There are many ways to spend your free time with your dog. You can play football with it, swim, throw apport. If we like to ride a bike, we can also engage our four-legged friend to accompany us on bicycle trips. Are all dogs suitable for this and how to ride a bike with a dog?
If you’re looking for more advice and information, check out the articles about walks here.
Cycling with a dog – a healthy way to spend your free time
Walking a bike with a dog – rules
There are no regulations in the Polish road traffic law regulating driving a dog next to a bicycle. In any case, it is not forbidden and many dog owners take advantage of the possibility of combining a bicycle trip with the amount of exercise that is so important for a pet. However, since there are no regulations, it is not established whether the dog must have the leash fastened when it runs next to the bicycle.
In any case, full responsibility for traffic safety rests with the owner of the dog, so when taking him on a bicycle, it is worth following logic and common sense, and on country and field roads – also local government regulations. First of all, the dog should have a leash, but the leash must never be tied to the handlebars of the bicycle. This is very dangerous as the dog may suddenly spot another dog, cat, bird etc. and jerk to start chasing. Doing so may cause you to lose control of the bike and tip over, which could result in serious injury to both the rider and the dog.
It is worth getting a special lanyard and a bicycle holder, and if necessary, keep the leash in your hand. Correctly, the dog is always running on the right side next to the bicycle. In this way, it is protected against vehicles overtaking the bike on the left side. If local regulations permit the dog to be released loose on side roads, this can be done as long as the dog is obedient and returns when called. However, it should be remembered that it is always forbidden to release the dog without a leash in the forest.
Dog breeds suitable for running alongside a bicycle
Large and medium-sized breeds are widely believed to be the best for cycling. Perhaps this opinion has become entrenched because most amateurs of cycling with a dog have dogs of such breeds. However, there are no restrictions on this matter. Every dog owner can try how to ride a dog on a bike.
In general, a dog must meet several conditions to run alongside a bicycle. First of all, it must be completely healthy and functional. Cycling is definitely not for puppies and very young dogs, as well as senior dogs and overweight pets. Brachycephalic dogs (with a flattened, short muzzle) are also not suitable for running. Small breed dogs can play the “cycling” sport, but they must not be taken for longer distances due to the relatively quick fatigue.
It is best to take a dog of the following breeds for a bicycle walk:
Husky– widely known and popular, accustomed to long runs, a sled dog with high physical endurance
Pointers– this group also includes setters, all types of bracco and pointers. They are all hunting dogs, intended for displaying game, mainly birds, and adapted to persistent running
Alaskan malamute – a large, majestic dog, who loves to run and swim, extremely durable
Border collie – a shepherd dog considered to be the most intelligent breed in the world. He is a born “hard worker” and sportsman. While he is most fond of mental training activity, he looks just as good running alongside the owner’s bike
German Shepherd – the most versatile of the herding and guard races. He has a great need for exercise and is very durable, perfect for jogging and cycling tours
Jack Russell terrier – a small hunting dog, full of temperament, extremely mobile, is a real volcano of energy and can be a perfect companion for cycling trips, although rather not on marathon distances. Also check this article for tips on how to teach your dog to walk on a loose leash.
How to ride a bike with a dog – science, precautions
How to teach a dog to run next to a bike
The most important thing is to check your dog’s reaction to the bike. If he does not pay attention to passing cyclists and does not try to chase him – this is the beginning of success. It starts with walking the bike out and summoning the dog. If he comes and sits down freely, reward him with a treat. After a few such exercises, you can go for the first walk. The dog should be in a harness (not a collar!) And on a leash, and should not eat before the walk.
We choose the straight path for our first walk. First we go on foot, leading the bike with the dog tied to the handle with a leash. If the dog is walking calmly, get on the bike and ride for no longer than 5 minutes. We closely observe the dog and control the speed of travel – it should be such that the dog runs at a free trot. If he is galloping next to the bike, it is imperative to slow down and think about how to calm down the dog – it will probably be best to take a break, give him a drink, stroke him and let him rest.
Gradually, every day we raise the degree of difficulty and extend the distance and time. It is enough if the walk will be longer by 2-3 minutes each day. Only after a few weeks of training will you be able to go on a longer trip. During the walk, you need to take breaks and let the dog drink water, which you take in a bottle or water bottle with a bowl. We do not continue driving immediately after the dog drank, you have to wait a dozen or so minutes. It’s safe because of his stomach.
What you need to know besides how to ride a bike with your dog
We start learning to run with a bike at the age when the dog’s skeleton is already formed. Keep in mind that the larger the breed, the more prone to hip dysplasia it is. Excessive effort at an age when the osteoarticular system is not yet fully formed may lead to its deformation. It is not true that an adult dog cannot learn to run with a bike. For the same reason, you should not force even a dog experienced in running next to a bicycle, and dose the effort safely.
If we plan a bike trip, the dog should not be fed directly in front of it. If we leave very early in the morning, better not eat anything. However, if the start is scheduled at noon, the dog should be given a meal with increased energy (carbohydrate) value early in the morning. After returning and waiting at least an hour, we feed the dog a meal containing mainly protein to regenerate the muscles.
As a general rule, do not feed your dog right before and immediately after exercise. You need to be especially careful with large breeds that have a tendency to twist their stomachs. This ailment can affect a quadruped after exercise with a full stomach and is a direct threat to life – immediate surgery is absolutely necessary to avoid necrosis of the digestive system organs.
Today, together with Vector and Haker, we come to you with a new trick. We will show you step by step how you can teach a lying dog to cross its front paws. This is a very cool trick that not only looks cute in photos or videos, but also improves your dog’s body awareness.
Before we start teaching the dog this trick, it would be good if he could already lie down on the gesture or verbal command and stay in this position until he heard the release command. Of course, you can also lead the dog to a lying position, but if he is not trained to do so, he can get up quickly, and we do not want that.
We will need a few things to learn. Treats that we will reward the dog with will surely be useful. If you know how to use a clicker and your pooch is conditioned to it, you can use it. If your pooch does not know the clicker, we will mark the desired dog behavior with a short, sonorous word “yes”. The last thing we need is a target. I use a yellow cloth for this, but you can use any item here. It is important that it is not too big and clearly visible to the dog.
During the warm-up, we want to teach the dog to touch the target with the front paw. We put the treat on the floor and cover it with a target. We mark with a clicker or a voiced “yes” word every time the target is touched with the dog’s front paw, and of course reward this behavior. Certainly some of your dogs will try to get to the treat with their teeth. In this case, hold the target with your hand to prevent the dog from eating the treat. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the dog will finally start using the front paws.
If your dog knows the “give the paw” command, you can use it during warm-up. We put the target on the hand and ask the dog to give us a paw. We praise him and reward him for carrying out the command. With each subsequent repetition, we keep the hand with the target lower and lower, until we finally put it on the floor. When the dog touches the target lying on the ground with its front paw, we can proceed to the next stage of learning.
