Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wales Bans Remote Training Collars Over Hysterical Fear

If you want to learn how to effectively train a dog with an electronic dog training collar visit or Contact University Place dog trainer Kate Johansson at (253) 569-0411

Words are so powerful. And I can think of few words dripping with more negative hysterical emotion than the erroneous and wrongly descriptive phrase "Shock Collar." Because of the moniker given to these devices in the 1960s (When they were crude and unreliable--nothing like the smooth exact instruments they are now) they remain controversial today.

Electronic collars use the same technology as a muscle stimulator one might use for (human) physical therapy. The technology is also used for (human) pain management. In fact, it is used in medicine and dentistry routinely. Ever see the TV commercials for belts that will help you obtain the coveted six-pack of abdominals? Same technology. On the low levels we use for training dogs, the stimulation feels like a little flick, similar to static you would get taking clothes out of a dryer. On somewhat higher levels, the stimulation feels like a tingle, similar to your arm or leg starting to fall asleep.

When we are asked as humans to use this technology on ourselves for whatever reason, we are never introduced to it as a "shock" device. We would never allow anyone to shock us. The word "shock" inspires fear. So a person needing to use the technology is introduced to it in a positive, intelligent way.

Electronic dog collars are used not only for high levels of training in dogs, but also for pet containment. With a containment system, the dogs (and cats) are carefully trained using negative reinforcement not to pass certain areas in the yard or house. This allows the pets to have the freedom to roam in the yard, yet keeps them safe from wandering into traffic or chasing a neighboring farm's livestock.

There are a number of different ways of using the electronic collars, also known as remote training collars. At Fast Pup Dog Training we teach people how to use the stimulation of the collar to gently associate the tickle or tingle of the stimulation with a command such as "come," "sit," "stay." Before we ever start training a dog with the collar, we have everyone in the family, including small children, experience what the stimulation feels like so that everyone understands and knows we are not hurting the dog. We use the stimulation on the lowest level to which the dog will respond. It is never about punishment.

We make sure the clients have a good understanding of how to use the equipment and how to stay positive and calm at all times. We never even let a client raise their voice and we teach them that they no longer need to pull on the leash. Usually during the very first session, we drop the leash altogether so that the client learns to use their body language and great attitude and positive tone of voice to facilitate learning in the dog. With most dogs we will be able to take the dog on an off leash walk after just three sessions.

Last week the principality of Wales in the United Kingdom banned the use of electronic dog collars. Anyone caught using an electronic dog collar will be subject to a fine of £20,000 or six months in prison. As I read the reports and watched the videos from the BBC website, I was amazed (shocked-pardon the pun) at the leaning of the reporters towards support of this ban. And there on the video were all the usual "morally superior" people who were so vindicated by the ban talking about how in today's world there is no need for any type of dog training that does not use "positive only" methods.

Duncan McNair, of the Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association, estimated that there were at least half a million electronic collars in Wales.

What a shame for the many dog owners who train with the collars. And what a shame for the many dogs who will now need to be imprisoned and kept always on a leash for their safety and the safety of neighbor's livestock. What a shame for the dogs who will be turned over to shelters and will be put to death for behaviors that can't be brought under control with the use of cookies.

And all because of fear and hysteria caused by the use of the word "shock." We need to be careful what words we use.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What Is Best Place To Buy A Puppy

A number of years ago when I had my first litter of Labrador Retriever puppies for sale I got a call from a woman who asked me all sorts of questions about the pups and then sniffed that she did not approve of "backyard breeders" before abruptly hanging up on me. I stared at the phone in astonishment. I said out loud to the phone, "Would you rather get your dog from a puppy mill?

This was my first litter of pups, but I certainly did not consider myself a backyard breeder. My dog was from a long line of field champions, master hunters and other highly titled dogs. So was the sire of my litter. Both parents of the pups had already earned their AKC Senior Hunter titles. Both parents were cleared through the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals on their hips and elbows. The pups eyes were checked by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

What's more, I had thoroughly socialized the pups, spending hours of time with them. They were introduced to retrieving, birds and water. They LOVED people and were smart little things.

