Tough Boy Trick- Capture your Dog’s Cute Behaviors – Place on Cue

21dogandImagine a photographer with a camera focused on a bird’s nest – just waiting for the baby birds to pop their heads up. The instant the birds show their heads, the photographer captures the image by releasing the shutter.

Imagine a dog owner (me) walking his turbo Australian terrier (Bentley).

Imagine Bentley scratching the ground with his feet (like a bull), immediately after he urinates.

Imagine me marking that behavior and then giving Bentley some version of  F.A.T. (Marking is when you click a clicker, say a crisp X, or use whatever signal you use as a marker. F.A.T. is a reward system, consisting of food, attention, and touch.)

I thought Bentley’s natural behavior of  “scratching out” was cute, so I decided to teach him to do it on command. All I did was mark the instant he did it and then give him a reward. At this point I am not saying anything to Bentley. I am patiently waiting, then marking.

I am like the photographer in that I patiently wait for something in particular to occur, then I act.

During one walk with 3 or 4 instances of Bentley scratching out and me marking the behavior, Bentley caught on. To test his understanding, I waited for him to scratch out, and I did NOT mark the behavior. He looked up at me as if to say, “hey stoooopid, I  scratched out – where’s the mark?”  Now I was ready to add the command or cue. On our next pee stop I slipped the words. “Tough boy” immediately before he scratched out. I marked the behavior and a new trick was born.

Now I can ask Bentley, Are you a tough boy?” and he will scratch out like a bull!

You can capture any behavior your dog naturally performs. This means you can teach sit and down via the capture method. It’s too easy but it works very well!!

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – Canine Relationship Solutions – Memphis – Collierville – Germantown – Dog Training – Cat Training – Bird Training – Horse Training

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How’s Bentley – Dog and Puppy Shake – Fun Facts and Trainer Truths – iPhone, iPad, iTouch app.

Teach your Dog Inside Voice – Capture Dog’s Natural Behavior and Place it on Cue

Big_MacOne of the neat things about using an instant reward marker is how you can capture a natural behavior and then teach your dog to do it on cue.
Here’s a recent email exchange with my client, Elizabeth, who has a 4-5 month old large mix breed dog, Big Mac.

BETH’S EMAIL:
Well, I taught him….Inside voice….and he acts like he is going to bark but doesn’t make a sound……Now he just sits and looks at me and gives me inside voice!!!!  This is fun……Thanks!

OK….I have created a monster!!!!!  This new trick he learned for inside voice…..HE WON’T STOP!!!!  He just sits there an looks at me and keeps doing it…..I keep praising him and I sometimes give him a treat….but ok…what do you do when he has it down right?????

MY REPLY:
Hi Beth,

I’m glad to hear you are teaching Mac new stuff!!!!

Please tell me, in detail:

How did you teach him? Did you mark the behavior with your instant reward marker when he used the inside voice (IV)?
Did you tell him anything about outside voice?
Did you say anything?

Now- do you ask Mac for inside voice? If so, how?

Your next step is to place the behavior “on cue”, which means he only does it when you ask.

Answer my questions and I’ll tell you how.

BETH REPLY:
How did you teach him? Did you use the “X” when he used the inside voice (IV)? Yes….I caught him doing it once and said X and gave him a treat.  Did that a couple of times  I caught him again said X and inside voice and again gave him a treat….  Then I just said inside voice and he started doing it….Now I don’t say anything and he keeps looking at me doing it….This is where I don’t know what to do…..I don’t want to discourage him

Did you tell him anything about outside voice? No I have not said anything about outside voice

Did you say anything? Yes inside voice

Now- do you ask Mac for inside voice? Yes If so, how? Now I put my index finger to my lips like SHHHH quiet and I say Inside voice……He’s got it down tooooo well.

Your next step is to place the behavior “on cue”, which means he only does it when you ask. Ok….Now how do I do that because right now he is sitting here looking at me doing it over and over and over……I praise him but he’s not looking for praise he wants a goodie!

MY EMAIL:
Hi Beth!

You are almost there. I’m so proud of my new student!

Exactly what do you want Mac to do, and under what conditions do you want the behavior to occur?

Exactly what do you want Mac to “not do” and when?

BETH REPLY:
Exactly what do you want Mac to do, and under what conditions do you want the behavior to occur?  Kinda like your tough guy thing with Bentley….it’s just something cute!  Do it on command……Mac….Show your inside voice!

Exactly what do you want Mac to “not do” and when?  I don’t want him just sitting at my feet doing it over and over again……I feel if I don’t acknowledge when he does he will get discouraged.

