Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Training and Your Lifestyle

By:  Robin Sockness
My Best Byddy
In order to get your puppy to respond here, there and everywhere, you need to train here, there and everywhere.  With total integration, your puppy should see no difference between playing and training. Fun times will have structure and training will be fun.

  • Train him in small sessions, perhaps fifty a day, for a few seconds each. The secret is to totally integrate training into your puppy’s lifestyle, and into your lifestyle.

·        Integrate short training interludes (quick sits and releases) into your puppy’s walks and off leash play. Each quick sit is immediately reinforced by allowing the dog to resume walking or playing—the very best rewards in domestic dogdom. 

·        Integrate short training interludes into every enjoyable doggy activity—riding in the car, watching you fix their dinner, lying on the couch, and playing doggy games. For example, have your dog sit before you throw a tennis ball and before you take it back. Progressively increase the length of sit stay with each repetition.

·        Insert short training sessions before all your puppy’s enjoyable activities. For example, ask the pup to lie down and rollover for a tummy rub, or to lie down and stay a while before invited for a struggle on the couch. Have it sit before you put it on leash, before you open the door, before you tell it to jump in the car, before you allow it to get out of the car, and before you let it off leash. And be sure to have it sit for its supper.

  • Watching television offers a wonderful training opportunity. Put your puppy’s bed plus a couple of stuffed Kongs in front of the television. During the program it is easy to keep an eye on your puppy as it settles down, and commercial breaks are an ideal time for short training interludes. Alternatively, have your puppy settle down while you’re on the computer and then periodically have a short training session of a few seconds with your puppy.

  • Every time you open the refrigerator, make a cup of coffee, read a page of the newspaper, or send an email call your puppy for puppy pushups/sit/stay, etc. This way you can train your puppy over 50 times a day without changing your normal lifestyle.

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Monday, November 19, 2018

Are you a Bully?

By:  Drayton Michaels, CTC
Urban Dawgs

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about people who have a “bully mindset” with dogs. Some people may not even know that they’ve been program to be a bully towards their dogs. This is due to the Milgrim Effect and people being intellectually lazy.

The definition of a bully for me is somebody who knowingly causes someone stress, fear or pain because they have in one way or another an upper hand and they can manipulate that person‘s behavior through fear and pain.

Dogs have the cognition of three-year-old kids by the time they’re 2 years of age, this cognition level remains roughly the same for the rest of their life.

Sure dogs can learn new things and some dogs are smarter than other dogs, but there is no dog on the planet that’s smarter than a two - maybe a four-year-old kid. Ever.

That simple fact should be enough for people to find the strength, patience and understanding and stop causing dogs fear and pain. However, I think the problem runs much deeper and the problem has nothing to do with dogs, types of dogs, or canine behavior issues, it has to do with the types of brains, brain chemistry, and cultural conditioning that a person has when they come into their life with dogs. Can the person change is the question? Can the person move their thinking past the fear and pain paradigm and into the safe, unsafe kind consequence modalities of thinking?

It’s an easy intellectual leap for humans to want to address conflict with conflict. If It’s in the act of defending oneself from physical harm sure go for it. However, life with dogs and the troubles, challenges, and stressors that occur on a vastly macro level for all people with dogs are not life-threatening nor will result in grievous injuries. Add in too many events where the humans administer fear and pain to a dog and those safe events can take a dangerous turn for sure, remember the underlying cause for aggression is fear.

The other problem that exists with humans is that far too many of them lack the actual physical abilities and mental acuity in order to execute legitimate Dog Training on a consistent basis, i.e daily in the moment implementation is crucial, so people rely on tactics which include yelling, hitting, shocking, choking, pinning down forcefully, and blaming.

This lack of physical abilities and poor mental acuity extends to professionals as well, be they pain trainers or force free, at least the force free crowd is not adding in any fear and pain by way of protocols, but lack of skills still result in poor education, hence a main reason why the education of the general public about dogs, dog behavior and dog training is so completely discombobulated with lies, myths and allegories which really have no place in the teaching of dog training.

