LUV My dogs: learning

LUV My dogs

Everything about your dog!

Showing posts with label learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label learning. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rescue Dog Training

Rescue Dog Training
  Over years of training rescue dogs, I came to recognize different training tips for different rescue situations. Dogs from "broken homes" were very different to train than rescue dogs from puppy mills or shelters. Dogs that were neglected were different from ones who were abused. 
   Rescue dog training is mostly the same as regular dog training with a few special considerations.Some of the considerations depend on where your dog has been obtained from and its age, but we will look at rescue dog training and what to keep in mind.Here are special considerations for rescue dog training:

 Dogs who have been turned into shelters and rescues sometimes have training issues. Often times, the first kind of work you will do with these newly adopted dogs is to untrain the bad habits like jumping on people, chasing other animals, destructive chewing, and counter surfing. All bad habits are easily correctable!

Older dogs can be trained, but they are not always as eager to learn. They have learned habits and are more set in their ways, so rescue dog training with an older dog will require a little more patience on the handler's part. 

Rescue dog training sometimes consists of providing a dog with things they failed to receive at an early age. For example, if a dog was not well socialized early in its life, you may spend a little extra time working through issues related to it. This should not be a deterrent to adoption but rather just something to keep in mind. 

Often, rescue dog training involves working through the basic issues first like housetraining. You may adopt a four year old dog who has never been housebroken. You will need to treat this older dog just like a puppy. 

One of the first things you must do with a newly adopted dog is bond. Once the dog knows he can trust you and is bonded to you, then more advanced training can progress. 

With an adopted dog, especially if adopted from an animal control, it means you don't usually know too much about them. You won't know its likes and dislikes or what it excels at. Rescue dog training often keeps trainers on their toes trying to figure out what makes this particular dog tick. 

Separation anxiety: It is not uncommon for a shelter dog to experience some separation anxiety, especially if it has had multiple homes. Rescue dog training usually involves making the new dog feel more secure in its new home, and most anxieties usually resolve themselves. Adopting a new dog from a shelter or rescue is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Many say that the rescued dog repays you tenfold for the adoption. Don't be deterred from adopting a dog of any age because any dog can be trained. Just know that there are a few considerations for rescue dog training to keep in mind.

Depending on the dog you adopt, you may have some behavioral issues that have to be worked through as part of the rescue dog training. If your dog is shy or timid, it will need to progress at a slower pace. Aggression will have to be deciphered and addressed. 
Read More

Friday, July 11, 2014

Successful Dog Training Techniques

Successful Dog Training Techniques
   Many people can’t imagine life without dogs. We admire and adore them for their loyalty, unconditional affection, playful exuberance and zest for life. Nevertheless, dogs and people are very different animals. Although officially “man’s best friend,” dogs have some innocent but irksome tendencies-like jumping up to greet, barking, digging and chewing-that can make it downright difficult to live with them! To make the most of your relationship with your dog, you need to teach her some important skills that will help her live harmoniously in a human household.
    When you bring a dog into your home, you must be dedicated to helping him be the best dog he can be.  That is one of the most important jobs you have as the parent of a canine.      Providing him with the essentials for living is one aspect of this job, but teaching him right from wrong should be considered just as important.  As you raise your children, you teach them these lessons to make them happy and successful people.  Your dog deserves this same assistance and consideration.  

Old Dog, New Tricks?
  Many people are under the mistaken impression that if you adopt an adult or older dog, that he is past the age to be trained. Nothing can be further from the truth.  Dogs are extremely intelligent creatures, and their intelligence does not decrease over the years.  If anything, they get smarter as they get older.  Yes, they may be a little more set in their ways and a little less eager to jump on the training bandwagon, but with the love, support, and consistency of a good parent, any dog can learn better behavior.


Be Consistent
  Give clear and consistent commands for the desired behavior. For example, a "down" command should not be used interchangeably with an "off" command. Technically, these are two different behaviors. Always use commands and avoid vague words such as "no" or simply calling their name. For best results, replace "no" with the exact behavior you want him or her to do.


