These guys are awesome—so creative. (Remember the treadmill video?) OK Go has a new video for their song, White Knuckles. This is also a single-take video, which is amazing. They used dogs from Talented Animals, in Corvallis, OR. One dog, Bunny, belongs to lead singer, Damian Kulash. Bunny got a training crash course so she could be in the video. She’s the small, brown dog with a black nose. This is a great article on the shooting of the video. One of the things that’s neat about the video is the dogs act like dogs, which it turns out was intentional. All professional dog trainers are in the business of getting something to happen once very sharply. We wanted them to act like dogs, Damian Kulash said
One of the first things we taught Saffron when we got her was “Go see Sarah” & “Go see ‘Mr. Fire'”.
(‘Mr. Fire’ probably needs some explanation. I asked my husband how he would like to be referred to in my blog. I had already vetoed ‘The Husband’ & ‘The S.O.’ He shot down ‘Mr. PetProject’ and ‘Mr. P.I.C.’ (Mr. Partner In Crime). I then suggested ‘Mr. McBurny’ and he piped up with “Call me ‘Flame’!” Really? “Yes, call me ‘Flame’ or maybe ‘Mr. Flame’.” ‘Mr. Flame’ sounds like you’re flamey in a gay way, and though there’s nothing wrong with being flamey in a gay way it might confuse readers who know I’m a female married to a male. [At this point I’m tempted to look at why, semantically speaking, adding ‘Mr.’ to ‘Flame’ makes it sound flamey in a gay way, but then I’ll really have digressed from what is supposed to be a post about a dog training tip.] ‘Flame’ was his choice because lately he has really gotten into making biofuel stoves. In the evening, we’ll be hanging out on the couch and he’ll say, “I’m going to go burn stuff.” To which I reply, “Okay, let the dog come if she wants.” So he’ll be out there in the dark with a head lamp testing new stove designs. Sometimes I get a call that I should come check out the awesome flame. So I tried to write this post using ‘Flame’, but I just couldn’t do it. Because of the nature of this post, I had to keep writing Flame-this & Flame-that. So I asked if he really wanted to be known in perpetuity as ‘Flame’, to which he conceded perhaps he did not. Thankfully we settled on ‘Mr. Fire’, which is somehow a little more dignified, though I have no idea why.)
So, if you’re still with me, back to the training tip! Here’s why you might want to teach your dog “Go See Jane”:
- it’s a good way to start teaching “Come”
- it’s a good way to start teaching “Find It”
- it’s a great for exercising your dog
- it’s super handy for redirecting a bothersome pup
How to do “Go See Jane!”:
- you need at least 2 people & some good treats
- person ‘A’ (me Sarah) stays in one room with the dog while person ‘B’ (Mr. Fire) goes to another room within hearing distance of Sarah
- Sarah says, “Go see Mr. Fire!” and Mr. Fire immediately calls the dog to come & gives a treat when the dog comes
- then Mr. Fire says, “Go see Sarah!” and Sarah immediately calls the dog to come & gives a treat when the dog comes
- repeat, and reinforce by doing it every few days at random times
- the dog learns “Go See Jane” and gets reinforcement for “Come!”, of course you need to work on “Come!” by itself to have a good recall.
“Go Find Jane!” variation once your dog knows “Go See Jane!”:
- you still need 2 people & some treats
- Sarah stays in one room with the dog, while Mr. Fire goes & hides somewhere in the house, but not too hard a spot to start out with. The dog needs to succeed in order to learn what “Find it!” means.
- don’t let the dog leave the room until you say, “Go find Mr. Fire!
- Mr. Fire stays very quiet in this version.
- if the dog doesn’t find Mr. Fire quickly, Mr. Fire makes a little noise to give the dog a hint. Give treats when the dog comes.
- then Mr. Fire says, “Go find Sarah!”. From then on each person find a new place to hide.
- repeat, and reinforce by doing it every few days at random times
We use both of these commands at the dog park to make sure Saffron gets some good exercise in. She LOVES running from one of us to the other, especially if we hide. I use it to redirect Saffron when she’s bugging me while I’m working. And we find it very useful when we have guests—we just tell our guest to send Saffron to one of us if she’s bothering them. Very handy!
I’ve been thinking a lot about dog friendly gardening this summer because I’ve been day-dreaming about how I would design a new, larger garden than the one we have now. So I’ve been imagining what would make a perfect garden. I love being outside with Saffron and I want a yard that will be a nice place for people and dogs. What’s the garden of your dreams?
A lovely garden and dogs can actually co-exist happily. It just takes a little planning, maybe a few changes or compromises, and some consistent training. A good place to start is to look at your yard through your dog’s eyes. How does your dog use the yard? Does she like to patrol the perimeter? Does he like to sit on the deck and survey his domain? Does she have particular routes or places to lounge? Do you have a digger? Or a dog that insists on lounging in the coolest part of the yard, regardless of what’s planted there? Try working with your dog’s behavior by accepting it or redirecting it instead of fighting it. And try to keep them out of trouble before they ever get into it.
Some of the things on the wish list for my dream garden are:
- Space between plantings and the fences so Saffron can patrol the yard the way she’d like to without disturbing the flower beds.
- A high spot with a good view of the yard. She likes to check the yard before the goes down off the porch—checking for raccoons and squirrels, but she can only see a small portion of our current yard.
- I wish Saffron had a long, barrier-free stretch where she could really run hard and some changes in elevation because she loves going up & down hills.
- Of course, it would have to have a digging pit, which I’ve previously written about.
- I’d also like a specific, out-of-the-way place for her to “do her thing”—that’s her “go potty” cue. An area defined by a border with good drainage and covered with gravel or wood chips for easy clean up and that can be hosed down.
Here are some tips I’ve used to solve problems that arise from gardening with a dog:
- How to keep a dog out of a bed where you’ve applied compost, manure, or organic fertilizer—all of which smell divine to our dog? I’ve had success with one or a combination of the following:
- putting chicken wire over the soil
- liberally sprinkling crushed red pepper flakes (which you can get quite cheap at Costco)
- temporarily erecting inexpensive folding fence borders that you can find at home & garden stores
- If your dog has worn a path through your lawn or flowerbed, consider turning it into an real path with stepping stones or pavers.
- To keep male dogs from marking plants or trees, provide another focal point for the dog. Dogs very often mark upright objects that are closest to their path, especially at corners. Place a rock, log, planter or some other non-plant object where the dog will encounter it first before it gets to the plant or tree you want to protect.
Don’t give up on your yard or your dog! Check out these links for many more ideas on dog friendly garden design and problem solving:
- A comprehensive list of tips, training ideas, and ways to make your garden safe for your dog
- An excellent article from Sunset magazine
- A German dog fetched a live WWII grenade last weekend. Fortunately he was trained and set it down on command. “Drop It” is an important thing to teach your dog even if they’re much more likely to pick up a dead animal or another dog’s toy than a grenade.
Here’s a really good tutorial on how to teach your dog to “Drop It’ or “Leave It” using non-coercive techniques.
- Sadly in other news, a dog pulled a California woman in front of a train killing them both. There’s a pretty small chance your dog will pull you in front of a train, but if your dog pulls on its leash, you could be pulled off your feet or into traffic. Saffron used to pull steadily on her leash so though I wasn’t likely to be pulled off my feet, I did start having severe wrist and elbow pain.
Check out this really helpful tutorial on training your dog not to pull. We solved the problem using the Easy Walk Harness and here’s a tutortial on using no-pull harnesses.
(Note: I’m not affiliated with PetExpertise. I have ordered a number of things from them and find Jess’ articles well written.)
This iPhone application is a neat idea, but may need some reworking. The Dog Tricks part of the app. gives you photos to show how to teach your dog a trick or how to prevent behavior you don’t want, like jumping up on guests. Unfortunately, the app. doesn’t always give enough information on how to teach a trick. There is a nifty function where you shake your iPhone and it gives you a random trick to teach your dog. The app. also has information on certain dog breeds and some pics of dogs, but I don’t find that very interesting or useful.
I think the app. would be most useful in teaching a trick that you’re already familiar with or for reinforcing tricks your dog already knows—the random feature would be fun for this. Since an iPhone is so portable, the app. could be good for helping you train when you’re not at home.
The Bark Machine part of the app. has several sound effects like a clicker used in clicker training (too bad it’s 3 clicks instead of the one used in training), a squeaker toy, a doorbell, and a high frequency whistle. The sound effects can be employed during your training, which could be handy when you want to train and don’t have a clicker.
The Dog Tricks & Bark Machine application is free from iTunes.A video used to be embedded here but the service that it was hosted on has shut down.
(podcast via iphoneapppodcast.com)