea to use a simple word or sound that the puppy will learn to identify as the command for it to go about its business. Some owners find "Right Now" helpful, but I prefer "Whizz". We started off by wandering around our garden chanting "Wees and Poos" . It may have earnt us some funny looks from the neighbours, but Bolly began to get the message.
~ FAIR WIND OR FOUL ~
You MUST accompany your puppy at all times - whatever the weather - rain, wind or shine. Firstly, so that you know when it has completed the job in hand. If you don't ascertain whether or not the dog has produced anything in the garden, then they are likely to come back in and "produce" something on your carpet or floor later on. The second, and more important, reason why you need to accompany your pup, is so that you praise it to hilt when it does go. Pups need to learn that what they are doing in the garden is a good thing and a fantastic achievement, so an over the top and enthusiastic compliment will soon start to get the message across. Obviously a full blown firework display and cartwheel session are a bit over the top, and will only scare the poor little mite, but a rapturous "Goooooood boy or girl" does wonders. You will need to spend a huge amount of time in the garden in those crucial early weeks and it really does pay absolute dividends in the years to come. Buying a pup in the bleak mid-winter (as we did), is perhaps not a good idea. We let Bolly out into the garden on her own far too often and it's hard to keep a keen eye on a pup when it's dark and raining and she's disappeared into the shrubbery at the bottom of the garden (or fallen into the pond....but that's another story).
Persistence and praise do work and Bolly eventually learnt to "defecate on demand" as my partner oft charmingly puts it.
~ THE TELL TALE SIGNS ~
Puppies need to go rather frequently. They are most likely to need a trip into the garden just after they've been fed and immediately after they wake up from one of their numerous naps. They are also likely to need a routine visit if they get excited or after a playtime session. A new visitor to the household can often result in a small puddle of puppy wee as they widdle themselves in excitement.
Other signs that they need to go are excessive sniffing of the floor or walking around in a small tight circle. Some puppies both sniff and race around frantically at the same time. You will only have seconds in which to intervene and prevent an accident. Or you can be too stupid to pick up the warning signs and get caught out like I did. On Bolly's first night in her new home with us, she came bounding up to me in the lounge, promptly dropped her bottom and produced a small brown package. And I thought she only wanted to say hullo - how wrong was I......we rued the day we ever choose a pale pink carpet.
~ ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN ~
Despite all your best intentions, there will be the occasional mishap. If you do catch them in the act, swiftly and quietly encourage them to follow you outside into the garden to their designated area. If there isn't time to get into the garden, then swiftly place them on a sheet of newspaper and praise them when they go.
~ RUBBING IT IN ~
If there is an indoor accident, it's very important to never tell the puppy off and never to punish it. Rubbing their faces in it is a HUGE mistake and a rather revolting idea. Shouting or hitting the pup is fruitless and will only end up making it scared of you. You have to remember that a puppy has no real control over their bodily functions so it's not their fault but yours for not anticipating their needs.
~ CLEANING IT UP ~
The soiled area is best cleaned with an odour eliminating disinfectant or biological washing powder. Ammonia based cleaning materials may remove the stain but not necessarily the smell. The scent of ammonia in cleaning products may encourage your pup to return to the same area of carpet for another session. This was another mistake of ours, and I don't think there is a room in our house that did not witness some kind or other of an accident in the first few months.
~ THE NIGHT SHIFT ~
Obviously, you don't really want to set your alarm clock to go off every couple of hours so that you can get up and let puppy out into the garden, so you will need to establish a night time routine for the dog as well.
Newspaper on the floor by the door (as near to the garden as you can manage), serves as an ideal blotting up area for any nighttime requirements. It's also easy to scoop up and discard in the morning. However, beware the puppy that decides it's a huge game to shred all the newspaper and spread it all around the kitchen, leaving none spare for any other purpose. Been there, got the mop and 9 million bin bags......
~ DIRTY DEN ~
Some dog owners prefer to put their puppies in a dog crate at night. A dog is a pack animal that is used to den living. Most dogs will see their crate as it's den and because dogs are naturally clean animals they're none too keen on fouling this area. A small amount of newspaper on one side of the crate and the dog will soon get the message and try and contain their mess to just this area.
~ THE WHOLE SCOOP ~
Dog faeces are not the most pleasant things you'll come across. They need to be removed swiftly and safely disposed of. Dog faeces can cause health problems in humans such as Toxocariasis, which can lead to blindness. Similarly the faeces can often contain both roundworms and tape worms.
It's a rather revolting fact but dogs have a rather revolting habit of sniffing out old stools and eating them. Coprophagia, as it is known, is all too common in puppies and is a phase they all seem to go through. It is best to remove all temptation from their path by disposing of any old stools as quickly as possible.
~ IN SUMMARY ~
Writing this has made me realise just how lax we were in toilet training Bolly, and it's really no wonder she took nearly a year to get totally accident free. I don't want to make it sound like she was totally incontinent. She grasped the basics quickly, and all would be fine and dandy for weeks and weeks and then she would regress. This was totally down to her lack of routine and our lack of interest in maintaining it day after day, week after week. In short:-
~ Do establish that routine of garden visits from day one.
~ Think of a word or short phase that your puppy will learn to recognise as their command to go about their business.
~ Remember to praise the pup to the hilt when they produce anything - big or little - in the garden.
~ Above all, you must be patient with your pup, after all everyone needed to be toilet trained once upon a time........
I have written this from the perspective of training a puppy, but these rules can also be applied to an adult dog. For anyone caring and committed enough, adopting a rescue dog may not be without its problems. Owners of resuce dogs who had a bad start in life, may also find that they need to go back to the basics with toilet training. Thanks for reading and sorry for all the euphemisms..........
~ ONE FINAL PAWS FOR THOUGHT ~
Due to her humiliation at having her trials and tribulations of toilet training broadcast to all and sundry, Bolly would like the final word of the subject:-
"Who's really the boss here? Just remember who shovels whose poo up........."
I am not going to preach about the dos and don'ts of purchasing a pup, as you will already have wrestled with your conscience about that for yourself. What I am going to do is help you train your pup in what can be a sticky subject for most new owners.
Your first port of call should be to refer to the guidelines set out for you by the breeder, but if for some reason you don't have these then I will go through it step by step.
Before You Bring Home Baby
Before you bring home your pup set up its sleeping place. This should be a hard floor and the kitchen is ideal. Never let your pup into your bedroom as it's a hard habit to break and is just as bad for the pup as it is for you.
Get a cardboard box. They are free at most supermarkets. They are warm and they can be used to teethe on.
Set it up in a place that is permanent. Don't move it! Remember your pup will get used to the spot.
Surround the bed with newspapers. You will need loads of these. I usually advise prospective owners to start collecting them up to 2 weeks prior to getting your pup. Extend them all over the floor.
Bringing Home Baby
Take your pup to its new bed and with a lot of encouragement place your pup in it. With any luck your pup should be used to a nice warm cardboard box because the breeder will already have used something similar.
Your pup will spend a lot of time sleeping. NEVER disturb your pup; you will just have to wait until it wakes to cuddle and play with it.
Toilet Training. Phase One
Firstly let me say that you are going to have to have a lot of patience. If there are any accidents then it is YOUR FAULT not your pups.
Usually pups wee and poo (Technical terminology). When they wake up or after they eat or when they are excited from play which is most of the time, so you have to be vigilant.
The paper you have put down will become your pup's toilet. Your breeder will have already introduced your pup to newspaper toilet training but if they haven't it really is easy.
When your pup wakes make sure that he doesn't leave the 'paper area' until he has performed a wee. He will do this but you may have to wait a while.
