Trick Tuesday: Frisbee Juggling

Welcome back to Trick Tuesday!  Every Tuesday, another trick tutorial.

This week, we’ll be teaching our dogs Frisbee Juggling!  This trick is a simple and fun way to build your dogs catching and dropping skills.  Make sure you have a solid understanding of Frisbee basics.  If you missed our Trick Tuesday video on Frisbee foundation, you can view the video here:

Method: Retrieving
Skill Level: Advanced
What you’ll need: Dog, multiple frisbees

Happy training!!!

4 Dog Training Resolutions To Keep for 2015

new-years-dogA New Year is upon us and with that comes the tradition of the Resolution!  I will lose 10 pounds.  I will clean my house more often.  I will remember to tell my loved ones how important they are to me…  We wanted to include our dog training.  Thinking about the most important things we could, we came up with a list of 4 resolutions that will make the time and dedication you give to your dogs a success.

1 – I will Listen to My Dog – If you remember our post on The Yellow Dog Project, then you’ll remember how important it is to listen to what your dog is telling you.  Keep an open mind and an open ear when it comes to your dog’s needs and making them a wonderful, easy to manage companion will be a piece of cake.

2 – I Will React Fairly – All too often, as humans, we let our emotions dictate our reactions.  The unfair part of this is that it doesn’t help the dog and often hurts your relationship.  When things aren’t going as you’d like, it’s important to take a deep breath and think about how you are going to proceed.  Reacting with frustration or anger will do nothing to help your dog learn.

3 – I Will Adjust – Being fluid in your training is important.  Dogs are all different.  Just because a method worked well with a previous dog, that doesn’t mean it will work with the one you are currently training.  Be open to trying new methods and new ideas until you hit on the one that works for the dog you are training.

4 –  I Will Not Give Up – When things aren’t coming together as you’d like, try, try again!  Keep working until your dog gets the idea.  Be persistent, kind and fair and help your dog understand what you are looking for.  You won’t regret putting in the extra effort when things come together.

As you work through your New Years Resolutions, remember that your dog will give you honest feedback on how well you are keeping them.  Take that information to heart and let it be your guide as you build and learn about your beloved companion.  They will definitely return the favour!

Trick Tuesday: Frisbee Vault

Welcome back to Trick Tuesday!  Every Tuesday, another trick tutorial.

This week, we’ll be teaching our dog’s a Frisbee back vault!  This one is a bit more complicated.  Make sure you have a solid understanding of Frisbee basics.  If you missed last week’s Trick Tuesday where we introduced the “take” command, you can view the video here:

Method: Retrieving
Skill Level: Advanced
What you’ll need: Food, dog, frisbee

Happy training!!!

4 Easy Steps to House Training Success

cute-wallpapers-wallpaper-animals-wallpapers-puppy-sleeping-cute-puppies-wallpaper-41287Housetraining can be a daunting task if you don’t go about it right.  With proper supervision and timely responses, any owner can have a fully housetrained puppy in no time.

1 – SUPERVISE – this really is the key.  The most crucial step in the process.  If you aren’t watching and the dog has an accident in the house, it’s a lost training opportunity.  Don’t think that disciplining after the fact will help.  It never will.  It’s crucial that you actively supervise your puppy so that any accidents can be caught as they occur and proper feedback can be given.  This may include a soft scold followed by bringing the puppy outside.  No harsh corrections are needed or warranted.  If you cannot supervise, use an appropriate crate.

2 – SCHEDULE – initially, this is very important.  Learn about your puppy and their bathroom habits.  Keeping a journal can be very helpful.  Most puppies will need to pee after sleeping, eating and playing.  Make sure you take them outside after these activities.  Use your leash to direct them where you want them to eliminate and praise them when they go.

3 – FEEDBACK – be sure that you are able to praise your puppy when they go outside and scold them when they go inside.  Any missed accidents are wasted opportunities and possible rehearsals of the wrong behaviour.  This will work against you.

4 – RESPONSIBILITY – once your puppy understands that they should eliminate outside, it’s time to put the onus of responsibility on them to ask to go there.  Decide how you’d like to have your dog notify you that they need to go out and set it up.  For example, you may want your pup to come to you, sit and stare.  When you need to take your puppy out, start with them at that door, ask them to sit and look at you and as their reward, open the door to allow them out.  As the scenario progresses, move further from the door.  Initially, just a step or two, then progress to another room.  Ask the puppy to sit and look at you, when they do, reward them by moving to the door and allowing them out.

With some diligence and information, any puppy can be well housetrained in no time!

Happy training!!!

Trick Tuesday: More Frisbee Skills – Teaching “Take”

Welcome back to Trick Tuesday!  Every Tuesday, another trick tutorial.

This week, we will continue on with our dog’s Frisbee skills!  Starting with a basic “take” trick, we’ll progress to teaching them to jump over our leg to catch the Frisbee.  If you missed last week’s Trick Tuesday where we introduced the Frisbee, you can view the video here:

Method: Retrieving
Skill Level: Advanced
What you’ll need: Food, dog, frisbee

Happy training!!!

Boarding Dogs: 6 Steps to Limit Stress

melbourne-pet-kennelsBoarding can be a stressful experience for dogs and humans.  Being prepared and aware of some of the options and concerns can really help make it a reasonable experience for both yourself and your dog.

