Episode 1 – Dog Training
SitDropStay Dog Training on TV
SitDropStay received a call from the team at the All About Animals television show in early 2012, asking us to be part of a 13 episode series which shows their own dog, a young Doberman x called Candy being progressively trained for her behavioural issues.
Candy’s behaviour had been causing the family grief so they decided now was the time to do something about it. These episodes where shot in mid 2012, over 3 filming sessions of about 4 hours each and 3 weeks apart. George Lygidakis, head trainer of Sitdropstay works with young host Jake and his dog Candy over the 13 episodes to improve Candy’s behaviour. Each episode tackles a separate issue so it is easy to follow and understand.
While watching these videos it is important to remember that any techniques or instructions given are specific to this particular dog, family needs and environment and are not suitable for every dog and every situation. It is always important to get specific advice for your own situation and needs. Your dogs temperament, age and energy level are important factors when determining which method to use, as well as your own character and abilities and the individual environment and family situation.
Candy proved to not to be the easiest dog to work with. She had a short attention span and high energy levels making it harder to keep her calm and balanced. Added to this was the distraction of the other dog, the film crew, microphones and the constant retakes due to issues like lighting, repositioning and sound quality and sounds in the background. Stopping and starting like this makes it difficult to connect with your client and dog and get a flow going. All in all however we were pleased with the end result and we hope you enjoy watching them. Check out Candy’s naughty behaviour.
Episode 2 – Dog Behaviour – rules and boundaries
George introduces himself to Jake and Candy
In this first episode, George from SitDropStay dog training arrives at the All About Animals family home to help them with their dog Candy. After introducing himself to Jake, George discusses what he observed from the video of Candy that he was recently sent.
He then decides to go out into the backyard to introduce himself to the 2 dogs and observes their reaction to him. Jake is immediately surprised that both dogs move back, giving George space, rather than jump on him, when they have previously jumped on every other person who has walked out the door. George then explains that they saw him as “higher in the pecking order”, to make it simple for the shows audience to understand but what really happened is he went out projecting a calm, assertive energy which made the dogs passive to him, when normally they activate and get excited. Dogs make an assessment of you when you walk out. They will jump on a weak or excited energy and respect the boundaries of a calm and strong energy.
This was Candy’s first experience with the concept of boundaries and rules with George, which she handled well. It is important that in your home environment, your dog respects your personal space and does not jump on, or crowd, you and your guests. Jake begins to understand the fact that his own behaviour can and will, influence his dogs behaviour, and that he may be part of the problem and the solution. This is a powerful and important message for all viewers and dog owners to understand. Merely training your dog, without understanding and changing your own behaviour is futile and naïve. We are, more often, the source of our dogs behaviour. Our emotions and beliefs, conscious and unconscious, will animate them and they will reflect back to us who we are being with them.
Episode 3 – Dog Behaviour – Dog Jumping
Behaviour Problem – Dog Jumping
In the episode George shows Jake how to stop his dog jumping on him by changing his own energy and behaviour. It is vital that you look at how you greet your dogs when you come home or walk out the back door. You are communicating who you are to them whenever you greet them.
George instructs Jake to change his behaviour and walk out confidently while using the word “back”, and then, no touch, talking, or eye contact until the dogs are calm. As can be seen the change is immediate with no jumping, and both dogs remain calm.
Many of our clients make the mistake of exciting and engaging their dogs when they walk out into their backyard, and then yell at their dog for getting excited and jumping on them. Turning your back on your dog at this point is common but is considered weak behaviour in the dog world, which is not the message you want to give to your own dog.
George then explains to Jake how they have all been creating a pattern of behaviour by walking out, exiting the dogs and then rewarding then for it by patting them, talking to them and giving them attention. It is important not to play with or give attention to your dogs until they are calm and passive. You should always initiate play with your dogs.
Tips for Dog Jumping are:
1. Always walk out calmly and confidently. Look forward hold your head high, shoulders back and stand up tall.
2. Don’t touch, talk to, or make eye contact with your dog until they are calm. This teaches them good things only happen when we are calm and passive. When you are ready, give calm affection and use a calm voice.
3. Play with them and excite them when you choose to. Don’t let them initiate play.
Episode 4 – Boundaries – Dog Behaviour
Behaviour Problem – Understanding boundaries.
Candy is starting to understand and accept the concept of boundaries and limits. The next problem is that she runs inside whenever she gets an opportunity, which is really frustrating for Jake and his family because she refuses to go back out, and they have kittens inside.
A problem George addresses in a later episode. Unless you want your dog to be able to come in and out whenever it wants, they should understand that they require an invitation and that they should come in calmly and respectfully.
