Puppy training tip, works for adult dogs too

 It is important for you to understand that if you call your dog and then he/she is in trouble or something unpleasant will happen, your dog will not want to obey you.  Think about this, if you say the word "Cookie" or "Treat" or "Dinner" the dog always comes.  This is because they always relate those words to something positive or something they like.

When you say your dog's name or come, you must always make sure it is for something good.  Always reward your dog when you say their name or come.  Especially when they respond favorably.

You can reward with a treat or better yet pet your dog, most love affection and it is not fattening.

 If your dog is in trouble, you can say something like "You rotten dog"  and then go get the dog instead of saying come.  You will probably have to catch and retrain yourself several times before you don't automatically say what you are used to saying.  Use lot's of patience and don't try to train if you are in a bad mood.

Crate Training Your Dog?

Whether we want to believe it or not Dogs do not think exactly like people. Let’s think about this.  Dogs are naturally denning animals.  They feel more secure in a den rather than out in the open space, especially when they rest.  In nature, you don’t see any coyotes or wolves just laying out in an open field.  An airline crate (plastic) can take the place of a “den”.  When the dog feels insecure or tired he will usually retreat to his den (crate).

As adult humans, many of us want to think of a crate as a prison yet children love to climb in and play or I have seen them sleep in a crate and the dog has to kick them out.  The dog doesn’t think of it as a prison at all. Parents have to teach their children to respect the dog and when he goes in his crate they are to leave him alone.  We can call it his time out space.  This can help save a child from being bitten (dog’s way of discipline) when the dog has had enough.

The Crate can come in handy for the dog. One example would be, you have a party and a bunch of little children are running around, your dog may not feel comfortable with all the confusion and want a safe, secure place to hide.  The crate would be the perfect place, especially if it has a nice soft bed and a water bucket in it.

Crate training your dog is important for a few reasons.  If you are going to the Vet with a sick dog, the crate (airline approved) can save you a messy car plus the dog feel more secure in his den.  If you have overwhelming guests at your house, the crate is a secure safe place for your dog.  If you are driving your dog anywhere and have an accident, your dog is safer in the crate than riding loose.  A dog can go through the windshield just like a child.  If the dog lives through the accident, he will be scared and will run and likely will be hit by a car.  If he is in the crate during an accident, he has a better chance of survival.

If you crate train your puppy, it will be far easier to house train him.  He won’t want to mess up his bed and will wait for you to take him outside (don’t wait too long).  The crate will save your sanity as far as your furniture, drapes, electrical cords are concerned. He can have toys and a bed and eat and get a drink all in his own little den.  Another benefit is when you are not watching him, you know exactly where he is.

Once your dog is crate trained, you can leave the door open and he will go in and out as he pleases.  If he is missing you will probably find him sleeping in his crate!

Show Dog Training Tips

             If you bought your puppy as a show prospect, there are a few tips you should follow in order for your dog to have a great show dog attitude.

  1. Don’t teach your dog to sit for food.  You want your dog to stand in the ring whenever the judge is looking.  If you teach him to sit for food, as soon as you bring the bait out of your pocket, he will sit.
  2. Teach your dog to move on a loose lead with his head up. Don’t pull his head up, it is better to have him follow a treat and say up up.  Make sure you give him a few bites while he is moving so he doesn’t think you are lying to him.  Don’t ever let him get food from the ground when on a lead. Always make sure he has his head off the ground when he gets a treat from you.
  3. If you can teach him to stand and catch, this is a great tool in the show ring as well as a fun game.  This can be a game you can play that dogs love.  It keeps them happy and alert in the ring.  The dog will look alert in the ring and free stack most every time waiting for you to toss the food.
  4. When you teach your puppy to stack, get him used to standing still while you hold his head and place his legs by the elbows and the top of the hocks and then hold his tail.  It doesn’t matter if you place him perfect, he just needs to understand that he should allow you to be in charge. If you do this in front of a mirror, you can see how he looks. Also, when he is standing for the time you want him to, you can tell him he is a good dog.  When you are ready to release him from the stack it is a good idea to use the word OK, throw your hands up and give him his treat and play for a minute, then do it all again.  Using the word OK is a cue that he has done it right and now he can have his treat.  If you use good dog for a release you won’t be able to tell him he is a good dog while you are stacking him or he will move out of the stack.
  5. Do not over practice.  Only work in short lessons, maybe 3-4 minutes for puppies.  5-10 minutes for young adults.  Over practice can make the dog board and hate to show. If you go to handling class that lasts an hour, only work for half the class, an hour is too long for any dog.  The dog is usually in the ring for 15 minutes at most these days.
  6. Never practice when you are in a bad mood. Always end your sessions on a good note.
  7. Socialization is essential for a show dog especially when they are young.  Take him to many places where there is activity and noise.  Ask strangers to give him a treat and touch him.
  8. Always keep your dog entertained when you are in the show ring.  Sometimes I bring a variety of treats, chicken, beef, jerky, cheese and a small squeeky. For these items you need to make sure your show clothes have pockets. Don’t stop entertaining your dog to socialize with people, you are in the ring to show your dog.
  9. Don’t worry about a puppy doing it perfect in the ring and don’t be nervous. If the puppy acts like an idiot, just make sure he is a happy idiot.  He is a puppy and should be having great fun.  If you put too much pressure on perfection he will decide he doesn’t like to be in the ring. So use lot’s of treats, praise and don’t forget about that squeeky!!  

