Posts

Dog Walk Training Ideas

 

Do you want to make the most of your dog walks? Bring some life to your normal dog walks by adding in some Dog Walk Training Sessions!

Why Add Dog Walk Training Sessions?

You are happy going on a normal walk. Why should you add in dog walk training sessions? Because there are so many benefits!

  • Be engaged. When I am out walking I see so many people on their phones, not paying attention to their dogs. Granted, the dogs may be sniffing around, but they would be having so much more fun if you were paying attention to them! It is great bonding time, so make the most of it.
  • Be aware. There are a lot of yummy things out there that your dog should not be eating. If you are working on dog walk training then you will quickly notice something out of the ordinary.
  • New tricks. This is the perfect opportunity to teach your dog new tricks, while you are already out and focused on your dog. The distractions will make sure your dog gets the trick down pat.
  • Have a better behaved dog. You see so many dogs out pulling on the leash and not listening to their people. Dog walk training sessions will lead your dog to listen and pay more attention to you, as well as just have greater skills.
  • Impress other people. You know it feels good when other people admire your amazing, beautiful, well-behaved dog. Dog walk training does that!

How to Prepare for Dog Walk Training

  1. Select some amazing treats you know your dog will love. You want them to be tiny so you can give out lots of them to your amazing dog. You want to take them with you whenever you go out on a walk.
  2. Select a dog treat bag. This can be a ziplock you put in your pocket or a sophisticated dog treat pouch, whichever works best for you.
  3. Think about what behaviors to you want to teach. You do not want to introduce too many at one time, and you may start with tricks and behaviors your dog already knows, until you get comfortable.
  4. Plan your path. Some areas are easier to train on than others and for some dog walk training, you will need a specific area to practice.
  5. Remind yourself that this is all for fun. You want to be upbeat and happy the entire time, not grumpy that your dog is learning.

Small dog looking up

Dog Walk Training Ideas

So you want to do some dog walk training sessions but you are not sure what to teach? There are so many options! Here are the behaviors and tricks I like to practice on every walk.

  1. Wait. This is one of my favorite behaviors and I use it at home all the time. It simply means, “pause where you are until I say it is ok to go.” You can use this at doors in your home and out on walks. In open space when my dog is off-leash, I use it to stop my dog from getting too far away from me. You should start this one at home because it is easiest to teach at an open door. Stand inside the door with your dog and say “Wait.” Then start to open the door. When you dog moves to dash through, close the door (without hitting your dog with it) and repeat. Eventually your dog will look to you to figure out what is going on. When you are ready, say “ok” and release your dog with lots of praise and walk through the door.
  2. Auto sit at street curbs. This can be a life saver if your dog ever gets off-leash. It is easy to teach – just whenever you get to a curb have your dog sit. Do not move on until she does. You can choose to add a release word, like “ok”, or just let her walk with you when you move forward.
  3. Quick sits. I love this for attention and focus from my dog, plus it is fun! As you are moving along randomly tell your dog to “Sit” in a super happy voice. Reward her for sitting quickly. Usually the more excited you are, the faster your dog will sit and the more she will pay attention to you. You can also do this with “Down” but I try not to make my dog lie down in areas where she will feel vulnerable, so be aware of the environment.
  4. Quick front. A front is when your dog sits in front of you, facing you. If you make this into a really fun game, your dog can be called back from a distance. It is great for safety. Having a different word from Come is good, because most people use Come when they are angry (which you should not, but that is another blog). “Front” is always fun! It is great to practice on walks. As you are walking along, suddenly say “Front!” and shuffle backwards. Hold your treat up in the middle of your chest. Your dog will naturally follow you and sit as she gets closer. If you later practice in bigger spaces, try this while running away for a bigger effect. When she gets close, turn towards her and give her the chance to sit in front.

Really, almost any tricks you want to teach can be practiced on a dog walk for fun and focus. They help you have fun and encourage your dog to pay attention. Remember to use treats as your dog is learning and to continue to reinforce behavior. As your dog learns, you do not need to give a treat every time, but if you do it randomly then your dog will stay interested.

