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 Tips and Tricks

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Xei
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PostSubject: Tips and Tricks    Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:33 am

Hello All,

So, I thought I would start off my second topic by sharing what I have learned after a few weeks of living with Snowie. Along with some tips and tricks that have greatly assisted in welcoming, our new quadruped into the family.

1. Kennel is a necessity, while some dogs can slip past this; a Kennel is needed for at least those times when you cannot watch over them completely (at least if you want to avoid a destroyed house). This especially helps with potty training in the house. I will admit, that on week 4 now, he has been sleeping overnight hooked to his leash in my room on the floor. So far, there have been no accidents and he wakes me when he needs to go out, and returns just as easily to sleep.

Getting to this stage required 3 weeks of crate training, and careful introduction to sleeping in my room. There were a few accidents at first, but by week 4, I can at least put a little trust that he can make it through the night.

Initial crate training involved four days in the first week of crying and incessant barking. Treats were provided each time he went inside, encouraging him to enter himself. It helps if he is utterly exhausted (such as a nice jog around the neighborhood, I learned this on day five).

2. Kong toys are your friend, while other toys work; I have found a tiny amount of frozen peanut butter (applied inside then put into the freezer overnight) keeps Snowie occupied for 20 – 40mins. Perfect for those times I need to work on the PC and can’t watch him 100% but don’t want to put him in his Kennel yet.

3. While Kongs are excellent; unless there is peanut butter Snowie gets bored with them very quickly (peanut butter is a rare treat, not a common one). I have found that custom made toys actually work the best.

For example, take an empty yogurt cup and a rubber bone, wrap the bone in an old washcloth, put kibble at the bottom of the empty yogurt cup, and shove the wrapped bone into the cup until it is snug (where the cloth is not easily reached by teeth). Snowie spent over an hour pulling on the bone trying to get the cloth out of the way to reach the kibble he heard shaking at the base of the cup.

Another interesting challenge is to take a big empty juice bottle, with the label removed (so Snowie doesn’t rip off the label and eat it), put the cap on partially after you fill it with kibble. Snowie spent over 1hr and 30mins (yes, I time him) trying to open the bottle and then tip it over. I admit, he does seem to have it down better now. Still takes him about 30mins to get 10 of his kibble out.

Teaching Commands

Everyone has an opinion on this, here is mine . I have had one other dog before Snowie. A Golden Retriever who passed away recently named Sierra. He had issues with what I like to call selective hearing. I decided to fix this with Snowie and read up on training. The biggest recommendation that everyone agrees to is ‘Repetition’. I have also been using hand signals, which have been working quite nicely.

For those trying to learn, I recommend going through, and showing the puppy/dog what to do. When they do it right, reward them, (I use kibble, but some dogs need treats, as kibble is not worth the effort). I have also started a reward system. Kibble is the lowest reward, organic carrot treats second, and meat rewards for his best work. For the Kibble and carrots, I carry them on me or leave them in strategic spots around the house.

At four weeks, Snowie has mastered ‘Come’, to the point where he is excitedly running around the backyard and the ‘Come’ command will bring him and whatever he is chewing on straight to me. The second command he has down is ‘Sit’ which has worked surprisingly well on walks when people come to pet him. He wants to jump on them, but that single command brings him to heel and lets people pet him without him jumping.

Both of these commands required and still require constant repetition in the house and outside. Rewarding him every single time he does it right, so that when I don’t have a treat he still does it perfectly.

Other tricks he is learning are: up, down, stay, drop it, go laydown, fetch/bring it here, crawl, and rollover (this one he tends to get stuck on his back with). I also find that when Snowie gets out of control, I can sometimes divert his rambunctious attitude by starting his training regimen, which means going through all of his tricks. Sadly this does not always work.

By the way, if anyone has any other commands I should work on, and how they do it, I always welcome any advice.    

Learning through Trial and Error.

This part is not so much tips and tricks but just learning experience.

