Have you ever tried to train a dog who doesn’t care about food? Some of you might be saying, “What? No way! All dogs are motivated by food.” Well my friends this is simply not so, it’s rare, but sometimes a dog is more easily motivated by other means such as encouraging words and petting. I recently helped a friend of mine with her dog, Lilly. Lilly is one of these unusual dogs. She doesn’t care about treats. Pam and I were trying to teach her to come when she was called. I thought it would be an easy thing to do, after all what dog doesn’t come when you offer a piece of hot dog, cheese or other food they normally consider awesome? But right from the start of our training session, Lilly couldn’t care less about any treat we offered.
While I was training Rusty and Sadie I had noticed they loved it when I would clap my hands and tell them what good dogs they were. Would this work with Lilly? I had no idea, but figured it was worth a try.
Turned out Lilly loved being praised. To get Lilly to come, we would call her name and the moment she looked our way we would say good dog, clap our hands excitedly and continue to praise her until she was standing next to us. Once Lilly was standing next to us we would pet her and continue to give her lots of praise. Now Lilly comes when she’s called and Pam doesn’t have to worry about forgetting those not-so-motivating treats at home.
Want more dog training tips? Read “The Dog Tricks and Training Workbook.”
During this time of the year, it can be hard to get your dog outside for his all-important walk. Here is a list of indoor games to play with your dog when it’s too cold, the snow’s too deep, your dog is sensitive to heat, or the weather outside just won’t let up long enough to let you your pooch out.
Fetch – This fun game can get your dog moving indoors, which can help with those dogs that are super energetic. I like to use a soft toy (pogo plush) so if it hits something (my aim is not always the best) I do not have to worry about breaking it. If you have a basement or long hallway those can be ideal, fewer items in the way. Stairs can be another great way to wear out an energetic dog.
Hide the toy – I love to have my dogs lay down and stay in the living room, while I take one of their toys into the bedroom and hide it. After hiding the toy I will give the “find it” command and off they go. There are many different ways to play this game, you can have your dog find you, find your keys, or find something else. The possibilities are endless. With this fun game, your dog exercises both his body and brain.
Roll the Ball – For this game, you’ll want a large ball that won’t pop (yoga balls pop after about 5 minutes.) Try a basketball, soccer ball or a big Tuff ball. Get down on your hands and knees and push the ball, then have your dog push the ball. Once your dog figures out how to push the ball, have him push the ball to you.
Find the treat – Take three or so old cups and your dog’s favorite treat. Turn all the cups over. Hide a treat under one of the cups and see if your dog can find the hidden treat. If you want to make the game more challenging after putting the treat under a cup move the cups around then have your dog find the cup with the treat.
Kibble Hunt – Chances are good when you feed your dog her bowl is empty after a few seconds. To help slow your pooch down take a minute and instead of feeding her in just one place mix it up. your dog’s food and hide small piles of it around your house. Start by making the piles easy to find then depending on how quickly your dog catches begin making the piles more difficult to find.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started with indoor games to play with your dog. Use your imagination, combined with what your dog enjoys, and you’ll be able to come up with even more games you can play when the weather won’t let you take your dog out for a walk.
What do you do to exercise your dog when you can’t get outside?
I love attending dog events. Here in Chico there are very few events where your dog is welcome, so when one happens, I love to go participate. Where else will you find other people who love their dogs as much as you love yours? While at the event I like to try and find dogs that Sadie and Rusty seem to like playing with. If I notice Sadie and Rusty taking an interest in a person’s dog I try to set up a time when the dog’s owner might be able to meet me at the park and let our dogs play together.
Another great thing about dog events, you don’t have to worry about people being afraid or uncomfortable with your dogs. This is a wonderful way to socialize your dog with all different types of people. For example, at the Chico Canine Carnival last year, Sadie and Rusty met a man in a wheelchair. He had a dog with him and didn’t mind if I let my dogs come up and meet him. At first my dogs were a bit hesitant, because this was their first experience around a wheelchair, but it didn’t take them too long to learn that it wasn’t something to be afraid of.
