Rabies Found in Arlington County

Forwarded from email from AWLA:

Arlington County has had two raccoons come back clinically positive for rabies this week. The first raccoon exposure occurred on the 2000 blk N Military Road in the Cherrydale neighborhood. The second raccoon exposure occurred on the 2000 blk 6th St S in the Penrose neighborhood. Both exposures were to domestic pets.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind pet owners to keep their pet’s rabies vaccination current. If you are unsure of your pets vaccination status please contact your veterinarian immediately. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is hosting a low-cost rabies clinic this evening, October 26th, 2017 from 6:30-8:30 for dogs and cats. Dogs must be on leash and cats must be secured in a carrier, no appointment necessary. For more information on the low-cost rabies/microchip clinics please visit https://www.awla.org/services/low-cost-rabies-and-microchip-clinics/

Please do not approach wildlife. If an animal appears in distress or injured or you and your domestic pet has had contact with wildlife please contact Animal Control immediately at 703-931-9241. Please keep your dogs on leash while out in the community, including parks, at all times.

About rabies:

Rabies most commonly is spread from having direct contact with the saliva of a rabid animal. Those with potential exposure can be treated with human rabies immunoglobulin and rabies vaccinations to prevent rabies symptoms.

Once a person develops symptoms, there is no effective treatment and the disease is fatal.  However, if the rabies vaccine is given before symptoms develop, this will effectively prevent rabies in a person exposed.

If you have questions or believe that you or your pet may have been exposed to wildlife, call (703) 228-5200 Option #1 and ask for the Nurse of the Day during business hours (MondayFriday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.) After hours call, (703) 228-5645 and leave a message with your name and phone number and your call will be returned within 2 hours.

Douglas Dogs Has Been Revived

I am happy to announce that there are some additions to the communication system for Douglas Dogs at Fort Barnard Dog Park. If you are receiving this email, you are a member of the Douglas Dogs Yahoo email list. This list is not going away. However, we now have a Facebook group page and an improved website.

You can join the Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/douglasdogs/ 

You can also invite other park users to join once you have joined. The group is unmoderated at this time in hopes that we can all be civil and helpful.  It is also a public group where anyone can read the message postings.  All this can change.

The old website has also been revised and improved.  There is feed of the messages from the above Facebook group as well as articles that may be helpful and of interest.  Links to the Yahoo group and Facebook Group are prominent.  And several dog park users will be given log in access to the site to post announcements, photos, and other items of importance and interest.  You can find the website at:

douglasdogs.org

Hope your summer is going well and you and your dog are staying cool while out playing.

Best regards,

Margott

How to Do Yoga with Your Dog

Doing yoga with your dog can be a wonderful bonding experience. Yoga with your dog, also called doga, helps form a connection between you and your pet while you stretch and relax together. If you are interested in doing yoga with your dog, you can find a doga studio in your area or perform poses at home.

Performing Yoga Poses With Your Dog

Start with relaxed breathing. To relax yourself and your dog, start by sitting down with your legs crossed. Your dog should be sitting near or on you. Start to breathe, focusing on each inhale and exhale. Start thinking about your dog and becoming in sync with him. Focus on his breathing and how much you love your dog.[1]

  • Rest your hands on your dog. You can start gently massage him if you need to help him relax.[2] Remain sitting up straight.
  • Sit still for two minutes.
Try Chaturanga. Another good pose to start with is Chaturanga. Get your dog to lay on his stomach. Stroke and massage his back lightly.[3]
Perform the Heart-to-Hound Mundra. This pose is good for connecting with your dog. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed, your dog in front of you facing forward. Place a hand over your heart, and place the other over your dog’s heart. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.[4]

Perform the Chair. A simple, good yoga pose for dogs is the Chair pose. Get the dog to sit back on his hind legs. Hold the dog around the middle of his back. Then, help raise the dog’s front paws.[5]

  • Gently massage your dog’s shoulders as you lift the legs to give him a good stretch through his back.[6]
  • This pose stretches your dog’s ab muscles and front legs. It also helps strengthen the joints in the back legs.[7

Do a sun salute. Sun salutations help stretch your dog’s muscles and get his body moving. You start in a seated position. Carefully lift your dog’s hind legs towards the ceiling. While you hold his thighs, start massaging the upper thighs with your hands.[8]

  • While in this position, try to get your dog to stretch his torso. This pose can help stretch the abs and the hips while strengthening the joints of the front legs.[9]
Bend forward. Bend from the waist until you are folded in half, your hands and head low. Pick up your dog carefully. The weight will help increase your stretch, and as you hold him, your dog gets a stretch in his limbs.[10]
Do a Puppy Paw Mudra. Get your dog to lie down with the front legs extended. Kneel behind your dog and bend down to place your head on his back. Place your hands over your dog’s front paws, both of your arms extended outwards. Turn your head to one side and breath.[11]

End with a Savasana. Lie onto your back with your dog on your chest. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Pet or massage your dog as you relax into the pose.[12]

  • The goal of this pose is to have your dog eventually snuggle against your as he settles down.

Choosing To Do Doga

Reduce your dog’s stress level. Dog’s respond to your energy. If you are feeling stress, then your dog feels stress. Since yoga helps relax your mind and body, bringing your dog along with all help relax your dog.[13]

  • Some believe that doing yoga can help calm hyperactive dogs.[14]

 Strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Because you are sharing this time with your dog, you strengthen the connection you share. Not only are you touching, petting, massaging, and including your dog in yoga, but you are both sharing a calming, relaxing activity. Additionally, you are not distracted during this time like you might be while you walk your dog. Doing yoga with your dog can help the two of your become closer.[15]

  • Because you are touching your dog and spending time with him, doing yoga can help build trust between you and your dog.[16]
  • Some people believe that doing yoga with your dog can help get them used to being touched, which can help with things like nail clipping and other grooming tasks.
  • Since you are touching your dog’s body during yoga, you can also use the time to do a surface health check up.

 Decide if your dog is ready for doga. Before you take your dog to a doga class, decide if he is ready for this step. If your dog is social and relatively well-behaved, you can probably take him to doga. You can use treats to help keep him focused during the doga session.[17]

  • If your dog is not well socialized or not as well-behaved, start by doing doga at home. This might be a way for you to help him calm and become better behaved.
  • When you do doga with your dog, decide if he enjoys it. If he seems restless, resistant, or acts negatively, doga may not be for you and your dog.

Understand your dog’s limits. Doing yoga with your dog won’t be the same as doing yoga with your friend. Your dog can’t do complicated poses. While there are many yoga poses you can do with your dog, they are geared specifically for dogs.[18]

  • Don’t make your dog do normal yoga poses. Make sure to only go through yoga poses that are designed for dogs.

Finding Doga Resources

 Choose a place to do yoga. Some major cities have yoga studios, usually referred to as doga studios. These might be through yoga studios, speciality doga studios, or the Human Society.[19]

  • If you can’t find anywhere to do doga with your dog, then you can do it in your home. Many moves are easy enough for you and your dog to get maximum benefits.
  • Ask yoga instructors if they would be willing to start a doga class. Or ask if they would let you bring your dog to a traditional yoga class.

Know that doga classes may vary. Some yoga studios will offer classes that are for both the human and dog. In these classes, the human holds the dog and help him perform the pose. These classes offer modifications for larger or smaller dogs.[20]

  • Other classes may be a traditional yoga class where dogs just walk around while the humans do yoga.

 Consult doga resources. Since doga has become a widespread phenomenon, there are many resources available. These resources are especially helpful if you are doing doga at home. Check libraries and bookstores for books on doga and doga poses.

  • You can also purchase doga videos to help with home instruction. You can also find clips and videos on YouTube.

Sources:

  1. http://www.dogadog.com/Poses.html
  2. http://www.mindfulyogahealth.com/blog/doga-4-yoga-moves-you-can-do-with-you-dog
  3. http://www.thedogdaily.com/happy/play/dog_yoga/index.html?target=doga
  4. http://iamvancouverdog.com/how-to-do-doga-aka-dog-yoga/
  5. http://iamvancouverdog.com/how-to-do-doga-aka-dog-yoga/
  6. http://www.mindfulyogahealth.com/blog/doga-4-yoga-moves-you-can-do-with-you-dog
  7. http://www.exceptionalcanine.com/theanimalrescuesiteiframe/off_the_leash/doga_yoga_for_dogs/index.html#.VruPurIrK00
  8. http://www.mindfulyogahealth.com/blog/doga-4-yoga-moves-you-can-do-with-you-dog
  9. http://www.exceptionalcanine.com/theanimalrescuesiteiframe/off_the_leash/doga_yoga_for_dogs/index.html#.VruPurIrK00
  10. http://www.exceptionalcanine.com/theanimalrescuesiteiframe/off_the_leash/doga_yoga_for_dogs/index.html#.VruPurIrK00
  11. http://www.thedogdaily.com/happy/play/dog_yoga/index.html?target=doga
  12. http://www.mindfulyogahealth.com/blog/doga-4-yoga-moves-you-can-do-with-you-dog
  13. http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/yoga-with-your-dog
  14. http://iamvancouverdog.com/how-to-do-doga-aka-dog-yoga/
  15. http://thebark.com/content/doga-yoga-you-and-your-dog?page=2
  16. http://iamvancouverdog.com/how-to-do-doga-aka-dog-yoga/
  17. http://thebark.com/content/doga-yoga-you-and-your-dog
  18. http://www.thedogdaily.com/happy/play/dog_yoga/index.html?target=doga
  19. http://www.thedogdaily.com/happy/play/dog_yoga/index.html?target=doga
  20. http://iamvancouverdog.com/how-to-do-doga-aka-dog-yoga/

How to Give Your Large Dog Enough Exercise

Exercise is an important component of a dog’s health and happiness. Dogs are instinctively programmed to “work” through physical activity.[1] How much exercise dogs need depends on different factors, including their size. Larger dogs need more physical activity every day to ward off boredom and frustration, which can lead to destructive behaviors. Exercising your large dog for long enough every day also promotes its overall health.[2] You can give your large dog enough exercise by figuring out its specific physical activity needs and incorporating physical activity throughout the day.

Figuring Out Your Dog’s Exercise Needs

Recognize basic needs for every dog. A walk or two around the neighborhood isn’t usually enough exercise for dogs. Most dogs need 30-60 minutes of exercise every day.[3] Your dog can get this exercises through a variety of outdoor and indoor activities. These might include:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Climbing and/ or running up stairs
  • Throwing toys
  • Obstacle courses[4]
Establish how much exercise your large dog needs. The amount of exercise your large dog needs depends in part on its breed. Certain breeds used for hunting or herding will need the most exercise, whereas a short-nosed breed such as a boxer will need less. If your dog is in ill health, speak to its vet about appropriate amounts of exercise.[5]

  • Exercise breeds in hunting, working, or herding groups will need at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise and 1-2 hours of activity every day. Breeds in this group include Labrador retrievers, hounds, collies and shepherds. Other dogs that need this much exercise are pointers and spaniels.[6]
  • Be aware that some large dog breeds won’t need much exercise. Aim to get the following breeds 30-60 minutes of activity each day: bulldogs, bull mastiffs, Great Danes, greyhounds, and Old English sheepdogs. In some cases, your dog’s personality and ability may warrant more or less.
  • Recognize that it can be difficult to gauge how much exercise mixed breeds need. If you have an idea of what heritage your dog has, follow exercise guidelines for that breed. If you don’t, consider asking your vet what breed the dog may be and adjust your exercise program accordingly.
Let your dog guide you. Dogs are very sensitive animals and can provide signals about their needs. This is true for exercise, too. Paying attention to your dog’s behavior can also inform you about if it needs more exercise or activity or is content to get some rest.[7] Some signs your dog may want more exercise include:

  • Restlessness
  • Pacing around
  • Racing through the house[8]
  • Rough play
  • Excited nipping or biting
  • Digging
  • Scratching
  • Destructive chewing

Incorporating Physical Activity Throughout the Day

Schedule daily exercise and activity. Dogs require physical activity as a result of their evolutionary development as pack and work animals.[9] Your large dog may need up to 2 ½ hours of exercise and activity every day, which can be a lot if you have a busy schedule. Having a set daily schedule for exercising can ensure that your dog gets enough physical activity to maintain its health and happiness. The routine helps your dog anticipate it and may minimize unwanted behaviors.[10]

  • Fix a specific time each day to get 30 minutes of vigorous activity with your large dog. For example, you could schedule a 30-minute run together in the mornings before work or school. If you’re not a runner, consider taking your dog to the yard, a field, or dog park for 30 minutes. Do an activity that is vigorous for your dog but easy on you such as fetching or blowing bubbles specifically designed for dogs.[11]
  • Aim for a long walk of about an hour in addition to the vigorous exercise. You can also break this into two 30-minute walks.
  • Adjust your dog’s exercise routine as necessary. For example, if you have an early meeting, see if you can sneak out to run the dog at lunch.
Do activities your dog—and you— enjoy. Every dog has a personality. You may recognize that your dog plays harder or is happier after certain types of exercise. You may enjoy these, too. Incorporate activities that you and your dog love as much as you are able. This can make it easier to ensure your large dog gets enough exercise and can strengthen your bond.[12]

  • Set aside at least one day to do an activity you and your dog both love but may not be possible every day. For example, if you have work or school, you may have off weekends. On a Saturday or Sunday, you can let your dog run as you ride your bike or go for a nature hike.
Follow your dog on walks. Regular walks are important to a dog’s health and happiness. One way to make them fun is going for brisk walks where you follow your dog on a lead or leash. This can fulfill your dog’s need for exercise and to travel and explore.[13]

  • Follow your large dog for a brisk 30-40 minute walk at least once a day and ideally twice. This can ensure your dog’s gets enough exercise and brain releases feel-good hormones.
  • Allow your dog to sniff around and decide where to go as long as it is not pulling on the leash. Doing so may promote dominance and bad leash manners. Guide the dog with verbal commands if it starts to pull at the leash. A gentle “This way, Spot” gives your dog the sense that it can explore while maintaining your authority.
Try “doggy and me” exercises. If you’re very active physically, the easiest way to give your large dog enough exercise is doing activities together. This can ensure that both you and your dog stay fit and happy. Some exercises you can do together include:[14]

  • Running
  • Inline skating
  • Bicycling
  • Hiking[15]
  • Swimming[16]
  • Jumping over obstacles[17]
Take your dog to the park. Many areas have designated dog parks that allow off-leash activity for dogs. This can be a great way for your large dog to get its daily recommended exercise as well as romp around with other dogs.[18]

