Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Free Tricks Workshop at Scarborough Dog Days.

Join Gooddogz Training at Dog Days of Scarborough this Saturday at 2:30 for a free and fun interactive Tricks Workshop. 
Come teach your 'ol dog some new tricks!
Teaching tricks is a great way to engage your dog's mind, improve your bond, teach your dog how to learn, and teach you how to be a better trainer.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Week 3 with Hannah, teaching trade and tug

 I am making no secret that I am making things up as we go along.  The first thing I wanted to help with was startle reflex.  I want to put a lot of great experiences  in the behavior bank. Our hope is  that when Hannah  is startled, she won't act defensively with her teeth.  When Hannah feels the stomping vibration of someone approaching, she is happy and knows what to expect.
She knows something is coming and it will be pleasant.

She learned sit, auto sit and down and really is doing amazing with all that.

This past week my normal syllabus called for recall.  Hmm. How exactly is that going to work?  Mom came this week and she told me that the dog is never far from them and they don't expect her to come.
In the yard, she is on a 30 foot line.
We did work out a cue for come. It involved putting food in the luring hand, and starting mid way at her body and basically swiping her all the to her head, and then walking backwards and then feeding. That worked great.

After Hannah worked for a while, I asked if she played with toys and the answer was a resounding YES, so I gave her this great fleece toy with a tennis ball built in. Well, I have to say I was surprised at how totally normal, young dog acting she was, and I knew right there they next thing that she needed to learn was DROP IT , and proper tooth play.  She was very gentle with her mouth and didn't once get me by accident.  This was the first thing that I taught, that except for not adding a verbal cue, I taught it the exact way I do all my dogs.

Give the toy, tug tug tug then put your hand with food at the nose and wait for them to drop it. Feed and then repeat the game.  This will teach her that it is play when the toy is moving, and time to give it up when we stop the motion. She nailed it.  I think you can see from the photos below that she really did play hard!
Next week we will define take and drop a bit clearer.
All and all I could not be happier with her .

I was surprised at how much Hannah loved to play! 

She is tugging hard here. Tugging won't make her aggressive. Hannah like all dogs  is going to use her teeth anyway,so best to teach her the rules in a fun way.

Drop it! Good girl!
When we teach the trade up game, the dog gets something of greater value than what they are playing with and then they get the prize back.  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Week 2 with Hannah, the deaf and blind dog

I just love how easy it is to capture a moment on my cell phone!
  Below you will find two very short videos of Hannah in class. My only wish is that I recorded Hannah  just as soon as I saw her walking in the parking lot on the way in.   Hannah was just like most young dogs. She totally   recognized where she was and she was excited to be there.  She wagged and sniffed and was clearly happy.  Hannah  totally seemed to know me and gave me a sweet howdy.   On the way in, she aced the three steps down and then the three steps up.
I was impressed.

This is no lie.  We are making stuff up as we go along. We continued to introduce her to people by stamping our feet twice the treating, and that is going really well.

She learned no mugging, just like I teach dogs with sight and hearing.  We held out  our fist with food inside and if she didn't back off and stop trying to get the treat  with her mouth and paws then she wasn't rewarded. We are still using a scratch behind the ears as a marker that she did good and a treat is coming.

In class this week she learned that two taps on her butt mean sit.  Check her out. She learned this in minutes.

And then we taught her the beginnings of automatic  sit.  When I go, you go and when I stop you sit.
I continue to be impressed.

She did so well in class in fact that her owner who has another dog at home, and has fostered quite a few dogs mentioned that in some ways working with Hannah is easier than with other dogs.   Hannah's world is all about him and his wife.  She has no other competing reinforcers.  She is not distracted by other  dogs, or toys, and pretty much is there with them all the time.  She is content to just be around them and while I think they have challenges to face, there is truth in that statement.

We have no class next week because of the Fourth of July, but I can't wait to see her the following week. I will try to get more video.  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Training Hannah, she is deaf and blind

9 month old Hannah, a rescue dog from Indiana joined my group Manners class at The Training Center on Forest Ave in Portland this past Saturday.  Because her training has so many challenges I will be blogging about what we taught her and more importantly, how we taught it.  I googled  training deaf and blind dogs quite a bit and didn't really come up with much, so I will be posting here in hopes of helping someone else down the line.

Not that long ago the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook  took in 3 young deaf and blind dogs and they contacted me about helping with with them. I went in to meet them but they were already all set and did an amazing job at helping those dogs.  They were older than Hannah and one in particular had behavior issues. Kudos to the ARL for doing such a great job with them.  What I learned from meeting those dogs is that the ARL used three scents to help the dogs find their way.

The ARL used Lavender for crate. Hannah's family is already doing this and they are using Lavender on bedding also.
The ARL used Sage on walls and Basil in Doorways. I suggested this to Hannah's family and I think they may try it, although they report she is getting around amazing well. I saw her on our stairs and she was quite impressive!

The first thing that we taught Hannah was a marker. A marker means that she did good and a treat is coming.  For that we used a quick scratch behind the ears followed by a high value treat.   Hannah finds this pleasant.

My biggest concern is that she may be startled and bite.  She shows no signs of that now, but now is the time to work on this.  Hannah is actually quite clever and very, very sweet.  We came up with the idea that her people would stamp their feet 2 times and I would stamp over and feed her. We also played find it on the floor but stopped because she was so clever she started to look on the ground for food as soon as she felt the floor vibrate.
I have to say, considering I was making the stuff up as we went along, I found this to be a really smart way to go.  We know that Hannah feels the vibrations on the floor and this paired people approaching with something very pleasant.  It also teaches her  that stamping means something is coming.

