by Z. Sverdlove
“You may have a dog that won’t sit up, roll over or even cook breakfast,
not because he’s too stupid to learn how, but because he’s too smart to bother.”
Rick Horowitz – Chicago Tribune
A Radical Regime for Recalcitrant Rovers
Dogs without borders
Get a Grip on Fido’s Emotions
Houstraining Your Lhasa Apso
May I have your attention…please
Motivation; The Heart of the Matter
Nothing in Life is Free
Rally Signs and Regulations
Relationship: The Hidden Motivator
Senior Moments: Training an older dog…can be done!
Socializing at Starbucks
Stubborn as a Mule
Animals in Translation
Bones Would Rain From The Sky
Canine Body Language
Don’t Shoot The Dog!
For The Love of a Dog
Lads Before The Wind
Mending His Ways
On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals
The Culture Clash
The Other End of the Leash
The Power of Positive Dog Training
Second Hand Dog
Visiting the Dog Park
Training Centers in the Denver area
Blue Springs ‘n Katydid
2980 W. Oxford Ave
Englewood, Colorado 80110
Trainer & Behavior Counselor
For discussion on Training go home, click on Training in the Category Cloud, along with doing a search on Training.
Because of the Apso’s naturally independent nature, training, whether for regular grooming, performance events or day to day living, requires a practical understanding of how to communicate with the dog.
The following excerpt from a behavior article by Peggy Swager, “What kind of dog do you have??” published in the August 2003 AKC Gazette, provides an excellent example of working with an Apso.
“I recall a Lhasa Apso named Whisper who was having difficulty in agility. Whisper’s owner tried to lure him over jumps with a treat, only to have him run around the jumps. Finally the owner attached a lead and resorted to dragging Whisper over the obstacles. This was clearly a mistake.
I suggested a different approach. Whisper was held on one side of the jump, and his owner stood on the other. Whisper was encouraged to jump, both verbally and with a lure. At first Whisper wanted to run around the jump, so I held him in place. It took Whisper several minutes of thinking before he decided to take the jump on his own. After that Whisper was willing to do other jumps without being dragged. Letting Whisper think about jumping, then letting him choose to comply, rather than trying to force him, made a big difference. Some dogs have to think things through and decide for themselves before doing what you ask. With patience, you can build a relationship of trust with this kind of dog.”
What motivated Whisper to participate in learning this exercise? The answer, I think, is key to training an Apso. Relationship: The Hidden Motivator, written by Chad Mackin, and Motivation, The Heart of the Matter, written by Roger Hild, provide adequate answers. Apsos, historically independent in nature, respond best when actively cooperating in their own learning process. Training tools and an understanding of canine behavior and language help us communicate to the dog what we’re trying to teach.
Understanding animal behavior has progressed quickly in the past decade, to the benefit of our four legged friends. Modern training tactics have also progressed. A list of excellent books, along with a brief description from each publisher, is on the left.
Positive reinforcement using operant conditioning, otherwise known in the canine training world as clicker training, is one excellent communication tool. The clicker is used to ‘mark’ the desired behavior. A cue (such as ‘sit’) is then added and the clicker is faded (gradually removed). The end result is the dog will sit when told to sit. To learn more about clicker training visit Karen Pryor’s Clicker Training Page.
For a little fun, read What Shamu Taught Me About A Happy Marriage!
Bridge and Target training, developed from classical and operant conditioning, is presented as an important tool in the enlightened and humane management of animals. Tools include the intermediate bridge, the terminal bridge and motivators including the individual animal’s desires, go beyond operant conditioning and allow better communication between human and non-human animals.