Thursday, October 9, 2014

Advanced 10/8/14

WOW I knew this was going to be a fast paced class but that was awesome!!  Please Please Please let me know if I need to slow down or repeat things.  You both did great jobs keeping up.
We covered Look, Leave it, Heel and automatic sit.

Heel -please click the link and read the information regarding heeling.
practice reducing your rates of reinforcement slowly. if your dog loses contact/attention with you please offer more rewards/reinforcers.

Look- be sure to start with luring your dog to look at your face. Once they're looking at you consistently, hide the food behind your back or hold your hands away from your face and say look. Wait for them to look into your eyes, mark the behavior and reward.
Once your dog looks into your eyes consistently, begin delaying the marker to prolong eye contact.

Leave it - begin with the excercise of showing them an item they're not allowed to have, mark when they look away or stop trying to get the item. Reward.
Start saying "leave it" as you present the item they're not allowed to have.  Mark and reward any pause in their trying to get the item.
Drop the item on the ground and bodyblock them until they look at you as if to say "Hey, what's up with that?", mark and reward as you move your dog away from the item on the floor.
WALKING leave it! - walk past the item on the ground, command leave it, immediately offer treats as you walk away from the item. MARK THE INSTANT THEY STOP TRYING TO GET THE ITEM ON THE FLOOR!  Also, be sure you don't STOP walking away until you're far from the item in question.  If the item is a car you need to be on leash for safety AND have the best cheese or yummy treat to entice them to look away from it.

Automatic Sit - As you're heeling with food in your dogs face, take a few steps to slow down then bring your treat directly up towards your armpit as you say "sit".
If you want your dog to sit without being told every time you stop moving, practice as mentioned then don't say sit.  Cue your dog with treats but don't say sit. Wait for them to sit and mark the right behavior.  practice that for a while then start reducing the lure.

Friday, June 20, 2014

basic 6/18

WOW great work this week!  Remember, caaaalllllmmmmm down. It seems that both Kingsley and Charlie  have a bit of unfocused energy when they get into new environments.  Make sure before you get out of your car to take a breath and get yourself in the class mindset.

Don't forget to review this walking document.

Also, this is a good video of a loose leash walking game to play with your dog (instead of click, say yes).

With all the things we learned I'm sure your head is spinning. So don't worry if you don't get it all perfect.

Ok, here's what we went over

The 3 D's of dog training are Distance, Duration and Distraction. Do not try to throw all 3 at your dog just yet.  If your dog can't focus, look at your environment and ask which of those 3 has gone beyond your dogs capability and reduce it.

Loose leash walking went beautifully! Remember to stay connected with your dog through your 3 points of contact at 100% reinforcement in the beginning then slowly reduce one at a time. What is reinforcement? That's the food, verbal praise etc. So make sure in the beginning of your excercise you're giving your dog nonstop food and praise. THEN start reducing the food but keep chatting up your dog.

Walk then sit.  Make sure you slow down before asking your dog to sit. If you just screech to a halt they'll end up in front of you. Make sure you show your dog the food/lure and bring it to the inside of your armpit to lure them into a sit.

Down. For now we're using the food lure AND saying DOWN once.  remember....once. :)

The big thing to keep in mind with stay is using your release word.  "OK" or "FREE" and toss the treat away from your dog or encourage them to come towards you, anything so they have to move away from their "stay" location.
If your dog breaks position, just say "oops" or "nope" cheerfully and put them back into a sit. THEN make sure you release them sooner (That may have been too much time for them to start).


From walking, slow down, say your dogs name followed by COME and walk backwards. Mark/yes them when they pivot at first. When you've done that a few times change your marker to when they get TO you.

You can also practice Ping-Ponging your dog between you and another person. Both people with have yummy treats. You will call your dog, "Charlie, COME" and say yes as soon as he turns his head. Once he gets to you, the other person will do the same.  Ping ponging between the both of you.
IF YOU CALL YOUR DOG WITH A COME COMMAND please be sure you can make it happen.
So, let's say you call your dog and they look but don't come. Don't get mad, get GLAD! Grab yummy treats (they should already be in your hand) and walk towards your dog happily. When you get to them, show them the treat, say come and run away slightly luring them to come with you.
Don't forget to play with their collar when they get to you.

ok, keep up the good work and happy training!!

mashup 6/18

ok, sorry for the delay and I hope I can remember all of what we did.