Recently I placed a pup from my last litter with a very good friend and fellow hunter/ retriever trainer. She mentioned to me how much different this pup is from some of the others she has obtained from larger kennels. She noted that the pup from me did not ever bite at her like so many do when first brought home. And how eager to please he was and how he always retrieves and delivers a bumper or a bird to hand.

I have also noticed a big difference in pups I have bought that are raised in someone's house with a lot of time spent interacting with people versus pups that came from a very highly respected kennel where the time spent with the pups was a little less steady.

From the time my pups are three weeks old they ride on my truck with me out to the training grounds where they hear far-off gun fire. By the time they are six weeks old, they are introduced to birds and they are exposed on a regular basis to the sound of far-off gun fire. By the time they are eight weeks old, they are introduced to retrieving and begin to associate the sound of gun fire with the excitement of marks.

I think of the term "backyard breeder" and think of someone who does not compete and train with their dogs. They might have a male & female dog and just let them "get together" in hopes of making money off the pups. They probably don't know a whole lot about pedigrees and clearances. Not that the pups are necessarily going to be bad dogs. Not at all. Being a "backyard breeder" is not necessarily saying that the dogs are not going to turn out well, especially if the dogs are well socialized and well cared for.

Puppy Mills have received huge amounts of attention over the past twenty years. The plight of dogs in wire cages imprisoned and forced to breed puppies to be sold to pet stores is an emotional topic that tugs at most people's heart. There are many great people who rescue dogs from these mills when they are shut down by authorities. The dogs and pups coming out of these operations face many health issues. They also have a tendency to have problems with socialization. Dogs kept in isolation from people often exhibit fear of people--for good reason.

As a professional dog trainer, I recommend NOT buying a puppy from a pet store. Chances are that pup came from a puppy mill. The likelihood that the pup will be harder to train is huge. Plus, buying a pup from a local breeder that you can visit and interview will discourage puppy mills from being in business.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dogs Carry Baskets at Meeker Days Puyallup

Puyallup Fast Pup Dog Training and Kate Johansson strut their stuff for the crowds at the 2009 Meeker Days celebration. Dogs carrying baskets of candy for the kids (young and not so young!) are always a big hit.

If you would like to have a dog that will be well-behaved even around the most severe distractions, please give us a call for a no cost, no obligation demonstration and a free assessment of your dog.

Training for Marks with Gus

Tacoma Dog Trainer Kate Johansson works with Gus, an English Labrador Retriever on marking training. Gus was a board and train who stayed for three months. Gus came with no desire and left with tremendous desire for the retrieve. Check it out!

If you need help with your retriever, give us a call 253.569.0411

Trained Labrador Retriever Puppy For Sale

Fast Pup Retriever Training Tacoma WA 253.569.0411

Mojo is a three month old AKC Chocolate Labrador Retriever. Here you see him mark, retrieve, return to his handler and deliver a bird to hand. His four-generation Pedigree includes over 26 Field Champions and Master Hunters. Sire is AKC Master Hunter and mom is AKC Senior Hunter. He is a very affectionate love bug, in addition to his budding talents as a hunting dog.

If you would like more information about this little guy, please call Kate in Tacoma WA 253.569.0411

Brutus English Mastiff Rest In Peace

Brutus, a 200 pound English Mastiff recently went over the Rainbow Bridge. Fast Pup Dog Training made this video of him as a tribute. He was only four years old and died of cancer. Rest in peace big boy. We miss you!

If you have a big, out of control dog or a little tiny Terrier or terrorist as we sometimes jokingly call them, give us a call. We can help!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Beans' Swim By Training

Do you love to hunt waterfowl? Ever wished you could send your dog on a long blind or handle your dog to a cripple? It all starts with the trained retrieve, or force fetch.

Most retrievers will be able to handle a bird you drop right into the pond in front of you with little or no training. It is when things don't go perfectly, that the great dogs shine. A great dog has lots of drive--and good training.

