Tag Archives: dog trainer

Use The Power of Clicker Training – Fun, Humane and Effective Dog Training!

Clicker Instructions by Angelica Steinker

Clicker training is fun and very empowering for your dog

Clicker training is fun and very empowering for your dog








The ‘click’ signals to your dog that “YES!” that is the behavior you want. Think of the ‘click’ as a marker signal that lets your dog know the behavior you want. If you cue your dog to sit, you will want to ‘click’ the moment you see your dog’s hind end hit the ground. Then you follow the ‘click’ with a reinforcement – a reward your dog likes. Clicker training is the closest thing to talking with your dog and it is a fun training method for both dog and trainer. ‘Click’ your dog when he does what you ask.

‘Click’ your dog for doing what you want. Anything you like your dog doing is a great thing to ‘click’ and reinforce.

‘Click’ and Reinforce. After clicking, you can give your dog a treat. Moist treats are ideal or you can play a game or you can praise your dog. Anything that your dog enjoys can be used as a reinforcer. Vary your reinforcements to keep things fun and interesting.

Do NOT ‘click’ next to your dog’s ear. The click can be very loud and may cause your dog to dislike the clicker. If your dog is noise-sensitive and reacts to the clicker, simply tape several layers of first aid tape across the dimple on the metal part of the clicker. This will dampen the ‘click’. Then, as your dog becomes less reactive, you can pull off one layer of tape at a time.

Make sure the reinforcers you use are something the dog really likes. Do not use boring treats. Use treats that make your dog’s eyes pop out of its head! Play different games, experiment and find what your dog really likes.

Keep training sessions short and fun. Quit the session while your dog still wants more. Leave it hanging and your dog will work harder in the next session.

If your dog does something really great, ‘click’ and ‘jackpot’, then end the session. A ‘jackpot’ is when you give your dog a bunch of treats (6-10) at one time. Give your dog the jackpot all at once. Do not hand it one tiny treat at the time. The idea here is for your dog to feel like he won the lottery!

Small soft and chewy treats are great for clicker training

Small soft and chewy treats are great for clicker training








May the power of the ‘click’ always be with you! Happy training!


You can contact Ange via DogSmith.com or CourteousCanine.com in Lutz, Tampa Florida

Twenty Years of Travel Across The Pet Industry Landscape!

Written by Niki Tudge. Copyright 2011

Dip, ABT, Diploma. Animal Behavior Technology, Dip, CBST. Diploma Canine Behavior Science and Technology Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers -CPDT-KA, APDT – Professional Member, NADOI-Certified,The Canine Behavior College. Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, Association of Animal Behavior Professionals – Professional Dog Trainer, American Kennel Club “Canine Good Citizen”™ Evaluator, The International  Training Board, TS1, TS2,TS3

How My Journey Began

I began my journey into the pet industry over twelve years ago. The industry had a very different landscape then. A dog trainer was somebody you called for advice on how to attain the leadership role in your home. The belief was that each and every day you awoke and got up from your bed you had to fend off a hostile leadership takeover spearheaded by your pet dog. The professional advice dispensed was all about how to make your dog OBEY!

Many of the readily available methods were far from humane and in many cases extremely ineffective or dangerous to the well-being of your beloved pet. Searching the internet for dog training books was another challenge. They were hard to find and when they could be located it was not unusual to read advice like “if your dog does not sit, then pull up strongly on the leash while pushing down hard on the dog’s back end.” This is actually a very tempered example.


Much of the professional emphasis was placed around punishing your dog and teaching them who is the boss. These methods and dispensed advice led to many misguided pet owners. Even in the year 2000, I could not comprehend these methods nor was I about to embark on a dog training journey with my first pet dog using such an unpleasant approach. An approach that appeared to be physically and mentally intimidating to my dog and proved to be highly aversive to me and I was at the more preferable end of the leash.