Stage 1 Target with the front paw in a supine position
We ask the dog to lie down. Then we put the target between the dog’s front paws. We mark with a clicker or a voiced word “yes” and of course reward each touch of the target with a paw. It is worth looking at which paw the dog is pointing to. After about three attempts, mark and reward the dog for touching the target with only one chosen paw. This will make the next stages of learning easier for us. In the future, of course, you can teach your dog to cross the other paw, but it’s better to do it separately. Otherwise, everything can be wrong for the dog.
My dogs have been taught a lot of muzzle targeting. It is a very useful skill when learning a lot of tricks or when marking the smell in a nasal bag. Unfortunately, when learning how to cross the front paws, we want the dog to target us with its paw, not its mouth. Therefore, if the dog begins to target its mouth, you can simply take the target away and not reward the dog for the behavior. If this problem persists, I advise you to go back to warming up and strengthen your dog for paw targeting.
Stage 2 Crossing the paws
When the dog is happy to touch the target with the selected paw, we can move on to the next stage of learning. With each subsequent repetition, we move the target farther and farther so that the dog finally crosses its front paws. Of course, we still mark and reward touching the target with a paw. In this way, gradually, in small steps, we teach the dog to cross its front paws.
The most difficult moment here is when we carry the target with the paw lying on the ground and ask the dog to cross its paws. Many dogs may find it easier to touch the target with the other paw. That is why consistency is so important when working at an earlier stage. If in the first stage we rewarded the dog only for the target, e.g. with the right paw, now it will be easier for him to understand that we are still asking him to target with the right paw. However, when the dog tries to touch the target with his left paw, we simply take the target away and do not reward him for such behavior. If this error repeats, it is worth returning to the previous stage of the exercise. Remember not to force learning to speed up. It is better to divide the whole training into smaller stages than to demand things from the dog that are still too difficult for him.
Stage 3a We add a gesture
When the dog is nicely crossing the front paws of the target, you can start entering the verbal command and gesture. For most dogs, our body language is more understandable than the words we say. Therefore, entering a gesture is usually simpler than teaching the dog to perform a trick on a verbal command alone.
First, we must, of course, choose a gesture. This may be, for example, a finger pointing where the dog is to put its paw. However, I chose the gesture made with the foot. I want to teach my dog to cross its front paws when I cross my legs. How to teach it? First, it is worth repeating the exercise from the second stage in a standing position. Remember that dogs do not generalize and learn contextually poorly. This means that many details are important for a dog, which we do not always pay attention to, e.g. what position we have when giving a command. Therefore, if you have already exercised with your dog, kneeling or sitting, and you would like to show the gesture while standing, you must first teach the dog to cross its front paws when you are standing in front of it.
When this is achieved, we move on to the next stage of learning. We make a predetermined gesture and put the target in such a place that the dog crosses its front paws. We mark this behavior with a clicker or a voiced “yes” word and reward. After a few successful repetitions, we are trying to withdraw the targeting. We make a gesture and wait if the dog has already guessed what we mean. If so, of course we mark the crossing of the paws, praise the dog and reward. However, when the pooch needs a hint in the form of a target, let’s give it to him. We don’t want him to become unnecessarily frustrated while learning. Remember that it is your job to clearly explain to your dog what you mean.
Stage 3b We add the word command
We also enter the word command in a similar way. You can enter them yourself or combine them with a gesture. If we want the dog to cross its front paws at just a verbal command, we do it similarly to entering a gesture. This time, instead of showing the dog a gesture, we say a verbal command. Then we guide the dog with the target so that it crosses its front paws. After a few successful repetitions, we try to withdraw the targeting and check if the dog can already follow the commands just on the word.
If we have a previously worked out gesture for this trick, the sequence of actions should be as follows. First, we say a verbal command that the dog does not know yet, and only then we show a gesture that is already known to him. Over time, you can start to slowly withdraw the gesture and teach the dog to cross his paws on the verbal command.
Remember that the word you choose for this trick must not be similar to any other commands your dog already knows. My dogs know the word “paw” in various forms. We have an ordinary “paw”, on which dogs put my front paw in my hand. We also have a “paw” command when I ask dogs to get out of the leash during a walk. I also use the words “First paw, second paw, punch … etc.” when wiping mud from paws after a walk. My dogs are taught to raise all four paws one by one for these words. Therefore, in my case, the verbal command to cross the front paws cannot be anything related to the word “paw”. Instead, I use the word “right” for the crossing of the right paw and “left” for the crossing of the left paw. I do not recommend this solution to people who are often wrong on both sides. 😛
I am very curious how you like this trick and will your dogs teach it?
Autumn favors long walks with the dog in forests and fields. Unfortunately, after such a walk, our pet’s paws and abdomen are usually covered with a thick layer of mud. If we do not want it to be in our home, we must thoroughly wash and wipe the dog after a walk. It is also very important in winter when the pavements are sprinkled with salt. If we do not want her to eat painfully on the dog’s paws, we have to wash and wipe them. Well, with this rubbing the paws in many dogs there is a big problem.
On Instagram, more than half of the respondents indicated that their dogs do not like wiping their paws. On Youtube, when asked, “Do your dogs like wiping their paws after a walk?” 69% of people said their dog tolerates it at best, and 23% said their dogs hate wiping their paws.
Why don’t dogs like wiping their paws?
Wiping your paws is not normal for dogs. In nature, no one wipes mud from wild dogs. Therefore, suddenly grabbing the dog’s paws after a walk and trying to rub them forcibly is not the best idea. By doing this, your pooch will at least be surprised by your behavior. In extreme cases, fear and even aggression may also appear. If you want your dog to easily handle rubbing his paws, you must first get him used to this activity.
Many dogs also have quite sensitive paws and don’t like being touched by humans. Perhaps it is also related to the fact that in nature a dog with injured paws cannot get food and is basically doomed to death. If your pooch does not like to lick his paw, even in the form of a trick, he takes it at the last minute so that you do not touch it, stiffens, moves away from you, looks away, licks his nose, yawns, blinks his eyes or shows other signs of stress or threatening signals. like staring at you, snarling etc. you will definitely have to spend more time getting your dog used to wiping his paws.
When to start getting your dog used to wiping their paws?
The sooner we start getting your dog used to wiping his paws, the better. This treatment can be performed in the form of play with small puppies. Don’t wait until fall or winter to get your dog used to wiping his paws. The entire process may take a day or two, but it may also take longer. It is very important to give your dog as much time as he needs. You may find that you do not manage to wipe each paw thoroughly during the first sessions, and this is normal. Therefore, it is best to start getting used to it when it is sunny, dry and it is not necessary to wipe the dog’s paws.
The whole process is best broken down into as small steps as necessary for your dog. Only when the pooch accepts one stage, we move on to the next. You cannot rush or force anything here. We want to gain the dog’s trust and make him feel calm and safe while wiping his paws.
It is worth getting your dog used to wiping his paws by getting him used to just touching them. This is the first, necessary step not only when washing or wiping the paws, but also, for example, when trimming a dog’s claws. It is best to start getting your dog used to touching his paws when he is rushing, tired, full, and when all his basic needs are met. We can gently reach lower and lower towards the fingers by stroking the dog’s shoulder blade or thigh. It is important that our touch is calm and pleasant for the dog. We do not grasp his paw by force, but we also do not tickle him too softly. During such stroking, we praise the dog with a calm voice. You can also reward him with a treat for his calm behavior. Over time, the dog will allow us to touch not only his shoulder blades or thighs, but also knees, elbows, and finally fingers and claws. As soon as your dog starts sending you anxious signals, take a short break. Give him a rest and return to a more pleasant touch.
Once your dog is letting them touch its paws, it can begin to get used to it to pick them up. We put a hand on the dog’s shoulder and slide down slowly. Many dogs don’t like to be grabbed by their fingers, so it’s better to grab a little higher. Then we slightly raise the dog’s paw to a small height, praise, reward and put the paw back on the floor. We do the same with the hind legs. We put a hand on the thigh, slide down, grab the metatarsus and gently lift the hind leg. We praise the dog and reward it for its calm behavior. If the pooch is not behaving calmly, we go back to the previous stage, i.e. getting him used to the touch.
When lifting the dog’s paws up, it is worth paying attention not to bend them in an unnatural, uncomfortable way for the dog. It is often more convenient for us to wipe the dog’s paw when we raise it higher or when we move it closer to each other. However, it is worth taking into account the fact that the dog may have problems with maintaining balance in an unnatural position for him. We should also make sure that the dog stands on a stable, non-slippery surface when lifting the paws. If your floor is slippery, it is a good idea to put a towel or non-slip mat over it.
I like to put a password to picking dogs’ paws. This is not a formal command like “give a paw”, but rather a message to the dog that I will be lifting its paw up. Thanks to this, the pooch knows what awaits him and has time to prepare for this activity. Before lifting the first paw, I always say “first paw,” before lifting the second paw, “second paw,” etc. After saying these words, I give the dog a moment to prepare to raise a particular paw. I always try to pick them up in the same order. Thanks to this, the dog knows what will happen and after some time it starts giving me another paw. It is worth introducing yourself such a ritual after each walk. This will give the dog a more predictable sense of what will happen and make the dog feel more confident in this situation.
Touching the towel with the paws
The next step in getting your dog used to wiping his paws should be teaching him to touch the towel with his paws. Thanks to this game, your pooch will not only not be afraid of the towel, but will also positively associate it. To teach your dog to touch a towel with his paws, simply place the treat on the ground and cover it with the towel. Then ask the pooch to look for the hidden treat. As soon as his paw touches the towel, you can mark it with a clicker or a sonorous word “yes” and give the dog an additional reward.
If your pooch knows the command “give a paw” you can take advantage of it. Take the towel in your hand and ask the dog to give you the paw by placing it on the towel. Many dogs do this exercise much more willingly than the classic handing of a paw to an empty human hand. Unfortunately, when training with a dog to pass the paw, we often have a tendency to squeeze the dog’s fingers and wave the entire paw, which dogs usually do not like very much. As soon as the pooch puts his paw on the towel by himself, praise him and give him a treat.
Give your dog a choice
A sense of security and control, especially in a stressful situation, is extremely important not only for dogs, but also for us. Just think how you feel at the dentist when you trust him that he does not want to hurt you and you know that you can ask for a short break in tooth drilling at any time. How would you feel if you weren’t sure the dentist wouldn’t hurt you, and if all your requests for a break while drilling were ignored? It is exactly the same for a dog that does not trust a human being and whose paws are held down or lifted forcibly. Therefore, watch your dog’s behavior. Learn to read the first signs of stress and respond accordingly.
Body language is very important when wiping our paws. It is definitely better to sit on the floor or crouch and invite the dog to come to us than to chase him with a towel or bend over him. Bending over a dog is especially stressful for puppies and little dogs. I would also be afraid if a giant several times bigger than me wanted to grab my leg and lift it up. The dog’s approach to you is the first sign that it is ready to wipe its paws. What if, despite the encouragement, the dog refuses to approach you? In such a situation, it is worth getting back to getting him used to the touch and lifting his paws.
However, when the pooch comes up, you can reach out with a towel and say, for example, “first paw, punch”. If the pooch has been taught this slogan well beforehand, he knows that we expect a paw. The towel with our slogan is therefore an invitation for the dog to wipe its paws. Then we wait for the dog to give us the paw. This is the moment when we give him the opportunity to choose. He can give us a paw and receive a lot of praise and treats, or not give us this paw. Let us respect the choice of the dog here. If, for some reason, he is not yet ready to give us a paw, that’s too bad. We’ll try next time. I think now you can see why it is worth starting the whole process when it is dry and when it is not necessary to wipe your dog’s paws.
Training in which we give the dog the opportunity to choose a given behavior takes more time than force action. However, by force wiping a dog’s paws against his will makes the dog stressful and loses his trust in us. So with time he will avoid this unpleasant situation more and more. When all calming and threatening signals are ignored by the handler, the dog will eventually resort to aggressive behavior. At best, we’ll have to deal with wiping the dog’s paws all our lives, and at worst we’ll be bitten by it. However, in the case of training, in which we give the dog the opportunity to choose and have greater control of the whole situation, we build a relationship based on understanding and trust. Such a relationship will translate into the dog’s behavior not only when wiping its paws, but also in other stressful situations.
When looking for a Purebred dog, many people only think about one dream breed. The offers of small dogs of such breeds as pinscher, westie, york, chihuahua and pomeranian (i.e. miniature spitz) are very popular. The problem, however, is that normally well-run dogs are expensive. Discount seekers will always, however, find an opportunity and hit an advertisement where purebred dogs are offered for free or at least half free. So let’s see how to spot real scam ads.
Holy Grail – purebred puppies for free
Legends say that there are cases of free donation of purebred puppies. The problem is that while browsing through hundreds of ads, we’ve never seen a 100% real offer of this type. Usually it turned out that something was wrong with the advertisement after all.
There is a demand for purebred dogs, there must be advertisements and attempts to cheat. Some of the ads are real, others are not. Moderators on classifieds websites try to catch the more suspicious ones, but sometimes something passes. Let’s see what to expect and how to spot a scam!
Unfortunately, most of the ads that grab the attention of all bargain hunters are, unfortunately, fiction. Such advertisements are added to extort personal data or “obtain” an advance payment for a puppy’s reservation. There are also cases that theoretically the dog is completely free – you only have to cover the costs of shipping from some country to Poland. For example, $ 100 payable before shipping. The content of the advertisement depends only on the creativity of the adder. You have to be careful not to be deceived!
How to recognize a fictitious advertisement?
Most often, the content of the advertisement is written in broken Polish. Reading the description, it’s easy to spot strange statements. If something sounds unusual – read it a second time.
Below is an example of the content of an advertisement that has been rejected by site moderators:
“Wonderful puppies Pomeranian Teacup, 1 male and 1 female, AKC registered. Parents are the family’s pets; both mum and dad weigh 4 pounds. They are all loving, friendly and very fun. They grew up with children and other animals. Knotted tails and dewclaws removed, veterinary check included and first set of kicks for the dog. “
“Beautiful puppies of West Highland White Terrier breed The puppies were veterinary tested, potty trained, wormed with microchips. “
Another example (this time labrador puppies for free):
“Top quality puppies with all health information and toy accessories for puppies. They stay up to date with shots that do well with children and other pets. These cute puppies are waiting for you “
As you can see, you don’t even need to be particularly vigilant to notice that something is wrong here. Also pay attention to how the sender writes back the correspondence with you. Any strange statements should make you alert!
The second thing is photos. They usually do not represent the dogs that are actually for sale. These are photos taken from some source. Easily verify the origin of the photo with the help of Google’s image search engine.
In the case of the advertisement from which the first cited description came, the photo was copied directly from a facebook profile:
Another important point – always check who is issuing the advertisement. Usually, suspicious content is displayed by people without a Polish name, such as John Cosworth, Millano, Antonio, Margaritha and others.
Adult purebred dogs to donate or at a low price
These are ads that are usually true. In general, they are not pedigree dogs (although there are also pedigree dogs), but dogs that are of the breed type or very similar to them. In the case of an adult dog, we can already see the end result and it is easier to judge whether it is this breed or another, and whether we like such a dog or not.
Advertisements with purebred dogs for donation are most often issued by shelters. Larger facilities share information about the breed – if identified. It also happens that people want to give the dog back for some important reasons and look for a good home for him. At the Seller, as of the day of writing the article, we have over 780 offers of dogs to give away for free: https:// Sprzedawacz.pl/zwierzeta/psy/psy_zwierzeta/ Most of them come from shelters. If we look for purebred animals (or in the type of a given breed), it turns out that most dogs are between 5 and 10 years old! Dogs of the type of selected breeds currently account for about 10% of advertisements.
Adopting an adult dog is also a very good idea. Perhaps sometimes even better and simpler than raising a puppy. On the one hand, we already know what will grow out of him or her. On the other hand, during adaptation visits, we can get to know the character. From the third, we help and we can make a great friend and give him a new home. There are several more reasons for choosing an adult dog, but you still need to know if you want a dog that is already several years old.
Almost purebred dogs and puppies without pedigree
If the father and mother of the dog are known and both animals are of the type of a given breed, there is a chance that, despite the lack of a pedigree, you will be able to occasionally buy a dog of the breed you want – although formally it will not be purebred. Remember, however, that if a dog is cheap, all possible breeding costs are probably cut. Alternatively, someone actually does does not deal breeding and simply the female dog gave birth to puppies that need to be distributed or sold cheaply. Check what is the real source of such a dog.
Almost purebred puppies are those where we can be sure that the mother is of the X type and the father is unknown. The question is whether the person issuing the advertisement will tell you about it? As a result, it may turn out that the father was a dog of a larger breed than the mother was. What if York weighs 15 kg when he grows up? When buying or taking such a dog for free, you must take this possibility into account. If you accept that the dog will be different, that’s great. If his raciality was the key to you, then don’t go this way!
True purebred dogs (with pedigree)
When the breed of a puppy is a priority for you, do not compromise, just pay the market price and be sure that the dog will be exactly what you expect. Pedigree dogs are, unfortunately, expensive. The cultures have to meet the standards and all the associated stuff costs more. Only registered dog kennels together with the dog provide the owner with a birth certificate. The price is higher, but you can be sure what will grow out of a puppy!
Interestingly, if you decide to choose a fully purebred dog, you will also get to know its family tree. Yes, you will know who your dog’s grandfather was!
Dogs see the world very differently than we do. Their senses work differently from ours. Their brains process information differently. Dogs also have their own means of communication that are often unavailable to us. All this makes trying to get along with the dog can be much more difficult than we think. Therefore, it is good to create a common language that will be understandable both to us and our dogs. Improve your Relationship with your Dog can be very helpful in creating such a language.
What are markers?
In general, markers are all signals that help us communicate with the dog. These can be sound markers, e.g. words spoken by us or the sound of a clicker, visual markers, e.g. gestures, various objects and tactile markers. The latter are especially useful when working with dogs that cannot see and hear. For such dogs, touching the shoulder blade, ear, or mouth can provide the clearest signal.
The use of markers during training makes it easier for the dog to understand us. Thanks to this, he is less frustrated, better focused on the task and learns new commands much faster. Markers can be used both during training sessions and in everyday communication with the dog.
Types of markers
We can distinguish at least six types of markers depending on their function in communication with the dog.
The readiness marker is usually the dog’s name. When uttering them during training, we ask the dog, “Hey, are you ready to go?” When the dog looks at us, we have a clear affirmative answer and we can give him an order. When we don’t have the dog’s attention, the chance that it will obey our command drops drastically. We also need to focus on the task in order to do it well. When our thoughts are elsewhere, we may not even hear that someone is asking us for something, and it looks similar in our dogs.
For many dogs, a sachet of treats or toys can be a marker of readiness, i.e. a signal to start work. If these accessories always appear during training, the dog will quickly recognize them. Our clothes can also be a marker of readiness. Dogs know perfectly well in which shoes we go to work and which shoes are intended for a walk or training. For some dogs, entering a designated area is a marker of readiness. There are many possibilities here.
Reward markers tell your dog that they are doing something right, may be finished, and that they will be rewarded in a moment. A popular marker for a reward is the clicker sound. It is very precise, so we can mark exactly the behavior we want. It is also unambiguous, repeatable and unique, so the dog will not confuse it with other sounds in the environment.
We can also use short voiced words such as “yes”, “si” or “tak” as a reward marker. It is best to chant them differently from the words used in everyday life. We don’t want common words to get confused dog with a reward marker. It is also very important that this award always appears after the award signal. It doesn’t always have to be a treat. Many dogs prefer to work for example for playing with their handler.
You can also have many different reward markers depending on what the reward will be and where it will appear. For example, we can use a clicker as a food marker. The word “have” may mean that food will appear on the ground, and the word “catch” may be an announcement of a toy that we will throw to the dog as a reward for correctly carrying out a command.
No reward markers
The lack of reward marker is a signal for the dog that something went wrong and that this time it will not get the reward. The most commonly used markers of no reward are the words “no”, “ee”, or “ooh.” After saying these words, we simply do not give the dog a reward, which of course is a kind of punishment. It can be compared to playing with the heat of the cold, where warm means we’re getting closer and cold means we’re farther away. Likewise, in communicating with the dog, we can use a clicker or other reward markers to inform him that he is doing something right and markers of lack of reward when he does something carelessly or wrong.
On the one hand, the more feedback you give your dog during training, the better. Try to play with heat cold, using only the word “warm”. Achieving a goal this way is usually much more difficult and frustrating than in play where we get both pieces of information. On the other hand, many people misuse the no reward signal. Words like “no” and “ee” are usually characterized by negative emotions. The no reward marker should be emotionally neutral. You cannot take your frustration or anger out on the dog. If you can’t control your own emotions, you’d better not use the no reward marker. It will also not work for dogs with a very delicate psyche. For such dogs, any dissatisfaction on the part of the handler creates enormous pressure, which these dogs simply cannot cope with.
Also, the no reward signal may not be used when the dog does not know what is required of him or when he does not know what exactly he did wrong. Imagine a situation where you learn a foreign language from scratch and the teacher constantly says “no”, “wrong” etc. This method of learning will not be effective and will quickly discourage you. Imagine a situation where you read a longer piece of text to your teacher and the teacher says “no” at some point. Does it give you clear information when you made a mistake and what exactly was it? Without clear guidance from the teacher, it is not so obvious.
