Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle - Dog Articles and Ahimsa News
Please see my list of dog training and behavior articles in the column to the right, or read my most recent blog posts below. Thanks for stopping by! If you are on Twitter, Facebook, or do some other social networking, please pass on our articles!
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Do you love to pet your dog? Does your dog love it too? Are you sure?
Here’s a video with a way to ask your dog if he or she likes the way you are petting. I call it the 5-Second Rule, and every person who interacts with a dog, cat, or even horse should know it, because it’s excellent bite prevention and also just basic polite manners! Teaching it to children will avoid bites and also teach the concept of setting their own boundaries for safe interactions.
When I got Peanut as a puppy, he was an adorable little bundle of fur and I couldn’t bear to be without him. He was fine being alone, with his Kong, after a while, but I still had separation anxiety! He was a quick learner and we did all sorts of fun things together, like tricks and agility, where he ran fast and even beat the full border collies. A silhouette of his ‘sit pretty’ trick was the first logo for Ahimsa Dog Training in 2003.
We received this letter from a Puppy Camp student and I was thrilled to hear about puppy camp achieving exactly what I had hoped when we began it last year. We get thank you notes all the time from students (yay!) but this was so detailed and clear that I asked Dana for permission to share it on our website. Note: I also added in some links, but otherwise, this is Dana’s original email. It’s especially valuable feedback, because Dana is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist!
My French Bulldog puppy, Babette, has been a grateful Puppy Camp student for eight weeks. I wanted to drop a note to make sure you are aware of what amazing work is going on there. I really cannot imagine how Babette’s development would have played out had it not been for Frank, Amber and Katie. Read the rest of this entry »
We have some very important changes going on around here! In last weekend of April, we will move all of our classes into the bigger training classroom that we recently added to Ahimsa.Â In other words, the ‘annex’ will now be our base of operations.
We are completely excited to announce that our radio show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM starts next week! We also have other great January happenings, so please read on.
1. Best of Seattle
We may not have actually shared this news yet, so… Thanks to your votes last fall, Ahimsa Dog Training was second place in the Best of Western Washington contest–first among the training facilities in the Seattle area. So thank you!! Read the rest of this entry »
Check out thisÂ interview about Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) with dog trainer Victoria Stilwell from the Animal Planet TV show “It’s Me or the Dog.”Â The interview with Ahimsa’s owner, Grisha Stewart, is just over 5 minutes. It starts at 22:40 and goes to about 36:00.
Happy New Year! Here are some FIREWORKS tips. These are my recommendations for dogs and puppies who have never heard fireworks or dogs who are already scared of them:
0. (too late for this right now, but do it at least a few weeks before the net set of fireworks…get a sound desensitization CD and get your dog used to the noises using the recording and the protocol below).
But here’s what you can do right now:
Stay home, don’t go out dancing and leave your pup to suffer.
Play calming music or watch television
Have a container of fabulous treats in reach (so you don’t have to jump up to get them). Toys are also a good choice for dogs who love toys more than steak.
Whenever a firework goes off, close your eyes, breathe out calmly, grab a treat and give it to your dog (you may have to open your eyes for this). Feel free to toss a handful of treats on the floor. If it’s a toy, you can throw it. Do this every time there’s a boom and if the noise is long, just keep calmly tossing out treats.
During and after the treat tossing, visualize your most pleasant memory/fantasy in great detail. It can be rated G, like thinking about world peace or the taste of chocolate on your tongue, but it doesn’t have to be.
The visualization step is important. I don’t think I’ve heard it suggested elsewhere, but it really helps my dog Peanut. It can also really help to actually do normal things, like lie down for a nap, wash dishes, talk on the phone, do yoga, etc. (Thanks to Kathy Seube for the reminder!)
Other tips: put on an Anxiety Wrap or Thundershirt a while before the fireworks start. This should not be your dog’s first use of such a wrap (otherwise they will associate the wrap with the noises, which is bad). Use Happy Traveler or some other herbal anti-stress medication, have calming oils in the room, like lavender…
If you have enough time before the fireworks play in your area, you can play a sound CD of fireworks at low low volume in the morning and gradually raise the volume during the day. Then by the time the real fireworks come, your dog will just think it’s part of the CD.
If you really must go out,
Take a long walk to exercise your dog before you go so that he is likely to be asleep.
Leave him with music and/or television on.
Leave him with a full food puzzle (or several) for him to enjoy while you are gone. If you have a Kong, you can freeze it with food or if you don’t have time to prepare that, put melted cheese in it to make it last a while. Melting cheese in a glass container that you transfer to the Kong is ideal, but you can put a 1-inch cube of cheese into the Kong, microwave for 20 seconds, and swirl it around to get it coated with cheese. Cool off before giving to the dog.
3-day sale! Use the code happyholidays to save 25% on product orders over $25 in Seattle and in our online store. This includes the new Ahimsa Dog Training Manual, BAT products like books and DVDs, harnesses, other authors’ books, leashes, toys, etc. check out the Bat Toy!
The last day of the sale is also the last day that we will guarantee delivery by Christmas in the US for in-stock items.
If you have a dog in Seattle, you were probably freaked out by the news that adult dogs were getting parvo. I spoke with ACCES hospital manager Don Wirenga (ACCES was the hospital that recently reported an increase in parvo cases) about this issue.
Please do not let your dogs drink from the lake right now. It is poisonous. http://tinyurl.com/8kkgfjj
2. Vote for Ahimsa! Every vote counts.
We would really appreciate your vote for Ahimsa in the Best of Western Washington Contest. Voting ends very soon, so please vote today. If you have a chance to also leave a comment, that would be great! The more specific, the better. We are close to winning again, but we need some more votes:
We just got some great feedback on a service we started in last spring, Puppy Day Camp. In our Puppy Day Camp, we do the training and socialization homework for our students, so they can live their lives. This format has allowed us to work some minor miracles. I thought I’d share this feedback so you see what I mean!
When we first came to Ahimsa we had just adopted a 9-week-old puppy that was terrified of the world, snarling at everything and everyone in it (even other puppies). We are not inexperienced dog owners, but this was far beyond what we had bargained for. After 2 nonfunctional (for us/him) Puppy Kindergarten sessions where our pup snarled at anyone coming close, the trainers suggested that he would be a good candidate for intensive training in their Puppy Day Camp program.
