Category Archives: Dog Training

Noncoercive Clicker Training for Beginners

I taught Wil to make eye contact using clicker training.

I taught Wil to make eye contact using noncoercive clicker training

Clicker Training is a great way to teach your dog new skills and behaviors using totally non-coercive strategies.

In my book The 3 Essential Commands, I explain how I used clicker training to re-shape the gnarly attitude Wil had when I got him at age 3. Today he is a dog who enjoys learning and takes pride in his partnership with me.

You can use clickers to train your dog too. The benefits are many:

  • You will improve your focus on what your dog is doing that you want him to do.
  • If you make mistakes (your timing or failure to see the “tries” your dog makes, for  example) there is no harm done. You won’t have issued a reprimand or correction; you will have failed to treat your dog for guessing what you wanted him to do.
  • Clicker training builds an enthusiast attitude toward learning.
  • A trained dog is more confident. And he’s a lot more pleasant to have around!

Clicker Training Primer

Here is a succinct video demonstrating how to use a clicker to teach your dog a simple concept: “Watch me.” Continue reading

How to do Doga — with Gift Ideas for Doggy Yoga Lovers

Who would have thought yoga could be such a contact sport?

Doga is catching on all over the dog world

Dogs love yoga! It is an activity where they can participate with their human partners in a relaxing activity

Meet “Doga” a yoga practice that is becoming quite popular. Simply, Doga is yoga done in partnership with your dog. This can be you assisting the dog in stretches he does, or teaching him to do poses with you.

It might seem odd that dogs would want to participate in one’s yoga practice,  but then again, dogs have evolved to be our partners, and part of partnership is sharing experiences.

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I am Thankful for…

I have been focusing on recreating a new life and way of being, and part of the Reset is to slow down, see the moment, pay attention to the beauty and greatness each moment brings.

A couple of weeks ago, after autumn had made her presence with rainy, windy days and cool damp nights, there was a brief return to the dog days of summer. On that day, I took Alice and Wil to a private beach on Camano Island near where we were living in our RV. This day was special for so many reasons:

Hitting the "reset button"

Our awesome real estate agent gifted Alice, Wil and me a glorious day on the private beach on Camano Island.

For so many years I found myself so “up-to-my-ears” in duties, responsibilities, and commitments that I lost the precious time I had with my horses and dogs. I changed my life—sold my ranch, downsized my belongings, parked my horses at a training barn in Tonasket while the dogs and I set off to find a new home where life could calm down and we could find Time again.

And so the day on the beach gave us the opportunity to hit the Reset Button. Continue reading

Crate Training 101

Every dog should be taught—ideally at an early age—how to spend time in a crate. The reasons are plentiful:

When properly conditioned to a crate, a dog will find it a comfortable cave. This cave can serve as a place of safety during thunderstorms, holidays (lots of guests are in your home, you’re at an unfamiliar place, fireworks are exploding, trick or trickers are knocking continuously on your door, etc.)

If you are staying in a hotel, motel or are a guest in someone’s home, a crate may be appreciated by your host.

Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety can be unbelievably destructive. In a crate, the only thing the dog can destroy is his bedding. And if you fear he may shred and eat it, remove the bedding when he is unsupervised.

There is a possibility that you may need to travel by air with your dog at some point. That is a very stressful situation for dogs, and having a friendly relationship with the crate prior to the trip helps make the experience just a little less “over the edge.”

How to Condition Your Dog to LOVE His Crate

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Training aids: 6′ Leash and a Choke Collar

Training your dog to walk politely on a leash may require a new tools– a 6′ leash and a choke collar. Such is the case with Wil and me. We are ratcheting up our obedience expectations. And with that we needed two tools that we ordinarily would not use: A choke collar and a leather leash.

The Fierce Jungle Animal!

The Fierce Jungle Animal!

Wil is the third of three dogs I ever got over the age of 8 weeks of age. One was Buck, about whom I’ve written in another post. Another was a little 8 pound Jack Russel Terrorist- Chihuahua mix. In all the years I had either of them, their early leash-training (i.e. “lack there-of”)  left “ghosts” of behavior. In other words, when it suited them, they resorted to pulling my arm out of its socket. (Yes, even the Fierce Jungle Animal!)

Such is the case with Wil.

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Clickety Dog – the app that clicks for dog lovers (Guest Post)

I’d like to thank Vicky Carne, Publisher of Clickety Clips & Clickety Dog for contributing this article — just for K9 Wellbeing Readers!

Improve your timing- Use Clickety Dog App

Clickety Dog- An App to build great timing. Whether you’re a dog owner, thinking of getting a dog or just someone who loves dogs, the game app Clickety Dog (available for most cell phones and tablets) provides hours of entertainment as well as practice in clicker* training.

In the game, you must patiently clicker train your young dog in new skills before you take it through to obedience competitions and round agility courses. But, just like training a real dog your screen dog may ignore you or simply not understand what you want – timing and patience are key. And, just like real life, so is watching out for distractions like squirrels or picnics! Your aim is to win all the rosettes and trophies, and you can’t do that if your dog’s run off.

For those new to clicker training, it’s also a helpful introduction to both the concept and the skills needed before you go off and try it with a real dog.

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Wil Puts Dog-Aggression aside as we’re Herding a Heifer

I am selling my ranch, and as I’m not sure where I’ll land or when I’ll be settled, I must sell my cattle. This is a difficult thing to do, for over the past 4 years I have come to regard cows as honorable, spiritual beings. I will miss them.

And so will Wil. They have been instrumental as (Alice and I) have worked to rehabilitate this now 6 year old Bouvier to assume responsibilities of a working ranch dog. One of these skills is herding cattle!

Mab- Still on the Ranch with Moo Friends

Mab- Still on the Ranch with Moo Friends

Late yesterday morning we set up a loading zone and ushered Mab, a one year-old heifer, into the trailer. She went in quietly. I took her to East Wenatchee to her new home. Her new owners had prepared a 4-strand barbed wire fence that was about 150×150 feet. When I opened the door to the trailer, she hopped out, looked around, and started bawling. “Moooooo???” she called. “Moooooooooo!” – Where are my friends? Where is my family? Where am I? HELP!

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