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Teaching NO

Article copyright: Joan Walker

You cannot get anywhere with your dog unless it understands what NO means. No is your single-most important word in teaching your dog anything.
Many people have implemented a different word than NO and frankly this is both good and bad. Why? well lets' think of it this way.

Most people have dogs as their pets. Your pet should be well behaved when anyone comes near it, to your house, in your yard, sitting on a chair - ANYPLACE people and your dog are, your dog should be well mannered.
There are times when your dog cannot control his or her emotions and using a universal command word for all your training needs will be beneficial to all.
Say your guest is in a chair and your dog keeps bringing his toy to play. Your guest does not want to play. Your guest should be able to say NO and get a response from Rex.

Non-universal words are used for specialty training. They are not wrong per-se but they will not be very helpful in a normal day to day pet / people relationship. How inconvenient will it be for anyone and everyone if only your special word will get your dog to stop pestering your guests?
So we will save the special command words for guard and Schutzhund training.

As you already have read in the article on housebreaking, NO is used to get your point across. It is effective and it catches the dogs attention immediately. Well, not always immediately and if that is the case, I guarantee it is you and your delivery of the command NO.
NO should always be said in a way as if you MEAN it. Not a holler, not mean and not long and drawn out with a soft tone of voice, but with a firm NO!

You can probably relate this to how a pack leader of a large dog pack would enforce his wishes on the others. A short sharp bark with sometimes a snapping motion toward the offending member is all it takes to get his point across.
This is their version of our NO!

So now lets take our NO to some practice. Next time you see your dog doing something you want it to stop doing, practice NO!
If Rex is chewing something that does not belong to him, go to him, take the item away and firmly and with a clear audible voice say, "Rex, NO!"
Take the item away and replace it with something that is his.

How about if Rex is annoying someone? Say, "Rex, NO!" and then give Rex a command like sit, down, or on your bed (providing he is trained for such stuff already). If Rex won't listen, repeat "Rex, NO!" and the command and then give the physical prodding (this will be covered in our Sit lesson), or take Rex by the collar and put him in his own bed to stay.

You now have the basics of NO! You will need to be very consistent in your command. You cannot say,
‘nooooooooo' and you cannot say, "I told you NO" or ANY other variation of NO.
Dogs need to learn by repetition and you need to teach by repetition and patience. After a few tries on NO you will start to see results and as time goes on and Rex's attention span increases, you will see your hard work and patience pay off.
Also, as Rex gets the hint of your demand, using his name before the command NO will be needed less and less and a simple NO! will suffice.

This will work for ANY reason you need to tell your dog NO for. If they are begging at the table or simply whining for no apparent reason, NO is your magic word.

Teaching SIT

Article copyright: Joan Walker

This is the BASIC in teaching your dog to sit. You need to master NO before you master any other training command with the dog. It is important that he understands what NO means.

This lesson does not teach the hand signals that go along with obedience training. We can get around to that at a later date.

Today's lesson features Goliath showing off his skills.
Sadly we lost Goliath on the last day of 2010. He is very much missed.

Teaching your dog to sit:

Now that you have your dog understanding the word NO!, why don't' we start teaching Rex how to sit and stay sitting?

The sit command is the first command you should teach. This is the foundation of all your other commands in basic obedience for your dog.
Teaching your dog some basic obedience is essential to a well adjusted dog that has respect for you, the attention span needed to be a well behaved dog, and most of all, a well behaved dog knows his place in the pack and is a pleasure to be around.
Obedience is part of pack leader establishment. YOU are the trainer and this makes you the leader. How, you ask? By being the one teaching the dog you automatically are taking on the role of leader. Like in the NO! lesson you are leader because you are establishing the role the dog plays under your commands. You are teaching Rex what is expected of him.

OK, for our lesson you are going to need a training collar. * See the collars and pick a collar that you will be using for all your lessons. *
You will also need one 6 foot long leather leash that is 1/2 inch wide. Anything wider is uncomfortable to work with.

We will also be incorporating two verbal commands in this lesson. SIT & STAY.
Please note that ALL verbal commands are the same as in the NO lesson. Firm, short and commanding, but never yelling.

With your dog ready with collar and leash I want you to find a suitable area to work in where there are few distractions and no interruptions.

Your dog will always be working off your left side. This NEVER varies. All commands are off the left. You will learn a couple things before we start.
One is that timing is everything. You must learn that when you have to correct a command that isn't executed properly, the correction must be exactly when he does not listen or the correction will be useless.
This correction is called a 'check'.
You are going to learn how to hold the leash. This is very important as proper application of the aids will depend on how you hold your leash.
Position of your hands is also important. Pay attention to the photos for correct position of the aids.

I want you to put Rex on your left side and have him standing.
Take the leash in your right hand and place the leash across your palm and hook the loop over your thumb.


Keeping the loop over your thumb I want you to take the left hand and grab the leash halfway down and bring this up toward your right hand and let it form a loop. Kind of like folding the leash in half. Don't hook this new loop over your thumb, but simply grasp this with your right hand and hold it firmly. You will have a small bit of looped leash hanging now out of the bottom of your right hand.


Keeping your left hand on the leash, this is the proper set up to give the commands with as little room for Rex to misbehave as possible. You don't want excess leash because this is only an invitation for Rex to get out of your control. You want to keep him close to your side. You do not want the leash tight between his neck and your hand.


Now, I want you to raise your right hand with the leash in position until it is without any slack and take you left hand at the dog's left side, thumb across his back, and fingers by his groin. At the same time say SIT! in unison and give a gentle 'check' up and back with the leash in your right hand while you left hand guides the dog into the SIT close by your left leg and his front feet aligned with yours.



Let the leash loose (but be ready to give a 'check' if necessary) and say STAY in a firm voice.

He should be sitting comfortably like this now. Note the leash is slack and the handler is also relaxed?


Here's the 'check' from the side view. (It was really hard showing this for you all because Goliath is so well trained. He was wondering why we checked him here, that's why he's looking up at Matt) :


Say, 'good boy'.

Don't be in a hurry to take your left hand away once Rex sits for you. Often the dog will get up as soon as he thinks he can get away with something. Simply give praise while he remains sitting still and then release or move him back to standing position.
Always be ready to help Rex keep the correct position until you clearly let him know the he may indeed move. He should stay at the sit until YOU are ready to let him up and not a moment before.

Now I know the above is not going to happen that easily and this is the proper execution of the 'check' and correction if Rex does not want to sit right away.
You are going to give the leash with your right hand a bit of a sharp tug and at the SAME TIME push a bit harder on the dogs rear/back and say, "Rex NO!, SIT!" and give the physical guidance as you are saying the words. Once he sits, say STAY. When you say STAY I want you to take your hand off the lead and put it open, palm facing him and fingers pointing down, RIGHT IN FRONT of his nose and say, STAY at the same time. Return your hand to the leash.

Continue this until he gets it and sits and stays for a count of 10 seconds.

Sometimes the dog will wander away from your left side and wind up in front of you or he'll even try to wrap himself around your legs. For this very reason is why the proper holding of the leash is so important. With the way I show you how to hold the leash, the dog can only go so far and thus making the correction to go back to your left side so much easier to administer.
If the dog winds up 'out of place', simply walk in a clockwise circle (toward your right hand) and the dog will naturally follow and when you halt, he should be on your left side.

Don't mind G-man's 'splayed legs' in this pic. He's old and a little stiff now.


This also makes applying SIT easy too, because when you come around full circle and the dog is in the left hand position by your leg simply tug the leash with your right hand, and say SIT! STAY!
Hopefully Rex will have grasped this by now.

Repeat as often as necessary.

This is what a dog sitting properly by your side with a relaxed lead looks like.


We are going to repeat this lesson every day, twice a day for no more than 20 minutes at a time. I want you to end the lesson even if it's a bit early if Rex has 'gotten it'. If he does really good, give lots of praise and stop your lesson until the next lesson rolls around. The worst thing to do is to stop your lesson on a bad note, so if he is giving you a bit of a hard time, the minute he 'gets it' even if it's not perfect, you end the lesson.