Dogs need mental stimulation. Getting out to a dog event with a lot of other dogs and people is a great way to engage your dog. Both of my dogs consider it a grand adventure to go to the local dog events, and I must admit I love showing off my dogs, whenever I get the chance. Sometimes I even enter them in the contests.
If you haven’t taken your dog to an event before, I recommend seeking one out and going. You’ll discover that at the end of the day your dog will have had the best kind of mental and physical stimulation making for a very happy and content dog.
Does your dog beg for food every time you eat? Begging is a common problem that most dog owners face. One reason so many dogs beg is, because dogs overpower us with those big sweet puppy eyes, and we give in and offer them some of whatever we’re eating. Those puppy powers of persuasion are undeniably difficult to resist, but don’t worry not all is lost. You can muster the willpower to say no, and when you do, you’ll discover that begging is one of the easier behaviors to change. Here are some tips to help you get your dog to stop begging:
Quit Giving Food – For some, this will seem quite obvious. However, begging is a learned behavior, which means the reason your dog is begging is because it has worked in the past. I know it can be really tough to resist those big loving eyes from your beloved pup, but then you hear the whine and your resolve crumbles. Remember the whine is just another weapon in your dog’s arsenal, and your pooch will use it, because it’s effective and already been proven on the begging battlefield. Be strong, don’t give in to your dogs begging, and he’ll learn begging doesn’t equal treat.
Don’t feel like your being mean – You provide for your dog. She is well feed, has shelter and gets plenty of exercise. You know it’s true, because you’re the one who takes care of all her needs, so don’t give in when you see those sad eyes looking at you accompanied by a paw on your leg. Remember human food can actually hurt your dog. You’re not being an ogre. You’re doing her a favor and putting her health first.
Ignore Your Dog – Yes, he’s cute and you want to give in. Even so, keep in mind begging is an attention seeking behavior. Every single time you give in, present a treat, pet him, talk to him, or pay attention in any way, are reinforcing the begging behavior while rewarding him for it. Instead, ignore him when he begs, he’ll soon learn that begging doesn’t get him what he wants.
Stay Consistent – Make sure everyone in the family in on-board. If you’re not giving in to Fido, but your roommate is still giving her treats, your training is not going to work. As with any kind of training everyone must be consistent. The only way your dog will stop begging is after she learns the behavior is ineffective 100% of the time.
Don’t Give Up – Think about how long it can take a human to change, if they ever do. Dogs will not change overnight. It could take a while. Follow these steps and Don’t give up! It will happen. It’s just going to take time, patience and consistency.
When you are feeding your dog it’s important to remember whoever controls the food is dominate in the mind of your dog. In this video I’ll go over how I feed my two dogs in order to have a happy canine meal without any fights or aggression.
Managing Your Multiple Dog Household
Guest post by: Carrie Boyko of All Things Dog Blog
Every week or two I receive at least one letter asking for help in managing a houseful of dogs, other pets, and kids too. It’s really not rocket science—more like team management.
If you know you’ll be tied up after school with car-pooling, dinner preparation and homework duty, this should be your cue to prepare early. Prepare? How?
These are my best strategies for keeping my pack in line. We’d love to hear yours. Happy tails!
Carrie’s pack of 3 spirited pups teaches her every day how to be a better pack leader. You can visit her at All Things Dog Blog.
Talking your dog for a walk off-leash can be a great way to train your dog. Everyday, I take my dogs out to our local park for their walk. I seldom use a leash while at the park, unless I am working on training a dog, I am pet-sitting.
While I am out at the park, we can encounter people riding bikes or horses as well as many other dog owners walking thier dogs. This gives me a great opportunity to work on Sadie and Rusty’s training. I will have them come when I call and sit on the side of the path until the bike or horse goes by.
