Nina Daniel, KPA CTP, now a married mother of two grown children, had a unique family introduction to the idea of animal training. Her grandfather was a cinematographer and early pioneer of underwater photography who worked on the TV shows Flipper and Salty. As a young girl, Nina swam with dolphins and sea lions at Sea World. “This experience planted a little seed in my mind: animals could be taught to work with us.”
If you work at, volunteer for, or have visited a shelter, you’ve probably experienced rows of dogs barking and jumping at the kennel doors. Dogs that bark excessively as people pass by are sometimes overlooked by potential adopters. How do you teach these dogs to remain calm and quiet so that they can increase their chances of being adopted? With positive reinforcement training, of course!
Many dogs tremble at the vet. While you and your dog may have practiced exams at home, the sights, sounds, and scents at the veterinary clinic often evoke anxiety in even the most well-prepared dogs. What do you do when you find your dog trembling underneath your chair in the waiting area? Try training!
Does your puppy try to run away when you reach for her harness? Hands reaching toward a harness often signifies to puppies that playtime is over. However, it is very important for puppies to feel comfortable when their harnesses are grabbed.
Repetition is a powerful key to learning. Children learn new skills by repeating a behavior or piece of a behavior again and again until the skill is committed to memory and becomes a habit (like practicing piano). The very same principle works for dog training classes. By repeating the same skill or exercise enough times, the handler becomes better at delivering cues and the dog understands more quickly what the desired behavior should be. However, if learning becomes too repetitive, it can become boring (once again, like practicing piano!). So how do you use repetition in dog training classes without boring your learners? By making it fun!
Camilla Chu, KPA CTP, is an experienced teacher, first instructing humans and now training animals as well as human/animal teams. Her business, Behaviours In Training, is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Teaching an old dog a new trick is not only possible, it’s beneficial! Training older dogs helps keep them in good shape both physically and mentally. Think of training as Sudoku for dogs! Learning new behaviors is also enriching and fun for you and your dog. It is a great way to spend time together and strengthen your bond.
Does the sound of the doorbell send your dog into a frenzy? It is natural for dogs to become overly excited when guests arrive. However, you can control the chaos by teaching your dog to be calm when the doorbell rings. The first step in teaching polite door greetings is to teach a few alternate behaviors that you want your dog to do when he hears the arrival sound. These should be simple behaviors that your dog knows well such as place, come, touch, get a toy, and go outside.
Teaching dog training classes is not easy. Not only do you need to be a skilled trainer, but you must also keep a group of dogs and people focused and motivated. How do you garner broad smiles and wagging tails? By making learning fun! Try incorporating games in your classes to help your learners retain what they learn and become enthusiastic students.
When you ask your dog for a sit or down, does he pop up immediately? For many dogs, behaviors that require them to hold a position for a longer length of time can be challenging. So how do you add duration?