We also started to teach her to sit with both a lure and capturing. It didn't take her long to start offering sits and I was really pleased with that! She also started to learn down with a lure on her mat.

I plan on blogging her classes over the next month.
I welcome suggestions from those of you who have trained deaf and blind dogs.
Happy training!

I think we will follow in this dog's footsteps.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Check your labels! Peanut butter with deadly Xylitol

I am posting a link to a well written article about the dangers of Xylitol on Preventivevet.com.     It is now found in some peanut butter. Be super careful with gum and candy and baked goods.  Read labels and ASK!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Belated Tongue Out Tuesday, Co pilot edition

First Foray into Rally Free...we did less than meh

Yesterday I submitted a video for my first Rally Free entry, and well let me just say it was a whole lotta learning experience.  I am about 99 percent sure that we didn't Q (qualifying score), but I decided to send it anyway, so that down the line I will have a before and after.

My dog Beck, has had some epic behavior issues the last few years. Beck is 5 now and things really magnified at about the 3 year mark, which is more common than you would think. When dogs reach maturity, stuff catches up to them.  \

At around the same time, I tore my miniscus andwe  moved.  Needless to say, it has taken a while, but he is a happier, safer dog than he was this time last year. The thing is, I am still treating him like a circus freak and I need to re- eval my training plan and start working with the dog I have who is in need to a lot more training out and about in all kinds of places.
Now Beck is some kind of brilliant in my kitchen and in Rally Free you get the entire routine 10 days before hand.  Hand signals are frowned upon and we had the entire routine on voice cue with some subtle body cues.  But ya would never know it.  As we like to say in the dog training, there were "a lot of competing reinforcer"s in that field.
For the record, our mistakes in Rally Free have nothing to do with my dog being stubborn. He was just a little more than overwhelmed at his new training area, and working for several minutes with no food is tough! Rally Free is easily way more difficult than the highest Rally level but I love it, and we are hooked.  I had LOTS and LOTS of idea to make our next run so much smoother.
No, I am NOT posting our video here.  I may at some point post a before and after. Or maybe not.
I will enter the next few and well, wish us luck.

This photo of a random lobster roll is here to remind me of my reinforcer when I get that first Q!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Links to my two commissioned reactive dog articles

I am really proud of the two commissioned reactive dog articles that I wrote for Petcha.com.  The first one, Defining the Reactive Dog explains what a reactive is, and helps you figure out a plan going forward.

The second one, 10 Tips to Teach Your Reactive Dog To Stay Calm   is just that. 10 tips. I am proud of both of them.

This marks a dozen articles published on Petcha for me, and I have to say, while I struggled writing them and I am NOT a prolific writer, it sure feels good to have them done.  I applaud my writer friends who can whip out thousands of words a week.  Having these 12 under my belt has given me inspiration to work on my book.  So far I have 3 chapters in the can as they say in the movies.
 Stay tuned!

Gooddogz in the RUFF is my trademark Reactive Dog program. I am taking a break from group reactive classes and will return later in the summer with batteries charged and my program reworked.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My best post from Petcha - Socialization tips for adult dogs, A tail of Two Collies

With an adult dog, things around the house are usually quite a bit calmer than with puppies or young dogs. Watch for changes in behavior from younger days. Dogs who went to day care or were the life of the party at the dog park may show signs of no longer enjoying these activities. I often tell my clients the following analogy: “When I was younger, I used to slam dance in a mosh pit, but I rarely enjoy large crowds these days.”

To read the full article, please click the link to be taken to the Petcha.com site. 

A Tail of Two Collies - Socializing the Adult Dog 

Friday, May 1, 2015

New Training space on Forest Ave in Portland and other cool news!

Hello out there!
Goose and Finn love the new Forest Ave  space

The big news around here is that I secured a new training space at Forest Ave Veterinary Hospital in Portland on Forest Ave.  I share the space with another trainer and the staff at the clinic.  It is my hopes to be able to help more dogs and their families by cutting down on my travel time .  In the last month I have turned away quite a few dogs who live too far out of area, but would have been willing to come to me if I had a suitable place to see them.
I am hopeful that this will be a great thing!
My first clients at the new space start  this next week and most of the time slots that I allotted are filled!

Puppy class starts at Forest Ave starts Thursday, and I will be offering Therapy Dog Prep, Puppy Play and Learn, and Freestyle on Saturdays starting in June.

I have been writing lots for a new site Petcha.com . Currently I have 6 articles posted, but another 5 or more should be up soon.  You can view all my Petcha articles here.
Petcha has been  amazing to work for.  The biggest news is that they paid me a really good amount of money to write a puppy article for their new venture Petcha Puppies, which is a glossy magazine.  Nice to see that print isn't dead.  Don't think that it will be available until winter, but I am looking forward to sharing that with my parents who send me clippings of dog articles pretty much weekly by snail mail. They are adorable my parents, and I am very fortunate to still have them with me.

I have been working hard to try to make my web site easier to navigate, but so far it is not going that well. I created a page listing all group classes.  My web site is confusing to navigate because I am training at Mainely Agility, Poetic Gold Farm,two  Pet Quarters and now Forest Ave.  Have you ever seen that movie If this is Tuesday it must be Belgium? That is pretty much how I feel about life every day.  Here is the link to my new At a glance page.

I have been super busy, but I have pledged to blog twice a week because I have been told by multiple sources that Google is penalizing me in web searches for www.GooddogzTraining.com for having a blog that I do not update. For the past few years, I have focused energy on my Gooddogz Training Facebook, but moving forward I will be sharing my time between both.
If you haven't already, please visit and like my Facebook page.
Happy Training!