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Woof! I love to play – ground training for agility

Training can be fun for both you and your dog. Teaching games is a part of ground training for agility. So, tighten your belts, pull up your socks and play with your pooch.

Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Agility is totally based on communication and teamwork between handler and his dog. It is very important for handler to spend quality time in creating a bond with his dog in the initial stages of training.

What motivates your dog?

As a handler we have to find out what motivates our dog to work with us. Different dogs work for different things. Some may work for treats, while others love to play with toys. It’s called a ‘dog’s drive’. Some have a high toy drive, while others have high food drive.

Simple and useful games for agility

Tug-of-War: A good game of Tug-of-War with a rope toy or rope Kong can be very exciting and encouraging for any dog. Initially, we can use soft ropes to make it easier and comfortable for the dog to tug on it and to hold on to it. Once he learns how to pull it, we can slowly increase the pressure and/or increase the duration of the game. It’s also important to teach them to ‘leave’ the toy when asked. Let your dog win this game more often than you win it, to maintain that excitement throughout training session. Treats can be used to teach him to leave the toy when asked.

Fetch: Dogs love to chase things and play with it. A good game of ‘Fetch’ with dog’s favourite toy can be very helpful in gearing him up before the training session. Different toys such as balls, flying discs, rings, kongs, squeaky toys can be used for fetching, depending on the dog’s preference. You can also develop a habit of using any particular toy only during training sessions as it becomes highly motivational for the dog. Toys used while training should be sturdy, compact and safe for dogs even during rough use.

Bait Bag: This is a unique pouch designed specially for dogs who are equally motivated by food and toys. You can stuff this pouch with tasty treats and lock it. You can teach your dog to play ‘Tug of war’ or ‘Fetch’ with it and also use the treats while praising the dog. Teaching him to leave or give it back to you is a must as dogs tend to run away with it. Bait bag should be used carefully with food possessive dogs to avoid any accidents.

Warm Up Sessions: A good short walk can be a great warm up for both handler and his dog. A short play session with his favourite toy helps him to focus on you and to build up his excitement.

I like to use a particular phrase to get the dog started for a fun filled training session. Every time I say “Are you ready” to my dog, he knows what I mean and gets very excited. You can also ask your dog to speak couple of times, give HiFi or shake hands, do roll over, etc. Just do anything that your dog loves to do for you.

Basic obedience: a must It’s a must to teach your dog some basic commands like Sit, Down, etc. This training always comes handy during agility course. Teaching a dog to Stay in either sit or down position also proves very useful. It’s very important to teach a “Release Command” to a dog to break the Stay position. You can use commands like “OK” or “Over” for such purpose. If the dog exactly knows when to stay and when to break it, handling him during agility course becomes easier and saves your time as well. Basic commands should only be used when required or else too much obedience can spoil the fun of agility.

Teaching ‘recall’

A quick recall can be very useful during agility course. You can use special treats just for recall while training your dog, so he learns to return to you faster when called. You can save a lot of time during the course with a good recall and it also helps to control your dog with distractions.

Creating foundation for agility

If a handler spends enough time practicing this basic training with his dog, he can create a strong foundation for agility. It helps him create a bond with his dog and also helps the dog to communicate better with him during the course. Time required to teach and practice Basic Agility Training is different for every dog, depending on his breed, motivation, energy level, age and many more things. It’s definitely worth spending your time and effort for successful agility training.

– by Pooja Sathe

(Pooja Sathe is trained under Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour and Training, UK.)


Woof! I love to play – ground training for agility

Training can be fun for both you and your dog. Teaching games is a part of ground training for agility. So, tighten your belts, pull up your socks and play with your pooch.

Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Agility is totally based on communication and teamwork between handler and his dog. It is very important for handler to spend quality time in creating a bond with his dog in the initial stages of training.

What motivates your dog?

As a handler we have to find out what motivates our dog to work with us. Different dogs work for different things. Some may work for treats, while others love to play with toys. It’s called a ‘dog’s drive’. Some have a high toy drive, while others have high food drive.

