TRAINING , STARTING AT THE BEGINING!..

WHY USE CLICKER?

 

These are reminder notes for owners where I have been out to their homes where I have carried out a training session. 

 

Every trainer has different ideas and methods and not every trainer agrees with other trainer's methods or ideas. These are my personal ideas or what I have learnt from other trainers and I am always striving to improve my methods and come up with new ideas. I am always happy to hear from anybody with new ideas or a method that might have worked for them. A good trainer must have an open mind and be willing to embrace different ideas and training methods. I have had many hours of discussions with other trainers and I must thank  in particular, my friends Sally Ansell (retired behaviourist) Tracey Berridge BSc (hons) MSc, M.A.P.D.T(Puppy Gurus) and Agression specialist, Angela Stockdale who are all excellent, fantastic, forward thinking clicker trainers.

 

My methods are kind and no physical force is used. In fact, I rarely have to actually touch your dog except to give it a kiss and cuddle.!

 

My training  session takes approx 3 hours and can be quite intensive and the following notes are to assist the owner to remember what I have taught their dog. It is also not always possible for all of the family members to be there at the training session so these notes are to help them understand my methods. When I visit the owner's home I work with the dog first and then show the owner how to do it.

 

Clicker training is very specific and really needs to be demonstrated by a good clicker trainer.

Clicker training revolutionised dog training, it works like magic. The dog gets it much quicker than their owner ! I find that owner's need to actually be physically shown it or its a bit like trying to drive a car by reading a book. 

It's very sad that there are still trainers who continue to believe in the old fashioned aggressive training methods where the dog is bullied into submission, sometimes where physical force is used.  It is often hard for owners to clear their minds of this type of training because it is so ingrained into people's brains.

 

All dogs know how to sit, to lay down, to run away, to come back, to poo, to wee,  to bark, to stop barking, to jump up, to NOT jump up etc etc.

We don't teach them to do any of these things, they know how to do them...what we need to do it communicate our wishes to the dog. What we want is for the dog to use its brain and work out what we are asking and to work with a happy smile and wagging tail. So, when I first visit I am not worried what a dog has been "taught" previously. 

 

 

My training starts with going back to basics.

 

I use an "I" Clicker which is quieter and easier to use than the original style clicker. Many people don't understand the concept of the clicker. I have seen people using it like a "remote control" and point it at the dog and ...click, click, click...or they think they click once for sit and twice for down etc ...

This is NOT how it works! 

The clicker is a training tool, it is not something you will need forever.

Ideally, what I would like to see in your training kit is an "I" clicker, 2 ordinary referee's style whistles, a training mat, a 6 feet training lead, a padded/fleece body harness, a long training line (about 25 feet long)

I sell this equipment often at cheaper prices than you can buy from the maker or internet.

For more detailed information on equipment see the page " Equipment information and sales" on this webb site.

I am working on a second web site dedicated to Equipment sales called www.thetopdog.net. I have a link to this equipment web site on this web site.

 

 

TO START.

I just start teaching the dog the click means a treat. Just click and treat, click and treat, click and treat.

 

The dog will soon learn the click means "YES ! what you are doing right this SECOND is perfect and I love you for it and now you are getting a very very tasty tiny piece of this sausage!  ...and then I start with the sit !! Owners often say " but I have taught my dog to sit already!" ...but my methods are different.

In my experience, the quieter the person speaks, the more hand signals used the more the dog will listen. Shouting and arguing with the dog just makes it either argue back or it becomes "white noise"  to the dog and they learn to just ignore you.

 

FOOD AND TREATS.

Firstly, look at the food you feed to your dog. Some commercial dog food/ treats do have additives eg sugar and E numbers which may have an effect on your dog's behaviour.  Some have up to 12 "E" numbers.

When training your dog you will need very, very tasty treats so your dog will work with enthusiasm. I have looked at lots of different ideas to make it easier and inexpensive for owners and I have come up with this as an easy, cheap way of always having treats available. Most supermarkets sell their own brand of frozen sausages , normally 20 sausages for approx £1 ! (normally found where their frozen burgers are)

 Buy a few packs of these and put some in your freezer. Put the contents of one pack into a large pan of water and bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 mins. Drain them, let them cool and put each sausage into a small plastic freezer bag (normally on a roll) and put them into the freezer. Every day you can then just take one out and defrost it. If you microwave it for a few seconds you have warm sausage ready to go. You will see that you can give tiny, tiny pieces of this soft sausage which is easy to digest, doesn't bloat or fill them up, doesn't make them thirsty and you don't have to spend time chopping them up into little pieces...it is just soft and easy to manage..... Cheap, easy, quick  treats that are always available !

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF ANY DOG TRAINING IS THAT YOU USE A HAPPY VOICE AND A SMILE.

 Don't consider training if you feel ill, or in a bad mood or if you have had a bad day or things are going wrong that day for you. Leave it for another day.

Once I have been out to train your dog, afterwards don't be tempted to do long training sessions. If you were to break it down you only need to train your dog for about 5 or 10 minutes about 4 or 5 times a day but ideally the training should be part of your everyday living....don't be tempted to do too much, too soon.

After my training session our dog club comes into its own, you can come along to have some fun using the equipment, socialise, practice the obedience training which will help to keep you motivated....training needs to be kept fun and always end on a good note with a positive end.

If you mess it up and go too fast for your dog, go back and finish with something the dog knows well eg sit to a hand signal and end it there !

 

MAT TRAINING.

I use a door mat or carpet square or piece of carpet cut off (but must be a different colour to your laid carpet. ) Ideally, a  rubber backed mat is best as you will need it to train inside the house so you need one that isn't going to slip on hard floors but your will also need to take it with you when you train outside in the open so it must be easy to roll up and take with you. I have come up with this idea as it has a multitude of benefits  which will become clear as you read on.  Its not a "naughty step" ...its a wonderful place , its your dogs "McDonalds"!

 

THE SIT !

My methods are "backward" training. I get the dog to so what I want by luring it into position , I then use a hand signal for that action, I click and treat and then say the word for the action the dog is doing. I am saying to the dog "this is the hand signal for what you are now doing and the word for what you are doing is called "sit"

So, using the training mat, I lure the dog into the mat and lure the dog into the sit using the treat.  I have the clicker in my left hand, the  treat in my right (closed ) hand and bending my elbow, I touch the front of my right shoulder with my right hand.

So to clarify....

lure the dog onto the mat,

lure it into the sit (like a donkey and carrot)

then use the  hand signal (with treat in right hand) click and treat and say "sit"

lure/or call the dog off the matt , lure it back onto the mat and  repeat the above exercise about 7 times. PRAISE YOUR DOG, BE HAPPY, BIG HUGE SMILE AND SAY "YES" IN A VERY UPLIFTING VOICE. Your dog will read your body language so make sure you let your dog know you are really pleased with what it has just done.

 

I am in the process of writing these notes, so still to come will be advice on the following;

 

THE DOWN.

DISTANCE DROP TO A HAND SIGNAL

THE WAIT/STAY

DOOR MANNERS

LONG LINE (OR "THIS WAY") TRAINING 

WHISTLE TRAINING (THE WHISTLE GAME!)

TEACHING THE DOOR BELL GAME

CAGES (CRATES)

DOG BEDDING

LAW REGARDING COLLARS/ BEST COLLARS TO USE.

WHY DOES MY PUPPY BITE/CHEW?

WHY DOES MY PUPPY RUN OFF WITH MY STUFF?

TEETHING/ FEAR

ADOLESCENCE