Dog Training Articles

Stop Your Dog From Running Out The Front Door

Arroyo Grande Dog Training means not dashing out the open door.

Just because the door is open doesn’t mean your dog can walk run through it. Dog owners in Arroyo Grande deserve the best.

You can use this technique to teach your dog not to run through the front door or a yard gate.

Here is one reason of many why your dog runs out the door or the gate. You put your dog on one side and you on the other and then you shut the door and leave. The dog is bummed. So it learns that being left behind sucks. The dog doesn’t know that you are getting in the car to go to work or where ever and you won’t be on the other side if it should make its escape. All the dog knows is that it doesn’t want to be left behind. The door/gate is the visual and audible signal that mental discomfort is approaching.

What we are really doing is neutralizing the dog to any visual or audible cues. Remember, dogs just react to what we show them. The dog doesn’t typically freak out when we open the fridge, or go through the door to the garage, or go through the bathroom door. So why should the front door or the yard gate be any different?  Because the cues are different, the result is different.

Here is a short video training the dog to wait at the gate.

If you’re training your dog or puppy in San Jose, or Santa Clara then you know that one unsupervised trip into the street can be dangerous for the dog and expensive and heartbreaking for you.

First look at my video and read my article on “Placeboard Training” so you have some background on what we are doing.

When neutralizing your dog or puppy to the gate or the front door you have to do it in manageable steps. Break the process down into small component steps. How many steps depends on the dog. In the video, you are watching the first 2 of probably 5 steps.

This is what I would do:

  1. Get the dog to “place” on the box right in front of the gate/door. Pay the dog. Release the dog.  Repeat 15-20 times.
  2. With the dog on the place board, lean back and just touch the doorknob. Pay the dog. Release the dog. Repeat as many times as necessary.
  3. Now, with the dog on the place board, turn the doorknob, just turn it. Turn, release, pay the dog. Repeat as many times as necessary.
  4. Are you starting to get the idea?
  5. Same as above. Turn the knob, open the door just a crack, shut the door, pay the dog, release the dog.

Ok, eventually you make your way through the front door. When you finally do, don’t be gone for more than 1 second.

Keep doing this and add new varieties to your routine. Door shut, door open. While you are doing this if your dog makes a mistake refrain from any scolding. Don’t say “No.”  You will eventually wear your dog out. Keep it positive and keep it fun! For more information, contact Canine Tutors, today!

Teaching Your Dog “Leash Pressure”

The best way to teach a dog to walk on the leash is to show by example why the dog wants to stay by your side. You want to encourage your dog to stay next to you, rather than solely relying on discouraging your dog from leaving. I use the 90/10 rule. 90 percent encourage, 10 percent discourage.  In the accompanying video, you will see a young green dog learning how to walk on a leash.

So what are our tools today?  We have a wall on one side to keep the dog from moving to the left and we use our body on the other side of the dog to keep it from moving to the right. If the dog gets confused and tries to back out we can use our left leg to block the dog. We have our food as a way to encourage the dog to keep moving forward and stay next to us. We also have a pinch collar.

Plastic pinch collar prong collar.

 

Here is a video showing a young Labrador puppy how to ‘heel’.

Let me take a moment to explain the pinch collar. Dogs have a natural tendency to go in the opposite direction of leash pressure. That’s one of many reasons they pull on the leash. What we are doing in this puppy training video is showing the Labrador puppy to GO WITH the pressure. We do this by creating an environment where the dog is almost assured to do the exercise correctly. We apply very soft pressure with the collar all the while encouraging the dog to move forward with us and get the food reward and relieve the slight pressure immediately. The amount of pressure used is about the same amount it might take to tie your shoes.  Think of it as grabbing your dog by the hand and saying “here, let me show you”.

As you progress you can do the same with showing your dog or puppy how to move laterally and how to go in reverse.

Having a dog that walks nicely on a leash is a pleasure. It means taking your dog more places and doing more things, thus increasing your time together adding more availability to train your dog. If you are looking for puppy classes in San Jose or group dog training in San Jose give us a call. You have nothing to lose!

Crate Training

Dog Training in , Dog classes

Dog Training, Crate Training, Potty training, Puppy Training

The dog crate is one of, if not THE most useful dog training pieces of equipment you could own. For our discussion here we will be referring to it as a containment and management tool for young and/or untrained dogs. How to get your dog moving in and out of the crate. Click here for a video showing some crate training techniques. First, remove everything out of the crate. Blankets, dog toys, chew toys, everything. Secure the crate door to an open position either with a piece of string, bungee cord or just remove it completely. Some dogs are noise sensitive and if they accidentally slam the door they might freak out and hesitate the next time.
Now put the crate in a sterile environment such as your kitchen so your dog or pup can’t get too distracted. Have your dog on a leash so you can have some control. Have about 10-15 pieces of hot dog at the ready. The pieces of hot dog should be cut to about the size of a pencil tip eraser. Show your dog you have a treat in your hand. He should get very excited and follow your hand around. Place the treat just at the opening of the crate. Some dogs you can just flip the treat anyplace inside and they will just run right in a eat it. As your dog starts to catch on, place the treat further and further back in the crate. Never push or verbally demand your dog to enter the crate. Just be patient and wait soon he will be walking right in.
At this point, I am going to assume your dog is easily going into the crate to eat its prize. I would strongly suggest you use the best possible treat you can get. Hot dogs, cheese, goldfish crackers, leftover steak, chicken, you get the idea. Now when your dog goes in get ready to give a second treat. The first he gets when he enters just as before, the second comes from your other hand as soon as he turns around to look at you. Now since he can only attain this position from the inside of the crate he will be doubly motivated to get in there. Do this everyday about 15 or so times a day. All dogs are different so how fast or slow will be determined by your dog and your consistency as a dog trainer. At some point, you may start to see your dog start to enter the crate on its own, Aha! That’s what we have been waiting for. When that happens, give your dog the treat the moment it turns around to look at you.

