Vaccinations are a necessary part of caring for a dog of any age, but there are precautions you should take to avoid complications. There is an ever-increasing amount of information available to suggest that dogs are receiving too many vaccinations. There currently isn't one agreed upon solution to the frequency of vaccinations, or even if they are all necessary.
One of the most effective ways to prevent bad puppy behaviors from happening and help with overall training strategies is to have your puppy wear a leash inside and trail it behind him wherever he goes. You should always either watch your puppy or manage his behavior by putting him safely in a crate or other puppy-proofed area. If you are feeling guilty about using the crate, read this post about getting over the guilt of crate training.
Training a dog to walk nicely when on leash can be very frustrating and can seem daunting. My job as a dog trainer is to break down goals into small chunks for my clients to focus on.
CHARGE THE CLICKER
The first thing you need to is charge the clicker. Charging the clicker is simply teaching your dog that the ‘click’ noise always precedes a wonderful treat. Simply take 10 treats and occasionally click the clicker and give your dog a treat. Mix it up so he does not do one behavior or just sit in front of you waiting for the next treat. If he does this, walk away from him and take a little break. When you get to the point where your dog is looking away from you and quickly turns around upon hearing the ‘click’ then you can say the clicker is “charged”.
START USING THE CLICKER
Now that your dog associates the clicker with something wonderful, you can use it as a teaching tool. The great thing about the clicker is that it marks a behavior very clearly so a dog knows exactly what the right answer is. Here is an exercise that you can do with your dog. I want you to think of the clicker as taking a picture of a behavior that you like. This is really good with young, overexcited puppies. As we discussed, you can use a clicker to teach a dog that his behavior dictates whether he gets rewarded.
So, you can do something called shaping. Don’t ask your dog to do anything, just click and treat when you like what he is doing, and ignore when he does something inappropriate. Good examples include sitting, lying down or following you. Behaviors that you want to ignore might be jumping on you or barking. Read this post about shaping behaviors, and this post about getting rid of problem behaviors using shaping.
Clicker training is a positive reinforcement tool that can be used to train dogs. It can also be used to train dolphins, whales, lions, and people! Like many tools in our world it can seem confusing at first, but allow me to help break it down into bite-sized chunks so you can understand how to use one of the coolest things on the planet.
Preventing dog boredom is one of the constant challenges that dog guardians face. There are many simple strategies that you can use to help your pooch be happier and more content. Here are a few suggestions for you to get started, and you can find the rest by listening to my radio show about preventing dog boredom.
Over the years I receive many dog training questions. Here are some of the often repeated ones and how I answer them.
Many behavior problems including barking, fear aggression and separation anxiety can be prevented by socializing a puppy properly. I always tell my new puppy clients that I will “nag” them about socialization to ensure that they are spending enough time on this time-critical task. You can teach a dog of any age how to walk nicely on a leash, come when called or any other behavior. The most important socialization period occurs until a puppy is approximately 16-18 weeks of age.
Do you want to prevent destruction, prevent separation anxiety, housetrain your puppy faster, train your dog faster and lessen overall frustration? Use a crate! There are so many statements, misconceptions and questions about crate training that I hear all the time that I wanted to help clear up some of the confusion.
On Saturday I saw a client for the first time. My client hired me to assess her 4-year old Yorkshire Terrier named Sam. My client has had Sam for 4.5 months and she recently started giving him Reconcile, a Prozac for dogs to address his dog-to-dog aggression issues. I sat with my client in her living room and petted Sam while my client provided me more details about what she has tried in the past and details about Sam’s reactivity level.