Good Technology In Dog Training

Mar 26, 2015

At its very core, dog training is about engagement. With a dog that is interested in you, and wants what you have (food, play or affection) we can motivate and shape its behavior.

What does it mean to “own a dog”? Yes, legally a dog is considered property that can be bought and sold. You may hold a pedigree for your dog, you should have gotten a receipt of sale when you bought it, and in some countries YOU are legally responsible for it and its actions.

I like to say, “I HAVE my dogs, and they HAVE me.” In my opinion having a dog comes with a huge amount of responsibilities such as caring for that dogs safety and health. But, most importantly it’s our responsibility to teach that dog how to fit into our lives. A puppy is a blank slate that we can shape and mold into anything we want. Right from the start I want to be able to positively influence every decision my puppy makes, so as it grows it makes choices that reflect the way I taught it to think as a puppy.

Doing all this is a tricky job that requires patience and understanding. It requires reading a dog, reading a situation and shaping and molding behavior appropriately. I don’t like outsourcing this job to machines! But I would like to talk about a new piece of technology that is designed to positively help this situation, not hinder it.

At its very core, dog training is about engagement. With a dog that is interested in you, and wants what you have (food, play or affection) we can motivate and shape its behavior. Any technology that’s going to play a role in this process had best increase engagement or I won’t use it.

MANS BEST FRIEND

Apps are all the rage these days. What ever you need, there’s an App for that! I’ve seen a few for dogs and I’m normally not impressed, until recently.

MANS BEST FRIEND is an App designed by an Australian Dog trainer, BRYDIE CHARLESWORTH. What I love is that it’s not for your dog, its for you! It’s for people with an adult dog that need help creating the perfect environment and setting up a lifestyle and routine to begin training.

The App consists of

  • A detailed shopping lost
  • A diet plan
  • Advice on Environmental enrichment
  • Gives Training tips, and
  • A detailed 7 day training program.

When I saw MANS BEST FRIEND I immediately recognized how well it complements our own tutorial series. By following the simple and well laid out plan in the app any pet dog owner will be setting their dog up to learn.

Within the App Brydie has included some awesome training tips that when implemented will increase that all important ENAGAGEMENT between human and dog.

If you have an adult dog, MANS BEST FRIEND will have the whole household (including the dog) in the correct frame of mind to get the absolute most out of our tutorial series. 

 


 

When Close Enough Isn’t Good Enough

Mar 04, 2015

When we are training a dog, or living with a dog we consider fully trained, CLOSE ENOUGH IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Remember our goal is always to develop a bond so strong with our dog that their engagement and focus on us will make any distraction fade off into the background.

Our goal whenever we are teaching ANYTHING to our puppy is to do it POSITIVELY! It’s up to us, as the puppy’s leader, to teach it how to become the dog that we want. Old School methods of crashing and banging the puppy through behaviors might have worked in the past, but they decrease the puppy’s drive and motivation to learn. Not to mention the potential damage to our relationship with the puppy.

You will notice that throughout our entire video series, all the behaviors we wanted to nurture and enhance with Valerie were simply prompted with a lure and rewarded with food, affection or play. But what happens when the value of that Food, Affection or Play is less then the value the dog perceives in doing something else?

We advocate and promote active engagement with your puppy. We want our puppy to see us as the Sun Moon and Stars. Always looking to us for leadership and guidance! Always wanting something that we have! By following the steps laid out in our video series you will get this from your puppy.

We teach our puppy lots of different things. Some of them are cute tricks that are just fun to do. Others are obedience-based commands that might some day save our puppies life. So how can our puppy tell the difference between these? Well, THEY CAN’T!

Before we can discuss how to handle a situation where your puppy isn’t doing what you ask of it, we need to all get on the same page and explain how you know for sure that your puppy knows what you want.

  • Teaching Phase

Whenever we are teaching something new, we start in a distraction free environment. There is nothing of interest but us and we will have the puppy’s full attention.

  • Introducing Distractions Phase

When we have the puppy going through the motions of whatever behavior we are teaching in a distraction free environment we slowly start to introduce distractions. A distraction could simply be having another person nearby and then build up to being right amongst an environment so busy that the dog has to really focus to stay engaged with us.

  • Proofing Phase

This is where we test the puppy. We must be 100% sure the puppy knows what is being asked of it. We must have put the puppy in a similar situation with similar distractions and have had success. We ask the puppy to complete the behavior and if it doesn’t then and only then do we coerce and compel it to comply.

So, what behavior’s do we proof and what do we not? The answer is ALL OF THEM! All behaviors can be proofed with very simple techniques, causing almost no stress to the puppy.

So why is all this relevant?

Imagine a scenario where a pet dog owner is in the park with a group of friends. In front of their friends they ask the dog to sit, but it doesn’t. Normally, through embarrassment or to avoid an uncomfortable situation everyone laughs it off and the dog continues to play. You may hear an excuse like “oh it’s because I don’t have food with me” or “he’s tired that’s why.” The people go back to talking and the dog continues playing and everyone puts the situation behind them.

Everyone but the dog!

The dog has just learned that he can choose not to listen to his leader. And not just when the leader says to sit. But when the leader says anything!

So what went wrong? Does the dog not know how to sit on command? Or did he choose to ignore his leader. Either way it’s the human’s fault. And that human may just have put his dog’s life in danger.

When we are training a dog, or living with a dog we consider fully trained, CLOSE ENOUGH IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. If you are going to ask your dog to do something for you, you must be in a position to reward it for that behavior and be prepared to take control of the situation and guide the dog into that behavior if need be.

So how do we keep our dog safe WHILE avoiding embarrassment? I’ll tell you.

  • Put the work in and concentrate on training those key behaviors that are going to keep your dog safe.
    • RECALL
    • HEEL
    • DOWN AT A DISTANCE
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you haven’t proofed a behavior then look around, assess the level of distraction you are working under and make an informed decision on whether you should even give that command.
  • Follow through. If you do end up in a situation where your dog ignores you then you need to correct it and carry out the necessary retraining right there and then.

 

Remember our goal is always to develop a bond so strong with our dog that their engagement and focus on us will make any distraction fade off into the background, but if you are not there yet, be careful. Close enough is not good enough. 


 

Importing A Dog To Australia

Feb 23, 2015

Here at MSKennels we are able to deal with complex imports and provide a first class process for sourcing and importing your dog.

Very often we get asked to source dogs both domestically and internationally, for various clients. We deal with various breeds and sometimes custom demands, such as a dog from a specific program or bloodline.

In this instance I will go through a brief explanation of what we go through to bring someone’s dream into reality.

Before we even begin to book flights, most of our time is spent on the phone / emails and skype engaging with our contacts throughout the world trying to locate that specific dog that meets the buyer’s specific requirements. Once we have located what we are looking for, then we arrange our flights and in this instance we flew to the Netherlands.

Importing Dogs Australia

Once we arrived in country the first step was visiting our high end suppliers until we shortlisted a couple of dogs that we liked, from there we put the dogs through our complex assessment until we found the dogs that met every requirement we were after.

Once we have selected the dogs we then ensure that the dogs are medically fit and that there are no health issues, i.e. x-raying hips and elbows.

Once all the medical tests are complete we then organise a boarding facility and begin the stringent Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) pre-import requirements i.e. (vaccinations / paperwork).

Whilst the dogs are in quarantine we concurrently apply for the applicable paperwork (import paperwork) and ensure everything is going smoothly. Once our paperwork is sorted out, which can take some time we ensure that we have the relevant AQIS facility in Australia booked for the arrival of the dogs.

As we are getting closer to the import dates (Approximately 3 weeks) we then organise transport form the country of origin to Australia.

Once the dogs arrive in Australia, they will be picked up by AQIS staff where it will do another ten days of quarantine, once that is completed you may pick up your dog.

