Posts Tagged ‘Dog Training Tips’

Dog Training Tip – The First Command to Teach Your New Dog

June 20, 2011

Puppy Whisperer: A Compassionate, Non Violent Guide to Early Training and Care

‘Look’ or ‘focus’ is the foundation command for all other commands.  If you can get your dog to look at you, then you can get him to pay attention to what you have to tell him next.  This is touched on in several pet training books and manuals including “The Puppy Whisperer”.  “The Puppy Whisperer” calls it ‘pay attention’.

Before you teach the command ‘look’ or ‘focus’ find a special treat which your dog loves.  Make sure the treat is relatively healthy and can be broken down into small pieces.  Next, make sure to do training before meal times so that he is hungry for the treats.  And make sure he has just had a walk so that he is not overly energetic.

Hold the treat in your hand and get your dog’s attention by saying his name.  Just as your dog looks at the treat say ‘look’.  Then give him the treat and tell him he is a good dog in a lavish voice.  Training sessions should only last 5 minutes or so.  Do 2-3 sessions of 5 minutes each daily.

After a few days, you may notice that your dog looks automatically at the treat and you barely have time to say the command.  At this point in training, say your dog’s name and the ‘look’ command right away.  As soon as your dog looks at the treat, give him the treat and tell him he is a good dog.  If your dog doesn’t look, say ‘eh eh’ and take the treat out of his sight.

After a few days or so into training where your dog consistently looks at the treat in your hand when you say ‘look’, hold the treat for longer before giving it to him and praising him.  Hold for 3 second and slowly work your way to 10 seconds as training progresses and your dog succeeds.

When your dog is successful at reaching the 10 second hold it is time to move to the next step.  Say ‘look’, hold for two seconds and slowly move the treat towards your face and to your eyes.  When your dog looks in your eyes say ‘look’ again.  Then give him the treat, tell him he is a good dog, and praise lavishly.  After only a few successful sessions, stop saying ‘look’ the first time and only say it once when he looks you in the eyes.

Eventually, you are going to want to say ‘look’ without a treat in your hand.  Keep treats handy.  And when you give the command and he looks at you, give him the treat.  When your dog consistently becomes successful at looking in your eyes when you say ‘look’, slowly wean him off the treats.  You will still want to tell him he is a good dog and give him praise.

Some dogs may pick up the ‘look’ command right away while others may take longer.  Don’t get discouraged.  Every dog is different and learns differently.  The ‘look’ or ‘focus’ command will be used throughout your dog’s life.  Begin each training session with the ‘look’ command so that you know you have his full attention.  Check out “The Puppy Whisperer” for more great tips on raising a dog.

Clicker Training Your Dog – Is it for You?

January 3, 2011
Clicker Training

Clicker for Clicker Training Your Dog

As a dog trainer, I think the clicker is an awesome training tool.  Even though clicking to train sounds very simple, it has to be used appropriately or it may not work effectively.  You have to click the moment the dog does good.  And you have to use it EVERY time.  As a dog trainer, I don’t use the clicker.  Why isn’t it for me?  Because I prefer to give verbal praise.  I just can’t help myself.  Trying to get in the habit of clicking is really difficult for me since I have trained using verbal praise my entire life.  And I started dog training early (I started at age 10 with my beloved Sheltie and childhood friend, Cassie).

If you are new to dog training or you think you can overcome your preconditioned methods of training, the benefits to clicker training are many:
*Positive reinforcement – Clicker training followed by a treat is a clear signal to your dog that they did well.  When they don’t do well, they don’t get a click and don’t get a treat.  No negative reinforcement applies with clicker training.
*No force – There is no need to force your dog with a leash or collar jerk with clicker training.  Reward your dog when he does what you want and do nothing when they don’t.
*Easy to use – It is a simple click and a treat.
*Easy for the dog to understand – Your voice can vary in tone and you may inadvertently convey frustration or impatience.  The click is a clear and concise sound.  If the clicker is used consistently and right when your dog does well, they quickly come to understand the sound of the click as a job well-done.
*Builds confidence in the dog – Rewarding your dog when they do well with a click and avoiding any negative reinforcement helps your dog learn what to do instead of what not to do.
*Great training tool for dogs who are usually shy or stubborn during training – Both shy dogs or stubborn dogs can give up during training if they are having trouble understanding what you are trying to teach.  Clicking gives a clear signal of when they have done well.

If you are considering clicker training for your dog, be sure that the answer to the following questions are yes:
*Can I remember to use the clicker during training every time my dog does well?
*Can I consistently click right at the moment that my dog does well?

