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Teaching Your Pet To Perform A Dog Trick – The Owner As A Part Of The Training Equation

By Jean Cote | Posts

While each dog has its own unique personality, its breed plays an integral part, with some being more headstrong compared to others that are more eager to please their masters. Nonetheless, every dog is trainable, whether you want it to perform a simple dog trick or something more complicated.

With such a thing in mind, this leads to one important factor in the dog training equation. It does not matter what breed, age or general temperament your dog has. If you are not fully invested in its training, then all your efforts will mean nothing.

The key to successfully training your dog is to have regular training sessions. But more importantly, training sessions should be short. Frequent and consistent training sessions are much more preferable over a long and irregular training schedule.

Like children, dogs respond better to training in a positive and encouraging environment. Thus, instead of using punishments like hitting your pet or using electricity to shock it so that it will subsequently submit to the behavior an owner wants (which are certainly cruel things to do), pets and their masters will fare better by using positive reinforcements. Once the pet responds positively to a command, the owner reinforces this behavior by giving the dog a reward, the most common of which are food treats but may also include toys and praise.

girl-praising-her-dog

Should you choose food as a reward for your pet, it would be better to make it something special instead of its general fare during meal times. Apart from keeping in mind that treats should be given in small quantities, pet owners can benefit more from a training session using food as a reward if they schedule training prior to meal time. Should you choose to reward your pet with praise or any other form of affection, it is best to schedule the training when the pet is more responsive to such stimulus. One example of this is when you come home after work or school.

It is also noteworthy to keep in mind that the reward should be delivered immediately after it has responded to your command. Should your pet fail to respond to your command, its punishment should be the absence of a reward and nothing else that is harsh.

But no matter what your motivation may be for having your dog trained – be it to simply teach your dog to be well-behaved inside and outside the home or to help entertain guests with advanced tricks — the important thing to remember is to have fun with your pet.

Teaching An Older Pet Dog Tricks

By Jean Cote | Posts

The Englishman John Fitzherbert is credited for first putting into print the popular saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” in his book “The Boke of Husbandry,” published in 1534. In the book, Fitzherbert originally wrote “The dogge must lerne it, whan he is a whelpe, or els it will not be: for it is harde to make an olde dogge to stoupe.”

Now this begs the question that most pet owners ask, which is whether their fine furried friend can indeed learn dog tricks even if they are way past puppyhood.

old-dog-pointing-finger

Most trainers often advise pet owners to train their dogs even before they reach their first year. This is primarily because at this stage, the personality and demeanor of a dog is still malleable and not yet fully set, thus making them perfect for dog training.

Indeed, once a dog reaches full maturity, you cannot do much with regards to changing its unique personality. For example, you cannot change a dog from being anxious and fearful into a confident and friendly dog. However, you can teach your pet to modify its behavior and response to particular situations.

Whether you are training a puppy or an older dog, consistency is the key to success. In training a dog, whether you want it to simply come when it is called or if you would like it to perform more advanced tricks like rolling over, the importance of consistency cannot be overstated.

Pet training is all about reinforcing the behavior you want from your pet, be it a puppy or slightly older. To get it to perform a trick, you have to reward it for obeying and responding to your command through a special, irresistible treat. As you continue to reward your pet every time it performs according to your bidding, it will soon associate good behavior and performing tricks with getting a reward, thus reinforcing your training. It is also a good idea to immediately give the pet a reward after it is done performing.

This technique is also helpful in modifying unwanted behavior like excessive barking or soiling themselves anywhere they please inside the house.

But apart from making your pet a hit at parties because of its ability to entertain with tricks, dog training offers another advantage to both you and your pet. For your pet, it offers an opportunity to stimulate the mind, thus making him more alert and mentally agile. As for you, dog training provides an opportunity for you to improve your bond with your pet.

Becoming A Better Pet Owner With The Help Of A Reliable Dog Forum

By Jean Cote | Posts

For most pet owners, dogs are not merely a token addition to their household. Some people consider them family members, showering them with love, attention and affection similar to those given to children. And as such, they are driven to become better masters.

This is mainly why, in recent years, participating in a dog forum has become a norm, no matter if you are a novice pet owner or a seasoned one.

