Tuesday, December 21, 2010

x-country pooch trail :)

Whistler Olympic Park has a trail you can enjoy with your pooch. My partner took Keegan out for a couple hours while I worked. I'm so proud when I watched this video because Kee did a great job meet n greeting some dogs and ignoring others, while listening to my partner.

It's these times where I see proof in the pudding that if you take the time to teach your dog polite social skills, you can take them anywhere.

The more you enjoy doing with your dog, the deeper the bond you build, and the more they're eager to follow your lead...so they don't miss out on the fun.

Keegan is 2yrs old and still works for off leash privileges. He earns his off leash time, in short stints.

We have fun with recalls and he gets jackpots for checking in with me all on his own. Building a solid foundation of us being aware of eachother's needs, means there's little possibility of him blowing me off.

Long lines ROCK and working off leash in short quick, FUN stints...pay off tenfold down the road. Once a reliable check in and recall are established, I NEVER take it for granted, and always TEST their reliability with fun games. If they're slow to recall, that means more work needs to be done on my end.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Distance work pays off out here when we're bombing out around on the trails. Actually, even in the city, when at parks, I've had more than one occasion where I've been relieved to be able to tell my dogs to "STOP" when I see a ball hog dog racing after our ball. Most dogs who hog another's ball in my experience have been possessive of them, and it's not worth it to me to have my dogs injured in a dogfight because another person hasn't trained their dog.

I've used "STOP" when on trails and we've encounter motorcyles, ATV's, bikes, joggers, other hikers/dogs or even knowing there's cliff up ahead, being able to tell them to put on the brakes for safety reasons gives me a piece of mind.

DISTANCE work...besides STOP, SIT and DOWN have also come in handy. Distance work comes naturally when they understand stay's are part of a cue and you've done a ton of duration and distraction work when close by. Handsignals, more like arm movements, also help them out. Start off close then ping/pong the distance, next start adding distractions. I always reward in position at first so they find value in staying put.

*Remember that dogs don't have the greatest eye sight when it comes to picking something specific out in the distance. They are more perceptive to movement hence using your arm and exaggerated motion.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein :P

There's lots of times when this quote comes to mind. I can think of dozens of occasions where it even comes up in dog training.

These two scenarios are really tough for me to watch unfold. They are easily avoidable without the drama of you working yourself from frustration to anger to lashing out at your dog.

1-Repeating your cue over and over again, and expecting the dog to sit, come, leave something...whatever..the FIRST time you asked.

If you have to repeat your cue, your puppy/dog:

a/TRULY doesn't have a clear understanding of the cue or what was being asked in the first place.

b/IS emotionally or physically incapable of performing the cue. Fear or anxiety can get the best of us all and debilitate us from doing what may be otherwise a non-issue. On the flipside, if your dog is arthritic, or has another medical ailment, please consider this when asking them to do something for you...ie. a stand stay for an arthritic dog may be more comfortable than a down stay.

c/HAS NOT practiced and generalized the cue in enough new situations and environments, with enough distractions so that the cue has had a long history of being rewarded PROFUSELY the very FIRST time you asked for it. Practice makes perfect!

2-Being dictatorial and expecting your puppy/dog to be obedient just "because" you said so. Not seeing results, but rather just creative thinking on your puppy/dog's part to ramp themselves up and be as unruly UNTIL the warnings turn to punishment.

That's not a fun place to be in, for either party. It's not fun having to be grumpy, and it sure doesn't help enrich your relationship with your dog/pup.

Humans and dogs LEARN so much through play!

Just think about all the social skills you learn playing sports, or joining those of like mind for hobbies. Polite social skills, work as a team, everyone doing their share so things don't fall apart...if you're honest, have a good sense of humour, respectful, benevolent, chances are you'll attract more people in a social situation than someone who is a bully, dictatorial and uses physical means to control your every move.

If you're a bully, eventually you're kicked out or ignored, until you change YOUR behaviour.

Same applies to dog training and building a relationship with your pooch. If they had a choice...which home do you think they'd be racing towards?

a/DOGS LOVE to play and have fun. Use all of your puppy/dogs FAVOURITE things in life as training opportunities.

b/MANAGING their environment so they can't make a mistake in the first place, redirect them to do something incompatible rather than what is annoying you, and take the time to teach them polite behaviours using handsignal then adding verbal cues once they understand, can predict and commit to performing a behaviour which you find appropriate for the situation.

Take the time to teach your furry pal using what they love most in life as motivators for choosing to work with you to learn polite social skills. I promise it will not only enrich your life, but it will change the way you relate to others.

Friday, December 10, 2010