The body wrap is a piece of equipment commonly used in Tellington TTouch. Generally we would use the American elasticated Ace wrap available from Xtra Dog. The wrap will change the posture of the dog due feedback received from the nervous system. It will help the nervous system be more effective.
The wrap should not be put on tightly as the dog should be aware of it without effecting his movement, nor should it restrict the dog in any way. If the dog appears uncomfortable or worried about the wrap then it should immediately be taken off. Do not use a body wrap unsupervised, and it does not need to be on for longer than 20 minutes as a time. Like any new piece of equipment build up the time that the dog has its wrap on, starting with just a couple of minutes. The nervous system can often be aware of the wrap long after it has been removed.
Changing the dog’s posture will change the behaviour of the dog but sometimes wraps can only have a minor effect so do have realistic expectations. A wrap can also influence the dog’s movement so can be a useful tool with a very pulley dog as it will give the dog better body awareness and help them to walk in their natural balance.
Wraps along with Thundershirt (www.thundershirt.xtradog.com) can also help with environmental situations like noise i.e. fireworks, thunder, lawnmowers etc.. They can also help with touch-sensitive dogs.
How to Introduce a Dog to Wearing a Wrap
1. Put treats onto the wrap and allow the dog to eat of the wrap and sniff it (what we call the dinner plate technique)
2. Lay wrap loosely over the dog’s shoulders and ask the dog to move.
3. Put it across the dog’s chest and ask the dog to move.
4. Tie the wrap off as a quarter wrap and move the dog again.
You may need to take the wrap off between these steps and move the dog or give him some treats if it becomes too much.
A wrap is used for sensation, not for support like a bandage.
Tying a Quarter Wrap
Put your wrap about a third of the way to the middle across the chest of the dog keeping the short end over the middle of the dog’s back. Cross your wrap pver your dog’s back and take the longer end under his tummy and tie it. You can also use a safety pin.
Tying a Half Wrap
Place the middle of your wrap across the chest of your dog. Cross the wrap over the shoulder. Bring the ends across the rib cage and then under the dog’s tummy and then at the middle of the back. Tie the ends off or use a safety pin. The back loop can be moved back to rest over the base of the tail if necessary.
Chekout this video, where Tellington TTouch practitioner Janet Finlay demonstrates how to use a TTouch body wrap.
A lot of people with pet dogs turn down gundog training as they say ‘ well I don’t go shooting’ or ‘ I don’t believe in blood sports’ or ‘my dog is not a gundog breed’, however gundog training has brilliant core exercises designed to produce a calm, steady dog that any pet dog owner would benefit from and be proud of.
When I got my first gundog, a Weimaraner, called Dooley back in 1994 I went to an ‘old style trainer’ who (bear in mind I knew nothing about training or behaviour) got me to hit my dog with the metal clip of the lead (if he walked ahead off lead), threw buckets of water over him if he whimpered when he got excited on seeing birds or game and having put a choke chain on his neck (the wrong way round) to show me how it was done, tore his ear whilst checking him making it bleed profusely. I lasted 2 and a bit sessions, walking away part way during the third.
My dog decided the car was for going somewhere horrid and the car became an issue. My relationship with Dooley suffered and it took a several months to build his trust back in me. From then on my dad and I just ‘played at gundog training’ making it fun’ for Dooley and although we did really know what we were doing, he would happily retrieve a dummy and do directional retrieves etc.
Gundogs need to be focused, attentive, do nothing when asked, but when needed can hunt, flush and retrieve game in a controlled manor. Even asking a pet dog to do nothing in a park on a lead whilst you have a chat or a picnic would be a really useful exercise to teach!
All gundogs need to be able to find a bird or game that has been shot and retrieve it - in pet dog terms - this could be a hidden ball or other favorite toy.
Gundogs need to listen and take instruction from you to help them find game ie left, right, back etc. Couple this with using their brain and their nose you have a very busy dog which will equal a happy dog.
Mental and physical activity is a fabulous way to entertain and tire out busy dogs. Dogs that are kept occupied mentally and exercised and given a job that most dogs (regardless of breed) are inbuilt to do (hunt) are less likely to develop behavioural problems or destroy household items out of boredom. Stimulating the brain of a hard hunting busy dog (pet or working) in short bursts is far better than long runs and self employed behaviour (behaviour of the dogs choosing). You will never tire a dog completely with exercise alone.
Here at The Dog House we searched high and low for a gundog trainer that had the same ethos as us - we wanted a trainer who wanted to promote training as a team rather than as a ‘dog do as I say’ and a trainer that promotes ‘kind, fair and effective methods’. Using kind, positive methods develops a strong bond between dog and owner which not only makes for a well behaved and trained dog but also makes a happy dog and owner - win win!
Then whilst watching a gundog demonstration at The East of England show a few years ago I saw Natalie Cannon and she had a great rapport with her dogs, they eagerly looked at her awaiting a job to do,wanting to go and do something fun and exciting and enjoyable that they had learnt to do, and not only that but when they had done the job, they got paid for it with rewards! Brilliant!!!!
So The Dog House teamed up with Natalie Cannon a couple of years ago and our Gundog Training has proved popular.
Natalie never sets dogs or owners up to fail and always ensure that everyone works to levels suitable to them.
Basic Gundog Training includes Walking to heel on and off the lead, Sit and Stay Recall Working to the whistle Retrieve Send a away Directional Sendaway Sit steady whilst object launced - retrieve Retrieve including directional work,left,right and back Memory retrieve Blind retrieve Hunting and holding an area Scurrys Blind Scurrys and for those that want to progress onto actual working stuff you will then move onto cold game.
If you are interested in kind gun dog training why not join our next gundog session is on Sat Aug 25th and Sun Aug 26th in Thorney Peterborough and this time we are changing the format slightly to incorporate your training but then you will have a test to get a certificate and rosette and the have the opportunity to have a go at a fun scurry.
The Dog House Academy is owned and run by Shelley Heading and was established in 1995. Shelley decided to study dog training and behaviour after becoming disheartened at classes she attended with her puppy Weimaraner, Dooley. Classes were either usung harsh punitive methods resulting in the breakdown of trust between her and her puppy, or classes were too large and overcrowded with no individual attention.It was at this point Shelley was inspired to study all about our canine friends and was lucky enough to undertake one of the late John Fisher’s courses – a pioneer in positive reinforcement training - THE CANINE HUMAN INTERFACE and passed with a distinction.
Last year at Discover Dogs Tellington TTouch instructor Sarah Fisher presented a one hour lecture about TTouch and how tension and stress can effect dogs, If you did not get to see Sarah's lecture we are delighted to be able to give you the opportunity to watch the full lecture. This is a very informative video and we recommend that all dog owners should watch it.
It is important that your puppy gets used to wearing a soft collar and lead as early as possible. Prepare the nervous system by stroking the area that the collar will touch, put the collar on for short periods when the puppy is occupied eating or playing. When this is accepted, attach the lead and allow pup to drag it around, distracting with a toy or titbit if the temptation to bite the lead becomes overwhelming! If your puppy is still determined to mouth the lead, a taste deterrent such as Bitter Apple sprayed onto the lead will often help to over come this.
In order to develop a good relationship with your dog, it is important that he/she feels confident to be physically handled, groomed and contained by you. A dog who lacks confidence in being handled can become very reactive. Physical and verbal praise, essential tools in the good training of a dog should always available. However, they are only valuable as rewards if you mutually respect each other and the dog values your approval and praise.
Dogs can also become very stressed when visiting the vet, groomer or boarding kennel if they are not used to being handled. Regular grooming also lets you know how your dog normally feels, so that any lumps, injuries etc. can be recognised and sorted out quickly.
There is a big difference between Restraining and Containing. The former encourages resistance and the latter encourages confidence. For example, if you pick up a paw and the dog snatches it back or starts jumping around to move away, your instinctive reaction is to grip the paw harder. This triggers the dog to pull away harder and the human to grip the paw harder in an attempt to stop this movement. The dog's next instinctive reaction is to mouth at the hand in order to release the pressure on his/her paw. This is often successful so the behaviour will be repeated when somebody tries to lift the foot again. It becomes an unpleasant experience for both. Consider a different approach.
Pick up the paw gently and if the dog tries to pull it back, go with the movement and control the temptation to grip the paw. Eventually the dog will tire of trying to move away and relax, there is no resistance from you, no discomfort so nothing to struggle against. With a little patience the dog will soon feel confident that when you pick up a paw there is nothing to worry about.
If you would like your dog to sit still, gripping tightly will trigger a struggle to fight the restraint. To contain, have the dog sit in front of you, facing away and slightly between your knees. Keep your arms relaxed and place your open palms on the dog's chest. Give a little with the movement and then gently draw the dog back to you, relaxing your hands to contain him/her in the original position. Some dogs accept this very quickly, others continue to wriggle. Stay calm and keep repeating the gentle containing movement until the dog relaxes and is happy to sit quietly with you. Handle and contain for just a few minutes daily. Stay calm and talk quietly using long, slow syllables. Reward quiet, still behaviour. If your dog wriggles and tries to turn it into a game, quietly contain to ensure that there is no reward in wriggling. Attach a lead for this exercise until the dog has confidence to accept handling. It will avoid the temptation to grab at any movement away. You can quietly pick up the end of the lead instead. When the dog is still and accepts your handling make sure you let him/her know how pleased you are with treats and quiet praise.
