Category Archives: dog training

How to Teach Your Dog to Speak

By Langley Cornwell

Call me a sucker, but I love cheesy dog tricks. When someone teaches their dog to drop and roll over when they point a finger at him, I’m hooked. Or when someone says “hello, Spot,” and their dog gives a quick bark in response. Come on, that’s gold. It makes me think of all the time the dog and human spent together teaching and learning these silly games. I also think about all the bonding and love they shared during that time. In fact, when I see other people’s cute dog tricks, it makes me want to teach my dogs some cool new things. With that in mind, I recently learned how to teach my dogs to speak. Turns out, teaching your dog to bark on command (or “speak”) is one of the easiest tricks you can teach him. It keeps your dog mentally sharp, it’s a great opportunity to bond, and it’s a fun party trick. Here’s how to do it.

Get Your Dog Jacked Up

Granted, this is not advice I would usually give. Those of you with dogs that are already overly-enthusiastic are probably giving me the stink eye right now, but just stay with me here. You probably already know that when you get happy and excited, your dog does too. So lay on the hijinks. If your dog likes to wrestle around, do that. If he prefers to play tug or fetch, do that. The idea here is to get your dog’s undivided attention, make him happy and raise his energy level.
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How to Make Your Dog Training More Effective

dog trainingBy Langley Cornwell

There are some breeds of dog that have a reputation for being very smart, eager to please, and easy to train. What some people don’t realize is that all dogs are smart and can be trained; it’s just a matter of knowing what you are doing and being willing to challenge your dog. Many times, inexperienced trainers will stick with the activities their dogs have picked up quickly rather than training to their dog’s weaknesses. It’s important to continue practicing and drilling the activities your dog seems to have a block about, to gently and expertly push him to learn the things that seem hard for him to catch on to. This will obviously result in a better trained dog, but it will also foster a stronger bond between the two of you.

Dogs can be headstrong. For example, if you have a dog that you have taught to shake hands by lifting a paw, it can be difficult to get that same smart dog to shake using the other paw. Just like humans, dogs develop habits and it is up to the trainer to help erase any mental blocks a dog may have developed. Rather than just accepting that your dog only shakes with his right paw, it will benefit your dog to work with him so that he can and will alternate as you ask.

When a dog has learned and eagerly performs a series of “tricks” in order to get a CANIDAE PURE Chewy Treat, he knows what to expect. He may have to sit, shake, lie down and roll over, but as soon as the routine is complete he wants his dog treat. In order to train to a dog’s weakness, that routine needs to be changed up a bit. If you reward him for the same rote performance day in and day out, he is not being challenged and basically he has you trained. Dogs need mental stimulation. A dog that is not challenged may become bored and obstinate, and may eventually refuse to perform the skills he knows well.
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Dog Training: Why Your Dog Should Know His Name

dog name rennettBy Linda Cole

When you communicate with other people, you may not always acknowledge them by name if the conversation is just between the two of you. However, we do like to be addressed by our name when there’s more people involved. For one thing, it tells us someone is speaking directly to us. It’s equally important for your dog to hear his name, especially when training him.

From a dog’s perspective, our human world is a noisy place. They can hear many sounds that we can’t. Their exceptional hearing and observational skills can distract them at times when we want or need them to pay attention to us. Canines with a strong prey drive can become so focused on another animal they ignore everything else, which is why some dogs should never be let off leash, and why a recall command is so important.

Speaking your dog’s name first gets his attention and lets him know you’re getting ready to give him a command you expect him to follow. Some dogs can get so tuned in on prey they don’t hear their owner calling them as they race out into a busy street or disappear into the woods. Knowing how your dog responds to his name tells you how well he’ll respond if there’s an emergency situation that requires him to pay attention to you. It’s for your peace of mind and his safety.
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6 Tips for Training a Stubborn Dog

dog train chrystalBy Linda Cole

My dog Keikei is a snap to train. I have no doubt if I put in the time and effort to train her, she could perform at Carnegie Hall. Well…perhaps that’s setting a lofty goal. My point is, she’s always eager to learn. My dog Dozer, on the other hand, has a stubborn streak a mile wide. He’s just as capable of learning, especially with tasty CANIDAE treats as a motivator, but working with him can be frustrating.

Trying to change a natural behavior can take time and understanding, but even a hardheaded canine can learn how to behave. Treat your dog with respect, use positive reinforcement, make learning fun, keep training sessions short and stick to your training program. Some canines learn faster than others; the important thing is to never give up. Training a stubborn dog can be challenging, but here are 6 tips that can help.