It is similar with the marker of lack of reward when training the dog. The dog often does not know what he has done wrong and how he can correct it. It only adds to the frustration and does not get any closer to achieving the goal. Therefore, when the dog is not following a command correctly, it is usually best to simply go back to an earlier stage in learning. Before demanding anything from a dog, we must make sure that it knows exactly what we mean.
Due to all the reservations and mistakes that are very easy to make, I advise you to be very careful when introducing no reward markers into your training. If you decide to use them, it’s best to do it under the supervision of a more experienced trainer.
When training a dog, we often not only want him to assume a position, e.g. sit or lie down, but also to keep this position for a long time. This is where the continuation markers are very helpful, that is, popular praise such as “bravo” or “good”. Hearing these words, the dog knows that he is doing well and that he has to continue this behavior in order to get a reward.
Unfortunately, many dog handlers forget about these praises. They say, for example, “sit down”, the dog sits down for two seconds, but nothing happens, there is no human feedback. The dog may feel that he is doing something wrong. So she gets up and sits down again. Nothing again? This begins to give the paw, lie down, and display other behaviors that previously rewarded. This way the dog tries to guess what you really mean. If your dog is behaving this way, it is very possible that your communication during training is not the best and it is worth introducing continuation markers.
Another very useful marker is the release marker. I wrote a little more about him in this post. The release marker tells the dog that the exercise is over and that he can do something else. For example, when we teach the dog to sit down and extend this position, it is worth teaching him that a speed marker will appear at the end of the exercise. In my case it’s the word “ok”, but you can also use other words like “already”, “can” or “run”. Thanks to this, the dog does not get impatient, but calmly waits for the release marker. Without this marker, the dog may break commands frequently, as it will never know when the exercise is over.
The End Marker can be used at the end of a training session or at the end of a game. An excited dog may not know when a training session is over and will demand our attention long after it is over. Therefore, it is worth introducing an end marker, which means “This is the end of training / fun. You are free, do what you want. ” For me, it is the word “end”, but I also encountered the command “free” or “thank you”. After issuing the end marker, we hide the treats, toys and do not take care of the dog. We don’t play with him. We don’t give any orders anymore.
How to enter markers
It is possible that you are already using some of these markers in a more or less conscious way. It is very important to systematize them and create your own dictionary of communication with the dog. Think in what situations and why you want to use the marker. What word, sound or gesture will the marker mean. If this is not clear to you, how is your dog going to get it?
Of course, all people training with a dog should use the same dictionary. Dogs are very intelligent, and even if one person uses a marker and another doesn’t, the dog will figure out what’s going on over time. However, this is an additional difficulty for the dog, which significantly extends the training and may be a source of unnecessary frustration for the dog. It is as if he had to speak a different language to each member of the family.
It is also important to teach each marker that we use in communication with the dog first. Dogs aren’t born knowing what a clicker sound means or words like “ok”, “bravo” or “finished”. At the beginning, all these sounds are neutral for the dog and only we, during appropriate training, give them meaning.
I am very curious, which markers do you consciously or unconsciously use in communicating with your dogs?
Want to work with animals? Want to help people? Becoming a service dog trainer is one of the best ways to both work with animals and helping people. To achieve that you want to know how to become a service dog trainer!
A service dog trainer is someone who trains dogs who will go on to be owned by a disabled person. For disabled people, tasks that we do every day, such as picking up dropped items, closing doors and generally getting around, can be tough. Having a trained dog can seriously help a disabled person, and even give them a new lease of life. It’s not uncommon for a disabled person and a service dog to have an unbreakable bond, as these dogs are trained to be loyal and compassionate to their owners.
Steps to become a service dog trainer
It can be extremely rewarding to be a service dog trainer. Not only do you get to spend time with creatures who you have an affinity with, you are also aware that your hard work is helping create life-long companions for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. So how do you become a service dog trainer?
1. Volunteer your time
Generally the best way to become a service dog trainer is to gain practical experience working with dogs and learning on the job. You may already have your own dog, but this experience is not enough. You need to be in an environment where you are meeting lots of dogs. Ring all your local dog shelters and see if you can volunteer your time. You could also try ringing veterinarian surgeries, animal hospitals and kennels – anywhere where there will be many breed of dogs for you to meet and gain experience with how to become a service dog trainer. The more experience you gain, the better. Many people dream of being a service animal trainer. Having lots of experience with different breeds will help you have the edge over the competition.
2. Search for conferences, classes or workshops
Look for service dog training classes or workshops in your area. They are likely to be held by universities or community colleges. You want to look for courses that specialize in breeds, temperament, dog behavior, animal health issues, and how to become a service dog trainer.
3. Search for a service dog training program
Search for an apprenticeship course on how to become a service dog trainer. A good place to look is the National Association of Service Dogs or the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. You will be taught by an experienced service dog instructor. These courses can be long (on average around 4 years) as there is a lot for you to learn, such as training dogs in public access skills, manners, and completing tasks to help people with issues with sight, hearing and mobility. Although a long course, this can be very gratifying, especially as you will come into contact with members of the public who have disabilities, and teach them how to work and look after their service dogs.
4. Check if you require a license in your state
Some states require you to obtain a license to become a service dog trainer. Check with your state attorney general’s office to see if you need one in your state.
5. Get a job!
By this stage, you would have had many years of experience with dogs, as well as the skills to train dogs to be effective service animals, and the skills to train disabled people on how to work their service dog. It’s time to apply for a position as an instructor. Search online for ‘service dog trainer’ positions. Different employers will want different things. But in most cases, you will be expected to be physically fit as most service animals are large, sprightly dogs, such as Golden Retrievers, Labradors and German Shepherds (or cross breeds). Your work is mainly outdoors, running around with dogs. It simply won’t do to have a service dog trainer that cannot keep up with the dogs. Personality traits an employer would look for are patience, excellent communication skills, compassion and excellent people skills. Of course, you must also display a love and passion for dogs! Also, some employers will expect you to pass written exams, and may even require you to participate in field tests.
Conlusion – How to become a service dog trainer
How do you become a service dog trainer? With lots of hard work! It will take a number of years to get there, but if you want to have a fantastic career spending time with animals you love, and know that your work is helping vulnerable people get the best out of their lives, then you will not be put off by the above. Being a service dog trainer is an incredibly rewarding career!
We hope this guide on how to become a service dog trainer has helped you and gave you some insights! Good luck!
Want to start with Rottweiler Puppy Training? Don’t feel intimidated by their formidable size, some have called them gentle giants. Rottweilers are in general good natured, especially with the correct training from a young age. They are eager to please their owners, very intelligent and loyal. Rotties are fearless, self-assured and levelheaded. But if not properly trained and socialized they can struggle with aggression issues.
