If you’re not training your dog… Why the hell did you get one?!

Dexter and I train twice a day. Treats are only given as a reward for a task performed and even his meals are given as a reward for a command.

I believe that dog needs training. It is not an option or a trick. It is a mandatory part of healthy and balanced life for a dog and it’s owner/family.

Dogs are meant to be active and to perform a job. For ages, a dog was a functional partner for humans. They performed two primary jobs – hunting and guarding/herding. Only in recent history (about 100 years) people began to create companion breeds. There are still very few of those and predominantly all breeds originally were created to perform a job. Great Dane is a hunting dog. Doberman Pincher is a guard dog and terriers are fearless hunters.

Today, in our society, most people don’t hunt and guarding the property is not as essential as it used to be. Yet, we still get dogs that were created for those functions and they don’t know that the world has changed and the jobs they were meant to do are not needed anymore or have changed. The dog’s genetic drive and need is there, but is not satisfied!

This is where training plays a crucial role. Through training, we can give the dog an outlet for its energy, Failure to do that results in all too common issues of dog ownership and “bad” dogs. Destructive behavior, separation anxiety and fearfulness, and worst of all uncontrollable aggression are common problems and stress, frustration and in worst cases surrendering the dog or even putting it to sleep.

There are three main training regiments:

Obedience Training

Obedience is not a dog doing tricks or maybe sitting down when the owner begged for five minutes. Obedience is solid and concentrated work; the owner and the dog being in sync. The dog should have a set of commands that are responded to and done instantly. If the owner said DOWN, that means the dog lays down imminently and stays down no matter what is happening and irrelevant of distractions or duration. I am not talking about competitive levels of obedience, but the tasks and consistency are the same.

Working on our obedience with Mike Oberman #dogtraining #canecorso

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The benefits of such exercise are boundless. You will develop a bond with the dog that will last a lifetime. The dog will trust you in any circumstance and will follow you through any environment or distraction. You will have trust and faith in your dog. You will have peace of mind that you can always have your dog return to you if there is danger (cars, other dogs or people) and that your dog will always safely follow you.

Lastly, with obedience training and exercising everyday, the dog will have a job to perform. It will exercise it’s mind and release the mental energy in a constructive and functional way. Best of all, it will give you an opportunity to spend time with your dog and to bond … instead of checking out those very important Facebook posts during the walk.

Obedience training should be done with all breeds regardless of size.

A basic Schutzhund BH routine covers all the necessary commands http://www.schutzhund-training.net/bh.html

Protection Work/Bite Work

Protection work applies more to large and medium breeds, especially those breeds whose purpose is to guard and defend property. Shepherds, mastiffs and bullys, schnauzers and many terriers fit into that category. Although, there are some little guys that love it as well.

Full bite #canecorsopower #canecorso #workingdog

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Despite of what many people think, bite work does not teach the dog to be vicious or attack people. In fact, it does the opposite.

Protection work teaches the dog that there is a right time and wrong time to exercise it’s protection instinct. The dog learns when it is OK to bite and most importantly when not to and to let go!.

The dog develops confidence and a body of knowledge though which it can channel it’s protection instinct and  to think through it’s drive. The dog learns to listen to the owner even through extreme pressure and excitement of protection work.

Many people don’t realize that the most important command in this exercise is LET GO/RELEASE. The dog learns to release the bite on command and learns to listen for that command no matter the intensity and excitement.

If it is not yet obvious, the benefits of this training in modern society are very important.

Aside the obvious ability to defend the owner and property, the dog learns the proper way of doing it. It learns that it has to be done on command and not just because the old lady with a walker looks weird. It learns how to turn on and off it’s defense and protection instinct based on owners command.

At the same time the owner learns what to expect from the dog. Most people, who have not done this training with their dog, panic when the dog gets aggressive or actually bites someone. When a person has done this exercise with their dog, they have experience of controlling their dog and have a good understanding of their dog’s abilities.

Last, but not least … It is a fun mental and physical exercise for your dog!

Agility/Tracking Training

These forms of exercise are extremely fun. They are physically demanding and mentally stimulating for your dog. The training, just like obedience training, builds a bond between the owner and the dog. These exercises give your dog a job and a purpose.

First time and having fun #canecorso #dogtraining

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There are many forms of these exercises … agility courses, fly ball, dock jumping, coursing and scent tracking.

All breeds can do it and will enjoy the physicality and fun of it.

So, in conclusion…

IF YOU ARE NOT TRAINING YOUR DOG, WHY THE HELL DID YOU GET ONE?!

Dogs need a job and mental stimulation! They want to work! Some need more and some need less, but they all do… from Saint Bernard to Yorkie.

If you don’t want to, don’t have time to, or just too lazy to do it … DON’T GET A DOG! Get a cat, fish or may be an XBOX to keep your self busy on the couch.

If you got a dog, then get out and train it and have fun with it. The love, the bond and the appreciation the dog will have for you is nothing like you’ve experienced before!

 

 

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Adolescent fears and opportunity training

Dexter will be 7 months in a few days and he has been going through normal adolescent moods, fears and tests.

One of the things I started noticing is that he is afraid and unsure of carts, baby carriages and similar wheeled objects. Despite of me introducing him to these things in his earlier age, his “tough” adolescent mind decided that these things are better to stay away from.

Obviously, for a dog that is going to live in Brooklyn and is lining up to do Schutzhund and IPO, these are unacceptable fears.

I’ve seen many people ignore these signs and chuck it off to being cute and just “a baby thing” and ignore the fact that these puppy fears can turn into full blown panics or aggression feats when the dog gets to adulthood. And believe me, I wish luck to anyone who wants to deal with a fully grown mastiff in panic or manic aggression mode.

Thus, I have been walking Dexter by lawnmowers and ladies with carts and etc, but this morning we got a perfect opportunity to face his insecurity head on. Right by our house was a perfectly nice abandoned shopping cart. Dexter promptly decided to make a wide and expeditious circle around it. But to his dismay, which resulted in few “Are you kidding me looks?!” from Dexter and people on the street, I went straight for it and proceeded to roll the cart with us as Dexter and I walk down the street. As he became a bit more confident, i placed him in it and rolled him around. Next, we progressed to walking circles around the cart with Dexter right next to it and doing some basic sit/down obedience with plenty of praise and treats. Not surprisingly, after 10-15 minutes of these shenanigans, he was comfortable and care free walking next to the rolling cart as I rattled and bounced it around or just rolled it in circles.

Unplanned training session to develop his confidence and nerves #canecorso #canecorsopuppy #dogtraining #fun

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In one morning of opportunity training we resolved a very simple but potentially very aggravating puppy neuroses. Not only did we solve a problem, but we also had a bit of fun and increased my dog’s trust in me and our bond.

Pay attention to your dog and his behavioral signs! Do not treat puppy behavioral problems as cute and funny “puppy things.” Help your dog explore life and things around them. Guide them through dealing with threatening and uncertain situations and things! It might be funny to you, but to your 6 months old pup the baby carriage might be the most fearsome thing in the world. Your work and patience will pay off by leading your puppy to becoming a confident and reliable dog that will respect and love you and will be ready to follow you in to water, ice and fire!

 

 

 

Dexter had his own plans this morning! Lesson on flexibility in training.

I had big plans for the morning walk with Dexter. We were suppose to do a tracking exercise, some obedience and tug play. Oh, and maybe we work on some healing.

So, tracking done, I am ready to do some obedience work and BAM!!! Dexter decides that the only thing he cares about this morning is some invisible entity that he cannot get his attention off. He locked in staring into the distance and sniffing. No commands or food could distract him. He was full of tense, concentrated energy that was laser beam directed into that ghost.
Now, I faced a choice … Push him into what I wanted to do or let this almost 6 months old deal with whatever occupied his mind.
My plans crushed, I decided to listen to my pup and allow him to process his emotions and interests along with me.
Instead of all the training planned, we went for a long power walk. I chose to be a part of his process and help him drain that energy with my help.  We walked together and allowed his tension to dissipate into the walk.
Ah, and after about 20 minutes of power walking, a miracle happened, my pup relaxed into an easy trot and his attention returned to me. We did some simple obedience exercises and happily went home.
So, remember to be fluid with your dog. Pay attention to their emotions and behavior. Especially, with young dogs who are still processing lots of new information about themselves and the world. Be patient and attentive! Sometimes you will need to surrender you desires, plans and ego and go along with your dog’s needs. Your patience and understanding will pay dividends later through greater bond and respect with you dog.

What's there? #canecorso #canecorsopuppy #dogtraining

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Five personal virtues you need for dog training!

There is no magic to training a dog. I strongly believe … “There are no Bad Dogs; There are only BAD Owners!”

Any dog can be trained, no matter the age or the breed. It is up to the owner to take the effort and put in the work necessary for training a dog and providing it with an appropriate environment.

I love our morning walks. #Joy of having a dog! #canecorsopuppy #canecorso #walkyourdog #dagwalk

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Here are 5 virtues one needs to successfully train a dog:

1. Patience – this is probably the most important one. Training a dog requires lots of it. Some skills the dog will learn in a few tries and some will take time. Often the dog will have a bad day and will not perform as you expect. It is up to the owner/trainer to be patient and take the time necessary for the dog to understand what’s expected.

