September 3, 2008
boot camp

 Just like in the army, boot camp is really just an introduction to a new career and new way of doing things. A tour through boot camp isn’t going to solve your alpha dog’s problems forever. It’s a way to get basic respect from a dog who’s been bullying you without having to resort to physical force.

How long should boot camp last? That depends on the dog. Some will show an improvement right away, others may take much longer. For really tough cookies, natural leaders that need constant reminders of their place in the pack, Alpha Dog Boot Camp will become a way of life. Social climbers may need periodic trips through boot camp if you get lax and accidentally let them climb back up a notch or two in the family pack order.

How do you know if you’re making a difference? If boot camp has been successful, your dog should start looking to you for directions and permission. He’ll show an eagerness to please. Watch how your dog approaches and greets you. Does he come to you “standing tall”, with his head and ears held high and erect? It may look impressive and proud but it means he’s still alpha and you still have problems! A dog who accepts humans as superiors will approach you with his head slightly lowered and his ears back or off to the sides. He’ll “shrink” his whole body a little in a show of submission. Watch how he greets all the members of the family. If he displays this submissive posture to some of them, but not others, those are the ones who still need to work on their own alpha posture and methods. They should take him back through another tour of boot camp with support from the rest of the family.

After a long hard day of boot camp, make sure to let him lay down and chew on his favorite treat, like bully sticks!


Obedience Training for Dogs

Author: gibbywmu
September 3, 2008

obedience 

Once your dog has begun to accept this new way of life and his new position in the family, you should take him through an obedience course with a qualified trainer. All dogs need to be trained and alpha dogs need training most of all! You don’t have to wait until he’s through with boot camp to start this training but it’s important that he respects at least one member of the family and is willing to take direction from them.

Obedience class teaches you to train your dog. It teaches you how to be alpha, how to enforce commands and rules, how to get respect and to keep it. All family members who are old enough to understand and control the dog should participate in the class.

Obedience training is a lifelong process. One obedience course does not a trained dog make! Obedience commands need to be practiced and incorporated into your daily life. In a dog pack, the alpha animal uses occasional reminders to reinforce his authority. Certain commands, like DOWN/STAY, are especially effective, nonviolent reminders of a dog’s place in the family pack order and who’s really in charge here.  Giving them treats they enjoy, like bully sticks, is also very effective.

A well-trained obedient dog is a happy dog and a joy to live with. Dogs want to please and need a job to do. Training gives them the opportunity to do both. A well-trained dog has more freedom. He can go more places and do more things with you because he knows how to behave. A well-trained dog that’s secure in his place within the family pack is comfortable and confident. He knows what’s expected of him. He knows his limits and who his leaders are. He’s free from the responsibility of running the household and making decisions. He’s free to be your loving companion and not your boss. He’s free to be a dog – what he was born to be and what he always wanted to be in the first place!


Whippets: An Owners Guide

Author: gibbywmu
July 12, 2008
<Whippet

Whippet

The Whippet is a medium sized, active and playful shorthaired dog that is part of the sighthound family. They look like a greyhound, but are a breed of their own. They are gentle and quiet dogs that make great all around family pets. They become very attached to their family members, including the children and enjoy spending most of their day sleeping. Some Whippets are prone to ‘excessive greeting disorder, which occurs when a dog will jump, bark, and howl when his owners return from any absence of 10 minutes for longer. This can be dangerous if you have young children in the home, so you may want to crate your Whippet while you are gone, so the family can enter the home safely before uncrating him.

Whippets are very active and athletic dogs that love pursuing their prey and do it with great enthusiasm. They generally don’t snap or growl at other domestic animals. They are playful, loving dogs that have been given the nickname of ‘Velcro dog’ because of how they love cuddling with you on the bed or couch. They are not a dog that is content to lay on the floor by themselves. They are very easy to housebreak whether they are male or female unlike some other breeds. The female is more strong willed and the male more loyal, but both sexes make excellent pets. It is important to remember that each dog is different and his training will go differently as well.

Whippets make great racing dogs due to the excellent speed, and have participated in many races such as lure coursing, straight racing and oval track racing. Whippets are such active and athletic dogs that they can easily jump on the top of the countertop, couch or wherever they want to be to see what is going on around them. If bored, they will chew on things so it is important to give them plenty of toys or treats (like dog treats). Whippets were bred to chase, so it is important to always keep them on a leash while outdoors. If they see a small animal that they consider prey, they will chase and they can run up to 35 mph. By time they get tired of the chase, they could be miles from home and lost. Many Whippets lose their lives by being hit by a car.


