New Foster Puppy ~ Meet Dora!

Meet Dora, a 15lbs, 12/13 week old black lab/shepherd mix of some kind. She is the only female and the runt of her litter of 4 who came to Mutts Matter Rescue when she was 8wks old. She is currently looking for her forever home, could that be you?

Dora

Dora

Dora, is a super sweet and super smart little girl who will do almost anything for food! She is a dream to work with and train because of her motivation to work for food. Dora is already potty trained, crate trained, and knows how to “Sit,” “Touch” (touches her nose to the palm of your hand), “Down” and is even learning “Paw” which we may change to a “High-Five” behavior if she’s with us long enough.

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Speaking of food, Dora is a VACUUM. She gobbles down her food so fast you question if you had even fed her at all. She is now eating her food strictly out of food dispensing “busy” toys. This is to help slow her eating process down while also enriching her ever growing mind.

Dora is a FANTASTIC cuddle buddy. She loves to curl right up next to you on the couch for a good nap, and if you’ll let her, she’s be sleeping in bed with you every night as well. Currently she is sleeping through the night on a dog bed that is on the floor in the bedroom.

108If you are interested in adopting Dora,  please go to Mutts Matter Rescue and fill out an adoption application.

 

Training Tip Tuesday ~ Introducing the “Scary” Vacuum

For many puppies and adult dogs a like, the vacuum can be a very scary thing. It’s weirdly shaped, vary loud, and moves in frantic forward and backward motions. Since we vacuum regularly on the weekends in my household, I knew that I had to start introducing the “scary” vacuum to the new foster puppies ASAP. If you take the time from the very beginning and slowly introduce the vacuum to your new dog, it’ll be less stressful for the dog when the time comes to actually flip the switch and get the job done.

Step 1: Introducing the vacuum. When you first introduce the vacuum to your dog, you want to do it while it’s stationary and turned OFF. Maybe practice some basic behaviors in the same room as the vacuum and let the dog investigate it while positively rewarding the dog with yummy treats.

Investigating the big weird yellow thing

Investigating the big weird yellow thing (First introduction with the vacuum OFF)

Step 2: Moving the vacuum. Once the dogs seem to be comfortable around the vacuum. You’ll want to start to move it (again still keeping it turned OFF). What I did with my current foster dogs (pictured above) was walk around my house with the vacuum turned OFF while tossing them treats at the same time. In no time the pups thought it was an awesome game. When the vacuum moves we get treats!!

Step 3: Turning ON the vacuum. Going back to having the vacuum stationary. You want to flip the vacuum ON for a second or two while simultaneously give treats (very generously). Once you switch the vacuum OFF, treats stop. So it’s Vacuum ON: Treat, treat, treat. Vacuum OFF: No treats. You want to repeat this step several times until your dog is happily waiting for treats when the vacuum is switched on. You also want to vary the time you have the vacuum switched into the ON position. At first 2 or 3 seconds, then 10 seconds, then 5 seconds, then 20 seconds, then 7 seconds then 30 seconds…. and so on. *Note: Another option could be giving your dog a stuffed Kong or a very high value treat (like a bully stick) to chew on when the vacuum is switched ON.*

What is that noise? Gypsy investigates further as Bandit eats some treats.

What is that? Gypsy investigates further as Bandit eats some treats.

Step 4: Moving the vacuum while turned ON. Once your dog seems comfortable and happy with the vacuum being switched ON and stationary, you then want to begin to move the vacuum around the house while in the ON position. Again, every time the vacuum is in the ON position you are tossing treats like there is no tomorrow. Like in step 3, you want to take baby steps in the amount of time the vacuum is ON and moving. You want to slowly build up your time vacuuming. Start out with a few seconds, then few minutes (or maybe one small room of the house) at a time and then gradually increase as your dog becomes more and more comfortable. *Note: This whole process may take a few days/weeks so be patient and go at your dogs pace. You want to make sure this is a positive and fun experience for you pup. Start out by vacuuming small portions of your house each day. Depending on your dog in a few days/weeks you can be back to vacuuming your entire house in the same day.*

Luckily, our young foster puppies took  to this vacuum thing fairly quickly. It only took them a little more than a week to get used to the vacuum and by the end of the second week I was able to vacuum the entire house while the pups lay quietly on a dog bed enjoying a delicious stuffed Kong.

What ways do you help your dog feel more comfortable around new “scary” things?

Gypsy and Bandit (both pictured here) are available for adoption through Mutts Matter Rescue.  If you are interested in adopting one (or both) of these cuties please visit the Mutts Matter Rescue page and fill out an adoption application.

Training Tip Tuesday ~ Emergency Recall

Recall, it’s one of the most important behaviors to have one cue and reliable. Having a number of recalls in your training arsenal is a good thing. You want to make sure though, that you have one cue that no matter what, will stop that dogs in its tracks and return him (or her) to you. Many trainers will refer to this cue as an Emergency Recall. A cue that if your dog hears, it’s been paired with something he loves so many times he thinks, “really I get that right now” and turns and comes running back to you for it.

Callie practicing a basic recall

When training something as important as an Emergency Recall, you want to make sure that you pick something the dog absolutely goes bonkers for! For some dogs that might be steak, or roasted chicken, or a favorite lunch meat/cheese found in your refrigerator. Whatever it is, you want to make sure it’s something that your dog doesn’t get on a regular basis. You want this to be a special treat for him. Once you’ve got that figured out, you want to pick a cue or word to pair with that super special treat. A word that is not used in your daily conversations and is not repeated often. Sometimes this is the hardest part of teaching the behavior, picking a good word to use. I’ve had people use weird food names, brand names, or even a word in a different language that would never otherwise be spoken. It’s up to you!

Once you have chosen the cue & the super special treat to give your dog, all you have to do is begin to pair the two over the next couple of weeks. Here’s how:

Week 1: Start out by getting your dog’s attention, saying your cue (in this case I will use “Jiffy”) and then immediately following your cue give the dog the special treat. Repeat this about 5 times and then end the session (Get dogs attention, Cue Jiffy= treat, Jiffy= treat, Jiffy= treat, Jiffy= treat, Jiffy= treat, end session). Over the next week you want to do this at least once per day at different times of the day and in different rooms of the house.

Week 2: Begin testing your dog randomly by saying the cue out-loud when the dog isn’t expecting it or is in a different room of the house. Most dogs will come running as fast as the wind. When they do, give them the special treat. Over the next week continue to practice. You want to do this at least once a day at different times of the day and in different rooms of the house trying to cue when your dog isn’t expecting it. (Note: if your dog doesn’t come running when you say the cue, A: try to go back to week 1 for a couple more days and then try again or B: change the treat. Perhaps the treat you’ve chosen isn’t special enough, try something new and think smelly! Dogs love stinky stuff like feta cheese or sardines)

Week 3-4: Once your dog is consistently responding to your cue, begin to switch things up or make them even more random. Begin spacing out the times/days you cue the behavior. If you have a fenced in yard, you can practice outside. Remember that anytime you use this cue you must pair it with a special treat. This is a behavior that you want to be as consistent as possible with your rewards.

Rest of the dogs life: Considering this is an Emergency Recall, it shouldn’t be used very frequently. With that being said, if you haven’t used it in a while, don’t forget to practice it every now and then to keep it fresh in the dogs mind and highly rewarded!

Well, that’s all I have for today’s tip! How many of you have an Emergency Recall in place for your dog? What other ways have you found to successfully get your dog to come running back to you? We’d love to hear your stories!

Photo Friday ~ ClickerExpo Manners

Last week we had the pleasure of attending the ever so awesome ClickerExpo to help expand our knowledge on animal behavior and of course clicker training! This weeks Photo Friday shares a couple pictures we took of some of the many well mannered pups we were lucky to of met while soaking up tons of information in presentations or training labs.

A great example of how "settle" on a mat can be useful in public.

Service-dog Julia in a relaxing down while her owner takes notes during a presentation.

Crate training is not just for the home environment. This dog is relaxed and comfortable in her pop up travel crate while another dog is demoing for a lab.

 

Training Tip Tuesday ~ To Train or Not to Train?

Sometimes as a trainer we get called to a client’s home for some of the darnest things. When it comes to problem solving or fixing a dogs bad habit I always ask myself “is this something that would be easier to train or to prevent?” Seems like a silly question to ask when you’re a trainer, but sometimes the answer might be different than we expected. So the question is…“to train or not to train?” Let me try to explain…

For example, one of the hardest things to “train” is a dog NOT to jump on the counter. Countersurfing is one of those things that can easily and accidentally be rewarded by one tiny mistake of leaving even a single crumb on the counter. Humans aren’t perfect and well sometimes we forget to clean up after ourselves or we make a sandwich and the doorbell rings and the next thing you know the dog has just gotten reinforced for jumping on the counter eaten your delicious lunch. It only takes one time for a dog to jump up, get something yummy and then continue to check the counter for the rest of his natural life. With odds like that, training a dog not to jump on the counter is more difficult and time consuming. It takes more discipline for us humans to remember everything we aren’t supposed to do than for us just to prevent future issues.

So we ask: “To train or not to train?” In this situation, I would explain that one of the easiest ways to help solve the problem could be to baby gate the kitchen and prevent the dog from having access to the counter. I usually picture a light bulb over my clients head as they smile at me and say… “I never thought about that!” 🙂

Long story short, when you have a dog who has a problem, think about what would be the most practical option… “to train or not to train?”

Training Tip Tuesday ~ It’s what you DO want

When it comes to addressing your dogs behavior problems most people tend to think of it like this: “My dog jumps on me all the time, I don’t want my dog to jump on me anymore.” We automatically think about what we don’t want our dog to do and this makes the solution to the problem seem much more difficult than it needs to be. Of course you don’t want your dog to jump on you, but what do you want your dog to do?

The first step in fixing a problem that you don’t want your dog to do (jumping, barking, chewing, pulling on the leash, etc.) is to think what you do want your dog to do instead. I know, you’re thinking “can it really be that simple?” Yes, it can be! For the dog who jumps on you when you come home, what do you want your dog to do instead? Let’s say you want a dog that comes up to you and sits to say “hi” and get your attention. Perfect! Now you know what you need to train in order to fix the problem. You need to teach your dog that sitting for attention works better than jumping up for your attention.

If you approach each problem behavior with the same mind set, “what do I want my dog to do instead of (insert annoying behavior here)?” Then the solution will be much clearer and easier to work on.

Old man Brewer knows all about what to DO!

Christmas Trees & Puppy Dog Tails

Why hello everyone!!

I know it’s been a while since I posted last, and I apologize, but these past few weeks have been a bit busy. Of course everyone knows it’s the holiday season, and that means lots of shopping, decorating, and being merry. But how many of you DREAD LOVE the holiday season for the simple reason that your dogs/cats tend to want to destroy enjoy everything you put together!

Brewer and Bailey getting in the Christmas Spirit!

We’ve been lucky at the Clicker Savvy Canine (CSC) household to have 2 dogs that tend to ignore most of the holiday decorations (yippee). However, I’m pretty sure that many of you aren’t as lucky. take for examples, the Christmas tree. In the CSC household we have opted to go with the “fake” Christmas tree decor. One main reason is because it’s easier (we don’t have to water the tree or vacuum needles off the floor daily) but also because we have a lesser chance of our dogs reacting or interacting with the decor. SURE the smell of a pine or spruce tree is FANTASTIC to the human nose, but guess what?!?! It is also EXTRA fantastic to the dog’s nose as well. Some… in fact a lot of dogs can’t resist it! They tend to pee on, chew on, and want to scratch their backs on the real trees more than what they would a fake tree. Can we blame them? NO! It is a natural thing for dogs to do!! What we CAN do is… prevent it!

Of course the easiest things to do with a real tree is to prevent a dog from having access to the tree all together! I mean, honestly do you want to spend however much $$ just to train your dog to stay away from the Christmas tree for 4-5 weeks out of the year? NO! Of course not that is ridiculous! So why not set your dog up to succeed from the get-go and prevent it!

You know those baby/puppy gates that you had when the puppy was young? Those are the perfect way to prevent your dog from getting to the tree! OR you could prop your tree (if you choose a smaller variety) up on a table to prevent your dog from access to it. Even better you can put your tree in a room that your dog doesn’t have access to at all!

If your lucky, and your dog isn’t a “tree eater” or “tree pee’r” then you’ve got a few more options. If he doesn’t seem to care about the tree, but tends to bump into it with excitement and knock ornaments off with his tail, then you can hang your most expensive & breakable ornaments about 2-3 feet above the reach of a dog’s tail (the same thing many parents do to keep their 2 yr old out of trouble). How easy is that? Not sure if you see it in the picture below,  but that is pretty much what we have done with our tree at casa del CSC. We have moved all of our ornaments above the range of our dog Brewers tail wag (Bailey our boxer only has a nub so that’s not an issue) Piece of cake, right??

Don’t get me wrong, there ARE ways of training a dog not to mess with/interact with your Christmas tree or other decorations, but honestly who wants to spend money or time on something that only happens once a year for a few weeks at the max. When it comes to situations like this. Even a trainer will tell you prevention or management is key!

Happy Holidays! Love,

Jo