My EMAIL
Here’s what you do:
Step 1: Reinforce the behavior you want.
Step 2: Punish the behavior you don’t want.

Don’t add touch or his name or talk to him during this exercise.  Follow these instructions as written! 🙂

Step One:
Cue the behavior (shhh signal), X the behavior, give tasty food treat. Don’t talk or pet him. Repeat the same sequence 3 more times for a total of 4 cycles.

Step 2: Say nothing- no cue – no talk – no touch. Wait until he vocalizes. (DATA A:note how long it takes for him to vocalize). Immediately look away, turn your back on him for about 10 seconds. Do not speak or make eye contact during this time out.

Turn back towards him, say “Hi Mac”-
Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until DATA A equals 10-15 seconds.
When you do Step 2, he will probably bark louder and be more demanding. Perfect. That means he’s about to give up!
When he quiet for 10-15 seconds in Step 2, praise him! Add touch!!!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

Private and Group Dog Training – Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

Stop your dog from pulling you on walks!

Canny Collar USA Dealer

Challenges of Raising Puppy Litter Mates

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges with this oneness arise as they get older.

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

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

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

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

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

Help your Litter Mates Become Independent

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

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley Memphis Dog Trainer

Group and in-home, private dog training sessions

New Year Resolution for Your Dog

HNewYearTake 2, 20 Minute Walks each day.

In addition to the obvious exercise benefits for you and your dog, walks build relationships.

Many people avoid walks because their dogs pull. Teaching a dog to walk nicely is easy – if you have the right tools!

Alan J Turner – Private Dog Trainer – Memphis – Collierville-Germantown, Bartlett, Tn,  Olive Branch MS
Group Dog Obedience Mini Courses – Memphis – Collierville

Should I Get Another Dog / Puppy?

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

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

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

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

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

Things to consider:

Can I afford the expense of another dog?

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

Will Walter  get along with my current dog?

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

How will I find the time to train 3 dogs?

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

Will I become a 3rd wheel?

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

What if both dogs chew up my stuff?

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

Alan J Turner – Howsbentley

Dog Trainer – Memphis TN


iPhone 3G Jailbreak Video ** Bentley – Australian Terrier Battles the Wasp! Ouch

Australian TerrierClick the video link below to see Bentley, my 10 year old Australian terrier, battle the wasp in the bush.  He doesn’t seem to be too disturbed by the wasp sting. I used my jailbroken iPhone 3G to make the video.

How’s Bentley – Alan J Turner – Memphis TN Dog Trainer

Animal News Network
New iPhone app -Dog and Puppy Shake – Fun Facts and Trainer Truths
21st Century Dogs – Dog and Puppy Club

Meet Your Dog’s Physical Needs for Balance – Commercial, BARF, Frozen & Organic Diet, Food Choices

ReddogPhysical needs are related to the physical well-being of the dog. Routine vaccinations are one example of physical health requirements.

Grooming and bathing, quality food and clean water are other obvious needs. Shelter from environmental extremes and refuge from everyday household commotion are important for the physical health of your puppy.

The ability to move about, sufficient bathroom access, and daily exercise are components of physical needs.

Health Care

Routine Home, Health Inspections

Some health problems can be easily recognized by routine home, health inspections.

Ear infections are common, especially in dogs with floppy ears. If your 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!

Skin irritations are another common problem. Visually inspect your dog’s skin for signs of redness. In addition, you can sniff your dog’s skin. Any changes in the odor of your dog’s skin could be signs of a problem.

The consistency of your pup’s stools is another indicator of overall health. Generally speaking, you should be able to pick up your dog’s stools with a napkin. If your puppy has loose or runny stools, contact your vet.

Veterinarian Wellness Checkups

Wellness checkups are much more than disease protection and a quick once-over. Extensive blood work and a thorough examination are helpful for identifying potential health problems before they affect the life of your animal. Blood chemistry results are compared and contrasted from year to year.

Comprehensive wellness exams provide veterinary professionals with a baseline for measuring the pet’s medical health.

Disease Prevention

Check with your veterinarian if you have any questions related to the prevention of global or regional health threats to your dog. I live in Memphis, TN. In the southeast, we have a saying.

There are two types of dogs, dogs that are always on heart worm and parasite prevention and dogs that are on the path to contracting parasites and heart worm disease.

Grooming

To all social mammals, grooming is a form of social interaction, a sort of bonding exercise.