If you can do more than two lessons per day, that's all the better! The trick is to never get frustrated and keep your cool with the dog. Don't get upset if he doesn't get it on the first two or three lessons, he will get it! The key is patience and a calm steady voice. If the dog senses your frustration, this will only prolong his disobedience and resistance to learn. It gives a signal of no confidence to him from you and that defeats the whole point of the lessons.
So, if you feel yourself getting upset, stop the lesson! There's always the next one to work on.

Now practice sitting and our next lesson will be to sit and STAY.
Don't get ahead of the lessons and try making him sit everywhere and for every little thing just yet. This will come once a couple more sessions are in. Practice daily for about 20 minutes until he understands exactly what you mean by SIT.

Next lesson we'll be working on the hand signals for SIT, and applying STAY in the sit.

Crate Training

Article copyright: Vivian Bergman 2005 - present

Why use a crate?? I certainly wouldn’t want to spend hours locked up in area barely big enough to stand up and turn around in. BUT — I am not a dog, and neither are you. A dog is a den animal. If you look at where your dog chooses to spend his sleeping time, you will most likely find that it is behind a chair, under a table, or in a secluded corner. He wants and needs a bed of his own, a den, someplace where he can be alone.

A crate is by far the best and easiest way to prevent most of the problems that cause many people to get rid of their dogs. You need a crate for your dog if he has housebreaking accidents, if he destroys things when left alone, if you have small children who don’t understand that a dog needs time alone, if you have company who is afraid of dogs, if you travel with your dog and want to reassure the motel or your host that the dog will not get into trouble when left alone, and, most important of all, you need a crate for your dog if you want the very best trained dog possible.

When do you want to start use of the crate? The best time is when you first bring the puppy home. If you have bought the puppy from a breeder there is an excellent probability that he is already used to a crate. If he is under four months old he should have no problem accepting the crate as his “home”. If he is older it will not be as easy, but it can and should be done.

Where does the crate go? My crate sits in the corner of the dining room, away from the heat and away from drafts. Yours can be in the corner of the kitchen or the playroom or someplace similar. That is, a people oriented place. Do not use newspaper in the crate. Instead use a piece of blanket, towel or some kind of matting that can be washed in case of accident.

A dog crate is a rectangular enclosure with a top and a door, made in a variety of sizes proportioned to fit any size dog. Constructed of wire, wood, metal, or molded fiberglass/plastic, its purpose is to provide guaranteed confinement for reasons of secu-rity, safety, housebreaking, protection of household goods, travel, illness, or just general control. The dog crate has long been accepted, trusted, and taken for granted by dog show exhibitors, obedience and field trial competitors, trainers, breeders, groomers, vet-erinarians, and anyone else who handles dogs regularly. Individual pet owners usually re-ject the idea of using a crate because they consider such enforced close confinement unfair and even harmful to the dog.

The dog, however, sees it as having a room of his own: it’s his own private special place, a “security blanket”. A Playpen. The crate helps to satisfy the ”den instinct” inherited from his den-dwelling ancestors and relatives, and he is not afraid or frustrated when closed in. He is actually much happier and more secure having his life controlled and structured by human beings — and would far rather be prevented from causing trouble than be punished for it later.

A dog crate, correctly and humanely used, can have many advantages for both you and your dog.

With the help of a crate you can enjoy complete peace of mind when leaving your dog home alone, knowing that nothing can be soiled or destroyed and that he is comfortable, protected, and not developing any bad habits. You can housebreak your dog more quickly by using the close confinement to encourage control, establish a regular routine for outdoor elimination, and to prevent ”accidents” at night or when left alone. You can effectively confine your dog at times when he may be underfoot (meals, family activities), unwelcome (guests, workmen etc.), over-excited, bothered by too much confusion such as too many children, or ill. You can travel with your dog without risk of the driver being dangerously distracted or the dog getting loose and helplessly lost, together with the assurance that he can easily adapt to any strange surroundings as long as he has his familiar “security blanket” along. He is also more welcome in motels and in other people’s homes when the host is told that the dog will be crated in the room and therefore unable to make problems.

The crate should be large enough to permit the dog to stretch out flat on his side without being cramped and to sit up without hitting his head on the top. Remember that a crate too large defeats the purpose of providing security and promoting bowel control.

New crates can be purchased in retail pet shops and discount pet food and supply outlets, through catalog sales firms such as Sears, at the larger dog shows, from dog equipment catalogs, from a crate manufacturer, or from an obedience instructor. Even the most expensive dog crate is a bargain when compared to the cost of repairing or replacing a sofa, chair, woodwork, wallpaper, or carpeting. Make it very clear to children that the crate is NOT a playhouse for them, but a ”special room” for the puppy, whose rights should be recognized and respected. However, you should accustom the puppy from the start to letting YOU reach into the crate at any time, lest he become overprotective of it.

Establish a ”crate routine” as soon as you bring the puppy home, or as soon there-after as possible. Close the puppy in it at regular one to two hour intervals during the day (his own chosen nap times will guide you) and whenever he must be left alone for up to three or four hours. Give him a chew toy for distraction and be sure to remove collar and tags which could become caught in an opening.

If things do not go too smoothly at first, do not weaken and do not worry — just be consistent, firm and aware that you are doing your pet a real favor by preventing him from getting into trouble while left alone. Make sure that you do not let the dog out of the crate while he is barking or he will think that barking is the key to opening the door to the crate.

Start by making the crate smaller, and then increase the space inside the crate as the puppy grows so that he remains comfortable. Plan to use the crate until the puppy is ten or twelve months old — well past the chewing stage.

Most people feel that a chewing puppy is normal, and that he will “grow out of it”. Be aware that dogs do not grow out of problems. While puppy chewing is normal teething, it very quickly becomes a habit which can be easily prevented with the use of a crate together with his “chew toy”.

In order to housebreak a dog, take him out of the crate on a six foot lead (carrying him if he is small enough) to the “potty” spot. Stand still so that the dog cannot wander. This spot should be close enough to the house so that you can get to it when the weather is bad, and to clean it up, but far enough from the house to avoid odors. Say ”Potty” or ”Business” or whatever word you want to use, and praise him for the act, and give him a small treat if he does what you want.

Once he has relieved himself, take him for a walk of at least fifteen minutes. The mistake that many people make when house training their dog is to walk the dog until the dog relieves himself and then take him into the house. The dog, in order to get a longer walk, puts off relieving himself, sometimes miscalculating and waiting too long. This leads the owner to say that the dog is “spiteful” and waiting until he is inside to ”do it on the carpet on purpose”.

Once your dog has relieved himself outside in the potty spot, and has gotten his treat and his walk, take him into the house and let him loose for about one hour. Although the chances are the dog will not relieve himself in the house, he must be watched. If he starts to do something you don’t want him to do, you can catch him in the act and teach him that it is wrong. After an hour or so loose in the house, take him out again. If he does his “Business” you can reward him and take him for a walk. Continue this system all day long, putting him in the crate when he cannot be supervised. Since he does not want to soil his bed, he will wait for his walk. This may not work as well or as quickly with a ”pet shop” puppy because they spend so much time in a crate and use the crate for their ”business”.

When your dog has an accident do not rub his nose in it or hit him.

A. If you catch him in the act of eliminating, startle him with your voice, scold him and immediately take him to his toilet area. Praise him there if he finishes eliminating. Praise him mildly even if he only sniffs the area.

B. If you didn’t catch him in the act, don’t scold him when you find the mess, just clean it up and vow to watch him more closely. Punishing after the fact doesn’t work. Your dog simply can’t understand and connect your punishment with the act of eliminating which he did sometime before. If this punishment method worked, all dogs would be housebroken! He may look submissive (“guilty”) because he knows you are angry at him – he can easily tell by your body posture and tone of voice – but this has no bearing on the act of elimination he did earlier.

C. Clean accidents thoroughly as the scent will draw him back to use the area again. Don’t use ammonia as there is ammonia in urine.

D. If your dog consistently house soils in one area try feeding him there or keep his water bowl there.

E. If accidents are frequent he needs to be watched much more closely and taken out more often. Don’t be in a hurry to allow your pup unsupervised freedom. Housebreaking will be done long before he learns what not to chew. The crate will protect him and your belongings!

Housebreaking is an all-or-nothing procedure. If your dog eliminates occasionally in the house, he’s not housebroken! It does not mean “tell me when you have to go out” as some dogs will ask you to play doorman many times a day. Housebreaking eventually should mean “hold it and wait until I take you out.”

