Basic Manners Course

Homework Week 1

REWARD GOOD BEHAVIOUR: Simply by rewarding good behaviours you are increasing the likelihood of your dog repeating this behaviour.  So let your dog know when they please you! Rewards come in many forms and include your attention, play, food, toys, pats, verbal praise, access to something your dog wants ...... Remember that your dog does want to please you they often just don't know how. 

BUT WHAT ABOUT BAD BEHAVIOUR? Make sure your dog receives no benefit from bad behaviour and replace "bad" behaviours with "good behaviours". Sometimes this can be as simple as ignoring the bad stuff and praising the good. For example if your dog is barking at you for attention turn your back on them, withdraw your attention and the moment they stop barking reward with your attention. 

However in most cases you will need train an alternate "good behaviour" and add a consequence for continued "bad behaviour" . For example the opposite of running crazily around the lounge room is to settle on a mat. Once you have taught your dog to go to a mat you can send them there if they become overly excited. 

A consequence of not going to the mat when asked could be to be sent outside. If you use "time out/isolation" as a consequence, remember  to bring your dog back in after a minute or so. This way you can repeat the training many times and your dog will learn more quickly.  

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Class one notes: 

Using a reward - marker 

Food can be a very useful tool when teaching new behaviours. You can teach new cues/commands quickly using food treats. It is important to be accurate.When using food in training we want to teach the new cue and then fade the food out as quickly as possible. Food should become a random reward and not used as a bribe. 

A reward - marker( sometimes called a "bridge")  will allow you to be more precise when using food as a  reward. 

The reward - marker is a special word such as "YES"or sound such as a clicker or whistle.  The reward - marker marks the action for which you want to reward your dog and gives you time to deliver the reward. 

For you to practice at home this week:

  • Attention Focus "Look"

  • Greet people politely (reward 4 paws on the floor)

  • Greet other dogs politely on leash

  • Sit and stay with increasing distance

3 steps to teaching a new cue

By the end of the course these 3 steps will become second nature to you. You can use these steps to teach all basic and complex cues. 

Step 1:  Use the treat as a lure to show your dog exactly what you want them to do. Place the treat near your dog's nose and encourage your dog to follow the treat. As you lure your dog into position give a verbal cue  (for example "look") and a visual cue (for example point to your eye). As you dog offers the desired behaviour say YES and reward them with the treat. 

Step 2: Check that your dog has learnt the new cue.Take the food out of your hand and put it in your pocket. Show your dog that you do nothave the treat in your hand (you do not want to trick them). Now give the verbal and visual cue that you have just taught in step one. (for example say "Look" while pointing to your eye). If your dog performs the cue correctly say YES and immediately reach into your pocket, take out the treat and reward them. This means that you have taught you dog a new cue/command. (If not repeat Step 1 a few more times). 

Step 3: Introduce a random reward schedule. Now is the time to teach your dog that they won't receive food treats every single time. Mix up your rewards. Most of the time use verbal praise "Good Dog!", pats and play. Every now and then say YES! and follow with a food treat.  YES is always followed by a food reward - you will just say YES less often. 

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