Heeling with sit and down.

platform work,You can practice luring your dog into a flattened cardboard box if you don't have anything for them to step onto.
here's a link I first watched about heeling using the step up box. This is not the local Fayetteville canine connection. This guy is out of NY i think.Very nice, clear use of his body.
watch this, Also watch the way he moves his body and how he delivers treats.
then this


I'm always watching youtube videos. Here are a few I keep my eye on. If I don't have a link you can just youtube search it.
Ian Dunbar
Karen Pryor
Michael Ellis

These are just a few.
Remember to start looking for tricks you want to teach your dog. We'll do crawl, roll over, sit pretty/beg, hula hoop jumping, walking between your legs......

ok. happy training.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Basic Obedience 6/11/14

Name Game, Sit, Let's go.  More details later.

MASHUP 6/11/14

Please read WALK WITH ME 

Ok, here's what we did today in the advanced mashup.  Start with teaching the "heel" position.
THEN, once we're in heel position we were walking around the room asking for sit and down.  I recommend starting off with your dog between you and a wall and starting asking for the sit before the down.  Once you're comfortable with that you can begin asking for the down from a standing position.
We began teaching the crawl trick by having them start in a down and rewarding them for following the treat without getting off the ground.

Separating the verbal and physical cue for the DOWN.
I'll be honest, there's a great video by another trainer that I'll email to you directly.

Another student from my basic class will be joining us next week, let's give Sparky and Minerva a warm welcome. They've completed my puppy class and have shown amazing committment to their relationship. I think they'll be a nice addition to our class.

SO, with that said, here's a recap of our curriculum.

week 1. Practice Basic skills, emphasise focuse, using one cue, and heeling. Down and sit while walking/heeling.

week 2. stay behaviors for sit and down. 30 second sit stay and 60 second down stay. Heeling, Leave it and WAIT!

Week 3 and 4. CGC skills

Weeks 5 and 6 tricks

Thursday, May 15, 2014

puppy week may 12th

 This weeks lesson covers Stay and Leave-it.

more notes to follow

Leave it!

1.  Start with a low value treat in one hand. Bring it to your dogs nose but do not let them have it.  When they stop trying to get the treat, say YES or Click and them give them a higher value treat.
Repeat this several times.

2. Then, show the low value treat and say "Leave it!". Wait for the pup to stop trying to get the treat then mark and reward with the high value treat.

Once your pup has the hang of the leave it game, you can progress to more difficult objects like your kids toys or a shoe etc. 
You can also practice dropping a treat or object behind you and commanding "leave it" followed by body blocking your pup from getting the item. As soon as your pup stops trying to get the item or sits down, mark the behavior and reward with a treat.

Note: Leave it should be used on ANYthing your dog is never ever allowed to have. Once you give a leave it command you should remove the item from your dog or your dog from the item.  We have not done more advanced skills that would allow your dog the ability to leave an object for long periods of time. 


Teaching a stay

Remember you must utilize a release cue.

Stay behavior works with Distance  and Duration.


Put your dog in a sit directly in front of you.
Show your dog a flat "cop" hand with no treat.
Wait approximately 2 seconds then release your dog to move away from the sit location with a treat when you release them with your verbal release cue "OK".
If your dog breaks from the sit position, make sure you're not inadvertently luring them away from that position but immediately put them back in a sit and then release them "OK" after about a second.

Slowly build up the amount of time your dog will stay sitting directly in front of you. When you can have your dog sit for approximately 15 seconds then you should begin moving away from your dog a step at a time. 

Each time you increase the distance away from your dog you should reduce the amount of time you ask them to stay.
 The goal is a 30 second sit/stay.

The Down stay should be taught in the same way as the sit stay. Lure your dog to a down, slowly stand up and stand in front of your dog for a few seconds then release them "OK".
Once you can easily down your dog and stand up without them breaking position you can begin adding distance to your stay behavior.
The goal is a 1 minute down stay.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


so here's my video of teaching the touch command.  I'm new at video blogging so please excuse the poor quality of the video.
I'm going to use a different camera next time and hopefully that'll fix it. Maybe I'll upload directly to youtube next time?

Monday, April 28, 2014

4/28/14 advanced

focus focus focus.
Great work tonight everyone!!!
here's what we did..
'heel" position
sitting at intersections
fast/slow/normal walking speeds.
down from walking
working around distractions

next class we'll start session with focus work such as
touch (video will be posted of me teaching Henry the touch)
down with relaxing massage

please email me if you have any specific skills you need to learn or work on.

