What is “Tether” Training?

Sometimes dogs just don’t know how to settle and their over enthusiastic mouthing and jumping is just not acceptable. We are not fans of methods that restrict the dog’s movement and of tie-outs, however this method of training is interesting and useful when working with a professional certified trainer.

Before creating a strategy for changing behavior we feel it is essential to take a hard look at the basic need required by dogs in order to thrive in their homes before adding the Tethering Method to change behavior. When using this method it is best to consult with a professional trainer CPDT-KA certified by the independent Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers.

All dogs require daily exercise and this includes leash walking that involves training. We advise owners to put the cell phone away and focus on having their dog sit and stay before crossing streets, experiment with different speeds and incorporate interesting maneuvers like calling to COME, LOOK and the hand TOUCH. Before attempting the Tether Method it is essential that the dog have regular exercise prior to training.

But the Tether Method does have a place in changing unruly behavior including jumping on guests and having them learn to settle instead of climbing all over you when sitting on the couch. It is not meant as a harsh punishment but as a “time out” or an opportunity for your dog to re-focus on what he needs to do instead. We keep our tether short and NEVER leave the dog unattended. We also keep training sessions short and introduce the dog in a positive way acclimating and reducing stress.

Pat Miller a member of the Board of Directors for the APDT and a fellow CPDT-KA encourages owners to start by having the dog feel comfortable being tethered, “You want your dog’s time on the tether to be a pleasant experience. Before you actually use it the first time for training purposes, take the time to teach him that it is a good place to be, so he doesn’t panic when you try to use it. Start by attaching his collar to the tether and staying with him. Click! or say “Yes!” and feed him treats, several times. If he knows the “sit” cue, ask him to sit and Click! and treat him some more. Then take a step back, Click! and return to give him a treat. Gradually vary the distance and length of time between each set of clicks and treats, until he is calm and comfortable on the tether even if you are across the room. If he seems worried about being on the tether, keep your session brief and try to do several short sessions a day until he accepts the restraint. Release him from the tether when he is most calm, not when he is fretting. If the tether doesn’t worry him, one or two practice sessions should be all you need to start using it in training.”

This method can also be used for having your dog greet guests politely. As guests approach to pet if he jumps up they can turn away. If he remains with four feet on the floor in a SIT, DOWN or STAND then he can be rewarded with petting and praise. This method can also be used when on leash in public for greetings. Remember to not let your dog get too far ahead of you and get your dog’s attention prior to having him lunge toward guests. Play the SIT game and have friends ask him to SIT before they pet him. Follow with praise and treat low so that he does not follow and jump up.


Dock Diving is Wet, Wild and Wonderful!

Here are a few tips to get started in Dock Diving, the new AKC sport that is soaring in popularity across the country.

Dorice Stancher, CPDT-KA CaninesCanDo, llc 2019®

  • Does your dog like to swim? Since this sport involves water it is important to have your dog be comfortable swimming even if at first with a floatation vest. Take time to introduce gradually accompanying you into the water allowing your dog to make the choice to go further. Bring a favorite toy and encourage him to paddle. This can be exhausting so monitor exertion. Be sure to make these sessions fun and offer a lot of encouragement.
  • Is your dog play driven? In Dock Diving dogs you simply throw a toy for your dog and encourage your him to jump after it. The toys should be both irresistible for your dog and also the right size for him to retrieve. The dock dog’s jump is measured from the where the base of his tail hits the water to the edge of the dock.
  • Does size matter? In Dock Diving dogs into classes by both height and distance jumped. Dogs under 16″ are placed in the Lap class. Within this class there are the Novice, Junior, Senior, Master and Elite all determined by the length of the jump. Dogs above 16″ compete in the Open Class. Within this class there are also sub classes determined by the jump distance. There is also a Veteran’s class for dogs over 8 years of age. There is also an Air Retrieve event where dogs jump and grab a suspended article.
  • Where can I go to get started? There are “Try It” opportunities at some local events which can be found on the North American Diving Dogs NADD website. Many facilities also offer lessons and practice time. For more information on rules and events visit their website at northamericandivingdogs.com
  • Does my dog have to be a certain age to compete? Dogs six months and older can compete in dock diving. Even older dogs enjoy the sport. The atmosphere is supportive and competitors encourage one another to bring out the best in their dogs. It’s wet and it’s a lot of fun.

Dorice Stancher, CPDT-KA and her petite 16″ at the withers Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier bitch have qualified for the AKC Nationals 2016-2018 and placed in the top 10 in the Dock Junior (Veteran) division. She is the first of her breed to compete in the sport and at almost 10 continues to work toward her Dock Junior Excellent title.

The Not So Terrible Teens

by Dorice Stancher, MBA, CPDT-KA Copyright 2019® All Rights Reserved

Every three months is a big change in a dog’s life. Imagine growing to adulthood in only a year! Most owners are not prepared for the changes that come between these three month spans. Today we will focus on one of the most challenging times. This is the time the jumping, counter surfing and leash pulling is no longer cute. It’s a dangerous time because some owners will pack it in and think re-homing. It does not have to be that way.

Here is a simple strategy to get things back under control.

  1. Bring back “Learning to Earn” as part of your normal routine. Have your dog earn everything. This includes food/treats, freedom when going through the door to go outside, the couch, in short EVERYTHING. It really is not as hard as you think and it does not always need to be about sit. It can be having your dog LOOK at you, a trick, anything where there is an exchange for services rendered. It’s good manners and it will help your dog to understand where he fits in. We want him dependent on you.

2. Get the entire family to be on board. Have a meeting and make a simple list of your commands and what is allowed then stick with it.

3. Do things with your dog. Take them for a walk or play with them. Teach them some tricks. Isn’t the reason you got him in the first place for companionship? Check out the AKC Canine Good Citizen program, trick program, pet therapy and other performance events which are for all dogs and not just purebreds. There are more resources available to dog owners than ever before and some excellent advice can be found on both the APDT and CPDTKA sites. Have more fun with your dog.

4. When the behavior is too challenging call a professional CPDTKA trainer and get back on track. Puppies grow up and become teenagers and we all know what that means. They become belligerent and don’t want to listen. They grow into their big bodies and now the jumping up is kind of annoying. Fortunately with a little re-training and some time and patience this will change.

Today is the day to begin rebuilding the relationship with your best friend.