background

juleesamuli@sbcglobal.net

925.699.4410

PRIVACY POLICY - MEMBERS ONLY

Purchase required to use this site. In using this training site, you agree to the privacy policy: This is for member use only. Please do not share, copy, post, forward or otherwise distribute the link, URL address, or any of the material from this site without written consent from Limitless Pawsibilities. This includes the descriptions, infographics, photos, videos, video links, and all written material.

© 2020 Limitless Pawsibilities

All Rights Reserved

L2-Topics      L2-Social       L2-FCC1      L2-FCC2      L2-A&C      L2-RP2      L2-WWM      L2-BG     L2-Week8

Welcome to the Next Level!

Make sure that you bookmark or save the link to this site; it is not accessible from the public site or from Level 1. You can access all of Level 1 from here with the blue tool bar or links. If you lose the link to Level 2, or have trouble accessing the site, email me at nolimit4paws@gmail.com or juleesamuli@sbcglobal.net and I will send you the link again.

(placeholder)

Welcome to Remote Training

Level 2

Training the Family Dog

(placeholder)

Table of Contents

This is a list of all your handouts and videos by category and which week I typically train them, but you are also free to skip around a bit if something is a priority based on your puppy's behavior. The training in this level focuses more on themes. Puppies will go through common stages of development, but not necessarily at the same time. Your training is also going to depend on what is most important to you, and what your puppy needs to work on. You can access all of level 2 from the yellow tool bar. Level 2 is divided into 9 pages:

L2-Topics Main Topics Page - this page touches on training matters and various behavior subjects to help you with strategies in working through common puppy behavior that can occur.

L2-Social Socialization Page - which focuses on continuing to build the concepts vital for a  properly socialized dog.

L2-FCC1: Focus, Confidence, and Control Part 1 - this is a great place to start. This page has cues and games for establishing the basic skills for furthering focus and introducing some impulse control. This would be a good place to start. From there, you have some choices.

L2-FCC2: Focus, Confidence, and Control Part 2 - once your puppy is proficient with the basic games and cues in the previous FCC1 page, you can move on to this second page, putting certain behaviors on cue for when you need them and working through various scenarios to begin generalizing the behavior.

L2-A&C: Arousal and Calmness - focuses on working through the added energy your puppy is growing into and how to work through and balance out energy and calmness.

L2-RP2: Recalls Part 2 - when you are ready to begin training the come cue outside and working more with recalls, begin the assignments on this page.

L2-WWM: Walking With Manners - developing the skills for walks takes time. Walking with good manners is complex, and the games and skills in this section take you through building those skills with your puppy. The world expands at some point during this month as core vaccinations are complete. Your puppy needs to begin working more with the concepts on how to handle that.

L2-BG: Boundary Games - this page introduces you through the beginnings of Boundary Training and the first few games to play when you are ready. Boundary training supports your efforts in growing calmness. It is also an excellent alternative behavior for many problem behaviors and for good manners when people come to visit.

L2-Week8: This page wraps up everything you have accomplished in Level 2. Your job is to take all the games and cues and include them in daily life with your dog. Owning a dog is a lifestyle! The games and cues are part of that lifestyle. Whenever I am asked, "Are they [my dogs] in training?" My answer is always, "Yes." The cues and games are also listed separately on this page and linked to their location for easy reference.

BEHAVIOR TOPICS:

Barking................................THIS PAGE

Counter Surfing.....................THIS PAGE

Digging................................THIS PAGE

Interrupt Cue (Multi-Dog)........THIS PAGE

Jumping...............................THIS PAGE

TRAINING TOPICS:

Arousal................................THIS PAGE

Calmness Triad......................THIS PAGE

Harnesses............................THIS PAGE

How Games Work..................THIS PAGE

Reward Experience................THIS PAGE

Setting the Stage........................WEEK8

What is Premack.......................L2-FCC1

SOCIALIZATION (L2-SOCIAL):

DMT Review............................L2-Social

Harness Game.........................L2-Social

Muzzle Game...........................L2-Social

Noise Box...............................L2-Social

Noise Work..............................L2-Social

Paws On Game........................L2-Social

Paws On Next Steps.................L2-Social

Sniff It Out..............................L2-Social

BASICS OF FOCUS, CONFIDENCE, AND IMPULSE CONTROL (FCC1):

