Kamis, 30 September 2010

Words That Your Dog Should Know (Part 1)

Many dog owners are at a loss for words when they wish to communicate with their dogs. Of course, your choice of words is not the issue. What is important is that you pace your vocabulary lessons in such a way that your dog absorbs the first few definitions before you go on to the text. And, since dogs are learning English as his second language, you must be very consistent in your teaching. In fact, in time, your dog, once started on the road to a better, richer vocabulary, will understand long sentences and life-saving orders.

Listed below is a sample of words to use on your dog. With these words, any dog can live in harmony with his human family, more or less.

No (Permission denied). This is probably the first word a puppy hears, or at least that registers as a word. It is important for every dog to know a word that stops him from urinating on the carpet, hogging the bed, running out into traffic, nabbing that piece of chicken, and chewing on the sofa or your shoe. “No” is that magic word.

Ok (Permission granted). In order to have a balanced, happy, obedient pet, approval is just as important as disapproval. You can give your pet permission to do something he'd do anyway, just to show him it's ok with you. This reinforces your position as the leader. It also increases the amount of positive reenforcement in your dog's life. You can use this release word to let him out of work, out of the house, into the car, at his dinner, and onto your bed. Dogs learn “Ok” instantly.

Good Dog (Approval from the top). By saying “Good Dog” in the proper tone, you dog will give you everything. Saying “Good Dog” is the most important tool any owner has in training his pet.

Bad Dog (Disapproval from the top). “Bad Dog,” from the right lips, can be more powerful and more effective than any leash correction, any shaking, any cold shoulder, any confining, any anything you would think of doing to your disobedient dog. He must have your approval.
When you deny him that, you have already made a serious correction. No puppy grows to adulthood without hearing his share of “Bad Dogs.”

Sit (Plant your rump). Even an untrained dog should know “Sit” and “Stay.” How else can you have any order or control? Your dog must sit while you wait at the vet, while getting his collar put on, while waiting for his bowl to be filled or the traffic light to change, and while being groomed.

Come (Join me). The “Come” command is a crucial word in every dog's vocabulary. You need to be able to teach your dog to come quickly, cheerfully and willingly when he is off leash, out of doors, and playing with his friends.

Off (Get off). The command “Off” is the proper word to say when you find your pet eating a greasy bone on your brand new white couch or shedding in your bed. It's also good for correcting jumping or any other situation in which the dog's big, hairy paws are on something they should be “Off.”

Minggu, 26 September 2010

House-Training: Catching Your Dog In The Act

The following are suggestions to correct house-training mistakes and what to do if you catch your dog in the act.

1. If you come upon an accident or catch your pet in the act, don't scream! Don't call the puppy to you to discipline him, go toward him and don't say anything, unless he is in the middle of eliminating, in which case you may begin gently scolding him as you approach.

2. Reach for his collar and sit him in front of the accident, quickly. Keep some upward tension on the collar to keep the pup in the “Sit” position. Don't begin disciplining until he is sitting. It is no sense disciplining a dog that is squirming to get out of your control. If he is wearing a training collar, insert your index finger in one ring and pull him up on a sit, if not, push his rump down while simultaneously pulling the ring of the collar up.

3. Tilt the dog's head up toward yours for just a second to let him see the displeasure in your eyes. After two seconds of eye contact, tilt his head back down toward the accident. Do not put his nose in the mess, but do have him look at the accident. Taking a finger and tracing a line back and forth between the dog's eyes and the mess will help make the connection.

4. Quietly scold the puppy, but do not whine, scream, shout, use an implement or otherwise get hysterical. Make your scolding just two to three seconds long. Trot your pet by his collar to where he is supposed to relieve himself. Do this immediately. If you have a backyard, take him there by stooping down and taking the collar and leading him out. Do not pick him up to take him to the desired area. If you do, the dog could interpret that he only has to use that area if you pick him up and put him in there.

If you must take your dog down to the street after an accident, remind him of your displeasure on the way without again disciplining him on the same level as you did at the scene of the accident. Give a smart leash tug (diagonally, upward toward yourself) and emit a low growling phrase ("It better not happen again") as you go down the stairs or through the lobby. Otherwise, the dog might be happy by the time he gets through the lobby and forgets what the correction was all about.

