Down Dog Training And Behaviour
- October 13, 2021
We offer group classes, private lessons and in-home dog training.Our common sense, simple, yet effective training solutions can help you lead a happier life with your dog. .
Early Morning Dog Training: Trying the Behavioral Down Protocol
While Crystal Blaker, our local dog trainer who has attended several TBTE seminars, had explained this dog training protocol to me numerous times, I didn’t know what “target behavior” looked like for either of my dogs until I really saw it.What does target behavior look like for a behavioral down?After removing numerous distractions, I clipped my biothane leash to Lizzie’s collar and started the timer for the behavioral down dog training exercise. .
Many behavior problems have a component of fear, anxiety or excessive arousal so that retraining cannot begin until a calm, relaxed state can be achieved on cue.Training should focus on both the behavioral response (sit, down, walk, stay on your mat) as well as the emotional state (calm, relaxed).Once the dog has learned to settle on cue, it should be possible to begin exposure to gradually more intense stimuli (see Desensitization and Counter-Conditioning).The settle command could be used to achieve a focused response when the dog is overly excited or anxious such as when greeting family members, strangers or other animals.A good place to start is with a new set of cues that help both the pet and you to understand what behavior is desired.Alternately, a physical device such as a leash and head halter can be used to physically prompt the dog to display the target behavior, along with immediate relaxation of tension as soon as the desired response is exhibited (see Training Products – Head Halter Training).This can be accomplished by saving favored rewards exclusively for training and immediately reinforcing the pet for the desired response.You will need to focus on your dog’s facial expressions, body postures and breathing in order to determine the pet’s level of relaxation (e.g., sitting with one leg tucked under the body, relaxed facial muscles, breathing regularly and slowly), before giving rewards and proceeding to gradually more successful outcomes.As the dog follows your hand, give the key word and reward eye contact.Gradually increase the amount of time you require eye contact to last and then start adding distractions in the background, like people playing, a fridge door opening, etc.The goal is for your dog to maintain eye contact on cue with the key phrase for several minutes, regardless of the amount of distraction and background activity.Another exercise would be train the dog to lie down in a relaxed position, on its belly with both hind legs on the same side."The head halter is an extremely effective tool for quickly and reliably achieving the initial behavior and for progressing rapidly.".The dog can be taught to “go to your mat or bed” or “go to your kennel” where it learns to stay calmly for favored rewards.At first, you may need to leave a leash attached so that your dog can be physically prompted (taken) to the bed or mat, to ensure success and to demonstrate to the pet what behavior will result in a reward. .
At what age can I start training my new puppy?Young puppies have short attention spans but you can expect them to begin to learn simple obedience commands such as “sit,” “down,” and “stay,” as young as 7 to 8 weeks of age.The dog is learning from every experience and delaying training means missed opportunities for the dog to learn how you would like him to behave."Puppies can be taught the commands ‘sit,’ ‘down,’.When training is started at 7 to 8 weeks of age, use methods that rely on positive reinforcement and gentle teaching.We use food treats to entice the dog to follow its nose into the proper positions for “sit,” “down,” “stand,” and “stay”.By pairing a command phrase or word with each action, and giving the reward for each appropriate response, the puppy should soon learn the meaning of each command.Soon the puppy will come to expect the treat each time she performs the task.Then, signal and give the command, but when she performs the task, reward only with praise and give the puppy an affectionate pat.Next, you can begin to vary the frequency, giving praise with “good dog” and perhaps patting each time, but giving the food randomly, perhaps every 3 or 4 times.Over time, the words “good dog” and the affectionate pat become secondary reinforcers.It is important to use secondary reinforcement because you will not always have food with you when you need your pet to obey.In addition, if you rely on food to get your puppy to comply, you will have a puppy that will only do the task when you have a treat.Over time however, you should begin to ask your puppy to perform the tasks at other times.In this way, you are training your dog all the time, throughout the day and also establishing predictable rules and routines for interactions and helping the dog to learn who controls the resources.Having your puppy sit before getting a food or treat prevents begging, while teaching your dog to sit before opening the door can prevent jumping up or running out the door.To have a well-trained dog, you need to be committedto reinforcing the training tasks on nearly a daily basis for the first year of your puppy's life.Socialization should begin as soon as you get your puppy and often this means at 7 weeks of age.There is a normal, natural fear period that begins around 14 to 16 weeks.Should I also consider training classes?And, considering human nature, the pet owner who takes his or her dog to a puppy class will be forced to practice (do their homework) throughout the week if they do not want to fall behind by the next class.Training classes for young puppies are also an excellent way to socialize your new puppy to a variety of people, dogs, and other stimuli in a controlled environment. .
