Showing category "Dog Training" (Show all posts)

A Bit About Learning Theory

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, In : Dog Training 


Puppies and dogs explore their world via their nose and mouth. Behaviour, which is perfectly normal for them, is often unwanted by us. Dogs bark (they don’t speak English), bite, chew, dig, run, jump, roll, shred things, avoid eye contact (it’s the polite thing to do in the canine world), sniff, guard items (a skill necessary for survival in the wild) and more.
As humans, we want to teach our dogs to sit politely, walk slowly, not bark, avoid rolling in disgusting things, be happy when we ...

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Holiday Planning For Your Dog

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, December 12, 2016, In : Dog Training 

For those of you planning on having a large holiday gathering at your home, please have a plan for your dog. Ask yourself the following questions:

1) Does my dog greet politely at the front door? If yes, great, not a problem. If not, you need a plan so your guests don’t get mugged at the door and your dog does not get reinforced for unwanted behaviour.

Will you: 
a) board him overnight elsewhere?
b) have a responsible adult in charge of the dog all evening?
c) set up his crate or prepare a diffe...

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Some Basics for Teaching Come

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, October 17, 2016, In : Dog Training 


Come! It's something everyone wants their dog to do and yet something most people don't fully train. It's understandable though, as most dogs will respond beautifully when in their home.

The tricky part is when they are not :)

As with all behaviour, the different skill levels of a recall need to be taught and practiced. 

You don't go from learning chopsticks on the piano directly to the concert hall playing Chopin successfully. Mistakes are made along the way. Practice is essential. Difficult...


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I Use Food In Dog Training!

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Wednesday, August 19, 2015, In : Dog Training 


 
I was walking my almost 14 year old boy this morning, randomly offering a treat as we meandered. 

I began thinking about those who don’t believe in using food for training and some of their reasons for it. 

One of the big ones constantly brought up is the misguided belief that food will forever have to be used in order to get the desired behaviour. Food used correctly, is not a problem. Improper use of food in training is the problem.

For anyone who has taught a young child to ride a bike ...


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Trigger Stacking

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Friday, August 7, 2015, In : Dog Training 

Your dog may have multiple triggers that make him uncomfortable. If you have a dog who reacts to stimuli when outside, it is worth your while to mark down all the things your dog reacts to - whether mild or more strongly. Be aware of what occurs in the course of your day with your dog. Has he encountered any of his triggers? When stressed, the body releases cortisol (a stress hormone) which can remain in the body for 2-6 days.  Even though he may have encountered a trigger on Monday, the phys...

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Changing Unwanted Dog Behaviour

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, In : Dog Training 


When looking to change unwanted behaviour, whether jumping on guests or barking at other dogs. taking steps to eliminate the opportunity to continue to practice those behaviours is an important part of the process.
Every time your dog has the opportunity to jump on someone, that behaviour gets reinforced. Any behaviour that is reinforced gets repeated.
For example: jumping on guests. When you are ready to change it, it's essential to stop all reinforcement of the jumping. You may be saying " Bu...


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Does Your Dog Chase Skateboards?

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Friday, April 17, 2015, In : Dog Training 

The season for skateboards, bicycles, rollerblades, basketball, scooters and road hockey is here (finally!) If you have a dog who reacts to movement, as do I, it's not too soon to have a training plan.

Arm yourself with pockets full of high value treats or fill a food tube with canned dog food.(http://www.sitstaylearn.ca/blog/dog-training-in-cold-weather).

Sit on your front steps or find a place where people/kids/skateboards, etc. pass by. Try to find a spot where you are far enough a...


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Thunderstorm Season and Your Dog

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, In : Dog Training 


Spring is fast approaching. For many dogs, thunderstorms are an unfortunate part of the season.

If your dog does not react negatively to storms - wonderful! - take advantage of that and make lots of positive associations with storms. Do a favourite activity, feed favourite treats, play calming music. Don't wait for a negative emotion to surface before making storms a happy time. 

There are many elements to a thunderstorm – darkening sky, change in barometric pressure, smell, lighte...


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Do Dogs Understand Us?

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, In : Dog Training 




You bring your new puppy home and right away want to begin training your new puppy so you say “Fido! Come! Or “Spot, sit!”.
Everyone wants his or her new puppy to sit when asked or come running when called the first day the pup enters the home. 
Think about this for a moment.  

What language does your dog speak? English, French, Italian, Hebrew, Cantonese? The answer is, none of the above. Read more about why your dogs don’t understand what you say: “Dogs Don’t Speak English” – ...


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Too Much Dog Training Advice

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Friday, February 27, 2015, In : Dog Training 

     The day you bring your new puppy into your home, is the day everyone who has ever had a dog or knows someone who has or had a dog, will feel obligated to give you dog training advice :) This will likely continue for the duration of your dog's life as you meet and greet other dog owners in the park or on a walk. 

It can be reassuring at times, as you realize your dog is not the only one doing annoying adolescent stuff or that someone else's new puppy ate their shoes too. There is a sense ...


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Recall Basics (come command)

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Thursday, December 4, 2014, In : Dog Training 

Recall - everyone wants a good one. How do you get it? By teaching it in baby steps until you have a polished final product and continuing to practice for the duration of your dog’s life.

Begin with rewarding "automatic check ins".



What are they? Any time your dog voluntarily looks your way without prompting - indoors, then outdoors.
 

Next - choose a word other than "come" - which you can say in a happy voice (gentlemen, take note, discover your inner soft spot and try to avoid harsh...


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Teaching Your Dog Cues (commands)

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Sunday, September 28, 2014, In : Dog Training 

    It's been my experience that most people don't have success with teaching dogs cues (commands) because they begin by assuming their dog understands the meaning of the word "come" or "sit" or even his name, along with the behaviour associated with the cue (command).
Before teaching any behaviour/cue you want your dog to do, take a step back and first think "gibberish". What do I mean by that? If you begin with words that makes no sense to you - you will have a better understanding of the po...

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School Days

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Saturday, August 16, 2014, In : Dog Training 


As summer nears an end and fall approaches, it's necessary to think of how your daily patterns will change. Older children may be heading off to university or college, younger ones will be heading to kindergarten, elementary school or high school – all with different time tables.
What was once predictable now becomes less predictable.
It can sometimes be quite a shock to your dog when all of a sudden, the house is empty for most of the day, the walk schedule is different, feeding time is earl...

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Jumping

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, May 26, 2014, In : Dog Training 

Ask most dog owners one thing they'd like to change in their dog? Jumping at the door - on them and on guests. 
This can be a challenging behaviour to change if your dog has been doing it for a long time but it can be done.
You need the co-operation of the entire family.  It's confusing if some allow jumping and some don't. The way I get around that is to teach my dog to jump on the cue "hugs". I don't teach that until the jumping is under control though.
How to change this behaviour? First unde...

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I Don't Want To Use Food To Train My Dog

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, In : Dog Training 

It's not uncommon for me to hear people say" I don't want to use food to train my dog. He should do it because he respects me and I praise him".
I would like you to take a moment and think of people in your life. Who do you respect? Who do you do things for happily, willingly? Why?
Do you respect a person just because they demand it? Do you respect the boss who demands you work late, and then doesn’t recognize the extra effort you put in? If you had a choice, would you still do the work – j...

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Prong Collars and Punishment

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, In : Dog Training 

I overheard this the other day, while in a pet store, from a woman holding a prong collar in her hand: "It's not working. My dog is still pulling".
Most people who know me are well aware of my feelings about prong, choke and shock collars. I am not a fan of them. I do not use them or promote their use.
Punishment based training focuses on punishing the dog for unwanted behaviour when it occurs. The dog pulls – you apply the shock or jerk the leash to apply pressure so the prongs will dig into...

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Leash Walking Tip

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, March 10, 2014, In : Dog Training 

I like to think of a leash as a means to prevent the dog from running into the road or running away if a recall has not been fully trained.
Too often we rely on the leash and not on verbal cues or a trained behaviour of "follow me" when walking the dog. We pull them when we want to move on, change direction, avoid a puddle not jump on oncoming people and so much more.
I want my dogs to learn - hang around me for potential rewards (tug, chase toy or food) voluntarily vs go away from me because I...

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Are The Dogs Really Okay?

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Thursday, February 13, 2014, In : Dog Training 


Dogs give us signals all the time about how they are feeling. We don’t always understand what they mean but they are always being given. 
We often misinterpret them – 1) he’s pulling on the leash, 2) he’s trying to go out the door first, 3) he’s yawning, 4) he’s looking guilty, 5) he’s being aggressive. 
More likely than not, you’re dog is actually saying 1) I want to sniff, you walk too slow 2) the door is open, let’s go 3) I’m not feeling comfortable in this situation, 4) ...

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Board & Train: To Do Or Not To Do

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, In : Dog Training 

Bringing a new puppy into your home is a big decision. One that should not be taken lightly. The first 18 months are labour intensive. It's essential to teach this new puppy how to live in our human world with our human expectations of what a dog should or shouldn't do. More often than not, we expect our puppy or dog, not to be a puppy or dog. We don't want them to dig, bark, chew, chase, sniff, walk slowly and so much more.
My opinion is when deciding to bring a new puppy, adolescent, adult o...
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Social Learning?

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, January 27, 2014, In : Dog Training 



On today’s walk in the woods we came across a tree trunk which had fallen across the path. It was just as easy to go under as it was to go over. As we approached, I watched my Beardie to see what he was going to do as he had just jumped over a few other obstacles.
He sniffed up and down, above and below. Backed up a couple of steps, re approached and sniffed some more.
If I had to describe what I saw, I’d say he was deciding how to get to the other side: jump or duck under.
I decided to do a...

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Not Only Dog Training - What You Choose

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Sunday, December 29, 2013, In : Dog Training 

I was listening to the radio this morning. There was a guest on a talk show discussing organ donation and how it helped the family deal with a tragic situation and tremendous loss. One thing he said struck me. His grandfather taught him "it's not what happens to you, it's how you choose to deal with it".
What does that have to do with dog training? Nothing specific. What got me thinking is how living your life via that credo is valid for all aspects of life.
Personally, I prefer to live life wi...
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Stimulus Control? Do I Need It?

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, December 16, 2013, In : Dog Training 

I don't do competitive dog training. I was interested in doing Rally with my Beardie but he isn’t suited for it, which is fine with me. I am very happy with simply having well-mannered family dogs. That is my focus with clients as well.
I don't demand or need perfection in the behaviour I ask of my dogs but it I do expect to get whatever behaviour I ask for.
If I did Rally with my dog, I would need to have certain behaviour under strict stimulus control.
What is it and why would I need it? Hav...

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Winter Paw Care

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, November 25, 2013, In : Dog Training 


Not everyone likes or wants to dress up their dog in full winter gear but do consider some kind of paw protection. Icy, salted sidewalks can be very painful for your dog's paws after a few minutes of walking on a cold day. Little balls of ice and snow can build up in between the pads. Keeping the fur trimmed can help but using boots or specially formulated "pastes" provide a barrier.
There are many pastes on the market including Mushers Secret and Invisible Boot. All you do is apply some to t...

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Training my Dog to "Follow Me" not Heel

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Thursday, November 7, 2013, In : Dog Training 


I can be a lazy dog owner sometimes, just like everyone else.

I’ve never taken the time to teach my Beardie how to walk politely when on leash. He walks well off leash so it’s never been a priority for me.  When I need to take him to a new area or think I need some control, I’ll put on his Sens-ible walking harness so he doesn’t pull while on a flat collar.
I’ve done what I’ll call “opportunistic training” which by my definition simply means I’ve reinforced him for position wh...

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Discoveries at Peaceable Paws

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, October 28, 2013, In : Dog Training 

Ever since I embarked on my journey to become a dog trainer my desire to learn has increased exponentially. The more I do this, the more I want to learn. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. It’s a crazy cycle.
One of the many learning discoveries this week at Peaceable Paws was to realize, I had quite a few things in common with my shelter dog.
Anxiety is defined as “the distress or uneasiness of mind caused by apprehensive anticipation of future danger or misfortun...


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Just a Little Blog about Dog Walking

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Sunday, October 13, 2013, In : Dog Training 

We all have different reasons for walking our dogs. Some of us see it as our own opportunity to exercise, others think of it as a chore that needs to be done and some of us look at it from the dog's point of view.
I think of it as an opportunity for my dogs to explore the ever changing smells, sights and sounds of the neighbourhood. They need to check mail (pee mail that is) and leave a message where necessary.
I try to approach each walk as their time, not mine. 
It can be challenging with two...
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Training and Patience Pays in Dog Training

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Sunday, September 22, 2013, In : Dog Training 

Awesome dogs last night! I had a house full of people and after their initial inspection of guests as they arrived, they went to their respective areas and hung out. There was the occasional check in but other than that, you wouldn't have even known there were dogs in the house.
The time spent on good manners training pays off in a multitude of ways. 
When you are working with your dog, think of the behaviour you would like in the long run and do your best to reinforce when you see it. Include ...

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What's In A Name - Dog Name That Is

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Friday, September 6, 2013, In : Dog Training 

One of the most sacred things you will ever teach your dog is his name. Think about it. Without a good, solid response to his name – how are you going to get his attention when you need it? 
In order to keep it sacred it’s very important not to over use it. 
One of the first things I want to teach a new puppy is a good thing happens when you hear your name.  I do this by pairing the name with treats and other good things. I don’t use it if I ever need to reprimand or do something I think ...

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Why Did The Dog Cross The Street?

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Tuesday, August 27, 2013, In : Dog Training 



A while ago, when I was teaching classes, a client said she wanted to teach her dog to be able to wait for cars to pass until it was safe for the dog to cross.
I wasn’t quite sure if she meant while the dog was on her own or not.
Turns out, she did want to teach the dog to cross on her own.

While dogs are brilliant – I don’t think it’s possible to teach a dog to recognize and process all the elements that go into making that decision:
The speed of an approaching car, the distance to cross...

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Leash On / Leash Off

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Wednesday, August 21, 2013, In : Dog Training 

From the very beginning, I have trained my Beardie the leash is not a bad thing - there is no difference to him whether it is on or off. Sometimes it's dragging, sometimes I'm holding it, sometimes it's off.  If I have to call him back to re-leash, it is always followed by a game of tug, a few ball tosses or a cookie. Sometimes all three!
I never want him to learn the leash is the end of good times. It doesn't take long for a dog to learn once the leash goes on, the fun stops. 
For us, the le...


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The Universal Laws of Dog Behaviour

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Tuesday, August 6, 2013, In : Dog Training 


As I sat in a backyard, watching little munchkins (human ones) explore their environment I was reminded how much the laws governing behaviour are universal.

Karen Pryor wrote one of the best books on behavior, titled “Don’t Shoot the Dog”. It wasn’t written about how to train a dog but how to change the behavior of animals or people using the principles of training with reinforcement.
Briefly, a reinforcer is anything that tends to increase the probability a behavior will occur again. T...
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Quick Tip for Playing Fetch With Your Dog

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Sunday, July 21, 2013, In : Dog Training 




When you are playing Fetch with your dog - don't be upset if he runs to get the toy then plays with it before coming back to you. Unless you are working on competitive skills, it really doesn't matter if he comes back right away or not. The purpose is to have fun with you! If part of that fun includes playing with the toy for a few minutes - what harm does it do? 

My Beardie regularly chases his toy and lies down with it to have a chew. He either comes back when I call him or he comes back wh...


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Behaviour Patterns in Dog Training

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, In : Dog Training 

A long time ago I was teaching my dog to pause at street corners, until given permission to cross. I thought I did a pretty good job - until I realized I had fallen into a common training trap.
I hadn't actually taught him to wait for the release but did train him to wait about 4 seconds before crossing :)
Humans fall into patterns of behaviour very quickly and easily. I had fallen into a pattern of waiting for a specific amount of  time without realizing it.  My dog sure knew though!  One day ...

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Choose Your Dog Breed Wisely

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Saturday, July 6, 2013, In : Dog Training 




Bringing a puppy or dog into the home is not for everyone. 
Puppies and dogs are social beings, they need to be part of the family. Sometimes I see people walking dogs and it is clearly a chore for them. Some take their dog out for a functional walk only - as soon as the dog is done his business - back inside they go.
Different breeds have different exercise and grooming requirements. If you are not prepared to teach your long haired dog to accept handling so he can be groomed regularly - don't...

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Fireworks Training Tips For Your Dog

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Friday, June 28, 2013, In : Dog Training 

Fireworks and dogs don't always get along. Even if you have a new puppy who doesn't react to the sounds or flashes of light - ensure you play with your pup during the fireworks or feed super yummy goodies so he will continue to have a positive association with the event. It's not unusual for a fear of fireworks to show up around the 4 year mark.
Avoid bringing your dog along to watch the show. Have some relaxing music on such as Through A Dog's Ear cd's. Use calming aids such as D.A.P or a Thu...

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Dogs Are Social Beings

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, In : Dog Training 

Dogs are social beings, just like us. When we want to engage with someone, we make eye contact, we turn in their direction, we may reach a hand out to touch an arm. When we walk on the street and see an approaching person we may look away or down to avoid an awkward moment of "do I or don't I make eye contact and smile".
We have that moment because we are social and have learned once we acknowledge the other person, we are socially obligated to address them in some manner.
How many times has yo...

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Expecting Good Manners of My Dogs

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, June 10, 2013, In : Dog Training 


I think worries about our dogs can be much like with our children - and I don't like comparing one to the other.
When my kids were little I wanted to know they were well mannered when at friends houses. The reports back were always good. Lots of "please" and "thank you" were offered at the appropriate times. They were polite and respectful.
Good to know because with little ones, you can never be 100% sure when they are not at home. God help the mom if she put anything foreign on the KD or didn...

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The Cottage and Your New Puppy

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Thursday, June 6, 2013, In : Dog Training 

More and more I am hearing conversations about travel up to a cottage, somewhere beautiful, serene, often bordering a lake. Sounds amazing!
We see ripples on the water, hear birds chirping, gaze upon green rolling hills. 

Dogs see lots of new spaces, far and near, to explore, they discover the wildlife (skunks, porcupines, gophers, raccoons, horses, deer, goats, coyote), experience tics and fleas ☺
While dogs don’t appear to be sensitive to poison ivy, they can transmit it to you if they hav...

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Avoid Training Your Dog to be a Picky Eater

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Thursday, June 6, 2013, In : Dog Training 

When it comes to feeding, I treat my dogs the same way I did my children. Here is your meal. If you don't want to eat it, you will need to wait until the next meal. Not that I feed the same item - just I'm not going to prepare something special until you decide you like it. 

Right now, there is a turkey neck in the back yard that Beardie isn't eating. No problem. I will likely give him something else at dinner.
If your dog turns up their nose at the occasional meal, it's not a big deal if they ...

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Place Train Your Dog!

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Friday, May 31, 2013, In : Dog Training 
The value of down/stay on a mat is very handy when you drop a glass on the floor and need to clean up shattered glass. I discovered that today when I dropped a glass jar on the floor. Glass shards flew all over the kitchen floor!
I cued my dogs to go to their mats and stay. I reinforced every few minutes alternating between praise and dropping a treat between their paws as they held their positions.
I was able to successfully clean up all the shards and my dogs were successful at maintaining th...
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Digging Dogs!

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Sunday, May 26, 2013, In : Dog Training 



Want to avoid this? Create a legitimate digging spot in your backyard and teach your dog to dig only there. Decide whether you want to create a particular spot in the yard or use an old sandbox or other container which you can put dirt into.
Bury some delicacies (frozen Kong, favourite chews or toy) You can fill old paper towel holders with treats, seal the ends up and bury that too. Be creative!

The first couple of times you can have your dog watch you bury something so he knows where to sniff...

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Use Dog Muzzles Properly

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, May 6, 2013, In : Dog Training 

It's so common for people to get involved with dogs, dog walking and dog training because they love dogs. Some of us go far enough to become certified and continue to learn and educate ourselves. Some people decide to walk dogs for others because they love dogs and have always had them in their lives.If you are going to take on the responsibility of walking other people's dogs, it's essential (as far as I am concerned) to learn about dog behaviour, including dog/dog interactions as well as ab...
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Brachycephalic Dogs - Summer Heat

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Friday, May 3, 2013, In : Dog Training 
A note to people with Brachycephalic Dogs - French Bulldog, Shih Tzu, Pug, Boxer, Boston Terrier, King Charles Spaniel, etc. - any short muzzled, flat faced dog.
Please be aware of running with these dogs on hot days. Because of the difficulty they have breathing and cooling themselves down it's never a good idea to include them as jogging buddies.
Dogs keep cool via panting. These dogs have a difficult time cooling themselves off at the best of times. Asking them to jog with you in warm temper...
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How To Teach Fetch to Your Dog

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Friday, April 19, 2013, In : Dog Training 




Playing fetch with your dog is so much fun but it's important to know how to teach it as it's not as simple as you think :)

There are many steps to the game: 1) chase the ball  2) pick up the ball 3) hold the ball in your mouth 4) run back to me 5) drop the ball.

There are many ways to teach it. The following way is very easy and presumes your dog enjoys playing with toys. Not all do.

The first thing to teach is “drop”. If your dog has that skill you can begin as described below. If not, you...
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How To Choose A Vet

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, In : Dog Training 


In my opinion, a good vet is one who takes time to get to know your puppy, handles him gently, tries to ensure as best he can that his experience with be a positive one.
If your vet handles your puppy roughly, seems impatient, doesn't try to make any type of connection with your puppy, you may want to rethink your choice.
It's not unusual to visit a number of clinics and veterinarians before making a decision. It's also not unusual to change your mind.
When I began feeding my dogs a raw diet, ...
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My Dog Embarrasses Me!

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Saturday, April 6, 2013, In : Dog Training 

My Westie is 11 years old. 
When we began walks in the real world, he thought it necessary to bark and get excited when we came across other dogs. 
Every time we went for a walk I knew at some point we would come across a situation that would cause him to bark and lunge, leaving me to deal with the aftermath.
By this point in his life I had gone to puppy classes, had in home private training and read lots of how to books.
One thing the books, classes and in home training didn’t cover was the em...

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Spring Dog Training!

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, In : Dog Training 
Try to keep training fun!  Spring is on the way, the snow is melting. Now is a great time to take your dog's skills on the road! This is a super easy way to work on skills. You can do it anywhere.
When out for walks with your dog, keep it interesting by using lamp posts or fire hydrants or every other driveway as a spot to stop and ask for a different behaviour. It's a great way to practice sit/ down/ target/ stay/ name/ mini recalls - the list is endless.
It's also a great way to teach your do...
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Fallout of Punishment Based Dog Training

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : Dog Training 


I don't normally blog about this type of thing but I am going to. The debate between training methods is a never ending one. I am not writing this to debate whether one method is better than another. I am simply expressing my opinion.

While I don't believe there is such a thing as training without any type of punishment (removing attention is punishment for some dogs) I do think people must be made more aware of the fallout of force based, power trip training. And yes, I am judging here by usi...
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Survival Skills in The Animal World

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, March 11, 2013, In : Dog Training 
Animal behaviour fascinates me. As I sit on the beach (yes, I am on vacation!) I find I am often looking for sand crabs as opposed to looking out at the water. If you are still enough and patient, you can watch them pop out of their little sand tunnel, move their very cute googly eyes left and right and check out the environment.

When I see one, I remain very still. In my head I am saying "you are safe. Come on out. I won't hurt you".I watch him watch me until I see him decide it's safe and b...

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Train Your Puppy to Give Up Items

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Wednesday, February 20, 2013, In : Dog Training 

One of the very important behaviours I work on with new puppies is teaching them to give up items when asked to prevent resource guarding from developing. 

We fill a bowl with food, provide cushy pillows for sleeping and ensure the water bowl is full. You would think they get it. That the dog would understand we will provide everything they need forever.
  Then why, sometimes, when you try to take something away do they growl, bark, snarl, snap and sometimes bite?
  

Resource guarding is a very i...

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The Dog Trainer Becomes the Student

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Monday, January 28, 2013, In : Dog Training 

Knowledge is a wonderful thing. I am passionate about sharing what I know about training dogs. I love to help others realize force, pain, fear and intimidation have no place in training animals of any sort.

I have taught both group classes as well as one on one training. I enjoy both environments. One thing I realized is common to both situations is my need to be cognizant of speaking with people who do not have the same knowledge of the subject or vocabulary which often goes with it.

Sometimes...


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Semantics in Dog Training

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Wednesday, January 23, 2013, In : Dog Training 
The way you phrase things makes a difference. I may have brought this up before. I am doing it again because I believe it's important in the overall approach to your relationship with your dog.
You will never hear me say "my dogs are obedient". I will say they are "responsive". Sometimes more responsive than others. 
I believe in using the word obedient you immediately set up a situation where one must submit to another. As opposed to building a communicative relationship.

2 sentences: 
1) "my do...

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Your Dog Needs Vocabulary and Definitions

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, SitStayLearn on Thursday, January 3, 2013, In : Dog Training 


 
I’m pretty sure any dog owner will tell you that their dog understands when they are spoken to. If we didn’t think that was true, then we likely wouldn’t spend as much time talking to them, believing they understand us.
 
Research has been done to determine whether or not a dog can understand words. Chaser and Rico  are two prime examples. Both happen to be Border Collies. Studies at Wofford College showed Chaser was able to understand over 1,000 words.
A study at Max Planck Institute sho...

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Living With Multiple Dogs. It's Not Fair

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, SitStayLearn on Friday, December 7, 2012, In : Dog Training 

Having two dogs, or more, is not always fair or easy. I, like most people, experience some level of guilt when I reward one dog and not the other. I have to make a real effort to not give in to what I think I hear from them " but it's not fair! He got a cookie why can't I?" 
I bring this up because I am working on fast responses to recalls. I am only rewarding the one who responds within a "one good dog" count. 
I am watching for a head snap as soon as I give the cue. The dog who decides to fin...

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Targeting - Train Your Dog or Puppy

Posted by SitStayLearn on Saturday, October 27, 2012, In : Dog Training 


Teaching a puppy to target the palm is one of the basic behaviours I always include in my puppy visits. It's a very easy behaviour to teach and to use. The response I often get from clients is what is it and why do I have to do it? Most people haven't heard of targeting and aren't aware of how valuable a behaviour it can be. From playful puppy to aggressive adult, this little trick has many functions.

The basic idea is for the puppy to touch the palm of your hand with his nose - that's it. The...
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Your Dog Is Not Your Adversary

Posted by SitStayLearn on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, In : Dog Training 

While out on my evening walk with the dogs, I came across a guy walking his Weimaraner. Fortunately he was on the other side of the street. I say fortunately as this is the same guy who brought me to tears when I observed him interacting with his lovely dog a few months ago. The dog was/is on a tight prong collar and was horribly fearful of his abusive owner when I saw him months ago and clearly nothing has changed. This poor dog was punished for wanting to greet my dog as well as two others....

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Predictive Behaviour. How Your Dog Knows it's Bath Time!

Posted by SitStayLearn on Sunday, October 21, 2012, In : Dog Training 
Did you ever ask yourself “ how does he know he’s getting a bath today?”  or “how does he know I’m going to put him in the crate?”. 

Dogs are masters at reading body language and recognizing patterns of behaviour.  We follow patterns often without realizing it. We develop very strong habits. The combination of behaviour patterns and habits make us pretty predictable!

If you stopped to think about it, you likely do the same thing every morning when you get up. From going to the bathr...

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Is Your Dog Ready For Winter?

Posted by SitStayLearn on Friday, October 19, 2012, In : Dog Training 

Nobody wants to think of this yet but it's going to happen before you know it! Rain, slush, mud, snow and lots of road salt. Whether you have a new puppy or and older dog and are thinking of using some type of boot or coat, the process is the same. Yes, you can simply slap on a coat or boots on your dog. You will probably end up struggling and it will not be fun for anyone. On the other hand, you can take time to teach your pup or dog to enjoy the process!

It's not difficult at all!

Ensure you...
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Tug is a Great Reinforcer for Dog Behaviour

Posted by SitStayLearn on Thursday, October 18, 2012, In : Dog Training 

My Bearded Collie loves to tug. Before you engage in a real game of tug it's important to teach a few rules that go along with the game.

Most important teach a solid "drop" or "give". After that the rules of tug are as follows:

  • The toy belongs to you. It is kept in a drawer or other place where the dog cannot get it.

  • Play does not begin until you say so.  It's not a rule based on "power" or "dominance" but based on safety. You do not want your dog to engage in a game of tug with a child or oth...