Backing Away From the Judge

Backing away: Why some dogs fear Judges


An illustration in the lack of belief in the handlers TOP DOG status.


There can be any number of triggers that cause a dog to be wary but it’s not what causes this to happen as much as what you do about it that matters.  


Judges with hats. Judges in raincoats. Judges in long, flowing skirts. Judges who stare. Judges who hurl headlong toward your dog. These are just some of the scenarios that your dog has to face when a judge approaches them. If we leave the decision as to whether they should be fearful or not, then the decision our dog makes, might not be the decision we were hoping for in the show ring. Consider this, for example.


A team of zoologists following a pack of wild wolves on a hunt in Northern Europe were amazed to observe exactly how influential the decision making of the alpha of the pack can be while observing a challenge by a bull reindeer to protect the herd. Now, bull reindeer are not “Bambi”. They can weigh upwards of 600Kg (300 pounds) and are capable of killing wolves with a single kick let alone what they can do using their antlers.


What amazed the zoologists was when a bull reindeer charged the herding wolves, if the alpha wolf held its ground, then all of the hunting pack would also hold their ground. Just as amazing, if the alpha wolf decided discretion was the better part of valour and left the hunt, all the pack would leave the hunt too. Even a young wolf that had previously challenged the alpha to lead the hunt (and lost) would not turn and bark at the bull reindeer. This illustrates just how reliant the pack is on the judgment of the alpha even when it comes to life and death.


The point is, if your dog is prone to backing away from the judge, then it’s up to you to assume the role of TOP DOG. You can do this by applying the following.




Stand tall: Do not lower yourself to nurture or console your dog of the impending danger i.e. the approaching judge, or reduce your height to the dog like you might if you are consoling a small child.Dogs interpret this human signal as a dog, not as a human and, to them, lowering yourself is an indication that you’re fearful and don’t want to be the leader. If this happens, then they must assume the role as TOP DOG. This means they decide whether to run or stay. If you are the TOP DOG then this decision is yours – not your dog’s.




Do not stand back behind your dog when the judge is approaching. This positioning puts your dog in the lead and thus in the role of decision maker. Place yourself as near to the front left eye line of your dog as you can. This lets your dog see that you’re there and assessing what danger the judge represents. While you’re doing this, make sure that give the complete appearance of being calm and confident. 




Your first signal should be calming, voice aid to gain your dog’s attention. Then, as outlined above, you use a sight aid to project stillness and calm. The third signal is touch (remember, all your signals should be calming), which requires you to gently apply pressure on the lead until your dog can feel the contact. You can then ease off the lead so that it is taut but not tight. 




Distract your dog’s attention away from the approaching judge and back to you by making a calming sound and exposing the bite. Make sure that you indicate your intention of showing the teeth to the judge when they are no closer than one metre (yard) away from your dog. You can find out more about showing the teeth here 




Once you’ve shown the judge your dog’s teeth, place your hand with thumb and forefinger open behind your dog’s occiput to display their head in the manner of being very proud of such a quality specimen. 




Keep practicing. Remember, the TOP DOG is the one who never, never, EVER gives up 


Make this promise to your dog: If a situation is dangerous and you run away, your dog can run with you BUT if you decide that it’s safe to stand your ground, then your dog must stand with you.


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