Training wasn’t the only challenge back then.  If you needed professional care for your pet while you vacationed and you were insightful enough to recognize that a commercial boarding kennel may not be a wise choice for your little ‘fluffy’ then you probably tried in-home pet care. This pet care would normally have been negotiated with your neighbor over the garden fence on a warm Saturday afternoon. This contracted labor agreement left some poor press-ganged teenager, who had other ideas about how to spend their summer vacation, caring for the family pet.  I know this all too well. Yes, I was once that begrudging and often belligerent pet-sitting teenager set loose into the homes of our neighbors to feed and water precious pets. I fondly remember a regular client of mine, Hercules. Hercey, as he was fondly called, was a large Ginger Tom who headed up the pet coalition in our neighborhood. Hercules intimidated all and any dogs that crossed his path. He certainly kept me on a tight feeding schedule with his insistent body rubs and shrill meows.

In my earlier years I don’t ever recall the need for dog walkers. Our neighborhood dogs took themselves off for their daily romps. It was a very usual sight to see Scruffy, our neighborhood’s resident canine, happily wandering around while his family members were at work and school.

So here we are at the end of 2011. Oh how things have changed. The marketplace is now saturated with dog trainers, pet-sitters and dog walkers.  Pet care books and the latest training fads are published at a fast rate. Because of the growth of the pet industry it can be difficult determining what works and what doesn’t.  The methods, philosophies and techniques of many  ‘experts’ on dog training and pet care  can be buried in the marketing message and industry jargon often hiding  obsolete techniques, questionable methods, regressive philosophies or damaging equipment choices.  As in any industry, Pet care professionals range from the highly professional to the 21st century version of the reluctant and now more technologically savvy teenager left to care for a beloved pet.

The DogSmith was created to provide a place where like-minded professionals can be more easily found by clients looking for highly effective, force-free, pet care and dog training professionals. The DogSmith provides a one-stop resource for clients who want highly professional pet care providers and dog training professionals who are honest in their marketing, force-free in their methods and highly ethical in their business practices. So if you have found yourself agreeing with my take on the industry then learn more about The DogSmith here



The Cooperative Relationship Between a Dog Trainer & Veterinarian

Written by Niki Tudge October 2011 Copyright

The Dog Trainer role and that of the Veterinarian and the Client should be one of cooperation to achieve the behavioral objectives.

It is important when working on a behavior case to defer to a veterinarian on all issues of medication and medical conditions. In that same light it is the role of the training professional to best describe the problematic behaviors so the veterinarian can more expediently make medical recommendations. Within a cooperative relationship between a veterinarian and a training professional if both professionals remain the expert in their area of study and do not dispense advice across lines of competence then the relationship will develop a mutual respect and be beneficial to all parties including the mutual client.

Together, the training professional and the veterinarian can collaborate to the mutual benefit of the client and to their long term referral relationship not just at the onset of the case but during the monitoring stages of the behavior change program to determine how effectively both medical and training protocols are affecting the problematic behavior and achieving the client’s goals.

The Professional Dog Trainer Liability Risks

Written by Niki Tudge Copyright 2011

The liability risks open to dog training professionals stem from three areas; the trainer was negligent and did not take reasonable measures to prevent a foreseeable injury from occurring, the trainer violated public safety laws or the trainer misrepresented their skills and knowledge to the client and in fact did not have the necessary skills to be working on the case.  To limit the risk of liability  the professional must ensure all working locations are safe and the movement of dogs is carefully managed taking into consideration the risk factors presented by the dog’s behavior. All local laws should be adhered to and all persons concerned with the dog’s behavior should have signed off on a consulting contract that limits liability and includes a liability waiver. Professional trainers should also adhere to a code of conduct, act competently and only consult within the range of their competency.  When necessary, professionals should refer clients to another professional  (Welfel 2009).

At the end of a consulting contract professionals should confirm to their client in writing a summary of training that has taken place, the progress made during the training and recommendations for the future. The professional needs to also document any concerns they have regarding the dog so liability is minimized in the event of injury or damage caused by the dog’s future behavior.

Pet guardians are also open to liability risks with their pet dogs. Dog owners are liable for damage caused by their dogs and these liabilities differ from state to state. In some states operating with a strict statutory system the owners are responsible for all damages irrespective of whether negligence is proven. In states that operate under the one-bite-rule dog owners are responsible for damages after the first bite. Pet dog owners should be cognizant of their liability when working with aggressive dogs and determining how to manage them.

Welfel, E.R, (2009) Ethics in Counseling and Psychotherapy. Fourth edition. Brookes Cole USA.

Dog Training – Punishment and Its Fallout

For both people and dogs, in fact all animals’ reinforcement is essential to our survival, we all do things that in the past have brought about food, water, approval and safety. It is how we all survive the perils of the world. We also survive when we learn what not to do, things that have brought about fear, pain and suffering. If you consider any injury you have had you will find that it was probably brought about by your behavior and you probably learned from it and will make efforts in the future to avoid that behavior. You are probably also acutely aware that most of the punishment inflicted upon you is from the hands of other people.

Most of us live in healthy happy environments and receive far more reinforcement from those we surround ourselves with, but for some life can be one punishing experience to another.  The world we live in is filled with aversive consequences in an attempt to suppress unwanted behavior and for many of our family pets who seek so desperately to gain our approval and win our love they live under the constant fear of punishment to the ignorance of their owners.

So what is punishment and how do many people use punishment to suppress their dog’s behavior? Something punishing as we described above is an event that takes place after a behavior that is likely to reduce the behavior in the future. The law of effect says that behavior is a function of its consequence. A punisher can be anything that reduces behavior, shouting, hitting, withholding something, such as a toy or affection. A punisher is something that your dog will seek to avoid or escape. However if the punisher is not reducing the behavior then it is not a punisher and sometimes things that we consider punishment may not actually be an aversive to our dog and vice-versa, things that we may consider a reward may actually be a punisher. The reward or punisher is determined by the person/dog receiving it and is defined by whether it is increasing or reducing the behavior.

There are two types of punishment, positive punishment and negative punishment. The positive and negative is a description as to whether something has been added to the event after the behavior. If you walk in a park at night and you are mugged, you are less likely to walk in the park again at night. Your behavior was punished; an aversive event happened it was added to the situation. If you drive to quickly and you are stopped by the police and you are fined, and as a result of the fine you drive more slowly in the future then your behavior has been negatively punished. Something has been subtracted from the situation, money. Negative punishment is also referred to as penalty training (Chance 2008).

Punishment is a simple concept; however the variables at play that will determine if the punishment is effective are very complicated if at all possible to implement effectively.  One essential variable to effective punishment is the contingency, how and to what degree is the punishing event dependant on the behavior. If a dog is doing something wrong and only gets punished sometimes then the dog will not relate their behavior to the punishment. In my opinion this is impossible for pet dog owners, they cannot get the consistency required for the punishment to be contingent on the behavior.  The second variable is the contiguity, the interval between the behavior and the punisher. How often are dogs punished after the fact and have no idea why they are being punished, in fact they relate the punishment to what they are doing at the exact moment they are punished. Most people cannot effectively apply punishment they either ignore the fact that in many cases the punishment was not contingent on the behavior and or the timing of the punishment was wrong leaving the animal bewildered and confused (Chance 2008).

It is also extremely difficult to determine at what intensity the punishment should be applied.  If the level of the punishment is wrong then the animal either receives too harsh a punishment or the punishment is sustained as the owner experiments with the intensity of the punishment in an attempt to get the desirable effect.

These are the reasons for unintentional abuse of our family pets.  Let look at a dog that is not housetrained and even though the owner is convinced they are addressing the problem and punishing the dog the house soiling continues. There is a high probability that the punishment is not contingent on the behavior. If the animal is soiling the house without the owner knowing then contingency is not effective or the animal is only being punished sometimes.  If the house soiling behavior is not punished immediately then there is not sufficient contiguity between the behavior and the punisher. As a result of this the owner will then increases the intensity of the punishment labeling the animal stubborn, spiteful or stupid. The animal then seeks to escape or avoid the punishment which results in a breakdown of trust and a feeling of safety and security around their owner.

So not only is punishment extremely difficult to apply it also has many unwanted side effects. Pet dog owners continue to punish their dogs because in the short term they see results, the application of the punishment is reinforcing to them so they punish again. The potential fallout of punishment is that the dog seeks to avoid or escape the punishment, behaviors such as escape, apathy and aggression (Chance 2008). Let’s look at each of these.  A dog can escape punishment without actually fleeing, they become experts at avoidance.  When dogs cannot escape or avoid punishment they become apathetic their general demeanor and behavior is suppressed. It is often safer to do nothing when you live in an environment where aversives are common place. Aggression is an alternative to escaping punishment. If the dog cannot escape the punishment or the punisher then they will resort to aggression, they will attack. Aggression can be redirected to a stationary object or something else not just the immediate threat.