4/28/14 puppy

Hi everyone! I don't know about you but I was incredibly happy to have a dry yard to play in tonight. Thank you again to Rebecca for graciously offering her yard for us to learn in.  With the added distraction of our new student Henry, the escapee from next door and a week off of class due to weather I have to commend you all for your dogs good behavior. Remember, they're still learning.

We reviewed our loose leash walking skills as well as down, sit and come. We introduced Look and talked about the Touch command.  I'll put together a video of me teaching Henry the touch command for you to review.

Next class we will  learn "wait" and continue perfecting our existing skills.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

You're a PUPPY not a Jumping Jack!!!

so some puppies are great at keeping their paws on the floor. Others? Not so much.

here's the basics.
First, you need to teach your dog to sit.
Once you've done that you can start training the "OFF" command.

Whenever you see your dog coming towards you, ask them for a sit.  When they sit you can pet them. If they get up, tell them no and tell them to sit again.  In my world, SIT means "please".

If they do not sit (which they most likely will not) and they jump up on you, say "OFF!" and twist your body so they lose their balance and fall to the floor.  As soon as they're on the floor tell them to sit. 

This process works a LOT better if you understand my methods of Lure, Mark, Reward & Release.

If you don't have the basic understanding of this, give me a call and we can discuss your training needs.
If you're not in my town I would be happy to help you find a trainer that uses positive reinforcement methods.

Monday, April 21, 2014


aaahhhhh spring showers
again....So we've cancelled class tonight because I think we can all agree we don't want to stand outside in the soggy crappy weather again.  You all were TROOPERS to come out last week.  I won't make you do that again. 
HOWEVER, I hope you all enjoy your evening off at home with your pup and your families. 
Puppies, remember to keep doing our name game, sit, down, come and walking skills.  Touch was our new one. If anyone has questions about that I'll try to video myself teaching Strega the touch command in a little while. 
-soggy but still cheerful, Shanthi

Saturday, April 19, 2014

4/18 basic

Hi there. What an interesting class last night.  So here's what we went over.
walk with me., come, sit, down, stay and go to your place

touch and hulahoop tricks.

I know it took a while for Jasper to calm down long enough to focus but I'm impressed with how you didn't lose your cool with him and kept working until he got his attention back.

Paulie was not too interested but remember, he WAS able to do pretty much everything you asked even though he was stressed out.

I'll remember to put the calming signal dvd.

The touch is for the beginning of control/focus when they're both being jumpy. You'll ask for the touch and reward that instead of jumping. Also ask for other behaviors when they're being inappropriate (over anxious OR exuberant).

ok. walking reminders. In the video I took of Jasper working I was pointing out the 3 ways to stay in contact with your dog (mouth, eyes and ears) so start with lots of food, eye contact and praise. slowly reduce the rate of reinforcement with food then reduce the talking and then the eye contact.  NOTE: please know that you should be still rewarding with all 3 at random intervals. Keep your eye on your dog so you can mark the correct position or when they lift their head and look at you to check in.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

BASIC 4/11/14 notes

Hello there!
Last friday we practiced loose leash walking, sit, down and come when called "recalls".

You both did really well with your existing cues. Remember to cue your dog only one time.

We also talked about luring your dog into the heel position as p ractice for walking through crowded areas like the farmers market. When making turns remember to look, talk and offer treats where you want your dog to be. If you're turning into your dog drop your shoulder back a bit and lure them slightly behind you.

Be sure when you practice your stay command that you really utilize your release cue. If your dog breaks out of its down command before you release him, immediately take him back to where he was and re-set him in his stay position. Reduce the amount of distance and time you want him to stay and release him.

I'm hoping you started practicing handling your dogs feet while offering something really yummy. I'll bring Strega tomorrow to show how I clip her nails.

