4th Quarter 2011
Top Dawg / President, ABC, Inc.
Hello and welcome to the final edition of 2011’s Paw Prints. This has been quite a year here at ABC!! On one hand it seems like it was just New Years, but on the other, so much has happened that it seems like some things have been in process forever.
From our move in the first quarter, to the launching of a number of new and exciting Continuing Education Programs (CEP’s), things have never been boring here. What’s more, next year promises to be even busier with more exciting things to create and share.
To date, our most popular CEP is Pet Sitting & Dog Walking, followed by Training Shelter Dogs and Teaching Private Lessons.
I am excited to announce that our Cat Training CEP has launched and the first month was a great one with 91 students enrolling. I sincerely hope that more trainers understand the opportunities that exist to not only help our feline friends, but also to help your business grow. After all, one of the things we teach trainers at ABC is the importance of standing out from the competition. While there are many ways to do so, offering cat training services in addition to dog training will certainly help. Currently there are only a few hundred cat trainers we could locate in all of North America. There are almost 90 million pet cats so everyone here can do the math on this.
Aside from kitty training, by the time you read this we will be within a few weeks of launching our nutritional CEP. This program was written by Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a noted author, lecturer and veterinarian. Our Nutritional CEP offers much needed information on this vast and often misunderstood topic. The program teaches basic nutrition as well as a breakdown of numerous commercially available diets including premium and supermarket brand kibbles, canned food, raw diets, etc. The correlation between behavior and diet is discussed in great detail as are the pros and cons of the aforementioned diets. Students mastering this program will be able to answer most any nutritional questions they get from clients and have a much clearer idea about how nutrition can be utilized to enhance many of the behavioral programs they teach.
Our Military Spouse student body is growing. This year we have enrolled 762 students through the MyCAA program! It gives us great pleasure to be able to help the families of our brave servicemen and women as they all give so much to us.
2011 has also been the year we promised to get serious about social media. So with that goal in mind, ABC hired Warren Hawkins as our social media ambassador. Warren has taken ABC’s Facebook page to a new level, and at the time of this writing we have over 5,000 friends with more added each day. So if you haven’t already, please “like” us and keep up on what’s going on with fellow graduates, mentors, and students as well as taking part in a myriad of pet related fun events. To join us, please go to: http://www.facebook.com/AnimalBehaviorCollege. For those who tweet you can also follow us at http://www.twitter.com/animalbehaviorc or just search for @animalbehaviorc on Twitter!
PR also got a big boost this year when we hired Teresa Mathers. Teresa works in numerous ways to let the pet world know who we are and what we do. She reaches out to shelter publications, dog publications, national publications focused on business, publications that serve the military community, blogs, websites, radio stations, podcasts, TV and much more. Some of the messages we put out there are general. For example, did you know that over 90% of the students that take our program fulfill the 10 hours worth of work in an animal shelter that they promise? That adds up to over 68,000 hours worth of time donated to animal shelters over the last few years. Often times when we pitch angles or stories to various media sources we like to quote an example of a student, graduate or mentor who can help illustrate the point we are trying to make. This means those selected people have the opportunity to be involved in our stories and can thus see PR generated for them as well. Still, other times our graduates win awards like David Allen, ABCDT who was named best trainer in Long Beach, CA for 2011. When we heard about this we contacted Mr. Allen and are currently working to generate additional publicity for both him and ABC. Since David won this award we gave him our new Cat Training CEP free of charge and look forward to also hearing back once he completes the course. The bottom line is, if you are an ABC Alumni, mentor or student and you have a story to tell, have won a trainer related award or have any other information that you think might be worthy of PR or news, please contact Teresa Mathers at Teresa@dawgbiz.net Also, please remember that if Teresa is trying to contact you, responding to her might just get you thousands of dollars worth of PR at absolutely no cost at all which in any economy is a fantastic thing to have.
Marketing has also been very focused in 2011 with a good deal of interest generated in all ABC programs as a result of our advertisements on TV as well as our aggressive internet campaign which includes a good deal more resources devoted to SEO.
All in all 2011 has been a solid year for ABC. Yes, we all feel the recession, but it is worth noting that even during the worst economic down turn in decades, the pet industry has grown. This is relevant because it means that while it might be tougher to build a training, grooming, veterinary business during hard times, it isn’t impossible. What’s more, we all get to work with pets and the people who love them which is something most people can’t say even in the best of times.
Although I will share more details once we get into 2012, I do want to give everyone a peek at some things that are coming. We are working on more benefits for our Alumni group. This group is getting more and more notice from companies in the pet business. The reason why is simple. As of this writing, we have 6,159 alumni members. That makes the ABC Alumni Group the largest independent group of pet dog trainers in North America. No, that is not a misprint. So expect more things to be coming your way that we hope will make the task of marketing and succeeding in your business even easier.
Due to overwhelming demand we will be launching a certification exam in 2012. This exam will an option for Mentor Trainers and those trainers who have professional experience and desire another certification. More details later as the process is completed. We have been working on this for 2 years and are very excited about it.
Additional CEPs will be available next year, such as Pet Massage, which will be offered to our Grooming Instruction Program
||students and Alternative Care, which will be offered to our Veterinary Assistant Program students.
We are also pleased to announce that we are going to create an ABC Student store. This will be a virtual store and offer a variety of ABC branded products. We believe this will enhance our efforts to increase the visibility of the ABCDT brand. The thinking behind this is simple. As greater numbers of dog owners become aware of the importance and advantages of hiring an ABCDT, the more valuable that certification becomes to those who have earned it. Branding is about many things and one of the most important is creating brand or name recognition. This is why offering branded products that trainers can use and thus expose owners too is a critical component in our overall strategy. Additionally, many of these products are functional and designed to make your job as a trainer easier as well. We will be looking at a number of other items to help with this as well and once we are ready to announce these actions you will be the first to know.
I am also very interested in hearing from all of you about ideas you have to improve the ABCDT brand. What do you think we need to do to make this better known to the general public? That is the key question. It doesn’t matter what other groups think about each others’ brands. The most important thing is what the dog owning public thinks. You are out there in the field. Please share your thoughts and opinions with me. Topdawg@dawgbiz.net. I am serious about this and would love to hear from you.
We will be attending many more industry shows in 2012. Some of this will help to improve our visibility and increase our support for our Grooming and Veterinary programs. By the way, it is worth noting that both of the those programs have seen significant enrollment increases, and, for the first time ever, we project that almost as many people will take our Veterinary Assistant Program as take the Dog Obedience Instructor Program. We project almost 1000 enrollments in our Grooming Program in 2012, an amazing reflection of the popularity of this course since it only started in January of 2010.
We will also be at both the APDT and IAABC conferences in 2012. Speaking of the conferences, having returned recently from APDT we were once again thrilled by the number of students, Alumni members and mentors who stopped by to say hello. Below are the names of everyone who stopped by the booth and gave us their cards.
Oh, and one of the students won the iPod Nano we gave away. Congratulations to Pamela Ross-Deibert!
Jean Lindholm, ABCDT -
Jean's Dog Training
Michelle Howard, ABCDT
Nany Yamin, ABCDT, Mentor Trainer -
Sue Aikman, ABCDT., Mentor Trainer -
Pamela Ross-Deivert, ABCDT -
Ten COMMANDments Dog Training & NANO winner!
Carrie Lyons, ABCDT -
K-9 Counsel LLC
Deborah Wilson, ABCDT
Karin Howland, ABCDT
Deborah Abrahamson, ABCDT
Kimm Bonecutter, ABCDT
Jessica Marie Novinger, ABCDT -
Doggie Good Manners
Asha Glallacher, ABCDT
Danielle Haywood, ABCDT
Laurene Von Klan, ABC Student
Amanda McKitterick, ABCDT -
Sara Mile, ABCDT -
San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
Keike Purdon, ABCDT
Tery Lynn Cuyler, Mentor Trainer -
Cindy Carter, Mentor Trainer -
Cynde Van Vleet, Mentor Trainer -
I C PawsAbilities
Cyndy Wood, ABCDT, Mentor Trainer
Barbara Johnson, Mentor Trainer -
Jules Ney, Mentor Trainer -
Sit Stay & Play
Teoti Anderson, Mentor Trainer -
Barbara Davis, ABCDT, Mentor Trainer
Shane Windatt, Mentor Trainer -
Joey Iversen, Mentor Trainer -
Helen Tiefenthaler, Mentor Trainer -
Kritterkare's Paws-a-tively Canine!
Alyssa Knerl, ABCDT, Mentor Trainer
Angela DeLuca, ABCDT, Mentor Trainer
Debbie Kendrick, ABCDT, Mentor Trainer
Thanks to all of you for stopping by our booth. Next year we are going to do more for you at this show, including the sponsoring of an ABCDT Dinner for all of our Alumni and students. More details down the road.
Now let’s get to the meat of Paw Prints, meaning the articles written by ABCDT’s and ABC Mentor Trainers. By the way, a word on these articles and future articles you are likely to see in Paw Prints. A number of years ago a friend of mine, Sally Liddick, spoke to me about being involved with a magazine called Off Lead and Animal Behavior. This publication had been around since at least the 1960’s, and I was interested in being involved. I asked her what she wanted to do with the publication specifically the direction she wanted to take it, and her response was that she wanted to update it and make it more relevant for today’s trainers. I agreed to work as editor of Off Lead but with an understanding that I wanted the ability to offer perspectives from across the ideological spectrum. I wanted a place in which trainers could read about everything from clicker training to e-collars without the risk of being judged and/or censored. Where hot button issues about everything from whether dogs are pack animals to whether choke chains still had a place in the trainers tool box could be discussed by including divergent points of view from authors with years and sometimes decades worth of experience. I warned Sally at the time that there would be trainers who wouldn’t agree with certain points of view and who would insist that those points of view not be published. I told her that unless we agreed with the idea of censorship we had to be prepared to resist such requests. I am happy to say that during the roughly 16 months that I worked on Off Lead we were able to offer numerous points of view on a variety of issues. We are now going to start doing the same thing in this newsletter as I believe it is critical for trainers to understand a variety of training methods without worry that they are somehow wrong for learning about and considering different points of view. With that in mind, here are the current editions articles:
ABC’s Howl of Fame award is given to a person who exemplifies the attitude we look for in our students. It also is indicative of the kind of person I believe will be a success as a trainer irrespective of the hurdles and difficulties encountered. I would like to introduce you all to Ms. Angela Ade, ABCDT. Ms Ade has lived her life by the motto "Keep pushing… Never give up!” It was this mantra that helped her persevere through her education with Animal Behavior College despite personal life obstacles at the time of her enrollment. Please read about her story and the reasons she is now a member of ABC’s “Howl of Fame.”