Puppy House Training Tips

Author: gibbywmu
June 19, 2008

puppy training

 by Sallie McConnell

House training a puppy is very important for the well being of both the puppy and the owner. The number one reason that dogs are surrender to animal shelters is problems with inappropriate elimination, so it is easy to see why proper house training is such an important consideration.
It is important to establish proper toilet habits when the puppy is young, since these habits can last a lifetime, and be very hard to break once they are established. It is very important for the owner to house break the puppy properly. In most cases, true house training cannot begin until the puppy is six months old. Puppies younger than this generally lack the bowel and bladder control that is needed for true house training.
Puppies younger than six months should be confined to a small, puppy proofed room when the owner cannot supervise them. The entire floor of the room should be covered with newspapers or similar absorbent materials, and the paper changed every time it is soiled. As the puppy gets older, the amount of paper used can be reduced as the puppy begins to establish a preferred toilet area. It is this preferred toilet area that will form the basis of later house training.

The Do’s of House Training Your Puppy:
1.  Always provide the puppy with constant, unrestricted access to the established toilet area.
2.  When you are at home, take the puppy to the toilet area every 45 minutes.
3.  When you are not at home or cannot supervise the puppy, you must be sure the puppy cannot make a mistake. This means confining the puppy to a small area that has been thoroughly puppy proofed. Puppy proofing a room is very similar to baby proofing a room, since puppies chew on everything.
4.  Always provide a toilet area that does not resemble anything in your home. Training the puppy to eliminate on concrete, blacktop, grass or dirt is a good idea. The puppy should never be encouraged to eliminate on anything that resembles the hardwood flooring, tile or carpet he may encounter in a home.
5.  Praise and reward your puppy every time he eliminates in the established toilet area. The puppy must learn to associate toileting in the established areas with good things, like dog treats (such as lamb ears), toys and praise from his owner.
6.  Always keep a set schedule when feeding your puppy, and provide constant access to fresh, clean drinking water. A consistent feeding schedule equals a consistent toilet schedule.
7. Using a crate can be a big help in helping a puppy develop self control. The concept behind crate training is that the puppy will not want to toilet in his bed area.
8. And finally, it is important to be patient when house training a puppy. House training can take as long as several months, but it is much easier to house train right the first time than to retrain a problem dog.

The Don’ts of House Training Your Puppy:
1.  Never reprimand or punish the puppy for mistakes. Punishing the puppy will only cause fear and confusion.
2.  Do not leave food out for the puppy all night long. Keep to a set feeding schedule in order to make the dog’s toilet schedule as consistent as possible.
3.  Do not give the puppy the run of the house until he has been thoroughly house trained.

House training is not always the easiest thing to do, and some dogs tend to be much easier to house train than others. It is important, however to be patient, consistent and loving as you train your dog. A rushed, frightened or intimidated dog will not be able to learn the important lessons of house training. Once you have gained your puppy’s love and respect, however, you will find that house training your puppy is easier than you ever expected.


Keeping Your Dog Motivated

Author: gibbywmu
June 16, 2008

Dog Motivation

by Sallie McConnel

Keeping the attention of a dog while training is not always easy. Dogs can be easily distracted, and it is important to not allow the training sessions to be sabotaged by boredom. Making training fun for the dog and the human alike is vital to creating a happy, well adjusted and well trained dog.

Providing random positive stimuli during the day is a great way to keep the interest of the dog. Doing things the dog enjoys, like walking in the park, riding in the car, and playing with other dogs, is a great way to keep the dog?s attention and reward him for small successes.

For instance, in order to reward the dog for coming to you, for instance, ask the dog to come to you, without giving any clues about a walk, a car ride, or other dog treats, like pig ears. After the dog has come to you and obediently sat down, attach the leash and start the reward. This can be either the aforementioned walk in the park, ride in the car, or anything else the dog likes to do.

Providing some kind of reward, whether a treat, a special outing, or just a scratch behind the ears, every time the dog does something you want, is a great way to keep your dog motivated. If the dog knows something great is going to happen every time he obeys your command, he will be motivated to please you every time.

Distraction training
When training any dog, it is important to not let distractions disrupt the training. The dog must be taught to ignore distractions, such as other people, other dogs, other animals and loud noises, and focus on what is being taught These types of distractions can even be used as rewards when training the dog to come when called.

For instance, if your dog enjoys playing with other dogs, whether in a local dog park or with the neighbor?s dogs, let him play freely with those other dogs. Then go into the park or yard and call your dog. When he comes to you, provide lots of praise, treats and other rewards, then immediately allow the dog to go back to playing with his friends. Repeat this several times and praise the dog each time he comes to you. The dog will quickly learn that coming to you means good things (treats and praise) and not bad ones (being taken away from the park).

