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Training

What Makes a Great Training Treat?

Dog Eating Treat Be sure to pick a training treat that your dog enjoys!

The number one question I receive from owners learning to clicker train their dogs: what makes a great training treat? Here are the things I recommend you consider when choosing treats to use while training your dog.

Size

You will be using a lot of treats when training your dog. In order to avoid weight gain, cut your training treats into the tiniest pieces possible. My rule of thumb is that treats should be no larger than the size of a pea; […]

Is your dog a Canine Good Citizen? (May 2022 Update)

Puppy Day School alum Ursus passed the CGC test! Will your dog be next?

Find out this summer! We’re excited to announce two new training opportunities this summer at Crossbones: a new format for our CGC Prep class and an AKC Canine Good Citizen testing event!

Not sure what the AKC Canine Good Citizen test is all about? Check out our blog post about it!

Commit to classes

Our spring experiment with Intro to Agility as a linear class has been very successful! We were inspired to use the format […]

By |2022-08-09T21:50:13+00:00May 9, 2022|Canine Good Citizen, Training|Comments Off on Is your dog a Canine Good Citizen? (May 2022 Update)

The “Don’t Do It” List: Common Dog Training Mistakes

Even though we focus on the positive here at Crossbones, there are some behaviors (performed by both people & dogs) we recommend you avoid. Here are a few mistakes we see frequently enough to complain about them!

#1. You’re using low-value treats in high-distraction environments.

The "Don't Do It" Dog Training List | Spring Forth Dog Academy, Providence RI Not training treats, you guys. Bedtime snacks, perhaps, but not training treats.

The value of your rewards needs to match the distraction level of your environment. Kibble and store-bought dog treats are great for your living room, […]

By |2022-08-09T21:48:55+00:00August 14, 2017|Training|Comments Off on The “Don’t Do It” List: Common Dog Training Mistakes

Why “Paw” is Problematic

Why "Paw" is Problematic | Spring Forth Dog Academy in Providence, RI Photo by Bonner Springs Library (Flickr Creative Commons)

Many of you know that I enjoy teaching my dogs tricks, so today’s post might come as a bit of a surprise. However, there’s one behavior that dog owners love to teach that often interferes with their progress in Day School and makes their training path harder. That behavior? “Paw” or “shake.”

Teaching your dog to put his paw on you to earn praise or a treat is easy and seems like fun. But if your […]

By |2017-07-14T19:15:32+00:00July 14, 2017|Training|Comments Off on Why “Paw” is Problematic

Restricting Water Intake: A Dangerous Housebreaking Trend

Restricting Water Intake: A Dangerous Housebreaking TrendAt Crossbones Dog Academy, we work with a lot of puppies! Over one hundred puppies come to us each year for Puppy Day School and group classes. As a result, we get to talk to a lot of people about puppy raising.

Over the past few months, we have noticed a very concerning trend. Some of our clients were deliberately restricting their dog’s water intake as a potty training strategy.

Generally speaking, most pet dogs have access to water whenever they are not confined to a crate. They naturally limit their […]

By |2020-07-09T13:34:57+00:00May 9, 2017|Puppies, Training|Comments Off on Restricting Water Intake: A Dangerous Housebreaking Trend

Training Your Dog to Come When Called

Coming when called is a behavior that dog owners almost universally desire. A great recall means the difference between participating in a lot of fun activities – such as romps on the beach, playing at the dog park, hiking off-leash in the woods, competing in dog sports – and sitting on the sidelines. We get asked about it so often that we have a class, Come This Way, devoted to building and maintaining this skill!

It is also the behavior that dog owners take for granted in their new puppies, or inadvertently punish by making simple mistakes. Building a strong recall means avoiding […]

By |2017-02-27T16:15:50+00:00February 27, 2017|Puppies, Training|Comments Off on Training Your Dog to Come When Called

AKC STAR Puppy Program

AKC STAR Puppy Testing in Providence, RI | Spring Forth Dog AcademyAre you a responsible puppy owner? The American Kennel Club’s STAR Puppy program is designed to reward owners who take their puppies to training classes. “STAR” is an acronym for the four critical parts of puppy raising: Socialization, Training, Activity, and Responsibility.

The AKC recognizes that well-trained puppies make better companions and are less likely to be relinquished to shelters. In fact, behavior problems are the #1 reason for giving up a dog to a rescue. The STAR Puppy program is an incentive program for […]

By |2016-12-29T22:14:30+00:00December 29, 2016|Puppies, Training|Comments Off on AKC STAR Puppy Program

“New & Completely Different” Flexible Group Dog Training Classes

{{ UPDATE 2018: This is an old blog post! For the most up-to-date details and unbroken links, please visit our Flex Class page for everything you need to know. }}

We’ve held group dog training classes here in Providence for over two years now. We have always been interested in feedback from our wonderful students. Some of the things we heard back about our group class program included:

“They’re too early.”
“They’re too late.”
“That day of the week doesn’t work for me.”
“I’m going on vacation and will miss a class… or two… or three.”
“What if I get sick and skip a week?”
“I […]

By |2022-08-09T21:53:41+00:00November 10, 2016|Group Classes, Training|4 Comments

5 Skills Your Dog Needs to Pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test

Preparing for the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test | Spring Forth Dog Blog Loose leash walking is one of the most important skills to master before taking the CGC test, because it is a part of several test items.

In last week’s blog post, An Overview of the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test, I described the ten elements of the CGC test. Preparing for this test is key. There are a few specific behaviors that not all “well behaved” dogs know.

Preparing for the CGC Test

The CGC test is designed to reward well-mannered dogs […]

By |2022-05-09T22:07:19+00:00October 3, 2016|Canine Good Citizen, Training|Comments Off on 5 Skills Your Dog Needs to Pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test

An Overview of the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test

An Overview of the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test | Spring Forth Dog Blog

Every September, the American Kennel Club sponsors Responsible Dog Ownership Days. On that note, I would like to discuss the Canine Good Citizen program, which rewards responsible dog owners across the country. As an approved AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator, I am often asked about the requirements for passing the test. What does it take to become a Canine Good Citizen?

Eligibility

First, the CGC test is open to dogs of any breed or mix of breeds. One of the most common […]

By |2022-05-09T22:09:11+00:00September 29, 2016|Canine Good Citizen, Training|Comments Off on An Overview of the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test

Puppy Day School Success Story: Alice [VIDEO]

Puppy Day School Success Story - Alice | Puppy Socialization in Providence, RIMeet Alice! She is a 9-month-old Border Collie mix puppy. Her owner enrolled her in our Puppy Day School program to work on her socialization skills around other dogs.

Alice missed her critical socialization period while waiting to be adopted. Then, shortly after coming to her new home, she broke her leg and had to be kept quiet for several weeks. She was nervous of new places, unfamiliar people, and most other dogs.

This is a typical outcome when puppies are underexposed to the “real world.” As […]

By |2016-09-27T00:57:37+00:00September 27, 2016|Training, Videos|Comments Off on Puppy Day School Success Story: Alice [VIDEO]