iPhone 3Gs Video ** Memphis Goldendoodle, Rosie, Loves to Swim

RosieToday,  I met with a marvelous pup, Rosie, the Goldendoodle. Rosie loves to swim!

I used my iPhone 3Gs to make the video.

Click the words below this sentence to see a video of Rosie swimming.

Rosie the Goldendoodle Loves to Swim

Here are the steps for teaching a dog anything you want.

  1. Condition a reward marker, a signal to tell your dog the instant he or she has succeeded.
  2. Establish a Rewards System, so your dog will be motivated to cooperate.
  3. Get the dog to perform the behavior (or some portion of the behavior) during very short, practice sessions.
  4. Mark the instant your dog succeeds.
  5. Reward your dog, reinforce the behavior.
  6. Refine the behavior through repeated, very short, practice sessions in many different areas.
  7. Add distractions so your dog will always perform the behavior.
  8. Practice the behavior in real life.

Basic Obedience Commads that all dogs should learn:

Attention, Sit, Here, Down, Stay, Go-to-Place, Leave-it, Walk on Lead

Alan J Turner – Dog Trainer

Animal News Network

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis TN

How’s Bentley

Neutrality, Patience, Observation, Adjustments – the Keys to Successful Dog Training

ATNeutralI am just like you. I want my dog to perform well.

But, I am neutral to success or failures when training an animal. What I mean is, during training sessions, I don’t care if the dog obeys, or does not obey.

It’s okay if the dog performs as asked. It’s okay if the dog does not perform.

If the dog obeys, great! I know that with this dog at this point in time, in this context, my current training plan, methods and strategies are effective.

If the dog does not obey, great! I know that with this dog, at this point in time, in this context, my current training plan, methods and strategies are ineffective. Now I know what does not work and I’ll make adjustments and try again.

Emotions interefere with thinking. One must separate the two in order to be an excellent animal trainer. If I become emotional, frustrated, it clouds my ability to think, observe and adjust.

Voluntary behaviors are like common stock. There are 3 possible “directions”. Over time, a behavior can increase (in frequency of occurances and magnitude), decrease or remain the same.

Observe, analyize, adjust.
All good trainers log instances of the target behavior and record the frequency of the behavior over time. Then we make adjustments until the frequency of the behavior is as desired.

If the behavior is increasing or maintaining the same frequency today as yesterday, I know that something in the environment is triggering the behavior. I know the immediate consequence is a reinforcer.

If the behavior is decreasing in frequency (occurs kess today than yesterday), I know that something in the environment is distracting the dog or triggering another behavior, and/or I know the immediate consequence is a punisher.

If you want to modify a behavior (increase or decrease the frequency), you will make adjustments in the environment before the behavior, and make adjustments in the consequences during or immediately after the behavior.

If the behavior is unwanted, naughty behavior, you should ask youself exactly what do you want the dog TO do and where should she do it? This is the alternate behavior. Identify all the components and teach and practice the alternate behavior.

For instance, let’s discuss “dog jumps up on guests” behavior. The behavior is strong and occurs as often today as it did yesterday.

Your first step is to prevent the dog from practicing this rude greeting.

Identify the triggers in the environment. Dog is untrained, in the same area as guests, and is not restrained. Change any one of these three triggers and the behavior will be reduced in frequency.

Identify the immediate consequences. Guests probably touch or praise the dog, or reach out with their hands and
push. You may be grabbing the dog’s collar and / or saying “off”. All of these immediate consequences are not helpful, because the behavior is strong.

If your response is anger or frustration, you are off track, and will have a difficult time fixing the problem.

The solution for “jumping up on guests” behavior:
Prevent the behavior by attaching a leash before guests enter your home. Set aside time to train your dog, when you can control the distractions. Teach and practice an alternate behavior such as go-to-place, sit, spin, “parade with toy”.

Most importantly, be neutral so you can observe, think, adjust and succeed!

Happy Training!

Vacuum Chasing Dog:My Dog Barks and Attacks the Vacuum!


JavaBedDoes your dog or puppy hide from, bark at, chase, bite, your vacuum cleaner?  It seems there are a group of dogs who protest whenever we try to clean up!

If you have a puppy under 12 weeks of age, now is the time to gently expose him or her to everyday events and noises. During the critical period of socialization, these exposures teach our dog lifelong coping skills.

If you are reading this, I imagine your dog is beyond 12 weeks of age. That’s okay. You can still teach your dog to relax when you vacuum.

