Dog Training – Teaching the SIT Behavior

OBJECTIVE: To teach your dog to get into a SIT position, wherever they are, when given a single visual or verbal cue and to remain in position until released or given another cue.

Sit, color copy-witht textRemember, you must remain quiet during these exercises so that your dog can concentrate on learning and not become distracted. All communication will be via hand signal and the clicker. Do not put your hands on the dog as this will detract from learning. Praise such as “Good Dog” is okay after you have clicked and treated.

For this exercise, you are going to start by using a treat to lure the dog into the proper position, then click and treat as soon as the dog does what we expect. You will want to quickly wean away from having the treat in your hand before you click.

  1. Place a treat in the palm of your hand and cover it with your thumb. Allow your dog to sniff the treat. Make certain the dog is targeting by moving your hand from side to side. If your dog is following the treat he is targeting.
  2. With the clicker in one hand and a treat in the other, lure your dog into a sit by slowly moving the treat up and over your dog’s nose and head. Hold the treat right up to your dog’s nose. The goal when luring your dog to sit is to get their head up. Once the head is up and back, the rear typically falls into a sit. Note: If your dog jumps up, you are holding the treat too high or too far away from the dog. If your dog backs up you can start by practicing this exercise in a corner.
  3. The precise instant your dog’s rear hits the floor, click, and then feed him the while he remains sitting.other than the one you used for a lure. Do not be alarmed if your dog gets up immediately after eating the treat. Remember, the click marks the end of the behavior and the beginning of the reward process. If your dog remains sitting, simply take a step back and your dog should get up. Repeat this step or no more than 3 to 5 repetitions.
  4. Next, mimic the same motion as in step 2 only without the food lure in hand, rewarding the dog with a click and treat for every sit. With your palm facing up, gradually start giving the signal further away from your dog, as this will become your hand signal for sit. While we will continue to reward the dog, it is important to phase out the use of the lure and wait for the dog to respond to the hand signal. Repeat this step for 3 to 5 repetitions.
  5. Now we will start to build some duration into the behavior by beginning to delay the click. For example, the next time your dog sits, silently count to two before clicking and treating. Yo-yo the amount of time you pause before clicking from immediate to up to 5 seconds. Yo-yoing, as we call it, means do not making the behavior more difficult by increasing the expected duration every repetition. For example a five behavior series might look like this; instant click, wait 2 seconds, wait 1 second, instant click, wait 2 seconds. Do this for several repetitions.
  6. Move to a new location and repeat steps 1 through 5 until your dog is readily offering to sit in response to your visual cue. Practice this behavior in at least 5 different locations.
  7. Change your orientation to your dog. If you have been standing, try sitting in a chair while repeating steps 1 through 6. If your dog has always been directly in front of you try having them sit by your side. You may need to return to the lure, but if this is the case be sure to only lure once or twice. Continue until your dog is readily offering to sit with you in varied positions.
  8. Change your distance to the dog. Either have someone else hold the dog’s leash or attach the end of the leash to something secure. Step 1 foot away from your dog and use your hand cue for sit. Continue until your dog is readily offering to sit on a single hand cue. Continue to practice this at varying distances to the dog.
  9. When your dog is responding well in a wide range of environments, you are ready to add the verbal cue. When you start adding the verbal cue, practice in a familiar environment with no distractions.
  • Say “sit” approximately 1 to 2 seconds before you give your dog the hand signal for “sit”. It is important to briefly separate the verbal cue “sit” from the hand signal “sit” because if the cues occur simultaneously the dog is more apt to respond to the visual cue and not learn the audible cue as well.
  • The instant the dog is sitting, click and treat.
  • Do NOT immediately repeat the verbal cue if your dog does not sit. Ignore the dog for about 15 seconds before trying again. If the dog does not perform the behavior after 2 or 3 attempts you are not ready to add the verbal cue to the hand signal. Wait until the visual cue is more reliable before attempting to add the verbal cue.
  • After repeating the above sequence several times, your dog should start to associate the word “sit” with this behavior. As you work on this do not click and treat when the dog sits without your first giving them a visual or verbal cue to sit.
  1. When your dog is responding to the verbal cue, it is time to proof the behavior.
  • Work on SIT in different locations (bank, post office, class, etc.)
  • Work on SIT with you in different orientations to your dog (in front of, behind, on left side, on right side, sitting, etc.)
  • Work on SIT at various distances to your dog.
  • Work on SIT for various durations.

.

Automatic Sit

OBJECTIVE: To teach your dog two additional signals that will cue them to automatically move into the sit position. One cue will be a person approaching, which is very useful in preventing jumping. The other cue will be you stopping when you are walking with your dog. This is great for curbside safety and is an essential behavior for the AKC Canine Good Citizen test and the Therapy Dog International therapy dog test.

Note: Before starting on the Automatic Sit, your dog should reliably sit when given a verbal or visual cue in a wide variety of situations.

Automatic Sit When a Person Approaches

  1. Have several people approach you, one person at a time. When the person is within handshaking distance, give your dog a cue to sit. Click and treat as soon as your dog sits.
  2. Repeat the above step with many different people, in different locations over several days. When you think your dog is ready, do not give the cue to sit, but wait for them to do it themselves. If the dog sits within two seconds of the person being in handshaking distance, click and treat.

