Positive Dog Training Secrets - s3. Dog+Training+Web viewPositive Dog Training Secrets *How to Train Your Dog With Food Rewards * How to Change your Dog’s Problem Behavior Without Punishment ...

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Positive Dog Training Secrets

Positive Dog Training Secrets*How to Train Your Dog With Food Rewards * How to Change your Dogs Problem Behavior Without Punishment * How To Teach Your Puppy to Lie Down on Command * How to Teach Any Dog to StayMarilyn Mele


How to Train Your Dog with Food Rewards

Marilyn Mele

Training the family pet with food rewards can be fun and exciting for everybody. Knowing WHEN and HOW to give food rewards to your dog is the key to success. Dont worry that your dog might only respond to you when you have food or that he will become overweight. When you understand HOW to use food rewards effectively, that wont happen. You will need the following:

1. A hungry dog,

2. A plain, flat collar and leash made of fabric or leather,

3. At least 3 different kinds of special, soft, non-commercial treats such as string cheese, chicken or steak.


Prepare your treats by cutting them into very tiny pieces. Chicken, steak, hard cheese, string cheese, hot dogs all work well. These special treats are used ONLY when training. They have to be tasty and tiny so you can give many treats from a small quantity of food.


Put the leash on your dog. You will hold the leash during training sessions just to assure that your dog does not wander off, and to keep him within your circle of influence. It will not be used to force or correct any behavior.


Place a treat in one hand and close your hand so food is not visible to your dog. (Hell probably know you are holding food, but thats OK. Were not trying to fool him, just make the rules clear.) Ask your dog to do something he already knows, such as Sit. Keep your voice and facial expression calm and friendly. Ignore any behavior that is not a sit. Repeat the sit command (CALMLY) if you need to but dont say anything else. Dont give your attention, e.g. reward, to anything except what you asked for: sit.


When he sits, immediately (1) smile, (2) praise with sincere enthusiasm and THEN (3) give him the treat, making sure he is still sitting when you give him his treat. Do this quickly and in that order. This establishes the foundation for decreasing food rewards later on.


Release your dog from sit, by saying OK and giving him a big pat on the chest. Make sure he gets up when you say OK. The release is a command too.


Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 in sets of 5 10 repetitions each with breaks for you and your dog between sets. Breaks can be just a few minutes of play with a favorite toy or just hanging out. If playing with a toy, make sure he is playing with YOU (tug, retrieve, etc.) not just with the toy. If hanging out, just ignore him and give him some space. Do what works best with your dog to reduce stress.


When your dog is sitting automatically as soon as you give the command, or even anticipating the command, you can begin to adjust the frequency of food rewards. It is critical to do this gradually; withdrawing food abruptly will undo all your hard work up to that point. Remember learning is a process so dont rush things. At first, withhold food of the time, then 1/3 of the time. ALWAYS smile and praise for a correct response whether or not you give food. Dont get into a predictable pattern. Be creative and keep your dog interested. Take frequent breaks.


The final step is to use Random Reinforcement. This kind of reinforcement is very powerful and will maintain a behavior at a very high level of reliability for an indefinite time. This is where you want to be with your food rewards. You will give them randomly, so that each time your dog is praised for obeying you, he knows he might also get a food treat. If not this time, then maybe next time. So he keeps on trying his best.

A great example of how powerful random reinforcement can be is a slot machine. When people go to Las Vegas to gamble, they often play the slots. They will make many futile attempts before finally winning a jackpot. Why do people keep trying when they fail more often than they succeed? Because they cant predict when they will receive their reward, they are driven to continue the behavior (depositing quarters) knowing that the reward could come at any time.


1. Give extra praise when you withhold a food reward.

2. If you show the food to the dog before you give the verbal command, you will be using the food as a bribe. Not good. Conceal the food in your hand. Position your hand in front of you close to your body, near your belly button.

3. If your dogs response starts to deteriorate, go BACK to a previous step and work forward again.

4. Dont take yourself too seriously HAVE FUN!

5. Do NOT rush through this process. Like people, dogs have different learning styles. Go slowly and be patient.

6. Never punish. A mistake is a chance to learn more.

7. Because you think your dog knows something, does NOT mean that he actually knows it. If he does not obey right away, it might be that he does not yet know as much as YOU THINK he does.

8. You are the teacher so teach!

Marilyn Mele



How to Change Your Dogs Problem Behavior Without Punishment

Marilyn Mele

We love our dogs to pieces but sometimes their behavior can annoy or upset us. But you do not have to let emotions dictate your reactions. There are common sense solutions that are simple and easy to apply. Im going to show you how to use some simple psychology to change things for the better.

Youll need a plain collar and leash, some soft tasty treats and some toys your dog enjoys.

First, understand that dogs dont annoy us on purpose! Whether you are aware of it or not, you have rewarded your dogs misbehavior with your attention. Remember that behaviors that are reinforced (rewarded) will increase. Even negative attention is rewarding to most dogs because they value any interaction with you. Thats why the behavior continues. They have figured out how to get you to stop ignoring them!! Dont feel bad we all do this!

The best way to handle an undesirable behavior is to redirect the dog to another behavior that is desirable. Scolding does not get positive results but redirection does.

Decide that you will not so easily give away the reward of your attention when your dog misbehaves. This does not mean, however, that you just ignore it and allow it to continue. You can interrupt problem behavior without rewarding it and, even better, you can be proactive and redirect your dog toward desirable behaviors that replace the problem behaviors.

Lets choose a specific behavior problem as an example. Lets say we have a dog that will bark when inside the house at something outside, such as another dog, a person passing by or a bike rider. Scolding, punishing, etc. has not worked so far, so lets try something different and see if we can get a different result. The familiar saying is true: If you keep doing what youve always done, youll keep getting what you always got.

