Category: Blog

BAT Even Helps Service Dog Teams Walk Better!

Guest blogger Kate Rehman

Guest post by Kate Rehman of K9 Triumph Training

I am disabled young lady who has a service dog to mitigate my disabilities in my every day life. I do tons of charity volunteer training sessions which are private one on one with rescues, pets, fosters and service dogs.

When you at me, you won't see my disabilities; they're invisible.  Rest assured they do exist. I am Deaf; a rare genetic disease is to blame, amongst other disabling issues. I do not hear at all. My service dog alerts me for fire alarms, knocking, my name, dropped items that hit the floor, and other sounds that I might not notice.

I am owner/trainer of K9 Triumph Training, which focuses on empowered canine partnership.
Allow dogs to sniff when possible

I have had the pleasure of implementing Grisha's BAT techniques/protocols with service dogs.

At K9 Triumph, I frequently have had disabled handlers who have had traumatic experiences with their service dogs on or off duty or their service dogs have picked up some unwanted behaviors.

By law, service animals must be under control when working. That means we have to figure out ways to reestablish training, and 'empowered partnership' means we do it in a way that also meets the dogs' emotional needs.

This is where Grisha's BAT leash protocols come in. Within 2-3 sessions of BAT leash skills, their dogs are relaxed, calmer and walking loosely without pulling. They are checking in with their handlers and stopping waiting for to catch up (hence before they would just pull).

I go through the handler's stance by gliding my hands over their shoulders (with permission). I go over their arms, their wrists and hands. I tell them what their body is showing, their energy, and what I see with their body language. Dogs responds to this.

When we walk I watch the handler and how they walk. I stop them, ask questions and get in their minds/what they are feeling?

My questions are, 'Are you in the moment?' and 'Can you look at how you holding the leash?' I slide my hands gently down the leash and pull a tad (this is where you are creating tension).  I remind them, 'Remember to be in the moment with your partner.'

 I physically move their arm, gently guide their hands, I tell them to relax.

[Grisha's note - touching the client can be distracting or it can be really useful. Please use your best judgement when working with clients and always get their consent, verbally and by observing their body language! Just as with the dogs, we need to respect their boundaries.]

 Communication goes down this leash. I role play the motions and slightly coach them by physically showing them how to walk with their service dogs. Not the dog walking them, or us walking the dog. It's a unified skill. Togetherness. Partnership. After all these are working dogs, not pets. They go above and beyond the call of duty. These service dogs save our lives every day.

Usually the handlers are almost paranoid, edgy and worried about judgement when we start; trying to correct their dog every move they make.

I tell them the vest is off, they are with me to learn and no judgement here. Only good things.
I am here to help and empower them as a team.
As take my harness out and properly fit it onto a dog (whichever breed I have that's in service). We treat and reward for acceptance of the harness. Then we walk. No expectations, no tension and we walk with 12 feet of leash.

We let them sniff and as they start to pull I slowly and gently stop the leash and turn/bend and make kissing sounds; as the dog immediately comes, I reward and smile. Usually we continue this one way. We allow the dog to be busy and sniff again, but if they pull we turn a different direction: bend, turn, kissing sounds and again the dog comes immediately and is rewarded. As I am finishing, reeling the leash in without tension, I treat and give a friendly smile.
Power is the dog's choosing to come. We start with the dog taking an entire slack with the lead wanting to pull.
On the way back from one way walking; the dog is voluntarily looking at me and walking beside me on a loose on the leash.

It takes no time for them to figure out and we have communicated clearly what we would like.

 After we are done a few rounds I pass the dog off to the disabled owner/handler. I get shocks of laughter, surprise and their dismay. Is this my dog? What have you done with my service dog?
Their dog is relaxed, no tension and choosing to walk nicely with their handler.

No fighting, no pulling back and no frustration.

The team's energy shifts. Walking is now enjoyable. Working or not.
I get a ton of pullers as clients. They all cannot believe the change. That's what BAT is about. Behavior Adjustment Training.

Even though some don't have fearful or aggressive issues, the BAT leash protocols work excellent for unwanted behaviors and habits that have formed.

 I continue to enjoy seeing these service dogs be in sync with their handlers and being able to master leash walking skills by their choices. All we do is show them and they follow through. They give so much to us with serving.

We need to give respect and empathy to these amazing working dogs. BAT is one great way to help these dogs, whether it's maintenance BAT leash protocols or BAT aggressive and fearful adjustment training.

Things happen on the job, but there is a solution, and if handlers are willing to find a professional trainer that does BAT things could definitely turn around for all.

Thank you for reading!
Kate Rehman
'Empowered Canine Partnership'

Related article: BAT = BRILLIANT + AWESOME + TREMENDOUS! about using BAT to train assistance dogs in Canada

To learn more about BAT, visit Grisha's Campus Store for a self-paced online courses, streaming videos, and the BAT book.

Texas Middle Schooler Saves Thousands of Lives

By Daniella Vereeken - Flickr: HM Orange M - Sarawut, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12683082

Imagine you're a betta fish, swimming in your home, and suddenly you find yourself jostled around into a cramped 2-liter bottle for the rest of your brief life.

You're not there because someone loves fish and want to take care of you, you're just part of a child's science experiment. Live animals are prohibited in the national science fair, but not in school classrooms. Texas middle schooler Ruby G. recently stepped up on behalf of the animals and may have saved thousands of (fish) lives over the next decades of classroom experiments.

Ruby's 7th grade honors classroom was experimenting with different ecosystems with 2 liter soda bottles. A terrarium, with soil and bean or grass seeds is in a bottle on top. On the bottom was the aquarium bottle. A string between the 2 acts as a root system and carries water to the soil.

CC BY-SA 2.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=392724

The aquarium ecosystem had gravel, aquatic plants called Duckweed, bottled spring water, and snails. The teacher also said they could add a betta fish and/or small fish. This is when Ruby started to realize putting fish in something that small was disastrous. It wasn't just theory--fish in other classes had already died in the first week!

Her mother reports, "When we went to Petsmart to get aquatic plants for her team's aquarium, the employee there said, 'please don't put any fish in those bottles.' And she told Ruby that kids from her school had completely cleaned out the store buying betta fish. And she was asking her manager not to allow the kids to buy fish for that anymore."

"So Ruby decided then and there she was going to do something about it. And when we came home from the store she got on the computer and started writing."

Albert Einstein would have been proud of Ruby's activism, her to bring heart to scientific inquiry. Einstein is well-known for his outstanding intellect and curiosity, but he urged scientists to have compassion, too.
A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. - Einstein

Next, Ruby submitted her well-written paper to her teacher, who was convinced to stop using live fish in future science experiments in his classroom. While that might have disappointed a few of the children, most approved of the compassionate choice to not use animals in classroom experiments.

We all can make a difference in the world. We see injustices every day, to humans and other animals. We make choices with our actions and our words, our inactions and our silences. Brava to Ruby for standing up and getting things done!


Here's Ruby's paper:

The Act Against Fish and 2-liter Bottles

I would first like to state this- in the national science fair, live animals are prohibited. No animals are to be used- nor human subjects without permission slips. Now- I realize it’s not possible to ask a fish for a permission slip, but picture this. You’re taken out of your home/shelter and are put in a tiny containment space for a semester- about 18 weeks, with unusual amounts of food, and caretakers who know nothing about you. There you have it- exactly what happens to whatever fish, or shrimp you buy for your bottle project. It isn’t reasonable to leave these creatures with 12-13 year olds who just buy fish because they think it will look cool- they have no idea what the fish need- and as I’ve discovered, our teachers may not know anything about our water breathing friends either, seeing as if they did they would know the inch-per-gallon rule.

Betta Fish Living Conditions

Betta fish are actually a rare breed of fish called labyrinth fish. They need at least one gallon of water, though that is not recommended because it isn’t healthy. Typically, for every inch of fish (smaller fish), you need one gallon of water. Larger fish need 3. The Betta fish need five to thrive happily, a thermometer to keep track of water temperatures, and normal amounts of food. For the size of ‘tanks’ we keep them in, the water should be cleaned DAILY. The bottles used in our experiments are 2 liters- not even a gallon. With these conditions, this can be considered animal cruelty- in the case of not knowing the needs, and stable environment required to keep these creatures. Betta fish also should not be placed in direct sunlight, as it creates an unstable environment, causing an overgrowth of algae, also it may raise water temperatures over a normal 78-80 degrees. All bottles in my own classroom are left on the windowsills.

Shrimp Included in Bottle Projects

In normal aquariums, shrimp are food. For many fish besides Betta- but Betta fish are naturally aggressive and will not only eat, but kill the shrimp mere hours after placing it in the water with the fish. Shrimp are not meant to be put into 2-liter bottles with killer fish. They are food, when you want them to be. Emotional distress can impact children my age losing a shrimp, or fish.

Solution

If children wish to have fish in a science class, first, don't put them in a bottle. Second, inform the children of the needs and expenses of a fish, including feeding habits, water temperature, and water purity. Third, make sure that they have an aquarium or plan for when the project is over so that a fish is not slowly being killed due to lack of attention, food, or water changes. Fish are intelligent, beautiful beings, and should never be considered for a project like this. It isn’t right, and no teacher is well enough informed to know that, or else we wouldn’t have children feeding their Betta gummy worms, and laying them on paper towels, while removing all original water. Who knows what else has been done over the years? I ask you with all good intent- please ban living creatures in science classes, for the safety of the students- and the specimen.

“Even small fish are fish.” -Czech Proverb

“I Changed My Mind” Video Series Episodes

Life is full of learning and growing, and sometimes relearning things you thought you knew. We should all reserve the right to change our minds.

I have started a YouTube series about some of the opinions and ideas that I have changed over time. The videos are shown below.  Please click here to visit my YouTube channel or click here to subscribe directly.

Want to get more professional dog training support? I have a lot of videos in my online school, a Facebook group, and a lot more for Student and Pro members of the Animal Building Blocks Academy.

Where Do Our Dogs Go? Reflections on Peanut’s Life and Loss

grisha-peanut
13.5 years is a lot of shared life experience. He still makes me smile.

For the last several years, I have been pre-grieving Peanut's death. I have been afraid I would completely fall apart and lose my will to live.

Luckily for me, his death was not complicated by other emotions. We supported each other throughout his life and he was right there in my lap when he chose to go.

It turns out that his death was not as terrible as I thought it would be.  I thought I would want to jump off a bridge when he died. I literally had my family on suicide watch.

But now that it's finally happened, I've noticed that it's different; the worry for him and for myself is gone, leaving me with a chance to savor his life, a huge appreciation for the time we had together, and gratitude for the support of my friends and family.

Sadness is much easier to handle than worry, especially when you don't fight the pain, but just let it happen. This post isn't about telling you how to grieve, but just sharing how I am grieving, to share this possibility that we don't have to be crushed by loss to honor those who have passed. There are no 'shoulds' here.

Dog Dalmatian running outdoors in beautiful green against the blue sky with clouds and a rainbow
Dogs run free at the rainbow bridge.

Many people talk about the rainbow bridge as the place where are dogs are waiting for us when we die.

It's human to have a deep need to know where are loved ones are now, and what they are doing. Having spent years caring for him, needing to know where he is at all times is a hard habit to let go. It's our job to keep track of them.

With Peanut's passing, I have found some solace in thinking of him running around happy with Spoon, who passed away last year, and Pirate, who passed away this month. But I need to process Peanut's life and death in a way that fits in with my own worldview. It turns out that what I came up with isn't inconsistent with the rainbow bridge, either, so hopefully it works for you.

This 'song of life' analogy has has helped me come to better terms with Peanut's death. It's loosely based on the Buddhist concept of clinging, as attachment as the root of suffering: "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional." If you have lost a dog (or cat or other family member) I hope that this post helps you find a way to savor the experience of loss, to appreciate this time instead of suffering through it.

(And maybe this is already something already woven into some religion or philosophy. I don't want to waste this important time researching whether this analogy is new. I just know it didn't occur to me before and I want to share it because it helped me.)

