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6 Reasons to teach your dog the Place command

What is the Place command?

We teach the word “Place” to dogs to direct them to an object with a defined parameter to stay on. Unlike the sit/stay or down/stay, the rules for the “Place” are only to stay on it unless you’ve also asked for the dog to sit or lay down. The dog can choose to lay down, stand up, or move around as long as all four paws are still on the object.

Why use the Place command?

  1. Housetraining: Putting your dog on a Place such as their bed is a good way to supervise him so he sin’t running off out of sight to do his business.puppy on place cot
  2. Park your dog: With the Place command you can have multiple Places to “park” your dog or one you can move or take with you whenever or wherever you need it.
  3. The doorbell drill: For dogs that greet visitors too enthusiastically teaching him to “Go Place” when the doorbell rings gives him a safe, out of the way place to calm before meeting guests.
  4. Prevent wet muddy floors: Keep a place near the door to park your dog on so you can wipe their wet or muddy paws. Go a step further and teach your dog to Place directly on an old towel until he’s dry.
  5. dogs on placeConfidence building: Teaching your dog “how to” climb up on different objects like stumps, park benches, small stools, ect… is a great confidence builder. It’s also a great way to exercise your dog by hopping up on different and increasingly more difficult objects.
  6. Control Space: Dogs with behavioral problems benefit from structure and rules. Controlling space is a way of telling your dog that they can’t do whatever they want whenever they want and that it’s your house, your rules. By teaching your dog to stay on a dog bed or other designated place until you release him puts you in a leadership position as well.

 

dog eating out of food bowl

What’s in your dogs food bowl?

You should always check with your veterinarian about your dog’s diet but I’d like to give you a little information so you can make an informative decision.

 

There’s a lot of talk about raw diets out there and you may hear talk from both sides of the fence. Some people swear by all natural raw diets as a cure all for allergies and other health problems. They may be right. Nothing beats fresh food. But it’s not for everyone. If you don’t have the time or the room to house weeks worth of frozen pre-prepared meals for your dog then there are healthy alternatives.

 

There are frozen raw dog foods that are already mixed for a nutritional diet. Or another option is raw dehydrated or freeze dried food toppers that you can add to your current kibble for a healthy boost. And best of all, they don’t take up freezer space.

 

Kibble is still the best option for most of us but not all kibble is equal. You can see how your choice of dog food stacks up to the rest on this website that rates 100’s of different brands including packaged raw diets. Click here for the dog food adviser.

 

The brand you choose for your dog is your choice. You may be partial to a brand you’ve used for years and haven’t given any thought to switching or just didn’t realize there is much of a difference between brands. That’s ok. But it’s always a good idea to know what’s in your dog’s food by reading the label and knowing what the ingredients are. Again, check out the link above to find good information on what’s in your dog food brand by visiting the link above.

dog is learning to come when called

How we train “Come” with the Remote Training Collar

Training a dog to come when called reliably takes work and lots of practice. We use Dogtra brand remote training collars for their variable levels and reliability.

The remote training collar is an electronic training device that your dog wears around their neck. You control the collar with a handheld remote that gives single or constant stimulation. Some remote training collars also have vibration, beep, or both. While these can be handy in some situations, for our training purposes, we stick with the electric stimulation since we have complete control over the level the dog will feel. This allows for a light touch.

We begin by finding the dog’s level of acknowledgement of the stimulation by observing an ear twitch, turning their head to the side the collar box is sitting on the neck, or other, and then we begin shaping the dog’s movements.

The Conditioning phase gives the dog information as to what to do when stimulation is turned on. Dog wearing remote training collar
First we start with the dog on a leash. As the dog is distracted, back away until the leash is taut. Then begin tapping the remote collar button and add a little more pressure on the leash to help the dog turn into the leash and as the dog turns about, stop tapping on the button. At this point, turning into the pressure is all that’s required of the dog.

We may or may not use treats to reward the behavior of turning toward the trainer. It all depends on the dog, the situation, and whether or not a food reward is needed. Also, at this phase, there is no command. We want the dog to concentrate on the conditioning part of the training and understand that the stimulation means “turn toward the person” before putting a command to what they are doing. This phase progresses quickly into the next phase of coming all the way to the trainer.

The teaching phase requires the dog to perform a command before the stimulation goes away.
Now we up the requirement of what we are asking of the dog. When we begin tapping on the Remote Collar button the stimulation will mean to turn and come all the back to the trainer. We proceed as we did above but as the dog turns toward us we back up a few steps to draw the dog into taking steps toward us. Once the dog is committed to coming to the trainer, the stimulation stops. A food reward and/or praise is given when the dog reaches the trainer. After several repetitions we add “Come” as the dog starts heading toward us. The word “Come” will now mean the action of “head to this person” and get reward.

When the dog is progressing well, we begin saying “Come” and then begin tapping on the Remote button while continuing help with the leash if needed.

Moving into the distraction phase we want to add distance as well as distractions. We begin with a 15′ long line for the first several days then progress to a longer, thinner line made of paracord. This line allows the dog to “feel” free while having the security of a line. We look for all different kinds of distractions. Other dogs behind fences, squirrels and other wildlife, people, cars, and just whatever the dog distracted by in the moment.

As the dog begins to understand the “Come” command in lots of different situations we’ll say the command, wait a second or two and then tap if the dog has not begun to come to us. This pause gives the dog a chance to make the right decision without help. But with the Remote Training Collar that help will always be there until you know your dog will come to you in even the most difficult distractions.

teaching dogs to calm

Creating a calmer dog

Why should you teach your dog to be calm.

It helps alleviate stress coming from not being able to self settle themselves or always being “on”.

