You see, it isn't really training; I simply have my mom wrapped around my paw. I do something that's SO easy, and I get stuff in return! Piece of cake!
It's actually a bit more complex than that, but whatever floats Nola's boat ;)
Every since Nola was a tiny baby, she's had the incredible desire to learn. Not to please me, but to LEARN. I've never seen a dog who actually likes to learn. It's fascinating to watch the wheels spin in her head as she works out a command/trick/word.
Before I get any further, let me state that I am not criticizing or attacking anyone's training methods. I'm only telling you what works for me and my dog, and giving you the scientific evidence as to why PR works so well.
I strongly disagree with any other form of training. And don't even get me started on Cesar Millian! The whole Dominance Theory is outdated and has been scientifically debunked.
Check out these links if you would like to learn more:
Are Dogs Pack Animals? This is one of my favorite articles on the topic.
The Dominance Controversy As is this one.
Myths About the Dog's Origin and Nature
Dominance and Dog Training
Beyond Cesar Millan
Cesar Millan, Dog Whisperer: An Alternative Approach
Wolf Status and Dominance in Packs This is a more scientifically written one, but worth a read.
ClickerSolutions: The History and Misconception of Dominance Theory
The Social Organization of the Domestic Dog Very long and deep article, but once again worth it.
Dogs are not wolves, any more than humans are apes.
Example: You take two puppies from their mothers right after birth. One was born to a captive wolf, the other to a feral dog. You hand raise both of them (separately), give them the same amount of socialization and training. The dog that was born to a feral mother is a happy, well adjusted, trustworthy pet. The wolf, born to a captive mother who was accustomed to humans, is a nervous, reactive, unpredictable wild animal. See the difference? Dogs are not wolves.
I use clicker training with Nola, just minus the clicker. Yes, even though it's in the name, you don't have to use a clicker to clicker train your dog. I use a vocal marker ("Yes!") in place of the "click".
With clicker training, the click or verbal marker lets the dog know that they just did something great, and a reward is to follow. This has been the fastest and most effective way to train Nola. She does anything at all I like, it's an immediate "yes!" followed by either a treat, praise or toy. She quickly puts 2+2 together (hm, I just did something that made Mom really happy and I heard the good word followed by something I love. I'm going to do that again!) and offers me the behavior again. "Yes!" and reward. See how fast and effective that is?
I also use free shaping with her. Free shaping is where you see your dog do a behavior you're interested in and you give a click/verbal marker to let the dog know you like that. Do that till the dog gets what you like, then add a cue word. Congrats! Your dog just learned something without doing a training session.
I free shaped Nola's habit of jumping onto furniture or putting her paws on my leg. Now she hears the command "up!" and either puts her paws up or jumps onto something (depending on the hand signal given).
On choke, pinch and shock collars:
They are tools, but tools that should only be used in the hands of someone who knows how to use them. And that's not many people. I personally think choke, pinch and shock collars should be banned except in very specific circumstances.
There are so many other humane options out there! Thousands of harness and head halters to fit every dog!
Nola is trained off leash primarily, but always wears a buckle collar and for walking uses a Pupia harness (the only one she can't slip) and a 6ft leash.
Videos to check out:
My two favorite dog trainers on YouTube are Kikopup and Tab289. Both use strictly PR and clicker training, and they're my go to YouTubers for training. Tab289's video on dominance is a must! It's right up there ^ so check it out.
Teaching recall isn't as hard as it first seems. The 3 most important things to remember are:
1) NEVER call your dog for punishment or when you're angry
2) Reinforce every single time your dog comes to you, either with food, play or affection/praise
3) Don't teach your dog that the word "come" means the fun is over (i.e. you leave the dog park, beach, in the yard, ect). When you're at the dog park, for example, recall your dog every 5-10 minutes and reward, then let her back off. Make it a constant guessing game, and make it that coming to you is better than anything she's leaving behind.
How I taught Nola's recall is actually pretty straightforward. When she followed me, she got a a verbal marker and a reward.
Then later, if she was somewhere in the house I'd call her name. If she came to me, she'd get the jackpot of rewards. If she didn't, I hadn't introduced the word come, so she wasn't disobeying. It only took her a few times to figure out it's a great thing to come to Mom right when she calls. That's when I introduced the word "come".
Then we moved outside, following the same steps as above, except she obeyed the come command.
When I felt she was trustworthy, I let her off at the deserted beach. She was perfect and continues to be! She drags her leash when we're in public and she's off, just so I can grab her quickly if need be.
I always have treats or a toy in my pocket, and reward her randomly for following and coming back of her own accord throughout the day. It's become something of a game, kind of like in this video:
In addition to the usual sit, stay, come, down, heel, teach your dog tricks! It not only sets your dog apart from your usual run of the mill pet, it's a huge crowd pleaser and confidence builder. Nola actually learns tricks faster the obedience commands.
Teach them anything! Be creative and silly!
Nola's paw and wave trick:
Commands/tricks/words Nola knows:
okay (let off command)
over (jump over something)
get in (bathtub)
watch me/look at camera
give (drop it)
easy (walk nicely on a leash)
go find (toy, person, minion)
you got mail!
Her "aunts" and "uncle"
Where'd they go?
go get it
Dogs learn infinitely better by being taught what they should do, rather than what they shouldn't.
Don't set you or your dog up for failure! "Oh, I have a Dachshund, they're way to stubborn for training". Clearly not! Don't limit yourself with stereotypes.
Quit while you're ahead. Stop the training session with the dog wanting to continue, rather than when it's frustrated.
Mental exercise (training, food puzzles) is just as, if not more, important as physical exercise.
Don't train when your dog is tired, hot, sore, stressed or right after a meal.
If your dog is having trouble learning a new command, fall back on one she knows well. A boost of confidence.
Training makes your bond with your dog stronger.
This post is turning more into what technique I use to train Nola with and what she can do, rather than a step by step thing. Oops! Sorry for the novel :)
Now you're probably thinking, "damn, that dog is perfect!". She's not. I am so! Like I said, she's not. She's smart, and she knows it. She has mild separation anxiety, is petrified of garbage tucks, is demanding, doesn't like people outside the family and is nervous around big dogs.
Well, that's it! I hope we covered everyone's curiosity! Soon there will be a page (that's frequently updated) of my training put up, so keep an eye out for that.
If you have any questions about this posts, or questions in general, please leave them in a comment below. If I get some questions, Monday's post will be a Q&A!
Hope you enjoyed how I'm trained!
Kisses and Tail Wags and Hugs,
Dachshund Nola and Dachshund Mommy
|"up" allows me to verbally place Nola where I want her|
|Serious impulse control. This is her "wait" command and yes, those are treats.|