Hi Everyone, We're major dog lovers over here at the Gray Malin Studio, which is why we're happy to have Kyle Kittleson back on the blog today with his second contributing post. You first het him here when he spoke on the animal safety steps taken for my Gray Malin at the Parker series. Now that you've had a quick reminder, we'll let Kyle take it away.. Hi there. When I heard that each year 1.2 million dogs are hit and killed by a car in the United States, I became sad and angry. I was sad, because we shouldn’t be losing any of our beloved dogs this way. I was angry, because I knew that if owners had the tools and know-how of basic training principles, they would be able to keep their dogs safe; and these deaths could be avoided. Knowing the risk and dangers of the road, I trained my dog Callie to be ‘Street Safe.’ No matter what, Callie will not go into the street unless I ask her to go into the street. It doesn’t matter if someone calls her name, a ball or stick is thrown into the street, or if she sees another dog or animal across the street - Callie will stay out of the road and out of harm’s way. Watch Callie Avoid The Street No Matter The Distractions:
I was thrilled to hear that Gray wanted to take additional precautions in protecting Stella from the dangers of the street. Gray and I both believe that dogs aren’t just pets, they are members of our family. As a dog parent, it is my responsibility to keep my dog healthy, happy, and safe.
Gray is lucky to have a fenced-in front yard. However, occasionally, Stella will get excited when a visitor arrives and will rush through the gate into the street. Dogs do not instinctively know to avoid the street and moving vehicles, so we have to teach them where it is safe to be and where it is not. You may think that your dog is safe because he/she is on a leash or can’t get out of your yard, but the truth is that even a leashed dog can get out of a leash and find itself in the middle of the road.
The first step was to teach Stella where the safe zone was. The safe zone is the area you deem safe for your dog to be. Stella’s safe zone is her yard. By rewarding her for basic behaviors such as: ‘sit,’ ‘down,’ and ‘stay’ in her yard, we are teaching Stella that the yard is a safe and fun place to be.
We used a highly reinforcing food reward during the training. We only used this reward for the ‘Street Safe’ training. This makes being in the yard even more special, because it is the only time Stella receives this treat.
Clients usually tell me that this part of the training “feels useless” or like it’s a “waste of time.” Let me assure you that it is neither. By showing your dog where it is safe to be, you are setting the groundwork for what is to come.
I’m not in the business of training dogs quickly. I am in the business of training dogs correctly, the most efficient way possible. By taking the time to build a reward/reinforcement history in your safe zone, it will make the rest of the process go more smoothly.
After we established a safe zone for Stella, it was time to show her the unsafe zone. For Stella, the unsafe zone is anywhere outside her fenced in yard.
To begin training this, I asked Stella to sit and stay at the edge of the property. When she didn’t follow me out into the sidewalk and street, she was rewarded and praised heavily. We then started to add distractions to the environment. I asked Gray to run out into the street and make some noises. When Stella stayed put, she was rewarded. We used my dog, Callie, as another distraction. Again, even when seeing another dog outside her yard, Stella stayed put. Finally, I threw food out into the sidewalk and street. Stella did not react or move and was rewarded for staying so well.
Some dogs will struggle with this part of the training. It is usually because their owner is unclear in communicating with their dog. In my course, ‘Street Safe Dog’, I provide solutions for the most common problems owners face, and I show you additional ways to keep your dog out of the street.
Of course, Stella is a jet-setter just like her dad, and will need to leave the yard for walks, hikes, or just accompanying Gray to the office.
I taught Gray to use a special hand signal which indicates to Stella that it is now okay to leave the safe zone and follow him beyond the borders of their home. This allows for Gray or anyone else who walks Stella to tell her when it is okay to leave the front yard.
If Gray has a friend pop-by to take Stella for a walk, that friend will need to know this hand signal. Otherwise, Stella would put on the breaks and not leave the yard.
Each year, more than a million dogs are hit and killed by cars. This can be avoided. I have outlined the steps to keep your dog ‘Street Safe’ in my quick and easy course, ‘Street Safe Dog.’ Not only will you learn the exact steps you need to take to teach your dog to avoid the street at all cost, but you will also get a ton of bonuses. You will receive a free Skype session with a professional dog trainer, my Quick Start Guide to Basic Obedience, a free sample of Answers Pet Food Goats Milk, access to my private Facebook Group for dog owners, and my #1 Secret to Dog Training. Plus, it all comes with a 30-day money back guarantee!
Thanks Kyle! We appreciate you sharing all of your professional insight and Stella thanks you, too!