Training your Dog with Positive Reinforcement

One of the most important things you can understand in the training of your dog is the concept of positive reinforcement. My name is Dr. Marika Zoll and I am by education a clinical psychologist. I am also a breeder of French Bulldogs and an animal trainer. There are many facets of training children or people in general that are very similar to the way that animals are trained. We call it behavioral psychology. It is about how our behaviors are connected to what our brains are taught.

Let’s go back to basics for a moment because I’m sure that somewhere in your early education you learned about the premise of putting your finger in the flame and how once you’ve done that and hurt yourself you will pretty much never do it intentionally again and often times even getting near the flame will stimulate a reflex whereby someone pulls their hand away so quickly that there is no chance of injury. Take a moment to remember anything that is for you either pleasant or unpleasant. If it made you feel good you usually want to do it again and if it left you feeling fear or any sort of negative feelings you pretty much want to stay away from it. Correct?

So let’s use a human child first for our example. You have a baby that is crying in its crib and the mother or the father go into the room and comfort the child by picking it up, taking him in their arms and eventually rocking it to sleep. The next night comes and the child’s put to bed and the baby cries again and again the parents actually remember how when they picked up the baby that they rocked to sleep the night before and the child went to sleep and then they had relief of the crying child. However the child has just learned for the second time that when it cries it will be picked up. This is a simple example of what we call positive reinforcement which means that something is gained by the behavior. The child cries and then it learns that it will be picked up. This positive reinforcement of the behavior teaches the child very quickly that if he cries he gets the results he wants. Funny enough the parents are also being reinforced because they are learning that when they pick up the child it stops crying.

This can become a vicious cycle because even though most parents probably deep down do understand that they really want their kid to go to sleep without the necessity for crying and cradling and rocking it to sleep, in the immediacy of the situation, relief is wanted and the parents continue to pick up the crying child night after night, week after week, month after month, and sometimes for years.

These parents eventually come seeking help from somebody like me asking what they can do, not realizing that they have themselves encouraged the entire problem. So the remedy is to un-teach this expected result from the bad behavior by NOT picking the child up. Initially for most parents this will be the four most difficult days of their lives with their new baby because they believe in their hearts that they are hurting the child somehow when it screams bloody murder. Seriously though, it takes on average four days or often less to simply re-teach the child that it can, in fact, on its own, stop crying, lay down and get comfortable and fall asleep. In fact once it has this example the child, for the first time, realizes its own abilities to take care of itself. This is the beginning of a very positive life lesson.

So how does this relate to your dog? Are you familiar with the scenario where the dogs are barking and then somebody yells at the dogs to be quiet or even walks into the room and scolds the animals to shut them up? The dog stops for a few moments, looks at you, and as soon as you leave the room the dog starts barking again. Well guess what? You just taught the dog when he barks you will come to the room and give him attention much like the parents going to the baby crying in the crib. Ultimately a stern voice in the distance but not showing your face to the dog is a better solution.

Have you ever seen the bad behavior of a small dog that is being carried around by its owner? The dog growls and snarls at people who come close to pet it in the owners arms. Or a dog snarls when someone tries to come up on the couch where it’s owner is sitting. The solution is to remove the dog from the owner rather than what most often times happens is the owner picks up the dog, scolds it while holding it but then continues to hold the dog and keep it nearby. The fault of the dog’s bad behavior is not really the dog, it’s the owner who has taught the dog that when he behaves badly he gets attention for it.

All of these examples are positive reinforcement. The animal is getting something good for his bad behavior.

So from now on when you notice the bad behavior in your dog or puppy be mindful of the fact that the very thing that you’re doing could be perceived as positive reinforcement for the bad behavior. Instead consider ignoring the animal, turning your back and walking away. Overtime the animal will learn that it gets nothing from you by behaving in that way or in fact loses the privilege of being near you, probably the most devastating thing for a dog in love with its owner.

 

Author: Dr. Marika Zoll is a clinical psychologist and breeder of French Bulldogs. Her site is http://www.frenchbulldogsla.com. She practices alternative medicine healing along with traditional preventive medicine

French Bulldog Breeders Dog Training Tips that Make Dog Walking Easy!

So let’s talk about dog training tips that attribute to walking your dog and how to make it easy and pleasant for both of you. This means for you primarily that your dog is not pulling you down the street. And this means for the dog somewhat the same, that he’s not pulling you down the street which must be choking at his neck and make things less comfortable for him. My advice to you is if you’ve got a new puppy begin by walking your puppy, preferably, without even a leash. Young puppies have an instinct to follow your ankles and if they associate your ankles with the walk this makes things much easier as the dog develops his own thought patterns later on and wants to walk someplace where you are not aware you might be slow to come too. So that’s just a pointer for little tiny puppies. Though let’s presume that your puppy is older and maybe your dog is even grown and you’re having this ridiculous issue of the dog taking you for a walk for some time now. Well, this can so easily be turned around. Are you ready for a simple answer?

 

You need to understand thoroughly the premise of positive reinforcement behavioral training. Positive reinforcement basically is that when you do something you get a result or reaction for the action. So in other words, if your dog is pulling you down the street and he keeps getting to move forward, he is being reinforced for pulling you. He’s getting to move forward on his walk. Albeit uncomfortable, he’s getting some kind of reinforcement for his behavior. He likes moving forward from point A to point B getting to where the smells are coming from, so you are, in essence, reinforcing his pulling behavior by allowing it to happen. Almost all things training related in dogs or any other kind of animal for that matter, works on the premise of positive reinforcement. It goes back to this notion that if the animal gets something good for his behavior he will keep doing it. I’m sure you can relate to the idea of rewarding the dog with a treat. Well it’s the same notion with that concept. He does something and he gets a treat! The treat can be likened to getting to move forward on the walk.

 

So the trick is to not reinforce the bad behavior. What you need to do is not allow him to pull you forward; rather you need to pull him backwards and entirely in the opposite direction. I promise, you do this for three days, whenever he’s pulling forward on the leash, you immediately turn yourself around and start pulling hard and fast in the other direction. Do this at the same time with a verbal command of “no pulling” or and “stop pulling”. Then, as soon as the dog recovers and is now basically running behind you because you want to move that quick, you then stop and give the dog positive reinforcement for his good behavior. This is given in the form of pats and cuddles and words like “good dog”, delivered in a soft and pleasant tone. You will quickly see the results of not letting the dog control the walk, but rather you control the walk by pulling against what he wants to do and very soon your dog will respond to commands of “no pulling” or “stop pulling”. There after, when you say “good dog” he will associate those words with walking close to you and at your side or behind you. Give it a try! You will be amazed, I’m sure.

Author: Dr. Marika Zoll is a clinical psychologist and breeder of French Bulldogs. Her site is http://www.frenchbulldogsla.com. She practices alternative medicine healing along with traditional preventive medicine

French Bulldog Breeders Act Responsibly

French Bulldog Breeding Ethics

My name is Dr. Marika Zoll. I am a doctor of psychology but have furthered my education in genetics and animal behavioral psychology and would love to share with you some of what I have learned. I have been breeding French Bulldogs now for approximately 8 years and can tell you that I’ve learned an awful lot and probably the most from my own mistakes that I have made. The biggest one was the first one that put me on the edge of my seat when my first litter of puppies produced six puppies seemingly healthy but one entirely deaf which we did not realize until it was four months old. It was only then that I was forced to do the research and wondered if this was entirely an accident or something that I could have controlled. I came to understand the science behind breeding together two animals that have the majority of their bodies white or missing of color. I did in fact breed together a male that was white with cream colored spots and a female that was white with brindle colored spots. I was hoping for a bunch of puppies with all kinds of different colored spots having no idea that this would be a recipe for disaster if you consider being deaf a downfall. The reason for this is that the white colored gene bonds itself to the deaf gene. This is a likely circumstance in all species of animals including human albinos and white goldfish included. Any creature that carries an abundance of white genes is also carrying deaf genes and for an unknown reason those genes are attracted to each other and travel most times in pairs. This means that when there are present white genes you have deaf genes. I hope that you remember that part in basic science class where genes are dominant and recessive and depending upon the combination two dominant genes will show its face more easily than a recessive gene. The white gene or lighter colored gene is considered a recessive gene. A dark black or brindle colored gene is considered dominant. When two dark colored creatures breed together the odds are in favor that the babies produced will also be dark unless either one of those dark breeding creatures has a parent that is of a light color which is then an indicator that the dark-colored animal is also carrying the lighter recessive color gene. So initially, understanding recessive and dominant nature of genes, I presumed that if I was breeding together two light colored dogs this would increase my chances for a light colored dog however I did not know about the combination of the light white gene color with the deaf gene. What I was also assuring myself of, then unknowingly, is a bigger chance of deafness because both parents are carrying the deaf gene in this type of a breeding situation. This being the case with six puppies in a litter my chances were increased by six times that I had the chance of a puppy retaining death genes from both the mother and father which would indeed result in deafness somewhere in that breeding.

