Monday, December 6, 2010

Barrel Racing

Go around taken to a new level.

Debbi Decker
YouTube: Debbi3053

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What is Clicker Training?

Emily Larlham's video called What is Clicker Training? should be watched by all clicker trainers including experienced trainers. She packs a lot of great information in 10 minutes.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Leslie McDevitt Demos CU games

Leslie McDevitt has a new Puppy book coming out. I can not wait. Here is Leslie McDevitt with a pack of adult dogs demoing some Control Unleashed games.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Brick Work"

This video shows a puppy just getting started with "brick work" and, at the end, an adult dog shows the end product. Rear end awareness is very helpful for heeling and straight fronts.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010



• Establishing that both ends of the leash understand what a loose leash FEELS like. The leash snap hanging down becomes a conditioned cue for the dog that we are now walking on a loose leash.

• Learning to pay attention to the leash (J-shape and leash snap hanging down) and developing the handler's role in keeping slack in the leash during the stages of training the dog.

• Understanding the need for good mechanical skills so as to give the dog a high rate of reinforcement.

• Using a high rate of reinforcement to both teach the dog the required skill and to keep the dog having fun while learning.

• Learning to work in baby steps towards a training goal.

• Learning to handle one's leash with soft hands -- almost transparent as far as the dog is concerned. The leash is nothing but an accessory required by our culture. To that end, training loose-leash walking with 100% positive reinforcement means making the leash "invisible" in its impact on the dog.

The first three steps:
1. Set Up for Success -- clicker, leash and treat handling.
2. Standing with a Loose Leash -- do this for one full minute.
3. Slow Drift About -- do at least 25 click/treats before moving on to the next step. If you see that your dog has any difficulty, then repeat this step until your dog looks as ready for something new as Jack does in the video.

Make these three steps your warm-up to every Polite Walking training session. Revisiting these steps with a high rate of reinforcement further conditions the dog to the *feel* of a slack leash -- and the handler too!

It's important that your rate of reinforcement be very high -- click/treat continuously if the leash is continuously in the J-shape. Hold several treats in your hand so that you can get a treat to the dog quickly after the click. It's important that your treat hand remain still until after the click. These mechanical skills should be practiced without the dog in the picture until they are second nature. If you cannot hold several treats in your hand, use a food tube with lickable food to present for a quick lick as the treat. For a small dog, use a long-handled wooden spoon with something lickable on it for a quick lick as his treat.

Practice that type of treat delivery first without the dog.

By starting your Polite Walking training with the dog facing you, he has no need to pull -- and, of course, you will start this in a location that has the least number of tempting distractions! Notice how quiet the trainer is with Jack. She is quiet so that he can concentrate only on the information from the click.

In this part we continue to build the handler's mechanical skills. We begin to vary the rate of reinforcement for the dog -- raising it as criteria become harder, lowering it once the dog is adept at the new criterion.

Each of these steps requires more effort on the part of the dog. That means the rate of reinforcement will be lower for him. When you can see your dog eagerly performing the task without sniffing, wandering, becoming unfocused, then move on to the next step.

Whenever you start your Polite Walking training in a new location, warm-up with the steps from Part 1, then move to One Step Back, then Two Steps Back, then Three Steps Back. That will re-acquaint your dog with the shaping process for this task and get him a good rate of reinforcement that is then gradually thinned out based on his success at each step.

Be sure to stop to treat. Being able to eat a treat and keep on walking is a higher level skill. At this level, we want it to be as easy and doable for the dog as possible. Stopping to treat also means that the dog never gets enough momentum to pull ahead of you suddenly.

Step 4: One Step Back
Step 5: Two Steps Back
Step 6: Three Steps Back

Step 7: Pivot to Face Forward -- practice this pivot without your dog until it is second nature. Remember good mechanical skills -- treat with your left hand if your dog will be walking on your left. Deliver the treat to the spot where you want the dog's head to be. Be smooth, clear and consistent in your treat delivery and your dog will learn to be right there, in the pocket, for every step you take.

Step 8: Alternating Single Steps Back with Pivots -- pivots take some time to do. To keep the dog in the game, be sure to alternate Pivots with Single Steps Back. That will keep his reinforcement rate high with an "affordable" drop at each pivot.