As soon as your pup starts to perform repeat a word over and over to it. I use 'wee wee'.
Don't say its name! Just the word repeated until they stop and then lots and lots of praise.
For poo I use 'Hurry up'.
Once you have established a routine you can then start to train your pup to do its toilet where you want it to do it.
Toilet Training. Phase Two
You will find after a short time that your pup will only be using certain spots in the kitchen to do its toilet. Usually three or four places.
At this point you can start to move the outer edges of the papers in towards the 'toilet points'. You will find that after a short while you will have three or four pieces of newspaper on the floor. You must always remember to put the paper back in exactly the same places so as not to confuse your pup.
Once this has been established you will be able to move these pieces of paper very slightly in towards each other.
Eventually you will be able to take away a couple of pieces of the paper provided that your pup has taken to performing on them and nowhere else.
At this point I feel it only fair to mention there will be accidents but, as I have said previously, it will do you no good at all trying to chastise your pup as they will not understand. Just clean it up and chalk it up to experience.
Once you have your pup down to one piece of paper you can then start to move this towards an outside door. It is your aim to have your pup go to that outside or back door when it wants to do its toilet.
Toilet Training. Phase Three
I am not going to set a time limit on this training because every breed of dog is different, just like every owner is different, and I am a great believer in the fact that the more time you put in then the greater the rewards. You may find your pup is trained in one week, or it may take up to a month, but you will get there.
Once your pup is fully vaccinated and your vet has given you the 'all clear' that your pup can go outside it is time to complete phase three.
At this point, after you have introduced your pup to the outside world, you move the paper outside. Always leave a piece in the usual place until you can coax your pup that you want them to perform out of doors.
This is where the voice command comes in. If you have used your repeated chosen word every time you have seen your pup perform then this is the time to use it. Don't be disheartened if your pup just runs around ignoring you. I promise it will work but only when you pup is calm.
The same still applies as to when your pup wants to perform on waking etc. but hopefully you will have learned the signs. It may be that you do not have a 'lassie type pup' who runs up to tell you 'Robbie's down a mine shaft' but, if you have been observant, you will, hopefully, have spotted the tell tale signs that say. Let me out!
Sometimes problems occur. It's not your fault and it's not your pup's fault. No one is infallible. If something goes wrong and you start to get accidents, don't be upset, just go back to phase one and start again. You will be amazed how going back to basics really does work and I can assure you it's quicker the second time. Sometimes we just need our memories jogged.
I hope this has been helpful to you and I have to say that I know this has worked on older dogs so give it a try.
I have never believed in the saying 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks'.
Just look at me!
This is only one tiny part of training a dog but one of the most important. Get this one right and you are off to a wonderful start...Good Luck.
As soon as you decide to buy a dog you must accept that there is a hard journey ahead of you. Dogs just dont come pre trained with an instruction manual, although it would be nice.
I stongly believe that there is a method best suited to a dog, they all have different personalities so they will work better with different training methods.
*** Basic training ***
Once your dog is 8 weeks old he is capable of learning commands such as sit and down, he also will understand what 'No' means.
There are as i said different methods, the first which i use with puppies is luring.
This involves using a tasty treat to guide the pup into the position you want him to be in.
Let's start with the sit.
Have Rover in front of you and use the treat to get his attention, move it up past his nose and slowly bring it over the top of his head, he will naturally sit to get at the treat.
Once you have done this a few times introduce the word 'sit' as his bum hits the floor.
The other way is to just push his bum onto the floor, i do not use this method really as i find that dogs learn much quicker if they are doing the behavour without you forcing it on them.
This is a little bit more tricky as to do this you would put the lure close to the floor and he would go down to get it, unfortunatly most puppies are small enough not to need to lay down to get it.
What to do it use you arm elbow to wrist to make a 'bar' about 6 inches from the floor, when Rover follows the treat drag it under the bar you made with your arm. The only way for Rover to get the treat is if he lays down and crawls under. As soon as he goes down tell him 'down' and lift your arm.
One Rover has mastered sit and down you can begin to work on his stay.
Give him either the 'sit' or 'down' command and add 'stay' then wait just a second before giving him the treat.
Slowly increase the time by a few seconds at a time.
Once he is familiar with the command then do it again and this time take one step back. Praise him loads if he remains seated. If he gets up to follow you the tell him 'no' and re seat him and begin again.
Slowly increase the steps you take away from him until he learns that he must remain where he is until you come back and release him.
*** Points to remember ***
Dogs learn by routine and repeating actions, you have to be patient when teaching any command.
You should NEVER hit your dog, its down right wrong and will only leave your dog with more problems.
Keep training sessions short, 5 to 10 minutes a couple of times a day is plenty.
Only ask your dog to do the command once. If you are saying "Sit, Rover sit, sit, sit right now you-" your dog will learn that your going to ask him to do it loads of times so what's the point in doing it the first time.
Keep it simple, "Rover, sit." if he doent do it then invorce the action by luring or gentle pushing his bum.
*** Clicker training ***
I love clicker training my dogs. A clicker is a small plastic box (about the size of a matchbox) with a metal flap. When you press the metal tab it clicks.
I keep cicker training for tricks and fun things because it works so well a shaping behaviour. The idea is that when your dog does something right you click and treat him. He learns that the click means he's done right and will get a treat.
Here is an idea to get you started.
First you need to teach your dog that the click is good. Click then treat him about ten times or until you see him looking for a treat as soon as you click.
Get a piece if sticky tape and stick it on his head or between his eyes. Rover will automatically bring up his paw to swipe off the tape. As soon as he brings up his paw click and treat him. Do this a few times and Rover will quickly learn that he is getting clicked for bringing his paw to his face. You can then take the tape off his head and he'll still do it! Once he knows that swiping his face with his paw is the key then you can introduce your command. When he does it say 'hide'. Repeat these actions until your dog has learned the command and will cover his face when you ask him too.
You can then begin to wean him off the clicker for that action. When you give the command instead of clicking him just give him the treat.
You can do just about anything with a clicker, your dog can even decide what he's going to do. Here is an example of what Dutch my dobermann taught himself.
I started by clicking him and giving him a bit of cheese. I did not prompt him to do anything i just sat and waited. He licked his lips so i clicked him and gave him more cheese. He licked his lips again, click and treat. After a few more times i stopped clicking him after he licked his lips. He then realised he has to do something a bit more so he opened his mouth and licked his lips, click and treat. Again i stopped clicking him for doing just the open mouth licking and he tried even harder. He started opening a shutting his mouth, click and treat. This progress on and on until now i can give him the 'talk' commaned and he open and shuts his mouth like a fish and makes strange noises, it's very funny and always makes us laugh.
You can really play about with this method and it really works if you let your dog lead the way.
Clickers cost anything from 99p to £5.00 and are very easy to get off the internet.
*** The Alpha ***
Dogs always work as a pack, you are his pack and you are his alpha male or female. You MUST invorce this with your dog especially male dog in their teenage years, thats about 18 months old to 2 years.
Never let your dog push past you into another room, alpha's go first into new territory so if your dog is always the first into a room he may begin to think he it boss.
Always eat your diner before you give Rover his for the same reasons.
Dont let him on the sofa and on your bed, this is a place for alpha's only.
Make sure he has his manners, dont let him beg for food, never feed him off your plate. Put all scraps in his bowel.
Stay strict with your dog at this age, he will soon grow out of any naughty phases he has, he's just going to be like your typicle human teenager.
*** The Recall ***
I've kept this till last because i know it's the one thing people always have trouble with.
How many times have you let your dog off the lead and he suddenly forgets his name or goes deaf. It really is a problem and can be dangerous near roads or other dogs.