If you've ever laid down tracks for a song or a video this will make sense. If not, I hope it still works for you, but feel free to comment with your own version, like maybe weaving together a tapestry or something else.

life-as-movie
I'm visualizing it like this video editor, except a LOT more clips (one for each living being) and more overlapping.

I'm thinking of the sum of all life as a jazz song or a movie, where each individual being is like one track laid down for a recording (like a guitar riff or a little movie clip). The length of those clips is the amount of time they are present here for the rest of us to see. Feel free to through your own worldview whether some higher power is creating the song or it's just what happens when so much life comes together.

Trees have very long lifespans, so they'd have very long tracks. Humans have shorter tracks and dogs and other small animals even shorter. When they happen to be in the same space and time we 'know' each other but we are all still part of this same multi-dimensional song, starting from the beginning of life and ending when it is all over, if ever.

Grisha Stewart using her BAT leash Skills with Peanut
Every day with Peanut was a gift.

If I zoom in on my own track and see things just from my own perspective, it feels like a sudden shift, a catastrophe to lose him. If I zoom out to see the whole song, I see the beauty that we shared and how that fits in with everything else. I see how he was fading toward his end. All solos start and stop. If they went on forever they wouldn't be appreciated in the same way.

So Peanut may or may not make another appearance in the song of life. Maybe there is reincarnation, or heaven, or his energy and matter have just been converted into other form.

To me that doesn't matter so much as concentrating on what I do know. We had a fantastic time together, where our harmony added to the song of life. That will never go away. His existence has influenced the whole direction of my life and work. He was a frequency changer, a catalyst to shift my perception of the world.

His life happened exactly as it happened. At this point, the song has moved on and I have come to terms with the idea that he would no longer fit into it. So rather than clinging to him and wishing he were here now, I celebrate the fact that he *was* here. It feels oddly right that he is no longer here, which isn't to say that I would have wanted it that way, not at all. But I'm at peace with his death.

peanut-at-property-246x300
Peanut spent a lot of time running free in nature.

That doesn't mean I don't cry or that I just move on with life like he was never here. I have cleared my schedule to savor my sorrow and grieve for the loss of his physical presence in my life. I couldn't keep food down the day that he passed away. I have a knot in my chest sometimes. I cry when I feel like it and I enjoy every moment of this sad time while it's happening because that is the way that he is here now, through that experience of transition away from a physical Peanut. [If you have another experience, that's totally fine. We all grieve differently. I just want to share how I feel since it was unexpected to me.]

I feel intense joy and satisfaction when I look at the quality of our time together. I made mistakes with him, but I did my best to fix them, to strengthen our relationship and improve his quality of life whenever I could. From his influence on me and many others, Peanut is still part of the song as a whole, but his own track is over; from my own perspective in time, his tangible presence is gone. But his 'solo' is still impacting the song as it moves forward: there are so many ripples from his existence, like how I perceive my world, how I may now be better at honoring my own emotions, how I think of death, how I read dogs, how I love, how other dogs now have better lives because of him, and so much more.

In the end, I don't need to scream at the universe, "WHY?!" Instead, I whisper, "thank you."

"Love Never Goes" Lyrics (Peanut YouTube version)

I am bound to you
You’re in my heart to stay
One look at you and I knew
I’d love you every single day

---

We’re on solid ground
You’re in my heart to stay
Even when I'm not around
I love you every single day

---

* Love doesn’t leave
* (It) Doesn’t run out
* Love never goes away

* Love doesn’t need
* No fence around (it)
* Love never goes away

---

You’ve got other loves
They’re in your heart to stay
I don’t have to be above
Just love me every single day

---

Hope you know by now
You’re in my heart to stay
Even when I have to go
I’ll love you every single day

---

* Love doesn’t leave
* (It) Doesn’t run out
* Love never goes away

* Love doesn’t need
* No fence around (it)
* Love never goes away

* Love doesn’t leave
* (It) Doesn’t run out
* Love never goes away


Here are some things that I did that helped with my grief process and/or made grieving less complicated:

  • Quality time - As he aged, I arranged my schedule to spend less time traveling and be home more with him. I arranged for quality time alone or with Bean when possible, although I also maintained my own life and non-dog hobbies. For many devoted dog lovers, their life is all about dogs. If you have more than one dog, that could be fine, but if your dog passes away and you have no other dog, then you may find you have no sense of self and don't know what to do with your time. So let yourself have a life. You deserve it.
  • Filming - videos of us loving on each other and of him just walking through the forest give me the most solace. It gives me a way to reconnect as needed.
  • Empowerment - choices I made for him were always in his best interest, within the constraints of life among humans. So things like positive reinforcement, long leashes and harnesses, carpets on the floor, training for him to actively cooperate in blood draws and vet procedures, predictability, ability to control his own proximity and interaction with stressors, and only adding in pain or discomfort when it was medically necessary.
  • Being his advocate and fighting to be present at the vet whenever I knew me being there would help him. That helped prevent regrets. Many veterinarians insist on restraining your dog themselves or won't allow you to be in the room for IV fluids, but may agree if you sign a waiver or have muzzle trained your dog with positive reinforcement (even if they have no history of biting, muzzling means there's no possibility of the vet getting sued so they will allow it).
  • We kept his body at home for two days before cremation, like a wake. That gave all of us (including Bean and Dharma) time to really process that he was gone. I was able to go to his body and say goodbye many times. We curled him up into a dog bed (head tilted up to avoid leakage) before driving him home, so that he was in a good position when rigor mortis set in. It was relatively cool on our sun porch so we kept him there. If it's warmer where you are, get dry ice to put into the bed, under and around your dog (or cat or whatever). We had a hard time finding dry ice though. My friend in California had her dog's body for 5 days before cremation, so it's not just possible in Alaska.
  • Hearing other people's memories of him and going through videos, photos, etc. really helped. Specific memories of Peanut in real life or in videos help more than general statements like "I'm sorry for your loss" or "Dog's lives are too short," so I asked for people to share memories when I announced his passing. Every comment helped me, but it was so helpful when they did share a memory. If many people don't know your dog, make and share a short video of your dog's life so that people can share what they see in that. The process of making the video was also helpful to me, as well as rewatching it many times.
  • Stopping the clock. This is what I'm doing right now. I have lost a family member and need this time to sit with the grief. I don't need to go to work right now. I allow myself to have whatever emotions that come through, and I don't berate myself for having strong feelings or try to push them away. I don't force anything, neither trying to be sad nor trying to be happy.If I want to go on a hike or work or whatever, that's my choice, but I have paused as many time commitments as I can right now. Question anything that involves the word 'should' - that's usually a sign that it's not helpful for you in your grief, but rather just something that is motivated by avoidance of punishment.If you work for yourself, take the time off. Put on an autoresponder. If you work for someone else, use your sick leave or vacation time, and if that doesn't exist, see about a leave of absence.
  • More tips in my main grief article.

Here's my announcement of Peanut's passing on Facebook:

Revive Your Yes Life #CelebrateTheGood

Does your Yes life need a tune-up?

I wrote a Facebook post last night. It was very satisfying, at first, because I got to say NO, confrontational dog training isn't right. Stop It.

But that's really yes-iStock_000009246841_Largeironic, right? That I am trying to use something negative to fix the problem of being too negative? I can do better than that. If I really want change, there's a better way to teach, which I use all the time with dogs.

My goal with dogs is to maximize chances for positive reinforcement in their lives, in all forms. I want to be able to say YES a lot to dogs and that applies to people too.
yes-fist-iStock_000021168856_LargeSo what do I want to happen? What do I want to see? I do try to use positive phrasing when talking to people, but sometimes on social media, or with my husband, my inner 2-year-old comes out. No No NO.

So I'm working on my Yes life. Today I started my own challenge, and I hope you'll join me. For the next two weeks (and maybe more) I am going to focus on phrasing all social media posts and comments in a positive way, and add the hashtag of #CelebrateTheGood to remind myself. If I look back and see that I could have done better, or missed an opportunity to be positive, I will revise or repost, and add the hashtag of #CelebrateTheGood to those, too.

yes-iStock_000067452315_LargeExamples of positive posts and comments:

  • Why you train dogs the way that you do (if you catch yourself pointing out negative things about the other side, just replace those with information on what TO do and why it's awesome).
  • Something great that happened to you.
  • What you agree with about XYZ (especially good for comments)

I picked social media because in a way, it's easier than real life. You can take your time crafting your words. You can revise when you see that it could have been better. That's a  great learning opportunity.

Flags that indicate your post may have room for improvement:

  • Words like no, not, never, wrong,...
  • Judgements like hate, can't stand,...
  • Name calling or insulting someone's character (idiot, uneducated, mean, bitch, jerk, troll, you get the gist)
  • Reading through it gives you a bad feeling

Here's my original post from yesterday:

"You're the Dog Whisperer!" Have you ever gagged a little vomit into your mouth? That's what I feel when someone calls...

Posted by Grisha Stewart-person on Thursday, April 14, 2016

So let's try that again, with positive phrasing. First, I would leave off the blog post share because it's all about negative phrasing, "things dog trainers hate."

Here's a new post about the same topic as yesterday but with positive phrasing. See the bottom of this post for why I...

Posted by Grisha Stewart on Friday, April 15, 2016

So there we go. Let's positivize the internet and fix our Yes lives. Can you join with me and take the #CelebrateTheGood Challenge for the next two weeks?

New Behavior Adjustment Training 2.0 Book (Press Release)

Grisha and Peanut
Grisha and Peanut - click for high resolution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ellen Naumann
[email protected]
818-281-8235

Behavior Adjustment Training 2.0

New training approach brings hope for dog reactivity and socialization
Continue reading New Behavior Adjustment Training 2.0 Book (Press Release)

Life Hack: Yours/Mine Position for Treat Delivery

When you change your behavior, your dog can change his!

I came up with a specific way to feed treats so that it's clear to my dog when he's allowed to take the treat. Humans talk a lot to dogs, but dogs are actually very visual, and they usually understand hand signals better than vocal cues. Try this out - your dog should learn to see the difference very quickly. Continue reading Life Hack: Yours/Mine Position for Treat Delivery

19 Fun-Saving Tips for Festival Dogs

Avoid costumes, especially ones that make a dog uncomfortable or hard for other dogs to recognize.
Avoid costumes, especially ones that make a dog uncomfortable or hard for other dogs to recognize.

We took the dogs to the 6-Mile Creek Whitewater Bluegrass Festival in Alaska this weekend. It was great! I was very happy with how Bean and Peanut did and how the dogs felt about the experience.

It was a bit like a dog park with music, but it worked out well, since the dogs all started to know each other. The surface (river rocks) also discouraged a lot of running and playing, so it was easier for the dogs to stay calm.  There was a lot of space and the dogs were off leash, so they were able to diffuse tension more naturally. Continue reading 19 Fun-Saving Tips for Festival Dogs

Will Training a Dog with Treats Spoil the Dog?

sitting for treatsYou might have read some of the traditional training books or watched a certain tv show that talks about training with treats as if it were a sloppy or mamby-pamby way to train dogs, whereas training with punishment means the dog works with you because they love you. The people who avoid treats just don't know enough about *how* to train dogs with treats, and I thought I'd write a blog post to give an overview of how to precisely use reinforcers to get reliable dog behavior.
Continue reading Will Training a Dog with Treats Spoil the Dog?

What are Quadrants? Applying Learning Theory to Dog Training

There are only two main principles for dog-friendly training.  Give something to get more of a behavior you want. Take something away to stop a behavior you don't like.

Positive Reinforcement (+R): If you want your dog to repeat a behavior more frequently, reward that behavior in some way.

Negative Punishment (-P): If you want your dog to repeat a behavior less frequently, remove any reward or perceived award for the behavior. This should happen rarely - focus on reinforcement.

Access to anything interesting is a reinforcer
Access to anything interesting is a reinforcer

Think of positive and negative in the addition/subtraction sense.  The counterparts to +R and -P are negative reinforcement (take away an aversive - something painful or unpleasant to the dog - as a reward) and positive punishment (present the dog with something painful or unpleasant for doing something you do not like). Continue reading What are Quadrants? Applying Learning Theory to Dog Training

How to Train a Dog To Come When Called

This dog's recall is so strong it's actually flying!
This dog's recall is so strong it's actually flying!

