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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ending Destructive Chewing

Dogs love to chew.  Puppies chew to investigate their environment and to relieve the discomfort of teething.  Adult dogs chew because it feels good, it helps pass the time when there’s nothing else to do, and sometimes because a tooth hurts or some nutrient is missing from the diet.  Left to their own devices, dogs will often chew on the first object they come across, or an object that smells like the owner.  Sometimes a food smell attracts them.  Whatever the reason, chewing problems are easier to prevent than correct, and are best corrected using positive methods.
Punishing a dog for inappropriate chewing is seldom successful in correcting the problem.  To be effective as a training tool, punishment must be 100% consistent.  If a dog is punished for chewing in the owner’s presence, he simply learns to chew when the owner is absent.  Punishment more than 3 seconds after the crime is not effective; the dog has already forgotten the crime.  If you come home to a scene of destruction, very calmly tell your dog to go get a chew toy and praise him for bringing one to you.  If you are really angry and must let off steam, go in another room, away from the dog, and beat up a pillow.  Beating a dog simply teaches him to fear the person beating him, and possibly people in general.
The best way to protect your furnishings and possessions is to start when your puppy is very young, confining it when you cannot supervise play, providing sufficient exercise and proper nutrition, offering appropriate chew toys, and praising the pup lavishly for using them. Crating your pup can be a life-saver, preventing it from chewing electrical cords or ingesting poisons when left unsupervised.  Make sure the crate is large enough to allow the pup to stretch out.  Provide a comfy bed, and a couple of really good chew toys.
When you are with the pup but unable to supervise closely, confine it with a leash attached to your belt. Make sure the pup won’t chew the leash, and provide one or two good chew toys.  Try to catch the pup in the act of chewing the right thing and praise lavishly.
Exercise Body and Mind
Many chewing problems are solved simply by ensuring the dog has sufficient exercise.  A 30-minute walk in the morning before the dog is left for the day will help relax and even tire the dog enough to reduce the desire to chew.  Incorporating some training exercises into the walk, such as having the dog sit or down at several points on the walk, and doing a come-fore exercise 3 or 4 times will also help relax the dog.  If a walk is impossible, 15 or 20 minutes of tossing a ball in the backyard or down a flight of carpeted stairs for the dog to retrieve will do the trick.  The dog should also have some exercise in the evening, to help it relax for bedtime.
Take the time to teach your dog to chew on chew toys.  Always reinforce your dog with lots of praise when you “catch him in the act” of chewing on his own toys.  Play games such as toss and fetch with a toy to increase his interest.  If the problem chewing occurs when you leave the house and is focused on belongings that smell like you, try to leave your scent on his own toys.  Carry a new chew toy around in your pocket for a day and handle it, or just rub your hands over one of his toys.  Once he has the hang of chewing on his toys, teach him to “Go get a chew toy,”  praising him when he brings one to you.
Keep chew toys in every room of the house until the dog gets good at finding them on command or on his own.  Eventually, you can keep them in a centrally located toy basket, making sure that the dog has unlimited access to them.  Periodically you will have to fish them out from under chairs and sofas and return them to the basket.
Once this training is under way, you can lead the dog to a forbidden object, such as drapes or shoes or electrical cords.  Move the object around, and just as he is about to sniff or lick or chew the object, say “OFF!” in a firm voice, and then, “Go get your chew toy.”  Repeat this several times, and then if you catch him investigating a forbidden object on his own, repeat the “OFF” and “Go get your chew toy.” command.  This is what trainers call an instructive reprimand, letting him know by tone of voice and words what is wrong and how he can correct the problem.
Appropriate Chew Toys
Provide your dog with a variety of chew toys, including a Kong toy, nylon bones, sterilized marrow bones, and a soft “Chew Man” type or twisted rope toy.  Different dogs prefer different textures, and one dog may prefer several different toys depending on its mood.  Avoid home-made toys like worn-out tennis shoes or knotted socks.  It takes extra time to teach the dog the difference between the old shoes and your brand-new $100 running shoes, and certain fibers, like the nylon in socks or hose can be very dangerous to a dog when ingested.  It is cheaper to spend money on good dog toys than to replace your good clothes.  Hollow toys, such as the Kong or marrow bones can be stuffed with peanut butter or cheese to increase desirability.  After some trial and error, you will discover what your dog likes best.  It’s a good idea to stock up on favorite toys, so that new ones are always available.
Nutrition and Health
If your older dog suddenly develops a chewing problem, have your vet do a thorough exam to rule out illness, such as an abscessed tooth.  With all dogs, be sure that the diet is adequate to meet that dog’s nutritional needs.  A dog with a fixation on chewing a particular substance (such as wood or paper) may have a pica, a craving for something missing from the diet.  Look for a food with as little filler as possible, and avoid foods with additives and byproducts.
Many dogs develop destructive chewing habits when their feeding schedule changes, specifically when meals are decreased from twice a day to once a day.  All dogs should be fed at least twice a day (growing puppies three times a day) to prevent such chewing problems, as well as other potentially serious health problems.
 Scottee Meade        Burke, VA    'Tee Party Bostons
Canine Behavior Consultant
Member, Association of Pet Dog Trainers and Old Dominion Kennel Club

Source : doglogic

Housetraining Tips

Housetraining is a universal problem with a simple solution.  These tips will help you train your puppy or older dog to eliminate outdoors.
Good Health Is Essential
Make sure your puppy or dog is healthy before undertaking housetraining.  Intestinal parasites are the most common cause of inappropriate defecation.
Bladder infections are a frequent cause of inappropriate urination.  Have a stool sample checked by your veterinarian.  If you suspect a bladder problem, have a urine sample checked as well.  Symptoms of bladder infection include frequent urination of small amounts, unproductive straining, or licking of private parts.
Feed your puppy a good quality puppy food.  Avoid over feeding or making sudden changes in his diet; both can cause diarrhea. Another common problem arises when a dog has been given steroids to treat a bee sting or allergic reaction.  Steroids usually increase the dog’s water intake and urine output.
Feed your puppy on a fairly regular schedule, two or three times a day. Allow 30 minutes for each meal, and remove the leftovers after that time.  Maintaining a feeding schedule helps predict output.
Schedule your puppy’s trips outdoors.  The average puppy needs frequent opportunities to eliminate.  Start first thing in the morning with a trip outside as soon as your puppy awakens.  Puppies feel the call of nature about every hour when they are awake and playing.  They need to go out soon after eating, and after drinking water.  By the age of 10 or 12 weeks, the average healthy puppy can sleep through the night.  If your puppy has an accident, examine the schedule and make adjustments to prevent future accidents.
One of the most valuable tools in housetraining is the dog crate.  Intended to be used like a baby’s playpen or crib, the crate keeps the puppy safely confined when no one is available to supervise her.  Crating prevents accidents for the normal puppy, because her instinct to keep her nest clean is very strong.  Crating also prevents her from destroying your treasured possessions while she is teething, or injuring herself by chewing on or ingesting something harmful.
Your puppy should be crated at night while you are asleep, and any other time you cannot supervise his activities.  This includes times when you are on the phone or in the shower, or doing anything that prevents you from paying full attention to your puppy.  He should have an opportunity to go outside every time you let him out of his crate.
Every time you take your puppy outside, give her plenty of cues.  As you walk out the door with her, say “Let’s go outside.”  Take her to her spot, and repeat your cue phrase as she is about to eliminate. (Be sure to use a phrase that does not come up in every day conversation.  Avoid cues such as “hurry up” or “be a good dog” in favor of something more specific, such as “do your piddles.”)  When she goes, praise her enthusiastically and reward her with a very small food treat, right there on the spot.  After several
repetitions of this routine, your puppy will learn to eliminate on cue (very useful in bad weather or strange places) and learn that eliminating outside is more fruitful than eliminating inside.  After a week of this, continue to praise the puppy every time she goes outside, but reward with food on a more random basis.  In a couple of weeks, you won’t need the food reward at all.
If you find an accident, clean it up, and consider adjusting your puppy’s schedule to prevent another accident.  Punishing your puppy only teaches him to be wary of you.  If you catch him in the act and punish or correct him, he will learn to eliminate when you aren’t looking, which will defeat your training program.  If you should see your puppy circling as if he has to go, gently remind him to “go outside” and help him get to his spot where he can earn praise and a reward.
Accidents happen most frequently in the morning or evening when the puppy is out playing with the family.  It is easy to become so involved in an activity that you forget that the puppy hasn’t been outside in an hour.  If this is the case, find a way to remind yourself, such as setting a kitchen timer or alarm clock.
Unrealistic expectations are a frequent cause of problems in housetraining. On average, the bladder/brain connection is not fully formed until the puppy is about 8 months old.  If a young puppy does go to the door and “ask to go out,” his need is immediate, he must go out right away.  Some dogs never learn to ask to go out, while others learn quickly to go to the door and sit or bark or ring a bell.  Some dogs learn to use a dog door easily and go out whenever they feel the urge.  The best way to ensure success is to stick to a schedule long enough for the puppy’s body to adapt to it and get in the habit of eliminating at particular times.
Neuter or Spay
If you are not planning to enter your dog in conformation competition, neutering or spaying helps ensure successful housetraining.  Neutered males still lift their legs, but are less inclined to mark their territory (including the priceless antique chair legs and the floor-length drapes).  They are also less prone to certain cancers and prostate problems that can lead to accidents in older dogs.  Unspayed females ovulate twice a year, on average.  For several weeks before and during the heat cycle they are more prone to mark territory.  They are also more vulnerable to bladder problems that can lead to accidents.
Paper Training Is Not Housetraining
Teaching your puppy to eliminate indoors on newspaper does not lead to success in housetraining.  Dogs are place oriented, and once taught to go in a particular place on a particular surface will continue to do so.  Careless newspaper readers are liable to reach for a section they left on the floor only to find it has been used by the family dog.
If you  must confine your puppy for more than six or eight hours at a time, or if you live in a high-rise apartment with a small dog, consider using a “litter box” for your dog.  A plastic under-the-bed storage container, lid removed, filled with bark mulch will serve this purpose very well.  The mulch absorbs urine odors, and smells and feels like “outside.”   You can confine your puppy in a small room, such as a bathroom, with a baby gate, giving him enough room for a comfy bed, his water dish, and his mulch box.
This approach works well for young puppies and very elderly dogs with health problems, and is less likely to interfere with your efforts to train your dog to eliminate outside.
Scottee Meade        Burke, VA    'Tee Party Bostons
Canine Behavior Consultant
Member, Association of Pet Dog Trainers and Old Dominion Kennel Club

