Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Review - Kathy Sdao "Plenty in life is free"

Kathy Sdao has just launched a book and dvd called "Plenty in life is free" which is an alternative training model to rank/dominance based training models. In the book and dvd she talks about SMART training and how this can be a simple, effective training method.

What is SMART training?

Smart means SEE, MARK and REWARD training. Which means for all the behaviours you wish to reward and increase when you see them, mark them with a word or a click and reward them. This process will increase the behaviours happening more frequently. 

How to use this simple method?
1. Write a list of behaviours that you would like to see my frequently. e.g. dog lying in their bed, dog sitting, dog retrieving balls, 
2. Have some rewards ready, either on your person or at key places around the house.
3. When you see a behaviour you like say "yes" or "good" or click
4. Reward
5. carry on as normal until you see more behaviours you would like to reward and repeat steps 3 and 4.

Who can use this method?
Anyone with any dog. The more observant you are the more frequently the behaviours can be rewarded.

Can I use this method in class?
Yes, SEE, MARK and REWARD training, can be used anywhere, any time. If you are training your dog in class and they do the behaviour or a behaviour near what you would like than you can MARK the behaviour and REWARD. 

Review by Gemma Palmer 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Crufts Hotel Deal

Crufts Hotel 2012 

We would love to invite all those who are dog lovers to attend the world famous dog show Crufts and stay with us near the NEC. Crufts Dog Show is Thursday the 7th to Sunday the 10th of March 2013 inclusive. 

Fantastic demonstrations and competitions of all the major dog sports including all the finals for heelwork to music, agility and obedience. Of course there is also halls and halls of shopping plus discover dogs too. 

The Rates shown are per room and include a three course evening meal and full english and continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn Coventry. It is a fantastic deal and represents excellent value at greatly reduced prices. The hotel also has bar facilities, a swimming pool with steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi and a gym all inclusive in the room rates. 

If you are competing at Crufts dogs are also welcome in the hotel for a small fee. 

Please remember you cannot take your own dogs to Crufts unless they have qualified to take part. 

The Rates Are: 

For a Double or Twin Room 
Mon to Thurs = £95 per night,
Fri/Sat/Sun = £80 per night 

For Single Occupancy 
Mon to Thurs =£80 per night, 
Fri/Sat/Sun = £65 per night 

For a Triple Room 
Mon to Thurs = £105 per night, 
Fri/Sat/Sun = £90 per night 

If you would like to book a room at the hotel please let me know by the 1st of September 2012 latest – a £10 non refundable deposit is required per room per night by that date. The Balance must be paid before on by the 31st of January 2013. My phone number for any questions or to book is 07958522732 or email miranda@sussexcountydogtraining.co.uk 

Would be great to have you there, Miranda. x

Monday, 12 March 2012

Teaching Your Dog Leave

Teaching Leave 

Leave means "don't interact with that".

"That" may mean a person, dog, rabbit, horse or cat.
"That" could also be a dropped food wrapper or nice steaming pile of fresh horse poop.
"That" is simply the thing you would like your dog to ignore, come away from, drop and leave alone.

"interact" means look at, touch, smell, move towards, think about.

So an example may be to ask your dog to "leave" the child with an ice-cream. As we do not wish to pair a negative with the child we will use a neutral tone of voice when training this command. We will not use harsh lead or collar corrections either. "leave" will start to mean to your dog "better stuff with owner" meaning your dog decides not to mug the child and their ice-cream but to return to you in expectation of something better.

This exercise will also need to be repeated many times in order to create an automatic response in your dog, your dog "leaves" the thing you want it to ignore because they have repeated the exercise "leave" so many times.

This video is from Emily Larlham, it is one of the best methods for teaching "leave":

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Teaching Your Dog To Relax Properly

Relaxing or capturing calmness by Emily Larlham 
This video is a tutorial on how to teach your puppy or dog to be calm. 

It is excellent for teaching dogs to truly relax, teaching a down stay or stay on the bed does not teach the do to relax, it teaches them to stay still. Your dog can still be very tense, stresses or alert even if they are still. Emily uses another dog as a distraction, you can also use other things at a low level which tend to over excite or arouse your dog. Start at a low level of distraction and work up to higher levels as the dog relaxes more and more and as they understand the concept of "settle". 

