Basics of dog trick training. How to teach a dog tricks?
Trick training is a very useful thing. Trick training develops the dog’s intellect, self-confidence, and since this is a game that is fun for both you and the animal, your relationship improves. How to teach a dog tricks?
First of all, it is important that tricks are fun and fun for both you and the dog. Therefore, stunt training should be based solely on positive reinforcement. In this case, the dogs become cheerful, energetic, accurate, obedient and able to perfectly execute any command. We give the dog a chance to win (again and again), consciously interact with us and control his part of the work.
What could be a reward for a dog in stunt training?
Many people think that promotion is always a treat. This is true, but not quite. Encouragement is what the dog wants at the moment. When teaching a dog tricks, an encouragement might be:
- Delicacy. Advantages: Can be issued almost instantly, and all dogs love delicious food. It is important, however, to choose what your dog likes, as everyone has different tastes. The delicacy should be soft, and the pieces should be of such a size that the pet swallows them quickly, without wasting time chewing.
- A toy. It is better to use the toy when the dog has already understood what is required of it, that is, to consolidate the skill. Keep in mind that toys excite the dog.
- Weasel. The positive emotions of a person allow the pet to switch to some extent from the task that he performed, but at the same time they excite the dog. As an encouragement, weasel can be used when the dog knows exactly what you wanted from it and is happy to perform the trick. You can also use affection, for example, during breaks, when you feel that your four-legged friend is starting to get tired.
- Game with the owner (e.g. hauling). This is more valuable than just an abandoned toy, because here a person is involved in the interaction, and the dog gets much more pleasure. Of course, encouraging a game with the owner will be if the dog, in principle, likes to play with him.
Is verbal praise needed in dog trick training? Watching how to pronounce it! If you are sadly and quietly repeating “Good dog ...” - then the pet is unlikely to understand that you are happy with it.
Enthusiastic sounds attract dogs, and it’s important to praise the dog so that it looks at you, wags its tail, and smiles — which means that it has accepted the praise.
Moreover, keep in mind that different dogs react differently to the intensity of praise, and it’s enough for someone to calmly say that your favorite is well done, but for someone you have to worry: demonstrate intense joy.
Important components of success of dog trick training
In stunt training, as in any dog training, it is very important to mark the right actions in time. And, probably, it will be convenient to use a clicker for this.
It is unacceptable to use inhumane methods in the dog’s training of dogs, including the use of inhumane ammunition.
Sometimes the owners say: “I tried (a) positive reinforcement, but it does not work!” However, in each case, behind this lies the mistakes of the trainer himself.
The main mistakes in dog trick training:
- Incorrect promotion (at the moment the dog does not want what you offer).
- Lack of plan. You must always keep in mind the next step that you will reinforce.
- Reinforcement at the wrong time. In this case, the dog simply does not understand what you are rewarding it for, and therefore it will not learn what you expect from it.
- Extra movements that prevent the dog from understanding what you want from it.
- Too difficult.The dog needs either more training, or you should break the task down into a few simpler steps.
Do not be discouraged if something goes wrong.
If the dog yesterday performed the command perfectly, and today does not execute it at all, go back one step or several steps back. And if something does not work out at all, it is sometimes useful to give both yourself and the dog a timeout and return to the planned trick later.
Prerequisites for dog trick training
To teach a dog new tricks, a number of conditions must be observed:
- Dog must be hungry. This does not mean that you can not feed her for several days. It is enough, for example, if you are engaged in the morning, give in the morning 30 - 50% of the portion, and feed the rest during the lesson. But a strong feeling of hunger is stress for the dog, she will only think about how to get food, and will not be able to concentrate on classes.
- Familiar placeso that the dog feels comfortable.
- No irritants (if possible). In a new place with a lot of irritants, it is more difficult for a dog to concentrate.
- Dog must be walking, but not tired.
- Availability a plan.
- Customization dogs.
To achieve dog training goals, the following conditions must be observed:
- Smooth increase in requirements. If you see that the skill is starting to work out, raise your requirements a bit and see if the dog is ready to go to the next level.
- Adequate level of difficulty.
- Change the way reinforcements. For example, if you are teaching a dog by holding a piece near its nose, then when it is already beginning to master the skill, try to “guide” it on an empty hand, and give the treat out of the other.
- Control the amount of work. Let your dog relax before she gets tired and lose interest in activities.
The most important thing is not to forget that classes should be in joy to you and the dog.
Keep in mind that many tricks require serious physical fitness, since they suggest a not quite natural position of the dog’s body in space. In ordinary life, dogs are unlikely to walk on three legs or jump with a 180 degree turn. And before you teach your dog a new trick, you should make sure that it is sufficiently developed physically and coordinated. Sometimes preparatory exercises are needed.
Dog Stunt Safety
It is important that the dog is not injured during training. To avoid injuries, it is necessary to observe safety precautions when teaching a dog tricks.
- Consider age restrictions. For example, in no case should you offer a puppy whose bones and muscles have not yet been formed to make a Bunny.
- Never work on slippery surfaces.
- Do not work on a hard, hard surface (for example, on asphalt).
- Insure the dog. If she loses her balance, it is necessary to support her.
Where to start training a dog tricks
As a rule, dogs start stunt training with acquaintance with targets. It could be:
- Target palm.
- Target cover.
- The target pointer.
The dog can touch the target with its nose, paws or other parts of the body, depending on the trick.
In this case, it is important to teach the dog to follow the hand, but not constantly poke his nose into it. After all, when you teach your pet how to move backward from yourself using the "Back" command, for example, you absolutely do not need him to lean forward, sticking his nose in his hand.
Usually, first and easiest tricksthat the dog masters are as follows:
- Turns around its axis.
- The complex "Sit - stand - lie" (in different sequences and combinations).
- The snake.
- Give me a paw.
- Backward movement.
Even a puppy can be trained in these tricks.
Useful for teaching tricks to deal with a dog. shaping. Most likely, the dog in the process of training will offer you new tricks or make an addition to existing ones - and you may like these innovations.
From single tricks you can create ligaments and real circus numbers. The limit here is your fantasy and the physical capabilities of the dog.