Six Facts You Need to Know to Raise a Perfect Puppy

BentPup

Fact #1: Forget about alpha and pack.

A nine year old child, or a 85 year old grandparent in a wheelchair, can teach and control any dog by following a few, simple, kind rules. There is an excellent, simple way to teach your puppy, and it has nothing to do with alpha or dominance. As neat as it sounds, your family is not in some sort of mythical pack with your dog. You do not compete with your puppy for food, territory or reproduction rights. You do not have to intimidate your puppy into submission. That little guy wants to be your friend!

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Fact #2: : Mother Nature will potty train your puppy.

97.3% of the millions of dogs who ask to go outside, were never taught to go to the door and ask.  Mother Nature did it! The dogs just naturally ask, without any training from humans. Puppies get house trained as a result of a natural, built -in process known as classical conditioning. It has little to do with consequences, scolding or tasty treats. Yes, your actions can enhance potty training, or your actions can unknowingly teach your puppy to pee and poop inside the house. But, the truth is, nature is responsible.  Follow two simple rules, and let nature take its course. Your puppy will “become” house trained.

Fact #3: You have 12 -16 weeks to create a friendly adult dog.

Events during the first few months of your puppy’s life will determine if your adult dog will be a social butterfly or a frightened, shy, neurotic, anxious dog.

***********Every certified applied animal behaviorist is familiar with the mid, 20th century, classic 20-year study of genetics and the social behavior of dogs at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor Maine.

John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller proved that events and exposures (or lack of events and exposures) during a critical period of socialization affect a dog for life. The critical period of socialization for domestic puppies begins when the ear canals open (about 21 days) and ends at 12 -16 weeks. ********

Here are four simple things you can do right now to introduce your young pup to the good life with a capital “L”.

 

  • Have your puppy meet 10 new people each day
  • Pop open an umbrella – – – just so he won’t be startled when he sees one spring open later
  • Tune into the Cartoon Channel and turn up the cartoons: What an excellent way to get your turbo puppy used to loud, unpredictable noises!
  • Race around your living room on crutches

The idea is to let your young puppy see, hear, feel, and experience everyday events, along with life’s surprises, at a very early age.

There are many easy things you can artfully do to raise an easy-going dog who will experience the ups and downs of life as a natural unfolding of events.

Take advantage of this 16 week

critical window of opportunity.

You will be glad you did!

Fact #4: Your puppy already knows how to come, sit, and lie down

Your puppy already knows how to do every basic obedience command. You just haven’t found the best way to ask your puppy, and you’re not quite sure how to kindly motivate your puppy to want to perform for you. . . (keep reading and you will know). . .  Anyone can learn how to kindly tell their dog WHEN, WHERE, HOW LONG, and WHY to perform basic commands.  It’s easy and it’s not a secret. You will succeed when you start off right with your puppy.  Nurture a relationship based on trust, consistency, clear communication, and rewards for cooperation.

Fact #5: Puppies and dogs do not hang their heads in shame

When your puppy hangs her head and lowers her body, she is not saying, I’m sorry. She is saying, “Please do not attack me, I mean you no harm”. Some of you may be thinking, “but she lowers her head before I even talk to her.” Puppies are observant and smart. They quickly learn to read situations and human body language. Dogs know more about human body language than most humans. But this does not mean they feel guilty or know right from wrong? If you do not believe me, walk up to your puppy when she has done nothing wrong. Use the same body language and tone as you do when there is a mess on the floor. She will lower her head. Does that mean she knows she’s done something wrong?

Fact #6: There are no dog training secrets in this world; you too can be an expert.

Dog training gurus want you to think only they have the secret. Hogwash. There are hundreds of books about dog training. Unfortunately, many of the books are written by people who gained their information from reading other books. Outdated, 20th century information is being sold as new and improved! One reason I studied companion animal behavior and learning, (and canine abnormal behavior modification), was to be able to sort trendy, well marketed information, from realistic everyday solutions with accurate information that applies to all dogs and all owners.

Your search is over. I can help.

The problem you new owners are facing is you don’t have time to sift through volumes of information. It’s tough to find dog-friendly, 21st century information from an expert . . . especially one who has the experience to back up his words.  I work with all kinds of animals: happy, exuberant, fearful, shy, aggressive, and compulsive.