So what can you do to ensure a pleasant stay?

1 – Have a list of your concerns to ask the business.  These should include things like:

  • Veterinary information and what steps the facility will take in the event of an emergency
  • Insurance information for the boarding facility
  • Where will the dog be kept through the day/night?
  • What exercise the dog will get?
  • How many and what kind of dogs (if any) will be interacting with yours?
  • What kind of supervision will the interactions will get?
  • What inoculations are required?
  • What do they feed?  Some kennels will insist on feeding their own food while others want you to maintain your dog’s current diet.
  • How big will your dog’s area be?
  • Will they have an individual area?

2 – Bring some things that will help your dog feel at home.  These may include their favourite toys, beds and chews.  If you have a puppy or a dog who is likely to stress, the things you include should not be potential dangers if chewed.

3 – Pick the right type of boarding facility for your dog.  There are a few main styles which include:

– in home where you send your dog to someone’s home
– in home where someone else moves into your home
– kennel environment which can include a daycare

What dogs should go where?

In home:
– puppies – puppies can get put off easily by big, noisy environments.  Young puppies especially can have life altering experiences if they are put into overwhelming kennel situations.  The noise of the other dogs, unfamiliar environment and people can be really hard for a puppy to deal with.
– senior dogs – old dogs who are used to quiet environments may also find a kennel environment hard to deal with.  Physically, they may find the cold, hard floor to be too much, especially if they suffer form arthritis.

Kennel:
– Dogs who require a lot of exercise can benefit from an environment that provides stimulation through daycare or board & train programs.  Extra exercise and fun through the day will help them relax through the evening.

4 – Be sure to include a list of instructions such as medications, dietary or social restrictions, as well as anything else the staff should know about your dog.

5 – Try overnight first.  Set your dog up with a single day/night stay prior to your 2-week vacation to  help them acclimate to the new environment.  Let the staff know that you would like feedback on how the dog made out.

6 – Book early!  Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your dog’s stay.  This will lead to a rushed decision that may be the wrong one.  Doing your research and planning their boarding well in advance will ensure you feel confident about the decision you’ve made for their stay.

Enjoy your vacation!

Trick Tuesday: Introduce Your Dog to Frisbee Tricks

Welcome back to Trick Tuesday!  Every Tuesday, another trick tutorial.

This week, we are going to start to teach our dogs some Frisbee skills!  In order to have a successful Frisbee dog, your dog must enjoy retrieving.  Teach them to first love bringing objects back to you before considering the game of Frisbee.

Method: Retrieving
Skill Level: Advanced
What you’ll need: Food, dog, frisbee

Happy training!!!

What a Beggar!!! 4 Quick steps to Stop Begging at the Dinner Table

Dog-Begging-for-FoodPeople often say that they don’t want to use “human food” to train as they don’t want their dogs to learn to beg at the dinner table. In reality, this rationalization is very far from the true reason dogs learn to beg while you eat. In actuality, you can feed your dog kibble from the table and they will learn to beg just as quickly as if they get human scraps.

As a dog owner, burn this phrase into your brain: DOGS DO WHAT’S REINFORCING! If you never learn anything else of importance about how dogs think, learn this!!! Dogs will repeat behaviours that earn them reinforcement. The only tricky part is figuring our what that particular dog finds rewarding. Most dogs love food and often dogs love petting, praise and play. That’s just basic insight into canine nature.

So how does knowing this help us teach our dogs not to be pests at the dinner table? Simple! Decide what you would prefer your dogs do and reward them for that. For example, you might prefer your dogs spend family meals tucked on their bed in the corner. Get ready with your training plan!

1 – Without the distraction of dinner, teach your dog to go to their bed and lie down with some tasty treats as reinforcement.

2 – Use a variable reward schedule to build duration on the bed

3 – Once your dog is reliable without the family dinner going on, add it in. Be prepared to train through if your dog has trouble. Have a leash on to help direct him if he makes mistakes

4 – Increase the duration between your rewards until you are able to reward only at the end of the meal

One final tip is that you should NEVER feed them from the dinner table. This often takes some family training lessons – especially if there are kids in the house who don’t like their vegetables. Follow these steps and soon, your dog will realize it’s far more rewarding for them to lie on their beds than it is to beg from the side of the table.

Happy Training!

Trick Tuesday: Teach your Dog to Crawl Backwards

Welcome back to Trick Tuesday!  Every Tuesday, another trick tutorial.

This week, we are going to teach your dogs to crawl BACKWARDS!  We’ll do this by combining our “down” skill with our “back up” trick.  If you missed the backup trick tutorial, you can view it here: http://youtu.be/tCJNt2maTto?list=UU5QwYlOxcT1higtcJVGzCCg

Method: Capturing
Skill Level: Advanced
What you’ll need: Food, dog, conditioned reinforcer, previously taught trick (back up)

Happy training!!!

Training From the Dog’s Perspective

Have you ever wondered what things look like from your dog’s perspective?  We took an opportunity to “be the dog” with Ken and Rad, and the use of a “Go-Pro” camera.  I think it’s safe to say that Rad was having a great time working through the Grade 1, Lesson #1 demo with proud-Papa, Ken!  Watch them train Look at Me, Walking on Lead, Coming When Called and Emotional Control exercises: