I enjoy solving puzzles and earning rewards, so combining the two where I earn a reward for solving a puzzle is a big motivator for me. From a dog’s perspective, learning to sit on cue is the same as me solving a puzzle and getting a reward.
At times our praise while training, our “Good Boys,” lack enthusiasm and sincerity and come out sounding more like repetitive burping than genuine praise for a task completed well. The training clicker takes these same repetitive and monotonous qualities and uses them to full advantage.The sound of the click means a treat is on its way and Fluffy learns this association very quickly. If you’re tired and grumpy, the clicker isn’t. The click always sounds the same and always signifies a treat. The worse that can happen is that your timing might be off and you might teach Fluffy to squat instead of sit by clicking too soon.
Regularly I see dogs’ faces light up at the sound of the training clicker and it’s not just because of the treats it signifies, but because it also means spending quality one on one time, not simply training but playing to what amounts to a game. It’s puzzle solving time, rewarded with treats.
A leash aggressive dog can be rehabilitated so that walks are manageable and enjoyable. In my previous post, How Dogs Learn to be Leash Aggressive, I described the dynamics between Dean and his dog, Rover, as Rover learns to be leash aggressive. To rehabilitate Rover, the associations he has with the sight of other dogs needs to change. Right now other dogs mean pain because Rover starts barking at the other dogs to get them to stay away so that Dean won’t jerk him around on his pinch collar. But it’s Catch-22 for Rover because that barking is what gets Dean started with the jerking. Continue reading Leash Aggression – Part Two – Rehabilitating the Leash Aggressive Dog