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Archive for the ‘Dog Training and Behavior’ Category

Something Funny

(Dog Trainer Version)

Pavlov: we fed the chicken on the opposite side of the road each day at
4p.m. until the chicken’s autonomic system actually began causing the
chicken to cross the road at 4 p.m. without even questioning the why

B.F. Skinner: on prior occasions when the chicken voluntarily crossed
the road, this behavior was followed immediately by a reinforcing

Cesar Milan: I bullied, chased, poked, and intimidated the chicken until
it raced across the road, because I am a strong leader.

Barbara Woodhouse: You just say “Walkies” with the right accent and
place a crumpet on the other side of the road.

Karen Pryor: by associating R+ with road crossing and P+ with standing
still, with a VR schedule, and offering a reward in keeping with the
Premack principle, we increased the intensity and frequency of the road
crossing behavior.

Bill Koehler: a few well-timed pops on the choke chain and the chicken
was cheerfully to crossing the road.

Nicholas Dodman: I gave the chicken fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine,
carbamazepine, and azapirone and then it was happy to cross the road.

Patti Ruzzo: I crossed the road, pausing every step to spit a treat out
of my mouth like a human pez dispenser and the chicken followed along
catching the treats.

Electric Collar Advocate: whenever the chicken does not cross the road I
give it an electric shock. But do not worry, the shock is no more than
you would feel if you walked on a carpet wearing socks and it does not
bother the chicken at all. The feathers standing up and the smell of
burning flesh mean nothing. In fact, they are happier having nice clear
communication than they would be otherwise.

Yuppie: chickens are just like little people in feather jackets, and if
you love them and give them diamonds and feel sorry for them all the
time, they will be happy to cross the road for you.

Paris Hilton: Because I put it in a Gucci bag and carried it.

Shelter director: Any chickens that do not cross the road will be
euthanized for their own good, and the others we will
âEUR~adoptâEUR^(TM) out tomorrow for only $200 each. Please send us
money so we can keep doing more of this important work!

HSUS member: I do not know anything about animals, I have never been
around animals and am not really fond of animals, but we passed a law
mandating that chickens be kept without cages because animals belong
only in the wild and cannot be happy coexisting with man, so now they
are walking wherever they want.

PETA member: chickens have the right to live in world without roads. Any
chicken that lives within a hundred miles of a road is suffering an
inhumane existence and might eventually be hit by a car so we should
kill it today to ensure that it does not die tomorrow.

Dog Training On Your Walks

Its so easy to incorporate training in your daily life. One of the ways I have been working on attention with my puppy is on our walks. I have a few games I play.

When a stranger passes us, I work on keeping good attention. Nothing is more rude than a dog rushing up to a stranger. I bring treats with me on my walks because my puppy is still young and learning. When I see a person coming, I get a few treats in my hand and I ask my puppy to heel. If he is having trouble I may ask him for a sit. Once the person is really close to us, I start giving the treats to reward the puppy for staying. If the puppy gets up I might back away from the person and wait for that nice attention. Over time I will teach him that staying with me earns a reward, trying to visit the person gets him nothing.

The second thing I practice is the name call. Everyone wants a dog that looks at them when they say their name. In the house most puppies will do this pretty easily, outside where its distracting, its a lot harder. I randomly say my puppies name in a nice tone and reward close to my body. I will also goose my dog and say his name -its just an added layer for the puppy to have fun.

Finally, for my dog training on my walks is incorporating heeling. At various points I will setup my dog in a nice sit, get into formal heel mode and heel for a varying amount of steps. I then reward and do it again. I try to practice more advanced dog training like heeling in a less distracting area. As my puppy gets older I will expect more from him.

Impulse Control

I have two dogs that when given the opportunity will leave me to sniff and run around. The basic problem with a dog like this is a strong lack of impulse control. There are lots of great books out on the market to create focus in dogs, but hopefully I can give some ideas on behaviors to teach to help teach impulse control.

