Category Archives: Clicker Training

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Crate Training

CRATE TRAINING

CRATE TRAINING

Crate Training

CRATE TRAINING IS A MUST

Crate Training is a must for a well behaved and well trained puppy or dog.  Crate Training is one of the first training steps for house breaking any puppy or older dog that you might have.  I will go through the steps to successful crate training in this article, and be sure to watch the Crate Training Video that is in this article to show you the steps of crate training as well.  If you find that you are struggling with crate training even after this article and accompanying video, please contact me at PHOENIX DOG TRAINING for personal one on one puppy training and dog training help in crate training your dog.

CRATE TRAINING BENEFITS

  •  CRATE TRAINING KEEPS YOUR PUPPY OR DOG SAFE
  •  CRATE TRAINING HELPS WITH POTTY TRAINING AND HOUSE BREAKING
  •  CRATE TRAINING PREVENTS DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR
  •  CRATE TRAINING TEACHES PUPPIES AND DOGS SELF CONTROL
  •  CRATE TRAINING CAN GIVE YOU THE DOG OWNER A BREAK FROM HAVING TO SUPERVISE YOUR DOG OR PUPPY WHEN BUSY

There are many benefits to crate training a puppy or crate training an older dog.  if you need to potty train a puppy or house break an older dog, the number one rule is to supervise or crate.  dogs and puppies typically will not want to soil their crate and lay in urine or poo.

Crate Training prevents destructive behavior in that you always need to correct and redirect your dog or puppy for unwanted behaviors when you are not available to directly supervise your puppy or dogs behavior. This is very important when house breaking a puppy or dog.

If your puppy or dog gets away with going potty in the house without you seeing it or correcting it, your dog will learn that going potty in the house is ok because there is no consequence.  you have to supervise or crate a dog so there are no missed opportunities to teach and correct your dog what not to do and teach appropriate house manners.

Because it is so important to watch, supervise or crate a puppy or dog with bad house manners, potty training and house breaking issues, how fast your dog learns is often determined on you crating your puppy or dog when you are not available to watch them.

The dog crate is never to be used as a punishment or time out.  think of it as a baby crib.  you place a baby in a crib or a play crib to keep the baby safe when you are not right their with it.

TOOLS YOU WILL NEED TO FOR CRATE TRAINING

crate training wire cratecrate training plastic airline crate

A wire or metal crate or a plastic crate (size of crate should be as long as the puppy or dog is and not much larger.

 

clicker for crate trainingA dog training CLICKER (best) or the word “YES” to mark the correct behavior

 

dog training treat bagA dog training treat or food reward pouch or bag

 

 

10 STEPS TO CRATE TRAIN A PUPPY OR DOG IN JUST 5 MINUTES A DAY

STEP 1 Throw high value treats in the crate.  The dog will follow the food into the crate associating the behavior of going in the crate with receiving a food reward. We want the dog to find the experience of going in the crate rewarding

STEP 2 After doing step 1 several times then add the next step of starting to “mark” the behavior of going in the crate with a clicker using the principles of clicker training .  Make sure to click as the dog goes into the crate and before the dog gets the food reward you are throwing in the crate in step 1.

PUTTING STEP 1 AND STEP 2 TOGETHER MEANS

  1. Throw treat in the crate
  2. Dog or Puppy goes in crate
  3. Click to mark the behavior of the dog going in the crate
  4. Dog or Puppy eats the treat or food reward.

STEP 3 After you have practiced both steps 1 and step 2 together successfully then add the next step.  Step 3 is to add a “cue” or “command” “Kennel” when the dog goes into the crate to get the treat.  Be sure to say the “cue” or “command” of “Kennel” after you throw the treat in the crate.  This should happen immediately after you throw the treat into the crate but before you click the clicker to mark the behavior of the dog entering the crate.  In this step we are just labeling the behavior the dog is performing.  We are not giving a command we are capturing the behavior of the dog going into the crate and adding a label to what the dog is doing. We don’t ask for the behavior yet with a command of “kennel,” we are just making the association of the word “kennel” with going in the crate several times.

