4 Reasons Why This Clicker Will Revolutionize The Way You Clicker Train Dogs

4 Reasons Why This Clicker Will Revolutionize The Way You Clicker Train Dogs

clicker ring benefits
Clickers are absolutely wonderful to help dogs and their owners communicate effectively and quickly. They make the dog’s learning process easier, but they can make things a bit more complicated for their owners.

Presenting the Clicker Ring

Josh Pitts, the founder and creator of Clicker Plus, has designed a revolutionary new clicker that will make clicker training less of a juggling act for the average dog owner. The Clicker Ring is a ring with a mechanical clicker built into it. This innovative tool will make clicker training easier and more fun for everyone!

1) Anyone Can Clicker Train With The Clicker Ring

The benefit to turning the clicker into a ring is that it will allow dog owners with disabilities or movement restrictions to train their dog. They no longer have to worry about dropping the clicker if they accidentally open their hand which will improve their timing – which is so important during training!

2) Everyone Will Be Able to Wear One

The Clicker Ring comes in a variety of sizes which means people short and tall, large and small will be able to wear them. It is discrete so even self-conscious client’s will be able to use a clicker to train their dogs.

clicker ring design

3) Fast & Easy Access To A Clicker

How many times have you told a client to keep the clicker ready during classes or when working with reactive dogs? Now they will have no choice but to have the clicker available to them at all times. This will keep them from fumbling around to find their clicker when they need it most – usually when they least expect it!

4) Less Juggling, More Clicking

Between the leash, treats, listening to instructions, and a dog pulling on the other end of the leash, dog owners can quickly get overwhelmed during classes or private lessons. They are learning a lot of new information in a very short time frame. The clicker ring takes away a small, but challenging variable to their, and their dog’s, learning process by making it more convenient to use during training.

Learn more about the clicker ring and pre-order yours today!
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7 Things That Are Common Sense For Dog Trainers But Not Dog Owners

7 Things That Are Common Sense For Dog Trainers But Not Dog Owners

7 Things That Are Common Sense for dog trainers but not dog owners-min

As a modern dog trainer, you have invested a lot of time and energy into becoming the best, most educated trainer you can be.  Throughout this journey, many basic ideas were hammered into your head time and again, until they just became basic knowledge.  Unfortunately, sometimes these basic things are taken for granted by dog trainers and our clients are left hanging without this information.  Here are several things that dog trainers take as common knowledge but clients might not realize.

Click And THEN Treat

When teaching clients that are new to clicker training the basic mechanics, a lot of time is often spent repeating the mantra, “click and THEN treat.”  It seems a very natural behavior to click and offer the treat simultaneously.  As a modern dog trainer, you will gently remind your clients of the proper sequence of this until it becomes second nature to them, too.

“Have A Ton Of Treats”

When a dog trainer says, “have a ton of treats handy,” they are envisioning a gallon-size ziploc bag of small, soft, stinky treats.  When new clients hear this, however, their vision is slightly different.  What you often walk into is a client proudly bearing one small ziploc bag of crunchy cookies (see below!).  Make sure when you plan your first meeting with a client that you specify what you mean by, “have a ton of treats.”  And then take extras of your own.  *wink*

High Value Treats =/= Milkbones

Every modern dog trainer has been there – they meet with a client after telling them what kind/amount of treats to have, and the client has big hard biscuit-style treats.  As a pre-emptive strike, always specify, “small, soft, stinky, and lots of them!”

7 Things That Are Common Sense for dog trainers but not dog owners 2

You Have To Work Outside Your Formal Training Sessions

Working on skills learned in formal training with their dog trainer must occur even when the trainer is not present.  Five to ten minutes, once or twice a day is all that is needed, but even that can be difficult for some clients.  Emphasize that short sessions are okay, and even preferable!

“He Was Hungry”

As a modern dog trainer who understands the power that food can have as a reinforcer, you naturally know that a dog that is slightly hungry will work even harder.  However, your clients are unwitting victims of the “hungry dog” eyes and prone to feed their dog a large meal right before training.  Remind your clients that they should skip the meal right before training, or at least reduce it in size.

“His Tail Was Wagging, So He Was Happy”

This phrase can make even the most hardened dog trainer cringe.  It is vitally important that you help your clients learn basic dog body language, for their safety and their dog’s safety.

Sometimes He DOESN’T “Just Want To Say Hi”

Yet another phrase that can bring a dog trainer crashing to their knees in despair.  This can result from a couple different options.  First, your client’s dog is truly super friendly and they don’t realize how horrifying it can be to other dog owners to have a loose dog come rushing up to them and their dog.  Or second, their dog wants to do much more nefarious things than just say hi, but your client doesn’t understand body language.  Explain the importance of keeping dogs on leash when not safely contained, and not permitting their dogs to get in the face of every other dog in the neighborhood.

Training Is Not A Luxury

As a modern dog trainer, you realize the importance that training provides in a dog’s life in the form of mental stimulation, ability to adapt to different situations, and just providing the dog guidelines for living in a human world.  Make sure your clients realize that budgeting for dog training is just as important as budgeting for basic veterinary care.

What other concepts do you find yourself taking for granted while your clients are left hanging?

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3 Approaches to Teaching Loose Leash Walking

3 Approaches to Teaching Loose Leash Walking

loose leash walking

Loose leash walking.  *insert ominous music*  Sometimes teaching loose leash walking to clients can feel like the bane of every dog trainer’s existence.  It’s not that the skills needed are difficult.  No, it’s the consistency and patience that are required that can make it so tedious.  So, as a modern dog trainer, what are some ways you can help teach loose leash walking to your clients?  Here, we’ll examine three videos that may be of benefit.

“Polite Walking On Leash” by Ines Gaschot

loose leash walkingThis first video shows how starting simple can make such a big impact.  Ines starts on the porch with her dog, Loker, simply clicking and treating for a loose leash while working in a small, relatively low distraction location.  Ines illustrates how to increase difficulty via distractions and duration of behavior.  She then does some troubleshooting for forging and offers alternative ways to reward dogs (changing up treat delivery, sniffing breaks, etc).  She offers helpful tips at the beginning and end of the video.  This video is fantastic due to its simplicity.  It will be easy for your clients to grasp this concept and put it into play, even after you are gone.

“Clicker Training Loose Leash Walking” by Casey Lomonaco

Casey’s approach to loose leash walking is to emphasize the placement of treat delivery.  Careful and consistent treat placement means the dog learns that being beside the owner is a Very Good Place to be.  She starts slow, just standing in one place.  She then begins pivoting 90 degrees each time to encourage the dog to start moving into position.  After the dog is confidently doing that, she begins taking large single steps, changing direction frequently.  To introduce longevity into the loose leash walking, Casey uses the “300 Peck” method.  By the end of this short video, her puppy, Cuba, is politely offering loose leash walking even though he is off leash.

“How Do I Teach My Dog Not To Pull On Leash?” by Kevin Duggan

Kevin takes a different approach from the two videos above.  His method is incredibly useful for dogs that aren’t as food motivated, or dogs that are in a highly distracting area.  He teaches the dog that all forward movement stops if the leash gets tight.  He then turns and goes another direction (“penalty yards”), teaching the dog that pulling towards a desired object actually makes it go further away.  Kevin uses his voice as praise a great deal, some treats, and also a toy that his dog desires.

 Conclusion

These videos all are highly simple and effective even though they use three different methods.  Your clients will all have different learning styles, so being able to offer them several options for teaching this skill will ensure they have success.

What other methods do you like to use to teach your clients loose leash walking?

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Top 10 Dog Training Conferences for 2015

Top 10 Dog Training Conferences for 2015

Dog Training Workshop

Image by Kat Camplin

The Ultimate Dog Training Conference Wish List

Are you required to obtain continuing education credits to maintain a certification? Do you simply enjoy learning new things about dogs? Do you have a wicked sense of adventure? Here are the Best Dog Training Conferences for you to attend in 2015. Conferences are listed in chronological order due to the author’s inability to decide which should be first.

