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Positive dog training

Have you ever heard of the term “Positive dog training”?

Have you wondered how it would help your dog’s problem behaviors?

Have you wondered if positive dog training mostly popular by British dog trainer Victoria Stilwell or by American dog trainer Pat Miller and other methods you can find on books and on TV are different from each other?

I am not a dog trainer, but after watching/reading all kinds of methods available, I liked positive dog training method better and,  I trained our Corgi Palette positively with clicker training rather than using the finger jab, leash jerking, alpha roll to correct the behavior.

My personal feeling is that, positive dog training teaches dog what they should do under the situation they had problems in as opposed to dominance/submission based technique like finger jab, alpha roll, quick leash jerking would teach the dog not to do the behavior just because they do not want to get rolled or jerked or jabbed etc..

I personally think those finger jab,leash jerking, alpha roll would not teach dog what to do under the particular situations;would not let the dog to think on their own and give you the behavior you want with their own free will without thinking of punishment that comes after.

Good example could be.. I just came back from walking Palette.

Before we went for walk,she was super excited (who does not like walking,lol) as soon as she sees me preparing the leash, and she was standing right in front of the entrance door to get the leash hooked on.

What did I do to answer her reaction?

Nothing. I just stand and watch her quietly.I did not say anything to her.

She then realized, standing, whining, excited state would not ear the leash hooked up.

Therefore, she sat in front of me facing out (her back toward me ) so I can hook her on leash easily.This is something that I taught when she was a puppy.

Once leash is on, she waited quietly,patiently in front of the door and door opened and we went for walk.

However, for her, thought of going for walk sometimes excites her and she forget how she was patient and be good inside the house.

Therefore, she sometimes tries to run forward which result in leash pulling.

What would I do then?

I just stand still, say nothing and wait until leash relax and walk to the opposite direction and I say “Heel”.

Once leash is relaxed and does not feel tension on the leash, I turn to the correct direction and start walking forward, leaving house for walk.

Every time she pulls and makes leash tensed up, I wait til the leash relaxed standing on one spot like a tree and once relaxed, walk to opposite direction to where we want to go and we repeat that.

By 3rd,4th turns, at most, she gets it and understand what she should do without being told to, and I can walk forward without feeling tension on the leash. I feel like I am walking with an empty bag in my hand.She walks next to me smiling and that is the great feeling when walking.

As you can guess, I never go for walk with correct direction until her excitement notches down and be calm and relaxed. I never start walking with her being excited. If I let us go for walk with that state of mind, I am pretty sure I get dragged around the neighborhood and my arms would feel yanked out.

Now, if I implement submission/dominance base way, most likely, right when she pulls/start giving tension to the leash, leash correction would be given. That would tell the dog “not to pull the leash” by repetition. But it did not happen with the dog’s thinking but by correction.

So, dog may be start not pulling the leash after practice that way just because they do not want to get quick jerk leash correction.

Not only that, I assume that it cannot be so soft that the dog does not notice it or gets habituated to it. It could also got possibility that it would make them give you aversive response to those corrections from frustration.

Actually, that is exactly what happened when guy vet gave Palette the leash jerk.

That particular day, the lady doctor was off and we saw the guy doctor and, when examination time comes, she did not like his handing and she was not cooperative with him. He looked like using more force than anything else to make her cooperate with what he was trying to do.

She was not behaving good like she would with the lady doctor she loves. Palette growled at him right when he gave her the leash yank and I was shocked to see the leash jerk by a vet and I really did not like the way he handled and since then, we make sure we make reservation with the lady doctor Palette loves.She sits on the floor, petting Palette, talking to Palette with smile, very different approach and she is more cooperative with her.

I think Palette growled at the guy vet when leash Jerk because it made her frustrated more and gave him the warning that she does not like what he does. I don’t blame her.

That being said, some things the famous  Cesar say on training for walk are good one like, he says he thinks short leash is better than long leash like flexi.

I agree with that one. Because flexi can make dog walk forward as far as they want to go and it would not teach dog proper walking manner.

Another one I agree with Cesar is that, you would not start the walk with excitement or the excitement would continue/escalate and you will be dragged around the neighborhood (pulling you on walk all the way).

One other thing that I agree is that, you must be confident and relaxed and calm when walking. I think dog reflects our inner feeling and, when they sense our fear for strange dog approaching etc.., it would make them feel uneasy too. They are very good at reading our mind.

I am now a mother of  one son who is 2.5 years old now and, I implement the discipline positive way as well.

I think dog training and disciplining toddlers are kind of similar in a way, and experiencing dog training with Palette was a plus and gave me some good thoughts on how to raise/teach kids positively.

I am opposed to the dominance/submission approach to training that is very popular today, as you can see.

Anyway, what exactly is “positive dog training?”

Positive training means rewarding your dog for performing a behavior you want.

When your dog exhibits a behavior you like, you show your dog that you appreciate that behavior by rewarding your dog.

Most often, telling the dog they are doing what we want them to do, we use clicker to let them know the exact moment of the behavior we want.

A reward can be anything your dog loves. Food (treats), throwing a tennis ball, just simple praising your dog, are all good examples of rewards.

Lets say somebody gave you praise and what would that make you feel to do next?

You would feel happy inside and, probably want to do the same another time too.

By rewarding your dog for performing a good behavior, your dog will want to repeat the behavior again.Same.

By repeating the behavior you want them to give you, your dog will get good number of repetition and eventually they would give the behavior you want naturally without given any food rewards etc.. to reinforce the behavior anymore.

It will become natural behavior to them.

Now the question is, how is Positive Training different from dominance/submission base method?

First, the method of submission/dominance base technique can have possibility of getting your dog more frustrated and it can be confrontational.

Again, it is not teaching your dog to give the behavior you want with their own will naturally without the thoughts of negative punishment.

Positive dog training would most likely set your dogs up for success and let them learn what to do instead of what not to do.

Reinforcing the good behavior with praise would earn you the trust between the two of you, and dog would naturally give you the good behavior over and over again with their own thoughts and will and make the behavior as their natural behavior.

Punishment, reinforcement in positive dog training..

That being said, positive dog training is not purely positive, and positive dog trainer uses punishment as well when necessary.

However, in positive dog training, the term “punishment” does not refer to the meaning to physically do something to your dog but rather, in this case, positive, negative means something is added (positive; +), or taken away (negative; – ).

So, if you hear “positive punishment, it simply means, something was added.

If you hear “negative punishment”, it means something was taken away from your dog.

For punishment in positive dog training, both positive punishment, negative punishment works to decrease the possibility of your dog’s unwanted behavior without force.

Good example can be my way of walking Palette. My way is negative punishment; taking something away from your dog to achieve the desired behavior.

When I start walking Palette, I wrote I do not start walking until she gets loose leash means moving forward. When leash got tensed, I stop and not moving like a tree and when leash got loose, I turned to opposite direction to where we want to go and keep walking,and once we find pace of loose leash walking, then, I turn to correct direction of walk route and move forward.

Therefore, for Palette, me stopping the movement of moving forward to teach her loose leash means walk, tensed leash means stop, that is negative punishment. I am not using any kind of physical punishment like jabbing finger or leash jerking but negative punishment in positive dog training works for me and Palette.

What about positive punishment?

Good example can be when dog nips you, you would yell loud (unexpected sound from you for dog’s view) “Ouch!” and you are adding something to decrease the possibility of being nipped by your dog.

Your dog would probably gets surprised and you can give him an appropriate chew toy instead.

As you can see, positive punishment is not adding any force to teach your dog to give you desired behavior at all.

For the reinforcement part, you would probably hear “positive reinforcement”, “negative reinforcement” in positive dog training.

What it means is simply positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement both means that you are working to increase the possibility of repetition of your desired behavior in your dog.

Positive reinforcement can be giving treats when your dog gave you the desired behavior. When clicker training, you do click-give treats, click-give treats. That is positive reinforcement.

