Wednesday, December 30, 2009
• Never use frustration, anger or punishment when calling your dog. If you are upset or angry, you will just have to fake it. Likewise, you are never allowed to call your dog to you and then punish them. (If you know anything about my techniques, I would not recommend it anyway). Falling prey to either of these mistakes will only hurt the bond with your dog, as well as create confusion for the dog, which is left wondering whether or not they should expect Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hide when they are called.
• Lower your body position when using recall. Once again, look at it from the dog’s point of view. Humans, in most cases, are at least three times taller than dogs. How would you feel having an 18 or 19 foot tall giant calling you? Suffice it to say, dropping to your knee and avoiding direct eye contact (another threatening posture) will go a long way in getting a nervous dog to come to you.
• Use an uplifting and excited tone of voice when doing recall. Almost everyone I know has seen the Wizard of Oz and we all remember Glenda the Good Witch. You need to channel her voice when calling your dog. This is going to sound silly, but I’m serious, the goofier, happier, and squeakier your voice and tone are, the better the results. Hint Hint…if you’re not having fun, do you really think your dog is?
• Be very aware of your body position when using recall. If, for example, you move towards a dog while calling them, you will inadvertently trigger the oldest game in a dog’s arsenal…chase. Simply put, they will run from you in the hopes that you will chase them! This, after all, is a really fun game! However, if you take several steps back (away from the dog) while using recall, they will be enticed to chase after you…and that is what you are trying to get anyway!!!!
• There must be a reward 100% of the time when you are calling your dog. The dog must understand that whatever distraction that is keeping them from coming to you, is less important than the reward they receive from Mom or Dad each time. The reward does not necessarily have to be food. It can be their favorite toy, a loving touch or even soft words of encouragement for a job well done. Nonetheless, a reward must follow every successful recall.
* If you are going to use a hand signal with recall…Keep it Simple! I simply take my arm and hold it straight out, and drop it straight down slapping the side of my leg. I mainly use the hand signal outdoors, along with the whistle, for long distance recall.
This will give you a good start to a successful recall cue. Keep these Non-Negotiable Rules in mind at all times when practicing recall with your dog. In upcoming posts we will cover much more information on successful recall including:
1. Games to Play…Recall 101
2. Recall Anywhere…Recall 102
3. Emergency Whistle…Recall 103
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
How many times have you called your dog only to get a blank stare or, ‘for heaven’s sake,’ a dog taking off in the opposite direction at a dead run through traffic? This should not come as such a surprise when we look at recall through our dog’s eyes. Ask this important question “how much fun?” has recall been for your dog? Fido come here…so I can put you in your crate. Fido come here now…quit playing with your friends. Or, God forbid, Fido come here…so I can smack you with a newspaper because you pooped on the living room rug. Does anyone else see this as not so fun for Fido? If you are reading this post, you probably look at recall as an obedience command. And even with all the practice in the world, you are probably still that person chasing your dog through traffic yelling and screaming! If so, read on, learn, and hopefully have some fun in the process.
Treating recall as a task or obedience command will only get you so far. And trust me, when your dog’s life is at stake, that is not enough. But teaching recall as a game, one that your dog loves, will get you a dog that will turn on a dime and come running to see what Mom or Dad has for them today. Games are the key to teaching anything to a dog. Don’t look at training as work, but as fun, and the sky will become the limit! (Just a little hint, this is also true for kids, coworkers and even that spouse you swear can’t be trained!) The next blog will cover the Non-Negotiable Rules that you will need to refer to at all times when using recall with your mutt, so check back soon for Part 2 of “What Is Recall?”
Monday, December 07, 2009
So how do you do this? In the beginning, we will be using a "Muttz R Us" clicker. This is simply a noise maker that uses a click noise to tell the dog what they did right. We are going to start with the clicker in our right hand and 7-10 treats in the left hand. You are also going to need one more treat to play the part of the Leave It object. Start in a kneeling position, to place the Leave It object on the ground in front of your dog. Each time your dog attempts to take the Leave It object, I want you to cover it with the hand holding the clicker (right hand), and say the words Leave It. I want you to be clear and direct with the dog, but not overly loud or aggressive when giving the command. I guess the easiest way to describe the voice I want you to use is "the voice" your mother has! She never really raised her voice but boy oh boy did you know what she meant. If you go much past this with your dog you will only scare them, and that will not result in learning! As you are saying Leave It, keep a close eye on your dog. The moment they look away from the Leave It object, click and reward the dog one treat from your left hand. Make sure to move your left hand as far away from the Leave It object as possible. We not only want the dog to leave the treat alone, but also learn to move away from the object as well! So moving the hand you are treating with as far away from the hand blocking the Leave It object is critical. Within minutes you should start to see your dog getting it! At this point, begin shaping the behavior of your dog from looking away from the Leave It object to looking at you. The goal is to have a dog, who when they hear Leave It, will ignore the object and look to their owner for direction. As you progress, you can go from a kneeling position to standing up. Instead of placing the Leave It object on the ground, drop the treat in front of the dog and if necessary block the treat from the dog with your foot instead of you hand. Again wait for the dog to look away when you say Leave It before you click and reward. Then, shape the behavior of your dog to looking at you before you click. Once you have it down, move on from treats to toys, thrown balls, cats, chewing on the chair, etc. The more practice you can get with ever more distracting items the stronger a Leave It command you will get. Ironically this exercise does not need a huge amount of time, but it does require a ton of consistency. If you practice 15minutes a day 5-6 days a week, you will be amazed at where you can be in a month. Another trick is to incorporate practice time each day within your every day schedule. The more you can make the practice real life, the faster your dog will learn.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Any liquid based cleaning solution (including steam cleaning) doesn't work because you will never be able to "blot" or wash all of that wet liquid enzyme mess out! Doesn't that make sense? You still have stains and odors because they are deep down in the fibers, pores and fabrics!
