Percy is hypervigilant as we walk though the park. His eyes move from the trees to our left to the field to our right, scanning for dogs, people, cats—anything that might be scary or interesting. We walk by a bench, and I tell him, “Up!” With an almost audible sigh of relief, he leaps onto the seat, his body relaxing as he views the park from a higher vantage point.
The “up” cue is a big confidence builder for Percy. It’s also a cue that he chose himself. He is a dog that becomes anxious when faced with the possibility of strange dogs walking through the same park as he is, and being able to get on a higher level seems to make him feel braver and safer. On our walk one day, I noticed that every time we walked by a raised surface, he seemed to want to climb it. So I encouraged him by a big rock, allowing him to get up on his own. After seeing the immediate change in his body language, I decided to put this natural behavior on cue.
Choice is a powerful thing. In this case, I let Percy choose the next cue that he was going to learn, but I also let him show me what he found reinforcing. As a result, I ended up with a cue that was easy to teach, that he finds naturally rewarding (meaning I don’t need to use many other rewards to maintain it), and that he finds confidence-building.
Think about what your dog chooses to do if you allow them a little freedom on a walk. Does he or she run to sniff every tree they can reach? Play in the leaves? Pick up sticks off the ground? Spend a lot of time sniffing in the grass?
These are natural behaviors for many dogs, but each individual will find certain things more reinforcing than others. You can use these inclinations to pick a new cue to work on with your dog, or to give them more variety in their rewards. For example, if you dog enjoys picking up sticks and carrying them, they might enjoy learning to retrieve. If they love to sniff, you can use that as a strong reinforcer on walks—if do a nice heel or offer eye contact in the face of distractions, give them permission to go sniff before moving on.
Because our dogs don’t speak our language, it’s easy to think that we can’t know what they want. We may never know everything that drives them. But we can take the time to make some simple observations that can build our relationship, their confidence, and make training easier and more rewarding for both of us.
10/16/2020 07:41:12 pm
Training does not have to be all work, you can also have fun with it. If you want to go and do stuff that can make you happy while training, then I suggest that you do that. I believe that it is important that we try to do that. It is not much, but I believe that it can help us be more productive as we train. I am hoping that we get to do that as much as we can.
10/21/2022 01:36:13 am
Catch fund character system. Use far thing like assume hold plant range.
11/24/2022 10:05:10 am
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2/27/2023 04:33:04 am
A fire watch security guard is not just a simple security guard. In fact, they are always on double duty. Mainly they serve as security personnel but are also responsible for protecting people from unwanted fires.
Kanoe, which is the fourth position from the bottom, is Tanjiro’s ranking in the Demon Slayer Corps. The rest of the episode doesn’t see him advance in rank. Throughout a discussion with Inosuke during the Entertainment District storyline, his position is revealed.
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Sarah is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge and Skills Assessed. She lives in the Texas Hill Country near Austin with her two dogs, Percy, a cattle dog mix, and Clara, a lab/German Shepherd.