Teaching your dog basic commands, such as "sit" or "lay down" is very important. It helps your dog find their place within the family.
As mentioned in a previous article, the trendy way to educate your dog is the positive reinforcement method. There are different tools that can help you train your dog with positive reinforcement. The best so far seems to be the clicker. The clicker comes from the USA, and is a small plastic box with a strip of metal that emits a click when you press it.The method is based on positive reinforcement, without intimidation, and with the reward (food, petting, toys, ...).
How it works:
Step 1. Make it clear to your dog what the click means
Take a hand full of treats, click and give them a treat. Do that about 10 times, then distract your dog and click again, and if the dog refocuses on you once they heard the clicker, it means that they understands that the click is a positive sound, thus give them a treat. Repeat this action a few times.
Once you are sure the dog understands Click = they succeeded and were rewarded, continue to step 2.
Step 2. Give your dog an order
To teach your dog the sitting position, take a treat, put it in front of their nose and gradually raise it to their ears. The dog will sit. As soon as they start the movement to sit, click and give them a treat, and repeat the process several times.
To teach the dog the lying position, start from a sitting position, take a treat, put it in front of their nose and gradually descend to the ground. If the dog does not raise, click and give them the treat. Progressively, their legs will lie down and you get the lying position. Break down the exercise so that they understand what you want from them.
At the beginning, you can add a 'good', or pet them to intensify the reward.
Once they have understood what it means, they will perform good deeds by themselves to get the click and be rewarded.
Once your dog understands the concept, reduce the click and reward. Nevertheless continue to reward from time to time to keep the interest of your dog.
- The clicker should be used in an atmosphere of relaxation and fun.
- The "NO" is prohibited when using the clicker.
- Small and frequent sessions are preferable to long weary ones that will make learning more difficult.
- End the session with a success.
- Do not push your dog, go at their pace.
- Diversify places.
- Click = reward (even if you didn't mean to click)
- Do not talk too much during the sessions, as it will distract your dog. If they do not respond to a command do not repeat it 36 times but show him. For example, if your dog does not lay down, try by sliding your hand (with a treat inside) on the floor in front of their legs. Then CLICK when they lie down.
- A dog that does not fulfill an order is a dog that has not understood and not a dog that just refuses in order to annoy you.
Promoting education through reward is great.