Within the first 2 weeks there was tremendous improvement in our puppy, he learned lots of words, was less afraid of things, had much improved manners and the unpleasant snarling reduced dramatically. It has now been 6 weeks of Ahimsa Puppy Day Camp and we have and entirely different, confident and well-mannered tweener dog. He now has fabulous manners (a convenient output of Puppy Day Camp) and most importantly he has become a popular playmate with other puppies, people and children â€“ and he LOVES it! Instead of snarling, he, looks forward to going outside and shakes off anything super scary. There was no way we could have helped him improve so rapidly on our own, regardless of our experience and kindness. There just was no substitute for the 16 hours a week of focused intensive training (& puppy emotional therapy) that the expert staff at Ahimsa Puppy Camp provided for our pup. We are now confident that our puppy has the skills to make and build good decisions that will help him grow further into a very loved and easy to live with furry family member.
Note: in our camp, the idea is to keep things calm and fun the whole time. If we are not able to set up an environment where a puppy will be comfortable (i.e., not snarly or scared) then we would recommend private training, instead. We take the well-being of all of our campers very seriously!
We also have a video of this dog at the Furry 5K, an event by the Seattle Animal Shelter that Ahimsa sponsored this June. I’ll post that soon!
Penny is having a blast doing her fun tricks! Check out Ahimsa’s manager, Adriane Villanueva, with her dog Penny on Seattle’s King 5 TV. (You’ll need to watch a commercial first). If you like Penny’s tricks, check out our Backyard Sports and Games class. If you’re looking for something more athletic, look at our agility series in the new Annex.
Will this be your dog’s first summer in your home? Have your puppy spend some time in your back yard today to get used to the sights and sounds of spring. The reason to do this is to teach your puppy not to bark at people, dogs, and other distractions in your neighborhood.
I am thrilled to announce that we are moving forward with our Puppy Day Camp! This is not a free-for-all, Lord of the Flies experience. The puppies will get an orchestrated socialization and training experience to help them get off on the right paw.
Starting April 9th.
2 staff members to supervise the puppies.
Up to 6 Puppies, 2-5 months old. Play will often be in smaller groups.
So what is this, exactly? A tired dog is a good dog, but a trained, tired puppy is even better. And we do your homework for you! Ok, so it’s good to keep doing it, but think of how much faster your puppy will learn housetraining, crate training, sit, down, stay, targeting, and the rest with some expert help.
Training, play time, and chill-out time. That way, puppies don’t just learn to see other dogs and immediately jump into play mode. Your puppy will have a chance to learn to settle with other dogs around.
Great for pet dogs and competition dogs.
Daily report card on each puppy for potty training, skills, socialization, etc. Each week, you can select skills or problems for our staff to focus on during the Puppy Day Camp.
Clean and safe environment (both physically and emotionally).
We’ll provide crates, or you can bring yours. Bring your own bed so we can work on ‘go to your bed’ with your dog’s own bed, which will help the skills transfer to your home crate.
Sessions will be in the brand new Ahimsa Annex (with the possibility of field trips, depending on the vaccination status of the puppies).
Drop off 7:30-8, pick-up 11:30-noon.
Camp is Monday through Thursday. Book by the week, have your puppy come as many weeks as you want.
Where: Ahimsa’s new space (the annex), at 925 C NW 49th St. in Ballard (Seattle).
When: February 16, 2012, 6:00 until 7:30pm. (If you’re participating, please arrive at 4:30 to help set up the space and start warming up at about 5:00 pm.
What: An Agility Demo, which will be run like a miniature trial, with all obstacles included (there may only be 6 weaves since ours may not have arrived yet). Treats and toys will be allowed on course.
Why: For fun, for training (new environment, spectators, and treats/toys allowed–super cool!), for the good of the agility community!
NO DOGS: Please do NOT bring your dog unless you’re one of the people who’ve arranged with Ali for the demo (see below). Thanks!!
If you’re an experienced agility person and have trained your dog with positive methods, contact Ali Johnson, our awesome (new to us) agility instructor, to see if we still have space for participants.
January is Train Your Dog Month! Celebrate by training your dog with positive dog-friendly training. Here’s a little example of what that can do! I did a little interview with my dog, Peanut, on New Day Northwest today. The interview follows a short commercial. If your browser or phone doesnâ€™t show a video below, use this link.
Here’s a quote from the most recent Karen Pryor newsletter by Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and animal training at the world-renowned Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Ken is a brilliant trainer who applies his skills to dogs, people, and exotic animals, too.
I just had to share it with you all, especially since January is Train Your Dog Month!
We’ll be hosting a seminar with Ken Ramirez in Seattle in 2013. Keep your eyes open and check our Events Page frequently, or subscribe to our seminar newsletter. Here’s the quote (the bold part is my emphasis):
“My message would be simple: training is not a luxury, but a key component to good animal care. Everyone who has a pet should understand that basic fact. Training is a way to enhance the quality of life for our pets. It is far more than just teaching a dog to do a cute trick. Training is about teaching a dog (or any animal) how to live in our world safely.”
This is so true. I had a conversation with some friends last night and one of them said, “my goal is to pick a dog that doesn’t need training, like our last two.” Newsflash: all dogs need training, some more ‘officially’ than others. Everything we do with a dog teaches them the rules of our household, so whether you think you are training or not, you are! Having a consistent plan just makes things simpler, less confusing, and more fun for human and dog (if you’re using rewards).
For example, with training, you can simply say, “leave it” if your dog is checking out something you’d rather he leave alone, instead of raising your voice and yelling something random. Isn’t that better for everyone?
And don’t even get me started on the importance of puppy and teen dog socialization… Skipping socialization in puppyhood is neglect — a lazy version of dog abuse.
Interested in training your dog or puppy? Check out our list of dog training classes, which now includes Agility and Control Unleashed classes by Ali Johnson, CPDT-KA, plus Troubled Teens, Growly Dog 1 & 2, Basic Manners, Puppy Kindergarten and more.
Does your dog play catch-me-if-you-can? Chase games are fun, but this one will make it easier to catch your dog at the park.