Step 9: Pivot, One Step Forward .
The journey of one thousand miles begins with one step. Practice that one step forward many, many times so that the dog, right from the moment you step off, is never ahead of your body. Make your movements fast and snappy, click and get the treat right to the "sweet spot" immediately. Remember, if you can't hold treats in your hand, a food tube of canned dog food works wonders. Be sure to stop to treat!

Step 10: Human Mechanics for Connect the Dots
Connect the Dots is a game from Karen Pryor that starts of with a high rate of reinforcement and lots and lots of "first steps" of walking. The human half of the team needs to have clear, consistent, mechanical skills. Again, practice those without the dog until you have them down pat!

The cones are targets for the human. As you approach a cone, click while you are in motion and stop to treat -- right at the spot where you want the dog's head to be. Be sure to step off quickly -- just before your dog finishes eating his treat. Give your "Let's Go!" cue to let him know it's action time again!

Step 11: Connect the Dots with a High Rate of Reinforcement

Step 12: Connect the Dots -- Start to Decrease the Rate of Reinforcement
Once you are successful with a row of targets (dots), remove 2 or 3 to create bigger spaces. This will cause a drop in the dog's rate of reinforcement. He should be ready for this now!

Due to our desire to finish videoing Jack, we went a bit too far with him in this session. You can see his attention start to wander, his nose drop to the ground, he looks around.

Continue making bigger spaces adding your removed cones to the end of the line. Work in short sessions leaving the dog wanting more.

Step 13: Ready for Real Walking
When you are ready to go "cone-less", check to see that your dog can eat and walk at the same time. Keep up a nice rate of reinforcement when doing training walks and start to lessen the rate by going for more and more steps before you click then treat. Remember to keep your mechanical skills in place -- leash in the right hand held at your navel, treats in your left hand delivered to the right spot.

Lily, the Poodle Puppy
Jack, the German Shepherd Dog
Trainer: Lynn Martin, KPA CTP
Producer and Director: Helix Fairweather, KPA CTP
Special Thanks To: Sue Ailsby, Shirley Chong, Karen Pryor

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Delivering your reward where you want the dog to be. - BK Grice

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Do not allow a dog to practice that which you don't want perfected . - Susan Ferry

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Work hard on getting your dog to WANT to do it. Then the behavior itself becomes reinforcing. " Deborah Jones, Ph.D.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Anubis shows his skills

This is why the basenji definitely is NOT the dog for everyone:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

“Owners expect vets to know about behavior, but most vet schools don’t even teach it.” ~ Dr. Nicholas Dodman

Monday, August 23, 2010

More rear end awareness

"The training danger is adhering to the path instead of the goal; the danger is giving up on a dog who's quite capable, only needs a different approach. Eclecticism and humility are worth more than political correctness and moral purity." -- Geoff Stern
“Training is a mechanical skill.” -- Bob Bailey

What's a FIGHT? How bad is 'Bad'? Ranking conflicts

What's a FIGHT? how bad is 'Bad'? ranking conflicts

Lower-level conflicts -

Grade 1 - snarks are short-lived snaps with a snarl and
light tooth-contact, or an air-snap with no teeth/growl, etc.

Grade 2 - spats are very-short fights with lots of barks, snarls,
growls, many air-snaps or light mouthing -- but leave NO bruises
under the haircoat, NO punctures or scratches from teeth or claws,
etc - noises and threats and swearing - LOTS of swearing.
they generally last 5 to 20-secs at most, but seem longer.

24 to 48-hours later, bruising, swelling, heat or inflammation are
detectable - if in doubt, see a vet for a careful exam.

Resisting handling, flinching, guarding body-parts are all signs of
pain and possible injury. tiny punctures can become big-problems,
depending on where they are; a puncture between toes, close to
a joint, near an eye, etc, are potentially very serious [lose digit,
bone infects, eye-injury or abscess, corneal ulcer, etc].
dogs who practice snarks and move-on to spat, need help -
to prevent a fight and to prevent bad-feeling.