Despite the fact that there are several reliable sources of information and advice pertaining to pet ownership, the number of participants in forums continues to grow. One reason for this is that pet owners put great weight on the actual experience of pet owners, giving them a sense of involvement in a thriving online community. For example, certain websites may deem certain breeds as unsuitable for a suburban setting or apartment living. However, other pet owners participating in forums may have success stories that they can impart to other forum members which they can emulate. In some cases, there might be owners who turn to forums to get advice among other members with regards to their frustrations in training their pets.

people-talking

Another reason why pet owners are driven to forums and other online sources is that they can readily find answers to common issues like behavioral and medical problems. The problem here is that posts and responses by other pet owners are not entirely reliable.

So does that mean that you should wean yourself off from forums and similar online platforms?

No. Not entirely. For any issues regarding your pet, particularly when it comes to its health, nothing can substitute the experience and expertise of a trained professional like a veterinarian and a dog trainer. Because they have specifically studied and specialized in this particular field, they can provide the best answers to your questions about the wellbeing of Fido. You would not trust the welfare of your child to an anonymous online contact so why should you do the same for your pet?

At best, forums and websites dedicated to pets and their masters are meant to supplement the professional advice and attention of a vet and trainer. Use caution before heeding an online advice. Or better yet, immediately seek professional help.

Also, you should carefully choose which forums to participate in and which websites to look into. Your vet and trainer can point you to helpful sights to satiate your need for the right information.

New Camera for Dog Photography and Video

By Jean Cote | Personal , Posts

Hi Jean,

It was over 10 years ago since I laws owned a really nice camera. Back then, everything was still on 35mm films and I remember I had to bring the films to the camera store to get them developed. The pictures that came out of that camera were outstanding – I loved them.

But unfortunately, with most technology it eventually stopped working. And I didn’t want to spend money to get it fixed so I eventually stopped taking photographs altogether.

But today, I’m excited because I just got myself another really nice digital camera. This one can also do video so it will be really nice to shoot the dogs with. Here are some sample pictures that I’ve been able to take with it this weekend.

Although I have yet to explore every feature of this camera, I think the results are simply amazing. I am so happy to have gotten this camera, even though it wasn’t cheap. And if you are wondering which one I got, it was the Panasonic GH2.

Getting Back Into Training Recalls

By Jean Cote | Posts

training_recall_imgSo, I’ve decided to dedicate the next 8 weeks of training to fine-tuning the recalls with my two dogs. And I will be sharing some of my experiences, stories and challenges with you through this blog.

With this new undertaking, I will need to re-visit the basics and re-build the foundation that is necessary to getting an AMAZING recall.

The very first thing that I need to do is to build value to being near me. Which means that I will be playing lots of games with my dogs (fetch, play-wrestle, etc).

Why you ask? Because no dog in their right mind would ever come to an angry owner or one that takes the fun and freedom away.

My goal is to get my dogs to ABSOLUTELY LOVE being near me.

And because most dogs will see the owner grabbing the collar as a total loss of fun and freedom (think of an owner clipping on the leash), I will also be playing the collar-grab game.

This involves touching the dog’s neck or collar and then immediately giving a treat.

Although I’ve done this extensively with my dogs when they were puppies, it has been quite a long time and a refresher would be quite beneficial.

Next, I will gradually add distance between my dogs and I while continuing  to play these two training games.

Remember, whenever you train anything with your dog, the foundation is always the most important. You always want to make sure that you train it correctly so that you don’t have to go back later on as you add more “layers” of complexity to the behavior.

Until next time, take care!
Jean

The Coolest 3D Illusion Dog Ever Created

By Jean Cote | Posts

A few years ago, I created this very cool paper illusion dog that once assembled, appears to move its head as you look at it with one eye closed or from a distance of 4 to 6ft.

When I first saw these types of illusions, I immediately knew that I wanted to create one. So I thought about it for a long time and since dogs are such an important part of my life, I decided to make an illusion dog.

It took weeks to find someone who could help me create it, and it took more than 15 revisions to get it perfectly working.

Take a look at our final results here:

You may download the print-out of the illusion dog, which you will then need to cut and assemble. However, it must be assembled correctly!

The trick is to fold the head inside-out – this is what creates the illusion. If you fold it like a normal dog then it will not work, you have to assemble it like this picture:

illusion_dog_assembled

You may notice a different logo and slogan on the illusion dog once it’s assembled. That’s what the original logo used to look like. We’ve changed a few things since then. 🙂

If you like this, then please leave a comment and share it with your friends on Facebook!

[pwal id=”31821123″ description=”To download the illusion dog, share this page by clicking one of the buttons below.””] [s3mv]miscellaneous/illusion_dog.pdf,button,Click Here to Download the Illusion Dog[/s3mv] [/pwal]

3 Simple Tips For A Merry Christmas With Your Dog

By Jean Cote | Posts , Tips

Hi everyone,

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and to your dog(s)! This year has been totally amazing; we’ve grown and learned so much together. I even got a brand new bigger and better recording studio! (Stay tuned for an update on this)

Here are 3 simple tips to keep your dog “sane” during the holiday season:

  1. Exercise your dog before your guests arrive. An intense hour exercise session will do wonders for your dog. He will be more calm and relaxed and will deal better with all of the stress that comes with the holidays.
  2. Set-up a special room where your dog can retreat to if things get too loud for him. Place his bed or his crate in that room along with fresh water.
  3. Tell your guests not to give your dog any table food. You can set up a bowl of dog treats if you want them to get your dog to do tricks.

Got another tip? Leave a comment below! 🙂

Why I Love My Dog Pt. 2

By Jean Cote | Personal , Posts

Hi there,

Meet my dog Chase, she’s the friendliest Border Collie I’ve ever met!

In fact, as a puppy they had nicknamed her ‘Kisses’ because she would kiss everyone that she met. (She still does that!)

In this blog post, you will learn why I love my dog and how she’s impacted my life…

The photographs you see on this page were taken today in my ‘home-made’ studio.

Here’s why I love my dog…

  • She is the most playful dog I have ever seen. I often wish that I had her energy. She will literally play until she is completely exhausted. And after 10 minutes, she’ll want to play again.
    The funniest thing happens when I watch a movie on TV. Chase wants to play so badly that she’ll bring all of her toys to me, and I usually don’t notice until the end of the movie at which point I am surrounded by toys.
  • She is the best ‘work-buddy’. I used to be allowed to bring her to work with me and she’d be there to cheer me up as I worked through the day. Sadly the new regulations don’t allow me to bring my dog with me anymore … but I still sneak her in sometimes. (shh, nobody is supposed to know)
  • She is so easy to train. Border Collies are notorious for being smart and Chase learns new behaviors and tricks very quickly. Although she prefers tricks and behaviors that are physically demanding, like weaving in and out of my legs (figure eight) or jumping in my arms.
  • Do you want to know what’s the best though? She’s an awesome swimmer and loves to jump in the pool to retrieve a toy or just to cool off. It really makes the summer that much more enjoyable!

Below, you can watch a short video recorded today of Chase doing some tricks. This is just something we do for fun!


Although she would do those tricks simply to please me, I usually reward her with a toy (her much preferred reward).

How about you? Why do you love your dog?

Leave a comment below and let me know!

Why I Love My Dog Pt. 1

By Jean Cote | Personal , Posts

Hi there…

Meet my dog Onyx, she’s my personal favorite Siberian husky (I know, I’m a little biased, he he)

I wanted to create a short blog post about the reasons why I love my dog and how she’s impacted my life..

The photographs you see on this page were taken today in my ‘home-made’ studio.

Here’s why I love my dog…

  • She is the most outgoing dog I have ever had in my entire life. She desperately wants to meet strangers, play with other dogs and really just wants to explore the world. In fact, I think of her as a little ‘explorer’.
  • She is an ‘angel’ in the house. Well, kind of. Of course when she was growing up she had to learn the house rules. I remember when she was just a puppy she completely unrolled a roll of toilet paper because it was just so darn fun to play with.
    Oh… And how could I forget how she figured out a way to unlock her crate? That’s right! I’d get home and she’d be so happy wagging her tail and I was there thinking … hmm.. Did I forget to put her in her crate?
  • She has been (and continues to be) my biggest challenge as a trainer. Because she is so happy and instinctively wants to explore the world, trusting her off leash has been a challenge.
    But when there is a will, there is a way! Through the power of positive reinforcements, I was able to compete with her in Agility and win 1st place! (I won’t mention that she was the only dog competing at 26″ that day, oops, I just did.)
  • But more importantly … she is my best friend. She cares when nobody else does. She’s there when I’m bored and got nothing else to do… But also, she’s the happiest dog to welcome me when I come home! What else could you ask for?

On the right, you can watch a video recorded today of Onyx’s recall. This is something we’ve worked a lot through the years.

As you can see, it was pouring, so I didn’t want her to get all muddy so I whistled (which is her cue for coming) and she immediately ran inside the house.

Excellent response! I even rewarded the behavior with a some praise “Good Girl!”

How about you? Why do you love your dog?

Leave a comment below and let me know!

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