Dog Training in a ‘Sterile’ Environment

Before we get too lost in my resume’, I wanted to elaborate on a prior post:  A training area devoid of distractions is known as a ‘sterile’ or stagnant environment!  This training area is only suitable for dogs that are unstable – either too shy, hyperactive or, otherwise, unruly.  It is exclusively reserved for their training start-point, so the process can be introduced in a calm, cool, collected manner.

For this section, be sure the dog is already wearing a collar with longe-line attached.  As with a any dog, even an unstable dog  must be distracted before it can learn to focus!  To ease it into training, start in a ‘sterile’ area with one – & only one – strategically placed distraction  The dog is allowed to discover the distraction as it wanders thru the training area on a slack line.  When it does express interest in the distraction, you’ll get its’ attention by:  1) suddenly, quietly turning away from the dog, while  2) putting some slack into the leash &  3) simultaneously making a proper, timely ‘correction’ as you  4) call the dog by its’ nameReward IMMEDIATELY, when successful – vocally &/or physically!!  Once the dog is accustomed to this distraction and more focused on you, add another distraction to the mix.  Now, simply repeat the training cycle until the dog ignores all available ‘attractions’ and is more consistently focused on you & the training.

If unsuccessful, you must adjust timing, technique or tone, then repeat the steps to regain its’ attention.

Meanwhile, as more ‘attractions’ were added, the ‘sterile’ area slowly transformed into an ‘active learning campus’, closely resembling ‘the real world’.  So close, in fact, that ‘actual training’ will continue out there – in ‘the real world’…

Once again, when the dog can resist major temptation, yet still maintain frequent eye-to-eye contact & remain in close proximity [w/in 3 ft.], you can proceed to the next phase, which is, of course, ‘actual training’ ~ stay tuned for more……

Thanks again for your kind attention!

Please, LEAVE A COMMENT!  to help me “Improvise, Adapt, OVERCOME”

 

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Post – Certification: First Dog Training Business

During my schooling at Mandelyn Kennels, I conferred with a co-student about starting a small training kennel after graduation.  We agreed to headquarter in Placerville, CA, commonly known as “Old Hangtown”, the infamous ‘Seat’ of Judge Roy Bean.

In SEP ’79, we partnered with a local Veterinarian for free use of his 10 acre apple orchard.  In return, I became the OJT Technician at his clinic to off-set any expenses that we might incur in our start-up.  At this point, we didn’t have any advertising in place and NO client list to bolster our training offerings.

Our first advertising investment was a magnetic sign for the car – nothing elaborate, just short & concise.  Next, to make a serious impact on the public, we gave an impromptu ‘dog stops purse-snatcher’ demonstration – with my Doberman, “Ku” – at a local supermarket parking lot.  It went something like this:  innocent shopper returning to vehicle is accosted by a man trying to steal her purse; she struggles with the ‘perp’, shouting loudly in protest; he wrestles the handbag from her grasp, sprinting to make his escape; coming to her aid with “Ku”, I shout, “STOP!! or I’ll send the dog!”; the ‘perp’ accelerates and I release a muzzled “Ku” to apprehend the suspect; “Ku” makes hard contact, the ‘perp’ goes down, I join in the scuffle, call-off “Ku”, then he & I ‘escort’ the ‘perp’ to the car – end of demo…

Witnesses to the event were momentarily stunned and slightly confused, wondering what had just happened.  Explaining this had been an ‘advertisement’ for our new training business, we solicited questions from the onlookers, then informed them of our services and location.

As “Ku” and I wandered thru the crowd, they slowly started to realize that he was actually a personable, affectionate, well-mannered and stable dog – NOT mean, vicious or unpredictable!  So, without really trying, “Ku” became the MAJOR showcase for our talents – in essence, our new ‘advertising magnet’.  End result = we got many leads and a few sign-ups for programs that were still ‘in development’.