Good breeding practices are to NOT breed together two animals that one knowingly understands could produce an animal of a less perfect quality. Breeding an animal just for money purposes when one knows that it’s possible to have a deaf offspring is, in my opinion, irresponsible and selfish behavior.

When looking for a puppy as a pet and you prefer a light colored dog it would be a good idea to always be certain that you know who the parents were and that one of those parents most definitely should have been a dark solid colored dog. If it was not and there were two light-colored dogs bred together then you must have your puppy tested for hearing.

Whether you are a breeder already or are thinking about breeding please don’t do it just for the money. Do it wisely and don’t make choices that can result in unhealthy puppies. It is these kind of breeders that gives a bad name to breeding in general and are often referred to as backyard breeders. Please don’t be one of them! Take this new found knowledge to heart and encourage good healthy puppies. Don’t just put together two white animals unless you’re certain that there is some color in the line/relatives somewhere. I don’t know how this applies to breeds that are only white such as a Maltese but in my education my understanding is that those dogs also carry the deaf gene so get your puppy tested for hearing if that’s the breeding of your choice.

 

AUTHOR: The author is Dr. Marika Zoll. She is clinical psychologist and also a breeder of French Bulldogs. You can see more of her work with dogs at her website http://www.frenchbulldogsla.com.

Flea Free

French Bulldog Breeders Trick To Get Rid Of Fleas Naturally!

I am a breeder of French Bulldogs. I bring my dogs up out in the country amongst hot summers and cool winters and I must say with confidence that we have fleas and ticks outside in the yard. So most of you probably presume that with that statement would join the remedy of on-the-spot flea treatments, to keep my home flea free. However, this is not the case! I do not use on-the-spot flea treatments after learning how incredibly toxic they are. Natural Flea Control is entirely possible. Contrary to what you would think, it’s not the thing that kills fleas that is so toxic, rather it’s what the medicine is mixed with, the inert ingredients, that are combined with the flea killer. Nowadays I can say go and Google it! Type into your search bar the phrase “What is toxic about on the spot flea medications”. You’ll have your answer there pretty quickly. In the interest of keeping this article brief just take my word for it they are and the good news is that you don’t have to use them because, despite where I live and the conditions outside and my dogs that actually wonder in and out of the house, I absolutely have no problem with fleas. My purpose here is to tell you how I do that and for you to realize that it is actually extremely simple. My magic potion is vinegar! Vinegar is actually a magic potion for more things than killing fleas but in this instance it is the answer to your question. I make a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water, and always after bathing my dogs, roughly once a month, I douse them in this solution and let them drip dry. Following that I maintain their now alkaline skin environment with regular squirts from a bottle that includes the same contents of 50-50 vinegar and water solution that I sprayed onto their crotch and their armpits nightly while hanging out in the living room. That’s it! That’s all I do! I squirt vinegar and water solution daily onto their crotch and armpits and douse them once a month with a solution following a bath and we never have a problem in our household, never ever. The only other part of my recipe that I forgot to mention is using a shampoo to bathe dog in that includes NEEM OIL and there are several on the market but my favorite is TropiClean Neem Flea and Tick Dog Shampoo available everywhere on line even at Amazon. Buy the concentrate 5:1 for your best value. It smells great and it works great in combination with the vinegar and water. So go give it a try and finally be fully flea free in your household without adding any sort of toxic ingredient to your dogs system. Natural flea control is absolutely real. Start today.

Author: Dr. Marika Zoll is a clinical psychologist and breeder of French Bulldogs. Her site is http://www.frenchbulldogsla.com. She practices alternative medicine healing along with traditional preventive medicine

Art Of Dog Walking

French Bulldog Breeder, Dr. Marika Zoll, Reflects on Dog Walking and Dogs Sense of Smell

Most people assume that the purpose of the dogs walk is to take a bathroom break or get a little exercise. But in fact the most important facets of the walk is about the stimulation of the dogs senses, his sense of smell, and the using of their brain when they detect the millions of smells and things on the ground that you nor I are ever aware of. I am a breeder and owner of French Bulldogs. I have 5 of them. I’ve talked before about the importance of exercise in an aging dog to stimulate the dog physically and that would be true, but certainly it is just as important to stimulate the central nervous system which is done so by smell for the dog. This is why I walk all of my dogs everyday, often twice a day.

I would imagine too that when my dog seems constantly hungry in the kitchen it might not necessarily mean that he’s always hungry but that he is just so stimulated from the smells in the kitchen that this is what brings him more to life than any other time.

Think of the human world and how we go out of our way to stimulate ourselves with smells via cooking or incense or perfumes or scented candles or air fresheners or cleaning products. Even our sense of smell is prevalent in our everyday activities. Now imagine that what we experience is amplified by 10 times because it has been studied and indicated that the dogs sense of smell is much more sensitive or stronger than ours. So if your dog is just lying around sleeping in his bed how does this stimulate him other than that he’s getting some rest. Typically the lack of activity can’t be a great thing if it’s too much and also what is he getting to smell there in his bed unless you start cooking something up in the kitchen. In the same way that bodies can be kept younger by exercise it could also be true that the brain remains sharper and younger when it is exercised and smelling things stimulates the senses which is stimulated by the brain so an older dog or any dog for that matter is having its brain stimulated when it gets to smell things.

A dog that isn’t feeling well when a piece of chicken is put to its nose will be nonreactive which is how you will know that your dog really is sick. Otherwise the dog in this deep slumber, whereby you put a little something smelly in front of its nose, that could even be an old bone, the dog will perk up its ears and stand up and come right back to life.

So the next time you’re feeling lazy and your dog hasn’t had a walk yet today think about how your day would’ve been if you’d had a stuffed up nose all day and the inability to smell any wonders of the world in just that one day alone and maybe that will be enough of a kick to your butt to put on your jacket and walk out the door.

A bonus point is you, yourself, can even muster up some exercise out of the whole deal. Don’t under estimate the importance of stimulating your own senses. When you are feeling groggy the next time, instead of thinking about a nap, grab a leash and take the dog out for a walk. Maybe this time think less about the dogs sniffer and more about walking faster. This will trigger endorphins in your own brain and be a better “pick me up” than any cup of coffee. I know the feelings. I also know how hard it is at this point to do the exercise. But maybe if you can use the dog as that extra thing that makes a difference in your choice, then go for it! You love the dog. The dog loves you. Go make some Art of the walk.

Author: Dr. Marika Zoll is a clinical psychologist and breeder of French Bulldogs. Her site is http://www.frenchbulldogsla.com. She practices alternative medicine healing along with traditional preventive medicine.

What Is The Nature Of A French Bulldog?

The Nature Of French Bulldogs

This article is about nature versus nurture in humans and animals: meaning- are you who you were born to be or is it the nurturing that you got through your life that turned you into who you’ve become. An example might be: were you born with a temper because you are Italian or did you learn to have a temper? The answer to that, by the way, is, in fact, that you learned to have a temper by observation of someone in your life having a temper. But that’s for a whole other conversation. Right now I want to concern our thoughts with the idea of nature versus nurture in regards to dogs and ultimately you should feel more comfortable with breed descriptions.

When talking about dogs some statements might be somewhat true like that there are terrier breeds that Bark more than other breeds or that Chihuahua’s seem to shake easily or that a Labrador or a Golden Retriever loves to swim and we can also add to that list that French Bulldogs are extremely social and there isn’t a person that they don’t like. But despite the fact that we could say that a French bulldog is an extremely social breed, is it not possible to also say that other breeds couldn’t learn to be nurtured to be more social? I had Shetland sheep dogs growing up and they would run and hide whenever strange people came around.

Back to humans for a moment because in fact much of what we learned about humans is carried over to animals including specific medications given to animals that have been only tested on humans and then seem just sort of work on animals in the same way. I speak from my own experience as I have a dog that takes medications for its heart that were never tested on animals and are daily prescribed to humans. All that being said the twin studies or the triplet studies with humans have the most to say about nature and nurture in creatures that are brought up in different environments yet born from the same parents. After 25 years of living separately, separated at birth, triplets brought back together for study were noted to have an astonishing amount of similar traits. These traits included things like the way that they dressed, the music that they preferred, the names of the women that they married and what they looked like, the kinds of perfume that they preferred and whether they were outgoing or introverted and so on.

I was at a dog park yesterday, where I had never been to before, with a French bulldog puppy, age 5 months, that I was delivering to her forever home Owners. I walked around there the only French Bulldog for a while. Then progressively others arrived and suddenly there were six French Bulldogs and it was fascinating to see that the French Bulldogs all gravitated towards one another. Would you say it’s because they recognize that they look alike or would you say that perhaps like people we are attracted to energies that are similar to our own? Sometimes our curiosity is roused by something entirely different but the truth is, the friends that we choose, the people we hang out with to do the things we like most to do, we all have many traits in common. So I see this same kind of thing happening with dog,s that similar dogs are attracted to one another and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I could only prove this to you if I again and again set up a scenario similarly were I would bring similar dogs into a common environment over and over and take note of how the similar dogs start to group up together. The point here really is just that energy attracts like energy. I’m sure you’ve heard about the condition of “manifestation” and how to create what you want by thinking about it. Well that’s all about energy and therefore people that have similar energies are attracted to each other and animals that have similar energies seem to be attracted to one another. The point is though, as this article began, that we were questioning is if this is something they are born with or is it something that they are taught. I am here to say that it something that is inborn and therefore one can develop a preference for a certain breed of dog based on the inherent nature of the animal which, in this case, French Bulldogs, is that they are an extremely social breed with people, perhaps sometimes more likely to have an alpha nature, but not certainly always, just maybe more often than not, and with this in mind, when brought up special consideration should be given to the fact that French Bulldogs can be bossy and therefore you don’t want to reinforce this behavior because it could get worse. Remember about time – outs when your puppy is a brat!

If you are thinking about getting a dog for the first time or the second time, whatever it is, just be mindful that the dog that you get is more than what it looks like. Do your research and read descriptions about the nature of different dog breeds. Natures are very specific to the breed and if a French Bulldog interests you at all you need to know that it is definitely a more lazy dog. It is often a very funny dog with dance like “Hello” antics. It very loyal everyone (easy to jump in a strangers car) never being hostile towards people. It will sometimes be skeptical of other dogs and then from there you can train your dog to bloom in certain areas like deterring it from aggressive bossy behavior by never reinforcing the bad behavior.

 

Author: Dr. Marika Zoll is a clinical psychologist and breeder of French Bulldogs. Her site is http://www.frenchbulldogsla.com. She practices alternative medicine healing along with traditional preventive medicine.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate: Animal Poison Control

Chocolate is poison for dogs.  A stimulant called THEOBROMINE which is similar to caffeine, can cause heart and nervous system injury, organ dysfunction and death in dogs.  The general rule of thumb is that the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is for dogs. The following are the toxicity levels of the different kinds of chocolate:

MILK CHOCOLATE: one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is toxic.

SEMI SWEET CHOCOLATE: much stronger than milk chocolate; one ounce is toxic per 3-6 pounds of body weight.

BAKERS CHOCOLATE: much stronger than semi sweet chocolate; one ounce is toxic per 10 pounds of body weight.

COCOA BEANS: the strongest and most toxic chocolate; one ounce of ingested cocoa beans are toxic per 33 pounds of body weight.

Never forget that chocolate is EXTREMELY TOXIC and DEADLY in high enough quantities. Do NOT give any chocolate, in any form to your dog for any reason.

The other day I met a live victim. A yellow lab named Milo had a diagnosis of Pancreatitis. The owner informed me her dog had eaten a pound of chocolate. By the time they discovered the chocolate wrappers under the table, so much time had already passed that it was too late to reverse the organ damage that had been caused by the toxic chocolate. Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common symptoms, but in this case no symptoms presented until the following day after they had found the chocolate wrappers. All they knew to do then was to GO TO THE VET. Of course it was the weekend, an evening, and time passed because there were no symptoms to be alarmed by initially. Whenever you discover that your dog has ingested chocolate, or any other dangerous substance you must do two things immediately.  These steps are listed below, and if they had been performed on Milo, they could have quite likely saved his now permanently injured pancreas.

To be safe, if you expect that your dog has ingested something toxic, with the exception of caustic and/or chemical substances such as bleach, you should always attempt to induce vomiting. The following is an outline of primary medicine cabinet remedies for poison control in dogs:

Animal Poison Control number ONE remedy is:

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. Give your dog 1 teaspoon of Hydrogen Peroxide per 10 lbs of body weight. Use a syringe to squirt it directly down the throat or soak it into a small piece of bread and feed.  This should induce vomiting within 20 minutes. If the vomiting doesn’t start you can re-give the dose, but only ONE MORE TIME.  I have never had a case in which the hydrogen peroxide DID NOT cause the dog to vomit, but it your dog does not vomit after the second dose, you must take them IMMEDIATELY TO THE VET.  Vomiting will solve most issues if you are able to get to the dog in time. A dog’s digestive track is short and easily vacated with vomiting, so long as the vomiting is started quickly. If you wait more than two hours, the dog will produce little vomit. When you dog finally vomits, you need to inspect the contents. Do you see lots of chocolate or whatever else you suspect? Garbage? Plants?

Animal Poison Control number TWO follow up remedy is:

FOLLOW the Hydrogen Peroxide with ACTIVATED CHARCOAL CAPS. There is no exact dosage per dog weight, but the charcoal is 100% harmless to your dog and it can only help in this situation. Don’t be afraid to give them too much charcoal, as it is not possible. I generally give two tabs to my 30 pound dogs. I have French Bulldogs.  Just like your water filtration system contains charcoal to absorb toxins in the water, putting charcoal in your dogs stomach will absorb toxins and remove harmful side effects of toxic foods. CHARCOAL TABS also work extremely well for upset stomach and indigestion in dogs.

In summation, if you are ever in doubt about what your dog has consumed or if you know for sure your dog has eaten chocolate, INDUCE VOMITING immediately and follow with the ACTIVATED CHARCOAL TABS.

Remember if you do not successfully see your dog vomit then GO TO THE VET. Of course, if you are ever in doubt about anything, GO TO THE VET.

AUTHOR: Dr. Marika Zoll is a clinical psychologist and breeder of French Bulldogs. Her site is http://www.frenchbulldogsla.com. She practices alternative medicine healing along with traditional preventive medicine.

Barking and Your Puppy – eBook Chapter 6 & Conclusion

Barking and Your Puppy

When dogs bark it makes them feel powerful and in control of the things that surround them.  However, as we all know, barking can be a nuisance that must be controlled in order to keep a happy dog, a happy household, and a happy community.  By training your puppy to ‘speak’ on command they will be much less likely to bark without being instructed to do so.  Barking can be viewed as a dog’s warning system, so they will bark when they are in need of something such as to be let out to potty, to eat, or to warn your of a disturbance. This behavior should be rewarded, provided the barking is minimal and appropriate. This will teach your dog that barking once or twice to warn you will get them affection, but excessive barking will be ignored.

Dogs should never be left outside unattended. You might think that this is a viable solution while you are away at work or running errands, but the truth is that even leaving your dog alone in a fenced yard will make them feel anxious. Anxiety in this situation may cause your dog to bark excessively or develop other behaviors such as digging or finding other ways to escape the yard.

An easy way to manage dog barking is to understand why the barking is taking place to begin with. Most people experience the problem of a dog barking whenever someone walks by the front window or door.  This occurs because dogs are inherently territorial. When a dog barks at someone approaching your window or door, they are simply trying to scare the ‘intruder’ away. Any person walking by your house will continue to walk because they are obviously not scared of a barking dog when the dog is inside a house or fence. However, your dog will not understand this concept. The dog will think that because the person walked away, they must have been scared of their barking.  In your dog’s mind, this only reinforces the idea that barking works, so the behavior will continue.

The best way to manage barking behavior is to teach the puppy that baring does NOT work. You will need the help of your friends who your dog is not familiar with in order to teach him not to bark when strangers approach. To accomplish this, simply have these people walk by your house when the dog is looking. When the dog starts barking they should stop in their tracks and simply stand in front of the house. Your dog will realize that the barking is not scaring the ‘intruder’ away, but also that someone standing on the sidewalk is not a threat.

Training a dog not to bark can be tricky and difficult, especially since dogs are generally a great warning system to announce uninvited intruders. There is a very fine line between teaching your dog to behave, yet allowing the dog to remain protective of you and your home. When the puppy exhibits behaviors that are meant to protect you, your family and your home. When your puppy exhibits protective behaviors you should reward them. They will quickly learn the difference between unwanted behavior and allowed protective behavior.

In Conclusion…

Now that you have taken the time and spent the money to get a new puppy, you must take the time to train them. A well trained dog makes a happy home. You should note that your dog doesn’t have to know a bunch of tricks nor do they have to be perfect. You are probably not training a show dog or a service guide dog, so there is no reason to stress out about making them behave perfectly.

You should try to focus your energy on key behaviors such as housebreaking, walking on leash, and responding to standard commands such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’ and ‘down.’ As you get to know your dog you will quickly find out what their strengths are and will be able to expand on those behaviors along with managing the unwanted behaviors.

Most puppy training can and should be done on your own inside your home. There are dog training classes that you can take to help you get started, however they are only the beginning of the training process.  Training requires continued attention and behavior in order for you to train the best possible dog for you, your new puppy and your family.

Walking Your Puppy – eBook Chapter 5

Walking Your Puppy

Training your puppy to walk on a leash can be a challenging task. It will be in the dog’s nature to wander off and inspect everything that crosses their path, but this instinctual behavior does not lead to a pleasant walk for you.  As the “alpha” you must help the dog strike a balance between the dog’s natural instinct to explore and walking on leash in a controlled manner.

The first thing that must be done is to purchase a leash with an appropriate length for the size and weight of your dog along with a nice heavy duty collar.  Some people opt to use a harness while the puppy is still small to better control the dog’s instinct. The use of the leash and collar or harness will allow you to best control your dog in a safe and effective way while remaining humane and loving. Choker collars, however, are NOT recommended as they are likely to harm the dog.

One important step to consider is making sure your dog does his ‘number two’ business before you leave home for your walk. If the dog learns that the walk is time to use the potty, you will always be stuck carrying bags to clean up after your dog.  You should teach the puppy to potty in a certain area of the yard. To be safe, always carry a bag with you on the walk, but not having to use it makes for a more enjoyable walk for you.

Training your dog to walk on leash can be very time consuming and will require you to be patient. Don’t expect your first walk to be long in distance, as it is a training session that requires a lot of stopping and starting to show the dog how things must be done.

Training Your Dog to Walk On a Leash

 

  • Select a side of your body you will want the puppy to walk on, and demand that the puppy always walk on this side. Keep in mind that this behavior will eventually stick with your puppy, so make sure you are comfortable with the position of the leash and your arms.
  • Take a few steps, but stop them abruptly when they begin to pull on the leash. Make them sit and reward them with praise and restart.
  • Every time the puppy pulls on the leash, repeat the above step. It is quite likely that you won’t get very far and will have to stop and start many times.
  • You can allow your dog to veer off of the beaten path, but only if they do not pull the leash or attempt to smell things. Your puppy may wish to ‘mark’ with their urine along the walk. This behavior is normal and acceptable, so long as it does not become constant.
  • When the puppy stays on pace with your walking speed and keeps to your side praise them with a treat.
  • Along your walk you may come across other people or dogs and your puppy might become anxious, pull or bark. Reassure your puppy that he is okay with affection, but if they get too anxious or excited have them sit and wait for the people to pass by.
  • Children are usually always interested in puppies and it is in your best interest, as well as your dog’s best interest to teach them how to properly interact with children. You must always be in control of this situation. When allowing others to pet your dog, make the dog sit and behave while they do it, as this will reduce the possibility of the interaction getting out of control.
  • Walk your dog at least two times per day or more while the puppy is still young. This acclimates the dog to walking with you on the leash and helps them expel unused energy in a healthy way.

As the dog grows up you may consider allowing them to walk off leash. If you choose to do this, use a tremendous amount of caution, especially when there are cars present. Even the most well behaved and trained dogs can be unpredictable, and you never know when something may cross their path and derail their current behavior. Because of this, walking a dog off leash in an unsafe or unsecured area is generally not recommended.

 

…Stay tuned for chapter 6 “Barking and Your Puppy”

How To Train Your Puppy – eBook Chapter 4

Clicker Training Your Puppy

Training your new dog with a clicker is hands down the easiest and most reliable way to teach them appropriate behavior. The reasons that this method works so well is due to its focus on positive force free reinforcement rather than punishment. The task of clicker training is very simple, as it requires using a simple clicking sound when the puppy behaves the right way, followed by some type of treat or reward.

Clicker training has been used for many years on a widespread list of animals including, but not limited to birds, sea animals such as whales and sea lions, bears, jungle cats, and domestic dogs and cats.  For all of the animals being trained with a clicker, the process remains constant. A verbal command is given, followed by a click when the action is performed.  Eventually, the click is no longer required, as the animal will simply perform the requested task. This is referred to as conditioning.  You are conditioning the dog to do the things you want him to do, but avoid negative unwanted behaviors. The clicker is simply a means to help train the dog; it doesn’t perform the training on it’s own. However, it should be noted that using a clicker over other forms of traditional animal training has been proven to reduce the amount of time necessary to train the animal by about 30%.

As far as cost and acquisition is concerned, a clicker can be purchased at any pet store for a few dollars each.  It is recommended that you purchase a few clickers and keep them on hand at all times during the training process. You should be prepared to teach every member of your family how to use the clicker to teach and reward positive behavior to the dog. In addition to the clicker, remember to carry a supply of treats to be given during the clicker training.  The treats will help speed up the clicker training process.

This type of training can be used to teach and reward all kinds of behavior. The following is an example of how to teach your puppy to sit using the clicker training method. Teaching a dog to sit is the backbone of helping your dog understand who is in charge and how they should behave to get your attention.

Training Your Puppy To Sit With A Clicker:

  • Select a cue word or phrase along with a hand motion that will go along with it. ‘SIT’ is always a good choice, for obvious reasons. Your hand motion could be an open hand with your palm facing down, or a pointer finger pointing down at the puppy.
  • Give the dog the command and the hand motion at the same time. This will need to be done multiple times until the puppy actually sits down. You should be prepared to gently and calmly assist your puppy by placing his bottom on the ground.
  • Once the dog sits, press the clicker and then follow the sound immediately with a food treat. The sound of the clicker alerts the puppy that he has done the correct thing. The dog will hear the cue, sit down, hear the click and receive a treat.
  • Repeat this training with the dog regularly for several weeks. The puppy will not actually understand the command right off the bat and will need this done repeatedly until the connection with the verbal cue and the action is made.
  • After many days of clicker training have been performed, don’t always reward the dog with the food treat. In exchange for the food treat, give the dog verbal praise and positive attention. The dog will need to learn that he must always perform the requested behaviors, even in the absence of food.
  • After the conditioning has set in you will be able to command the behaviors and get the dog to perform them without the clicker OR the food treats. As long as your visual cues remain consistent, the puppy will learn very quickly to respond to your visual cue, even in the absence of the verbal cue.

Clicker training can be used to teach your dog all kinds of behavior in addition to the simple ‘SIT’ command. You can teach your puppy to lie down, go into the crate, come when called, calm down, and even to heel when walking with the use of a clicker. All of your training needs can be accomplished without ever resorting to punishment, unkind physical force or any other demoralizing behavior. When your dog behaves well he will be rewarded with affection and a food treat, and when he does not behave well, simply ignore the dog all together and the behaviors will soon disappear.

Puppies are like sponges in that you can pretty much train them to do anything you want. You can train your dog to ring a bell to notify you that they need to go potty and even train them to sit next to their full food bowl until you give them verbal permission to start eating. Always remember that the more time you spend training your puppy, the more they will enjoy learning these new things in order to please you.

A well behaved dog is a happy dog! Get out there and start clicker training today!

…Stay tuned for chapter 5 “Walking Your Puppy”