Reward Zone

If your dog consistently expect to receive a treat at your left side in heel position he will gravitate to being there.

Practice delivering treats to your dog in this spot.  Start  with a closed left hand full of treats.  Hold it at your belly button.   Deliver treats one after another to your dog in this position moving your hand from your belly button outside to your hip and then down to your dog’s nose.  Then drop a treat on the floor and take one step to

the side.  Keep your hand at your belly button.  If your dog has an expectation of getting treats at your left side he will move back into position on your left side.  When he does, click/yes and starting again with the same motion on your left side.

Start practicing  this drill in your home and then do it again in your yard and then outside.

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Loose Leash Walking – Corrections for pulling

By Loupeznik (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsThe goal is to NOT let your dog have the reward of moving forward or sniffing as a result of pulling.  There are a few ways to accomplish that.

When your dog pulls… immediately stop walking.  This is really hard for many people because their dogs are strong.  Its also really hard on the shoulders.  You can make it easier by making a knot in your leash that you hold in your left hand.  As soon as the dog pulls the leash out of your left hand, clasp both of your hands at your core as you stop walking.  Wait for your dog to release tension and encourage him to come back to you.

Another option: immediately turn around and walking the other direction when the dog pulls.  Here is a good video from local trainer Glenn Massie.

Remember, while on walks, yes or click your dog anytime he is walking nicely at your side.  See my other blog post on Tips for Loose Leash Walking.

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Loose Leash Skills – Backwards, Forwards and Turns

This great video from All Dogs’ Gym will remind you of a walking skills game to practice with your dogs to get them moving with you.  Use your marker word or click for the dog moving with you.  This is a good one to do in your yard and then on the sidewalk in front of your house providing its not too distracting for your dog.





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Loose Leash Walking – No Pulling Tips

By I, Lilly M, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2312845

Tips for Training a Dog NOT to Pull

Use a tether at home.  If the tether is firmly attached to something solid the dog will learn that when he pulls nothing moves and he doesn’t get anywhere.  Its best st start this when the dog is a puppy but its never too late.

Learn to use a long line on walks in areas where you feel safe, so that your dog can explore more and have less opportunity to pull.

Establish  reward zone for your dog at your left side and then your Continue reading

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Hand Touches (Targeting)

Hand Touch (Targeting)

The hand touch is a form of “targeting” — meaning your dog touches his nose or feet to something.  This is super useful for heeling, calling your dog, tricks, getting your dog into position, relieving anxious behavior, and more.  Dogs in movies learn to go Continue reading

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Barking Tips

Establish a Barking Interrupter

The interrupter is a special sound that gives your dog something to do instead of barking.

Start this like you do so many other drills — by building value for the sound that you will use to interrupt barking. I like “shhhht.” Its short, unusual, and easy to use.

Say “shhht” then treat immediately. Do this 15-20 times with great treats in a number of locations — by the front door, in the car (parked of course!), and especially on your dog’s place by the door. Don’t ask for any behavior at this time.

Do several sets of this drill over a few days and DONT USE IT FOR BARKING YET!

Continue reading

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Novice Obedience – Beginning Manners

Below are resources to help you practice skills that you and your dog are learning in my Novice Obedience/Beginning Manners class.  Private session clients can benefit from these, too.

Get off to a good start!  Spend adequate time on Charging up Your Marker and  Attention Games. These are important foundations.  Resources appear by class number. However, what we cover in class will vary!  There are so many ways to teach a behavior, and I don’t have videos of all of ways you can train your dog.

Sometimes, when I think it is helpful, I have provided links to good resources created by other trainers.

Try to practice two or three times a day for 5-10 minutes each time.

Thank you. I’ll see you and your dog in class.

Class #1

Charge up your marker — “Yes!,” click, or even better…both!
Do this three times a day, with 20 treats each time, for three days.

Attention Game: Watch Me

Management for Good Behavior: Feed Your Dog in Thirds
Use feeding to train and entertain your dog to prevent unwanted behaviors

Management for Good Behavior: Tether, Gate, Pen, Crate
These will help with house training, chewing, begging, and more

Learn How Your Dog Communicates The Family Dog

Keep people and dogs safe together by speaking dog

Get equipment that you need.  See this post for some of the products I like.  I often have some items for sale that if you bring cash to class.

Learn How Dogs Learn. This will help you become a better trainer, help your dog learn more quickly, and avoid troublesome mistakes.

Class #2

Attention Game: I’m Worth It This game helps teach your dog to give you attention and to move with you.  It is the beginning of loose leash walking, recall, and so many other important behaviors.

Practice LURING.    Lure her to sit, down, around your legs, and especially into heel position!  This will help you with all kinds of skills down the road and help teach your dog where you want her to be.

Lure your dog to Sit, Down, and Stand

Catch your dog doing what you like  with CAPTURING  Remember behaviors that are reinforced are behaviors that continue.

Class #3

Attention plus Distraction

Use  Sit To Say Please in your every day life with every day “life rewards.”  Use it at the door for going outside, for getting up on the couch, and bring your ideas on this to class!

Start Sit to Say Please with the food bowl.

Barking Solutions!  If your do not have a barking problem now, get yourself ready to prevent one by knowing what to do.