Training your dog to come to you on cue is one of the nicest things you can do for your dog. Knowing that your dog will return whenever you want her to allows you both freedom to play and go wherever -- within reason -- like the park or even a dog-friendly festival.

Training a recall, along with a solid "emergency down" may save your dog's life one day, so it's worth putting some time into training her to respond quickly. Continue reading How to Train a Dog To Come When Called

What is Clicker Training? How Do You Use It to Train a Dog?

Box Clicker
Box Clicker and Bean

When dolphin trainers want to get a perfect jump from their charges, they don't put a leash on the dolphin, ask it to jump, then 'correct' the dolphin for not jumping and manually put it through the jumping motions. For one thing, the dolphin's body isn't well-suited to a leash. For another, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to physically manipulate the dolphin into a jump. Finally, the dolphin would get back at the trainer -- probably dousing her with a big splash of water or tossing her out of the pool (a favorite tactic of killer whales)! Continue reading What is Clicker Training? How Do You Use It to Train a Dog?

How to Train a Dog to Stop Pulling on the Leash

A loose leash dog walk is a joy! Check out this streaming DVD for tips.
A loose leash dog walk is a joy! Check out this streaming DVD for tips.

[Click here to see some great custom leashes!]

If your dog pulls on the leash, then the walk is neither healthy for your dog nor relaxing for you. It's also a sign that you and your dog are not paying attention to each other -- it takes two to pull, after all. Walks with your dog should feel like walking meditation, not a battle! Please learn about the BAT leash skills in this article or the BAT Leash Skills webinar before blaming the problem on your dog. It's easier to start out teaching yourself not to pull.

Continue reading How to Train a Dog to Stop Pulling on the Leash

BAT Leash Skills – How to Stop Pulling Your Dog

Your dog can walk ahead of you, as long as the leash is loose.
With BAT, we prefer a long leash and a harness, instead of a flat collar.

Related:

BAT should be a dance between the dog and the person. The human is the one who knows the plan for the dance, but the dog is the one who has the understanding of rhythm.

Continue reading BAT Leash Skills – How to Stop Pulling Your Dog

How Not to Pick a Rescue Dog

First off, I want to say that I'm all for getting rescue dogs. I have rescue dogs and I probably always will. There are tons of great rescue dogs that need forever homes. In fact, I just flew down to the Seattle area to get Bean from Welfare for Animals Guild, because at the moment I was looking, there were no reputable rescues in my area with puppies available.

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How to Avoid Dog Bites (plus Be More Fun and Less Annoying)

_MG_2445Do you love to pet your dog? Does your dog love it too? Are you sure?

Here's a family safety video with a way to ask your dog if he or she likes the way you are petting. I call it the 5-Second Rule, and every person who interacts with a dog, cat, or even horse should know it, because it's excellent bite prevention and also just basic polite manners! Teaching it to children will avoid bites and also teach the concept of setting their own boundaries for safe interactions.

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Say Please Protocol (or “Using Real Life Rewards”)

How does your dog ask for what he wants? Does she get dinner by barking? Does he get through the door by shoving past you?

_MG_1558In any home, whether it has dogs in it or not, good manners are appreciated. Things like pushing past your parents to rush outside or bugging them for candy while they were working were probably not allowed when you were young and they show that your relationship with your dog is not as strong as it could be. There's no need to yell at your dog when he does things like bolt out the door or bark, whine, or jump for attention. What you need to do is teach your dog how ask for what he wants or needs in a way that fits with your family.

As with all of the training methods that we recommend, we want you to set your dog up for success. Cue or show the dog what you want her to do (in words that she knows or by reinforcing behaviors you like), and ignore the tricks you don't want in your dog's toolbox for getting what he wants. You get what you pay for with dogs. If it works for them, they'll keep doing something, even if you don't like it.

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Resource Guarding – How to Teach Your Dog to Share

dog-eating-flowers
Dogs may guard anything!

