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Kip and Positive Training

When Kip was 4 months old, there were a few reasons I ended up not taking him to a puppy training class.

1. The Expense  It was a bit pricey and I had already just dished out a big sum to the breeder, vet, and pet store.

2. Questionable Effectiveness   Nobody around me had seen any benefit or improvement from taking their dogs to a puppy class.

At home with quite a bit of difficulty, I managed to teach Kip to sit.  I thought every dog knew how to sit.  I was oh so wrong!  For whatever reason, Kip refused to put his little bottom down on the floor. After many times of pushing him down into a sitting position, and treating him when he sat his bottom down so he could scratch himself (which was the only time he voluntarily sat) a miracle happened and he caught on to what we wanted.

The second thing I taught Kip was to give me his paw.  It was easier to teach than the sit, because I could just hold his paw while feeding him a treat.  It wasn’t long before he would sit and wave his paw in the air whenever I had a toy in my hand.

This was pretty much where Kip’s training stopped for the longest time.  The biggest change was when I found books like Pat Miller’s “The Power of Positive Training” and Patricia McConnell’s “The Other End of the Leash.”

Reading Pat Miller’s “The Power of Positive Training” made me certain that I wanted to raise Kip with positive training and not the traditional method of training or the media promoted Ceasar Millan’s method of dominance and “corrections.” At a small local pet store I picked up the StarMark clicker. This clicker came with beginner’s instructions that helped me get started and understand how exactly the clicker system works. With the clicker and Pat Miller’s book I was able to teach three new tricks to Kip with ease.


I thought it was unimaginable to train Kip to lay down, but the clicker made it incredibly easy.


High five is a fun trick and was easy to teach since he already knew how to give me his paw.

Now I have enrolled him in a class called “Dog Manners” by the Seattle Humane Society. The class starts in the middle of February and I found that the trainer supports positive training and has recommends the books by Pat Miller and Patricia McConnell. I can get Kip to sit and such indoors, but he becomes overly excited when he sees other people or dogs. So I think it would do him good to get trained with other dogs and people around him.  The biggest goal is to train Kip to come when called reliably!



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  • We also don’t believe in puppy classes! In the end we taught TOto everything ourselves but it was easier for me because I am a stay at home housewife. So since day 1, TOto is hand fed and we take the advantage of combining his hand fed meals with training. So basically TOto is like trained 3x a day because we fed him 3x. But when he gets too nippy at about 4-5mths we stopped. But at that point, me and TOto already has some mutual understand. So it is alot easier to train him after that.

    But we still cannot manage to teach him how to limp and yawn! Haha~

    Oh yesh we believe in positive training too! Always start and end the training happy! If you teach him something that he don’t get it, tell him to do something he knows and reward him and start again! :)

    Keep up the good work, kip!!

    • Kim

      I tried to see if Kip would be motivated by his kibble, but he doesn’t seem to like eating kibble all that much. He responds to treats though so I found a small sized treat to train with!

      • TOto’s mammeee

        TOto is not the kibble motivated type too but more so out of habit. Guess he doesn’t knows that I am ‘training’ him, he might think I am playing with him while I am actually guiding him doing all the action. Since it is a habit since day 1 he comes into our home. Now that Kip is older I doubt it will work. Now we use, treat to train TOto too. Don’t think he will respond to handfed kibbles anymore like when he is a puppy. >> http://ourwestie-toto.blogspot.com/2010/04/toto-9-wks-video.html

        My hub taught TOto to sit/lie down and wait for other dogs to approach. So even now when he see a dog from afar he will lie down and wait for other dog to approach. I think alot has to do with consistency. Usually I don’t have such patience for such consistency, so have to give all credit for my Hubs! When he is with me he is like this wild westie, no manners haha ~

  • You won’t be disappointed trust me. I am one of the ones that is for obedience training. I taught Yuki a lot though, like sit, down, stay, play dead….etc. After informing the instructor at petsmart, we skipped beginners course and went straight to intermediate.

    You’ve read about Yuki’s problems, so all the exercises we did in the class we still use. It went beyond cute tricks into practical everyday obedience. Yuki learned heel, walk fast and slow. How to greet and act properly around a stranger. How to sit and stay with distractions. How to sit stay while you completely walk away out of site. There were so many more things she learned. It’s different when you have an anti social dog, doing all these things in public as opposed to doing it on your own at home. It’s great for the social experience. It made me very proud of her.

    I tried clicker training, but it was to difficult to worry about the clicker, treat, and controlling yuki’s anti social behavior. The trainer was okay with it. Plus great thing was no one else signed up for our class, so it was like having private lessons but we payed for a group class and also had a coupon for a major discount. ;)

    • Kim

      That’s pretty sweet that you got to have private lessons at a lower price! I need to improve Kip’s behavior around strangers. Right now he turns super hyper and falls on his back from pulling on the leash so hard:(

      • well, i don’t know if they’ll cover it in the class you’re taking but this is what yuki’s trainer taught us. if he can sit and stay, make him stay in the sit position while he’s being petted. you can even practice it if he jumps on you or acts hyper, say when you come home from work. it’s something i remind my husband he has to do. when he comes home from work and they’re jumping on him, he says sit/stay and they must remain in the sit position while being pet. when your first teaching them, you should treat them everytime they do it. if they get up from the sit position, your supposed to use your correction word. ours has always been a stern ‘no’ or ‘uh-uh’. they know what they mean. now their ‘treat’ for this command is simply the attention they want when my husband comes home.

        • Kim

          I tried this a few times this week, and it worked. The only problem is remembering to take a treat in my pocket with me so I have it when I get back from work.Doh!

  • Sounds like you might’ve caught the dog training bug… Best of luck with your new training class.

    • Kim

      Haha I have! I’m starting to see owning a pet from a whole new perspective:)