I continue to obedience train my dogs with the positive re-enforcement methods I learnt so well in the UK. Several of my instructors were top obedience handlers in the UK competing at Championship level and at Crufts dog show each year. Tay achieved his CD title in 2014 and Ruby in 2015. Misty achieved her Pre-Novice title in 2017 and Ruby can compete in Open. For Tay his future will be largely in agility as he shows his greatest promise there.

Positive re-enforcement with clicker training is still quite new to our part of Northern Ontario. How dogs learn and how we re-enforce the good from the ‘not so good’ is so important. Below is a summary of what I have learnt and continue to put into practice with my dogs and in teaching others.

Tay winning his CD title

  • Dogs learn by re-enforcement and association so every time a behaviour is carried out and rewarded, the behaviour is re-enforced. If a behaviour is not re-enforced it will eventually cease. Re-enforcement is not only what we as handlers teach our dogs, it is any reward that strengths a behaviour and a dog may reward it’s own (unwanted by us) behaviours.

  • An example of this may be the motivation and fun two dogs have together running away in the bush. The acceleration and sheer fun of the run is the reward the dogs get when this happens. The excitement and fun of this self rewarding behaviour is hard to counteract unless you are in exactly the right place at the right time.

  • Good clicker training can be achieved with a variety of rewards depending on what your dog thinks is the best. Some dogs will do anything for a toy but the most commonly used reward are treats. Most dogs are highly motivated for food and a handler can increase this motivation by using more tasty treats than the average dry biscuit.

  • Why a clicker? It is a unique sound that your dog will quickly. It is consistent and always sounds the same no matter who clicks. It is precise and ‘marks’ the behaviour when it happens. You are able to click much faster than verbal praise so timing is exact. First we teach the wanted behaviour and then we teach the voice command when the dog is actually performing that behaviour.

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        Email: Dawnll@live.ca