Good example of negative reinforcement would be… when you walk your dog, if you had to resort to head collar like gentle leader to stop being pulled by him, Then, you are using negative reinforcement method.

Because the head collar applies pressure when the dog pulls, and when dog decided to walk next to you, then pressure would be gone; in this case, something was taking away to teach your dog to give you the desired behavior.

Now you see the difference between positive dog training vs other dog training method with force to decrease the possibility of unwanted behavior.

Positive dog training is not purely positive and it got punishment part as well but, it does not use force in punishment.

Positive dog training uses appropriate tool like gentle leader to help the dog to learn to give you desired behavior.

Often times, positive dog trainers would use positive reinforcement most and if that does not work, then, cooperate it with negative punishment to guide your dog into desired behavior.

No intimidation, no physical punishment would be used.

I feel dominance/submission base techniques focus more on “bad” behavior, and make them learn what he needs to do so he would not get punished, rather than what behavior he should give his owner.

I find that teaching your dog  “what to do” ,rather than “what not to do” is much easier and, most of all, if you could prevent the behavior from happening (like you will pick up the socks before dog find it and decide to play it with), that would be good.

I think that using force free training technique is more effective and dogs enjoys them because they think it is the game and fun.

Whether positive reinforcement is used or negative punishment is used, both time, dog would be thinking what they should do, instead of what they should not do.

Next time you train your dogs, you can review yourself, and see how your approach is making an impact on your dog’s behavior.

The training should not have to be the doggie boot camp.

Happy training!

Mar 13, 2017 | Comments are off | Dog Training

Understanding the meaning of growl through the dog point of view

In the previous entry titled “Why dogs bark? “, and “ Look at the world through a dog’s point of view;barking,chewing and more ” I wrote that most of common dog behavior problems you would like to stop or curb them are natural canine behaviors or something we kept reinforcing the behavior without any intention.

Barking, for example, from dogs’ point of view, it is their natural way to communicate each other. 

What about growling?

Growling also could be one of the behavior problems you would like to stop or curb them.

However,growling , also is natural canine behaviors and it could be something you could have kept reinforcing the behavior without any intention.

In this entry, I would like to look deep into canine friend’s natural behavior;growling.

Discourage the  growling vs  respect the growling..

Growling is, just like barking, it is their way to communicate with you.

Often ties,many people may want to discourage the growling behavior, and dogs maybe hearing “Hey. no. No growling” over and over again every time they growl.

It is possible that they maybe punished for growling at you or your family or friends.Then, it might be possible that the growling dog could soon be labeled as “Aggressive dog” without any deep thoughts as to why and what is causing the dog to growl.

We need to understand that any dogs,any healthy dogs would growl to communicate with their canine friends or us human.

It just that we human have tendency to be quick to judge and label them as aggressive dogs

Before labeling the dog as “Aggressive dogs”, we need to investigate what caused the dog to growl,and how you can manage or help them change their opinion about what they do not feel about…

Not all growling is a bad thing.

However, if you keep suppressing the growling,, over time, the dog may stop growling due to repeated negative reinforcement by you.

Would it be good for you and your family and friends who may be spending time around them in the future?

Answer is “No”.

In a way, growling is not necessary a bad thing. We rather want it to be able to communicate with them better.

Of course, we do not want the dog to be growling at us all the time, but at the same time, growling is kind of like a warning sign and you do not want it to go away completely too.

Otherwise, you might be creating the situation where dog could attack or snap at you without any sign of warning; growling.

You want to be alerted when they are in stress or being uncomfortable so you can act on it accordingly.

If you know what causes them to growl, it gives you the clue as to what you can work with and what you can do to make your relationship with them better.

Why dog growls?

Dogs growls when….

1. they feel fear/anxiety/being afraid

When they feel being cornered, they may use growl to warn you that they are not comfortable with what you are doing to them,and they want you to back off.

Or, they may use growl to make scary things go away example,strange dogs, strange person.

In which case, some people may pet them saying “that is ok,that is ok” to reassure/comfort them.

However, that is only reinforcing the anxiety/feeling of being afraid and not a great move on your side.

It only nurture the fear.anxiety etc.. by doing so.

If the dog were growling from fear of person or objects or whatever, remove the dog from the situation calmly without any talk and, without yelling,punishing them, or trying to reassuring them.

Then work on the issue later;starting from person the dog was afraid of could toss the chicken every time he comes from a little distance without any eye contact or talk.

You can gradually work with the shorter distance.

That way,the dog may change the opinion about the scary person approaching to him. When the scary person comes, they get chicken!

Over time, you would want to teach your dog to look forward to the things he was previously afraid of.

By changing your dogs perception from negative to positive, you could  changes their behavior too.

If he was happy, why he should be growling at?

2. they want to guard something; they are asked to give up on something they are playing with or chewing on, or the spot they were napping on. It can be a person.

They may freeze,keeping the toy or treats under their head or possibly holding onto the objects they are asked to give up on, and then growl

Teach your dog to learn to “Give”.

3.  they are feeling physical pain

They may be telling you to stop touching the spot you are trying to look closer at.

If you suspect the pain is the cause of the growl, take them to the vet to check them medically.

When dog growls…

Lets imagine the likely scenario.

Little kids (toddlers/babies) may not be taught how to interact with the family dog. They may do things dogs might not be appreciated for.

In which case, dog may growl at your little ones.

What would you do?

In this scenario, because of the dog’s growling, you can understand that the dog is not comfortable with what your little one was doing to the dog.

You, therefore,  would remove your little ones away from the family dog telling them the family dog is not comfortable with what they were doing to them and teach the kids the right way to interact with the family dog some other time.

It means, when you hear the dog’s growling in different situation, stop whatever making the family dog uncomfortable/whatever you are doing and don’t punish the dog for the growling (no talk to them).

Then, turn away from dog and away from the dog, not moving toward the dog.Moving towards the growling dog would more escalate the growling and make the situation worse. Step back from the dog.

It is also important for you to be calm, no yelling at them no stress on you.The dogs are very good at picking up your emotion.

Just stay calm.

If you ignore the dog’s warning (growling), you would most likely to be snapped at.

When dog growls at you, don’t ignore the warning and use it for your advantage for better relationship.

When you hear the growl, and stop whatever you are doing, try finding out what caused the growling.

The dog did not care for being touched specific spot?

(You can clicker train the dog so they get used to be touched)

The dog did not like some grooming routine?

(You can clicker train the dog so they get used whatever grooming routine they did not care for)

Did you take something away from them without warning?

(You can clicker train the dog and let them learn “give”. Then you can trade the item you like to take away from the dog with something else)

You were trying to do something they did not like to do?

(If the dog did not care for what you were trying to do, don’t do it unless necessary)

Some things like that, which dogs were not feeling comfortable with , can be managed with good clicker training. You can change their reaction toward whatever they were feeling uncomfortable with.

Over time, what they were seeing as bad thing can  become a good thing with consistent clicker training with patience.

All you need is patience in you and consistency in the training.

If you are trying to help your dog to feel differently about something they are upset about, you would want to go slowly with small steps for the goal to be achieved.

That way, your dog would not get overwhelmed, resulting in bite.

If you consistently teach him what you would like them to do rather than what not to do with good clicker training and make the teaching time fun as much as you can make it to be, you will get the result in the end.

That being said, depending on the degree of stress put on the dog, it might not be something you alone could help them change their opinion about whatever causing them stress and resulted in growling.

In which case, don’t hesitate and try reach out to good positive clicker trainer in your area.

Any help you can get for the better relationship between you and your dog is good for both of you.

The dog training article written by Jolanta Benut for quick and dirty tips website is great read. You can read the full article here.

May 18, 2016 | Comments are off | Dog Training

Kids vs Dogs; How to prevent dog bites

In the previous entry titled “How to introduce the newborn baby to your dog“, I wrote that I would like to spend time to learn more about how you can introduce your newborn baby to your dog in the house. Then, if there were something we can practice before our little son will come join us, I thought, it will be great to have practice time with Palette.

