Category Archives: Dog Training

Be Aware Watch Your Dog

Can you hear the dog chewing, panting, or yawning? Can you hear the dog when it is getting off its bed?
Can you hear the dog chewing, panting, or yawning? Can you hear the dog when it is getting off its bed?

Awareness plays a huge role in dog training. Today I’m going to touch on some elements  that will help when training your dog. Awareness is especially useful when working with difficult to train dogs. 714-827-4058

There are several kinds of awareness one needs to consider when training. The most obvious is to be aware of what the dog is doing. A little less obvious is environmental awareness. Self awareness can also be helpful. Sometime self awareness impedes progress and sometimes it accelerates it. To know when to call attention to this element of training is something a skilled instructor should be aware of. The handler should develop positive self awareness as part of the training process. The last type of awareness I want to mention is awareness of the instructor or trainer. A novice dog handler will learn better if they are aware of what the instructor is doing. Some elements to pay attention to are, what direction are they facing, where are their hands, what is the foot work like? If you get the foot work right you will often be positioned to naturally do the right training moment.

In order to know when to give commands and reinforcement you need to know what your dog is doing, has done, and is going to do. How do we know when our dog is behaving, about to behave, or has behaved?

Visual awareness

Awareness of the dog trainer
Awareness of the dog trainer

We become aware of our dog’s behavior with our senses. Humans tend to be visually oriented creatures. It is for this reason that you will often hear me tell dog handlers to “watch your dog.” Sight is the first of our senses used for dog training.

Awareness of the dog trainer
Within a training lesson the client watches how I perform a technique and then they model that behavior. With some additional instruction and feedback almost everyone can learn how to effectively train their dog.

Learning to model another person’s behavior is a useful skill in its own right. I go over the basics of learning how to see what others are doing and how to model behavior within many of my training programs.

 

Auditory Awareness can you hear what your dog is doing. Can you hear it getting on the counter or kitchen cart?

Auditory awareness
For most people sight is most important but we can also hear what the dog is doing. Having good hearing can be an asset when training dogs. You can often hear that a dog is going to misbehave. The audible clues can be panting, wining, barking, a wagging tail making noise, or the sound of the dog’s tags and collar. There are more noises to be aware of, but this should give you a good idea for the sounds you need to listen for.

Awareness of touch
Touch can also give important clues to what a dog is going to do. If you are training the dog on a leash, with time you may become aware of the dog’s behavior by how the leash feels. Is it made a little tight, is it made very loose? Does it twitch a little to the right or to the left? I think of this type of awareness as an advanced leash handling skill.

Your trainer approaching an active dog
Your trainer approaching an active dog

There are other tactile clues to expand your sense of awareness. Some of these are leaning, bumping, jumping, and grabbing. It’s best if one can respond before the dog has completed the behavior (been rewarded).

The off exercise and touching drills are meant to teach the handler to have better tactile awareness. I consider both sensitivity drills.

Wishing you the best in dogs and the best in life,
Andrew Ledford
So Cal Dog training
714-827-4058

I mainly serve Orange County, Long Beach, the San Gabriela Valley, Los Angeles Westside, South Bay, and the LA metro area. I do training throughout Southern California and have worked dogs as far north as San Francisco and East into Arizona. I am also open to teaching abroad. I have done some training in Taiwan.

Beginning Sit and Touching Exercises Plus Fetch

First in home training class demonstrating Sit, touching drills, and beginning the Fetch or retrieve.

Wolfhound Muzzle Touch
Wolfhound Muzzle Touch

We are back with the wolfhound from Anaheim Hills in Orange County. This in home training class presented some unique challenges. I did modify some of my standard techniques, however I don’t show many of these modification in the video. I feel most people will benefit more by seeing how the drills are usually taught.

We’ll begin with the sit with food drill. I go over the sit for food drill quickly. If you need to see how I do the beginning sit drill you may need to reference some of my other videos. During the sit exercise I go over taking the food gently from the owner’s hand. Forceful grabbing of food can be a problem for many dogs and there are several ways to work through over exuberant grabbing. Since this dog was grabbing the food in a frantic and unfocused way I recommend only rewarding gentle and focused food taking.

Next in the video I go over touching exercises using food as a distraction and reward. The touching exercises are part of the foundation exercises I teach. Touching drills teach the dog to be calmer when interacting with people and they teach the dog to like being touched in ways the untrained dog may find objectionable. The touching exercises are also helpful for working through avoidance behavior. Often it’s necessary to work past avoidance before a dog will reliably come on command.

The two touching drills I cover towards the beginning of the video are the muzzle touch and the occipital ridge (top of the head) touch. I mention the shoulder touch at the end of the video.

After we work on the touch drills we go outside where we learn how touch exercise can be applied to practical everyday situations.

Wolfhound Fetch Orienting dog to retrieve / chew toy
Wolfhound Fetch Orienting dog to retrieve / chew toy

Before I work on focusing the dog to its retrieve / chew toy I go over what kind of toy I would like this dog to have.

Some dogs really like to retrieve and some don’t. You’ll see my new big dog friend in not too thrilled about chasing and getting a toy some strange human is playing with. But, there is a little interest and that’s all we need. Follow the directions, even if your dog only shows a little interest in the toy and you will have a retriever in no time.

With my in home dog training videos I always try to have a little commentary by the owners. After the owner commentary I go over the shoulder touch. The shoulder touch can be a very useful exercise for out of control, hyper dogs as well as fearful or sensitive dogs.

This video and blog post took over 10 hours to complete so if you like it at all I would greatly appreciate a G+ if you have a Google account. If you don’t use Google I also like FaceBook likes and shares as well as twitter posts. Thanks for your support.

Wishing you the best in dogs and the best in life,
Andrew Ledford
So Cal Dog training
714-827-4058

I mainly serve Orange County, Long Beach, the San Gabriela Valley, Los Angeles Westside, South Bay, and the LA metro area. I do training throughout Southern California and have worked dogs as far north as San Francisco and East into Arizona. I am also open to teaching abroad. I have done some training in Taiwan.

P.S.

If you leave a comment and would like to change it or have it deleted just let me know and I will take care of it as soon as I can

 

Don’t Touch Command

Here is the second part of the first in-home class with a dog from the Anaheim Hills of Orange County.

Teaching The Off Command
Teaching The Off Command

The video starts with teaching my new tail wagging friend the “Off” command. In the beginning we will use a two second hold between the command and the dog getting a food reward. By teaching “Off”, the dog will learn to focus and not touch during the holding period. After the holding period is over the dog need to hear the “Take” command before it can take the food. For future training it’s important that we count out loud. I try to put each part of the exercise on a verbal cue. By doing this you’ll have better command control of the dog.

There is also a part in the video where I show and explain a very helpful form of touching that can be used to calm an active dog.

So you can hear what the owner thought of the drill I included a little of the owner’s commentary. In this part, one of the owners talks a bit about how they think the exercise will work compared to what they have been doing.

The last part of the video is where I go over how to use positioning and touch/petting to get a dog to quit jumping. While I go over using the touch/petting technique for this drill you can also use food as the reward. As a bonus tip I also included an important safety procedure that should always be done when implementing the step back positioning drill.

Are you wondering about the potty conversation that was started and interrupted at the beginning of the positioning part of the video? To answer the burning question what happened, yes the dog did potty in the designated spot. Yay!

If you learned anything at all or find this post and video at all helpful could you please give it a G+ if you have a Google account? It would also be nice if you could share it on FaceBook especially if you don’t do Google.

Wishing you the best in dogs and the best in life,

Andrew Ledford
So Cal Dog training
714-827-4058
I mainly serve Orange County, Long Beach, the San Gabriela Valley, Los Angeles Westside, South Bay, and the LA metro area

Evaluation of Wolfhound Puppy

Wolfhound Greeting Before Training Lesson
Wolfhound Greeting Before Training Lesson

The video shows my initial meeting with this Wolfhound puppy and the beginning part of the first lesson. On this day we are training in the Anaheim Hills of Orange County. I start with a short evaluation. The video doesn’t show the whole behavioral evaluation but it will give you a glimpse of the initial assessment. You’ll notice this dog is quite passive, and active. Wolfhounds are usually not quite this active.

The next part of the video briefly shows the yard and environmental evaluation. In this part of the training I check the yard for safety hazards and other possible problems. I then talk to the owner about some common plants that could be a problem for the dog. When doing a yard check I’m also looking for a good potty area and checking the fence line.

In the next video we’ll begin some of the foundation training. The training process is part of a system, each component of the lesson has a purpose and is important. Even seemingly trivial points have a purpose. I believe all of my videos with the possible exception of the two Goldendoodles contain at least one important training technique or principle. The Goldendoodle video was just for fun. It was more an experimental video where I attached a camera to one of the dogs.

I’m wishing you the best in dogs and the best in life,
Andrew Ledford
So Cal Dog training
714-827-4058

Taking Real Bone From Resource Guarding Dog

Results of an in home dog training program showing the owner taking a high value bone from the dog
Results of an in home dog training program showing the owner taking a high value bone from the dog

Don’t try this at home. This is for entertainment purposes only. If your dog shows any signs of aggression consult with an experienced dog trainer. Don’t attempt to correct aggression problems by yourself.

This is the second part to the video showing the results of training a boxer dog with low level resource guarding. We started training with low value toys. The next step was to teach the dog to let people take its rawhide bones. Finally we have reached a point where we can take a real bone from the dog.

Man Training Dog With a High value Resource - Bone
Man Training Dog With a High value Resource – Bone

In the previous post and video you got to see me taking the bone, now you’ll get to see how the dog does with its owners. I’m in the first few seconds of the video but then the owners come onto the picture.

Most of the videos I do are hopefully going to be rather mild as far as violence goes. I try to work below the threshold of aggression. Working a dog below the threshold of aggression is something I can do most of the time. Confrontations do occur, but I try to keep them to a minimum.

If you like to see growling dogs I may have a video coming soon with a bit more growling. I have not decided if I am going to post it or not. In that video the dog is growling when we first meet. More than half of that first lesson was growling. Fortunately, so far I have not had any growling while I’ve had the leash in my hands.

More video of the boxer dog giving up a high value beef bone. I’m coaching the owners as they work the dog. But this time the video is also showing the owners working the dog and taking its bone.

Wishing you the best in dogs and in life,
Andrew Ledford
Southern California Dog training
714-827-4058

Resource Guarding Taking a Real Beef Bone From Dog

Dog Training High With a Value Resource The Real Bone
Dog Training High With a Value Resource The Real Bone

Here is a follow up blog post and video showing the results of an in home training program with the boxer dog who had low level resource guarding.

Don’t try this a home. This is for entertainment purposes only. In this video I get a quick update on how the dog is doing with dropping and giving up toys as well as things it steals.

Then the big unboxing of the beef bone. It’s really more like unwrapping. I prepare the bone for training and then it’s test time.

Dog Training Resource Guarding With The Real Bone
Dog Training Resource Guarding With The Real Bone

Will all the training we worked so hard on pay off? Will this boxer be a good boy or will he bite the hand that feeds him?

The remainder of the video is me working the dog. I will be performing several different techniques during the training lesson. The primary goal is to take the high value resource (bone) from the dog without aggressive or possessive behavior. I expect him to “react” to the command by letting me have the bone and taking the food treat. You will notice that I do use techniques other than just taking the bone to make the dog feel more secure in this type of competitive scenario.

While this is the big day and in some ways a test for how the dog is doing, it is still a training session. That is why I’m taking the bone and not the owners. Usually I’ll work the dog before I have the owner do the drills. During most training sessions you will see me handling the dog first. Don’t miss the upcoming video. The next video in the series will show the owners taking the bone from the dog. Since we are still doing training with this dog the dog is kept on leash. I explain a little about keeping the dog on its leash toward the end of the video.

Stay tuned for the next video, same dog channel (site) maybe a different dog time. This video was done in Orange County California. So far I have not established a release day or blog/video schedule. I have been doing at least one new blog post and video a week, sometimes I do more than one. It takes a considerable amount of time to do some of the edits so I can’t do too many. A five minute video and blog post can take between 5 to 20 hours to complete. It depends on how it was shot. Most of these posts + videos take a fairly long time to shoot, and edit. Writing the post is usually not that time consuming. They are short and typically highlight what the video is about.

Wishing you the best in dogs and in life,
Andrew Ledford
Southern California Dog training
714-827-4058

Greeting Active Dog Before In Home Lesson

Active Dog Greeting The Dog Trainer
Active Dog Greeting The Dog Trainer

Here is a short video showing me arriving for the big training day where we take a real cow bone from the dog. Many of my training sessions a rather long so I’ll split the videos up into several smaller bite size clips. This video just shows the greeting, and me calming the dog down. Most dogs are quite happy to see me when I show up for a training session. Active dogs such as this one sometimes get a little overexcited. You may notice I’m using the Off command/exercise and touching to calm the dog. I know a lot of you are waiting to see me take the real bone from the dog. The real bone video is coming, but, I thought it would be helpful to also see the greeting and interaction before the serious training session begins. The video was done in Irvine, which is in Orange County CA.

Wishing you the best in dogs and in life,
Andrew Ledford
Southern California Dog training
714-827-4058

Beginning Target Stick Conditioning With Clicker Video Baby Boomer Dog Handling

Target Stick Dog Training
Target Stick Dog Training

Beginning Target Stick Training Video

Using a target stick for dog training isn’t only for Baby Boomers. However, as I get a little older I find it mighty helpful for training small dogs. You may ask, helpful for what? Well when training small dogs bending over hundreds, even thousands of time a day can get tiresome. Bending in itself isn’t so bad, but moving a small dog around while bending can put extra strain on one’s back. The target stick lets you move or lure the dog without bending.

A lot of trainers see slip collars on most of the dogs in my videos and think I don’t use positive reinforcement. Well the slip collar is there for safety. A high quality slip collar is the safest collar for an urban environment.

Conditioning your dog to the target stick is most easily done using a clicker. Yes the little dog from Long Beach is back for some additional training. In the beginning part of the video I’m getting the dog to touch the stick at the very end. That is the target. I usually start this training very informally. As you will notice while the dog is on its bed. Once the dog is comfortable with touching the stick inside the house we’ll move to the backyard. The backyard training is not in the video. Then we go out into public. Training in public and around distractions adds a whole new dimension to the exercise and needs to be done at a speed that is right for the individual dog. Don’t go too fast. When transitioning to public training it’s better to over train with low level distraction than go too fast.

While I don’t usually talk a lot about clicker training I have been using a clicker before it was popular. When I first started doing clicker training they were call party crickets or party clickers. You had to buy them at toy stores. I think I still have a few of those lying around somewhere. My Labrador Retriever who was in television commercials and film was trained with a clicker. That dog was trained with an all positive approach for about the first three years I had him. We would work between two to four hours a day training new and basic behaviors.

Although I don’t call myself a clicker trainer I have developed specific techniques for handling a dog while using the clicker. I am amazed that a lot of trainers who claim to be clicker training experts have not done the same. How do I know they haven’t? Well I don’t really. However, when I work with clients who have done training with one of these clicker experts and they can’t handle the clicker and the leash or the dog at the same time, I have to wonder. Usually I will ask specifically about what kind of handling was taught, assuming they just need a prompt to remember. Often all I get is “I wasn’t taught that.”

As I mentioned Baby boomers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from using a target stick. Some sensitive dogs do better when they’re at a distance from people. For these dogs the stick can be a helpful intermediate step. The target stick is just one tool to help work thorough training problems or speed up the training process. There are some trainers who really like using a target stick and they have built whole target stick training systems. This can have some benefits. I have used different types of sticks, wands, staffs, canes, scepters, and wooden swords as training tools for years. When used with positive reinforcement and/or as positive reinforcement (something the dog likes) these tools can have a positive and dramatic impact on a dog’s behavior.

Wishing you the best in dogs and in life,

So Cal Dog training
714-827-4058

Heel Position and Hand Placement for Teaching Dog Sit With Leash Video

Proper Heel Position
Proper Heel Position

We start the video by going over what the proper Heel position should look like. Placing your dog into a sit with the leash will be easier when your dog is heeling properly position. you will also have better overall control When your dog is walking on a loose leash and staying by your side.

Proper Hand Position Sit at least it is in the right area, if the dog resists use you whole palm and spread out the fingers
Proper Hand Position Sit, at least it is in the right area, if the dog resists use you whole palm and spread out the fingers

The Safe Way to Place Your Dog Into a Sit Without Causing Injuries

We then go over how to do a safe sit using the leash and collar. The safe way to place your dog into a sit involves the proper use of the left hand in placing the dog into a Sit. This dog and its owners have already had several training lessons so I don’t need to go over body positioning and/or foot work. One reason a person may want to place their dog into a sit is that food wasn’t used properly in the early stages of training. Another reason for a crooked sit is a dog that wants to do something other than a straight sit. The later is the case with this dog, it wants to chase flying geese.

A crooked sit isn’t terribly bad in itself, but it does put the dog out of position for other training exercises. When the dog is out of position it also makes controlling the dog more difficult. This is easier to see once you understand how the eight position of movement affect your dog’s behavior. Again I want to emphasize the main reason most dogs sit crooked or out of position sit is they were trained improperly using food. I am not against using food reward in training. However, even training with treats needs to be done properly for the best results.

In the video I also touch on the tradition method of placing a dog into the Sit. The traditional dog training method does work and it should not be ruled out completely. However, I find a gentler approach more useful for the average dog. The method of placement I prefer tends to take a lot of stress and strain off the dog’s skeletal structure, and it works with the majority of dogs.

There are some placement methods that should be avoided by novice handlers. One of these methods is pushing the dog into a sit toward the middle of the spine. I will point this out in the video. Pushing the dog into a sit too far forward should be avoided because it could injure your dog.

Toward the end the dog’s owners give a brief description of the dog’s behavior during this training lesson. This part of the video will be of interest to anyone who would like to participate in one of my dog training programs.

If your parents have an out of control dog show them this video. Or you might have a friends who’s dog could use better manners, share this with them, they will thank you for it.

Wishing you the best in dogs and in life,

Andrew Ledford
So Cal Dog training
714-827-4058

Video Remedial Sit With In Home Dog Program

Showing a dog training around distractions in the act of sitting
Showing a dog training around distractions in the act of sitting

One of the great things about in home dog training is that we can go back over previously learned skills when needed. In this video I will cover the beginning Sit using the leash and collar. While I am using a slip collar in the video you can do this with any type of collar. The technique even works with a head collar such as a gentle leader. Another advantage of a series of in home lessons is that they help reinforce previously learned material and techniques.

Hand Position For Training Dogs to Sit Using the Leash and Collar

Thought this video you will notice that distractions affect humans as well as dogs. When distractions are combined with the extra stress of working in public, performing fine grained behaviors can be more difficult. It may not seem like following directions, such as having the dog sit, would be difficult. But add some big flying bird, and the whole scenario changes.

Since timing is one of the most important parts of dog training you will notice that I repeat myself until I get the response we need. That is unless the situation has changed enough that the behavior I was targeting is no longer the best response.

From doing these videos I think I may go back to a more formal and traditional obedience training format for giving instructions to the dog handler. I think these videos are a great learning tool for everyone.

The video starts with a little information that could prevent you from injuring your dog. It then moves to leash handling and the actual technique. I have developed a step by step training system so that anyone can learn to control their dog. Even if you don’t have the best timing or coordination. If you practice and follow each step you will be able to train your dog.

Next you will see me walk the handler through doing the exercise properly. Towards the end I get a report on how the dog is doing with giving its special high value bone. You will see in this video we are still training in Irvine.

We provide training services to all of Orange County, Long Beach, and the Los Angeles metro areas including the San Gabriel Valley, South Bay, and West Side. Adaptive Dog Training™ conveniently offers customized In home training to a large portion of Southern California’s most dog friendly communities. 714-827-4058

Wishing you the best in dogs and in life