Saturday, June 2, 2018

Don't be a Prisoner in Dog Training

By:  Drayton Michaels, Urban Dawgs

Don’t be a prisoner of the moment when it comes to dogs. While the “moment” is crucial, there’s also a history and never forget environments are changing all the time, second to second, day to day, temporal context shifts are not going away, so stay flexible in your criteria when it comes to dogs.
Real world training can be “messy” due to the various environments dogs have to learn in and humans have to teach in. Humans achieve more consistent behaviors from dogs when they drop criteria so the dog can succeed for reinforcement. 

Think of it like this, a person is a great ice skater, and they can juggle, they can even skate and juggle at the same time. Now let’s add in avoiding knives being thrown while the person skates and juggles, it’s going to be really difficult. They’ll probably mess up.

Many people chant “sit”, or push the dog’s rear end down so the dog will sit, only to have the dog get out of the sit, even though the dog has had lots of “sit stay” training, it has not been proofed in environments with this level or types of distractions, skating, juggling knives being avoided..and little to no meaningful reinforcement.

Or let’s say you have the dog in an environment they’re used to even if it is little hectic and they do a behavior for the first time on a verbal cue perfectly and then every time after that they don’t do it as efficiently.

You wouldn’t want to give up you’d want to pay for sub-criteria and keep improving your mechanics and timing of the cues, the hand signals, and your rate of reinforcement and see if you can tighten up your training based on the human behaviors that can be adjusted and not be a “prisoner of the moment” and worry about the dog doing it perfectly every time.

Unless you and the dog are going to be hired to perform these behaviors relax and have fun and enjoy the process and even then, relax, have fun, and enjoy the process. When training dogs, don’t be a prisoner of the moment. Stay flexible.



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