header

Three Stages of Lure – Reward Training

Its very important to phase out food rewards in training your dog as quickly as possible.   Food rewards are a great way to teach new behaviors but you do not want to be dependent on them.

THREE STAGES OF LURE/REWARD TRAINING

  1. To phase out food lures
  2. To phase out food rewards and replace with life rewards
  3. To increase reliability by calmly persisting and insisting

Stage One: 

Teaching dogs what we want them to do. Teaching dogs ESL — 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. .

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 only rewarding your dog for above-average responses with better responses receiving better rewards and the best responses receiving best rewards.

Life Rewards — Food rewards are phased out entirely and replaced with Life Rewards especially the Big Two — Walking on-leash or off-leash and Playing with other dogs.  Big Two Interactive Games — Fetch and Tug

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 behavior.

Bookmark and Share

Some Tips to Help Fearful Dogs

Tips for Interacting with Fearful Dogs.

The following tips on human body language are especially important when dealing with a fearful dog:

  1. Let the dog come to you. If your dog is frightened, she must be allowed to decide whether or not to approach. Don’t restrain your dog and force her to accept contact from others. Remember the “fight or flight” response; if you take away the opportunity for flight, your dog’s choices are limited.
  2. Turn to the side. Facing a dog directly is more confrontational than keeping your body turned partially or completely to the side; even turning your head to the side will make a frightened dog feel less anxious.
  3. No staring, please ! A direct stare is a threat in the animal kingdom (and on New York City subways!). It is perfectly fine to look at your dog; just soften your expression and don’t “hard stare” directly into her eyes. Do not allow children to put their faces near your dog’s face or to stare into her eyes.
  4. Don’t hover. Leaning over a dog can cause the dog to become afraid and possibly defensive. The one time I was bitten while working in a Los Angeles city animal shelter happened when I went to return an adorable, fluffy white dog to her pen. While placing her on the ground, I inadvertently reached over her equally adorable little pen mate who jumped up and bit me in the face.
  5. Pet appropriately. Approaching dogs by patting them on the head is ill-advised. Envision the interaction from the dog’s point of view; a palm approaching from above can be alarming. Demonstrate with kids to teach them how to pet dogs properly. The child plays the role of the dog; tell the child that you will pet him in two different ways, and he is to tell me which is nicer. First,  reach your hand slowly toward the child’s cheek and stroke it, smiling and softly saying, “Good dog!” Next, bring your hand brusquely palm-down over the child’s head repeatedly, while loudly saying, “Good dog, good dog!” Kids almost invariably like the first method better. If dogs could answer for themselves, nine out of ten dogs would vote for the first method as well! It’s not that dogs should never be petted on top of the head, but that head-patting (or petting over the dog’s shoulders, back, or rump) should not be used as an initial approach. It is wiser to make a fist, hold it under the dog’s nose to allow her to sniff, then pet the dog on the chest, moving gradually to the sides of the face and other body parts, assuming the dog is comfortable. Likewise, a hand moving in quickly to grab for a dog’s collar is more potentially fear-inducing than a hand moving slowly to a dog’s chest, scratching it, then moving up to take hold of the collar.
  6. Stoop, don’t swoop. Small dogs in particular are often swooped down upon when people want to pick them up. Fast, direct, overhead movements are much more frightening than slow, indirect ones. To lift a small dog, crouch down, pet the dog for a moment, then gently slip your hands under her belly and chest, and lift.
  7. Watch your smile. While humans interpret a smile as friendly, a dog might not be as fond of seeing your pearly whites. A show of teeth is, after all, a threat in the animal kingdom. Smile at canines with a closed mouth.
Bookmark and Share

Teaching Your Dog Not to Jump

Jumping is a perfectly natural dog behavior.  However, it may not be the way you want your guests greeted when they come to your house.  You have already worked on sit for petting with a person approaching and here are some ideas for addressing the specific situation of people walking in the door at your home (which is different to your dog)

  • Prevention-If you know someone is coming to your house, put your dog away    while your guests   arrive.  When their coats are off and your guests are comfortably seated, release your dog.  If is best if you initially have a leash on your dog and you ask him to do some sits/downs/tricks.  This diffuses the need for a greeting ritual
  • Alternate behavior– Give your dog something to do that is incompatible with jumping on your guests.  Ou can ask your dog to sit or lay down at the door or send your dog to his mat.  These will all work, but will require practice.  Your guests will be one of the most intense distractions your dog will face.  Your work on Leave it, Sit and Down will help
  • Four on the Floor Some people prefer to teach their dog an active greeting as long as he keeps all four feet on the floor.  You can train your dog to do this by C/T each time his feet hit the floor.  Extend the time that his feet remain on the floor by withholding the click (just like you did for increasing the length of sits and downs)
  • Consistency – It is imperative that you be consistent about the behavior that you expect from your dog when guests arrive.  Put a sign on your door to explain what is going on.  This will not only give you a few extra seconds to put your training plan in place, but will also educate your guests about what is expected from them.  Make sure they understand that they should not reinforce the dog (with pats or smiles) for inappropriate behavior
  • Leave dog treats outside your door.  Show your guests how to lure your dog into a sit.  Your guests can then throw the treat down the hall to get the dog out of the vicinity of the door.  If your guests are consistent in asking for a sit, your dog will begin to offer a sit when he hears someone at the door.
Bookmark and Share

More Helpful Training Tips!

HOW TO HAVE A BETTER BEHAVED DOG

We all want wonderfully behaved dogs, but it doesn’t happen on its own just because we wish it.  It takes time and effort to create the kind of dog and relationship you want. Here are some basic principles that can help you have a better behaved dog.

  • Have realistic expectations about your dog. No matter how good your dog is, things will get peed on, chewed or scratched/dug up. Barking / meowing, door dashing and/or pulling on the leash can happen with even the best animal.  Accept the fact that dogs are living beings and not china dolls to sit in the corner.  If you have a dog, some time during his/her life, you will loose something of value. 
  • To change behavior you have to be patient and persistent.  Change will not happen over night.  Sometimes it can take weeks or months to change behavior.  The more time you spend and the more often you work with your dog the quicker the change. Despite what some books say, most puppies can’t be housetrained in 7 days.
  • Recognize and meet your dog’s behavioral needs.  Dogs have needs for exercise, social contact with people and other animals and mental stimulation. Problem-solving toys, can provide mental stimulation. Games such as ‘find the hidden object’ and events such as agility can provide all three. 
  • Make it easy for your dog to do the right thing.  Arrange the environment so that the behavior you want is easily produced. The more often desirable behavior happens the stronger it becomes. For example, minimize distractions when you’re trying to teach your dog something new. Put scratching posts where they are easy for your cat to find and use. 
  • Make it difficult for your dog to do the wrong thing.  Arrange the environment so it is hard for your dog to make mistakes.  The more often unwanted behavior happens the harder it is to change.  Close the blinds to keep your dog from barking at those that pass by.  Scoop out your cats’ litter boxes every day.
  • Realize that animals don’t do things out of spite, for revenge or just to make your life miserable. They do what works – that is, what meets their behavioral needs, gets them rewards or allows them to escape or avoid bad things. They sometimes do some things because they are ill.  Dogs counter surf because they occasionally hit the jackpot of a sandwich or chicken leg.  Cats sometimes pee out of the box because they are sick even when they don’t act sick.
Bookmark and Share

Tips for Barking Dogs

With the quality of lives our dogs are living today as full-fledged members of our families, it’s hard to figure what they have to bark about! But all barks are not equal, and you must diagnose the cause before you can have any hope of eliminating it. Here are some techniques for diagnosing and then modifying this troublesome behavior…

Demand Barking

It is in our nature to respond and comfort the cries of our babies, whether they be of the human or canine persuasion. Of course, cries of true distress should not be ignored, but demand behaviors are a different matter. Yips of protest when your dog is first left alone in the crate, or an attention-seeking pup demanding to be plucked up into your lap, should not get the desired result, or you will be beleaguered by these behaviors for life. Instead, ask your dog for a polite sit (the doggie equivalent of “please”) before petting her. Approach her crate only when she’s calm and quiet. If your puppy barks at you for attention or for food, turn your back to her, or put her food away and leave the kitchen. In so doing, you’re teaching her that these behaviors impede progress rather than hasten it.

Recreational Barking

Recreational barking is often misdiagnosed as separation anxiety because it frequently happens when the family is absent. When barking is the sole symptom, first investigate the possibility that it’s recreational.  The act of barking is self-reinforcing so it is a behavior that is likely to intensify without modification. Increase exercise, particularly before leaving for long periods of time, so that your dog is tired and ready for a rest in your absence. Hire a dog walker to break up the time that he is left alone. Incorporate fun mental challenges like stuffed puzzle toys for your pup to work on in solitude. Leave some classical music playing: It can be relaxing and it can also dampen outside noises that might provoke your dog to bark. As a last resort, the use of a citronella bark collar can inhibit the behavior by establishing an unpleasant consequence.

