K-9 Connection Dog Training on the Radio

K-9 Connection Radio Clip

I did an evaluation for Keith Kelly from Z101 Radio and his 2 month old puggle Wanda this week, and I had an opportunity to show off my dog. Apparently, we left an impression. Click the link above to hear the clip.

Thanks Keith!

Teach Your Dog To Pay Attention

At K9 Connection Dog Training, one of the most important things that we teach our dogs is to pay attention to the handler. This is a crucial part of any successful training program, but what does attention really mean?

Attention can mean different things, or perhaps more appropriately, it can come in varying degrees. For instance: when I get home from work, one of the first things I do is check my email. Now imagine that one day as I am checking my email, my wife walks in and says “Tyler, the garbage really needs to go out.”

I turn to her and respond “Sure honey, I’ll take it out in one sec, just as soon as I’m done reading this message.”

So, in a sense, she got my attention, because I heard her, turned and looked at her, and responded. But most of my attention was still on my email which is why I sat and continued reading. If my mind were a pie chart, my wife maybe had 20% of my attention diverted to her and what she wanted me to do, and 80% was still on the email. I f she were somehow able to reverse that pie chart, and get 80% of my attention on her, then I would have gotten up and taken the garbage, because I would have had enough brain power left to focus on the email.

This is very often what is going on with our dogs when they don’t perform a known command. They’re not trying to be jerks, they are just distracted, and we are unable to redirect their attention adequately. This is usually when we start raising our voice or yanking on a leash. This of course does not solve the problem. Likewise, where most training programs fail, is a over-reliance treats. While treats can be effective as teaching tools to lure a dog into a new position, or reward appropriate behavior, all too often dog trainers and clients alike rely too much on the treat to attract and hold the dogs attention. What happens here is that the dog learns to pay attention to the treat, but never effectively learns to pay attention to the handler. Once the treats are removed from the picture, you are left with a dog who displays zero attention span, and who perhaps will perform a known command in the quiet of her own home where there is not anything more interesting, but soon as you change the environment, or introduce real distractions, it’s almost as if she’s not trained at all.

This is why we place so much importance on teaching attention. It is the overarching condition to all obedience. With clear understanding and proper attention, there’s no reason your dog should not perform a known command.

If you need help with your dog, contact K-9 Connection Dog Training at (716) 548-3642

Free Shaping The ‘Place’ Command

This is a short clip demonstrating how to do a training exercise called free shaping with markers. Free shaping means that you are progressively marking behaviors that are closer and closer to the end behavior that you are trying to achieve. We use marker training to do this, the most common form of marker training is clicker training, however, I prefer to use my voice. I use the word “yes” in a consistent, happy tone to mark the behaviors that I want. The mark, lets the dog know that a reward is coming, and thus allows us to precisely mark the behavior we want, even if it takes up to a few seconds to get the actual reward to the dog.  The most important thing to remember with marker training, is that a reward ALWAYS has to follow the mark, even if you gave the mark accidentally. If you are not familiar with marker training, or if you want to learn more, please review Ed Frawley’s article on marker training your dog by Clicking Here.

In this video I am teaching Dante the ‘Place’ command, which means to have all four feet on an object. Dante has never done the ‘place’ command before nor has he ever done free shaping, so this is an entirely new concept to him. ‘Place’ is a very simple command to teach and for the dog to learn because there are not too many progressions to mark, and it is very black and white: Either you are on the place, or you are off. This is why I chose this exercise to introduce Dante to the game of free shaping, it is easy and fun. I will film more complex free shaping exercises in the future.

If you want, or need assistance training your dog, Contact K-9 Connection Dog Training at (716) 548-3642.

Dante’s Morning Workout

This is Dante at 15 weeks during his morning bitework session. This is his first time on a harness and tie back, and I am very pleased with his intensity, and commitment to the bite. I like to do his bitework first thing in the morning for a few reasons:

1) He is very intense in the morning, and is at his peak energy level.

2) He has not eaten yet. Remember, a dog always has more drive on an empty stomach.

3) The sun is not as hot, so he will not tire as quickly.

I keep these sessions very short (under five minutes), and I always make sure I leave him wanting more. Dante prefers a leather rag to jute or burlap, so I am using the leather bite rag from Elite K9 . I always follow the session with about five minutes of calm affection in his kennel run. I sit with him and calmly pet him while letting him know in a soft voice that he did a good job. I almost never give any affection before the workout. Finally, after he has calmed, I give him his breakfast (food is also a form of affection). It’s a great way to start the day!

