Who is Training Who?
Training is a two-way street:
Buddy is just as involved in training you as you are
in trying to train him. The trouble is that Buddy is
already a genius at training you, a skill with which
he was born. Put another way, a dog comes into the world
knowing what is to his advantage and what isnt, and
hell do whatever he can to get what he wants. You, on
the other hand, have to discover the skills of training
him, just as we had to.
One of these skills is figuring out how to recognize
when youre inadvertently rewarding behaviors you may
not want to reinforce. Begging at the dinner table is
a good example. When Buddy begs at the table and you
slip him some food, he is training you to feed him from
the table. You need to ask yourself, Is this a behavior
I want to encourage? If the answer is no, then stop
doing it, no matter what.
Most dogs eventually ignore commands that dont lead
to tangible consequences. When he responds to a command,
reward him by praising him. If he chooses not to respond
to a command he has been taught, correct him.
Now look at another situation: Buddy has taken himself
for an unauthorized walk through the neighborhood. Youre
late for an appointment but dont want to leave with
Buddy out on the streets. You frantically call and call.
Finally, Buddy makes an appearance, happily sauntering
up to you. You, on the other hand, are fit to be tied,
and you let him know your displeasure in no uncertain
terms by giving him a thorough scolding. You now need
to ask yourself, Is this the kind of greeting that will
make Buddy want to come to me? If the answer is no,
then stop doing it, no matter what.
Here are two examples of how your dog is training you:
1. Buddy drops his ball in your
lap while youre watching television and you throw it
2. Buddy nudges or paws your elbow when youre sitting
on the couch and you pet him.
Buddy has trained you well. Is there anything wrong
with that? Not at all, provided you can tell him to
go lie down when you dont feel like throwing the ball
or petting him.
Knowing Your Attitude
One of the most important aspects
of training is your attitude toward your dog. During
training, you want to maintain a friendly and positive
attitude. For many people, maintaining this attitude
can be enormously difficult because frequently they
dont start to think about training until Buddy has become
an uncontrollable nuisance. Hes no longer cute and cuddly,
he has become incredibly rambunctious, everything he
does is wrong, and he certainly doesnt listen.
Don't train your dog when you're irritable or tired.
You want training to be a positive experience for your
dog. If you ever get frustrated during training, stop
and come back to it at another time. When youre frustrated,
your communications consist of no, bad dog, how could
you do this, and get out and stay out. Youre unhappy
and Buddy is unhappy because youre unhappy.
A better approach is to train him with firm kindness
so both of you can be happy. An unfriendly or hostile
approach doesnt gain you your dogs cooperation and will
needlessly prolong the training process. When you become
frustrated or angry, the dog becomes anxious and nervous,
and is unable to learn. When you feel that youre becoming
a little irritable, stop training and come back to it
in a better frame of mind. You want training to be a
positive experience for Buddy (and you).
This excerpt is from Dog
Training for Dummies by Jack and Wendy Volhard.
Homework- Focus Foundation •
Here are the weekly handouts and my advice for each of the 6-weeks
of your Focus Foundation class. You and your dog will get out
of it what you put into it. Practice what you've learned every
day but keep it fun. Turn training into a game. Ask your dog
for something (such as a sit or down) before giving something
that he or she wants, such as a game of tug, dinner, a ride
in the car, a chance to go outside, some time on the sofa with
you, etc. Think of more things your dog likes and values and
use them as rewards.
Probably the single most important concept for you to know and
remember is that training is all about building a relationship
between you and your dog and providing or controlling consequences
for the dog. It's important to remember that all animals
repeat behaviors they find rewarding. Behaviors that
are not rewarding in any way will fade and eventually extinguish.
Dog-friendly training works by reinforcing
desirable behaviors with praise, treats and
play. Undesirable behavior is either not rewarded,
prevented from being self-rewarding through
appropriate management of the environment,
or redirected into an incompatible activity
that can be reinforced by something the dog finds valuable.
(such as the use of time-outs), when indicated,
are used to instruct rather than to punish
the dog and are never physically painful or
emotionally abusive. The main consequence when
your dog makes a mistake and chooses the
wrong behavior should be the removal of the
This training outline is an approximation of the order of the
exercises. Depending upon the class we may do some things earlier
I am very happy to have you in class! Let's get started.
Mindy Cox, B.S., CPDT-KSA
This was your orientation without your dog.
It was nice meeting all of you! Please be sure
to read the handouts at the back of your packet
to remember what to bring for next week's class.
Please be prepared! Don't remember what to
bring? Here is a list of the items
to bring to class -click here to bring
up the list.
Here is your homework
1. Find your dog’s favorite rewards (what does
he value the most?)
2. Begin Nothing For Free- ask for a sit or
other behavior for all interactions (Dog:“Why
should I?” Human: “Because I make all good
--Reward with food, toy, or life rewards (ex, going outside)
3. Start “loading” the clicker- click then
treat; repeat 20x for 2-3 days. This video
will help you do that.
Watch the video: Getting Started With The Clicker
--Begin using the clicker to mark “sit” and
“down”. Ask for a sit and as soon as your dog's
butt hits the ground click, then treat.
--Remember our clicker practice the first night. Return your treat hand to the neutral position (at your navel or behind your back) after you have treated. Don't move it until after you click for the behavior you want to reinforce.
Watch this short video to understand the elements
of good dog training and get great results:
Watch the video: Creating Good Training Skills
4. Reward eye contact, either inside, outside
5. List negative and positive interactions. Decrease the
one and increase the other.
6. Before comiong to class next week, be sure
to read the second paragraph for WEEK TWO
homework, below, about increasing your success
in class each week (hint: start at your car).
Watch the video: Ping Pong Game on the mat. You
will use this game when you attend Week Two to keep your dog calm and focused.
8. Watch the short videos
to learn the difference
between luring, capturing
What is luring?
Teach using the capture method
Teach using the shaping method
Target, Lure. What's the Difference?
Dog Training Do and Don't pictorial
In Life Is Free: Easily fit training into your life
This is your
first week in class with your dog. Be sure to bring everything
that was on the list including treat pouch, clicker, high-value
treats (lots of them cut up pea size), mat, proper collar and
leash (no pinch, or choke collars; no retractable leashes); stuffed
Kong, toy, water bowl. Please come to class each week prepared
To increase your dog's attention and success
this week (and every week), consider the class
beginning as soon as you park your car.
your treat pouch filled with treats and on you
before you exit your car.
--Open the car door for
your dog and say your dog's name. When he or
she looks at you, treat.
--Release your dog from
the car and repeat his/her name. Reward.
to ask for and reward attention every 5 to 8
steps as you approach and enter the building.
--After finding a seat, immediately put down your
mat and begin to drop treats on it. (Watch the video listed in Week One, above, The Ping Pong Game.) What a great
It may seem a little chaotic at the beginning
of class tonight since this is a new environment
with lots of distractions. You will notice that
the more distractions, the harder you have to
work on getting your dog to do things that he
or she does well at home. That's why I ask you
to bring extra special treats such as chicken,
hot dogs, cheese, etc. cut up into tiny pieces
(we will use a lot of them in class). Next class,
please start gaining your dog's attention by
playing Find It! or the Ping Pong Game (off the mat in this context) as soon as you start to walk
toward the front door of Lucky Dog. If you see
another dog, give it space as there may be some
dogs that are a little reactive to other dogs.
Either back up quickly and call your dog to you
( use a happy voice and be generous in your
rewards), or stop and continue to play one of
the attention games.
Here are some training tips:
• Remember to keep training fun for you and your
dog and stop before your dog wants to. Keep your dog happy and
• Catch and reward your dog being successful and stay positive.
Ignore the times your dog is unsuccessful.
• Rewarding positive behavior will build
trust and improve your relationship. Punishment erodes
the relationship and in some cases may cause
• Make a list of what your dog values most (types of food
rewards,play, petting, ride in the car, etc.) so you know how
• Begin training at home in an environment that is not distracting.
As your dog learns the exercise, slowly increase the level of
• Break training into small steps.
• Plan ahead. Have your tools ready before you begin (such
as clicker and treats).
• Reinforce highly to maintain a positive attitude.
• Multiple short sessions are better than one long session
(boring and tiring!). There are moments of training opportunities
all during the day.
• Play and training should be indistinguishable to your
dog. They both should be fun!
• Don't be afraid to act silly sometimes. Your dog will
enjoy your playful attitude.
• Be sure your dog gets lots of exercise and environmental
enrichment. A tired dog is a happy dog!
How awesome your dog behaves and responds is totally up to you.
The amount of motivation, ambition, and standards you have will
reflect in your dog's level of training and attention to you.
We will continue to learn a lot over the course of the class.
You will be amazed how much your dog can learn in six short
Please keep me informed if you have any questions or I am not
covering the things you are most interested in. I am here to
serve you. If you need to reach me before class, please call
561-427-6700. Please let me know by phone or email when you
Watch the Video: Name Recognition
the Find It Game
Watch the Video: Play
the Find It Game (This is a good video to show the steps; just add the cue "Find It" before tossing the treat)
and Use of Rewards
Your Dog to Come
It's Your Choice: The Game of Self Control
Creating a Reinforcement Zone
the Name Game to achieve that whiplash turn, even with distractions.
The Find It game will help your dog to check back in with you
and is great when your dog is very distracted. Reward your dog
when he or she offers you attention without you having to ask.
When you ask your dog for a stay, be sure to use the release
word you have chosen; it's not ok if your dog makes the decision
when to get up. Maintain your criteria!