Routine grooming has benefits beyond a neat coat. Brushing stimulates healthy skin. Grooming teaches your dog to accept handling, a most helpful coping skill.

Some puppies accept grooming and others view handling as an opportunity to bite. Please read subsequent chapters about socialization and play biting for tips on how to teach your pup to accept routine grooming.

Bathing

Bathing requirements vary greatly from breed to breed, as do ear and dental examinations. Check with your veterinarian and groomer about a schedule best suited to your dog.

Dental Care

Dental problems can develop into dangerous, life threatening conditions. Dogs with squashed faces (brachycephalic breeds) are at a higher risk for developing dental problems than breeds with a wolf-like muzzle.  This is because the same number of teeth is condensed into a smaller area.

Dirty teeth can affect the health of the heart. Talk to your vet about starting a dental care program suitable for your breed.

There are many consumable products advertised to improve your dog’s dental health and breath. Chewing bones and other, hard, abrasive chew items can help to reduce tarter.

I’m not sure if eating a mint flavored chew item actually improves long-term breath or not. I have fed Bentley some of these and never noticed a long term change in the odor of his dog breath. Try some and see for yourself.

Diet Choices

Pet food is a multi-billion dollar industry. Choosing a food can be very frustrating because you will hear different advice from everyone.

If your dog is healthy and happy on his or her current diet, then my advice is to stick with that diet.

If your dog has chronic medical or behavioral health issues, then perhaps a diet change is warranted.

One of the first questions I hear from clients is, “What do you feed Bentley?”.

I feed Bentley a prescription diet purchased from my veterinarian because of his heath condition, chronic pancreatitis. A portion of his meal is canned food placed in a bowl. The remaining portion of his meals is dry food, delivered as treats when training.

Even though the ingredients are not what I consider to be of the highest quality, the balance of nutrition, fat, and protein is well suited for his medical condition.

Dry versus Wet Food

From a nutritional point of view, it stands to reason that wet or canned foods may contain more nutrients than their dry counterparts. Quality of ingredients, storage, and processing affect the nutritional value of all foods.

Many people claim that dry dog foods are better for dogs because dry foods help maintain clean teeth.

I’ll accept that dogs who actually chew dry food may receive some teeth-cleaning benefits from dry foods. But, I’ve met many dogs who only ate dry food and their teeth were very dirty. Maybe this is because they didn’t really chew the food or maybe it’s an individual trait of that dog.

For whatever reasons, some dogs need annual teeth cleaning by a veterinarian and other do not. Ask your vet for a teeth cleaning schedule that’s best for your dog.

Diet and Behavior

I am not a nutritional expert. I have absorbed information from those who I consider to be well educated in the field. I do know there is a link between diet and behavior.

Diet affects physical health. Physical health affects behavioral health.

Studies with children indicate that children who eat a balanced diet have a learning advantage over those who consume a less balanced diet.

Any parent will tell you that their child’s behavior is influenced by the amount of junk food the child consumes.

I always address diet when discussing problem behaviors.

There have been small studies about diet content and abnormal behaviors in animals. These studies claim that protein and carbohydrate levels can affect behavioral health.

My success with diet changes and behavioral improvements is unclear. Since I always present a multi-point behavior modification program which includes diet change, it’s difficult to measure the effects of the diet change.

In 1% of my behavior cases, changing the diet did cause dramatic improvements. I know this because the clients admittedly did nothing but change the dogs’ diets.

More apparent is the relationship between defecation and diet. Dogs who eat foods with more “junk” produce more, larger stools. Sometimes this can be a factor to consider while house training.

Commercial Foods

There are commercial foods marketed for toy dogs, working dogs, large breeds, puppies, adults, seniors, et cetera.

Some foods are advertised to be breed- specific, such as food especially for Yorkshire terriers.

I’m not sold on the necessity of selecting breed-specific foods, but I’m no expert. I avoid food marketed as suitable for all life stages.

Life-stage and weight control foods make sense to me.

Puppies require different levels of nutrients than seniors. Seniors need different levels of fiber, fat, protein, etc., than younger dogs. Overweight dogs should consume fewer calories.

Contact your veterinarian with any questions regarding the best food for your individual dog at his or her current life stage.

Rendered Foods

Dog foods contain ingredients that originate from the same sources as our people food. Lamb, rice, chicken and vegetables are common ingredients. The quality is usually of a lower grade than served to people.

Most commercial dry dog foods are rendered so that we can easily store and serve the product. Rendering is a type of heated reduction or extraction process in which fat soluble and water soluble products are separated from solid products.