So how to we go about the problem.
First you need to find a sound that your dog is not likly to hear everyday. I use a dog whistle but i know people who clap their hands, shake an old butter tub that has treats in it or even ring a bell.
First we need to get your dog to want to hear the sound.
Start by blowing your whistle and then quickly throwing some treats on the floor. Do this over and over and over again until the dog knows that when he hears the whistle there is going to be a treat.
You will soon notice that even if you blow your whistle in the hall and he's in the kitchen he's going to charge at you to get the reward. Do this all over the house and never forget to give him a treat.
I strongly suggest that unlike other commands that you wean the dog off getting a treat, you always give him a treat when he returns to you when you blow. Even if he doesnt come straight away. You have to make sure what you have to offer is much better than that other dog at the other end of the park. Food will always come up tops.
NEVER punish your dog if he doesnt come back to you, if you scold or hit him when he returns he will only avoid comeing back to you in future.
NEVER let your dog off the lead unless it is completly safe to do so, even obiediant dogs might do a runner across a busy road.
Good dog treats are cheese, liver, heart and livercake. He'll love you for them.
Hope this was some help.
When I consider the tragic plight of the perhaps millions of souls, worldwide, who live in perpetual fear of their improperly-raised/handled canine house-pets turned Hitler-pooches, I truly regret that the only people who will ever be able to benefit from the sublime canine-control wisdom that follows hereunder, are my fellow dog-owning, dooyoo and Ciao member-account holders. When one considers the frequency of family-room flea-infestations, the Fido-fertilizer defiled footwear, the cur-cursed postal carriers and couriers, can one really even begin to estimate the importance of providing and publicising mangy mongrel-management advisement to our distressed pet-consumers across the globe? I think not.
A MORE CURRENT CUR INCURSION-REOCCURRENCE DISCOURAGER
If there were a surer cure for discouraging your curious cur's recurrent incursions; a cure for insuring that your cur's incursion-excursions wouldn't occur any more, wouldn't YOU be sure to procure YOUR cur the surer anti-cur-incursion cure?
No amount of hounding your pound-bound hound or keeping him soundly bound around the surrounding bounds of your home ground will confound that hound once he's found that once he's frowned or growled a growly sound, you won't stick around to stand your ground. You might as well impound that hound before he pounds your porky mound into ground-round (that's chopped hamburger meat here in the colonies). You need to turn that over-wound hound around.
YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO YOUR MUTT
To avoid getting into a rut with your mutt, you've got to grab said mutt by the nuts and show'im you're not some gutless putz. If you lack the guts to show your mutt whut's whut, he's gonna sink his canine canines into yer cowardly butt.
APPLYING MY CUR INCURSION-REOCCURRENCE DISCOURAGER TO AN ACTUAL CUR-INCURSION OCCURRENCE
Rather than allow ourselves to get caught up in a discussion that is prone to confusing canine abstractions, let us examine an actual case of mishandled dog diplomacy; one that exhibits the typical errors a dog-owner makes when s/he attempts to exercise dominion over a pet dog that has formulated his own tradition-flouting notions about who represents the relationship's "master," and who the "mastered."
COWARDLY MEAN-DOG OWNER/VICTIM: "I ... tried to make friends with my ... Rottweiler which was peeing in my garden. I talked to it in a baby voice from the window, but it just growled like it wanted to kill me."
This is a classic example of how NOT to respond to your cranky canine's cries for correction. Failure to scratch your vicious bitch's pernicious itches makes your bitch a bit suspicious. She becomes too big for her bitchy-bitch's britches. Big, scary-looking dogs like Rottweilers or Akitas get terribly offended if you mollycoddle them from a distance; particularly if you cajole them in a "baby" voice. It makes them think you're a just a big, jessie pussycat who is afraid to smack them around when they need it.
What do you expect them to think when they see you savagely spank your child without giving it a second thought, yet you won't you provide THEM the physical discipline they so desperately crave? Naturally they believe it's because you don't love them; that you secretly want to shoot them in their cute, little Rottweiler faces with both buckshot-filled barrels of your favourite scattergun; that you think they're nothing but indiscriminately-vicious, flesh-consuming monsters who have nothing better to do with their lives than scratch fleas, lick their anuses and turn you into a clean underwear-soiling, baby talk-babbling hostage of your own household. That baby voice makes them think you're intentionally being condescending and disrespectful to provoke them. Is this REALLY the impression with which you desire to leave your shark-toothed, 95-pound, human flesh & bone-gnawing, foaming-at-the-mouth canine companion? I should think not.
Here's what you've got to do to set things a-right again: Throwing all caution to the winds, you've got to bear your teeth in a fully-exposed, gritty, gleaming grin (by way of analogy, think of what it would take to make the Chesire cat seem a comparative Mona Lisa), then, while making loud, startling, guttural "broken vacuum cleaner-like" noises (i.e., to mitigate the psychological trauma and damaged pride you caused "Killer" to sustain with your previous "baby talk" faux pas), run up to him from behind when he's least expecting it, or better yet, when he's right in the middle of tearing the flesh off of some delicious, blood-spilling morsel (the mailman, perhaps?) he's selected for his dinner, then yank whatever limb he's currently gnawing upon and crushing into splinters with his shiny white canine molars, right t'hell out from betwixt his jaws (i.e., to establish dominance and let him understand you mean business, dammit!). The important thing is not to let his deceptively fierce countenance or his homicidal expression inhibit you.
At this point, I can almost guarantee you'll have his full and totally-undivided attention. As soon as he flashes you a big, toothy werewolf grin, you'll know you've completely beguiled him with the uncompromising forcefulness of your charm. Using the hand that isn't clutching Killer's mashed-up dinner limb behind your back, rapidly throw out your extended arm towards his happily-surprised-looking grin (the way you might if you were going to lay someone out with a cheap-shot punch in the jaw), and, using the stiffened flat of your lower palm, give him as many affectionate, yet firm and decisive pats on the tip of his nose as you can. I promise you'll have him eating the palm of your hand in (literally) no time at all.
You may not get it right the first time. Like anything, it takes practice. However, if you really love your pugnatious pooch, you'll provide him the tough love he craves. Spilling a few drops of your own blood is a small price to pay to make sure your misunderstood cur is properly raised and nurtured.
