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clicker training

What Makes a Great Training Treat?

Dog Eating Treat Be sure to pick a training treat that your dog enjoys!

The number one question I receive from owners learning to clicker train their dogs: what makes a great training treat? Here are the things I recommend you consider when choosing treats to use while training your dog.

Size

You will be using a lot of treats when training your dog. In order to avoid weight gain, cut your training treats into the tiniest pieces possible. My rule of thumb is that treats should be no larger than the size of a pea; […]

Why “Paw” is Problematic

Why "Paw" is Problematic | Spring Forth Dog Academy in Providence, RI Photo by Bonner Springs Library (Flickr Creative Commons)

Many of you know that I enjoy teaching my dogs tricks, so today’s post might come as a bit of a surprise. However, there’s one behavior that dog owners love to teach that often interferes with their progress in Day School and makes their training path harder. That behavior? “Paw” or “shake.”

Teaching your dog to put his paw on you to earn praise or a treat is easy and seems like fun. But if your […]

By |2017-07-14T19:15:32+00:00July 14, 2017|Training|Comments Off on Why “Paw” is Problematic

Puppy Day School Success Story: Alice [VIDEO]

Puppy Day School Success Story - Alice | Puppy Socialization in Providence, RIMeet Alice! She is a 9-month-old Border Collie mix puppy. Her owner enrolled her in our Puppy Day School program to work on her socialization skills around other dogs.

Alice missed her critical socialization period while waiting to be adopted. Then, shortly after coming to her new home, she broke her leg and had to be kept quiet for several weeks. She was nervous of new places, unfamiliar people, and most other dogs.

This is a typical outcome when puppies are underexposed to the “real world.” As […]

By |2016-09-27T00:57:37+00:00September 27, 2016|Training, Videos|Comments Off on Puppy Day School Success Story: Alice [VIDEO]

Capturing Your Dog’s Behavior: A How-To Guide

Over the last several weeks, I have written about shaping and luring here on Spring Forth Dog Blog. My next topic is capturing, which is a pretty simple, straightforward way to get behavior!

Terrier Head Tilt Clicker training allows you to capture a behavior, like this terrier’s adorable tilted head, so you can put it on cue in the future! (Photo Credit: Mike Weston)

Getting Started with Capturing

Simply put, capturing involves waiting for the dog to do the ENTIRE behavior you are looking for with no prompts from you, then clicking […]

Luring Your Dog: A Primer

Last week I started off my series on “How to Get Behavior” with shaping. Now I’m going to explain a bit about luring and how to use a lure to teach behavior.

The term luring refers to the use of a desired reward to coax the dog into achieving the desired behavior. The “desired reward” is nearly always a food treat, but it is possible to lure with toys. Luring can be used to teach many behaviors, including sit, down, loose leash walking, and a lot of tricks.

How to Lure

I use food lures in my group training classes unless the owner […]

By |2016-03-07T17:15:10+00:00March 10, 2016|Training, Tutorials and How-To Guides|Comments Off on Luring Your Dog: A Primer

Introduction to Dog Agility Class [VIDEO]

It’s no secret that dog agility is my passion. 2016 is going to be my 12th consecutive year of competing in this great sport. For several years, I’ve taught beginner dog agility classes in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I decided to put together a video showing what I teach in this introductory class to give prospective students an idea of what to expect.

So, welcome to our Introduction to Dog Agility class!

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA7o25KZ44g[/embedyt]

Who should take this class?

My focus with this class is introducing the basic skills of dog agility: over, under, around, through, and on – with a variety of objects. These items have […]

By |2022-02-07T20:40:11+00:00March 4, 2016|Dog Agility, Dog Sports, Group Classes, Training, Videos|Comments Off on Introduction to Dog Agility Class [VIDEO]

How to Get Behavior: Shaping

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on a mat. Cricket has been taught to lie on her mat using shaping.

When it comes to positive reinforcement based clicker training, there are four major ways of getting behavior: shaping, luring, targeting, and capturing. There are other ways, including physical modeling, but they have limited applications and are rarely used by most force-free trainers. In this post, I’ll address shaping, and in the coming weeks, I’ll follow-up with the others.

Shaping

What is shaping? Shaping is a method of building behavior “from scratch” by clicking successive approximations […]

The Power of Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter Behold! One of the most versatile dog training tools known to man. (Photo Credit: Victoria Chilinski)

What’s your favorite training tool? Dog trainers are always looking for the latest and greatest items to add to their bag of tricks. My answer can be found at any supermarket or convenience store: peanut butter!

For Agility Dogs

My passion for peanut butter began while attending agility classes with Tessie. She is a whiner, and would anxiously await her next turn on the equipment by making all sorts of strange noises. Springers are capable of making […]

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