What NOT To Teach

You notice no where in that list did I mention “Heal.” Heal is a tough command and is often misused. No dog can heal for an entire walk, nor should they. A walk is a time for dogs to get out and explore the world! They cannot do that if they are glued to your hip. Dogs require both physical and mental stimulation to be healthy, which means seeing new environments and experiencing the world around them. Give them the chance to do that, while still having a good time. You should practice how to walk on a loose leash, but you will find that if you are interacting with your dog with Dog Walk Training, she will be paying a lot more attention and will be checking in regularly to see what you are doing. It is hard to check in and pull on the leash at the same time.

Clicker Training Tips

 

There are many different positive reinforcement training methods available to both cat and dog owners. One of my favorite methods is clicker training, it is a good way to quickly train your pet with less treats than traditional training.

Clicker training is used by thousands of animal trainers to teach all types of animals. It can be used to teach dogs obedience, leash manners, agility and many other things. It can also be used to teach tricks and other positive behaviors to cats.

What is clicker training?

Clicker training is using a sound (generally a clicker) to positively reinforce your pet for a behavior he or she is doing. In clicker training, a click is used every time a good behavior happens and treats are given later (which means fewer treats).

 

Why should I clicker train my pet? 

Clicker training has a couple of cool benefits. Clicker training allows you to reward positive behavior more quickly than giving your pet a treat. Depending on your reaction time, you could be clicking 10-15 seconds after your pet does the positive behavior. Giving a treat to your pet generally takes a longer time, which may cause your pet to forget the positive behavior he or she did. This helps your pet learn what the behavior you want to see, and learn it more quickly.

Because you click for each behavior rather than give your pet a treat, you feed less treats per training session. This is really helpful if you are working with an overweight pet or do not want your pet to gain weight.

 

How do I get started clicker training? 

Clicker training is all about associating a sound with a reward, so start by picking a sound. Pick a sound that is easy to make and distinct (will not be heard outside of training). For example, it is not recommended you use a clap because your pet will hear clapping outside of the training session and may get confused. This is the reason many people use the clicker. It is a very distinct sound, and it may be quicker to make than any sound you can make on your own. Clickers are easy to find at pet stores and generally cost around $2.

 

Next get started with your first sessions of training. These sessions will be very treat heavy, so pick a treat that your dog likes. Because clicker training is all about associating a sound with a reward (like a treat) you will be clicking and giving your dog a treat per click. Start by getting your dog’s attention, and simply clicking the clicker. After each click, quickly give your dog a treat. Do this for a few 5-10 minute sessions. After a few sessions, start mixing in simple behaviors with clicking. For example, have your dog sit, then click and treat. Do this for a few sessions and slowly wean down to only treating for every 10 clicks. Be sure to give your pet some treats after each session to tell him that he did a good job.

Next move on to the first behavior you want to teach, do so slowly. Because your dog is new to training, still give treats pretty frequently during the sessions. If you are teaching a complicated behavior, like how to walk nicely on a leash, use multiple steps to teach this. For simple behaviors you can use one step. An example I am going to use is teaching a pet how to come. Have someone hold your pet at the other end of the room and use your come signal. Only when your pet comes to you, give a click and give a treat. Repeat this behavior, give a click and treat the second and third times. The next time your pet comes, give only a click. Repeat this for the remainder of your session, mixing in a few treats with clicks. At the end of the session give your pet treats to tell him he did a good job. At each training session, reduce the amount of treats given during the session to only treating at the end. Do this until your pet masters the behavior.

 

Clicker training is a great way to teach pets positive behaviors. Be sure to use treats your pet likes and keep training sessions short for success!

 

Herding Tips

 

As many pet parents know, a bored dog can become a naughty dog. Many behavioral issues can be related to boredom. It is important to keep in mind that most dogs were bred to have a job, like herding sheep or retrieving ducks. Without a job, they have lots of unused energy and brain space. You can capitalize on the job your dog is bred for to keep him entertained. With a few herding tips, you’re dog can easily be on the way to a more fulfilling life!

This article is going to talk about herding and similar activities. Most herding breed dogs and mixes of herded breed dogs show herding tendencies (like nipping heels,grabbing pant legs and pushing their body into you).My Australian shepherds, when bored, have taken up herding humans. This, while entertaining to watch, is not fun when your heels get nipped. So we decided to channel those instincts into herding tips and classes.

