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ClickerExpo - Animal Training Expo
Dog Speakers

Blair from Doglinks organised a radio interview with Kim Hill on Feb 13. I believe Kim learnt something about dogs!!

Ian Dunbar: disciplining dogs Veterinarian, animal behavourist, dog trainer, and writer, whose research in hierarchical social behaviour and aggression in domestic dogs broke new ground. ( duration: 31'24?)

Watch Ian Dunbar on TV ONE's Breakfast show. (2010) 4mins

Tips on raising your pooch
From Marj Kibby's Choose and Raise a Puppy blog, 10 pieces of advice from Greg Derrett, the great UK agility trainer:

1. Get the dog you want.
2. Give it a short sharp name.
3. Study basic learning theory.
4. Teach [the dog] to play, including .tug.
5. Become more rewarding to the
dog than the environment or the
6. Develop a solid wait with strict criteria.
7. Have consistent release commands.
8. Teach directional commands -- left, right, go on.
9. Practice circle work.
10. Have a regular fitness routine.

Mind Games: Playing for Confidence and Compliance -- very good ways of training your dog.

Training Issues

Effective Dog Training VIDEO Noted veterinarian and dog trainer Dr. Ian Dunbar offers a few of the "million different ways" to train a dog, outlining three simple strategies.

Dog Seminars Directory (USA- Handy listing by subject, state, speaker)

How Can I Say This: The Role of Words in Dog Training and Writing

Small Dog, Big Attitude (PDF) Some hints for small dog owners.

Are You Ready for Some Fruitcake? Teaching good manners.

Bear and the Bed -- excerpt from Smart Trainers: Brilliant Dogs by Janet Lewis

Who's in Charge: It's All a Question of Leadership

How to train two dogs The best place to begin is with teaching both dogs individually, how to perform their basic commands of heel, sit, stay, down and come. They must be at least 80% responsive to these commands before you can expect them to listen to them while in close contact with each other.

"My Dog is Hard-Headed, Untrainable, Stupid, Uncooperative, Can't Learn, Stubborn, Bullheaded, Contrary, Disobedient, Headstrong" by Fran Peck

Anders Hallgren The first dog psychologist in Europe. His biography is quite impressive, and his website is worth reading just for understanding how far we've come to understanding our 4 legged companion.

The Dog That Didn't Bark: Can I Cure My Sociopathic Beagle with the Dog Whisperer's Techniques?"

Heaven on Arf Dog Behavior Modification & Training-- Her book on dog aggression is superb

How to Calm a Pet's Fear of Visiting the Veterinarian: A fearful or aggressive pet is difficult for veterinary staff to examine.

Cavaletti Calculator: Very useful in teaching your dog proper jumping style

I Don't Have Time To Train -- Oh, Yes You Do!

12 General Rules for Training Dogs Rules You Should Know

Teaching "Wait" at Door or Gate

Stage Fright: Different Stages of Dog Training

Warm-up exercises for your dog

Stretching for dogs and handlers -- for agility warm-ups, but you should do something like these before obedience, tracking, or other activities

Life with the Six Pack: Semi-Successful Multi-Dog Ownership Explained

Do's and Don'ts of Training a Dog from the RCMP's Dog Training Service Centre (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

Clicker Training



Clicker Train USA Introductory articles, with some online videos

Karen Pryor starting introducing the positive reinforment training. Clicker Training is all about marking the correct behaviour with a click and giving a treat.

The clicker isn't a signal to your dog to tell him to do something, but rather is a signal that tells him that he is on the right track and is doing something right. It isn't a remote control.

Clicker Training with Your Toy Breed Dog

"'Click and Treat' and Other Training Myths"

*Karen Pryor's Site
*Dog-Play Clicker.Links

*Mailing list in CT

Attention training with clicker


Things said about Clicker Training

I didn't need much to win me over - I hated traditional training. I think CC should encourage how much fun it is.

When I think of traditional training I only remember it was grim and serious.

The main difference for me is how much we laugh when training our dog. After all why do most of us get dogs if not to have a creature to bond and have fun with. I think another emphasis should be on tricks. Suzy Dunkelman

The advantages of clicker training -
you don't even need to touch the dog and it doesn't rely on physical strength, so long as you can drop treats and press the clicker.


Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies. -Gene Hill
Target Training & Commands

Targeting:Turning the targeting game into the go-out

Bridge & target training

Mutt Muffs offer hearing protection for your four-legged family members.

Canine Sign Language
How our body language, esp. hand movements, are read or misread by puppies

Ever wonder how to say the commands in German, French, Czech, and Hungarian? Find out what they are according to Mark Plonsky's list.

Reliable Recall -- Excerpt from Melissa Alexander's Click for Joy: Questions and Answers from Clicker Trainers and their Dogs

Establishing Distance Control Generally worth reading for advice on recall (for gun training)

Training deaf or blind dogs

How do you train a dog who is deaf?
Many deaf dogs have been trained using a torchlight flash as a marker signal rather than the clicker. Train hand signals and body language instead of verbal cues.

How to Teach a Deaf Dog Basic Commands: begin with the simplest commands

Deaf Dog Action Fund
Training tips, collars, problems discussed unique for deaf dogs

For a listserv for owners of blind dog

Resource for dogs who are blind

For tips on helping the blind dog adapt

For a listserv for owners of blind dog

How to Train a Blind Dog to Avoid Obstacles

How to Train a Blind Dog to Manage Stairs Training your dog to step up and down on command will help build her confidence and help her resume normal activities around the house.

All about

A veterinarian's view on puppy socialization

Puppy Rearing: Guide for New Owners

Cultivating Positive Retrieving Skills in Your Puppy

How does my puppy learn?

When puppies play, it's ladies first During puppy play, young males sometimes put themselves in a position where they can be taken advantage of by their female playmates. The early behavior could serve them well later in life, say researchers.


Diarrhea in Puppies- Hints for dx — giardia? food intolerance? emergency?

Critical Periods in Your Puppy's Life. Based on the Bar Harbor study

Thoughts on Socializing of Hunting Dog Puppies

"In the first year of its life, expose it to 200 people and take it to 50 or 60 places. What you'll end up with is a dog that is not excited by the appearance of a new person or by a new place." Stanley Coren

Helpful suggestion when you first bring your puppy home: "Obtain an 'old' clockwork (wind-up) clock and a hot water bottle (the type you warm your feet with in the winter). Put hot water in the bottle and wrap the bottle and clock in some old clothing and place with the puppy each night, it has always worked for me, have never needed a crate either :)) and never missed a nights sleep with a puppy crying. " Thanks to Robert Loftus

Helpful hints for puppy rearing

How to teach the vital concept of bite inhibition

A Mother's Love How Do Dogs Love their Puppies?

Puppy Pre School
The ins and outs. If you are a first time dog owner, or even if you're not, this has some good information.

Puppy classes should include puppy problems from bite inhibition to greeting behaviour, possessiveness to dealing with chewing and housetraining to name a few.

Altered States: Training and Socializing for a Strong and Confident Puppy"

Puppy Destruction:

Puppy chewing:
some suggestions

Chewing and Biting



COME!! Damn it!!

Teaching your dog to come reliably Nice little spiel on training the recall, from a new blog

Warning Label: Coming When Called -Sheep dog training

Things to remember when teaching "COME!"
Remember: COME is a position. It means: "SIT straight in front of me and face me."

1. If you are not in a position to enforce a command, DON'T SAY IT.
2. Never relate COME to anything negative.
3. Never call your dog to you and correct her.
4. Never correct on the first command.
5. COME means: SIT straight in front of me and face me.
6. Always separate your praise from your release.
7. Move with confidence.
Retrieve- Fetch

Training the Retrieve with a Clicker

Why "pure breed" dogs can't fetch: An interview with James Serpell

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Fetch?

Fun facts

Male dogs do not actually need to lift their leg to urinate. A male dog urinates with one leg up to better mark his territory. This scent can tell another dog many things, including the size of the dog that did the marking. The size is judged by the height of the mark, and dogs like to make themselves seem as big as possible by lifting their leg so they can make a higher mark.

Potty Training

How do I get my shih-tzu puppy to let me know when he needs to go out?

I taught both of mine to bark at the door when they need to go out. For them it was a multi-step process. Here's what I did:
1) I made sure they knew outside is where they're supposed to go
2) I used ONLY the back door for potty trips. That way they knew which door to to go to. Dogs don't generalize.
3) I taught them to bark on cue, i.e., "speak"
4) Once they got the bark cue down, whenever we went to the potty door I gave the bark cue, and the door opened only after they barked. Worked really well in the morning when they REALLY had to go.
5) I faded the cue until they would bark on their own.
6) I gradually increased *my* distance from the door until I was out of sight.
It took about a week and a half to two weeks for them to learn it all. I really had to break it down for them, but with another dog I could skip steps 2-4 and we're now on steps 5 and 6. This is what I did.
From Karen M Penny

"If you keep an open mind you'll learn something new every day"

Potty training / House break-in request. How to tell your dog it's okay to pee inside (for health, or cold weather reasons) when he's not used to it?

I have a suggestion for you on this. Take a small flower pot with or without foliage in it. Set it outside and get your dog to do his leg-hike on it a couple of times (jackpot with much approval when he does this particular flowerpot); then set the used flowerpot in the litter box inside. Hopefully, he will use it because he's done so before. Penny

Reading your dog

Reading dogs' body language Interesting illustrations

Calming / Appeasement Signals:
Dogs use calming signals with each other to defuse a stressful situation. These appeasement signals DO have a communicative function to reduce the
arousal level of the other dog or calm the dog down.
• Turning the head away or averting the eyes
• Turning completely away
• Sniffing at the ground (very common)
• Quick (often lizard like) licking of the lips
• Freezing in place
• Moving excruciatingly slowly
• Sitting or laying down
• Play bow position
• Yawning

Seize the Moments: Recognizing and Utilizing Training Moments

'I Really Don't Want to Do This!"
Recognizing and Correcting Escape and Avoidance Responses Excellent pictures of dogs who just don't want to do want you want.

HOW do dogs think? A non-verbal link to canine communication

Learn to speak dog - What is your dog trying to say? -

Reading Body Language Page full of dog pictures in different poses. Explaination to what to see in your dog through his body language.

Calming Signals The Art of Survival by Turid Rugaas Very very informative... take notes, and watch your dog.

DVD's on Dog Training

The Dog Whisperer: Beginning and Intermediate Dog Training (2004)
The DVD features professional step-by-step methods by one of the leading proponents of nonviolent training in the world, Paul Owens.

Water Dog 2nd Edition
Field & Stream
"...this video does it ALL! I can't imagine a better dog training video."
This is the "bible" for dog owners who want to simply and quickly train their retrivers for basic and advanced waterfowl hunting.

Gun Dog
With this video, you can transform your pointing dog into a hunting MACHINE! Learn the proven techniques that have worked over the past forty years for gun dog owners and see the newest methods for teaching "whoa" and "force fetching".

Fun to Know Dog Training

Why Does My Dog...?and Think Dog John Fisher has encouraged owners to see their training techniques from the dog’s point of view, and the results were phenomenally successful.

Train Your Dog - The Positive Gentle Method
Learn how you can get results in a short time, using praise and treats. A truly interactive DVD, which reveals many of the best-kept secrets of positive dog training. Two top Los Angeles trainers guide you step by step, through simple, gentle techniques that produce amazing results.

Some interesting links

Dog: The Social Animal- An article explaining why socialisation is important

Attention: Want It? Get It! Chris Bach's eye contact game

Hug Therapy Regaining trust with problem dogs

Punishment: Problems & Principles for Effective Use

Building A Submissive Dog's Confidence

I Don't Have Time To Train -- Oh, Yes You Do!

Bringing Dog Vision Into Focus
Clever title, eh?

PedRisk Software: Computer program to calculate the probability of getting affected or carrier dogs based on known affected, carrier and clear dogs in the pedigree

Raising Siblings (Littermates) or Raising 2 Puppies at the Same Time Although not a good idea, but some times you can't help it. Temperament testing your dog. Very good article about the different types of dogs.

Interview between Jean Donaldson and Gill Minter December 1999.

It is fantastic book. The steps of dog training are explained in a very simple manner with lots of pictures.

Victoria Stillwell In the UK and elsewhere, sort of a "supernanny" for dogs via her TV show, It's Me or the Dog. Seems to be a cute, female version of Cesar Millan -- and with a clicker.


Countering counter-surfing Setting a trap

Is Being Too Easy a Disservice to Your Dog?

Steve Schwarz (Agility Nerd) review of a Suzanne Clothier seminar, 4/06 -- Interesting comments on Clothier's "Auto Check-in" technique for
reassuring a worried dog

What Every Dog Deserves to Have His Handler Know: Conditioning for Healthy Dogs

"Many people ask why I don't write a book. Here is your answer: because I can tell everything that I think is important for success in agility in 10 paragraphs:

1. Develop a firm and trusting relationship with your dog.

2. Properly condition your dog.

3. Teach your dog tricks.

4. Teach your dog obedience, obedience in high-drive of course.

5. Boost your dog's confidence.

6. Don't be afraid to do things your way.

7. If something goes wrong, always remember it's your fault, caused either by your training or your handling. That's good to know since it gives you a power to fix it yourself too.

8. Never forget that results don't count. I might go off-course sometimes, but that doesn't mean that the rest of the run wasn't perfect.

9. Dogs work best when they work for themselves.

10. . Just go out and have fun with your dog!"

From: Silvia Trkman

Google Sniff & Fetch
Loosh Leash walking

An entire library on doglinks about this issue.


Theory of learning

Using 'Dominance' To Explain Dog Behavior Is Old Hat ScienceDaily (2009-05-25) -- A new study shows how the behavior of dogs has been misunderstood for generations: in fact using misplaced ideas about dog behavior and training is likely to cause rather than cure unwanted behavior. The findings challenge many of the dominance related interpretations of behavior and training techniques suggested by current TV dog trainers.

Alpha Status, Dominance, and Division of Labor in Wolf Packs, (pdf file)

The Social Organization of the Domestic Dog;
A Longitudinal Study of Domestic Canine Behavior and the Ontogeny of
Canine Social Systems By Alexandra Semyonova.

An Animal Trainer's Introduction to Operant and Classical Conditioning. Terms and concepts. Part 2 is especially good

Science and Dog Training

Every time we interact with our dog we are conditioning an emotional response that affects our relationship with our dog.  

How does positive reinforcement work in our every day lives? This Dept of Psychology gives examples, non-examples and analysis the situations.

For some really university reading, and wanting to understand DOG, try the following:

Stephen Lindsay, Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training ,
Overall's Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals,
James O'Heare, Aggressive Behavior in Dogs: A Technical Manual for Professionals.

The Four Elements of Learning

As the pointed out in the early 1940's, there are four elements in learning: situation, the dog must be successful in all four of these.

DRIVE: (in this sense) means the willingness of the dog to learn. An element of curiosity coupled with a taste for activity could describe it. Fear and stress reduce the drive to learn because the redirect the energy towards flight or fight responses.

CUE: Is the stimulus that triggers a response. But it is more that that; it also adheres to the dog's understanding of the correct cue. In our case, of course, the cue is smoke and fire, and the dog already seems to have an instinctive under-standing that these are dangerous.

RESPONSE: is the reaction triggered by the cue. There could be many possible responses to a cue, and usually it is just one or two we want, for instance barking and waking you up. We have to shape and mold the responses to be just the ones we want.

REWARD is what the dog experiences as an outcome of its response. It is usually a tug of war over a toy. If the dog does not experience the reward as something very attractive, it is not a reward."
Quoted from SMOKE ALARM TRAINING FOR YOUR DOG, By Anders Hallgren who quoted the American psychologists Dollard and Miller

Fun facts

Using their swiveling ears like radar dishes, experiments have shown that dogs can locate the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second.


The Use of (no) Punishment in Training

There are no valid (IMO) reasons for the use of punishment in the training of 'pet dogs'... all these problems only need an understanding of how dogs learn and good management of the dog's environment, all these 'problems' are learned behaviours, learned through reinforcement, they can be changed through reinforcement.
(Kneeing a dog in the chest can 'kill' a dog, it can also teach a dog not to trust it's owner).
Robert Loftus

Why doesn't your dog respond to a particular word?
We have this built-in belief that words have power. With dogs, words have ONLY the power we have CREATED for them, in RELATIONSHIP with that dog. One of the most basic keys to building your communication with your dog is to be extremely observant of what YOU are doing that causes your dog to react. Seeing ourselves accurately is not a common human skill!
Kathy Diamond Davis, author, Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others

Dominance Alpha theories

Alpha Status, Dominance, and Division of Labor in Wolf Packs, (pdf file)

The Social Organization of the Domestic Dog;
A Longitudinal Study of Domestic Canine Behavior and the Ontogeny of Canine Social Systems By Alexandra Semyonova.

Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals (PDF)

Wolves make dog's dinner out of domestication theory Dogs are no better than wolves at picking up on human cues. That's the conclusion of animal psychologists who have compared the ability of the wolves and dogs to understand human hand signals.

Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals

Ian Dunbar vs. Cesar Millan
Dunbar is the John the Baptist of inducive training; Milan is the latest anointed prince of compulsion training

Does force work? Of course! We have been using force based training forever. certainly comes with a price. ...

