Behind Closed Doors

Training Tidbits – Teaching Your Dog to Wait Patiently Before Exiting the Crate

Having a dog that understands they can’t barge out the crate door every time it’s opened is precious. It can potentially save their life by giving you the opportunity to put a leash on them and potentially keep them out of the street.

It’s such an easy and quick thing to teach your dog, and there’s an opportunity for training literally every time you get your dog out of the crate.

Here’s the low down:

  1. Open the crate door.
  2. If your dog begins to walk out shut the door before he reaches it. *Try not to slam their little face with the door!
  3. Wait quietly until he sits down then open the door again.
  4. Repeat until the dog waits patiently then release him with your exit cue. I use the word, “out.”
  5. Reward lavishly!

Check out the quick video below to watch Dean learn to wait patiently before exiting and to see Lola and Danner showing how this skill is useful!

 

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

Dogs are Social Learners

Allelomimetic behavior is an instinctual inclination hardwired in animals to follow and mimic others in their social group. This tendency is useful when you’re training puppies because they are genetically programmed to copy behaviors of older dogs in their pack, including humans. It becomes useful when introducing puppies to potentially scary objects or situations, when teaching a pup new tricks such as sit and down, and when training a recall. If you have a reliable older dog, use them to your advantage! Let them help train the new kid!

Danner and Dean demonstrate this in the video below. Danner loves the vacuum cleaner and actually wants to be vacuumed himself. This comes in handy because it helps me get some of the hair off of him before he sheds it all over my house. Since it’s a convenient thing for me, and Danner loves it, I want all my dogs to enjoy this activity. Even if you don’t want to vacuum your dog, they don’t need to be afraid and anxious when you vacuum the house, so socialization to the vacuum is essential.

Puppies will not only copy other dogs in their “pack” but also the humans. If your puppy is distracted by something or running away in a direction they shouldn’t go, just grab one of their toys and run the opposite direction while talking to them in a pumped up, excited voice. The puppy won’t want to miss out and will run after you. If you don’t have a toy, just run and look like you’re having a blast. If you can grab a stick, grab one and run while tossing it around. There are a lot of options that can distract your pup and entice them to follow you! Be sure not to say the word you will use for recall until they are actually in the middle of running to you. If you say the word when they’re distracted or still running the other direction they will learn to associate “here” or “come” with running away from you. When you have the pup’s attention and they’re chasing after you, say “here” or whatever word you choose for recall, then reward them graciously when they get to you.

These are just a few examples of how you can take advantage of the social learning tendencies of dogs. Don’t stop there. Be creative! There are tons of things you can do with your new pup that include your old friends, and they’ll be doing a lot of the training for you!

 

 

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.

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Blinded By The Light

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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!!