Nov 30, 2011 Issue #27 Published by Sue Skiff
IN THIS ISSUE
A NOTE FROM SUE
FIVE IDEAS FOR USING PLAY IN DOG TRAINING
HOW STORM GOT HER NAME
INTRODUCING HOW TO HAVE A WELL-BEHAVED DOG
ABOUT SILVER LINING PET SERVICES
I Need Your Testimonials
Wow! It's almost December, already. Soon enough, it will be 2012. Where does the time go?
I don't have much to say this time around. You can see the titles of the articles in this issue above, so I won't bother telling you what they are, here.
Please send me
your questions, complaints, opinions, articles, comments, and stories.
Oh yeah, I also wanted to mention that, if you ever want to view a back issue of this e-zine, the link for that can always be found at the bottom of any issue.
For some time, I have been thinking that I want to play for a living. I love to play. Children (and even adults) learn a ton from play. Dogs love to play. My dog, Emma, would play all day, if it didn’t interrupt her important sleeping times. So, since dogs love to play, and play is a good way of learning, why not use play to train your dog?
How can you do that? Well, here are a few ideas:
IDEA #1: HIDE FROM YOUR DOG WHEN IT ISN’T PAYING ATTENTION
Having your dog’s attention on you is vital to training. So, teach your dog to pay attention to where you are by disappearing when it turns its attention onto something else. Now, obviously, you don’t want to use this strategy when you are out walking on a busy street, and your dog suddenly decides that a squirrel is more important than you are. And, it’s not going to work so well if your dog is asleep. However, this little trick can be used any time that you are with your dog, in a safe place.
For instance, you are walking through the house, and your dog is following you in that doggy way of wanting to be where you are. Then, just for a moment, your dog is distracted by a sound or a smell. That’s your opportunity. AT THAT MOMENT, duck through a doorway, or run off down the hall, or anything to get some distance between you and your dog. If your dog is really engrossed in its distraction, then you can truly disappear, and find a nice hiding spot. At some point, your dog will notice that you have gone, and go racing off to find you. Make sure that you praise your dog, and give it extra attention when it finds you, so that your dog will want to “play” next time that you initiate this game.
You can also do this when walking off-leash with your dog in a park or open space. These are great places to play this game, since there are so many distractions, and lots of hiding places, as well. Most dogs enjoy this game.
IDEA #2: BUILD “SIT” AND “STAY” INTO PLAYTIME
We’ve all experienced that anticipation can heighten the fun in an experience. Use this to your advantage by strengthening your dog’s obedience commands when you are playing with your dog. I use “sit” and “stay” when I play fetch with Emma; not all of the time, but enough to help her remember the commands. First, when I am getting ready to throw the toy, I tell her to sit, then I make her stay while I throw the toy. She has to keep staying, until she hears the word “fetch.” This is another great way to teach your dog to pay attention to you, since your dog will be really anxious to leave you to go get that toy. The secret for that is to not say “fetch” until your dog looks at you, and “asks permission” with its eyes. To further reinforce the sit, have your dog sit in front of you when it brings the toy back, then ask for the toy.
You can also use “sit” and “stay” if you play tug-of-war with your dog. Have it sit, stay, and look at you (not at the toy) while you hold the toy out. Make your dog stay, until you say “tug.” You can repeat this over and over again throughout the game, anytime that you find yourself in sole possession of the toy. Your dog will want to follow your instructions so that it can keep playing. Of course, you have to be prepared to stop the game if your dog breaks the rules of the game by grabbing the toy before it has permission to.
IDEA #3: HIDE YOUR DOG’S FOOD AT FEEDING TIME
Emma loves this game. I have played it with her in the house, as well as in the backyard. The first part of this game is to put your food into something that your dog will have to figure out how to get the food out of. You can use a Kong or other toy built for this purpose (there are a wide variety of them available), a hollow bone, a yogurt container, whatever, to put your dog’s food in. To make it even trickier for your dog, you can then put whatever the food is in into a bag or box, or even into a bag or box within a bag or box within…..
Now, comes the fun part. Have your dog sit and stay while you go hide the food somewhere. Obviously, if you are feeding your dog something messy, you'll want to use some discretion here, because your dog is going to want to eat its food as soon as it finds it, so do take that into account as you are choosing your hiding place. Your dog is going to be watching very carefully to see where that food is going, so make sure that you are out of your dog’s sight when you hide the food. If your dog gets up, and tries to come closer, take your dog back to where you had it staying, and start over at looking for your hiding place. Make your dog stay until you return to it, then say “find it,” or “go eat,” or “all done,” or whatever you prefer. Then, go ahead and enjoy watching your dog go on its search.
IDEA #4: PLAY HIDE AND SEEK WITH YOUR DOG
Yes, this is similar to idea #1. However, in this case you will be using hide and seek to strengthen “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” This game involves telling your dog to sit and stay, then going off and hiding somewhere, then calling your dog. Again, if your dog ever gets up from its stay, and tries to cheat, you need to return it to where it was staying, and start over again. Make sure that you praise your dog, and give it lots of attention, when it finds you. Then, start over, and do it again.