In it, I also wrote that once baby can move around, of course, as always, supervision is important but also it is important to teach your baby how to interact with/approach to your dog.

 Not only dog needs to learn to interact with baby, baby also needs to learn how to interact/approach to the dog.

 Kids sometimes do what dogs do not appreciate;pulling fur, step on the tail, hugging etc and no matter how calm,gentle dog you have, there will be a threshold and dog could snap at the kids and it may end up with injury.

blog Palette vet office

Palettes pause for camera..

 Just recently, I came across the post with the picture a little kid is hugging the dog from behind and,clearly, the small dog seems not comfortable when you look at his body language. The post asked viewers “Have you hug your dog today?”.

For some people, the picture may look “cute”, but for those who understands dogs, it is a scary picture something not good such as snapping at the kid or biting waiting because dogs generally do not like to be hugged. Hugging for people and hugging for dogs has complete different meaning to it. The poster should have known that and should not encourage people to see that the act of hugging the dogs being “cute” or good things to do.

Also, in the past, one of the shows on animal planet focusing on one popular vet in MI ran one episode that include the vet had to euthanized the old dog because dog bit his farmer friend’s grand daughter.

 The farmer friends said that his grand daughter was gently caressing her dog and pet.Then,one point time, the dog snapped at her. When the incident has happened,he said luckily, he and his wife,his son were at the porch about 10 feet away from the grand daughter. He then continued saying that if they were not at the porch,it could have been a lot worse,he said.

 For the incident, the vet says “The dog should not attack the kids. When pets become pest like this,taking the dog to the dog pound is not an option. Having the kids bitten again is not an option. So, only alternative is to euthanize the dog. “

The farmer friends say “There is no reason for the dog to be aggressive and turn on the child.”

When I watched the episode, I was shocked to see it happened because family members were not right next to the kid to supervise the interaction between the two so they know anything dogs would not like such as poking,pulling,aggressive petting etc are going on, and they were 10 feet away from the kid and let the kid interact with the dog alone,which I feel how they can supervise the kids well from that far distance.

Also, as vet’s son says in the episode, older dog sometimes have sore spot and they do not like to be touched so, I think that the family should have take that into more consideration and should have close monitor the interaction.

Another thing I was shocked to see was that the family labeled the dog as “aggressive” with this one incident,and they saw the dog as only being bad without considering there might have been something kid did to the dog and the dog did not like.Then, they decided to euthanize the dog.

 They did not examine the dogs to see if the dog had health problems they did not recognize before, or if the health issue was not the cause of snap then, they could seek out other alternative ways; teach the kids how to interact with dog, teach themselves how they supervise the kids vs dog interaction or if the family could not stand having the dog in the house from one incident, then,the dog could have another forever family to be with etc..

 No matter how good the dog is, especially if the dog was old, if the kid touched sore area or startled etc.., they could snap at the people and more close supervision is necessary.

 Biting is not good but,at the same time, I think it is important for people to look for the cause and realize what trigger the act of biting and prevent that to happen again.

 It is not always the dogs that should be blamed for the incident.Unsupervised kids can do things that could trigger the incident. Therefore, if you have a kid in the house, from the early age, you should teach them how to interact with your dog and learn the manner. And you should make it a habit to be with the kids when they interact with the dog,not sitting 10-20 feet away from the kids.

To understand why the biting happen, you should see things through their point of view,not ours.

When dogs interact with kids, they have to tolerate all the strange, unpredictable behavior, and we should not expect them to react the way we human do and, we should not expect them to understand how they should react to kids’ behavior.We need to teach them as we should teach the kids.

Dr Sophia Yin DMV has a great article explaining on this very topic;dog biting incident vs kids. I would like to share her article here.

 According to the article written by Sohia Ying DMV, often times, biting happens because humans,especially kids are extremely rude to the dogs.

She gives one case where the baby bitten by a dog ended up tragic death in the end. According to the article, the parents decided to take a vacation and left the baby with the baby sitter. The baby was allowed to crawl after the dog even though the dog tried to get away from the baby. The dog gave the warning;barking, growling, snarling but all of those were ignored and the dog had to resort to the last option; the bite.

She agrees that most cases of biting incidents, these biting could have easily been prevented from the start just by understanding the types of actions that makes dogs feel teased,bullied,pestered so much that he feels the need to bite.

I remember Palette and kids (my brother/sister in law kids) loved playing together and I was right there monitoring the interaction between them and at one point time, I saw Palette trying to be away from the kids but kids still coming after her and, after that, Palette sneaked out to other room when kids were not watching to be alone. Dogs tolerate the kids’ rough petting to some point or maybe on going tailing but at some point, it can be too much and they wants their own time away from the kids and we should respect that.

Cause of the dog bite and the common sense

1.When dogs are eating food, they would like to eat the meal in peace. However, kids sometimes reaches over to grab the dog’s food or put their hands in the food bowl,and bite happens

2.  When dogs are playing with toys, kids could grab the toy trying to take it away and bite happens.

** She recommends that teaching the dog “give” cue is good way for them to gives up their toy without feeling possessive and bite

3. Kids putting their face into dog’s face.

4. Bothering the dog when they are at the private space. Dog needs their own space to feel relaxed,away from the kids.

5. Dog do not like to have their ears,paws,tail pulled. Kids needs to learn how to interact with dog in polite manner.

6. Dogs do not like to be stepped on, climbed on.

7. Loud screaming of kids can make dogs worn out.

8. Dogs do not like to be hugged.Kids should learn even if family dog could tolerate what they do not like, other dogs would not react to the hugging the same way the family dogs would.Let kids learn what dogs do like, do not like.

9. Teach kids how to read the dog’s body language (ears,posture understand if the dogs being fearful or anxious) and let them learn to interact with dog polite manner and know the dog’s limit and back off.

10. Make the dog to have the positive association with kids by kids giving rewards for good behavior etc..

11. Accidents can happen in the split second. Make sure to supervise all the interaction between kids and dogs.

As I wrote in the previous entry titled “How to introduce the newborn baby to your dog“, she agrees that  supervision is important but also it is important to teach your baby/kids how to interact with/approach to your dog.

 Then, dogs also needs to learn how to interact with kids.

You can read the full article by Sophia Ying DVM article on “kids and dogs” here.

To the list above, I might add if the dog were older dog especially, then, the kids need to learn that the dogs have painful spot and learn to not touch the area at all.

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Jun 01, 2014 | Comments are off | Dog Training

Dog Training methods vs Dog’s behavior

As you already know, our dog “Palette” has been clicker trained all of her life. She knows she did right when she hears the click sound and she gets super excited. 

 During the training time, her body does not get tense up, does not look anxious, and her response to the each click is tail wagging with huge Corgi smile,and I can feel that she is eager to learn the new thing and she enjoys that.

balancing squeaky egg

Palette balancing the squeaky egg toy..

 One thing I noticed during the clicker training is that, since clicker’s click sound can capture the exact moment you like, it seems that communication between us got better and that lead to the faster learning for each behavior.

 For example, ringing the bell for the potty seemed to be complicated at first but fear not. Palette learned what the bell means, what she needs to do to go to potty in less than half a day! I was surprised to see she understands what I would like her to do.

 However, depending on what to teach, sometimes, it takes time to get it complete. Training is not an over night fix,and rather continuous work throughout their life and, we need to be patient,be calm, and be consistent to make it work.

People has their own method to teach things to their canine family members. Some use electric collars,some uses water spray, some uses the philosophy ” you are the leader of the pack and let the dog be submissive to you”, and some uses more gentle effective approach-clicker training.

Have you ever wondered what impact would each method make in terms of dog’s behavior/dog’s mind?

Just recently, I came across interesting articles on the training method and dog’s behavior after the specific training method and I thought I would share with you here.