How To Teach Your Dog To Come When Called

Dog training in Paso Robles

We love our dogs to come when called. It is one of the best features of owning a dog

Every dog owner wants immediate response from their dog when they call it to return
In the video below (click here for dog training video) you can see my San Jose dog training client training her Labrador puppy to come when called. My client owns a very successful law firm here in San Jose. To be sure she does not want to put her life on hold to train her dog. Nor does she want to use harsh punitive methods just to get results. So what we have are dog training techniques that work immediately, they are easy to use for the dog owner and are easy on the dog. We want happy puppies, all the way around.
In this video we are using a few training tools. We have food rewards, hot dogs mostly. A long line so our dog can’t just run off, a happy voice, a bait bag full of food and a remote training collar, otherwise know as an e collar or shock collar.
The concept is very simple. Pay the dog with food for paying attention and staying connected, otherwise known as engaging with us. When the dog checks out or gets distracted we regain the dog’s attention with the remote collar using light nicks, similar to a tap on the shoulder. These taps continue until the dog breaks away from the distraction and reconnects with us. For the purposes of the article, I am omitting a bunch of information but you get the idea.
Every time we tap the dog with the remote collar we keep it so light the dog can barely feel it. In the beginning, the dog usually ignores the collar because it is so light. When the dog starts sniffing at something in the grass that is when we start tapping and calling the dog with a smile in our voice. If we have a grumpy voice the dog doesn’t want to hear that. Would you? We keep tapping and calling in a happy voice with a piece of hot dog in our hand and eventually our dog is going to look at you like “is that you”? and that is when we pay the dog with the food. Throw your dog a party, then lead him over to another minor distraction.
Distractions come on a scale of 1-10. When you first start out keep your distraction level low. A 2 or 3 would be best. I always tell my clients to keep their dog in the zone of success. As you get going you can raise the level of distraction incrementally and systematically to guarantee success. When you train with a professional dog trainer there is no crossing the fingers and hoping it works. Professionals have a big bag of tricks and can think fast on their feet, quickly moving from one technique to the other in order to find out what makes your dog tick.
Take your dog to a park. One of my favorite parks is located right in the middle of downtown Paso Robles. It has plenty of shade and you can maneuver if the distractions get too heavy. You need options when training your dog. For a FREE no-obligation demonstration with your dog feel free to call Canine Tutors Dog Training at 805-400-8309.
We serve Paso Robles, San Jose, San Jose all the way to San Jose and everyplace in between.

How To Manage Your Dog Around The House

As you go about your daily activities you pretty much have a daily routine. If you have a dog and you want to do some dog training with it, the best way to accomplish this is to include your dog into your routine. “Train as you live” is what I tell my clients. You really don’t have to take time out of your day to train your dog. When you get your dog out of its dog crate or kennel in the morning strap on your bait bag to get started.
As you go about your day take every opportunity to teach a command. One of my favorite dog training commands is the “down”. This command is great because when your dog is lying down it can’t do anything wrong because it’s immobile. Click this link to see a video how I encourage the dog to stay lying down.

One of the things you might notice is how fast I pay the dog with the dog treat. That’s because I have to stay in the dogs head. If I go too slow with the reward at this point he will figure something else is more exciting and rewarding so off he goes. As long as I can keep him in the down position relatively stress-free it will become a habit that he enjoys.  As you watch the video you can see me move away from the dog then quickly return. This is because I want to desensitize the dog to my body movements. The dog needs to see me constantly move away and return and know that I am coming back. Dogs watch what you do more and listen to your words less. So you need to show them by example over and over again. Thousands of repetitions. Yes, thousands.

When you are working a behavior like the one in the dog training video I would use a dog training treat that is easy for the dog to chew and swallow. For this type of behavior, I use good old-fashioned hot dogs. Dogs love them and they won’t get distracted eating them. Crumbs won’t fall out of the dog’s mouth. Just in and gone

Make sure to keep your dog successful in your dog training activities. It does you little good to constantly lead your dog into failure. Strive for success. Remember “Confusion, Stress, Avoidance” Always look for a win no matter how small. Release your dog from the command before it does it on its own. Dog training is measured by seconds and inches, kind of like football.

Keep your obedience and management training down to about 15 minutes per day. I would sprinkle it all throughout the day. 2 minutes here, 3 minutes there that way your dog doesn’t get overwhelmed.

In later articles, I will show you how to take a largely untrained dog out in public and keep control of him so you can expose it to the real world and not have to argue with him or jerk him around on the leash.

Why Dogs Pull On The Leash

Easily on the top ten list of issues, we get here at Canine Tutors Dog Training is leash pulling. Chance are if your dog is a serious leash puller that means going fewer places and having less fun. People always ask me how to get the pulling to stop.

Dog training in

Learning how to train your dog in arroyo grande

 

This short article deals with WHY dogs pull. Later I will go over HOW to fix it.

For a video description, please click my dog training youtube page.