This game is a fun way to train your dog to hold still when you approach. The idea is to teach them to anticipate a fun run in the direction you’re coming from, versus away from you. First teach your dog a stand-stay with positive reinforcement (see our awesome friend Emily Larlham on the kikopup channel on YouTube and/or attend an Ahimsa class). After this, you’ll want to rehearse in a variety of ways – approach with leash/collar, different speeds, etc. other ideas for helping this problem: teaching a strong recall, targeting your empty hand or the leash with their nose for treats/toys, etc. When in doubt, use more treats!
I just fixed our affiliate program, so if you send people links to buy books or videos (mine or any of the others we sell), consider signing up. You can share it with your blog, website, emails, Facebook, etc. Just don’t spam people, ok?
If you already have an account, you’ll need to create a new one. I’m really sorry for that, but none of the info on referral sales was coming through before.
I just got this announcement from our friends at Legacy Canine in Sequim (owned by the internationally famous dog trainer, Terry Ryan, on the penninsula) and wanted to pass it on to you. It’s a free event and it looks fascinating! Here’s what they wrote:
Jennifer Brown of Phuket, Thailand, on Soi Dogs will be speaking on Wednesday Nov 9 from 7-8 PM.
This talk should be of key interest to those who travel and spend their tourist dollars in Thailand and surrounding areas, as well as everyone interested in improving animal welfare globally. Read the rest of this entry »
The November news is here a little early. Why? We have Jr. High starting, Halloween here, and some brags to share.
1. Halloween is here and the rest of the holiday season is coming soon
We will be closed only in the evening of Halloween. Morning classes will take place, but we close at 2:30 pm on October 31. See below for Halloween tips. We will also be closed Weds-Sunday on the week of Thanksgiving and December 23 – January 1.
If you are registered for a class, you got an email with dates that you have reserved. Notice that these are not always consecutive! Your registration may have a skip date because we are closed for a holiday or because that hour of the class was full when you registered. Please note the actual dates you reserved with your class.
I wanted to share a great blog with the readers of the Ahimsa Dog Blog. It’s by Debbie Jacobs of http://fearfuldogs.com – there’s an article on her site about what sorts of options fearful dogs have. I love her point that when a dog is *allowing* petting (versus growling, etc.), he doesn’t necessarily enjoy it. Read the whole picture, folks!
This article also has an interesting clip of an iguana being threatened by an iPhone. It’s interesting in the sense of reading iguana body language, but it’s awful in the sense that people do mean things to animals just to have a laugh…
The print version of the BAT book was published on September 7, 2011. Yay! Is has now been published as an eBook, too. It’s available in 3 different formats: MOBI, PDF, and EPUB. PDF can be read by Adobe Reader or Preview, and that’s a great way to view it on your computer. You can also view a PDF on your phone as a file if you know how to get the file to your phone. What I’ll explain is how to get the book as MOBI file into your Kindle reader on your iPhone.
Just a quick reminder that Ahimsa is closed for Labor Day weekend, through Monday night, 9/5 (store, playtime, & classes). We do have our biannual summer camp near the Mount Baker National Forest this weekend, and you can join us! Read on for more news.
To love a dog is to truly know the meaning of unconditional love. If you were lucky enough to share your life with a dog, especially a â€˜soulmate dogâ€™ who has passed or is nearing the end of life, then you also have the flipside of such a strong relationship: grief. Every experience of grief is unique, so you canâ€™t really be prepared for the loss of your dog. Some of the things that you might do or think while grieving may make you think you are going crazy. This article will help you understand some of the common feelings, behaviors, and thoughts that may come with the loss of your dog. It is my hope that while an article canâ€™t get rid of the sadness or fill the empty hole in your heart, it may encourage you to find a way to grow from this experience and see it as yet another gift from your dog.
What: Puppy greeting party at Ahimsa Dog Training in Seattle. Participants will dress in costumes and bring their friends, so that puppies will have plenty of people to practice polite, brave greetings with. Firemen, mail carriers, pizza deliverers, veterinarians, etc.! Puppies will walk around the block and encounter these various people. They’ll get treats for polite greetings and have a lot of fun! We’re not blocking off the street, so it’s more of an Around the Block Party, but you get the point… Read the rest of this entry »
Peanut and Grisha were invited by A Dog’s Life Daycare to join their interview on Q13 Fox. Peanut showed off some of his tricks and had a great time meeting Kaci Aitchison. Grisha & Peanut appear at about 1:25 into the video clip.
If you are reading this by email, you may need to go to the Ahimsa blog online to see the video.
Our dog training supply store is now open Wednesday afternoons! That means the Ahimsa store hours are now as follows:
Sun 9:30am – 6:30pm
Mon 10am – 9pm
Tue 5pm – 9pm
Wed 1-4 pm & 5pm – 9pm
Thu 5pm – 9pm
Sat 9am – 6:30pm
This is for our brick and mortar store at 902 NW 49th Street in Seattle. Our online dog training supply store is open all the time and now ships worldwide. We have Freedom harnesses, select training books and DVDs, Spray Shield to break up dog fights, and more. All of our treats are natural or organic, and made in the USA.
Here is another video clip from the Ahimsa Dog Training demo at the Furry 5K on June 12. Thanks to all of the volunteers from the audience who participated as jumps and weave poles. Peanut had a blast doing human agility! Visit our class page for info on our Backyard Sports & Games class and our Nose Work class.
As I mentioned a while back, we started a doggie drill team at Ahimsa. Last weekend, at the Furry 5K to support the Seattle Animal Shelter, we did our first show. While it wasn’t perfect, I still thought it turned out great! The most important part is that the dogs were treated well, even if there was a mistake. We definitely had a great time and are practicing hard for our next gig. See our routine for yourself here:
You can use the links below to share on Facebook, or just copy and paste the link to this page.
p.s. If you’d like to join the drill team, let us know.
This little story from a dog’s perpective is so touching that i just have to share. My shelter dogs certainly make my life so much better. See the bottom for some links with info on how to (or not to) pick a shelter dog.
I RESCUED A HUMAN TODAY
Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her. I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid.
If you’ve ever had a hoovering puppy or a dog that likes to explore the world with her mouth, you know that getting your dog to let go of something quickly is important. It’s also great for exercising your dog, because dropping the toy is an important part of fetch.
Hi blog readers! Here’s an update for you on what’s going on at Ahimsa Dog Training in Seattle.
1. I should have the first book on Behavior Adjustment Training, or BAT, published in mid-2011. BAT is a technique for rehabilitating and preventing dog reactivity issues, including frustration, fear, and aggression. The picture you see here is a little teaser of some of the illustrations. The book will be available at http://ahimsadogtraining.com/bat – see that page for my upcoming BAT seminars around the world.
2. We have two seminars coming up – one on Creative Dog Training by Emily Larlham (from YouTube’s KikoPup channel) and another by Lori Stevens on TTouch. Visit our Special Events page for information or to sign up. There are only a few spots left for Emily’s seminar in mid-May.
3. We have lots of great classes going on in Seattle this summer, from nose work to backyard sports to basic manners to crate training for puppies. Most of our classes are ongoing, so you can start right away. Check out the Ahimsa Dog Training home page for more info.
There are many things that I’m glad I don’t do in the doggie fashion, like sniffing poo on the ground or rolling in smelly carcasses. But one thing that I’m so glad that my dog does and can share with me is the ability to live in the moment.
Our local Charity of the Month is Old Dog Haven, which is based in Lake Stevens. I love them and hope you will be generous to them. They foster, rehome (if possible), and provide lifelong care for older dogs. They really deserve our help.
Please donate to the little pug container at the training center or directly to Old Dog Haven – please mention the Ahimsa Dog Training charity of the month program. They were the March charity too, but we didn’t raise enough (it was just $11), so we are trying again. They also have great dogs at Old Dog Haven, so you could adopt from them or help out in other ways. Please read that link, there are actually a lot of ways to help, like posting a link to this article on Facebook or using a real estate agent who donates 1/5 of his commission to Old Dog Haven. Read the rest of this entry »
For February we have chosen Summit Assistance Dogs, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization based in Anacortes, Washington, that provides mobility, hearing and therapy dogs for people living with disabilities. There are more than 55 million Americans living with various disabilities, and the wait time for a service dog can be as long as two to five years. Summit was created to help fill this big need, and provides approximately 6 to 8 trained assistance dogs per year to its recipients, in addition to providing follow up care and support for the life of the dog.Â Summit provides dogs to individuals in need, regardless of ability to pay, and also is one of the few organizations which provides service dogs to individuals under the age of 18.
Join us for the first meeting of the Ahimsa Dog Training Drill Team! Our drill team will meet every other Friday night at 7 pm. We will perform at various dog events in the Seattle area to show off the power of positive dog training.
Tricks trained with positive reinforcement only.
Dogs should already have good training focus. Not perfect, but good.
Dogs need to be able to be fairly close to other dogs.
Rehearsal is to come up with moves and practice them as a group.
Free, $5 suggested donation to the Charity of the Month.
At some point, we may have tryouts, but for now, we’ll practice with whoever is interested.
There will not be an instructor, because this is not a class, but rather a rehearsal. An Ahimsa staffer will lead the group. She will probably have her own dog present.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “drill team” if you’re interested in attending.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was yesterday. It motivated me to make some changes and one of them is that Ahimsa Dog Training is going to start having a Dog Charity of the Month. We will give local (Seattle / Puget Sound area) rescue organizations and charities a chance to be featured in our blog. The charity of the month will also have a donation bin at our training center and dog training supply store in Ballard, so that our students can learn about your organization and/or donate. Read the rest of this entry »
We had a great time at the positive dog training flash mob at Westlake center on Sunday. The surprise dance routine (I use the word dance loosely, here) was meant to bring attention to the fact that January is “Train Your Dog Month” and promote positive training, including the Puget Sound Positive Dog Trainers group. Trainers Mary McNeight and Amanda Brothers spearheaded the effort. Peanut and I were happy to join in the fun! I’m in the light blue shirt and Peanut is in the gray Thundershirt (which helped him deal with the noises of traffic in downtown Seattle). It wasn’t the most polished group dance, but considering that these dogs never practiced as a group, it was amazing! Watch out for the next one… Read on to see some video clips!
There is some research on dogs being able to laugh. It’s like a fast huffy panting noise. Shelter dogs who heard recordings of dog laughter reportedly quieted down.
Whether you think the research is solid or not, it’s still fun to play around with. I have used laughter (my own version of dog laughter) to help dog greetings go well and to calm down tense play in puppy kindergarten. Read the rest of this entry »
The short answer is, “of course!” Smelling (the nose, tongue, and the vomeronasal organ) is a dog’s primary way to take in information about the world. Dogs are olfactory creatures, we are visual. Their sense of smell is part of what makes our dogs so amazing!
Asking a dog not to put her nose to the ground is like asking a human to walk around with a blindfold on. My only requirement on leash walking is that the leash be loose, not that the dog walk without sniffing, unless I specifically ask the dog to heel.
The holidays can be a hard time for a new dog to come into a busy home, unless you take time to give your dog a chance to relax and start your training fairly soon. So we’ve created a discount to encourage you (or your friends) to start training.
People who adopted a dog from a shelter or rescue organization in December 2010 or January 2011 qualify for our “Home for the Holidays” discount! To get the discount, use coupon code “homeholiday” (without the quotes) to get 10% off of classes.
The not-so-fine print:
This discount is not retroactive (i.e., please don’t ask us to apply it to classes you’ve already signed up for).
This is on the honor system, so please don’t use it if you already had your dog before December or if your dog is not from a rescue. Thanks!
We are excited to announce a more comprehensive program for our Seattle dog training classes in the first few months of 2011. With the improvements come a new name, the K9 Globetrotterâ„¢ program! We chose that name because it conjures up images of the sophisticated dog who can travel anywhere. Think of K9 Globetrotterâ„¢ as a bigger, better version of our Dream Dog program. Any students who are enrolled in the DD program will automatically have membership in the K9 Globetrotterâ„¢ program when we transition from Dream Dog to K9 Globetrottersâ„¢.
Some features of the new K9 Globetrotterâ„¢ program will include:
Drop-in opportunities for students in series classes like Puppy Jr. High and Growly Dog
Chances to earn discounts, free training, play, and prizes around Seattle with the K9 Passportâ„¢ (every globetrotter needs a passport!)
More series classes, including Core Skills Training, for people who prefer structured classes.
The same fun, flexible ongoing classes that are currently part of the Dream Dog training program.
I’ve gotten a lot of bad news lately. Just in the last few weeks, I’ve had two clients tell me that their dogs were hit by cars, one whose dog died from a routine surgery, a few who were attacked by loose dogs, and several others who tore ligaments in their knees. My wife and I found 3 sets of loose dogs in the last three weeks. A hero dog was accidentally euthanized at a shelter in Arizona last week, when she got out of her yard and was brought to the shelter without tags. It’s been a whirlwind of bad news.
We can’t really prevent all of the problems our dogs encounter. Let’s face it, they don’t live as long as we do, so eventually, we’ll lose the battle. But we can fight for them as much as we can along the way.
FidoFEST is this Sunday, September 26th, at University Village in Seattle. I’ll be giving a demonstration at 11:45 with my dog, Peanut. I’m excited for his big debut and hope he does well with the crowds! Peanut will be doing some work with his nose (finding keys, etc.), with some of the kind of training we do in our Backyard Sports & Games classes. Read the rest of this entry »
Please vote for us in the Best of Western Washington contest! It’s really important for us at Ahimsa and it’s great way to promote positive training.
Use the button above to vote and after you do, please use Twitter, Facebook, and plain old email to spread the word! (And check your email to make sure your vote went through.)
p.s. I know a lot of local trainers read my blog (you may be one of them). If we get to the end of the contest and it’s either a truly positive trainer (like us) or a place that uses prong collars along with their treats, can you switch your vote? I will!
Ahimsa Dog Training is on King 5â€™s New Day Northwest tomorrow along with some of our great PUPPIES!
You are invited to be in the studio audience for the show. I’ll be talking about puppy socialization and dog aggression â€“ the dogs are there to be cute and get socialized!!
They say the whole show will be great. Dave from Daveâ€™s Killer Breads is on to debut his new bread and to bring armfuls of deliciousness for the audience! Seats are FREE! Audience in at 9:30am, done by 11:30.
Stuff a Kong, Squirrel Dude, Twist-n-Treat, or other food puzzle with wet dog food. Freeze it (have several so there’s always a frozen food puzzle for your puppy or dog).
Make sure your puppy understands the good-puzzle concept by having your dog work through a few inside the house (different days).
In a fenced-in yard or supervised on a leash, give your puppy the Kong to enjoy. It will last a lot longer, frozen. your puppy will passively hear the noises of the world, but not react to them. Do this a bunch!
Give a food puzzle and relax in different locations, too:
– Dog training class
– Bus stop
– Front yard
– Back yard
– Coffee shop
– On a bus (older puppy)
– At a busy park, like Green Lake (off the path)
– Near a playground
Repeat, repeat, repeat! Bring your own entertainment, like a book to read (Ahimsa training manual, maybe?).
Just make sure no other dogs try to steal your puppy’s great toy. You should also rehearse trading the food puzzle for a treat (then giving the toy back, usually), so you don’t end up with resource guarding.
For our students: also look at the training manual for the Relaxation Protocol, which is great to practice in all of the settings above.
I just created a flier for the upcoming aggression and play seminar in Seattle. If you have a dog in your neighborhood that barks or lunges at you or your dog, put these fliers up near those houses or at nearby coffee shops – maybe your neighbors will attend and learn to help their dog! Or you could be less subtle and leave one on their doorstep.
When socializing your puppy, take it at the puppy’s speed. If he wants to walk away from a person, go with him! He may just need a moment to regroup and build his confidence. It’s critical that puppies have good experiences as their own pace, not forced interactions.
Watch for body language while he’s being petted, like glancing away, turning his head, sniffing the ground, walking away, shaking off, or quickly licking his lips. If you see any of those, just happily say, “let’s go!” and walk a few steps away with the puppy. You can even hand out a treat at that point (for putting up with the stranger and for coming with you), and then possibly see if he wants to go back for more.
Do this with everything: other dogs, strangers, kids, garbage cans, etc. Let him check out scary stuff from what he thinks is a safe distance. The more he can trust you on the leash, the more brave he will be. And since most aggression is really just fear, now is your chance to do some aggression prevention.
Here’s a great YouTube video on how to get your dog used to wearing a muzzle. Dogs hate muzzles when they first go on, so it’s essential to train them to wear them comfortably if you need one. Muzzles do not keep a dog from wanting to bite, they just keep them from being able to. I only use muzzles to introduce a dog to a person or another dog when I’m sure it should go well, but I still want the situation to be safe, in case I’m wrong. I also use them when dogs who may bite have to be handled, as at the vet. We can’t count on our own timing, because dogs are ridiculously fast!!
I was asked this question by Marty Unger on Questionland today:
“My golden-doodle is incredibly sweet and wouldn’t hurt a fly but when she sees someone outside, whether she knows them or not, she barks like she wants to rip their head off. If she could speak english, what would she be saying?”
Here’s a message to a Meetup group, with permission to repost:
I was looking at your meetup group and I thought you all might be interested in something that is going on next Wednesday, June 30th, in Seattle. At Hotel Monaco in Seattle, we are holding auditions for a TV show called “Tales for the Pet Lover’s Heart.” We are looking for people who are passionate about their pets to come and audition for 10 minutes (with their pet) and tell us a little bit about themselves and their pets. Read the rest of this entry »
Behavior Adjustment Training is a great new way to help dogs gain real confidence and social skills. It is for rehabilitating dogs with problems and for properly socializing puppies. We have lots of info here on the site, but if you want to hear and see a description in person, along with a demo, please join us this Friday at Ahimsa in Ballard.
This video is a clip of my dog, Peanut, and I training on a hike. I talk about some of the basic principles for training a stay, but also just demonstrate what it might look like once it’s pretty well trained. Even trained dogs need occasional practice, so that’s what Peanut and I were doing.
Learn more about how to teach your dog to stay in one of our classes. If you aren’t in the Seattle area, look up a dog-friendly dog trainer on the APDT website.
Here’s a quick video of Peanut and I that shows what you are looking for when teaching your dog to heel versus teaching loose leash walking. LLW is for regular walks, and heel is for times when you need to squeeze by some one, walk past a distraction, impress a friend, etc.
Notice that while I trained my dog to heel and walk on a loose leash using treats and toys, we don’t need them any more. Walking on a loose leash is his default behavior when on leash. Continuing to walk forward is the treat for loose leash walking and permission to do loose leash walking again is the treat for heel.
Learn more about how to teach your dog to walk nicely in one of our classes or specifically in the Leash Walking workshop (next one is May 9th, but we schedule them about once a month). If you aren’t in the Seattle area, look up a dog-friendly dog trainer on the APDT website or check out our blog post on Leash Walking.
Some victories for Behavior Adjustment Training today!
I just heard back from a trainer who started BAT with a really over-the-top freaked out foster dog on April 11th. The dog is so much better and just went home with her new family!! and I think there may be footage to use in my seminar. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been having a hard time choosing which of the many great causes to support with our Grand Expansion party on Friday. I’ve decided to give 5% of all profits from the new training store, including class registrations, to the Deaf Dog Photo Project. Read the rest of this entry »
With BAT, we often have the student dog walk away from the trigger or decoy as a reward. But let’s say that you see some great behavior and you try to get your dog to go away, and they don’t. Does that mean that your dog doesn’t want to walk away?
* Party! Don’t forget that you are invited to our Grand Expansion Party next Friday.
Our party is next Friday, April 30th, 5-8 pm. All of our staff will be there to have fun! Come by any time throughout the party, with or without your dog – remember, not all dogs want to be at parties, even fun ones like ours. We will have free puppy play time during the whole party (20 minute limit if another dog is waiting to play), plus demos, games, door prizes, some displays by rescue groups, and more! This expansion just about coincides with our 7th anniversary. Wow!
Please forward this message on to your dog-loving friends! If you are part of a non-profit and want to display your group’s info, just let me know. Dog walkers, vets, stores, groomers, etc.: we do have a bulletin board now and can display your materials, too, if we feel confident referring to your business.
Want to stop by the new store with less hullabaloo? Our regular store hours are below:
Monday – 10 am – 9 pm
Tuesday – Thursday 5-9 pm
Saturday 9-7:30 pm
Sunday 9:30-7:30 pm
The store is at the same location as the training center, but on the south side of the building, on 9th itself. Thanks for all of the food suggestions. We have decided to not offer dog food or products that a lot of the great local stores already offer, but rather to concentrate on dog training supplies. That means we have training books, DVDs, harnesses, treats, food puzzles, life-sized stuffed dogs, and fun training gear like a remote control treat dispenser. We do sell some smaller bags of Evo to use as treats.
* Dog Aggression & Fear seminar May 28th, 6:30-8:30 pm
I just added this to the schedule yesterday, and 5 people have already registered! Sign up for this seminar if you are a trainer (or want to be), a dog walker, vet, a regular person that’s interested in dog behavior, or a student that attended Growly Dog class before we started doing BAT (Behavior Adjustment Training). This is a fairly high-level seminar, but it should be helpful for all who attend. BAT is a technique I developed to help dogs gain confidence and social skills. I will be showing video, discussing the technique, and demonstrating it live with a reactive dog. Sign up for this workshop or our other ones with Kathy Sdao and Patricia McConnell at http://doggiezen.com/workshop
* Backyard Sports & Games
This class is designed to be mostly for fun, but it also helps you and your dog become a team, using a combination of backyard agility, dog dancing, nose work/tracking, tricks, and games. This is a great way to see if your dog would enjoy one of these sports. It’s not meant for hard-core search and rescue folks or world-class agility & competitors. It’s meant as a way to expand your dog’s mind and a chance for you to have some more fun training.
Our Sunday classes are full, so we added Wednesday nights at 8 and we will probably add a daytime class start in mid-May, most likely Mondays at 1 pm. The schedule/info is at http://doggiezen.com/dreamdog/sports.php or if you’re already signed up for Dream Dog, you can log in to swap in for some of those sessions. The fun and games classes are pretty popular, so dropping in can be difficult.
* Take a fun break – watch us training puppies on King 5
If you haven’t seen us train puppies on TV yet, watch it on the home page at http://doggiezen.com In the video, I demonstrate how to teach Touch, use touch as a recall cue (come), and how to start work on heeling.
p.s. Puppy folks – I just added some more Puppy Jr. High classes, at http://ahimsadogtraining.com/class/puppy-junior-high.php Just a warning – these are popular classes and they fill quickly, so sign up when you get a chance.
These great illustrations of how to Behavior Adjustment Training, or BAT, on a walk are by Lili Chin, http://doggiedrawings.net. Note that the body language in the picture is at the upper end of the threshold. I often work at a lower level of stress, where the dog just notices the decoy. So if you get any of the signs shown in the first picture, don’t go any closer!
Ballard dogs have been enjoying our training services since 2003. Our classes have become so popular, that we’re expanding to a second training room and a dog training store for gear and the essentials for creating a calm, happy dog. We’re so excited! Read the rest of this entry »
Ahimsa is going to be a Silver Sponsor of the Furry 5K this year. The Furry 5K is a benefit for the Seattle Animal Shelter. More news later, but I wanted to let you know about the event so that you could mark your calendars!
The Seattle Animal Shelter is pleased to present the 11th Annual Furry 5K Fun Run and Walk! The race, which will take place in Seattle’s Seward Park on Sunday, June 20th, 2010, raises money for the Help the Animals Fund.
Join the fun as thousands of people run and walk, with their friends, families, kids and of course their dogs, in order to raise money for injured and abused orphaned animals.
We will definitely have a booth and we *might* have a walking team. Let me know if you are interested in walking as an Ahimsa team!
On Monday, March 29th, I’ll be interviewed live with Margaret Larson on a brand new morning show called New Day Northwest, which runs 10-11 on weekdays. At least 3 trainers will be at their studio in Seattle and we’ll have several Ahimsa Dog Training client puppies with us. We look forward to helping greater Seattle learn more about dog-friendly training. I’ll give you more details if I figure out when exactly we’ll be on during that hour!
Hopefully I will have access to a video that I can post here in the blog.
We’ve got some fabulous talks coming up for dog trainers and people who simply have gotten addicted to dog training. It’s even better than a basket-full of chocolate kisses. Seriously.
