• About the Trainer
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  • Tips For Training Success
  • 5 Items for Dog Training
  • Clicker Training
  • Motivators
  • Loose Leash Walking
  • Leave it!
  • Location / Target Training
  • Crate Training
  • Sit and Stay
  • Down and Stay
  • Come When Called
  • Handling and Touching your Dog
  • Your Nervous Dog
  • Fearful Dog
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    Read about our Trainer – Janine Allen
    Tips For Training Success
    Motivators
    Clicker Training
    Location / Target Training
    Loose Leash Walking
    Sit (including Stay)
    adoptionDown and Stay
    Handling and Touching your Dog
    adoptionCome
     Leave it!
    Location Training
    Dog Anxiety
    adoptionFearful Dog
    adoptionChoosing your Ideal Dog
    adoptionDog to Dog Introductions
    adoptionSocialization
     
     

    About our Trainer graphic

    Photo of Janine Allen Rescue Me Dog's Professional Dog TrainerJanine Allen

    As a professional dog trainer for 25 years, Janine enjoys obedience competitions with her Labrador Retrievers. Receiving a degree in Exotic Animal Training and Management from Moorpark College, Janine spent several years as a zookeeper and a birds-of-prey trainer/presenter. She has served as a humane educator in public schools, raised Guide Dog puppies and trained miniature horses for entertainment venues.

    Janine’s passion is working with people and their dogs. Using least aversive, scientific methods, she modifies behavior without choke collars or corrections – and minimal verbal commands.

    As a trainer for Rescue Me Dog, Janine aids shelter staff and volunteers in understanding how to improve a dog’s behavior to increase its adoptability. You can often find her demonstrating her techniques at public adoption events.

    Janine is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

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    • Find what motivates/rewards your dog. Withhold motivators/rewards before your training sessions so your dog will be even more motivated!
    • Keep your session short. Three or four short, ten-minute sessions can be far more effective than one 30-minute session.
    • Have a plan. If you are working on crate training, stick to crate training. Even if your dog offers a perfect sit keep with your plan.
    • Stay focused during your session. Do not answer the phone or talk to anyone else in the room. When you stay focused your dog will stay focused too.
    • Once you have trained your dog a new behavior and he’s performing it consistently on cue, then follow the three D’s so he will perform the behavior anywhere. They are best learned in this order:

    1. Duration. Send your dog to his crate and reward him. The next time, wait until he’s standing in his crate for a second before rewarding him. Incrementally increase the seconds and you will have a dog that goes into his crate and stays in his crate.

    2. Distraction. Have your dog sit and stay. Wave your arms, jump up and down, squeak a toy, set food on the ground.

    3. Distance. Have your dog jump into the car. Take him out, step one foot farther away, and send him into the car. Start sending him from farther distances. Another way to teach distance is to give your dog the Down cue while standing in front of him. Take a step back and give the cue. Increase the distance so that, in the event of an emergency, you can give him a hand signal or verbal cue from anywhere within sight and he will drop on command.

    • If it seems that your dog is ignoring you or doesn’t understand then take your training backwards a few steps. Often called "going back to kindergarten," it keeps you from getting frustrated and keeps your dog set up for success and not failure.
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    Finding your dog's best motivator header graphic

    All dogs have the ability to change their behavior if properly motivated and rewarded.

    What motivates your dog? Many owners feel that an "atta boy” should be enough for their dog, but we need to look at what is reinforcing to that dog at that moment. Food might be very reinforcing right before mealtime. Playing ball might not be reinforcing if your dog has just been on a five mile run.

    Praise

    Verbal or physical. This type of reinforcement is what many people think their dog ought to work for. Some breeds and breed-types of dogs are very happy to do just about anything you want for a little bit of attention. A dog fresh out of his kennel at the shelter will crave human attention. If you are constantly telling your dog how cute and how good he is just for simply existing will he quickly lie down on command for the same praise that he got earlier for doing absolutely nothing?

    Food

    Pretty basic need for most dogs. Types of food can be more appealing through texture and odor. Cheese or meat usually has more appeal than dry kibble. A hungry dog can stay pretty focused on his training session.

    Toy

    High energy dogs love a good game of tug and we all have seen crazy ball dogs! Many of these dogs will snub their nose at food just for a little chase action.

    Another Behavior

    Some dogs love jumping up on things or getting invited up on the bed. Retriever-type dogs enjoy access to water or a thrown object. A male dog who likes lifting his leg on favorite trees might be eager to do a few obedience behaviors for that very privilege.

    Whatever reward you choose, be sure that it is desirable to that dog at that moment.

