Hello again from us at deltacanine. Hope everyone is having a productive 2017 so far. Today’s post is about the heeling post.
William Koehler, creator of the Koehler Method of Dog training, uses the heeling post to teach the dog to stay with the handler when in close proximity to objects or poles. Its a really simple set up really. You have the dog on lead and walk towards a pole, leaving just enough room for the dog to stay on the same side you are. If the dog decides to go on the other side, the lead is wrapped around the pole and the dog gets a surprise. The dog quickly learns to stay on the same side as the handler after only a few repetitions of this exercise.
I worked with a 10 month old Great Pyrenees today. He has very little leash time but we worked on the heeling post. It took him exactly three tries to figure out that he should stay on the same side as me. Lol after that, he nearly pushed me out of the way to stay on the same side.
Besides a great tool for teaching the dog to stay next to you, it amazes me how quick dogs learn things. I truly believe they are lot more clever than most people give them credit for.
Until next time, view everyday as a training day!
Hello again from deltacanine.net with more thoughts on dog training. This post is coming at you from the gorgeous mountains of Colorado. Its so pretty out here. Ok back to dog training.
We had the opportunity to fly back to Texas to see family a couple weeks ago. It was great seeing everyone and as always, it went by way too fast. Me, my wife, our 13 month old, and dear Scout, our 2 year old female Dutch Shepherd, made the trip. Its always interesting to see what happens when you bring your dog out in public.
Ash and Scout at the airport
Overall Scout was very good and Ash handled her like a boss. Its interesting to think that some people train their dogs because they want them to sit, they want them to wait, and come. Other people train their dogs because they need them to sit, wait, heel, and come. Ash was definitely in the second group handling Scout at the airport. They had to work as a team getting through security, maneuvering around passengers, and remaining stable and obedient on the airplane. Scout and Ash did such a great job that the fellow sitting at the aisle seat had no idea Scout was even there until we had started the descent.
When it came down to it, Ash needed Scout to behave and obey immediately and without question. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be flying. Training takes on a different meaning when viewed through this lens. Its not about treats and toys. Its about the bond built working together in everyday life.
Until next time.
Hello from deltacanine.net. In today’s post I recap some of my takeaways from a training opportunity with a trainer of a different methodology.
I recently had the opportunity to observe some training using methods that I don’t prescribe to. It was a good experience getting to see the other side of the aisle. Although I did learn some things, the biggest takeaway I got was my affirmed belief that treats and toys are unnecessary in the training of dogs.
As you can guess, the method I observed used treats and toys to get the desired behavior from the dog. Let me once again say, we at deltacanine.net believe that dogs inherently bond with humans and work for praise and respect from us. Treats and toys are unnecessary.
Ok so with that out of the way, lets talk about what I saw and learned.
Treats were used as a lure. A treat was placed in front of the dog and slightly above their head to get them to sit. After they sit, they got the treat. Next the treat was brought down low to the ground in front of them to get them to down. Once all four legs touched, the treats were placed on the ground (which was pretty smart I thought so the dog would stay on the ground instead of coming towards your hand). After the dog got the hang of luring, then the next step was frustrating them into giving up the desired behavior. The dog would sit and once it didn’t get a reward for that, it would try the next thing, in this case, a down to get the treat. This made for some fired up, spastic dogs.
I actually got to try my hand at luring. I got to work with a black GSD pup and 4 month old Mali. The pup was interested in the treats but the Mali could care less what I had in my hands. At one point, I ran out of treats and the little black pup locked eyes with me and seemed to say, “hey silly, I don’t need treats. I just want to please you and get praise in return.” There are so many other distractions out there that once you run out of treats, the dog has no reason to pay attention to you. I didn’t run out of treats with the Mali but it could care less what I was doing because of all the other distractions. Should I really have to make the dog pay attention to me by becoming more interesting than its environment? And how well does that really work in the real world?
Overall, the dogs I saw that were trained up to the top tier were spastic. They weren’t calm and collected.
