Before The DOg:
Treats & Techniques

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Overview

Completing this course will help you:

Every dog has different taste, stamina, starting points and confidence levels. This means that training sessions look different for every dog. This includes types of treats, duration of training, ability to focus, and sensitivity to failure. There is no cookie cutter plan. You need to asses what your dog needs. 

Who is the course for?

Many times training fails because of our lack of understanding what motivates our dog. Frustration can lead to failure which causes your dog to shut down. In addition, you might be overworking their mental capabilities. It is vital that during your training journey you analyze your dog’s personality and limits.  Rescue, puppy, and adult dog owners can benefit from this course. 

Learning Path

You should train between 10-20 minutes a day 2-3 times per week. Puppies will be closer to 10 minutes and adult dogs on average can do 20–30-minute sessions.

Some breeds have more stamina than others. Border collies, shepherds, labs, and golden retrievers can train for longer periods. Yorkies, Massifs, and Beagles need shorter sessions with more frequent training. Your dog’s breed should give you an idea of what their training sessions should look like.

The best dog training treats should be soft, small, easily breakable, contain a variety of flavors and you should have a mix of high and low value treats when training.

When training a dog, you need to be giving treats frequently and quickly. frequently means treating often. This requires your treats to be low in calories and small. You want to avoid overfeeding.

In the beginning, treat often and generously. This is because the association of a reward with behavior is the foundation of dog training.

Most treats are way too big for training and ‘training treats’ are about double the size they should be. Break treats down into smaller pieces. The treats you buy should be soft because harder treats tend to crumble.

You need to reward a dog within 5 seconds of the desired behavior. You do not want to spend time messing around with the treat. If the dog does not like soft treats you should cut your treats in advance. Many times, people think that giving a treat to a dog within 60 seconds will form an association. This is not true and is why pet parents fail to get the results they want. Dog training is all about timing.

For a list of Dogletics’s go-to treats please reference. What to Buy

It is your job to discover what treats your dog likes, loves, and goes crazy for. 

When a dog finally gets a behavior right for the first time you ‘jackpot’ them. Jack potting is when you give your dog multiple treats at once.

High-value treats are especially yummy and not regularly given to the dog. For high-value treats, I use human food. I always advise dog owners to have at least 3 flavors of treats on hand (2 lower value and 1 high value). As your dog mentally fatigues he/she will stop performing for the current treat. Once you switch to a different treat they tend to get a second wind. I use the 3rd, high value treat for tough exercises only.

Designate your dog’s favorite treats as their “new skill treats”. This means that these treats are only used when the dog is learning something new. For familiar behaviors, such as sit, I use lesser value treats.

Go To High Value Treats. 

  1. String Cheese (Sam’s Club Bulk Best Price)
  2. Turkey Hot Dogs (Cut up and microwaved)
  3. Leftovers (turkey, ham, beef sticks, pasta, or even cut up blocks of cheese)

Focus is the first lesson your dog needs to learn. This skill is taught in the:

  • THE THINK BEFORE YOU ACT SKILL
  • DRILL SERGEANT SKILL

These skills are great warm-up, cool down, and energy management exercise. 

Energy management is when your dog is above the threshold to learn. They are so stimulated they can not focus.

I always start with a focus exercise to get the dog in “work mode”.

Work mode is described later in How Your Dog Learns.

Having a dog in work mode will make training more advanced skills manageable.

Eventually, you will begin to train your dog in play mode.

Every dog’s focus is different. Through out your training rate your dogs focus ability on a scale of 1-5. Some days can be a level 1 one day and a level 3. Respect their mindset and try again at a later time if necessary. 

  1. Very Unfocused (above threshold and difficult to bring into focus)
  2. Focused but distracted (can focus but sounds, movement causes loss of focus)
  3. Focus (engaged in the trainer)

Every dog’s stamina is different. You need to learn to identify at what point your dog is done. My one dog’s done point is tongue out ‘derpenstein,’ some dogs lay down, and my other dog starts to get hyper.

Always finish on a good note.

If your dog has hit his point of DONE, cool down the same way you warm up, with something easy. Go back to something old such as a sit or focus exercise. Remember to end on a good note.

If you pushed your dog too far it is possible that ending on a good note might be hard. You might have to lower your standards. For example, if your dog is frustrated you may need to reward a sloppy sit. I would rather you end on a ‘did not get it exactly note’ than a ‘bad note’. A bad note would be when you are frustrated with them. Dogs can pick up on the slightest of emotions. Just because you did not yell does not mean you were not frustrated.

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This course will teach 

Completing this course will help you:

Who is the course for?

This course is for owners who’s dog only listens to them sometimes. Your dog may ‘know’ the command but they are not showing the behavior all the time. This course problem solves consistency problems for older dog BUT will prevent puppies from developing this issue in adulthood. 

An action command is a body motion. For example, your hand out might cue the dog to come. Pointing at your dog’s butt could cue them to sit.

A verbal command is a word we use to tell the dog to perform a behavior. It is also known as a verbal cue.

Most dog behavior is learned through our actions, not our verbal cues.

Thus, you should teach your dog behavior using motion and then name it. You only use the verbal cue after they have learned the trick. Not the other way around.

Once the dog has performed the action you can say the verbal cue and the action cue at the same time. 

After 4-5 sessions of action plus verbal cues, you can start saying the verbal cue only. Say the verbal cue, wait 1 second and then give the action command. Saying the verbal cue before the action cue is called ‘delaying the action cue’. This delay gives the dog time to think about what that word means. Over time you can increase the time of the delay between the verbal and action cue. Eventually, you might no longer need the action cue.

In each lesson, there will be a specific time when you can name the verbal cue. Verbal cue suggestions will be provided but you can use any verbal you would like (just be consistent).

Naming the verbal cue takes patience. Some advanced tricks are difficult to execute without the action cue.

In advanced sports such as canine agility, some dogs are only capable of turning left and right on action cues and are not consistent with verbal cues.

Studies have found that well-trained dogs will respond to an action cue 99% of the time. However, they only respond to verbal cues 82% of the time. Thus, advanced trainers rely on action cues more than verbal cues. I sometimes skip the verbal cue learning in the hierarchy of training because not all tricks require it. For example, I never use the verbal command with sit.

Lastly, do not repeat verbal cues over and over. If you repeat “down, down, down”, it becomes white noise to the dog. Instead, go back to the action cue. Only repeat the verbal cue in TWO situations. When you have given the dog ample time to think OR your dog got distracted and is no longer focused. Distractions can include funny sounds, passersby, lack of focus, and so on.

Generalization is when the dog associates a learned behavior across multiple scenarios. For example, doing a perfect sit in your kitchen, outside, at the pet store, or when you see the cat run by.

It is very common to hear trainers say that ‘dogs do not generalize well’. Therefore, you can teach your dog the perfect sit or recall at home, but they fail to execute it anywhere else.

You want your dog to generalize the skill to People and Places.

For people, you need to have someone else (family member, friend) work with your dog.

For places, you need to move the training to a new environment. New environments include: outside your house, at someone else’s house, on a walk, or at the pet store (in that order of difficulty).

Skipping this step is non-negotiable. Going from verbal/action cues to “play mode” without generalizing the behavior is too hard for a dog. They need their skills to be built upon and jumping ahead will frustrate both you and your dog. Moving forward I will refer to the process of cross-training as “generalizing the behavior”.

Work mode is when your dog is focused and energized to complete a task. You will notice in your training that a dog will perform a behavior very well when they are in ‘work mode’. However, you also notice they fail to listen when they are in “play mode”. Play mode is when you are trying to give a command outside of a structured training session. Every time you start a new behavior it is key to ensure your dog is in work mode. As your dog learns cues and becomes proficient at them you can begin to give cues outside of work mode. Examples of “Play Mode” could include when they are eating food, when they are playing outside, when they are sniffing the house, when they are laying down, or when they are going upstairs to check out a funny noise. Examples of work mode are when your dog knows you have treats in your hand and is focused on you. This is typically done during structured training sessions.

Types Of Training Methodolgy & Techniques

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Overview

There are 3 types of training methodology and training techniques. The most common methodology is Positive Reinforcement, Adverse Training, and Balanced Training. In summary, the only scientifically proven methodology is positive reinforcement. Within this methodology there are 3 training techniques: Luring, Shaping and Capturing. each one has its own pros and cons. This course will explain which technique you should use and why you should use it. 

Completing this course will help you:

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone who is unsure how to go about training. With influencers like Cesar’s way spreading false knowledge about dog training it is very hard to know what method to use. This course is also for those who have tried positive training but ended up resorting to adverse training as a last resort. 

Learning Path

Positive Reinforcement is training that utilizes a dog’s conditional response. If a reward is given for action A, the dog learns to do action A more often. If no reward is given for action B, they do action B less. It is as simple as that.

Key Words: Positive Training, Scientific Training, Clicker Training, Reward-Based Training

Adverse Training is the act of punishing a dog for an action. Yet, scientific studies have disproved the effectiveness of adverse training. Adverse training creates aggressive behavior and is ineffective long term. This is because the dog is incapable of learning when in survival mode.

Linda Micheals, an expert in canine physiology, says that when a dog’s basic needs are not being met, they are unable to form cognitive learning. These basic behaviors include Hydration, Breathing, Food, and Safety. Adverse techniques such as choke collars prevent these needs from being met. Therefore, dogs do not learn to behave but are forced into behaviors that meet their basic needs. Once the need is no longer being impeded, they revert to old ways.

Balanced training is a word that trainers use to mean the use of both positive and adverse training. Some trainers claim that using positive-only training is impractical because you need to tell your dog what not to do. However, this is a sign that the trainer is inept at doing their job or they are out of their scope of practice.

People tend to revert to abusive training because positive training has not worked. This could be due to the trainer’s inability to effectively deploy positive training OR this could indicate a lack of scope in their practice.

What do I mean by scope? You would not rely solely on your pediatrician if your child were experiencing PTSD. Dog trainers are like General Practitioners when it comes to dog training. Just like a Doctor, a GP may recommend a psychologist who is trained specifically in concepts such as PTSD, Fear, and Anxiety.

If your trainer is unable to get the dog to present the desired behavior using positive training they should refer out. They should not be afraid to admit that it is out of their scope of practice. They should escalate the issue to a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. Please note that a dog trainer and a CAAB are not the same. CAABs are specifically trained in behavioral issues. Unfortunately, many dog trainers are afraid to admit they do not know how to solve the problem. Balanced trainers are trainers that try to practice outside the scope of their training because of this fear and resort to adverse training. Adverse training has been scientifically proven to be ineffective and can lead to aggression. This is no longer a debate. Pigs love mud, water is wet, and adverse training is ineffective.

There are 3 types of training techniques: Luring, Shaping and Capturing.

Luring is the most common technique among pet owners, while shaping is the most effective technique among dog trainers, and capturing is only applicable to natural behaviors.

Luring is the act of using a treat to move a dog into the desired position. This could be a sit, spin, or heel. Luring is the most common technique among pet owners because it is easier than shaping. Luring tends to be the least effective dog training technique. This is because it does not teach the dog anything besides following the cookie. Therefore, when you remove the lure the dog is confused because there is nothing to follow.

Shaping is the most effective training method. It asks the dog to learn a new behavior and not follow a cookie. It focuses on teaching the dog to learn small steps towards a bigger behavior. For example, if you want your dog to wipe his feet before coming inside you could use shaping to teach this behavior. You will start by asking him to sniff the floor. As he becomes proficient with this behavior you should escalate your expectations to him pawing the floor. After one paw you escalate to two paws. There you have it! This is a very simplified version of shaping. Shaping is used with very complex tricks such as opening the fridge or turning the lights off.

Capturing is the act of ‘marking’ a behavior the dog already does. The most common example is the shake. Many times, owners will reward a dog for shaking by giving praise. “Good Shake’. As a result, pet owners can cue a dog to shake by saying shake. In this example, you have captured the behavior shake and rewarded it. The reward encourages the behavior to occur more often.

Key To Effective Dog Training?

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Overview

The end goal of any training program is for the dog to behave. To decide what type of dog training program is best for your family you need to understand what makes for effective long-term behaviors.

Completing this course will help you:

Who is the course for?

This course is ideal for those struggling to see results with their dogs or those who want to start off on the right paw. 

Learning Path

Clear Rules Are the Kindest Gifts We Can Give Our Dog

Many times owners get frustrated that their dog sometimes jumps on the couch, on people, or runs out of the front door. However, when offered help they claim that their dog knows not to. This suggests that the owner has failed to be consistent with the rules. If your rule is that your dog is never allowed on the couch but you allowed your dog once because you had a bad day, you have done your dog a disservice. Your dog does not understand the exception and will apply it across the board. Unfortunately, when they do, owners typically will react negatively towards their dogs when they ‘break’ the rules. This is confusing and degrades your bond with your dog. To them, you are no longer trustworthy because what you say and do are two different things.

 

Frequency Creates Patterns and Associations

To be good at any skill they say you need 10,000 hours of practicing that skill. Dogs, just like humans, need practice. If you do not practice with them, they will not learn. Also, you need to practice in many scenarios and distractions. If you only practice at home in a quiet environment, you cannot expect your dog to behave the same way in loud environments.

Many people think that if you give a treat within 60 seconds of a dog performing a behavior, they will create an association. However, this is a misconception. Many times, owners either miss the behavior or reward a completely different behavior (sometimes bad).

For example, lets say you reward a dog for being quiet, but it took you more than a minute to get the treat out of your pocket. Unfortunately, by the time you rewarded the dog another stimulus may have occurred (good or bad).

Another example, a bunny runs by and you treat. You have done one or two things. Either you have rewarded seeing a bunny which might be good if your dog does not react or you have rewarded your dog’s anxiety towards seeing a bunny. Therefore, precision rewarding makes or breaks good dog training.

Positive reinforcement has been scientifically proven to be the most beneficial training for dogs. While some people will continue to debate this, studies have shown that abusive training can cause aggression, is not long-term effective, and is not conducive to learning.

 

Types Of Dog Training

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Are you thinking about getting your dog trained professionally. There are many options for training your dog. From group training to boarding school. Each program has different goals. For example group classes are about teaching the pet owner while boarding is about teaching the dog. In this course you will learn which structures is best for your home life. 

Completing this course will help you:

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone considering any type of dog training. This can include group, private or DIY training lessons. 

Learning Path

Human Focused Dog Training​

To be good at any skill they say you need 10,000 hours of practicing that skill. Dogs, just like humans, need practice. If you do not practice with them they will not learn. In addition, you need to practice in many scenarios and distractions. If you only practice at home in a quiet environment you can not expect your dog to behave the same way in loud or distracting environments.

Dog Focused Dog Training​

This type of training focuses on the dog. It allows the trainer to handle most of the training. This training is beneficial because it provides consistency and precision training when the owner leads a busy life.  

Ask your self the following question?

  1. How much time do you have per week?
  2. Do you enjoy training?

Human Focused Training

  1. 2-3 Sessions/Week
  2. Enjoy Training

Dog Focused Training

  1. 0-1 Sessions/Week
  2. Training Is Stressful
  • Private
  • Group Training
  • DIY

Private Training is one-on-one training with you and your dog.  It requires that you have 10-15 minutes a day to practice the skills you learn in class to be effective.  If you are a stay at home parents, retiree, or devoted pet parents who have 2-3 days/week to train, private training is ideal for you. It is effective because it teaches the owner how dogs create associations. Once you learn this fundamental skill you will be able to teach them anything. The most fundamental skill is consistency and repetition. If you are unable to provide 5-10 minutes of training every day your dog will struggle. 

Group training occurs at a training facility. It is usually more economical. It involves training with many dogs in a room. This type of training is ideal for owners who have time to commit to 1 per week group classes and 2-3 home sessions. It requires dogs to be relatively socialized. This means the dog must not be aggressive or anxious. Group training works because having multiple dogs in a room creates an environment that is similar to real life.  Dogs do not generalize well if the owner is not practicing in different environments. If the dog is only receiving private training they tend to completely forget learned behaviors when around other dogs. Group classes solve this problem.  Group training does not work when the owner has very little time to practice at home and/or their dog is aggressive or anxious. 

DIY or do it your self includes YouTube videos, and book readers. People who are good at self-learning and have the natural instinct to read what is working for their dog and adjust accordingly. DIY works because it forces you to abandon one size fits all mentality. This will better prepare you for harder behaviors such as loose leash walking, agility, and nosework. On the other hand DIY fails when training is done ad-hock with no regime in mind. Additionally, some owner does not have the natural instinct to read a dog.  This requires them to apply one size fits all techniques and miss important steps along the way.  

Boarding school is where the dog lives with the trainer and practices basic obedience 1-3 times a day.  Board and train is ideal for working families, families with active children (sports, band, school events).  Busy parents who are booked solid. Boarding works well because dog training requires two things: consistency and precision timing.  Boarding is also ideal for dogs with specific behavioral issues like aggression. However, boarding school does not work when the trainer uses adverse training methods and/or the owner does not provide consistency with the rules after the dog has been returned.

Types Of Board & Train Services​

Residential training is the most typical board and train program. This is where your dog stays with the trainer and is usually termed cage-less. This is because the trainer wants to imitate the dog’s home life which includes skills such as, staying off furniture, no counter surfing, going to ‘place or kennel’ when the doorbell rings, and so on. This is ideal for dogs with specific behavioral issues because they can be addressed as they arise. 

Types Of Training: Basic, Home Etiquette, Behavioral Modification

Kennel

Kennel training typically occurs at the training facility. This is a budget-friendly option and can cost as low as $60 a day. Typically your dog will have 1-3 training sessions per day.  However, kennel training differs in the “downtime” environment. There are two types of facilities. One where the dog stays in the kennel when it is not being trained. The second is the daycare situation where the dog is allowed to play with other dogs in a supervised environment.

Types Of Training: Basic

General Requirements for Board and Training​

To enroll your dog in a board and train program you must have:

  • Proof of Vaccinations (Rabies, DHLPP, kennel cough, heartworm preventive)
  • Kennel cough needs to be given in advance before boarding
  • Boarded dogs must have a leash, collar, and appropriate tags
  • The owner must provide food to prevent digestive stress
    • Sometimes facilities will charge for food
  • What medications are given and their frequency
  • Feeding directions
    Signed contract and agreements
  • Behavioral overview

Walk & Train is a hybrid program that combines walking and private training. Instead of  1-2 sessions of private training the dog receives 3 sessions per week one-on-one with the trainer. Walk and train is ideal for a somewhat busy parent who is patient and can put in 1-3 days of training per week. Walk and train works because it is a hybrid program that provides consistency without having to surrender your dog to a stranger. However, it fails when training sessions are canceled frequently or are not given enough time to show effectiveness. 

 

Private Training

  • $45-200/hr
  • 1-6 Months
  • In Home Training

Walk  Train

  • $114-$250/Week
  • 4-6 Months
  • Training Comes To You

Boarding School

  • $500-$1000/Week
  • 2 Weeks minimum
  • 6 Weeks Maximum

Group Training

  • $20-$30/hr
  • 1-6 Months
  • At Facility

There are many types of dog skills & sports that you and your pup can learn together. Find the right enrichment based on your activity and skill level.

Obedience ​  

Obedience teaches dogs basic manners which allows them to be in public without worry. Untrained dogs tend to have behavior issues due to a lack of confidence. As a result, many owners are afraid to bring their dogs in public. Obedience games teach dogs to not pull, to stay, and to drop or leave things they find on walks. Not only does training result in less aggressive behavior but it allows us to expand their world outside of the backyard. 

Scent Work

Nose work or scent work is a dog sport that enriches your dog’s life through its natural ability to smell. Dogs have over 220 million olfactory nerves while humans only have 5 million. Our smell is feeble compared to that of our dog. AKC Scentwork uses unique scents such a Birch, Clove, Anise and Cypress and to teach our dog to “find it”.

Scent Work is extremely stimulating and is a great way to get out excess energy without leaving your house. It can be done everywhere! Your house, your yard, the park, a campground, or an Airbnb rental. Dogs can start as early as 4 weeks and can play the game all the way to the end of life. Scent Work is a great enrichment tool to add to any dog lovers’ toolbox.

Trick Training​

Trick Training is a dog sport that is more than just “paw”. It is a great way to keep a dog active and in shape. Tricks such as barkour require the dog to climb, balance, jump, crawl, and run; it is a great sport for all types of dogs. By overcoming fears and training in different environments you not only enhance your dog’s life but train him to be confident in any environment which reduces the likelihood of aggression.

Active Sports

Active sports including running, jumping, pulling, and fetching. Active sports are for fully developed dogs and active handlers. Some sports do not require the handler to be active such as hunting and water sports.

 

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