Pet Dogs for Protection Dogs?

OdenGSDOn How’s Bentley Private Services Enrollment Form, the box labeled “For Protection” is often selected as one of the reasons my clients acquire their pet dogs. I understand why people select a pet dog for a protection role.

I have worked with more German Shepherd Dogs in the past year than the previous 3 years. I believe the current political and social cultures are responsible for people choosing dogs like German Shepherd Dogs, Doberman Pinchers, and other guarding dogs with “vicious” labeling. We are more fearful as a country than we were 15 years ago. That is reflected by the breeds of dogs that we choose. OOPs, this is off topic. I’ll talk about dog breed selection trends in the suburbs of Tennessee at another time.

Many people expect their dogs to be natural protectors and body guards. Too bad it’s not that simple.

It’s not that dogs won’t protect. Some dogs will naturally growl, snarl, bark, snap and bite when anyone approaches.

That’s the problem. Some dogs protect us from everyone. Dogs growl, snarl, snap and bite family members, house mates, friends, children, neighbors, cable guys, even pizza delivery couriers. That’s just rude. I need my pizza. Please Killer, spare the Domino Pizza guy.

Our pet dogs are not any better at determining who is a threat than the average Joe. We have these opposable thumbs and large brains, yet very few of us can determine which people in a busy suburban mall parking lot are about to attack us. Our untrained dogs have a solution. Bite them all and let the alpha dog sort them out!?

YIKES! The point is, you must take time to obedience train your dog before you can have a dependable protection dog. The last thing you want is a dog that decides every stranger is a threat and acts without your input!

True personal protection dogs are very well trained in all aspects of basic and advanced obedience and many participate in Schutzhund, a dog sport that originated in Germany. True protection dogs will stop attacking when their handlers command them to disengage.

Before you select a breed of dog genetically bred for natural, protective tendencies, talk with a trainer who can help you teach the dog basic obedience. For if you have a pet dog that is aggressive towards everyone, and will not stop when you call, you do not have a protection dog. You have a liability.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner
Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer
Private Sessions to Help Aggressive and Fearful Dogs
How’s Bentley- Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, TN

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USA Customers PURCHASE CANNY COLLARS CLICK HERE – $32.90 USD includes shipping.

The Secrets of a Dog Trainer!

sweetie_pieWell, here it is. The post you all have been waiting for. Within the murky shadows of dog training, there must be a secret. . .

Secrets? you kidding me, right? Does anyone really believe there is a SECRET of dog training?Genuine secrets are revealed everyday; don’t we imagine that any dog training secrets would have been exposed?

Okay, I’ll play along. I train dogs, therefore, I know all the secrets. Only they are not secrets. Anyone can learn to train their dog or puppy. It’s not that hard, really.

If dog trainers were adorned with”secrets, I would have Cesar Milan’s wealth! I don’t.

Forget about short cuts and secrets. The real truths about dog training can be found in hundreds of publications and web sites. But within this vast sea of information is contradicting information. That’s why I have put together this web site. It is for anyone who wants to learn how to teach their puppy or dog to be the canine companion of their dreams.

If you want to learn these secrets about dog training begin with the “START HERE” category of posts. Here’s a popular one about Dog and Puppy Training Plan.

Oh, by the way, thanks to the 13, 378 unique visitors in the past 120 days to http://dogand.com.

Alan J Turner

Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer, Canine Specialization

How’s Bentley – Memphis, TN

Alan

Puppy Play Biting Solutions

crisco_lewis2Have you ever watched dogs play together? They are a riot! They jump, mount, growl, bite, mouth, snap, nip, bark and chase. That’s how they play. It’s normal behavior!

Play-biting occurs when some of these normal, play behaviors are directed at human body parts and human clothing. Play biting is a stage of development. All puppies play bite, some more than others. Puppies mature and grow out of the play biting stage.

Puppies that play bite after 6 months of age are treating their humans like puppy play mates.

Play biting by older pups is most often the result of inappropriate play and miscommunications by humans.

I categorize play-biters by placing them into one of two Groups. This is because some tips work well with 10 week old pups, but fail miserably with 6 month old pups.