Homemade Diets

There are some who profess that a B.A.R.F. diet is the best for our canine companions. Bones And Raw Food make up the B.A.R.F. diet. I haven’t been exposed to studies about the effectiveness of the diet, but I believe  the B.A.R.F. diet has merits.

Many people prefer to make their dogs’ food. There’s no question that fresh foods are more nutritious than processed foods.   I have no doubt that some people research and learn how to meet the nutritional requirements of their pets. Their dogs may indeed live longer, healthier lives than dogs on commercial diets of lesser quality.

Some of my concerns with homemade diets are related to balance and life stages.

Unless the people follow a well researched recipe, the animal may not receive necessary nutrients in the ideal quantities. In addition, life stage nutritional requirements may be overlooked in home made diets.

Another concern when discussing home made diets, especially the B.A.R.F. diet, is a group of bacteria known as salmonella.

Improper handling of raw foods places humans and pets at risk for illness.

Common symptoms of salmonella infection are diarrhea, fever, or abdominal cramps.

Frozen & Organic Diets

There are alternatives for those who do not want to prepare home made foods nor feed a traditional dog food. Frozen and freeze dried raw diets as well as organic dog foods are other choices.

I question some claims posted by some niche-food manufacturers.

I wonder how a very small company can purchase organic ingredients, process, package, (sometimes freeze), and ship the finished product for a fraction of the cost I would incur by only purchasing the same ingredients.

Add in the cost of business and payroll taxes, insurance, various other business expenses plus a small profit and the math simply does not support their claims.

These and other non-traditional dog food selections might be good choices for those who want to purchase a higher quality diet, assuming the maker follows sanitary guidelines, has a nutritionist on staff,  and uses the stated ingredients in quantity.

Table Scraps

Some people feed their dogs table scraps. Others pride themselves on never feeding people food. Some randomly toss food to their dogs when eating at the table.

Feeding dogs from the table can create a begging, obnoxious dog or can create a wonderfully polite dog!  It depends on the timing of the delivery. If you toss a bite immediately after your dog whines or barks, then obnoxious behaviors will increase. If you toss a piece when your dog is waiting quietly, then polite behaviors will increase.

Feeding table scraps might temporarily upset your dog’s digestive system.

In some instances, ingesting large quantities of high fat table scraps can permanently affect a dog’s digestive system.

I never feed Bentley substantial quantities of table scraps, but he does get people food.

Feeding table scraps will aggravate Bentley’s chronic pancreatitis.

I often let Bentley lick my empty plate. If he waits quietly and patiently, I rinse the plate and place it on the floor. Bentley doesn’t really get any food or food juices from the rinsed plate.

People Food Treats

Some people food can be used as training treats.

I often use carefully selected people food for training treats.

Many of my clients use boiled chicken, turkey, other low-fat meats, organic cereals, and bits of fruits and vegetables. All these are great training treats. Unsalted, plain popcorn is another favorite.

I do not feed high fat, high salt treats like corn and potato chips as well as any candy, cakes, ice cream or sweets.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

Canine Behavior Counselor – Memphis TN

Aggression, Fear, Puppy Manners, Obedience – Private and Group Animal Training and Behavior Services

Teach Your Dog to Ring a Bell – for Potty Signal

RingBellMost people state they want their dogs to bark to signal the nedd to go outside to potty. I suggest teaching the dog to ring a bell instead of teaching the dog to bark. The dog will inevitably signal when she doesn’t need to use the bathroom but she does want you to interact. If you teach her to bark at you, she will learn to bark at you for attention.

If you teach her to ring a bell, you can always take the bell off the doorknob. In addition, you can take the bell to a hotel room, a friend’s house, the basement, or anywhere you want.

I suggest placing a bell on a string and hanging the string on the doorknob, but you can always hang the bell on your easy chair, kitchen island, bed post, or anywhere you like. Hobby and craft supply stores carry the ball-like bells in several sizes. String two or three on a leather string for a full sound!

Some people use a wireless doorbell and teach the dog to push the button with her paw or nose. This allows them to place the ringer near to them, when the door and the dog may be rooms away. This requires a bit more training to teach the dog to bump the button hard enough to ring the wireless bell.

Method two is best if you want to use a wireless doorbell.

It doesn’t matter where you place the bell or if you use a wireless doorbell. The concepts for teaching are the same. Just adapt these instructions for your situation. There are several ways to teach your dog to bump a bell to signal a desire to go out. I’ll list two of them here.

Method One is simple to follow but may take some dogs longer to learn.