PUTTING STEPS 1, 2, AND 3 ALL TOGETHER MEANS

  1. Throw treat in crate
  2. Say “kennel” as the dog first begins to move into the crate (remember we are not commanding “kennel” yet we are just saying the word “kennel” as the dog goes into the crate to follow and get the treat)
  3. Click and mark the behavior with the clicker of the dog going into the crate
  4. Dog eats the treat and is rewarded in the crate.

STEP 4 Begin to now ask for the behavior first by giving the cue or command “kennel” before you throw a treat into the crate.  Use your treat hand to point into the crate rather than throwing the treat first, or pretend to throw the treat into the crate.  If you spent enough time in steps 1,2, and 3, before moving on to step 4, your dog should now go into the crate when you give the command or cue “kennel” while you point the treat hand into the crate as if you had a treat and pretend you are pointing and throwing a treat into the crate. At this point in the training you are withholding the treat until the dog goes into the crate with the cue or command of “kennel” along with the hand pointing inside the crate. At this point you will reward the dog with the food only after you have given the cue or command of “kennel” and after the dog has gone into the crate and after you have marked that behavior with the clicker.  The treat is given to the dog from your hand now after the click.

STEP 5 Close the crate door before marking the behavior for the dog.  once the dog has gone into the crate on command or cue of ‘kennel” now close the door of the crate, then click and treat the dog. (Now the dog has to wait for the crate door to close before the click and treat happen.)  Click and treat several times for the dog being in the crate with the crate door closed.  You are now marking with the clicker and rewarding brief duration of the dog being in the crate for a brief time with the crate door closed.  This is part of preventing Separation Anxiety for dogs and puppies when in a crate.

STEP 6 Teach the puppy or dog to wait in the crate even when the door is open.  We are now opening and closing the crate door with the dog inside and teaching “kennel” as an implied stay.  We are clicking and rewarding the dog with treats when the dog does not come out of the crate even if we open the crate door.  If your dog or puppy tries to move out of the crate when you open the door, immediately close the crate door pushing the dog back into the crate while re- commanding “kennel.”  When you open the crate door if the dog stays click and reward the implied stay in the crate.

STEP 7 Click and treat the dog or puppy for not coming out of the crate when the door is open.  do this fast and often in the beginning.  YOU WANT TO CLICK AND TREAT OFTEN WHEN THE DOG IS IN THE CRATE WITH THE DOOR OPEN. If the dog tries to get out of the crate right as you click, do not dive the treat.  We don’t want to accidentally reward the behavior of coming out of the crate when we are trying to now teach this as an implied stay until released from the “kennel” command or cue. Remember if the dog tries to come out of the crate without permission, block the puppy or dog with the crate door from coming out, then try to slowly open the crate again.

STEP 8 Teach a release command or cue of “OK,” “Free,” or “Break.”  When teaching the dog the release command or cue, you will give the cue or command you pick, in this case “OK’ as this is what I use in the above video tutorial for crate training. Often you will need to help your dog to understand what the release command or cue is and what it means by helping the dog out of the crate and then marking that behavior with the clicker and then reward. Practice only letting your puppy or dog exit the crate when hearing the command or cue of “OK’ signaling it is OK to come out of the crate.

STEP 9 Add distance and duration (time), step outside briefly.  Come back in, click and reward for the duration and distance, also click and reward when you open the crate door and the puppy or dog stays in the crate.  In addition to crate training you are teaching the implied stay and you are beginning the process of desensitizing any possible separation anxiety that some puppies and dogs experience with crate training and being left in a crate for a period of time. When first starting out, only leave the house for a minute or two.  Gradually over 30 days increase your time away from 15-30 minutes.  Add a minute or two a day more duration while training until you have successfully  been able to train your puppy or dog to be in the crate calmly for 15-30 minutes.  MOST DOGS THAT CAN BE TRAINED TO BE IN A CRATE FOR 15 MINUTES WITHOUT BEING UPSET DO NOT DEVELOP SEPARATION ANXIETY.

STEP 10 Keep your puppy or dog calm when you come home by practicing the dog or puppy staying in the crate until it is calm and here the release command or cue of “OK.”  If your puppy or dog is more sensitive and prone to more anxiety when crated or left alone, begin to place your puppy’s or dog’s water bowl and food bowl in the crate along with your puppy or dog’s favorite toys.  this will further help to prevent and desensitize any potential anxiety.

Remember Practice Makes Permanent!  No one is Perfect!  Practice this 5 minutes a day and your puppy or dog will be crate trained in no time.  Review the Crate Training Video for further help.

Be sure to also check out our article on How to Potty Train a Puppy.

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Phoenix Dog Trainer Operant condition dog behavior science of how dogs are trained

HOW DOGS LEARN

HOW DOGS LEARN

OPERANT CONDITIONING THE SCIENCE BEHIND DOG TRAINING: HOW DOGS LEARN AND ARE TRAINED

how dogs learn operant conditioningHow dogs learn might be the most important question you could ask.  At Phoenix Dog Training, our  approach to dog obedience training is based on years of study. As one of the foremost students of dog behavior, our Phoenix Dog Behaviorist has seen firsthand the effect of a combination of Operant Conditioning, Positive Reinforcement and Negative Reinforcement, and has made these techniques the centerpieces of his training philosophy, which specializes in the elimination of aggression, fears, anxieties and phobias in dogs.

HOW DOGS LEARN 

At Phoenix Dog Training we use about 90% positive reinforcement and about 10% negative reinforcement.  I also use negative punishment which is the removal of something the dog wants to decrease or stop unwanted behavior.  An example of negative punishment is to take away your kids WiFi password until they do their homework.  You are trying to stop or decrease the child’s procrastination.  With a dog it might be removing a treat or a toy.  This is one of the many ways how dogs learn.

I personally do not use positive punishment because I do not believe that how dogs learn has to be to experience fear, pain and intimidation to be taught. But I do use negative reinforcement, but in a unique way.

This being the case, Here at Phoenix Dog Training we are always eager to counteract the flashing red lights some people see when they hear the word “negative reinforcement.” Don’t let the term scare you, because in truth it isn’t negative at all! In fact it is non-aversive, as we don’t believe any dog should be trained with fear, pain or intimidation. As an example consider the following:

  • I am walking a dog and want to turn right
  • The dog wants to continue going straight
  • I tap the dog on the shoulder to get its attention so it can turn with me
  • I stop tapping on the dog’s shoulder when the dog performs the wanted behavior.

HOW DOGS LEARN 

That is all there is to negative reinforcement!  People often confuse negative reinforcement with punishment.  the two are not the same.  Negative reinforcement increases and or strengthens behavior.  Punishment stops or decreases a behavior.

Traditionally, how dogs learn and the use of negative reinforcement has been to apply an unpleasant stimulus to the dog, and then help the dog to do the behavior in order to remove the unpleasantness.  The dog works to turn off the unpleasant stimulus, or to avoid it all together.  Different trainers will use negative reinforcement differently.  How unpleasant the stimulus is varies from trainer to trainer.

My experience and work with how dogs learn has shown me that negative reinforcement really does not need to be a true aversive.  To me when I think aversive, I think pain or unpleasant.  In fact, here is the dictionary definition of aversive:

” aversive. adjective. Causing avoidance of a thing, situation, or behavior by using an unpleasant or punishing stimulus, as in techniques of behavior modification.”

I have personally developed a system based on how dogs learn and the use of negative reinforcement that uses a non aversive tactile or touch sensation that is nuetral.  The tactile or touch sensation is not unpleasent, demonstrated by the dog’s behavior, there is no avoidance.  The tactile or touch stimulus becomes a tactile cue, prompt, or command that is paired with both auditory and visual cues, adding another layer of communication to both verbal commands and hand signals.  I use multiple modalities of communication with dogs for more complete understanding and clarity of communication. 

What the dog experiences is very light non aversive tapping on its neck while being given a verbal command along with a visual command (hand signal.) When the dog does the behavior, the light tapping stops.  Rather than being an aversive, it is neutral touch, or a non painful tactile touch.

I have seen mothers speaking to their children who did not respond to them, touch the child on the shoulder to get the child’s attention with light touch and to get them to follow through on what the mother was asking.  That is non aversive negative reinforcement.

Another example of non aversive negative reinforcement that people experience is the seat-belt indicator.  If you don’t put your seat-belt on, there will be a sound going off or a light going off until you fasten the belt.  Once you do the behavior, the sound goes away.  There was no pain, at most it was an annoyance.  

HOW DOGS LEARN 

There are total positive reinforcement only trainers that can not conceive of non aversive negative reinforcement.  They like to say their way of training is scientific, but they fail to discuss ALL of the science.  The total positive reinforcement trainers want to claim how dogs learn is only with positive reinforcement.  They refuse to correct a dog. One of the reasons they can not conceive of non aversive humane negative reinforcement is because they have ZERO experience with it. They are giving their opinion on something that they have never done.

By combining all of the aforementioned aspects of how dogs learn, Phoenix Dog Training Dog Trainers are able to make their intentions clear to puppies and dogs. By opening the lines of communication Phoenix Dog Training is able to provide a low stress atmosphere for puppy training and canine training while getting lasting results in a fraction of the time of other Phoenix dog trainers.

We are committed to how dogs learn and providing dog training in Phoenix that offer the least amount of stress and the quickest results. Remember, we are training you as well as your dog, and the knowledge and insight you’ll gain into your dog’s mind and regarding the techniques with which to communicate your wishes will result in lasting good behavior and a more balanced home life. 

Thanks for reading and hopefully you have learned a little something about how dogs learn.

Phoenix Dog Training are the best dog trainers we have found in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Their Dog Behaviorist has personally helped us with our dogs as we had a tough case. Our dogs are doing great and we would never go to anyone else to train our dogs. The people, service and knowledge of training dogs is the best we have seen by far! I would recommend them to all my friends and family! Thank you!– Greg and Jody Fossen


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Phoenix Dog Training History of Dog Training

PHOENIX DOG TRAINING | A BRIEF HISTORY OF DOG TRAINING

PHOENIX DOG TRAINING

Phoenix Dog Training and Phoenix Dog Trainers Providing Dog Obedience Training Phoenix Az and Phoenix Puppy Training

A Brief History of Dog Training: What You Need To Know

HISTORY OF DOG TRAINING; This article will be about dog training. Specifically, it will be a brief history of dog training.  Dogs have lived and worked with humans for as long as history can recall, providing us with companionship, security and assistance. The idea of training a dog is not new; in fact, dogs have been helping us to hunt, track, guard and herd livestock, as well as assist the disabled for centuries. However, even in our modern world, humans still cannot agree on which methods or theories are best to train a dog to behave as a pet. Most of the disagreements on how to train a dog come from the two major camps of dog training methods: Force Extremists and Positive Reinforcement Extremists.

The Rise of Negative-Enforcement Only Training in The History of DogTraining

As far as the history of dog training goes, During the Great Depression, dog training began to grow in national popularity. At this time, food was scarce for humans, much less dogs, so trainers did not use edible treats to reward a dog for good behavior. Instead, good behaviors were rewarded with praise and undesirable behaviors were corrected with a small punishment, such as a quick jerk on a choke chain. This would condition the dog to avoid performing behaviors that cause pain.

Phoenix Dog Training The History of Dog Training William Koehler

One  cannot talk about the history of dog training without mentioning William Kohler. The most popular pioneer in this dog training method was William Koehler, author of the best-selling dog obedience book The Koehler Method of Dog Training from 1962 – 1982. Koehler believed that training was a battle of wills and that it was harmful to dogs to allow them to go without correction for bad behaviors. While Koehler was a great trainer (you may have seen some of his four-legged students in Disney’s The Incredible Journey) he did not fully accept animal behavior theories. He assumed that dogs would understand why they were being punished and learn from it, as a rational person might. Anyone who has trained a dog knows that a dog does not learn behavior in the same way a human might, though they most certainly take cues from well-behaved owners.

