My Award Winning German Shepherd
Hi Ya’ll, Sarah here with a lovable story about Brandy.
It was quite a while ago but not a day goes by that I don’t have great memories of Brandy, my very special full-breed Shepherd I had the joy of knowing. She was ultra-smart and a friend to everyone. She was actually my first try at learning and using formal training techniques. And would you believe it? She won first place in a competition for obedience and overall brilliance!
Brandy and I started our training program using food lures. The food lure is a vital part of any training program. It teaches a dog several things at once:
- Teaches to follow the lure, allowing reinforcement into almost ANY behavior without force.
- Teaches when she was making a mistake in a way that motivated her to perform the correct behavior instead of becoming stressed.
It becomes a valuable tool to teach any behavior or cue, even to modify problem behaviors like aggression.
This is easy stuff! Just put the food, like kibble, in your closed hand and move it around and let them follow it with their nose. A sample of the food is to be given the instant the dog offers the correct response in order for her to understand the exact behavior to deliver, called marking the behavior.
Why should you not ever repeat a cue when training a dog?
If you want your dog to respond to a cue whether for a treat or something else, repeating it simply teaches them to not respond the first time and to wait for the second, third, etc. It’s teaching them not to listen until you have said something many times (for you moms out there), not a good sign of a benevolent, strong leader.
We’ll go into more details about using conditioned reinforcement later. For now, you get the idea! Our furry friends are smart and loving and will respect your lead.