How to train an effective dog (SERIES)
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How to train an effective dog (SERIES)

This is a discussion on How to train an effective dog (SERIES) within the DIY forums, part of the General Discussion category; I figured it was well received on the other site, so why not move it here. Well, it was posed to me by forum members ...

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Thread: How to train an effective dog (SERIES)

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    How to train an effective dog (SERIES)

    I figured it was well received on the other site, so why not move it here.

    Well, it was posed to me by forum members that I should help the community by tapping my knowledge of training Military Working Dogs, Specialized Search Dogs, Law Enforcement Patrol Dogs, etc and writing about some methods to help you get your four legged child to be an effective member of your team. I suppose I could start with a bit of resume so you know I'm not some fraud trying to pretend I know what I'm talking about. I start here. I enlisted in the USAF in Dec 1998. I became a USAF security forces (MP equivalent) in 1999. In 2002 I was selected for Department of Defense K9 school. I went and graduated same year. After graduation, I spent 5 years on 3 dogs before transferring to a combat unit. Once there, I went to various schools and spent 2 years in Iraq supporting combat operations (4 years total in the Combat Unit). I came home to become a trainer and eventual kennel master. I spent 6 months in an SSD (Specialized Search Dog) school, and gave another year to training field ready off leash search dogs. I do not have a PhD in dog training...but I do have OVER a decade in effective combat and law enforcement dog training techniques used by the DoD and Law Enforcement Agencies. I absolutely can teach you the "real shit" and will answer ANY credibility questions you can come up with. I've been to combat...and used my dogs in combat. I can tell you that I am absolutely confident that I would NOT sell my peers here a line of BS. With that being said...

    I thought this would be a very tough task indeed as there are hundreds of methods that one can use to make Fido into a machine. You MUST remember this as I write these articles. I am trying to take a systematic approach to this. We’ll start with the basics and work into a more advanced type of training regimen in later installments. So let’s begin with:

    How do you communicate effectively with your dog?

    Simple. Dogs have 4 primary needs that must be satisfied to keep the alive, trained, and happy. They are: Air (Oxygen), Food, Water, and Socialization…in that order. Air is obvious…without it, they die same as humans. Take away a dogs ability to breathe, and instantly they panic and fear death. A solid correction on a choke collar should almost trigger a fight or flight response. It’s an instinctual reaction to a lack of oxygen. Think of how you would behave if someone was choking you out…suddenly, you forget that you were hungry 10 seconds ago. But Smokin, why is food higher than water (on this list) to a dog? Well to an undomesticated dog, water is more abundant in nature than food. They can find it in puddles, gutters, lakes, ponds, etc. with minimal; or less effort than finding food. Food in the wild is a MUCH harder resource to come by for a dog. They have to track it, stalk it, catch it, kill it, and eat it. This behavior usually takes a pack to accomplish effectively. So naturally, the effort expended to catch and kill prey is much more than that of finding water. Coincidentally, this is why socialization is on this list. Without it, they could never form a pack, and hunting becomes infinitely harder. This helps us understand a dog’s motivation to learn. We often use treats, cookies (Milkbones, or similar treats) to reward our kids when they perform a task successfully. This is a second order effect of successful training behavior. The owner (you) is taught the limited basics from friends, experimenting with previous pets, family, internet, etc. Don’t worry, not many errors that are made here, can’t be undone. So lets get started.

    All dog training revolves around reward schedules. There is a certain level of knowledge had by the teacher (you) that is needed for this to be effective. This is also dependent on what type of training you are using. There is compulsiion training, and inducive training. Compulsion training is what the military and law enforcement agencies predominantly use, as the consequences for the dogs mean MUCH more than when using inducive techniques (Disclaimer: this is subjective to the dog being trained. Some dogs favor compulsion vs. inducive and vice versa). There is: Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, Negative Punishment, and Positive Punishment. By using a collar correction (choke/pinch collar) we are affecting their primary instincts of survivial rather than using inducive techniques. Compulsion in general takes far less time than inducively training your dog. This is also dependent on how good of a trainer you are. I personally prefer inducive techniques as I feel it makes the dog happier, and more eager to learn/please. Compulsion can break the spirit of weaker willed dogs, thus you must choose which is most effective for your dog.

    POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT: The application of praise or reward for doing a correct behavior

    NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT: The with-holding a collar correction for performing a task incorrectly

    NEGATIVE PUNSHIMENT
    : The with-holding of praise or reward for performing a task incorrectly

    POSITIVE PUNISHMENT: The application of a collar correction for performing a task incorrectly

    Smokin, What is Praise?

    Simply put, praise is when you get stupid happy for your dog. You show them that you’re super happy for them by jumping the octave of your voice as high as it will go before you lose it. For example…WOOOOO-HOOOO WHAT A GOOD BOY!!!! Expressed like you’re a cheer-leader in high school. WOOOOOOOOOO!!!! LOOK AT THAT DOG!!!!! The most amazing, happy, sensation of vocal expression you can give your dog. Go as high as you can get…don’t be shy. Don’t feel awkward. Your dog deserves this level of enthusiasm…they’re trying as hard as they can for it. Praise can also be a combination of verbal and physical praise. Crying with joy as mentioned, paired with vigorous petting on the head/torso is effective in letting the dog know that they are succeeding in the desired task. Rewards are also given as praise. Dog treats, petting, a chew toy, high octave of voice are all examples of effective praise. I can’t emphasize how IMPORTANT effective praise is! Think of yourself as working hard at your job and never getting a pay check. Wouldn’t that upset you? Dogs are no different. If you don’t praise them effectively, they will lose focus and not want to learn from you. Here is something else to think about with praise. If you consistently verbally AND physically (reward and/or petting) praise your dog at the same time, you will trigger a “positive transfer of learning” (PTOL) without having done anything that you’re aware of. The reason this is beneficial is because when you get more advanced in your reward schedules, Fido will understand verbal praise is praise, just like physical praise. This is how Fido learns what “good boy” really means. I’ll discuss PTOL a bit later. Just know that every PTOL is beneficial to training your pet. PRAISE IS CRUCIAL TO EFFECTIVE TRAINING! If you can't praise effectively, you might as well stop here as you will not be successful in your endeavor.

    What is a correction?

    A correction is the consequence given by the handler/trainer when Fido responds to a command. Fido can of course respond correctly or incorrectly. A successful response results in praise, where as an incorrect response invokes a correction. Corrections are very important to the success of all dog training, and how much Fido enjoys learning along the way. Overuse of harsh physical corrections can quickly shut a dog’s drive down. Imagine that every time you made a mistake (no matter how minor) while driving your car, the result was a horrific near death collision. Pretty quickly you would lose the desire to drive at all. Now imagine that you make a simple mistake like drifting too far to the right on the freeway. This is an honest mistake with the result being driving over the rumble strip and vibrating the vehicle for a second. This subtle “correction” refocused your attention, and the lesson was learned, but you never feared death. That is the idea behind the usage of your corrections. They must be timed correctly, and be harsh enough ONLY to get your point across. The severity of the correction is ALWAYS up to the handler. Ensure that the punishment “fits the crime”. Make sense? There are two types of corrections, verbal and physical. Let’s explore them.

    What is a verbal correction?


    A verbal correction is when you use an angry or downright irate tone of voice with your dog when an undesired behavior is displayed. Remember me mentioning PTOL earlier? Here’s an example of another PTOL. When you pair a harsh verbal “NO!” at the SAME TIME as a collar correction, FIDO now understands that “NO!” is bad. This means that in the future, you can dial down your verbal corrections to the point where it’s no longer a harsh verbal “NO!” but rather a normal volume “No.” But, isn’t that negative? No, it is positive because you are advancing to an easier (read: less harsh) reward schedule every time you’re able to apply a soft verbal correction instead of a harsh collar correction or vice versa. It makes Fido more willing to learn when/if he’s not getting harsh corrections every time he makes a mistake.

    What is a physical correction?

    Most people don’t have the heart for compulsion. The thought of correcting their beautiful puppy on a choke chain makes them cringe. Fear not. Collar corrections solidify your place as the pack “alpha”. This has to happen. Without an effective collar correction, the dog will not understand that you are above them in the pack order, and resistance will occur constantly, especially with a stubborn or alpha type dog. This correction or training type is mandatory when training attack dogs. If they don't fear you by way of correction, they won't fear the prey/victim (or have issues viewing you as the prey). This behavior will add time to your training, and make it more difficult. You (yes, YOU!) MUST be able to “pop the dog a good one.” Did you ever spank a child that was out of line? Did you ever yell at your child when they brought home an F on their report card? If you did, then you possess the required skill to correct your dog effectively. A choke chain, pinch collar, or E-collar is needed to get the point across to your dog. (Please CONTACT ME before you use an E-COLLAR!!!!!! Lack of knowledge or misuse of these can be EXTREMELY DETRIMENTAL in the wrong hands). Ideally, you want to reach the point in which you can alternate between a soft spoken “no” and a light collar correction. This will ensure that Fido doesn’t shut down due to excessive or over whelming corrections. In the industry we call the being “heavy-handed.” With this being said…timing of said corrections is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE!

    Whoa, wait a minute Smokin…why is timing important?

    Timing is one of the (if not the MOST IMPORTANT PART of) parts of training. It lets you know when you’re succeeding or failing in your endeavor. The problem with timing, is that it’s a skillset learned with practice, trial and error. The danger being that you can cause more damage with improperly timed or delayed corrections than you ever can with improper techniques. The dog MUST know, by judicious use of your corrections, if they are succeeding or failing at the task that you are teaching them. Chances are if Fido is having difficulty learning simple tasks, it’s because the timing of your rewards or corrections is lacking. In this situation, it’s better to end the session, and attempt again at a later time.

    Have I peaked your interest? Should I keep going?
    Last edited by Smokin04; 10-29-2014 at 06:24 PM.
    Only the dead have seen the end of war. - Plato

    Fate whispers to the warrior, You cannot withstand the storm. The warrior replies, I am the storm.

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    Next installment...

    So, what’s a “Reward”?

    A reward can be anything that the dog likes, and similarly dislike. Confused yet? I’ll break it down for you. All dogs have what called a “Hierarchy of Intensity”(HOI from here on out). HOI can best be described like a 3 or 4 level pyramid with all the things a dog values (or dislikes) inside of it. You must find out what is at the top of your dog’s HOI to train efficiently. For example, if you bought some fancy designer dog treats for Fido to train with, great! But what if Fido doesn’t really like them? Or maybe he likes them, but not as much as he loves his tennis ball. The nasty treats will be naturally lower on his HOI than his tennis ball. So you the owner decide to attempt training using the treats instead of the ball. Do you think he really gives a crap if he messes up a task? If all his mistakes mean is not having to eat one of those nasty treats, then that works out good for Fido. But if you use his tennis ball…the one thing that he loves more than life itself, you’ll for sure have Fido’s attention. There is also HOI for the compulsion side of the house. If you are amazing at collar corrections, they can easily top the dogs HOI because he damn sure doesn’t like getting popped on the collar. The unpleasantness of them jumps right to the top of that pyramid. So for the positive reward, you can use the tennis ball as the most effective positive reinforcement, and the pop on the choke chain would be the most effective positive punishment. The negatives would be the with-holding of either…as mentioned earlier. I have created the graphic below to try and depict how a dog values certain stimuli. The green triangle is how they value positive stimuli, whereas the red triangle depicts how they value negative stimuli. The middle is considered the neutral value. This is the area in which the dog is not actively learning. All of this varies from dog to dog and it is up to you to figure out (or at least have a general idea) your dog’s HOI.

    How to train an effective dog (SERIES)-hoi.png

    So Smokin, How does a dog really learn then? What’s happening in Fido’s mind when I tell him to sit?

    I’m glad you asked. When you present Fido with your stimulus, let’s say a “Sit” command for example. Fido can choose to either sit, or to not sit (response). But each action has a consequence. If he sits as requested, he gets a treat or praise from mommy/daddy. If he doesn’t sit, he doesn’t get the treat, or worse he gets popped on the collar (consequence). See, it really is that simple.

    So what is all that response, stimulus stuff?

    There is a stimulus, a response, and a consequence. A stimulus can be the command from the handler or a change in environment. A response is simply the response that the dog displays based on the stimulus presented. The consequence is the result of the sequence. Dr. Ivan Pavlov’s experiment on operant conditioning displayed this beautifully. Pavlov would ring a bell (stimulus) and then offer a dog a treat (consequence). (DISCLAIMER: There was much more to his experiments than what I mentioned, but for simplicity sake, I will paraphrase.) The response from the dog was salivation when offered the treat. Eventually, the dog would salivate at just the sound of the bell ringing. This was an example of a conditioned “response” from the dog based on the “stimulus” presented. This idea is the basis for training. So how did Pavlov ensure the dog would salivate EVERYTIME the bell rang? By use of a reward schedule! He would ring the bell before EVERY treat was given. This is called a Fixed Ratio reward schedule. He later changed it to combinations of Variable Ratio and Variable Interval schedules by giving a treat every other bell ring, or after certain periods of time had passed. The dog would still salivate every time he heard the bell. He had solidified a “conditioned response.” Since we’re talking about reward schedules and how Pavlov used them, I suppose I should discuss the 4 types. They are:

    FIXED INTERVAL: A fixed schedule where the first response is rewarded only after a specified amount of time has elapsed. An example would be if the dog “stays” for 30 seconds then is given his ball or reward.

    VARIABLE INTERVAL: A variable schedule in which the dog receives his reward after a varying amount of time has passed. An example would be if a dog “stays” for 5 seconds, then is rewarded; then the next attempt the dog must wait 50 seconds before receiving the ball or reward.

    FIXED RATIO: A stable schedule which states the dog will get the reward every time, every other time, every 5th time, etc. they successfully accomplish a task. This is used in the initial and intermediate phases of training a new task or behavior. You use this to reinforce the desired behavior until the dog performs consistently.

