Practice rewarding good behavior often.
Any time your dog is doing something great- or is simply not barking, digging or being a problem, tell him about it! Be on the lookout for all behaviors you want your dog to continue. Observe your dog and whenever he does something you like, simply say, “Good dog” and give him a piece of kibble or a training treat. For example, reward your dog whenever he sits, lies down, stops whining/barking/howling/growling (shushes), stops jumping (four on the floor), looks at you, or looks cute. After you exercise your dog practice getting your dog settled down. Settle your dog down by giving a chew toy that s/he cannot resist. Sit on the dog bed with him or on the floor and if s/he is not food aggressive just pet him calmly rewarding for good calm behavior.
Alert Trainer to behavior problems at home via email. Behavior blue prints: email or give me a call this week about any common behavior problems. I have many blueprints which are short, to the point readings that address many common behavior problems. If you have one of these behavior problems please let me know and I will send you the corresponding behavior blueprint. If you follow the instructions on the print you can alleviate most of these problems. If that does not solve your problem ask questions and perhaps for a private consultation. Behaviors addressed include destructive chewing, digging, problems with children, excessive barking, fear of people, fighting, home alone, housetraining, getting a new dog or a new puppy, walking on a leash, and puppy biting. Let me know if you are having any behavior problems at home. If you can email about any problems, that would be fantastic.
READ THE FOLLOWING TRAINING GUIDELINES- Very important!
Best Buddy K9 Training Guidelines:
Be Patient and go from low to high distraction areas. If you are patient you and the dogs you are training will accomplish much more. If you are stressed about it your dog will feel that stress and it will not be the fun that training is supposed to be. When you first start training at home, try your best to get in a place with no there are no other dogs around and where there are as few distractions as possible. Once your dog knows a command well you can move to a higher distraction area. You will teach the behavior while on a walk for example. There are many cues that you will learn in class that can be reinforced while out on the walk. Asking them to change direction on the walk with the verbal cue “this way” teaches them to change direction and to pay attention to you. Once your dog can perform the behavior you are teaching in a low distraction area, move to a higher distraction area and then increase the level of distraction until your dog can perform for you anywhere.
Make It FUN & Keep sessions short! Training should be a fun game, not a stressful experience. Some dogs love training and are very motivated to go on for longer periods of time, while others get bored after just a few minutes. Try to use rewards that will keep the dog motivated. If she is not interested in your reward the motivation to perform will not be there. Use an enthusiastic, happy voice when training and while getting the dog interested- but not overly excited or the dog may become too excited to accomplish anything. 5-10 minute sessions3-4 times a day (or as many as you and your dog would like) are perfect. Don’t overdo it; you want your dog to always want to come back for more.
Cue Words: When the dog does the behavior correctly you will need to “mark it” within one second and then reward it fairly quickly as well. This brief mark or cue precisely marks that moment the dog did the behavior, letting the dog know exactly what action is being rewarded. Although the actual food reward follows the marker a couple of seconds later, the dog learns to fully understand what behavior is being rewarded. This will make it much more likely s/he will repeat the behavior. Any word can be used as a marker and clickers work very well because they create a distinct sound - but the key is to be consistent. Your marker word can be “YES! Or “Good!” in an enthusiastic happy voice. It is also perfectly fine to use a clicker as long as it is paired with the word “YES or “Good!” Be consistent- always use the same marker word. The program instructor will show you how to create a positive association between the clicker and the behavior if you are interested in learning the clicker method. It can really happen the first time you teach the dog sit or “watch me” because you immediately pair the marker sound with a behavior and a reward. If you say yes, good boy/girl, and pet the dog as a reward, that is fine too as long as your first word marker “YES” is clear, enthusiastic and separate from any other words.
Do not add the cue word until your dog is doing the behavior 90% of the time. Stay is the exception to this. Once you add the cue word always say the cue word, the behavior you want them to do, BEFORE you lure them into position. Within one second of them getting the behavior right say “yes” &/or click and treat. The basic steps are:
For example: 1. Say, “Sit,” 2. Lure the dog to sit by moving a food lure upwards in front of the dog’s nose, so that 3. As the dog raises his head to follow the food, he compensates by lowering his rump to the ground and sits — the desired Response and so, 4. Reward the dog with a scratch behind his ear, by throwing Tennis Tug ball to retrieve, or simply just give him the food.
Be Aware of the Training Goals in lure reward training: Our first goal is to get the dog to perform a behavior through luring. This teaches them the hand signals. Our next goal is to add the verbal cue and to get them to perform the behavior with the verbal and hand signal. Our final goal is to get them to perform the behavior with the hand signal or the verbal signal alone. In other words when you say “down” your dog should go down with no hand signaling. Or if you want him to go down with only the hand signal and no verbal cue that is the other part of the final goal. This is important- you may not always be able to give hand signals if your hands are full or if you are too far away from your dog. In other instances perhaps you are talking to a friend, you may want to be able to give the hand signal for down and you do not want to stop your conversation. This is an excellent test of training obedience.
Help Dog Reactive Dogs Be More Successful: If your dog is barking aggressively towards another dog on a walk, turn around and walk the other way until the dog calms down. Allowing him to continue to walk forward lunging toward the other dog is accidentally rewarding a bad behavior which makes it worse. You are better off walking the other direction for a little while until the dog you are walking calms down, or the other dog has passed. Reactive dogs like this can be rewarded when they are further away from other dogs and show signs of doing anything besides reacting to (barking or lunging) toward the other dog. Once we have learned the attention “watch me” cue in class you can use this to get your dog to pay attention to you instead of other dogs and thereby can circumvent any problems with your dog barking or lunging at the other dog. If your dog is barking or lunging at another dog usually it means your dog is stressed out. You need to change that stress response to one of contentment. We will learn how to do that in this course.
