CATCH Canine Trainers Academy Blog

Tips for Teaching a Great Stay

  • CATCH Students Showcasing Strong Technique with Shelter Dogs – and Getting Results

    by David Muriello

    Check out the quick video below for some great examples of training technique by CATCH student Ed with shelter dog, Manny. Manny is doing a down-stay outdoors with distraction (there is another dog passing by in the distance off camera behind Ed). The added challenge is that Ed is doing a “walk-around”. To perform the Stay, Manny should not get up until Ed has completely circled around behind him and then given him the”OK” cue to release.

    Here are the elements of technique that we really like:

    • Ed teaching Manny a “walk-around” Stay with distractions.

      Ed has Manny’s attention and focus, even though they are outdoors.

      • They have practiced this indoors with consistent success, so Ed has chosen an appropriate level of difficulty at the appropriate time.
      • Ed is using a high value reward that he knows Manny likes (in this case a “trail mix” of cheese/hot dogs/kibble).
    • Ed’s body language is clear and consistent. He shows no extra movements with his hands that would be confusing to the dog. He always keeps his “treat hand” at his side or behind his back. His speed in going around Manny stays consistent.
    • Ed breaks the behavior down into small steps that Manny can succeed with: going part way around the circle, then half, then full) and he rewards each step along the way.
    • Ed uses the “yes” marker when he reaches peak distance from Manny and then goes right back to front to deliver the reward between the paws. Manny is always rewarded while he is still in the Down position where he started, so the Stay behavior is strongly reinforced.
    • After Ed makes a complete circle, he gives Manny a clear cue to release from the Stay. The response is then rewarded with loving praise that Manny adores (and then an opportunity to “go sniff”).

    With this solid foundation, Ed could continue to add the 3 D’s: distance, duration, and distraction. In just a few more training sessions, there is no doubt that Manny will be performing an impressive outdoor Stay from long distances. Great job by both Ed and Manny!

    Follow CATCH on Instagram for more training tips, behavior insights, and your dogs’ adventures.

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    Are you a fanatic for learning more about behavior and training?  CATCH courses and workshops go beyond basic obedience to help students work with dogs that have behavioral issues. We find the problem-solving process to be fascinating: from basic issues like jumping, pulling, barking, and house training to learning about the more advanced challenges like fear and aggression cases. Many of our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and use them to work with dogs that otherwise would not have the easiest time finding a forever home. Get in touch with us to learn more!

  • What Makes an Imperfect Dog Perfect

  • Life with a Challenging Dog Can Make You a Skilled Trainer

    by Marcela Koehler

    Even though it’s been ages since Lassie became famous on TV, dog owners and trainers today still face the challenge that many people have “Lassie-esque” expectations of dog behavior. When pets like Lassie and Rin Tin Tin were heroes of family television, they made it look like dogs would understand everything we say. The idea of dogs being born to serve our every whim seems far too robotic to many of us these days, but the dog who perfectly “obeys his master” is still an image that is embedded in our culture.

    When you start on your dog training journey, you may picture that your dog is always supposed to be right by your side, perfectly in tune with your thoughts and movements.  Don’t worry if that seems a bit daunting, the reality for many dog trainers is very different – even for expert professionals. Our dogs listen of course, but we let them be their fun-loving selves, too!  Being in tune with our every whim like Lassie is not feasible for the vast majority of pet dogs, and not every trainer expects all their dogs to “report for duty” with military precision all the time. In fact, many of our dogs are wonderfully imperfect, just like their guardians.

    Our own dogs become our teammates and teach us so much! This is Kota, the beloved husky of a one-time featured student and now CATCH graduate, Darlene.

    As a Program Director at CATCH, it is a concern that I hear time and again from new students: “Can I be a successful dog trainer if my own dog has behavioral issues?” My answer is always the same, “Absolutely!” You are likely to become an even better trainer from the skills that you’ll gain living with a challenging dog. You learn firsthand how to manage and modify the problem behaviors happening in your home. The rare combination of necessity, inspiration, and experience that comes with this situation has propelled many owners of difficult dogs to go from do-it-yourself-behavior-problem-solvers to studied dog trainers!

