Should I tell my dog to stay?

Michigan Dog Training

I am often asked the question, “Should I tell my dog to stay?” As noted in an earlier blog article, “3D’s for teaching your dog to Stay,” “I don’t use the word “stay” because I’m very consistent with my dog. Sit means sit and down means down.”

If I tell my dog to “sit,” then I expect him to remain sitting until I release him from that position. If I tell him to go to “place” (such as on a place board) then it’s a location not a position. Again, I don’t need to also say stay as staying on “place” is implied through the training. However, if you’re more comfortable in saying stay, that’s fine. Just realize it’s more for your benefit than your dog’s.

Your dog will learn faster, the more you are consistent and precise in your cues, commands and expectations. Years ago, a college roommate of mine was taking an Abnormal Psychology course. As part of his homework, he asked me to take a 500 multiple question test. I didn’t know the purpose of the test at the time but later found out it was to test a person’s consistency rate. Many of the questions resulted in the same answer but were asked in a  different way.

Michigan Dog Training, brain waves, PsychologyWhen announcing the score, he told me I was abnormal. I replied, “Abnormal!! What do you mean, I’m probably the most normal person you could find!” That’s probably a sign of an abnormal person right there LOL.

He told me that I scored 100% on the test and it was a test on consistency. He further explained that he called me abnormal as hardly anyone scores 100%. A dog training secret is that a high consistency rate is one of the main things that separate dog owners and dog trainers. And, that’s a good thing because consistency can be taught as well as dog training skills.

Dogs learn well when we chuck learning goals into smaller components and are consistent in their delivery. Once learned, we can add them together for the desired end result command. Thus if you’re consistent that a sit means a sit and a down means a down, you don’t need to give another command which is more ambiguous such as “stay.” It’s an added command that really doesn’t have as much meaning for the dog as William Shakespeare, Michigan Dog Training, To be or not to bethe desired command. For example, a dog can’t jump on you if he’s been taught to reliably respond to a sit command. Thus, the stay command is not needed.

As William Shakespeare coined, “To be or not to be,” you can decide to tell your dog “to stay or not to stay.” It’s your choice.

For more information on having your dog trained or learning how to train your own dog, contact Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan or call 734-634-4152.

3D’s for teaching your dog to Stay

Michigan Dog Training, teach your dog to stay,

One of every dog’s necessary skills  is to be able to stay either in a position such as sit-stay or down-stay or on Place such as on a place board, dog bed or towel. Whether you call it stay or not, really doesn’t matter. Personally, I don’t use the word “stay” because I’m very consistent with my dog. Sit means sit and down means down.

There are 3 D’s involved when teaching your dog to stay either in a position or on a location. They are: Duration, Distractions and Distance. Despite everyone’s ultimate goal to get to the Distance component as soon as possible, I teach that component last.

I want the dog to be very solid with being able to stay in the position or on place for longer periods of time (duration) and amongst distractions before teaching it with distance. The reason being is because with Duration and Distractions I am near the dog with him on leash. If he breaks position or the location, I can help guide him back into position whereas if I start working on distance too soon, I can’t offer him that help.

However, I know everyone is tempted to start on Distance too soon because that is their end goal. So to feed that temptation without causing training problems, only go a few steps away. With a dog on a 6 foot leash, you’re able to go four or five feet away and quickly return to praise your dog for staying. Don’t go further than the length of the leash until your dog is solid with Duration and amongst Distractions.

Those are the 3D’s of teaching a dog to Stay. I’ll go into more detail of each in another blog post. Until then, check out our dog training services at Michigan Dog Training.

3D's, Michael Burkey, Michigan Dog Training, teach your dog to stay, sit stay, down stay

October 2017 Dog Title Earners

AKC STAR Puppy

 

Canine Good Citizen, CGC, CGC testingMichigan Dog Training (MDT) is always proud of its students and their dogs accomplishments. Our October 2017 title earners include:

On October 24, 2017 the following puppy teams passed the AKC STAR Puppy program evaluation:

  • Morgan Spencer and Breland, a Black Lab of Plymouth, Michigan
  • Nadine Medley and Kevin, a ShihTzu / Bichon mix of Plymouth, Michigan
  • Sarah Smith and Emmy, an Australian Shepherd mix of Detroit, Michigan
  • Alyssa Alessanorini and Dove, a Pit mix of Redford, Michigan

 

On October 24, 2017 the following dog teams earned the Canine Good Citizen title:

  • Maria Boraniec and Gunner, a Besenji of Farmington Hills, Michigan
  • Richard Miller and Tank, a German Shepherd Dog of Taylor, Michigan
  • Ronald & Theresa Merbler and Tango, a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon of Canton, Michigan
  • Angela Austin and Lexi Austin, an English Lab of South Lyon, Michigan
  • Lisa Brunette and Alyce, an English Lab of South Lyon, Michigan
  • Deborah Buzzy and Odin, a German Shepherd Dog of South Lyon, Michigan

Congratulations to all!

Join a dog training group class and teach your puppy or dog to be a Canine Good Citizen.

Michigan Dog Training, puppy, dogMichigan Dog Training, puppy, dogMichigan Dog Training, puppy, dogMichigan Dog Training, puppy, dogMichigan Dog Training, dog training titles, Puppy STAR, Canine Good CitizenMichigan Dog Training, puppy, dogMichigan Dog Training, puppy, dogMichigan Dog Training, puppy, dogMichigan Dog Training, puppy, dogMichigan Dog Training, puppy, dog

 

Should I have my dog professionally trained or do it myself?

Michigan Dog Training, Board and Train, Day Training

 

This ia a question, we are often asked at Michigan Dog Training. So I wanted to take a moment to answer it becuase that’s what we do, answer your questions and provide dog training and behavior solutions.

Michigan Dog Training, Mastiff, Day TrainingWe offer several different training programs to fit a wide variety of training needs and budgets.  If you don’t have the time or patience to train your dog, then Day Training or Board and Train is an excellent choice. Professional trainers do the leg work of training your dog. Then you only have to be trained on how to keep your dog’s new skills sharp. We accomplish this  by providing you with a training session upon completion of either dog training programs (day training also includes a mid-way semi private training session). Pups and dogs who are shy but not aggressive, will  benefit from the socialization that trainers can more easily provide.

If you do have the time and patience to train your dog, then I recommend signing up for our Private Lessons or Group Classes. Young puppies do best by attending group classes to gain the socialization they desperately need before sixteen weeks of age. Otherwise, they may grow up developing fear issues around other dogs, people and their environment. In addition to general obedience classes, we also offer specialized group classes such as Nose Work (fun scent detection), Intermediate and Advanced Obedience, and E-Collar Excellence.

Obedience group classes are the most economical way to train your dog, but they don’t provide the one on one training experience Puppy STAR, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michiganfor you and your dog’s specific needs. Also, if your dog barks a lot during class, he or she cannot opitmally learn and they detract from other dogs’ learning as well. For dogs who have special needs such as fear or aggressive tendencies, private lessons are the best option.  This way, they reside with you at home but they and you receive one-on-one training with a behaviorist or expert trainer. It’s also a great choice for all other dogs because optimal learning comes by private instruction followed by group classes.

This is why we offer our Perfect Group Classes as an added bonus to students who have completed our private lessons, day training or board and train programs. The Perfect Practice group class is a great way to proof what you and your dog have learned  amongst distractions of other dogs and people.

I hope this helps you narrow down your actions. If you need additional help, please give us a call at 734-634-4152.  We’ll be happy to answer your questions.

 

Is training your dog a habit?

Change of habits, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

In business circles, a common topic of discussion is whether or not leaders are born to lead. And so too, I ask are people born with dog training skills or do they develop them?

It may seem obvious, that people develop the skills because most people see the value in getting their dog professionally trained. However, there are those who have a passion and love for dog training as a profession, sport or hobby, have an easier time relating to dogs than others, are easily able to recognize stress, fear and aggressive behavior signs in dogs, and are more coordinated. So which is it, born with greater skills or trained?

Greek Philosopher Aristotle, Michigan Dog Training

Aristotle

Aristotle said it best, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” So too is dog training. Even the most uncoordinated and first time dog owner can learn to bond, relate and train their dog with help from an experienced dog trainer as long as they consider the training of their dog to be a habit and not an one time act.

If you don’t have the time and patience to train your dog then its’ best to have a professional train your dog via a board and train or day training program. However, if you do have the time and patience as well as the motivation and commitment; then group classes or private training lessons are a good choice.

As you progress through the weekly lessons be sure to put practice time on your schedule. Just like going to the gym, it’s more likely to happen if you reserve time on your calendar and commit to it. Otherwise, life gets in the way and your attendance at the gym will suffer. Thus, you need to reserve time on the calendar for you and your dog. Otherwise, life will interrupt the best intentions of training your dog.

The good news is, you don’t have to reserve big blocks of time to train your dog at one time, such as a hour or even a half hour. Frequency of practice sessions utilizing Deep Practice or Deliberate Practice (defined by Daniel Coyle in his book, The Little Book of Talent, 52 Tips for Improving Skills as “The form of learning marked by 1) the willingness to operate on the edge of your ability, aiming for targets that are just out of reach, and 2) the embrace of attentive repetition.”) are more important than the length of the sessions. Therefore, for a pet dog to be transformed into a well mannered family member, I recommend the following minimum training sessions:

  •  Pups 10-19 weeks of age:  10-15 minute sessions, 3-4 sessions per day, 5 days per week
  •  Dogs 20 weeks and older:  20 minute sessions, 3 sessions per day, 5 days per week

Once your happy with your dog’s new obedience skills, you can switch from having scheduled training sessions with your dog to practicing good manners throughout your everyday life. As you remain consistent with the new standards you hold for your dog and for yourself, the training will cease to be an act and grow to be a habit with amazing potential and results.

Simple explanations for dog behavior

Michigan Dog Training, Belgian Malinois, Kaboom, Happy Halloween

 

Is Michigan Dog Training haunted? This was a question I amusingly asked myself the other day when I saw a Halloween Pumpkin Ornament disappear and reappear. Ohhh.

Michael Burkey, Michigan Dog Training, dog behavior, simple answers to dog behaviorFor the holiday, my staff hung a Halloween Pumpkin ornament light in between two Ghost ornaments on our kitchen windows (pictured above). The next day while providing private dog training lessons, I glanced over and saw the Pumpkin had disappeared. I assumed that one my staff members took it down to put up somewhere else in the building. However, the next day I noticed it had reappeared in-between the two ghosts. So I amusingly thought that Michigan Dog Training must be haunted because the Halloween Pumpkin disappeared and reappeared like magic.

Obviously, the simple explanation was that the sticker which hung the Pumpkin on the window had come loose causing it to fall to the floor. On the following day, someone spotted it laying on the floor and reattached it to the window. This whimsical analogy made me think of the times that dog parents often times put human emotions on their dogs and come up with complex explanations for their dogs’ behavior. When in actuality, there are really a lot more simple explanations as to why dogs do what they do.

One time, I had a client tell me convincingly that their dog was upset with him because he was watching the Super Bowl game rather than paying attention to his dog. So naturally, his dog ripped out the cable cord that was attached to the house. The client seriously thought his dog had done this to avenge him. I explained that a simpler solution was that his dog found a wonderful tug toy attached to the side of the house and since he was unsupervised, he was determined to remove it because that’s what some dogs do.

Another client told me that their dog tore up the couch pillow and when they entered the room, they could see their dog knew it was wrong to do. I asked them what that looked like to them that their dog looked guilty. I already knew the answer to my question because it’s a common one. They said their dog slinked downward toward the floor as he made an attempt to get around them and escape out of the room. I asked if it was possible that the dog knew they were upset with him. They responded, “yes of course because we were very upset, we yelled at him and he exited the room quickly. He knew he was guilty” I suggested that the dog really only knew that the owners weren’t safe to be around at that moment.

They believed the dog knew he was wrong and therefore acted guilty upon the owners walking into the room. A simpler explanation is that as the owners walked into the room and saw the cushions ripped apart, the dog sensed that the owners were upset without understanding the “why”. Thus, a human emotion of guilt was placed on the dog.  The dog was simply being a dog tearing apart a stuffed toy (in the dog’s mind).

Another owner believed their dog urinated on their bed to spite them. A much simpler explanation is that the dog had been corrected previously for laying on the bed. Thus, the dog was fearful as the owner approached and Jessica Bawol, Michigan Dog Training, Halloweentherefore the dog was unable to control his bladder at that moment.

There are many more examples of dogs performing undesirable behaviors and the stories we attach to dog behavior. There are made up stories of how we perceive things and then there are “just the facts”, as famously said by Detective Joe Friday of the TV Series “Dragnet”. So rather than assuming that Michigan Dog Training is haunted, I quickly entertained other possible explanations for the disappearance and reappearance of the Halloween Pumpkin such as the ornament simply fell to the ground.

