Monday, August 25, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Training Your Dog with Patience and Kindness, Part III
Why did you get YOUR dog?
Photo by RYAN SAWHILL
The reasons that people end up with their canine companions are as diverse as the people of our island. Some folks get a dog and treat it almost like a child, pampering it as if it were human. Many others get dogs for protection and security, to alert them to people on their property. Some people can’t help themselves when they see a puppy; it is just so cute that they take it home. Still others don’t really plan their dog ownership, but by feeding a boonie dog it becomes their dog by default.
It doesn’t matter if you want your dog to be a guard dog that is never around strangers, or a friendly lap dog that will allow everyone to pet it, there is some basic training that will make you and your pets lives much easier.
We have explored most of the basic ideas that make up the foundation of a dog’s training in the first two articles of this series. In this final installment we will explain the finishing touches and talk about what may be needed to remind your dog of what you expect as it grows and matures.
First let’s look back at the basic commands that we have tried to teach our dog so far1:
* EASY: Our dogs, as well as our selves, need to be able to stay calm.
* ORIENTEERING: A sound or word that grabs our dog’s attention.
* RELEASE: Lets our pet know that they are free to be a dog.
* SIT: Basic behavior here…a sitting dog is NOT jumping on people.
* STAY: Basic at first, but staying for a short time is necessary for later lessons.
* HEEL: By keeping the dog near our heels as we walk, we teach the dog who is in charge.
* DOWN: Lying down is relaxing for dogs and can help to calm them.
* COME: We definitely want to be able to summon our pets on command.
We also began to train our dogs in proper off-the-leash behavior, starting with some psychological “leashes” that help ensure they will stick around when the real leash comes off in an open area.
All of these commands build open each other. It is quite possible to have a dog that will come when called, but it has a hard time being calm. And just like with children, repeating a command over and over again may dilute the message. I can’t count the number of people I have seen repeating “NO!” to their dog as it continuously jumps on someone, or nips at another dog, totally oblivious to its owners words.
So we try our best to teach our dogs all these basics, for the safety of others and, just as importantly, for our dogs safety. Nobody likes to see a dog get hit by a car; a dog that heels and obeys the “STAY” command has a better chance at avoiding that fate. And one who has been trained off-the-leash is even more likely to follow these commands.
At this point we have been training our dogs in an enclosed area, getting them used to being off the leash and coming to us, and heeling with the leash looped loosely around their necks. For the second phase of our off-the-leash training, we begin with the leash still looped so loosely around their necks that it is not even touching them. We are trying to control our dogs with our voices-not by the leash. Don’t forget the “easy” chant that we learned at the very beginning to help soothe our dog’s excitement.
Once we have confidence that our dog is responding to our verbal commands, it’s time to remove the leash. You can just slip the loop off their head, or if that excites them too much, try letting the end of the leash drop while holding the loop and it will just come undone. Either way, once the leash is gone we give a command to our dog. Whatever the dog is best at is a good start. Tell it to “sit”, or step a few feet away and tell it to “come”. Don’t try the hardest commands right off the bat, we do what our dog knows BEST!
As the dog continues to obey while off-the-leash, slowly increase the distance and time between commands. It is important to make this process gradual, and to pay attention to the dog’s attention. In the beginning, it may only be a few moments of total control while our pups are unleashed. Make the most of it, but be ready to re-leash the dog if necessary. And just like before, balance training time with a healthy amount of just-for-fun time for the dog. Nobody performs as well when it’s all work and no play.
Above all, remember that a dog is still just a dog, and it will probably make a run for it at some point. That is almost a given. The key is to STAY CALM and not turn to a ranting, yelling psychopath chasing after a fun-loving pet. Chasing a dog usually has the opposite effect of the one intended; dogs seem to think that pursuit equals play-time! So above all, when the dog decides to take advantage of its new-found freedom, try not to overreact. Follow after the dog slowly; repeating calming verbal corrections like “easy” and the dog’s name, until you are close enough to say “come” in a normal voice. It is generally not helpful to repeatedly shout “COME” for minutes on end.
Once the dog does come, PRAISE it for obeying. Do NOT punish it for its initial mischievousness! This can be a hard, especially if you have been chasing the dog for a while. This is the time to praise the dog for coming. Scolding the dog at this point will only confuse the animal. Just prepare yourself that this is going to happen, as the animal is going to test his/her boundaries. As long as we begin these lessons in a safe area, we can be okay with situations like this at the start.
Practice everything that we have learned with our dogs up to this point. Tell the dog to sit and stay. Then walk away, reminding the dog to stay if necessary. Get far away and tell them to lie down, and then call “Come!” Walk with them and allow them to move ahead of us and then use the “heel” command to bring them back to our side. It is so wonderful to be able to walk away from our dog for fifty yards, then turn around and find them sitting right where we left them! And then having them come as we call, sprinting towards us with their tongues flapping out of their mouths! It’s a sight you have to behold for yourself.
Continue to practice all of these commands according to your dog’s needs, realizing that some canines learn certain commands more quickly than others. If we are having trouble heeling off the leash, we can go back and practice the psychological links that we discussed in lesson four. If our dog is excitable, we get back to the “EASY” chant and petting that helps to calm us both down.
We can now begin to incorporate these commands into our daily routines. Use “sit” and “stay” as we are moving around the house and yard doing activities like going into the fridge or going into the garden. Surprise the dog with “come” when they least expect it. And always remember the “easy“ command. Praise often, telling the dog what a good job he/she is doing is an important reinforcement of their new behaviors.
Last but not least, love them as best you can. They will return it ten-fold. We wish you the best of luck with your furry companions. Be kind.
1 The dog training methods provided below were obtained in full from The Gentle EasyKind Way: Behavioral Training Methods. By Carl A. Koski.
In this issue, IL Magazine features Bryan Jones’ photography and John Jenkins’ music.Landing on the cover of IL Magazine’s July-August issue is seasoned photographer Bryan Jones’ photograph of a couple on Padre Island, in Texas—one of the photos he took as part of his Oasis Yoga 1980 Calendar project.
Jones was forced to leave his Bali home at the height of the political upheavals in
On the other hand, educator John G. Jenkins rediscovered his love for music while living on
Also, in this issue, take a look at what the $2.3 million
PAWS’ Rio Sawhill continues the series on training dogs with kindness and patience.
On a personal note, I would like to bid farewell to my friend Dennis Bognot who has chosen to pursue other endeavors. We appreciate your efforts in the three years you spent with IL Magazine as its advertising account executive. To Dennis, goodluck!
Readers and supporters, behold IL Magazine’s offering for the month.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Aug. 4 is celebrated as Coast Guard Day to honor the establishment on that day in 1790 of the Revenue Cutter Service, the predecessor of today's Coast Guard. On that date, Congress, guided by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, authorized the building of a fleet of 10 cutters, whose responsibility would be enforcement of the first tariff laws enacted by Congress under the Constitution.
The Coast Guard has been continuously at sea since its inception; although, the name Coast Guard didn't come about until 1915 when the Revenue Cutter Service was merged with the Lifesaving Service. The Lighthouse Service joined the Coast Guard in 1939, followed in 1946 by the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection. In 1967, after 177 years in the Treasury Department, the Coast Guard was transferred to the newly formed Department of Transportation. In 2003, the Coast Guard became a member of the Department of Homeland Security where it is today.
Coast Guard Day is primarily an internal activity for Coast Guard active duty, reservist, civilian, and auxiliarist personnel and their families to celebrate the Coast Guard's many accomplishments.
In Guam the Coast Guard 24 hour emergency number is 564-USCG. (USCG)
President Bush first announced this new recovery crediting guidance during his visit to Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland with Kempthorne on Oct. 20, 2007. A draft version of the guidance was later published in the Federal Register on Nov. 2, 2007 for public comment.
“Federal agencies play a key role in the recovery of hundreds of threatened and endangered species, but they cannot succeed without the support of private landowners,” said Kempthorne. “This recovery crediting system will make it easier for agencies to work with local communities and landowners to benefit imperiled plant and animal species across the nation.”
“The recovery crediting system serves as an additional cooperative conservation tool that will provide incentives for private landowners to conserve endangered species,” said Lynn Scarlett, Deputy Secretary of the Interior.
Under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, federal agencies are required to use their existing authorities to conserve threatened and endangered species and, in consultation with the Service, ensure that their actions do not jeopardize listed species or destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Section 7 applies to the management of federal lands as well as other federal actions that may affect listed species, such as federal approval of private activities through the issuance of permits and licenses.
Federal agencies will be able to use a recovery crediting system to create a “bank” of credits accrued through beneficial conservation actions undertaken on non-federal lands. A federal agency can develop and store these conservation credits for use at a later time to offset the impacts of its actions. Credits must be used to benefit the same species for which they were accrued. The Service will review each recovery crediting system to ensure the net benefits to recovery outweigh any potential impacts that could occur during project implementation. Each proposal will be evaluated on its own merit, and some activities related to particular listed species may not be appropriate for the new credit system.
The program is modeled on a pilot program developed at Fort Hood in Texas involving the Service, the Department of Defense, the Texas State Department of Agriculture and other agencies. Using the pilot recovery crediting system, the U.S. Army has been able to fund habitat conservation and restoration projects with willing local landowners on more than seven thousand acres of private land surrounding the military base to benefit the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. Fort Hood provides important training areas for troops deploying to Iraq and is also home to the largest known population of golden-cheeked warblers in its breeding range. The credits accrued through these off-base conservation efforts ensure that the Army can conduct mission-critical field training at Fort Hood while continuing to benefit the warbler in its home range. Fort Hood has also been able to build important partnerships through this pilot program that will continue to benefit the golden-cheeked warbler and other imperiled species.
“So many of our nation's imperiled species live on non-federal land,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall. “This system will make it easier for other federal agencies to reach out to the American people and work with landowners to do what we can't do alone.”
A notice of the availability of the guidance was published in the Federal Register on July 31, 2008. The guidance may also be downloaded from the Service's web site at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/policy/june.2008.html.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 548 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. (DOI)