    Often when dog owners finally get to the point where they reach out to a dog trainer for help, they are embarrassed and feel a loss of control in their lives. You can put them at ease by sharing your own experiences, and talk to them about the progress you have made with your own difficult dog. This is a great example of one of the most important skills for a dog trainer – empathizing with the client and letting them know they are in good company, that you understand where they are coming from, and that you have the skills to help.

    Most first-time dog owners take on a puppy without all of the knowledge to raise and socialize them effectively to help create the most well-adjusted dog possible. Sometimes owners get lucky and end up with a very well-behaved dog, but more likely, many of us end up with some behavior challenges that we soon realize we will always have to “work around” or continually work to improve.  Opening your home to a “behaviorally challenged” dog is nothing to be ashamed of; it can be something to be proud of, and it will certainly be a learning experience.

    Puppies present us with the precious opportunity to bond and train during the critical socialization period.

    Puppies present us with the precious opportunity to bond and train during the critical socialization period. But, not everyone knows how to take proper advantage of that short time window the first time around.

    Many students start our program after having had their dogs for years, and we hear the same concern: “If only I had a time machine and could have started this program before getting the dog!”  That is because they are learning so much about the importance of socialization and how crucial those first couple of months are for developing a dog that can be both comfortable and focused in many different situations. It’s true that you can’t rewind the clock and start over with early socialization. But as a trainer, you can learn from everything you missed out on doing with dogs you’ve raised in the past and apply those lessons to the dogs you raise in the future. That includes dogs you may be raising and helping your clients with theirs! (Side note: we have a great article on the keys to raising a very well-behaved puppy here.)

    Give yourself credit for the hard work that you have done and will continue to do with the difficult dogs in your life. As you gain experience with challenging dogs, you continually hone your approach for raising and training future dogs.  Many trainers work their way up to finding and training the “dream dog” that they can bring to their classes and show off in demonstrations. If you are determined to learn through experience and study, we’re willing to bet that that “dream dog” is in your future!

    ~

    Are you a fanatic for learning more about behavior and training?  CATCH courses and workshops go beyond basic obedience to help students work with dogs that have behavioral issues. We find the problem-solving process to be fascinating: from basic issues like jumping, pulling, barking, and house training to learning about the more advanced challenges like fear and aggression cases. Many of our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and use them to work with dogs that otherwise would not have the easiest time finding a forever home. Get in touch with us to learn more!

  • What REALLY Makes Puppies Special – Part 2

  • The 7 Most Important Things to Teach a Young Puppy

    I’m ready to learn!

    In last month’s article, we covered 4 out of the 7 most important things to work on with a young puppy: socialization, separation, handling, and comfort with sharing. Today, let’s jump into the last 3: mouthing, housetraining, and bonding. These are all critical to setting a pup up for success.

    No Biting & Soft Mouth

    Pups must learn to control both:

    • the placement of their teeth, and
    • the force of their bite pressure

    …or they can get themselves into a lot of trouble when they become bigger, stronger and more confident. For starters, you should have lots of toys with different textures around and encourage a pup with praise or play when she chooses to put her mouth on dog toys, rather than on your clothing or body parts. Keep toys in baskets or specific spots so your pup can easily learn which items are “for them” and which are off limits (human stuff). If remote controls and socks are placed around as randomly as dog toys – that is too confusing for a naïve pup.

    This pup had just come into the shelter and definitely benefited from training and socialization time with Tracy and our group of student trainers.

    End interactions abruptly when a pup directs their mouth to your skin or clothing. Never make that into a fun game where she gets continued attention. Use a displeased voice, cessation of games, and time outs if needed. If you give pups feedback in this way, you should see their bite pressure get softer and softer as they become more careful. But, it’s important to provide more outlets than reprimands. Most pups are going to try and chew on you, at least as an experiment! Give yours plenty of exercise and opportunities to chew on dog toys so she has an outlet for that active mouth. If you follow all these guidelines, mouthing will get better every week until the pup grows out of it. For more details on this, check out this article: Are You Rewarding Biting (by accident)?

    Housetraining

    Teaching a pup to potty outside is something every new dog owner should devote themselves to right away. The more accidents you allow, the harder it becomes to teach the desired behavior patterns, especially if mistakes happen regularly for several weeks or more. Housetraining is always the responsibility of the pup’s caretaker and never the dog being irresponsible or malicious. It is 100% up to us to set them up for success. The MOST important keys to housetraining are:

    • Take a puppy to their potty spot as often as they need to go (or even more frequently to play it safe).
    • Pay attention to the water and food intake and keep the puppy’s tank empty by letting her relieve it in the right place as often as you can.
    • Make sure a puppy is always supervised by you and when they are not, they are confined in a safe place where they can hold it in for a little while (ex., a crate that you’ve taught them how to enjoy like their special den).

    The hard part about housetraining is being consistent and dedicated with getting the puppy outside A LOT (yes, even in the middle of the night if needed at first).  The easy part is that if you get the pup in the right place over and over, that is where she will prefer to go! She will want to potty where she has felt the relief before. In turn, she will also develop a natural desire to keep the house clean. Then, as she grows up she will start to hold it in herself (usually within 1-3 months depending on age) and she’ll make it clear when she wants to potty outside (by doing things like standing by the door).

    For more on housetraining, a great little booklet for yourself or any client is called Way to Go by Karen B. London and Patricia McConnell.

    Bonding and Trust

    We all dream of having a dog that can run freely off leash and will come back when called. And most everyone wants a dog that loves to be around them and play with them, but who also listens to us and respects us like a true friend.  To unlock the full potential of that dream relationship (which so many dogs are so ready to have with us), build your bond and a deep trust during early puppyhood. Here are some proven ways to do that:

    • Dave tugging with Dougie in the open field. There is a long line, but you can be bet Dougie would come back on his own for more of this play!

      Play with your puppy! Fetch is a wonderful game where you become the center of attention. Get the pup excited about the toy by moving it around on the ground and then throw it just a short distance at first. Praise him for chasing and grabbing it and then entice him back to you. When he arrives with the toy, give him belly rubs and praise! Then throw it a short distance away again. Repeat and gradually increase the distance you can throw it and still get a retrieve. This game not only teaches a puppy that you are a ball-throwing deity, but that coming back to you is highly rewarding – a great concept that will help with off-leash attention and recall.

    • Tug is also a great game as long as you teach it with rules. Remember what we talked about above: it is critical to teach a puppy that biting you or your clothing always ends the fun. As soon as you get mouthed, end the game for a few seconds until the pup calms. Same thing if the pup is jumping all over you to snatch the toy from your hands. End the fun for a few seconds until you see the pup sit or stand back, not jumping on you or barking at you, and then start the game again – rewarding the instant of politeness. Play is the perfect opportunity to establish the rules of your friendship:  mutual respect (more on trust and respect below).
    • If you’ve been working on trading/sharing objects from part 1 of this article, you can easily teach the pup to release a tug toy and the reward can be more tugging, or that you throw the toy for a retrieve (fetch). I often do this with two equal value toys like two tennis balls. The pup learns that if you drop one, you get to tug or fetch the other!  In summary, play is great for bonding, but also in teaching respect for your space and the right place to direct the mouth: to toys.
    • Another important way to keep your bond strong is not to confuse your pup with unclear communication. This means you do not give after the fact corrections. For example, never scold a puppy for a housetraining accident that you didn’t see happen. Never scold a puppy for a chewed-up table leg or remote control if you weren’t there to witness the chewing.  Dogs don’t understand past tense language. If you scold pups after the fact, you will confuse them or scare them, or both, and you’ll make them want to tune you out. If you scold harshly, you risk instilling fear which can lead to all kinds of issues from NOT coming when called to defensive aggression in the adult dog.
    • A fantastic way to build a strong bond is reward-based training. There are huge benefits of teaching a pup obedience and manners using the proven techniques of rewarding the behaviors you like with food and play.  When dogs love the rewards, they love the training process and they love the person who teaches them that way.  You can get great responses from a pup when they perform the behaviors you teach (ex. Sit, Stay, Come), but you also get enhanced attention and communication overall. That’s setting you up for a lifetime of enjoying each other’s company!

    ~

    If I were raising a new puppy, these 7 items would be my top priority. If you’re interested in learning more about any of the 7 topics, there are many great books covering each one in more detail, and so does the CATCH curriculum. Most importantly, remember that investing a lot of time in a young puppy can save you tons of time and trouble down the road. Puppies are sponges ready to soak up every lesson and interaction. Have fun teaching them and get the most out of those precious early months!

  • What REALLY Makes Puppies Special (Hint: Think of a Sponge)

  • The 7 Most Important Things to Teach a Young Puppy

    We all agree that puppies are unbelievably cute, but there’s much more to their early days than just the devastating looks. Their young age represents a special opportunity for dog owners because puppyhood is the best time to raise a great DOG. During the first 3-4 months of a puppy’s life, their little brains are the most impressionable they will ever be. This is why most people say you should start training right away. Well, yes and no. You should start molding behavior right away – as early as possible. But, typical obedience training is not the key. There are more important things to teach first! If you get these behavior molding exercises right when a pup is in their first 4 months, then obedience becomes easy to add with even a modest amount of reward-based training.

    7 Critical Exercises:

    Socialization

    Puppy Socialization

    Respect your elders! Puppies can benefit greatly from being around calm, cool, and collected adult dogs.

    Ensuring that a puppy has positive experiences with different people, environments, objects, and animals is key to them growing up comfortable in public and with guests that visit your home. For example, pups that spend their critical period (weeks 3 – 12) entirely indoors are very susceptible to growing up as dogs that are fearful of strangers and new situations. Get young puppies out of the house and meeting friendly people and dogs. Give them a chance to explore all different kinds of objects, environments, and situations. If you manage these experiences so they are always safe and never more than mildly stressful, it will do a puppy a lifetime of good.

    Separation

    Dogs are social animals, so it takes some practice for them to get used to the normal comings and goings of pet owners. If you teach a young pup that it’s pleasant to be apart from you, starting with short distances and short time periods, you will protect yourself against one of the most challenging behavior problems: separation anxiety. Training a pup to be in a crate or a pen near you (instead of right in your lap) while you’re on the couch or in your bed can make a big difference in him being able to cope with separation (and even other frustrations) as he gets older. Try giving a pup something irresistible to chew on while you practice short separation periods in sight at first, then gradually increase your distance and duration over a period of several days.

    Handling

    Pups that readily accept handling and restraint are much less stressed and a pleasure for all who need to take care of them, from owners to bathers to vets.

    Dogs don’t naturally find it pleasing to have their paws grabbed or their teeth and ears checked. When your pup is young, get her used to gentle handling of all kinds. Just like with separation training, keep it short, pleasant and positive, ensuring that you associate your touching and restraint with good feelings. For example, you can give your pup a little treat just after you gently squeeze each paw or just after you inspect her ears and teeth. Make the treats extra yummy for a more powerful effect.

    You can also teach your pup to accept and enjoy increasingly longer periods of restraint by giving pleasant scratches (belly and chest rubs) and massage (see photo to the right). If a pup struggles at first when being held by you, work on using your touch to get her to calm. Release her to be free only once she completely relaxes. Done right, this is a great way for a pup to learn to accept human handling, but also for building trust (which will be another important section of its own that we’ll review later).

    Comfort with Sharing (Giving Up Valued Items)

    Dogs have an instinct to protect items that they consider highly valuable, and some will do so more aggressively than others. The term resource guarding is used to describe a dog that threatens you if you try to take something coveted away from him. This is most commonly seen with food and tasty items like marrow bones. You can raise a pup who is very relaxed about having things taken away by making “sharing” a pleasant experience for him, starting as young as possible. Try tossing really good treats into his food bowl as you approach him while he’s eating (e.g., bits of cheese). Hand feeding and holding bones while he chews them at first can also create pleasant associations with your presence around high value items.

    Another great exercise is to briefly take something away and then give it back as something “even better”. For example, while a pup is chewing a rawhide under your supervision, take it away but add a smear of peanut butter to it and then give it right back! You can also practice “trades” for treats: grab the item, put a treat right down in it’s place, and then give the valued item right back. These exercises show the pup that when you come to take things, great things happen and they don’t lose. This will help you raise a pup who is not only calm about having you take things, but eager to see you approach even when he is in the middle of chewing a high value item. That’s guarding against raising a resource guarder – smart stuff.

    Wrap Up

    We’ve got the first 4 out of 7 items down: socialization, separation, handling, and comfort with sharing. You can see that a recurring theme is to keep these learning experiences and exercises positive and pleasant. You don’t have to spend hours on this. A few minutes per day spent on each of these will make a huge difference in a dog’s behavior as he grows up. Look for part 2 of this article coming soon, where we will describe the last 3 keys to raising great dogs by focusing on the most impressionable time in their lives – glorious puppyhood!

    ~

    Do you love learning more about dogs and animal behavior?  Click here to discover what you can study at CATCH and how you can help dogs and their owners with pro training skills of your own.

  • How Do I Change a Dog’s Behavior – Part 2

  • Behavior Problem-Solving 101 (continued)

    Teaching a dog to "Watch" - give you eye contact - can be useful for many situations - including helping with behavior issues on leash.

    Teaching a dog to “Watch” – give you eye contact – can be useful for many situations, including helping with behavior issues on leash.

    Last month we began discussing the art and science of training a dog to change their actions (behavior modification). If you haven’t read the first part of this article yet, or want a review, check it out here. Remember, the three most important concepts for “b-mod” are: Triggers, Management, and Training. We reviewed Triggers and Management in the first part of this article, so today we move ahead into Training.

    Training

    Training is the most complex part of the behavior modification process. This is because the goal is for the dog to learn new responses to the trigger and often involves changing the dog’s emotional state as well. Success depends on many factors, including how strong the unwanted behavior pattern is, how skilled the trainer is, and how dedicated the owner is. Some behavior change takes a tremendous amount of work and patience (ex., serious separation anxiety or fears due to under-socialization). On the other hand, for many common behavior problems, you can make a lot of progress with a focused period of training over a few weeks. Let’s look at our example behavior issues from part 1 of this article, and this time we’ll add a few ideas for training solutions.

    Note: when we mention rewards, we are typically going to use high value food rewards, but play could work well in some scenarios, too. With that in mind, here is each behavior issue now with the triggers, management solutions, and a few (of the many possible) training solutions you could use:

    • If you can get the dog to focus on you instead of the trigger, the solution process has begun.

      If you can get the dog to focus on you instead of the trigger, the solution process has begun.

      Unwanted behavior: Barking and lunging at other dogs during a walk

    • Trigger: Seeing another dog from 20 feet away or less while on leash
    • Management: When walking the dog: avoid places that are busy with other dogs, cross the street or turn in the other direction when you see a dog that will come within 20 feet away (ideally before the trigger distance hits)
    • Training: Teach the dog to look at you in order to earn a reward whenever he sees another dog during a leash walk. This does three things: 1) It takes the focus off the other dog, 2) puts the focus/connection on you, 3) begins to add a joyful association with seeing other dogs on walks (to change the emotional state). You can also reward the dog for following you in another direction away from the dog that is triggering the barking and lunging. Eventually, as the dog learns control, you can get gradually closer to other dogs and also reward for things like Sit-Stay in the presence of dogs or just train a Heel right past them!
    • Unwanted behavior: Growling and snapping at owner’s friends
    • Trigger: Being in the owner’s lap or arms when a person reaches out to pet the dog. Dog triggers when hand gets within 2 feet from their body.
    • Management: Don’t pick up the dog or keep her in your lap when your friends come over, ask your friends not to reach out and pet the dog unless she comes over to them first.
    • Training: When guests come over, reward the dog for quiet, non-threatening behavior while four paws are on the floor (not in lap, arms, or on furniture). Once that is established, reward the dog for any non-threatening approach towards guests (voluntary by the dog only). Once the dog is comfortably coming near to guests, reward for hand-targeting to guests’ hands. (Hand targeting means the dog touches their nose to the extended hand.) Once all of the above is established with a relaxed dog that is enthusiastically participating, reward for hand targeting guests’ hands while on the owner’s lap. You may need an intermediate step first, such as hand targeting while next to the owner’s feet.
    • So cute, but such trouble!

      So cute, but such trouble!

      Unwanted behavior: Urinating on the carpet in the dining room (puppy)

    • Triggers: Been indoors for over 2 hours, drank a lot of water after last play session, was not supervised or confined
    • Management: Get the pup outside every 2 hours to empty his tank, watch water intake and increase frequency of going out when water intake goes up, do not allow pup to leave your sight or keep in a confined area during the housetraining period
    • Training: This one is easy, because urinating and defecating are both self-rewarding. In other words, it automatically feels good to the dog to “empty their tank.” So, as long as you manage the pup in such a way that they always end up in the right place when they urinate or defecate (ex., your yard or sidewalk), then it will feel good for them to go in that spot. When they continually feel good from going to that place several times a day every day, that area and surface will naturally become their preferred place to “go to the bathroom.” You can add praise and food rewards for going in the right spot to further make it clear that this is very different from soiling in the house, which should be seen and interrupted every time.
    Even with "good dogs," sometimes we need consolation and support from our trainer!

    Even with “good dogs,” sometimes we need consolation and support from our trainer!

    As you can see, training is the part that takes the most time and effort. In some cases it can be simple (like housetraining) and in others the process can have many steps that require more knowledge and skill, like the leash reactivity or snapping at guests. The above solutions for those first two issues are quick summaries of processes that would typically be carried out over a series of sessions with the guidance of a behavior expert. Regardless, in all cases, the key is to first learn the triggers and then decide how to manage them.

    Be realistic. Due to busy work schedules, family, etc., there are cases where owners (you?) do not have the time, energy, or resources for long or complex training processes. The good news for those homes is that management is still an excellent choice for keeping unwanted behaviors under control. So, if you’re living with behaviors you don’t like, make a list of the triggers and start managing them today to prevent any further troubles!

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    Thanks for joining us for this two-part blog series (part one here). For trainers with a developing interest in behavior modification, we hope this summary gives you a good perspective on the big picture. For dog owners, now that you have a basic understanding of b-mod, seek out experienced trainers who can lead and coach you to success with these processes. Happy training everyone!

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    Find dog behavior fascinating? So do we! Click here to discover what you can learn at CATCH and how you can help dogs and their owners with pro skills of your own.

     

  • How Do I Change a Dog’s Behavior?

  • Behavior Problem-Solving 101

    Chrislyn, Dave and Seamus

    “You’re so good in class, but how do I handle your ‘real-world’ behavior issues?!”

    Every dog owner, even those madly in love with their dog (all of us), probably sees at least one behavior that they would like to change in their beloved pet. The art and science of training a dog to change their actions is called behavior modification. “B-mod” is as fascinating as it is useful. Coming up with the right solutions can be a complex process, but our goal today is to make the basics easy to understand. The three most important concepts are: Triggers, Management, and Training. Let’s look at each one in turn.

    Triggers

    A trigger is whatever situation causes your dog to perform the unwanted behavior. To see this clearly, let’s look at examples of some common behavior problems and their possible triggers:

    • Unwanted behavior: Barking and lunging at other dogs during a walk
    • Trigger: Seeing another dog from 20 feet away or less while on leash
    • Unwanted behavior: Growling and snapping at owner’s friends
    • Trigger: Being in the owner’s lap or arms when a person reaches out to pet the dog. Dog triggers when hand gets within 2 feet from their body.
    • Unwanted behavior: Urinating on the carpet in the dining room (puppy)
    • Triggers: Been indoors for over 2 hours, drank a lot of water after last play session, was not supervised or confined

    If you want to change a behavior it is very important for you to know what triggers it. Behavior is rarely unpredictable. It is typically very predictable once you realize what to look for. Make a list of what situations cause the behavior to happen. Try to be very specific about details. Notice how we used distance and location above to make sure the details are clear. Once you identify the triggers, then you can figure out how to control them. This leads us to the next topic…

    Management

    Management is setting up situations so the dog doesn’t get triggered at all. Management is an important first step because it stops the dog from practicing the unwanted behavior. Let’s look at our examples from above again, this time adding in one or two management solutions for each issue:

    • Shelter dog play group at the CATCH workshop

      Some dogs who play wonderfully OFF leash would still be aggressive when they see other dogs while ON leash.