Towards the end, I had discussion with decoy about switching and retargeting. He claims that he would love to have a dog to come off bite so he can attempt to gain control of it. He also said that if it gets hit, he just wants it to bite harder with that “full, deep grip bite.” I find this humorous after watching footage of two White House K9s deploying on a noncompliant individual. The first dog was kicked in the face and ran away, the second latched on and took a beating as it was trained to do but got its ass handed to it. I really have trouble believing that is an effective use of a dogs life, to hang on for dear life while it gets its head caved in or stabbed. As for me, I want a dog that is smart enough to see an incoming threat, disengage while causing damage, and acquiring the new target. Then rendering it useless as well. I want my dog coming back from the encounter.
Until next time, respect the bond between you and your dog. Don’t cheapen it.
Hello again from us here at deltacanine.net.
Something has been brewing in my mind the last couple of days thanks to the comments on one of Dyask9 Instagram posts. Basically Dyask9 said dogs can differentiate between friend and fo or threat and non threat after someone brought up the story about the police k9 that jumped into a SUV and attacked the toddler in there. They said that practical real world training will prevent the bite happy dogs most police departments have. This exchange brought back memories of the first time I donned a bite suit at Baden k9. Evidently I wasn’t very threatening because when the handler gave the deploy command to the dog, the dog looked at me, then back at the handler like, you want me to go after him? Why? He’s no threat. I was kinda shocked at the time, thinking, ” I can’t believe that dog didn’t obey the command she was given. Come on warbeast!”
But after the exchange on Instagram made me reflect on the encounter, I am convinced that dogs can naturally identify threats and act accordingly. I wasn’t exhibiting threatening behavior, in fact, I was pretty nervous I was about to have a dog deployed on me. I also saw another exercise in which a dog was supposed to identify a threat while ignoring other distractions. There was a narrow walkway across a pond and handlers were standing on it with their legs wide enough a dog could pass through. At the end path was the aggressor. I bet those handlers were nervous but dog after dog ignored them and targeted the threat at the end. Talk about smart weapons huh? Dogs can think. Let them. A lot of trainers create dogs that bite anything that moves. In that instance, dogs will be a hindrance instead of another layer of protection.
Until next time, treat every day as a training day and build that bond with your dog.
Hello again from us at deltacanine.net. Today’s post is a more serious one. In it, I describe a situation in which I believe a protection dog made the difference between a non event and a serious, life altering experience.
A woman was working late at night at her office by herself and her protection dog. She was making runs to her vehicle through the back door. As she finished a load and walked back down the walkway, she heard footsteps behind her. She turned and a man was following her down the path, a place he had no business to be. Her dog was so in tune with her surroundings and the woman that she immediately picked up on the threat. The dog did not retreat, or get nervous. She positioned herself between the woman and the threat. She stood her ground and projected an aura of confidence and calm that forced the man to rethink his actions and back out of the area the way he came. The woman did not give the dog any command. They were that in tune with another.
I truly believe this situation would have ended in a much different manner had that woman not had her protection dog with her.
Hello again from us at deltacanine.net. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. In today’s article we discuss training you and your dog for that dreadful public experience.
Understandably, taking your canine from the nice comfortable and controlled training environment and thrusting them into the real world with real people, (not other handlers), real dogs (that have no obedience) and real life distractions causes stress. This is completely normal and expected. It is stressful for both you and your dog. Stressful for you because you aren’t 100 percent confident that all the training you completed has satisfactorily prepared you for the real world and you aren’t 100 percent your dog will perform like he’s supposed to. Guess what, you are right on both counts. Just like we have discussed in the past, changing even one variable has an impact. Now lets talk about the stress for the dog. In addition to the stress of a new environment with new smells and sights, the dog picks up on your stress. As Mike McConnery at Baden K9 says, the dog reflects the handler. If you are amped up and stressed out, your dog will be too. It flows both ways down the lead.
Ok so I just told you that stress is normal and to be expected, both for you and your dog. I also said that as much as you train, you and your dog will make mistakes. “Well shit Case, thats great but now what do I do about it? I don’t like making mistakes.” Yeah no one does but view it in a positive light. Look at a mistake as a training opportunity for you and your dog so when you fail, you can fail forward. Going philosophical on you for a second, its interesting as we grow older how we become afraid of failing, thus limiting our growth. I love watching my daughter as she learns to walk especially when she just started to learn. Yes, she fell and thus failed but she got back up every time and now she is unstoppable. She failed forward. Do the same with your dog when you both make mistakes.
Now since we got the perspective out of the way, lets talk about making our first debut as successful as possible. As has been mentioned in previous posts, our training philosophy is obedience under stress. We learn something and then proof it while increasing the amounts of stress applied. Start small and increase. Add elevated positions, more distractions, more handlers, more dogs etc. Make it a challenge. The confidence and bond built through training under stress allows you and your canine companion to tackle ever increasing challenges. What is the most challenging obstacle out there? Real life. So now braced with the success of stressful training you are ready to venture forth and take a stab at the real world.
Ash brought the girls to come pick me up at the airport.
But understand that when you are taking your dog out into public it is just another training environment. Its a little bit more awkward when you have to correct your dog in public but other than that, its just an opportunity to improve your bond and communication. As soon as you become comfortable with the idea of correcting your dog in public, there is no limit to what you can accomplish with your furry friend.
Just a quick update on our public experiences. We had to run to Home Depot the other day and it was busy as all get out. There where people all over the place and kids galore. At one point, 4 kids ambushed Scout and she was completely fine with it. I always explain to kids that she is in training and they may pet her as long as she stays in a SIT. As soon as she gets up they must stop, otherwise they are rewarding bad behavior. For the most part they understand and abide by my instructions. One of the workers was impressed with Scout’s progress and let me know. Thats always nice to hear.
So get out there and train. Train stressful so real life isn’t as stressful and you can build that bond with your canine companion.
Today’s post from deltacanine.net is about teaching your dog how to load up in your car. The video below shows me training my 2 year old Dutch Shepherd, Scout to enter the vehicle through the open passenger window but you can tailor these steps to have them enter the car through the trunk or open door.
As with all training, start small and work your way up. You want a firm foundation before you move to the next step. If you move forward before you or your dog are ready, it makes it even more difficult as you progress to higher levels.
The “Tacticool” Load Up
Scout practicing the “load up” without me holding the lead
I decided it would be a wise idea to put some sort of protective barrier up to prevent scratch damage to the paint. The best I came up with was a thick towel. It was a very good idea but I should have placed a towel on the hood as you will see from the outtakes at the end of the video. Lol lesson learned: your dog is full of surprises.
As I talked about in a previous post, I used the essential equipment (A 6ft lead and a prong collar).
Phase 1: On-lead
Since Scout has an understanding of jumping on and over obstacles I began with her in a “foos” facing the open window a few feet away. Before attempting the load up, your dog should be able to on command “hup” up on objects. Standing next to Scout, I gave the “load up” command and moved towards the open window. She’s smart dog and knew instinctively she had nowhere to go besides through the open window. As she went through it, I gave her a “Good load up” matching the tone of the issued command like we talked about in this article.
We did this a number of times, increasing the distance progressively until I decided it was time to go off lead.
Phase 2: Off-Lead
There isn’t much difference between Phase 1 and 2 except now she doesn’t have a lead on. You start close and once again work your way out. If you have trouble and the dog balks or clowns around immediately go back to the lead and work with it for a while before attempting off lead again. Don’t give the dog the opportunity to become accustomed to disobeying you off lead. Be consistent.
Phase 3: Out of Position
Placing the lead through the open window
Now comes the fun part. Put the dog back on-lead. Place them in a “sit” in front of the open window. Put the end of the lead through the window and have your dog wait while you walk around the car to the drivers seat. Pick up the end of the lead and give the “load up” command. Once the dog is inside the vehicle, unload them and set up the exercise again. Do this a couple times (lol yes, this can be good exercise for you) until the dog has a good foundation.
Now its time for the test. Set your dog up a few feet from the car. Take off their lead, (yes you heard me, its time to take that lead off). Put them into a “wait” while you get into position in the car. When you are ready, give them the “load up” command.
Your dog should have just done an off lead load up. Congrats! And no worries if they didn’t get it right this first time. Go back on lead and do it until you are both comfortable and then try again off lead. Be patient.
Now of course its time to elevate both your dogs and your confidence by increasing the distance. Have fun with it!
Let me know what else you would like to see and be sure to leave your email in the space on the left side of the page so you can be alerted to when new content comes out. Thank you! Now enjoy the movie.
Special thanks to Addie at On Par Creations for getting my logo for deltacanine.net on my shirt! It looks fantastic and I couldn’t be more pleased with her work.