If the pup is 8-16 weeks old, I automatically place them into Group A, the group of puppies that is learning about play-biting and making progress.

Play biting by these younger pups is normal and can usually be easily reduced, assuming the humans follow some guidelines. If their humans are consistent, young pups rarely graduate to Group B.

Group B pups are puppies 6 months and older that are still play-biting. Pups at 17-24 weeks could be in either Group A or Group B.

Pups in Group B are likely to exhibit other annoying behaviors such as jumping up, mounting, attention-barking, counter-surfing, mouthing and more.

There’s no shame if your dog falls into Group B.

None of this stuff comes to anyone in a dream!

There’s no reason that you should automatically know how to raise your 21st century pup.

There is so much inaccurate, contradicting information about dog training. Everyone you meet is an “expert”. It’s all too easy to follow the wrong advice. I know I did! Give yourself a huge pat on the back for finding this accurate resource.

The concepts for reducing play-biting, mounting, and mouthing are pretty much the same as the concepts for reducing most unwanted behaviors. There are several actions to consider.

  • Meet your dog’s basic needs
  • Avoid play that involves tumbling, wrestling, hugging or interacting with your hands.
  • Teach your puppy which behaviors you do like.
  • Practice with your dog.
  • Interrupt misbehaviors by redirecting your pup to perform wanted behaviors.
  • Pay your puppy for complying.

Change Your Behavior

Few (including myself) can resist the soft cuddly fur of a puppy. I firmly believe that puppy tumble therapy is a marketable service. The buyer enters a room with several 7-10 week old puppies, gets on the floor and just soaks up puppy-glee by touching, tumbling and interacting with the puppies. I can’t imagine how such interactions would not be helpful for stress relief. I’d pay for the opportunity. Wouldn’t you?

Most people’s ideas of playing with puppies involve tumbling and rough handling.

Aren’t handling, pushing, wrestling, poking, teasing, tumbling, hugging, holding, cuddling, rolling, and chasing all good clean fun methods to interact with puppies? Fun? . . . yes; helpful for teaching a puppy? . . . no.

Expect to be bitten if you get on the floor and play wrestle, hug, manipulate, or otherwise use your hands to roughly interact with your puppy.

All these behaviors give puppies the impressions that we are just like their canine playmates. Puppies play rough with other puppies. At some point, puppy handling morphs into miscommunications which morph into playful puppy attacks! Ouch, those needle teeth are sharp!

It would be difficult for me to estimate how often I’ve heard this phrase.

“My child used to love the puppy but now she’s afraid of him. He randomly jumps up on her, steals her toys, mouths her arms, and nips at her heels and clothing. Sometimes he even knocks her down”.

When you think about it, these behaviors are in the same class of behaviors dogs exhibit while playing with other dogs.

The first step to resolve these issues is prevention. Attach a leash or long line so that your pup cannot mug your child.

Children and untrained dogs do not make choices which promote safe play. It’s best to supervise all interactions between children and animals.

Set aside time each day to introduce your child and your pup to safe games like fetch or hide-n-seek.

Sit-for-treat, roll over, and adult-accompanied, leashed walks are examples of other safe activities children can play with pups.

Nothing increases behaviors better than rewards! Establish reward systems for your child and your pup. Pay your child and your pup for playing nicely.

Other Preventative Measures

Ok, I’ll ease up on the lecture. Regardless of your perfect behaviors, your pup will play bite. That’s what they do. Here are some tips to help you survive this period.

Group A: 8-16 Week Old Puppies

  • Tie a stuffed toy on a 10-12 foot line. (I use ¼ inch diameter nylon line I purchased at the hardware store.) Drag the toy when you walk. Praise the pup for attacking the toy instead of your ankles and feet!

  • Sometimes you just want to handle your pup. Before you start grooming or handling, get a decoy. I use a Kong® toy stuffed with a bit of peanut butter. Hold the Kong® and let your pup get engrossed in the treat while you perform grooming or necessary inspections. Free Range Bullie sticks are also great decoys.

