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Training your Husky According to your rules.

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Great advice erika added to rep.

Welcome to the pack!

read up on the breed as much as you can - training will really help you bond quickly as well :)

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Great thread Erica am really enjoying reading even the stuff I've already done with Nukka, but hey any advise on how to train a husband!? Nukka usually does as I say and knows I'm boss but the Mr just doesn't seem to accept this fact! LOL!! wink.gif

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I really wish I could help you in that department sarahandnukka, but even after 8 and a half years I still havent managed to train my Mr. Cobb yet, lol!

He's still twice as silly and obnoxious as chewbacca, lmao and he's always giving me guff. Wish they were treat motivated! hehehehe.

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Focus on Potty Training or Housebreaking.

I have covered this before in this thread but I decided to go ahead and explain why you should choose to potty train a puppy before any other kind of training. I have gotten three emails this week asking..."hey Erika, how do i do it, and shouldnt i be worrying about sit and stay and all that first??" or "how did you do it so quickly that at 10 months your dog never goes potty in the house?" I figured Id go ahead and explain at length how and why I did things the way i did. Instead of answering the exact same way to 3 different emails, Im posting here and sending the people to this thread.

Firstly, I have had 2 dogs in the time ive been married who absolutley refused to be fully potty trained (they were 2 and 4 1/2 years old and rescues), so with chewy my goal was that if there was one thing he must always do- it would be going to relieve him self outside-and only outside, so i focused primarily on this in his first several weeks. If there is one or maybe two things that I most despise about puppy care and maintenence, its doggie puddles and doggie bombs, most especially on the carpet but obviously I dont like them to potty anywhere in the house.

i have learned a tremendous amount about the benefits of potty training in the last 8 months, and just how helpful it can be to start right away, and just how much a puppy can learn during this begining stretch of training even if you only focus on Housebreaking. I have focused on making rules a part of every bit of training that owners do because it is up to the owner to know what they expect of the puppy and then train the puppy accordingly.

Teaching a dog to eliminate "outside only" has some great benefits and also teaches your dog that you value your home and that they should too. A healthy respect for the privacy, warmth, and comfort of the home is important, and if they are not taught to have respect for the home, then they will not know how to behave when they are inside.

Go back and read my begining postings in this thread and try to keep an open mind. Every step or method that I covered has benefits for both the puppy and the owner. All the training you do with your dog throughout their lifetime will help you build a relationship with them that will last.

A good example of this is leash training. You would be amazed just how much a puppy learns during leash training, and how much you will learn from it as well. A dog learns how to react when being led and handled, by being led and handled, it is that simple. In those first 2 to 4 weeks when your dog is being leash and or crate trained you will find that they automatically begin reacting to your movements and how you are holding the leash. The slightest lift of the leash can signal them that its time to sit, or time to stop moving. The leash relaxing will be interpretted as "ok, lay down and rest now." The begining of training is about the owner teaching the dog to act or react properly, and you will notice that they learn quickly even without commands. Leash training is also very helpful with teaching social manners and helping your puppy to bond with you.

There is so much more to housebreaking a puppy than most people realize, so please feel free to read through the postings here and help yourself and your dog. There is a wealth of very useful info on this site about dogs and training, so please feel free to browse as training techniques are good for every puppy not just huskies.

I cannot stress enough that if you have just brought home a puppy or a dog to your home for the first time...THE TIME TO BEGIN POTTY TRAINING IS NOW... not tomorrow or next tuesday. The longer they are allowed to potty in the home the more likely they are to continue doing it, and the more likely it will be that you will have to spend more time than you would like cleaning up spots and stains.

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Just an update on how Polar is doing. Tomorrow will mark the first week since I came back home and met my new husky girl. I think she has done great in this short week. First of all, she's a very smart puppy, she was already potty-trained without needing a lot of training. She doesn't have a lot of the bad habits that seem to associate with huskies, she doesn't nip, she doesn't try to jump on people (unless she sees food), she doesn't howl (again, unless she sees me filling her bowl with food), and she doesn't dig. She was doing "sit" at my command 3 days into her training, and now I'm working on "down", "stay", and "heel". The "heel" command (walking nicely on a leash) is the one I'm having most trouble right now, even after a lot of adjustments and discouragements, she's still pulling on the leash a lot. Currently I'm trying praising her and offering treats when she's walking besides me, but it doesn't seem to have a lot of effect. I also would hook my leg in front of her chest and push her back, when she's pulling too much on the leash, when I do that, once in a while she seems to get into the zone where she would heel and walk nice. So it seems that she understands that I want her to walk next to me, it's just that she doesn't do it most of the time. The two other dogs in our household (the St. Bernard and the Tibetan Mastiff) walks really nice on a leash. Any tips and tricks you guys can offer in getting Polar leash-trained more effectively?

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Hello Boer,

Im glad you are having a good time with your puppy, that is very important. Heel is a common problem among huskies since they enjoy pulling so much. Its really great that you are getting a good start on this while she is young. Thanks for the update, and please post if you have any questions.

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it's great that you've bonded so well :) Where are our pics lol

keep up with what your doing with the heelwork - patence pays offsmile.gif

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Jealousy and Possessive behaviors.

Not all huskies have an issue with a new puppy coming into the home, but when they do there are some measures you can take, and signs to look for to know you should do something immediately.

Signs:

-The new puppy never leaves a certain room or spot and will backtrack to a corner if approached.

-The new puppy will only eat if he/she is sure they arent being watched.

-The older dog comes running if they see you are about to pay any attention to the pup. (often attempting to block the pup from approaching you, and trying to block you from touching the new pup).

-The older dog stops eating from their own bowls and immediately shoves the pup away from its food.

-The older dog constantly attempts to tackle the pup, inside and outside, even when its time to potty.

-Basically the pup will be submissive suddenly in every situation and will begin to stray away from human contact and even hide from the other dog if it gets bad enough.

Sometimes owners who have either gotten 2 dogs at once, or pups much closer in age and size, never have this problem at all, and on occassion no matter how much bigger or older the other dog is there isnt ever a problem.

However, if you have this problem it doesnt mean that there is nothing you can do, and it doesnt mean (necessarily) that your next step is to find the new pup another home. This simply means that it is time for a new kind of training for your dogs, yes folks, both dogs, lol.

With the older dog some of it may be dominence, and some is possessiveness, meaning "hey dude, i was here first and Im higher in the pack." This is not something you need to change, as changing the way you treat or care for your older dog would be a huge mistake. When it comes to this the name of the game is balance. The older dog has to be reminded that yes he was here first but you and other humans are still above him/her. DO NOT begin Ignoring your older dog to pay attention to the new pup...this will lead you directly to dangerous or extremely stressful territory.

First, as I said its all about balance, and the key is to show your older husky that YOU will still provide for everyones comfort and need, and that he/she doesnt need to become a leader.

In my case, both Chewy and Solo are obviously womens dogs, and both are wanting attention from me...not only that but I must pay attention to Solo because he is a pup and needs supervision to learn good habits. Chewy became very possessive with Solo the minute he felt that Solo was getting too much of my attention and chewy had been progressing to keeping solo cornered in the playroom away from the family. In HUSKY world if your dog is well trained this means you have spent a great deal of time training them and giving them affection, and while they will not bother to get in the way with human babies, they will do what they can to continue getting all the attention that they usually do.

The next thing a person should know about training in this situation is that It isnt all about repremanding your older dog and punishing them all the time. To get to the meaning of balance...you not only have to tell them that something is not ok but you must also show them what is ok (or how to behave properly in the situation). You cannot simply say NO and walk away...they perceive this as "now im always in trouble" and then act out because you have not shown them any affection.

This sort of behavior should not be ignored. Ignoring this stuff will lead your dog to believe that it is ok to be a bully and eventually the puppy wont be the only one he bullies. If he is bullying a small puppy that puppy will eventually withdraw and suffer severe social problems and/or fear aggression. Long story short, both dogs will end up harmed, and you will have destroyed all the hard work you did with your older dog (who was well trained before the puppy). What good is that??

Abuse is not the answer! hitting, kicking and being cruel to your older dog only worsens the situation exponentially, so dont do it! Your husky will interpret this one of two ways (and if it gets bad enough both ways). (1) my master hates me, and/or, (2) the puppy is a threat.

What to do:

- Revert to leash training. For BOTH dogs. You have to set some boundaries and show the older dog that you still have every intention of being close with them. You must always balance the situation for both dogs, so then you must leash the puppy as well. If your older dog will lay down next to you contently while leashed this is a good sign. Leash training a frightened puppy who is upset with the older dog and so hiding has many social and behavioral advantages. The first and most important is that you can take the leash and tie it to something in the social center of the home and let them learn to relax there, undesturbed, so they will feel less frightened about coming out. If the puppy lays down contently with ears up and tail layed comfortably, this means youve done the right thing. Both dogs have to learn to be at the social center of your home and life and to be comfortable doing it at the same time.

- your older dog must learn that just because you are watching out for the puppy and showing it affection, that doesnt mean you dont care for them. When your husky comes running and gets in the way tug them slightly back and have them sit or lay next to you. if they continue to be patient sitting next to you give praise and maybe give them a good scratch behing the ears if they like that. If you are forced to hold their collar to keep them sitting dont let go to pat them but be sure to praise them for sitting there. Use your opposite hand to coax the new pup closer and pat him/her. This shows the older dog that you want them close to you and the puppy, and it teaches the puppy that it is ok to come seeking attention so they dont need to hide.

- If the pup cant get into any bowls for food without the older dog interrupting and pushing the pup out, it may be smart to allow one or the other to roam freely first to eat, and keep the other in the house with you on a leash. Once one dog has eaten their fill and gone to relax allow the other to go and eat, while keeping the other on a leash and close to you. Putting one dog outside to eat and allowing the other to eat inside could be a big mistake and foster severe jealousy, so if you go this route, then be sure to go outside for a few minutes with the other dog while they eat so they feel like you still care. Huskies are very emotional sometimes and will be upset if they suddenly feel you care more for another puppy than you do for them.

- If your older dog goes to tackling the pup when you take them out to go potty, then it may be smart to leash the older dog so the puppy can potty without being afraid or interrupted. The last things you want are submissive peeing, or for the puppy to feel unsafe/uncomfortable peeing/pooping outside (especially if the pup is like Solo and is potty trained already). Retractible leashes are a smart and useful thing for this part but not absolutely necessary.

These are my current methods that Im having to do, but if you have more issues than I do or have further insight or questions on this topic, please post them for others.

-Oh and please keep in mind that some of the odd behaviors may be related to play and just because it seems rough that doesnt mean that the older husky will harm the pup, so if neither of them is being bitten or harmed then play is healthy, so please do not yell or seperate the dogs if they are playing.

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OOps, I almost forgot 2 things.

(1) this training could take awhile, anywhere from 1 week with a really good older dog, to a months with a very upset older dog. Your patience is key, dont stop training just because you feel like it, and if you stop and the bad behavior begins again, go right back to it.

(2) if you can get the older dog to stop being obnoxious with the pup by saying "uh-uh, behave" and they walk away nicely, you have a very good dog who was feeling a bit sad or left out. This simply means you need that bit of balance for a week or 2. Be sure to show them affection for making good choices.

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Just an update on how Polar is doing. Tomorrow will mark the first week since I came back home and met my new husky girl. I think she has done great in this short week. First of all, she's a very smart puppy, she was already potty-trained without needing a lot of training. She doesn't have a lot of the bad habits that seem to associate with huskies, she doesn't nip, she doesn't try to jump on people (unless she sees food), she doesn't howl (again, unless she sees me filling her bowl with food), and she doesn't dig. She was doing "sit" at my command 3 days into her training, and now I'm working on "down", "stay", and "heel". The "heel" command (walking nicely on a leash) is the one I'm having most trouble right now, even after a lot of adjustments and discouragements, she's still pulling on the leash a lot. Currently I'm trying praising her and offering treats when she's walking besides me, but it doesn't seem to have a lot of effect. I also would hook my leg in front of her chest and push her back, when she's pulling too much on the leash, when I do that, once in a while she seems to get into the zone where she would heel and walk nice. So it seems that she understands that I want her to walk next to me, it's just that she doesn't do it most of the time. The two other dogs in our household (the St. Bernard and the Tibetan Mastiff) walks really nice on a leash. Any tips and tricks you guys can offer in getting Polar leash-trained more effectively?

Hey Boer

What kind of collar are you walking Polar on? How old is Polar?

I found the change of direction technique works the best. Dogs pull on the leash because they've learned that's how to get what they want. The key to loose leash walking is teaching the dog that pulling on the leash does not get them where they want to go. Every time Polar pulls, turn sharply on your heel in the opposite direction and praise when she catches up to you.

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Hey Boer

What kind of collar are you walking Polar on? How old is Polar?

I found the change of direction technique works the best. Dogs pull on the leash because they've learned that's how to get what they want. The key to loose leash walking is teaching the dog that pulling on the leash does not get them where they want to go. Every time Polar pulls, turn sharply on your heel in the opposite direction and praise when she catches up to you.

Hello Bec,

I just use a plain buckle collar on Polar. She's probably around 4 months old to the best of our guesses. A little background on Polar: she's a stray my friends/business partners (co-owners in our guesthouse) found on the street of the little Chinese highland village we currently live in. They took care of Polar for about a month before I came back and met her for the first time 2 weeks ago, and I've been training her ever since. I've also used the change of direction technique you mentioned, it does help a lot. I think maybe I was been a little too critical of Polar last week, we all went out for a hike that day (4 humans and 3 dogs) and I had spent the whole day trying to hold Polar back from pulling forward, so I was a bit tired and pretty frustrated. In all fairness, Polar does heel quite well now when she is calm. She pulls only when she gets excited, like when we first get out of our house, when we walk with other dogs, when she sees a bird, a cow, a horse, etc. So I'm still working on that.

Thanks for the advice, Bec!

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Being THE Leader.

I have noticed alot of postings about signs that you are NOT leader or alpha with your husky.

Some signs that you are not leader include Nipping, jumping, pulling, stealing, growling, and ignoring you.

As they get older marking (peeing) and going poo in the house is also a definite sign that you are not alpha.

With huskies, it is very important to be a good, strong leader, right from the begining.

At 8 to 16 weeks you can very easily teach them who leader is by doing leash training and doing practice

exercises. If they will not follow you or willingly do as you ask, you are not the leader. As time goes on

you will also begin to notice them openly challenging you to see if you will make them earn and do things.

The only exception to this is if your young pup or rescued husky shows fear of you...(I.E.) they run away from

you or cower, tuck the tail between the legs, pee a trail all the way too you, shaking all over, and having the

ears back against their head, and slobbering excessively, etc. In this case its not just dominent behavior, and

they have to learn trust and you have to lead them at the same time. Will cover this more later.

With most pups and dogs under 1 year old teaching them you are leader is very easy, although it takes work.

Pay attention to the things you do with your pup, sometimes when you arent paying attention you could be

unwittingly encouraging unwanted behaviors instead of teaching them not to do it. Never ever go against the

rules no matter how cute and fun they are...giving in to those puppy dog eyes will ruin you, hahahaha.

As they get older being the leader will mean that if they challenge you hold your ground and if they persist,

then you make a move and give a command that says "hey Im serious" so they back down and you dont

walk away until they do. This does not mean to hit or kick or be so forceful that you make your dog cower

and or bite you. Its all about body language and signals...for instance:

Chewy challenges me to see what I will do and if he will be made to do as I ask. Now theres not a bone in

this dogs body or an intention in his mind he that would bite me or believe I would harm him, so his challenges

are playful and bouncy and he smiles at me as he challenges. He often comes to the gate now and barks or

whines playfully because he wants to come lay on the sofa or search the carpet for crumbs of food. Some-

times I just ignore him til he goes away and the playful banter only last 3 minutes at the most, and other

times he will persist despite my purposeful ignorance, so I must show him that i am serious. I have chosen to

view the latest and more frequent challenges as something rather similar to a preteen human child who is

testing boundaries...so what does a good mother or father do? We then challenge them to make the right

decision...

So when chewy persists and will not go lay down as he is told, I then stand and approach the gate, point to

the middle of the floor and tell him "go lay down." Most of the time this is all it takes, just making myself bigger

and signalling him with body language and a very direct command. There are also times he will go to where my

finger points, sit down, and continue to argue...so I then take one big step into the room, get a little louder,

and tell him again to lay down while pointing down at the floor. He then gets quiet and lays right down, giving

me the "awww, thats not fair" look. Then i tell him, stay, turn smartly and walk out of the room. After this he

usually goes to sleep or finds something else to do. Sometimes it does take more than one effort to get them to

stop trying to be the boss, but what counts is the effort you put in to be the leader. If you tell them to do some

thing just once and they dont do it...and you dont make any further effort, you are not the leader. It takes the

whole heart to raise a good dog, half hearted attempts wont work.

Heres another fine example of respect from your husky. Chewy sometimes decides to challenge me by standing

and staring at me when I tell him "inside", I always try one more time to get him inside the house. Then if he still

just stares and tries to ignore me, I go inside, close the door, and stay turned toward the inside with my back to

him for about 10 to 20 seconds and 95% of the time...when I turn he is right there waiting to be let in behind me.

Basically, I show him 'hey, fine, stay out there all alone," and he doesnt like that so he comes and waits at the

door. That other 5% of the time I simply walk in and if he doesnt follow to the door after a few seconds then I go

into the living room where he cant see me, wait a few minutes, and then go back to the door...its very rare that

he isnt standing there looking in and waiting.

There are some very good signs that your husky trusts you and is willing to pay attention if only you put in the effort.

Signs of respect:

backing away a little as you enter a room

following as you leave a room, to see what you are doing

sitting down as you approach them

bringing you toys when they want to play, and waiting for you to respond

moving away from something when you say NO or Leave it

dropping an object if you say no as you approach them

There are so many little signs of respect, so pay attention and use them.

When they show you signs of respect, like backing away a bit and sitting or laying down when you enter

a room and approach them, then encourage it by asking them to do it all the time, and then reward them

with praise and attention.

Equally, If they are doing something naughty and disrespectful, do not back down and walk away. Stop

them from doing the naughty thing and then ask them to do the right thing.

Watch your husky...if you stop them from something and then just walk away...they go right back to it...

and if you watch their face it often says "I wonder what will happen if I do it again, I bet i can make them

come running to me, hahahaha." Give your husky another task to do before you walk away, and after a few

times they will automatically associate your approach when doing something naughty with the thing you

want them to do.

Remember, just because your husky is more stubborn and smart, or just because it takes more work on your

part...that does not mean you have a bad dog.

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Hi all,

I just wanted to tell you a bit about myself. First, I LOVE dogs, especially big dogs. I am very partial to huskies and malamutes, because I have

never had a bad experience with either breed and they are unlike any other dogs. I had my first 2 husky buddies when I was 9 or 10 years old.

As much as I love dogs, no other breed has impressed me as good, fun loving, family dogs that adapt well in a home with kids, other pets, and

a busy lifestyle. I have had other breeds (rescues who needed rehab) and (non-aggressive) but none that adapted to our home well enough

to enjoy a life where children come first so all attention could not be on them. Dont get me wrong, all were loveable and with the exception of

just one dog all were successfully rehabbed and found wonderful homes where they were more comfortable. (that 1 dog who I didnt manage to

rehab was given to a couple without kids who rehabbed and kept him.)

I know that In writing these postings it probably seems like somtimes I want to be an insufferable "know it all," but really it is just because I want

to spread as much information about loving and training sibes and mals as possible because every day somewhere in the world someone is looking

for information about what to do when they are confused about how to help their husky be a wonderful happy husky. I know that alot of us here

have noticed the overwhelming amount of rediculous garbage that gets posted to the internet, how many people just give up and abandon or rehome

huskies, or end up abusing them because they never found any good information...to be precise...the owners dont find information that actually helps

them do the right thing with their dogs so we see tons of sad stories.

I didnt necessarily "raise" the huskies when I was very young, but I was the caretaker who fed them and spent time with them. That foundation has

made me want to do something so we can help people learn how to care for and love these wonderful dogs, instead of sitting back and watching and

reading articles about abuse, abandonment, and death.

So with all the new experiences Im having raising chewy and solo to be loving, happy members of my family...im posting all the training methods and

common issues that I have so others see it and will realize that they can teach their huskies to become great dogs, who will love them for a lifetime.

In hawaii I have watched as I did husky meets. The first meet was 16 dogs and owners, and over a period of three months the meets slowed to almost

no-one showing up, and at 2 meets it was just chewy and me. As I sat back and placed my ads in craigslist and kijiji, I saw many owners who just gave

up, rehoming their huskies because "they couldnt handle them anymore." This was heart breaking for me, as I had met 5 of the sibes who were rehomed

to the highest bidder. I very nearly gave up on doing meets and pretty much decided I would just go or not go, and if people showed cool, if not...blah blah

blah.

Then, the week I stopped placing my ads, corey and leilani placed an ad for me. Sometimes 1 other the other of us is too busy or just cant come but we go

when we can, and meets are getting bigger again. Thank you Corey and Lani, for continuing to come and have fun at the park with us.

Anyway, even if only a few owners find this forum each month to see all of our postings and all the helpful information, thats a few more dogs who might

be spared from shelters, rescues, rehoming, abuse, and other sad stories, so I will continue to add to this post with every new thing i learn with chewy

and solo.

Please by all means if you have something you want to add, or if you did something differently but where successful- go ahead and post to this thread. My

training methods dont always work on every dog so the more answers people find here...the more chances they have to love and train a sibe successfully.

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wow - that's such a great post added to rep.

So glad that the meet ups are beginning to grow again :)

If we cna change the minds of just a few people, that's a great result!

Your training threads are so well written and I love reading them - I don't hink anyone know's everything as there are differences with all dogs even of the same breed - one method may work for one and not another so having variations and ideas is fantastic :up:

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Hi erika,

I was wondering if it is at all possible to still train a 1 yr old to a kennel.. before i had adopted syrus, i had read into every online, book, site you name it....some of them even said that some huskys just dont do well in a kennel or crate...

we have a metal crate/kennel... and we've done all that we can think of to make him comfortable... but the minute you put him in there boy oh boy the screaming ..whinning and howling began.. hell even literally try and claw his way out... hes cut up his nose once trying to get out and since then we havent been able to put him in a crate/kennel at all! we have tried putting some toys in there and a blanket aswell as just putting him in there for 10-15 minutes at a time

we just moved to NC and had to downsize to a smaller place that does not have a fenced in back yard... so he stays inside most of the day and then is put on a chain a few times a day.. i wish we did have a backyard but at the moment im uncertain of what to do... we are unable to leave him in the kennel and i dont want to leave him unattended inside because he loves to chew on everything when we arnt looking (hes fine until you leave the room and then hell get up and chew on anything he can get ahold of)..

any ideas?

thank you in advance!

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Hi there Rachel.

I would like to applaud you for continuing to try with Syrus, that is the most important thing you can do

for him, just be patient, and keep on trying.

I actually know of 2 things you can try with Syrus to help him with crating. I have heard that alot of rescue

and shelter dogs have quite alot of trouble with crate training, seperation anxiety, and even depression.

any and all of those things lead to destructive behaviors. So does boredom.

