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Before you post a ?, here are "How To" Guides

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:43 am
by chowfrnd88
Note: I'm putting together a "how to" series of guides on training items. I decided to post the ones I have so far and then I'll add to them as I get them all done. I want to be thorough so this may take a while. Below are just a few generic notes to keep in mind during all parts of the training process and then the guides follow. Like with the calendar thread, I'd like to keep this thread with just the tips, but I'd absolutely love your comments, critiques and concerns, so please, please pm with any suggestions. Also pm with suggestions for any topics you'd like covered.

A few notes:
1) Chows have a scale of reward: positive attention is the best thing ever (well in the case of chows, usually after walks and treats and not necessarily in that order :D ). However, negative attention still rewards them because you’re showing them that what they’re doing has an effect on you, a value. So they feel they just need to modify it a bit more (possibly intensify it) to get a result they desire (also remember, the more you say no or whatever words you’re using when you’re not pleased with chows in an angry voice, the more you sound like you’re barking—only juvenile insecure wolves bark, it’s one of the traits that stayed with dogs when they were domesticated, barking shows insecurity so when you yourself join in the barking, you’re showing your chow you’re insecure and worsen the situation). When you give them no attention, the behavior has no value. It gets no reaction from you so it disappears. Only behaviors that attract attention are of value. Ignoring a behavior such as jumping or begging can be the easiest way to get rid of it.
2) Praise is often overlooked when it comes to training. We spend so much time focusing on what we don’t them to do that we forget that if we just spend more time praising the things that we so like, these behaviors will increase because they are rewarded. So the next time your chow is just lying down on the ground relaxing, praise them for being so calm.
3) Often when a chow has been doing a behavior for a long time, it takes a while to stop the behavior. Before it goes away there is what is called an “extinction phase,” which means that just before the undesirable behavior goes extinct, it intensifies because it used to work and all of a sudden it doesn’t so the chow needs to come up with new ways of making it work again. When you reach this period of “getting worse before it gets better,” you are close to stopping the behavior. Hang in there and remain consistent because if you don’t, you’re in for a set-back!


Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:46 am
by chowfrnd88

Basic ideas: --Ignore it!
-- Redirect to another behavior (sit)
-- Teach the “off” behavior

If your chow chow jumps on you when you get home:Fold your arms and don’t make eye contact, you’re basically turning yourself into statue. Wait until your chow is calm to give any attention. Don’t ever laugh at your chows when they jump up because you’re unconsciously rewarding them when you do. Depending on how long your chow has been jumping up, you may only need to do this a few times before they get the idea, but if they’ve been jumping up a while you’ll need to keep at it. Be consistent; resist the urge to say anything or laugh and certainly no petting until they are calm. What happens is a lot of them will automatically go into a sit when they get no attention, but you can also tell them to sit (if they’re being asked to do something else they can’t possibly sit and jump at the same time). Never ever knee them in the chest or push them off.

If your chow jumps on your guests:Ask your chow to sit before you open the door. Whether they do or not, tell you guests no attention until the jumping has stopped. Also ask them not to laugh either, no eye contact, nothing that would allow the chow to feel like he’s getting rewarded for jumping. Once your chow is nice and calm your guests can pet him/her. Don’t let the petting go on too long because the more you or someone pets, the more exciting the situation gets and they’ll just want to jump again.

If your chow tends to jump on people when out and about:
Ideally, you’d have your chow sit before meeting a stranger. If not, at least you’d want them to be calm. So if someone is approaching and wants to pet your chow, and your chow is pulling and straining to get to them for the pet, no meeting. Tell your strangers that your chow chow is in training. Each time your chow is calm, allow a meeting. Remember, the longer you or a stranger pet your chow chow, the more the level of excitement will rise. Ideally, you’d wait 10-15 seconds and thank your stranger and be off again while giving your chow lots of praise for not jumping. If your chow does jump up, say “eh” and then “let’s go” or something similar to get them walking again, that way you’re removing them from the reward (the person’s attention).


Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:48 am
by chowfrnd88

Basic ideas: -- Ignore it!

The easiest way to stop begging is to ignore it. Chows will begin to beg if they are fed from the table or sometimes they will just develop the behavior on their own. Make sure even if you give your chow table scraps never give it to them at the table. Whether all your chow chow does is sit next to you and stare longingly at your food or whether your chow chow stands near you and barks at you while you are eating, the most important thing to do is just not react. Don’t look at them, don’t say anything to them, just keep eating. Eventually they’ll get the message that their begging has no effect. Make sure everyone in the family is consistent with this. All it takes is one time for you to give in (say 5 times you have managed to not react and then the 6th time you either tell your chow to be quiet or give your chow a scrap of food) and you’re in for a set back because now the begging worked. How long the begging behavior has been going on will determine how long it takes for them to stop the begging.

As always, if you’ve been working with your chow chow things like “sit” or “down,” you can redirect them to another activity that won’t allow them to beg. You’re keeping them busy so they don’t have a chance to beg.

If you care to, you can also reward the good behavior of not begging. For example, you’re eating in the dining room, if your chow has not cried for food or put a paw on you, etc. you may decide to reward that. After you’ve eaten, you can go to another room and give them a treat. This will teach them that when you eat they don’t get anything just then but they can have something after so they learn to wait patiently for their own treat. The reason you reward in another room is that you’re not accidentally feeding the idea that their begging would get them a reward.