Chivon Winter, ABCDT – “Dominance Or Alpha Leader & Compulsion Training.” This article focuses on the debate currently circulating in the dog training world. Since dogs are descended from wolves and wolves are pack animals, then aren’t dogs? The author’s take on the answers to this and,
||thus, the question of whether dominance based training methodologies are correct or based on outmoded information and flawed assumptions are shared in this article. It also discusses why the author believes positive training is superior.
Jamie Diaz, ABCDT – “The Word NO, Misused, Overused, and Abused!” This article touches on one of the cornerstones of positive training. Focus on what you want the dog to do and reward that behavior rather than saying “no” all the time. A well written and good explanation about the word so many clients love to use.
Marthina McClay, ABC Mentor Trainer – “Peace At The Fence.” This article discusses both yard safety and fence etiquette which are important and sometimes overlooked topics for trainers.
Renee Premaza, ABCDT – “Communicating With Our Clients.” This article discusses one of the most important skills a trainer can learn – how to speak with, ask questions of and communicate with our clients. History taking is especially important as getting accurate information is critical for your diagnosis and treatment/training program. Yet, how do you ask questions in a fashion that doesn’t cause clients to become defensive and possibly withhold important information? Also covered are ways in which you can make suggestions that might conflict with what the client has been told by their veterinarian in a fashion that doesn’t alienate anyone. This is a good article for both new and experienced trainers alike.
Sandi Pensinger, ABC Mentor Trainer - “Treibball.” At the last APDT conference in San Diego, I was shown a video of this new sport. It looks like a hoot!! Granted, I still hold Fly Ball and specifically the dream of creating the world’s first Basset Hound Flyball team in high esteem, but this sport looks like it is fantastic fun for dogs and owners alike. Read about it in Sandi’s new article.
Sherry Bedard, ABCDT - “Power Paws Dog Club.” Speaking of dog sports, how many of you have heard of “Scooter Joring or Dryland Mushing”? This also looks like great fun and fantastic exercise as well. What’s more, it can also be used to address any number of behavioral challenges that are boredom and excess energy related. In my view, this is a very interesting article.
Speaking of interesting, I want to introduce all of you to Dean Vickers. Mr. Vickers is Director of Animal Welfare Studies and Education for Radio Systems Corporation (RSC). Many of you will know this company by the more familiar name of Petsafe. Still, others know that Petsafe also owns Premier Pet Products. I have known some of the people in this organization, including the President, Randy Boyd, for over 15 years. The company makes products ranging from Gentle Leader to E-Collars. Yes, that is correct; they offer ALL of the tools in the tool box. In his article, Dean discusses RSC, what they do and where they wish to be in the world of dog training.
Diane Sullivan, ABC Mentor Trainer - “Puppy Yuletide- Make Sure the Gift is the Right One” This is a relevant article for this time of year. In it are suggestions about everything from house training to puppy proofing and training classes. By the way, more puppies are purchased in November and December than the rest of the year combined. This is why, for many trainers, January through March can be so busy. This means trainers will be using some of the advice found in Diane’s article well after the holiday season is past.
Amy Ray, ABCDT – “Group or individualized training, which is the best choice?” Amy Ray is one of our MyCAA graduates, and I believe the first one to contribute an article to Paw Prints. In this article, Amy reviews the differences between group class training and private lessons, as well as when to suggest each. Since trainers are often asked about these options, it makes sense for everyone to have a succinct answers as to the pros and cons of each type, as well as when each is called for.
Next is an article from Ava Olsen – “Trainers, Treats, and Doggie Obesity”. Some of you might remember Ava when she wrote an article in our 2010 1st Quarter Edition of Paw Prints introducing herself and Charlee Bear treats. In this article, Ava discusses the fact that with over 70 million dogs in the United States alone, 44% of them are obese! This is a growing problem, no pun intended, and this article discusses the advantages of using a low calorie treat like Charlee Bear in training.
For our last three selections, we have:
Jay Adams, ABCDT - “Working Dogs And Techniques Used”. You have heard a lot about the advantages of clicker training, treats and head collars. We all know these tools work. What about a pinch collar? Many trainers don’t like the idea of using them, but how many of you actually used one in training? In this article, Jay Adams explains how a pinch collar can be a viable tool if used correctly. For example, when training dogs for police and military applications, first time response on the part of the dog can often mean life or death for dog and handler
Suzan Mosley, ABCDT – “So You’re Having A Baby.” One of the things we teach ABC students in our business module is to recognize trends and, if possible, attempt to capitalize on them in a fashion that creates win-win scenarios for all involved. In Ms. Mosley’s article, she describes a perfect example of this when she identified a disturbing trend with the Greyhounds she was helping to place. Many of them that were placed came back because the families that adopted them went on to have babies. Since Greyhounds are not predisposed to be aggressive with newborns, this meant the education of those families expecting children was important. This article describes some of the things these families are taught along with references to even more materials. This is a well written and detailed article and one I suggest for all trainers who face this challenge from their clients.
Last but not least comes from Marjanna Wornell, ABC Mentor Trainer – “When You Go Right You Are Not Wrong”. In this article, Marjanna discusses how Sled Dogs are taught to understand the difference between right and left. Most importantly, the article talks about how such understanding has real applications for people without sleds. I liked this one and have started teaching my Basset to do this. Of course, we all know Basset Hounds are well known for their sled dog abilities. I can see everyone’s eyes rolling on that last comment and will take the opportunity to end this newsletter on a positive note.
Good luck and good training. I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.
Howl of Fame
Angela Ade, ABCDT, has lived her life by the motto "Keep pushing… Never give up!” It was this mantra that helped her persevere through her education with Animal Behavior College despite personal life obstacles at the time of her enrollment.
Angela was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She grew up in a household full of dogs as a result of her family’s empathy for a dog needing a forever home. “I guess you would say I'm into the rescues. My mom was always finding abandoned dogs on the street and bringing them home.” This empathy transcended to Angela. Throughout her life she has involved herself in careers where she could help to better the lives of others. Before pursuing her animal career, Angela worked in the medical industry. However, the suffering she witnessed in that profession made
Angela look for other opportunities. As she is and always has been an animal lover, making the choice to pursue an animal career seemed like the natural choice. “I have always been in tune with animals. Maybe it's my Native American heritage. I feel animals are healing creatures and helping people is what I love to do.”
Shortly after enrolling in the Dog Obedience Program at Animal Behavior College, Angela became homeless due to the economy. Within the same short period of time, Angela’s mom and a very dear friend passed away to further compound the struggles she was facing. Angela contributes her success to those that stood behind her, including ABC. “I graduated from the program and I am now an ABC Certified Dog Trainer. I studied online at the Terrace Cafe in Venice Beach and did my practical at Labrador & Friends and Petco. It took me a little longer then it should of. My school, friends and clients stood behind me as I struggled along. They believed in me. I learned how to overcome many obstacles and believe in myself. ABC was patient and compassionate to my situation which helped me to succeed.”
Angela has continued to be faced with life’s
struggles but continues to move forward with the love and support of her friends and her doggie pals. Every journey has an anticipated destination, and Angela has finally reached that target. Angela Ade is now considered to be one of the most compassionate dog trainers in Venice Beach, California, and has earned the local title of “Venice Beach’s own dog whisperer”. She owns and operates her own thriving business Doggie's Ade where she trains with positive reinforcement techniques.
ABC is proud to count Angela Ade as one of our Dog Obedience Program alumni and Angela feels the same. “If it wasn’t for ABC, to be honest, I don't know where I'd be. Learning about dogs is a daily activity and each day takes you to a different level, not only in training but in life! I am proud to have been a student of ABC and I wear my card like a badge. People respect it!”
Dominance or "Alpha Leader" & "Compulsion" Training
ABC Certified Dog Trainer
Dominance based training techniques have been used for countless years. It was thought to create a hierarchy in the home between humans and dogs. Many trainers that use this method explain it in the sense of, "Your family and your home are the dog's "pack,” and the dog needs to understand his/her place in it." Furthermore, this type of training teaches the owner/handler to be the "Pack Leader.” The drawback, however, with this training style is that it heavily involves using physical force to "make" the dog listen to you. It punishes unwanted behavior by smacking, grabbing the scruff, "a light foot tap" (which in my opinion, is the same as kicking), grabbing the dog's muzzle, and forcing it into a submissive pose. These techniques are commonly thought to calm the dog down. What in fact actually happens, I will explain later.
First, let's take a step back about 14,000 years or so. This was around the time dogs were known to evolve from wolves; or at least the earliest signs of Canis Familiaris dated back that far. The story of how the dogs derived from wolves is a completely different story on its own. Nevertheless, throughout thousands of years, dogs have worked side by side with humans, performing tasks humans would ask of them. Later on came the breeding of these animals for desirable traits. For instance, some dogs were better hunters than others, and some had more protective instincts than others. Then came the designated breeds of which are seen today: The 7 Breed Groups. Of the 7 groups, 5 are bred for specific purposes (Hounds, Terriers, Working, Sporting, and Herding). The Toy and Non-Sporting groups weren't specifically bred for any working purpose, but more so for human companionship. Understanding the notion that dogs have been working side by side with humans for thousands of years now, a question arises: Can the 'Pack mentality' really have lasted this long in dogs? Especially when it's been bred into their minds to work alongside humans? I doubt it. I can't confidently say I believe that dogs carry the Alpha-Beta mindset that wolves carried thousands of years ago. With that being said, why are we, as a modern society, expecting our dogs to understand their "place" in their alleged "pack" if dogs don't even think with that mentality? And, since people are referring to wolves for their techniques, another question that comes to mind is: Since wolves don't physically place another wolf in a submissive pose (the submissive wolf offers the position by itself), why are we forcing dogs to lay in a similar submissive fashion?