      Unwanted behavior: Barking and lunging at other dogs during a walk

    • Trigger: Seeing another dog from 20 feet away or less while on leash
    • Management: When walking the dog: avoid places that are busy with other dogs, cross the street or turn in the other direction when you see a dog that will come within 20 feet (ideally before the trigger distance hits)
    • Unwanted behavior: Growling and snapping at owner’s friends
    • Trigger: Being in the owner’s lap or arms when a person reaches out to pet the dog. Dog triggers when hand gets within 2 feet from their body.
    • Management: Don’t pick up the dog or keep her in your lap when your friends come over, ask your friends not to reach out and pet the dog unless she comes over to them first.
    • Unwanted behavior: Urinating on the carpet in the dining room (puppy)
    • Triggers: Been indoors for over 2 hours, drank a lot of water after last play session, was not supervised or confined
    • Management: Get the pup outside every 2 hours to empty his tank, watch water intake and increase frequency of going out when water intake goes up, do not allow pup to leave your sight or keep in a confined area during the housetraining period.
    This pup loves being on Dana`s lap, but some adult dogs become protective of themselves or their owner if you try to pet them in this situation.

    This pup loves being on Dana`s lap, but some adult dogs become protective of themselves or their owner if you try to pet them in this situation. For a dog like that, management = skipping lap time when guests are over.

    Remember, management is a key first step because it stops the dog from practicing the unwanted behavior. This keeps the behavior pattern from getting stronger. In aggression cases, management is what keeps everyone safe. With nuisance problems like house soiling, management is what keeps everyone sane.

    Management also opens up the opportunity for you to teach the dog new behaviors. That is where the next step, training, comes in. Training is fascinating because, once complete, it gives the dog the ability to face the triggers, but respond differently than it has in the past. We will explore training solutions for each of the above behavior problems and more in the next part of this series. Part two of this article is now available here.

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    Have you always had a way with dogs and wanted to do something more with this passion? At CATCH, we understand! Our national courses are designed to make you a pro and our Student Support Team would love to answer your questions and learn more about your goals. Click here to discover what you can learn at CATCH and how you can help dogs and their owners with pro skills of your own.

  • The Reward of Training Shelter Dogs

  • Students Gain Training Skills, Dogs Get Life Skills: Win-Win!

    We worked with so many amazing dogs during the most recent sessions of the CATCH Hands-On Programs at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center. Some needed new social skills, some needed manners, and they all needed time out of their kennels to experience mental stimulation, exercise, and attention from dedicated students.

    Whether it was pairing the dogs for play groups and then studying their body language, or figuring out how to help an individual dog overcome a specific fear – we learned as much from them as they learned from us. The dogs said “thank you” in their own ways – wagging tails, eager “smiles”, and focused attention on learning new behaviors. We were overjoyed to see many of them get adopted right before our very eyes. Check out some video examples of the great work the students and dogs did together. (If you’d like more details on the challenges the dogs presented and how we solved them, read the detailed descriptions under the videos on the CATCH YouTube channel.)