Most animals hold tension in one part or another of their body. These areas can become very sensitive to touch. Run the back of your hand all over your dog. Take a mental note if he/she wiggles, moves away or looks around at an area you have just touched. Take note of any areas of heat or cold. Does the coat feel rough in some areas and soft in others perhaps?
Now you are ready to try Tellington TTouch (More detailed information about Tellington TTouch can be found in the TTouch section of the Dogucation Zone) in an area that the dog finds safe and comfortable. If there are any areas of your dog's body sensitive to touch, quietly reassure by touching in an area which he/she finds comfortable. Now very briefly do a TTouch in a more sensitive area. Quickly return to TTouch the comfy area - almost before the dog realises what has happened. The nervous system will have registered that TTouch. Repeat this over short sessions until the area ceases to be sensitive. Your dog will soon become accustomed to being handled all over, ears, mouth, feet, under the tail etc. When grooming, it is important to use a soft brush in the beginning. This avoids the possibility of injury if the dog makes a sudden movement before he/she is confident with being handled.
It is also worth training your dog to be tethered from an early age.
When he/she is used to wearing a collar and lead, tether the dog (make sure you use a quick release knot) and sit on the floor just out of reach. Click and drop a treat on the floor within reach of the dog when he/she is quiet. Ignore whines or barks, turn your head away and stay silent. Ensure that you breathe calmly to ensure that your body does not tense up.
Slowly build up the time by delaying the click. Keep the sessions as short as possible, aim for success. As the dog gains confidence, gradually increase the distance that you move away.
When this is accepted, pop out of sight. If the exercise has been built up slowly and consistantly the dog should remain calm so that a helper standing nearby can reward. There are times in every dog's life when tethering may be neccessary for a few minutes, especially in an emergency. However, this can be very distressing if a dog is not used to it.
Training Your Dog to Accept a Muzzle
It is useful to teach your dog to wear a muzzle by training a positive association with it. You never know when the dog might become ill or injured and react defensively from fear to neccessary handling for veterinary treatement. If he/she is used to wearing a muzzle it is one less area of stress for both dog and owners. I prefer the plastic, basket style of muzzle with a hole at the end to post treats through. This type still allows the dog to open his/her mouth comfortably to pant, eat and drink.
Allow the dog to sniff and look at the muzzle, rewarding with tasty treats. Clicker Training can really speed up the process of your dog forming a good association with the muzzle.
Place a treat just inside the muzzle and allow the dog to take it out.
Progress slowly until you are able to post a treat through the hole in the end of the muzzle and your dog will put his/her nose right inside to take it.
Progress by gently holding the straps behind the dog's ears as he takes the treat. If he panics and tries to shake off the muzzle, with hold the treat and allow him to shake it off. Do not attempt to correct the dog verbally or hold the muzzle on. The dog will quickly learn to accept the slight restriction in order to get the treat.
Only do up the straps behind the dogs ears when he is comfortable with putting his/her nose into the muzzle calmly and accepting it.
Continue to occasionally put the muzzle on at home and feed tasty treats so that it is most often associated with pleasant experiences for your dog.
Marie Miller is recognised as one of the UK's leading dog trainers, a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers' UK (no 0130) and a Tellington TTouch Practitioner (P3), she also has 2 books in print, co-authored with Sarah Fisher. Marie teaches, lectures and does dog related demonstrations around the UK. Marie is also technical consultant to Xtra Dog. Marie's also runs her Coventry based puppy and dog training school Paws 'n' Learn, teaches UK Rally and is a co-founder (with Sarah Fisher) and lecturer on the new Cool To Be Kind training courses - to find out more about Marie, visit her website www.pawsnlearn.com
Suggested Equipment (click on the link below to find out more)
What is Clicker Training?
Clicker Training was first developed by a B.F. Skinner, arguably the most celebrated psychologist since Freud. He first fully defined reward based training in 1938 and his work, while based on human education, went on to influence animal learning (most teachers have heard of Skinner!).
Clicker training is completely punishment free, it is easy to learn and enjoyable for humans and dogs and can be applied in any canine situation. Clicker training is used for puppy training, rescue dogs, dogs who have been mistreated, dogs with aggression issues, show dogs, competition dogs, working dogs, assistance dogs—the list goes on and on.
