Saturday, January 31, 2015

BML1--Class #2

Basic Manners -- Level One, Class #2

Such Good Dogs Basic Manners Class #2

Commands & Cues:
All commands or cue words like Sit and Come should be said ONE TIME and ONE TIME ONLY.  Never repeat your command word.  Instead give your No Reward Marker, move positions, and then try again.

Marker Word:
Use your chosen marker word:  “Good” or “Yes” (or the Clicker).
This is the word (or sound) that says to a dog, “Yes! That is exactly what I wanted you to do!” and is then followed with a reward.

No Reward Marker:
This is what we do when the dog does not do what we are looking for.  Try using an “Uh-oh” or “Eh-eh.”  This will let the dog know that the behavior just performed is not what we wanted, while still encouraging the dog to continue to try.  After using the NRM, physically move places (both you and the dog should move) to help “re-set” the training, then try again.  Never repeat a command more than once.

Food Lure:
This is something we use to teach many new behaviors and commands.  A food lure involves getting the dog to follow your baited hand into a desired position.

Look / Watch Me:
We want a dog who looks to us for direction and permission.  Having a dog that is well focused on the owner will give you control over many situations.  This is the exercise you will practice when your dog becomes distracted during training.  This is meant to help focus (or re-focus) the dog back to the owner.
To do this, we place the treat directly in the dog’s nose then raise it straight up next to our eye, while standing back up.  As you raise your hand give your command word, “Look.”  Eventually we want the dog to look directly in our eyes, but to begin with, it they look anywhere in the general area of your head, say your “Good” and give the treat.
If your dog remains in position but is not looking at you, do NOT repeat your arm movements or verbal command.  Instead, hold the treat in position next to your eye while looking at the dog and WAIT.  You will wait 30 seconds to a minute.  If the dog still has not looked, give your No Reward Marker or “Uh-oh,” move positions, take a breath, and then try again.

Watch a VIDEO teaching the "Look/ Watch Me" Cue in Basic Manners dog training class.

Come when Called:
The Rules:
1.  Always have a leash (or fenced-in 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 the dog back to you.

When first teaching a dog Come when called, we start with step 1 & 3.  Standing directly in front of the dog (No distance), put the treat in the dog’s nose, say the dog’s name and Come (one time), then quickly back up a few steps.  When the dog follows, stop, say “Good!” and give the treat.  (Explained & Demonstrated in training.)

Loose Leash Walking:
Loose leash walking (LLW) means that a dog walks nicely, not pulling on the leash, and not completely all over the place.  LLW is not the same thing as Heel.  To teach a proper Heel, you must first teach LLW.

Consistency is very important when teaching LLW.  Doing this technique is actually very easy, but does require a LOT of patience.  Remember to stay calm.  If you are calm and consistent, your dog will be walking nicely on a leash in about a week.

To begin, go out for a walk with your regular 4-6 foot leash and buckle collar properly fitted to your dog’s neck (so they can’t slip out).  As soon as there is tension on the leash, you have two options:
When the dog pulls:  1)  Stop and wait for the DOG to move in a way that releases the tension.  When s/he does, continue walking.
2)  Say “Let’s Go!” and walk off in the opposite direction.

It is best to try and do option #1 as much as possible.  Be sure that when you stop and wait, you do not move in a way that is releasing the tension on the leash…the dog must do it.
REMEMBER:  Patience!  Patience!  Patience!

Meeting new friends.

Boone, Koa, & Maybe...these three are excited to play!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

BML1--Class #1

Basic Manners -- Leve One, Class #1

It's a new year year and we have started another new Basic Manners Level One dog training class.  Therefore I have decided to share the information from these classes.

Each week we will share the notes and pictures from that class.

Basic Manners Level One is a 6-week, one hour per week class. Each week you will learn new things to take home and practice with your dog. Handouts will be given at the end of each week and a certificate is given upon completion. Basic Manners is taught using positive reinforcement training, combined with energy balance. Classes will be held outdoors in the Lahaina area.

Items covered in this Basic Manners--Level One dog training class include: Food lure, marker word, no reward marker, watch me/ look, come when called, loose leash walking, impulse control, sit and auto-sit, down, stand, stay, drop it, and leave it.

For the first week's class, clients do not bring their dogs.  I have considered changing this approach many times, however, I have found that it is much easier to get people to listen to the most important information without the distraction of their dogs around.  The first week of class, clients fill out paperwork, I ensure that the dog is up-to-date on all shots by checking vet records, and I give out the most important information on dog training.  

Below I have shared the notes given to each person for the first week's class.

Such Good Dogs Basic Manners Class #1

Dog training lessons are about training the HUMAN, and teaching the human how to communicate with the dog so we can motivate the dog to work and learn.  When a dog misbehaves it is really a breakdown in communication.  Dogs do what works for them, don’t assume they know better.

When training a dog of any age, you must start at the bottom and work your way up.  Basically, we are starting in Kindergarten.  Remember to move training at the dog’s pace, not your own.  Keep calm and do not do repetitions too many times.  It’s better to quit while you are ahead, than to push the training further than the dog is ready for.  The dog will lose interest and stop learning.

Such Good Dogs uses Positive Reinforcement Training.
Positive Reinforcement Training means making the dog work for something s/he likes.  We give the dog reinforcement at the moment the dog performs the desired behavior to increase the likelihood that the dog will perform the behavior again.  Dogs must WORK for everything they get.  Dogs should not get ANYTHING for free! (This includes:  toys, treats, regular food, water, sleeping arrangements, etc.)

Energy Balance
It is important to always be aware of what energy you are projecting anytime you interact with your dog.  It is vitally important to remain calm, but firm when teaching your dog new things.  Dogs will NOT follow or listen to a leader who is not calm.  If you are angry or frustrated, your dog will sense this, and your training session will not go well.

3 Things on our 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 rewarding them and encouraging whatever behavior they are currently doing.  This is important to keep in mind so you do not unintentionally reward bad behaviors.  Example:  when a dog jumps up to greet you, the proper thing to do is cross your arms and turn your back while saying nothing.

What do you do with behaviors your dog does that you do not like?
1.  Ignore
2.  Avoid
3.  Re-direct
It is important to manage your dog’s behavior in between training sessions.  You must help prevent bad behaviors from occurring.  Behaviors usually get worse before they get better.  You must catch a dog “in the act” within 2 seconds to change the behavior.

What motivates your dog?
To begin training, we first must know what motivates our dog.  Humans need motivation, so do dogs.  Would you go to work every day if you didn’t get paid?  Some common reinforcers for dogs include:  food, petting, toys, & praise.  You must also have a variety of rewards from “ok” to “really awesome.”  Your dog decides what 
s/he likes best  What is your dog’s Like It? Love It? Gotta Have It?

Marker Word:
Choose your marker word:  “Good” or “Yes” (or the Clicker).
This is the word (or sound) that says to a dog, “Yes! That is exactly what I wanted you to do!” and is then followed with a reward.  The more you mark the good behaviors, the more your dog will want to engage in these behaviors.  To “charge up” the Marker word, say your word, give a treat, repeat.  Example:  Say “Good”, give treat, Good, treat.

Things needed for Training:
Remember to have 2-4 different kinds of rewards on hand (several types of treats).  
Regular buckle collar and leash (easy-walk harness or gentle leader), NO Flexi-leash.
Water for both you and your dog.  Poop clean-up bags (ALWAYS pick up after your pet).
Most importantly, always bring a good sense of humor, LOTS of patience, and a calm energy.

Keep Training Going:
Proper Exercise:  Every dog should be walked every day!
Good Relationship with the owner:  When you get frustrated, remember why you got your dog, he’s your buddy, he’s your pal.  Don’t take set-back’s personal.

Socialization:  It is very important to have a dog that is comfortable in as many different situations as possible.  Take your dog everywhere you can, but proceed at your dog’s pace.
Consistency:  Everyone in the household should have all the same rules, all the same cue words and commands, ALL THE TIME!

Generalizing:  Dogs do not generalize well.  It is important to practice everything you learn, everywhere you go.
Training Sessions:  Keep them short and sweet.  3-5 minutes a few times a day.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dog Teaser--Dog Apps/ Accessory

Dog Teaser

Iphone Apps for Dogs/ Dog Accessory
Updated: June 4, 2013

This is an app for teasing your dog.  This app includes several sounds to drive your dog wild.  These sounds include noises of:  a cat, a bird, another dog bark and growl, a doorbell, a squeaky balloon, jingling keys, and a door knock.

Overall the quality of each sound is not very good.  Furthermore, I would not encourage anyone to add this app.  The reason I say this is because we really should NOT be teasing our dogs in such a manner. Try training your dog instead of teasing him and you will be much happier.

I do NOT recommend this Dog App for any purpose.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Trainer Tips--The Truth About Kennel Cough (Bordatella)

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough can have multiple causes, just like humans can catch cold from many different viruses.  The most common cause is a bacterium called Bordatella bronchiseptica.  This is why Kennel Cough is often referred to as Bordatella.  Dogs catch Kennel Cough when they inhale virus particles or bacteria into their respiratory tract.  Although this tract is normally lined with mucus that helps trap infectious particles, a number of factors can weaken this protection, making the dog more prone to the Kennel Cough infection.

These factors include:  
*Exposure to poorly ventilated or crowded conditions (such as those found in many shelters and kennels)
*Exposure to cigarette smoke or dust
*Stress induced by travel
*Cold temperatures

Symptoms of Kennel Cough

The most classic symptom is a persistent, forceful cough.  It has been said that is often sounds like a goose honk.  Some dogs also show other symptoms including:  runny nose, sneezing, or eye discharge.  The dog may also have a decreased energy level and lose his appetite.

Treating Kennel Cough

Kennel cough is contagious.  If you suspect your dog may have Kennel Cough, keep him away from other animals and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Many cases of Kennel Cough will resolve without treatment.  However, medications may help minimize symptoms and speed recovery from the infection.  

