If your neighborhood is anything like mine, it's littered with dangerously delicious "treats": chicken bones, garbage bags awaiting pickup, food wrappers, and more. Teaching your dog a reliable Leave It is essential for his safety.
I teach several levels of Leave It, which allows the dog to develop impulse control first in simple situations, then in moderately difficult ones, and finally in very challenging food-on-the-sidewalk scenarios. To execute it correctly, use both the video below and the detailed steps in the BKLN Manners™ book to guide you.
The video follows a training session with Gritz, a Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue pup and friend of Doggie Academy. He had learned Leave It but needed a refresher at each level. Though our session all took place the same day, a dog learning this behavior for the first time may need weeks to get a reliable Leave It.
The best part of summer is bringing your dog to the dog-friendly cafe. If your dog's cafe manners need some work, join me May 31 for this special event at NYC's only totally-dog-friendly-even-indoors cafe, Boris & Horton! This 90-minute event starts at 6:30pm, and seating is very limited, so book your spot early!
The workshop will focus on:
My newest video focuses on one of the most important training behaviors: recall! BKLN Manners uses a hand target for recall, as many dogs seem to find "touch" a lot more fun than "come." (To see the steps of a basic hand target, watch my video here.) And if your dog thinks it's fun, he'll respond much more easily.
This video features the perfect pittie duo Penelope and LooseSeal (Check them out here on Instagram!) Recently LooseSeal slipped out the front door and gave her family a scare as she played the "can't catch me" game. The recall techniques we used in this training session are meant to prevent a future incident.
As with all training, the key is to increase the difficulty methodically, raising only one criterion at a time. As you'll see in the video, we are increasing either distance between dog and handler or distraction level, such as toys in the vicinity. Both Penny and Loosey nailed their recalls during our session, meaning they can soon start to practice on long lines in areas that offer slightly greater distance and more distractions, like a quiet corner of a park.
As if the release of the BKLN Manners™ book wasn't enough excitement for one week, we just got word that a segment Sarah Westcott and I did for a Japanese TV series has aired. (It's almost entirely in English.) Watch it here!
The segment, which begins at the four-minute mark, gives you a glimpse of how to teach polite leash walking, not jumping on people, recall, a trick, and agility. In addition to Sarah's dogs Hank and Fever and my dog Batman, our wonderful client Margaret and her dog Grace volunteered to take part in the filming. Grace picked up hand targeting and jumping through a hoop with lightning speed.
On a personal note, Japan is a country close to my heart, where I have both family and friends. But dog training there isn't as robust as it is in the States, at least not yet. (However, excellent trainers like Miki Saito are changing that!) Therefore, I couldn't be happier to share what we do at Brooklyn Dog Training Center to a Japanese audience!
Does your dog know how to sit, stay, and come in the house? What about in the park? If that second question makes you cringe, you’re not alone.
A dog’s inability to respond to cues outdoors is a common problem, but there’s hope! Some patience and methodical training can help you teach your dog that “sit” means “sit,” no matter where you are.
Read the full article here at petguide.com or click Read More if you don't see the text below.
Does your dog bark when left alone? Eat your furniture to pass the time? Constantly demand your attention? Save your sanity by turning your pup’s mealtime into playtime. All kinds of dogs can benefit from food-dispensing toys, if chosen carefully and used properly. Here are five ways to add these toys to your daily routine to encourage good behavior from your best friend.
Read my full article here at petguide.com, or click "Read More" if you don't see the text below.
So you’ve made up your mind: you’re ready to adopt a dog. Hooray! But as you browse through countless photos of adorable furry faces, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of dogs looking for forever homes.
Not sure if you should adopt a puppy or adult dog? Here are some pros and cons of adopting a puppy. (Considerations for adult dogs are outlined in a separate post.)
Read my petguide.com article or click "Read More" if you don't see the text below.
Few topics are as contentious in a household as the dogs-on-the-furniture question. Should you let him sleep with you? Will bed or sofa access make your dog dominant? Can he sometimes be allowed on the bed, and sometimes not?
The answer is not a clear-cut “yes” or “no.” The rules depend on the individuals, both two- and four-legged, in your home. Let’s look at your options.
Read my petguide.com article here or click "Read More" if you don't see the text below.
In your dog's eyes, the kitchen is likely the most exciting room in your home. The counter, fridge, and garbage constantly beckon him with alluring smells. And if you eat your meals in the kitchen, your dog may have learned to position himself right next to you, in hopes you'll drop something delicious. All of these things contribute to bad doggie behavior, including begging, whining, and jumping up.
Rather than simply banish your dog from the kitchen, teach him to go to a dog bed or mat where he can enjoy the sights and smells of the kitchen without getting underfoot. This technique, called "Place," creates a win-win situation in which your dog is rewarded for being on his mat, while you get to enjoy your time in the kitchen without worrying about what the dog is getting into behind your back.
This video follows some of the key steps to teaching Place with Distraction in the kitchen, where you gradually add in higher and higher distractions to build your dog's impulse control. For the full description of Place (and many other behaviors to teach impulse control), check out the BKLN Manners™ book!
Does the doorbell send your dog into a frenzy? A simple management solution will keep your dog from going bonkers when he hears that irresistible “ding-dong!”
Check out the steps by going to my petguide.com article here, or by clicking "Read More" if you don't see the text below.
Ahh, the boundless enthusiasm of some dogs. It's why we love them, but uncontrolled excitement can present a danger when that enthusiasm is launched onto grandma or a passing toddler. It's critical to teach your bouncy dog to greet people politely, whether in your home or out on the walk.
The video below gets you started in teaching a polite greeting. Essentially, it's your job to teach your pup that, when a friendly person is approaching, your dog should actually turn his attention to you. This allows you to control the interaction in a way that is pleasant both for your dog and for the person who greets him. Sound too good to be true? Watch here to see it in action.
Why use a boring old bowl when you can turn mealtime into a game? Mealtime is the perfect time to provide a fun way for your dog to expend his energy, all with no extra work on your part.
Read the full article here at petguide.com, or click "Read More" if you don't see the text below. And check out Batman's preferred toy, Kong Genius Mike, in this video.
When training your dog, certain tools can help the learning process. A go-to tool for many trainers is a clicker: a simple device that fits in your palm and makes a unique “click” noise when you push its button. It works to mark the moment a dog does the behavior you were asking.
Read the rest of the article here on petguide.com or click "Read More" if you don't see the rest of the text below.
You adopted a puppy and took a whole week off to make sure he’s settled into his new home. Then, after your first day back to work, you find a note on your apartment door: “Your dog has been barking all day. Please make it stop.”
At this point, you might assume your dog has separation anxiety and your life is about to be turned upside down. True separation anxiety can be a difficult issue to deal with, but the good news is that many people who think their dogs have separation anxiety are mistaken. In this case, it’s good to be wrong! What looks like SA may actually be temporary stress when a dog comes to a new home, a surplus of doggie energy that is not being sufficiently burned, or plain old boredom while home alone.
Read the rest of the article, including ways to determine if your dog really has SA, here on petguide.com or by clicking "Read More" if you don't see the rest of the text below.
Does this frustrating behavior sound familiar? “My dog always comes when called…. except at the park.”
Not only is this frustrating for owners, but it can be dangerous if your dog won’t come to you when danger is present. Fortunately there are steps you can take to teach your dog that coming to you is actually the best part of his outing, not the end of the fun.
To learn the recipe to teach your dog a solid recall, even at the off-leash park, read the full article here on petguide.com or click Read More if you don't see the text below.
The multi-billion-dollar pet industry has no shortage of gadgets, toys, and educational resources dedicated to dog training and activities. Read below or click here to check out my petguide.com article listing some of my top picks, ranging from $2 to over $200!
Certain letters spell out the expertise of a professional. A trainer’s certifications can tell you a lot about her experience and approach to dog training. Read my petguide.com article demystifying all those letters after a trainer's name here!
Who's a good dog? These dogs are! This good lookin' bunch of pups just completed the four-week BKLN Manners(TM) class at Brooklyn Dog Training Center. Congrats to (L to R) Mowgli the Coonhound mix, Jones the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Rosy the itty bitty Pitty, Clara the Toy Poodle, Hudson the Yellow Lab, Bea Arthur the shih tzu mix, and (not pictured) Wilbur the Cockapoo! Now they've got the tools to deal with doorbell drama, sidewalk snacking, jumping on people, and more.
Interested in the BKLN Manners(TM) class? Click here to learn more!
Bored with the same old walk around the block? Turn your surroundings into a doggie playground! Parkour is a fun way to to burn your dog’s energy and teach polite leash walking skills. Read my full article here at petguide.com to learn what Dog Parkour is all about and how to get started.
Dog Parkour is a sport I've just started to dabble in with my two Chihuahua-ish mixes, Batman and Beans. For me, the appeal of Parkour is its flexibility. While other sports require a large open space and/or specific equipment (for instance, Agility jumps and tunnels), Parkour can be done anywhere, even in your living room, and the equipment consists of the "environmental features" that naturally occur there. The two Dog Parkour titling organizations allow you to earn titles by submitting videos of your dog performing certain exercises with these environmental features, such as putting two paws on a tree stump or jumping inside a cardboard box. That means no traveling to trials, plus as many do-overs as you want until you get just the right take. The organization All Dogs Parkour has very flexible requirements for earning titles, so even a 14-year-old tiny tyrant like Batman can find enough exercises that fit his abilities. The other, more established (meaning, created in 2014) organization is International Dog Parkour Association, which has stricter criteria for titling submissions.
Below are two videos. The first is Batman's Level 1 submission for All Dogs Parkour. You can see how easy it is. (Please don't judge too harshly... this was the first time we'd tried these exercises!) The second video is a Level 5 Grand Champion submission by trainer Kristine Hammar and her fantastic dog Tessa. You'll see that, even at the highest levels, Dog Parkour is all about interacting with the environment safely.
If you’re anything like me, a house isn’t a home unless it has a dog in it. As your dog gets on in years, you might consider bringing a second dog into your family.
Two dogs can be twice the joy. Before taking the plunge, however, carefully consider several factors.
Read the full article on petguide.com!
Below: Then and Now. Batman "screaming" when we brought home Beans in 2014. Now, they are each other's favorite pillow. When searching for a second dog, we only considered small, low-energy, adult dogs.
Kate Naito, CPDT-KA, MS, is an author and dog trainer with Doggie Academy in Brooklyn, NY.