LOCK DOWN PROJECTS AND TASKS
Lets teach your dog to lie down quickly!
Can you get your dog to lie down quickly?
How about with your hands on your head?
Does your dog know what the word down is?
I start this by getting my dog to lie in it’s bed. Say Down, put your hand on your head and reward. Repeat 3 times.
Arm yourself with some yummy treats.
Sit yourself down, put your hands on your head. Say “Down”
Wait for your dog to offer you a down and as soon as they do, toss them a treat. If they get up, then just put your hand back on your head and wait to reward.
Repeat three times.
Then try it without saying anything
Great party trick - but more important is that your dog is watching you and wants to please.
Now repeat on your walk - keep your dog on a lead at all times. You can include this in your circuit training.
Gradually increase distractions but always reward and always have fun with them
Grab the Collar,
Getting your dog used to being handled
Some useful tips from the South Downs Dog Trainer
As someone who has worked with many thousands of dogs and their owners, and owned well over 32 German Shepherds - many of these were rescues, I thought I would put together some helpful handling ideas for our dog owners.
FEEL YOUR COLLAR!!
At no point should a child or children be allowed to do this exercise!!
This little exercise helps desensitize your dog to having their collar grabbed, to perhaps being moved around via his collar. Maybe your dog needs to get used to having hands reaching from all angles.
Sometimes, this can be due to an emergency – sadly there maybe times when your dog has to be grabbed when something is going wrong. (We only have to think about the situation at the moment, where maybe the emergency services visit - and I have spoken to many firemen and women,in the past, who have had to grab a dog when rescuing them!)
So many dogs learn to keep the collar away from their human, as it usually means the leash is going to get attached and their fun has finished. We have to now change the meaning to our dog.
We start by calling our dog using a treat. Reach for the collar and then reward while still holding it. You may have to start by just waving your hand near your dog and reward but usually by having some yummy food, curiosity will build up and they will approach. Don’t start by grabbing, do it gently. The grabbing comes later.
Over a period of days, you can build up your dog’s trust, so that they know that the grab means a treat – never ever do it without a treat. You are trying to build trust and if you break that, you have to start again, and it will take twice as long.
Add a cue word – what are you going to say – “Give me that collar”, “Lead on” or what?
Your cue will be handy later when you need to call your dog – in fact I have known dog’s being taught the cue word as the recall word.
I always teach a recall by finishing off by holding the collar as you attach the lead.
Once your dog has got used to all this, you may like to make the command a little louder, with a bit more panic in it? Most importantly, is that it is still fun for your dog.
Make it a game and your dog will thank you for it.
Handling and prepare your dog for
Once you have your dog happy for you to handle them and moving them by their collar, then we can introduce much more invasive handling. This is ideal if you have a dog that is likely to be near children. They all want to hug their dog – you should prepare your dog for this.
Start by touching all over and gradually increase the pressure – when you can hug your dog, keeping them on the floor and away from your face, then you can carefully introduce your dog to being handled. The more time you can give to this, the easier it will be for your dog and they may even learn to enjoy it.
Take it slowly and don’t wait until the day you need to take your dog to the Vet or Groomer – start now. Groom every day with a brush and then stroke with your hand. Once your dog is happy, introduce the idea of looking at their teeth, and eyes and ears. Now lets teach them to give each paw whilst you check them.
Yes, there is a fun aspect to this, but also an important exercise as dog’s claws grow and need trimming. You need to either do this yourself – get your vet nurse to show you how, or ask your groomer to do it for you.
First with a treat in your hand, place it on your dog’s nose and then gently lift the paw – saying Paw.
Repeat twice more with that paw and then move to the other one. Do it three times with this paw and after each time reward. Finish for the day.
Next day, start with one paw and then the other. Reward after both paws have been touched. Do it three times each paw.
Next day, try holding the paw instead of touching – if they are already giving you paw – well done. You are on the way to teaching your dog to do it on command. Apply no pressure to the paw and make sure you rewarding your dog.
Next day, this time start at the beginning again, but each time hold the paw and touch each of the claws, one at a time – reward after each paw has been done. Now try and do the same with the back paws – remember start at the beginning by just touching to begin with.
Important – Take this slowly, but do not allow your dog to dictate to you. Don’t give up but also don’t put so much pressure on yourself or your dog. To begin with it may take up to 30 minutes per paw to get it right. Remember no pressure, just wait and let your dog relax before you move on.
This is important to teach, as when summer comes, you may need to check for seeds and things stuck in your dog’s paws. Sadly many dogs also cut their pads and need treatment – if your dog has got used to you handling them, the treatment can be so much easier for everyone. And finally, once your dog is happy, then there is no excuse for muddy paw prints all over the kitchen floor – you can dry them off by the door. A win, win for everyone!
Sending your dog to bed
For this exercise, it is useful to think about practical applications such as sending your dog to bed.
To move out the way and listen to you.
Imagine you have someone visiting (it will happen again) and need your dog to move out the way. You are cooking and need your dog out of the way.
You want your dog to move as you are carrying something.
Dogs feel so much better if someone else is making the decisions, so this idea is to teach your dog to take the worry away from them and reduce their stress levels. When a dog is stressed, like us they make the wrong choices, so lets help them.
Start by putting your dog on a lead and then taking them to their bed. Get them to lie down on command and reward.
