How’s Bentley Group Dog Obedience: Mini Course Syllabus – Beginner Course

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How’s Bentley Mini Course Syllabus – Beginner Course

For all friendly, vaccinated, puppies and dogs 16 weeks or older

COURSE FEE & LENGTH – $85,  3 weekly sessions, 55 minutes each

By Reservation only:– Please review this checklist to see if group courses are best for your dog

 

DOGS – 3-10  dogs per class – all friendly, vaccinated puppies and dogs over 16 weeks may attend.

PEOPLE – Adults 18 and over may register and one adult will handle the dog.  All family members are encouraged to attend. Teens and children can assist the adult handler.

METHODS – Dog friendly, rewards based teaching methods, no leash jerks

INSTRUCTOR –  Alan J Turner, owner of How’s Bentley,  is the instructor. Alan is a companion animal behavior counselor and trainer with a specialization in canine behavior. Alan is a certified Syn Alia Training Systems Trainer, Lay Level 1. Alan is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Please Visit these links to learn more about Alan.

How’s Bentley

Syn Alia Training Systems

Association of Pet Dog Trainers

COMMANDS – look, come, sit, down, stay, go-to-place

REACTIVE  DOGS – Group Course setting is not suitable for aggressive, reactive, or fearful dogs. Please contact Alan about private sessions.

BRING TO CLASS – copies of current vaccination records, signed Group Mini Course Enrollment Form, small food treats, chew toy, water bowl, hungry, exercised dog; Sessions 2-3 dog bed, high value long lasting chew treat

EQUIPMENT – Leash: 4 to 6 foot nylon, leather, poly, or cotton lead – Collar: any neck collar, head collar, or harness is acceptable as long as the dog is not choking and the dog cannot escape from the equipment. Weeks 2-3, bring a dog bed, rug, kennel pad, something to use as the “Place” for Go-To-Place

REGISTER– Contact Brown Dog Lodge to reserve your spot. 

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Behaviors for Beginner Mini Course (click words below for detailed instructions):

Look (Attention on cue / while standing), Capture Sit, Target Here (optional Whistle Come), Lure Down (or Capture Down), Stay, Go-to-Place



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Preparation for First Class – Lecture Notes

Please select the link below to view helpful articles in preparation for the course. AA3 and AA4 are the most important!

http://dogand.com/category/dog-training-obedience/start-here/

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Here are the steps for teaching a dog anything you want.

  1. Condition a reward marker, a signal you will use during training to tell your dog the instant he or she has succeeded.
  2. Establish a Rewards System, so your dog will be motivated to cooperate.
  1. Get the dog to perform the behavior (or some portion of the behavior) during very short, practice sessions.
  1. Mark the instant your dog succeeds.
  2. Reward your dog to reinforce the behavior. (Deliver some “version” of F.A.T.)
  3. Refine the behavior through repeated, very short, practice sessions in many different areas.
  4. Add distractions so your dog will always perform the behavior.
  5. Practice the behavior in real life.

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SYLLABUS ***************************

1st Class Session- Exercises

Condition an instant reward marker.

Capture sit for folded arms.

Teach attention on cue – while standing.

Teach your dog to come bump your target (Here).

Teach additional commands for the same behavior (teach the word sit).

Video Demo

http://dogand.com/category/dog-training-obedience/training-video-demonstrations/

Obedience Training –> Video Demo

Here’s a video demo of a puppy doing “look”, “here”, “sit” and “down”. My client is using a clicker as the conditioned reward marker.  When you string several commands, you mark each “success”, but don’t deliver food treat after every mark. In this video, my client is using a clicker for the reward marker.

HOMEWORK WEEK ONE

Here’s a goal for this week.  Hold at least 5, 60 second, practice sessions every day. 10 would be better! 🙂 Practice Look, Here, Sit

Wait 10 minutes minimum between these short sessions. You could do all 5 within one hour, but it’s better to sprinkle the sessions throughout the day- or split between AM and PM.

During these short (1 minute) sessions, practice “sit for folded arms” and “attention on cue”.

Problems with “Sit for Folded Arms”? CLICK HERE for TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS.

CLICK HERE for a Training Log. Print the log so you can keep a record of your practice sessions.