In this episode Jake is shown how to create boundaries with his body language and energy or intent, and then how to reward the correct behaviour appropriately.
George instructs Jake to use and associate the word “out” to create this boundary, while standing upright just behind the boundary. It is important to push your energy out here and to challenge the dog either verbally or by calmly moving in every time they attempt to cross the boundary you have created. George is consciously pushing energy out from his stomach area towards the dog when he does this, but thought it would be too much for the viewing audience to understand.
Once a dog learns one boundary it can easily learn several more. Understanding and respecting boundaries is essential for your dogs mental well being. It needs to learn to become passive and accept your request in all situations. This is a great way to show leadership earn your dogs trust and respect.
Jake initially finds it harder than George to keep the dog out but soon gets the idea. It is important to stay calm and confident, using your body language and appropriate energy.
Tips for creating boundaries are:
1- Always be calm and confident.
2 – Insist on what you want and be consistent
3 – Reward calmly and confidently. If you get too excited you will create energy in your dog and it will come in.
Episode 5 – Dog Behaviour – Staying on a bed
Behaviour problem – Staying on a bed
In this episode George teaches Candy to come inside and go directly to, and stay on her bed until she is allowed off. This is a great way to teach self control and provide limitations for your dog. This an exercise that many of our clients request when we visit them.
If you don’t want to allow your dog to come in and roam your house, this is a great alternative way to spend some time with them while your watching television or having dinner, or to simply allow them to come in from the heat or cold.
Jake doesn’t have a lot of trouble with this exercise and Candy understands what is required of her immediately. When you communicate what you want in a way that your dog understand the results can be instant.
To start this exercise Jake is instructed to open the door and wait until Candy is calm and passive, then put the leash on and invite her to come in calmly. Candy is then directed to her mat using the word “bed”. This is done by you pointing to, focusing on and if necessary moving toward, the bed. We then stand up, wait for her to settle, repeat the command and then leave calmly and confidently.
Tips for teaching a dog to stay on its bed are:
1 – The bed exercise is a great way to teach your dog self control.
2 – Say the word “bed” or similar and take them there until they settle down.
3 – Be persistent and calmly and confidently insist they stay on the bed. Gradually increase the amount of time you expect your dog to stay on its bed.
4 – Remember to reward calmly and confidently.
5 – Invite your dog off its bed only when it is calm and settled.
Episode 6 – Dog Behaviour – Introducing dogs to cats
Behaviour problem – Introducing dogs to cats
In this episode Candy is introduced to a kitten for the first time. Candy shows over excitement and some aggression around cats, which is a huge issue for Jake and his family because they regularly foster kittens for the RSPCA and have never allowed Candy to go anywhere near them.
Behind a window Candy gets very agitated so the family was not sure how this would go or whether to go ahead with it, but as you will see Candy and the kitten responded better than expected.
George introduces Candy to the kitten in a controlled environment. Jake holds the cat on his lap while Candy is kept calm on a leash. A cat will not trust a dog unless it is calm and passive, so trust your cats reaction to your dog. Candy is allowed to relax around the kitten and is given affection only when she is calm. Any excitable behaviour or movement towards the kitten is challenged by George. It is critical a dog associates the sight and smell of a cat with a calm and passive state of mind.
Jake is amazed at how well Candy is behaved and eventually they put the brave little kitten on the ground to approach Candy who stays calm. George uses the word “gentle” to keep a dog calm and respect a cats boundaries.
Tips for introducing dogs to cats are:
1 – Your cat will only trust a dog if the dog remains in a calm and passive state of mind. It is your job to keep your dogs in this passive state.
2 – Bring the dog into the cats area not the other way around. For safety do this on a leash initially.
3 – Remember you can only influence your dogs instinctive behaviour if you are the pack leader.
4 – Cats must be higher in the pecking order than a dog to co-exist peacefully so allow your cat more privileges.
Episode 7 – Dog Training: Pulling on leash
Behaviour Problem – Pulling on leash.
In this episode George shows Luke how to walk his two dogs, Candy and Socks, calmly by his side without them pulling or lunging, making walking a more enjoyable experience. In this particular case George decides to recommend a Halti type head collar, but remember,they are not always the most appropriate tool in every situation.
Every case is individual depending on each dog and handler’s relationship, character and capabilities. We will usually try several different options before deciding on which particular tool to use for each client. Remember however, the are only tools and a tool cannot substitute for your relationship, leadership and energy.
We believe it is critical to have your dog under control on a walk. They should follow you in a calm and passive state of mind, not lead you, until you decide to let them smell, play or greet other dogs and people. As always your confidence, body language and focus are the most important issues here. Your dog will only follow and respect you if you deserve to be followed. Treats and weak behaviour are not the answer for a problem dog.
