Saturday, April 25, 2009

What is a treat and train?

A treat and train is a remote reward training system (currently sold under the name MannersMinder) that was developed by Dr. Sophia Yin. Click her name to go to the MannersMinder website.

I like to use it for crate training and for down stays on the mat. The dogs had the breakfast kibble served from the TnT on their mats this morning. The dogs think the TnT isnthe best thing since sliced bread. I own three of the original model.

I set the TnT to the down stay mode to drop one piece of kibble on a variable rate with 10 seconds as the average. That setting means the kibble will fall at an average of every ten seconds apart but may be as close as every second or as far apart as 20 seconds.

The machine took about 35 minutes to empty of 8 ounces (by weight) of mixed kibble. Today's kibble a mix of Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Reduced Calorie Dog Formula, Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Green Pea and Duck Cat Formula and Solid Gold Barking at the Moon Grain Free Dog. Kibble is a special treat to my raw fed dogs and cat kibble is the cream. I always have a variety on hand as I work in a pet store that always has a lot of different samples to give away.

Neither dog left their mat. Between kibble drops both dogs stared holes in to my face. Both know that the remote is operated by me to drop kibble. They love the TnT's remote almost as much as they love the clicker.

Over the years we've had our TnTs, I have rewarded both dogs a lot to look at me instead of beating up the machine between treats. Red can get one open in about three seconds using his paw. Blue just thinks that a couple of strong paw whacks will speed things up.

I was sitting about 20 feet away reading email. Anytime I looked up and both dogs were looking at me, I used the remote control to drop some kibble.

When I do mat work any more I don't use the TnT. I used it today so I could take photo. I do pull it out to prevent crate screaming one of Red's most endearing habits, and to work on distance and direction and drive. I think I will also start using it for contacts.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Photographing Dogs

Get as close as you can. Fill the frame with your subject.

This is 3-month-old Finn playing tug with his father, Ryder.

Growing up Finn

This is Finn at 11-months-old.

This is Finn at 3-months-old.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Kiss

Notice Blue's soft ears.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Have fun, that’s the point.
Your dog’s doing it for you.
Dennis Murphy

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

“It's not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity.”

-- Francis Bacon, Sr. quotes (English Lawyer and Philosopher. 1561-1626)

How to stuff a Kong

No grapes, raisins, onions, or chocolate

Possible Kong Stuffers:

Cut very tiny pieces of any of the following ingredients. Put the Kong openning side up in a coffee mug to hold the Kong still for stuffing. Stuff Kong and freeze. Always keep a spare in the freezer. To occupy your dog during the dinner hour, feed them their regular kibble amount in the Kong. If you only have one dog, you can hide stuffed Kong throughout the house while away.

Place in dishwasher after use.

Canned dog food

Oatmeal (raw but soaked in water or chicken broth)

Rice (cooked)

Apples, Bananas, Oranges, Blueberries


Frozen green beans

Frozen carrots

Frozen corn

Canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

Peanut butter

Cream cheese

Cheese Spreads


Cottage cheese

Mashed potatoes

Canned soup

Doggy toothpaste






Baby Food

Caution: Any new food can cause a stomach upset in your puppy. Initially, experiment with small quantities every other day

Treat Dispensing Puzzles

Moving beyond the Kong

Treat dispensing puzzles are food/treat dispensing toys for dogs. Food or treats fall out of the toy as the dog plays with it, providing mental stimulation and physically active. Most dog owners have a Kong or two. Here are other toys to consider.

Amazing Ball



Sunday, April 12, 2009

Java runs the jump chute

Java runs the jump chute after our Control Unleashed class.

Red Plays with Lynnda

Red plays with Lynnda after Control Unleashed class.

Control Unleashed Class- Java's Treat and Train

Java has a Treat and Train to help her be happy in her crate. She still gets in a bit of barking.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hang with dogs

Dog in a box

Jane brought Finn, my God dog, to visit and show off his box trick. For a clicker class that Jane is taking, she shaped Finn to drive to a box, leap in and lie down. He worked his trick with joy and enthusiasm.

The girls

Medusa and Granite visited my Canine Good Citizen class today.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dog Training

What!?! On a dog training blog?

Using breakfast (kibble for training) I worked both dogs today:

Red worked on the fold back down.

Blue worked on go to mat as it was tooo cold to work on Loose Lead Walking outside. Ms. Blue pulls like a freight train.


Red will offer his relax down (turn around three times and flop down
flat on his side) or his regular down (fold over on left hip then
lower chest and chin to the ground) most often, even with a lure.

I started requesting a regular down and tossing the treats behind him
so he had to get up. Over and over again. When he got tired of
getting up from that position, he folded into a down. That was the
first time I clicked. So he did it again (with out my asking for a
down - which is a good thing I realize as I want to keep the regular
down. I tossed the treat to get him up and he offered it again. I just
clicked and tossed, clicked and tossed. We did about 15 reps with him

Silly me to see what he would do, I asked for a down. He sighed and
gave me his regular down. I treated him and freed him but did not
click. I had to toss a treat to get him on his feet again. I waited.
He offered the fold back down. I clicked and quit. When I get to the
naming point, I think I'll call it drop.

Blue's training involved sending her across the room to her mat. We
just did six reps at eight feet and quit. My goal is to be in the
kitchen out of sight and send the dogs to mats in the living room. I
had to put Blue outside while I worked with Red. She was not a happy
camper. Red was happy to be fed just for laying on his mat while I
worked with Blue.

Yesterday I worked both dogs at the same time on the mat as a magnet.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Red Goes Around

Lynnda uses Red and then Java to show how to teach a distance exercise. It is easily to teach your dog to work reliably at a distance. It is also one of life's necessities.

Lynnda shaped Red to go near the cone – click for being near it, for looking at it, for walking toward it, etc – AND she lured Red into position by tossing each treat further along the path she wanted him to take.

This was Red's first work on the cone exercise and he got it fairly quickly. Lynnda doesn't know him well enough yet to see then he is over loading and getting ready to zoom. He did manage to get two laps around the ring in before she could get him back.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Nail Trimming

A well trained dog

Here is a video that I like but did not take. This is a well trained dog. I wonder if they used a clicker.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sam I am.

Dogs are far better at shaping people than people are at shaping
dogs. -- Susan Garrett

Doggie Cam

Friday, April 3, 2009

Why Positive Reinforcement Training Works

For the article CLICK HERE
"Give the cue a name when you'd bet your paycheck that the dog will do the behavior." - Tia Guest

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I took these photos in May 2007 at an outdoor agility trial in Savage, MN. I went to practice shooting movement. But a dog jumping looks like every other dog jumping. I like to find interaction between people and their dogs as well as dogs in action. I take photos (or video) at every dog event I can attend.