Learning is impeded, stress levels are through the roof, your relationship with the dog becomes eroded, not to mention that you have just taught your dog that force is acceptable in your relationship which means he can one day have it up to here and answer you with force of his own.
by Chris(tina) Waggoner
Half Moon Husky Rescue, Inc.
Big Bear City, CA

Lorna & Raymond Coppinger, discussing their book Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, & Evolution which is quite good despite the adjectival insistence of its title

How to desensitise?

Training a dog to accept injections Interesting approach to desensitization/counter-conditioning

While walking her therary dog in a hospital, Bailey started to stare and move back from a helium balloon. Bailey needed reassurance that the balloon wasn't a threat.

Jan, Bailey's owner, describes what she did. "I reached into my pocket and grabbed some treats, then put my arm up and took hold of the balloon. As I pulled the balloon down, Bailey noticed the treats, thinking they came from the balloon!

I slowly moved the balloon around, giving Bailey treats as I did. I also talked to the balloon, as you say, cheering and saying how cool it was.

He relaxed, enjoyed the treats, and accepted the balloon.

Later that day, I went to the drugstore and noticed they had helium balloons for sale. I bought one and put it in our family room. I repeated the trick with the treats and Bailey was fine with the balloon in our house for many weeks!"
Jan and the Collies - Kelly, Cody, and Bailey

Counterconditioning and Desensitization by Debra F. Horwitz, DVM

Desensitizing a dog afraid of riding in a vehicle

What should the handler
do as the dog
fails an exercise?

If the dogs is still in position to perform the exercise, give him an immediate verbal second command, which is usually all that is needed to have him complete the exercise.

A second command is not training in the ring. It is just an extra command. It will lead to a zero score on some exercises but … the dog has zeroed anyway. [The second command] insures that the dog successfully completes the exercise and prevents the formation of bad habits. …

The moment that a dog fails an exercise at an obedience trial, [your] concern is to do whatever [you] can to make the dog perform better at the next trial. As soon as a dog nonqualifies, the trial becomes a practice match. While you cannot correct a dog at a trial, you can call to [him], praise [him], and if necessary talk [him] through the remaining exercises."
-- Patricia Gail Burnham, Playtraining Your Dog

"You can't be a dog trainer until you've had regrets. Sometimes I think most of it is regrets.

I sometimes think . when I'm on my deathbed . they'll come back. All the dogs I've trained will come filing by."
-- Donald McCaig, Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men


Mastering the art of the Flexi The pros and cons of the retractable leash

Effects of the Application of Neck Pressure by a Collar or Harness on Intraocular Pressure in Dogs
The article discusses the possibility of ocular conditions being affected by the pressure on the neck caused by a neck collar and suggests that body harnesses cause less neck pressure and would be better for dogs with conditions like glaucoma...but more research is needed to find out more, of course

In Praise of the Pinch Collar- The pinch collar is a much misunderstood , and therefore misused and underused , tool which can be of genuine value to the dog trainer
The Prong Collar Revisited: Fact Vs. Fiction
Collar Conditioning for the Gundog

Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you later. -Mary Bly

Softouch Concepts -- Sense-Sation no-pull harness
Alternative to head collars, etc. A lot of people put a harness on their dog because the dog pulls so badly with a collar, but of course, most harnesses make it *easier* for the dog to pull.

The Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine has done a study on using a citronella collar to control barking.

Effectiveness and Comparison of Citronella and Scentless Spray Bark Collar s for the Control of Barking in a Veterinary Hospital Setting

Choosing the right collar for your situation, can sometimes be confusing. What do you need the collar for to help you accomplish your training goals with your dog?

"Dogs need to sniff the ground; it's how they keep abreast of current events.

The ground is a giant dog newspaper, containing all kinds of late breaking dog news items, which, if they are especially urgent, are often continued in the next yard." -Dave Barry

Check out this swifty collar. Only use if you know how and if totally necessary

Word of Caution on Shock Products

Scat Mats or E-collars that give static shock when touched should be used with caution. Better yet, don't use them! (sheep killing is a different matter)

Why? "The results are un-predictable, they can result in a fearful response in the dog. If the cause of the unwanted behaviour is a conditioned negative emotional response, these devices can 'increase' the problem and/or stress in the dog. (especially abused dogs).

They can be detrimental to your relationship with your dog. They do not teach the dog an alternate acceptable behaviour in that environment. Some dogs may react aggressively to them. They can cause displacement behaviour. Suppressed behaviour can return at any time (spontaneous recovery). The effects of 'electric shocks' are pain and fear, that can become generalised to anything in the environment. "
Robert Loftus

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