Training Basics

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Training Basics.

We do not have to teach dogs to sit, lie down or stand because they already know how to do it. What we do teach them is English as a 2nd language and to want to sit or lie down, reliably when we ask for it.

Food is used as a reward for performing a command and hand signals are used instead of words. The dog learns that he only gets rewarded if he sits when told to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

Feeding

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Dinner TimeFor the first few weeks you should continue feeding your puppy with the food he was fed on. Most breeders supply a sample bag to take home with you. If you want to feed something different then introduce the new food gradually by adding half of the new food to what he has been on. Gradually phase the old food out. Try to stick to a diet that was especially formulated for your breed of dog, especially if it is a large breed dog.

Many puppies are overfed which can lead to a variety of diseases, especially in large breeds. Large breed puppies require a diet that promotes slow but steady growth; smaller dogs often need energy-dense diets. Read the rest of this entry »

Start: Attention & “come”

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Puppies and untrained dogs:

Aim: To teach your dog: 1) to pay attention and look at you. 2) To come when called.

Equipment: Clicker / treat / tug toy. Code: C/T = Click and Treat (See article “Clicker”)
1) Getting Attention:

Getting a dog’s full attention on command can be very difficult. If a dog does not pay attention to you, you cannot teach it anything. Start by selecting a distraction free area at home such as a spare room, a passage, the stoep, garage or a quiet area in the back yard. I prefer the kitchen where I have started the training of all my puppies. Young dogs are easily distracted and if you train in an area where the dog gets distracted and it becomes necessary to repeatedly correct the dog for lack of attention, it soon begins to associate training with “pops” on the leash, becomes stressed and starts giving calming signals such as yawning, smelling or licking of the lips. Read the rest of this entry »

Puppy Classes

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Doggy Dream or Nasty Nightmare?

“A most important quality in a pet dog is his temperament. A dog with a good temperament can be a dream to live with, but a dog with a tricky temperament is a perpetual nightmare. Moreover, regardless of breed or breeding, a dog’s temperament, especially his feelings toward people and other dogs, is primarily the result of his level of socialization during puppyhood — the most important time in a dog’s life. Do not waste this golden opportunity. Solid gold temperaments are forged during this period.”
Dr Ian Dunbar

 

Puppy Classes (10 weeks of age onwards)

 

The most important reasons for puppy classes are; in order:

  1. Teaching bite inhibition during play sessions with other puppies while socialising. A dog with good bite inhibition will cause little or no damage when provoked to bite.
  2. Teaching puppies to enjoy being handled by people and feel safe and comfortable with men and children. A dog that loves people is highly unlikely to bite. One that does not like many people barks and growls frequently and is likely to lunge and bite with deep punctures.
  3. Teaching puppies to respond quickly and willingly to voice commands even when distracted. This is to stop unwanted behaviour before it starts and to protect the dog from danger. E.g. It must stop mouthing, looking at the cat or chicken, go out of the gate etc. when requested and to calm the dog before the behaviour gets out of hand.

Barking

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 BARKING     Woof-woof (English)   Jau-jau (Spanish)   Wung-wung (Chinese)      Ouah-ouah= “wa-wa” (French)

The problem with barking is that while it is very normal canine behaviour it is often very difficult to work out exactly why a dog barks. A dog may bark when he senses a strange dog nearby, or when he hears unusual noises. He is also expected to bark at strangers approaching your home to warn you, especially at night. Barking at inconvenient times and for too long causes most problems. Pet owners also never hear their own dogs, but the neighbours sure will. A little is okay, but the problem is when he does not know when to stop even when told to do so. Barking is often made worse because owners are inconsistent in the way they deal with it. Sometimes the dog is allowed to bark, even encouraged to bark and then at other times scolded or beaten for barking. This can be very confusing and stressful for a dog. No wonder some bark more when the owners are away.

Before you can start on a method to reduce the amount of barking, you need to understand why the dog is barking. Is he lonely? Does he bark at people, birds or dogs? Does he bark when you are away? Is it separation anxiety? (See my notes under Problems). You need to know what sets him off in order to be able to stop the barking. When he first starts barking, go and investigate the reason for his behaviour. By listening to the various tones of his barks, you will be able to tell when he is barking at the other dogs and asking them to play or when there is someone at the gate or he is barking at a bird or is frightened or bored. You will then be able to take action. Dogs each have a distinctive bark and you can quite easily tell which one is barking. Read the rest of this entry »

Socialising

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Socialising your pup is probably one of the best things you could ever do for him/her. Socialisation involves exposing your puppy to a wide variety of places and situations which he may encounter at some stage in his life and arranging for him to have as many positive experiences with humans and other canines as possible, so that pleasant associations can be built up with the outside world. It also involves protecting your pup from experiences which may be traumatic and cause emotional damage. A pup that is undersocialised may grow up to be afraid of a variety of things: people, dogs, noises, certain objects and new situations. As the dog matures this fear often develops into aggression as the dog attempts to protect himself from what he perceives to be a threat. Fear-aggression can make life miserable for both you and your dog and it is therefore essential to do all you can to prevent it from developing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Heel exercises

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Training Programme. 

General:

Heeling is Teamwork and the dog’s attention must be kept for increasingly longer periods of time.

In training, do not work off lead unless ordered to do so by a trainer. At home, train exclusively on lead.

The dog’s head must be UP and be looking at the handler. Use food or a toy to maintain attention. Read the rest of this entry »

Puppy Problems

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No one can deny that raising a puppy brings joy, fun, amusement and a special kind of warmth into a person’s life. However, it may also bring days when you feel as if your life has been invaded by a mini-tornado that has left a path of destruction and frustration in its wake. Many puppy problems disappear as the dog matures, but some don’t, leaving countless misunderstood adolescent dogs banned outdoors or abandoned in animal shelters when their puppy antics are no longer tolerated after their cute looks have faded.

Read the rest of this entry »

House Training Puppies

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House-training is one of the first things we attempt to teach our dogs and it is important that we do so correctly and consistently as soon as we acquire them. Most of us adopt our dogs as very young puppies that need to urinate and defecate more frequently than adult dogs and are also more likely to do so as a result of fear or excitement.

It is important to understand a pup’s limitations in this area and to handle house-training in a positive manner. It is better to engage in a concentrated effort over a few weeks, at the end of which you are likely to have a fully house-trained dog, than to make sporadic attempts at house-training over several months with unreliable results.

  Read the rest of this entry »

Why train your dog?

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Q: Why Train Your Dog?

A: Like the rest of your family and your dog is most definitely part of your family, you want him or her to be a friendly, well-behaved dog that you can take anywhere without risk or bother to others. A dog, who behaves well in a crowd, has good manners when guests visit your home, is reliable around children, and who does not lunge, bark at, or threaten other dogs or passers-by in the street, on the beach or in the park. Read the rest of this entry »

Why “obedience training?”

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Q: Why “Obedience training”?

A: Suburban living and laws have restricted our dogs from roaming more freely, so we have to put up with them digging, barking and running a path in the lawn. Obedience training is perhaps the more sensible way to channel these canine activities and get them to become well behaved within the restrictions they find themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Destructive chewing

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Dogs are animals and animals love to chew. This is especially true for puppies and young dogs. What they do with their teeth can be both instinctive and learnt behaviour. Thus it is perfectly normal for dogs, especially puppies, to explore their world through their noses and their mouths. They chew to ease teething discomfort, to play, to satisfy hunger, to establish dominance, and to relieve boredom. Chewing releases tension which builds up in the dog’s mouth and face and is often related to stress/ anxiety (e.g. separation anxiety) or a lack of mental and physical stimulation. Once puppies have their adult teeth they continue to chew to settle them into the growing adult jaw. This can continue up until 12 to 14 months of age. During this time the dog has a biological need to chew. It helps to exercise and develop their jaws and to keep their teeth and gums healthy. If they do not have something suitable to gnaw, they will find something else to get their teeth into. Read the rest of this entry »

Clicker Training

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For many years dog trainers have been searching for a non-coercive training method for pet owners. Although B.F.Skinner in the 1960’s first suggested using clickers with dogs, some of his students had actually experimented with clickers in the 1940’s before using it in marine mammal training. However, it is claimed that clicker training really only began in 1987 and gained momentum from 1992 onwards.

Read the rest of this entry »

Getting started: Heeling

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Heeling. With acknowledgement to Paul Anderson.UK.

Aim: To teach the dog to follow your left hand. C/T = Click and Treat
Equipment: Tasty food in the left hand and Clicker in the right hand.
Instead of the Clicker you can say, “Yes” and treat. Read the rest of this entry »

Club news

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Kennel Association Show                  Constantia                  2010-12-05

The following club members are congralulated on excellent results: 

Obedience Competition

A Level Class:

Gamble and Roland Croxford 2nd

 Lara and Liz Werth 3rd

Novice Class:

Danny and Lindy Croxford 3rd 

Special Beginners Class:

Logan and Jane Terril 1st 

Canine Good Citizen Test (100% pass rate)

 1.  Thor           Mark vd Sandt

2.  Lola            Pier Rush

3.  Rosie         Janet Slabber

4.  Manzi         Robin Hartley

5.  Ben               Charles Dominion

6.  Newton      Ryno Swart

7.  Taka          Tinka Shapiro

8.  Honey        Gustao de Freitas

9.  Cohen        Chris Vena

10. Leila          Thozama Gola

11. Annuq       Thomas Tom

12. Shadow     Siyanda Twani

13. Rocky       Simone Vivi

Cats & Dogs

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When one has dogs and cats one wants them to live together calmly – even if they don’t want to be friends. Keeping them apart is no solution because you will have to do it all the time and sooner or later someone is going to leave a door open and then you may have serious problems. Dogs can kill cats very easily, even if they are only playing. One shake is enough to break a cat’s neck.

Bringing them together, however, can be quite difficult. If the dog or the cat or both are young it usually is a lot easier than with an older dog or cat.
It must be remembered that puppies are babies and are very curious about cats and will want to get as close to them as possible. Chasing cats for them is a fun thing and is very natural for all dogs because their prey drive (instinct to chase and catch) is triggered by movement. While the cat is sitting still the dog may ignore her, but in motion, she becomes something quite different and exciting and the dog will obey his ancient instinct without thinking. Dogs usually want to chase and play with cats, and cats usually become afraid and want to run away. Kittens are especially vulnerable because they are so much smaller, curious and trusting. We need to provide a better alternative to chasing cats otherwise the dog will simply continue doing so.
Once a dog has experienced the thrill of a “kill,” especially in a pack, he is very likely to do it again.

Read the rest of this entry »

Coprohagia (Stool eating)

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The Greek word Coprophagia, literally means, “Dung eating.”
Most dog owners have been disgusted when they see their dog eating the fresh manure they dug into the flower garden, or see him dig in the cat box or even eat his own pooh. This is not a sign of illness or depravity. Dogs are carnivores and in the wild would kill and eat the whole prey including the faecal matter in the entrails which are a rich source of essential enzymes and micro organisms which in fact aid their digestive processes. Some dogs eat soil for the same reason. Read the rest of this entry »

Resource guarding

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Object guarding can take many forms, from food to toys, the owner and location and is a fairly common problem with family dogs. This can sometimes become person specific – child or adult an employee or a stranger.

A young puppy may have growled at his littermates to make them back away so that he could get the best share. He simply continues this behaviour in his new home even though he is spoilt for food and toys. Some owners may even encourage the puppy’s protective display, thinking it is cute. Read the rest of this entry »

Basic training rules

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Basic Training Rules:

Never correct or scold your dog after calling him to you or punish him after he has done wrong!

Pick up after your dog. Do not allow your dog to play or interfere with other dogs in training. Play with and exercise your dog every day.

Be patient! Never lose your temper! Never use violent tugs or slaps or kicks to punish your dog! Remember, you are going to have fun with your dog. If either you or your dog is frustrated, take a break and try again later. Read the rest of this entry »

Training tips

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The Settle Down command

The “settle down command.” To teach this command you have your dog on a leash, You have it lie down beside you and you put the leash under your foot so that if the puppy tries to get up, it self-corrects it.You’re not pushing the dog down; the leash is holding it down. Do that for half an hour at a time each day and it teaches your dog to be quiet. A lot of people who have a very active dog think “oh my god, I’ve got to take it out for another hour’s exercise.” All you’re doing then is giving yourself an incredibly fit dog that needs four or five hours of exercise a day.What the dog really needs to learn is to settle down by your foot. Eventually you’ll be able to take it off the leash and your dog, no matter whether your home, at the office or at a friend’s house, just sits down by your foot and stays here. Read the rest of this entry »




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