The Armchair Method of Dog Training
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The busy trainer’s armchair guide to dog training is dedicated to all those writers and trainers out there who find it hard to fit find the time in their busy schedules writing and blogging to squeeze in training of their own dogs. It was inspired by a comment from Monica Segal, one of American’s leading canine nutrition experts who commented on her Facebook page recently that her dog Tori could not understand why she was always at the computer working on her new book and didn’t have the time to get up and engage in a training session. So Monica here are some quick ideas on how you can have fun with Tori without even leaving your computer.
“It’s me or the dog” with Victoria Stillwell.
You can either hand feed the reward or if your dog is acting like a shark and snapping then throw the food a short distance away. This achieves the effect of exercising the dog and teaching it to return (re orientate) to you. Repeat this exercise four or five times. Once the dog understands to touch its nose to your hand you can modify this exercise to be a nose touch to a lid, stick, toy or another part of your body. A further modification is to have the dog touch that object placed away from you on a nearby item of furniture or a toy placed on the other side of the room. Many dogs also enjoy learning a paw touch to your hand or any other type of target. Learning touch is a foundation exercise in clicker training that becomes the basis of many harder skills. It is also used in the film industry to teach a dog to go to a mark placed on the floor in any location in an exercise know as “go to your mark”.
With food in one hand, clicker in another place the food directly in front of the dogs nose then slowly raise the food up in the air and slightly behind the dogs head. The dog’s head should be following this movement which will cause their backside to move into a sit position, as their backside hits the floor click and then reward. If the dog snaps at the food when held near its nose hide your hand behind your back and look away from the dog. It is not necessary to say anything as the dog will understand that the snapping made something he really wanted go away, however it is important that you also remove eye contact as this will be interpreted by the dog as a reward for snapping. If the dog jumps up place the treat behind your back and remove all eye contact and say nothing until the dog has all four feet back on the floor.Repeat this exercise four or five times. When the dog is consistently sitting add the cue word “sit”.
With food in one hand and the clicker in the other place the food down near the dog’s nose, slightly to the side you wish it to move towards. Slowly move the food and the dog’s head should follow. Initially aim for only slight movement in the left direction, clicking and rewarding for any movement even if it is only head movement. As the dog gets the idea then ask for more movement, gradually building up to a full 360 degree spin to the left. Once the dog is reliably (85% of the time) performing this name the trick “left spin”. You can then go on to teach right spin however do not do this until a spin in once direction is mastered. This often takes some dogs some days to achieve, so be reasonable about the degree of movement you will reward for initially. The trick is to get the dog to understand at the start that you want any movement in the left direction and then gradually build up to more and more movement once they understand what you are asking. Many dogs learn best by being given an opportunity to try some approximation of the behavior and then being allowed the time to go away and process this new skill. Dogs that are not used to this type of work will at first find it tiring and be able to process only small training sessions. If at any time your dog walks away and is unwilling to engage in the training respect that this is their way of saying I have had enough to process right now and need a break. They normally come back shortly after for another session. Train in very small session more frequently at a pace dictated by your dog is the key.
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Posted on May 27, 2011, in Dog Training, Puppies, Training and tagged animals, behavior, Behaviour, buying a pet, dog, dog trainers, Dog Training, dogs, Information for pet care businesses, miniature poodle puppies, Pets, positive reward., Puppies, puppy training, pups, Training. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.