There are 2 main reasons why your dog pulls. First, the outside world has so much to offer in the way of new and exciting distractions and your dog wants to get to those as soon as possible. Second, dogs naturally go in the opposite direction of whichever way they are pulled. It’s called Opposition Reflex. So if your dog is leaning into its collar it’s just going to push harder (to us, it’s pulling) to get away from the discomfort.

Let’s talk about distractions for a moment. Normally if your dog spends most of its time indoors it doesn’t get all excited when it looks at the sofa or the chair. When you walk into the bedroom and your dog follows it doesn’t loose it’s mind when it sees the dresser. Why? Because it’s seen this stuff a million times already. Take your dog outside and he absolutely comes unglued. Not enough exposure. Let’s pretend for a moment that you LIVED outside. That the outside was your living room. After a while, your dog would become immune to all the sights and smells. Most of the distractions would start to fade and the pulling would diminish. You wouldn’t have a perfect “heel” but both your arms would be the same length.

Now Opposition Reflex. Dogs just go in the opposite direction of any physical direction you may provide. So typically people just wrap that leash in their hand and get more determined not to get pulled and dogs get more determined to move away from the uncomfortable feeling.

Your dog is not trying to assert its dominance over you, you are just moving too slow for the dog. You don’t have to speed up, we just need a way to communicate to our friend to slow down just a bit. Here is a tip. Since you can’t wrestle your dog back into position with the leash, let’s try something new. Don’t fight or argue with your dog while you are doing your dog training in San Jose. When your dog gets out in front of you, simply turn around 180 degrees. Now your dog is behind you. Keep walking and when he catches up to pay him with a small piece of hotdog. As long as he keeps pace with you keep paying him. Eventually, your dog will walk out a bit too far. When that happens, turn once again and repeat the process. Yes, you and your dog will be walking in circles for a while. You can go to my dog training youtube page. I videos of dogs and puppies learning basic dog obedience as well as advanced dog obedience training. I even have some dog tricks thrown in there.

How To Increase Your Value In The Eyes Of Your Dog.

This short article describes my concept of $50.00 vs. $5.00 and how it relates to engagement with your dog.
Ok so you got a dog and you want to train it. Great! But something happens when you get outside or go to the park. The dog forgets all about you and instead focuses on the squirrels, other dogs, and any other various distractions. If you are ever going to train your dog you have to learn to be more interesting than the grass.

Dog training begins and ends with one word “Engagement”. In the picture below you can see my client training her pit bull how to stay engaged and focused on her.

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This is a great example of a dog training the art of engagement.

 

 

Engagement simply means you have what the dog wants. Toys, treats, and tugs are all tools to elevate the dogs desire to stay engaged with you, rather than check out and stick its nose in the grass.
I call this the $50.00 vs. $5.00 rule. Every single distraction no matter what it is only has a top dollar value of 5 bucks. Currently, when you take your dog outside you are getting outspent. $5.00 here, a few dollars there. We can’t do anything about our squirrel friends or the kid riding by on her bike or whatever. But we can elevate our value. That we have control over. How do we do that? By using a system called Marker Training. A big component of marker training is the use of a reward. That reward can be in the form of food or a toy. For most dogs, it will be food. With the use of food and a system of communication, we teach the dog that we are worth $50.00 24/7. We teach the dog it can get a food reward anytime it wants. If your dog’s drive for food is a little low then make sure your pup is a little hungry when you go out to train. I like to call it motivation. Dig this, when I train pups they don’t eat out of a bowl, they eat out of my hands as they learn the fair system of rules I lay down. This makes your value in your dog’s eyes go way up. As well as the value for the commands of “sit, down, here, heel” If you are averse to using food or toys to training your dog then you are just using simple force to train. If you think a pat on the head is enough reward for your dog then why don’t you just ask for a pat on the back next payday?

(Shameless SEO plug, San Jose dog training) Thank you.
The dog has to know that when it looks at you $50.00! When it does anything you like $50.00.
On the average, you should be rewarding your dog every 30 seconds or faster. Remember the real-world distractions never stop and there is little you can do about them. But you can increase your value over the others.
As time goes by you can slowly diminish the amount and the frequency of the food reward. That is another training article. The next dog training article will give advice on how to establish the language of marker training.
Tell all your friends near and far I can help you train your dogs with human technics that WORK. Peace!

Stop Your Dog From Jumping On You Right Now!

Here is why your dog jumps on you. It’s rewarding ($5.00) and it thinks you want it to. Why? Because in the dog world dogs casually get their faces close together and sometimes jump all over each other. So why do you think your dog should look at us any differently? Every time your dog even touches you it gets a self-reward. What we have to do is at the same time decrease the reward for jumping on us and increase the reward for 4 on the floor ($50.00)