First off, forget about stopping “barking and attacking the vacuum” behaviors. You will spiral into an abiss of failures if you try to punish these unwanted behaviors. And, even if you succeed, you have not taught your dog any useful skills that may come in handy in other situations. Spend your energy and time teaching your dog an acceptable behavior, which will be incompatible with the unwanted behavior.

And, kindly prevent your dog from practicing “attack the vacuum” behaviors! Have a family member take your dog out for a walk when you vacuum or place the dog in another area with a chew toy. Practice makes perfect! Yikes!

Before you can teach your dog anything, you should identify the components that make up the target behavior. Exactly what does “relax when I vacuum” behavior look like? I picture the dog lying on his or her bed and calmly resting while I vacuum. That’s why you should teach and practice Go-To-Place before you work on “relax for vacuum” behavior.

Anytime you catch yourself saying “NO” or trying to stop any behavior, ask yourself these two questions:

At this instant in time, exactly what do I want my dog to do?

Where do I want my dog to perform this behavior?

The answers are your next training goal!

Teach your dog exactly what to do when you vacuum, and where to do it. I like to use Go-To-Place for the replacement behavior.

You cannot teach your dog to Go-To-Place when you are vacuuming your floor. Set aside time for training sessions to teach your dog Go-To-Place.

Here are the steps for teaching a dog anything you want.

  1. Condition a reward marker, a signal to tell your dog the instant he or she has succeeded.
  2. Establish a Rewards System, so your dog will be motivated to cooperate.
  3. Get the dog to perform the behavior (or some portion of the behavior) during practice sessions.
  4. Mark the instant your dog succeeds.
  5. Reward your dog, reinforce the behavior.
  6. Refine the behavior through repeated practice sessions in many different areas.
  7. Add distractions so your dog will always perform the behavior.
  8. Practice the behavior in real life.

Once you have a conditioned reward marker and a Reward System in place, and you have taught your dog to Go-To-Place, you are ready to teach your dog or puppy to relax when you vacuum your floors. The general idea is to expose your dog to the sounds and motions of the vacuum, in such small doses that your dog will remain in his or her place. Each cycle the vacuum is closer to the dog than the previous cycle.  Reward your dog for Go-To-Place and NOT BARKING when the vacuum is moving, then when the vacuum is far away and powered on, when the vacuum gets closer, et cetera. Here’s how

Place the vacuum cleaner in the room with your dog nearby. Plug the vacuum cleaner into the outlet, but do not turn it on. Tell your dog to Go-To-Place.

Reach for the handle. If your dog does not bark, or get off his or her place, deliver your reward marker. Toss your dog a food treat. Repeat 3 times. Each time you touch, mark, and toss treat is called a cycle or trial.

Reach for the handle and push the vacuum a few inches. If your dog does not bark, or get off his or her place, when you push the vacuum a few inches, deliver your reward marker and toss your dog a food treat. Repeat 3 times for a total of 4 cycles. If your dog barks or attacks the vacuum cleaner when you push it, go back to the previous step (touch the handle, mark and treat) and perform several more cycles.

Reach for the handle and push the vacuum (the vacuum is still off, not turned on) a few feet. If you dog does not bark, or get off his or her place, when you push the vacuum a few feet, deliver your reward marker and toss your dog a food treat. Repeat 3 times for a total of 4 cycles. If your dog barks or attacks the vacuum cleaner when you push it a few feet, go back to the previous step (push the vacuum a few inches) and perform several more cycles.

Once you can push the silent vacuum around the room while your dog stays quietly in his or her place, you are ready for these next steps. You’ll need a helper.

Have your helper take the vacuum in another area of the house, as far away from your dog’s place as possible. Close the door to the room (if applicable). You stay with your dog in the same room as the dog’s bed (or place). Have your helper turn on the vacuum for a few seconds and then turn it off. As soon as you hear the vacuum, tell your dog to Go-To-Place. Mark the instant he or she gets on the dog bed. Toss a food treat. Praise your dog. Coax your dog off the bed.

Again, instruct your helper to turn on the vacuum for a few seconds and then turn it off. This time it will be on for a few more seconds than before. Tell your dog to Go-To-Place, mark and treat. Repeat several times, each cycle the helper will keep the vacuum cleaner running for more seconds. Repeat until the helper can leave the vacuum running and your dog will calmly remain in his or her place.

