Category Archives: Dog Training

Dog Training and Leash Handling At Bluff Park in Long Beach, CA

Here are a few pictures of me helping a friend with Training their dog in Long Beach at Bluff Park. In these photos I’m teaching the proper way to hold the leash. You can see in previous posts that I am trying to mainly use positive reinforcement with this dog. However, I still feel it’s important to learn how to handle the leash properly. I also think using some kind of a slip collar to prevent accidental escaping is important. Especially when working next to a busy road like Ocean Boulevard, here we are using a traditional training collar. You may notice the collar is a bit too big for this dog. A limited slip would work just as well. a limited slip collar is sometimes called a martingale collar.

Holding the leash properly will improve your leash handling and timing. If you are primarily using food in the training the leash does seem to get in the way sometimes. In the beginning you can get around this problem by ignoring the leash when the dog is focused on the food. After you gain some proficiency in leash handling you can use the leash and food lures/rewards at the same time.

These photos are from my old 101-dog-training-tips website. Moving forward, I am moving everything to this website.

Dog Training Bluff Park in Long Beach
Dog Training Bluff Park in Long Beach
Dog training in Long Beach, CA. Here we are chatting about the next step
Dog training in Long Beach, CA. Here we are chatting about the next step
Praise during a dog training session in Long Beach
Praise during a dog training session in Long Beach
Giving step by step instruction for Leash handling to make training more efficient.
Giving step by step instruction for Leash handling to make training more efficient.
Leash handling for effective dog training in public done overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Long-Beach, CA
Leash handling for effective dog training in public done overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Long-Beach, CA

For more information about dog training in Long Beach give me a call at 714-827-4058

Pitbull dog training at the Beach

Here is a video of the first time I did any training with a friend’s new pit bull rescue. We were at Dog Beach in Long Beach, California. While this dog is wearing a pinch collar I don’t like starting the training process with this type of collar. In this video I try to use the leash and collar as little as possible. I do this by keeping the leash as loose as possible.

I wasn’t planning on doing any dog training on this trip to the beach. You may have read the post on planning and dog training. If I had planned for this training session I would have been better prepared.  In our daily lives we often find ourselves in a position to teach or train when an opportunity presents itself. I recommend that the novice dog owner/trainer avoid impromptu and unplanned training session until they have the skills to be successful in less than ideal conditions. These skills are a combination of training technique and theory combined with dog handling skills. Whenever engaging in an unplanned training session it’s still best to have some kind of a plan.  So even though I was running very low on food rewards I still developed a plan. By having a strategy I was able to accomplish some control that can be built on later.

One plan would be to start working the dog and use the pinch collar to make corrections. I imagine this would work okay, it’s just not what I would prefer doing. Instead we let the dog run and burn off some excess energy and then we started training with what little food I did have with me. Even with a small amount of food rewards it’s still possible do some dog training without using corrections. I am not against using leash and collar correction, but I did feel it wasn’t the right thing to do with this dog.

Pit Bull Running off energy at Dog Beach before dog training in Long Beach CA.
Pit Bull Running off energy at Dog Beach before dog training in Long Beach CA.

Pit Bull Running off energy at Dog beach before dog training

While working an active dog in a distracting environment is possible, it’s not ideal or necessarily easy. This is one reason for starting dog training in the dog’s home. Beginning the training in the dog’s home is especially helpful if you want to start the training process with softer techniques. After I worked at getting the dog to turn with me when it heard its name I began working on left circles. I saved a couple very small rewards to use at the end of the training session. One reward was for the last sit and one for an unforeseen event.

Call 714-827-4058 today to get more information about my in-home dog training programs.
We provide training services to all of Orange County, Long Beach, the 562 area, and the San Gabriel Valley. I do offer convenient customized In home training to a large portion of Southern California’s most dog friendly communities.
Andrew Ledford
714-827-4058

Dog Training in Long Beach CA. at Dog Beach After the training sessions last sit

Teaching Focus, Off, and Handling to a Fearful Dog

For help with training your dog call Andrew Ledford 714-827-4058

Here is a short video where I’m using the Off exercise and doing some handling exercises to help overcome fear of people in general and men in particular.

