iPhone 3Gs Video ** Ace Doberman Shadow Dance

Doberman AceI visited Ace the AKC registered, Doberman puppy today in Collierville TN.  Ace already knows: “Look”, “Two Finger Target Here”, and “Sit for Folded Arms”. Today we practiced “Leave-It (it’s impossible), and “Stay”. This young rascal is quite the turbo!

Click the  link below to see Ace the AKC registered Doberman puppy doing his shadow dance.

Doberman puppy 2

Doberman pupy 3

Doberman 1

Happy Training!

How’s Bentley

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Memphis TN

New iPhone app -Dog and Puppy Shake – Fun Facts and Trainer Truths
21st Century Dogs – Dog and Puppy Club

Amateur Shock Collar Use Starts Dog Fight

German Shepherd DogIf you want to control your pet dog’s involuntary aggressive responses via force and intimidation, you are entering a spiral of blackness and doom.

One day, your chosen method or equipment will fail; injuries and sadness will emerge. I’ve seen it many times.

Point being, punishing the growl with a quick burst of energy via an e-collar, leash jerk, Caesar Milan hiss, alpha roll, spank on the butt, or verbal reprimand, does nothing to change underlying, emotional reasons for the growl. In many cases, the aggression increases, because the naughty dog associates other dogs or strangers with the discomfort.

You may very well stop your dog from growling with one of many punishment techniques, that I do not deny. (Success via corrections really depends on the underlying causes, but that is a topic for another day.)

But, you just signed a life long commitment to supervise every interaction your dog has with strangers or other dogs. You will constantly have to prove to your dog that you are a superior warrior.  And you have made your task of supervision much more difficult.

If you zap your dog every time he or she growls or gives another animal the “eye”, you will negate your observation skills, because your dog will skip the body posturing and growling (the obvious, observable behaviors that indicate a problem), and go straight to the bite.

If you are using a training collar, e collar, shock collar, or any other special equipment, your dog must always be fitted with the equipment, and you must always be ready to use the equipment.

All you’ve done is remove the warning, the very warning that lets you know something is wrong, the very warning that tells you to take action to avoid an incident.

It’s like placing a black tape mask over a check engine warning lamp on your car’s dashboard. Great, now you don’t see the warning, therefore the problem is resolved?!

I’m not one of those “never ever use a shock collar or leash jerk” kind of people. I realize there are times when corrections are helpful. Shock collars, leash jerks, or verbal reprimands may be useful tools within a behavior modification program designed by a canine behavior counselor.

If your behavior modification plan includes rewards, obedience training, classical conditioning, and changing the dog’s perception, you can change the underlying reason your dog is aggressive.

If your only solution to stop your dog from attacking other dogs or strangers is the use of corrections, truth is, you would benefit from a bit of help. You should contact a canine reactive behavior specialist.

None of this comes to anyone in a dream. I was ignorant until I began my studies about animal learning, behavior, and canine behavior modification. I made all the same “logical” assumptions about controlling dogs via corrections and intimidation. If you are not familiar with basic concepts of instrumental conditioning, you should never use a shock collar to stop your dog from behaving aggressively. Your ignorance will bite you.

Real Life Example:

In my neighborhood there is a large breed dog who has been naughty towards other dogs. (I’ll omit the breed, because it has no relevance to this story). The owner uses a shock collar to punish Naughty Dog’s aggressive behaviors. The owner’s mom was walking Naughty Dog, without the shock collar, and has been doing so for months, with no incidents of aggression. A few days ago, the honeymoon ended. The lady who was walking Naughty Dog was passing another leashed dog on the street. Naughty Dog did not growl or send any signals that he was about to attack. The lady was caught off guard when Naughty Dog suddenly attacked the passing adult male dog. The lady was bitten in the face when she tried to break up the dog fight.

If the owner had not used a shock collar to punish the aggression, the Naughty Dog would have postured or growled, and the lady could have seen what was about to happen. She could have avoided the situation. But Naughty Dog “attacked without warning”, which ironically, perplexed the owner. The owner has no idea that he was directly responsible for Naughty Dog’s lack of warning signals.

P.S. The German Shepherd Dog in the picture, Samantha, is not Naughty Dog! 

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner How’s Bentley Memhis TN

Reactive Dog Specialist

How to Teach your Dog or Puppy to Go To Place

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Go to Place is one of my favorite behaviors. I use it to keep Bentley, my AKC registered, Australian Terrier. from licking the dishes while I load the dishwasher, irritating my guests, pestering me during dinner, or any other times I want him to relax in one spot.