 Source : doglogic

Puppy Dog Training For Obedience How To Train Your Dog Puppy Properly

Puppy dog training for obedience is a topic close to the heart of dog lovers. Now, getting a new puppy in the house can be as joyous as having a new baby at home. It brings much excitement to everyone especially the kids. But you need to make sure that buying the puppy is not a decision made in haste or at the spur of the moment. Dogs are living creatures and not just gifts that need no maintenance. Though a little puppy can bring so much laughter and happiness, they do require a great deal of training and when that happens, it is not a fun thing to do. Expect work if you want to train puppy dog well.

Dogs are like human beings. They too have temperament as well. Surprised? A puppy's temperament depends on their birth place and his/her breed. So pay a bit of attention here about different breeds and their personalities in order to know how to train your dog puppy correctly. Rottweilers, bull dogs, boxers and German shepherds are guard dogs and they are born with natural instincts to love and protect their human companions. Gun dogs, pointer and Labradors are born and reared as hunting dogs. Because of their background, they are naturally energetic.

Bearded and border collies, on the other hand, being herding dogs are bred and reared on farmland, and are rather active and curious about their surroundings. They are known to love moving around and don't sit still well. You have to be a little careful when you bring them to live in cities as they may be anxious and a bit scared and nervous since they are not used to the modern environment.

Training dog puppy needs time. But do not be unduly worried as it often takes a couple of weeks before it learns dog obedience. What you need is a little bit of patience and the amount of effort you put into it. One piece of good news is you do not have to spend hours to train dog puppies as it only takes a few minutes each day over a few times. That's all it takes.

The very first task to train dog puppy is its obedience in simple commands like come, sit, heel, stay and fetch. These are easy to follow and most puppies are able to learn that quite fast. As they grow older and bigger, you can move on to include more advanced commands like rolling over, pawing and even play dead. One thing good about training dog puppies is they are very open towards learning. They are like blank pieces of paper ready to be written on. So training a puppy dog can be quite a fun experience especially when it starts responding to you.

Like kids, what they learn in their initial growing up months would be engrained in their memories. The puppy dog training for obedience would also shape their behaviors later. All it takes is a simple rule, stick with the few minutes per session routine and keep repeating as a reminder.

Puppy dog training for obedience is so important as untrained puppies can be rather mischievous. Since they are young, during their teething stage, they develop a natural chewing behavior. This can be quite damaging for your furniture as the holes they leave can be numerous in numbers. It is good to therefore start training dog puppies early so that they learn to differentiate what is wrong and what is right behavior.

Dog owners may resort to using dog training devices or products to aid puppy dog training but this is really not that essential. A little bit more of practicing and repeating the simple commands everyday would go a long way. The whole puppy dog training takes approximately a few months. Yes it may seem tough but the rewards would be great. At the end of the training, your puppy would grow up to be a loving and obedient dog that makes a great companion.