Positive reinforcement training
For example, if you have your dog sit but reward them after they’ve stood back up, they’ll think they’re being rewarded for standing.When your dog is sitting, you can lure them into a down position by slowly lowering your hand and bringing the reward close to the ground between their front paws.Keep verbal cues short and uncomplicated.Consistency also means always rewarding the desired behavior and never rewarding undesired behavior.Positive reinforcement is great for teaching your dog cues and it's also a good way of reinforcing good behavior.Give them a pat or a "good dog" for lying quietly by your feet or slip a treat into a Kong-type toy when they chew that instead of your shoe.It can take time for your dog to learn certain behaviors.Positive reinforcement can include food treats, praise, petting, or a favorite toy or game.Each time you use a food reward, you should couple it with a verbal reward (praise).Then give your dog a treat.When your pet is learning a new behavior, reward them every time they demonstrate that behavior.At first, reward with a treat four out of every five times they do the behavior.Over time, reward three out of five times, and so on, until you’re only rewarding occasionally.Your dog will soon be working for your verbal praise, because they want to please you and know that, occasionally, they'll get a treat too. .
Training a High-Energy to Calm Down
Not every dog owner has access to large tracts of acreage upon which to exercise their hyper dogs, and in any case, “wild child canine syndrome” (WCCS) is more than just lack of exercise; it’s also lack of appropriate reinforcement for calm behavior – i.e., training.A successful hyper dog behavior modification program contains three elements: physical exercise, management, and training.Absent any access to a dog-friendly fenced yard, play with your dog on a long line.Caution: Work up to 50 feet gradually, so he learns where the end of the line is.Then have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash.Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat.Next, have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash and let him see you “hide” the treat in an easy hiding place: behind a chair leg, under the coffee table, next to the plant stand.Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat.Again, have your dog sit and wait.This time hide several treats in easy places while he’s watching.Return to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” Be sure not to help him out if he doesn’t find them right away.Bring him back into the room and tell him to “Find it!” and enjoy watching him work his powerful nose to find the goodies.Once you’ve taught him this step of the game you can use it to exercise him by hiding treats in safe places all over the house, and then telling him to “Find it!” Nose work is surprisingly tiring.This is a fun variation of the “Find it” game.Have your dog sit and wait (or have someone hold him) while you go hide yourself in another room of the house.Call him back to you each time, so he runs to the Manners Minder when he hears the beep, eats the treat, and runs back to you to wait for the next beep.Some trainers use treadmills and canine exercise wheels to exercise their dogs.How to Calm Your Dog with Positive-Reinforcement Training.Successful positive training, especially for hyper dogs, relies on the appropriate use of management tools to prevent the dog from practicing – and being reinforced for – undesirable behaviors.Use crates and exercise pens when you can’t directly supervise his energy to consistently reinforce appropriate behaviors and prevent reinforcement for inappropriate ones.When you can provide adequate exercise and social time in addition to his time in the crate or pen.When you want to keep your dog near but not directly connected to you, to teach good manners and/or prevent inappropriate behaviors.5 Training Exercises for Your Hyperactive Dog.With a high-energy dog, in addition to basic good manners training, invest a lot of training time in impulse-control behaviors.Click When Your Dog is Calm.Start by simply clicking your dog for calm behavior, beginning with clicks and treats for any pause in the action.With the clicker, an instant of calm elicits a “click” during the calm behavior.Begin by giving your dog a click and treat just because all four feet are on the floor at the same instant.If your timing is good and you click for four-on-the-floor several times in a row he’ll start to stand still deliberately to make the clicker go off.Your clicker is now a powerful tool; you can reinforce any behavior you want, any time it happens, and your dog will quickly start repeating that behavior for you.You’ll have the most success if you practice “clicking for calm” right after one of your dog’s exercise sessions when he’s tired anyway.“Sit” is one of the first behaviors we teach.Teach your dog to sit by holding a treat at the end of his nose and moving it slowly back a few inches, clicking and treating when his bottom touches ground.If he already knows sit, start reinforcing it every time he does it until he sits for anything and nothing.With your dog sitting at your side, tell him to “Wait.” Hold his bowl (with food in it, topped with tasty treats) chest-high, then move it toward the floor 4 to 6 inches.If he remains sitting, lower the bowl 4 to 6 inches again, and click and treat for his continued sitting.Finally, place the bowl on the floor and tell him to eat.Repeat these steps until you can easily place the bowl on the floor and he doesn’t move until you give him permission.Wait at the Door.With your dog sitting at your side, tell him to “wait.” Reach for the doorknob.Gradually open the door farther, an inch or two at a time.Eventually you’ll walk all the way through the door, stop, and face your dog, without having him move.Wait a few seconds, click, then return and give him a tasty treat.Squid does a variation of “Wait at the door” in his pen and kennel. .