As of December 10, 2009, I have helped 1621 pet owners. 25% of my clients have naughty dogs with aggressive, anxious and fearful behaviors. Veterinarians refer the new puppy and the crazy dog behavior cases to me, because I get good results. I get these results using kind, consistent, easily taught techniques. That number continues to rise, because this is my full time job.

I will give you the benefit of all my experience and education. When it comes to enjoyable, healthy relationships with our animal friends, there should be no secrets.

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Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley’s Gateway to Free Articles and Serives

Memphis TN


Tough Boy Trick- Capture your Dog’s Cute Behaviors – Place on Cue

21dogandImagine a photographer with a camera focused on a bird’s nest – just waiting for the baby birds to pop their heads up. The instant the birds show their heads, the photographer captures the image by releasing the shutter.

Imagine a dog owner (me) walking his turbo Australian terrier (Bentley).

Imagine Bentley scratching the ground with his feet (like a bull), immediately after he urinates.

Imagine me marking that behavior and then giving Bentley some version of  F.A.T. (Marking is when you click a clicker, say a crisp X, or use whatever signal you use as a marker. F.A.T. is a reward system, consisting of food, attention, and touch.)

I thought Bentley’s natural behavior of  “scratching out” was cute, so I decided to teach him to do it on command. All I did was mark the instant he did it and then give him a reward. At this point I am not saying anything to Bentley. I am patiently waiting, then marking.

I am like the photographer in that I patiently wait for something in particular to occur, then I act.

During one walk with 3 or 4 instances of Bentley scratching out and me marking the behavior, Bentley caught on. To test his understanding, I waited for him to scratch out, and I did NOT mark the behavior. He looked up at me as if to say, “hey stoooopid, I  scratched out – where’s the mark?”  Now I was ready to add the command or cue. On our next pee stop I slipped the words. “Tough boy” immediately before he scratched out. I marked the behavior and a new trick was born.

Now I can ask Bentley, Are you a tough boy?” and he will scratch out like a bull!

You can capture any behavior your dog naturally performs. This means you can teach sit and down via the capture method. It’s too easy but it works very well!!

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Canine Relationship Solutions – Memphis – Collierville – Germantown – Dog Training – Cat Training – Bird Training – Horse Training

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How’s Bentley – Dog and Puppy Shake – Fun Facts and Trainer Truths – iPhone, iPad, iTouch app.

Teach your Dog Inside Voice – Capture Dog’s Natural Behavior and Place it on Cue

Big_MacOne of the neat things about using an instant reward marker is how you can capture a natural behavior and then teach your dog to do it on cue.
Here’s a recent email exchange with my client, Elizabeth, who has a 4-5 month old large mix breed dog, Big Mac.

BETH’S EMAIL:
Well, I taught him….Inside voice….and he acts like he is going to bark but doesn’t make a sound……Now he just sits and looks at me and gives me inside voice!!!!  This is fun……Thanks!

OK….I have created a monster!!!!!  This new trick he learned for inside voice…..HE WON’T STOP!!!!  He just sits there an looks at me and keeps doing it…..I keep praising him and I sometimes give him a treat….but ok…what do you do when he has it down right?????

MY REPLY:
Hi Beth,

I’m glad to hear you are teaching Mac new stuff!!!!

Please tell me, in detail:

How did you teach him? Did you mark the behavior with your instant reward marker when he used the inside voice (IV)?
Did you tell him anything about outside voice?
Did you say anything?

Now- do you ask Mac for inside voice? If so, how?

Your next step is to place the behavior “on cue”, which means he only does it when you ask.

Answer my questions and I’ll tell you how.

BETH REPLY:
How did you teach him? Did you use the “X” when he used the inside voice (IV)? Yes….I caught him doing it once and said X and gave him a treat.  Did that a couple of times  I caught him again said X and inside voice and again gave him a treat….  Then I just said inside voice and he started doing it….Now I don’t say anything and he keeps looking at me doing it….This is where I don’t know what to do…..I don’t want to discourage him

Did you tell him anything about outside voice? No I have not said anything about outside voice

Did you say anything? Yes inside voice

Now- do you ask Mac for inside voice? Yes If so, how? Now I put my index finger to my lips like SHHHH quiet and I say Inside voice……He’s got it down tooooo well.