Method Two takes more time and thought and effort, but works with all dogs and is best if you want to use a wireless doorbell. You decide which Method is best for you!

Method One

Hang a bell on the door that Caroline exits to go potty. Leave the bell on the door from this point forward. Before you ever touch the doorknob, reach down and bump the bell with your hand.

Always bump the bell with your hand, and then open the door. Do this for several days.

If she sniffs or noses the bell, make a fuss as you praise her and then open the door. If you want, you can speed up the process by placing a teeny tiny bit of peanut butter on the bell. When she sniffs or licks it, praise her, open the door and walk her to the elimination area. Give the command to potty. After she eliminates, give her a treat, play with her, toss a ball, take a walk, et cetera.

Once she learns that interacting with the

bell makes you open the door, you can teach her to bump it with her nose. Just ignore her when she sniffs or licks and she will “sniff harder”. Wait until she bumps the bell just a bit harder.

There are many variations for Method One.

Some people gently take the dog’s paw and strike the bell before they go out.

If your dog knows how to shake, you can cup the bell in your hand to get your dog accustomed to pawing the bell. Experiment with variations and see which works best for your pup!

Method Two

This is the method you can use to teach your dog to bump a doorbell button or a bell hanging from the door. Just adapt the instructions to your situation.

Some dogs and some trainers might skip a step or perform additional steps. Use this outline as a guide to develop your own program.

After step 1, perform each step in very short sessions over the next few days.

Do not move on to the next step until you are sure that Caroline knows the current step.

If Caroline seems confused, go back to the last step that she understands and work from that point forward.

Teach Caroline:

1. a signal that will communicate success and motivate her

2. to bump the bell

3. to bump the bell when it is

hanging on the door

4. to bump the bell and then step

outside

5. to bump the bell, step outside

and walk to the elimination area

6. to bump the bell, step outside,

walk to the elimination area and

eliminate

Before you can teach any animal, you must be able to communicate what you want and you must be able to motivate the animal to want the same thing.

At the very least, you should be able to tell the animal the instant he or she has succeeded. Some people use a clicker to communicate the instant of success, but you don’t need a clicker to communicate.

You can pair any unique word or sound with treats and create your own unique signal. It is best if the word is not a common word; it should stand out as a unique signal. Initially, you’ll pair the signal or marker with food treats so the dog will be motivated to perform behaviors that cause you to deliver the signal. I use the word “kick” for the signal.

Step 1

Teach Caroline a signal that will communicate success and motivate her.

Say “kick”, and say it quick, like a sound instead of the actual word. Immediately toss Caroline a soft and tasty, bite-sized treat. Repeat ‘kick and treat’, 3-8 times. By now the sound should be conditioned and you should have her attention.

To test the signal, wait until Caroline is not looking at you but is close by. Say “kick” one time. She should turn her head towards you really fast. If not, just stop the exercise and start from the beginning at another time.

Say nothing else during this exercise.

The “kick sound” must precede the treat, so be sure and wait a second before you toss the treat. Once you have conditioned “kick”, you have a great tool to tell Caroline the instant she creates wanted behaviors.

You’ll mark the instant of success with the word “kick” and follow the ‘kick’ with good stuff, like a treat, toss of a ball, verbal praise or a quick pat.

Once kick is conditioned, you don’t need to repeat this step and you don’t need to deliver the treat immediately after the kick (marker). You can deliver the treat or good stuff several seconds after the marker.

Step 2

Teach Caroline to touch a bell hanging on a string in your hand.

Hold the string so the bell is at Caroline’s nose height, an inch away from her nose. Say nothing. Wait until Caroline sniffs the bell with her nose.

The instant her nose touches the bell, say kick and then immediately deliver a food

treat.

Perform this step several times, but hold the bell just a bit farther and farther away from her nose each time. Say kick the instant she touches it and then give her a food treat. Practice 5-8 times and then place the bell in a drawer or out of sight.

Hold a few sessions just like the first one until Caroline becomes excited when she sees you get the bell out of the drawer. Go to step 3 after Caroline will readily bump the bell whenever she has the opportunity.

Step 3

Teach Caroline to touch the bell when it’s hanging on the doorknob.

Hang the string on the doorknob so that the bell is at Caroline’s nose height. Sit or stand next to the bell. When she touches the bell on a string attached to your doorknob, say kick and then immediately deliver a tasty treat. Repeat 5-8 times per session. After each session, place the bell in a drawer or out of sight.

Step 4

Teach Caroline that the treat after the “kick” is delivered right outside the door.