When we get to benches I will have them do their tricks. I have them jump “over” the bench, crawl “under” it, jump “up” and “sit” on it, “walk” the length of it, and get “down” off the bench. I also quiz them on “sit” and “stay.”
When we get to the water, I work with them on staying once again. I will throw a ball or stick into the water and make them wait until I give them the “go” command before I will let them retrieve it. I will also allow one dog to go get the ball or stick while making the other dog sit and wait.
Of course, I also let Sadie and Rusty run around doing their own thing during part of the walk. I just take advantage of frequent opportunities as they arise to spend a few minutes training while we’re out on our walk.
With summer just around the corner swimming is a great way to exercise your dog without having to worry about the dangers of overheating. However, I have had several people tell me they wish their dog would swim like Sadie and Rusty do. Well, I have to tell you, Sadie and Rusty did not just learn to swim on their own. I had to get into the water with them and teach them it was okay to swim.
I took each of them into the water for the first time when Sadie was about a year old and Rusty was about eight months. I adopted both Sadie and Rusty from the local shelter, so I have to guess at their ages. It was really hot outside and neither Sadie nor Rusty would get into the water. So I had this great idea of going in with them. I might have come up with a different plan if I’d remembered that the water was from snow runoff, but enough about me: After-all this blog is about sharing information for dog lovers.
I walked into the water with Sadie first. We stayed in the shallow water at first, when Sadie was comfortable, I started taking her into deeper water, until she was swimming with me. It took about 30 minutes from walking into the water until she was swimming.
My husband did the same with Rusty while I let my feet and legs get their feeling back. Because Sadie was already comfortable in the water she went in with Chris, which helped Rusty to relax quicker. He didn’t want to be left behind so he learned to swim much faster. It always helps when you have a dog that already knows how to swim help teach a dog that doesn’t.
Now it doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter or the hottest day of summer, both Sadie and Rusty never seem to stay out of the water.
Keep in mind that it’s important not to throw your dog in or drag them in, you’re trying to make swimming a fun experience. Be gentle and let your dog learn at their own pace. If your dog has had bad experiences with water you’ll need to be patient and make certain to do nothing that will frighten your dog. Remember, this is like every other training session make the session fun and offer plenty of praise, even if your dog barely gets their paws wet.
Does your dog seem to have an endless amount of energy? Do you find that after taking your dog for a long walk he still seems to have just as much energy as when you left the house? You may want to try a dog backpack.
Whenever I walk Rusty on a leash, I often put a dog backpack on him. I use the dog backpack to carry: one water bottle on each side, doggie bags, treats, a few business cards and my wallet. When I am done each side weighs just under two pounds. It’s important that the overall weight of any dog backpack does not exceed 10-20% of your dog’s weight.
Wearing the backpack is a great way to help Rusty work harder during our walk, and he loves it. When I first put the backpack on him, I wasn’t sure how he would react. I was taking a trip to Fort Bragg with both dogs and wanted an easy way to transport their doggie bags, treats and water toys. I tried it on Sadie first, but she wanted nothing to do with it. I could have persisted and she would have eventually gotten use to it.
However, when I put it on Rusty, he never even thought twice about it. Now Rusty associates the dog backpack with going for a walk, and needless to say he loves to see his backpack. I hear many dog owners say, “my dog would never do that.” But the truth is most dogs don’t mind carrying a backpack. Even if it might take a time or two for them to get comfortable with the idea.
A backpack can be a way to help your dog work off his excess energy. With Rusty, it does not seem to matter how long of a walk, I take him on, unless he is off leash and can run, he never gets tired, but using a backpack helps to wear him out.
Wearing a backpack makes Rusty have to work harder during the walk and gives him something to focus on, which makes him less likely to want to chase every skateboarder he encounters. Because, as far as Rusty is concerned skateboarders are evil, right up there with cats, and must be chased whenever possible.
