Training Tips

Place training in public area with distractions.

Generalising behaviour is extremely important to help dogs understand that they must do the required behaviours regardless of where they are.

Dogs do not generalise behaviour very well, except for fear and aggression, so just because the dog can do a behaviour to perfection at home, does not mean he/she can do the same behaviour anywhere else.

Don't leave equipment on dogs 24/7.

Please do not leave any equipment on a dog 24/7 apart from the normal flat collar - and if you have a growing dog, remember to check that the flat collar is comfortably loose.

There's been some photos going around lately showing the horrible injury caused by a harness being left on a dog 24/7 for a long time.

These kinds of injuries can be inflicted on any dog by most kinds of equipment when left on a growing dog for a period of time.

Other hazards when leaving certain training collars on a dog 24/7 includes accidently hanging - which means the dog is choked to death, and this is not specific to check (choke) chains, but has also occurred with other types such as Martingale collars.

So please, use some common sense and do the right thing by your four legged mate.

June 3rd 2019

Muzzle Training

All dogs should be muzzle trained.

All dogs will bite given the "right" circumstance, which could be triggered by a medical condition, injury and so on, causing the animal to be in pain.

The softest, non-aggressive dog in the world may turn around and bite whoever tries to help the dog, even his/her own family members.

So to prevent any further injury to animal and humans, the dog might have to be muzzled before he/she is taken to the vet.

There are a number of good muzzles on the market, two of the best are the Baskerville and the JAFCO muzzle.

In this picture, Zelic is wearing a JAFCO Rottweiler muzzle.

Please note the dog MUST be muzzle trained first - that means we slowly condition the dog to the muzzle using lots of positive reinforcement.

The aim is to have the dog willingly put his/her nose inside the muzzle when asked to do so.

Also be aware putting a muzzle on a dog may increase his/her defense aggression.

Contact me if you need help with muzzle training - or dog training in general.

Place training and recalls.

Video to the right:

 Here's an example of what you could be aiming for as far as place training goes, that does not only involve staying in place, but also being able to send the dog back to place - from a distance - and let's not forget the recall. :) 

Using position box.

A position box like the one in the video to the right, makes it easy to train proper sit, drop/down and stand as it "locks" the dog into place.

This is how you build muscle memory to get those elegant, "sphinx" drop and stand.

Are you inadvertently blocking a command - or creating conflict in the dog's mind between two commandes? 

My boy "Zelic" in his, then, new office, ready to go tracking. :)

Tracking, or any scent related work really, is the best exercise you can give your dog. Yes, dogs definitely need physical exercise as well, but the mental exercise they get from using their impressive olfactory system is absolutely invaluable.

And, remember, it is a natural behaviour for the dog.

You can see more videos involving client's dogs showing how to teach different behaviours on my Facebook page.

Classical Conditioning

Do you understand what it is and how powerful it is?

Classical Conditioning involves conditioning the animal to a specific sound; e.g. a word, clicker, whistle etc. This signal becomes a "conditioned reinforcer"; the animal knows that when it hears that particular sound, something very good will follow.

We normally do the conditioning process using food as this is a primary reinforcer.

We know the dog has been conditioned to the sound when the dog turns and looks at the trainer as soon as it hears the sound. Now we can start utilising this in our training, such as marking correct behaviours.

A lot of handlers, and trainers, will not take this any further, you get the dog's attention, the dog understands the marker, so that's good enough. But, is it?

If we push it a bit further, the dog will not be able to resist, but he/she will come to you as the dog cannot help it. A physiological change has taken place within the dog, the animal will respond without given it a second thought.

We are manipulating the dopamine levels in the dog's brain, see the picture below, and the dog gets a maximum dopamine hit when he/she hears the sound - if we have done this correctly.

I have a couple of videos showing this in action on my YouTube channel as well as on my Facebook page.