Minggu, 29 Agustus 2010

Stop Your Dog From Eating Poop!

While you would not want to break the spirit of your goofy little puppy or have him behave like a robot, still you can see the value of not letting things get out of hand.

Your best weapon is to be a firm pack leader. In the face of a strong, intelligent leadership, less problems will crop up. Your very attitude will prevent most of them. Understanding the puppy's inability to behave as an adult, yet curbing excessive flack even while he's learning.

Knowing that you have the right and duty to be in charge is a good beginning when it comes to dog problem prevention. Your puppy is built to look to a strong, loving leader for direction and guidance. You just have to step into his shoes and continue on - loving, protecting, making rules and setting limits.

One type of behavior problem that needs to be stopped is the unpleasant habit of stool eating. Some puppies indulge in this habit out of boredom. Some get the habit after being punished for a housebreaking accident. They seem to be trying to get rid of the evidence of wrongdoing. And while most people find this habit unnatural, it isn't really.

When your dog was a little puppy, his mother kept the den clean by ingesting the feces of all her puppies. Still, when you pick up your little puppy to kiss him, you'd prefer his breath to smell like milk. In addition, by ingesting feces, he can reinfest himself with the very parasites you have been battling to get rid of. If he does this with the stools of other dogs, he can infest himself with whatever worms they might have.

The only way to break this habit is to clean up immediately after your dog evacuates. When he's outside, keep him on leash and do not let him sniff the droppings of other dogs. This habit may take a few weeks to break, especially if your puppy is using papers while you are out to work. But by keeping things as clean as possible, you will end the habit soon enough. Try not to freak out when your pup "cleans up" by himself. This too shall pass.

In all training, particularly in problem prevention and correction, it's important to examine the activity from the dog's side, too. Sometimes you will feel that what your dog wants is not acceptable, as in the case with biting. Other times you'll feel that what he wants to do would be fine if you had some control over it, as in the case with barking. By pausing to look at life momentarily through dog-colored glasses you will see which activities you should stop cold and which you can redirect. That is the intelligent and humane way to train you dog.

Sabtu, 28 Agustus 2010

How To Train Your Dog To “Retrieve”

The “Retrieve” must be learned step by step. First, you should teach your dog to take a very light dumbbell and hold it. Even though a handler has never tried this with his dog he should be able to accomplish it in one lesson. If you are training a dog who refused to retrieve when some other method was used, and he has become stubborn or frightened, it might take two or three lessons. The length of time it takes will depend upon your skill in using your voice as you tighten his collar.

Teaching a dog to retrieve is one of persuasion, and your voice is your most important asset here. You must use your dog's name repeatedly before each command and do so in a most persuasive tone of voice. Your voice should be kept low, firm, and pleasant, and you should talk to the dog continually as you urge him to take the dumbbell. When your dog takes it, you should immediately sound very pleased and praise him happily and excitedly as you pet him.

Never raise your voice in anger or impatience; if the dog appears to be stubborn, never shove the dumbbell in your dog's mouth or against his gums, never jerk your dog's collar, and don't hit him over the head with the dumbbell. Be gentle but firm with him at all times.

Start your dog in a quiet corner and keep him on a leash for the first three steps. Place the dumbbell under, in front of, and close to, your dog's upper lip, and as you tell him to "Get it," put your third finger behind his canine tooth. This will open his mouth slightly and you can gently slide the dumbbell into his mouth. If you can't use your right hand to open his mouth, use the index finger of your left hand. Quickly tell your dog to "Hold it," as you stroke his nose on top, in one direction away from his nose, with your right hand, and you stroke him under the chin with your left hand. By stroking him this way you will keep the dumbbell in his mouth. You should be praising him as you do this. Keep the dumbbell in your dog's mouth for two or three seconds at first so he can get the feel of it.

Most dogs accept the dumbbell gracefully and hold it firmly the first time. This is especially true of puppies who will actually reach out to take it and hold it for you. However, some dogs will put up a struggle, and you will have to hold their jaws closed gently with both hands around their muzzles as you command them firmly, but quietly, to "Hold it." Generally speaking, the majority of dogs will hold the dumbbell if you are gentle with them and talk to them reassuringly. Be careful not to bang the dog's teeth with the dumbbell.

