April 6, 2015
Ten Minute Trick Training and Spring Training Giveaway
I'm very excited to be co-hosting this month's Positive Pet Training Week Blog Hop along with Cascadian Nomads and Tenacious Little Terrier. Not only are we talking about how training can be "fun sized" in easy, ten minute increments, but we are giving away an awesome prize package worth $75!
Ruby knows over thirty tricks and I am always trying to come up with new things to teach her and polish existing cues. I would like to apply for a trick title, but aside from that we trick train just for fun. It's a great way to provide mental stimulation during the long winter months, creates a strong bond and improves communication with your dog.
I use clicker training for shaping and capturing new tricks and also for refining known cues. Yesterday I decided we would work on a few of the tricks that have been in progress for a while, and see if we could have any breakthroughs. I set the timer for ten minutes and used Ruby's kibble dinner as treats. Ruby gets so excited when she sees I have the clicker - she really loves trick training and for this reason kibble is high value enough for her.
I actually think ten minutes is too long to work on one single behavior for Ruby. She is a very sensitive dog and if she is not getting something "right," she can get frustrated. I know it's time to move on to something different if she lays down during a session. She also tends to be an overachiever who will offer a lot of her tricks before I even ask. Commonly when I ask for 'down,' she will go ahead and roll over, or when I ask for 'sit' she will go ahead and sit pretty. I have to be fast with the clicking and treating to mark what I've asked for.
Yesterday when working on one of her more challenging tricks, 'march,' in which I want her walk forward while raising her front legs up high, like chorus-line kicks, I realized the importance of breaking things down into smaller steps. I also learned that I needed to increase the rate of reinforcement (delivery of treats). Eventually I want Ruby to take multiple steps on one cue, but my goal yesterday was just to get one step from each foot. If she took more than two steps I would "jackpot" reward her and give her a small handful of kibble.
I think we made a lot of progress in just ten minutes - a wonderful reminder that everyone has time to train! Whether you want to teach a fun trick or work on something practical like loose-leash walking or recall, dedicating ten minutes a day to training is an easy way to positively affect your relationship with your dog.
Enter our giveaway for a chance to win a prize package containing a nosework DVD, puzzle toy and more!
This post is part of the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop - join us on the first Monday of every month to promote positive pet training and share advice and experiences. The hop is open all week long! The next hop begins May 4th with a review theme - please join us if you have a book, DVD or other positive training aid review to contribute.