What’s in your training bag? You may be missing some helpful tools!
Are you having difficulty doing set-ups that allow the dog to succeed? These items are terrific for creating intermediate steps while training impulse control and desensitizing for reactivity.
1. An External Speaker
There is a big gap between playing scary sounds on your phone or tablet and the real, live version of the same sound. Sometimes you just can’t get enough distance to the sound source to not see a backslide in fearful reactions. An external speaker can bridge this gap for you. Hook it up to your phone or tablet and you get to use the same sounds at a slightly higher volume. This OontZ speaker is small, portable, and connects via bluetooth which can make it easier to hide for more realistic set ups.
2. Tasty Goop
Biting puppies need to learn licking is better than biting. Smearing yummy stuff on your hands and arms while working on friendly greetings, putting on collars and leashes, or playing with toys, redirects biting to some reinforcing licking. While peanut butter is tasty, it’s not particularly nice to smear all over yourself. Kong Spread or canned cheese are better options and they don’t need to be refrigerated. Plus, the puppy seems to get all of it off, whereas peanut butter always seems to leave remnants.
3. A Flirt Pole
Flirt poles are awesome. You get to teach impulse control, tug, appropriate play, and chase and grab bite away from human hands and legs. The best part is you get to use your client’s own dog toys, so there isn’t any chance you’ll have to replace toys if they’re shredded due to tiny puppy teeth. If you’d like to make your own, you can find instructions here: How To Make A Flirt Pole. Manufactured flirt poles are available on Amazon, but you can make one yourself easily for under $10 with PVC and rope from Home Depot or Lowes.
4. Wildlife Scents
Whether you’re working on “Leave It” with loose leash walking, or using the opportunity to sniff as Premack reward, knowing where the wildlife scents are is extremely helpful. You can set them up next to specific trees, mail boxes, or cars, and know exactly where they are so you can give the cue well in advance. Recommended scents to start with would be rabbit and squirrel. In areas with more diverse wildlife, look at scents that replicate animals in your area. Wildlife scents are available on Amazon and GunDogSupply.com online.
5. Remote Controlled Car
Remote controlled cars are one of the more useful tools you’re probably missing. They make little engine type noises so you can work on sound sensitivity or socialization. They move so you can work on motion sensitivity and prey drive. You can control them from a distance so you can work on desensitization at a successful location. Use them to work on barking out front windows. You can make the car move while inside with your learner so you can teach an alert or “look at that.”
Putting Items Together
Is your learner succeeding too quickly? Put items together to make things more difficult. Strap a stuffed squirrel to the top of your remote-controlled car, add some squirrel scent and your phone with squirrel chatter sounds, and you’ve got an awesome tool to work on impulse control around prey.
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