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

Signs your Dog is Not Getting Enough Exercise

Bull TerrierAll dogs need exercise. The amount and type of exercise needed varies with each individual. The perfect amount of exercise is just enough for your dog to be tired enough to be a relaxed calm member of your household.

If your dog has lots of unused energy, it will emerge as annoyances. Tired pups and dogs don’t jump up excessively, bark and whine excessively, destroy everything, run away, dig for hours, or pace the floor!

Mental and physical exercise should be part of your dog’s daily routine. Long walks are a great exercise tool. It’s best to take at least two long walks each day. Your dog will be mentally and physically stimulated. Short teaching sessions are great for exercising your dog’s mind. Scatter feeding and scent games are wonderful methods to burn energy.

Children should play hide-n-seek, fetch or spend time teaching dogs. Everyone should avoid wrestling with young dogs. Wrestling with pups increases the pups’ urges to play bite and teaches them that biting humans is ok. Many people with dogs that nip at their hands and clothes at every opportunity or play bite excessively have taught their dogs these behaviors by playing rough with the dog. Playing in the back yard for 10 to 15 minutes a day is not enough exercise for many young dogs. If the following sentences describe your dog, it is very likely that he or she is not getting enough exercise.

  • He paces from room to room.
  • She rarely lies down, even when others are relaxed.
  • He barks for attention.
  • She constantly steals objects.
  • He whines for attention.
  • She never stops jumping when people are visiting.
  • He digs, chews and destroys everything in sight.
  • She races along the fence barking at every other dog or person that passes by.
  • He runs away every chance he gets.
  • She digs under the fence, escapes and roams the neighborhood.

Here are two of my favorite foraging toys that can help exercise and stimulate your dog! You can get them at various stores, Amazon has good prices and I trust them.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Reactive Dog Specialist in Memphis TN – How’s Bentley

Help! My Dog Races Through Open Doors!

gypsyand1

Why wouldn’t a dog bolt through an open door? Because you teach him not to, that’s why! 🙂

Does your dog race through open doors and gates? Most people either pick up their dogs or hold the dog’s collar to prevent door bolting behaviors. Both of these actions “pay” the dog for trying to run through the door.

The ultimate pay is the chase and adventure of escape. Every time your dog escapes, and you chase him, you are increasing naughty behaviors!

Here is a simple exercise to teach your dog to wait patiently when people pass through doors and gates. The concept can be applied to other doors and gates after your dog perfects the skill at home.

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.

Don’t let your dog be the last to know if he or she is invited to pass though the doorway and explore the neighborhood.

Teach Door!

Here’s how to teach your dog to wait while you pass through open doors or gates.

Prerequisite:

Time to perfection varies with the experience of the handler, the handler’s goals for distractions, and the experience of the dog.  A dog who has already perfected a few commands, and has not practiced escape behaviors can learn the general concept in one, 15 minute session.

Description: Teaches the dog to remain in one location when people enter and exit doorways.

Function: Default behavior when people open doors or gates

Before your dog learns this command, attach a leash and hold it so that your dog cannot practice bolting through doorways!

Like many training exercises, you’ll teach your dog in cycles. Each cycle introduces a bit more information and teaches your dog about distractions.

If, during any of these cycles of learning, your dog moves towards the door, communicate with actions, not words. Here’s what you should do if your dog moves towards the door.

A) Do not praise and treat.

B) At the first sign of failure, block the dog’s path with your body and body block or herd the dog back to the desired location. This teaches the dog that moving towards the door (when you say “door game”) is impossible.

C) Close the door (if applicable) and return your hand to your side. This teaches the dog that moving towards the door “makes” the door close.

D) Repeat the cycle, with a lesser distraction.

Step 4 of each cycle is when you increase the distraction.

Get creative with your distractions. Think of daily occurrences at the door, and magnify. Make your practice sessions “tougher” than real life.

For example, you may want to teach your dog to wait when you walk through the door backwards, dancing and singing a song!

Ideas for distractions:

marching in place;

reaching for the door;

touching the handle;

jiggling the handle;

turning the handle;

opening the door 3 inches and closing it;

opening the door 10 inches and closing it;

opening the door 2 feet and closing it;

taking 1 step towards the door;

taking 1 step away from the door;

walking into the door way;

walking through the door and back inside;

walking while carrying an interesting item;

items, people or animals on the “dog side” of the door;

items, people, or animals other side of the door;

people passing through the door

people passing through the door with items in their hand

Here are examples of how the initial 5 cycles might progress if the dog succeeds on each cycle. If the dog fails, back up a cycle or two and start again.

If you are working at an exit door without a fenced yard, attach a leash and hold the end of the leash during each cycle, or tether the end of the leash to something inside the house.

Notice the only difference between cycles is step 4.

Cycle 1

1) Say “Door” in an upbeat tone.

2) Push your hand outward towards your dog, palm facing the dog like a stop signal.

3) Wait 1 second and withdraw your “stop signal”.

4) Stand still for 3 seconds.

5) Deliver your reward marker.

6) Toss your dog a treat so that he moves from his current location to get the treat.

Cycle 2

1) Say “Door” in an upbeat tone.

2) Push your hand outward towards your dog, palm facing the dog like a stop signal.

3) Wait 1 second and withdraw your “stop signal”.

4) March in place for 3 seconds.

5) Deliver your reward marker.

6) Toss your dog a treat so that he moves from his current location to get the treat.

Cycle 3

1) Say “Door” in an upbeat tone.

2) Push your hand outward towards your dog, palm facing the dog like a stop signal.

3) Wait 1 second and withdraw your “stop signal”.

4) March in place and reach towards the door handle.

5) Deliver your reward marker.

6) Toss your dog a treat so that he moves from his current location to get the treat.

Cycle 4

1) Say “Door” in an upbeat tone.

2) Push your hand outward towards your dog, palm facing the dog like a stop signal.

3) Wait 1 second and withdraw your “stop signal”.

4) March in place and reach towards the door handle, jiggle the handle.

5) Deliver your reward marker.

6) Toss your dog a treat so that he moves from his current location to get the treat.

Cycle 5

1) Say “Door” in an upbeat tone.

2) Push your hand outward towards your dog, palm facing the dog like a stop signal.

3) Wait 1 second and withdraw your “stop signal”.

4) March in place and reach towards the door handle, jiggle the handle, open door 3 inches and then close the door.

5) Deliver your reward marker.

6) Toss your dog a treat so that he moves from his current location to get the treat.

Introduce more distractions during additional cycles. After each cycle give your dog a short tension rest. Deliver food treats, or verbal praise, quick game of tug, toss a ball, etc.

Once your dog is patiently waiting when the door is wide open, and you are walking in and out the door; enlist friends and family members to knock on your door. Once he perfect the ‘Door” command, you can add another cue. My favorite is a hand signal, a sort of back away motion with my hand, as my back is turned towards the dog.

Happy Training!

AT

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

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis, TN

Owner: How’s Bentley

Member: APDT

Puppy or Dog Obedience Training First Steps – Condition a Marker, Capture Sit, Teach “Look”

EllieBWBall

Want to start an obedience program for your puppy or dog? You can start as soon as you bring your dog into your family. The first two commands all dogs should learn are “Look”, and “Sit”. Before you begin teaching, it’s helpful to learn a bit about rewards and reward systems. Please visit the START HERE category of posts before you begin.

Conditioning a Reward Marker

The method to establish a conditioned reward marker is to use classical or pavlovian conditioning to pair (or associate) a marker with the primary reinforcer of food.

Regardless of the marker you choose, the steps for conditioning the marker are identical. You only need to condition the marker this one time. Your animal is not asked to perform a behavior during the conditioning process.

Do this when the animal is attending to you and not distracted. Do not speak or touch the animal before, or after, you deliver the marker and the treat.

Remember, a marker can be any signal the animal can perceive. My favorite audible, conditioned reward markers are: the sound of a clicker; the word “good”, and  the letter “X”.

Here’s how to condition a reward marker.

You are not asking the animal to perform any behavior during this process.

In this example, I’ll use an audible marker, the letter X, spoken abruptly, like a sound.

Speak a crisp “X”; give a food treat. Wait until the animal has finished eating the treat. Say “X”; give the animal a food treat. Repeat 3-5 times. Next, capture sit for folded arms by following the instructions below this sentence.

Capture Sit

The first signal (cue for sit) you teach will be visual. The act of folding your arms across your chest will become your first cue for “sit”.  You can teach your puppy the word “sit” after he learns the folded arms cue.

I prefer starting with this visual signal for several reasons. The primary reason is because folded arms and hidden hands discourage jumping.

Dogs jump up because we touch them with our hands. Dangling and moving hands entice dogs to jump.

Folding your hands out of sight sends a signal to your puppy that you are not likely to touch.

In addition it makes it very difficult for clients to repeat the signal over and over, as they do when using a verbal command.

Another reason I use the “folded arms” visual command is because it helps clients control their behaviors. Most people automatically reach and touch a cute, jumping puppy, without thinking.

It seems we humans have an automatic urge to pet or touch puppies that jump up to greet us. This teaches puppies to jump up for greetings.

The folded arms cue is easy for anyone to perform and appears relatively the same to the dog, no matter who is giving the command. This is helpful when you start asking friends and neighbors to ask your dog to sit.

Ask 3 people to say “sit” to your dog. You will witness 3 very different techniques. Some will bark the command as if this will make it happen quicker; others will add meaningless words to the command, and some may tilt their heads forward or swing their arms.

All these additional actions may confuse the dog, because the dog is very likely to process voice tone, motions and body language as the cue.

The delivery of a visual, folded-arms cue is less likely to be clouded by voice tones and body language, since the voice is absent and the body language is the cue!

Here’s how I usually teach a dog to sit on cue via the capture method.

Do not say “sit” or speak any other words during this teaching session. The only sound you will make is the sound of your conditioned marker, the instant your dog’s bottom touches the floor.

Go to a quiet location where your dog will not be distracted.

Attach a leash and instead of holding the end, just drop it on the floor.

If the dog jumps or decides to walk away, you can step on the leash to prevent either of these behaviors.

Stand a couple of feet away from your dog.

Do not speak to your dog, just give your dog a small food treat. Do this three times. Now you have your dog’s attention!

Fold your arms across your chest and tuck your hands underneath your armpits.

Do not speak, just smile at your dog and wait until he sits.

Mark the instant his rump hits the floor by delivering your reward marker. Give him a treat by tossing in on the floor so that he must get out of the sit position to get the treat. Do not praise or talk to your dog.

As soon as your dog finishes the treat and looks at you, fold your arms across your chest, remain silent and wait. He will sit. Mark the instant his rump hits the floor. Give him a treat.

Repeat 3-5 times.

At the end of this quick session, you can talk and play with your dog. Now you can use the act of folding your arms across your chest as a silent signal for Sit!

To teach your dog the word “sit” means the same as the folded arms, visit this page.

Troubleshooting Sit for Folded Arms

Attention-on-Cue, While Standing

The goal is teach the dog to look towards you on command. Attention on Cue is helpful when you are not interacting with the dog but do wish to start interacting. It is helpful if the dog gets distracted and you want his attention.

Teach your dog to attend to you when you say “now”, “chickie”, “hey”, “look”, “hup”, “turn”, or whatever short word you choose.

I do not use the dog’s name for the attention-on-cue signal.

The signal (command or cue) for attention should be unique! The dog hears his or her name countless times and it doesn’t necessarily mean “Look towards me, I will pay you”.

In order to increase behaviors using rewards, first you must get the behavior.

The recipe is for teaching is:

  • set up the environment to get the behavior
  • mark and reinforce the behavior
  • practice in many areas while adding distractions

For this exercise, we’ll use nothing but the signal and food to initially get the behavior to occur.

Then we’ll use the marker to bring attention to (and reinforce) the behavior of looking towards us when we give the cue.

We’ll follow the marker with food treats the first few trials.

Once the dog learns what is expected of him or her, we’ll mark the instant of success and deliver FAT as a reward for looking when we give the signal.

Get the Behavior

Your dog can be on a leash or not. I like to do it off lead in a secure, small area, but if that’s not available to you, attach a 6 foot leash.

It’s okay if other people are nearby, but you don’t need distractions for this step.  If other people are present, just ask them to stand quietly.

With your dog nearby, speak your “attention signal” and immediately toss or hand your dog a treat (unless he or she is jumping up on you or performing some other rude or obnoxious behaviors). Say the signal, deliver a treat. No markers are used in this step. Repeat 2 times for a total of 3 trials. By now your dog should be focused on you. If not, discontinue the session and move to a quieter area, or choose a higher value food treat and try again.

Mark and Reinforce the Behavior

You might need a very small distraction for this step. Ask a family member to stand nearby, within sight of your dog. Instruct them to tap with their shoe, make a small noise, or whatever it takes, to momentarily attract the dog’s attention towards them.

Wait until your dog is close by, but not looking directly at you. Speak the cue and watch closely. Mark the instant he or she begins to turn his or her head towards you. Toss your dog a treat. Do this 2 more times for a total of 3 trials.

Behavior will be Repeated

Practice “attention-on-cue” at odd times throughout the day, inside the house, in any room that is relatively quiet.

Ask for the behavior 3-5 times during short time periods at different times of day, in different rooms.

Once your dog is obeying this command in rooms without distractions, add distractions by asking a family member to make some sort of noise or slight motion.

Once your dog is obeying, while inside the house with distractions, it’s time to practice outside. Choose quieter areas at first. Attach a leash and go to your patio, yard or any other familiar area.  After you can succeed in these areas, go to other places with more distractions.

Randomly ask for the behavior at odd times when you are not conducting a “training session”. Your goal is to practice this behavior in so many different areas, with so many different creative distractions, that your dog will always look when you give the command!

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer
Memphis, Collierville, Germantown Private and Group Dog Training
Fear, Aggression,Anxiety, et cetera

Barking Dog? Resolutions ** Danger! ** Do Not Use an Anti Bark Collar on Your Dog or Puppy, without reading this first!

bentleybarkOkay, so your dog is barking and you have the perfect, initial solution; buy one of those anti bark dog collars, right? WRONG!

Please do not misunderstand, I agree there are situations when an anti bark collar is a good choice, but spraying a dog with citronella, sounding a tone, (or using an e-collar ) are never at the top of my list of tools and solutions for barking.

Anti bark collars address the symptom, not the causes. You may very well stop your puppy or dog from barking. But, if the dog is fearful, aggressive, anxious, stressed or neglected, an anti bark collar could increase these emotional conditions.

DANGER! YIKES! We love our dogs and puppies. We certainly do not want to harm them! Before you use an anti bark collar on your dog or puppy, take a moment to review these thoughts.

Positive punishment (immediately adding an aversive stimulus to reduce the preceding behavior) rarely makes your pet dog less fearful, less aggressive, less anxious, less stressed, or less neglected!

Dogs bark for many different reasons. In many instances, obedience training, a change of schedule, and/or adjusting something in the dog’s surroundings will be part of the solution.

Here is a short list of resolutions I have suggested for clients:

Close the window blinds / pull the curtains

Crate train the dog (a crate trained dog is one who will relax in the crate, regardless of the activities surrounding the crate.)

Relocate the puppy’s crate

Teach your puppy to relax in her crate

Teach the dog a polite way to get your attention.

Increase physical activities

Teach your dog to ring a bell to signal the desire to go outside (or inside)

Teach your dog to go to place

Learn how to train your dog, and do it!

Teach the dog that all dogs and people are not dangerous or threatening

Teach the dog to relax

Teach “quiet” or “enough”

The first thing you should do is determine the root cause for the barking. Here are some guidelines for determining the cause of your dog’s excessive barking.

Normal Barking – Resolve via Obedience Training

  • Attention Signal to Owners, Other Dogs, Other Pets

Wants to go outside / inside / into room / other side of gate / out of crate

Soliciting Attention

Begging for Food

Soliciting Play-time

Soliciting Interactions with other Pets

  • Excitement

During Play, Before Walks

Barking at Door Bell, Door Knocks

  • Protecting, Guarding, Alarm Barking

Barking at Noises, People’s Voices Outside, Television Sounds, etc.

Barking at Neighbors, Passersby, Joggers, Bicyclists, Trucks, Cars,

Strangers, Other Dogs, Birds, Squirrels, House Cats, etc.

Abnormal Barking Resolve via Behavior Modification

  • Fearful – Distance Increasing Behavior

Barking at Cars / Trucks

Barking at Strangers

Barking at Dogs

  • Anxious or Stressed

Barking when confined in crate, laundry room, behind gate, etc (anxious barking is usually accompanied by excessive salivation)

Barking when alone

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner, Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer
Private and group dog training in Germantown, Collierville, and Memphis TN

Video ** Puppy Clicker Training Demo – Harry in Class: 4 Commands, attention, here, sit, down

img_2019Click the You Tube link below this text to see Harry, the AKC registered Norwich Terrier puppy, perform 4 obedience commands. The commands are Attention on Cue (Look), Here, Sit (verbal command and “folded arms” cue) and Down (with hand signal). Harry is less than 4 months old in this video; The client chose to use a clicker as the reward marker. The client’s excellent timing of the click tells Harry the instant he succeeds. Using a reward marker is a very quick method to teach your dog basic and advanced obedience behaviors!

You can hear me coaching the client as they work with Harry. This was my second session with the client, and Harry’s first introduction to the Down command. First we lured him into the position with a hand signal and then taught him to “down” with a non-verbal hand signal.

Our non-verbal cue is a raised hand at shoulder, as if you are taking an oath. It took Harry less than 3 minutes to learn the hand signal for down- smart puppy!

After the short time training (6-7 minutes), we ended with a play session of fetch. That puppy, Harry, is a real turbo terrier!

Want to teach your dog to sit for the “folded arms” cue in less than 5 minutes?

Would you like to teach your dog to “look” and “here”?

Follow the linked words above for FREE Instructions.

CLICK HERE for YouTube Video HARRY IN CLASS

Happy Training!

AT

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

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis, TN

Owner: How’s Bentley

AA-4 Dog & Puppy Training Plan-Obedience Commands

Australian Terrier BentleyHow’s Bentley Training Plan for All Dogs

Before you can begin to teach your dog or puppy, it’s best to have a training plan. The plan begins with a list of coping skills and behaviors that your dog will need during his or her lifetime.

Think about helpful, real-life skills and their applications. Prioritize each skill and write your definition of success. Identify all the components that make up the behavior as well as the prerequisite skills necessary to perform the behavior.

For example, “loose lead standing” is a prerequisite for “loose lead walking”.

Click the links to follow links to detailed instructions.

To Begin: Establish a Reward System and Condition a Instant Reward Marker

Manners / Coping Skills

Potty Skills

House training

Signal the need to eliminate

Eliminate on command

Eliminate on and off lead

Eliminate in poor weather conditions

Eliminate while you hold a container

Crate training (a crate trained dog will relax in the crate when the family is throwing a party)

Drink on command

Medical Care

Relax at vet clinic

Accept grooming, handling and inspections

Swallow pills

Present paws for inspection / nail clipping

Coping Skills

Accept leash, collar, harness and equipment pressure

Relax during car rides

Relax during severe weather

Relax in crate when the family is home

Walk on various surfaces

Walk next to street traffic

Relax for visitors

Relax around infants

Relax around puppies and dogs

Relax around cats, other animals

Senior Skills

Navigate stairs and steps slowly, one at a time

Learn visual and audible cues for all behaviors (helpful if dog becomes deaf or blind)

Towel assist walk (walk with towel supporting front or back portion of body)

Basic Obedience Skills

This list contains the basic skills all dogs should learn. Teach these in this order if you have a new puppy or an older dog that is not trained.

Kindly prevent your puppy from practicing haughty behaviors. Be a zookeeper, use a tether.

Attention – Condition a Instant Reward marker

On-Cue, while standing, while walking / Attention – Without Cue, while standing

Description – (On cue) respond to name by attending to handler – while standing – while walking

(Without cue) stay connected to handler while standing

Function – communication, wait,

Prerequisite – handler significance

Sit

Description – Sit until handler releases, squarely on haunches, front feet aligned, near and away from handler on various surfaces, sit from down-stand-walk-trot or run, multiple cues, tuck in rear for competition sits

Function – Default behavior, incompatible with many unwanted behaviors

Prerequisite – handler significance

Target Here (Whistle Come – come when handler blows a whistle)

Description – Come to handler and touch nose to handler’s two-finger target, from near and far, regardless of the obstacles, regardless of distractions –including food

Function – Recall with a specific final destination clearly defined by visual target

Prerequisite – touch

Stay

Description – Remain in particular location while in sitting, standing or in down positions, regardless of distractions, remain until handler returns and releases, the length of time in stay position varies with the goals of handler

Function – Remain in one location while the handler moves away to attend to other immediate needs, default for sit or down

Prerequisite – Sit, Down

Lure Down Or Capture Down

Description – Lay until handler releases, near and away from handler on various surfaces, down from sit-stand-walk-trot or run, multiple cues, tuck in rear legs for competition down

Function – Default behavior for excited dogs, incompatible with many unwanted behaviors | Prerequisite – Sit

Go to Place

Description –Go to specific area and lay until released

Function- Incompatible with begging, jumping on visitors, et cetera

Prerequisite – Down, stay

Heel – on Lead

Description – Walk on lead at pace equal to handler’s pace, with shoulders aligned with handler’s leg. Remain aligned during turns and variances of speed and regardless of distractions, Heel on left and right sides.

Function – Allow for safe walks outside Prerequisite – Attention – Loose Lead Standing

Additional Skills

  • Off you go (release)
  • Find the keys, the phone, the children, the cat, another dog, burnt electrical receptacles, etc.
  • Trade
  • Drop
  • Leave-It
  • Spin
  • Get
  • Hold
  • Carry
  • Bring
  • Off Lead Commands
  • Fetch
  • Go home
  • Go out
  • Jump
  • Watch for moving cars
  • Stay off street
  • Left, right
  • Over / Under
  • To the car
  • Show me
  • Yes / No
  • Target with nose, paws, hip, ears
  • Lookout for snakes
  • Safe / Careful / Danger
  • Pain
  • Tricks

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Happy Training!

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

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis, TN

Owner: How’s Bentley