ORCA 7th Annual Art and Science of Animal Training

When: Saturday, March 14, 2015
Where: University of North Texas in Denton, TX
Why: This one day conference has become a staple for trainers. Bringing together trainers and behavior analysts, the conference covers a broad spectrum of knowledge of animal behavior and how to get it. This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Stanley Weiss, will present “Differential Reinforcement and the Stimulus Control of Behavior.” Other speakers include: Ken Ramirez, Alexandra Kurland, Steve White, Phung Luu, Bob Bailey, Steve Aibel and Al Kordowski.
More Information: http://orgs.unt.edu/orca/conference/

Canine Science Symposium

When: Sunday, March 15th, 2015
Where: San Francisco SPCA in San Francisco, CA
Why: Bringing together professors of Psychology, Anthrozoology, Behavioral Neuroscience, and Behavior Analysis, this symposium covers the science of welfare for shelter dogs, training, canine aggression, and “Non-Science and Nonsense in Dog Behavior.” CCPDT and IAABC Continuing Education Units are available for professionals attending this event.
More Information: https://www.sfspca.org/2015-canine-science-symposium

ClickerExpo

ClickerExpo will be held in 3 locations throughout 2015. Portland, OR is sold out, but Dearborn, MI still has spots available, and ClickerExpo Europe information is still pending.
Dearborn (Detroit), Michigan
When: Friday, March 20-22, 2015
Where: Dearborn (Detroit), Michigan
Why: 3 days of mind bursting information from some of the world’s best positive reinforcement experts. Experience hands-on workshops, round table discussions, and enlightening lectures. Add in Karen Pryor and animal training god Ken Ramirez, and you’ve got a perfect mixture of trainer worship and highly educational learning. CCPDT, IAABC, and KPA Continuing Education Units are available for professionals attending this event.
More Information: http://www.clickertraining.com/clickerexpo/dearborn
ClickerExpo Europe
When: Friday, October 23-25, 2015
Where: Warwickshire, UK
Why: Although the schedule and workshops haven’t been announced yet, just duplicate the Why from above and add an English accent and stunning Warwick Castle.
More Information: http://www.positiveanimalsolutions.com/ClickerExpo_s/2084.htm

ABMA Annual Conference

When: Monday, April 13-18, 2015
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
Why: Do you really need a reason to go to Denmark? Okay. The Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA) specializes in animal care and training through enrichment. Joining a dolphin trainer with an elephant conservationist, the keynote speakers Ken Ramirez and Rudi van AArde should bring some interesting conversation to the conference. Presentations from some wonderful bird and animal trainers and Dr. Susan Friedman insure you’ve got some pretty strong reasons to hop a plane for a much-needed vacation educational experience.
More Information: https://theabma.org/abma-annual-conference/

DogEvent 2015

When: Thursday, May 14-17, 2015
Where: Paris, France
Why: You’ve always wanted to see Paris and now you have an excuse! 4 days of dog training, behavior workshops, and demos. Speakers include Dr Susan Friedman, Ken Ramirez and Kathy Sdao, and practical demos will be given by Kelly Gorman Dunbar, Chirag Patel and Jo-Rosie Haffenden. Chirag Patel’s “Shaping the Perfect Patient,” should be a must see!
More Information: http://www.dogconseil.com/dogevent2015/en/

Ferretpalooza from Fenzi Dog Sports Academy

When: Friday, May 29-June 1, 2015
Where: K9Jym in Colmar, Pennsylvania
Why: No, this isn’t a Ferret Fest. This is the first annual conference hosted by the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. Instructors include the dynamic dog sports goddesses Deb Jones, Denise Fenzi, Hannah Branigan, Nancy Little, Margaret Simek and Shade Whitesel. Work on heeling, scenting, retrieves, utilizing play to build motivation, and so much more. This is guaranteed to be the first of many Fenzi events and is a “must attend” for anyone interested in dog sport competition. 5 years from now you’re going to want to be able to say, “I went to the very first conference!”
More Information: http://fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/courses/ipo-courses/8-fdsa/2436-ferretpalooza

SPARCS

Information will be updated when it becomes available.
When: Friday, June 19-21, 2015
Where: Phoenix, AZ (Phoenix Convention Center) and FREE online worldwide!
Why: The conference that has turned dog trainers into couch potatoes for one weekend a year due to their live event streaming, SPARCS (Society for the Promotion of Applied Research in Canine Science,) brings together the most diverse group of canine scientists all in one place. Whether you get to attend via your sofa or get to go in person, you are sure to get your fill of canine cognition, behavior, scent work, science studies, and so much more. Can’t do all 3 days? Each day has a theme:
Day 1: Learning and Memory
Day 2: Dogs Around the World
Day 3: Stress
More Information: http://caninescience.info/

Five go to Sea

When: Friday, August 7-14, 2015
Where: Seattle, WA
Why: You dream of being stranded on a deserted island with some of the best animal trainers in the world. Switch the island for a ship and you’ve got a dream come true. Take a 7 day Alaskan cruise with Ken Ramirez, Kay Laurence, Alex Kurland and Jesús Rosales-Ruiz and experience daily educational presentations followed by dinner with your hosts. You have them at your table, what are you going to ask them?
More Information: http://www.fivegotosea.com/

APDT Annual Conference and Trade Show

When: Wednesday, October 14-17, 2015
Where: Dallas, TX
Why: You’re a professional dog trainer, this is your Association. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers Annual Conference is full of prestigious speakers and engaging seminars. The speakers and schedule for 2015 is still pending. This entry will be updated as information becomes available.
More Information: https://apdt.com/conference/

Force-Free Educational Summit For Pet Professionals

When: Wednesday, November 11-13, 2015
Where: Tampa, FL
Why: With Dr. Karen Overall as the keynote speaker, the rest of the speakers list for first annual summit hosted by the Pet Professionals Guild reads like a Who’s Who of the dog training industry. Presentations from Chirag Patel to Pat Miller to Ken McCort to Theresa McKeon insures this conference will have a little bit of something for everyone.
More Information: http://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Force-free-Summit

Training Camps

In addition to the conferences, these training camps should be on every trainer’s Must Do list.

CHICKEN CAMP
When: June to August, 2015
Where: Columbia, MD
Why: Dogs are incredibly forgiving. If you want to test your training skills, train a chicken! Dr. Bob Bailey and Ms. Parvene Farhoody, MA, teach these Workshops using chickens as a behavior model in order to teach operant conditioning (OC) and applied behavior analysis (ABA) principles.
More Information: http://www.behaviormatters.com/Workshops-operant-conditioning-animal-training.htm

PROFESSIONAL SEMINARS FOR ZOOLOGICAL TRAINERS
When: Monday, April 20-24, 2015 and Monday, August 17-21, 2015
Where: Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL
Why: This is a full graduate course adapted to a one-week format for zoo training professionals. Although originally designed for zoo trainers, many dog trainers take the course each year. This course fills up early, please send an e-mail to kcathcart@sheddaquarium.org if you’d like to be put on the waiting list.
More Information: http://www.sheddaquarium.org/Learning-Experiences/Continuing-Education/Professional-Animal-Training-Seminar/

Did we miss one? Comment and let us know!

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A Click Really Is Better Than A Yes!

A Click Really Is Better Than A Yes!

A Click Really Is Better Than A Yes!

For many owners and trainers, verbal markers are utilized first and foremost before a clicker. While a verbal “yes” is effective, it doesn’t quite beat out using a clicker for precise communication. In the article “Amygdala: the Neurophysiology of Clicker Training” by Karen Pryor, it explains how the clicker is interpreted slightly differently and more effectively than verbal markers.

Clicker Training Research

The brain functions in such a manner that sharp, sudden stimuli is interpreted more quickly and through a different pathway than normal every day sounds. This allows the animal to have a quick reflex response to potentially dangerous situations. The click is considered to be a sharp, sudden sound which is processed quickly through the amygdala before the cortex (thinking part).

How It Relates To Learning

Fear responses that have been conditioned are also established in the amygdala. This allows animals to quickly understand what is dangerous in the world and avoid similar situations in the future. Scary situations are quickly stored in long-retention memory.

Karen Pryor and her colleague, Barbara Schoening, hypothesize that clicker training establishes “similar patterns of very rapid learning, long retention, and emotional surges, albeit positive emotions rather than fear.” Essentially, clicker training evokes strong happy emotions from animals while being interpreted more quickly than verbal markers could be.

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