Building strong foundation behaviors is an investment that will demonstrate value throughout your dog’s training. For example, targeting is an essential foundation behavior that can be used to teach many useful and complex behaviors, such as guiding an animal to a particular place (into a kennel or onto a scale) or around objects—a foundation for many dog sports.
Does your dog respond to cues reliably at home but fails to respond when you ask for those same cues in a new environment? Your dog isn’t being stubborn on purpose. He simply doesn’t know the behavior to the extent that you think he does!
Socializing puppies with other dogs is important; it teaches them how to be relaxed and confident when they meet new friends. However, a common mistake that many people make is introducing puppies to too many dogs, too casually, and too soon. Not only are those circumstances overwhelming for many young puppies, but they also increase the likelihood that the puppies will become anxious and fearful in the presence of other dogs.
Regular veterinary visits are important for your dog’s health and wellness, but for many dogs these visits can be stressful. Who wouldn’t be anxious about being in a strange, uncomfortable place, in unnatural positions, and being poked, prodded, and pricked in sensitive areas by unfamiliar people? Fortunately, you can reduce your dog’s anxiety by teaching him or her to accept restraint and examination.
One of the most powerful benefits of clicker training is the ability to teach creative behaviors quickly. The head nod is a fun, easy-to-train trick that will impress your friends. In dog sports like Canine Freestyle where creativity and artistic performance are encouraged, a gracious nod of the head upon entering or leaving the ring will wow the judges.
Pivoting, a behavior that requires a dog to change direction by moving her rear end while keeping her feet in place, is an essential skill for many canine sports including obedience, rally, freestyle, agility, and more. It is also a terrific way to work on hind-end awareness.
Being out and about with your dog is one of life’s greatest joys, but only if you have a dog that can behave well in public. Maybe you’ve already experienced the horror and embarrassment of your dog jumping up on a passing stranger as you struggle to gain control!
When thinking about positive reinforcement, food treats are likely top of mind. However, there may be times when you can’t use food because it’s off-limits for medical or other reasons. Fortunately, there are a number of other ways you can reinforce your dog’s behavior when it’s not convenient or safe to use food reinforcers.
While there’s so much that goes into getting puppies off to a great start, puppy socialization classes can play a pivotal role! Positive exposures to as many sounds, sights, textures, and scents is critical to raising well-adjusted, confident puppies.
If you have a dog, you have probably heard of clicker training. But what exactly is it? Is clicker training right for you and your dog?