Information to further your knowledge of Obedience
The information on these web pages are meant to be used by my students in conjunction with my classes.
Thanks to all that made it possible - Dale Gordon, Dawn Jecs, Patty Ruzzo.
:: Points to remember with food training ::
· Always reinforce behavior that you like.
· Ignore behavior you don't like or want.
· Don't only rely on the food as your primary motivator.
· Pet your dog.
· Verbal praise = words like "excellent", "superb" are exciting.
· Need an "Event Marker" decide on your marker word or sound for your dog that means food will come and the action they did is exactly what you wanted. You take a picture of an action that the dog is doing that you like.
· "Event Marker"
Teach the dog what the event marker is -
I first use the word or sound then give food. "Yes" treat (even if the dog is looking away).
I repeat this for several repetitions in lots of different locations. You know that the dog understands the "Marker" when they look at you for the cookie when you use it.
· Play with your dog.
· We use Operant Conditioning.
Work with your dog to get behaviors that you want. We want to create a relationship such that your dog will offer behavior to get reinforcement. Around the house with my young dogs I decide on a behavior that I would like to shape or create - i.e. down.
I watch the puppy and reinforce all down behaviors that I can. You know you are on the right track when the puppy starts offering the behavior. At that time the behavior needs to have a cue word added - i.e. down. Then you only reinforce when you say "down" and the dog does it. I reinforce even a delayed response at first. I then only reinforce for quicker responses.
· Teach the dog to touch your hand
· This is the first thing I teach to my dogs to show them that they can try things to get food reinforcement.
· I present my hand to the dog and wait till the dog looks at my hand or touches my hand with their nose. Then I use the "Marker" then a cookie. I will do this till the dog understands that when the hand is presented that they should touch with their nose.
· Variable and unpredictable. I will still use my "Marker" for good work but not give a cookie for every touch. This will create a dog that will begin to offer more behavior in the teaching stage. This is very important if you are not getting increased behavior you may be reinforcing for every action the dog takes.
· The goal of this exercise is that the dog will follow your hand as if you have food in it. Step by step I build the dog following my hand and getting reinforcement.
· Have fun - laugh and relax with your dog.
:: Exercises to cover ::
Building Drive for the food.
Confidence in Heeling.
Straight line heeling.
Need to get the food away from being a lure.
If the dog looks away slow down or stop.
When feeding in heeling stop then feed.
Add rights and or about turns.
Need to slow down in turns and not use the food as lure.
Slow baby steps.
Feet together and knees together.
Sit, down and stand.
Signal and Verbal.
Get it up
Get it back
Standing side fronts
Stays - Sit, Down, Stand
-Come and Get it.
I use food to teach the dog to freeze. I start the dog in a sit.
Place your hand on the dog's chest. Set a piece of food on the ground right in front of the dog. When the dog relaxes, say Good Stay, Get it!
You will know when the dog has begun to understand because he doesn't lean into the food any more. The food will be set down and you lightly release the pressure on the chest of the dog. Slowly you will release the hand on the dog till he is doing a Stay on his own.
Step by step you will begin to stand up next to the dog for the stay.
I build my distance from the dog with food on the ground in front of the dog.
I then begin to return to heel position around the dog with the dog focused on the food.
Once I am a few steps away from the dog I use the food as proofing or a distraction.
· I try to get the dog to move by having the food in front of the dog's nose turning right, left and forward. If the dog moves a foot or leans toward the food - I pull the food away and reset the foot that moved. Represent the food, and if the dog doesn't move I give him the food and say "Good Stay". If the dog doesn't move when you have the food in front of him use your event marker and treat.
· Building this is very important so the dog understands that Stay means not to move any of his feet.
· I build up to distractions of noise and toys and people.
Good stays take time! Stay to me means the dog does not move a muscle till I come get him. I also use a Wait that means the dog can relax but not move from the spot. Let's talk about the difference if you don't understand.
Start with a lured sit. Hold food in front of the dog's nose and move it upward and a little forward. Do not move it back or you will get a rock-back sit. As soon as the dog's bottom touches the ground, "event marker" and treat.
Begin to use only your hand without a cookie in your hand. This is the beginning of your signal. Use the hand signal without visible food, and as soon as the dog's bottom touches the ground - "event marker" and treat.
Look for the behavior offered and reinforce - event marker (sound or word) and treat.
Now that you have the behavior you will to begin to add the Cue word (Sit) and signal. When the dog responds and bottom touches the ground, use your "event marker" and treat.
Gradually say Sit and wait for the behavior to happen. I don't repeat the command. If I have done my homework I have reinforced Sitting so it should be an offered behavior.
Do the sit with dog in heel position and then in front. Work both verbal and signal cues.
Most dogs will follow a cookie into a down. I usually start the dog sitting and raise the front end up with the cookie and then quickly down, for a fast down. When the dog's elbows are on the ground, use your "event marker" and treat.
Once I have this behavior, I turn my food hand so the food is invisible. The dog does the down, "event marker" and I turn my hand so they get the cookie.
I want a fast down - they fold back into themselves so concentrate on speed. To get speed, reinforce ("event marker" and treat) when the dog's elbows hit the ground.
I build like I did with the Sit.
I use a signal with my right hand going straight up and then I reward with food in my left.
To lure the dog into a stand I use a food lure and lower their head and move back into their body. I want the rear feet to pop up into a stand. As soon as the rear comes up, "event marker" and treat.
The stand signal comes straight across your body with your hand flat like a stop sign.
Gradually I get the food away and get the Cue responses like above.
Come and Get it
This is a two cookie or two toy game. I throw a cookie and say Get it then say Come (when their mouth is on the food), have another piece of food ready and throw it so the dog can see it and say Get it. Keep this going till you can throw the food about 20 feet or so. You can use a toy with this exercise also.
When the dog is running both directions easily and fast I will add front and under.
When the dog is very experienced at this exercise I will add the down and sit for Open and Utility.
To do the down have a cookie ready and say down right in front of you with your body turned sideways. The main part of this exercise is that the forward movement STOPS.
Turn and sit will happen - just as the dog eats the cookie run to the dog and say sit and give a cookie
Heeling/ Attention/ Go outs
This is way too big of a topic for me to even begin to explain. Each dog is an individual and we need to take the steps that each dog needs.
Heeling to me - Dog at my left side, Head up, Tail up, Dog nose is lined up with my pant leg. Moving beside me doing - Slow, Fast, Right, Left , About, Halt without deviation from position
1. Before we start. I move the speed up as the dog needs it
2. Very helpful if you heel next to broad jump boards.
3. If the dog looks away I stop and wait till they look at me help get them in position and then heel again. I do not lure. Lure is when you put a cookie in their nose and the dog follows it blindly.
4. I work to 5 + minutes of moving with tmy dog with attention Before competing I will be up to 20 minutes of heeling.
5. I add turns right away but you need to do nice footwork. Knees TOGETHER is the best tip I can give. I do not care what your feet do but your knees must be together.
6. When I start the turns I go very Slow motion so I can reinforce the dog for good attention on me.
7. Fast - I start - "ARE YOU READY" and run with them so the dog goes from a sit into a run near you with lots of reinforcement.
8. I admire any attention that the dog is doing with me. I will stop with young dogs and give them a whole handful of food for good behavior.
9. Heeling exercise - Large Circle to the right and left.
10. Square heeling with rounded corners on the corner I do a full circle much smaller then go straight then another circle (4 foot diameter)then go on.
11. Do a square actaully working on the right or left or about then add slow, fast, and halts to them.
12. Begin to do a pattern on your own.
13. Have someone call the pattern for the you.
14. If my dog looks away or looses position I will stop in HALT position and then guide the dog back to heel and show them where they should be, Reinforce, GO ON.
15. Starts - Dog sitting I will have a cookie ready in my left hand take one step forward then the dog gets the cookie.
I appreciate any time my dogs look at me. I ask them to look at me in the eyes when I give them their food, let them go out or any other actitivity they enjoy. Dogs need to know that you will control what they are doing and you will provide access to all good things.
Dog in Heel position
1. Have the dog sit at your side.
2. Give them 5 cookies in a row for looking at you and release. If you like to use a word I use "Ready"
3. As the dog gets good at sitting and watching I build the length of time between the 5 cookies.
4. Add distratctions - People walking, toys, food. If the dog looks away just wait till they look back and reinforce. If the dog does not look away Reward lavishly and release. You still are only working 5 cookies total
5. Person touches your dog and you leave they learn they can get away and get lots of cookies from you.
Dog in Front
1. I have food in both hands, very visible to the dog. I wait till the dog looks at my face then I reinforce with the food in one of my hands. I do this till the dog knows to look at me. If you have been working on attention for food dish you should have this one mastered.
2. Distractions same as above.
This is for the Directed Jumping exercise in Utility the 3rd level of obedience.
1. Helper puts a cookie on the ground at a pole, wall or somewhere that there is a visible ending. Handler says "Look". Helper will get the dogs attention on the food and when the dog looks at the food. Handler sends the dog "GO out", go to the dog and keep throwing cookies in the same spot saying "get it" . Then release.
2 Important = Have the dog on a short leash so they are excited to go but don't get a correction from the leash when they look at the cookie.
3. Build distance to 50 feet.
4. Separately work the TURN and SIT. Have the dog standing away from you and say "Dog" "Sit" and have them turn and face you.
5. Once your dog has the understanding to look for a cookie you can begin to place a cookie that the dog sees and goes distance and says "Look" (we want the dogs head to drop and look at the cookie). "Go Out" Throw cookies at the wall and say get it.
6. Next step you need to go everywhere and do go outs. Once your dog is comfortable with the sit you can run out and help them sit.
7. End exercise is - Line up in the center of the ring. "Look" "Go out" "Dog sit" then you will send them over a jump.
8. I work with things like glove , toys and misc. Things laying aorund. Building distance and straightness.