November 8, 2011

Michele’s Tuesday Training Tip – Maintenance

Author: Michele Hatley

Wash, Rinse And Repeat for Optimal and Consistent Behaviors

Sometimes the wheels fall off the bus and some work has to be done to get it back to its full working order. Even solid, well known behaviors can deteriorate over time, which is why maintenance is needed in order to maintain these behaviors. An easy way to try and get the behavior back, is to regress or go back to a stage of the learning process of that behavior in which the animal can successfully complete. From here, you can work the behavior back up.

For example, if Buffy were to be confused by her roll over cue and not perform the behavior, I could back up to having her lay down and lure or target her through the roll. Once she was successfully doing that, I could re-establish the hand cue. As always, keep it positive and fun and I’m sure the behavior will be back in no time.

What if all of your dog’s behaviors are executed beautifully? If a behavior hasn’t started to fall apart, you can help to keep it at its prime by only reinforcing the best examples of that behavior!

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