Noise Work...............................L2-FCC1

What is Premack?.....................L2-FCC1

Attention Sound........................L2-FCC1

Middle.....................................L2-FCC1

Premack 1 Basics......................L2-FCC1

In, Out, Wait Basics...................L2-FCC1

Room Service...........................L2-FCC1

Fetch FUN Back Away Game.......L2-FCC1

AROUSAL & CALMNESS (A&C):

Arousal Bucket...........................L2-A&C

Calmness Triad...........................L2-A&C

Arousal Up/Down..........................L2-A&C

Parking.....................................L2-A&C

Reward Nothing..........................L2-A&C

Calming Touch...........................L2-A&C

Speed It Up/Slow It Down............L2-A&C

Fetch Fun Retrieve Games............L2-A&C

Chaser Toy..................................L2-A&C


MORE WITH FOCUS, CONFIDENCE, AND IMPULSE CONTROL (FCC2):

DMT Occupied..........................L2-FCC2

Noise Box................................L2-FCC2

Premack 2 Duration...................L2-FCC2

Leave it...................................L2-FCC2

Wait with Thresholds.................L2-FCC2

Middle Positions........................L2-FCC2

Wait for It Game.......................L2-FCC2

Paws On Game.........................L2-FCC2

Paws On Next Steps..................L2-FCC2

RECALLS PART 2 (RP2):

Tips for Reliable Recalls...............L2-RP2

Come Part 2...............................L2-RP2

Come with Auto-Sit.....................L2-RP2

Recall Games.............................L2-RP2

Running Orientation Outside.........L2-RP2

Puppy Ping Pong.........................L2-RP2

Restrained Recall........................L2-RP2

WALKING WITH MANNERS (WWM):

DMT Review.............................L2-WWM

Finish/Front.............................L2-WWM

Loose Leash Walking (LLW)........L2-WWM

Walking Orientation..................L2-WWM

Orientation Outside...................L2-WWM

Proximity Zone.........................L2-WWM

Proximity Zone Outside.............L2-WWM

WWM Out & About.................L1-WEEK4

BOUNDARY TRAINING (BG):

Introductions...............................L2-BG

Navigation...................................L2-BG

Release the Beast.........................L2-BG

Investing the Release...................L2-BG

Building Value..............................L2-BG

Growing Calmness........................L2-BG


WRAPPING IT UP (WEEK 8):

Setting the Stage....................... WEEK8

Games List.................................WEEK8

Reward Nothing Outside..............WEEK8

Fetch FUN Outside......................WEEK8

Toy Switching Hierarchy...............WEEK8


ALL OBEDIENCE CUES :

Attention Sound........................L2-FCC1

Come Part 2...............................L2-RP2

Finish/Front.............................L2-WWM

In, Out and Wait Basics..............L2-FCC1

Leave It...................................L2-FCC2

Middle.....................................L2-FCC1

Middle Positions........................L2-FCC2

Premack 1................................L2-FCC1

Premack 2................................L2-FCC2

Recall Games.............................L2-RP2

Wait with Thresholds.................L2-FCC2

ALL CONCEPTUAL GAMES IN LEVEL 2:

Arousal Up, Arousal Down...........L2-A&C

Calming Touch...........................L2-A&C

Fetch FUN Back Away Game.......L2-FCC1

Fetch FUN Retrieve Games..........L2-A&C

Fetch FUN Outside......................WEEK8

Orientation Games Outside........L2-WWM

Parking.....................................L2-A&C

Paws On Game.........................L2-FCC2

Paws On Next Steps..................L2-FCC2

Proximity Zone Game................L2-WWM

Proximity Zone Outside.............L2-WWM

Puppy Ping Pong.........................L2-RP2

Restrained Recall........................L2-RP2

Reward Nothing..........................L2-A&C

Room Service...........................L2-FCC1

Running Orientation Outside.......L2-FCC1

Speed It up, Slow It Down...........L2-A&C

Toy Switching Hierarchy...............WEEK8

Wait for It Game.......................L2-FCC2

Walking Orientation..................L2-WWM

MANNERS (from Level 1):