It reduces the chances of your dog lunging and barking at other dogs and people due to stress and fear and helps your dog handle new situations.

And best of all, it creates a more balanced dog.

How do we create a dog that is calmer? We practice being calm.

We start with leash work to teach giving into the leash pressure and being calm before moving forward going out doors and while walking. We also, work on being calm at coming out of the crate.

Next we teach the dog exercises like sit, down, wait and place. Then we practice duration with these exercises in low distractions at first and then build up duration around more and more distractions. This allows the dog to learn how to remain calm in different situations.

Another exercise we do is “Sit on the Dog”. This exercise helps to settle your dog and teach them to relax.

Add in some structured activity like a structured walk or practice obedience. Here, we teach some dogs to use a treadmill to build focus. The structured walk is done by using a pinch collar or halti with just enough slack that the dog can walk right at our side with no stopping and sniffing or pottying until released to do so. We want the dog focused on moving forward with us. You can later add in sits or place but in the beginning it’s about the walk itself.

Use obedience commands for activities like calling your dog to you and have them sit and remain calm for a few seconds to a few minutes before releasing to be free for a few minutes and repeat. Or work on new variations of known commands like downs or sits at a distance, direct your dog from one place to another, or practicing place with something new like a hoola hoop or small stool just big enough to get all four paws on.

Teach your dog to accept handling in a calm manner. Have some small treats handy and pick up one of the dogs paws and hold for a few seconds. Don’t let go if your dog tries to pull back. Hold their collar to steady your dog and when calm for a second, mark it by saying “good” or “yes” then release the paw and give a treat. Practice with all paws everyday.

Another handling exercise is the muzzle hold. Slip a few fingers on one hand under your dogs collar while you stand or sit in front. Use the other hand to place over the top of your dogs muzzle then cup both hands together. Hold until your dog is still for a few seconds then mark it by saying “good” or “yes” and then release your hands and give a treat. Build up a few more seconds of calm each day before marking and releasing your dogs muzzle.

A few words about giving your dog attention…

No talking to or touching while while the dog is excited or agitated.
Initiate attention and affection and keep it brief for now.
Don’t constantly stare at your dog while you are working on obedience.

Now, after you’ve given your dog some structured activities it’s time for down time. Crate and let your dog relax away from the busy goings on around the house for a few hours.

Remember that it takes time and patience to get to a calm state but if you don’t practice it you won’t get it. Keep up the routine of structure and crate rest and you will definitely see a difference. More freedom can come once your dog is able to be calmer in more and more situations.

We’re here to help with getting your dog to be a calmer, more balanced companion. Contact us to learn more.

 

 

 

 

sit on the dog

The Sit on the Dog Exercise

sit on the dogThe Sit on the Dog exercise was created by Margo Woods years ago to help dogs calm themselves. It is one of the best exercises to teach your dog and can be done anytime and almost anywhere.

So here it is…

Sit on the Dog

If you only do ONE exercise with your dog, it’s this one.

Not sit. Not stay. Not even come.

This exercise will do more to create a bond and build a relationship of trust with your dog than any other.

In order to help your dog learn that you will not be available to entertain him at all times, and to teach him that he is expected to calm down and be well-behaved during those moments, we will introduce the long down, or “sit on the dog” exercise.

Sit on the dog” is deceptively easy: place your dog on his leash, then sit on it, allowing him just enough length to lie quietly at your feet with a little bit of tension on the leash. (If you have a large or particularly active dog, you may want to wrap the leash around one leg after you’ve sat on it.) And then ignore your dog for 30 minutes. That’s it.

Be sure to “sit on the dog” when you are working on something else: watching television, reading the newspaper, working on the computer. You must do the exercise for a minimum 30 minutes, at least once, and preferably twice a day. It is helpful to have each family member practice the “sit on the dog” exercise.

If your dog does anything for attention, you are to ignore him. If he climbs up on you, chews the leash, mouths your hand, or anything else that is inappropriate, grab the leash next to the collar and put steady, gentle downward pressure on the leash – no talking or touching the dog allowed! Continue to provide this pressure until he settles again, and continue with the “sit on the dog” exercise. The 30 minutes begins AFTER your dog settles down. This means the first few times you do the exercise, it may last as long as 45 minutes or an hour – some dogs have lasted even longer than that. Take heart – your dog will soon learn to settle very quickly.

You should “sit on the dog” at least once, preferably twice a day, and make sure everyone in the family takes a turn. It may take a little while, but you will find that your dog will settle quietly at your feet, and learn that when he wants your attention, sometimes he will just have to wait.

The “sit on the dog” exercise often feels like you are “not doing anything” with your dog, and people are sometimes tempted to not do it. To skip this exercise is to deny your dog the gift of self-confidence, self-control, and “doggy zen.” It teaches your dog how to calm himself down by choice, it teaches him to defer to you when you are not able to pay attention to him, and it teaches him that yes, he is fully capable of relaxing quietly, something puppies can have a hard time learning. “Sit on the dog” is an excellent exercise for achieving the overall leadership role you should have with your dog.

Thank you again to Margo Woods of Time and Patience Dog training for lending Canine Life Skills their article. You will greatly be missed from the dog world. 

Dog Training – The Place Command – Part 1

The Place command gives you a way to “park” your dog where you need them. Unlike the Down command where your dog must stay in one position, the Place lets your dog stand, sit, down or stretch as long as they remain within the perimeter of the defined Place.


Things to keep in mind:

-Practice duration before working on getting out of sight of your dog.
-Always show your dog how to get on a new Place.
-Make sure there are defined edges to the Place. (A rug on the carpet is not definable enough for a dog in the beginning of training)
-Always release your dog or call them off Place.