Your next step is to place the behavior “on cue”, which means he only does it when you ask. Ok….Now how do I do that because right now he is sitting here looking at me doing it over and over and over……I praise him but he’s not looking for praise he wants a goodie!

MY EMAIL:
Hi Beth!

You are almost there. I’m so proud of my new student!

Exactly what do you want Mac to do, and under what conditions do you want the behavior to occur?

Exactly what do you want Mac to “not do” and when?

BETH REPLY:
Exactly what do you want Mac to do, and under what conditions do you want the behavior to occur?  Kinda like your tough guy thing with Bentley….it’s just something cute!  Do it on command……Mac….Show your inside voice!

Exactly what do you want Mac to “not do” and when?  I don’t want him just sitting at my feet doing it over and over again……I feel if I don’t acknowledge when he does he will get discouraged.

My EMAIL
Here’s what you do:
Step 1: Reinforce the behavior you want.
Step 2: Punish the behavior you don’t want.

Don’t add touch or his name or talk to him during this exercise.  Follow these instructions as written! 🙂

Step One:
Cue the behavior (shhh signal), X the behavior, give tasty food treat. Don’t talk or pet him. Repeat the same sequence 3 more times for a total of 4 cycles.

Step 2: Say nothing- no cue – no talk – no touch. Wait until he vocalizes. (DATA A:note how long it takes for him to vocalize). Immediately look away, turn your back on him for about 10 seconds. Do not speak or make eye contact during this time out.

Turn back towards him, say “Hi Mac”-
Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until DATA A equals 10-15 seconds.
When you do Step 2, he will probably bark louder and be more demanding. Perfect. That means he’s about to give up!
When he quiet for 10-15 seconds in Step 2, praise him! Add touch!!!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

Private and Group Dog Training – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

Stop your dog from pulling you on walks!

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Puppy Making you Crazy? Tether that Turbo Girl!

tetherMost of us would not walk an untrained puppy, off leash, next to a busy street. We realize the puppy is not trained, and she may wander into the street and get hit by a car.  We use a leash to keep the puppy safe.

Inside the house, it’s a little safer. No cars are going to break your puppy’s legs, and your puppy can’t run away from you and get kidnapped or lost. But she can get into trouble and be quite a nuisance!  You can always crate your puppy, but that doesn’t teach her how to behave inside the house.

The same applies to backyard adventures. Puppies dig in flower beds, run on top of pool covers, chew air conditioning low voltage wires and eat plants – RIGHT in FRONT of YOU! You are not going to teach your puppy by yelling and screaming or spanking when the puppy gets into trouble. Your job is to prevent the puppy from practicing naughty behaviors. You’ll teach that rascal later, but for now, PREVENT the practice!!

You need a sort of halfway house, something between crating and letting your puppy run loose and terrorize the backyard or household.

The easy solution is to use a tether. A tether is a rope, with a snap attached to one end.  It’s like a leash without the handle. You can tie the loose end around a doorknob, table leg, or your waist to prevent your puppy from stealing objects and racing through your house. Never tie your dog to a piece of furniture and leave him. Tethers are for the times when you are nearby. When guests come over, ask your puppy to sit and then step on the rope to prevent jumping or racing out the door. I like to tie it around my waist so I can give Bentley instructions, and tell him what to so (sit, down, stay, etc.) when life gets exciting.

I buy 50 foot packages of nylon rope from Lowe’s to make a tether. The rope is round, and unlike a flat leash with a loop, it’s not as likely to get wedged under a furniture leg. The rope is inexpensive. I buy smaller diameter rope for small dogs and 1/2″ or 5/8″ diameter for medium and larger dogs.

If the puppy chews it, so what? I’ll have a shorter tether or make a new one.

I like them to be 5-9 feet. That gives me enough slack to wrap the tether around my waist or around a piece of furniture.

Attach the tether and let the puppy drag it as she explores your den. You can step on the tether to keep her from jumping up or running away with your remote control.  You can tie it to a piece of furniture with a dog bed nearby. You can wrap the end around a door knob as you change clothes. You can use the tether outside too.  Instead of calling and calling, and having your puppy ignore your come command, just pick up the rope and coax her to come to you.

If you use the tether, it’s a good opportunity to teach your puppy about leashes, collar pressure, and staying connected to you. Instead of pulling the puppy with the rope, use your charm and coax her to stay nearby. Practice LOOK (attention on cue) and HERE, as you putter around the house.

