Lets face it, training a dog isn't easy. If you have a plan in mind it isn't super difficult, but it is still time consuming. With that in mind over the years there have been devices developed to make the job a little easier. There have been devices developed to take some of the dog's strength away, devices that help mark when the dog does the right behavior and so much more. Continue reading to see how some of these devices could benefit you!
This is something I recommend to just about all of my clients. They work well for leash walking and also take all the pressure off of the dog's neck. Since the leash attaches where the dog's chest is, and stays there, anytime the dog tries to pull, it results in the front of the harness being turned back in the direction of the leash. While this won't stop pulling all together, it removes at least 50% of the dog's strength. Currently my favorite kind is a Freedom No Pull Harness.
A head halter is another tool that is used for walking. When you're dealing with a dog that is just too strong, this is what I would recommend. A head halter for a dog is the same concept as a head halter for a horse. If you control the head, you control the body. This is something that can help with your training. Once your dog is doing well in this, I then recommend switching to a front hook harness. Below is a video that helps teach your dog how to walk without pulling.
A clicker is just a great tool all around. This is something that can be used to mark when the dog does the correct behavior. The way it works is your dog starts to associate that the click means a treat is coming after. So when you are working on stuff, and your dog gets it right, you click and treat. This can be used to help teach sits, downs, coming when called, walking on leash, and so much more! Below is a video showing how one can be used.
Worried that your dog won't come when you ask? This is a great solution. I recommend the use of one of these to all of my clients. A long lead gives the dog what feels like freedom, even though we are still "in control." They come in different lengths. I recommend starting off with shorter ones and then graduating to longer ones. Below is a video that shows how to use one.
This is a fantastic tool that can be used to teach a dog how to settle. It also can be used as a place to cue them to go and lie down. I teach this cue so that the dog goes there and stays until released. You can also get fancy with these. In the video below I am showing how it can be used when visitors arrive at your door. Check it out!
A 4-6 foot training leash is a fantastic tool. It's fantastic because it keeps your dog close enough and gives you enough control. This is a tool I recommend for walking and also for overall control. Below is a video showing how one can be used to help teach your dog how to greet people politely.
In this brand new video I am demonstrating and explaining how to do free shaping with a clicker. This is a fun way to teach your dog new things. You can teach sitting, lying down, shaking, raising a paw, head on ground, and so much more! It can all be done in short little training sessions. My training sessions with V typically last about 10 minutes.
Here's how to do it:
You can either use a clicker or a marker word to mark when the dog does the correct behavior. Have an idea in your head of what you want your dog to do. If you're wanting your dog to raise its paw in the air, wait for him to move one of his paws and then click and treat. Be very patient with this as the beginning can be a little slow. As your dog starts to catch on he will start raising his paw more enthusiastically. This is just one example. The overall idea though is to have a goal in mind and to get your dog to do pieces of the goal. Once you have the pieces you can put them together into a sequence.
Here are some other important bullet points:
-Stay patient. This is a slow process in the beginning.
-Limit the amount of communication you do towards your dog while doing this. In most cases it will just lead to confusion.
-Use small treats that your dog will want to work for.
-If your dog starts getting frustrated, ask for an easy behavior and reward that. If a dog gets too frustrated it will give up thus ending the game.
-Every dog is different, but overall try to keep sessions to around 10 minutes.
-Kibble can be used for this game for some dogs.
-Start this off in a relatively distraction free environment. (You want to be the biggest "distraction.")
By guest blogger Michael Baugh CDBC CPDT-KA
Photo credit: Robyn Arouty Photography
Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of those “keep calm” memes on the Internet. So it’s weird that this one, “keep calm and train your dog,” is stuck in my head. Maybe it’s stuck there because, well, it makes good sense. If you want your dog to calm down and stop acting crazy, then let’s start by calming ourselves down and thinking a little more clearly.
I work with families who have really freaked out dogs; some have dogs who bite. We often call them fearful and aggressive dogs. Here’s the thing. If you have one of these dogs, there’s a good chance you’re a bit freaked out too – afraid the dog will hurt someone, get you sued, pull you over in a mad rage at the end of the leash. And honestly, this dog might have driven you to be a bit angry and aggressive yourself. It happens.
Here’s the deal, though. Our behavior, human behavior, has everything to do with our dogs’ behavior. What we do and how we act affects their actions and choices. I won’t tell you to be calm, but I will share a bit of advice that has helped my clients and me.
Don’t buy into the freak out. When your dog is in one of his terror-filled or terrorizing moments, help him out. Do it quietly and without a lot of fuss. Don’t buy in. This is not the time to get upset or yell commands at him. Instead, guide your dog away from whatever has his nickers in a twist.
Have your dog’s back. A lot of trainers talk about being your dog’s leader. Not me. I’d rather think of myself as my dog’s advocate. I’m here to teach him what to do, especially what to do when he’s faced with something that makes him anxious or angry. It’s all about training skills, coping skills. Should he look to you for guidance? (Yes). Should he calmly walk away with you? (Yes). Should he remain relaxed and look at the person or dog without barking? (Yes). Are all those teachable skills? Yes. So, let’s get to it. Meanwhile, for the time being, steer clear of things you know upset your dog. There’s no value testing him to see how he will react. You already know. Just have his back on this, okay.
Teach your dog that everything’s cool. You aren’t freaking out. You’re teaching your dog useful life skills. And, you’re training with food, praise and play (I especially like clicker training). Just by being you, relaxed and smart, you’re teaching your dog that everything is cool. Every time something that used to be scary comes along, you start training in that chillaxed manner you’ve adopted. It’s all good. Look whose not going nuts – not your dog – not you.
So yeah, okay, keep calm and train your dog. How we act matters. Learn and train. Then, learn some more. It’s all doable. And heck, if you want to post the meme on your Facebook page, go for it. Get the t-shirt too.
Michael Baugh CDBC, CPDT-KSA is a dog trainer in Houston, TX. He specializes in fearful and aggressive dogs.
Do you have a dog that is a handful? Does he constantly get into things that he shouldn't be? Does he have what feels like endless energy? Well, you're not alone. A lot of people are in the same boat with their dog. The good news is that there are different things that can be done to occupy your dog. I am going to tell you about them now.
1. Teaching Your Dog To Use Its Nose:
This is a fun one. It only takes a couple minutes of your time to hide the treats, and if hidden well enough, it can take the dog 5, 10, or even 15 minutes to find them all. Here is a video to show you how to do this with your dog.
2. Giving Your Dog An Interactive Toy:
An interactive toy is a toy that you stick some food into and give to your dog. The toy makes your dog work for the food that is in it. There are lots of different toys to choose from. They also come in different difficulty levels. Make sure that you get an easy one to start! Check out the video below. In it you'll see my dog using a toy called the "Monster Ball" made by Jolly Pets.
3. Using Dog Daycare:
While this isn't necessarily a game, it is something that you can do that makes your life a little easier. Going to a daycare for a dog equals lots of running and playing with other dogs. If your dog enjoys being in a large group of dogs, this could be a good fit for you.