A blog about dog training and dog breeding…and other sundry matters

Posts tagged ‘dog training tips’

Housetraining Tip of the Day #5

Always accompany you dog or puppy to the great outdoors when he needs to relieve himself, especially in the early stages of training, and preferably by taking him out on a leash.  That way you can a) ensure that he really has gone before bringing him back inside and b) you will be able to praise him to high heaven when he does go.

Being a Successful Clicker Trainer–Tip 10

Use treats for training new behaviors, and toys/games for motivation after the behavior is learned.  Using treats in the initial stages of teaching a behavior allows for the learning process to progress without breaking the dog’s concentration, and it is faster.  Bring out the toy when you’re training for latency or to provide further motivation.

Being a Successful Clicker Trainer–Tip 9

Break behaviors down into small components.  This is especially true if you are shaping a behavior, which is actually a very powerful way to train.  If you are training a “down,” for instance, and the dog is not readily offering you one, you may click the individual movements that make up the “down.” So at first you’d maybe click and treat the dog’s head moving downwards first.  Then after the dog readily offers you the lowered head, the next thing he’d most likely do is extend a paw.  Click and treat that.  Before long you will be clicking and treating both elbows on the ground.

Being a Successful Clicker Trainer-Tip 8

Train when your dog is hungry.  The best time to train is just before his dinner time.  You can use part of the dog’s dinner as his reward, if he really enjoys his food, or you can use something that the dog doesn’t usually get to eat.  The treat should be something that the dog really enjoys.

Being a Successful Clicker Trainer–Tip 7

Fade lures early.  If you use lures to get behaviors (not my favorite way to train), then be sure to fade the lure after 3-5 repetitions.

Being a Successful Clicker Trainer — Tip 6

Distance. Now that your dog will sit for up to a minute with one or two distractions, you may add distance.  In Tip 5 you practiced walking circles around your dog.  Now that your dog is accustomed to you shifting positions, adding distance is simple.  After your dog sits on cue, take one step ahead of him then turn and face him.  At this point you do not want to combine duration yet, so return to him, then click and treat. Once he gets this and sits comfortably, gradually add steps away from him, one step at a time before you stop to face him. 

stay tuned for Tip 7

Being a Successful Clicker Trainer–Tip 5

Distractions.  Once the dog is sitting comfortably and reliably for about 45-55 seconds, add one distraction, like walking once around the dog.  Some dogs will get up if you try to walk around them.  That’s normal, but you don’t want him to get into the habit of breaking position.  To prevent this, simply move one small step at a time, remembering to click and treat if the dog stays while you move.   So instead of walking completely around the dog, ending up with him on your left side, simply take one step and stand in front of him.  Click and treat.  Remember to stay close to him as you do this.  Gradually add further steps once the dog begins to get comfortable, until you are walking circles around the dog.  Gradually add more distractions one at a time, like pulling out his favorite toy and simply holding it, then later squeaking the toy, then perhaps tossing the toy into the air and catching it.

Tomorrow we will work on adding distance.  Stay tuned.  You can also follow me on twitter for updates.

Being a Successful Clicker Trainer-Tip 4

Work on the Three Ds separately–these are duration, distance, distractions.  After your dog sits on cue fluently, only then do you begin to add duration (the stay).  To do this, simply delay the click incrementally by seconds.  So at first you’ll click after counting 1-po-tat-o (these four syllables take one second to say).  After the dog sits reliably for one second, then increase to 2-po-tat-o.  If the dog gets up, or shifts position, put him back in a sit, and increase the duration by a fraction of a second. So this time you’ll click and treat only after counting 1, or 1-po, gradually adding syllables as needed. 

Tomorrow we will work on adding distractions, one at a time.  Stay tuned.  You can also follow me on twitter for updates.

Being a Successful Clicker Trainer–Tip 3

Have a goal before you take your dog out to train.  Make the goals small and attainable for your dog.  If he is only just learning to sit, you could spend a training session rewarding the dog for simply sitting without paying too much attention to HOW he sits.  You can always increase your criteria in subsequent sessions.

Being a Successful Clicker Trainer–Tip 2

Keep lessons short.  Once your dog is enjoying his lesson, stop.  This ensures that your dog will look forward to future training sessions. You want to stop training before the dog gets tired or bored, or frustrated.  Don’t give the dog the opportunity to decide when a training session should end.  That’s your job.

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