Training Aggressive Dogs

This is a clip from this past winter of “Lola” a 5 year old aggressive Doberman. Lola’s owner was told that she either had to get rid of her dog, or move, due to the fact that Lola had attempted to attack several dogs in her building. Luckily, she contacted K-9 Connction Dog Training first. This video was shot durring her free evaluation,and this is the first time that we met the dog. It is our policy at K-9 Connection to always show the effectiveness of whatever training approach we reccommend, before the owner commits to anything. Needless to say, Lola’s owner signed up for training, and we are happy to tell you that only a few months later Lola is now an accepted member of her building! Thanks to Nancy, Lola’s owner, for all her hard work and commitment to her dog

Client Testimonial

This is Bob, one of my clients, and his 8 year old Jack Russell Terrier ‘Zoe” showing off some of their off leash obedience, and ‘place’ command on various environmental objects.  Zoe was pretty out of control before she came to K-9 Connection, but now she’s pretty impressive.  Bob and Zoe have really bonded because of the training, and I really enjoy working with clients who are as enthusiasic as him. Bob really knows how to have fun with his dog training, and it shows!

Highlights From The All Creatures Animal Hospital Open House

These are clips from the open house at the All Creatures Animal Hospital.  Doing public demonstrations like this right next to crowds of people and dogs is where people really get to see the benefit of our dog training programs. I always tell clients, dog training isn’t so much about what your dog knows, its about what your dog will actually do.  The unfortunate reality is that most dogs will only perform their known obedience commands when they are home and there is little distraction around. Thats where K-9 Connection comes in, we specialize in getting dogs off leash even around severe distraction. If you have a dog you need help with, just give us a call (716) 548-3642.

Puppy Training With K-9 Connection

This is a quick video of my new Belgian Malinois puppy ‘Dante’ taken at 10 weeks. He has only been training for about 1 week but you can see that he has already learned quite a bit. Right now Dante and I do our obedience training exercises 3 times a day for about 10 minutes when he gets his meals. He pretty much works for every bit of food that he gets, only occasionally eating out of the bowl if there is some left over. I believe that this helps to instill a very strong work ethic in the dog at a young age.

Dante is being raised to be a working dog, so I am not too concerned with control right now. I just want to start imprinting the meanings of these basic commands. So far we are working on sit, down, stand, heel, and come with food for motivation. Dante has also already begun his Bite-work training with helper Marcus Hampton. We’ll get some video of that too and post it as soon as we can.

Live Demonstrations!

Come see us at the All Creatures Animal Hospital open house, this Sunday July 19th from 1-4pm.

Dante

Dante

There will be free hot dogs, pet photography, a free raffle, a pet psychic, and we will be doing dog training demonstrations with our dogs all day including a puppy training demonstration with our newest addition ‘Dante’.

Come out and show your love.

For more info call:

K-9 Connection Dog Training (716) 548-3642

All Creatures Animal Hospital (716) 636-3600

Pit Bulls Love To Learn!

King Ready For Class!

King Ready For Class!

Many People, even some professional dog trainers, think that the Pit Bull is a very difficult breed. In my opinion, nothing can be further from the truth. Although they are a very strong dog, Pit Bulls are in general very loyal and have an incredible desire to please their human companions.  All you need know is how to tap in to this desire and build on it. What this means is that if the training is done right, these can be amazingly fun dogs to work with.

Many Pit Bulls can also be very high drive dogs. Drive in dogs can be loosely translated as the dogs natural desire and commitment to do or achieve something. Since this breed was originally used to hunt rats, they can have a very strong prey drive. Prey drive is the same drive that motivates a dog to chase a ball, or to play tug, or to play with toys in general. Many working dogs such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Malinois, dobermans, and herding dogs such at Border Collies and Australian Shepherds will also have strong prey drive.

If your dog is equipped with this type of drive, it can be used as a very powerful training tool for achieving high levels of obedience. For this type of dog, prey drive will override food any day of the week. Therefore training with the dog’s  drives can allow you to teach faster, and push the dog through higher levels of distraction. It also allows you to have a lot of fun with your dog during training, which means that training itself becomes rewarding, thus eliminating the need to constantly carry treats with you every where you go.

Below is a video of Josh Moran, one of our lead dog trainers here at K-9 Connection, and his dog King. King has great prey drive, so Josh often uses a toy to motivate him to perform. This video was shot at Delaware park here in Buffalo NY and shows Josh and King just loosely having some fun and working in some cool commands. Nothing too formal here, after all, isn’t that what dog training is all about – being able to take your dog anywhere and have fun!