Simple concepts. Easy techniques. Articles, thoughts and philosophies that will move your training forward. Training doesn’t have to be complicated or frustrating.
We all want our dogs to be friendly to other dogs—and shouldn’t it come naturally? Dogs are social, after all. So why
does an otherwise sweet-natured canine buddy turn into a killjoy at the park? One reason is that dogs can be introverts, too. Like humans, they can have bad days and they occasionally form instant dislikes to certain dogs, or feel uncomfortable meeting strangers. But we get to choose our friends and are free to avoid anyone we can’t stand. Dogs pretty much have to go wherever we take them.
I asked my students in class last night: what’s your plan for your puppy on Halloween? I got 6 blank stares. No one had thought about what to do with the dog! And because most of the dogs were new to their homes, owners and dogs had no experience with the perils of Halloween. Here are five tips to have a safe and happy Halloween with your dog:
It’s holiday season and that means lots of visiting and visitors. Follow these tips so that your dog is welcome to say hi to anyone on the street or at home.
1. No pulling to say hi.
The goal is a polite, composed greeting, so it won’t do to rush in like a sled dog crossing the finish line at Iditarod. Insist on a loose leash approach.
Nose work, scent work, scent detection, sport detection…..
…..It doesn’t matter what you call it – it’s a sport for pet dogs, based on real life bomb, drug or contraband detection.
What are the dogs searching for, if it’s not bombs or drugs?
In this sport, dogs search for specific essential oils. Each trialing organization in nose work has their own preferred oils – birch, wintergreen, anise, clove, pine and thyme are just some of the oils that dogs learn to search for.
I love using food in training.
Close up or at a distance, it’s dead easy to deliver as a reward and dogs generally love it and want to work for it.
Some dogs will do cartwheels for cheerios (can anyone say “Labrador Retriever”)?
Food can be used not only as the perfect reinforcement for good behaviour, but it can also be used as a lure. Luring with food, i.e. getting a dog to target a food treat with his nose, can be used to elicit an amazing array of behaviours.
In the sport of nosework (or scent detection) dogs search for a target odor that has been secretly placed in each of the four
‘elements’. Dogs must learn to search containers (like boxes or suitcases), interior spaces, exterior spaces and vehicles. In a nosework trial, dogs can be asked to search any kind of vehicle. My dog Mabel has had to search horse trailers, SUVs, and tractors, besides just regular old sedans. There can be 3-5 vehicles, and anywhere from one to three ‘hides’ placed for the dog to find.
My young dog Billie is just learning how to do a vehicle search. My older dog Mabel needs some confidence boosting, and to rediscover her love of vehicle searching. So with both dogs, I’ve been working a fun exercise called “Running Bunny”.
Recently I had a friend over to do some nosework. She has two dogs. I have two dogs. Three out of four dogs failed the
container search because they alerted on a distraction instead of the target odor. What was so irresistible? Pancakes!
So, we have a pancake problem. And when I have a problem like that in nosework, I go back to a foundation game that I like to play: The Shell Game.
Puppy socialization is something I think about a lot because I’m a trainer and I run puppy socialization classes here in Victoria
BC. But what socialization is, and how it can be accomplished is at the forefront of everything I do because I think it is misunderstood and mishandled by many new puppy owners.
What is Puppy Socialization Really?
Socialization means habituation – getting used to environmental elements through exposure.
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I write about all kinds of dog training stuff…puppies, terrible teenagers, sport training, nosework, reactive dogs. So many topics, and so much to say! If you’d like to understand more, train more, and enjoy your dog more, then subscribe!