Archive for the ‘Puppy Kindergarten/Basic Obedience Class’ Category

Teach Your Dog to Stay, While You Walk Away

June 12, 2010

You’ve learned How to Get Your Dog to Sit Still and then How to Teach a Release from a stationary position.

Now you’re ready to teach your dog to Stay, while you walk away.

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How to Teach Your Dog to Lie Down

June 6, 2010

Our Puppy Kindergarten/Basic Obedience series has a new video: Hazel learning to lie down for the very first time.  Teaching your dog to lie down instills calmness, self-control, and respect for you. As always, I use a fun and easy method your dog will love.  Most dogs can learn this in under 10 minutes!

Keep an eye out for Part 2 of Lie Down, where I’ll teach you how to:

  1. fade out the lure in your signal hand; and
  2. get your dog to drop into a Down on cue without you having to bend

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Shout Out of the Day and Key Socialization Tip

June 3, 2010

It’s the unmistakable body language of dog play!  This post, studying pups from Petrified to Playmania, can now be found by clicking here for CATCH Canine Trainers Academy’s blog.

See you there!  –CatchDogTrainers.com

Clash of the Titans

Brady: "Damn this girl's good. She can mirror my every move."

More pictures, and the full puppy socialization story, found here at the CATCH On! Blog.

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How to Get Your Dog to Come to Any Spot You Choose (Part 2)

May 17, 2010

This is a great followup for all of you who have taught your dog the basic foundation for hand targeting.  If you haven’t done that yet, no problem, here’s Hand Targeting Part 1.

This is awesome for getting your dog to come when called, and for guiding her to or from any spot you choose (off the furniture, into the car, out of someone’s way in the elevator, etc.)

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Let’s Get Movin’ – How to Teach Your Dog an “OK” Release

May 13, 2010

Hi Everyone!  Here is the must-have follow-up to yesterday’s episode, How to Get Your Dog to Sit Still

You just learned another Basic Obedience lesson, awesome.  Now be a rock star dog owner – have fun doing it with your dog! I promise she will love it.  Why?  Because it’s fun, mentally challenging, and bonding time with you. Dogs LOVE to play challenging games and earn rewards: your attention, praise,  treats, games of tug, etc.  To your dog, getting rewarded in these training games is like getting a bonus at work is for you, or a top score on your exam. It feels good to be challenged, accomplish something, win. It’s important to your dog’s mental health!

The best part: Just 10 minutes of practice a day can make a huge difference in your dog’s behavior and your connection.  2 minutes here, 3 minutes there – just slip a little training into your routine.  Look at me in these videos, all I’m doing is a few minutes of training right before Hazel’s mealtimes.  Watch how fast she learns.  Easy.  No dog and owner should miss out on this stuff.

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Get Your Dog to Sit Still (on the Way to Stay)

May 12, 2010

Thanks for joining in Basic Obedience Class with me.  Your dog will thank you, too!  Every dog loves a fun training session.  Share this with a friend:

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Teach Your Dog to Come to Any Spot You Choose (Hand Targeting)

May 1, 2010

Hand targeting is useful, easy to learn, and fun. The object is to get your dog to touch her nose to your hand, on your cue.  This gives you the ability to tell her exactly where you want her to go at any time, with just a simple hand gesture.  I find this to be extremely useful – even more than you might think at first.  It helps with long-distance recalls and acts as the perfect way to say “come on over here,” for casual call-overs and short distances.  The video shows it all.  Here are the written steps to help you further.

How to Teach Hand Targeting:

  1. Hold several small treats in one hand and rub the scent of the treats onto the fingers of your other hand.  Put both hands behind your back.  Now, bring the empty, scented, hand out from behind your back and hold it out just a couple of inches from your dog’s nose, with 2 fingers extended.  (Two fingers will become the signal that tells her this is specifically a command to “Touch” your hand.)
  2. When your dog touches her nose anywhere to your hand, immediately mark the behavior with enthusiastic praise, and quickly reward with a treat from your other hand (remember to keep this other hand hidden behind your back until your dog earns the reward).
  3. Repeat this several times and then switch hands, making your other hand the target now.  You can present the target hand to different sides of your dog’s face, but stay very close to the nose in the beginning, gradually moving further away if she is “getting it.”
  4. Do not add the verbal cue “Touch” until your dog shows consistent understanding that touching your hand with her nose is the behavior that earns the reward.

Hint:  When your dog is off-leash and you call her to “Come,” you can use this hand signal as a target to draw her all the way in, right next to your side.  Since you already called her to “Come,” you won’t need to say the verbal cue “Touch” – the hand signal alone will draw her in.

Okay, your dog has that first part down?  Now you can start to increase distance and change angles. Follow these instructions.  Pretty soon you’ll be able to use Touch from all the way across a room, and then from across a field.  In that case, it works just like a recall.  Awesome.