OK, I?ll admit right now that I?m no expert dog-trainer, far from it, in fact. However, through trial and error (and through the patience of my own very long-suffering dogs) I have managed to glean a few tricks that?ve worked for us that I?d like to share with you all. This is more of a ?what not to do with your new puppy? opinion than anything else! Firstly, some advice on bringing home a new puppy. When I brought home my first dog, a seven week old border collie, she was left to sleep in a basket in the bathroom on her own at night. This worked out fine for all concerned, she whimpered a bit, but soon settled down to sleep. However, with the second canine addition to the family, a seven week old collie cross, things couldn?t have been more different. She was assigned a basket next to our original collie, but would she settle for the night? Would she heck as like! Out of sheer desperation, and to allow my husband (and the neighbours) to get some sleep, I finished up sleeping on the sofa with the puppy in a basket on the floor next to me, which worked perfectly to keep her quiet. I did the same the following night, and by the third night she?d settled enough to begin sleeping with our other dog (with one addition to her basket, which I?ll tell you about later!) Not particularly useful advice, you might think, but spending these first couple of nights with the puppy had a peculiar effect. Whilst the older dog is very independent and will go to anybody, Mokee, the younger dog, is totally and utterly devoted to me, and has very little time for anybody else. I?ve since read in a dog training manual that sleeping with your puppy for those important first nights is a tried and tested method for bonding with your dog, although I?d stumbled across it out of necessity. Unfortunately, the older dog, Skittle, had up until that point been my dog, Mokee had been
boug ht as a present for my husband, but wanted nothing to do with him! Mind you, Skittle didn?t mind in the slightest, she just switched her affections to my husband, so everybody was happy in the end! Going back to the basket-addition I mentioned earlier, out of desperation at the broken and uncomfortable sleep I?d been suffering on the sofa for the previous two nights I telephoned the RSPCA for some advice. They recommended leaving the puppy to sleep with something that smell of me to act as a comforter overnight. The lady I spoke to suggested giving the puppy the sweater I?d been wearing during the day every night (though I have to admit that I?ve never been tempted to put it on again the following morning!) This worked surprisingly well, so long as she had something that smelled like me then Mokee would settle very quickly. I did wonder at one point if she?d just got to the age when she?d settle quickly anyway, so left her without the stinky sweater one night? Needless to say, I soon regretted it, and I can honestly say that dirty laundry comes highly recommended by me as a comforter for the new puppy. One unfortunate side affect that I hadn?t anticipated is that the dog is now completely obsessed with dirty laundry. Not only will she curl up for a snooze on any dirty laundry that she happens to come across, but if a coat or a cardigan falls of the back of a chair, she?ll be asleep on it in seconds, even in preference to her own dog bed. I?ve lost count of the amount of times I?ve woken up in the morning to find her curled up on last nights clothes after they?ve slipped onto the floor. A similar experience, this time with Skittle, convinced me that it is always better to buy specially-made, long lasting dog toys for your little fella, rather than making do with what you?ve got laying around the house, such as a pair of
laddered tights or a holey (as opposed to holy) sock you?ve rolled up into a ball for the dog to play with. I did this in the early days of dog ownership, playing with anything that came to hand with my extremely overactive and overexcited Collie puppy. Now the problem that I am left with is a dog that will try to entice me into playing with anything and everything. I?m not just talking sticks, stones and empty plastic bottles when we?re out on a walk either. Oh no, at home Skittle brings me empty toilet roll tubes, half full pop bottles and worst of all, she has been known to bring dirty laundry when she?s particularly short of other playthings. Not only is this extremely infuriating if I?m collecting the dirty laundry, as she brings it back upstairs again as quickly as I can drop it over the bannister. But, if you can picture the scene, you?re entertaining (and don?t dogs always pick these times to learn new tricks) and you?ve just reached the pudding stage when your border collie comes trotting into the room dragging a pair of your husbands grubby underpants in with her, all ready for a quick game of tug of war? Try explaining THAT one away! One piece of advice that I wouldn?t generally advise you to follow in dirty laundry tug of war circumstances, but I do advocate under almost every other, is to ignore bad behaviour in your dog as far as possible. Obviously I?m not recommending that you turn a blind eye as your pit bull chomps on the leg of next doors Chihuahua, but for general naughtiness such as barking, whining and all of those other little tricks your dog uses to get your attention, then ignoring them is definitely the way to go (if you can stand it!) It really won?t take your dog very long at all to realise that bad behaviour doesn?t get the desired response, especially if you reward the dog for good behaviour, for example, if it lays down quietly f
or five minutes call it over for a big cuddle, a quick play or a biscuit (whatever your dog prefers). Further to this, and most important of all, in my experience it is ALWAYS best to ignore any silliness your dog attempts as a result of fear of loud noises or flashes, for example during thunderstorms or firework displays. I?ve got living proof of how you can mess up a dog by cuddling it when it is scared ? Skittle gets very upset at fireworks, storms and even cars backfiring, and it takes her a while to settle down again afterwards, even though I now employ the tactics that I?ve always used on Mokee. You see, when Mo was a puppy I lifted her up to show her the fireworks out of the window, making excited noises as I did so. OK, I felt a bit of a plum doing this, but now every time there?s a loud noise outside the house, Skittle barks and gets upset, whilst Mokee see?s it as an excuse to get me to pick her up and show her what?s happening outside (which she absolutely loves!) As further proof of this, I only need to look at my mother-in-law?s poodle, which has always been terribly cosseted when it shows fear at loud noises. Basically, because the mom-in-law comforts the little blighter, it believes that there really is something to be scared of, and gets even more frightened, burying its little, furry head and whimpering. It really is quite a pitiful sight to see, and upsetting for the in-laws, as well as the dog itself. I?ve tried talking them around to my method and showing them how well Mokee reacts to loud noises, but you know how it is with in-laws? Finally, if you?ve recently taken on a new puppy, you?ll already know that you can?t be too precious about mess. Fido is going to have a few accidents on the carpet, there will no doubt be a few chewed and mangled objects that weren?t originally intended to be toys for the dog (
I?d recommend ke eping tempting morsels like the TV remote control well out of reach of inquisitive noses!) However, this is a really important stage in the development of your puppy, and it is vital that your puppy is introduced to as many new and unusual experiences as early as possible, even before it has it?s initial vaccinations (although you should not allow your dog to walk outside of the house and garden, or come into contact with strange dogs before vaccination!) The new puppy should be fully introduced to every aspect of the home and garden, and every member of the family in the first few days of arriving home. In addition, I?d recommend asking family and friends to call round, to introduce the new puppy to as many new faces as possible, to help socialisation. It is also never too early to begin introducing your puppy to all of those new and exciting objects that are going to become a part of every day life, such as the car, collar, lead, toys, crate or carrying cage. It is also imperative to set up boundaries from the moment that you bring your puppy home to prevent problems later on. It might seem mean to push your cute, little puppy down every time he jumps up, but do you really want him to think that it is acceptable behaviour when he?s a full-grown Newfoundland! Oh, and if anybody can come up with a fool-proof toilet training method for young puppies I?d love to hear it! Skittle has always been extremely clean in the house, even as a puppy, but for the first two years of her life Mokee urinated freely whenever she was scared or surprised, not much fun if she happened to be sat on your lap at the time? She did eventually grow out of it, but I?d love to know if there was anything I could?ve done to have hurried the process up!
One thing I have to say at the outset is that I do not train dogs, my wife does though, and blooming does it well. I know because I support her in her hobby and phew, that's been for the last 30 years. She did dog 'showing' at first, attending all the local dog shows and entering our Sheltie with some success. However, she became interested in obedience and has done that for the last 20 years or so. At first she used the conventional technique, yanking the collar, bribe with food, tight lead - you know the sort of stuff don't you? Well, she heard about another way of training your dog, for obedience in the ring or just simply domestic, and she, with a similar minded friend looked into it. They both went to demonstrations, courses and read up on the subject and decided to give it a go. That was maybe 10 years ago and they have not regretted it one single bit. CLICKER TRAINING. It is a method which is simplicity itself and the results are incredible. You can check it out on the web, there are plenty of good sites to visit, but it is based on the dog getting a click on a clicker each time it does something correct and having a small reward. It associates the click with a reward and very soon links this with the behaviour which it will repeat. Later, when she has got the behaviour right, she substitutes the 'click' for another 'signal which the dog will respond to. Examples. A twist of her finger will have the dog twirl left, show the palm of her hand to make it twirl right. A short puff of air from her lips and the dog will sit. Distance commands like sit, down, and stand are all done by one call and the response is immediate. The whole thing is based on kindness and understanding your canine friend. My wifes ally in this is a professional dog behaviourist (knows more about canine behaviour than most) and she now runs courses on the subject. I have seen the results
from CLICKER TRAINING and it works, the dogs love it, they can't wait to work. Believe me, it is well worth a try, but do remember, you only get results relative to the effort you put in, as with all things I suppose. Go on, what have you to loose?