Here you see Beans, a 14 month old black Lab on her first "swim-by" exercise. This is coming off a winter break and much time spent drilling on "wagon wheels," "lining drills," and "T-patterns."

The swim-by is one of the last steps of the trained retrieve.

For help with your dog, call Fast Pup Dog Training. 253.569.0411

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rehabilitating Fear Aggressive Labrador Retriever

Fast Pup Dog Training Tacoma works with a young dog with a fear aggression problem. Check out this video of Lucy, a Chocolate Labrador Retriever who came to us for rehabilitation after developing a fearful habit of biting at only 7 months of age. After spending a month with us, she is doing much better.

Lucy is a happier dog now that she is learning to live with a pack of dogs and humans along with her retriever training.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tacoma's Fast Pup Discusses Sled Dogs Iditerod

Kate Johansson from Fast Pup Dog Training, Tacoma will host Dog Talk Radio on KLAY 11.80 am on March 10th discussing the Iditerod Sled Dog Race that is taking place from March 6th through March 17th in Alaska.

We will be interviewing Kim Tinker, from Cascade Sled Dog Club in Oregon about all the fun and inexpensive activities you can do with your dog such as Dog Sledding, Dog Scootering and Skijoring. Kim will be explaining how to train your dog to pull in a harness, what an Alaskan Husky really is, and how you control a whole team of dogs.

The show airs Wednesday, March 10th from 12:00 -- 1:00 pm and on Saturday, March 13th from 1:00 -- 2:00 pm.

Fast Pup Retriever Training: Teaching The Blind Retrieve

Take your dog out in field with you to plant blind. Have them sit and watch you plant a pile of bumpers

Photos by Danny Phillips

For a green dog, stop and face pile a short distance back. Repeat the send from a short distance at first, then move back toward line and send again

Line the dog up, making sure he indicates with his body language that he wants to go in the direction that the blind is located. When you look at your dog, he should be facing the direction you want him to go.

Handler should have a definite cadence and timing for the send. "Dead Bird!" That's It!" "Back!" Same rhythm as "On your mark, Get set, Go!"

All training should be "training for success"

Dog should carry the bumper or bird all the way straight back to handler at line

And deliver to hand.

Tacoma's Fast Pup Retriever Training

Erin lines Presleigh up for a blind retrieve past a gun station

Photos by Danny Phillips. Shown here are Erin and Presleigh.

Don't want to send your dog off somewhere far away for two or three months for retriever training? Well, at Fast Pup Retriever Training, we work with owners and teach them how to do the retriever training exercises themselves.

A well directed dog will run toward the blind confidently

All higher levels of retriever training start with a "trained retrieve" program also known as "force fetch." Force fetch starts with "hold" training and continues through the "fetch" training. Training should continue through "walking fetch," "fetch to a pile," "T-patterns," "swim-by," and "cheating singles." A well balanced program will fold in lots of fun "marks," "wagon wheels," and "baseball." During the program, your dog should be introduced to birds. Pigeons, pheasant, duck at a minimum.

Presleigh has picked up the blind at tree line and returns past gun station where she had mark earlier

Fast Pup Retriever Training out of Tacoma, Washington provides several different programs to help amateur trainers learn how to do their own training. One program is a 10 week board and train where we keep the dog and finish the whole force-fetch program.

Presleigh enthusiastically returns with her "bird"

Another program we provide is a short program where the dog stays with us for two to three weeks and we teach the dog the "hold," and the "fetch" on command. Then we instruct the owner on how to complete it.

Presleigh delivers her bird and sits waiting for Erin to take it out of her mouth

With both programs, we highly encourage the owner to come out any time to watch what we are doing with the dog. We want the owner to learn how the training is done. We also encourage owners to join us for retriever training when we are doing marks and blinds. We will have a new handler run a seasoned dog to facilitate learning the timing and cadence of handling a dog. (There is more to it than most people think!)

Many families struggle with the idea of sending their beloved family member off to live in a kennel far away while they receive their basic training. If you want to keep your dog closer and be more involved, consider Fast Pup Retriever Training as an option.

Give us a call today at 253.569.0411