June 1, 2011

Michele Hatley’s Tuesday Dog Training Tip – Training Plans

Author: Michele Hatley

When Training Your Dog, Do You Have A Plan?

Before you start training a new behavior with your pet, it is a good idea to have a clear picture of what you want the behavior to look like when it is finished.

Example: for a “go to kennel” behavior, think about what you want your dog to do. Should your dog run to their kennel and wait there until you come over to close the door? Should they go to their kennel and lay down? Should they run to their kennel and pop right back out to you? The options are endless!

The clearer the picture you have of what you want the behavior to look like, the easier it will be to train it. This is where the training plans come in. A training plan is a written set of steps that you think you will take in order to get to your completed behavior.

Below is an example of a training plan for a sit:

Step 1. Hold treat in hand and reinforce dog for their nose coming towards your hand.
Step 2. While dog is standing, hold treat in front of dog’s nose and lift hand up towards ceiling. Reinforce dog for moving its nose upwards with your hand.
Step 3. Repeat step 2 again but bring your hand up and then back towards your dog’s ears- reinforce dog for beginning to sit.
Step 4. Repeat step 3 but bring treat hand up and back towards dog’s ears and reinforce dog for being in a sit position.
Step 5. Repeat step 4 multiple times – each time feeding dog while in a sit position.

This is just one example of the many ways that you can train a sit. Each training plan can be different and each animal may need different steps.

Taking the time to write out a training plan is an exercise that will help you prepare for situations that may come up when training and help you stay on a clear path towards your goal.

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