If you have ever looked into group classes or dog training, you may have come across the term “clicker training,” without really knowing much about it. Clicker training is a small, handheld tool that is used by many positive trainers to mark a dog’s correct behavior at the exact moment that it happens, and then follow it up with a reward or reinforcement, like a small treat. Clicker training can be an extraordinary method for teaching your dog (or other pets for that matter) both obedience exercises, as well as amazing tricks. I have to admit that I was quite dismissive of clicker training for a time, but only because I didn’t understand the proper technique and learning principles. Some of the most basic concepts of clicker training are: Being rewarded for a behavior causes an increase in that behavior. A lack of a reward, or removal of a reward, … Read More
How Many Different Things Can You Catch With Honey?
For many readers, you might know a little about author and innovator, Karen Pryor… Karen is most easily known for training dolphins with whistle-marked behavior and tasty fish rewards. Being the pioneer that she is, she eventually transferring all of that great experience to dog training via the clicker method. She is the author of one of the most popular how-to positive reinforcement manuals of dog trainers and corporate executives alike, “Don’t Shoot the Dog.” This musing isn’t a mantra to Karen Pryor. Although, she is pretty great. It’s simply a reiteration of what we all know about human nature, and dog nature too, is that “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” (Why the first person to say this wanted so many flies, I’m sure I don’t know…) Anyway, a key takeaway of Pryor’s book is that positive reinforcement and a dash of creative thinking and preparation … Read More
Functional Cues: Get Your Dog “Away” From You!…
…And away from your friends, your family, the pizza on the kitchen counter, the ice cream cone in your child’s hand and the unstable neighbor dog. Great effort has always been placed on training your dog to come to you. It’s even very common these days to see training classes specifically dedicated to “Training a Great Recall,” or getting your dog to come to you on cue, especially amidst distractions. And rightly so. This could be the single most important thing that you instill in your dog, and could very well be a lifesaver in an emergency situation. With all the emphasis on asking dogs to come to us, I believe that it might be arguably as important to train your dog to move away. Have you ever been bombarded by a pogo puppy immediately upon entering the house from a long day at work? Boing! Boing! Boing! Have you … Read More