To begin with do this all in one room.
Do not proceed any further until your dog knows the word “Bed”.
Next move is to keep your dog on a lead but drop it and get your dog to go and lie down on their own. Follow up behind and reward as soon as they do it. Repeat and repeat until they do it willingly and stay there. Can you toss them a treat and keep them on their bed?
Now we have to send your dog from across the room and get them to lie down and not move.
Do it at least 3 times.
Now to future proof the exercise.
Move the bed to another room and repeat 3 times still sending them while you are in the same room.
Now try it while you are in another room
Do it 3 times again. Reward each time.
Now let’s keep them on their bed for longer.
Put the bed back in the kitchen and send dog to bed. Now while they stay there, put the kettle on and make a cuppa. Every time they move, stop what you are doing and put them back on their bed.
It is not the making of the cuppa but the training of the dog that it’s important. It just gives us a length of time you need your dog to stay.
Now try it in the hallway if you have one or the garden. We are now going to get your dog to move quickly in a straight line to the bed.
Finally find yourself two tubs/markers which you can put in front of your dogs bed. Now they must ignore them but go past and lie down. Practice and have fun.
Why not list all the times you can use this exercise and send them to me.
Have fun and send me some photos of your dogs.
Teaching Your Dog Self Control
It is important to teach our dog some self control to our dogs. Whether you have a puppy or a newly rescued dog, or maybe your adolescent, we want our dog to make good choices. A dog usually works out very quickly that if I do something, I get something. I want that "thing" to be the right thing. It is a fun exercise and can be done anywhere you need control. Although you may start in a quiet place, you will be able to quickly move it to other places in the home, garden and if need be out and about. A park bench is a great place to do it, if you want your dog to be listening to you.
This is an exercise that I teach at home to begin with. Usually in the kitchen as I want my dog to make choices and this is done off lead.
Get yourself a couple of bowls, or boxes and put at least 10 pieces of food in one of them. Just make sure you cant drop them all over the floor. If you do, you may have to wait to another time to do this exercise. If you are doing this in the kitchen, keep the boxes out of reach to begin with.
Say nothing and just shake the box. Your dog should come over to you and offer you a sit - don't say anything, wait for them to do it. You may have to shake the box to begin with. As soon as they sit, reach for a piece of food and providing they stay in the sit, reward them. If they move - show them what they have lost and put it into the other box. They never get this piece! Save it for tomorrow. Now repeat with the other nine pieces in the box. If they move they don't get it, if they stay still, they get a reward. It is their choice.
Important - Never tell your dog what you want, they should offer the behaviour to get the reward.
This task is designed to help your dog gain some inner self control. Instead of you asking the dog to sit every time. Allow him to work it out that if he does, he will get a reward.
How to Progress:
Repeat until you can leave your dog in the sit and walk across the floor to reach for a treat, and return to your dog without him moving.
If your dog moves, just remind him what he lost out and replace the treat into the container again. Ask him to sit and repeat the exercise.
Gradually ask the dog to increase the length of time he sits and waits for the treat.
Every now and then reward for a quick and correct sit to keep him on his toes.
DO NOT TELL YOUR DOG OFF –
JUST SHOW HIM WHAT HE MISSED AND REPEAT THE EXERCISE.
ALWAYS END THE SESSION ON A GOOD NOTE.
IF YOUR DOG IS CONFUSED, GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING AND START AGAIN.
Teaching Your Dog
Lets teach your dog to move from one position to another while you stand away from them.
This is such fun thing to teach your dog and you start by having them on lead and beside you.
Now come around to the front so you are facing your dog.
Start with your dog in the sit and facing you.
Tell them to stand – your dog should then move up into a stand without moving towards you
( I do this by pretending to throw a ball between the dogs legs - use a treat if you want to. Your dog should get up and move out the way for you)
Count to 5
Tell your dog to go into a Down. They should move to lie flat on the floor - without them moving towards you!
If you have already taught them to lie down by raising your hand to your head - then use this to help your dog understand.
Count to 5
Then back up into a Sit.
The reason for the gap between each move is to that you can reward your dog - - you go to them to reward
Repeat the whole thing and see if they move quicker?
Now do it once more and then reward with a huge handful of treats.
Lead off and play time.
Start as you did yesterday but see if you can stand a bit further away from your dog.
Go through the whole routine three times.
Remembering to reward as your dog gets it right.
Try and get your dog to do the whole routine while you are standing at the end of the lead.
Don’t worry if they get confused, simply move closer and reward when they get it right.
There is no rush, its just a bit of fun, but eventually you should be able to stand leads length away and your dog will go through the routine without moving towards you.
Introducing Hand Signals
Ok, so then you start again right next to your dog, but this time add a hand signal as well as the word. Eventually after a number of repetitions, your dog will be following your hand signals.
What are your hand signals?
Sit – move your hand up towards your eyes as in the Watch command
Down – place your hand on your head
Stand – move your hand towards your dog as if throwing a ball at them.
Now move further away and repeat.
Finally go leads length away and drop the lead onto the floor. Now go through the whole routine and finish up with a jackpot reward.
When you are feeling confident, try the routine outdoors in the garden, remembering to start at the very beginning again.
Why not take the routine out on a walk and see how your dog is doing?