|Barked: Sat Feb 2, '13 5:32pm PST |
If you're using a bait bag, stop. Bait bags show your dog that "rewards are available" and you can't use it in the ring. So you're not training your dog with the picture she's going to see once you step beyond the gating. Start putting treats in your pockets BEFORE you get her out so she cannot see you have food on you. When you reward 'out of nowhere,' your dog starts to believe you always have a reward on you even if they cannot see it. Also be careful that, if you run out, you reload when your dog is not watching.
You can train this way with toys too but it's a bit trickier since, once you've pulled the toy out, you can't put it back while your dog is watching. And there are only so many places you can hide a toy on your body though you can get creative!
Also, be sure to start rewarding intermittently. Vary it up. Sometimes reward after 1 behavior. Other times after two or four. Keep her guessing. Be a canine slot machine.
You can also reward with tactile reinforcements if she likes that. Really get her engaged with you with some nice butt scritches for a reward (or whatever kind of petting she enjoys). Risa is always more focused and engaged after I rub her down after a splendid performance. You can also use real-life rewards like sniffing or games of chase to reward the behaviors you like which can help keep her engaged. I liked to reward Risa with chase because 1) she LOVES to run 2) it keeps her engaged with me and 3) I can always bring ME in the ring so she never knows when a game of chase might erupt.
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