Educating Fido 

Training Dogs and the People Who Love Them

A Puppy Blog

The Puppy Blog

Raising Halle


"Sunshines Strawberry Fields Forever"

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Wow! That was fun.

Posted on November 11, 2014 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (28)

I can't believe how fast puppyhood flew by.  Halle and I were on the fast track to a solid foundation that will last a lifetime. I found it challenging at times but always fun and exciting.


Looking back, I think the most important thing I taught Halle was that I can be fun!  I promised her that if you look at me, play with me, come to me, and stay with me that we will have a great time.  I incorporated games like tug, chase, hide and seek, and retrieving to make learning fun.  I taught her that she could use her brain and cleverness to figure out ways to get me to part with tastey treats, squeeky toys or even opening doors. For example, sit and you will get a piece of liver. Lay down and I will thorw that squeeky toy.  Look at me and I will open the door and let you chase the squirrel you've been eyeing.  It didn't take Halle long to actually figure out how I worked and to train me! She sure learned how to get what she wants and in turn I get what I want too (a well behaved dog who's focused on me).


Here's  a video recap of all the fun Halle and I had in our first year.  The most important thing to remember is that the learning and the fun never stops. We keeping playing, training and getting to know each other better every day.  http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6vm0yfVrPBY



Sniff on! Train on! Come on!

Susie & Halle

www.EducatingFido.com

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473

National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor

Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449

Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179

TAGteach Primary Certification

Licensed "Be a Tree" PresenterMember of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263

Member of the Pet Professional Guild


Come to Me

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Halle is now 8 months old and in full blown adolescents.  It's been a whirlwind of fun and frustration. I keep reminding myself that this is as bad as it gets. Although she's not asking for a cell phone or the car keys she's likely to chew on them if I don't keep her busy with other activities.

I fill her life with exercise, brain games, problem solving, and training, training, training to keep her mind and body stimulated. We arrange play dates with her doggy friends, take her on romps through the woods to give her a chance to blow off steam and continue to work with her daily on basic manners. We also have her enrolled in K9 Nose Work classes and Obedience classes to train her around distractions, enrirch her life and tire her out. I know that now's not the time to let up on the training.  She enjoys the challenge and we enjoy the outcome of a well behaved dog.


I believe that all of the sits, downs and stays has all been about make me interesting and rewarding enough for Halle to come to me when I call her....no matter what. A reliable recall can be a life saver and is the most important skill that I can teach my dog.  I chose to teach Halle a  recall based on Pam Dennisons's award winning DVD "Trainng the Whistle Recall". It was such a success for us, that I now offer it as a class and it's been hugely successful. 


Here's a gist of how the whistle recall works. 


Week 1 and 2             Whistle/Treat

                          Whistle (two short,one long)

  1. 20-30 reps per session
  2. 3 times a day for two weeks
  3. Do not skip ahead. You must prep the whistle. This is critcial for your dog to make the association the whistle=food

 Week 3 & 4                 Drop the cookie and run , whistle your dog in

  1. Run away
  2. Toss treat (use large treat the dog can find)
  3. Whistle when the dog comes toward you
  4. Be generous with the treats when the dog comes (10-20 treats)
  5. Next toss the cookie farther and whistle her in without moving 
DO THIS FOR TWO WEEKS BEFORE MOVING ON

Week 5                      When you know for a FACT your dog is coming to you whistle her in

Week 6                       Whistle while your dog isn’t looking at you but you’re sure she will come

  1. Use a long line
  2. Whistle her in when she isn’t looking at you but you know she will come
  3. Be generous with the treats
  4. Whistle her in when she looks back at you and before she hits the end of the line

 Week 7                       Add distractions slowly and carefully

  1. If she comesreward heavily
  2. If she doesn’tcome go back a few steps.
  3. Practice in manydifferent locations
Keep it exciting and practice a few times a week for the life of your dog.

You can CLICK HERE to register for a "Whistle Recall " class at Educating Fido or 

CLICK HERE to purchase Pam Dennison's "Training the Whistle Recall"

 

 

Girls just wanna have fun

Posted on November 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 

My sweet little puppy is becoming a teenager. It's not just the obvious physical changes; I am also seeing more subtle behavioral changes coming on. Most notable is the big question mark she has over her head when I say "sit".


At five months, she is entering the world of adolescense. Like a teenage human, she still has a developing brain but a body that’s nearly the size of an adult. The maturing process of the adolescent dog resembles that of the human teenager. Halle will need similar guidance during this difficult stage of her life (and mine).


I’ve been doing a lot of research on canine adolescense thanks to my trainer who kept reminding me that my precious little bundle of joy would so become a teenager. She warned me to be prepared for the angst of raising an adolescent dog.


During my research, I found this great article that explains quite well what your dog is experiencing and gives some great tips on riding out the storm Adolescense: The Teenage Dog


For anyone who's ever been a teenager or raised a teenager, I think that this article by CAROL A. BYRNES "DIAMONDS IN THE RUFF" says it all.


When does adolescent’s begin? Think of your dog’s age in months, much like grades in school


Months 1-4 - Preschool thru elementary age. Learns to navigate the world, establish appropriate social skills with people and other animals. At 3-4 months puppies still rely on knowing where you are at all times for their safety. This strong orienting (following) reflex means it's a great time to teach come when called! They are sponges looking to learn the language and communicate. Exploration - touch, taste, smell. Teething - everything goes in the mouth. Puppy zooms! Crazy wild running.


Months 5-6 - Pre-adolescence. Just as 5th & 6th grade children begin to have an independent sense of self-reliance and want to play further from home, they are still very dependent on their parents. 5 and 6 month old puppies reach a similar developmental milestone. At 5 months, the dog who came like a rocket suddenly stands in the yard and stares at you, considering his options, weighing the potential circumstances of his behavior. Don't take him off leash at the park - even if he was trustworthy before. 5 month old pups become aware that there are strangers in the world - some are not part of our pack! Puppies find their voice, often "boof-boof-boofing" at new people and things.


Months 7-9 - Adolescence peaks. "Middle school." A trying time for parents and owners of teenaged kids and pets. This is as bad as it gets! Statistics show the majority of dogs turned over by their owners to animal shelters and rescues are relinquished at 8 months of age. Second fear imprint period. They spook, startle and bolt at the silliest things. Nuisance barking at every leaf that falls, protest barking, sass barking emerges. Easily bored. Bored pups destroy everything in their path. Brain games, problem solving, train, train, train! Exercise of body and mind is essential. Boys lift their legs. Girls will come in season soon if not spayed already.


Months 9-12 - Adolescence plateaus. "High school." Territoriality, patrolling, barking and bluff rushes to make the threat go away. Urine marking is enhanced in unneutered dogs. Dating and mating. Girl dogs come into season and unneutered boys' total focus is finding one who is and getting to her. Escape! Once they find out they can, they will continue to try. Canine athletes need an outlet for excess energy. 


Months 12-18 - Heading into adulthood. "College." Occasional glimmers of clarity. Looks and sometimes acts like an adult, but mostly he is a gangly, crazy, party animal frat boy. Girl dogs gone wild. This dog needs a JOB.


Months 18 to maturity - The calm sets in. Over the next few months, the dog who ran you ragged may need to be urged off the couch to play. At 7 your dog is officially a "senior citizen." Couch potato types may put on a few pounds if you don't monitor their diet and exercise.

 


Sniff on! Train on! Come on!

Susie & Halle

www.EducatingFido.com

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473

National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor

Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449

Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179

TAGteach Primary Certification

Licensed "Be a Tree" PresenterMember of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263

Member of the Pet Professional Guild


 


I'm Puzzled

Posted on November 16, 2012 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (1)

Sometimes I forget that Halle isn’t a human. Raising her from a helpless seven week old puppy has brought out my mothering instincts and makes me want to treat her like a baby. Halle truly experiences a life of leisure. We provide her with shelter, healthy food, clean water, yummy treats and even a memory foam dog bed.


In contrast, Halle’s ancestors lived a totally different life style. Through systematic breeding, our ancestors bred the dog to work for us by honing the dog’s keen sense of smell, cunning brains, and sharp eyes to help with herding, hunting and an alarm system. Somewhere along the way, modern day humans turned the working dog into a house dog. We may have taken the work away from the dog, we didn’t take the dog away from the work. Each and every breed, whether pure breed or mixed breed, still has the same natural desire to hunt, herd or guard. It is part of the dog’s DNA and no designer collar or couture coat will take those natural desires out of the dog.   


Many of the behavior problems that we see with dogs today, particularly puppies and adolescent dogs, is because they are bored. In recent findings from the University of Guelph, researchers empirically demonstrate boredom in confined animals. The researchers found that animals in confined, empty spaces avidly seek stimulation, which is consistent with boredom.


Dogs thrive on companionship and interaction, but when this is taken away and they are not provided with other means of entertainment, boredom sets in. Because of the lack of mental and physical activity, your dog will start to find new ways to entertain himself, which often leads to destructive behavior and excessive barking. Dogs do not misbehave on purpose or destroy your favorite sofa out of spite.



You can help to keep boredom away, by tapping into the dog’s natural instinct to forage, hunt and eviscerate by providing your puppy with food stuffed toys and puzzles.  These types of toys provide your puppy with fun, enriching and appropriate ways to pass the time. Food dispensing toys like Kongs, activity balls and puzzle games can be stuffed with favorite treats, and provides your puppy with great mental stimulation as he tries to work out how to get the food.  I also give my puppy meaty marrow bones for hours of inexpensive chewing enjoyment. 


You can believe me when I say that Halle would much rather be munching on a marrow bone or working through a food puzzle than chewing on the leg of the sofa.



Sniff on! Train on!

Susie & Halle

www.EducatingFido.com

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473

National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor

Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449

Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179

TAGteach Primary Certification

Licensed "Be a Tree" Presenter”

Member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263

Member of the Pet Professional Guild

 



 

Walk this Way

Posted on November 13, 2012 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (1)

Wow! My little Halle is almost 5 months old now.  Where has the time gone?  We’ve been doing lots of socializing out and about town.   At first, I just carried my little one from place to place, but she grew like a weed and soon I had to rely on the leash as a tool to keep my puppy close by.  I see a lot of humans struggling with their on-leash dogs and using the leash as away to control the dog.  So, I asked myself what I wanted the leash to represent to Halle and decided that for us:

  1. The leash should mean that we stick together on a walk with no tension on the leash, in other words loose leash walking.
  2. The leash should be used as a safety tool to prevent her from getting into trouble if she decides to chase a squirrel or dash into the street.
  3. The leash should not mean that she gets to move forward by putting tension on the leash and pulling me.
  4. The leash should not be used to jerk her neck or for corrections.

