Saturday, February 17, 2018

Fearful Dogs

Trainer Tip:  Fearful Dogs.
How to help give your dog confidence.

Dealing with a fearful dog can be a very difficult problem.  Dogs can and do overcome their fears with help.  First off, if you do not have the patience and time, a fearful dog may not be the right choice for you and your family.  Overcoming fear is very difficult and will generally take several months, but it is possible.

No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact.
This is important.  A dog that is fearful will be very intimidated and scared of someone who reaches out to touch them, makes direct eye contact, or even talks to them.  The first step in helping a fearful dog is to have any new people coming in to follow this rule.  It is also helpful to be aware of your body position.  Sometime even facing your body towards a fearful dog can be too much for them.  Instead try to side-face the dog or sit with your back to the dog to help make them feel more comfortable.

Take it slow, but move with purpose.
Overcoming fear will take time, so take it slow.  Make your movements around a fearful dog slow and calm, but move with purpose.  Being hesitant around a fearful dog will make them more uneasy.  Be calm but confident.

Use high value rewards.
A very fearful dog may not take food yet, but don't give up.  Use high value rewards such as stinky soft treats or real meat like turkey, chicken, or lunch meat.  It the dog is comfortable with one particular person, use that person to help them get more comfortable around things they are afraid of.

No baby talk.
When children are afraid we tend to use "baby talk" around them.  Saying things like, "Its're ok."  This is NOT something you should do with a dog.  Baby talking a fearful dog will actually tell them to stay in their fearful state.  Instead remain calm and silent until the dog does something that is facing their fear, such as moving towards or taking food near the object or person they are frightened of.  When this happens praise the dog with a calm "Good girl" or "Good boy."

Food & water.
If a dog is fearful of a particular family member, have that person be the one to always feed and water the dog (and walk them if possible).  I even encourage that person to mix a little something in their food, like a small amount of lunch meat.  Use your bare hand to mix the food so that the person's scent is also in the food.  This will help the dog start to overcome their fear of that person.

Other helpful blog articles:
Proper Leadership
Walking a scared or timid dog
4th of July Safety Tips
Trainer Tips:  Getting your dog used to touch
Trainer Tips:  Lavender Oil

Other articles that might help:
9 calming aids for fearful dogs

Monday, February 12, 2018


Sit, Down, & Up:

We use the Food Lure technique to first teach these commands.  Some of these things may have already been learned, that’s great.  You can use the dog’s current knowledge of each cue and progress further to adding hand signals.  Each command should have its own word and hand signal.

Teaching a dog to "Lay Down."
For both the "Sit" and "Down" commands, we use a food lure.  For Down, start the dog in a Sit position and reward for this.  Then slowly move your baited hand (hand with a food reward already in it) from the dog's nose to the ground, pause for a second, then pull forward and out.  Make sure you move very slowly keeping the dog's nose "attached" to the food reward.  The reason we pause for a second when you hit the ground is that about 50% of dogs will actually slide backwards to lay down instead of moving forward.  Be sure to move from the dog's nose downward but staying close to the dog's chest.  Pause here and wait to see if your dog slides backwards.  If not, slowly pull the food along the ground forward.  Wait until your dog's body touches the ground then immediately say, "Down...Good!" and give the reward.  Repeat this until your dog is doing well and seems to have a good handle on the Down command, then you may start adding the word before the action.

Other helpful Blog articles:
Anti Jump Training
Helpful Ways to Exercise your Puppy
Training Stay

Monday, February 5, 2018

Come w/ Distractions

One of the things I recommend practicing with your dog as often as possible is Come when Called.  Building up a reliable recall with your dog is one of the most important things you can teach.  Doing so will help keep your dog safe and keep your mind at ease.

As with any command or cue to teach your dog, start the command at its simplest.  See the links below to get the videos and details on how to start teaching a Come when called.  Once your dog has the basics down and is reliable 90% of the time in your home or back yard, it's time to start practicing it out in the world with minimal or no distractions. Once your dog is doing well at this and responding 90% or more of the time, start adding small distractions.  Remember to set your dog up for success.  If the distraction you have tried adding is a little too much for your dog to ignore, try something they can more easily move away from.  As the dog gets better with small distractions, start making the distractions more difficult.  Remember to always move forward at your dog's pace.  If the dog is making a lot of mistakes or unable to ignore the distraction you have tried, take the training back a step and make it easier until the dog can succeed.

Other helpful Blog articles:

Come when Called Step One
Come when Called Step Two
Come when Called Off Leash

Friday, January 26, 2018

Anti Jump Training

In this video we discuss one helpful way to get your dog to stop jumping up.  Basically, any time a dog jumps up at you, you should turn away.  If a dog jumps on you and you pet them, you are rewarding them for jumping on you.  If, however, you turn away when a dog jumps up and only pet them when they keep all 4 paws on the ground, you are teaching them that they get attention only when they do NOT jump up.  This can be difficult for some people to put into practice at first.
Remind your guests that come over:  No touch, No talk, No eye contact.  Basically you should ignore a dog until they calm down, and if they jump on you, you should turn away. Remembering these simple rules will go a long way in helping teach your dog (and any other dogs you meet) that being jumped on is not something we like or want.

Other Helpful Blog Articles:

Video:  Impulse Control
Basic Dog Knowledge
Trainer Tips:  Socialization
Redirection:  Bad dog behaviors turned Good

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Rio: Reactive Dog Training

Rio is a dog like many dogs that can sometimes be reactive or aggressive to other dogs and even people.  

The distance from a dog to the other dog, human, or object that they react to is what we call the threshold.  For this training, we are working on decreasing the distance of that threshold.  Basically, any time your dog reacts in a negative way or way you do not like, you are going to mark that behavior with a No Reward Marker...saying "Uh-oh" or "eh-eh," and move the dog away from what they are reacting to.  Once the dog calms down a bit, move back towards whatever has made them react.  Again, once the dog barks or lunges, mark the unwanted behavior and move the dog away.  Continue this exercise until you are able to get close to or pass by the other dog, person, or object without the dog reacting in a negative way.  Take your time doing this exercise and remember to stay calm and have lots of patience with your dog.  This training will take time, but does work.

As you will see in the video, to help train a reactive dog to change their behavior and react in a positive calm way, there are a few things you must do.  First, mark any unwanted or negative behavior with an "Uh-uh" or "uh-oh."  Then immediately move away from the thing that has made the dog react.  Move far enough away until the dog calms down, then move back towards the thing that made them react.  If they react again, mark it with your "uh-oh" and move away.  Do this until you can get closer to the thing without the dog reacting.  Praise the dog whenever they don't react or react in a positive way.

The use of a head collar is recommended for this type of training.  This type of dog tool will assist in reactive dog training and offer better control to the handler.

Other Helpful Blog Articles:
Trainer Tips:  Reactive dog training
Reactive Dog Training with Ripley 2
Reactive Dog Training with Ripley 3

Monday, January 15, 2018

Stay, Step Two: Distance

After getting your dog's duration or time built up on the Stay command (you should be able to get to at least one minute with three treats or less), it is time to start working on adding Distance.  Remember, any time you are working on building up one of the three parts of the Stay cue, the other two should be as low as possible.  So when starting work on adding Distance, there should be short Duration (time), and minimal or no distractions.

3 Parts to the Stay Cue:
1.  Duration (time)
2.  Distance
3.  Distraction

Release Cue:
This means to a dog, you are now free to do what you want.  Common Release Cues include:  Break, Free, & Release.  I highly discourage owners from using “Okay” as a release cue.  This is a very commonly used phrase, and your dog may be randomly released by a passing stranger.  Use commands that are not common in every day speech.

Other helpful Blog articles:
Stay, Step One:  Duration (time).

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Homemade Dog Treats--Applesauce & Carrot


1 cup flour
1 cup grated carrots
1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Mix all ingredients together.
3.  Drop medium biscuit balls onto cooking sheet.
4.  Bake until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes (depending on size).
5.  Allow to fully cool before giving to your dog.
--We recommend storing treats in the refrigerator or freezer.

Overall I think this is a good homemade dog treat, but I found it extremely messy to make.  I'd recommend the peanut butter treats from our last cooking YouTube video.

Related Blog articles:
Homemade dog treats

Monday, January 8, 2018


Above is an instructional video on how to teach your dog a proper "Heel."  Below I have included more information on how to teach this.  Remember that Heel means the dog is in a specific position.  Heel is not something that should be used constantly on your every day walks.  Your dog needs the opportunity to explore their surroundings.  For every day walking, use "Loose Leash Walking."

