Clicks Instead Of ‘Good Boy’ For Dog Training

The first major improvement in dog training since choke chains and spiked collars, click and treat has quickly establishing itself in becoming a big hit in the world of dog training. Currently, there are over 10,000 trainers who are using this training method everyday.

One advantage to using this form of training at home is it’s easy to learn for both the dog and his trainer!

Originally used to train marine mammals, click and treat breaks down the process into two separate steps, information and motivation. The click is the information, the treat is the motivation. While other trainers still work on these two steps, they try to teach them all at once, which can confuse the animal and slow down results.

Most trainers will verbally praise a dog for good behavior, while at the same time motivating the dog to repeat his actions. This can be a good method, however it takes longer for the dog to understand which behaviors and actions caused the praise from the trainer.

With the click and treat method, the processes are easily taught. In normal training, a person would say “good boy” when a welcomed action occurs and proceed with giving a treat. The clicker becomes a substitute for verbal praise and can actually catch the “good boy” behavior quicker than saying it, letting the dog know exactly which behavior he is being rewarded for.

Another way to look at click and treat training is viewing it as a secondary reinforcement, while food, water, physical affection and play (things the dog wants) become primary reinforcement. When you take a dog for a walk, the leash works as a secondary reinforcement. It is obvious to the dog that the leash is not taking him for a walk; the owner is, however, it triggers a reaction in the dog, telling him that the leash will let him know where he will go and where he will not. And if he reacts to the leash with good behavior, his reward will be a nice leisurely walk.

Click and treat works the same way. When a dog hears the clicker, he will know that he performed a good behavior and as long as he keeps hearing a click, there is a treat coming his way. So, the clicker works as a secondary reinforcement, teaching him boundaries and appropriate behavior.

A couple advantages of the click and treat method include;

1) Faster response than verbal praise. The clicker can identify the exact behavior at the time it happens.

2) It takes the place of treats. While motivating the dog to hear clicks, it will also teach him to work without the expectations of having treats given to him each time he does something good.

3) If the trainer is working at a distance from the dog, the clicker will still work, without having to be right next him.

Are you ready to try clicker training?

The first thing you’ll need to do is go to your favorite pet supply store and invest in a clicker. The clicker is nothing fancy and should just cost you under five dollars. While you’re there grab some pocket treats, little bits of dried liver work well.

A good method to use when getting started with click and treat is to stand in front of the animal. Click the clicker and give a treat. Continue doing this for 20-30 minutes, or until the dog becomes startled by the sound of the click. This will familiarize him to the clicking sound, while teaching him that every time he hears it, he has done something good. After he gets the hang of it, begin by adding commands, such as “sit” and “stay.”

Click and treat has proven to be a simple, yet consistent training method with quick results. So for the trainers out there who are looking for a new and innovative way to motivate and praise their animals, get out there, buy a clicker and… click!

Dog Behavior Training – Dog Aggression Toward Its Owners

A dog that growls at and/or bites its owner does so for some reason, even if the behavior appears to be “unreasonable” to the owner. If your dog displays aggressive behavior towards you, for the safety and welfare of you, your family and your dog, it’s important to find out why as quickly as possible.

Call your vet right away and schedule an appointment for a complete medical examination. Talk with your vet about testing your dogs hormonal balance, neurophysiologic functions and allergies. The test results may reveal the underlying cause. This has been especially helpful in dogs that have mood swings.

When growling or biting has erupted as a consequence of scolding or punishment for behavior such as chewing, jumping, general unruliness, or over-protection of food, these problems must be dealt with swiftly and firmly to correct the aggression it is initiating.

As the dogs owner, you must understand that your dog growls or bites at you as a result of defensive feelings. Even the dog that growls when ordered off the couch is reacting defensively, as it feels its dominance status has been threatened.

If scolding and punishment provoke aggression, your dog is reacting to a perceived threat to its physical safety. In either of these situations, your own threatening behavior may be producing negative results.

If the results of a medical examination show no signs of a medical condition that would be causing this behavior, you will have to examine your own behavior closely to determine what you are doing to make your dog feel threatened.

Advanced Dog Training Points For Conditioning Your Dog

Akeisha wrote to a friend of mine with some very good questions. I’ve included her letter (and my responses) below:

Hi,

It’s Akeisha again.

I do see what you mean if it is on all the time the dog will soon forget it is on and then will behave regardless. Ok, so the dog never wears a buckle collar again? This is what irks me. I want to be able to control the dog regardless of what collar is on not just the pinch or it could be no collar at all and the dog still behaves. What if the owner for some reason takes off the collar then they put the buckle collar on for ID but then forget the pinch collar? Then there is no control.

[Adam Replies] WRONG! The dog gets conditioned. Take off the collar for awhile. Doesn’t matter.

Do you ever in the training go back to the buckle collar after months of what you recommend with a dog that is happy with doing the commands?

[Adam Replies] Yes, the dog does the command because he is happy and he likes it. But eventually, there will be something that tempts him. This is where conditioning comes in.

Think of it like this: You’ve lived in the same house for 10 years, right? You get up in the middle of the night and you reach for the light switch that is to the LEFT of the door. Pretty soon, you get conditioned to reach out to the LEFT of the door.

One day you travel and stay in a hotel. You wake up in the middle of the night and reach out to the LEFT of the door for the switch… even though you cognitively saw that the switch is on the RIGHT.

In fact, you may wake up for several nights– perhaps even weeks or months– and still reach out to the LEFT, even though the switch is now on the right. Some people will continue reaching to the LEFT for the rest of their lives. Some will begin reaching to the right.

Those people need to be reinforced. Get it?