I have spent more time planning and training this one skill than any other.  Why so much thought? Because I knew that my 8 pound puppy would soon be a 55 pound adolescent dog that could pull me off my feet. I didn’t want to wait until she was an adolescent to teach her how to “stick with the group” so we started training loose leash walking right away. 


Here are my tips on getting your puppy started off right:

  1. My biggest secret? Don’t allow your puppy to pull! PERIOD.  If your puppy pulls you stop and wait for the puppy to loosen the leash or you turn and go the opposite way.When your puppy catches up with you reward like crazy for making the right choice.
  2. I always, always, always, bring lots of food on walks. I often bring her breakfast or dinner. When I catch her doing it right, you can bet that I reward her with a treat or lots of verbal praise.
  3. I never, ever, ever disconnect from my puppy when we are on a walk. She gets 100% of my attention 100% of the time.   We are training after all. If I am the teacher and she is the student, why would I check out and leave the classroom?!
  4. If I know she’s a little over excited and under exercised, I play a game of fetch or chase before we leash up and go on her training walk.
  5. I bring a 30 foot leash with me so that we can go to a field, a safe open area or a trail and she can be free to run and play without being next to me. (IMPORTANT NOTE HERE: I walk her on a 4-foot leash and carry the other 30-foot leash with me)

Time’s flying by and I am enjoying every minute with Halle. Does she do everything perfect the first time? Of course not, learning takes a lot of practice and repetition.  Does she have days when her little adolescent brain says “sit, what’s sit?” You bet she does.   Am I always consistent with my expectations every time? Yes, I am!  Consistent and clear expectations and leadership are my gift to Halle.  She doesn’t speak human and I don’t speak dog and it isn't fair to ask her to read my mind. So being reliable and predictable bridges our language barrier and opens a line of communcation between the two of us.






Sniff on! Train on!

Susie & Halle

www.EducatingFido.com

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473

National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor

Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449

Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179

TAGteach Primary Certification

Licensed "Be a Tree" Presenter”

Member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263

Member of the Pet Professional Guild

 

 

 



 

Put a Nose on It

Posted on October 21, 2012 at 2:50 AM Comments comments (1)

In an earlier blog, I showed a video of how I trained Halle to target her nose to a person’s fist as a way to say “hello” politely without jumping. Hand targeting is a very useful skill for many reasons. It helps with long-distance recalls and acts as the perfect way to say “come on over here,” for casual call-overs and short distances.

Here are some great reasons to train your dog to target your hand?

 

  • Use it  as a fun, interactive, distraction. Is your puppy focusing too much on the kids running down the street and not enough on you? Playing a hand targeting game can often interrupt unwanted behaviors. Since dogs enjoy moving rather than sitting still, hand targeting is a lot more interesting to a dog than a sit/stay.
  • Come to me. Puppies love to play chase and they usually like to be the one chased. They are masters at staying just far enough away that you can’t catch them. That’s what makes the game of chase so exciting (for the dog). Now that your puppy knows how to hand target, you can use that fun “touch my hand” game as a great recall tool.
  • Move it. If your puppy puts on the breaks, instead of struggling by pulling on the leash to get them to move, use hand target to move your pup from one place to another. I use hand targeting to get Halle to come inside
  • Paws Up. You can also teach your puppy to put his/her front paws on something so that you can lift them up. I taught Halle to put her front paws on the tailgate of my SUV by targeting my hand. .
  • Stay close. Wouldn’t it be great to have your puppy stay close to you in a crowd? Teach your puppy how to follow your moving hand and you can guide your puppy through the crowd like a carrot on a stick.
  • If your dog doesn’t want to get in the car you can begin by training targeting. Once your dog is touching their nose to your hand, you can move closer to the car in small increments.


 Keep training sessions short, simple and fun! Always leave 'em wanting more. Remember, if you’re not having fun, your dog probably isn’t either. So relax and enjoy the wonder and magic of communicating with your puppy. Your puppy will love you for it.

Sniff on! Train on!

Susie & Halle

www.EducatingFido.com

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473

National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor

Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449

Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179

TAGteach Primary Certification

Licensed "Be a Tree" Presenter”

Member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263

Member of the Pet Professional Guild


 

 

Halle's Top Ten

Posted on September 26, 2012 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

It’s hard for me to believe, but Halle’s been a part of our family for eight weeks now. It’s been some of the most fun and rewarding weeks of my life I have put a lot of thought and effort into these first two months with Halle and now I am starting to see some of the hard work beginning to pay off. We’ve been preparing for adolescents and that time is just around the corner.


With some interesting food stuffed toys, Halle can now settle on her mat when we go to an outdoor café or in between exercises at puppy class. For the most part, she walks nicely using her front clip harness and, if I can manage the humans, she doesn’t jump on people when they come up to greet her. When it comes to raising Halle, I want to share with you my top ten most important rules for starting my puppy on the road to success. 