You will mark each “look” or “sit” with your reward marker (X is one of my favorite reward markers). And you follow the X with some version of FAT.

The first couple of days, give your dog a small food reward (after you mark the instant of success) 3 out of every 5 times you mark. As your dog learns the commands, you can discontinue the use of the marker.

After 2 days, experiment with the reinforcement schedule.  Use a variable intermittent schedule of reinforcement; give a food reward sometimes, and give attention (praise, yee haaas, fun noises) or touch without the food treat, other times. Mix it up!

Practice in 4 different locations inside your home. Practice in 2 different locations outside.

2nd Class Session- Exercises

Practice: Look, Here, Sit

Lure Down or Capture Down

Introduce Stay, Go-to-Place

Discussion – Making Behaviors Reliable

Schedules of Reinforcement

HOMEWORK WEEK TWO

Practice: Look, Here, Sit, Down, Stay

Hold 5 daily, 2-3 minute practice sessions. Practice in 4 different locations inside your home. Practice in 2 different locations outside.

Optional – Teach: Whistle Come

Optional – Teach and practice: Inside / Outside

3rd Class Session- Exercises

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

Practice: Attention while standing – without cue

Discussion: Real Life Applications

Instructor, Alan J Turner, SATS LL1

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Germantown, Collierville TN

Group Dog Obedience Courses

House Breaking or House Training? Let’s Call it Potty Area Conditioning

Potty pupContrary to popular beliefs, the process of house training is largely governed by a naturally occurring, classical conditioning process. I propose we assign a more accurate, 21st century, label for house training. Let’s name it “potty area conditioning”!

All of your actions will alter the natural process of “potty area conditioning”.

You may hasten the process, delay the process, or unknowingly teach (condition) your dog to eliminate inside.

TWO SIMPLE RULES:

Provide access to desirable area.

Prevent potty accidents inside.

If one always provides their dog the opportunity to eliminate in desired locations and never ever gives the pup access to eliminate in undesirable locations, potty area conditioning will occur without any other input from people.

The dog will associate the desirable areas with the internal relief gained by elimination. The dog will naturally seek out the desired location

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The type of flooring or ground cover is an important dynamic for potty-area- conditioning.

Many people report their dogs often choose to eliminate on a specific types of ground coverings.  This is because a “conditioned” dog automatically seeks out the same type of area that he used most often in the past.

For example, if your pup is always led to a gravel parking lot, he will seek out gravel-like surfaces whenever he feels the pressures associated with the need to eliminate. If he is always led to grassy areas, he will develop a natural preference for grassy areas.

An unsupervised dog that eliminates inside your house will naturally form associations with that type of flooring. In addition, the dog will be attracted to use the same area because of the odors of the soiled areas. The dog will return there to eliminate next time he or she has a need to potty. Yikes!

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Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

21st Century Dogs

Your Choice- Obnoxious Dog or Well Mannered Pet

Jack Russell TerrierEvery day, I speak with clients about meeting their dogs’ basic needs. Most of us assume our dogs are getting plenty of exercise and stimulation when the dogs are alone (or with other dogs) in a large fenced area. The dog is in the great outdoors, so she must be getting enough exercise, right?

Wrong. This is not usually the case, unless you have a turbo Jack Russell Terrier, like the one pictured in this post. Crisco hunts and chases critters for hours. Occasionally she’ll dig, because, she’s a terrier! Do not be surprised when your terrier redesigns your flower beds or digs up a shrub. The word terrier comes from the Middle French terrier, derived from the Latin terra, meaning earth. Get it? 🙂

Some dogs do know how to entertain themselves when alone in the yard.

All dogs, and especially guarding types such as German Shepherd Dogs, are at risk for refining territorial aggression if their primary jobs involve constant watching and barking at people and other dogs that pass by the yard. Yikes, that can’t be good!

Beagles and hounds may bay or bark for hours on end.

Labrador retrievers and other breeds dig, destroy fencing and furniture, chew low voltage air conditioning wires, lick bar-b-q grills, dismantle wooden decks, scratch back doors, run along fences and bark at the dogs next door, et cetera.

Some of my clients keep their dogs in the back yard because the dogs are ill mannered inside the house. The same dogs are ill mannered in the back yards.

