Saturday, July 26, 2014

Star Hound--Dog Apps/ Game

Star Hound

iPhone Apps for Dogs/ Dog Game
Released:  April 24, 2013

Star Hound
Run.  Jump.  Swing.  Jet pack!

This game requires two hands to play.  Your left hand presses the jump button on the lower left screen while your right hand prepares to touch buildings to swing from.  Your left button controls both your jump, and jet pack.  Don't forget to save some of your jet pack fuel for emergencies.

Overall I found the game to be a little bit of fun; however it is a fairly easy game that may tend to get a bit boring after awhile.  The goal of your Star Hound is basically just to keep going, but there's no end point to get to.  The occasional new starting point is your only real goal.  Well that, and to have fun.  You keep running, swinging, and jetting along a sky line containing space ships.  Star Hound is able to swing from the space ships, but not land on them.  Be careful not to swing into the clouds or you will have to start over.  There are little refuel packs along the way to refill your fuel bar.

Apparently the aliens have come to take over the city and our last hope is to let Star Hound run along the tops of buildings.  I will admit, the swinging from building to building is fun.

It's a game to pass the time, but will only hold your interest for so long.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Basic Manners Review

SGDs has two new dog training classes coming up soon.  First is our Basic Manners Level One dog training class.  Below is a review of this class for anyone thinking about attending.  This review is also a check list of the things your dog should be familiar with before taking SGDs Level Two class.  This is a list for review.  If you are unfamiliar with these Basic Commands, please look in our blog for previous, detailed explanations.

Basic Manners Review

3 Things on your body that are Rewarding to Dogs:
  1. Voice
  2. Eye Contact
  3. Touch

Anytime you engage your dog in one of these things, you are basically rewarding whatever behavior they are doing at that time.  This is important to keep in mind so we do not unintentionally reward bad behaviors.
You must catch a bad behavior within 2 seconds to change the behavior.

Marker Word:  “Good” or “Yes” or the clicker
This is what we say to mark the behavior we wanted.  Saying this is telling the dog, “that was exactly what I was looking for!”  The more you mark good behavior in a positive way, the more your dog will want to engage in good behavior.  

No Reward Marker:  “uh-oh” or “eh-eh”
This is to let the dog know that this is not what I was looking for you to do now.  We want to mark the behavior as not what we wanted, but we want to do so in a way that will still encourage the dog to want to learn.  When using an “uh-oh” while training, remember to take a step away from the dog to help “re-set” the brain, then try again.  Remember to only say cues ONE TIME, then wait 30 seconds to a minute before giving your “uh-oh” (give the dog a chance to make the right decision).

Basic Manners Training Review:

Look/ Watch Me:
We practice this command because we want a dog who looks to us for permission and direction.  Practice this cue both the simple way (directly from the dog’s nose up to your eye), and with the T position (start the same, then when the treat comes to your eye, move both arms out into a T position).

Come When Called:
The Rules:

  1. Safety first.  Always have a leash or be in an enclosed area.
  2. When you say come, you have to see it happen.
  3. NEVER punish a dog for coming to you.
The Steps:
  1. Say the dog’s name and Come, one time only.
  2. Have a party.
  3. Lure (or gently lead) the dog back to you.

Loose Leash Walking:
When your dog pulls on the leash, you have two options…
1.  Stop and wait for the dog to move in a way that releases the tension of the leash.
2.  Say “let’s go” and go off promptly in the opposite direction.

This should mean to a dog, turn away from that, don’t pay attention to that, leave that thing alone.  Remember that whatever you are asking your dog to Leave It, he should NOT get that item at the time you are practicing the Leave-It.  Never practice Leave-It/ Take-It (this can teach a dog to leave something alone for a second, then take it anyway).  We want our dogs to know that when I say to leave something alone, you don’t touch it ever.
     Making Leave-It harder:  1. Treat in closed hand, 2. Treat in partially open hand, 
3. Treat in open hand, 4. Treat in open hand on the ground, 5. Treat on the ground.

Means to your dog, stay in this position until I come back to release you.  This is not the same thing as Wait.  
There are 3 parts to the Stay Cue:
     1.  Duration (Time)
     2.  Distance
     3.  Distractions

Drop It/ Give:
When teaching this cue, we must be aware of possible Resource Guarding.  Remember to NEVER steal things from your dog’s mouth.  To teach Drop It/ Give:

Have the dog have a toy in his mouth that is not of super high value.  Once the dog has the toy and is engaged with it, present a treat or reward of higher value than the toy, as the dog drops the toy, say “Drop.”  It is very important to give the reward to the dog AT THE SAME TIME as you pick up the dropped toy.  Do not let your dog get into the habit of snatching the reward then snatching the toy back up.

Sit, Down, & Stand:
All these positions should already be well practiced.  Dogs should know the verbal and hand signals for each command.

(For more Help, also see Common Training Terms.)

If you are interested in signing up for one of our group classes (or any other service), 
please contact us at:

Or give us a call at:  808-463-4684

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Training Terms Help

So you want to train your dog but where do you start?  Well knowing a little background about some common terms used in basic dog training will help.
(Also see other Common Training Terms.)

There are basically three essential elements to teaching a dog to learn. 
These are:  motivation, reinforcement, and punishment.