Kathy Sdao is a behaviorist and a scientist with decades of experience, but you wouldn’t know it by the energy she puts into all of her talks.Â She has a great way of explaining difficult concepts so that we all understand.Â Kathy is doing a relatively new kind of workshop in Seattle this summer, which we’re calling “Kathy Sdao Unplugged” – it’s a place for trainers and advanced folks to bring their dogs, get practice, and solve those tricky challenges with your own dogs. We have working and auditing spots.Â You can get more info or register now for the July 15-16 workshop.
In September, we have a whole weekend devoted to fear, aggression, and play in dogs. I’ll be starting out the weekend with a 1-day presentation on Behavior Adjustment Training, or BAT.Â It’s a technique I developed that has had some really fabulous results with client dogs and my own dogs, too.Â People around the world are trying it and giving great feedback on their dog’s new-found ability to function like a regular dog!Â On the second day, Patricia McConnell will fly into Seattle and rock our world with her great info on dog play and aggression. I’m absolutely thrilled to have Dr. McConnell, author of countless dog books, come to Seattle. She’s one of my all-time favorite dog behavior heroes. Can you tell?Â You can get more info or register now for the September 11-12 workshop.
Happy spring! The construction on our second training room is almost complete. It looks like we will be good to go on April 1st. It’s adjacent to our main training room in Seattle (Ballard) and I’m hoping we’ll occasionally be able to open it up and use both rooms for bigger classes.
I’ve been busy adding more classes for you to our schedule this week. We have new Puppy Jr. High, Growly Dog classes, Puppy Kindergarten, play times, and Advanced Manners classes. Because of the 2nd training room, you can take classes at even more convenient times, including weekend mornings. Those have been reserved for puppies for the last several years, because we want the room to be pristine. Now the adult dogs can use their own room in the morning. Yay!
We also added 5 new weekly Puppy Kindergarten classes, for a total of 15, including a third class for baby puppies (under 12 weeks). Puppy class sizes will now be limited to 8 instead of 10. Read the rest of this entry »
That’s what I asked the woman with her 10-week-old Golden X puppy.Â I had just left Ahimsa to go get lunch and was about to turn right. Instead, I saw this woman and her young daughter up ahead with a puppy.Â Cute! I thought, followed immediately by a mortified, “oh my Dog, did she just hit that puppy?”Â She smacked it 3-4 times and then it moved away, and she hit it some more, probably yelling at the same time.Â I couldn’t hear her from inside my car.
So I barreled over there in my car and slammed on the brakes beside her.Â “Can you please stop hitting that puppy?” She looked up, slightly embarrassed, and tried to excuse the hitting, since the puppy had just jumped up and bitten her child.Â I told her that there were lots of great ways to get the puppy to stop biting, and I’d love to show her.Â But of course, it’s hard to be receptive when a perfect stranger comes and criticizes you from their car window, so she politely walked off. At least she didn’t yell at me. Read the rest of this entry »
What: Video shoot in Seattle with Grisha Stewart for how to use Behavior Adjustment Training to socialize puppies. Puppies will get a chance to socialize and their humans will learn how to do socialization RIGHT to help prevent aggression and fear. Video footage will be used for seminars, videos, and other how-to demonstrations of BAT.
Want to know more about how to rehabilitate your dog or clients’ dogs with aggression and fear? Behavior Adjustment Training can probably help!
Tawzer Dog Videos filmed my 90-minute Behavior Adjustment Training seminar in Novato last month, and it’s now available for sale in our online store (click here). We ship orders out on Fridays only, so if you’re looking to get it as soon as possible, then get it from the Tawzer website, when it becomes available.
Here are some clips from the intro of that seminar:
(if that doesn’t work for you, you can view it on YouTube).
We should get copies on Thursday, February 11th, so orders placed this week will *probably* go out on Friday.
As loyal blog readers know, I have developed a technique for dog aggression and fear called Behavior Adjustment Training. I’m giving seminars on BAT around the country and one thing that I really need is a lot of footage of dogs doing BAT, for use in seminars. We can do the filming so your head doesn’t show, if you or your kids don’t want to appear on film.
I could use a lot of volunteers in Seattle. Are you interested? Here’s what I need:
As I look over research on the effectiveness of various methods for treating dog aggression, one thing that strikes me is that people are not very good at actually doing enough set-ups with their dogs. This is true for any kind of treatment (and actually, it’s true of my physical therapy, even though my back hurts more if I avoid it, but that’s a story for a different day).
Through Sunday, I’ll be discussing BAT for fear and aggression and there have been a lot of great questions! You can read the forum without being a member, but you’ll need to join (quick and free) if you want to post a question or comment. Check it out!
I was helping a client with her cat and dog issues the other day and I was telling her how even her cat can benefit from clicker training. So I went online to find her some proof and came across this great little video from Karen Pryor with Catherine Crawmer. Even if you don’t have a cat, it’s a great video to watch to get the basics of clicker training. If you can deliver food, chances are, your pet can be clicker trained!
Behavior Adjustment Training isn’t just for fear and aggression in dogs. You can use it with all kinds of behavior problems and all kinds of species, like horses, birds, etc. It’s not perfect for every situation, though, so it’s important to know when and how to use Behavior Adjustment Training.
I just made a handout that you can use with your own dog or that dog trainers can print out for clients. The one requirement is that you leave my contact information on there and do not post it electronically to websites, etc., but you can link to it. Just right-click the link below to copy the URL for your own website.
I received this from the staff at Elliott Bay Animal Hospital in Seattle, which is near the training center. I thought it’d be a great cause for all dog and cat lovers in the Puget Sound to know about, and possibly support. I like supporting local causes, and maybe some of my readers do, too! Here’s the info… Read the rest of this entry »
I talked my wife into getting a Wii because it would allow us to play tennis in the winter, without even having to go anywhere.Â We set it up yesterday and Peanut thought it was fine – just some new kind of DVD player.Â Once we started playing tennis and boxing in the living room, though, he decided that we had gone completely crazy. He slumped upstairs to wait for our sanity to return.
That got me to thinking…what a great puppy socialization tool! Too bad I didn’t have this game 7 years ago, when Peanut was a puppy.
Ok, I love the new toy that Premier pet products featured a new toy at the Association of Pet Dog Trainers conference this year: the Pogo Plush. I brought home two of them, of course – one for each dog. They were an instant hit! The pogo is a plush toy, but there’s no stuffing (read: no mess), yet it feels like stuffing, because there’s a rubber frame inside. Genius!
