Georgia learned how to Leave It, including things she enjoys, like toilet paper and socks!
We also practiced outside with sticks, acorns, and leaves and she did great with everything.
Poor Emma is fearful of a leash and, therefore, cannot be walked. Today we were able to get a leash on Emma only after we fitted her with a harness. We then used some spray liver on the end of a target stick to lure her into a walk. After just a few
minutes she was walking without a lure!
Peaches concluded her basic manners training by learning Loose Leash Walking. We first replaced her retractable leash, as they can contribute to pulling, with a regular six foot leash and then taught her how to Heel. Once she learned that paying attention to us earned her rewards she began to walk very nicely.
TIP #1: WORKOUTS FOR THE BRAIN
Biologically speaking, your dog is not supposed to have a bowl of kibble plunked down in front of him. He is a hunter by nature, meant to work for his keep. Mimic this by serving your dog’s food in a Kong or treat ball. Your dog will spend the first part of the day figuring out how to get at his food and the rest of it recovering from the mental effort. Perfect!
Toys are a great way to engage your dog’s brain. Dogs have distinctly individual toy preferences, depending on the day, time, and situation. Do some detective work and find out what truly tickles your dog.
The best toys have a purpose. They deliver food, present a challenge, squeak, or make themselves interesting in some other way. Some classics to consider: Rope toys, plush toys (with or without squeakers), Hide-A-Bee (Squirrel, Bird), tricky treat balls, soft rubber toys (vinyl), and hard rubber toys like Kongs and nyla bones.
Once you have a good selection, develop a toy strategy. Designate a popular toy for use only during alone time, like when you need to leave your dog in his crate, confinement area, or a spare room. Then, rotate the other toys daily to keep the novelty factor high.
TIP #2: MATCHING LAW
The choices we make are the direct result of a number of variables, such as the rate of reinforcement (how many times we’ve been reinforced for the behavior), the quality of the reinforcement (how much did we appreciate that reinforcement), or the reinforcement delay (how soon did we get the reinforcement). If you were paid $1,000 for every phone call you had to make, would you still chose to walk your dog over calling a difficult client? According to the matching law, the chances of choosing one behavior over another are the direct equivalent of how much those behaviors have been reinforced. In other words, faced with two options, A and B, if A was reinforced twice as much as B, we would chose option A twice as often as we would chose option B. Let’s say your dog got clicked and treated 10 times when sitting at a 90° angle from your body and 5 times when sitting parallel in good alignment. As a result, when asked to ‘sit’, your dog would be twice as likely to sit at a 90° angle.
- Dr. Jennifer Cattet
We were to begin Rocky's basic manners training by teaching him Sit and Down, but he
had already learned it, the smart little Border Collie that he is! So we then went to Plan B
and taught him Wait and Stay at which, of course, he excelled!
Today we taught Sydney how to Leave It. She is such a quick learner and we were able to bring out slippers and shoes - things that she really likes - and she completely ignored them!
We concluded Clarke's training by teaching him how to Come When Called. We started out by playing recall games in the backyard, then progressed to an open field, where we were able to call him back from a squirrel and a dog that was passing by. Good boy, Clarke!
TIP #1: MOM, I'M BORED
Dogs are a lot like children. If you don’t give them something fun to do, they will make their own fun - and often not in ways you approve of.
Give your dog plenty of physical and mental exercise, and you get a happier, healthier, better-behaved dog. Well-exercised dogs bark less, chew less, sleep more, and rest easier if left home alone. They are also much less likely to rummage through the trash or attack the couch cushions.
What about leash walks? Leash walks are great brainteasers because of all the sensory information dogs get from them, but they don’t count as aerobic exercise. Your dog needs to run, swim, or do something else that gets his heart pumping for at least 30 minutes every day.
TIP #2: BUY THE BEST DOG FOOD YOU CAN AFFORD
Good dog food generally costs more than low-quality dog food because good dog food is made with better-quality ingredients, which cost more than low-quality ingredients.
That said, the most expensive food is not necessarily the best, nor does the price always correlate precisely with a food’s quality. There are lots of low-quality foods that are sold for good-food prices, because some companies spend a ton on marketing and advertising!
There are bad, better, good, and best foods at every price level. You should have an idea of how much you are willing to spend; look for the best foods you can find at the level you can afford.
How can you determine which foods are the good and bad ones at your price point? Check out our Twosday Training Tip over the next few weeks!
- Whole Dog Journal
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI