Sunday, 18 November 2012

Why don't clients see improvements with behavioural modification plans?

There is a common statement that clients will often make in their first consultation or I will over hear at shows, in pet shops and at the park etc that "nothing has worked for their dog". That their behaviour could not be changed or that the training they were given was incorrect, of a low standard, their dog is too naughty or doesn't listen.

Whilst there are some behaviours that are very hard to change, all behaviours can be altered in some way to some extent. These changes are very possible but they require a few things from the people training them.

  • A desire to change the behaviour in their dog that is strong enough that they will change their own lifestyle and routines and of course the ability for the owner to do this. 
  • A dedication to changing the behaviour that will last as long as the dog lives.
  • Hard work and practise.  

Whenever you try to change behaviour it takes time, regular practise and the dedication to keep practising for as long as it takes. In some cases this will be forever.

Having recently embarked on training my dog a new discipline that I have never before attempted and also making the decision that in order to do this I will need to get fit it has really been made clear to me why so many people fail to change their dogs behaviours to the extent they desire.

Training to get fit takes real dedication, committing to regular exercise, forever. Pushing yourself harder and possibly changing your routines and diet to fit with your new way of life. Without this you will not get fit, or you will get a degree of fitness but not what you could ultimately achieve. Of course there is also the fact that if you stop training you will again become unfit.

Training a dog to perform the required behaviours really well also takes all these things. The bigger change you require the more dedication it will take. The things that are required are:

  • Real dedication to run through training exercises and situational training every day. 
  • To train in alternative and new behaviour that is incompatible with the behaviour you want to change or stop. To keep that behaviour strong by practising it every day.
  • To proof the new behaviours so the dog will do them regardless of how hard the situation they find themselves in or what ever distractions are thrown at them.  
  • To be ready change personal routines and those of your dog, your expectations for your life with the dog (i.e. that it wont be the easy ride you had anticipated), to realise that the changes you make and the training you commit to will be life long.
In short many people do not or cannot dedicate enough resources to altering their dogs behaviours and thus do not make the improvements they seek. Whilst the right advice and coaching cannot be ignored, it is only effective if the advice and techniques are followed and more importantly practised. 

A great trainer will guide a client through these processes, explaining what is required, talking about how to make changes, what solutions are possible. Teach the client how to train the dog so they can practise, teach the client coping mechanisms for when things don't go to plan. Showing the client how to build on successes and improve the behaviour all the time till the client feels safe, happy and in control.  Make sure they motivate and inspire their clients to keep going because the persistence of trying with the right techniques and support is essential. 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Don't Jump on My Guests or Me!

Teaching your dog not to jump up is about being consistent. I regularly see people telling their dogs to get off or down - the main problem is that this gives the dog attention every-time they jump - reinforcing the behaviour. Ignoring jumping can be really difficult as jumping up often hurts or can really knock the person the dog is jumping at.

DID YOU KNOW? - If you randomly reward a behaviour it becomes stronger than if you reward it all the time. Thats why jumping up, counter surfing and begging are so hard to break ... someone in the dogs life is 'sometimes' rewarding the behaviour. Thus randomly rewarding it - making it stronger still.

In this Video Emily Larlham shows you how to train the dog not to jump in the first place by rewarding the dog quickly and regularly for having four feet on the floor. She also puts the treat on the floor to stop the dog looking up for the reward.

Pay attention to the need to reward BEFORE the dog has jumped. This means you always need to be prepared whist teaching it, have treats ready in places around the house, by the front door inside and out, and always on your person when out and about. Remember keep some rewards up occasionally once trained (thus randomly rewarding this new feet on the floor behaviour, making it stronger!!).

When you don't have time or effort to train the dog don't allow them to jump at people by having them on the lead and standing far enough away your dog cannot make contact with people should he jump. Make sure people do not speak to him if he is leaping about on the lead. You can also put him in his crate or another room or garden if you have people round and you don't feel like training him the whole time. Sometimes you will also have guests of a certain type and it is not appropriate to train the dog with them there.



Sunday, 29 July 2012

Puppy Biting - Ian Dumbar


Puppy Biting is Normal, Natural, and Necessary!





Puppy biting seldom causes appreciable harm, but many bites are quite painful and elicit an appropriate reaction—a yelp and a pause in an otherwise extremely enjoyable play session. Thus, your puppy learns that his sharp teeth and weak jaws can hurt. Since your puppy enjoys play-fighting, he will begin to inhibit the force of his biting to keep the game going. Thus your puppy will learn to play-bite gently before he acquires the formidable teeth and strong jaws of an adolescent dog.


Forbidding a young puppy from biting altogether may offer immediate and temporary relief, but it is potentially dangerous because your puppy will not learn that his jaws can inflict pain. Consequently, if ever provoked or frightened as an adult, the resultant bite is likely to be painful and cause serious injury.
Certainly, puppy play-biting must be controlled, but only in a progressive and systematic manner. The puppy must be taught to inhibit the force of his bites, before puppy biting is forbidden altogether. Once your puppy has developed a soft mouth, there is plenty of time to inhibit the frequency of his now gentler mouthing.


Teaching your puppy to inhibit the force of his bites is a two-step process: first, teach the pup not to hurt you; and second, teach your pup not to exert any pressure at all when biting. Thus the puppy's biting will become gentle mouthing.

Puppies bite. And thank goodness they do! Puppy play-fighting and play-biting are essential for your puppy to develop a soft mouth as an adult.

Teaching your puppy to inhibit the frequency of his mouthing is a two-step process: first, teach your puppy that whereas mouthing is OK, he must stop when requested; and second, teach your pup never to initiate mouthing unless requested.

No Pain

It is not necessary to hurt or frighten your pup to teach her that biting hurts. A simple "Ouch!" is sufficient. If your pup acknowledges your "ouch" and stops biting, praise her, lure her to sit (to reaffirm that you are in control), reward her with a liver treat, and then resume playing. If your pup ignores the "ouch" and continues biting, yelp "Owwwww!" and leave the room. Your puppy has lost her playmate. Return after a 30-second time-out and make up by lure-rewarding your puppy to come, sit, lie down, and calm down, before resuming play.

Do not attempt to take hold of your pup’s collar, or carry her to confinement; you are out of control and she will probably bite you again. Consequently, play with your puppy in a room where it is safe to leave her if she does not respond to your yelp. If she ignores you, she loses her playmate.

No Pressure

Once your pup's biting no longer hurts, still pretend that it does. Greet harder nips with a yelp of pseudo-pain. Your puppy will soon get the idea: "Whooahh! These humans are soooo super- sensitive. I'll have to be much gentler when I bite them." The pressure of your puppy's bites will progressively decrease until play-biting becomes play-mouthing.
Never allow your puppy to mouth human hair or clothing. Hair and clothing cannot feel. Allowing a puppy to mouth hair, scarves, shoelaces, trouser legs, or gloved hands, inadvertently trains the puppy to bite harder, extremely close to human flesh!


Should a dog ever bite as an adult, both the prognosis for rehabilitation and the fate of the dog are almost always decided by the severity of the injury, which is predetermined by the level of bite inhibition the dog acquired during puppyhood. The most important survival lesson for a puppy is to learn bites cause pain! Your puppy can only learn this lesson if he is allowed to play-bite other puppies and people, and if he receives appropriate feedback.


For more detailed information about bite-inhibition exercises, read our Preventing Aggression booklet and watch the SIRIUS Puppy Training and Biting DVDs. Both are available on-line from www.amazon.com. If you feel you are having any difficulty whatsoever teaching your puppy to play-bite gently, seek help immediately. To locate a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) in your area, contact the Association of Pet Dog Trainers at 1-800 PET DOGS or www.apdt.com. 

Puppy Biting - Emily Larlham


This video is on how to stop your puppy biting you. 

The technique of clicking the absence of biting was shown to Emily by her mentor Kyle Rayon, who is one of the most amazing and innovative trainers, though she is very modest!



Dogs use their mouths to interact with their environment, so it is normal for a puppy to want to bite your hands or clothes. However in our society it is highly inappropriate. To train a puppy to stop using their mouth when interacting with humans is simple. All you have to do is set up training scenarios where your puppy would normally start biting and train an alternate response- calmly sitting, lying down, standing, or walking with a closed mouth. First you would start with the least arousing game- so simply just a reaching hand. As you reach, click or say "yes" and then feed a treat. As the puppy is successful you can progress to more and more arousing stimulus.

You should not allow your dog to be man handled or petted roughly. Petting should not only be rewarding for the human but for the dog as well. However at some point in your dogs life, someone might get to your dog before you can stop them and be overly rough. You can prepare your dog for these situations by playing training games. But when these situations do occur in real life, respect your dog, and get them out of the stressful situation. Do practice handling exercises for grooming as well as vet visits regularly...

Tips-

These exercises should only be done by ADULTS. As children can actually TEACH dogs to find mouthing and biting fun.

If you want to work with your child as the distraction, have your puppy with you on leash while you control all interactions. Making sure to end the game if the puppy is getting too aroused. 

(Once your puppy is good at these games you can also teach your child how to appropriately interact with your dog under your supervision. Miranda)

Put your puppy on leash and tether him to a door so that you can escape him if you make a mistake by progressing too quickly and elicit mouthing.

If your puppy starts mouthing you during the training games it means you have gone too far too quickly- go back a step and make the game easier.

Make sure your puppy can always back away from you, so they don't feel trapped or forced when being handled. This is because they could start learning to bite out of fear or stress.

If you have an adult dog or adolescent dog that is mouthy watch my Handling Shyness video.



If you must rough house with your dog- have a structured game where you hold a toy in each hand that the dog can bite. Never allow your dog to bite your hands when playing. If you feel teeth the game ends. Always have a cue to start and end the game, and never reinforce the dog for starting the game on his own.


Travelling With Your Dog in A Car



Dogs traveling in cars

Travelling with your dog usually involves more than putting the them in a car and driving off, especially if you will be driving long distances or be away for a long time.
If your pet is not accustomed to the car, take it for a few short rides before the trip. This can help keep your pet from becoming nervous or agitated, and may lessen the effects of motion sickness. If, after a number of practice trips, your pet continues to cry excessively or becomes sick please contact Miranda or Jeff. 
Buckling up is an important safety precaution for your pet. Restraints have several advantages. They help protect pets in case of a crash, and they keep pets from running loose and distracting the driver. They also keep pets from escaping the car through an open window or door. Cats and smaller dogs are often most comfortable in crates or carriers, which can be purchased in various sizes. Crates give many dogs a sense of security and familiar surroundings, and can be secured to the car seat with a seat belt or a specially designed carrier restraint. There are also dogs restraints available that can be used without carriers, including harnesses, seat belt attachments and vehicle barriers. No matter what kind of restraint you use, be sure that it does not permit your pet's head to extend outside the car window. If pets ride with their heads outside the car, particles of dirt can penetrate the eyes, ears, and nose, causing injury or infections. Excessive amounts of cold air taken into lungs can also cause illness.
While packing for your trip, remember to throw in a few of your pet's favourite toys, food and water bowls, a leash, and food. You should also carry a first aid kit for your pet and know basic pet first aid. If your pet is on medication, be sure to have plenty for the trip, and then some.
Stick to your regular feeding routine while travelling, and give your pet its main meal at the end of the day or when you've reached your destination. It will be more convenient to feed dry food if your pet is used to it. Dispose of unused canned food unless it can be refrigerated. Take along a plastic jug of cold water to avoid possible stomach upset the first day, as new areas can have minerals or bacteria in their water supply that pets need time to adjust to. Give your pet small portions of both food and water and plan to stop every two hours for exercise/loo trips.
Remember that your vet is a good source of information about what your pet will need when travelling. Consider having your pet examined before you leave as well, to check for any developing problems. Have your current vet's phone number handy in case of an emergency. Also, be sure to travel with a copy of your pet's medical records, especially if the animal has a difficult medical history.
Find hotels, bed and breakfasts, and campsites that accept animals and book them ahead of time. Learn more about the area you will be visiting. Your vet can tell you if there are any diseases like heartworm or Lyme disease and vaccinations or medications your pets may require. If travelling outside of the UK your pet may require a pet passport. A health examination following your trip should be considered to determine if any internal parasites (roundworms, hookworms, heartworms) or external parasites (ticks, fleas) were picked up in contaminated exercise or wooded areas.
To avoid losing your pet during a trip, make sure your pet is wearing an i.d. tag. To be doubly protected, consider having your pet tattooed or having a microchip implanted.

Barking by Ian Dumbar


Some dogs get extremely worked up when visitors ring the doorbell, or when dogs walk by the house. Some spaniels and terriers bark at the drop of a hat. And our good friend Larry Labrador will bark whenever a leaf falls from a tree three roads away. Barking is as characteristically doggy as wagging a tail or burying a bone. It would be inane and inhumane to try to stop your dog from barking altogether: "You’ll never bark in this town again!" After all, some barking is extremely useful. My dogs are much more efficient than the doorbell and much more convincing than a burglar alarm. The goal then, is to teach dogs normally to be calm and quiet but to sound the alarm when intruders enter your property. The barking problem may be resolved to our advantage by management and education: first, immediately reduce the frequency of barking before we all go insane; and second, teach your dog to "Woof" and "Shush" on cue.

Reduce the Frequency of Barks

Dogs bark the most right after their owners leave home for the day. The easiest way to immediately reduce woof-frequency is by exclusively feeding your dog from hollow chew toys. Each evening weigh out and moisten your dog’s kibble or raw diet for the following day. Squish the gooey food into hollow chewtoys (Kong products and sterilized bones) and put them in the freezer overnight. In the morning, give your dog some frozen stuffed chewtoys. Your dog will spend well over an hour extricating his breakfast from the chewtoys. And if your dog is busying himself with chewtoys, he will be lying down quietly! 


Here is a video on stuffing toys:










Do not leave an excessive barker outdoors. Garden-bound dogs are exposed to many more disturbances and their barks more easily penetrate the neighborhood. Leave your dog comfortably in a single room (away from the street) with a radio playing to mask outside disturbances. If you have been leaving your dog outside because he soils or destroys the house, housetrain and chewtoy train your dog so he may enjoy indoor comforts when you are away from home.


Teach "Woof" and "Shush" On Cue

It is easier to teach your dog to shush when he is calm and focused. Therefore, teaching your dog to "Woof" on cue is the first step in "Shush" training, thus enabling you to teach "Shush" at your convenience, and not at inconvenient times when the dog decides to bark. Moreover, teaching "Shush" is now much easier because your dog is not barking uncontrollably—barking was your idea!
Station an accomplice outside the front door. Say "Woof" (or "Speak," or "Alert"), which is the cue for your assistant to ring the bell. Praise your dog profusely when he barks (prompted by the doorbell); maybe even bark along with your dog. After a few good woofs, say "Shush" and then waggle a tasty food treat in front of his nose. Your dog will stop barking as soon as he sniffs the treat because it is impossible to sniff and woof simultaneously. Praise your dog as he sniffs quietly, and then offer the treat.

Repeat this routine a dozen or so times and your dog will learn to anticipate the doorbell ringing whenever you ask him to speak. Eventually your dog will bark after your request but before the doorbell rings, meaning that your dog has learned to bark on command. Similarly, your dog will learn to anticipate the likelihood of sniffables following your "Shush" request. You have then taught your dog both to speak and shush on cue.


Over repeated "Woof" and "Shush" trials, progressively increase the length of required shush-time before offering a food reward—at first just two seconds, then three, then five, eight, twelve, twenty, and so on. By alternating instructions to woof and shush, the dog is praised and rewarded for barking on request and for shushing on request.


Remember, always speak softly when instructing your dog to shush, and reinforce your dog's silence with whisper-praise. The more softly you speak, the more your dog will be inclined to pay attention and listen (and therefore, not bark).


Teach Your Dog When to Bark

Invite a dozen people for afternoon tea to teach your dog when, and when not, to bark. Instruct your visitors (some with dogs) to walk by the house a number of times before ringing the doorbell. When the first person walks by the house, it will take all of your attention to keep your dog shushed. But persevere: it will be easier when the same person walks by the second time, and again easier on the third pass by. Eventually your dog will habituate and will no longer alert to the same person's presence in the street. Profusely praise your dog and offer treats for silent vigilance. Repeat reinforcement for quiet vigilance several times on subsequent passes by. But when the visitor starts up the garden path, eagerly and urgently say "Speak! Speak! Speak!" Praise your dog when he woofs, and then instruct him to sit and shush at the front door while you welcome the visitor. If your dog exuberantly barks and bounces at this point, simply wait until he sits and shushes and then praise and offer a treat. Have the visitor leave and come back a number of times. Eventually, your dog will greet him by sitting in silence. This procedure becomes easier with each new visitor. Your dog soon learns to watch passersby in silence and to give voice when they step on your property, but to sit and shush when they are invited indoors—a trained neighborhood watchdog, which even non-dog-owning neighbors will welcome on the street where they live.

If you require a more detailed description, read our Barking booklet. To teach your dog to be calmer and bark less, you will need numerous stuffable chewtoys. To teach your dog to "Woof" and "Shush" on cue, you need some liver treats. All of these products are available from your local pet store or on-line from www.dogwise.com. BEHAVIOR BLUEPRINTS from www.jamesandkenneth 

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Crazy Dogs - Curing Jumping Up and Hyperactivity


Puppies are naturally noisy and hyperactive. 
Puppies are exuberant when greeting, playing, and when expressing friendliness and appeasement. 


However, adult dogs are noisy and hyperactive because they are untrained and have unintentionally been encouraged to act that way. For example, eagerly jumping puppies are petted by people, who later get angry when the dog jumps up as an adult. The dog's only crime? It grew!


Sadly, adult dogs receive considerable abuse for expressing their enthusiasm and exuberance. For example, "The Trainers from the Dark Side" recommend teaching a dog not to jump up by shouting at the dog; squirting him in the face with water or lemon juice; swatting him on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper; yanking on the dog's leash; hanging the dog by his choke-collar; squeezing the dog's front paws; treading on his hind paws; kneeing the dog in the chest; or flipping the dog over backwards. Surely these methods are a bit cruel for a dog that's just trying to say hello. Indeed, in the words of Confucius, "There is no need to use an axe to remove a fly from the forehead of a friend." Why not just teach dogs to sit when greeting people?

Sit and Settle Down

Train your puppy or dog to come, sit, and lie down. Simple instructions such as "Sit" and "Lie down" are extremely effective solutions for nearly all doggy activity problems. Rather than telling the pup "No, no, no!" and "NO!" for everything she does that annoys you, simply ask her to lie down, and then praise and reward her for doing so. If she lies down obediently, she cannot run around the living room, chase her tail, chase the cat, hump the cat, jump on the furniture, jump up and down in the car, run out the front door, or chase and jump on children. Lying down and most behavior problems are mutually exclusive; your dog cannot lie down and misbehave at the same time. Take the initiative and direct your puppy's behavior by teaching her to lie down on request.


Rather than feeding your puppy from a bowl, weigh out his kibble in the morning and use individual pieces as lures and rewards during oodles of five-second training interludes throughout the day. Practice in every room of the house, in the car (while stationary), and on walks. Pause every 25 yards and instruct your puppy to perform a series of body positions: for example, sit- down-sit-stand-down-stand. Within just a couple of days you'll have a totally different dog.

Be smart. Be kind. Teach your puppy (or adult dog) to settle down and shush when requested and how to greet people in a mannerly fashion. Both dog noise and exuberance may be controlled and channeled into appropriate outlets.

Simple reward training methods work wonders with out-of-control adolescent and adult dogs. Hold a piece of kibble in your hand but don't give it to your dog. Stand perfectly still and give no instructions; simply watch to see what your dog does. Characteristically, the dog will run through his entire behavior repertoire. Your dog will wiggle, waggle, circle, twirl, jump-up, lick, paw, back-up, and bark...but eventually he will sit or lie down. Praise him and offer the piece of kibble as soon as he sits (or lies down—your choice). Then take a gigantic step (to reactivate Rover), and stand still with another piece of kibble in your hand. Repeat the above sequence until Rover sits immediately after you take each step and then begin to progressively increase the delay before offering the kibble. Maybe count out the seconds in "good dogs"—"Good dog one, good dog two, good dog three, etc." If Rover breaks his sit while you are counting, simple turn your back on him, take a three-second timeout, and repeat the sequence again. In no time at all you will be able to count out 20 "good dogs" as Rover sits and stays calmly, looking up at you expectantly.

Move from room to room repeating this exercise. When walking Rover, stand still every 25 yards and wait for him to sit, then praise him and continue the walk. After handfeeding your dog just one meal in this fashion indoors and on one long walk with sits every 25-yards, you'll have a calmer and much more attentive dog.

Jumping Up

Jumping up deserves a special mention because it is the cause of so much frustration and abuse. Right from the outset, teach your puppy to sit when greeting people. Sitting is the obvious theoretical solution because a dog cannot sit and jump up at the same time. However, it may initially be difficult to teach your dog to sit when greeting people because he is so excited that he doesn't hear what you say. Consequently, you will need to troubleshoot his training.

First practice sits (as described above) in locations where your dog normally greets people, e.g., on-leash outdoors, and especially indoors by the front door. Then invite over ten friends for a dog training party. Today your dog's dinner will be handfed by guests at the front door and by friends on a walk. After eventually getting your dog to sit to greet the first guest, praise your dog and have the guest offer a piece of kibble. Then ask the guest to leave and ring the doorbell again. In fact, repeat front-door greetings until your dog greets the first guest in a mannerly fashion three times in a row. Then repeat the process with the other nine guests. In one training party you will probably practice over a hundred front-door greetings. Then ask your all your guests to leave one at a time and walk round the block. Put your dog on leash and walk around the block in the opposite direction. As you approach each person, instruct your dog to sit. Praise him when he does so and have the person offer a couple of pieces of kibble. After five laps, you will have practiced 50 sidewalk greetings. Now your dog will be ready to sit to greet bona fide guests at home and strangers on the street.

Put Doggy Enthusiasm and Activity on Cue

To be fair to your dog, make sure that she has ample opportunity to let off steam in an acceptable fashion. Sign up for flyball and agility classes. Play fetch with tennis balls and Frisbees and do yo-yo recalls (back and forth between two people) in the park. Formalize "crazy time"—train your dog to jump for bubbles, or play "tag" and chase your dog around the house. And maybe train your dog that it is acceptable to jump up on cue—to give you a welcome-home hug.

To learn more, read Doctor Dunbar's Good Little Dog Book and our HyperDog booklet, available on-line from www.amazon.com.  Reprinted by www.dogstardaily.com with permission of Dr. Ian Dunbar and James & Kenneth Publishers, behavior blueprint by Dr. Ian Dunbar

Leaving Your Dog Home Alone


Your new puppydog needs lots of attention (companionship, education, and play), but also to be taught how to entertain himself appropriately and how to thoroughly enjoy his time when left at home alone. Otherwise, a social vacuum can be a very lonely place.

Puppies and dogs predictably develop housesoiling, chewing, digging, and barking problems if allowed too much freedom and too little supervision and guidance during their first few weeks at home. Puppies and newly adopted dogs may become overdependent if allowed unrestricted access to their owners during the initial time in their new home. Overdependent dogs often become anxious when left at home alone, and they attempt to adapt to the boredom and stress of solitary confinement by busying themselves with doggy activities—chewing, digging, barking—which soon become owner-absent behavior problems. What else is there to do? Severely stressed dogs may work themselves up into a frenzy and spend the day circling, pacing, and panting.


A Special Place
Dogs are den animals, and they value their own special place — a place for peaceful retreat, a methodical chew, or even a snooze. A doggy den (a collapsible and portable dog crate and dog bed) is an ideal training tool. Apart from its obvious uses for transporting dogs by car, train or plane, a crate may be used for short-term confinement when you cannot supervise your puppy—to keep him out of mischief and prevent him from making housesoiling, destructive chewing, and digging mistakes. In addition, the crate may be used specifically to create good household habits: to housetrain your puppy; to establish a hard-to-break chewtoy habit; to reduce excessive barking; to prevent inappropriate digging; and to foster confidence and calmness.
Right from the outset, when you are home, regularly confine your pup for "little quiet moments" in his dog crate in order to teach household manners and imbue confidence. Then your dog can look forward to enjoying a lifetime with the full run of your house, whether you are home or not.
Teach Your Puppy to Enjoy His Doggy Den
A dog crate is really no different than a child's crib, playpen, or bedroom. The first item on the agenda is to teach your puppy to thoroughly enjoy spending time in his doggy den. Stuff your puppy's first meal into a hollow chew-toy, tie the chewtoy inside the crate, and leave the door open so the pup may come and go as he pleases. Praise your puppy while he chews the chewtoy and supervise the puppy if he leaves the crate. Once the pup has settled down for a quiet chew, you may close the crate door. For your pup's second meal, put the stuffed chewtoys inside the crate and shut the door with the puppy on the outside. Once your puppy worries at the crate to get to his dinner, let the puppy enter his crate and close the door behind him. From now on, always give your puppy a stuffed chewtoy when confining him to his crate.

Teach Your Dog to Teach Herself
When at home, always confine your puppydog with a variety of hollow chewtoys stuffed with kibble and treats. Confining a dog to a crate with an attractive chewtoy is like confining a child to an empty room with a video game. This is called autoshaping. All you have to do is set up the situation, and your dog will automatically train herself. Each treat extricated from the chewtoy progressively reinforces chewing chewtoys and settling down calmly and quietly. Your dog will soon become hooked on her chewtoy-habit, leaving very little time for inappropriate chewing, digging, or barking. And if your puppydog is happily preoccupied chewing her chewtoy, she will fret less.
Your pup will soon learn that confinement is for a short time—and an enjoyable time.