If somebody already has in their worldview of dogs that human behavior has little to do with the process and it’s all about the dog, then it’s already an uphill battle because we have to turn the focus on to the humans and have them change their behavior. If the human thinks that the dog is imbued with some sort of cognition to formulate moral imperatives the proverbial hill gets even steeper in the educational climb towards legitimacy.

Now, add in cultural reinforcement from parents, neighbors, friends, chosen professionals that resonate with the person‘s worldview on dogs that they need to be “taught who’s leader, boss, respect”....and now you see where the divide Is and will always be. The problem is in people’s thinking, in their conditioning and their programming. Yes programming. I don’t believe people naturally and organically want to cause their dog fear in pain. It’s been programmed.

Sadly I think a lot of people over the last two decades have been programmed to be bullies toward their dog and they haven’t been taught to be guardians and caretakers and to have empathy as their overall concern. It might be part and parcel to our throwaway society, at one time dogs were so highly valued that dogs were protected as if they were children. Now people get and toss away dogs like shoes. Now people are by so-called celebutard could think their dog trainers to cause the dog fear and pain to teach the dog a lesson. Yeah the last of the dogs learning is that some humans are scary. Remember dogs cannot formulate and dissect abstract concepts like respect and dominance. Dogs view of life as safe, unsafe or neutral. They have an agenda but it’s quite simple safety first food water second phone with dogs and humans third. That’s it.

I’ve been working with dogs for 19 years and I’ve worked with all manner of people from every socio economic background you could possibly configure from the poor to the ultra rich, and the one through line that I have noticed from every person I’ve ever worked with is that they really don’t want to yell, hurt or cause their dog any form of fear or pain or stress. But they’ve been programmed to do so and reinforcement comes at them in subtle and not so subtle ways. For those of you reading this who understand social programming watch two hours of television sitcom’s the news sports you name it at some point someone is going to say something about a dog or dogs that is completely fabricated based in math personal bias and has zero validity of tested the actual applied behavior analysis. Or just stand around quietly and observed conversations out of dog event.

Once the people have proper information they pay for, and that part is crucial and they are told they don’t have to be forceful or startling, and they are shown in the moment that they don’t have to use fear and pain, and they are told and shown that they have to train their dogs “as they go”, “every day”, every step of the way, once they’re told and shown that their dog is innocent and they don’t have any moral imperative to transgress them, people have a huge weight lifted from them. Yes; the dog still has Behavior and Training challenges to be dealt with; but now they can be dealt with in a way without adding any fear or pain, thus the proceedings stay safe, the humans don’t feel terrible after interacting with their dog, and the dog is not having their trust eroded from the main people in their life; which is where all of their trust will be starting from with every other person or thing in their life.

There will never be a unification and Dog Training because as long as there are humans making decisions based on their programming based on their cultural morays etc. people do to dogs what they do based on those metrics.

I think it extends far beyond people being “lazy” and wanting a quick fix, that’s a big part of it, though that is also programming.

What’s the fix? There isn’t one, that’s the rub, ignorance is like a leak that never gets fixed, it’ll just get bigger with time, and we’re at an all time high.

There will always be some abuser, bully, inner coward, insecure, intellectually weak human that gets a platform for spreading ignorance about dogs, after all that’s mainly what’s been done to dogs they’ve been grossly mis represented. This is because 99.9999% of the people on this planet are confused about dogs and behavior.

All that can be done is get out the legit info, info based in training with out fear and pain.  Get this out as far and wide possible, daily, this way perhaps it resonates with people’s empathy, and the motivation is to do better, simply because dogs deserve our best, because after all, dogs are and always will be our best friends, with the cognition of toddlers, who can land 25 bites in 4 seconds, so please treat them with respect and kindness, and Get Your Skills Up!

The Dirty Little Secret in Dog Training is; it’s all about the humans. Stay Force Free and teach with empathy. Pass on Post up.

