6.4 C
New York
Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Saying the Similar Factor Over and Over in Canine Coaching

Not “Sit, Sit, Sit” however “Rewards are the easiest way 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

This web page accommodates affiliate hyperlinks which suggests I’ll earn a fee on qualifying purchases for gratis to you.

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

I’m not speaking about these instances if you see somebody repeating a cue to their canine time 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 a substitute, 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 (constructive punishment and unfavourable reinforcement). Plus, reward-based coaching is usually a enjoyable enrichment exercise that improves your bond together 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 fantastic individuals who have been saying this for method 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 (constructive reinforcement and unfavourable punishment) not less than among the time. That’s large.

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

It’s nice as a result of the extra folks 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 folks to behave in a selected method. 

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 this your self.

It’s additionally nice as a result of there’s one thing referred to as the illusory reality impact that implies that merely listening to about one thing extra, regardless that it is false, makes folks extra more likely to imagine it’s true. This can be a huge downside 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 now have to repeat messages. That’s with the canine in entrance of you if 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 instances. 

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 fallacious 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 tougher for them in case you like. For instance if they’ll sit in a straightforward state of affairs in the lounge when nothing is occurring, then you can begin to follow with a visitor, or out within the yard, or on the road.

You need to 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 particular person saying “Sit! Sit! Sit!” We’ve all been there. And we’ve all had days when coaching feels arduous, the canine is distracted, we’re drained, we forgot to get the most effective treats and are making do with one thing else, and it’s simply not going so nicely.

I’m certain among the time when folks repeat cues it’s just because they’re embarrassed that their canine shouldn’t be doing what they requested. The outdated method of dominance in canine coaching has so much 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 fallacious character kind. 

However it’s beautiful to see folks coaching nicely. When the coach has the canine’s consideration and the canine seems to be glad and is working arduous to earn these treats, it’s lovely to see. 

That’s not the one side of excellent canine coaching although.

Good coaching additionally consists of these moments when the canine wants a break. For instance, if you’re coaching within the yard, a superb 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 superb coach can be going to note if issues are progressing too quick for the canine, they usually’ll return a step to maintain the canine and motivated. That’s the place push-drop-stick guidelines are available particularly helpful. It reduces these instances when the canine will get bored and wanders off (however in fact each canine must take a break ultimately).

Seeing these moments modelled, in addition to the attentive-dog ones, helps folks to have lifelike expectations. In spite of everything, canines aren’t robots, and each canine and each day is totally different. No canine goes to get issues proper all the time, or need to practice for hours, simply as no particular person 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. 

Should 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 entails being lifelike, form, and utilizing repetition to your benefit. Similar to spreading the phrase on the most effective methods to coach your canine.

Should you like this submit, try my e book Wag: The Science of Making Your Canine Pleased, which is stuffed with recommendations on canine coaching and different facets of caring to your canine.

For extra recommendations on spreading the phrase about the most effective methods to coach your canine, see to advertise constructive 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. Ok. (2021). Elements influencing owner-reported approaches to coaching canines enrolled within the Technology Pup longitudinal research. Utilized Animal Behaviour Science, 242, 105404. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2021.105404

As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases. As an Etsy affiliate and Marks and Spencer affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles