Start: Attention & “come”

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Puppies and untrained dogs:

Aim: To teach your dog: 1) to pay attention and look at you. 2) To come when called.

Equipment: Clicker / treat / tug toy. Code: C/T = Click and Treat (See article “Clicker”)
1) Getting Attention:

Getting a dog’s full attention on command can be very difficult. If a dog does not pay attention to you, you cannot teach it anything. Start by selecting a distraction free area at home such as a spare room, a passage, the stoep, garage or a quiet area in the back yard. I prefer the kitchen where I have started the training of all my puppies. Young dogs are easily distracted and if you train in an area where the dog gets distracted and it becomes necessary to repeatedly correct the dog for lack of attention, it soon begins to associate training with “pops” on the leash, becomes stressed and starts giving calming signals such as yawning, smelling or licking of the lips. Read the rest of this entry »

Clicker Training

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For many years dog trainers have been searching for a non-coercive training method for pet owners. Although B.F.Skinner in the 1960’s first suggested using clickers with dogs, some of his students had actually experimented with clickers in the 1940’s before using it in marine mammal training. However, it is claimed that clicker training really only began in 1987 and gained momentum from 1992 onwards.

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Getting started: Heeling

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Heeling. With acknowledgement to Paul Anderson.UK.

Aim: To teach the dog to follow your left hand. C/T = Click and Treat
Equipment: Tasty food in the left hand and Clicker in the right hand.
Instead of the Clicker you can say, “Yes” and treat. Read the rest of this entry »

Sit – stay

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‘SIT – STAY’ Basic command broken into small component parts to be mastered by the dog.

Start dog training in a quiet area away from too many distractions. (If your dog already has done some obedience training, a clicker can be used to pinpoint correct behaviour instead of the verbal “Good dog, Good sit.”) Read the rest of this entry »

Targeting

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Once the dog has established a connection between the Click and the Treat held in the closed left hand by regularly giving a good touch with the nose to the hand, the game can be changed by offering a finger, of an empty hand, to be touched before you C&T. In the same way as before, you gradually offer the finger to the sides and further away, both higher and lower as well as on the move. When the behaviour happens very regularly you use the word “Touch” when you offer the target (finger). In the first exercise the dog mainly used its sense of smell when touching the hand in which the treat was held. By offering a finger to be touched, we now make it a visual target to control the dog’s focus.  It is important to realise that: Dogs will follow a visual cue before the verbal cue and

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