Friday, September 27, 2013

America's All Time Favorite!

How does it get any better than America's sport, baseball, played by none other than dogs! Don't believe me, don't take my word for it...Check out the game I caught the other day!

Batters up!

And the pitcher it off to get the ball...
 Roxy on the pitcher's mound getting ready the ball to be thrown

 She needs to learn how to choke up on the bat a little less I think, but hey I'm no expert at dog baseball
By the way, I would love to see your captions for any of the pictures in the comment section!!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How to Speak Dog-Safely Interpreting What Dogs Are Saying-Class in McMinnville at Pets Stop Inn

 Imagine a little speech bubble in the left hand corner saying, "What am I thinking?" 
Well if you are like most people, we like to think we understand them, after all we love them and spend the most time with them.  But do you really know what that face is saying all the time?  Did you know that you could?

Come learn what your dog (or any dog) is saying!
Saturday Oct. 19th @ 11 am
at the Pets Stop Inn  
2818 NE Rivergate St. McMinnville

I will be teaching you all how to tell a happy, friendly dog from one that is scared, or aggressive, and how to calm down an aggressive dog or diffuse the situation.

You can sign up for the class ahead of time at their retail location
You can walk in and pay at the time of class as well.
Cost is 5.00 per adult 2.00 per child (5-18 yr)
*2 dollars off for Home Depot Employees 

Spread the word, let your neighbors know, this is potentially life saving information.  Here is what Stephanie said of the last class I gave..."I wanted to recommend your class on reading dog's body language to everyone after an incident tonight. I was walking Trigger and there was a loose dog in a yard. I saw the dog's ears go down and mouth close, and then he stared at us then he pointed." I pulled Trigger closer to me and decided to make a wide circle on the opposite side of the street. Next thing I knew the dog charged and attacked Trigger. I let the leash go slack and became a "tree" and didn't eye the dog. I told Trigger "no" and "enough" to let him know to back down. The dog quit and went back home and we left for home. Without that class and training I don't think it would have ended the same!" (Stephanie Williams)

Monday, September 23, 2013

How to Motivate Your Dog

I  try to tell people in class that the best way to get their dog interested in listening to you, is by using a good motivator.  You can see this as a bit of a bribe, yes, but we all do it.  You want your kids to do their homework?  What do you say?  No video games till your homework is done, right?  Well it's the same with your dog.  If you told your child that they couldn't have their allowance of 25 cents unless they did their homework, they might grumble and whine, maybe they would do it, maybe not, I mean after all 25 cents is not really that much (unless you have a 5 year old).  Now if you told them they could have a 20 dollar bill if they took the trash out every day for a week (hopefully you don't have that much trash that needs to be taken out, but you never know), I'll bet that they never missed a day.  That is what it is like for your dog.  They are young, a lot of the time, or maybe a bit scared of doing things (like responding to you), and so providing the best motivator can be key to getting the results you are looking for.

This is Lady.  Being a dog, as well as part Basset Hound (and Dalmatian) food is her highest motivator.  She is very smart and has found a wonderful owner who uses praise all the time (YEAH!!!)  It took Lady less than five minutes to go from trying to lick the spoon of wet dog food every time I put it in front of her face, to being able to leave it on the floor like this. (which is very good timing, by the way)  She really, really, really wanted that wet dog food, so much so she was drooling!  But because she knew I would take it away if she tried to get it when I said "Leave it" she would sit very still, and look away, waiting for that click.  She caught on very quickly that if she wanted to get some of that heaven sent food, she would need to follow instructions.  Food has a way of motivating dogs.  I cite this study often to the classes that I teach because I think it makes that point very well. Click here to read the study 
Now there are some dogs for whom toys are the ultimate motivator.  I have seen quite a few of the small terrier breeds as well as German Shepherds that rank toys over food.  Even my own dog Roxy will do anything for a special squeaky ball.  You will need to make that determination with each dog based on their own personalities.  With Roxy I start off by teaching her using food as a motivator, then when she understands what she is supposed to do, to get her really excited about doing it I bring out the ball.  So for most dogs as a generic answer, I would say, start off with food, unless you know that your dog would much rather play with a toy.  If you are unsure, don't feel bad, or ashamed about asking a trainer to help you.  
Remember to stay positive out there!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Treatless Dog Training

