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Old 08-21-08, 11:31 PM   #1
Snowsurfer
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Dog Training Thread

Inspired by AllenG's thread.

For those of you here, what are some tips to train a dog? What are some key things that you need to train a dog in?

e.g. crate training, poop training, commands like sit or stay
not to chase cyclists, etc.

What are the best ways to do this that you have personally experienced?
For a dog who wants to poop on the carpet, how do you train it not to, or to go on a pad, newspaper?
Do you give treats? Attention? What is effective in your experience?
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Old 08-21-08, 11:33 PM   #2
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Short Leash, but what would I know, I own two cats.
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Old 08-22-08, 12:34 AM   #3
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I've done quite a lot of obedience and agility training with my dogs (and a few others).

Here's what I consider essential training:

- house training (potty training)
- stay (could be a in a sit or down position)
- walking nicely on leash
- coming when called
- be nice to strangers
- tolerate medical exams and/or grooming
- be able to be left alone (this may require crate training)
- "leave it"

There's lots of fun things to teach beyond this, but I think these are the basics for a well-behaved companion.

I highly recommend clicker training. Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor is an excellent book on the subject; despite the title, it is not exclusively about dog training.

Clicker training is a positive training method. You first teach the dog that the clicker means they are going to get a reward (like a treat). Then you use the clicker to mark the exact behavior you want to reinforce. For example, if you are training the dog to sit, you click immediately as their butt hits the ground, so that they know what they are getting rewarded for. It is amazingly effective. It is also fun, for both you and your dog.

Clicker training is not just for dogs; it is used on dolphins, chickens, horses, cats, fish, zoo animals, etc.

For house training:
- When you are not there or at night-time, use an appropriately-sized crate. Dogs don't like to soil their dens. Of course, this means that you have to be able to let them out at suitable intervals.
- When you are there, keep them under supervision until they are potty trained. This means in the same room as you, or my favorite, the umbilical cord method - keep them on leash and keep the other end tied around a belt loop. They go where you go.
- Take them to the same place to go potty at regular intervals. If you see them start to "go" inside, scoop them up and rush them outside (don't yell at them). When they go outside, say whatever you want your command to be (I use "potty"), click and then reward them. The reward could be a treat, a walk, a toy, a game, or attention.
- It sounds time-consuming, but if you are consistent, they will learn very quickly.
- Clean up any accidents in the house thoroughly (there are special cleaners available at pet-supply stores), as dogs like to revisit previous spots.
- I highly recommend against paper training, why teach the dog to go inside, and then have to re-teach them not to go inside?

Here are some websites to check out on obedience and clicker training:
http://www.clickertraining.com/
http://www.dogpatch.org/obed/

Oh, and just for fun...this is my dogs at dinnertime. I have them sit and stay while I prepare their food and put it down, then tell them "OK" which means they can go to their bowls. Sometimes I have additional challenges for them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW9AVoEMNFM
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Old 08-22-08, 12:40 AM   #4
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More fun training I've done with my dogs:

Sit-stay


Down-stay


Walking - Just finished walking 5 dogs (my 2 plus 3 guests)...I wouldn't be able to do this if they didn't all walk nicely on leash


Jumps



Tunnels



Weave Poles (doggie slalom)


Teeter
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Old 08-22-08, 12:52 AM   #5
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+1 to everything Ms. I said.
Best thing you can do is pay attention to your dog, it's amazing how many people don't realize that.

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Inspired by AllenG's thread.
Which one?
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Old 08-22-08, 07:13 AM   #6
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Best thing you can do is pay attention to your dog, it's amazing how many people don't realize that.
And make sure she's had lots and lots of exercise.
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Old 08-22-08, 07:17 AM   #7
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are we talking dogs or puppies?

puppies are a royal pain in the ass, and time comsuming.

for that reason I only adopt older house broken dogs.

a fenced-in yard does not = exercise.

a tired dog is a happy dog.

if you can afford it, Bark Busters is neat company. check them out. they have a one-time fee and a life-time garuntee(sp) They just did a presentation here at work and they seemed like a good option. they are a no physical touch or disipline unlike Ceaser. also they are world wide.

also start early: nail trimming and teeth care along with grooming, your vet will thank you.



everything MI said is good stuff. also schedules and rules are very important.
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Old 08-22-08, 07:26 AM   #8
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Great advice, msI! As I've said before, I love your dogs- is one of those the one who was so sick? I do the same thing with my dog re: chow or treat time- have him in another room, telling him to wait (and I use a special hand gesture that he's learned to associate with this). I prepare his food or treat in the kitchen (about 30' away) and then say "OK" and he comes bounding in, just like your pups.

To the OP-
As the sometimes exasperated papa of a yellow lab/some-kind-of-terrier mix (OMG, what were we thinking???), I would stress that dogs (especially of this variety) need lots and lots of structure in their lives. That means consistency, consistency, consistency, and a reasonable set of boundaries. Oh- and as Allen says, bonding- it's all about the bonding. 10,000 years of domestication will do that to an animal- dogs want to be associated with people- their "pack"- or in some cases a single person, so be sure to spend quality time with your doggie. That doesn't mean spoiling him/her, though!
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Old 08-22-08, 08:43 AM   #9
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Great advice, msI! As I've said before, I love your dogs- is one of those the one who was so sick?
Thanks! Yes, it was Grover (the white and brindle one) who broke both legs jumping a 10-foot fence. I knew that my dogs would have more health problems as they got older (he is 11.5 yrs, Watson is 10.5 yrs), but I didn't think that it would be from playing Evel Knievel.

I totally agree with everyone re: exercise. Both physical and mental exercise make for a happy dog and a happy owner.

I forgot to mention that I think group classes are a great idea, particularly when you are first starting out, but it is important to pick the right class. It'll give your dog opportunities to socialize with other dogs and people, and give you feedback on how you are doing.

There is a huge difference between teachers though, anybody can put a sign up and say they teach dog training, but it doesn't mean they are any good. So it is important to do your research first and know what you are looking for. The one and only time an obedience teacher told me to jerk on my dog's neck, it made me want to cry. Training your dog should be fun and a bonding experience for both of you.

Oh, and for those of you not familiar with dog agility...as you can see, it is a type of obstacle course for dogs. You can do it competitively, or just for fun. The challenge is that every event has a new course, and while the handler (human) can check out the course in advance, the dog cannot. So the handler has to use body language, hand signals, and their voice to direct the dog through the course on the fly. Sometimes they will put "traps" into the course, for example, the dog comes bursting out of the tunnel, sees a jump straight ahead and wants to head for that, but instead you have to turn them left to get onto the teeter.

When it all comes together, it feels like you are dancing with your dog.
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Old 08-22-08, 10:29 AM   #10
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The greatest conceptual thing to remember about pee/poop training is that POSITIVE reinforcement is the way to go. A dog does not generally want to soil its nest. A dog wants to pee/poop where it has pee/pooped before. (This means that if it has peed/pooped where you do not want, the area needs to be truly deodorized, with a product specific to the task, NOT a normal household cleaner!)

Never try the "proven" technique of rubbing the pup's face in his pee/poop areas. You may teach him that you want him to eat his poop, but he will otherwise have no idea why you are doing this to him.

FWIW, no, I am not one of those who believes in being gentle with a dog at all times. We have reformed some dogs who were on the verge of being euthanized by their previous owners or shelters, and one of them required some degree of violent correction, though I am not meaning kicking or hitting. OK? FUBAR, a.k.a. Q'BOTU, a.k.a. Queen B**** of the Universe, was condemned by the local SPCA and two nationally-known dog trainers, respectively, as (1) euthanize after one more placement failure, (2) euthanize NOW, and (2) euthanize NOW!