Tame Your Rottie Before It Is Too Big To Manage
Training a puppy is always important, but when it comes to big dog breeds, it’s crucial to invest lots of time in training. Rottweiler puppy training is especially important if you notice your dog has an aggressive streak. This will be displayed as a growl or snap when you feed it. Or an inappropriate reaction to a stranger or other dog in your home. Once you’ve noticed these aggressive reactions, even while you are playing with your puppy, you need to address it immediately.
Rottweilers got a bad reputation after being used in dogfights and some breeders focus on bringing out their aggressive nature. Make sure you pick a reputable breeder so that you don’t have to struggle with managing your dog. Read this article to find out how to find a reputable Rottweiler breeder
Rottweiler Puppy Training Tips
Each dog has its own temperament to deal with. Although Rottweilers can be very obedient dogs, some have a very stubborn streak in them and might ignore your commands, or simply keep disobeying you. But if you follow a few basic rules, you should be able to tame your wild Rottie.
The biggest dog training trick: patience. Remember, this will be an ongoing commitment, especially while your Rottie is still a puppy. With patience and consistency you will be able to mold your dog’s temperament.
Step 1: Start Young
Before bringing your Rottie puppy home, decide on the house rules you want to teach it and stick to these. Make sure all the members in your household know the do’s and don’ts. For the best results, start training between 6 weeks and 6 months.
If you’re adopting an older Rottie, you need to be aware that the training process will take more time and effort. And lots of patience. But because Rottweilers love pleasing their masters, your dog will soon catch on to what is acceptable behavior in your home. Positive Reinforcement Training will yield the best results.
Step 2: Patience
This step might sound easy, but it will be the trickiest to remain consistent with. Your Rottie will not necessarily instantly catch on to what you expect from it. Repeating the same training steps over and over can become frustrating.
It’s important to remain positive while you are busy with Rottweiler puppy training. Dogs are very sensitive to the moods of their owners. If you become angry with your Rottie because it’s not catching on to the trick you’re trying to teach it, the dog will become frazzled. You need to engage in training when you and your dog have high energy levels. Read this article to find out more about the best time for dog training.
Step 3: Understand Dominance
You might be familiar with the concept of teaching your dog that you are the Alpha in the pack, and it has to obey you at all times? Dominance based training is an outdated form of dog training. You cannot beat your dog into submission.
When dealing with a breed with an underlying tendency towards aggressive behavior, this technique can backfire on you. Being kind and understanding while training your dog, will yield much better results. Remember, your Rottie wants to please you, focus on this natural inclination and it will yield much better results.
Step 4: Socialize Your Rottie
You need to remember that your cute little puppy will grow into a big, robust dog. Whatever behavior it falls into as a puppy, it will continue doing as an adult dog. So think wisely what you allow your Rottie to do. You have the power to shape its temperament into happy and sociable.
Your dog might be fine with interacting with you and your family members, but you need to expose it to strangers from a young age so that it can learn how to interact with unfamiliar people and animals. A very important aspect of Rottweiler puppy training, is to make sure your dog knows how to properly interact with other dogs, for instance in the park. Otherwise taking it for walks will be a nightmare.
Step 5: Positive Reinforcement
This is a much more effective Rottweiler puppy training method. Acceptable behavior followed by a reward, is a language your dog understands. Even using it in reverse, saying “bad dog” and ignoring your dog when it does something you dislike, will work as well. The reward can be a treat, but your dog will be happy with you simply showering it with praise after doing something right.
Turn your training sessions into a game, and your Rottie will become putty in your hand. But beware of too many snack rewards, Rottweilers are notorious for struggling with their weight. And once your dog is overweight, it will be a big struggle to bring them back to a healthy size.
Step 6: Be Prompt With Your Reactions
Dog’s live in the moment. They do not have the ability to connect bad behavior with delayed punishment. For instance, dragging your puppy to the pee on your Persian carpet, rubbing its nose in it and giving it a hiding hours after the incident, will only make your dog fearful of you. It will not prevent it from peeing on the carpet in the future.
With good or bad behavior that you want to enforce or prevent, you need to catch your Rottie in the act and immediately either praise or reprimand it. And your timing needs to be exact, the moment your puppy obeys the command, you need to reward it.
When starting with your Rottweiler puppy training, firstly focus on a few basic commands before you move on to more fun tricks. By using a positive reinforcement style, you can ensure that your Rottie is a well-adjusted member of your family and interacts well with strangers, both people and other dogs.
This should be the first command you teach your Rottie puppy. It’s an essential tool that will make your life much easier. While you are training your cute puppy, envision a full-grown Rottweiler in your head as motivation to be as strict as possible with your training methods.
Your puppy needs to be completely focused on you for the training to be successful. Don’t just rely on your voice, use a simple hand signal with all the commands you teach your puppy. This way you can grab the dog’s attention both visually and audibly. Keep the verbal commands short, “sit” instead of “sit down”.
This isn’t just a nice party trick command, it will also be useful should you need to clip your dog’s nails. For this command to be effective, your Rottie needs to first master the basic command of “sit”.
Another crucial command to teach your Rottie. You need to set clear boundaries of what behavior is acceptable at your house, as well as outside while you’re on a walk or in the park. For this command to be successful, you need to use a firm and disciplining tone of voice. You can also replace the word “no” with “bad” or “stop”. In the end it’s not the word itself that will stop your Rottie in its tracks, it is the way you say it that will make your dog pay attention. Remember to react quickly so that your dog can make the association between specific behavior and the reprimand.
This is a more tricky command to master. Again, you can only teach your Rottie this one after it is familiar with the “sit” command. In the beginning you can use your hand to gently push your Rottie down into a laying position until your dog understand that you want it to lie down. Use your hand in a downward motion with palm facing down while saying “down”.
This one can be quite frustrating to teach. Be prepared for lots of repetition and a challenge on your ability to remain patient with your dog. When you start feeling frustrated or annoyed with your Rottie, rather stop the training session and try again the next day. You can either start this Rottweiler puppy training phase with the “sit” or “down” command, whichever works best for you and your dog.
This command follows on the “stay” command. Your Rottie will enjoy this one much more than sitting still in one spot, the breed loves the company of its master.
Conclusion: Effective Rottweiler Puppy Training
Rottweiler puppy training is a joy because you are working with a breed that wants to work with you. Tap into your Rottie’s natural need to please you, and the training process will be much easier. Remember to not use harsh methods, you do not want to trigger an aggressive reaction from your dog. It will only be retaliating out of fear. With lots of patience, consistency and lots of affirmation your little puppy will grow into a gentle giant.
What is your experience of Rottweiler puppy training? Do you have a submissive Rottie or one with a stubborn streak?
They say mountain biking is the new golf….everyone is doing it! And I totally see why! It is great exercise and you get to do it in beautiful nature reserves or bike trails! With so many people getting into mountain biking, it makes sense that a lot of those folks would also be dog lovers, and so would want to include their furry companions when they go out riding.
But is it as simple as jumping on your bike and have your dog follow you? Andries from UpPedal has created a very nice infographic that highlights some of the do’s and don’ts you should keep in mind when you decide to take your dog out when you go mountain biking.
Want to find out more about Siberian Husky Training? The Siberian Husky is originally from North-Eastern Siberia, Russia. It’s a medium size working dog breed that belongs to the Spitz genetic family. The Siberian Husky has very distinct features, such as erect triangular ears, unique markings and a thick furred double coat.
Originally they were bred by the Chukchi people, a hunter-gatherer culture that relied on the dogs for help. They’re energetic, active and a resilient breed. Their ancestors lived in the extreme weather of the Siberian Arctic, a cold and harsh environment.
Before you start training your Siberian Husky, there are a few things that you need to know about the breed that will make the training process easier. Firstly, remember that they were originally bred to be helper dogs, this is a very important aspect of their temperament to keep in mind.
Hierarchy and Dominance
You have one of two options – either you become the leader of the pack or your Husky will gladly take the reins. All dog ancestors lived in packs, but when it comes to a helper dog breed, their sense of hierarchy is even stronger.
Challenges for the “alpha” male or female position will always occur, so you need to show your Husky that you mean business when you dominate, otherwise they will challenge your authority. This is the cornerstone of Siberian Husky training. Get this part right from the beginning and the other training steps will be much easier.
Unfortunately this behavior trait is deeply ingrained in the Siberian Husky. Pack animals had to establish territories and defend them with great zeal. Anyone and everyone is seen as a potential threat. From a young age a Husky will tend to be snappy and nippy.
Don’t even think about beating your Husky into submission, this technique will definitely backfire on you and make the dog’s aggression worse. You need to constructively deal with this tendency from puppy age. Read this article to learn more about the different types of aggression in Huskies.
Another ingrained tendency in Huskies. You need to focus on food training to avoid your Husky becoming overly aggressive around feeding time.
This is linked to the survival trait of fight or flight. If your Husky feels threatened and decides it can’t handle the situation, it will choose the flight option. You need to make your Husky feel safe in your presence, reassure the dog that you can protect it at all times. Obedience training is crucial so that you can get your frightened dog under control with a simple command of “sit” or “stay”.
Because dogs used to live in packs when they were wild, that sense of community is deeply engrained in their behavior. Consider buying two Huskies so that they can keep each other happy, otherwise you will have to keep your dog highly entertained when you are away. After being left alone for hours, it will become unhappy, depressed and bored. This will probably result in a destructive spree of chewing stuff to keep itself occupied.
They can be sociable with other dogs, but it is best to rather not mix two very dominant breeds. Read this article to find out more about dominant and submissive dog breeds.
How do dogs communicate? By barking at each other or at you. Siberian Huskies are incessant barkers and it can become very annoying if you don’t teach your dog to obey commands such as “stop” or “no bark.”
If you’re not giving your Husky enough attention, it might start barking just to get your attention. You need to give it enough attention before it resorts to barking. Otherwise a very annoying bad habit will be created. This is why it is so important to invest time in proper Siberian Husky training.
Siberian Husky Training – Taming The Wildness
Siberian Huskies are a very demanding breed. They require constant attention, they have endless energy and are very curios and can get up to a lot of mischief if not trained properly. They are also prone to lots of barking and nipping.
You will have to be very strict in your training, as they are very strong-willed. In their minds the position of “alpha” male or female is always up for grabs.
Burn Up the Energy
Each dog breed has its own energy level. And each individual dog also has a specific energy level. For your Siberian Husky training to work, you need to figure out your dog’s energy level.
Just like human beings can be introverts or extroverts, your dog will lean more to the one side or the other. Siberian Huskies usually have quite high levels of energy, and you will have to figure out how to deal with this.
As mentioned above, if you don’t give your dog enough attention, it will start acting out. Siberian Huskies usually have short burst of energy. They need at least 30 minutes of focused exercise every day. Incorporate your training as part of the exercise time.
Because Siberian Huskies were bred to be helper dogs, they thrive on affirmation. You can turn the training into a game. Just make sure you always remain in charge. Exercise time does not just mean play time.
For at least 25% of the exercise time focus on training. A great concept to incorporate in your training is “nothing in life is for free”. Your Husky needs to learn that if it wants your praise or treats, it must obey you. The dog might try to manipulate you with a very sorrowful look when it doesn’t get a treat or attention. Don’t fall for it, indulging in it will have the same outcome as spoiling a child.
Focused Attention in the Right Direction
You need to pay constant attention to your Husky, not only when it’s behaving badly. To a Husky attention is attention, positive or negative. If you are not affirming the positive behavior, it will act out just to get some form of interaction from you, even if it entails getting reprimanded.
Using the power of attention in your Siberian Husky training can be a potent method. Instead of beating the poor dog into submission when it does something wrong, all you have to do is say “bad dog” and ignore it for an hour after the unwanted behavior. This method will be much more successful than the traditional belief that you should spank the dog to reprimand it.
The Best Siberian Husky Training Method
Combining the motto “nothing in life is free” with the focused attention, you are using a training method called “positive reinforcement”. Your dog needs to accept you as the leader for the training to be successful.
By earning the dog’s trust and respect, you can mold it into a pleasant four-footed family member. Be consistent in your training methods. The same as with kids, let your no be no and your yes be yes. Stick to the same rules every day.
Especially when your Husky is still young it will push the boundaries. If you show any sign of inconsistency, the dog will be hesitant to trust you. Start with all the basic commands such as sit, stay, speak, shake, down and roll over.
Make a list of the activities your Husky loves. Before a loved activity like petting, rubbing, playing or walking, let it execute one of the commands. The dog has to learn “no work, no play.”
You put the leash in place to go for a walk.
The dog must patiently sit until you attach the leash.
You feed the dog
The dog must lie down and stay until you put the food bowl down.
You play with the dog when you return home from work.
The dog must sit and give paw each time you throw the ball for it to fetch.
You rub the dog’s belly or scratch its head while watching TV.
The dog must lie down and roll over before being petted.
Things to Remember During Siberian Husky Training
You should never attempt training when you are unwell. Also, don’t train while you are feeling upset, angry or negative. Make sure you are not low on energy or patience when you are busy with the Siberian Husky training.
Dogs are very sensitive to your mood, a dog will quickly pick up when you are not feeling 100% and respond negatively to your training attempt. Don’t train while your mind is distracted or when there’s lots of distractions in the training area.
Do not attempt a lesson if you are not confident about how to execute it. Rather postpone it until you’ve done some research about it or you’ve chatted with a professional trainer.
Siberian Husky Training – The Biggest Trick
Stick to the two main rules: “nothing in life is free” and “no work, no play”. Remember, Siberian Huskies were bred to be helper dogs. If you can give them a sense of purpose, they will remain loyal. But you need to stick to the rules – once a command has been given, the dog must obey. Don’t cave in and still give the dog what it wants.
Your biggest training tool, is giving attention or taking it away. Show patience and persistence and your Husky will eventually submit to your leadership. But the biggest key is consistency. Don’t think that dog’s aren’t capable of manipulation. Your Husky will try to figure out what your weakness is and focus on taking over the alpha role through wearing you down.
Siberian Husky Training Videos
Below are some great videos that show you how to train your Siberian Husky.
How to Potty Train your Puppy
How To Train Your Puppy To Sit, Lay Down and Stop Biting
Do you have a strong-willed Siberian Husky? Have you managed to tame the wildness? What was the most successful training method for you?
Golden Retrievers are a medium to large-sized dog breed and were originally bred as gun dogs to help retrieve ducks and other waterfowl as part of hunting parties. Hence the name “retriever”. They love water and, fortunately for us, are very easy to train!
The breed is often used as guide dogs and even as a search and rescue assistants. But the Golden Retriever is too friendly and gentle to be a professional guard dog. They are very popular as family dogs – third-most popular breed in the United States, fifth-most popular in Australia and the eighth-most in the United Kingdom.
They need a lot of outdoor exercise, but can adapt in suburbs. The Golden Retriever has an instinctual tendency to explore, so they must be kept behind proper fencing if you do not want your pup wandering off. The breed is very fond of playing and this natural inclination to seek out human attention and affirmation makes it highly trainable.
Why Training Golden Retriever Puppies Is Important
The importance of dog training is to help your puppy fit better into your home. Left to their own devices dogs will take over your home in no time. Because dogs are pack animals, they need to know who is in charge. You need to be the pack leader, otherwise they will gladly grab the title.
Golden Retriever puppy training offers you the opportunity to create a well-behaved dog that you can take with you anywhere. It will also save you lots of embarrassment when you have visitors at your home. Golden Retrievers often have strong personalities, so you need to train them from a young age when it’s time to play and when it’s time to be more docile. The training is especially important if you are going to allow your dog to be indoors with you.
The Most Used Training Method – Operant Conditioning
This type of dog training takes advantages of a dog’s natural love of rewards. Combine that with the Golden Retriever’s natural love of pleasing people, and you have a winning formula for Golden Retriever puppy training!
You know the story of Pavlov’s dogs? If you repeat the sequence of rewarding a certain type of behaviour often enough, your Golden Retriever’s clever brain will make the connection. Same goes for bad behaviour. If there’s negative consequences to not listening to you, they will stop doing whatever it is that’s annoying you.
There are four different ways to implement this kind of training. The combinations are: positive reinforcement, positive punishment, negative reinforcement and negative punishment.
To elaborate on the concepts, a reinforcement means an action that will increase a behaviour and a punishment means an action that will decrease certain behaviour. Positive means that something has been added to reinforce or punish, and negative means that something has been taken away.
Positive reinforcement – For example, when you praise your dog for bringing the ball back and dropping it at your feet. The more fuss you make over the accomplishment, the bigger the chances are that they will do it again next time.
Positive punishment – For example, spraying your dog with a water bottle when you catch it digging in your flowerbed. The fright it gets from the unexpected squirt will eventually make it stop digging. It might also make the connotation between the water bottle and getting a fright, so you could even try just placing the bottle between the flowers after a while.
Negative reinforcement – For example, while saying “sit” you press down on your dog’s bum until they sit and then release the pressure while saying “good boy/good girl!”. Eventually the word “sit” will remind them of being forced to sit down and they will do it themselves.
Negative punishment – For example, if they do something you don’t like, turn away and ignore them. Because Golden Retrievers are so people-orientated this will be torture for them, so they will soon learn to stop doing whatever it is that causes you to ignore them. You can add the words “bad dog” before turning away and ignoring them to make the punishment even more concrete.
DID YOU KNOW?
Studies have concluded that the average dog can understand up to 165 different words. You can increase this amount with proper training. Source: animalplanet.com
This training method harnesses Pavlov’s experiment and it’s perfect for training golden retriever puppies. Golden Retrievers were bred to follow instructions, so they learn very quickly if you are consistent with your training.
You can use little things to train them, such as the sound of their bowl being filled with food. Or making a big fuss over getting the leash when it’s time for their daily walk. In modern dog training a concept called “charging the clicker” is used.
What Is Clicker Training?
A clicker is a small hand-held device that makes a distinct clicking sound when pressed. It’s a great tool to use to “mark” a behaviour that you want to reward at the exact time. Basically it works on the same concept as the bell that Pavlov used with the dogs that he conditioned in his experiment.
First off clicker training uses classical conditioning and thereafter it moves into the operant conditioning method of positive reinforcement. You “mark” the good behaviour with praise and a reward while clicking the clicker.
The reason why the clicker is so useful is because getting the “marker” timing right can be quite tricky. Say for instance you’re training your Golden Retriever puppy to sit and it obeys you for a moment, but then jumps up for the reward, the clicker can help you to train it which behaviour you want to reinforce.
By clicking the moment your puppy’s bum touches the ground and immediately giving it a reward, it will understand that the sitting is the important behaviour to master. But for this to work, you need to “charge the clicker” so that your Golden Retriever puppy understands it’s an important sound to take notice of.
What Does It Mean to Charge The Clicker?
This is where the concept of classical conditioning comes into play. You need to train your puppy’s brain to make the connection between the clicker sound and the feeling of getting a reward. It’s very easy to do. You click, reward, click, reward, click, reward until the sound evokes the pleasure of getting a reward.
The best way to charge the clicker is in a quiet room with just you and your puppy. Find somewhere to sit with a container of treat rewards close by and the clicker in your hand. Click and immediately give the reward.
Wait until the puppy loses interest and then repeat. Do this for several minutes. Make sure that the dog is not repeating some behaviour, you don’t want it to associate to a specific action or pattern. At first all you want is the association between clicker and reward. Repeat at least 20 times. Start the process again with about two hours between sessions.
Below is an adorable video of a Golden Retriever puppy getting clicker training. It takes a few minutes into the video before they get to explaining clicker training, so if you want you can skip to somewhere around minute 4:17 into the video to skip right to that part.
Once the puppy has successfully made the connection between the clicker and a reward, you can start using the clicker as a marker for specific behaviours. Implement one training goal at a time so as not to confuse your puppy.
What Benefits Does Training Offer For You And Your Golden Retriever Puppy?
When embarking on the journey of Golden Retriever puppy training, you should realize the importance of investing time in the training process. If your dog is well-trained, you can keep it safe from troubling situations with just a simple command.
For instance, you can train your dog to know what it means when you shout “drop!” if they want to chew a hazardous object. Or to obey “stop!” if they are about to run into a busy road. These two points can save you lots of unwanted vet bills.
After the Golden Retriever puppy training is completed, you will have a well-adjusted dog that fits into your home-life without being disruptive. You will be able to take your dog on walks and you won’t be dragged around the neighborhood.
Because Golden Retrievers were trained to assist humans, your dog’s life will be more enriched when it’s trained properly. The training will strengthen the bond between you and your dog, it will feel that it is serving a purpose in your life. And you won’t have to worry about coming home to a destroyed garden or house!
Conclusion – Training Golden Retriever Puppies
All dogs should be properly trained, but it is especially important to invest time in Golden Retriever puppy training because of its heritage as a helper dog. Your dog will become very frustrated if it doesn’t have a set of clear-cut rules to live by.
Yes, it is a big time and energy commitment, but the long term rewards you will reap are definitely worth the effort. You will have to be patient and stick to a regular routine. You might even have to learn a new set of skills yourself. Visit totallygoldens.com to read up more about the breed.
What method have you been using for training golden retriever puppies?