This can work for dogs who chase shadows, are reactive to people and other dogs, are hyperactive, destructive, stressed or anxious. 

Some dogs need help to learn how to relax. Calmness does not come naturally to some breeds .By reinforcing your dog for being calm, your dog will start to choose calmer behaviors in the future and actually enjoy being calm.

Tips for teaching a Default Settle:
Don’t drop treats if the dog looks up at your hand as you move to give the dog the treat, instead try again later.
Don’t cue the dog “down”. It works better if the dog figures it out on his own and CHOOSES to lay down.
Use high value treats like real meat or cheese for such a wonderful behavior.
Miranda Sasse 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Socialization List

Early socialization is incredibly important. We know that puppies exposed to stimuli they will meet as an adult are almost without exception more confident outgoing adult dogs, they suffer from less anxiety based behavioural issues and have far fewer cases of aggression.

But how do we "socialize" a puppy?

Socialization is the gentle and pleasurable exposure to things your dog will see, hear and smell as an adult dog. The experience must be enjoyable for the puppy as the puppy will remember unpleasant experiences with the same permanence. Here is an example list of things and people which you will ideally socialize your puppy with several times at least before they are 16 weeks old.

  • Children (including toddlers & babies if possible)
  • Teenagers and young adults
  • Adults
  • Elderly
  • Handicapped (people using wheelchairs, canes and walkers too)
  • Tall people
  • Short people
  • Men with beards/moustache/facial hair
  • People wearing hats
  • People with different colour skin/complexion
  • Men with deep voices
  • Women & children with high voices
  • Women/girls with flowing skirts
  • Dogs of all types, Breeds and Ages
  • Cats
  • Rabbits
  • Birds
  • Horses
  • Sheep
  • Cows
  • Parrots

  • The Park - Try a daily walk to your local park, or your nearest dog park if your pup has a reliable recall (i.e. 'comes' when called). You can even 'kill two birds with one stone', by sitting on the ground or on a bench near where children are playing. Feed Fido tasty treats while he watches the kids run and play, and hears their shouts and squeals. This will help him build positive feelings about being around children.

  • The Beach - If you have a dog-friendly beach near you, it can be a great addition to your list of outings.  The feel of the water and sand (be careful when it's really hot though, as little Fido can easily burn the pads of his feet on hot sand) and the sound of the waves and seagulls, are all new and interesting to him.

  • The Forest/Woods -
    Try a short hike through your local woodlands, nature park or nature reserve. The sounds of the birds, twigs snapping and all the fascinating scents will keep Fido enthralled.

  • Local Sports Event - You probably don't want to try a big football game, but a trip to the local youth soccer fields or baseball diamond is a great way to socialize your puppy. The talking, cheering, shouting and all the action on the field, provide a great opportunity for puppy socialization.
There's not enough room here to list all the places you can visit when you're wondering how to socialize a puppy, but the list below has a few good ideas to get you started.

Also, use your imagination and make the most of your particular environment. Great chances for puppy socialization also exist in the following places –

  • Vet's office
  • Local farm or stables
  • Street fair
  • Outdoor cafe or coffee shop
  • Supermarket car park
  • Doggy Day Care
  • Dog Obedience School
  • Pet supply store
  • Drive-thru
  • Skateboard park

Puppy Socialization - Things
There are many things, or objects, that you should introduce Fido to as an important part of his puppy socialization experience.  Some you'll find in your own home or garden, others you'll need to go out looking for:

  • Noisy or moving appliances (e.g. vacuum, washing machine, blender etc.)
  • Stairs and steps
  • Television & radio
  • Cars, trucks & amp; buses
  • Riding IN a car, truck or bus!
  • Police/Ambulance/Fire-engine sirens
  • Bicycles
  • Skateboards and/or roller skates
  • Long grass
  • Gravel paths
  • Letter Boxes
  • Phone Boxes
  • Bin Bags all piled up
  • Large outdoor umbrellas
  • Fans
  • Balloons (singular and big groups of them) 
  • Elevators
  • Wheelchairs, canes & walkers
  • Wind & rain
  • Rivers, Streams and the ocean
Your puppy's socialization program is limited only by your imagination and environment.
Have fun thinking of all the exciting things you can do with your puppy, and be sure to give her plenty of treats and praise whenever she reacts with confidence in a new situation, or when faced with new people or objects.

