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Ask the Trainer Response – two Questions

June 30, 2010

Libby has two questions that I would like to address separately.

I am in the process of getting approved for a PSD (Psychiatric Service Dog). I live way outside the city, and it will be very hard to get to a training class. I want to make sure that my new dog, is a good canine. Could you recommend a good training book, or dvd, so that I can train at home?

Libby, you are awesome for wanting to work with service dogs. The rewards you feel when you know you and your K9 partner work with people in need – there is just no words that can explain. I tip my hat to you. I know you mentioned living way outside the city but if you have any chance at all to work with a trainer once a month I highly recommend it. Not only will they be able to assist you in working on the basics but if a habit is forming that is detrimental to training they will be able to assist in correcting. You did not mention how much training you have had other than your second question regarding your pug. I will assume that you have the basic knowledge to do the Sit, Down, Stay training with no problem. I do recommend a couple of books and one is the Canine Good Citizen book that reviews the 10 tests to achieve Canine Good Citizen status with your K9.

Covers the following:
• Introduction: The Need for Canine Good
• Accepting a Friendly Stranger
• Sitting Politely for Petting
• Appearance and Grooming
• Out for a Walk (Walking on a Loose Leash)
• Walking Through a Crowd
• Sit and Down on Command/ Staying in Place
• Coming When Called
• Reaction to Another Dog
• Reaction to Distractions
• Supervised Separation
• The CGC Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge
• Finding CGC Training and Testing Near You
• Before and After CGC
• Special Applications of the CGC Program
• How the AKC Helps Every Dog Owner
• Appendix: List of AKC-Approved CGC
Evaluators and Index
To Order: www.DogWise.com 1.800.776.2665

Another book I recommend is:
AKC Dog Care & Training Book
Our goal in writing the American Kennel Club’s Dog Care & Training, Second Edition, was to provide the reader with a basic, general dog care and training book. This book offers general background information on topics such as considerations prior to adding a dog to your home, how you should go about selecting a puppy or older dog, and how you can register your dog with the American Kennel Club. Dog Care and Training is a paperback book containing over 200 pages of expert advice with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. There are full-color photos and illustrations interspersed throughout and a complete glossary of dog terms appears within. Size 6″ x 8″.

In addition to the two above AKC books, I recommend the following advanced books:

Beyond Basic Dog Training by Diane Bauman – I don’t agree with everything and that’s okay because trainers each have their different styles but I like how she outlines everything and details. Her training of Heel is different than mine – but again, that’s okay – her method works and so does mine.

Family Friendly Dog Training by Patricia McConnell

I also purchase books off this website: http://www.dogwise.com/

Like any training method – you may or may not like what you read. Move on, there are so many methods that if you don’t like one then move on or you can always ask me my opinion ;=).

Libby’s said…
Oh – I also wanted to ask how you feel about using choke collars during training? I took my two older dogs (when they were young) to basic obedience training and they insisted that choke collars be used. My poor little pug, had his first trachea collapse, as a result…so I’ve never used them since.
Your thoughts?

First off, I do not recommend Choke or Pinch collars at all. I believe they teach a dog to learn to tighten their neck muscles and if used improperly can cause severe damage to a dog. There is no reason to use these type of collars. If I need more than a nice web collar then I will use what is called a martingale collar and for an energetic pug I would use a collar and harness or a Sporn Harness for the first few training sessions and then move strictly to the harness unless reinforcement training is needed and I would move back to both. For dogs with noses that need a little reinforcement then I would use in addition to the collar (our whole goal is to strictly be on a collar) a training tool called a gentle leader. When I first got Wyatt, he was a big boy at 6 mos and had not had any formal training. I used the gentle leader for 5 months and anytime I needed to reinforce not pulling on the leash. The gentle leader if used correctly is a wonderful tool but again, you need a professional to help get it fitted correctly and to learn how to use it correctly.

I hope this answers your questions and if not please feel free to ask me more questions – That’s what I’m here for!

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