Dogs love to have a job, one easy way to give your dog a job to do is to include a doggie backpack during your walk. Wearing the backpack almost always calms a dog down. Think about when a boy scout troop is out on a hike, they’re hyperactive at camp, but during the hike with their backpacks on, they’re calm and orderly. It works the same way with your dog. If they’re focused on walking and carrying, they become less focused on chasing and barking. The result is a more relaxed and calm dog both during and at the end of your walk.
Things to keep in mind when using a doggie backpack.
Dog backpacks come in various sizes and types.
Secrets to Dog Training (formerly named SitStayFetch) has been revamped and was officially launched on February 2, 2009. SitStayFetch has been the top selling dog training course for over four years, and it has been bought by over 217,000 dog owners world-wide. Having taken a close look at it, I understand why it has outsold all other dog training guides on the internet period!
Secrets to Dog Training covers an impressive amount of information. The book works from basic training through to advanced and includes the following:
What I really Liked:
I had already heard great things about Secrets to Dog Training course before I actually took a look at it so I had high expectations. I have to say that Secrets to Dog Training has not disappointed me – in fact, I’m amazed at the quality and quantity of the information offered for such a low price. It is being offered at the low price of only $39.95,which is amazing value for a guide of this caliber.
A premium version of this top notch guide is also available. It contains over 5 hours of downloadable dog training video files, 6 dog training eBooks, the Secrets to Dog Training Audio, Secrets to Dog Training Pro Software and much more.
Secrets To Dog Training Pro Software will help you keep track of your dog’s registration details, vet appointments, and complete medical history. Using this software, you will never have to remember when your dog was last vaccinated or went to the vet for a checkup.
I’m extremely impressed with the easy to understand language used in this book. Also, the book is divided into small sections which enhanced my reading experience and made the course very easy to follow and understand. There’s nothing more overwhelming than being presented with a wall of text!
As I’ve previously mentioned, the Secrets of Dog Training course is an outstanding value; however, there’s even more being offered!
I found the audio book is really useful: I downloaded it on my ipod and listened to it while driving to work.
Secrets to Dog Training provides instructions for dogs of all ages in obedience training and problem behaviors. This was a nice change since so many dog trainers focus on puppies, leaving out training and behavior problems that do not necessarily end once a dog reaches adulthood.
The Secrets to Dog Training team offers unlimited free consultations to anyone who buys the course. The team will provide you with individual attention for your particular dog issue just by sending them an e-mail. You’ll receive a response full of practical tips and expert advice.
You’ve probably already guessed I’m impressed. I thought I understood dogs before, but this course has shown me just how little I knew.
The material offered is comprehensive and detailed, yet easy to understand, and highly effective. Your dog doesn’t need to have behavior or obedience issues in order for this book to be useful to you. Much of the information in the course would be of benefit to any dog owner wanting to have the best possible relationship with his dog.
If you currently own a dog or puppy, or are thinking about owning one, I strongly recommend that you get your hands on a copy of Secrets to Dog Training.
Why is it some dogs beg every time you grab the smallest of snacks, while other dogs barely even notice when you’re eating? It’s all in the way you train your dog and when you offer your dog their treat.
When I brought Sadie and Rusty home from the humane society, I decided to try to avoid teaching them any bad habits. One of those bad habits I wanted to avoid, was teaching them to beg for food when I eat. This is much easier to train than you would think. It takes more discipline on your behalf than on your dog’s.
The key to training your dog not to beg for food while you are eating is simple: don’t give you dog any food while you’re eating. If you really want to give your dog what you are eating, make sure you give the treat before, or after you eat. This way your dog won’t be associating getting food during the times when you are eating. I do not recommend you give them a treat every time you eat, which could cause your dog to become obese.
I also vary the time when I offer my dogs their treats, for example, I almost always give them their treat after I have finished eating. Sometimes I give them the treat right after I am done, other times I’ll wait for a while before giving them their treat. This helps to mix things up so my dogs will not sit and beg for food while I’m eating. If your dog is a pesky beggar, be strong and give it a try, then let me know how it works for you.