Phase Out Treats as a Reward. Food can be used to train the dog initially but you should move toward fading the food out and using other types of rewards as quickly as possible. Once a behavior is performed correctly 95% of the time, begin treating every other time, then every third time, and so forth but make this totally random. The length of time this takes is all dependent on the particular dog you are training. If possible, try to phase into using a treat one time, verbal praise and petting the next. If your dog likes toys, that is an excellent thing to reward them with. Once the dog is performing the behavior you want, it is actually more reinforcing to NOT treat every time, but every other time and then even only give treats sporadically and randomly. If you treat every other time dogs learn that on second trail they don’t have to perform as well. That is why it is important to be random with the treating as they progress. It is important to keep your dog guessing as to when they will get the reward. For example treat every other time, then every third time, twice in a row, every fifth time, every 10th time, twice in a row, every 20th time, etc. Keep it totally random. If you phase out too soon they may stop performing the behavior so go back to kindergarten and show them again. Just remember at first treat a lot, and then demand more correct behaviors before rewards as time goes on. ALWAYS however give praise. That is never too much.
Never Reward bad Behavior: ARE YOU TRAINING YOUR DOG TO GO IN THE TRASH OR ON THE COUNTER?
Rewarding bad behavior even by accident teaches the dogs that the bad behavior is getting them what they want. If you are teaching “down” for example and the dog’s butt comes up, she will not necessarily do it correctly the next time. When we get to and teach “leave it” and the dog goes for it and you are not close or fast enough to take it away, she is just learning that she just needs to get to it faster than you. If you are at the end of the walk and ask the dog to sit and he just stands there and you reward him anyway or leave before he actually sits, that is an example of reinforcing a behavior that you do not want, which will make training much more confusing and less productive for the dog. Leaving food on the counter and leaving the dog unsupervised so that s/he has access to the food actually trains the dog to go on the counter. Never leave food on the counter unless you know your dog does not do this.
When your dog jumps up on you: Give him an alternative behavior to perform- such as sit or down and if that doesn’t work give him a brief time out. Do not pet him and reward him for jumping up, even pushing him down repeatedly can be a fun game for him. So you must 1. Get him into a sit and stay (and then you can pet him) and if that fails give him a brief time out (Usually one minute even works). You can give him a time out in a quiet room or by stepping on his leash down low so that he cannot jump. When he is calm you can let him go. This may take MANY repetitions. Do not give up. It will change if you are consistent. Whatever you do, do not hurt or knee the dog. Pushing him back down does not always work- ignoring is a more constructive method because the dog gets absolutely no reward from you (including attention.)
Ways to sit, down, and wait for the food bowl:
Lure your dog by raising a food treat above his head until gravity takes over and his rump hits the ground. (You can use a toy instead of food to lure the dog as well.) When the dog’s rear hits the ground, immediately say “Yes!” and reward with a food treat. Once the dog understands how to “sit” with the treats and the behavior has been performed reliably multiple times, work towards teaching sit with the hand signal facing palm up. Each time you raise your hand with your palm up, the dog should sit. As always reinforce each behavior with treats each time at first, then work towards rewarding less and less, treating randomly and very gradually building to less treats/rewards. This takes time and many sessions. Eventually the dog should sit with no reward and many sits should be expected before rewarding. Soon sit will be required for each door to open and the door opening will be the reward.
Tip 1. Wait until the dog is doing the behavior reliably before adding in a verbal cue. That is, do not say the word “Sit” until the dog is actually performing the behavior. Remember, the cue (your verbal “sit!”) does not cause the behavior; reinforcement (food, praise, petting, toy) causes the dog to want to comply.
Tip 2. Be sure to have the dog’s attention before asking the dog to sit. (See “Watch Me” Command)
Tips 3. Do not ask for more than five sits in a row in one place—too much repetition will start to bore him.
Tip 4. Work on having your dog keep the sit position for several seconds. To build duration, reward your dog multiple times at various intervals while he sits. Then, release the dog with the words “OK let’s go” and walking away gesture to indicate that your dog is free to move out of the sit. (Don’t give a treat after saying the release word; instead give it after he sits.)
Tip 5. As you and dog progress, change the location of where the dog sits in relation to you, so that your dog learns to sit in positions other than facing right in front of you. Your dog should be able to sit on either side of you, facing you, when your back is to the dog, while you are sitting, while you are holding objects, etc. Dogs do not generalize well, so teach your dog that “sit” means putting his rear on the ground no matter where he is.
Tip 6. Do not push on the dog’s rear–this is bad for a dog’s hips and it also teaches them that the push with your hand is the cue and not the spoken word or hand signal.
Tip 7: Some dogs jump up constantly when you attempt to teach them to sit. Many interventions can be tried in these cases. Do not let them jump up and then reward them. Again, that is rewarding undesirable behavior. You may have to hold their collar while you try luring them into position so they do not jump up. One volunteer used this method at first then each time she reached for the dog’s collar he would sit. With repeated training he eventually learned to sit on command.
Wait for Food:
When you lower the food bowl down ask “wait” or (“stay” if you are using stay), as the dog goes for the bowl, pull the bowl away until dog learns to wait, until your student dog has learned this behavior reliably. It is something you can perhaps ask the staff to begin doing regularly with that dog. See the shelter manager for more details.
13. Do the reading below. If you would like to do that later and move on to the next homework, click here:raph here.