  • Watch your dog while you’re at the park, which can cue you into when your dog is tired. This is also important because not all dogs play nicely with one another.
Stimulate indoor exercise. If the weather is extremely cold or hot, it may not be safe for your dog to exercise outside.[19] You may be injured and unable to go outside. Even if outdoor exercise isn’t an option, you can ensure your large dog gets enough activity every day with indoor activities. The following activities can provide your large dog its recommended daily exercise:[20]

  • Running up the stairs with your dog
  • Playing fetch
  • Hiding treats around the house
  • Playing keep away
  • Kicking around dog exercise balls[21]
  • Setting up an obstacle course
Provide toys while you’re gone. If you work or attend school, you may need to leave your dog at home. Your dog will still need activity during this time. Leaving toys for your large dog can help it get enough exercise. They can also provide entertainment until you get home. Consider providing the following toys to your dog:[22]

  • Hard rubber toys for chewing and carrying around
  • Rope toys
  • Balls
  • “Busy box” toys with hiding places for snacks
  • Soft, stuffed and/or squeaky toys
  • Dirty laundry that smells like you
Consider doggy-day care or a walker. You may find that your dog needs more exercise that your schedule permits. If this is the case, consider taking your dog to doggy day care or hiring a professional dog walker. These can fill in where you can’t. A day care or walker will exercise both your dog’s body and mind.[23]

  • Recognize your dog should come home worn out and happy from a day care or dog walker.

Sources:

 

  1. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/exercise-dogs
  2. http://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/evr_dg_exercising_with_your_dog101
  3. http://dogtime.com/dog-health/fitness/49-exercise-needs
  4. https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-training/toys-and-play/ways-to-exercise-your-dog-indoors
  5. http://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/evr_dg_exercising_with_your_dog101#
  6. http://dogtime.com/dog-health/general/12204-20-dogs-that-need-lots-of-exercise
  7. http://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/evr_dg_exercising_with_your_dog101#
  8. http://www.canidae.com/blog/2013/10/telltale-signs-your-dog-needs-more-exercise/
  9. http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/healthy-affection-vs-obsession/760
  10. http://dogtime.com/dog-health/fitness/49-exercise-needs
  11. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/exercise-dogs?page=2#2
  12. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/exercise-dogs?page=2#2
  13. http://www.caninemind.co.uk/dogsneeds.html
  14. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/exercise-dogs?page=3
  15. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/exercise-dogs?page=4
  16. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/exercise-dogs?page=5
  17. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/exercise-dogs?page=6
  18. http://dogtime.com/dog-health/fitness/49-exercise-needs
  19. http://dogtime.com/dog-health/fitness/49-exercise-needs
  20. https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-training/toys-and-play/ways-to-exercise-your-dog-indoors
  21. http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/exercise-dogs?page=6
  22. http://www.caninejournal.com/why-dogs-eat-grass/
  23.  http://dogtime.com/dog-health/fitness/49-exercise-needs

 

Teaching “Sit”, “Lie Down”, “Wait”, and “Stand”

Teaching the “Sit”

Get your dog into a standing position. The purpose of the “sit” is get your dog to transition from standing to sitting, not just continue sitting. Walk into your dog or step away from him to get him into a standing position.
Position yourself in his line of sight. Stand directly in front of the dog so that his attention is focused on you. Let him see that you have a treat in your hand.

Focus the dog’s attention on the treat. Begin with the treat held down at your side. Raise that hand in front of the dog’s nose to let him get the scent, then to above his head level.

  • When you hold the treat above the dog’s head, most dogs will naturally sit to get a better view of it.

Give him an immediate treat and praise. Follow the routine of clicker-treat/praise or just treat and praise. Say “good sit” when he’s performing the behavior you are practicing. He may be slow at first, but more treats and praise will speed up his response.

  • Make sure that you do not praise him until his butt touches the ground. If you praise halfway through the sit, the dog will think that is what you want.
  • Also, make sure that you do not praise him for getting back up, or you will get that behavior instead of the sit.

If your dog does not sit with the treat technique, you can use your leash and collar. Stand next to the dog, facing the same direction as him. Place a little backward pressure on the collar to encourage a sit.

  • You may even need to encourage the sit by adding a little gentle scoop behind the dog’s hind legs. Gently lean the dog backward with the help of the collar while doing this.
  • As soon as he sits, give him immediate praise and reward.

Don’t repeat the command. You want the dog to respond on the first utterance, not the second, third, or fourth. If the dog does not perform the behavior within 2 seconds of your command, reinforce the command with the help of your leash.

  • When you begin training a dog, never give a command that you are not in a position to reinforce. Otherwise, you risk training the dog to ignore you because there is no follow through from your end and the commands have no meaning.
  • Create a positive meaning for the dog with praise and consistency.[7]

Praise natural sitting behavior. Look for times throughout the day when your dog just sits on his own. Praise that behavior, and pretty soon you’ll have a dog that sits for attention instead of jumping or barking at you.