Because punishment is so difficult to implement and it has so many unwanted side effects it is not a wise choice if you want to change the behavior of your companion animal. There are so many other choices such as response prevention, managing your dog’s environment so they cannot or choose not to engage in problem behaviors. Reinforcement training is a powerful alternative to punishment protocols. You teach your dog what you would like them to do rather than what not to do, remember how we all choose behaviors that result in pleasant, desirable or safe outcomes. The huge benefit and positive side effect of choosing more appropriate training and behavior change protocols is that your dog will actually  like you and I don’t know about you but I choose to have pets in my life so I can mutually enjoy and benefit from them being in my life and in them sharing mine.

If you need help with a problematic behavior then find a certified dog trainer who understands how best to help reduce unwanted behaviors without resorting to punishment. 

Find a dog trainer in Florida, Alabama, Oxford MS, Panama City, Pensacola, Palm Beach, Dallas, Texas and more

Dog Agility Training Oxford MS & Lafayette County

If you have never tried dog agility training, and you are not sure whether your dog would like it or not then try our “Just for Fun” Agility classes.  Dog agility is a great sport for dogs and their human partners. Follow our Dog Agility blog and learn more about this great dog sport.

Dog Agility Training Classes

The Teeter

“Just for Fun” agility focuses on FUN! Fun around jumps, tunnels, tables, A-frame and weave poles. This class is a great start if you are not sure about your level of commitment to agility or your dog’s suitability.

  • Cost for 6 week class – $100.00
  • Dogs must be at least 12 months old.

Dogs Love To Weave!

So if you are located in Lafayette County MS which includes Oxford then come on down and enjoy a pet dog training class or dog agility class.

Pet Travel – The Stress Free Way -The DogSmith Pet Travel Guide

First published in 2008

The DogSmith Dog Training, Dog Walking & Pet Care Company. Oxford Mississippi.

The DogSmith Guide to Pet Travel. This is an article first published in 2008. Having just traveled by road for 12 hours with  four dogs I was reminded that traveling with pets can be stress free if you plan and pack accordingly.

Whether you are traveling by air, car, train or foot, carefully consider the needs of your pet and thoroughly review the options available to you and plan accordingly. You should always consider your pet’s health, safety and preferences when deciding whether to take your pet with you or leave them home with a qualified pet sitter. If your pet becomes anxious, motion-sick or does not enjoy new and different situations, especially older dogs, then the best choice is often to leave them at home where they feel safe, secure and comfortable. Always do what is best for your pet. If air travel is involved, then leaving pets at home with a good pet sitter is usually the preferred option.

When you do travel with your pet, deciding what to take is always a good place to start. Depending on the mode of travel and the length of the trip, you will need to pack any necessary medications and medical records, especially if your pet has chronic health problems or is currently under a veterinarian’s care for an ailment. And the appropriate paperwork is essential if your travels take you across international borders (see the links below for specific requirements).

Then you will need the basics like food, food/water bowl, pet first aid kit, bed, leash, collar, required tags (ID and rabies), and grooming tools if your dog requires regular grooming, pet waste bags, crate, and toys (especially an interactive or chew toy that will keep them entertained). You will also need litter and a litter tray or disposable litter trays for your cat. Just in case, take a recent photograph along. It will be much easier to locate your pet if it becomes separated from the family if you have a photo to show people. And if your pet has an imbedded ID chip you will need to have the phone number of the company and your account details so you can immediately contact them.

Your pet should have its own bag so you know where everything is and can grab items when you need them. Don’t forget to carry some water if traveling by car, and remember to take enough of your dog’s regular food for the entire trip. If you can’t find the same brand on the road, abruptly changing a dog’s diet can cause stomach upset and diarrhea, something to be avoided while traveling. It is always best to stick to their regular feeding schedule as well.

If you are traveling by car and your pet is unaccustomed to car travel, begin preparing in advance of any long trips by first getting your pet comfortable in the car and then take it on several local trips of increasing duration. This will help minimize the risk of motion-sickness and help it become accustomed to car travel. If your pet appears to be prone to motion sickness consult your vet. Your dog should never be allowed to ride in the passenger seat, on your lap or allowed to run loose in a moving car.

Always use either a crate or one of the available safety harnesses or other barrier systems to restrain your pets. Restraining your pet is as important to their safety as buckling up is to yours. Some states even require restraints on pets in a moving vehicle. Restraining your pet serves the same purpose as our seatbelts; they help protect your pet in the event of an accident and they keep them from distracting the driver or jumping out an open window. Restraining your pet also maintains control of your pet when you stop for gas or a snack.
Crate-training your pet at home pays big dividends while traveling (see our free e-book on crate-training at www.DogSmith.com).

Not only does the crate provide a safe place for your pet while traveling when secured to the seat or floor of the vehicle, but your pet will feel at home, safe and secure in their comfortable crate wherever your travels take you. And crates are the most effective way of restraining cats and small dogs in a moving vehicle. Your local pet store will carry a variety of styles, sizes and makes.

For larger dogs, or if your pet prefers, there are also pet restraints available that work with your car seat belts or cordon off part of your vehicle. There are a wide variety of styles and types including harnesses, seat belt attachments, car booster seats, and screens and netting that create an internal barrier in your vehicle. Which ever method you choose, make sure it fits your pet and car, is comfortable and your pet will tolerate wearing it for hours at a time. And keep your pet’s head inside the car window to avoid eye injuries. Stop every two hours; this is advisable for you as well as your pets. Stretch your legs and take a walk. Be a responsible pet owner and don’t forget the pet waste bags and antibacterial wipes. Finally, never leave your pet alone in a parked car. They may attract thieves and can easily become overheated and distressed even on a cool day.

Traveling by air is always stressful for an animal so visit your vet well in advance of the planned trip to make sure your pet is physically fit and don’t fly your pet unless it’s absolutely necessary. But if you must, always check with the specific airline carrier and ask about all regulations (see the websites below for more information). Find out what their requirements are including quarantine periods at your destination and if your pet qualifies to ride in the cabin or must be sent as checked baggage. You will need to determine the container requirements, check-in times and health documentation needs as well.

Always use a good quality container in good condition; many mishaps occur every year from pets traveling in damaged or poor quality containers.

If your pet must travel as checked luggage use a direct flight and travel on the same plane as your pet. Don’t travel when temperatures are forecast to be above 85 degrees F or below 45 degrees F. When you book your flight ask the airline if you will be allowed to watch your pet being loaded and unloaded and when you check-in, request that you be allowed to do this. After you’ve boarded, notify the Captain and the head flight attendant that your pet is in the cargo area. If your flight departure is delayed or has to taxi for longer than normal, ask that they check the temperature in the cargo area and report back to you.

Even if you know that your pet is a nervous flyer it is not advisable in most situations to use sedatives to calm them. According to the American Humane Society and the American Veterinary Medical Association, sedatives for air travel are not recommended because it is much more difficult for an animal to regulate their body temperature and maintain their balance and equilibrium if they’ve been sedated. Because of the altitude and temperature of a plane’s cargo area pets that fly in the cargo area are also more susceptible to respiratory and cardiovascular problems if sedated.

Before any trip get your pet’s papers and medications in order. Learn about the area you will be visiting in case there are diseases or hazards foreign to you and your pets. Your veterinarian can give you advice if you will need any additional vaccinations or medications. Have your vet perform a routine examination on your pet.

Get any required legal travel documents (for air travel, contact the airlines for specifics that you’ll need to give to your vet), make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date, and get any medications your pet might need during the trip. If you’re giving your pet medication specifically for travel test them on your pet several days before you travel to ensure the dosage is accurate and that there are no adverse side effects. Depending on where you’ve been, another examination by your vet after your trip might be a good idea to check for parasites such as, roundworms, tape worms, hookworms, heartworms, ticks and fleas, that were picked up while you were away.

If you are traveling overseas there are very strict and detailed regulations for transporting pets. Be sure to follow the vaccination requirements exactly. You don’t want your family pet to undergo any unnecessary quarantine periods.

Pets are an important part of the family so be sure to take the time to plan and properly prepare them for the family vacation. By planning ahead and knowing what to pack, what to expect, and what to do each step of the way, you will ensure that your pet has a safe and stress-free holiday.

For additional information and specific requirements  of helpful websites you can download this article in a FREE  e-book from our website resources section.

About The DogSmith
The DogSmith was founded in 1998 by Niki Tudge, a leading proponent of positive animal training techniques. The DogSmith mission is to enhance the lives of pets and their owners by improving their relationship and the quality of the life they share, through; 1. Providing professional support and training to Pet Dog owners, 2. Supporting and assisting animal shelters and rescue organizations to minimize the number of unwanted animals and 3. Offering affordable and professional care for family pets. To learn more about the DogSmith and their ARRF® and MTR® methodologies visit www.DogSmith.com. If you are interested in becoming a dog trainer, schedule a free consultation or watch our web cast here

If you need to know more about health care, visit Mississauga Coast2Coast trainings.

How to Become a Dog Trainer, a Professional, Certified & Competent Dog Trainer!

Dog training is a fulfilling career and can provide a good level of income. There are so many ways to open a dog training business and each method has its strengths and weaknesses. Dog Training as a career, like many professional service businesses, requires not only effective technical skills but also requires that the business owner has competent business skills.


The Association of Pet Dog Trainers recommends that you look for a training school that offers a good training program. There website describes a good training program as covering the following topics.  a) History of Dog Training, a complete history of dog training from late 19th century to the present and a comparison and contrast of dog training with other animal training endeavors. b) Animal Learning, classical and operant conditioning, positive and negative reinforcement, positive and negative punishment, conditioned reinforcers, discrimination, generalization, habituation, sensitization and desensitization, blocking and overshadowing, motivation, establishing operations, conditioned emotional responses. A comparison of dog learning to human learning. c) Dog Behavior, dog development and ethology, genetics of behavior, fixed action patterns, social signals, body language, social development, critical periods, hormonal influences, breed characteristics. d) Designing Classes, how to design your courses/instruction materials once you graduate. How to counsel individuals, motivate handlers/owners, how to screen and steer clients.

There are many schools and online courses that can be attended to learn and gather the required theoretical knowledge to learn about dog training. However as James Kesel in his article titled, A Career in Dog Training quotes “more dog training businesses fail as a result of poor business practices then because they are doing a poor job of dog training” Peggy Prudden in her article on the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors website says “to be a good dog trainer one must be physically fit, goal oriented, self-starting, and love dogs. It takes a lot of stamina, patience, understanding, insight, common sense, and fortitude to dedicate one’s life to training dogs”

Becoming a Dog Trainer like many professional services requires that you also have a broad knowledge of business skills if your goal is to make a career and earn a living out of the profession.  Many service professionals are good technicians, are able to perform the actual skill of their trade, but are lacking in the knowledge and experience of opening and operating a business.  Business finance and marketing are equally as important to the success of a business as being able to actually perform the dog training skill and these skills are acquired through business degrees and years of experience in a business environment.

Online courses offer an academic overview of dog training whereas on site dog training schools also compliment the academic studying with practical hands on dog training experience. Once you have completed your studies you then join the business sector as a small business owner. Unless you bring to your new career an academic background in business management or have previously worked in a business environment your endeavors’ are going to be difficult.

Dog Training franchises offer both the academic dog training curriculum and the hands on practical skills and provide a lifelong partnership and business relationship that has all the necessary support functions, skills and experience to assist you in your business success. Dog Training Franchises that are not selling systems with a huge capital outlay at the beginning are seriously invested in your business, if you succeed they succeed. A good dog training franchise will be on hand pre-launch, during your launch and continually to support your business growth.  A good dog training franchise will have a leadership team with a proven track record of owning and operating pet care businesses. The leadership team will offer expertise in business finance, marketing, operational effectiveness and will have offer a dynamic and benevolent leadership style committed to your personal business needs.


Sourced http://www.apdt.com/trainers/career/default.aspx December 4th 2009

Sourced at http://www.nadoi.org/howdoi.htm December 4th 2009

Visit this website and review the following pages to get a clear understanding of how a dog training franchise can help you. http://www.DogSmithFranchise.com

Click here to learn more about a professionally developed Dog Training School Curriculum

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