This is Zoey, and like a lot of dogs I have helped train, she loves to play! She loves toys, loves to chase a ball, and loves to play tug.  She is also very smart and so can get bored easily.  Well who said that training has to be work, and boring, and well you get the picture.  
When it comes to teaching your dog something new, studies have shown that the majority of dogs learn things faster, and retain it longer when food was involved as a treat or motivator.  However, that does not mean that you have to only use treats, especially if your dog happens to LOVE toys and play time.

Lets say you want to teach something a bit challenging.  How about "Stay" or "Leave It." After you click for your dog's good job instead of the same old boring treats, why not spice it up a bit with a game of tug!  I like to keep my training session time spent on "Stay" short (5 minutes or so) because it is a rather boring thing for the dog to learn. Adding toys into the mix can be a great way to liven it up!  Make sure you give your release cue so the dog understands that it can play, you don't want to get things like that mixed up there.
* Note that adding play into your training routine can get them very excited.  I use it with dogs who don't care for treats, and or after I have done the ground work for that particular cue because they sometimes can get overly excited.

*I use the clicker positive reinforcement to train my dogs Read here to learn more about that method.
and how to use the clicker here.
You might be asking yourself, wasn't the title of this "Treatless" dog training?  Why is she talking about using treats still?  Well, the fact of the matter is that for the majority of dogs food is the way to their hearts and heads, it's a proven fact.  However there are those dogs who would rather play than do anything else in the world.  For them all you need to do is modify the treat based methods and put a toy in place of a treat.  If you are finding that they get too keyed up while training try reducing your training session time, or start off using a can of wet food for your reward most of the time, while throwing a toy or play session in for the other part.  Mixing it up can be helpful with dogs that tend to get bored easily.

 Teaching your dog to "Drop it" is a very important step when you want to add toys into your training routine.  I will either hold a very strong smelling treat up by their nose (if they are being stubborn and don't want to drop what they have), or hold up a second toy.  Make sure you then click as soon as the object is dropped, then they can have the treat or toy that you offered.

 Training means teaching, you don't have to just stick to the sit, downs, and stays. All dogs should be well socialized and understanding how to play is part of being a well balanced and happy dog.
 Dogs that play with toys are easier to to keep exercised.  You can throw a ball or Frisbee for them to chase, or a game of tug can be wearing as well.  If your dog pulls like crazy when you go out for a walk, try playing a game of fetch before you go out. It will help take the edge off their energy and make walking them a bit easier.
Play it smart when your dog is running back to you with the ball, call his name and say come, then when he gets to you, click, then throw the ball again so the playtime gets to continue!  That way you build a great positive for your dog to come back to you when you say come because in his mind that means PLAY!
So don't be afraid to use toys while training, especially if your dog loves them!  One of the biggest keys to successful training is using things your dog loves as a motivator, and being consistent in how, and what you are asking them to do.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Indoor Agility Training the Weave Poles!

Now that colder weather is coming I have a new way of getting around the cold and rain (without needing an outdoor arena).  I already can make a jump with a broom and chairs (note the lack of needing fancy equipment).  I have needed to work more on the weave.  I don't mind the rain, but being honest, I am less inclined to train in it.  I also don't like the PVC channel weave poles because you need to place a PVC pipe where the dog's feet need to go.  So what was I going to use to keep the poles up?  Yep, you guessed it, traffic cones!  They work pretty good if I don't say so myself.  But don't take my word for it... see for yourself.

I am using a wooden spoon with peanut butter on it for her to lick off after I click.  I went to using a spoon after someone in one of my classes mentioned the idea.  I loved it and have wanted to try it myself.  So here we go!