Fights -

Grade 3 - low-intensity fights include growls AND
maybe - punctures, but definitely scratches and bruises -
the combatant[s] 'mean it' - things will not improve spontaneously -
blood was shed, or pain was inflicted.

Spats + snarks are THREATS - fights leave HURTs.

Low-intensity fights will escalate - 'get bigger + worse' -
if nothing is done to not only prevent a fight,
but Change the feelings that start the fights.

Grade 4 - moderate-intensity = multiple punctures,
some torn skin; rips are bites with pulling.

Grade 5 - serious intensity = add tears with bruising
and small crush-areas to punctures;

Grade 6 - severe-intensity = pieces of skin or muscle
missing, crush-injuries / necrotic tissue; one to 3 drains;

Grade 7 - mauling = multiple crush-injuries, multiple
serious-trauma, 2 or more drains, skin-grafts;

Grade 8 - the only step left is 'kill' - one or the other,
or both, die of injuries or blood-loss.
the worse the fights... the worse the prognosis for

Generally, the quieter the fight, the worse
the emotions and the damage are - the dogs
do not waste energy swearing, but aim to
inflict maximum injury.
This is a very-bad sign, and poor prognosis.

terry pride, APDT-Aus, apdt#1827, CVA, TDF

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Get Those Puppies OUT

New pups, at the low end need, to meet about 100 new people before it is 16 weeks old.

Here is a list to get you started.

An infant held by an adult

An infant in a car seat

A toddler in a car seat

An toddler held by an adult

Girls, between 2 & 6

Boys, between 2 & 6

A small group of kids between 2 & 6 (no more than 5)

Calm girls, 7 or older

Boisterous girls, 7 or older

Calm boys, 7 or older

Boisterous boys, 7 or older

A small group of kids 7 or older (no more than 5)

Calm girls, 12 or older

Boisterous girls, 12 or older

Calm boys, 12 or older

Boisterous boys, 12 or older

A small group of kids 12 or older (no more than 5)

A small group of kids playing with a ball

A man with a beard or mustache

You in a hat

You in sunglasses

You with a bike

You on rollerblades

You on a skateboard

You in a wheelchair

You with an exaggerated gait

You using crutches or a cane

A friendly stranger in a hat

A friendly stranger in sunglasses

A person with a bike

A person on rollerblades

A person on a skateboard

A person in a wheelchair

A person with an exaggerated gait

A person using crutches or a cane

A woman and a man whose skin color is radically different from yours

A person in uniform

You carrying packages

A person driving a truck

A person carrying packages

You wearing a flowing skirt or dress or wrapped in a sheet

A person wearing a flowing skirt or dress

A stroller

A balloon

An umbrella

A camera (obscuring a person's face)

Musical instruments

An automatic door

A mirror

A bus (loading/unloading passengers)

An 18-wheeler (you can often find these parked behind grocery stores)

A grocery cart moving past you and your dog

Walking between two parked cars

A vet's office (enter, give a treat & leave)

A cat with attitude

An older, well-socialized dog (meeting off leash in a neutral, safe environment)

A pet store

Lift the dog up onto a table-like surface

"Brush" the dog's gums with your thumb

Gently separate & hold each toe

Flapping movement, e.g., a flag or shaking out a towel

A sudden soft noise like a magazine dropping

A sudden scary noise, such as a pan dropping (use a helper so the dog doesn't associate this with you)

A bath

A lawn mower

A sprinkler
"Work where the dog can be successful." - Deborah Jones, Ph.D.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dog trained to sniff out prostate cancer

It amazes me what dogs can learn to do.

"A Belgian Malinois dog spent a year in training with two researchers and emerged with the ability to sniff out prostate cancer in human urine samples. The dog's accuracy rate? About 95%."

Insect detection dogs

Early insect detection by utilizing dogs is an efficient and economical method for the detection of pests which may cause further damage to crops. The goal is to reduce pesticide use on crops by detecting the pests at a stage where it is more manageable. Early detection is vital in halting the spread of crop damaging pests. Currently, the dogs can detect vine mealybug in vineyards.

Monday, May 31, 2010

What is a reactive dog?

"A reactive dog will rush toward something or someone that he is uncertain about, barking, lunging, growling, and making a big display. People sometimes perceive reactive behavior as aggression, but a reactive dog is not rushing in to do damage; he is attempting to assess the threat level of a given situation. ... Reactive dogs are anxious, and their response is intense because they are freaking out." Leslie McDevitt, Control Unleashed

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Youth Only Schutzhund Camp

The first annual youth schutzhund camp is just for the next generation of schutzhund handlers and helpers under 18 years old. We are planning an exciting schedule including a cook-out with a bon-fire and somores, a fun trial, a trip to a water park, dog/handler relay races, and a music jam session. An SV judge will visit with us to talk about what judges are looking for on the trial field, and a Veterinarian will talk with us about K-9 health care. The participants will learn about training, trialing, and caring for the schutzhund dog, and make lasting friendships with other youth in the sport.

Dates: Thursday, July 8 – Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pet Poison Hotline 800-213-6680

What can kill your dog?

Tomato plants and the small green tomatoes, Large amounts of onion or garlic, Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil), Rodenticides, Antifreeze, Easter lilies, Xylitol sugar-free sweetener, Chocolate, Sago palm, Grapes, raisins, and currants.

Pet Poison Hotline:

If your pet has ingested something potentially harmful, please call 800-213-6680 immediately! Time is a critical factor with potential poisonings. Please be aware that due to the urgency of medical recommendations concerning poisonings and the fact that email is not the optimal venue for providing those recommendations, it is advised that you contact Pet Poison Helpline directly by phone. This telephone-based consultation service is available 24/7.

Pet Poison Helpline
A service of SafetyCall International
8009 34th Avenue South, Suite 875
Bloomington, MN 55425

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lab Puppy Raising Videos

Duckhill Kennels Puppy Headstart Program (I think they are missing all the in house stuff a puppy needs to see, but the other stuff is very impressive.)

The most critical learning period of a dog’s life is the first six months. During this period a puppy is the most open to learning. This is when he learns the fastest, when he most readily masters new tasks and when he adapts most readily to new environments. Our puppy headstart program is designed and structured to maximize the opportunity provided by this age period.

Our puppy headstart program focuses on 4 basic facets of the learning process:

1. Development of the learning process — Puppies learn and are thoroughly programmed to offer behaviors in order to "buy" rewards, such as treats or play or retrieving.
2. Development of self control — Puppies learn to inhibit and control reactive responses, and to sit quietly in scenarios of great temptation.
3. Programming of the core behavioral skills.
— Puppies are programmed on
(1) Calmness and steadiness in a high distraction environment
(2) Retrieving and delivery to hand
(3) Sniff and sit
(4) Hunting on rubble piles
(5) Whistle stops and directional casts
4. Development of desensitization and adaptation skills when faced with new and strange environments — puppies learn to experience a number of new and strange environments in order to build their adaptation and coping skills in the face of new and strange scenarios. We give puppies a great deal of exposure and desensitization in the following areas:
(1) Gunfire
(2) Cannon fire
(3) Combat noises
(4) Heavy equipment noise and vibration
(5) Emergency vehicles
(6) Multiple obstacles and terrains
(7) Unsteady footing on a variety of surfaces and heights
(8) boats
(9) Dark confined spaces
(10) Groups and crowds of people
(11) Urban areas
(12) Vehicle traffic

From weaning puppies are required to sit to "buy" all meals with a sit. Puppies are well socialized and exposed to a variety of stimuli through trips to neighboring towns and with nature hikes throughout our 200 acre establishment. Basic obedience is taught through operant conditioning with positive reinforcement. Puppies are pre-programmed to bark on cue. Puppies are exposed and accustomed to a wide spectrum of noises including: gunfire, cannon fire, combat noises, sirens, fireworks and heavy machinery. Puppies are taught to master a "confidence course" composed of: Aluminum boat, Swinging bridge, tight tunnels, stairs, ladders, concrete rubble piles. Puppies are pre-programmed to offer a "sit alert" in the presence of a target odor.

All of these activities are accomplished before the puppies are 16 weeks of age.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More TAG Videos

Shaping a High Jump

Shaping a Back Handspring

More Gymnastics


Monday, March 22, 2010

Keeping a Crate Bound Dog Busy

Some one recently asked me to post what I did to keep Blue stimulated and happy in her cast for 12 to 16 weeks.

Blue, who will be 7 in October, was about 2 years old and very active. She blew a hock at agility practice.

I had to come up with a plan.

I looked at every idea that was sent to me and thought about what
I could train on a lead, in a crate, on a mat or in an exercise
pen. I picked something to work on for a couple of minutes every hour that I was at home and awake. And every potty break is a training session.

Mainly I used Sue Ailsby's training levels ( then click on dogs and training levels) and Shirley's keepers ( to guide me in building a training plan.

Feed all meals from Kong's, paper towel cores and brown paper bags. Keep the raw beef rib, necks and knuckle bones and macho/bully sticks. Move the dog from the crate, to an expen, to a tether. Have crates all over the house.

The Training Plan

-- Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol (in a down instead of a sit.)
-- pick up (as in let me pick you up)
-- nose touch to target / object (naming objects or just pointing) with duration
-- nose touch to end stick with duration
-- nose touch to my hand with duration
-- paw touch to target / object (naming objects or just pointing) with duration
-- paw touch to stick with duration
-- paw touch to my hand with duration
-- follow target stick
-- follow my hand
-- Husbandry - accept any type of handling
-- LLW to potty and back
-- Leash manners
–- Leash on / Leach off
-- Shirley Chong's say please
-- Shirley Chong's conditioned relaxer
-- Shirley Chong's induced sleep
-- Shirley Chong's Retrieve
-- Shirley Chong's Recall redux
-- find Mine - Scent Discrimination
–- find this on - Scent Discrimination using essential oils
-- settle (lie down flat on side)
-- Take (shape a hold using wood, plastic, leather, metal)
-- Give (shape a give using wood, plastic, leather, metal)
-- Sit
-- Sit stay
-- Sit for exam
-- Down
-- Down stay
-- Down for handling
-- Zen
-- Go sniff
-- Sit at door
-- getting teeth brushed
-- Yes (same as click)
-- Thumb up (same as click)
-- collar grab
-- ruff grab
-- urinate on cue on a short lead on any surface
-- defecate on cue on a short lead on any surface
-- Use a specific place in the yard as an outdoor bathroom
-- quiet (no bark) on cue
-- Speak
-- whisper
-- Ready (look at me)
-- pronto (classically conditioned recall cue- come now and let me touch you)
-- eat (clean you bowl immediately or it will be removed.)
-- drink (take a couple of lick from what I offer you)
-- mat go and stay until called or release
-- crate enter and stay in crate until told to leave with door open
-- Sits to leave crate. Walks out and sits again. (WALKS out instead of bounding and spinning)
-- Look at cat then automatically look at me. (without barking)
-- Stand
-- Stand stay
-- Stand for exam
-- classically condition love of a head halter
-- classically condition love of a life jacket
-- classically condition love of a back pack
-- classically condition love of an elizabethan collar
-- classically condition love of a muzzle
-- classically condition love of nail grinder
-- classically condition attention to me when I sing twinkle twinkle little star
-- classically condition attention to me when I wear a black wrist band on my left wrist
-- auto watch me
-- Find it (treat dropped or hidden near the dog to teach her to sniff for it)
-- Name (look at me when I say your name)
-- Dogs (look at me when I say your dogs)
-- Ring Name (look at me when I say your ring name)
-- Auto Check In
-- Easy (slow down)
-- Wait
-- Build a motivating toy
-- Build a desire to tug (laying down and sitting?)
-- One meal a day spread in a scent box
-- scenting (from training levels)
-- Ring bell with nose
-- Ring bell with paw
-- Roll over
-- Lay on back with feet in air
-- Rub back on floor
-- Shake hands
-- other hand
-- Paw wack
-- Other paw wack
-- Both paw wack
-- High Five
-- other high five
-- Wave
-- other wave
-- give a back paw
-- give other back paw
-- Cover your eyes
-- stretch - captured when she leave crate
-- bow
-- U-turn (Turn 180 back towards me and touch my hand)
-- here (come up behind me and touch what ever hand is presented)
-- safe (sit behind me. it is okay to look out between my legs)
-- kiss
-- smile - captured (mouth slightly open, ears back, eyes soft)
-- sing (howl)
-- look (the way I point)
-- Right (dog's)
-- Left (dog's)
-- Shaping games
-- Bang (play dead)
-- Cross paws - The dog is laying down, with one paw crossed over the other
-- Chin (rest you chin in my hands so I can clean your tear ducts)
-- Pull on rope
-- Find/bring car keys
-- Push something with the nose
-- Sneeze
-- Stop / freeze on cue
-- stationary left heel
-- stationary right heel
-- Back Up
-- Teach names for toys (Get or touch a toy by name)
-- Put Away The Toys
-- sit go wild sit
-- Be a wolf Bare teeth
-- Cock your head to one side
-- Growl
-- Nod your head
-- Rub muzzle on floor
-- Shake your head
-- Wet - Shake yourself
-- Wag tail
-- Yawn
-- Look cute (ears up)
-- Balance treat on the nose
-- Toss up and catch a treat from nose

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Leashes break, collars break but good training lasts forever.

M. Shirley Chong

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dog training is a mechanical skill based on timing and recognizing behavior. - Drayton Michaels

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dog Bites

This is worth reading.
"Punishment can suppress aggressive and fearful behavior when used effectively, but it may not change the underlying cause of the behavior."

Position Statement from The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"If the dog doesn't do it, then it's because the dog hasn't learned the skill yet." - Morten Egtvad

Friday, January 22, 2010

TAGing Children


First you pick a tag point.

You say, "The tag point is lips closed while chewing."

You don't say, "Don't chew with your mouth open." or "Is your mouth open with food in your mouth?"

When the lips close you click, or say good or yes or nice, and pass over a token or MM or skittle or something.

Other than that, you ignor the open mouth with the food hanging out.


You don't tell the kid what you are tagging. You wait for it.

My kidlet, age 7, was slow to get out of bed in the morning. I've shaped her to put her feet on the foot as soon as I wake her up.

First I used a stop watch for a week to see how long it was taking her to get out of bed after my first request. I never gave a second one because I thought that she was just waiting for my second one. Some times she got up before I asked -if she had before school care and was in a hurry to go and play with her friends. The longest it took was six minutes.

For a week, I jack-potted her with three tokens if she got up without me asking and I gave her one token if it took her less that four minutes after my request. She got nothing if it took her more than four minutes.

For the next week, I jack-potted her with three tokens if she was up without my asking or if she put her feet on the floor as soon as I asked her to get up. I gave her one if she was out of bed in less than one minute.

For the next week, I gave her one token if she was up without my asking or if she put her feet on the floor as soon as I asked her to get up. She was not rewarded for anything else.

Now I randomly reward with tokens or candy when she gets right up or gets up before I ask.


Everyday I find at least three things to reward her for as does my spouse. Sometimes the kid gets tokens. Sometimes she gets quarters which are to her a higher reward as she uses them to buy fancy pencils out of the machine at school. Sometimes she gets candy - a rare treat at our house.

She used her tokens to buy prizes off of the prize table in our basement. I buy things that I know she will like (and want to earn) as I see them on sell. She can use use her tokens to go to the zoo, open swim, a movie, or open gym at the gymnastic school or to Chuckie Cheese. If she has earn enough in a week she can take a friend on the outing.

I find that I reward much more that I punish anymore.

Tag points don't include the words "You" or "I."
Correct: "Tag point is 'lips closed while chewing'."
Incorrect: "Tag point is 'close your lips when you chew'."

A tag point includes only one instruction:
Correct: "Lips closed while chewing."
Incorrect: "Lips closed with food inside mouth while chewing."

A tag point should ideally be five words or fewer (which will help prevent multiple tag points in a single tag).
Correct: "Lips closed while chewing."
Incorrect: "Lips are closed when eating at the table."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

“Anything a dog can learn on his own is more effective and better understood than what humans can force on the dog.” – Randy Hare