Well we are, all too soon, at the last week. It’s time to take what you have learned into the future. First of all let’s just carry out a quick recap on what we have covered.
Dogs Behavior and Learning
· A dog learns from his environment and the attention, response that his own behaviour provokes. This is positive reinforcement in action.
· Punishment after a behaviour will not make the behavior go away, because each time a behaviour is carried out it is forming a habit.
· It is possible to mask an unhelpful behaviour but it makes the dog feel bad and actually makes the behavior worse.
· True behaviour modification takes time and is carried out with kindness.
· The only true form of punishment to use is taking away attention when a behaviour is problematic. This is called negative punishment.
· Dogs do talk to us, we need to respect this by learning a little of their language.
Dog Training for Success
· Clicker training works on positive reinforcement and caters perfectly to the way a dog learns.
· Training should take place in easy steps always making sure the last step is fully learned before moving on to the next.
· Training sessions should be short, sweet and positive. Watch out for calming signals and displacement behaviors.
· Training anything new should begin in an area of no distractions and build to an area of high distraction at the dog’s pace, this is the term called proofing.
· Remember to use lots of treats in the beginning, gradually drop them off and increase the treat dispensing as you increase the distractions. Eventually losing the treats altogether on any individual command.
· Variable reward works best when the dog is getting the idea of a command word.
· Targeting is a great way to train tricks of all types.
Whether this short course has given you a taste for more training, helped to bring your dog’s behaviour under control or simply passed a few pleasant hours we hope that you have enjoyed it.
If you are looking for more things to do with your dog there are plenty of options. Take a look;
· Competitive obedience is an art where the dog is taught sharp obedience that looks great in a show ring. The more modern forms are heelwork to music or dancing with dogs. This is where your targeting really comes into its own.
· Sporty dogs can join agility classes, flyball teams and even CaniX where owners run with their dogs. All of these are great fun and perfect for the more active dogs and owners amongst us.
· Therapy dogs, for the older steadier pets, are assessed and taken into homes and hospitals at visiting times. Dogs are well known for their affection and healing. If your dog is kind and you want to do more with him, or her, then registering them as a therapy dog will change your lives.
The activities above are just a few of the options and we would love to hear where you are planning to take your newly found dog training knowledge to next. Would you please let us know your achievements and future plans and also what you have achieved over the last few weeks.
A Local Dog Trainer
The final thing I want to say is that if you are having serious problems with the behavior of your dog it is vital to consult an expert. When looking for a local trainer please ensure that they follow the guidelines that I have given here for behaviour modification.
Dog training and behavior is an unmodified profession therefore there are, surprisingly, a lot of self-proclaimed experts out there with no qualifications or scientific knowledge. Avoid anyone that wants to hurt, dominate or force train a dog for it will not work and will eventually make the behavior worse. Look for a kind trainer or behaviorist that uses careful and dog friendly methods to modify any unhelpful behavior that your dog has learned.
A Final Project
We have put a lot of love, knowledge and many years of experience into this course and genuinely would like to see if it has helped and made a difference to you and your dogs.
Could you please just take a few moments just to answer the following questions for us?
1. What have you learned?
2. What has your dog learned?
3. What are you planning next?
4. How has the course benefitted you?
5. Are you glad that you joined us?
With the utmost of gratitude we wish you the best with your dog training, fantastic communication and a perfect relationship with your very best friend.
Most of all thank you for joining us. We have thoroughly enjoyed your company every step of the way.
Wednesday 10th June 2015