Going back to what I was saying earlier, about how Dominance based techniques are thought to "calm a dog down," what it is actually doing is teaching them to mask their emotions. Dogs don’t become aggressive without a reason, just as they don’t become fearful without a reason. So the many articles and stories about how "The dog attacked out of nowhere," are completely false. Dogs often show many warning signs before an attack, and it’s not always in the obvious form of a growl. Using these harsh techniques on an overly aggressive
or fearful dog teaches the dog "I get punished for showing how I truly feel.” These techniques also teach the dog that they have no choice but to behave. Dogs are forced to behave a certain way, fearing the potential consequences or punishment they may receive for doing otherwise. My personal view on this can best be described as imagining yourself living your entire life in a boot camp, while factoring in being told and forced to feel a certain way. At least in an ordinary human boot camp we still have the freedom to feel how we want. I find it unfortunate that because dogs innocently and openly display their feelings, that freedom to express it is taken away without much, if any, remorse. In any regard, an important question to address is: Does this make for the happy human-dog relationship you desire?
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT (+R)
Positive Reinforcement (herein referred to as "+R") is a newer method of dog training that has only been around for the past 25 years or so. It was derived from countless studies of canine behavior and how they interact with each other and humans. This type of training is all about building the dog's confidence and making the dog feel good about the choices he/she has made. It has been scientifically proven that dogs will exhibit behaviors that make them feel good and that are rewarding to them. Studies have also shown dogs will continue to offer these behaviors so long as they in turn, give the dog a pleasant experience. +R teaches dogs to want to work for you. Additionally, this approach teaches that offering more desirable behaviors is rewarding, instead of teaching undesirable behaviors receive a harsh consequence. In contrast to what was discussed about compulsion training ("The dog has no choice but to behave and is forced to behave in a way it doesn't truly want to,”) +R gives dogs the choice to make the right decision. Having plenty of rewarding experiences from offering a certain type of behavior will eventually become a learned behavior, and ultimately, even when the reward is no longer present. Just as many of us learned when we were younger, we would receive an allowance for cleaning our room and doing our chores. Now as adults, we no longer receive an allowance, however, we still perform tasks that need to be done; the reason being, it was a behavior which was learned.
A vast majority of people against using +R training aren't educated on how to properly apply it. People against this training style believe this approach to be a form of "bribing.” Many are convinced it is simply "treat training" and teaches the dog to work for a treat, not for them. Sure it is possible for this to happen, but usually it's because proper use of the food treats are not being enforced. Many +R trainers use food treats as a motivator to gain the dog's attention, in addition to using it as a reward for good behavior.
+R incorporates motivators including food, a favorite toy, playtime, etc; to grab the dog's attention. Once you gain the dog's attention, you then teach it the desired behavior or action. The critical part in this type of training is that the treats must slowly be faded out before the dog becomes dependant. This method is referred to as "Intermittent rewarding.” For example, let’s say you are teaching the dog to sit; once
the dog learns the proper command and action, you give him a food reward. The next time you ask him to sit, you give him petting and praise. The third time, you once again give petting and praise. The forth time you give the food reward. This type of reward system begins teaching the dog to perform the behavior since he never knows when he will receive the reward. Then the behavior becomes learned. Throughout pleasant experiences the dog has had, the dog learns to listen to you. It learns that listening to you is rewarding; thus, enforcing the idea, "dogs will perform behaviors that make them feel good again and again.”
After reviewing this information, it may be easier to understand why your dog does "bad" things such as getting into the garbage; tasty things are in there and most likely, no one is around! However, there's another common misconception: Dogs don't get punished when you use +R training methods. This is false. +R trainers use what's called "Negative Punishment.” This type of punishment involves taking away something desirable when the dog shows an undesirable behavior. Let’s use going for a walk as an example. The dog is pulling you towards a bush to sniff or begins tugging you towards a jogger on the other side of the street. Being able to reach the goal of getting to that bush or to that person is ultimately the dog's reward. Using +R training, you would remove yourself and the dog from the “reward” it's trying to obtain; thus teaching the dog "you don't get what you want when you pull.” This idea is very similar to that of taking away a child's favorite toy when they misbehave. They (both dogs and children) will learn at some point "when I do this action, I don't necessarily get what I want.” On the other hand, if the dog performs a desired behavior, then it can still reap the reward of sniffing the bush or greeting the jogger across the street (that is, if your dog was friendly and you weren't working on aggression!) Another scenario could be greeting people at the door; a basic situation most dogs go CRAZY over. In the dog's mind, the reward is jumping, excitement, and being around new people who will provide attention; however, the dog needs to learn that in order for the people to come in and greet him, he needs to control his impulses and behave, otherwise the door closes and the opportunity diminishes.
To sum up this information, +R training uses you as a guide and a leader (not PACK leader) to guide the dog down the road of success and confidence. Your dog respects you because he LOVES you; not because it is forced to respect you out of fear. And once more, I will ask the question I asked before: Does this make for the happy human-dog relationship you desire?
Chivon Winter studied Dog Obedience Training through Animal Behavior College and graduated in 2010. Chivon specializes in working with German Shepherds and has been exposed to this breed and their behavior her whole life. Chivon is a Positive Reinforcement trainer and has had the opportunity to work with fellow dog trainers and has even educated students at her local 4H Club. Chivon divides her time between dog training and working as a dog groomer at a very reputable Salon in Anacortes, Washington.
The Word NO: Misused, Overused, and Abused!
ABC Certified Dog Trainer, CPDT-KA
My family and I always had dogs when growing up. Things seemed a lot different then. There was not as much for dogs to do. There were not any dog parks, no socialization, and little if any training was done with our dogs. They knew sit and the basics, but if they got out of that front door, it was at least an hour to get them back. We also used the term NO a lot. I mean for EVERYTHING! “No get out of my room, No get out of the dishwasher, No don’t bite my feet, No don’t go potty in the house….NO, NO, NO!” As I became older and began raising my own dogs I realized maybe this wasn’t the best way.
After graduating Animal Behavior College I began my own business. I knew I was a good trainer with the dogs, but what about the people, the one’s that would actually be training their dogs on an everyday basis. I would constantly hear clients yelling NO for every little thing. I would spend more time explaining why not to use the word no, than actually teaching them what TO DO. I came up with a simple phrase so that they would be able to remember it right before they were about to scream NO, “redirect instead of correct”.
As trainers, we all know and use this. If a dog is chewing on something he is not supposed to, redirect him to something he is supposed to. If a dog is going potty in the house, redirect him to where he should be going. But for my clients, I found that they were stuck in the correct, correct, correct frame of mind. I wanted to share with you some examples
I use with my clients that can hopefully help you the next time you hear your client abusing the word NO.
Initially, I try to explain to my clients that the word “no”, begins to have literally NO meaning to a dog after it is used so many times. I will ask “would you use the command SIT for every command?” “No”, they would answer “that is ridiculous”. So is the amount of over usage of the word no! The word does not teach the dog anything. No, what? No don’t jump, no don’t chase that squirrel, no stop pulling, it just doesn’t make sense.
How do we redirect? One of the things I love to use to redirect is the “go find” game. You simply toss a treat away from the dog for him to fetch. He concentrates on the treat, and now I redirect him with another command so that he forgets what it was he was doing to misbehave in the first place. Another command I like to teach clients to redirect their dog is “go to your place”. This is an easy command to teach and when I have had clients dogs out of control, we give them a time out and they “go to their place,” have them do a couple of commands and reward them with a treat or game of fetch. I try to get my clients to get in the mind frame of really teaching the dog the appropriate things to do instead of just yelling and correcting. How is your dog going to know what to do if you don’t teach him the correct thing?
Some client’s dogs barely know the command “sit”, when I get there. I start to enter their home and they have said “no” 10 times and I have not even gotten through the front door yet! We, as trainers, understand how frustrating it can be to have an unruly
dog, especially when the owner is unsure how to handle it. I give clients this example, “what if I dropped you off in China and you only spoke and understood English. Your tour guide for the whole trip only teaches you the word hello. He constantly yells at you when you do not understand. This is how it is for our dogs. When you “redirect instead of correct,” you are teaching your dog the appropriate way to behave. The more commands and language your dog understands, the more at ease and willing to listen and connect with you they will be.
It was really hard to break this habit, so I understand how frustrated clients can be when they have to try and refrain from using the word “NO”. Always be positive with your clients and their dogs. Just put yourself into a dog’s world and imagine your boss constantly telling you NO for everything! No vacation, no lunch break, no paycheck! Remember to reward your client’s dog by helping them do the right thing! In the end it makes for a happier, well balanced dog and owner!
Jamie Diaz is a professional certified dog trainer and graduate of Animal Behavior College. Jamie is the owner of Dynamite Dog Training in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Jamie is a licensed positive dog trainer with world renowned trainer Victoria Stilwell and her team. Diaz is a member of the IPDTA, (International Positive Dog Training Association) and the APDT, (Association of Pet Dog Trainers). She is a certified Canine Good Citizen Evaluator for the AKC. Jamie is also an evaluator and instructor for the great new program C.L.A.S.S. through the APDT. For more information visit dynamitedogtraining.com
Peace At The Fence
ABC Certified Mentor Trainer
Most of the time, dogs don't do well making decisions on their own, especially when there's something in the environment that causes arousal. It's like how I get when there is a big sale at a great department store! Many folks think that dogs will just make the right decisions no matter the situation. This is an unrealistic expectation for any dog.
First and foremost, we suggest that you don't leave dogs in the yard unattended. Many things could happen. Supervise when they're outside and check your fence regularly. Your fence can age and become less stable over time. Your fences are also a great place for things that cause a stir. For example, you're outside enjoying the day in the yard with your dog. Your neighbor's dog that was left in his yard is bored and causes some trouble by barking or snapping at the fence. Squirrels often use the fence as an apparatus to tease your dog. As the human in charge, it's best to not let your dog even get to that level of excitement. Don't let the aroused state start where your dog is charging the fence, barking etc. You need to get your dog under control BEFORE he gets aroused, regardless of what the other dog or animal is doing. You would not let your 2 year old child scream and yell at neighbors. The same goes for your dogs.