Simple and useful games for agility

Tug-of-War: A good game of Tug-of-War with a rope toy or rope Kong can be very exciting and encouraging for any dog. Initially, we can use soft ropes to make it easier and comfortable for the dog to tug on it and to hold on to it. Once he learns how to pull it, we can slowly increase the pressure and/or increase the duration of the game. It’s also important to teach them to ‘leave’ the toy when asked. Let your dog win this game more often than you win it, to maintain that excitement throughout training session. Treats can be used to teach him to leave the toy when asked.

Fetch: Dogs love to chase things and play with it. A good game of ‘Fetch’ with dog’s favourite toy can be very helpful in gearing him up before the training session. Different toys such as balls, flying discs, rings, kongs, squeaky toys can be used for fetching, depending on the dog’s preference. You can also develop a habit of using any particular toy only during training sessions as it becomes highly motivational for the dog. Toys used while training should be sturdy, compact and safe for dogs even during rough use.

Bait Bag: This is a unique pouch designed specially for dogs who are equally motivated by food and toys. You can stuff this pouch with tasty treats and lock it. You can teach your dog to play ‘Tug of war’ or ‘Fetch’ with it and also use the treats while praising the dog. Teaching him to leave or give it back to you is a must as dogs tend to run away with it. Bait bag should be used carefully with food possessive dogs to avoid any accidents.

Warm Up Sessions: A good short walk can be a great warm up for both handler and his dog. A short play session with his favourite toy helps him to focus on you and to build up his excitement.

I like to use a particular phrase to get the dog started for a fun filled training session. Every time I say “Are you ready” to my dog, he knows what I mean and gets very excited. You can also ask your dog to speak couple of times, give HiFi or shake hands, do roll over, etc. Just do anything that your dog loves to do for you.

Basic obedience: a must It’s a must to teach your dog some basic commands like Sit, Down, etc. This training always comes handy during agility course. Teaching a dog to Stay in either sit or down position also proves very useful. It’s very important to teach a “Release Command” to a dog to break the Stay position. You can use commands like “OK” or “Over” for such purpose. If the dog exactly knows when to stay and when to break it, handling him during agility course becomes easier and saves your time as well. Basic commands should only be used when required or else too much obedience can spoil the fun of agility.

Teaching ‘recall’

A quick recall can be very useful during agility course. You can use special treats just for recall while training your dog, so he learns to return to you faster when called. You can save a lot of time during the course with a good recall and it also helps to control your dog with distractions.

Creating foundation for agility

If a handler spends enough time practicing this basic training with his dog, he can create a strong foundation for agility. It helps him create a bond with his dog and also helps the dog to communicate better with him during the course. Time required to teach and practice Basic Agility Training is different for every dog, depending on his breed, motivation, energy level, age and many more things. It’s definitely worth spending your time and effort for successful agility training.

– by Pooja Sathe

(Pooja Sathe is trained under Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour and Training, UK.)

Woof! I love to play – ground training for agility

Training can be fun for both you and your dog. Teaching games is a part of ground training for agility. So, tighten your belts, pull up your socks and play with your pooch.

Dog agility is a sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Agility is totally based on communication and teamwork between handler and his dog. It is very important for handler to spend quality time in creating a bond with his dog in the initial stages of training.

What motivates your dog?

As a handler we have to find out what motivates our dog to work with us. Different dogs work for different things. Some may work for treats, while others love to play with toys. It’s called a ‘dog’s drive’. Some have a high toy drive, while others have high food drive.

Simple and useful games for agility

Tug-of-War: A good game of Tug-of-War with a rope toy or rope Kong can be very exciting and encouraging for any dog. Initially, we can use soft ropes to make it easier and comfortable for the dog to tug on it and to hold on to it. Once he learns how to pull it, we can slowly increase the pressure and/or increase the duration of the game. It’s also important to teach them to ‘leave’ the toy when asked. Let your dog win this game more often than you win it, to maintain that excitement throughout training session. Treats can be used to teach him to leave the toy when asked.

Fetch: Dogs love to chase things and play with it. A good game of ‘Fetch’ with dog’s favourite toy can be very helpful in gearing him up before the training session. Different toys such as balls, flying discs, rings, kongs, squeaky toys can be used for fetching, depending on the dog’s preference. You can also develop a habit of using any particular toy only during training sessions as it becomes highly motivational for the dog. Toys used while training should be sturdy, compact and safe for dogs even during rough use.
Bait Bag: This is a unique pouch designed specially for dogs who are equally motivated by food and toys. You can stuff this pouch with tasty treats and lock it. You can teach your dog to play ‘Tug of war’ or ‘Fetch’ with it and also use the treats while praising the dog. Teaching him to leave or give it back to you is a must as dogs tend to run away with it. Bait bag should be used carefully with food possessive dogs to avoid any accidents.

Warm Up Sessions: A good short walk can be a great warm up for both handler and his dog. A short play session with his favourite toy helps him to focus on you and to build up his excitement.

I like to use a particular phrase to get the dog started for a fun filled training session. Every time I say “Are you ready” to my dog, he knows what I mean and gets very excited. You can also ask your dog to speak couple of times, give HiFi or shake hands, do roll over, etc. Just do anything that your dog loves to do for you.

Basic obedience: a must It’s a must to teach your dog some basic commands like Sit, Down, etc. This training always comes handy during agility course. Teaching a dog to Stay in either sit or down position also proves very useful. It’s very important to teach a “Release Command” to a dog to break the Stay position. You can use commands like “OK” or “Over” for such purpose. If the dog exactly knows when to stay and when to break it, handling him during agility course becomes easier and saves your time as well. Basic commands should only be used when required or else too much obedience can spoil the fun of agility.

Teaching ‘recall’

A quick recall can be very useful during agility course. You can use special treats just for recall while training your dog, so he learns to return to you faster when called. You can save a lot of time during the course with a good recall and it also helps to control your dog with distractions.

Creating foundation for agility

If a handler spends enough time practicing this basic training with his dog, he can create a strong foundation for agility. It helps him create a bond with his dog and also helps the dog to communicate better with him during the course. Time required to teach and practice Basic Agility Training is different for every dog, depending on his breed, motivation, energy level, age and many more things. It’s definitely worth spending your time and effort for successful agility training.

– by Pooja Sathe
(Pooja Sathe is trained under Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour and Training, UK.)

Training your K9 Kid

A dog’s personality depends on various factors, but you can mould him into a properly behaved member by training him at the right age. Last issue, we gave a few tips to train your lil’ one on socialisation and winning his love and respect. Here are a few more tips on housetraining your pup, preventing him from chewing and jumping. Having a pup at home is both a pleasure and a responsibility. He is very impressionable at this age. Follow these simple rules when he is a pup and later on, as he grows up, train him to follow basic instructions so that you can enjoy each other’s company for life.

Housetraining your puppy

The one reason many potential dog owners don’t adopt a pup is housetraining, which is nothing more than a bit of discipline and perseverance properly communicated to the dog. Dogs, by nature, do not choose to eliminate where they sleep and eat. This seems to arise out of the desire to keep their scent away from animals, like prey and predators. So, even your dog has a natural inclination to stay clean. However, puppies, like small children, generally do not have the bowel control, so make sure they go frequently before they feel urgency. Establishing good habits early in housetraining your puppy is critical.

At the onset, following should not be part of puppy house breaking training – Anger, Hitting, Rolled newspapers, Physical correction, and Rubbing the nose etc.

DO’s

  • Allocate an area that you would want to be your pup’s toilet. Take him there after he eats, drinks or wakes up after a nap. Every dog gives an individual sign that you need to recognise.
  • Provide constant access to the toilet area. If you are at home, take your puppy there every 45 minutes or less.
  • Praise and reward your puppy each and every time possible for eliminating in his toilet area.
  • Feed your puppy at regular times. It will help setting up routine.

Preventing chewing

Chewing is a basic instinct of all puppies and dogs. They use their mouths for grasping food, gaining information about the environment, relieving boredom, and reducing tension. It is a great fun for them but the puppy should be trained to chew on things that are meant only for the purpose.