If the dog does not master this particular type of training right away, try not to get discouraged. So called distraction training is one of the most difficult things to teach. Dogs are naturally social animals, and breaking away from the pack is one of the most difficult things you can ask your dog to do. Most dogs will be understandably reluctant to leave their canine companions, but it is important to persist.

Training the dog to come to you may require some creativity on your part at first. For instance, waving a favorite toy, or a lure, is a great way to get your dog?s attention and put the focus back on you. If your dog has been clicker trained, a quick click can be a good motivator as well.

Once the dog begins to get the hang of coming when called, you can begin to reduce and eliminate the visual cues and focus on getting the dog to respond to your voice alone. It is important that the dog respond to voice commands alone, since you will not always have the availability of a toy or other lure.


How To Teach Your Dog To Sit

Author: gibbywmu
May 28, 2008

sitting dog

Few things in life are prettier than watching a well-trained dog and one of the basic commands is the sit command. There are several methods of teaching your dog to sit. Two of the most popular are the Click and the Compulsory methods. The Click method is based again on purely positive reinforcement while the Compulsory method uses both positive and negative reinforcements. Let’s begin our discussion with the easier of the two, The Click Method.The Click Method of training a dog to sit is based upon rewarding the animal for the desired behavior. It gets its name from the idea that some audible queue is used to alert the animal of a pending reward with many trainers using a device called a clicker for this purpose. Whenever the audible queue is given, the reward follows immediately. To train a dog to sit by this method requires little effort on the trainers’ part. One begins by lavishing the dog with several dog treats, one right after the other while giving the audible queue.

Then abruptly stop the shower of treats and wait for the animal to direct its attention to you. Now display a treat and give the audible queue as you give the treat to the pet. Now hold another treat at chest level so that the dog must look up to see the treat. After a few minutes, your pet will likely sit down on its haunches because this position makes it much easier to watch the treat. Immediately, when this happens, give the audible queue and reward the pet. Repeat this lesson several times.

After a while you will notice your pet sitting in anticipation of the click and the reward so it is now time to add your verbal command to the routine. When the dog begins to sit, say “sit”. This will gradually teach the dog that the command precedes the action and they will learn the meaning of the command in this way. After some practice and a bit of patience, your dog should begin to sit without having to see a reward being offered.Now let’s discuss the more traditional method of training. The Compulsory Method. This is the method grand dad used on his dogs. Tell the puppy to sit while enforcing it. Saying the verbal command “sit” and pushing down on the puppy’s tail section to make it contact the floor accomplish the lesson. With some dogs you might have to hold their chin up during this process or they will go ahead and lie down. The object behind the lesson is to teach the pup when you say “sit” that there is no other choice but to sit and so eventually the animal will respond on its own rather than having to be coaxed into position.

Some owners use a tool called a choke collar for this training method. They will leash the dog with the choke collar in place and upon the sit command push the dog down. At the same time they will hold the choke collar down by way of the leash allowing only enough slack for the dog to sit but not stand up. If the dog tries to stand the choke collar tightens around the animals’ neck producing extreme discomfort.

The author does not recommend this method as it can produce a nervous and fearful animal, which can become quite aggressive when it feels threatened. Such training also makes leash training much more difficult as it teaches the animal to fear the leash because of the pain inflicted by it. This also tends to lessen the bond between master and dog because the dog comes to associate the master with the pain and discomfort as well and may lash out at the owner or others if the treatment continues.In whichever method you choose for training your pet, one thing remains constant. Always be consistent. Also be sure to pour lavish affection upon your pet for good behaviors and responses as this improves their bond to you and makes them desire to please you more fully. With a moderate amount of time and patience, your dog will be rivaling any animal presented at the local dog competitions for his well-trained style and mannerisms.


positive trainingby Humane Society for the United States (HSUS)

We all like to be praised rather than punished. The same is true for your dog, and that’s the theory behind positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement means giving your pet something pleasant or rewarding immediately after she does something you want her to do, such as dog treats or dog toys. Because your praise or reward makes her more likely to repeat that behavior in the future, it is one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing your dog’s behavior.

Correct timing is essential when using positive reinforcement. The reward must occur immediately—within seconds—or your pet may not associate it with the proper action. For example, if you have your dog “sit” but reward her after she’s already stood back up, she’ll think she’s being rewarded for standing up.

Consistency is also essential. Everyone in the family should use the same commands. It might help to post these where everyone can become familiar with them. The most commonly used commands for dogs are:

  • “watch me”
  • “sit”
  • “stay”
  • “down” (which means “lie down”)
  • “off” (which means “get off of me” or “get off the furniture”)
  • “stand”
  • “come”
  • “heel” (or “let’s go” or “with me”)
  • “leave it”
  • “settle”

Consistency means always rewarding the desired behavior and never rewarding undesired behavior.