Teaching Your Dog to Lie Down

Get your dog’s attention. Get some food treats or a toy and find your dog. Hold the toy or treat in view so he focuses on you.

Use the treat or toy to encourage your dog to lie down. Do this by moving the toy or treat onto the ground in front of the dog, between his front legs. His head should follow it, and his body should follow shortly thereafter.

Give immediate praise. When the dog’s stomach is on the ground, lavish him with praise and give him the treat or toy. Be accurate with your praise, too. If you praise him halfway down or up, that is the behavior you will get.

Increase your distance. Once he’s learned the behavior with the promise of a treat below him, move a little farther away. The hand signal for “down” will become your flat hand — palm down — moving in a downward direction from in front of your waist to your side.

  • As the dog gets more consistent with the “down” behavior, add a verbal “down” or “lie down” command.
  • Always praise him immediately when his belly is on the ground.
  • Dogs read body language well and learn hand signals quite quickly.

Lengthen the “down.” As he gets more reliable with “down,” pause a few seconds before praising and treating to encourage him to hold the position.

  • If he pops up to get the treat, do not give it to him, or you will be rewarding the last behavior he did before the treat.
  • Just start again, and the dog will understand that you want him all the way down on the ground, as long as you are consistent.

Don’t lean over your dog. Once your dog has caught onto the command, stand up straight when giving it. If you loom over him, you’ll have a dog that only lays down when you are leaning over him. You want to work on being able to get your dog to lie down from across the room, eventually.

Training Your Dog to “Wait” at Doorways

Begin doorway “wait”-training early. Teaching a dog to respect the threshold is important. You do not want a dog that runs out the door every time it opens — that could be dangerous for him. Doorway training doesn’t need to happen every single time you go through a doorway. But you should make the most of your training opportunities early in your puppy’s life.

Place the dog on a leash. You should have him on a short leash that allows you to change his direction from a close distance.

Walk to the door. Bring the dog along with you on his leash.

Give a “wait” command before stepping through. If your dog moves to follow you when you step through the door, use the leash to stop his forward movement. Try again.

Praise him when he waits. When he realizes that you want him to stay in the door instead of walking through it with you, lavish him with praise and rewards for the “good wait.”

Teach him to sit in the threshold. If the door is closed, you can even teach your dog to sit as soon as you place your hand on the doorknob. He’ll then wait while the door is opened, and not cross the threshold until you release him. This training should be done on leash at the beginning, for his safety.

Give a separate command to encourage him through the doorway. You might use a “come” or a “free.” Whatever command you use, it should be the only thing that allows your dog to exit your home.

Increase the distance. Practice leaving the dog at the threshold and do something on the other side. You might get the mail or take out the trash before you return and praise him. The idea is that you do not always call him across the threshold to meet you. You can also come back to him.

Teaching the “Stand”

Understand the value of the “stand” command. The value of the “sit” and “wait” seem obvious, but you may not understand at first why the “stand” is an important skill to teach your dog. You’ll won’t use the “stand” every day, but you’ll need it throughout the dog’s life. For example, a dog who can stay calmly in a “stand” is the ideal patient at a vet clinic or client at a groomer’s.

Prepare for the training session. Grab his favorite toy or prepare a handful of treats to both focus your dog’s attention and reward him for learning the command. Put the dog in a starting “down” or “lie down” position when working with the “stand” command. He should move from lying down to standing up to get his toy or treats.

Focus the dog’s attention. You want to coax him into the standing position by having him follow the toy or treat. Hold the toy or treat in front of his face, at nose height.

  • If he sits, thinking that will earn him a reward, try again, but with the treat or toy slightly lower.

Encourage the dog to follow your hand. Flatten your hand with your palm down. If you’re using a treat, hold it with your thumb against your palm. Start with your hand in front of his nose and move it away a few inches. The idea is that the dog will stand up while following your hand.

  • You may need to use your other hand to encourage him from underneath his hips to get the idea at first.

Give immediate praise. As soon as he reaches the standing position, praise and treat. Although you haven’t yet started using the verbal “stand” command, you can use it in your praise: “good stand!”

Add the verbal “stand” command. At first, you will work only on getting your dog to stand by following the hand that holds his toy or treat. When he’s mastered that concept, begin incorporating the “stand” command into the training sessions.

Combine the “stand” with other commands. There are many ways to combine commands. After getting your dog to “stand,” you might add a “wait” or “stay” command if you want the dog to stand for longer periods of time. You can also follow with a “sit” or “down” to do some “doggy drills,” and gradually increase the distance between you and the dog. Eventually, you’ll have your dog performing these commands from across the room.

Teaching the “Take” and “Drop It” Commands

Understand the command. The “take” is used whenever you want the dog to take something you offer into his mouth.

Give your dog a toy to play with. Give him the verbal command “take” as you do so. As he takes the toy in his mouth, reward him for the behavior with praise. (Plus, he gets to play with the toy!)

