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A Few Tricks To Help Any Dog Trainer

96th Street subway, uptown side, Oct 2009 – 25
dog training>Products” src=”http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2564/4021540145_1967538006.jpg” width=”300″/><br/><br />
<i>Image by <a href=Ed Yourdon
Note: this photo was published as an illustration in an undated (Nov 2009) Mahalo blog titled "How Long Does Swine Flu Last?", at www-dot-mahalo-dot-com-slashhow-long-does-swine-flu-last. It was also published in an undated (Oct 2010) Lens BH! blog, with the same title as the caption I had put on this Flickr page. And it was published in an undated (Nov 2010) Digital Camera Products Review blog titled "What’s Small, Compact, and Captures Memories?"

Moving into 2011, the photo was published in an Aug 29, 2011 blog titled "Avoid Punishing Your Dog by Rewarding Good Behaviour."


The streets were wet when I got up this morning, and the weather forecast called for rain throughout the day. As it turned out, the forecasters were wrong; but not wanting to expose my digital camera to a potential downpour, I decided to spend my half-hour of free time, during my lunch-break, down in the local subway station, where I knew I could stay dry. It was also my second opportunity to try out the combination of a new 70-300mm VR full-frame zoom lens with the high-ISO capability of my Nikon D700 full-frame camera. So I set the ISO meter to 6400 (yeah, yeah, I know that the newly-announced Nikon D3X can go all the way up to ISO 110,000 — but 6,400 is still a pretty awesome to me), found a quiet bench on the downtown side of the 96th Street IRT line (as opposed to last week’s adventure on the uptown side), and sat patiently to see what would happen across the tracks, on the uptown side…

For the first 15 minutes, I didn’t see anything at all worth photographing. But then, little by little, interesting people began shuffle past, or sit for a few moments on the wooden bench across the tracks. Or maybe they were there all along, and maybe it just took me a while to get "in the zone" and begin to appreciate why they were interesting and photogenic. I got a consistent sense of solitude, isolation, wistfulness and even loneliness in today’s collection of subjects; maybe the gloomy weather up above made them all pensive, or maybe they were just tired at the end of a long work-week. Or maybe they just had a lot on their minds, what with the economy and the swine flu and all of life’s other frustrations and disappointments. Whatever the reason, there were only one or two cases where I saw people laughing, smiling, or chatting cheerfully with one another.

I also took a couple of shots of people inside a subway car — sometimes through the window of the uptown train on the other side of the track, and occasionally of the downtown train when it stopped right in front of me (temporarily blocking my view of the activity across the track). In one case, the subway door opened right in front of me, and a young woman stared vacantly in my general direction while various other passengers wandered into, and out of, various subway cars. I pointed my camera in her general direction while I sat on the wooden bench, opened up the zoom as far as I could — i.e., 70mm — aimed it in her direction, and pushed the shutter button. With a wide-angle lens, this kind of "hip shot" often works reasonably well, even if I have to do a lot of cropping; but it was sheer luck that I got the woman framed almost perfectly with the 70mm setting on the long-telephoto I was using today.

As with the last subway group that I shot at ISO 6400, there’s a little bit of noise/graininess in these images — but I decided to leave them that way. I did adjust the "hot spots" (areas over-exposed from the fluorescent lighting in the subway station) and "cold spots" (shadows and dark areas), and punched up the color a little bit. But aside from that, this is yet another view of the typical daytime scene on a typical NYC subway line…


Over the years, I’ve seen various photos of the NYC subway "scene," usually in black-and-white format. But during a recent class on street photography at the NYC International Center of Photography (ICP), I saw lots and lots of terrific subway shots taken by my fellow classmates … so I was inspired to start taking a few myself.

So far, I’m taking photos in color; I don’t feel any need to make the scene look darker and grimier than it already is. To avoid disruption, and to avoid drawing attention to myself, I’m not using flash shots; but because of the relatively low level of lighting, I’m generally using an ISO setting of 800 or 1600 — except for my most recent photos with my new D700, which are all shot at ISO 6400.

I may eventually use a small "pocket" digital camera, but the initial photos have been taken with my somewhat large, bulky Nikon D300 DSLR; and today’s were taken with an even bulkier Nikon D700. If I’m photographing people on the other side of the tracks in a subway station, there’s no problem holding up the camera, composing the shot, and taking it in full view of everyone — indeed, hardly anyone pays attention to what’s going on across the tracks, and most people are lost in their own little world, reading a book or listening to music. But if I’m taking photos inside a subway car, I normally set the camera lens to a wide angle (18mm) setting, point it in the general direction of the subject(s), and shoot without framing or composing.

So far it seems to be working … we’ll see how it goes…

Dogs are naturally curious, which at times can lead to big time disasters! Do not despair. With some patience, and a little training, your unruly mutt can be better behaved in no time.

If a dog is experiencing separation anxiety, you need to increase its base of social support. Having relationships with several humans will prevent the dog from developing an unhealthy fixation on its owner.

Use positive reinforcement rather than treats when training your dog. Giving dogs treats to learn new behavior does work. However, you probably are not going to have treats on you constantly. Good behavior can be rewarded with petting and hugging, which are two great treat replacements.

Use your dog’s name whenever you are offering it a treat. You will not be able to control your dog if you do not get his attention first. Get your dog’s attention this way ten times every day. Never call your dog over to you in order to punish it, either.

If you want to train your dog the right way, consider enrolling in an obedience class. Obedience class instructors know how to solve a variety of issues, like constant barking and general disobedience.

It’s important your dog always has an understanding of right from wrong. This means to set firm rules for everyone to follow regarding your pet. This quickly cancels out any efforts on your part!

Everyone that lives in your home should know the same dog commands. Avoid confusion when it comes to disciplining your dog; keep command words consistent throughout the household. Your dog is less likely to become confused and will respect everyone in the household if your family makes a few efforts.

You will have to buy a big bed if you have a big dog. Plenty of pet brands make dog beds sized for larger breeds. A crib mattress is also a viable alternative. This is a great alternative because you can easily put a variety of covers on it and wash them regularly. This is also good because mattresses for cribs are waterproof.

Make sure you are consistent when you train your dog. Write down a list of all the commands you use, and inform anyone who commands the dog to use the words on the list. Only reward for good behavior. Bad behavior must have its own reaction. Different training methods will only confuse your dog and delay training.

When dogs become bored or anxious, they often chew on items. Confining him to a safe space like a dog crate and giving him a safe chew toy will allow him to stay busy working on a project while he awaits your return.

Understanding what motivates your pet will give you a leg up in your training. While your dog is learning what you are teaching him, you are learning what methods your dog responds to the best. All dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, so keep this in mind while training you dog. Dogs are much easier to train when they are happy.

Even the most well-trained dog is still a dog; remember how important it is to provide him with outlets to engage in natural, canine behaviors. Your dog requires a healthy diet, room to exercise, and plenty of activities and toys to keep him or her busy.

If you want to train your dog, avoid playing any sort of control games like tug of war. In addition to tug-of-war, games that involve wresting something away from your puppy or chasing each other in any respect, can entice the animal to bite or nip at your hands. These are games you don’t want to play with them until they are a little older and more mature so they don’t get used to the bad behavior of nipping.


Accidents will happen when a puppy is being potty trained. Immediately clean up every accident for training purposes. When a dog uses the house to relive itself, the smell can linger on the carpet if not cleaned properly. You will then have a dog that will continue to use that same spot all of the time. Buy a product specially designed to neutralize odors.

Dog owners are usually thrilled at the almost immediate results they obtain by implementing some basic training techniques into their lives. If you feel like you and your dog are having a hard time, try some of this advice.

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