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Socialization with People

 Socialization With People
By:  Ian Dunbar, Dog Star Daily

Raising and training a pup to be people-friendly is the second most important goal of pet-dog husbandry. Of course, teaching bite inhibition is always the most important goal. But during your pup's first month at home, urgency dictates that socialization with people is the prime puppy directive.

As a rule of thumb, your puppy needs to meet at least a hundred people before he is three months old. Since your puppy is still too young to venture out on the streets, you'll need to start inviting people to your home right away. Basically, you'll need to have lots of puppy parties and invite friends over to handfeed your pup and train him for you.

Doggy Dream or Nasty Nightmare?

A most important quality in a pet dog is his temperament. A dog with a good temperament can be a dream to live with, but a dog with a tricky temperament is a perpetual nightmare. Moreover, regardless of breed or breeding, a dog's temperament, especially his feelings toward people and other dogs, is primarily the result of his level of socialization during puppyhood — the most important time in a dog's life. Do not waste this golden opportunity. Solid gold temperaments are forged during this period.

Your puppy must be fully socialized to people before he is three months old. Many people think puppy classes are the time to socialize puppies to people. Not so — too little, too late. Puppy classes are a fun night out to continue socializing socialized puppies with people, for therapeutic socialization of puppies with other puppies, and most important, for puppies to learn bite inhibition.

You now have just a few weeks left to socialize your puppy. Unfortunately, your pup needs to be confined indoors until he is at least three months old, when he has acquired sufficient immunity through his puppy shots against the more serious dog diseases. However, even a relatively short period of social isolation at such a crucial developmental stage could all but ruin your puppy's temperament. Whereas dog-dog socialization may be put on temporary hold until your pup is old enough to go to puppy school and the dog park, you simply cannot delay socialization with people. It may be possible to live with a dog that does not like other dogs, but it is difficult and potentially dangerous to live with a dog that does not like people, especially if the dog doesn't like your friends and family.

Consequently, there is considerable urgency to introduce your puppy to a wide variety of people — to family, friends and strangers, and especially to men and children. As a rule of thumb, your pup needs to meet at least a hundred different people before he is three months old — an average of three unfamiliar people a day.

A Hundred People

Capitalize on the time your pup needs to be confined indoors by inviting people to your home. Your pup needs to socialize with at least a hundred different people before he is three months old. I know this may sound like a bit of an ordeal, but it is actually quite easy to accomplish. Twice a week, invite different groups of six men to watch sports on TV. Generally, men are pretty easy to attract if you offer television sports programs, pizza, and beer. On several other nights a week, invite different groups of six women for ice cream, chocolate, and good conversation. (Or the other way round—you know your friends better than I do.) On another night of the week, catch up on all of your outstanding social obligations by inviting family, friends, and neighbors for meet-the-puppy dinners. Another tactic is to bring your puppy to visit your office for the day. Or, have a puppy party once a week. Above all, don't keep your puppy a secret. One of the great things about puppy socialization is that it also does wonders for your social life!


From the very first day you get your puppy, the clock is ticking. And time flies! By eight weeks of age, your puppy's Critical Period of Socialization is already waning and within a month, his most impressionable learning period will start to close. There is so much to teach, and nearly everything needs to be taught right away.

Be Safe
Puppies may become infected with serious dog diseases by sniffing the urine or feces of infected dogs. Never let your puppy on the ground where other dogs may have eliminated. You may take your puppy for car rides and to visit friends, but always carry your puppy from house to car, and vice versa. Of course, these precautions also apply to visits to the veterinary clinic. The ground immediately outside the door of the clinic and the floor of the waiting room are two of the most likely contaminated areas. Carry your puppy from the car to the clinic and keep him on your lap in the waiting room. Better yet, keep your puppy crated in your car until it is time for his examination.

