Clicker Training Your Dog

If you are looking to train your dog you might consider using the ‘clicker training’ method, which has recently become popular among dog trainers all over the country. In this method the trainer has to make use of a clicker, a tiny plastic box with a metal button which makes a distinctive click sound once the button has been pressed. The training method is simple and is in many ways parallel to the positive training method. Here is what you have to do. Decide on a certain behavior which you want to teach or reinforce your dog to do. A number of behaviors/actions come naturally to the dog like sitting, eating, standing, barking etc. and these need just to be reinforced so that your dog knows when you want him to do what. Various other actions like acting dead, shaking hands, rolling over etc. do not come naturally to the dog and need to be taught. Clicker training can be used to do both.

Clicker training works according to the basic principles of operant conditioning, by associating the sound of the clicker with a food item which the dog particularly likes. Now all you have to do is use the clicker to command the dog to do something, the dog, given that he associates the sound of the clicker with the food, immediately obliges and the training is complete.

Let us take an example to illustrate the method better, suppose you want to teach your dog to sit, you put a cookie on your dog’s nose playfully and then move it upwards, the dog will obviously follow the movement of the biscuit with its nose and will then naturally rest its posterior on the floor, thereby putting himself in a sitting position. Now time your clicking to be so accurate as to occur right as the dog seats himself, now give him the biscuit and praise him. Continue doing this for sometime till the dog begins to associate the clicking with the food until the click makes him sit without you luring him with treats. Now teach him another behavior, but remember to attach the clicking cue only once the animal himself offers you the behavior otherwise the clicking will not be connected to anything in the dog’s head and he will be confused regarding what it means.

Your dog is one smart little animal and it’s time you gave him due credit for that. A number of trainers have been known to use negative reinforcement techniques alongside the clicker method but this simply doesn’t work because punishment at all times creates a number of unwanted behavior even if it serves the primary purpose of teaching the dog to not do something temporarily.

Crate Training Tips: How to Crate Train Your Dog

A crate is a valuable and useful training tool. Its main purpose is to provide security, safety and protection for short term confinement while training a puppy or new dog about its own and house boundaries.

A crate may look like a jail cell, but when used properly is your dog’s natural den – a personal space where he’ll feels secure and comfortable. The best place to place a crate would be where your dog can see the environment and family members, hear and smell your house – the kitchen is usually a good spot.

An ideal crate should be large enough to allow your dog to stretch out, stand without hitting his head and be able to turn around. The crate should not be so large that your dog can relieve himself in one corner and play move away to play and sleep in another. If your puppy is still young and is not fully growth, try to block off certain section of the crate with cardboard or wood board.

To encourage your dog to “like” his new den, you should preferably equip it with soft bedding, a bowl of water and a toy that he likes. (You might want to remove the water at night when you are potty training your dog)

You must introduce the crate slowly to your dog. Crate him in smaller interval, about 10 minutes, and gradually increase over time. Your dog need time to get used to being crate. Never crate him for more than 30 minutes or longer for the first time.

It is not advisable to crate a young puppy for long period of time – about 2 hour and pup should always be exercised before being crated.

It’s quite normal for dogs to kick up a fuss, bark and moan while in the crate. If these things happen, do not give your dog any attention! Yes! Do not even look in his direction.

Dogs are intelligent animals – Don’t let him know that he’ll get your attention when he kicks up a fuss. Simply ignore him! Let your dog out only when he settles down.

*if it’s a young puppy whom you’ve just introduce the crate to, maybe you can offer him a treat in the crate to calm him down. Whatever you do, don’t let him out of the crate at that very moment!*

The exception I can think of is if you think your dog has to relieve himself. Even so, bring it out only after he stops barking. Another exception is when your dog is chewing on himself. Let him out immediately and consult a trainer or behaviorist.

Lastly, dog should not be crate for too long day after day. He’ll develop destructive behaviors and anxiety problems. If you notice that your dog displays hyper active behavior compare to before, you might be crating him for too long!

Most important of all, never ever punish your dog in the crate, he’ll dread going back to the crate. It is meant to be a comfortable and safe space, not where he’ll get punish.

A Guide To Dog Training

Before starting dog training, it is best that you know your options well. These days you can find many types of dog training, in many different places. These trainings vary in price and each one them has something different to offer.

The first type of dog training is known as puppy preschool. This is a dog training course meant for puppies that are about 6 weeks to 5 months old. These puppy preschool classes generally last for no more than 6 to 8 weeks. In these training sessions, your puppy is essentially taught how to socialize with people and as well as other puppies. Here your puppy also begins to learn how to sit down, stay at a place, and how to come.

The second type of dog training course is meant for the dogs that are at least 5 months old. This type of dog training is known as the basic dog training. The duration of these classes is usually about 8 to 10 weeks. This is the basic course, where your dog is taught the art of walking properly on a leash, sitting, staying, coming and heeling.

The third type of dog training course is known as the intermediate dog training. This dog training aims at teaching the dog mostly the same things that are taught in the basic training course, in a more detailed form. Here the dog is trained to stay for a longer span of time, and is also taught to follow the orders given by other people.

The intermediate dog training generally lasts for about 8 to 10 weeks, and is meant for those that are no less than 5 months old. It is essential for the dog to have completed its basic dog training course, or to be accustomed to the basic commands that could have been taught by the owner.

The next type of training course is known as the advanced dog training course. Here, once again, the course is quite similar to its previous one, i.e., the intermediate dog training course, except for the fact that this time it is more detailed. Here, the dog is taught how to sit even without you in the view.

This training course is about 8 to 10 weeks long, and is meant for those that have completed their intermediate training. Here, they are also trained to walk beside their owners without a leash. Moreover, it gradually prepares the dog to take the Canine Good Citizen training course. The Canine Good Citizen training for dogs is the last course. To pass this course, your dog will be taught the 10 necessary aspects.

This course is strictly meant for those dogs that have completed all the previous courses. The test is quite tough and can only be passed if the dog is really well behaved. Depending on whether your dog can pass, the course can last for several weeks.

Keeping this information in mind, you should be able to decide the dog training course best suited for your dog. However, you may seek the opinion of your local dog trainers to know more. Many trainers consult for free. So now you should be at least a step closer to introducing your dog into a training course!