If you live in a state where there is no AQIS facility you will require to submit a letter of authority allowing a transport company or an individual to pick up the dog for you.

This process usually takes about 5 months, however if the dog fails certain blood test it can blow out the process and make it longer (Failing Rabies testing can add another month). Sometimes we are lucky and we may find a dog that meets our requirements and has already had most of the vaccinations.

Also if your paperwork is incorrect it can also increase time, and you may be charged extra to resubmit.

This process can be very time consuming and overwhelming for people with little to no experience in this process

If you wish to import a dog you are better off relying on people who have experience in importing and have the ability to go through reliable and ethical suppliers who can provide dogs that meet your requirements.

Here at MSKennels we are able to deal with complex imports and provide a first class process for sourcing and importing your dog.


 

Grooming

Feb 05, 2015

Just like trainers aren’t trainers, groomers aren’t groomers. Dog grooming is a multi-million dollar industry. So as you mite expect there are plenty of shonks out there trying to make a quick buck.

Something not covered at all in our video tutorials is how to groom your puppy. While the basic techniques for training a puppy do not change from breed to breed, the grooming techniques and procedures absolutely do.

How much grooming a puppy will need is a factor every owner must consider prior to selecting a breed. In some cases grooming is not a luxury but a total necessity, while others will get away with nothing more than a brush every now and again.

Most good working dog handlers will finish the working day with a grooming session between them and their K9 partner. Brushing a dog can be a great bonding opportunity and quite therapeutic for the dog. When done regularly and correctly it allows working dogs to relax and the ritual, along with the removal of their working harness or collar becomes an indication that the working day is over and they can now relax and just be a dog again.

Pet dog owners can employ a similar technique to bond with their furry friends. Having a place in the home where brushing and grooming takes place as well as developing a ritual around how its done will go a long way toward making the process something your dog enjoys rather than dreads.

For simple grooming that you intend to do yourself, all you need is a dog brush and patience. Take it slow and always go with the natural direction of your dogs fur. If the fur is matted or knotted it may be better removed than brushed out. If it’s been a long time between sessions and you think it’s beyond your capability then it may be time to call in the pros.

Just like trainers aren’t trainers, groomers aren’t groomers. Dog grooming is a multi-million dollar industry. So as you mite expect there are plenty of shonks out there trying to make a quick buck. Good dog groomers are extremely proud of their work. Just like any human hairdresser, their work is on display and can be judged by all.

The measure of good dog grooming in Sydney is at Scoobydooz in Brookvale. Scoobies is one of Sydney’s largest and most professional doggy day care facilities. Catering to Sydney’s north they offer a grooming salon with complementary day care on the day of grooming.

The key to identifying a professional grooming salon over a fly by nighter is the pride that the groomers take in their work. Scoobies lead groomer Kiyoko can rattle of a long list of awards over a distinguished career, having competed domestically and internationally. And I’ll bet you didn’t even know there are competitions in dog grooming!

The next musts when choosing a groomer are:

  • Guaranteed Work – Groomers should offer a 24 hour period where if you aren’t happy they will reassess and make minor changes to the groom.
  • No Rush Jobs – Particularly for a puppy, grooming can be a bit daunting. If it’s your dog’s first trip to the groomers then there is a process of bonding and developing a relationship between the groomer and the dog. An aggressive or rushed groom can leave a dog hating the groomers for life.
  • Keeping Detailed Records – Just like at the hairdressers you should be able to tell the groomers “just like last time, only a little longer at the back” and they should know exactly what you mean.

 

The final piece of the puzzle is actually washing your dog. Of coarse that’s something your groomer will do but if you are doing it at home the key is to keep it positive and only ever use a dog specific shampoo. Human soaps and shampoos have a different ph level that can cause your dog skin irritations and cause other health problems.

Some dogs LOVE to be washed while others HATE it. Knowing this and being sensitive to the dogs needs is important. Never let a wash be seen as a punishment. 

 

Photo Credit: ©petal photography


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