  1. Say “Touch” and show your pup the hand signal with 2 extended fingers, about 1 foot from the side of his nose.
  2. When your dog touches his nose to your hand, immediately praise and reward.
  3. Repeat this several times from different angles and then begin to practice with your other hand as the target.
  4. Once your dog shows consistent understanding, try increasing the distance from his nose to 2-5 feet.  Try moving him to your right and left sides using your hand as the target.
  5. As I said above, pretty soon you’ll be able to use Touch from all the way across a room, and then from across a field.  You can add the Sit command right afterwards for a beautiful finish to a recall.

Hint: You can turn “Touch” into a fun trick, too.  Once your dog really gets the concept, try getting him to jump up and hit your hand by putting the two-finger target out over his head.  Some dogs can get some really good air on this.

Now that you’ve got this down, take the next step.  Here’s Hand Targeting Part 2.

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Tip of the Day: Sit for 3 Rewards OTHER than Food

April 29, 2010

Today’s tip gets to the heart of your relationship with your dog. It also reflects whether or not your training to date has been truly successful.  If your dog will do this, it’s a sign that she respects you as the person in charge of everything wonderful and that she enjoys working with you.  If your dog won’t do this, it’s still good news because if you do this right, it will change the relationship between the two of you for the better.  It’s SO simple.  You ready?  All I want you to do is request a Sit for 3 rewards every day OTHER than food. That’s it.  At least 3 times every day, ask your dog to Sit without having ANY food present.  Reward her with something else that’s meaningful to her.  Not sure what that could be?  Don’t worry, I’ll explain.  But first, a word from our sponsors…

"Okay, you can see we're REALLY polite, well-mannered boys. Can you take the picture now so we can go back to wrestling in the grass?"

Let’s assume your dog has already been trained to Sit on cue.  At this point sitting for a treat is TOO easy and does not fit into the context of every day life.  In other words, if your dog will ONLY sit when you have treat, then she’s NOT going to listen whenever she knows you don’t have a treat. That’s annoying, to say the least.

Sit is a very easy way for your dog to say “please.”  When she sits she is saying, “Look at me, I’m being polite, I’m under control, I have manners, I respect you!”  (Of course to really MEAN it she has to be sitting still. Sitting for one second and then jumping on you does not count.  If you have that problem and you’re not sure how to fix it, email me.)

So what could I possibly mean by rewards other than food? It depends on what your dog likes!  Know your dog as an individual (there’s another tip that will go a long way if you take the time to do it).

Okay, so here are just a few examples you could use with your dog:

1. Sit before I open a door for you. (When he sits, praise, and open the door – that’s the treat, we’re going somewhere!)

2. Sit before I invite you up on the furniture.

3. Sit before I throw your toy.

4. Sit before I bend down to give you the belly rub you are requesting with that oh-so-cute-look.

5. Sit before I let you out of your crate or pen or gated area.

6. Sit before I let you into the dog park.

7. Sit before I un-clip your leash and set you free.

8. Sit before we continue this game of tug you are so excited about.

9. Sit before I refill that empty water bowl you are standing over.

10. Sit for the deluge of love and attention that I’m dying to give you.

There are endless possibilities.  Can you see what I’m getting at here?  Are you getting a feel for how this works? Can you see why it can be SO effective?    All right, then, let’s do it!  All you have to do is provide the reward right after the Sit. Remember the reward is anything your dog likes – OTHER than food.  This helps your dog to appreciate that listening to you is important in many different contexts – not just when he can smell the treats.  It also solidifies the concept that you are the one in control of the resources.  This is what makes you fun and worth paying attention to, worth being polite to.

If your dog doesn’t know how to sit yet, dont’ worry, that’s easy to teach. Any good training book, or class, or online video can teach you this.  Pick a method based on positive reinforcement, please.  There is no reason to tap butts or jerk chains.  Make it fun.

Now – if your dog “kind of” knows Sit but is only responsive sometimes, or is slow to respond, then you need to take a step back.  Don’t blame the dog.  Get to work.  I would go back to practicing lots and lots of repetitions WITH treats (or whatever your dog’s favorite reward is).  Get the sit behavior really strong, really ingrained.  Practice in lots of different environments (all around the house, inside and out, should be a fine set of environs to start with).  Work until your dog clearly understands the signal to Sit.  You’ll know because you’ll get instaneous responses to the verbal and/or hand signal.  Now you’re ready.  Let’s go.  Get started with today’s tip immediately: Request a Sit for 3 Rewards Every Day OTHER than Food.  You’ll be so pleased with how much more attentive and respectful this makes your dog. Try it.  Have fun!  Enjoy the results.

More Can’t-Miss Obedience Tips and Exercises

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