I am the proud owner or rather I am the proud partner to a Border collie, she goes by the name of Zola and she has to be one of the best things that have ever come into my life. Not forgetting my wife of course, have to say that in case she reads this. Zola was a farm dog and part of a litter of fourteen dogs, why I chose her was purely a whim. She definitely was the best looking bitch and I had decided that I wanted a girl rather than a dog. Something to do with a lack of leg cocking on walks and the fact my previous dog was also a bitch. When I first saw her she seemed very shy and possibly the quietest of the litter but it was the fact she gazed up so lovingly I thought she would be the dog for me. The trip home she spent cuddled on my lap while my wife drove us home, every now and then she would look up and lick me but in the main seemed content to sleep. The first night we let her sleep on our bed thinking she would miss the comfort of her litter, true to form she soon snuggled down but her nocturnal wanderings did give us a disturbed night. It was decided that she would sleep in our outhouse from then on with a stuffed toy for comfort and a woolly blanket to help keep her warm. Day two we took her to the vets for her jabs and a general check out, the vet thought she was a lovely dog but said she would be a right handful needing a lot of attention. Feeling a bit daunted we then received an article written in the Times about how difficult Border collies are to train as house pets. Everybody we spoke to confirmed this saying that if you could train her she would be lovely but they really needed to work that was their role in life. Had we done the right thing? I have to admit this thought was high in our mind as we decided how we would progress with this new member of our family. Now I am not used to having dogs around me the last one I had was a Labrador cross and that was over twenty years before. We read up on the we
b for instructions and all seemed to be the same you have to be very strict with them or they just take liberties. Now for anybody that knows me I am probably the last person to be strict, I am a big old softy and the thought of being ultra strict with a dog just did not appeal to me. We rang a local dog school who said until she had all her jabs we could not bring her down for training but they would be happy to have her then. Well we decided that we needed to make a start sooner rather than leave her to her own devices. We started training in our garden and very quickly she had learnt to sit on command. At first we had to push her bottom down to make her sit but within five minutes she was sitting to order. Every time she did it we made a fuss of her and gave her one piece of her dried food and made a great fuss of her. The biggest thing I suppose you have to do with your hound is to house train them, the most popular idea seems to be to put paper down and slowly move them towards your backdoor till they associate outdoors with wee. Again very good but if you have time when you see your dog padding round take them outdoors and stand there with them no matter what the weather until the job is done. If they do not go take them back outside again five minutes or so later and say wee’s. If you do this as a regular thing they will soon get the idea. I was lucky I had a willing volunteer to standout in the dark and rain while Zola learnt how to ask when to go out. Next we taught her to lie down, this we did by saying lie down and pushing her shoulder blades till she lay down. Again she was rewarded with a treat and much fuss, after a few days she would lie down by me tapping my foot on the ground in front of her. Within two weeks she had learnt to sit, lie down, shake paws, stand and stay. Stay is very important and a necessary thing for all dogs to learn. How often have you seen a dog vanishing into the distance while their ow
ner flaps along in their wake? Stand was the hardest thing to teach, each time she heard S she would sit anticipating that the command was going to be sit. We got round this by changing the command word from stand to attention. This enabled her to recognise a new command and as soon as we adopted the new word she learnt to stand without a problem. After her jabs were complete we took her out on a lead for the first time, she was fair but when she got going she would pull and pull until she was almost choking herself. Now although she did not seem to find it a problem, we did, feeling distressed about how she behaved we turned to a harness. Immediately the pulling stopped and she trotted along with us with out any problem. We decided to give her a special word when we wanted her to come to us, say she was about to run off and we wanted her back, instead of saying here girl we decided to use another word to mean the same. The word we chose was Chelsea and to Zola it means come here. So if you see a couple calling Chelsea to a dog in theory she should turn round and come back to them. It will also be Cariad_Fach and his beloved. The next thing we decided to do was to get her to walk to heel. Now I know the correct heel position seems to be with the dog almost resting on your leg as you walk for me I did not want her too close. We decided to walk close by would be enough so we lengthened her lead a little further than we wanted her to walk and started off. When she got to far we would say close and retract the lead until she was the desired distance. Soon she was walking close at command until we found ourselves willing to take her off the lead to see if she would do the same without it on. I am pleased to say that she did, not all the time I will admit even now she will push the boundaries to see what she can get away with. However in the main she will walk along beside us staying close but on hearing the command close will immediately come
to position. At first seeing other dogs was a problem and she would run off towards them without a second thought, as her training progressed you could see her thinking about it before the mad dash towards them. Now however you can see the same thought processes going through her head but on hearing the command stay or sit she will wait for us to come to her before so we can decide if we need to put her on a lead or not. At all times her training has been carried out with a lot of patience by all concerned and the most important thing is that all members of the family have treated her exactly the same way. She is always rewarded now only with enthusiastic petting when she does what she is told but also with talking to her on her walks. We have had blips, some days it seems like she deliberately forgets all she has been taught. The trip is to remain strong and continue as before, when she realises she is not getting away with it she goes straight back to being the good girl she normally is. We both always carry some dried dog food with us at all times to reward good behaviour, I would make one small point do remove any left over before washing your clothes they do make a rather soggy mess in your pocket if you don’t. Now all that I have said is very easy but in reality it isn’t, the biggest thing you need when training your dog is time and patience. Your dog will take up a lot of your time; he or she should become part of your family not a convenience only for when it suits you. If you have children and give them treats include your dog as far as they are concerned they are just the same. Now I am lucky I work from home and can devote a lot of time to walking my beast, she needs a lot of walking and is taken at least twice a day come rain or shine. Yes it takes a chunk out of my day but it gives her what she needs and is excellent exercise for me. It also stimulates her and varies her day, rather than leaving
her to her own devices in the back garden. The vegetable plot is now encased in a fence to stop her digging up my produce. When little it would be a good idea to get your puppy a toy to chew on, I would recommend a hard toy that she can gnaw on to her hearts content. I would avoid soft fabric chews so your dog does not start to chew your furniture. They will of course chew your hand, the best way to stop this is to let out a high pitched yelp, this is the noise a littermate would make if the game had got to rough. Your dog should then stop chewing you and with age will stop completely. Whatever you do; do not smack your dog they are only doing what comes naturally. Instead hold them by the scruff of the neck and shake from side to side saying NO. This is what their mother would have done, without the speech, and your dog should soon stop whatever it is that has caused the problem. Now what will work for one dog may well not work for another, after her jabs I took my dog to the local trainer and of course we had done everything wrong. Except I had a dog that walked to heel, sat etc in fact she was better than many dogs that had been in training for weeks. Now I have no doubt that my local trainer is very good it was just my dog was already taught everything that she needed to learn. The problem would have come if I wanted to show her; I had taught her my way and what I expected not what show judges look for in an animal. So if you wish to show your dog I would suggest you go to a trainer to start your training so you do it in the approved manner. For those of you that do not want that remember a dog needs: Time, Patience, Love, Rewards and lots of exercise. To give you an idea of my dog’s life this would be a typical day for her. Wakes up with the cats about 6am has the freedom of the garden due to her own dog flap. She plays happily with the cats until about 7:30am when she gets her breakfast. Then back i
nto the garden while we have our own meal and get the children off to school. 9am time to get the papers, this entails walking the hound on a lead down to the local shop where she is met and generally made a fuss of. After collecting the papers we make our way down to the beach for a quick run and swim in the sea. Zola’s worst mornings are when it is high tide and she cannot get onto the beach for a run. Back home it is garden time for ten minutes before coming into the house for a general ferret around before a well-deserved sleep. After our lunch it is time for the afternoon walk this will be along the cliff tops or inland round several farms. This is the big walk of the day and is never shorter than one and a half-hours. Sometimes the weather can make this a bit of a bind but once out no matter what the weather we have a good time on our walks. We have to be home by 3pm to meet the kids from school, which is the cause of much excitement for Zola. It is also a house rule that the kids have to take her round the block and over to the field opposite for twenty minutes before they get on with their chosen thing for the evening. After our family meal in the evening it is time to take her out again, this time we go to a secluded beach with a tennis ball and kick the ball about for her. This is the fun trip and all the family comes, even though we often do not want to do it. Once again once we are all out we have fun and enjoy the trip. The length of this walk varies a lot due to weather and peoples moods but we consider it an important part of Zola’s day. As for the kids we do have to tell them you wanted a dog so you have to help walk her. Bedtime is 10:30pm for Zola even though we stay up later, she has I am ashamed to say has to be carried out otherwise she does not think it is really bedtime. With that she settles down to sleep and does not come to life again even if we go out to where she sleeps until 6am the next mor
ning. There you have it, a dog’s life. It is hard taking her out everyday but without her walks she gets restless and finds far more things to get into trouble with. I guess we are lucky to work from home so we are always available for her, I do wonder what she would be like if we went to work and left her at home alone all day. I personally think she would be very destructive and not the same dog at all. One last thing puppy food is packed full of nourishment for growing dogs so when they are old enough move them over to normal dog food. A good age would be seven months by then your dog will have done a lot of its growing and will continue to do well on adult dog food. Also avoid the temptation to feed your dog too much. The puppy food is packed full of energy giving foodstuffs and unless you walk them off your dog will become hyperactive. 'One eye hid the crown and with laurels on his head returned amongst the tribe and dwelt in peace.'
