Monthly Archives: January 2012

Obedience Training For Dogs

By Sally Gutteridge | Posts , Training

dog-obedience-trainingFormal obedience training for dogs normally occurs in a class or with a private trainer in a one-on-one setting. Obedience training for dogs begins with very basic obedience training, including teaching the dog to respond to such common commands as “sit”, “come”, “down”, and “stay”.

However, obedience training for dogs can progress to train a dog for higher-level competition with such organizations as the United Kennel Club, the Canadian Kennel Club, and the American Kennel Club.

Obedience training for dogs requires that a dog obeys the direction or command of a handler. In order for a dog to advance in obedience training, he must respond quickly every time that a command is given by his handler.

The process of obedience training for dogs is long and arduous the farther that a dog advances in his skill level. If a dog is being trained for the purpose of competition, formal obedience training may be a prerequisite in order to compete.

Beginner obedience training for dogs will range from 6 to 10 weeks. This will determine if a dog is able to receive basic communication from a handler in a few simple steps. In most training methods, a dog will receive training for one command at a time. One of the most fundamental skills that a dog must learn at the beginning of training is the ability to walk well on a leash with a handler in order to be eligible for further competitions.

Obedience Training for Dogs: The Trials

An obedience trial is a sport that a dog must perform in a series of set tasks that have been directed by his handler. According to the official regulations of the American Kennel Club, “The basic objective of obedience trials, however, is to recognize dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect credit on the sport of obedience at all times and under all conditions.”1

For this reason, obedience training for dogs can be used to train a dog to participate in obedience trials sponsored by the American Kennel Club. A dog that receives this advanced training will progress beyond basic commands to compete at a higher level; the dog will be evaluated in a public competition and scored by judges.

The dog must not only demonstrate proficiency in basic skills to receive a passing score of 170 out of 200, but a handler will also often train a dog at a higher skill level so that he can earn more points. For a dog to receive a perfect score at an obedience trial, he must:

  • Run directly to the handler on command without distraction or sniffing along the way.
  • Sit directly in front of the handler without looking to one side or the other.

The dogs that earn the top four scores within a class will receive obedience placement ribbons and additional prizes in some cases. Dogs that earn a passing score in the obedience trial will earn what is called a “leg”. A dog must earn a set number of legs in order to compete for a title in the obedience trials, where he will receive a certificate of accomplishment.

Obedience Training Competitions

In addition to the obedience trials listed above, another popular obedience competition is Rally Obedience. This obedience competition involves several warm-up and freestyle exercises for intermediate placement between basic certification from the American Kennel Club and more advanced obedience competitions.

Within this intermediate competition, dogs will be led by their handlers through different stations in the heel position. The dogs in the competition will compete at three basic levels, Novice, Advanced, and Excellent, in three different legs for the extended championship title.


  1. “American Kennel Club Obedience Regulations.” N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2011.

The Dog Crate Training Game

By Jean Cote | Posts , Training , Tricks

Dog crate training doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or even frustrating task. When you use the right methods, you can successfully crate train your dog without using force or punishment.

The first step to crate train your dog is to create a positive association with his crate. This will help your dog to learn that his crate is a place of rest and comfort, not a place intended for punishment.

Conditioning Using Treats & A Clicker

Instead of throwing your dog into a crate to let him get used to his new environment, use a clicker with reward-based training to help your dog acclimate and make a positive association with his crate.

This is a truly smart way to approach dog crate training; you will lure the dog into the crate with delicious treats. Once your dog goes into the crate willingly to receive the treats, you can use the sound of a clicker to reinforce the action and encourage good behavior.