If you prevent your puppy from practicing bad habits, you will be glad!

Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley – Memphis

Private and Group Dog Obedience Trainer

Collierville, Memphis, Germantown TN

Troubleshooting: Capture Sit for Folded Arms

Black DogTruth is, most dogs default to sit when they reach the impasse, as presented during the ” capture sit for folded arms” exercise.

The leash is a tool to reduce your dog’s choices. Ideally, the dog will not feel any pressure from the leash, unless he or she jumps up. The short leash will abruptly stop the dog’s upward progress, and the dog’s attempts to jump up will fail. Most dogs stop trying to jump up, after a few of these failures.

Stepping on the leash, reduces vertical and horizontal territory. Standing upright, with arms folded, eliminates stimuli from you, the handler. The dogs only have a few choices of what to do with their bodies.

If your dog does not sit after a minute or so, consider the following points.

You can use your body language to help. To do this, lean towards your pup with your upper body or take a very small step towards the puppy. He will sit.

Immediately straighten your upper body (remove the spatial pressure you added by leaning forward) and immediately mark the instant his rump hits the floor. Give him a treat. Say nothing.

Is your dog looking at you? If not, go to a different area, a place with fewer distractions.  Are you stepping on the leash, so your dog cannot jump up or move away? If you are stepping on the leash, does the dog have enough slack in the leash to sit?

If you are still having problems getting your dog to sit for folded arms, discontinue the exercise and try again later.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner –  Dog Trainer – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

Private and Group Dog Training Services

Group Dog Mini Course

Do-It-Yourself, Internet dog training basics

Short Dog Training Sessions Should End With Success

ShortsessionsI always ask my clients to practice with their dogs during short sessions throughout the day. For puppies and dogs that are learning look and sit (the first 2 commands), I recommend 5 sessions each day, for 60 seconds per session.

As the dog is introduced to more commands, such as here, stay and down, the sessions will be  longer. How you end the longer sessions makes a difference!

Cool down before ending a session. During your short teaching sessions, respect the fact that learning a new task or raising the difficulty for a task (for example- practicing ‘stays’ with more distractions or increased duration) can be somewhat stressful for your dog.

I think it’s somewhat impolite, rude, or disrespectful to “push” your dog’s performance to a very high level and then immediately end the session.

To give your dog a break, end each session with a couple of easy behaviors that your dog already knows. After teaching, hold a play session or go for a walk.

Following this recipe will keep your dog relaxed about learning. He will anticipate the next session with joy! Your main goal is to teach your dog so make it easy for him/her to be successful!

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Group Dog Obedience Classes

Private Dog Training in Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, Cordova, Bartlett TN

Reactive Dog Specialist

Limitations of Rewards Based Dog Training

DoorlookAnimals that already own rewards will not perform behaviors to receive the same rewards they already own.


 

 

 

Animals that receive rewards without any behavioral requirements will not examine and modify their own behaviors in order to receive the same rewards they already have.

This means dog training success via positive reinforcement depends on your ability to

Identify –  Manage – Deliver – Withhold – Add – Subtract

Rewards


CLICK HERE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Private Dog Training in Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, Cordova, Bartlett TN

Reactive Dog Specialist

Easy & Lazy: Sit in a Chair & Teach Your Dog or Puppy to Lie Down!

LABCaptureOf all the methods to teach a dog to lie down, capturing is the easiest, but it is seldom used because people do not understand or believe it will be effective.

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Capture is when you set up the environment for the behavior to occur, or just wait for the dog to perform the behavior, then you mark and deliver a treat. You don’t say anything, or offer a food lure, or provide any other input before the dog performs the target behavior.

Another reason my clients are hesitant to try and capture the down is because most people are determined to insert the word “down” when first teaching the behavior.

Telling dogs “down” does nothing to help the dogs learn the behavior. If anything it sends the dogs misinformation, because most people repeat the word, as if the word will help the dog to lie down.

Once the dog learns the behavior, you can slip the cue or command into the sequence, immediately before the dog performs the behavior. You’ll teach the dog the behavior first, then you teach the dog a command for the behavior.

You will need to condition a reward marker to use the capture method. If you are not familiar with reward markers, or capturing behaviors, please visit this page to learn how to condition an instant reward marker, and capture sit for folded arms, BEFORE you capture down.