How your dog training technique influences your dog’s behavior…

According to science daily article written by University of Bristol in UK, using misplaced ideas about dog behavior and dog training is likely to cause the unwanted behavior rather than phasing it out.

The new study shows that despite the popular belief told by the popular TV dog trainer, the aggressive dog is not trying to be assertive over the canine furriends or human packs,according to the research published by University of Bristol Department of Clinical veterinary science in the Journal of veterinary behavior .

The researchers spent 6 months studying dogs and reanalyzing the data from the feral dogs and concluded that the individual relationships between the dogs are learnt through the experience, rather than not maintaining the place in their pecking order in their pack.

They think that training targeted at “dominance reduction” are far from helpful and rather, it can be dangerous and worsen the behavior.

The training technique; pinning the dog on the floor, grabbing the muzzle, blasting noise maker (idea was coming from the theory that we must become the assertive leader of the pack as it would have been in the wolf pack) , would make dogs anxious about the owner, and escalate the level of the aggression  of the dog in the question.

In the article, Dr Rachael Casey says that dogs often learn to show aggression when such technique is used to avoid the punishment. Some dogs are fearful and show aggression towards people.

The article says that many technique used to train dogs his owner is the leader of the pack will either end up with a dog so fearful that it surpass all the natural dog behaviors or the one so aggressive that it is dangerous to be around.

You can read the full article at science daily website here.

Another interesting fact how the technique;being assertive over the dog, influences dog’s behavior is that, another researchers in UK claims that each series of the technique put back the dog’s behavior by 10 years.

From the study done in University of Bristol, experts there says that it was far more effective to train the dogs with reward rather than punishment.

You can read the full article at telegraph news paper article here.

Dr Sophia yin DVM has a great article on what does “dominance” mean, what behavior response you would see in dogs when punishment/force based training techniques are used as well as how you can teach your dogs what to do under certain situation without relying on the old training technique.

You can read her full article at her website here. I find it very informative and I think you would too.

I think whichever training method you would use for your dogs, you would need to set up the rules and need to teach them what they should do on the certain situation. Question rises when how you teach the rules to them.

I find that teaching your dog  “what to do” ,rather than “what not to do” is much easier and, using force free training technique is more effective and dogs enjoys them because they think it is the game and fun.

Next time you train your dogs, you can review yourself, and see how your approach is making an impact on your dog’s behavior.

The training should not have to be the doggie boot camp.



May 19, 2014 | Comments are off | Dog Training

How to intoroduce the newborn baby to your dog

 “O-ha-yo-u! Ge-n-ki Ka-na..(Translation: Good morning! How are you?” )

 Looking at my belly,I rub my belly with my hands, I talk to my little son every morning like this.

 I am currently in 24th week and, since 21st week, I have started feeling his movement. Since then, me and my husband started talking to them; me in Japanese, he in English.

 Every time we feel his little kick as if responding to what we talk to him, we smile ear to ear and, it makes us very happy.

 For me and my husband, it was emotionally, physically hard road to get to the point we can have and carry our own baby and, each and every little kick means a lot to us.

Our little son’s foot..

 Now we know that we will be having a son around summer, I have started thinking more about life with our little son, especially how we manage our little son and princess Palette the Corgi.

 Palette does great with people, old and new. She does good with screaming,running, touchy kids, but she has never had a chance to meet a baby,who makes sound she would not have heard of before.

 At this moment, I do not know how she would react to the baby but, I wanted to learn and practice for the arrival of our little son.

  I love watching dog
related TV shows such as dog training show like Victoria Stilwell’s “Its
Me Or The Dog”, and I love reading dog magazines. Through those
materials, I knew somewhat what is good thing to do when you introduce
the newborn baby to the dog such as “bringing the baby’s blanket from
hospital to home and let your dog to sniff at it and let them familiarize the baby’s scent.

 However, I did  not know much in depth.

 Therefore, I thought I would like to spend time to learn more about how you can introduce your newborn baby to your dog in the house.

 Then, if there were something we can practice before our little son will come join us, I thought, it will be great to have practice time with Palette.

Dogs need adjustment for the new routine..

 Right now, Palette gets all the attention, and she lives great life.

 However, from dog’s point of view, that full attention will be divided between her and our little son when he comes to our house in summer.

 Not only that, her regular routine from meal time, walk time, potty time, play time, and training time etc.. might get shifted due to new routines surround around our little son. Especially, he is our very first son and, I am sure, it would take time to get used to everything we do with him.

 Plus, she will find new tools she has never seen. She would hear the sound she has never heard. She would smell the scent she has never smelled before…

 Because of all the new changes, she may get stressed out.

 Because of the stress, she might have potty accident in the house even if she was well potty trained.

 When baby arrives home, everybody in the house needs adjustment. However, often times, new parent’s focus is set on the  new baby. What about the dog in the house?

 What can you do to help them adjust to the new environment/routine etc..?

 I have asked around to those who has had experience with introducing a baby to the dog, and I have got plenty of good suggestions and, I have certainly have good time to learn and practice.

 Of course, as with any dog training issue, we need patient,consistency and commitment.

 Before anything, I think no matter how stressed I might be with new things to do with baby, I think that Palette could sense my emotion just like the time she can sense I am not feeling so great. Therefore, I should learn to be relaxed and calm.

 One suggestion I got was to reward the dog every time he/she shows interests to the baby; good thing happens when they are around the baby.This is to create the positive association with the baby.

 I thought it makes sense because if you were removing the dog every time the baby is around, dog could think that baby equal bad.

 Another suggestion I thought is good is that introducing the baby tool such as cribs, stroller, changing station, and more even before the baby is born.

 Someone suggested to take Palette for a walk with empty stroller before our little son is born.

 Desensitizing dogs to baby stuff from early on will be good idea.

 One other suggestion that I got from experienced moms on the topic was to make one area baby free zone so dog can have rest and relax there.

 This suggestion comes from positive dog trainer “Amber Walker” from Animal institutions.

 When I read the suggestion, I remembered one occasion,where my in law brother’s 2 kids were playing with Palette but one point time, Palette got enough of it and while the kids were away for a second, she excused herself to the room where we were staying at my mother-in law house.

 For her, that room was that kids free zone and, she felt relaxed.

 I thought it is the great suggestion and we can certainly work on that for Palette to be rest well, and relaxed;stress free.

 Amber wrote a great article on the very topic;baby and a dog for e-magazine here.

 In it, she writes ..

** to keep the routine as closely as possible.

** to keep treats in every room so you can rewar your dog every time they were doing good thing to the baby (praise the positive reaction to the baby)

 Then, I thought of.. dogs loves stinky stuff like.. Palette find kitty poop delicacy although she does not show any interests in dog’s poop.

 That got me thinking that, we need to make sure that she cannot get into the diaper,and put them out of reach that include the time when we are changing diapers in front of her.

 For other expecting moms living with dogs, I was introduced to the website where many baby-dog resource can be found on the web called “Family paws“. You can find article regarding topic on the website as well.

 The blog section here has interesting topics to read.

 When babies can move around..

 Once baby can move around, of course, as always, supervision is important but also it is important to teach your baby how to interact with/approach to your dog.

 Not only dog needs to learn to interact with baby, baby also needs to learn how to interact/approach to the dog.

 Kids sometimes do what dogs do not appreciate;pulling fur, step on the tail, hugging etc and no matter how calm,gentle dog you have, there will be a threshold and dog could snap at the kids and it may end up with injury.

 If the dog was old dog, then, kids might touch where they feel pain and it could cause the dog to snap at the kid.

 Sometimes, parents blame dogs for snapping at the kid but, it is not always the dogs that were bad.

 What are your tips and suggestions for new/expecting moms with dogs in the house?

