Professor Donaldson reveals the fascinating evolution of dogs that provides insight into why dogs do many of the things they do. This foundation gives you the background to help train, or un-train, certain actions. You'll uncover fight/flight instincts, canine social structure, courtship and reproductive behaviors, and the characteristics and styles of dog play. x
Person-to-person communication is key with trainers, but words matter only so far as they can be translated into action. “Any kind of woo-woo language, about ‘energy,’ ‘packs,’ ‘leadership;’ anything that sounds very non-concrete, where you come away thinking, ‘O.K., but what’s actually going to physically happen with my dog here?’; any attempt to obfuscate — that is a huge red flag,” Ms. Donaldson said.
Reinforcement can be anything your dog likes. Most people use small pieces of a “high value” food for training treats — something special — such as dried liver or even just their kibble. Lavish praise or the chance to play with a favorite toy can also be used as a reward. Dogs must be taught to like praise. If you give the dog a treat while saying “Good dog!” in a happy voice, he will learn that praise is a good thing and can be a reward. Some dogs also enjoy petting. Food is often the most convenient way to reinforce behavior.
If you're adopting a puppy rather than an adult dog, expect an adjustment period for yourself, too! Adopting a puppy is like having a baby. There will be lots of potty breaks because their bladder isn't yet fully developed. Expect to get up a couple of times during the night for potty breaks. If you work, plan to come home everyday at lunch to let your puppy outside to potty. If you can't come home, consider hiring a pet sitter. Or, use an X-pen instead of a crate and set up a potty area on one side. Just know that a puppy HAS TO potty several times a day and plan accordingly. We recommend writing down every time the dog goes potty (both outside and accidents) so you can begin to see their patterns and how frequently they need to go out. Puppies will also chew on everything available, so don't make anything available that he shouldn't chew on.
Treat your shelter dog the same way you would a new puppy coming into your house. Assume he has never had any training. Even if he has had obedience training in the past, he may need a refresher after all he's been through. Your best bet is to expect that he knows nothing. This way you'll be pleasantly surprised if the dog already knows some basic commands or is already housebroken, but you won't be setting him up for failure with expectations that are too high. Be sure to train your new dog using positive reinforcement. Keep training sessions upbeat and low-stress.
Strictly following the model set out in the Koehler Method of Dog Training, some 50 years later, the Koehler method continues to be taught in both class and private training formats. The method is based in the philosophy that a dog acts on its right to choose its actions. Koehler explained that a dog's learned behavior is an act of choice based on its own learning experience. When those choices are influenced by the expectation of reward, the behavior will most likely be repeated, and when those choices are influenced by the anticipation of punishment, they will most likely cease. Once the dog has learned that its choices result in comfort or discomfort it can be taught to make the correct decisions. Action→Memory→Desire encapsulates the learning pattern used by the method; the dog acts, remembers the consequences, and forms the desire to repeat or avoid those consequences. Adherents believe that once the behavior has been correctly taught, it should be performed, thus making any correction, fair, reasonable, and expected. While the model has been used consistently since 1962, some of the punishment procedures described in the book are now not considered necessary, humane, or appropriate by many trainers.
7. Keep training sessions short and sweet. Pet parents who spend short 5 to 10 minute training sessions with their dog a few times a day will make much greater progress than those that try to train for a solid hour or more each day. While it isn’t often physically demanding, training is mentally exhausting for your dog. A tired, overworked, or uninterested dog will not learn as quickly and efficiently as a dog that’s well-rested and excited to learn.
I took a puppy class and it helped tremendously!!! The trainer was more than willing to answer any silly little question that i had (and anyone else in the class – believe me there were a lot!) She emailed us tasks & additional info too. I saved the emails & still refer back to these sometimes. Katrina was more than willing address any problems I was having with my pooch. The techniques that we were taught I still use. Recently I travelled up state where i had my dog off leash (which freaked me completely out) then i just used some simple targeting tasks we were taught in class . After a day i was completely calm with her off leash & every time I call her she comes running! This is something i dont think i would have been able to achieve on my own. Taking the class was definetly the best thing I could have done for my puppy!
9. Train in a variety of environments. Because dogs don’t generalize well, it’s important to have training sessions in a variety of different environments. You may have mastered the sit cue in your living room, but find your dog baffled when you ask him to sit in the back yard. A great way to help your dog learn that your cues should be followed no matter where you’re at is to clip a treat pouch to your waist, a leash to your dog’s collar, and have a series of mini training sessions. Start indoors, head to another room of the house, walk into the back yard, then take a short walk around the neighborhood, taking time to stop and practice cues and commands in each location.
Handler should walk off with the leg closest to the dog while clearly and loudly saying the dog’s name and “heel.” Dog should heel at side with lead in handler’s left hand, unless the dog is hard to handle. If this is the case, the handler would put the lead in the right hand and have the left hand placed on the leash a few inches away from the chain.
This first step of the stay will be done without leaving the dog. The handler will tell the dog “stay,” move their hand in a quick motion in front of the dogs face, and move out in front of the dog leaving with the leg furthest from the dog. The handler should be standing directly in front of the dog with little space between them. The handler should hold the leash directly above the dog without any slack (don’t choke the dog or pull too tight), then after a count of 10, the handler should walk all the way around the dog while keeping the leash tight; stop in the heeling position. After a count of 10, call exercise finish.
At your pick-up meeting, you will be presented with a “manual” for continuing your dog's training at home. This manual covers general information such as getting started, the ten commands, review of the go-to place command, information on the e-collar, and training exercises written specifically for you and your dog. If you follow the program consistently, you will reinforce the training which has already taken place and will continue to build a relationship with your dog that is mutually fulfilling
I am a first time dog owner and needed to control my new little fury friend. The staff here is second to none, the facilities are fantastic, and my little pup loves it! He’s obedient, calm, and receptive to the training. Andrea and Jo Anne really care about the dogs and take a lot of time to make sure the little fellas are on track. Highly recommended!
Contrary to the old cliché, you can teach old dogs new tricks—and new dogs old tricks. Professor Donaldson reviews the ages and stages of dog maturity and has tips for which training to start your puppies with and how to choose the right puppy socialization class. She provides insightful instructions on training older dogs as well, including how to consider any physical ailments they may have. x
The term "observational learning" encompasses several closely related concepts: allelomimetic behavior or mimicking where, for example, puppies follow or copy others of their kind; social facilitation where the presence of another dog causes an increase in the intensity of a behavior; and local enhancement which includes pieces of social facilitation, mimicking, and trial-and-error learning, but is different from true observational learning in that the dog actively participates in the behavior in the presence of the other dog and/or other environmental cues. Four necessary conditions for observational learning are: attention, retention, motivation, and production. That is, the dog must pay attention to the dog or person performing the modelled behavior; retain the information gathered about the behavior during the observation; be motivated to reproduce the behavior in a time and place removed from the original; and finally, produce the behavior, or some reasonable facsimile thereof.