Koehler’s influence  and his status in the history of dog training, remains very evident in some of the popular training methods of today, especially those that insist that dogs have a pack mentality and are always involved in a conspiracy to take dominance from the humans. Here is an example of how this mentality is way of misunderstanding a dog: if your dog pulls you along on walks and you never take the time to teach him to walk with you, it is not the dog’s fault for being dominant. He likely has a desire to see and smell the world around him and does not understand that he must walk along with you
rather than do as he pleases. This is not because he thinks he controls you, but by not setting rules and boundaries for the way your dog interacts with the world while on a leash, you effectively teach him that it is okay to pull you along. You do end up following him when he pulls you, so he is assured that you will be there with him while he does whatever he wants. What the dog really needs is to be trained to walk nicely because it is expected of him and in his best interests, and he will not learn that on his own.

A Generation of Only Positive Reinforcement Training in More Recent History of Dog Training 

Phoenix Dog Training Clicker TrainingThe generation that came after Koehler,  and earlier history of dog training,  in the 1980s championed a more positive dog training style that focused on rewarding good behavior with food or toys rather than correcting mistakes. One of the founders of this movement, veterinarian Ian Dunbar, started the then-unusual practice of puppy socialization, off-leash training and the lavish use of treats for rewards. Total Positive Reinforcement remains popular today, but unfortunately is unreliable when used alone and without any negative reinforcement whatsoever. This approach is fairly laissez-faire (hands-off) because it requires you to literally wait for the dog to decide on its own to behave in the desired way without any guidance from you. For example, if you tell your untrained dog to “sit” using only positive reinforcement, you must literally wait for him to decide to sit and then lavishly praise him when he does. He does deserve a reward for sitting, but if he does not understand what the command means to begin with, then you have not taught him anything. By the time he sits down, he has forgotten the cue “sit” altogether, and perceives that you are randomly giving him a treat. Not only does it take a long time for the dog to do what he is told, but he also may get frustrated when he does not have a clear expectation of what you want. Appropriate negative reinforcement would help in this case by allowing you to say the command “sit” at the same time as you push the dog’s rear end onto the ground. Once the dog sits, you can remove your hand from his behind and reward him with praise or a treat. Repetition of this activity allows the dog to connect the word “sit” with the physical act of sitting.

Attempting to use a clicker and treats to train a dog is only effective in very controlled environments. Your dog may be motivated to sit and stay for a treat while in his own home, but the second you have him sit and stay in an uncontrolled environment and he sees something more interesting, his desire to interact with that distraction (chasing a cat, wrestling with another
dog, stealing a child’s ice cream, etc.) is going to be much stronger than his desire to have a treat. The fact that you have a polite dog at home means absolutely nothing when his behavior is out of your control where it matters: in public.

Balanced Dog Training Method Used by Phoenix Dog Training

Dog Training Phoenix Balanced Dog Training

Balanced Dog Training

No matter what the history of dog training shows us, it is true today that Negative Reinforcement, when used in conjunction with positive reinforcement does not mean pain, punishment or harsh corrections. Instead, in the Balanced Dog Training method, used at Phoenix Dog Training, negative reinforcement is a way to show the dog what it needs to do. For example, when you train a horse to turn to the left when the left rein is pulled, you are essentially using the annoying sensation of the bit in the horse’s mouth to show the horse what you want it to do. The horse reacts to alleviate the annoyance of the bit. Conversely, if you respond to undesirable behaviors by giving in to them, you only allow your dog to control you. Compare this to the analogy of a child throwing a tantrum in a store after his mother does not buy him a candy bar. If the mother gives in after his tantrum and gets the kid some candy, the child realizes that he has just taught his mother a new trick. He now assumes he can always have his way by throwing a tantrum. This same principle applies with dogs.

Phoenix Dog Training is able train dogs quickly and effectively because we take the time to understand why your dog acts out and work to motivate a total behavior change both in you as the owner and in your dog. Our Balanced Dog Training approach and method combines all aspects of learning theory and is constantly improving. As our knowledge grows, our toolbox of dog training tools expands, allowing us to find the right fit for each unique animal we meet. We also give you the tools you need to be the kind of owner your dog needs and provide him with the structure and attention he needs to continue to behave as he should with our lifetime guarantee.

For more information on Phoenix Dog Training and our training methods or to learn more about dog training from Harvard Educated Dog Behaviorist, call (602) 769-1411 today.

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