What works for many dogs is to practice good behavior outside when stimulating factors (other dogs, squirrels etc.) are not there. Practice calling your dog to you in the yard when it's easy. Use high value treats,
especially at first (for folks who don't like treat training, you can fade these out very quickly like I do!). Call him to you and surprise him with a treat. Don't call him if you don't think he will come to you. Wait until you know he will obey. Have the treat sitting on something or hide it. Do not hold it out and show it to him or else you might have to bribe him every time. Keep your body in a natural position so he gets used to being summoned when you're relaxed and comfortable. Call him from different areas in the yard as he improves. Teach him that coming to you is far more rewarding than going to the fence!
Practice with more and more distractions as time goes on. Using our neighbor dog example, the minute you hear the neighbor's dog running toward the fence (and preferably before your dog hears or sees him) call your dog to you and reward him. If you wait until he's too aroused, he'll go into the "Sorry, Fido's not in right now!" zone and he may not respond to you. This isn't because he's bad or trying to ruin your life. He is just being an excited dog with no guidance as to what to do in that setting.
Once he is about 80% reliable on the recall, start fading the treats down to where you only have to treat once in awhile. Always use praise and really tell your dog how good he is for coming to you! Build a working partnership with him. If you have more than one dog, practice with each dog separately until they're reliable individually. Then move to working with two dogs at the same time time, then all three dogs, etc.
If you do have the neighbor dog scenario, try talking to your neighbor to see if he is willing to train together. At the very least, he might be willing
to bring his dog inside more often to cut down on fence excitement. Also, hire a trainer to help you if you become unsure of what to do.
You really can control the fence happenings and have peace through positive management and being a good leader. You are in charge of your dog. As we always say in the Our Pack class, there's a reason that dogs don't drive cars or have jobs. They really do rely on us for guidance and, of course, we love them exactly as they are.
Marthina McClay first learned to ride horses when she was 11 years old. At 14 she trained her 2 horses for Pole Bending and Barrel Racing. In the early 1970s she learned dog training the traditional way when her family owned Dobermans. She went on to pursue other careers but always lived with dogs and continued to train on the side. She became interested specifically in the pit bull breed in 2003. She had already begun training, studying and working with dog to dog aggression issues. Later she began rescuing and fostering pit bulls on her own in her home along with her resident pit bulls. Our Pack, a rescue, training and education organization was born as a result of this. Her work has included large scale animal abuse cases that have occurred around the country, including the Michael Vick case. Many of these dogs are now certified therapy dogs. Her specialty is dogs that are reactive to other dogs or have leash reactivity. Marthina is the President & Founder of Our Pack Inc., a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT), an AKC Certified Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator, a Certified Tester / Observer for Therapy Dogs, Inc., and an Animal Behavior College Mentor Trainer
Communicating With Our Clients
ABC Certified Mentor Trainer
One of the challenges faced by dog trainers is learning to communicate effectively with humans who live with the dogs we have been hired to train. A most important time to make sure we’re communicating to the best of our ability is when we’re asking questions to obtain a truthful and accurate history about any dog with whom we are about to work.
People are very sensitive when being questioned as to what could be causing a particular behavior problem. Be ever mindful that your clients might be feeling a guilty; possibly believing they are the ones who caused the issue in the first place. It is always surprising to me when my clients admit they were very nervous before I came to their home, fearing I would be telling them their dogs were bad or they were not good owners. I have learned never to ask questions in such a way that might make my clients feel defensive for actions they may or may not have taken toward their dogs. If we speak accusingly, our clients will quickly back off and shut down where they will not want to answer our questions completely or truthfully. If we raise an eyebrow or frown at them, or we say something that comes off as insulting or judgmental, chances of our being asked to return to work with them and their dogs will become less likely. Always keep your emotions under good control to avoid criticizing or rebuking clients, regardless of what they admitted to doing with their dogs in the past. Remember,
they have contacted you because these methods have not been working out for them or their dogs.
When I’m helping clients with housetraining problems, I want to specifically find out whether they are rubbing their dog’s nose in its excrement, or if they are hollering and pointing their fingers, saying, “Bad Dog!” But, rather than asking them directly if they are resorting to punishment, I instead ask, “How do you respond to your dog when he’s had an accident?” When you ask open-ended questions like that, your clients will not feel like they have to hide any information from you because your question is completely neutral and non-judgmental. There will be times when your clients tell you they are using physical punishment on their dogs because they’ve been advised to do so by their breeder, or by well-meaning friends and neighbors, or… even by their own veterinarians! Take a nice deep breath, and then educate them in a kind manner as to why these aggressive methods are inappropriate and do not work to set the dog up for success.
When I am called to help train new puppies, I am quick to suggest puppy kindergarten classes and early socialization. Be ever mindful that you are going to speak to some potential puppy clients who will tell you their veterinarians advised them to keep their puppies away from the outside world until they have had their full set of shots. Avoid talking down about their vets for giving this mistaken information. Instead, send your clients a copy of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s Position Statement on Puppy Socialization. Urge them to read
and share this information with their Veterinarian: http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/puppy%20socialization.pdf.
Let them know whatever they decide; you will still be more than happy to work with their puppies.
Just recently, while conducting a group class, I watched as one of my clients actually slapped her dog on the face! I was so shocked that it took me several seconds to even speak to the woman. I wanted to scream at her, but what would that have accomplished? I would only be punishing her for punishing her dog. Instead, I calmly walked over to her and explained how her dog would only become very confused by her actions, and he would lose all trust in her. She looked up at me and smiled, and then said, “Oh, I didn’t realize that.”
So, no matter what our clients tell us and no matter what we might learn about their actions toward their dogs, they are looking to us as professionals to help them improve their situations. Learning to speak calmly and clearly, and obtaining a history without pre-judging anyone no matter what we are told, is critical in creating a trusting and cooperative relationship with the people who most need our help.
Renee Premaza is the owner of “The Jersey Dog Trainer.” She has been professionally training dogs since 2001. She offers private, in-home training as well as group puppy kindergarten classes, and classes for adolescents and adult dogs. Renee is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant as well as a CGC Evaluator. She became a Mentor Trainer for Animal Behavior College in 2004.
The Sport of Urban Ball Herding
ABC Certified Mentor Trainer
There’s a new cool dog sport of urban herding! Treibball (pronounced try-ball) is the
exhilarating canine sport of driving exercise balls into a goal with a
combination of herding, agility and soccer-like skills. Dogs who like to herd
and chase are natural candidates for Treibball. Dogs of all breeds, ages and
sizes can play the game. If you are looking for an off-leash exercise options
and quality time with your active dog, then you might want to consider this new
Treibball is a competitive timed sport, but you can play
just for fun at home or at your local park.
The sport encourages collaboration and teamwork between the handler and
the dog. It is a fun way to tire out your dog if he or she has endless energy
and needs an outlet.
Treibball was developed in Germany for herding dogs that
needed a job but did not have access to a flock of sheep. The sport is just now
coming to the US.
Treibball Rules Basics
• The handler stays in position within an arm’s
length of the goal.
The flat playing field is 100 to 164 feet long
by 50 to 82 feet wide.
balls must stay in the bounds of the playing
The goal is 24 feet wide by 8 feet deep.
Eight exercise balls arranged on a field in a
triangle, similar to racked billiards balls.
Four balls are in the first row (closest to the
goal), three balls in the second row and one ball in the third row.
The dog has 15 minutes to get 8 balls into the
The clock starts when the dog leaves the
handlers side. It stops when the balls
are in the goal and the dog is lying down by the handler.
The dog may not break or burst the ball.
The handler may not punish, intimidate, force or
yell at the dog.
The fastest team with the fewest penalty points
How to Train Treibball
Here are some skills for playing the game. Your ability to
communicate and direct your dog’s position, speed and progress on the field are
critical to your success.
Training your dog to go 100’ out into a field around a
“flock” of balls starts with sending your dog a single step to a target mat.
Train your dog to lie down on the mat facing you when you are one puppy step
away from the mat. Let your dog know that you reward all good choices to go to
the mat. Step away from the mat an inch or two at a time, until the dog chooses
to go to the mat to make rewards happen. Mark the moment he or she steps on the
mat with a click or a word like Yes then follow up with an immediate food or
toy reward. Eventually you will train your dog to go out greater and greater
distances to the target. The more you reward your dog for making good choices
on his or her own, the better independent performance you will have to go the
You can teach your dog to bring the balls to you by teaching
orientation to you. Start by asking your dog to sit straight in front of you.
Mark with a Yes and reward your dog and toss a cookie
behind your dog to reset
them. Turn 180 degrees and have your dog find the front position again. When
the dog is reliably zooming to be in front of you, add in a ball by holding it
between your legs. You can use a hard
ball at first if your dog gets too excited. Move around the ball and call your
dog to sit or stand in front of you. Mark and toss a cookie behind your dog to
You can ease into ball pushing behaviors by teaching the dog
to touch a target stick with a closed mouth. Train your dog to touch your hand
and many things with his nose. It is a fun trick and will transfer to pushing
the ball with a closed mouth. An easy training trick is to roll up a yoga mat
with a trail of treats every few inches inside the roll. Allow the dog to
unroll the mat with his nose to get the treats.
If your dog gets really excited by balls, work on getting
your dog to be calmer around the balls. Avoid letting them play with exercise
balls until you have good control. Balls can be expensive to replace and the
noise of a ball bursting might frighten your dog.
You may want to take a class from a local dog trainer or buy
a book to get started.
This is just the beginning!
Soon you will be playing the game with your dog driving the rolling
“sheep” (balls) into a goal near you!
Sandi Pensinger is well known for her Treibball Ball
Herding Handbook, Beginning and Intermediate Treibball DVDs and
engaging seminars. With the help of her Jack Russell Terriers, Sandi teaches a
variety of puppy, family dog, agility and treibball training classes, at her
Living with Dogs training facility in Aptos, CA.
The Treibball Ball Herding Handbook, workshops and classes
are available at www.livingwithdogs.us
Beginning Treibball DVD, www.tawzerdog.com
ABC Certified Dog Trainer
working with dogs for 15 years, I decided to open my own
dog-powered sports club called Power Paws Dog Club (PPDC) in May of 2010.
Our mission is simple: educate owners
and find fun ways of exercising our canine companions.
