DOG TRAINING CLASS HAND-OUTS week2
These are the dog training hand-outs for group dog training classes held in Hornell NY. If you are interesed in a small group dog training class useing positive dog training methods and you are able to bring your dog to Hornell NY in Steuben County NY Sign up for class. Classes are held in the Spring Summer and Fall.
Week 2 homework –
Make a list of your reactions
Turn and go or bump and go
practice a loose leash, practice hand up
, practice confident body language,
lead into safe places,, practice sit.
Obedience commands ©
Dog Behavior Specialist
Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training
Obedience training should be fun and interesting for both you and your dog. Consistency is a must. Keep your body up tall and confident, use the same tone of voice, use the same movement with your hand and arm. I recommend you make a list of commands and define them. For example does “down” mean lay down? Or does it mean all four feet on the floor. If it means lay down then perhaps “off” means all four feet on the floor. If “sit” means fanny on the floor two front feet on the floor and “down” means lay down then what does sit down mean? Sit down now is to different commands you can’t do two opposing commands at the same time. Make sure everyone is using the same word for the same action. Correct company if you need to.
Don’t keep saying his name and don’t keep saying the command. Just say the command once. You wouldn’t like it if your boss kept saying Mary Sednemo, Sednemo Sednemo Mary, Mary Mary Sednemo Are you confused? So is your dog. Do you feel nagged? So does your dog. Sednemo is Serbian for sit down.
Be patient your dog has to filter though all of the possibilities while he decides what action you are asking for.
For example you dog may know shake and that is easy and fun for both of you. Now you are teaching your dog the new command down. You say your command with confidence and give your hand signal at the same time. Your dog is thinking “when I put my fanny on the floor I got the treat” so he puts his fanny on the floor. That didn’t work so he thinks “when I lift up my paw I get the treat” so he lifts his paw. He may try several actions that he already knows will get him the treat. Be patient hold your position and wait for him to figure it out. Don’t’ repeat the command or hand signal until he breaks. I have waited up to 3 minutes for a dog to figure out sit. You will need to start again when the dogs concentration “breaks”. The solution to the problem has become too difficult and he will go do something else. When he begins to leave to do something else try the command again.
Always end training sessions on a positive note with lots of praise. If you one or both of you are getting frustrated move on to an easy command and then end the session. Dogs place learn. That is why some dogs do okay at obedience class but not at home. You have to practice at home. Practice in every room of the house and out side. If you go to the park or when visiting grandma practice there too. It is better to have lots of short practice sessions. For example before feeding practice sit then put the food down. Practice sit and 2 or 3 other commands in the kitchen when you get home from work. After dinner practice the psychological heel and stop periodically to practice sit, down or stay. Practice sit and down in the evening in the living room. Mix it up, make it fun.
For all commands you are going to use a hand signal that goes in the direction you want the dogs nose to go. Always start with your hand near the front of the dogs nose.
Sit – up and back
Down – down and away from his nose (slowly at first)
Stay – a flat hand in front of his nose
Come – a sweeping toward you motion
What fun commands can you think of? How about spin… go in a gentle wide circle to start with.
Give the command in a confident you can do it voice. Don’t ask like you have doubt. Don’t be aggressive like a drill sergeant. Place your hand over your dogs head above his nose with the treat between your thumb and forefinger facing palm up. Slowly raise the treat and move it towards your dogs backend. Wait for him to think about what you are asking. As soon as he starts to put his butt on the floor say good boy sit and give him the treat. If he doesn’t sit because he is unsure or distracted say ok and walk away for 10-20 seconds. He doesn’t want the treat. Try again.
Be patient, wait for him to figure it out. Keep repeating this process. He will get it.. If you have a puppy and he is still not getting it, place your forearm behind his legs and gently sweep them forward while using the hand signal up and back toward his tail. This will bring his back legs into a sitting position. Lots of praise when his back end starts to sit.
You will use the same method and patients for every command you teach your dog.
Do not force your dogs body into the position. Pushing on hips and shoulder is painful and will cause your dog to mistrust you. One exception would be shake. You can gently tap the front of your dogs leg or pick up his paw to get him started.
Dog Behavior Specialist
Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training
Deferential Training is teaching the dog to defer to you for leadership. In order to gain leadership we need to define what a pack leader is through the eyes of you dog. In any canine pack be it wolf or domestic dog a pack leader has certain character traits. They are fair, just, consistent, gentle, trustworthy, calm and wise confident and assertive. Any canine with out these traits will never become a pack leader because the pack will not follow a dog that is unstable or what they view as immature or crazy.
