Tag Archives: dogs

Week 3 Bonus Challenge

So Week 3 wasn’t tough enough? Let’s add some zen to your recalls!

IMG_6368

Today’s Games

Zen recalls teach your dog to choose you over all the other distractions in the environment – and if he does choose you he is rewarded with access to those very distractions.

Remember, distractions are just rewards that your dog wants but you would prefer he didn’t!

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Really do keep sessions short on these exercises! The self-control bank account depletes fast and your dog will need some time to recuperate so make sure to give them a good break too.

Family Participation:
This exercise is for adults only!

Once your dog can ace this week’s zen exercises, you can begin to introduce children so that you dog learns some zen with them too.

Always supervise child-dog interactions and make sure children learn to leave the dog alone when eating his rewards.

Top Tip for Today’s Training Games:
Make sure to set up the exercise so that your dog is successful.

Remember, if your dog gets stuck, think of ways that you can make it easier for him to succeed and then build again more gradually.

Zen Recalls

Beginner Level Challenge

Use your dog’s favourite toy or rewards in a little bowl.

Practice this game in a quiet place, so indoors or in the garden at quiet times.

It’s handy to have an assistant for this game, to place our distractions, but not essential.

Get set up with your dog on lead. Have the distraction placed at the furthest end of the space in which you work.

Approach the distraction and as soon as your dog notices it, stop and call your dog.

Move backwards, but only use the lead very gently if at all, encouraging your dog to come toward you and move away from the distraction.

As soon as your dog gets to you, say YES! and excitedly bring him over to claim his distraction.

Link

If your dog has trouble with this, it’s important to make it easier so that we don’t do any damage to his current recall behaviour.

Try this if you dog gets stuck:

  • use a lower value distraction
  • don’t get as close to the distraction before calling
  • use a lower value reward as distraction and a higher value reward to give when your dog recalls:

Link

Advanced Level Challenges

As your dog progresses, start to add some of these to your training:

  • ask your dog to recall progressively further from the distraction
  • remove your dog’s lead or use a long line instead, so that you can restrain him only in an emergency
  • toss the distraction and ask the dog to recall to you

Link

Link

  • toss the distraction and ask the dog to carry out obedience behaviours before getting access to the distraction

Link

Link

Go for it!

Training Game 3.6

Living the Doggie-Zen Life

IMG_8943

Doggie zen is not just for training exercises; any time your dog wants access to something rewarding, have a close look at him…

He might want:

  • sniffing
  • greeting
  • going out
  • coming in
  • lead on
  • lead off
  • dinner
  • attention
  • anything else your dog may want at that moment

Quietly wait for your dog to choose calm & polite behaviour, and then allow him access to the reward.

IMG_6813 (1)

This weekend start to apply zen exercises to the situations in which your dog acts impulsively, impatiently or is a little bit demanding.

Zen for stealing from counters:

  • Set up Level 2 zen on a counter that your dog may steal from – except reward with a different, high value food reward than the one on the counter
  • With progress, set up Level 3 zen on the counter – except reward with a different, high value food reward than the one on the counter

Now let’s challenge your training…

  • set up Level 2 zen on the counter
  • take a step away and return
  • reward your zen dog with a different, high value reward than the food on the counter
  • build the number of steps you take away from the counter

To work out of sight you will need to set up a mirror so that you know that your dog is a zen-dog!

Zen for pulling on lead

  • Have your dog on his collar and lead, in the house or garden (low distraction situation)
  • Hold the lead by passing your hand through the loop and gripping below your wrist.
  • Brace yourself as your dog may pull…
  • Toss a food reward out of your dog’s reach.
  • Don’t move, don’t talk to your dog, don’t use your lead – just wait
  • As soon as your dog loosens the pressure on the lead say YES!
  • Bound forward to allow him to get to the tossed treat.

Link

You can apply this to walking your dog too – pressure on the lead turns the red light on and everything stops. Wait for your dog to relieve the pressure to continue your walk.