Too Young To Learn

   Alternatively, another myth with dog training is that if you begin training too early, your dog

will not be able to learn because she is too young.  This is not true, either.  No matter how

young your puppy is when you bring her home, start your training immediately. They are
essentially babes in the woods and do not know how to interact with the world around them.
      You are responsible for showing them what to do and what not to do.  Without this guidance, she will run amuck and get into things and damage your belongings, as well as injuring themselves or others.  

Be a Good Leader
   Some people believe that the only way to transform a disobedient dog into a well-behaved one is to dominate her and show her who’s boss. However, the “alpha dog” concept in dog training is based more on myth than on animal science. More importantly, it leads misguided pet parents to use training techniques that aren’t safe, like the “alpha roll.” Dogs who are forcibly rolled onto their backs and held down can become frightened and confused, and they’re sometimes driven to bite in self defense.

Positive and/or Negative Reinforcement
   Whether you are raising a human child or a canine one, you will hear a lot about positive and negative reinforcement.  Positive reinforcement is when you see that your child is doing the right thing so you pat him and speak to him in an approving voice and tell him what a good job he did. 
This is a very key part to almost any type of successful training activity.  When a puppy or dog is told that she is doing good things and getting positive attention based on her actions, she will want to continue doing these things.  She wants your love and approval, so she will do what she can to get it.  Your dog is extremely smart and will make the connection between her actions and your reactions.  Many owners choose to use a higher pitched voice when conveying approval. Dogs do respond well to this. 
   Negative reinforcement is basically the same process, but it is something you do when she has done something she should not.  Based on the rules of negative reinforcement, when your dog does something bad or dangerous, your reaction should be negative.  You should speak to her in a low and unhappy tone, telling her that his action was bad.  This does work, but should be used sparingly.  If your pooch is always getting negative reactions to her behaviors, she will go through life an unhappy, maladjusted dog.  She will become nervous and worried about pleasing you and could even develop anxiety problems.
When teaching new skills, keep training sessions short and sweet
 Like kids, dogs don’t have long attention spans. There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but an ideal average training session should last 15 minutes or less. Within that session, you can work on one skill or switch between a few different skills. To keep things interesting, try doing 5 to 15 repetitions of one behavior and then doing 5 to 15 repetitions of another behavior. You can also practice new skills and keep old ones polished by doing single repetitions at convenient times throughout the day. For example, before giving your dog a tasty new chew bone, ask her to sit or lie down to earn it.

Positive Reinforcement Only
  This tact has been used very successfully for many people, including various types of law enforcement personnel when training their dogs.  Using only positive reinforcement to help your dog understand what she is doing right and completely ignoring any bad action is a mainly passive type of training.  This can often take longer, but has been proven to work long term much better than other training methods.  Using this method, the only time you give your dog any attention for doing something negative is if what she is doing will endanger he in any way. 
   No matter what type of training you use with your dog, make sure that you reassure her of your love and acceptance.  You are doing what is best for her, which makes you the best parent you could ever be.

Help him Focus
  Some training sessions may be impromptu, and those are great if you can keep your dog's attention. If your dog is having difficulty focusing, he may need to drain some energy before hand with a walk, a game of fetch, time on the treadmill, or a play date. Focusing is as much of a skill as the command you are trying to teach. If your dog is having difficulty loose leash walking outside, practice inside where there are fewer distractions. Gradually increase diversions as he masters the skill.

  A training session can last as little as a minute or long as you have your dog's attention. Training and learning can be a way of life for your dog when he is guided to live within your rules and boundaries. Having your dog sit before you feed him, or wait at the door before you exit, or slowly walk down the stairs with you, these are all examples of daily training in action. Think of training as simply communicating with your dog and not something that requires special treats, experts, or lots of time. By communicating clearly, consistently, and with affection, your dog can always be learning.