“Look at That” or LAT Training

The key with “look at that” training is keeping your dog below threshold (i.e. quiet and calm) while teaching them to look at a stimulus they do not normally like and rewarding them for looking at it. To train LAT, use your Clicker Leash to click and reward your dog the second they look at a trigger as long there is no reaction. If your dog is too intense with the triggers being used, start with a neutral target like a piece of paper or other item your dog has no association with and again click as soon as they look at it. When your dog is offering a quick glance towards the target, name it “look.” Your dog will quickly start to look at their triggers and turn back to you for a reward. If your dog does not turn quickly, it is likely because they are over threshold. You should increase the distance between you and the trigger and try again.

Begin playing LAT with a different neutral distraction for about 30 seconds, as often as you can each day. Gradually progress to more challenging distractions such as favourite toys, the mailman, squirrels and approaching people. Once your dog has mastered the game with various distractions, you can progress to using dogs they like and then strange dogs. Remember, the key here is to keep your dog calm during this game. If they begin to growl, bark or lunge, they have gone over threshold and you need to start again with more distance between you and the object.

BAT Training

Behaviour Adjustment Training, or BAT, rehabilitates dog reactivity by looking at why the dog is reactive and helping him or her meet his needs in other ways. In a nutshell, BAT is a dog-friendly application of ‘functional analysis’ that gives the dogs a chance to learn to control their own comfort level through peaceful means. It’s very empowering to your dog, in a good way.

BAT Takes a Functional Approach
When the dog does a problem behaviour, it is usually because an event in their environment, an environmental cue, triggers the dog to want or need something. Fulfilment of the need or want that is triggered by the environmental cue is called the functional reward. Here’s the sequence:

Environmental Cue = Behaviour = Functional Reward

So the functional reward for behaviours done after seeing a steak are the eating of the steak. The functional reward of behaviours done after spotting the squirrel is getting closer to / chasing the squirrel.

To discover the functional reward of a problem behaviour, look at the consequence of the dog’s behaviour – what are they earning from the people, dogs, and world around them by doing the behaviour?

For example, when dogs bark, lunge, growl, etc., one big consequence is usually an increase in distance from the trigger (they scare it away or are allowed to leave themselves). So we use increased distance—walking away from the trigger—as a functional reward.

Basic Steps for Problem Behaviours with BAT

1. Analyze to discover the functional reward of the problem behaviour.

2. Expose to a subtle version of the trigger. Don’t go so close or make it so challenging that the dog does the problem behaviour, including panic or aggression. Make it obvious what the dog should do, but not so easy that he’s not making a choice at all. Breathing should be fairly calm.

3. Wait for good choices (ex. look at trigger, then look away or stop pulling on leash or…). If distress increases, abort the trial rather than letting the dog flounder.

4. Mark with a word or clicker.

5. Give access to a Functional Reward – fulfil the need that triggered the behaviour you are trying to change.

6. Optional Bonus Reward, like food or a toy, esp. on walks - distracts from trigger.

When to Take a Functional Approach
1. You can figure out what the functional reward is for the problem behaviour.

2. You can control access to the functional reward.

3. There is an alternate behaviour that will reasonably earn the same functional reward in the dog’s everyday life.

Counter conditioning and desensitization

These two techniques are often used to change unwanted behaviour in dogs and cats. Just as the term implies, counter conditioning means conditioning (training) an animal to display a behaviour that is counter to (mutually exclusive of) an unacceptable behaviour in response to a particular stimulus. For example, a dog cannot be trying to bite the post lady and at the same time greeting them in a friendly, excited manner.

Desensitization involves gradually exposing a pet to the situation, without provoking the unwanted reaction. If an animal is highly motivated to perform an undesirable behaviour, and if that behaviour is easily and quickly displayed, competing behaviours may be difficult to elicit. That’s where the desensitization part of the process comes into play.

