Friday, January 8, 2016

Dog training tip o' the day: On the use of tools to facilitate your training

Dog training tip o' the day: Tools can make your dog training better. However, without a proper plan to fade the use of the tool, it can quickly become a crutch.
Tools can give you a leg up when it comes to controlling your dog around distractions. They can be things like collars, harnesses, leashes, targets, platforms and any other things you use to guide your dog to perform a desired behaviour. They allow for greater control and communication and can be used while you work on the requisite training to fill in the gaps. Then, most importantly to me, you need to fade the use of the tool.
We humans are excellent tool users. Sometimes, however, we get a little lazy. Applying a tool can often provide an immediate change in behaviour (sometimes for a honeymoon period, sometimes in perpetuity) so it can be tempting to continue to rely on it on an ongoing basis. To me, this is, well, lazy at best and unfair to the dog at worst.
Ideally, the goal when using a tool on a dog is to get the tool off the dog as fast as you can. Commit to harnessing the extra power the tool affords you and work with your dog whenever you're using it. Don't fall on your laurels and forget to actually train your dog. As with everything, the additional work you do with your dog in the short term pays off in the long term.
Happy clicking!

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