The key to housebreaking is really simple: Prevent accidents and praise correct performance!

Housebreaking with Bells

Article Copyright: Joan Walker

Ring the bells to go out!

Teaching your puppy not to soil in your house is not an easy task, but you can make it easier by teaching him or her to ring bells. Dogs find this fun and it gives you a clear indication what the dog is asking for.

Housebreaking is simple using this method. The one thing to remember is you won't get overnight results and it takes many months and sometimes up to a year to fully teach your dog to 'hold it' until you are around. After all, puppies are babies and just like human babies, they take time to learn things and their bodies are growing and changing all the while as well. Consistency & patience on your part is a must as well.

The first rule of housebreaking is not to use paper on the floor. You only teach the dog to pee in the house this way. Also you confuse the dog because one minute he's getting praise for peeing on the paper, the next outside. Then he gets scolded for messing off the paper but you just taught him inside is OK by giving him paper. Only he can't differentiate between which place inside you allow him to mess. Confused reading that? Well, so is the dog trying to learn by that method!

Now, you must confine your dog when you cannot supervise his actions all the time. Crate training is best, but if you absolutely refuse crate training, then a baby gate across a room that an occasional accident can be allowed to occur is best. We confine our dogs to the kitchen, which by the way has the door to outside with the bells.

Any inside messes whether it be pee or poop gets picked up with paper towels (sanitized and cleaned with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature's Miracle) and the dirty towels placed in a specific spot outside and left there. This is going to be your designated toilet area for a while until the dog gets the hang of this ‘outside business’. Doing this leaves the dog's scent there indicating in 'doggie lingo' that this is the spot to toilet at. Leave any poop there for a few days longer than you normally would as well. This helps to teach the dog. Only pick up the poop if you walk the dog where the law says you must pick it up or it's in a public area where it SHOULD be picked up.

Always walk the dog on a leash to teach them to housebreak. This is done even when using your own back yard. Why? Because this means business, not play. It keeps the dogs mind on the task at hand. Playtime is only for when the dog has done what you brought him out there to do. Never mix the two until your pup is fully housebroken.

Use lots and lots of praise when your dog does toilet outside. Make a big deal out of it. Don't use food treats as the dog will only become accustomed to receiving food for doing what he needs to learn. Praise works best. This goes for any training, whether it be obedience, or tricks or housebreaking.

Now you need to get a regular schedule installed for ‘potty time’ and food. Young dogs eat 4 times a day. This makes for allot of poop and pee! Water needs to be left out at all times but now until your dog is trained or it is unbearably hot and you've no air conditioning, you need to start taking the water away in the overnight hours. Taking the water away gives you a fighting chance.

So now you feed the dog at the same time for each meal (as the dog gets older and you reduce the meals, you still keep your schedule). When the dog is finished eating, IMMEDIATELY put his leash on and take the dog outside. Use the SAME WORDS to indicate the dog is going outside to toilet. We use, "Want to go out?". This is another tool that shows the dog what is going to happen next.

So, as you're putting the leash on, say "want to go out?" and take the dog to the designated toilet area. You must stay there until the dog does his 'business'. We used to say 'go piddle' or 'go potty' and all the other words we want the dog to associate with going out to toilet. Once the dog actually does his 'business' you give lots and lots of animated and happy praise.
Keep in mind you could be outside for quite a while before the dog learns what you're there for. Patience, patience, patience! Also, once the dog goes in the spot you designate more and more, the time you wait for the dog to 'go' will be shorter. A new spot is always the longest wait. Now take the dog inside. Lesson done.

If you planned on a combined pleasure and toilet walk, put the leash back on the dog and go outside now to 'play'. Keep the two separate until your dog is totally housebroke or has learned to use the bells consistently.

Your dog should understand the words and the routine for this after a day or two, but not necessarily be good enough to start asking to go out yet. But the words you use now are going to be recognizable to him. You should use the same door to teach the dog to toilet outside every time. This is another indicator to the dog what is expected of him.

So now the basics are done. You are going to get a pair of sleigh bells. I used a pair I had from an old Christmas decoration I tore apart for this lesson. If you don't have any lying around, you can find sleigh bells in any equine supply shop or Christmas shop. Search on line if you need to. Craft stores will have bells too. The bigger the bell, the louder it is, so get big bells. We have a pair bells around 2 inches across.

Loud bells are very nice when you are sleeping and the dog needs to go. We are pulled from a dead sleep every night at the exact same time by our dog because she always has to go and using the bells allows us to hear her signal. Even if you have your bedrooms upstairs those bells are easily heard!

OK, attach the bells to a string or ribbon, and tie that to the door and make the length low enough for your dog to reach them without having to jump up at them. You will be adjusting the height of the bells as the dog grows.

Next time you need to take the dog out, like after the next meal, you are going to shove its nose into the bells (gently!) and AT THE SAME TIME you will be saying, "want to go out?" (or whatever your tag line is). Repeat this a couple times giving the dog a second to try it on his own. When the dog does this on his own repeat the phrase, 'Want to go out?' and praise Rex and GO OUT to the designated toilet area.
Keep in mind that the dog may not mimic your bell ringing the first few times you start teaching this, but usually dogs pick this up fast. Why? Because making noise is fun for dogs! It's also probably one of the few noisy things inside you're going to allow the dog to do.

Do this until you hear the dog do it on his own. Make sure you ALWAYS ask, ''Do you want to go out?'' every time the dog rings the bells.

Now you are going to have accidents on occasion. You may slack off in your 'baby sitting' or may not make it home from work on time etc, and you'll see the dog's mess by the door you take him out from. This is GOOD! Soiling BY the door is a good sign that the dog knows this is the door he goes out to toilet from and although he messed up there, it shows there was an effort made only you weren't there to prevent it. Never scold your dog for having an accident while you are not home and especially if Rex has had his accident by the door. Simply greet your dog, clean the mess and ask if he wants to go outside and TAKE Rex outside and praise him for his effort when he piddles for you.

Another thing you must remember is to NEVER scold the dog for messing in the house. Most times you will never catch the dog making a mistake with your own eyes. You will most likely only find it long after the accident has been done. So you simply clean it up, put the paper outside as instructed and take the dog out to toilet. Never rub your dogs face in the mess either. Both these methods only teach your dog that 'doing his business' is bad, not the act of going in the house. He's a dog. He doesn't have the ability to reason and sort those kinds of thoughts out.

If you do catch the dog in the act, simply pick the dog up (sometimes this can be messy so be prepared!) and take the dog outside all the while saying, “do you want to go out?” When the dog is finished, praise and bring him inside.

So remember, patience, diligence and the proper sequence of commands will get results. Hollering and beatings only frighten and prolong your progress and frankly are just cruel.

Good luck and happy housebreaking.

New Pup At home?

Article copyright by: Karen Clark, Versailles Kennels UK

When your puppy comes home, it is important to be prepared for many training opportunities.

Puppy training basics during the first week the puppy is home is critical. It is obvious that you need certain physical items such as a dog bed or crate, food and water bowls, puppy chow, collar, leash, toys, etc. Equally as important, all family members must decide and agree on routine, responsibility and rules.

The first few days are extremely important. Enthusiasm and emotions are up. Everyone wants to feed the puppy, play with the puppy and hold the puppy. Pre-established rules are easily broken. Everyone agreed that puppy will sleep in her crate but as soon as she’s home, someone melts and insists that puppy will sleep in bed. Everyone previously agreed not to let puppy jump up on them, but in the excitement, no one even notices that puppy is jumping up.No one sleeps the first night. Puppy wins and gets to sleep in bed. The next morning we find puppy has eliminated all over the bed. So the following night puppy is banned to her crate and screams all night. No one sleeps tonight either.
Grouchiness sets in; enthusiasm is down. No one wants to get up at the pre-agreed upon early morning feeding time. How are we going to house train puppy? How are we going to sleep with her constant whining?
Your new puppy has just been taken away from her mum and litter-mates. She is vulnerable and impressionable. What she needs now is security and routine. Set up a small room to be her very own special haven for the next couple of months. Paper the entire floor and put her food/water bowls and bed in one corner. Scatter her toys everywhere.