For a basic beginning in clicker training and tools, visit our a-Store – Dog Training Supplies.

New Year’s Resolution – Train Your Dog

December 31, 2010


Dog Training Can Be Fun

Perhaps you read one of my posts about the book “101 Dog Tricks”.  In that post, I said I was going to train Maya some of the tricks.  Well, guess what?  I haven’t.  I have been making excuses and procrastinating.  Enough is enough.  It is time to get back on track.

Perhaps you also have a dog which you have been meaning to train.  Well, it’s the new year.  Let’s start a New Year’s Resolution and make a plan.

The first part of the plan is eliminate excuses.  One of the biggest excuses (and one which I have used) is that we just don’t have enough time.  Well, this excuse is really really thin.  You only need to spend 5 minutes a day for training.  That’s it!  Just 5 minutes.  If you want, you can spend two 5-10 minutes sessions a day.  But if time is an excuse, then just do 5 minutes once a day.

Another excuse is that your dog just may not be motivated.  While it is true that some dogs are hard to motivate, you can start your training sessions with things that are easy and fun for your dog.  The easier it is for your dog to earn rewards, the more likely they are to participate in training.  Start simple and work your way up.

Another excuse is that perhaps you do not know how to train.  With all the resources we have available, this excuse should no longer apply.  If you are reading this post, then you have access to the internet.  And with access to the internet comes a lot of free information.  There are websites galore out there who can give you some great tips.  And you don’t have to limit yourself to just reading about dog training.  There are lots of dog training videos on You Tube.

After you eliminate your excuses, it is time to prepare.  Preparation includes getting treats which your dog loves and the right equipment for dog training.  Treats should be small, even for big dogs.  Dog training supplies can include a clicker (if you choose to use clicker training methods), leash, or a treat pouch.  None of these things are required, but they can help. 

And the final step you need to make before beginning is to make a schedule.  A good time to train is after you eat dinner but before your dog eats his.  Or perhaps you can do it right when you get home from work.  But set a time and stick to it.  After a week or two of fun dog training, your dog will know and look forward to the training schedule.

Training your dog is very important.  A well-behaved dog is a happy dog.  And a family with a well-behaved dog is a happy family.  So no more excuses.  It is time to get out and train!

Fundamental Dog Training Tips – Lots of TPPC

April 19, 2010

Fundamental Dog Training

Training a dog is not always easy. But it doesn’t have to be too difficult either. By accepting and following four simple elements of dog training, you and our dog can have a fun and rewarding experience. The four most important elements of dog training are Time, Patience, Positive Reinforcement, and Consistency – or TPPC.

Spending time training your dog does not mean hours a day every day. You only need to spend 5-15 minutes per day. Some dogs will catch on to a command such as sit within a couple of weeks while some dogs may take longer. But you don’t need to spend more than 15 minutes per day working on the command unless you can see that your dog is really focused on and enjoying the training. Spending too much time in one day could make both you and your dog bored or frustrated. In turn, boredom and frustration could inhibit the learning process.

Training your dog requires lots of patience. Your dog may not catch on right away and that is okay. If you are impatient with your dog during training, your dog will be more concerned about not pleasing you than on focusing on what they could do right to earn your praise or a treat. If you are finding yourself getting frustrated, stop. Take a breath or two. Then perhaps get your dog to obey a few commands which he does understand in order to build his confidence. Or break down the command he is learning into simpler or shorter steps. With sitting, for example, if you are having difficulty in getting him to sit properly, praise him for any slight squat down, even if it is only for a split second.

Positive Reinforcement
Try to avoid using physical punishment or force on your dog during training. Your dog will learn better if he wants to learn. And he is not going to want to learn if he is being punished. Learning should be fun for your dog so use lots of positive reinforcement such as praise and/or treats for good behavior.

Training needs to be consistent. Try to practice a new cue at least every-other-day. Every day is best, but it is okay if you miss a day every now and then. When your dog has learned the new cue, you won’t need to work with him every day anymore, but you will want to have a refresher training session once in a while.

Being consistent also means you need to use the same cue when teaching your dog a specific command. Don’t say “sit” one day and “sit down” the next. And don’t teach your dog to walk on a leash at your heel one day, then let him wander two feet ahead the next. (If you want to give your dog a bit more freedom on some walks than on others, use a different command.)

Using TPPC in training your dog will go a long way in helping your dog learn their commands. So long as these elements are practiced, your dog will learn to look forward to training sessions so that he can have the opportunity to please you (and the opportunity to be given some delicious treats). A well-trained dog will make both you and your dog very happy together.