- Don't think
of behaviors as good and bad - those words carry too many moral implications
that have no place in the dog's existence. Try desirable and undesirable.
- Set your
dog up for success! Manage the dog's environment so he can't make
mistakes. When training, keep your criteria low enough that the dog
can be successful frequently.
- Don't be
afraid to have a high rate of reinforcement. Your dog won't be spoiled
- he'll be eager to work because it's fun!
- Divide your
dog's food into tiny portions and have him work for it throughout
the day. Some dogs, such as herding breeds, actually prefer to work
for their food.
- Train off-leash
whenever possible. Remember, the leash is a tether for safety - it's
not a training tool.
- Don't have
treats in your hand or on your person when you train, if possible.
It's okay to delay delivery of the treat for a few seconds while you
walk to a bowl.
- Keep treats
stashed in bowls out of the dog's reach all over the house, and carry
a clicker all the time. That way you can reinforce desirable behaviors
- Change the
picture a little bit every time you ask for a behavior. Change your
position. Change locations. The only thing that should be consistent
is the cue.
- Ignore undesirable
behavior as much as possible. Every time you reinforce a desired behavior,
it's like adding money to a bank account. The more money in that account,
the stronger the relationship with your dog. Positive punishment -
even if effective - removes money from that bank account, and it weakens
- If you do
use a physical correction, look at the effect. Did the behavior not
only stop temporarily, but happen less frequently? If not, it wasn't
a correction - it was abuse.
mca @ clickersolutions.com
copyright 1999 Melissa Alexander
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