Monday, April 23, 2012

Benefits of Halti's and harnesses

Are you having difficulties with your dog taking YOU for a walk?! Don't worry, we've all been there! However there is light at the end of the tunnel! Check out what Astrid Smith of A Dog's Journey has to say that will help you out! 

Reasons to buy a Halti or easy walk harness

Some of the training tools I like to use are either Haltis (or Gentle Leaders) or Easy Walk Harnesses.


Picture from PetCo

They are training tools that take away pressure from the neck and are easy to use for the whole family including children. Yanking a dog on regular collars or choke chains you could permanently damage their trachea, thyroid gland and/or esophagus. Other injuries that can occur are: sprained neck, foreleg paralysis, laryngeal leg paralysis, hind leg ataxia.

I have heard trainers call it a gimmick, however they have not used it properly and don't understand how it works.
The Halti helps re-focus the dogs attention to the handler. You can not achieve this with any collar without putting much more force on the dogs neck.
The Easy Walk Harness clips in the front of the chest on a dog and puts gentle pressure on the shoulders taking away the force of the pull. Jerking, popping or yanking a dog is not necessary, therefore making training less stressful for both the handler and the dog. Being able to walk more then one dog becomes more manageable, too.
Yes, Head Halters and no pull harnesses are training tools, however, they can be used indefinitely as a collar alternative for dogs with injuries to the trachea from choke chains, prong collars or incorrect use of regular collars.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

You get what you pay for


Like me, you’ve probably heard this expression many times before. It’s a generally accepted principle that the more we pay for something, the more worth the money it really is. As a small business owner I am almost constantly asking myself if my clients receive their money’s worth, and recently it was this question that led me to a new wrinkle on the age old idea.

The next time your dog wedges his head underneath your arm to get your attention, or you respond to her whining by opening the kennel door, or you scold her for jumping exuberantly when you arrive home, ask yourself the following question: Have I somehow been paying my dog for this behavior? Do I occasionally/sometimes/always compensate my dog for this unwanted behavior with the most valuable currency, my attention? If your answer is yes, there’s no need to despair. It’s relatively simple to rewire our dogs’ behavioral tendencies by paying them for the behaviors we want instead of those we don’t.

Just what exactly does this mean? Our attention is one of the most reinforcing things to our dogs. When a dog realizes that a behavior like barking or jumping can often lead to interaction with you, it will regularly and predictably offer that behavior. So if there are things in your dog’s behavioral repertoire that you wish there weren’t, find the ways in which you or your family provide reinforcement for that behavior and stop it. At the same time, notice when your dog is doing the things you want and offer the same reinforcement for those behaviors. You’ll likely find that your dog willingly turns the unwanted behaviors off because they no longer serve him, and naturally offers the behaviors you want because they’re the things that get your dog what it wants.

Make an effort to catch your dog being good and reward these moments with the attention and affection it craves, and everybody wins. After all, we should get what we pay for, shouldn’t we?

Shaun Woodard, CPDT-KA

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy Tails- Doc, Mary, Hank, and Buddy

We would like to share with you Doc Young's story and how he came about with not one, but two dogs from Canines With a Cause! 

"CPL D.R. "Doc" Young, USMC Crash Fire & Rescue (1972-75) Vietnam Era Veteran, DoD Federal Fire Fighter/Captain (1975-1996), Fire & Safety Officer / Correctional Sgt (1997-2000)

I know only too well how precious life is, and having a second chance in life.  Life Saving and Protecting of Life carried into my daily off duty life as well.  Making sacrifices and giving of yourself to help others unconditionally, is how I feel about others, family and our pets.   Pet Companions who love us unconditionally in return, asking nothing of us, only to be loved, protected and cared for.

Experiencing career related disabilities for many years, Canines, Felines, Ferrets & Cockatiels have been a part of my everyday life, bringing joy and comfort mentally and physically.

My wife Mary & I, over the years have adopted many Canines & Feline's needing a second chance.  And after recently losing Poke (Queensland Heeler & Catahoula Leopard mix) of 11 years, we lost Acacia Embers (Dalmatian from Dalmatian Rescue in CA) of 10 years, although we have 2 Felines George & Janome, our home was incomplete.