San Jose Dog Trainer teaching dogs not to jump using basic obedience
Until your dog has this down keep your dog on a training line whenever he is interacting with people and keep that line in your hand.
Now dogs are quick. They are just waiting for you to slip. Look the other way just long enough to plant their paws on moms new Christmas sweater. What most people inadvertently teach their dogs is to be quick about jumping up.
Try this. With the training line in your hand and the other end on your dog’s collar ask your dog to jump on you and in the beginning only you. You have to control the environment. If you don’t you will never catch your dog in the act. I always tell people to maintain control, not regain control. Get very excited about asking your dog to jump up. Once you see those front paws even start to lift off give your dog a leash correction. Now don’t nag at your dog. The correction has to be in line with the offense, so don’t take his head off either. No yelling, no mean face. Just a leash correction with an unemotional “Off”.
The better your timing the faster your dog will learn. That’s why dog training is a sport. Timing and coordination. When you ask your dog to jump up and he doesn’t, mark that (article on marker training coming soon) and reward with $50.00 food reward. Do not reward for the correction. In other words, don’t reward after your dog has jumped and you issued the leash correction. The dog just gets nothing except a chance to try again for a food reward.
Do that until you’re sick of it. Do it everyday, all day until your dog will absolutely not take the bait.
Ok, now your dog knows not to jump on you. But he is sure everyone else on this planet is just waiting for some jump-up love! Now take person number 2 and go through all the steps over again. Leash in hand, ask for the jump, paws lift off, correction by you. Do not reward for the correction.
As far as we understand right now dogs are specific thinkers. So that’s why your dog will learn not to jump on you, but still, jump on all others. Once you go through the whole routine with about 5 people your dog will start to understand not to jump on anybody. The key is to never let up. If you slip and get careless you can welcome yourself back to square 1.
Lastly, you must go through all the steps yet again when you sit down in a chair or on the sofa. In your dog’s mind, you are obviously crouching down to receive some love.
The biggest reason dogs never learn anything with any kind of consistency is not enough repetitions. Ever play sports in high school or college? How many repetitions did your coach say it takes before the movement becomes muscle memory? Bart Bellon says “thousands”
Peace out everybody! If you have questions on dog training, give me a call anytime, 805-400-8309. Ashley Starling, America’s Dog Trainer

I Need To Find A Dog Trainer

So you got a dog. Now what? If I were you I would find a dog trainer. Stay away from the “whisperers” or the people who have “secrets the other dog trainers don’t want you to know”. When looking to get professional help ask to see the dog trainers dog. The trainer should be able to show you an obedient, confident dog that looks happy to run through its paces off leash around severe distractions.  You should be able to see video’s of his dog and other clients dogs a well. Let’s face it, practically any phone can throw up a video on youtube in 30 seconds. There is no excuse why he/she can’t demonstrate many clients with well-behaved dogs around distractions.

Here is another thing. Get the free lesson. It’s kinda like a test drive. You don’t have to go with me but if you are going to plunk down some hard-earned cash you need the trainer to prove he/she can deliver the goods. Talk is cheap. Also, your time is worth something so don’t go with someone just because they are cheap. you don’t want to spend months doing some training technique that produces zero results.

Are they connected to other dog trainers? Check them out on Facebook. Are they posting ridiculous things on their wall? Do you get the sense that they are respected by other top professionals in their field? Who are their clients? Can you talk to them in private? Maybe ask their opinion of how their training went.