  • Pay your pup for chewing the correct items. Deliver a treat and praise when he is engaged in wanted behaviors. Remember, when you increase appropriate behaviors, the inappropriate behaviors decrease in frequency!

  • Use decoys when your child wants to stroke your pup. Choose periods when your pup is less active for stroking.

  • Avoid sudden hand movements, especially movements near your pup’s face and head.

  • Avoid pats on top of the head. Stroke your pup under his neck and south of the collar instead.

  • Use long gentle strokes instead of short, harsh pats.

  • Harvest some of that puppy-fur therapy when your pup is asleep!

Interrupt — Redirect — Pay

The Play-biting period is an educational journey for our pups. This is when they learn about bite inhibition and jaw pressure.

Pups that learn about jaw pressure and bite inhibition are less likely to deliver deep puncture wounds as adults.

Puppies learn about bite inhibition as they play with other puppies.

Here’s how a puppy learns from his littermates. When one pup bites another too hard, the recipient will yelp and withdraw.

This provides the play biter with valuable information about jaw pressure and contributes to the development of excellent bite inhibition.

This education from siblings and parents takes place early in a pup’s life.

Pups that are removed from their littermates before 8-9 weeks (or pups that are an only child) are at a greater risk for exhibiting more extreme versions of play biting.

Teaching puppies about jaw pressure reduces the probability of them delivering dangerous bites as adolescents and adults.

Ouch – Withdraw Method

Adults can continue the education process by following the following sequence. (This is not for children nor is it how to address play biting by Group B pups, which have already perfected their naughty behaviors!)

At this point we have two goals. Our short term goal is to teach the pup about jaw pressure. Our long term goal is to teach the pup that teeth-on-skin is unacceptable.

  • When your young puppy play-bites, allow it. The instant you feel those needle teeth sting, speak a high-pitched “ouch” and immediately withdraw. Walk away and ignore your pup.

  • If your pup becomes more excited after the “ouch”, follows you or bites your ankles, try this. Attach a leash and tether the pup to a piece of furniture. Now he can’t follow.

  • Ignore your pup for several seconds while you review your behavior. Are you sending the wrong signals? Are you somehow enticing the pup to bite?

  • Reengage by redirecting your pup to interact with a decoy.

  • Praise your pup for chewing the item.

  • Repeat the sequence several times in succession. Pups learn by repetition. It may take a week or more of using this sequence before your pup catches on.

In some cases, the “ouch” and withdrawal method is a slow process. Here are factors to consider.

  • If a confident puppy has practiced and has refined play-biting as a normal method to interact with people, it will take more repetitions before the puppy will understand. Keep at it and you will succeed.

  • If the pup is not offended by your departure, then withdrawing will not be effective.

  • If family members are inconsistent, then the puppy will continue to play bite.

  • If the puppy is older than 12-14 weeks, the ouch method will probably be ineffective.

  • Failure could be a sign that the pup’s physical and mental exercise needs are not being met.

Sometimes it’s difficult to interrupt and redirect. The puppy seems to be out of control and will not listen.

This pup either needs more exercise or a nap. If excessive activities such as play-biting occur late in the evening, the pup may be ready for bed. If it occurs after the pup is well rested, then perhaps it’s time for some exercise!

In some cases, (especially in families with unwilling ‘ouch-withdraw” participants), I find it necessary to focus solely on teaching the pup to interact with appropriate items.

To encourage a pup, hold a decoy for your pup to investigate. When your pup touches it with his teeth or tongue, say “yes” to mark that instant of success.

Immediately deliver praise and/or a treat. After the pup catches onto the game, methodically extend the amount of time the pup must interact with the item before you mark success and deliver praise.

Group B: Puppies 6 Months and Older

Group B dogs are usually much larger (than Group A pups) and some of their newness has worn off.

Group B dogs have perfected play biting as a method to communicate with humans.

Because the dogs are older and families have yet to teach the dogs about play-biting, it is very likely that the family has unknowingly increased other obnoxious behaviors such as jumping up, nipping at clothes, attention-barking, object stealing, et cetera.