Motivation is a need (conscious or unconscious), desire, or drive that incites a dog to produce some behavior or action.  A dog must be properly motivated to change behavior.

Reinforcement are actions, events, or items that positively or negatively increase or eliminate a behavior.  There is positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. 

Positive reinforcement basically means the dog works for you to get things he desires.  Positive reinforcement involves rewarding the dog the instant he performs the desired behavior. 
Negative reinforcement means the dog is working to avoid something the dog considers unpleasant.  Negative reinforcement is the removal of something unpleasant the instant the dog performs the desired behavior.

There are two types of reinforcement: 
1)  Unconditioned reinforcement
2) Conditioned reinforcement

An unconditioned reinforcer, or primary reinforcer, is something that is necessary for the dog's survival, or something the dog very much likes, and therefore, the dog does not need to learn that this thing is rewarding.  Not each unconditioned reinforcer will have the same value for each dog.  Some examples of unconditioned reinforcement include:  food, air, water, shelter, toys, praise, and petting.  The dog (NOT the owner or trainer) determines what their unconditioned reinforcers are.

conditioned reinforcer, or secondary reinforcer, is something that does not inherently mean anything to the dog.  The dog learns to associate the conditioned reinforcer as a good thing.  Some examples of conditioned reinforcers include:  walks, food bag noise, toys, "good" or "yes," the sound of a clicker, and the doorbell.  The best example of teaching a dog a conditioned reinforcer is using the "good" or "yes" cue to mark behavior.  Using this cue at the instant your dog performs a desired behavior increases the communication between human and dog.  The dog learns to make a positive association between your marker word (good or yes) and a food reward.

Punishment is use of a penalty.  There is both positive and negative punishment. 

Positive punishment involves a negative consequence the moment the dog engages in an undesired behavior.  You are adding something negative. 
Negative punishment involves removing something the dog likes when the dog engages in an undesired behavior.  You are removing something the dog likes.

A helpful way to think about these things is this...positive means you are adding something...negative means something is being taken aways.

Dog Training Today

The popular method of dog training today is Positive Reinforcement.  This is a vast improvement from the history of dog training.  Into the 1950s and 1960s, it was common for dog trainers to use compulsion training methods, mainly positive punishment.  This meant that every time the dog performed incorrectly, the dog received a punishment.  Over the years and several studies later, we have learned that the use of positive reinforcement actually works faster and dogs retain the knowledge learned more easily.  Also, using positive reinforcement training produces an animal that is willing and excited to work for you, as opposed to one that is frightened or scared to make a mistake.  Such Good Dogs uses positive reinforcement training, combined with energy balance.

Energy Balance:
Such Good Dogs firmly believes that all living creatures must find the correct balance of energy to be both happy and healthy.  When training dogs, it is extremely important to be aware of your own energy.  Dogs pick up on our energy and what we may be feeling without us even realizing they have done so.  Further more, if you are unaware of your energy and try to train your dog when you are angry or frustrated, the dog will sense this and your training session will not go well.  In fact, you can actually set back progress of your training by doing so when you do not have the proper energy and mind-set.  To maintain proper energy balance, your dog must also have proper exercise.  A dog that has too much energy will not be able to pay attention for training.  Regular, daily exercise is vitally important for every dog.

So, if you are training or interacting with your dog and you feel yourself getting angry, upset, frustrated, nervous, or anxious...STOP, take a deep breath, and calm down.  Only then should you address the situation.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Breed of the Month--Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

Color:  Various shades of golden or cream.
Height:  Males:  22-24 inches/  Females:  20-22.5 inches
Weight:  Males:  65-75 lbs/  Females:  55-70 lbs
Life Span:  10-12 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts, sub aortic stenosis, and progressive retinal atrophy.  

Coat:  Double coat.  Firm, dense, water-repellant outer coat...straight or wavy.  Ruff neck with good undercoat.
Country of Origin:  Great Britain

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

Although yellow retriever have always been present in the breed line, the fashion in England in the 1850s was for black-colored Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.  Sir Dudley Majoribanks is credited with developing the separate breed in the late 1800s.  The history of creating the Golden Retriever includes mixing such breeds as Labradors, red setters, possibly the Bloodhound, and Tweed Water Spaniels (now extinct).  Majoribanks worked for 20 years to refine the light-colored hunting dog, but it wasn't until the 1920s that the breed got its name we now know, the Golden Retriever.  The Golden Retriever came to North America in the 1920s, but did not really gain popularity until the 1970s.  

Easygoing and lovable, the Golden Retriever has become one of the most popular breeds to own.  Goldens are smart, sociable, and want to please.  This breed gets along well with other breeds, other animals, and children.  A versatile dog that loves to learn, Goldens are often sought after by service dog organizations.

The Golden Retriever requires plenty of regular exercise throughout his life, but especially as a puppy.  Goldens love to swim, run, hunt, and play.  As long as you find a suitable daily exercise activity, your Golden will be happy.

The coat of the Golden Retriever requires regular brushing several times a week.  His long, wavy hair must be kept free of dirt and debris.  The ears on the Golden can be prone to infection and therefore should be cleaned regularly.  

Proven by its ever-growing popularity, the Golden Retriever is one of the most easily trainable breeds.  Training using positive reinforcement methods will quickly lead you to a happy, well-behaved companion.