Imagine if you could teach your cat to go into or out of a carrier effortlessly, without physical manipulation. How about getting on or off furniture? What if you could dazzle your friends by teaching your cat to spin, rollover, or jump through a hoop? These behaviors can all be achieved by teaching your cat to follow a target stick—one of the easiest and most useful behaviors to teach!
Many dogs fear being handled by strangers, which can be particularly problematic visiting the vet or groomer. However, when dogs learn to tolerate handling and husbandry procedures when they are young, they grow up to become active and willing participants in these experiences.
Few things are more joyful than unclipping your dog’s leash to begin an outdoor adventure. Off-leash walks and hikes let you spend quality time together in nature and provide exercise, stimulation, and enrichment for your dog. But how do you keep your dog’s attention in the spring and summer when there are so many exciting new scents emerging? One way to help your dog pay attention to you is to teach the habit of “checking in.”
Looking for a fun way to build new behaviors while building your chops as a trainer? Try shaping! Shaping is the process of building a particular behavior gradually using a series of small steps to achieve the final behavior. It is a helpful addition to your training toolkit—especially useful for teaching behaviors that are complex or difficult to train in another manner.
Interested in a new way to train and have fun with your dog this summer? Try Canine Freestyle! Also known as musical freestyle, canine freestyle is a fun dog sport where dogs and handlers perform dazzling choreographed routines set to music. The routines are built with a variety of behaviors that are strung together in a thoughtful, creative, and artful way.
There are few things more exciting than bringing home a new puppy. The first weeks and months are crucial for setting the foundation for a lifelong partnership between people and their dogs. A frequent question is, “How do I bond with my pup?” With playtime, of course! Puppies that enjoy playing are more likely to become comfortable around people. The more puppies and their humans play, the closer they will grow and the better they will trust and understand one another.
Doorways are exciting places for dogs—who knows what is waiting on the other side! As a result, many dogs get overly excited and rush the door, creating a danger for themselves as well as for whomever is entering. Door rushing can be a challenge to manage, especially if you have multiple dogs and your door is constantly revolving. Fortunately, there are simple ways to prevent door-rushing behavior.
One question that trainers are often asked is if food treats must be used as the reinforcer. Some dogs do not like treats. There may be a time when you don’t have treats with you. Perhaps you just want to add variety to your training routine. The good news is that non-food reinforcers, such as petting or praise, can be just as powerful as food treats for some dogs—this type of reinforcement doesn’t require anything except you and your dog!
Teaching your dog a jump is an essential skill for canine sports such as agility. In fact, a standard agility course includes 15 or more jumps! Teaching a jump also helps build your relationship with your dog as well as your dog’s physical strength. It is a skill that any size dog can learn. However, be sure to check with your veterinarian to ensure that jumping is a safe activity for your dog.
Walking with your dog can be a very rewarding experience for both you and your dog. It is also a great way to strengthen your bond. How do you teach your dog to walk with you? Like teaching any new behavior, the path to happy dog walks is paved with many successive approximations (tiny steps)!