By Dr. Sally Foote, DVM
It’s all about interactions – Be clear in your body language and reward within 1-2 seconds of the correct behavior.
A common scene – your dog jumps up and barks when you walk past or get up from a chair and your home area is too small to move them to a different area. Correct timing of rewards, and awareness of YOUR posture and movements are important for successful training.
1. Take the first part of the meal every day for a short 3 – 5-minute training session.
Hold the food in your hand – I prefer not using a treat bag. I want the dog to think at any time I may have a reward not just when I have a treat bag on.
2. Control release of food – only release food for correct behaviors – no grabbing!
3. Stand upright – your dog can read what you are going to do
Hold 1-3 nuggets between your thumb and the palm to control release – Do not release if the dog grabs. Take your hand away and hold at your waist/ heart level as the consequence.
Keep your body upright, shoulders back and hands at waist or heart.
Sit upright as you prepare to stand – this makes it clear to the dog you are preparing to rise – toss a reward to the dog on the bed as the dog stays sitting or laying.
4. Proper placement of reward – to the dog’s mouth.
Upright posture – bend your knees and back straight – straight arm to the dog’s mouth within 1 second of sit, then holding the sit. Take a step back and forth tossing/ reaching the food to the dog to counter condition.
Bending over, hands waving, and poor timing of rewards confuses dogs – Bella is cowering and unsure of what I am going to do or what she is doing right.
Keep your movements deliberate, and predictable as you work on training, after your dog is counter conditioned to you doing things right, then you can imitate the unpredictable things people do and continue training.