Dog gurus like Cesar Millan often talk about the importance of a regular dog walking regimen. Walking your dog is: great exercise for both, you and your dog. It’s a good way to socialize your dog. It helps establish a stronger bond between you and your pet, and it can help burn off the excess energy that can be the root cause of behavioral issues. However, there’s often more to walking a dog then meets the eye. Especially, if you have a strong-willed pooch who likes to control the entire walking experience.
Before You Leave
Even before you leave the house, there are things you can do to help get control of your dog. These simple activities can help you set the entire tone of the walk. First, encourage your dog to behave during your walk by beginning the walk with an event that cues your dog into paying attention to you. Begin by having your dog sit and then leash your dog when he is behaving.
If your dog is too hyper, and is bouncing off the walls every time he even sees the leash, then you have some work to do; start by leashing your dog and while holding the leash completely ignore your dog. When the dog becomes calm, praise him, if the excitement returns, restart the ignoring treatment. Soon your dog will learn that being calm when leashed earns him praise. Remember, dogs are sensitive animals if you make a big deal out of preparing for the walk they will get very excited.
Going Out the Door
Even something as simple as who gets to go first means something to your dog: become the leader. When you go out the front door make sure you precede your dog. In your dog’s mind, the first one out of the door is the boss. This is a simple, but effective way to control the beginning of the walk and get your dog comfortable with the idea that you are in command. Whenever you precede your dog use the command, “Heel,” this will teach your dog the word heel means you want to go first.
Controlling Your Dog
When your dog is being walked on a leash, it is important to be the boss. Don’t let your dog run things. If you do you could be inviting a host of behavior problems such as: pulling against the leash, jumping up, barking at strangers, growling at children, etc.
Hold the leash comfortably in your preferred hand and have your dog walk beside you. Try to keep your hand held above your dog’s head, and you will have better control. Don’t let your dog drag or pull you, and keep some slack in the lead. If your dog feels tension in the leash the natural tendency will be to pull against the tension.
If your dog becomes distracted, or starts barking at something, turn your dog’s head away from what he’s looking at, for most dogs out of sight, really is out of mind. Furthermore, don’t let your dog stop to sniff, pee whenever he/she wants to. If you dictate the stops you will further establish your dominance and maintain control during the walk.
If your dog likes to drag you out the door and down the street against your will, start with the ignoring treatment described above, then begin by walking your dog around the inside of your house. This will help you and your dog learn to work together. After your dog learns good leash manners indoors begin with a short walk outside. You can use a fenced backyard to continue learning to work together. Once you feel comfortable in a fenced setting, take your dog out for a short walk without a fence. If your dog starts to pull against the leash, stop and have him sit and stay for at least ten seconds. The pauses will help you to regain your dog’s focus and re-establish dominance over your misbehaving pooch.
Non-verbal leash commands:
Start Your Dog Forward: Use a gentle tug to start the dog walking as your walk.
Stopping Your Dog: Use a gentle tug back and always ask him to sit.
Choosing Your Dog Walking Gear
When walking your dog you’ll need more than just a good pair of walking shoes. Purchase a comfy collar or harness for your dog and a suitable leash for you. I like to think of the leash as being a tool for working with my dog, which is why I make sure the leash is comfortable for my hand. Do not use a worn leash that might break and always make sure your dog’s collar isn’t too tight. Besides being uncomfortable, a tight collar can actually hurt your dog. Make sure you can fit at least two fingers inside the collar.
Other things that can help make your walk more comfortable include:
Ensure you get the most out of your walks by having everything you’ll need. Click on the above links to order your dog walking essentials.
Training your dog to come reliably when called is extremely important, you never know when you will need to protect your dog and the best way will be to call him back to you. Especially, if like me, you take your dog out to parks where you do not have to leash your dog.
I started training my dogs when they were puppies in the safety of our house. I made a big deal out of getting a treat, so the dogs knew I had one, then I called Sadie and Rusty. When they ran over, I gave them a treat and a lot of verbal praise.