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!

You can have more than one “place” for your dog. Bentley has 2 places in my 14X14 den! I have a crate pad placed on top of a ottoman, and he has a comfortable dog bed on the floor. I like to use a dog bed because it’s portable. I can place it in my car, on my back patio, in a hotel room or wherever my dog is welcome.

Here’s a good crate pad type of bed made of synthetic sheepskin. I like these because they are easy to wash and have a raised edge for the dog’s head. Hey, those guys like a pillow too!

Purchase an inexpensive bed, like this one, if your guy or girl is still a puppy.

The more expensive beds are for dogs that don’t treat the bed as a toy.

Before I teach any behavior, I always like to outline the steps necessary for success.

What are the individual behaviors that make up go-to-place? The dog must go to the place, then lie down and then stay. You could break it down into many smaller pieces.

For example, before the dog can go to the bed, he must first look towards it. Before he can lie on the bed when asked, he must know the command “down”. And, before he can stay on the bed for say, 15 minutes, he must be able to stay for 15 seconds.

There are many ways to teach go-to-place. Some require more thought than others. I have written a short description of how to teach your dog to go to place AND how to use Classical or Pavlovian Conditioning to condition your dog to like his or her place!

Go-To-Place

There are many ways to teach go-to-place. Some require more thought than others. I’ve found that luring is the easiest for most of my clients.

Feed the Birds

Before we start, I say, “Think about feeding pigeons in the park”. First you toss bird seed. Before long, pigeons find the food, land on that spot and start feeding. Then you toss more seed as they are feeding. Do this every day at noon.

After a few days, the sight of you approaching will attract the pigeons. They are already in place waiting for the food! Do the same with your dog and your dog’s bed.

Get your dog’s dinner out and instead of placing the bowl on the floor, place it next to you on the dinner table, coffee table or kitchen counter.  Place the dog bed in a spot a few feet away.  Toss a few pieces of dog food on the bed.

Do not speak to your dog during these steps.

While your dog is eating, toss a few more pieces to keep him busy looking for food.  As soon as he finishes and starts to walk off the bed, toss more food on the bed.

After he eats all the food on the bed, your dog will come towards you. Before he reaches you, toss a few more pieces over his head and onto the bed. Say nothing.

Repeat this sequence a few times. Wait until he starts to walk towards you and toss a few pieces over his head, onto the bed.

Soon your dog will be on the bed waiting for the food to rain down around him!

Add the Cue

After your dog catches on, speak your “go-to-place” cue when your dog is walking towards you and before you toss any food. Some of the commands I like are “Your Spot” and “Cozy Mat”.

You may need to help your dog by walking towards the bed and pointing to it or touching it with your hand.

When your dog gets all four feet on the bed, mark the instant (with your reward marker) and then toss a food treat. Walk a few feet away. If your dog follows, give the cue and move towards the bed. Mark the instant he gets on the bed and then toss a few pieces of food.

Once he is going-to- place on cue, ask him to “down”. Toss a few pieces of food after he goes down. Over several trials, increase the periods of time in-between tosses of food.

Condition Go-To-Place

Chewing helps dogs relax. At this stage you can add a special chew treat into the routine. After your dog is on his bed, give him a long lasting, high value, unique, chew treat.

Here’s the best treat for conditioning GO-To-Place. This free range chew will not stink up your house, nor will it stain your carpet, like the ones you find at local pet supply stores. CAUTION, This chew has the potential to turn Fluffy into Cujo! Read about Food related aggression by clicking anywhere in this sentence.

By pairing a special chew treat with the bed, you are taking advantage of classical or Pavlovian conditioning. The bed will elicit the same physiological calming response as chewing.

If he gets up from the bed, say nothing, just take the special treat away.

The sequencing is important. The dog must be on the bed before receiving the unique chew treat. The instant he gets off the bed, remove the treat.

By following this sequence, you are teaching your dog that lying on the bed predicts the delivery of the chew treat, and leaving the bed predicts the loss of the chew treat.

At first, you’ll always give your dog the unique treat once he is on his bed. After several sessions, you won’t always give the special chew treat. Sometimes you will, other times you won’t.

The act of lying on the bed will elicit the same calming effect as the chew treat, even when he does not have the treat.

A common mistake is to give the dog the special chew treat when he is not on the bed.

In order to maintain the association, the unique chew treat should only be delivered when the dog is on the bed.


Happy Training

Alan J Turner

Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer

Private and Group dog training services in Memphis TN

http://howsbentley.com