Play with her quietly and gently. Don’t flood her with attention and activity. If she looks like she wants to sleep, leave her alone. Puppies need lots of sleep. The reason most dogs and puppies jump on people is because they are happy and excited to see them! Jumping, leaping and bouncing are ways your dog shows affection and receives attention. The behavior is usually learned while they are puppies. When a puppy is very young, we usually sit on the floor, let them wiggle into our laps and allow them to lick and nuzzle up close to our face. When they come bounding over to greet us, jumping and stretching up to our knees, again we bend down, pick them up and exchange hugs and kisses. All this time we are training and rewarding the puppy for jumping up. Eventually we decide we don’t like this behavior anymore. What used to be cute is now obnoxious and even dangerous if the dog is jumping up on children or the elderly.

The jumping problem continues…
Our inconsistency perpetuates the problem. Some of the time we tolerate the jumping and ignore it. Other times we reward the behavior by exchanging enthusiastic greetings. But when we’re dressed up and the dog’s paws are muddy, it’s a different story. Reprimanding the dog for jumping up usually does not work. Either the dog misunderstands the reprimand as praise or he gets even more excited and the jumping gets worse. If the reprimand is severe enough, the dog may stop jumping at that moment but it doesn’t solve the problem altogether; and it certainly is not a very nice thing to do. It’s very similar to a person approaching you with a big smile, arm extended to exchange a hand-shake and you bopping the person in the nose. Even if your dog learns that jumping up on you is not a good idea, he will usually get away with jumping up on everyone else.

What To Expect When House Training

Unless you can monitor your puppy 24 hours a day, don’t expect the house training process to be completed until your puppy is at least 6 months old. It’s normal for a young puppy to be a little ‘input-output’ machine. Since puppies are growing and developing rapidly at this stage, they eat more food, burn up more energy and seem to need to eliminate constantly! They also have not yet developed bowel and bladder control, so they can’t ‘hold it’ as long as adult dogs.

House Training When You Are NOT Home

Confine your puppy to a small, ‘puppy-proofed’ room and paper the entire floor. If the access area is too big you will jjust encourage pup to soil in that area.Put his bed, toys and food/water bowls there. At first there will be no rhyme or reason to where your pup eliminates. He will go every where and any where. He will also probably play with the papers, chew on them, and drag them around his little den. Most puppies do this and you just have to live with it. Don’t get upset; just accept it as life with a young puppy. The important thing is that when you get home, clean up the mess and lay down fresh papers.

Passive House Training or Paper Training

While your puppy is confined, he is developing a habit of eliminating on paper because no matter where he goes, it will be on paper. As time goes on, he will start to show a preferred place to do his business. When this place is well established and the rest of the papers remain clean all day, then gradually reduce the area that is papered. Start removing the paper that is furthest away from his chosen location. Eventually you will only need to leave a few sheets down in that area only. If he ever misses the paper, then you’ve reduced the area too soon. Go back to papering a larger area or even the entire room.

Once your puppy is reliably going only on the papers you’ve left, then you can slowly and gradually move his papers to a location of your choice. Move the papers only an inch a day. If puppy misses the paper again, then you’re moving too fast. Go back a few steps and start over. Don’t be discouraged if your puppy seems to be making remarkable progress and then suddenly you have to return to papering the entire room. This is normal. There will always be minor set-backs. If you stick with this procedure, your puppy will be paper trained.

Whining, Howling, Barking and Other Dog and Puppy Vocalizations

Whining, crying, barking, and howling often result when a dog is left alone. Puppies will whine and cry when separated from their owners. The puppy is afraid he is being abandoned by his pack and is sounding the alarm so that he can be rescued. The reason excessive whining continues is because the dog has learned that whining, crying or barking gets whatever he wants – attention, food, affection. Often what starts out as a demand whining soon becomes an unconscious whining habit. To prevent an annoying whining habit, teach your dog to accept short periods of confinement before leaving him alone for long periods of time. Spend time with your dog in the area where he is left and show him that this is a fun place to be. If he starts whining or howling when you leave, don’t rush back to let him out or reassure him. If you do, he will soon learn that he can control you with his whining blackmail. However, if barking, whining or howling continues then he probably is not yet comfortable in his confinement area. Spend a little more time with him there. Then when you leave, it he continues barking, whining or howling, give him a loud and stern ‘NO!’ After he has been quiet for a few moments, return and praise him lavishly. Practice leaving and returning several times so he becomes accustomed to your departures and realizes that you are not abandoning him forever. He will see that you will return and there’s nothing to worry about. Practice leaving him for longer and longer periods of time.

Mouthing, Biting & Chewing

Article copyright by: Karen Clark, Versailles Kennels UK

From approximately five weeks of age until teething is finished and earlier, your puppy may bite at your hands, heels, clothes, try to snatch objects from your hands and exercise those razor sharp teeth. Generally a puppy will treat you like a litter mate, who he expects to rough and tumble with as a preliminary to hunting and stalking. This prey behaviour will be a source of food in the adult dog and is the kindergarden training ground for the puppy. A litter of puppies will play together quite happily until one puppy bites too hard. With an agonising scream, the bitten one will launch itself at the biter. World War 3 will erupt among all the puppies and for a short time there will be bedlam. Then the bitten one will march away, snorting as if to say, “There, that will teach him” and then the litter will play happily again. The lesson we can learn from observing puppy behaviour, is that there is acceptable pressure when biting a fellow sibling. Not acceptable pressure gains loud screams of reproach and strong punishment. I am not suggesting that you over-correct a puppy as they are fragile enough. React with a loud “Ouch – that hurt”, and push the puppy down on to the floor. Be careful that he does not sense that this is a great game, to be met with equal aggression. Firmly and quickly push the puppy down into a submissive position. You should have decided already if your puppy is simply playing and does not realise that you are hurting. What type of temperament has he? Placid, excitable, apprehensive? Was the mouthing playful, or was there a strong desire to dominate you? Your response range from pushing the puppy down, a loud “Ouch”, followed by ignoring him for a few minutes to express your dissatification with the behaviour – to firm correction and turning the puppy on his side and shaking him by the soft folds of skin around the jowls. The shake can range from very mild to very severe. Be aware that he puppy may have been testing to see what your reaction would be. Is he teething and tender around the gums? Have you had a look at the huge teeth erupting from the gums? A spray bottle filled with tap water, kept in a handy reaching place, can stop a puppy in his tracks when biting behaviour occurs. Excitable biting can be stopped in the above fashion or you may put him outside when he becomes over excited. Small children can squeal and run, causing the puppy to give way to prey behaviour. He will then catch and tear a child’s clothing or trip the child and jump on top. While this can be great fun for the puppy, the toddler or small child will not be similarly impressed. The screams of outrage only excite the puppy further and make a great game of chasing, tripping and holding a child. Some children tease a puppy until it retaliates in the only fashion available to it. Pups have a defense behaviour that appears in three parts. Defense, freeze, flight and bight. FREEZE exhibits when the pup is faced with a bad situation. An older child or an adult corners it, stands stock still (the child is uncertain what to do) and as the freeze by the child is a forerunner to attack in dog language, the pup will shift gear into the FIGHT part and launch itself at the child. The puppy is only reacting to a given situation, but try telling that to the parents of an injured child. FLIGHT is, of course, ‘he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day’ (with apologies for the mis-quote).

Pups bite, that I am afraid is how they socialise within a pack, you however are now his new pack and as leader of that pack you must learn to control it. WE NEVER HIT A DOG, WE NEVER ROAR AT A DOG, what we do is this : It comes as a great surprise to many puppy owners that their little darling arrived with a full set of sharp pointed teeth that the average shark would be proud of! Worse, the puppy likes to flex them on you! This information is designed for puppies under the age of 18 weeks – which still have their puppy teeth. If you have a dog over this age that is mouthing or biting please call the office for advice. Biting during play is essential and normal for all puppies, but you need to take action to reduce it in your home. Puppies have needle-sharp teeth for one reason only – so that when they bite, it hurts! This helps them to discover what is alive and what is not! This is normal and should not be treated as aggression. However, it is not acceptable for dogs to bite people – and puppies need to be given education in how to moderate their biting.

• Puppy biting teaches a pup just how hard it can bite other living things. Clearly, it can exert a huge amount of pressure on a lifeless object such as a toy, without causing any kind of reaction, while trying the same behaviour on a litter mate – or on us – will most certainly result in a big response!
• How do litter mates respond if they are bitten too hard? Puppies play by biting each others’ ears, tail, legs and any other part that they can catch hold of! This is accepted quite happily – until the pressure becomes too hard. Then the ‘victim’ is likely to yelp and stop playing for a short while, leaving the pup that bit too hard to realise that there were consequences to his actions. We need to mimic this response when teaching our own puppies not to bite.
• The process of learning to moderate biting is known as learning ‘bite inhibition’. It is vital that all puppies learn how to moderate their bites before they lose their deciduous teeth at around 18 weeks’ of age.

Suggestions Your puppy needs to know that biting hurts! This means that each and every time your puppy mouths your hands or clothes, you MUST:

• Yelp loudly or give a shout.
• Immediately turn away as if to nurse your wounds, and ignore your pup.
• Your puppy will probably look a little bewildered.
• Ignore your pup for about 20 seconds, then resume interacting.
• Repeat the “Ouch!” and turn away each and every time you feel his teeth.
• It is important to be consistent, that means everyone must do the same.

Biting will not stop immediately. Instead, it should become less and less hard over a period of about three to four weeks. At this point, your pup should realise that he cannot put any pressure on you at all, and then you can yelp even if he puts his mouth on you gently – finally teaching him that he cannot initiate biting. IMPORTANT! Do not play rough and tumble games with your puppy, or play any game where the pup grabs your clothes, skin or hair. (Dad, listen!!!) This is giving your puppy permission to bite and will set back all your other efforts. Help, we’re still having problems! This process works well for the vast majority of puppies. However, there are exceptions: pups which are already well over 14 weeks’ old and puppies which have learned to bite for attention! If you find that yelping and turning away has had no effect, despite total consistency for a fortnight, or if your puppy seems to become more excited and snappy if you yelp, you may need a different strategy.

• Take all the fun out of the behaviour! This means no laughing, squealing or shouting if your puppy bites.
• As soon as your dog puts his mouth on you, even in play, say “Wrong” or “Quit it” in a normal voice, then immediately put him in the kitchen or behind a door or baby gate.
• This social isolation should only last about 3 minutes, then he can rejoin the family.
• However, if your puppy gets excited by being picked up, simply say “Wrong” then get up and leave the room yourself, shutting the door behind you. Children can do this very effectively.
• Be consistent! It will take many repetitions before your puppy understands that biting results in the loss of fun.
Bichon Frise: Puppy biting, bichon frise puppy, puppy teeth bichon frise puppy, puppy teeth, puppy owners: Pups bite, that I am afraid is how they socialise within a pack, you however are now his new pack and as leader of that pack you must learn to control it.

Decide who is responsible for feeding and cleaning up after her. Don’t deviate from the schedule. Routine is especially important for your puppy. Don’t spend all your time with her. If she is going to be alone during the day or night, she needs to start getting used to it now. If she wakes up from a nap and whines, resist the urge to run in and comfort her. When more than one of you get involved it just confuses the pup and problems begin that are a nightmare to stop. Since puppies are so impressionable, it is important to begin explaining the rules right away. Don’t give her special license to get away with anything just because she is a puppy. If you allow her to have her way about certain things now, she will only be confused later when you decide to change the rules. Puppies learn very quickly with proper instruction.

Never hit your puppy or give harsh reprimands. They don’t mean to misbehave – they are just doing whatever comes naturally. Instead, show your puppy what kind of behavior you want. Teach her to play with her toys. Make them fun and exciting. Let her know how happy you are and how good she is when she chews them.

Then, when you see her chewing your furniture, firmly tell her, “OFF” and immediately show her one of her own toys. Encourage her to play with and chew on it. Praise her profusely when she does so. If you don’t catch her in the act, anything you do will confuse her. The only way you can instruct your puppy is to be there. If you can’t be there, don’t allow her to have access to places where she can get into trouble.

Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Discuss your puppy’s vaccination schedule and when she will be allowed outside. Puppies are susceptible to many canine diseases until they are fully vaccinated; so don’t take your puppy outside until your veterinarian says it is OK.
Your puppy’s emotional and mental health is just as important as her physical health. When your schedule your puppy’s first veterinary visit, also schedule her into a puppy socialization class. She may not be able to attend yet, but reserve your place now so you don’t miss out. Puppy socialization classes give your puppy an opportunity to meet a variety of people and dogs in a controlled situation.

If your puppy is to be a well-adjusted adult dog, she needs to learn how to act properly around other dogs and people. Dogs that are not socialized frequently grow up to be aggressive and excessively fearful.

Anxeity & Behavior (includes destructive behavior)

Article copyright by: Karen Clark, Versailles Kennels UK

Separation Anxiety ( owner absent “misbehavior” )

Many dogs experience separation anxiety when left alone. They will often whine, bark, cry, howl, chew, dig, scratch at the door, soil the house or destroy your home and yard. We often unintentionally train our dogs to behave this way because whenever they throw this kind of tantrum when we leave, we quickly come back to reassure them, give them attention or even a bone or biscuit. If you do this, your dog will soon learn that he can control you with emotional blackmail.

Long, drawn-out farewells can create separation anxiety problems by first exciting your dog and then making the isolation more obvious when you’re gone. Just when he gets all worked up and ready to play, suddenly you disappear. With all this energy, your dog will either try his best to get you to come back or he will have to vent his energy in some other way. Since he can’t build model airplanes or invite his buddies over for a hand of poker, he does doggy things – like chew, dig and bark.

Perhaps it is not separation anxiety after all! We often think our dog is destructive because he is angry and spiteful that we left him, but he could actually be just trying to have some fun since there is nothing else to do. He may be relieved to be able to do those things he normally can’t do when you’re home. He may be thinking, “Thank goodness the owner is finally leaving! Now I can chase the cat, dig up the tomatoes, get in the trash, and bark at the neighbors. They never let me do those things when they’re home.”

Some dogs with separation anxiety are stressed, nervous and insecure when they are left alone. They express this nervous energy in typical dog fashion -chewing barking and digging and house soiling

To prevent separation anxiety, dogs need to feel happy, secure, and comfortable when you’re away. It’s important to give them things to do while you’re gone. Provide them with lots of toys,such as a Kong or Havaball stuffed with treats, or a digging pit in the yard. Often another companion pet can help alleviate the boredom.

Another way to prevent separation anxiety is to set aside scheduled time periods to give your dog undivided attention, play and exercise. A happy, well-exercised dog will usually sleep contentedly during the day while you are gone. Be sure that one of the scheduled play sessions occurs before you must leave for the day. Give your dog a chance to settle down before you leave and don’t make a big deal of your departure – just leave without any emotion or commotion.

If your dog is already experiencing separation anxiety, then gradually accustom him to your leaving. Practice leaving and returning several times a day until he gets used to your departures and realizes that you are not abandoning him forever. Gradually leave for longer and longer periods of time, but start out by leaving for just 5 minutes and returning again.

Puppy chewing, ripping, shredding, tearing things up and generally destroying stuff is as normal for dogs as tail-wagging. If you have a dog, expect chewing. Provide him with his own toys and teach him to use them or he will destructively chew anything available, such as your furniture, carpet, clothing or shoes.

Dogs do not chew and destroy your house and belongings because they are angry, jealous or spiteful. They do it because they are dogs. They may be lonely, bored, frustrated or anxious, but they are not malicious, vindictive or petty. Active dogs can become restless when left alonefor long periods. If you always come home at a certain time and you are late, your dog may become anxious. Your dog does not punish you for being late by destructive chewing. The dogs’ chewing is a form of occupational therapy to relieve stress and release energy. If you come home and find that your dog has destroyed something, do not punish the dog.

Passive Training to Prevent Chewing Problems

Until your dog can be trusted not to destroy your home and yard, do not give him free, unsupervised run of your house. Give him a pleasant area or room of his own where he can enjoy himself and relax when you are not home or are unable to supervise him. Literally litter his room with a wide variety of toys. Since he will have no other choice of things to chew, he will learn to chew and play with his own toys. Make the toys enticing. Soak rawhide and long marrow bones in different flavored soups. Let them dry and give a different flavor to the dog each time you leave him alone. Sterilized marrow bones and Kong toys can be stuffed with liver treats or cheese. The dog will be entertained for hours trying to extricate the treats from the toy. Bury these toys in the dog’s digging pit.

Active Training to Prevent Destructive Chewing

When you are home, take time to teach your dog to play with her toys and to seek them out whenever she feels like chewing. Always lavish your dog with praise every time you see her playing with or chewing on one of her toys. Teach your dog to “find” her toys. Scatter several toys in different rooms throughout the house. Tell her to “find it,” then immediately lead her from room to room encouraging her to pick up a toy when she sees one. When she does so, reward with praise, affection, play and even a food treat, then continue the game.

Anticipation Chewing

Most destructive chewing occurs just before the owner returns home. The dog is anxiously anticipating the owner’s return and this energy is released by chewing. You can prevent your dog from indiscriminately chewing whatever is handy and instead chew her own toys. Whenever you return home, insist that your dog greet you with a toy in her mouth. At first you will have to help her by telling her to “find” her toy. Do not give your usual home coming greeting until she has a toy firmly in her mouth. Within a few days, your dog will realize that you never say hello unless she has a toy in her mouth. Now when your dog starts anticipating your return, she will automatically begin looking for a toy with which to gain your greeting and approval when you do return. If a toy is already in her mouth, she will be likely to chew on it, rather than on the furniture, to release tension.

Puppy Chewing

Prevent your puppy from chewing and destroying your house and belongings by providing proper training and chew toys. After all, chewing and playtime are part of normal puppy growth and development.

Puppy Chewing Do’s* Provide several of a variety of toys for your puppy.

* Teach your puppy to play with these toys.
* Praise puppy every time you see him chewing or playing with his toys on his own.
* Teach your puppy to get a toy to greet you. Each time your pup runs up to greet you or anyone else, encourage him to find and get a toy. All humans, especially the owners should always be greeted by a dog with toy in mouth.
* Any area that the pup has access to must be kept clear and clean. Put out of puppy’s reach anything you don’t want him to chew or destroy, such as trash, shoes, hazards, etc. Your puppy does not know what is valuable or dangerous and what is not.
* If you find your puppy with your best shoe in mouth, distract him away from it and replace the shoe with one of his toys. Praise him for chewing his toy. Do not reprimand him for chewing your shoe. Reprimand yourself for leaving it out where he could find it.
* Booby traps items and articles to show your puppy that these things are no fun to chew, in fact, they are an annoyance even to touch.
* Puppy Chewing Don’ts* Do not allow unsupervised access to ‘un-chewables.’
* Do not chase the puppy in an attempt to take something away.
* Do not reprimand excessively. A verbal warning should be enough. A loud startling noise is even better. It gets the puppy’s attention without the puppy associating it with you. As soon as the puppy is distracted, show him what to chew and praise him for chewing it.

Socialization Tips & Training for New Puppy Owners

Article copyright by: Karen Clark, Versailles Kennels UK

Socialization Tips and Puppy Training Pointers for New Puppy Owners

Socialization and puppy training are of utmost importance as puppyhood is the most important and critical time in your dog’s development. What you do and do not do right now will affect your dog’s behavior forever.

A properly socialized puppy is well adjusted and makes a good companion. It is neither frightened by nor aggressive towards anyone or anything it would normally meet in day to day living. An un-socialized dog is untrustworthy and an unwanted liability. They often become fear-biters. Often they like to fight with other dogs. They are difficult to train and are generally unpleasant to be around. Unsocialized dogs cannot adapt to new situations and a simple routine visit to the vet is a nightmare not only for the dog itself, but for everyone involved. Don’t let this happen to you and your dog. Start socializing your new puppy NOW!

The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine agrees that the socialization period lasts up to about 12 weeks (3 months) of age. However, at 12 weeks, the puppy must continue socialization to refine its social skills. Socialization most easily occurs before the puppy is 3 months old. Any later than that and it becomes an excruciatingly difficult and time-consuming process that very few owners have the time, energy, money or patience to cope with. Poorly socialised pups have long lasting psychological problems, they usually come from breeders that have no kids, poor ideas of social hierarchy and puppy farms.They also come from homes that let pups go between 6 weeks and 7 weeks, even though it is illegal in the UK now.

Socialization Do’s

Make sure that each of the following events are pleasant and non-threatening. If your puppy’s first experience with something is painful and frightening, you will be defeating your purpose. In fact, you will be creating a phobia that will often last a lifetime. It’s better to go too slow and assure your puppy is not frightened or injured than to rush and force your pup to meet new things and people.

* Invite friends over to meet your pup. Include men, women, youngsters, oldsters, different ethnic backgrounds, etc.

* Invite friendly, healthy, vaccinated dogs, puppies and even cats to your home to meet and play with your new puppy. Take your puppy to the homes of these pets, preferably with dog-friendly cats.

* Carry your pup to shopping centers, parks, school playgrounds, etc; places where there are crowds of people and plenty of activity.

* Take your puppy for short, frequent rides in the car.Stop the car and let your puppy watch the world go by through the window.

* Introduce your puppy to umbrellas, bags, boxes, the vacuum cleaner, etc. Encourage your puppy to explore and investigate his environment.

* Get your puppy accustomed to seeing different and unfamiliar objects by creating your own. Set a chair upside down. Lay the trash can (empty) on its side, set up the ironing board right-side up one day and upside down the next day.

* Introduce your puppy to new and various sounds.Loud obnoxious sounds should be introduced from a distance and gradually brought closer. Tell the pup what it is, bike, car, etc .

* Accustom your puppy to being brushed, bathed, inspected, having its nails clipped, teeth and ears cleaned and all the routines of grooming and physical examination.

* Introduce your puppy to stairs, his own collar and leashIntroduce anything and everything you want your puppy to be comfortable with and around.

Socialization Don’ts

* Do not put your puppy on the ground where unknown animals have access. This is where your puppy can pick up diseases. Wait until your puppy’s shots are completed. Do not let your pup socialize with dogs that appear sick or dogs that you don’t know, that may not be vaccinated.

* Do not reward fearful behavior. In a well meaning attempt to sooth, encourage or calm the puppy when it appears frightened, we often unintentionally reward the behavior. It’s normal for the puppy to show some signs of apprehension when confronting anything new and different.

* Do not allow the experience to be harmful, painful or excessively frightening. This can cause lifetime phobias in your dog.

* Do not force or rush your puppy. Let your puppy take things at his own pace. Your job is to provide the opportunity.

* Do not do too much at one time. Young puppies need a lot of sleep and tire quickly. It is much more productive to have frequent and very brief exposures than occasional prolonged exposures.

* DO NOT WAIT! Every day that goes by is an opportunity of a lifetime that is lost forever. You can never get these days back. If socialization does not happen now, it never will. Part of a pups brain actually closes down at 8 weeks as such , whatever they haven learned then through socialisation can never be regained.

Is Shyness a Problem or Not?

It is natural for some dogs to be shy of things that are new and unfamiliar. During development, a dog becomes socialised with familiar people, animals, objects and situations. But they will still tend to shy away from the unfamiliar. Shyness in itself is not a problem. It is only a problem if the dog’s shyness inhibits your lifestyle or if the dog develops other problems related to shyness such as fear biting. Shy dogs often bolt when frightened, endangering themselves by running blindly into danger, such as traffic.

Training Your Dog or Puppy to be Shy

In a well meaning attempt to calm their dog’s fears, many people end up actually reinforcing the dog’s shy behavior. In effect, the owner inadvertently trains the dog to be more fearful. Be careful not to reinforce your dog’s fearfulness by offering reassurance. When our timid dog hides, barks defensively, whines, screams or snaps, our response is only natural. Our protective instincts cause us to reassure the dog by talking soothingly, petting or even picking up the dog for a hug. These actions flagrantly reward the dog for fearful behavior. It is best to just completely ignore your dog when he acts fearful. Let him learn by his own experience that there is nothing to be afraid of. Save your praise and reassurance for times when your dog acts with confidence.

