Want to get pet owners to train those new puppies right into adulthood? The answer may be simply introducing them to the “Do More With Your Dog” program created by famous Hollywood trainer and AKC Competitor, Kyra Sundance. This goal-oriented program creates a solid foundation of obedience in the format of simple “tricks” which owners track and apply to titles. Many of the behaviors recognized can actually be found in parallel tests such as the AKC STAR puppy program and the AKC Canine Good Citizen program. And there are also more complex behaviors that can possibly land a movie role.
Dr. Cindy Otto, Executive Director and Founder of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center credits the program with saving her relationship with her dog, a Bichon mix that had flunked obedience. She feels that this program is less stressful than obedience tasks, yet keeps dogs learning. “The component of failure is not there,” she said. “ Older dogs, young dogs are engaged and vibrant and the pedestal training helps with veterinary exams too,” said Otto. She is certified as a trick trainer with the program and recently held a workshop for pet owners. As the DMWYD program grows globally it is only a matter of time before we see more Wheaten Terriers listed on the website’s “wall of champions”.
There is no compulsion or aversive training here. The accent is on fun and positive reinforcement to create drive for both the human and canine partner. The behaviors are applicable to many AKC competitive venues including conformation, obedience, agility and more. But the best part is that owners can access learning videos and be a part of an online community of fellow tricksters for free.
The SPARK teams found on Facebook start the first of every month and guide participants through a list of behaviors to title at one of several levels. Each week new videos are posted and participants are encouraged to “strutt their stuff” and earn titles. By reducing the barriers to training, including accessibility and cost, and encouraging creativity and training in all settings, people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds worldwide have embraced the program. And it continues to grow and benefit all types of dogs. Senior dogs needing mental stimulation can work with modified skills and dogs with anxiety thrive and develop confidence as they build a relationship based on trust, praise and having a good time learning.
Most recently I have incorporated trick training into not only my classes and private training, but with training my very own Wheaten Terriers and have found it to be quite addictive. Once you see what the breed is capable of as mastery reveals amazing feats, it is enticing and a little addictive to venture on and experiment pushing things further. Here’s to having more fun and embracing the joys and adventures of training!
It might seem cute when your puppy chews on your fingers, until you feel those sharp little teeth! Ouch! It’s time to put an end to puppy play biting. While it’s natural for your puppy to want to explore the world around him with his mouth, it’s just not acceptable in our homes.
When nipped at most people pull their hands away. Dogs see this as a game and it reinforces their urge to want to bite even more. Shouting won’t make the behavior stop. And hitting is out of the question. So what to do? You can say “Ouch” and walk away from the puppy. We don’t want to reward the biting with attention. You can also offer an acceptable chew toy in order to re-direct the behavior. Another option is to put a deterrent on your hand and clothing (dog and child safe of course) so that the puppy realizes you aren’t very tasty. Remember, everyone in your home must be consistent in order for training to be successful. It also is a good idea to teach your dog that “everything has a price” so that he knows that all his “good stuff” comes from you.
January is a busy and critical time for new dog owners. This is the “make it or break it” period when dogs have either found their “forever homes” or are left at shelters.
Training above all should be positive and reinforced daily, even if only for a few minutes at a time. Veterinarians recommend even-handed training with positive rewards such as food, praise and play. Choking and forcing is definitely a thing of the past. And electric collars should never be used to train a puppy.
Above all, training should be a special stress-free time when you can learn to communicate with your dog and revel in his abilities thanks to your efforts. The time you invest will improve the quality and enjoyment of your pet and hopefully build a bond to last a lifetime.
Dorice Stancher, CPDT-KA
The Association of Pet Dog Trainers
The APDT is a professional educational organization of trainers who are committed to becoming better trainers through using positive, dog friendly methods based on sound scientific principles. With over 5,000 members worldwide, the APDT provides professional dog trainers with a respected and concerted voice. The APDT promotes caring relationships between dogs and people and works to increase public awareness of dog-friendly training techniques. For more information, visit the Web site at http://www.apdt.com.
Dogs are the most wonderful and amazing creatures. They give so much love without asking for much in return…a warm bed, food and water. They don’t care what you look like, or smell like, or what car you drive. The love unconditionally, and are there when we need them perhaps even more than some humans we know. Let’s face it, they deserve more than a 15 minute walk in the dark when we come home from work.
This is where Canines Can Do can help. Make it a special night out with your furry kid and have some fun training with us. Our obedience classes cover more than just the basics. We will introduce you to the fun of scent training, tricks, therapy work, agility and more! It’s all about having fun with the best partner you’ll ever have…your dog!
My first positively trained dog was Duffy, a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier that took me on many adventures. I was told this was a stubborn and willful breed that I would have to use punitive methods with to get results.
Fortunately I had some excellent mentors including Bill Delaney (deceased) the original owner of The American Canine Academy and Betsy Scapicchio, owner of Top Dog Obedience School, and we wound up winning titles including High in Trial as novices at the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America National Specialty! Duffy became a therapy dog, a therapy evaluator dog, an AKC ACE nominee, a NJVMA Silver Award winner, the spokes dog for the American Cancer Society (ACS) Dogswalk Against Cancer/Bark for Life appearing on television, won the ACS and earned the Wheaten Ambassador Award (Canada). An annual award given in his memory to deserving Wheaten Terriers that help their communities.
Here we are winning High in Trial at the National Specialty of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America. I think Duffy knew he did something special.
After competing Duffy always enjoyed climbing trees just for fun.