Our animals are our Children, Mary herself a cancer survivor also knows the meaning of a second chance, and I felt was ready to experience a new life in our home and I went online to PetFinder and saw Hank, an Australian Shepherd Husky mix.  A quick e-mail to Mary at work sharing a picture of Hank and his information, soon Mary was in touch with Canines With A Cause.  After work that day Mary went directly to CWAC to see Hank in person and fell in love with Hank.  We adopted Hank 25 Jan.

We understand Hank was found by the Founder Cathy King of CWAC, loose on the streets of Heber, UT.  We learned that Hank was about 5 months old when needing medical attention & shots by his Veterinarian.  Hank is fine and growing in leaps and bounds since.  Hank having adjusted to our home life and us after 2 months, a volunteer with CWAC Astrid fostering Buddy (Australian Cattle & Border Collie mix) allowed us to watch Buddy for a few days while Astrid attended Agility Trials.

Hank & Buddy played almost none stop, becoming very close friends in such a short time.  Then came the Question, if we wanted to adopt Buddy and without hesitation, we said yes.  CWAC rescued canines Hank & Buddy, that we adopted 7 Apr, now our family is complete and we cannot show our appreciation enough for a second chance for Hank & Buddy and a better life for us all with their friendship, companionship and unconditional love.

The Young's"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Training Tips: Part 2 of Clicker Training

Part 2 of Clicker Training

To refresh your memory, or start at part 1, head on over to Clicker Training

Capturing takes patience and sometimes can take a long time. Ryker will scratch himself on cue. Raygen will sneeze on cue. Rylie will kick her rear legs on cue. Ryddick will bow on cue. All behaviors that I have are captured. The dog does the behavior on its own and you c/t. If you don't have a clicker handy use a marker word and treat. I pretty much don't use the clicker to long and add a verbal cue very early on.

Shaping is for dogs and handlers that are a bit more clicker savvy. It is also called the Thorndike Method. Wait for a behavior to happen, reward the behavior, add a cue while the behavior is happening.
Start by making a plan (in your head). Visualize how the end behavior looks like and break it down into many smaller steps. For example... End behavior is a nose touch to your hand... present the hand near the dogs nose and even the tiniest movement (ear, nose, eyes, muscle) gets a click and a treat (c/t). Sooner or later the dog will figure out that you want his nose to touch the hand.
Some trainers have been rushing Shaping and the steps in training are to big. Kay Laurence, master clicker trainer, started to give it a new name.... micro-shaping. That way nobody can say they didn't understand how small the steps were supposed to be.

Here is a video Astrid has done with her dog Ryker, using shaping to get him to hold a dumbbell. 

 See some of the fun stuff she has taught her dogs! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Our first Training Tip- CLICKER TRAINING!

Clicker Training

by Astrid Smith CAP1 CTDI TDTC

Clicker training has been around for many years and is a very effective way to communicate with your dog. All you do is click and treat (c/t) the behavior you want and ignore the behaviors that you don't. You can purchase clickers at most any pet supply store. If physically you are unable to use a clicker, use a marker word such as “yes” or “good”. Using a clicker takes time a patience (for YOU!). At first, you’ll get frustrated with trying to hold the clicker, treats, and a leash. Get a system worked out, and the rest will come with time.


I have been Clicker Training for quite some time now. I started with my horse, but did not use a clicker. I had a marker word, "Good". It was amazing how well it worked. I did not use it a whole lot. Only when we were on a trail and Jack stepped over some tough obstacles. Note: Jack was blind and he would have to concentrate on my jiggles with the reigns and carefully feel for a secure step. I would say "good boy" and he would stop, turn his head to the right and I would lean over and give him a piece of carrot. Way Cool!!

My first dog I clicker trained was Rylie. I did not start out training with a clicker, however, the first time I tried it I was hooked. Raygen, Ryker and Ryddick are all clicker trained and I got better with each dog. There are several ways of training with a clicker: Targeting, Luring, (Capturing, and Shaping  will come later this week).  Depending on what I am trying to train I use all three.

