Teaching Gizmo How To Do Agility Jumps- Lesson Two

Here is the second lesson for Gizmo in her Agility classes. Gizmo lives at The DogSmith National Dog Trainign Center so she is exposed to, and lives around lots of Agility equipment. With her eagerness and speed i am sure she is going to be a star

Vist our My Space page to view her videos



Teaching Gizmo Weave Pole Basics In Agility – Lesson One

The methods we use to teach dogs new behaviors are so dog friendly we can begin training them at a very early age. Pet Dog Training can commence when puppies are 6 to 7 weeks old. I have a 9 month old mixed breed puppy that is already learning some of the skills for agility. She is still too young to do a lot of jumping and can certainly not be charging up and down the A-Frame but she loves to run through the tunnel and is now just beginning to learn the weave poles. This short video shows her first three attempts.http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=63601065

Perfect Place To Learn To Be A Dog Trainer

The DogSmith National Dog Training Center is located in rural Florida – An ideal dog training venue for year around use and the perfect environment for candidates studying to become professional dog trainers.

The multi-use facility is very flexible and includes several acres of fenced pastures, classroom buildings and kennel areas.

The pasture areas are perfect for pet dog obedience training and the size of field can be varied to accommodate big or small dog training classes. They can also be adapted for whatever dog training skills are being taught, from basic pet dog obedience to competitive dog agility training.


Gizmo Learning The A-Frame

DogSmith Franchise owners receive hands on training at The DogSmith School for Dog TrainersCanine Class Mates at The DogSmith Training Cen and of course the dogs get trained too.

The classrooms for the academic portion of the dog training and animal behavior curriculum are located adjacent to the training fields so professional dog trainer students can quickly put their newly acquired dog training knowledge to practical use in “real life” situations. There are ample additional indoor dog training and kennel areas suitable for animal behavior assessments and practical dog handling lessons.

Keep your Community Free of Pet Waste

There are over 71 million dogs in the US with 63% of American households owning at least one.  Half of these households have more than one dog and 45% of these dogs are 40 lbs or larger.  By every indication, the trend in increased pet ownership will continue and by offering a pet friendly community to potential residents you appeal to a broader demographic thereby increasing your competitiveness in the housing market.  However, all of these dogs can add up to a lot of disgusting waste, detracting from the beauty of your community, increasing resident complaints and causing a headache for landscapers, building maintenance and community management.  In addition to being disgusting, if pet waste is not cleaned up on a regular basis, it can breed flies, kill grass and transmit disease. 

 In an effort to minimize the issue of pet waste, many communities implement breed restrictions, weight limits or both.  Some communities simply prohibit pets. Those communities that allow dogs usually have rules requiring owners to pick up after their pets but while most dog owners are conscientious it only takes an irresponsible few to “soil” the reputation of all dogs and their owners.  The reality that many community managers soon face is that enforcement of pet policies is difficult at best, ineffective at worst, always expensive, and usually strains relationships within the community. 

 Many community management professionals find that the most effective approach to the pet waste problem is implementation of a 3 part program.  This program consists of; 1) policy enforcement and education, 2) pet waste station installation and 3) regular cleaning of high use and neglected areas. 

This comprehensive approach encourages residents by providing them with the tools they need to conveniently clean up after their pets and discourages “re-soiling” by regularly cleaning high use and neglected areas (those favorite spots where owners either fail to clean up after their pet, won’t clean up after their pet or are frequented by stray and unleashed dogs).  As a last resort, the program provides Management with the means to enforce community regulations. 

The cornerstone of any comprehensive pet waste program is the implementation, education and enforcement of a reasonable pet policy.  But since studies show that a significant number of pet owners (over 40%) will not pick up after their dogs, even with the threat of fine or complaints by neighbors, a second and third layer of effort are required to help control pet waste. 

The second part of a comprehensive community pet waste program is the Pet Waste Station.  Pet Waste Stations are a convenient and attractive way to provide your residents with the tools they need to hygienically pickup after their pet and dispose of the waste.  Pet Waste Stations are available in a wide variety of models and price ranges but normally consist of a waste bag dispenser, stocked with biodegradable bags, mounted with a disposal bin. 

A pet waste cleanup professional can assist you in determining what type of station would be most appropriate for your facility and can advise you on placement and complete the installation.  More importantly, a pet waste cleanup professional can regularly service your pet waste stations, on a schedule customized to suit your particular needs, replenishing bags and cleaning the bin, to ensure your pet waste station remains an effective and attractive tool in your community maintenance program.  The cost of installing and servicing pet waste stations, as well as your entire pet waste control program, can easily be recovered from pet deposits and fees.

 Finally, the third part of a comprehensive pet waste management program is ensuring that high use and neglected areas are regularly and thoroughly cleaned.  Heavily soiled areas of any community will repeatedly attract stray and loose dogs.  These areas should be routinely cleaned of all pet waste, disinfected if needed and have an organic odor eliminator applied to reduce the attraction to dogs.  Here again, a pet waste cleanup professional can assist you by providing regularly scheduled cleaning, disinfecting and odor elimination. 

So to attract the most desirable residents to your community by maintaining a healthy, attractive facility free of pet waste, without the headaches, complaints and strained relations that are usually associated with the “enforcement only” approach to dogs and their owners, consider implementing a comprehensive pet waste cleanup program consisting of Pet Waste Stations, routine cleanup and if absolutely necessary, enforcement of regulations.  A Pet Waste Cleanup professional can assist you in solving your dog waste problems for far less than you may think.

 If you do choose to hire a professional pet waste cleanup service as part of your comprehensive program ensure they use all natural products that are safe around children and animals, that the waste bags used are biodegradable, that they disinfect their tools and shoes prior to servicing your facility, and that they are fully bonded and insured.

Teaching Your Dog To Sit and Stay

Teaching a dog to sit and sit/maintain as I call it are two very different behaviors. Each behavior requires an on cue and an off cue. This I will explain in more detail. Let’s consider a child. When we call our children to the meal table they have to sit there and eat their dinner. When they are finished and we are happy they have eaten all of their greens and not just the French fries we excuse them, allow them to leave the table and do something else. Most parents do not allow their children to come and go from the table as they please and to decide when the meal time is over and what they can eat or leave. It is the same with our Pet Dog’s. We need to teach them certain commands and have them maintain that command until we ask them to do something else or we release them.


Naturally we need to be sure that we are asking of our dog is physically possible. We would not ask our 5 year old child to make us coffee after they have finished dinner, nor would we expect a 4 month old puppy to sit quietly unsupervised for long durations.


So back to our four legged children the family dog. When we ask our dogs to do something, exhibit a behavior, we give them a command, an “on cue”; it instructs them to do something for us. The dog should maintain this behavior until we give them an off cue, a release cue or another cue.  I use a release cue “OKAY”, this lets the dog know they are free to go about their business. Some people use the “Go Play” release, this tells the dog the same thing, at ease, as you please, do as you wish.



A simple formula for teaching a dog to do something is to lure the behavior so the dog is familiar with the movement. With the behavior sit if you hold a treat just above the dog’s nose and move it backwards you are luring the dog into a sit position. A dog is engineered in a way that if the head goes back and slightly up the rump hits the ground.


Each time the behavior is completed and the dogs’ rump hits the ground then we reward the dog.  After several repetitions of the behavior/reward scenario we can then attach our cue, the name. As the dogs rump hits the ground say “sit” and deliver the reward. 


Remember our dogs do not speak English so saying the cue before the behavior is learnt is futile.  After several more behavior repetitions with the cue being attached we should then be able to say the cue and have this drive the behavior. As soon as the behavior is happening voluntarily with the cue then we can fade away the lure which was the treat in the hand above the nose. This leaves us with a hand signal for sit and a verbal signal for sit that with practice should be reliable

Dog Bites, Common Questions and Answers

I was recently interviewd regarding dog bites, children and prevention. Many of these questions come up over and over so i thought it useful to post them here. Enjoy!

Question;  Why do half of all bites involve children and the family dog? Is it simple proximity, kids provoke dogs; dogs are frightened of children, etc?

 Dogs communicate their frustrations, dislikes or fears in many subtle ways, these subtle ways are often missed by humans so the dog’s communication progresses through a hierarchy of events until eventually the dog bites if it isn’t understood. In most of the cases we take on, where a dog has bitten a family member, we are informed “the bite came from nowhere”. We then discover, during our assessment, that the dog had been giving a variety of signals for months if not years.  These signals can be things such as freezing, snarling or snapping. A dog considers these signals requests to “increase the distance” between them and you.  If we ignore them they increase the signal, like when we shout at a child who is ignoring us. Dog aggression can be based on either their genetic responses to the outside world, such as predatory drive, or they can stem from learned behavior.  In both cases the aggression can be resolved or prevented with the correct socialization and management of dogs through their critical learning phase.