Dogs sit numerous times every day, therefore “capture sit for folded arms” is very easy and effective. The exercise is as much a teaching exercise for the handler as it is for the dog. The handler learns about timing and how to teach a dog without a food lure, and without offering any physical input. The dog learns that he or she “makes” the marker occur. Once a dog understands this concept, you are ready to capture other, less frequent behaviors.

Assuming you have conditioned a reward marker, here are the steps to capture down. Teach down when your puppy dog is more likely to lie down, such as late in the evening or after exercise.

I like to do this when I am seated and watching TV, because I am lazy. 🙂

With your dog in the same area as you, you watch and wait for the dog to lie down, you mark the instant the dog’s belly touches the floor. Then toss a food treat on the floor, in between your dog’s front legs. Do this several times during a 2 hour period.

Do not speak to or touch your dog before, or immediately after he or she lies down. The only relevant events are belly touch floor, sound of the marker, food treat.

It may take more than one session of capturing the down before your dog catches on.

You can add the verbal command after your dog learns the behavior. You’ll know when your dog has “got it”. He or she will come over to you and plop down. When you notice this, do not mark the belly touch, just look at your dog. If your dog looks at you with that “hey stoooopid, I did it, where’s the marker and treat?”, then you can speak the word down, before the dog lies down. Repeat a few times, but now say the word “down” before your dog lies down. There you have it!

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer, Canine Specialization
How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN
21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions
Group Dog Obedience Classes
Private Dog Training in Memphis TN
Reactive Dog Specialist

Teach Your Dog Commands for Moving Through Doorways – Inside / Outside

Bent_InsideInside – Outside

Description: The dog moves through an open door on command, on and off leash.

Function: Teach the dog to move through doors on command.

Prerequisites: Condition a reward marker; “Sit”, “Attention – Without Cue”;

Target Here”

Time: 4 Days

Many of my clients complain that their dogs will not enter and exit their houses on command. The dogs ignore their owners, stand and look at their owners, or run away.

Off leash obedience is an advanced skill, even when the dog is in a fenced area. Before you can expect your dog to obey when he or she is 50 feet away, first you should practice when the dog is on a short leash, then a long line.

There are many reasons a dog might not be motivated to obey. Some dogs may prefer the inside because of the weather outside. If an owner has a history of calling their dog inside, placing the dog in  the crate, and leaving the house, the dog may remember and be hesitant to come inside. Other dogs like to chase critters and bark at noises outside.

Regardless of the underlying reasons, training and practice is the solution. I use the “Inside – Outside” game to teach dogs to move through doorways. To play the game, follow these suggestions.

First Day:

Place your dog on a 6 foot leash.

Stand inside your house next to an exit door.

Tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Tell your dog, “Outside”.

Open the door and walk outside. Don’t pull that rascal through the door. Make some “kissy” noises to charm your dog as you and your dog walk through the door to the outside. Mark the instant he or she passes through the doorway.

Close the door.

Drop the leash.

Toss a treat on the ground outside, several feet away from the door.

Pick up the leash.

Tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Tell your dog, “Inside”.

Open the door and walk inside. Don’t pull that rascal through the door. Use your voice to charm your dog as you and your dog walk through the door to the inside.

Mark the instant he or she passes through the doorway.

Close the door.

Drop the leash.

Toss a treat on the floor inside, several feet away from the door.

Repeat the sequence 2 more times for a total of 6 trials (3 Outside – 3 Inside) during each practice session. Hold 3 of these practice sessions every day. End each session with a walk, a game of fetch, or any of your dog’s favorite play activities.

Next Day:

Play the Inside – Outside game 3 times each day for a total of 18 trials. Practice at each door you plan to enter and exit with your dog during each session. For example, if you use 2 doors, practice the sequence 2 times at 1 door and 1 time at the other door. If you have 3 doors, practice one sequence at each door.

Third Day:

Stand inside your house next to an exit door to a fenced area, with no leash attached.

Call your dog, using the two-finger target.

Mark the instant your dog touches the target and immediately tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Tell your dog, “Outside”.

Open the door.

Step into the door opening.

Your dog will pass through the door.

Mark the instant he or she passes through the doorway.

Toss a treat on the ground outside, several feet away from the door.

Close the door. Your dog will be on the outside and you will be on the inside.

Immediately walk outside. Close the door.

Call your dog, using the two-finger target.

Mark the instant your dog touches the target and immediately tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Open the door and tell your dog, “Inside”.

Step into the door opening. Your dog will pass through the door. Mark the instant he or she passes through the doorway.

Toss a treat on the floor inside, several feet away from the door. Close the door. Your dog will be on the inside and you will be on the outside.

Repeat the sequence 2 more times for a total of 6 trials (3 Outside – 3 Inside) during each practice session. Hold 3 of these practice sessions every day. End each session with a walk, a game of fetch, or any of your dog’s favorite play activities.

Fourth Day:

Fade the marker and the food treat, and reduce your motion of moving into the doorway. When your dog moves through the door, offer verbal praise and toss a ball or a toy instead of a treat. You can step inside or outside with your dog, or not.

Stand inside your house next to an exit door to a fenced area, with no leash attached.

Tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Tell your dog, “Outside”.

Open the door.

Your dog will pass through the door.

Praise your dog.

Toss a ball or toy outside, several feet away from the door.

Close the door. Your dog will be on the outside and you will be on the inside.

Open the door and walk outside. Close the door.

Tell your dog to sit. Praise your dog for the sit.

Open the door and tell your dog, “Inside”.

Your dog will pass through the door.

Close the door. Your dog will be on the inside and you will be on the outside.

Repeat the sequence 2 more times for a total of 6 trials (3 Outside – 3 Inside) during each practice session. Hold 3 of these practice sessions every day. End each session with a walk, a game of fetch, or any of your dog’s favorite play activities.



Does Your Dog or Puppy Pull on Walks? Start with the Basics. Capture & Teach Attention!

bentleyfielddisc1Dogs and puppies pull during walks because, from their points of view, it works. They get to move forward when they feel the pressure of the collar or harness against their bodies. Every time your dog pulls while walking on lead, he or she is learning to pull. The behavior is being fertilized! It will grow and become strong. Yikes!

There are many methods and tools one might use to teach a dog or puppy to walk nicely on a leash. Many people are content to only “halfway” address the behavior. This is evident by the number of people who use pinch collars, choke collars, Gentle Leader head collars, no-pull harnesses, Weiss Walkie, or any other STOP pulling equipment, forever. Their dogs will not walk nicely unless the threat of discomfort is present via the fitted equipment. The equipment is a condition for “walking nicely” behavior. Without the equipment, the dog pulls. With the equipment, the dog heels by the handler’s side or walks on a loose lead.

What I meant by “halfway” is this: the tools and equipment, just like verbal corrections and jerking the leash, are designed to STOP pulling. That’s okay by me; you can use the equipment forever and your dog will not pull. But, do not confuse that with teaching your dog to walk nicely or to heel. What you have done is convinced your dog to walk nicely by the threat of equipment pressure! My goal is to use the equipment as a temporary aid, while I teach the dog to walk nicely. Then I can use the equipment or not, depending on the environment.

My current favorite tool for controlling an exuberant dog during walks is the Canny Collar.

If you want to discontinue the use of equipment, you have two target goals. One is to STOP the pulling behavior, the other is to START “walking nicely” behavior!

I know what you are thinking, “my dog always pulls on walks; how can I use rewards to increase good behaviors if the dog never ever walks without pulling?”

Glad you asked. Start with the basics. Teach your dog to stand with you on a loose lead, before you teach your dog to walk without pulling.

First you’ll teach your dog to stand near to you, with a loose lead, before you ever start walking. You will teach a command that means, “look towards me, I will pay you!” I call this Attention on Cue – while standing”.

Next, you will practice “Attention-on-cue” in many different locations, while adding distractions. Then you practice “Attention on Cue – while walking”. Take a step or two with your dog and ask for the look.

Finally you teach your dog “Attention without Cue – while standing”, then “Attention without Cue – while walking”. “Attention without cue” is when your dog checks in or looks at you voluntarily, without any commands or cues from you.

Once your dog has mastered “Attention”, you can start working on loose lead walking or heel. With a bit of time and effort (and the knowledge to teach attention), you can discard your pinch collar, choke collar, Gentle Leader head collar, et cetera!

Visit this page to learn how to teach your dog Attention-on-Cue, While Standing.