In order set your self up as a pack leader you need a relationship with your dog that is similar to that of an adult wolf to a wolf puppy. There is one major difference between the relationship of human parent to their babies and the relationship of canines to their babies and that is reactivity. When human babies are born mothers have to react to them or they will die. The opposite is true of canines. Canines from the time they are born must react to their mothers and nannies. The mother never reacts to the young. This is true of the whole pack. Adults and pack leaders do not react to infants, adolescents or subordinate members.
In this way our nature sets us up for failure as a pack leader. The good news is that we have a bigger brain and opposable thumbs. We are able to control and change the way we think and do things. It is all a matter of free will and self-discipline. We can change how we think about our dogs and let go of all the old fashioned notions that a good dog owner or a pack leader is a stern disciplinarian. It simply is not true. Studies have proven it, and logic confirms that pack leaders are not aggressive. If you injure a pack member you put the whole pack in jeopardy. The pack now has to care for an injured member and the pack is also down a guarder or nanny and hunter.
You can also let go of similar notions that a dog is too old to learn or change or that this behavior is just how my dog is. Dogs are very willing to change.
An adult wolf does not react to a subordinate. They will ignore them, turn their side to them or walk away. If a youngster is being too rambunctious, using their teeth too hard, or violating play or structure the adult will give a very swift correction then act haughty, shun the subordinate. Within minutes the violator will appease and all will be forgotten. Canines don’t hold grudges or plot to get even. Those are human qualities. Do not punish your dog; I will instruct you on correction that is psychologically positive for your specific dog.
Leaders lead and subordinates react.
The most often used method of changing the behavior of a youthful canine in any pack is ignoring or shunning the offender. It is easier to teach what you do want than it is to teach what you don’t want. By praising good choices and ignoring the unwanted behavior you are showing your dog what you do want. Any reaction from you will reinforce the unwanted behavior.
If your dog paws and you look or touch him you have reacted. If your dog barks and you yell you have reacted. If your dog jumps up on you and you speak, look, touch him you have reacted.
So your homework for this week is to pay attention to when you are reacting to your dog. If he paws at you and you look at him, talk to him or touch him you have reacted. Make a list of all the things you react to and what your reaction is.
Use this list to become less reactive.
HAPPY TAILS DOG BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
Walking your dog is an important activity you can do with him. A proper walk or heel will help correct and prevent many problems. Dogs love to walk. Walking is psychologically healing for dogs. In the wild, dogs, wolves and coyotes walk for everything. They walk to get food, to get water, to get a mate and meet new k-9’s. They walk for everything in their life. In nature they walk many miles a day with the pack.
Your dog should never walk alone and he should not walk off leash until you have both mastered a proper walk and then only after he has earned it. You should not walk your dog off leash until you have a RELIABLE recall and your dog will “sit” every time no mater how far away you are. Walking to a dog is like working at something you love. When you are working you are feeling at peace, looking forward to the end result. At the end of the job you feel content. Your mind is rested, healed. The walk does the same thing for your dog. As long as you are not being a crazy leader. Don’t lead into the wrong places.
The walk also establishes the hierarchy of the “pack”. Your dog is not a person in a furry suit. He is an animal first, then a dog, then your baby. If you think of him only as a baby, he will be a psychological mess even if you don’t recognize it. Dogs think with the mind of a dog, not the mind of a little person. They view everyone in the house as part of the pack. Humans are the only species that follow incapable leaders around the world. A dog will not follow an incapable leader. He will only follow a “calm, gentle, reliable, trustworthy, just, fair and assertive leader”. This is established with the walk. If you are not leading, then your dog is. Pack hierarchy is a subject for another paper. I just want you to understand that you can NOT change the psychology of a dog.
The only collars I recommend are a martengale style collars such as a premier collar or a gentle leader or other brand of head halter. If you have a small dog I recommend a gentle leader easy walk harness. Other harnesses invoke the dogs’ instinct to pull against it. Both the Gentle leader and easy walk harness steer the dog from the front instead of the back as other harnesses and collars do.
Regular flat collars are ok too, if your dog doesn’t pull. Choke chains, and prong collars use painful punishment to correct the dog. It is better to lead with positive reward, than to use painful punishment with a dog. It is very rare that a pack leader in the wild would inflict pain on a lower pack member.
Your dog should be walked on a loose leash. The dog should be at your knee or behind you.
The first 15 minutes of the walk your dog is working for you, dogs enjoy this. He should not be allowed to sniff, pee, or wander in any direction. Loose leash, be Gentle with the leash. Let your dog thing and choose. If he tightens or pulls on the leash he has chosen the correction. There is no need to snap the leash or pull sudden or hard on it. This is interpreted as a mean act by the dog and he will learn to dislike walking on a leash. Harsh leash snaps and hard pulls make the dog think you are a harsh and untrustworthy leader when the leash is attached. Among other things, harsh techniques can lead to aggression while your dog is on a leash. Psychological conflict behaviors or displacement behaviors may also show up in other areas.