Three Goals Of Socialization

1. Teach your puppy to enjoy the presence, actions, and antics of all people — first the family, and then friends and strangers, especially children and men. Adult dogs tend to feel most uneasy around children and men, especially little boys. A dog's antipathy toward children and men is more likely to develop if the puppy grows up with few or none around, and if the puppy's social contacts with children and men have been unpleasant or scary. 2. Teach your puppy to enjoy being hugged and handled (restrained and examined) by people, especially by children, veterinarians, and groomers. Specifically, teach your puppy to enjoy being touched and handled in a variety of "hot spots," namely, around his collar, muzzle, ears, paws, tail, and rear end. 3. Teach your puppy to enjoy giving up valued objects when requested, especially her food bowl, bones, balls, chewtoys, garbage, and paper tissues.

Adapted from AFTER You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Living in the Moment

Living In The Moment Based On A Plan

It’s often said many people either give the dog too much information, “stop no hey no agrh get off down…”, or perhaps do not do anything that has any real consequence or value to the dog, “That’s good old Buster he’s just a jumpy dog”. Either way the behaviors that the human is looking to decrease are getting rehearsed, thus becoming stronger.
Many times with clients I will explain that getting in front of the behavior is very important in having good timing. Being aware of the surrounding context and being ready is one of the major ways to keep dogs paying attention outside or even inside around hectic events such as door greetings.

Once you’ve established a good solid reward history and a humane consequence history what follows are some ideas to tighten up the training. Always factor duration and distance as well as level of distraction.

Here are some common things surrounding dog reactivity I have found most people deal with at some point. This is a general overview. The devils are in the details and each person’s mechanics, timing and dedication are different, this is also true of dogs and the varying cognitive differences and behavior histories they have. This is about decreasing the probability of unwanted behaviors not creating “perfect dogs”.  Read the entire article

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Classical Conditioning

By:  Ian Dunbar

Whereas eight-week-old puppies are universally accepting of people, adolescent dogs naturally become wary of anything unfamiliar, including noises, objects, dogs, people and places. It is not uncommon for adolescent dogs to become fearful or reactive. As puppies grow older, the world becomes a scarier place. To prevent dogs from becoming wary of children, men, strangers, skateboarders, other dogs, loud noises, vacuum cleaners, nail clippers, collar grabs, etc. etc. etc., take your time when exposing your puppy, adolescent, or newly adopted adult dog to novel (unfamiliar) stimuli, settings and situations and make sure you classically condition your dog not only to tolerate, but also to thoroughly enjoy all of these potentially scary stimuli.

Simply put, classical conditioning helps your dog form positive associations with all sorts of stimuli. Let’s say your puppy has grown to be scared of men. Rather than feeding your dog in a bowl, use his entire allotment of kibble for classical conditioning. For one week, take your dog to dine downtown. Sit on a bench and offer him a piece of dinner kibble each time a man walks by. For a second week, ask male passersby, “Excuse me, would you mind hand-feeding my dog? He’s really shy of men.” In no time at all, your dog will form a positive association between men and FOOD and might muse, “Ah yes, I love men.”

The most important times to classically condition your dog are when visitors come to your house, on walks, in dog parks and especially during dog training classes.
From puppyhood onwards, have every visitor to your house offer your dog a few pieces of kibble. Even though your puppy may be Mr. Sociable right now, unless you take this precaution, he will most certainly become more standoffish, asocial, and maybe antisocial as he grows older. Please do not take your puppies golden demeanor for granted. Have every household visitor offer a food treat to your puppy/dog and then your dog will look forward to visitors. Additionally, teach each visitor how to use the treat to teach your dog to come, sit and stay.

Most people walk their dogs too quickly through the environment. There is simply too much for the dog to take in — people, other dogs, other animals, noises and smells — “Oh there’s a squirrel. I smell Trixie. Hmm! I just love the smell of her urine. Trixie! Trixie! Trixie! Son of a female dog! That motorcycle was soooooo loud! Oh, oh, oh! Cat poo! Woo hoo! Yes!!! And another squirrel. Two squirrels Oh what’s my owner saying now? Oh, S.O.A.F.D! There’s Bruno. OH he’s HUGE! And his owner looks nervous. Why’s my owner jerking my leash? Is that a discarded hamburger wrapping. There’s a cat. I know there’s a cat. Can’t see it. Can’t hear it. Can’t smell it, but I know it’s there somewhere. I can feel it. She’s looking at me. Where is she? Oh NO! Children! I hope they don’t come this way. Another squirrel. Is that the mail truck three blocks away? I hope I get back home before he come.” And so it goes on. The dog’s brain goes into sensory overload. The dog is over-stimulated and instead of paying attention to his owner he becomes hyperactive or reactive.