Apr 16, 2014 | Comments are off | Dog Training

Clicker training with birds

 In the previous entry titled “Clicker training:Clicker is your friend“, I wrote that

The trainer’s whistle tells seals or dolphin or whale
they did good job and they have just earned their yummy fish. (to read
more,please click here)

The clicker
training was first introduced to me when I enrolled into puppy training
class. Clicker is small training tool that has metal that makes unique

 This sound is so unique that dogs would probably not hear the
same sound in their daily life other than in clicker training session.
This makes training more effective.

After dogs started looking for treats when they hear the sound, it can tells you they now know what clicker sound means.

kinds of treats you would use for?

 Since repetition is the key,and give
lots of treats during training session, it is best to find something
you can break into small pieces by hands or by scissors to lentil size
(quarter inch or less),which dog can swallow treats and not require

This means,no biscuits treats for training session because crunching slow down the speed of training.


 Clicker training is not just for mammals or dogs but also can be used for birds as well.

 Have you seen a bird being trained with clicker?

 It is amazing to see how simple clicker can become a powerful training tool to communicate with various kinds of animals,and being able to teach “what to do” positively without physical force.

 You do not need any “tools” to teach “what not to do” to shape your pets with force physically.

 To show you how simple clicker can teach not just dogs or mammals but also birds as well, I decided to share the youtube video that I came across recently.

 The video provides very useful tips you can take away for your dog’s training too.

Building Trust with your birds..

 Do you clicker training other kind of animals?
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Apr 28, 2013 | Comments are off | Dog Training

Amazing canine actors Standard poodle Parti Boys “Scotty” and Joey”

 As you already know, “Palette” the Corgi is clicker trained,and I love teaching Palette some funny tricks.

 Some tricks that she learned became her chore in the house. Some tricks she learned became things to entertain people in the house.

 When we do doggy school time (training time), I can see she is very ready and willing to learn new stuff each day.

 I love seeing her huge grin on her face,and she enjoys training time with me. I enjoy every moment I train her because I know we both are having a lots of fun.

Palette with clicker

Time for da training,mom!

In the previous entry titled “Mental exercise for your dogs“, you have seen the youtube video of the clicker trained horse.

Clicker training is not just for dogs, but for many variety of animals.

In fact, in the previous entry titled “Clicker training ;clicker is your friend“,

 To read more on history of clicker training at petplace website,please click here

 Below is the clicker that I use for Palette.

th Dog bone clicker

Dog bone clicker..

The clicker sound is so unique that dogs would probably not hear the same sound in their daily life other than in clicker training session.

 This makes training even more effective.

 Plus, dogs seems to have lots of fun during the training time because to dogs, the training with clicker is kind of like “thinking game” plus, they seem to learn quicker than force based training technique.

Positive dog trainer “Victoria Stilwell” from It’s Me or the Dog on Animal Planet channel has youtube videos. I came across a few good videos to show you how clicker training works at glance.

 Victoria Stilwell also has her own website “Positively” and,you can find lots of great information regarding training there too.

Palette and I started clicker training just like Victoria did in the first video; teaching dogs to associate the sound of clicker and yummy treats.

 Then, start clicking -treating when dogs gave you preferred behavior and when you think they have solid connection between clicker sound with preferred behavior,name the behavior right before the behavior happens and treat them..

Lets watch how clicker training starts out,and how itty bitty puppy can learn “sit” with clicker training quite fast.

Clicker training..

Palette and I learned together with clicker training,but you can use the same technique/principle to clicker training to teach your dog desired behavior without a clicker, and praise your dog “Good boy” too.

 Teaching a puppy to “sit” with clicker training principle..

 If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

 Isn’t it amazing to see how fast itty bitty puppy can learn to “sit”?

However, this training video shows that you can train your dogs positively even without a clicker.I think it is a great video.

 As you can see above in the videos,clicker training principle is not just for grown up dogs.Itty bitty puppy can learn stuff pretty fast too,even without a clicker!

 Once dogs can associate clicker sound and yummy treats, and start understanding the whole process of clicker training, now the new thinking game begins each time and they can learn so many things with clicker.

Clicker trained dogs can learn to act too!

 Meet amazing standard Poodle “Scotty” and “Joey”.

 Their mom “Charlene” clicker trained “Scotty” and “Joey”, and started making short movies using actions/behavior only taught by clicker training method.

 Here is the short movie ” Halloween Dog Adventure; A Bag of rats


If you are a blog subscriber,please click here.

Isn’t it amazing knowing how far you can train your dogs using only clicker training?

 I thought “Scotty”,”Joey” and their mom “Charlene” did great job. 

Great fun movie for spooky Halloween night!

 After watching the amazing acts by Scotty and Joey in the movies, I wanted to know more about the stories behind the scene.

 Scotty and Joey’s mom “Charlene” gave me some great tips about clicker training your dogs.

 Lets hear from Charlene about what clicker training is about, how she trained Scotty and Joey and learn more about clicker training.

 Yassy: Thank you for taking your time to talk about clicker training. The movie was very fun to watch and, I really enjoyed other movies besides Halloween Dog Adventure;A bag of rats.

Scotty and Joey were great in the movies.

I was introduced to clicker training when we enrolled into puppy training class with Palette. I was amazed to see how fast she can learn new stuff from basic “sit” to trick training such as “go hide under the blankie” etc and, how much she enjoys the training time.I like using clicker for the training because it can mark the right exact behavior without delay,and there will be no miscommunication between me and Palette.She knows what behavior exactly has earned yummy treats. She loves the training time

As soon as she hears me picking the treat pouch up,she comes right up right in front of me, laying down like sphinx and, I give her itty bitty treats to her. I really do not have to call her for the training time.

It has been long time since Palette’s puppy training class graduation day,but we are still using the clicker to train Palette.It is really great to see how far clicker trained dogs can do for the entire movies only using clicker training method.

I know you clicker trained them, but why did you choose clicker training?

Charlene: When I was young (many years ago), I loved watching dogs on television and in movies (Rin Tin Tin, Hobo, Benji, Lassie, Boomer, etal), and I wanted to train my own dog like that. However, at that time, there were very few books about “trick” training and no classes at all.In the late 1980s, after reading Karen Pryor’s book “Don’t Shoot the Dog”, I attended one of her first seminars for dog people.  There, I learned about the power of isolating a specific behavior (or part of a behavior) by “marking” it with a clicker.Soon after that, I bought a set of videotapes featuring Ted Turner, an exotic animal trainer from Sea World, titled “The ABCs of Behavior Shaping and The Fundamentals of Training.”

As Turner pointed out, the only reason people train dogs using force is because they can.  He said that one could not teach a killer whale to perform using any method other than positive reinforcement.

 I knew that I wanted to use only positive reinforcement with my own dogs so, after learning the fundamentals of training from Karen Pryor and Ted Turner, I began applying these techniques to behaviors I wanted to teach my own dogs.
Today, novice trainers are lucky in that there is a wealth of clicker-training information on such Internet sites as

Yassy: Our first clicker training teacher was our puppy training class trainer and, after Palette graduated from puppy training class, I too read lots of training books such as book via Ian Dunber,or magazines article via Pat Miller, behavior articles via Patricia McConnell and watch dog training show such as “It’s Me or The Dog” via Victoria Stilwell, and also joined in the dog training lists that consists of professional positive dog trainers and non professional dog trainer people,who love to train their dogs positive way by clicker training.I learned tips on clicker training through those sources. I still am in the process of learning because I learn new thing every day.

Youtube videos along with TV shows are great with visual and, it helps me understand better how the clicker training process works. They are great source to learn. What do you like about clicker training?


Charlene: I like that the “click” is a distinct sound that isolates the behavior I want my dog to repeat, making it easier for him or her to understand what is expected.It is especially helpful in teaching “natural” behaviors such as yawning, scratching, sneezing, etc. as I can click the exact moment the dog is doing the behavior.Receiving a click and a reward makes the dog more likely to repeat what got them the reward. Clicking and reinforcing the behavior over time will ultimately allow me to get the behavior on-cue.I carry a clicker and cookies on me at all times and am ready to “capture” a behavior I see my dogs doing.

