Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Puppy Socializations - The Puppy's Rule of 12 - Margaret Hughes—Positive Paws Dog Training, 2002

Claudia Black-Kalinsky, CPDT-Ka
912-677-2861 / 201-738-5452
Sometimes things are so well done there is no reason to reinvent the wheel...  or a puppy socialization plan.

Margaret Hughes, at Positive Dog Training has developed an excellent list of things every young puppy should be familiar with.  The Puppy's Rule of 12

Take your new puppy out in Savannah and Bluffton.  Train your dog to greet new people and places with happy anticipation.  Find a great puppy class (I happen to teach great puppy classes) that emphasize socialization as well as training.

With a new puppy socialization is crucial.  All new puppies need to explore the world and have GOOD experiences.

By the time your puppy is 20 weeks old, it should have: 
(If your puppy is older than 20 weeks, start immediately with this guideline)
  • Experienced 12 different surfaces: wood, woodchips, carpet, tile, cement, linoleum, grass, wet grass, dirt, mud puddles, pea gravel, grates, a table (vet visits), etc.
  • Been introduced to 12 different objects: toys, balls (big and small), funny sounding toys, metal items, statues, balloons, etc.
  • Experienced 12 different locations: front yard, other people’s homes, school yard, lake, river, basement, elevator, car, moving car, laundry room, kennel, etc.
  • Met and played with 12 new people (outside the family): children, adults, elderly adults, people in wheelchairs, walkers, people with canes, crutches, hats, uniforms, etc.
  • Exposed to 12 different noises (ALWAYS keep things fun and watch the puppy’s comfort level- we don’t want the puppy scared): garage door opening, doorbell, phone ringing, children playing, crying baby, big trucks, motorcycles, skateboards, washing machine, clapping, lawnmowers, etc.
  • Exposed to 12 fast-moving objects (don’t allow them to chase!): skateboards, roller-skates, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, running people, running cats, running squirrels,  running horses, running cows, etc.
  • Experienced 12 different challenges: climb on/in/off/around a box, go through a
    cardboard tunnel, climb up and down steps, go in and out a doorway with a step,
    go through an electric sliding door, climb over a log, go into a bathtub (and bath),
    get in and out of a car, etc.
  • Handled 12 different ways each week for 12 weeks: held under someone’s arm (football hold), hold on floor, held between owner’s legs, handle head, look in ears, look in mouth, look between toes, take temperature, held like a baby, trim toenails, etc.
  • Been left alone safely (in crate) away from family and other animals (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week
  • Been left alone safely (in crate) near family members (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Crate Training Your Dog

Some dogs take to crate training easily.  

You show them their crate, they seem to think, 'My very own club house, hooray!' and your problems are over.

Other dogs are not so sure about being left in a crate.  They are nervous about being left alone, suspicious of confinement, and noisy.  For these dogs, slow and steady will help your dog learn that a crate is not a dangerous place.

The size of your crate.  A dog should be able to comfortably stand up, turn around and lay down in his or her crate.  If you are working on house training then the crate should not be larger than this.

Crate training your nervous or barking dog - Slow and Steady is the Way to Go!

1.    Start with the crate door open, drop small treats (cheerios are fine) into it, let him get them and leave.  Don't make a fuss, just drop in a cheerio and walk away.  When you're dog walks by 45 minutes later you want him to think, "Wow, this thing grows Cheerios!"

2.    If you are standing close by as he enters the crate say YES in a happy voice and drop another small treat into the crate, do not close the door yet.

3.    If he elects to stay in the crate, drop several cheerios through the top at intervals of about 5 to 10 second. 

Now it is time to begin to close the door ~ Don't Rush this step

4.    When he is resting in the crate comfortably and voluntarily, give him something very special, a stuffed kong, a bully stick, etc. close the door, and stay in the room.  (have a book or computer ready to occupy your time)

5.    When he is good at this start brief absences.  Begin with a really short one, go to the kitchen for a drink of water.  Gradually extend the absences.  After you can move about your home without him crying go outside for a few moments and return BEFORE he has a chance to get frantic.  Gradually extend these absences.

6.  When you return from an absence ignore him.   Don't rush into the room and give him attention.  Let him sit in his crate.  Start with one minute of ignoring him, then go to a minute and a half, then two minutes, etc.  Until you have worked it up to 10 minutes (just busy yourself with that book, computer, smartphone, etc.).