Zen for grabbing food or other dropped items off the floor

  • Play Level 2 zen on the floor.
  • After some success drop the treat from a couple of cm off the floor
  • Reward your dog with a different, high value reward than the one that you dropped.
  • With each success, drop the floor another couple of cm but build very gradually.

Link

Zen for stealing socks, tissues or other stolen items

  • Work through zen levels 1-4 using your dog’s favourite stealables

IMG_8933

It’s up to your dog to choose zen

Teaching your dog to be a zen-dog is about teaching him that he  always has choices.

Your dog can grab that treat during Level 1 or 2 games – he’s quicker and more motivated than you are – but you are showing him that there are other things he can do to get what he wants.

Zen-dogs get the things they like and it’s their choice!

 

Training Game 3.5

Doggie Zen Level 4

IMG_5146

You thought Level 3 was tough? You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

Really do keep sessions short on these exercises! The self-control bank account depletes fast and your dog will need some time to recuperate so make sure to give them a good break too.

Family Participation:
This exercise is for adults only!

Top Tip for Today’s Training Games:
Notice that we don’t ask our dog to do anything here at all – no talking!

This is about self-control – we are working on a default here so you never need to ask for polite behaviour when you have things your dog wants – he just does it!

Remember, if your dog gets stuck with any of our exercises this week, think of ways that you can make it easier for him to succeed and then build again more gradually.

IMG_5105

Zen Level 4

Play a little bit of Level 3 first to warm up.

  • when your dog moves back from the container, take one food reward out and place on the floor beside the container
  • (be ready to cover the container and the food on the floor if your dog approaches)
  • pick that food off the floor and put back in the container, feed one food reward from the container to your dog
  • repeat using different combinations of placing food on the floor, putting it back into the container, feeding from the floor and feeding from the container

Really short sessions for this one as it’s very tough!

Check out our compilation of some Level 4 Zen-dogs:

Link

Dogs of all shapes & sizes, and of all ages & stages can become zen-dogs!

Training Game 3.3

Doggie Zen Level 2

IMG_5808

Was your dog able to achieve zen at level 1? Let’s try Level 2…

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

Really do keep sessions short on these exercises! The self-control bank account depletes fast and your dog will need some time to recuperate so make sure to give them a good break too.

Family Participation:
This exercise is for adults only!

Top Tip for Today’s Training Games:
Notice that we don’t ask our dog to do anything here at all – no talking!

This is about self-control – we are working on a default here so you never need to ask for polite behaviour when you have things your dog wants – he just does it!

Remember, if your dog gets stuck with any of our exercises this week, think of ways that you can make it easier for him to succeed and then build again more gradually.

Now it’s really going to get tough as we move the food to the floor…

IMG_1922

Zen Level 2

Practice a couple of rounds of Level 1 and then take your handful of food and place it on the floor – keep it covered!

  • place some food rewards on the floor
  • cover with your palm
  • when your dog moves away from your palm covering the food rewards, move your hand to the side
  • quickly re-cover the food if he approaches again
  • offer him one food reward if he can show any of the behaviours on his polite list

Link

Food on the floor is super-duper hard to resist for dogs so don’t worry if this is too challenging.

Instead of the on the floor start this one with the food on a chair, sofa or coffee table.

Build right the way through today’s challenge before moving the food to the floor for this dog.

Link

Level 2 Challenge

Once your dog has achieved Level 2 zen, build their patience one second at a time.

How long can your dog leave that treat on the floor?

Link

Training Game 3.2

Doggie Zen Level 1

A zen-dog is a pleasure to live with because he has learned that good things come to dogs who wait.

The zen-dog doesn’t steal food or belongings, the zen-dog doesn’t snatch things out of hands, the zen-dog doesn’t jump up on people or counters to grab food or items, the zen-dog doesn’t steal from your plate, even when you leave it down within reach.

The zen-dog waits patiently, asks nicely and behaves politely to get the things he wants.

Would you like a zen-dog? You’re in the right place…

IMG_2708

We are going to build on our NO mugging rule by teaching our dog, that to get the food in your hand, be patient and polite.