Yassy: I like that idea. I also like clicker training can be a “thinking game” for dog. When you click the behavior you want at the right moment, dogs start to “think” and explore what behavior has earned the click from you. I recently taught Palette to bring a tissue paper when I sneeze.It was fun. 

One funny moment of the day was when I was reviewing her trick repertoire, and I pretended to sneeze, she remembered to go get me a tissue paper but, since it was rather newer trick, I asked her other trick such as play bow, play dead etc and back to sneeze again.I did that about a couple of times.She was doing all that with huge Corgi smile but, then when she heard me sneeze for the last time I pretended, she thought she should give me a box of tissue paper, and brought a whole box of tissue box,lol.It was quite awkward for her to carry the whole tissue box because she is so short and stubby. However, she brought it for me all the way with trouble anyway.

I smiled at her and gave her a few pieces of treats non stop, and she was very happy about that

I thought she is very considerate dog.

 Palette is our very first dog, and we have never had more than 1 dog.
  Watching your movies, I was wondering how you trained them. Did you trained them together or did you trained them separately? How did you let them know the click sound is for Scotty, for example, and not Joey’s? I am sure there are many people out there with multiple dogs who are trying to training their dog positive way (clicker training). Do you have any tips on clicker training multiple dogs?
Charlene: As I always have more than one dog, I often train them together. One of my objectives in training is preparing my dogs to “act” in the movies my husband and I produce so the dogs are often in scenes together.In training, sometimes I will switch back and forth between two (or more) dogs, having one (or more) doing a stationary behavior such as sit/stay or down/stay while one is doing something active such as going to a
mark and performing behaviors there.Then I will switch to the other dog who will then do the active behaviors while the other does a stationary
one.  Also, I will often have them do interactive behaviors such as one dog sitting while the other dog circles around him or one in a “down” while the other jumps over him . . . and things of that nature.
 When I work with all four dogs at once, they have learned to respond to cues in two ways: First, if I look at one dog and say its name and give a cue, only that dog is to respond to that cue.  I reward all four if the named dog responds to his cue and the other three do not.Often, I will have each dog (in a line) responding to its name and a
different cue from any of the others.  Second, if I give a cue with *no* dog’s name in the front of it and I sweep my eyes over the group, they are all to respond to that cue.  (I reward only the ones who do it correctly which makes any that don’t pay closer attention next time.)I don’t try to differentiate voice tones or clicks or anything like that between dogs . . . they all hear the same voice tone and the same clicker.

Yassy: Those are great tips! Eye contact,and starts training using their name right before the cue first.

Thank you very much for great tips and insight of clicker training.

 Charlene has great website called “Canine horizon” that has lots of information on dog training, and you can find more dog movies there as well.

 To visit Canine horizon website,please click here.

“Scotty” and Joey” has their own website,too.

 To get to know them better,please click here.

You can also find them on youtube here.

I have watched some more movies beside “Halloween Dog Adventure: A Bag of rats”, and I enjoyed watching their movies a lot.

 Happy Halloween!

 What are your favorite movies by Scotty,Joey and Charlene?

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Oct 31, 2012 | Comments are off | Dog Training

Look at the world through a dog’s point of view;barking,chewing and more

 Have you realized most of common dog behavior problems you would like to stop or curb them are natural canine behaviors or something we kept reinforcing the behavior without any intention?

Barking can become problems for you if your dogs constantly barking,and as I have written on “why dog barks “previously,barking is natural way of communication of dogs. And in case stranger came to your turf, you do not want to stop their barking completely.You want a couple of alert bark for you to notice. Not all barking is bad.They need to communicate with us too. They growl, bark, whine,howl.. Everything has its meaning behind it.We just need to learn the Dogs.

Chewing can also become a big problems if they love chewing your expensive shoes or other inedible stuff in your house.Chewing is also natural behavior of dogs.They need to chew. And if they were puppy, teething time comes. They need to chew to ease the pain. If dogs were grown-ups, still having chewing problems, then you need to see why they are chewing things and, teach them what is allowed to chew.

Jumping up on people is also common dog behavior problems especially if your dogs were big dogs. They can push a little kids pretty hard by jumping up to them. But again, jumping up is their way of showing excitement or greeting.

Digging in the yard, making huge holes to sniff or bury is also natural behavior of dogs. It just not something we human would appreciate it if they dug in beautiful flower garden or vegetable garden.

Stealing socks or any other stuff and run off can be another problems you like to stop, but rewind the time when your dog stole something from you and runoff, what did you do? Did you chase after them? Chasing is pretty fun activity for dogs and, if you were chasing the dog with stolen items in their mouth, chances are, you were reinforcing the behavior without you noticing it.

Begging is another problem you could be reinforcing the behavior if you gave your dogs something off the table every time they give you puppy eyes.Dogs do what worked for them and if something worked for their favor,they would keep doing it.Ignore puppy eyes,don’t talk to them or look at them.They would give up.

There are some more things in the list but,my point was that some of the behavior problems are often dog’s natural behavior or something you kept reinforcing them without noticing it.

 So,what can we do about it?

I think many of the behavior problems such as chewing,barking,digging etc can be helped largely by

1.taking your dogs for long walks balls or Frisbee in the yard hide and seek inside or outside the house

4.daily training at home -should be short one

5.agility class-dog goes through many obstacles;jumping poles,weave poles,tunnels etc and,it helps building confidence and it can become good outlet for pent-up energy

These are basically mental/physical exercise.Exercise is very good for making bond with your dogs stronger as well.Adding to this list,you can add some more of  mental/physical exercise.

**Find it game inside house-this is nice mental exercise.Palette enjoy this game a lot.

**buster cube (treat/kibble dispenser)-you can make your own interactive toy with cereal box (watch Palette enjoys homemade interactive toy here. Very bottom video in the entry is my homemade interactive toy made with cereal box.)

**raw feeding diet – ripping,tearing,chewing edible bones are great way for mental/physical exercise. Raw feeding diet gives plenty of opportunity to chew/eat the bones in addition to mental/physical exercise.Read more on raw feeding diet here.

Adding to these mental/physical exercise list,you can try some other things to help curb specific problems.

With barking,you want to listen what they say. Barking has its meaning behind it. Could be delivery guy,trash truck,tress passing people in your yards,potty call,fear,boredom,unfamiliar noise,attention seeking..

I prefer to allow my dog a couple of barks.I usually go to her and look what she is barking at,then I say “Enough” and get her attention by blocking her view and she usually sit nicely,no barking. So,when she stopped barking,I click the clicker,give her small tiny treats saying”Thank you”.

You can also teach your dog to bark on cue (speak)and teach your dog to be “quiet” on cue. If your dog were quite barker and you cannot get their attention while they are barking,you can teach them”Speak”&”quiet”. Anytime you find your dog starts barking, you click the clicker,give them a small teats.You then say “Speak”,click and give treats. Next step,ignore your dog barking until they stop barking or interrupt the barking to stop such as blocking the view.And as soon as dog stop barking,click the clicker give them a treats saying”quiet”.You can repeat this many times.But before click for speak/quiet on cue,you need to let your dogs know that clicking sound equal to yummy treats coming.

So,if your dogs were new to clicker,just simply click when your dog looks at you(give attention) and give them a small treats.Repeat it many times.This practice let dogs associate clicker sound with yummy treats and clicker becomes very effective tool.Don’t use dog biscuits or snack type treats that dogs cannot swallow for rewards.Use something you can break into small pieces either by hands or by scissor.You can read more on clicker training entry titled”Clicker is your friendshere.

Some people suggest to scold your dogs when not stop barking or spritz water to their face.I oppose to this idea because I feel it is aversive. What it does is that you tell your dog if dog misbehave something, uncomfortable/bad thing happens. This is not right.You should be teaching them what they should do, NOT what they should not do. I do not like the tool that gives off citrus scent when they bark either. I do not like shock collar that gives zaps when dogs do something not supposed to do,either.

