ClickerSolutions Training Articles

Tips for Success

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. Train off-leash whenever possible. Remember, the leash is a tether for safety - it's not a training tool.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 anytime.

  8. 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.

  9. 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 the relationship.

  10. 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.

Melissa Alexander
mca @
copyright 1999 Melissa Alexander


| Training Articles Contents || Site Home |

List and Site Owner: Melissa Alexander, mca @