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Test Your Training!
Badly Behaved or Struggling?
Don't Trick Your Dog!
Cyber Rally Club -- Come join the fun!
Happy Housebreaking!

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Test Your Training!

Testing out your dogs skills and your training abilities in the competition obedience ring is a great way to see how you’ve done, but even if you don’t want to compete (many people don’t) you can still occasionally “test” yourself and your dog to see how you’re doing.
 
Dr. Ian Dunbar, the veterinary behaviorist who popularized both puppy classes and positive reinforcement-based training, uses the “test, train, test” method to ensure that your dog is in fact making progress with its training.

Badly Behaved or Struggling?

Very recently I saw an article intended for parents/guardians of young kids; the article described the benefit of reframing kids who were “misbehaving” as kids who “were struggling to cope in a particular situation.” If you saw the kids as misbehaving you were more likely to get frustrated, angry and punishing. But if you saw the kids as struggling to cope, you’d be more likely to remain calm, patient and helpful.
 
Like many things, there’s a parallel here with dogs. Maybe especially with dogs.

Don't Trick Your Dog!

One of the most difficult situations I see people getting into with their dog is when the dog is refusing to do something (usually failing to come when called, or refusing to get into a car or crate) and the owner or handler can not get the dog to do it and is trying to "trick” the dog into doing it.
 
This team problem does not develop overnight. Instead it develops over many days, weeks or even months, taking so long to become an official “problem” that most owners can’t even define when it actually started.

Cyber Rally Club -- Come join the fun!

K-9 Prodigy Cyber Rally Club was started earlier this summer to provide both current and former clients a fun, free extra-curricular training activity. It’s also intended to bridge the gap between private training, where the distraction level is specifically tailored to each dogs needs, and group training, which features its own distractions (mainly via lots of other dogs and handlers.) Now you can have both!
 
Cyber Rally is a dog obedience sport that’s video-based; generally you download courses from the official website, video you and your dog working through them, and then submit the videos for qualifications, titles and ribbons!

Happy Housebreaking!

When you bring your new puppy home, right off the bat you get started in housebreaking! Housebreaking a puppy seems so mysterious to so many, but it’s really not. It’s really just establishing a habit of going to the bathroom outside, and not going to the bathroom inside. I’ve housebroken many puppies and they’ve all been very reliable and you can do it too! Here are some hints:
 
1) Don’t give your puppy free reign of the house right away. Free reign of the house is for dogs who are housebroken.

Things to Keep in Mind with a Leash-Reactive Dog

Living with a leash-reactive dog isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Most leash-reactive dogs are at least moderately fearful of various things in the world – usually people or other dogs – and when they see one of these feared beings while out and about, they respond by putting on an aggressive display, usually barking, snarling and lunging to the end of the leash.
 
It can be embarrassing and scary and potentially dangerous, depending on how strong your dog is. A simple walk can turn into a major chore.

Training in Hot Weather

Training in the hot weather – no one likes to do it! I’ve always wondered what people who live in constantly hot locations – Arizona, Las Vegas etc – do about the hot weather when there’s dogs to be trained. Does everyone just rent air conditioned training buildings?
 
Luckily, Oregon is really only truly hot for a few weeks out of the year. Here’s some of the ways I’ve found to cope:
 
Train early! It really, really, really is worth it to get up an extra five or ten minutes early and do a very short training session, especially if you’re working on something that’s high energy like recalls or jumping.

The Formality of Training

When many dog owners view highly-trained dogs, especially dogs competing in the obedience ring,  they see a picture of strict formality. The handler stands straight as an arrow and verbal commands are often brisk and firm. There is no talking to the dog during a training exercise and only limited praise afterwards. The dogs are not performing for rewards; the handlers are not carrying rewards. Everything is as tight and polished as a military drill.
 
I think this gives people the idea that in order to get their dogs to look like those highly-trained ones, they should look and act just like the handlers in the ring.

The Non-Compliant Dog

Before determining that your dog is truly non-compliant, make sure of the following:
 
Is your dog in any pain or is it feeling unwell? Often the first signs of illness will be non-compliant behavior. Years ago I was called out to work with a dog who was causing some trouble in the yard. He was digging in the flower beds and then refusing to move out of them. This sounded bad, but when I went to see, the dog was obese (like, morbidly obese.) The yard was out in full sun and the dog would drag himself, panting, to the only shady cool spot (the flowerbed.

How big should your dogs world be?

I always pick up great new methods and techniques whenever I attend a training conference or seminar; sometimes I also pick up good concepts or “themes” for training. At this most recent seminar I attended about working with fearful, aggressive or reactive dogs, a discussion popped up about how “small” a dog needed its world to be on any particular day or any particular time, and it was great so I thought I’d share it with you!

Many fearful, anxious, reactive, aggressive or stressed dogs simply can not cope with too much at one time.
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