 

 

  1. Puppy class: 8 to 20 weeks is a critical socialization period for puppies. Science tells us that once this window of opportunity closes, it nearly impossible to make up for lessons that should have been learned. A good puppy class will include off leash playtime so that puppies can learn how to interact with other puppies and be exposed to new people and novel sights and sounds.
  2. Socialization: Socialize! Socialize! Socialize! In order for your puppy to grow into a well-adjusted adult dog, she must learn to act properly around other dogs and people. Invite friends and family to come over often and enjoy your new puppy. Make sure people visiting your dog include women, men and children. She needs to get used to different genders and ages of people. Don’t just introduce your puppy to the same people over and over. Make sure your puppy meets at least 100 new people before she is 20 weeks old. Take your puppy, on leash, to different locations for walks, where he will experience different types of noises and situations.
  3. Learn to speak dog: Communication is a two way street. We all know someone who doesn’t let us get a word in edge-wise and doesn’t seem to be interested in a thing we have to say. When they make a mistake, we might say “I told you so”. The same is true of dogs. Dogs communicate with us all the time through body language. If humans want to live with dogs, they should learn to speak dog. Here’s a link to great CD “What is My Dog Saying” that I highly recommend to anyone who lives with, works with or interacts with dogs. Knowing and understanding canine body language could be a life saver for your dog.
  4.  Consistency: This means doing the same things and enforcing the same rules all the time. While this may seem like a simple concept, in real life it can be a bit more challenging. Let’s say that you take your puppy for a walk and you’re in a hurry, talking on your cell phone or just don’t feel like training so you allow your puppy to pull. Now it seems that every walk is a power struggle. You pull one way and your puppy pulls the other way. To change the behavior you can’t allow your puppy to move forward it she’s pulling. This needs to be done not most of the time or some of the time, but every single solitary time you take your puppy for a walk.
  5. Management: If you can’t train it, manage it. Managing you’re puppy’s environment is often the quickest and simplest fix to many problem behaviors. For example, if your puppy is running up and jumping on people when they come to the door, put your puppy on a leash and tether her away from the door. Ask your guests to help teach your dog not to jump by walking away if the puppy jumps up. If you don’t have time to train when you have a visitor, then crate your puppy when guests arrive. 
  6. Crate training: Teaching your puppy to enjoy crate time is important. It not only gives you peace of mind knowing your puppy and your home are safe when you’re away but also teaches your puppy that being alone isn’t such a bad thing. Realistically, you can’t expect your dog to live her entire life without being in a crate. If you take your dog to a groomer, the vet or boarding chances are your dog will be crated. So help your puppy to learn to love the crate by feeding meals in the crate, giving extra special treats in the crate like marrow bones or food stuffed Kong toys. Don’t just put your puppy in the crate when you leave home. Have your puppy sleep in the crate, nap in the crate and have special treats in the crate. 
  7. Chew toys: Provide your puppy with lots, lots, and lots of chew toys. We have toys all over our house (every single room). Whenever we are interacting with Halle, we have a toy nearby to redirect her attention to an appropriate chew item when she gets too rough. Providing her with chew toys that she enjoys also helps her to exercise her jaws and sooth her mouth when she’s teething. 
  8. Settling: Teaching your puppy to settle down in one spot is such an important skill for a well behaved dog. I provide a mat and lots of interesting chew toys and food stuffed puzzles to keep Halle entertained while lying on her mat. We started out doing this a lot at home where it’s not too distracting and gradually added more distractions. 
  9. KISS (Keep It Short and Simple): Train your puppy in short, ten-minute sessions. Just like small children, puppies have a short attention span. Give lots of praise and food rewards when she performs correctly. When safe, ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior. Often puppies are inadvertently rewarded for unwanted behavior by touching them, making eye contact or evening yelling at them. Sometimes, any attention is good attention from the puppy’s perspective.
  10. Be A Tree: Here is the elusive answer to the ever present question of "How do I teach my dog not to pull?" The answer is simple: Don't walk forward if there's tension on the leash. You have to be patient and consistent to keep your puppy from developing bad habits.

 


Sniff on! Train on!

Susie & Halle

www.EducatingFido.com

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473

National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor

Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449

Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179

TAGteach Primary Certification

Licensed "Be a Tree" Presenter”

Member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263

Member of the Pet Professional Guild

 

 

Doin' the Bump!

Posted on September 16, 2012 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

  A few months ago, my friend Nicole introduced me to her dog Duzi for the first time.  Duzi can be a little bouncy and over active when meeting new people.  I was really impressed when Nicole told Duzi to "Go say hi".  I instinctively put my hand down for Duzi to smell and Duzi enthusiastically ran over, touched my hand with her nose and then ran back to Nicole for a reward.  It was about the cutest thing I had ever seen a dog do.  I immediately started using it in my classes to help with polite greetings.

 

When Halle arrived, she struggled with sitting while people approached. Then I remembered Nicole and Duzi. I thought if Halle could be actively involved in the greeting rather than just sitting, she might be more successful and have more fun. It's been working really, really well. First, I taught her to touch my closed fist with her muzzle. When she caught on to touching my fist for a treat, I added the cue “Bump”. Then, I taught her to “bump” other people’s fists with her muzzle and come back to me for a treat.  We started with people she already knew putting their closed fist out for a “bump” without giving the cue. When she was reliably running up to their fists, I asked her new friends to say "Bump!" for a greeting.

 

I made it a game for her and she loves it, and it helps her greet people politely. If you would like to read more detailed instructions on “Say hi” by Eric Goebelbecker of Dog Spelled Forward http://www.scribd.com/doc/19005551/Dog-Training-Targeting-and-Say-Hi

 


Sniff on! Train on!

Susie & Halle

www.EducatingFido.com

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473

National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor

Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449

Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179

TAGteach Primary Certification

Licensed "Be a Tree" PresenterMember of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263

Member of the Pet Professional Guild

 




 

 

The Magic Carpet

Posted on September 12, 2012 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (1)

I am sure this isn’t new to some dog trainers, but Halle has enlightened me to a whole new way of using a rug. I started out with a rubber backed memory foam bath mat to teach her to settle down.


