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Three Stages of Lure/Reward Training

When training a new puppy, here are guidelines that will help you make you and your puppy successful!

  • To phase out food lures
    To phase out food rewards and replace with life rewards
    To increase reliability by calmly persisting and insisting

Stage One:

Teaching dogs what we want them to do.  Remember we are teaching our puppies English as Second Language — English words for doggy behaviors and actions.

Food Lures -> Hand-signals -> Verbal Commands
Food lures are phased out once the dog learns the meaning of hand-signals (in the very first session) and hand-signals (hand lures) are then used to teach the dog the meaning of verbal commands.  Lure the behavior with a food lure, then fade that to a hand signal.   Say the verbal command first, and then lure the behavior.  Your dog will learn this association and then respond to the verbal command.

Stage Two:

Motivating dogs to want to do what we want them to do.
Food rewards are phased out and replaced with Life Rewards.

Get More-for-less, i.e., more behaviors for fewer food rewards

Differential Reinforcement means only rewarding your dog for above-average responses with better responses receiving better rewards and the best responses receiving best rewards.   Instead of offering a food treat each time, just praise your puppy and offer some physical affection.

Life Rewards — Food rewards are phased out entirely and replaced with Life Rewards.   Dogs must perform a simple behavior, such as Sit,  before meals, before going outside, before play, before greetings, etc.
Stage Three:

Even though a dog may understand the meaning of the verbal command and has been motivated to want to comply, there will be occasions when he doesn’t. However, there are infrequent occasions when absolute reliability is essential for the dog’s well being and safety. Use persistence and insistence to get the response you are looking for.  Basically, make sure follow through and don’t give up.

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