After placing the dumbbell in your dog's mouth two or three times to get his reaction to it, teach him to take it by himself. Slide your dogs medium link chain or heavy nylon choke collar up high on his neck, behind his ears and high under his chin, and hold it in your left hand. Your right hand will be holding the dumbbell. By pushing against the dead ring with your thumb you will be able to draw the collar into the palm of your hand very steadily and smoothly. Do not jerk the collar, just tighten it smoothly and quickly. When the dog takes the dumbbell you should let go of his collar immediately and praise him.

Selasa, 24 Agustus 2010

Controlling Your Dog's Whining & Barking

There are three ways to deal with your noisy dog. First, you can do nothing. In this case, the dog will keep barking whenever he feels like it and you may end up enemies with your neighbors, evicted or a victim of chronic headaches. Second, you can correct your dog whenever he goes on his noise-making marathons. You can even pretend to leave and sneak back to the house. Then, when the concert begins, you can break in on him, yelling “No, No, No, No”, while shaking him by the collar.

The third possibility is that you can teach the dog to do what he is doing on command, therefore gaining control of the activity. This is because when you issue a command, the dog focuses on you, and you will readily be able to stop what you have started. Thus the dog who speaks on command shuts up on command as well. The command “Speak” is what turns him on while the command “Enough” will turn him off.

Once your dog looks at you and whines with you, you can add a word to your madness, the word “Speak.” Now, after your dog will “Speak” on command, with and without you, begin to intrude on this activity, whether you have started it or not, with the magic word “Enough.” If your dog continues to sing, grasp the collar, command “Enough” once more and then gently shake him, adding harsh eye contact to your correction.

Of course, you may have unintentionally trained your dog to whine, cry and bark by reinforcing this annoying behavior. To find out, make a checklist of what makes your dog whine and bark and how you respond when he does:

1. Your dog barks. You give him a treat to quiet him.
2. Your dog barks when you're on the phone. You lean over and pet him to quiet him.
3. Your dog whines while you're in bed reading a book. You let him up on the bed to quiet him.

Follow the methods above, teaching your dog to bark on command and then stopping him with “Enough,” a harsh eye contact and a shake. Never give your dog anything, including the time of day, when he's barking, whining or crying for it. Use the long down once a day, tighten up your training and make sure the dog is quiet before you feed him, walk him, and pet him. If the dog bothers you while you are watching TV, reading, or dining, squirt him in the mouth with water or lemon juice and go on about your business.

Noise making may seem a lesser crime than biting or destructiveness, but it can have serious consequences. In fact, it may be a sign of escalation. To stop that, as well as for its pure annoyance, it should be put under control as soon as possible.

Selasa, 17 Agustus 2010

A Simple Six-Step Dog Training Method

Training a new behavior follows a simple six-step method. Depending on the dog and other circumstances, a good trainer will vary his training method when he decides that a particular training challenge needs either a little more or less. When you have used the method enough to know it well, you can add your own personal touch as needed.

The following are six steps for teaching your dog a new behavior

1. Get the behavior.
2. Mark the behavior.
3. Reward the behavior.
4. Repeat the behavior until it happens easily at least 90% of the time.
5. Add the verbal cue as your dog does the behavior to associate the word with the appropriate response.
6. Use the verbal cue to elicit the behavior.

You get the behavior by capturing, shaping, or luring it. You mark the behavior with the click., or some other reward marker that your dog has already learned means that the reward is coming. Reward the behavior by following the click with his favorite treat or, in some cases, with a favorite toy or other desirable reward, such as swimming or going outside.

Repeat the behavior until your pet is offering it easily before you add the verbal cue, so that he will associate the word with the correct behavior response. For instance, by saying "Sit" as he does it, you are telling him that the name of the behavior he is doing is Sit. If you ask him to do it before he's offering the behavior easily, you risk teaching him that the word sit means "stand there and look at me," or worse, "sniff the ground and pull on the leash."

After your dog has heard the word at least a half-dozen times during the behavior, depending on how quickly he seems to learn, then you can say the word first to elicit the behavior. Be sure that his attention is focused on you so that he actually hears the word, and keep your body position the same as it was when you were getting the behavior before. If you had been doing the “Sit” while you were standing and you suddenly start asking for it while you are sitting, he won't understand that it's the same thing.

Give him a few seconds to respond. When he sits, click! and reward. If he doesn't sit, use the minimum amount of assistance necessary (through body language or a lure, not through physical assistance) to get the behavior, and repeat the exercise. If you find that he will only respond if you help him, start to minimize the amount of help you give until he is sitting for the verbal cue without any help from you.