You can resolve this problem by training an incompatible behavior. An example of an incompatible behavior is telling your dog to sit to prevent him from jumping up on you. Sitting and jumping up cannot be done at the same time. They are incompatible. So by giving your dog the command to sit before he jumps on you, you are extinguishing jumping by replacing it with sit. Timing is important. You need to signal or command the new behavior before the old behavior starts. Be proactive and you will be calm and in control.

Getting back to our barking dog example, when a dog barks at a thing he can see, he will probably quit barking when he can no longer see it. The incompatible behavior solution to barking is to first create distance between the dog and the distraction. Move him away from the distraction so that you can get his attention. Teaching your dog to focus his attention on you, making eye contact on command, is a more advanced solution and requires teaching a skill called Focused Attention. It requires the dog to not only sit and look at you, but to give you his full, undivided attention. You can then engage him in another activity such as obeying a specific obedience command like down/stay, or playing an interactive game like tug or fetch. The ideal time to ask for focused attention is before the barking starts, but once you train it, you can ask for it at any time. Focused Attention can also help eliminate pulling on the leash and some reactive behaviors.

When your dog is paying attention to you and ignoring whatever he was barking at, reward his efforts with lots of praise, a favorite toy, a treat or a game he enjoys. Keep your dogs attention engaged until you can persuade him that being with you is more exciting than barking at the cat next door. Your goal is to become more interesting to your dog than the distraction. This is, of course, is easier said than done! Enliven your training with play and games and unpredictable fun so your dog chooses you first.

Remember: To solve a behavior problem ask what positive behavior is incompatible with it and train that.


1. Be alert to times when undesirable behavior is likely to occur and be prepared to act proactively.

2. Always deal positively with your dog. Nothing good or useful is achieved by negativity.

3. An effective punishment can be merely withholding a reward the dog desires.

4. Always try to create an environment where your dog has the opportunity to succeed.

Marilyn Mele



How to Teach Your Puppy or Adult Dog to Lie Down on Command

Marilyn Mele

A puppy or dog of any age can be taught to lie down on command, but some dogs resist this position at first. There could be many reasons for a dogs reluctance to lie down when asked, but the reason is not very important when you start to teach the down command, because the method is the same regardless of the reason.

Physically forcing a dog into position is not appropriate and may cause the dog to resist even more. This is because dogs have what is called an opposition reflex. They move into pressure and not away from it. So if you push they push back. For this reason we will use food lures to urge the dog to lie down on his own.


Find a food treat that is very appealing to the puppy. It must be soft and easily handled like string cheese or jerky. Cut the treats into narrow strips about 2 inches long. Hold the treat between your thumb and fingers so that the puppy can lick and eat tiny bits without taking the entire strip at once.

Kneel on the floor and face the puppy. With the puppy standing up, place one hand, holding a piece of string cheese in front of the puppys nose and slowly move your hand straight down toward the floor. Aim for the spot just between the puppys front paws. Allow the puppy to lick the treat as he moves his head down, and when his nose is close to the floor, let him eat a piece of the treat.


Repeat step 1 until the puppy is readily moving his head down to the floor to get his treat. Remember to praise each rep, but do not use any verbal commands yet. We will not add the verbal down command until we have the puppy reliably performing a correct down. That way the word will be connected to the correct behavior.


Next, start to move your hand that is holding the treat across the floor away from you and toward the dogs back feet. Give the treat when the dogs nose touches the floor just behind his front paws. It is very important that you do not move the treat away from the dog across the floor. If you do this, the dog will walk forward to follow the movement of the treat away from him. We are aiming to get the dog to fold himself backward into a down without walking forward.

As you are working on step 3, youll see the dogs shoulders moving toward the floor. Now wait until his elbows are on the floor before giving the treat.


Last, just wait for him to lower his rear to the floor and the dog will be lying down. Now you can add your verbal command, Down, just as he completes the down. If you give your command too early, he may have trouble connecting the word to the behavior. Dogs learn by associating things that happen together in time. The timing of your verbal command is therefore very important to your success in teaching your puppy what the word means. Gradually give the command earlier, but make sure the dog is reliably going into the down position before you say Down. Be consistent about connecting the performance with the command. Once he starts to recognize the command, you can use it to get the behavior.


Wean away from treats for every rep, but do it very, very gradually. This is just the very early stage of teaching this exercise and it needs to be generously reinforced.

You will need to fade the hand motion as well as the use of treats. Your goal is to get the dog to respond to the verbal command alone, without using hand motion or food lures.

When you reward the down with food, do so randomly. Praise every time but give treats randomly. In other words, the dog should not be able to predict when he will get a treat. Make sure that when you reward with food, you do so while the dog is still in position. Place the treat near the floor directly between the dogs front paws. Do so quickly so that the dog does not reach up for the food and break out of the down position.


Use a release word to give your puppy permission to break out of his down position. Choose a word that you will easily remember and always use the same word to release your dog from any stationary command. Some words frequently used are: OK, Break, and Free. Use a unique tone of voice with your release word. Put some enthusiasm and energy into it. Higher pitched tones sound friendlier to dogs so that may help to make your release word sound like encouragement.


When you practice by doing several reps in a row, here are a few points to remember.

Release your dog from the down between reps by using your release word to give permission to break out of the down position and then use your down command to get the dog into the down position again.

Before asking for another down, move slightly from your first location so that your dog does not learn to down in only one place.

A release word is not the same as praise. Always praise and reward the puppy while he is still holding the down position. Then release.

Do not praise immediately after releasing because you want your dog to remember that he was rewarded for being down and not for getting up!

Vary the length of time that you wait before releasing your dog from the down position. You want him to learn to wait for permission....