There is a lot more going on with these dogs than the video shows. The two dogs in the video have already been exposed to a couple weeks of dog training. I did not start the training by picking up the light colored dog or by having the male member of the house hold it. Several issues have been addressed in previous training session. At this point I am most concerned about building the white dog’s confidence. It must be mentioned that the last training session went very well. To build the dog’s confidence I’m using the off exercise in combination with other training drills, including handling and touching exercises. We are also using walks and outings to help the white dog bond with people.

All of the content from my 101-dog-training-tips website is being moved to the OCDogTraining site. This video is from the old site.

Call 714-827-4058 today to get more information about my in-home dog training programs.
We provide training services to all of Orange County, Long Beach, the 562 area, and the San Gabriel Valley. I do offer convenient customized In home training to a large portion of Southern California’s most dog friendly communities.
Andrew Ledford
714-827-4058

Teaching Dog Focus And Handling To Overcome Fear of People in General and Men in Particular.
Teaching Dog Focus And Handling To Overcome Fear of People in General and Men in Particular.

Video teaching a pit bull the Off exercise

Here is a very short video of me teaching a pit bull the off exercise using food. With this training technique we are allowing the behavior of grabbing the food to undergo extinction. Extinction occurs because the behavior of grabbing is never reinforced after the controlling signal “Off” is heard.

Next we are rewarding a behavior that is incompatible with grabbing. The incompatible behavior in not touching the handler.

Call 714-827-4058 today to get more information about my in-home dog training programs.
We provide training services to all of Orange County, Long Beach, the 562 area, and the San Gabriel Valley. I do offer convenient customized In home training to a large portion of Southern California’s most dog friendly communities.
Andrew Ledford
714-827-4058

Plan Your Dog’s Training – Plan Your Training Prompts

Dog training action plan and human friendly dog training

A dog training action plan functions as the controlling signals for taking needed action. When we first start a new endeavor we often don’t have enough experience to know what actions to take. One of the tasks of an experienced teacher, instructor, or coach is to teach us what we need to do. I know this is true in dog training. It seems that everyone has an opinion and advice on how to train a dog. I often arrive at a person’s home to find they’ve tried four or five training suggestions from friends and family members. On top of friendly advice we now have television advice and the internet too. Not only is there a lot of free advice, but a lot of it is contradicting as well. One person will says you’re not human if you do one training technique. Next you are told by another that you have to do that same technique to be a good dog owner. What is a person to do? What is a person to believe?

Traditional Leash and Collar Dog Obedience Training
Traditional Leash and Collar Dog Obedience Training

To separate the chaff from the wheat it’s helpful to get advice from a well rounded professional. However, some professionals are better at harvesting the meaty kernels of truth better than others. Dog training is an interesting blend of tradition, myth, and science. I happen to be one of those strange people who does not condemn many training systems. I do have some reservations about some training styles, but I acknowledge their functionality.

I believe through dog training we have more to learn than just how to control our dogs. This insight probably puts me three quarters the way into the holier than thou positive reinforcement camp. I believe that humanity must learn how to use positive reinforcement as a default response if we are to survive as a species. On the other hand I also see the value of using aversives in controlling behavior. While I don’t like that the primitive use of aversives works so well in some oppressive societies, it’s been my observation that they can be effective. I feel the primitive use of aversive control does tend to make us more animal like and therefore speaks to our more primitive lower nature.

My observations and insights have put me in an interesting situation. I know what needs to be done to help owners in a way that will give that individual the best results within certain limits of a household’s dynamics. I also must be aware of what training aversives the people in the house are inclined to use and will accept. Aversive control is usually thought of as punishment or negative reinforcement. Usually people are more likely to want to use punishment or negative reinforcement when the dog’s behavior problem is aversive to the humans. I feel it’s justified to use strong aversive control if it’s needed to save a dog’s life.

Obedience Training a German Shepherd Dog Puppy With Food and The Leash. Here the balanced dog training concept is being used in that I am mixing reinforcement training with traditional leash and collar training. Notice I have a slip collar in my back pocket in preparation for problems that may arise in this training session.
Obedience Training a German Shepherd Dog Puppy With Food and The Leash. Here the balanced dog training concept is being used in that I am mixing reinforcement training with traditional leash and collar training. Notice I have a slip collar in my back pocket in preparation for problems that may arise in this training session.

When implementing a training program I judge what a person will accept by how they handle the dog. It’s best to structure and apply aversives in a way that will be useful and have the most benefit with the least chance of doing harm. The training plan should set up rules that replace random emotion based punishment with a very measured and well planned response. Developing control over the use of punishment and negative reinforcement allows us to transition into using less aversive control. As we use fewer aversives we can increase our reliance on positive reinforcement.

I also know what CAN be done with positive reinforcement. The problem is what can be done and what most people do are two different things. My plan is that once a client is involved in my training program the dog’s behavior will begin to reinforce the family’s increased use of positive reinforcement. I try to give the people in the household some choices in which training technique to use. Most of the time people will pick what works best for them and their dog. What works best often revolves around time? When people realize that rewarding behavior is less work than other forms of control they chose to use positive reinforcement. The idea is to let the dog’s family choose to use positive reinforcement without forcing them to conform.

Labrador Retriever Puppy Food Training. Plan you dog training sessions and your informal training by having the proper equipment ready when it's needed.
Labrador Retriever Puppy Food Training. Plan you dog training sessions and your informal training by having the proper equipment ready when it’s needed.

The whole point being that there is often a plan behind a method. I have a very strong feeling that most of the positive reinforcement trainers I know really don’t like the way I train. However, I do train with positive reinforcement, it’s just that I emphasize being human friendly.

Wishing you the very best in dog training and in life,
Andrew Ledford

Dog training in the 562 and 714 areas
I can be reached at 714-827-4058

 

Dog Training Plan and Training Goals

Dog Training Plan and Training Goals by Andrew Ledford 714-827-4058

Benefits of a dog training plan

From training our dogs we can learn that it’s often beneficial to have a plan. Planning is one of the steps that helps us progress toward our goals. A training plan allows us to perform the appropriate behavior when an opportunity presents itself.

Sometimes a training plan may be simply having the right tools available at the right time. When working with dogs, many owners don’t have food rewards available when rewards are most needed. When and where are the places that food is most often needed? I have found the main areas to be doorways and the main living areas. In my house I always have food by the front door, back door, and my desk. This is especially important if you are training your puppy or doing a food based potty training program.

Puppy Training With Food and Handling. Have a dog training plan and plan on having the proper tools avalible when they are needed. I usually have food rewards in my pocket, by the doors, and on my desk.
Puppy Training With Food and Handling. Have a dog training plan and plan on having the proper tools avalible when they are needed. I usually have food rewards in my pocket, by the doors, and on my desk.

If there are food rewards available when they’re needed what’s likely to happen your dog performs a behavior correctly? The answer – when food rewards are available it’s more likely the dog will be rewarded for the desired behavior.

When you have food handy you have already made plans to use it.

“Making plans and calculating their outcome distinguishes rules of progression as a separate definable part of history.”
Andrew Ledford © 2000 –2009

Planning involves more than just training the dog, usually before I visit a new clients house I will look on Google Maps to evaluate the neighborhood. I want to see if the geography may contribute to any of the dog’s behavior.

Once I meet the dog and talk with the owners I form a lesson plan for that day and beyond. During the first lesson I develop an idea of how I would like the training to progress, but I also try to remain flexible.

I do have a method or system. However, the order and how the training exercises are taught does vary.

A general outline or plan for a dog training program

  • Lesson 1 – foundation exercises
  • Lesson 2 – work out of the house on leash manners
  • Lesson 3 – formal obedience commands
  • Lesson 4 – increase distractions
  • Lesson 5 – work in high distraction areas

I will try to add a bit more to this post as I find the information half of it was originally published on a website I no longer use.

Wishing you the very best in dog training and I life,
Andrew Ledford
I can be reached at 714-827-4058

Food Training Labrador Retriever
Food Training Labrador Retriever

Dog Training Thinking Outside The Box

Dog training Thinking Outside The Box by Andrew Ledford 714-827-4058

Dog training Think Outside The Box With Orthodox and Unorthodox Behavior

Dog training Thinking Outside The Box is training that goes beyond orthodox behavior and practices.

This blog post is more about innovation in general and mainly uses the idea of dog training and  thinking outside the box as a lead in for how we can innovate in other areas of our lives.

Dog training teaches us that thinking outside the box must be done at the appropriate time to be most effective. In dog training, our personal lives, and in business we must understand what is orthodox behavior and unorthodox behavior. Then we need to know which behavior is appropriate for the situation and the right time to utilize each of them.

In my last post I talked about how in any activity, including dog training, thinking inside the box involves taking an orthodox approach. In dog training or any social interaction thinking inside the box is the standard point of reference. It is the accepted way of doing things. However, it is really only the starting point. I start with a box as the basic reference point for spatial positioning, however by rounding off the corners it becomes a circle. There are also many individual parts of the box that can be used in some novel and interesting ways. These unusual and out of the ordinary reference points makes my training techniques somewhat unorthodox. They have also allowed me to create some interesting programs that no one associates with dog training.

While it’s common to use the box as a reference point in many physical arts, it’s not so common in dog training. Therefore when we’re training a dog, even thinking inside the box can be thinking outside the box. Here we are taking what to some may seem like an orthodox approach to spatial positioning and using it in a novel way. Therefore the orthodox becomes the unorthodox.

I enjoy reading classic Chinese and Japanese texts. Using an orthodox and unorthodox approach to find solutions to difficult situations is something that’s often talked about, or at least hinted at, in many classic Chinese and Japanese books.

When first writing this article I was inspired by both the previous blog post along with attending a social media marketing presentation with a group of social media marketing friends. One of the subjects covered was innovations in marketing. While these ideas where presented for social media they can be applied to all fields of endeavor.

The big idea is often unorthodox innovation.

You may be asking, so what’s the big idea behind innovation? One big idea is the innovation secrets that led to the renaissance and then to our modern era. The idea that pulled Europe out of the Dark Ages involved thinking outside the box. Thinking outside the box in this case involved cross-pollination. The innovative ideas that brought Europe to the forefront of world power were based on sharing information.

To innovate look outside your core industry

Sharing ideas across disciplines allowed unique solutions to cross the boundaries of guilds and clans. One lessons of the renaissance as well as the social media marketing presentation I attended is that we need to look outside our own areas of expertise to innovate.

Most of my best ideas about dog training came from outside the dog training industry. When I was young those ideas came for people who were doing behavior therapy with people. Incorporating reinforcement theory and interesting application from a clinical human setting to dog training was, at that time, unorthodox. Now the majority of dog trainers consider training with the principals of operant conditioning and positive reinforcement standard practice. So what used to be an unorthodox style of training has over time become the orthodox training style. When I stared using the research and clinical application of operant conditioning it was the right time to use them as an unorthodox new and cutting edge training system. At that time I was doing a modern and exciting type of dog training.

Once operant conditioning and positive reinforcement styles of dog training started to become popular I was working on new dog training techniques. The area I borrow from this time was the physical arts. While I had been using and in turn perfecting many of these techniques almost since the beginning of my dog training career, I did not start teaching the finer points until positive reinforcement styles of dog training started to catch on. For many years I thought using the points of reference found in physical arts as my own dog training secrets. You know what, they still differentiate my training style from others. I can teach people in a step by step and repeatable fashion what many dog trainers have a difficult time teaching. When I saw that most good dog trainers were using positive reinforcement techniques I codified the physical and spatial relationship principals into easy to follow points of reference.

Chi Energy Dog Training Exercises Are One of The Techniques used In My Dog Training Thinking Out Of The Box strategy. Here I am training a hyper Golden Retriever using innovation and an unorthodox technique.
Chi Energy Dog Training Exercises Are One of The Techniques used In My Dog Training Thinking Out Of The Box strategy. Here I am training a hyper Golden Retriever using innovation and an unorthodox technique.

It is during this period that I began incorporating meditation exercises into my dog training practice. I did not always call them meditation drills and I still don’t. I teach them as just another dog training technique. I began teaching some chi energy exercises to training clients at this time also. The physical orientation points of reference dog training phase was a necessary step to the next phase that I am still in.

My main interests now are in what lays beyond the codified principals of operant conditioning and the mechanical steps of dog training. What lays in the hard to codify realms of human (and I presume animal) emotions. The emotions I am most interested in at this time are the ones that seem to defy the rules of operant conditioning. Although these emotions act as though they defy the principals of operant conditioning, I suspect they in fact conform to them. This is an area of interest that has always fascinated me. What lays at the heart of spirituality? What is the power of Myth?

Wishing you the very best in dog training and in life,
Andrew Ledford
I can be reached at 714-827-4058

 

 

Dog Training Inside The Box

Dog Training Inside The Box by Andrew Ledford 714-827-4058

Dog Training and thinking inside the box seems like a natural subject for me. If you’ve participated in my dog training programs or read my book you would think the idea for this blog resulted from working with my dog training mat. While I often speak about training inside the box I was inspired to write this post from a dog trainer’s Twitter post.

Thinking inside the box vs. thinking outside the box

Thinking inside the box 
As usual I feel that dog training is a great metaphor for other areas of our lives. In dog training as in other areas of life we can consider thinking inside the box as the straight forward orthodox approach. (This program is no-longer available, but I am moving most of the information to this website. To see the first couple of pages follow the link- You can learn more about box training by enrolling in my online dog training school. )

We are always training within a box.

My Dog training Mat Is A Training Aid to Prompt Learning New Training Patterns That Go Beyond The Leash and Clicker. Even If You War Training Without A leash or Clicker.
My Dog training Mat Is A Training Aid to Prompt Learning New Training Patterns That Go Beyond The Leash and Clicker. Even If You War Training Without A leash or Clicker.

I believe that we’re always training within a box. I call this box the “Awareness Box.” Training inside the box is the first spatial orientation exercise in my dog training program. First we must learn to train within a structured system before we can move to a more fluid form of expression. The box represents that structure. I believe in Chinese mythology the square represents Earth. Until we have a solid understanding we must remain firmly grounded. Even when we move beyond the orthodox we must maintain balance. often combining the orthodox with the unorthodox will bring the best results.

The Awareness Box is comprised of eight directions or positions. The eight positions consist of four sides and four corners. These eight positions makeup the angles of movement and the reference points for orientation. The complex version of the Awareness Box is best imagined as a three dimensional cube.

Thinking outside the box
In dog training as in other areas of life we can consider thinking outside the box as the roundabout or unorthodox approach. I hope to cover this in a separate post.

Adaptive Dog Training Logo illustrating the Awareness Box we train within, while also hinting at what lays outside the box. We are always doing our Dog training within the box.
Adaptive Dog Training Logo illustrating the Awareness Box we train within, while also hinting at what lays outside the box. We are always doing our Dog training within the box.

My dog training logo is an interesting example, although it’s symbolism a little different than how I usually teach the Awareness Box concept. It visually conveys the concept of the positioning needed for effective communication and the execution of training techniques. After people understand working within the Box we can explain the details. The Adaptive Dog Training logo visually encompasses both thinking inside the box and thinking outside the box, It is both conventional and unconventional at the same time. In a traditional context I think it is a type of unorthodox orthodoxy. This may be a difficult concept to understand within a Socratic sense, but it makes more sense when contemplated in a Taoistic system. As China rises to greater world power we must strive to understand different systems of thought if we are to flourish. Dog training is flexible enough that it can be used as a vehicle for learning about many aspects of human nature.
If you are interested in learning more about what humans can learn from dogs I am writing a new series of short books about how to change our lives through the lesson learned in dog training.

Wishing you the very best in dog training and in life,
Andrew Ledford
I can be reached at 714-827-4058

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