Barking Due to Separation Distress

Separation distress-related barking (whether it be due to separation anxiety or simply hyper-attachment) usually happens immediately upon being left alone. In the case of separation anxiety, other indicative symptoms are destructive (or self-destructive) behavior, breaking of housetraining in a housetrained dog, or anorexic behavior.

You must treat the underlying cause of your dog’s barking by gradually building his tolerance to periods of separation. Most importantly, never use punishment in an attempt to decrease separation anxiety-related barking, as it will only increase the anxiety in an already anxious dog.

Fear-Driven Barking

Under-socialized dogs may bark when in the presence of certain people, other dogs, or unfamiliar circumstances. My dog Trista barked when she saw horses for the first time on Mackinac Island in Michigan. This was fairly problematic since Mackinac relies on horses and horse-drawn vehicles for the majority of its transport. Within ten minutes of her first contact with horses, Trista was able to sit quietly near horses and even go for a horse-drawn carriage ride with the family. By using desensitization and counter-conditioning the fear was treated and thus her barking was eliminated.

Punishing fear has the same unfortunate result as punishing anxiety – it only escalates the emotional trauma that the dog is experiencing. Treat the fear and the barking will resolve itself.

Communicative Barking

One of my clients has a darling English Bulldog named Bella. Bella is a happy girl and so she should be: She has an affectionate, attentive mom and lives a very good life. There are times, though, when Bella needs to speak up! – when her Tricky Treat Ball rolls out of her reach under the furniture or when she needs a potty break. Bella’s not pushy, though; she lets out a single yap and waits for the attention she requires. This is perfectly appropriate doggie behavior.

Gone are the days when dogs are to be seen and not heard. Communication is a necessary and essential part of our relationships with our canine family members and should not be squelched completely. So, rather than barking back at your dog, identify her grievance – whether it be one of an emotionally stressed dog or of a too-pampered pooch – and treat the cause.

Bookmark and Share

Patience is Key to Training

You know most of us nowadays have WAY too much to do in life in general. I don’t know about you but it seems like if I get to sit down and do nothing for even just a little while it’s a luxury!

You have a job and/or a family or maybe you have another business or volunteer work or you are active in your community or church. Or maybe you just have an active social life.

Anyway sometimes you can be so busy that you wish the dog was just EASIER to deal with! “I don’t have time for all of this right now!”

Have you ever said this? Maybe your dog is starting to “act up” or misbehave and you feel like, “I don’t need this right now!”

Once you start feeling or thinking this you need to go on high alert! You may be about to lose your patience!

A couple of things to remember: First, if your patience is thin, don’t even think about training your dog or trying to fix any behavior problems. Now is not the time to train!

Take a deep breath and get through the situation, whatever it is, without “losing it” and remember: Whatever is going on with your dog you can begin to make changes almost immediately but not if you’re pushed for time or impatient. Your dog will feel your tension and will also feel tense. This will make the situation worse!

Second, remember that one of the keys to getting your dog to behave is for you to be the leader. In the dog world the leader doesn’t “lose it”. The leader is calm and composed.

When you get tired or impatient or pushed for time by your circumstances it’s easy to be frustrated when your dog doesn’t respond like you want.

So if you are having one of those frustrating moments or days when your dog is just not behaving well, don’t lose your patience. When you lose that then you’re not acting like a leader!

Get through the situation by reminding yourself that it can be fixed, but today is not the day. Wait until you have more time or your situation is more convenient to begin the training.

Be patient and be the leader!

Bookmark and Share

Tips for Puppy Biting

Tether the dog and sit on the floor and play with him near his mouth. If he bites you hard, and immediately say “too bad” and walk away from him and ignore him for 20-30 seconds). Take all toys away as well. Return after 20 seconds and repeat. Each time he bites, all attention and fun are immediately removed. This may take lots of repetitions. Practice for 5 minutes 2-3 times a day.

Try to hand-feed him an entire meal one kibble at a time (either breakfast or dinner). Make sure you tell him to sit. If he grabs for the food, remove your hand. Say “Take It” and feed only when he doesn’t grab.

Offer him some food in a closed fist. If you can see a full set of teeth as he grabs for it, withdraw it and, if necessary, move backwards away from him to prevent any tooth-contact. Anyone feeding the dog when he’s grabby and mouthy is reinforcing this behavior! Also, avoid using cues like, “gentle” or “easy.” Otherwise he will learn only to take it softly if he hears those words. That means he’ll continue to grab hard with anyone who doesn’t use those cues or if someone happens to forget to say them.
Hold the food in a closed fist, but present the back of your hand to the dog. You can also make gentle contact with the dog’s nose, first w/ the back of my hand making a circular motion on the tip of the nose. It’s sort of like a massage that helps calm the dog. If the dog continues to remain calm, you slowly reposition your hand down toward the dog’s mouth and then bring your hand around to feed him from the side of the mouth.

