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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Training Tip for Reactivity and Barking Video

Here's a tip for those with reactive dogs- when counter conditioning a new emotional response to dogs and people, sometimes its better to walk the dog in a new location to train. This could mean driving the dog there, but it is well worth the effort. This way you can start fresh and don't have to work against the areas on your walk that your dog has become sensitized to (like the dog behind the gate on the corner that ALWAYS sends your dog over the top). 
Also when in the new area, you don't necc. have to walk far, back and forth will do, also giving the dog permission to sniff and check things out- check out those new smells and other dog smells. Practicing settles in new areas also can help lower arousal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to Fade A Lure- when training with food

1 Get RID of the lure as soon as you can! The goal is within 3 trials. 

2 If you don't have a clicker use a very short word like "yes!" or "yep!" 

3 Always make it harder and harder, don't get stuck at the same level of criteria

4 If you go to far to quickly you can always go back a step

5 If your dog is not following the lure, get a smellier lure- real meat!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Splash and Emily's Dog Party/B-day party

Mickey the Mal watches over the Pupcake table to make sure no one takes one to many. 

Kiko and Splash share a Pupcake before the guests arrive.

Splash and Kiko got to see their best doggie buds.

Splash hangs out with her wise mentors, who trained her how to be a real Border Collie! SOMEONE THROW THE FRISBEEEEE!!!!!

Kiko's most favorite friend in the world Einstein shows off his tricks! 

Bark Magazine Pupcake Recipe:

by Diane Porter
Whip up three dozen bite-sized carob mini-cupcakes in less than an hour with this original recipe.


1/4 cup honey
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar-free applesauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons carob powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla

There was no icing on the Bark Mag cupcakes so I made the icing from a mixture of low fat cream cheese, with a little bit of flour to thicken it. And put non-sweetened carob chips on top to decorate the cakes. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Help Ashlyn awesome young trainer fulfill her dream!

16 years old and already a compassionate and  awesome trainer!  Vote 5 stars!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Obedience Heel- for large and small breeds

 Img 1                            Img 2                                                    

Img 3

Step 1: Use a wall as a barrier so your dog doesn’t swing out in front of you at first-you are on one side of the dog the barrier on the other.

Step 2: do a little warm up of the cue “Touch” (getting your dog to target your hand) in the way you usually do it to get the dog on the right track.  Now stand with you hand against your leg at the point where your dog can just reach it without having to jump (img 1). Cue “touch” and click ANY motion towards the hand.  Try to feed the dog in the position you desire them to be in(img 2). Stand with your legs together at first, but also stand in many different positions- with a foot pointing out, with a foot pointing behind, crouching, bouncing slightly, shuffling your feet etc, teaching the dog this is the position I want you to be in no matter what my legs are doing (img 3).

Step 3: Once your dog is a master at this, try taking a tiny step. Two inches forwards. If the dog scoots forwards click and treat!  If your dog can master tiny adjustments it will really fix it in their minds that “this is where I’m supposed to be, head up, glued to your leg”. 

Step 4: Repeat all the exercises in the sit position as well (img4).  If you have a small dog you can also start beginning to lift your hand up to the final position, the dog may start to jump to reach your fingers, ignore this, instead click the dog for having all 4 feet on the floor.  Sometimes if you click AS you remove your hand, that can speed up the process tremendously (img5)


Img 4                                       Img 5

Step 5: Take a normal step and click the dog for moving with you.  Now add steps (img6). If the dog looks down, or lags or is too far out, try to encourage them to return to the hand, and click when they are back in place. If they don’t seem into it try again later, and take less steps.  This is hard work, especially because they will be using new muscles than just normal walking and trusting you completely that you won’t walk them into a wall! Do this exercise on flat ground with nothing to trip and stumble over. Practice turning right and left in little increments to begin with.  This “trick” can take months even years to perfect, so take it easy, it’s a great exercise for just building focus and understanding.   


               Img6                                                  Img7

Monday, July 6, 2009

The adventures of Splasherpup and Keeks

The faces of innocence! 
Keeks- 'How DARE you compete with my cuteness!'
Splasherpup- "Take THAT to your cuteness!"

Keeks- "I'm warning you!"
Splasherpup- "Ok! Ok! You win!'
"Phew! That was exhausting!"
Kikopup- "Ha ha! I have this pup wrapped around my little paw!"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Making an escape proof x-pen and toilet training ideas for crates

If you have a Precision exercise pen, doesn't matter what the hight, and you buy one of the size of 24 inches in hight, you can take apart the 24 inch pen- so that you have two segments consisting of 2 panels. Then if you zip tie the two segments together so they form a square of 4 segments, you can then zip tie this 'roof' to the top of your original x-pen when it is in the shape of a square-  you will leave one segment free of zip ties to be used as a 'door'.  Once you have completed zip-tying, remember to cut off the hanging bits.  You can use the fasteners that came with the x-pen to lock the 'door' when you leave the dog alone.  

