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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Super Dog Program

In my last post, I mentioned about a special canine program that can enhances a dog’s intelligence and work abilities. The U.S. Military developed a method that serves as a guide to what works. In an effort to improve the over all performance of dogs used for military purposes, the program was called “Bio-Sensor” and later became known as the “Super Dog” Program. Based on years of research, the military learned that early neurological stimulation exercises could have important and lasting effects. Their studies confirmed that there are specific time periods early in life when neurological stimulation has optimum results. The first period involves a window of time that begins the third day of life and lasts until the sixteenth day. It is believed that because this interval of time is a period of rapid neurological growth and development, and therefore is of great importance to the individual.

The “Bio Sensor” program was also concerned with early neurological stimulation in order to give the dog a neurological system. Each workout involved handling puppies once each day. The workouts required handling them one at a time while performing a series of five exercises. Listed in order of preference the handler starts with one pup and stimulates it using each of the five exercises. The handler completes the series from beginning to end before starting with the next pup. The handling of each pup once per day involves the following exercises:

  1. Tactical stimulation (between toes)

  2. Head held erect

  3. Head pointed down

  4. Supine position

  5. Thermal stimulation

  1. Tactical stimulation

Holding the pup in one hand, the handler gently stimulates (tickles) the pup between the toes on any one foot using a Q- tip. It is not necessary to see that the pup is feeling the tickle. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds

  1. Head held erect

Using both hands, the pup is held perpendicular to the ground, (straight up), so that its head is directly above its tail. This is an upwards position. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.

  1. Head pointed down

Holding the pup firmly with both hands the head is reversed and is pointed downward so that it is pointing toward the ground. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.

  1. Supine position

Hold the pup so that its back is resting in the palm of both hands with its muzzle facing the ceiling. The pup while on its back is allowed to sleep struggle. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.

  1. Thermal Stimulation

Use a damp towel that has been cooled in a refrigerator for at least five minutes. Place the pup on the towel, feet down. Do not restraint it from moving. Time of stimulation 3-5 seconds.

These five exercises will produce neurological stimulation, none of which naturally occur during this early period of life. Experience shows that sometimes pups will resist these exercises, others will appear unconcerned. In either case a caution is offered to those who plan to use them. Do not repeat them more that once per day and do not extend the time beyond that recommended for each exercise. Over stimulation of the neurological system can have adverse and detrimental results. These exercises impact the neurological system by kicking it into action earlier than would be normally expected. The result being an increased capacity that later will help to make the difference in its performance. Those who play with their pups and routinely handle them should continue to do so because the neurological exercises are not substitutions of routine handling, play socialization or bonding.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Incredibly Intelligent Dogs

Have you heard of or seen a Mondioring or Schutzhund Competition? If you are a dog enthusiast who likes to see amazingly intelligent sporting canines or perhaps experience the thrill of the Dog Sports, I suggest you attend any of the events(You may visit the site for their schedules). I have been attending the Philippine Mondio Ring Competition for a couple of years now, and it is really fun and exciting to watch the different sporting dogs exhibiting their remarkable intelligence in various exercises such as obedience, guarding , protection, and agility. These K-9s are really awesome and I salute their trainers. I noticed that most of the dogs that usually excel in the sport are Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd Dogs. In my opinion, genetics contributes on how well these canines perform. Obviously these are the kind of dog breed suited for the sports. Just like in a Car Racing Sports, an ordinary vehicle is no match to a racing car that has an engine designed to drive tremendous power and speed. In the dog world, the kind of breed, genes, and training are accountable for its winning performance. You may be surprised to know that some of the dogs who compete in the sports were bred from champions to champions and they cost even hundred thousands of pesos. Definitely they are not ordinary dogs, they are raised to compete.

Is it possible for an ordinary dog maybe a mutt to have the traits of an excellent sporting dog? Perhaps yes, there maybe mutts who can equally display or even out star a mondioring or schutzhund champion canine, in fact there is a program which can enhance dog intelligence and that article I will share in my next post.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Training Dogs is a talent or skill anyone could have, just like several years ago, I was not aware that I have the potential to train. It all started with a simple dog play, my mutt’s interest on playing with socks made it possible for me to get her attention and keep her sitting still, I have no idea then how it actually works but the socks really made wonders, so from then on my curiosity and enthusiasm led me to learn more about dog training and their behavior. Training dogs is not really that complex compared to rocket science, though it requires strong determination and plethora of patience.