Transition to less rewarding objects. It’s easy for a dog to learn “take” when the object is so much fun! When he’s mastered the connection between command and behavior, move on to boring objects. Examples might include newspapers, light bags, or anything else you might want him to carry.

Pair “take” training with “drop it” training. Once he takes the toy, use the command “drop it” to have the dog release the toy back to you. Give him a treat and praise when he releases the toy, then start again with “take.” You don’t want the dog to think that the fun stops every time he releases the toy.

  • Do not get into a tugging match with the dog. When you tug, the dog tugs back harder.

 

Teaching Your Dog Positive Food Behaviors

Have him wait patiently while you prepare his meal. There’s nothing more annoying than a dog who jumps and barks while you’re trying to prepare his meal. Instead, use the “wait” command he learned in doorway training to have him wait outside the threshold of the room where he’s fed.

  • When you’re ready, have your dog work for his food by commanding the dog “sit” and “stay” while you place the food on the ground.[8]
  • Stand up and wait a few breaths before giving your release word. You can use “free” or you can create a new command for feeding time like “get your food” or “yummy.” Try to choose something you wouldn’t accidentally say to other people, such as “time to eat,” or, “let’s eat,” as this might falsely cue your dog that it’s time for his dinner.
  • Eventually, he will sit on his own as soon as he sees his feeding bowl.
Hand feed your dog. At meal time, start feeding your dog out of your hand. Then use your hands to put the rest of the food in the bowl. This will put your scent on your dog’s bowl and also normalize having your hands around their bowl and food. This should help fix or prevent any food aggression tendencies.[9]

Teach your dog to “leave it.” Teaching your dog to move his nose away from food and other items can be beneficial in a number of situations, including when food is accidentally dropped on the floor during family dinner or when your dog seems interested in picking up something potentially harmful during a walk. To teach this command, do the following:

  • Stage one: Hold a treat in your closed hand. The dog will probably lick, sniff, and paw at your hand in an attempt to get to the treat. Eventually, when the dog moves his nose away, praise him and give him the treat.
  • Stage two: Add in the words “leave it.” Say these words when your dog decides to move his nose away.
  • Stage three: Hold one treat in your palm in front of the dog and one behind you in the other hand. Instruct your dog to “leave it.” If the dog gets too close to the treat, make a fist to hide the treat and say “no” or “uh-oh” to show the dog that he won’t be rewarded or noncompliance. When he obeys the “leave it” command, give him the treat that’s behind your back.
  • Stage four: Place the treat on the floor. Move the treat from your palm to the floor. Continue to reward your dog with the treat you have behind your back.
  • Stage five: Put your dog’s leash on and walk past the treat on the floor. Command him to “leave it” without jerking the leash. If he eats the treat, go back to an earlier stage.
  • Stage six: Start using the “leave it” command outside of your home.[10]

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Crate Training Your Dog

Understand the value of crate training. You might think it cruel to pen a dog up in a crate for hours at a time. But dogs are instinctively den animals, so confined spaces are not as oppressive to them as they are to us. In fact, crate trained dogs will seek out their crates as a source of comfort.

  • Crate training is a useful way to manage your dog’s behavior when he’s unsupervised for extended periods of time.
  • For example, many owners crate their dogs when they go to sleep or leave the house.

Begin crate training young. Although older dogs can be taught to enjoy their crates as well, it’s easier to train a young dog.

  • If your puppy is a large breed, don’t train him in a large crate that you think he’ll grow into.
  • Dogs won’t relieve themselves where they sleep or relax, so you need the crate to be appropriately sized.
  • If you use a crate that’s too large, he might urinate in the far corner of it because he has so much space.

Make the crate an inviting space.[12] Don’t isolate him in the crate immediately by locking the door the first time you get him to enter it. You want him to create a positive association with the crate, so that he enjoys his time in there.

  • When you begin the crate training process, place the crate somewhere the household gathers. The idea is to make the crate part of the social scene rather than a place of isolation.
  • Place a soft blanket and some of your dog’s favorite toys inside the crate.

Encourage him to enter the crate. Once you’ve made the crate an inviting space, use treats to lure him inside. At first, place some outside the door so he can explore the exterior of the crate. Then, place treats just inside the door, so he will poke his head in to retrieve them. As he grows more comfortable, place the treats further and further inside the crate.

  • Do this until your dog enters the crate without hesitation.
  • Always speak in your “happy voice” when acclimating your dog to the crate.

Feed the dog in his crate. Once he’s comfortable entering the crate for treats, reinforce the positive association with mealtime.

  • Place his dog bowl wherever he’s comfortable eating. If he’s still a little anxious, you might have to place it right by the door.
  • As he grows more comfortable over time, place the dog bowl further back into the cage.

 Begin closing the door behind him. With treats and feeding, you’ll find that your dog is growing more acclimated to being in the crate. He still needs to learn how to cope with the door being closed.

  • Begin closing the door at mealtime, when the dog too distracted by his food to notice what’s going on at first.
  • Close the door for very short periods, lengthening the time as the dog grows more comfortable.