    Nami Fear of Doorways (Before Training)

     

    Nami Fear of Doorways (Partial Progress)

     

    Nami Fear of Doorways (After Training)

     

    Ozone – Rowdy Jumper (Before)

     

    Ozone Learning to “Get Dressed” (Training Progress)

     

    Ozone Off Leash Recall Outdoors with Distractions (After Training)

     

    Ozone Walking on a Loose Leash with Attention (After Training)

     

    Hazel Leash Reactivity B-Mod (Partial Progress)

     

    Hazel Leash Reactivity B-Mod Improvements (After Training)

     

    Hazel Leash Reactivity B-Mod – Total Self-Control (After Training)

    Interested in taking your love for dogs to another level by learning professional training skills? Get in touch with us through the Quick App here. Our friendly Student Support team would love to hear about your questions and goals. You can also call or email: 877.752.2824 (877.75.CATCH) | studentsupport@catchdogtrainers.com

  • CATCH Director Teaching at Shelter Pro Education Series

  • Behavior Workshop for Dog Shelter Staff & Volunteers

    Working with shelter dogs is a passion of ours at CATCH.

    If you are a volunteer or staff member at a shelter in the NJ-NY-PA region, come out for a great day of studying dog body language with CATCH School Director, David Muriello, CPDT-KA. St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center has invited David to be a presenter for their Shelter Partner Workshop series. Please note, St. Hubert’s requires that you show proof of working at a shelter in order to register because the event is part of a special program where attendees only pay $10 to participate.

    This is going to be a fascinating day of exploring how to interpret canine body language and better understand how dogs see you. Audience participation with video analysis and live demos with shelter dogs will all be part of the action.

    The upcoming workshop is on Wednesday, January 27th at 10am. For more details or contact info to register, visit the Professional Education section of St. Hubert’s website.
  • CATCH Graduate Wins the APDT Brochure Contest

  • Congratulations to Gabrielle Kelly, CCDT

    A peek at two sections from the winning brochure which highlighted positive training and an approach tailored to each individual dog.

    A peek at two sections from the winning brochure which highlighted positive training and an approach tailored to each individual dog.

    Gabrielle, a graduate of the CATCH Master Class, recently attended the Association of Professional Dog Trainers Conference in Dallas and won the Brochure Contest for her business, The Good Mannered Dog.

    Gabrielle’s brochure highlights her use of reward-based training methods, her customized private lessons services, and her certification from CATCH.

    Wining the contest earned Gabrielle access to the entire online library from the 2014 APDT Educational Conference. That should be some outstanding learning material!

    The Good Mannered Dog brochure design will also be featured in the upcoming edition of the APDT’s Chronicle of the Dog Magazine. Way to go, Gabrielle!

  • When Students and Shelter Dogs Succeed, Our Hearts Sing

  • There’s Nothing Better than Teaching Great Students

    Shelter Dog Training - Puppy Training - CATCH Canine Trainers Academy

    Whether they were naive puppies or savvy seniors, maniac mutts or powerful purebreds, the Class of Spring 2015 was excited to train, and we trained ’em all!

    During the Spring session of the CATCH University for Dog Trainers (our 6-week on-campus course), Pia Silvani and I were reminded of all the reasons why we love teaching. There is something magical about sharing what you know with enthusiastic students. When you see them work hard to build their skills, and then turn around and use what they’ve learned to make a positive difference with shelter dogs, it is hugely rewarding for everyone.

    Tears of joy were shed during graduation when we looked back on all that was accomplished and talked about the wonderful dogs we got to work with (many of which got adopted during the course). A huge thank you to the shelter staff at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center and the hard-working students themselves. Here are some video examples of the fine work they did.

    Chocko at Risk of Never Getting Adopted Due to Poor Kennel Presentation (Before Training)

    Chocko is Quiet and Friendly When His Kennel is Approached (After Training)

     

    Hooper Can’t Stop Jumping on Everyone (Before Training)

     

    Hooper Greets Politely (After Training)

     

    Sparky Climbs on People (Before Training)

    Sparky Sits to Greet (After Training)

    If you are interested in taking your love for dogs to another level by learning professional skills, get in touch with us through the Quick App here. Our friendly Student Support team would love to hear about your questions and goals. You can also call or email: 877.752.2824 (877.75.CATCH) | studentsupport@catchdogtrainers.com


  • CATCH Canine Trainers Academy Office Headquarters
    24 Newark Pompton Turnpike Suite 206, Little Falls, NJ.
    Phone: 877-752-2824