In this episode of K9 Conservationists, Kayla speaks with Sarah Owings from Cyber Dog Online Training about clean mechanics for training and working with high drive dogs.
Why do mechanics matter?
- Clarity shapes all learning. The clearer you are with your dog, the more successful they will be.
- Before you blame the dog, be sure your mechanics are clean and communication is consistent and clear.
What problems can poor mechanics cause?
- Dogs may steal food or toys from you, bark, whine, zoomie, etc.
- This is all from a lack of communication
What are some human-end behaviors that can cause miscommunication?
- Lumping criteria (ie. jumping too many steps at once)
- Having no criteria/winging it
- Sessions that are too long
- Lack of reinforcement strategies
What are some mechanics or exercises to improve handler to dog communication?
- Make sure the criteria is doable and raise the criteria slowly over time
- Reinforcement pattern games; can you give a dog a reward and they will know exactly where it’s going to be (in the mouth, tossed, on the ground, etc.)?
- If your dog is sniffing around a lot for the rewards, treat in a dish on the ground to clean up the loop
Are there situations where switching up the type of food or toy is a good idea?
- Switching to a lower value reward may just be a crutch. It is important to find what was causing the frustration, because chances are it wasn’t that the reward was too high value.
- If you are having issues, you may be holding out longer than the dog can handle. The dog needs to know how to earn the reward, no matter what.
- Choice of reinforcement can make your delivery mechanics better or worse.
Links Mentioned in the Episode: