Sunday, May 26, 2019

Puppy Push-Ups

This video shows a different way to practice sit, down and stand.  By mixing them up, it is a fun game and the puppy doesn't anticipate what will be asked for next, so he is constantly thinking and checking in with you.  The puppy is my 3 month old Bouvier.  I am mostly using a lure for this practice.  We are working on having the behavior offered after the word and then reward.  It's a work in progress!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Recall with attention and hand targeting--Chapter 11

Walk along and then back up briskly saying the dog's name.  As he starts to return to you, use the word "come".  Be sure to say "Come" in a higher tone, loudly and with enthusiasm.  If you are luring, hold the treat as close to your body as you can.  When your dog comes to you, reward with the treat, words and scratches under his chin.  Occasionally, grab the collar, so he is used to it.  Begin this exercise in an environment that is known and quiet.  Gradually, add distraction and go to different places to practice it.  Remember to practice the recall (come) with walks and in the house.  A guideline is to ask your dog to come to you about 20 times each day!

In this sequence, notice the number of times Chadwyk "checks in" by looking at me instead of forward as he is walking.  That's the attention that I was referencing in yesterday's post..  Also I am using some hand targeting as well as luring.  Can you identify them in the video?

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Attention--Chapter 9

Getting your dog to pay attention or focus on you is the foundation for successful training.  If your dog isn't focused on you, he isn't likely to respond to what you are asking him to do.

One approach to get your dog to focus on you is to position him in front of you or at your side.  Let your dog know that you have a treat and then hold it just below your eyes, close to your face and say your "attention" word.  (I use my dog's name.)

Slowly lower the treat to your dog's mouth, keeping eye contact the whole time.  Maintain eye contact throughout the exercise.  Mark the behavior by repeating his name and your reward marker of "good" or "yes" as he gets the treat.

Another approach is to notice when your dog is looking at you and say your attention word and reward your dog for looking at you.  Some trainers believe that this approach is superior as it rewards the dog for "offering" the behavior rather than asking for it.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Playing Ball

Here's a typical playtime at my house.  I encourage the dogs to play on their own.  I probably have 50 toys, but less than 5 are out at any one time.  That keeps them "new" and more interesting.  In this video, my 8 year old male (Vito) is off screen on a "Wait" while Chadwyk is playing with Vito's favorite ball.  When Chadwyk is finished playing, I release Vito to get his ball.  No muss, no fuss!  BTW, the black lab near the door is a metal door stop.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Pro Training Tips on Treats

Have the food treat in an easily accessible location so that it can be delivered to the dog within three seconds and while the desired behavior is still occurring.  I use a cotton waist apron, available from most hardware stores for minimal cost or on-line for under $10.  A treat pouch or bag is better than a pocket, but can take some time to get used to accessing the treat quickly.  After some training for both you and your dog using treats, you can transition to a pocket in your clothes.  For most of us, getting into the picket for the treat, delivering it to the dog in less than 3 seconds is still a challenge. Remember that timing is everything!

Treats should be small and preferably soft and moist for ease of eating.  A small dog should be given proportionally small treats.  Remember to reduce the amount of food given at meals to allow for the extra calories given in training.  Microwaved hot dogs, string cheese and pieces of chicken, beef or liver are all high value treats and should be used sparingly by combining one or more of them with your dog's kibble and/or cereal such as the round oat kind.