If you are keen to find out the specific commands to execute to properly teach and train your puppy, find out from my dog obedience website where you can learn some quick and effective dog obedience training techniques to train your puppy dog.

Davion is a successful author and dog lover. Learn the special 4 - day dog obedience training system which any dog owner can use to stop dog behavioral problems at Train-A-Dog-In-4Days.Etc-Now.com and make your dog as obedient as a little puppy.

Teach the Retrieve with Clicker

Here is my method of teaching fetch to a puppy using a clicker.
When my newest Border Collie (BC)  was about two months old I rolled a tennis ball and she said, yea, a ball, so what.
  • I rolled it again and she looked at it -- c/t (click and treat)  I had already taught her that the click meant a treat so she came to me for the treat as soon as she heard the click.
  • After four or five times I rolled it and didn't click when she looked at it.  She looked at it, looked at me, and walked towards it -c/t.
  • Four or five of those and I didn't c/t when she walked towards it.
  • So she walked up to it  I c/t.
  • Four or five or those and I didn't c/t when she almost touched it ---
  • so she touched it --- c/t jackpot and rolled ball again.
  • She ran up to it and touched it with her nose and ran to me for the treat ---
  • Four or five and no c/t until she moved it with her nose.
I think that you should have it by now --- slowly slowly step by slow step. She finally picked it up and I jackpotted (gave a bunch of treats).And went to bed.
Next night I planned on starting from scratch but as soon as I rolled the ball she ran to it and picked it up and I c/t and she came for the treat. We played with getting her to bring it closer and closer for awhile that evening and she finally did.
The following night, going against everything that I knew, I rolled a dumbbell about three feet from me. She ran to it, picked it up by the bell and brought it back.
For the past ten months we've been working on bringing it back by the bar and sitting front.  And waiting for the command. She has never, so far, refused to bring it back, altho it's often to heel or to a crooked front, and, in fact, must be retrained from chasing everybody else's dumbell in Open class.
Last week she chased and brought back somebody else's --- big one, too.  I made no fuss - it was my fault for not holding her tightly enough.  And I'm not about to punish her for retrieving.
She now retrieves over a jump -- about 80% of the time going over both ways ---no, actually, she always goes over towards the dumbell, but not always back. But we haven't been doing it long.  She hasn't been shown at all yet, so I figure we have time.
BTW, I also use a metal and leather article and glove now and then. I can't show her in Canada so I'm not bothering with the wooden articles. Hope this explains it.
I might add that I'm NOT convinced that a dog can be trained using nothing but the clicker, but it does seem to clarify things for them --- my timing is pretty good after all these years --- but I don't think that I could have said "GOOD" fast enough to have done it.  The clicker is sharper in sound.
I couldn't believe that in three night she went from "So it's a ball, so what," to "Here's a toy, please throw it for me"! She's as much of a nuisance asking for toys to be thrown as any of my naturally compulsive retrievers.
This was written last year for the Clicker FAQ list.  (and is still there even as we speak)
As of this point she has her UKC CDX and is still crazy for the dumbell.
Vivian Bregman and the Border Collies in Northern New Jersey
Member of NADOI & APDT

Source : doglogic

What is choke collar and how to use it properly?

Question:  What is the proper use of the choke collar??
Answer:  They are GREAT for locking gates (use a double snap)...  :-)
That was my initial flippant answer.  I think this is a better one:
I do not use choke chains on dogs.  There are many reasons but, if I was to give just one, and this is the one I use with clients, it is because if I gain control over the dog using physical force- I have control over the dog but anyone who is unable or unwilling to use the same force does not have control.
The hypothetical 90 year old lady with the aggressive Rottie coulld never gain physical control over the dog.  But, given the right 90 year old lady, and the right Rottie she could gain mental control, *influence* is the word John Rogerson uses.
I see it all the time with private clients.  The dog will do what dad tells(!) it to do (he uses physical punishment/corrections when necessary, and it works) BUT the wife has considerably less control and the kids have none.   I believe that if dad had used only as much physical and tonal (deep voice) techniques as the youngest and weakest of the family.... the dog would treat all the people in the family the same.  The 4 year old would have as much influence as dad.
Teaching the dog that "might makes right" has consequences.
Laura Van Dyne               The Canine Consultant
6283 County Road 100         e-mail:  lvandyne@rof.net
Carbondale, Colorado 81623   (970) 963-3745
      Helping Dogs and Their People Learn Together

Source : doglogic