House and Crate Training House and potty training in San Jose

  • Now we will teach you how to completely housetrain your dog and stop it from urinating and defecating in your house right this second, once and for all. Keep in mind there is no half-way point in the housetraining. Either your dog is housetrained or he is not. There’s no such thing as an almost housebroken dog. When a dog is housebroken he NEVER goes to the bathroom in the house.
  • The problem starts when new dog owners take their new dog outside and just leave it there for a few minutes thinking they will run on auto-pilot, and figure it out for themselves. Many people do not understand why their dog does not know what to do when taken outside. Just turning a dog out in the backyard by himself a few times a day is not the way to housetrain a dog.
  • Just letting the dog roam around for a bit and maybe urinating on a bush or something does not send the right message to the dog. Remember he wants to make you happy, but you have to tell him in a clear way, what it is that you want him to do. Here is where we start to see how important proper communication is.
  • With the introduction of house training to your dog, as trainers (and that is you too–since you own a dog, that makes you a trainer!) we learn that we set our dogs up for one of two things in life, success or failure. As dog owners, we must eliminate the possibility of our dogs making a mistake. If we don’t want a child to put a fork in the light socket, what do we have to do? Cover all sockets, lock up all the forks, AND NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF OF THE CHILD. So it goes with your dog. We must find a way of preventing your dog from ever soiling the house. We also have to teach the dog to communicate with you to let you know when he has to go outside.
  • Dogs thrive on regularity and they know exactly what they were doing the second something good happens in their life. When we teach a dog with consistent, positive reinforcement that they are pleasing us, they will strive to do that thing over and over again.  When we do this during housetraining, he learns that the only place to relieve himself is outside.
  • As luck would have it, dogs instinctively want to keep their immediate living areas clean, especially where they have to sleep. Since we determine what they use as a sleeping area we can use this desire to aid our mission of house training the dog. Since dogs are naturally den dwellers we introduce an artificial den in the form of a crate. When your dog is in the crate, he cannot leave unless you allow it. At first, your pup will protest quite loudly and for long periods of time. We don’t recommend that at this point you use any corrections as your dog will not respond. If it gets too much try some earplugs, turn on the radio, or maybe the television. Remember, he will yell his little puppy head off! Not because he doesn’t like the crate, he would just rather be out with you.
  • If you have ever watched a nature special on wolves or coyotes you have probably seen that they will dig a den underground and live there. They do this because it means safety for their pack. In it they know that no predator can jump on them in the middle of the night. Dogs are and always have been pack animals. If you have had a dog in the past you have probably found him either under a table or maybe in the closet when things got a little loud at your house or when he was really tired.
  • Some people have said to me that they don’t want to put their dog in a “cage”. If you are appalled by the idea of confining him to a cage, let me dispel any idea of cruelty. You are actually catering to a very natural desire on the part of the dog. In his wild state, where does a dog bed down for the night? Does he lie down in the middle of an open field where other animals can pounce on him? No! He finds a cave or trunk of a tree where he has a feeling of security – a sense of protection. The correct use of a crate merely satisfies the dog’s basic need to feel safe, protected, snug and secure.
  • It will take some pups a couple of weeks to get comfy in the crate. In the meantime, some will scream their furry little heads off. But think about this, The question you need to answer is “would I rather crate train my pup, or live in a house that my dog uses as a toilet?
  • Your pup will eventually realize that all the screaming in the world will not get them out of the crate. As long as you don’t take them out! Wait for them to be quiet for a minute or so before you take him out. Pups do get over the fact that screaming gets them nowhere – as long as you ignore it and DO NOT TAKE THEM OUT OF THE CRATE WHEN THEY ARE SCREAMING. I like to put a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter in there with them when they are really young.
  • Since small pups sleep up to 18 hours a day it shouldn’t be too hard to get them in a good crate/sleeping routine. Before you know it, going into the crate will mean nap time!
  • As I mentioned earlier, in the beginning, I might throw a Kong stuffed with peanut butter in the crate with the pup. Another idea is to toss a few treats in the crate and give a verbal crate command. Doing this will keep the crating process a positive one. You will be surprised at how fast he will learn to hustle right on in. Remember to keep it positive!
  • As your training progresses your dog will go into the crate simply based on a verbal command. When this happens switch to giving the command first, wait for him to go in then give the treat as a reward.  At this point, you will be able to use your crate for another reason. If you have a pup, or a juvenile dog and the idea of new people entering your house may make him very excited. Use your crate to contain your dog. Don’t wait till your guests arrive to put him in otherwise he may associate guests with getting stuck in the crate. Get him settled a minute or two before your guests arrive.
  • When picking out the proper size for your dog’s crate it should be just big enough for him to stand up turn around and lay back down.  We don’t want him playing racquetball in there. If the crate is too big it will encourage him to use the back corner as a bathroom. If your dog is a large breed and you don’t feel like shelling out 80.00 dollars every time he outgrows his crate every month then buy a size that will fit him as a full-grown dog, and while he is still small put a box in there to block off the back of it. As the dog grows, adjust the box accordingly.
  • In order to make sure that your puppy only goes to the bathroom outdoors you may put the crate in the bedroom of the person who will be either getting up in the middle of the night or early mornings. If you even think your puppy may go to the bathroom on the way outdoors either put him on a leash or maybe even pick him up in your arms. If you allow your pup to have an accident in the house, you will have to go back to square one in your housetraining. Bummer. I’m really not in favor of letting your dog sleep in the bedroom for too long because that tends to lead to dominance problems. I know I can sound like a wet blanket, but why take the chance of letting a problem develop when you don’t have to?
  • Your pup’s crate should never be used as a place for punishment. As I mentioned earlier, a Kong in the crate goes a long way for peace in the house. You can try other toys as well. In fact, you should have a few “in the crate toys.” When the pup is out of the crate to pick up the toys and put them away. This way the toys stay new and exciting to your pup. Make sure any toy you put in there doesn’t have a small little squeaker part in it. If your pup ingests that squeaker it can get stuck in your pup’s digestive tract and you will be lucky if all you get is a HUGE Vet bill. All too often this can be fatal.
  • When you first start the training put the pup or dog in the crate only for a minute or two with you right there in the room. As he sits in there quietly make sure you praise him and toss in a treat or two to let him know that he is making you happy. WHEN HE IS SILENT, PRAISE HIM AND LET HIM OUT. As he gets used to the idea of being in there for a few minutes, start leaving the room for a few seconds, working up to a few minutes. As you do this, your dog will get used to you entering and leaving the room. When you leave, just leave; don’t make a big production out of it. And when you return, just show up. No biggie.
  • Over a period of time, you can gradually increase your absences to a few hours at a time. A good rule of thumb is only 1 hour in the crate for every month of age for your pup. The exception to this would be at night while the pup is sleeping or naptimes.
  • Don’t be surprised to see your dog start to go into the crate on his own for naps and rest times. Soon he will feel that his crate is his castle. Make sure you NEVER let a small child enter the crate. You have worked hard over the months to teach your dog that that crate is his. Let’s not create a problem where there isn’t one.
  • At this point, I would suggest feeding your dog in his crate. This is especially helpful if you have a multiple dog household. Doing this will make sure that each dog eats only his food. Lots of people will have two dogs each on their own dog food diet. You don’t want one dog eating the other’s food. That will develop resource guarding eventually leading to a dogfight.  By feeding in the crate you will also stop your dog from dawdling.
  • When you take your pup out at night to do his business let him roam about. Make sure you stay out there with him. Don’t distract your pup by making a lot of eye-contact. If you do this he will think that it’s playtime, not poop time. When he goes in the direction of a spot he thinks he may want to use as his toilet, give him gentle praise. Soon you will see him sniff around and eventually do his duties. Right after he is done, give lavish praise and tell him “GOOD HURRY UP” or whatever your outside world is. When he is done, take him right back inside. But still don’t let him out of your sight, not even for one second! At this point don’t do a lot of heavy playing. The point is to get him relaxed and ready for bed. Make sure you take up his water dish about 90 min before you are ready to retire for the evening.
  • When you wake up, take your pup out the very first thing. He has been holding it all night so he is ready. If you have to, put him on his leash so he can’t get lost on the way to the door. And if you are still in doubt if he can make it to the door, pick him up in your arms and carry him outside. After you are sure he is done, bring him indoors for supervised freedom. Have your kitchen baby gate ready while you make breakfast. While he is in the kitchen with you, break out the “kitchen toys.” Let him roam around your kitchen while you make breakfast and eat. After you are done with your breakfast, give him his. Immediately take him out after he has finished his morning meal. Keep this rule in mind. Dogs relieve themselves after they eat, sleep or after heavy exercise.
  • When he has finished his last bite of his evening meal take him outside at once. As soon as he has done his business outside immediately bring him right back inside as a reward for desired behavior. When you bring him in, put him in the kitchen again, with the baby gate up. While he is in the kitchen with you, as you are preparing your dinner you can breakout the “dinner time toys.” At this point in his development, freedom of the kitchen is all he needs—unless you want to clean more poop. If you can squeeze one more walk before 8 pm that would be great. Then after the walk take him outside once again. Remember dogs go to the bathroom after they wake, eat, or exercise, so the walk really helps you both out.
  • The point of this whole exercise is to take your dog out as much as possible. Once an hour if you can. Whenever you are trying to teach your dog a new behavior you want to do it as much as you can. You won’t ruin him by allowing him to go to the bathroom outside over and over again. The bottom line is you cannot take your dog outside too much. Some people might tell you to make the dog wait for hours so he “learns to hold it.” Why would you want to do that if you can just go outside with him and keep reinforcing good behavior? If you take him out every hour then he learns that he is going to have a chance to go outside to do his business. So when someone tells you to wait for 4 hours – I would ask WHY if you can take him out more often? Why wait that long if you are home. We want to establish a pattern and what better way than to take the dog out all the time. Every time you take your dog out, ask him, “DO YOU WANT TO GET BUSY?” After a while, he will know what you mean. And every time he does his business tell him, “GOOD GET BUSY,” or whatever you like to say. Do this for the rest of his life.
  • Key ingredients to successful housetraining:
  • 1. NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE DOG.
  • 2. Take your dog out first thing in the morning.
  • 3. Bring him in as soon as he does his business.
  • 4. Dogs that go outside and don’t go to the bathroom, need more exercise. Take them for a brisk walk around the block, then outside again. Praise lavishly when he finally goes.
  • 5. Keep feeding times and diet consistent.
  • 6. Treats should only be given as a reward during obedience and crate training.
  • 7. Praise every time you see him pee or poop. Do this forever. Reinforcing good behavior never ruined a dog.
  • 8. Housetraining is exactly the same for pups and older dogs.
  • 9. Never rub your dog’s nose in anything.