We began our training inside our house where it’s not too distracting. I rewarded Halle with a tasty treat just for walking on the rug. It didn’t take too long before she was running to the rug to get her treat. I waited just a bit before treating to encourage her to “stay” on the rug a little longer each time. We fed meals on the rug; gave her bones on the rug and practiced sits, downs and stays on the rug. I soon noticed her just hanging out on the rug.... and boy I sure did reward her for that! Each time she was on the rug great things magically appeared.

After about a week or so of training at home, we took the show on the road and went to an outdoor restaurant with mild distractions. I packed her bag with lots of goodies (Kong® stuffed with her dinner, a tasty marrow bone, a Bully Stick and toys). I also brought some small pieces of hot dogs. She quickly settled down on her rug and became interested in her “stuff”. Although occasionally distracted, I kept her attention by dropping tiny bits of hotdogs on her rug when she was lying down. I gave her 100% of my attention (which means I didn’t get to eat much while I was training). Once my husband finished eating, he took over the training and I finished my dinner. For our first trip on the Magic Carpet, I have to say it went better than expected. Two weeks later, we went to the same restaurant. I unpacked her goody bag and laid down the Magic Carpet. I was prepared for another meal like we had before, but was surprised that she entertained herself the entire time!

 


I have also been bringing the mat to puppy class. When I need her to settle so I can listen to the teacher, I pull out a goody for her to chew and give it to her on her rug. I even caught her going to her rug a few times in class to take a break without me asking her to.

 


Hmmm! I am beginning to think that maybe Halle is on to something here. So, I tried a little experiment. When I trimmed her nails for the first time, I put the rug on the tailgate of my car. She settled down and I trimmed her nails with no fuss. Nail trimming has never been easier. WOW! I think this really is a Magic Carpet.

 


My mind is now a flurry of other ideas on using the Magic Carpet to teach Halle impulse control. I don’t know who’s more excited about the rug, me or Halle.

 


SNIFF ON! TRAIN ON!

 

Susie Waki, ANWI, CPDT-KA

503.702.7661

www.EducatingFido.com

 

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473

National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor

Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449

Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179

TAGteach Primary Certification

Licensed "Be a Tree" Presenter

Member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263

Member of the Pet Professional Guild

 

 

 

 

Train me, I'm yours

Posted on September 9, 2012 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)

When I tell people that I am taking puppy classes with Halle, I often hear, “Don’t you already know how to train a dog?” The answer is “Yes!” I do know how to train a dog, however, there is so much value learning different training methods and getting feedback from trainers that I respect. Most importantly, classes expose Halle to sights and sounds outside of our home. She gets to meet new people, new puppies and new venues each week.

 

How many of you say how great your puppy or dog is at home, but complain how embarrassing he is in public? I’ve learned that the more locations I train my puppy, the more she will generalize the behaviors she’s learning. I see it every time I take her some place new or over stimulating.  She looks at me as if to say, "Sit? What's sit?"


I take my training inspiration from Dr. Seuss’s classic “Green Eggs and Ham”. In the book, Sam I Am asks his friend where will he eat green eggs and ham...


In a house?
With a mouse? 
In a box?
With a fox?
On a boat?
With a goat?


The list goes on and on. If I take that same idea and apply it to my puppy, I might ask Halle something like this:


Can you sit here?
Can you sit there?
Can you sit anywhere?
Can you sit in the house?
Can sit by a mouse?
Can you down near a fox?
Can you down inside a box?
Would you come by a dog?
Would you come by a hog?
Would you? Could you?
Here or there?
Would you? Could you anywhere?


I have a wonderful 12+ year old golden, Tucker. In his healthier days, I would take Tucker to the first day of a new class and demonstrate to my students what a good listener Tucker is. My question to the class would be, “Would you like to have a dog like this?” I would hear a resounding and enthusiastic “Yes!” I would tell the class, “Tucker is 11 years old and I’ve been training him for 11 years.” I trained my boy in a lot of different places and I made it fun! Tucker was excited to get out and strut his stuff. Being in a new place was a cue to Tucker that fun, food and a very happy mom were in store for him. When I asked him the question, "Can you sit here?" he would answer with "I can sit anywhere!"

 

Remember, your loving and adoring little puppy will soon be a teenager with hormones, an attitude, and teeth to back them up. So prepare for those teenage angsts and continue training your puppy beyond one day a week in puppy class. Puppies need to learn to have impulse control and obedience outside your home environment. Use the "Green Eggs and Ham" training method and get your puppy out and about training in different places.

 

Many people don’t know that puppies have a second fear period at 6-8 months of age. That’s why it’s so important that puppies continue to have positive exposure to novel sights, sounds and people during this period. Between the ages of one to three years, dogs reach social maturity. This is a dog’s “teenage” period. Imagine a teenager with no formal education and no clear boundaries. This is why I recommend continuing formal training with your puppy beyond the first puppy class, which generally ends at 4 months of age.

 

Halle is enrolled in a puppy manners class and a Star Puppy class. We will soon be starting K9 Nose Work. All of this upfront work will help Halle learn that she can work here; she can work there; she can work anywhere.

 

Sniff on! Train on!

 Susie & Halle

www.EducatingFido.com

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473
National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor
Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449
Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153
AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179
TAGteach Primary Certification
Licensed "Be a Tree" PresenterMember of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263
Member of the Pet Professional Guild

 


 

Bite Me!