When walking a dog, on-leash or off-leash, stop every 25 yards, let the dog take his time to look, listen and sniff and wait until he establishes eye contact (acknowledges your presence) and accepts a couple of pieces of kibble before saying “Let’s go” and continuing the walk for another 25 yards. Every couple of hundred yards, find a comfortable place to sit and wait for your dog to settle down and get used to the new environment. Offer your dog a piece of kibble every time the environment changes, for example, each time a person passes by, and maybe two pieces of kibble for a man, a piece of freeze-dried liver for a boy, and three pieces of liver for a boy on a skateboard.

When dogs visit unfamiliar environments, offering then kibble is a great temperament test for trainers, veterinarians and owners to check that the dog is at ease. If the dog refuses kibble from the owner, he is probably anxious about the environment — so give him time to adapt. However, if the dog accepts kibble from his owner but not from his veterinarian or trainer, then the dog most probably feels ill at ease with the veterinarian or trainer and so, proceed slowly — verrrry slowly.
For an adolescent or young adult dog, dog parks and training classes can be pretty scary environments, usually with a high-voltage social scene. Always give the dog a chance to relax and get used to the environment. Before attempting to train, wait until the dog settles down and appears and ease. Periodically keep offering pieces of kibble. Once the dog feels at ease, he will take the kibble and start to pay attention. Keep offering the kibble regardless of the dog’s behavior; it doesn’t matter whether the dog is hiding and peeking, barking, growling, or snapping and lunging. Keep offering the kibble so that the dog eventually forms positive associations with the class setting, the other dogs, the trainer, and other people.

Some people are afraid that offering kibble during classical conditioning might unintentionally reinforce bad behaviors. Certainly, when training, we are always classically conditioning and operantly conditioning at the same time. If you use your voice when classically conditioning, “There’s a good boy, it’s OK,” you might unintentionally reinforce all sorts of unwanted behavior. The classical conditioning still works for us but the operant conditioning works against us and makes the problem worse. In time, the dog will begin to feel OK about the situation but will continue barking and growling, or hiding and shaking, because that’s what he’s been unintentionally trained to do. However, by using food when classically conditioning, you can only reinforce good behavior because a dog cannot bark and lunge or eyeball another dog at the same time as turning to face you to take food.

For example, let’s say we are trying to classically condition a dog that is barking and lunging at another dog. We offer food, but the dog ignores our offerings and continues barking and lunging. Eventually though, the dog barks himself out and sniffs the food, whereupon he turns away from the other dog to take the food. Taking the food does not reinforce the dog’s barking and lunging. On the contrary, the food reinforces the dog for stopping barking and lunging, for turning away from the other dog and for turning towards his owner. After a couple of dozen repetitions, the dog will begin to form positive associations with the sight of other dogs. “I love it when other dogs approach because then my owner feeds me dinner.” And as a bonus, the dog’s trained response to seeing another dog is to turn away from the dog and to sit quietly and expectantly facing his owner.

As classical conditioning proceeds, the dog is less and less inclined to react in a negative manner towards the scary stimulus. Once a dog forms positive associations with stimuli, such as a vacuum cleaner, other dogs, or people, he doesn’t want to growl or snap and lunge at them.
You simply cannot do too much classical conditioning. Read the entire article

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

The 3 D's of Dog Training

By:  Drayton Michaels, CTC
Urban Dawgs

The three D’s of dog training are known as Distraction, Distance and Duration. They come into play in every context and all training exercises.

Distractions are part of life especially for dogs. Let’s face it a dog can be distracted by just about anything from the high value food reward to the wind blowing leaves. Dis
tractions are part of dog training no matter what, so we might as well begin to work with them and take them into account.  Always start with the lowest amount of distraction and build on it as your dog does better with the training.

