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Practical Dog Training

4 Practical Dog Training Tips

TeachDogLeave-PawsitiveStepsDogTrainingSeattleThroughout the day, there are things you need to communicate with your dog…things to keep him/her safe, things to keep your things safe from him, and just practical commands in general. In this article, we’ll give tips about 4 of those practical training practices.

Leave It…

Which simply means, “whatever you’re thinking about or about to TAKE, it is not yours, LEAVE IT alone.” This is different from a cue that means to drop an object Fido has already taken.

Put a treat on the floor and cover it with your hand or foot without smashing it. Tell the dog “LEAVE IT” in a normal tone of voice. He may paw or scratch at your hand to get the treat. Ignore this. When your dog looks away from the object, “Yes!” and GIVE him a different treat. Repeat. As the dog gets better, hover your hand, but don’t completely cover the item.

Homework Practice: Find 5 objects every day to practice “LEAVE IT” with. Things may include: laundry, garbage, animal scat, the dishwasher, dirty dishes, Kleenex, etc.

Take & Give

This is a game to prevent resource guarding.*** Note, these are both different from LEAVE IT, in that LEAVE IT means don’t TOUCH it in the first place.

“TAKE it” simply means, for the dog to pick up an item or eat a treat, basically of the opposite of LEAVE IT. We practice picking up all kinds of things around the house and giving them to one of us. It lays the foundation for fetch and helps stop resource guarding.

“GIVE it” means for the dog to GIVE the item to you or release it so you can have it. When you start this at a young age, it gets easier and easier because the dog doesn’t have a history of fighting to keep the object. If you find the dog will absolutely not GIVE something up, pick up the phone and text or call 206-799-0521 right now.  Don’t wait!

It is important to not always TAKE things away from your puppy. Doing so time and time again will result in a dog that runs away from you, hides from you or possibly growls or worse to get you to leave him alone. We play many games where we tell the dog to TAKE a treat, ball, Kong, etc., and then ask him to “GIVE” it back while we hand him something even better. Keep swapping like this and your dog won’t mind when you investigate what he’s got.

Puppies pick up everything, and chew them, carry them, and sometimes eat them. We certainly don’t want your puppy chewing or consuming something dangerous, so “GIVE” (ask to have it) in exchange for something better, then decide, “Will this tiny piece of paper towel really harm him?”  If not, consider giving it back to him.  He’ll likely lose interest in it quickly, especially if you start playing with another fun toy, and drop it on the ground and forget about it. However, if it is a truly dangerous object, do TAKE it away, just be sure to GIVE him something awesome in return!!!!

Go to “BED”

Goal:  To teach your dog to go to a designated place such as his BED, towel, pillow, blanket, crate or even your jacket and to remain there until released.

Place your dog’s BED or blanket on the floor. Shape him onto it: Praise him, then pay for small movements onto or around the blanket.  You may start by praising the dog for even looking at the BED, then stepping towards it, then touching it, then standing on it, etc. ALL movements, even those you think are accidental count. You may toss the treat a little away to give the dog the chance to move and repeat the shaping process.

“Remember, if you do not make the conscious choice to be the Trainer…you are by default, the Trainee.”

Pet Trainer Gayle Ballinger - Pawsitive Steps Dog TrainingAs a dog trainer, I believe that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are, under given circumstances and situations.

If you’re having a difficult time training your dog, don’t have the time to train him properly, or you would like to learn along with your pup.

Group classes are temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 but we are doing private lessons and will reopen group classes as soon as we can. 

Contact me or call me at 206-799-0521