A dog should be allowed to bark. After all, that is one reason we have dogs, to alert us. We would just like to control the “on and off switch.” It’s the rare human who hasn’t yelled at their dog, “Quiet" or "Shut Up!” when the dog is barking at the doorbell, a noise, or at you to get your attention. We think that if we raise the volume of our voice, this ...read more
We started teaching our dog to ’Spin’ and now it’s time to introduce the ‘Step-up!’
What is Step-up? This trick is the first part of teaching a dog to place its front feet on a low solid item and remain there until released. As training progresses the dog will eventually be able to sit on top of a low object and balance perfectly! Dogs’ love this one so much that when a ‘practice object’ is presented, they quickly perform without being told to do so, and patiently wait for a reward! This is also beneficial in helping dogs’ gain balance, confidence on stairs, stepping up into vehicles or holding a pose for a photo! Your friends and family will find this trick most entertaining as it continually progresses! If your dog has mastered jumping on and off furniture, this trick should be a breeze! Don’t worry, this trick will not start your dog jumping on to furniture!
We begin teaching this trick by selecting an object from around the house or garage to be used as a platform. The object should be low to the ground and not easily tipped over when your dog puts weight on it with front or all four feet. If the item is easily tipped over or collapses from the dogs’ weight, your dog may lose all confidence! The item can be a Coleman camp cooler, bottom side of a large pot or pan, a ceramic bowl (crock, turned upside down), a plastic container filled with items, a sturdy step stool or a wooden square sewing box! Once you have selected a sturdy, not easily tipped item approximately 6 to 18 inches in height, you will need to place this item on a non-skid surface such as a large rug or a carpeted floor. Should the item slide around or become unstable during the early stages of training, your dogs’ progress could suffer more setbacks. Also, the item should be appropriate for the size of the dog. You would not expect a Saint Bernard to try and fit both front paws on top of a coffee cup!
With the item that you have selected resting on a carpeted floor or a large non-skid rug, attach a leash to your dogs’ collar. While holding the leash in one hand, tap the item resting on the floor with a free finger. Your finger or nail taps should be done in such a way that, it makes a light noise. Your dog may look toward the tapping sound or it may sniff the object. This is good, so praise the dog for any attention given to the item! If your dog panics from the tapping sound do not worry. Stay calm and try tapping softer next time but repeat the tapping exercise with the leash on the dog until the dog is calm. Try not to rush the dog. Give praise to the dog when it is calm and close to the item but say nothing immediately after trying to flee or showing fear of the object! It may take some dogs many days before they actually relax next to a strange object on the floor, but it is well worth the effort and it’s time well spent. Caution! If your dog is spooky and acts like you are up to something? Play it calm and cool! Have plenty of patience!
By always keeping the item (a step stool, pot or pan, etc.) between you and the dog while working, the dog learns NOT to ignore what’s sits between you! You may notice that the dog actually steps up on the item or does so by, sheer accident. Some dogs avoid stepping on the item, but that too is proof the dog knows the item is there! This is all good.
After spending a few relaxing minutes with the item between the two of you, it’s time to lure the dog on to the object with a treat or your dogs’ favorite toy. We must avoid forcing the dog onto the item by use of the collar or the leash at this stage because it lessens the challenge being presented to your dog. After all, dogs’ enjoy figuring things out for themselves and a bored dog sure could use the mental exercise.
Let us now begin to use your lure (treat or toy), to coax the dog on to the item that is sitting on the floor by holding the lure (treat or toy) within reach of the dogs’ nose and at the same time we should begin to move the lure (treat or toy) slowly up and toward our body. You want the dog to step up and on the item which is upward and straight toward you! Should your dog put a paw on the item sitting on the floor between you, give the lure (treat or toy) quickly so that the dog receives it while touching or being on the object! If your dog avoids stepping on the item between you and circles left or right, simply block the dog by moving in that same direction with your body. This is called blocking. If you have had no success after many tries, it is perfectly okay to lift your dogs’ front leg (not paw) onto the item but the lure (treat or toy) must be given as soon as a paw touches! Lifting a dogs’ leg onto the item may be a huge ‘turn-off’ for some dogs’ that have touchy feet. From here, you may repeat assisting in this fashion as long as, the dog is no’ fighting any of your attempts while assisting. It is always best to really slow down with some dogs, after all you are doing something strange and new! Forcing your dog or getting in a hurry will only cause your dog to run and hide when he/she see’s the Step-up item.
Now that we have tapped the object a few times and patiently waited for our dog to become aware of its location, we blocked with or body and left our dog with only one route to take when the treat was offered (up and toward our body), and the dog stepped up on the object for your reward……….it’s time to introduce the word “Step-up!” With the dog away from the object, let’s approach it; tap it with our finger and say, “Step-up!” We may have to block, lure or assist lightly but we are patient and give the dog time to process/think and remember. With practice, your dog will place its front feet on any reasonable object and hold that position with practice. Hopping up on objects and balancing is easy from here. Remember all four feet on an item requires more top room and greater stability. Be creative! Dogs love to please. Have fun when you train!
Behavioral Terminology: What are they talking about?
You hear dog trainers tossing around training terms that don’t make sense to you? Here’s a look into decoding the lingo.
The definitions are generally accepted among behaviorists (which is where this terminology is standardized): Whether a given act is reinforcement or punishment is defined by what the dog does in the future. Doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of it, it's the dog ...read more
The title might sound political but it isn't. Rather, this is written from the dogs point of view for owners who don't seem to "get it" despite their best intentions, and the advice of a qualified professional.
Dear owner, your dog would like you to know:
- Despite you giving us human names, we are in fact dogs that react to you and our environment.
- What is most important to us is not who ...
Scientists have discovered that dogs can smell the presence of autism in children.