Motivational corrections if on the right dog won’t frighten them or make them hate you I know but aren’t there other ways except using the collar that will eventually be established thought training that will allow you to take the collar off and have control?

[Adam Replies] Yeah, this way you can take the collar off and have control, ONCE THE DOG IS CONDITIONED. But eventually you’ll have to go back and reinforce, for most dogs. And definitely if you start expecting to work the dog around new distractions that it’s never been proofed around, such as chickens if the dog has never seen chickens.

Look, I don’t make the rules. The dog is not a robot that you can suddenly say, “He’s done” and expect him to act consistently for the rest of his life. Like any relationship you have with another person, boundaries need to be established and maintained. The dog is like your wife or husband… they will eventually test you. 🙂

Last question, how can the dog not realize the don’t have it on since it feels a lot different than the buckle? Its like my id around my neck at school I have gotten used to it but I do realize when it is off? Just for the record I have no problem with pinches, many members in my 4-H club use them and they work great on the right dog.

[Adam Replies] Because the way you should be using the pinch collar is that the dog (since he has limited reason and logic) does not KNOW that it is the pinch collar that allows you to give him good corrections. But it’s more than the pinch collar. If I put the dog in a number of small yards, with no collar on … and I’m able to chase him down and make him come back to me, if he doesn’t come when I call… then the dog will learn THE UNDERLYING PREMISE that I can make him do it, if he doesn’t. So, the pinch collar and the long line make my job easier, but ultimately, the dog knows (or he thinks at least) that I am a man of my word and when I tell him to do something: If he doesn’t do it, I’m going to make him do it. And his life will be a lot more fun if he does it willingly. So the dog starts to extrapolate this principle to other commands, too.

Hope I am not being irritating I just like to know why certain trainers value certain methods over others since I love competing in obedience with my dog.

[Adam Replies] Keep training.

That’s all for now, folks!

Clicker Training Your Dog

If you are looking to train your dog you might consider using the ‘clicker training’ method, which has recently become popular among dog trainers all over the country. In this method the trainer has to make use of a clicker, a tiny plastic box with a metal button which makes a distinctive click sound once the button has been pressed. The training method is simple and is in many ways parallel to the positive training method. Here is what you have to do. Decide on a certain behavior which you want to teach or reinforce your dog to do. A number of behaviors/actions come naturally to the dog like sitting, eating, standing, barking etc. and these need just to be reinforced so that your dog knows when you want him to do what. Various other actions like acting dead, shaking hands, rolling over etc. do not come naturally to the dog and need to be taught. Clicker training can be used to do both.

Clicker training works according to the basic principles of operant conditioning, by associating the sound of the clicker with a food item which the dog particularly likes. Now all you have to do is use the clicker to command the dog to do something, the dog, given that he associates the sound of the clicker with the food, immediately obliges and the training is complete.

Let us take an example to illustrate the method better, suppose you want to teach your dog to sit, you put a cookie on your dog’s nose playfully and then move it upwards, the dog will obviously follow the movement of the biscuit with its nose and will then naturally rest its posterior on the floor, thereby putting himself in a sitting position. Now time your clicking to be so accurate as to occur right as the dog seats himself, now give him the biscuit and praise him. Continue doing this for sometime till the dog begins to associate the clicking with the food until the click makes him sit without you luring him with treats. Now teach him another behavior, but remember to attach the clicking cue only once the animal himself offers you the behavior otherwise the clicking will not be connected to anything in the dog’s head and he will be confused regarding what it means.

Your dog is one smart little animal and it’s time you gave him due credit for that. A number of trainers have been known to use negative reinforcement techniques alongside the clicker method but this simply doesn’t work because punishment at all times creates a number of unwanted behavior even if it serves the primary purpose of teaching the dog to not do something temporarily.

Dog Obedience Training Ideas

Which dog owner won’t feel proud of his disciplined dog? Reversely, who won’t feel ashamed of an unruly dog? It is very important for your dog to be absolutely obedient to commands of his owner. You can’t expect your dog to be obedient by birth or nature. You have to take pains to make him understand obey your commands.

Obedience training to your dog can be imparted in many ways – two of the more popular methods are typically carrot and stick methods. First method heavily depends on the stick or punishment approach. Second method deals with the reward system for the dog.

Leash and collar method of dog obedience training has survived for a long time now. It is primitive but still mostly followed. The premises of this training method are based here – leash will be the mode of communication with the dog. Dog must understand the commands, and if not obeyed to, leash should be put to action. Using leash alone is not sufficient – dog must be made aware of the good and bad behavior. Once tracked on the path to bad behavior, dog can be punished with the leash.

Reward system doesn’t believe in punishing the dog. It follows psychological approach to deal with dog training. Dog is made to know the good parts of behavior and rewarded for the same. His ugly behavior is neglected in the form of psychological treatment. The trainer or owner walks away from the dog immediately after the show of bad behavior. Dog is an intelligent animal to understand the difference between the bad and good behavior.

Whatever technique is used for dog obedience training, it is important to know that the training must be consistent. Dogs get easily confused due to double standards employed. If you expect your dog never to jump on the bed, never let or invite him on the bed. Ensure that your dog never reaches the bed.

Obedience training starts on the fundamental issues like sitting, standing, walking, listening to your commands & following those, sitting in the car, etc.

The dog owner can easily impart obedience training. You may find alternates to this by getting your dog enrolled with some obedience classes or dog instructor. Evaluate all the training techniques, methods, equipment, infrastructure, experience, etc before taking the final decision on outside help. Remember, the most ideal way will be yourself to be the instructor. Your dog will love it.