Low-Cost Enrichment Through Shaping

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Shelters can be a stressful environment for dogs. Fortunately, there are simple, low-cost enrichment activities that can be implemented to provide comfort, reduce stress-induced behaviors, increase confidence, and promote adoptability. Enrichment can also be used to teach shelter dogs how to interact with their environments in a way that delivers a positive outcome. One easy way to provide enrichment is with shaping, the process of gradually teaching an animal a new action or behavior by clicking and treating the animal during each step of the process.

Successful Cat Introductions

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Bringing a new cat into a home with other cats? Let’s face it: cats are territorial, so you will want to be sure to introduce your cats slowly to minimize fearful or aggressive interactions. In the beginning, you will want to confine the new cat to a separate room to encourage them to get used to one another’s scent. Eventually, you will be able to progress to a controlled face-to-face meeting, allowing visual contact through a barrier, such as a pet gate, baby gate, or screen door. But how do you progress to visual contact while avoiding a stare down or confrontation? Try training!

Teaching a Head-Tuck Bow

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Multiple International Freestyle Champion Michele Pouliot frequently dazzles crowds with her Head-Tuck Bow routine. In this video, Michele shows you how you can teach this behavior easily at home using raised platforms. The platforms help to keep the dog’s front and rear legs stationary while Michele uses strategic reward placement to encourage a head tuck. Once the head tuck is established, she begins to separate the platforms to increase the distance between the dog’s front and back paws. As the dog becomes comfortable with this new position, Michele extends the treat behind the dog’s front paws, slowly building duration until the dog achieves a full head tuck bow!

Puppy Platform Training

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Training puppies? Consider incorporating a stationing platform into your training plan! A stationing platform provides many benefits. It not only serves as a designated and safe space for training, but it exposes puppies to novel surfaces, keeps puppies focused (the puppies will know that it’s training time), and helps you observe and manage behavior. Platforms also help you manipulate body position more precisely so that core skills can be learned more quickly, a powerful advantage for dog sports. You will be amazed to see the many ways that you can use a platform!

Teaching Verbal Cue Discrimination

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As trainers, we need to be able to depend on our dogs’ ability to respond to the correct verbal cue and not to other stimuli. Verbal cue discrimination training is an important skill; it ensures that your dog responds only to the correct verbal cue and not to other words. It is particularly useful in dog sports, such as canine freestyle, where many verbal cues are given and the dog must differentiate between them.

Teach Your Dog to Love a Muzzle: Part 2

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Even if your dog is the sweetest dog in the world, there may be a situation where s/he needs to wear a muzzle. For example, in the current pandemic many veterinary offices use muzzles as a precaution when they examine dogs without their guardians present. Why not be prepared for this or any other situation requiring a muzzle by teaching your dog to wear a muzzle now?