Practice “Find It

Practice The Name Game

REMEMBER!!!! Take treats on walks and click/yes and reward your dog every time they look at you, walk nicely by your side or sit at corners or at a manageable teaching distance from other dogs ( 15 feet or more for many dogs).

Class #4

Practice Hand Touches

Review Loose Leash Walking Tips

Establish a Reward Zone for delivering treats to your dog on the left side.  Build lots of value for your dog being there.

Practice Loose Leash Walking by getting your dog to move with you.  The first drill is more free form, good to practice in your yard or even your living room.  The second drill gets your dog moving in a line with you, while building lots of value for following you.

Review and practice  Loose Leash Walking Corrections

Teach your dog to Move With You backwards, turning, and forward

What to do about Jumping Up

Accustom your dog to the long line. Have him wear it and drag it around, supervised, at home and in a few other locations.   We want him to be used to it at class.

Class #5

Be the cookie when you call your dog.

Practice “Touch”   Then when you are done practice “find it. ”  Then stitch them all together!

Review Be The Cookie as practice for calling your dog.

Take treats on your walks!  Click/yes and reward attention to you.   Mark and reward your dog for being at your left side.

Accustom your dog to the long line.   Have him wear it for 5-10 minutes per day when he is having fun and you can supervise him. The might be while eating a chew, or even just sniffing around the yard.

Class #6

Who’s Your Momma  – Put some treats in your pocket when the dog isn’t looking.  Give on to a friend.  Ask that friend to stand in front of your dog with the cookie in their closed fist, not looking at the dog or moving much.  You walk about 5 feet away.  When your dog realizes he wont get the cookie from your friend, he will do something to disengage from them  — click/yes, encourage him to you and give him a cookie and praise when he gets to you.

Practice the release

Practice Bungee Stays 

Here is another good video by local trainer Glen Massie

The Do Nothing Exercise (from Train to Adopt) helps teach dogs to be calm.

Class #7

here is a link to help you practice “Leave It” – remember this drill is about teaching your dog its good to take its nose away from things.

“Leave It” – Get Started with Impulse Control and Good Manners

More on leash walking that covers some of the techniques we used.
The woman in this video (Emily Larlham/Kikopup) has many great free videos on her channel.  Check her out on youtube.

Remember to practice your walking skills including the “turn and go” that we did last week. This is a skill that you need to quickly avoid situations on leash!

Practice “leave it”   Try it with your hand on the floor and your hand on the ground. Here’s another great video by Donna Hill.  Try practicing leave it with your dog on leash.

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Call Your Dog to Come (Successfully) – Be The Cookie

By daveynin, USA via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to call your dog to come to you, it helps if your dog is motivated and eager to do it.  That’s what I mean by “being the cookie.”  Turn yourself into a reward.  Here are some things that you can do to “be the cookie.”

Use the Right Sounds

Scientific research by PhD behaviorist and author Patricia demonstrated that short staccato sounds have a special character that encourages fast movement — and that is what you want to when your dog comes to you, right?  Its no secret that certain sounds have certain character — minor chords are more melancholy, hard loud sounds startle and get your heart going and may even provoke fear.

As it turns out, short staccato upbeat sounds can have the effect of encouraging your dog to move to you!  That is why you need to pick a recall cue that encourages your dog to come to you.   Think of  something rapid and upbeat with a few syllables, like “pup-pup-pup.”  I like “Gin-ger-Touch!” for my dog.  (Here is an article by Dr. McConnell about her research.)

Tapping your legs or clapping your hands can help, too!

Move Backwards

Dogs love to chase.  If you run away from your dog he will be motivated to run after you!!  On the other hand if you chase your dog he will almost surely run away, and have alot of fun doing it!

Reward Your Dog

Its ALWAYS a good idea to praise your dog and give her a cookie for coming back to you.

Let Your Dog Go Again

If every time you call your dog you put on his leash and take him away from something fun he will not want to come to you.  Be The Cookie by calling him, grabbing his collar, giving him a cookie and then telling him to go play again.  He will love you for it.

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Capturing – Catch Your Dog Being Good

Photo By Madisonminis, wikimedia

Capturing means  “catch your dog being good.” More specifically, it means click/yes and reward her immediately for doing a behavior that you like.  Behaviors that are reinforced are behaviors that continue!

This is why when you are in training mode, it is really helpful to wear a treat pouch, or have a pocket stuffed with treats, or have a bunch of bowls Continue reading

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Sit, Down, and Stand

Teaching Sit with Luring

Teaching sit is easy if you get the mechanics right.

1 – Say sit and put a treat to the dogs nose

2. then move your baited treat hand up so the dogs nose moves up.

For many dogs, steps 1&2 are enough.

This is true for the dog in this video. The trainers this video is using luring (Say it, show it, pay it.)

HOWEVER, with some dogs may you may need to push your hand back down to their nose a bit so that they drop their butt.  This is especially true for small dogs or jumpy dogs.

Teaching Sit Using Capturing

Another good way to teach sit is with capturing.  For many dogs if you stand in front of them with your hands clasped at your waist and some good treats in them they will eventually sit.  As soon as they sit, click/yes and treat.  In this video with kids they are just waiting for the fog to offer the sit, then they click and treat.

Here are some videos on down and stand

Videos are from two leadership voices in the training movement, Ian Dunbar and the Karen Pryor Training Academy.


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