Before I get to the main part of my opinion, I think it's best to establish what we mean when we say "dog". Dogs are easily identifiable. If you've got a pet then there's a good chance it's a dog. In order to ascertain whether the animal in your house is a dog, ask yourself these questions: 1. DOES IT HAVE FOUR LEGS? If the answer is 'Yes' it could be a dog, a cat, or a rodent. It's hard to say. 2. DOES IT HAVE THREE LEGS? If the thing only has three legs, then there's a good chance it's a dog. Cats never have three legs. But remember, not all dogs have three legs. WE SEEM TO BE GOING IN CIRCLES. Okay, let's just assume that only retards don't know what kind of pet they own. Let's assume also that you own a dog. But it's a BAD dog. It shits in your pot noodles, farts in bed, and never takes the rubbish out. You wanna make it a GOOD dog. Here's how: If the dog is MALE, kick it in the goolies. If the dog is FEMALE, confiscate its make-up. It seriously is that simple. We still have one minor problem, however: how to tell if a dog is male or female. Easy one to sort out, this. ALL dogs are male. Females are BITCHES and you are hereby instructed to slap them up. By the way, this advice will only apply to dog breeds beginning with an A or a B. For your information, here is a complete list: Affenpinscher Afghan Hound African Wild Dog Ainu Dog Airedale Terrier Akbash Dog Akita Inu Alano Español Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog Alaskan Husky Alaskan Klee Kai Alaskan Malamute Alopekis Alpine Dachsbracke American Bandogge Mastiff American Black and Tan Coonhound (See Black and Tan Coonhound) American Blue Gascon Hound American Bul
ldog American Cocker Spaniel American Eskimo Dog American Foxhound American Hairless Terrier American Indian Dog American Lo-Sze Pugg (TM) American Mastiff (Panja) American Mastiff (Flying W) American Pit Bull Terrier American Staffordshire Terrier American Staghound American Toy Terrier (Amertoy) American Water Spaniel American White Shepherd Anatolian Shepherd Dog Anglos-Francaises Anglos-Francai Grand Anglos-Francais de Moyenne Venerie Anglos-Francaises de Petite Venerie Appenzell Mountain Dog Ariegeois Armant Aryan Molossus Argentine Dogo Arubian Cunucu Dog Australian Bandog Australian Cattle Dog Australian Kelpie Australian Shepherd Australian Terrier Austrian Brandlbracke Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher Azawakh Banjara Greyhound Barbet Basenji Basset Artesien Normand Basset Hound Bavarian Mountain Hound Belgian Griffons Belgian Mastiff Belgian Shepherd Groenendael Belgian Shepherd Laekenois Belgian Shepherd Malinois Belgian Shepherd Tervuren Belgian Shorthaired Pointer Belgrade Terrier Bergamasco Berger des Picard Berger des Pyrénées Berger Du Languedoc Bernese Mountain Dog Bichon Frise Bichon Havanais (See Havanese) Billy Black and Tan Coonhound Black Forest Hound Black Mouth Cur Black Russian Terrier Bleus De Gascogne (photo needed) Bloodhound Blue Heeler (See Australian Cattle Dog) Blue Lacy Bluetick Coonhound Boerboel <
br> Bohemian Terrier (See Cesky Terrier) Bolognese Border Collie Border Terrier Borzoi Boston Terrier Bouvier des Flanders Bouvier de Ardennes (photo needed) Boxer Boykin Spaniel Bracco Italiano Braque D' Ariege Braque D' Auvergne Braque Du Bourbonnais Braque Dupuy Braque Saint-Germain Braques Francaises Brazilian Terrier Briard Brittany Spaniel Briquet Broholmer Brussels Griffon (See Belgian Griffon) Bull Boxer Bull Terrier Bulldog Bullmastiff
I was screaming hysterically, frozen with an uncontrollable fear of Kleintjie?s next move. An incident I remember oh so vividly to this day, though I was only 11 years old at the time. Kleintjie, pronounced, ?Klein-ki? means ?small?, and was my Dad?s watchdog, a cross Ridgeback/Bulldog. He mysteriously escaped from our premises running wildly down the street. My Dad instructed Peet, my brother and I to find Kleintjie, get him back into our premises. However much we tried, we were unable to take control, as we were stunned about his aggressive attitude towards us. Ignoring both, he would make a sudden charge towards us when he felt too threatened. I have never been so scared in my life, and could never trust Kleintjie again. Later in life I finally realized why it could possibly happen. I do not know where my affection for animals originates. My Dad only believed animals to be around as watchdogs. I can not recall a day in my life that he has ever spend time with his dogs. Some of you might have read opinions about Sasha and Scruffy under the categories ?Alsation? and ?Rescued Animals?. Well, there are more of my canine friends around. There are Diggb and Peppi whom we lost a while ago which leaves Oliva, all the Bouvier des Flandres breed. Next, Patches and Oscar, both from the Australian Sheepdog camp. Oh, and do not forget, a wise street cat, Muschke, sad to say also lost to us forever. More opinions yet to be written another time. ?What is the point?? Yes, I knew you would ask. The fact is, all of my animals are well trained. It was very time consuming, I admit, but I guarantee you, never any regrets. At last I have mentioned the subject at hand, ?Training?. To start with, I want to emphasize that the
largest reason for fear is ignorance. Yes, and ignorance can lead to serious and dangerous situations between people and dogs which again, leads to bad publicity we so often see. Who do you think finally carries the blame for those unfortunate-horrifying incidents which mostly ends so tragically? Have you ever heard someone say, ?We never knew this dog would turn on our friends, or children? It is a danger to society. Kill it!? God forbid that I utter those unjust words, ever! Ignorance is mainly caused by the lack of knowledge and understanding and can change fairly easily, with a little bit of work. Books have been written about so many issues of dogs that all we have to do is find the information we need. There are books about the various breeds, how to care for a dog, handling dogs, and temperaments and how you could understand them, as well as training guidance. I have not touched this subject and these are merely a few issues. There are training classes presented by different dog clubs and qualified instructors at hand to steer you into the right direction. It is available; it is in our grasp! The sad reality is that people do not care to spend time to learn and read, nor can we find a good reason to spend quality time with our dogs, practicing. With my childhood memory of fear so vividly in my mind, I am still learning about my dogs each day, still practicing, still training. Time consuming, yes, but in return I have their loyalty, companionship, and their great sense of security. What more do I need? I am merely sharing a few important details of the techniques that I have used during training all these years. I am aware, and so should you be, that different people use different tactics as not one person is the same. You might find it useful while training, and again you might be more successful with other techniques. Nev
er begin very serious training before your puppy is seven or eight months old. From one to 6 months old, concentrate to win your puppy?s confidence, so he will love and admire you. It will make training easier as he would want to please you. Very basic training can start at three to four months, but keep on winning his confidence. A young dog can not be trained for more than ten minutes at a time. Remember that a puppy wants to play and need to eat often, and still sleeps a lot as well as the fact that he can not concentrate for long periods. Gradually increase the time to about thirty minutes for training. As the trainer you too will find that you will become impatient. Rather stop and resume the lesson later before losing your temper. Dogs become bored too, therefor do not spend too much time on one phase, rather repeat at a later stage. Try and end all sessions on a pleasant note. If your dog do not perform, it?s because you are not getting the idea over to him correctly. In a training session, be sure to use a firm voice and give clear commands. When you have given a command, persevere until it is obeyed. Make sure not to play with your dog during a session. Play and praise can be separated. Remember that the tone of your voice will influence your dog?s actions. Be consistent and do not use several words for one action, as you will confuse your dog. It is important that only one person carry on with your dog?s training as different people will use different methods and words and will also confuse your dog. Always demonstrate with patience to your dog what each word or command means. Guide him with your hands and the lead, while reassuring him with your voice what the routine is you are teaching. Repeat the word and the act over and over again to give your dog a chance to learn what it is. When your dog reacts well, use the word of command without
