Dog Sports: Yay or Nay?

There was little documentation on the aspects of formal dog obedience training or sports prior to the first world war, largely because dogs were generally taken to be family members that had important roles to play. This included herding of livestock, protection of property, personal protection, pulling of both sleds and carts. However, these dogs were eventually trained when the family unit had to make living and working arrangements about their walk of life.

So is your dog a couch potato? Or is he one that does random spurts of sprints at home to dispel some of his conserved energy? No matter which is more relatable, a wide range of dog breeds have participated in dog obedience competitions locally. That being said, we believe that all dog breeds are trainable. You might be asking yourself, why would I want to train my dog to compete in competitions? Well, to each his own, with some preferring to just have a pet dog to enjoy his presence, while some are really serious in wanting to gain mastery in this area of dog training.

Our trainers and students have put in many hours of training their dogs despite having a full time job and other commitments in their hands. Like any other sport, it is enjoyable, encourages sportsmanship during competition day, improves your dog’s temperament, and definitely moulds our character to exercise patience, kindness and firmness at the same time.

The dog training sport promotes various traits of good character that can be translated to the owner’s everyday living or even to one’s career. Embarking on this journey will not be an easy one, but I guarantee you it is one that is fulfilling and worthwhile. It requires one to be disciplined in being consistent when it comes to training their dogs. What’s more, the sport promotes determination, perseverance and a never give up attitude, always striving to improve in their techniques, as well as the owner’s teamwork with his canine partner.

Do you also know that obedience competitions that are based on an international pattern and regulation is conducted almost every quarterly in Singapore? These obedience competitions have been conducted in Singapore expo, community clubs and shopping centers. If you are interested, you may even catch the competition live in action this November at Jcube on 24th November!



Excellent Tips in Toilet Training your Dog

Toilet training for dogs has been commonly discussed and has been known to give owners the most “headache”. The idea of your dog having to pee on carpets, the sides of curtains or even on your living room sofa has caused much distress. Here is the good news: the problem can be solved! This article would discuss issues often faced by owners and frequently asked questions that you might have pertaining to potty training.

Why does my dog pee on the carpet/sofa?
Understanding your dog’s behavior is essential in the area of proper potty training. Your dog’s primary sense is his sense of smell. With his especially sensitive ability to sniff out peculiar areas and objects, many a times would lead to an eventual instinct to mark his territory at particular spots. Instinctive nature would have him to choose a spot that he is sensitive to, instead of the mundane, not-so-prominent smell of newspapers or even pee pads. Suppose you have a piece of grass patch and a piece of newspaper side by side each other. Now, would your dog choose to pee on grass or on the piece of newspaper?

Often, you would realize that your dog returns to the scene of crime where he first did his business. The enticing smell and trace he left behind compels him to repeatedly mark his territory in a way to communicate dominance over his “turf”.  Of course, there are instances of exception whereby the dog experiences an intense amount of anxiety, causing an autonomic response of urination at the point of stress. Other instances include medical conditions in his digestive or bowel system. This is typically seen when your dog ceases his regular schedules, having difficulty in controlling his ability to pee or poo.

Where do i start when it comes to toilet training my dog?
In the beginning when your dog first enters your house, assign a small area where your dog should reside in for the first couple of weeks (varies with different dogs). This can exist as a small fenced up area where your dog has sufficient roaming space. Suppose you would like to use newspapers as the base for him to do his business. Lay the entire area within the fenced up area with newspapers. As your dog continues to pee and poo on the newspaper over the weeks, you may begin reducing the area of newspaper and leave a certain portion of the fenced up area uncovered. You may even place traces of his pee underneath the areas covered by newspapers.

Do i let my dog out of his fence? And how do i condition him to pee/poo at the appropriate potty area?
During this time of toilet training, there are certain pointers to take note of. Firstly, as you let your dog roam around your house, he might have the tendency to mark his territory especially in a new place. Keep especially watchful of your dog as he displays signs of wanting to do his business (excessive sniffing, turn around in circles). As he is about to do so, quickly place him back at where the designated potty spot is, and reward him with lots of praises if he pees at the right place. Secondly, condition him in such a way that each time he pees at the designated potty area, allow him to roam around the house (this acts as a positive reinforcement as you give him more freedom when he behaves appropriately). Each time he pees at an inappropriate area, immediately place him back in his fenced up area (this acts as a punishment of removing his additional freedom outside of the fences). Thirdly, each time he is peeing, issue a command that teaches him to pee (“Lucky, pee!”). This will allow him to associate the word “pee” with the appropriate action. Lastly, it is important to remove odors at areas where you do not wish for your dog to do his business at. Odor eliminators or deodorizers are useful tools to remove pee and poo scents.

