Training a dog to target an object with his paw is easy and fun. A paw target is a foundation behavior that has many practical applications, including closing doors, wiping paws, ringing bells, and turning appliances on and off. It’s also a prerequisite behavior for many dog sports.
Most people understand the importance of socializing puppies, and there are numerous puppy classes available. However, many classes are not true socialization classes. Instead, they focus primarily on obedience training. While obedience and manners training are important components of behavior, at the puppy stage the focus should be on ensuring that the puppy is having positive experiences with as many new people, dogs, and situations as possible. This exposure is essential for developing a confident and well-adjusted adult dog that is comfortable with all life has to offer.
Everyone knows that you can teach tricks to dogs, but did you know that cats can be trained easily, too? Since many cats live their entire lives confined indoors, clicker training can provide valuable mental and physical stimulation. Enrichment improves cats’ lives, helping to make them healthier, happier, and more responsive companions. In this video, Megan Ramirez and her cat Pavlov demonstrate one of our favorite cat tricks—spin!
Chances are that when your dog was younger, you spent many hours training new behaviors like spinning, jumping, bowing, and more. Now that your dog is a senior and slowing down physically, he may not be able to do some of the same behaviors he used to. However, that doesn’t mean you should stop training. Just like people, dogs need to exercise both physically and mentally in order to age gracefully. In this video, Karen Pryor Academy faculty member Laurie Luck demonstrates a simple but fun game you can play with your senior dog—or with a dog of any age—using a simple Solo cup!
Visiting the veterinarian’s office can be a stressful experience, for both pet owners and their pets. Teaching a dog simple behaviors, such as hand targeting, ahead of time gives the dog a job to do and provides something positive to focus on at a veterinary examination. It also lets the vet examine the dog without having to restrain or manipulate him into certain positions.
Do you have a dog that barrels out doorways or from the crate? What about from the car? This can be a dangerous behavior, but boundary training can help. Anything can be used as a boundary. In this video, KPA faculty member Shelly Brouwer uses a leash on the ground to begin teaching her dog Bert to wait at an interior doorway.
Stationing—training an animal to go to a designated area and stay there until cued otherwise—is an essential tool for most training. In this video, Ken Ramirez demonstrates how good, solid stationing contributes to successful concept training!
Teaching your dog to turn his head is a fun exercise, and the skill is handier than it seems. A head turn can be used as the start of teaching “left” and “right,” a directional skill that is terrific for many dog sports. It can also be useful during veterinary exams for ear care. Most of all, the head turn is an easy and fun way for dogs to learn that they have the power to make things happen—every dog should know that!
Being very comfortable wearing an appropriate and well-fitted muzzle is a good training goal for any dog—particularly in situations where the dog may become worried or uncomfortable (think vet visits!). However, if a dog has never worn a muzzle or been made to feel comfortable with one, having one placed on her face abruptly could cause her to feel even more fearful. Teach your (or your clients’ ) dog to love her muzzle by developing a positive association with it. In this video, the trainer is teaching the puppy that sticking his snout in the muzzle means cheese!
One of the fastest and easiest ways to train a new behavior on cue is to capture the behavior. “Sit” is a simple behaviors to teach your dog, because it’s a behavior that your dog already offers naturally. If the sit behavior is too difficult for the dog, then clicking and treating all four paws on the floor is a great place to start!