Here's what the experts have discovered...
Liquid enzyme cleaners only mask the odors for a short time. However, the odors and stains come back. Again, it's because you will NEVER be able to "blot" or wash all of the liquid cleaner and soiled mess completely out.
The ONLY way to completely clean the areas is to use a DRY POWDER cleaning process - a process that "sponges" it up and ABSORBS it, thereby removing the source of the stains and odors... PERMANENTLY!
Planet Urine's Urine Out Powder Works!! It's microscopic "sponges" are filled with a special pet stain and odor remover solution. You simply work the powder deep down into your carpet. You let the worked-in powder stand 30 minutes or more while it "sponges up" pet stains and odors. Then, you simply vacuum the urine laden dry powder out of your carpet. It's that simple!
PET STAINS AND ODORS ARE GONE! PERMANENTLY!!!
Another tool that can be used is a pet deterrent for problem areas. These products are to be used once the area is cleaned to make the area less inviting for those pets who like to "return to the scene of the crime" for repeat performances. Planet Urine also carries a product called No P with a fresh Cinnamon scent that works quite well. While I don't recommend this as your main tool it does help a lot with scent marking and problem dogs when getting started
Finally, how would you like a tool that helped Fido tell you when he has to go outside? How about giving your dog his or her own door bell they can ring to go out side? Welcome to bell training for your dog! With the right training, within weeks, your dog will be going to the back door and telling you he has to go outside; thus eliminating those frustrating accidents by the door when you are busy watching the game on TV. The training is as easy as reading a Psych 101 book! Seriously, have you ever heard of a guy named Pavlov? He was the father of Classical Conditioning and showed us that certain things happen together and that they are related to each other. So when using bells all we have to do is make the sound of the bells equal going outside! It is really that simple. Use your cue/command twice, once to get the dog to the door, and the second time outside to get the business done. The difference is that once the dog is at the door, take their paw and ring the bell while saying your cue/command. You are on your way to having a bell trained dog. The big key to the training is to make sure you are consistent. Every time your dog goes outside, the bell must be rung so that the relationship between the bell and going outside is clear.
What if the dog will not ring the bell themselves? Cheat!!!! Smear some peanut butter on the bottom bell and wait, trust me within minutes you will have bells ringing and the dog going outside. Keep in mind from earlier posts on potty training, use a leash when the dog rings the bell as you get this process started. This will differentiate between going outside to play and going outside to do the business! When hanging the bells, keep the size of the dog in mind. The bells should be hung at nose height so ringing them is easier.
If any of this sounds familiar or helpful you might have just found a solution. Muttz R Us carries Urine Out powder, Poochie Bells and many other items that just might help! Please visit us at http://www.muttzrus.com/ and check out all of our products!
- Mike Deathe
Being able to train “any dog” is really not the question to ask. As far as I am concerned, training people is a much more effective way of solving problem behaviors in dogs. What I do is nothing new or magical. I use basic behavior theory, and positive reinforcement techniques to change behavior or teach proper ones to begin with. There are many ways to train a dog and if done right, none are any better than the other. I want all of my students to understand that positive reinforcement is, in my opinion, the best and fastest way to teach a dog. Please take the time to go to my website www.muttzrus.com and look at my blog (keep it simple stupid pet blog) and decide for yourself. You should not make training decisions based off of a brochure; talk to at least three trainers; check out blogs and get references; then make your choice. I hope that in the end you will choose me as your trainer
Mike Deathe is a stay-at-home dad who found his passion as a dog trainer in 2008. He enjoys identifying unique and useful “muttz” related products. He is the author of Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) Pet Blog. Mike has had dogs since he was four years old and there are currently four dogs and two cats living in his home! As an avid pet lover, he regularly sees the number of dogs and cats that never find a home. In 2009, he and his wife Kate founded Muttz “R” Us, a t-shirt and pet product company with a philanthropic motto of “Adopt a Pet, Save a Life.” In 2010 Muttz “R” Us also launched KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID DOG TRAINING! Visit us at facebook or twitter or follow the blog @http://muttzmembers.blogspot.
com/or check out the website @www.muttzrus.com for more details.