Training Your Dog to Come When Called

00Puppies, TrainingTags: , , ,

Coming when called is a behavior that dog owners almost universally desire. A great recall means the difference between participating in a lot of fun activities – such as romps on the beach, playing at the dog park, hiking off-leash in the woods, competing in dog sports – and sitting on the sidelines. We get asked about it so often that we have a class, Come This Way, devoted to building and maintaining this skill!

It is also the behavior that dog owners take for granted in their new puppies, or inadvertently punish by making simple mistakes. Building a strong recall means avoiding these common pitfalls and maintaining a specific, positive association in your dog’s mind to his recall cue.

Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called | Spring Forth Dog Academy in Providence, RI

My Name = AWESOME!

Imagine how most dogs react when they hear a potato chip bag crinkle. They stop what they’re doing and come flying into the room! Hearing that sound is the highlight of their day. THAT is the response you want to your dog’s recall word.

The response to the crinkle sound is so strong because the potato chip bag almost always means a salty, oily, tasty special snack, and it definitely never means playtime is over, nail trimming time, or some other form of discomfort.

Recalls always need to be a positive experience for your dog. Be sure not to call him if you have to do something he doesn’t like. Common examples of things that are punishing to dogs include bringing him back inside when he’d rather be playing in the yard, calling him to groom him or trim his nails, and calling him only to pat him on the head (which most dogs don’t enjoy, but that’s a different topic). More info

Our New & Improved Nosework Class Program in Providence

00Dog Sports, Group ClassesTags: , ,

K9 Nosework Class Participants in Providence, RIHave you heard about Nosework? This activity for dogs has exploded in popularity over the last few years. Dogs learn to use their extraordinary sense of smell to search the environment for specific odors. It’s open to all dogs, regardless of age, size, breed, or activity level. It’s a fabulous socialization opportunity for puppies. Dogs who are fearful or reactive can often be accommodated in Nosework classes.

Our Nosework Track – pardon the pun – now includes three levels of training classes!

Getting Started in Nosework

If you’d like to try the sport, our introductory level class is Nosework 101: Orientation & Try-It. In this class, JoAnna will present an overview of this activity and explain what the training progression looks like. Then, each dog will have an opportunity to start learning how to search.

This class will be offered 1-2 times per month to give students an opportunity to get started in our program. Current Flex Class students can use one of their Class Passes to participate. If you’re not currently part of our Flex Class program, you can purchase a single class pass to attend this class.

The Next Level

Intro to Nosework is open to all dogs who have attended Nosework 101. In this class, dogs hone their searching skills on a variety of different objects and locations as they hunt for the “hide” – the location where a treat or their favorite toy is hidden.

This class will build your dog’s confidence in unfamiliar environments, encourage curiosity, and drain some of your dog’s energy. You’ll learn to read your dog’s body language and tell when they are getting closer to the hide. After attending a dozen classes and getting approval from JoAnna, students can move on to the next level.

Vehicle Nosework Hide | Nosework Dog Training Classes in Providence, RIPreparing to Trial

In Nosework Skill Building, your dog will be introduced to the three scents used in competitions: anise, birch, and clove. You will learn how to teach your dog to search for and indicate these three scents instead of hunting for food. Hides will become more difficult, increasing the challenge for your dog.

This class is ongoing. JoAnna will come up with increasingly difficult challenges for more experienced dogs, including outdoor (“exterior”) searches and vehicle searches.

If you’ve taken Nosework classes elsewhere, you are welcome to join our program! Contact us and tell us what you and your dog have learned so far, and we’ll help you determine which class is right for you. And if you’re new to this great activity, sign up for the next Nosework 101 class today!

AKC STAR Puppy Program

00Puppies, TrainingTags: , , , , ,

AKC STAR Puppy Testing in Providence, RI | Spring Forth Dog AcademyAre you a responsible puppy owner? The American Kennel Club’s STAR Puppy program is designed to reward owners who take their puppies to training classes. “STAR” is an acronym for the four critical parts of puppy raising: Socialization, Training, Activity, and Responsibility.

The AKC recognizes that well-trained puppies make better companions and are less likely to be relinquished to shelters. In fact, behavior problems are the #1 reason for giving up a dog to a rescue. The STAR Puppy program is an incentive program for responsible puppy ownership. Working towards this goal will give you and your puppy a head start toward a lifetime of great behavior.