Airplane Game/Gentle..............L1-WEEK3

Collar Grabs............................L1-WEEK2

Follow a Lure...........................L1-WEEK1

Food Bowl Exercises.................L1-WEEK3

Mealtime Routine.....................L1-WEEK4

Movement Games....................L1-WEEK2


Each topic, skill, cue or game has a written explanation on the site. Videos are posted below their corresponding subject. There is also a button for a PDF download which will explain the topic, skill, cue or game in more detail. This might include step-by-step instructions, why or when you would use the cue, and the concepts a game teaches and how it applies to real-life with your dog.

Do not expect to have every game and cue mastered by the end of the second month. Some of the concepts take time to build, so practice will, and should, continue for a while and be part of your lifestyle with your dog.

BEHAVIOR TOPICS


BARKING

Dogs bark. It is a product of domestication. But, excessive barking can be very annoying. If you have a barky dog, you must first understand why your dog is barking. Knowing the reason for the barking will help you to figure out what to do to minimize it or even stop it all together. These are the typical reasons why dogs bark:

  • Arousal - the anticipation, excitement, frustration, stress/anxiety a dog gets (intensity of emotion paired with energy) can cause a dog to get vocal
  • Communication - your dog is trying to tell you something - that he needs something. Thiscould be for potty needs, or for a meal. It could be because he needs an outlet for pent up energy, or wanting to play or just to be with you.
  • Alert - warning that something (undetermined) is there or close by.
  • Frustration - unable to utilize coping skills.
  • Attention Seeking - another form of communication, but can be very demanding or pushy. It can also be due to the inability to self-soothe and be comfortable being alone, which has to do with calmness and confidence.
  • Play - some dogs are vocal when they get excited.
  • Alarm/Startle - a reflex response.

Once you have determined why your dog is barking, you can then plan a course of action. Some solutions can be simple. Others might be more complicated.

Calmness is a behavior that never includes barking. So while you are going through training with you puppy, make sure to include calming time and games for that. Use calmness as the required behavior that starts favorite andfun activities, and have calmness be the state your dog then returns to after the fun in done.

Counter Surfing

Your dog knows that there is yummy food up on the counter. He can smell it! And, of course, like any dog, he's going to want it. So, he's going to figure out what behavior will get him something yummy to eat!

So how do you teach your dog that the food on the counter is off limits? He's going to want to figure out a way to get the reward - so it is better for you to teach him what he needs to do to get a reward (not necessarily what's on the counter though), rather than letting him figure it out for himself... and end up counter surfing!

There are a number of ways to address counter surfing, the best being prevention.

Teaching an alternate behavior that gives your dog rewards is a great tactic:

  • Your dog chooses to go to his boundary for rewards rather than going into thekitchen to check the counter for rewards (which if you are good, the counter NEVER pays, but a boundary will).
  • Sitting, lying down, four on the floor, waiting outside of the kitchen... all appropriate behaviors you can and should reward
  • Keep it simple at first (like the four on the floor or a sit) and focus on that. Then, as you get further along in training you can use a more specific behavior (like a boundary which can be a bed or mat, or not crossing a clear line in the room) to use for that situation.

Your strategies for preventing counter surfing...

  • Reward FOUR ON THE FLOOR, or sits or downs... anything that puts value in staying on the floor instead of jumping up to the counter. Being proactive in your approach to training helps to prevent problems from starting altogether.
  • Train "Out" or "Wait" and make staying out of the kitchen a better and more rewarding place to be than the counter.
  • Boundary Games - makes being on the boundary better than checking the counter.
  • Room Service Game

All of these games and more are in the Basic Training Package, and more games to teach impulse control are in the Full Training Package.

Training Tip: When you take your puppy outside to go potty, don't forget to bring treats with you. Reward your puppy with praise and a treat for going potty in the correct place, and boost the value of going there and not inside or where it is convenient.

Digging

Dogs will dig for different reasons so it is important to figure out the motivation and reward behind the behavior before you start trying to stop it. Here is an article that will help you to figure out why dogs dig, what you can to do about it.