With chewing problems, if your dogs were at teething period,you can do a couple of things. Our vet told us to give Palette ice cube to nibbles on to ease the pain. Cold temperature numb the gum and it helps teething pain.Also,he suggested to give Palette frozen water soaked cloth. Just put cloth in water,squeeze a little water out and put it in the freezer.Then,give it to chew on.Coldness again helps to numb the gum and helps pain. If you like variety for this method,you could make variety of flavored ice cubes by homemade broth.

Here is homemade broth for Palette I used to make. Store bought chicken or beef broth usually
contains additives called “yeast extract” (MSG) even if the broth container says it is all natural and organic.

So,what I did was just pour water in sauce pan,drop lamb rib bone (You can drop beef rib bones if your dog likes beef best),heat it up and take bone out for trash (Do NOT feed cooked bone.It is hard,brittle,splinter sharp and indigestible).Then, pour the liquid into plastic container and put it in fridge
when cool. Next morning,get rid of fat you can find on top.There you have your homemade broth! So,you can vary the flavor by putting many kinds of rib bones in water and can make unique broth for your dogs. You can then make ice cube out of it.Too much fat can cause digestive upset and, too many of these flavored ice cube may not be a good ideas.Maybe occasional jackpot?

If dogs with chewing problems were all grown-ups,then,you need to review their daily activity,and if necessary, teach them what is allowed to chew on.It could be from boredom or maybe they just don’t know what are ok to chew on,or maybe by attention seeking if they kept getting attention even if negative ones,or maybe by separation anxiety.

Adding to physical/mental exercise list above,here are some things you can do.Pickup everything that are on floor they can mouth on. Doggy-proof the house.Then,provide chews that they can chew on. Giving chew is not the ultimate solution for any behavior problems.Mental/physical exercise comes first,and chews are just supplemental thing to help them.

Bully sticks are good,dogs love them, but it just last 30min or so entertainment for my 33lb Corgi. So, I tend to give those for big jackpot in training occasionally as reward of “Find it game” (I hide her toy in the house while she is sit-stay at one spot,then,she goes look for toys.This is a little up level game for her, but she gets jackpot treat after this.She gets very excited) .

What are on floor for her to chew at our house is Deer Antlers.This is basically deer horn,if you will. No refrigeration necessary.It is naturally shed and collected.Our Deer Antlers comes with different color,thickness,length,shapes and it provides variety even if you got two Antlers. Occasionally,we gets all straight Antlers in stock, but if there were different shapes,we include different shaped Antlers for order.

What is good about it is that,it lasts pretty long. Guess how long my dog is on the same Antler?

She is chewing on the same L size Antler for 1.5 year plus. By chewing,it grinds down and it does not splinter and it gives natural minerals etc and I like it better than any other chew for long lasting chew.Palette spends 2 times a day,15 minutes session. It worth the cost for chew.Supervise while they are chewing it though. You can read more on Deer Antlers for long lasting chew here. Or, you can read taste test entry on Antlers with titled “Palette’s note:   Deer Antlers

This is also important to remind yourself not to play with your socks or anything you don’t want to be chewed on with your dogs. If you played with socks,you are sending mixed confusing messages to your dogs.And I do not buy squeaky toys that is similar shaped to slippers or shoes.It will be confusing for dogs.The would think why same shaped items are sometimes not allowed,sometimes ok to chew on.

Other than Antlers,we have toy box. It is full of toys for Palette. She never gets to pick what she wants from the box.It has lid on them so she can’t open by herself. What I do is put out 4-5 toys for Palette to play with and rotate it next week. So,for her,there are some toys on floor that are different from week to week. It is good way to keep their interests in their toys. If you leave the house,probably letting them rest in their crate will be better because you can’t supervise them when they play with their toys. If you prefer to let them be at home outside the crate,you may want to pick up toys such as squeaky toys that could be de-stuffed and ingested.Then,instead,give them kong for them or take them to doggy daycare.They can look after your dogs while you cannot be home for long period of times and dogs get to play and energy out with their doggy friends.This would help when dogs chew things due to separation anxiety too.

If dogs were chewing things due to attention seeking,then,making time to play with them a lot,petting them a lot or take time to do something with them would help curb the behavior.If the dogs chewed shoes to get your attention, even negative response from you is in their favor.Suppose dog chewed shoe one hour ago and,you come in and get mad at them,but dogs would not see why you are mad.You need to catch them in the act to let them know,but you should be calm,not mad.Just like when you do potty training.If you caught them in the act,get their attention and give them appropriate chew item and when they take the item chew on it,praise them big.

With jumping up to people problem,you can practice a lot at home. As soon as dog start jumping up to you,show them back,ignore the jumping then, when4 paws are on floor,lower yourself and give them a treat. Dogs try jumping up to you because they are happy to see you,but if that did not get your attention,they get bored and calm down.

Jumping up usually happen when you come home.Dogs are happy,excited,they want to greet you. You can do just ignore the jumping,stepping inside the house,no eye contact with your dog. Simply ignore them completely.Don’t talk to them.Talking to them makes them more excited. When you see them calm down,looking up at you with 4 paws on floor,praise them.Then,you sit on floor,offer petting time.

With digging problem,you can offer place where they are allowed to dig. You can make digging space by putting sand in wooden box. It is more fun if you got jackpot treats in it.Every time you find them digging the place they are allowed to dig,you can praise them.

If you think you have dogs that have behavior problems,review yourself first. You can be sending confusing message to them,or maybe you may be reinforcing the bad behavior without your knowledge.Maybe you are not taking them for a walk good enough.Maybe you are not providing enough mental/physical exercise.

Then,if necessary, teach them what they need to do with clicker. Make the training short and fun.Always finish the training after they succeeded.I myself finish Palette’s training session with her favorite”find it” game. I like watching her trotting around house with her nose up in the air,down on the ground with excitement. Let them earn the treat. Palette does not get “FREE” treats.She needs to earn it by herself.You can watch my Corgi “Palette” play “Find it” game here.

Don’t give them one biscuits per behavior or other unbreakable treats per good behavior.That is too much treats.It adds up kcal.Give them lots of small tiny lentil size treats (cubed lung treats or any other Jerky type,dehydrated treats that you can break up into small pieces) as rewards. Rewards does not have to be food/treats.It can be by pat on the head,scratch around chest,tug of war.. anything dog loves. After all,you would not be carrying treats all the time.

Key of good training Palette has taught me is to be patient,be consistent,be calm. Look at the world through a dog’s point of view.


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Jul 29, 2009 | Comments are off | Dog Training

Clicker training;Clicker is your friend

  If you have read dog training books or dog training TV shows,chances are you have heard of the term “Clicker training”.

Have you ever wondered how it was applied to canine training?

 According to

The trainer’s whistle tells seals or dolphin or whale they did good job and they have just earned their yummy fish. (to read more,please click here)

Clicker training was first introduced to me when I enrolled into puppy training class.

Clicker is small training tool that has metal that makes unique sound. This sound is so unique that dogs would probably not hear the same sound in their daily life other than in clicker training session. This makes training more effective.

Below is Palette’s clicker. White clicker is the one I got from puppy training class,but it makes louder sound and it made Palette scared of the sound.

Therefore,we got 3 tone adjustable dog bone clicker (green one) that does not make too loud noise. Maybe the fact that Palette being a herding dog,she maybe sensitive to the sound. I use green one for Palette’s clicker training.

th Dog bone clicker



Clicker training basic..

First,puppy class trainer has taught us to teach dogs to associate clicker sound and yummy treats.

During this session,we were told to just click and treat,click and treat.

After dogs started looking for treats when they hear the sound, it can tells you they now know what clicker sound means.

What kinds of treats you would use for?