Attention-on-Cue, While Walking

After your dog has mastered Attention-on-Cue, While Standing, it’s time to add the distraction of walking.

This skill is a component of “walk-on-loose-lead”. It would be better to play without a leash, in a hall or narrow walkway, until your dog learns the game. Then you can practice in the back yard or on leash in public.

I taught Bentley this behavior on my narrow, front patio walkway. I started the game at the gate, so Bentley had only one direction to walk.


Get some high-value treats. Start at the end of the hall or narrow walkway. Practice “attention-on-cue, while standing”. Perform 2 to 3 trials.

Then somehow get your dog to walk ahead of you as you both start walking. I told Bentley “this way” and started walking forward, but you don’t necessarily need a cue. Just start walking and your dog will probably start walking too.

As soon as your dog is “a dog’s length” ahead, give your attention-on-cue command. Mark the instant your dog turns his or her head towards you.

Walk back to the starting point (end of hall) to deliver the treat. This is called one cycle or trial. The cycle began when you started walking and ended after you delivered the treat.

Repeat, but on the next trial, let your dog get 2 dog lengths ahead before you give the cue.

On the subsequent trials, you’ll increase the distance by one dog length each trial. For example, your dog will be 5 dog lengths ahead before you give the command during cycle 5.

Increase the distance during each trial until your dog will look back towards you when he or he or she is 8-10 feet ahead.

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The distance change from cycle to cycle can be very small or large. In the example, I used one dog length as starting distance and increased the distance by one dog length each cycle. You might start at one foot or even 1″ . . . whatever it takes to get the behavior.

Once your dog will perform without distractions, ask someone to stand in the hall while you practice. Then ask them to move their arms, tap their feet, sing, et cetera, while you practice. The goal is for them to become just a wee bit more exciting from cycle to cycle.

After your dog has mastered the behavior in the hall or narrow walkway with distractions, move to a different area with different distractions.

Even though your dog performs well inside, with minimal distractions, be prepared to repeat the beginning steps of the exercise whenever you add distractions.

Attention – Without Cue

Attention-without-cue is helpful when you are interacting with the dog and you want the dog to ignore other distractions and stay connected to you. This is a prerequisite for loose lead walking.

Here’s how to teach the dog to stay connected to you.

This exercise places the responsibility of ‘staying connected’ on the dog, not the handler.

Place your dog on a 6 foot leash. Stand quietly in one area. Your dog will sniff and explore. Be patient. Say nothing. Wait until the dog looks at you.

MARK the instant the dog turns his head towards you and then deliver a treat. Repeat until the dog is constantly looking at you. When this occurs, move to a different location a few feet away. The dog will be momentarily distracted. Repeat the process in the new location. Do this in 3 different locations each session. Hold 3 sessions each day for optimal results!

Once the dog gets better at volunteering the look, repeat the process with a longer leash. A longer leash gives the dog more choices of things to explore, which is the next grade or level of distraction.

As you practice this behavior, you can add other distractions like people standing or walking, other dogs, et cetera.

Once your dog is voluntarily checking in while you are standing, wait until your dog is not looking and take a step or two. If he or she moves with you or turns towards you, mark the instant he starts to move. This is a great way to begin teaching your dog to walk nicely on a lead.


Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer, Canine Specialization

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis TN

Owner: How’s Bentley

Mini Goldendoodle Puppy Training Plan

Mini GoldendoodleLiving with an untrained dog can be exhausting, for years . . . and years.

We often develop elaborate plans for ourselves and our families that include life stages, education, careers, finances, property, vacations, remodeling, and one-time events.

The key to planning any event is to understand your goals and expectations. Raising a mini goldendoodle puppy (or any puppy) is a chore!

People who have a clear idea of their expectations and goals have much more fun!

Here are a few questions to help you with your puppy training plan.

What do I expect to gain from the relationship with my dog?

How would I classify our relationship with my dog – master/slave, buddy/buddy, owner/property, senior partner / junior partner?

How will my dog’s life stages affect my family?

How long will my dog live?

Which skills will s/he need to develop?

Which behaviors make up the skills I desire?

Which behaviors should be first on my list?

Wouldn’t it be neat to develop a global training and care plan for your canine companion? To read more about puppy training plans, skills and behaviors, please visit this dogand page Dog & Puppy Training Plan-Obedience Commands

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Specialist