Train in a Quiet, Stress Free Environment

Only work on one command at a time, in an area of your home where there’s no distractions. Don’t try to train your dog outside where he’s constantly bombarded with things that grab his attention. You want him to focus on you and not on squirrels chasing each other around a tree. Once your dog has mastered basic commands like sit, stay, down, drop it and watch me, then you can take him outside and practice where there are distractions. After all, one purpose of teaching your pet how to behave is so you can control him inside and outside the home.
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Five Smells That Dogs Don’t Like

dog smells joaquinBy Laurie Darroch

When your dog is getting into everything, you can use particular smells she doesn’t like to help keep her out of trouble. If she is in a hyper pestering mood, ruining your personal belongings, digging in your yard or messing up any other area, there are smells you can use to deter her. It’s natural behavior for a dog to chew and dig, but with the help of their sensitive sense of smell you can train them to stay away from places or things you don’t want them getting into.

Peppers

Chili peppers get their kick from capsaicin, the main ingredient that gives them their spicy flavor and smell.  The spicier the pepper is, the more likely your dog will not care for the smell.

My dog hates jalapeno peppers. When she is being a pest, all I have to do is hold one up in front of her to make her back away. It works like a charm and as an added bonus, there is no mess. If she wants attention when I can’t give it to her and tries to get on me or in the middle of something I’m working on, I simply hold up the pepper and she stays away until I’m done. It doesn’t hurt her. Watching her stick her hind quarters in the air and make faces at the dangling pepper always makes me laugh, but it works.
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5 Things City Dogs Need to Know to Stay Safe

city dog luluBy Linda Cole

I’ve always lived in a small town, and though I can see the appeal a big city has for many people, I’ve never wanted to live in one. Dogs really don’t care what your preference is when it comes to rural or urban living, but city dogs need to have some specific skills to stay safe.

My dogs are used to a laid back and quiet environment, and we rarely meet other people walking their dogs when we’re out for a stroll. The only distractions include an occasional rabbit, deer or squirrel. If we take the dogs with us to a city, they’re excited and act like a tourist trying to take in everything at once. But they are also unsure and a bit uncomfortable as well. Big cities are full of life and activities that can take a little time for dogs to get used to.

Staying Calm in a Sea of People

Crowds of people fill the city sidewalks, all heading to their own destinations. Some are wearing uniforms or dressed like clowns or other characters a dog may not recognize. It’s important to help your pet feel comfortable and calm in a more chaotic environment. There may be people who want to pet your dog, and it’s up to you to make sure he knows how to politely greet people and when you should tell someone no. The last thing you want do is force your dog to do something he’s not comfortable doing. Some dogs are wary of strangers by nature.

Being Attentive to His Owner

With a lot more traffic and other distractions in a big city, a dog needs to pay attention to his owner, and it’s a must to keep him under control at all times. Retractable and long leashes can put a dog at risk of being injured if he steps out into traffic or rushes out of an elevator when the door opens. City dogs need to know and obey basic commands Dog-Animated-no-offerregardless of any distractions around him, especially when meeting other dogs while out walking. The “watch me” or “look at me” commands get your dog to focus on you and can be crucial if you need to get your pet’s attention.

Leave It and Drop It Commands

A city dog is more likely to find litter and garbage lying on the street or sidewalk, and it only takes an instant for a canine to grab something up. The “leave it” and “drop it” commands can save a dog’s life and save you money at the vet when you can prevent your pet from eating something he shouldn’t have. Since dogs are closer to the ground than you are, it’s not difficult for them to find a wrapper with part of a sandwich inside, cigarette butts, bones, cups, plastic bags or plastic utensils with bits of food on them. You may not see him grab something off the ground before you can tell him to leave it, but you can at least get him to spit it out by telling him to drop it.

Acclimating to Distractions and Noise

Larger cities have a variety of scents, distractions and street noise – people on skateboards, skates or bikes, someone pulling a wagon, in a wheelchair, pushing a shopping cart, jackhammers and other loud construction equipment. If a dog hasn’t been exposed to these sights and sounds, it can cause him to be nervous or scared of the noise and movement. Cities also have a lot more car and truck traffic on the noisy streets. Dogs that aren’t used to hearing the sound of garbage trucks, blaring sirens or honking horns may be bothered or scared by sudden loud noises.

Walking on Different Surfaces

city dog stephenCity dogs will encounter different types of surfaces they need to feel comfortable walking on. If they live in an apartment it could be a slippery hallway, stairway or lobby floor. Elevators, automatic or revolving doors can also be confusing for a dog that isn’t used to being around them.

The American Kennel Club recently added a new title to their Canine Good Citizen certification program. The Urban Canine Good Citizen tests dogs in specific skills they need to know in a big city environment, skills that help you keep your pet safe and under control.

A well mannered dog that’s comfortable and relaxed makes life easier for his owner, whether it’s in a large city or a small town.

Top photo by Lulu Hoeller/Flickr
Bottom photo by Stephen/Flickr

Read more articles by Linda Cole