Group B dogs are at risk for being mistreated. Group B dogs are a bit closer to being sequestered into isolation or re-homed.

All of the preventative methods are effective with Group B dogs. In addition, you will need some management tools to control these larger dogs.

  • Start a training program.  Use kind methods to teach the dog basic obedience commands.

  • If your Group B dog jumps up and play bites, attach a leash. Step on the leash to prevent the dog from succeeding. Use a buckle collar for this exercise.

  • Correct and careful use of a head collar provides some families relief from the obnoxious behaviors of some Group B dogs.  Check with your veterinarian or trainer for information about head collars.

What Not to Do

If you’re reading this I’m guessing you’ve tried all the popular methods to stop play-biting.

Some suggest that you squirt a play biting pup with a water bottle, bop the dog on the nose, hold the muzzle shut, grab the puppy by the scruff, shout “No Bite” or even roll the pup over and hold him down. These are questionable solutions.

Some pups will learn by these corrections and others become anxious, confused, fearful, or more playful.

The water bottle is the only suggestion I might share – in rare situations.

Ask any person whose adult dog is grumpy during mouth and muzzle inspections. “Say, did you hold your dog’s muzzle shut when he was a pup?”

These uncooperative patients learned long ago that hands approaching face equals discomfort.

If you are using corrections to teach your pup about play-biting, and it is still a problem, it’s time to change course!  What you are doing is not working.

Another problem with suggesting these methods is that people naturally become focused on stopping unwanted behaviors instead of starting wanted behaviors. This places them on a path of miscommunication with their pups. How will most people respond when the corrections are ineffective … when the squirt bottle doesn’t work?  . . .

People naturally respond with more force and harsher punishers.

Some pups will stop play biting when harsher punishers are used. Of course these pups may stop coming when called, and start urinating in fear, but hey, they’re not play biting!

In addition, forceful techniques send messages to our children about resolving problems with force, when kinder, more efficient methods are available. Try the kind methods. You’ll be surprised how well they work!

Some people, (far be it from me to single out a specific gender or age group) believe that rough play teaches pups to be good protectors.

I have some experience teaching protection dogs. I have full exposure to the techniques and exercises. None of the professional, protection dog trainers I have worked with use rough play as a method to teach a dog to protect.

If any of the members in your pup’s circle of humans, insist on playing rough, expect your puppy’s play biting to continue or increase.

Play wrestling teaches puppies that rough play is ok.

In addition, games which include jumping up not only increase inappropriate jumping up, but can compromise a growing pup’s bone development.

People rarely eliminate play biting in a few days, because play biting is a normal stage for puppies. If you follow these suggestions, you can minimize play-biting during this period and prevent it from becoming a true problem in an older dog.

If your pup’s play biting is increasing in frequency or magnitude, contact your veterinarian for the name of a trainer or visit http://apdt.com and search for a trainer near you.


Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

Dog behavior counselor and trainer, Memphis, TN


National Dog Bite Prevention Week

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May 17 -23 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

According to the AVMA, 4.7 million Americans will be bitten by a dog this year. 500,000 to 800,000 of those people will require medical attention. About 12 people a year die from dog bites.

At the top of the victim list is children, followed by U.S. postal workers.

More dog bites occur to children in the summer months, presumably because children spend more time with their puppies and dogs in the summer.

There are several things we can do to prevent dog bites to children.

Tips for Children:

  • never approach strange dogs
  • always ask permission before petting a neighbor’s dog
  • do not disturb dogs that are caring for puppies, sleeping, resting, or eating
  • never reach for a dog that is under a bed or piece of furniture
  • avoid running and screaming near dogs
  • all food that falls on the floor belongs to the dog
  • avoid wrestling with a dog or puppy
  • look for warning signs such as lip curling and growling

Adults:

  • never leave a child and dog together, unattended
  • socialize the dog
  • keep the dog current with vaccinations and medical treatment
  • obedience train the dog
  • closely supervise all interactions between children and dogs
Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer, Canine Speciaization
Private and Group Dog and Puppy Training in Memphis, TN

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

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