    Janine Allen Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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    Clicker Training header graphic

    Clicker Training Defined

    Clicker training is a dog training method based on behavioral psychology that relies on marking desirable behavior and rewarding it.
    How It Works

    The trainer uses a noise-making "clicker" and produces a click at the exact moment the desired behavior occurs. A reward is followed immediately after the click. With repetition, the dog relates the click sound with rewards. The dog "learns to learn" and begins to offer behavior for rewards instead of being coerced or lured.

    Click Versus a Word

    The click is a very distinctive sound and can be delivered quickly and consistently. It is believed that it is registered in the part of the brain, the amygdala, that is responsible in the processing and memory of emotional reactions. The click always sounds the same, unlike the tonal and emotional deviations in the spoken word.

    The clicker is used only when the dog is learning each behavior. Once a behavior is established the clicker can be faded away with only an occasional revisit if a behavior starts to get sloppy.

    Benefits of Clicker Training:

    • No need for tools to control the dog – dog learns to create behavior on its own
    • Improves communication between the handler and the dog
    • Improved attitude towards training
    • Very forgiving method – tolerates handler error
    • Focuses on what is right rather than what is wrong
    • Can use at any age – even very young puppies
    • Removes the by-products of aversive training – fearful dogs
    • A proven scientific method that works
    • The clicker can be used with any of the training guidelines in this library. When your dog is doing a desired behavior, say stepping into his crate during crate training, click and then give a treat. Anytime giving a treat is part of the training process, you may use the clicker just before giving the treat. Remember, the clicker tells the dog he is doing the right thing at exactly that moment. It may be an extra step for you but will accelerate the dog’s learning ability.

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    Location Training header Graphic

    Crate/Kennel/Bed/Mat Also called target training, “location” training is used when you want the dog to move away from you to a given location.

    How nice to ask your dog to go to his "spot" when someone comes to the door. Then you don’t have to worry about all that jumping up and fuss. Oops, your pork tenderloin slipped off the counter. You can see who gets to it first, or send your dog off to his mat.

    Start with a bath towel. Later you can move the towel onto the dog bed, in the car, in the crate, on the couch – wherever you want to send the dog. As you progress in training, you can fold the towel into smaller sizes, enabling you to pinpoint to your dog exactly where you want him.

    • Sit indoors in a quiet location several feet from the mat. Toss a treat onto the mat. Then hold a treat out for him so he will return to you for it. Since you are training the dog to "get on" the mat you need to lure him off the mat to give him the opportunity to get back on it. Repeat this 15 times.
    • Repeat this session at least four times. Start saying "mat" or whatever word you’d like to use just as your dog steps onto the mat.
    • Throughout the day occasionally toss a treat onto the mat repeating the cue just as the dog steps onto the mat.
    • Start inching the mat around the house. Do not move more than a foot. Dogs do not generalize well.
    • Once your dog is eagerly running to his mat you can add duration. Once he picks up his treat off of the mat, immediately give him a treat for staying there. Keep feeding small treats, one right after another, as long as his feet stay on the mat. Then start adding one second, two seconds, three seconds between giving treats. You don’t have to say the word, “stay;” you are automatically training that into his "mat" command.
    • The first time you ask for your dog to go to his mat without initially tossing a treat, have the mat right in front of you. As soon as he puts his feet on the mat, give a treat. Repeat 10 times so that he now understands that he will not get the treat until AFTER he puts his feet on the mat. Gradually step away from the mat and send your dog over to it. Do not ask for any duration when you are working on this new criteria.
    • Now add duration and, if your dog knows how to sit or lie down you can do that too.
    • Lastly, add a few distractions. Any time that you add new criteria you must lessen the other criteria. So if you decide to ring the doorbell and send him to his mat then you need to decrease the distance to his mat and only ask him to stand on it for a second or two.
      From start to finish, training a dog to reliably go and stay on his mat can take from a few days to a few weeks. It all depends how much time you put into it and how quickly your individual dog learns.

    Janine Allen Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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    Loose Leash Walking Header Graphic

    There are two simple steps to loose leash walking:

    • When leash is tight, stop
    • When leash is loose, walk forward

    Preparation

    • Use a long leash, at least 10 to 30 feet. Do not use a retractable leash.
    • Attach the leash to your dog without making a fuss. The more excited your dog gets, the more likely he will be to pull on the leash.
    • Let the excess leash drag while you only hold on to your end.

    The Walk

    • When there is no tension on the leash, move forward into your intended direction.
    • When there is tension on the leash, stop.

    Do

    • Praise your dog anytime that he looks at you or comes toward you.
    • Keep your goal set to where you want to walk, not where your dog wants to go.