Does your dog growl at you when you approach his food bowl? Is your puppy possessive about toys and rawhides? Does he snap at you when you even step near him when he's got a bone? Does your dog bare her teeth when you approach the couch? If not, you're lucky! Read through this information and start working with your puppy or dog now, to keep him in the blissful state of loving your approach to his food bowl or other prized possessions.

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Fireworks, Thunder, and Scary Sounds: Training and Survival Tips

Fireworks, Thunder, and Scary Sounds: Training and Survival TipsFirework noises have been exploding in my house all week.

Why? It's part of Peanut's annual fireworks vaccine. Because sound desensitization isn't just a one-shot deal and the fourth of July is coming up in the US. It's so long between firework displays that your dog may not remember the last training you did. To prevent spontaneous recovery of your dog's fear, give your dog a little taste of firework noises every year, before the full-volume ones happen.

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Follow your dog: How a little black dog led his trainer to the world and the web (Press Release)

dog-abba-100-tallClick to download as .docx

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ellen Naumann
[email protected]
818-281-8235

Follow your dog: How a little black dog led his trainer to the world and the web
Grisha Stewart Follows Her Dog Again and Launches Animal Building Blocks Academy

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Thought Revolution and Online School Launched by International Dog Training Expert (Press Release)

dog-abba-100-tallClick to download as .docx

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ellen Naumann
[email protected]
818-281-8235

Thought Revolution and Online School Launched by International Dog Training Expert

Anchorage, Alaska. June, 2015 – One of the main controversies of the last several decades in animal training is whether or not to train with aversive force. Grisha Stewart is definitely about minimizing force, but asserts that modern training can do even better. She’s here to start a grass-roots revolution. “Quality animal care is more than training without adding pain or fear,” she said. “As caretakers, we have the opportunity to facilitate two-way communication, empower animals to meet their needs, and teach them how to participate in their own care.”

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Animal Magnetism: Is Your Training Attracting or Repelling?

"You have to enable and empower people to make decisions independent of you. As I've learned, each person on a team is an extension of your leadership; if they feel empowered by you they will magnify your power to lead." -Tom Ridge

There are two opposite forces that inspire behavior: attraction (I want) and repulsion (I don’t want). I like thinking of these as physical forces, like gravity or what happens when you bring two magnets together in different ways. One way pulls them together in a very strong bond. The other way pushes them strongly apart.

magnets

If you had one magnet and wanted to move the other one around without touching the second magnet, how would you do it? You can move the second magnet around very reliably if you use attraction. You can still move the magnet with repulsion, but pushing is less efficient than pulling, and sometimes shoves it in unpredictable directions.

Let’s go back to animals. By attraction, I mean that the animal is inspired to do the behavior. For example, there’s a smell across the room, so the dog walks over to investigate. The smell pulls him over. Or you ask the dog to sit and he does so because he has a history of getting treats for sitting. By sitting, he moves toward the opportunity to get a treat. It’s like the treat pulled him into sitting, so that’s why I call this attraction. Continue reading Animal Magnetism: Is Your Training Attracting or Repelling?

Dog Aggression Outbreak in Chicago in 2016?

Aggressive_Australian_ShepherdThe Canine Flu outbreak in Chicago is serious and responsible dog lovers are being cautious, not taking their dogs to parks and other such areas. This flu is a virus that US dogs have never been exposed to. It's a big deal.

But what worries me more is what is going to happen later with Chicago's puppies, because you really only get one chance at good socialization. Will we have a rash of dog aggression showing up in 2016, from all of these puppies who missed out on meeting other dogs? Will people say "my dog was a Chicago Flu Puppy" to explain why they lack social skills and show aggression?

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You’re Not Crazy, You’re Mourning: Grief from the Loss of Your Dog

Video by RedandHowling.com shared with permission
 

To love a dog is to truly know the meaning of unconditional love. If you were lucky enough to share your life with a dog, especially a ‘soulmate dog’ who has passed or is nearing the end of life, then you also have the flip-side of such a strong relationship: grief. Every experience of grief is unique, so you can’t really be prepared for the loss of your dog.

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