Desensitization is the process of exposing an animal to a stimulus beginning at a very low intensity. So low that it does not result in the undesired behaviour. For example, if a dog becomes fearful and barks at visitors, then the first step would be to find a distance at which the dog does not bark, growl, attempt to flee, or show other signs of fear. The stimulus intensity is then increased gradually (bringing the dog closer to people in the example), without eliciting the unwanted behaviour.

Performed simultaneously, these techniques provide a way in which an animal can be gradually taught to show acceptable behaviour in the face of a stimulus that used to elicit reactive behaviour.

Counter conditioning and desensitization must be implemented very systematically. If the incremental increases are too large, or occur too quickly, the techniques will either not be effective, or may even make the problem worse. Implementing a counter conditioning and desensitization program requires some thought and planning.

Define the starting point. Ideally, a behaviour modification program of this sort should be designed and carried out in such small steps that the problem behaviour never occurs. This means all the stimuli that elicit the behaviour must be identified and ways found to lower their intensity until your pet doesn’t react to them. For example, if a dog becomes afraid if someone approaches closer than 6 feet, then the starting point would be a distance significantly greater than 6 feet. In order for these techniques to be most successful, your pet should not be put in any situation that triggers the problem behaviour.
Define the dimensions or characteristics of the stimulus that influence your pet’s response. For example, if we are working with a dog who is afraid of people, we need to know which aspects of that process influence the dog’s fear:
Is she more afraid of adults than children?
Is she more afraid of men than women?
Is she more afraid of a family member or someone she doesn’t know?
Is she more afraid when someone moves fast or slow?
Is she more afraid in a particular room?
Is she more afraid if the person speaks to her or is silent?
Is she more afraid if someone is sitting or standing?

Some common factors to consider include location, loudness, distance, speed of movement, length of time near the other animal or person, response of the other animal or person or body postures of an animal who induces fear or aggression.

Arrange these characteristics in order from least to most likely to produce a negative response. A counter conditioning and desensitization program needs to begin by using combinations of stimuli that are least likely to cause a fearful reaction. In our dog example above, perhaps the dog is least afraid of being handled by a familiar adult female who approaches slowly and speaks softly to her, while she’s lying on the bed in the bedroom. She is most afraid of a nephew who runs up to her yelling while she’s in the kitchen.

Always begin with the characteristics or dimensions that are least likely to elicit the problem behaviour. We would begin with the easiest combination of characteristics of the situation, and gradually work up to the most difficult. If we find that this cat will be less afraid of a male child approaching slowly than an adult female approaching fast, then we know speed of approach is more critical than type of person. Thus, the working order on these two characteristics, from easiest to hardest, would be:

Adult female, slow approach
Male child, slow approach
Adult female, fast approach

Male child, fast approach

If necessary, devise ways to make each dimension less intense. If a dog is afraid of the sound of the hair dryer, the sound must be presented to the dog at a low (sub-threshold) intensity, one that does not provoke the fearful behaviour. This could be done by turning the dryer on and off quickly before the dog showed fear, turning the hair dryer on in another room, covering the dryer with towels, etc.

Pair each level of each characteristic with a positive consequence, as long as the problem behaviour is not displayed. At these sub-threshold intensities, the stimulus must be paired with something positive for your pet. In this way, the animal comes to associate good things happening in the situation rather than bad things. Alternative behaviours such as calmness and friendliness are then reinforced instead of fear, aggression, etc. being elicited. The reinforcement must be powerful. Good choices are food, especially favoured treats, toys, or social reinforcements such as petting, attention, or praise. If food is used (and it’s almost invariably helpful), it should be in very small pieces and be highly desired by your pet (cheese, hot dogs, or canned tuna often work well). You may need to experiment a little to see what food is the best motivator for your pet.

Do not progress to the next level until your pet is clearly anticipating the reinforcement. People commonly want to know how long they need to repeat each intensity level. This will depend entirely on your pet, who should be demonstrating that he is indeed expecting good things to happen. Perhaps he looks to you for a tidbit, or looks around for his toy. This should be in contrast to his previous reactions such as trembling, tensing up, or other fearful or aggressive responses.

