BIG SKY DOG TRAINING

Develop an optimal relationship with your dog


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Start Your Dog Training Group Class When You Want

Big Sky Dog Training, based out of the North Shore of Chicago, and Follow Your Nose Pet Boutique in Evanston, IL are offering open enrollment for all of their dog training classes. Beginning March 1, 2014 no more start dates are listed for the multiple 6 week dog training group classes. Group classes offered are Puppy, Basic, Intermediate and Fun Agility/Balance group classes.

Training and Certification tests offered by Big Sky Dog Training are AKC S.T.A.R., Canine Good Citizen and CGC/Advanced. Other training and certifications include the C.L.A.S.S. programs B.A., M.A., and PhD designed by APDT; Association for Professional Dog Trainers.

For information about any of the classes or certifications, please contact Montana C. Hayes, Owner of Big Sky Dog Training at 847-997-4707 or visit www.bigskydogtraining.net.

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Basic Training Guidelines

  • Rewards are given for everything “good or right” that your dog does. Even if your dog makes an effort in the correct direction, reward him.
  • Get your dog’s attention. Call his or her name prior to giving any training command.
  • When giving commands correctly, you should be clear and use a short command once.
  • Releasing your dog from a command is just as important as giving the command. An example might be to say “OK”.
  • When training your dog, initially use hallways, doorways and quiet rooms with minimal distractions.
  • Always hold your leash with both hands during training, dog on your left. Do not wrap your leash around your hand or wrist.
  • Any training exercise should be initially established by an adult to reduce confusion on the dog’s part, and then have your children try.
  • Dogs, like any other animal, can be trained in any language. While you are in the United States start with English, just in case your dog runs away, you have a dog sitter, or you might have to give him away. This will make your dog more universally trained. Dogs can be bi-lingual. If you want to use another language, use it for special commands, not routine commands.


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Reward Alternative Behaviors

If you’re attempting to eliminate an undesirable behavior, remember to reward your dog for engaging in some other behavior that is appropriate. For example, if you’re attempting to eliminate jumping up on your guests, reward your dog for sitting, which is both incompatible with jumping and is a more desirable greeting. Other examples are chewing on a Nylabone rather than the table leg (or you) or being quiet rather than barking. This concept is extremely important for all dogs, but especially puppies under five months of age when their lifetime personalities and habits are being formed.


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Quickly Correct Problem Behavior

A cardinal rule in correcting problem behavior is: Don’t correct after the fact! In almost all cases, your dog will not associate a correction with behavior that was engaged in five minutes or five hours ago. The so-called “guilty look” is really a response to your tone of voice, your body language, and your dogs’ recognition of similarities between the current situation a previous correction (poop on carpet + owner entering room + owner raising eyebrows + owner approaching dog = punishment). “Repeat performances” are typically a result of not addressing more basic issues such as properly managing the dogs living environment, providing adequate exercise, teaching and rewarding correct behaviors and consistently correcting inappropriate behaviors at the instant they occur.

A special note for puppies: Don’t allow the puppy to do something now, at his or her present size, that you may not want him/her to do when fully grown.


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When & How to Reward Your Dog

When rewarding your dog, it is important for you to provide a combination of rewards. Remember you have five rewards to offer: touch, voice, play, treats, and loose leash.

  • Toys and treats are a great way to lure your dog for the “puppy come” game.
  • If you use treats as a reward, you don’t have to give them each time.
  • You can always use your dogs’ food as treat rewards.
  • If you use treats as a reward, remember to cut down on the quantity of food you feed.
  • Using multiple rewards provides your dog with a clear understanding that he “got it right.”
  • Remember to train for short periods of time (5-10 minutes), multiple times per day.


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Practice Socialization Weekly

Socialization is important for a happy, well-behaved dog. I suggest making a habit out of the following tips:

  • Take your dog to 1-3 new places each week and meet 2-5 new people.
  • Remember to use dogs greeting manners. Invite one friend over who will help you teach greeting manners.
  • Be sure to give visiting guests treats to give your dog when he exhibits appropriate/good behavior. Tell them about the multiple rewards you can offer the dog.
  • Be sure to keep up on your dogs social skills with you meet new people.
  • Keep up K-9 social skills (meeting other dogs). Remember always ask permission of the other dogs’ owner prior to introducing the dogs. Remember to greet with a loose leash.
  • If you have or are planning to have children, or grandchildren, now is the time to socialize with small children.
  • Reminder: rewards are given this week for everything “good” or “right” that your dog does. Bad behavior should be ignored if it is not dangerous.


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Socializing at the Dog Park

Just as with our human children, socialization is an important part of raising a well-behaved canine companion. Dog parks are great places for a dog to experience some of what life has to offer and to learn and grow. Dog parks are similar to preschool and kindergarten as they offer a wonderful environment in which your dog can learn and practice skills, from dealing with different personalities and temperaments to learning proper play. Older dogs can practice more advanced distraction training, meet a new playmate, or just burn off pent-up energy.
Despite the growing number of dog parks in the Chicago area, they are still relatively rare and, therefore, crowded. As long as you are a vigilant owner, though, the benefits far exceed any risks.
Preparing for a Fun-Filled Visit to the Dog Park
 

At a Chicago Area Dog Park

Before starting off for the park for the first time, you should be sure your dog is fully protected.  For starters, make sure your dog is fully vaccinated and ready for such an experience. If your dog has a problem behaving with one or more dogs or is timid or aggressive, you should discuss the matter with a behaviorist or trainer. Proper training can be affordable and fun. Look for a trainer that teaches only humane, positive, and motivational methods to help build a great relationship between you and your companion. If your dog has previous or on-going medical conditions, talk to your veterinarian before going to the park to  prevent more serious problems or complications.

If this is your dog’s first visit to a dog park,  take it slow. Consider keeping your the dog on a lead outside the fenced area for while. This helps him or her remain calm and get use to the commotion. A dog who typically has a high level of energy may need some exercise before going into the park. Watch carefully and learn your dog’s threshold for stress and exhaustion. At the first signs of approaching either, it is time to go home. If your dog does nothing but bark, dig holes, bullies others or just appears uncomfortable, you should remove him or her from the situation.

Socializing at the dog park is great for all ages.

Above all else, use your common sense and knowledge of your dog. Remember to remain vigilent and never rely on another person to do the right thing. You should feel comfortable intervening on behalf of your dog whenever needed. Most importantly make sure you and your dog have fun at the park. If you get stressed, your dog also will get stressed.

When you are ready to go, remember to follow park etiquette:
  • Always clean up after your dog
  • Never bring glass into the park
  • Never bring food or treats into the park, including natural or artificial bones
  • Do not over-exercise your dog in excessive heat or cold
  • Be sure vaccines and license are up-to-date
  • Use a correctly fitting collar with ID tags
  • Do not leave a harness or prong collar on your dog in the park
  • Use a proper-length lead to and from the entrance
  • Keep an eye on your dog and intervene at the first sign of poor behavior
  • Only use safe toys manufactured specifically for dogs
  • Leave females who are “in heat” and small puppies at home. Intact males are not usually allow at dog parks.
  • Use extra caution if you bring a small child
  • Check with each park for local protocol, paid passes, and other rules

Having a fun, safe time at the dog beach.

What to Bring:

  • Extra water
  • Towels or rags – Clean dogs paws off with cleaning wipe or soap.
  • Extra lead and collar
  • Extra poop bags
  • First aid kit and vaccination paperwork
  • Knowledge of nearby animal hospital locations