Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun

Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun
The Big Dogs Wait at The Door

Friday, January 21, 2011

TrainingTip: No Free Lunch!

As a part of basic doggie manners I teach all my clients doggie and human the importance of the Nothing In Life is Free (NILF) protocol.  Basically the dog sits (or whatever other behaviour you like) in exchange for a reward, resource, valuable article whatever you want to call it. I look that this as being the dog saying "please" for his dinner, to go outside, for affection, to get his leash on, for a cookie, to play a game like retrieve or tug. It's just good manners and it instills not only polite, calm manners in your dog, it also a great, non-aversive way for the human in the partnership to be considered the one in charge.

One of the most valuable things to teach a dog within the NILF program is to "Wait" at an open door until released by a verbal cue.

This from a politeness point of view alone should be enough to want to teach it, but let me make it a little more enticing for you. How about safety, yours and the dog's?

I have four dogs and going for a walk it a highly valued resource for them (as it is for most dogs but with four, large canine pals, well that's 16 legs, plus mine and a combined weight at the door of over 300 lbs not including mine, wanting to get out into the great beyond). So it's dangerous for me in a very big way.

My front door leads right into our street (doesn't yours), which means that any dogs who plough past me through the door will go right out onto the road (albeit not a busy one, but it only takes one car right). So it's dangerous for the dogs.

To teach the "Wait", leash your dog (one at a time if you have more than one dog, kennel the other dogs) and go to the door. Saying nothing at all, wait for your dog to default to a sit, all you need to do is wait which will be difficult for you as being human we just love to talk, but don't, just be silent and wait.

When the dog sits (ignore any and all other behaviour) move your hand to the door knob, your dog will likely get up, so take your hand away from the door knob and again wait for the sit.

When you get the sit, hand goes to the door knob, remove hand everytime the dog breaks the sit. Once you are able to put your hand on the knob, trying opening the door a crack. Your dog will probably get up again from the sit, close the door and wait for the sit again.

Repeat over and over again, opening the door only a crack at first so you can easily close it if the dog breaks the sit and you won't catch Fido's nose or paw in the door.

The object is to get the door all the way open and then use your release cue to allow the dog out of the sit and through the door way.

Just a refresher - your release cue is the cue/phrase that you use after your dog provides you with a requested behaviour such as a sit. It lets the dog know that he is no longer on your time, there's nothing worse than a dog who does the sit and then walks away as he warrants. My guys have all been taught a formal stay but they also know that when asked for a sit or lay down, they stay in the requested position until I say "all done". Your cue could be "all done", "ok", "that'll do" or "banana cream pie", dogs don't speak english to say what you want, just make sure you say it and say it consistently.

It doesn't matter if you go through the door first, the dog does or you go through together, what matters is that the dog doesn't go through until you give the release cue.

Now both you and your dog's are safe, plus they are well mannered and calm.

Reprinted from Canine Minds and Manners Calgary Dog Training, a blog by Kirsten Rose, Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Shiloh and the Gang Celebrate

Shiloh the yellow lab had a lot of ummmm.... participation? with her birthday treat.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Puppy House Training

House training will most likely be one of the first tasks you will tackle when bringing a new puppy home. House training a puppy has a similar structure to potty training a child, although there are some instances that can appear well after the basic ideas of house training have been learned. Basic house training is all about establishing an allowable “dog toilet” area for your pet. This may need to be reinforced should submissive wetting and marking occur. Submissive wetting is urination occurring upon greeting, disciplining or high excitement; during puberty some dogs, male or female, will mark their territory.

House Training:

House training should only take approximately two weeks to establish as a routine provided. The process will go quickly if you are consistent and committed, prepared to train right away, and maintain a schedule. Retraining a previously trained dog can take up to six weeks.

Before you get started, have your puppy checked by a vet as soon as possible. A check-up can tell if your pup has any medical conditions or complications that make house training more difficult. Situations such as intestinal upset, intestinal parasites and urinary tract infections can make house training difficult to impossible.

The designated toilet area can be as general as outside of the house or as specific as a particular corner of the backyard. A specific plan should be set up in advance; you can't teach the dog what is acceptable if you're not sure yourself.

Your attitude is very important in training. The dog doesn't know what is wrong, so if there is an accident tell them "no" but don't be too severe with discipline. There needs to be a balance for the training to be successful. When the dog has gone in your designated area, praise them and let them know they did well.


Create a schedule that is practical for you to maintain. If you can't stick to your schedule, your dog can't be expected to, either. Do not let your dog free feed until house training has been established.

Try to avoid giving too many dog snacks or dog foods that may upset your pet's stomach. Set a bed time and wake-up time for your dog (this also includes naps); the closer you stick to this, the less nighttime accidents there will be. You should always let the dog out after waking up and before bed. The dog may also need to go out after situations where it may be badly scared or wound up after a rowdy play session.

Within two to three days most dogs will be able to keep control for 8 hour intervals at night, but keep your daytime schedule flexible.

Supervise in the House:

You can avoid accidents by knowing where your dog is and what he is doing around the house. If play abruptly stops and you notice that he starts looking for a "good spot" then he needs to go. If an accident does happen, firmly but quietly say "No" - don't yell, then take the dog straight to his bathroom area. You need to pay attention to your dog until they have significant bladder and bowel control.

If you can't supervise the dog for a period of time, put the dog in a confinement area prepared with papers, or confine him to the room where you are. Try to keep the dog with you when you're watching TV or on the computer.

When you can't be with your dog, provide the same confined room with papers. Don't leave food or water in the room or give them too many dog treats. Try to feed your dog two hours before you leave so he has time to digest and go before you leave. Don't leave the dog unattended, without water, or unable to relieve itself for more than 8 hours.

Taking the dog out:

Take your pet on dog leash to the designated "toilet area." Stand quietly so that the dog can find the right spot without being distracted. Do not praise the dog during his search. If after about five minutes your dog hasn't gone to the bathroom, return him to the house, but keep an eye on him; after half an hour try again.

As the dog starts to relieve himself; calmly praise him. When the dog has finished relieving himself, praise him more enthusiastically, letting him know that you are very proud of him.

Remember your dog's routine. Some dogs will go two or three times per outing in the morning, but only twice per outing in the evening. Urination is often followed by defecation, while some dogs will do the reverse.

Even if the weather is bad, don't let your dog know that you don't want to be going outside with him. This will teach the dog that even in bad weather he needs to go outside.

Catching the dog "in the act":

Without yelling, firmly say "No." If you still don't have the dog's attention, clap your hands. Get the dog outside, to the designated bathroom area. If the dog relieves himself outside praise him. Proceed with the general routine.

It's important to use a cleanser with a deodorizer, if the dog smells his own scent as having been used as a bathroom area, the dog will continue to use the area. Here's a helpful tip - If the cleanser is not able to eliminate enough of the scent so that the dog can not detect it, you can help mask the scent over with vanilla extract. Just one or two drops will make it impossible for the dog to smell any lingering odor.

If you find a mess after the fact:

Don't punish the dog. Accept the fact that you were not paying attention. Don't show the dog that you are upset. Calmly put the dog on his leash and bring him to the location of the accident. With the dog at your side, firmly scold the accident; do not scold the dog.

Blot up some urine, or pick up some stool with a piece of paper and take it to the designated bathroom area. Place the paper on the ground and with the dog watching praise the potty for being in the "right" place. Temporarily leave the paper there; remove it when the dog isn't watching.

Clean up the remaining mess in the house as outlined above.
Reprinted from dog.com website

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