Sometimes, when you have a dog that loves to dig, finding constructive ways to let them have fun is a great idea. I used a laundry basket for Doc when we lost the wine barrel we had set up for him. Though in hind-sight, I think I would have chosen something else, since sometimes he helps me with laundry and instead of putting the clothes in the laundry basket he wants to jump in a dig instead. Ha ha!

Interrupt Cue (Dog-Dog Interactions)

When we live in multi-dog homes, sometimes play can get a little to rough, or arousal levels can get a little too high. Sometimes one dog pesters another for too long and conflict can arise. Sometimes tension can arise, possibly over an object or person. Having a cut-off signal for your dogs is helpful to monitor/control arousal levels.

This also applies for dog play days. Interactions and play needs to be monitored so that the social rules are being followed and so that both dogs are comfortable and equally having fun. Play should be balanced for both dogs. Arousal levels need to be kept in check.

A formal interrupt cue that involves all the dogs can be very helpful in:

  • regaining control of all the dogs
  • lowering arousal levels
  • redirecting attention off of another dog and back on to you
  • resetting any emotional sensitivities
  • teaching dogs how to inhibit their own play
  • giving you the opportunity to separate dogs if needed
  • changing thesituation of conflict in a positive manner

You will say the "cue" and do the exercises before arousal levels get over-threshold.

Have a reliable cue for this exercise.

Owner moves through or away from the dogs and goes to a spot (it can be specific and rewarding like the refrigerator or pantry).

Ask for specific behavior like a sit and look. Reward with a treat when done.

Jumping

Jumping is a typical and natural dog behavior, but not one that we want our dogs to be in the habit of doing, at least not on people. It might be cute with little puppies, but not with a 50+ pound dog!

Teaching an Aussie not to jump, when this is a very natural behavior for the breed, can take some time.

There are a few key components to work on to stop unwanted jumping:

PREVENTION

Utilizing management to prevent unwanted jumping - crates, ex-pens, collar grabs, leashes, boundaries...

TEACH ALTERNATE BEHAVIOR

Teach an alternate behavior to the jumping (sometimes called an incompatible behavior - if a dog is sitting or has four on the floor, he can't jump. Reward the alternate behavior, cue if necessary, BEFORE the jumping starts. Don't allow jumping to become part of the "behavior chain."

CALMNESS

Promote calmness - a calm dog does not jump. Easier said than done, though you are working on calmness throughout our training, but this takes time. Wait for your puppy to calm down before saying hello to reward calm andteach your pup that calmness gets what he wants, not jumping. Make your comings and goings no big deal!! Scatter feed (drop kibble on the floor) to promote four on the floor and to help get a little calmness.

Use tools (management) in the meantime until your pup has learned the new behaviors and has some maturity and impulse-control to stay calmer and think straight.

CONSEQUENCES

Consequences to jumping that make it less desirable, like stepping into your puppy and reclaiming space.

Here is an article for more on jumping...

TRAINING TOPICS

How Games Work

Every dog has their own personality. They have their own perception of the world, and their own strengths and weaknesses. Every dog is different and unique. The brain is a conglomeration of parts, each with their own function. These parts are comprised of concepts that shape the dog's personality, activate emotions, and direct behavioral responses.

Personality is fluid, meaning it can be influenced and molded. Through coneptual games and training, you can step into the learning process, take action, and shape or reshape your dog's brain. You can influence how the world is percieved and thus the emotions and responses attached. When you step into the picture, you can build concepts to help your dog better handle any situation.

The Dog Brain Process

Stimuli go into the brain to be processed. Every brain, when put into an ambiguous situation, creates an outcome. The dog's personality creates the outcome and determines how the stimuli is percieved and how the dog will respond.

Concepts are the building blocks of the brain.

  • Each dog’s strength will vary in each concept
  • Experiences also influence the propensity of a response to create outcomes.
  • Your relationship is the glue that binds everything together.

Using Games to Influence Outcomes

Step into the picture and influence concepts and experiences to re-shape the brain and to change the outcome. Use games to achieve this by building specific concepts. Games are flexible and utilize the power of choice. Games will target various concept and strencthen them through the choices your dog makes while playing. Thisbuilds coping skills and teaches positive responses that transfer to real-life situations for better results.