When she touches the bell on a string attached to your doorknob, say kick, open the door; walk outside and then deliver the treat right outside the door. Repeat 5-8 times per session.

After each session, place the bell in a drawer or out of sight.

Step 5

Teach Caroline that the treat after the “kick” is delivered after she walks to the elimination area.

Same as step 4 but walk to the elimination area (she will probably follow you) and deliver the treat there. Repeat 5-8 times per session. After each session, place the bell in a drawer or out of sight.

Step 6

Teach Caroline that the treat after the “kick” is delivered outside at the elimination area after she eliminates.

Introduce this step when you know she needs to eliminate, such as her first outing in the morning.

Same as Step 6 but once you arrive at the elimination area, give her your command for potty and then give her a treat after she eliminates. Practice this step the next few mornings – and any other times throughout the day that you know Caroline needs to eliminate.

After a few days of practicing step 6, you can drop the word “kick” and the food treat from the sequence. Instead of a food treat, praise her, play fetch, or take her on a walk. Now, you can leave the bell on the doorknob.

When she rings the bell, say something like, “Ok, you need to potty?” and walk her outside to the elimination area. Give her the cue to eliminate.

After she eliminates, deliver something good. Toss a ball or take her for a walk in the neighborhood.

At his point, it’s important to always open the door and go out to the elimination area every time she bumps the bell. If she eliminates, then give her a treat. If she doesn’t eliminate after you’ve given the command, just go back inside. You can leave her out of not, depending on how you feel about your dog being in the yard alone.

After a few days, you can stop walking

all the way to the elimination area and

stop giving her the command to eliminate.

Just open the door and walk halfway to the area. If she eliminates, perfect, give her a reward!

Over the next few days, reduce the amount of steps you take towards the elimination area.

In about a week, you should be able to wait at the door while Caroline goes out to eliminate.

It’s okay to give her a treat after she returns, for now she knows the treat is for eliminating, not for returning.

Some dogs learn to ring the bell to get you to interact, but they don’t need to eliminate. Keep a log of feeding and elimination. This will help you recognize the times she needs to go outside. If Caroline bumps the bell when she does not have to eliminate, she is telling you that she wants more mental and physical stimulation. Consider taking her for a walk or holding a short training session to stimulate her!

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Happy Training!

Alan J Turner

Companion Animal Behavior Counselor – Canine Specialization

How’s Bentley Memphis TN

Private and Group Puppy Obedience Courses


Puppy or Dog Obedience Training First Steps – Condition a Marker, Capture Sit, Teach “Look”

EllieBWBall

Want to start an obedience program for your puppy or dog? You can start as soon as you bring your dog into your family. The first two commands all dogs should learn are “Look”, and “Sit”. Before you begin teaching, it’s helpful to learn a bit about rewards and reward systems. Please visit the START HERE category of posts before you begin.

Conditioning a Reward Marker

The method to establish a conditioned reward marker is to use classical or pavlovian conditioning to pair (or associate) a marker with the primary reinforcer of food.

Regardless of the marker you choose, the steps for conditioning the marker are identical. You only need to condition the marker this one time. Your animal is not asked to perform a behavior during the conditioning process.

Do this when the animal is attending to you and not distracted. Do not speak or touch the animal before, or after, you deliver the marker and the treat.

Remember, a marker can be any signal the animal can perceive. My favorite audible, conditioned reward markers are: the sound of a clicker; the word “good”, and  the letter “X”.

Here’s how to condition a reward marker.

You are not asking the animal to perform any behavior during this process.

In this example, I’ll use an audible marker, the letter X, spoken abruptly, like a sound.

Speak a crisp “X”; give a food treat. Wait until the animal has finished eating the treat. Say “X”; give the animal a food treat. Repeat 3-5 times. Next, capture sit for folded arms by following the instructions below this sentence.

Capture Sit

The first signal (cue for sit) you teach will be visual. The act of folding your arms across your chest will become your first cue for “sit”.  You can teach your puppy the word “sit” after he learns the folded arms cue.

I prefer starting with this visual signal for several reasons. The primary reason is because folded arms and hidden hands discourage jumping.

Dogs jump up because we touch them with our hands. Dangling and moving hands entice dogs to jump.

Folding your hands out of sight sends a signal to your puppy that you are not likely to touch.

In addition it makes it very difficult for clients to repeat the signal over and over, as they do when using a verbal command.

Another reason I use the “folded arms” visual command is because it helps clients control their behaviors. Most people automatically reach and touch a cute, jumping puppy, without thinking.

