Clicker Training Your Dog

Operant conditioning is a scientific term that describes the way animals learn from the consequences of certain behaviors. Positive reinforcement is a type of operant conditioning often used in dog training.

Dog clicker training, a common form of positive reinforcement, is a simple and effective training method. The clicker is a metal strip inside a small plastic box that makes a distinct clicking sound when pressed. The click is much faster and more distinct than saying “good dog” and much more effective than using treats alone. To teach a dog the meaning of the click, a treat is given immediately after clicking. Once the dog learns the positive effects of the clicking sound, the clicker itself acts as a conditioned reinforcer.

Clicker training is not meant to completely replace the use of treats. The sound of the click instantly tells the dog that what he has done will earn him a reward. To emphasize this, clicks should frequently be followed by treats. Otherwise, the clicker will lose its effectiveness. “While some clicker trainers may not give a reward every time they click, pretty much all clicker trainers continue to follow the click with a reward,” says Alyssa. “It’s very important to use strong rewards a lot during initial training stages, and treats are often the strongest reward for a dog.”

Here’s how to you can easily train your dog to respond to the clicker before moving on to basic and advanced training. The following steps are often referred to as “loading” the clicker.

  • Begin with your dog in a quiet area.
  • Have a handful of your dog’s favorite treats ready. Ideally, this should be done when your dog is hungry.
  • Press the clicker and immediately give your dog a treat. Repeat 5-10 times.
  • You can test your success by clicking when your dog is not paying attention to you. If your dog responds to the click by suddenly looking at you, then looking for a treat, you are ready to move on.
  • Next, begin teaching your dog basic commands. At the exact moment your dog performs the desired action, press the clicker. Follow with a treat and praise.

One of the best things about the clicker is the accuracy. “It’s like taking a photo of the exact behavior you’re rewarding”, Alyssa explains. The dog associates his action with the click and, subsequently, the reward. Not only does he better understand what he is doing, this also makes him more likely to repeat the action when asked in the future.

Clicker training can also be very effective for advanced training. “You simply click for small steps toward the behavior and work the dog toward the final, completed behavior,” says Alyssa. “This allows you to be totally hands-off (except for delivering the reward, of course). You don’t need to manipulate the dog into position, which can often slow the process.”

Overall, the clicker is a very valuable tool in the training process and should be an essential part of your pet supplies. When creating an obedience and training program for your dog, consider using the clicker and see for yourself how well the method works.

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.

Samoyed

The Samoyed is a beautiful and loyal dog breed with a rich history as a companion and working dog. Dating back thousands of years, this breed is among the most ancient of all dog breeds. The Samoyed was developed in Siberia as a worker and companion, and these traits remain true to this day. This is a hardy and resilient dog that works hard and is devoted to its family. One of the most memorable features of the Samoyed is the smile-like appearance caused by the upturned corners of its black lips, sometimes called the “Sammy Smile.”

Considered among the most ancient of all dog breeds, the Samoyed was originally developed by the Samoyede tribe of Siberia. The Samoyede people bred their dogs for work and companionship, using them for sledding, herding, guarding and helping to keep their families warm. The Samoyede people were very closely bonded with their dogs and considered them members of the family.The Samoyed arrived in Europe and North America around the turn of the 20th century. The breed is now seen all over the world. The Samoyed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1906. They have continued to work diligently for humans, but are commonly known as loyal companions.

Health Problems:

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

About the Breed:

The Samoyed is a hardy, loyal and kind-hearted dog breed that serves as a diligent worker and loving companion. A trademark of the breed is the “Sammy Smile” – the upturned corners of its black lips have the appearance of a smile.

The Samoyed’s dense, double hair coat makes the breed able to withstand very low temperatures. The undercoat is soft and thick, while the top coat is straight and medium length. This dog breed will shed quite a bit – especially in warmer months. The Samoyed owner must establish a solid grooming routine – specifically a thorough brushing every day or two.

Sammies are energetic and intelligent dogs that have a strong sense of independence. Serious obedience training is an absolute essential for this breed, though it can pose a challenge to owners due to the breed’s intelligence. Consistence and positive reinforcement are key. As a working breed, Sammies require plenty of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. A combination of exercise and training will help keep the Samoyed physically and mentally stimulated.

Both protective and gentle, the Samoyed is a playful family companion that can get along very well with children if properly trained and socialized. An active household and access to plenty of space is the ideal environment for this breed. Above all, the Samoyed is a devoted companion first and a working dog second. This breed thrives upon human companionship and, like its ancestors, forges a deep bond with its people.

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.

U.S. Pet Industry Remains on Solid Ground

The U.S. pet market grew to $53 billion in 2009 and overall sales are expected to continue to increase over the next few years, according to a report released March 2 by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

“U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2010-2011: Tapping into Post-Recession Pet Parent Spending” projects U.S. pet market retail sales and trends overall and for four core categories: veterinary services, pet food, nonfood pet supplies and nonmedical pet services. The report found that sales of all pet products and services rose 5 percent in 2009 to $53 billion, with sales of veterinary services increasing the most to $18.40 billion. Moreover, pent-up pet owner demand for products and services that both enhance pet health and pamper animal companions will begin to kick in during 2010, according to the report.