Automatic Sit When Stopping

  1. Put your dog on a leash and start walking. As soon you stop give them a cue to sit. Click and treat as soon as your dog sits. After the dog has consumed the treat starting walking again and after a bit, stop and again ask them to sit, clicking and treating as soon as they sit. Continue in this manner, making sure to vary the time and distance you walk in between asking for the sit.
  2. After you have completed the above steps in many locations and situations just stop and wait for the dog to sit on their own. If the dog sits within two seconds of your stopping, click and treat.

 

 

©2016, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Dog Training – Teaching the ATTENTION or LOOK Behavior

OBJECTIVE: To teach your dog to look at you when given a single visual or verbal cue and that it is safe and rewarding to do so. Remember, for most dogs, direct eye contact is confrontational and something to be avoided so if your dog appears to be reluctant to make eye contact have patience while introducing this behavior.

We teach the ATTENTION behavior because a dog that pays close attention to you and will make direct eye contact is a dog that will be easier to train. This exercise serves two very useful purposes: 1.) It trains your dog to focus on you, and 2.) It trains you to focus on your dog.

The best way to establish a solid foundation for the ATTENTION behavior is with the hand-feeding program outlined below. The more distractible your dog is, the more you will benefit from taking the time to go through the hand-feeding process. Our Cairn Terrier, Gus, had always been very distracted by vehicles, especially large trucks. I used the hand-feeding program with him to improve his attention. By the 14th day, we were able to sit on our front porch, which is on a very busy street, and Gus would remain focused on me rather than pay attention to all the vehicles whizzing by.  To his last day, attention remained one of his strongest behaviors.

Building Attention through Hand Feeding

If you have a dog which has a hard time remaining focused on you try hand feeding him for a few weeks. Instead of placing your dog’s bowl on the floor, you are going to sit down on the floor with the bowl in your lap. Every piece of kibble will come from your hands. Follow this protocol:

DAY 1

  1. Select a quiet place with as few distractions as possible (no other pets, children, noises, etc.),
  2. Take a handful of kibble and offer it to your dog, allowing him to eat out of your hand. Do this for his entire ration of kibble.

DAYS 2 & 3

  1. Go to your quiet place. Take a handful of kibble and hold it in a closed fist in front of your dog, waiting for him to make eye contact. When he does so, allow him to eat out of your hand. Do this for his entire ration of kibble.

DAYS 4 through 7

  1. Go to your quiet place. Take a handful of kibble and hold it in a closed fist in front of your dog, waiting for him to make and maintain eye contact for at least 3 seconds. When he does so, say “Take It” and then allow him to eat out of your hand. Slowly increase the duration of eye contact required, but no more than 5 to 8 seconds. Do this for his entire ration of kibble.

DAYS 8 through 10

  1. Go to a place with a low level of distractions and repeat steps 1 through 4.

DAYS 11 through 13

  1. Go to a place with a moderate level of distractions and repeat steps 1 through 4.

DAYS 14 through 16

  1. Go to a place with a high level of distractions (park, area near a busy street, school yard, etc.) and repeat steps 1 through 4.

Hopefully by now you have greatly increased your dog’s attention and willingness to focus on you.

Putting ATTENTION on Cue

The ATTENTION behavior becomes even more useful when you can get your dog to offer the behavior when you request it.

When you start working on attention do NOT concern yourself with your dog’s position (sit, down, stand, etc.) or where your dog is in relation to you. Start in a room with no distractions and concentrate all of your efforts on the specific behavior of getting the dog to look at your face and make eye contact. If your dog has a tendency to wander off, stand on your dog’s leash to keep them in place.

  1. Touch a treat to the dog’s nose.
  2. Move the treat so that it is right between your eyes. Immediately click and treat the instant your dog makes eye contact. Do this for about 3 repetitions. Note: If your dog appears to be only focusing on the treat or the clicker, keep a clicker and treat in each hand. Hold your hands out at your sides and when your dog makes eye contact, click and treat. Randomly choose which hand you click and treat from. Do not reward the dog for looking at your hands or your treat bag.
  3. Bring your index finger up between your eyes and hold it in place.  Immediately click when your dog makes eye contact, and then give him a treat. Do this for about 3 to 5 repetitions.
  4. Move your body slightly so that you are in a different position relative to your dog, repeat step 3, clicking and treating the instant your dog makes eye contact. Remember, we are no longer luring the behavior with a treat at this point, rather cueing it with a visual cue of the index finger between your eyes. We are still however clicking and treating each success.
  5. Start to work towards longer times of making eye contact (2 seconds, 5 seconds, etc.). As you work towards longer durations, move back and forth between shorter and longer times. It is important to vary the amount of time to keep the dog interested and to make sure the dog will succeed. Note: Do not attempt to hold contact for longer than 8-10 seconds as this is a may make some dogs uncomfortable and cause them to look away.
  6. Continue to work on the behavior in different environments. Situate yourself so that at times the dog has to turn their head around to you in order to make eye contact.
  7. When the dog offers the behavior reliably in several different environments, say the word “LOOK” right before they offer the behavior and click and treat.

In a few rare cases, you may find that you have a dog that acts as if you were invisible. In this case you may need to shape the Attention behavior, clicking and treating for even slightly looking in your direction.

