Dog Training, Tips, Tricks, and Plenty of Good Advice

Treats

Healthy Dog Treats

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sunflower kernels, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients, adding more milk if needed to make dough firm. Roll out onto a floured surface to a 1/2-inch thickness. Use any shape cookie cutter to cut out biscuits, but bone shapes are fun!

Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly toasted. To make biscuits harder, leave in oven with the heat turned off for an hour or more.

Found at: Free Pet Projects

Chompin’ Chicken Bites

  • ½ pound ground chicken
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a non-stick skillet, cook chicken until done; crumble into small pieces and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, combine flour and cornmeal. In a small bowl, combine chicken broth, vegetable oil, egg, and tarragon; beat until well combined.

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients to form a soft dough. Knead chicken into dough. Working with ½ of the dough at a time, press dough into a rectangle and roll out onto parchment paper to ¼-inch thickness. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 1-inch squares.

Move parchment to a baking sheet and bake 20 to 23 minutes or until firm and dry. Cool on baking sheet; break squares apart. Repeat with remaining dough.

Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week or in freezer up to 3 months.

Yield: about 15½ dozen bites

Found at Free Pet Projects

Tuna Melt Squares for Dogs and Cats

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tuna, in oil
  • ¼ cup cottage cheese
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine tuna and cottage cheese; beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add flour and stir until well combined. (Dough will be sticky.)

Use greased hands to pat dough into a lightly greased 8-inch square pan. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese on top. Bake 35 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Cool and cut into 1-inch squares. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week or in freezer up to 3 months.

Yield: forty-nine 1-inch squares

Found at Free Pet Projects

Minty Fresh Dog Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, stir together flours, parsley, and mint. In a small bowl, combine water, vegetable oil, and honey. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mix well to form a soft dough.

Working with 1/2 of the dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out dough with cookie cutters, using desired shapes.

Transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks or in freezer up to 3 months.

Yields:

  • 2 dozen small biscuits
  • 4 dozen large biscuits

Found at Free Pet Projects

Fetch ’Em Peanut Butter Balls

  • 1 cup coarsely crushed rice cereal
  • ¼ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey or molasses
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ

Instructions:

In a small bowl, combine cereal, peanut butter, and honey or molasses; stir until mixture forms a ball.

Scoop out teaspoonfuls of mixture and roll into 1-inch balls.(Balls can be rolled smaller or larger to suit the size of your dog.) Roll balls in wheat germ to cover.

Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Yield: sixteen 1-inch balls

Found at Free Pet Projects

Cheesy Thumbprint Cookies For Dogs

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 (1 ounce) mozzarella cheese sticks

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine wheat flour, cornmeal, and Parmesan cheese. In a small bowl, combine water, olive oil, and egg; beat until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mix until smooth.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out dough and roll into balls. Place balls onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Using your thumb, press a slight indention into center of each cookie. Cut cheese sticks into 6 pieces and place into centers of cookies.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned on bottom. Store cookies in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in freezer for up to 3 months.

Yield: about 1-½ dozen cookies

Found at Free Pet Projects

Puppy Training – Reinforcements

What follows is an in depth explanation of the different forms of reinforcement, along with general guidelines about when and how to use them.

What is Reinforcement?

Reinforcement is information. It tells your puppy just what you like and don’t like. It works only on behavior that is already occurring. You cannot reinforce behavior that isn’t happening. Timing is critical. It must happen at the exact same time as the behavior you want to modify.

Positive Reinforcement

  • Encourages specific behavior to be repeated.
  • Something your puppy wants.
    • Praise (“good puppy”). Tone of voice is very important.
    • Petting, tummy rubs, etc.
    • Attention, eye contact.
  • Feels good.
  • Use generously.
  • Timing is critical – I cannot stress this enough.
    • Positive reinforcement that occurs too soon teaches your puppy how to manipulate you.
    • Positive reinforcement that occurs too late reinforces the wrong behavior.
  • Positive reinforcements that involve food should be limited to one small mouthful. Use sparingly on specific behaviors only.
    • Come when called.
    • “Out.” Get your nose out of my food.
    • Successful potty break outside.
    • To revive interest in previously learned behaviors.