“The pet market has fared well overall despite the recession, and Packaged Facts attributes this performance to a number of factors that will also be integral to its even better performance in 2010 and 2011,” said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “Chief among these factors is the human-animal bond, which is an excellent insulator against recessionary cutbacks, and the ‘pet parent’ sentiment has never been higher.”

Packaged Facts projects total retail sales to increase to $55.78 billion in 2010 and to $59.28 billion in 2011, and to continue to rise to $72 billion by 2014. Still, the report noted that most economists predict a slow recovery.

“As a consequence, no pet market participant can afford to sit back during 2010 or to ignore recessionary effects on consumer shopping patterns that could linger for years,” the report stated.

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.

Dogs Good For Men – 13 Manly Masculine Dog Breeds

Is there a such thing as a “manly” dog? Are some dogs more “masculine” than other dogs? The answer is yes. In fact, several lists of manly dog breeds exist. They come out in pop-culture magazines and on several websites.

Just for fun, we wanted to take a crack at what we thought were “masculine dogs”.

Believe it or not – there is also a list of breeds that are good for women to attract men!

Many of these manly breeds are either big, brawny, intimidating, muscular or suited for athletic outdoor type activities. They include:

  1. Boxer. The boxer may look a bit intimidating but he is actually a sweet and friendly dog. This is a great breed for men. They can be fun, athletic and adorable. They can be great for meeting chicks while still looking “masculine”.
  2. Rottweiler. This powerful dog can live indoors or outdoors. Originally bred as a herding dog, the Rottweiler is now best known as a formidable guard dog. The Rottweiler is strong and intimidating and definitely a “masculine” dog.
  3. German shepherd. Nearly always topping the most popular breed lists, the German shepherd is strong and powerful. They have natural guarding and protecting instincts. They defiantly have a strong and powerful presence.
  4. Irish setter. An Irish setter is a beautiful, friendly, energetic dog that can be a real chick magnet. They are fun to take for walks, friendly enough to meet people and big enough to still look “masculine”. The setter will bark to let you know someone is at the house, but don’t expect more than that, in spite of the dog’s size.
  5. Mastiff. This giant and imposing dog was used as a hunter and protector. It is definitely a manly dog. Content to patrol his home and guard his family, the mastiff can thrive outdoors but needs companionship.
  6. Siberian husky. The husky has historically lived outdoors in the harshest lands. Bred to pull sleds across frozen terrain, this dog is very hardy and quite content to live outside. It gives the appearance of a very outdoors and guys-guy type dog.
  7. Miniature pinscher. This breed has the look of a big Doberman pinscher but a fraction of the size. They seem rather “manly” but in a small package. The breed is the older of the two and is something of a cross between the greyhound and a terrier. Always curious, the min pin will alert his owner whenever someone new is nearby.
  8. Labrador retriever. The lab is a popular choice for active people. This is another dog that is big and friendly and can be great for meeting people. They love water sports and just spending time with you. The Labrador seems to have boundless energy as well as natural protective instincts.
  9. Beagle. The beagle can be an active breed but also is quite fond of power naps. Needing a good place to sleep and plenty of games to play, this breed is associated with hunting and sports and can be perceived as “masculine”.
  10. Collie. Forever connected to “Lassie”, the collie is a manly dog but…maybe for a more “sensitive” man. Collies are large dogs, intelligent yet patient, and are loved by just about anyone. They are smart and can be very active.
  11. Boston terrier. The Boston is a small black and white terrier that loves to make you laugh. After brief periods of activity, the Boston loves to curl up on the sofa while watch ESPN. Obedient and loyal, the Boston is a good watchdog and a loyal pet. Although not large dogs, they are solid dogs and be quite manly in a fun way.
  12. Pug. Not at all pugnacious, the pug is an affectionate, loveable, even-tempered breed with great charm and dignity. They are playful companions and fun to take to the park.
  13. Doberman Pinscher. The Doberman pinscher is large, attractive and domineering breed. They have a real manly quality based on their size and presence. They can also be great and sweet pets.

Remember, before you pick one of these dogs to be your companion, investigate the breed’s needs and traits to make sure he fits your life.

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.

Atta Boy! Be Your Dog’s Personal Cheerleader

The very moment that a dog starts to respond to “come,” you want to verbally celebrate his response – and to use verbal encouragement all the way back to you from wherever he was and whatever he was doing.

Then when he reaches you, make a big fuss over him. If you don’t make the payoff pleasurable for the dog, then why would he give up independence and another activity to return to you?

This article is courtesy of RadioFence.com a Leading Internet Retailer of Pet Doors, Bark Collars and Dog Training Shock Collars.