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June 18, 2015
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Leerburg Online University
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Informal Play Sessions

Ed Frawley's Philosophy on Dog Training

A balanced dog trainer believes in training behaviors motivationally, using a reward-based training system. Examples of behaviors include COME - SIT - DOWN - STAY etc. In the beginning of our work, we use high value food rewards to teach the meaning of these behaviors. In our foundation training, we don't correct a dog for refusing to perform a behavior; we simply withhold the high value reward.

A balanced dog trainer will also use corrections in training, but only after the foundation of a behavior has been established through reward-based training, when the trainer is absolutely 100% certain the dog has generalized the behavior, and knows exactly what it means but refuses to follow the command.

It is my belief that to maintain off-leash reliability, a dog must go through a correction phase of training. It is in this phase where the dog is exposed to more and more distractions. We use rewards to reinforce correct decisions the dog makes when we Recall him back to us, but we will also correct the dog if it ignores our Recall command because it is more interested in the distraction than it is in coming back to us for our high value reward.

There are also certain scenarios where dogs need to learn a behavior through corrections that will save their lives: recalls, rattle snake avoidance, or a puppy spitting something out of its mouth when asked, to name a few.

Unfortunately, over the past 25 years a culture has developed that call themselves "PURELY POSITIVE TRAINERS." These are people who claim they can train dogs and never give their dog a correction. These people are living a pipe dream. They lack experience in training dogs with genetic drive or dogs with behavioral issues. They are also people who never expose their dogs to serious distractions.



Basic Dog Obedience Self-Study CourseTeaching Our Dogs eh Rules of Play Self-Study CourseTeaching Engagement Skills Self-Study CourseThe Heeler's Toolbox I Self-Study CourseHousebreaking 101 Self-Study Course

Leerburg's Teaching Engagement Skills with Forrest Micke

This course was PERFECT! From novice to pro this course can benefit both. Forrest is very easy to learn from. He has a way of not only Engaging a dog but also a human. The video's along with the written text were a very helpful tool. I do hope that this course comes out on DVD so that I can purchase it and have it on hand when I need it. It never hurts to revist something that you once learned. I found that even though I knew, I also was failing in a few areas and now can repair them and have better success.

Read more student comments on Leerburg Online University

Leerburg Q&A
Ask your training question

Question: I've been working on retraining the retrieve for 2 weeks and my dog still chews and pounces on the dumbbell. I have been following the instruction in Training the Retrieve with Michael Ellis. How do I address these issues?

I recently bought Michael's DVD on teaching the retrieve. She's all about retrieving, but she chews on the dumbbell. I switched to the pvc pipe like Michael suggested in the DVD. I've been working with her for two weeks using the pvc pipe and I'm not seeing any change in the chewing. I've tried reinforcing the hold by giving the command again and using my hand under her chin to hold her head up. She still continues to move it around in her mouth. Also, she's a maniac when she runs out to retrieve. Sometimes she overshoots the dumbbell and then pounces on it like it's a toy. How should I address these issues? Thanks!

Cindy's Response:

It's going to take longer than 2 weeks to fix this. I would NOT be throwing any dumbbells or any other retrieve item until you have resolved the issue of holding calmly. Depending on how long you allowed her to chew and pounce in the past it can take a long time to fix.

You need to break it down and start from scratch and reward a moment of calm holding. If you get ahead of yourself and go back to throwing the dumbbell right now she won't have enough reps of the behavior you are looking for.

I hope this helps,
Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Competition Obedience

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Q&A Search. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at ASK CINDY. If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Leerburg's Herbal Calm

   
  We have been using Herbal Calm for my Terrier mix, Tessy, who is terrified of thunder storms. Left to her own devices during a storm, Tessy will try to dig out of her crate (or through a wall if she is not crated) and has ripped several nails out doing so. Now, whenever we hear a storm is in the forecast, Tessy will get her Herbal Calm and she has been able to tolerate storms without freaking out. She is not to the point where she can sleep through them (and probably never will be), but she's not freaking out or hurting herself anymore. YAY!!
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