What tricks would you like to learn?
Sorry this took a while

Monday, April 14, 2014

4/14/14 puppy class notes

Thanks to everyone for coming out in the cold!!! I know we ran through class very quickly so here's the overview of the skills we covered.
name game, sit, come and walking.
Down, don't forget to lure to the floor first then cover your lure as you move slowly away from your pup.
1.Smash a piece of food between your fingers and mark when your dog touches your hand to get the treat.
2. start saying "touch", show your dog the hand, mark and reward.
3. say touch, show hand, mark the touch, reward with the other hand.

class notes, advanced 4/14/14

so i thought this would be a good place to post all my notes etc from class for students to review.
Here's what we covered tonight in the cold with Odin and Chino.  We braved the cold and talked primarily about heel position.
These tidbits are for while you are in heel position which is quite different than the loose leash walking skill.

look and talk at the loction you want your dog to be
when you're doing a turn into your dog  remember to drop your dog side shoulder back and give your dog a cue that you're about to turn.
maybe drop your hand down to their face to catch their attention with a treat until they get the hang of this new version of the game. The goal is to have them drop slightly behind you as you turn into them.
Make sure your leash is slack. Rely on other forms of communication like your voice, eyes etc.

down while heeling:
be sure to slow your body down before you cue the down. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014


I'm happy to say I've got my website up and running!!!  It's a work in progress and done by little ole' me so please forgive any grammatical errors.

check out

I'll be posting again soon.
Classes are starting April 7th and I still have a few spots open.
give me a call if you're interested in joining.

Puppy, Monday 6pm
Advanced, Monday 7pm
Basic Friday 6pm.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

aaaaahhh!!! Puppy teeth!!!

So I received an email regarding a 12 week old puppy biting its owner.  This is such an incredibly common thing that I decided to copy the whole email response and make a blog post out of it so I can refer to it on a regular basis.  The owner asks:

"Things are going OK but not great.  I have a question...what do I do when she plays and bites the leash ( I need it to keep her from the flower beds with mulch) and when she bites my pants?  Thanks again for your help."

To this I wrote:

It's ok, these are all things we will cover in class but you're needing answers now! I completely understand.  First of all, the biting is something most dogs grow out of. However, puppies need to learn how much is too much.
So, when puppy is playing with you and  hits your hand OR chooses your hand, as soon as it hurts I want you to yelp the same way your puppy yelps if he accidentally gets hurt.
"YIPE!!!" This usually interrupts puppy's play. As soon as it's stopped, grab a toy and encourage play with the appropriate object.
In other words "NO don't chew on me" followed by "YES chew on this"!!
If his play biting does not stop or he won't be redirected onto a toy, stop playing with him. Give him a little time out.  If what he wants is you, don't let him have you. 
He will learn that biting Mom makes her yelp and go away! Give him some down time then bring him back out for constructive play (remember that's when you play and train at the same time).

Same thing with the leash and pant legs, revert to the "no don't chew on that, chew on this" concept.

12 weeks is not too young to teach a "leave it" command but it's hard to teach it through an email.

Just tell pup no by saying "ah'ah'" to interrupt him whenever he's got his mouth on the leash. show something he's allowed to have then go about your business.
By the way, the leash pesters your pup. He can feel it tugging on him as well as it's fun to chew on! Keep an eye on the condition of the leash each day. Sometimes those little razors can cut through the leash without you even knowing it!

One of the best things i've found regarding pant leg and shoe biting while you're walking is to encourage your pup to walk by your side slightly away from your feet.

Do this by:
  • getting your pups attention before you start moving (no leash required for this excercise)
  • holding your hand off to the side wiggling your fingers or holding a treat where you want your pup to walk.
  • say "lets go" in an encouraging voice
  • look, talk and hold your hand AT the spot you want your dog to walk.
  • praise him for walking in the correct location around your body

I hope this helps!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Why I call it a "revolution"

A revolution is defined in sociological terms as "a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure".

Social Evolution is defined as "the gradual development of society and social forms, institutions, etc., usually through a series of peaceful stages."

I am aware that what I'm trying to do for the dogs in the NorthWest Arkansas region is most accurately defined as social evolution but I'm not that patient of a person.  I like the speed at which REVOLUTIONs happen.  I don't want our dogs and pet owners to have to wait 10 more years to find friendlier way of communicating with each other!

So, Revolution it is!

Positive Reinforcement methods ARE being taught here in our area but it's not the norm yet. Too many schools may say they are positive reinforcement trainers but don't hesitate to throw a pinch or prong collar on a dog. That is a tool designed to use aversive techniques.  If you pull it hurts. So, don't pull.  I say, if you pull we stop moving, when you give your attention back to me you get treats AND we get to start moving again!  Before I EVER put you on a leash I'm going to teach you how to walk WITH me. That way when I put you on a leash you'll know where you're supposed to be.