Living in a
city, many dog owners experience problematic behaviors due to lack of exercise
and many of our members get to see first hand the benefit of an active
lifestyle for their dogs. Most of our members have fallen in love with a
sport called Scooter Joring or Dryland Mushing. This is a
kick scooter in which the dog is attached by a towline to an x-back
harness about 5 feet ahead of the kick scooter. The dog pulls the
member's weight plus 50 pounds (weight of the scooter). This sport is
physically demanding for both the owner and the dog so when the dog gets home
after a run, the dog
sleeps contently for hours!
Many of the problematic behaviors PPDC has helped to reduce or even to correct
range from separation anxiety, excessive boredom barking, mild to moderate
aggression, among other common issues. In the case of mild to moderate
separation anxiety, many families take the dog out for a brief walk in the
morning before work or school and only really spend time exercising their dog
at the end of the day. By changing their routine to give the dog a 10-20
minute scooter joring run in the morning before everyone leaves for the day,
the dog is exhausted and will likely spend more time sleeping during the
owner's absence. Some adjustment in the home environment may be needed as
much of a dog's separation anxiety stems from the owner and the family's
routine. A 10-20 minute scooter run is equal to a 2-3 hour walk!
PPDC teaches the basic commands for any dog-powered sport which include
"left", "right", "easy" and the most popular,
"Whoa!" Positive reinforcement is our only method of training
but positive reinforcement using treats and/or clicker is dangerous as the
sports move quickly and throwing treats to the dog often causes the dog to turn
or stop too quickly for the owner to stop quickly enough. The dog's
reward is verbal praise as well as movement or advancement and the
dog's only punishment is to stop moving. Dogs catch on very quickly using
Keeping our members interested in exercising their dogs through dog-powered
sports can be challenging
as members are always looking for new and fun
activities to do in groups with others who enjoy the same sports with their
dogs. I have found it to be a fact that most dog owners believe that
training ends when the class is over. Maintaining the lessons learned in
class should continue long after class has ended, which is why PPDC has taken
on the task of organizing events such as weekend camping trips with dogs,
scooter joring races, BBQs with relay races, and much more. The goal is
to get as many people involved in the events and training their dogs for the
events as possible so their class training is not slowly forgotten.
For more information on dog-powered sports or PPDC please see our website at www.powerpawsdogclub.com.
Sherry Bedard has been a dog trainer
for the past 15 years with additional experience as a veterinarian assistant
and groomer. For the past 6 years Sherry has been working with animal
shelters offering seminars to educate the public about the importance of
physical activity for most dogs. During her time working with shelters, Sherry
wrote the book "Sherry's Secret Dictionary, A Guide to Your
Dog". Realizing that it would further help pet enthusiasts, Sherry
created a free dog club designed to educate dog owners by showing them the benefits
of participating in exciting new sports with their dogs. Sherry now
educates dog owners through Power Paws Dog Club and through her animal shelters
An Introduction To Dean Vickers
Radio Systems Corporation, Director of Animal Welfare Studies and Education
long been considered "man's best friend," and it is our belief that
they have earned that title. The bond between humans and canines is
unmistakable. Since the domestication of the dog, people have been drawn to
them (and they to us). Dogs have helped us in so many ways and expect little in
return. They hunt with us, they protect us and our families from danger, they
serve alongside our men and women in uniform - both military and police, they
assist the disabled, and throughout the years, they faithfully remain our loyal
companions. In turn, it is our responsibility to provide all their basic
needs: food, water, shelter, veterinary
care and, most importantly, love. We owe
it to dogs to protect them from cruelty, neglect and
we respect this and are committed to preserving and strengthening the bonds
between pets and their owners. We strongly believe that good training is
essential to those bonds. We also recognize that there is no singular training
method that will work effectively for every pet and we encourage the use of a
variety of humane training methodologies. This is why we embrace the “many
tools in the toolbox” concept not just in words but in actions.
provides products that enhance relationships between pets and the people who
love them. Products range from a
complete line of interactive toys (such as Busy Buddy and Squirrel Dude)
designed to engage pets and encourage positive behavior to lifestyles products
such as therapeutic beds and treats.
We offer a wide range of training tools and we
do not promote one training method over another. Rather we strive to provide the best training
product for whichever training method is most appropriate for the individual
pet and his owner. We do that through
thorough product testing and the development of instructions designed to ensure
products are used in the safest and most effective manner possible.
In our effort to be as knowledgeable as
possible, PetSafe relies heavily on internal and external resources for new
product development and the enhancement of existing products. Our associates and consultants are dedicated
to understanding a variety of training theories and educating the company on
their applications. We partner with
leading veterinarians, behaviorists and trainers whose knowledge and expertise
span this diverse range of methodologies.
The more we understand, the better equipped we are to educate our
consumers. We know that education on
various training methods – including the use of our products -- is a critical
component for strengthening the human -animal bond. We do not advocate one approach over another,
but strive to understand each and see how we can develop products to fit them.
pleased to announce that PetSafe is in the process of developing a ProStaff
Team. This team will be comprised of
experts with a thorough understanding of the science and use of the modern
electronic training collars, as well as other training methods. We will rely upon the collective wisdom and
expertise of this team to assist us in our mission of being the most trusted
brands in the pet ownership experience.
Not only will the team be out in the field working with pets and their
owners, they will also document their progress. Over the next several months,
we will discuss case studies utilizing the different training methodologies and
the results achieved. Our ProStaff Team
will work alongside our associates to continue improving existing products and
develop new products.
trainers are unaware of the advancements in today’s electronic training
technology. In fact many are unfamiliar
with the proper use of electronic
collars in general. Advanced electronic
training devices offer versatility, reliability and safety features that are
state-of-the-art, and result in technology that is responsive to behavioral
issues. Currently available remote
training collars have variable intensities and have quite literally saved pets
lives and salvaged relationships between pets and their owners.
we believe that the best years in your life are measured in dog years and we look forward to working with Animal Behavior College
alumni, mentors, and students in 2012 and years to come.
Vickers has spent a majority of his career in advocacy, beginning with
facilitating citizen involvement in government decision-making and continuing
with his commitment to animal welfare.
In 2005, Dean volunteered for two weeks with The Humane Society of The
United States (HSUS) and worked on the rescue efforts in the aftermath of
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. With military training as a survival and
decontamination instructor, animal shelter background, and large animal handling
experience, his skills were utilized in the disaster region. After Katrina, he
was hired as the Ohio State Director for The HSUS. In that role, he continued
his hands on approach to assist with animal abuse/ neglect cases, and rescue
during natural and man- made disasters. He has also worked with law
enforcement on several animal fighting raids and advocated for animal welfare
reform. Dean has conducted trainings,
written articles and given speeches on animal welfare, rescue and advocacy
issues throughout the United States for diverse audiences and media
outlets. His position with Radio Systems
Corporation has allowed him to remain involved in national and international
animal welfare issues. Dean is a
graduate from The Ohio State University with a degree in History and Political
Science. He lives in Knoxville with his 3 rescue dogs, Annikka, J’Maul and
Isabella. Affiliations: HABRI-Steering
Committee, AHDT – Board Member, University of Missouri – LETI certified humane
investigator, Sumter – Disaster, Animal Response Team – Emergency Responder,
ISDA – CDTT.
Puppy Yuletide: Make Sure the Gift is the Right One
ABC Certified Mentor Trainer
can I get sis for Christmas? She has just about everything she needs. Wait, I
know; I’ll surprise her with a cute little puppy! She’ll just LOVE that!!”
Or will she? There is
nothing quite as cute as a young puppy, and many people with good hearts, good
intentions, but not-so-good forethought, will surprise someone on Christmas
morning with a little bundle of furry joy. But that joy can turn quickly if the
person getting the puppy didn’t really want one or was not ready. Now sis has
to make a major decision. If sis decides
to keep the pup she also has to make a major commitment of around 10-15 years.
For the bearer of the gift,
there are some important things to remember. First and foremost, steer clear of
getting a puppy from a pet store, for more reasons than I can go into here. But
if you look up mill breeders online, you’ll learn the horrors of where these
pups come from and the associated health and behavioral problems. Also, do not
get a puppy before it is 7 weeks old. No reputable breeder will let a puppy go
before that, anyway. Crucial socialization and skills
are taught to these young
pups by their mom and siblings during that time.
Is all that taken care of?
Well then Merry Christmas, sis! You now have a new member of the family. So,
what should you do now? First, if you have not researched the particular breed,
start doing so at the library or online. If you got a mixed breed and can be
fairly certain what it’s mixed with, read a little on each type. Crate-training
or kenneling the pup is all-important. This promotes bladder control and gives
the puppy a warm, safe place to be when you are not teaching him or her rules
of the house. If you cannot eagle-eye your new pup (meaning watching it like a
hawk) put it in its crate. This will make for less accidents or mishaps.
Next, you will want to puppy-proof your house. That means removing anything
that’s within reach of your puppy’s mouth. In each room, make sure you show it
what it can and cannot touch. Electrical cords are one of a puppy’s favorite
playthings but of course they also can be very dangerous. The puppy must be
shown what is right and wrong behavior inside the house. Be sure to give it the
right things to chew on. Believe me,
if given the wrong toys to chew, such as an old shoe, you are setting up that
dog to chew ALL shoes they can get their mouth on, including that new pair of Italian
leathers you just slipped off in the living room.
Talk with a trainer and sign
them up for a puppy kindergarten class. A consultation with a professional
trainer can also help get the puppy oriented to your home with fewer headaches
for you and fewer scolding for the puppy. Once it has its rounds of shots, take
your puppy everywhere you go. If you do have the pup at 7 weeks and they only
have one round of shots, carry the pup around as you go to the store, friend’s
houses, etc. The positive experience gained and the exposure will make a
well-balanced, confident dog. Be very careful of the fear-imprinting period.
This is between
8-12 weeks old. Any trauma, real or perceived, by this young
pup will stay with it for life. Trying to convince a dog that its puppy-hood
fear is not realistic is almost impossible, so be careful.
Remember, a puppy is like a
human infant in a lot of ways. It tires easily, needs food two to three times a
day, and it must be taken out to go potty every hour to ensure quick learning.