Bottom line: There is no need to use any degree of violence for normal pee/poop and obedience training. Physical discipline beyond gentle but firm use of a control-type collar should only be used for exceptionally stubborn or dangerous animals.

Even yelling at a dog, after it has peed/pooped in the wrong place, will only confuse things. My greatest challenge, among our rescue dogs, was not the aforementioned FUBAR/Q'BOTU, but Little Friend, whose prior potty training had been seriously flubbed. (Another F-word came to mind, but flubbed will do.) Let the dog know where you want it to pee/poop, and if you have established proper dominance over the pooch, life will soon be good.
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Old 08-22-08, 10:38 AM   #11
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Just to be clear, dominance is critical, but only the most extraordinary dogs require extraordinary methods for the owner to establish dominance. Most dogs that I see with behavioural problems feel they have dominance over their owners, and all too many humans are so freakin' passive by nature, that their dogs easily establish dominance in the relationship, or feel that dominance is open to challenge. Dominance does not mean violence, just gently show the pooch who is in charge.

Pooch-hound wants to please its master, not its owner. "Owner" means nothing to a dog, "master" means everything.
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Old 08-22-08, 10:51 AM   #12
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There's far more to say about dog training than can be covered in a post. However, the bottom line is that dogs like order, they need tons of exercise, and they need structured activities. If you don't make it clear who is in charge, they will run all over you.

I'm personally a fan if the "Dog Whisperer" series because although Cesar doesn't talk about specific things you need to train the dog to do, he helps you wrap your mind around how you should approach the problem. Your attitude as well as your ability to read and respond to your dog is key.

At a very minimum, dogs need to come, sit, and lie down when told. House training is a piece of cake. Praise the dog when they go where they're supposed to. Discipline them when you catch them going where they're not. Dogs live in the moment so you should discipline them ONLY when they are caught in the act -- if you do it one minute later, you will create a psycho dog. If you think the dog looks like he feels guilty, it's because he's reading off your emotional state and knows something is wrong, but doesn't know what so it's like issuing random punishment.

Three of the 4 dogs in this pic can convert a back yard into a mud pit in less than 5 min or destroy the house very quickly if not provided with adequate structure. But they all could be walked at the same time on one hand, even if there are cats around
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Old 08-22-08, 11:28 AM   #13
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There's far more to say about dog training than can be covered in a post. However, the bottom line is that dogs like order, they need tons of exercise, and they need structured activities. If you don't make it clear who is in charge, they will run all over you.

I'm personally a fan if the "Dog Whisperer" series because although Cesar doesn't talk about specific things you need to train the dog to do, he helps you wrap your mind around how you should approach the problem. Your attitude as well as your ability to read and respond to your dog is key.

At a very minimum, dogs need to come, sit, and lie down when told. House training is a piece of cake. Praise the dog when they go where they're supposed to. Discipline them when you catch them going where they're not. Dogs live in the moment so you should discipline them ONLY when they are caught in the act -- if you do it one minute later, you will create a psycho dog. If you think the dog looks like he feels guilty, it's because he's reading off your emotional state and knows something is wrong, but doesn't know what so it's like issuing random punishment.

Three of the 4 dogs in this pic can convert a back yard into a mud pit in less than 5 min or destroy the house very quickly if not provided with adequate structure. But they all could be walked at the same time on one hand, even if there are cats around
There is MUCH experienced wisdom in this post!
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Old 08-22-08, 11:30 AM   #14
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I will add another book to the recommended list: _The Dog Listener_, by a female author I cannot recall at the moment. Not so much a step-by-step book, it is more of a conceptual book.
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Old 08-22-08, 03:21 PM   #15
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Dominance does not mean violence, just gently show the pooch who is in charge.
True...I can reinforce my dominance over my dogs by asking them to lie down, or by temporarily taking away their food bowls.
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Old 08-22-08, 03:25 PM   #16
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like I said tired dogs are happy dogs