Don’t make all dimensions more intense at the same time. In our dog example above, notice that we increased the intensity with type of person, and subsequently increased the speed of approach. We did not try to do both at once by shifting from a slowly moving adult to a fast child.

Progress slowly. It is common for people to tell me, “I tried some of those ideas and they didn’t work.” Usually what has happened is that they tried to progress too fast, didn’t take small incremental steps, or didn’t use highly motivating rewards. Counter conditioning and desensitization take time and must be done very gradually. You will need to think through the steps you need to take. Rather than expecting progress in terms of leaps and bounds, look for small, incremental change. It can be very helpful to keep a log or record of your results, since day to day changes will not be very big.

An example of a somewhat simplified counter conditioning and desensitization program for a dog who displays fear-motivated aggression toward men could be:

  • Identify the point at which fearful or aggressive behaviour is first elicited (e.g., when the man is 6 feet away and is approaching to pet the dog).

  • Begin the program with a situation the dog will tolerate without becoming aggressive or fearful (e.g., the man walks by at a distance of 7 feet, with non-threatening body postures, paying no attention to the dog).    

  • Encourage the dog to assume a confident posture on a leash such as standing, walking, or sitting.

  • Offer a small food reward and/or toy to generate expectant, excited, non-fearful behaviour.

  • Respond in an up-beat manner, petting, praising, and talking “happy talk” to the dog.

  • Conduct several sessions of a few minutes before making it any more difficult for the dog.

  • Instruct the man to stand 7 feet away and make a small arm motion as though he was beginning to reach out and pet the dog.

  • Give the dog food and praise for non-aggressive, non-fearful behavioural this happens, also conducting a set of short sessions.

  • Practice this scenario until the dog is anticipating the food reward or the toy.

  • Slowly decrease the distance between the man and the dog, adding to the arm motion on such a gradual basis that fear or aggression is never elicited.

  • Many repetitions with more than one individual may be required. A new step should not be taken until the dog is clearly anticipating the reward.

You may need to supplement the behaviour modification program with other approaches, such as avoiding situations that provoke the problem, using a head collar like the Gentle Leader collar, or treating your pet with anti-anxiety medication. Ask your Sussex County Dog Training instructor or Vet for futher information on this.

One Way To Help Improve Impulse Control

How do we improve Impulse Control? 
Ask the dog to do things to recieve rewards

One way we can increase impulse control by asking our dogs to work harder for things they value. We give our requests meaning and consequences that our dogs can easily relate to and understand. We do this by asking them toearnall those daily rewards we so often provide for free.

This is a very important part of your behaviour modification program as it will provide a solid foundation for training. The idea of this is to change your relationship with your dog. It promotes you as a provider of resources and gains your dogs respect and trust without using any force or aggression on your part.

To implement this you need to be in control of all the things that are important to the dog, such as food, toys and your attention. Your attention is very important and valuable – dogs are social animals, and soon learn what works to get your attention. If done correctly you should find yourself giving your dog just as much attention (if not alot more) than you do now.

To get started with you should first make a list of rewards you provide your dog with a regular basis. Rewards can be anything your dog enjoys. Once this list is complete all you need to do is require that your dog do something for you beforeyou provide those Rewards – examples are provided below.
Note: When starting this new way of life it is easy to miss opportunities to use, I always suggest posting the Rewards list up on the fridge or some other convenient location where it can serve as a reminder and easy reference guide. It’s also a good idea to get everyone in your home to change how they do things so your dog gets lots of practice while learning that everyone’s requests are relevant.
Examples of Rewards:

Food and Meals
Before you put the bowl down, have your dog follow a few simple obedience commands. Ask your dog to wait before giving the "ok" to eat. If your dog tries to dive on the bowl before you give the release, simply pick up the bowl and start over. When your dog stops eating and walks away from the bowl, pick up any remaining food and dispose of it. Establish set meal times, where he eats and how much he gets. Dogs that aren't given the opportunity to work to earn their living (their food) may see no reason to work for food at any time because they have access to what they want without any conditions at all. If your dog fails to sit when asked before you put his dinner down wait until he does before the dinner is presented or if he walks away without eating, quietly put his food away until the next regularly scheduled meal.  It's completely up to him whether he eats or not--don't try to convince him. Let him discover where his own best interests lie! Of couse you do need to check that your dog is in good health and likes the food you are presenting him with too.