DO’s

  • Give your dog chew toys. A dog focussed on his toys will most probably not bother about your shoes or carpet.
  • Remove temptations like loose wires, plates with food, cups with beverages, soft toys, electronic gadget, etc.
  • Do not give him toys like old shoes, old carpet piece, old phone etc. If he is allowed to chew them once, sooner or later he will end up seeing your NIKE and ‘Just do it’ (or should we say just chew it)!!!

Preventing jumping

This is another problem, which can be nipped at a young age. Many owners encourage their puppies to jump and then complain when their puppy becomes a 40 kg adult.

DO’s

  • The two times he is most likely to jump is when he sees you after a time gap and when there is a treat you have to offer. In both cases, the power is in your hands. You can withhold the treat or your petting till you get the desired behaviour.
  • As he jumps, just turn your body away sideways and avoid any sort of physical or eye contact with him. No sooner does he stops jumping, turn back towards him and praise or pet him, whatever may be the case.
  • It is important that all family members follow this rule. It doesn’t take much for the jumping habit to form.

(Philip A. Butt is a renowned dog trainer and chief trainer at Commando Kennels, Hyderabad (www.commandokennel.com). He has also trained and donated service dogs for the handicapped at the Kids and Dogs Carnival. He is also Joint Secretary of the Hyderabad Canine Club, conducting one of the country’s best dog show – HyCan at Hyderabad.

He can be contacted at: commandokennels@yahoo.com)

Wonders of Training

Training can transform an aggressive and possessive dog into a friendly and loving companion. Here’s a real life case file of a dog named Swami who was trained by Rajesh Bhat to become a more suitable companion.

Case history

Ritika and Rajat, on their way to work, spotted a lil’ pup on the road. They stopped their car to put him aside, but the pup came running back to them. Ritika immediately loved him for his big eyes. They started looking for a new home for him but eventually decided to keep him at their home and named him Swami. Rajat was little scared of introducing Swami to his two Dalmatians – Joey and Cheery but all went well. All the three dogs became our family members but over a period of time, Swami started behaving negatively. He became very aggressive, dominating and possessive about his toys and chew sticks. While eating or playing with his toy, if anyone came near him, he would suddenly snap. It first started with growling and then he started biting as well. It became difficult to even put a collar around his neck. They consulted a few doctors, family, and friends but the repeated advice that they got was to put him down or abandon him. They got him neutered but that also did not help. Then, they read about Rajesh Bhat, a trainer, who was very positive about Swami and felt that he could solve the problem.

Rajesh’s viewpoint

Swami was ferocious towards strangers and would try to attack them. It was difficult to control him. He was very aggressive and did not let even his owners pet him. It started by growling and then went to biting. He overtly wanted to be at control of everything. It became difficult to take him out too. Abandoning the dog will not solve the problem. If puppy is taught discipline from the very first day, he grows up to be a lovely trained dog.

Involvement of the owner

Swami’s parents were very positive and really wanted Swami to change for the best. They had full commitment towards him. They followed what Rajesh told them and hence there were behavioural changes in him since day 1. Lots of people never get involved in training sessions and the dogs end up taking training from the trainer and refuse to listen to the owner.

Solution

Swami’s training commenced under Rajesh’s supervision and Ritika’s full involvement. First month: Rajesh first had to gain trust as a stranger and then correct his behaviour. This was done by initially playing with Swami. Then the next few weeks were marked with teaching him few basic commands. Swami needed to be taught behaviour since he was very possessive and would not listen to anyone. For the first month, he was taught basic commands. There was progress in his day-to-day behaviour. Second month: Swami now started accepting Rajesh as his leader. Training helped in building a bond of trust. It also helped in strengthening communication, understanding and respect between the two. That’s when Rajesh handed him over to Ritika. Now, it was the time to train Swami to accept Ritika also as his leader. By now, Swami was almost a completely changed dog and Ritika was also gaining confidence in him and started taking him out. With her increasing involvement, Swami finally accepted Ritika as his pack leader.

