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Thursday, 28 March 2013

A few more tricks.

Now that you have the hang of training feel free to try yet another trick.
To have the dog lay down, have him sit first.
Once he is sitting, place the treat near his nose and then draw your hand down towards the floor and then once he is lying down, state the command "Lie Down"

Once he can do this by command include a hand command.  You could simply point to the ground and say down instead of lie down.  There is no correct gesture and it is up to you to use one that will work for you.  If you are training a herding dog or a bird dog, I recommend you find books or sites that will teach you all the whistles and gestures that get the dog to work best in that situation.

This site is more designed for the urban dweller who has a small to medium sized dog that is not about to be shown or used for anything other than a family pet.

Once the dog can lie down you can use the same action with the treat and place the treat near his/her nose and draw the treat towards you and say "Crawl".  as he crawls towards you reward him.  Increase your distance from the dog and continue the process.

Rolling over is quite simple after the dog is trained to lie down.

Place the treat near him and say roll over and move the treat in a circular motion.  You may have to roll him over manually the first few times before he/she catches on.

Remember that these tricks are done individually over a period of weeks.  Take your time.  Do not confuse the dog with too many tricks in a day.  Patience, persistence, praise and love is all you need to succeed.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sitting in 2 steps.

I have mentioned using a treat for reward.  A compliment a pat on the head can work as well.  The objective is simply achieved without hitting, rubbing the nose in it, kicking or any other form of cruelty.towards an animal.
You have to get in sync with your canine buddy if you are to master the dogs behavior.  Besides dogs having differences based upon what they were bred to do, each dog within a a specific breed, has its own personality.
Chevy our youngest, cannot catch a treat if his life depended on it and as quick as it hits the floor it's gone and he would go without.
To ensure equality, we recognize this weakness, and specifically hand him his treat.  We call his name and say "Chevy, this one is for you."
The rest of the dogs know that this one treat is his and do not attempt to take from my hand.

Now as I stated in other blogs, Chevy has a habit of hoarding, and from this we found that we could give him the mail or newspaper and he would proudly bring it into the house for us. None of the other dogs are interested in doing this and we have elected not to train them to do so.
This is simply "Chevy's domain, and is a way to compensate for his lack of ability to catch things in his mouth.

If you wish to train your dog to bring in the mail, determine the size of your dog and whether or not he/she can handle the task.
Chevy cannot handle the full paper as it is too big for him so we use an insert instead.
He sometimes tries to tear the mail so we ensure that he only gets junk mail and bills that are "past due" because we would not want him to tear up a check or something that was important.

All training is based on a couple of principles.  Is the dog prone towards the feat, do you have the time and patience to work the dog, and finally repetition.

To get the dog to sit requires a few treats and repetition.  Start by placing your hand on back by his tail and simply and firmly say "Sit" and push down on his back until he sits.
When he/she accomplishes this, reward him/her with a simple statement of "Good Boy or Girl".
Repeat without rewarding the dog with the treat but only with the "Good dog" statement.
Do this a few times and finish it with the treat.
Do this for a few tries during the day and then reward him/her with the treat.
Once you no longer need to place your hand on his/her back and he/she responds to the command "Sit" you are halfway done.
Now that you have a free hand, you can use it to use a hand gesture that the dog will relate to as the "Sit" command.   I hold my hand up over my head for the sit command because if I am out in a field or across a busy street I want them to be able to see the command from a distance and sit until it is either safe for them to cross the street or me to cross over to them.
Take your time.  Be patient.  Do not try to confuse the dog by training them with too much information.
Master one trick a week or even longer.  It will depend on the dog.  Some love treats and can do multiples in a matter of seconds while others take longer. My dogs automatically sit, put out their paw and will sit pretty(beg) in a matter of seconds if they think there is a reward in form of a treat.
All dogs want to please their master.  Keep that in mind when a pup is overexcited.  It is not that they are bad, but rather so excited to please you.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A Reminder

For new dog owners and a refresher for us all.  It is summer and the temps are rising.  Dogs sweat through their pads on their feet.  Walking them on a very hot pavement will not only burn their pads but could lead to heat exhaustion or stroke.
Walk your dogs on grass at park or take them to the beach or lake where they can cool down in the water.
Ensure that they are well hydrated and even add ice cubes to their water bowl.