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

Family Participation:
This exercise is for adults only!

Top Tip for Today’s Training Games:
Notice that we don’t ask our dog to do anything here at all – no talking!

This is about self-control – we are working on a default here so you never need to ask for polite behaviour when you have things your dog wants – he just does it!

Remember, if your dog gets stuck with any of our exercises this week, think of ways that you can make it easier for him to succeed and then build again more gradually.

IMG_1648

Zen Level 1:

  • hold some food rewards in your palm
  • if your dog approaches your palm, close your fist
  • if your dog attempts to mouth or paw your fist withdraw your hand by bending at the elbow
  • when your dog stops, re-present your open palm
  • repeat as needed
  • as soon as you notice your dog chooses not to move toward the treat or showing any of the behaviours on his polite list, offer him the food

Start working on this exercise with just your dog’s regular food in your closed fist and as he improves increase the value of the food rewards.

It’s best to start with this exercise while sitting on a chair or sofa.

Link

Level 1 Challenge:

  • try to build the time your dog leaves the treat in your palm – just a one count at a time
  • as you progress, you might notice that your dog looks away from the treat to you (“hey! gimme my treat!”)
  • reward that – being able to look away from something they really want and give you eye contact is a great start (“please, may I have the treat?”)

Link

Wow!

That’s the first step toward your dog becoming a zen-dog!

Training Game 3.1

The First Rule of Week 3…

NO Mugging!

When it comes to food, especially high value food, dogs are pretty quick about hoovering up any morsel they can get to, so, the first rule of this week’s games will be that mugging = nothing but patience = yummies.

Your powers of observation are needed here again – this time you are looking out for polite behaviours to reward.

Polite-list behaviours that you might reward include:

  • four feet on the floor (no jumping up)
  • quiet (no barking or whining)
  • moving back from you
  • being still
  • standing away from you

Can you come up with a list of behaviours that tell you your dog is being patient and polite?

IMG_8204

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

Family Participation:
For this exercise it’s best to get this really well established before allowing children participate in this one, just in case this excites and frustrates your dog a little at the start.

Top Tip for Today’s Training Games:
If your dog gets stuck with any of our exercises this week, think of ways that you can make it easier for him to succeed and then build again more gradually.

Options to try might include:

  • having the food in or under a tighter hand
  • using lower value food
  • working when your dog is calmer and the house is quiet
  • practicing after your dog has been fed so he’s not as hungry
  • making sure there are no other dogs around

Beginner Level Game

Start standing up, holding a handful of yummy treats – you can have the treats in a treat pouch, in a bowl or any container you wish.

Make sure your dog notices the yummies and wait for him to approach.
Before your dog gets to you, toss a food reward just behind him.

He will approach again; repeat.

There’s no talking in this game – so don’t ask your dog to do a behaviour!

Link

Link

Not only does Benny the puppy offer polite distance but he also sits – dogs do what works, so if you reward it, they will do it!

We are easing your dog into this game by rewarding him where we want him to be – a little bit away from us so there’s no mugging!

After some practice at this game, try our advanced games next.

Advanced Level Game

Now that your dog has learned how to be a bit more polite when you are standing up with treats, we are going to increase the challenge little by little.

  • holding your treats, bend at the knee a little
  • as soon as your dog approaches, toss a treat away
  • repeat lots, bending a little lower each time if you can

Still no talking or asking your dog to do behaviours!

A greater challenge: 

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to watch your dog and reward him every time he is being patient and polite.

When you begin with this game, just choose one polite behaviour at a time to reward.
When your dog is offering that one, choose a second polite behaviour and reward that, and so on.

Each time you see your dog offering one of these behaviours reward him with a teeny treat.
Holding your treats, kneel on the floor or sit on a low chair or stool.

Work through your list of polite behaviours, watching your dog closely.

Reward your dog where you want him to be so hold your reward right at his nose and guide his head away from you before releasing the reward.

Link

If that’s too tricky, don’t worry – sit on a chair instead.

Can you see what we are doing here?

