DOG TRAINING TIPS AND ADVICE
CLICK AND TREAT
This system of training is not restricted to just dog training. There are a lot of people who have used this system to train all sorts of animals, from chickens to dolphins, crows to cats and every type of work that you can imagine a dog doing.
Based on the principal of positive rewards, this training method is incredibly powerful. So how do you use it.
Simply put, when the dog does the right thing you mark the action by clicking the clicker and immediately give the dog a treat. Treats are usually a small tasty food titbit but some dogs are happy with a good cuddle. Food rewards are however far more effective.
The timing of the click is very very important. I usually tell my students it is ok to be a fraction of a second early rather than late.
Picture a dog that is lowering it’s bum into a sit. If you click a split second before the bum hits the deck then you are still marking the correct action – lowering into a sit position.
If however, you click late, you may find that you have marked the dog bouncing back up out of the sit.
Holding the clicker in a position where it can be easily clicked whilst holding a few treats and the leash takes some co-ordination. Try holding three or four marbles and the leash in the left hand and the clicker in the right.
Now, click the clicker and immediately use the right hand to take a marble from the left hand. Practice this until you can do it quickly and efficiently, then change hands. Practice.
Using the click and reward system, zipping the lips, you do not utter a sound until your dog sits every time when you use this hand signal. Hold a treat in one hand and the clicker in the other. With the dog standing next to you, you lift the treat over the dog's nose in an arc back over its head.
As the dogs rump hits the floor, you click and reward him. You need the timing of the click to be accurate.
Move slowly and let the dogs nose follow the food. As the head lifts and goes back, the hind quarters start to fall, and the dog will sit down. It is important to be consistent with the hand movement. The slow and smooth arc must be repeated every time.
Some dogs are obstinate and you may need to apply a little hand pressure to the rump. The dog will eventually get the idea.
You may need to repeat this exercise over and over before the dog actually offers a sit without the food treat. Several short sessions are better than one long one.
As with the sit, you do not add a cue word to this action until your dog follows the hand signal consistently.
The drop is taught with the dog in a sit position and the treat is taken from the dog's nose straight to the ground, between the dog's feet, and brought forward in an "L" shape. Click as the front elbows touch the ground or just before. The hand movement must be done at a medium speed and must be consistently the same letter "L" shape
As the drop position is a submissive position, you may find some dogs will not drop straight away. Patience, and if necessary, light pressure on the top of the shoulders will eventually get through to the dog, and he should drop.
I have been searching for info on incontinence in dogs, trying to find info on how to manage it without drugs. I thought there must be a way to tone up the pelvic floor muscles just like we humans can. I came across this article :-
I was recently reading about a spayed female dog who started leaving puddles when she was sleeping. The owners started her on a tail-wagging program to increase the strength of her pelvic floor muscles (like Kegels for dogs). They taught her to wag her tail on command by shaping the tail wag using a clicker and treats, and eventually got her to the point where she could wag vigorously when asked to. She stopped leaking about a week after the regular wagging exercises began. Now she does 3 sets of 30 wags every day, and she has never leaked again. This is a possible option for you to try for a non-drug option for spay-incontinence.
Only issue I will have with Flicka, our problem leaker, is to stop the tail wagging so I can count the 3 sets of 30 .