Proper Correction Unless you can catch the puppy in the act, don’t bother scolding or punishing. The puppy cannot make the mental bridge as to why you are upset after the fact. Remember, going to the bathroom in the house is not a problem for your dog or pup. But it is a problem for us. When you do catch him in the act, only use verbal scolding, never physical harm—NEVER. Besides, if he goes to the bathroom in the house after you read this article YOU REALLY MESSED UP!   Here is what to do if the little guy goes potty right in front of you—the nerve! Run right over and clap your hands while verbally saying NO! This is exactly what his mom would have done if he did something wrong while still in the litter Then take him right outside so he can complete his duties there and return to “Good dog status.” This is the only way to communicate to him what you want. Here is what you have done. You caught him in the act, you stopped him immediately, then you took him outside to finish. Then when he is done, give him LOTS of praise and tell him what a great dog he is and brings him right back in. Still, don’t take your eyes off the dog. Remember, he is getting the idea that he must go outside. It takes a little longer for him to get the idea, ONLY outside. Paper Training   Indoor puppy pads and wee-wee pads are a horrible idea for house training. Those items will encourage your dog to urinate and defecate in the house. For your dog, in his mind, it’s either indoors or outdoors. It’s unfair to teach him to use a pad then get upset if he misses his mark, which he will do. Many people try to tell me that their dog gets too cold and will not do his duties outside. Hogwash. Stay outside with him long enough and eventually he will go. I promise. If he stalls for too long, just put him right back in the crate, then try again in a few minutes. If your dog has short hair and you are concerned with him getting a chill, buy him a sweater if you have to. It’s cheaper than a carpet cleaner.  Besides, eventually, you will get sick of the poop and pee smell in your house. Then you will have to switch him to going to the bathroom outdoors and you will have start all over from scratch. With all of this said there is always the occasional pup that will pee and poop in the crate. No matter how often you take him outside. This usually happens because the dog had poor living conditions before you got it. I live in California’s East Bay and we don’t have many, if any, pet stores that sell puppies like when I was a kid. In those pet store environments the pups live on mesh floors, so all of the excrement passes right through the holes in the floor, out of sight and mind of the pup. It may seem like your pup will never catch on, but he will. Your job is to be patient and consistent. All too often many pups never get a fair chance and their fate is sealed by the greedy puppy mill that has dollars on their mind rather than humane husbandry. I know it can be a hassle to practically stop your entire life with this little hard head but remember, owning a dog is a privilege. Eventually, he will catch on.