To help your dog during this illness, it may also be helpful to use a harness instead of a head collar (something I would never normally recommend).  This will help ease and minimize the dog's coughing.

Most dogs who contract Kennel Cough will completely recover in about three weeks.  Older dogs and dogs with other health problems may take as long as six weeks to recover.  

Vaccine for Kennel Cough

There are three forms of the Kennel Cough vaccine:  one that is delivered as a nasal mist (most common), one that is injected, and once that can be given by mouth.  The frequency of the vaccine can be given either every 6 months or once a year, depending on the dog's activities and preference (some dog's do better with a certain delivery system).

In my experience, Veterinarians have recommended your dog get this vaccine on a regular (yearly) basis.  However, this has changed a bit over the last 5 years or so.  Even more so, I have noticed that Veterinarians on the Hawaiian islands usually recommend NOT getting the vaccine.  After talking with my own Vet and several other local vets, my dogs are no longer receiving the Kennel Cough vaccine.  Although my dogs are constantly around other dogs and animals (they are used often in training), the vaccination may not be necessary.

Why the Kennel Cough Vaccination might be a bad thing

First off, a dog contracting Kennel Cough is about as dangerous as a human contracting the common cold.  
Furthermore, similar to the flu shot, the Kennel Cough Vaccination will not protect against every strain of bacteria or virus that may cause the illness.  It is estimated that there are at least 40 different agents that cause Kennel Cough, and the vaccination only contains a handful of these.
Also, older animals and animals with other illnesses should NOT be vaccinated.  Doing so can cause further or other health problems.

Another problem:  the vaccine is not safe.  Most vaccines are called "modified live vaccines."  It has been shown that the "modified" viruses in human vaccines embed themselves in the genes of the host.  The vaccine can then shuffle around and reactivate  after thirty or more years.

The final problem that most people don't know:  Dogs will shed the disease they were vaccinated against into their environment.  
Therefore, dogs vaccinated for Kennel Cough will shed that disease for up to 7 weeks.  This means that vaccinating your dog, potentially puts other dogs around you at risk because your dog will be shedding that disease into the environment.


Can't decide what to do?  Talk to your veterinarian, or get a second veterinarian's opinion.  In my experience and research, I do not believe it is necessary in most situations.  I will no longer be vaccinating my own dogs for Kennel Cough and no longer require the vaccination for training.

Still need more help?  Check out these other articles...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Breed of the Month--Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

Colors:  Black, yellow, chocolate
Height:  Males: 22-24.5 inches/  Females:  21.5-23.5 inches
Weight:  Males:  60-80 lbs/  Females:  55-70 lbs
Life span:  10-14 years

Breed health concerns:  hip dysplasia, retinal dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hereditary myopathy, and progressive retinal atrophy.

Coat:  Double coat with a dense, short, straight outer coat and a water-resistant, soft undercoat.
Country of Origin:  England

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

This breed became very popular in the 1800s.  The English marveled at this dog's abilities:  able to work in icy waters and retrieve whatever necessary, these dogs were noted for their weather resistance and responsiveness.  The first actual kennel for Labradors was founded by the second Earl of Marlesbury, and by the late 1800s the English had begun using these dogs to develop the Flat-Coat Retriever and the breed known today as the Labrador Retriever.

Today in both the United States and England, the Labrador Retriever has become a very popular dog.  Today there are considered to be two types of Labs:  the show type and the field type.  The show type is shorter and stockier, whereas the field type is more energetic and skinnier.

The Labrador Retriever is willing to please, even-tempered, intelligent, affectionate, and sensible.  Labs seem to understand that children need to be treated with an extra gentle touch, but are willing to play with anyone.  Labs can be kept happy for hours with a tennis ball or toy, and are generally exceptional swimmers.  These dogs are a large breed dog.  Labs and Lab-mixes are one of the most popular breeds in the United States.

Labrador Retrievers are very high energy dogs and must get plenty of regular exercise.  A 10 minute walk around the block will most definitely NOT keep this breed happy.  The Lab must get several hours of mentally stimulating exercise daily.

Labs must be brushed frequently; they are considered moderate to heavy shedders.  With this breeds love of swimming, it is important to keep the dog's ears clean and dry to help prevent infection.

The Lab is one of the most highly trainable breeds.  Labs love to please and are attentive to work for their owners.  Training ability along with an excellent temperament makes this breed highly popular is the use of service dogs, police dogs, and drug-detection dogs.  Labs make excellent hunting dogs with their keen sense of smell.  Many Labs are also big stars in the dog show world and arenas of agility, tracking, flyball, and obedience.  This breed tends to love to do anything his owner is willing to participate in.

Two of our three dogs are Lab mixes.  Both love to play fetch and run.  They are high-energy dogs but as stated above, are exceptionally trainable.  As long as our dogs get their regular exercise, they are happy and content.

Athena with Caravaggio (a Great Dane, German Shepherd, Lab mix)
& Nekita (a Springer Spaniel, Lab mix).