Repeat the sequence from the beginning (vacuum on for a few seconds, then off), but open the door to the room with the vacuum or move it closer to you and the dog. Continue to practice in cycles, each cycle the vacuum is closer and closer to you and the dog.  After several carefully planned practice sessions, your dog will know exactly what to do when the vacuum is running and where to do it.

When you start vacuuming in the same room, don’t be greedy. 🙂 Run and push the vacuum a few inches and then turn it off and reward your dog for staying in place. Gradually increase the duration of the vacuuming before you reward your dog.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Dog Trainer in Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, Cordova, Bartlett, Arlington, TN

How’s Bentley –

Private and Group Dog Training

In the picture, Java the Papillon is resting in his “Place” or bed.

How to Teach your Dog to Drop or Give

Australia Terrier Bentley
Australian Terrier Bentley

Description:

The dog releases an item from his or her mouth.

Function:

Final step in “Fetch”, or anytime you want the dog to release an item from his or her mouth. When teaching fetch, teach give or drop first, and the other steps like carrying the ball and finding the ball will naturally fall into place.

Before you begin training your dog, you’ll need to learn a bit about communication and motivation. Please visit the Dog Training Start Here Category. There you will learn about markers and rewards, two excellent topics for communicating and motivating! A prerequisite for “stay” is “Attention on Cue”. It doesn’t hurt if your dog already knows “Sit” too!

Considerations / Prerequisites:

Where do you want to dog to place the item? –  on the floor, on the table, in your lap, in your hand, in a basket, in another’s hand, in another room?  Do you want to dog to sit or lie down before the drop?

Some dogs quit “holding” items after 2 or 3 trials. You may need to teach “Hold”, “Sit”, “Place”, Down”, “Leave-It”, or, try again later.

The balance between the value of the item and the value of the treat is important.  If your dog is not dropping the item before you open your fist by trial 5, reconsider your item and treat choices. Begin practicing with a tennis ball or other fetch toy and use high value treats. When your dog “catches on”, use other items that do not belong to the dog and lesser value treats!

Your task is to mark (or click) the instant the dog releases the item. When following the instructions, be ready to click regardless of where in the sequence the dog releases the item. Many dogs will release before you finish the sequence of steps.

These instructions are a sort of guide. You can adapt the instructions to fit you and your dog. You may not need all the steps. The goal of this post is to teach a concept. The general concept is:

  1. Get the Behavior to Occur
  2. Mark the Instant it Occurs
  3. Deliver some sort of reward


Visual Cue: Handler holds his or her right fist directly in front of right shoulder.

Audible Cue: Handler speaks, “Drop” or “Give”.

Teach Drop

Trial 1:

  • Say “Drop”, pause 1 second.
  • Present fist with treat (visual cue), pause 1 second.
  • Push your fist forward (palm down) until your fist is directly in front of the dog’s nose, pause 1 second.
  • Rotate your fist until it is palm up, pause 1 second.
  • Open fist to reveal treat. Mark the instant the dog releases the item. Give treat.
  • Pick up item and give it back to the dog.

Trial 2:

  • Say “Drop”, pause 2 seconds.
  • Present fist with treat (visual cue), pause 2 seconds.
  • Push your fist forward (palm down) until your fist is directly in front of the dog’s nose, pause 2 seconds.
  • Rotate your fist until it is palm up, pause 2 seconds.
  • Open fist to reveal treat. Mark the instant the dog releases the item. Give treat.
  • Pick up item and give it back to the dog.

Trial 3:

  • Say “Drop”, pause 3 seconds.
  • Present fist with treat (visual cue), pause 3 seconds.
  • Push your fist forward (palm down) until your fist is directly in front of the dog’s nose, pause 3 seconds.
  • Rotate your fist until it is palm up, pause 3 seconds.
  • Open fist to reveal treat. Mark the instant the dog releases the item. Give treat.
  • Pick up item and give it back to the dog.

Trial 4 -xx:

Follow the same sequence, but omit the treat in your fist on trials 4 and above.  Add 1 second to the sequence of pauses.  Most dogs learn this very quickly, and will drop when you say “drop” within 2-3 trials. That’s okay if your dog doesn’t, just add 1 second every new trial. For example, if you make it to Trial 7, you will have 7 second pauses in the trial.

Once your dog learns to Drop or Give on command, practice with items and toys of all shapes and sizes. You can discontinue the marker and food treat reward. The reward is you throwing the ball again!
Happy Training
Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley Memphis
Private Dog Trainer, Group Dog Obedience in Collierville and Downtown Memphis