In my first training class, with Spoon (that’s her, to the left) I was told to lure my dog into a sit and simultaneously say, “Sit.”Â Then I was to give her the treat and say, “Good sit!”
I doubt the trainer specifically wanted to teach my dog to only work if food was present, but I was sabotaging my training, and we were on the fast track to teaching her to ignore me if I didn’t have a treat!
Jeannie Yandel from KUOW in Seattle interviewed me last week. It’s going to play today at 1:06 p.m. on 94.9 FM in Seattle. It’s a personal interview on how and why I transitioned from a mathematician into a dog trainer. You can also listen to it now via the KUOW website.
I had the great opportunity to work with a horse named Levi yesterday. Joey Iversen and I coordinated a Behavior Adjustment Training session with Levi and his human, Laura. We worked on Levi’s fear of tarps on the ground. That’s a big fear among horses, apparently. I’m not a horse person, but armed with knowledge of horse behaviors and BAT, we made excellent progress with Levi. Read the rest of this entry »
Association of Pet Dog Trainers Position Statement
There has been a resurgence in citing “dominance” as a factor in dog behavior and dog-human relationships. This concept is based on outdated wolf studies that have long since been disproven. Contrary to popular belief, research studies of wolves in their natural habitat demonstrate that wolves are not dominated by an “alpha wolf” who is the most aggressive pack member. Rather, wolves operate with a social structure similar to a human family and depend on each other for mutual support to ensure the group’s survival. Read the rest of this entry »
We are now carrying Thundershirts in our online store (and in the little store at the training center). If there was a drug-free way to ease your dog’s fears, would you do it? I would! And the Thundershirt’s a lot less than the Anxiety Wrap (and easier to put on), almost half as expensive. We sell it for just $35.62!
I originally bought a Thundershirt for Peanut’s stress in the car. It helped! I even tried doing a comparison with having it on and off on different trips. 3 times with the Thundershirt – no shaking any of those times. 3 times without – shaking every time. TTouch practioners have known the benefits of anxiety wraps for a long time. Thundershirt is an affordable, attractive way to wrap your dog and reduce stress. Check out this video: Read the rest of this entry »
I just scheduled a seminar for dog trainers and advanced students, to teach a new system for working with behavior problems, called Behavior Adjustment Training, or BAT. The seminar is an hour and a half, Friday January 8th, 2010, from 8-9:30 p.m.
We also have an exciting visit from Patricia McConnell planned for September 12, 2010.
I love this pit bull video by John Shipe. Great dogs, great music! If they could only have filmed it without those prong collars and choke chains! Don’t they know pit bulls excel with reward-based training?
I’ve been singing it a lot since I saw this video, although I have to admit, I keep making up my own silly lyrics and singing them to my dogs, like “I’m a Pea-nut, I’m a black-furred, black nosed Pea-nut.”
This a mini BAT session for fear/barking that I did with some kids this morning. The video is on my iPhone, which has the opposite orientation of the program I use to process it, so it stretched Peanut out a bit.
Here are some highlights of that video:
At 0:27, he actually does a nice look away and retreats, and I didn’t notice, because I was fussing with the camera. I called him back and we ‘started’ our session, even though he was already starting without me. That’s the cool part about this method, that the dog can train himself after a while!
0:36, 0:37, 0:39 he sees the triggers and we push on because we’re not quite at his threshold – we’re working on head turns and this is still a very easy distance.
0:39, 0:46 I stop and he looks at me after only a tiny glance at the triggers (kids). I decide that’s not close enough, that he can handle more.
0:49 Looks away from trigger, 0:50 big nose lick. I miss this. Another casualty of filming and walking at the same time.Â This would’ve been a good place to stop.
0:55, solid engagement with the kids, has enough time to look and see what they are up to, then turns to look at me. I mark with Good! and reward him by walking the other way with him, away from the kids. Note how fast he walks in that direction.
1:10 – some calming touch. Not necessary, but it’s what Peanut and I do.
More aware of the kids now. I return to our same spot and do two more trials. During the walk-away on the 2nd trial, the kids follow us, and you’ll see him look back. I like trials 2 and 3 better than trial 1, because it seemed more directed at the environment, rather than an escape into mom’s eyes. I’m more than happy to be his anchor, I’m just glad when he doesn’t need it.
The second video is the use of the Premack Principle to practice heeling. Remember, BAT is not just for aggression & fear, but also for other problem behaviors maintained by the environment, like pulling. The point is to set the dog up to succeed, then reward with what they most want in the moment. Read the rest of this entry »
Another title of this post could be “Are you secretly plotting against your dog’s rehabilitation?” Or “Do as I say, not as I do!”
The Seattle positive dog trainers group had a meeting yesterday. It was the first time we’d met in about a year and I was going to see some people I hadn’t seen for even longer. It was at a home in the country, so we could all bring our dogs. Yay!
I love going places with my dog, especially now that he can handle it, most of the time. But sometimes, he can’t. I know he has these limitations, for now, because I haven’t done the work I need to make him more comfortable with, say, small children. He came to me, as a puppy, with a fear of just about everything, from dogs to kids to adults, wheeled things, etc. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s able to be a therapy dog and loves going to meet his fan club at the assisted living facility we go to.
But, and this is important, he’s not fine in all situations, and as his human with the schedule and the car keys, it’s up to me to make sure my dog is kept within his comfort zone until I can make that zone bigger through training.
Here’s another video of BAT in action for dog aggression, from Cassie’s 2nd BAT session. Please read about BAT, watch the first Behavior Adjustment Training video, and then re-watch this video before you try it yourself with a trainer. Dog trainers and advanced students might also want to join our Yahoo Group for BAT and related techniques.
One thing I should mention is that the other dog is kitty-corner across the street, about 40-50 feet away from our first approach distance, maybe a bit more.
After a long break, we are doing her third session today, so stay tuned for video!
This is the power of reinforcement. Check out this dog trick/dance video and the skills the dogs are doing! Look fun? Try our Canine Freestyle (dog dancing class) to get started in this fun sport. (This is not a dog trainer from our school in Seattle, but just a sample of what well-trained dogs can do).