What is the first step to becoming a good trainer? Good clicker mechanics! By practicing your clicker mechanics before you begin training your dog (or any animal), you will become skilled at communicating to your dog precisely which behavior earns treats. Sloppy mechanics can cause frustration for both the teacher and the learner, so brushing up on these skills is important for novice and experienced trainers alike!
Training your dog is not only essential for teaching life skills and avoiding problem behaviors, but it also offers an opportunity for you and your dog to have fun together! In this video, KPA CTP Kristen Lee is teaching her dog Jenna to “tell her a secret.” Kristen trains this behavior by teaching Jenna to nose-target her ear.
Teaching your dog to spin is a fun and easy way to start teaching basic tricks. The spin behavior can serve as a solid foundation for advanced tricks. This video by KPA CTP Sabine Johnson shows Codi learning to follow a target to shape a spin.
Capturing your dog’s attention is an important foundation for all other training, and it demonstrates the positive relationship you have with your dog. A simple way to get a dog’s attention is by teaching the dog his or her name. The name can become a cue that tells the dog “look at me!”
The joy of raising a family dog should be a great family experience. One of the benefits of clicker training is that, with clear instruction and supervision, young family members can easily grasp what to do and can participate. This involvement and investment creates strong and healthy bonds with the family dog, and teaches children how to understand and communicate with their furry family member in a way that is kind, respectful, safe, and fun!
Teaching dogs to “drop it”—to release an object that they have—is an often-overlooked skill. However, it is probably one of the most important behaviors that you can teach your dog. As an example, your dog may grab food that could be harmful, such as grapes or chocolate, or run off with one of your new shoes. If your dog knows the drop it cue and behavior, you can prevent a destructive, and potentially fatal, outcome.
A reliable recall, or come when called, behavior is one of the most important foundation behaviors. Mastered, it lets your dog enjoy freedom and off-leash time and help keeps him/her safe. In some instances, the recall behavior could even save your dog’s life–like when your dog is chasing a squirrel toward a busy road and you need him to return to you quickly!
Teaching your dog to stay, an essential foundation behavior, is an investment that will be valuable in a variety of situations, such as preventing your dog from dashing out the front door or out of the car. In this video, Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Certified Training Partner (CTP) Sarah Walsh is teaching her dog Wrigley to stay in the down position.
New trainers often ask which cues should they use in their training: verbal cues or a non-verbal cues. The answer is not an either/or – it’s both!
One of the first steps of training any behavior is to teach your dog to focus his/her attention on you. After all, a dog that is not looking at you is likely not listening to you, either! In this video, KPA CTP Tara Oster is teaching her client’s dog Bingo to offer eye contact. Tara begins shaping the behavior by waiting for Bingo to offer eye contact and rewarding her as soon as she does. Once Bingo offers eye contact reliably, Tara will add a cue.
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