|Can you guess who is Pinky and who is The Brain?|
I do have a marker word (yes) but the clicker is more precise and sharp so 99 percent of new training starts with a clicker in our house. Clicker training makes clear to the dog when he is right and is especially helpful for behavior chains and more advanced tricks when timing is essential. I favor the Starmark clicker although we have various clickers strewn throughout the house so I usually just use the first one I find.
We were prescribed Dr. Karen Overall's relaxation protocol by Mr. N's veterinary behaviorist for his separation anxiety. It's been an uphill road but he is slowly starting to learn how to relax on cue. He even fled to his mat to get away from the puppy we were watching. He does have a good off-switch but sometimes I really need him to settle down and the mat is helping with that. Memory foam bath mats are comfortable, easy to wash and stay cleaner due to the backing.
I don't work for free and I don't expect Mr. N to either. His "salary" consists of a rotation of high-value meaty treats or cheese. He would prefer to be paid in live squirrels or the freedom to romp around off-leash all the time but as those things are not always possible, treats it is. Treats affirm that yes, he is a good boy. Yes, he made the right choice. And thank you for stepping away from that dead fish and not rolling on it. String cheese and bits of leftover meat make him happy as does Ziwipeak, Real Meat, and Cloudstar treats from the pet store.
When I first started training recall, I used a long line. I don't really have a fenced area to work with and if Mr. N didn't come back, I would have a way to catch him. His recall has much improved since then and I hardly use it except for at the beach sometimes but during that initial training stage, it was essential. Biothane lines are great as they are waterproof, less prone to tangle and easy to clean.
Food Puzzle Toys
Puzzle toys for dogs are pretty much the canine version of TV for toddlers. Sometimes they're driving you crazy being like what's for dinner? Can we go for an outing? When you really need to get some work done. That's when you pull out the puzzle toy for some peace and quiet (depending on how boisterous your dog is). The dogs benefit too by exercising their brains. Kongs and the Kong Wobbler are a favorite around here as are Nina Ottosson toys.
What are your favorite training tools?
*If you buy from the Amazon links listed on this blog, we will get a few pennies that go towards running the blog and Mr. N's treat allowance!