Me rocking my new logo-ed shirt with my regal beast, Scout
We all know Dutch shepherds can be a handful. They are smart, energetic, and a little bit of crazy. Add those together and you are destined to have some funny now, not so funny then stories. Below will be a list of those misadventures and of course will be added to over time.
The one that stands out most in my mind you can still see the lingering effects of. One day we decided that we trusted Scout to be left out of her crate with Copper while we ran errands. We came back home and opened the front door to let the dogs out. Copper came bounding out of the house, happy as always to see us, that goofy Golden Retriever smile plastered on his face. I couldn’t tell what it was initially because he was moving so fast but he didn’t look right. Then it hit me, he had blue splotches all over him and his tail. In panic mode trying to figure out what happened, I rushed into the house thinking nothing of Scout as she slinked by me and out the front door. It was a complete mess in the house. My wifey has direct mail marketing company, A3 Marketing, and had some printer ink sent to the house. That dirty dog Scout decided it would be a great idea to play with and destroy the box that the ink had come in.
There was magenta and cyan ink all over the place. On the carpet, on the hardwood floor, on Copper and on Scout. It was a mess and an expensive one at that. We did the math and our darling Dutch Shepherd Scout destroyed $200 dollars worth of ink. I am pretty sure you can still see the cyan ink on Copper even after all the baths he has had since then.
Howdy again from deltacanine.net. Today’s dog training tip will cover the essential equipment needed to train your dog. Some owners go crazy and get way more equipment than is necessary.
So are you ready for the list?
- 6 ft lead
- Prong collar
Crazy right? With those two items alone, you can have an extremely well behaved, obedient canine companion. The other equipment out there that is touted as the best thing since sliced bread such as shock collars and halter leads are just not required.
With these two tools and patience, the sky is the limit in what you can do with your dog. Together, the lead and prong collar communicate to your dog feedback. It gently leads them in the direction you want and provides correction when they do something they know is wrong.
I prefer a leather lead in a six foot length. I like leather over nylon because of the feedback it provides. It seems like the leather is more responsive. You can’t beat the utility of a double snap lead however. So I am on the lookout for a six foot leather double snap lead. With a double snap lead and a flat collar, you can fashion an expedited harness for lowering and lifting, you can fasten the two snaps together and wear the lead when on the long line, or you can quickly clip the snap onto the floating ring around an object to hitch a dog to it. The double snap lead is very utilitarian.
6 ft double snap nylon lead with floating ring
6ft leather lead and prong collar
The collar I use and recommend is the medium (3mm) prong collar made by Herm Sprenger. Now some people seem to think just because it looks scary it must be torture to use it on the dog but as I have mentioned previously, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The choke chain that most people is actually very harmful to the dog because every time you tighten it, you are in fact strangling the dog, breaking down the muscles of their throat. Whereas a correction with the prong collar mimics the nip that a dog would receive from its mother for doing something it shouldn’t. The prong collar provides more feedback to the dog with a minimum input than can be achieved with a choke chain.
The flat collar is ineffective for training unless you are doing agitation work in a protection dog. Now I am sure you have all seen the dog wearing a nice flat collar dragging its owner down the street on their “walk.” Give that owner a prong collar and proper instruction on using it and pulling will no longer be a problem.
A few quick tidbits about the prong collar. Use the same link every time you put the collar on the dog and remove it so you only have to replace that one link when it is finally time to replace it. I mark the one I use with red tape as you can see in the picture below so I don’t mix them up. Also, make sure you aren’t using the special links at each end, as they are much more expensive to replace.
Dead ring vs live ring
There are two rings on the prong collar, the dead one (in the middle of the chain) and the live ring which is attached to the chain with a swivel. When training, you should snap into both rings. To make this easier on myself, I bought a nifty little paracord tab from one of the handler’s son while training at Baden K9 in Ontario. A little bit of lost history they also taught us up there while talking about the prong collar was the dogmen of old flipping the prong inside out, and snapping into the swivel ring to hitch up the dog. Pretty neat huh?
Herm Sprenger Medium prong collar. Notice the red tape and the nifty tab.
So ladies and gentlemen, all you need to start training your dog is patience, a six foot lead, and a prong collar. Get out and there use every day for a training opportunity. Until next time.
The essentials of dog training