Don’t reward the dog for whining. When a puppy whines, it may be adorable and heartbreaking, but when a grown dog whines, it can drive you nuts. If your puppy whines inconsolably, you may have left him inside the crate for too long. However, you cannot release him from the crate until the whining stops. Remember — every reward you give reinforces the dog’s last behavior, which was whining in this case.

  • Instead, release the dog once he’s stopped whining.
  • The next time you close the door on the crate, leave him in for a shorter period of time.

Comfort your dog during long crate sessions. If your puppy cries when he’s alone in the crate, bring the crate into your bedroom at night. Have a tick tock clock or white noise machine to help the puppy get to sleep. Make sure that they have already eliminated outside and don’t need to urinate or defecate.

  • Young puppies should be crated in your room at night so that you can hear them tell you they need to go out in the middle of the night. Otherwise, they will be forced to mess in the crate.

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Tips & Warnings of Dog Training

Tips

  • Obedience training really is not for the dog… it’s for YOU. This training teaches you how to communicate what you want your dog to do in a way that he understands. If you send your dog to someone else to train them, they learn to work with that person, not you. Take the time to learn how to train your dog, don’t pass the responsibility off to someone else. In some cases, you may need to have your dog learn the basics from someone else. But then, you should have the trainer work with you AND the dog together. This will make sure that you have the ability to continue the training at home. Check back in with the trainer for “tune up” sessions for you and your dog to keep everyone on track.[13]
  • Remember that every dog is different. One dog might learn at a slower pace than another dog, and that’s okay. There is no such thing as an untrainable dog!
  • Remember that dogs do not communicate the same way humans do.
  • Do not let your dog “lean” on you either when you are standing up or sitting down. This is not a sign that they like you. This is a sign of dominance. The dog is encroaching into your space. You are the leader. Stand up and let your knee or foot nudge them out of your space. Praise the dog for getting up. Give the dog a command to lay down on their bed or go to their crate if you need to manage your personal space more effectively.
  • If using hand signals, be sure they are unique and distinct for the dog to see and differentiate. There are standard dog training signals used for basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” etc. If you are unsure, ask your trainer or look online or in a book for a clearer picture of the body language to use.
  • Be consistent. Make sure the command and hand signal use is the same each time.
  • Use a harness instead of a choke chain.
  • When using voice commands, use a firm voice. You mean for this dog to sit, so speak with meaning. Do not continue to repeat a command over and over again hoping the dog will eventually perform the command. Reinforce the command within two to three seconds if the command is not done and then praise the dog. You don’t want to be one of those people you see repeating “sit” 20 or so times until the dog sits. You want a sit on the first command, not the twentieth.
  • Do not allow your dog to bite you, even playfully. This sets a bad precedent and it will be difficult for you to break them of this habit. Dangerous, aggressive dogs will need special training from an experienced dog trainer. In some cases, a veterinary behaviorist will need to become involved. At no time should you take on an aggressive dog without the proper training. It is too dangerous.
  • If your dog is out of control, another good way to correct the behavior is to isolate them from the rest of the “pack”. Put them in their crate or kennel and ignore them. Isolation from the pack is dog language for “your behavior is unacceptable and we don’t like it.” Your dog will understand the message. They may whine and howl, but you have to ignore it. Think of it as a “time out” for your dog. When they are quiet and settled, let them out of the crate. Don’t forget to keep your dog exercised to help manage their energy level. Playing “fetch” is a great way to get the dog tired.
  • Praise your dog often and lavishly.
  • Training dogs requires a large amount of patience. It can be frustrating if you choose a breed wrong for your skill level or lifestyle. If you find you have made a poor choice, ask professionals for guidance. You may need to find a new home for the dog. Call your local rescue organization or veterinarian. Don’t wait until you and the dog have suffered. If you just don’t have the patience, then get yourself some personal one-on-one training from a reputable dog trainer. Nobody is a “born” dog trainer without getting educated.
  • Don’t be cruel to your dog or hit them. If you strike your dog out of frustration, he will only learn to fear you.
  • Clean up after your dog if they defecate on someone else’s property or in a public place. Doing this will ensure that others enjoy your dog as much as you do.
  • When teaching your dog to speak, howling/barking yourself might make your dog bark.
  • Never throw your dog your dinner scraps when eating. This will make him think you allow him to steal food, and he might take food from strangers. Also, when a dog begs turn away so he knows you don’t tolerate bad behavior. And be sure to treat your dog with love and have fun!

Warnings

  • Use a collar and leash that is appropriate to your dogs size. Too loose or too tight collars can cause injury.
  • Having a dog requires almost as much responsibility as having a child. If you’re not ready for that, don’t get a dog until you have done your research, and make adjustments to allow a dog into your life.
  • Keep regular vet visits and stay up to date on vaccinations. You should also keep current on license requirements, and have your pet spayed or neutered as soon as they are old enough.
  • Regular exercise for your dog will prevent him from being destructive in your home. Dogs get bored. When they get bored, they find ways to “entertain” themselves. That may include chewing your favorite shoes, destroying furniture, or barking nonstop. Avoid this problem by taking them for regular walks (twice a day is best). And it’s good for you too! “A tired dog is a good dog.” Exercise to the point of being tired is different for each individual.