Since repetition is the key,and give lots of treats during training session, it is best to find something you can break into small pieces by hands or by scissors to lentil size (quarter inch or less),which dog can swallow treats and not require crunching.

This means,no biscuits treats for training session because crunching slow down the speed of training.

I like using dehydrated dog treats that you can snap into very small pieces. Currently,our dog “Palette” is getting Aunt Jeni’s lung treats.

It is a dehydrated grass-fed beef or lamb lung treat.It is flat type,not cubed type.Very easy to break with your hands. Small sheet of dehydrated goat lung treats “Dogitos” makes lots of training treats.

Dehydrated treats such as our brand of “Surf Turf Jerky” (Grass-fed buffalo meat with wild caught salmon with skin on.This will be made to order.), or Wild West Cowboy Jerky (Grass-fed Beef  Jerky treats made with single ingredient “Grass-fed grass-finished Beef meat”.This Jerky is also made to order Jerky.) etc.. that we have on our store is also easy to cut to small bits with hands or scissors.

Below is how I broke up Dogitos (dehydrated lung treats)  into pieces.

Piece you can see on your left hand side is about 1 inch or so I think. You can see how much you can get out of small piece of treats.

Please don’t give your dog 1 whole piece as training treats per click.It is way too much for training treats.


Goat Dogitos (dehydrated grass-fed goat lung treats) cut into small pieces for training ..

After dogs associate the clicker sound with yummy treats, you can use the clicker for almost anything to teach.

Basic command from sit,stay,down to funny/cute tricks such as play bow, to behavior reinforcement such as heal (loose leash walk),go to crate on cue,or to grooming matters such as nail clipping. Possibility is unlimited. And, it is a lot of fun for dogs.

With impaired hearing dogs,they can use flash light or hand sign instead of clicker.(to read full story,please click here)

How clicker training works is that, when dogs did what you asked them to do,click the clicker and give them a treat.

Repeat it,finish the training with success or better yet fun game like “Find it game” just like I do for our dog “Palette” (To watch how Palette play “Find it” game,please click here.).That is it.Very easy.Kids can train dogs, too.

Good thing about clicker is that you can mark your dogs exact behavior you like without delaying split seconds. If you teach “Sit” with clicker,as soon as your dog’s butt touch the floor with paws all on floor,click and treat.

Therefore,they know sit means 4 paws on floor with butt on floor.If you use “Good boy” as way to tell him he did good.Sometimes,he may perceive it as you rewarded him the behavior of  “sit and then jump up”.

I use clicker until Palette knows cue & behavior,and I fade it away and use verbal reward with unscheduled treats or nice quick petting ( I sometimes give her 3 pieces of treats,sometimes I just give verbal reward only for couple of times and then next time she did correctly,I give 1 treats or I let her do all the commands without treats and give her one small snack such as trachea (AKA Moo-tubes) at the end and she crunch it down as jackpot treats, etc.

I make myself hard to predict. Reward does not have to be food.It can be nice couple of petting,or big gesture to tell them they did good,or fetch ball.

The treats does not have to come all the time after each every single command once they know what cue was it for. After all,you would not want them to rely on clicker to give you nice behavior,and you would probably don’t have treats or clicker all the time.

If Palette seemed to forget what the cue was for, for example,I go back to click and treats again.

After 3 years of clicker training for Palette,I taught her lots of things. She can do many things. She licks her muzzle on cue,help you taking off your socks,shake hands,wave paws,high 5,play dead,go hide on cue,go get leash for walk,close the door,weave through my legs,figure eight,scratch on cue etc..list goes on.

Clicker training is fun,very effective way to train your dogs.

However, you cannot feel hurry.You still need patience,and repetition with baby steps. Make your bond with your dog stronger through the training and have fun with them.

The Key for the training,I think,are being patient,be calm (don’t get frustrated),be consistent, and make it fun,make the training time short.

I usually do training about 5 minutes or so per day. See what Palette leaned with clicker training;Close the door,with video clip.

When I do laundry,she usually follows me to the room,then wait on me with down position.As soon as she sees me out from the room,she goes behind the door and close the door for me.

If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

Palette close the door on cue..


  Are you ready for clicking?

** Please note that I am not a dog trainer.**


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Jun 15, 2009 | Comments are off | Dog Training

Tug of war

 Tug of war is one of the common play in human or canine.

 In Japan, from kindergarten through high school,it was one of the sports always played at school’s sports festival. For human tug of war sports, communication,timing becomes very important to win.It is such a simple sport with simple rule,but it was fun playing at school.

 In canine version of tug of war, what “tug of war” is same:tugging each other and play,but having a rule is important if you participate in this canine tug of war with your dog. I have heard of this type of play being a controversial, but I personally think that as long as you initiate the play,and decide when to play,when to finish it is still a fun play with your dog. And if you have seen Agility competition or police k9 training,tug of war seem to be used as reward as well.

 When I play Tug of war with my stumpy little dog “Palette”, I pick the tug of war toy,and usually,just having it in my hands and move around gets her attention. She gets excited,following around me, and maybe some barks at me. I just ignore her and walk up to the place where I like to play,and she follows me and shows her excitement with pawing at me or barks occasionally.

 My rule number one for playing with my dog is that I never start any kinds of play unless she sits nicely and stop barking. She already knows how to get me in the favorite play quicker so,she tends to sit and quiet before play soon.

 Once my dog gets sit,gives me attention and quiet,I say “Take it” and play tug of war but now and then during the tug game, I say “Give” or “Down” or “Bang!(Play dead) or “Spin” etc and I give her little treats every time she did her tricks. It is, in a sense, like playing “Musical chair” if you will. it is just my version of tug of war play. If I say ” Give” and if my dog released the tug toy,I give treats and then,I pause one second and make sure she sits and quiet before continuing the tug play.

 But I think that before playing the tug of war play with your dog, teaching your dog “Take it” and  “Give” (or Drop it) maybe the first thing in the “To-do list”. Teaching “Take it” is easy. When your dog pick up the object, you click and treat. And you can repeat it over and over and soon,your dog learn “Take it” means pick up the object.then,you can teach command “Give”.One important rule in teaching ” give” command is that when you say “Give” and when your dog did not release the object in the mouth,you do not want to pull it to take it away,and make sure you give it back to him as soon as he release the object. This is to let your dog knows that “Give” does not mean that the precious toy or food or whatever he is having is not going to take it away forever, but it comes back to him. I practiced with my dog “Give” with many different items from ball,toy,treats/food,leash(I practiced with leash as well just because I was teaching my dog to bring the leash to me when we go for walk)etc..

 For dogs, one simple difference in environment is perceived as complete different thing. So,for example,if your dog knows “Sit” and do good inside the house does not mean he can do “Sit” in your yard. so, practicing with various environment,various object is good.

 Back to the subject, if your dog did not release the object in the mouth, don’t take the object away with force, just simply be patient,say nothing,just gently holding the object and as soon as your dog release the object,you click and treat. Normally, dog release the object if he were offered higher valued item than whatever he is having in his mouth..

 Here is a good video to show you how to teach “Drop it” /”Give” to your dogs. 

One word of caution though. Playing tug of war is fun,but don’t use socks or something you do not want your dogs to think it as toy.

 Also,no matter what nice dogs they are, with tug of war play, their canine teeth sometimes miss the tug and instead,it can scrape the skin of  hands. You cannot get mad at your dogs because they were not meant to,but if the player was children, you may want to supervise the play,and and if the excitement of the dogs charged up too much,and if you feel the play went too far,you may want to interfere the play and finish the play.

 There are rubber made tug toy but,I personally use rope tug of toy. And I have seen the owner let the dog bite the tug toy and spin and make dog body slightly in the air,hanging with just teeth,but I don’t do that to my dog because I worry that it may hurts my dog’s teeth/jaw.

 Playing with your dogs is fun for both of your dogs and yourself,but it is also great way to make your bond with your dogs stronger.  

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Feb 15, 2009 | Comments are off | Dog Training