Training is Fun for the Whole Family

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The joy of raising a family dog should be a great family experience. One of the benefits of clicker training is that, with clear instruction and supervision, young family members can easily grasp what to do and can participate. This involvement and investment creates strong and healthy bonds with the family dog, and teaches children how to understand and communicate with their furry family member in a way that is kind, respectful, safe, and fun!

Teaching Foundation Behaviors: Drop It

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Teaching dogs to “drop it”—to release an object that they have—is an often-overlooked skill. However, it is probably one of the most important behaviors that you can teach your dog. As an example, your dog may grab food that could be harmful, such as grapes or chocolate, or run off with one of your new shoes. If your dog knows the drop it cue and behavior, you can prevent a destructive, and potentially fatal, outcome.

Teaching Foundation Behaviors: Introducing Recall

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A reliable recall, or come when called, behavior is one of the most important foundation behaviors. Mastered, it lets your dog enjoy freedom and off-leash time and help keeps him/her safe. In some instances, the recall behavior could even save your dog’s life–like when your dog is chasing a squirrel toward a busy road and you need him to return to you quickly!

Teaching Foundation Behaviors: Stay

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Teaching your dog to stay, an essential foundation behavior, is an investment that will be valuable in a variety of situations, such as preventing your dog from dashing out the front door or out of the car. In this video, Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Certified Training Partner (CTP) Sarah Walsh is teaching her dog Wrigley to stay in the down position.

Teach Your Dog How to Give Eye Contact

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One of the first steps of training any behavior is to teach your dog to focus his/her attention on you. After all, a dog that is not looking at you is likely not listening to you, either! In this video, KPA CTP Tara Oster is teaching her client’s dog Bingo to offer eye contact. Tara begins shaping the behavior by waiting for Bingo to offer eye contact and rewarding her as soon as she does. Once Bingo offers eye contact reliably, Tara will add a cue.

Teach an Alternative Behavior to Barking

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Does your dog bark wildly when the doorbell rings? Dogs bark when they hear the doorbell for several reasons: they are excited (“Yay, someone is here!), they are scared (“Oh no, someone is here!”), or they are simply doing their duty (“Someone is here—I need to tell my humans!”). No matter what your dog’s motive is for barking, you can teach your dog to be quiet when the doorbell rings by asking for an incompatible behavior, such as lying down on his/her bed.

Teach Loose-Leash Walking

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With longer, warmer days ahead, it’s a good time to enjoy the outdoors together with your dog. Why not prepare now by teaching your dog to walk nicely on a leash? One of the easiest and most effective ways to train a dog to walk properly on a dog leash is to reward the dog for paying attention to you and for being in the desired position (next to you or close to you) when you are out for a walk. Your dog should remain close enough to you, either by your side or slightly ahead of you, that his leash remains loose, forming a U-shape.

Helping Dogs Overcome the Fear of Objects

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Is your dog afraid of ordinary objects? Does he freeze or try to run away when he sees a bag blowing in the wind? Does he bark or growl at cardboard boxes, ladders, or brooms? There are many reasons why dogs may be fearful of certain objects, including exposure to something scary during the developmental period, lack of early socialization, or even a negative experience with the object (perhaps the broom or ladder tipped over and startled the dog). Fortunately, you can help put your dog at ease by creating positive associations with objects that he may fear.