FREE – Dog Won’t Come? Teach Your Dog to Come Bump Your Target

criscojailPlease read Start Here AA-1 through AA-5 before you teach your dog to target.

Crisco, the turbo Jack Russell Terrier in the picture, will almost always come when called. Crisco has been very well trained by her owner via the use of targets!

Here are some thoughts about targets introduced to me by Kayce Cover, B.S., M.A.

Targets give the dog critical information about where success will take place. Examples of targets are a simple wooden dowel with a piece of tape on one end for contrast, your hand, extended fingers, or other items such as a business card, ink pen, plastic lid from small food container, piece of tape on the wall, dot of light from a laser pointer, etc.. You can purchase a target stick from pet supply stores.

Many trainers use targets to teach service dogs how to operate light switches, press doorbells, open doors, pick up items, et cetera. The dog is taught to go to the target, bump the target with his nose (or any other body part) maintain contact with the target, sit / lay on the target, pick up the item touching the target, or any number of behaviors, depending on the type of target and the application.

The use of target(s) is an excellent method to teach motion behaviors or to teach the dog where a behavior should occur.

Simple applications for target sticks are teaching a dog to spin and to heel.

Target Touch

Here’s how to teach your dog to bump a two finger target. To form a two-finger target, extend your index and middle fingers and tuck your ring finger and little finger into your palm with your thumb.

You will present the two-finger target on a plane, horizontal to the floor, as if you are pointing to someone next to you. The dog will touch the outside or knuckle side of the target.

Say “Touch” and immediately position the end of the target one inch from your dog’s nose. He will sniff it.  Do not move your target to touch his nose. He should come to you!

Mark the instant (with your conditioned marker) he touches your two finger target with his nose and immediately withdraw your target. Deliver a reward. Repeat three times, but place the target a bit farther away and to the left or right of your dog’s nose on trials 2 and 3. Now you can use the two-finger, nose target, to guide your dog into position.

Target Here – Foster a Partnership

The “touch” exercise is much more than a simple command. It is a very clear method to tell your dog what you’d like him to do and exactly where success will take place. It is a powerful tool for building an attitude of cooperation, a partnership.

The target provides a visual focal point, a precise point in space, where a behavior is to take place.

Using a target is one method to recall your dog. To use it for a come command, do this. Instead of saying “touch”, say “here” and then present your two finger target a few inches from your dog’s nose. Practice “here” at various distances in very short sessions. I usually practice this command 3-5 times during a short practice session.

I view “here” as a tool for nurturing a senior – junior partnership with Bentley. When I ask him to target, I’m really holding a two way conversation about cooperation.

I’m asking Bentley – “Hey Bent, I’d like you to come over here and bump my target with your nose. Do you understand what I want you to do? Do you understand where success will take place? Do you understand that I will pay you for your cooperation? Are you willing to cooperate? “

Bentley races over to bump my target. He’s replying, “Hey Alan, I know what you want me to do. I know where success will take place. I know you’re going to pay me. I’m willing to cooperate.”

Troubleshooting Target Here

Teaching your dog to touch your two finger target can be frustrating! Sometimes the dog will bite your fingers, or just quit targeting altogether.

If your dog is biting your target, check for these common errors. Review your timing and target placement. You should mark the instant he touches the target, not one second afterwards. Are you withdrawing your target immediately after you mark the instant he touches it? If you leave your target in place after the marker, your dog may mouth or bite the target. It’s best to remove your target immediately after you mark the touch.

If your dog sometimes ignores the target, review the placement of the target. Position the target nose height or lower.   The target should be horizontal to the floor (as if you are pointing to something next to you).

What are your actions after he bumps the target? Are you moving the target towards the dog (thus bumping him right before he reaches the target)? Do you end his fun or mark the instant and give a reward?

Some dogs lose interest if you repeat the exercise more than 2-3 times during a short session.

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Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer, Canine Specialization
Private and Group Dog Obedience Training
Member: APDT

Dog Police recruit Citizen Wardens in Beijing, China for Toilet Training Help

bimmerOn April 17, 2009, the English People’s Daily online (English / Chinese news) reported that government officials in Beijing China are recruiting volunteers or “citizen warriors” to educate the public about the responsibilities of dog ownership.  Their duties will include informing dog owners of laws and statutes, enforcing toilet habits, and offering behavior and toilet training help.

Pet dog ownership in Beijing –  703,879 in August 2007.

Alan J Turner

Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer

Private and Group Dog Training Services in Memphis, TN

How to Teach your Dog to Come when you Blow a Whistle

bigstockphoto_girl_blowing_blue_whistle_38094411Whistle Come

There are many different methods to teach dogs to come when called. Here is an easy way to teach your dog to come when you blow a whistle. You may be creative with your whistle signal. For example, you could blow a short toot followed by a long toot.

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

Get a whistle.  Any type of whistle will do. Sporting goods stores stock a selection of whistles. Walmart and Target have some in their sporting goods sections.

Use special treats for this exercise, not the normal treats you use for training. Small pieces of chicken, ham, cheese or turkey work well. The idea is to choose a treat that your dog will LOVE! Choose a unique and delicious treat that your dog never ever gets any other times!

From this point forward, you will only blow the whistle during whistle come exercises.

IMPORTANT:Do not use the whistle to call your dog when he or she is misbehaving!  It will increase the misbehaviors! THEREFORE , if your dog is digging or barking or misbehaving, first get your dog’s attention, then blow the whistle when he or she is looking at you.

Do not speak to your dog, or touch your dog during Steps 1 and 2.

Step 1) Go to your den or family room and have your dog next to you. Blow your whistle and hand your dog a treat. Wait a couple of seconds, blow your whistle and give your dog a treat. Repeat 4-6 times. You are finished now. Put the whistle away.

Wait 3-5 minutes and repeat the sequence in another room of your house. Do this in 3 or more different rooms during 3 or more different sessions.

Step 2) Go to an outside area and have your dog on a short leash next to you. Blow your whistle and hand your dog a treat. Wait a couple of seconds, blow your whistle and give your dog a treat. Repeat 4-6 times. You are finished now. Put the whistle away.

Wait 3-5 minutes and repeat the sequence in another area outside. Do this in 3 or more different outside areas during 3 or more different sessions.

Step 3) Practice in the front yard or other unfenced areas with your dog on a 10-25 foot line. Practice in 3 or more different outside areas during 3 or more different sessions. When your dog comes, hand him or her a treat. Praise your dog! Toss a ball! Play with your dog!

Step 4) Go to a fenced area outside with your dog off leash. Let your dog wander around for 5 minutes. Blow your whistle and wait. When your dog comes, hand him or her a treat. Praise your dog! Toss a ball! Play with your dog!

After several sessions, vary the rewards.  Use treats sometimes, or use praise and play as rewards. Soon, your dog will always come when you whistle!

Access this and other training articles quickly and easily on my new iphone / ipad / android FREE app. Get the app here: https://alanturner.cardtapp.com/

IMPORTANT:Do not use the whistle to call your dog when he or she is misbehaving! It will increase the misbehaviors! THEREFORE , if your dog is digging or barking or misbehaving, first get your dog’s attention, then blow the whistle when he or she is looking at you.
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Happy Training!

 

AT

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

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis,

Owner: How’s Bentley – 

 

Yuk! My puppy’s ears stink!

 

img_0346Ear infections are common, especially in dogs with floppy ears. If your puppy or dog is constantly shaking his or her head or scratching his or her ears, there’s likely to be an infection. 

Ear infections are stinky. To determine if your pup’s ears are infected, place your nose directly into your pup’s ear and take a whiff. Do this a couple of times every week so you’ll notice any changes in the odor, before the infection develops into a serious problem. Contact your veterinarian if your dog’s ears are smelly! 

As reported in the Journal American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), Veterinary Pet Insurance Company, of Brea, Calif. reports that ear infections in dogs was the number 2 reason for vet visits. Skin allergies was number 1. The rankings were for 2004. 

Happy Training!

 

AT

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

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis, TN

Owner: How’s Bentley

Jump Start – Puppy & Dog Obedience Training Booklet – $4.95

bentpup5
Bentley, 9 week Australian Terrier, September 1999

Picture is Bentley, my Australian Terrier at 9 weeks.

