Monday, October 22, 2012

Working with a dog that is nervous around humans

Very often we deal with dogs that are afraid or nervous around humans.  One great way to work with this is to teach the dog that if they give the person at the end of the leash a signal that we will get them out of the situation.  We look for what are called "calming signals" as a sign that the dog is not comfortable in the situation and then take them out of the situation.  Here is some work with Romeo, the Chihuahua.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jake, our foster dog!

Meet the Collins Family's new foster! Jake is a one year old neutered male Ridgeback/Boxer mix who is up for adoption. He is housebroken, crate trained and wonderful with dogs and all ages of people. The only reason he isn't in his previous home is that he wants to play with the cat too much. Please contact us or One Tail at a Timeto find out more about adopting. There will be lots of training incentives for him as well!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Another fun game!

To play Doggie, Doggie Where's Your Bone? you must have a group of two or more people with one dog.  One person has a treat in their closed fist but everyone has their fists closed in the same position so the dog can't tell who has the treat (or bone!).  Either have the dog in another room so he or she can't see who has the treat or pretend like you give a treat to everyone. The dog is then released to find the treat.  When they nudge the hand with the treat they get the treat.  Watch Darcy play it with our family and her friend Shannon.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Alphabet Game

As trainers we are always looking for fun ways to practice obedience.  As a lazy mom I am always looking for ways to push chores off on my kid.  The Alphabet Game accomplishes both!  The rules of the game are simple - for each letter of the alphabet the human will pop a treat in the pups mouth as long as the dog remains in one position.  You can do this with a Sit, a Down or even a Stand depending on what your dog knows.  If the dog gets out of that position then the alphabet starts over.  Have more than one child?  Make this a little competitive by seeing who can get further in the alphabet without the dog moving.

The treats must be in a bowl or in a pocket so the human has to reach to get each treat.  No fair having multiple treats in your hand so you can say the letters really quickly!  And if your pup has a bit of a harder mouth (you hear Justin say "ow" a few times when Darcy gets too into the game) you can have the person hold the treat in a flat palm rather than pinched between fingers.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fun and Games with Darcy

I have long wanted one of these toys because they are beautifully made and seem like they would be a lot of fun for a dog.  This one is called the Dog Brick and they are made by Nina Ottosson.  This is Darcy's first attempt with it.  There are treats in the wells so she is supposed to move the black slides out of the way to get the treat.  In true terrier style, she is most successful by just pawing the crap out of it.  She does try to chew and pick it up in her mouth but thankfully it is well made and heavy so she doesn't get much out of that.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Darcy's calming signals

One thing Darcy doesn't like is being in an enclosed space.  Even when it is me, she gets a little nervous.  Unfortunately to go to our backyard she needs to go through a space that puts her in the social space of people (because we have to open the door).  With people she doesn't know well she will not go at all.  With us she gives crazy calming signals to show that she doesn't like the situation.  Once she is outside she is happy as a clam.  But getting there is the battle.  Here is a video and a list of the calming signals she exhibits:

00:00:18 - Shake off
00:00:19 - Lip lick
00:00:21 - Look away
00:00:22 - Stretch
00:00:25 - Lip lick
00:00:26 - Walk away
00:00:34 - Lip lick
00:00:40 - Stretch
00:00:42 - Lip lick
00:00:44 - Yawn

Can you find any more?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Canine Good Citizen Practice

When we work with dogs beyond basic obedience one of our main focuses is often getting the dog their Canine Good Citizen certificate.  The CGC is an AKC developed test that determines if a dog is a "good member of the canine community".  The widest use I find for it is going into therapy work but even if owners are not planning on that, all the steps of the test are behaviors that most owners in an urban environment would like their pups to be able to do.  To help our students practice for the test and to educate more people about the test we did some brief videos to outline what is required in each step.  Please note: these are intended to be information for practice.  We are using treats which is not allowed in the test.  But to get a dog to work as hard as they need to in order to pass this test we need to give them a paycheck!

CGC #1: Accepting a friendly stranger

CGC #2: Sitting politely for petting

CGC #3: Appearance and Grooming

CGC #4 and #5: Out for a walk and walking through a crowd
Since we did this in my home we didn't have much room or a crowd to work on these steps!

CGC #6 and #7: Sit, Down, Stay and coming when called

CGC #8: Reaction to another dog

CGC #9: Reaction to a distraction

CGC #10: Supervised separation
Since the only people around were family members we couldn't do Supervised Separation with our dog!