Monday, April 28, 2014


Now that you've theoretically been practicing sit with your dog every day for more than a week, let's go ahead and introduce down. Training your dog to lay down is interesting because (in my experience) 50% of dogs want to lay down and be mentally checked out, the other 50% would much rather obstinately operate on selective hearing and well not lay down.

Much like I explained in my "The Sit" post, this is a command that different trainers all have different approaches and opinions on. Dog obedience instructors I've had despise the use of food in introducing a command because they usually think it's distracting. Personally, I want my extremely food-driven dog to think of laying down on command fondly. Praise will work just fine if your dog is attentive and listens well.

To begin with have the dog sit next to you in a heeling position. Then take your right hand and step in front of the dog and squat down and hover your flat hand in front of the dog about a half foot above the ground.

Kneel down with the dog while saying "down" (if you want the dog to be on a verbal can just stick with the visual hand signal). When the dog lays down completely reward him/her.

Other sets of instructions for how to train your dog to lay down are Dog Training Central and Petplace. For trouble shooting I recommend visiting The Dog Guide.

Puppies Update
The 2.5 week old litter has their eyes open and are starting to play and develop personalities.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I'm going to preface this post by stating that I have never really dealt with a dog which actually fetches. We've found as a breed that Keeshonds see very little point in fetching toys except for a scarce few with more traditional hunting breeding lines in them. Therefore today we'll be reading a post from for those of you with dogs which are remotely interested in fetching.

Teaching Fetch
The instinct to retrieve is all in your dog's genes. Some types of dogs take to it naturally, some don’t. As the name says, any type of retriever loves chasing things and bringing them back (of course, getting them to give you what they caught make take some training!). But if you have a terrier, for example, whose instinct is to burrow, trying to teach “Fetch” will probably just frustrate you both.
To teach a full retrieve — go out, bring it back, and give it up — you go through each of the steps individually before bringing them together.
Anything a dog puts in her mouth is special, at least to her. So the first step in teaching her to retrieve is to get your dog psyched to show you her “treasure.” All your pooch has to do to learn this step is come back with her prize. The focus here is on the Bring, not the Give.
  1. Line up several toys and treats.
    If your dog is too treat focused and won’t leave your side if there’s a treat on the scene, leave food rewards out of the picture. In this case your overwhelming enthusiasm will be your dog’s reward.
  2. Gently toss a toy a few feet away from you and point to it.
  3. As your dog brings the toy back to you, shower her with praise but don’t take the toy away.
    If your dog ignores you when she gets the toy, try running away from her after she’s picked it up. If she still won’t bring it back, pretend to eat some of her treat.
  4. As your dog catches on and trots happily back to you, say “Bring.”
  5. When your dog arrives, toy in mouth, praise and pet her heartily (give her a treat if you like), leaving the object in her mouth.
  6. Toss a different toy and go through the procedure again.
Dummies also notes that if your dog is playing keep away to stop and move to a smaller room where the dog can't run. Personally, I would say that if the dog wants to play keep away after playing fetch for a while to just go ahead and stop training for the day and let the dog be. Or if you're so inclined you could keep playing with yourself and turn it into a game of "throw"

Week-old Puppies "Celebrating" Easter

Monday, April 14, 2014


There's a lot to be said for being able to take your dog for a walk and not have to deal with pulling or lagging. Towards the end of this post I'll include a couple photos of the now four day old puppies.


When it comes to teaching your dog to heel I've found that it's all about practice. All one really needs to start the process is a leash and some motivating treats. Personally, I would recommend a chain collar and a non-extending leash because leashes that extend make no sense when you want the dog to stay by your side and the chain collar if you don't abuse it and hurt the dog is good for small corrections.

File:Heelwork.jpgGiven my background in AKC dog performance events I have the dog always on my left because that's just what is accepted. If your dog is a companion dog the side which the dog heels on doesn't really matter, just in my case I see no point having the dog heel on a side which I don't want them to in competition (aside from agility).

All you need to do is hold the leash in your hand (attached to the dog's collar obviously) with a little looseness. Think of the looseness as a little slack for the dog to miss a step occasionally. Some people with stronger dogs will need to hold the loose part of the leash in their other hand so as to maintain control while the dog is still learning.

Otherwise just reward your dog when they are doing what you want them to. I would do some figure 8s and turn a lot so your dog gets use to having to watch you for direction.

My dog's great niece's 5 puppies were born Thursday the 10th. They're all spoken for and going to great homes.
Photo: The two sweet girls. Yes, there were three for a bit but now it is two. They and their brothers are growing fast!

Photo: Little sleep but a shower made me human again! Ziva is the best mom ever.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Sit

Training a dog to sit is one of those basic obedience commands. Sometimes the training process for sitting is quick--other times not so much

Know Your Dog
Praise is a wonderful reward for many dogs. If your dog works for praise definitely use it to your benefit. Nevertheless, I've found that especially in a Keeshond (which Razza is, pictured below), treats are the perfect motivator. Others try to train their dogs using classical conditioning off treats to clickers.

Razza sitting on a rock at the Portland, Oregon waterfront 3/23/14. 
With your dog on a leash, use either a treat or your fingers to guide your dog's head back. Repeat this a few times and remember to reward each time your dog sits--consistency is key. 

If the dog isn't following the tendency to naturally sit when guided then take them for a long walk first. Particularly for energetic dogs, focus can be a difficult thing to grasp, so give your dog a better chance (and some exercise) and work on heeling (the topic of the next post) then return to sit.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Intentions and Goals

Welcome to Uninvolved Dog Training.

I intend to focus on relatively easy dog training in the sense that you only need to carve out a few minutes a day. Given that my dog's great niece is due to have a litter of puppies April 11th, it's highly likely that a few puppy stories and pictures will find their way into posts.

Having gone through a formal dog obedience class, a multitude of agility classes, and competing in AKC performance events with my now 7 year old Keeshond, I understand how frustrating it can be to train a dog. More times than I can count on my hands, Razza has elected to not actually leave the starting line in agility trials; nevertheless, the very same dog is at the excellent level and can run courses perfectly--when she feels like it. I still get sneezed at on a near daily basis when she chooses to voice disapproval of whatever I'm asking.

It is my goal to help others to live in harmony (or something closely resembling such) with their dogs. Easy things like crate training; teaching basic commands like sit, down, and stay; and some heeling work can go a long way to helping us get along with our canine best friends.

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