Tag Archives: dog training

Talking Dogs at Long Beach Dog Park

Over the week end I met with another dog enthusiast at one of the dog parks in Long beach. We had a nice chat about dogs and dog training. For people who live a dog centric life chatting about dogs can include just about everything one does.

If anyone reading this would like to meet up and talk dogs perhaps we can set up a day for this. I do need to mention that I spend most of my time in the Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Gabriel and Orange County areas.

Here are a few Long Beach Dog Park Picture for you to enjoy

Red Boston Terrier

 

Small White Dog Black Spots

Small Terrier Dog
Small Terrier mix

Small Terrier and Chi

Long Beach Chihuahua

Labrador and Pointer at Dog Beach

This is a tale of the Labrador and the Pointer at Dog Beach. I have owned a few German Shorthaired Pointers and have trained a whole lot more. As far a Labradors go I’ve owned at least 13 of those dogs. One of my Labs was trained for theatrical work and was in a few movies and commercials. But above all else my Labs and Pointers were my best friends and pets. Just wanted to let everyone know I’m not taking sides here, I just happened to capture the playful antics of these two dogs.

Labrador Retriever at the beach

Labrador Retriever at the beach

German Shorthaired Pointers Swimming in the ocean

German Shorthaired Pointer Swimming in the ocean

Labrador Retriever with its ball

Labrador Retriever with its ball

German Shorthaired Pointers moving in

German Shorthaired Pointers moving in

German Shorthaired Pointers positioning

German Shorthaired Pointers setting up the big grab

German Shorthaired Pointers the first grab

German Shorthaired Pointer’s the first grab but he fumbles the ball

Pointer second grab is successful

Pointer’s second grab is successful and he takes the ball

Pointer takes ball the getaway

Pointer takes ball and makes his getaway

The thrill of victory!  Touchdown for the Pointer.

The thrill of victory! Touchdown for the Pointer.

More Dog Beach Pictures

Here are a few more pictures from my dog beach excursion. I am always pleasantly suppressed by the wide variety to dog breeds one can see at Orange County’s favorite dog beach.

I found it interesting that many of the people I talked with at the beach had done some training with their dogs. It appeared that most of the people I encountered had done training with food.

Enjoy

Dogs On the Beach HB

Dogs On the Beach – HB

Bulldog on a Surf Board - HB

Bulldog on a Surf Board – HB

 

Bulldog with flying disc

Bulldog with flying disc

Malamute at Dog Beach in Huntington Beach

Malamute at Dog Beach in Huntington Beach

Dog riding in a basket at dog Beach

Dog riding in a basket at dog Beach

Golden Retriever climbing the cliff at Dog Beach

Golden Retriever climbing the cliff at Dog Beach

Schnauzer posing for the camera

Schnauzer posing for the camera

Rhodesian Ridgeback Posing for the camera at dog beach

Rhodesian Ridgeback Posing for the camera at dog beach

We'll end with a dog in the water and a girl on the beach

We’ll end with a dog in the water and a girl on the beach

Dog Beach German Shepherd Pictures September

I had a mix up with a dog training appointment in Huntington Beach so I had a few unexpected hours. I decided to use those hours to visit dog beach. Fortunately I also had my camera with me. Here are a few pictures from my dog beach excursion.

Here are a few of pictures of the German Shepherd Dogs that I saw.

Enjoy the GSD pictures

 

German Shepherd at Dog Beach

Two German Shepherds at Dog Beach

Two German Shepherds at Dog Beach

Young German Shepherd at the Beach

Young German Shepherd at the Beach

Teaching Focus, Off, and Handling to a Fearful Dog

Here is a video where I’m using the Off exercise and doing some handling exercises to help overcome fearfulness

There is a lot more going on with these dogs than the video shows. These dogs have already been exposed to a couple weeks of dog training. I did not start by picking the light colored dog up or by having the male member of the house hold it. Several issues have been addressed in the 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.

Plan Your Dog’s Training – Plan Your Training Prompts

dog training action plan and human friendly dog training

An 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 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?

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.

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. The plan is that once we are involved in a 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.

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
I can be reached at 714-827-4058

 

Dog Training Beyond The Clicker Beyond The Leash

At a recent Southern California Dog Trainers forum we had an interesting meeting where many people discussed the various seminars they have attended. One person’s account of using non familiar training techniques struck me as particularly interesting.

Without the familiar training tools, teaching the dog a new behavior was a novel experience. The novelty seems to transcend human preference and includes the dog as well. From the trainers account it appears the dog was also conditioned to a certain familiar style of training. The dogs conditioning brings up some interesting points. The first is that it may be possible for dogs to learn a learning strategy adapted to the handler/trainers preferred style of training. I believe the idea that certain dogs are better adapted to particular training styles is seen in the field of protection dogs. I have talked with a successful competition protection dog trainer who has mentioned that in Europe, training clubs breed dogs with traits best suited to the clubs style of training. Again we see that evolution and environment follow a similar course. It may be that the practical application of the nature – nurture debate is not about either nature or nurture. It could be about adaptation.

When I hear these stories I always think about Captain Haggerty saying he was a dog trainer. Not a this kind of trainer or that kind of dog trainer, but a Dog Trainer. Now many dog trainers I know didn’t like Captain Haggerty or his style of training, but I liked the Captain. He wasn’t a clicker trainer or a leash and collar trainer but he was an extremely knowledgeable Dog Trainer.

Even though the Captain is no longer with us he can still teach us many good lessons about dog training. One of those lessons is to move past our prejudices for or against training methods.

I like positive reinforcement training. But I recognize the limits of teaching with all positive reinforcement. The biggest problem with positive reinforcement training is that positive reinforcement is not the default behavior of people under aversive control. Most people contact me because their dogs are doing something the people don’t like. If you don’t like a behavior, that behavior is most likely aversive. The fist response most people have to adversity in their lives is emotional. That emotional response is the precursor to action. The action is usually in the form of offering some aversive to the one causing discomfort. Seldom do we want to reward those who cause us trouble. Desires and wants are emotions.

I do think as a culture we can learn how to be more positive reinforcement oriented. I also think that dog training is one of the best places to learn how positive reinforcement works. But, I do not think I have ever met what I would call an all positive reinforcement dog trainer. I have met plenty of dog trainers who primarily use positive reinforcement dog training techniques.

When someone hires me they are expecting results and I try to give them results with training techniques they can implement with the most ease. Even when working with and complimenting the owner’s human nature there is still a huge amount of new information the owner/handler needs to learn. The handler also need to develop new behavior patterns and needs to change many old behaviors. While I can introduce the new handler to reinforcement theory and techniques with a package of lessons, I probably can’t change the emotional responses to aversives in that time. It’s also unlikely I can change years of learning and conditioning within the time it takes to train the dog. However, learning the positive training techniques can begin to condition new patterns in the handler.

If someone really wants to change their moral character and how they interact with others I have developed two seven step programs. At this time I have not found too many people who want to change from a competitive and confrontational orientation to an accepting all positive one. For the time being I will match my training techniques to the underlying orientation of the paying owner/handler.

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