5. Leave your dog out in the yard or out on the street for only two to three minutes. You don't want him playing around right after the discipline, you have to make the connection. While the dog is in the desired area, return and clean up the mess.

6. Isolate him for at least thirty minutes, either behind a gate or in a crate, or remain passive for one-half hour. Go about your business and ignore him. The dog needs some time to pull himself together. There is a natural reaction of submission after effective discipline and you should take advantage of it, not thwart it. The dog needs some time to adjust. Let him have it. On the other hand, if your dog is jumping up on you, or barking wildly after a house-training reprimand, chances are your correction did not get through and wasn't strong enough.

7. After one-half hour, do something nice with him, but not overly nice. You want to make up after the discipline but the message you want to leave with your dog is that something very bad has happened and it better not happen again.

Selasa, 21 September 2010

Understanding How Dogs Learn

All dogs learn through experience. However, the number of times a particular action must be repeated for a dog to learn and to commit it to memory varies. If the dog perceives the action as being particularly advantageous to him, he may learn it on the basis of one experience.

Similarly, the dog learns to avoid particularly disadvantageous situations on the basis of one experience. Like the child who touches the hot stove, the dog will shy from activities that have previously produced discomfort or fear.

The actions and exercises that we teach our dogs in training are not, in themselves, viewed by the dog as either advantageous or disadvantageous. For training to succeed, we must clearly distinguish in terms understandable to the dog what is to his advantage and what is not. Once the dog perceives that it is to his benefit both to refrain from conduct we consider objectionable and to adopt those actions we consider desirable, he learns very quickly

Minggu, 19 September 2010

Training Your Dog To “Come-fore” And “Go-to-heel”

The “come-fore” teaches your dog to sit and face you instead of sitting toward the left side. Keep your lead slack when teaching this exercise. Command “Front!” and then walk backward without moving the position of your hands on the lead. As the dog is coming in front of you, gradually gather the lead up and coax him in close. Hold the lead tight and command “Sit!” Praise him immediately and then command “Stay.” Step back to heel position without circling.

Once again, walk backward, keep your lead slack, then command “Front!” Don't drag your dog around on a tight lead. The lead is used to bring the dog in close and to make him sit in front. Step back to heel position. Command “Front!” Remember, the dog does the turning! All you do is walk backward two or three steps. When the dog turns around, gather the lead up and prompt him to sit. Praise at once.

Stand up straight and do not lean forward towards your dog. Hold your hands low and close to your body. Pull up on the lead to make the dog sit. Insist that your dog sits straight and squarely on both hips. If he sits at an angle, hold the leash tight and cuff him on whichever hip is out of line. Every obedience exercise includes the “come-fore” position. Therefore, it is important that the dog learns to do it correctly from the very start of his training so he will not get into the habit of doing a sloppy work.

Go-To-Heel: The “going-to-heel” exercise teaches the dog to go to your left side from the come-fore position. With your dog in the come-fore position, take hold of the lead the same as you do when heeling. Say “Heel!” walk to the right of your dog and keep going. The dog will swing around to your left side automatically. Tell your dog to sit, then praise him! Command “Stay!” and step in front of him again. You should be as near your dog as possible. Again, command “Heel!” Walk past your dog and keep going.

The left hand guides the dog around into place at your left side. Make your dog sit! Tell him to stay and face him again. This time, to make your dog go to heel position, step backward with your left foot after you command “Heel!” and jerk the lead with a snap. This will bring the dog to all four feet. Now walk forward. Guide the dog around into place with your left hand. Make him sit immediately.

In doing the two exercises together, first start with the come-fore. Command “Front!” Walk backward with little motion of your body. Stand up straight. Keep your lead slack while the dog is making the turn. Gather up the lead as the dog comes in front, and hold the lead tight until he sits. Praise and pat him. Next, command “Heel!” Jerk the lead as you take a step backward with the left foot. Praise the dog at once as he swings around to heel position.

You may have to walk backward two or three steps at the beginning, but soon your dog will get the idea of going around to your left side by himself whenever he hears the command “Heel!” In practicing the going-to-heel exercise, give the command without moving the leash, then snap it when you step back with your left foot. Praise him immediately. Move your feet less each time so that the dog must do most of the work.

Controlling Dog Nipping

Your puppy has a natural instinct to put his teeth on everything he can reach. However, you need to set limits on what he can and cannot gnaw upon. First of all, he can't gnaw on you. It's easiest and best to be rigid here. His milk teeth are as sharp as needles, and his adult teeth have formidable clout, in some large breeds, hundreds of pounds of pressure per square inch.

Even a gentle dog can get overexcited when playing. If the dog has not been taught to keep his teeth off you, he can escalate gentle mouthing to a painful bite in no time. When your puppy nips, tell him “No!” If he nips again, tell him “No” again, stopping him physically with your hands. This means you can hold him off by his collar.

Do not hold his mouth shut. This frustrates him so much that he loses the connection between the nip and the correction in his struggle to get out of your grasp. Better than that, if he keeps at it, grasp his collar and shake him. After the shake, if he's nipping again, put him in his crate to cool off.

Confining your dog to his crate as a punishment is effective. It will not make him hate his den. After all, when you were a kid and you were being punished, you may very well have been sent to your room for a while. Did it make you hate your room? Certainly not. Like you, dogs have a sense of fairness. If your correction is clear, your dog will accept it with calmness. If you are vague, how can the puppy understand why he is being punished? He doesn't know what he did to deserve your wrath and he doesn't know how to avoid it next time.

But if you are clear about what you don't like, your correction will be understood as follows: "Listen, Laddy, I've asked you three times not to exercise your sharp, little teeth on my hands. But you refuse to stop. If that's the way you're going to be, I won't play with you for a while. Go stay in your house and think it over!" Healthy, loved puppies are very forgiving creatures. Correct fairly and your puppy will both learn and continue to love you. He will not hate you for exercising your right to teach and lead.

You are going to use the crate not only as a den and a bedroom, but as your main tool for prevention of dog problems and one of your chief methods of correction. Using the crate lets him know that he cannot act in certain ways in your house. The crate, on the other hand, is his house. You should respect that fact, too, and let him be when he's in it. Leave him alone when he's there. On his own, he will use his crate when he wants peace and quiet. He'll go in it to rest and to get away from everybody.

When he's not in the crate, keep the door open and let his house remain accessible. Keep it clean, washing it out once in a while or vacuuming out the hair. When you clean your house, put his toys in his crate. That gives a strong, positive message that this space is yours. When you think about it, there isn't too much a puppy can call his own. Give your pet his own room, it will make him feel extra special.

Jumat, 17 September 2010

Stop Jumping!

There are lots of good reasons to teach your dog not to jump up. Any dog can learn to deliver tons of affection from the floor and to forgo scaring people, knocking over little kids, tearing and messing up clothing, and acting like a mad dog just because you brought in the mail.

So what do you do? First, you should not make a presentation of your coming and going. When you come home, greet your dog warmly but casually, then ask him to sit. Next, holding onto his collar to prevent an unexpected jump, pet him while he is seated. Then go about your business.

When your dog jumps up on you, slip your hand into his collar and pull him off to the side, firmly placing his feet back on the ground. Praise immediately. When you see your dog getting ready to fly at someone else, tell him “No jumping, Sit, Good Dog.” If that is not enough to stop him, leash him.

As he begins to jump, jerk back hard saying“No jumping, Sit, Good Dog.” The training will take about a month if you are consistent and will not get done at all if you give in and let the dog jump up to kiss you when you are in the mood.

Sabtu, 11 September 2010

Training Your Dog Not To Beg

Begging food from the dinner table is one of the easiest things to teach a dog, and also one of the hardest habits to break. Your pet's training to beg begins when he is a young, adorable puppy. It does not take too many repetitions before he learns that he gets fed from the table by begging. Then he sits by your chair while you are eating and stares at you. Occasionally he'll get up on his hind legs and paw you, or he'll nudge your arm and remind you that he is waiting. And he drools, that's the worst part. He looks as though you never feed him.

If you don't have this problem, prevention is quite simple. Don't start giving your dog food from the table. If you must give your dog table scraps, give them in moderation and in his own dish after you have finished eating or, better yet, with his regular meal. Once you have a dog that begs, it becomes a self-perpetuating problem. Begging is rewarded with food.