It is better to understand some of the basics about dog‘s temperament, genetic behaviors and preferences before you actually start training your dog. Generally, knowing your dogs and establishing a strong bond with them is what makes training successful and fun as well. My experiences as a trainer have taught me a lot not only with canines but with people at the same time. I realized that dogs behave and react to situations just like humans. However in the canine world it is simpler.

Before anything else, it is so valuable to create a good relationship with your dog; you should know that dogs are accustomed to live in a pack where there is a leader and a follower. The leader or the alpha dog is the most dominant in the pack while the rest of the canine members become his followers. As a handler and trainer of dogs, you should position yourself as the alpha dog in the pack; the dog should look on you as his ultimate master and friend with all respect. Establishing this kind of relationship with your dog will make your training experience more relax, fun and rewarding.

I came across with different trainers using various methodologies in canine training. The effect and result of any program may vary depending on the approach of imprinting a command that the dog should understand and follow. Moreover, the temperament of the dog and its genetic behavior also contributes to how well it will respond to the training program; this is when dog psychology comes in handy. Reminds me of the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, who knows so much about dog behavior and how he effectively makes dogs to respond positively from uncomfortable situations. Obviously, I find Cesar’s approach effective and he made a great contribution to trainers like me, there are still a lot of good trainers whom I got a share of what I know in the field of dog training. And so, it’s just fair to share what I learned and experienced with those who wish to train their dogs.

Here are a few tips on how to train your dog effectively.

1. Conditioning-Before introducing the exercises or commands to your dog, first you need to get his attention by setting him in a situation that will eagerly makes him follow you, the dog should have interest and enthusiasm in you, dogs love to play and eat so you can entice your dog with a toy he likes or a treat. Some dogs will immediately show excitement simply just by seeing their master, especially when the owners have been away for quite a while. The dog’s enthusiasm is more noticeable during these times: Meal Time, Time to go out for stroll, after the long hours that the dog missed you. You can take advantage of these situations and convert it positively to make your dog do the training exercise you have programmed. CLICK HERE TO check this video on classical conditioning(Preparation for come or recall command)

2. Positive reinforcement- You should always remember that your dog will respond positively to every command as long he/she pleasurably benefits from the task, meaning every command obeyed by your dog should be rewarded; it may be a treat, a toy or a simple praise using your happiest tone of voice, timing in rewarding is also important and must be done within ½ second of the command to ensure that your dog makes the connection between his behavior and the reward. Dogs will most likely remember and repeat the task as long as his experience in doing it is pleasurable. If the dog fails to do the command, simply don’t reward it, but don’t recourse to hitting, spanking and shouting as a form of punishment, no reward is the punishment. The program should be reinforced positively; the moment should be fun and enjoyable experience for you and your dog.

3. Calm and Assertive Trainer’s attitude- You should display a calm and assertive attitude when training your dog, its okay for a dog to show excitement but not for the trainer, you should be relaxed and patient in giving the exercise or command and eventually the dog will also be calm as it follows. It is the attitude an alpha dog should be in a pack. Common mistake that trainers have is becoming overexcited and expecting too much from their canine friends, resulting to overtime training, causing stress and boredom in dogs. Training should be limited to 5 to 10 minutes to maintain the dog’s motivation. Do not force the dog to do the command after several attempts, resume training a few seconds later using a simpler command that you know he will obey then reward him for a job well done and issue a finish command such as “release”. Both the trainer and the dog should be left with a feeling of accomplishment. Don’t expect a wonder dog overnight.

4. Start with Basic Obedience- Basic Obedience Commands include come, heel, sit, down, and stay. It is essential for a dog to be familiar and have a strong foundation with the commands before introducing additional and advance tasks. Keep in mind that dog’s motivation decreases as the difficulty of the command increases. I would suggest starting with the sit and staying command which I find most useful during dog walks on leash. Eventually your dog will able to do more complex task as he progresses. Dog tricks you see in the movies are just a combination of basic and advance commands choreographed so well.

Here are videos you can watch on how to train your dog using basic commands.

SIT (Click to watch video)
STAY (Click to watch video)
DOWN (Click to watch video)
HEEL (Click to watch video)
COME (Click to watch video)

Monitor link