Additional Resources

  • Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor
  • Getting Started: Clicker Training for Dogs by Karen Pryor
  • The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller
  • 25 Stupid Mistakes Dog Owners Make by Janine Adams
  • The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete
  • How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend by the Monks of New Skete
  • The Mentally Sound Dog: How to Shape, Train and Change Canine Behavior by Gail I. Clark

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Teaching Your Dog to “Listen” and “Speak”

Teaching the “Listen”

Understand the purpose of the “listen” command. Also known as the “watch me” command, the “listen” is one of the first commands you should teach your dog. You’ll use it to get your dog’s attention so you can give him the next command or direction. Some people just use their dog’s name instead of the “listen.” This is especially useful if you have more than one dog. That way, each individual dog will know when you want it to focus on you.
Stand near your dog. Don’t engage with him, though. If he reacts to your presence, stand still and look away until he loses interest.
Say “Listen” in a quiet but firm voice. If you’re using your dog’s name instead of the “listen” or “watch me” commands, say his name instead. The tone and volume should be the same as if you were calling a person’s name to get their attention.

Don’t raise your voice to get his attention. Save the big booming voice for “life saving” situations, like if he escapes his fence or leash. If you rarely raise your voice, you’ll get your dog’s undivided attention when you do need to yell. But if you are always “loud” to your dog, they will ignore that sound and tune it out. Shouting will no longer be regarded as something that commands special attention.

  • Dogs have excellent hearing — far better than ours. A fun twist on this command is to see how quietly you can whisper and have your dog respond. People will think you are the “dog whisperer” when you can get him to perform commands with hardly a whisper.

Give an immediate reward for the desired response. As soon as your dog stops what he’s doing and looks toward you, praise him and give him a treat. Make the click sound before giving praise or a treat if you’re using clicker training.

  • Remember that your response must be immediate. The faster you reward him, the better he’ll understand the relationship between command, behavior, and reward.

Discontinue treats eventually. Once he’s mastered the command, you shouldn’t give him treats for performing it; however, you should still use your clicker or give verbal praise.

  • Weaning the dog off treats is important because he may start to expect treats all the time. You’ll end up with a dog who only performs when you have food.
  • Praise your dog regularly even after he’s mastered a command, but treat him intermittently. That’s the way to keep it solid in his doggy vocabulary.
  • Once he’s mastered command, you can use treats to shape the behavior to be faster or more accurate. He will soon realize that the treats come with the command or activity that follows the “listen.”

Teaching the “Speak”

Understand the command. The “speak” command teaches your dog to bark in response to your verbal cue. On its own, this command is something of a novelty. But in combination with the “quiet” command, it can help manage a barking problem in an overly vocal dog.[11]

  • Take extreme caution when teaching this command. Inexperienced trainers sometimes find “speak” training spirals out of control. They end up with a dog who barks at them all the time.

Clicker train your dog. “Speak” training requires immediate praise, more so than other commands do. Teach your dog to associate the click sound with a treat by clicking and treating a few times in a row.

  • Continue this clicker training until your dog sees the click sound as a reward in and of itself. The treat will come later.

 

Figure out when your dog barks most. This will vary from dog to dog, so you have to observe your specific pet. He might bark most reliably when you withhold a treat, when someone knocks on the door, when someone rings the doorbell, or when someone honks a horn.

Recreate the triggering event. Once you’ve figured out what makes your dog bark, perform that action in front of your dog. The idea is to encourage him to bark on his own, then praise him for the action.

  • You can see how this might be dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced trainer.
  • That’s why “speak” training is a little different from the other commands. You’ll incorporate the verbal command from the very beginning. That way, the dog doesn’t think you’re praising him for his natural behavior.

Use the verbal “speak” command from the beginning. As soon as your dog barks for the very first time, give the verbal “speak” command, click, and give him a treat.

  • The other commands thus far have taught the behavior first, then added a command that preceded the behavior.
  • However, “speak” training gets out of hand too easily that way. The dog gets rewarded for barking at first.
  • Thus, it’s better to associate the verbal command with the behavior already in progress. Never reward the dog for barking without the verbal command.

Combine the “speak” with the “quiet” command. If you have a dog who naturally barks too much, you might not think teaching him to “speak” is going to help your situation. However, if you teach him to “speak,” then you can also teach him to “quiet.” While you may not need the “speak” for a dog who barks too much, you definitely need the “quiet.”

  • Once your dog has mastered the “speak,” begin incorporating “quiet” into your training sessions.
  • Give the “speak” command.
  • However, instead of rewarding the “speak” (barking), wait until the dog stops barking.
  • Give the verbal “quiet” command.
  • If the dog remains silent, reward the “quiet” (no barking) with a click and a treat.

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