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Chin Training Blog

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Using vocabulary that your puppy can understand

Tue, 10 Oct 2006 18:29:27 +0000

Your Japanese chin absolutely thrives on consistency. This applies from finding and sticking to the best food to deciding from the start what is and what isn't acceptable behavior. Consistency, proper and prompt discipline, and keeping yourself as the undisputed head of the house makes a much, much happier and manageable puppy. The bouncy, frequent change lifestyle a lot of people enjoy is fine for them, but not for dogs.

Maybe you need to have a family council every few months to figure out what behavior is and is not acceptable to various members of your family. You definitely need to get all the human members of the family on the same page when it comes to discipline. If one person gives in to, and thus encourages, begging and another punishes your puppy for it, he will be a confused mess. Once everyone agrees on what is acceptable and not, enforce your rules. Letting your puppy do it "just once" will put a wrecking ball in your training program and confuse him.

Your Japanese chin will arrive with almost no vocabulary or a very limited one. Decide on your words of command and have the whole family use only those words. If you wonder why your poor silly puppy doesn't get the message when you go chattering away in your own vocabulary, try having everybody use the same words and see if it makes a difference. If different members of your family are uncomfortable using a phrase, "go potty" for example, if they use another short, easy to understand term, consistently, then your puppy will easily understand both of you and do what you want her to.

Another good general purpose word that has been used over the years is GENTLE. Said calmly and drawn out, it sounds like the behavior we want. This is especially useful when the puppy is playing roughly, a calming hand accompanied with the "Gentle" command will quiet your puppy. The puppy doesn't need to stop what they're doing- they're just doing it too much or too vigorously. The curious puppy that is nosing a resident cat will be warned to be "gentle". The puppy and cat need to get along, this is not a time for NO.

A puppy who greets someone very energetically is toned down, with the "Gentle!" warning. The older dog obviously knows what they are doing wrong when they get the gentle command if they're to rowdy. Think of the "NO" command as the red light and "Gentle" as the yellow, or warning, light. A very useful command.

Balancing Play And Roughhousing With Your Japanese Chin

Wed, 04 Oct 2006 14:01:26 +0000

Some chin owners enjoy roughhousing, teasing, and manhandling their puppies. Puppies either enjoy roughhousing and teasing or they are frightened and scared by it. Non-threatening teasing can desensitize a puppy to the weird things people, especially kids, do. It gradually and progressively helps build his confidence around people who act strange or other kids that want to play with him. On the flip side of the coin, relentless teasing and roughhousing frustrates your puppy and damages his personality. It's not teasing, it's abusing your puppy.

Train your puppy to accept different human actions by teasingly withholding their treats and toys, hugging or restraining the puppy, make strange noises, mildly scary faces, or odd body movements, and praising your puppy and offering a treat afterwards. Always remember to do it for only a short period of time. Every time you do it you might act a little more weird or scarier before you give him a treat. With time he will confidently accept any human action or mannerism. Don't overdo it, remember you are playing with your puppy. If your puppy refuses a treat you have overdone it and should stop for the day. Also keep in mind this is different from trying to scare him when you catch him being naughty.

For a Japanese chin puppy that hasn't been trained to enjoy teasing, having a child relentlessly chase him can be the scariest thing on earth. But being chased around the living room by his owner doing the monster-walk is a fun and exciting game for a puppy who has learned to enjoy it. Most dogs love attention and they also love being chased if you have made a game out of it with them and have taught them to enjoy it. On the other hand, teasing your puppy to frighten or annoy him is just cruel and stupid. Intentionally causing discomfort or making him afraid is definitely not funny. Your puppy is learning to distrust people and if, as an adult, he reacts defensively, it is your fault. Unfortunately the dog gets into trouble, not the person who misused him. Please be careful and don't allow this to happen.

If you want to find out if your puppy finds teasing enjoyable or not, use this simple test. Stop your game, back away from your puppy, and ask him to come and sit. If the puppy comes promptly and confidently with a wagging tail and sits with his head held high, that's a good sign that he's having as much fun as you are. You may continue playing and having fun with your puppy. If the puppy comes crouching or almost crawling, making excessive licking motions, and won't look you in the eye, you have pushed your puppy to far and he doesn't trust you any more.

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Tips For Walking Your Japanese Chin In The Busy City

Thu, 28 Sep 2006 17:54:46 +0000

Unattended Puppies: This is one big mistake that can be very devastating. In the time it takes you to buy a few groceries or get a quick cup of coffee, someone could have long run off with your puppy. A good thief can steal a car in twenty to forty seconds. Your puppy can be snatched much quicker. If your puppy is a pure breed it will be much more tempting. Getting groceries or whatever else you want can be done later. Your puppy will be much harder to replace.

Your dog can also be a hazard to himself if you leave him unattended. He may become excited or scared and wrap his leash tight and choke himself. Or he could slip through his collar and run away.

Watch The Weather: Be alert for severe weather conditions before going on a walk with your puppy. If it's going to get hot, cut back on the length of your walk. If you don't trim your Japanese chin's coat, watch them very carefully for signs of overheating. During the hot summer months it would be a wise precaution to not take them on walks at all. The pavement absorbs a lot of heat and will make your puppy even more uncomfortable.

Remember that during the winter months salt will be painful on your puppy's paws. Take them on walks through a park or some other place that isn't salted, and also check their paws for ice build up. Booties may help but most experts agree that they do more harm than good, and most dogs don't like them.

Distractions: In the city there are endless distractions for your puppy to investigate. Everything will interest and excite your puppy, and if something doesn't it's only because there are to many other distractions. The noise, other pedestrians, wind in the trees- the bushes- through your puppies legs, the scents, other dogs, all these will be vying for your puppy's attention. All these will be very exciting and depending on your puppies nature will either make him very excited or shrink in fear.

Using Attention-Getters on a Walk: Because of these distractions on city walks, you need something to get his attention on you. A good way bring his attention back to you is to have a motivator with you. Use a one of his favorite toys. It not only gets his attention but it also creates a spirit of fun and playfulness. You want your puppy to have fun on your walks. If you two have fun inside you should have fun outside. Your puppy will enjoy going out with you and your bond will deepen. A stick or other non-hazardous object your puppy picks up and plays with on the walk, is a great motivator or attention getter while on walks.

Your "Chase Me Please" Japanese Chin

Tue, 19 Sep 2006 17:29:32 +0000

If you have a Japanese chin, by now you know they love attention. One very annoying way they try to get attention is by grabbing a knick or other object and running off with it to induce someone into a crazy game of chase. Put a leash on your puppy so you can easily catch him. You'll have to watch him so the leash doesn't catch on anything. But you also won't be running after your little thief either. Once you grab your puppy after he stole something, quickly remove whatever he has. Most people recommend squeezing a dogs snout to induce them to drop the object, but Japanese chins don't have much of a snout to squeeze. Most of the time you can get them to give it up by holding them firmly and forcing them too.

Clicker Training

Tue, 12 Sep 2006 17:44:16 +0000

For many pet owners, the decision on what training method to use is a weighty one.  Generally, people do not want to use physical means to "train" an animal, but may lose patience when other means aren't working out as planned.  Enter clicker training. 

What is clicker training?  How does it work?  Clicker training is a method of training that works with an animal’s natural desire for a pleasurable outcome after completing a desired task.  This method works on the premise that a treat is better than a physical punishment.  As the animal performs a particular task, i.e. sit, the clicker button is used in conjunction with the task and they begin to associate the click with the desired out come of the task.  The animal is then given a reward such as a treat, petting or a verbal reward, this is at your discretion.

The animal will begin to associate the clicker training sound to the reward and soon the click and the reward will not be needed as reinforcement.  Occasionally, it may be helpful to reinforce the clicker training with a refresher lesson while gradually replacing the food reward with a pat or a "good boy" type of a reward.

It is also very important to train in a variety of settings.  While you dog may learn to sit in your backyard via clicker training, he may not understand the action that you are asking for if you have him in a park setting. It is important to fully train before deciding to leave the clicker at home.

There is no such thing as a perfectly trained chin

Wed, 30 Aug 2006 13:55:09 +0000

As any reputable dog trainer or book will tell you, canine learning comes from repetition. When a behavior is repeated often enough, dogs develop habits, or conditioned responses.  Assuming those habits are positive ones, such as eliminating outside, coming when called, lying down and staying when told, and others - you will have what you want: a trained Japanese chin. That's because all dogs are creatures of habit. Once you set up a routine of signals and conditioned responses, your dog will do exactly what you tell him every time. Right? Not exactly...

No trained response is infallible. Creatures with advanced brains can think - and they can also make mistakes. Think about two of your own conditioned responses. When the telephone rings you have a habit of answering it, but one day you decide not to take any calls. The telephone rings but you decide not to take any calls. The phone rings but you keep reading your book. You know what you normally do, but today you decide not to do it. You also have a habit of stopping at stop signs. But one day you are tired and distracted and you roll through an intersection. Even the most experienced drivers make mistakes.

Similarly, there will be times when even the best-trained dog will either defy training or make a mistake. So it is in everybody's best interest that you avoid becoming complacent or over confident about learned behavior. Do not rely on conditioned responses in potentially dangerous situations. For example, you should never unleash even the best-trained chin near a busy road. One mistake could result in injury or death to your beloved pet.

All dog owners need to reinforce their pet's conditioned responses. Certainly the more practice and proofing you do with you dog, the more reliable his response will be. Skilled human beings, from tennis pros to typists, need practice to stay in top form. This is because all learned skills need reinforcement.

When you feel you have achieved a well-trained dog, continue to practice obedience exercises once in a while. It can be fun for you and the dog and it reinforces the good behaviors you worked so hard to achieve.

Settle down your rambunctious puppy

Thu, 24 Aug 2006 17:12:36 +0000

Chins are naturally calm dogs but they can get unruly when they want attention or are playing. Dogs aren't like radios or a video game, you can't pull the plug or remove batteries. You have to teach them to settle down and shush. When playing with your puppy have him settle down every fifteen seconds for just a few seconds. Increase the amount of time for the break period gradually and your puppy will learn that being asked to settle down is not the end of the world or the end of the play session.

As I said, Japanese  chins aren't the most rowdy dogs but training them to calm down on command is still important. Letting your dog play indiscriminately as a puppy will only train him to play indiscriminately as an adult.

Protection training

Tue, 15 Aug 2006 16:17:38 +0000

Protection training- dogs can be trained to be dangerous and to bark, bite and attack. Some breeds are more easily trained but all dogs with teeth and vocal cords can be threatening.

Having your family pet go through protection training is not recommended. Most families cannot handle a protection trained dog and there is little reason for them to have a protection trained dog. Too many pet owners have been talked into this type of training without being properly educated about it. Some guard dog trainers argue that if the right dog is properly trained he will not become vicious and randomly attack. This may be true but there are two things that are very key in that statement. The "right" dog and proper training. A German shepherd has a naturally easygoing disposition and may be easier to handle than a Doberman. But any dog will need to have proper training. An absolute must is obedience training. Only after successful obedience training should you attempt to protection train your dog. Find a trainer who will teach you how to train your dog to attack on command. You will have to keep your dog on a leash unless he is very well trained in obedience and instantly stays put on command.

Most dogs are instinctively protective, but not as puppies and it may take from 18 months to two years for them to show strong protective instincts. So don't rush your 1-year-old puppy off to protective training, his protective instinct is coming.

Rewards, punishments, and dominance in puppy training

Wed, 09 Aug 2006 17:37:27 +0000

If you have ever trained a Japanese chin, or are in the process of doing so, I am sure you are quite familiar with rewards and punishments.  Dogs and puppies learn new things and change their behavior only if the desirable behavior is rewarded or bad behavior punished. You can reward your puppy for performing certain things on command, such as what we have covered already in puppy training- lying down, coming, heeling, and sitting.

Rewards can be as simple as petting and saying "Good dog." Or you can use food treats, if they are not overdone, especially a treat that your puppy really enjoys. Meat is a really good treat to us. A word of caution here about rawhide treats- if you do buy rawhide treats for your puppy or already have be sure to check them regularly to make sure your chin is not chewing pieces off and swallowing them.

Most puppies learn rapidly and willingly if there are rewards. For example, when you are housetraining your puppy and he can eliminate in the desired area outside, praise and affection, along with treats, will effectively train him.

Most punishments that you give your puppy are interactive punishment. Hitting your dog with your hand, rolled up newspaper, or shouting at him is interactive punishment. The animal clearly associates the adverse reaction with the person giving it. Interactive punishment should only be given when owners must assert dominance over their puppy to maintain an acceptable dominate-subordinate relationship, especially if threatened.  If your puppy or dog growls or snaps at you and they are not doing it out of fear it is best met with force. One of the most common problems of dog-owner relationships is insufficient dominance and it often stems from a lack of assertiveness.

Of course the need to assert your dominance varies from breed to breed. Your Japanese chin will not require as much punishment as a Doberman pinscher would.

Go Lie Down

Thu, 27 Jul 2006 20:28:16 +0000

To many dog owners "go lie down" is their favorite command. The “GO lie down” not only tells the dog to lay down, it tells him to do it elsewhere. When you are busy with something, “Go lie down” is the command you need to send your overly affectionate Japanese chin someplace else. You do not need to give him attention every time he wants it. If he's just had his walk, eaten well, had plenty of exercise and play time, “Go lie down” is a humane, handy answer to your own personal dog problem.

Put your dog on a leash before you begin. Then point to a corner in the room you two are in and say "go lie down." Take him to where you pointed saying "go lie down" and "good boy!" When you are in the corner, instruct your dog to lay down and go sit somewhere else in the room. After he stays for a minute or two say "Ok, good boy!" Pet him when he approaches you and repeat the exercise two more times, varying the time he stays down.

Practice this exercise three times a day and in different rooms. Eventually your dog will do it no matter wherever you are. Early on if he lies down on the spot when you say "go lie down" take him to the spot where you pointed to and and say "go lie down." When he is just learning the command it is an honest mistake and it is easily corrected. However if your trained chin is laying down on the spot he is trying to get his way instead of doing what you told him to. Say "No, go lie down" and take to where you pointed and make him lie down.