Day 17: Indoor Recall

Recall is of life and death importance outside when your dog is running towards potential danger. It's also important inside the house. You need your dog to move to you inside when required. If you only call your dog inside for baths or nail trims, your dog isn't going to be motivated to come when you call inside—unless he knows a walk or ball of food is coming. ...
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Day 16: Refresh the Basics

Most likely, you did some training with your dog when you first brought him home. Whether you took her to classes, hired a private trainer, ir relied on web videos, you probably covered sit, down, and some other basic commands. But how often do you practice? As we have been discussing this month, it's great to work cues into your daily schedule. However, it's also a good idea to review the cues themselves periodically, especially if there are some you don't use frequently or usually use only in specific contexts....
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Day 15: Surfaces

Your dog is probably used to walking on carpet and sidewalks. Maybe you also have tile and hardwood floors in your home. And likely your dog also spends time on grass. But how comfortable is your dog on grates or drains? What about docks and piers? Dogs don't instinctively understand these different surfaces. You can help your dog by introducing him or her to different surfaces early and taking as much time as needed to adjust. You won't cover every surface your dog may encounter in life, but you can help increase his or her overall comfort with new surfaces....
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Day 14: Equip Yourself

You need to have the right equipment for what you want to do. I don't recommend trail hiking in dress shoes, and I don't recommend walking your dog without the appropriate gear. We used to use a harness for Sirius Black, but after he lost his sight, he found the harness stressful, so we switched to a wide martingale collar that he seems to find easier but doesn’t put too much pressure on his throat. ...
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Day 12: Life Rewards

Yesterday, I mentioned storing food treats around the house. This is a great tool, especially for food motivated dogs. There are other types of rewards as well. These include non-food items (toys, chews) and activities (walks, bell rubs). Often called "life rewards," it is important that these rewards actually be rewarding for your dog. Is a bath rewarding? Probably not for most dogs, but possibly for some. Is a walk rewarding? Probably for most dogs, but possibly not for some. Your knowledge of your dog will be the best way for you to judge what is a good life reward. However, it is important to think about what is rewarding for your dogs rather than what you think "should" be rewarding. This may differ from one dog to another and from one circumstance to another. For example, for one dog, a belly rub may be rewarding in the living room, but not on a walk. For another dog, it may not be rewarding...
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Day 11: Be Prepared

If you have been following these posts about incorporating dog training into your daily routine and thinking, "But how will I reward these behaviors?" the time has come to address that question. What rewards do you use now? Do you have levels of food rewards? Do they need to be refrigerated or can some of them be kept at room temperature? Does your dog have any dietary sensitivities? Personally, I use different food rewards for different contexts. When going to class or out to a high distraction environment, I pack my high-powered treats, including cheese and hot dogs. For very basic activities when my dog is hungry, I use kibble. For the in between times, I have some relatively high value treats that do not need registration. I keep one in the pocket of my jeans or in a container on my bedside table to have them available as needed....
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Day 9: Sit at the Door

Does your dog charge out the door every time it opens? Perhaps it's time to work on sitting before going out the door. If your dog enjoys going outside, additional rewards, such as food, may not be required for this exercise. Do keep in mind that, if you have never worked on this before, your dog may not be able to sit until the door is all the way open. ...
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Day 8: Brushing

People often assume that their dog will enjoy being brushed as much as they enjoy brushing them. That is not necessarily the case. Some dogs find grooming uncomfortable. They may be sensitive to certain brush types or to being brushed in certain areas. Any change in your dog's reaction to brushing a certain area may be a clue of a health problem or injury. If your dog just doesn't much enjoy grooming, you can help him or her get more comfortable through gradual desensitization. Get treats and your brush. As you start to brush your dog, give a few treats or enlist someone else to help you by giving the treats. Don't try to do a full grooming session. Instead, try just a few brushes. If he seems ok, you can give more treats and continue. If he seems very uncomfortable, allow him to move away....
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