Remember that all your dog’s food including treats actually belong to you. So, as you would for a child, ask the dog to say “please” before he is given his food, or indeed any treats. You can do this by asking him to “sit”, “down”, “stay”, “shake paws”, or any other command that he knows, or you want to teach him. The important thing is that your dog learns to earn all rewards. It’s amazing how quickly dogs learn a whole repertoire of tricks when their access to treats depends on it! It is of course very important that the rewards are not provided totally for free at anytime, giving you eye contact and other attention based behaviours are all suitable.

Toys and Games
The games you play can install control, build confidence and establish strong bonds, or un-do much of the hard work you've done in training. Dogs that push toys at you, demanding that you play now or all the time are learning to attention seek on their own terms and are often learning and being rewarded for inappropriate behaviours. Chose which behaviours you are going to reward the dog for and which behaviours you are going to ignore.

Just by being in control of a vital“resource”, like the toys, will increase your value in the eyes of your dog. You can select toys to give to the dog when you wish (i.e. for performing a good behaviour), and put them away again when you want to (i.e. for performing an unwanted behaviour). You will probably find that your dog will actually be more enthusiastic about his toys when you start this rule. As you know yourself, things that you can’t have all the time are more exciting than things that are available all the time. A holiday in Barbados wouldn’t be so exciting if you went there every month.

Put favourite toys away and bring them out when you want to play or use them as a reward for the performance of a good behaviour, especially if you have asked your dog to earn it.

You’re Attention, Petting and Playing
This is the resource that most people forget to control, and it is also often the resource that the dogs want most! Dogs are social animals, and your attention is very important to them. It is important to remember that your attention, along with all other important resources such as food and toys, also belongs to you. It should be you who decides when to give it, and when to take it away. There are no restrictions at all as to how many times you interact with your dog during the day – in fact the more times the better, but, it is important that you have chosen the behaviours you are going to give attention for and which ones you will withdraw your attendtion because of or simply ignore
If your dog comes to you to ask for attention at other times and his methods are inappropriate (i.e. jumping up), he must be ignored. This includes eye contact. Although it is sometimes nice that your dog comes up to say“hello”, for those dogs that are chronically attention seeking or value their owners very little, it is important that such behaviour is ignored in order for the dog to learn the new “you need to earn that” rule. To start with when you ignore his or her advances, you will find that your dog’s response may be to try harder! Your dog has always had a response from you, and now doesn’t get it. This is rather frustrating for the dog, who will do its particular “attention seeking” behaviour more, or even new behaviours in order to try to get your attention. This can be very, very difficult to ignore, but it must be ignored for the message to get through! Once he or she has given up, and left you alone, or offered a more appropriate behaviour call him or her back, and give your dog lots of attention and cuddles. It is important to remember that this is not a ‘no attention’ way of life, but an ‘owner in control of attention’ way of life.

It is also important that the dog does not feel punished or scorned, thus we must offer the dog lots of opportunities to earn our attention – should your dog decide not to take up your offer by earning it then of course the offer is withdrawn for a later time but must be re offered i.e. The dog walks up to you in hope of attention you ask for a sit and if the dog does you play and cuddle the dog – if the dog does not you walk off, later you try the ‘sit’ again and reward if the dog succeeds.

The Golden Rule –Your dog should have a basic understanding of a command BEFORE you use these rewards for training. If, after three tries, your dog fails to successfully complete the exercise you should lower your criteria or ask for a different behaviour.

Rights of access.
These can include walks, car rides, providing a spot on the sofa or bed, going in or out of the house, greeting dogs or people, off-leash exercise off your property, going in to your office or place of work with you etc.

