HomeAnimalSaying the Identical Factor Over and Over in Canine Coaching

Saying the Identical Factor Over and Over in Canine Coaching

Not “Sit, Sit, Sit” however “Rewards are one of the best ways to coach your canine…”

An Australian Shepherd and a Border Collie having fun on a patch of grass
Phot: Medenka Nera/Shutterstock

By Zazie Todd PhD

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Do you ever really feel like you might be saying the identical factor again and again? Do you ever take into consideration whether or not or not it’s helpful?

I’m not speaking about these occasions once you see somebody repeating a cue to their canine again and again whereas the canine retains on doing one thing else. That’s not a good suggestion as a result of the canine is solely studying to disregard you. (As an alternative, say the cue like “Sit” as soon as, then wait, and the moment your canine sits give them a tasty deal with as a reward).

I’m speaking about coaching strategies.

Repetition on canine coaching strategies

It’s necessary to make use of reward-based strategies to coach your canine as a result of there are dangers to aversive strategies (optimistic punishment and unfavorable reinforcement). Plus, reward-based coaching is usually a enjoyable enrichment exercise that improves your bond along with your canine. Some research suggests it really works higher than aversive strategies, too.

A few of us have been saying that it’s necessary to make use of reward-based coaching strategies for a very long time (together with many great individuals who have been saying this for approach longer than me).

I do suppose that, collectively, it makes a distinction. For instance, 99.7% of canine guardians in Woodward et al’s (2021) research use reward-based strategies (optimistic reinforcement and unfavorable punishment) at the least among the time. That’s enormous.

It’s nice as a result of reward-based strategies work.

It’s nice as a result of the extra individuals speak about reward-based strategies, the extra that is seen because the social norm. Perceived social norms are simply one of many issues that affect individuals to behave in a specific approach. 

It’s nice as a result of each instance you see of somebody utilizing rewards to coach their canine efficiently makes you extra more likely to need to do that your self.

It’s additionally nice as a result of there’s one thing known as the illusory reality impact that signifies that merely listening to about one thing extra, regardless that it is false, makes individuals extra more likely to imagine it’s true. It is a large drawback with misinformation. So the extra individuals are speaking about reward-based coaching, the much less individuals are listening to about aversive strategies like shock collars and leash jerks.

Repetition in canine coaching

There’s one other time when we’ve got to repeat messages. That’s with the canine in entrance of you once you’re coaching. Like I discussed, not the cue; simply say that after after which reward when the canine does it. However the entire sequence of cue-behaviour-treat, cue-behaviour-treat, dozens and dozens of occasions. 

The extra repetition, the extra fluent your canine turns into within the behaviour.

The truth that you must repeat it doesn’t imply there’s something improper with you. It’s regular. (Consider how a lot you must follow a brand new ability when studying, too). 

As soon as your canine is fluent, you can begin to make it more durable for them for those who like. For instance if they will sit in a simple state of affairs in the lounge when nothing is happening, then you can begin to follow with a visitor, or out within the yard, or on the road.

You should use a algorithm, like Jean Donaldon’s push-drop-stick guidelines, as a information to when to progress.

Being lifelike and environment friendly

There’s really no disgrace in being that individual saying “Sit! Sit! Sit!” We’ve all been there. And we’ve all had days when coaching feels onerous, the canine is distracted, we’re drained, we forgot to get one of the best treats and are making do with one thing else, and it’s simply not going so properly.

I’m certain among the time when individuals repeat cues it’s just because they’re embarrassed that their canine isn’t doing what they requested. The outdated method of dominance in canine coaching has rather a lot to reply for right here, as a result of it places the blame on the guardian as if they’re a failure or have the improper character kind. 

Nevertheless it’s pretty to see individuals coaching properly. When the coach has the canine’s consideration and the canine seems pleased and is working onerous to earn these treats, it’s stunning to see. 

That’s not the one facet of fine canine coaching although.

Good coaching additionally contains these moments when the canine wants a break. For instance, once you’re coaching within the yard, an excellent coach goes to say, okay the canine simply wandered off to pee and that’s advantageous, they should pee and sniff, and I’ve nice treats to coach them with after they come again to me. 

A great coach can be going to note if issues are progressing too quick for the canine, and so they’ll return a step to maintain the canine and motivated. That’s the place push-drop-stick guidelines are available particularly useful. It reduces these occasions when the canine will get bored and wanders off (however in fact each canine must take a break in the end).

Seeing these moments modelled, in addition to the attentive-dog ones, helps individuals to have lifelike expectations. In any case, canine aren’t robots, and each canine and day-after-day is totally different. No canine goes to get issues proper all the time, or need to practice for hours, simply as no individual does.

Repetition in and about canine coaching

When coaching your canine, don’t repeat cues, however do loads of repetitions of any new behaviour you might be instructing. 

When you’re speaking about canine coaching, preserve repeating necessary messages like utilizing rewards to coach your canine. Even higher, discover imaginative methods to take action that contain sharing movies and tales too. 

Good canine coaching includes being lifelike, variety, and utilizing repetition to your benefit. Identical to spreading the phrase on one of the best methods to coach your canine.

When you like this submit, try my ebook Wag: The Science of Making Your Canine Comfortable, which is stuffed with tips about canine coaching and different features of caring to your canine.

For extra tips about spreading the phrase about one of the best methods to coach your canine, see to advertise optimistic reinforcement canine coaching, educate, interact, and amplify.  

Helpful hyperlinks:


Woodward, J. L., Casey, R. A., Lord, M. S., Kinsman, R. H., Da Costa, R. E., Knowles, T. G., … & Murray, J. Okay. (2021). Components influencing owner-reported approaches to coaching canine enrolled within the Technology Pup longitudinal research. Utilized Animal Behaviour Science, 242, 105404. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2021.105404

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