    VARIABLE RATIO: A variable schedule in which the dog will receive the reward at random times. This is the most desirable and considered the maintenance phase of training. Do not use this schedule until the dog is consistently performing the response you’ve conditioned.

    All that’s great, but what does that mean to me?

    It means that YOU must decide which schedule to use and continue to adjust it as needed. You can always go back to a Fixed Ratio/Interval schedule to reinforce a desired behavior. But, transferring too soon to a Variable Ratio/Interval may inhibit your training as a successful response does not automatically mean the dog understands fully. So again, be careful about transitioning too soon.

    Now, a bit more on timing. The idea is to apply a physical correction (compulsion) or give a reward (inducive, food or treat) EXACTLY AT THE MOMENT the dog is performing (or not performing, compulsion) the desired task. The larger the amount of time from correct/incorrect performance and application of punishment or reward, the larger area of confusion for the dog. Think of it this way: If you give your dog the command to “Sit”, and the dog sits as instructed…you want to “reward” the dog the MOMENT their butt touched the floor. That is the correct TIME to reward or correct the dog. If it’s delayed or late, they will wonder why they are being corrected or rewarded. Ideal timing happens when the reward or correction is received EXACTLY when the response is occurring. Correct timing will REINFORCE the command of sit, and the desired behavior displayed by the dog. To the contrary, if the dog does NOT sit, you can either withhold the reward (inducive) or apply a collar correction (compulsive). You can also use “Escape training” here, but I will discuss that later.


    Okay, I’m starting to understand now. But how do I decide which techniques or reward schedules to use on my dog?

    For me, this is an easy choice. I ALWAYS BEGIN with inducive training methods and fixed reward schedules. I feel that all dogs (unless extremely elderly) start training in a positive (almost puppy-like) state of mind. By using inducive methods, it keeps the dog motivated without negatively affecting its drive. But there is also a place for compulsion, mainly in attack or combat dogs. If your dog will EVER be trained in attack work, I consider compulsion training a mandatory step in the training ladder. The reason being is that there are numerous reasons for calling a dog off an attack. They could be risking their safety, hurting the victim (decoy), or numerous other reasons (think accidental attack of a loved one in a dark room or encountering a venomous snake). They must understand that the consequences of not releasing or obeying when instructed are serious, and that they need to mind the handler always. You are being forceful with the dog because they have the potential to seriously injure or even kill whatever they’re biting. Therefore they must understand that your instructions are not something they can “blow off” without risking serious injury to themselves. I also favor compulsion if my dogs will be used off-leash at any time. The collar corrections come into play when the dog is frolicking…and sees a squirrel that just ran in front of them. Without that memory of getting his “butt whooped by daddy”, the prey drive urge will be too much to overcome. In other words, the squirrel was a temporary addition to their HOI; that instinctually means more to them than the tennis ball. Thus, your dog’s previous training goes right out the window in his moment of temporary bliss.

    Now I have some homework for you. Research the “drive” or “drives” in dogs. This will assist you in deciding if your dog has what it takes to be a trained bad-ass. I am going to forego discussing drive, as it will add a tremendous amount of information that is well documented and readily available for your viewing pleasure online. Manipulations of these drives are what’s used to train attack dogs from the beginning. Now, I will discuss some basic obedience techniques that are the foundation of all training.
    Hopefully you all did your homework on “drive”. As we progress, I will reference various drives that we are influencing or affecting. I will assume that you did the homework and understand what I’m discussing.
    Last edited by Smokin04; 10-29-2014 at 06:43 PM.
    bigwheel, Arklatex, Auntie and 6 others like this.
    Only the dead have seen the end of war. - Plato

    Fate whispers to the warrior, You cannot withstand the storm. The warrior replies, I am the storm.

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    Hopefully you all did your homework on “drive”. As we progress, I will reference various drives that we are influencing or affecting. I will assume that you did the homework and understand what I’m discussing.

    Before we get to teaching our dogs stuff,

    We must first start with proper gear selection.

    There are several pieces to choose from, all with different functions. How do you select the right gear? You must first decide what kind of training you’re going to be conducting. Inducive techniques will focus on usage of basic collars, leashes, harnesses, toys and treats. Remember HOI earlier? Pick/purchase the toys or treats that Fido loves. Always have more than one in case it gets lost, broken, chewed up, consumed, etc. A good way to tell which treats your dog prefers is to buy 3 or 4 different kinds (in small quantity, no need to spend a fortune) and let the dog sample each one. Then close your fist around 2 treats a time and take note of which fist the dog favors. Of the 2, they prefer that one. Disregard the other. Repeat this process with the remaining treats until a clear victor emerges. You can use this technique with toys too. Now you know Fido’s favorite thing. (PERSONAL INPUT: If you must use food, never underestimate small pieces of regular old hot dogs as treats. Most dogs go bonkers over hot dogs and we use them to teach sniffing behavior.)

    Compulsion and aggression training requires a different set of gear. Choke chains, pinch collars, E-collars, harnesses, muzzles, bite muzzles, bite sleeves, hidden sleeves, bite jackets, bite suits, scratch pants, whips, back ties, bungee back ties, long leads, etc. Notice this list is far more in depth than the inducive one. If you ever plan on training your dogs for personal protection or attack work of any kind, you MUST HAVE this gear! If you don’t, you will likely not be able to effectively train your dog. (If you can without this gear, please call me because we can open a business LOL!) I would consider the BARE MINIMUM for attack work gear would be: 6’ leash, 30’ leash, choke chain, leather collar, soft bite sleeve, scratch pants, and a whip or agitation stick. You might be able to get the job done without scratch pants, but damn you’re going to be in for some long and painful days. As we get into the protection stuff later, you will hear me reference these tools. Please keep them in the back of your mind as we will get to them eventually.

    One piece of gear I really despise is the pinch collar. So many people buy them because they make their dog look mean. This is such a terrible thought process. Pinch collars should be used ONLY when a dog’s titration level is beyond the level that choke chains are effective.

    Whoa, whoa, what’s a titration level Smokin?

    Put simply, it’s a dog’s tolerance for pain. When you administer a choke collar correction, and the dog doesn’t even flinch, they have a higher titration level. If you barely pop the dog on the collar and they practically roll over and die, pee on themselves or cry out in agony, then your dog has a lower titration level. Make sense? In a decade of handling/training with hundreds of mean, nasty 100+ pound shepherds and mals (affectionately called “ass-eaters”), I’ve only seen 2 dogs that ACTUALLY required a pinch collar. And that’s usually because the handler couldn’t dish out an effective choke collar correction. A choke chain works like its name implies. Apply pressure, it temporarily interrupts blood flow to the brain (hard continuous pressure) and also restricts the airway in the throat and “chokes” the dog. A pinch (also called a “prong”) collar is worn like a choke chain, except it doesn’t “choke” the dog. It uses the prongs to pull sections of skin together and “pinch” the skin/scruff of the neck. Have you ever pinched your skin in a door, or when using a tool or something? It’s painful to say the least. If hard pressure is applied, these prongs can actually dig into the muscles in the neck and “pinch” them. This can be very dangerous as you can cause damage to muscle tissue if abused. See why I despise them? Most handlers don’t have the required leash skill to “pop a dog on a pinch.” They cause the dog immense pain, thus, I don’t like them…but I know they do have their place. Please contact me if you suspect your dog will need a pinch collar.

    Cool Smokin, so I bought my gear. Now tell me how to use this stuff will ya?

    Sure thing. Basic collars, leashes, and harnesses are pretty self-explanatory. If you can’t figure those out, please stop reading and release your dog into the wild, they’ll be better off. Moving on. One piece of gear constantly put on wrong is a choke chain. This is bad for Fido because you can really mess him up when you do this wrong. The CORRECT way to install a choke chain is to put the dog on your left side (a.k.a “Heel” position). The choke chain should for a “P” as you’re looking at it. If it’s forming a “Q” it’s on backwards and will not release properly when correcting. (See pictures below) You can also use a "cheater ring" to keep the choke chain in the correct placement on the dog's head. These are awesome for big headed dogs with little necks (like pit bulls). Their use ensures effective corrections everytime as they do not allow the choke chain to fall down, or "sag".

    "P" correct
    How to train an effective dog (SERIES)-choke-right.jpg

    "Q" incorrect
    How to train an effective dog (SERIES)-choke-wrong.jpg

    Correct worn
    How to train an effective dog (SERIES)-mms_picture_3.jpg

    Incorrectly worn
    How to train an effective dog (SERIES)-incorrect.jpg

    Seen here with a "Cheater Ring"
    How to train an effective dog (SERIES)-cheater-20ring.jpg


    (SIDE NOTE: Big thanks to my model Dade. Dade is my 9 year old belgian malanois. And those with keen eyes will notice my female dutch in the background. She's a war hero, been blown up twice in Iraq and after 16 years, she's still kicking. You may have noticed, I do not have a basic/leather collar on my dogs. This is because they are very advanced dogs. They are in the maintenance phase of training only only require verbal instructions to comply. So, for me, it's un-needed gear.)

    How many of you just looked at your dog and noticed you had it on wrong? Poor dog, shame on you mommy/daddy. It’s okay…you didn’t know. That’s why you’re reading this. The choke chain should go ABOVE the leather collar (or basic collar). The higher the choke chain (closer to the ears) the more effective the correction and less force is needed by the handler to apply a solid correction. The two rings are called the “active” ring, and the “dead” ring. The active ring is the one that will activate the choke chain when pressure is applied. The dead ring is called the dead ring because when pressure is applied, it does not choke the dog. The active ring should be used when training, but when your session is done ensure that you put your leash back on the dead ring. No sense in continuing to choke Fido is you’re not telling him to do anything. I know what you’re thinking, what’s the basic collar on there for then? We don’t use it when training right? Wrong! The basic (leather) collar is there for more of a psychological effect and comes into play when doing aggression training. It gives the handler another form of control when trying to get the dog to release the decoy. More on that later. When you’re walking with your dog, the leash should be connected to the basic collar AND the active ring on the choke. Then when it’s time to train, you click the leash onto ONLY the active ring. This effectively puts the dog into “work” mode. It’s like an “On” switch. When training is over, by clicking the leash back up to the collar and the choke, it tells the dog, “You can relax now.” It is also a fail-safe, because if your basic collar breaks for some reason, the choke becomes “active” and gets Fido’s attention. Make sense?

    But what if I use a harness?

    Harnesses are great, and they have their place. But to put your dog in a harness just because they pull on walks is not the right answer. Harnesses are used for patrolling (long walks) when the dog is “on point” and actively searching, or when you’re doing drive building, bite building, or commitment issue type training. The harness is effective when Fido really wants that decoy, and your holding him back (kind of like when a track runner uses a parachute to increase drag) to intensify his drive, without applying pressure to the neck. Using a collar for drive building can be counter-productive in training because even though you’re not actively choking the dog, the pressure they are exerting to forward motion will manifest in the dogs neck. Try this, push in on your throat with the palm of your hand and try to move your head forward while breathing heavy. Notice the feeling of labored breathing and discomfort? Multiply that feeling by 10 for Fido because he’s running and trying to reach a point. Now, apply that same picture to a back pack. Put on a back pack, and have someone hold it from behind. Now you run…You can drag the person holding it, and while yes it’s more difficult to move than if no one was holding it, it doesn’t cause you pain or decrease your motivation to continue running. Well not to the dog anyway. I consider a harness an advanced piece of gear used by serious handlers and trainers. It can build drive to incredible levels when used correctly, and conversely have detrimental effects when used incorrectly. You can NEVER physically correct a dog when attached to a harness. Thus, the collar/choke chain combo and YOUR VOICE are still the only way to physically/verbally correct your dog effectively.

    Feel free to ask questions. I’ll write more this weekend…
    Last edited by Smokin04; 10-18-2014 at 11:21 AM.
    bigwheel, Arklatex, Auntie and 5 others like this.
    Only the dead have seen the end of war. - Plato

    Fate whispers to the warrior, You cannot withstand the storm. The warrior replies, I am the storm.

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    Originally Posted by Innkeeper

    Hey great Thread so far Smokin, will this next segment cover my biggest issue? I have as posted on the other forum a 2 year old Chocolate Lab, I use her for upland birds and she does great at that learned from the older Yellow's our family has. My biggest issue with rain is her jumping, she gets all excited and worked up when I take her anywhere, or she sees a new face, and tries jumping up on them for attention, she is like a 5 yr old with ADHD. My mother she still tries grabbing the cuff of her shirt or coats with her teeth, as a puppy she did it to me but a "no" and a light cuff has broke her of this...so far with everyone but my mom, who I think is afraid of hurting her and does not give her the light cuff. My biggest issue is trying to curb the jumping, do you think the choke chain will do this? or what would be the best method?
    A choke chain will fix this yes.



    Simple answer (inducive method), ignore the dog when it's jumping (negative punishment, withholding of positive attention while acting improperly). Then praise the dog (give positive attention) when it's not jumping. Holding your knee out in front of you will often work too. Eventually, the dog will put 2 and 2 together and figure this out. Unfortunately, it may take longer than your patience for the dog to figure it out. So in this scenario I would use the compulsion method below.

    A choke (compulsive method) is a much more simple and quick fix. Put the choke chain on. Leave the leash connected to it when you know the dog will jump. Yes the dog will be dragging around a leash for a few minutes, no big deal. Put the dog in a situation that will make them jump, basically setting the dog up for failure. When the dog begins to jump, step on the leash close enough to where the dog gets corrected before they can jump all the way up. (In other words, its no good to step on the END of the leash in this scenario...you want to step where the leash just begins to touch ground.) The idea is to step where the leash will have enough slack to correct the dog when jumping ONLY. No reason to be pulling the dog towards the ground by stepping too high (closer to the collar) on the leash. The reason this is so effective is because the dog is correcting themself just by jumping. The mere act of jumping gives them a collar correction. They will learn VERY quickly that jumping without being told = pain.

