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The Singapore Dog Lifestyle Blog

Category: Training (Page 1 of 8)

Dog Dancing Winners at Crufts 2017

I had a great time yesterday catching up on the dog dancing segment at Crufts 2017 on Youtube. If Crufts is unfamiliar to you, it is the world’s largest dog show, held annually in March in the UK.

Dog Dancing Winners at Crufts 2017

Instagram Stories snippets of various dog dancing routines at Crufts 2017. Find me on instagram @weliveinaflat :P

There’s dog agility, flyball competitions and of course, my favourite part of the show – Heelwork to Music – or dog dancing, at least that’s just how I describe it to people. :P But, nothing beats seeing it. So here are the winners!!

All videos shared are from Crufts Youtube channel here. I don’t own the rights to them, but I just wanted to share my interest in it with you.

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Tried and Tested Tips to help your Thunder-Phobic Dog

If your dog is restless when it looks like rain, starts to salivate and tremble, has uncontrolled bowel movement during thunderstorms, he or she may have thunderstorm phobia.

Thunder phobia is not something that can be cured overnight. But these steps have helped to keep Donna stable and calm during thunderstorms when we are at home. So I hope it will help your dog too.

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What happens after basic obedience class?

Two years after adoption, Donna has finally attended and completed the long-overdue Basic Obedience Training.

She turned 6 this year and the human asks what’s up next for this not quite so young mongrel dog.

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Training this toy poodle to like being stowed in a pet carrier

Toy poodle, Junior, is staying with us for about two weeks. A really short time. I’m not too comfortable with leaving him at home when I want to go out. So it seemed to me a better idea to train him to be comfortable staying in a pet carrier bag, which will enable to bring him out with me.

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Donna takes on the Park Stools

Donna and I are enrolled in a Basic Obedience Course these couple of months and we’ve attended three lessons so far.

You would think we would breeze through the course since Donna is a smart dog and pretty well-behaved when it comes to listening to instructions. But everything we’ve done so far was pretty organic and on the spur of the moment when it comes to teaching her new things.

Consistency is really something difficult for me that I’ve got to manage since I get easily bored. Haha.

The other thing that I’ve got working against me is the weather. Thundery showers almost everyday certainly makes it difficult to do any sort of training with a thunder phobic dog.

In the video below, I’ve taken her out for our evening walk some weeks back. Besides the fun things, I was trying to work her through the exercises – sit, stand, down, lol – outdoors. She is already very good at sit and down to begin with, so I was working more on her stand on command :P

But here are the more fun things on video, for me at least, before she got too distracted by the thunder rambling in the distance. It was a fine day over here, except for that thunder bothering us.

From the distance.  Geez!

Sit – Stay while I run my errands

Sometimes, I take Donna out with me to buy my takeaway lunch. Hawker centers are not pet-friendly, so she can’t exactly come with me.

That’s where Stay comes in handy. I usually set her up in a shady spot. See if you can spot her in the photo below.

Of course, it took time to work on her stay before I could actually leave her sitting by herself in public areas, with me still in her line of sight. i.e. Not achievable in days (at least not for me) so don’t get impatient when training your dog to stay. ;)

She really is very good at her stays now, despite people walking by, a lady opening up an umbrella about 5metre away from her, etc.

Do I worry about somebody taking her away? I always make sure that I can see her and I only leave her in her sit-stay when I can buy from shops with an open storefront. This distance is about the furthest I leave her when buying food. And I never leave her alone when there’s high traffic that can possibly obstruct my line of sight or if there are dubious drunks or characters in the vicinity.

And the thing is, with most people being cautious around bigger dogs, nobody has voluntarily approached her before, with the exception of a lady wheeling her own aged dog in a trolley. That is a story for another day.

So anyway, of course she gets lots of yummy cookies when I got back. I usually give her very meaty treats but I wanted to use up her Halloween cookies within 3 days when they are freshest.  So the many cookies she got made up for the meat treats I guess. – – (Not to mention these yummy cookies are from @chocbanaa and Cotton the Maltese)

One very satisfied Donna.

So satisfied she didn’t want to leave her throne when I tell her to come off it. – –

Waved her paw in the air – I still want more cookies.