Shyness, Fear and Socialization

Many people try to rehabilitate their dog too quickly, forcing him to socialize with other dogs and people. This usually reinforces the dog’s view that other dogs and people are frightening. On the one hand, the dog needs to be socialized as quickly as possible, but on the other hand, he should not be forced into it. If you push your dog to do too much too soon, your dog will only become more fearful and may be forced into a situation where he feels he must defend himself. Socializing a dog and helping him build his confidence is a time consuming task. Thrusting him into the arms of every visitor and dragging him out to socialize with many other dogs can be counter-productive. Strangers should never be allowed to approach your dog to pet him. It should always be left to your dog to make the first contact. If your dog does not want to approach, that is OK. Just give him plenty of time to ‘hide and peek’ and eventually he will come out of hiding. It’s up to you to provide ample opportunity for socialization, but it is up to the dog to proceed at his own pace. Don’t verbally try to encourage him out of hiding. He will probably interpret your encouragement as praise for hiding. Don’t try to force him to come out, this will only frighten him even more.

Fearful Snapping, Growling and Aggression

Shy or fearful dogs can react defensively when approached by unfamiliar people. They may try to keep strangers away by growling, snarling or snapping. These behaviors must not be ignored. No dog should be allowed to get away with acting aggressively towards humans. The fact that your dog is shy is no excuse to condone growling or biting. You must instantly and effectively reprimand such behavior. As soon as your dog stops acting aggressive, it is essential that you praise him. We do not want your dog to think that the presence of the stranger brings on the reprimand, but that his own obnoxious behavior causes you to get angry. If it is ever necessary for you to reprimand aggressive tendencies in your shy dog, you have probably been trying to push him along too quickly. Avoid similar threatening situations until your dog has developed sufficient confidence to deal with them without resorting to aggression. Do not allow strangers to reprimand your fearful or shy dog.

Collars, Stairs, Leashes & Recall

Article copyright by: Karen Clark, Versailles Kennels UK

Training Puppy to Accept a Collar

Young pups are often bewildered or unsure of themselves and their newly acquired leash and collar. It usually takes only a few hours for a pup or even an adult dog to adjust to a collar. Choose a collar that fits comfortably but securely. Choke collars are a training aid and should never be used as a substitute for a regular buckle type collar. The collar should have an identification tag and license attached.

Simply put the collar on the dog and let him jump, squirm, roll and paw at it if he wishes. Don’t encourage the behavior by laughing or trying to soothe him. Do not reprimand him either. It’s best to just ignore him and let him get used to it or provide some distraction to get his mind off the collar. Play, training and eating work well to get the pup’s mind off the collar. Once the dog accepts it, he won’t even know it’s there. It’s similar to a person getting used to wearing a ring or watch for the first time. Training Puppy to Accept a Leash

Once your pup accepts the collar, put his leash on and then just sit and watch. Obviously, do this indoors or in a secure confined area. Let puppy drag the leash around on his own but keep a close eye on him so that he doesn’t tangle or get hurt. Leave it on for just a few minutes at first. Later, repeat the exercise for longer periods of time. Put your pup on leash during mealtimes, so he associates the leash with a pleasant event. If he is very fearful of the leash, you may want to put it next to the food bowl for a while before attaching it to his collar. Eventually he will see that no harm is coming and there indeed is nothing to be afraid of.

When you are sure he is completely comfortable walking around with the leash on, pick up the other end for a few minutes. Do not try walking him yet. Just hold onto the other end and let him lead you around. Try not to get into a position that will make him pull or strain on the leash or he will probably become afraid of it again. If he sits down, that is okay. You just sit down too. Try backing up and enticing him to come towards you. If he hesitates, don’t pull or drag him by the leash. Try luring him over to you with a food treat or toy. When he starts to walk, praise him profusely so he knows how happy you are. Give him lots of time to get used to his leash and always try to make it a pleasant experience.

Give your pup lots of practice getting used to walking on leash in his own home, since it is a familiar environment with minimal distractions. When he is comfortable indoors, try going outdoors. Again, begin in an area with few distraction such as your front or back yard. When the two of you have mastered this, you are ready for places where there are more distractions. This exercise won’t be difficult, since you’ve both had lots of practice beforehand at getting it right.

If your pup is biting and chewing the leash, try applying bitter apple, Tabasco or some other unpleasant tasting (but nontoxic) substance to the leash. Reapply before every outing.

Remember to always walk your dog on-leash. A dog off leash is always in danger; accidents happen very quickly. Your dog’s safety as well as compliance with your local leash law, is your responsibility.

Training Puppy to Climb Stairs

If your dog is afraid of stairs, or simply does not know how to climb them, then begin slowly to build her confidence. Start off at the bottom of a flight of steps. A wide, shallow stairway will probably be least frightening for your dog. Go up one step; encourage and lure your dog up with your voice, a food treat or a toy. When she is successful, give her lots of reward and praise. Then go back down that same step. Repeat only one step over and over until your dog goes up and down with ease and courage. Wait a while, then try two steps. When your dog feels secure going up and down two steps, then try three steps and so on. Never force your dog to go up or down as this will only frighten her and slow the process. Always use praise and lures to get your dog to go up or down a step. Don’t rush her into doing more than she can, take things “one step at a time.”

Asking when you can allow your dog to be off leash is not a whole lot different from the question, “When will you be able to let your son or daughter take your Porsche or Mercedes out for a spin with his buddies or her friends?” The answer can range from now to never. Different circumstances would dictate different answers as well. Most adults would go by this rule of thumb: When the individual is responsible and trustworthy enough for you to have the confidence that he or she will not bring harm to him or herself; others and of course the car. You can apply this same principle to your dog.

Is your dog socialized enough that he or she will not be fearful of or aggressive towards other people and dogs. Can you trust your dog not to jump on people (especially children),chase joggers, fight with other dogs, pick up garbage, invade picnic lunches and so forth?

UN-SOCIALISED and skittish dogs will often bolt if something frightens them. Can you control your dog off the leash? Will your dog reliably come when called and stop on a dime from a full run when told to stay? These commands are essential for your dog’s safety. Some dogs when let off leash will simply run away. Other dogs will chase a tennis ball or cat right into the street.

If you are willing to risk the safety of the public, the safety of your dog and the security of your finances (paying your own or someone else’s medical or veterinary bill, facing a lawsuit, etc) then you’ll let your dog off-leash before someone who is not willing to take the risks.

If you are unwilling to take the risk, only let your dog off-leash in areas where the above mentioned risks do not exist. A fenced-in dog park is ideal. Tennis courts are usually completely enclosed. Your dog may not come when called but at least you can just go and get him or her when it’s time to leave. If your own yard is not large enough, find a friend or neighbor with a yard where their dog and yours can get together to run and play.

Use a long leash on outings to give your dog some freedom but still allow you to maintain control.
Train, practice and be patient. Obedient, trustworthy dogs are a product of a lot of dedication and commitment.

Training a dog to come when called is often referred to as a “recall.”

It is ironic that owners go to great lengths to train their dog NOT to come when called, and then complain about it. They want someone to wave the magic wand and have their dog drop everything it’s doing, including chasing birds at the beach, digging in the yard or romping with other dogs, and instantly come racing over to the owner. That is PhD level obedience. The first thing we have to do is undo the training the owner has already done, then proceed with kindergarten level obedience before achieving the results the owner desires. So how has the owner so systematically trained the dog not to come when called? Sabotaging the Training

The worst practice the owner engages in is letting their dog off leash and unattended. Whether the dog is running in the park, romping on the beach or playing with other dogs, the dog is learning that these good times do not include the owner. In fact, it is always the owner who ruins the fun by ordering the dog to “Come.” When the dog obediently comes to the owner, his leash is promptly attached and he’s on his way home. This is not a good outcome from the dog’s perspective so on each successive outing, the dog delays coming when called because by delaying, he is prolonging his off leash fun. When the owner repeatedly calls the dog and he does not come, then the dog is learning that he doesn’t have to come – or at least he doesn’t need to come until he is called umpteen billion times. The dog has now learned that ignoring the owner is infinitely more rewarding than obeying the owner. This is definitely a lose-lose situation. If the dog comes, he is punished for coming because his off leash fun is curtailed. If the dog doesn’t come, he is learning not to come and he is being self-rewarded for ignoring the owner.

Training What Come When Called Means

To many dogs, the command “come here” means, “quick, run the other way!” There are countless examples of how the owner trains the dog not to come by unintentionally “punishing” the dog when it does come. Every time the dog is called to engage in an activity that the dog doesn’t enjoy he is learning that the command, “Come here,” is bad news. The owner should never call the dog to come and then give him a bath, clip his nails or confine him. Even if the owner’s planned activity is not unpleasant for the dog, just the fact that it isn’t as much fun as the activity the dog is currently engaged in is enough for the dog to choose not to obey. It’s better for the owner to just go and get the dog for these activities rather than ruin an otherwise rapid recall.

Some owners intentionally punish their dog when it comes. Often this is done when the dog has misbehaved (especially chewed, soiled the house. The owner shouts, “Come here. Bad dog!” When the dog arrives, he is punished. After the dog has been clobbered once or twice for complying, not surprisingly, he will be reluctant to do so again.

Dogs are always learning whether we intend to teach them or not.Formal training sessions are usually short and infrequent compared to the day to day and minute to minute training ( or more appropriately – un-training) we do with our dogs. In order to correct this type of problem the owner must first be aware of how he or she is unintentionally training undesirable behaviors in the dog. One or two instances of “punishing” the dog for coming when called can undermine weeks and weeks of formal training. Owners must learn to incorporate positive training into the dog’s life and daily routine. Until the dog is reliably trained to come when called, he should not be let off leash.

The average owner who attends a training class with his or her dog practices the exercises at home on the average of 5 minutes a day. An exceptional owner practices perhaps 15 minutes a day. What happens with the dog the other 23 hours 45 minutes each day? Every time the dog and owner interact, the dog is learning something even though the owner may not be intentionally trying to teach the dog anything. Dogs are always learning.

Prime the Training Pump

The first step is to test if the dog is motivated and ready to learn. At the dog’s regularly scheduled meal time, take a nugget of kibble and wave it in front of the dog’s nose. If the dog does not show enthusiastic interest in the food, then this is not the right time to begin training. Training should be delayed for an hour or so until the dog shows interest. You may have to skip one meal entirely to get the dog motivated. Don’t worry, Puppy will not starve to death if he misses one meal. Overindulged pets that are constantly showered with affection, attention and tidbits will be more difficult to motivate. Most will have the attitude, “Why bother learning something new for a piece of kibble when I can just look cute and get steak?” If you are serious about training, then you must withhold all treats during the day, put the dog on a strict feeding schedule (no ad lib feeding) and adhere to this during the training period. Tidbits will be reintroduced a little later in the training. For dogs that are absolutely finicky and underweight (not fat and spoiled) then either the food can be made more appealing by coating it with something especially yummy like baby food chicken or gravy or use other motivators (keep reading).

Basic Come When Called Training

As soon as Puppy says, “Yes, yes! I’m hungry, I’ll do anything for that food,” then you’re ready to begin. Introduce the simple recall by giving the dog a couple of nuggets of kibble for free, then quickly back up a few feet and say, “Come Here.” Hold the food in an outstretched hand at the dog’s nose level. Praise the dog all the time that she approaches and give the food as soon as she arrives. Once the dog comes readily, add a sit to the end of the recall and take hold of the dog’s collar before giving the food. Many dogs will come and sit, then duck or run away to avoid being touched. They will not allow themselves to be touched because past experience has shown them that this usually means bad news (from the dog’s point of view, not yours).

The exercise may be repeated several times in a row with you quickly running backwards between recalls. At a more advanced level of training, the dog may be instructed to sit-stay until called. Repeat this sequence with every nugget of every meal. Make certain this exercise is performed when the dog is really motivated. If at anytime the dog loses interest, stop the training immediately and don’t allow the dog to eat anything else until the next regularly scheduled mealtime and practice session.

Once the dog is responding regularly, it is time to start to thin out the food rewards. Rewards should be reserved for the dog’s better responses, i.e., only those times when she comes quickly, directly and happily. Reward with one fourth to one third of the dog’s meal instead of only one kibble or handful. During maintenance training, on average, the dog should receive one food reward per five times that she comes obediently.

Motivators & Other Training Tips

Article copyright by: Karen Clark, Versailles Kennels UK

More Training Exercises

Now that the dog understands the basics of the exercise, it is time to make training even more fun. Perform the To & Fro and Hide & Seek (described below) exercises between meals with your dog’s favorite treats. Again, be sure the dog shows interest in the treat you’re using. Use minuscule pieces – this is a treat, not a meal. I suggest one quarter inch square pieces or smaller of chicken, cheese or liver. In other words, real food, not boring Milkbones. The better the reward, the quicker the dog learns and the longer the dog retains what has been learned.

A very simple, enjoyable training exercise is a back and forth recall. Two or more people should stand ten yards or so apart. One person calls the dog to come and instructs her to sit-stay until another of the human participants calls the dog to come. Practice this exercise in the house and yard. Most dogs love this exercise and in exuberant anticipation of the commands, may madly rush back and forth, like a deranged yo-yo. Either, do not let the dog break her sit-stay until she is called, or if the dog is not being asked to stay, then someone other than the person the dog is running towards, should do the calling. Only the person who calls the dog is allowed to give a treat. We don’t want Puppy to think that all he has to do is charge up to someone and they will automatically dispense food.

Hide and Seek Training

When the dog catches on to the game of To n Fro, then the human participants can begin to spread further apart turning the To & Fro recall into a game of Hide & Seek. Two or more people begin in the center room of the house. Each time after they have called the dog to come, they go further away from the place they started. As the game progresses, eventually one person will be in the master bedroom, the second person in the guest room and the third in the kitchen and so forth. The dog does not simply run up to the person calling, he has to find that person first. This game is an especially good reinforcer because not only does it appeal to many of the dog’s natural instincts, but it also associates the words “come here” with the owner with fun instead of dread.

Random Recalls and Other Training Motivators

There are times when we know the dog will come: when the owner says, “Do you want to go for a walk?” or “Ride in the car?” or “Where’s your ball?” Many dogs come running to the owner just upon hearing car keys jingle, or when the closet door where the leash is kept is opened, or the cupboard that holds the treats is opened. Periodically and randomly throughout the day, happily herald such events with the cheerful announcement “Come here.” For example: before giving any clues that a walk is being offered, call the dog to come. If she comes, hold out the leash and ask her to sit, put on the leash and go out for a walk. If she does not come, pick up the leash, waggle it around, put it away and ignore the dog. She will probably regard you suspiciously, perhaps thinking, “How come my owner picked up my leash and now we are not going for a walk?” The next “come here” usually produces an immediate response. With enough repetition your dog will think, “I don’t know what those words “Come here” mean, but whenever I hear them I better hustle over to the owner as quickly as possible because something terrific is going to happen.”

Distraction Training

Don’t let a fun activity such as running free and playing with other dogs become a distraction to training. Instead, use it as a reward. Show the dog that if she comes when called, she will receive plentiful praise, a food treat and then be allowed to resume her play session. Try to be a part of your dog’s good times, so that she learns it is not the end of the fun just because you tell her to come.When you first take the recall training exercises outside, practice in areas with the least amount of distractions. Begin with the dog on a long leash. It’s absolutely important that you are able to enforce your command should the dog refuse to obey. Don’t allow your dog to ignore you. If you call a couple of times and the dog ignores you, use the long leash to make the dog come. It will take many repetitions of “Come Here, go play” before the dog is convinced that its freedom is not going to end just because the owner has called. Gradually add more distractions only when the dog succeeds with minimal distractions. When you find you no longer have to enforce your command, then it is time to try the exercises off leash. If at anytime the dog regresses, then simply go back to square one and begin again. Don’t take the dog back to the park off leash again until you have done some retraining. In most cases, all it takes is for the dog to get away with disobeying once and the dog realizes that he can do it again and again.

It’s a good idea to practice all these exercises all the time anyway if you want to maintain the dogs level of obedience and prevent bad habits from reoccurring.

Another outcome of the above situation is that the now frustrated owner feels he needs to punish Puppy for not coming when called. Because the owner does not know how to punish the dog while it is running away, the owner punishes the dog when he eventually returns. The next time the dog will take even longer to come back because not only does it end the fun but it also now means outright punishment from the owner if he does comply.

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