Wednesday, January 21, 2009


My official business name is : Get Pawsitive!! Since I focus on positive reinforcement training I thought why not make a statement! :) Of course everyone loves to use the pun on "paw"....... keep your eyes out for more cool stuff!!

Off to train.....

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Sat Jan 24th is Change a Pet's Life Day across the USA in 300 shelters!

You should ALWAYS adopt your pup at a shelter! SO many doggies are there just waiting for a good home!

What is this event all about??
Certain shelters nationwide are giving special discounts to adoptions. Fees for the first 10 adoptions at each participating shelter will be paid for by Topeka-based hill's Pet Nutrition- which organized the events. Some pets will be given to some adopters at no's a nationwide effort to boost the number of homes found for all the shelter dogs out there.

Typically adoption fees range from $25.-$300 depending on the shelter, dog and its age.

History proves for some shelters that this day almost doubles the amount of adoptions they have which as a result can equally effect in reducing the euthanasia rate.

The shelters are promoting this event on their websites, local media and even Craigslist.

What else?? Adopters even receive free science diet pet food and a training/info DVD to all adopters and will receive a toll-free number to answer pet questions.

You can find the list of participation shelters at:

Pass this along to anyone you know who is in the market for a new family member!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

This is Sammy! Sammy did great last week and has improved tremendously with his potty training- as a result of his owners consistent efforts to keep an eye on him and get him out frequently! Sammy and his owners learned the fun in practicing recalls last week. Sammy LOVED the game. Remember- with a recall you want to get the behavior of the dog actually running towards you before you yell out the cue of "come" (or whatever you choose to use). We can "name" the behavior of them running to us simply because they are actually doing it!!! The more you practice this .....the more the cue will be reliable when you need it the most! In the meantime, let's remember to close the front door behind us so the pups don't escape!

This is GIDGET!! Gigdet can be a little treat focused so we really worked on paying attention WHERE her focus was last it on the treats? Then no treat! Gidget does wonderfully on leash with walking .... try upping the ante a bit though with higher vaule treats when you step outside your house into an environment with a lot of distractions. We also worked on reinforcing taking the treats with gentle lips.... Gidget still has her sharp sharky puppy teeth! Recalls were also on our list last week. Do you have a lot of family members and want to be sure to involve them with training? Remember- recall games are a great way to include everyone! Practice getting the dog to WANT to come in your direction and call out the cue as she runs to you. Reinforce heavily when they get to you! Next, another family member calls her name and repeats. Play this game back and forth with the pup amongst each family member! How fun!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Potty training tips!

Little Sammy was away at Grandma's for two weeks and regressed with his semi-potty trained regime. Sammy pooped and peed repeatedly in the house. When I worked with Sammy's owners it was decided that they are going to committ to the crate for potty training.

What's the best method for potty training? I believe, from experience, Crate training is the best potty training method along with serious consistency! It should start with a plan and the best way to plan is to keep a log. I will touch on how to make the Crate a Positive place to be in another post... in the meantime- what about this potty training?

I always say.... with anything takes at least 30 days to build a habit! And even then ....maybe longer!! It surely isn't something that happens over night! So let's get that dog consistently going potty where you want him to- probably outside, right!? And reinforce. A week can make a big difference so stick to your trainnig!

Timing: Plan to take your dog out every 1-2 hours and be willing to be flexible if mistakes are made within this timeframe. Gauge your puppy’s threshold on how long he can wait until the next potty break BEFORE an accident occurs. This is where a log is helpful to track success! :)

Look for signs: Look for some signs that your pup needs to go out such as- sniffing the ground, stopping playing, sniffing in circles, starting to squat, play biting more, scratching at crate door, barking at door, racing around the house at lightening speeds, approaching the door.

It's important you "see" your pup go to the bathroom when you take him outside. Don't just assume he went when you let him out... we all know what happens when you assume! ;) Having the dog on leash in the beginning so they don’t wander off and “forget” about what your goal is is equally important as going with your dog to the designated potty area. Eventually you will be able to remove the leash. ** what if they don’t go in that small timeframe? Take them back to the crate or confinement and wait 10-15 minutes and then take them back again starting the process again.

No interruptions:
Try not to be excited when he does go- as happy as you are!-.... the process needs to be "boring" and the last thing you want to do is interrupt him while he is going. If anything, a non-excited "good dog" is sufficient. If you use a clicker you can click and treat after the pup has finished. Reward with a nice high value treat! Leave an impression! Regardless- TREAT afterwards.

Naming the behavior: Since the dog is in the act of "doing" you can name it! Pick a simple cue/word you wish to call it- ie: potty, pee pee, poops, business, etc etc. While the pup is going pee simply "name it" (calmly and just once) while he goes. Feel free to use a separate cue for the poop. I use "potty" for pee and "poops" for poop. :) After some WILL then be able to say the cue to help the dog understand and connect that name with the behavior you are wishing him to go complete!

What if they start to go in the house?? Calmness and making it a “non-event” is important on your part. Quietly guide your dog outside to the potty spot and go through the process of your outside potty training- 3-4 minutes of waiting. If they didn’t finish going potty in the house stay with them outside until they do and then reward them. If they DID complete their business inside you will still guide them outside to the spot for the standard potty time. **now you need to keep a closer eye on the pup until the next potty break!