Rear end awareness for dogs

What is rear end awareness?

Based on what I’ve been reading, I’ve come to understand that Rear end awareness is used to describe dog’s consciousness of his hind leg movement so that he is able to control his hind leg movements on command or as part of an action he is executing, for example when running and jumping though an agility course.


Why practice rear end awareness?

Being able to walk backwards may seem pretty useless to some, but I’m thinking dog dancing seems pretty fun and rear end awareness is pretty key of much of the dog dancing routines we have seen. I know 1stworlddog used to be pretty focused on rear end awareness because Bodhi kept dropping bars during his agility runs as well. So depending on your individual goals and objectives, rear end awareness may not seem such a pointless exercise after all.


Two rear-end awareness exercises

We started rear end awareness exercises and wrote about it here in April and May, and then October. Unfortunately, I didn’t stay consistent with it so if you see the videos below that I’ve just filmed today. It would seem like we hadn’t really made much progress. :P *Ooops*

Walking backwards practice

Teach your dog to walk backwards – video tutorial at Eileen and Dogs

Pivoting practice

Teach your dog to pivot – video tutorial at Kikopup Youtube

Blogging about it helps me track our *ahem* lack of progress and keeps me honest at least! :P


So we’re going to work harder on these more consistently.


More rear end awareness exercises to try out

Mr N has a list of Five rear end awareness exercises to try out:

  1. Stepping through a ladder without touching the rungs – we’ve never tried it
  2. Pivotingyes, working on it!
  3. Targeting with back paws – not tried that yet
  4. Walking backwardsyes, working on it!
  5. Standing/sitting on tiny objectssort of working on it as part of doggy parkour :P

We’ve only started on three out of five, so there’s a lot more for Donna and I to explore for sure!

 How do you stay motivated to master rear end awareness? What are your goals at the end of the day from working on these exercises with your dog?


The Positive Pet Training Blog Hop occurs on the first Monday of every month. November’s theme is Rear End Awareness but any positive reinforcement training posts are always welcome. You can join the hop here.


It’s Art, not Food, Donna. So Leave it.

Something is off with Donna…

Something seemed awfully off one morning, when the human woke up to find Donna looking very suspicious!

There’s nothing here, human. Move on please!

And then what’s this! The human found tell tale packets of treats from the Halloween Insta-meet in Donna’s crate all torn up and empty.

Somebody surely was having a not-so secret midnight feast of her own!


You know how this is the moment where you grab that camera, hang a sign on the dog that says “I stole and ate all the treats” for that #dogshaming photo?

Yah well, we don’t have those.


Punishment for the thieving dog!

The weliveinaflat-brand of punishment is more torturous than that! TRUST ME!

Referencing the most awesome historical references for the following creative dog torture Instagram accounts:

The so-near-yet-so-far, can-see-cannot-touch Leave It torture!!

1st attempt… wonky kibble text hahahaha

Donna is not impressed. Yah well…

Some dogs will tell you this is easy. Harmony the Golden Retriever and Cocker Spaniel mix from Minnesota says – just don’t look at the food.

I will not look at the food.

Honestly, if it were that easy, then you wouldn’t need to not look at the food.

Some like Sunny would even laugh at the challenge in the face.

Hahahahahaha! – Sunny the Golden Retriever and Border Collie mix 

Hehehehehe! – Santo the Golden Retriever

But the wise will tell you this challenge is nothing to laugh about.

We are all very serious here, says Whitaka the German Sheperd Dog from Pennsylvania.

Very serious! – Odie the Shihtzu

Because there is nothing worse than water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.

How long do I have to keep still please? These are my Halloween treats you know, human. – Donna, mongrel

Come on now, human! – Pepper the Miniature Pinscher, with her name spelled in dog biscuits.


Not really punishment

Of course, the human’s perspective is different from the dogs.

I’ve been playing around with dog food art more as a “leave it” training exercise and a huge lesson in patience with a camera, dogs and dog treats for me.
Wendy Claypool

And you know what, for every good job with the Leave it’s and the Sit-stay’s, Donna gets a reward.

Sometimes, the rewards are hefty as an elephant! :P

I want!


It’s mine!