The Heel position is about the dog staying close to the handler and paying close attention.  We will start with the Basic Heel position, the Stationary Heel.
To do this, we will food lure the dog into the Heel position at our left side.  Use your left hand to food lure the dog into the position.  If you need, take a step back with your left leg to encourage the dog to move.  Once the dog is in the Heel position, practice a Sit and Look. 

Moving Heel:  
  1. Food lure the dog several times while backing up.
  2. Food lure the dog, now turn your body so the dog is now on the left side in Heel position (use the treat in your left hand).
Always begin and end every Heel exercise with a Sit in the Heel position.
When you stop moving forward, move your baited hand UP slightly to initiate the Sit position.

As you are moving forward, the treat should be held up slightly from the dog so she is looking for it.  Gradually progress to moving your hand all the way up to the Look position.  

Loose Leash Walking:
Loose leash walking (LLW) means that a dog walks nicely, not pulling on the leash, and not completely all over the place.  LLW is not the same thing as Heel.  To teach a proper Heel, you must first teach LLW.

Consistency is very important when teaching LLW.  Doing this technique is actually very easy, but does require a LOT of patience.  Remember to stay calm.  If you are calm and consistent, your dog will be walking nicely on a leash in about a week.

To begin, go out for a walk with your regular 4-6 foot leash and buckle collar properly fitted to your dog’s neck (so they can’t slip out).  As soon as there is tension on the leash, you have two options:
When the dog pulls:  1)  Stop and wait for the DOG to move in a way that releases the tension.  When s/he does, continue walking.
2)  Say “Let’s Go!” and walk off in the opposite direction.

Related Blog articles:
Trainer Tip Video:  How to Walk on a Leash
Trainer Tip Video:  How to walk a scared or timid dog
Trainer Tip Video:  Having your dog off leash
Teaching Stay, Step One

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Homemade dog treats

Join Such Good Dogs trainer, Athena Angelic, and her helpers Tessa & Josie in making some delicious homemade dog treats.  Recipes below.
--We recommend storing treats in the refrigerator or freezer.--

Carrot Bites:

3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 cup flour

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Stir all ingredients together.
3.  Drop small batter balls onto baking sheet.
4.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Peanut Butter Treats:

2 cups flour
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup water

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Mix together flour, peanut butter & eggs.
3.  Add a little water at a time as mixing.
4.  Roll dough out and cut into shapes.
5.  Bake about 20 minutes.

Chicken & Yogurt Treats:

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
2 cups flour
1 5.3-ounce plain Yogurt
3/4 cup water
1 egg, slightly beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Combine and stir all ingredients in bowl.
3.  Drop small batter balls onto baking sheet.
     (You may need two baking sheets and may want to line them with parchment paper).
4.  Bake 12-14 minutes.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Indoor Game "Go Find"

When the weather gets so bad outside that it's difficult to get your dog the regular exercise they need, it's important to find a way to keep them physically and mentally challenged.  This is a great indoor (or outdoor) game I call "Go Find."

Basically we are teaching our dog to find an object, such as a toy.  To begin this training, your dog will need to have a reliable "Wait," meaning for them to wait in another room while you hide the toy, then you will release them to the room with the hidden toy to "Go Find" it.  If your dog does not have a reliable Wait command, you can have another person hold the dog in the other room until you hide the toy.  When first starting this game, be sure to "hide" the toy in a place that the dog will easily find it.  When they do locate the toy, praise lavishly.  Encourage the dog to bring you the toy and then engage in play with your dog and the toy.  This is a reward for your dog for finding the toy.  Be sure to keep it fun for your dog.

As your dog improves, hide the toy in more and more difficult places to find.  If your dog starts to get confused or lose interest, be sure to take it back a step and make it easier.  If your dog is doing exceptionally well, you may even try and hide the toy in a place the dog will not be able to retrieve it from.  Doing this will encourage the dog to start using their nose to seek out the toy when they can not find it visually.  Once the dog finds the toy that is out of reach, praise, then ask the dog to sit and reward the dog with praise and by giving them the toy they found.  Remember to play some tug of war with the toy as a reward for finding it.