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Are You Giving Mixed Signals?


Teoti Anderson wrote an article for Modern Dog Magazine that is great.  She gives us some tips about what we may be doing wrong when training or dogs.  Teoti owns Pawsitive Results and has written several books about training dog and how to get the best results. She makes very good points and some are things that I needed to change for sure!  I am guilty of all of these and then wonder why my dog does the things she does, now I know!  The problem was me all along.  What can I say, we are all learning and unfortunately for my dog I am a slow learner apparently.  I found this article very helpful and I hope you so as well.

Mistake #1: Treat Dependence

For example, you hold a treat in your hand and use it like a magnet, slowly moving it between your dog’s eyes towards the back of his head. Your dog follows the treat and sits, then you give him the treat. Great! If you keep doing this, however, your dog may end up waiting to see if there’s a treat in your hand before responding. Instead, after a few successful repetitions, use the exact same hand motion without the treat.

Mistake #2: Skipping Steps

Dogs learn gradually, in small steps. Many pet parents make the mistake of leaping too far ahead in their goals with the expectation their dogs will follow. For example, you train your dog to come when called while using a six-foot leash. One day, your dog escapes the house and you call him to come. He just runs off, starting a frustrating game of chase.

Mistake #3: Giving Too Many—Or Mixed—Signals

One of the hardest things for dog-training students to do is give a cue just one time. Making multiple requests is fine, of course—unless you would like your dog to respond the first time you ask something of him! If you train your dog using repeated cues/commands, then your dog will learn you say things over and over before you expect a response.
To avoid this, first, teach your dog the behaviour (see mistake #1 for how to properly use a treat lure to accomplish this), then add the cue. Say it once, and be patient—give your dog a minute or so to respond.

Mistake #4: Accidentally Rewarding Behaviour You Don’t Want

Your dog won’t perform consistently unless you give him consistent direction.

Mistake #5: Expecting Your Dog to Perform No Matter What’s Going On Around Him

Work in quiet environments first. As your dog learns, gradually increase the distractions so that he is performing despite the temptations around him.

Remember, dogs aren’t born understanding our expectations. We have to teach them what we want. The better teacher you are, the better student your dog will be!

Source: Modern Dog Magazine/Teoti Anderson

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