Chances are, if you have this problem, you've tried to stop his begging, you've yelled at him when he begs, pushed him away, and even gotten really angry, but he just gets more persistent. So you've had to give him something to be able to eat in peace. What you have done is to reward his persistence. Each time you have tried holding out longer, but have ultimately given in, you have further trained him that no matter how far away the rainbow looks, there is a pot of gold at the end if he simply waits.

When you are tired of this behavior and want to end it, when you get to the point that you can't stand the drooling, the whining, the pawing and the sad eyes staring at you, then you have to steel yourself for the cure. Using the positive approach, give him the command "Down” and have him do a long “Down” by your chair during dinner. Be prepared for many interruptions initially, while you reinforce his “Down.” Each time he gets up, repeat the command and replace it if necessary so that he remains down during your dinner.

With a truly persistent begger, your first week of dinners may be quite a trial. Some dogs bark repeatedly and go through all manner of random actions to try to get you to feed them from the table. But once you have begun the training, stick with it. If you give in at any time, no matter how small the tidbit you sneak him, not only have you lost that battle, you may very well have lost the entire war. If you have made up your mind that you don't want begging, then it's just a matter of time before you have your dog resigned to the fact that the party is over, at least at the dinner table.

When your dog is steady enough to do the long “Down” away from your side during dinner, then establish his place where he stays while you eat. He should be put in his place every evening while you are eating, and praised when you release him at the end of the meal. It won't be too long before you will be eating dinner in the company of a well-trained, well- behaved dog lying quietly in the corner.

Senin, 06 September 2010

Taking A Joyride With Your Dog, But Without The Mess!

Not many dogs suffer from true motion sickness (ranging from excessive drooling to vomiting.) In most cases, a dog who gets carsick has developed a negative association with riding in the car. It is likely that the dog who gets carsick doesn't go for many rides other than going to the vet. We might compare his reaction to that of a child who, every time he gets in the car, goes to the doctor for a shot. It wouldn't take long before that child, or your dog, associates the car with an unpleasant experience.

To prevent car sickness, make sure you take your puppy for frequent, short, pleasant rides ending in play. If he does get sick, don't reinforce the behavior by giving him a lot of attention, petting, and talking to him. That kind of response from you tends to reinforce the dog's reaction, rather than alleviate it. If you already have a problem with your dog getting carsick, the following are suggestions that will benefit you both.

1) Open all the doors to your car with the engine turned off and coax your dog into it. At the same time, use a command, like "Get in the car," said in a happy tone. If your dog won't get in on his own, place him in the car. Once in, offer him a treat, laugh and talk happily to him, and immediately let him out of the car. Repeat this five times. You should notice that he is becoming less reluctant to get into the car. Repeat this until your dog willingly gets in on your command. Remember to keep laughing and offering treats.

2) Once your dog is getting into the car on his own, close the doors on one side, engine still off, and repeat the above. If he shows apprehension, continue to work on this step until he is relaxed again. Keep laughing and giving treats.

3) When he is comfortable at step two, tell your dog to get in the car, give him a treat, and close all the doors. Laugh and talk to him and give him another treat. If he shows apprehension at this stage, repeat it until he is calm.

4) Tell your dog to get in the car, close the car doors and turn on the engine. Don't go anywhere yet. Give your dog a treat, laugh and talk to him, and turn off the engine. Repeat the process until he is comfortable then move on to the next step.

5) Get in the car with your dog, give him a treat and take him for a short drive, a quarter of a mile or less, and return home. Take your dog out of the car and play with him. Make the game lots of fun, including lots of laughter.

6) Gradually lengthen the trips you take, always beginning them with a treat for getting in the car and ending them with a play session.

Throughout this exercise, your attitude and tone of voice are critical. You must maintain a light and happy demeanor. At no time should you act concerned about your dog's behavior. Avoid a sympathetic tone of voice and phrases like, “It's ok,” or “Don't worry.” This kind of concern conveys itself to your dog as apprehension on your part. Since he doesn't understand your words, and can only pick up your emotional state, what he gets out of this is that you are apprehensive about the car ride too. Therefore, there really must be something to throw up about. To overcome this, use lots of laughter and always have a happy attitude.