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.
Alasdair (Al) Bunyan, KPA CTP, first heard about the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Dog Trainer Professional (DTP) program when he attended ClickerExpo. There, he spoke with Linda Ryan about the program, ultimately enrolling in the DTP International program and completing it in 2016 at Leeds Dogs Trust Rehoming Center (United Kingdom)—with Linda as his instructor!
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)!
Stationing—training an animal to go to a designated area and stay there until cued otherwise—is a useful training tool for a variety of situations. In homes with multiple dogs, it can be essential for keeping the peace. How do you teach multiple dogs which station is theirs? Try concept training!
Imogen Poropat, KPA CTP, learned about Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) and the KPA Dog Trainer Professional (DTP) program when she was applying for jobs in the dog-training world. Certification as a KPA Certified Training Partner (CTP) was often listed as a preferred qualification in job postings. With a master’s degree in Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare from Newcastle University in England, Imogen had a strong academic background in behavior science but reports that she was “looking for something that would improve my practical application.”
Many dogs are afraid of getting into a car. This common fear occurs for many different reasons. Some dogs have had no experience riding in a car or associate car rides with unpleasant events (such as trips to the vet). Other dogs may not mind car rides but may be intimidated by the height of the jump required to get into the car. Fortunately, you can counter these fears by making getting into a car fun and rewarding—with targeting!
It’s never too early to start clicker training—and that goes for both dogs and humans! One of the benefits of clicker training is that it works for learners of any age. Getting kids involved with clicker training not only helps them bond with their puppies, but also teaches them how to interact with dogs in a way that is fun and safe for both. Child and dog safety directly correlate to the quality of the relationship that is built between them through training.