Category Archives: Miami Dog Training
After play time at the park, the Campers got some intensive training. Since we have had several weeks of camp, in fact we have many on their second Camp program, we figured it was time to challenge the dogs. After they got a chance for some one-on-one training with one of our Camp Counselors it was time for some Advanced exercises.
We decided to work Stays and use Recall exercises as a big distraction at the same time. We worked in groups of five; four trainer-camper teams were set up in stays making a hallway for the trainer-camper team practicing recalls on a long line. The dogs on the sidelines were working on Stays – nothing like a fellow camper running enthusiastically to their trainer in a recall to challenge the other dogs. At the same time it was a challenge for the recallers not to get sidetracked by visiting with their friends!
It was a very intensive and educational day, and all dogs performed remarkably well and have shown a lot of improvement. We hope you’re as happy with them as we are – we know they at least went home tired!
For today’s camp session we took the dogs to the Bark Park at Tropical Park. It is a beautiful park with a gorgeous view of the pond and surrounding park grounds, nice shaded seating for owners to relax and agility equipment for the dogs to play on and around in both the big dog and little dog areas (which are separated). Fortunately for us it also offers water fountains and a hose since the dogs were VERY excited about the many mud puddles and happy to get into mud wrestling matches 😉
It was a very busy morning at the park, so the dogs all got to meet and interact with strange dogs and people. As usual, the exercise is a very nice side benefit. All in all, a very fun and exciting visit!
Remember to follow the principles of “SAY IT – SHOW IT – PAY IT”.
1. Start by using treats to lure your dog into the “DOWN” position. For some dogs, its easier to start from the “SIT”, while others will go easier into a “folded” “DOWN” where they bent their body back from a standing position into a sphinx-like position. For some dogs, gently petting them along their side, will also encourage them to go into the “DOWN” position so they can roll on their back for petting. Experiment with your dog, to see whats easier for him. Once they can reliably go into the down position, you’ll want to make sure they can do it from both a “SIT” and a “STAND”.
2. From a “SIT”, bring a treat from your dog’s nose, downward along his chest all the way to the ground. If he lowers his head to follow the treat, praise and reward. He doesn’t have to go into the down yet, you want to ease them into it, be patient. Repeat this exercise, pulling the treat away further each time, so your dog must stretch down and forward to get it. Reward each increment. If your dog goes far enough down, that the elbows touch down on the ground, give him a handful of treats and praise lavishly to let him know this is what you really wanted. Repeat and praise several times.
2b. From a “STAND”, bring a treat from your dog’s nose, downward along the chest and back between the front legs toward the ground under the belly. If he lowers his head to follow the treat, praise and reward. Reward each increment and once the elbows touch the ground, praise and reward lavishly. Make sure the rear has lowered to the ground before you allow your dog to take the treat. Repeat and praise several times.
3. When your dog is offering to “DOWN” consistently when you lure with the treats, start naming the behavior. Say “DOWN”, then show the treat to help them into position. Praise and reward when they do. At this point, you want to introduce a release word like “OK” or “FREE” which will signify to your dog that they can get out of the position and move freely.
4. Now without the treats in hand, give your “DOWN” command. You can use similar hand motions to those you used when luring with the treat. When your dog goes into position, praise and reward, then give your “OK” before they move out of position.
5. Start teaching your dog to stay in position for longer and longer time, by giving more than one treat in succession before giving the “OK”. If your dog moves before the “OK”, help them back into position but wait a few seconds before your reward again or give your “OK” word. If your dog moves up, as you stand up, try to time your motion with them eating their treat, then bend back down and feed before he’s done eating. You want to teach your dog that your
standing up does not mean they should move out of position.
6. As your dog understands the game, wait longer between treats and move around and add distractions. Always make sure your dog is being successful and make the excercise easier if they are having trouble at some point. Pretty soon you’ll have a dog with a happy and reliable “Down-Stay”.
Copyright Dog Connection 2011
For teaching your dog a new trick, its always a good idea to remember “SAY IT – SHOW IT – PAY IT”. Say your cue word or command, what you want your dog to do. Show them what you want them to do by luring at first, or helping them into position. Pay your dog with a treat, a pet and lots of praise for doing what you asked.
1. Start by using treats to lure your dog to move their head up and back. When the head moves up, the rear comes down. Praise and reward when the rear touches the ground.
2. When your dog is offering to “Sit” consistently when you lure with the treats, start naming the behavior. Say “Sit”, then show the treat and praise and reward when they do.
3. Now without the treats in hand, give your “SIT” command. You can use similar hand motions to those you used when luring the sit. When your dog sits, praise and reward, then give your “OK” before they move out of position.
4. At this point, you want to introduce a release word like “OK” or “FREE” which will signify to your dog that they can get out of the position and move freely.
5. Start teaching your dog to stay in position for longer and longer time, by giving more than one treat in succession before giving the “OK”. If your dog moves before the “OK”, help them back into position but wait a few seconds before you reward again or give your “OK”
6. As your dog understands the game, wait longer between treats and move around and add distractions. Always make sure your dog is being successful and make the exercise easier if they are having trouble at some point. Pretty soon you’ll have a dog with a happy and reliable “Sit-Stay”.
Copyright Dog Connection 2011
For today’s Camp Adventure we took the dogs to an off leash dog park, to burn some energy, socialize and romp with their fellow campers, and then do some much needed one-on-one training. We let all six campers roam free, and they quickly went into a fast paced game of chase and tag. It was great to see how some of our shier campers are starting to enjoy their play times and socializing with the pack. That’s what camp is all about! We worked with each dog on some of their basic behaviors like sits and downs, and some of our more advanced campers got to practice their stays, and go to mats. We also did some one-on-one work on their loose leash walking – rewarding them for walking on our left side, keeping a loose leash, and encouraging them to sit at our left when we stopped moving.
From there, we took the dogs to a playground so they could practice what they had worked last week with Liane out in the real world with kids who weren’t necessarily doggie-savvy. It went WONDERFULLY! The playground came to a complete stop as all the parents brought the toddlers to meet and socialized with the Campers. The dogs took it all in very well, and we were very happy to see their polite responses and how even those who had been a bit unsure or shy last week, were happy to take in all the attention. A great experience for both kids and dogs!!!
For lunch break, we took the dogs to Miami Squeeze Juice Bar, where they got to hang out at the terrace and experience the sounds of traffic and people nearby . They did great and even took a potty break near the adjacent railroad tracks. We are making sure the younger Campers, get lots of potty opportunities, and so far, everyone has been clean in the crates in the car, and have been happy to use the grass areas for their business. We also try to consistently give them a group cue to “Go Potty” when we stop at a good spot, and reward and praise those that do their business, so they learn that will be their command to “use the facilities” 🙂
Our last stop of the day was out at the Hollywood strip mall. We walked around the shops and restaurants with the Campers, getting lots of compliments from the people there. We made a longer stop at a playground area for a final training session, so we could take some footage for your homework videos. We worked on the different stages of the “Sit” and “Down” according to the level each Camper could work at. Please take a look at these Homework Videos, and try and experiment with your dog and practice these two commands. Keep training sessions short, 5 minutes at the most, and always end in a positive note. And don’t forget to send us feedback on how your training is going and how the Campers are doing at home!