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How to Get Your Dog’s Attention

A big question I receive is “how do I get my dog to pay attention to me. No matter what.”  I feel the ‘Look’ exercise is underused. If past students tell me their dog is starting to bark on their leash, I’ll remind them to use the ‘Look’ exercise. Here are some other examples of how I use this exercise: To redirect your dog from other dogs To redirect your dog from cats To redirect your dog from something they are afraid of such as skateboards or bicycles To stop your dog from pulling To stop your dog from smelling  And so much more! A word of caution: training a reliable ‘look’ takes time, practice, and patience. You must start this training in a quiet, non-distracting environment. As your dog gets better, you can increase the distractions and your expectations. Always remember, consistency over time gets results! Take a look

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Try This Before Your Walks

Did you know that the way you start your walks with your dog can set a precedent to how your walks will go?  If you allow your dog to pull you out the door at the beginning of your walk, it is more likely your dog will pull you during the entirety of your walk. Consequently, it will take that much longer to gain their attention.  I quickly learned that if I allowed a dog to jump all over me while putting on their leash, or allowed them to pull me out the door, it took me and my furry companion much longer to get anywhere without them pulling. I’m not sure about you, but I do not find walking a dog that pulls me to be fun, at all.  One of the first things that I do when training one of our Board and Train or Day Train dogs

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Helpful Tips For Your Recalls

Is your dog not responding to their recalls like you would like?  Do they look at you when you call them to ‘come’ but continue to turn and run the other way?  If you find you are having a hard time with your dog coming when called, apply these helpful tips.  When applied you will see results immediately! 1.        First and foremost, set your dog up for success.  Do not give your dog freedom until they are coming to you reliably– unless you are in a situation where you do not need them to come when called.  The reason for this is because every time you call your dogs to ‘come’ and they do not, they are learning to ignore your requests.  People hate to hear ‘keep your dog on leash’ until they know better.  They envision their dogs running free and coming back to them at

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Beyond Fetch: Games To Play With Your Dog

A game is a great way to exercise your dog’s body and mind, and spend a little quality time together. What’s in your repertoire? Here’s a selection of games you can play indoors or outside: Homegrown agility. If your house is big enough, create a makeshift obstacle course for your dog from rolled-up towels, cardboard boxes, blankets hung between chairs, etc. Or, if the weather is good and you have a yard, build your course outside. Hide-and-seek. Grab a handful of yummy treats or your dog’s favorite toy. Ask your dog to sit and stay, then you go hide in another room. Call your dog and when he finds you, reward him with a treat or a play session with his toy. Repeat until you have had enough—your dog likely won’t get bored anytime soon.  The name game. Get two of your dog’s favorite toys and remove all other toys

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Getting Real With Your Dog

One of the most frequent sources of frustration in dog training? Unrealistic expectations. Dogs’ intelligence shines through in so many ways that we tend to ascribe them decidedly human cognitive skills, such as the ability to understand complex sentences. It’s what some dog trainers refer to as “the Lassie syndrome.” If you often find yourself frustrated with your dog, here’s a primer on what it takes to create a Lassie: Patience. One basic training class won’t do it. The calm, attentive pooches you see on TV picking up slippers and opening doors? They have spent years in training. You wouldn’t expect a child to become a piano virtuoso after one semester of classes, right? Repetition. Dogs don’t generalize well. This means they need to learn the same lesson—don’t jump on people, for example—in many different settings before they grasp that we’d always prefer them to greet visitors politely, not just

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Going Leash Crazy

Going Leash Crazy Have you ever wondered why your friendly playful pooch off leash turns into a monster on leash, or in your home or yard?  Why is it that your dog loves to play with others and gets along with everyone when they are off leash but the moment you attach the leash they turn into a beast? If your dog is not aggressive with other dogs when they are off leash but show aggressive behaviors towards other dogs on leash or behind a barrier, your dog maybe exhibiting leash or barrier frustration.   Your dog is frustrated that they cannot get to the other dog to say hello and do their normal doggie greetings such as smell butts, ears, and mouths.  How they express this frustration to the owner is by vigorously barking and lunging on their leash or through a fence or window. I often use the following

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‘Look’

Attention  Purpose– teaching this exercise will train your dog that it is more reinforcing to pay attention to you than the distractions around him. Criteria– your dog should look at you. Visual Que– Point to your eyes.  Verbal Que– ‘Look’ Important to remember Your dog is familiar with his own environment.  There are fewer distractions at home as compared to a park.  Begin all training where there are minimum distractions.  As your dog becomes more reliable with certain behaviors, gradually work your way to a more distracting environment.  DO NOT expect your dog to respond to you as well as they would at home in this new environment. Behavior Pyramid Start in an area with no distractions Take a treat slowly wave it in front of your dogs nose and with your dog watching bring it to your eyes. Say ‘Look’ then ‘ok’ then give your dog the treat. The

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‘Spot’

‘Spot’ Purpose- Training your dog to go to their ‘spot’ can prevent your dog from jumping on you or house guests.  It prevents them from begging at the dinner table.  It can also prevent them from crowding you as you walk through the door with your children or a bag full of groceries. Criteria- Your dog leaves you to go lay down on their designated ‘spot’.  They should remain there until you release them. Que- Point toward their ‘spot’ and say ‘spot’ or ‘go spot’.  You may also say ‘place’ or ‘bed’. Behavior Pyramid Your dog should be clicker trained. Find a blanket, towel, or bed that you would like to designate as your dogs ‘spot’. Put the ‘spot’ in an area that your dog still feels part of the family such as your living room or outside the kitchen.  You can have multiple ‘spots’ in the house. Stand next

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Recall Training Tips and Management

Training tips for training your recall 1. Never ask your dog to ‘come’ to you and then do something they do not like.  For example, do not give a bath or cut their nails. 2. If your dog is having fun playing or smelling, do not tell them to ‘come’ and end their fun. 3. ‘Come’ should always be rewarded, under all circumstances! Never play chase with your dog, if anything your dog should chase you!   Management for training a recall   1. Make sure your dog is getting enough physical and mental exercise. 2. In a safe place allow your dog plenty of off leash activity.  Example, in your back yard, go to dog parks, or a friends yard.  If you cannot find a safe place to have your dog off leash allow them to drag a long line behind them so still have freedom yet you have

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Really Reliable Recall Part 2

Emergency Recall The emergency recall is a conditioned recall or automatic response by your dog to your signal.  This means your dog will come to you without thinking or hesitation despite their surroundings or what they are doing at that moment. 1. Establish your everyday recall first. 2. Develop a new signal for your dog to come to you.  If you’ve been saying ‘come’ change the word to ‘here’ , ‘now’, ‘yahoo’.  Choose a word that carry’s. 3. Signal should always be said as if it were an emergency.  ‘FIDO HERE!!!’ 4. Use the signal 3 times a day for 3 months.  ONLY SAY IT WHEN YOU KNOW YOUR DOG WILL COME TO YOU!  Your best chance of success is to do this in your home or back yard when your dog is not distracted. 5. Say your signal only once! 6. Reinforce every step your dog takes to you

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