Once George has taught both dogs to walk nicely he gives Jake a try. Jake does a great job leading the walk and Candy responds immediately, so George decides to progress and let him try both dogs together. We recommend that if you are taking two dogs for a walk together, you should separate them on either side to both stop them feeding off each others behaviour, and so you can correct inappropriate behaviour individually.
Tips for walking a dog are:
1. Your dog should walk calmly by your side.
2. Walk confidently and calmly with a loose leash.
3. Focus on yourself and where you are going. Not on your dog.
4. Stopping and smelling should happen when you choose, not whenever your dog wants to.
Episode 8 – Dog Training – Off leash training
Behaviour problem – Off-leash training
Candy has a bad habit of running away from Jake and not coming back when called, so in this episode George introduces her to the basics of off-leash training. When off leash your dog should be aware of you at all times, respond to a command like “wait” if it has gone too far away from you, and come back to you whenever called.
It is dangerous and irresponsible to let a dog off leash unless you have effective control of them. The word “free” should not mean your dog can run off and ignore you.
George uses a 5 metre leash attached to a collar to teach Candy the basic commands of “wait” and “come”. Candy initially finds this exercise difficult but by changing direction whenever Candy is distracted or not paying attention George soon has her understanding what is expected of her. Jake is impressed by Candy’s new found skill and does a great job on his own.
Only when you are confident that your dog understands and responds to the ”come” and “wait” commands should you progress to dropping the leash and eventually moving on to completely off-leash. George recommends Jake holds onto the long leash for at least another month or two before attempting to let her off leash again.
You should avoid calling your dog unless you feel you have a good chance of getting them back or they will learn to ignore you. Treats or a ball can be used initially to encourage your dog back but eventually they should come back because they have to, no matter what the distraction. This can take some time and patience, but is essential.
Tips for off leash training are:
1. Use a long leash to initially teach your dog to follow you and come when called.
2. Focus on where you are going not what your dog is doing.
3. Start dropping the leash when your dog consistently responds to your commands.
4. Gradually introduce more distractions.
5. Your dog will only follow you if you deserve to be followed.
Episode 9 – Dog Behaviour – Behaving in public
Behaviour problem – Behaving in public.
Candy’s recent naughty behaviour has meant that she hasn’t been able to be taken out in public regularly. However now that both dogs are walking nicely there is now no reason why they can’t be taken out to public places more regularly.
George decides to take Jake to the local shopping centre and show him how to keep his dogs calm and well behaved in public. We all have a responsibility to ensure that our dogs are well behaved in public.
As you can see, both dogs respond well to the new environment and are not distracted. When your dog has learnt to walk nicely by your side, many other problems in public areas also disappear, because they are now in a calm, passive state of mind around you.
When in public keep your focus on where you are going, and maintain a short but loose leash to ensure you can react immediately if your dog misbehaves. If you decide to sit anywhere it is common sense to keep your dog out of harms way by positioning them on the inside, away from any distractions. Expect them to wait calmly and patiently, and remember only share affection when they are settled and relaxed.
Tips for keeping your dog well behaved in public are:
1. Walk calmly and confidently, focussing on what you are doing. This will help your dog relax.
2. Keep the leash short but loose and don’t allow your dog to lunge or sniff everything.
3. Keep your dog away from possible distractions.
4. You as leader should greet other people and dogs first. Only invite your dog to say hello when they are calm.
5. Remember that over stimulating a dog can create anxiety and unwanted behaviour.
Episode 10 – Dog Behaviour problem – Dog Aggression on leash
Behaviour problem – Dog Aggression on leash.
Candy has a bad habit of lunging at and biting other dogs while walking on leash. It becomes apparent to George that it is the male dog that reacts first and then Candy reacts to that.
It is not always the dog that displays the
bad behaviour that is the real problem. Watch as we show Luke how to stop this behaviour immediately.
Episode 11 – Playing with other dogs
Behaviour problem – not playing well with other dogs.
Candy chases and bites Socks whenever he chases a ball, making it hard for Luke to play with him.
Episode 12 – Dog Behaviour problem – Excessive barking
Behaviour problem – excessive barking.
Candy has a problem with barking at the back fence and at birds. Because this is a difficult problem to address in this situation, we suggest a spray collar, which ends up fixing the problem and habit.
Again this is not the best solution in every situation. Every dog and each case requires a different strategy, and anti bark collars are not always the best solution so please check with us before you purchase any collar. Collars often fix the symptom but not the root cause so a holistic approach is best.
Episode 13 – Dog Training – Review
Behaviour problem – overview.
Both Luke and Candy have responded well to training. Candy has shown tremendous improvement in her behaviour over the 13 episodes, which were actually filmed over three 2 hour sessions.