showing him, again, over and over. If he makes a mistake, show him gently the first time, and as training progresses, use a firm voice to correct him. Try never to lose your temper. Be patient. Do not hit him with your hand or with the lead during your training sessions. Not to praise him verbally and telling him off would make him feel bad enough. Remember if he does well, praise him with excitement in your voice and you can even pat him. Be very careful of using treats. A dog that becomes used to treats will not always be dependable. When a dog is slow or a bit sloppy to carry out his command, still praise him, as next time he will do it so much easier. Most important of all, your dog?s care will not end at training. Your continuous dedication and affection is essential. A dog is an intelligent grateful creature and will be your best friend and companion for life, whilst giving his life to keep you from harms way in return. Thank you for reading about my own experience and techniques I have been sharing. Good luck. Happy training.
Whips, chains, leather and collars Yes, this opinion is about heaving chests, big doe eyes staring back at you, nibbles, bites, chains, leather and more. However, for all you sick perverts who think I'm talking about S&M, feel free to leave a VU and depart the opinion now, because this has nothing to do with bondage. In fact, I was half tempted to title the opinion Of Canine Bondage but didn't want the animal rights protection groups after me. Two weeks ago my husband and I embarked on the adventure of dog ownership. Doug's always been a dog fan but I've owned cats ever since I've been on my own. I'm used to their quiet, independent ways and actually enjoy the fact that they don't want attention or fussing 24x7. So, Doug's enthusiasm was tempered by my anxiety over the life-change that this beast would bring. For those who are looking into owning a dog, there are a few things to know that relate directly to training. First, research the type of dog you are getting. Believe it or not, some are more intelligent than others. For instance, German shepherds and Labrador retrievers are smart. Irish setters and dalmations are dumb as rocks; wonderful dogs; but pretty stupid. Ours, the golden retriever is a medium smart dog, but just as importantly, has an intense desire to please its owner. Second, make the commitment to take the time to train your dog. One of the main reasons we decided to get ours now is that I don't have a job at the moment so I am home all day. Puppies get destructive when they're bored. Our last attempt to own a dog (a black lab mutt) was a disaster because we both worked fulltime. The poor animal was stuck in a small room for 10 or more hours a day. I never realized that a dog would eat the plaster off a wall when it's bored or dig craters in the yard when there wasn't anything else to do. Then, when we finally came home from work and were e
xhausted and worn out, she was ready to take us on. So, here we were, educated on dog breeds after many hours of watching Animal Planet and reading at the library, and knowing that one of us had the time and willingness to commit to training our new family member. Enter Bailey, golden retriever puppy (see gbopotts' profile for a picture of our little one). Now that we've had Bailey for two weeks, I'm fairly positive that she is under the impression that her name is actually "Stop That," or "No," because those are the most commonly used words in her direction. Even so, considering that she was nine weeks old yesterday, the amount of learning that she has already accomplished is commendable. She will sit on command, come when called, let go of items when asked and has most recently began letting me know when she needs to go out to pee, or otherwise (thank God, thank God, thank God!). Impressive, no? I thought so too. All this has been done without one spanking. We decided from the start that we would never lift a hand to her so I'd like to share with you our methods. 1. It's never too early to start. We began training Bailey almost immediately after we got her as a result of something my brother said regarding disciplining his son. It's easy to stop bad habits when they're 15 pounds than when they're 70. As long as we remain consistent on Bailey's rules and training, the groundwork we lay now will last a lifetime. 2. Have treats with you at all times. Both the come and sit commands were accomplished because Bailey receives a small treat every time she does either. We also praise her with "good girl" and a lot of petting, but I have a feeling that feeding her face is her favorite reward. 3. Provide plenty of diversions. A dog's baby teeth hurt. That's just a fact of life. They're needle sharp and puppies love to use any human body p
art as a teething ring. I on the other hand, am not fond of being used as a teething ring so I've attempted to put a stop to it. This is where the word "stop it" comes in handy. When said firmly in a low voice, it *usually* has gets her mouth separated from our fingers for about 5 minutes. When that doesn't work, holding her muzzle closed firmly for 5 seconds, meeting her gaze and saying "stop it" firmly does. A pre-emptive solution is to provide other diversions. Our floors are littered with chew toys of all shapes, colors and sizes. When we're on the floor playing with Bailey, we have a toy handy. If our fingers end up in her mouth, we shove a toy in instead and she's just as happy. I've never had much tolerance for people who bring small children with them while they shop and then get irritated when the children get bored. I don't like being in stores for very long and I'm an adult. Why would anyone expect a child's attention to be held very long in a place where they're not allowed to touch, talk, play or even rant and rave? It's the same with puppies. The only time they don't need to be stimulated is when they're asleep. 4. If you're going to allow them to play tug-of-war, they've got to learn "let go." Goldens are retrievers. We read lots of books that told us it was importantly not to play tug-of-war with these dogs because when it came time for them to retrieve that prize goose that you've shot down you'd end up playing tug-of-war with its head in your hands and the body in their teeth. We have no desire to hunt with Bailey, but understood the need to make sure she knew when to let go after she fetched our slippers, the paper or the morning coffee. So, once again, with treats in hand, we began the process of using the words "let go" to attain that result. Food is an excellent motivator (and Bailey IS a female after all&
#8230;it's a pity that chocolate isn't good for dogs or we could probably get her to do anything with it). 5. Potty training. The peeing on the floor thing has been the hardest to train Bailey off of. Granted, it's probably for the same reason that toddlers don't like to be potty trained and hold off as long as possible. The convenience of being able to go wherever and whenever they please is a hard freedom to lose. However, unless we plan on becoming a stockholder in a carpet cleaning business, we were dedicated to the job of teaching her to let us know when she needed to go out. One of the reasons it has taken so long is our fault. We have made it a habit of taking her out through the back door, which is far away from the rooms we spend most of our time. She could be doing a tap dance back there with a top hat and cane and we'd never see or hear her. So, within the last few days, I have begun taking her out through the front door instead, a door that is visible from the living room and library. Since then she has stood in front of that door every time she has needed to relieve herself and the carpets are saved. 6. Never give up. I've been attempting to teach Bailey how to retrieve items I throw. It's been a frustrating experience. Most of the time she watches my hand and misses the fact that the ball's no longer in it. She looks at me with this silly, loving grin, wondering if I've just suffered some sort of spasm (yes, I throw like a typical female). Other times she'll go bounding after the ball or stick and settle down with it for a good chew session. However, few and far between are those times that she picks up the ball and brings it back to me. Those times are treat and praise filled so I'm sure that soon she'll be retrieving in true Golden style. I hope these simple, easy methods of training a dog have proven helpful. As Bailey grows and learns, I'll update this op to
let you know how her progress is proceeding. She is proof that having a well trained dog is possible to anyone if they're willing to take the time and have the patience to make it happen.