  1. Place a handful of treats in the crate with the door open.
  2. Wait for your dog to notice the treats and enter the crate to eat the treats.
  3. As soon as your dog goes into the crate, click the clicker to mark the behavior and give him another treat. (You can let him eat the treats that are in the crate. Eventually your dog will understand that getting into the crate is the behavior that earns him the treat.)
  4. Leave the crate door open so that your dog can come and go as he pleases. Each time that he enters the crate to get another treat, click the clicker & give him a treat to reinforce the behavior.
  5. Continue this activity for several days until your dog becomes comfortable with the crate.
  6. The next time that your dog goes into the crate, close and open the door. That will get him used to seeing the door behind him. Always give him a treat to keep this a positive association.
  7. After closing the door for a moment, let the dog out immediately.
  8. After several days of this activity, increase the amount of time that the door is closed, starting from 30 seconds up to 2 – 5 minutes. You can give your dog some treats through the door while he is in the crate so that he associates pleasure with the treat.
  9. The next step will be for you to step away from the crate. Place your dog in the crate and walk away, then turn back and give your dog a treat. You can do this a few times in a row, but don’t leave him in there yet.
  10. In the last exercise, you will combine the amount of time he is in the crate with the door closed and also with you walking away (to another room). Gradually increase the time that your dog is in the crate before rewarding. When letting your dog out of the crate, make it fun by going outside or for a walk.

This is by far the most effective method in dog crate training to use to reinforce a positive association with a crate. Instead of feeling like you are locking your dog in a crate for hours at a time as a form of punishment when you leave the house, your dog will start to see dog crate training as a game.

When this method is used properly, your dog will love spending time in his crate – believe it or not. After this method has been used for successful dog crate training, you can leave the door of the crate open all day long so that your dog can enter as he pleases. You may find that your dog will enjoy resting and taking a nap inside of the crate because he feels comfortable, safe, and protected.

Once this happens, you will know that you have used dog crate training successfully! The entire point of a crate is to give your dog a safe, restricted area to spend time in whenever you leave the house. This will set clear boundaries for your dog so that he feels secure and is not anxious about doing something wrong and getting punished.

Leash Training Tips to Enjoy Your Walks

By Sally Gutteridge | Behavior , Posts , Training

Taking your dog for a walk on a leash shouldn’t mean that your dog is pulling you down the block! Proper leash training will make walking your dog on a day-to-day basis a pleasant experience. As your dog learns how to walk obediently on a leash, he will remain by your side at all times without any tension or pulling.

Before You Begin Leash Training

Before leash training even begins, teach your dog to remain calm when you put his leash on. Many dogs will get excited the second that they see their leash because they know that they are going to go outside on a walk. Command your dog to sit and stay quietly when you put on the leash so that he becomes obedient to you before beginning a walk.

If your dog begins to jump and react to the leash, wait to begin the walk until he sits down calmly for at least a minute. Most dogs learn how to quickly master the “sit” command. When you use this command as a requirement for starting a walk, your dog will understand that he must obey if he wants to go out on the leash.

How to Stop Pulling: At Home

You can practice leash training at home first of all to teach your dog good behavior on a leash. Attach the leash to your dog’s collar and stand still while holding the leash next to your body. Your dog may start jumping with excitement, but when you stand still, your dog will start to calm down.

As soon as your dog calms down, give him a treat and praise to reinforce the good behavior.

When your dog sits or stands at your side for a moment without jumping, reward and say “go” while taking a step forward. After you take the first step, stand still again. If your dog begins to jump or get excited, wait for him to stand still until you continue. Once he stands still, praise and reward with a treat.

Repeat this behavior several times until your dog learns to calm down each time that you take a step forward.

How to Stop Pulling: On a Walk

If your dog is new to leash training or is a puppy, his most common instinct is to pull at the leash. If your dog is pulling on the leash, do not walk, instead go in the other direction.

As soon as your dog responds to you and begins walking without pulling on the leash, praise him and give him a treat for his good behavior. This positive reinforcement will show your dog the correct way to walk on a leash; because of the reward, he will be likely to repeat his good behavior again and again.

Leash Training Mistakes to Avoid

  • Do not continue walking if your dog is pulling ahead. This will only reward your dog for negative behavior. Stop walking immediately when your dog is pulling and wait for him to calm down next to you before you continue. You can also go the other direction, I recommend that you train in a park in the beginning as it allows you to go in any direction. Remember to reward with a treat for good behavior.
  • Do not pull on your dog when he is on the leash. This will cause your dog to pull even harder.
  • Do not use a retractable leash for better control. The problem with retractable leashes is that they always pull on the dog even if he is walking nicely, so it makes it impossible to train a dog to not pull.

If your dog is new to leash training, patience is the best tool to have on your side. Any time that your dog pulls or runs ahead, he must understand that his behavior is unacceptable. You must stop in your tracks or turn in the other direction until your dog corrects his bad behavior.

Once your dog calms down and walks by your side, he can be rewarded with a treat to positively reinforce the action. When walking on a leash, it’s you – not your dog – who is the leader!

Stop Dog Barking by Using Technology P+

By Sally Gutteridge | Behavior , Posts

Nonstop dog barking is enough to drive any pet owner insane. If you’re at the end of your rope and can’t seem to stop your dog from barking any time that he meets a new person or that the doorbell rings, it may be time to consider how to stop dog barking using technology.

For dogs that do not respond well to basic positive reinforcement training to stop dog barking, several devices can be used to capture the attention of a dog and discourage him from barking when he is surprised or afraid.

These advanced gadgets to stop dog barking include:

  • Scent Collar: A simple and humane gadget used to stop dog barking is a scent collar. Often called an anti-bark spray collar, a scent collar is relatively inexpensive at less than $50 and will release a harmless, scentless spray every time that your dog barks. The spray is citronella scented and guaranteed 100% safe for all breeds of dogs and puppies.

The purpose of this device to stop dog barking is that each time the collar releases the spray in front of the snout of the dog, the dog will become distracted and stop barking. He will soon learn to expect this distraction each time he barks; this will cause him to quit barking excessively in order to avoid spray in his face. This is a beneficial gadget to use to stop dog barking since it will not cause pain, fear, or any side effects when training your dog.

  • High Frequency Device: Another popular gadget to stop dog barking is an electronic device that emits high-pitched frequencies. This is a powerful and effective way to train to stop dog barking without using crueler methods of shocks or pulses in a collar. The device is equipped with a high-power speaker that can cover a 60 foot radius. It is compatible with any size or breed of dog.

When the dog barks at a stranger or at the doorbell, the device will emit an ultrasonic sound that only a dog can hear. The dog will soon learn to associate this high-pitched frequency with barking and automatically stop. Ideally, this device should be used to stop dog barking in a home with multiple dogs that are difficult to control. If you have one dog that is a constant barker and that excites the other dogs whenever you have a guest, this high-frequency device can be used at home to humanely control and train multiple dogs at one time.

  • Training Tone Collar: Another effective and humane way to stop dog barking at home is with a training tone collar. To clarify, this device is not a shock collar, which should not be used as a method to stop dog barking at home since it will instill fear in your pet. This training tone collar produces three positive training tones that are activated through the collar. As the pet owner, you can associate the tones with positive commands like “sit”, “fetch”, and “heel”.

The negative tones on the collar can be used to encourage your dog to stop unpleasant behaviors, like barking, chewing, or digging. This electronic training system is a method that can be used to get the attention of your dog to stop barking and provide positive reinforcement when he learns a new, good behavior. As a word of caution, many training tone collars are also equipped with electric shocks. Take the time to purchase a training tone collar that does not have an electrical shock; it is not recommended to train your dog using this harsh method of punishment.

Last but not least, if you are struggling with neighboring dogs that bark constantly throughout the night or excite your dogs and cause them to bark in your yard, you can try a high-frequency device that is attached to a tree or fence post.

This electronic device comes with a specialized cone to send high-pitched frequencies into a neighboring yard. The speaker will pick up a dog’s bark and send out a correcting signal. This will keep neighborhood dogs from barking constantly throughout the night – without having to confront your neighbors…