 

 

©2016, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Behavior Consulting – Keeping A Daily Journal

To help resolve a behavioral issue (anxiety, aggression, reactivity, etc.) with your pet, we first need to understand it. One way we can get a better understanding of what is going on will depend on your observations of your pets behavior on a daily basis. The best way for you to communicate that information to is is by keeping a daily journal. We suggest that you dedicate a computer file or notebook for this purpose. If you keep your journal in a word processing file on your computer, it will make it easier for you to share it with us as we work with you.

Your journal should contain the following basic information:

  • General comments on your pets overall demeanor for that day.
  • General comments on your overall demeanor for that day.
  • A description of any positive events that occurred that day.
  • General comments on your overall day (hectic, relaxed, etc.).
  • A description of any undesirable behavior noticed, with as much detail as possible.
  • Any additional stressors that may have occurred that day or within the previous 24 hours (vet trips, children visiting, etc.).
  • An overall score for that day (1=very frustrating/difficult to 5=perfect).
  • Your goal for the next day.
  • If using the Bach Flower Remedies; the times that remedies are given, including any extra doses and why they were given (when appropriate).
  • The times that any other medications or supplements, prescribed or over-the-counter, that are being given for behavioral purposes, are given.
  • A description of any training sessions completed that day; to include the time of the sessions,  the behaviors you worked on, the people involved, the progress made, any difficulties encountered and other details.
  • A description of any desensitization and counter-conditioning sessions completed that day; to include the time of the sessions, the people involved, the environment in which they occurred, the progress made, any difficulties encountered and other details. [We will provide you with instructions on performing these sessions after your behavioral consultation. We suggest that you do not start these sessions until after meeting with us.]

We will ask you to bring this notebook with you for any future consultations or training sessions. Additionally, we may ask to have the opportunity to review this log book when refilling remedies so that we can make changes in the formulation should the need arise.

The following pages are examples of how one client completed daily journal entries.

Examples

Sunday, July 7

Bach @

  • 5:00 AM
  •  1:00 PM
  •  5:30 PM
  •  9:00 PM
  •   also extra at 2:30 PM

Rating (1-5): 4

Notes

  • Rex spent the morning with my parents. Rex was calm but lots of nervous walking until I came home.
  • Upon returning to Sunnydale Rex snapped at Fluffy 2 times while transitioning into the house. Fluffy was near Rex’s face.
  • Rex settled well after 10 minutes
  • Practiced recall (took a couple to get it)
  • Practice sit, down and stay outdoors – did well with the stay.
  • When I left the house in the AM Rex would not go in his crate

 

Monday, July 8

Bach @

  • 4:15 AM
  • 1:00 PM
  • 5:30 PM
  • 9:00 PM

Rating (1-5): 4

Notes

  • Quiet morning
  • Around 10 AM practiced
    • Sit
    • Stay
    • Down
    • Recall in house
  • Rex is responding well to lie down when in the kitchen or working in the house
  • Played hard outside with Fluffy at 12:00
  • Went for walk – lots of pulling

Tuesday, July 9

Bach @

  • 5:00 AM
  • 1:00 PM
  • 4:30 PM
  • 9:00 PM

Rating (1-5): 4

Notes

  • Great morning, very low key
  • Clicker trained
    • Paw touches
    • Sit
    • Stay
  • Went for walk – lots of pulling, at first, did well checking in during walk
  • Is slow to eat first few hand-fed bites

 

Wednesday, July 10

Bach @

  • 5:30 AM
  • 11:00 AM
  • 5:30 PM
  • 9:00 PM

Rating (1-5): 4

Notes

  • Walked in morning – reactive barking to a girl on a scooter. Stopped and waited for her to go by, no issue after.
  • Hand fed breakfast
  • Did Remedial Socialization in Piggly Wiggly parking lot – ignored all people – had chicken as treat
  • Walked before dinner
  • Had friend over
    • Introduced Rex second, Fluffy first
    • Barked 5-9x
    • Used treats to redirect towards me, away from friend
    • Very friendly with friend after 10 minutes

Thursday, July 11

Bach @

  • 5:30 AM
  • 5:30 PM
  • 8:00 PM
  • Missed one, busy day

Rating (1-5): 3

Notes

  • I was not home in the morning, but Tom said Rex had a good, quiet morning
  • Rex was very excited when I came home
  • Worked on sitting to greet with Fluffy
  • Rex snapped at Blazer while Tom and I had dinner – we put him outside and withdrew attention until we were done eating
  • Rex tried to keep Blazer from coming into the room where we had been eating.
  • Quiet rest of the night

 

Friday, July 12

Bach @

  • 5:00 AM
  • 11:00 AM
  • 6:30 PM
  • 9:00 PM

 

Rating (1-5): 5

Notes

  • Too hot for walk
  • Played outside a little – very hot
  • Clicker trained
    • Sit
    • Recall
    • Leave it
  • Worked on reactions to being startled
  • Rex’s behavior, while Tom and I had dinner, was much better

 

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

 

 

©2016, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Body Language of Fear in Dogs – Dr. Sophia Yin

This poster from Dr. Sophia Yin illustrates how a dog may use it’s body to signal they are afraid. You can download your own copy of the poster from Dr. Yin’s website at http://info.drsophiayin.com/free-poster-on-body-language-in-dogs

Body Language of Fear in Dogs

Podcast – Canine Behavior: Myths and Facts

To listen to the show <click here>

26MAR16-Canine Behavior-Myths and Facts 400x400This is a follow-up to our show of March 12 when Kate and Don discussed the AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines with Dr. Dave Cloutier from Veazie Veterinary Clinic. In that show, we discussed how behavior issues have become a significant issue and how many of those behavior problems have been caused, at least in part, by people’s misconceptions about canine behavior. This week we examine what people think they know about dogs and where that information is coming from and how reliable it is as a source of facts. We then discuss several myths about canine behavior and counter them with what science has shown to be the facts.

Myths examined include:  dogs are wolves, dogs are pack animals, people must be dominant, or Alpha over their dog, punishment and aversive tools are necessary to train a dog, dogs should work for praise alone, growls are bad, all dogs like all other dogs, crate training a dog is cruel, all dogs need a job, getting a second dog solves behavior problems, dogs do things to get revenge, dogs know right from wrong, and dogs and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Facts that we bring to light include: dogs respond very well to benevolent leadership, dogs benefit from training, food rewards work very well for training, wolf packs are about families cooperating, dogs only form loose association with other dogs,  growls are a beneficial way for a dog to communicate that they are feeling threatened, you are not a bad owner if you do not take your dog to daycare or the dog park, dogs are den animals and hence most love their crates, dogs need both mental and physical stimulation, behavior problems can be contagious, dogs know safe from dangerous, and dogs and kids are lots of work.

To listen to the show <click here>

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on The Pulse AM620, WZON, and WKIT HD3 at 12 Noon on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://www.wzonthepulse.com or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show, and can be downloaded at http://www.greenacreskennel.com/woof-meow-show/the-woof-meow-show and the Apple iTunes store.

 

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (HTTP://WWW.WORDS-WOOFS-MEOWS.COM)

Dog Behavior – Dominance: Reality or Mythhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/20/dog-behavior-dominance-reality-or-myth/

Dog Training – The Four Essentials For A Great Dog – Part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/02/02/dog-training-the-four-essentials-for-a-great-dog-part-1-knowledge-relationship-management-training/

Dog Training – The Four Essentials For A Great Dog – Part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/02/28/dog-training-the-four-essentials-for-a-great-dog-part-2/

Dogs-Dog Training: A Holistic Approach to Dog Training (Parts 1 & 2) – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/02/01/dogs-dog-training-a-holistic-approach-to-dog-training-parts-1-2/

Animal Welfare – Assessing Pets’ Welfare Using Brambell’s Five Freedoms  http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/10/01/animal-welfare-assessing-pets-welfare-using-brambells-five-freedoms/

Dog Behavior – Introduction to Canine Communication – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/01/16/dog-behavior-introduction-to-canine-communication/

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

PODCAST – The Four Essentials to A Great Doghttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/02/21/podcast-the-four-essentials-to-a-great-dog/

PODCAST – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/12/podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-1/

PODCAST – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate, part 2 – 19JUL15 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/19/podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-2/

PODCAST – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate, part 3 – 26JUL15http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/27/blog-post-27jul15-podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-3/

Handouts to Download

[Coming Soon]

Books

Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution, Raymond and Lorna Coppinger, University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Dominance: Fact or Fiction, Barry Eaton, 2002.

Dominance Theory and Dogs Version 1.0, James O’Heare, DogPsych Publishing, 2003.

Don’t Shoot the Dog – The New Art of Teaching and Training (2nd edition), Karen Pryor, Bantam Books, 1999.

On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals, Turid Rugaas, Dogwise Publishing, 2006.

Stress in Dogs, Martina Scholz and Clarissa von Reinhardt, Dogwise Publishing, 2007.

The Culture Clash, Jean Donaldson, James & Kenneth Publishers, 2005.

The Power of Positive Dog Training, Pat Miller, Howell Book House, 2001.

Videos

Tough Love: A Meditation on Dominance and Dogs, Anchorhold Films, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIjMBfhyNDE

 

 

©2016, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Dog Training – Preventing separation anxiety – Teaching your dog to cope with being alone

<A version of this article was published in The Maine Edge on March 2, 2016 – click to view>

naughty playful puppy dog after biting a pillow-canstockphoto11002737Dogs are social animals and actively seek out our companionship. They can quickly become accustomed to being part of a group 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whenever a new dog is brought into a home, especially a young, playful puppy, people have a tendency to interact with them constantly. While this interaction is a very important part of socialization and bonding, you need to make sure that you are not setting your puppy up for a big disappointment when you must leave him at home alone. Including some “alone training” right from the beginning will be beneficial to both your puppy and you.

Older dogs, depending on their previous circumstances, might also need to learn how to cope with being alone. For example, a dog that was housed in a shelter or kennel situation where other dogs and people were always around may have trouble coping being by themselves.

If you have not already done so, start leaving your puppy/dog alone for brief duration’s throughout the day. He needs to learn that 1) people are not always around and 2) you will come back. When leaving your puppy/dog alone, put him in his crate or a puppy-proof room. Be sure to give him some of his favorite chew toys so he can have some fun while he awaits your return. Do not make a big deal out of leaving. Just pop the puppy/dog in his area and leave.

Your puppy/dog may start to whine or bark when you leave. This is very normal. Your first impulse may be to return to the puppy/dog and try to calm him, however, that is the worst thing you can do. If you want him to stop whining, you must make sure you do not reward the puppy/dog for whining. Do not pay any attention to your puppy/dog and do not let him out until there is a lull in the whining. Reward him for being calm and quiet.

Leaving your puppy/dog at home, at the veterinarians, at the groomers or a boarding kennel should also be a very low-key, non-emotional event. Likewise, the same applies when returning to your puppy/dog. If you make leaving or returning into a big event, with lots of cuddling and petting, your puppy/dog is more likely to be stressed by your arrivals and departures. You can, and we hope you do, miss your puppy/dog when he is not with you. We just do not want to let him know that.

Start your alone training by building time slowly. Five to ten minutes is a good place to start if your puppy/dog has never been out of your site for that length of time. Like all training, we want to work in small achievable increments that the dog can handle. Continue leaving your puppy/dog alone for longer and longer periods of time.

If this behavior does not improve after a few days, consult with a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) or Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). They can help you assess the behavior and make recommendations on how to help your dog. If your dog exhibits destructive behaviors such as digging, scratching or chewing on themselves, house soiling, destructions of objects, extreme vocalization, constant pacing, digging and scratching at exits such as doors and windows in an attempt to reach you, and following you excessively, never letting you out of sight, then you should immediately discuss this situation with your veterinarian.  These are symptoms of separation anxiety which may require treatment with appropriate medications and a behavior modification program specific to separation anxiety. Your veterinarian will probably refer you to a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) to develop a behavior modification plan for your dog and your family.  Resolving separation anxiety will typically involve changes in your family’s behavior in addition to your dogs.  This is typically not an easy problem to resolve and becomes more difficult to resolve the longer it goes on. That is why teaching your dog to cope with being alone is an excellent investment of your time.

Recommended Resources

Alone Traininghttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/08/01/dog-training-alone-training/

Canine Behavior – ADAPTIL™/DAP COMFORTZONE™http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/08/14/canine-behavior-adaptild-a-p-comfortzone/

Canine Behavior – Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Canine Stresshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/01/canine-behavior-understanding-identifying-and-coping-with-canine-stress/

Dog Behavior – Crate Habituation to Reduce Anxietyhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/01/30/dog-behavior-crate-habituation-to-reduce-anxiety/

Bach Flower Remedies – Bach Rescue Remedy®http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/22/bach-flower-remedies-bach-rescue-remedy/

______________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.

©13-Mar-16, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Dog Training – The Four Essentials For A Great Dog – Part 2

< A version of this article was published in the March 2016 issue of Down East Dog News>

Don and Muppy-Fall 2015-1Last month I told you that I believe that every dog has the potential to be a great dog if their person; 1) has adequate and up to date knowledge about dogs, 2) is committed to developing and nurturing a relationship with their dog, 3) understands the importance of managing the dog and its environment, and 4) is committed to training the dog. All of this needs to happen throughout the life of the dog, as just like us, the dog is a living, breathing entity that is constantly learning and changing.

I discussed the importance of obtaining key pieces of knowledge before you even start searching for a dog and explained that the relationship between you and your dog will be the foundation of all that you will do together. This month I will address the remaining two essentials to having a great dog; management and training.

Management

Management is one of the simplest ways to resolve a behavior issue and in my experience is ironically, one of the hardest things to get many clients to consider. Far too often when someone has a behavioral issue with a dog they look for an elaborate training solution when all they need to do is to change the dog’s behavior by manipulating their environment. Management is simply taking the necessary steps to ensure your dog is not placed in a situation where they may not behave appropriately. In its simplest form, it translates to: If you do not want your puppy chewing on your new shoes, then do not leave the puppy and the shoes in the same room unsupervised.

I believe that management is essential to your dog’s training because every dog has, at least, two trainers; 1) their guardian and 2) the environment in which the dog spends its time. While you may spend an hour per day training your dog, your dog has the potential to learn from their environment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The environment in which your dog lives may consist of; other people, other animals, noises, odors, tastes, and visual and tactile stimuli that all have the potential to reward your dog. If you do not initially control your dog’s interaction with its environment, he may quickly learn behaviors that you do not want, such as tearing up magazines,  chewing on bedposts, or jumping up on people. While providing this management may seem incredibly time consuming, when done properly it will pay off as you will eventually be able to give your dog free access to your home.

Part of managing your dog also involves meeting their physical, emotional, and social needs. These needs are; 1) making sure your dog adequate access to water and appropriate food, 2) ensuring that your dog is free from physical and emotional discomfort and things that may cause them harm, 3) making sure that your dog has access to veterinary care and is free from pain, injury and disease, 4) ensuring that your dog is free from fear and distress and 5) making sure that your dog is free to express behaviors normal for their breed. The latter is especially important to consider before you get a dog, as not all normal behaviors are always appreciated by dog guardians.

Management is simple and profoundly effective. Just do it!

Training

Training involves teaching your dog and controlling the learning process. The objective of training is to have a happy dog that fits in with your lifestyle. I believe that every dog will benefit if they are trained to:

  1. Allow you to take away items that may pose a danger to them.
  2. Allow you to brush and groom them.
  3. Come when called.
  4. Walk politely on a leash.
  5. Sit or down when asked.
  6. Leave things when asked.
  7. Allow you to be near them when eating.
  8. Cope with being left alone.
  9. Quietly welcome our guests and us without jumping,
  10. Tolerate teasing children.
  11. Only urinate and defecate in specific locations on our schedule.

These are all foreign concepts to a dog and may be dangerous to them if they behaved this way in the wild. A feral dog that waited to be offered food and allowed it to be taken from him would not survive long. We must remember that dogs have instinctual needs to protect their food and themselves.