(1) Here comes my infamous leash training suggestion, but with a twist, hahahaha. If you can you will need

to place the crate near one end of the sofa, and get some cheese and take out your leash. The leash is good

for alot more than walking. If you can leave a bit of room between the sofa and the crate where you can have

syrus lay down quietly. You are going to teach syrus to trust you and go into the crate willingly, and be so he

can be rewarded. Once he lays down close by the crate and is quiet for a few minutes, take a little bit of cheese

and toss it into the open crate. He may not go in the first time you toss the cheese in, and if he doesnt, wait a

few more minutes, show him another small bit of cheese, and toss in a second bit. (you can use any treat but Im

suggesting cheese because mine love cheese more than any other treat). Once he goes in for the treat, you will

praise him with a happy voice while hes in there, and then call him to you and pat him. A few minutes later, after

he has layed down outside the crate again and been quiet a few minutes toss cheese in again. Once he has

done this part of the exercise about 8-10 times and not shown any signs of upset, then you have him lay down

outside the crate again wait a few minutes, toss in a bit of cheese. This time when he goes into the crate, you

will go stand in front of the opening show him some cheese and tell him to sit. Once he has sat and stayed there

quietly for 10 seconds, give him the cheese and praise, then call him to you and pat him. Once he has done this

8-10 times successfully, then you will change from having him sit, to having him lay down, and working your way

to 5 minutes giving him the cheese and praise, and then inviting him back out and patting him.

He needs to learn to trust you, to relax in his crate, and that he will eventually be invited/let out of his crate again.

This is an exercise, and some dogs only take 4 or 5 days to show improvement, others take up to a month, and you

may see progress after the first time...but you may not. If you work during the day, then work with him at night,

and if you work at night, then work with him during the day.

I hope this helps but if after 2 weeks you have not seen any improvement with syrus, then post again and I will tell

you how to do the crash course with him.

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Rachel, is it possible to build a run for him?

Chaining a dog is incredibly dangerous and can lead to dogs choking to death.

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Hello Erika,

Any idea on how to train Polar to have a better response to commands? Polar knows a lot of commands now, the problem is that her response is not very high. With food or treat in hand she will respond much faster, but without food or if there's something to distract her (another dog for example), she will respond very unwillingly or not at all. For example, if I tell her to "come" when there's no distraction, she will bounce happily over to me; but if there's another dog, she will totally ignore me and go play with the other dog. Any ideas?

Thanks.

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Hello Erika,

Any idea on how to train Polar to have a better response to commands? Polar knows a lot of commands now, the problem is that her response is not very high. With food or treat in hand she will respond much faster, but without food or if there's something to distract her (another dog for example), she will respond very unwillingly or not at all. For example, if I tell her to "come" when there's no distraction, she will bounce happily over to me; but if there's another dog, she will totally ignore me and go play with the other dog. Any ideas?

Thanks.

Hi Boer - not Erika but I can try and help :)

Your problem is completely normal - you've taught Polar to comply to your commands in low distraction environments but haven't 'proofed' her in higher levels of distraction.

You need to gradually introduce more distractions in your training sessions. For example, start at home and get her working well. Then progress to the front yard, or somewhere with a slightly higher level of distraction. Get her working well in the front yard then slowly introduce more distractions i.e. take her to the park when it's quiet. Only increase the level of distraction when she's reliable and working well in the current level of distraction.

You also want to work on increasing her value for you, as opposed to things she finds distracting. If you need to recall her in a high level of distraction (i.e when another dog is around) use a really high value treat to reward her (cooked steak or chicken, cheese, sausage etc). Teach her that coming when you call her, even when another dog is around, is the Best Thing Ever. At the moment, she has a higher value for other dogs than she does for you, so you want to work on training her to see you as the most fun, most exciting thing there is.

Use high value treats ONLY when you are doing a training session or want to reward her for a recall. Personally I never phase out rewards in my training sessions. If you are interested in learning more about building a good solid recall, there's a DVD by Leslie Nelson you can get called "Really Reliable Recall" that I know many people have had success with.

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