I encourage you to look beyond your dogs presenting behavior and entertain plausible explanations as to why a dog did what it did rather than going with your first perceived complex explanation. I wish you and your family a happy and safe Halloween. Oh, and to be clear, Michigan Dog Training isn’t Haunted.      : )

Where are Nose Work training classes?

Beagle, Nose Work, Randy Hare,Michigan Dog Training

Nose Work is a fun scenting sport for pet dogs. It can be pursued as simply a fun activity for dogs and handlers or one can also earn Nose Work titles, if desired. So “Where are Nose Work training classes found”?  Well, you don’t have to look any further for the best than at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.

Nose Work training mimics how police and military scent detection dogs are trained. And, as a former Police K9 Officer I bring my skills and experience to Michigan Dog Training (MDT) Nose Work classes to turn out top notch sniffers. We also have lots of fun while training.

Follow along and watch Jelly, a Beagle search for Q-Tips scented with Anise, Clove, and Birch oils and hidden in outdoor locations. The first hide is in plain sight but it’s a challenging problem for Jelly to navigate as it’s hidden under leaves.  Rather than searching first with her eyes and later by her nose for containers that may contain the scent, she has to trust her nose first in order to locate the hide that is her first buried location.

After that, Jelly finds a hide underneath a vacant bird nest laying on the ground. This was more of a test of the handler than the dog because many people would’ve pulled their dog off from sniffing the bird nest.  Many would assume Jelly was simply smelling bird scent and not Nose Work scent.  But not, Nicole, Jelly’s handler.  She did what we always said in Police K9 School, “Trust your dog’s nose because it knows”. And, Nicole did just that!

Dogs earn Advanced CGC Titles, Sept. 2017

Advanced Canine Good Citizen, CGCA, Michigan Dog Training

 

On September 28, 2017 five dogs earned their American Kennel Club (AKC) Advanced Canine Good Citizen titles at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.  Congratulations to the following dog teams:

  1. James Bowling with Bella, Labrador Retriever of Plymouth, Michigan
  2. Barbara Mays with DJ, Hound mix of Commerce Township, Michigan
  3. Andrew Rasky with Titan, German Shepherd Dog of Canton, Michigan
  4. Charles and Soraya Vaughn with Remi, German Shepherd Dog of Detroit, Michigan
  5. Bruce and Nancy Winkler with Dakota, Black English Labrador of Plymouth, Michigan
James Bowling, CGCA, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

BELLA CGCA

CGCA, Barbara Mays, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

DJ CGCA

CGCA, Michigan Dog Training, Andrew Rasky, Plymouth, Michigan, German Shepherd Dog

Titan CGCA

Soraya Vaughn, German Shepherd Dog, CGCA, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan

Remi CGCA

Bruce and Nancy Winkler, English Black Labrador, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, CGCA

Dakoda CGCA

Michelle Cogle promoted to Training Instructor

Michelle Cogle, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, dog, training instructor

 

On September 19, 2017 Michelle Cogle was promoted from Dog Trainer to Training Instructor (TI) at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan.  She will still train dogs at MDT but has accepted additional responsibilities. The promotion is well deserved and is in recognition of her excellent dog training skills, demonstrated staff training skills, awesome customer service and perfect time and attendance.

Michigan Dog Training hired Michelle as an Assistant Dog Trainer on April 25, 2017.  She relocated from West Virginia where she had trained service dogs. On July 11, 2017 she was promoted to the position of Dog Trainer after successfully passing MDT’s comprehensive written and practical exams. On September 12, 2017 she was awarded the MDT August 2017 Employee of the Month Award.

Her new position as a Training Instructor is a mid-management position and includes but not limited to training MDT Staff, being a shift leader, and teaching group classes and private lessons.  Congratulations Michelle!

Michelle Cogle – Dog Trainer

Michelle Cogle, Michigan Dog Training, Plymouth, Michigan, Dog Trainer

 

On June 11, 2017 Michelle Cogle was promoted from Assistant Dog Trainer to Dog Trainer at Michigan Dog Training in Plymouth, Michigan. She successfully completed MDT’s Dog Trainer program and passed comprehensive written and practical exams with high scores.

Michelle joined the MDT team in 2017. Previously, she trained mobility service dogs at West Virginia University.  We are very proud of her hard work, dedication and accomplishment.  Congratulations Michelle.