Training in baby steps

TEACH AN EXERCISE IN BABY STEPS

Training in 4 steps


You can divide each exercise into small-sized chunks and learn it step by step. You can teach a dog any new exercise (or part of it) in 4 steps.

  1. You let your dog DO (part of) the exercise. You lure him into a sitting position with a treat. His butt touches the ground. At that moment you say “GOOD” and give a TREAT.
  2. You give the exercise a NAME when on the exact moment your dog does exactly what you want. You now set the exercise to ‘cue’. His butt hits the ground and you immediately say SIT, then GOOD and you give a TREAT.
  3. You first give the cue SIT and if your dog performs the exercise correctly, GOOD + TREAT
  4. Reward 100% to variable reward. You always reward every well-executed exercise in the beginning. If your dog understands what the idea is when you give him a cue, you can start to reduce the reward. Sometimes you reward the desired behaviour and sometimes you don’t. From rewarding every time to variable. You give the cue SIT, your dog performs the exercise well, GOOD + sometimes a TREAT.

Cue on voice or on gesture

You can also support each exercise with a hand gesture. For instance the “STAY” exercise. Most people use some sort of stop sign with their hand to keep their dog in the same spot. The videos that accompany the exercises use both hand gestures and voice.

If you want to know if your dog can listen to what you say, stand or sit motionless and ask your dog to do the exercise. Surprised he doesn’t? Most puppies think that what you do is much more important than what you say. Young dogs really have to learn that. By saying ‘good’ in a high, cheerful voice and then giving a treat, dogs also learn that your voice is also important. After a few weeks of training, the sweet word also feels like a reward. Although…. there are dogs that can’t get enough of those tasty treats.