If your dog is not yet house trained you can try this method of preparing the base of the crate, this particular method is for a dog that doesn't like chewing and tugging.  For a dog that might eat the base, you could use a piece of linoleum.   AND for dogs that are strong and learn how to lift the crates up and squeeze uder, you can create a secure base in the same way you created the roof- making sure to line it so the dogs feet aren't on the metal grate.  You can buy tops to the pens, but they are 50$ a cover, and the medium size 24 inch pen is 63$- which you can make 2 tops (or a top and a bottom from), so is a better deal.

If you need to leave your puppy in a safe environment but are unable to return to let the puppy out to use the bathroom, you can put a square of grass sod in one corner of the pen (preferably in front of the door, as that is were they will be most likely to go, bed to the back), or a pee pad in a litter box.  Grass is way better to use than pee pads as pee pads can actually train your dog to pee on anything that resembles a pee pad- for instance white t-shirts on the floor of your bed room, your pillows, your sheets,  your bed etc. 

Here you can see an example of what do with a little dog with extreme toilet issues. You can create a crate that only has a bed and a toilet.  You can also create a exercise pen that consists of one small bed and the rest of the pen- pee pads.  Then all you have to do is reduce the pads to just being in one of the corners of the crate. 

P.s. Crates are a training tool. The goal is to train your dog to be calm and loose in your house.  The more choices a dog has during the day, the less hyperactive and frantic the dog will be when you return home.  Crates are useful when you don't yet trust the dog to not destroy your house, or your dog is not house trained.  It is essential to teach your dog to love crates regardless of if they need one at home so that they are comfortable when they have to stay at the vet or in an emergency situation- like Hurricane Katrina. 

My dogs are both loose in the house now that they are trusted. 

Friday, June 5, 2009

Creating Super Puppies- Early Neurological Stimulation

The U.S. military did studies on raising puppies, and they found that doing certain exercises with puppies during the time of rapid neurological growth, between the puppies third and sixteenth day of life would increase the pup’s performance in later life.  They created a program called the ‘Bio Sensor’ program consisting of 5 exercises to be done once a day with the pups.   They found that not only were puppies able to cope more with stressful situations, and problem solve better than other puppies, but that they were actually physically healthier with higher cardiovascular performance, stronger immune systems, adrenal glands and heart beats.

The exercises should only be repeated once a day, as the point is to add mild stress.  More than once, and it could be overwhelming and could have the reverse effect on the puppies.  Natural handling should also be a big part of rearing puppies, and these exercises are not a replacement for that!  These exercises should be followed up by environmental enrichment, and socialization as the puppies grow.  Thanks to Dr. Carmen Battaglia who published an article on this subject, many breeders have started implementing “early Neurological stimulation” in their breeding programs.

Google: Early Neurological Stimulation and Dr. Carmen Battaglia to find his article on the Internet, which explains the exercises in greater detail.



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Doggie Birthday Party with Trix!

Kiko and I did a tricks lesson at a doggie birthday party at a dog park yesterday.  Louis the Maltese turned 1 !  It was loads of fun, and surprisingly not too chaotic, with about 30 dogs off leash.  Hootie the Pug won the tricks contest with his awesome version of "Crawl".  It was a hard to choose a winner as all the dogs in the contest rocked!  We also did an agility obstacle coarse.

Louis showing everone how to do "targeting"

Dance Dance Dance!

Mini Agility Obstacle Course!

"Tunnel anyone?"

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dog is Love: Heath and Fitness Expo

Splash did her 'Slumdog Millionare' routine at the Dog is Love Expo, and I was very proud of her.  She funnily enough made up a new move while we were performing.... 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Seminars in Spain

I have just returned from 2 weeks in Spain.  I had a wonderful time!  I made some very close friendships in such a short period of time and had the opportunity to see the best of the best dog trainers at work!  I also had the opportunity to visit Guide Dogs For the Blind as well as the facility of Action Fauna that trains animals for film and video.  The AEEC  hosted my seminars and was very generous and welcoming to me.  They made my time in Spain a complete joy.    
Madrid March 28 29 

Barcelona April 4 5

Emily demoing counter conditioning to handling with a shy pup


PUPPIES! Future guide dogs!