Negative Reinforcement

  • Discourages specific behavior.
  • Something your puppy wants to avoid.
    • Verbal correction (“NO”), tone of voice important.
    • Physical correction.
      1. Hard squeeze of muzzle or feet for jumping or biting.
      2. Sharp jerk with a leash, or hand on collar.
      3. Scruff shake.
      4. Quick spin through the air.
    • Squirt bottle.
    • Shake can or other sharp noise.
  • Feels bad.
  • Use sparingly.
  • Timing is critical – I cannot stress this enough.
    • Negative reinforcement that occurs too late is called “punishment” and does nothing to educate your puppy.
    • Negative reinforcement that occurs too soon may actually prevent the behavior you are trying to encourage.
  • Negative reinforcements should be only just strong enough to make an effective impression, but not so strong as to cause fear.

Jackpots

  • A surprising reward 10 times bigger than what your puppy is used to (treats are acceptable).
  • Can be used to mark a sudden breakthrough.
  • And also as a morale booster.
  • Will help your puppy maintain a positive attitude about you, and the training.
  • Do not do this very often or it will use it’s effectiveness.

Conditioned Reinforcement

  • Teaches your puppy to respond to the following:
    • Verbal praise – an all purpose positive reinforcement.
    • Verbal correction – an all purpose negative reinforcement.
    • Other signals – reinforcement for specific behaviors.
      1. Sounds such as bells, clickers, whistles.
      2. Motions such as hand signals, or specific actions.
      3. Lights, or anything your puppy responds to visually.
  • Establishes more exact communication.
    • Tells your puppy exactly which part of a behavior you like the best.
    • Reinforces behavior without interrupting it.
  • Has more power than ordinary reinforcements because:
    • It works on an unconscious level.
    • Can be paired with several ordinary reinforcements such as:
      1. Food, water, and petting.
      2. Tummy rug, treats, focused attention.
      3. Loud noise, squirt bottle, leash correction.
    • It says, “You’re right!” which is important information, and a valuable reinforcement by itself.

How to establish a conditioned reinforcement

  • Verbal Praise
    • Pick one phrase and use ONLY for this purpose.
      1. “Good Puppy” or “Very Good” or “Thank You”
      2. Something similar to the above.
    • Always use a POSITIVE tone of voice.
    • Say the phrase when giving food, water, treats, tummy rubs, ear scratches, etc.
    • Do NOT continue to say the phrase after the positive reinforcement is finished.
  • Verbal Correction
    • Pick one phrase and use ONLY for this purpose.
      1. “Bad” or “No” or “Shame on you.”
      2. Something similar to the above.
      3. Do not use in conjunction with your puppy’s name.
    • Always use a STERN demanding tone of voice.
    • Say the phrase when using negative reinforcements.
    • Do NOT continue to say the phrase after the incident, or naughty behavior is finished and dealt with.
  • Signals, bells, clickers, whistles, lights, etc. for POSITIVE reinforcement.
    • Make the signal and give a reward.
    • Do this until the signal brings the puppy to you for another reward.
    • When the connection between the signal and the reward is made, begin to use the signal to reinforce behavior while it is happening.
    • Use the signal for ONE behavior at a time.
  • Use your conditioned reinforcements sparingly.
    • Try to pick words, phrases, and or sounds that your puppy will not ordinarily hear during the course of the day.
    • Do not repeat the words or sound over and over again during the action unless you have a specific reason.

How to maintain what your puppy has learned.

  • Random Reinforcement.
    • Positive reinforcement should be constant and consistent during the LEARNING process only.
    • As soon as your puppy has learned a specific behavior, cooperation is expected.
    • Positive reinforcement is given only when the behavior is done quickly, or unusually well.
    • Do not use random reinforcement to eliminate unwanted behavior.
  • Avoid pampering and spoiling.
    • If positive reinforcement is too easy for your puppy to achieve, the desire to try harder will NOT be reinforced, and you will get less and less instead of more and more.
    • If negative reinforcements are easy to ignore, your puppy will continue to test established boundaries, and you will find yourself in a continual struggle for authority.
  • Variable Schedule.
    • Do NOT use when working to ELIMINATE behavior.
    • Use when the behavior has been perfected.
    • Gradually phase out positive reinforcements.
    • Limit yourself to reinforcement, every 3rd, 5th, 7th, etc.
    • Every now and then throw in a “jackpot.”
    • Keep your puppy guessing.
    • A long schedule is the most effective.

Exceptions to the variable schedule

  • When you are working to eliminate an unwanted behavior.
  • When solving a puzzle, or taking a test.
  • When it is necessary to make a choice between two or more items, or actions.
  • Whenever independent thinking is required, some sort of feedback is necessary, and can be in the form of conditioned reinforcements.

Written by: Shirley Janner

Note:

You are welcome to share this post but ONLY IF you give credit and a link back to Teach Your Dog To Behave or shirleytwofeathers.com.

Getting started with Dog Obedience Training

This was my standard handout for dog obedience classes.

You will need:

  • Time – 1 hour a day
  • Patience
  • A sense of humor
  • A strong desire to succeed

Training Collar:

  • Sometimes called a “chain” or “choke” collar
  • To insure a proper fit, the collar should slide easily, but not loosely, over your dog’s head. A training collar that is too loose will not work properly.
  • Choose one with wide links – training collars made with thin narrow chains tend to cut into the dog’s neck.
  • Don’t skimp on quality when choosing a training collar, pick a brand that is guaranteed against rust and breakage.

Regular Collar:

  • If you have a shy, timid, or very small dog, we may decide to use a leather collar for training.
  • Should fit tightly enough that only 2 fingers will fit between the collar and your dog’s neck. This is a safety precaution. If the collar is too loose and your dog balks or backs up, a loose collar will slide over your dog’s head and come completely off.

Other Collars:

  • Depending on the situation, the size, sensitivity, and temperament of your dog, we may recommend the use of a ‘pinch’ or ‘prong’ collar for training.
  • Small dogs and puppies that are shy, timid, very young, or very submissive may be started with a leather collar. It should fit tightly
    enough that the collar cannot accidentally slip off your dog’s head.
  • Nylon slip collars will not be practical for training as they have a tendency to get caught in long hair, will heat up with repeated use, and often do not release properly

Leash:

  • Retractable leashes and chain leashes are not practical for training.
  • It is very important that your leash be six feet long. A four foot long leash will not be long enough to teach ‘stay’ and ‘come.’
  • Leather is better, but nylon or cotton will do just fine.
  • When choosing a leash, find something that feels comfortable in your hands. Something light and thin will be fine for small dogs, but if you have a large out of control dog, you will want a leash that will not cut into your hands.
  • A good clasp is very important if you have a big strong dog, or a dog that pulls hard on the leash.

Training Area:

  • When teaching your dog something new, choose a place to work with your dog where there is a minimum of distractions.
  • When practicing commands that your dog already knows, choose a place with many temptations and distractions so that you can reinforce the training.
  • A large area is nice, but all you really need is enough room to walk with your dog at your side.
  • As soon as your dog knows and understands a command, begin to use it as part of your dog’s daily life. Do not, however, overwhelm your dog with obedience, especially in the beginning.

Treats:

  • For puppy classes, treats are a great asset, but for the basic obedience training, I do not recommend the use treats as part of the
    training.
  • This is because too often the dog learns right away to only perform if there is a treat involved.
  • When dogs are stressed or nervous, when they are excited about new sounds and smells, when there is the distraction of other dogs and new people, or if your dog is timid or shy, they are not the least bit interested in even the most savory of treats.
  • Also, the goal is for the dog to obey you, and listen to you because they love and respect you, not because there’s something in it for them.

Written by: Shirley Gibson

Note:

You are welcome to share this or use it in your own classes, but ONLY IF you give credit and a link back to Teach Your Dog To Behave or  shirleytwofeathers.com.

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