It is our responsibility to make sure our dog is trained to understand our world. When we do so, our family and friends welcome our dog and our dog is accepted in public places, and thus is allowed to be with us more frequently.

Working with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer/Professional Canine Trainer-Accredited (CPDT or PCT-A) can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to learn how you can best train a dog. Whether you work with such an individual in a group class or private one-on-one training, these highly skilled individuals can show you how to get the behaviors that you want through rewarding the dog. Equally important, they can help you learn how to extinguish the behavior you do not want; things like jumping up on people and stealing socks.

When choosing a trainer look beyond how close they are to where you live, the day of the week that classes are offered, and the cost of the training. The most important characteristic to look for in a trainer is how they train. Insist on a trainer that is committed to force-free, fear-free, and pain-free methods. That means that they will not be talking about dominance and alpha-rollovers or using tools like electronic shock collars, choke collars or prong collars. While these tools and methods were routinely used in the past; organizations such as the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), The Pet Professionals Guild (PPG) and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) are unified in their recommendations that these tools and methods should NEVER be used in the training or the behavioral management of dogs. They are not only unnecessary but are counter-productive as they inhibit the dogs ability to learn and often make a dog reactive and aggressive.

Dogs can be wonderful companions and the best way to make sure that happens with every dog is to; 1) acquire the knowledge to understand your dogs behaviors and the language unique to them as a species, 2) have fun with your dog every day as one part of nurturing your ongoing relationship,  3) manage your dog and their environment so as to meet their needs while preventing undesirable behavior and 4) invest timer and energy into training your dog not only for your benefit, but their benefit as well.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

 The Four Essentials for a Great Dog – Part 1 – Knowledge, Relationship, Management & Traininghttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/02/02/dog-training-the-four-essentials-for-a-great-dog-part-1-knowledge-relationship-management-training/

Dogs-Dog Training: A Holistic Approach to Dog Training (Parts 1 & 2)http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/02/01/dogs-dog-training-a-holistic-approach-to-dog-training-parts-1-2/

Animal Welfare – Assessing Pets’ Welfare Using Brambell’s Five Freedoms http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/10/01/animal-welfare-assessing-pets-welfare-using-brambells-five-freedoms/

Dog Behavior – Introduction to Canine Communicationhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/01/16/dog-behavior-introduction-to-canine-communication/

 

Podcasts on Don’s Blog

PODCAST – The Four Essentials to A Great Doghttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/02/21/podcast-the-four-essentials-to-a-great-dog/

PODCAST – Canine Behavior: Myths & Facts

PODCAST – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 1 http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/12/podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-1/

PODCAST – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate, part 2– 19JUL15http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/19/podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-2/

PODCAST – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate, part 3– 26JUL15http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/27/blog-post-27jul15-podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-3/

 

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)
The Four Essentials to A Great Dog – HTTP://TRAFFIC.LIBSYN.COM/WOOFMEOWSHOW/WOOFMEOWSHOW2016-02-20-FOUR_ESSENTIALS_GREAT_DOG-PODCAST.MP3

 

______________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.

©2016, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Podcast – The Four Essentials to A Great Dog

20FEB16-The Four Essentials to A Great Dog 400x400Don and Kate discuss the four essentials to a great dog. In their experience most great dogs are the result of time and effort by both the person and the dog, which is exactly what that they teach students in Green Acres Kennel Shop’s Basic Manners classes. The four essentials are; Knowledge, Relationship, Management and Training. Tune in and learn how you and your dog can become a great team and best friends for life.

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on The Pulse AM620, WZON, and WKIT HD3 at 12 Noon on Saturday. If you’re not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://www.wzonthepulse.com or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show, and can be downloaded at www.woofmeowshow.com and the Apple iTunes store.

Listen to the show –  http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow2016-02-20-Four_Essentials_Great_Dog-podcast.mp3

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

 

Dog Training – The Four Essentials for a Great Dog – Part 1 – Knowledge, Relationship, Management & Traininghttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/02/02/dog-training-the-four-essentials-for-a-great-dog-part-1-knowledge-relationship-management-training/

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Dog Training – The Four Essentials for a Great Dog – Part 1 – Knowledge, Relationship, Management & Training

Don and Muppy-Fall 2015-1< A version of this article was published in the February 2016 issue of Down East Dog News>

Most dogs become great dogs only after we invest time and energy in helping them to become the near-perfect companions we want them to be. However, I believe that every dog has the potential to be a great dog if their person; 1) has adequate and up to date knowledge about dogs, 2) wants to develop and nurture a relationship with their dog, 3) understands the importance of managing the dog and its environment, and 4) is committed to training the dog. All of this needs to happen throughout the life of the dog, as just like us, the dog is a living, breathing entity that is constantly learning and changing. This month I will discuss knowledge and relationship.

Knowledge

When someone tells me that they are considering getting a dog, I suggest that even before looking for a dog that they need to do four things. 1) learn as much as possible about dog behavior and husbandry. 2) research the characteristics of the breeds or mixes that they are considering, paying particular attention to health and behavioral issues associated with the breed or breeds. 3) learn how dogs and people can best communicate with one another. 4) investigate what we need to do to meet our dogs, physical, mental and emotional needs. This is no small list, but one that I feel is essential if you want to have a great dog. I recommend that people do this before deciding on a dog because not all breeds or individual dogs will be the best choice for an individual and their lifestyle. The dog world has created a wide variety of breeds, many that were bred for very specific purposes. Some of what these breeds have been bred to do, may not fit within our perception of a great dog, so we want to choose wisely, because once we have the dog, it should be for a lifetime.

