Troubleshooting Your Dog Training
Whenever you send your dog for training with us, you are a client for life. We often see clients in for boarding or group classes that we started working with years and years ago. Some of these former Full Service dogs come for refresher dog training because they are having some issues at home. They may be testing the place command, or ignoring recalls. Most often this is a problem with the dog’s reinforcement schedule at home.
Turning Your Dog Into an Intern
Imagine this. You start working at a new job, and you are excited because you both enjoy the work and the job pays well. Your boss is very fair with you, and compensates you reasonably. After working there for a month, your boss changes your paycheck. You are now making less money than before, but he still wants you to maintain the same level of work. The next month it happens again. Before long you are working hard and getting no paycheck, and your only reward is your boss telling you “Good Job!” every now and then. You have been basically turned into an unpaid intern. This is what happens all too often in dog training. The dog originally has a high rate of reward, but it dwindles into nothing.
Instead, let’s look at a way that we can keep motivation high without constantly having to reward our dog.
Instead of the paycheck getting smaller every month, the paycheck stays the same but comes less frequently. Instead of rewarding your dog every other time he does something, you heavily reward only a few things. You can also change the type of compensation. Maybe dock your dog’s paycheck, but give him some added benefits. You could reward him with swim time, a bone, the chance to play with dogs, or to play with you.
You should not have to carry around a treat pouch with you every time you go to work with your dog, but that doesn’t mean that you should get rid of reward all-together. Randomly reward your dog for various obedience skills you use in every day life and you will keep him interested and motivated. This will make all of the work you put into dog training really pay off, and will result in a more reliable dog.