TIP #1: BUILD A BEHAVIOR
Use this 5-step formula for teaching your dog new behaviors:
1. Get The Behavior - Use a treat (if necessary) to show him what you want. Mark with a click or Yes! the moment he does it, then reinforce him with food.
2. Add The Cue - Repeat step 1 until he does the behavior easily. Then add the word for the behavior just before he does the behavior and lure him with the treat, if necessary. Mark and treat.
3. Fade The Lure - As soon he has made the connection between the word and the behavior, fade the lure so he will offer the behavior even if you don’t have a treat in your hand.
4. Put It On A Variable Schedule - When he will perform the behavior for you without a lure in your hand (you’re still marking and treating!), put it on a schedule of variable reinforcement. Start skipping an occasional mark and treat, just reinforcing with praise. Very gradually increase the frequency of skipped ones, so your dog learns to keep working even if he doesn’t get a mark and treat every time.
5. Generalize - Generalizing is when an animal learns that after a behavior is establish in one particular environment or with one particular person, it should also occur in all other environments with everyone. Practice at parks, on walks around the block, in parking lots, in stores that allow dogs, at your vet……..
TIP #2: START CRATE TRAINING EARLY
A crate, or, in other words, short-term close confinement, can be used to help dogs teach themselves two very important skills. The first is eliminating only when and where it is appropriate. The second skill is keeping out of trouble - behaving appropriately in the house. Without these two skills, a dog doesn't have much of a chance in this world.
When the crate is properly introduced using positive training methods, most dogs love their crates. Canines are den animals and a crate is a modern den - a dog's personal portable bedroom that he can retire to when he wants to escape from the trials and tribulations of toddlers and other torments. He can take it with him when he stays at boarding kennels, and when he travels with you and sleeps in hotels and motels.
A crate is inappropriate for long-term confinement. While some puppies are able to make it through an eight-hour stretch in a crate at night, you should be sleeping nearby and available to take your pup out if he tells you he needs to go.
During the day, a puppy should not be asked to stay in a crate longer than two to four hours at a time; an adult dog no more than six to eight hours. Longer than that and you risk forcing Buddy to eliminate in his crate, which is a very bad thing, since it breaks down his instinctive inhibitions against soiling his den.
- Whole Dog Journal
Kelly is a big puller, so before our training began we outfitted her with a front-clip harness, which helped a lot. What also helped was consistently changing directions when she did pull, and clicking/treating when she was walking with us. Within 15 minutes she was walking considerably better, with much less pulling and even offering her attention. With practice she will only get better.
Jasper already knew Sit and Down but we taught him how to respond to hand signals, which he did very well. We then brought in Ginger and had Jasper down/stay on the couch while we worked with Ginger, which he could do for a full minute. One minute may not sound like much but it was a major accomplishment for a high-energy dog like Jasper.
We concluded Sable's basic manners training by working on her door greetings and jumping. She has done such a great job and I will miss working with her and her family.
Counter surfing training was on today's agenda with Sherman because his terrific nose leads him astray. We began by leasing him then putting some goodies on the counter. When he would turn his attention away from the counter and look at us we would click and treat. No verbal marker from us, as we want him self correct. Eventually we will click/treat him for not paying any attention to anything on the counter, then gradually fade that out as well.
TIP #1: THE 3Ds
When you work to change your dog’s bad feeling about something, there are three factors you can adjust to make sure you stay within her comfort zone. We call those factors the 3 Ds.
Distance: Put more distance between your dog and whatever is scaring her.
Duration: Keep interactions between your dog and whatever is scaring her short. A few seconds is a good place to start.
Distraction: Distract your dog with a cheerful voice and treats.
If your dog shows any sign of discomfort (pulling away, ducking, barking), adjust one or more of the Ds: Get further away, dish out more treats, or shorten the time your dog spends in the situation.
TIP #2: INTRODUCING THE CLICKER
First, teach your dog the value of the click. Begin the lesson by hand-feeding all your dog's meals over the next four days. In general, I find that hand-feeding is a good exercise to reintroduce whenever my dogs (or other dogs that I am boarding and training) are learning a new, difficult skill, or when I sense that they are beginning to lose focus.
1. CLICK AND HAND-FEED Sit on a chair or, if it's easier, on the floor and have your dog sit in front of you. With her food bowl in your lap or at your side, hold the clicker where your dog can't focus on it. Be silent and keep other sounds to a minimum. As soon as you click, hand-feed a bite of food. When your dog finishes the bite of food, pause for a moment, make sure you have your dog's focus on you or on her food, and then click again. Let your dog see you reach immediately into the bowl for her next handful. Pause once more before clicking again. Repeat these steps about five times to help your dog begin to make the connection between the click and the food. Most dogs pick this up fairly fast and enjoy this new game.
2. PAUSE BEFORE FEEDING This time, pause a second longer for the click; continue to feed immediately after the click. On each of the next five handfuls, lengthen the intervening pause by one additional second. Then, on the next five handfuls, randomize the length of pauses between clicks from one to the 10 seconds. Keep giving the food immediately after the click. Remember to stay silent.
3. KEEP HER FOCUS Your dog's happy, animated body language will let you know she is getting the connection between the click and the food. Once she figures that out, try adding a slight delay after the click before giving her each handful of food. Watch your dog to see if she is looking at the food after the click; this means she understands that a treat will follow each sound of the clicker. It also means she is having fun learning what, to her, is another game.
For subsequent meals, go through Step One more quickly, saving more of the meal for Steps Two and Three. Within a few days, your dog should be making a clear connection between the click and the food. Remember to hand-feed her at different locations to help generalize the connection between the click and the treat.
- excerpted from Training The Best Dog Ever
We did a quick cleanup of Murphy's Sit and Down, then went to work teaching him Leave
It. He did great in the house, even with the cat food, so we took him outside to the chickens.
With the chickens in their coop and Murphy on leash, he was able to respond to Leave It when cued.
Zoey protects certain items from her puppy brother, Buster, so we started a counter-
conditioning program today by treating and praising Zoey whenever Buster approached
her when she is in possession of bones and toys, and when she is on the couch with her people. By doing this she will create a positive association with the puppy being around her things..
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI