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!

Canny Collar USA Dealer

New Year Resolution for Your Dog

HNewYearTake 2, 20 Minute Walks each day.

In addition to the obvious exercise benefits for you and your dog, walks build relationships.

Many people avoid walks because their dogs pull. Teaching a dog to walk nicely is easy – if you have the right tools!

Alan J Turner – Private Dog Trainer – Memphis – Collierville-Germantown, Bartlett, Tn,  Olive Branch MS
Group Dog Obedience Mini Courses – Memphis – Collierville

**Danger! Don’t Kill Your Dog! Use Breakaway Collar for Safety

LOvePuppyIf you leave your dog unattended in the yard, laundry room, garage or kennel, beware! Your dog’s buckle or choke collar could kill! Every year, many dogs meet an untimely death from hanging via their collars.

If you have more than one dog, play can morph into a tragedy! One dog’s tooth can get caught on the other dog’s collar. It happens very quickly, so even if you watch your dogs play, please protect your dogs with a breakaway collar.

When your dog is exploring an area, unattended, items such as patio furniture, fencing, bar-b-q grills are potential death traps. Don’t let this happen to you. Sit Stay sells a breakaway dog collar, made by Premier Pet Products. Fit your dog with the correct size to keep that rascal safe!

Click on the image to visit Sit Stay and protect your dog or puppy today.
Premier Breakaway, Med. 3/4

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

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.

.

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

Terrier Tested: Interactive Foraging Dog Toys, Free Range Bullie, Gentle Leader, Sure Fit Harness & Supplies (Not Balls)

IMG_1587I have these dog goodies linked on this site so my clients can find the best items at the best prices! I mention many of these items during group and private dog training sessions.

You can get these toys at many stores. I SHOP at AMAZON and SIT STAY for the best deals from reliable sources. My 10 year old Australian terrier,Bentley, loves each of these items (well, except for the head collar). Each item has been “terrier tested” for durability!

Here, you can find foraging /food dispensing toys, gentle leader head collars, squirrel dude, fire hose dog toy, and other How’s Bentley approved dog supplies and equipment. Just click the image to shop at Amazon. I get a small percentage of whatever you buy, but I’m not making a living at .40 cents per $10. 🙂

Here’s the Fire Hose toy for the Fire Hose Game. The Fire Hose Game is a simple solution for friendly dogs that get excited and jump on visitors. The toy floats and is great for games of water fetch. Fire hose is tough! But, this is not a chew toy, your dog can dismantle it by attacking the seams. The unique texture of the fire hose makes this a hit with all puppies and dogs.

You can use this free range bullie stick to condition your dog to “love” his dog bed. The free range bullies do not stink like the Merrick bullies stocked 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.
Click here for free instructions for teaching your dog to want to GO-TO-PLACE. .

The tug a jug is a commercial version of water bottle toy. This thing is tough! Bentley will carry it in his mouth, jump up into a patio chair and drop the jug on the rock patio. I keep waiting for it to break, but no cracks yet! This is better for medium or large dogs. Bentley is about 20 lbs., and the toy is on the large size for him.

The Gentle Leader Head Collar offers the most control among head collars. It does take a bit of learning to use, and is not for all dogs or people. It will not fit dogs with flat faces. I refer to the Gentle Leader head collar as a nylon valium. It has a natural calming effect on some dogs. If you are fitting and using without a trainer’s help, CLICK the image to order from Sit Stay which includes a dvd video. Gentle Leader, Medium w/ DVD

Not all harnesses are created equal. The Premier Sure Fit Harness is the best harness out there! You do not have to slide your dog’s leg through a loop or buckle it on the belly. Other brands are a nightmare to fit and the dog can slide out of the harness. In addition, many of the harnesses do not distribute the force of the leash to the dog’s body, as a good harness should. If you have a small dog, I recommend a small, Premier Sure Fit Harness. Sit Stay has a great price. CLICK the image to visit Sit Stay and shop for Premier Sure Fit Harness.
Sure-Fit Harness, X-Small, 1/2

Say, regardless of the equipment you like, you’ll need a 6 foot, leather training leash to teach Basic Obedience COMMANDS.

Here’s a link to Amazon, who has the best price for a braided, 6 foot, 1/2″ leather leash.

The Busy Buddy Squirrel is one of my favorite hollow rubber foraging toys. I like this design; the opening has rubber fingers that keep the dog kibble from falling out. Your puppy will have to work for the food! The squirrel design is cute, but Bentley keeps running to my patio door when I ask him to find the squirrel. It’s one of our favorites!