'Seizure Alert' dogs can alert their owners up to an hour before the onset of an epileptic seizure. There are dogs that can detect cancer before medical tests can. With these incredible capabilities, it is hard to deny the effect that our own energy can have on our dogs. The idea of sharing "good energy" is not just a “woo-woo” concept reserved ...read more
Rowdy little children and naughty little puppies have so much in common!
Let's learn from the human example, so we can quickly and gently redirect puppies away from naughtiness, toward great and fun behaviors.
I sat trapped on the airplane, hurtling toward Orlando, strapped into my seat, some 30,000 feet above ground. I say “trapped” because my seat, my entire row even, was constantly shaken, bumped and tossed by a pair of blond ...read more
Vacation Angst…or What to do with the Dog?
Leaving home for work or vacation? Are you concerned about leaving your pets behind? A clean, professional kennel offers convenience and a secure location for your dog. But there is an alternative. Your pets can stay home in the care of a professional pet sitter. Here’s what you need to know to help you choose the very best for your dogs, cats, snakes or gerbils ...read more
Rain, rain…go away. All our dogs want to play!
Bad weather shouldn’t stop you from exercising your dog’s body and brain. Here are a few great ways to keep your dog from going stir crazy when you’re house-bound.
Days of rain or bitter cold, even unbearable heat usually mean we coop up the dogs with nothing to do. And that got me to thinking: What do we do with our dogs ...read more
Today I want to talk to you about the often dreaded "Vet trip."
For some lucky dog owners, it's a breeze. Their dog happily bounds into the examination room and only seems mildly put off by the doctors poking and prodding. Most dog owners aren't so lucky. The good news is your dog can learn to enjoy the Vet if you start doing a few specific things. But before I tell you how ...read more
Many, if not all, behavioral problems have a direct link to the dog’s physical, emotional and mental health.
To be successful, any approach taken to address a behavioral problem must take into consideration the dog’s diet, exercise, general health and relationship with its owner.
Sudden changes in behavior should always raise a red flag about the dog’s physical health. The first step to addressing a change in behavior that is radically different ...read more
Most puppies can be housebroken prior to 8 months of age using traditional methods. But for older dogs that are still having accidents in the house, the umbilical cord method should be used. This method has worked on the most difficult housebreaking cases and can be used with dogs of any age.
When the owner makes a commitment to success and is consistent with its application, the success rate using this method is very ...read more
Pack work, or using a group of dogs to influence the behavior of an individual dog, is an amazing tool which can create permanent change in a dog and help create a healthy balanced attitude and behavior.
There are a variety of ways in which trainers use this concept to assist in the training of a client dog from simply using a senior steady, trained dog to calm a nervous nelly, to having a young ...read more
In my ‘Behavioral HELP for Dogs’ seminars and 1 on 1 sessions, I start teaching with a sound foundation.
During the course of our time together, I build line upon line on that foundation until my students or clients have a complete understanding of how to interact with their dogs, so as to draw from them the behavior they want, thus creating harmony in the home and the neighborhood.
One of the main reasons that ...read more
(Addictive behavior in dogs which can sever the bond with their family)
You may already be in trouble if you did not study the history and purpose of your purebred dog before you brought him home. Your failure to diligently manage your dog to prevent his characteristics from growing into dangerous obsessions could seal your dog's fate.
You may think you did everything you could to successfully raise your dog. Following well-meaning veterinary advice ...read more
Do you find yourself avoiding taking your dog out for a walk because you are unable to stop their constant pulling?
Do you hold the leash in a death grip as you brace yourself for the ensuing tug of war through your neighborhood?
Do you worry that your dog may knock you over or break free during your walk?
Learning how to achieve a relaxed, controlled walking experience with your dog will not only alleviate ...read more
We started teaching our dog to ’Spin’ and now it’s time to introduce the ‘Step-up!’
What is Step-up? This trick is the first part of teaching a dog to place its front feet on a low solid item and remain there until released. As training progresses the dog will eventually be able to sit on top of a low object and balance perfectly! Dogs’ love this one so much that when a ‘practice object ...read more
Dog training (reliable dog training) is my passion. It's a long story, going back to 1966.
I've been a professional dog trainer since 1970. I have always worked hard to make my dogs trustworthy off lead, but it takes time and consistency. I am rather old fashioned in my dog training techniques. My dogs have a lot more 'freedom' because we trust each other. They all know that there are consequences for their ...read more
I am not the trainer for everyone; no one trainer is. Some will pooh-pooh my ideas, some will love them, some will get angry about them. I get results and I've never harmed a dog.
To teach come: I use a variety of methods depending on the dog. I do not ever call a dog out of a stay command for at least the first year following training. To that end, I frequently use ...read more
Your dog must be taught to instantly drop whatever he is holding in his mouth.
This is a safety issue since your dog may pick up a dangerous or poisonous object. It is a pack leadership issue since your dog should obey every command without hesitation. It is a behavioral issue when used in conjunction with classical counter-conditioning, as it can help prevent and correct resource guarding.
Use the following methods to teach this command ...read more
Teaching a dog to touch his nose to your hand on command is a simple, highly effective training protocol that has many practical uses:
- It can teach a touch sensitive or hand shy dog to welcome physical contact instead of avoiding it.
- It can help a reactive dog to direct his attention to the handler, thereby interrupting fixation.
- It can establish a bond between an anti-social dog to a human handler because it is a ...
One of the most important things for your dog to learn is to walk on a leash without pulling.
This makes walking the dog much more enjoyable for both you and the dog. If the dog is pulling, walking is unpleasant and he gets walked far less often -- this makes him pull all the more because he needs the exercise even more. It’s a vicious cycle.
Never wrap the leash around your hand: you ...read more