Home-Alone Dogs 
Need An Occupation

Preparing dogs for inevitable periods of solitary 
confinement—and specifically teaching them
how to occupy their time when left at home alone—is the most pressing humane consideration for any new puppy in any household. Every dog requires some form of enjoyable occupational therapy. Vocational chewtoy chewing is the easiest and most enjoyable solution.
Dogs are crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk), and so it is pretty easy to teach them how to calmly pass the time of day. During your puppydog's first few days and weeks at home, regularly confine him to a crate with stuffed chewtoys. Prepare the pup for your absence when you are present. When at home, it is possible to monitor your pup's behavior when confined for numerous short periods throughout the day. Your puppy's first impressions of an established daily routine create an acceptable and enjoyable status quo for years to come. Remember, once your puppy is confident, independent, and trained, he may enjoy free range of your house and garden for the rest of his life. 





To learn more, read Doctor Dunbar's Good Little Dog Book and our Home Alone booklet, available on-line from www.amazon.com.  Reprinted by www.dogstardaily.com with permission of Dr. Ian Dunbar and James & Kenneth Publishers, behavior blueprint by Dr. Ian Dunbar

Dogs and Kids

There are lots to think about when it comes to kids and dogs, needless to say precautions must be taken but wonderful relationships can also be forged between everyone in a family and the family pets.

Below is the most amazing resource when it comes to dealing with children and dogs and babies and dogs:

http://familypaws.com/

If you have any further questions please get in touch with Miranda or Jeff.

Miranda runs private family sessions where all family members (from the very small to the very old) can learn how to train and interact appropriately with the family canine. She is also very happy to have families and children in her general classes.

Office : 01243 697202 , Mobile : 07958522732, Email : miranda@sussexcountydogtraining.co.uk

Digging Doggies!


Dogs Don’t See Your Problem



Dogs consider digging to be a perfectly normal and natural doggy activity. In fact, terriers consider digging to be their very reason for being. It would therefore be fruitless to try to stop your dog from digging altogether. Prevention and treatment of misplaced digging focus on management and education: preventing your dog from digging in inappropriate areas and redirecting your dog's natural digging-desire to a suitable area.



Prevent Digging in Your Absence
When you are away from home, keep your dog indoors. When you are at home, try your best to accompany your dog outdoors to supervise and teach garden rules.Housesoiling, destructive chewing, and hyperactivity are the most common reasons why dogs are relegated to unsupervised, solitary confinement in the garden, where they predictably learn to bark, dig, and escape, and become over-excited whenever let indoors.


Digging for Freedom or Boredom 

Some dogs dig to escape because they cannot bear the boredom and anxiety of solitary confinement in the garden. Escaping is exceedingly dangerous for your dog's health. So if you decide to leave your dog in the garden, make the garden more interesting and be sure to fix the fence. Also make sure your dog has a cool resting place in the summer and warmth in the winter. Teach your dog to dissipate digging energy with other activities. Make sure your dog is well exercised (psychologically as well as physically) and entertained, and thus has no need to dig to escape from the garden. Teach recreational diggers to become recreational chewers. If your dog is busying himself with a chewtoy, he has little time to dig. Consequently, chewtoys stuffed with breakfast kibble are the best objects to leave indoors, or to bury in your dog’s digging pit. You must teach your dog how to entertain himself outdoors. This means your dog needs chewtoys outside, too.

Redirect Digging to a Digging Pit
Since you consider your dog’s choice of digging locations to be inappropriate, choose a location to your liking and teach your dog to dig there. Build your dog a digging pit (much like a child’s sandbox) in a suitable corner of the garden.Bury a meaty bone in your dog's digging pit. Your little doggie will be utterly delighted when she finds a huge meaty bone. Now, this single simple procedure may not totally prevent holes in other areas of the garden, but your dog will now be much more inclined to dig in her digging pit. Every morning, fill several chewtoys with your dog’s breakfast kibble and bury them in her digging pit. Your dog will discover that the digging pit is a virtual treasure trove where she can find toys for sustenance and entertainment.

Garden Rules
Once the dog's digging activities have been redirected to a suitable location in your garden, you might consider protecting other parts of the garden. Lay down chicken wire or chain-link fencing over the lawn and flower beds, add plenty of topsoil, and reseed.
Use boundary fences to partition the garden into doggy and non-doggy zones. The fences are not meant to be dog proof; rather, they are used as training aids to clearly demarcate lawn and garden boundaries to help you teach the rules. Always try to accompany your dog when he goes outside, especially during puppyhood or the first few months an older dog is at home. Remember, an owner in the garden is worth two in front of the television! It is not fair to keep garden rules a secret from your dog and then get angry with the dog for breaking rules he didn’t even know existed. Encourage and praise your dog for walking on paths and for lying down in dog zones. Tie a number of stuffed chewtoys to ground stakes or hang them from tree branches in dog zones to encourage your dog to want to spend time in those areas. Discourage your dog from entering non-doggy zones.



To learn more, read Doctor Dunbar's Good Little Dog Book and our Digging booklet, available on-line from www.amazon.com.  Reprinted by www.dogstardaily.com with permission of Dr. Ian Dunbar and James & Kenneth Publishers, behavior blueprint by Dr. Ian Dunbar






Help My Dog's Chewing



Help My Dog's Chewing!


Chewing is essential for maintaining the health of your dog's teeth, jaws, and gums. Puppies especially have a strong need to chew to relieve the irritation and inflammation of teething. Dogs chew to relieve anxiety and boredom, as well as for entertainment. Your dog’s jaws are his tools for carrying objects and for investigating his surroundings. Essentially, a dog’s approach to all items in his environment is “Can I chew it?”