Posted on September 2, 2012 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Wow! I had forgotten just how sharp puppy teeth can be.   My sweet Little Miss Sunshine can go from hugs and snuggles to teeth and blood in the blink of an eye. As I watch people interact with puppies, I hear them saying,"No!" but what I see them saying is, "Bite me!". They use their hands to push their puppies away or move their hands quickly around the puppy's face. It's just too inticing for a puppy who wants nothing more than to play by biting at moving objects.  

 

Puppy play-fighting and play-biting are essential for puppies to develop a soft mouth as an adult. Puppies get mouthy during play and when teething. When Halle was with her nine brothers and sisters they would teach her when she had crossed the line. They would yelp and stop playing with her.  What could be worse than being ostracized by a litter of golden retriever puppies? (I personally cannot think of anything worse.)  

 

But, Halle is no longer with her siblings. She’s living with humans now. One of the main reasons I enrolled Halle in puppy class right away was to allow her to play and socialize with other puppies so that she could continue to get feedback from her new canine friends on just how hard she can bite. 

 

Halle’s training doesn’t stop there though. Humans don’t have fur to protect their soft skin from shark-like puppy teeth. I have to teach her that humans aren’t as tolerant about biting as her puppy friends. I found a great article by Dr. Ian Dunbar on puppy biting.  By teaching her what’s tolerable and acceptable to a human will help her to develop bite inhibition (a dog 's ability to control the pressure of his mouth when biting).  My family and I have been following Dr. Dunbar’s advice and added a few rules of our own.  

 

Appropriate Interactions: We don’t allow anyone to get our puppy riled up and play biting.  If a person can’t interact with our puppy using our rules, we take the puppy away. (Remember how puppies remove themselves when another puppy bites too hard. Well, we remove the puppy when the human plays to rough.)

 

Chew Toys: We also provide her with lots, lots, and lots of chew toys.  We have toys all over our house (every single room). Whenever we are interacting with Halle using our hands, we have a toy nearby to redirect her attention to an appropriate chew item when she gets too rough.  Providing her with chew toys that she enjoys also helps her to exercise her jaws and sooth her mouth when she’s teething. 

 

Meaty Bones: Our backyard looks like a grave yard.  We give her lots of tasty, meaty bones to keep her occupied when she’s outside. She enjoys lying in the sun and chewing on her bone.  This not only provides her with exercise and mental stimulation, it also keeps her from searching out other inappropriate things to dig or chew in our garden. It also gives us a little "puppy break" while we're outside eating dinner or gardening.

 

I am finding that there is one constant theme when puppy training and that’s“consistency”.  By providing my puppy with consistent feedback on what’s appropriate and what’s not and consistently teaching my puppy what “to do” instead of what “not to do”, we are seeing definite changes in her behavior.  She’s really starting to learn the rules of living in our home and she seems very happy.

 

 Train on! Sniff on!


Susie & Halle

www.EducatingFido.com

[email protected]

 

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473

National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor

Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449

Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179

TAGteach Primary Certification

Licensed "Be a Tree" Presenter

Member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263

Member of the Pet Professional Guild

 

 

Tamra-Sunshine's Grateful Red 1996-2011 CGC, CD, CDX, UCD, UCDX, Delta Society Pet Partner

 

Tucker-Sunshine's Mr. Tambourine Man, CGC, NW1


 

 

 

 

 

Everything my puppy needs to know she learned in Kinder Puppy

Posted on August 29, 2012 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Now that I have a puppy, I feel like the clock is ticking really fast. There’s so much to learn and so little time! Come, sit, stay…these are the things that most people think of when they think of puppy training, but because of break throughs in our understanding of dog behavior, I know that several other things are more important for puppies to learn in their early months. Halle is learning much of this in her Kinder Puppy class.


  • Bite inhibition… learning to control their mouths with people and other dogs
  • Getting along with other dogs and with people
  • Getting accustomed to strange places and noises
  • Learning to do something other than jump on people, bark too much, pull on the leash, etc.



As a dog trainer, it’s a no brainer that my puppy is enrolled in puppy classes but the training doesn’t start and end on Tuesday evenings.  I practice a little with Halle every day. I make sure that Halle gets out and is exposed to new people, other dogs, novel sights and sounds.  We also practice good manners (greeting people politely and loose leash walking).  I cannot wait until she is six months old to teach her not to jump on strangers or to not pull on the leash. There is a very short window of opportunity for this essential puppy training. After that time, it will become far more difficult for her to learn some of these things.


I was at Home Depot on Saturday working with Halle.  A lady walked by and asked, “How old is your puppy?” When I told her 9 weeks, she was floored at how well behaved she was. People have made comments like, “Oh she’s a golden retriever, so she’s naturally well behaved.” Or, “She’s a calm puppy so she can do that.” Although this does play a role in her behavior, it doesn’t nearly make up for the time, patience and effort that I put in to training her each day to be a polite and well-mannered puppy. 


First, I have realistic expectations of what my nine week old puppy can do.  When we visit a new place with lots of people and distractions, I give her 100% of my attention. If I am training and want to keep my puppy’s attention, I can’t be distracted myself. This means that if I need to actually shop at Home Depot, I leave my puppy at home.  If I want to go on a walk with a friend and chat, I would take my puppy on a separate walk so I can give her my undivided attention and teach her good leash manners and how to greet people she meets along the way.  


The time to start the training isn’t when you’re already on the tight rope.  The time to train is in places where there’s little competion for your puppy's attention. First, I train inside my home and then in the driveway, then on the sidewalk and then I take the show on the road. I want to set her up for success. I also bring really high value treats with me each time I train away from home. I start by exposing her to the new environment at a distance. She’s young and needs to process everything going on around her before I start to ask her for behaviors that require a lot of self-control for a puppy her age.


A combination of short, daily training sessions, socialization and Kinder Puppy class will help Halle to grow up to be a happy, well-adjusted adult dog.  The lessons she learns from other puppies and the people she meets during these first 20 weeks will last a lifetime.  I have to make sure that we continue to do our homework before the clock stops ticking.


If you are expecting a new puppy, do your homework and find a great puppy class with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. You can find a Certified Professional Dog Trainer in your area by visiting www.CCPDT.ORG Ask to sit in on a class so you can see if the teaching style would work for you.


Train on! Sniff On!


Susie & Halle

 

 

 

It takes a village to raise a puppy

Posted on August 25, 2012 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)

    

By time Dave gets home from work, I have the frazzled face of a new parent who hasn't slept through the night or had a minute of "me" time all day.  It's one of the most stressful and joyous times in my life. We have a new puppy in the house and I've been running after her all day.  Keeping a watchful eye on all of her activities, feeding her, grooming her, training her and by the time Dave walks in the door I am ready to turn the parenting over to him.


Adding a new family member to the house has been a little stressful especially since we don't speak the same language.  And, since I'm not a female dog, I can't carry her around by the scruff of the neck and keep her clean with my tongue.  The goal isn't to teach our puppy how to be a dog; she's already an expert at that.  The goal is to teach our puppy how to be a member of our family.


Every interaction and experience that Halle has in these most formative weeks of her development is a learning experience for her. These lessons, both good and bad will last a life time, so I have to be very vigilent she learns the things that I want her to learn.  I have been watching our older dog, Tucker, interact with her. He can be playful with her when he's feeling frisky but when he's done, he tells her in no uncertain terms that enough is enough. Over the past few weeks I have watched her learn to read his body language and respect what he has to say. Tucker is a loveable lug with a new leadership role. Dave says it looks like the inmates are running the asylum.  It seems to be working though.  We've noticed a lot less reprimanding on Tucker's part and a little less pushiness from Halle.  An old dog can teach a young dog a few lessons in life.


Another reluctant teacher has been our cat,Syd.  It's never been his desire to raise a puppy. In fact, he's made it quite clear to all of us that

this "thing" is a nuisance and needs to be scratched from the face of the earth...literally.  Since Halle doesn't speak cat, she misreads his communication signals.  Everything about his body language tells her, "Let’s play".  He raises his wagging tail to say, "Back off". She reads that as an open invitation to play.  He lifts his paw with the intention to swipe and she naturally thinks a raised paw means he's not a threat and, you guessed it, wants to play.  She is finding him to be quite the conundrum.  One morning as he was laying on a comfy dog bed in the family room she approached, paused, ran from the room and came back with a stuffed animal. She laid it at his feet and got down as low as she could with her chin on her paws and told him in dog language, "I'm friendly. Let's play".  He looked away indignantly and continued on with his nap.  She's coming to realize that to get along in this world she has to learn to read canine, human and feline body language. Life in her new home isn't quite as simple as she originally thought it might be.


No one can go out into public with a golden retriever puppy and not get mobbed by everyone walking down the street. People stop traffic in their cars to get a closer look at her major cuteness.  According to Steve Dale of Pet World Radio, "we're simply hard-wired to be attracted to the little creatures. After all, their large foreheads and big, round eyes are reminiscent of human babies. Clearly, we're predisposed to care for babies. "We're a nurturing species. We need to be,"agrees animal behaviorist Patricia McConnell. "Our babies require a great deal of care for many years. When we see these cues, we can't help but respond with a rush of a hormone called oxytocin. We generalize our feelings to other species -- including dogs. Believe it or not, that generalization in scientific parlance is called the "aw" factor. We respond with lots of smiles, a softer and higher voice, and we tend to actually say "aw."


It's wonderful socialization for my puppy to have all of these humans on an "oxytocin high" want to interact with her. But, I am finding it to be a blessing and a curse. Yes, of course, I want to expose my little one to as many different people as I can during this important socialization period in her life. But well-meaning humans can inadvertently teach my puppy a very bad habit of jumping on people and being rewarded with sweet talk, kisses, and belly rubs.  So, I am turning the tables. When people ask if they can pet my puppy, I ask, "Would you like to help train my puppy"?  I explain that right now while the oxytocin is flowing, a jumping puppy is just about the cutest thing in the world. But, in six months when she's 50 pounds and can't control herself, no one is going to be giggling and laughing anymore. I've found that most people will do just about anything to pet a puppy, so they are more than willing to be Halle's teachers.


It certainly does take a village to raise a puppy, but the most important teachers in Halle's life are her family.  We are teaching her how to be polite, like waiting at the door to go outside,sitting politely to be petted, walking on a loose leash and pottying outside.  Although it's a little daunting at times and can be physically and mentally exhausting, raising her to become a good citizen is our gift to her.  Puppies that are nurtured, properly socialized and have good manners become dogs that other humans want to be around.  I never want to see the day when people cross the street to get away from my unruly dog. I want people to be just as excited to see two year old Halle as they are to see nine week old Halle. So if you see me and Halle strolling along in the "village" be sure to take a few minutes to help me raise my puppy right and ask her to sit so you can give her a rub under the chin.



Train on! Sniff on!

Susie & Halle

www.EducatingFido.com

[email protected]

 

Certified Professional Dog Trainer-KA #2102473

National Association of Canine Scent Work Associate Nose Work Instructor

Canine Life and Social Skills Instructor #650449

Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator #E750153

AKC Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator #51179

TAGteach Primary Certification

Licensed "Be a Tree" Presenter

Member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers #76263

Member of the Pet Professional Guild

 

 

Tamra-Sunshine's Grateful Red 1996-2011 CGC, CD, CDX, UCD, UCDX, Delta Society Pet Partner

 

Tucker-Sunshine's Mr. Tambourine Man, CGC, NW1


Puppies & babies. What gives?

Posted on August 22, 2012 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

     When raising puppies, just like raising children, it’s important for the adults to agree on the principles of puppy rearing. My niece and her six month old baby,Gracie, recently came to visit. I was struck by the similarities of raising a puppy and raising a child.  Both Lauren and I were on strict feeding and napping schedules with our little ones. We each worried about what they might put in their mouths and we fretted over taking them into public since they weren't fully immunized. We were reading and researching all the newest and best ideas on how to get our youngsters into adulthood healthy, happy and well-adjusted.

     It's been12 years since my husband and I have had a puppy.  Maybe because our son was much younger at the time Tucker arrived and I was so involved with Collins' life that I just didn't notice the similarities between raising a puppy and a child.  Now without a child at home for Dave and I to discuss, guide and worry over, we are putting all of our focus on this13 pound ball of love and fur who wakes us up at 2 a.m. to go to the potty and demands endless amounts of our undivided attention.

     Our son was born 21 years old, so Dave and I are not new to having an irresponsible, demanding, and often uncontrollable being in the house. Many of the commonsense rules to raising a toddler also apply to raising a puppy. You have to watch them every minute of the day to make sure they don't run into the street and get hit by a car, tumble down the stairs and crack their noggin, eat something toxic or swallow something and choke.  It's a worrisome time for puppy parents. So, it helped us to prepare for Halle’s arrival by puppy-proofing our house first.  We got out the baby gates and bought lots of puppy-safe chew toys.  We read and re-read several puppy raising books and set up a "puppy safe zone" in our house that includes real sod for a potty area in case we're gone for more than a few hours, a small crate with a soft and comfortable pad, lots of chew toys and a spill-proof water bowl.

     Much like raising our son, Halle's life daily life invokes endless discussions between my husband and I: What consistency was her poop?  Did she bark when you left her in the crate? Did she eat all her lunch?  Did she pee on the living room rug because you didn't let her outside enough or did she actually try to tell you she needed to go out and you weren't paying attention?  Did she rip my pants with her razor-sharp teeth because she was being too playful and got a little out of control or does she have some deep seated "mommy" issues? ;-)

     We've enrolled her in kinder puppy and we talk about her future sports career. We analyze every morsel of food she puts in her mouth (is it healthy, organic, minimally processed?)   We talk about how she interacts with the other puppies in her class (is she a bully or a push over?) and we hope that we're socializing her enough before she gets her second round of puppy shots.

     Like young children, puppies need to be taught what's acceptable behavior and what isn't. And then, they have to be reminded over and over again.  Rewarding and praising her good behavior, ignoring her bad behavior (when it's safe to do so) and distracting her with a toy or game is working wonders for us. Most of the time, Halle seems to want to please us, but sometimes, she is clearly out of control and a cookie and a nap in her crate is what she needs most.  As her puppy parents, we need to monitor her mood and know when she's ready for some downtime. There's a balance between playing, learning, and resting that's equally important for toddlers and puppies.

     As a dog trainer (and a relatively rational human), I know that dogs and humans are not the same and we should not treat our dogs like they are little humans in fur coats.  However, I know that basic learning theory works for all animals whether they are a dog or a human. Behavior that's rewarded is repeated (cleanup your room and you can watch television or sit politely and I will open up the door for you to go outside). Behavior that's punished will not be repeated (hit your little brother and you won't get dessert or jump up on grandma and she will leave the room).  Time, consistency, patience and compassion works with raising children and training dogs. Puppy’s go from toddlers, to adolescents, to adults and just like with human children, we have to understand the developmental stages of a puppy’s first few years and adjust our expectations and our training accordingly.


 

 

 

 

 

 


Introducing Halle "Sunshine's Strawberry Fields Forever"

Posted on August 21, 2012 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

On June 17, 2012 our sweet little Halle "Sunshine's Strawberry Fields Forever" was born in Dexter, Oregon. Halle is our third "Sunshine Golden" and joins our Sunshine boy, Tucker. Halle came to live with us August 3, 2012. The adventure is just beginning. I hope you will check back frequently and read about the adventures of Halle. She is already shaping up to be quite the nose work dog. We are just beginning Kinder Puppy with hopes of some day competing in AKC and UKC Obedience. We've got a long way to go, but knowing how quickly life goes by, I am focusing on the journey and not the desination. I hope that you will do the same with your dog. Dogs are each unique beings with the power to communicate with us in their own dog language. I hope that you will take the time to stop and listen to what they have to say. You'll deepen your relationship and might even learn a few things along the way that you might otherwise have misssed.

 

Sniff On! Train On!

 

Susie and Halle


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