When crated, a puppy should not be asked to hold it for more that 6-8 hours. That
means if you are gone from the house more than that, you should get a friend,
family member or neighbor to let the pup out in the middle of the day before
you get home. If that can’t happen, you don’t need to have a dog right now. It
is a commitment!
Life for dogs nowadays is
much different than it was years ago. We have learned that dogs should be
integrated into the house more than being left outside. It does not mean that
they never go out; but when you’re inside, that’s where they’d prefer to be. This
helps stem the boredom problems that can exist outside as well, such as
excessive barking, hole digging, chewing parts of the house or their dog house,
running the fence and fence-raging, and dangers from passers-by who might think
it fun to tease or bait dogs on the other side of the fence.
If you are lucky enough to
get a puppy for Christmas and WANT a puppy for Christmas, I hope you will enjoy
your new friend for a long, long time. The last thing we need is more dogs in
our shelters and pounds. Be a responsible dog owner. Know the joy of owning a good
dog, and you will have a happy, healthy relationship for years to come. Happy
Diane Sullivan is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and owner of Good Dog Training Center & Doggie Resort
in Rio Rancho. If you have an unruly pooch, or just a few training questions,
she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Group Vs Individualized Training:
Which is the Best Choice?
ABC Certified Dog Trainer
When the decision is made that training is the best option for a
client’s dog, many of these clients consider the choice between a group or an
individual training course for their dog as a “one or the other” decision.
Group sessions generally begin by leaning more towards basic obedience and
socialization. Individual training is often for the “too busy” client and
utilized for more in depth training concerns. When it comes to choosing a
training option, one of the most asked questions among clients is “Which of
these two options do I choose?” Among all the other questions that might be
swirling in a clients mind, the one true point at hand is that a dog needs
Group training offers an added social aspect. Multiple clients meet in a
suitable training environment and the trainer works with the group as a whole.
Group classes are typically held weekly, and if a client misses a session they
may not have an option to make up that class. Group classes are a fun learning
experience for all. Many
friends and continue their new found dog companionship with each other. Group
training sessions offer a social environment that is helpful in adding
different distractions during training. Although group sessions offer many
positive aspects, it can bring forth some deterring factors as well. Group
environments can be viewed as overwhelming for families who own a dog with no
manners. The client may become irritated
with a dog that is not progressing as fast as others in group, which can lead
to failure. The ability for clients to interact verbally with each other may
add interruption during training. It can be hard for the trainer to observe all
the clients at all times and a client that is new to training can feel a lack
of direction and may interpret directions incorrectly. If a client is not
following the trainers’ directions it can lead to issues in the training
process and possible setbacks.
Individualized training offers a unique learning experience with a
trainer and the client. Allowing the trainer to view the client and the
technique involved will provide quick progress and true understanding of what
is needed to accomplish the training. Individual training classes can be held
at a training facility, however many trainers are willing to make “house calls”
and do sessions at the convenience of the client. Individual training can ensure
proper skills are being used. However, there are a few dissuading aspects. The
individualized training session is one that is safest for certain behavioral
issues, but for basic obedience this choice can limit the productivity after
the initial introduction and understanding of obedience cues. There are
multiple stages in training and one of the most important is the implementation
of distractions. In an individualized training session, distractions are
possible but not as available as in a group setting. Many clients see
training as a pocketbook drainer due to the price difference.
When weighing the difference between a group training session and an
individualized training session it is important to note that both sessions overlap
at a certain point. The individual sessions will at some point require
socialization which is found easily in a group session, whereas the group
training may benefit from individualized training in the beginning. The best
way to have a truly balanced training session is to offer the opportunity for
clients to begin in an individualized environment and continue their learning
in a group. Clients highly appreciate
individualized attention when learning how to begin luring a dog into the
position. This allows the trainer the ability to educate the client on all that
goes along with training. After the client has been taught the basics and is
able to perform the task accurately, it is in the best interest of all to enroll
into a group training session. Ultimately the mixture of both group and
individualized training will be the most well rounded training experience. Keep
in mind that training is a lifelong adventure and it is a great bonding
experience so make it one that is fun for all involved!
While enrolled in
ABC’s Dog Obedience Program Amy Ray became employed at a Doggy Daycare where she
began teaching group classes two days a week. The classes cover basic obedience
in three different levels; beginner, intermediate and advanced. Amy was
promoted to assistant manager and continues to help with training through a day
and train program. The program consists
of daycare days mixed with training in Joppa, Maryland at Best Friends Fur Ever. Amy’s military family is in
the process of their next move in life to Washington State where she plans to begin her first family run training
Trainers, Treats and Doggie Obesity
Brand Manager, Charlee Bear Dog Treats
Today there are
over 70 million dogs in the US and it is estimated that over 44% or 33 million
dogs are overweight or obese and that number is growing. It is a rapidly growing problem that can lead
to other serious health problems including heart disease, cancer, diabetes,
back problems, knee problems, to name a few.
Even without the more serious problems, being overweight or obese can
just take the fun out of a dog’s life.
Trainers play a
very important role in the lives of people and dogs. A dog who is well socialized and trained
becomes part of a happy family. Untrained dogs run a much greater risk of
winding up without a home and ultimately facing euthanasia. Trainers help dogs and people with their
relationships. Now trainers can be an
important piece in the fight to keep our dogs lean and healthy.
When people bring
their dogs in for training it is an opportunity for trainers to teach them
about using treats in
training and also how to use treats in general in their
everyday interactions with their dogs.
People love to treat their dogs and knowing how to use treats and what
type of treats to use can often make the difference in keeping a dog at a
healthy weight. People sometimes confuse
treats with love and think the more and the bigger the better. I have watched friends continually give
treats to a begging overweight dog because they feel it is a sign of their
love. As the dog gains weight he limits his own exercise to getting up only to
eat or get a treat. Going for a walk
becomes more and more difficult as the dog starts to become breathless with a
small amount of exercise. Ironically
these caring people are contributing to the poor health and decreased quality
of life of the dog that they love so much.
Treats are a great
tool for positive reinforcement training and every trainer probably has a
selection of favorite treats to use for different types of canine personalities
and situations. This is the trainer’s
opportunity to teach people that their dogs can love treats that are low in calories
and made with simple, healthy ingredients.
It is an opportunity to teach people that large, or calorie filled
treats do not make their dogs happier and will definitely not make them
healthier. The treats can be simple low
calorie products they can buy at the store or they can experiment with pieces
of fruit or vegetables.
Trainers are on the
forefront of professionals who can help improve the lives of the dogs we
profess to love so much. Trainers can
help make people aware of a weight problem.
can help people to look at their dogs and see if they can feel the
dog’s ribs and observe if the dog has a waist. They can help them to see if
there is a problem. Trainers work with
lots of young puppies and they can bring awareness to people to help keep
puppies from growing into dogs with weight problems.
recommend and encourage the use of simple low calorie treats like our Charlee
Bear Dog Treats, for training and for rewards anytime. They can teach fun games that people can
combine with simple treats. These games
can help training, and add a little calorie burning exercise and fun for people
and dogs. Lean, active dogs are happier
and healthier. Trainers can be an
important part of the effort help our dogs lose weight and stay lean.
Visit Charlee Bear at www.charleebear.com
For more information about Pet
Obesity Prevention petobesityprevention.com
has been with Charlee Bear Dog Treats since it began over 17 years ago and is
the Brand Manager. Charlee Bear has been all about working with dogs,
people who love dogs and creating healthy products that are fun. She has
a background in Education and Art. Dogs have been an important part of
her life since 1992 when her daughter won her campaign to get a family puppy
whom was named Billy. Billy became one of the most important members of
the family. Ava now has a little dog from Costa Rica that she
adopted. He spends his days in her office waiting for his walks and his
Working Dogs And Techniques Used
ABC Certified Dog Trainer
a graduate of Animal Behavior College’s Dog Obedience Instructor Training
Program and having trained under a variety of experts in the field, Jay Adams
has developed his own theories for training, which have helped him achieve his
current success. There are a few core
concepts that apply to training dogs. These primary fundamentals can help guide
a dog to be everything from a leisurely happy family pet to a disciplined
working military dog. Here are some theories
and tips directly from Jay Adams himself on some specific training cues.
my work, the dog has to be perfect for the most part. I don’t believe in the use of shock collars
when training dogs, even working K9s. I
also don’t believe in using any type of physical correction that is aggressive
in nature or designed to aggressively force a dog into submission. I have never had to lay my hands on any dog,
no matter how stubborn they may be, in an aggressive manner in order to properly
train them! In fact, when training “bite
dogs,” you can never touch them in this way, or they will come back at you with
aggression. Dogs used for bite work with the police and military are “hard”
dogs. Hard dogs have strong nerves, high drive, are resilient
and will continue to work even if in pain. They will not put up with being corrected in an aggressive
believe the most effective tool used for training both working dogs and most
companion dogs, is the prong collar. I swear by it but it’s very important to know
how to use it properly. As long as the collar is properly sized and fitted, it
can be successfully and appropriately used with most dogs. Certainly there are some dogs for which a
prong collar may not be ideal and as the trainer, you are
the professional who
must be able to identify these dogs. If
you have a fearful, touch-sensitive, very young puppy or senior dog (to name a
few), you may want to use other techniques and tools you have learned in your
training. Other options like the Halti
or food, toy, or other reward based training may be more appropriate with these
types of dogs. That being said, using
reward based training is a great technique to use, regardless of collar choice.
using a prong collar, proper fit is essential.
First, make sure the prongs are sized and positioned appropriately. Place it on the upper neck area from the jaw
to the skull on the pressure points so you barely have to correct at all. There
are two loops; a flat one and a round one. You should know that pulling from the flat loop
makes corrections and pulling the round loop just pulls. The round loop is used more for control
rather than correction. Both should be used and you, as the trainer, need to
determine when to correct versus when to control. This prevents an unwarranted
or unnecessary correction, which could confuse the dog and negatively impact
their training and performance. You must
also remember though that the prong collar is a training collar and should not
be worn by a dog when they are not supervised or actively training. Most of
all, no matter what, be patient with the dog!
and Elements of Nature
think one of the most important activities in developing a well-behaved and
obedient dog is to expose the dog to different surroundings and as many diverse
distractions as possible. All the training in the world will not save the dog
if he runs into the street while chasing a squirrel and gets hit by a car
because the “come” cue was only practiced in the dog’s backyard. This is why
training with distractions and with the elements of nature can help prevent
problems like this in the dog’s daily life.
Your training should take place in abstract areas (parks, city streets,
schools, dog parks, etc.) so you know your dog is accustomed to a variety of
distractions including: different people, smells, sights, and sounds. With proper training and exposure, the dog
should come when called at any time because they know that responding to your
cue offers the best reward.
should also work with your dog on remaining calm during storms or when there
are other loud noises present. This will
prepare them for a variety of worst case scenarios and reduce
the stress that
can occur during these situations. The
more you work with your dog and structure their reaction to these kinds of
exposures, the more you will help them feel safe. This will build trust in your
relationship with your dog, which is the most important bond to have. If you don’t build trust between you and your
dog, you could end up with a dog that becomes aggressive if they are
fearful. Also, if you simply reprimand
the dog instead of training and developing the desired behavior, the dog may be
confused as to why he’s being scolded for following his natural instincts to
hunt, chase, etc.
dogs can be tricky and every one of them is different! So it is very important as a trainer to have ‘HANDS
ON DOGS’. This term means that the more
dogs you are around, train, and handle, regardless of breed, the better
prepared you will be to work with and relate to any dog. It will help you troubleshoot behaviors more
effectively and train desired behaviors for use in everything from police work
to competitive agility and tracking.
it is your responsibility as a dog trainer to have the knowledge, skills, and
confidence to help dog owners achieve their training goals. Please seek out mentors in whatever area you
choose to work and make improving your own skills a lifelong goal.
Jay Adams is a certified ABCDT and has been
doing K9 Training and Private K9 Contracting Police Work since 2004. He has worked with three of his own dogs, K9
Koda, a German Shepard/Rottweiler mix, K9 Axl, a 22-month old Belgian Malinois,
and Siberian Husky K9 Sonya. Jay works
with police departments and the military. He is currently employed by Special
Operations Consulting, Inc. under their K9 unit for bomb detection. He also
owns his own training company called Adams K9. Jay is certified as both a trainer and handler
in Tracking and Trailing (man-hunting criminals and missing persons),
Narcotics, Explosives, and Protection and Bite Work (patrol, perimeter,
property, and personal protection). He
also trains and certifies service dogs.
Outside of training his and other dogs, working with other dog owners,
and mentoring training students, Jay enjoys doing demos with his dogs at
fundraisers, special events, and at schools.
While training and play are not mutually exclusive, in their down time
he also enjoys spending time with his dogs at the beach while they swim and
So…You’re Having a Baby!
Does the Dog Know?
ABC Certified Dog Trainer
Long before I enrolled in
ABC’s Dog Training program and became aware of the national numbers of
surrendered dogs, I was fighting that battle in my own rescue group. One of my responsibilities with Greyhounds
Only Rescue and Adoption, Inc. (“GO”) is to speak with folks wanting to
relinquish their hound. I saw a trend
developing. Over the past three years,
seven out of ten dogs returned to us were from families that adopted prior to
having a human baby. While speaking with
other breed specific rescues, I realized this was not unique to Greyhounds, but
it boiled down to families having unrealistic expectations of how their dog
would respond to their new arrival. It
was a human problem.
Greyhounds Only, Inc. in the
suburbs of Chicago has provided a mandatory child and family seminar
for potential adopters prior to adoption for many years, but we had nothing for
expecting and new parents. We were
failing our families and our dogs, many who were being returned as seniors. It is
heart breaking for the families, and even more devastating for the dogs.
With the foundation from my
ABC education, the resources of many books, and the feedback from many
successful families with babies, this curriculum has been added to GO’s family
education program. It is my hope that
preparing the parents and the dog BEFORE the baby comes will lower the return
numbers and keep the family intact and happy, as it should be!
So…you’re having a baby! Does the dog know?
Let’s start at the very
beginning! Your dog knew something was
different before you even received the positive results. They are keen to hormonal changes. Families that are adopting children aren’t
left out here. Adoption can often be more
stressful than a pregnancy. The basics
for preparing your dog for the blessed event are still the same.
The exercises are set up in
Trimesters. If your due date is closer,
you may have to accelerate the process.
- Make a Veterinary appointment. It’s important to make sure your dog is
up to date on vaccinations and is free of any diseases that could be
passed to your baby. Address any
“pain” issues that could cause your dog to react negatively.
- Have reasonable expectations of your dog’s
relationship with your baby. Many
envision a “perfect” little family, with no disruptions. Movies and television have given many an
unrealistic view of life with dogs, in general.
- Take inventory of your dog’s freedoms and how
they may affect your baby’s needs.
- Who’s the leader in your home?
- Is your bed shared with your dog?
- Does your dog get fed before the other family
- How is your dog’s leash walking skills? Is there pulling and distractions?
- Does your dog respond to commands only when he
- Is your dog possessive of toys, food, or trash?
- Are there any signs of aggression?
- Does your dog win games?
If you answered “Yes” to any
of these questions, you have some work to do.
Since your dog has been your “baby” for some period of time, reducing
his status over time will help prevent him from feeling replaced by your
- Keeping your dog off beds and furniture will not
only solidify your role as the leader, but will also prevent unexpected
jumping on the baby.
Make sure that your dog receives no food from
the table. It is preferred that the
dog stay away while humans are eating.
This will help when your baby is in the high chair, dropping stuff
Plan on taking a basic obedience course during
your second trimester. Your dog
should sit, down, stay, and loose leash well before the baby arrives.
Start ignoring your dog when demands are
made. You won’t always be able to
Remove all toys from the dog’s reach. Take charge of play times. Remove ANY tug of war games from your
routine. Fetch is always good.
Institute the “NO FREE LUNCH” policy.
Simply stated your dog gets no food, treats or play without
performing a task.
Barring any physical
limitations in your pregnancy, this is the time where a lot of progress can be
made. You probably feel better and have
energy to expel.
- Sign up for a basic obedience class or a
refresher with a trainer that uses positive reinforcement techniques.
- Start introducing and differentiating human baby
toys. This may be trial and error
depending on what kind of toys your dog prefers. There are safe solutions to deter dogs
from picking up baby toys. Picking
toys for your dog that are similar to baby toys will make this more
difficult. So, choose wisely. Always have a replacement “dog toy” to
help him make the right choice.
- Start desensitizing your dog to baby
noises. There is a CD available
that has coos, giggles, laughing, crying and screaming: Baby Sounds for Pets, available through
Amazon.com. Many baby noises can cause
- Watch for any aggression during the
processes. A behavioral specialist
may be needed, along with patience and time.
- Does your dog jump up on you or guests? This behavior has to stop! Picture
yourself coming home with a baby, diaper bag, and keys. You walk in and “happy” dog is all over
you! Most dogs will respond well to
turning your back on them and ignoring the behavior. More difficult cases may result in
leashing and only rewarding when the dog doesn’t jump up.
- Think about how your dog responds to strangers
or other family members that might be caring for your dog while you’re in
the hospital and recovering. Some
trial visits before the due date will help during your absence, making
sure that the care giver stays consistent with your training.
As the time gets closer,
it’s important that all the previously mentioned processes are in motion. Be consistent and patient. We have a few more things to add before the
big day comes!
- Think about buying or borrowing a life size
“baby doll.” You can “practice”
holding, feeding, changing, sleeping, and walking with a stroller. Role play with your baby doll, dog, and
the CD. Always reward your dog when
the behavior is appropriate.
- Go shopping for baby stuff! Your dog has a tremendous sense of
smell. All those new smells will be
more than he can handle if you wait until you bring the baby home. Put lotions, powders, soaps, etc. on
cloths. When polite smelling is
achieved, make sure to reward with a few pieces of kibble. Remove the cloth if there is any
chewing, play or anxiety. Try again
later until proper behavior is achieved.
- Prepare the baby’s room and set guidelines for
your dog. It’s only fair to let him
explore, but you want a calm, quiet dog while your baby is being changed
or is sleeping. The goal would be
to have your dog laying down, watching while you take care of the baby’s
needs. A baby gate can be used, but
the curiosity and separation may not create the “family” environment
you’re trying to achieve.
you have not achieved a solid “loose leash”
walk, get on it NOW! Once
that has been achieved, add the stroller and a helper to handle the dog. You can put your baby doll in the
stroller. If there is work that
needs to done, it is better to practice with a plastic baby. When all goes well, try it alone.
Start changing your dog’s routine. This will include feeding times, walk
times, and play times. There’s one
thing for sure, babies change everything.
It would be wonderful if they only cried and eliminated on schedule
so that your dog could maintain his schedule. Not “gonna” happen.
Some babies have a scheduled
time to come into this world, but most do not! In any case, you should have a
plan for your dog. Since labor can take
many hours, an alternate care giver is necessary. The last thing you want to worry about during
this process is your dog and his care!
Making this time away from you as stress free as possible is imperative!
Going home is an exciting
time for everyone. Make sure your
expectations are reasonable. Your
excitement will translate immediately to your dog, if you’re not prepared.
- Have your spouse/partner enter first and try to
establish a calm demeanor. You
then need to “make” yourself calm and matter of fact. You may want to enter backwards to
avoid an unwanted jump up.
- Give the baby to your spouse so you can greet
your “four legged” child with appropriate petting and loving.
- As things settle down, calmly let your dog
sniff and lick. If you would feel
better about that first introduction, you can always leash your dog. It’s a great safety tool and removes
any fear factor you might have and want to avoid.
- Make sure you remember all the techniques
you’ve learned along the way. Be
consistent and patient. Punishing
your dog when he makes a mistake will not help. Be positive and always reward good
- Take time for your hound while the baby is
sleeping or when another family member can take care of the baby’s
needs. Keep in mind what your life
was like before the baby. What did
you use to do with your dog? How
can you incorporate some of those special times in to your new life? Take every opportunity to reward,
praise and love your dog!
Certainly, this is just the
tip of the ice berg! I am in hopes that
providing this outline to prepare you and your canine companion for the new
addition will be beneficial to your entire family and reduce the number of dogs
that are displaced. He’s family too and
And Baby Makes Four, Penny
Child-proofing Your Dog,
Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson
Your Baby and Bowser,
Stephen C. Rafe
There’s Baby In The House,
Your Dog and Your Baby,
While Suzan Mosley grew up with a fond love for dogs,
it was merely ten years ago when she found retired racing Greyhounds and threw
herself into the mission of rescuing and adopting these graceful athletes. As time went on, adopters would ask for Suzan’s
assistance with behavioral situations.