The click of the clicker means three things to a dog
The clicker therefore, acts like a camera to the dog, taking a snapshot in his short term memory of the exact moment he achieved the correct behaviour. Once a dog understands that, if they value the reward enough, they are then motivated to repeat the behaviour and continue learning.
Why use a clicker, why not just titbits?
It is easier to get the timing correct with a clicker when practised and timing is critical to a dog’s understanding of their training. Dogs relate the reward to what they are currently doing or what they have just done – before doing anything else.
Do I always have to use the clicker?
The clicker is for teaching new things, you only need it to teach your dog what you want and what that is called. When your dog responds to the word you are teaching reliably and quickly, you can fade the clicker.
Do I always have to use food?
It is very important to continue the training process, until your dog will respond to all the verbal cues (used to be called commands) automatically and everywhere. Training often fails because people don’t continue the training process as follows:
Won’t praise be enough?
Not usually, most people are motivated to work for money and whatever they get out of their job (friendships, satisfaction etc), dogs are no different. Not many people work for the love of the job alone and those that do are highly motivated by whatever they get out of the job. It’s all about motivation and most dogs are motivated by food and play. They enjoy praise of course, but it’s not usually enough on its own, but equally don’t forget to warmly praise your dog as well as feed him and play with him.
What happens when my dog gets it wrong?
Dogs have no concept of right and wrong, only rewarding and not rewarding. They don’t have morals, and therefore can’t look ‘guilty’. There is a positive solution for any canine behaviour that conflicts with what people want.When actually training, clicker training involves nothing negative whatsoever, not even verbal reprimands. Any form of punishment is in conflict with the scientific principles of clicker training. The worst that can happen for the dog is that the click, and therefore the treat, doesn’t come. The lack of reward will discourage repetition and encourage the dog to experiment and try out new things, without fear of reprisal, which in turn fully develops his or her personality.
Get the behaviour (lots of ways to do this)
Mark it with the clicker
Before Getting Started
Points to be aware of:
Organising Training Sessions
A release word is invaluable in training. It just means, 'exercise over', or 'go and play'. Choose any word or phrase that suits you e.g. 'ok', 'good' and replace the clicker with this when you are ready to phase it out.
Kerri Bee is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (no.0999). She runs training classes and one-to-one consultations in West Pembrokeshire. Visit her website. http://www.windrushdogsforlife.co.uk
Editor's note ... American, Karen prior a well known dog trainer was one of the major pioneers of clicker training. She started out as a dolphin trainer and found that using a whistle with marine mammals was a fantastic way to shape their behaviour and she developed the work with other land based animals using the clicker. Her book Clicker Training Dogs (ISBN: 978-1860542824) is a fantastic introduction to this method of dog training. Also checkout her website www.clickertraining.com
Reward based dog training is based on the simple truth that if behaviour is rewarded, it is more likely to be repeated. This is true of humans as much as dogs, after all, how many people would go to work if they didn’t earn any money?
If you think of all the reasons why you as a human do anything you should find that it all comes down to motivation. Motivation however, can be created by the threat of something unpleasant as well as the promise of something pleasant. This applies to so many things in life, for example we generally clean our homes to be rewarded by living in a pleasant environment but there is also the threat that if we don’t, germs will take over. It’s how we feel about these motivating factors that affects our relationships.
How does this affect dogs? Well, dogs don’t really do things just to please us and even dogs that appear to do that will be motivated by other factors – you just have to look more closely. The key is how we motivate them which determines how our dogs (and cats and children and......) feel about us.
Positive reward based training develops trust and loyalty between dogs and people. It also helps develop your dog’s personality rather than suppress it like traditional methods. Dogs really enjoy this kind of training because it taps into their natural love of learning and it stimulates their brains, making for happier, well behaved pets and therefore owners.
This kind of training is fun, positive and quick because dogs and people learn best when they are relaxed and happy. You can learn how to teach your dog anything without even raising your voice. In fact shouting or physical force of any kind are strictly prohibited in class, because such punishment teaches nothing and is therefore unkind and since there are positive ways to teach, there is simply no need.
Dogs learn by simple association. If they sit and receive a food treat at the same time or immediately after they are likely to be motivated to sit again. Dogs cannot understand our language without help, so in order to learn a word for an action they must hear the word a number of times at the same time as performing the action, before being able to perform the action when asked.
One way to train dogs (and nearly all animals) is with clicker training.
Using Rewards in Training
The kind of rewards, the variety, and how they are used in reward based puppy and dog training is essential to success – rewards are wages!
Most dogs are motivated by food and toys to different degrees. With toys, it is the games that people play with them that make them exciting or with toys such as Kongs, it is the food they are stuffed with.
We usually start with food treats to teach a dog new behaviour because most are motivated by food and small easily eaten food treats make the training process quicker and easier to understand. Toy rewards are useful at the end of sections of training and in more progressive training where the dog has built up a desire for the toy.
Food treats must come thick and fast to start with to cement the learning, and then as the training becomes more automatic the food can be gradually phased out. It is a good idea to continue to treat your dog occasionally, even when he knows the cue well. It will strengthen the bond between you in the same way that an occasional word of thanks for doing the dusting, works for you!
What treats to use
It is well worth making a list of your dog’s top ten treats, bearing in mind that your dog although strictly an omnivore (eats anything!), he or she is mainly a carnivore and so meat will probably forms at least six of her top ten. Her daily kibble may or may not be in that top ten.
Liver cake is loved by about 99% of dogs I meet. It’s cheap and easy to make, but quite yucky, so I often sell some in class. To make it, liquidise a packet of liver, add an egg (optional) and enough wholemeal flour to make it the consistency of cake mixture. Pour into a tin lined with foil and greased and bake until it’s firm. When cool cut into squares and freeze – you can defrost as much as you need.
Tuna and other fish can be made into cake as above if your dog likes it as many do.
Cheese good for vegetarians, dogs love it, keeps well, easy to use – try cheap mild cheddar. Use in moderation with young puppies and don’t over-rely on it for any dog. Cheese is so easy to use it can get boring and too much may upset tummies - variation is the key.
Chicken - a top favourite. Save scraps from your meals, cut them small and freeze in pots. Cook cheap portions in stock, so it doesn’t shrink as much.
Beef doesn’t have to be expensive. Again, bits from your own meals, cooked or raw cheap mince and sandwich meat. You could try whizzing up cheap mince, an egg and flour and baking – this makes it go a lot further.
Sausage is a big favourite but they are usually full of salt so use your dog’s fondness for them sparingly by adding one or two tiny bits to each handful of treats – it will add incentive. Try Tesco smokey bacon cocktail sausages!
Sandwich meat can be really convenient as it is already sliced. Dogs like garlic sausage, chicken roll, all that kind of thing.
Commercial Treats are liked by many dogs but usually come nearer the bottom of their Top Ten, making them useful for ‘ok’ responses whilst reserving the top treats for new work and ‘wow’ responses. Choose ones that list meat as the first ingredient and look out for added salt, sugar and artificial ingredients, especially colours.
How to Maximise the Benefit of Treats
Treats need only be very tiny to work for your dog, chop up food small and use a treat bag to keep your pockets clean.
Always use the top treats for new behaviours and to progress training i.e. if your dog sits nicely in the living room for a ‘Number 6 treat’ she will probably need a ‘Number 8’ when she first sits outside. Similarly, your dog will probably need a lot of very tempting treats to work effectively in class due to all the distractions.
Variety is also needed to maintain interest – after all even I get bored of chocolate at Christmas and Easter!
Be aware also of how you feed treats; make sure your dog feels your pleasure at his success. Try teaching your dog to catch treats, this can be really useful and fun too. When you start feeding jackpots (an extra special reward for something really great), try feeding them slowly and praise lavishly at the same time.
Don’t forget to reduce your dog’s food by the amount of treats he has in a day and remember you won’t always be a walking dog treat machine if you follow the full training process!
Do also please remember that your dog just won’t work as well for dry biscuits as they do real meat or cheese. They may be happy with it at home but in class they need something that will keep their attention, especially if other people have tastier treats. Dry foods are also far more likely to get stuck and they take longer to eat slowing your training and therefore the learning right down.
Try to develop a habit of playing tuggy or retrieve or chase after each segment of training. It reinforces the training more and allows your dog a quick break before re-starting training.
Kerry Bee is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (no.0999). She runs training classes and one-to-one consultations in West Pembrokeshire. Visit her website. http://www.windrushdogsforlife.co.uk
Depending on the severity of your dog’s travel anxiety, a Thundershirt alone may be enough to solve your issues. The use of Thundershirt alone has eliminated or significantly reduced symptoms such as severe shaking, panting, excitability, barking and even vomiting. But there are also easy steps you can take to further help your dog to be a happy traveller. See overleaf for a training program and training video. We have also provided answers to a variety of common questions for travel anxiety.