Once Sadie and Rusty would come to me in the house, I moved to the back yard. The yard provided more distractions and a new environment while still keeping things safe. I would have a treat in my pocket, I would call Sadie and Rusty to me, when they came I would give them the treat and verbal praise.
The final step was to have my husband and I take a field trip to the dog park. The park is full of distractions, strangers and opportunities for puppy mischief. Using leashes Chris, my husband, would walk Sadie and Rusty about fifty feet away from me. Keeping a close eye on the dogs, Chris would have the dog’s sit and unhook the leashes. Then I would call for the dog’s to come and when they did, I would praise and reward them. Then Chris would call them back. It’s a great game for exercising the dogs while teaching them to come. You can increase the distance from your partner as your dog becomes more reliable.
Now both Sadie and Rusty come when called, I do not always have a treat, but because they know the command they respond even if distracted. I do give them a treat at a minimum every 3-4 times to reinforce their good behavior.
Make sure when you are working with your dog, when you call your dog you are giving them a treat or doing something they consider fun. If you call him and reprimand him, he is going to associate coming to you with an unpleasant consequence and stop coming when you call him.
Food and praise motivates most dogs, so when they come to you make sure you give a reward. I may not always give my dogs a treat, but I always give them praise and pet them immediately to reinforce their good behavior.
Does your dog hate baths? Don’t worry you’re not alone, my dogs weren’t fans of the experience either, but now they actually look forward to bath time. Let me share what brought about this transformation from fear and loathing to pleasure and enjoyment.
The first thing I changed was my own perception on their bath time. Dogs can sense your mood. If you’re not looking forward to giving your dog a bath, then your dog will pick up on your subtle mood changes. If you think of it as a chore so will your dog and he won’t be thrilled about doing the dog bath thing either. Think of the bath as a training opportunity and play time and act accordingly, your dog will sense how you’re feeling and get excited.
Next, bring out the treats, I like to use an all natural treat like Cheese Please. Your dog is motivated by food. If he’s standing still and behaving during his bath, let him know. Give him a treat for volunteering to jump into the dog bath. Give him another treat for standing still. Then give him a treat when the bath is over. Treats and praise are huge motivators for your dog.
Avoid getting shampoo in your dog’s eyes. You don’t like it so why would your dog. Avoid water in the ears and be gentle around sensitive areas such as paws, under the tail and the mouth.
Also use an organic and allergen free dog shampoo so your dog’s skin feels great. Other assets for improving your dog’s bath time include a pet washer, which has a hose to put the water where you need it. It attaches easily to your bath spout or a dog bath. Using a pet washer or a dog bath will make the process of washing your dog much more enjoyable for you too.
Lately, there’s been a lot of news talking about dogs and their jobs; such as the explosive sniffing dogs working for the US and NATO forces in the Middle East. Dogs by their nature love to have jobs and they love to play games. Let me show you a step by step way to get your dog’s nose to work for you. You’re dog will love you for it!
First start by playing a game of shells. The object of the game is to hide a treat under one of three cups and then have your dog find the treat. Here’s how to play.
1-Get three cups and your dog’s favorite treat. My dogs love Liver Biscotti.
2-Have your dog lie down and stay across the room.
3-Space out the cups about 2 feet apart and discretely hide one treat under just one cup.
4-Give your dog the go command and ask him to find the treat.
5-Praise and let your dog have the treat when he gets it right.
Once your dog masters the Shell game with treats, it’s time to get your keys out. Find a small piece of leather and rub it between your fingers. This will get your scent soaked into the leather. Now, attach the leather to your keys. Show the keys to your dog and let him get a nose full. Now play the shell game using your keys. Don’t leave a treat under the cup, but initially reward with treats and praise when your dog hits on the correct cup.
Play this game and after a while it won’t matter where those pesky keys are hiding your dog will track them down for you.