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Be On The Same Page As Your Dog For Successful Dog Training

Posted by SitStayLearn on Monday, October 1, 2012, In : Dog Training 

Today was a beautiful fall day. The sun was shining, the air fresh.
My older dog is considered a bomb proof dog. I can bring him anywhere and he will be 100% comfortable with that. I can go out, and regardless of where I go I am confident that there will be no issues.  I can walk down the busiest street, sirens blaring, children yelling, and my boy will walk happily, tail loose and waggy, enjoying his time with me.
My younger dog, Joey, is the total opposite. He is now 4 years old and has had ...

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Dog Training Methods. It's Your Choice.

Posted by SitStayLearn on Wednesday, August 8, 2012, In : Dog Training 

I do not compete with my dogs. I am your average dog owner with more than average knowledge about dog behaviour.

I began my quest for information about dogs and training when I got my first dog, as an adult in my own home, 10 years ago. I like doing things “right” so I often try to learn as much as I can when I undertake something new.In this case it was what to do with a new puppy.I had dogs growing up but didn’t have much to do with them other than promise I would walk and occasionally...
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How Well Trained Is Your Dog?

Posted by Janis Mikelberg on Friday, May 25, 2012, In : Dog Training 

A well trained dog. What does that mean to you? I am a dog trainer by profession. I do not participate in competitions of any kind nor show my dogs in conformation. 
When people find out I am a dog trainer, the next words are often "Your dogs must be perfect". Most people assume my dogs are "perfectly" trained. 
What is "perfect"? How do you define it? In my opinion, there should be no perfect, especially in terms of dog training. Everyone has their own standards and expectations.
The expectatio...
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Dog Ownership and Good Manners

Posted by SitStayLearn on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, In : Dog Training 

With all the hub bub in the papers the past month or so about dogs running off leash I thought I would put in my two cents.
For me, much of the controversy boils down to common sense and good manners. I think people have forgotten basic good manners.  
Have you noticed how often you may be at a check out counter and witness a customer chatting away on the cell while the cashier is cashing them out? I find that to be extremely rude. While I may not feel like engaging in conversation with every c...

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Multiple Dogs? Leave the Guilt Behind

Posted by SitStayLearn on Friday, March 23, 2012, In : Dog Training 

Having multiple dogs brings joy as well as challenges - and I only have two! I have friends who have 4 plus. There is a big difference in age between my 2 dogs. My Westie is 10 and my Beardie is 3. There is such a gap because Rufus, my Westie wasn't too fond of puppies. When I decided to bring a puppy home, I knew I'd need to work on ensuring Rufus was okay with the new addition. 
When I got my Westie 10 years ago, training was an ongoing event in my house. Attention to name, eye contact, sit,...
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Not All Dog Trainers Are The Same

Posted by SitStayLearn on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, In : Dog Training 

Private dog training isn’t cheap. I can remember looking around, asking friends if they had used a dog trainer or knew of one. At the time I had a new puppy and wasn’t sure what to do with him!  I had dogs as a kid but like many families, my mom and older brothers did most of the work. All I had to do was play with them.I had purchased a couple of books but I didn’t feel it was enough. I am predominantly a visual learner but I like to read “how to” also. Those two met...


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Stop and Smell the Roses With Your Dog

Posted by Janis Mikelberg; SitStayLearn on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, In : Dog Training 

I don’t think there is anything that gives me more pleasure (family aside) than spending time just hanging with my dogs. Whether it’s taking them for a walk around the neighbourhood, driving to a park where they can run off leash, having them lie under my desk or beside me on the couch, as long as they are close by, I feel relaxed. I even go to Tim’s drive through for coffee when I don’t really want one, just so they can get out of the house, if I’m feeling too lazy for a walk.

When ...


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Dogs Don't Speak English

Posted by SitStayLearn on Monday, February 13, 2012, In : Dog Training 

Wouldn't it be a great world if our dogs could truly understand the spoken word; could learn just like babies do? 
I believe we talk far too much to our pets, expecting them to understand what we are saying and getting upset when they don't perform when we ask. That leads us to think they are stubborn or stupid or trying to take over the world with their "dominant" personality.

How about this option: they don't respond because they don't understand the meaning of the words you are using.
How arr...

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