So it was a Sunday afternoon and I was scanning through Netflix to find a movie I could watch with my pet dog. After much indecision and a struggle between animated cartoons ( my pet frenchie loves watching some of these ) and a movie, the one we finally settled down to watch was called A Dog’s Purpose.
Directed by Lasse Holstrom written by Bruce Cameron and thrice nominated this movie has many adorable dogs for its central canine character. The storyline of the movie follows a dog soul ( following the belief that all living creatures have an inner soul) through its many dog lives and the relationships with many owners or pet parents. Reincarnation and circle of life are both underlying themes throughout this movie which makes it a perfect chicken soup for the soul. I have not enjoyed crying during a movie so much since I saw Julia Roberts Eat Pray Love. It is cathartic to watch the two deep spiritual messages underlying this movie’s Hollywood feel-good flick plot. It could also be viewed as several short snippets or stories of humans and their pet dogs and the unique bond the dog soul shares with one particular owner. In each life, the dog soul carries something with him into the next life. So then what was the dog’s purpose you think? Well keeping in mind that each soul even doggy souls have a purpose to fulfil in their life I would say it was to provide companionship, love, and loyalty to their pet parents and in particular to help one struggling pet parent to find satisfaction and completeness in love.
The dog’s soul goes through many different lifetimes in the movie. Since a dog’s life span is much lesser when calculated in human years, seven dog years make one human year from the first lifetime to the last, in each lifetime irrespective of gender, looks or pet parent, the dog soul in different dog bodies brings…
to each of his or her pet parents. It shows the strength and courage of the pet and parent bond that we share with our pets.
In the first life the dog’s soul is born in a ditch as a stray puppy and it’s a short life as animal control takes him away and gases him along with the other stray dogs they have collected.
Without going too much into the afterlife or what happens after death the dog’s soul is reborn. The afterlife is simply a dark blank screen for a few seconds. The doggy soul’s second life he is born as a golden retriever to a doggy breeder but does not want to be in a cage and runs away when he is still a pup. He is picked up and put into a truck by a passing man who locks him up inside with the windows up and is in the verge of death by heat exhaustion in the truck when he is rescued by a lady and her son Ethan who name him Bailey. So Bailey is then a pet to Ethan who grows up to be a youth with a promising football career until an accident injures him and kills his chances of football scholarship and a football career. This is one of the dog souls favorite lives and this owner named Ethan the one his bond is strongest with. The accident destroys Ethan’s spirit and Ethan grows old to be a bitter lonely old man. Much before that Bailey lives to a ripe old age and passes away of an old age ailment when Ethan is a young college man.
The story is not over yet and the dog soul returns to Ethan being his owner towards the end of the movie in a beautiful caring way.
The third life of the doggy soul is that of a German Shepherd a police guard dog named Ellie and in this life she saves the life of her police officer trainer pet parent and a little girl from drowning. Her companionship is invaluable to the lovely police officer who handles her.
The next life of the doggy soul is that of a welsh corgi with his owner a college student named Maya and he is named Tino. He lives a full peaceful life with Maya through her youth and with her family and kids as she grows older and thanks her for one of his best life’s ever before he dies once again of an old age ailment. He loves Maya and her family and ya deeply loved by them in return.
The last life of the doggy soul in the movie is as a St. Bernard Australian shepherd mix breed. His owners are an abusive and negligent couple who keep him chained up in their tiny backyard all the time. He grows up from puppyhood chained like that to watch that was very cruel. He escapes from those owners and that life to walk past a dog park with a human there a lady with a child that has a very familiar cherished smell of the dog soul. He follows these humans he smelled at the park to meet Hannah his first owner Ethan’s high school sweetheart. He then finds( through his memories of his first life on Ethan’s farm ) his way from Hannah to his first owner Ethan’s doorstep and starts to live with him and unites Hannah and Ethan. Ethan calls him Buddy. The dog Bailey or Buddy brings faith and love back into his first owner Ethan’s life by bringing his long list college sweetheart Hannah back into Ethan’s life. The movie ends after Ethan and Hannah are married and Buddy in his special way lets Ethan know he is the same Bailey.
It may be difficult for some to sympathize with the story, some may find it too whimsical or others may just love it but all in all it’s a great family film.
Buddy and Bailey leave you filled with hope and faith in the mysterious loving ways of the universe.
I am a french bulldog breeder in LA and if you want to see my dogs please visit my homepage.
Last year alone, almost 20 million dogs were lost because their owners did not have the proper identification. Even something as simple as a collar tag can help you be reunited with your dog in the event that they are picked up by a stranger.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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”
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”
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Dr. Marika Zoll
Ojai, CA, 93023