Begin by having your dog sitting by your knee. Adjust the length of your leash. As you take your first step say “heel” while looking straight ahead and keep walking. If you look at or talk to your dog you are checking in with him. He should be checking in with you. Remember pack leaders do not talk to lower pack members when they are leading. Be careful not to give the heel command repeatedly. If your dog is not “following your lead” try using only a gentle leash correction WITHOUT giving the heel command. To give a leash correction simply close your hand and the leash will tighten. If you are heeling with a closed hand, then bend your wrist to move the hand in and up. Do not bend your elbow… Loose leash! NO PULLING ON THE LEASH, THE DOG CHOSES TO PULL OR NOT PULL. Lead until you are ready to give the release command such as “free dog”. For the last 15 minutes of the walk, let your dog sniff, pee, wander and explore. This is his reward for “working”.
If you feel like you have to steer the dog he has too much leash, shorten it a bit. If the leash is tight you have your dog in a permanent correction. Loose Leash. Do not wrap the leash around your hand this can result in serious injury to you. Use a nylon or leather leash. Do not use a retractable leash, they are dangerous and you will not have control over your dog. If you are using a gentle leader make sure the clip on the leash isn’t so big that the weight of it is giving your dog a correction.
Remember that leaders are confident, calm, and assertive. Keep you shoulders back, your chin up and think about something that makes you feel confident and assertive. (Oprah is confident, assertive and calm.) Pick out something ahead of you and walk toward it. Don’t slow down and look to see what your dog is doing, that gives him leadership. You lead, he follows. You control where the two of you are going and how fast or slow. Your dog will follow your energy. If you are not calm, assertive and confident your dog will not follow your leadership. If you are nervous, fearful, unsure, angry, aggressive or lazy, your dog will not trust you as a leader and will take over the leadership position. Signs of his leadership will be that he is looking around, trying to sniff the ground, trying to pee, barking, getting ahead of you, bumping into you, moving off to the side or lagging behind too far. It is ok if he is walking just behind you.
When your dog is following you, his whole body will be facing straight forward, his tail will be either relaxed or raised slightly, indicating that he is proud. His ears will be somewhat relaxed. His head will be down. He will have a happy steady stride. He will occasionally glance up or toward your body to see what you want him to do next.
Remember leaders lead and subordinates react.. looking, talking, touch by you can all be reactions. Loose Leash
Use turn and go
Bump and go
Safe place and sit.
Get between your dog and the exciting thing. Stand up tall remember you’ve got it. Turn and go away from things that are scary to your dog. Also turn and go from things are really exciting.
Walk a wide arch to let other dogs on your walk that you see them but don’t want anything to do with them.
If you have any questions about the techniques I taught you to walk your dog on a loose leash; call I will go over it with you.
Dog Behavior Specialist
Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training
When done correctly the psychological heel will give you and your dog many benefits. It is designed to
clarify communication between the dog and leash handler
increase the dogs confidence both in himself and the leash handler
set up or restructure the pack structure
increase the leash handlers confidence in himself and the dog
repair or set up the human dog bond
begin to teach your dog to think and choose instead of react.
To begin fit the Gentle Leader, Snoot Loop or Comfort Trainer (these are called head halters) properly. Begin with the neck piece. Adjust the fit so that you can only get 1 or 2 fingers under it when it is sitting high on the neck behind the ears. To test the fit clip it around your dogs neck with the nose piece hanging down. Hold the nose piece and gently try to turn the neck piece around your dogs neck. If it slides freely it will make a sore on your dogs nose. You need to tighten it a bit.
Once you have the neck piece fit you need to fit the nose band (gentle leader) or side bands if you are using a snoot loop. To adjust this piece place some treats on the floor. Slip the nose piece over the nose coming from behind your dog. Clip the neck clasp. Holding the nose band from below the clip on the nose band slide the clip up and check the tightness by pulling the nose band to the fleshy part of your dogs nose. The nose band should come to the fleshy part. Make sure your dog can get a ball in his mouth and drink and pant easily. If you are using a snoot loop you need to adjust the side pieces to hold the nose band so that it does not come off the dogs nose. It should not be so short that the nose band is touching the eyes.
Every day for several weeks or a month make a positive association with the Gentle Leader,
Snoot Loop or Comfort Trainer. Have your dog reach through the noseband to get a treat. Place the head halter on the floor with treats around it. Put the head halter on and do fun things like have treats, play ball. Start by having the head halter on for just a few minutes. Gradually work up to several hours. Your dog should become comfortable with the head halter. If he is pawing at it you are not working hard enough to make a positive association with it.