  • Games allow for multiple responses to be appropriate
  • They allow the brain to mold and shape to a variety of situations and rehsape the brain to fit circumstances
  • you set your dog up for success because you boost the necessary concepts outside of the triggers
  • you insprie your dog, boost the relationship along with it, and provide the freedom of choice which is far more motivating than being commanded or told what to do.

Critical Concpets You Build Through Games

  • Confidence
  • Optimism
  • Focus
  • Impulse Control
  • Flexibility
  • Tolerance of Frustration
  • Calmness
  • Grit
  • Engaging/Disengaging
  • Think vs. Do
  • Arousal up/Down
  • Proximity
  • and more!

Arousal… Time to Talk About It

A dog can handle only so much stimulation. Think of that threshold as a bucket that fills and empties. Everything fills the bucket - the good things, the exciting stuff, the stressful or frustrating things, and the suspicious or scary situations. Distractions in the environment, events, and their predictability which builds anticipation, and even training contribute to filling the bucket. Activities that create higher-arousal fill the bucket more quickly and can easily cause the bucket to overflow.

Over-Arousal

When your dog's bucket over-flows, he is in a state of over-arousal. The energy and the intensity of emotions are too high for your dog to handle. That is where your dog's brain shifts. It goes from the front brain, where he can make good choices and listen to you, to the hindbrain or instinctual part of the brain. Your dog then chooses a behavior that will make him feel better. Barking, lunging, humping, or whining are all behaviors that can manifest from over-arousal. Your dog does not consciously think, he just reacts. That is the toughest part of reactivity. When you notice your dog has too much, because his behavior is now out of control, it is already too late to start cues. Your dog is not being stubborn and blowing you off. He actually can not register what you are saying anymore because of his state of mind.

Emptying the Bucket

Your dog can empty his bucket. Think of it like a hole in the bottom of the bucket. What empties the bucket is varying levels of calmness. That includes calm activities like chewing a chew toy, resting and relaxing, and sleep. It can take 72 hours or more for a dog to empty his bucket enough to be able to cope again. Stress releases cortisol into the system. The body has to go through a process to filter that hormone out. Your dog's bucket size and how quickly things fill it, and how efficient your dog is at emptying the bucket depends on the individual. It is rooted in temperament.

Training Can Influence Your Dog's Bucket

Training can significantly help make your dog's bucket bigger, make things fill it more slowly, and help your dog empty it more quickly. DMT, confidence, and calmness games are the top contributors to helping your dog balance the bucket. As you work through the novelty of the world around you (socialization) and utilize DMT and conceptual games, you create calm and positive associations with things you come across in the environment, and your puppy learns to ignore them and see them as no big deal. That is why I stress calmness and not excitement when out and about. Calm dogs don't overflow their buckets. A dog that is good at quickly calming down can handle more of the world without losing control.

Default Calmness Is Your Goal

On a daily basis, require calmness from your dog throughout the day. Help your dog learn how to go back down into calmness after any activity. And all activities begin when your dog is calm. That is your goal. Your puppy or young dog won't be there yet. There are many steps you will need to do along the way. DMT is always the first step. Observation first so you can assess your puppy and figure out what you will do to help your puppy learn to focus on you. Simple cues may or may not work. If your puppy can focus on you, engage in a game. If your puppy can't focus on you, move away until you have your dog's focus, and then play a game. You will be working through various emotions and reactions to the environment. The world is still very new. Calmness is a dog that can focus on you and have some self-control. So when you are out, reward those moments when your puppy is calm, even if nothing else is around. DMT calm moments!

Your puppy can greet people, but only when your puppy is comfortable. And interactions should not happen every time you come across another person. The focus should be on you, first, or get back on you. Greetings with people should be when your puppy is behaving well, not over-excited or nervous. Sniffing someone does not mean the dog wants to say hello. It simply means the dog is gathering more information. It is okay to tell someone, "No." Balance between greeting someone that your puppy notices and continuing to walk and notsaying hello. Calmness is your goal, but there are various levels of calm, so take steps to work to your goal gradually. Use your games to help you get there. Every dog is different, and it is your job to know what is best for your dog. Keep your dog safe, and know what that is for your puppy.

Conceptual Games are Key

Conceptual games allow you to work through different levels of calmness and reward them. You will play your concept games every time you go out. Build focus on you, not the environment. Bring high-value rewards for when you need to "out-do" something distracting. Calmness is rewarded, not over-excitement. Keep greetings short and sweet to minimize the filling of your dog's bucket. Your training games, games that develop skills in concepts, provide your dog with tools to handle the world. That, in turn, manipulates your dog's bucket to help it work more efficiently, giving your dog the coping skills needed to handle events that happen throughout the day.

Calmness Triad

There are different levels of calmness that your puppy will need to learn in order to have a good off switch. It is important that your Aussie learns to default into a calm state and stay there until you say it is time to get going.

The Calmness Triad helps you to understand how to help your puppy learn to calm himself, and teach him skills to be able to do it on his own.

Calmness before everything! Even if it is just a short period of calmness. Calmness is a behavior like any other, and needs to be rewarded. One of the best ways to teach calmness as an “action prompting behavior” is going to a boundary/bed. Replace whining, barking, pawing or jumping with boundary training, or avaid your dog learning that any of those behaviors gets your attention in the first place by setting precedence now. The beginning steps of boundary training are included in this level.

In order to have balance in your Aussie's life, he needs to not only have fun, but also understand the fun only happens when he is first calm and then works for you. By reinforcing moments of calm, you build value in it and your Aussie learns that turning off actually feels good! Your recipe for successfully raising a well-behaved dog is...

CALM —> WORK —> Play!!! —> CALM = SUCCESS

Calmness first - on a boundary like the crate, ex-pen, or bed. Work comes next and that is listening to you and following any cues or games you play. The work can be short and sweet or more complex; it will depend on the circumstance. Play is next in that the work is rewarded with things that your dog loves to do because they are a dog. This is fun time! That is then followed by winding things back down into calmness again and then into one of the relams in the calmness triad.

Calmness always needs to follow exercise and fun, too, to allow your dog to recover and rest, as well as turn off so that you can have break! Your goal is for your Aussie to default to a calm state, and only ramp it up if you instigate it. This will take time! You will be working on growing calmness this firstyear.

Quick Tip: Within all your play time and activity time, remember to follow the concept of Arousal Up, Arousal Down. There is a video on the Arousal & Calmness page that explains how this works. The more your puppy practices calming down, the better they will get at it and the quicke it will happen. Puppies need help transitioning down into calmness. Sometime this will take a fair amount of time depending on the activities and the individual, so always allow yourself time to help your puppy get back down to a calm state after any event or activity.

A TRUE OFF-SWITCH

A tired dog is not a good dog - they can becranky, sassy, or have temper tantrums when they are tired. They leash bite, bark, talk back, get mouthy, blow off cues, chew on things… A CALM DOG IS A GOOD DOG! A calm dog always chooses an appropriate behavior!!! Calmness does not necessarily mean resting or sleeping. It just means that the dog is relaxed, in control, making appropriate behavioral decisions at a low level of arousal.

A true off-switch means that your dog has learned how to default into calmness even when there is energy to spare. This energy is saved until you say it is time to go again. Running an Aussie into exhaustion does not teach calmness. That is not a true off-switch. If you always try to "run it out” until your dog is exhausted, he will not learn to turn off when needed. He will not learn how to calm down when you need him to. He will just get more physically fit and more dependent on over-arousal activity!

So, calmness before everything - calmness follows everything; every outing, activity, walk, play and training session, etc. When you bring the energy up, you must bring it back down again. Do yourself and your dog a favor and teach an off-switch.

PASSIVE CALMING ACTIVITIES

  • Lowering arousal activities like chewing on chew treats, activity/treat toys, snuffle mat, etc.
  • Place value in calming down and the dog learning to self-soothe.
  • Help your dog learn this is an independent activity that does not involve you. Get yourself out of the picture gradually until your dog has the confidence to do it on their own.
  • Puppies and young dogs still need structure with calmness. Use a boundary (crate, ex-pen, dog bed, etc.) and place a lot of value in the boundaries with your training
  • Encourage good chewing habits by utilizing your management tools!
  • Refer back to your Chew, Play and Training Toys handout.