(Photobucket is blocked at work)
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Old 08-22-08, 03:34 PM   #17
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Question: what are good, irresistible treats for dogs? Someone gave me a few of the milkbones and Zoe couldn't care less about them. I've been working on training her, but I think a treat she really likes would help quite a bit.
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Old 08-22-08, 03:36 PM   #18
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True...I can reinforce my dominance over my dogs by asking them to lie down, or by temporarily taking away their food bowls.
Indeed true. Any pooch who shows dominance problems should experience the remove-food exercise on a regular basis. In a dog pack, the dominant dog controls the food.
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Old 08-22-08, 03:37 PM   #19
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Question: what are good, irresistible treats for dogs? Someone gave me a few of the milkbones and Zoe couldn't care less about them. I've been working on training her, but I think a treat she really likes would help quite a bit.
Real food. Cheese, steak, hot dogs, deli meats, liver. Cut or tear into tiny little pieces. 10 tiny pieces are worth more than 1 big piece (to the dog).

For some dogs, a game of tug or a thrown toy.
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Old 08-22-08, 03:55 PM   #20
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Zoe is just getting used to her new home. She's started wanting to play with the rope toy, but has little interest in chasing anything right now.
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Old 08-22-08, 04:03 PM   #21
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Real food. Cheese, steak, hot dogs, deli meats, liver.
Wow. I never thought this would be msincredible's list of real food.

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Old 08-22-08, 04:12 PM   #22
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Wow. I never thought this would be msincredible's list of real food.
My dogs are weird like me and will happily work for things like bananas and carrots and radishes, but I'm not recommending that to new dog trainers.
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Old 08-22-08, 04:31 PM   #23
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We just finished week 8 of 9 in our Grade 1 Obedience class. We have 2 Jack Russells with my wife handling the bigger male dog and I handle the small female dog. These are the basics they teach in Grade 1:

- Sit
- Sit Stay (formal command)
- Sit Wait (informal command)
- Play, Settle, Sit
- down (lie down)
- down Stay (formal command)
- down wait (informal command)
- "Let's Go" informal walk on lead beside you on the left (not as formal as the heal command where the dog should be paying attention to you constantly. This will be taught in Grade 2)
- formal recall ("come" command)
- informal recall ("here" command)
- general leash respect (when not required to be on your left side they still should not be pulling on the leash.
-"leave it" command
- socialization: calm greetings with humans
- "drop it"

The bare minimum I would teach a dog are the commands that keep the dog safe and a pleasure to be around (ie: come command, sit/stay, general leash respect, leave it, and socialization). Yes this can be done without going to a training school, however you won't likely get the same kind of experience for your dog with all the other distractions around. They tend to learn to become very calm around other dogs when they have to train with 15 other dogs in a class environment.

Keep in mind that it depends on the age of your dog as to what they are ready to learn. At this school, the dog must be at least 6 months old to attend Grade 1. General House training should be reinforced by then.
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Old 08-22-08, 04:35 PM   #24
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Real food. Cheese, steak, hot dogs, deli meats, liver. Cut or tear into tiny little pieces. 10 tiny pieces are worth more than 1 big piece (to the dog).

For some dogs, a game of tug or a thrown toy.
Our dog Siren is not very food motivated, therefore I had to find some exceptionally good treats. Our trainer suggested those cheese sticks you can buy. She LOVES those. Believe it or not, she's not into hot dogs. She also will tolerate regular treats as long as she is really hungry. The day of our training lesson, I make sure she only gets breakfast, but no lunch or supper. This is the only way I can get her to pay attention to the food rewards.
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Old 08-22-08, 07:39 PM   #25
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As to treats, my dog loves the flavored jerky-style chewies- you can get them at Trader Joes, but I've also seen them at other places. They're easy to tear up into bite-size pieces- great for training (for positive reinforcement, there's nothing like a small treat with a look in the eye, a smile and an attaboy/girl immediately after a good behavior- but it has to be immediately after, or the association is lost).
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