Swami’s reformation

Today, Swami is a complete turnaround. He is not aggressive about his toys at all though he is still little possessive about his food. Whenever they give him food, they leave him on his own. All the three dogs get along fine. Joye is perfect with Swami but Cherry is still keeping her distance cause once during their meal time, Swami snapped at Cheery. Perhaps Cheery is just taking her time to get along with him. The training is still going on and they are aiming much better behaviour with time. (Rajesh Bhat has been training dogs for almost two decades. Right from childhood, he was fascinated with dogs and this made him take dog training as his profession. In cases where the owner was ready to abandon the pet due to behavioural problems, Rajesh solved the problem, giving a new lease of life to the pet & the family. He has worked with trainers in Germany. He is best at training dogs for security purpose and solving aggression symptoms. He can be contacted at Ph: 9810964472 (Kennel 1).)

Puppy training made fun

A well behaved dog and a happy owner make a perfect combination. Behaviour and training always go together. Training always leads you to understand your dog and also helps you communicate better with him.

 

Apuppy’s first day at home is very exciting. But after a few days of excitement and joy, starts the actual struggle of bringing up the puppy. In most cases, problems start occurring, first being the toilet training extending to not obeying basic manners, teething, chewing habits, etc.

Puppy training should start from the time when she enters your home. Any form of training should always be fun to the dog as well as the owner. Keep it short and simple. It is also important to check the attention span of puppies during training. The owner should be completely involved in the training process, as it helps to create a strong bond between the owner and his dog. Even if you involve a professional, be a part of the puppy  training programme and understand the methods used for training. Always reward your lil’ one.

Training a pup requires a lot of concentration, practice, patience and persistence from the owner. Also, once you start, you need to progress gradually. The first part of training should be the basic puppy  training, which involves teaching good toilet habits, controlling a pup during teething period, getting her used to being around people and other dogs, teaching her good food habits, etc. Then come the basic commands such as Sit, Down, Stay, Fetch, etc.

There are four basic things to teach your new puppy:

Use of word “NO”:

Puppies, by nature, are very playful and mischievous. They tend to do many things, which are not acceptable to us, such as showing affection towards people by jumping up on them or by licking, stealing food, running away with things, etc. Therefore, you should teach the pup, what is acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour from day one.

Follow these simple tips to train your puppy:

  • If you don’t want your puppy to access certain areas of your home, be firm about it right from the beginning.
  • Give your pup lots of different textured items to chew while she is teething but don’t allow her to chew furniture, etc.
  • Make her a cosy bed to sleep.
  • Start using the word ‘NO’ firmly for things you don’t want your pup to do. But, do not scream or hit the puppy, as it will not solve the problem but make it worse.
  • If the pup picks up something and starts running, don’t run after her, instead call her towards you, and show her something more interesting. You can also distract her with favourite treat or toy.

Developing good food habits:

Puppies are usually very greedy by nature. Food is the most important thing for them. They often try to steal food or search for it in the garbage bin.

Here are a few tips to develop good food habits:

  • Fix a routine of your pup’s meals and snacks from the very beginning.
  • Never feed her small bits or snacks, while you are eating.
  • It is a myth that feeding the dogs before you eat will stop her begging for food when you have yours. It is absolutely wrong. Moreover, in a dog’s pack, the leader always eats first and then the members have their share.
  • You can ask your dog to sit comfortably next to the dining table and give her chew bone.
  • All members must ignore her completely (not even eye contact), while having your meal, till you finish. When you finish and clear the table, you can reward her with treat for nice behaviour.
  • Reprimand your dog with a firm word like “Bad Girl” only if you catch her in the middle of the act and not after she has already snatched the food.

Training her not to jump on people:

On seeing their family members, pups get very happy and tend to jump. Here are a few tips to avoid this:

  • All members of the family must follow a routine of not interacting with the pup at the door, when they enter the home.
  • Do not make any eye contact or physical contact, such as patting, when you enter and for at least initial 10 minutes.
  • You can also fold your hands and sit quietly, not allowing the puppy to bite your fingers, clothes, etc.
  • Once her initial excitement is over, call her and pat her slowly, praise her with a treat or have a short fetch game, as a reward for good behaviour. So, it has to be you who starts the interaction.

Practice this routine for some time, until your pup learns it.

Teaching command “Sit”:

Most of the pups learn to sit very quickly, with the use of a treat or biscuit. But later when the dog learns how to sit on command, many people stop giving treat or praise. That’s when she starts ignoring the owner and will only sit when you have a treat in your hand.

Here’s how to teach your dog to sit

  • Take a piece of your dog’s favourite treat. Hold the treat in front of her nose and move the treat up towards the top of her head high enough that she can barely reach it.
  • If your dog lifts her front paws off the ground, you are holding the treat too high.
  • When your dog lifts her head and shoulders to get her treat, her bottom should go down and soon she will be in the sit position.
  • Praise her by saying “Sit, Good girl, sit” and give her the treat.
  • You can even gently touch your dog’s back, signalling her to sit.
  • Practice this several times until she learns to sit at the ‘sit’ command.

Puppy Training class: Pooja Sathe offers a pet dog training course, puppy care course, which is a 6 weeks course, where the owners have to bring their pets for the class and all aspects of training are explained to them. They work step by step with their lil’ ones and the pups also gets socialised.

For more info, contact Pooja Sathe at 9820596903.

Toilet training for your dog

Nicole Mackie brings an easy method of toilet training, which is sometimes called house, or potty training your dog and can be taught to puppies or dogs of any age. Of course, the sooner the toilet training process is taught, the better for everyone.

 

You can start this training the moment your puppy or dog comes into your home. When you bring the puppy home, take him straight outside, preferably on a collar or harness and lead. Wait with the puppy until he does the business. Just as the puppy squats, say the word you have chosen for his business such as busy, pee pee, or get going. I will use the word busy as my chosen word here. Say ‘busy good dog busy’ and pat the dog with soft gentle strokes (not hard or fast strokes or slaps as this is stressful for dogs). Make sure the word chosen is the first word you say and also the last word you say i.e.’‘busy’ good dog ‘busy’.

A puppy will need to go every hour or two for those first few months, so there are plenty of opportunities each day to train your puppy to busy when you ask him. The puppy will also need to go soon as he wakes from a sleep, just after exercise or play and after each meal, so these are good times to take the puppy outside to busy. There are also other signs, which may indicate your puppy needs to go out for a busy. The puppy may start to circle in the room or he may start to walk a little faster than usual sniffing the floor. The puppy might even make a little whimper or scratch at the door.

Make sure you take your puppy to busy on a variety of different ground such as grass, concrete, hay, soil, woodchips, etc so that the dog does not begin to think he is only allowed to busy on grass and nowhere else. Dogs who think they cannot busy on other types of ground may hold on all day until they get home to busy only on the ground, which they have been, taught to go on. It is very stressful for dogs to hold on all-day.

If the puppy starts to do busy indoors, firmly but quietly say “no” and take the dog straight to his toilet area. Do not yell or chase him. At this point, it is up to you to be observant of your dog. Any mistakes that are made by them may be due to your not paying attention.

If the puppy does a busy inside the house, when you see him doing it or when it has already been done, just ignore it, accidents do happen. Wait a few minutes, clean it up and be careful to watch out for the signs next time. Do not shout, hit the puppy or rub his/her nose in it. This will only stress the puppy (dogs cannot learn properly when they are stressed) and he is most likely to hide from you the next time he wants a busy.

Your puppy will learn that doing his busy indoors gives no high reward as the puppy is ignored for this behaviour (dogs hate to be ignored thus helps in extinguishing the behaviour). The puppy will learn that doing his busy outdoors gets him a wonderful reward of praise (thus increasing the behaviour). From time to time, give the puppy a treat when you praise him for doing a busy outdoors but not every time. This helps to reinforce the behaviour.

Never rush your puppy or dog in toilet training. Some dogs may learn in days or weeks, yet some may take months depending on the dog and the breed. Every dog learns at a different rate, as every dog is different just like humans are all different. Be patient and calm and your dog will learn in due time.

(Nicole Mackie is a dog-training instructor at the Sheila Harper Canine Education Centre in the Midlands of England. She also takes clicker training seminars in New Zealand.)