We don’t teach algebra to kindergartners

If you teach dog training classes I'm sure this is a familiar scene: A student starts to teach their dog to "stay." Five minutes later, they're trying to get their dog to stay while they walk all the way across the room. It's frustrating for everyone involved. The owner, because their dog inevitable doesn't hold the stay. The dog, because he doesn't understand what he's being asked to do. And the trainer, because we know that explaining why the dog failed is going to be rough. Which is why I've come up with an analogy I love for exactly this kind of situation.

Teaching Dogs to Make the Right Choice: Learning to Come

I’ve previously shared games for teaching a strong recall, but this one is always my favorite. I use it in my recalls class at Superior Dog Training.

It’s called the magic bowl game and it’s all about teaching dogs how to make the right choice—namely, coming to you, even when there’s something else in the environment they want.

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Beyond the Backyard: New Location in Week 3

I’ve talked before about Denise Fenzi’s Beyond the Backyard book and class, which I teach — today I wanted to share a few additional exercises that I’ve added into the class during Week 3.

As the “bonus” exercise for week 3, Denise suggested trying to work in a new location.

I teach the class indoors at our training center — and so our “new location” is outside. And, as almost any dog trainer would predict, the moment we go from inside to outside we suddenly have very different dogs.

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Crate Training 101: Teaching a Puppy to “Kennel Up”

Many articles online talk about how dogs are den animals, meaning that dogs should love their crate — which leads many puppy owners to be very confused when they put their puppy into a crate and go to leave, just to have their puppy make a fuss. Before long, the puppy begins to refuse to go into their crate at all.

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Slow Treats: Teaching Impulse Control

Dog training is all about teaching dogs to make good choices and helping them to understand that their choices have consequences.

One of the simplest, yet most effective, games I know to teach this to young puppies or dogs new to training is the slow treats game.

Most dogs can learn this trick within minutes — yet it’s actually teaching a fairly complicated, and “zen” concept: if you want the cookie, you must stay away from the cookie.

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