Training Examples

Curb Crashing

This is the term that describes the training needed to stop the pet at thresholds, gates, curbs or other barriers and allows you to give the pet permission to cross such barriers.

Step 1: Setup – Walk slowly up to a curb with pet on a leash. Stop at the curb. As you approach the curb
(2 steps away) say, “Do you want to go?”

Step 2: Proper Praise – If the pet stops on the curb without stepping off, then praise the pet verbally, “Good dog, dat’s a good dog”. Then, test the pet with the leash.

Step 3: Proper Reprimand – If the pet steps off the curb into the street, then say “NO”, position the leash and collar (do not get in a hurry), jerk on the leash to pull the dog back on the curb while saying “NO”. Next, test the pet. If a successful completion is made, give praise. (Remember, twice as much praise as reprimand.) After each failure, test, then praise after each successful completion.

Step 4: Proper Test – This is done in many stages with reprimand and praise given appropriately for the result of the test. Test with the leash only while you are still on the curb, then pull the leash toward the street lightly with one hand while saying “Do you want to go?” If the pet steps off, reprimand and retest. If the pet does not step off and resists movement in response to the leash, release tension, then praise. Test with the leash only while you are still on the curb and hold the same tension on the leash while you step into the street (stand up to avoid any body language training to the pet). Say “Do you want to go?” then praise for not going. It is important to release the tension on the leash immediately after the praise. So, tension on the leash – resistance – release tension on the leash – then say “GOOD BOY”. While in the street facing your dog on the curb (standing straight), back up to the end of the leash maintaining the same tension with the leash in a horizontal plane parallel to the pavement. As the pet resists movement into the street, praise and let the leash sag. Praise again. While standing at the end of the leash pull harder and harder until just before the pet is pulled into the street. Release tension and praise.

Step 5: Distractions – (making it harder) 1) Say pets name to see if this brings him off the curb – (it should not). If successful, “PRAISE”. 2) Jump up and down and act silly to try to draw pet from curb.

Jumping On People

Step 1: Setup. Have your training leash and collar ready and on the pet. Have a helper encourage the pet to jump up on them.

Step 2: Reprimand. When the pet follows the invitation then use the training collar to pull the pet down and associate this with a verbal NO.

Step 3: Test. Have your helper try again – If the pet jumps up then repeat the reprimand. Continue the test until the pet passes by resisting or hesitating to jump up when encouraged to do so.

Step 4: Praise. The pet is immediately given a verbal praise when the first hesitation is noticed. This is followed by touching and petting. The verbal praise is used as a bridge to last long enough for the real praise to get there. The pet is tested again and again to repeat the good behavior followed by the praise.

Step 5: Distractions. Have your helper use food to encourage the jumping behavior. You as the pet’s owner try the test.

Playful Biting

Rule: The pet’s teeth should never contact human flesh. A pet can play and bite playfully but there should be an intermediary object between the human and the pet. To teach a puppy to not bite a human is very important.
Step 1: Setup. First you must catch him in the act to train him so to set up a puppy you must first “rile him up”. Rubbing his head vigorously or batting his face with your hand does this. You should be ready with your training collar and leash.

Step 2: Reprimand. The reprimand is done simultaneously with a sharp NO!. The reprimand is a snap of the collar or a pull to the skin on the back of the neck with a NO!.

Step 3: Test. The test in this case is to place your hand to the pet’s lips in a position that would be easy to chomp down on. While one hand is in the position and the puppy is not biting give constant loving praise with the other hand. This is accomplished by high pitched praise and petting.

Step 4: Distractions. Make it harder by smearing butter or bacon grease on your hand.

Aggression

All dogs are different. Some dogs need constant reinforcement regarding who is in charge and others will always be content to be followers. If a dog frequently displays these behaviors, you will need to take steps to establish yourself as the leader: The following are dominant behaviors that your pet may demonstrate:

  • Ignoring known commands. This is the dog telling you that you aren’t worth listening to!
  • Refusing to lie down on command. This is a serious sign that the dog is challenging your authority.
  • Bumping into you or your children. This is a sign of disrespect.
  • Mounting you or your children. This does not mean that the dog finds you attractive, it is a sign that he wants to dominate you.
  • Refusing to give up sleeping areas. Dominant animals don’t relinquish their spot for subordinate pack members.
  • Stops eating or chewing when you approach. The dog is warning you not to bother him. This is unacceptable.
  • Staring. A dominant member of the pack will use eye contact to intimidate. We all want our dog’s attention, but a dog that will not look away when you try to stare him down is displaying dominance.
  • Growling. Do not make excuses for a growling dog! This is unacceptable behavior! If your dog growls at you, speak with a competent trainer as soon as possible. He or she should be able to teach you how to deal with the problem. (Portions of this list taken from an article by Brian Kilcommons)

If you have a dominant dog, you need to take steps to establish yourself as the top dog. A true alpha roll is an aggressive measure, and if a dog is prone to aggression, he will feel the need to defend himself. If this is the case, then you could be seriously hurt! Dogs and wolves do not do this routinely, usually only in very specific instances that usually involve aggression of some kind. Routinely alpha rolling your dog only invites mistrust and confusion at best, at worst – aggression. Slowly rolling a dog on his back and holding him there is NOT an alpha roll.

Some steps that you can take to establish or re-establish yourself as the pack leader include:

  • Insist on obedience, a command given must be obeyed. Do not repeat the command, simply physically help the dog carry it out. If you are not in a position to enforce a command, don’t give it!
  • Make sure the dog knows he works for you and give him a job to do! He should sit before meals and you should always eat first. You should decide when to pet him and when to stop. Nudging your hand so you will begin petting is not acceptable. If the dog asks to be petted, ignore him until he stops then make him sit, pet him for only 15-20 seconds and you be the one to stop. Never stroke him until he decides to walk away. Ignore further requests for attention for at least 10 minutes.
  • Ask the dog to stand while you put on a lead before going outside.
  • If you are walking and the dog is lying in your path, make him move. As alpha, you are entitled to go anywhere you please.
  • Routinely put the dog on a “long down”: At first you should sit on the floor. Give the command for “down” or place your dog in a lying position. If he tries to get up, put him back down, but do not keep your hands on him. Keep him down for 15 minutes even if you have to put him back down 50 times. Gradually work up to 30 minute “long downs” with you in a chair beside him. If you continue these 3-4 times a week, you should see a significant difference in the dog’s behavior.

The following steps have been successful in reducing the aggressive behavior of a pet by showing it that it is not the top dog in the pack. You must become the “Alpha Dog” This message must be loud and clear.

  • Place the dog’s sleeping area outside your bedroom, downstairs, if possible.
  • Don’t feed the dogs before you eat. Alpha eats first.
  • Teach a sit and a down stay. You can do this using food as a lure — you just want to teach the words. When you have these two commands, make the dog sit and wait at the door before going out. If both of you are going out, YOU go first. (This is hard, but it is worth it.)
  • Start doing long downs in the evening while you are watching TV, reading, etc. One trainer even calls them “TV downs.” These should be for 30 minutes each evening. Don’t let the dog get up and walk away; you have made the decision, not him.
  • With a “problem” dog, and yes, you have a “problem” dog if he has bitten you, nothing in life is ever free. He must do “something” for everything he gets. Have him sit before you put his food bowl down. If you are free-feeding, stop. Don’t give him treats just for breathing; make him do something to earn them.
  • Do not respond when he comes to you demanding attention, i.e. putting his nose under your hand, etc. If he does that, ignore him. Then in a few moments you can notice him and have him sit before petting.