2. Ability to praise – I’ve seen many people not being able to praise the dog properly. Often times men are restrained with their praise and women over praise their dog. It is important to show the dog that you are happy and excited with their achievement (even it is a small one or an obvious one … like puppy taking a poop outside). However, getting over excited and over praising the dog can be as counterproductive as failing to praise the dog.

3. Ability to learn / Open mind – no matter how long you’ve been doing something, there is always something new to learn or someone who knows better than you do! Always be willing to learn a new way to train/interact with your dog and be ready to change something you’ve thought was the “right” way.

4. Control your emotions – Dogs feed off their owners emotions. If you are upset/angry, the dog will feel it and will share that tension with you. Your state of mind will affect your bond with the dog. It might be better not to train the dog if you are upset or angry and cannot put it out of your mind. I have seen many times when the owner takes out their frustration on the dog. It does not resolve the problem and only ruins the bond and the experience with your canine friend/partner.

5. Consistency – Last, but not least. Consistency in training will ensure that the dog stays on course. Many people make a mistake thinking that dogs think like people. However, dogs are very black in white in their thinking. If the dog was not allowed to be on the couch on Monday, but it is allowed on the couch on Tuesday, it will assume that it is always allowed to be on the couch. They do not make the conditional connection. Changing the rules all the time is not fair to the dog. It has no way of knowing what your rational is. Thus, in training, it is important to be consistent with your rules and conditions. Stick to the same rules and the dog will understand what is expected and will behave and react accordingly.

Train and walk your dog and you will experience a bond and friendship unlike any other! 

Hey, he's not blond!!! He can walk and hold the ball at the same time 🙂 #canecorso #canecorsopuppy #nohate #walkyourdog

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A little bit of training

We have been working on come, sit, down and leash walking. All is done with lots of praise and encouraged with food. We do randomly about 20-40 minutes a day of training in between walks and play.

It is paying off and here is a short clip of Dexter doing Sit and holding the position while I walk away about 25 feet. On command he comes to me into come/sit position.

There is no magic to this. All it takes is patience, praise and desire to spend time with your dog.

Dexter is learning how to speak cat … aka not to bite Monya’s tail

We have been working on learning not to chase the cat every time. Dexter’s favorite thing is to run up and grab the tail, but Monya is not a fan. So we are working on hanging out together without chasing or biting.

These are important skills for Dexter to learn for peaceful co-existence with his buddy.

As an owner, even though it is quiet entertaining to watch their antics, it is my responsibility to teach Dexter proper etiquette with the cat and other smaller animals. Very soon he will be much bigger and stronger and bad learned behaviors can lead to lots of headache and conflicts.

Socialize and teach early!!!

Preparation for new puppy and what you will need before one arrives.

There are a lot of things you can buy for your new puppy. However, there is a number of essentials that you need to have prior to your puppies arrival.

I’ve put together a list of things that I have purchased and had ready before I went to pick up Dexter:

1. Crate is an essential part of housebreaking and should be ready for when you bring the puppy home. This crate is nice as it has a divider and will allow you to adjust the space as the puppy grows.

2. Water and food bowl … for obvious reasons. I like this one as it can be mounted inside the cage. Puppies can be rowdy and can flip the bowl if it is not fixed in place. Stainless steal is best as it is easy to clean, hard to chew and will not cause allergies as some plastics do.

3. Natural grain free food (preferable in the beginning same as the puppy was fed by the breeder)

4. Crate bed to make the puppy comfortable

5. Collar… I prefer a simple leather collar. They are durable and reliable.

6. A standard 6′ leash is a must.

7. “Indestructible” toy… something a puppy can chew and play with. I like these as you can put treats inside to stimulate puppies interest and keep it occupied and to drain energy.

8. Treats, preferably grain free, natural and small. It is a must to have so you can right away begin training the puppy and have treats at hand to encourage and reinforce the training.

9. Two identical balls to play fetch. In later posts I’ll explain why 2 and not 1.

10. Chew treat

11. Treat pouch for walks and training. This is very useful as you need to have treats on your walks to reinforce and encourage your training.

12. Waste bags and Dispenser. I like these as they are biodegradable. Prices have dropped significantly in recent times for these things and the pouch is very convenient.


13. Bite and tug rag, especially for bully or larger breeds and if you are interested in obedience, Schutzhund, and other trial dog sports

14. Training Wee Wee pads… for housebreaking

Amazon is a great source for these things vs pet stores. Prices and availability are better as well. This whole list is under $200. Here is a link to the full list http://www.pinterest.com/stevedakhe/new-puppy-welcoming-shopping-list/