There are many sources where one can obtain knowledge about dogs, but not all are always reliable choices. If someone is trying to sell you, or give you a dog, it is essential to understand that their primary motivation is you leaving with a dog. They have a bias in any transaction, and even though their heart may be in the right place, they may not give you the best, unbiased information.

Books, videos, the internet, family, and friends can all be sources of information about dogs; however, the information they present may be incorrect or outdated, in which cases it may be detrimental. Information from the internet can be especially questionable (see http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/09/03/can-you-trust-what-you-read-on-the-internet/). Kennel and daycare operators and groomers typically have interactions with a wide variety of dogs as do veterinarians and can share their perceptions on certain breeds. The latter can be especially helpful in assessing health issues related to a specific breed.

A dog’s behavior is often a major determining factor in whether or not they become a great dog, I recommend that anyone getting a dog work with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer/Professional Canine Trainer-Accredited (CPDT or PCT-A) or Certified Dog Behavior Consultant or Professional Canine Behavior Consultant-Accredited (CDBC or PCBC-A), both before and after getting a dog. Individuals with these credentials have demonstrated their knowledge by successfully completing a comprehensive exam. Additionally, they are required to complete regular, continuing education in order to maintain their certification. Without question, these individuals are the most knowledgeable resource for current, up to date information about dog behavior and training. If you do choose to obtain your knowledge without the assistance of one of these excerpts, be wary of anyone telling you the following; 1) you must be dominant or alpha to train a dog, 2) dogs should work for praise not food, 3) dogs have an innate and almost “saint-like” desire to please us, and 4) dogs know right from wrong. These are four of the most harmful myths still being perpetuated about dogs.

Relationship

The relationship or bond between you and your dog is the foundation for everything you will do together. It involves doing things together that you both enjoy and incorporating your dog into as much of your life as possible.

You can train your dog all you want, but first and foremost you must have a mutually positive relationship. You need to like and enjoy your dog, and your dog needs to like and enjoy you. Many problems perceived as training problems are in fact relationship problems.

The following are some important tips to help you with both training and your relationship with your dog.

  1. Spend quality time with your dog every day. Train, play, exercise, and enjoy quiet time with your dog.
  2. Acknowledge your dog many times throughout the day. Make eye contact, smile at them, and give them a gentle touch when he is not demanding attention.
  3. Always acknowledge and appreciate good behavior. Too often we only pay attention when the dog does something we do not want them to do.
  4. Know your dog’s likes and dislikes and be a responsible guardian and remove your dog from tense situations whenever possible.
  5. Understand and accept your dog’s breed characteristics. Learn how they can be used to make training easier and learn which characteristics may make training more frustrating.
  6. Remember that your dog has its own species-specific needs and make sure that you meet them
  7. When something goes awry, such as your favorite slippers being chewed or the dog racing out of an open door, examine the situation to see what you can do differently in the future to prevent the behavior from occurring again -either management or training or both – and then do it!
  8. Accept your dog for the unique canine spirit that they are. As much as we might want a dog that excels at dog sports, loves visiting a nursing home, or wants to snuggle with every person they meet, not every dog is going to become the particular dog that we had hoped would be our companion.

Next month I will focus on the two remaining essentials to having a great dog; management and training.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (HTTP://WWW.WORDS-WOOFS-MEOWS.COM)

Dogs-Dog Training: A Holistic Approach to Dog Training (Parts 1 & 2)http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/02/01/dogs-dog-training-a-holistic-approach-to-dog-training-parts-1-2/

Animal Welfare – Assessing Pets’ Welfare Using Brambell’s Five Freedoms http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/10/01/animal-welfare-assessing-pets-welfare-using-brambells-five-freedoms/

Dog Behavior – Introduction to Canine Communicationhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/01/16/dog-behavior-introduction-to-canine-communication/

 

Podcasts on Don’s Blog

PODCAST – The Four Essentials to A Great Doghttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/02/21/podcast-the-four-essentials-to-a-great-dog/

PODCAST – Canine Behavior: Myths & Facts

PODCAST – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/12/podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-1/

PODCAST – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate, part 2 – 19JUL15 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/19/podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-2/

PODCAST – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate, part 3 – 26JUL15 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/27/blog-post-27jul15-podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-3/

______________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.

 

©2016, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Dog Behavior – Crate Habituation to Reduce Anxiety

<Last updated 17MAY16>

 

dog going in crate-canstockphoto3233849Dogs are den animals and often find security and comfort in a den-like space such as a crate, under a table, or in some other small, confining area. In order for a crate to offer your dog security, it must be “den like.” Crates often work best when they are not a wire cage, but are one of the airline style crates that are plastic or fiberglass, and are enclosed on all sides except for a door at the front. In the wild, a den would typically be enclosed on all sides except for an entrance.

If you have a wire crate, you can convert it into a den by placing a board on top of it to make it more den-like. Make sure the board extends a couple of inches beyond both sides of the crate so you can hang a blanket over the board to close in the sides. You do not want the dog to be able to pull the blanket into the crate. Many wire crates have a pan at the bottom which can make noise and move around unexpectedly, which some dogs may find unsettling. You may wish to remove the pan or place an old towel or blanket over the tray, but make sure that your dog will not rip it apart and ingest it.

