This is for any of you that aren’t sure what Breed Specific Legislation is.
“Think of rewards as paychecks for your dog!”
Last week, we discussed the importance of generosity in training. This week, let’s talk about another key skill that makes professional trainers so successful: the rewards themselves.
There are lots of different ways that you can reward your dog. Let’s look at a couple different scenarios to see which might work the best.
Let’s go back to our ping-ponging dog who’s learning to walk on a leash. Remember him? This guy was a real handful for his owner, only walking by her side long enough to earn a click and treat, then rushing out to the end of the leash before repeating the whole sequence again. Click – treat – rush – circle back – click – treat – rush —- you get the picture. How frustrating!
When I started working with this same dog, I kept him busy. I got his attention…
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We think pinch/prong collars should never play a part in “training” your dog. What do you think?
There’s a lot of information going around about training tools. Some factual, some less so. A lot of it is heavily steeped in emotion and bias. I suppose I would be lying if I didn’t make it clear that I’m biased myself, I don’t advocate tools that use pain to function. But that aside, I feel that it’s important to give factual, unbiased information so that consumers are armed with accurate information in order to make an informed training tool decision. If something uses pain to work, people should be aware. So where do pinch collars stand? How do they work, and why do they work?
You have several variations of the pinch collar. Most have thin prongs of uniform thickness, while a few…
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Jambo’s Story so far: Dog Tricks, Positive Reinforcement Training and how B.S.L. impacts on his life.
Jambo was born in May of 2012. His pedigree name is “Warrior For Life” but I wanted a name that would reflect his personality and not be too “hard”. I also wanted to name him after our first Staffy boy, Sam. Jam rhymes with Sam and Jambo is the Swahili (think “warrior”) word for “hello” – Jambo just loves to say hello to everyone he meets.
Jambo proved to be extremely loving, very mischievous, inquisitive, energetic and quite a handful! I started teaching him the basics straight away but as he got a little bit older I also wanted to do something fun to use up some of his boundless energy. Hence began our journey into doing Dog Tricks, which we were introduced at a Trick Dog Seminar given by Nando Brown. Breed Specific Legislation was also now in force in Spain (it entered in vigour in 1999) and I wanted Jambo to be an absolute example of how amazing the “Bullies” are. I think that if you have a breed affected by legislation in this way then you should do your utmost to show everyone how wrong it is. We were out to smash the stereotype!
Jambo got his first Dog Trick Title at just 7 months old and by 14 months old already had 7 Trick Dog Titles including “Expert”. We also worked on general obedience and agility… We train everything using Positive Reinforcement and love to point out to people that it is a total myth that you need to have a “stronger” hand with this “type” of dog! I am not Jambo’s leader and I don’t command him to do anything. We work together as a team and he gets rewarded with food and play and cuddles and fun. I firmly believe that we would never have achieved what we have if I had tried to train him in any other way. The main thing Jambo and I do is enjoy ourselves!
At only 16 months old Jambo achieved what no Staffordshire Bull Terrier had done before – he became a Trick Dog Champion! We immediately launched his Facebook page, Jambo – Staffy Bull Terrier Trick Dog, to celebrate his Trick Dog Champion Title and to promote doing Dog Tricks and Positive Reinforcement Training. We hoped to inspire others to do more with their dogs. We also wanted to do our best to help break the stereotype of the “Bullies” and show the injustice of B.S.L.!
In 2013 he was featured as Dog Of The Week for Your Pit Bull & You.
Despite all of Jambo’s accomplishments, his training and his good character he is classified by the authorities as a “Potentially Dangerous Dog”! Jambo was born into B.S.L. and although there is no outright ban on his breed in Spain, B.S.L. affects everything we can and cannot do. Jambo had to be registered as a Potentially Dangerous Dog. He has to be kept on leash (1m) and muzzled when in public. We have to get an annual veterinary health report stating the inexistence of illnesses that could make him “especially dangerous”. He has a microchip – the number of which is registered as that of a potentially dangerous dog. He has to be enclosed by walls of at least 2m high (or kept on a chain – which we would never do as life on a chain is no life at all) and put in a secure location should visitors come to our home. He has to be registered with the local town hall. He cannot go near any area designated for children (play ground, park, school). I have to have a Potentially Dangerous Dog handler’s licence; a psychiatric report; no criminal record; a physical report stating I am able to “handle” him; public liability insurance for at least 175.000 euros. I cannot walk or transport more than one “dangerous dog” at a time…. Fines for infractions are up to 115.000 euros and the authorities have the right to seize and destroy if they see fit! The following breeds come under BSL here in Spain: American Pit Bull Terrier; Staffordshire Bull Terrier; American Staffordshire Terrier; Rottweiler; Dogo Argentino; Fila Brasileiro; Tosa Inu; Akita Inu. Different states/regions also include other breeds eg. some areas include the Doberman, others all Mastiff types and others the German Shepherd Dog. Legislation also includes any crosses of the above breeds and any dogs with the “right measurements” – width of chest, head, mouth; length of leg; weight; short hair….
There’s to be no running free in the countryside or on the beach for Jambo….