You have limited time to work with most of the dogs in your animal centre, so use quick and effective methods that will prepare the dog for expectations in its new home. Remember to work with patience and consistency.
Try these quick and effective training exercises:
Watch me: We begin with “watch me” as it is a great way to start a “teacher-student” relationship with the dog. This helps him learn to focus, which will aid in further training activities. This tool will also help calm the dog in stressful situations, build confidence and develop trust. Learn how to teach Watch Me.
Sit: This is the one thing that some of your dogs may have already learned. It encourages attention, helps the dog focus, and can quickly provide good behaviour to replace an undesired one. Learn how to teach Sit.
Loose leash walking: One of the more challenging things to teach animal centre dogs is loose leash walking because most dogs, in the excitement of getting out of their kennel, will tend to pull. Loose leash walking is critical to eliminate pulling behaviour. Learn how to teach Loose Leash Walking.
Greeting/jumping up and pawing: When a dog jumps up and places his paws on you, he is seeking your attention. However, visitors to the adoptive home may find this unenjoyable or undesirable. The correct and desirable response is to keep all four paws on the floor. Learn how to teach proper Greeting.
Calm behaviour in the kennel: By taking the time to patiently reward polite, calm behaviour, you teach the dog the correct choice of how to behave during interactions with people. The dog will learn faster if you consistently reinforce calm behaviour every time you enter and exit the kennel. Learn how to teach Calm Behaviour.
Go to bed: This is a great teaching strategy for dogs who rush the door or front of kennel when an adopter or staff person arrives. This also gives you an opening to enter the kennel and reinforce other desired behaviours such as asking for a sit. Learn how to teach Go to Bed.
Play: Play can be an essential part of the canine education program. It can reduce stress, resulting in a more enjoyable educational experience, and enhance the canine-human bond. Learn more about Playing with Dogs.
Click for Quiet: Strategies to reduce barking (Adapted from the ASPCA) – Loud, prolonged barking is stressful to you and to the animals in your shelter. It may seem like all you can do is grin and bear it. Train for “quiet” by having staff carry treats – or attach containers with treats on each kennel – and reward dogs for being quiet as you pass. Learn how to Click for Quiet.
Try Clicker Training with the Dogs in your care:
You can use clicker training for almost any training exercise. You can teach your dogs what the clicker means by pairing it with a primary reinforcer (anything the animal wants badly enough to work for), such as a food treat or a favourite toy.
Once this pairing has occurred, the clicker acts as a positive reward every time. It is intended to become a replacement for food treat or toy rewards because clicking is faster than a verbal command or cue, and the click is a unique sound that catches the dog’s attention.
Clicker Training is a great way to enrich a dog’s experience, and offer the dog the ability to choose to interact positively with us. We are actively engaging the dog so the dog can learn healthy ways to interact with us.
- Can teach shy dogs to come to the front of the cage and appear more adoptable
- Easy enough for staff, volunteers and adopters to perform
- Dogs engage more with potential adopters
Learn how to do Clicker Training.