Herding

Herding is gathering animals into a large group and moving that group. Dogs can herd pretty much any animal, but common ones are sheep and ducks.Most of the dog breeds have a herding style specific to their breed which is usually hard to see at home, but is very easy to spot while they are working. For example australian shepherds herd by nipping the animals heels and leaning their body into the animal. While most dogs have an instinct to herd, they do still need to be trained in order to keep the dog and animals safe.

Most dog owners do not have the experience to train their dog to herd, so you can go to a herding trainer and take classes. Asking around in the local dog community will usually turn up a trainer but the AKC also has a list of herding clubs per state.

If you cannot find a herding trainer near you there is Treiball.

Treiball 

Treiball is a herding game. Instead of herding sheep the dog herds large balls. In treiball you and your dog herd the balls into a soccer net. In competitions the team who does this the fastest wins, but at home you can play however you would like.The dog can use his nose or body to move the ball. One of the benefits of treibball is that you can do it in your own backyard and can (likely) train your dog your own. It is also a great way to work with your dog as a team. There is lots of information on the game and how to train your dog online. This may not be a good option if you have a dog who loves balls, as the large balls can be very fun to bite and pop.

These are two good options to put your dog to work, and keep him entertained. Hopefully you will notice a big change in your now working dog, in my case it was less nipped heels.

3 Things to Do With A New Puppy

 

Getting a new puppy is a very exciting time. There are so many things to do, like puppy proofing and potty training, that you know will be good for your puppy in the long run. But what other things can you do to make living with your puppy easier and more fun in the future.

The following is a list of three things, that you may not think of, that will make life with your grown up puppy so much easier.

1.Go to the vet

This may seem simple but go to the vet as soon as possible (ideally within the first ten days) when you get a new puppy. This is important because it gives your vet a baseline to compare to if your puppy gets sick.

Additionally, most breeders and shelters will give you a list of vaccinations that your puppy has gotten and the dates. Make a copy of this and give your vet a copy. This will help your vet schedule vaccinations correctly so that your puppy is protected.

Also talk to your vet about the ideal age to spay or neuter your new puppy. In almost all cases, getting your dog fixed is best for his or her health later in life.

2.Poke, prod and pet

This may seem like a weird idea but it will really pay off in the long run. Puppies are much more amiable to being handled than most adult dogs, so take the opportunity to get your puppy used to it.

Practice common, but potentially stressful tasks like clipping bits of your dog’s nails, brushing teeth, and brushing fur.Also practice giving your dog exams. Run your hands over your dog’s body, check inside his ears, open his mouth, pick up his paws. Letting your puppy get used to this now will make vet exams much easier when your puppy grows into a potentially 50 pound dog.

If you have children, or your dog could be around children, the poke part is important. Even the most well behaved and dog savvy kids ( or their friends) may poke or prod your adult dog. Get your puppy used to this and it will minimize the chance of someone getting bitten.

This includes touching your dog while he eats, taking food, bones and toys out of his mouth, moving the bowl and touching his tail. Every time your puppy does not react to these things, positively reinforce this behavior.

3.Train 

Most people who have dealt with puppies know they have very short attention spans, but you can still train them starting at 8 weeks. Just be sure to use short training sessions and be accepting of the fact that your puppy may have forgotten the last session.During early training find the positive reinforcement method you would like to use, such as treats,a clicker, rubs, or toys.

Some important things to teach your puppy:

-Come: I think this is the single most important command your dog will know.If your dog runs away or gets away from you, a well learned come command makes a big difference.

-How to walk on a leash properly: Teach your puppy how to walk by your side and not to pull.It is much easier to teach a 10 pound puppy this than a 50 pound adult dog.

-Not to eat food off the ground:This may sound like an odd one but this means that you teach your puppy to only eat out of people’s hands and bowls.This is really important because it reduces the chance that your puppy (or adult dog) will eat something harmful off the ground.

There are lots of online resources for training puppies, but it is always good to seek out the help of an experienced dog trainer.

Getting a new puppy is a fun time, full of learning for your puppy and you. These tips should help turn your puppy into a well behaved and easy to handle adult do.