It is important to be able to communicate with your dog so that it understands when it has done something right, and when it does something wrong. This gives the dog the freedom to choose the most rewarding behaviour by itself and these thought processes will lie far deeper in the dog's mind than coercive training methods.
If at any stage of the dog's training the dog does not do the exercise correctly, do not be disheartened. You should welcome any mistakes when training a dog, as they give you an ideal opportunity to teach it right from wrong. How does a dog learn when it has done something right and when it does it wrong? The answer lies in how the handler behaves in the two situations.
When the dog does something correctly, the handler acts in a very positive way by being happy, showing their real pleasure, not talking in their normal everyday voice but in a higher pitch with genuine excitement in their voice, and immediately giving the dog a high value reward/motivator.
On the other hand when the dog goes wrong, the handler contrasts their response by showing no emotion either on their face or in their body language; withholding the motivator and putting it away somewhere on their person (such as a pocket or a bumbag) so that the dog can see it will not be given it. The handler turn and walks away calmly and quietly. The dog will immediately realise that the handler's response was different from before and begin to process in its mind what it did differently to earn this negative response. The dog is able to concentrate because it is not being distracted by the emotion in the voice of the handler, or any words or gestures he may have used.
In this situation, it is very common for dogs show classic calming signals and display distraction behaviour by sniffing the ground, marking the boundaries or equipment by urinating, or running to another part of the training area. This is quite normal behaviour and gives the dog the opportunity to assess what has just occurred.
If you wait a short while you will see the dog become more aware of its surroundings and seem ready to have another go at the exercise. You will probably find that the dog will try a different response next time as it experiments on what you want it to do.
As soon as it does the exercise correctly it sees the positive change in the handler's voice, actions and emotions and will link the behaviour it has just done with these strong and obvious responses. It will then actively seek to repeat the exercise in order to get another positive reward and response.
The dog has understood what is expected of it, and what is not.
WARNING - Some dogs can become very disheartened and give up trying if they go "wrong" too often. Therefore, it is very important that you lower the expectations of the training session by making it easier for the dog to do the exercise correctly after its first "wrong" attempt - building up the dog's confidence and knowledge with very small steps in the training program rather than rushing too quickly by introducing distance, further obstacles etc.Here's where you can enter in text. Feel free to edit, move, delete or add a different page element.
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