We are slowly making it harder for your dog to be polite by gradually increasing the challenge each time he is successful.

IMG_7936

Are you able to sit on the floor with food in your hand or in your lap today? Get practicing!

TYD 2016 Week 3

You may have noticed that most dogs pretty much arrive believing that if they want it, they can take it, when they want it.

Link

Jumpy really wants his toy but has learned that by responding to cues he can get his reward…

Week 3 Patience Pays

Improved self-control can lead to a vast progress in lots and lots of training and behaviour exercises you’re working on.

In the dictionary, beside the definition for "self-control"
In the dictionary, beside the definition for “self-control”

 

This week we will be working on teaching our dog that he just can’t have all the things he wants, when he wants them – but instead, teaching him a new rule, that patience pays.

What do I need for Week 3?

  • Training Mix
  • your dog’s favourite things (treats, toys, activities and so on)
  • a little bowl
  • leash, collar and so on for walkies

395

Week 3 Training Games

  • The First Rule of Week 3
  • Doggie Zen Level 1
  • Doggie Zen Level 2
  • Doggie Zen Level 3
  • Doggie Zen Level 4
  • Living the Doggie Zen Life

What’s my dog learning?

  • I am learning that good things come to those who wait!
  • I can control my frustration and can wait patiently
  • I learn that I can’t have everything I want when I want it!
  • I learn how to choose more appropriate behaviours rather than having to be told what to do.
  • I become better at settling myself and am much easier to live with.
  • By learning to tolerate frustration and delay of reward helps prevent me developing more serious behaviour issues

We’re exchanging impatient and pushy for calm and polite!

You can download a more printer friendly, but abbreviated version of this week’s exercises here.

Training Game 2.3

Parking Your Pup

IMG_8418

Parking is a great tool that can be used in lots of situations. This clip from Learning About Dogs shows some of the applications of parking:

We are going to use parking with our dog’s calm-mat to help with calming and managing your dog’s behaviour in potentially exciting situations.

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

You might settle your dog for a long period too – and that’s great!

Family Participation:
It’s better for adults to practice today’s games as it is not safe for children to stand on the lead to restrain a dog.

Top Tip for Today’s Training Game:
Use the Jazz up/Settle down game to give your dog the opportunity for a little crazy before you expect your dog to settle down while you are busy or occupied.

You will need:

  • Training Mix
  • your dog’s calm-mat
  • leash, collar/harness
  • Kong toys – stuffed or lined

Beginner Level Games:

Park your pup:

  • have your dog on a lead attached to a flat collar or harness
  • give your dog a chew or lined Kong toy to work on (if it’s too exciting and your dog can’t settle first, hold his collar or harness with one hand)
  • hold the lead with one hand and allow the slack of the lead to pool on the floor
  • stand on the lead at the point where it is taut to your hand, but there is slack to your dog

Use your dog’s calm-mat for this one and practice in different rooms of the house.

Advanced Level Games

Park your Pup, on the road:

For your walkies, bring your mat and a frozen lined Kong toy. About halfway through, lay out your dog’s mat and see if he can lie on it.

IMG_1364

Don’t worry if he’s not ready for that just yet!

Hold the Kong toy under one foot on your dog’s mat. Park your Pup with your other foot and allow your dog to work on their yummy treat.

This lapping action, taking some time and encouraging your dog to settle will help your dog to flip his off switch, even on an exciting adventure.

Maybe your dog can only work on their Kong for a few seconds or maybe he finds it difficult to be too interested in it at all – these are really likely at the start of your training program. So don’t worry too much – there are things we can do:

  • practice this in a really quiet spot
  • allow your dog to check the area out first and sniff every inch
  • use the absolute most amazingly yummy filling to line the Kong
  • practice toward the end of your walk, closer to home – if at the start this works best when you get back to your front door, or even inside the house that’s ok and is your starting point – work backwards from there

You can play this game at home too!

Try this game with your calm-mat to really test your training:

Jazz Up & Settle Down

This game teaches your dog to better control his excitement and allows him to practice bring himself down from that high. We are basically helping your dog install that ‘off’ switch.

  • using a toy, a game and an excited tone of voice get your dog all jazzed up – remember to use your cue for getting a game going
  • jazz up for a five count

up

  • immediately stop and lay out your dog’s mat
  • if he doesn’t lie on it, you may need to remind him by cueing or luring
  • you can use food rewards at the start of this game – reward your dog with one food reward after another
  • settle down for a ten count

down

  • get your dog all jazzed up again and repeat

As your dog improves with this exercise you should see him settle quicker – now you can begin to increase the length of each jazz up and each settle down period.

Always make sure that your dog is settled for at least twice as long as they are jazzed up.

Start and end each game with a settle down; having a longer settle down at the end.

Wohoo!

Day 3 done – well done 🙂

Pay the Dog

 

IMG_5934

So you’ve seen how much your dog wants to, needs to and enjoys working for his food with last week’s games – think of all the behaviours he has had to carry out to earn his keep…

Just like people, dogs don’t work for free and if we want them to do behaviours for us, we gotta make it worth their while.

Because some behaviours can be trickier than others, the rate we pay will also need to vary appropriately.

Here Jean Donaldson discusses motivation in dog training:

Link

Lower value rewards work best for easier behaviours and higher value rewards work best for harder behaviours.

Is it just about food rewards?

Nope, it’s about motivation!

We want our dogs to want to carry out the behaviours we want them to do – to achieve that we need to work out what motivates them, and then teach them how to get those things.

8960115ba08874b4e0b0b90cc60ea7e6

By teaching our dog to be a good human-trainer, they will learn to carry out behaviours that cause us to release motivators.

Dogs do what works!

Food rewards are handy because…
  • your dog has to eat – that’s why teaching your dog to work for his regular food is so valuable
  • animals will readily carry out behaviour that earns them food – all animals are biologically motivated by food (if a dog isn’t eating there may be something else going on…)
  • food rewards that are small enough are quick rewards allowing you to practice another repetition quickly – this allows dogs to learn most effectively
  • anticipation of food rewards causes the release of pleasant feelings in the brain
  • seeking out food is incompatible with feelings of fear, anxiety or panic

Following our program will help you to use food rewards in training most effectively; more here too:

How to train a dog with food rewards

Training dogs with food

Beyond food rewards

Motivators come in all shapes and sizes, and are often individual to each dog and sometimes to breeds or types of dog.

IMG_9080

Anything your dog likes access to or likes to escape from can reward their behaviour.
Out of these things, ones that you can control are most useful in training.

Make a list of the things that your dog likes.
This might include certain foods, toys, activities, praise & attention, other individuals or places such as:

  • eating
  • playing
  • tugging
  • fetching
  • sniffing
  • swimming
  • splashing
  • rolling
  • meeting
  • greeting
  • humping
  • barking
  • chasing

Grade the value of the rewards in your list. This way you will have a better idea of higher or lower value rewards that your dog will work for.

It’s often best to use the lowest value rewards that your dog will work for in a given scenario – keep your big guns for when the going really gets tough!

Think of rewarding your dog as a quid-pro-quo deal – “you do this behaviour for me, and I will give you access to the things you like!”

Competition

I am sure you have noticed that sometimes your dog isn’t interested in the things you have to offer…distractions will compete for your dog’s behaviour, making training harder.

squirrel

Distractions might include:

  • eating
  • playing
  • tugging
  • fetching
  • sniffing
  • swimming
  • splashing
  • rolling
  • meeting
  • greeting
  • humping
  • barking
  • chasing

Notice anything…?

Distractions are just rewards that your dog wants more than whatever you have to offer, right now.

Make another list:

  • what is your dog distracted by?
  • what would your dog rather be doing when you would like him to do something else?

Just as you did with your rewards list, grade these distractions – just how distracting are they?

Now you have lists that allow you to balance rewards and distractions. Something high on the distraction end of the list will require rewards high on the rewarding end too!

e1ef5f163074c82de54d13e78f342446

What do your dog’s lists look like?

