Sunday, July 8, 2012

Basics Manners Class #1--Notes

For the first class do NOT bring your dogs.

The fist class of Basic Manners training is all about information.  A lot of things will be thrown out at you for you to absorb.  This is why taking notes is very important.

First, training class is about training the HUMAN, and teaching the human how to communicate with the dog so we can motivate the dog to work and learn.  When a dog misbehaves it is really a breakdown in communication.  Dog do what works, don't assume they know better.

We start by picking a marker word (Reward Marker) for when a dog does something you like.  Most people either use "Good" or "Yes."  It does not matter what your word is, as long as you always use the same word (this is true of every cue).  Remember to keep a happy and upbeat voice when saying "Good."  Do not have any anger or frustration.  If you feel angry or frustrated, you should put training on hold until you can calm down and try again.

Basic Manners class is Kindergarden.  We start at the bottom level when we begin teaching.  You can not go to college without first passing through Kindergarden.  Remember to move training at the dog's pace, not your own.  Keep calm and do not do repetitions too many times.  It's better to quit while you're ahead, than to push the training further than the dog is ready for.  The dog will lose interest and stop learning.

To begin training you first need to know what motivates your dog.  Humans need motivation, so do dogs.  Would you go to work every day if they didn't pay you?  Many dogs are highly motivated by food, but not all of them are.  Some dogs are more motivated by toys or petting.  You need to figure out your dogs order of rewards.
What are your dog's "Like its?"
What is your dog's "Love its?"
What is your dog's "Gotta Have It?"
If your dog is motivated by food, hooray!, your training will go a bit easier.  If not, you will need to adjust your rewards for training.

3 Things on our body that are rewarding to dogs:
  1.  Voice
  2.  Eye Contact
  3.  Hands/ Touch

Anytime you engage your dog in one of these things, you are rewarding them.  So try and remember not to unintentionally reward your dog for bad behavior.  For example, you don't catch the dog's paws when he jumps on you (touch); that is communicating to the dog that you want him to keep jumping up on you.

What do you do with behaviors you don't like that your dog does?
1.  Ignore
2.  Avoid
3.  Re-direct

It's important to manage your dog's behavior in-between training sessions.  You must help prevent bad behaviors from occurring.  Behaviors usually get worse before they get better.  You must catch a dog "in the act" within 2 seconds to change the behavior.

Homework for Week 2:
Choose your marker word:  "Good" or "Yes" or something else.
Go home and give your marker word, then treat your dog.  Your dog doesn't have to engage in any good behavior at this time.  We are just building a positive association between the marker word and a treat.  Using this marker word is telling the dog "yes that's exactly what I want you to do," once you begin training.  By pairing the word with a treat, we are teaching the dog the first steps for positive reinforcement training.

So, "Good," treat
Good, treat
Good, treat

Do this 5- 10 repetitions 2-3 times per day until next week's class.

Things to remember to bring to your next class (week 2)...

Notebook and pen
Poop bags
2-3 cups special treats
regular buckle collar and leash (or gentle leader or easy-walk harness)

Most importantly remember to bring a good sense of humor and a lot of patience!

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