Real life example: Special Dark developed this habit a few months ago where he would come and sit beside us and started crying while we ate. We ignored him and as predicted it got worse, he spent some time crying louder and tossed in a few barks. Within a few weeks, he stopped the behavior all together. Now when we eat, he may still walk over with us and sniff from a distance but he leaves after that or sits farther away from us and then walks away without incident. We chose to reward him for being good so when we finish our food and are getting ready to put things in the kitchen, Special runs into the kitchen and sits in the doorway and waits for us. We go into the kitchen and put our plates down while he waits patiently for us to finish. Then we give him a treat and he runs off happily with it.


Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:12 pm
by chowfrnd88

Basic ideas: --Redirect the inappropriate chewing to
appropriate chewing
-- Don’t react!

If your chow is chewing on your furniture, clothes, kids’ toys, etc.:
Anytime you see your puppy chewing on something inappropriate, it’s important to remember not to react. For example, if you see that of in the distance your puppy is munching on your tennis shoe, the worst thing to so is run over and say “ahh, no, give me that.” By making a fuss over the action, you’re showing that your puppy that 1) what they have is now suddenly even more valuable because mommy or daddy want it too and 2) it’s now a game of chase and/ or tug. Instead what you want to do is to have toys that belong to your chow handy. If you see them munching on your tennis shoes, CALMLY go over and trade them their own toy for your shoe. Once they are chewing on their own toys, praise them for chewing on the appropriate item. Also, any time you see them chewing on their own toys, take the time to go over and praise them. By giving them attention at appropriate times, they pick up on what they get attention for so they will tend to perform those actions more rather than anything that gets them attention (whether it’s positive or negative).

If your chow is chewing on you during play:Say “ouch” in a high pitched voice and stand up folding your arms across your chest (making your arms and fingers less accessible for munching) not making any eye contact with your puppy. Don’t say anything else, don’t look at your chow chow. Just stand there for a few seconds ignoring him or her. This few seconds of ignoring them serves as a time out. Time outs have to occur at the moment of the time that the undesired behavior occurred. Also, they can’t last too long because they won’t remember what they’re being given a time –out for. Never ever use the crate as a place for punishment!! In order to properly crate train, you can’t use the crate as punishment or they will not want to use the crate (defeating the purpose of the crate). After 10-15 seconds resume play, if the nip occurs again, stop play again with another time out. Eventually your chow will realize that teeth on human skin are not tolerated. Remember that they don’t know any better, dogs touch things with their mouths the same way that we do with our hands so when we’re asking them to alter something so ingrained that it takes a while—imagine if the situation were reversed and you weren’t allowed to touch anything your hands anymore.:)

If your chow is chewing on you for attention, etc.:You can use the same tips as for mouthing during play. Also, when your chow is nipping on your hand, gently roll your hand up tucking your thumb inside your other fingers reducing the accessibility of your fingers and making it harder for them to get a grip on your hand. You can trade them a toy to chew on in this instance also. Remember not to pull your hand away because then you make it into a game.

If your chow is mouthy when taking treats (such as during training):
Offer the treat open-palmed. Place the treat between your index and middle finger so that part of it is sticking out and take the treat all the way to your puppy’s mouth. When you do this you’ll notice their heads no longer move towards you, instead you’re making a motion that delivers the treat straight into their mouths. Take it all the way to the mouth and you’ll notice they just open their mouths and you literally just put the treat in their mouths eliminating all contact with your hand.

NOTES: Commands such as leave it and drop it will help with all of the above issues. Whether they have your hand or a book in their mouths, you can use “drop it” if they know the command. If you see them approaching a sock or your hand, you can say “leave it.”

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:31 pm
by Desi
Whether they have your hand or a *Censored Word* in their mouths.....

do I want to know what that said? :-8 :lol:

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:46 pm
by chowfrnd88
LOL, that should say book!! :D I dunno what kind of a mistype that was! :D

Edited to say: Oooooh, I see now. Eek :oops: Sorry about that, not at all what I was going for there!

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 7:06 pm
by Desi
lol,was having pretty gruesome visions here.


Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 2:40 pm
by enns_aw

If your chow is chewing on you during play:Say “ouch” in a high pitched voice and stand up folding your arms across your chest (making your arms and fingers less accessible for munching) not making any eye contact with your puppy.
what if he chews on your toes and feet? you cant remove your feet from the floor very easily lol

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:22 pm
by Rowlee
Wilbur chews my legs, feet and ankles and it hurts!!!! My legs and feet are covered in "Wilbur wounds". Seriously, though thank you for all your work in putting this stuff together. Very helpful. Well done.
Sabina [:D]

Re: Before you post a ?, here are "How To" Guides

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:16 am
by threedogjeep
These are WONDERFUL tips. Keep them coming. I especially like the one for the aggressive treat taker. I did teach Leela the "easy" command....but this is even better. She loves hands...and hand signals work really well. She also loves fingernails and to watch as I file mine....go figure. Anywho, thanks for doing this and I look forward to more. I really need to teach her "leave it." Any suggestions?

Re: Before you post a ?, here are "How To" Guides

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:20 am
by jazzmineong
I am definitely going to try the jumping "how to". Both of my 6 month old pups get way too excited for guests, meeting strangers on walks, and when we get home from work.