Kong- Hmm. . . what can I say? Everyone should have 2 or 3 of these! The kong is an all time favorite and tough foraging toy for any dog or puppy. Amazon has excellent prices on these famous Kong toys. You an get a large kong for under $8. Order two or three and follow my frozen chicken broth recipe for crate training help. The kong provides excellent foraging and entertainment value. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, order the ultimate black kong!

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

Canine Behavior Modification for Reactive, Unwanted, Behaviors, including Fear and Aggression


LilyOkay, so your dog is fearful, barking, lunging and otherwise distressed when he or she sees people, trucks, cars, or dogs. Depending on who you are talking to, those behaviors may be classified as territory or protective aggression, possession aggression, inter-dog aggression, fear aggression, or leash aggression.

I’ll refer to the other people, other dogs, trucks, cars, as “triggers”, because they trigger the fear or aggression in your dog.

There are volumes of articles and books on how to modify fearful and aggressive behaviors in dogs. Some of the information may be helpful and other information is outdated and less helpful.

A canine modification plan is fluid. It changes as you progress. Because of all the variables, and the constant adjustments when treating fear and aggression in dogs, it’s not feasible for me to post all the methods and solutions I would use in a private consultation.

But I can give you this overview and some instructions that might work with your dog.

This article is about visual triggers. If your dog reacts to noises, the same concepts apply.

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First you need to change your dog’s perception of the triggers. Then you will use rewards to pay your dog for desirable, non reactive behaviors, when the trigger is in sight.

Before you actually do exercises with your dog in the field, please review this checklist.

Meet your dog’s physical, social and emotional needs.

Kindly prevent your dog from practicing unwanted reactive behaviors.

Establish a method to communicate precisely. Condition a reward marker.

Enact the Rewards Awareness Program.

Establish a Reward System.

Teach your dog “attention on cue” or “look”.

Practice “look” in various places with increasing levels of distractions (distractions should not be people or dogs or whatever triggers the unwanted, reactive, behaviors).

Teach your dog to sit on command.

Practice “sit” in various places with increasing levels of distractions (distractions should not be people or dogs or whatever triggers the unwanted, reactive, behaviors).

Teach your dog to bump your two-finger target to the cue, “here”.

Practice “here” in various places with increasing levels of distractions (distractions should not be people or dogs or whatever triggers the unwanted, reactive behaviors).

Teach your dog to walk nicely on a loose lead or to heel.

Practice walking nicely in various places with increasing levels of distractions (distractions should not include the triggers).

Optional: Obtain a Gentle Leader head collar or a Canny Collar. Introduce your dog to the head collar and practice with the head collar, so that your dog is not distracted by wearing the head collar. Head collars make it possible to safely move or control your dog’s pulling behaviors.

Optional: If your dog is “crazy excited” for squeaky toys or balls, get a couple of new ones and save them for these exercises. You can use the toys as rewards, or as distractions to get your dog’s attention when the triggers are too close.

Now you can begin the real work!

Identify the Threshold

Find the distance where your dog can see the trigger but not react with “out of control” barking, lunging, et cetera. I’ll refer to this distance as the threshold for reactivity. It may be 400 yards or 20 feet. It will change depending on the environment, your dog’s current emotional or physical state, or any number of factors.

The threshold is fluid, not static. You’ll need to find the threshold every time you start a practice session. Whatever it is right now, this distance or threshold will become shorter and shorter as you practice. You’ll always start each session outside the threshold.

Set up the Practice Session

For this step you’ll need the help of others. Their jobs will be to present the trigger outside the threshold, move a few steps closer and then move back outside the threshold.

If you don’t have any helpers, you can still set up the session. Go to a place where you are likely to see the triggers, such as a walking path at the park or a parking lot of a pet supply store. Get several feet off the path or away from the traffic, outside the threshold.

It helps if your dog is hungry. Do this before feeding time or withhold dinner and feed during these sessions.

Change your Dog’s Perception

Before you start with the triggers, ask your dog to perform a few simple commands such as “here’ or “sit”. This will engage your dog to pay attention to you!

Stand outside the threshold of a trigger. The instant you see the dog or person or car approaching, announce the trigger. Tell your dog something like “that’s a friend or that’s a truck” and immediately feed your dog several treats. Keep feeding until the trigger has retreated and is no longer nearby.

(If your starts barking or lunging, you are too close the the trigger, move away. If your dog starts to stare or looks like he or she might be ready to bark and lunge, command “here” and present your two finger target, or ask your dog to “look”. Either one of these commands gets the dog to look away from the trigger and focus on you.)

This sequence is called a cycle. You will hold many cycles during a session.

Between each cycle, give your dog a tension rest to absorb the recent events. The tension rest should be as as long as it took to perform the cycle. So, if the trigger is in sight for 10 seconds before it moves outside the threshold, the duration of the tension rest immediately after the cycle will be at least 10 seconds.

Repeat this process for at least 30 minutes per session. Perform another cycle followed by a tension rest. The idea is to change your dog’s immediate, involuntary responses to the trigger.

Instead of “oh no, there’s another dog, which is immediately followed by involuntary barking, fleeing, freezing or lunging (fight, flight, freeze behaviors), you want your dog’s initial involuntary response to the sight of the triggers to be anticipation of food. You are using classical conditioning to associate the trigger with the delivery of food. Your dog cannot be aggressive or fearful and salivate in anticipation of food at the same instant!

As you progress through the session, you will notice your dog will begin to ignore the trigger and focus on you and the food as soon as you announce the trigger. Perfect. Now you can move a bit closer to the trigger and continue. The threshold is getting shorter!

Repeat these sessions until your dog automatically looks towards you whenever a trigger is in sight. Continue to announce the triggers on routine walks, and anytime you are interacting with your dog, be it during a practice session, or not.

Real LIfe Ambush

If you get “ambushed” by a trigger during an outing, and you are not ready with several treats, kindly ask your dog to sit facing you, or to bump your two finger target. If she is too excited, move her away from the trigger and ask again. Repeat this sequence until your dog is far enough away that she will listen to your commands.

This basic method will work with most dogs, and most reactive behaviors, however it is not as efficient as perception modification via Syn Alia Training System.


Keep in mind, there are many factors about your relationship and your daily interactions with your dog that influence behaviors. In addition, your dog may be influenced by other dogs in the household, medical conditions, diet, nutrition, genetic and or neurological factors. If your dog constantly barks at triggers from inside the house, or fence fights with the dogs next door, the prognosis is poor.

You’ll need to prevent your dog from practicing fear and aggression if you want to succeed!

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley

Canine Behavior Modification for Fear, Aggression in Dogs – Memphis TN

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Why Use a Crate? Puppy Confinement & Crate Training Overview

Bichon1Dogs are den animals and contrary to misconceptions, (when introduced and used properly), dogs will readily enter their crates and relax, regardless of the level of activity near the crate.

Dogs should never be crated or left unsupervised while fitted with any types of harnesses or collars, except a break-away collar.

Please fit your dog with a break-away collar for any events or activities that do not include direct supervision by a responsible adult.

Here are some examples of why and when to use a crate.  Use a crate:

  • for house training
  • to protect your property
  • to keep your dog safe
  • when traveling
  • for overnight outings
  • to rotate two dogs while training
  • for stays at vet clinics, groomers
  • to provide a den or safe spot for resting
  • to restrict dogs’ access to visitors
  • to limit activity during medical recovery periods
  • to give yourself a break

Confinement Overview

During my consultations with clients, I meet people who use laundry rooms, garages or back porches instead of crates. Some in this group report that their dogs constantly bark or whine. What they don’t realize is that dogs, like humans, are social mammals.

Most dogs want to be near us! A simple solution is to kindly introduce the dog to a crate and place the crate in a room with people. This often solves the barking problem.

Opposition to the proper use of crates is more often a reflection of how we feel about confinement (as humans).

Millions of dogs live full, happy lives with a crate as part of their daily routines.

If you are opposed to crating your unsupervised dog, use other, less effective, confinement tools such as laundry rooms, baby gates and exercise pens.

If you don’t use any barriers, expect problems with house training. Expect soiled carpets and destruction of your property.

Many people only confine their dogs when they are away or at night. Pups and dogs normally relax when away from their people in these low activity situations.

These same dogs may bark and whine if confined when their people are home and moving about.

This is because the dogs were not introduced to the concept of being confined when people are home and active. More than likely the dogs were placed in the crate immediately before the people left the house or went to bed.

A crate trained dog:

  • will not eliminate in the crate
  • readily enters the crate when asked
  • relaxes in the crate when alone in the home
  • relaxes in the crate when people are home and active
  • relaxes in the crate when other animals are not crated

Buy Canny Collar USA – Buy for $25.95 plus $6.95 shipping anywhere in USA.

CannywebStop your dog from pulling! The Canny Collar is the first head collar that anyone can fit and use. If you can attach a buckle collar to your dog, you can fit the Canny Collar. Price is $25.95 plus a flat rate, USA shipping charge of $6.95.

Click Here to Order a Canny Collar today!

For years, I have suggested head collars for my clients.  Clients use the equipment to get the dog to perform the good behavior, then they reward the dog for walking nicely!

A core problem with the Gentle Leader, Halti, and the Snoot Loop is fitting the collar correctly. Until now, all head collars required fine tuning and adjustments.  Toss in an exuberant dog (why else would the people need a head collar?) and many people become frustrated and switch to other no pull devices.

The Canny Collar has fast become my favorite choice for many situations!  Just order the correct size and you are ready to start enjoying walks with your dog!  Click Here for a Size Chart.

None of the big box pet supply stores in Memphis, Germantown, or Collierville TN carry the Canny Collar. None of the speciality pet supply stores, such as Three Dog Bakery or All About Pets, or Hollywood Feed carry the Canny Collar.

Visit the Products Page to order your Canny Collar today!

Alan J Turner

Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer – canine specialization

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

Private and Group Dog Training

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

Shy Puppy? Afraid of Leash or Collar? Tips and Suggestions

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Some puppies are uncomfortable when exposed to new environments or equipment. If your puppy becomes excited or frightened, just name the item or event, and act as if all is well.

If your puppy remains focused on the item or event, distract his or her attention from the scary thing.

Instead of saying “It’s OK”, divert your pup’s attention with a treat or a toy.

It’s normal for puppies to be leery of new things. Let your puppy adjust with minimal input from you. Both you and the pup should play the roles of observers.

Some people believe it’s a sign of confidence if a puppy never becomes frightened. A truer test is to measure the length of time it takes for a puppy to return to a normal state.

Afraid of Collar or Leash

Occasionally clients report their puppies “freeze up” or lie down when they attach a leash, collar or harness.

This poses a problem in regards to house training, walking and managing unwanted behaviors, such as jumping up.

I tell all my clients to attach a leash or short line, even when their puppies are inside the house. This is so they can prevent their dogs and puppies from practicing rude behaviors.

The leash is an excellent inside and outside management tool. All dogs should be able to relax when a leash is attached, regardless of the dog’s location.

Initial protests to equipment fittings are not difficult to resolve unless people ignore the protests and drag their puppies via attached equipment.

If your puppy is afraid of a collar or harness, do this. Let your puppy investigate and smell the item. Name it. Attach the collar or harness, praise your puppy; hand him a food treat and then remove it. Repeat several times.

Next, attach the equipment immediately before feeding. Praise your pup. After your puppy has eaten, remove the item. Do this for several meals but methodically increase the amount of time the collar or harness is attached after the meal. In a few days, your puppy will like his equipment!

Some puppies quickly learn to dislike the leash because their owners pull and jerk on the leash.

Always supervise any dog when a leash is attached.

If, while following these instructions, your puppy is still afraid of the leash, break your introduction process into more, smaller steps. Use a very short piece of a leash instead of a 4 or 6 foot leash. Once your dog is accustomed to the short piece, use a longer piece.

Introduce the concept of restriction and the leash in several small steps and your puppy will learn to like the leash!

First, let your pup smell and investigate the leash. Name it.

Next, attach the leash and praise your dog. Hand him a food treat. Remove the leash.

After several instances of attaching the leash and immediately removing it, attach a short, lightweight, leash and let your puppy drag it around for a while. Do not pick up the end of the leash. Do this several times throughout the day, or every evening for a few days.

The subsequent step is to pick up the end of the leash, hand your puppy a food treat, and then drop the leash.

Do this several times in one session. Hold a few sessions throughout the day or evening.

Next you’ll introduce the concept of leash and equipment pressure.

Tell your puppy, “This is pressure”, and apply a slight, steady, and brief tug on the equipment. Praise your puppy and hand him a food treat. Repeat a few times.

Add just a bit more pressure each time. Vary the area of the pup’s body that is affected by the pressure by tugging right, left, up, down.

Finally, you will pick up the leash and walk one step. Don’t pull your puppy! The leash should be loose and not tight. Coax your puppy. Praise your puppy for following you. Repeat several times, but add another step each time.

After few instances, your puppy will be accepting of the leash.

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