Leave It – This behavior is paramount. If there is a treat or piece of food, the dog should be able to ignore the fact that its there. The dog should learn to “get it” on command but should primarily never try to get a piece of food or smell something until they “check in” or look at you for permission. Its no different from teaching a child to look both ways before crossing the street. The issue is perfecting it and taking it to that next level to really get some impulse control.

Wait – This behavior is used in doorways, crates, waiting for their dinner, etc. Its “wait” until you are released. Its very simple to teach, just shut the door if the dog begins to move (or pick up the food) and use a strong release word – I like “free”.

And this brings me to the last theory. Its called premack – in short, eat your veggies, and you can have some dessert. How does this apply to dogs? Work for me, and you can be free to sniff and run around. Its more difficult to teach but can be very effective once its learned and practiced.

Keep my dog off the couch

You walk in the door, and there your sweet dog is, cuddled up on the couch enjoying their new soft spot. So the question is, how do you keep your dog off the couch? It isn’t hard to break the habit but requires consistency.

Usually a dog will try to get on the couch when they are tired and ready to go to sleep. Watch for those times they are starting to look for a good spot because that is going to be your best bet and stopping this behavior. If they go to jump up, just say off and take them by the collar and lead them off the couch. Most dogs will eventually give up and stop trying. If you have a more persistent dog maybe put them in their crate so they can settle down and go to sleep. If you have to leave your dog unsupervised either put them somewhere away from the couch or use their crate.

If your dog growls when you try to move them, you will want to teach off without pulling your dog. Take a treat and lure them off the couch and say “off” then reward them with the treat. Over time you can just say off and then reward for getting off the couch. You can even guide your dog with the collar and feed them at the same time so they get used to you using their collar. If you sense your dog is becoming more aggressive we highly recommend you find a dog trainer to help you with the problem.

Another option is to have your dog wear a 6 foot leash around the house connected to a buckle or flat collar. When your dog jumps up just use the leash to get them back down, always reward them and praise them for getting off the couch.

The next two things you want to teach are leave it and a place command. Leave it will teach the dog to not get on the couch in the first place and place will be an alternative location you can have your dog go to settle down.

Crazy Puppy Syndrome

It always happens. That lovely sweet, calm, do no wrong 12 week old puppy turns into a 16 week old terror. One day we woke up and this happened to us as well, our sweet Blaze started jumping on the furniture, jumping on me, pulling the toilet paper around the downstairs, rushing to see people. What happened? Well, they are dogs, and that’s what they do.

Here are some ways we are planning on combatting some of these crazy puppy days.

1. Make sure your puppy is getting mental stimulation

If you haven’t invested in some good problem solving toys, now is the time! I highly recommend then kong wobbler. Its a toy that you fill up with dog food or treats and the dog has to work to get the food out. Another great toy is a kong, you can stuff it with anything (my favorite is banana and then freeze it) and that will keep your dog busy too.

2. Make sure your puppy is getting appropriate exercise.

I always say a tired puppy is a happy home. You have to be careful not to over exercise puppies as their bones are still growing and can be damaged. Increase the distance or pace you walk your puppy and pay attention. If they seem tired then certainly stop or take a break.

3. Let them get it out!

Sometimes puppies need to be puppies! Let them have the crazies or sniff and run outside (hopefully fenced in or on a long line). Let them play with some friends. Blow some bubbles for them, let them chase something.

4. Puppy Training

Puppy training with a crazy puppy can be hard if you are trying to do sit stays, work on something active, fun and engaging. Try the cheeseball game (toss treats between your legs then run the opposite direction), or the come game, or run and then ask for a down. Use your imagination!

5. Take them somewhere new

Find somewhere they have been, maybe a playground and let them explore.

6. Beware of the tired monster!

Sometimes puppies get over stimulated just like kids and go wild. If that is the case then dont do the above things and instead put them in their crates for a nice nap time. You just have to know your puppy. Over the next few months you’ll go through periods of the crazy puppy syndrome but with consistency and training you will make it through with a well behaved puppy.