    But Smokin, won't my dog always fear jumping?

    I like that you're thinking like that. That's called a "negative transfer of learning". But in this situation, no the dog wont for two reasons. 1) You have control of the leash when you step on it. Meaning, the dog corrects himself when the behavior is UNWANTED. 2) When the behavior is WANTED, you can command the dog to "HUP" (or what ever command you use to tell Rain to jump) and simply leave your foot OFF THE LEASH. The dog learns it's okay to jump ONLY when told.

    Give it a try and let me know.
    Only the dead have seen the end of war. - Plato

    Fate whispers to the warrior, You cannot withstand the storm. The warrior replies, I am the storm.

  6. #5
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    Okay then, to business. Here are some Basic Obedience techniques.

    Teaching their name.

    This is VERY easy. When the dog is around you, call their name. When they look at you or come to you, reward them with a treat or toy and lots of praise. Reinforce this behavior until you’re comfortable that they in fact recognize their name.

    The Sit.

    Sitting is the most important initial command a dog should learn. The reason for this is because it is the basis for most following commands, positions, and actions. By the dog learning sit first, you will be rewarded with a “positive transfer of learning.” What does that mean to you? It means that when your dog learns to sit consistently, you can move onto “Stay”, “Heel”, “Down”, etc. more easily. You can do this technique in NUMEROUS different ways. To avoid writing a novel, I will walk you through one Inducive method, and one compulsion method.

    Sit: (Inducive technique)

    Having a treat or toy in your right hand, stand (or kneel, not when using compulsion though) directly in front of the dog at end of leash. End of leash is 4-5 feet directly in front of the dog with the leash attached to the active ring of the choke chain, but not taught and not touching the ground. Make sure the treat or toy is observable (but not necessarily visible, meaning they can smell it and deduce it’s in your hand) to the dog. Get the dogs attention. Usually saying their name will work (but don’t overdo it…we’re teaching the sit, not their name). Once you have the dogs attention, smoothly raise your arm in an upward, arcing motion (keeping your arm rigid) to a point just above the dog’s head and give the command of “Sit”. The natural movement of the dog’s head looking up will want to aid the dog in the “sit” position. Some dogs will pick this up very quickly. It is okay to repeat this arm motion until the dog completes the task. You will know if your motion is correct by the dog having to look UP at the back of your hand/fist. If the dog needs a bit of help, you can place your left palm on the base of the dogs tail and apply GENTLE pressure while re-stating the command of “Sit”. The MOMENT the dog’s butt hits the floor, IMMEDIATELY reward the dog with the treat and EXPLOSIVE, EXCITED PRAISE!! Repeat this procedure until Fido is sitting pretty every time.

    Sit: (Compulsion method)

    Usually the “Sit” is learned using the above method, but sometimes you get a real knuckle head for a dog that needs a bit more aggressive lesson. With that being said, begin by positioning yourself facing the dog at the end of leash. Review the inducive method above. How you command the dog is no different for either method. The same upward arcing of the hand paired with the verbal command of “Sit.” The difference is, now if the dog chooses not to sit, you verbally correct the dog with a stern “NO” while quickly and sternly applying UPWARD pressure on the choke chain applying a collar correction. The “NO” and the collar correction MUST BE at the same time. Remember my previous words about timing? This is where those skills come into play. If the “NO” and the choke do not happen at the same time, the dog will not pair the word “NO” with a mistake. As soon as you can, reinforce the command of “Sit”. There should be no delay in this issue of the command. It should be as fast as this: NO/Collar correction, Sit. As fast as you can read that is as fast as it should happen. If 2-3 attempts at this fail, you should resort to “Escape” train the dog into the correct position.

    So how do I escape the dog?

    Escape training


    Escape training is when you manipulate the choke chain long enough to maneuver the dog into the correct position. Meaning, apply the choke to the dog, forcefully manipulate the dog into the correct position and then release the choke. The methodology behind this technique is that the dog is experiencing pain in every position OTHER than the correct one. This method is pretty hard on the dog and should be used sparingly. However, the “Sit” and the “Heel” are often the commands where escape methods are most effective. I’m not sure if what I’m explaining makes sense, PM me if you need more clarification.