You get to decide who comes and goes at your property, who's accepted and who isn't at your property. Who you will allow your dog to greet and who you will not allow your dog to greet. What behaviours your dog has to perform to achieve some of these rewards. For safety as well as control, establish the habit of sitting and waiting for permission and being rewarded by the privilege of going in or out of the house or car. Your dog should learn to ask for permission for these privileges, this again in turn will make your bond stronger but also increase the value of your permission or requests to your dog.

Add anything else your dog enjoys to the list of rewards – make a list keep it somewhere everyone will regularly see it. You may also wish to have a reminder note stating that almost everything must be earned by the dog.

Examples of how you could incorporate this program in to everyday life:

Call your dog to ‘come’ before providing play, walks or meals. If your dog doesn’t comply go much nearer your dog, gently and kindly guide your dog to you even if it is using a lead at first to enable your dog to succeed but also not ignore you, then release (this means give the dog permission to leave). Do not act angry or disappointed as you approach your dog, this will only build negative associations with the command and reduce the likelihood of your dog coming to you in the future. Now try the exercise again. Do your best to set your dog up for success this time by ensuring he is not too distracted or too far away and be sure to say ‘come’ in an upbeat manner. If you associate the word ‘come’ with wonderful rewards on a regular basis you will be well on your way to developing a strong recall.

While preparing your dogs meal and before setting the food bowl down ask for a‘sit-stay’. If your dog breaks the stay put the food up on the counter for a minute and try again. He should not be allowed to go for the bowl till you give the release command ‘okay’ and/or tell him to ‘take it’.

Ask your dog to ‘sit-stay’ while putting the leash on. If your dog doesn’t hold the‘stay’ as you put the leash on, put the leash back up for a minute and try again.

Before taking your dog through doors (or gates) ask for a ‘wait’ a few feet from the door. Slowly open the door and take a step out before releasing your dog. If your dog breaks the ‘wait’ at any point in this process close the door, making sure all your dogs body parts are clear of the door and start over. Make sure a leash is on your dog when doing this exercise if there is any chance they could escape your property.

Show your dog you have a toy and ask for a ‘down’ before initiating play. If your dog goes into the ‘down’ let the games begin! If your dog does not lie down put the toy away for a minute then try again. Take breaks often during play time and ask for other behaviours before continuing play.

Ask your dog to ‘heel’ then provide loose leash or off-leash (depending on recall) time as reward for a job well done.

Ask your dog for any behaviour while out walking. If your dog fails to comply, say the command again ensuring that you have your dog’s attention and stand perfectly still until he complies, then start the walk again.

Ask your dog for a ‘watch me’ before providing access to the garden or greeting a dog. Walk away for failure to comply, then re-approach and try again.

Here’s some good practice for those avid jumpers - ask your dog to ‘sit-stay’ when greeting new people. Ask people not to pet your dog until he does so. You may also want to hold the leash or collar to ensure your dog can’t jump and make contact, thus self rewarding with your or others reactions. Practice this enough and your dog will start to automatically ‘sit’ when people approach. Make sure the sit is rewarded with attention or other reward.

If your dog politely requests attention ask for a ‘sit’ before providing that attention. If your dog demands attention - ignore it. Demanding attention = regular and/or persistent solicitation for your attention.

Call him and do a short training session, feed him his daily rations in small instalments for work sessions many times a day. The goal is to have a dog that comes running and is willing and compliant to your requests!

If your dog has learned other obedience commands or tricks be sure to incorporate those as well.

Rules for everyday life

· Your dog should have a basic understanding of a command BEFORE you use these rewards for training. If, after three tries, your dog fails to successfully complete the exercise you should lower your criteria or ask for a different behaviour.

· The other rule that we mentioned, which is also useful to remember when teaching your dog new commands or tricks, is to “reward behaviours that you want, and ignore behaviours that you don’t want”. Following this rule will mean that behaviours that you want will become more frequent, and other behaviours will decrease in frequency.

· Be consistent.

· The whole family must agree and enforce all rules. Don't make exceptions to your rules; your dog needs a clear and consistent message, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Eventually, your dog will be eagerly awaiting your requests because they have come to predict good things; this will make all other behavioural or obedience training much easier. This also balances many unhealthy dog / handler relationships.