6.    Do not pay any attention to him if he barks, whines, etc.  Only a quiet dog is let out of a crate.  Be firm on this point or you will teach him to demand bark.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014



House training a puppy or dog is not magic.  It is all about keeping a schedule, managing your dog's environment, and helping your dog learn by rewarding the correct thing.  Punishing house breaking mistakes will delay your dog's learning.

1.            Keep a schedule.  How often does your dog eliminate?  How soon after meals?  Set an alarm.

2.            Make sure your supervised puppy has lots of play and exploration time, but confine your dog to a crate or other small area when you cannot watch your dog or leave your home. (Watching your dog means, like a hawk, with the same attention you would give a two year old.  If you are not watching, the mistake is on you, so don’t blame the dog.)

3.            Dog’s give signals when they have to go.  Very few walk purposefully to the door, give one articulate ‘woof’ and glance back to be sure you understand.  They whine, pace, scratch circle, or go to the edges of a room, nudge you, nip you, etc.  Learn these signals.  Watch for them.

4.            Be realistic about how long your dog can go without peeing.  Just like us they eliminate more during waking hours.  Puppies and small dogs go often, very often.

5.            Take your dog to a designated potty spot ON LEASH.  Stand there about 7 minutes or until the dog eliminates.

If Dog Goes.  Reward with a treat.                               
***Take dog for a walk or play with dog!  Dragging the dog right inside punishes going outside. Additional outside play also gives the dog time to eliminate again.  Reward all outdoor eliminations.

If Dog does NOT go. Return dog to Crate.  
Set timer for 15 – 20 minutes, try again.     

6.  Do not EVER punish your dog for peeing or pooping in your home.  Never, ever, no exceptions, period.

a.            If you punish the dog while they are going you don’t teach them it is wrong to eliminate in the house.  You teach them it is dangerous to eliminate in front of humans.  Now you have a dog who won’t eliminate on walks.  They wait until they are inside and you leave the room, then it is ‘safe’ to go.  (I've had several of these as fosters over the years, including one right now.)

b.            If you punish your dog even 4 seconds after they are done going, they don't connect the accident to your behavior.  They may have just been scratching their ear, and they think that is why you are angry.  'I was scratching and listening to the birds outside and he went nuts!"  At this point the dog believes you are unstable and possibly dangerous. 

7.            Use Nature’s Miracle, it’s an enzymatic cleaner.  If you want to use vinegar, baking soda, or your mother’s magic recipe, go ahead.  Just use the Nature’s Miracle too.  Without enzymatic cleaner the ‘spot’ smells like the Men’s Room at the Atlanta Bus Station to your dog.  Enzymatic cleaner breaks down the chemical structure of the urine and feces.   Available at pet shops and supermarkets.

8.            If your dog keeps eliminating in the same ‘spot’ block access to that spot, unless it is the front or back door.  If your dog is eliminating near an exit, you need to take them out on a more regular basis.

9.            If this does not work, bring your dog to the veterinarian to check for medical reasons you and your dog are not successful.  If the dog checks out medically then find a qualified dog trainer to help you with house training your dog.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Do All Therapy Dogs Like Other Dogs?

The letter below is one written to a client at the dog daycare and boarding facility where I am the Training and Behavior consultant.

The dog's owner was justifiably proud his dog had passed the TDI (Therapy Dog International) test.  This dog was a wonderful therapy dog and she and her owner brought a great deal of happiness to people in the community.  

However, like humans, dogs do not excel at everything.  His dog, though wonderful with humans, did not like other dogs.  He did give me a few clues.  He felt uneasy at the dog park, did not have play dates with other dogs, and did not feel his dog would share a toy.

The names have been changed .

Good therapy dogs need to be the kind of dogs who ADORE people, all people, and want nothing more than to connect with them. It is, after all, the emotional connection that is often the therapeutic part of AAA and AAT.  It seems to me that dogs sort into 4 categories: 1) adore people, care little for other dogs, 2) adore dogs, care little for unfamiliar people, 3) adore members of both species and are thrilled to meet new ones and 4) adore neither dogs or people, except maybe their owner. Needless to say, only categories 1 and 3 are good therapy prospects.
Patricia McConnell, PhD.  Author of The Other End of the Leash, one of the best dog book I have ever read.

April 8, 2014
Dear Mr. Smith,

It is never easy to write one of these notes telling someone their dog is not a good candidate for daycare, especially when that dog has accomplished as much as your dog has and been such an asset to the community. 