I Just Got A New Puppy

If you are a brand new dog owner the first thing you’re going to want to know is how do I get this dog to stop urinating and defecating in my house. For this, I would go to the previous article on potty training located on this page. CRATE dog potty training crate training One of the best house training and potty training tools is the trusted crate. The picture to the left is a standard dog crate. You can go basic or you can get a real decorative and fancy one. When training your dog to accept the crate you want to make it as fun as possible. Play games that involve the dog going into the crate to retrieve a treat. Leave the door open and let the dog come out of the crate whenever it wants. Whenever you have to take your eyes off the dog even for a second the dog or puppy immediately goes into the crate with the door shut and locked. For potty breaks take the puppy out of the crate, put the puppy on a leash, take the puppy outside, tell the puppy to go to the bathroom. When it goes potty throw the puppy a party, give the puppy a treat, bring the dog back inside with the dog on the indoor leash, play with it for a few minutes then put it right back in the crate for an hour or so. You want to have two crates, one that you keep in your car at all times and another one that you strategically placed in the house where you spend most of your time. BABY GATE Baby gates are great dog training tools Now your new dog or your new puppy isn’t going to spend its entire life in the crate, after all, if you’re dog training in San Jose you are going to want to take your puppy or dog to many of our awesome trails and parks. But until then baby gates are perfect for management purposes. If you notice this baby gate has a door in the middle of it. At this point in time, your new dog or puppy should not be given the entire run of the house. If I got a brand new dog tomorrow I would baby gate off the kitchen. That way if your dog has an accident you could clean it up no sweat and you won’t be fussing at your dog. You want to have about three or four baby gates. EX PEN exercise pen for training dogs Think of the exercise pen like a playpen for a child. Inside the X pen you could put a cardboard box, puppies love cardboard boxes. You could put some toys in there, maybe a Kong toy stuffed with treats and peanut butter. That should keep him occupied for five or six minutes. INDOOR LEASH When your dog is inside with you I suggest you have the dog on an indoor leash at all times. Nothing changes in the dog’s life just because your dog is inside with four walls and a roof. The same training principles still apply as if your dog was outside. OUTDOOR LEASH When you have any untrained dog outside I would suggest using an outdoor leash we call these drop lines, and they are usually 20 to 30 feet in length, that way if your dog starts to run off you can still grab the line and get your dog back. It will keep you calm and collected the whole time that way you’re not freaking out on your dog if it decides to run off. BAIT BAG Treat bag for dog training One of the easiest ways to train your dog is to shape your dog’s behavior. Every time your dog does something you like you’re going to pay it with a piece of food. The best tool to carry your food around in is going to be called a bait bag. The best kind of bait bag has a swivel snap opening so you can open and shut it and it also has a belt so you can fasten it to your waist. I would suggest using a lot of different dog treats to keep your dog interested and motivated. TREATS The treats I would suggest are hot dogs and small bits of cheese. Have these pre-cut in about the size of a pencil tip eraser. As you go about your day have your bait bag on your waist so that you can always reinforce positive behavior with your dog by using the treats. VERBAL MARKERS We will go into this later. LEASHES Go to the hardware store and buy a hundred feet of nylon twine it shouldn’t cost you any more than $10. With that hundred feet of nylon twine, you can make yourself several leashes. I suggest you have an indoor leash approximately 6 feet and an outdoor leash approximately 20 to 30 feet. Now with your outdoor leash never ever under any circumstances use it to tie the dog to anything. In fact, never under any circumstances do you ever want to tie your dog to anything ever no matter where you go. If you need to restrain your dog if you go camping or something like that use your dog crate or kennel.

Can my dogs aggressive behavior get me into legal trouble?

Dog Training in Arroyo Grande   Here is an issue I run into at least once a month. A dog owner tells me that their dog barks at the fence at people as they pass by, or the dog barks at the window as people pass by on the street. “How can I stop it”? They ask. The short answer is as long as the stimulus stays the same, the result will stay the same. In the dog training world we have a saying “whatever the dog is doing, the dog is learning”. Dogs bark at living room windows, through car windows, on a leash, and through fences for basically all the same reasons. They see something, some kind of stimulus and they might want to go and investigate, probably harmless at first, then the previously mentioned impediment stands in the way and the dog’s frustration rises. Just a little bit at first, but over time bit by bit it gets more and more frustrated. In the beginning, you might have had a dog that just huffed at the kid riding by on his bike but by the time the dog is 10 months old his teeth are flashing and spit is flying out of his mouth as he lunges full force at your 15-year-old fence. What has happened is that you have unwittingly taught your dog to show aggressive behavior. Now if you live anyplace in the San Jose County your neighbors don’t have to tolerate your dog’s ill behavior anymore. It’s called the Aggressive Pet Law and it was passed on Apr 10, 2012. The law did not specifically define what an aggressive dog is. Basically, it’s whatever they say it is. Socialization is not the answer. You must do two main things. First, remove the stimulus that is creating this behavior. If that means creating a new area for your dog to spend time in then so be it. Second, you need to train your dog so you can lay down some rules. No need to be heavy handed here, just some basic obedience. If your neighbors don’t like you, and there is a strong possibility that at least one won’t all they have to do is set you up and get it on video then send it in. If your dog is like this I would suggest by starting a basic obedience course with a dog training professional. Video your training sessions and upload them youtube so your neighbors or animal control can check in on your progress right from their office or their handheld. Having an aggressive dog lunging at your fence or bucking at the end of the lease is not cool and it’s only a matter of time before the leash gets ripped from your hand or someone else leaves your gate open either by accident or on purpose and nobody is going to listen to excuses especially your homeowners insurance. If this is you, and you know who you think of this as an opportunity to start a new chapter with your dog. What’s the worst that could happen? Some options are working with a professional dog trainer in the Arroyo Grande area or buying some dog training dvds. Maybe join a training club.

