Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Dog training methods - 4. Capturing

Many of the behaviours you would like to train your dog to do they already do naturally.
Capturing just means rewarding/naming the behaviour as it happens naturally. Over time your dog will begin to associate the word with the action or will begin to offer the action more.

Often this is how we toilet train a puppy, wait till they are doing the toilet outside and then praising and rewarding them for going to the toilet in the correct place.
It can also teach a really strong recall behaviour if you call your dog when they are already running back towards you full pelt.

As dogs (and people and all animals) are more likely to repeat something that has been rewarding to them if you pick the behaviour you are wanting to train - say the down - and then reward every time your dog is lying down then you will find your dog offers lying down to you more often and you can add a command word to the behaviour.

You can also use this method to teach your dog to calm down in stressful situations. If every time your dog is totally chilled you say 'calm' to them then eventually they will become calm just by you saying the word.

It is important to remember this when we are interacting with our dogs.
It is very common for people to yell 'QUIET' at dogs when they are barking, the dog does not know the word quiet but if said often enough when the dog is barking and they will eventually learn to bark when you say 'quiet'
Better to say 'quiet' when your dog is actually being quiet!


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