Category Archives: Handling

How to tabletrain my dog. Part 1

My dogs love to be on the table – how do I train them?

The key to the love is, positive training. I start to train my puppies very early, about 5-7 weeks.

I have tables in different sizes, I also made constructions in different heights where I can put my larger table, when the legs are folded.

IMG_2947IMG_2946

To start with I use my large table with the legs folded, so the table is flat on the floor, the larger the table the better. The basic idea is that “all the fun happens on the table”. Start with serving their food on the table, put in on the middle so that all paws need to leave the floor! Every time you reward your dog reward it on the table! It takes a puppy about 1 day to understand the benefit of being on the table. Have the table flat on the floor so the dogs can jump up and down whenever they want!

IMG_2932

As soon as the dog is relaxed on the table, go on to the next step! (the table is still flat on the floor). Play around with the dog on the table so it moves around freely without tension. Either you put a candy in each corner, so the dog needs to walk around on it, or make it play with a toy, like the working dog trainers do with their dogs. It took me many years to understand the benefit of teaching my dogs to struggle with a toy, but I really recommend it. The most difficult dogs to train are the dogs not interested in candy nor in playing with a toy. But remember every time you want the dog to be on the table there must be a candy, even when you train on higher levels.

The best time to train your dog is right before it is fed, because that is when it it motivated for food

Parallel with this I teach my dogs “stand for the candyhand”. This training is done on the floor or outside on the ground, NOT on the table. The “candyhand” is when you press your right indexfinger towards the middle of the thumb. The rest of the fingers are folded together holding the candy. I use meatballs, because it is easy for the dog to grab a small bite and eating it fast without taking time for chewing.

IMG_2939

When I hold my hand like this, it is a sign for my dog to stop. If you imagine the movement of the hand like a clock, where 12 o´clock is straight up, 6 o´clock straight down, you should position your hand at 2 o´clock, Slightly in front of the dog and up in the air, so it stops naturally. To start with the dog in going to jump for the hand, but do not correct the dog with your voice! Just ignore it and turn around in a circle turning to the right, like you do in the showring. Let the dog chase your hand, raise it until you find the stop position.

IMG_2952

As soon as it stops with it ears up for expectation, “flick” your fingers and give reward!

IMG_2943

This is where the first trick is. You need to be able to do the “flick” extremely fast, in 1 second you must be able to do 3 “flicks” that is how fast you need to be doing it. Second trick is your timing, the 10th of a second you dog shows expectation and raise its ears, you need to flick your fingers and give the reward instantly, even if it sits down.

Never ever reward a dog that not shows expectation, just to “keep it happy”, then you teach the dog the wrong behavior.

When the “flick” is done, make the dog take one step forward to get the candy. The dog needs to always think forward to get the right expression (exaggerated, left picture below). Don´t give the reward to the dog so it starts to think backward (right picture).

IMG_2957IMG_2960

When the dog and you found the “stop position”, it is time to combine it with the table. Keep the table legs folded or use a table with short legs. Put a candy on the table (or probably the dog is standing on the table already). Make it jump on the table and make it walk around freely, without a leash, do the “stop position” with your hand and be fast to look for the expectation and reward! Don´t bother if your dog is sitting down or i standing incorrectly. Right now you are teaching “expectation”. Let the dog jump down on the ground and play! When I train my dogs I do it very short and concentrated, maybe 3-5 minutes but instead 2 -4 times a day.

IMG_2969

Author Suzanne Nisser Blanck

 

Freestanding or handstacking?

Dogs are like humans, they are all different

They have different temper, they have different construction, one is not equal to the other. There is never one single path to go and you have to chose which way is the best way for presenting each single dog.

I usually start with identifying the energy level, is this a dogs that needs more energy in its presentation or does it need a bit less energy? I have a happy little female galloping around wagging her tail constantly, show after show. I trained and trained and she got happier and happier every time, she pulled nicely in the leash in front of me but always in galopp. People gave me all sorts of strange advise, like “give her more food so she gets fat and have less condition and don´t want to galopp”. This is how she looked in the middle of her “galoppingseason” :-)  Look at her muscles on her hind legs and watch her tail moving!

Ace is the daughter of my Multi Ch Zayka Zaznayka iz Kamelota.
Ace is the daughter of my Multi Ch Zayka Zaznayka iz Kamelota.

Finally I realized where the problem was, it was me. I am an energetic person and I transferred my energy to my dog. So next show I put my mind into that I was going on a funeral. I walked slowly in a kind of slowmotion, moved my body slower and did not play around with her in the ring or try to get her be happy. Three shows later she trots happily around in the ring! This female I am able to both free stand or handstack. She is just happy with both.

Freestanding

Then there are dogs with a low energy level that you have to add more energy and self confidence in ring.  This female pulls lovely in the leach and trot fast in front of me with her tail up, but she does not like when I touch her or move her legs, in the standing, then she looses her posture and almost falls apart. She is the free standing type.

SE UCH, SE JUN WIN-2013 KEEHAWN SOVETSKOJE SAMPANSKOJE
SE UCH, SE JUN WIN-2013 Keehawn Sovetskoje Sampanskoje. Daughter of Muli CH Keehawn Dom Perignon..

She finds her balance by herself and don´t like if I try to help her. She is the only dog I show totally differently. I keep my “candy hand” in position in front of her, “flick” my fingers and let her take one step forward with her front paws to get in balance.

With young dogs or dogs with a bit low self-confidence, I always stand in front of the dog when the judge examines the dog, to make the dog “thinking forward” and not pushing itself sidewards towards me.

Handstacking

Sometimes there are dogs that you want to stand a certain way, to fool the eye. They might stand in balance and look nice, but they might have a construction that you want to hide or at least not highlight to the judge. Those dogs might be better to handstack if the temper allows it. Here is a female with the best temper ever, she loves showing herself to everybody and is the “queen” in the ring. But she is a bit long loin, on females it is allowed to a certain point, but in this case I try to not exaggerate that part. Sometimes when she sands freely she becomes  to angulated in her hooks. I really need to train in front of the mirror with this female. Look how different positions can change the look of your dog!

Miyi Angel Juravinka with her breeder in BelarusMilyi Angel Juravinka shown by her breeder in Club Specialty in Moscow end of May 2014

Milyi Angel Juravinki has arrived to SwedenVinki on her first Swedish roadtrip

Whatever way you chose to use on your dog, remember the most important advise!

Never ever reward a dog that not shows “expectation”, then you have taught the dog  the wrong behavior.

This is the most usual fault in training dogs, to keep giving it candy while doing nothing,with the intention to just to keep it happy in the ring.

Author Suzanne Nisser Blanck