    Don’t

    • Fill your dog’s ears with lots words and sentences that mean nothing to him. The only words he should hear are words of praise when he looks at you or comes toward you.
    • Follow your dog to where he wants to go. If he has a favorite "watering spot" pass by it a few times and work on the simple two steps to leash walking.
    • When he offers a loose leash then let him go do his thing.

    Janine Allen Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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    Sit and Stay header graphic

    Lure and Reward

    • Hold a treat tightly in your hand and and place your hand just above your dog’s nose. Draw your hand back toward his skull, encouraging him to keep smelling and/or licking your fist. As his nose goes up, his rear will naturally go down toward the floor.
    • Give him the treat as soon as his back legs start to fold into a sit position.
    • If your dog keeps backing up then put him in front of a wall.

    Do

    • Reward increments of the final sit position instead of waiting for him to go all the way into the sit. Some dogs are reluctant to sit so need encouragement along the way. Even if you cannot get him to go into the sit, his muscles will remember how to work on their own and in his next session or two he’ll eventually sit.
    • After 10 or 15 successful repetitions, lure without any food – just your fist. Be sure to quickly give a treat hidden in your other hand.

    Don’t

    • Hold your fist too high up, the dog will start jumping up to get the treat.
    • Hold your fist too far in front of his nose, the dog will start taking steps forward.

    You can also teach your dog to sit by waiting until your dog does it on his own. Have your treats ready for immediately rewarding your dog.

    Add the verbal cue

    • Since you lured the dog with your fist moving back over his head, you automatically have a hand signal for this behavior. If you want to add a verbal cue then you can start saying "sit", or whatever word you choose as soon as his rear end hits the floor.
    • Continue using your hand signal with the verbal cue for several days, before fading away the hand signal.
    • Duration (the automatic stay without having to say the word "stay")
    • Wait one half second after your dog sits before giving a treat. Repeat several times.
    • Continue increasing the time.

    Do

    • Be sure to practice duration in a distraction-free environment

    Don’t

    • Ask for too much too soon. A laid back, easy-going dog may learn a three-minute sit in only a few training sessions. A high-energy dog make take a week.

    Distraction – must train duration first

    • Stand very close to your dog and have him sit. Now squeak a toy or let something fall from your hand. Be subtle with your initial distractions. Repeat several times.
    • If your dog breaks the sit just repeat your cue and lessen your distraction. Always set him up for success, not failure.

    Do

    • Get creative with your distractions: Wave your arms around, feign a sneeze or cough, ring the doorbell, sit on the floor, hold his food bowl, and eventually place a piece of food on the ground far away from him. Repeat each step several times before moving on to another distraction.

    Don’t

    • Provide an overwhelming distraction at the beginning of your training. A hot dog placed a foot away from the dog would be more than most dogs could handle early on in their Sit Stay training!

    Distance – must train duration and distraction first

    • While you are in standing position, have your dog sit. Take a step backward. Quickly return to dog. Give a treat. Repeat several times.
    • Take a step sideways. Quickly return to dog, and treat. Repeat several times.
    • Increase to two steps backward. Repeat several times.
    • Continue increasing the distance.

    If it suddenly seems that your dog cannot stay in position then you’ve gone too far, too fast. Go back a few steps in your training.

    Dogs don’t train poorly, they just have poor trainers. You’ll be amazed at how quickly dogs learn desired behaviors with the proper training.

    Janine Allen Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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    Down and Stay header graphic

    Prerequisite: Dog must know how to sit (unless he has a structural issue that makes it too difficult to sit). Have your treats ready and sit in a quiet place in your house.

    The “down” is easily taught by initially luring your dog.

    Lure and Reward

    • Have your dog sit and use a piece of food to draw your dog’s nose down between his front legs. Hold your fist just an inch below his nose, and draw it down to a spot on the floor just at the front of his toes. Give your dog little nibbles of the treat as his head goes down.
    • As his head goes down, his elbows will lower toward the floor. Give him a treat as soon as his body starts lowering.

    Do

    • Reward increments of the final down position instead of waiting for him to go all the way down. Some dogs are reluctant to go into this position so need encouragement along the way. Even if you cannot get him to go all the way down, his muscles will remember how to relax and in his next session or two he’ll eventually go down.
    • After 10 or 15 successful repetitions, lure without any food – just your fist. Be sure to quickly give a treat hidden in your other hand.

    Don’t

    • Hold your fist too far forward, the dog will get up.
    • Hold your fist too far back toward his chest, the dog will back up out of his sit.

    You can also teach the down by waiting until your dog does it on his own. Dogs lie down all day long. Just have your treats ready.

    Add the verbal cue

    • Since you lured the dog with your fist moving down toward the floor, you automatically have a hand signal for this behavior. If you want to add a verbal cue then you can start saying "down", or whatever word you choose as soon as his elbows hit the floor.

    Do

    • Continue using your hand signal with the verbal cue for several days, gradually fading away the hand signal.

    Don’t

    • Choose a verbal cue that means something else to the dog. If you have been telling your dog "down" to get off furniture or to not jump on people then come up with a different word.

    Duration (the automatic stay without having to say the word "stay")

    • Wait one half second after your dog lies down before giving a treat. Repeat several times.
    • Continue increasing the time.

    Do

    • Be sure to practice duration in a distraction-free environment

    Don’t

    • Ask for too much too soon. A laid back, easy-going dog may learn a three-minute stay in only a few training sessions. A high-energy dog make take a week.

    Distraction – must train duration first

    • Stand very close to your dog and have him down. Now squeak a toy or let something fall from your hand. Be subtle with your initial distractions. Some dogs are not as willing to stay in the down as they are in the sit. Repeat several times.
    • If your dog breaks the down just repeat your cue and lessen your distraction. Always set him up for success, not failure.

    Do

    • Get creative with your distractions:
    • Wave your arms around, feign a sneeze or cough, ring the doorbell, sit on the floor, hold his food bowl, and eventually place a piece of food on the ground far away from him.
    • Repeat each step several times before moving on to another distraction.

    Don’t

    • Provide an overwhelming distraction at the beginning of your training. A hot dog placed a foot away from the dog would be more than most dogs could handle early on in their Down Stay training!

    Distance – must train duration and distraction first

    • While you are in standing position, have dog lie down. Take a step backward. Quickly return to dog. Give a treat. Repeat several times.
    • Take a step sideways. Quickly return to dog, and treat. Repeat several times.
    • Increase to two steps backward. Repeat several times.
    • Continue increasing the distance.

    If it suddenly seems that your dog cannot stay in position then you’ve gone too far, too fast. Go back a few steps in your training.

    Dogs don’t train poorly, they just have poor trainers. You’ll be amazed at how quickly dogs learn desired behaviors with the proper training.

    Janine Allen Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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    Handling and Touching your dog header graphic

    Throughout your dog’s entire life he will need to be handled on various parts of his body. Vet exams, toenail trims, grooming appointments, a simple sticker in his foot while you are on a hike with him.

    Whenever you are having a sit-and-snuggle session with your dog, use it as a training session. Try to touch every part of his body. Some dogs don’t like their feet touched, some don’t like their ears touched. Get as close as you can to these areas but stop if your dog shows signs of being nervous.

    Signs of being nervous:

    • Jerking body part away from you
    • Panting
    • Stiffening of his body
    • Sudden body movements
    • Wide eyes

    When you are massaging his shoulder and are moving down toward the paw and he lifts his head suddenly, he is nervous. Don’t go so far the next time you massage him. Try to gain a fraction of an inch each time.

    If you cannot gain ground by simply desensitizing your dog over time, then offer him treats as you go. As you inch your hand down the leg, give a tiny treat. Be sure he’s not demonstrating nervousness and is looking forward to the next tiny treat before you go further. The smaller the treats are, the more eager he will be to earn the next one.

    Once you have the dog tolerating your touch then you can work on duration. Increase your touch from one second to two seconds and so on.

    Progression of Foot TouchingDole out treats as necessary

    • Touch the foot
    • Hold the foot
    • Lift the foot
    • Place your fingers between pad and toes
    • Touch the toenail
    • Touch the toenails with a nail clippers/nail file/pen/metal object

    Progression of Ear TouchingDole out treats as necessary

    • Touch the ear
    • Hold or lift the ear
    • Place finger in ear
    • Place cotton swab in ear
    • Place tip of a medication-type bottle in ear

    If your dog needs continued topical medication or injections, this training will also help desensitize him to these procedures.

    Janine Allen Rescue M eDog Trainer

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    Come when called header graphic

    Start indoors as the dog will have less distractions and more chance for success.

    Introducing the Idea

    Encourage the dog to come to you without actually saying the word “come.” Like training all other behaviors, you want to make sure that he comes reliably before adding a cue. You can clap and call out, “Puppy,” or squeak a toy.

    Click and treat when he comes to you. Repeat several times.

    Introducing the Cue

    Once he comes to you each and every time you clap or call, you can start adding the cue. As soon as he starts running toward you, say the word, ”come” (or whatever word you choose to use). Always give praise and a reward.

    Once you have practiced this several times you can start giving the cue when your dog is not paying attention to you.

    Progressions

    Dogs do not generalize well so it is important to make gradual steps and to reduce your criteria when changing location or adding distractions.

    • Increase distance.
    • Call him from different rooms in the house.
    • Add distractions – you’ll need to decrease distance when you add distractions. Have a visitor in the room, drop something on the floor, ring the doorbell, etc.
    • Start grabbing his collar while you give him his treat.
    • Send the dog back and forth between two or more people in a room. Each person takes turns calling the dog and gives him a treat.
    • Practice at other people’s homes.

    Move outside

    • On leash in a fenced yard.
    • Off leash in a fenced yard.
    • When walking your dog, say, “come,” and quickly back up several steps.
    • Always praise and treat.
    • Take him out on a long line and let him get farther away from you before calling him.
    • Add distractions of dogs behind fences, cats, postal carrier, etc.
    • Go to enclosed areas where you can safely practice off leash. Start off with low distraction and then add distractions.

    Janine Allen Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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    Leave it header graphic

    Place a treat in your fist. Let the dog lick, snuffle, poke, nudge, nibble and try to get that treat out of your hand. Eventually the dog will give up and as he backs away or turn his head away – at that very moment, give a reward from your other hand. If your dog bites on your closed fist too hard, let out a yelp and pull your fist out of reach for 30 seconds. Try again.
    Hold out fist – dog backs off – treat from opposite hand.
    It may take awhile for your dog to give up. Be patient, smile and say NOTHING. The dog will eventually give up. Practice this exercise several times a day and in as many different places (at home, in the yard, at the park, in other people’s houses, etc) as you can find.

    Soon your dog will start to back away when he sees you hold out your closed hand. When he is predictably backing up when you present your fist, you can now reward him from the fist instead of the other hand.
    Hold out fist – dog backs off – open fist and let him eat the treat.

    Now add the verbal command:
    “Leave it” – hold out fist – dog backs off – open fist and let him eat the treat.

    Repeat this in various locations until dog becomes reliably consistent.

    Taking it on the road

    Now place a treat under your foot (best to have a sturdy shoe on!). Do not assume that the dog knows what “Leave it!” means in this new situation. Allow the dog to dig and try to get at the treat. When the dog gives up and backs away: hand him a treat.
    Food under foot – dog backs off – give a treat.
    When your dog reliably backs away when it sees the treat under your foot you may add the “Leave it” cue:

    “Leave it” – food under foot – dog backs off – give a treat. Repeat this many times in many different places.

    When your dog reliably backs up when you say “Leave it!” then you can start leaving the treat BESIDE your foot. If the dog moves toward the treat place your foot over the treat. When the dog gives up and backs away, give a treat from your hand. After many successful repetitions of this you may add the “Leave it” cue.

    Simultaneously place food near foot and say “Leave it” – dog backs off – give a treat from your hand.

    When your dog is repeating this successfully and reliably you may start inching the food farther from your foot but still be ready to protect the food from the dog. Never let your dog eat the treat from the ground. Give a separate treat from your hand.

    Repeat this in many different places so your dog learns to generalize the cue and the behavior.

    Start asking your dog to “Leave it” when he investigates other items that you wish for him not to touch. Be sure to praise and reward!

    Janine Allen Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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    crate training

    This is one of the most valuable behaviors you can teach your dog. While our human brains may be apprehensive about “shoving our dogs in a box,” this is a very natural behavior for our canine friends who have been born to seek protection in a den or doghouse, under a table, in a closet, or behind the couch. Not only do they need security if they are frightened, but need sanctuary when left alone or are insecure about a new environment. If your dog must stay for any length of time at the groomer or vet, even just an hour, he will most likely be put in a cage. The crate keeps a dog safe in the car as well as his owner. Even the best mannered dog will become a projectile in a collision. And what better way to secure your dog in the event of a natural disaster?

    Preparation

    • Choose a crate size that allows your dog to stand up and turn around.
    • Read “Location Training” article.
    • Your training may take just a few hours or days, and could take several weeks depending on you and your dog.

    Conditioning your dog to enter his crate If your dog seems fearful of the crate, you may want to get him conditioned to going into it before actually training him to enter.

    • Place crate in a high traffic location so that your dog does not associate the crate with being alone.
    • Prop open the door.
    • Toss a piece of food just inside the door. Repeat several times then start tossing food farther back.
    • Feed your dog every meal in the back of the crate.
    • While your dog is happily eating his meals and/or treats in the back of the crate, quietly and calmly close and open the door repeatedly.

    If your dog is frightened of the crate then take it apart and use just the bottom half. If you can’t take it apart then use a cardboard box.

    Training your dog to enter his crate

    Perhaps your dog is eagerly running into his crate before you put his food in. The goal is to get him to happily go into his crate without luring him in each time with a treat. Now just add a verbal cue, such as “crate” right before he steps inside and be sure to give a treat after he goes inside.

    For those dogs who won’t go in without a lure, follow these steps:

    • When dog looks at crate, toss a treat. When dog takes a step toward crate, toss a treat.
    • When dog puts nose in crate, toss a treat. Treat for one paw in the crate, two paws in the crate, etc.
    • If your dog goes all the way into the crate, give a big handful of treats.
    • Once dog is reliably going in the crate, add a cue such as “crate,” and don’t forget to continue working on opening and closing the door as listed above.

    Staying In The Crate Start with a very tired dog in a room void of people, pets and children milling about.

    • Give your dog his cue to go in the crate, throw treat to back of crate.
    • Shut the door, wait several seconds, open the door. Don’t fuss with the dog when he comes out of the crate – we’re trying to reward him for being IN the crate.
    • Repeat several times while increasing the amount of time that the door is shut. If your dog is tired and does not whine or scratch at the door you may be able to increase the time by several minutes each session.

    Tips

    • Don’t make a bad association with the crate by shoving your dog in.
    • Never make a fuss when you let your dog out of his crate – even if he’s been in there for an hour. All you are doing is reinforcing him for coming OUT of the crate.
    • Give your dog his favorite chew toy, treats, stuffed Kong, in the crate and nowhere else.
    • Give your dog access to his crate at all times by leaving the door open.
    • Vary the amount of time your dog spends in the crate. Just like the dog who hates car rides because the only car ride he gets is to the vet office, the dog who gets locked up for six hours every time he goes in his crate might become reluctant to do so.

    Janine Allen Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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    Dog Anixety

    Whining, clinging dogs that act nervous are, at best, a bit of a nuisance to their owners. At worst, the anxiety can develop into behaviors such as excessive barking or destruction when left alone. When your dog’s anxiety level goes up, cortisol is produced and has the same detrimental side effects that stress produces in humans.

    • Give your dog physical exercise

    Commit to an hour each day. Throwing a ball, taking a walk, obedience practice, running from the bed to the couch, playing with another dog – they all add up!

    • Give your dog mental exercise

    Put his daily food ration into treat-dispensing toys, hide biscuits around the house, wrap his favorite toy in a cardboard box, practice some obedience commands or fun tricks;attend a dog agility, flyball or obedience class.

    • Do not reward nervous behavior

    When your dog whines do not look at him. When your dog is clingy, do not pet him. Instead, give him your affection when he has momentarily calmed down.

    • Set an example for your dog

    When you walk in the front door don’t fuss over your dog in a high-pitched, excited voice. If you want calm, then remain calm. If your dog jumps on you then turn your body and attention away from him until he settles.

    If your dog gets excited about seeing another dog while you are on a walk simply stand still and ignore your dog. When he settles praise him.

    If your dog paces when you grab your car keys then pick up and set down your car keys throughout the day. Don’t look at him, don’t talk to him. When he settles, praise him.

    If your dog whines when you leave him alone then incrementally work up to more time left alone. Walk outside then come right back in. Repeat. Then add five seconds. Repeat. Add 10 seconds and so on.

    See your veterinarian and consult a professional trainer if your dog has excessive anxiety that does not respond to these tips.

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    tips

    your fearful dog

    The fearful dog can become aggressive if put in the wrong situation. Lack of exposure to a variety of events, smells and sounds (especially during the first few months of puppy-hood), or a bad experience may have caused him to become this way. Regardless of his known or unknown history, don’t continue using it as an excuse. It’s time to move forward and help your dog, not handicap him.

    The three steps to helping your dog are:

    1.Identify triggers

    2.Desensitize

    3.Redirect the dog’s focus

    Signs of a fearful dog

    • Tries to remove himself from the situation
    • Avoids eye contact, dog looks away from person or item that frightens him
    • Submissively urinates
    • Trembles, cowers
    • Bares teeth, growls, may even bite

    Identify Triggers

    • Noises: thunder, airplanes, garbage trucks, vacuum cleaner, doorbell
    • Movement: bicycles, skateboards, roller blades, running children
    • Odd appearance: umbrellas, balloons, men in hats, children, wheelchairs, shadows, reflections

    Desensitize Expose your dog to the feared situation incrementally while rewarding his calm behavior.

    • Keep noise at a very low volume and reward your dog for calm behavior. Gradually increase noise.
    • Allow dog to see swiftly moving objects from a distance. Reward for calm behavior. Gradually decrease distance.
    • Allow dog to see unusual objects or people from a distance. Reward for calm behavior. Gradually decrease distance.

    Examples:

    • If your dog is fearful of thunder, play a recording of low volume thunder while praising and rewarding calm behavior. Praise and reward if you dog remains free of fearful display.
    • If your dog is afraid of other dogs then walk him near a dog behind a fence. Start from a distance where he does not display nervous behavior. Praise and reward him. Take a step forward, praise and reward if he remains free of fearful display.
    • If your dog is afraid of men. Have your dog on a leash and have a man standing still at a distance where your dog does not display nervous behavior. Have the man take a step forward. Praise and reward your dog if he remains free of fearful display.

    Do

    • Quit while you are ahead. As always, you want to set your dog up for success and end your session with success.Take small, incremental steps.Don’t
    • Expect to see the desired perfect result at your first session. Desensitizing takes several sessions over a period of time. Don’t test your dog. If you think that maybe this time he will do better at closer range and he proves you wrong, you will have lost all your previous work.

    Redirect Dog’s Focus Once a dog has been desensitized, or if you have a dog that is just a little apprehensive, you can help him redirect his focus. This can be done with food, play, or trained behaviors.

    Examples:

    • If dog is fearful of hair dryers, feed him his meal only when the hairdryer is turned on.
    • If dog is fearful of skateboards, play ball with him near the skateboard park.
    • If dog is fearful of umbrellas, have him sit or lie down while the umbrella-carrying person walks by.

    Do

    • Be sure to desensitize your dog first.  Make sure that a behavior, such as a sit, is fully trained before using it to redirect focus. Don’t force your dog into a fearful situation and hope that he’ll get over it.  You could possibly make him worse.

    Tips for approaching a fearful dog:

    1.Avoid eye contact.

    2.Avoid walking directly toward the dog. If you enter the home through a door way, turn away from the dog and arc around it. By the way, this is how dogs naturally approach each other. Approaching any dog head on can be perceived as threatening.

    3.Crouch down and make yourself smaller and less intimidating.

    4.Let dog come to you.

    5.Touch dog at his chest or chin. Petting on top of the head can be threatening.

    Janine Allen Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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    animal

    your ideal dog

    Take the “Canine-Ality” Test

    For help in choosing your ideal dog, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) created a color-coded “Canine-Ality" survey as part of their “Meet Your Match” program. Many shelters offer this test which matches the adoptable dog with the adoptive human parent. The following information gives you an idea of the basic types of dog personalities to look for in your dog profile from a dog’s point of view. Visit www.aspca.org for more information.

    PURPLE

    • COUCH POTATO
      Like the easy life? Then I’m the perfect match for you. I’m a relaxed, laid back kind of dog who enjoys long naps, watching movies, curling up on laps, and walking very short distances from the couch to the food bowl and back.
    • TEACHER’S PET
      I’ve got the whole package – smart, fuzzy, four legs, love to learn, and live to please. Go ahead teach me anything. Sit, stay, balance your cheque-book, I can do it all. Keep me entertained and I’ll be yours forever.
    • CONSTANT COMPANION
      Looking for an emotionally secure, mutually satisfying, low maintenance relationship? I am all you need. Let me sit at your feet, walk by your side, and I’ll be your devoted companion forever.

    ORANGE

    • WALLFLOWER
      Shy yet charming canine searching for patient owner with relaxed lifestyle. Looking for gentle guidance to help me come out of my shell. Treat me sweet and kind and I’ll blossom.
    • BUSY BEE
      I’m a naturally playful, curious, and trusting canine. Take me for a big walk every day; give me something to do. After my job’s done, I’ll curl up in front of the fire with you in the evenings. I’m a dog on a mission to please you and myself.
    • GOOFBALL
      I’m a fun-loving, happy-all-the-time, glass-is-half-full kind of dog looking for someone who loves to laugh and play around. Must have a great sense of humor and a bunch of tennis balls.

    GREEN

    • GO-GETTER
      Want to get more exercise? Action is my middle name. My "Let’s GO!" lifestyle will keep you motivated to get outside and move. I’ve got tons of energy, and just like the sun, I’m burning and working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I’ll run for miles, chase a ball for hours, and still want to play at the end of the day.
    • LIFE OF THE PARTY
      I think everything is fun, interesting, and meant for play, especially you. Anything you do, I’ll want to do too. With my own brand of surprises, life with me will keep you constantly on your toes, and the fun is guaranteed.
    • FREE SPIRIT
      Intelligent, independent, confident, and clever, I prefer making my own decisions but will listen to you if you make a good case. We’re partners in this adventure. Treat me like one and we’ll both live happily ever after.

    WHAT COLOR BEST MATCHES YOU?
    Click here to fill out the ASPCA Meet Your Match questionnaire to hand to the shelter staff to help with your adoption.

    TO RESEARCH DOG BREEDS:
    Click here.

    AT THE SHELTER:
    Go in with attitude of adopting one dog, not rescuing all of them. No guilt, this is a happy occasion. If the shelter is smelly or dirty, ask shelter staff to bring the dog to you in a quieter, cleaner place. There is usually some type of space set aside for this. Give the dog a good 30 minutes to get over his excitement of being removed from his cage before you make any personality judgements. An exuberant dog may calm down, a frightened dog may open up. If possible, take him for a walk. Physical appearance can always be changed with bathing, grooming, weight gain or weight loss. Ask shelter staff everything they know about the dog. Not all information is posted on the cage card.

    Janine Allen
    Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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    dog to dog introductions

    A New Canine Companion for your Family and Family Dog

    Adding a new canine companion to a home with a dog can be great fun and offer extra companionship for both your dog and your family. The dogs need time to build a good relationship. The following tips are suggestions for safety and will help the relationship get off to a great start.

    Introduce the dogs outside your home in a neutral area. Take a short walk in the neighborhood, or at a park nearby.

    Pick up all toys, chews, bones, food bowls, and the resident dog’s favorite items. When dogs are creating a relationship these items (resources) may cause rivalry. They can be introduced after a couple of weeks.

    It is very important to avoid quarrels during these early stages of the “sibling” relationship.

    Also, you must double your supply of water dishes, food dishes, dog beds, and dog toys.

    • Do give your new dog his/her own confinement area
    • Do keep all dog play and socializing positive and brief. This will help avoid over-stimulation or quarrels which may erupt with overly rough or extended play
    • Do feed dogs in separate areas, completely closed off from one another
    • Do spend time with each dog individually
    • Do keep dogs separate when you cannot supervise interactions
    • Do supervise dogs when around family members, toys or resting areas
    • Do use a “Happy Praising Voice” whenever the dogs are having positive interactions.
    • Do use a “Strong Voice” to interrupt any growling or bully type behavior. Use a phrase such as “Too Bad” and separate the “bully-dog” to a different area for a few minutes then try again.

    DON’T give chews, rawhides, or bones (even if each dog has his/her own) when dogs are together. Wait several weeks, please! The dogs should enjoy these fun chews but only when they are separated, in their own crate or individual confinement area.

    DON’T use your hands or body to intervene during a dog quarrel. Use your voice, a loud noise or water to stop the fight. If the dogs do not stop, use a chair or other large object to insert in between them, or pull them apart by the rear legs or tail to separate. Be aware that, when dogs are fighting, they are highly aroused and it is never safe to use your hands to attempt separation.

    Reprinted with Permission of The San Francisco SPCA

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    socialization

    Socialization: to make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.

    Sociable: friendly or agreeable in company; companionable.

    In general, a socialized dog is one who is not too excitable or aggressive and can usually play well with other dogs. No dog is perfect but one can certainly take steps to making their dog a better member of their community.

    Depending on your dog and his reaction to his environment, you will want to use one or all of the following methods to socialize your dog.

    • 1. Exposure. Dogs do not generalize well. If you want a dog to be calm around bicycles then you’ll need to expose him to bikes in your neighborhood, during car rides, and along the bike path at the park. Exposure to bicycles does not mean that the dog will naturally be calm around wheelchairs, tricycles or motorcycles. Decide what will be frequent in your dog’s life – children, other dogs, car rides, gunshots – and give him lots of supervised exposure.
    • 2. Desensitization. When you expose your dog to different situations you’ll be expecting him to act in a certain way. Most people would like their dog to remain calm and not display any anxious behavior. Decide in advance what you are expecting of the dog and set him up for success. If he gets worked up when approaching another dog then keep him at a distance where he remains fairly calm. Praise and reward. Then start decreasing the distance from the other dog. Do this in small increments so that you have every chance to reward him for good, calm behavior.
    • 3. Classical conditioning. Pairing a reward with a situation that makes the dog nervous can change his outlook on events. If the scary man in a hat starts tossing treats toward your dog, eventually your dog may allow that man to approach and give him treats directly from his hand. Feed your dog in his crate and he will associate the crate with his innate need for nourishment.

    Of course, basic obedience training is always recommended as it provides mental stimulation for your dog and the opportunity for you and your dog to build a stronger and more enriching bond.

    Janine Allen
    Rescue Me Dog Trainer

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