It seems we humans have an automatic urge to pet or touch puppies that jump up to greet us. This teaches puppies to jump up for greetings.

The folded arms cue is easy for anyone to perform and appears relatively the same to the dog, no matter who is giving the command. This is helpful when you start asking friends and neighbors to ask your dog to sit.

Ask 3 people to say “sit” to your dog. You will witness 3 very different techniques. Some will bark the command as if this will make it happen quicker; others will add meaningless words to the command, and some may tilt their heads forward or swing their arms.

All these additional actions may confuse the dog, because the dog is very likely to process voice tone, motions and body language as the cue.

The delivery of a visual, folded-arms cue is less likely to be clouded by voice tones and body language, since the voice is absent and the body language is the cue!

Here’s how I usually teach a dog to sit on cue via the capture method.

Do not say “sit” or speak any other words during this teaching session. The only sound you will make is the sound of your conditioned marker, the instant your dog’s bottom touches the floor.

Go to a quiet location where your dog will not be distracted.

Attach a leash and instead of holding the end, just drop it on the floor.

If the dog jumps or decides to walk away, you can step on the leash to prevent either of these behaviors.

Stand a couple of feet away from your dog.

Do not speak to your dog, just give your dog a small food treat. Do this three times. Now you have your dog’s attention!

Fold your arms across your chest and tuck your hands underneath your armpits.

Do not speak, just smile at your dog and wait until he sits.

Mark the instant his rump hits the floor by delivering your reward marker. Give him a treat by tossing in on the floor so that he must get out of the sit position to get the treat. Do not praise or talk to your dog.

As soon as your dog finishes the treat and looks at you, fold your arms across your chest, remain silent and wait. He will sit. Mark the instant his rump hits the floor. Give him a treat.

Repeat 3-5 times.

At the end of this quick session, you can talk and play with your dog. Now you can use the act of folding your arms across your chest as a silent signal for Sit!

To teach your dog the word “sit” means the same as the folded arms, visit this page.

Troubleshooting Sit for Folded Arms

Attention-on-Cue, While Standing

The goal is teach the dog to look towards you on command. Attention on Cue is helpful when you are not interacting with the dog but do wish to start interacting. It is helpful if the dog gets distracted and you want his attention.

Teach your dog to attend to you when you say “now”, “chickie”, “hey”, “look”, “hup”, “turn”, or whatever short word you choose.

I do not use the dog’s name for the attention-on-cue signal.

The signal (command or cue) for attention should be unique! The dog hears his or her name countless times and it doesn’t necessarily mean “Look towards me, I will pay you”.

In order to increase behaviors using rewards, first you must get the behavior.

The recipe is for teaching is:

  • set up the environment to get the behavior
  • mark and reinforce the behavior
  • practice in many areas while adding distractions

For this exercise, we’ll use nothing but the signal and food to initially get the behavior to occur.

Then we’ll use the marker to bring attention to (and reinforce) the behavior of looking towards us when we give the cue.

We’ll follow the marker with food treats the first few trials.

Once the dog learns what is expected of him or her, we’ll mark the instant of success and deliver FAT as a reward for looking when we give the signal.

Get the Behavior

Your dog can be on a leash or not. I like to do it off lead in a secure, small area, but if that’s not available to you, attach a 6 foot leash.

It’s okay if other people are nearby, but you don’t need distractions for this step.  If other people are present, just ask them to stand quietly.

With your dog nearby, speak your “attention signal” and immediately toss or hand your dog a treat (unless he or she is jumping up on you or performing some other rude or obnoxious behaviors). Say the signal, deliver a treat. No markers are used in this step. Repeat 2 times for a total of 3 trials. By now your dog should be focused on you. If not, discontinue the session and move to a quieter area, or choose a higher value food treat and try again.

Mark and Reinforce the Behavior

You might need a very small distraction for this step. Ask a family member to stand nearby, within sight of your dog. Instruct them to tap with their shoe, make a small noise, or whatever it takes, to momentarily attract the dog’s attention towards them.

Wait until your dog is close by, but not looking directly at you. Speak the cue and watch closely. Mark the instant he or she begins to turn his or her head towards you. Toss your dog a treat. Do this 2 more times for a total of 3 trials.

Behavior will be Repeated

Practice “attention-on-cue” at odd times throughout the day, inside the house, in any room that is relatively quiet.

Ask for the behavior 3-5 times during short time periods at different times of day, in different rooms.

Once your dog is obeying this command in rooms without distractions, add distractions by asking a family member to make some sort of noise or slight motion.