Contacting the rest of our classmates, we let them know about our place and services – more advertising –  in hopes of getting some future business.  This turned out to be a good idea since we got referral clients from Redding, San Diego & Tahoe in CA and, even a few from as far away as Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.

In addition, we also placed an ad in the local paper and posted flyers anywhere they were allowed – more advertising!

The local Staffordshire Terrier Club was the FIRST to enroll in our Public Obedience class bringing 5 prospects and we were officially ‘off to the races’.  They liked our approach and, without asking, they happily ‘spread the word’ about us:  results = more clients! (in gratitude, we gave them a $10 finders fee for each lead that joined one of our programs.)

We needed housing for out-of-town dogs including extra space for food, training equipment, etc.  With our partners’ agreement, a few friendly volunteers &  a couple gallons of elbow grease, we converted a horse loafing-shed into an 8-run kennel on a flat area about 20 yds. from the clinic.  After fnishing, we filled up quickly when  locals noticed we also offered Boarding services.

My co-trainer & I traveled thruout the area to find suitable dogs for protection work; we bought some, others were donated.  We planned to resell these dogs and, in order to increase their resale value, we would ‘start’ them with +/- 3 weeks of basic training – obedience in the morning; protection in the afternoon – before we put them ‘on-the-market’.  We sold 2 dogs to the DOD & 3 more were sold to Mandelyn Kennels, our dog training Alma Mater.

Locally, I noticed a stray male Doberman wandering the streets.  When I asked who owned him, no one claimed him stating he belonged to the ‘hood and was just a friendly bum looking for hand-outs, though he was pretty cagey about being caught.

Further inquiries revealed an auto repair shop owner in the area that had been burglarized several times.  Eager to promote our business & make a sale, I convinced the shop owner to adopt the dog as a companion & a burglar alarm/deterrent.  For his goodwill & cooperation, I gave him a 30% discount off the training program of his choice.  We took the dog to my Veterinarian partner for a check-up – including vaccines and deworming.  The Vet. said that, even after life on the streets, he seemed to be well-adjusted, happy & healthy enough for training.

First, the dog needed a name – would you believe he didn’t have one in all his travels?  So, “Buster” was chosen to reflect his new purpose & position in life.  Agreeing to my training suggestions, the shop owner began the bonding process by using food, affection and regular walks.  Once “Buster” began to accept him as the ‘pack leader’, we began a 6 wk. training program for On-leash Obedience plus Property & Personal Protection.  Surprisingly – despite his street dog origins, “Buster” went on to exceed our expectations in every regard.  People that knew him before he was claimed and trained were absolutely shocked by his transformation into a full-duty guard dog they couldn’t even approach anymore!

I also had the distinct pleasure and honor of working with Donny Omega – the reigning Northern Calif. lt. heavyweight full-contact martial arts champ.  He had Samoyeds at home and a pair of Walker Hounds for bear hunting.  In trade for dealing with his dogs, I got full use of his gym and was allowed to work out with some of his students.

Another person I worked with was Brad Mudgett, a recently retired CHP officer, once Gov. Brown’s chauffer.  Now a blacksmith by trade, he fabicated & installed the gates for our loafing-shed-turned-kennel in a swap to resolve some issues with his white GSD & his wife’s Yorkies.

By SEP ’80, because of the rather remote location, I eventually trained myself ‘out-of-existence’.  Frustrated and disillusioned, I called Mandelyn Kennels to see if anybody was looking for a trainer.  After a short phone chat with Ray Marcois, the owner, I was offered a job at the kennel which I accepted without hesitation!  I knew I would fit in easily since my duties entailed almost everything from the certification course plus assisting the Vocational Instructors with field work.

~ To be continued ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Dog Training Certification

Please, bear with me.  In a prior post, I said I would present my qualifications for the information that I’m sharing with you.  Well, here it is or should I say, here I am.  Let’s start my resume’, as it were, with my formal dog training education – which is actually somewhere near the middle of my tale.  Next time it will be a short continuation to my brief ‘claim-to-fame’, followed by a ‘flashback’ to my first contact with dogs.  Then, I’ll probably jump ahead, past the middle to more modern, relevant times – we’ll see how it goes…

From JUN – AUG ’79, I attended the CA State Certified Vocational Dog Training School at Mandelyn Kennels In Bakersfield, CA.  The tuition also allowed each student to bring 1 personal dog to accompany them thru the course.  Aware of this option, I brought “Ku”, my untrained 11 mo. old, M, Doberman pup along to gauge, then maximize his potential using their course.  It was an intense, comprehensive 8 week course that covered both Field & Classrom work.  Subjects included Socialization; Puppy Raising; Breeding Concepts & Techniques; Temperament Testing; On & Off-leash Obedience; Public Obedience Classes; Scent Theory & Practices; Tracking; Agility; Problem Solving; Personal & Property Protection; Police K9 Program; Routine Veterinary Care & First Aid; Brushing/Grooming; Nutrition & Feeding; Housing & Sanitation; Judging Standards & Procedures; Business Startup & Promotion; Basic Inventory & Bookkeepping; Customer Service, etc.

I graduated at the head – 93% – of my class with ‘Top Dog’ honors and accomplished my goal of becoming a CA State Certified Dog Trainer.  In the meantime, my Dobie aced – 97% – the 12 wk. Police K9 Program in 8 weeks!!  We made a GREAT team!!! 

For now, this and other relevant items remain buried in storage, not having seen the light of day for +/- a couple decades.  Have no fear – they are Public Record and I shall make them available as soon as they are unearthed.  Meanwhile, I humbly ask for your trust in these matters.

Thanks again for your kind attention.  If you have questions regarding ANY of my posts, PLEASE, leave a comment – I’ve said it before – good, bad or indifferent.  I appreciate your input….Mahalo & Aloha, Charly

Sunday is “Yesterday’s Tomorrow”…

I awoke this morning with a gentle throbbing reminder of yesterday’s encounter with a rogue nectarine limb.  Hearing people in the kitchen, I wandered in to ask someone for a quick update on my wound.  So, looking down, I parted the hair over that area for them to get a better look.  Post-checkup, they agreed that it had scabbed over nicely and would probably be AOK as long as I was careful with the brush or comb.  I thanked them & went on my way.

Next, I tried to find an interesting topic for today’s – Sunday’s – post.  Notice, I pointed out Sunday.  See, I still have a ‘thing’ against working on Sunday.  As some of you may know [from a prior post], I have observed the Sabbath regularly ever since I can remember.  And, I have NEVER ‘worked’ on any Sunday – even while in the military (though that was probably just the ‘luck-of-the-draw’…)Image!!  So, as you see, I’ve become accustomed or ‘habituated’ to this tenet and am quite reluctant to change any time soon.

Yet, inner conflict tells me that change is ‘the only constant in the Universe’ and I should try to ‘improvise, adapt, OVERCOME!’ 

Alas, nothing strikes my fancy.  My imagination or drive or whatever fails; my mind draws a blank.  “What to write?!  What to write?!’ echoes in the recesses of my skull.  Then, a mere hint of an idea comes to light – replay a small part of last week’s adventure – hey, I didn’t say it was a good idea, so just go along, for now…

Anyway, here we go:  last Sunday, I went to Hodel’s Country Dining – a famous local landmark in Bakersfield – for their renowned breakfast buffet.  (I love buffets!!  Isn’t it great when you can simply walk in, find a table, grab a plate of whatever and ‘get your grub on’?)  Anyway, after a couple hours – yeah, a couple – I decided to head back to the house via the lonely, virtually abandoned neighborhood playground [mentioned in a prior post].  Unfortunately, conditions there weren’t much different.

Disappointed, I slowly pedalled down the sidewalk and was startled by the sight of a white gliding object on the other side of a slatted fence that surrounded a makeshift pond.  I parked the bike to peek thru the chain-link.  Lo & behold, standing in the murky water was a Snowy Egret…that’s right – a Snowy Egret!  That pond was loaded with tadpoles and the egret was having it’s very own ‘breakfast buffet’.  I quickly got my Handycam and got this shot.  ENJOY!!!     ~ The End ~

 

Nectarine Tree Gives Me the ‘Brush-off’

As partial compensation for my room & board, I often do some lite yardwork – weeding, edging, mowing & so on.  Today, in preparation to mow on MON, I weed-whacked the ‘watering moats’ around the fruit trees in the backyard.  There’s a good variety including two types each of oranges & peaches and one each of the following – apple, apricot, pomegranite & nectarine.

Anyway, as I was working around the nectarine base, I accidentally scraped the top of my head on a protruding branch.  In recoil, I left a small handful of hair behind lodged in the bark.  I swore in surprise & minor agony, retrieving my precious hair.  [You’ll see what I mean IF you look at the photos…]  Ever hear the old adage, “Can’t cry over spilled milk” ?? >>>  Well, I rubbed my ‘boo-boo’ vigorously and went back to work, finishing a short while later.

I had already put all the equipment away when I was joined by a couple friends.  Upon seeing me, they backed away, slightly, asking, “What the hell happened to your face?!”

Having absolutely NO clue what they were talking about, I simply replied, “It’s the same old ugly mug you’ve looked at for the last 30+ yrs.  Wadda ya talkin’ ’bout?”

“Ya got blood running down your face!”, they said, almost in unison.  “Better check it out, man…”

Looking in the bathroom mirror only verified what they had told me – I saw that a thin, sweaty trail of blood wandering down the nooks & crannies of my venerable face.  I returned to my friends &, parting the hair over my ‘boo-boo’, I asked them to assess the damage.  I hear this from one, “Wow, man…..ya got a real gash up there, over couple inches, prob-ly!  Watcha gonna do ’bout it??”  Another says, “Hey, man, you gotta get a shot of that – you know…for facebook or somethin’…come on…ya gotta do it!” 

First, digging into the recesses of my memory, I found a vague reference to some suture material & disposable surgical staples.  So, rummaging thru my ‘first aid’ kit, voila, I uncovered  25 staples in an unopened sterile pack.  Next, I find my Sony HDR-CX290 Handycam & take a few ‘head shots’ – Look out, Hollywood, here I come….

Anyway, after reviewing my treatment options, I decidedImageImageImageImage to reassess my wound after I took a shower.

Post-shower, the gash was nice & clean, having stopped oozing.  A friend inspected the gash, saying it looked like the staples weren’t needed & suggested using a steptic pencil.  Nodding in silent agreement, I had him apply the coagulant to good effect.

At my age, yardwork is problematic, no matter how you look at it!    And, colliding with the limb of a rebellious nectarine ‘amputee’ only complicates things even further – Oh well, today’s lesson?  “Can’t cry over spilled milk!!!”

AS IF…No, today’s lesson!:  watch where the F**K you’re going, dumbass!!

 

I hope you have a good laugh on me.   In retrospect, I think it’s kinda funny – Do you know anbody clumsy in or oblivious to their surroundings???

 

Dog Obedience Training Equipment

OK, in my last few posts I’ve been talking about different topics concerning dog training – socialization, training with distractions, your role as ‘pack leader’ and so on.

So, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s see what kind of equipment we will need for this training.

First of all, these are in common, daily use just about everywhere in the training world.  So you’re probably already familiar with or have seen most of these items.  They are collars, leads &, in rare cases, muzzles.  Each type has a specific function and there are varieties in each type including construction materials such as cotton or nylon.

Alright, let’s get started…

 

COLLARS:  made of stainless steel, leather, nylon, cotton, plastic, aluminum, even rope

1)  Buckled:  for pups under 4 mos. old or any dog under 20 lbs.; fits snugly around the neck providing constant ‘broad band’ pressure

2)  Training or ‘slip’:  for most dogs, in common use; a ‘full-constriction’ collar that canchoke‘ the dog; fits loosely around base of the neck providing constant ‘narrow band’ pressure

3)  Prong or ‘force’:  for long-haired, over-exuberant, belligerent &/or aggressive dogs; a ‘limited-constriction’ collar with a built-in stop that prevents choking; the double row of prongs are designed to act as a set of teeth & fits snugly around the neck – just below the ears – providing constant, intermittent ‘contact point’ pressure

4)  Electronic:  for trained dogs – transition to off-lead, distance control & specialized problem-solving; fits snugly around the neck – just below the ears – providing constant ‘contact point’ pressure for the electrodes

 

LEADS:  made of leather, nylon, cotton or rope

1)  Longe line:  min. 20 ft.; for attention-getting and distance control

2)  Leash:  5 – 7 ft.; for increased precision

3)  Light line:  3 – 5 ft.; for transition to off-leash

4)  Tab:  6 – 8 in.; for control while off-leash

 

MUZZLES:  for VERY scared, flighty or extremely aggressive dogs; made of leather, stainless steel, nylon or plastic

1)  Basket:  prevents biting; allows barking, limited eating/drinking

2)  “No bark”:  prevents biting & barking; **on some models – dogs’ front teeth can still ‘pinch’!!**

 

Well, there you have it – a brief overview of Obedience Training Equipment.  In a future installment, we’ll discover ‘how’ & ‘when’ to use each item as your training progresses.

As always, thank you for your kind attention.  PLEASE, leave a comment – ANY comment, especially if this is confusing  or incomplete……..

 

Mahalo & Aloha, the ‘k9 kahuna’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding YOUR Role as ‘Pack Leader’

In daily life, YOU will be many things to your dog.  Above all, you will be the source – no – the ‘Provider’ of food, shelter, emotional support, education, protection, amusement, good health and so forth!

Also, according to Cesar Millan, dogs have three psychological needs that you, as ‘pack leader’, must satisfy in order to create a positive learning environment, foster cooperation and bolster team morale.  They are, in order of importance – exercise, discipline & affection.  Coincidentally, if you do it right, this is the exact sequence used throughout the ‘training’ process ~ more on this, later…

Really, as ‘pack leader’ you have one – and ONLY one – challenging goal:  to create a BOND with your dog, then enhance that bond as you form a new, ‘surrogate’ pack!  This connection will be the crucial link that helps your dog develop into a happy, attentive, manageable ‘pack member’ and ensure its’ future survival in your new ‘pack’!!

Unfortunately, distractions make the bonding process more difficult or challenging.  Yet, distractions present many opportunities that can enhance – even accelerate – that process! 

Fortunately, distractions can be found virtually everywhere.  So, when handled properly, including them in all training sessions can provide many chances to solidify your bond plus, as a fringe benefit, it will help your dog learn to focus – on you!

To enhance the bond with your dog which, coincidentally, reinforces your ‘leader’ status & authority, you MUST first get its’ attention – easier said than done – especially around distractions!  As the first step in any training, it is the most critical element!!

Here is a very simple, condensed version of the ‘foundation’ upon which you can build a happy lifelong rapport with your, soon-to-be, attentive & manageable dog:  1] your dog is allowed to ‘run free’ on a slack lead to discover the distractions in your chosen training area = exercise; 2] when it expresses interest in a distraction, your dog receives a timely ‘correction’ = discipline; 3] when it does focus on you, it will be rewarded with vocal &/or physical praise, food, a toy, etc. = affection.  VOILA, the three psychological needs mentioned earlier have been fulfilled – in order of importance – in the exact sequence used DURING this and any future ‘training’! (Pretty sneaky, huh??)