Training Game 2.1

IMG_7938

Up & Down

First off, I want you to smile. Just smile.

(OK, stop now, you look weird!).

When you are feeling down smiling can actually help you feel a little better. Your brain and your behaviour interact plus smiling might cause you to think of things that make you happy, so smiling can help you feel better.

Today we are going to start with teaching our dog’s body how to look more relaxed – just like with smiling, we can get this calm behaviour first and with practice the feeling of calmness will follow.

It’s important to note here that we want to teach the dog to choose more relaxed behaviour – you will not be helping your dog develop calmer behaviour and feelings if you coerce or force your dog.
You probably wouldn’t feel too much better if I physically made you smile or forced you to do it.

And what’s more, by associating the behaviour of being calm with something the dog likes, we can increase the pleasantness associated with being chilled out.

(Imagine I gave you your favourite treat food every time you smiled – yep, you would be smiling a whole lot more and you would be feeling a whole lot better too!)

IMG_2008

Today’s Games

Time Allowance:
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few  sessions today.

Try fitting  each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.

Family Participation:
Kids are often great dog trainers. Teach each child how to lure safely.
If your dog is mouthy,  jumpy or likely to get over-excited it might be best for you to get the behaviours established and then bring in the kids to help with practice.
Always supervise child-dog interactions and make sure children learn to leave the dog alone when eating his rewards.

Top Tip for Today’s Training Game:
Work on settling exercises when your dog is pretty relaxed and chilled. Wait for the entire household to be quieter and practice exercises when it’s easier to be calm.

You will need:

  • Training Mix
  • your dog’s calm-mat

Using your dog’s calm-mat

Use your dog’s new towel/mat/blanket as the calm-mat for these exercises.

Your dog’s new calm-mat is going to become a sign that signals your dog to chill out so we need to use it carefully.

At the start of training only have your dog’s calm-mat out and available during training. It’s important that your dog’s mat isn’t out when your dog is excited or when exciting things are going on, for example, guests arrive or it’s time for walkies.

Beginner Level Games:

Teaching ‘down

Teaching your dog to lie down is the first stage toward giving them behaviours that help with calming.

For this exercise, this week, we don’t need to get lying down on a verbal cue (great if you already have it or if you work that far this week!) but instead your dog’s mat will become the signal for your dog to be calm and lie down.

First task is to teach your dog to lie down on their new mat.

Link

We practiced lots of luring last week and now we can apply that here too.

Practice working on this behaviour on your dog’s calm-mat. With plenty of practice, your dog will soon start to lie down on his mat, without you needing to ask him.

Link

Release

At the same time we are teaching our dog to lie down, we will also teach our dog to get up and go about his business again.

Once your dog lies down on his mat, reward him four times, one food reward after another, in position by feeding him in between his front legs.

Say your release cue (it can be anything you like such as ‘go’, ‘OK’, ‘all done’ etc.) and then roll or toss one food reward off the mat to encourage your dog to get up.

Link

Advanced Level Games

Does your dog already lie-down on cue? Try laying out your dog’s mat and ask them to lie-down on it, reward and repeat five times.

If that goes well try these games:

Find your mat

After practicing down and releasing your dog increase the challenge. Lay your dog’s mat out and wait for your dog to get onto the mat, without asking him – if you are lucky your dog might lie down straight away, but if not don’t worry.

Try to build toward this instead:

  • dog stands on the mat, reward off the mat – repeat x10
  • dog sits on the mat, reward off the mat – repeat x10
  • dog sits on mat, reward by luring into a down (then reward three more times between his front feet and release) – repeat x10
  • wait for your dog to come back to the mat and wait – if he lies down reward x4 and release and repeat
  • if he doesn’t lie down, repeat the luring step

Link

Settling

When your dog is lying down on his mat, offer the first reward by luring your dog’s head slightly to one side. This will encourage your dog to flop over onto one hip – this is a more settled position.

Reward your dog with three food rewards between his front legs and then say your release cue and reward off the mat.

Link

Well done!

That’s a great first day of this new week done – more tomorrow!