For example, if you are working on down stays, get the dog rock solid in the house and the back yard before attempting the down stays at the barbecue at your neighbor’s house.

Distractions are often the reason for the dog breaking the stay, or tuning out or becoming frustrated.
Sometimes distractions are environmental sounds or sights. Other times we are doing distracting things, placing hands in treat pouches or pockets, walking too far away during stay training, or perhaps the dog is too close (distance) to the door or gate for a sit and wait?

Being aware of distractions and doing your best to set the dog up for success by lowering them will help your training immensely. In fact I would say the number one reason why dogs are unsuccessful in training is some form of distraction.  Read the entire article

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Exercise the Brain and the Body of Your Dog

Exercise:  Many 'behavior problems' are simply the result of too little exercise. Dogs that are constantly in motion, who chew, bark, jump, or dig excessively may be helped by providing more exercise. Many dogs need much more exercise than they are getting. Certain breeds (especially Sporting and Herding dogs) require a large amount of exercise daily. Be aware of your dog's exercise needs. We always say that 'a tired dog is a good dog'.

Walking is a great exercise for most dogs. Be careful with young puppies and larger breeds that you don't over-exercise them on hard surfaces such as roads or sidewalks. This can put too much stress on the joints. Walking in grass is much better. Many dogs love to run or jog, but need to build up to more vigorous exercise over time.

Play sessions with other nice dogs are a wonderful way to exercise your dog. Check with your friends and neighbors to set up 'play dates'. This also has the added bonus of helping your dog learn how to get along well with other canines. However, be careful that you watch for warning signs of growling or snapping. While play can sometimes be quite rough and physical, none of the dogs should seem unhappy or upset by the activity.

Many dogs learn how to play 'fetch' very quickly. This is a great way to wear out the dog without much effort on the your part. Try tennis balls, Kong toys, canvas or plastic bumpers, or rubber balls. If your dog chases the toy but doesn't bring it back or give it up, have two identical toys. Once he picks up one you can show him the other and throw it in a different direction. He'll usually drop the first to chase the second.  Chasing a ball up and down the stairs is another good way to give your dog a nice workout. Some dogs love to chase a large, hard soccer ball. Jolly Balls are great for outside play.

Mental stimulation: In addition to physical exercise, dogs need mental exercise as well. Dogs are very curious and intelligent creatures, and they can get bored by an unchanging routine or a lack of excitement. A bored dog will usually try to make his own fun, and you may not like the results!

There are a few toys available that make your dog work for his food. One is called a Buster Cube. It is a hard plastic cube that has an opening in which you load your dog's dry food. Once you shake the cube the food is distributed inside into a number of different compartments. Your dog can only get the food by rolling the cube around on the ground. The food comes out randomly. Many dogs love this toy and will become quite excited about using it. The Buster Cube should only be used by one dog at a time to avoid skirmishes, and is safest if used outside in a fenced yard.

A simple variation on this idea is to scatter your dog's food in the back yard, rather than feeding him from a bowl. This gives him an opportunity to hunt and find, and stretches out the feeding process, keeping your dog busy. When the weather is bad you could hide bits of food around the house for your dog to find.

A Kong toy is a hard rubber toy that is hollow in the center. You can stuff the Kong with peanut butter, cheese, and dry food. Most dogs love trying to get all the goodies out of the Kong, and will chew on it for hours. You can also fill the Kong with canned or frozen dog food, then freeze it.
Some dogs, especially diggers, appreciate a sandbox. Bury goodies, toys, and sterilized bones for your dog to find. This will also encourage him to direct his digging urges to an appropriate place.

You can keep your dog busy and active by taking him with you on short errands. Be sure that the weather is not too hot. Short trips are usually interesting and enjoyable for your dog. You can combine your errands with quick walks or training sessions in different locations. A change of scenery is as interesting for a dog as it is for a person.

With a little bit of creative thought, you can probably come up with lots of ways to keep your dog busy and happy.

Robin Sockness, My Best Buddy Dog Training

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