If you want to reduce normal, unwanted behaviors, you’ll need to meet your dog’s basic needs. Make a list of behaviors you would like from your dog. Learn about training methods and teach your dog. Take your dog for daily walks in the neighborhood.

You can have a rude dog who makes your life miserable, or you can have a well mannered pet. It’s your choice. Visit other pages on this dogand site to begin your adventure.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

How’s Bentley – Memphis TN – Canine Relationship Solutions

Private and Group Dog Obedience – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, Bartlett, Cordova TN

Short Dog Training Sessions Should End With Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Training!

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

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Group Dog Obedience Classes

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

Reactive Dog Specialist

Limitations of Rewards Based Dog Training

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


 

 

 

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

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

Identify –  Manage – Deliver – Withhold – Add – Subtract

Rewards


CLICK HERE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Happy Training!

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

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

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

Reactive Dog Specialist

Inappropriate Elimination Questionnaire- for Dogs that were Previously House Trained and Inside Elimination Represents a Change in Behavior

Maggie HoundSometimes I see clients whose dogs were previously house trained, but recently started eliminating inside. The causes can range from medical or dietary issues, attention seeking behaviors,  to anxiety and fearful behaviors. You’ll  need to determine the root cause before you can fix it.

Here is the inappropriate inside elimination questionnaire that I use for remote house training consultations. I use this form to determine the root cause.

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Inappropriate Elimination Worksheet– for dogs that were previously house trained and inside elimination represents a change in behavior.

Have medical tests been conducted since the onset of the inappropriate elimination behavior(s) for the specific goal of identifying or ruling out a medical cause(s) for the behavior(s)? 

Yes No

How long has the problem behavior been occurring?

__________________________________________________________________________

How often does the behavior occur?

______________________________________________________________________________

Is the number of incidents increasing in frequency? Yes No

Behavior occurs only in the (visible) presence of persons yes no

Behavior occurs only in the absence of persons: yes no

Behavior occurs both in the presence of and in the absence of persons: yes no:

Were there changes in the external environment that coincided with the onset of elimination disorder? (i.e. new/remodeled home, moved furniture, installed fencing (including ‘invisible’ fencing), added room mate, schedule change, added pet, lost pet, lost room mate, etc.)

Yes No

If yes to above question, please explain.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Was there a change in dietary and elimination environment at or after the onset of the behavior? (type/brand/amounts of food recently changed, water consumption change, location of outside area used for elimination, willingness to go outside, etc.)  Yes No

If yes, please explain._______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Are there any other behavioral changes you have noticed at or after the onset of the problem elimination? (destructive behaviors, barking, mounting, object stealing, tail chasing, shadow stalking, storm phobia, firework or noise phobia, eating non-food items, etc.)  Yes No

If yes to the above question, please explain.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Does the problem behavior occur more often in any particular location(s)? Yes No

List area(s) of most recent problem elimination and flooring type. (i.e. inside crate in den, kitchen on tile floor, back bedroom on carpet, living room curtains on carpet, cabinet in kitchen on tile floor, etc.)

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Please check the type(s) of elimination occurring inside.  Urination Defecation

If defecation selected in previous question, circle the consistency of stool.

Hard Soft but firm Firm then partially liquid Diarrhea Variable

Will the dog readily walk outdoors for a walk, or to play?

Yes No

Will the dog readily eliminate outdoors –on or off lead -in the presence of traffic, strangers, other dogs, loud noises, in bad weather, rain, cold, or other distractions?

Yes No Maybe _________________________________________

Where does the dog eliminate outside? List area and ground type. (i.e. back patio on concrete, back yard-anywhere on grass, backyard in designated area on grass, backyard on grass or concrete, during walks on grass, during walks on street, etc.)

______________________________________________________________________________

Does the dog eliminate inside regardless of schedule of outside exercise/outings and may eliminate immediately after you return indoors?

Yes No

Does the quantity of inside-the-home excretions indicate full-fledged elimination?  Yes No

Are there numerous small amounts of urine deposited inside? Yes No

Please list any additional information you feel is relevant to the inside elimination problem behavior. Thank you.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley Memphis

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

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

Access this and other training articles quickly and easily on my new iphone / ipad / android FREE app

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**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.

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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

To Play . . or Not to Play. . . Will Tug of War Make My Puppy Aggressive?