It’s early morning. The grass is still damp and several men are busy erecting what might easily be mistaken for a transportable children’s play-park. Isn’t that a see-saw there? And a long, winding tunnel to crawl through? But why the high jumps? And surely that old tyre can’t be a swing, the frame’s too low! Cars gradually start pulling into the gravel car park. Here come the children, ready for the fun. Children? Well, to some they are, but most of us would see them as dogs. Four legs and reasonably hairy bodies. Dogs in all shapes and sizes. Plenty of Border Collies, the odd Belgian Shepherd, a sprinkling of German Shepherds, a Papillon or two, and a bunch of oddly shaped hounds that have no registered blood-line. The mongrels! Those of unknown breed. Buster was half Kelpie (for those unfamiliar with this breed, they’re used as Shepherd dogs in Australia). Who or what his father was, is anybody’s guess. He was tan, about the size of a Border Collie, but short-haired. Not by any means what you’d call a handsome dog, but he carried a huge heart and worked hard to please his master. I’d got him for Bjorn as a birthday present (that’s my ex partner, for anybody who doesn’t know). He’d wanted a dog for years and was over the moon when he was woken at midnight by the soft tongue of a pup. The two of them took to one another immediately, and were inseparable. Buster would follow him wherever he went, never leaving his side. Within a few weeks he’d learned to sit and lie down on command. 11 months later he was in the queue with the veterans, waiting for his turn on the “play park”. A little anxious, not knowing quite what to expect, but still raring to go. This was an agility trial. His first real one. He’d done plenty of training, first alone, then with other dogs, but only with those he knew. Now he was surrounded by strangers, in
a place he didn’t know too well (he’d visited the evening before, just to get the smell of the place). First round. Buster sits trembling with anticipation at the start line. Bjorn had “walked the course” earlier, but Buster had been nowhere near it. The judge’s hand goes up and Bjorn runs off, pointing to the first jump. Buster’s over it and rushing towards Bjorn who’s altered his course and gives a hand signal that indicates that the see-saw should be crossed. Up and over, the plank goes down, off and on to the next obstacle. Buster watches Bjorn’s every move and made only one mistake. His paw hadn’t touched the coloured area at the bottom of the A-Frame, the contact zone. Points knocked off, but what does that matter. The crowd is impressed by this strange looking mongrel who’s so obviously dedicated to his handler. Second round. Off again, equally as eager, he almost looks as if he’s flying. His concentration doesn’t err for a moment. No faults! One very proud dog later left that field. He had a trophy that was inscribed with the number 1. First place! Buster continued to impress, and never entered a competition without taking one of the first 3 prizes. His eagerness on the agility course was second to none. The reason, we believe, is the shepherd dog in him. Shepherds, especially Border Collies, are very intelligent dogs and need lots of stimulation. They become easily bored, often ending with destructive behaviour, if not given proper stimulation. Agility is perfect for them. They get to use their physical abilities (very lithe, active dogs) and there’s plenty of mental stimulation during training. There’s plenty of fun and exercise for the handler too. Bjorn’s quite certain that one of the reasons Buster did so well is because they trained away from the course. They went to the woods where tree trunks, rocks and anyt
hing else that was around were used for balance exercises. If you’d prefer to train in your garden, you could easily build some obstacles yourself, or “pack-away” versions can be bought through several sources. By visiting the sites listed at the bottom, you’ll find more information on the types of obstacles available and where to buy them. At the club, they trained both alone and in groups. Sometimes Buster popped out of the weaves, missed contact points, but hey, nobody’s perfect! He really did want to understand what was expected of him though. I believe there’s a second reason. Buster learned to trust that if Bjorn asked him to jump, balance on, or walk along something, it was always safe to do so. Bjorn never once used punishment to teach Buster anything, and never asked him to do more than he was mentally prepared for. Reward was all he knew. If he got it wrong, they’d go back and do it again. And again. If he still didn’t get it right, they’d go back the next day. He’d get plenty of encouragement the whole time, and an edible reward every time he showed improvement (even if the improvement was nothing more than daring to put a foot on the obstacle). He was, however, careful not to “burn the dog out”. He read Buster well, and training stopped while it was still fun for him. By ensuring that training was always fun, it was never a problem for Bjorn to keep Buster under control through recall. Buster wanted nothing more than to be close to him. That’s where the excitement was! The one mistake that Bjorn made was in jumping him too early (high jumps). Generally a dog should be at least a year old before being jumped, to ensure that their bones are fully grown and that their joints are strong. Bjorn hadn’t known that. Perhaps Buster was lucky. He’s 6 years old now and still competing, and shows no signs of damage. I wouldn’t suggest anybody el
se take a chance on it though. Clubs can be found in almost all parts of the country and a good few of them have a website. Even if you don’t plan to train to competition level, agility is still excellent exercise for both dog and handler, and you’ll get to meet lots of other doggie people too. When we moved back to the UK three years ago, Buster stayed in Norway. With the strict UK quarantine laws, we didn’t think it would be fair to bring him. He’d have hated having to spend 6 months in a kennel, when he should have been out flying! A friend who was willing to continue working with him gave him a new home. We visited them a year later, and guess what? Buster didn’t even recognise us. He had a new master now, and although it was difficult for Bjorn to see a dog that was once almost part of him, show no more than a passing interest in him, he knew that he was happy. For more information, I suggest you visit the following sites: Agility Addicts - http://www.agility.freeuk.com/ Agility Eye - http://www.agilityeye.co.uk/ Agility Courses - http://www.agility-courses.co.uk/ Agility Voice - http://www.dogsinaction.co.uk/AgVoice.html ~~+~~+~~
There are as many areas to train a dog in as there are methods. Most often certain methods, or combinations of methods are applied to any area of training. Obedience, herding, agility, tracking, retrieving, hunting, guard, and schutzhund are common areas of dog training. Teaching a dog basic obedience commands (part of obedience training). Teaching a dog to perform tricks casually or for circus acts. Teaching a guide dog to lead the blind. Teaching a rescue dog to find victims of a disaster Helping a hunting dog learn to perform its instinctive behaviors at appropriate times. The specific behaviors taught in each case are different, but the underlying principles are similar. As pack animals, wild canines have natural instincts that favor cooperation with their compatriots. These instincts have been refined and exaggerated through years of selective breeding by humans, and are manifested in the domestic dogs adeptness at correctly interpreting and responding to signals given by a human handler. The handler is simply whoever is working with a dog at the time.