HUGE and COMMON training mistake!

Posted on August 22nd, 2011 by admin

A great way to help your dog learn faster and respond more consistently in the appropriate manner is by practicing what I call the “hot and cold” game. It is interesting how in one sense people are very inclined to talk to their dogs in full sentences(not advised:>)) when not training, but then, when actually trying to teach their dog a new behavior, they become almost silent, waiting for the full completion of the intended behavior, before offering any praise or feedback. This is a sure way of becoming quite frustrated with your dog’s wrongfully diagnosed  lack of intelligence or stubbornness. In reality, if you are not using bridging commands in a dynamic fashion, you owe your dog a “It’s not you, its ME!”.

Be sure to have a couple words that you can you use to direct your dog through the learning process. I often  use the word ‘YES!”  or “Good boy/girl” to provide encouragement. These words, often referred to in behavioral science terms as bridging commands, help a dog through the unclear or stressful moments of uncertainty and indecision. On the other side it is quite useful to have a bridging command like ‘Nope” to indicate to the dog that continuing along its current path will not offer the reward. The timing of when you say these commands is also crucial in order to be effective. This comes with practice and the guidance of a skilled and experienced professional.

Lastly, you need to become dynamic in both your body language and intonation.  In other words, when you want to convey to your dog,”You’re getting warmer!!!”, or ” COLDER”, really mean it. Act like you are trying to win an Oscar and your dog will likely begin to respond quicker and more consistently than ever before.  Good luck!!

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