Read More

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Training Your Dog.Tips for best results

Training Your Dog.Tips for best results

Many people can’t imagine life without dogs. We admire and adore them for their loyalty, unconditional affection, playful exuberance and zest for life. Nevertheless, dogs and people are very different animals. Although officially “man’s best friend,” dogs have some innocent but irksome tendencies—like jumping up to greet, barking, digging and chewing—that can make it downright difficult to live with them! To make the most of your relationship with your dog, you need to teach her some important skills that will help her live harmoniously in a human household.
  Learning how to train your dog will improve your life and hers, enhance the bond between you, and ensure her safety—and it can be a lot of fun. Dogs are usually eager to learn, and the key to success is good communication. Your dog needs to understand how you’d like her to behave and why it’s in her best interest to comply with your wishes.
  If you ask around, you’ll get all kinds of advice about training your dog. Some people will tell you that the key is to use a “firm hand”—to make sure your dog doesn’t think she can get away with naughty behavior. Some people argue that you should only use rewards in dog training and avoid punishing your dog in any way. Some people insist that all you have to do is “be the alpha dog,” assert your status as the dominant leader of your “pack.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the glut of differing opinions out there.
 Regardless of which method and techniques you use, effective dog training boils down to one thing—controlling the consequences of your dog’s behavior. If you want to influence the way your dog behaves, you need to:
  • Reward behaviors you like.
  • Make sure behaviors you don’t like aren’t rewarded.
Top Tips

Just like kids, dogs need a schedule
  Like a temper tantrum-throwing toddler without structure in its life, a dog without a set schedule is bound to become irritable and act out. Dogs need set times for interaction, exercise, feeding and training.


Listen to your dog

  Learn to listen to your dog. If your dog appears to be uncomfortable meeting another dog, animal or person, don’t insist that he say hello. He’s telling you that he isn’t comfortable for a reason, and you should respect that. Forcing the issue can often result in bigger problems down the line.

Leadership is the foundation of training
  Dog training relies on the presence of one pack leader. A dog lover who assumes the role of pack leader will have successful training sessions.

Half the battle takes place in your mind
  You must have unwavering mental strength and confidence to gain the trust and respect of your dog during training sessions. Your dog can sense if you are uncertain or fear it, so you must control situations by maintaining the role of an authoritative pack leader.

Be generous with your affection
  Most people don’t have a problem being very clear about when they are unhappy with their dogs, but, they often ignore the good stuff. Big mistake! Make sure you give your dog lots of attention when he’s doing the right thing. Let him know when he’s been a good boy. That’s the time to be extra generous with your attention and praise. It’s even okay to be a little over the top.

Does he really like it?
  Just because the bag says “a treat all dogs love” doesn’t mean your dog will automatically love it. Some dogs are very selective about what they like to eat. Soft and chewy treats are usually more exciting for your dog than hard and crunchy treats. Keep your eyes open for what he enjoys.

Discipline and punishment are not synonymous
  Invest heavily in dog training, and there will be no need for punishment. It takes time and effort to see real improvement in your dog's behavior. Don't let your frustrations distract you from your goal to properly and successfully train your pet.

A dog is a dog
  Treating a dog in a humanized manner is perhaps the cardinal sin dog lovers commit. Love your dog, but do not treat him as a baby. Only dogs that understand their role within a family unit are actually trainable. Upset the role identification, and problems are sure to ensue.

Tell him what you want him to do
   There is nothing inherently wrong with telling your dog “no,” except that it doesn’t give him enough information. Instead of telling your dog “no,” tell him what you want him to do. Dogs don’t generalize well, so if your dog jumps up on someone to say hello and you say no, he may jump higher or he may jump to the left side instead of the right. A better alternative would be to ask him to “sit.” Tell him what you want him to do in order to avoid confusion.

Be consistent
  Whenever you’re training your dog, it’s important to get as many family members involved as possible so everyone’s on the same page. If you are telling your dog “off” when he jumps on the couch and someone else is saying “down,” while someone else is letting him hang out up there, how on earth is he ever going to learn what you want? Consistency will be the key to your success.

