Posted by: Linda Trunell | June 28, 2015

HOW You Teach Matters More Than WHAT You Teach!

There is always some stress in learning because it involves changing behavior.  (Is Your Dog Stressed?)  Good teachers help the student learn without causing distress. Whether we are teaching a dog ‘obedience’ (I prefer to call it cooperation) or cute tricks the process is the same.  We may use any combination of luring, shaping and capturing behaviors.

Bella learning to jump through the hoop.

Bella learning to jump through the hoop.

Helping people and dogs have fun together while learning is the best part of my job.  I love hearing people tell me how smart their dog is and seeing how proud they are when the dog responds to the new cue.  I can see the bond growing stronger as they learn to communicate and work together.

Harley says his prayers

Harley says his prayers

I have observed that some people are better at teaching tricks than obedience. They seem to be more patient and enjoy the process more. They show more pleasure in a perfect ‘Sit Pretty’ than a ‘return to heel’.  Perhaps they feel less pressure to have the dog get it right because it is just a trick, just for fun.  We are better teachers when we do not feel stressed and the dog is a better learner when we are having fun.

Steve learns to drive

Steve learns to drive

It matters more HOW you teach than WHAT you teach. Using force-free positive reinforcement is the best way to teach any species. Learning should be fun for you and your dog so if you want to have more fun while honing your training skills try a “Click-A-Trick” class!

Here’s to being our dog’s best friend,

Linda


Responses

  1. Omg I love the whisper and speak trick, what a neat idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks – I think it is cute. I captured it with the clicker while teaching “speak” and then gave it a different hand signal and named it “whisper” because “Use your inside voice” was too long – LOL

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      • Hahaha! I taught Kasper to beg recently (well, a month or so back) and I wanted to call it “beg”…little did I know I had been (accidentally) verbally prompting Kasper saying “can you do it again?” whilst training!!

        I thought it was funny, so “can you do it again” stayed as the verbal cue. I added a hand signal too, so I don’t have to say it every time…it’s fun though and always makes people laugh 🙂

        When I ask Zoey to ‘speak’ she usually starts with a few quieter barks, so it might be fun to teach her to speak quietly too!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is so funny! Kasper was really paying attention. 🙂

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