By Laurie Darroch
Crate training is a way to provide your pet with a safe and secure place whenever it is needed by your dog or by you. If used in a positive way, a crate will be a beneficial addition for training your dog.
To begin training your dog to use the crate, put it in an area of the house where your dog will not feel he is being excluded from his pack, which is you and any other family members. It may help to initially start using the crate in the area where the dog’s human companions spend the majority of their time in the house. Once the dog is used to the crate, you can move it to a quiet area such as a bedroom.
When you first set up the crate, keep the comfort of your dog in mind. Put a pad or blanket on the floor of the crate to make it a more comfortable place for your dog to rest. Put a favorite chew toy, stuffed animal or other object that gives them comfort in the crate. Think of the crate as their den or room. You like your room to feel comfortable and safe – a place to retreat to – and so does your dog.
By Linda Cole
Schutzhund is a competitive dog sport that started in Germany at the turn of the 20th century. It was designed to evaluate a dog’s mental stability, courage and protective instinct as well as the ability to scent, willingness to do his job, and the ability to be trained.
The events in Schutzhund (tracking, protection and obedience) were developed by Max von Stephanitz, the German breeder responsible for creating the German Shepherd Dog. By the time the GSD had been developed, the job the breed was originally bred to do – herding – was on the decline in Germany. The German Shepherd has always been a versatile dog capable of doing far more than just herding, and von Stephanitz developed Schutzhund as a sport to maintain the working ability of the breed.
The German Shepherd Dog Club refined the sport in the 1920s to continue the quality of the breed. Other guardian breeds also excel in this intense competition, although most can’t meet the intense training and challenges of Schutzhund.
By Laurie Darroch
When you take a dog through training classes or train him yourself, it is important to have all members of your home on the same training program in order to reinforce the lessons. Two of the strongest reinforcers for learning and retaining what is learned are consistency and repetition, which is why all family members need to be on the same page with the training.
If you are going to training classes taught by an instructor, it’s a good idea to have more than one family member attend the classes. Although it sounds odd, in reality human companions are being trained at the same time their dog is going through the program. Humans learn the verbal and physical cues with which to train their dogs, and the dog learns how to understand and follow those lessons from both an outside trainer and their human companions. The same cues and words need to be used by all household members for each command, otherwise varied cues and commands may just confuse your dog.
If only one person is able to attend the actual lessons, there are options for learning and teaching at home afterward as well. To reinforce what you learn from a trainer, practice the lessons from each session immediately when you reach home to reinforce them in a different setting. Your dog will learn that the cues are the same regardless of the setting in which they are given. Share the lessons with the other household members and have them practice with your dog as well. Make it a group learning session once you are home.
By Linda Cole
Teaching your dog basic commands helps to keep them safe and gives you better control of your pet. Sometimes, however, training can become boring for you and your dog. Most canines enjoy learning new things, and teaching him tricks he can learn quickly is a great way to mix things up. It also helps to reinforce commands he already knows and makes training more fun for both of you.
Keep training sessions short – 10 minutes max – and reward each success with treats and praise. Encouragement is key in helping your pet learn, and even good attempts to try to do what you ask should be rewarded with honest praise.
Spin Around – Hold a CANIDAE treat in front of your face to get your dog’s attention. Stand still and say “spin.” Move your hand with the treat slowly around so your dog can follow it. When he makes a complete circle, reward immediately with treat and praise. You can also teach him to stand on his back legs and spin around. Hold the treat above his head until he’s standing on his back legs, say “spin,” and move the treat for him to follow.
By Laurie Darroch
Dogs love to go for a walk and explore the world beyond their front door. It is a great way to get some exercise, work on obedience training and burn off excess dog energy. To make the experience pleasant for everyone, follow these basic etiquette guidelines for being a courteous dog walker.
Even if your dog is very obedient and does not wander off without permission while you are on a walk, your city may have leash laws that do not allow a dog to roam freely. Respect those laws. They are there to protect you, your dog and others.
Dogs who love to go out associate the leash with a positive, fun experience and may get excited when they see you get it out before a walk. The leash will give you full control while on your walk and also keep your dog safe. Think of it as the equivalent of holding a small child’s hand.
If no leash is required, you should still follow the basic rules of dog walking etiquette.
By Langley Cornwell
Food guarding is a natural behavior in most dogs. In fact, the act of guarding any prized possession is inherent in canines. Before dogs were domesticated, wild animals that successfully protected their valuable resources were the most likely to survive.
These days, food guarding is inadvertently reinforced in young puppies. Some dog breeders feed their puppies from a single large bowl so at mealtime puppies have to compete with one another for their fair share of the food. The puppy that is able to eat the most food will grow quicker than his littermates. He will also get stronger faster, which means he will get even more of the food, and so on. This seemingly innocent set of circumstances ultimately rewards aggressive behavior in dogs at a young age.
That’s why food guarding is so common in dogs, but what can we do about it?
Food guarding can become a serious issue if you don’t take steps to manage it. For your own safety and the safety of family members and guests, it’s important to teach your dog to remain relaxed while he eats – no matter who’s around or what’s going on. If you have a dog with aggressive food-guarding issues, these steps will help you break his tendency to guard his food.