It is also important to take note that puppies do have a more difficult time controlling their bladder and bowel system. They do need to pee and poo significantly more often than adult dogs, thus having a pretty unpredictable schedule. Initially, confining your dog may seem a little harsh, however, having for them to be confined in order to teach them the assigned areas to do their business will pay off once you see the results! Allowing puppies to roam around and have full access to different areas will affect their toilet training schedules and may result in a more difficult time for owners to condition them to be toilet trained at the appropriate area.

How important is toilet training?
Dogs are habitual animals and clear understanding accompanied with maintenance of a proper schedule helps owners and dogs to cultivate good habits. The essence of dog toilet training has concepts that reiterate the importance of dog obedience training. In it lies the crux of being aware and having precise interpretation of your dog’s behavior. Also, you do not wish to spend most the time clearing a messy area ,do you?

What services do we provide?
Dog training Singapore by Waggies conduct obedience training classes that educate owners on the “what”, “how” and “why”, when it comes to dog obedience training. Knowledge in itself is not sufficient. Our classes entail dog training skills and lessons that will teach you all you need to know about potty training, how to read your dog’s behavior and how to correct inappropriate behaviors like excessive barking, aggressiveness and uncontrollable tugging on the leash. In the different lessons, you will be exposed to the practical aspect of how to properly handle your dog in different situations, and you will learn how to train your dog based on an internationally recognized pattern that applies to all dog breeds of all ages. Feel free to contact us for more information.


Reinforcements all gone wrong…

Certain actions by dog owners have unknowingly led to the detrimental behaviour and welfare of dogs. What was thought to give their dogs optimal level of assurance and positivity have in turned encouraged negative behaviour. Common practices include: picking up the innocently excited puppy whenever the door bell rings; reassuring the overly enthusiastic and jumping dog through patting when he meets strangers; or even the consistent use of medicated powder/cream (something the dog dislikes) whenever the owner goes “Lucky, come!”. Your dog now dislikes being recalled as he knows the consequences: “apply powder again?!?!” Do you know that these subtle but evident reinforcements could teach your dog that it is perfectly alright to respond the way he currently is or even stop responding in ways he should?

Reinforcement refers to a particular stimulus strengthening or increasing the probability of a specific response. The two reinforcements most commonly used are positive reinforcements and negative reinforcements. It is important to note that these terms do not represent a “good” or “bad” connotations but rather adding (positive) or removing (negative) a particular stimulus to increase a desired behaviour. An example of a positive reinforcement is when your dog is offered a token (eg. Treats, toys etc.) or reward (this include praises) to encourage a certain behaviour. Upon the command of “sit”, your dog sits and you offer him a biscuit. On the other hand, negative reinforcements refers to the removal of a stimulus to again, increase a particular behaviour. Your dog constantly barks to get your attention but you resist the urge to entertain him. When he stops barking, you proceed to give him the desired attention. The removal of the attention your dog desires, teaches him that if he barks excessively, he will not get the attention he wants (removing the stimulus). However, when he understands that upon being calm and composed, he would again get your attention (adding the stimulus). To better understand the concepts, proper obedience training classes is crucial to the understanding of your dog’s behaviour as well as your position as a K9 leader.

Often confused with the term “negative reinforcement” is another form of reinforcement called punishment. Punishment refers to decreasing the likelihood of an undesirable behaviour. Similar to the concept of reinforcement, positive punishment refers to adding a stimulus to decrease the dog’s undesirable behaviour, while negative punishment refers to the removal of stimulus. An example of positive punishment is when a handler thugs onto the dog’s training collar whenever he charges to attack another dog. On the contrary, every time your dog pees on the floor, you place him back into his playpen, removing his freedom. The removal of his freedom is a signal to him that the behaviour is wrong if he does not pee at the right place. This would decrease the undesirable behaviour of doing his business at the wrong area. Educating dog owners on ensuring that the dog’s undesirable behaviours are removed not only requires proper knowledge but through the guidance of experienced trainers whom know what to expect given different situations.

Reinforcements all gone wrong… Is the reason for many owners who have given up their dogs, or in some extreme cases, dogs being put to sleep due to uncontrollable aggression. A famous proverb says “whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” We all want what is best for our dogs. But do we really know what is best for them?