Posts for the Training Tips Category

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

Is it possible to teach an old dog new tricks? As the old saying goes, some think it is null and void. However, in reality, an old dog can learn new tricks just as well as puppy. Sure, they might have to get over some life long habits, but that does not mean it is impossible. It is never too late to provide an older dog with an education. In fact, it helps them become better mannered pets for people with young children or other animals. The following list will help you re-train or teach your older dog new things.

1) Be Patient

If your older dog has adopted some questionable habits, then it might be necessary to re-teach them what is expected of them. An older dog may have become lazy or tired in its old age. For example, if they are starting to pee in the house, then you need to show them that this wrong. The most important thing is that you remain patient. An older dog might not be able to pick up a new concept as quickly. However, they should be able to pick up old rules and habits with no problem if you are gentle about showing them what needs to be done.

2) Use Other Dogs as an Example

If you own other younger dogs, consider training your old and newer pet at the same time. If your older dog sees his fellow beast doing something right, then they might be more apt to adopting the behavior. Dogs are creatures that want to please you. Therefore, if they see another pet being praised for something, then they will want to receive it as well. Show them what to do with the younger dog. This is a great tool to use when actually teaching new tricks to a dog. For example, if you want to teach an older dog to sit or shake, a rewarded example from a younger dog is a great way to begin the process.

3) Reward for Good Behaviour

One of the most important things to remember when teaching an old dog new tricks is that they understand the difference between right/good and wrong/bad. This is the only way they will learn. However, do not punish your dog by whacking them or yelling at them. They will only become more confused and scared. You need to talk sternly, and reward them for good behavior. This will eventually help them understand the difference between right and wrong.

In conclusion, it may take some time and dedication, but it is possible for an older dog to learn new things. As long as you remain patient and reward good behavior, then anything is possible.

By: Joe McCord
This post was written by Joe McCord, an Australian blogger who writes on behalf of many businesses in the pet niche including environmentally friendly, ethical dog shampoo manufacturer A Boy And His Dog.

How to Use Training Collars

Whether or not to use training collars when it comes to training your dog is definitely a contentious subject among dog owners and lovers and there are people on both sides of the fence. Some feel that the use of training collars is inhumane so they chose not to use them. Others feel that training collars are the best way to train your dog.

It’s true that there are times when the use of a training collar can be cruel but that is always because the owner took it too far, not because that was what the collar was intended to do. Training collars are meant to be used to get a dog’s attention, not to shock them into submission. In order to use them properly, you still have to spend just as much time training your dog as you would in any other situation. The purpose of training collars isn’t expediency but rather to have off leash control of your dog when appropriate. When implemented into your dog’s training routine properly, training collars can actually be much more useful than and just as humane as harnesses.

Using a training collar correctly takes a lot of patience which is where many people get into trouble. So many times, an owner will purchase a training collar and immediately put it on their dog and start pushing buttons to shock them. This technique may work if your goal is to confuse your dog, make him afraid of you and the collar, or cause him to only listen to you when he is wearing the collar. The key to using a training collar successfully and humanely is to take baby steps while being aware of what your dog is communicating with you.

Introducing your dog to the collar

How you introduce your dog to the collar is extremely important. If you pull the collar out of the box and immediately start using it on your dog, he will associate the shocking with the collar, not with his bad behavior. As a result, your dog may begin to fear wearing the collar or only listen to you when he has it on. This, obviously, is not what you had intended when you decided to implement the collar into his training.

Instead of fearing the collar and associating it with being shocked, you want your dog to associate it with something positive such as treats or play time. Before you even turn the collar on, put it on and take it off of your dog several times a day for a couple of days. When you put it on give him a small treat and do the same when you take it off. Always put the collar on him when you go out on walks or out to play one of his favorite games. By doing this, your dog will associate the dog with a fun activity or treats instead of a form of punishment. He will even begin to get excited whenever you pull the collar out.

Once your dog is comfortable wearing the collar you can slowly begin to start using it. That doesn’t mean you can turn the collar onto the highest setting and shock your dog whenever he does something you don’t like. Instead, you need to be patient and reteach him all of the commands that he already knows but use his training collar in conjunction with the lead rope that you usually train him with. When used properly, you will be able to completely replace your dog’s leash or lead rope with a training collar.