CALMNESS PROTOCOL (AKA NINJA FEEDING)

The Calmness Protocol is part of the Calmness Triad, and an important step in helping to ensure that your dog has a good off-switch. Calmness needs to be reinforced. It is a behavior like any other, and typically not one a young dog will choose. By rewarding it, you are putting value in it. But, simlutaneously, you are indeed interrupting it. You will find that over time, the alertness level of your pup after a reward will decrease, because the concept you are teaching is that calmness makes the rewards happen. Returning to rest will happen more quickly with practice. This is part of the process. You will "ping pong" duration of calmness (short, longer, shorter...) over time to stretch out the duration of calmness.

  • IMPORTANT!!! Feed like a ninja! Do not let your pup see you feed. It should seem like it just falls from the sky. If your dog catches you grabbing food, walking over, etc., STOP! Abort the reinforcement and wait for the next opportune moment and be more sneaky. If your dog catches you feeding, you run the risk of your dog thinking you are rewarding for the eye-contact and alertness, not calmness, so be careful!

REST OR SLEEP

Physical exercise is not the answer to wearing a dog out. They can recover quickly. plus, physical exercise builds endurance. Little puppies need to have limits on physical exercise to protect their vulnerable bones and joints.

Don't underestimate the power of mental exercise! Exercising the brain through learning and socialization can go as far, sometimes farther than physical exercise.

When both physical and mental activities come together in balance - structured play, games, training sessions - rest and sleep naturally follow. Just ask those puppy parents who take their older puppy to training class... "He slept for three hours when we got home from puppy school!"

The Reward Experience

For dogs, rewards can come in many different forms, in many different ways.

  • We Reward - food, toys, praise, affection, attention, play, freedom, walks, going outside....
  • Dog Self-Rewards - dog chooses behavior that makes him/her feel good (dig, run, chase, chew...)
  • Environment Rewards the Dog - food from counter or trash can, wildlife, wondrous smells...

It's not just about getting something, for reinforcement is also an emotional experience.

  • Anticipation of a reward, or the possibility of one happening
  • Delivery of the reward and the behaviors involved to get it
  • The reward itself and how much it is valued by the individual

These are factors that need to be considered when you are working with your dog.

Have flexibility with rewards. Variety is the spice of life, and so must your rewards.

  • Build food drive and continue to use your dog's regular food as much as possible, saving treats for tougher circumstances.
  • Build play drive with toys and with you, for play and toys brings a different element to your rewards, because it can be more exciting; higher in arousal. And this can be very helpful in busier, higher distracting, higher arousal type of situations. You can out-do fun and excitement with some fun and excitement of your own.
  • Use the environment as a reward. Freedom, to choose an activity your dog loves, is a great reward. There are things in the environment that are fun and rewarding to your dog, you just need to figure out what. Sniffing, running, swimming... can be rewards for dogs that can be provided by the environment. Your gateway for environmental rewards is Premack. Environmental rewards need to be put on permission so your dog doesn't just help himself. The environment can also be very tricky. It can reward your dogs when you don't want it too, because just seeing something can be reinforcement enough for your dog, even though interaction never occurs. This is why working outside and in public places is a challenge and needs a lot of practice.

How you deliver the reward matters, too.

  • Tossing the food or toy for your dog to chase after it. For dogs that love to chase and run, this can be a better or higher value reward experience than just taking food from the hand.
  • Catching the food or toy for dogs that love catching things, will be higher value.
  • Delivering the food slowly, calmly, you can influence your dog and help to keep him/her calmer. Placing food on the ground is calmer than taking food from the hand or tossing. And slowing your dog down in getting the food, calms your dog down more as well.

So, when you are working with your dog, consider your goal: drive, excitement, momentum? Or lowering arousal, promoting calmness, or working impulse-control. It all matters.