For puppies and dogs of all ages!

Teach your puppy or dog very quickly using kind methods! Everyone who wants to use rewards based training methods to teach their new puppy or older dog will benefit from owning this 46 page booklet! How’s Bentley Jump Start is a “must have” for positive reinforcement trainers.

Most of the information in this PDF e booklet is on this site for FREE.

This PDF e booklet is for those who want an indexed copy of some of the instructions on this site.

Written by Alan J Turner,

Basic Obedience and Manners – 46 pages including cover and table of contents.

Steps to Success – How to Communicate – Establish a Reward System – Condition a Reward Marker – Cues – Capture Sit – Door Knock Game – Teach Target Here – Lure Down -Teach Attention (with command and without command) – Target Touch – Go to Place – Stay – Inside/Outside, and More!

You may purchase PDF ebooklet on the “Products” page.

Happy Training!

AT

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

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis, TN

Owner: How’s Bentley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow the linked words above for FREE Instructions.

CLICK HERE for YouTube Video HARRY IN CLASS

Happy Training!

AT

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

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis, TN

Owner: How’s Bentley

AA-4 Dog & Puppy Training Plan-Obedience Commands

Australian Terrier BentleyHow’s Bentley Training Plan for All Dogs

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

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

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

Click the links to follow links to detailed instructions.

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

Manners / Coping Skills

Potty Skills

House training

Signal the need to eliminate

Eliminate on command

Eliminate on and off lead

Eliminate in poor weather conditions

Eliminate while you hold a container

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

Drink on command

Medical Care

Relax at vet clinic

Accept grooming, handling and inspections

Swallow pills

Present paws for inspection / nail clipping

Coping Skills

Accept leash, collar, harness and equipment pressure

Relax during car rides

Relax during severe weather

Relax in crate when the family is home

Walk on various surfaces

Walk next to street traffic

Relax for visitors

Relax around infants

Relax around puppies and dogs

Relax around cats, other animals

Senior Skills

Navigate stairs and steps slowly, one at a time

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

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

Basic Obedience Skills

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

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

Attention – Condition a Instant Reward marker

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

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

(Without cue) stay connected to handler while standing

Function – communication, wait,

Prerequisite – handler significance

Sit

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

Function – Default behavior, incompatible with many unwanted behaviors

Prerequisite – handler significance

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

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

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

Prerequisite – touch

Stay

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

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

Prerequisite – Sit, Down

Lure Down Or Capture Down

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

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

Go to Place

Description –Go to specific area and lay until released

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

Prerequisite – Down, stay

Heel – on Lead

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

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

Additional Skills

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

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Happy Training!

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

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis, TN

Owner: How’s Bentley

Food Treats: Bribe vs. Reward

foodtreatWe want the food treat to act as a reward for performing, not as a signal to perform. If you use a food lure when initially teaching behaviors, when practicing in new locations, or in the presence of increased distractions, you should fade the lure quickly.

If food is always presented before the behavior, then it’s considered a trigger for the behavior. If you continue to use food as a lure, your dog will learn to perform only when food is present. Yikes!

This is a very common mistake and is so easy to avoid. Ideally the food lure will be used less than five times, in most instances only three times!

If your dog only performs when the food is present, here’s what you should do. In advance, place a treat or two high up on a shelf or mantle in several locations throughout your home.

At random times, ask your dog to perform a behavior and use the hidden treats as rewards. This will teach your dog that food does not have to be present (in your hands, pocket or a treat bowl) in order for him to earn a food treat.

Get out the treats when your dog is watching. Ask for a couple of behaviors and never deliver food as the reward. This will teach him that even though food is obviously in the environment, he doesn’t necessarily get it as a reward.

The idea is to make the “presence of food” in the environment irrelevant.

He might get a treat when food is not present and he might not get a treat when food is present.

Review the section Rewards Awareness Program. If you give your dog attention and touch for free, the only remaining reward (of which you have total control) is food.

Happy Training!

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

Private and Group Dog Training in Memphis, TN

Owner: How’s Bentley