How to Determine Collar Settings

Most training collars come with multiple settings going from just a small stimulation to a large shock. Some even have a noise option. When you first start using the collar set it on the lowest setting possible because every dog’s threshold is different and you don’t want to go too far. I personally recommend starting with the noise option and then moving up from there.

When you activate the collar, your dog should respond to it like a minor nuisance or a twitch. If they don’t acknowledge it all feel free to adjust the collar up a level. If your dog ever verbally acknowledges the collar and lets out a yelp, that is your queue that you went up too high. Adjust the level down.

Pressure on/Pressure off

Leash training consists of applying pressure to move your dog in the direction you want and then releasing the pressure once he completes the command. You should employ the same techniques when using a training collar.

When you use your leash to have your dog sit, you generally pull up on the leash and might even push down on his back end with your hand. That is the pressure on part of the command and then once your dog sits you release the pressure, pressure off. The same basic idea applies when using a training collar. When you give a command, activate the collar but once your dog obeys the command, let off of the collar.

Never hold the shock button down once your dog has obeyed your command. Doing so will confuse your dog and make him question his basic training. Your dog needs to know that he has the ability to make the pressure or collar stop by obeying your commands. Over time, your dog will begin to do as you say without you needing to apply any sort of pressure at all because he will realize that he is in control of it. In this way, you will have complete control of your dog’s behaviour on and off leash.

Patience and Consistency

Training your dog isn’t the easiest thing for either you or your dog. Don’t spend more than five minutes at a time training a young dog or he will become frustrated. At the point where you become frustrated, take a time out and come back to your training other time. Frustration will only lead you to anger and anger won’t do you any good when it comes to training your dog.

By: Ron RutherfordRon Rutherford is a writer with a passion for nature and a soft spot for Thai food. He currently freelances for Havahart Wireless, which specializes in progressive and humane wireless dog fences.

How To Go About Potty Training Your Puppy

Bringing home a new puppy is a joyous occasion. Unfortunately, potty training your puppy is not always as pleasant. Thankfully, there are many methods to choose from when potty training a puppy, and here are two of the best:

Crate Training:

This method is successful because it takes advantage of a dog’s natural reluctance to soil the same place they sleep. To begin this method, introduce the puppy to the crate slowly. Do not force the puppy to enter the crate. Instead, place treats inside, and allow them to wander in on their own. When beginning this process, occasionally place your puppy in the crate when you are home. If you fail to do this, then the puppy will associate going into the crate with you leaving and thus not like it very much.

Before crating your puppy, make sure they have gone to the bathroom. Never crate your puppy for longer than 5 hours aside from their overnight stay. If the puppy has an accident in the crate, simply clean it up with odor neutralizer, and do not punish him. Eventually, the puppy will no longer soil its crate.

The Bell Method:

Another method that is gaining popularity for puppy potty-training is the bell method. Begin this method by hanging a bell on the door jam or close to the door low enough for the puppy to reach. Every time you take your puppy out to the bathroom, make the puppy ring the bell. Make sure he sees that the bell is rang before proceeding to take the puppy out. When this process is repeated enough times, the puppy will begin to ring the bell on its own to communicate its need to go out.

In some cases, the puppy will have difficulty learning the bell method. If this happens, smear a little cheese on the bell to entice the puppy’s interest. Then, allow the puppy to touch the bell. Once the puppy has touched the bell, give him a treat. This will teach the puppy that a treat follows touching, or ringing, the bell.

Finally, to complete this method, open the door, and drop a treat on the outside of the door. Make sure the puppy sees the treat. Then, close the door, and encourage the puppy to ring the bell. Once the puppy rings the bell, open the door, and allow the puppy to get the treat on the outside of the door. This will teach the puppy the way to get out the door is to ring the bell.

These are two wonderful methods for potty training your puppy. Keep in mind that patience is necessary when going through this experience. Eventually, your puppy will catch on, and you will have a successfully potty-trained puppy.

By: Eric Blair
Eric Blair writes about proper ways of taking care of pets, how to treat dog diseases and why NuVet is not a scam.

How To Stop Your Dog Barking

Dogs bark for a number of reasons.  Sometimes these can be good reasons such as to warn of an intruder or to express fright or pain.  Sometimes these can be “bad” reasons as far as humans are concerned – attempts to sound menacing or simply to get attention fall into this category.  Whatever the reason for a dog’s barking, it can often be considered a nuisance by the dog’s owners and their neighbors alike.  Because of this there are several methods employed to control a barking dog.

Training

By far the best method of controlling incessant barking is to train the dog not to bark or, more specifically, to bark only at the appropriate times.  There are several ways to accomplish this, but dog trainers usually agree that traditional reward and reprimand systems are the most effective and the kindest to use.

Some people opt for an electronic “bark collar” as a shortcut to training the dog themselves.  The collar contains an electronic device which is activated by the action of the dog barking.  The device issues a small electric shock which pains and startles the dog.  Eventually the dog is able to associate the negative stimulus with the barking and stops doing it.

The problems with these systems are multiple, however.  Some dogs simply don’t learn that the barking is the cause of the negative stimulus, and continue to bark despite the discomfort it causes.  Particularly hairy dogs may not even feel the shock or activate the device because its metal points must contact the skin directly in order to deliver the shock.  Also, the collar itself is not enough and must be backed up with training anyway.  It is a bad idea to use the collars for an extended period of time.

Some owners find the concept of delivering an electric shock to the dog to be “cruel.”  While that may be a matter of personal opinion, the collars are proven to provide only minor discomfort for a short time and will not actually harm the dog.  Another type of collar that operates on the same principle delivers a mist of citronella in front of the dog’s nose.  Dogs hate the smell and soon realize that it is caused by the barking.  Success rates for citronella collars are comparable to those of the electronic variety.

Surgery

By far the most extreme method of controlling a dog’s barking is to have it undergo debarking surgery.  In this procedure a small fold of tissue is removed from the larynx of the dog, rendering it unable to bark.  Some find this procedure to be inhumane and, since the dog’s bark may return after a few months anyway, it is certainly a less than perfect method which few vets will recommend.

Can You Teach Old Dogs New Tricks?

Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, must not have owned a dog.  If dogs are anything, they are extremely intelligent and can learn many new things given the chance to show you.  When training your dog, keep in mind that yelling, hitting, cursing or punishment is uncalled for, as dogs will retreat backwards the more they are yelled at.  Besides, you wouldn’t treat a child like that and dogs are essentially just little children with tails and four legs!

The first thing to learn when training your dog to do anything new is to never change your verbal expression, tone or volume.  If you say, “come here, boy” then do not change to “Fido, come here”.  By doing this, your dog will become confused and it will cause unneeded frustration for both of you.

A couple of tips to take into consideration when training your dog is to reward him with treats for good behavior, however be sure to also give a lot of praise and patting to ensure he does not rely totally on the treats when being good.  You may also think about enrolling your dog in an obedience class.  Even if training is going good at home, this will give him extra practice with interaction between other animals and people.

When training your dog don’t cram everything into one day and expect him to remember it.  Dogs have short attention spans and will quickly become bored, so try to keep training time down to short sessions throughout the day.  Here are a few of the easier and more popular commands to teach Fido.

  • Come- Use a toy or treat to encourage him to come towards you.  Say “Fido, come.”  As he makes his way towards you, praise him.  Once he is in front of you, hold onto his collar for 30 seconds and then let go.
  • Sit- Press gently down on his backside and say “sit.”  You can also hold a treat above his head.  When a dog is forced to look upward, he will automatically sit on his hind legs.  Just as he bends to a sitting position, say “Fido, sit.”  Remember to praise and reward.
  • Down- Get your dog into a sitting position.  Slowly guide his legs straight down in front of him until he is flat.  As you are doing this, repeat “Fido, down.”  Keep him in this position for 30 seconds and then praise and treat.
  • Stay- Have Fido sit.  As you slowly take a couple steps backward, say “Fido, stay.”  Hold your hand out as you do this, palm facing him.  If he moves from position, tell him “no” and return him to the starting point.  If he stays, praise and treat.  Don’t forget to find a ‘release command’ like “ok”, or done.”  This will tell him it is okay to move.

By using persistence, consistency and patience when training your dog, you will almost effortlessly be able to teach new commands and tricks.  The ‘trick’ for you is to always praise and treat.  Start with these easy commands and before long you will have him doing somersaults!