IDEA #5: TWO, OR MORE, PERSON HIDE AND SEEK WITH A DOG
Here’s a chance to get the whole family involved. It is a great way to get your dog wanting to always come when called, because it will associate being called with playtime. In this game, you have two or more people in different locations. One person distracts the dog, while the other person, or people, hide. Then, a hidden person calls the dog. While the dog is being distracted looking for that person, the person that the dog has just left can then go hide. Each person takes a turn calling and distracting the dog, while the other people hide. This game can go on and on, until your dog is thoroughly worn out from running all over the place. Again, make sure that your dog gets praise and attention when it finds someone.
Sounds fun, doesn’t it? And, believe me; it will get your dog better trained, as well. And, you thought that obedience training was just about practicing commands with your dog. Now, you know better. Go play with your dog!
I never talk about Storm. I don’t know why. Well, yeah I do. I simply can’t think of any stories about her. It’s time to change that.
Storm came to me when she was a kitten. I mean, she literally came to me. I was outside the trailer that I used to live in, outside of Clayton, Ca, working with a dog when it happened. All of a sudden, this kitten popped up from the basement under the main house on the property, followed by my landlord’s Staffordshire terrier, Taya. And, that kitten was running, right towards me. So, I picked her up. That was Storm. She’s been with me ever since.
Storm was not named for her personality. She is basically a timid cat. She doesn’t trust people other than me. She can be pretty tough with other cats, and with dogs, though. One thing about Storm, also, is that she was friends with Silver. Silver was the dog that got me into dog training. He got me into dog training, because he was aggressive. Prior to my learning how to help him, and then doing so, I am sure that he would have gladly killed a cat, and I’m not kidding.
However, when Storm was young, she used to play with Silver, and he played back! I had to hold back my fear, and block out all of my memories of how that dog used to be, because the two of them really loved to play together. It was beyond anything that I could have ever imagined. So, timid little Storm actually can be a pretty tough little cookie; I mean playing with a reformed aggressive dog takes a lot of guts, if you’re a cat.
Storm also was not named for being loud and blustery. She has maintained a little kitten meow her entire 12 ½ years of life. Yeah, she can growl pretty well. And, come to think of it, her growl does sounds a little like howling wind. But, I didn’t hear that growl until she got to be older, and it’s not really that loud.
So, how did Storm get her name? Well, you might have guessed it. She got her name from her looks. When Storm was young, I really thought that she looked like a storm. As an adult, Storm is basically an all gray cat; except for a tiny white spot on her chest. But, as a kitten, Storm had darker gray tiger stripes that went down her sides. She looked like a little gray cloud with streaks of rain passing in front of it.
Now, you may be wondering about why I chose to focus on Storm’s name for this story. Well, it’s because I often have a hard time naming a pet. I really think that a name has to fit the being that has the name. I am not the type of woman that, knowing the gender of her unborn child, would pick out the name just based on that. No, the name has to fit. I would be like Murphy Brown, if I ever had a baby. In case you don’t know what I am talking about, in the TV series Murphy Brown, Murphy had a son, and it took her weeks to come up with a name. That’s the way it is for me. When I found a puppy years ago, I called him “Puppy” for the first couple of months that I had him; until one day I came across the name “Jesse,” and knew that that was his name. Of course, by then, he thought that his name was “Puppy,” and I had to do some work to convince him that he now needed to respond to a different name. But, that’s another story.
Anyway, now I have written about Storm, and it’s about time, don’t you think?
Do you enjoy reading the articles on dog training in this e-zine? Want to know more? Then, check out my e-book, How to Have a Well-Behaved Dog. In How to Have a Well-Behaved Dog, you can find more detailed articles on dog training, complete with pictures. There is also advice on dealing with many dog behavior problems.
You can purchase How to Have a Well-Behaved Dog directly from me in pdf format. If you order directly from me, you get the added bonus of getting a free 1/2-hour Skype consult with me, which can be used at any time in the next year. To get your pdf copy,
How to Have a Well Behaved Dog is also available for the Kindle at Amazon.com. You won't get my free Skype training, but if this is your preferred way of reading an e-book, then
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Silver Lining Pet Services is the business owned by Sue Skiff. It provides both dog training and pet sitting services.
If you own a dog, then look to Sue to alleviate any fears and frustrations that you have over your dog's behavior. Sue will come to your home, and set up a training program that is customized to your, and your dog's, needs. You can even have Sue do the training for you, in your home, while you go about your business. If you don't live within Sue's service area, you can contact Sue about setting up a Skype appointment to work with her.
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Silver Linings is a publication of Silver Linings Pet Services, and is published for the purpose of marketing services. The current address of Silver Linings Pet Services is:
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