Training Basics

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Training Basics.

We do not have to teach dogs to sit, lie down or stand because they already know how to do it. What we do teach them is English as a 2nd language and to want to sit or lie down, reliably when we ask for it.

Food is used as a reward for performing a command and hand signals are used instead of words. The dog learns that he only gets rewarded if he sits when told to do so.

Lure reward training.

Lure = Treat (Kibble, Vienna, Cheese, Biltong) or a Toy (Ball) etc. The owner must use the lure to get control over the dog’s behaviour so that it will willingly perform on cue and enjoy the interaction with its handler.

Using food is the quickest way to train a dog.  When using food you first move the nose and then the head and then you can control the whole body.

 Training sequence:

(1) Command       (2) Lure                  (3) Response         (4) Reward               Repeat 5x

       “Sit”            Treat over nose        Dog sits             “Good dog”+ treat

       “Shush”       Wave treat       Dog stops barking    “Good dog” + treat

By using the dog’s name before a command, it serves as a warning for the dog and a call to pay attention e.g. “Rover, Sit” “Rover, Come.” The more pleasant your praise and the nicer the reward, the more willingly the dog will want to please you and to want to repeat the exercise.

Soon it is possible to demand more than one response for a single reward. “Rover, ComeSit” (Reward). Then, “Sit, Down, Sit” (Reward). Next, “Sit, Down, Sit, Stand, Sit” (Reward). Followed by getting the dog to do the exercises using hand signals only or voice only. Always help the dog as much as possible in the beginning to ensure success and enjoyment.

 It is important not to touch the dog so that he listens to the word and watches the hand (lure) movements which will be used later for distance control.

NB:  This does not apply to very young puppies where we actually first grab them by the collar for better control before giving the treat.

When talking and touching or pulling the dog at the same time, the dog will react to the physical cue and not to your voice. This will slow down training.

 The dog must learn: If I get it right, I will get my treat. If I don’t, I get nothing.

Not getting praise, pats or treats is sufficient “punishment” for making mistakes

Once the dog can perform a command sequence willingly and reliably, the food treat must be phased out. The treat can now disappear into the fist and soon into a pocket/bag. If this is not done after the 8th successful attempts, the dog may begin to develop the attitude of, if you do not have food, I’m not going to perform for you. At this stage the food treat must always follow after verbal encouragement and praise. (1)I call my dog. (2)Dog sits, (3)Good dog” hand into bag/pocket  dog waits for treat, (4)reward.

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