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Monday, June 3, 2013

DogBloggin: Click & Treat {Married for Life}

Teaching your puppy everyday manners is a must! My number one goal for my future 60+ lb dog is that she isn't that huge annoying dog that nobody wants around! So manners for her is key! And I would say the same for those of you raising a future giant! Im gonna be a bit brutally honest right now... nobody like those people who have that CRAZY huge dog! The dog that is dragging them down the sidewalk and jumping on everyone in sight! People! If you want a big dog you HAVE to put extra time and effort into training it! 

I feel like I lucked out with my little pup! She listens to me so well! Maybe we haven't got to her "bad" stage yet or maybe I'll get lucky and she will never really go through one..? {Doubt it!} But she doesn't seen to be good with or listen to anyone except me so we are working on that!  

Alright that being said I'm going to help you out! I am all about dog psychology and using how they think as a training method. People bring these dogs into their home and expect them to understand English! We have to be on their level {communication-wise} meaning we need to learn how they communicate and use their ways and not ours. You have to go way back and think of when dogs were once wild, they were part of a pack and every pack has a leader{that's you!} If you don't establish that leadership role from the start they will and you will have a very stressed and out of control dog! You have to understand that they are not made to be leaders, only loyal companions. I highly encourage you go watch a season of the Dog Whisper I am a huge fan of his methods! He is someone that understands dogs as a whole perfectly!

The Clicker

I love using a clicker to train! The beauty about this product is that it catches the behavior you want the second it happens! It's 100% positive training meaning if focuses on what they are doing right other than correcting what they are doing wrong.

Teaching a Dog To Sit {With Clicker}

You don't want to ever be physical when teaching a dog to do a certain action {like pushing their butt down when teaching them to sit} it is going to cause negative association and we are all about positive! First if you have not used a clicker with your dog you need to associate the click sound with a treat. So just click and immediately give your dog a treat, do this about 10 times. {Tip: Keep training sessions short and simple and do them after your dog has been exercised} To teach sit, with your clicker ready to go in one hand and your treat in the other, hold the treat just above the nose so they have to reach for it causing them to naturally sit. {Don't hold it too high causing them to jump up, hold it so they can just barely reach it and even let them chew on it a bit} The second their bottom hits the ground click and release the treat as you say "sit!" don't say sit until they actually sit, remember your dog doesn't speak English and doesn't know the command just yet! But don't worry they are just minutes from picking it up! Keep doing the whole thing over and over again, repetition and consistency are key! After a few minutes try saying "sit" while holding your fist up to the side of your face, if your dog just stares at you keep doing the first exercise if they sit then you did it!! Make sure you keep following with a click and a treat! The holding your fist up part is just my hand signal I do, I feel that dogs learn better with there eyes than their ears, using a hand signal is like using spell check! For my older dog I could just hand signal without a word and she does what I tell her! But for now make sure you do it every time you say the word. 

*Consistency! I cant stress it enough! A dog needs consistency or they will get confused, Just think if you are doing one thing and your other half is doing something totally different how is that going to look to a young puppy!? Confusing! So make sure to sit down and talk about what you are doing and make sure you are 100% on the same page! {Another tip: never get upset with your dog while training, well never get upset with them their first year! But most importantly you should not get upset with them while training! You want training to be a positive experience so don't get mad because they aren't getting what your trying to teach them to do. If you find yourself getting agitated or even annoyed take a break!}

Raising a Pup With Kiddos

First of all... you are so brave! I know it's so fun to surprise you kids with a puppy but you have to commit to the training. This time I'm not talking about your puppy. That's right you HAVE to train your kids! My number one pet-peeve is when I see someone saying to their dog "Sit! Sit! Sit!" Again back to the dog speaking English part... they don't! They know the sound "sit" not the actual word and "Sit! Sit! Sit!" sounds different than "sit" And guess who are famous for the "Sit! Sit! Sit!", kids! Children don't understand that puppies don't understand, all they see is the perfectly behaved pups on movies and on TV so they expect that's how all doggies are right? You have to sit down with them as well and teach them how to be with the puppy. I encourage that your kids to help teach your dog commands! But they need to do it right or there will be confusion for your puppy. So make sure you watch your kids like you watch that unpotty-trained puppy of yours! Make sure they are doing what you do and make sure everyone is using the same words and commands! Something that might help is making signs with your kids, have a sign on the back door saying "If you want Spot to go outside say, OUT." or one in the living room saying "If you want Spot to lay down say, LAY." I would also recommend you make one for the word you say when going on a walk, feeding, going to bed, putting them in their crate. This way everyone is saying the same words! And remind them that words are only to be said once! {If you are having to say "Sit! Sit! Sit!" because your dog isn't sitting the first time, say it once and wait then say it again after 10 seconds or so. If you are still having trouble go back to the basics and use the treat to nose method.}

Be Calm

Not only is that a great song by my favorite band but it can save you from a lot of troubles! You might be very puzzled about what I said earlier.. never getting upset with your puppy. I know I'm crazy and THAT'S crazy and almost impossible! But it will make the world of difference in your future adult dog! they don't understand your anger or what you're angry about so you getting angry only leads to... you guessed it.. Confusion. So my advice, don't get angry! Put them in their crate {nicely} and take a break from them. I am definitely not perfect at this! I have my moments where I want to kill my puppy but I remember that I can't take anything personally! Did you catch that? DONT TAKE ANYTHING YOUR PUPPY DOES PERSONALLY! If you just remember and live by that I promise you life will be easier! What I like to do what I feel myself getting upset with my puppy over something stupid I start thinking what she will be like in a year how perfectly trained she will be and how beautiful she is going to be! I know its silly but it works an calms me down every time!  

Teaching Other Commands & Tricks

Teaching your dogs to do anything is exactly the same as teaching them to sit! Follow the exact steps I taught you except replace the motion you use to get them to sit with a motion that will get them to do what you want them to do! I cant put it any more simple! 

       Lay Down
{Start in sitting position then bring their nose to the ground with a treat and let them try to get it, the second those elbows hit the ground... CLICK AND TREAT!! And the same with learning to sit: Say "lay" after they are actually laying.}

       Spin {The EASIEST "fun" trick to teach!}
Guide there nose so they spin in a circle. I give the click and treat when they are about 3/4th into their spin because they will finish the spin naturally and once they do say "spin!" {Super easy and they pick up fast!}

Leave it and stay are a bit more complicated so that will have to be another post! But I hope I helped! 

{Please give me your feedback and I would love to hear about you and your puppy's experiences!} 

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