In addition, you can find more about ‘Dog Training With Distractions’ on a previous post…Image

 

Thanks again for your continued interest.  I will appreciate ANY input – even unrelated to this topic!!  So, feel free to leave a comment..

 

 

 

 

Introduction: C.O.M.E. is C.anine O.bedience M.ade E.asy

Introduction: C.O.M.E. is C.anine O.bedience M.ade E.asy.

Introduction: C.O.M.E. is C.anine O.bedience M.ade E.asy

Without a doubt, one of our most useful commands and a pretty bold statement to boot, right?!…

Well, here’s another bold statement ~ dogs already do everything people want them to do – ‘naturally’WITHOUT any training!  Problem is, they just don’t do what we want when we want them to do it…now, isn’t that why dog training was invented – in the first place?!

Anyhow, try to think about it from a different angle.  Science has proven that modern dogs have a common ancestor in the wolf.  Every wolf belongs to a pack, knows its’ place in the ranking order & follows the established leader.  It rallies when called, greets other pack members warmly & can remain motionless whether standing, sitting or prone.

In other words, all the necessary ingredients for obedience training are ‘built in’!

The wolf also hunts with a common purpose and defends itself, the pack & its’ territory from intruders, routinely crossing difficult terrain including obstacles.

In other words, all the necessary ingredients for hunting, tracking, agility, personal & property protection – even Police work – are, also, ‘built-in’!!

Taken together, these ingredients represent the ‘natural order’ of dog life.  This ‘order’ will be our most reliable resource & guide in any of our attempts to influence their behavior.

Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, comments on the ‘natural order’ – I paraphrase here – “In the world of dogs there are leaders & followers.  Which are you?!”

So, before we go any further, let’s find out ~ here’s a simple formula to discover the truth:  dog owner = by default, dog trainer; dog trainer = by design, ‘leader of the pack’!  In conclusion:  dog owner = ‘leader of the pack’!!  And, it has always been so…

In the next installment, discover how the ‘pack leader’ fulfills the needs of the pack…

 

Thanks, again, for your kind attention.  I hope this is interesting and useful.  I look forward to your input – positive, negative or otherwise – please, DON’T be shy!!

Dog Training With Distractions

First of all, what is a distraction in dog training?  Simply stated, a distraction is anything that causes your dog to lose focus on you!

The very best ones involve ALL the senses – smell, sight, hearing, touch, taste – at once!  Examples include other people, other dogs or animals, food, toys, oopen doors, all types of vehicles, sudden loud or strange sounds, etc.  With some imagination and a little forethought, you can find many interesting things to distract or tempt your dog.

So you see, distractions can be a dog trainer’s best friends!  With proper use they provide an opportunity to help your dog focus on you!  Training around distractions can be challenging.  Yet, it is the most reliable way to ensure your dog’s cooperation & safety in strange &/or stressful situations.

Conversely then, distractions can be a dog’s worst enemies!  They promote inattentiveness and, sometimes, belligerence – or even worse – defiance.  This, of course, is ABSOLUTELY INTOLERABLE and can be very dangerous for both you and your dog!  (If this EVER happens, consult a professional IMMEDIATELY!)ImageImage

Inconsistent &/or improper use of distractions can eventually lead to more stress and confusion in your dog.  It can also reveal that you lack focus or purpose!  This can seriously reduce your ‘leader’ status and authority thereby hindering any future training attempts.

A training environment  that lacks any distractions is called ‘sterile’ or stagnant.  In other words, nothing is available to distract, interest or tempt your dog.  However, something must happen to cause your dog to lose focus on you so you can then ‘correct’ or suppress the inattentive behavior.  Remember to reward – praise &/or treat –  your dog when it finally does focus on you!

Well, that about covers it ‘in a nutshell’.  Helping your dog to focus on you is also the ‘lead-in’ step – the foundation – on which you will build and enhance the bond between you!!