A crate should be large enough for your dog to sit up, lie down and turn around comfortably. However, if still housetraining, the dog should NOT have enough room to sleep in one corner and eliminate in another part of the crate.

Some beds are specifically made for dog crates, but I do not recommend them for dogs with anxiety issues, as they will often chew and possibly ingest items like this when left in the crate. Until you know your dog will do well in the crate, and is housetrained, I would recommend you do NOT use any bedding material. Muppy Under the End Table

Place the crate in an area that is quiet, but where your dog can still see and hear you. Remember, dogs are social animals and want to be with the rest of the family. They do not like feeling isolated. Putting the crate in your bedroom at night will help to strengthen the bond between you and your dog by allowing him to sleep near you.

Do not to abuse the use of the crate. We want the dog to like the crate so NEVER use it for punishment. If your dog spends a significant amount of time in a crate, it will also need a significant amount of time to exercise and play.

If Your Dog Is Already Acting Negatively Towards the Crate

Some dogs have already had a bad experience in a crate and will panic if you try to put them in a crate. In this case, we need to go slower and start with something crate-like, but different. What I am going to suggest will NOT confine the dog, thus, active management is mandatory, but will hopefully allow them to acclimate gradually to a crate-like environment.

Find a small table, a card table can work nicely for most size dogs, and start practicing the following exercises:

  1. Toss a treat or a favorite toy under the table, so your dog goes underneath to investigate. Do this a couple of times a day for several days.
  2. Start feeding your dog his meals under the table. Place the dish right up near the front of the table so the dog barely has to put his head in, to eat. Over several meals, as the dog becomes more comfortable, start putting the dish further back under the table.
  3. Once the dog is happily eating and spending time under the table, get an old blanket or some pieces of cardboard and cover two sides of the table so that it is now semi-enclosed. The front and back should still be open. Continue the exercises above with this newly configured table, recognizing that you may need to start slowly to get your dog comfortable.
  4. When the dog is happily spending time under the table with two sides enclosed, enclose the back of the table and continue the exercises you started above. After the dog is comfortable in this setting, try introducing a crate as noted below.

Introducing the dog to the crate

  1. Remove the door to the crate and let your dog explore it. Toss in a treat or a favorite toy so he goes in to investigate. Do this a couple of times a day for several days.
  2. Start feeding your dog his meals in the crate. Place the dish right up near the front of the crate so the dog barely has to put his head in, in order to eat. Over several meals, as the dog becomes more comfortable, start putting the dish further back in the crate.
  3. At the same time, you start feeding your dog his meals in the crate, you can also begin some other crate exercises to practice during the day. Have your dog go into the crate and feed him a high-value reward (cheese, a piece of chicken, something really good) through the door of the crate. While doing this, he is learning he gets the best rewards while in his crate. To keep these rewards high value, he should only get this treat for this particular exercise.
  4. When your dog is comfortable going all the way into the crate to eat his meal, put the door back on and quietly close the door behind them, but do NOT latch it. Let him come out when he wishes.
  5. Pick a word such as “kennel” and use it immediately before you put the dog in its crate for eating. When the dog is comfortable with the door closed, start latching it, but stay close.
  6. When the dog is comfortable staying in the crate eating with the door latched, start leaving them in the crate for longer periods after they finish eating.
  7. When you can keep the door latched for 5 minutes after the dog has stopped eating, start leaving the room. Be out of site but close by so you can hear your dog if they become anxious. Return after 5 minutes as long as the dog has not become anxious, and let the dog out of the crate. Do not make a big deal out of letting him out. Continue this until you can stay out of site, with the dog in the crate for at least 15 minutes. What we hope will happen is that the dog will eventually lie down and settle in the crate.
  8. Start using the word “kennel” to put your dog in the crate for short periods other than at mealtime. Give them a sturdy toy like a stuffed Kong or Nylabone to interact with while in their crate. The first time you do this, just step out of site for 5 minutes or less. If the dog does not panic or become anxious, continue to gradually, in baby steps, increase their amount of time in the crate with you out of site.
  9. When you can leave the dog in the crate for at least 30 minutes, with you just out of site, try leaving the dog in the crate, and leaving the house. Come back in the house after a couple of minutes, listen, and see if the dog is still calm. If so, just stay out of site and continue to work on increasing the amount of time left in the crate. Gradually, increase the time you are outside until you can leave the dog for 30 minutes with you outside.
  10. When you can leave the dog in the crate for at least 30 minutes, with you outside, leave the dog in the crate, leave the house, get in the car, start it and drive at least 100 feet away. Turn off the car, walk back to the house and see if the dog is still relaxed. Gradually, increase the time you can leave the dog for in the crate with you driving away until the dog can be left for 3 to 4 hours. Remember, if you want to be successful, you need to go in baby steps. For some dogs, this might mean increasing the amount of time you leave them by just 1 or 2 minutes per session.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (HTTP://WWW.WORDS-WOOFS-MEOWS.COM)

Alone Training – <click to read>

Canine Behavior – Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Canine Stress – <click to read>

Bach Flower Remedies – Bach Rescue Remedy® – <click to read>

Canine Behavior – ADAPTIL™/DAP COMFORTZONE™ – <click to read>

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>