Once your dog is obeying, while inside the house with distractions, it’s time to practice outside. Choose quieter areas at first. Attach a leash and go to your patio, yard or any other familiar area.  After you can succeed in these areas, go to other places with more distractions.

Randomly ask for the behavior at odd times when you are not conducting a “training session”. Your goal is to practice this behavior in so many different areas, with so many different creative distractions, that your dog will always look when you give the command!

Happy Training!
Alan J Turner – Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer
Memphis, Collierville, Germantown Private and Group Dog Training
Fear, Aggression,Anxiety, et cetera

Italian Model Eliska Kovarova Maltese Puppy Phishing?

IMG_0676I just received this phishing email. I replied because I wanted to see the “catch”.

Happy Training!

Hello Dear,

How are you today? Moneta Bianco,  i am 42 yrs old. I use to work in England as a pet sitter  7 yrs ago before i relocated with my family to Milano, Italy where i now work as a caregiver, I have lots of happy clients here in italy.

I have a client  Miss Eliska Kovarova a model here in italy. She will be coming to the U.S in 3 weeks time for a photo shoot  job and will be residing in  Tennessee  temporarily until the neccesary arrangement for her job has been made before she leaves,  She has one 11months old  teacup Maltese Puppy and would be needing a Dog trainner to train  the Puppy  while she is out on her photo shoot.

I have been looking for a dog trainner  for over two weeks now, till i met an old friend Ms. jennifer moore, She use to live in America before she relocated with her family to Milano where she works now. I met her at Cosmetic Surgery and Beauty Conference that was held over the weekend in Florence I spoke with her about my client and was referred to you. She gave me your referral, So i decided to contact you to know if you will be able to train her Puppy.

Miss Eliska  asked me to come with her to the US but i told her i would not be able to go with her to the US as i have a course i will be going for in a week time and i do not know much about  trainning a dog.  So i  promised to help her get a good dog trainner  in your Area.  Pls tell me a little more about your self,  how long have you been a dog trainner?  and would you be able to train her Puppy  from the 12th of next month to  the 20th of November,  1hr  individual training session twice a week for for 5 weeks?

Pls i need you to get back to me with the amount you charge per her and also let me know if she can pay you via US money orders?

Do send your reply to my personal email address ( monetcare@yahoo.it ) for a quick response as i do not check this email often.


Thank you very much and do have a nice day.


Moneta Bianco
21 Via  Merkato ,
1,20121
Milano Italy

—————-  CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE:  The information contained in this email is privileged and confidential, and is intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above.  If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution, electronic storage or use of this communication is prohibited.  If you receive this communication in error, please notify us immediately by email, attaching the original message, and delete the original message from your computer and any network to which your computer is connected —————————————————

Forget About Stopping Your Dog’s Naughty Jumping Behaviors with a Knee in the Chest

Yorkshire Terrier, Cody
Yorkshire Terrier, Cody

Many of my clients become engrossed, almost obsessed, with the notion of stopping their puppies or dogs from performing some obnoxious or naughty behaviors. They believe that teaching a dog what “NO” means, is the method to train.

That, my friend, is a long and rocky path, which can spiral into trouble and frustration.

You will succeed much quicker if you focus on:

  1. preventing the rude behaviors (be proactive)
  2. increasing the good behaviors (teach your dog what he or she should do in a particular situation)

For instance, suppose the puppy is jumping up on guests. Some of my clients address this common problem by grabbing their dogs’ collars and pulling them off the guests, while saying “NO”.  Other clients instruct their guests to knee the dogs in the chest. How primitive! 🙂

I’m not saying you shouldn’t interrupt jumping behaviors, you should. But every time you grab your dog’s collar, she just scored a goal, and you are not even aware that the game has begun!

Using your knee to punish jumping is equally inefficient, and not a good choice for many situations. How does that work with a 5 pound Yorkshire terrier? a 85 year old client? Even if you have the motor skills to pull it off, and your dog is the perfect size, it will only teach your dog that jumping on you is a bad idea. It will not necessarily stop your dog from jumping on every one else. And it gives your dog no useful information about what he or she should be doing at that exact moment.

You know that your dog will jump and nip. Instead of waiting for your dog to misbehave and then reacting, be proactive.

Attach a leash or tether and prevent your puppy from practicing rude behaviors. You are not going to yell and jerk the leash, just calmly hold the leash and prevent the behavior. Teach your dog Basic Obedience Commands, so she will know exactly what to do when people approach.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer

Private and Group Dog Obedience Training in Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN