Training Tips

What is Luring?
And How Can It Help Me Train My Puppy?

• To lure a dog into a behavior we use something the dog wants (food or toy) and encourage him to follow the lure. When the dog moves in the way we desire, the lure is given as a reinforcer. Luring is a quick and easy way to get the dog to move into a physical position.

• It can seem successful quickly, but this is an illusion. The presence of the lure is overwhelming and the dog is not thinking about what he is doing, so very little real training is taking place.

• To be effective, it must be faded quickly. Use the lure for a few repetitions, and then try to get the same behavior using the same hand motion without the lure present. Any attempt to follow your hand should be immediately marked (such as with a clicker) and reinforced (immediately with a treat or other reinforcer).

• Mix it up; do one with the lure, some without, etc, until the dog responds to the hand motion as well as the response to the lure.

My Puppy is Ignoring Me. What Should I Do?

• If your dog is not responding to you, it can be from issues you don’t see or understand. (This is how your dog views the world: Is it safe, neutral or dangerous? Is it working for me?)

• Fear, distractions, boredom can all result in inattention or the inability to respond to you.

• Try to view your dog’s world from him eyes and make adjustments so he can learn. Keep your dog successful and his motivation to learn will stay high.

• Examples that might improve your dog’s outlook: fewer distractions; better reward; make the exercise easier; take a break; make your dog feel safe; adjust the environment; change your attitude.




Homework- Ideal Puppy


Welcome! Here are the weekly handouts for many of the exercises in Ideal Puppy Training & Socialization class, plus training tips to help you be more successful. You and your dog will get out of class and training 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) and then reward with a tasty treat. Don't be stingy. Reinforce the behaviors you like and your puppy will do them more. Figure out your puppy's reinforcement for bad bahaviors and remove them so that your puppy will not have a reason to continue.

I am very happy to have you in class! Let's get started.
Mindy Cox, Training Director

Scroll down for your training handout links and training tips.

Recommended reading
We have these wonderful books in stock; please ask for your copy.

"Life Skills for Puppies" by Helen Zulch
Reader Comment: "One of greatest (if not the best) puppy book currently out there."

Helping a puppy to grow into a resilient dog, capable of coping with the challenges of daily living, and growing into a dog that is a pleasure to live with is not an easy task. This wonderful, easy-to-read book will simplify your puppy's education by presenting 10 important skills that are required to achieve these goals. This book will show you how to incorporate these important lessons into every interaction you enjoy with your puppy so that your puppy will practice appropriate behavior choices within day-to-day situations. Spend less time directing and more time enjoying your puppy. Beautiful photographs illustrate the points made.

"Way to Go! How to Housetrain a Dog of Any Age"
by Karen B. London Ph.D. and Patricia B. McConnell Ph.D.

Want to housetrain your dog quickly with few (or NO) accidents? Of course! This book will really help -- it points the way to the best method of housebreaking. This book gives a very detailed understanding of what to do and why. Addresses various factors which may differ from situation to situation -- such as small vs. large dog, puppy vs. adult, city vs. country, etc. Highly recommended, even if you've housetrained other dogs.

Socialization is an important aspect of class.

We strongly advocate proper, positive socialization experiences for your puppy. Take your pup to as many different places as possible but don't overwhelm your pup, especially shy ones. Never force your puppy to interact; we want your puppy to feel safe in every situation and with every interaction. How your puppy learns to perceive the world now influences his adult temperament.

Check out this great inforgraphic on how to socialize your puppy the right way. There's lots of super, easy to follow, important information.

Here is a great video that describes why and how you should manage your pup's critical stage of life. Please watch it now.

Read these valuable tips to increase your training success every day:
  • Remember to keep training fun for you and your dog and stop before your dog wants to. Keep your dog happy and confident.

  • 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 aggression.

  • Make a list of what your dog values most (types of food rewards, play, petting, ride in the car, etc.) so you know how to reward. Use moist, tasty treats to teach new behaviors. Once your puppy becomes good at the behaivor, use life rewards by 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.

  • Begin training at home in an environment that is not distracting. As your dog learns the exercise, slowly increase the level of distractions.

  • 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 content dog!

Class Homework

The handouts will help you remember what we did in class and help you to practice at home. We have provided this information to make your puppy rearing fun and easier, but we may not do all of the exercises listed in class.

Keep playing games that increase focus and attentions such as the Name Game and Watch. Also be sure to 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!

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.

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 help you. If you need to reach me before class, please call 561-427-6700. Please let me know by phone or email when you can't attend.

Homework Week 1

Socialization- How to do it right

Homework Week 2

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 all six positions (sit from down and stand and down from sit and stand) without your lure. Don't show the treat before the behavior occurs; give it afterward to reward the correct behavior.

Homework Week 3

Homework Week 4

Homework Week 5

Homework Week 6

Class Resources

Clicker ABCs

Management: The Key to Success

Puppy Rearing

Puppy Socialization- Positively Doing it Right!

Puppy Socialization

5 Steps To Prevent Separation Anxiety or Isolation Distress

Play the Collar Grab Game

Watch the Video: Use a Kong to Prevent Boredom and Isolation Distress

Puppy Biting

Watch the Video: Stop the Biting! Plus Body Handling tips

It's Your Choice: The Game of Self Control

Know Your 3Ds for Training Success

Watch the Video: It's Your Choice: Building Self Control

My Name Is..

My Pupppy Keeps Barking!

Teacing Your Pup Not to Jump Up

Stopping Leash Pulling

Tips For Getting Your Pup Used to Grooming

It's An Alien World- Have Some Empathy!

Tools to Keep Your Puppy Successful (and not practicing bad behavior)

Your Pup's First 20 Weeks To-Do List

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. 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.

Advanced Attention game: Show your dog a treat in one hand, and then stretch that arm out to the side. Wait until your pup looks at you and then click and reward. As he gets the idea of this exercise you can make it harder by clicking with longer attention to you.

Continue to work on It's Your Choice, Name Game, and Watch.

Shape, Targe, Lure. What's the Difference?

The following video does a great job illustrating 'shaping'. If the video below is not visible, please click here.

Continue to work on It's Your Choice (IYC). Here's how:

When you get to the point where you place a treat on the floor and you cover the treat with your hand or foot when your dog tries to get it, your dog began to understand that he got the food by leaving it alone. They will either sit, look away from the treat, or take a step back. When they do this we reward by either picking up the treat and giving it to them with permission ("take it"), or giving them a higher value treat from our hand. Then the treat was placed near your foot and the dogs got treated when they stayed sitting and did not try to get it. If they make a move toward it, you cover it with your foot. Your dog is always treated from your hand. We then up the ante by not rewarding until our dog looks at us. Next step, we kneel down and drop the treat 6" from the floor. Continue to click/treat (c/t) any correct behavior. Gradually build to dropping the treat from a greater height, then start throwing it farther away from your foot. Either give an equal or better treat from your pocket, or pick up the treat and hand it to your dog.

We can add the cue, Leave It, only when your pup is proficient at leaving a treat or toy alone without any verbal coaching from you. Say, "Pup, leave it" and present your open hand containing treats. If your pup moves toward your hand, progress like before and simply close it. Do not repeat the cue.

I play this game not only expecting my dog not to take the treat, but I also expect my dog to look at me before I will c/t. You can also teach leave it with toys; they leave it alone until you give it to them for a great game of tug, or send them to get it. Once you begin using Leave it for objects, you can also use it if you don't want your dog to pay attention to other dogs, cats, squirrels, etc.

Nothing In Life Is Free. Continue this to maintain a polite dog.

Keep practicing and learning. Continue to challenge you and your dog with new skills. Take another class. How about Focus Foundation, Nose Work, Fido Fun & Games or Puppy/Adolescent Agility Fun ? Eventually, when they are walking proficiently at your side, consider Rally.

Additional Dog Training Articles

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