Teaching a sit behavior has, for so long, included pulling up on the head and pushing down on the haunches to make a dog sit. I'm applying pressure and discomfort to you, you move away from it and it stops.
I say, show a dog a treat, use that treat to LURE them into a position without saying a word, MARK that behavior then REWARD it.  If you do this several times, then start using the word "sit" the dog will associate the word sit with putting his butt on the ground!

Old trainers will usually say things like "yeah, but then the dog ONLY sits when you have food and then the owner comes to me and I have to FIX your students".

Yes, someone has actually said that regarding my method of training. What they DIDN'T ask me is how I get the dog off of treats.  By using different rates of reinforcement and different rewards as reinforcement I teach the owners how to get a dog to sit or down or come without having to have food.

I've seen "positive trainers" with prong collars on their advanced dogs. I have heard, on many occasions, that so called advanced dog yelp in pain for not being in the exact position their owner thinks they should be in. 

I have one question.  Why? 

If your idea of a dog is complete compliance without emotion or thought then get a robotic dog. 

But if your idea is to have a dog who loves learning new skills, loves spending time with you, listens when you talk to it AND gets to be a dog in the real world then by all means, join my revolution. 

Mine is not an original idea.

If you don't believe me that training can be fun AND effective please come play with us.  Watch how your dog responds to my methods of training.

I know there are countless personalities of people AND dogs.  My method is not for everyone.  Not everyone wants what I want.

But if you're reading this and your heart and mind say "yes! I want to learn how to have a wonderfully behaved dog  that is happy!" then I urge you to check out this style of work.

There is, in my mind, a place to begin applying pressure to dogs. But that pressure should never come in the form of pain.

So, call or email me if you have questions and are interested in learning about what I do for dogs. 
Let's make Friendly Training the norm in our region!!
Happy Training!

Sunday, March 9, 2014


So in the last month my schedule has exploded.  My other work has kept me very busy as well as my dog clients.  I've realized today I've dropped the ball on a few things.  Y'know that feeling when you realize "ohh no, i was supposed to do that thing!".  It's not a good feeling. You sort of feel like you're pulling a large stone uphill and it's a losing battle.  Well, a daily routine and consistency can change all of that.  If I set aside 30 minutes each day to follow up with my private clients nobody will be left stranded.  Nothing gets left undone and my day runs smoothly.

Training is the same way. If you want a specific outcome like your dog sitting by the door instead of rushing to go through it, you have to set aside time every day to practice that skill.  Just practicing in a class environment will get you a few steps closer to success but not all the way! 

Do me a favor,  pick a skill that you want to learn or pick a behavior you want to get rid of in your dog.  Ask yourself if you know how to train the "right" behavior. If you do, start practicing twice a day for 2 minutes at a time.  Yes, you heard me right.  TWO minutes.  Remember, you're targeting ONE skill.  Train for one week.  Then, after one week see what happens.  You'll more than likely give your dog the verbal cue for the behavior you want before he does anything wrong. SHAZAM!!! your dog will toss his butt onto the floor for a sit at the  door command!! (ok, maybe it won't sound like shazam, but you get my point).

How can our dogs know what we want if we do not consistently tell them?  If we let them get away with the wrong behavior half the time or even a third of the time they won't really know what they should do. We give our dogs mixed signals all their lives.  They try so hard to figure us out but we're supposed to be the smarter creature.

Let's set them up for success folks.

Like life, choose one thing to change at a time. Don't overwhelm yourself and your dog.

If you don't know where to start, ask me!
"Starting a dog training revolution in Northwest Arkansas."

Saturday, March 8, 2014

UK study names key factors in aggressive dogs.

So one of the trainers I love to watch is Victoria Stillwell. She's got the tv show "It's me or the dog". If you can find her show, watch it. I love that there is  a television show that uses positive methods to train difficult dogs.
This morning she posted on her facebook page article I wanted to share.

Take a minute and read this. I am glad someone did the research to show it's not the breed of dog, it's training methods.  Yes, some dogs are prone to be more assertive but they don't have to be aggressive.

See you around town!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

March 2014 schedule

Currently, I am available for private sessions and am organizing Monday evening classes starting April 7th.

If you would are interested in enrolling in a class please email me at for registration information.

Classes are 6 weeks long. One hour per week. $100 total.  All participants must provide up to date shot records.

Welcome to Family Friendly Dog Training!

Thank you for visiting Family Friendly Dog Training!

Although this site is under construction, I am available for private training sessions.  I am also in the process of securing a location to offer classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

Please call me at 479-301-5027 or email me at for more information.

Thanks for visiting.
More to come soon!