Australian Terrier Puppy
Australian Terrier Puppy

Tug is defined “to pull hard” by Webster’s online dictionary. People play tug with their dogs by pulling on an item the dog is holding in his or her mouth. To win at tug, you take the item away from your dog.

Many of my clients ask me, “Is it okay to play tug with my puppy?” Good question. I know why you ask.

Tug of war is one of those controversial topics.  Some people believe it’s okay to play tug if the human always wins.  Other state. “playing tug will increase unwanted aggressive behaviors”.  These people tell others to avoid the game of tug with their dogs. I’m not sure why. I suspect these people promote concepts like alpha and dominance. The stronger animal is the boss and the weaker animal submits, right?

If you have visited a few pages on this site, you already know my thoughts on alpha.

I do not coach my clients to compete with their dogs for anything. I do not believe alpha comes into play between people and dogs. Click here to read my controversial article “Forget About Alpha”.

Okay, here are my thoughts on playing tug with puppies and dogs. The simple answer is, ‘it depends”. Tug can be a wonderful teaching game and reward for some dogs. Tug can be a dangerous game with some dogs, without some guidelines to keep it safe and fun.

If your dog exhibits aggressive behaviors, directed at you, then tug is probably not a good game for you and your dog! Young children should not play tug with a puppy who does not know the rules. Play biting kids is a puppy’s favorite pastime. Please click this link about play biting and kids if you have children in the house.

Here are some ideas on teaching puppies and dogs about tug.

You do not want to play tug with your socks, especially when still attached to your feet. To prevent tug games with the wrong items, purchase 1 or 2 tug toys. Once your puppy knows the rules you can play tug with whatever you wish. Tug toys are made for tug and have easy grip handles. Longer rope toys with handles or knots make for good tugging! Keep the tug toys away from your dog, unless you are playing tug. That means the toys should not be in his or her toy box, for them to play with and chew. These toys only come out when you want to play tug!
Here’s one of the best, rope tug toys.

Click the words
Tuff E Nuff Tug, Large
to visit Sit Stay and shop for tug toys.
TUFFENUFF.lg

Tuff E Nuff Tug, Large

It’s normal for puppies and dogs to growl and snarl when playing tug. Look for other body posturing that indicate your puppy is playing, not fighting. If your puppy’s butt is in the air and his or her front legs are on the ground, that’s a play bow. Your puppy wants to play!

When your puppy “accidently” makes teeth on skin contact (and he or she will) the game should end. Tell your puppy something like , “oops, you blew it”, and then walk away. If possible, take the toy away. Wait a minute or so, until your puppy is less excited, and then resume play.

Teach your puppy a signal that ends the game. I use “Game Over, then ask for the Drop.

Drop is useful for many games and situations. If your puppy does not know drop, give or trade, tug is a good game to use for teaching. Click this sentence for instructions on teaching your puppy to drop.

Use common sense about playing with your puppy. Puppies do not know how to play with humans. Avoid games that include rough play with your hands, tumbling or roughing up the puppy. This will send your puppy the wrong signals and increase play biting as well as other inappropriate play behaviors.

Happy Training!

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

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Group Dog Obedience Classes

Private Dog Training in Memphis TN

Reactive Dog Specialist

Does Your Dog Own You? Resource Guarding of Territory, Food, Items, or People

Ace_BallResource guarding is when dogs posture, growl, snarl, bark,  snap, lunge, or bite for reasons we believe are efforts to keep other animals or people away from what they consider to be valuable resources.

Resources include food, territory, items and persons.

Food related aggression, territory aggression, and possession aggression are specific labels for different types of resource guarding.

Resource guarding can be confused with protection aggression and fear aggression.  People believe their dogs are protecting them, when in reality, the dogs are guarding what they believe to be their property, or the dogs are exhibiting fear aggression. Fear aggression is often present with territory aggression. Resolving the fear issue is the solution.  A behavioral history, questionnaire, careful observation,  and testing can usually identify the specific types of aggression.

In my experiences, resource guarding is commonly directed at other dogs, which many people accept or manage. When the aggression is directed at people, I am likely to get a new client.

Food related aggression is seen more often when high value rawhides, bullie sticks, pigs ears, etc.  are involved.