He needs good strong chew toys (like the Kong) to exercise his jaw. You can also give him a knotted wet rag that has been in the freezer to help relieve the gum irritation he may have from teething.

If the pup bites calmly redirect pup to the bully stick (or whatever it is the dog is liking…but actually name something and make certain they have lots of the item so it is at hand).

Praise pup for chewing appropriate item. If this does not work then calmly take puppy to a room or crate away from everyone. Leave pup alone for 2-3 minutes and then quietly release the puppy. Give the puppy something appropriate to chew. If the puppy resumes biting then repeat.

If the biting occurs at a particular time of day, prepare for it by taking the dog for a walk or having a play session to tire the dog out before the dog gets bitey. 

,___

Bookmark and Share

Some General Training Tips

A good trainer is: Fast, Patient, Generous, Unpredictable and Variable.

In the beginning, you must reinforce a behavior IMMEDIATELY every single time you give the cue. This is called the “acquisition” stage of the behavior. As the behavior becomes more reliable, you can begin to delay the reinforcement (treat, ball, affection), or go to variable reinforcement (reinforcing every few times). You must stop being predictable! Here are some tips to make you be a better dog trainer.

• Concentrate on and reinforce the things your dog is doing right. Try to ignore behavior you don’t want to see repeated. If you can’t ignore it, manage it.

• Remember that the reinforcement (treat, ball, toy) you use has to be reinforcing to your dog! Kibble (dog food) usually isn’t enough, unless the dog is starving. Experiment with different levels of reinforcement – from regular treats up to pieces of leftover meat or cheese. Save your most potent reinforcement for the behaviors that are most difficult for your dog.

• Placement of the reinforcement is extremely important. Where your treat goes, so goes your dog. Thus, if you want your dog to walk right beside you, make sure you deliver your treats next to your leg, at the dog’s head level. Try not to make the dog jump for a treat, unless you want the dog to do so – as in a trick.

• Marking a successful behavior. As you teach each exercise, make sure your dog knows exactly what you want him to do. Do this by MARKING the precise moment the behavior occurs. We call this a bridge. So, in teaching a Down, the instant her entire body touches the ground, you say “YES!!!” and deliver a treat. As the behavior gets more reliable, stop saying “yes” every time she does it. However, each time you say “YES” a treat should be forthcoming.

• Make it harder. When you began training your dog, you lured the dog into position. Once there you gave her a treat. Now we wish to prompt the behavior, mark the proper one, and reward intermittently from an unknown place.
As an example, if you were trying to get your dog to lie down, you would begin by luring, then rewarding the behavior. By now, when you say “Down”, she lies down – but she does it much better when she sees the treat in your hand. So we have to teach her the ZEN of TREATS – in order to get the treat, she must give up the treat. Hold your treat in the hand that is not doing the signal. Show the dog your hand without the treat. Tell or signal the dog to Down, and wait for the dog to do so. Wait until she does. Don’t go back to the lure yet. When she does lie down, give her a wonderful treat from the other hand. You are teaching the dog that the treats she can’t see are even more potent than the ones she can. And it’s teaching her she doesn’t have to see the treat to do the exercise. (If she doesn’t down, she may not understand; go back to the beginning, and review until you get a good down with a lure).
Do that for a while. Then, delay the treat for a tad, and when you do deliver it, do so from a desk or counter. Then give it for two downs (twofer), then three, then four. But never go to no rewards. Try to vary your reward as well; different kinds of treats, a tug toy, or ball playing after a short session.

• Never take a behavior completely for granted. That leads to the Straight A Student Syndrome. If no one pays attention to you when you’re being good….you’ll be bad! F students get a great deal of attention when they make a C, and they learn that creating havoc leads to more attention. Pay attention to the correct behavior!

Alway focus on positive reinforcement. It works better, and produces a happy, obedient dog.

Bookmark and Share

Make Quantum Leaps in Training

You will make four quantum leaps in training as you phase out hand-held training lures, and eventually all training rewards. Phasing out food lures is a simple matter — just put them in your pocket to be used as rewards for above-average responses. Phasing out food rewards is similarly simple — just empty your pockets of food and use something else as a reward.

