Tag Archives: dog training

Working Dog in Irvine with Ducks and Geese

Double Handling While Training with Distractions
Double Handling While Training with Distractions

Dog training Video 2 and my Boxer friend at Irvine park. The Irvine area of Orange County has some good dog training locations. We are still training with the ducks and geese as distractions.

This video is the second in a series of three and has some good dog obedience training advice, but I feel it’s a little less interesting than the other two videos. The advice in these videos will be most relevant to those who are involved in one of my training programs. This training session is part of a customized in home training program.

In this video you’ll get to see me do some double handling to get the dog to sit. Towards the end I will also point out when the owner makes a subtle movement that sets the dog up to perform the desired behavior.

Let me know if there is something that will make these videos more useful for you.


Fearful Dog Sees Horses in the Park

Building dogs confidence with trips to see Horses
Building dogs confidence with trips to see Horses

On today’s post we are visiting the park to see the horses and greet other dogs. I am continuing to building this dogs confidence with trips into the community. Often I find that a dog will get better or worse when exposed to stressful events. Fortunately this dog will get better with each exposure to the event. On this outing we’re working at a new location so this is a big adventure for a little dog.

This is the same dachshund mix from Long beach that is staying with me for a homestay dog training program. Yep, he’s the one who is a little fearful. We started this trip by visiting a new store location and then moved to the park and eventually to the equestrian center. He had a little problem with the new store, but adapted nicely after we passed the automatic doors. On the way back he was much better with the doors. When you have a very sensitive dog you always need to be extra careful when working in new locations.

You may notice that I have a slip collar on this dog. With this dog the slip collar of choke chain is not used to make a correction. It is used because it is the safest collar to use with a very fearful dog. If the dog panics and tries to slip out of the collar it will not be able to get away.

You will also notice that I use a lot of food rewards with this dog. Not only am I using food, but I’m also asking the dog to perform a behavior. An interesting thing about the behavior is that executing the behavior requires some degree of self control. I’m asking the dog to come to me. Towards the beginning of the video you’ll see what happens when the dog is under too much stress, it won’t take food.

On this outing we encountered several new dogs. Although he was a little cautious of the new dogs he remained passive and peaceful.

Seeing the horses also went okay. He wasn’t exactly thrilled to see such large animal, but he did manage to approach the corral.

We ended the outing with a walk through the shopping center. By the time we finished it was a bit after sunset and time to go home

Goldendoodles From Pasadena Board and Train Video

Goldendoodle from Pasadena in board and train program sitting in dog bed
Goldendoodle from Pasadena in board and train program sitting in dog bed

These two Goldendoodles are from Pasadena California, and they were enrolled in my board and train program. I try to take the dogs to a variety of training locations when they are staying with me. The red dog is a little more sensitive than the apricot dog. Usually we visit the park when it’s a little more active, but I wanted to get a video when there was good light out. The most interesting person we met on this day was a treasure hunter with a metal detector. We had a nice chat with him and then it was time for me and the dogs to go home. The video of our chat was edited out. The dogs were well behaved, but I didn’t think the treasure hunter wanted to be in the video.

Goldendoodle trained to stay in its dog bed by the door in my office
Goldendoodle trained to stay in its dog bed by the door in my office

Our usual walk in the park is around sunset or early evening. At that time the park is full of activity. Some of the distractions we see on a nightly basis are basket ball games, soccer, people exercising, friends and neighbors walking, jogging, and of course other dog walkers. The diverse activities provide quite a few distractions for the dogs.

I wish I had video of these dogs when they starting their training. By the time I got my new camera both dogs were fairly well behaved.

Unlike some of my other videos I don’t think you will pick up many training tips from watching this video. However, it is kind of fun to see how the new dog cam rig works. This is the first edition. I think I can make it better in the future. There is a lot of camera wobble. Maybe I can teach the dogs to glide along instead of the wobble, wobble gait they are using. In the future I will try some new training techniques that may help stabilize the video. Now that I think about it, training for a smother walk might also help teach the dogs a more precise Heel (walking by the handler’s side).

Helping Scared Dog Overcome Its Fear

Helping a scared dog overcome its fear with board and train dog training

Fearful dog training in public and learning how to cope with stressIn the video we are working in public places to help overcome this dog’s fearfulness. It took many weeks for my little dog friend to begin walking on a leash. Then it took more weeks to get it to accept the noise and activity of new places. It has made slow but steady progress. Being in a new active environment is a huge accomplishment to this little dachshund mix. For this dog every novel experience is a new challenge to overcome. You will see he does nicely with seeing his reflection in the glass as we walk by a store. Reflective glass is just one of the dog training distractions I find useful at retail locations.

If you watch the video you’ll pick up some valuable dog training and handling tips. On the day I did this video we were training at a strip mall with a Japanese supermarket. The dog is from Long Beach but on this day we were training in the San Gabriel Valley. The video was done in the month of August so it’s warm out. Because of the heat you’ll see me checking the ground to make sure it’s not too hot for the dog’s paws.

Taking a dog out into society at this age is considered secondary socialization. A sensitive dog such as this one will need to be on a training and maintenance program for a very long time. If the training is not continued when the dog goes home its behavior will drift back towards where it was before the training started. While it will need long term behavior management it can now go into public and walk on a leash, which it would not do before the training.

Usually I would do very calm touching for a fearful dog. However, considering this dog’s personality and behavior problem I felt it was better to do the petting, ear scratching/rub instead. The type of touching I’m doing in the video is more a taming technique.

While we were training we met some nice people and one of them invited me to a meetup for vegetarian pet owners.

Teaching a Boxer with Low Level Resource Guarding

This video is about training a boxer dog who has a low level resource guarding problem. The video is longer than I usually do, but it does show some of the things I work on with this kind of a problem. Don’t try this at home. This is for informational purposes only. If your dog shows any signs of aggression get help from a qualified professional dog trainer. The video was shot in Irvine California

In the video the dog does not act aggressive at all. The resource guarding is very mild. Even though the guarding behavior is hardly noticeable I wanted to keep the training as safe as possible. If you watch the video carefully you’ll notice some safe handling practices for working these training exercises. I was also trying to keep the dog well under the threshold for aggression. I plan on using a higher value toy in the next training session.

This video also shows some handling that will come in handy for any kind of dog training you’re doing. Some of the handling is even useful if you are not even training your dog but just need better general control.

Some of the dog obedience commands that are important for this training are the recall and the Drop command. In this video I use the dog’s name for the recall. Other important exercises for this training are touching drills and the Off exercise. I use the Off command to mean don’t touch. Some other styles of training may use the Leave It command instead of Off.

My recommendation for working the dog three times a day was meant as three training sessions a day. As I watch the video it sounds like I am saying only do the exercise three times a day.

Getting a New Dog

Are you getting a new dog this year? If so you may want to know more about new dog syndrome. Understanding New dog syndrome can help us and our dogs deal more effectively with the stress of bringing a new dog into the household.

I work with many people who tell me how good their dog was when they first got it. By the time people call me in for dog behavior help the dog is proving to be quite disruptive. I hear how the cute little fur baby was perfect. It was quiet and docile when first entering the home. Then a week or so later it was a little monster. Although a cute little monster.

There are some dog behavior problems associated with new dog syndrome I hear about more than others.

One of these problems is that the dog who was just an angle is now getting into everything. It seems that it went from never chewing to chewing anything it can get its mouth on.

Another common problem is the dog that was supposed to be house trained when is first came into the new home. However, now it only potties where it should not go and when no one is looking. I have seen two scenarios with this problem. The first is the dog that developed house training problems when coming into the new home straight away. The second is the dog that seemed to be doing fine with potty training in the beginning and then for some mysterious reason starts having potty problems.

Barking is another common problem for dogs that suffered from new dog syndrome. The dog was quiet when it first came into the home and now it barks at everything. This is quite common since many dogs with new dog syndrome are sensitive and sensitive dogs tend to bark more

A problem that can go along with all the above is extremely active behavior. Overall hyperactive behavior should not be confused with the temporary overactive behavior puppies display in the early evening and sometime in the mornings too. You may also see this temporary overactive behavior in puppies when they’re tired and when under a little stress. The stress can be as simple as frustration when learning a new behavior during food reinforcement training.

With over active behavior we often see the same pattern where the dog was very calm when it first came into the home only to become unruly once it settles in. It seems any stimulation at all makes this kind of dog hyperactive. The extra active behavior leads to all kinds of problems including jumping, chewing, potty problems, digging, and barking among others.

To prevent and overcome these problems requires the proper behavior management.  Early intervention is best, but not always possible. You can help your new dog through the transition period by being consistent and emotionally supportive. Dog training can be very helpful at all stages of the dog’s life. If you can start a training program soon after the dog arrives at its new home you may prevent many of the unwanted effects of new dog syndrome.

Some dogs have a tough time making the connections between the controlling signal and the desired response when under stress. In these situations we just need to be patient and use good behavior management. Sometimes being patient is part of providing an emotionally supportive environment.

Even if your dog has a hard time making the connection between the controlling signal and the behavior you can still use food to counter condition avoidance. When there is a strong avoidance response you will need to be more aware of the environment. I classify awareness as a component of one’s personal rules which make up a strategy for dog training. You can read more about dog training strategies in my book Best Friends Learning Together.

If you need help with your dog you can call me at 714-827-4058

Board and Train in Kennel Dog Program

Due to a cancelation I have openings for boarding two dogs over the holidays. A short board and train program is the perfect tune up for dogs that have already been trained. It’s also a great time to do a short basic dog training program.

Many people who are going to be away for a week or more would like their dog to learn something instead of just being in a dog kennel all day. When I care for your pet it will be living in the comfort of a loving home. There will be training sessions, walks, and trip into the community to practice newly learned behavior and manners.

If you are interested in a winter vacation for your dog call me Andrew Ledford at 714-827-4058

Board and Train dog practicing staying on its bed

Training a dog in a kennel training boarding program to work off leash

Training a dog in a kennel training boarding program to work off leash

Here is an additional page about my thoughts on Luxury dog boarding

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

Managing dog behavior and people’s too

Encourage good dog behavior with the appropriate discriminative stimuli

Is managing discriminative stimuli part of philosophy, business management, or dog training? This is what Wikipedia has to say about “Stimulus control and discriminative stimuli: Stimulus control is the phenomenon of a stimulus increasing the probability of a behavior (operant response) because of a history of that behavior being differentially reinforced in the presence of the stimulus. In other words, stimulus control is basically learning to pay attention to things that we identify in the environment (discriminative stimuli) that give us information about the effectiveness of our behavior.” Discriminative stimuli help us determine what rules apply to achieve reinforcement.

At a social media group I belong to I was talking with a philosopher about how we have certain rules that help us do the right thing. More importantly we have rules that keep us from doing what society considered immoral. This part of the conversation revolved around how a man of good moral character would not go to an attractive married woman’s room where they are alone and drink alcohol while at a conference.

Why is it that alcohol is a major factor or variable to this scenario? It could be that alcohol reduces the inhibition we associate with moral behavior. By reducing inhibitions our more animal like nature shines through. The nature of animals is probably driven more by lower level needs than the higher level needs we like to associate with being human. At this point my post diverged into two different lines of thought. I will post my more whimsical thoughts about the possibilities of animals experiencing altered states of consciousness on my new dog website.

Getting back to dog training and behavior management. If we can’t expect other humans, not to mention ourselves, to behave properly under certain conditions, how can we expect our dogs to do any better?  For the most part dogs don’t have the ability to manage discriminative stimuli that control behavior.

The inability of dogs to control this aspect of their environment places the responsibility of discriminative stimuli management squarely on the shoulders of us humans.

We need to live by rules that help arrange the environment in ways where dogs have an easy time being good. Dogs can’t decide I’m going to spend more time inside so I won’t be so tempted to go visit my neighbor when she smells sooo good because it would lead to a show dog with less than desirable children. But people can arrange the environment so our dogs are not hated by society.

Some interesting strategies for self control were used by children in an experiment that required waiting 15 minutes to have 2 sweets verses having 1 sweet right away. It was found that children with good self control employed a strategy of not thinking about the sweet. This was often done by thinking about something else. They were managing the internal discriminative stimuli. These children were managing the signals that controlled their behavior. I like calling internal discriminative stimuli the controlling signal(s). It may not be scientific but it makes sense for normal conversations.

Managing discriminative stimuli or the controlling signal(s) is often one of my first objectives when doing an in home dog training program. Discriminative stimuli management is especially critical where the owner is so frustrated with the dog’s behavior they are thinking about getting rid of the dog.  Usually we can at least make the dog’s behavior good enough so the owner can keep the dog. This give us time to do the needed training to change the offending behavior. Now even if the behavior can’t be completely changed, it usually can be managed. Efficient management of the dog’s behavior can make cohabitation with humans possible.

There are established social rules for managing the attractive woman + Alcohol + opportunity syndrome.  There are also individuals who have personal rules for managing these scenarios. With dogs you need to be your dog’s social authority. It’s important to know that you can direct and manage your dog’s behavior without being overbearing. Sometimes this involves teaching a new response. At other times you may need to make some physical changes to the environment. It is up to you, the dog’s owner, to manage the signals that control your dog’s behavior.

I can be reached 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.

Pitbull Running off energy at Dog beach before dog training

Pitbull 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.

Dog Training Dog Beach Long Beach CA the last sit

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