Never hook a heavy clip to the nose band. This will put the dog into a permanent correction. Remember when the band is tightened it is like his mom biting his nose. It is like you screaming BAD DOG. If your dog is always non-stop being told bad dog he will give up because no matter what he does he can’t please you.
The psychological heel should be started in your yard. You should stay in your yard for a couple of weeks until both of you have mastered the techniques. Practice in the front yard, back yard and in the house. After a few weeks take your psychological heel a few houses down or about the length of 2 telephone poles. Stay at that distance for a few weeks then add the distance of 2 more telephone poles.
To begin have you dog sit. Stand at the side of his shoulder and adjust you leash length. Remember not to bend down. Stand tall holding your position and check for leash length. Only the length of the clip should be hanging down, just a couple of inches. If you have too long of a leash you will have a hard time controlling the heel. If the leash is too short your dog will be in a permanent correction and will not be able to think and choose… he will give up because he can’t please you… no matter what he does is a bad dog.
Ok.. you have your leash length… Stand up tall confident “I believe in me, I believe in you we can do this”. Pick out something in front of you and thinking confident thoughts walk toward the object. As soon as your dog goes past your knee turning away from him go the opposite direction. You may only be able to take one or 2 steps until your dog figures out that every time he passes your knee you turn and go the opposite direction. Continue to use the “turn and go” until your dog will walk on a loose leash at or behind your knee for about 20-30 steps consistently. Remember to praise your dog when he chooses a loose leash.
Lets add the “bump and go” while walking along simply make a 90 degree turn into your dog. Gently bump him with your leg if he is not moving instantly out of the way. If you bump your dog gently this will tell him to pay attention to your leg. If he is paying attention he will move with you avoiding the bump. Be careful with small breeds. If you bump them too hard or too often they will heel at a distance away from you because they are afraid you are going to step on them.
Now practice the “turn and go” and the “bump and go” mix it up, don’t count steps or turn at the same places. Remember loose leash. Don’t look at or talk to your dog except for praise. If you feel like you have to steer your leash is too long. If your leash is short enough and you find you are steering hang onto your pant let so that you can’t steer. You will have to really concentrate on overcoming the muscle memory in your arm that is telling you to pull.
Now you will add the “follow me” this is done without giving any command. While you are walking forward just start walking backward. Try not to stop first. You can start going backward at any point in the heel such as in the middle of a turn. You may need to use treats to start with. It is hard for your dog to relinquish control until he know you are a proper pack leader. Walk backwards a few steps. Keep going until your dog is following in front of your legs. Take a few more steps once is following in front of your legs then ask for a sit. Once your dog sits move one leg around the side of your dog. This creates a “safe place” for your dog. Mature members in a pack will put younger or hurt pack members in this under the chin or chest position to protect and guard them. It gives the younger pack member comfort and love. This maneuver is good for scary things that can pass behind you. Things that you can’t avoid like motorcycles or skateboards or perhaps children chasing a ball.
Practice all 4 of these elements.
Lets had the hand up. You can do this at any point during the heel. Place yourself in front of your dog. Have a treat in your hand and place it in front of his nose then immediately move you hand and arm up like you are holding a torch. Wait for your dog to make eye contact. As soon as he does say “yes good boy” and give him the treat. To start with this lets have the follow me then the sit then hand up in a sequence. This will tell your dog that you have control of the environment. He can trust you to handle problems and keep him safe. The brief eye contact is part of deferential training. We want your do to check in with you.
No lets add random sits so that we can teach the dog to sit when you stop. When combined with deferential training your dog will learn to come and sit next to you in many situations. Take a few steps. With the hand that you are not holding the leash reach around your body and give the hand signal in sit command. As soon as your dog sits say “yes good dog” and treat. Start taking a few step again and ask for a sit again. Continue to take a few steps and ask for a sit until the dog sits without the command when you stop.
Mix it up. Don’t have a set pattern that you do the psychological heel. Sometimes start with turn and go. Sometimes start with a few steps and a sit. Don’t have a specific order that you do things. If you create a pattern in the heel, for example – turn and go, bump and go, sit, follow me, turn and go, bump and go, sit, follow me and repeat; you will loose the benefits of the psychological heel. Patterning the heel will become a repetition of commands instead of an opportunity for your dog to defer to you as leader. He will loose his confidence in you.
Lean to relax while doing the psychological heel. Walking with your dog should be like strolling on the beach. It should be enjoyable for both of you. If you are going to let your dog have “free dog” time remember to start and end with a psychological heel. In a few months you will only need to use the psychological heel to maintain the leadership training. Always begin and end walks with a quick psychological heel. If you are noticing behavior problems start doing a psychological heel for about 10-15 minutes twice a day.