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.

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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

Want to Teach Your 10 Week Old Puppy to Sit? Forget About it. :) It’s Too late. . .


SItDid you want to teach your 10 week old puppy to sit? Forget about it. 🙂 It’s too late.

That turbo charged puppy already knows how to perform every basic obedience command!

Your dog knows how to sit and lie down. He can stay.  Your pup knows how to walk towards you. Your puppy knows how to run to you. Your puppy dog can walk the same speed as you. That fellow knows how to dig, or “not dig”. Your puppy can bark, and he knows how to “not bark”.  He can certainly choose to jump up, or “not jump up”.

Your goals are to learn how to communicate to your dog WHEN, WHERE, HOW LONG, and WHY he or she should perform basic commands.  You will succeed if you build a relationship based on clear communication, and well managed rewards for cooperation.

21st Century dogs live in our homes and sleep in our bedrooms. Unlike most of the the last century when dogs were outside pets or workers, raising a dog to live inside your home requires much more than basic obedience.

Your dog’s behaviors are influenced by your behaviors, and the  relationship between you and your dog.

My goal is to help you achieve your goals via private or group services, and by providing free information.


Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley Memphis TN

How to Teach your Dog or Puppy to Lie Down


KojackThere are many methods to teach down. Before you begin training your dog, you’ll need to learn a bit about communication and motivation. Please visit the Dog Training Start Here Category. There you will learn about markers and rewards, two excellent topics for communicating and motivating! A prerequisite for “stay” is “Attention on Cue”. It doesn’t hurt if your dog already knows “Sit” too!

Here’s how I use and fade a food lure when teaching down via the lure method. It’s much easier to lure a down from the sit position, so the pup must know sit.

Introduce this (and any new behavior) in a quiet area where you are not competing for your pup’s attention.

Place a few small treats in a dish nearby. Stand in front of your pup. Ask him to sit. Acknowledge the sit with a “thank you” or a smile.

Place a small piece of food in the palm of your open hand. Hold it in place by crossing your thumb over it. Keep your fingers straight. Now, hold your hand with the treat next to your shoulder, palm out – as if you were taking an oath. Say nothing.

Hold your hand in position for about 3 seconds and then place your open palm (with treat) directly in front of your pup’s nose. Say nothing. Slowly move your open hand straight down, being careful not to lose the “connection” between the dog’s nose and the treat. (Your hand should never be more than 2 inches away from your dog’s nose during this step.)

Depending on the dog’s size and your height, you may need to kneel down before you place your hand in front of the dog’s nose.

The dog should move his head down in an effort to follow the treat. Keep moving your hand down, until it is almost to the floor. Right before your hand reaches the floor, move your hand just a wee bit closer to you. This will give the dog space to move his body into the down position without standing up.

When the dog plops his chest down on the floor, mark the instant of success and then release the treat.

Repeat two more times (with a treat in your hand each time) for a total of three trials.

On the fourth trial, do not place a food treat in your hand. Repeat the same sequence of steps. Slowly move your empty hand downward to lure the dog into the down position. Mark the instant of success and then get a treat from the dish. Toss the treat on the floor.

This will keep the dog’s attention focused downward and get him into a standing position, ready for the next trial. Repeat the sequence two more times without a treat in your hand.

Troubleshooting – Lure Down

When luring your dog into the down position, he might stand up. If your dog stands up, it is likely that your hand is too far away or you are not moving it straight down. Your hand should track the natural path that the dog’s head tracks when he lays from the sit position.

Here’s what I do if the dog continues to move out of the sit position, even though I am following the correct path with my hand. I remove my hand the instant the dog moves out of the sit position, and start over from the beginning.

Once your dog will follow your empty hand, it’s time to fade your hand motion.

Start the next exercise immediately after three success followed by a very short play period.

Lure Down – Fading the Hand Motion

Now that your dog has followed your empty hand a few times, you can fade your hand motion and teach the dog that your initial ‘hand-beside-shoulder signal’ is the cue to down. Here’s how I do it.

To warm the dog up, repeat the same sequence as before, without a treat in your hand. Hold your open palm up next to your shoulder as if you were taking an oath. Wait about 3 seconds and then place your hand directly in front of your dog’s nose. Slowly move your open hand straight down, being careful not to lose the “connection” between the dog’s nose and your hand. Your hand should never be more than 2 inches away from your dog’s nose during this step.

The dog will move his head down in an effort to follow your hand. Keep moving your hand down, until it is almost to the floor. Right before your hand reaches the floor, move your hand just a wee bit closer to you. This will give the dog space to move his body into the down position without standing up. When the dog plops his chest down on the floor, mark the instant of success and then get a treat from the dish and pay your dog. Do this two more times for a total of three trials.

On the fourth trial, follow the same sequence- except – instead of 3 seconds; hold your open palm at shoulder level for several seconds and just smile at your dog. Wait quietly. If your dog is looking at you, wait up to 15 seconds. Say nothing. Just smile. Be prepared to mark the instant of success as many dogs will go down within the 15 seconds.

If your dog doesn’t go down within 15 seconds, complete the sequence as before. Try again two more times with the 15 second wait time. Most dogs will “get it” within these three trials.

Troubleshooting – Hand Signal for Down

If your dog averts his attention during the 15 second period, make some soft noise that will reengage his attention right before he starts to fidget. Don’t use words. I usually make kissing or clucking sounds. Be patient.

If your dog doesn’t go down within the 15 second period, follow the same sequence as before. Slowly move your open hand straight down, being careful not to lose the “connection” between the dog’s nose and your hand. The dog should move his head down in an effort to follow your hand.

Keep moving your hand down but stop moving your hand 2 or 3 inches before you get to the floor. Your dog should keep going down. Mark the instant of success and then give your dog a treat from the dish.

Methodically decrease the amount of downward hand motion from trial to trial.

After several trials (or maybe several short sessions with several trials) your dog will go down earlier and earlier during the sequence. Now, the open palm in oath position is your hand signal for down!

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis Tn
Private and group dog obedience training and behavior
Germantown, Collierville,Memphis,Arlington,Bartlett,Cordova,Olive Branch,Oxford,TN,MS

Dog Training is a Process, Not an Event

bentleypupRaising a puppy and training a dog is a process, not an event. It’s not much different than raising a child (except in 3 years your puppy will be an adult dog). Suppose you hire me to come to your house and teach your child to be polite. I can tell the kid which words to use ,what they mean, and when to use them. That teaching session is an event. But later, I will not be with your child to praise her for polite gestures, or to remind her to be polite. That is a continual process.

I have potential clients who would pay me whatever to come to their homes and train their dogs. I would gladly accept these lucrative offers if I believed the dogs would be responsive to them afterwards. Some dogs will obey without a lot of practice. But these are rarely the dogs that prompt people to seek out a trainer.

Don’t get me wrong, I can teach your chocolate labrador retriever commands for sit, down,come, stay, go-to-place, leave-it, et cetera much quicker than their owners. Initially teaching dogs to obey without distractions is the easy part. Those initial lessons are events.

Your dog is always learning, even when you are not holding practice sessions. Every interaction throughout the day teaches your puppy or dog something. If you are unaware of how your responses throughout the day shape your dog’s behavior, no amount of event training by me will override your daily mistakes.

Dogs learn by repetition. Practicing while adding distractions, in very controlled training sessions, and working with the dogs, every day, in real life situations, is a time consuming process.

If you want to begin a training program for your dog, please visit the START HERE category.

Happy Training!

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

How’s Bentley – Private and Group Dog Obedience

Memphis, Collierville, Bartlett, Cordova, Germantown TN

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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