Shaping Behavior:

It can take time for your dog to learn certain behaviors.  You may need to use a technique called "shaping", which means reinforcing something close to the desired response and then gradually requiring more from your dog before he gets the treat.

For example, if you're teaching your dog to "shake hands", you may initially reward him for lifting his paw off of the groud…then, for lifting it higher…then, for touching your hand…then, for letting you hold his paw…and finally, for actually "shaking hands" with you.


Types of Rewards:

Positive reinforement can include food treats, praise, petting, or a favorite toy or game.  Since most dogs are highly food-motivated (yes, really!) food treats work especially well for training.

A treat should be enticing and irresistible to your dog.  Experiment a bit to see which treat works best for him.  It should be very small (pea-size or even smaller for "little ones"), soft piece of food, so that he will immediately gulp it down and look to you for more.  DO NOT give your dog something he has to chew or that breaks into bits and falls on the floor.

Keep a variety of treats handy so that your dog won't become bored getting the same treat every time. You can carry the treats in our "treat 'n train" pouch (…click on "accessories").

Each time you use a food reward, you should couple it with a VERBAL reward (praise).  say something lie, "Yes!" or "Good dog", in a positive, happy tone of voice (smiling also helps).  Then give your dog his treat.

If your dog is not motivated by treats (WHAAAAAT?)…a toy, petting, or brief  play can be very effective rewards, as well.

Join me tomorrow for tips on "when to give treats"!...

Category: Diana's Blog

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