Teach a dog to Leave it
– http://youtu.be/EVJiwa9LHiw
– http://youtu.be/MHVRg98tBuk 


Much thanks to the named IG accounts who have given us permission to use their photos on this blog!

And you know what, humans need encouragement sometimes too!

Little treat from @ Beaniebeenboo for the humans. Yay! Humans can haz treats too!! Thank you! #notforyouDonnanehnehnehbooboo :P

Positive training with a Scary Cardboard Box

The upcoming Positive Training Blog Hop topic is Positive Training with a Box.

From right at the beginning we noticed Donna had this cautious respect for boxes. We had some big cardboard boxes from electronic goods like the television that we bought. They were sitting in a corner of the living room when we first adopted her.

Donna didn’t go to that corner of the room by herself. And if we were to accidentally throw her toy into the boxes during fetch, she would at most approach hesitantly and then stop and turn around to wait for you to get the toy for her.

So you can imagine, a few months back when I was trying to teach her this stepping up and pivoting trick to build up her rear end awareness, I had difficulty right from the start. You probably need to watch this trick video –  stepping up and pivoting trick – to get a better sense of what I am describing below. I apologise for the inconvenience. I am unable to embed it, as embedding is disabled.

First I had to encourage her to approach the small cardboard box I found for the trick, and as you can see the most she would do was to tap the box with her nail. I rewarded each tiny step she took until she was comfortable placing her paw fully on the box.

Donna taps the scary cardboard box
This cardboard box is a little scary, human

She did that for a while, tapping the box and then looking at me expectantly for her treat. I treated the tapping until she looked comfortable doing that, then I tried to get her to put both paws up on the box before I treat.

You can see she is not too comfortable being on the box although she did get on it. I guess I must have progressed too fast for her at the time. Her mouth was clamped shut and she was looking away at the floor.

Donna is weirded out on the cardboard box
I think it may explode at any time.

The good thing is, once she realised the box was quite stable (I had put a heavy hard cover book inside so it doesn’t slide around and appear unstable to her), she started to lose some of that tenseness.

OK i can do this says Donna on the cardboard box
I’m only doing this because I like your treats you.

A bit of lip licking showing that she is not totally comfortable still. The box is starting to depress from her weight.

She focused on the treat and her tail appeared happier.

Hand it over, human.

She was so focused on the treat… she moved her paws to the edge of the box.

The things I do for scraps… really, human. 

Treating and trying to build positive associations with her standing on the box. I was using fresh boiled meat cut into tiny squares, so I could reward her with quantity when she did particularly well. I hoped she felt that she had won a windfall, I guess. Haha! :D

The cardboard box kept silent all this time, despite it being the object that was stepped on. What a pushover!

Sometimes, the human may say let’s train pivoting, but the dog really is at a different point where she is not ready for it. So we took it slowly with this. I was eventually able to get Donna to have her front paws on the box while moving her back paws at least half a circle around the box from either direction. That was with me standing at her side and luring her still. But at that point, she generally looked more engaged and happy than these set of photos show. That was as far as I progressed before I got distracted by other tricks. :P

Since the theme for the blog hop is training with the box, I tried this with Donna again today, but found that she no longer responds as well to “pivot“. So that’s another reminder for me to be more consistent if we are to make any headway with the box, so that eventually she may learn to pivot around me without the box. That’s because my eventual aim was to be able to execute that dog dancing type of move. :P Yup, we’re still a long way from that goal!

The other thing that happened towards the end of our session today was that Donna put too much pressure on the edge of the box where she was standing, so that it flipped and that startled her. So unfortunately, that puts us back to the start line. Donna is now cautious with the box again and would only tap on the box.

So I now have some counter conditioning work I need to do to get us back to where we were before.

Or on hindsight, perhaps I should just substitute the box with a similar replacement?


Positive Pet Training Blog HopThe Positive Pet Training Blog Hop runs every first Monday of the month. For next Monday, October 6th, the theme of the month is 101 Things To Do With A Box. Here are examples of some box training game fun from the hosts: Tenacious Little Terrier & Cascadian Nomads. And also a Sophia Yin article and  Karen Pryor article. If you blog, even if you have no box story, you can still share a positive training post of yours. Join us!

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