Tag Archives: slip collar

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

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.

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Wishing you the best in dogs and in life

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