In order to be eligible for testing, puppies need to attend at least 6 group dog training classes with their owner. The program is open to all puppies up to one year of age, regardless of breed or mix.

Once your puppy has attended at least 6 classes with us, we can test your puppy immediately after any of our Flex Classes. It doesn’t take long, and many of the test items can be observed during class time.

STAR Puppy Test Items

The STAR Puppy test consists of “20 Steps to Success,” a total of 20 test items. The first six are owner behaviors, and the other 14 are puppy behaviors. The items are:

Puppy Day School | Puppy Training in Providence, RI | Spring Forth Dog AcademyOwner Behaviors

1. Maintains puppy’s health (vaccines, exams, appears healthy)

2. Owner receives Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge

3. Owner describes adequate daily play and exercise plan

4. Owner and puppy attend at least 6 classes by an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator

5. Owner brings bags to classes for cleaning up after puppy

6. Owner has obtained some form of ID for puppy-collar tag, etc.

Puppy Behaviors

7. Free of aggression toward people during at least 6 weeks of class

8. Free of aggression toward other puppies in class

9. Tolerates collar or body harness of owner’s choice

10. Owner can hug or hold puppy (depending on size)

11. Puppy allows owner to take away a treat or toy

Pre-Canine Good Citizen Test Behaviors

Puppy Training in Providence, RI | Spring Forth Dog Academy12. Allows (in any position) petting by a person other than the owner

13. Grooming-Allows owner handling and brief exam (ears, feet)

14. Walks on a Leash-Follows owner on lead in a straight line (15 steps)

15. Walks by other people-Walks on leash past other people 5-ft away

16. Sits on command-Owner may use a food lure

17. Down on command-Owner may use a food lure

18. Comes to owner from 5-ft when name is called

19. Reaction to Distractions-distractions are presented 15-ft away

20. Stay on leash with another person (owner walks 10 steps and returns)

What Comes Next?

After passing the test, owners mail the completed test form to AKC to receive an AKC STAR Puppy Medal, a certificate, and the AKC Puppy Handbook. The STAR Puppy program is a stepping stone to the three tests of the AKC Canine Good Citizen program.

If you have a new puppy, check out our Flex Class program to get started in training classes. You can start any time, and begin working toward your goal of a STAR Puppy!

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Your Dog

00Product Reviews

Our Orange Dog-Themed Christmas Tree | Spring Forth Dog AcademyHo, ho, ho! What is Santa bringing your dog for Christmas this year? Or, do you need eight great gifts for each night of Hanukkah? Don’t sweat it – the Spring Forth team and I have got you covered. Here are some ideas to place beside the Yule Log…

Fun Food Puzzles

A food puzzle is a great way to keep your dog out of your hair this holiday season! Fill one of these great toys with your dog’s kibble, and they’ll take 10-30 minutes to eat a meal instead of the usual 30 seconds. Food puzzles promote good digestion and give your dog a way to burn off some excess energy.

Northmate Green Feeder | Spring Forth Dog Academy

The Northmate Green Feeder is a slow-feeding bowl that is shaped like futuristic blades of grass. Simply dump your dog’s food over the top of the toy and the kibble will fall into the nooks and crannies between the “grass.” Your dog will forage around the toy to collect every bit of food. Unlike many other food-dispensing toy, the Green Feeder works great with canned food, The Honest Kitchen, and raw diets, too!

This dishwasher-safe toy comes in 2 sizes. Small is perfect dogs under ~25lbs or larger dogs with narrow snouts, like Whippets and small Collies, and Large is great for all other dogs.

PetSafe Twist N Treat | Spring Forth Dog AcademyThe PetSafe Twist N Treat is a versatile food-dispensing toy that is perfect for leaving in the crate with your puppy. You can easily adjust the difficulty level by twisting it tighter or leaving it open. Unlike some other food-stuffable toys, you can either fill the Twist N Treat with kibble or line it with something gooey, such as canned dog food, peanut butter, cream cheese, or liverwurst for an added challenge.

The Twist N Treat is made of a slightly softer rubber than many other dog toys on the market, so we don’t recommend it for “power chewers,” but it’s rare that one of our Day School dogs manages to do damage to it.

More info