Thursday, June 29, 2006

How to train your dog to walk on a leash continued

A few says ago I rubbed a blister on the back of my foot while walking in a new pair of shoes (without my dog). So for the past couple of days I have not been much in the mood for extensive leash training.

Yesterday we did spend some time on the ski rope playing fetch but this does not help us learn to walk on a leash.

So this morning I was surprised at how much he had regressed in leash training. He started pulling the instant I hooked up the leash. He knew where he wanted to go and wanted to get there fast!

I am still walking a little gingerly so I was not in the mood to be pulled. So instead of just snapping the leash I added a verbal "No" command each time he pulled. As suggested in SitStayFetch, I expressed this in my best guttural growling alpha dog voice.

The added reinforcement finally got his attention. By the time we finished our short walk to the creek and back, he was getting lots more "good dog" than he was "no."

Smash and I are having a fun time with this learning how to train your dog to walk on a leash stuff. I am seeing all kinds of benefits in our relationship.

Monday, June 26, 2006

dog leashes collars

dog leashes & collars

I have experimented with several different dog leashes and collars with Smash. Because he is so strong, when he decides to pull on the leash, he can pull very hard.

When he is on the long leash for playing fetch and such, I use a ski rope. It is plenty strong and less prone to tangles. It will however make a nasty burn on the back of your leg if he happens to drag it across at high speed.

For normal walking and leash training I am beginning to prefer my simple leather four foot leash. It is long enough to give some flexibility but short enough to keep him under control. He can't get as much of a running start as on a six foot leash.

I am currently using a strong choke chain collar with the leash because he still tends to try to pull. A quick snap and release of the choke collar gets his attention. I have to really watch for the times when he gradually increases the tension on the leash without either of us really noticing that he is really starting to pull. Sometimes I hear a change in his breathing and I have to make him stop and release the tension in the leash.

There sure seems to be a lot to training your dog to walk on a leash.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The recall command

Most important dog obedience tip training.

However you choose to train your dog, if you want to be a responsible dog owner or you just want to keep you dog safe, then your dog must always come to you when called.

He must learn to come to you under any condition or distraction. He should always come without hesitation.

I started dog obedience training with Smash when I first brought him home as a cute little puppy. I wanted him to always associate coming to me with a pleasant experience. If I had to scold him, I always made sure he knew what act he was scolded for and I never scolded him after he came to me on a recall command.

Now that he has reached adolescence, he is trying to assert his alpha dog nature. I am having to formalize the obedience training on the recall command to make sure he understands that there is no question about whether he can choose to obey or not.

He must learn to come when called both on leash and off.

One dog obedience training tip I can offer in recall training is to drop to a kneeling posture when calling the dog. I am not sure what this body language means to the dog but it sure improves his response to the command.

Always give lots of praise to your dog for coming to a recall command no matter why you called him to you. And never ever punish a dog for coming to you when called.

Dog obedience training is always based on your dog trusting you. Make sure coming to you when called is always rewarded.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Leash training on the trail

How to train your dog to walk on a leash

SitStayfetch insists one of the most important tasks in dog training and establishing your authority is training the dog to walk on a leash. They include lots of information on how to train your dog to walk on a leash.

The first thing the dog has to learn is not to pull on the leash. This is taught by giving a quick snap on the leash whenever he starts to pull. And never let him keep pulling. Stop walking until he stops pulling.

I have never knew how to leash train a dog before. My last dog Jack who came to us after another family could not keep him in their neighborhood absolutely refused a leash. If you put one on him he would immediately try to run away and would sit down and refuse to move if you tried to walk him on it. Before that, Buster would only tolerate a leash when going public places. But he always heeled really well with out a leash.

Yesterday's three mile hike to the waterfall gave me and Smash plenty of practice. He did great until the thunderstorm came. Then he decided maybe he needed to be alpha dog and drag us to shelter. He calmed down soon enough and did really well on the trip back to the parking area.

Look at the smile on this dog!

How to train your dog to walk on a leash

For more about our trip to the waterfall see the story on JeepGirl Travels.

For more on how to train your dog to walk on a leash see SitStayFetch.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Healthy dog food.

Making your own dog food.

When my last dog Jack died from lymphoma, I got really angry. I found out that I had been feeding him poison by giving him cheap commercial dog food. I was even further disturbed to learn that the "protein" content in cheap commercial dog food is often made up of road kill and pound puppies!

I determined from the day I brought Smash home that no matter what, as long as he lived with me, I would do my best to feed him only healthy food.

I learned about what wild dogs eat and what balanced nutrition means to a dog. I have studied nutrition in humans for a long time and my mom writes meals with a message so I had plenty of background to draw from in establishing a healthy diet for my dog.

I can now make day to day decisions about what to feed him based on what I have available. I also found some good recipes in the old book I had on the shelf "How to train a dog in six weeks." This book is now out of print so I won't bother giving you an amazon link to it.

As I was considering writing my own doggy cook book, I came across one that has everything that I would have written plus a whole lot more. John Miller's secret dog food recipes can be purchased at this link.

With the information in his book, you will know how to feed your dog to keep him healthy and happy without having to have a degree in nutrition or doing all the research I did.

When I took my dog Smash to get his puppy vaccinations, my veterinarian remarked "What are you feeding this dog? I have not seen one so healthy!"

So, if you love your dog, don't feed him another bite of cheap commercial dog food. Throw that poison out! Start him on some raw beef until you have time to collect the ingredients for making your own healthy dog food and download John Millers book right now.

You know how happy your dog makes you feel, so return the favor.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dog Behavior problems and solutions

Solution to dog behavior problems

After a lot of searching in bookstores and on the Internet, I came across a book that is really helping me work with Smash. This book is the first one I have found that addresses the issue of a cute puppy growing into adolescence.

The author of Sitstayfetch uses many of the same ideas about training that I had already found to work with Smash. He talks a great deal about dog psychology and how that as the dog grows from puppy hood to an adult dog he seeks out his place in the hierarchy of the family pack.

I enjoy my dog a lot and it was easy for me to let him get confused by allowing him to assume more authority than he had.

These mistakes allowed Smash to get in a very serious accident that severely injured him. I will tell you more about that gruesome event later, but for now, I am just very happy that by yet another miracle he his still alive.

I am currently reading sitstayfetch very carefully as I work with Smash to make I know how to create an environment where he knows his role and boundaries so he can stay as safe as possible yet still enjoy life as a dog.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

How to train your dog

I started training Smash form the moment I picked him out of the litter. I made sure he was willing to accept commands from me and that we formed a bond.

Most of my training was based on How to train your dog in six weekshow to train your dog This book has lots of great information but seemed to be missing the part about how to train a small puppy.

I decided to use what I knew about training toddlers from and what I knew about training industrial employees from

I used lots of love and visualization with him. I found he responds very well to a well formed intention in my mind accompanied by simple verbal clues. For example when I say "come" I imagine him running to me.

This type training worked well when he was small but as he grew into adolescence, he has started to exert his independence more just like you would expect from a teenage child.

My mechanic helper dog

Smash has always loved to be every where I am.
When I work on my Jeeps he loves to be right there with me.

We discovered his particular talent for mechanic work when my dad and I were installing my new Titan stroker motor in my Race Jeep. See my Jeep Blog for more info on the engine swap.

For whatever reason, we could not get the transmission to align with the flywheel. Apparently Smash knew what was wrong but he did not know how to communicate. Each time we would start to force the transmission in, he would start pulling at my pants leg or nipping at my arms. He knew something was not right. There was just no getting him to stop bothering us.

Finally we took a break and gave some puppy love to this funny puppy. Dad and I also decided to swap places since it was impossible for me to work with Smash crawling on top of me under the Jeep.

As soon as dad lay on the floor and I climbed up on top of the engine, Smash calmed down and trotted outside. Just then, the transmission slid into place just like it should have. I still don't know what we did different in the different positions but I am sure glad Smash made us swap places.

This was our first clue that this cute puppy was a very special dog.

cute puppy picture

Monday, June 19, 2006

Choosing a name for a puppy

Smash may sound like a strange name for a puppy. Like I said in an earlier post, I got it from the book Ogre, ogre.

The ogres in zanth sound like dogs to me and I have always liked giving my dogs ogre names. My previous ogre dog was Buster. Now Buster sounds like a name for a puppy but his full name was Buster Ogre.

The name for a puppy has a big effect on his personality as he grows up. So choosing an appropriate name for a puppy is important. Dogs seem to understand the images we create in our minds when we communicate with them more than the words we speak. So it is important that the image you associate with your dog's name is one you want to associate with your dog.

I like my dogs to have strong names because I like my dogs to be protective and strong.

Our last dog came to us with the name of Prancer. This was a sad name for a boy dog. He just could not get over it. He was a very pretty dog, a fast runner and a good hunter but he never could seem to shake that prance image that was imprinted on him by giving him that name for a puppy. We changed his name to Jack because he really did not have an ogre personality.

Jack became loyal and a good friend but he never was much of a protector. he always seemed to be the one who needed protecting.

So when choosing a name for a puppy, choose wisely because you will be influencing his entire life.

cute puppy pictures

Here are some cute pictures from Smash's first days at home with us.

cute puppy pictures

cute puppy pictures

cute puppy pictures

Smash was such a cute puppy!

See more at

Puppy dog behavior problems

When we first brought Smash home, he had all the typical puppy dog behavior problems. He wanted to bite and chew and wet on every thing.

He has always been a spirited dog. In fact that is why we chose him from the litter. He was the one that came running out to us first. Most of the other puppies were skittish but this little dog just ran right up to us. We tried several times to put him back and look at the other puppies but he kept being the first one back to play. Maybe he chose us.

I determined that I would deal with Smash's puppy dog behavior problems with love and acceptance. He was acting just the way a little dog should act and expecting anything different without training would be unrealistic.

I have tried to create an environment where he feels loved and well cared for. I want him to feel part of our family pack.

Meet Smash

My dog Smash

I call him Smash after the Ogre in Piers Anthony's book Ogre Ogre.
dog behavior problem

Welcome Smash to the family!

dog behavior problem