In part the decision to stop Sparky’s daycare evaluation immediately was partly dependent on her therapy dog status.  Sparky obviously loves people.  She is wiggly, kissy, and sweet.  She is a great ambassador for her breed.  All too often I have clients say, “My dog did this, because she is a rescue dog.”  How I wish I had Sparky in my back pocket let them see how wonderful rescue dogs are. 

Sparky, however, is one of the dogs that Patricia McConnell described above as dog #1.  She went into the back with me, saw a line of kenneled dogs, and jammed on the breaks.  I put her into a nearby suite with an opaque door and she was content.  

After about a half hour I went to evaluate her.  She was delighted to see me.  I let her roam about my evaluation yard, sniff, come to me for petting, and get comfortable with the environment.  Then I let in our first dog, a young female pittie with excellent manners and a sweet disposition, a lot like Sparky.  She approached Sparky quietly for a sniff and Sparky snarled and punched her in the neck.  The dog paused and tried again, for a soft gentle greeting and Sparky repeated her neck punch. 

I opened a crate and the other dog ran in and leaned against the back wall, avoiding eye contact with Sparky. 

Since you obviously have put a lot of care into your dog I am sure you know one bad experience can turn a great dog into a leash reactive dog.  No one with a therapy dog needs a leash reactive dog. 
Because of your excellent walking habits and care, Sparky is happy with other dogs when she is on leash. However she does not want to be approached.  I would not ruin this for the world and stopped the evaluation before she had a chance to become uneasy with other dogs. 

I hope you agree with my decision.  Our primary goal is to ensure all dogs in our care are safe and happy.
With this note is a very nice article by Robin Bennet called, “My Dog Got Kicked Out of Daycare Today”.  I hope it explains anything I might have failed to make clear.  

In the mean time, if you would like Sparky to come to us for day boarding she can be one of our non-daycare dogs.  She will have a nice place to rest, regular walks, and people to talk to and play with and, if you provide it, a lunch time snack.  We would love to have her here, she is a very sweet dog, just not a dog who wants to hang out with a lot of strange dogs.

I look forward to Therapy Dog International Visits with you, Sparky and my dog, Ella.  She will appreciate Sparky's polite demeanor and I am sure we will have a fine time.  I am very proud we passed the TDI test and can join you and your fellows.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The difference between Dog Training and Canine Behavior Modification

Training and Behavior Modification are two very different things.

You can train a third grader to play the violin, he may be the best trained violin player in town, but he beats up kids in the playground.  

Violin playing is training.
Fighting with fellow third graders is behavior.

It is probably easier to train a child with a reasonable amount of musical ability to scratch out a tune on the violin than it is to modify the behavior of a child who gets into fights in the playground.

Currently I have a client in my Savannah Dog Training Classes with a young dog who is sweet in every way.  She is friendly and gentle with people, and loves to play with other four month old puppies.  She is doing very well in her puppy class, quickly picking up commands and seems engaged with the training process.  Her training progress is excellent.

However, she had a very unfortunate experience with a groomer during her fear impact period.  During this experience she was brought in a back room, lifted from the ground, restrained, and her toe nails were blunted with an electric dremel.  

This is a perfect storm of fear for a young dog.  She was
1. removed from her person
2. lifted and restrained by a stranger
3. she was exposed to an unfamiliar electric implement (think of your dog's reaction to perhaps vacuums or leaf blowers)
4. and while she was struggling the implement was applied to her feet in an unpleasant way.

The groomer came out and said that the dogs was, "The Worst Puppy she had ever seen."

Honestly, I think this may be one of the Worst Groomers I have ever heard of.  The first puppy appointment at a groomer should be nothing but happy.  The owner should be in the room, there should be treats, a little gentle brushing, the dremel can softly tap the puppy's toes when it is turned off, and be turned on when it is not near the puppy.  The puppy should get to sniff the things in the room.  It should stand on the table, maybe get it's toes wet in the tub, and go home.

The unfortunate result of this experience is, when anyone but the owner tries to life the puppy from the floor she becomes hysterical, tries to escape, and if she can't she will snarl and bite, hard.

To help the puppy get over this experience we will be engaging in behavior modification techniques, particularly desensitization and counter conditioning.  Gradually we will try to build positive associations with strangers handling the puppy, touching the puppy's feet, and gently elevating the puppy.  This may take a long time, but since the dog is young and has not been practicing this behavior very long, we will make quicker progress than if the dog were mature and this were deeply ingrained into their personality.

This behavior modification is for the sweet little puppy who picks up training cues like SIT, DOWN, and WAIT almost immediately.