Freedom
  Let your new dog gradually earn freedom throughout your home. A common error that many pet parents make is giving their new dog too much freedom too soon. This can easily lead to accidents relating to housetraining and destructive chewing. So, close off doors to unoccupied rooms and use baby gates to section off parts of the house, if necessary. One of the best ways to minimize incidents is to keep your dog tethered to you in the house and by using a crate or doggie safe area when you can’t actively supervise him.

Start today
  It never is too early or too late to start working with a dog. Whether your canine companion is a puppy or a more mature dog, commit to start today and achieve with your dog what Millan refers to as "balance between people and dogs."

Get all family members on board
  It takes a household to properly train a dog. You, your partner and all household members need to be on the same page when it comes to acceptable and unacceptable behavior. While there only is one pack leader, the other family members still are dominant to the dog, and they must treat their relationship with it as such.

Bribery- Reward
  The idea of using treats to train is often equated with bribery. Truthfully, dogs do what works. If using treats gets them to do what you want, then why not? You can also use the world around you as a reinforcement. Every interaction you have with your dog is a learning opportunity, so when you think about it, you probably don’t use food very often except during active training sessions. So why does your dog continue to hang out? Because you reinforce him with praise, touch, games and walks. Just remember, the behavior should produce the treat; the treat should not produce the behavior.

Have realistic expectations
  Changing behavior takes time. You need to have realistic expectations about changing your dog’s behavior as well as how long it will take to change behaviors that you don’t like. Often behaviors which are “normal” doggie behaviors will take the most time such as barking, digging and jumping. You also need to consider how long your dog has rehearsed the behavior. For example, if you didn’t mind that your dog jumped up on people to say hi for the last seven years and now you decide that you don’t want him to do that anymore, that behavior will take a much longer time to undo than if you had addressed it when he was a pup. Remember it’s never too late to change the behavior some will just take longer than others.

Dogs need boundaries
  Set boundaries in your home. If your dog's barking at company bothers you, make this a focal point of your training. If a dog's presence in an off-limits room annoys you, focus on this aspect of the dog's behavior instead.

Don't  underestimate the benefits of feeding a high quality food
  Feed your dog a high-quality diet with appropriate amounts of protein. If your dog spends most of his days lounging in your condo, don’t feed him food with a protein level that is ideal for dogs who herd sheep all day. The money that you will spend on feeding an appropriate quality food will often be money that you save in vet bills later on. I recommend you always check with your veterinarian for the right diet for your dog.

You get what you reinforce- not necessarily what you want
  If your dog exhibits a behavior you don’t like, there is a strong likelihood that it’s something that has been reinforced before. A great example is when your dog brings you a toy and barks to entice you to throw it. You throw the toy. Your dog has just learned that barking gets you to do what he wants. You say “no,” and he barks even more. Heaven forbid you give in and throw the toy now! Why? Because you will have taught him persistence pays off. Before you know it you’ll have a dog that barks and barks every time he wants something. The solution? Ignore his barking or ask him to do something for you (like “sit”) before you throw his toy.


  If you’d like to learn how to train your dog or if your dog has a behavior problem you’d like to resolve, don’t hesitate get help from a qualified professional trainer or behaviorist. To learn more about locating the right expert for you and your dog, please see our article, Finding Professional Help. Many Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDTs) and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAABs or ACAABs) offer telephone consultations, in-home private consultations and training sessions, and group classes.

  There are also a number of excellent books and DVDs to explore. Here are some of our favorites:
  • The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller (and other books by her)
  • Maran Illustrated Dog Training
  • Dog-Friendly Dog Training by Andrea Arden
  • The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
  • How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks by Ian Dunbar, PhD
  • Take a Bow-Wow! video series by Virginia Broitman and Sherri Lippman
  • New Puppy! Now What? DVD by Victoria Schade
  • Clicker Magic DVD by Karen Pryor

Read More