Dogs bite under an array of circumstances. Resource guarding is one example such as when the dog has not been trained to relinquish something they value (toy, food bowl, treats etc.) and a child or adult attempts to take the valued item away, the dog may bite. Another example is when the family pet is fearful and is placed in a situation where it bites to escape or avoid something. Dogs may also bite when displaying predatory behaviors such as chasing small quick animals (like children) which can result in bites. A dog can also display aggression if they are in pain and are approached or touched in a sensitive area. The median age of dog bite patients is 15 years old and boys aged from 5 to 9 have the most incident rates. It is not a surprise to learn that 77% of dog bites on children are in the facial area, whereas with adults and postal carriers it is the lower extremities.


 Question; Are most of the bites involving children simply accidents or misunderstandings since most dogs I know usually adore all the family members?

 When dogs bite it is not an accident.  Dogs have huge control over the speed and effectiveness of their mouths. Teaching puppies bite inhibition is the most important thing we can do and they can learn. Bite inhibition teaches dogs the power of their jaws. The only difference between a bite that does significant damage and a bite that just bruises is whether or not the dog has “acquired bite inhibition”. Dogs cannot write to their congressman, or email their family members, they communicate in dog language. When pushed they will bite. It is our responsibility to ensure we understand our dogs, know when they are in pain, showing fear or in need of training to relinquish objects and to prevent and manage resource guarding. This is one of our key roles as dog owners, we must raise socially savvy dogs who are polite family members and we must do this by exhibiting benevolent leadership so they can live safely in our world.


Question; What is a dog trying to communicate when they do actually bite a family member or child?

 Dog biting is aggression.  In the canine world aggression can mean any act or behavior that intimidates or harms. We consider growling and snapping as the first stage of aggression. When a dog bites they have reached the last stage of the aggression ladder. There are lots of reasons dogs bite but fundamentally they are attempting to create distance between themselves and something they fear or need to avoid.


Question; Can you give some tips on how parents can make sure children and the family dog live in harmony? Maybe some important do’s and don’ts

 When you bring a dog into the home enroll it into a good obedience class. This not only gives you verbal control of the dog but also builds trusting relationships. Have children involved in the training. The training methods used now are so dog friendly that small children can quickly gain control of a 100 or more pound dog. Make sure your dog is well socialized, desensitized to having its collar grabbed or having food taken from its mouth and having people pick up its toys and anything else the dog considers valuable. Teach the dog bite inhibition. The mother does not have time to fully do this because we take puppies from their “bite school” before they have learned this crucial skill from mum and their litter puppies. Teach children to respect animals and treat them kindly. Do not allow children to grab at the dog, pull tails, ears etc. Crate train the dog so it has somewhere quiet to go if it needs to and have children respect that the crate is the dog’s private space. Ensure the dog gets adequate exercise and mental stimulation; do not tether dogs for too long.  Always ensure your dog is part of the family. Dogs that are tethered, not sufficiently exercised or isolated are more likely to be involved in a bite incident.

 Question; Of these do’s and don’ts, what is the most important thing a parent can do to make sure no problems occur?

 Train the dog starting from when it is a puppy. Teach the dog to have a soft mouth. So in the event the dog is ever stressed or pushed and an emotional response results in a bite, the damage is minimal. 

 Question; Does it matter whether the dog or the child arrives first in a household? How does this affect their interaction going forward? For example, a dog has been the “child” in a household and then a new baby arrives.

 Each of these situations is unique and will need to be assessed based on the household, the dog and other variables.

 Question; Anything else you would like to add?

 At the first sign of any aggression contact a professional trainer so it can be rectified. Do not wait until you are dealing with an actual bite. A small financial investment in training a dog can ensure a healthy and happy union between dog and human.

Short and Simple Why Do Dogs Pull On A Leash

Well dogs pull or lag behind on a leash when we walk them because….

  1. They are allowed too. They pull to get to other dogs, smells, people and places.
  2. We tend to overly correct our dogs when they are on a leash by jerking and pulling them.
  3. If you jerk or tug your dog to teach him not to pull then for the dog this means the slacking of the leash is followed quickly by pain or discomfort. So your dog will try to avoid the loose leash, consequently he is likely to pull more.
  4. You get irritated by him, you yell at the dog or grab him, thus he moves away from you creating tension on the leash
  5. When a dog pulls on a leash it hurts his neck. The dog pulls harder to escape the pain.


 There are some very effective methods that we can use to get our dogs to walk nicely on a leash without us having to shout at them or physically pull or tug them around. A leash is for safety only, it is not a steering wheel or a rudder and should not be used to physically control the dog. Train your dog to want to walk nicely with a loose leash, give then 5 feet of room around you to wander so they enjoy the walk too.

Enroll in a Pet Dog Training Class and enjoy teaching your dog how to walk nicely. You can then both enjoy many miles of pleasant walking.