Clicker Train Your dog to Crawl

Posted by: Melanie  /  Category: Dog Training

Learn How to Teach your dog to Crawl. This is an excellent video on how to teach the creeping crawl.

Clicker Train Dog Dancing

Posted by: Melanie  /  Category: Dog Training

Clicker Training – Train Your Dog To Dance

Canine freestyle dance is a fantastic way to train your dog. I started training dogs when I got my first two Australian shepherds. I enjoyed starting them with basic obedience, but then I wanted to know what more could I teach my smart dogs. I wanted something more advanced I could teach them at such a young age and teaching basic obedience was easy and fun. Also, I needed something I could teach from the comfort of our own home. I thought about agility training, but my dogs needed to be past the age of one to really get into that and it requires a special field with special equipment.

 

Then, I finally discovered a combination the best of obedience, agility and trick training and adds in some musical creativity and dance – freestyle dance! My dogs loved it from the start. Musical canine freestyle is a dog sport in which you do heelwork to music and add in all sorts of creative and basic tricks like sit, lay, spin, jumps, leg weaves, and circle around, etc. There are two types, Musical Canine Freestyle and Heelwork to Music, the main difference being that Heelwork to Music focuses on a dog’s ability to stay in variations of the heel position while the handler moves to music, whereas Musical Canine Freestyle puts less demand on heelwork and focuses on the dog performing a variety of tricks and other obedience talents, and places a greater focus on the trainer’s dance abilities and creativity.The choreography of the routine is up to you to create and has very few restrictions. You get to chose what moves work well for you and your dog and select music that compliments your dogs’ movement so it looks like he is dancing to the music.

 

Clicker training is the fastest and easiest way to train your dog to dance. Trainers have found they can teach their dogs in a matter of minutes and weeks what it used to take months and years to teach using clicker training methods. Clicker training is a positive reward based training method. When training your dog to dance never give any punishments or use negative reinforcement. You want your dog to look and be happy about his training time. Learning tricks and cool moves is always an optional thing for your dog to do. Some moves and tricks might be hard for him to do and may not be well suited for your dog. Listen to your dog and if you think that something is not right for him, move on to something else. Remember many moves and tricks can tax your dog’s body so be sure they are age appropriate and stop when you’re ahead. You don’t want your dog to be sore after training. It might dampen his enthusiasm in the future.

 

When clicker training your dog to dance, use good rewards. Food works best for most dogs. Use something that is really smelly and tasty like real chicken, hot dogs, liver, turkey, and cheese. The treats need to be cut up into small bite size easy to swallow bits. It’s best to use real food, for two main reasons: for one it is soft and easy to swallow, the second is it is healthier, cheaper, and tastier than store bought dog treats. Don’t skimp on the treats either. Keep the rewards coming to keep your dog engaged and to be giving him as much positive feedback for what he is doing as possible. For dogs not motivated by food rewards use what works for them. It may be playing with their favorite toy such as a tug toy, squeaky toy or Frisbee. He may love working for your praise and attention alone. It is good to have a variety of foods and toys to keep the treat basket interesting longer and keep your dog engaged longer.

 

The clicker training formula for training tricks is lure, mark, reward. We use the clicker to mark each behavior we desire. You can also use a marker word such as “yes” to mark good behaviors. It is recommended using the praise, pet, treat reward system. By using this system, we are being highly rewarding for our dogs during training and it is easier to transition to praise and petting rewards in the future.

 

Your marker word needs to be a word you do not normally use except to mark desired behaviors. I use a marker word for behaviors and moves my dog already knows when we are practicing. He does not always receive a treat immediately during these practices. My marker word is “yes”. My reward and praise word is “good”. I use “good” as positive encouragement when training as well. Your dog picks up on your energy and feeds it back to you. Remember to be happy and enthusiastic during dog training sessions.

 

I use the clicker as my marker when training new skills or working to make moves more precise. The benefit of a clicker is that it is not produced naturally in nature, so the dog is not already desensitized to it. It is a unique sound easy to hear and recognize by your dog. We charge the clicker by clicking and treating a few times to get the dog’s attention and get him excited about the clicker. We do this by clicking and treating several times. Now, your dog is ready to respond well to the clicker. Timing is critical when clicker training in that you want to click on the exact behavior you want, if you are slow you may click once the behavior has passed and your dog thinks you are rewarding him for a different often undesired behavior. You don’t want your dog thinking he has to make you click multiple times in order to get a treat. Be sure to reward after every click, even accidental ones.

 

Once you get more advanced, you can train behaviors using the shaping methods. With this method you click and reward for each behavior that is a closer approximation to the end behavior you desire. For example, if you are teaching your dog to bow, you may first click and treat for his head going down, then his head moving down further, then his body stretching back, then for a slight bow, etc.. until the dog is bowing in the correct position. With the shaping method, you are not luring the dog, but marking the dog for doing the behavior on his own and getting closer and closer to the end goal. This method takes more patience and knowledge about what successive approximations to go for when teaching new behaviors. I personally use a combination of luring and shaping depending upon the behaviors. Many trainers think using this method gets your dog thinking more and results in an easier to train and more solidly trained dog down the line.

 

With clicker training methods, you will have your dog dancing in no time.

 

Written by,

Melanie McClure