Face Masks and Sunglasses and Hoods, Oh My!

Training TidBits

If you use a fruity mask be sure not to let your puppy lick it off your face! :)

If you use a fruity mask be sure not to let your puppy lick it off your face! 🙂

Don’t ever slack on socialization. It’s the most important part of your puppy’s training. Socialization doesn’t just include play dates with other dogs. It should include different environments, different people, other animals and all types of situations. Always be mindful and recognize things that might startle or frighten your pup. Use these things during training and set your dog up to have a positive experience with each one. Start small and build by working personally with your dog, then move towards including strangers (friends of yours that your pup doesn’t know) in your training. In a perfect world, you would introduce your puppy to 100 new people a day. If they met that many people there would be no way they didn’t get to experience all different types of people, dressed in all different kinds of ways. The variety would be amazing. 100 people a day is difficult. Very difficult. So do the best you can. Try make sure these are people that you trust haven’t been around puppies that could possibly have illnesses such as canine parvovirus! Your puppy’s health and safety is always foremost.

Dog's are nearsighted with about 20:80 vision acuity compared to our 20:20, but they are about 20 times more sensitive to shapes and motion than us. Start with a hood down, squatting close to your puppy, then pull the hood up and continue and talk to him and reward him with treats.

Dog’s are nearsighted with about 20:80 vision acuity compared to our 20:20, but they are about 20 times more sensitive to shapes and motion than us. Start with a hood down, squatting close to your puppy, then pull the hood up and continue and talk to him and reward him with treats.

Sunglasses hinder your puppy's ability to see your eyes. Since you will eventually want to wear sunglasses around your puppy you should include them in some of your training.

Sunglasses hinder your puppy’s ability to see your eyes. Since you will eventually want to wear sunglasses around your puppy you should include them in some of your training.

Try to think of everything that changes your appearance and train with it. My nightly face mask has frightened a few pups so I now work with all my puppies while wearing the mask.

Try to think of everything that changes your appearance and train with it. My nightly face mask has frightened a few pups so I now work with all my puppies while wearing the mask.

Have other people your puppy knows wear hats, coats, sunglasses, etc. and give your puppy treats and lots of praise when they approach them.

Have other people your puppy knows wear hats, coats, sunglasses, etc. and give your puppy treats and lots of praise when they approach them.

Have friends help you in many different locations.

Have friends help you in many different locations.

Be sure to include men in your training because puppies typically are more intimidated by men.

Be sure to include men in your training because puppies typically are more intimidated by men.

Include people of all ages in your socialization.

Include people of all ages in your socialization.

Ask friends to help you train by giving them treats and lots of praise for approaching them.

Ask friends to help you train by giving them treats and lots of praise for approaching them.

Share

Blinded By The Light

image

Training TibBits

A storm has knocked the power out here in Mississippi, and we’re moving about the house by way of headlamp. This situation brings up a great topic for discussion on socialization and desensitization.

Ideally, you should introduce your dog to headlamps and flashlights during a controlled training session, but what do you do when you’re thrown into the situation blind? You make it as fun and positive as possible!!

You’ll notice from the picture above that your dog is sort of blinded by the light and can’t see what exactly is coming at them. This can be disconcerting to them initially and continue to cause issues even after they know it’s you, their trusted handler. A dog looks to you for guidance and they look you in the eye. They can tell a lot about you and the situation by reading your eyes. Once they’ve been thrust into a new situation (complete darkness), with a handler that might be somewhat flustered (after scrambling about to find a flashlight after the sudden onset of darkness), they will be unsure and want to look to you for guidance (but they can’t actually see you)! To help ensure your dog has a positive experience with the power outage, shine the light towards you and call your pup to you in an upbeat voice. Give them treats and reward them with petting and lots of verbal praise. Shine the light around the room, let them smell the light and check it out, then put it on your head and proceed with praise and treats as a reward for hanging out with you and the new blinding light! You’re pup will be so excited about all the attention he will forget what he can see and can’t see! All he needs is his sniffer to find the treats!!

A Place For Everyone

place4

Place Training, Part One

Place training is one of the coolest and most useful things I’ve learned over the past few years. I was unaware of this type of boundary training before I started working at Wildrose Kennels. Mike Stewart, owner and lead trainer at Wildrose, has ingeniously created the Wildrose Way of training, and place training is at the heart of it. It’s simple, really. The dog learns to stay within a defined area for long periods of time. They don’t have to stay in a sit or a down; they can get up and stretch and rearrange, but no matter what, they must stay within the lines.

It’s easiest for a puppy, or dog, new to “place training,” to start with an elevated surface. It’s a more deliberate decision for them to step down off of an elevated surface than it is for them to walk off of a dog bed or a mat. I recommend Kuranda beds; I use these for my dogs and love them. They’re durable and easily washed with a water hose. When ordering you can choose the waterproof fabric option and if your dog is wet, or your pup has an accident, no water leaks through to your floor. The elevated bed is also great for senior dogs that have arthritis or other joint issues because it gets them off the hard floor.

You can easily transfer “place” from an elevated surface to something smaller and more easily moved by first training your dog to stay on place, and then adding the portable mat on top of the elevated surface. Once the dog has learned place on the mat, on the bed, you can eliminate the bed and use the mat on a surface of your choosing. I will cover this in a future post once Dean has progressed to that stage.

To start your puppy on place training, watch the video below. The steps are simple:

  1. Place your dog on the elevated surface of your choice.
  2. When the pup bolts off of place and takes off running (which WILL happen), pick him up and place him back on the bed.
  3. Remain quiet. There’s no need for any verbal correction.
  4. Repeat.

A few pointers:

  • Don’t stress out if it takes a little while. I can almost guarantee it will take longer for older dogs than it does puppies.
  • It’s all about consistency. Try not to let them break from place and self-reward by getting food, water, or a toy. Grab them and put them back, EVERY time!
  • Don’t leave the bed that you’re using for place training down when the dog has free roam of the house. If you do, they will choose to get on the bed, then choose, on their own, to get off. It will condition the act of breaking from place as acceptable sometimes.
  • Start small. Train in short sessions. When they decide to relax on place, reward them by releasing them and letting them have some playtime. By doing this, the dog will realize that when they bolt off of place they get put back on, but when they relax and lie down quietly, they get to get off and play. You should work on building duration over many sessions.
  • TRAIN, DON’T TEST. This is a great training “mantra” that I learned from Mike. Do NOT test your dog. Train your dog. Be in the moment, physically and mentally, while working with your pup on “place”. If you put them there and leave the room they have the opportunity to break from place and go play, undoing your previous progress.

Good luck with place training! I’d love to see how it goes for you. Post videos on my Facebook page and if you have any questions be sure to ask me there!

Check out Wildrose’s Facebook page here.

Sloane and Danner enjoy sharing a place every once in awhile!

Sloane and Danner enjoy sharing a place every once in awhile!

Ruby is using the place training cue to stay safely on the trailer. We were busy unloading four wheelers and I didn't want her to not be able to stretch her legs after our 9 hour drive, so I gave her a very large place, the entire trailer. She understands that she can move about on the trailer but cannot step off of it. Place is endlessly useful!

Ruby is using the place training cue to stay safely on the trailer. We were busy unloading four wheelers and I didn’t want her to not be able to stretch her legs after our 9 hour drive, so I gave her a very large place, the entire trailer. She understands that she can move about on the trailer but cannot step off of it. Place is endlessly useful!

Where in the world did that funny dog come from?? Brooks, a German Shorthaired Pointer, learned place in just a matter of minutes and joined the rest of the pack for the evening!

Where in the world did that funny dog come from?? Brooks, a German Shorthaired Pointer, learned place in just a matter of minutes and joined the rest of the pack for the evening!

Lola and Danner share bunk beds made by Kuranda. It couldn't be more perfect because Danner loves to jump up on his cot and Lola loves to be down under anything when she sleeps!

Lola and Danner share bunk beds made by Kuranda. It couldn’t be more perfect because Danner loves to jump up on his cot and Lola loves to be down under anything when she sleeps!

Britt loves to relax on her place after a long day of playing.

Britt loves to relax on her place after a long day of playing.

A place for everyone, and everyone on their place!

A place for everyone, and everyone on their place!

You can teach an old dog new tricks! Smokey, a 14 year old toy poodle, is learning place and Lola is showing him the ropes!

You can teach an old dog new tricks! Smokey, a 14 year old toy poodle, is learning place and Lola is showing him the ropes!

What do you mean this isn't my place??

What do you mean this isn’t my place??

You can easily tell that Callie enjoys sleeping on her place.

You can easily tell that Callie enjoys sleeping on her place.