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Nanette: A Very Brave Dog

and how one little dog showed her life

Education the Gentle and Fun Way - Part Two

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Now training has started again you should start by Conditioning of the Clicker, as before. These behaviours should be done naturally now either when you come into the house, or before you start any training. You should be quite familiar with these exercises and do them naturally, in your everyday environment. Please look at your last sheet to familiarise yourself.

In this section I aim to show how important it is to have reliable, fixed behaviours that your dog will do, and continue to do without hesitation, any time anywhere, when asked. And you both understand just how important it is early on to have a well behaved, mannered dog this will be very beneficial not just now but for the rest of your dog’s life and yours as well!!


This week we need to get the “Sit” in front to be spot on. Throw a treat away from your dog so he/she has to go and get it. The dog must reliably come back to “Sit” in front of you, then click and throw a treat to start again. When the dog is doing this behaviour consistently, and just as the dog makes the “Sit” position you can now bring in the (Cue) word. Say the (Cue) word “Sit” and when your puppy/dog does this straight away, click and reward. Sometime using the palm of your hand to reinforce using the (Cue) word a few times saying “Sit”. Continue to do the behaviour throwing a treat away (10) times, each time saying the word “Sit” just as the dog is making this behaviour, click and reward. Then, for a few times, say the “Sit” word and reward with the palm of hand. If this has gone well try another (10) times, then show hands and say “Finish”. Give a treat, bone or Kong to chew and leave the dog alone to relax.

If you have time you can start this behaviour up again after lunch for approx. 10 to 15 minutes at anyone time.

Only do one of either behaviours, either “Sit” or “Sit Stay”, at anyone time never mix them up or you may start to confuse your puppy/dog. For instance, on a daily training routine, go for the “Sit” in front to start with, then, later that day, move onto the “Sit Stay”.

“SIT/and STAY”
Then, for a count of (5), say (Cue) word “Stay” and continue to “Sit” and “Stay”. Then try a count of (10). If the puppy/dog moves then go back to a figure you know you can achieve with your dog. It’s no good trying for something the puppy/dog is not yet ready for. We will be practising in class to build up to the figure of (10) or more.

Now we need to start to move around more while doing this exercise. In the last six weeks we only managed one pace backwards. Now start by trying 3 or 4. You can always go back to one pace but we need to try and stretch the Puppy/dog. However the dog must “Stay” in the “Sit” position. If the dog moves put it back where he/she got up from, and then starts again. Say “Stay” and proceed but you need to move around either side by side or backwards/forwards. Come back to your dog, click and reward by treating with the palm of your hand. If your dog goes in the down, walk forward to get the dog to move, he/she will. Then if in the “Sit” say quickly “Stay” and repeat as above.

You should work on attention in two ways this week. First, use a food lure to get your dog to look up at your face, holding a treat between your thumb and finger as your dog “Looks” up at you then using the word “Watch” with your finger lure click and reward with that treat from your two fingers just as your dog looks at you. Slowly increasing the time your dog looks at you, and moving into different locations. If your dog looks away, move slightly to one side and start again, lowering your time expectations. Your job is to click and reward before your dog glances away.

SECOND, Randomly “Catch” your dog looking at you; mark it with a click/treat. You are not trying to elicit or lure attention here; you are just catching it when it happens. It helps to have your clicker and treats in convenient places around the house in your pocket, or in a plastic tub. The more often you catch attention, the more your dog will offer it. Remember that you can’t train a dog that isn’t paying attention to you.

Go back and look at the week (1) sheet if you need to update your information. Write in your note book to keep a check on your dog’s progress. This will also help you to measure your dog’s learning and to see just what you are teaching him. Mark down how many times your dog looked at you?

Keep one foot on the lead, and when your dog is quiet, and goes to lay down click for that moment and then keep treating as she/he is lying down. For this behaviour only, click once then continue to reward. If you keep clicking your dog may want to get up and it’s not what we are teaching. This is purely a relaxation exercise for your dog to lay his/her body over to one side, and learn self-control (to “Settle”). Dogs don’t learn this behaviour we have to teach it to them.

Reward with a filled kong or a new chew bone while maintaining this settle relaxation exercise.

You have taken on the role of their parent in the absence of the birth parents and have the additional parental role of adapting a species (dog) to another environment which is the (Training School). Whatever their future and your ambitions we must always start with a solid foundation of obedience and manners. Which we have started with in the last six weeks, that’s why in this six weeks we must continue with Concentration, Memory and Application to succeed and learn how to be creative with your dog. Let the dog solve problems. Give your dog the choice to think for it self and to work it out using its brain, NOT telling the dog what to do by giving him/her all the answers. At this point we are moving forward a little way each time to achieve our behaviours which we have done in the class, and learning how to sustain them. Training goes on all the time, and continues for the rest of the dog’s life. As these behaviours get locked into our dog’s brain they become more solid. We then move on a little further to achieve behaviour.

Every session of training has a purpose, although there will be moments of despair! And you may question “should I carry on?” BUT PLEASE continue. Don’t Give Up. It will get better and clearer in time. Clicker sessions have all the elements. They are very focussed and rewarding for both parties, and there is a measurable outcome. You both finish with a sense of achievement, and start to grow in confidence, making training enjoyable, a happy place to be and looking forward to the next week. And best of all, your dog loves to have your attention, as they are very social creatures and crave to be with you. So the bond is created for a lasting lifetime of mutual trust, love, friendship and companionship.

In a happy, jolly voice say things like: - “Good”, “Great”, “Good Job”, or think of a word yourself. Use the same word all the time. Just like the clicker we are using the same principal of pairing the way the word is sounded with food reward. We all say words differently so you must say this word in the same way all the time if not your dog may be confused and look at you not understanding what you are meaning, you might think he/she is being difficult when the dog is just not understanding the tone of what’s being said. If we had 5 people saying “Good” it would come out different believe me. So be kind and thoughtful to your dog use a word that is simple and meaningful, said in the same way rewarded that word quickly, over and over again with a food treat when the behaviour is being performed.

For wrong, inappropriate behaviours deepen your voice. You have to change the tone so the dog can distinguish the difference between the bad and good sound.  Say things like: - “No” “Try again” “Bad” or find a word you would like. But you must stick to that word all the time as its how the word is sounded and said which the dog understands. It is no good changing the word and wondering why the dog keeps doing the bad behaviour as he/she has not made the connection with the sound. We can talk to each other, that’s how we communicate, but dogs go by sound, body language and facial expressions to work out what is being said or whether we are being happy, or sad.

Practise 10-15 minutes at anyone time throughout the coming week. Remember to “DO LESS IS BEST”. Never go on and on to bore your dog, as both of you will just get fed up. Try to be fun to work with and don’t be predictable try a different location to work in, or going for a walk choosing a different way, it keeps your dog thinking all the time as this is FUN!!. If training is fun then your dog is likely to enjoy it and want to do more. We need to start to work with more and more distractions this time, so the dog becomes more focused on you and is less likely to be distracted about what’s going on around it, and in an everyday environment.

Adding in now the behaviour of the “Watch” signal keep this up as it will give you another tool to work with for keeping the dogs attention.


Continuing to teach a reliable “Down” bringing in the “Cue” word “Down” and getting the dog to be reliable to go down when asked, and for ½ minute leading to 1 minute in the down.
Continuing to look at the “Sit” and “Sit Stay” progressing with longer times, in keeping the dog in that desired position. And the “Watch” signal keep working with that, same time factor just choose what you will teach at any one time.

Keep up the good work: you are doing GREAT.

Denise @ Waggtails School Of Dog Training

Last Updated ( Sunday, 15 February 2009 12:56 )  


"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated - Mahatma Gandhi

I am life which wills to live
in the midst of life which wills to live.
-- Albert Schweitzer

By respect for life
we become religious in a way
that is elementary, profound
and alive.

-- Albert Schweitzer

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