Still luring (getting your dog in position using a treat in
your hand)? It's time to make the leap, trust your dog, and
stop! You don't want a dog that will only listen to you when
you have a treat in your hand. Also, place your treat pouch
behind you. Don't make the treats so obvious.
Adding the verbal cue: If your dog is completely
understanding your commands and doing it the
first time asked when you use the hand signal
without luring (without a treat in your
hand), start adding in the name of the cue
(such as "down"). Say
the cue, "Fido, down", pause, then show him
what you want with your hand signal. Then click
and treat. (Say it, Show it, Pay it.) After
many reps you will see him respondng to the
verbal cue before you have a chance to help
him with the hand signal.
Passive Attention: Don't forget to keep rewarding when your
dog chooses to look at you. The more you reinforce it the more
often your dog will think it's valuable to check in with you.
Training and Name Recognition
Teach Your Dog to Lie Down
Working on Duration
Finished! Release Cues
Leash Walking: Part 1
Leash Walking: Part 2
Building Success with the 3 Ds: Distance, Distraction and Duration
to practice loose leash walking (which takes lots of practice
Continue to work on Find It, Leave It, Name Game, and Watch.
Add distractions to your stay exercise.
If you are practicing at home consistently, you should now notice
that your dog is already making lots of progress. If you don't
understand any concepts we've gone over, please be sure to let
me know. Either give me a call or email me so that I can explain
anything you're unsure of. Many of you are successfully getting
your dog's attention at the beginning of class when they were
distracted. Nice work! Next week, please work on that as soon
as you get there with your Find It game and Watch. Then ask
for relaxation on your dog's mat.
By now you should not be using a treat to lure into
a position. If you still are, please phase it out quickly. Work
on moving into different positions (sit from down; down from
sit) without your lure.
We are now adding distance to the stay exercise. Be sure not
to go too fast too soon. Keep your dog successful. That might
mean making it easier by not going so far away, or coming back
and rewarding sooner. If your dog keeps getting up when you
move away, start by just moving your feet in place. Then take
a half step back and return immediately and reward. If you train
in a logical, step-by-step fashion your dog will learn without
Continue to work on It's Your Choice
(IYC). We also want
your dog to understand that it is not only
used for ignoring treats.This can be a very
valuable skill for your dog to know for so
many things in life where he has to make decisions,
such as not running out of an open door, waiting
to exit the crate, politely greeting someone,
and waiting for permission to take a toy or
eat his dinner.
Keep track of your pet's progress so you will know if you are
going too fast or if you can add in more challenges. If your
dog does an exercise correctly 5 out of 5 times you can make
it slightly more difficult. If he or she is right 3 or 4 out
of 5 times, keep doing what you're doing until it's close to
perfect. If your dog is only correct one or two out of five
times, you need to make the exercise easier.Always strive to
keep your dog successful so training stays fun and motivating.
Clicker: You should be fading out the clicker for the skills
your dog has mastered such as sit. The clicker is used to teach
new behaviors; it's not needed for skills your dog knows well.
Rewards: It's also time to start using a variable rate of reinforcement.
What this means is that instead of treating every time your
dog does something that you ask for (and that he has mastered)
you will treat in a more unpredictable fashion. Definitely reward
when your dog delivers outstanding behavior such as a super
fsst down or something done in a very distracting environment.
Don't move to variable rewards too soon, but once your dog is
reading for this reinforcement schedule, he will actually perform
Going for Distance.
In Life Is Free: Check out this infographic
a Fun Game
after your dog successfully completes two or multiple cues in
a row such as sit, down, sit..
Here are exercises to work on:
Ready...ready...Go! (holding dog back with hand on his chest)
and release to some treats that are several feet away. When
the treats are consumed, call your dog back to you. This should
be high energy and fun. You can also release to a toy and play
a game of tug (be sure you get to the toy quickly so that your
dog does not play keep away.
Recall with Treat game: With dog in front of handler, toss treat
about three or four feet to one side. Call dog immediately after
he eats treat. When dog comes back to handler, click and toss
treat to opposite side. Continue quickly from one side to the
other. Variation: toss treat and call dog. As he turns to come,
handler turns and runs (keep eye contact). Let dog catch up
and c/t (click/treat). Again, keep the game fun and stimulating.
Advanced Attention game: Show dog treat in hand, stretch arm
out to side. Do it with offered attention: wait until dog looks
at handler; to begin with click as soon as you get an eye flick
to your face. As he gets the idea of this exercise you can make
it harder by clicking with longer attention to you.
Fewer Treats, More Life Rewards
Video: Ideas on Changing Problem Behaviors
now your dog should be doing some great stays and not moving
until you release. As you know, the stay exercise has three
components: duration, distance, and distraction. Let's put them
all together! When you are moving away from your dog, be sure
to go back and reward his great stay often; don't always move
away and then call. Your dog will begin to anticipate this and
will start self-releasing.
Putting It All Together
In Life Is Free #2: Keep practicing! There's always time
to train if you incorporate it into your life.