She became the “go to” person. Three years ago Suzan found herself a
victim of the current economy. Her
corporate recruiting career was over.
What was she to do? She found ABC
and with ABC’s help she was able to get the proper education needed to move
forward and do what she loved; help families and their canine companions live
happily together. Suzan’s business,
Valley Canine Instruction is primarily private in home classes, addressing
problems where they occur. She also provides classes for families with
children, breed consultations and of course, “So…you’re having a baby. Does the dog know?” courses. Her next step is to become a certified animal
grief counselor. Suzan is a proud alumni of ABC’s Dog Obedience Program, “Thank
you, ABC for allowing me this opportunity to fulfill my dream and share my
When You “Go Right”, You Are Not Wrong... and When You “Go Left”, You Are Right!
ABC Certified Mentor Trainer
In Sled Dog Training, the
dogs are taught to make a right turn to the vocal command “Gee,” and to make a
left turn to the vocal command “Haw.” In
Working Sheepdog Training, the dogs are taught to respond to the vocal commands,
“Come-Bye,” indicating to move around (circle) the sheep in a clockwise
direction, and “Away to Me,” to move around (circle) the sheep in a counter-clockwise
direction. I once had the opportunity to be “the Sheepdog” in a class situation
with my fellow human students being the “Sheep.” The “Shepherd/handler” explained the many
vocal commands that are commonly used, including those I have mentioned then
sent me out to gather this “unruly” flock and bring them to her. I gained
tremendous respect that day for the concentration and skill Sheepdogs must have
in order to do their job well while remaining calm with the sheep and attentive
to the Shepherd.
In life we receive
“training” to give us the skills needed to perform certain tasks reliably, and
we receive our “rewards” in the forms of paychecks and promotions for a job
well done. We also gain knowledge
through education in languages, sciences and mathematics; the more we are
taught the more we are able to learn.
Not having a flock of sheep,
or a sled (though I do currently live with two Huskies and a Newf/Shepherd/Lab
who behaves like a Border Collie) and with respect to those who make up my
circle of family and friends who would not naturally think to say “Gee” or
“Come-Bye,” to direct our dogs, I have opted to teach them the concept of
“Left” and “Right.”
No matter what the age of
the dog I am working with, I begin by teaching them to understand the word “paw.” I may say it when I touch their paw or when
they touch their paw to me. I then put
my hand out and ask for a “paw,” when I receive it, I name it: “Good
that’s your right paw,” or “that’s your left paw.” I then proceed with treats and ask, “Can I
have your right paw?” If the dog is correct, my response is “Yes!
That’s your right paw.” If the dog is
incorrect in the paw he has offered, I say, “No that is your left paw. Can I
have your right paw?” It is always
amazing to me how many dogs do well very quickly.
Wanting to keep things fun
and interesting if a dog is not quite sure how to respond, I may gently touch
behind the dogs foreleg where it naturally bends when lifted, or I might touch
a little higher up near the shoulder on the side of the dog relative to the
“paw” I am requesting. I also will
reinforce “right” and “left” when a dog simply offers a paw of their own choice
if I haven’t asked for one.
When a dog becomes somewhat
confident and consistent in responding with a correct paw, start to request in
series, mixing up the order and number of requests before the treat is
given. For example, “Can I have your
right paw? Good! Left paw? Good! Right paw? Verrry gooood!” (Treat.) “Can I
have your left paw? Good! Left paw? Good! Right paw? Verrry good!” (Treat.) I then move to standing along side the dog so
we are both facing in the same direction.
With one or two second massaging motions on his shoulder area, I then
name, “this is your right / left shoulder” as is appropriate. The next step is best taught on leash to
begin with; indoors or out depending on the attentiveness and size of the
Try to find a place with
well defined, unimpeded areas where you can walk the dog on a fairly short but
loose leash with many opportunities to make right and left turns. I find going around buildings, rock walls,
around aisles in pet stores, all help to define the turning space. Walk at a good pace. As you approach the
corner say, “Go right,” or “Go left” without slowing or stopping; proceed
around the corner making a good right angle as you approach. Treats need not be given if the dog is doing
well, verbal praise however is very important.
“Go right…good right!”
The next step is to walk the
dog, short but loose leash, in a straight line with a good pace. Every now and then you will say, “Rover, go
right, all the way, all the way. Good!”
What you are now doing is going right but in a full, tight, complete
circle and then carrying on in your original direction. Same process going left.
At this point I begin to
work off leash in a safe area; the dog is in a “casual” heel beside me. We walk
at a quick pace, open area, no obstacles, as I say “go right” or “go left,”
move in unison, no one stepping on toes or bumping into each other. From here we progress to just walking
together, the dog can be just ahead, just behind, or beside me. Again I say, “go right” or “go left,” as the
dog responds to my request prior to my changing physical direction, I give the “treat.”
Now we see the payoff and
the practical applications. You are out jogging
with Fido in the woods and the trail ahead splits, “Fido, go right,” and he
does without hesitation. You are at the
lake, you throw a stick out, Fido swims out but has lost site of the stick
because of the ripples on the water, “Fido, go left,” as he does he sees the
stick. You are walking into a park with
vertical pole limiters to the path, “Fido, go right.”
A Few Hints:
This process is taught over
time, progress forward with the ability of your dog. Some steps may take longer
than others, practice whenever you can for five to ten minute sessions. There are no “corrections” (punishment) in
this type of work. As with a child in
the first grade who spells “cat,” kat,
the child is not “wrong,” he needs to be encouraged to remember the two letters
that are correct, and redirected to think about the “c,” and if you were to
replace the “k” with the “c,” all three letters will be correct.
Be mindful when facing your
dog and requesting a specific paw, say right, it will not be directly before
you if you extend your right hand, but rather across your body near to your own
left hand. I am dyslexic and once had a
moment where the dog I was working with was responding correctly to my request for
each paw. I was confused and once I realized my error in telling her she was
wrong, I had to laugh at myself, and she got extra treats for her patience with
Marjanna Wornell has been a dog lover all of her
life. As a child growing up in Manitoba, Marjanna’s
"nanny" was a Saint Bernard named Sinta. Marjanna loving
remembers how Sinta would keep her and her sister in their yard when they were toddlers,
herding them with a loving nuzzle. As an adult, Marjanna has adopted
rescue dogs and currently lives with 'Timber" (a wolf husky), Ebony (a
newf/shep/lab/ with a hyper border collie personality), and Sadie (a feral
huskyx from Haida Guai). She has studied the works of Chuck Eisenmann
with her focus on "educating" dogs and has found the results to be
very rewarding. Marjanna supplements this information with the work of
other trainers whose ideas compliment the areas of her dog training focus. Marjanna became
a member of the ABC family when she became a mentor trainer in 2010 for ABC’s
Dog Obedience Program.
3rd Quarter Grads
Congratulations to Our New ABC Certified Dog Trainers!
Top DogsHonor Roll Graduates
Jennifer A. Oliver
Melissa S Landis
Kelly Ann Casey
Edythe P Larson
Sylvia K. Lytle
Mafalda A. Neckelmann Stefanin
Lauren Jones Wenzel
Jordana K. Anderson
Rebecca A Markle
Ineke Vander AA Connolly
Jennie E. Moran
Julie R Dewing
Steven R Anderson
Jamie Van Den Akker
Megan H. Perry
Catherine M. Moryl
Vanessa Melrose (Brown)
Dawne M. Kennedy
Shannon Rachel Basner
Theresa A Lozo
Brandon G. Hendrickson
Beckham (Rebecca) Bright
Becca T. Ratcliff
Mary Beth Hyback
Carrie Lynn Hartman
Jennifer L. Alfiero
Sherri J Baker
Lynn M. Moore
Cecelia S. Kuhn
Matthew H.P. Weiner
Stacie Marie Lemieux
Lori L Turowski
Stephen D Spencer
Shawna Alvarez Wilson
Christine M Gorchinsky
Lisa Mischele Werner
Amanda Lee Mobley
Victor E. Garcia
Jane M. Fowler
Bradley Kenneth Jenkins
April Antell Pena
Susan L. Pettigrew
Ken A. Sakie
Desiree Guynn (Raddatz)
Amy Ranzenberger (Tysar)
Kimberly R. Mekeal
Jennifer Fuentes (Wade)
Joshua R. Stoneburner
Susan E. Calkins
Cameron Thomas Douglas
Alonzo Malasarte Jr.
Julieann L Suter
Estela A. Zuniga
Patricia Lynn Robinson
Lyudmila N. Holt
Russell E. Bollam
Shanti C. Rail
Jakoeb W. Van Dahlen
Glenn A Schultz
Richelle Renee Roberson
Erin E. Likes
Michelle K. Metcalf
Robert W. Jackson II
Ines B. Stelzer
Nicki L Wolfenden
Gina M. Lepine-Rizzo
Jakari J. Cooper Sr.
Terry A. Casillas
Melissa A. Childs
Allison Kirschner (Karlin)
Shane O Boles
Elizabeth D. Taylor
Lori Poore (Juleson)
Debra G. Merys "Meeres"
Colleen C Nuzzi
Wayne L Davis
Lon L. Flewelling
Kathy L. Heberle
Laura Paffel (Watson)
Kevin D Sutton
Melody E Driver
Diane G Mahon
Michelle L.C. Bandy
Victoria W. Johnson
Allen R Moffett
Cody J Scheck
Emily Petersen (Lewandowski)
Sarah Lynne Cline
Jennifer H Piecyk Connor
Robert A Otto
Lucia Maria Phillips
Rachel E. Wells
James DeClue III
Katherine M. Tucker
The Animal Behavior College newsletter, titled “Paw Prints”, contains advice, opinions, instructions and statements written by Animal Behavior College and other contributors. This content is intended for informational, educational and entertainment purposes only. Animal Behavior College grants the use of the information at your own risk and makes no guarantees or promises of any kind, expressed or implied as to the validity or legality of the information contained in our newsletter.