Teach Your Dog a Controlled Retrieve

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Is your dog obsessed with chasing balls and toys? It’s tempting to try and wear out your dog by mindlessly throwing the ball over and over again. However, often this only increases your dog’s arousal and risk of injury. By being thoughtful and controlled about retrieve games, you will not only provide safe, physical exercise but mental exercise as well!

Teaching Verbal Cue Discrimination

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As trainers, we need to be able to depend on our dogs’ ability to respond to the correct verbal cue and not to other stimuli. Verbal cue discrimination training is an important skill; it ensures that your dog responds only to the correct verbal cue and not to other words. It is particularly useful in dog sports, such as canine freestyle, where many verbal cues are given and the dog must differentiate between them.

Training at a Distance

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When training at a distance, there are many different objects that can be used to help your dog to stay in place, such as a mat or raised platform. These training aids give your dog a definitive place to be. However, sometimes you may find the need to train your dog from a distance without the use of a platform or mat to anchor him. This was the case for Ken Ramirez when working with his dog Marlin on The Ranch.

Creating a Two-Part Sequence

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If your dog is fluent in more than one behavior, those individual behaviors can be linked together by learned cues to form a sequence! This allows us to teach dogs more complex tasks, such as go to his mat and lie down, without pausing to reward him at every transition. It is also helpful in dog sports which requires a dog to perform a series of behaviors without stopping.

The Power of Environmental Cues

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All behavior is impacted by the environment. Even if the trainer does nothing consciously, the animal will still perceive cues that are in the environment during training. In this video, Ken Ramirez uses a kitchen timer to ensure that he is keeping his training sessions with Marlin short. When the bell rings, Ken ends the session and asks Marlin to relax on his mat. After only four training sessions, upon hearing the bell Marlin went to his mat automatically—without any cue from Ken. The bell had become the cue for Marlin to go to his mat!