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

21Dog

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!

Canny Collar USA Dealer

Challenges of Raising Puppy Litter Mates

Labrador Litter MatesAnyone of the millions of dog owners knows . . .it’s easy to fall in love with puppies! How many of you went to “look” at a litter of puppies, only to arrive home with a new canine addition? These guys pull at our hearts!

An even stronger heart tug is when only two puppies are left. Many people make split second decisions to adopt both puppies. People are thinking,”heck, it’s not much more trouble to raise two puppies instead of one puppy. And I don’t want to break up the family. They can entertain each other, right??”

Yes, adopting litter mates is easy; raising and training litter mates is not so easy!

You see, litter mates often become “one unit”.

They sleep together, eat together, play together and are never alone, even when their humans are off to work. The puppies become best friends and all seems well.

Challenges with this oneness arise as they get older.

You’ll notice that when apart, the dogs are not quite the same. This may not sound like a problem, until you live it.

At some point, you’ll need to separate the dogs for training, walking, emergency vet visits, et cetera. Depending on how the puppies were raised, these brief split ups can be very traumatic or non eventful.

Now, they are 7 months older and much stronger. You haven’t really taught them to walk nicely on a leash, and they pull like crazy. When someone comes to the house, you have to grab their collars and prevent them from mugging the visitors. You can get one dog to sit politely for a moment, but the other one jumps and barks. By the time you get dog # 2 settled, dog #1 is through being polite and starts to jump and bark. It’s a circus!

This scenario is even more frustrating when one dog is naughty. It’s impossible to fix behavior problems such as fear, anxiety, aggression without separating the dogs.

You now realize it’s impossible to train 2 dogs at once; you decide to take one dog outside for training. The instant you exit the house with one dog, the other dog is whining and crying in the doorway, not quite sure why he or she has been abandoned. The dog outside with you is hesitant to walk away from the house, puling at the lead, trying to get back to his or her playmate. Neither dog will eat a treat, or pay any attention to people, because they are very anxious about being apart.

Help your Litter Mates Become Independent

If you have litter mate puppies, teach them about being apart when they are young and not fused together. Take one for a walk, then take the other. Crate one puppy while you teach the other basic commands. Spend time with each puppy, when the other puppy is somewhere else. Do this from the start. Your puppies will be less likely to freak out when they are apart.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley Memphis Dog Trainer

Group and in-home, private dog training sessions

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

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

Should I Get Another Dog / Puppy?

2DogsHere’s the deal. Your 7 month old Labrador Retriever is driving you nuts. Walter has so much energy, you can’t seem to wear him out. You take him on 2, 30 minute walks every day, one in the morning and one when you get home from work. He is crated during the day, because Walter would “remodel” your house otherwise.

Every evening, you play fetch for at least an hour. You want to teach Walter some obedience commands, but with your busy schedule, you just don’t get around to it.

Walter knows sit, and will usually come when called, unless he sees a squirrel or other dogs.

People tell you, “Get another dog. They can play and exercise together.”

This sounds like a great idea! If you add another dog, a playmate for Walter, they can wear each other out. Walter will have a friend and your life will be easier. Right?

Things to consider:

Can I afford the expense of another dog?

Expect to spend anywhere from $60 – $235 per month, per dog.

Will Walter  get along with my current dog?

There is always the chance that your friend for Walter may become his enemy! Managing a multi-dog household can be tricky, specially if the dogs are untrained. They might fight over your attention, rawhide chews, or that perfect spot on the sofa.

How will I find the time to train 3 dogs?

When you have 2 dogs, you have the training workload of owning 3 dogs. You’ll need to train Dog A, when Dog B is not nearby. Then you’ll train Dog B, when Dog A is not around. Great, now you have two dogs that will listen to you. Put them together and it all goes down the drain! The dogs act differently when they are together. They are another Dog, let’s call this one Dog AB. So, you really have 3 dogs to train. Train Dog A, Dog B, then train Dog AB.

