|Barked: Sat Nov 10, '12 4:22pm PST |
|I train by focusing on the good I want to reward and ignoring/managing/training alternative behaviors for the "bad" stuff. I use the clicker and food for initial training (just for ease of use and because it's quicker for the dog to "get it") and then I fade in real-life rewards and other fun stuff. I also use environmental rewards from the get-go where applicable.
I also spend a lot of time figuring my dog out and learning what makes them tick. It's much easier that way. For example, Risa is afraid of dogs and is reactive to them. I can reward calm behavior with food OR I can reward her with increased distance from the dog since that's what she ultimately wants. I also pay close attention to how she behaves around things that scare her and encourage curious behaviors when they're offered.
I use corrections very, very rarely. And it's usually only because I screwed up and failed to prevent my dog from doing something I didn't want. Most of the time, I cue an alternative behavior instead rather than issuing a verbal "eh eh!" But, I'm human, and it slips out on occasion.
Even without corrections, Ris is very reliable in stressful situations. There have been several occasions when her leash has come unclasped after she's heard a loud noise. The only thing that was keeping her from bolting in fear was the leash. . .until it started dragging on the ground. Recalls are not Ris' forte and I should work on them more but, despite that, she came back immediately when I called her to me. Despite the stress and fear in that situation, she remained under control and complied. I was very impressed.
Edited by author Sat Nov 10, '12 4:23pm PST
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