Do not leave your dogin a car for any length of time.  This graph demonstrates how hot it can get inside the car.  For that matter do not leave your child inside either the consequences could be devastating!

Enjoy your summer!

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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The art of the treat! Taking the lead!

I said this next blog was to do with training the dog for the leash but you could name it train the dog with a treat for anything.

Let us start with the bath.  Eventually you will want to bath your dog.  Either he rolled in something, got muddy or simply needs to be groomed.  If you have oodles of money you may opt to pay someone to do it for you but a bath does not have to be a test of wills.

Long before you have no choice in the matter is the best time to train the dog.  Start by taking the pooch into the bathroom and place him/her in the tub.  Place him in the tub.  Reward him/her.  That's it.  Do nothing else.
Do this for a few days where you introduce the new environment to him/her.  Each time allow him/her a few seconds at first then 30 seconds and then a minute to sniff and get the reward.  The dog will eventually associate the bath as a great place to be for a treat.
After a few days, the dry run I'll call it, then introduce running the tap.  Again he she will be startled at first but with the treat reward he/she will get used to it and again it is a great place to get a treat.

Introduce the shower and soak the dog whilst you praise the heck out of him/her for being soooooo gooooood.

Eventually with consistency your dog bathing should become memorable rather than a challenge.

Chevy actually jumps into the bath because he knows what is coming his way.

Don't have treats?

Kibble from their dog bowl will suffice.  People are so conditioned that specialty items have to be treats.
A dog can't read a label.  When we go to bed the dogs get a final treat and are so conditioned to it that we sometimes have to substitute with kibble because we ran out of their treats.

Taking the lead is basically the same routine.  First get a collar.
some recommend harnesses, some say muzzle and others say a collar works well.
A dog whose nose is on the ground is in hunt mode and will no listen to you thus it is incumbent on you to ensure his head is up and his attention is on you.
Obviously a puppy is being introduced to a collar.  This will be a challenge and he may resist and scratch at this new item wrapped around his neck
Place the collar on and leave it on and reward the put but don't go overboard.  By leaving the collar on and pre-occupying the pup with something else like chasing a ball or stick in the back yard will suffice.

Once he/she is used to the collar the next step is placing the lead on him.
Remember you are the pack leader.  You should exit the door or gate first and the dog should follow.  If you choose the other way, you indicate that he is the pack leader and that is where the mixed signals begin.

Initially a pup will cower and fight the leash.  Re-enforce the good behavior.
Your first walk may just occur in the confines of the back yard.  Eventually he will get used to the lead.
Use the word, "Heel" and as soon as the dog is at your side give him a treat.  When you get to a crosswalk or need to stop for any reason have the dog first heel and then sit.  Now give the reward.

It is all about the treat and rewarding the right behavior rather than the wrong.
Grooming or brushing the dog's hair follows the same pattern.  Use baby steps.
Bring the brush out.  Let the dog sniff it.  reward him.  Repeat without brushing.
Eventually, you may brush the dog and reward him.  Quite often the brush itself is reward enough because it feels so good.

Anything you choose to do with the dog is best broken down into its elements.  Start slow and gradually introduce the items to the mix rewarding the good behavior along the way.

Training 101 repeat

I have said before the art of training a dog is repetition.  There is no need to hit a dog.  Evaluate yourself first before you punish the dog.  Were you consistent?  Were you giving the wrong signals?
Quite often you will find that it is you that is at fault and not the dog.
What do I mean?  You see I am misleading you right now by not being forthright in my explanation.
If your dog jumps up when you get home, you may think, Wow what a wonderful and loving reaction to missing me. This happens every time you come home and you think nothing of it until one day your dog jumps up on a child or senior and due to it's size it knocks the person over.
That simple show of affection now becomes an embarrassment to you and could even end up in a legal turmoil if the senior is injured.
Now that cute, "love me tender", response is now a liability that you have to undo.
The best response to jumping up, biting, chewing up shoes and furniture is to nip it in the bud the minute it first rears it's ugly head.
Puppies will naturally bite for example.  In their environment the litter mates would  yelp and eventually they would teach one another that biting hard is not acceptable.
You are now the other litter mate and lead dog of your pack. If you want good manners it starts with you and ends with you.  A dog is a reflection of the signals you convey.
When a dog bites, say "OW!" "That hurts!" and stop the play.  When you feed the pup a treat and he grabs the food over zealously, say the same thing and also say be gentle.
The dogs understand.  Some need constant reminding.  I stated before that 2 of my five get excited at the treat and I have to show the back of my hand first so that my hand is between the food and his mouth.  I say be gentle and place the treat into the mouth.  I have only been bitten once, accidentally by our female, Dakota because I forgot to remind her to be gentle.
I believe, like humans, dogs have 2 spirits.  Some are born with an old soul and others are born with a young soul.
I know call be silly, however,. Dakota, Chevy and Shadow have young souls and Gizmo and Ciara have old souls.
An old soul dog is one who learns quickly but does not display irratic behavior.  He/she is cautious and level headed.
A young soul is the type that would jump into the water first and then test the depth.

This explains why Dakota will forget herself, ignore her world and place herself in peril at every turn.
She loves kids and if I take her out to the car without a leash, I have to scan the neighborhood for children because in a flash she will take off to be with a kid.
This means she will cross a street placing herself at risk of being hit by a car.  She will run into an open door to the surprise of the owner, just to pay a visit.
 Gizmo on the other hand is laid back, will listen to your commands, and does not need a leash.  He sniffs the food first and then gently takes the treat and lays down.  If he is not hungry he leaves the treat and the ravenous trio await for him to abandon it so they can have it.  He has the old soul.

Knowing what kind of soul your dog has is crucial to how you will train him.  If he is a puppy at heart, chances he will be that way forever.
If he has the old soul he will be laid back forever.

The young souls are the ones that will challenge you at every turn.  It is their personalty, and like humans we have those who party hard and never start from high school to middle age and the old soul group that leave that behind as soon as the children arrive.

If you get to know your dog you will know the level of effort required to keep your dog in line.  the high energy dog or young souls will require copious amounts of exercise, constant discipline, and a person who is on the ball reminding and rewarding the pup for the right reasons and not re-enforcing the wrong behavior.

Next will tackle the leash.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Why a dog?

Actually I could have entitled this as Why A Pet?  It is obvious.  Pets are therapeutic.  They are great companions and remove the void of emptiness if you find yourself alone, especially in your later years.
They have been known to reduce blood pressure and reduce the affects of depression.
They are a great excuse for you to stay mobile by getting you out of the house for a walk or two.

Pets are entertaining.  They have a personality and often is the case for my wife and I to simply watch the Antics of our 5 Shih Tzus as they play.  We have been brought to tears of laughter by their behavior.
Check out my Videos on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/loafour

Each dog has it's very unique quality.  Gizmo is grumpy yet a big softy.  Ciara is a little princess who will not jump up on the bed but has no problem scaling Everest when she is outside.  Chevy will turn his head if you try to kiss him on the face but is a real cuddler whose big bug eyes can melt the coldest heart.
Shadow is the prince.  He is the lead dog of the pack.  He loves exploring his environment and would die protecting his family.  Dakota is referred to as Dora the Explorer.  She has to know where we are going at all times and is quite persistent on getting the front seat to herself.  She has a stubborn streak a mile wide and has to be the last into the car as she explores every thing every where.
Dakota loves kids and has been known to walk into any open door on our street simply to pay whom ever a visit.
Obviously, you have your own story to share with your own pet.  If you don't have a pet or have just bought one.  You will soon have a list of stories to share with your friends and family.  I have seen my dogs over the years walk into windows, fall off the couch where they were precariously perched before they fell asleep, get chased by cats, pass wind and thus clear a room of all inhabitants.
I have seen pets grab the empty dog bowl and toss it across the room to get the owner's attention that the bowl is empty.  I have seen a dog grab the bowl and carry it to the dining room where guests were seated and demand food.
Like Chevy, who now grabs the newspaper or steals one from the recycling bin in hopes to get a treat.

Your dogs will bring you many years of pleasure.  A dog especially, will love you more than life itself and ask for nothing in return.
If you show that dog any attention he will repay you exponentially and that is a commodity that often is lacking in our human counterparts.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Some Pictures

Thats a big eye u got.

Add caption

You can't see me....

I r Lion Dog here me roar!

You Still  can't see me

Motherhood sucks....

I r Bentley

I r not ET

Say Uncle