I spent weeks doing research, and mainly how to understand the reward/punishment system. I am of course still learning, but recently I have finally found something that gains results.

Like all puppies, Snowie likes to bite and for a time it was getting out of hand, as he bit hands, arms, and legs (He even tried removing a few of my toes once). My first tier of punishment is to limit freedom, this means being on his leash. Which has worked quite well, so far at least. I am a strong proponent of leash control. Snowie is only off the leash when I can watch him completely, and when he starts acting up he goes back on the leash. This has drastically limited any damage he might do, though in his first week he ate through a leash…fortunately, he doesn’t do that anymore. Currently I can leave him on his leash overnight next to my bed without so much as a nibble.
 
Rewards are given and reinforced with praise every time he does something good. I even started giving him some kibble rewards when he is just lying on my slippers and not chewing on them. When he does something wrong, I tend to try to redirect with toys.

At his worst, and I do mean the crazy jumping, attacking, and running away (he has this habit of stalking people and then leaping out of the shadows before disappearing, only to come back from a different direction, leap over a foot and vanish again, kinda scary when the lights are off), when not even the leash is enough.

I give a firm ‘Timeout’ and place him in the back of my clean/safe pickup truck in the garage or during the day in his kennel. He stays there until he stops barking, usually about 5minutes, sometimes less sometimes longer. This has worked every single time, and when he comes back, he is calm once more and ready to play/relax like a responsible puppy.

Cat Training

I have a 13 year old rescued Calico named Angel (she was found abandoned under a bridge meowing in a box as a kitten) who is very tolerant (She was trained thoroughly by my Golden Retriever Sierra, basically he was scratched once and after that he would paw her into submission or when she was really irritating—sit on her.) She does not scratch, either us or Snowie, this has helped a great deal in training. She also knows not to run when being watched by a dog, usually sitting or moving slowly and has a habit of slinking underneath furniture (and laughing as the dog gets stuck trying to follow).

At 4 weeks, I am gaining confidence that Snowie will eventually not try to eat her (I hope). Right now, she can be sitting in her bed, and he will come sniff, occasionally lick, and then move on. She can pass him in the hallway and at most he will follow her before she vanishes under the furniture.

Training required me taking Snowie and Angel into a room; one person would have Angel sit in their lap. While I had Snowie on a leash with toys and treats. I had him sit, while distracting constantly. The first two days of this resulted in him barking to the point of me feeling like I was going deaf. Each session was no more than 2 – 5 minutes long at a distance of 10 feet.

Each session after, when he started improving was extended and the distance shortened. He was eventually off the leash and given rewards for going through his training regimen while the cat walked around us. I never allowed him out of my reach, as there were still times he tried to lunge at the cat.

These sessions continue to this day, and he is steadily improving. In general, he ignores Angel, which is something I am attempting to encourage. When he does go after her, she smacks him and I try to redirect to something else. At this point, I am still always watching him, so as to avoid any potential mishaps.  

Whew, that took me some writing time. Well that’s it for now, I hope some of these tips and tricks I have picked up will be of interest/help. Feel free to share your own experiences. Such as what works as toy ideas, tricks and tips for training behavior, ect. Specifically how you accomplished a desired reaction. Whether through praise, rewarding, or simple hand commands/attention.  

Until Next Time!
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seattlesibe
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PostSubject: Re: Tips and Tricks    Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:53 am

Nice work with your puppy.

If you really want to start proofing your commands and get your pup off to a great start you can start working on duration and distractions.

For example, have him Sit but instead of instantly rewarding him , walk away and do something else. Maybe shake the kibble bag. Then you can see if the command is sinking in or if it's become a rehearsal for attaining kibble. When you start getting duration with distractions, then it's really sinking in.

I recommend the Place command as well. Place means: hang out in this object however you like and don't get off. He can sit, lay, stand.....whatever . So long as it's on the object like a rug, mat, towel, anything.

This command is the key to rushing the door, patience work, and guests arriving and prevention of hyper greetings or jumping.

Again, nice foundation work so far Smile
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vbear
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PostSubject: Re: Tips and Tricks    Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:38 pm

Hello Phil, nice post. =)

It sounds like your dog is doing pretty great so far, it's nice to hear stories that have a good ending. I do have a few command suggestions, just some useful every day things that you could work on once he has mastered some of the more basic commands you've been teaching him.

"Back up" is a command I find necessary for my dogs, because I've got some really big german shepherds as well as a husky and they tend to scare people even when they are well behaved. If I've got guests around and the dogs come to check them out and the guests would rather they didn't, I can say "back up" and the dog will take a few steps backwards (or more if I continue the hand signal) then I can tell them to sit or lie down. People really appreciate it!

Another thing I teach any dog right away is the word "No." My dogs understand that no means stop whatever it is they are doing immediately, and wait for further instructions. "Stop" is also pretty handy, you can use it when they are coming toward you or running away and it can be made fun as well.

"Wait" and/or "Stay" which for my dogs mean two different things. For example when going through a door I'll say "wait" and they'll come in when I invite them to. Or when I'm chaining tricks together and I want them to sit and stay for a moment but I'll soon give them another command I say "wait" so that they know something else is coming. "Stay" means do not move from that spot until I come back and say the release word OR I call you directly to me. To make their Stay really solid though I suggest not calling them from the position for a while until they are really good at staying put. Always walk all the way back to him and give him a release word if you want it to be really effective! (In my humble opinion that is haha)

Jeff's suggestion of Place is very useful too, though I must admit I haven't optimized that much. But my dogs do "Go in" to anything I say, be it the house door, a crate, a kennel, a truck and so on.


As for cat training, I do have a story about husky vs cat but I feel like my post has gone on long enough as it is! I am happy to share though if you are interested.


Last edited by vbear on Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:41 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typoo)
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Tips and Tricks    Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:29 pm

V I too use wait and stay separately as you do. Instead of No(i hate the word and find most people over use it), I use enough (can also be used in place of stop). I personally think drop it and leave it are the most important safety commands to train after stay. jmho......the jumping on visitors I think is more of a puppy thing, the excitement of new and different people. With Miya it was always a firm down, sit and stay, if she started to wiggle it was a be good. she will not jump on people as an adult with 3 exceptions, my two neighbors and her uncle, 2 out of the three are men and they both encourage her to jump up, despite me intervening and asking them not to. Miya will not with anyone else. She also has distinguished between children and older people, she will immediately sit to greet those types of people, able bodied adults she will stand to greet.....What I'm saying is being consistent and firm will form a solid base for any pup to learn proper behavior (although we can argue that a husky will forget all of this tomorrow, lol).
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vbear
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PostSubject: Re: Tips and Tricks    Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:50 pm

Any word can become over used, but the truth is it doesn't matter which word you pick as long as the dog gets it. Drop it and leave it are important, my dogs understand "no" so well that if they're going to pick something up (or they already have something) the word "no" will stop them, and once I've said it they're usually looking at me like "ok so what do you want me to do?" I can either call them and take what they are holding or I can tell them to drop it, or in most cases stopped them from picking up the bad object in the first place.

But as I've said before, the words you use don't matter! As long as they understand what you want.
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Tips and Tricks    Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:56 pm

V, my apologies if you took that as a negative comment. I agree it doesn't really matter what words you use as long as you get the results you are looking for.
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PostSubject: Re: Tips and Tricks    Wed Mar 18, 2015 6:07 pm

Nahh it's okay, I didn't take it negatively. =) Just wanted to further explain myself I guess, heh.
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Xei
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PostSubject: Re: Tips and Tricks    Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:09 pm

@vbear wrote:
As for cat training, I do have a story about husky vs cat but I feel like my post has gone on long enough as it is! I am happy to share though if you are interested.


Always interested in hearing about training Dog with a Cat/s' certainly has been interesting so far. Snowie has pretty much realized he can't get her, and has more fun staying out of range laying down and wagging his tail as he watches my cat sleep.

At the moment, the only time he pays any real attention is when the cat starts running around the house. That is the only time I really have to watch him, but even when he chases, she quickly slips under the couch where he cannot follow.
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Xei
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PostSubject: Re: Tips and Tricks    Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:16 pm

@MiyasMomma wrote:
Instead of No(i hate the word and find most people over use it), I use enough (can also be used in place of stop). I personally think drop it and leave it are the most important safety commands to train after stay.

I have actually started to notice the slight issue with overusing 'No' as a stop all command. I have actually been incorporating "Enough" slowly into Snowie's commands. For now both are in there, and seem to be working without overly confusing Snowie.

I have also been trying to teach the place command, most of the house floor is covered in tile, my hope is to teach Snowie that "Go on the Carpet" or just "Carpet" will get him sitting on the carpet. So far, he has partially understood what I want. Taking a lot of work for him to distinguish where I want him though.

Right now I say "On the carpet" and direct him toward the carpet, when he walks off I repeat the command and when he backs up I reward him. No idea if I am doing this right. Any tips?
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MiyasMomma
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PostSubject: Re: Tips and Tricks    Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:34 pm

Phil, I am not sure on the placement protocol, since different training techniques call different teachings different things. With Miya, I gave firm boundaries and used the stay command. She was taught inside and outside, and knows that may mean different rooms, so if for example I am in the bedroom and I did not want her in there for the moment I would say Miya outside, lay down and stay. She would be at the threshold of the bedroom, rather than in the room. So I would simplify and keep the word carpet only, so it would be Snowie carpet stay.

Some people use different techniques, of course what works best for one may not work for another. For Miya, she has never been treat motivated, so once I was done with her command and she did it right good girl was all I needed, or good girl and a shoulder rub. I personally feel since huskies have a penchant for thinking you are talking to the husky behind them, 90% of all my commands for her is used with her name, her name is my attention grabber, and she will look to me to see what I want from her and is completely focused on me only. Repeating your command and showing him what you want is appropriate at his age. Quite honestly, imho, huskies are extremely intelligent, and can accustom themselves to a plethora of commands, you may find that you have to repeat yourself, and this discourages many a husky owner, because say for example a gsd, will sit when asked the first time, a husky may not. I give the three strikes rule for my husky to lessen my frustration. I request once, become firm upon second request, and then the most firm on last try. Miya is now a little over two, and for the past 6 months to year, my requests have become more obliged on less requests. So anymore she will sit with one firm Miya sit vs under a year may have took three tries. Patience, persistence, and consistency is key. Skies the limit on how many commands you can teach.

Btw, finding a command for what you want vs using no, will help your relationship. All of this training and teaching builds a stronger bond. It also exercises their minds, which tires them a great deal and makes for a better behaved pup.

I hope I helped you out a little more.
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Xei
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PostSubject: Re: Tips and Tricks    Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:32 pm

@MiyasMomma wrote:


Quite honestly, imho, huskies are extremely intelligent, and can accustom themselves to a plethora of commands, you may find that you have to repeat yourself, and this discourages many a husky owner, because say for example a gsd, will sit when asked the first time, a husky may not. I give the three strikes rule for my husky to lessen my frustration. I request once, become firm upon second request, and then the most firm on last try.

Thank you Renee,

The information you provided is very useful, and like all things it takes effort and time if you want to succeed. Always happy to learn and improve. I will try adding the stay command into the placement system I am teaching. Snowie is quite scary in his intelligence. He has now learned to: open bottles, doors, and even unlocked the box where I store his dog food, which requires several clips be undone and then the lid pushed up and over. I have to admit, I find the challenge quite invigorating, what will he learn to do next ect, fortunately he has not yet learned how to use the garage door opener or undo a deadbolt.

Once again, thanks for sharing.
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