My Dog Got Attacked At A Dog Park

Up until recently, my dog was happy, friendly and playful. Last week we went to a dog park and my standard poodle got attacked by two other dogs. When they first got to the park they were all fine then I noticed the dogs started packing closer and closer and a few got more aggressive in their “play”. My dog Molly somehow got in the middle of it all and then, Bam two of them grabbed her and would not let go. I ran over and kicked one dog so hard it yelped. I felt bad about kicking the dog but I realized that if I didn’t do something right away I might have to deal with not two dogs but five. Now she is completely freaked out and spins, lunges and barks whenever she sees another dog. Is there anything I can do? Answer It’s all going to depend on your dog. The faster you can get your dog involved with some nice, passive dogs you may be able to unwind some of the damage, although don’t expect a miracle. I would take it nice and slow and contact a dog training professional with experience in these issues. I would ask to see some videos and get some referrals if you can. Always get the free demo. It’s like a free test drive.

We Are Thinking Of Getting My Dog A Playmate

This is usually a bad idea. The premise is, you are gone for long periods of time, you feel like your dogs is getting lonely or bored so you think a playmate or a buddy might be in order.  Dogs need companionship, human companionship. If you are gone for long periods at a time, I hate to break it to you, but maybe you shouldn’t have a dog. Getting another one won’t cure your problems. Having one dog is like having one dog. Having two dogs is like having 20 dogs.  Hey, I want a pony… Why is this a bad idea? I train dogs all over the central coast with a high percentage in the  Arroyo Grande area, mainly due to the large land size of the plots of the houses so the running room is not an issue. The reason this is a bad idea is that when you get a dog you want that dog to feel you are the center of its universe, not its new running buddy. The two will now “pack up” literally and figuratively. Dogs are pack animals and common sense says that given the choice of hanging out with you or a fellow dog, your dog will most likely choose the new pup. Dogs are pack animals and operate on a “pack drive” mentality. As breeders and trainers, we work hard to develop dogs that have low pack drive and want to interact with humans. We call that “engagement”. When you introduce more dogs to your family pack you will raise your dogs natural and instinctual pack drive. Doing so will make it harder for you to communicate with your dog. Problems you may encounter are: – Marking in the house (peeing) – Food aggression – Resource guarding – More barking at any stimulus, such  as, door knock, door bell, other dogs, vehicle sounds -Increased aggressive behavior, such as , fence fighting Keep in mind now your dog has to muscle its way for food, preferred bedding, your attention, and affection, when before it was all free. Dogs don’t know about sharing, or that there will be “more” of anything. All they know is if they want something their pecking order will determine how much, when and if they get anything.

Dog training in Arroyo Grande

An example of resource guarding

My New Puppy Thinks My Sofa Is A Chew Toy

 

I saw this dog at the Pismo Beach Clam Festival last year. I had to take a picture of the Yorkie wearing goggles. How cool is it to put your best dog buddy in a basket on your bike and go for a ride. Now that should make you happy. Dog training is whatever you want it to be. Just a way to communicate with your buddy.

Pismo Beach dog trainers training dogs to ride bicycles

How I Became A Dog Trainer

My Journey into dog training actually started when I was 5 years old. That’s when I started to learn horsemanship at a ranch in San Jose. I rode horses for pleasure and for competition until I was 15 years old. No sooner did I start to enter competitions when I was slapped in the face with the financial realities of equine ownership. Think sail boat with a main and tail. What I learned about horse training was the wasn’t anything “whisperish” about it. It was all very straightforward. What it took was repetition, lots of repetition. Constantly going in circles on horseback connected to a lunge line with my trainer attached to the other end barking out orders. We did this for years until I did it on my own without thinking until it became muscle memory. Soon I was riding the long open trails of San Jose. Eventually, I stopped riding horses because of financial reasons and as a 15-year-old kid if your parents aren’t completely onboard that’s pretty much it. The rest of my years were spent going to school, not going to school until I graduated–barely. I got my first real dog when I was 21 years old from a guy who was going through a wicked divorce. He even lost his dog. It was a 2 1/2-year-old Rottweiler named Rex. At first, I was kinda freaked out just because of the look and the size of him. He was huge and scary looking. But wow was he full of life. At first, he was kinda thuggish, always growling at someone or lunging at some poor little dog. As we got to know each other he started to mellow out and got really friendly with everybody. I figured Rex was so big and powerful that I should get a dog coach. It didn’t take me long to find Marve Gangloff.  We learned about obedience training, protection, scent work even searches and rescue. The biggest thing I learned was dog training was a lot like training horses. They move toward things that make their life more comfortable and away from things that make them uncomfortable or stressed. To be an effective dog trainer you have to be fair, consistent and balanced. I don’t mean balanced in a Ceasar Millan kind of way. I mean that you have to be able to lead your dog all the way down the road, not just half way. Today dog training is super popular. There is a dog training club in San Jose. There are as many different training philosophies as there are dogs. If you ask 100 trainers for their opinion, you will get 100 different answers. Here are the two major schools of thought. School 1. Never under any circumstances force your dog to do anything. Use food always. Compulsion is never to be used. No choke chains, no pinch collars and for the love of God NEVER use a remote training collar. Head halters may be. All you have to do is go to one of those big-box pet supply stores to find one of these trainers. Walk down the aisle of Barns and Noble and look for yourself. What I just described is the politically correct way to train your dog. Now don’t get me wrong, a lot of good came out of that stuff. Stay with me now. School 2. Be the Alpha. Show that dog who’s the boss. These people are usually of the yank and crank variety. If the dog doesn’t listen, then make it hurt until it does. Don’t ever use food, just praise.

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