Chewing is Normal, Natural, and Necessary 


Dogs generally sleep at night and in the middle of the day. However, chewing is your dog’s primary form of entertainment during his morning and late afternoon activity peaks. After all, there are only so many things your dog can do when left at home alone. He can hardly read a novel, telephone friends, or watch the soaps! Indeed, most chewing sprees stem from your dog's relentless quest for some form of occupational therapy to pass the time of day when left at home alone or un-monitored.


Chewing is a perfectly normal, natural, and necessary canine behavior. Prevention and treatment of destructive chewing focus on management and education—to prevent your dog from chewing inappropriate items and to redirect your dog's natural chewing-urge to appropriate, acceptable, and resilient chew toys.


Prevent Destructive Chewing

When leaving home, confine your puppy or dog to a long-term confinement area, such as a single room or puppy play pen or crate —your puppy’s playroom—with a comfortable bed, a bowl of water, a doggy toilet (if not yet housetrained), and nothing to chew but half a dozen freshly-stuffed chewtoys. Housetrained adult dogs may be confined (with their chewtoys) to a dog crate. Your dog will happily settle down and entertain himself with his chewtoys as soon as you leave in the morning, and later he will be more inclined to search for chewtoys when he wakes up in anticipation of your afternoon return. This is important since most chewing activity occurs right after you leave home and right before you return. When you return, instruct your dog to fetch his chewtoys so you can extricate any liver or treats which he could not get out and give them to him. 


When you are home but cannot watch your puppy carefully, confine your puppy to her doggy den (crate) with nothing but a freshly-stuffed chewtoy for entertainment. Every hour on the hour (or at longer intervals with housetrained adult dogs), take your puppydog to her doggy toilet (see Housetraining), and if she goes, praise her and play some chewtoy games with her before putting her back in her crate with a freshly stuffed chewtoy.

The purpose of confinement is to prevent your dog from chewing inappropriate items around the house and to maximize the likelihood your dog will develop a chewtoy habit. If you can watch your dog carefully he or she does not need to be crated, if you need to answer the phone, have a shower etc be sure to put your puppy back in his/her doggy den. 

Redirect Chewing to Chewtoys

The confinement schedule described above optimizes self-training; your dog will train herself to chew chewtoys. In fact your dog will soon become a chewtoyaholic. With a good chewtoy habit, your puppy will no longer want to destroy carpets, curtains, couches, clothes, chair legs, computer disks, children's toys, or electrical cords. Your dog will be less likely to develop into a recreational barker. And also, your dog will happily settle down calmly and quietly and will no longer be bored or anxious when left alone.


You must also actively train your dog to want to chew chewtoys.
Offer praise and maybe a liver treat every time you notice your dog chewing chewtoys. Do not take chew toy chewing for granted. Let your dog know that you strongly approve of her newly acquired, appropriate, and acceptable hobby. Play chewtoy games with your dog, such as fetch, search, and tug-of-war.



Chewtoys should be indestructible and nonconsumable. Consumption of non-food items is decidedly dangerous for your dog's health. Also, destruction of chewtoys necessitates their regular replacement, which can be expensive. However, compared with the cost of reupholstering just one couch, £50 worth of chewtoys seems a pretty wise investment.


Kongs, Tuff Toys, Biscuit Balls, Big Kahuna footballs, and sterilized long-bones are by far the best chewtoys. They are made of natural products, are hollow, and may be stuffed with food to entice your dog to chew them exclusively. To prevent your dog from porking out, ensure that you only stuff chewtoys with part of your dog's daily diet (kibble or raw food) with a few nuggets of really yummy treats for him to be surprised by. Firmly squish a piece of liver in the small hole in the Kong, fill the rest of the cavity with moistened kibble and a few yummy treats, and then put the Kongs in the freezer. Voila, Kongsicles! As the kibble thaws, some falls out easily to reinforce your dog as soon as she shows interest. Other bits of kibble come out only after your dog has worried at the Kong for several minutes, thus reinforcing your dog's chewing over time. The liver is the best part. Your dog may smell the liver, see the liver, (and maybe even talk to the liver), but she cannot get it out. And so your dog will continue to gnaw contentedly at the Kong until she falls asleep.
Until your dog is fully chewtoy-trained, do not feed her from a bowl. Instead, feed all kibble, canned food, and raw diets from chewtoys, or handfeed meals as rewards when you notice your dog is chewing a chew toy. 


Here is a great video on stuffing Kongs: 




Here is my video on being prepared for puppies, bored teenage dogs and adult chewers:







To learn more, read Doctor Dunbar's Good Little Dog Book and our Chewing booklet, available on-line from www.amazon.com.  Reprinted by www.dogstardaily.com with permission of Dr. Ian Dunbar and James & Kenneth Publishers, behavior blueprint by Dr. Ian Dunbar


House Training Your Dog


House soiling quickly becomes a bad habit because dogs develop strong location, substrate, and olfactory preferences for their improvised indoor toilet areas. To housetrain your puppy: first, prevent any more mistakes; and second, teach your puppy where you would like him to eliminate.

How to Prevent Mistakes

Mistakes are a disaster since they set a bad precedent and create bad habits, which can be hard to break. Consequently, you must prevent mistakes at all cost. Whenever you are not at home for longer periods of time, leave your dog in a long-term confinement area, such as a single room indoors with easy-to-clean floors (bathroom, kitchen, or utility room)—this will be your puppy’s playroom.


Provide your dog with fresh water, a number of stuffed chewtoys for entertainment, a comfortable bed in one corner, and a doggy toilet in the corner diagonally opposite from his bed. Your dog will naturally want to eliminate as far as possible from his bed, and so will soon develop the good habit of using his toilet. And remember, good habits are just as hard to break as bad habits.


For a doggy toilet, use sheets of newspaper sprinkled with soil, or a litter tray filled with a roll of turf, or a concrete paving slab. Thus your dog will develop olfactory and substrate preferences for eliminating on soil, grass, or concrete.


The purpose of long-term confinement is to confine your dog’s natural behaviors (including urinating and defecating) to an area that is protected (thus preventing any mistakes around the house when you are not there), and to help your dog quickly develop a strong preference for eliminating on soil, grass, or concrete.


Teach Your Dog to Eliminate in the Right Place

When you are at home, confine your dog to a short-term confinement area with a number of stuffed chewtoys for entertainment. A portable dog crate makes an ideal doggy den. Alternatively, keep your dog on a short lead fastened to an eye-hook in the skirting board near her bed, or attach the lead to your belt. This way your dog may settle down beside you while you read, work at the computer, or watch television.

Every hour on the hour, say "Let’s go to the loo" (or some other appropriate toilet instruction), and hurry your dog (on lead) to her toilet (in your garden, or in the street outside the front door of your house or block of flats). Stand still with your dog on lead and repeat the instruction to "go to the loo". Give your dog three minutes to empty herself.

When your dog eliminates, praise her enthusiastically and offer three liver treats (or other fresh meat treat). Most puppies will urinate within two minutes on each trip to a toilet area, and defecate within three minutes on every other trip. Once your dog realizes that she can cash in her urine and feces for tasty treats, she will want to eliminate in her toilet area. Soiling the house just does not have comparable fringe benefits. Moreover, after a dozen or so repetitions, you will have taught your dog to eliminate on command.


If your dog does not eliminate during the allotted three-minute toilet break, put her back inside her crate for another hour.
The purpose of short-term close confinement is to prevent any mistakes around the house when you are home (but cannot devote undivided attention to your dog) and to predict when your dog needs to eliminate. Temporarily (for no more than an hour at a time) confining a puppydog to a small space (e.g., a dog crate) inhibits elimination, since the dog does not want to soil her sleeping area. Consequently, your dog will want to go immediately upon release from confinement— especially since hurrying to the toilet area will jiggle her bladder and bowels. Since you choose when to release your dog, you may choose when your puppy eliminates, and since you can predict when your dog needs to eliminate, you may be there to show her where to go, to reward your dog for going, and to inspect and immediately clean up after your dog.

Once your pup is old enough to go on walks, make sure she eliminates (in the garden, or in front of your house) before each walk. If your dog does not go within three minutes, put her back in her crate and try again an hour later. However, if your dog does go, praise and reward her as usual and then say “Let’s go for a walk.” With a no-feces/no-walk policy, you will soon have a very speedy defecator. Moreover, elimination close to home facilitates clean-up and disposal; you will not have to stroll the neighborhood weighed down with a bag of doggie poo.

To housetrain your dog, you need a dog crate, a number of chewtoys, and some liver treats. 


The First Few Weeks


Raising and Training Your Puppy - The First Few Weeks 


The first week your puppy comes home is the most important week of her life. From the very first day, start an errorless housetraining and chewtoy-training program so that you prevent any future housesoiling, destructive chewing, excessive barking, or separation anxiety problems.

When you are not at home, leave your puppy in a long-term confinement area (puppy playroom, or crate with a puppy play pen attached), which has a comfortable bed, fresh water, several chewtoys stuffed with food, and a temporary indoor toilet. Long-term confinement prevents mistakes around the house and maximizes the likelihood your puppy will learn to chew chewtoys and use her toilet.
When you are at home but cannot pay full attention to your puppy, confine her to a small, short- term confinement area (doggy den or dog crate) with a couple of stuffed chewtoys. Confining your puppy to a den prevents any mistakes around the house, maximizes the likelihood your puppy will learn to chew chewtoys, and allows you to predict when your puppy would like to relieve herself. Knowing when your puppy wants to go makes housetraining easy because now you can show her where to go and reward her for going in the right spot. Confining a pup to a den temporarily inhibits elimination, so that every hour, you can take her to an appropriate toilet area. When she promptly pees (and sometimes poops), give her three liver treats as a reward.
Confinement is a temporary management and training measure. Once your puppy has learned household manners, he may enjoy full run of your house for the rest of his life. 

Other important things to do over the first few weeks include (check out are articles on these too):

  • House Training
  • Socialisation
  • Leaving your Dog Home Alone
  • Teaching your Puppy to Play 
  • Learning Bite Inhibition (Controlling Puppy Biting) 
  • Choosing a Vet/Groomer/Dog Trainer 

Suggested reading includes:

Before you get your Puppy - Ian Dumbar
After you get your Puppy - Ian Dumbar
The Power of Positive Dog Training - Pat Millar