Everything you do matters when it comes to rewarding your dog. Preparing the food for a training session, if your dog is watching you, is a reward experience. It builds the anticipation of being rewarded. This is why your dog will listen well and follow you if you do this and then train immediately after. The preparation is part of rewarding your dog, and your dog is getting rewarded before he/she has done anything for you yet. This also goes for opening a crackling bag of treats, stuffing your pockets or treat pouch and attaching it to you. All of this is seen by your dog as a form of reward. Additionally, if you reach into your treat pouch or pocket before your dog does the behavior you want, you are also rewarding, and this can happen before your dog does the behavior depending on your timing, and can prompt your dog to listen and follow only if your hand reaches into the pocket first.

So what happens if your dog does not get this reward experience before working with and for you? Does your dog listen? Does your dog trust that you will offer payment for the work if partial payment, at least, is not received beforehand? This is a common problem that people run into. Building trust is important to the relationship. And you need to let your dog know that even when there is no proof a reward in the beginning, that listening and following your directions will result in payment, and just payment at that. Contrary to what some people believe, "My dog just loves to please me," dogs don't work for free. There has to be something in it for them. And unbeknownst to those who think differently and don't offer some sort of reward, they are inadvertently putting the behavior on and extinction schedule. It will go away over time. How long that will take depends on the dog and the situation.

So beaware of what you do and who is watching. Prepare food ahead time and get things ready. If your dog catches you doing this, finish what you need to do and set it aside. Training will happen some point later when your dog has moved on to something else. Notice your subtle movements. Don’t reach into your pocket or treat pouch until after your dog has done the desired behavior. Your Marker is a bridge and gives you time. What you do to begin rewarding your dog - reaching into your pocket or pouch, walking over to the bowl with food in it, praising your dog - are all part of the reward experience and count. Don’t get stingy with your rewards. When you are in the beginning stage of training, and during adolescence, rewards are important until you build enough trust and a strong relationship that a shift takes place and it is nowabout “the team.” This happens because of all the work and reinforcement you do from the beginning.

Harnesses

Using a standard buckle collar for walking is fine. If you would rather use a harness, which I highly recommend, here is some good information for you.

I like using harnesses best because nothing is attached to the neck, which is safer. When fitted properly, it is harder for a dog to slip out of a harness than a collar. Not all harnesses are alike. For a little puppy, just a soft and comfortable harness that clips on the back is fine. As your puppy grows, you will need to purchase a larger harness and one that is not only comfortable, but easy to put on, one that does not put undue pressure on the shoulders, and also has versatility and a good fit.

You have no idea what your dog might develop as far as behavior when out and about on a leash. Often times, pulling will occur at some point. Back clip harnesses don't help with pulling (and can actually give the dog leverage to pull), and even though as a puppy your dog doesn't pull, behavior can change with developmental stages. My recommendations for harnesses are at the bottom.

I use the Freedom No-Pull Harness with all my dogs. I've had this harness for a long time and have been very happy. It doesn't provide as much freedom of movement through the shoulders as other newer harnesses that are recommended below, but the numerous adjustment points give me options for a good fit and provides a dual-clip option (back and chest). I also like the slip loop on the back attachment which not only gives a tactile cue for pulling, but also helps to minimize the capability of a dog slipping out of the harness. If you fit your dog closer to the max range for the size mharness, the strap around the chest will be extended further out, and the chest straps that connect at the shoulder will be higher for better range of motion. Just a little tip, and why I recommend waiting until your puppy has grown a bit so you can optimize the fit of your harness.

NEVER usea slip collar (choke chain), prong collar, or e-collar (shock collar) on a puppy. These punitive tools can cause lifetime damaging emotional effects on a young puppy. There is talk about how harnesses can cause limited range of motion. And this is very true with certain styles of harnesses. They are not created equal!! I recommend you go with a double attachment harness that clips at the front and on the back, and a style that offers a freer range of motion through the shoulders. Here is a link to my favorite harnesses, including the one that I use with all my dogs (yes, I know 2 are from the UK).

Perfect Fit Harness

Xtra Dog Fleece Dog Harness

This is the one that I use with my dogs… Freedom No Pull Harness

TRUE LOVE Adjustable No-Pull Dog Harness Reflective

Balance Harness

Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness

Dream Dogs Custom Jeepers Harness