 Targeting (not be mistaken with luring).
First you train the dog to touch the target with his nose. Simply click right as your dogs nose touches the target. To start, use your hand. With an empty hand, move your hand about 10” away from your dogs nose. When you feel that cold nose touch your hand, CLICK AND TREAT (c/t)! Once your dog is consistently touching your hand, try moving it around and add the word “touch”.  I taught my dog Ryddick to heel using a stick that he’d touch the end of. Once he was consistently touching the stick, have the stick in heel position and start moving forward and c/t as soon as dog keeps up with the stick and you. Then you stop suing the stick and start adding the cue for heeling when the dog is in a heel position. It is pretty simple and you can get some very nice heeling.

Luring is another fun way to train with the clicker. A behavior that I teach using the lure method is "crawl". Dog is in a down. I then put a treat in between the dogs legs and slowly pull it away form the dog. As soon as the dog makes the slightest move forward while still on the down, c/t. If you wait to long to c/t, the dog may get up or give up. Add distance an inch at a time. It is important to fade the lure quickly or the dog will get treat dependent. 

Come back in a few days and we'll have a post on Capturing and Luring! Go ahead and start your training NOW! 

Part 2 of clicker training

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Help Angel

Hopefully most of you have read Angel's story, if not, go take a peek! For the past few months Angel has been in a great foster home but unfortunately they cannot continue fostering her.

Here is where YOU come in! 

Angel DESPERATELY wants her forever home, she's not a fan of going to those silly PetCo adoptions, and would rather lay in her comfy bed, or go sun-tanning outside instead of having strangers come up and meet her. Even if you are unable to provide Angel a forever home, you could offer her a temporary home! Don't focus of her bum of a leg, this is one happy girl!

 Open your home, and your heart and let this sweet girl stay a while!

Please send us an email at if you'd be interested in helping this girl out.

 This is her "I promise to be on my best behavior" face! And please note: this girl may not win any beauty contests but she'd sure as heck win the Miss Congeniality crown! Plus, you can put her hair in a mohawk!

Angel loves to play with her toys!

EXTRA! EXTRA! Real all about Shaun!

Dear Readers, I would like to introduce you to one of CWAC's trainers, Shaun Woodard with Not For Dogs Only.  Hope you enjoy!! Please leave a comment on the bottom if you have other questions for Shaun!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Coming up this week:

On Saturday 4/7 we will be at the Sugarhouse PetCo where you can come and meet your new best friends that only want their forever homes! This is also a perfect time to drop off any of the things you've been collecting for our wishlist !! 

Some time this week we'll post little get-to-know-you's about our two trainers, Astrid Smith with A Dog's Journey and Shaun Woodard with Not for Dogs Only.

We are getting in two new dogs for the program so of course everybody needs to meet them!

April's first weekly training tip. (you'll have to check back to see who it's from!)

We'll try to get a post on "where they are now", dogs that have been adopted or placed with a veteran and participating in our training program.

Snuggle up with your best friend (human or furry) and hoping wishing everyone a good first week of April! 

They're herrreee!!

HUGE thank you to Cecily Hallman of Be Wise Art for donating her time to snap a few photos of these guys! The girls worked it, and the boys just goofed off. all photos copyright of BeWiseArt. 
Fi was a total HAM for the camera!

Bella worked that camera like no other!

 Smiling girl, cheesing it up in hopes of finding her forever home!

 Oliver may not win any beauty contests but give this little guy a chance and he'll wiggle his way into your heart! He got a new haircut the day after his photo shoot. We'll be sure to get those photos up!

 Wally was a little camera shy but Cecily was able to catch a few of Wally's infamous smiles! Tyra Banks would be proud that he smiles with his eyes too. 

 Wally just wanted to be held. 

Changing Lives Through Canine Companionship

One in four Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans return home with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. More than four million healthy, adoptable animals will be euthanized in shelters this year. These dogs can provide an understanding, loving companion that can help these veterans cope with debilitating flashbacks by bringing them back to the present, therefore helping them re-assimilate back into civilian life.

Canines With a Cause brings shelter dogs and returned veterans together. Vets benefit from the healing companionship of the dog and shelter dogs' lives are saved by finding loving homes.