    Down: (Inducive method)

    Once the “sit” is established and the dog is comfortable performing the task repeatedly, we can move on to the down. From the sit position (dog) and the end of leash position (you), put a treat in your right hand. You want to thumb the treat in the palm of your hand, but leave your fingers extended. With your arm fully locked out (extended), move your arm in a downward swinging motion (like you’re swimming) towards the ground between the dogs front paws and speak the command of “Down.” The dog should follow the scent of the treat with their nose towards the ground where you’re pointing. Once the dog “downs” like you want them to, immediately reward them with the treat AND explosive praise! Try this a few times. If it doesn’t work, you may try turning your hand over so the dog can see the treat. Coax the dog towards the treat by reiterating the “down” command, and use your hand as a barrier between the dog and the treat. Once the dog performs the task, release the treat from your hand and praise excitedly.

    Down: (Compulsion method)

    From the sit position (dog) and the end of leash position (you), put the leash in your right hand. With your arm fully locked out (extended), move your arm in a downward swinging motion (like you’re swimming) towards the ground between the dogs front paws and speak the command of “Down.” If the dog does not perform, then step closer to the dog, give a swift choke on the chain in a DOWNWARD motion with a harsh verbal “NO!” Again, timing is critical. Reinforce the command of “Down” immediately after the “No”, in the same sentence. If you are still failing to succeed at this, give the dog a command he/she knows like “Sit” and reward the dog and finish the session for now. You ALWAYS want to end every session on a positive note. NEVER, EVER, EVER, end the session on a negative note or with a correction. It will cause numerous psychological/emotional training issues with the dog. The dog might even begin to fear you. Not good.

    Down: Escape (also compulsion) method

    With that being said, you can also use “escape training” to teach the “down” command. If the dog is reluctant to go into the appropriate position, you can apply choke collar pressure using “opposition reflection” to force the dog into the desired position. What this means is the tension should could from beneath the dog so it will WANT to lay down to release the pressure on the collar. When the dog is in the desired position, release collar pressure immediately and praise the dog. This will reinforce the correct position of the down, and the dog should catch on now.


    This upward and downward chain manipulation, why is that important?

    I’m glad you asked. The principle behind this is called “Opposition Reflection.” When someone pushes or pulls you in a direction, the body will have a tendency to go with the force to ease the strain of the force being exerted on the body. If you strain or fight the direction of the push, it increases the force of the push. It’s no different with a choke chain. When you pull on a chain in a direction, the dog needs to follow in the correct direction to alleviate the force of the choke. If they choose not to follow, then they get corrected harsher, solely because of their choice. Make sense?

    I'll cover Stay, Heel, and voice inflexion shortly.
    Last edited by Smokin04; 10-29-2014 at 06:49 PM.
    bigwheel, Arklatex, Auntie and 2 others like this.
    Only the dead have seen the end of war. - Plato

    Fate whispers to the warrior, You cannot withstand the storm. The warrior replies, I am the storm.

  7. #6
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    Also curious...is there anything that people want to learn how to train their dog to do? I can bring up basic training techniques and commands, but specialty stuff is what really gets challenging. Any thoughts from the crowd? I am almost avoiding teaching attack work to the community as I can just see that going wrong and someone getting bit or injured. I'm not sure I'd be okay with that.
    bigwheel, Auntie, Dalarast and 1 others like this.
    Only the dead have seen the end of war. - Plato

    Fate whispers to the warrior, You cannot withstand the storm. The warrior replies, I am the storm.

  8. #7
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    Great tutorial. Thanks. I am trying to get a crazy Shitzu named Bowzer to come when you call it. Any tips on that? He seems to be dumber than a box of rocks.

  9. #8
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    Holy shit guy, I don't think I've posted that many words during my entire tenure here. I'm still working on training my wife's feline friends to be attack cats (dogs are intimidating, but a furball flying off the top of the fridge and scratching your eyes out, that's gold), nevertheless I'm going to read this over when I have more time.
    TG likes this.
    Rest In Peace, Corporal Bradley Coy 06/08/92-10/24/14

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigwheel View Post
    Great tutorial. Thanks. I am trying to get a crazy Shitzu named Bowzer to come when you call it. Any tips on that? He seems to be dumber than a box of rocks.
    Too easy. Find a food reward (or any reward if he's not big on food treats) he likes. Call his name and reward him every time for coming to you. Continue doing this until he does it every time. After that, switch reward schedules to fixed ratio. Reward him every other time. Once he's still doing the action, switch to variable ratio and reward on random intervals to reinforce the behavior. If that doesn't work, let me know and I'll give you the compulsive method.
    bigwheel and TG like this.
    Only the dead have seen the end of war. - Plato

    Fate whispers to the warrior, You cannot withstand the storm. The warrior replies, I am the storm.

  11. #10
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    I have used your inductive training i learned on tje other site with my pack to great effect. I have even used the techniques to teach other commands that you haven't gone over yet, even my 8 year old lab learned to sit, stay and shake. Thanks and keep them coming.
    TG likes this.

 

 
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