Will I become a 3rd wheel?

Anyone who has litter mates can tell you. They become very accustomed to each other, so much so that they become anxious when separated. If you have time to work with each dog, without the other dog nearby, you can remain relevant. If the 2 dogs are always together, they may become one unit. And you may be the 3rd wheel.

What if both dogs chew up my stuff?

Dogs play in many ways. They chase each other, wrestle, jump and mouth each other. AND, dog dig together, hunt together and chew together. Monkey see, monkey do! One dog may never dig, but when the other starts, he or she may decide to dig too! Two dogs can destroy a set of patio furniture, or remodel a couch much quicker than 1 dog!

Will Walter teach my new dog bad habits? Or vice versa?

Dogs feed off each other’s ill manners. For instance suppose Walter is a friendly guy to everyone. He watches out the window at passing dogs and people, and rarely barks or jumps at the window. Enter new dog, who is always on patrol, barking and jumping at the window anytime anyone passes by. Walter watches and then decides to get into the act. Now you have two dogs barking and jumping! House training is another issue. If one dog has accidents inside, it’s likely that the other dog will too! Some dogs start to mark their territory when another dog is introduced. So, a problem that did not exist before is dropped into your lap!

Conclusion

When you add dogs to the house hold, you are taking on a greater responsibility for training and meeting the social, physical and emotional needs of your pets. I never suggest that a client add a dog if they are having trouble meeting the needs of 1 dog. On the flip side, if the client has one, well balanced trained dog, another dog could be a great addition!

Alan J Turner – Howsbentley

Dog Trainer – Memphis TN


Dog Fights are Scary – Interdog Aggression

dog_fightIt’s scary when dogs in the same household fight. The solutions can be as simple as feeding the dogs in different areas, or as complex as implementing a behavior modification plan for inter dog aggression.

Your first steps are to identify triggers and situations when the dogs are more likely to fight. Manage the environment so the fights are less likely.

Remove high value toys and food items; avoid situations that are known to trigger fights. This means you may have to kennel one, or both, dogs. If your dogs are not keen on kenneling, you will need to teach them to relax in the kennel.

Each dog should be able to to perform these basic obedience commands:

Look, Here, Sit, Down, Stay, Go-to-Place

To teach these commands, you’ll need a conditioned reward marker, and a reward system.

Obedience training, the reward system, and a conditioned reward marker are very important communication and motivation tools. These will increase your relevance to your dogs, and the dogs will begin to listen to you, and think about their behaviors.

The aforementioned tools and steps will create a healthy relationship.

After you have developed a relationship, you can work with your dogs, using specific triggers.


iPhone 3Gs Video ** Best Dog Foraging Toy, Tug a Jug

ChristinetugjugAll animals’ instincts are to forage for food and to look for a mate. We’ve pretty much eliminated those two important tasks, and some dogs are out of balance.

Instead of feeding your dog with a bowl, exercise that rascal and have some fun!

You can enrich your puppy or dog’s environment by providing foraging toys. Most dogs love the Tug a Jug!

Penny, the sweetest Pit Bull Terrier ever, pictured in this post, is hoping to find one in her Christmas stocking!

My dog, Bentley, loves the tug -a- jug. When I place dog kibble inside, he knocks it around a bit and gets most of the dog food. When I mix in a few tasty Paws Kickin Chicken treats, he gets downright excited. He’ll toss it much higher and farther for these Kickin Chicken treats! Click the Paws Gourmet Kickin Chicken Words below to get your Kickin Chicken from Sit Stay, one of my favorite online dog supply stores.


Paws Gourmet, Kickin’ Chicken, 16 oz.

The tug -a- jug is filled with dog kibble in the video.

The Tug a Jug comes in 3 sizes, so there’s one that’s just right for your puppy or dog.

Click the Tug a Jug picture below to visit sitstay and order one for your dog!

Tug-a-Jug, Small

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