Training Tips and Tricks

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I like to say “show then tell” (ok, not really “tell”, but “cue” to be precise but it is a play on the words “show and tell”).

#ysdlearnWhat’s the first thing you do when you want to communicate something during training to your dog? … It probably is talking.
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As humans, we are hard-wired to talk. We chat all day long - to our family, our co-workers, strangers … we even talk to ourselves, and of course: our dogs.
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Dogs are NOT hard-wired to use language. While they certainly seem to enjoy us chatting along happily and praising them, when we try to rely on language to communicate what we want in training it usually fails.
Even worse, not just do our dogs not understand what we want in THAT MOMENT, but if we keep on talking and talking they start to see our language as “meaningless background noise”.
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If you for example are walking and your dog is pulling on leash, telling him “no pull” while continuing to walk into the direction you are going most likely has no effect. Your dog doesn’t understand “pull” and he certainly does not understand the negation of it and how that applies to his behavior (unless you have done quite some work on concepts and language already that is! But in that case, you probably also had no problem teaching your dog to leash walk 🙂 ). Maybe if you yell loud enough, your dog will stop in his tracks because he is startled - but not because he actually knows what you want.
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By continuing to walk with the pulling dog, you are actually rewarding him for pulling. And your talk becomes background noise.
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The same happens in many training situations. Ask yourself “Does your dog actually respond to what you are telling him? Or do you have to repeat it multiple times with questionable results?” It might be time to talk less and actually “train” more.
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One of my favorite games with my in-person students is to forbid them to say their dog’s name and any repeats of cues for 10 minutes. Everything becomes so much quieter and the dogs actually do not listen any less well (often better as we don’t drown them in our blabla).
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If you feel that your dog is not listening, talking less and showing your dog through managing his access to reinforcement what you want might just be the path to fixing it!
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Happy (quiet!) Training 🙂
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I like to say “show then tell” (ok, not really “tell”, but “cue” to be precise but it is a play on the words “show and tell”). 

#ysdlearn

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Could make it rhyme, "Do then cue" 😃

2 weeks ago

You Silly Dog, LLC

Bribing vs Rewarding

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Bribing vs Rewarding

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