Some dogs guard dry dog food (less common), and severe cases involve dogs that guard empty bowls, and feeding or food preparation locations.

Territory aggression is when dogs posture, growl, snarl, bark,  snap, lunge, or bite when animals or people approach specific areas. Clearly defined areas, such as fenced yards, motor vehicles, homes, crates, kennels, rooms, chairs, couches, beds, and areas underneath furniture are guarded by dogs who exhibit territory aggression.

Less defined territories, such as doorways, and the areas within the length of the dog’s leash or tie out can be considered valuable by some dogs.

Possesive aggression is when dogs guard non-food items, regardless of the location.  Common items are toys, and stolen treasures, such as socks paper towels, ink pens, remote controls, etc.. Some cases of posessive aggression can be resolved by teaching the dog basic obedience commands such as leave-it and drop.

Some aggression behaviors can be fueled  by miscommunications and the balance between dogs and people, better described as the relationship. In some cases, the dog’s physical, social, or emotional needs are not being met, and / or, the chosen training methods are flawed.  A 21st Century Canine Relationship Specialist can help you with these areas. Visit the APDT to find a trainer near you.

Regardless of the type of aggression, the first step is to manage the environment so the dog does not practice (and people or other animals are not injured). Prevention can include simple steps like removing high value food items, feeding in a crate or secure area, crating the dog during social events, removing toys, housing the dog inside the home, and dog proofing the home.

Next, you’ll need to establish a clear system for communication and motivation. Condition a reward marker and follow the rewards awareness program, no free F.A.T.!

There are specific exercises for treating different types of resource guarding. Each dog and case is different. The treatment plan must be fluid and should be adapted for the dog’s success. You’ll probably need help from a dog behavior counselor.

Visit this Solve-It section on this site for specific examples and detailed solutions for aggression.

Happy Training!

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

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Group Dog Obedience Classes

Private Dog Training in Memphis TN

Reactive Dog Specialist


DANGER! Choking Hazard! Size Matters! Orbee Tuff Balls for Less!

Ellie_SizeMost of us who pitch an occasional ball or play sports think little about matching the diameter of the ball to fit our dogs.

SIZE MATTERS! A medium or large dog should not play with any ball that could become lodged in their throats or stuck in their mouth.

It’s rare, but I’ve known dogs who have choked to death while their owners watched. Balls that are just a bit too large for small dogs can be compressed to fit into the mouth, where they flex back to original size and become stuck. Think about your dog’s safety during play!

My Australian terrier dog, Bentley destroys tennis balls in minutes! There are only a few types of balls that hold up to his destructive chewing. I’ve found a goldmine of incredibly durable balls made by Orbee. Bentley can compress, chew and squeeze the Orbee balls, but they do not easily rip and tear.

Orbee makes tough balls, in all sizes. Here is a sampling of the selection. Click the images below to purchase the perfect size Orbee Tough Ball from Sit Stay, a trusted on line dog supply store. You will not find it at a better price! Plus, I’ll get 8% of your purchase to help fund this FREE informational web site!


Visit SitStay.com Today

Orbee Tough Ball – Small 2.25″, Medium 3.25″, Large 4.25″ .

Orbee-Tuff Ball, Small
Click the image to visit Sit Stay and order Orbee Tough Ball – 2 1/4″ Small, 3 1/4″ Medium or 4 1/4″ Large.

2 1/2″ Orbee Tuff Fetch Ball – Same size as normal tennis balls.

Orbee-Tuff Fetch Ball
Click the image to visit Sit Stay and order Orbee 2 1/2″ Fetch Ball.

3″ Baseball

Orbee Baseball
CLICK the image to visit Sit Stay and order Orbee 3″ Baseball.


3.25″ Orbee Tuff Glow for Good Ball

Orbee-Tuff Glow for Good Ball
CLICK the image to visit Sit Stay and order Orbee 3 1/4″ Glow Ball.


Orbee 5″ Soccer Ball

Orbee Soccer Ball
CLICK the image to visit Sit Stay and order 5″ tuff soccer ball today!

Happy Training!

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

How’s Bentley – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

21st Century Canine Relationship Solutions

Group Dog Obedience Classes

Private Dog Training in Memphis TN

Reactive Dog Specialist