What do a phone, a remote control, a clicker and a jar of treats have in common? They’re all within easy reach!
What does your Dog do?
Here’s question for you: does your dog ever do something you like, on her own, without being asked? For example: Does your dog sit politely when you’re working in the kitchen? Does your dog come and get you when he or she hears someone approaching the door? If so, how do you respond? Do you reward your dog with praise or a yummy treat? If your answer is yes, then your dog is very likely to repeat that behavior again. Behaviors that are rewarded become stronger – those that are ignored tend to fade away.
Here’s a tip: Start watching for those behaviors that you like, capture them when they happen and then reward your dog for that behavior. Easy!
In my own home treats or toys are most often within an arm’s reach. Admittedly, I have to caution guests that those jars scattered about the house aren’t filled with snacks for people. Dog’s love them. People not so much! By keeping the treats within easy reach I’m quickly able to let my dogs know when they did something that pleases me – by immediately giving them a yummy treat! The more I reward them for doing something I like, the more often they will offer that behavior again.
Think of it like a job. If your employer gave you a bonus every time you did something they liked you would probably spend a fair amount of time trying to figure out what it was that got you the bonus and how you might get another one.
Our dogs are no different. If you reward your dog for a behavior you like, your dog will soon start trying to figure out how to get another bonus.
Make a vow to begin actively watching for the things your dog does that you like and let them know when it happens. Your dog is always learning. Help them get it right. Training isn’t really something that is “one and done.” It’s an ongoing process that requires participation on both ends of the leash.
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Jim Ross is the owner of Cold Nose College Blue Ridge. He studied at the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior, is member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, is trained in pet first aid and CPR and carries the Pet-Tech First Aid/Canine CPR caregiver designation. Jim is also a volunteer dog trainer working with the detainees and their shelter dogs within the Rescued Program at the Colwell Probation Detention Center in Blairsville, Ga.