– We all know someone, maybe it’s a friend or a family member, who says that their dog always listens to them as long as they’re holding a piece of food. What we really want is a dog who listens to us whether we have food or toys or nothing at all. Just our voice. We’re gonna talk about rewards today in our Two-Minute Training Terms. Welcome back to McCann Dogs. I’m Ken Steepe, and here comes the part where I play a G-chord on my acoustic guitar, and Hippy Shake, our toy poodle, barks twice. (guitar strumming) (dog barking) Welcome back to McCann Dogs. If this is your first time with us, make sure you hit the subscribe button. We publish new videos every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to help you do something awesome with your dog. This is our Two-Minute Training Terms series, where I try to explain to you a word or phrase that relates to dogs or dog training in two minutes or less.
So, let’s not waste any more time. Let’s put two minutes on the clock and here we go. Using food in training is often a quick way to achieve results with nearly any dog. Using food to lure a dog into a position is often a quick way to show them what your expectation is and what your final goal is. But, we need to make sure that our dog clearly understands what we’re asking of them, whether it’s a position or a behavior, before we move on to the next step.
Whether it’s a verbal command or a signal, adding a cue is the next step for your dog, once he understands a skill. But timing is really important when you’re adding a cue. We wanna make sure our dog hears the cue independently. Then, it’s followed by the lure that we were just working on in step one. For example, in the sit, I might say, “Sit,” wait one second and then show the dog, with the lure, how to sit.
After lots of repetitions of the cue then lure, you’re gonna start to see your dog anticipating that lure, and they’re gonna be either sitting or lying down or whatever the skill is on their own. You’re gonna say the command, and it’s gonna start to happen. At that point, you’re ready to drop the lure. At this point, you’ve got a dog who clearly understands what you expect of them, but what happens if they stop sitting when you ask? This is where you need to have a plan. What are you gonna do if your dog doesn’t respond as you’d expect? You’re gonna need an action aside from going back into your bait-poacher shaking your bag of cookies to get your dog to listen or respond.
Once you have a dog who’s responding appropriately, every single time, you’re gonna want to establish a varying reward schedule. ‘Cause we absolutely wanna be rewarding those dogs who are working hard for us and are making those great choices and responding quickly. So, when you yell, “Come,” and your dog comes flying in, you’re gonna reward them with food one time, and maybe the next time they come in and you have a game of tug, or the third time they come in and you give ’em a nice scratch behind the ear and really praise them up.
Vary that reward schedule and pay out occasionally with these great, high-value food rewards, and another time maybe it’s a toy. As long as your dog finds it valuable, you can use anything from your training toolbox. What’s important here is that we randomize the reward, and ensure that it only comes after the desired behavior has been performed. Now, something that you’ve always got is praise. Use your voice to cheer your dog on, and encourage them when they’re doing really well. Encourage them to remain in that stay. Encourage them to remain in that position at your side while you’re walking on a loose leash. But save those rewards for those extra special moments. For those moments of precision, for those moments where they’ve made a great choice, and you wanna make sure that you mark that moment for them as something that’s really special.
And last but not least, it’s the jackpot reward. If you have a dog who’s sitting at a medium speed over and over again as you’re saying, “Sit,” and then one time you say sit, and lightening fast, their bum hits the ground. Jackpot reward, that’s say your, “Yes,” make your way in, and feed them two, three, four treats at a time. Really mark that effort as the kind of effort that you wanna see in the future. That’s a sure-fire way to get more effort from your dog. That’s really all I have to say about that. Did I finally do it, was I under two minutes? (buzzing) I’m starting to think maybe it should be Three-Minute Training Terms. I hope you enjoyed this Two-Minute Training Terms and I hope you found it helpful.
If this is your first time with us on the channel, make sure you hit that subscribe button. We publish videos every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to help you do something awesome with your dogs. On that note, happy training everybody. (funky rhythmic music).