1. Phasing Out Food Lures


As your pup learns to watch the movement of your hand-held lure, your hand movements soon become effective hand signals. Hold your hand palm-upwards for the Sit signal, and palm-downwards for the Down signal. After a few repetitions, your puppy will begin to anticipate each hand lure signal on hearing the relevant verbal command. Thereafter, the verbal request becomes the equivalent of a verbal lure, since it successfully prompts the desired response. Training lures are no longer necessary to entice your puppy into each position because a hand signal or verbal request is sufficient.
Put the kibble in your pocket right now. Come on, all of it! Repeat the Sit-Down-Sit-Stand-Down-Stand sequence with empty hands. However, make sure to follow each eager verbal request with a sweeping — nay flourishing — hand signal, just as if you were holding a lure. At the end of the sequence, praise your pup and reward him with a piece of kibble from your pocket. See, you don’t need a food lure in your hand to get your dog to respond. Failure was all in your mind, just as the food is now all in your pocket.
This is the first quantum leap: Your puppy has learned that although you have no food in your hand, you can still magically materialize all sorts of goodies from your pocket. Now it’s time to begin fading out food rewards.

2. Reducing Food Rewards


Go back and use food as a lure for a quick test to see how many puppy-pushups (alternating sits and downs) your pup will do before he gives up. Keep hold of that treat though. The longer your hold on to the lure, the quicker training will proceed. (In fact, that’s how we teach stays and “Off!”) Now you know how much your puppy is willing to work for the prospect of just one food reward. See which family members and friends can get the puppy to perform the most push-ups for a single food reward. By asking more for less, you have begun to gradually and progressively phase out food rewards in training.
Now repeat the Sit-Down-Sit-Stand-Down-Stand sequence with empty hands but with food rewards in your pocket. Do not be in a hurry to stuff food rewards into your pup’s mouth. Instead, treat every food reward as if it were a gold medal. Only reward your pup immediately following extremely rapid, or especially stylish responses.
This is a second quantum leap: Your puppy has learned that although you have food rewards in your pocket, he may not get one every time he responds correctly.

3. Phasing Out Food Rewards


Now it is time to empty your pockets and replace food rewards with praise, petting, toys, games, favorite activities, and other luxurious life rewards.
This is the third quantum leap: Your puppy has learned that although you have no food rewards in your pocket, even better surprises may follow desired behavior. For example, when walking your puppy, stop and ask him to sit every 25 yards and as a reward say, “Let’s Go” (the walk continues). When in the dog park, call your puppy and ask him to sit every minute or so and as a reward say, “Go Play” (the play session resumes).

4. Phasing Out External Rewards


Eventually, it is no longer necessary to reward your dog to reinforce desirable behaviors. Rewarding your dog is always an option and always a wonderful thing to do, but your dog’s stellar behavior is no longer dependent on expected rewards. Instead, your dog complies with your requests because he now wants to.
After this fourth quantum leap, external rewards are no longer necessary, since your puppy’s good behaviors have become self-reinforcing. In a sense, each correct response becomes its own reward. Really, this is no different from people who enjoy reading, running, riding, playing games and sports, and dancing. Rewards are not necessary. Participation is its own reward.

Bookmark and Share

Make Your Dog a Sit Savant

Most of us take the sit command for granted. After all, it was probably the first command we taught our dog – and it was so easy! But does your dog really know the sit command? Or does he think it means just touch his butt on the ground, pop right up and get a treat?

A really good sit can help with all sorts of control issues such as:
– Easily distracted dogs
– Door dashers
– Overly exuberant greetings
– Dogs who jump up on people
– Leash pullers
– Leash and other forms of aggression

Work on teaching your dog to sit until they are released. Just as if it were a stay, or a wait. Sit until given the release word. And to sit no matter what is going on.

For our purposes, you may want to use two different commands:
SIT – means facing you
CLOSE – Means in heel position at your left side. This position allows you to have more control over your dog in difficult situations.

The goal is to “proof” the dog using the following:

Duration – how long the dog has to sit

Distance – how far away you are from the dog

Distractions – level of distraction while in the sit

Different locations – work in one place first – then change

Examples:
Practice sits with your back turned to the dog, a bag on you head, around a corner, you get the picture. Sit won’t work in the vet office if you haven’t worked through distractions or a different picture than you in the kitchen with a treat! Practice sits when your dog is very excited, so she ‘sits on a dime’ (like stopping on a dime).

Bookmark and Share
Newer Posts »

« Older Posts

Supported By : FyberSoft